Conrad Barian was a Cormyrean merchant and ‘frontier baron’ who established the unsuccessful frontier settlement of Fort Barian in the Tunlands of Cormyr’s far west. Following the discovery of his failure and the stripping of his temporary barony, he disappeared from the Kingdom in ignominy and is now presumed dead.
AppearanceConrad was a tall and stocky man, maintaining a sturdy physique despite not engaging in any major athletic pursuits. His reddish-brown hair began to recede very early into his adulthood, though he kept what remained very well trimmed and well maintained. In contrast, his facial hair grew unabatedly, and he tended to style it into a large, bushy moustache and a more restrained beard. Despite his lowborn origins, Conrad preferred to dress in the extravagant silk fineries of the nobility, often being derided as a ‘swirlcloak’ (Cormyrean slang for a person, usually a wealthy merchant, who attempts to emulate the styles and practices of the nobility without being a noble themselves).
HistoryBorn into a merchant family in the bustling Cormyrean port city of Marsember, Conrad inherited a small fortune upon his father’s death, and was able to turn the money into a fortune proper through a few clever mercantile investments. In 1468 DR, Conrad used his wealth to acquire a royal charter, allowing him to establish himself as a ‘frontier baron’ on a pocket of land in the Tunlands in the far west of Cormyr’s claimed territory. As standard for a Cormyrean frontier charter, Conrad received the temporary title of baron in the area and had five years to establish a functioning settlement in his assigned territory, after which he would be properly ennobled and retain feudal ownership of his territory. Conrad’s allocated territory was situated on a stretch of the Tun River and so had an ample water supply, however that was about the extent of the area’s positives. Like much of the Tunlands, the surrounding soil was far too marshy and damp to support much in the way of crops or livestock, and the ground was not solid enough to support much infrastructure without great investment. In addition, the area was practically lawless, with bandits and native fauna both posing a threat to any settlement. Despite these substantial setbacks, Conrad persevered, investing a large cut of his amassed fortune into establishing a stable and sturdy fort within the marsh, optimistically naming the resulting structure ‘Fort Barian’ in honour of his expected future House. The fort was successful in repelling a bandit attack with the few men Conrad had on staff, bolstering his optimism. He also attempted to encourage fishing in the Tun River as a potential economic basis for the settlement. Conrad used his fortune to publicise his new territory, overstating its successes and embellishing its many flaws. This was successful in attracting some hopeful settlers, though those who arrived found themselves in a muddy, undeveloped plain with few building materials and few opportunities. All but a few left for other settlements. In parts of Cormyr further separated from Fort Barian, where information of the settlement came near exclusively from Conrad’s own publications, the young frontier baron was heralded as an up-and-coming developer. Conrad was able to use this perceived success and his reputation as a good investor, as well as a sizable dowry, to marry his sister Irene into established Cormyrean nobility – specifically, the rich Baron Sergey Levev in the Storm Horn Mountains. Irena, still living in Marsember at the time, received news of this engagement well after it had been arranged, and was whisked away to the Storm Horns at her brother's behest. Conrad was able to lean on his reputation and own publicity to remain in good stead with the Cormyrean elite until the end of his five-year charter in 1473 DR. When royal agents came to assess Fort Barian, considered by many at the time to be a mere formality for such a successful developer, they found the settlement near-abandoned, with only a few guards and fishermen making up the entire population. As per the terms of Conrad’s charter, his title was revoked and his land, including the still-presentable fort, was returned to the crown. Conrad himself, however, was nowhere to be found. After receiving notice that his settlement was to be assessed, the frontier baron swiftly vanished from Cormyr entirely, and is now presumed dead. Following the death of Irena later that year, Conrad’s only known surviving relatives are his nephew Ivan and niece Emilia of the House of Lev.
Missing, Presumed dead
Year of Birth
1437 DR 58 Years old