Eberron: Scales of War
Pirates, sea barons, merchant traders and all with a love of the water find their home in the Lhazaar Principalities. With a history that is equal part piracy and seafaring trade the Principalities have remained a separate entity from the kingdom of Galifar even during the years they pledged allegiance to the crown. Now, with the nation of Galifar officially shattered the Lhazaar Principalities have formed a loose confederacy of states each ruled by their own sea prince living a life where might makes right and the man with the most and biggest ships rule the sea.
A narrow strip of land to the east of the Hoarfrost Mountains is the principalities’ only connection to mainland Khorvaire. A band of more than two dozen islands lies scattered off the coast of this narrow band of landscape and extends further north than any point on Khorvaire’s shores piercing into the Bitter Sea and extends south to islands off the coast of Q’Barra.
Lhazaar society exists more on the open sea than on any land establishment. Those that call the few land establishments home exist to service the sea industries and every major settlement exists on the coastline while much of the interior of the islands remain unexplored and uninhabited. Although the oldest settlements of Khorvaire exist in the Principalities they retain their feeling of frontier towns embraced by the beautiful and brutal environment around them. The sea princes over their own islands and every inhabitant pledges fealty to these sea princes. The princes themselves are as varied as the many rulers of the other nations of Khorvaire. Whereas one may be a tyrannical despot another might be a kind hearted ambassador of goodwill.
Lhazaar was the first one that set up Society in the Lhazaar Principalities. She gave the captains in her fleet the title Prince and created the few laws that are held thoughtout the land. The law that she is best known for is that the title Prince is not hereditary. Lhazaar nobles hold their title through the power of their armies. Should a Prince’s army be defeated, the winner may lay claim that that Prince’s title and land. While Lhazaar’s laws are universal, the variety of people and cultures in the Principalties means that each ruler has their own peculiar code of laws and traditions. The gnomes of Lorghalen challenge any would-be Prince to tests of wits. The Elves of Farlnen want a show of Arcane skill from their ruler in addition to naval power. The Sea Princes are very independent and feud among each other. None of the islands have ever been united under a Prince, but there has always been one prince that claims the title of High Prince. Such a claim must be backed by the fact that the Prince has a strong fleet and the respect of the other princes.
There are a few laws that the people of the Lhazaar Principalities follow throughout. Foremost among them is that the princes of have the right to administer justice in their own land, and may appoint officers as they sees fit. The Princes squabble amongst each other, but will band together against an outside enemy. Like their princes, the people of the Lhazaar Principalities will set aside their differences if attacked by outsiders.
The Lhazaar people love the sea. They live around the sea because they feel trapped when they are inland. They eat seafood and drink alcoholic beverages made from different sea plants. Because the Lhazaar has so many people from different areas and races they are comfortable with all races. Mixed languages have also become prevalent, as different races mix their languages with others, much like Creole. Clothing is different from one island to other but it tends to be tough and functional. Lhazaar residents also have a lot of pride in their hair.
The Lhazaar Principalities take their name from the explorer Lhazaar, the woman responsible for first bringing human settlers from the nation of Rhiavaar in Sarlona to the shores of Khorvaire 3,000 years ago. It is theorized that these “settlers” were actually societal undesirables escaping jail and persecution. The Principalities continued to grow as humans spread across the landscape of Khorvaire. By the time Galifar I came to power the Lhazaar Principalities had already been well established for over a thousand years and the people had earned a reputation as raiders and pirates. The strip of land went largely unnoticed under Galifar until 28 YK when Galifar brought his own navy against the Lhazaar Princes who had been wreaking havoc on the coastal communities both in the north and the east of Khorvaire. Over the next decade the Galifar-LhazaarWar resounded on the open seas around the principalities. After ten years and thousands in gold had been expended by both sides Galifar had finally secured enough victories against the sea princes that they entreated for negotiations. In the end they became officially part of the nation of Galifar, though they remained autonomous.
Now officially a part of the Kingdom of Galifar the Lhazaar Princes could no longer rely on piracy on the open waters so they turned their efforts to trade and exploration leading some of the most daring expeditions to date. For 800 years the Lhazaarians bid their time, awaiting the spark of change. That spark would come in the throes of the Last War.
The Last War
When the Last War erupted in Galifar the sea princes remained decidedly neutral continuing as they had for many centuries to trade and explore the known world. As the war raged on for decades however the sea princes began to find the same argument that the dwarves of the Mror Holds had. Their agreement of fealty had been to Galifar and the Kingdom and with the kingdom now in ruin they saw their agreement as officially dissolved. Now free to revert to their ancient ways of piracy it didn’t take long for the sea princes one by one to return to their old ways. At first the various princes warred amongst themselves for supreme sovereignty over the principalities until they realized that the whole of Khorvaire was their oyster and they were holding all the knives. Piracy once again plagued the coastal towns across Khorvaire while other sea princes hired out their flotillas as privateers. As the Last War subsided the Lhazaar Principalities were able to hold themselves together under Prince Rygar ir’Wynarn long enough to attend the forming of the Treaty of Thronehold granting them all of the rights of the other nations.
However, now with the confederacy of independent states now officially recognized by the other sovereign nations of Khorvaire the sea princes had to lower their flags of piracy and return to the life of trade and exploration. Some renegade princes still plague the open waters, but the rest of the princes seem to be biding their time for another spark, content to wait it out like a bad storm.