Dungeon Crawl Classics - Rise to Glory
The Southern Province
From The Gazetteer of the Known Realms:
Population: 2,462,900 (humans 73%, half-orcs 9%, half-elves 7%, dwarves 6%, other 5%)
Resources: Slaves, spices, black market trade, copper, timber
One hundred and thirty years ago, the Province was simply the largest of the empire’s many fiefs. In a revolution led by a cunning and aggressive lord-baron, the Province seceded from the empire, setting the example for all the kingdoms,provinces, and colonies that rushed to independence in the years to come.
Today the Southern Province stands as a mirror to the Criestine Empire. While Crieste is mired in the bureaucratic quagmire of a millennium-old aristocracy, the Province is home to the young and ambitious guild houses; while Crieste seeks to govern every aspect of the economy, the Province lets the houses do the work and taxes their profits; while Crieste is a pondering behemoth of military might, the Province is a nimble player of economic and political intrigues.
Wealth is everything in the Southern Province. Those that have it—and more importantly, can keep it—are envied and respected by all.
The present ruler is Trayr Sains, a cunning man who had the good fortune of being a bastard son of imperial blood. The child of a discarded harem concubine, Sains fought his way out of the vicious slums of Punjar, working his way from petty thief to slayer to guild master. Boss Sains was coronated Overking after the notorious Night of the Long Knives, when fully two-thirds of the Southern Province’s nobility were assassinated and replaced with royal-blooded representatives of the guild houses. When the sun rose on the blood-soaked capital, the surviving nobles who were willing to openly declare the virtues of law and good were few and far between. Sains’ claim to the Dragonskull Throne is laughable at best, but it provides the veil of legitimacy necessary for the Province’s political skullduggery.
The Southern Province challenges the Criestine Empire’s dominance of the sea lanes by trading in slaves, dark idols, and every other sort of contraband. Very little is deemed illegal, and nearly every crime can be ameliorated with a bag of gangling coins. With no navy to speak of, the Province issues letters of marque authorizing privateers to fly Province colors and prey on Imperial ships. This informal sea force is little better than a band of pirates, but there is little the Imperial Navy can do to halt the practice, barring a full-scale invasion of every Province port.