Geography - Rizen
“A sage once remarked that there were no good and honest people left on the continent – because they had all moved to Rizen. This reputation is fairly earned, as Rizen tends to be free of the corruption and general chaos that infects the rest of the world. Of course, another sage once said ‘where there are good and honest people, there are men there to take them for all they’re worth’… ”~Jothan Blackkard, Gazetteer

Rizen lies on the southwestern tip of the continent, less than seventy miles north of the Kimeian Isles. It is separated from its northern neighbor; Calderia by the Delgus mountain range and from Te’raan by the Vah’ni River. The Strait of Nivia lies to the east and beyond that is Novrom.

Most central Rizen is flat and fertile, giving way to forested foothills and small deserts along the Calderian border. The southern edge is made up of hills, sharply terminating into bluffs at the coast. The east coast is dotted with salt marshes and lakes.

The plains of the southwest were a refuge of the abstaining Dragon Nations during Draconic Control. Here, they were allowed to maintain small communities of demi-human servants here as a token of good faith that they would not interfere with the other Nations’ war. The abstaining nations protected the human and half elven communities from spirit beasts as well as taking humanoid form and teaching the children in an attempt to ensure that at least some of demi-humanity still learned and progressed.

By the end of Draconic control, not only were the people of the region a thriving agrarian society, but they were the most educated people on the continent. It was they who sewed the first seeds of the Vishnari Empire, teaching democracy to the rest of the continent as well as lost arts and technology.

Though mostly spared the brunt of hailene oppression, the fall of the Vishnari Empire was a crippling blow to the people now called Rizeni (‘Teachers’ in the Ancient language). Where once dragons or Imperial troops once kept spirit beasts a minor, if even noticeable nuisance, now nothing stood between the educated farmers and not only spirit beasts, but the rogue nations of Mon Sulus Kime and Calderia.

In desperation, the Rizeni turned to the only ones not in the process of nation building in the post-war era – the races others knew as monsters. With promises of not only lucrative trade, but actual and full citizenship in the new Rizeni state, the savage races of the region with half the wits needed to sign a treaty did so on the side of the Rizeni.

Soon, squads of ogres were escorting produce caravans, troll berserkers awaited Calderian slavers in mountain passes and dragon turtle pods capsized Kimeian slave ships en route to raid Rizeni villages. So began a tradition of diversity and diplomacy that marks Rizen even today.

Rizeni citizens pride themselves on three things above all others; family, diversity in all matters and simplicity of life.

When a Rizeni speaks of family, he doesn’t mean just blood relations, but of the farming village (or enclave) he comes from. Within the walls of these agricultural compounds, between ten and fifteen households quickly become as a single family unit to those who live there. They work together, defend their home together and eat together; normally from birth to marriage. The accomplishments and failures of anyone from a given enclave is shared by the entire enclave, making success mean that much more to a young Rizeni.

A given enclave is usually a mix of many different races, from normal humans, half-elves and halflings to ogres, minotaurs and trolls. None of these surprise other Rizeni, who only comment on how fortunate that village is to have such a strong son or daughter to help out.

Marriages within an enclave are rare as all children in a given generation regard each other as brothers and sisters. Thus, enclaves hold large festivals, called Matching Gathers, where young people of marrying age are invited from all around to socialize with that village’s sons and daughters. Between the ages of fifteen and eighteen, it is not uncommon for a young Rizeni to have traveled from one end of the nation to the other visiting Matching Gathers to find a significant other.

Education remains a serious matter to the Rizeni and nearly every enclave keeps at least one full time teacher employed. Lessons are taught after the evening meal in the growing season and all day during the winter months so the children can still help work the fields. Particularly rich enclaves may have full blown schools or hired loremen in residence.

Most other life among the Rizeni revolve around their crops, which are grown almost year round in rotations. Everyone capable of helping grow said crops does so unless they have more pressing duties, such as a village alchemist, spellcaster, or trained warriors. The Rizeni take pride in the variety of crops their home enclave produces and often use it as a topic of conversation. Some larger enclaves also have facilities to produce wine, cheese or other fine goods as well as grow what is needed for them.

Rizen is the agricultural powerhouse of Ere. Most of the food in the Southern Lands (the region that includes Te’raan and Rizen as well as the Novromi colonies on the eastern shore of the Strait of Nivia) is grown here. Wheat, oats, and corn are staple crops as well as all manner of vegetables and fruits. The most famous plant grown in Rizen however is wheyweed. This leafy green vegetable, similar to a cabbage contains a core of milky white liquid. The liquid can be distilled into an intoxicating drink called Rizeni Brandy or fermented into Cylla Wine. and the leaves can be dried to create a smooth, tobacco like smokable.

Recently, flowers have become big business among Ere’s wealthy and Rizen has responded by cultivating many rare Tresolmi species to fill demand, as well as some species native to Rizen, such as the color-shifting rose of the Cliffreach Coast.

Rizen still operates on the representative democracy model of the old Vishnari Empire. Each enclave elects a representative (called a Holder) who in turn casts a vote in the Council of Enclaves to elect a national leader called the Holder of Rizen. Holders serve for five years and cannot be Holder two consecutive terms. Holders of Rizen serve two years and cannot serve as Holder of Holder of Rizen two consecutive terms.

The current Holder of Rizen is the half elven Hessan cleric, Thade of Enclave Materon, whose primary issues are bolstering Rizen’s standing army and improving communications between enclaves. Currently he is seeking advice in the implementation of magic in both of these matters.

Organizations and People

Council of Enclaves
Every enclave, no matter how large or small has a Holder on the Council. The actual size of an enclave determines the powers a given Holder wields, but all things come down to a majority vote in the end. The enclave still follows the Writ of Vishnari, which outlines a number of basic rights all citizens are extended that the government cannot curtail.

Clan Coldcreek
Clan Coldcreek is a mercenary group on the run from Big May of Novrom after botching an assignment from her. They settled in Rizen and offer their services temporarily to whatever enclave offers the most coin. They are a fairly tight band of ogres, trolls, kobolds, hobgoblins, and inborns led by Meminon Coldcreek, the dragonsired elven child of one of Big May’s on again off again allies. She often employs the troll leader’s tactics of threats and near constant bodily harm to keep her own ‘clan’ in line.

The Coldcreeks aren’t a malevolent force, but they really don’t care where their money comes from and always complete their jobs to the letter, no matter how benevolent or evil those may be. This has led to a practice of the clan carrying Meminon’s banner when approaching a village while not on the job.

The Rizeni people, for their part have grown to expect this behavior and gladly trade with and hire the clan under the banner, but are ready to fight them to the death should they not bear the banner with them.

Imadora Stiles
The so called favorite daughter of the Thistledale enclave, Imadora is, by all appearances, a perfectly normal twenty year old young lady, albeit unmarried. She stands just under five feet, seven inches with light brown hair and brilliant blue eyes.

What appearances will not tell the casual observer is that Imadora is an sorcerous necromancer. She manifested her powers during a particularly deadly raid by Kimeians, raising a number of Kimeian dead as skeletons to rise up and destroy their former fellows in defense of her family.
Since that day, Thistledale has come to depend on Imadora and her so called ‘pale arts’. Dead work animals and even volunteers among the citizens have been given to Imadora to transform into undead guardians of the enclave as other worthy defenders are in short supply.

The greatest current defender of Thistledale is the Huge skeleton of a wolfherder that Imadora and the people of Thistledale were able to pull down two years ago, now residing in a shallow grave just beyond the main gate.

Imadora is one of the most powerful spellcasters in the region and one of the very few necromancers to operate in public. Both of these make here privately influential in the arcane community.

Major Settlements

Rinmoth (Medium City)
Rinmoth is the hub for the southern enclaves of Rizen. All products south of the To’Rizen are brought to Rinmoth to be loaded on ships and taken up the Strait of Nivia and along the southern coast for sale.

Fort Tesma (Medium City)
Built by the dragons that once controlled the region as a sort of emergency shelter for their human servants in case the dragon armies one day decided to revoke their token of good will.

Over the centuries, the shelter was built up into a vast fortress, cut into the side of Mount Tesma. Within this fortress, the Vishnari Empire established a military academy to train its elite soldiers. That academy still exists, though it now trains soldiers strictly for the Rizeni army.

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition © Wizards of the Coast
World of Ere and related original content © Landon Porter