Location: East-central Drm
Population: 1,500,000 on the tax rolls
Chief Deity: Celzar (Ministry Affiliated)
Coat of Arms: The Diving Eagle
Allied Nations: Bainland, Carthron, Mandl, Quasii, Sambs, Yahilli
Enemy Nations: Eselix, The Wyrmspine Hills
Capitol City: Valernus


Valdeze is a very temperate area. It has almost three months of each season. During summers, temperatures never exceed 95 degrees F while winters typically are never cooler than 15 degrees F. Yearly rainfall averages are between 32 to 48 inches. Winter snows have never exceeded 7 inches.


Pine (like reddenwood) and hardwood trees (like hickory and walnut) dominate Valdeze, especially in the region known as Reddenwood Forest. The northeastern portion of Valdeze also has a fair percentage of conifer trees. Berry bushes and wildflowers abound in Valdeze. Crabgrass and wiregrass are the dominant grasses here. The soil in Valdeze ranges from loam to sandy loam, especially on the coast of Valdeze’s dominant waterway, the Wynding River. Clay and limestone are the dominant stones.


Deer, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, possum, doves, quail, ducks, geese, and turkey are the most common prey animals in Valdeze. Otters, beavers, and mink are also found. The most common predator species include wildcats, owls, foxes, eagles, and hawks. Songbirds abound as do snakes and lizards of every variety. Bears and mountain lions can be found near rocky or hilly areas. Other creatures like ankheg, giant ants and other insects, owlbears, wyvern, and the dire varieties of many animals are also encountered here. Drakes are found deep within Reddenwood Forest.

Sentient Life

Goblins, kobolds, and sprites are common in the more heavily wooded areas. Trolls, although less common, have been encountered as have the occasional ogres. Rumors persist that a small settlement of gnomes lives in Reddenwood. Elves are rumored to still haunt the lands of Valdeze. If found, Elves are often brutally beaten and killed, often by lynching.


Young compared to many of the other nations in the same area, Valdeze was founded in 1023 AG (Age of Greatness), just over 700 years before the Darkhold. Initially, what would become Valdeze was land contested Curoboria Empire, the Dukes of Bainland, and the A’Grabath and B’Ain Elves during the late 700s AG. The area became a popular trading station between Bainland and the Elves and small settlements slowly appeared to meet the needs of merchants, craftsmen and other travelers. Regular attacks by Curoborian forced Bainland to eventually station a garrison near the northeastern portion of the land that was very close to the hill homes of the Elves. At the time, the King of Bainland was “The Hammer of Celzar,” His Majesty, Arenthal Karthrike. Dedicated to enforcing the law of Celzar as he saw it, and persuaded by the counsel of the witch, Pandrila the Great, King Arenthal grew tired of the Duruban attacks and decided to strike back. The King offered the Elves his aid, which was quickly accepted and a united force of Human and Elves attacked Horg in the winter of 799 AG. This sparked the Eastern War. The might of Bainland was such that the war ended in 804 AG when Arenthal’s army marched on and razed the Curoborian capital of Arcan. The jubilant Elves rewarded Arenthal with the land the two nations had traded in for years, naming it Valdeze, an Elven word meaning “Friendship.”

Arenthal turned the land over to his chief general, the Lord Chamberlain, Grand Duke Helenth. However, the Lord Chamberlain never relocated to Valdeze nor did any of his court. Instead, the land became populated with Bainlanders and Mandls interested in starting a new life. Over a few decades, what was once largely a trading settlement developed into a series of small farming towns. Human and elves intermingled freely and regularly. Within a generation, most Valds, as these people came to call themselves, had a good deal of Elven blood in their veins. However, over time, the Elves, watching their loved ones and children grow old and die, left the land largely to the mostly Human descendents of the original settlers.

Most of these dozen or so towns erected in Valdeze were run by democratically elected men, usually called Mayors. Perhaps due to the chaotic natures of their forebears, the Valds frowned on the feudalistic, monarchial system of their Bainland lords. By the mid 900s AG, the Valds ceased to see themselves as Bainlanders. This happened almost simultaneously with the reign of King Krimnthron Karthrike, Arenthal’s grandson. The past few centuries in Bainland had been a golden time for Bainlanders and their subject countries and nations. However, Krimnthron’s greed and warmongering to the south in Wyrms Wood, led to increased taxes, army conscription, and a lessening of freedoms. Seeing Valdeze as a blight on his view of a perfect Bainland Empire, Krimnthron sent Archlord Valernus, son of His Majesty’s Lord Chamberlain, to rein the Valds in. Archlord Valernus took residence in the largest, wealthiest of the towns in 992 AG and renamed it after himself. Despite the anger of the Valds, Valdeze quickly had an established hereditary line of nobles, although these titles were no where as consistent as they were in Bainland. Initially, Valernus, a young man of 22 when he arrived in Valdeze, ruled harshly, believing he was upholding the laws of a just king. Still, Valernus was fair and kind to his people. He recognized that the Valds were not going to function under a feudal system and did nothing to alter most of their traditions. When Krimnthron died in 1010 AG, his son Nimnthron took the throne of Bainland. A cruel man who sought to enrich himself, he went even further than his father in pursuit of his own desires. The yolk of oppression intensified throughout Bainland and its satellites, including Valdeze, when Nimnthron sent his armies into his lands. Increased taxes and the outrageous laws and punishments for crimes made much of Bainland and its satellites burdened with heavy oppression. So great was the injustice in Bainland that the long time court advisor, Pandrila the Great, left Bainland seeking to prompt the people of Bainland to revolt against their King. Pandrila found the perfect people in Valdeze.

During his rule in Valdeze, Valernus took to keeping Valds as esteemed members of his court. He married a Vald and began to see the future that awaited his and other’s children. Joined by Valds and with the advice of Pandrila, Valernus, rather than openly challenge the King of Bainland, led and directed rebellious attacks on the Bainlander outposts. The intensity and frequency of these assaults, called the Bloody Revolt, soon spread across the Bainland Kingdom over the years despite Nimnthron’s attempts to harshly crush the rebels. By 1022, Valernus led an open revolt in Bainland’s capitol, Narth Karthrike. Valernus himself slew the King while Pandrila destroyed the Court. The Bloody Revolt ended, leaving Bainland crippled with an infant King. All the satellites were granted de facto independence. Valdeze became a nation.

The Free People of Valdeze decided to keep Valernus as their leader, and adopted a hereditary line of rulership called the Archlords. Archlord Valernus continued his policy of including the people of Valdeze in his rulership, creating the High Court of Valdeze with representatives from each of the cities. It was Archlord Orthus III who, in 1740 AG asked the wizard, Seeroth the Dark, to become an official advisor to the Court. Valdeze was also the chief staging ground for the Forces of Noon during The Darkhold.

The Archlords of Valernus would rule for centuries until 127 AE (Age of Enlightenment) when the Archlord Empirif decreed on his deathbed that the people of Valdeze could rule themselves without nobles. Although nobles and titles are still very real in Valdeze, the Archlord is simply a standard of tradition now.

Valdeze became a founding member of the Ministry in 389 AE. As a nation, Valdeze became very interested in wealth and technology. Leaders sought out information on the Dwarves of Burquebain far to the north in order to help Valdeze prosper. Interestingly, by this time, Valdeze, having forgotten much of its past, began having skirmishes with their distant relatives, the Wyrmspine Hills Elves. The Claimed Land War erupted between Valdeze and Ministry against Eselix and the Wyrmspine Hills in 697 AE. Although the war ended in a truce three years later, Valds continue to hate not just the Elves of Wyrmspine, but all Elves. Valdeze has also come into numerous conflicts with Eselix. The Second Claimed Land War between Valdeze and Eselix raged from 732 to 740 AE. The conflict between these three nations does not appear over by any means.

Valdeze currently enjoys the status as the most powerful nation in the Ministry and ranks as one of the three wealthiest nations in Drm (Ashtur and Mandl are the others). The power of the High Court of Valdeze and the Guild of Merchants is recognized as far north as Xyl and as far south as Evelyn’s Keep. Valdeze continues to grow in strength and maintain its status as one of the best places to live.


Dominant trade items include apples, grains, minkpelt, peaches and numerous vegetables. Valdeze’s strongest cash crop is tobacco, especially the High Tobacco variety. There is a striving cattle and goat business in Valdeze, so milks and cheeses are sold throughout the Ministry. Turkey meat is the most popular source of meat food in Valdeze. Mineral deposits in Molus Hills in the southwest and the lesser Wyrmspine Hills in the northeast result in trade in coal, stone, and clay. Valdeze is the only nation in the Ministry (and probably south of Burquebain) to produce cement, its most lucrative business.


There are three very distinct classes in Valdeze, all of whom refer to themselves as Valds. The noble class is made up of those who can trace their heritage through either the Valernus line or the original half-elven settlers. Collectively, these nobles are known as the Line of Valernus. There is only one Archlord, currently Horis III, while all other nobles have varying titles, although Highlord remains very popular. Aside from the fact that the relatively small number of nobles means any one noble has a greater than normal chance to become a Justice, nobles have no greater political power than the most powerful merchants. The nobility has done well by ensuring that they have yet to squander their hereditary riches. The Archlord is the only noble to receive any money from the state; all others have to be self-sufficient. The merchant class is made up of powerful, wealthy landowners as well as members of the Ministry. The major difference between many merchants and the nobility is that merchants cannot trace their lineage. Nobles and merchants own the majority of farm and cattle land in Valdeze, well over 65%, and all bankers, precious metal exchangers, and scholars are in this class. Additionally, the merchants are all members of the Guild of Merchants, a powerful political organization that has seen a significant rise in its power over the past decade. The final class is the large commoner class. The commoners comprise over 80% of the total population. Within the commoner class there is a wide and diverse group of people from the relatively well-off hoping to become members of the Guild of Merchants and therefore part of the merchant class, and those at the bottom who spend their days begging in the gutters. The commoners usually work for either noble families or for merchant businesses. Compared to the commoners throughout Drm, Valdeze commoners have the best standard of living after Mandl.

As a group, Valds are very down-to-earth people proud of their heritage, distrustful of pomp and circumstance, and dedicated to the ideals of the Ministry and Celzar. The people expect to be left alone by the government to lead their own lives so long as they do not harm or impede on another’s. However, Valds are very interested in the accumulation of personal wealth and, at times, can be arrogant and patronizing to others. Because of the extreme power of the Ministry in Valdeze, Valds tend to be more superstitious regarding arcane magic, Elves, Dwarves, and other lesser-known demihumans. Valds hate arcane magic, fearing it greatly and attributing any suggestion of such magic to the work of the Dark Sovereign. Because of the Claimed Lands War I, as a whole, Valds do not care for Elves at all and barely tolerate half-Elves. Elves are hated, and generally treated terribly; in some of the smaller towns, and in some of the less reputable areas of major cities, Elf lynchings are not uncommon. Valds hold Dwarves in high esteem, an interesting point considering that most Valds have never seen the Stout Folk. Many of the laws adopted by the Writ of Valdeze are based on ancient Dwarven texts. Although Valdeze regularly trades with Darco, a major Duruban city, Valds view Duruban as stupid, spiteful oafs. They are not very familiar with Chirpto or Hobgoblins, but the general consensus is that they are servants of the Dark Sovereign, although only a drunken Vald would attempt to harm either member of those races without sufficient strength. Valds distrust Gnomes, avoiding them if possible. Valds don’t like Kender, whom they view as obnoxious thieves.


Valdeze has a representative republic. Each of the five cities elects three men to represent them in the High Court of Valdeze for seven year terms as a Justice of Valdeze, although they may serve as many times as they are elected and most serve for life. The men are chosen from the three classes and only a member of a class can vote for any candidate. All Justices live in Valernus while they serve and they receive a stipend from the tax rolls for their service during their term. The High Justice, currently Lord Aldemeer V of Valernus, leads the fifteen Justices. The High Justice must be of noble blood and is elected by the entire Court. The city that the Justice is from must then replace him with another Justice. The High Justice serves for life and serves as the Head of Government for Valdeze. The High Court establishes the laws for all Valdeze which are included as part of the Writ of Valdeze, a kind of constitution of the rights accorded to the people. The Court meets at least once a week, although the High Justice may call a session at any time. The High Justice may decree what ever he wishes, and at least 2/3 (or 9) of the Justices must join together to oppose the will of the High Justice. Most High Justices are very hesitant to issue decrees without considering the will of the High Court or the people, and Aldemeer V is no exception. However, the power wielded by the High Justice is immense since it is the High Justice who appoints the Lord High Captain of the Lord’s Guard and the Chief Bureaucrats. Alongside the Lord High Captain, the Line of Bureaucrats and the High Minister of Valdeze counsel the High Court. The Line of Bureaucrats, of which there are four, may vote on all decisions made by the High Justice as a member of the Court, although their votes only count as half of one vote. The vote of the Lord High Commander counts fully. There are two official advisors to the Court. The first is the Archlord of Valdeze, who serves as the Head of State, currently Horis III. The other is the Chief Librarian of the Valernus Library. Neither of these men have any vote in the Court, but tradition has allowed their voices to not only be heard, but to have a certain level of gravity. The current Chief Librarian his Duke Dentun.
The Line of Bureaucrats is made up of the following:
1. The Line of Trade: Barribus the Sheerer
2. The Line of Public Works: Duke Andrews
3. The Line of Diplomacy: Lord Kathri Overbound
4. The Line of the National Treasury: Morclothe the Glibtongued
The Lord High Commander is Nephermire Thunberblaze.

The five cities in Valdeze are Calbus, Dalrin, Ethenus, Greenspar, and Valernus.

There are almost two dozen small towns that are considered extensions to whichever city is nearest. Most cities support two or three wealthy families who can trace their heritage back to Valernus I (and quite a few possess Elven blood, something they’ve all tried to hide). However, the true power in the cities of Valdeze is the elected Lord Mayors. The Lord Mayors rule their city with almost complete autonomy for seven year terms; most Lord Mayors serve for life, although they can be removed from office by the High Court. In the past, most Lord Mayors came out of one of the noble families in the given city, but with the proliferation of wealthy merchants, this trend has ceased. The Lord Mayor may due as he pleases so long as the dictates of the Lord Mayor do not supercede the will of the High Court, the strength of Valdeze, or the works of the Ministry. The Lord Mayors work very closely with both the Lines of Bureaucrats and the Lord High Commander. While the Lord Mayors appoint the Tax Barons and their own Lord Captain of the local Lord’s Guard, they always consider that, technically, these appointees are really controlled by the High Court. Most Lord Mayors have official councils that assist them in the execution of their duties. Usually, the Tax Baron, the local Lord Captain, the highest-ranking local Guild official, and the local Temple Master serve on these councils.
Towns follow similar structures to the cities, although their elected leaders are called Lord Constables. Lord Constables are subject to the dictates of whichever city the town belongs and cannot appoint Tax Barons or Lord Captains. There are only five Tax Barons at all times (Archhaven and Aulus are under the auspices of Valernus), and the Lord Captain of a city typically appoints a Captain for the towns (although, in most cases, they ask the Lord Constables for recommendations). Although these small towns generate most of the trade items that fuel Valdeze’s economy, the power of the Guild of Merchants ensures that the trade centers of Valdeze are located in the five cities.

The Military

The Lord High Commander controls both the military and the police force in Valdeze. The two are one and the same and is called the Lord’s Guard. There are three distinct components of the Lord’s Guard. The Seawall is commanded by the Seawall Captain, who also commands Seawall Fleet. Then, there’s the Lord High Captain, who controls the strictly military elements of Valdeze. Finally, there are the five Lord Captains. The Seawall Captain, the Lord High Captain, and the Lord Captains all answer to the Lord High Commander of the Lord’s Guard. The Lord’s Guard is over 130,000 strong during peacetime, and can grow up to well over 450,000 when at war, making it the largest armies in the Ministry after Bainland. Technically, all Lord Captains answer to the Lord High Commander. Traditionally, the joint cooperation between the Lord’s Guard and the Lord Mayors dictated the manner in which criminals were tried and punished and this continues to be the case in most towns. However, in the cities, the Ministry’s Angelic Order of Thore Mire has been given the authority to act as the judicial system. These judges are appointed by the Lord Mayor and the Lord Captain of the Lords’ Guard and can be changed at any time. Slowly, however, the power of tradition is taking a root in these cities and these judges, increasingly being referred to as The Delegated, are becoming more and more powerful.

The Ministry

As a charter member of the Ministry, Valdeze is a powerful proponent of the Glass Towers in Quasii. The will of the Ministry is stronger in Valdeze than anywhere else in the Ministry save Quasii itself. The High Minister of Valdeze, currently Lord Kalverstat II, is a powerful man whose words are considered heavily when he councils the High Court. The High Minister of Valdeze appoints all Temple Masters in Valdeze, from the largest cities to the smallest towns. These Temple Masters always wield considerable power in their stations and have caused at least two Lord Mayors to be removed from office by the High Court in the past five years. One of the Seven Cathedrals is in Greenspar, the Ecclesiastical Palace. The Holy Order of Archangels, particularly the Order of Nemaria, is quite potent in Valdeze. In fact, alongside Bainland, Valdeze is the only Ministry nation in which the national heads of the Holy Orders join the High Minister as advisors to the Head of Government. However, unlike Bainland, the Holy Orders issue their advice through the High Minister who then reports to the High Court. The garrison for the Riders of Justice, the Grand Archway, stands before the Ecclesiastical Palace and is commanded by the Lord Preceptor Bryant the Worthy.

The Valernus Library

The Valernus Library is the largest, most comprehensive, and most sought out library in the Ministry and perhaps all of Drm. Although the Black Hall Library in Ashtur is certainly as large, and the Lost Library of Evelyn’s Keep holds more ancient texts, the Valernus Library is the only library that allows all to enter at no fee. The Library is heavily protected at all times by a detachment of the Lord’s Guard and is controlled by the Duke of Dentun, the Chief Librarian. The station of the Chief Librarian is an oddly powerful one since he serves as an advisor to the High Court. It is also a hereditary line, since a member of the Duke’s family has always overseen the Library.

The Gilded Chalice

The powerful Gilded Chalice has considerable control over the prices of all items traded in and out of Valdeze. Their might is such that even merchants in other lands concern themselves with the will of the Chalice. The Chalice, although not an official part of politics in Valdeze, still maintains considerable power and has been accused of manipulating the Line of Trade over the years. The Chalice has a leader, called the Gildmaster, who represents the will of the Chalice. How this person is chosen is unknown. Currently, the Gildmaster is Tysoriun Madderghast.

The Rose Guild, Crime, and Law

The Rose Guild is the powerful, underground thieves’ guild that has been a thorn in Valdeze’s side for over a half century. Very little is known of the Guild, as most of its members have never been captured. They carry out all manner of brazen thefts and have been accused of the murder of merchants, nobles, and even Justices. Their calling card is a black rose left behind the scenes.
Crime in Valdeze is most serious in the cities. Although Valdeze is certainly one of the safest nations in Drm, it still has its share of vice. Most criminals are dealt with swiftly. In small towns, criminals are deposited in small cells or underground caverns near the Lords’ Guard barracks until either the Lord Captain, the Lord Constable, or an appointment of town elders interviews them. Typically, crimes involving theft, assault, and the like result in punishments such as time incarcerated, public floggings, or hard labor. Crimes such as rape, murder, or acts of Blasphemy against the Ministry can carry sentences as severe as public execution, usually by hanging or, in the case of Blasphemy, burning at the stake. Most cities follow similar laws, although the Delegated hears each case. The process in cities is slower and it is very common that the dungeons of the city barracks are filled to capacity.
There are number of general considerations travelers to Valdeze should keep in mind. The public display of weapons is quite common; however, drawing a weapon for any reason save in self-defense is a highly offensive act. Valds are very straightforward; however, they can be easily offended by opinions divergent to their own, especially with regard to the Ministry. Public drunkenness is frowned upon, as are scantily clothed people. Brawling and fighting in Valdeze is infrequent because of the presence of the Guard. While men and women are equal, Valdeze is a very patriarchal society in which only the men serve in official government roles. However, there are quite a few powerful women in the noble and merchant classes and a fair number (15%) of the Lords’ Guard are women.

The Aqueducts

One of the marvels of Valdeze is it elaborate water-system, particularly the aqueducts. The aqueducts of Valdeze were built during the years after the Blood Revolt by Pandrila the Great and her Dwarven allies (the designs were based upon those of ancient Vhendimmoth). Made from limestone and reinforced and layered with concrete and iron, the aqueducts draw water from the Wynding River and distribute the water throughout Valdeze, although most of it travels to Valernus, which is landlocked. The technology of the aqueducts is known only to a few, particularly those within the upper echelons of the Line of Public Works. The aqueducts provide two additional functions beyond providing clean water to Valdeze. They form the basis of one of Drm’s most elaborate and sophisticated sewer-systems. In some parts of the nation, they double as defensive walls.

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