Barastovar was formed centuries ago when the militaristic dwarves were driven out of the mountains by powerful creatures from the Underdark. Though the managed to hold and eventually retake the parts of their former home closest to the surface, the majority of their lost kingdom had to be rebuilt above ground. However, the surface lands were not unoccupied. The woodland elves were driven from their homes by the more powerful dwarven forces eventually forming the human-elf kingdom of Yuanta. Those that did not flee were enslaved by the dwarves. The Dwarven expansion was stopped only by the combined might of Yuanta and the human nation of Karth, which eventually merged into a single kingdom and the greatest enemy of Barastovar: Yuan-Karth. The dwarven expansion was slowed at the Great Land bridge, a stretch of land bordered by Underdark-controlled mountains to one side and the ocean to the other. Barastovar and Yuan-Karth battled over the land bridge for nearly a decade before the Church declared it holy land and built its new religious capital there permanently ending the fight (though not the conflict between the two nations).
Size and Population
Barastovar occupies most of the northern Manikhar continent, though the lands it controls is largely forests and rocky, mountainous terrain. The cities are massive stone constructs built largely by the dwarven-made Warforged. Though the dwarves lost much of their underground home long ago they have never changed from the old way. Agriculture is largely carried out by elf slaves and warforged and the dwarves have little in the way of a navy.
The kingdom is largely populated by dwarves with a significant population of elven slaves and warforged constructs.
Barastovar is a military dictatorship. It is ruled over by the commanding general of their armed forces. The government is very expansionist, the dwarves were always expanding further and further when their kingdom was underground, and when they were forced to the surface after the Underdark incursions began they continued to push expanding their empire to its utmost limits. This stance has put them at odds with almost every other ruling kingdom. Every dwarf in the empire is expected to serve for at least 10 years in the military and during the time it is drilled into them to obey orders, particularly from the ruling General. This gives Barastovar the largest standing army of all the kingdoms, though the dwarves are particularly single minded in combat. This applies equally to their political branch, whose sole goal is to ensure Barastovar is well-placed to expand its empire even further.
Slavery in Barastovar:
Slaves in Barastovar are not owned by individuals, except in the rare case of very rich merchants or highly placed influential members of the military. The majority of slaves are instead owned by Slave Companies which are run by the military. When an citizen of Barastovar has need of a slave they apply o requisition to their local military base and, if their request is approved, the slaves are called from the various companies. Slaves can be rented out for single events (such as servants for a large event), short term (such as construction projects) or long term (such as for household chores). Once the requisition is approved the dwarf citizen must make an initial payment for the slave and, if the slave is being requested for short or long term, they must make regular payments to ensure the slave remains in their care.
Hiring slaves is typically cheaper than paying a non-slave regular wages but the quality of work can vary wildly based on the skill and willingness of the slave. Most towns of any significant size have slave barracks where requisitioned slaves are housed while on assignment in that area. These barracks provided minimal food and medicine needs for slaves. In the event a slave is requested somewhere that barracks are not conveniently nearby, the person making the request is responsible for the housing and welfare of the slaves are charged a lower payment so they can accommodate these needs.
There are four slave companies in Barastovar. Each specializes in slaves with specific skills and abilities:
- The Far Hold: Located in the rocky, mountainous areas near the entrance to the Dwarven Undeground, this company specializes in slaves for manual labor. This tends to be the default assignment for elven slaves as their jobs typically require little to no actual skill set. Elves from this camp are sometimes referred to as “Rock Breakers.”
- Verran’dhal Company – Located in the tree covered lands near the former Elven capitol, the Verran’dhal Company specializes in skilled labor. Slaves here tend to have shown some talent at a craft such as farming, smithing, etc. They are given only enough training to be useful and are typically hired out to assist craft and tradesmen as shophands or assistants.
- Jarvuun Hall: Located in the overland dwarven captiol, the Jarvuun Hall company is the smallest of the slave companies. Slaves taken to Jarvuun Hall are typically are highly skilled and have proven them serves as loyal and subservient slaves at one of the other camps. These slaves are typically reserved for positions that require skilled aid and usually only requisitioned out to successful merchants and members of the military. These slaves receive a much better level of training than those in any of the other camps. Slaves from this camp are often looked down upon by other elf slaves, particularly those who still chafe under dwarven rule.
- Kragsfall Reach – Often called the Barrows, Kragsfall Reach is located in an isolated mountain area and home to slaves that are viewed as slaves or troublemakers. Slaves that refuse orders, try to run away, or otherwise cause trouble are sent to the Barrows to be “reconditioned.” These slaves are subjected to mental and emotional abuse until their spirit is broken and they are willing to fully submit to their Dwarven masters. Those that are successful reconditioned are returned to one of the other slave camps. Slaves that have committed crimes, such as attacking a master, are also sent to the Barrows. These criminals, and those who resist reconditioning, are kept as prisoners in the most miserable conditions imaginable with nothing to look forward to but working themselves to death in the mines beneath the keep. Kragsfall Reach is also home to the Blood Dogs, a group of highly trained soldiers dedicated to the task of hunting down any criminal slaves that are on the run.