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Coldforged: The Warlords of Killbarum – Part 2: The Midlands

Each Thursday this year, I focus on a different aspect of the world I’ve created and played D&D in for over 20 years, in the hopes of honing the ideas and cementing enough in place to settle the world in my own mind. This week, having finished the general histories and overviews, I am going to start winding down the regional information, This time dealing with the Warlords of what remains of Killbarum

Etrmitium and Erundia ( The Etrians)

Twin Arcanists, one a powerful Evoker and the other a Dragon blooded sorcerer, rules these two cities. Livia, the elder by minutes, rules Etrimitium and her brother, Kevus, rules Erunida. Their alliance and power give them more clout than either would have alone, and they are currently in the process of annexing the domain of their deceased rival, Damog, to the south. With his head on a pike outside of Parminium, they have been able to swell their position to include the southern town and were uniquely situated to do so.


Votamae was, until very recently, ruled by a Half Dragon, Half Ogre butcher named Damog. He, however, ran afoul of Baalgrin the Berserker and fell to his blade at the Battle of Parminium. His motley army of violent humanoids has been crushed between losing the Battle of Parminium and then being overrun by the Etrian forces from the north. This subjugated town is now on the rise once again, with a new leader, Aeolian Decratii ruling and pledged to the Twins of Etrian.


Gerontium is an intimidating fortress city, one of the strongholds against the Hrondring back when they were a threat that marauded across both the interior and exterior. The city is held by a diabolical warlord, the son of a mage that went made and a lowly tavern girl. Severus Amelius rules the city and the land around it with an iron, dispassionate fist, and is one of the more archetypical Killbaran Warlords. His army swears allegiance to him alone and has marched against numerous foes seeking to take the lofty prize of Blackspine fortress from his grasp. Each one he has marched out of his fortress to meet in open battle, and defeated.


Another border fortress city, Tantoria is ruled by an ancient and wizened crone, who the locals simply refer to as The Magus. While the city of Tantoria is allowed to follow its own path for the majority of the time, its imports and exports are severely controlled. Any item of possible magical value or worth must be funneled to The Magus under penalty of death. Any component or magical ingredient must be presented to her aids in the city. It would be extremely unfair, however, to say that the city receives no recompense for their suffering, as The Magus has destroyed two armies and their warlords who dared defy her, and each without leaving her tower. For now, though, she stays holed up in her stone tower on the highest hill of Ironstone Castle, occasionally sending out search parties for new test subjects and magical goodies, defending the city when needed.


Betacae is in a tumultuous time, having had three leaders in under a year. The Woman, a powerful if an enigmatic priestess of Decarin, god of illusions, was slain by Arustes early in the year. Arustes was terrible at managing the day to day of the city, and the edges of his territory cracked, and then started to break when pressed by Damog and Bethania. Displeasure and dissent became a daily occurrence until Arustes was found, mysteriously dead, by the Captain of the Crimson Dragons, his personal bodyguard. The Crimson Dragons named that same captain, Revagik, lord of the city, and a massive riot broke out. When the dust settled, Revagik was lord of the city, and with Damog dead within the month, and his territory focused on the northern threat, he has been able to consolidate his power and now rules the city firmly, if still cautiously


Ephisis is a beleaguered and weary town, who’s ever-shifting warlord rules have become blase in the eyes of the populace who has been subjected to repeated humiliations, surrenders, and ransoms. The current warlord, a Gnome priest of Oranna, is not expected to last long in his position, though his dedication to the rule of law and the power of the nobility has some few people believing that this could be the one who turns back the tides of the surrounding powers, but most believe that it is just a matter of time before he, too, is slain and a more powerful and ruthless dictator takes his place.


Cemestria has the privilege of being along the edge of some pretty hostile terrain, but the unfortunate prospect of being neighbor to Rubis, home of one of the strongest warlords in all of Killbarum. Unable to make a move to gobble up more territory due to the Toldiri hills, the current ruler, an Arcanist and Cryomancer Vulvira Almeani, simply bides her time, building up forces and playing her enemies off against each other in the hopes that one of them will become weak enough for her to strike and take over their territory and extend hers. She six warlords nearby, not all of equal power and prowess, and if she can bide her time correctly, she could end up eclipsing them all.


Monatia is ruled by an aggressive and powerful former Praetorian Guard, skilled in the arts of magic and warfare, as well as the use of the Killbaran spear and legionary tactics. She is one of the most competent of the warlords and has taken the long view of the conflict given her elven heritage. Victoria Septimia Aurastus is the senior-most living Praetorian, and many of her former cohorts, those that have not defected completely, gather around her, providing the city a powerful force to defend itself with and when it needs to go on the offensive. Even though her town borders the Toldiri hills, she has found it easily within her power to solidify the borders with the rest of Killbarum and simultaneously punch into the wildlands to conquer it. Unable to move against her opponents just yet as she is outnumbered, she has focused on recruiting the best and brightest mages and warriors from all around and offering them safe harbor in return for their service.


Phessus is ruled by a mighty Thraxian named Lor’kal the Bladeater, a menacing and ferocious force on the battlefield, but also a seasoned negotiation and stern statesman. His time in the Killbaran Legion educated him in ways that a Thraxian normally wouldn’t have access to. Now, he rules his coastal town with a brutal, if generally just, grip, and defies those who would seek him ousted. He is not particularly ambitious, which is likely to be his downfall, but does defend the territory he’s claimed harshly and without mercy.


Ketros is an outlier among the cities of Killbarum, rules by a warlord who is not only feard, but also respected and, sometimes, loved, Bethania T’oninex is a shrewd politician, a fearsome warrior, and a master orator. Her harem of women warriors that stand at her side is the pride of the city. She is not an angel, however, and she grants no leniency for crime and rapaciousness. Punishments are brutal and swift, with her word and sword as the final arbiter. She ruthlessly hunts down bandits and other criminals in the territory she defines as her own and has come to blows, always victoriously, with a number of nearby warlords who now provide her a respectful berth.


Ostinium is held by a cultured and civilized dwarven female, Uuria Stoneeyes, who throws lavish parties and lives the life of a decadent and powerful noblewoman from ages past. It is said that she is an illusionist or a transmuter, but in reality, she is simply an overindulgent minor arcanist feeding her every need from within the city. Ostinium is the most heavily defended, tightly populated and singularly safe city from many of the other warlords, having maintained its lifestyle and safety even through Modurus Second War. There is a council of Magus that advises Uuria in the day to day events of the city, and some even say that the council of 15 arcanists hold the real power, but no one is really willing to test the theory.