Proper Name: Kingdom of Sunndi
Ruler: His Brilliant Majesty, Olvenking Hazendel I the Defender of Sunndi, Protector of the South (CG male elf Wiz8/Clr4 of Trithereon/Ftr1)
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with a gray-elf royal family governing numerous noble houses of humans and nonhumans; member of the Iron League
Major Towns: Pitchfield (pop. 3,800), Newkeep (pop. 2,700)
Provinces: Eighteen counties, subdivided into numerous viscounties and baronies
Resources: Electrum, platinum, gems (II, IV)
Coinage: [Modified Aerdy] new plate (pp), new crown (gp), noble (ep), silver (sp), common (cp)
Population: 125,000—Human 79% (OS), Elf 9% (gray), Dwarf 5% (mountain 50%, hill 50%), Gnome 3%, Halfling 2%, Half-elf 1%, Other 1%
Languages: Common, Old Oeridian, Elven, Dwarven, Gnome, Halfling
Alignments: NG*, CG, N
Religions: Pelor, Trithereon, elf pantheon, Lydia, Oeridian agricultural gods, Ulaa, Fortubo, Jascar, Norebo, dwarf pantheon, gnome pantheon, Boccob
Allies: Irongate, Onnwal (rebels), Nyrond
Enemies: Scarlet Brotherhood, Lordship of the Isles, Ahlissa (distrusted), amphibious nonhumans of the Vast Swamp
Overview: Sunndi is nestled in a natural basin between the Hestmark Highlands to the east, the Glorioles to the north, and the Hollow Highlands to the west. The climate is very warm but temperate, with much rainfall throughout the year, especially in the winter; snow is unknown, and freezing temperatures are a sure sign that foul magic is afoot. The western and southern ends of the country lie within the meandering Pawluck River valley, and the aptly named Vast Swamp forms the southern border of the kingdom. The Rieuwood is considered part of the realm, and the northern border is the Grayflood River, from the Ahlissan city of Hexpools to that nation’s new capital of Kalstrand. The Menowood is not part of Sunndi, but its nonhuman clans are loosely allied with it.
Sunnd army units are posted along the southern banks of the Grayflood River and for a short distance along the Thelly across from Kalstrand. The lands south of the Thelly, down to the Glorioles and Hestmark Highlands, are currently claimed by Ahlissa but not held in force; some Sunndi units pass through here in pursuit of bandits, but it is unlikely Sunndi could take and hold this area against Ahlissa’s might, if push came to shove.
History: The great migrations during the Baklunish-Suel wars and following the Twin Cataclysms saw most Suloise pushed to the far extremes of the Flanaess. Several houses, led by the charismatic Zellif Ad-Zol, scion of the Suloise Throne, passed through the fertile Pawluck River Valley, hunting out a land promised to them in dreams and castings. Most of the Suel followed their leader into the Vast Swamp, eventually finding salvation on the Tilvanot Peninsula. Other, perhaps wiser, Suel saw in the valley great prosperity, and elected to remain. These men and women made the place their home, easily befriending the indigenous gray elven lords, who claimed to have lived in the land since the first tree had broken ground. Later years brought powerful Oeridian raiders, who conquered the Suel and elven alliance with little difficulty.
After Aerdy had solidified its hold on the entirety of Oeridian lands following the Battle of a Fortnight’s Length, a canny king made Sunndi a fief within South Province, granting rulership to whatever noble might fall within the good graces of the sitting herzog in Zelradton. This form of repressive rule brought oppressive taxation, overfarming, and acts of violence against Sunndi’s nonhuman population. While the ever present Glorioles Army of South Province kept the land free of banditry and protected from the nonhumans of the nearby mountains and swamps, the safety came at the price of freedom.
Within a decade of the formation of the Iron League, human, dwarf, elf, and other nobles of the Pawluck Valley, Hestmark Highlands, Rieuwood, and Glorioles Mountains rose up against the occupiers, liberating Sunndi in a short but brutal uprising still remembered with bitterness in Ahlissa. In 455 CY, Sunndi officially joined the Iron League.
With the Aerdy nobility dead, fled, or in revolt against the overking, the people of Sunndi turned to the gray elves of the forests for guidance. Turentel Esparithen, a count under the occupied government and a hero in the fighting against the Aerdi, established a government based upon mutual respect for all peoples.
The nation existed in this state for more than a century. From time to time, border skirmishes with South Province escalated into what could be termed war, though without financial backing from Rauxes, the herzogs of Ahlissa could do little more than cast angry stares across the Grayflood.
In 577 CY, however, Herzog Chelor’s forces crossed the Thelly, seizing Sunndi’s northeast frontiers in a series of bitter charges. The following year, Chelor himself took the field, gaining the territory between the Grayflood and Rieuwood. The amassed army, under the command of General Reynard, crossed the northern Hollow Highlands, hoping to cut off all of Sunndi from her allies in Irongate, Onnwal, Almor, and Nyrond. The invasion achieved only modest gains, however, thanks to an allied force of nearly twenty thousand men, dwarves, and gnomes. Though fighting continued in the region, with guerilla raids staged from the Rieuwood and the hills, Ahlissa held on to its gains.
By 583 CY, the heavily bulwarked Ahlissan presence in the area coupled with extreme attrition among the elf and dwarf protectors of northern Sunndi made for a disastrous combination. With the full might of the Glorioles Army, Herzog Chelor pushed south all the way to Pitchfield, burning the count’s estates and ravaging the central countryside. Thousands of Sunnd perished in battle against one of Ivid’s most skilled armies. For a time, it seemed as if the entire nation would be lost. Within two months of invasion, however, Sunndi gained hope with the arrival in late 583 of Almor’s Commandant Osson, who had led most of Ivid’s army on a distracting chase throughout much of the southlands, away from Chathold. Osson’s host met the Glorioles army at the Battle of Rieuwood. Aided by native sylvan elves, Chelor’s army was decimated and shamed.
Osson claimed Pitchfield in the autumn of that year. As light snows blanketed much of Ahlissa, Osson and his men took a month to recuperate in the relative warmth of the Pawluck Valley. A failed attempt at taking Nulbish eroded at his army’s already fragile morale, and word that the Aerdi Army had cut off any hope of return to Almor painted a landscape of desperation. Finally, the Almorian army surged north to the See of Medegia, which fell quickly without support from Rauxes. Ultimately, Osson’s army was put to the sword, its few survivors returning to the villages of Sunndi that supported them. Some say that Osson himself lives on here, though this has never been confirmed.
The fall of Idee to South Province in 586 CY and the emergence of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa in the following year panicked many in Sunndi, who already felt threatened enough by the Scarlet Brotherhood’s attempts to overthrow the realm from within. A few heavy-handed overtures by Ahlissa for the county to join their nascent empire did not help matters.
After long consideration and consultation, Count Hazendel (himself of a major noble house of the gray elves) declared in Growfest 589 CY that Sunndi had forevermore severed all ties with the Great Kingdom and its successor states and noble houses. Sunndi was made a kingdom of standing equal to Nyrond and Furyondy, a political act of no small importance. The few Aerdy-descended noble houses of Sunndi were ordered to rename themselves, and a Congress of Lords was appointed to advise Olvenking Hazendel the Defender. The lords were the rulers of the many human and nonhuman noble houses of the realm, and they met for the first time in Pitchfield in Growfest 590 CY. Each lord was made a count, master of one of the many small counties that now dot the realm.
Hazendel also has reaffirmed Sunndi’s allegiance to and support of the Iron League, though only Irongate and the rebels in Onnwal remain as members. Despite the Iron League’s anti-Aerdy stance, cautious trade began with Ahlissa through Hexpools, Kalstrand, and Nulbish in 590 CY. Attempts to get the independent port town of Dullstrand to join the kingdom have not yet worked out; infiltration of the town by the Scarlet Brotherhood is rumored but unproved, and the town continues to support Sunndi. Glorioles dwarves, long reluctant to cooperate with elves, have remained subject to the king by old treaties, though they have asserted their separation from other peoples at the same time they fight alongside them.
Amphibious monsters from the Vast Swamp, aided by clerics of the toad-god Wastri, have raided the realm in increasing numbers since 590 CY. Interrogation of the clerics hinted that Wastri might be preparing for an invasion of southern Sunndi, an event that has occurred every fifteen to twenty years for centuries. Olvenking Hazendel has ordered more castles built on the southeastern frontier, and all existing castles and fortifications there and along the Pawluck River upgraded.
Sunndi is a very young kingdom at only two years of age. Its isolation and internal cooperation are its greatest strengths, but it is almost completely surrounded by potential enemies.
Conflicts and Intrigues: Southern villages lately suffer from nocturnal attacks by vampires, leading to a climate of distrust throughout the area. The Scarlet Brotherhood is feared to be infiltrating the government and armed forces, assassinating or kidnapping officials, and sabotaging public works. Attempts to get Dullstrand to join the kingdom as its only seaport have met with failure, since the town’s rulers make certain demands that Sunndi will not consider.