|Racial Composition|| Dwarven(53.62 %)
Gnome(15.83 %) Duergar(11.35 %) Elven (6.94 %) Other (12.26)
Bizenmar was formed by a series of unlikely events that to this day are surrounded by conspiracy theories. It began with the war between former allies Gromdal and Drakkundund in 464 C.T., sparked by a dispute over a newly discovered mithral mine in the caverns connecting the two minor nations. Until that time, the many Dwarven kingdoms of the Bizen Mountain Range had avoided war through the centuries out of fear of what they could all do to each other. The webbing of caverns beneath their feet would make all of them highly vulnerable to undermining, which would be disastrous to all their . Most of the Kings had decided to form their own series of alliances to protect them from the possibility of war. Gromdal and Drakkundund, as two of the largest nations, seemed natural allies, and for centuries the fear of retribution held everyone in check. But by the mid 400's, the King of Gromdal felt that his nation deserved better.
Gromdal struck first. It was the spark of a much larger conflict that involved nearly every territory that would become Bizenmar, save the coastal regions. As the war dragged on Gromdal's allies began to resent being pulled into the bloodbath and, one by one, started to turn on it. By the end of the war, the Alliance of the Bizen Range's armies marched simultaneously on the eponymous capital of Gromdal, leaving the king no choice but to surrender. He was brought to the court of Drakkundund, where all the allied Kings gathered to put him and his nation on trial.
Most favored the idea of forcing the migration of his smiths so that he could no longer arm soldiers, but in a bold move King Thargus walked up to the defendant king with his vorpal blade, Kaaoskkotka (or Chaosbreaker) and beheaded him with a single quick stroke. The doors to the court halls were shut for three days, and when they finally opened the allied kings left (as a group five smaller than before) as vassals to Thargus, who now wore the crown of Gromdal and Drakkundund forged into a single headpiece. He then had his new vassals return home to spread news of the formation of the Kingdom of Bizenmar, and that no dwarf need ever fear their home crumbling beneath their feet again.
Some believe that Thargas intentionally baited his former ally into starting a war with the very purpose of roping creating the situation that allowed him to browbeat his allies into swearing loyalty to him.
Most of Bizenmar's territory is covered in wide mountain ranges or high-altitude fields of rolling hills. Its area covers the bulk of Nargundush, easily comprising at least one-half of the landmass.
Trees are relatively sparse, as much of the country's environment is hot and arid. This is particularly apparent in the northeastern plains, where the sparsely covered fields often give way to vast deserts.
The mountains themselves are home to deep, twisting caverns - some cut out over centuries of Dwarven labor, others carved out millenia ago by subterranean rivers. The largest of these latter caves have been discovered to have their own ecosystems full of life not found on the surface (some of them dangerous). They are a wild and untamed frontier that few dare to pioneer. The most dangerous of these caverns are known as the Deeps, where outcasts are sent to die.
Though King Murak Thargus built a prosperous kingdom, he made quite a few enemies for his descendents in the process of stitching Bizenmar together. Though official records count the Duergar as citizens, they are technically outcasts living in the Deeps. There's even an active bounty for captured Duergar, as their communities in the deeps often threaten the stability of the kingdom through raids.
In addition, there are many noble houses resentful of how House Thargus gained power. The most outspoken opponents, the Survivors of Gromdal, accuse House Thargus of betraying blood oaths to old brothers - though they were quickly outcast to the same regions of the Deeps as the Duergar, and are seldom heard from.
Some question the wisdom of exiling the Duergar and the Survivors to the Deeps, worrying that they might build up a functioning society capable of quite literally undermining the successes of Bizenmar.
In terms of pure military might, Bizenmar is actually fairly weak. A very small portion of the populace serves as soldiers, relative to other nations. The main reason they are capable of holding so much land has more to do with tactical genius than brute force; fortresses are positioned at key chokeholds throughout the kingdom; mountain passes, along cliffside passes, etc. The desert wastes to the northeast also help significantly in preventing invasion, proving far too inhospitable for a large armed force to march through.
Bizenmar is one of the wealthiest nations in all of Ardoth, boasting a robust economy comprised of highly active trade routes and a highly productie workforce.
Though the arid climate doesn't lend itself very well to agriculture, the layering of multiple subterranean environments capable of producing their own flora and fauna allows a very large agricultural industry. It's not the most stable part of the economy, however, due to the dangers of this frontier. Exacerbating the problem is the potential for Duergar raids from the deeper caverns. Nevertheless, even on a bad season the farms manage to be very productive and allow the country to sustain its vast population.
Mining & SmithingEdit
From coastlines to mountain tops, Bizenmar contains within it a diverse geology. All manner of mineral deposits can be found throughout the Kingdom, effectively making it the metalworking capital of the world.
In addition to its vast mineral wealth, Bizenmar also holds a fair amount of coastal territory. This allows it to trade directly with any part of the world their ships are capable of reaching
While the bulk of the population is Dwarven, a wide variety of other races call it home as well. Gnomish villages tend to be found within the sparse forested regions along the mountains, and there's even a moderately successful nomadic community of elves living in the northeastern wastes.
The metal sculptors of Gromdal are some of the best known in all of Ardoth; it's one of few places with a sufficient metalworking industry to support it, though "sufficient" would be a vast understatement in this case. The sheer amount of competition motivates those most passionate artists to fully focus on their work, with the best dedicating very little time to anything besides working, eating and sleeping.
Dwarven and Gnomish are the most commonly spoken languages in Bizenmar, though many of its people know common as well in order to interact more easily with foreign traders.
The religions of Bizenmar are said to be as numerous as its peoples. But common throughout all the Dwarven populace are tales of Idarach, the mad and vengeful, said to have burned the wastes to the state they are now found in himself rather than see the Dwarves defile his forests. Those that live near the wastes tend to be superstitious of using charcoal fuel over coal - they fear that if they too greatly disturb what remains of his forests, Idarach will return to burn them to ashes and spread them over the soil of new saplings.
The elven nomads are also known to worship a spirit associated with the wastes - Zazai the Buzzard. They look to Zazai for guidance on how to survive the brutal climates of the wastes, and on how they might one day restore the wastes to their former glory. Zazai is also honored as a guardian against Idarach - legends tell that his feathers were blackened when he himself was burned trying to calm Idarach's rage.