Population: 1,263,413 (humans 87% [Chultans 55%, Tashalans 45%], gold dwarves 7%, kuo-toa 3%, lizardfolk 2%, yuan-ti 1%)
Government: Council of Cities
Religions: Dwarven pantheon (gold dwarves), Savras, Squamata the Black (Sseth [now Set]), Talona, Ubtao, Umberlee
Imports: Grains, wine, wood.
Exports: Gold, iron, seafood, tropical fruits and vegetables, weapons.
Alignment: LG, LN, N, NE, CE
The Realm of Running Waters encompasses the entire Thindol Basin. Its lands are encircled by the Hazur Mountains to the east and north, the Tching Mountains to the northwest, and the Sanrach Mountains to the west. At the heart of Thindol lies the Thingulph, a large sheltered gulf that is fed by six major rivers and opens onto the Great Sea. The flatlands of Thindol are covered by tall grass and scattered orchards, and the Hazur Mountains contain productive veins of gold and iron sufficient to meet the local need.
Life and Society
The realm of Thindol is rent by divisions along geographic, racial, ethnic, class, and political lines. The northern city of Narubel is all but independent, and the northwestern third of the country is part of Thindol in name only. Lizardfolk are barely tolerated here, and kuo-toa and serpentfolk are killed on sight. The gold dwarves of the Hazur Mountains are considered autonomous, so they are given no say in the governance of the realm as a whole. The human population is divided into two ethnic groups: the Tashalans and the Chultans. The Guthland, as the eastern shore of the Thingulph is known, is poor and backward. Dominated by Chultans, it remains semi-autonomous. The western half of the kingdom is wealthy and dominated by ethnic Tashalans. Each major city gets one vote in the ruling council. Since Tashalans have slim majorities in most of the cities, they effectively rule the realm despite their minority status in the population as a whole.
Mounts are almost unknown in Thindol, so transportation is usually by boat or on foot. Endless battles rage in the Hazur Mountains between the gold dwarves and the kuo-toa, and the yuan-ti continually test Thindol's defenses from within and without. Ophiophobia is rampant among the human inhabitants, and eternal vigilance against the serpentfolk is the cultural norm. Most Chultans appease a handful of dark powers (such as Talona and Umberlee) and nominally venerate Ubtao. The Tashalans hold the same beliefs as their cousins in the Tashalar, but they tend to favor appeasing the dark gods over looking to the church of Savras for answers to life's mysteries.
Major Geographic Features
Thindol's diverse geographical features provide a rich environment for its equally diverse peoples.
Dolsel Gap, The: The jungle-covered peaks of the Dosel Gap divide the higher Guth Mountains from the rest of the Hazur chain. Like the Tashan Gap to the north, this section of the Black Jungles is actually a montane cloud forest, perpetually cloaked in mist. All travelers moving between the Thindol Basin and the Lapal Sea must pass through the Dolsel Gap, since the surrounding mountains are too rough and steep for passage. Thindolese warriors patrol the western end of the gap with unceasing vigilance, turning away anyone who tries to enter their kingdom by this route, and the yuan-ti of the Jennestas tribe keep a similarly careful watch on their end.
In addition to roving troops of gambols, the Dolsel Gap is home to a thirst of crimson deaths. These voracious undead are the tortured spirits of Lapal slaves who were slaughtered many centuries ago in a vile ceremony by the yuan-ti. They now hunt serpentfolk, humans, and other sentient races indiscriminately, although they always attack yuan-ti first should a choice present itself. The defenders of Thindol are well aware of the danger these monsters pose, yet they have left them unmolested as another defense against yuan-ti incursions.
Guth Mountains: The Dolsel Gap separates the southernmost spur of the Hazur Mountains from the rest of the chain. These low, heavily forested peaks are home to colonies of blood apes and clusters of girallons. Legends speak of a City of Apes somewhere amidst these mountains, but no evidence of such a place has ever come to light. (In truth, the only "City of Apes" is Ss'yin'tia'saminass in the Black Jungles.)
Guthland, The: The eastern shores of the Thinguiph are known as the Guthland. This term dates back to an era (-1732 DR to -189 DR) when the lizardfolk population of the western Thindol Basin swelled so much that the Thinguth human tribe was forced to withdraw to its easternmost holdings. The Thinguth tribe has now spread across all of Thindol and Samarach, thanks in part to the dictates of the yuan-ti during the heydey of Serpentes, but the Guthland remains their ancestral homeland. In this region, Chultans make up 92% of the total human population.
The Guthland is dotted with scattered hamlets, each surrounded by bountiful orchards of mango, papaya, and pineapple trees. Delselar is the only city of any size, and its inhabitants are much poorer than people living elsewhere in Thindol. The eastern frontier of the Guthland is heavily fortified; and its watchtowers line the foothills of the Hazur and Guth Mountains as well as the western edge of the Dolsel Gap.
River Dolsel: The River Dolsel is the heart of commerce in the Guthland. Originating in the heart of the Dolsel Gap, it eventually drains into the Thingulph. Slow-moving scows transport produce along this wide, peaceful river to the markets in Delselar. From time to time, swimming snakes (both living and undead) emerge from the Black Jungles to prey on the unwary. Local lore correctly attributes their attacks to the yuan-ti.
River Guth: The River Guth marks the northern edge of the Guthland. Arising in the heart of the Hazur Mountains and rushing down to the Thingulph, the River Guth is only navigable a few miles above its terminus. No bridges cross this waterway, and the only ford lies at the point beyond which most boats cannot pass.
The gold dwarves of the Hazur Mountains have carved a steep-pitched cart road along the northern banks of the river, and their mule-pulled carts are a common sight along its length. Dwarven watchposts, carved into cliff faces above the road, guard the entire length of the river. Since the Stout Folk cannot spare enough of their number to keep all the watchposts fully manned, many humans (usually lower-class Chultans from the Guthland) find gainful employment in dwarf-led teams of trail guards.
River Gur: The River Gur bubbles forth from the depths of the eastern Sanrach Mountains, curves near the base of Sormarl Pass, and finally drains into the Thingulph. Before the division of Samarach from Thindol, boat traffic on the River Gur was heavy. Goods of all sorts were ferried upriver to Sormarl Pass, where they were offloaded onto wagons and shipped westward. Today, this river is much quieter, and the small settlements that once lined its northern shore have fallen into disrepair.
River Lundeth: Also known as the Cascades, this very short and wild river arises in the western Hazur Mountains and plummets down to the Thingulph in a series of small waterfalls. Although the inhabitants of Lundeth have tamed the river mouth with a series of watermills, most of the watercourse is the preserve of a pool of fossergrims and a tumble of galeb duhr. Hierophant Dezelyna Goldeagle (N female Chultan human druid 12/hierophant 5) reportedly makes her home somewhere near the highest cascades to ensure their continuing sanctity.
River Salban: The River Salban originates in a subterranean spring at the heart of the eastern Sanrach Mountains, winds through the depths of the range, and then emerges from a cliff face high above the grasslands of western Thindol to form a towering waterfall known as Salban Falls. The lower reaches of the River Salban are broad and slow, and this section is usually filled with heavily laden scows taking produce from local farms down to the markets in Thindar.
According to legend, a side passage leading away from the main watercourse gives access to the mines of Selgol, and from there to the Firelands beneath the Jungles of Chult. Many have sought this secret path, but none have returned to tell the tale.
River Tching: The River Tching and the River Lundth are the only two "wild" rivers remaining in the Thindol Basin. These two waterways lack the merchant traffic and bankside settlements of the other Thindolese rivers.
Formed from a confluence of creeks arising in the Tching Mountains, the River Tching drains into the Thingulph between Lundeth and Thindar. The flowing river gives way to stagnant marshes at several points along its length, and its mouth forms a delta several miles across.
The remaining lizardfolk tribes of Thindol lurk along this river's length. Their human neighbors tolerate them as long as they limit their activities to the river's immediate environs, but relations are not cordial. These lizardfolk are in regular, secret contact with the Sseradess tribe of yuan-ti, and they regularly ferry messages and goods between the Thingulph and Narubel on behalf of their serpentine masters.
Tching Mountains: This isolated range in northwestern Thindol rises up between the Hazur and Sanrach Mountains and overlooks the Tashtan Coast. The Tching mountains are largely devoid of wildlife, thanks to the presence of a chaos roc that lairs atop a windswept peak. This colossal avian preys on nearly anything that moves in the surrounding region and has been known to attack ships that venture too close to shore.
Thingulph, The: At the heart of Thindol lies the Thingulph, a Y-shaped bay. Its shallow, shimmering waters conceal an abundance of sea life. In addition, numerous yuan-ti from the Sseradess tribe make their homes in the depths of West Thingulph, about 10 miles south of Thindar. There they have constructed Khass'insara, a coral fortress that is all but unrecognizable as such, even to those who know it's there. Other yuan-ti dwell in the tunnel known as Labrand's Folly (see above). With increasing frequency, kuo-toa raiders from Gathgoolgapool (see Labrand's Folly) have begun attacking small settlements along the Thingulph's shores as well as lightly manned watercraft on its waters.
Thindol is home to numerous human and gold dwarf settlements, as well as a variety of sites important to the serpentfolk.
Aztul (Large Town, 4,631): This unremarkable fishing town lies at the base of the Guth Mountains. Wealthy Thindolese have been coming here in recent years to mount hunting expeditions for blood apes, since their pelts have become status symbols among the Thindolese elite. More than a few treasure seekers visit Aztul as well, drawn by stories of a "City of Apes" in the depths of the mountain range. Though such stories persist, no evidence has been found that such a city ever existed here.
Delselar (Metropolis, 16,412): Also known as Dolselar in the local vernacular, the City of Succulent Jewels.is named for the large volume of delectable fruits that passes through its markets. Delselar is a 3-mile-long, unwalled town that stands on the southern embankment above the River Dosel. Because most of its buildings lie within a stone's throw of the water's edge, countless punts are available for hire to transport residents and visitors from place to place in town.
In recent years, agents of the Jennestas tribe have managed to introduce a wide Variety of predatory snakes into the grasslands south of the city while placing a number of variant sympathy-like effects within the city to attract them: Increasing numbers of Delselar's inhabitants have fallen victim to attacks by snakes and wereserpents, but all efforts to avert the incursions have failed, primarily because of the city's narrowness and length.
Deltar (Large Town, 2,863): Home to clammers, fisherfolk, and deep sea divers, Deltar is notorious for the large number of submerged islets that lie just offshore. Resident rogues row out with lanterns during storms, deliberately trying to make ships heading for the Thingulph founder. Because of this practice, numerous wrecks dot the local depths. Many still contain lost treasures, since the large number of aquatic monsters that choose to lair in them deters plunderers.
Gurdeth (Large City, 17,991): The City on Stilts is built atop a large island at the mouth of the River Gur. Most of its buildings stand on poles above the ground and are lashed to their neighbors for support against periodic floods. Because of this unusual arrangement, most of the city's roads lie underneath the structures and thus are always dark and shadowy, even during the day.
Like their counterparts in Thindar across the bay, the ruling merchants of Gurdeth are quite wealthy, though much of their wealth was acquired by disreputable means. Those who walk the city's underroads are advised to go armed, and those who dare Gurdeth's Byzantine politics had best expect dagger in the back.
Lundeth (Large City, 23,191): The City of Whirring Waters lies at the foot of the Cascades, where the River Lundeth has been harnessed to operate a series of small watermills. These devices power all manner of technological contraptions, including a set of presses that can each create up to one hundred swords per day. Despite the involvement of gold dwarf overseers, weapons produced in this fashion are still quite shoddy. Such a weapon commands less than 10% of its normal price, and its break DC is one-half that for a normal specimen. Nevertheless, efforts to refine the process continue. A small number of Lantanna expatriates have recently settled in this city, bringing with them missionary priests of Gond.
Narubel (Small City, 11,301): Nominally the northernmost city of Thindol, the City of Seasnakes lies at the western end of the Tashtan Coast, near the eastern edge of the Jungles of Chult. The city is built into the sea caves that honeycomb the walls of a small natural harbor surrounded by steep cliffs. Narubel claims the territory that stretches from the eastern edge of the Jungles of Chult to the Tching7 Mountains and from the northern slopes of the Sanrach Mountains to the Shining Sea, although most of that land is unsettled wilderness.
Founded by Tashlutan merchants seeking to plunder the Jungles of Chult in the Year of the Carved Cliffs (29 DR), the City of Seasnakes is now an independent city-state ruled by yuan-ti purebloods of the Sauringar tribe. When the city was in the hands of humans, overland trade flowed north from Thindar to the docks of Narubel, bypassing the dangerous seas around the Jungles of Chult. But the Sauringars, who had been driven out of the Sanrach Basin in the Year of Hounds (293 DR), came to power in Narubel by allying themselves with the spirit nagas of the Chultengar. The nagas deliberately isolated the city from the rest of Thindol by arranging targeted attacks on overland caravans by the pterafolk tribes in their charge. These constant attacks ended all caravan traffic more than a century ago.
Since then, the City of Seasnakes has become the home port for most of the pirate ships that stalk the Shining Sea. All efforts to muster a flotilla against the pirates from the navies of the Tashalar, Lapaliiya, and Calimshan have come to naught, thanks in large part to the whispered words of yuan-ti agents in the courts of those realms and the influence of the Rundeen. In payment for the long-ago service rendered by the pterafolk and their spirit naga leaders, a fraction of every cargo seized by the pirates of Narubel is sent into the Chultengar as tribute.
Psamma (Small Town, 1,936): This river town lies along the southern banks of the River Gur, almost at the midpoint of the triangle formed by the.ports of Deltar and Gurdeth and the fortress-town of Samagard.
Aside from its role as the local trading center, Psammais notable for what lies beneath the streets. Two decades ago, efforts to sink a new well revealed a series of natural caverns that the yuan-ti had used as tombs in ages past. The first explorers brought back a handful of serpentine artifacts, but the town council quickly banned any further exploration. Despite the continuous presence of armed guards blocking entrance to the well shaft, however, a small number of such bibelots continue to surface for sale, suggesting that one or more other connections have been dug in secret.
Samagard (Large Town, 4,106): Built across the River Gur from a small keep that defends the eastern end of Sormarl Pass, Samagard is the only Thindolese settlement in which Samarachan merchants can exchange their wares for coin or bartered goods. Once a great deal of trade flowed through the pass to what was then western Thindol, but today that commerce is a mere fraction of what it once was. Nevertheless, the merchants of Samagard earn a tidy sum supplying their neighbors to the west with trade goods at exorbitant prices.
Unbeknownst to either country, the yuan-ti have successfully inserted several agents high in the ranks of the local trade consortiums. Their primary mission is to learn about both countries' weaknesses by observing what each needs to acquire in trade, but they also work to exacerbate tensions between the two realms in order to prevent them from uniting against their common foe.
Tchinggult (Large Town, 3,413): Once a waystop along the road from Thindar to Narubel along the banks of the River Tching, Tchinggult fell into disrepair when trade along the route declined and a chaos roc began to hunt the area. Today, only human outlaws and small bands of lizardfolk inhabit this ruined town. At least three major gangs and a host of minor ones vie for control of the streets, and warfare between them is a nightly occurrence. During the day, a handful of open-air markets operate after a fashion, offering any and all items that are outlawed in the rest of Thindol for sale. Those who dare visit such bazaars, however, must be well prepared to defend themselves.
Thindar (Metropolis, 98,662): This sprawling, unwalled city was built on the site of a filled-in marsh. The surrounding grasslands and neighboring waters meld together beneath the shimmering sun, resembling one giant, enveloping sea. This phenomenon, combined with its low-lying construction, earned Thindar its nickname - City in the Waves. Dominated by wealthy Thindolese of Tashlutan heritage, Thindar is the main trading center of the Thindol Basin and often the last port of call for ships sailing westward around the Horn of Chult.
Each major storm eats away a little more of the city's port district, and most new construction is on the north side. Thus, most of "Old Thindar" now lies beneath the waves. Although adventurers attempt to plunder the submerged ruins from time to time, most do not return. The majority of such disappearances are attributable to the yuan-ti, who scour the ruins for any advantage they can find in their covert battle to reclaim the Thindol Basin.
Once considered part of Mhairshaulk, the central jungles of the areas now claimed by Samarach and Thindol were largely abandoned by the yuan-ti about -24,000 DR, during their centuries-long war with the couatls (see Serpentes). For millennia thereafter, the jungles of the central peninsula remained the preserve of savage wildlife and individual serpentfolk (either yuan-ti or couatls) who forged their own short-lived domains.
At the end of the great couatl-led migration of human tribes from the continent far to the southwest in -2809 DR, the central jungles of the Sanrach and Thindol Basins were settled by the Thinguth tribe (see Serpentes). Centuries later, the Lapal tribes living alongside the Lapal Sea finally escaped their yuan-ti masters, and the serpentfolk were forced to import tribes of lizardfolk slaves from the Great Swamp of Rethgild to the east. Upon reaching the shores of the Lapal Sea, many of these lizardfolk either escaped or were released into the territory claimed by the Thinguth. This event led to centuries of skirmishing between humans and lizardfolk that eventually reduced both groups to barbaric tribal enclaves.
Over time, the Thinguth were forced to withdraw from their western territories, conceding much of what is now Samarach and western Thindol to the lizardfolk, who later expanded into the Jungles of Chult as well. This division of territory geographically isolated the inhabitants of the Guthland from the rest of the migrant tribes that had settled in the Jungles of Chult. Thus, when the great war broke out between the Tabaxi and Eshowe tribes (-438 DR to -122 DR, the isolated Thinguth of the Guthland were the only Chultans not wholly absorbed into the Tabaxi and ruled from the capitol city of Mezro.
In the Year of Shattered Havens (-289 DR), the Thinguth were enslaved by the yuan-ti of the Sseradess and Sauringar tribes and dispersed across all of greater Thindol, which at that time included lands now claimed by Samarach. Their liberation came in the Year of Hounds (293 DR), when soldiers of the Shoon Empire defeated the lizardfolk tribes that had battled the Thinguth during the Lizard Wars at the tail end of the Tashalar Campaigns. The Sseradess tribe remained untouched in the depths of the Thingulph, and the Sauringar retained their holdings in the depths of the Samarlogh. Without their armies of lizardfolk, however, neither yuan-ti tribe dared continue to rule openly.
In the decades that followed, a succession of Shoon satraps brought civilization to the Thinguth, and many natives found employment denuding the Thindol Basin's of its prized mahogany and teak trees and shipping them back to the heart of the Imperium. During this period, many Tashalans migrated southward from the Tashtan Coast to settle the unclaimed territories west of the Thingulph. They took control of the lumber trade, while the Chultans retained their primacy in the eastern region known as the Guthland.
After the Shoon Imperium collapsed in the Year of the Corrie Fist (450 DR), the Thindolese achieved independence for the first time in centuries, albeit under the subtle influence of the yuan-ti agents who had infiltrated the ruling corridors of power. By chance, in the Year of Many Serpents (605 DR), a minor scandal in Thindol's royal court led to the unmasking of hundreds of yuan-ti infiltrators, including none other than the reigning monarch and his family. All of Thindol descended into near anarchy, and for months after the incident, anyone even suspected of possessing serpentine blood was summarily executed by roving bands of ophiophobes. This civil war ended the monarchy and slaughtered thousands of innocents, but it also greatly reduced the influence of the yuan-ti. By the time it was over, Western Thindol had declared itself the independent realm of Samarach, and all the mountain passes and roads in that new realm had been cloaked in a veil of illusion.
In the centuries since the War of Unmasking (605 DR to 606 DR), a Council of Cities has ruled Thindol and vigilantly guarded its borders against serpentine interlopers, never suspecting that the Sseradess tribe lurks beneath the waters in the heart of the realm. Ophiophobia still results in periodic purges of suspected serpentfolk, although most are now expelled rather than executed. Thindolese merchants make a good living trading with Halruaa, Dambrath, the Tashalar, and (to a much lesser extent) Samarach. However, the century-old decline in cross-peninsula trade from Thindar to Narubel has reduced the flow of coins into the realm's coffers, and Samarach is a part of the realm only in name.
Plots and Rumors
Ophiophobia is still rampant in Thindol, and many rumors circulate about the possible presence of serpentfolk.
Poisoned Waters: In the city of Gurdeth, the Sseradess tribe has been poisoning the city's wells with a diluted version of the potion needed to create tainted ones (initial Fortitude DC 5). This tactic has created a handful of tainted ones and numerous broodguards, most of which have been slain by the local constabulary after briefly running amok. Although some of the tainted ones have already bean exposed and executed, a few have escaped detection and are now serving as agents of the yuan-ti.