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Ravounel

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Ravounel
Flag of Ravounel.
(Nation)

Land
Alignment
Capital
Ruler
Government
Confederation
Languages
Religions
Source: World Guide, pg(s). 96
The skyline of Kintargo, capital of Ravounel.

Ravounel is a burgeoning confederation located in southwestern Avistan. Formerly the northernmost archduchy of Cheliax, the Archduchy of Ravounel, it seceded and became an independent country in 4717 AR.123

Geography

The new nation is bordered primarily by Cheliax to its south, while shadowy Nidal lies to its east. To its north and west lie the rough waters of the Arcadian Ocean.4 Its major rivers are the Yolubilis that flows through the capital of Kintargo, and its tributary, the Katharevousa. Ravounel's major woodland is the Ravounel Forest, found in the nation's southwest. Vyre Island lies off Ravounel's northern coast.5 Ravounel's summers are warm and humid, and its winters are chilly, rainy, and foggy.6

History

In 3007 AR, when Taldor founded the province of Cheliax, the region of Ravounel did not officially become part of the empire due to a clerical error. This error was never corrected, and Ravounel remained an unofficial territory of Taldor and later Cheliax after it seceded in 4081 AR. As Cheliax plunged into civil war after the death of Aroden, Ravounel insisted on independence and became home to many anti-Thrune dissidents, something which House Thrune saw as treason.67

When signing her contract with Asmodeus, Abrogail Thrune I hired the phistophilus Odexidie to provide her with an escape clause in the supporting document known as the Kintargo Contract. Odexidie subtly added some legal wiggle room: since Ravounel was officially not part of Cheliax, its leader had to be appointed and ratified by a board of governors. If Abrogail were to lose control over Cheliax, she could relocate to Kintargo and bribe its governors into ratifying her as lord-mayor, and if her family or the church of Asmodeus were to move against Ravounel, they would void her entire contract and lose Asmodeus' support. When the Imperial Ministry of Historical Accuracy revised Cheliax's history to further Thrune's ends after Ravounel fell under Thrune control in 4640 AR, they also expurgated the clerical errors concerning Ravounel's official status. In the end, Abrogail never needed this contingency, and took her secret to Hell when she died.8

During the years of Thrune rule, the people of Ravounel feigned loyalty on the surface but secretly remained rebellious.6

In 4715 AR, after the Glorious Reclamation rose up against House Thrune, Barzillai Thrune volunteered to take charge of enforcing martial law in Kintargo and the entire archduchy of Ravounel. As soon as he arrived in Kintargo, Barzillai paid the local Kuthite temple to abduct Jilia Bainilus and transform her into a vampire against her will. Three days later, Barzillai and his agents struck against all known or suspected dissidents, driving them off or killing them. He also enacted seven unjust and darkly whimsical new laws with which all Kintargo's citizens would have to abide.9102

In response to Barzillai's tyranny, a group of adventurers resurrected the old Silver Ravens, deposed him, and uncovered the loophole within the Kintargo Contract. In the process, they allowed Ravounel to secede from Cheliax in 4717 AR without the threat of military invasion from their former country.3 At the same time, Vyre, which had been part of the archduchy but predated Cheliax by more than a millennium,6 became an independent city-state.3

Government

Ruler

Ravounel's ruler is Domina Jilia Bainilus, the former Lord-Mayor of Kintargo. She chose the title domina—a title that fell into disuse after House Thrune took over Cheliax—signifying that Ravounel now lies outside Thrune's grasp and that she intends to follow the principles of old Cheliax. The latter's meaning is deliberately ambiguous and can be interpreted as a retort at House Thrune's perversion of these values, or as an indication that Ravounel's Chelish heritage is not being repudiated.3

Under Jilia's leadership, Ravounel has to establish itself as a regional power and maintain cordial relationships with Cheliax and Nidal. Without enough military strength to enforce compliance and unable to afford alienating allies, Jilia has to diplomatically preserve harmony between her new nation's disparate factions. This has become increasingly difficult as tensions rise between Cheliax and Andoran.3

Domestic politics

The most influential group in Ravounel is the Silver Council, a group of Kintargan noble houses and power brokers who replaced the old Court of Coin. Its members view their position as their reward for backing the rebellion, while those who supported Thrune found themselves deprived of wealth and influence. The Silver Council controls Ravounel's trade, especially trade by sea, which has become particularly important since the Menador Gap, the major overland trade route to Cheliax, was destroyed by the Silver Ravens to discourage a Chelish invasion. Since a military takeover by Cheliax is no longer immediately feared, various groups have begun to second-guess the decision to block the Menador Gap. Other factions are the aquatic elves of Dismal Nitch, the strix of the Ravounel Forest, and the Kings and Queens of Vyre. Each of these factions provides essential trade commodities, military protection, and local insights. However, none of them is accustomed to coordinating with the others, and all occasionally chafe at the central government's efforts to do so. The fledgling Ravounel government continually encourages their collaboration, which has occasionally led to friction due to their differing demands. Council of Peers gatherings, where representatives of these factions convene, can be tense and divided.36

Foreign relations

Even after securing its independence, Ravounel cannot escape Cheliax's influence, due to the latter's geographical position and economic and diplomatic domination of southwestern Avistan. Despite being protected from military invasion, Ravounel must remain in Cheliax's good graces, and House Thrune seems to accept its independence as unfortunate but unchallenged. Even then, many Chelish agents are determined to find a way to return Ravounel to Thrune control.116

Ravounel has an agreement with the nearby aquatic elf city of Irim. In exchange for protecting the nation's ports and shipping lanes from pirates, Ravounel assists the elves in searching for a mysterious artifact called the Lornoc Catalyst, while keeping the search a secret from all land-dwelling elves.12

Economy

Ravounel is still in the process of establishing lasting trade relations. Its primary trading partner is Cheliax, exchanging goods like fish, marble, lumber, salt, silver, and other natural resources. The tourism industry through Vyre is also crucial for the fledgling economy, despite uncertainties regarding Vyre's enigmatic rulers sharing that wealth.3

Inhabitants

Chelaxian humans make up a majority of Ravounel's population followed by Varisians. Halfling and cambion refugees from Cheliax make up another significant percentage of the population. The Menador Mountains are filled with orcs and dromaars are most common in the nearby communities. The forbidding Ravounel Forest is populated by strix, fey, hags, and changelings.13 Aquatic elves and half-elves make their home in the Arcadian Ocean off the coast of Ravounel in the hidden city of Irim,12 fighting sea monsters like ulat-kinis and sahuagin. Giants and drakes hunt in the Menador Mountains, driven across the border by Chelish patrols. The North Plains have long been neutral ground between Nidal and Cheliax, but shadow giants and velstracs roam this area without any regard for national borders.13

After the departure of those who remained loyal to Cheliax, most of Ravounel's citizens are optimistic that they can build their country into a fair and kind place, even if independent Ravounel is less rich and grandiose than when it used to be an archduchy of Cheliax. They had never expected they could break away from diabolic rule and force House Thrune to respect their independence, so rejoice in their success regardless of any new hardships it brings.3

Since Ravounel banned slavery, the Bellflower Network has built a strong presence in the country. However, the Order of the Chain demands the government's cooperation in arresting escaped slaves, and some Kintargan nobles, who retain business connections with Cheliax, have begun kidnapping slaves and selling them. Jilia Bainilus has been unable to put an end to this practice, which might threaten the stability of Ravounel.3

References

Paizo published a gazetteer of Ravounel in Tomorrow Must Burn.

For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. James Jacobs. “Character Tips” in Hell's Rebels Player's Guide, 4–5. Paizo Inc., 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 Tanya DePass, et al. Old Cheliax” in World Guide, 99. Paizo Inc., 2019
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Tanya DePass, et al. Old Cheliax” in World Guide, 104–105. Paizo Inc., 2019
  4. Tanya DePass, et al. Old Cheliax” in World Guide, 97. Paizo Inc., 2019
  5. Unknown author. Inner Sea Poster Map Folio, 1. Paizo Inc., 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Ron Lundeen. “Ravounel Gazetteer” in Tomorrow Must Burn, 59. Paizo Inc., 2019
  7. Crystal Frasier. Kintargo” in In Hell's Bright Shadow, 60. Paizo Inc., 2015
  8. Jim Groves. “The Kintargo Contract” in The Kintargo Contract, 5. Paizo Inc., 2016
  9. Crystal Frasier. “In Hell's Bright Shadow” in In Hell's Bright Shadow, 6. Paizo Inc., 2015
  10. Tanya DePass, et al. “Overview” in World Guide, 9. Paizo Inc., 2019
  11. Tanya DePass, et al. Old Cheliax” in World Guide, 98. Paizo Inc., 2019
  12. 12.0 12.1 Tanya DePass, et al. High Seas” in World Guide, 69. Paizo Inc., 2019
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ron Lundeen. “Ravounel Gazetteer” in Tomorrow Must Burn, 61. Paizo Inc., 2019