Dergomal is a modestly sized bastion to the far east of Makhavireth, set in the mountainous region of southern Rethil. It is home to the largest nation of Hobgoblins, with a large population of humans and elves. Dergomal was originally under the control of a human nation whose name has been stripped from the history books after it was conquered by the Hobgoblin tribes surrounding it. Its closest neighbor is Imeána, the elven bastion to the north, and it deals occasionally with the island bastion of Senix to its west.
Most of the Hobgoblins' civil power is centralized in Dergomal city proper, with spiritual and militaristic power resting in the fortress homes of the three tribes, on the borders of the largest mountain range surrounding the city. The government itself is merit based, with a focus on discipline, honor, and skill, in that order. The leader of Dergomal is the leader of the three tribes – A warlord named Kaldurimo, once head of the Black Scars tribe now head of Dergomal entire. She rules over the bastion, the three tribes, the city, and the outlying towns and villages, with keen eyes and an iron fist. Disciplined rule controls the city, and though many humans and elves are not naturally inclined to such restrictions, few can deny the wonders it has done in defending the bastion and their homes.
Beneath the warlord are her eight generals, who rule over the three individual tribes, the city's defense, the farmlands, and exterior defenses. These generals are advisors to the warlord, and see to the day-to-day affairs of the larger population centers and military matters.
The military of Dergomal is structured and organized to the most minute detail, from the warlord herself down to the lowest soldier and city guard, combining the military ranks and governance over the bastion proper. Due to the close proximity of an infernal capital, the bastion is a heavily militarized force, incorporating military structure with day-to-day civil organization.
The eight generals of Dergomal report directly to the warlord, and each have their own captains beneath them, who have further ranks beneath them. The general who rules over the city defenses is a close advisor and what outsiders would call a friend to the warlord, deeply trusted and considered for his discipline, honor, and skill. The generals who rule over the three fortresses are each the tribal rulers, leading over the defenses and day-to-day lives of the Black Scar, Rivershield, and Broadglen. The farmlands to the west of the city proper sit comfortably in the large river valley, ruled over by another general of considerable respect for protecting the other races, as well as keeping them in line. That leaves three generals on exterior duty, defending the bastion proper and overseeing military excursions outside the bastion's borders. Each exterior general leads their own legion, for the glory of the bastion.
Within each center of power for the bastion, be it the capital city or a small village, the soldiers work also as guards, defending their given station with their lives and enforcing the law. Most soldiers and guards are equipped with decent chainmail and their weapon of choice, as well as an insignia of their rank and the legion they are a part of. Specialized forces exist, but few are of such lowly rank as soldier, normally claiming the next two tiers or so and better equipment.
The capital city itself is a wonder to behold, with soaring spires and sprawling city blocks, with well paved streets and a fully functioning sewage system. The defenses in place for such a marvel are immense, with walls standing five stories tall sectioned off by seven to nine story towers, sporting beautifully designed gatehouses, siege equipment, and a soldier at every post. Regular patrols march through the streets and along the walls themselves, defending the city and enforcing the code of law. Little in the way of crime, espionage, or sabotage makes its way past the trained eyes of the hobgoblin army, and what few does must contend with the strict discipline kept by the citizens themselves. Secret police haunt the city streets, and few are the shadows that might hide an enemy of the bastion.
Black Scar Hold
Black Scar Hold has stood high upon the eastern tip of the mountain range housing the hobgoblin forces since the first goblinoids called the region home. Few know of the origins of the fortress, most assuming it was built by the original hobgoblins to call the place home. Whatever its origins, the hold is a strategically designed charnel house, built from the ground up to hamper an attacker in every possible way and slaughter whatever force might break through its nigh impregnable defenses. The Black Scar have long prided themselves on being the most disciplined and intelligent of the three tribes, and it shows in their home, if nothing else.
The Rivershield Fortress is more of a carved out mountain than anything else. A massive spire of rock and stone juts out from the southern end of the river valley to the west of the mountain range, at the base of the mountains themselves. Carved hollow over centuries, the fortress home of the Rivershield tribe was made to house a stubborn, dimwitted, and brutish tribe, and it shows. Little in the way of strategy presents itself in the chiseled halls or the massive wooden drawbridge at the main entrance, or the throne room of the tribe's Chieftan General. The fortress was designed with one thing in mind – Sheer, brute, force. The fortress could withstand the might of a dragon, so long as it wasn't any smaller than your average ogre and could fit through the windows.
The Broadglen tribe call the northern edge of the river valley home, settled in the ancient keep of a human noble family long dead. The keep is a strong stone structure, square in design, with a clear view of the surrounding valley and farmlands, sitting within earshot of Scholar's Highway. All of this is perfect for the Broadglen, of course, who deeply enjoy both reaping the bounties of the land and taking the bounties that others have reaped. Of the three tribes, Broadglen are perhaps the most at home in the river valley, enjoying the relative peace they now have with their neighbors and maintaining the very road they once raided. The tribe's keep is now in more pristine condition, after some much-needed repairs, than it had been since the fall of its human family.
The region that houses present day Dergomal was once home to a myriad of races, from elves to dwarves with a dense human population at its center. In its early history, these races rivaled each other in terms of power, and so lived peacefully with each other with little more than skirmishes in the way of military action. As time moved on and elves began to surpass the others in magic, dwarves surpassed the others in technology, and humans surpassed the others in military might, war began to break out with regularity. Peace was a thing of the distant past until the first empires began to form.
With the advent of the first empires, the region was brought into compliance and a form of peace. The elves, humans, and dwarves, mostly kept to themselves and behaved under the guidance of whatever force claimed them. Skirmishes and rivalries persisted, but outright war was rare. When the empires fell, the wars continued, until another empire rose to enforce its will once more.
This cycle of order and chaos continued until the Makhavirene Empire, carried on the wings of dragons. The human empire conquered the lands of the three continents and enslaved those who rejected its rule. For over seven hundred years, the empire enforced peace and law, keeping the warring nations under its thumb. Dergomal was a region known for powerful soldiers, deep technological knowledge, and a vast array of magical power, and was one of the cornerstones for the foundation of the empire.
During the rule of the empire, mages under the command of Emperor Verinas IV Teluna created uncounted races and creatures never seen before on Vennar, among them the hobgoblins themselves. The hobgoblins were created to lead their lesser cousins, the emperor intending to raise an army of monstrous humanoids that would obey their every command without question and assist him in his shadow war against the Pantheon. The emperor's ideal never came to pass, however, as he was assassinated at the age of 27 before his visions of conquest could be realized.
With Emperor Verinas IV assassinated, the fractured empire shattered almost completely. Internal territories revolted, and the power of his mages faltered. While not all at once, the monstrous creatures his mages had created began to break free, slaughtering their creators and escaping to the wilds. The hobgoblins were one of the last to revolt, being as inclined towards discipline and obedience as they were. Leading their goblinoid cousins into the various mountains of Makhavireth, the hobgoblins spread out across the three continents and lived their own lives to the ideals of discipline, honor, and skill.
With the empire fracturing, Dergomal was a powerhouse of imperial rule and ideology well into its final days. Humanity led the region for centuries, ever since the empire took control over the region and used it as a base of operations to assault Imeána, the elven capital to the north. It was this human rule that kept the intentions of the region aligned with the empire's, and ultimately the very force that signaled the final death of the empire. In IDa 735 Dergomal finally declared independence from the empire and the few remaining power structures in place crumbled to dust. Dergomal became an independent nation, with humans as its ruling class.
Humans ruled over Dergomal for more than three hundred years, signing an alliance with the dwarves of the region and enslaving many of the elves until the last few decades, when treaties were signed that released the elven race from their servitude. Efforts were made by the human kingdoms towards achieving what they had done in ages past, but little were the fruits of their labor. The elves resented them, the dwarves distrusted them, and without the aid of their fellow races the humans were fighting a losing battle against the whims of fate. This culminated in the closing chapter of human rule over the region, three centuries after the fall of the empire.
In IDa 1048 or 0BI as it would come to be transcribed, an all-out invasion of the region by the three tribes of hobgoblins took place. Descending from their mighty fortresses on all corners of the largest mountain range of the region, the goblinoid armies focused their attack on the capital city. Through heavy fighting, magical bombardment, diplomatic talks, and a siege lasting a mere three days, the goblinoid force took the city and deposed the government, their Warlord Kaldurimo taking the throne. Soon after, the lowlands of the western river valley surrendered to a single show of force, and the region known presently as Dergomal was under hobgoblin rule. With a quick consolidation of power and a structuring of the government, defense forces, and a standing army, Warlord Kaldurimo readied to strike out towards the surrounding provinces, but she never got the chance.
Only weeks later, on the 29th of Telunar IDa 1048, the Infernal Invasions began. Fiends poured forth from the infernal plane across Makhavireth and decimated the forces of every standing nation. The largest cities of the three continents crumbled, lying in cinder and ruin within days. The greatest fortresses were destroyed with even the foundation stones being torn from the ground and cast to the winds. Entire nations were wiped from the face of the world overnight, and acres upon acres of forests, plains, and wild lands were corrupted to the core. Dergomal was not spared from the invasion or the corruption of the infernal planes, but the recent change of power and restructuring of the governing bodies meant the infernals did not have anyone on the inside.
Dergomal as a hobgoblin nation withstood the infernal invasion through discipline and luck in equal measure. With the restructuring of the government on every single level, Warlord Kaldurimo side-stepped the exhaustively planned strategies of the infernal lords and undermined their efforts from the very beginning. Though the hobgoblins themselves declare Kaldurimo's intent was to undermine the infernal lords all along, most scholars believe she had planned her attack weeks before the invasion by mere coincidence. Unknowingly or not, Warlord Kaldurimo had undermined the efforts of the infernal plane itself, and saved both the goblinoids and all the other races now under her power in one fell swoop. From there, the goblinoid nation was on the defensive. With the natural defenses afforded to them from the surrounding mountain range on three sides, and the hobgoblin fortresses situated to bolster the three weakest points, the hobgoblins withstood the infernal forces arrayed against them and marched out to repel whatever forces remained behind.
Fifty years later, in present day, Warlord Kaldurimo remains the head of the three tribes and Dergomal itself. With her influence reaching only so far as the mountain range upon which her city sits, a few independent provinces have risen in the region, and an infernal city burns within the ruins of the once proud city of the dwarves to the east. The corruption of the forests grows day by day, with the elves of Alsharra in the forests to the south doing what they can to resist and offering protection by circumstance to what few villages of other races exist within their lands. Another town, named Waekefield, sits to the south west of Dergomal's mountain range, between the corrupted forests to its west and a smaller mountain range to its east, lying squat upon a river fork. None know how a simple town has evaded the grasp of the infernals or their corruption so far, but there it stands nonetheless.
Dergomal is a region known for its mountains and its fertile plains both. The central and eastern provinces sport several mountain ranges, with a few more located to the southwest along the coast, and the great mountain range of the central continent Makha extending just slightly into the northwestern corner of the region.
Between the central mountain ranges and the western coast lies a rich land of forest and grasslands, stretching for hundreds of miles from the elven forests of the far north to the coastal lands of the south. The northeast contains a fair amount of forests and short plains along the coast to the east.
The entire region is broken up into about five different uneven portions by massive rivers, stretching from the northern border of the region to the ocean in the far south and east.
The eponymous capital city lies within the largest mountain range of the region, led by the hobgoblins who have declared the region their own. The history of the capital is the history of Dergomal, and despite its history of human rule it is a diverse and colorful province, welcoming any who would declare peaceful business within. It is protected by the hobgoblin standing army, heavily patrolled with a code of law strictly enforced. Of any of the nine bastions, Dergomal is perhaps the freest of corruption and infernal influence due to the sheer level of discipline and loyalty enforced on the hobgoblins themselves.
Once the capital of elven power in the region, Alsharra was conquered by humans during the advent of the last empire. It was then the central hub of the slave market within the region and was for centuries until the treaties were signed that banned slavery within the human kingdom that followed. Since then, Alsharra has done what it could to bring back the old ways, but the bitterness of slavery remains fresh in the long-lived minds of the elves. In present day, the elves work within Alsharra to resist the corruption of their forests by the infernal forces just across the river to the east.
An infernal city sits within the caldera on the island southeast of Dergomal's mountain range. Massive, mountainous peaks rise from the waters below, pouring with molten rock and holding the last dilapidated ruins of an ancient dwarven civilization. Great infernal fortresses stand within hollowed out spires of rock, and in the center of the caldera's valley lies a massive, sprawling city once home to a society of technological savants unmatched in skill and knowledge. Today, the infernal legions call the city home and use both the technology of the dead and the dead themselves in their efforts to conquer and corrupt the lands around them. Not a shred of purity remains within the borders of the infernal city's influence, and its corrupting touch stretches out across the region for untold miles.
A quiet market town sits upon a river fork that is fed from the mountains to its east and feeds through corrupted forests before reaching the oceans to the west. The town of Wakefield is a marvel in the current day, safe as it is from the infernal powers and corruption otherwise prevalent in the land. Farm land stretches out in all directions from the central town, following the rivers and manmade lines of irrigation. The town itself has little in the way of fortifications, and is protected by only a token force of citizen guards, with a council of five at its head. No one outside of the town is quite sure how the town has gone unmolested in its 32 years, but the people that call it home are thankful to the council that ensures the protection remains, whatever it is.
A dwarven stronghold to the far west of the region, Xin Quizon is all that remains of the dwarven nation that once called the caldera of present day Diyu home. With a population consisting entirely of refugees and exterior military forces, Xin Quizon is barely holding on. Escaping from a city so utterly decimated by infernal forces, the refugees of old Quizon are tired, sick, and weak, with little in the way of defenses and even less in terms of resources. The strong spirit of the dwarven people and the remarkable ingenuity of their leaders are all that keep the people going, and even that can only go so far.
The region of Dergomal entire is connected to the rest of the landmass by the Scholar's Highway, which forks off from Sanctuary Trail in the north near Imeána and runs through the mountain range around Dergomal City, and forking through the southern pass towards Diyu and the peninsula to the southwest.
As the only force of civilization and safety in the region, Dergomal city proper stands as a modest economic power in comparison to the rest of the nine bastions. Though by no means a mercantile powerhouse, Dergomal has a strong influence on trade through its considerable stock in exports of metal, stone, and mercenary forces, as well as its consistent need for skilled labor in the reconstruction of the city, work in the mines, and imported fineries for the few members of the upper class.
Waekefield sits comfortably in terms of its economy, with rich stockpiles of foodstuffs, clean water, and both corrupted and uncorrupted timber. Waekefield rarely trades, however, and prefers to remain largely isolated, only sending out the occasional caravan to Alsharra or Dergomal, and accepting only one or two incoming caravans a year.
Alsharra is a very isolated and independent state, refusing to accept anyone not already trusted by its anonymous rulers. Waekefield will occasionally send caravans of food, and receive one rare caravan a year of alchemical components and elven steel. Dergomal is almost entirely shut off from the elven state, with only diplomatic envoys accepted within the forests, let alone the town proper. Alsharra is thus rather weak economically, relying on its own lush forests and the sparse diets of its elven citizens to continue in isolation.
Xin Quizon is almost entirely without economic strength in the grand scheme of things. A few traders come through the stronghold on rare occasions to ply their trade, but it is normally an act of desperation as the refugees within are wretchedly poor. Most of what the people within Xin Quizon have to trade consists of what they carried with them when they fled their homes, or what few technological interests they've managed to scrounge up.
The Hobgoblins of Dergomal are a disciplined and honorable force under the command of Warlord Kaldurimo, a great warrior in her own right who led the invasion that seized the capital city and has led the three tribes ever since. Created in the arcane laboratories of Verinas IV Teluna unknown centuries ago, the hobgoblin race was one of the last escape the power of the dead emperor's mages, but one of the few to go on and create a name for itself, dragging their goblinoid cousins behind them. As a race, the hobgoblins have a great appreciation for martial traditions, reflected in the militaristic style of nearly everything they do, from governance to the individual family units. Over the last five decades that the hobgoblins have ruled Dergomal, they have gained an appreciation for more traditional arts and styles, becoming more familiar with the other races under their rule in ways that were once thought impossible. This has led to somewhat of an awakening in the goblinoid psyche, with artists, writers, and singers appearing through-out goblinoid society producing works completely lacking in anything to do with martial traditions.
The humans of Dergomal have lived in the region since long before recorded history, calling nearly every acre of the varied landscape home at one point or another. Centrally located in the city province and the farmlands of the river valley to its west, the humans within the bastion have done their best in adapting to the new government under the goblinoid races, and have traded many different cultural traits in equal measure with the vastly different race. Considering that the humans of the region were largely known for their military might, it is easy to see why the two races get along so well in present day, finding plenty of common ground.
The dwarves of Dergomal are a dying breed. Once calling the area of present day Diyu home, they have since been turned refugee, fleeing for their lives and forced to settle in a far flung stronghold to the west. Little of the dwarven culture remains, their home blasted to oblivion and corrupted to their deepest halls. While the dwarves are believed to have been created with the express purpose of fighting the infernal legions, to have lost so handily to their might is a stain on their pride that may never be wiped clean.
The elves of Dergomal mostly call the town of Alsharra to the south home. Located within a half-corrupted forest, the elves prefer to remain isolated from the powers that be, and work their druidic magics to fight back against the corruption plaguing their lands. Once enslaved to the human Makhavirene Empire, and the independent nation that followed,the long-lived elves very keenly remember the horrors of the time, their bondage being as recent to them as the infernal invasion a mere fifty years past is recent to the humans. Thus, the elves, with all their magical prowess and the wisdom of their long lives, have kept isolated and alone, shutting off any who would disturb them save those few individuals they might still call friend.
The religion of the peoples of the bastion of Dergomal varies from the gods of the Hobgoblins, to the gods of the Elves, to the Makhavirene pantheon itself. While a few of these groups may share members, the traditions, beliefs, and structure of each are as different as the worshippers themselves.
The Hobgoblins of Dergomal worship a pantheon of ancestor spirits, stemming from the origins of their race. The first clan leaders, shamans, and the most powerful or famous of their race hold a place within the pantheon, with the strongest of the ancestors considered the head. The pantheon changes depending on the clan. The oldest and most powerful have names stretching hundreds of syllables long, denoting rank and deeds beyond anything capable of a mortal. In the fifty three years since the capture of the city, many of the non-goblinoid races of Dergomal have taken to worshipping these ancestor gods as well, only increasing their power.
Pantheon of the Makhavirene Empire
The pantheon of the last empire still holds strong as a system of belief for the average person in Makhavireth, and Dergomal is no exception. The gods are ever-present within the lives of the people, with the greatest deities holding such influence as to hold entire knightly orders under their vassalage. Waekefield and Alsharra largely hold to the pantheon of gods, and most of the non-goblinoids of Dergomal city keep to their old worship.
Many lesser cults to minor deities, demigods, half-celestials, and even the infernal legions themselves hold sway within Dergomal. Those cults to the infernal legions are most prevalent in the scavengers and the lost that wander the corrupted lands and forests, seeking any sustenance they can find even from the hands of those that had doomed them. Cults to minor deities dot the land as well, with small enclaves existing as minor safehouses for travelers in an attempt to persuade others to join their cause. Some of these safehouses, however, are best not to be trusted, for within them may be found only death in sacrifice, or enslavement at the hands of those barely fit to be called human.
The culture of Dergomal is one of diversity, and one of strict discipline and martial honor. Though the hobgoblins rule now, Dergomal has a very ancient history and that shines through in the wonders of the city and the lands around it. Humans, elves, and dwarves have intermingled for thousands of years in the region of Dergomal and that intermingling has brought such a vibrancy to the local culture as to rival the imperial culture of old. It is only recently that hobgoblins have begun to join in with their own works of art, in all forms. Great battle songs of glory, frescoes of old battles, and banners of great beauty are worked into the daily lives of the people, goblinoid and not.