People of Aglarond
Two different peoples inhabit Aglarond: those who live along the coast and those who live beneath the trees. The shore dwellers are predominantly descended from the humans of old Velprin, while the folk of the Yuirwood are mostly half-elves. The two cultures have learned to live and work beside. each other over the years, sometimes together but most often in parallel, each ignoring the other. Aglarond's humans prefer to work and live along the coast, while those with elven blood choose to remain hidden in their ancestral woods, so there is little reason for the two cultures to interact. Also, neither has something that the other is ready to kill for, and so peace has endured ever since King Brindor first donned his crown.
The geography of the land has made this strange symbiosis possible. Its isolation means that threats come from only one direction: Thay. This single threat has been a unifying force: If the people of Aglarond weren't willing to stand together, they would surely die alone. With no current threat from Thay, some feel the time is ripe for dividing the nation. Ambitious human merchants and nobles dream of logging the Yuirwood, while the more elitist half-elves hope to shift the kingdom's balance of power away from the teeming human cities and back to the old elven forests. Fortunately, Aglarond has been blessed with rulers of unusual personal vision and wisdom, and under the governance of House Olóssyne (and more recently, the Simbul) these bitter divisions have rarely given rise to acts of open rebellion.
Races and Cultures
The humans of Aglarond are descended primarily from the people who settled Altumbel, Thesk, and the Wizards' Reach ten to fifteen centuries ago. Most of these folk were Chessentans, Chondathans, and Damarans, but with the passage of time, these cultures have blended into a unique national identity. Aglarondans have a reputation as honest and hardworking, slow to make friends but quick to come to their aid. Despite this, they enjoy raucous revelry during their off-hours. Aglarondan beer and liquor is brewed for potency rather than taste, and the inhabitants take advantage of this fact as often as possible.
In the early years of the nation, humans and half-elves harbored mutual resentment, and echoes of these old, divisions still resound. The two cultures tolerated each other's company only grudgingly, and every meeting of the Royal Council threatened to dissolve into chaos without the strong guiding hand of the monarch. Today, open racial strife is a thing of the past. Most of those humans who refused to share the land with the half-elves left for the western part of the peninsula, settling in either Altumbel or the Fang. Neither region has much of a say - if any - in Aglarondan politics or culture these days.
Human Aglarondans are sturdy, dark-haired people with brown or blue eyes and ruddy skin from regular exposure to the elements. The men average about 5'8" tall, while the women stand around 5'2". Aglarondan half-elves, descended from humans and wild elves, have coppery skin, sometimes with a greenish tinge, with black or blond hair. Their ears show a subtle elven point, and their eyes tend to be gold-flecked and wise. Aglarondans of both races are stoic by nature and harbor a deep love for the woods and shores of their peninsula. Most take any chance they can get to hike or travel along the rocky coast or the eaves of the Yuirwood, although few without elven blood find the forest's depths comforting.
Aglarond's half-elves include both wary foresters, living as simple, nomadic hunters in the heart of the Yuirwood, and cosmopolitan city-dwellers living alongside humans in shore side towns. Most fall somewhere between these two extremes: They live under the forest's canopy but are schooled in the ways of the outside world; they treasure their own culture while recognizing those of others. They participate in governing their nation, because if they fail to moderate the commerce and expansion of their human neighbors, open strife between the races may one day return to Aglarond.
Life and Society
Aglarondans prefer to live alone and in peace, but they've rarely been given that opportunity. The rest of Faerûn does not think much of the peninsula nation (if they think of the place at all) but the same can't be said of the Red Wizards of Thay. Before the recent cessation of hostilities, Aglarond lived under the constant threat of invasion by the zulkirs, who saw the peninsula as the first stepping-stone in their ongoing campaign toward world domination.
Despite this, the outside world rarely touched Aglarondans who weren't part of the nation's well-trained military force. While not ignorant of foreign affairs, most Aglarondans chose not to be affected by distant events. The humans quietly fished the Sea of Fallen Stars and tended the broad fields and pastures between the shore and the trees. The elves harvested nature's bounty beneath the Yuirwood's leaves.
Coastal and arboreal Aglarondans have differing attitudes toward magic. Those who live under the trees have a healthy respect for and appreciation of magic. Those who don't are fearful of all things magical, especially if they come from outside the country, an attitude likely rooted in generations of trouble with Thay. Even native Aglarondan spellcasters are regarded with suspicion until they have demonstrated their trustworthiness.
The Simbul is aware of the coastal attitude to magic. She personally takes in citizens who display a talent for spellcasting and arranges for their schooling in the art. The most promising she instructs herself. These spellcasters are known as the Simbul's Hands. Once they are ready, the Simbul scatters her students as both ambassadors and spies throughout the wider world.
Aglarond's economy is traditionally self-contained and self-sufficient. The recent peace with Thay has made the ports more open every day. While the people here still have few needs from the outside world, they are happy to open up new markets for their goods.
Aglarond's main exports are grain, gems, copper, iron, textiles, and produce, as well as lumber milled from trees fallen throughout the Yuirwood and cleared out by the half-elves. The most commonly exported gemstones are the black pearls that divers harvest off the northern and eastern coasts. These are highly prized in distant lands, as is the Aglarondan blood wine favored by the half-elves.
The nation has no merchant fleet to speak of, although a number of noble merchants own a ship or two. Most goods that come in and out of Aglarond are carried in Impilturan or Sembian vessels, and foreign merchants maintain warehouses and mercantile emporiums in large cities such as. Velprintalar and Furthinghome.
Law and Order
The people of Aglarond follow a simple set of laws that proscribe most acts of violence against people or property. The local ruler settles all matters of justice, often through punitive fines, unless someone has been hurt or killed. There is no national police force, but any officer in Aglarond's army can enforce the laws of the land and apprehend anyone breaking them. Technically, anyone can appeal a local sentence to the Royal Council or even the Simbul, but in practice, this rarely happens.
The written laws are kept in the library of the Royal Council. However, they are often misunderstood, so local officials often apply common sense to any situation. If the city watch believe an action to be a crime, they treat it as such. One universal law is compulsory enlistment in the army, served when an Aglarondan reaches the age of majority. Service is at least one year, but many youths choose to serve for several. Many conscripts are assigned to local militias and garrisons and never serve in the distant border fortresses of Emmech or Glarondar.
Defense and Warcraft
Aglarond has often been a country at war but is not a nation of soldiers. The Aglarondan fighting force consists of three small armies, almost all of which are stationed along the border between their home and Thay. The Army of the Green Drake consists of 4,000 troops stationed at Glarondar Keep and the Watchwall, while the Army of the Lion numbers 1,500 soldiers in Emmech. An additional 500 soldiers garrison Velprintalar, and the Simbul's navy (a fleet of a dozen warships, crewed by about 1,000 sailors) is based there as well.
While there are only 6,000 troops on the Simbul's payroll, the farmers, hunters, and fishers of the land are ready to fight. In times of war, the number of available troops can easily swell to 30,000 or more. Invaders who reach Aglarond's cities can expect to fight against every able-bodied man and woman in the region. As residents of a peninsula, the Aglarondans have few places to run.
Aglarondan soldiers are mostly infantry armed with bows, pikes, and swords. About 15% of their forces are mounted, including an elite guard of about a hundred griffonriders stationed at strategic points around the country. These elite units are normally used as scouts and messengers rather than in open battle. They are too precious to risk unless absolutely necessary.
Despite being surrounded by water on three sides, Aglarond has a small navy. To reach its cities, a fleet from Thay would have to circumnavigate the entire peninsula, well out past the cape of Altumbel and the archipelago of the Thousand Swords. Thus. the Simbul's ships are primarily intended for pirate-chasing and spend most of their time at sea patrolling the western coasts. Aglarond's army uses small "coastboats," shallow, cheap boats like long canoes propelled by oars and a lateen-rigged sail. These can move up and down rivers as well as along the coast and are particularly useful for hit-and-run attacks against invaders.
The half-elves of the Yuirwood have an elite corps of rangers known as foresters, These men and women are loyal to the crown, but they are more of a police force than a military unit. They patrol the edges of the Yuirwood, keeping an eye out for invaders or even travelers who have lost their way. They also help keep the peace between nonnatives and the more xenophobic half-elves who live in the forest's deepest parts.
Aglarondans are not particularly devout. The typical Aglarondan believes the gods are not directly involved in ordinary daily events and does not pay them much mind. Aglarondan farmers favor Chauntea, while fishers pay tribute to Valkur, patron of sailors, and Selûne, who is in charge of the stars by which they navigate. Half-elves often worship forest gods like Mielikki and Silvanus or any members of the Seldarine, particularly Rillifane Rallathil.
In the past, adventurers have passed by Aglarond for what they thought were richer lands, ignoring the dozens of ancient ruins scattered throughout the Yuirwood in favor of better-known locations. With the recent influx of trade in this part of the world, rumors about the hidden treasures of Aglarond are spreading.
The people of Aglarond aren't hospitable toward adventurers. As the local saying goes, "It's better to leave some stones unturned." Besides the coast-dwellers' traditional suspicion of spellcasters, folk here believe that poking around in ancient ruins can only lead to trouble. There's a reason why such places have been undisturbed for so long, after all. The people of the Yuirwood are no less suspicious of intruders tromping through their lands. Any foreigner is a potential Thayan spy and is generally treated accordingly until proven otherwise.