Kingdom of Draioch (Dree-Ock)
Resources: Lumber, Monster Hunters, Alchemy (Buffs and Healing)
Summary: A land shrouded in a near constant thick fog and rain, it is a land in dire times. Rolling highlands and large swaths of forest are mixed with roving bands of undead, banshees and other strange creatures of the night. The kingdom is cursed by the death wish of a powerful necromancer, the Curse of Balor, causing all manners of havoc.
The people here eek out a bare living, not venturing far at night and stuck inside their motte and bailey towns.
However, there is a ray of hope, with the help with a coven of witches and some of the brightest alchemical minds, the Kingdom created a new type of monster hunter in the Order of Druth. Hunters empowered by alchemical concoctions, powerful hexes and great skill.
Cultural Dress: Kilts with clan tartans
The Kingdom of Draioch is a kingdom in the far north steeped with a rich history. It originally started as nomadic humans setting in the beautiful northern highlands of the old continent. Eventually, they grew into a loose confederation of clans. Conflicts erupted over things such as resources, “minor” disagreements and more. The clan leader of Clan Draioch, Dagdaran, began to unite the clans under one banner, until they were all unified into the Kingdom we now know as the Kingdom of Draioch.
Not much longer after the unification of the clans, the Iron Empire set its sights on the Kingdom, subjugating it under it’s heel, crushing the highlander forces with well-disciplined armies equipped with Durgheim steel, under the excellent generalship of the Iron Emperor. It was only through a marginally successful resistance campaign, did eventually the people of Draioch throw off the iron boot heel and return to their freedom. Through these struggles and history, the people of Draioch are fiercely independent, and love their freedom and liberty.
However, sometimes good things must always come to an end. One of the royal apothecaries named Killian MacThall became disillusioned with the leadership of Draioch, that it was content with the lands it hand, that it didn’t want to conquer other nations or make war. He delved into dark, mysterious magics that no one should ever come to. When he emerged, he only called himself Balor. With him, came the first Vampire Lords of Draioch. With their help, and his necromantic powers, the tide almost washed over the entirety of the kingdom.
It was only through the steadfast nature, and love of freedom of the Draioch people that stemmed the tide, and through that King Braden slew Balor in one on one combat, effectively ending the war. However, with Balor’s final breath, he put a curse upon the Kingdom of Draioch.
The Curse of Balor instantly took root. Ghosts, creatures of the night and more rose all over the kingdom, overrunning and corrupting farms, lumber mills and more. It empowered the undead and the monsters. It overran portions of Draioch more than the Necromancer War dictated. The people of Draioch had to take hold in small motte and bailey fortresses, fearing the night time. From here, they began to learn a trade of monster hunting. Luckily, the Vampire Lords are too busy fighting each other most of the time to be a true threat to the Kingdom.
Through a dangerous mix of alchemy, a local witch’s coven and more, they crafted a way to improve their own physiology in a way they could match these creatures. They created the Order of Druth, a monster hunter’s guild that promised that they could push back the curse and the creatures of the night.
People from Draioch usually belong to one of the 13 original clans or a sub-clan that branched off of it, the naming convention is similar to Medieval Ireland and Scotland
Thirteen Clans of Draioch:
Most of the time spent by the citizenry of Draioch is for survival, with attempting to repair defenses, gather what little food they can, harvest what little resources they can and more. However, they do not forget who they are as a people and there are small festivals here and there, celebrating the two solstices as well as five separate holidays worshipping the five animal spirits. One thing that the Draioch people pride themselves is that they can make good ale even in a dangerous situation as undead pound on their gates.
Some important traditions and customs are that some people from Draioch are very mistrusting of magic, even with the Gwarich Coven’s help in fighting the Curse of Balor, most dead are not buried but burned. The Draioch people used to worship a holiday called Samhain, where the spirits of the dead walked the kingdom, and some say the Fae ran rampant and played tricks on people. This holiday has obviously fallen out of celebration with recent times. One practice from Samhain that did permeate is the concept of the Jack-O lantern, the people believe that the souls of fallen banshees, monsters and all are trapped inside Jack-O lanterns during Samhain, and during that holiday you can can see masses of Jack-O lanterns lining the towns.
King Braden O’Runagh the First
Arch Wytch Magda Gwarich
Head Apothecary MacKillian
Fildaens (Master Hunter) Seamus Grilgarin
Order of Druth
The Order of Druth is a recent organization to the Kingdom of Draioch. It is their final and ultimate answer to the Curse of Balor. Founded approximately fifty years ago, when witches of the Gwarich Coven joined forces with Head Apothecary MacKillian to create a system through alchemy and magic to enhance a soldier to be able to compete on a physical level with the dangerous creatures that plagued the lands. The process is kept a secret, but it is known that the process kills a large number of those who attempt it. The selection process is extremely tough, and only taken from the finest Initiates who can pass both the physical and mental tests. After an Initiate passes the process, they are given the title “Fiadain”, which means hunter. They are put under the tutelage of a proven Fiadain,
The Order is organized very similar to a military organization in some ways. The organization is led by a master hunter with the title “Fildaens” The headquarters of the Order is in Castle Draioch in the main town of Eilean. From here, each major town has a smaller regional quarters in which smaller teams are deployed from. Each team consists of two to three Finadain, one to two of whom is a proven Finadain and others are Finadain in training, several more Initiates and support staff (blacksmith, alchemists, etc). They go on hunts from there, investigate reports from the local populace and local governments.
The Vanguards of the Resurgent Divine
Cult bent on bringing the gods to Draioch, believe that the Curse of Balor is in turn divine judgement on the kingdom. They have members secretly infiltrating most of the towns in Draioch. They have a fanaticism that is unmatched. Most would rather cut their own tongues or throw themselves off a building before being captured. They have made the fight against the Curse of Balor that much harder, as they sabotage Order of Druth supplies, stores and even have been known to attack patrols here and there. Recently, their numbers have grown as the war against the Curse has been in a constant stalemate.. Even with the Finadain..
The Gwarich Coven
Coven of witches and spellcasters who aid the Kingdom in its fight against the Curse of Balor, aided the order in the creation of the Finadain. At one time, witchcraft and most spellcasting was looked down upon in the Kingdom, and a lot of spellcasters would put to the flame as they were thought to be the cause of trouble. Even more so when Balor arose, the mistrust of anyone who could wield magic to be a possible ally of Balor. It all changed when the Arch Wytch Magda Gwarich, approached the King and his advisors offering to help them in the creation of the Finadain to fight them. It is rumored that the Arch Wytch is somehow older than she lets on, some even think that she has a hidden agenda..
Circle of Caollch
The worship of the animal spirits, the Bheurach, is done by most of the people of Draioch. However, the seeing and diving of these spirits, and people’s ancestors, is done by members of the Circle of Caollch. A collection of shamans and druids who interpret the natural world to be the will of the spirits, a council of five oversees the entire Circle, with each representing the five animal spirits of Draioch. There is a vendetta against the curse of Balor, as it’s foul presence permeates much of the natural flora and infects the wildlife.
The Cabal of Bás
In Draioch these Fae help the men and women protect the border from the Dark things that attack this town. These Fae believe they are decedents of the crow spirit Morrigane and decorate themselves in cloaks made of crow feathers and enact ancient death rituals and sacrifice to the crow spirit. Unlike most out of the Woad Fea, they still travel to the Throne Grove to enact their rites in order to stay never aging.