The Dwendalian Empire is a nation on the continent of Wildemount, dominating the western half of the region of Wynandir. Founded thirteen generations before the events of Campaign 2, roughly 432 P.D.[, the empire has slowly encompassed territory of the continent and now mainly minds itself. ]
The Empire is landlocked aside from the very far north waters of the Frozen Depths, holding ice floes and treacherous waters. In the north are the Dunrock Mountains, where the Quannah Breach leads to the Greying Wildlands. To the east are the Ashkeeper Peaks forming the boundary with Xhorhas; to the west are the Cyrios Mountains. In the south where these mountain ranges come together is the Wuyun Gorge holding the Wuyun Gates, the passageway to the Menagerie Coast.
- Bladegarden: houses the military training facility used by both the Crownsguard and the Righteous Brand along with a substantial garrison and additional support facilities with which the imperial armed forces back up both the Rockguard and Ashguard Garrisons.
- Nogvurot: a town at the northern end of the Marrow Valley. It is the base of operations for The Stubborn Stock adventuring party.
- → Main article: Labenda Swamp.
- Alfield: a small town between Trostenwald and Zadash. A farming community, and current base of operations of Bryce Feelid.
- Felderwin: the hometown of Nott the Brave of the Mighty Nein. Also a farming community, it is the source of a significant portion of the Empire's food supply.
- Trostenwald: the town where the Mighty Nein first met. It is known primarily for its three well-known breweries, so much so that outside of Trostenwald an ale is often simply called a "trost."
- Zadash: a medium-sized city that was formerly the capital of the Julous Dominion. It is now the geographic center of the Dwendalian Empire.
The Zemni Fields is a formerly independent region now under the control of the Dwendalian Empire.
- Pride's Call: known for its production of silk and populated by hill dwarves.
- Rexxentrum: capital of the Empire.
- Ruins of Shattengrad: recently discovered by the dwarves of Pride's Call. It was a quarry that turned into a sinkhole that slowly uncovered elements of a very ancient ruin.
The Truscan Vale is the far western area of the Empire, overseen by the Truscan family under King Dwendal. It is bordered on the north by the Bromkiln Hills and Cyrios Mountains, and on the south by the Cyrengreen Forest.
- Kamordah: hometown of Beauregard of the Mighty Nein. Known for the production of fine wines.
- → Main article: Amber Road.
- → Main article: Wuyun Gorge.
The Wuyun Gorge is a large ravine between the Cyrios Mountains and the Ashkeeper Peaks. In this ravine the Wuyun Gates form the passageway between the Marrow Valley of the Empire and the Menagerie Coast.
The climate in the central part of the Dwendalian Empire is similar to that of the real world's Central Europe and Western Russia. Farther south is warmer. In addition to its towns and cities, the empire contains several wilderness areas, like the following:
DemographicsTrostenwald is a small town in the Marrow Valley, with Alfield to the north being even smaller. Zadash is the second-largest city in the Dwendalian Empire, being the geographic center of the Marrow Valley and the Empire.
In Zadash and other regions previously ruled by the Julous Dominion before being conquered by the Dwendalian Empire, some of the cultural practices and beliefs had initially been merged and adjusted to enable a more stable integration with the laws and rules of the empire. This is reflected by the fact that the peoples of the empire and those that enforced its rule were progressively more tolerant and willing to bend the rules as one headed further away from Rexxentrum towards the outskirts of the empire.
Whether or not he created the law himself, King Bertrand has been known to enforce the kingdom's ban on necromancy, as he prepared to seize the estate and lands of Sylas and Delilah Briarwood once they had been accused of practicing the forbidden magic. The citizens appeared to greatly distrust the school of necromancy, as a mob razed the Briarwood homestead to the ground shortly after, leaving the couple presumed dead.
In exchange for protecting its citizens from chaotic horrors and shadowed evils beyond its borders, the crown of the Dwendalian Empire demands that its citizens pay it tithe, follow its laws, worship its gods, and bow to the installed local leadership (known as "Lawmasters", such as Norda in Trostenwald). This accord has led to a prosperous century, primarily for the Dwendalian political elite. Otherwise, most citizens of the Dwendalian Empire are left to their own devices. However, tensions brew beneath the chafing watch of the Crownsguard.
Tensions are also rising with the land of Xhorhas, which borders the Dwendalian Empire to the east. In the past, the Dwendals have mostly left Xhorhas to its own devices. However, there is unrest at the border caused by incursions of creatures from the east. The creature Kylre, who caused multiple deaths in the town of Trostenwald, is presumed to have come from Xhorhas.
Every six months, tithe collectors (known to the commoners as "Reapers") went through the empire, each usually escorted by a couple Crownsguard. They were recognized by their black cloaks with gold trim. Reapers would go building to building, business to business. They inspect ledgers, ask about each business, look at the means in which they're living, and then make an estimation of what each Dwendalian citizen would owe for the biannual tithe. Reapers would then collect the money and then move on their way. Officially, this process was so each citizen could contribute to the military spending and social programs of the Empire as a whole. Unofficially, this was also used as a means of inspecting for any illegal activity and anything that goes against the Crown. Often, a lot of people got arrested for illicit goods and activities discovered while tithes were being collected.
The Dwendalian assassins (known colloquially as "Scourgers") are regarded by most Dwendalian citizens as ghost stories and urban legends often told to children as bogeymen to warn against disobeying parents or staying out too late. Only the Empire's elite are aware that the Scourgers truly exist. Even the Expositors of the Cobalt Soul have difficulty verifying the truth about the Scourgers. The Scourgers answer directly to the Dwendalian crown. In Zemnian, "Vollstrecker" is the term used for the Scourgers.
- → Main article: Crownsguard.
The Crownsguard is a paramilitary gendarmarie that serves a the primary law enforcement arm of the Dwendalian Empire, as well as its military reserve. They are sent throughout each major city in order to keep the peace, while also acting as a national secret police that observes and eliminates any opponents to King Bertrand Dwendal's reign. Their standard uniform and equipment consists of vermilion or maroon robes, bronze scale mail breast and arm plates, a shield, greaves, a helmet, a crossbow, and a basic longsword.
The Righteous Brand
- → Main article: Righteous Brand.
The Righteous Brand is the military of the Dwendalian Empire. They wear plate mail with a silver and dark-crimson design. They (along with the Crownsguard) are trained in Bladegarden.
Around 545 P.D., shortly after the end of the Marrow War, there was a rebellion within the Julous Dominion against the Empire and Emperor Mannfried Dwendal, led in large part by many priests of the various religions using religion as their cause. As a result, Mannfried sought to abolish all religious worship within the Empire, but this crackdown further fueled the rebellion. When the rebellion was eventually quashed, a handful of gods that fit easily within the overall goals of the Empire were chosen as "approved". The deities that were chosen were those that fit within its ideas of society and knowledge, and aligned with its goals.
Every temple in the Dwendalian Empire is government-owned and government-run. Religious practices are considered a social taboo, and the Empire looks down on divine magic with general disdain. Worship of unapproved deities (e.g. The Changebringer) results in imprisonment on charges of "idol worship". In Zadash, worked into the government structure, heralds run each shrine. They all hold sermons and give counsel to anyone who requires it.
The Current Approved Deities
- Erathis: The Lawbearer
- Bahamut: The Platinum Dragon
- Raven Queen: The Matron of Ravens
- Pelor: The Dawnfather
- Moradin: The Allhammer
- Ioun: The Knowing Mistress
The Dwendalian Empire has slowly spread to encompass its neighbors - namely, the peoples of the Zemni Fields and the Marrow Valley - before finally conquering the Julous Dominion. With the Empire's victory in the Marrow War in about 545 P.D., all of Western Wynandir is controlled by the Dwendalian Empire.
Zadash was the last remaining bastion of the previous government over the Marrow Valley. However, eventually it was conquered and the whole Marrow Valley became a province of the Dwendalian Empire. With the conquest of the Marrow Valley, Zadash is now the most central city and is the second largest city in the kingdom. This has made Zadash an important center for travel and trade.
War With Xhorhas
On the third of Fessuran 835 P.D. word reached Starosta Wyatt of Zadash that The Ashguard Garrison at the Brokenveil Bluffs had fallen to the Kryn Empire. With accounts numbering the dead at over 1000, war had been formally declared against the invading forces and on the Kryn Dynasty.
- When Matt described the Truscan area of the Dwendalian Empire as the "Truscan Empire", it is possible that the Truscan Empire was one of the many neighboring rivals that bordered the Dwendalian Empire in the past. The Truscan Empire might have even been the previous government that ruled Deastok and/or the Zemni Fields (similar to how the Julous Dominion ruled over Zadash and the Marrow Valley).
- It is unknown if the Dwendalian Empire approves of any religious holidays (even for the Empire's approved deities).
- The word starosta comes from Czech. It refers to a position of the same name within the town/city council that is equal to the position of the mayor in America. It is also translated as such.
- This conforms with the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting's description of the Dwendalian Empire's lifestyle and architecture pulling "from 15th century gothic eastern Europe and Russia".
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 See "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) from 0:17:36 through 0:19:45. Matthew Mercer gave an overview of the continent and its inhabitants.
- ↑ Based on the number of years of a male human generation in real life (source).
- ↑ See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 2:39:58.
- ↑ See "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) from 3:31:25 through 3:32:00. Matt talks about Rexxentrum.
- ↑ See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) at 1:15:15.
- ↑ See "Commerce & Chaos" (2x31) at 1:18:15.
- ↑ See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08).
- ↑ See "Have Bird, Will Travel" (2x23) at 3:53:13.
- ↑ See "Lingering Wounds" (2x89).
- ↑ As shown on the official map of Wildemount from Deven Rue.
- ↑ See "Labenda Awaits" (2x20) at 2:54:35.
- ↑ See "Converging Fury" (2x27) at 0:58:23.
- ↑ See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 0:10:09. In his recap, Matt notes that the party are still in the Marrow Fields on their route from Trostenwald to Zadash via Alfield.
- ↑ See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 1:31:01. The party headed deeper into the Marrow Fields en route to Zadash.
- ↑ See "Disparate Pieces" (2x04) at 3:32:00. Liam contrasts the size of Zadash to Rexxentrum.
- ↑ See "Between the Lines" (2x78) from 1:02:06 through 1:03:58.
- ↑ See "Between the Lines" (2x78) at 1:03:30.
- ↑ See "Daring Days" (1x86) at 0:45:30. Matt gives Tary's home city, initially calling it the "Truscan Empire".
- ↑ See "One Year Later..." (1x95) at 1:24:05. Matt corrects Truscan Empire to Truscan region and Dwendalian Empire.
- ↑ See "Dalen's Closet" (Sx47).
- ↑ As shown on the official map of Wildemount from Deven Rue.
- ↑ See "Beyond the Boundaries" (2x32).
- ↑ Matthew Mercer clarified the climate for Wildemount and the Dwendalian Empire (source).
- ↑ See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) from 2:37:39 through 2:38:55. Matt gives a brief history of Zadash.
- ↑ See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 2:38:07.
- ↑ See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 2:39:47.
- ↑ See "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) at 0:18:13.
- ↑ See "A Musician's Nostalgia" (1x37) from 1:02:33 through 1:03:18.
- ↑ See "Steam and Conversation" (2x09) from 0:56:20 through 1:06:22. Beau and Fjord attend a meeting of discontents.
- ↑ Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 99.
- ↑ See "The Howling Mines" (2x06) from 0:41:37 through 0:44:53. Bryce complains about the incursions from Xhorhas.
- ↑ See "The Midnight Chase" (2x03) at 1:06:12. Molly recalls hearing about toad-like demons from Xhorhas.
- ↑ See "The Hour of Honor" (2x24).
- ↑ See "Domestic Respite" (2x62) at 3:40:28. Matt uses the term Vollstrecker at 3:42:32.
- ↑ See "Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting".
- ↑ See "Curious Beginnings" (2x01) at 0:18:53.
- ↑ See "The Hour of Honor" (2x24).
- ↑ See "Steam and Conversation" (2x09) from 0:42:53 through 0:43:03.
- ↑ See "A Favor in Kind" (2x16) at 2:59:58. Also Confirmed by Tal'Dorei Campaign Guide.
- ↑ See "Harvest Close" (2x17) at 2:25:32.