Stin Cepel, known as the "Land of Shadows" by outsiders, is a kingdom which sits in the center of the Central Continent of the Material Plane. It is a monarchy which has been ruled by House Broum since its inception, with the exception of the time of the Harbinger Coup. Its current regent is Queen Vyra Broum, the 97th ruler of the kingdom.
The Kingdom of Stin Cepel was established over 2,000 years ago, the result of a continental war. King Victor I united nearly all of the human clans at the time under his rule, and exiled those clans who would not join him to the southwestern portion of the Central Continent (now known as Woestijn). For the first 1,500 or so years, the Kingdom ran somewhat smoothly, though there were conflicts along the way.
Then, 500 years ago, the birth of Jenova led to the start of the Underdark Wars. The war between Jenova and Lolth stretched over thirty years. As a result, many Drow who had worshipped Lolth were displaced, with nowhere to stay.
When conflict arose between the orcs and humans of Woestijn, they struck a deal to work together to destroy Stin Cepel. Under this deal, the humans would take Stin Cepel and the orcs would keep Woestijn. Their armies were fierce and it appeared that Stin Cepel may have been in danger of dissolving.
Jenova appeared to the Queen at the time, Ana II, and offered a deal. Jenova would ensure victory if the Kingdom would accept the Drow refugees who had been displaced by the Underdark Wars. The Queen would marry one of these Drow, and Jenova would gift the royal family with two holy protectors - Shadeweavers. The Queen agreed, and Jenova kept to her word. This war was then known as the Shadow Wars, and marked the beginning of a new era in Stin Cepel's history, with Jenova as its patron deity.
Stin Cepel is located in the center of the Central Continent. Its southernmost region is rocky (known as the Stone Coast). The rolling hills and fields of the southwest provide most of the farming capacity for the country. The Planewalker Mountains extend from the westernmost border, northeast, and take up half of the northern border. The northern border is cold, due to its proximity to the Freezing Wastes. The Eastern Reach is full of trees and borders Dryadis.Broumov, the capital, sits in the center of the kingdom. The areas around it are generally flat and grassy.
Stin Cepel is broken into seven distinct regions:
- The Stone Coast: Southernmost region, including the city of Anin. Borders the Andalan Sea.
- The Foothills: Southwestern region. Rolling foothills and farmlands. Includes the town of Maestik.
- Dragonborn Autonomous Settlement: Technically a part of Stin Cepel. Mountainous region to the West. Includes the city of Styr, home of the Dragonborn.
- The Mountains: Includes the northern region of the Planewalker Mountains. Most of the trade from Dwarven lands comes through this region. Known for their beers and their exports of platinum. Overseen by House Andolian.
- The Borderlands: Northern section of the kingdom which does not include the Planewalker Mountains. Borders the Freezing Wastes to the north. Includes the city of Gurno and the Kingdom's premier University.
- The Eastern Reach: Includes the eastern border, with Dryadis, to the north (Borderlands) and south (Stone Coast). Grassy to the west, then heavily wooded to the east-northeast. Includes the town of Raj.
- The Shadowlands: The central segment of Stin Cepel. Generally flat and grassy. Most importantly, includes the capital of the whole Kingdom, Broumov.
Despite the influx of Drow over 500 years ago, most of the population is still human. However, there are a great many drow, and half-elves (whether human-drow, human-wood elf, wood elf-drow, etc). Dragonborn make up the vast majority of the Dragonborn Autonomous Settlement and a decent percentage of the rest of the population as well. It is common to see all sorts of races walking around.
Society and Culture Edit
The Stin Cepel of ancient history was human-centric. Human culture and beliefs drove the country. Outsiders were generally not welcome unless they proved their loyalty in some way.
This all changed after the Shadow Wars. The intermixing of human and drow, while rocky at first, changed the culture of Stin Cepel in fundamental ways. Not only were drow allowed in, but the Kingdom began allowing other races in, as well, leading to a much more diverse populace. Through this, Stin Cepel in general has a strong sense of equality between races. As opposed to its previous history, morality is generally not a matter of public policy, and the royal family prefers to take a laissez-faire approach.
The Harbinger Coup occurred, in part, because of this. Though most would not admit it in public, many humans believe Stin Cepel truly only belongs to them, and wish that all other races would leave. A group of the more vocal of these humans, led by Seaorin, created the Harbingers of Purity, and joined forces with Gramorn Duskfell and other sympathetic individuals to take over the country.
Possibly the defining issue Stin Cepel faces currently is the ease with which the Harbingers were able to keep the populace under control. Did most humans secretly want that outcome? Or were they too afraid to speak up? Were they mind controlled, as they claimed, or was it more insidious than that?
Stin Cepel, since inception, has been a monarchy under the rule of House Broum. King Victor I brought all of the human clans together under one rule - his.
Queen Ana II is credited with making the deal with Jenova that ended the Shadow Wars. She is the matriarch of modern Stin Cepel history.
The current regent is Queen Vyra Broum, charged with ushering Stin Cepel out of a tumultuous time after the Harbinger Coup.
Stin Cepel is an active trader with the rest of the Central Continent. Its central location makes it an attractive hub for traders from all corners of the continent. Queen Vyra in particular has made it a mission to open up trade and create multilateral trade organizations to streamline the process.
With regards to exports, Stin Cepel is the most equipped to sell grain, wheat, and other agricultural products. Woestijn has the climate, but not the willingness to produce, and the same goes for Rhineland, where the nomadic halflings live. The Mountains region is famous for its platinum, although rumor has it that they may have run dry recently.
The Stin Cepel Military is relatively strong, especially if you take into account the Dragonborn militia, which technically falls under the Kingdom's jurisdiction. However, with the stabilization of Woestijn, it may no longer be the most powerful military on the continent. Queen Vyra has made cooperation a key priority, however.
Both the military and the Queen's Guard are headed by the same person. Right now, that person is Evangeline Krost.
The patron deity of the country is Jenova, the Lady of Shadow. However, the country does not enforce any state religion, only banning the worship of Lolth, the Spider Queen. Many other gods are worshipped, the majority being the Council of Three, but there are areas where Asmodeus is worshipped.
At the beginning of the campaign, the country was in an era of relative prosperity and equality – equality that some resented, mostly some of the humans, who felt that this was their ancestral land and the Drow had no right to be here. One radical element of these humans, the Harbingers of Purity, took it a step further, and called for the complete eradication of all half-bloods and Drow. They were just a fringe group until they weren’t; they started becoming more and more active, culminating in the overthrow of the royal family of Stin Cepel.
Indar, a divine royal defender, enlisted the help of a group of adventurers. They gathered allies – Elves, Eladrin (high elves), Half-Orcs, and Dragonborn – by helping them out in their hours of need. Along the way they encountered fantastical things, like Greater Fae.
Due to the heroic efforts of this group – called Quen and the Sandstriders - along with the allies they recruited along the way, the Harbinger takeover was eventually reversed at the Battle of Broumov. The combined armies of the Central Continent assaulted the capital city of Stin Cepel (Broumov) and overwhelmed the Harbingers, who thought such a continental alliance was impossible. The Sandstriders killed Seaorin, the leader of the Harbingers. Before he died, his final words were, “It’s too late…he’s here…Cyric.” Evangeline Krost, a Paladin of Bahamut, slew Gramorn Duskfell – and eventually took his place as head of the Queen's Guard. This lead to a new era in Stin Cepel’s history under the leadership of Queen Vyra. An era of relative peace ensued; Woestijn, Stin Cepel, Dryadis, and Rhineland formed a continental congress where they could discuss issues as allies.
Discontent still persisted among some because of a perceived lack of conviction on the part of the Queen to punish those who worked with the Harbingers. The Queen, feeling this pressure, turned to substances to help her cope.
On the one year anniversary of the Reclamation of Stin Cepel, the Kingdom threw a celebration. During this, the Queen asked the Sandstriders to wipe out the last of the Harbinger Remnant, which was taking refuge in a cave in the Freezing Wastes to the north.