Zaramal

Zaramal

Overview

An almost permanent state of war exists between the tribal clans that dominate this land as they vie for mastery over the lands as a whole. With Azbar one of only two sizeable settlements and also acting as a conduit for trade with the other nations of Arrasia, control of the city is regarded as essential to control the nation as a whole. In more recent years, the coming of Urgolian raiders over The Golden Peaks has become a regular occurance and semi-permanent Urgolian camps are dotted across the north of the country, from where they launch their raids far to the south, including incursions into the bordering nation of Palanar.

Zaramal is made up of hundreds of tribes, some nomadic though many now living in small rural settlements. The tribal chiefs have influence over any number of these settlements and conflict between individual settlements is as common as conflicts between the tribal chiefs themselves. Very rarely, alliances occur between tribes, though this is usually a measure to defend themselves from a more powerful tribe with whom war has broken out or, more commonly, against Urgolian raiders. They rarely last for long with allies quick to fall out and all too often emerge as opposing rivals instead.

After years of futile conflict with the dwarves of Irith and the elves of northern Palanar, the tribes of Zaramal made their peace with them after the first incursions of Urgolian troops into the north of their country. These were initially repelled through a strained alliance of the most powerful of the tribes. When the alliance faltered, however, the Urgolians soon returned and in greater numbers and the north of the country became a dangerous place to live or pass through. The defense of Zaramal has continued against the Urgolians, but the disperate nature of Zaramal has made it almost impossible to form lasting alliances to oppose the enemy. Zaramal tribal warriors are all too often overwhelmed and easily defeated and Urgolian raiding parties are fairly common throughout the land, but especially in the north.

Zaramal is home to a sizable population of humanoids, who are a constant threat to the established settlements. Battles with the humanoid clans and tribes are a further part of the endless struggle to survive in Zaramal. On rare occasions, alliances occur and large pitch battles erupt, but these all too often collapse into internal strife and tribal warfare. In an ironic twist, however, it is the humanoids who have proved to be the biggest problem for the urgolians, who often find themselves harried and attacked by large numbers of orc or gnoll armies.

Significant Trade Export

Gold: Gold was first discovered in The Golden Peaks during the Amman occupation and has continued to be mined to this day. The gold is shipped to Azbar, where it is traded with the merchants who make the long and dangerous trek around the Cape of Little Hope and all the way up the coast to fill their ships with this valuable cargo.

Precious Stones: Agate, bloodstone, carnelian, chalcedony, citrine, moonstone, quartz and zircon are all found in Zaramal and traded with the merchants. However, it is garnet and opal that make the long and dangerous trek to Zaramal an extremely worthwhile and profitable venture.

Brief History

Until the first Amman incursions into Zaramal through the Great Pass of Cirin, after their conquest of the savage lands east of the Golden Peaks, the land was largely populated with nomadic tribes, though a sprinkling of small permanent settlements were beginning to emerge. Establishing a permanent settlement, Azbar, Amman hoped to use Zaramal as a staging post toward the invasion of Palanar and Eppen, but this plan never materialized as the armies of this region were sucked into the war against the aggressive Urgolian hordes, who at one stage even managed to pass into Zaramal itself, though were later expelled.

The small Amman force that remained in Zaramal soon found themselves bogged down in a constant war with the tribes of the land and with the supplies to Azbar drying up as the need in Urgolia and the Falagrim Peninsula was greater, they were eventually overrun and Azbar sacked, though not before they had put up an heroic struggle against overwhelming odds.

Despite the sacking of Azbar, it was not entirely destroyed and was soon rebuilt. Growth was slight until the trading ships of Karnish turned up and the wealth of Zaramal began to filter through the city. War between the powerful tribes who vie for control of the city became a constant theme and one that continues to this day, with the wealth and pretige that comes with controlling the city an irresistable lure.

Despite the arrival of Urgolians in large numbers, alliances between the tribes remain sporadic and uncommon and all too often lead to internal strife over petty squabbles. As such, Urgolian raiders pass through Zaramal easily and have even established semi-permanent encampments, especially in the north of the country. There are many who believe that unless the warring factions of Zaramal come together soon to form a permanent alliance, the country will be entirly overrun and consumed into the Urgolian empire.

The Major Towns and Cities

Azbar: (pop: 5,000) The eastern most destination along the Karnish trade routes, Azbar is a wild and chaotic town which reflects the nature of Zaramal itself. Well-built stone dwellings sit next to shabby wooden huts, with an array of tents and ramshackle buildings filling the space between. Only the wealthy, who generally live in the stone buildings, have doors and windows and the roads are little more than muddy tracks. A wooden palisade defends Azbar from the regular humanoid attacks, around which runs a ditch. Several rickety wooden jetties act as the town port, where the streets are covered in filth and vermin.

Dereby: (pop: 3,500) This area was first settled by Amman to defend the Great Pass of Cirin from Urgolian raids in Zaramal. The discovery of gold saw Dereby emerge some miles from the pass, where it acted (and continues to act) as an excellent base from which military operations could be conducted. Located in a rocky, grassy valley and surrounded on all sides by the sheer slopes of The Golden Peaks, Dereby is well defended from attacks, with the only access gained through treacherous mountain passes. The town itself is well established, with many of the stone buildings built during the Amman occupation. However, wooden buildings, tents and ramshackle huts have since been added, giving it a chaotic appearance. It is also a rough frontier town, where people work and play hard and where the lure of gold has seen all manner of people turn up looking to make their fortune.

Organizations

The Order of the Gray Druids
This large order of druids has co-existed with the nomadic tribes of Zaramal for as long as anyone can remember, but found their existence under serious threat after the first incursions of Amman into Zaramal, which prompted a great exodus of the order south, into Palanar, where they re-established themselves with great effect. However, the Order of the Gray Druids is still widely spread and their influence can be great, though not as great as it is in neighboring Palanar. They can be found in most settlements, where they often play a central role, bringing healing to the suffering and helping to end disputes.


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