The nation of the Iron Throne is second only to the nation of Cho-Lin as the premier human power on Therafim. With its capital set on the northeastern side of the Granite Mountains, next to the sea separating Autumn Land from the Rimevast, the Iron Throne Empire wraps around the northernmost reaches of the Granite Mountains, and acts as a buffer shield between Autumn Land and the goblinoid hordes of Rimevast. Because of this constant struggle against nonhuman hordes, nonhumans can expect some prejudice in the Iron Throne. Nonhumans with more humanlike appearances can expect stares and extra attention, but will generally receive fair treatment, while nonhumans that differ more widely from humans in appearance, or are considered ugly by human standards, such as goblinoids, those with orcish blood, or beastfolk, are often treated with a fair degree of prejudice, though this usually stops short of outright violence.
All families in the Iron Throne Empire are expected to produce at least one soldier who will serve for a minimum of four years in the Imperial military, protecting the Empire (usually the firstborn in a family), or else to pay a fee instead, which goes to assisting other soldiers in need of food and equipment. Those families that currently have a "child in the field," as they are called, are not taxed, but are expected to provide food and equipment for their soldier instead, which is gathered by tax collectors as usual, but given special treatment. Because of the highly efficient training process of the Iron Throne military machine, the Empire has excellent troops ready at all times to lay down their lives in the defence of their homes.
The Iron Throne Empire is arranged along a feudal system, with an Emporer chosen by the gods themselves as a paragon of wisdom and just rulership (see the section on Whitehall, below, for how this is done), and various hereditary lords who may have their authority increased, diminished, or given to others, at the will of the Emperor. While the Emporer (or, rarely, Empress) is chosen for high virtues of leadership, and so seldom becomes corrupted (it has only happened twice in the history of the Iron Throne, and both of these Emporers did not remain in power long after they become corrupted), the hereditary rulers of the various feudal domains in the Iron Throne are not necessarily so gifted or virtuous, and occasional excesses do take place, especially on those areas of the Empire on the inside, far from the fighting fronts of the north (set against Rimevast) or the south (set against Godscar).
While the Iron Throne has a feudal-based caste and guild system, it is still possible to advance socially through skill in arms, academic study, divine magic, or, most rarely, arcane studies. However, while the leadership of the Iron Throne respect users of arcane magic, and scholars, most of the common folk are less respectful of "book learning," and often outright fearful of mages, which often leads to a shortage of academics and mages in the Empire. Divine, magic, however, is revered, and those who use it for just causes it are held in very high esteem by all social classes. Churches are often given feudal domains in the place of regular nobility, and their leaders are expected to fill similar roles.
Major Races: Humans; dwarves; halflings; elves; gnomes.
Government: Theocratic Feudal Monarchy.
Nation Alignment: Lawful Neutral.
Whitehall: Whitehall is the northernmost city on the eastern side of the Granite Mountains, a port city, and the capital of the Iron Throne Empire, as well as the seat of its navy. It is arranged in a series of concentric walls, leading up to the central White Hall, after which the city is named. This is the seat of the fabled Iron Throne, on which only the true Emperor, chosen of the gods, can sit without being thrown bodily from the Throne, and there can be only one Emperor at a time. On the death of an Emperor, the head clergy of the Empire seek the will of the gods through augury, and then gather at Whitehall to present their findings, and the best candidates for the position of Emperor that they could find. Each of the candidates then attempts to sit upon the Iron Throne, and the one who succeeds is declared the new Emperor of the Iron Throne. Any attempts to influence the choice of the Iron Throne with magic or other deception results in a slew of national catastrophes that steadily increase in number and severity until the true king is seated on the Iron Throne. The Emperor is then presented with a circlet of steel, a fine suit of mithril armor (specially enchanted for comfort, so that it can be worn almost constantly), a sword, and a scepter, all of which are powerful artifacts that assist in the duties of the Emperor as well as in battle, and all of which can only be used by the true Emperor, or by his specially designated representatives. Whitehall bears the brunt of the goblinoid invasions from Rimevast, and so it is a city that is almost constantly preparing for the next siege. Because of this, all of its workings have been trimmed of almost all inefficiency, and it operates under a state of martial law at almost all times. The Emperor commands from the Iron Throne in Whitehall, but often travels. When the Emperor is gone from Whitehall, the Viceroy, hand picked by the Emperor especially for this task, oversees the daily operations of Whitehall and its defense.
Cuttle: In the interest of providing a backup in case Whitehall fell, Cuttle, located along the eastern coast, is the secondary naval center of the Empire, as well as the secondary capital of the nation. Besides fishing and regular sea trade with Summer Country, Cuttle's navy also regularly battles pirates along the eastern coasts of Autumn Land.
Oxford: Established in the foothills of the Granite Mountains, near the relatively safe middle of the Empire, Oxford is a pleasant and rather peaceful farming community, and also the site of the Academy of Martial Arts. While the Academy also trains more ordinary scholars, its specialty is training officers in their duties, so that they can function most effectively in the field when they are put into active duty. Usually only nobles can afford to attend the Academy of Martial Arts, but especially gifted commoners who demonstrate tactical ability in combat may also be sent to the Academy on Imperial scholarships, at the request of their commanding officers.
Sminth: On the far southern side of the Iron Throne, Sminth is one of the most martial of cities in the Empire, thanks to near-constant though usually minor skirmishes with orcish and giant forces from Godscar, as it is in the center of a long, heavily-fortified wall, running from east to west, from the Granite Mountains to the sea, intended to keep out all invading forces from the south. The city of Sminth is a fortress established for the sole purpose of keeping the Godscar forces from entering the Iron Throne, and is ruled by only the most capable of military comanders. Sminth's population, which is composed entirely of soldiers, is not settled at all, but is circulated regularly, so that none of its inhabitants experience burnout or combat fatigue, a trend which also includes military commanders, all organized on a careful rotation schedule that ensures there are no gaps in the chain of command, or too many less experienced soldiers or officers at any one time.
Cordon: A counterpart to the dwarven city of Riven, the mining city of Cordon is set up against the northeasternernmost part of the western side of the Granite Mountains, and trades regularly with Riven through a large mountain pass, and with the rest of the Iron Throne by sea. During winter, however, Cordon is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world, and set right on the edge of civilization where goblinoid raids most occur. At these times, most of the inhabitants of Cordon retreat into their mines dug into the mountains, and camp out until spring.