Iron Kingdoms 3.5
Ruler: Queen Ayn Vanar XI
Government type: Monarchy
Ethnic Groups & Approx. Population: Khard (3,090,000), Skirov (1,518,000), Kossite (930,000), Umbrean (300,000), Gobber (175,000), Bogrin (140,000), Tordoran (90,000), Ogrun (75,000), Rhulfolk (40,000), Midlunder (30,000), Trollkin (25,000), Thurian (15,000), Morridane (10,000), Ryn (10,000), Nyss (9,500), Scharde (7,000), Iosan (2,000), Caspian (2,000), Idrian (1,000)
Languages: Khadoran (primary), Cygnaran
Climate: Ranges from steppes in the south to humid continental in much of central Khador; subarctic beyond the Nyschatha mountain range to tundra in the polar north; winters vary from cool along the southern coast to frigid in the north; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cold in the north with frequent thunderstorms throughout the spring and late autumn
Terrain: Broad plain with low hills south of the Bitterock River; vast coniferous forest and tundra in the north; uplands and mountains along the northern and western border regions; temperate coniferous and deciduous woodlands and moors in the south and around the Shield Lakes
Natural resources: Major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, silver, iron ore, many strategic minerals, timber, arable land (south). Note: the formidable obstacles posed by climate, terrain, and distance hinder exploitation of a great deal of Khador’s natural resources.
The northern kingdom of Khador is a land of sweeping expanses, fertile plains, imposing mountains, and wide spanning forests. Thick hewed and stalwart are many of its people, and they have been long considered cantankerous, lacking in social graces, and more interested in combat than cultural pursuits. It is said by those who are not Khadoran that these northerners have evolved very little from their forest and mountain-dwelling barbarian ancestors.
Indeed, the oft-wintry Motherland once teemed with roving tribes of barbaric nomads, many led by fierce horselords who ruled with iron fists over their families and those they conquered. These horselords banded together, conquered the weaker tribes, subjugated them, and fashioned the proud Khardic Empire. Some say the empire never truly fell but simply endured the ages until it evolved into what is currently Khador.
Throwing off the Orgoth yoke was the first step to a new consciousness. When the Orgoth were gone, the Khadorans began to look on the so-called deviousness and growing hegemonistic tendencies of their southern neighbors with a keen eye, as a wary wolf watches a stranger in its territory to discern if it is rival or friend—or prey. One cannot blame the Khadorans for these beliefs and gestures, for it was their homeland in which the Orgoth focused so many of their atrocities. It is something difficult for a onceproud empire to weather, yet they did, and as a result the Khadoran folk believe themselves strong enough to shoulder any burden. Khadoran traditions have not changed much since the days of the Khardic Empire. Even conquered by the Orgoth, they would not allow their culture to be crushed under the invaders’ heels and lashes. To this day, they have the same mindset as their ancient forefathers. Although the practice may have taken a more modern outlook, the rule remains the same: the weak live at the mercy of the strong.
Since the dawn of the Iron Kingdoms, the Motherland has looked on is neighbors with contempt; the Khadorans never felt adequately compensated for their suffering at the hands of the Orgoth. As a result, over the centuries Khador has made numerous aggressive attempts to expand its borders. Time and again Khador’s monarchs have felt the call to reestablish the empire of old, blurring boundaries with the blood of border skirmishes. Cygnar in particular has earned their ire time and again, for their rival’s expansionistic goals mirror their own in some ways. To match her rivals, the Motherland has taken great strides over the past centuries toward reinventing itself as a major industrial power. As a result of unchecked mechanized growth, most Khadoran cities lie shadowed under a constant canopy of coal smoke and forge soot. The Motherland’s industrial revolution has wracked its citizens with growing pains, but the kayazy and other royal supporters have no intention of backing from their goal of eventual superiority. While some noble families may wonder if the financial and philisophical cost is worth abandoning ancient traditions for newer breakthroughs, industrialization has stretched practically kingdom-wide in recent generations.
Khadorans are assiduous laborers who fervently devote their sweat and blood to their way of life. Patriotism is in their basic nature, and service is considered a badge of honor to most of them. Khador comes first. Religion, background, and even personal grudges come second to the call of the Motherland. Even though the kingdom has a massive Menite and Morrowan population intermingled throughout its cities and settlements, ancient feuds between the two religions are set aside in favor of Khadoran pride. Though occasionally questioned, true patriots quickly remind these wayward sons and daughters of Khador— sometimes forcibly—where their loyalties lie.
Their steamjacks are of the utmost quality, and their railway progress has elevated their pride over the past century. Khador has transformed from ethnic pocket societies, isolated in their remote forests and mountains, into a kingdom with a unified sense of nationalism and pride. The nation’s capital of Korsk is every bit as impressive as any southern city with its great factories, schools of higher learning, and cathedrals.
The Khadoran people see their current queen, Ayn Vanar XI, as the personification of their nation and call her the Pervichyi Rodinovna, the “Prime Daughter” of the Motherland. Her recent conquest of Llael has begun the fulfillment of the ambitions of generations of her line, but her success has only emboldened Ayn. She has ordered the creation of a new and formidable army with a single goal—the complete restoration of the Khardic empire. More than imperialism, more than nation-building, for Ayn the coming war is the expression of a manifest destiny for her and her people. The Khardic people by right should rule the Iron Kingdoms, and she shall see this achieved by any means necessary.