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Critical Role Wiki
Critical Role Wiki

Queens, kings, emperors, nobles... Beneath the rhetoric, it's all the same. They say they fight to protect your families. They say they fight to enforce your beliefs, your honor. Fight for a better tomorrow. Fight for virtue, for prosperity. Bottom line, it's all about fighting, and it's you that dies fighting for their cause.
Unknown soldier, "Collected Tales of the Narrow War"[2]

The Marrow War was the conflict in which the Dwendalian Empire clashed with the Julous Dominion, defeated it, and then took over the entire area of Western Wynandir.[3]


After the Calamity, the lands of Western Wynandir were left bleak and scarred. Over centuries, two major civilizations began to grow there: the Dwendalian Empire in the northwestern area, and the Julous Dominion to the south and east in the Marrow Valley. Eventually, as they each expanded and traded with each other, tensions and jealousies grew between the two nations, with both sides interested in discovering the weaknesses of their enemies, and rumours about a big platinum mine in the Dominion increasing the Empire's desire for conquest.[4]

The Admonition[]

In 544 PD, a group of religious leaders rebelled against religious restrictions in the Dwendalian Empire and attempted to usurp the throne of its first monarch and emperor, Manfried Dwendal. Dwendal had these leaders executed in an event called "The Admonition", and considered banning all religion henceforth, causing further uproar among the people. However, Dwendal's spies then discovered the rebellion had been seeded by the Julous Dominion. Publicly exposing the plot, the emperor outlawed all gods that he felt threatened civilized life, allowing the worship of only a select few. He redirected much of the people's fury by also proclaiming the Julous Dominion an enemy of the empire later that year and declaring war on the neighboring nation.[5][1]

The Marrow War[]

The Julous Dominion was at that point attempting to cement their rule over the area around Kamordah by driving independent villagers nearby into the Cyrios Mountains, and had to hurriedly redirect their forces northward. During the war that ensued, at least one battle occurred near the small town of Felderwin,[6] and along the Amber Road between Alfield and Zadash.[7]

During the conflict, the high cleric of the Julous Dominion made a pact with a devil of the Nine Hells seeking protection against the Empire. Devils and undead swarmed the Marrow Valley, which indeed offered protection against the Empire but also menaced the residents. The Raven Queen gave one of her priests, Trence Orman, knowledge of blood magic, which he spread to trusted friends and began the Claret Orders. They successfully purged the valley of the fiends and undead, but in doing so they allowed the Empire's forces to sweep back in.[8]

The Dominion lacked the unified military force of the Empire, and eventually the Julous capital city of Zadash fell. During peace negotiations immediately thereafter, Manfried Dwendal assassinated Baron Inock Julous and Baroness Tessandra Julous of the Dominion, leaving the Dominion leaderless and bringing the Marrow War to an end. The conflict had lasted over sixteen months and cost the lives of many soldiers and innocents on both sides of the Marrow Valley.[1]


Manfried chose not to destroy the Dominion, but to fold it into the Empire by allowing citizens to keep their lands and homesteads. Life continued much as it had before, but he allowed only his selected gods and brought the area within the Empire's tax, production, and distribution systems.[9] In a further attempt to tamp down resentment within the newly-conquered lands, Dwendal chose to hearken back to the long-ago days of the kings and queens of the Age of Arcanum by dropping the title of "Emperor" and being known thereafter as "King Manfried Dwendal", while retaining the country's name of the "Dwendalian Empire".[10]

Those who supported the winning side of the conflict were rewarded with lands and other honors, like Alfarr Lorelei, a soldier from a prominent family of Deastok,[11] who was gifted with a stretch of land in the Cyrengreen Forest upon which Castle Lorelei was built.[12]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 15–16.
  2. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 35.
  3. See "Dinner with the Devil" (2x110) at 2:21:04.
  4. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 15.
  5. See "Lingering Wounds" (2x89) from 2:32:17 through 2:33:30.
  6. See "A Game of Names" (2x49) at 1:25:48Simone Deepwell mentions Felderwin saw "crazy things" during the Marrow War.
  7. See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) from 2:32:33 through 2:38:02.  Mollymauk Tealeaf found an old rusted helmet in a graveyard, which was recognized by Caleb Widogast to be a relic from the time of the Julous Dominion.
  8. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 54.
  9. See "Lingering Wounds" (2x89) at 2:33:53.
  10. See Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 16.
  11. The Chronicles of Exandria - The Mighty Nein, p. 75.
  12. See "Liam's One Shot: The Song of the Lorelei" (Sx36) at 0:08:38.