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The gods forgive Chessenta, but we have better things to do with our time than pray.
  — Hercubes Jedea, King of Mordulkin[4]

Mordulkin was a wealthy mage-ruled city-state on the Bay of Chessenta in Chessenta in the Old Empires.[7][1][2][9]

GeographyEdit

Mordulkin stood upon the eastern shore of the Bay of Chessenta,[7] a short distance north of the polluted Jade River that flowed down out of the Riders to the Sky Mountains.[10]

HistoryEdit

Early historyEdit

Formerly a possession of the empire of Unther, Mordulkin was among the cities that rebelled and formed the Alliance of Chessenta under the leadership of the warlord Tchazzar of Cimbar. Driving Untheric forces from the land, they seceded from Unther in the Year of Flashing Eyes, 929 DR.[11][12] The first ruler of the liberated city was Soldim Jedea, the most capable mage of the Jedea family, a practice that continued ever since.[7][2][8] Soldim later founded the Jedea Academy, a school for magic.[8]

Thereafter, Mordulkin stood as a part of the Union of Chessenta, a confederation of city-state that swelled into the Chessentan Empire ruled by Tchazzar. However, with Tchazzar's death or disappearance in the Year of the Dracorage, 1018 DR, the Empire broke apart and declined. Although each city-state had sworn fealty to a central monarch, after Tchazzar, they disagreed on who this should be.[11][12] Finally, in the Year of the Twelverule, 1117 DR, Mordulkin defied the king of Cimbar. This act led to the break-up of the realm into a number of feuding city-states,[11][13] with an ever-changing network of alliances, conflicts, and factions.[11]

In the following centuries of conflict, Mordulkin traditionally allied with Akanax and Cimbar, forming the Triangle Alliance.[14] Mordulkin and Luthcheq meanwhile became perennial enemies in trade and in politics, even before the Karanoks seized power in Luthcheq in the Year of the Quiet Earth, 1161 DR. Mordulkin and Luthcheq had fought two wars between the break-up and the early 14th century.[7][11]

In the Year of the Wandering Wyrm, 1317 DR, the Great Plague, also known as the Plague of Dragons, quickly spread around the Inner Sea, causing victims to turn made and their skin to flake. More than other lands, Chessenta was decimated, and Mordulkin in particular suffered terrible losses. The plague lingered there until the Year of the Grimoire, 1324 DR.[11][15]

But scarcely before the plague had passed, in 1324 DR, Luthcheq's forces invaded Mordulkin, thinking to seize the advantage of Mordulkin's losses. Yet still Luthcheq lost the war. The Karanoks blamed their defeat on wizard-spies working for Mordulkin, and commenced their horrifying persecutions of mages.[11][16]

Modern historyEdit

In the Year of the Prince, 1357 DR, Chessenta was once again wracked by warfare, with Airspur, Luthcheq, and Soorenar allied against Cimbar, but Akanax and Mordulkin had yet to join their traditional ally.[14] Mordulkin's activities on Luthcheq's borders had led to a fresh round of border disputes, which could themselves lead to all-out war. The citizens of Mordulkin feared there could never be peace until Luthcheq had been demolished; mobs numbering in the hundreds marched to the palace on a daily basis, chanting "We want war!"[9] Although Mordulkin's leaders also fiercely wanted to attack,[14] King Hercubes waited for Luthcheq's forces to overextend themselves against Cimbar, before Mordulkin would steal the advantage and strike.[9]

All plans and projected outcomes would come to naught, however,[14][9][speculation][note 1] in the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, when the Time of Troubles came and the Godswar began. The god Hoar led Akanax against Cimbar, Luthcheq, and Soorenar, and those cities fell into fighting against each other as well. Most of Chessenta fell into warfare. Akanax emerged victorious, and Hoar bound the cities into an alliance, before attacking Unther. Ultimately, Hoar was defeated by the god Anhur and the Chessentans routed. Following the Godswar and the gods' return to the planes, the alliance forced upon the Chessentan city-states swiftly fell apart once again.[17][note 2]

In the Year of the Sword, 1365 DR, another threat emerged, as the Great Bone Wyrm Alasklerbanbastos and his coterie of young chromatic dragons swooped down from the Riders to the Sky and laid claim to all the lands of Threskel and northeastern Chessenta—including Mordulkin.[2][18][19] The vampiric green dragon Jaxanaedegor declared himself Viceroy of Threskel and flew over Mordulkin, demanding the city pay regular tribute to the Great Bone Wyrm, the Dragon King of Old Unther, lest its leaders be replaced. Mordulkin's leaders actually did little about this until Jaxanaedegor returned with a flight of dracoliches and repeatedly attacked major trade caravans both entering and exiting the city. Thereafter, a humbled Mordulkin began to deliver regular tribute via caravans to Mount Thulbane to appease their new dragon overlords.[2]

Around 1372 DR, the citizens of Mordulkin were again clamoring for a war to annihilate hated Luthcheq.[1] Finally, some time in the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, King Hercubes made a deal with some leaders in Thay: Aznar Thrul, zulkir and tharchion of Priador, and Yenael Duumin, priestess of Loviatar in Bezantur. They agreed to back Mordulkin in a war against Luthcheq, provided Luthcheq was not obliterated; rather, they would install a governor and the Thayans could establish an enclave there. Hercubes only waited for sufficient instability in Luthcheq before he would strike.[20]

However, near the end of the Rage of Dragons, on Nightal 1, the great red dragon Tchazzar, alive and well, made a shocking and devastating return to Chessenta. Tchazzar drove out Alasklerbanbastos's dragon minions, and reclaimed his seat of power in Cimbar on Nightal 28, as well as his dominion over Chessenta.[21][22]

Early in the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, Yenael sent her daughter Ythnel to Luthcheq as an unwitting agent, and ultimately, she and survivors of the defeated Mage Society rebels escaped to Mordulkin. Hercubes met them at the Jedea Academy, and sent Ythnel and Kestus Aentius back to Luthcheq to sabotage the witchweed supplies to pave the way for an invasion; they did that and slew Kaestra Karanok the high priestess as well, on Midwinter. With Luthcheq in turmoil, Mordulkin started to move against Luthcheq.[20][note 3]

Tchazzar began working to bring the other city-states into his fold, through covert negotiations and threats; Mordulkin was likely among those discreetly negotiating its re-admittance to the empire in 1374 DR. Nevertheless, agents of House Jedea (and perhaps themselves agents of Alasklerbanbastos) tried to work out Tchazzar's specific plans for Mordulkin, fearing he would turn it into a military camp commanded by one of his generals.[21] More generally, Mordulkin's leaders anxious watched and awaited Tchazzar's plans. Meanwhile, King Hercubes was holding on to power, causing some in the House to make secret deals with Jaxanaedegor—Tchazzar's rival—once more.[2]

Post-SpellplagueEdit

After the Spellplague, by 1479 DR, Mordulkin lay in complete ruins and wholly forgotten by the new nation of Chessenta of the 15th century. On rare occasions, adventurers picked through the ruins in search of old treasure. There was a rumor that refugee mages of Luthcheq hid out there.[23]

GovernmentEdit

The city-state was a monarchy,[6] ruled by House Jedea as a family enclave since the rebellion against the Untheric empire in 929 DR. The most powerful mage, wizard or sorcerer, of House Jedea became king or queen.[7][2][8] One of the ruler's titles was "Overlord of Chessenta", a title they shared with the rulers of Akanax and Cimbar, making it effectively pointless beyond aggravating the other city-states.[14]

As of 1357 DR, it was ruled by King Hercubes Jedea.[7][9] He held the position through to 1372 DR[1] and was still clinging to power in 1374 DR, well past his natural reign and using magic to stave off the effects of age. He'd named no heir from House Jedea, feeling that none of his kin were capable of keeping Mordulkin free of the claws of Jaxanaedegor. This triggered a struggle for succession and provoked that very same danger—some ambitious Jedea reached out to Jaxanaedegor himself, making secret pacts to gain the dragon's backing if they seized the throne.[2]

Law & OrderEdit

In Mordulkin, as in other cities of Chessenta, the revised Code of Enlil adopted from Unther formed the basis of the legal system.[24][25]

RelationsEdit

Around 1357 DR, King Hercubes had ambitions for Mordulkin to grow into a great city-state that would rival Cimbar in culture and wealth, to develop the surrounding region and grow into the biggest Chessentan power east of the Adder River.[9] However, by 1374 DR, his main aim was simply staying independent of the dragons.[2][21] The city was later nominally affiliated with first Alasklerbanbastos and then Tchazzar.[2]

Although the kings of Mordulkin claimed the title "Overlord of Chessenta",[14] King Hercubes truly had no interest in a united Chessenta,[7][1][2] and he and his predecessors normally avoided forming alliances with other cities or nations that sought to unify the fractured realm.[2] Nevertheless, in Chessenta's regular wars, Mordulkin usually allied with Akanax and Cimbar in the traditional Triangle Alliance. Together, they usually opposed the Northern Alliance of Airspur, Soorenar, and Luthcheq.[14]

Mordulkin and Luthcheq had long been bitter enemies, in both trading rivalry and in battle, and much hostility existed between the inhabitants of the two cities.[7][14] This conflict predated even House Karanok's ascent to power in Luthcheq. The fact that Mordulkin was a haven for mages and ruled by mages only gave the Karanoks more reason to despise the city.[7][1][2] Both citizens and rulers of Mordulkin wanted nothing more than to raze Luthcheq to the ground, to knock over every stone, and sow salt into its fields.[9] However, though Mordulkin could defend itself adequately against incursion, it lacked the numbers to undertake a major offensive against Luthcheq.[26]

Mordulkin competed in trade matters against the city of Mourktar, lying on the other side of Threskel, but this had not come to any serious conflict.[14]

Unlike the other Chessentan city-states, Mordulkin traditionally tried to keep friendly relations with the North Coast cities across the Wizard's Reach: Delthuntle, Escalant, Hilbrand, and Laothkund, and other towns.[7][2]

GuildsEdit

The city was home to a number of powerful and influential guilds, marking it as one of the most "western" cities in all the Old Empires.[9] All guilds reported to the king,[1] and each managed one of the city's districts or sections.[7][1][2] The three most notable guilds were the merchants' guild, the various crafts guilds, and the builders' guild.[7][2]

The central mercenary guild required that all mercenary and adventuring companies register within 24 hours of their arrival into Mordulkin. Failure to comply risked imprisonment.[7][1][2]

Owing to the city's wealth, Mordulkin also suffered an unofficial thieves' guild.[7][2] Around 1357 DR, it was estimated to be the biggest organized thieves' guild in all southern Faerûn;[7] in 1374 DR, it was certainly the largest of its kind and most formidable in Chessenta.[2] Kreodo and Bendensar, privateers of the Wraith of the Inner Sea band, were former members of the Mordulkin thieves' guild.[27]

DefensesEdit

Around 1357 DR, the city was defended by an army of 8000, comprising 6000 infantry, 1000 archers, and 1000 cavalry. The military was served by a number of mages, accounting for 1% of each of these forces.[7] This army was relatively small by Chessentan standards, usually sufficient for defense but not offense. It was well backed by arcane magical force; the Jedea Academy produced many wizards that served the city.[26]

Mordulkin also contributed 100 soldiers to the garrison at the Drakelight, a massive lighthouse and watchtower guarding against pirates and other threats in the Bay of Chessenta. Luthcheq and Soorenar also contributed 100 soldiers each; a treaty between the three cities maintained the garrison here even if their parent cities went to war.[28] By 1374 DR, however, the soldiers had been replaced by red dragons serving Alasklerbanbastos.[2]

TradeEdit

Mordulkin was a wealthy city, and held one of the largest port facilities in Chessenta, second only to those of Cimbar,[7] making it an important port along the Chessentan stretch of the shores of the Sea of Fallen Stars.[5]

The city maintained a small trade alliance with a community of aquatic elves dwelling in the Bay of Chessenta. The citizens of Mordulkin traded spells and magic items for pearls from the aquatic elves, who had trouble with the sahuagin in the area and needed the magic.[5]

ReligionEdit

Mordulkin was the center of worship in Chessenta of the Mulhorandi god Anhur, the God of Might and Warrior of the South. His worship had been brought back and spread by Chessentan mercenaries, and he was seen as more of a southern god than a specifically Mulhorandi one.[4]

Being a center of magic, Mordulkin was also a center of worship of the god Azuth, the High One and Patron of Mages. The city's mages sacrificed specially crafted magical items in the honor of the deity each year.[4]

DescriptionEdit

Mordulkin was split into a number of districts each run by one of the guilds. That is, the residential district was managed by the builders' guild, the crafts district was managed by the craft guilds, and the merchant district was operated by the merchants' guild. Even adventuring and mercenary companies had their own district, under the auspices of the mercenary guild.[7][1][2] There was even something of a theater district.[29]

It was a clean and well-maintained city, demonstrating its prosperity, with buildings of white stone standing close together beside wide streets. All businesses bore signs with paintings depicting their trade or illustrating their name: a stack of coins on open book for a bank, plates of food for eateries, vials of liquid for an alchemist, bolts of fabric for a cloth merchant, and so on.[30]

The city contained the largest port in Chessenta after Cimbar.[7] It was also home to a large mage school (also not as large as that in Cimbar), known as the Jedea Academy, which stood in the residential district.[7][8] One inn was the Flaming Griffon, whose sign depicted a griffon with wings of fire.[30]

CultureEdit

A city of around 35,000 people in the mid- to late 14th century DR,[7][1][2] Mordulkin had one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse populations in Chessenta, with humans of Mulan, Turami, Rashemi, and Amnite descent, as well as a number of elves and half-elves, dwarves, and halflings.[3] Although sometimes counted as part of the land of Threskel, the folk of Mordulkin were very much like the Chessentans in their habits and attitudes.[10] Alongside Cimbar, it was the most politically stable city in Chessenta.[9] The people were broadly content.[30]

In particular, the city was a haven for wizards, sorcerers, and other arcane magic users.[7][1][2]

As with other parts of Chessenta, theatre was popular in Mordulkin. Sizable audiences went to watch plays performed in the city's theaters. Poets also read their works in public squares, and philosophers debated each other—usually in the middle of a busy street, it seemed.[29]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. Old Empires, pages 57 & 59, offers a number of "likely outcomes" to the political situation presented there, but the actual outcomes are unknown. However, the events of the Time of Troubles the following year seem to have disrupted all these.
  2. Mordulkin's role in these events is unknown; it is included for context. As it was not mentioned, Mordulkin appears to have remained apart from the fighting.
  3. The outcome of the 1373 war between Mordulkin and Luthcheq is once again unknown as Dragons of Faerûn (set near the end of 1374) makes no mention of the events of Maiden of Pain (set near the beginning). Luthcheq survives unchanged, suggesting the war with Mordulkin was not resolved, and perhaps interrupted by Tchazzar's return. However, most of the year passes between the end of Maiden of Pain and Tchazzar's return.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Rand Sharpsword (2002-01-16). More Old Empires and Sembia!. Rand's Travelogue. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2010-10-31.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 72. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 50. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 61. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Steven E. Schend (1999). Sea of Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 11. ISBN 0-7869-1393-2.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 70. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 55. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Franklin, Kameron M. (June 2005). Maiden of Pain. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3764-5.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 59. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 71. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), pp. 4, 5, 6. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  13. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 119. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 14.8 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  15. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 134–135. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  16. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 137. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  17. Eric L. Boyd (1997). Powers and Pantheons. (TSR, Inc), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-0657-X.
  18. Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  19. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 165. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Franklin, Kameron M. (June 2005). Maiden of Pain. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3764-5.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Eric L. Boyd, Eytan Bernstein (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.
  22. Brian R. James and Ed Greenwood (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 154. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  23. Rob Heinsoo, Logan Bonner, Robert J. Schwalb (September 2008). Forgotten Realms Player's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 86. ISBN 978-0-7869-4929-8.
  24. Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 60. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  25. Curtis Scott (March 1992). Pirates of the Fallen Stars. (TSR, Inc), p. 47. ISBN 978-1560763208.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Franklin, Kameron M. (June 2005). Maiden of Pain. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3764-5.
  27. Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), pp. 62, 63. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  28. Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 53. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Scott Bennie (1990). Old Empires. (TSR, Inc), p. 64. ISBN 0-8803-8821-8.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Franklin, Kameron M. (June 2005). Maiden of Pain. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3764-5.

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