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Despero

A nation of half-elves located in the southwest region of Pescat. Bordering two continental superpowers (i.e. Elflands and Rakka), the noble families of Despero practice a form of universal conscription where every citizen between the ages of 20 and 60 must undergo some form of military training to defend the homeland. Despero hasn’t lost a war since the start of the 4th Cycle.

Structure

Despero's monarch controls the nation's military and enacts laws, but in name only. Ever since the Noble Revolt of 618 the nation's noble families have the final say on any policies adopted by the kingdom at-large. The monarch now serves as a laissez-faire ruler who allows the noble families to conscript armies and wage military campaigns of their own.

Assets

  • Despero's capital of Havre is the source of Pescaliat's finest silks and clothes worn by nobility the world over
  • Port cities like Ovid and Brei craft frigates perfect to sail past the treacherous coastlines of the Campanel Desert on their way to the Northern Territories
  • The newly conquered city of Anthep serves as a vital trading post for the kingdom in the Campanel Desert
  • Towns like Rochelle are surrounded by some of the most fertile farmlands in southern Pescat.

History

Founding Years

In the early centuries of the 3rd Cycle, the region of modern-day Despero was conquered by the Eflands Empire at the peak of the their imperial power. The human kingdoms who called the land home agreed to the change in government, but only on the condition that they would be able to intermarry with the imperial elves (the practice of intermarriage had been banned in all of the Elflands' conquered territories). After several centuries the region's distinctive half-elf race became the majority population, consolidating power among a handful of noble families with power to rival that of the Elflands throne.   Unrest began to plague the region in the later years of Emperor Fortinbras I's reign (629, 3rd Cycle - 1186, 3rd Cycle), but all sense of allegiance to the Empire collapsed after the creation of the Fey Plains during the Elflands-Rakkan war. This forbidding region of fey magic and strange occurrences isolated the western region of the Elflands from the rest of the Empire, cutting off supply chains and making it impossible to maintain consistent communication with the region. In the decades following Fortinbras I's death the half-elf noble families revolted to found the kingdom of Despero, and the Elflands was powerless to stop them.   The first centuries of Despero's existence were challenging: the powerful tiefling military of Rakka to its south, monsters terrorizing farmers to the east near the Fey Plains, and bands of yuan-ti cultists from the north expanding their influence from beyond their reaches in the Campanel Desert. To maintain their political independence, a universal conscription service was established in the 1500's requiring every man and woman between the ages of 20 and 60 to serve in the nation's military. A national force was levied in times of international war, but the noble families amassed their own private armies in peaceful years to defend against rival families.   The noble families continued to rise in power and influence, specializing in different trades and industries and suffocating any regional competition. Families like the De Mers of Brei (shipbuilding) or the Caragaulles of Rochelle (agriculture) would go on to define Desperan politics for countless millennia. While many nations began to centralize power and authority under one leader in the 4th Cycle, the noble houses of Despero were always reluctant to give one monarch so much power due to years of Elflands hegemony.   Reign of Isabellis Caragualle (2985, 3rd Cycle - 52, 4th Cycle) Isabellis, the last pagan queen of Despero, defended the kingdom against a two-fronted war from the yuan-ti of Kaifeng and the elves of the Elflands. Kaifeng used the invasion of Despero as a test run for their siege of Dhamma during the Ageless Crisis of the 4th Cycle, and while Havre was left standing the attack dealt considerable damage to the kingdom’s northern territory. Combined with the Elfland’s assault of Despero’s riverside holdings in the south, Despero nearly collapsed in the face of considerable war and famine. Isabellis, to her credit, inspired a godlike level of respect and devotion from her people. Some theorize she entered a pact with the fey Queen of Lost Things, but for years Isabellis was said to display feats of supernatural magic and power that few wizards could even attempt.  

4th Cycle Developments

  Reign of Jehan Caragaulle (52, 4th Cycle - 96, 4th Cycle) Jehan’s reign was marked by a period of pronounced prosperity in the kingdom after Despero pledged loyalty to the Temple of Erivo. For centuries the kingdom had been worshipping fey powers like the Queen of Lost Things, but years of international pressure from the Elflands forced Despero's hand and led to years of increased trade and goodwill its neighbors. The capital of Havre became a prominent trading post for merchants traveling to the Northern Territories, and this new wave of money helped to develop Despero’s inland region bordering the Fey Plains. This era of goodwill was short-lived, especially after Jehan was found poisoned in her bedchambers from yuan-ti poison.   Reign of Emmelot Caragaulle (96 - 172) Emmelot was a devout follower of the Temple of the Ageless One, which is why her kingdom celebrated so much when a deposit of ancient relics dating back to the Ostry Apocalypse were discovered on a farm outside Rochelle. This finding, however, caught the attention of several foreign powers eager to sow discord and seize the weapons for their own purpose Yuan-ti from the Campanel Desert wanted to steal the weapons to use in future conspiracies, the Elflands claimed them as their own (abusing their titles as Defenders of the Ageless One), and Rakka wanted them to further their war efforts in Southern Pescat.   Threatened on all sides, a faction of die-hard zealots from Despero’s Temple of the Ageless One banded together and stormed the royal palace in Havre to seize and destroy relics. Their maneuver proved a success as troops retreated from Despero’s borders, and the Knights of Rarita (as they came to be called) were tolerated for several years in the kingdom. When the Knights killed an entire noble family in 158 for harboring enchanted relics, the Knights Order was banished to the Campanel Desert to set up a hermit kingdom in the dunes.   Reign of Jaquette Caragaulle (261 - 331) Jaquette led successful campaigns against Rakka and the Elflands, solidifying Desperan control over the Severan River on the nation’s southern border along with the city of Ovid for over a century. Unfortunately, Jaquette’s reign was marked by scandal when it was revealed that ⅓ of her royal court was under the influence of yuan-ti agents from the Campanel Desert. An emergency council session was to be held to reveal the conspirators, but Jaquette was assassinated the night before the meeting was to be held. Her cousin Martin was forced to take the throne, choosing to purge the royal court entirely and start with a new batch of advisers instead. Reign of Tanguy Caragaulle (391 - 469) Tanguy was a diligent scholar who studied at Mulane College in Noggin, but this wasn’t enough to prepare him for the anomalies and supernatural events that plagued his reign. For several weeks in the 410’s, magic in Despero failed to function. Legendary wizards were barely able to cast cantrips, and vital defense wards left the kingdom vulnerable to attacks during the magical outage. After a violent war with Rakka that nearly led to the surrendering of Brei, Tanguy’s court managed to identify to source of the outages to a yuan-ti cell of Mershaulk worshippers that had sabotaged much of the kingdom’s infrastructure. This led to several years of savage purges and witch hunts against anybody suspected to be a yuan-ti or Rakkan agent. Estimates are sketchy from this time period, but modern-day scholars assume that at least 100,000 people were killed during the purges. It took decades before the yuan-ti were able to infiltrate the royal courts of Despero again.   Reign of Hecelina Caragaulle (469 - 568) One of the longest-serving monarchs in Despero’s history, Hecelina’s reign was marked by disasters from within and beyond the nation’s borders. A band of yuan-ti agents from the Temple of Dendar managed to seize Majeure in a violent coup in 486, leading to years of fighting in the region until Desperan forces reclaimed the territory. During the siege of Majeure, a deadly illness known of Snakeskin began spreading through the military and killed nearly 15% of the kingdom’s population. This plague ravaged Despero for the next two decades, but an economic boom in cities like Brei and Havre helped to mitigate the most vocal opponents of the Caragaulle regime.   While war was never officially declared, a proxy war was fought with the tieflings of Rakka over control of Ovid in the 530’s. Despero held control of the city for a time, but packs of gnolls released into the region by Rakkan forces plagued the land and forced Hecelina to abandon the city in 566. She died two years later, leaving the kingdom in an uncertain period of unrest and transition when her son Durant took the throne.   Reign of Durant Caragaulle (568 - 618) A cruel king who acted impulsively, Durant was a paranoid despot who believed that everyone in Despero wanted to see him dead. Sensing unrest among the noble families after decades of neglect, he attached himself closely to the Knights of Rarita in a holy purge of dissidents in the kingdom This foreign military presence did nothing but exacerbate the unrest in the kingdom, and yuan-ti sleeper agents were able to fan the flames of revolution that culminated in the Noble Revolt of 618. Durant was executed in Havre in a revolutionary fervor, and the nobles managed to elect a respectable noble family as the best royal family to represent the interests of the noble families.   The De Mers, a family with old connections to the shipbuilding town of Brei, was a consensus choice that would respect noble authority in the years to come. The lower classes, of course, were left out of any major policymaking decisions.   Reign of Odelina De Mer (620 - 683) The Noble Revolt of 618 led to severals years of violence and mob rule, but when the dust settled the ancient Caragaulle Family was overthrown and the noble De Mer family was installed as the new monarchy in Despero. Its first leader, Odelina, made considerable efforts to appease the restive noble families and stabilize the region in the face of growing threats from Rakka and the Campanel Desert.   A band of adventurers on an expedition to the Fey Plains discovered ancient relics dating back to the nation’s founding period in the 3rd Cycle, igniting a period of national pride and classicism that boosted Odelina’s popularity. While little progress was made to modernize the kingdom, Odelina’s reign is remembered as a time of stability and national pride under a confident monarch.   Reign of Mallory De Mer (683 - 744) Mallory’s reign was marked by palace intrigue and scandal, forced to abdicate the throne at the young age of 133 to her estranged daughter Chantalle. Members of her royal court, who some scholars theorize were members of the yuan-ti cult of Merrshaulk, sowed unrest among the noble houses and destabilized the nation of Despero. The Diderot Revolt of 709 led to years of fighting near the Fey Plains, and for years afterwards the noble families fostered a seething resentment for the royal family.   On a positive note, rich and vast deposits of valuable ores were discovered near Majeure in the Temeraire Mtns, laying the groundwork for a speculative boom during the reign of Chantalle De Mer.   Reign of Chantalle De Mer (744 - 817) Coronated in the mid-700’s, Chantalle’s reign was marked by great potential and spectacular failure. A speculation boom began on Despero’s northern border when valuable ores and artifacts from the Campanel Desert were sold at incredible prices. Despero had long focused on trade with Rakka and the Northern Territories, but the new discoveries ignited a wave of curiosity and greed for the Desert’s riches.   Chantalle’s forces led several campaigns into the Thueban region of the Desert, occupying the town of Anthep for several years and engaging in battles with the local thri-kreen and yuan-ti populations. The campaign fell apart in 796, however, when Desperan forces were routed in a severely miscalculated siege of the yuan-ti capital of Kaifeng. Scholars today theorize that a yuan-ti pureblood had infiltrated Chantalle’s royal court and was providing misleading intel about Kaifeng’s defenses.   Defeated and forced to abandon Anthep, Chantalle’s reign entered a period of economic recession and confusion Many of the nobles, still armed and trained after decades of fighting, began to conspire against the throne and fight for her removal. In 817, Chantalle was forced to abdicate and her nephew Phillipe was put on the throne. Phillipe’s laissez-faire approach to ruling granted the noble families much more leeway when it came to matters of foreign policy and expansion, leading to the successful conquest of Anthep in the 840’s.

Demography and Population

  • 82% Half-Elf
  • 10% Elven
  • 5% Human
  • 2% Tabaxi

Territories

Rulers of Despero
  1. Isabellis Caragaulle (2985, 3rd Cycle - 52, 4th Cycle)
  2. Jehan Caragaulle (52, 4th Cycle - 96, 4th Cycle)
  3. Emmelot Caragaulle (96 - 172)
  4. Loys Caragaulle (172 - 261)
  5. Jaquette Caragaulle (261 - 331)
  6. Martin Caragaulle (331 - 391)
  7. Tanguy Caragaulle (391 - 469)
  8. Hecelina Caragaulle (469 - 568)
  9. Durant Caragaulle (568 - 618)
  10. Noble Revolt (618 - 620)
  11. Odelina De Mer (620 - 683)
  12. Mallory De Mer (683 - 744)
  13. Chantalle De Mer (744 - 817)
  14. Philippe De Mer (817 - Present)
Founding Date
1215, 3rd Cycle
Type
Geopolitical, Kingdom
Capital
Head of State
Official State Religion
Official Languages
Neighboring Nations
Notable Members

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