Thrones of Dust
Andalona is an ancient land steeped in tradition and tyranny. It is a warm, dry land, getting warmer and more inhospitable as one travels south, which eventually leads to the Burning Lands. Since time immemorial, the country has been ruled by mighty dragons, creating a caste-based culture that idolizes all things draconic.
|Geography and Climate|
|Religion and Culture|
Geography & Climate
Andalona occupies the south-western quarter of the continent, stretching south to the Burning Lands. It is an arid land, mostly savannah and badlands, with stretches of deep canyons and flat-topped mesas. The western shore is taken up by miles of trackless beaches of rich black sand, the eastern borders to Tir’Heth are a sea of tall grass and terraced hills.
Summer in central and southern Andalona can be harsh affairs, while the winters are so mild that they are practically non-existent. There is very little rain in the center of the country, though the western coastline suffers frequently from monsoons. The most dangerous weather, however, are the cinder storms that occasionally roll up from the Burning Lands.
While politically divided into a hundred small, ever shifting territories by the dragon lords, the country can be divided into eight distinct geographic regions:
- Verdez, The great river
- San Cranos, The terraced hills
- Costa Talona, The black sand coast
- Dio Dracon, The Great City
- Mesa Rojo, The high mesa
- Ammaril, the savannah
- Las Caer, the canyons
- Salaterez The badlands
The long-lived and immensely powerful dragons make up the ruling caste of the nation, yet their numbers are comparatively small, mostly due to their extreme territoriality and belligerence. The Dragonkin, Dragonborn and Dragonblooded collectively make up three quarters of the country’s population, especially in the southern regions. Most can trace their bloodline indirectly to a dragon lord’s own bloodline, and many of these Dragonkin never leave the territory of the dragon that sired their lineage.
Humans are well represented in the northern and central areas of the country. Elves of all kinds are frequently found in territories along the border with Tir’Heth, and there are rumors of Idrin tribes having taken up a nomadic existence in the deserts of the deep south.
The western coast was once rife with Halflings, though recent decrees of trade rights and taxation by the coastal dragon lords have made the areas unwelcoming to the diminutive sea-faring people.
Andalona is a country united and divided by its rulers. The country has been a staunch, unwavering draconarchy as long as it has existed. The various dragon lords rule over their territories, which are usually little more than a mountain, a stretch of savannah or a canyon pass, and have constant, petty rivalries with all their neighbours.
Gold and mercantilism are the blood of Andalona; wealth is not merely power, it is a status symbol in its own right. The strong division of castes leads to many unfavourable situations for the impoverished; there have been many cases of people starving on opulent streets. Laws and justice are both harsh and fickle, changing from one territory to another at the whims of their draconic masters.
Many communities maintain semi-nomadic traditions, ready to pick up and move should a vile or dangerous dragon lord take control of the territory. Most of the time, the new dragon lord is happy to see their lands vacated. Andalona is dotted with abandoned settlements, where the inhabitants felt that they would be better served to leave the territory, rather than face life under the talon of a newly arrived dragon.
However, smarter dragon lords realize that happy, productive communities are great sources of wealth, so there are a number of civic dragons who lead and guard their communities as if it were a living hoard.
The Great City is a very different situation. It was massive, dragon-sized city, a holy city to the draconarchy, built at the height of the Andalonan empire as a sign of unity amongst all dragons. These days, the city is a jumbled, mismanaged mess of architecture, with many neighbourhoods falling to ruin, where humans and Dragonborn live like mice in the homes of giants. No single dragon has ever managed to control the even one district of the massive city; few can manage to keep a street or two under their talon, living like oversized crime-lords. The center of the city is taken up by the Alabaster Mosque of Bahamut, and rumors abound of the inverted Obsidian Mosque of Tiamat in the shadowy depths of the city’s underbelly.
Religion and Culture
Andalona’s state religion is that of Bahamut, as it has been since the very beginning of the country. The faithful are encouraged by the state to spread the teachings of Bahamut to foreign lands at any opportunity. While this has served the country well as far as political leverage, it has also led to the founding of a number of ministries and knightly orders in other nations who have little to no loyalty to Andalona itself.
Despite the efforts to stamp it out, the worship of Pelor is very strong in the country, especially amongst humans. There are even rumors of dragon lords themselves converting to the faith of the Sun, though the devout dragons of Andalona dismiss these as mere propaganda by a religion that they feel should have died out a long time ago.
The cults of Tiamat are publically reviled, though it is obvious that many dragon lords and Dragonkin who claim to be devout worshippers of Bahamut have actually cast their lot with the Chromatic Queen.
Mercantilism and trade are not merely actions or even professions in this nation; they are ways of life. If you wish to deal with an Andalonan, be prepared to haggle, barter and deal.