Tentative Geographic Assignment: Spot 17 Basic Concept: This barony tends to have a complete revolution every fifteen years or so, give or take. Each government is a nominally in the thrall of a vampire puppet master. History: The Border Baronies are known for being unstable and having lots of coups and revolutions. Prophets Pass is the most unstable nation in a region known for its instability. Prophet's Pass is not the permanent name. The realm usually changes names when the government changes. Common wisdom is that the realm is unstable because Stahlheim, Fumaya, and Swynfaredia all interfere with the government here a lot. They do interfere a bit, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. The realm is very strategic to the above mentioned foreign powers. Prophet’s Pass sits along one of the widest and safest passages between Stahlhiem and Fumaya and Swynfaredia. The area does not provide a lot of food resources, but it is fairly close to some of Stahlheim’s richest mines, so it’s a trading hub as Stahlheim trades ore or basic metal tools and weapons in exchange for foodstuffs, wine, and ale. Unbeknowst to most of the population and pretty much everyone outside the realm, Prophet's Pass has been ruled indirectly by a hidden vampire puppet master named Emerande for centuries. Only recently having been liberated. Emerande pulled the puppet strings over whomever was currently the leader of the realm. She has a fairly extensive spy network. Her spies use bribes and selective information to entice petty political opportunists from Stahlheim, Swynfaredia, and Fumaya to encourage them to plot coups in the region. When Emerande believes the current puppet leaders have outlived their usefulness or they are close to figuring out there is a vampire in their midst, she allows one of the would-be revolutionaries to succeed. Like most fully sapient undead creatures of advanced age, she was thoroughly insane. She orchestrates more coups than is strictly necessary. She also false into states of torpor and dormancy for years at a time. Sometimes the government was overthrown without her direct involvement. Recently she slain Kormatin's adventuring party. Government Style: The region has been a commune, a republic, an absolute monarchy, a warlord’s demense, and many other things. Currently the realm is run by an oligarchy of five individuals who vote on all major decisions called the Pentarchy (not to be confused with the Pentarchy of the Keepers). The Pentarchy is made up of the highest ranking Steward of Korus, an elected representative from among the guilds, the commander of the army, the eldest man and the eldest woman. It's not known whether this will persist, because two fifths of the Pentarchy have been arrested for being known vampire pawns. The current realm’s name of Prophet’s Pass is because the Barony is located along an important mountain pass and the realm currently boasts a very powerful oracle of Nami, she is about forty years old. Recently a second oracle appeared, an oracle of Korus who is about ten years old. The older oracle will accept almost all petitioners that come to her for answer. The younger oracle has very poor control of her power so the Stewards keep her cloistered away most of the time. Character of the Realm: Whatever form the government has, the guilds usually have a say in how things are run. In a way they are the most permanent thing in this impermanent land. Whatever form the government takes, it usually keeps taxes relatively low and is friendly to merchants. In general the commoners are honest but not naïve, hardworking and industrious people who are naturally very flexible and adaptable. Since they are along an important trade route the area is very diverse and cosmopolitan. Religion: Barring the rare times when the realm falls under theocratic rule, the commoners are usually fairly polytheistic, but their piety does not run very deep. Emerande works hard to keep any one priesthood from gaining too powerful lest some nosy theurgist discovers her presence. So far, the local oracle has not relayed any visions related to Emerande's presence. The Rovers run a temple that doubles as an inn for travelers. This temple has been in use for over a century. Emerande considers the Rovers relatively nonthreatening. For their part, the instability of the realm is pleasing to Nami's faithful, and since Nami is a patron of travelers, the location of Prophet’s Pass along a major trade route is just icing on the cake. The Stewards' central temple was only consecrated to Korus recently. It was built after the previous coup. Challenges: Obviously, the realm is plagued by constant turmoil and political upheaval both of their own creation and Emerande's. Trade caravans have to frequently deal with brigands, both human and otherwise. The Merchant Prince of Centrum finds it infuriating that this unstable chaotic has more merchant traffic than his realm. He has deployed numerous spies. The Merchant Prince wants to stage a coup in the region and install a puppet ruler that obeys him, or barring that he wants to discredit or weaken the realm so thoroughly that their commerce is crippled forever. He is juggling different scenarios in his head, but his best plan is probably to stir up anti-dwarf sentiment in Prophet’s Pass hoping that this will convince Stahlheim to take their business elsewhere.
Prophet's Pass has roughly 65,000 mortal souls as permanent residents. Prophet's Pass is one of the more high traffic areas of the Border Baronies region so there are usually at least a few hundred visitors passing through at any given point. The permanent population is roughly 90% humans, 5% gnomes, 5% other
Currently decisions are made by a council of elders called the pentarchy, for details see Prophet's Pass government article.
Industry & Trade
Prophet's Pass is very self-sufficient with a wide variety of natural resources. Prophets Pass has fairly fertile valleys for farming and about half the population are farmers. The second largest groups are herders who keep sheep and goats. Beyond the economy is merchant based as a lot of travelers between Fumaya and Swynfaredia and the rest of the Border Barones passes through here. They also see a a fair bit of visitors from Stahlheim on their way to trade with nations to the west of The World Seam Mountains or other Border Baronies. There is also a decent amount of timberland and a few small mines. Also, they have a tourist industry of sorts because lots of people come by to visit the oracles.
Of the 65,000 people in Prophet’s Pass, about 62,000 of them live in a single fertile mountain valley. 3000 live on the edges as independent mountain men periodically trading with the valley folk. Of the 62,000 people in the valley, roughly 4000 live in Midtown, about 2000 live in the East Pass, and 1000 live in West Pass. The rest live in one of about 120 smaller villages averaging around 400 people. East Pass encompasses a small fort, attached barracks and armory, a couple watch towers. Also the Temple of the Winds and a bunch of businesses catering to merchants and traders coming from the eastern nations of West Colassia. West Pass is basically the same thing, but it caters to traders and mountain men from the west and there are more soldiers here and fewer merchants. Midtown houses all the craftsmen and traders that deal with services that the surrounding villages are not able to produce themselves. This is also where most of the gambling and prostitution and other less savory stuff is concentrated. Outside merchants and travelers also occasionally barter here instead of using West Pass or East Pass. Midtown holds what passes for government in Prophet’s Pass. It also has the main Korus temple and the main Nonagon which has very Spartan temples to which usually remain empty but are maintained by the Stewards who let visiting clergy use these temples for shelter and services. Also, a lot of farmers come for their own priest-less worship services. The abandoned tin mine has a farming village near it where the brain damaged vampire servant lives. The village is relatively close to Midtown. It’s still called Tin Village even though no one operates the tin mine. There are two other abandoned mines that have small villages near them. A few villages stand out as noteworthy. The Village of Black Dust has a fairly productive coal mine, easily the largest village with over 700 people living there either working the mine or servicing the miners. There are four or five other mining villages but they are barely worth the cost of operating them and in danger of closing. The Village of North Pass has a very small military garrison guarding a winding very dangerous and seldom used path to and from Meckelorn. They more likely to have to deal with goblins using the pass than dwarves. The Village of Grey Flower has a small font of magic that stimulates a lot of reagents, especially in the form of flowers. There are three or four fully trained wizards here as well as four or five apprentices at any given time. There are another score of wizards that are alumni from here who ply their wizardly services through the rest of Prophet’s Pass. The villages of North Silverwood and South Silverwood have a small number of carefully managed Silverwood trees. Each village anchors three or four other villages which have a timber based industry exporting less valuable but still worthwhile lumber products such as cedar. The Little Hive refers to a cluster of four villages that have a lot of bees. Naurally, they are overshadowed by the Barony of Bees but the Barony of the Bees isn’t the only source of honey and wax in the Borderlands
Prophet's Pass is the first place most people west of the World Seam Mountains see of the Border Baronies and this reinforces the stereotype of the Border Baronies being politically unstable. Very few governments last longer than twenty years. The current government has been in power almost seven years. Emerande the vampire has been pulling the strings of the regions for the better part of two hundred years. Now that she is slain, what happens next is anyone's guess. There is a new major prophecy from the child oracle Teresa "The puppet master is dead, beware the hungry dragon instead." Many are assuming it's a metaphorical dragon referring to the kingdom of Swynfaredia or Uwcharedia or both.
Characters in Location
Related Reports (Secondary)