[Vestland] Rhoona

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[Vestland] Rhoona

Post by Havard »

Rhoona is first mentioned in X3 The Curse of Xanathon and later in X13 Crown of Ancient Glory. It is also detailed in Gaz7.

According to X3, Rhoona is a bustling port city which was established by Eric of Rhoona and now (AC1000?) has been ruled over by the Dukes of Rhoona for five generations. The current ruler is Duke Stephen of Rhoona (notice how every major NPC in Mystara is named Stephen)? Rhoona is also connected to Rockhome via a caravan network and a large number of Dwarves live there. They are currently aiding in the construction of a new palace for Duke Stephen. Three major Immortals have their own temples here. Forsetta (Lawful), The Spuming Nooga (Neutral) and Cretia (Chaotic). Cretia's temple is erected by an Ethengar minority who have also settled in town. The town is protected by the Ducal Guard under the leadership of Draco Stormsailer. Gaz7 is pretty consistent with X3. It leaves it open that the events of X3 have not happened yet. X13 is moved to AC1150.

I have changed the Duke of Rhoona a little. He still styles himself as a modernist, but he refers to himself as the Jarl of Runaheim. Although foreigners sometimes call him Stephen, his real name is Svein son of Erik (Eriksson). His homestead is built on land featuring a large number of standing stones inscribed with runes, giving name to the place. The first Jarl of Runaheim was Erik around AC850, centuries after the battle of Bridensfjord. I am not a huge fan of Forsetta and the Spooming Nooga being the major Immortals in this town, but I suppose it creates some diversity within the Northern Reaches. Doug Niles wrote X3 at a time when Vestland probably wasn't as Viking-esque as Gaz7 made it out to be. Still, Vestland is the most advanced of the three countries and Rhoona/Runaheim is a meeting place between different races and cultures.

After X3:
What happens in Rhoona after the plot of Xanathon is revealed? Will the temple of Cretia be destroyed? Perhaps repurposed as a temple of some Norse Immortal? Will the Ethengar community be expelled/decimated, or will the ones not allied with Xanathon be allowed to stay?

X13 teasers:
High King Maramet has not yet been crowned, but what of the famous Sorona? Has it been forged yet? Perhaps the dwarves of Rhoona are instrumental in creating the crown? Even though this module was pushed into the future, it is a shame not to make some use of the information in this module. Perhaps it is intended as a gift to King Harald Gudmundsson?

Ragnar the Stout
If Ragnar the Stout is successful in uniting Soderfjord, how will this affect Vestland and Rhoona? I think Rhoona stands to benefit from this. A strong Soderfjord can be a strong ally to balance against Ostland and both nations are interested in trade with the rest of the Known World. Rhoona is similar to Castellan (IMC: Slottsberg) in Soderfjord in that both are located around major overland trade routes.

Have you used Rhoona in your campaigns? What are your thoughts on this Jarldom?


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Re: [Vestland] Rhoona

Post by LoZompatore »

X13 module states that Vana Cullen - the main antagonist of the story - is allied with the Ethengarians who will help him in conquering the southern fiefdoms of Vestland in exchange for a tax-free route to the sea for Ethengarian merchants. Even in the Rhoona affair of X3 the Ethengarians seem to be interested in influencing Vestland politics to gain free access to the sea. Notice that X13 explicitly mentions the Duke of Rhoona, implying that X3 events happened in the past of X13.
So I guess that the Ethengarians, while weakened by their defeat at Rhoona, are still pursuing their agenda and they are trying to wrestle control of the land from Vestland nobility.

If you like some intrigue you can say that the Ethengarians (at least those living in the east of the Steppes) are following the personal project of Krugar Khan (a would-be Great Khan from IM3) who forged a secret alliance with the Alphatians. If the Khan manages to bring Vestland under his control and to open a free route to the sea then the Alphatians will provide weapons and supplies to be used for his ascent as Great Khan and, later, for the much-awaited invasion of Glantri from the Steppes. Unfortunately Krugar Khan is killed by the Immortals at the beginning of IM3 events (I'd like to have him as the most prominent figure in the Steppes just before the rule of current Moglai Khan, so Krugar Khan could have been killed in AC 996). After his death the Ethengarians relinquish their secret alliance with Alphatia (thus explaining their neutrality during WotI) and (temporarily) abandon their plans against Vestland, as Moglai Khan is more focused against the Heldannic Knights.

Just for the sake of completeness, I'd like to point out that PWAI retconned the King Maramet/Sorona events of X13 to AC 979. Here are the relevant quotes:

PWAI page 86:

The present king, Harald Gundmundson, was also known by Thyatian historians as prince Tenitar, son of the late king Maramet, during his youth some 35 years ago.

PWAI page 142:

Harald Gudmundson. King of Vestland. Born 954; apparent age 55. A mighty fighter in his youth, he is now a middle-aged widower with more affection for trade and politics than for fighting.

X13 introduction is pretty clear about the timeline ov the events:

X13 page 2:

...The last High King, Maramet. This fierce but noble monarch apparently perished in a campaign against barbarians on the border with the Heldann Freeholds. At the time only a handful of Maramet’s soldiers returned despite the overall success of the sortie. Vestlandian losses were grave, and worst of all, the king simply vanished. Maramet had an heir in the person of his son, Thendel, but the continuity of the lineage was disrupted by the loss of the Sorona, the greatly revered mystical crown of the High King
Within a few months of Maramet’s disappearance the superstructure of the realm began to crumble and the seeds of anarchy were sown.
Annacks suggested that an expedition be organized for the purpose of reclaiming the lost crown and the presumed body of the missing king. Much against Annacks’ better judgment, young Thendel insisted upon leading this excursion to the northern frontier. Alas, within a fortnight of this leave-taking, the Prince’s body was borne back to Ruthin. Thendel’s party had been ambushed by Ethengarians on the northwest frontier. After Thendel’s death, Annacks and other dignitaries established a Council of Regents in Norrvik
Now after five years, the power and authority of the Council has dwindled. In some cases the regents have simply been unable to discharge the duties of royalty.
At the outset of this adventure the council only has nominal control over the southern portion of the realm, due largely to the support of the Duke of Rhoona and the amenable dispositions of the Jarls of Soderfjord
Twenty years before King Maramet’s disappearance, the Queen of Vestland gave birth to twin boys. The elder, and senior by a matter of minutes, was Thendel. The other babe was named Tenitar.

In the quotes above notice the "amenable dispositions of the Jarls of Soderfjord", meaning that a strong Soderfjord is not a menace and would actually be a good ally for Vestland (both countries already have a common agenda against Ostland raiding policy with the Nordhartar Defense League).

Said so, according to AC 1010 PWAI module, the timeline of X13 would be as follows:

AC 954: Twins Thendel and Tenitar are born from the High King Maramet of Vestland.
AC 974: King Maramet dies in a sortie against barbarians of the Heldann Freholds and his body disappears. With him disappears also the Sorona, the mystical crown of the High Kings of Vestland. Vana Cullen, the Duke of Estine, starts undermining all efforts to recover the Sorona in order to gain the throne for himself. Prince Thendel is killed by Vana Cullen's minions disguised as Ethengarians while he was attempting to find his lost father. A weak Royal Council rules Vestland after Prince Thendel's death, leading to increasing instability in the kingdom. Vana Cullen makes preliminary overtures to the Ethengar Khanates offering them a tax-free land corridor to the sea in exchange for their alliance and help against the southern provinces of Vestland. Ala the Witch allies with the Duke of Estine in exchange for his future help in taking the Kingdom of Ostland.
AC 979: Allonrik and Miridor, two famed adventurers currently in Norvik, are hired by Annacks, the Head of the Royal Council of Vestland, to find the lost heir to the throne. The two enlist the rest of the group who took part to the quest against the Shadow Lord. Events of X13. The Sorona is recovered, Vana Cullen and Ala the Seawitch are defeated and Tenitar is crowned the new High King of Vesland, under the name Harald Gudmundson.


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Re: [Vestland] Rhoona

Post by Robin »

Ok the 1 mile hex map is not finished, needing lots and lots of more input canon and fanon and I will work on it asap again, yet maybe it will help as far as it is
I made it based on textual canon, hence the shift of Rhoona as seen from the Canon maps. Thorf did agree with me due this, that the Rhoona town symbol should have been placed higher up in the river fork.
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Re: [Vestland] Rhoona

Post by Zendrolion »

Just like moving (X4-X5-)X10 to the future (1200 AC), moving X13 to 1150 AC as per GAZ7 hampers any use of the adventure's background to flesh out Vestland - this is why I prefer to accept the PWAs chronology, who has Tenitar as the young King Harald (thus X13 happening before AC 1000, as LoZompatore said). I think X13 allows to introduce some differences between Vestland and the other countries of the Northern Reaches, besides vaguely being mentioned as the more "modern" one in GAZ7. X3 and X13 are written with the same Vestland in mind - a feudal realm emerging from a Viking background due to (this is apparent in X13) a strong king (thanks to the Sorona) supported by a strong church (the Ruthinian Cult).

Both in Marco Dalmonte's Codex Immortalis - Book 2: Religions of Mystara, page 34 and following, and in Threshold #7 (pages 43-44) I tried to flesh out the characters of the Ruthinian Cult, the chronology of X13, and to explain the double-name issue of the Vestland kings (Tenitar/Harald, etc.).

In my opinion in this "different" Vestland there is more room for the introduction of Thyatian-style noble titles (duke, etc.), which are found both in X3 (Duke of Rhoona) and X13. Simply put, I see 10th century Vestland as taking the Thyatian Empire as a model of state organization, introducing "modern" (i.e. late Medieval) aspects of administration and government (trade duties and improvement of trade, fledgeling bureaucracy, hereditary monarchy), while Ostland still clings to the traditional Northman way to handle a realm.

From a canon point of view, the X3-X13 plots, if played in this sequence and before 1000 AC as per PWAs, can be considered an attempt by a would-be grand khan to take over Vestland, as LoZompatore suggested.

On the other hand, both modules could be used also as part of WotI, with the mastermind behind the plot of Vana Cullen in X13 and that of Xanathon in X3 being Moglai Khan. The two modules would make a great campaign arch to play before and during the Ethengarian invasion of the Northern Reaches (1007-1009 AC), in which the PCs are first called to uncover Moglai Khan's plots to undermine Vestland's government, and then to defend the country from Ethengarian encroachment.

In my oldest campaign, I had X13 set in the past, as per the PWAs, and never played the adventure. Instead, I played X3, but the PCs failed to stop Xanathon (they were deceived by him during the trade-off of the priest's phylactery for the antidote for the duke, and fled the town) and this resulted in the invasion of Rhoona by the dwarves; Draco handled the duke and some gold to the dwarves to make peace, and proclaimed himself duke, but the duke's followers contested his coup and a civil war began, with the town's dwarves supporting Draco's faction and getting money from Rockhome. When Harald intervened, the dwarves mediated an agreement between Vestland and Draco, who was confirmed duke of an independent Rhoona under dwarven protection. Ethengarian influence in the town grew under Draco's rule. Later (1006 AC), when the dwarves went underground after Kagyar's omens, the Ethengarian armies swoop in and took the region, using Rhoona as staging ground for their campaign against Vestland and keeping Draco as their puppet ruler of the town.
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