Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Eisen has long been of critical importance in Théan wars and politics. Troops often needed permission to move through her borders, and trade agreements often hinged on allowing ships to pass along the river to their south.
Eisen’s people have no magic except what they make with their own sweat and blood. Their dracheneisen (dragon iron) armor, however, is its own glorious heritage. Stronger than steel and twice as light, when coupled with the renowned military academies of Eisen, it made the Eisen military the most formidable of its time. However, Eisen has seen better days.
In 1636 a religious struggle between the Objectionists and the Vaticine Church started the War of the Cross, which ended thirty years later. The war has left Eisen devastated. Fields were reduced to mud, garrisons could no longer be paid, and merchant ships could thumb their nose at any Eisen attempt to collect tolls. After the death of the Imperator, Eisen’s government has collapsed into seven königreiches or “kingdoms”, each ruled by an Eisenfürst or “Iron Prince.”
Eisen is located in the center of Theah – historically and politically, as well as geographical. It has been long considered crucial to Thean wars and politics. Troops often need permission to pass through her borders, and trade agreements often hinged on allowing ships to pass along the river to the south. After the War of the Cross, however, Eisen was devastated. Fields and crops are reduced to mud, garrisons could no longer be paid and men deserted in droves. Merchant ships now feel free to thumb their noses at Eisen’s attempts to collect tolls. In fact, the Vendel are trying hard to take Eisen out of the mercantile business completely. No Vendel merchant will accept Eisen coins, nor can a Vendel moneylender convert guilders into pfennigs.
Once a proud nation of warriors, Eisen has now broken into seven konigreiches, each ruled by an Eisenfurst (Iron Prince). Each controls a mine of dracheneisen, which they use to maintain their power. Each Iron Prince rules his kingdom differently and only the completely stupid wander from kingdom to kingdom without some notion of what to expect.
Although the nation lies in ruins, her people are far from beaten. The Eisen language contains no word for surrender. While some have succumbed to the horrors of war (or plagues, or waves of monsters) the rest that live are stronger for what they have suffered. The Eisen have more collective combat experience than any other nation. The armies of most other nations rely on an Eisen advisor for tactics and strategy.
Since they have nothing else left to sell, the Eisen have begun to sell war. Their military academies are the best in the world, and simply being born Eisen is often a good enough reason to lead an army. Eisen mercenaries work as soldiers, bodyguards or marines in many nations. Many loyal sons and daughters have left their homeland to fight abroad, sending their wages home to their families.