A south-eastern kingdom of Terath, considered to be somewhat barbaric in custom by the more civilized kingdoms. This barbarism, however, has been tempered by a deep Hadrian loyalty to their homeland, and their love of ancient traditions. The most important annual holiday in Hadrianus is autumn celebration known as The Ferryman’s Vigil.
Hadrianus is bounded on three sides by water. Its people are skilled sailors, barbaric warriors, and insatiable adventure seekers. They tend to dress in loose-fitted, serviceable clothes and value the blend of functionality and fine workmanship.
Leader: There has been no ruling monarch in Hadrianus since 214 PB, when High Queen Embla Vanir abdicated her throne, ascending to become the High Queen of Terath.
The Synod of Five: The Synod of Five is comprised of five Clan Ministers, and acts as a high council of governance and judgment tasked with adjudicating conflicts between clans, and advising the ruling monarch of Hadrianus. The current standing members of the Synod of Five are Ashar Hail of Clan Night Wolf Clan, Leif “SourBite” Vanir of Clan Vanir, Ordune Sigurd of Clan Sigurd, Olaf of Clan Asketh, and Munin Algood of Clan Boldir
Embla Vanir: Queen of Hadrianus and Speaker of the Synod, she was crowned at 19 after the disappearance of her brother Elar and his crew at sea. She finished her last year of military service with the royal archers and chose many of her bodyguards from their ranks. She is a competent warrior but prefers to lean on her husband, Weyland, in matters of dipomacy.
Weyland Vanir (human): Weyland was once considered the fiercest ax-fighter in his age group. However, a blow to the head left him deaf in his left ear and significantly diminished his ability to lead in combat. He has a keen political sense and often acts as the spokesman for his wife, who prefers to speak bluntly and lose her temper.
Elar Vanir: The missing king of Hadrianus has been gone for 15 years, but is by no means forgotten. His birthday is a national holiday.
Sigmund Vanir: son of Embla and Weyland, he is 12 years old. He is very serious for his age and is dedicated to following in his mother’s footsteps and becoming Vanir clan head.
Fish, shellfish, salt, wool, cheese
The Great Clans
There are scores of small clans throughout the kingdom, each with their own Jarls, and each forging or shattering alliances with one another as they see fit. However, there are five Great Clans in Hadrianus, and it is the interaction between these five clans and the ruling monarch which forms the basis for politics and power in Hadrianus. Each of these Great Clans has dozens of small villages within their territory, commanding hundreds of warriors, and paying only a small fraction of what they receive as taxes to the kingdom.
The five Great Clans are as follows:
- Clan Sigurd of the West: Primarily Barbarians. Known as raiders and explorers.
- Clan Asketh of the Northern Coast: Primarily Humans. Known as excellent sailors and traders.
- Clan Boldir of the Highland Eastern Mountains: Primarily Barbarians. Known as warriors, beast masters, and smiths.
- Clan Vanir of the Lowland Southern Coast: Primarily Humans. Known as mages, builders, and explorers.
- Clan Night Wolf of the Southern Mountains: Primarily Barbarians. Known as raiders and skilled hunters.
Each of the Great Clans hold claim to a seat on a council known as the Synod of Five.
The History of Hadrianus
Ancient myths claim that the first Clans of Hadrians were legendary sailors from a forgotten Eastern Continent who found the land of Terath by accident during a great race across the ocean. The various clans landed upon shore at almost the exact same moment, so they continued the race on foot until they reached the mountain range. Yet they could still not agree on who had won the race. They fought for recognition, proving themselves through challenges and battles until a true champion emerged. The victorious clan was led by a hero known as Hadrian, though interestingly, all five of the Great Clans claim that Hadrian was their own leader, rather than a Jarl of one of the other clans.
By the time Queen Octavia Lucius came into power as the ruler of Terath, a thousand years ago, the five Great Clans had already begun to establish themselves as centers of power within Hadrianus. Though the Great Clans often came into conflict with one another, they frequently forged temporary alliances in order to wage war with outsiders. Even now, the people of Hadrianus often view such acts of violence more as a chance to prove themselves in battle rather than as the ruthless bloodshed and raiding that it is perceived as.
Nearly two hundred years ago, Clan Vanir was voted onto the throne of Hadrianus with the support of Queen Octavia. In hopes of redirecting the violent energy of the warriors of Hadrianus, Queen Octavia Lucius and the leaders of Clan Vanir began to challenge the other Jarls and Hauldrs of the Clans to perform feats of exploration and adventure. Such challenges were accepted, and quickly became integrated with the traditions of the many Mystery Cults of Hadrianus. As such, the people of Hadrianus love battles and will rarely shirk a fight they feel will challenge them, but often feel that the benefits of exploration and adventure will bring the most glory to themselves and their nation.
Very recently, in the year 210 PB during the War of Kings, The Great Clans and the Royal Military worked together to invade the Kingdom of Haven. While they were repelled from the inner regions of the kingdom, nearly the entire coast of Haven fell under Hadrian Control. While peace has since been established between two nations, the Hadrians have greatly expanded the port town of Land’s Edge, which sits directly on the border of Haven & Hadrianus. At the end of the War of Kings, as a memorial to those killed by DragonFire, the Vanir Clan also constructed a massive capital ship known as the Glory which serves as the flagship of the Hadrian Navy.
Then, in the year 214 PB, Embla Vanir, the ruling queen of Hadrianus, ascended to become the High Queen of Terath. Her son, Sigmund, was barely old enough to be considered a man, and was too young to be receive the support of the Jarls or the Freefolk and so did not ascend to the throne of Hadrianus. Instead, the throne was left empty as the Jarls of the Great Clans and the Lords & Ladies of the Free Folk began a political power struggle over who would become the next ruling monarch.
The Free Folk of Hadrianus
In Hadrianus, a person is either part of a Clan, or they are considered one of the Free Folk. By default, all foreigners are Free Folk, and have none of the advantages or responsibilities associated with being part of a Hadrian Clan. Additionally, the majority of people in the capital city of Vita are considered Free Folk, as they do not share bonds of fealty or protection with any particular Clan. By default, Free Folk are the subjects of the Hadrian Throne and are generally expected to fend for themselves. Their lack of affiliation makes them subject to royal military drafts and higher taxes, and can even potentially expose them to risks from predatory raiders in search of vulnerable prey. However, many wealthy merchants and royally appointed Lords & Ladies are considered Free Folk, and often express their preference for separation from the Clans of Hadrianus, which often have roots in traditions of barbarism.
In order to acquire the privilege of owning ships or land, Free Folk are required to spend at least five years in the Royal Military of Hadrianus. As such, over half of the Free Folk in Hadrianus spend many years in the military, usually starting their five year periods of service around the age of sixteen. Young men and women travel to Vita, the capital city, and are placed in units with other youths of complementary skill sets. There they are taught a variety of survival skills and fighting styles; preferred styles are one-handed sword and shield, the longbow, and two-handed weapons such as great axes or war hammers.
The Hadrian Royal Military is very good at instilling a sense of belonging and loyalty towards the members of one’s military unit, and as such, it is common in Hadrianus for groups of soldiers at the end of their military service to stay together as a war-band. Members of a war-band often marry within their group and function as large families, leaving their own flesh and blood families behind. These war-bands occasionally pledge service to a Clan, but they more frequently become traders or explorers, eventually settling down in small towns or trading posts.
Clan Structure Hadrianus
Many outsiders perceive the Clans of Hadrianus to be units formed of blood relatives, but this is often not the case. A single clan can have hundreds or even thousands of members, many of whom may take the name of the clan as their own surname, depending upon clan traditions. Clan membership is often determined by birth or by marriage, but Free Folk occasionally give oaths of loyalty to the Jarls of a Clan in order to gain acceptance as members.
There are three social classes within the Clans of Hadrianus: The Jarls, The Hauldrs, and the Thralls.
The Jarls are the aristocracy of Hadrian society, usually wealthy warlords, chieftains, or nobles. More a social class than a specific noble title, Jarls possess the right to command Thralls at a whim, and their word is essentially law within their domain.
Hauldrs have earned the right to own land or ships of their own, usually earned through combat or through some form of service to the Jarls. They are often proud warriors, skilled sailors, or valued craftsmen, and their children are often ranked as Hauldrs from birth, depending upon how loyally they serve their Jarls. However, Hauldrs are usually bound by oath of loyalty to their Jarls, much in the same way that a Citizen of the Kingdom of Falconcrest is bound by oaths to the Falconcrest Throne.
The lowest class within the Clans of Hadrianus is known as the Thralls, which are peasants that have very few rights. By law, Thralls are generally not allowed to travel outside of their Clan’s territory without a Jarl’s permission. While they are technically not slaves (as the laws of Hadrianus forbid the selling of Thralls) the Thralls of Hadrianus live and work at the mercy of their Jarls, and are expected to give most of what they produce directly to their Clan unless they earn the right to be called a Hauldr.
In many of the smaller clans, it is not uncommon for warriors to claim Thralls from among the ranks of an enemy. Thralls can be taken as captives during raids, and forced to wear iron collars to denote their standing within the Clan. Many clans allow captured foes to choose between death or the iron collar. This shows that the warriors of the Clan are not taking slaves, but rather, are mercifully granting a defeated enemy the chance to be adopted into the clan rather than face the death their defeat has earned.
Relations with other nations
Chindius: Hadrians tend to look favorably on their neighbors to the east. The coal trade between the two nations is thriving. On the other hand, Chindius seems hesitant to engage in dealings with Hadrianus as a result of hundreds of years of Hadrian Raiding.
Myzentius: Hadrians usually have little use for mercenaries, as they prefer to fight their own battles, and often prefer to claim glory as their reward, rather than coin. However, they have no issue fighting against worthy opponents, and many can be found among Myzentius’ elite mercenary groups. Myzentius has proven to be an excellent target for raids and warfare.
Haven: Hadrianus invaded Haven during the War of Kings and raided and captured many of their coastal holdings. The warriors of Hadrianus were satisfied by the resistance put up by King Vol and his supporters, and will approach any future dealings with Haven as equals in valor. However, the people of Hadrianus frown on the loud complaints offered by King Vol regarding the murder of his people.
The Queen’s Lands: The relationship between Hadrianus and The Queen’s Lands is complicated, but generally positive. The people of Hadrianus are proud to have one of their own sitting upon the High Throne of Terath, but many of the Clans are strongly opposed to any favoritism that High Queen Embla Vanir might show towards the Vanir Clan.
The Ethlin Isles: The Hadrians have recently established a number of small trading settlements on some of the tiny outer islands, and find it very interesting that certain communities in the elven lands have adopted variations of the Mystery Cults of Hadrianus. The Hadrians are impressed with the magic of the Asurkians, as many Hadrian Legends speak of powerful shamans and indomitable Spell Blades.
5 Things You Should Know About Hadrianus
1. The warm southern half of Hadrianus has a climate conducive to growing exotic spices, which have become a central part of the Hadrian culture. The Hadrians are proud of their seasonings and love spicy food. The primary domestic products of Hadrianus are Coal, Wool, Cheese, Fish, & Spices.
2. Hadrians are often thought of as bloodthirsty by other nations, although they do not see themselves this way. Hadrians value glory and feel that great glory is either in battle against an army, a monster, or one on one against a worthy foe. They believe that a fight without the threat of death is often not worth the effort, nor will they engage in battle specifically for political or monetary gain, although they would be unlikely to turn down such prizes after the fight is over.
3. Mystery cults are very popular with urban Hadrians, probably due to the cliquish nature of their society generally. The cults range in nature from social drinking clubs to reservoirs of esoteric knowledge, and each has complicated requirements for membership and offers rewards to their followers. It is not uncommon for a Hadrian to be involved with several cults if they live in a coastal town, while membership to one cult is more common for those living inland. Some well-known cults include the Shield Maidens, the Runeweavers, the Order of Midworld, and Evander’s Folly.
4. The rolling hills that make up the majority of Hadrianus’ inland are home to many herds of sheep and cattle, and also hold some of the most notable open-pit coal mines on the continent. It is also known that there is a healthy trade for the shining black Sea Coal that washes up along certain parts of the Hadrian Coast. Coal from Hadrianus is commonly used by alchemists, lime burners, brewers, and especially blacksmiths, proving useful in a wrought-iron forge because it does not produce ashes to fly about when blown by a bellows.
5. The Hadrians take great pride in their longships. Most Longships are built using lumber from the redwood groves in the northern mountains, and it is considered a great honor to be allowed to trek to the groves and cut the wood necessary for a new ship. Ships kept in good repair can last through generations and are often bestowed upon children after their military service is completed as a farewell gift from their parents. The Asketh Clan also brings in shipments of oak from the Kingdom of Chindius, which is heavily prized for the building of ships.
Town Crier Update: After The Draconic Domination of Terath!
February 210 PB
After King Falion declared war, Hadrianus invaded Haven. While they have been repelled from the inner areas of the country, the coastal regions are now solidly under Hadrian control. They have seized the ships of the old Southwatch navy, which had been in disuse since the creation of Haven, and the small town of Land’s Edge is burgeoning into what may become a sizable port city. The Hadrians have pulled their forces back into their new territory and appear to have no further interest in continuing a conflict with Haven’s King Vol.
Queen Embla and King Weyland along with much of the Vanir clan (including their son) were slain during the dragon attack on the capitol, Vanir. Vita, the largest port city in Hadrianus, was also laid waste with Synod member Ashar Hail, the Hail clan and his staff taking deaths when their fortress was melted with dragonfire. General knowledge holds that none of the royal family took their final death in the attack, but they have not returned to the capitol city. The most pervasive rumor circulating is that the Hadrians are completing construction on a mobile capitol ship for their leaders, far out to sea and away from the reach of the dragons.
The Hadrians were beaten in this draconic attack, but it has hardened their resolve to emerge victorious in their next confrontation. Rumors indicate that the members of the royal family may have remained at sea with the Hadrian fleet while making preparations for the confrontations ahead.