One of the few ancient empires that has survived to the present day, for millenia Mulhorand existed under the rulership of physical manifestations of its deities. Now in the hands of those deities' mortal descendants, Mulhorand has begun to change and accomodate the rest of the world, opening itself to foreign trade and ideas.
With the collapse of Unther's government, Mulhorand has conquered much of its old rival's territory and may be looking to remake itself intot he empire it used to be. Still unpopular in some western countries for its acceptance of slavery, Mulhorand remains an exotic land with powerful magic, old technology, and a powerful clergy.
Life and Society
Mulhorand has long been a patriarchal nation, with the first son of a family inheriting two-thirds of the family's property, the second son getting the remainder, and all other children left to fend for themselves. With the removal of the deific manisfestations and influence on Pharaoh Horustep III by foreign mercenaries, Mulhorand's laws have started to enforce equality between the sexes.
Clerics are still the most respected members of society, with the vast majority of them being descendants of the incarnations of the deities they serve. Wizards and sorcerers, also well respected here, spend their time researching new magic or examining old artifacts.
Religion is important to the Mulhorandi. They say prayers four times a day, clerics run the government, and the temples own all the nation's slaves (which are rented out to others). Class is also important: Bureaucrats (people of status) shave their heads and paint circles upon their foreheads. One circle indicates a freeman, two a wizard, and three a cleric. The middle class consists of artisans, craftsfolk, traders, mercenaries, and scribes.
Below the middle class are the slaves, who are treated well; harming a slave is considered vandalism of temple property. It is possible for a slave to rise to the status of a bureaucrat if given sufficient education. For the most part, adventurers are seen as little more than grave robbers. Nonhumans are uncommon aside from the dwarves and gnomes in the Sword Mountains and elves and half-elves in the Methwood.
The greatest source of dissent among the citizens is the rivalry between the churches of Anhur and Horus-Re. Anhur favors change and conflict while Horus-Re represents eternity and perpetual order. Now that Mulhorand is ruled by someone fully mortal once again, the dominance of Horus-Re is lessening, and deities from the Faerûnian pantheon are making inroads in Mulhorand while the local deities are expanding outward from their native land. Mulhorand is also unusual for its technology, primarily pumps to move water to irrigate crops. This aspect of the culture had fallen into decline for centuries but is now being revived by the clerics of Thoth and Gond.
Major Geographical Features
Alamber Sea: This sea is heavily populated by the sahuagin that hail from their undersea kingdom of Aleaxtis, thought to be in the top third of the bay. The large island is the Ship of the Gods, an active volcano and a haven for pirates.
Dragonsword Mountains: The Mulhorandi consider these high mountains impassable due to the large number of dangerous sphinxes, griffons, and yrthaks that lair here. Gestaniius the blue wyrm is the most dangerous of the mountains' denizens.
Plains of the Purple Dust: This region of faintly magical sand is inhabited primarily by purple worms, with human nomads living on the plains' western border. Under the dust lie connections to the Underdark; the cities beneath are controlled by cruel lizardfolk. Most believe that the battles between the deities of Unther and Mulhorand indirectly caused this wasteland.
Raurin, the Dust Desert: This land was once the center of the Imaskar Empire: The Imaskari's battles against the Mulhorandi and Untheric deities destroyed their homeland, and the survivors moved west. Now Raurin is a wasteland of stone, sand, and dust inhabited by brown dragons, blue dragons, and a handful of rogue efreet. The desert also holds many ruins with powerful artifacts, as well as a large temple to the deity Set.
The population figures below include roughly 20,000 of the Mulhorandi soldiers currently stationed in Unther.
Gheldaneth (Metropolis, 172,243): The second largest city in the nation is a sprawling port ruled by clerics of Thoth. Its most prominent buildings are the Great University and the Wizard College. The majority of the arcane magic items created in Mulhorand are made here.
Mishtan (Small City, 6,459): The temple of Osiris, Mulhorandi power of the dead, rules this town. Mishtan's claim to importance is its proximity to the Land of the Dead, the ancient burial ground for pharaohs and their families. This complex of tombs in the Dragonsword Mountains is constantly under construction, and the number of people working here increases by factor of ten in the springtime. Animated skeletons and zombies within the tombs destroy grave robbers and defilers.
Neldorild (Metropolis, 86,121): Neldorild is a city of affluent nobles and wealthy retirees seeking escape from politics. The city is less than twenty years old, and parts of it are still being constructed to accommodate new arrivals. Ruled by the church of Nephthys, the city is intolerant of thieves, and stealing is punishable by death.
Skuld (Metropolis, 204,538): The oldest continually inhabited city in Faerûn, Skuld was founded over thirty-five hundred years ago. Its inhabitants boast (truthfully) that no invading army has ever breached its walls. The part of Skuld called the City of the Gods is the ssite for temples and the former residences of the incarnated Mulhorand deities, and its grandeur is all the more spectacular compared to the squalor of the rest of the city. The many laws here are strict, and taxes are both numerous and high, although those affecting nonhuman visitors have been largely dropped.
Four thousand years ago, the Imaskar Empire suffered a great plague that decimated its population. The wizard-rulers of Imaskar opened a pair of great portals to another world, pulling forth over one hundred thousand humans, then closed the portals and sealed all connections to that world forever. The Imaskari enslaved and oppressed these people (the Mulan), and the slaves offered countless prayers to their deities that went unheard because of the Imaskaran barrier.
Through the intervention of Ao, the slaves' deities were able to send powerful but mortal versions of themselves through alternate methods, bypassing the barrier. The deities battled and defeated the Imaskari, settling the lands to the west along with their followers. The nations of Mulhorand and Unther were born from these events, and after years of war, the divine manifestations agreed to abide by their common border and pursue conquest of other lands.
Nine hundred years later, another great portal opened to unknown world, calling forth unnumbered hordes of orcs. The humanoids attacked the northern reaches of Mulhorand and Unther, drawing the divine manifestations into battle with the barbarous enemy. In response, the orc clerics summoned manifestations of their deities, resulting in many deaths on both sides. Eventually the orcs were defeated and fled to elsewhere in Toril.
Over the next two thousand years, Mulhorand's daughter states broke free, forming the nations of Murghom, Semphar, and Thay. Mulhorand existed in a state of slow decline for hundreds of years until the end of the Time of Troubles, when Ao removed the Imaskari barrier. This allowed the Mulhorandi manifestations to reunite with their primary essences. Ruled by a true mortal for the first time in its history, Mulhorand went through a brief period of repression and martial law, then stabilized somewhat as the clergy, long used to ruling the country, reestablished a state of normalcy.
With the death of Gilgeam the Tyrant, Unther lost its lone manifest deity. Anhur, the Mulhorandi god of war, had long been pressing the pharaoh to take a more active role in the world, and the change in Unther was the catalyst that the young pharaoh Horustep III needed. Realizing the border treaty between the deities was no longer valid without the presence of the manifestation of Gilgeam in Unther, the pharaoh allowed the clerics of Anhur to lead an army into Unther. Greatly aided by the Gold Swords, a skilled foreign mercenary company led by Kendera Steeldice, the army of Mulhorand marched around the Alamber Sea as far north as the city of Shussel, conquering most of Unther in the process. Mulhorand's military energy is currently being used to end or divert slave revolts and train former Untheric slaves in the service of the temples of Mulhorand.
Back in Skuld, the pharaoh had become quite enamored of the mercenary Kendera, whose dedication, skill, and experience impressed him greatly. With the able-bodied men of the country camped to the west, Mulhorand faced a severe shortage of workers in all disciplines. Under Kendera's advice, Horustep III has passed a law allowing women to work in the same jobs as men and is considering plans to restructure the inheritance laws to be more equitable among all siblings.
Now Mulhorand has expanded its territory by nearly half, with the remainder of Unther barely able to organize a coherent defense. Thay, Chessenta, and other nearby nations have taken care to treat Mulhorand carefully, and diplomats from many nations visit Skuld, hoping to stay in good favor with the pharaoh. The remainder of Unther trembles at the thought of next year's campaign, but the pharaoh's military advisors caution him not to expand too quickly.
Plots and Rumors
Mulhorand's power rests on three pillars: the pharaoh and his army, the clerics and the vast possessions of their temples, and the land's wizards. The pharaoh's ascendance does not please the clerics of deities other than Anhur and Horus-Re, nor does it please the mages. Intrigues and schemes to control the young and aggressive pharaoh are becoming common in the city of Skuld.
Thieves in the Night: The church of Mask has taken advantage of the absence of the military in Mulhorand to conduct some notorious heists in Skuld. The official churches of the state have been unable to track those responsible, in part because some of the thieves have been able to melt away into thin air. Unknown to Mulhorandi, the secret ritual discovered by the Shadowmasters of Telflamm has been taught to local Maskarran clerics, and unless they are caught soon, every thief in the city will gain this ability.