Return to Barsaive
The Kingdom of Throal lies in the midst of the vast mountain range of the same Name. Founded a thousand years before the Scourge, it has become the dominant political and economic power in most of Barsaive, especially in the eastern region of the province. Roughly one-third of Barsaive’s people live in Throal’s underground passageways and cities, and new cities are under construction to accommodate increasing population. While dwarfs are the largest group of Namegivers in Barsaive at large, they are an even greater majority of the population in Throal. Though the kingdom encourages members of other races to settle within its stone borders, dwarfs remain in charge.
In addition to its sheer size and economic clout, Throal is best known for its cultural influence. During the years of Barsaive’s domination by the Theran Empire, the dwarfs of Throal acted as intermediaries between Barsaive’s people and its imperial rulers. In so doing, they shielded the people from the worst of the Theran brutalities, built a lasting network of trading and political contacts, and made the Throalic language the unifying tongue that bridges Barsaive’s many disparate cultures. T’skrang traders from the Serpent River can communicate with troll raider chieftains of the Twilight Peaks, thanks to the common language given to them by the dwarfs of Throal.
Even more important than a common language, however, is the dwarf kingdom’s contribution to Barsaive’s common culture. The few common cultural threads that Barsaive has to draw upon exist thanks to the efforts of King Varulus I, who commissioned the Book of Tomorrow—a vast compendium of stories, facts, and essays on almost every conceivable subject. Barsaivians took copies of this book with them into almost every kaer and citadel during the Scourge, where it served as a reminder of everyday life during the awful days when the Horrors ravaged the earth. The Book of Tomorrow gave Barsaivians hope in the depths of despair, offering concrete proof that darkness and dank earth were not their only birthright. Because of this book’s enormous influence over their lives in the kaers, Namegivers throughout Barsaive tend to think of Throal as the most important repository of learning in the land since the Scourge ended.
Throal’s recent monarchs, King Varulus III and his predecessor, Varulus II, furthered the influence of Throal by promoting a sweeping political agenda. The most important expression of their reformist beliefs is the Council Compact, the legal code developed by Varulus II. Its principles mark a dramatic departure from the authoritarian practices of previous Barsaivian rulers, from the mighty Theran invaders to petty local dictators. The Council Compact affirms the fundamental equality of all Namegivers, setting forth the radical premise that no Namegiver is innately superior to another. More than anything else, the leaders of Throal want to spread this idea, along with their vision of benevolent rule, throughout Barsaive. Slavery is anathema to them, and they are fighting to abolish it by any means necessary. The Therans, who depend on slavery and intend to re-conquer the entire province, consider the Council Compact an open declaration of hostility. They would like nothing better than to see Throal destroyed and the idealistic beliefs of its rulers repudiated. The Therans are not alone; certain malcontents and would-be local tyrants claim the Council Compact is mere propaganda designed to camouflage Throal’s own plans of conquest.
Though some people call Throal’s motives into question, the kingdom so far has kept the loyalty of most of Barsaive’s adepts, both legendary and obscure. The majority of them accept Varulus III as a genuine reformer, a good monarch deserving of the aid of heroes. Others have less lofty reasons for using Throal as a home base. First, it is an extremely safe place to store treasure (magical and otherwise); second, it is a splendid place to rest and recuperate after a dangerous mission; and third, it is the center of knowledge and scholarship in Barsaive. The renowned Great Library of Throal contains a great deal of information useful to explorers, mercenaries and other adventurers.
The entrance to the Kingdom of Throal stands on the south face of the Throal Mountain range. To reach Throal, one must pass through Bartertown, the sprawling city of merchants and traders that has grown around the entrance to the kingdom ever since the time of the Scourge’s end.