A History of the Kingdom of the Mistmarches
The Stolen Lands were an unclaimed and generally lawless – or free, depending on one’s perspective – frontier region before the Sword Lords of Restov issued charters to several groups of adventurers, who were tasked with pacifying the regions of the area. In return for legal recognition and some early ‘seed money’ support, the Sword Lords would grant successful parties the right to establish titles and to settle those areas as independent, albeit friendly, polities. Of the three groups dispatched in the year 4705, only one survived the first few years, accomplished its task, and eventually absorbed the lands conditionally deeded to the other two groups, along with adding the city-state of Pitax, a prize of war.
Kingdom of the Mistmarches Early History
The adventuring party of Sir Anton, minor landless knight of Restov; Pik, gnome cleric and diplomat, Kincaid, ranger, Reg, half-orc warrior, and Zion, sorcerer and half-brother to Reg, accomplished much in a short period of time. They removed immediate threats to settlers in the northern areas of the Narlmarches and Kamelands, and quickly brought those people under their banner, establishing fair and consistent governance and law, and steadily spreading southward over a period of only a few years.
Available land, abundant natural resources, and a population of risk-takers and those intrinsically motivated enabled the realm to grow by leaps over its first decade, and the war with Pitax in 4714 not only resulted in added lands and people, but also a emboldened sense of national identity, which propelled the kingdom to even greater prosperity, despite the inevitable problems of internal friction, politics, crime, and growing pains. King Kincaid was incapacitated by his injuries in the Pitax War, and eventually died from them. Queen Tessara, the last addition to the Upper Council, proved to be a disastrous choice by the kings, and her creeping insanity and druidic power caused no small amount of problems for the realm, eventually culminating in the Nomen Invasion of 4721.
The barbarian incursion, inspired and led by the insane former queen, resulted in the complete destruction of the city of Varnhold in the eastern portion of the kingdom, the siege of Silverstep, thousands of dead civilians and soldiers, and the death in battle of King Reg. Anton himself was grievously injured, and was physically never quite the same. And yet in this last great war of the kingdom’s early years, new heroes were born and the beginnings of a generational shift began.
By 4730, the Kingdom of the Mistmarches was stable politically and economically, and had weathered the war between Restov and Issia in 4725, staying mostly neutral despite Restov’s strong-arm tactics to get them involved. Other governments from surrounding nations enjoyed relations of varying quality and closeness with the Mistmarches, with generally good trade treaties being the mainstay of relations. Anton signed no defense pacts with anyone, preferring instead to remain neutral and as friendly as possible, always with an eye toward internal prosperity coupled with a pragmatic view of external events.
In 4731, King Anton, aged 46, formally installed his daughter, Jeyo D’Mistmarch, aged 22, as Crown Princess, placing her in the first position for eventual succession to the throne. Her brother Gyrphon, aged 19, was sent to a series of schools in Restov and elsewhere, learning the arts of war. In the interest of a deliberate transfer of power, King Anton and Queen Evelynn passed the throne to Jeyo in 4735, on the anniversary of the Founding, when she was 26. Anton, recognizing the infirmities of age brought on early by his many battle wounds, was in turn installed as First Councilor to the Throne, a mostly honorary position from which he could offer advice to the new queen in an official capacity, and also be seen by the people as the foundation to the kingdom.
Queen Jeyo, early in her reign, promoted Jeyo De Iomedae, then commander of the Tuskwater Dragoons, to General of the Realm, who then selected Gryphon de Mistmarch as her chief-of-staff. During this time, William (formerly Zion) raised his family in Silverstep, adding another daughter, and focused his efforts on them and arcane studies. Pik and Gurple, ever childless, served the new queen as diplomats, eventually retiring several years into Jeyo’s reign.
Jeyo chose for marriage the son of a prominent merchant family from Burmovton, and he thus took the title of Duke of the Mistmarches. In time they would have four sons and a daughter, raised in part by doting grandparents Anton and Evelynn.
Evelynn fell ill in her 68th year, in 4756, and died suddenly. Anton, although buoyed by his grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, soon lost his desire to live without his queen, and himself succumbed quietly to death a year later, in 4757, aged 72. During this same time William/Zion also passed on, leaving only Pik from among the Founders. Gnomes, as they age, typically suffer from a wanderlust that becomes harder to resist without the stimulation of new experiences, places, and problems. Despite his far-flung diplomatic efforts Pik could not resist what was perhaps the harmatia of his race, and was forced to resign his position in favor of he and Gurple taking to the road to travel the world. Pik departed the realm in 4820, long after Queen Jeyo had passed on and her grandson, King Filo, was already on the throne. The gnomes would periodically return to the kingdom over the years, and would often supply their home with interesting and often important information about the broader world.
The Kingdom of the Mistmarches Today
It is 4906, and the Kingdom is about to celebrate its 200th anniversary. Anton’s line, unbroken, still rules in the form of King Jotwan II, 9th sovereign of the Kingdom of the Mistmarches. In keeping with the tradition set by Anton I, each king or queen (8 of the former and only one, Jeyo, of the latter) has elevated their eldest, all but in one case, to Crown Prince a few years before a formal transfer of power. Only King Ahris’ death in battle in 4836 necessitated an early tranfer to Jotwan I, which was accomplished without much disruption despite his young age at the time. Pik was last seen in the kingdom in 4888, although he has let Jotwan II know that he will attend the celebration when it comes.
I am not certain, if I were to set a new campaign in the Mistmarches, of the extent to which I would keep it, geographically, where it was originally set in Golarion, given that this will not be a Pathfinder-based game anymore. Beyond that, although I don’t mind the realm being packed away in a rural corner of a massive, diversely-populated continent, I don’t see a whole lot of room for it to expand or interact with different peoples and governments beyond what Paizo placed around it. I like the idea of a nearby frontier, which could exist to the east, beyond the Dunsward, from where the Nomen incursion came. I’m okay with a balkanized collection of petty governments to the west and south, as with the River Kingdoms. Fractious, violent Galt is silly, what with it’s faux-French Revolution setting; however, a failed state to the south would work. I am least interested in Brevoy, balanced on a knife’s edge to the north and with lingering ties to the new kingdom to its south. I will have to rethink this, place the entire thing elsewhere, and through that establish a clean slate for external affairs.