Cadria is the most powerful nation on the continent, a vast aristocratic empire that occupies a large swath of eastern and central Tantas. It has been a dominant power for the past 300 years.
Cadria did not exist before the Sundering but emerged from its ruins. Blessed with some of the most productive farmland on the continent, the nobles who rose from the ashes of the cataclysm had a ready supply of manpower with which to war against one another. The Unification Wars, as they are called by sages (or simply ‘the troubles’ in a more dismissive way by Cadria’s imperial family), lasted from 56 A.B. – 357 A.B. They are not a single continuous war in the classic sense, but rather a long series of wars, ambushes, diplomatic maneuvers, and periods of peace during which the various Cadrian lords killed their neighbors and absorbed their lands.
By the end of it, House Tirus was ascendant and founded the Cadrian Empire under Emperor Irim I. Irim immediately began construction of a capital for his new empire, aptly named Tirus, as well as an extensive network of roads to connect his new nation. He instituted requirements on his fractious nobility, used to generations of infighting, that they spend at least 4 months a year in the capital to keep them off the field and away from their estates where they could scheme beyond his sight. Irim also centralized power under an imperial bureaucracy and created the first known national army.
After Irim’s death, Cadria was fortunate to have a series of competent if not excellent emperors. His successors founded schools in the capital to train bureaucrats and engineers, built roads and castles, instituted city guards to keep the peace in the provinces, and poured further resources into the nascent Cadrian army.
It was during this era that Cadria first came into conflict with the merchants of Ravenna. Cadria controlled a strip of land separating Ravenna from El’Atol, which was a precious commodity. El’Atol acted as the gateway for the lucrative trade goods that emerged from the chaos of Nyashightgaro such as furs, gold, and myrrh which gave this low-lying strip of grassland the name Golden Passage. While Ravenna had made diplomatic inroads with the elves who viewed Cadria’s increasingly large army with some suspicion, Cadria retaliated by levying poll taxes on Ravennan caravans travelling to and from El’Atol. In 494, a dispute between a Cadrian patrol and a Ravennan caravan turned violent and the merchants were slain. Ravenna retaliated by declaring war on Cadria two weeks later.
Initially, Ravenna made significant inroads. The Cadrians found it difficult to defeat the combination of Ravenna’s pikes and crossbowmen, which defeated the head-on cavalry charges Cadrian commanders were so fond of. The fighting spread across southern Cadria. In 495, Emperor Ered I took command of Cadrian forces and began to form battalions of heavy infantry equipped with tower shields who fought in long lines. By 496, they were ready to take the field and defeated Ravennan forces at the Battle of Roell.
A treaty was signed between the powers in 497, signalling a return to status quo.
In the north, Cadria increasingly warred with the nation of Norhelm for control of the iron mines in the foothills that separated the two countries, but with greater success. The more disorganized northern nation had trouble matching Cadria’s numbers and had no real solution to Cadrian cavalry.
The last of Cadria’s good emperors died in 610 A.B. and was succeeded by a pampered and largely incompetent Emperor Ered III, who opened his administration in 612 by fruitlessly threatening the gnomes with invasion. Ered compounded his failure by sponsoring pirates attacking Ravenna, which was discovered in 643 and ignited another war which ended in stalemate. Soon, Cadria took a turn for the worse as disease took hold in Tirus and began to spread outward into the countryside. Mariel’s priests had no answers, nor could they identify the pestilence. For the next seventy years, successive waves of disease radiated outwards from the capital and killed Cadrians by the thousands. Ravenna seized the opportunity to occupy the Golden Passage.
A priest of Reimar named Aegesad began investigating the curious spread of the disease and the way it radiated out from Tirus. With the help of an elven mage named Al’Tinr, Aegesad exposed a cabal of Bankat worshippers who had penetrated the upper levels of the imperial bureaucracy and were using infected imperial post to test magical diseases. Unknowing post riders would deliver these infected orders from the capital to the provinces. In the wake of revelation, an angry mob stormed the imperial palace and killed many bureaucrats in a fruitless witch hunt, as well as Ered IV for his inability to prevent the deaths.
House Lorenth seized the throne, led by Lord Ryod, who used his position as a general in the imperial army to secure his position. Emperor Ryod I hanged hundreds of citizens of Tirus in retribution for the attack, then set about expelling Ravenna from the Golden Passage. Cadria spent the next two hundred years rebuilding and recovering.
By the 800s A.B., Empress Lilith I was looking for new resources to exploit and turned to the fractious nations of Termecia to secure them. In 851, the Cadrian army under Duke Inova invaded the west Termecian state of Skell. The Termecian states responded by holding the Council of Welm, electing a High King to coordinate their response and unite the states (in theory). The Battle of Winter’s Night ended Cadrian ambitions in Termecia for the time being. (See the Termecia page for more information).
Cadria is a nation of great disparity between the powerful and the powerless. The vast territory held by the empire occupies the labor of an army of peasants farmers who form the majority of the population. Above them, an imperial bureaucracy monitors all aspects of life, and the nobility beyond them keeps itself aloof of peasant affairs. A small class of merchants and artisans strive to generate the money required to send a child to school so that they can secure a comfortable role in the bureacracy. Most peasants will not stray far from their local villages in their lifetime.
Perhaps because of this structured and restrictive life, Cadria generates a surprising amount of adventurers and rogues alike. In Norhelm and Termecia in particular, it is not uncommon in the border regions to encounter small groups of hungry Cadrian pickpockets.
Cadrians tend to have red or brown hair and be of average height. The lower nobility, who are usually knights in the army, advertise their military role by wearing breastplates or leather armor even during peacetime, though usually elaborated with engraving. The upper nobility for their part relish their freedom from military duty and often wear robes or other garments impracticable for combat.
Historically, Cadria has lagged behind Ravenna in commercial enterprises. Instead it has relied on its vast landmass to maintain an agricultural economy. The Emperor doles out vast tracks of land to families which prove worthy, and revokes it from those who have displeased him. Underneath it all the peasantry continues to produce vast quantities of grains, vegetables, cattle, and sheep.
Since the first conflict with Ravenna, Cadrian emperors have sought to develop trading ports on their northwestern coast, but their efforts to open trade with other nations are generally frustrated by their own warlike nature.
Government and Relations
Cadria is ruled by an Emperor. The current ruler is Empress Lilith of House Lorenth, who is far into her twilight years and has no children. A well-developed bureaucracy runs much of the empire day-to-day, leaving the lower nobility free to focus on martial training. The upper nobility, the favorites of the Empress, spend their time trying to remain in her favor and plotting the downfall of the others.
Cadria’s symbol is three red swords in a fan-like pattern on a white background. Its capital is Tirus.
Due to its unabashed expansionism, Cadria has almost universally poor relations. It has warred with Ravenna, Termecia, and Norhelm. Their relations with the elves are poor as well since El’Atol signed a defensive agreement with Ravenna.
Combat and Military
Cadria’s military power is built on the back on its knights, who are the best heavy cavalry known. Archery has been viewed as dishonorable, and infantry as a lower form of combat, but Cadrian experiences with Ravennan crossbowmen and pikemen have forced the army to adapt and incorporate their own foot soldiers. Maces and swords are favored weapons as well as heavy armor. Archer divisions still lag behind.
Cadria maintains a navy which has yet to prove itself in a successful battle against Ravenna.