Thuria and Beyond
The puritanical aspect of religious life in Aquilonia is rather at odd with the true dealings of the crown and the powerful nobles. Countless plots, feuds and intrigues play out amidst the nobility, with factions vying for wealth and influence. This is, moreover, not a truly united kingdom. The secessionist urge is strong in the provinces of Bossonia, Westermarck and Poitain. In the case of Bossonia and Westermarck this is highly problematic – loyalty to Tarantia is weakest precisely where the borders are most regularly tested by the incursions of bands of Picts and Cimmerian raiders.
In Aquilonia, the Church of Mitra completely dominates religious life. Wealthy, powerful nobles compete to appear more devout than their peers, showering temples with generous donations, compelling the peasantry to attend religious services and providing the Church with armed men to protect priests and property. By royal decree, other religions are forbidden to own temples or to attempt to win converts anywhere in the kingdom. In some parts of the kingdom, oppression of other faiths goes further – forced conversions to the Mitraic faith; punishing heretics by seizing their property or evening condemning them to death.
Despite the oppressiveness of the Mitraic religion, a few small cults do exist in Aquilonia: foreign-born residents practising their own faiths in secret; people in isolated, rural areas at the edges of the kingdom continuing to venerate ancient, pre-Mitraic gods of the Thurian pantheon.
At the start of our campaign (in 1000 YT), Aquilonia is ruled by the despotic King Acastus, the third member of his family to occupy the Eagle Throne of Tarantia. His famously weak father having allowed the outlying parts of the kingdom to achieve varying degrees of autonomy, Acastus has been far less forgiving, overseeing the brutal oppression of all separatist movements and dissent. He is therefore feared and hated in the rebellious-minded provinces of Poitain, Gunderland, Westermark and Bossonia.
Aquilonia has a pleasant, temperate climate. The Border Range naturally delineates kingdom’s border with Nemedia to the east. The thickly forested hills Gunderland separate Aquilonia from Cimmeria to the north. The western and southern borders are formed, respectively by the Black River and the Tybor River. Another area of rugged mountains rises in the southern province of Poitain.
Important cities in Aquilonia include:
Aquilonia is not a realm known for its tolerance of the non-human races. The history books, therefore, tell of brutal purges of the kingdom’s humanoid populations. Elves were driven from the meadows and woodlands of southern Aquilonia hundreds of years ago. Populations of dwarves, gnomes and halflings were forced out of the kingdom’s hilly eastern and northern regions long ago too. The zeal driving this ethnic cleansing was religious in nature, led by the fanatical and cruel Knights of Epimetrius and related orders, spurred on by priests who declared that only human beings were true children of Lord Mitra and that impure races should be, at the very least, treated with suspicion. In more recent times, this attitude has softened. Non-humans can expect to travel through the kingdom without the ever-present threat of persecution. But a truly warm welcome is rarely extended to dwarves, elves and the like. Only in the most cosmopolitan districts of Tarantia can especially enterprising non-humans settle and thrive.
As by far the most densely populated kingdom of Thuria with by far the most highly developed methods of agriculture and forestry, Aquilonia is not frequented by the more bizarre or fearsome beasts of the age.