Proper Name: Ket
Ruler: His Illustrious Glory, Nadaid, Beygraf of Ket and Shield of the True Faith (LN male human Ftr10/Wiz5 (diviner)
Government: Feudal monarchy with semihereditary rulership; beygraf must have proven fighting skill and leadership (magical ability also preferred)
Major Towns: Lopolla (pop. 27,300), Molvar (pop.16,000), Polvar (pop. 12,600), Falwur (pop. 13,500)
Provinces: Four districts centered around major trade towns, two forest districts (sections of Bramblewood Forest)
Resources: Silver, copper, gems (I, IV)
Coinage: Bastion (pp), greatshield (gp), wagon (ep), lance (sp), helm (cp)
Population: 275,000—Human 96% (Bos), Dwarf 2% (hill 70%, mountain 30%), Halfling 1%, Other 1%
Languages: Common, Ancient Baklunish
Alignments: LN*, N, LE, CN
Religions: Al’Akbar, Mouqol, Fharlanghn, Geshtai, Istus, Xan Yae, other Baklunish gods
Allies: Paynims (sometimes), Tusmit (sometimes)
Enemies: Bissel, Veluna, Gran March, Furyondy, Knights of the Watch, Iuz (sometimes), Zeif (sometimes), Ekbir (minor)
Overview: Ket occupies the territory between the southern Yatil Mountains and the Barrier Peaks, serving as the gateway between the Western and Eastern Flanaess. The dense Bramblewood Forest fills more than half of Ket’s terrain, penetrated by a single main artery, the Irafa Road. This well-kept road is guarded by troops of the Ketite army stationed at eight permanent strongholds along its length. The forest road also serves as the border between the two major districts of the Bramblewood. The Tuflik river finds its source in Ket as well, flowing from the Banner Hills until it emerges from the cover of the Bramblewood and bends its way northward to Lopolla; the river then turns south until it passes the Tusman Hills and into the plains beyond.
The northern and western portions of Ket are more civilized country, with tilled fields and many villages. The northern border includes part of the vast Yatil mountain range; much trade and occasional conflict takes place here with Perrenland. The copper mines of the Lower Yatils are the major source of wealth in eastern Ket. The west is open countryside until the Tusman hills are encountered, forming the ambiguous border with Tusmit. The native hill tribes of the Tusmans are stubbornly independent, serving as mercenaries for either or both nations at times.
Ket is divided into six separate provinces:
Each province is ruled by a Graf (as was the vassal state of Bissel for a time) from one of the six Great Houses of Ket.
Ket’s own military forces consist of strong infantry pikemen and crossbowmen, and well-respected medium cavalry; both are highly disciplined. The clergy of Ket is still integral to the military hierarchy, despite a loss of prestige in recent years. Every company has its own cleric, and Ketite soldiers are still expected to adhere to the devotions of the True Faith.
The Baklunish merchant clans are currently most influential in Ket. Their hierarchy is international, and while they are not opposed to warfare in general, the loss of Flanaess goods and markets in the aftermath of the Greyhawk Wars proved intolerable. When the territory captured during the Greyhawk Wars was lost following the death of the previous beygraf, the merchants supported the decision to abandon most of them, maintaining only Thornward as a neutral city. Beygraf Nadaid currently enjoys the full support of the merchants, though he must balance their notoriously fickle loyalties against the pervasive influence of the mullahs, whose affection for him is lukewarm at best.
Culture: The human Ketite population consists of two disparate groups. The ruling class, particularly the great noble families and powerful merchant houses are almost exclusively pure strain Baklunish. However, the lower classes are a blend of Baklunish, Oeridian, and Suloise features. Despite the mixing of blood in the lower classes, even they remain steeped in Baklunish Tradition.
The persistence of Baklunish culture in the face of eastern influences, is a tribute to the dedication of the True Faith. They reinforce the old traditions and seek out corrupting influences and eliminate them. Under the watchful guidance of the True Faith, even the lowest of slaves is encourage to take pride in his culture. The strength of the Faith shows even in the other races who have been more influenced by Ketite culture than influential in it.
Ketite names are distinctly influenced by Baklunish culture. The names common among easterners are almost unheard of among Ketites. In general, common citizens use a single name and an identifying tag such as Balthazar the Blacksmith or Salomeh Whitehair. Only nobles and dwarves have and use family names. Powerful wizards and sorcerers prefer to use a single name with no tags, such as Rasheed. Priests refer to themselves by their given name and the location of their home temple, like Nasser of Molvar. Clerics of the True Faith are usually addressed by appending the honourific al’Mullah to their name, such as Amardad al’Mullah.
Fashion: The current fashion is for Ketites to dress in loose fitting robes during the warm days. When the air becomes cold, they add a heavy outer robe, and in the winter months ornamental furs and additional layers ward off the biting cold. Merchants and regular citizens tend to wear bright solid colors or bright garish patterns, while nobility and those who serve them tend to wear pale pastel patterns.
Successful men cover their heads with tightly wound turbans as a sign of prosperity, while the women of Ket usually wear their hair in a single braid. Braid length is often a clue to the woman’s status in society, the longer the braid the higher the station.
Jewelry is common for women, and usually silver and tasteful. Both men and woman wear sandals that wrap a few inches above the ankle. We do not usually wear cloaks, as bumbershoots are clearly superior to them.
Economy: Despite, or perhaps because of, Ket’s expansionistic foreign policy, it is rich from trade with the Paynim tribes, Tusmit, Ekbir, Perrenland, Bissel and Veluna. Goods from points as diverse as Zeif and Wintershiven pass through Lopolla, aided by the Mouqollad and those Ketite merchants who travel throughout the Flanaess. In addition to the Trading Caravans, Ket also exports a variety of goods from gems and precious metals, to fine Baklunish steeds and rugs.
Many of Ket’s enemies disparage it for what they call unjust slavery. It is true that Ket practices a two tiered form of slavery. However, only criminals are enslaved. Those criminals who have raised arms against Ket, those who have shown they have no honor, and those that have committed serious crimes against Ket and its citizens become mining slaves. They must pay for the lives they have taken by digging for precious metals and gems in the Yatils. Only the most depraved criminals are executed.
However, those Ketites who cannot pay their debts and therefore have demonstrated that they are not ready to live as citizens of Ket become personal slaves. They become the property of another who will teach them to live as citizens. All personal slaves are required to work off their debts. These slaves do not usually perform menial work but perform skilled labor as personal servants or performers. The majority of personal slaves are treated no worse than servants. The few masters that do treat them poorly, tread on dangerous grounds for unlike the mine slaves who wear steel chains, personal slaves only wear the chains of honor and shame.
Telling Time in Ket: The common people of Ket have little need for exact timing; most things are scheduled based on midday, dawn or dusk when the Mullahs traditionally raise their voices in prayer call. When more specific approximations are needed Time is told by looking at the sun and the shadows on the ground.
The middle class, which sometimes need to track time more accurately, uses candles that have been specially marked to measure the time. Such candles are commonly available from a chandler to mark the quarter hours or the hours, but cost slightly more than normal candles. The rich tend to use hourglasses filled with sand. Of all the methods used, they are the most accurate and expensive.
Ket has emerged from the Greyhawk Wars as strong as it has ever been. The assassination of Beygraf Zoltan fractured the internal peace of Ket and threatened a civil war. However, the quick and decisive actions of General Naidad averted the impending disaster. Although Ket returned most of the land it had acquired, it retained the land that was truly important to it. The Bramblewood gap had long been a chokehold on Ket’s profitable trading franchises with the Eastern World. With the Bramblewood Gap now under Ket’s control, and the internal peace of Ket secured with the backing of the Mouqollad Consortium, it is time for Ket to consolidate it’s gains, and keep an eye towards future opportunities.
Ancient History: The oldest settlement in the Baklunish west is Zeif. In years long ago, before the Invoked Devastation struck down the mighty Baklunish Empire, the area was known as the Satrapy of Ghayar. Although, it was not until many years after the Invoked Devastation that the degenerate rulers of the Satrapy were overthrown. Still Zeif is the only nation that can claim that its cities predate the Invoked Devastation.
So when the war with the Suel Imperium began, the Oeridians tribes, who lived on the borders of both great nations, took the conflict as an omen and migrated north and east. As those tribes passed through the lands that were to become Ket, some settled there. As the war dragged on, Baklunish refugees seeking shelter from the wars, began to swell the population of the Satrapy and push it borders further east than ever before. These newly settled territories became known as the provinces of Ket and Tusmit.
In the aftermath of the Invoked Devastation, the stream of refugees became a flood and the survivors split into two disparate groups. One group settled into a nomadic life style and became the Paynim and Uli nomads, and the other followed Al’Akbar north through the lands of Tusmit, into the lands now known as Ekbir and settled there.
In the wake of the Rain of Colorless Fire, Suel refugees fled east into the central Flanaess where for two centuries they waged war with the Oeridians tribes who had fled before them. Over the years, as these wars raged, Suel prisoners began to flow into the province of Ket as trade with the Baklunish refugees proved profitable for the Oeridian tribes and they in turn alternately traded and warred with the Oeridians and Suel to the east and south. As the years turned to decades and then centuries, the Baklunish people built cities and prospered, eventually absorbing both the Oeridians and their Suel captives.
This newfound prosperity brought new trade partners in the form of dwarves from hidden nations in the Yatils. Over the years, some of the dwarves found it convenient to re-settle in Ket and provide a permanent Dwarven presence. [LG_KRG]
History: Ket has long been the crossroads between east and west, resulting in a mixture of peoples and traditions, but it is the Baklunish heritage that has remained dominant. Once a province of Zeif, centered around the city of Lopolla, this region came under the dominance of the nomadic Brazen Horde in the early 300s CY. The bey of Lopolla claimed these nomads as his allies and was allowed to remain in office, but the nomads conceded authority only to their great padishah. For the first half of the fourth century, the nomads
plundered Ket, also using it as a secure haven from which to raid into Velunese territory.
Toward the middle of the fourth century, Ket was invaded by the forces of Keoland, which defeated the nomads with the help of mercenary companies of longbowmen from the Quaglands. The bey of Lopolla was driven out as well; he and his small army escaped into the rugged Banner Hills, where they organized a resistance. The resistance slowly grew under the discipline of the True Faith, despite the harsh living conditions in the hills, until the Keoish infidels were driven from Ket.
The Ketite leader, Arpad, became the first beygraf, ruling a truly independent nation. The mullahs of the True Faith were installed into the offices of administrative, judicial and military authority, under the leadership of the beygraf, whom they awarded the honorific “Shield of the True Faith.” In spiritual matters, they gave preeminence to the grand mufti of the Yatils, though the Ketite mullahs maintained their own hierarchy.
Through most of the fifth century CY, Ket was at peace with her neighbors, though border disputes with Bissel and skirmishing with the Paynims was not uncommon. The rising power of the archmage Iggwilv in the region caused the mullahs great concern, and the Ketites forged an alliance with the mountain dwarves of the lower Yatils in an effort to restrain her influence. The alliance proved successful, and even after Iggwilv’s demise there was considerable goodwill between the dwarves and the peoples of Ket.
The decades preceding the Greyhawk Wars were prosperous ones for Ket, but early in that conflict the beygraf allowed his armies to be drawn into the fighting in the central Flanaess. Seeing an opportunity to gain control of his nation’s historic rivals in Bissel, Beygraf Zoltan went so far as to ally himself with Iuz the Old. This was done without the approval of the mullahs, but the initial success of the alliance was so overwhelming that their protests were largely silenced. The first sign of grief came soon after the new victory, when the margrave of Bissel’s chose to commit ritual suicide rather than serve Zoltan. This act insured that no Bisselite would willingly follow the beygraf, and had a similar effect on some in Zoltan’s own armies.
Beygraf Zoltan was assassinated within four years of the first occupation of Bissel; significantly, the judgment of the mullahs was to not attempt his revivification. The political aftermath in Lopolla was considerable. As the struggle for power unfolded, army forces were withdrawn from Bissel, and civil war threatened Ket. A new beygraf took power by forming a coalition between many military leaders and a significant minority of the clergy. With the financial support of the Mouqollad, the coalition has stabilized Ket’s government and borders. Beygraf Nadaid’s policies are those of a moderate, so he has little respect among the clergy. The mullahs have demanded the right to scrutinize his government, to assure that it remains in the faith. Nadaid has little choice but to allow this; the outcome is in doubt.
Conflicts and Intrigues: Certain hardline mullahs wish to assume military authority. A court is attempting to question the current beygraf about his early association with the archmage Rary. Banditry continues in the southern Bramblewood. Rebels are active in eastern Ket (the Falwur district), alleged to be supported by Knights of the Watch.