|Map of M'Chek|
|M'Chekian Humans 70%, Romini Humans 10%, Other 20%|
|Languages:||Imperial Common, Romini|
|Deities Worshipped:||Mikon (primary), Dagath, Valok, Toran|
|Head of State:||Unknown (Formerly Chancellor Marcus Deth)|
|Military:||M'Chekian National Army|
|Imports:||Grain, livestock, lumber, manufactured goods|
|Trading Partners/Alliances:||The Seven Cities (major trading partner), T'Nanshi (recipient of food shipments as per Treaty of Blandenberg), The Kurathene Empire (major trading partner)|
M'Chek is a large, arid nation. Even today with the population stabilized, it is still heavily inhabited, with few unsettled areas. Farming is the primary use of land on M'Chek's plains, though there is also some herding of livestock. A few scattered forests remain, but little compared to what existed several centuries ago. There are several ranges of rolling hills (including Mikona's infamous Hills of Tumult), but nothing large enough to be called mountains.
Despite the arid climate and use of water for agriculture, there are several significant rivers in M'Chek, including the Lost River.
The majority of M'Chek's inhabitants are human. These are mostly the civilized humans of the cities, and the wandering tribal Romini. The rural lands also house small tribes of brownies, bugbears, fire giants, frost giants, goblins, mountain giants and ogres. In the cities, an even more diverse collection of races can be found. Mikona is also home to a sizeable dwarf population.
The mainland area of M'Chek is dotted with hundreds of farming villages. What follows is a list of the major settlements.
- Derrington Keep
- Drakehall Keep
- Equaloria Keep and Dunster Commons
- Finmaegen Keep
- The Hills of Tumult (shown on map here, but located on Mikona Server)
- The Lost River Caverns
- Chasworth Keep/ formally known as Nelthrope Keep
- The Order of the Way
- The Warrens
Aside from Mikon's widespread worship, Dagath, Kelvos, Ingoren, Maleki, Pelar, Ptah, Wilsash and Xenon each have significant bodies of followers in rural M'Chek. The city of Mikona proper likely contains worshippers of every deity known to Avlis.
- Government: Noble Democracy.
There are two Houses of Government in M'Chek: The Noble House and the Common House. The Common House picks its representatives from among the commoners of the nation, although rarely do any of these commoners come from outside the city. Thus most of the concerns of the Common House deal with city matters. Rarely do they interfere in matters of national action or policy, although they do have the power to do so.
The Noble House is made up of representatives from two places: the Noble families of M'Chek, and the various large Temples represented in Mikona, namely the temples of Mikon, Dagath, Ptah, and Valok.
This house deals mainly with foreign policy issues and affairs. Although each individual Noble family has total control over their own estate, they are expected to represent a portion of their nation's interest. For instance, all of the major Noble families have personal armies and troops, but there is also a standing national army of M'Chek to which each noble is expected to contribute a certain percentage of its force.
The two houses of government were presided over by a Minister who executed decisions and carried out the task of administration, although limited in their actions by the legislators. After the M'Chek-Brekon War the position of Minister was replaced by Chancellor which has increased executive powers. In addition to the Chancellor there is a War Commissioner who is the commander and chief of the standing army. This is a hotly contested position that has been filled by either Nobles or reputable warrior generals.
You can see a larger map here.
The Lords of M'Chek
M'Chek has many noble houses, some with lineages dating back centuries. Those lords resident in the countryside often possess large estates and have military responsibilities, while the lords resident in Mikona are often traders and business magnates. The most notable noble houses are listed here.
- House Korington: Lord Korington maintains an estate in Mikona. It is rumoured that the House has dealings with a community of Rakshasa.
- House Grumbald: The illustrious House Grumbald are one of the most powerful Goretharite families in M'Chek. They have estates in Mikona. Lord Donald "Donnie" Grumbald serves as the head of the M'Chekian Navy - the First Lord of the Admiralty. Lord Grumbald has several children, named for heroes of M'Chek's past - Thror, the twins Aradan and Aramil, and his youngest daughter, Kaelyn. Aramil Grumbald was killed during the Battle of Eastshore, at the beginning of the Shaahesk invasion of M'Chek.
- House Walsington: The Walsingtons are one of Mikona's oldest and most prestigious names. Kendrick Jay Walsington served as the Minister of the Joint Houses - M'Chek's political leader - until his assassination in the Drotid War. The head of the house is currently Lady Jonnika Walsington.
- House Fenmare: The Fenmare Cartel is one of the most successful trading enterprises in M'Chek. The lords Fenmare and their relatives have often been a major presence in the politics of the city and of the nation. House Fenmare is known to have strong ties to the Church of Valok.
- House Wenton: Lord Frantiandy Wenton is a diplomat, currently serving as M'Chek's foreign secretary.
- House Finmaegen: House Finmaegen has a proud martial history. Until her recent death, Lady Emilia Finmaegen was Commandant General of the Guard - M'Chek's head of internal security. Lady Finmaegen was married to Lord Jared Evershield, a prominent Valokian. Lady Finmaegen's grandson, Orien, is heir to the house. As Orien is currently a child, the House is headed by a Steward, Victor Finmaegen, a cousin of Emilia's.
- House Dunster: Lord Dunster is M'Chek's foremost Equalizer - no small thing in the nation devoted to Mikon. His keep and lands, the Dunster Commons of Equaloria, are a famous bastion of Mikon's faithful.
- House Chasworth: Although his estate has recently moved following the Private War with Lord Nelthrope, Lord Tobias Chasworth remains a steady martial presence as M'Chek's War Commissioner. House Chasworth possesses large estates, a strong keep, and a major iron mine. Lord Beign of Drakehall is a bannerman of House Chasworth. Lord Chasworth's nephew and niece, Edgar and Audra Harwood, are his heirs.
- House Bostwick: Lord Joseph Bostwick is an aging presence in M'Chekian politics. He served as Minister of the Joint Houses after Kendrick Walsington's assassination. He was challenged and replaced by Lord Deth. It is believed that Joseph Bostwick wishes to return to active political life, despite his years.
- House Derrington: Lord Andrew Derrington is the current incumbent of the Derrington estates. Following an incident in the Drotid War, Lord Derrington lost some prestige with his fellow Lords, but he remains a well known and capable presence in the lands.
- House Harvingdale: The lord of M'Chek's north-eastern coast, Alfred Harvingdale is a trader and politician, believed to have been a key ally of Lord Deth. His daughters, Allison and Julia Harvingdale, were accomplished mages, serving the Ebony and Ashen orders before the Trust's dissolution.
- House Dald: The famous Dald lineage are lords of Eastshore and the Southeast Coast. After the passing of Fenton Dald, Rebecca Dald inherited her father's titles. She is a popular and energetic presence in the nation, known to be active in anti-slavery campaigns.
- House Nelthrope: The illustrious Nelthropes were one of the most powerful families of M'Chek's north. Lord Cornelius Nelthrope was a nationalist, a strong supporter of the M'Chek-T'Nanshi war, and a noted hater of elves. When Drotid invaded M'Chek, Lord Nelthrope refused to commit troops to the fight, and led a coalition of nobles opposed to the war. Lord Nelthrope lived for over five hundred years as a result of secret experiments to gain immortality. At length, he proclaimed himself a god, Thrope. He was eventually defeated, and his lands transferred to Lord Chasworth. Lord Nelthrope had no heirs.
- House Drake: Constantine Drake was a wealthy and well-connected lord who ruled over the region of Westshore. Initially a supporter of Lord Nelthrope's policy of inaction, Lord Drake was convinced to send the Westshore Brigades to war against the Drotid invasion. After the war, Lord Drake was implicated in a conspiracy involving attacks on M'Chek's nobles, including the abduction of Lord Chasworth's heirs, the Harwood children. Lord Drake was found guilty of these crimes and executed. The family's ranks and titles were stripped, and their ancestral lands, including Drakehall Keep, were transferred to Sir Thaylis Beign.
- Chasworth Keep
- Derrington Keep
- Drakehall Keep
- Equaloria Keep
- Finmaegen Keep
- Port Rasmus
- Shadow Keep, formerly known as Chasworth Keep
Alliances and Enemies
In the decades since their war relations between T'Nanshi and M'Chek have thawed and the two nations now consider themselves allies. M'Chek is also allied with Brekon through the influence of the Church of Valok in Mikona.
Commerce and Relations
M'Chek has trade relations with nearly every other nation of Negaria, in particular the Kurathene Empire, the Seven Cities and the triton nation of Jerid Lacuna. Overland trade comes through the Blandenberg Protectorate, and follows the Mikona-Blandenberg Highway south to the capitol. But most commerce is conducted by sea, using one of M'Chek's three ports.
Legends claim that M'Chek is the site where Mikon was imprisoned during the Age of the Gods. Following the gods' defeat of the Negerai, Mikon is said to have created the human race here during the Time of the Dawning. At some point in antiquity, the local tribes coalesced into the nation of M'Chek.
Early Period - 500 to 100 P.O.D.
The creation of the human race by Mikon supposedly happened soon after 500 P.O.D. somewhere within the borders of what would become M'Chek. Like the case with other races, creation of the humans was a massive event where the first bodies rose up out of the dust and formed themselves like clay guided by the hand of Mikon. There were perhaps thousands of them made in the originating event, consisting of all colors, shapes, and sizes that humans of Negaria are known to possess. In the holy writings of Mikon's priests, it is theorized that this was a conscious decision on the Creator's part, to stress his ideals for diversity and choice. Moreover, the next thing Mikon did for his race soon after creating it was to solidify his great regard for choice and freedom by leaving them to their own devices and retreating to his hidden abode.
Alone and newly born as full adults, the first humans had hard lives in their first attempts to hunt the land for food and gather resources. There were numerous obstacles to overcome, such as the stray demons left over from the war between the Negerai and the gods that ended not long beforehand. The need for strength in numbers against the Demons caused the humans to band together locally and ultimately formed them into tribes with the original purpose of fighting these demons, in addition to pooling resources for hunting and gathering. For the first 200 years of this period, the lands of M'Chek teamed with roving nomadic tribes who would war with one another when they were not repelling demon attacks, and soon, as the demons became much less numerous around 350 P.O.D., a group of tribes decided to leave the area and venture north. These humans were the ancestors of the Romini and the Adomkuro.
The stirrings of M'Chek as a nation did not begin until about 300 P.O.D. when the remaining human tribes of the south were suddenly overrun by a large number of demons coming up from below. This was the Demonspawn War, when the Demon Lords of the Underdark attempted to take over the surface world. Many died during this period, and many of the original tribes were wiped out in their attempts to drive the demons back underground. It was a human by the name of Nelan Nal-thropa who earned his reputation in battles against the demons that made the first attempt to unite the tribes for survival. In a historic gathering in 291 P.O.D., Nelan Nal-thropa assembled the leaders of the remaining tribes in his tent made from the hide of the now-extinct Mantu-chek beast. At that assembly, the tribal leaders agreed to cease all hostilities between human and all other surface races for the purpose of repelling the demons. They agreed that all who came from the surrounding lands, and all other lands, to fight the demons would be welcomed and given food and shelter during their stay.
The Kuranas and Cralluth tribes were given a special mission as part of this plan. They were charged to go north and contact the other races to tell them they must come south at once to help fight the demons, and that any who came would receive weapons, food, shelter, and safety of passage for as long as they stayed. The plan worked. Soon the dwarves of Galdos, the elves of T'Nanshi and the orcs of Dobrekan answered the call, and together the four races managed to repel the demons back below ground once and for all.
The Great War - 100. P.O.D. to The Year of Orcish Destruction (Y.O.D.)
While the First Fairy War raged elsewhere, the humans busied themselves with fighting the demons back underground, and soon after they succeeded, Great War began as all the races north of their newly forming nation attacked the orcs and drove them out of Dobrekan. Though by this period, tribal unity was in rapid decline throughout the newly named land called "M'Chek" which was a bastardized word for the tent where it was born centuries before, the humans felt somewhat sympathetic for the orcs. Tribal memories were long, and they all recounted the times when the orcs came down from Dobrekan to help the humans repel the demons from their land. The northernmost human tribes especially did not want to see their friends go extinct, but nor did they wish to enter the war against the elves and other races whom they also felt thankful towards. So, in the fashion of their god, Mikon, Nemer Till, a member of the northern tribe of Wel'sangt'ingon invoked the charter of Nelan Nal-thropa to call the tribes together once more to figure out a way to help their friends without arousing anger.
The tribes decided that they would begin a series of clandestine rescue missions, slipping into fleeing orc refugee camps and offering solace to several families at a time to come and settle in M'Chek. They tried to keep the matter quiet and discreet, which did not make it too effective. The number of orcs in M'Chek did not rise above several thousand in that period. However, their own god soon intervened in the process when he stopped Great War personally by spawning the evil dragons from the stones. Because of the actions of the humans of M'Chek and the god Mikon which saved the orcs in their most dire moment, it is whispered among the priests and the philosophers of M'Chek that the god Valok who created the orcs secretly feels a debt of gratitude toward the human nation and generally refrains from hostilities toward it.
The Archaic Period - 200 - 500 A.O.D.
The Archaic Period is considered the first universally accepted ‘historical’ period of M’Chekian history, as the towns and settlements established toward the tail end of the Pre-Archaic period achieved a level of stability and wealth that let them focus on pursuits beyond simple survival. Many of the territorial capitals and hubs were first established in this era, and the trade networks that tie together the modern M’Chekian Union were first established during the Archaic Period.
A surge in the population of the most advanced tribal regions allow them to claim large tracts of land while bringing smaller tribes under their banner. While the epics of the Demonspawn Era had existed in some form prior to the Archaic Period, it was during this time that they were written down and established standard forms. Nelan nal-Thropa of Cry of the Mantu-Chek became a model for many of the major tribal leaders bringing smaller tribes under their rule – and the territories began forming a shared identity as descendants of the tribes from Cry of the Mantu-Chek. Efforts to integrate other races settled in the various territories appeared in the form of parallel epics – each using a style similar to Cry of the Mantu-Chek, but featuring Heroes of leading tribes from T’Nanshi, Galdos, and Dobrekan to answer Nelan nal-Thropa’s call to arms.
Despite the increasing centralization in power by the larger ruling families, the fact that the mythical Mantu-chek covenant formed the basis of these arrangements meant that the leaders of small tribes maintained a number of privileges. A surviving agreement between the Dynastic House of Derrentrun and the vassal houses of Gerrenstyrd and Kensney dating from 473 OD is typical of the noble covenants of the time. In exchange for Gerrenstyrd and Kensney paying half of their tax revenues to Derrentrun, they were guaranteed protection, a share of trade tariffs and retained the right to raise and maintain private armies.
While social stratification first began in this period, the distinction was primarily between the leaders of individual tribes or settlements and the rest of society. Not all of these positions were hereditary, and it wasn’t unusual for most farming villages or merchant communities to have some form of local council system that chose the leader. The end of the Archaic Period is marked by the consolidation of the remaining tribes under the later Dynastic Houses.
First Dynastic Period/The Quintarchy (6th – 8th century) The First Dynastic Period marks the rise of the first Dynastic Houses in M’Chek and their first efforts to consolidate beyond the tribal structures that marked the Archaic Period. In this period M’Chek was divided into five competing kingdoms led by the House of Walsen, House of Derrentrun, House of Chasney, House of Thropeson, and the House of Graileff.
The House of Walsen claimed descent from the Wallen the Oakfist, one of Nelan nal-Thropa’s rival tribal chiefs who later became his greatest ally. During this period they controlled South-Eastern M’Chek, roughly spanning the area west of the Hills of Tumult to the Bay of Equalor. They began their ascent under the reign of Lord Vinlaegh of Walsen, who after uniting the tribes around the Bay of Equalor under the First Walsen Covenant in 507 OD. A gradual campaign of conquest and forced-assimilation took place around the coastal regions until they encountered the marauding tribes of the Eastern Hills.
A two-decade conflict ensued, where the Eastern Hill tribes led by a succession of war leaders such as Lleoric the Lightfoot, Gravenbald the Crass, and the ogre chieftain Baghann the Short forced Vinlaegh to move his capital from Gratesmarn on the coast (slightly east of modern Mikona) to Estenbury (a few miles from modern Eastshore). It was only circa 530 OD that Vinlaegh subdued the last of the hill tribes, ending the Times of Tumult.
Vinlaegh then struck out west in search of additional territory, but died on campaign in trying to cross Lenham Ford, drowning when he fell from his horse. His son, Ceorwald continued the campaign, taking control of the existing tribes near the Lenham River. With the string of conquests and the changes in structure since the First Walsen Covenant, Ceorwald assembled the various tribal chieftains under his rule, declaring himself the High Lord of Walsen in the Second Walsen Covenant of 542 OD.
The High Lords of Walsen controlled their territory by dividing the traditional tribes under a new set of heriditary nobles – each assigned a manorial estate by the High Lords themselves. Each holding, however, was separate from the title of lord – a Walsen noble could be reassigned to a different estate by the whim of the High Lord, and the covenant only guaranteed their right to an estate, not to specific estates. This meant that the High Lords were careful to reassign nobles who appeared to be gathering too much power in an estate, using the prospect of gaining or losing prized estates as incentive to remain loyal.
In contrast, the House of Derrentrun rose to the status of Dynastic House almost by accident. With control of the northern mining assets near the Ruston River, Derrentrun had access to plentiful iron ore. Their position near the northern end of the M’Chekian territories also meant they could attract artisans from T’Nanshi and Galdos to serve in their smithies. As a consequence, their armies were consistently the best equipped in their region, constantly in demand either to mediate disputes or even to outright protect smaller settlements as the raids from the Chassteren Islands intensified.
By the turn of the 6th century OD, Derrentrun had placed most of the tribes within fifty miles of their capital settlement of Derrentrun (modern Derrington Keep) under their control. Noting the consolidation of territories to their south and west, and to place all of the tribes under their banner one equal footing, Lord Searlic convened a council of elders in 538 OD. The resultant agreement, known as the Mead Hall Charter, made Searlic the Prince of Derrentrun, and sub-divided the realm into roughly equal-sized territories ruled by a system of nobles and their vassal knights. The nobles and knights would be responsible for raising and maintaining military units in their territories, while the funding for such endeavors and their equipment would be provided by the Principality who obtained the monopoly on all external trade.
Searlic and his successors were primarily focused on maintaining the primacy of the Derrentrun armies, maintaining an extensive network of trading contacts to obtain the latest in military technology. As each of the noble and knight estates controlled local military recruiting, there was a proliferation of technologies and tactics among all of the lower houses. The advantage of Derrentrun’s princes was limited primarily to their wealth. Efforts were made over this time period to centralize more military control, but the best they managed was forcing each territory to send a portion of their armies to be trained in the Principality’s capital of Derrentrun.
The House of Chasney hailed from the Island of Chassteren – an island off what was then the southern edge of T’Nanshi. They obtained much of their wealth during the Great War period by serving as a hub for mercenary and trade routes supplying forces and supplies to the Great Alliance expedition into Dobrekan. Known as the Lords of the Isles, they gradually expanded their power to all of the islands east of Cape Tumult – and during this time period, controlled the southern end of the Sahuagin Archipelago.
Chassteren itself and the various colonies along the coast took extensive damage from tsunamis resulting from the Orcish Destruction. It took the ruling family the better part of two centuries to finish rebuilding their ruined shipping fleet, but the reduction in coastal trade meant that it no longer was the wealth stream that it had once been. With the need to support their own colonies scattered around the various isles, the Chieftains of Chassteren took to raiding along the M’Chekian coast to supply their own people.
When Ashwolf the Admirable became chieftain in the 4th century OD, the salt damage from the tsunamis still lingered in most of the arable land of the Chassteren territory, made worse by the intensive overfarming done to try to prevent famine. Ashwolf decided that the only way for his people to survive would be to move his people to the mainland. Gathering all of his people onto their great fleet, they abandoned Chassteren and their numerous colonies, landing on the north-eastern coast of M’Chek.
Over the next three centuries, Ashwolf and his descendents began carving out territory for the Chasterren people. They clashed repeatedly with the House of Derrentrun, and protection from Chasterren raiders was one of the greatest motivations for the expansion of the Principality of Derrentrun.
Efforts to displace the Chasterren, now known as the Chasney (“Chas Island” people) continued well into the 6th century OD, but the victory of Harrald of Chasney in 514 OD over the combined armies of the remaining non-Derrentrun tribes of the east, made the prospect of removing their foothold in the territory unfeasible. Taking the title of King of the Isles, Harrald became the first king of Chasney, ruling over a territory that bordered the Principality of Derrentrun to its north, and the Hills of Tumult to its south. While they maintained cordial relations with Derrentrun, many of the Chasney lords supplemented their incomes by leading raiding cruises on ships into territorial waters ruled by the Walsen League.
The Kingdom of Chasney was primarily ruled by those descended from the Chassteren settlers, however, the majority of its population were the original inhabitants of those territories. Over several generations, the Chasney assimilated into their local communities and mixed families became the norm outside of the royal family. Their language, however, an older off-shoot of Proto-Flare remained a distinguishing feature of their nobility. While most common families refused to give up the Ancient M’Chekian Flare spoken at the time, Chassteren became the language of commerce and governance.
Ruling the central parts of M’Chek were the House of Thropesen, a noble family claiming descent from Nelan nal-Thropa himself. Based out of Nelanston, a town formed out of the central keep constructed dating back to the Demonspawn War, the House of Thropesen controlled much of the M’Chekian heartland by virtue of having the largest extended tribe and being relatively isolated from the effects of the Orcish Destruction. The growing importance of bloodline in establishing power in M’Chek meant that the House of Thropesen began to assert greater and greater authority among the tribes of this period, pressuring the tribes around them based on questionable oaths of allegiance supposedly sworn to Nelan.
The rise of the charismatic Gothric the Bold to the leadership of the House of Thropesen in 553 OD marked a significant growth in the House’s claims. Gothric declared himself King of the M’Chekians, declaring that the unity brought by a son of Nelan to be the only way to prevent further incursions from outsider tribes. The claim was met with widespread derision by the Dynastic Houses and the remaining minor houses scattered around M’Chek, the Chasney even sending the herald sent with the message, sans a body, back to Gothric’s court.
Gothric responded by declaring the defiance a grave defiance of the Mantu-chek covenant, mustering the largest army seen in the region in centuries. He began with a swift conquest of the remaining minor houses, executing the ruling lords and their extended families as retribution. Next, Gothric sent his most capable generals to war against the rest of the Dynastic Houses, dispatching armies to each border.
Known as the War of Gothric’s Pride, the remaining Dynastic Houses entered into a tacit truce to focus their efforts on containing the Thropesen armies on their borders. The conflict entered a stalemate, and despite Gothric’s best efforts, his armies made only token captures along the shared borders. After thirty years of sporadic conflict, Gothric’s death in a hunting accident (suspected of being orchestrated by his son Gothiwald) brought an effective end to the war as the House of Thropesen chose to withdraw into its borders and abandon its most recent conquests.
Of the Dynastic Houses, the House of Thropesen put the most value in ancestry and bloodlines. They cemented the loyalty of their most powerful vassals through marriage alliances, typically marrying their daughters and cousins off to the vassal house and taking their daughters as brides in turn. The vassal houses were prohibited from taking multiple spouses (at least officially) while the kings and princes of House Thropesen practiced multi-marriages to cement their position as the highest authority. This would later sow the seeds for dynastic conflicts within the House of Thropesen, but it served to maintain control for several generations.
The last of the Dynastic Houses, the House of Graileff, were originally a cadet branch of the House of Walsen ruling over the areas that became the Chasney territories. With the Chasterren invasion of mainland M’Chek, the then lord of the House of Graileff, Ethelmond the Unready, was forced to take most of his vassals and resettle in the western reaches of the M’Chekian lowlands. As the region closest to the Underdark access points in M’Chek, it had never recovered from the Demonspawn Wars. Most of the settlements in the region were considered dumping grounds or refuges of last resort for the rest of the M’Chekian territories with much of the local population having some mixture of native M’Chekian and Adomkuro blood.
Ethelmond established a small fortified settlement known as Sotherhearst (modern Southhill). The first few generations of Graileff lords took their time, mostly working to cement their hold on the region – particularly as the House of Walsen was more focused on reconquering the lost Chasney territories than aiding the Graileffs. It was only with the ascension of Ethelmond’s great grand-son, Etheltelm the Fat in 511 OD that the House of Graileff declared itself fully independent of the House of Walsen, calling themselves the High Princes of the West and began its conquest of the western lowlands.
The priority for the House of Graileff during this period was to establish a M’Chekian identity for the lowlands. The Graileff lords aggressively took control of the settlements around them, typically wiping out the entire ruling class of a settlement to remove any vestiges of Adomkuro lineages that had ruled them since the end of the Demonspawn Wars. This was particularly pronounced during the reign of High Prince Ethelwolf the Blood Wolf, son of Etheltelm, who embarked on a program of ethnic cleansing among the lords of Graileff, wiping out at least fifteen noble families and conducted forced relocations that resulted in substantial population dislocations.
Well aware that another Demonspawn incursion was always a possibility, the High Princes of Graileff tended to focus their attention on assimilating settlements on their periphery while also building up fortified burroughs near the major Underdark entrances. The cave systems of western M’Chek were heavily explored by Graileff hired adventurers, and this became a draw for the poorer elements of the surrounding Dynastic Houses to seek their fortunes. As a consequence most of the Dynastic Houses left the Graileff lands to their own devices, content to use the Graileffs as a means of getting rid of their undesirables.
First Schismatic Period 700 - 800 A.O.D.
While the First Dynastic Period saw sporadic conflicts between the Dynastic Houses, it was also marked with a lack of internal conflicts within the Dynastic Houses. This stability allowed the M’Chekian peoples to form a greater level of social cohesion and social stratification as wealth began to accumulate among the various noble and Dynastic Houses. However, this stability began to fray around the beginning of the 8th century OD, and steadily entered a period of rapid collapse by the mid-point of the century.
The House of Thropesen was the first to fall, with the multiple marriages of the kings creating a series of succession problems in the early 8th century. Tradition had dictated that the prince with the highest ranking mother would take the throne – but this became increasingly more difficult as the relative positions between the noble houses shifted throughout the First Dynastic Period. Multiple noble families could claim to have the higher position, whether based upon their antiquity, their territorial influence, or the number of royal brides they’d taken.
The issue first came to a head with the death of Nalen IV in 734 OD. Nalen IV had three sons from three wives, each with a legitimate claim to the throne. The lack of clarity in the line of succession resulted in a brief civil war between the sons, each leading a group of noble families in their quest for the throne. It appeared that the problem was solved with the victory of Prince Gothric (crowned King Gothric III) over his brothers, and his taking of a wife from outside of the Thropesen lord.
However, the reign of Gothric III was short and his refusal to take multiple wives meant that when he died in 741 OD, he had no direct heirs to take the throne. Instead, each of the major noble houses supported their own claimant to their throne, leading to a succession of short civil wars followed by a briefly reigning monarch. None of the kings could sufficiently unite the noble families to put the matter permanently to rest, and almost all of them were assassinated by a rival claimant within five years of their coronation.
The wealth disparity between the House of Derrentrun and their noble vassals came to a head in the 770s OD. With the noble families shouldering the burden of raising and maintaining the armies of the principality, they began to fall into debt to the House of Derrentrun proper. This was further exacerbated by the fact that the House of Derrentrun regularly gave out grants of money to the vassal knights directly, rather than paying them through the noble families.
The noble families therefore had to contend with their accumulating debt to the House of Derrentrun and the increasing costs of keeping their vassal families loyal to their efforts. In the 770s, several of the noble families began systematically debasing their local currencies, adulterating gold and silver coins to pay for their grants to their vassal families. Others sought to curry foreign favor by providing military supplies to the increasingly warring noble families of Thropesen.
When Cutherfurth, the reigning prince of Derrentrun began to crack down upon the noble families for their debasing of the coinage, they rebelled and started the Wars of Leaded Coinage in 779 OD. The wars quickly escalated as the vassal knight families refused payment in debased coinage and abandoned their immediate noble liege lords in favor of being paid from Cutherfurth’s treasury. While the House of Derrentrun was never in danger of being displaced from their position as Prince of Derrentrun, almost all of the noble families other than cadet branches of the House of Derrentrun rebelled in this period, each having enough men under arms to fight off the armies sent to restore them to central control.
The House of Chasney’s decline was less pronounced. Their primary issue was the mixing of the traditionally Chassteren lords with the local gentry. As the other Dynastic Houses fell into squabbling amongst themselves, the Chassteren saw less and less conflict with their neighbors. This allowed the ruling families to interact more with their local counterparts. As their descendants increasingly became more assimilated into mainland M’Chekian culture, their loyalty to the House of Chasney became less pronounced. While the Chasney Kings remained important figures among the Chassteren nobles, their power was almost entirely ceremonial by the end of the 9th century.
The High Lords of Walsen managed to avoid many of the problems that plagued the other Dynastic Houses of this time period, however, they, too, had their power struggles in this period. Although the Walsens did their best to maintain control of which noble houses got which territories within their borders, they could not control what noble families did outside of their own borders. With their prospects of gathering power within the Walsen territories limited, and facing a constant risk of having their noble estates confiscated, the Walsen noble families instead chose to create ties with families abroad and with religious institutions. (WIP from here on forward)
The Age of Darkness – 1000 O.D. – 1825 O.D.
During this period, war and debt from the royal families caused the nation to fall apart and once again plunged the country into turmoil. Ultimately, out of the ashes, it arose again as a Republic, with the royal families and an expanded list of other noble families taking a lead role in running the country with common representation as a partner.
The Age of Strife – 1825 O.D. – 2250 O.D.
By the late 1800's A.O.D., the population explosion had outpaced the capacity of the nation to produce food. Starvation, poverty, disease and death became widespread among the lower social classes. In desperation, the humans beseeched the elves to let some of their families move north into T'Nanshi, but the elves refused, citing the M'Chekians' mistreatment of whatever land they live on. The elves did not want hoards of men and women coming to live on their land and potentially destroy it, or at least grow to outnumber the elves and destroy their nation through attrition alone. This argument got uglier and uglier over time, and eventually M'Chek began to take land from the forests of T'Nanshi along the northern border. When the elven nation responded with military force, the M'Chek-T'Nanshi War ensued. What began as periodic border incidents escalated over centuries into a "world war" involving many nations. The extended fighting, exacerbated by a terrible plague, took its toll on both sides, and the war finally ended with the creation of a neutral zone between the two nations.
This neutral zone is named the Blandenberg Protectorate. It extends east to west across the breadth of the land, from sea to sea. The control of the Protectorate is in the hands of the churches of Dru'El and Mikon. Their holy warriors, the Avengers and the Equalizers, protect the land and her people.
The large number of casualties to the plague have eased the overpopulation problem for a time, along with the exodus of over one hundred thirty-four thousand people to help found the city-state of Visimontium. But forward-thinking leaders of M'Chek recognized that it was a temporary respite. A variety of solutions to M'Chek's food shortage are being tested to this day, including healing the ravaged land, farming mushrooms in the Underdark using Deglosian agricultural practices, and continuing emigration to new homes, particularly Visimontium.
Following a civil war inside the shaahesk nation of Drotid, the new leader embarked upon a widespread assault of the southern nations. M'Chek, caught off guard by the unexpected assault, had lost much territory in the east as well as control of the eastern waters. After a long and bloody war, the M’Chek armed forces, spearheaded by the BlackHawks, were able to drive the Shaahesk from M’Chek soil and the war ended in AOD 2237.
The Age of Rebirth – 2250 O.D. – Present
For a list recent history, see Mikona server in-game developments.