The Aberrant Mark
Less than thirty years ago, the armies of the hobgoblin warlord Haruuc turned on the people of Cyre and founded the nation of Darguun. All of Khorvaire bears the scars from the Last War, but these wounds run particularly deep in Darguun. Every lowland village is built on the bones of a Cyran settlement, and while new construction drives the growing cities of the Ghaal’dar, the ruins of a dead land are the foundation of this ramshackle nation.
A haven for criminals and others who have no place in the Five Nations, Darguun is a dangerous land for foreigners. Few laws hold or are enforced here, and any appearance of weakness invites attack. Regardless, this land holds numberous challenges of potential interest to adventurers, from treasures lost in the Last War to the ancient ruins of the Dhakaani Empire.
Darguun is a land ruled by fractious tribal politics. Though the dragonmarked houses all have representation in Thukaan Draal, few of the houses have invested significant resources in this land. As such, virtually all power in the nation resides in its independent clans.
The first culture to arise from the ashes of the fallen empire was that of the Ghaal’dar. Though the lore and glory of their Dhakaani ancestors remains lost to them, the Ghaal’dar are a stoic folk with a proud warrior culture. Hobgoblins dominate Ghaal’dar society, keeping the goblins in line through force and intimidation even as they manage the bugbears through superior numbers and intellect. The Ghaal’dar enslave other humanoid races, but slaves and lesser goblins can earn the respect of the hobgoblins though courage and skill at arms. It is not unheard of for nongoblins (primarily humans) to be inducted into Ghaal’dar tribes.
The Ghaal’dar are an alliance of tribes. The Lhesh Haruuc belongs to the larges of these, the Rhukaan Taash. The name means “Razor Crown,” and a line of scars encircles the head of each Rhukaan warrior, the result of a tirual marking when a hobgoblin becomes a soldier. The Lhesh Haruuc has greatly improved the lives of his people, but unless he finds a capable successor, the Ghaal’dar chieftains seem certain to turn on one another once he is gone.
The MarguulThe Marguul tribes of souther Darguun are dominated by bugbears. The Marguul keep members of other races (including goblins and hobgoblins) as slaves, and only bugnears can be full members of a Marguul tribe.
Despite their xenophobia, most of the Marguul trives pay homage to the Lhesh Haruuc and Ghaal’dar. However, the few exceptions can prove dangerous to travelers. The Kalkor are a Marguul tribe whose members worship the Mockery, and who delight in flaying their enemies alive. A veteran warrior named Morgaath rules the Kalkor, frequently leading hunting expeditions against outsiders who dare to venture into the Seawall Mountains.
The Heirs of Dhakaan
In the wake of the Xoriate incursion, the Dhakaani Empire collapsed into civil war. However, even before the empire first began to fracture, the leaders of a handful of goblin clans predicted the dark future that lay ahead. Rather than fall with the empire, these clans retreated to places of isolation, from the depths of Khyber to the heights of impassable mountain, severing all connections with the outside world. For thousands of years, they remained hidden in these sanctuaries, holding fast to the true traditions of the Dhakaani.
With the collapse of Galifar and the rise of Darguun, the Heirs of Dhakaan have emerged from hiding. The clan leaders intend to rebuild their ancient empire and reclaim a continent stolen by humanity. First, however, they must unite behind a single leader, a process that has proved to be a bitter struggle so far.
Although the Dhakaani goblins are physically identical to their Ghaal’dar cousins, a number of important cultural differences divide them. The Dhakaani are dedicated to war, and beyond that, to strict order and discipline. Though they are few in number compared to the armies of the Five Nations, the Heirs of Dhakaan are superb soldiers and exceptional smiths and combat engineers, producing arms and armor of unparalleled quality.
Among the Ghaal’dar and Marguul, tensions between goblin, hobgoblin, and bugbear run high. Among the Dhakaani, however, each species serves a distinct role in society. Goblins are crafters and skilled laborers. Bugbears are shock troops and drudge workers. Hobgoblins are warriors and leaders, with those roles further divided by gender. Male hobgoblins traditionally serves as soldiers, while female hobgoblins pursue the diplomatic, spiritual, and healing paths.
The Dhakaani are an agnostic folk dedicated only to the ideals of their ancient empire. As such, the divine classes are rare among them. Their spiritual leaders are the duur’kala, or dirge singers. These bards preserve the lore of the empire and inspire soldiers in battle with tales of the past. Aside from bards, members of arcane classes are rare among the Dhakaani, but some clans (notably the Kech Volaar) are working to master the arts of magic.