In this series I will be looking at each of the individual nations of Faerûn in turn, in alphabetical order. This series is based around the status of each nation as of 1371-72 Dalereckoning (at the end of D&D 2nd Edition and the start of 3rd Edition). The maps are drawn from The Forgotten Realms Interactive Atlas CD-ROM and their respective 1st and 2nd Edition sources. They are not necessarily current for the 5th Edition of the setting (which is set c. 1496 DR), as borders have changed and some towns and cities have fallen, whilst newer ones have risen.
- Ruler: The Assembly of Stars, chaired by Lord Herengar
- Capital: Alaghôn (pop. 75,000)
- Settlements: Ayakar, Banathar, Bistal’s Bottom, Centaur Bridge, Daroush (0, technically abandoned), Dauntshield, Faerie Well, Five Lions, Gildenglade (48,384), Holdensword, Illowwood, Ironcloak, Ironfang Deep, Jathrin’s Jump, Karthoon, Merrydell, Moonhunt Down, Morningstar Hollows, Nonthal (12,902), Peldrathan’s Pool, Oberiner’s Well, Quorngar, Ravilar’s Cloak, Regalia, Sambryntyn, Starfall, Swordslake Creek, Tamring, Ulver’s Lance, Velorn’s Valor, Vollermore, Wyvernstone, Xorhun, Zustild
- Population: 1,693,440 (78% human, 9% dwarf, 5% halfling, 3% elf, 2% gnome, 1% half-elf, 1% half-orc, 1% misc.)
- Population Density: 12.41 people per mile², 4.79 people per km²
- Area: 136,421 miles² (353,328.768 km²)
- Military: Local militias, a strong standing navy and various mercenary companies, most notably the Call to Arms
- Languages: Common, Chondathan, Turmic
- Religion: Chauntea, Eldath, Helm, Lliira, Loviatar, Nobanion, Silvanus, Selûne, Tempus, Tyr
- Exports: Glass, grain, lumber, mercenaries, salt
- Imports: Luxury goods, metal
- Sources: Elminster’s Everwinking Eye: Mysterious Turmish (Ed Greenwood in Polyhedron #96, 1994), Elminster’s Everwinking Eye: A Treasure Tour of Turmish (Ed Greenwood in Polyhedron #103, 1995), Vilhon Reach (Jim Butler & Ed Greenwood, 1996), The Jewel of Turmish (Mel Odom, 2002)
Turmish is a large nation on the south-western coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars, south-east of the Dragon Coast and north of the Vilhon Reach. Turmish is famed for its merchants and adventurers, who range widely across Faerûn before returning to their well-defended homeland.
Turmish’s borders are defined by the Orsraun Mountains to the west, the Mountains of the Alaoreum to the north and the Aphrunn Mountains to the south, with the Inner Sea lying to the north-east. A major highway, the Halondar, runs the length of Turmish and passes through the Halondar Vale to connect the Turmish capital, Alaghôn, to the independent city-state of Hlondeth on the Vilhon and, beyond, to Ormath and Lheshayl on the Shining Plains. West of Lheshayl the highway joins the Tethir Road which runs west to the great kingdom of Tethyr.
Turmish is a verdant and beautiful country, noted for its especially fertile soil, which is enriched by volcanic ash from the three great volcanoes on the nation’s borders; Mount Andrus to the west, Mount Ugruth to the south and Mount Kolimnis to the south-east. The Halondar is notable as the only major highway through the kingdom, with Turmish’s other settlements being linked by a confusing maze of lanes and backcountry roads. Turmish is also unusual for having only two large cities, Alaghôn and Gildenglade, although Ayakar, Nonthal and Xorhun are fairly significantly-sized towns. All of Turmish’s other settlements are villages, at best.
Turmish is also notable for having no long rivers, with the runoff from the mountains either flowing north into Starmantle Bay or south into the Vilhon Reach instead. The only exception is the Alaoreum, which flows from the Mountains of the Alaoreum into Evenstar Lake, whilst a myriad of small streams flown down from the Aphrunn range to fill the Lake of Drifting Stars. Curiously, the lakes appear to have no visible outflows, leading to speculation that they connect to the Inner Sea via underwater tunnels or water instead outflows straight down to the Glimmersea, the vast subterranean ocean that lies twenty miles under the surface.
Turmish is the only democratic republic in Faerûn, with all citizens voting for a representative on the Assembly of Stars. Other nations have scoffed at the idea, but the quality of life in Turmish is impressive and the nation is (at least currently) one of the least-warlike on the continent, only deploying its military for defensive purposes and to keep open the sea lanes.
Turmish is a multicultural country, with a large dwarven population in the surrounding mountains, halflings living along the lower Halondar and a relatively large population of pureblood elves in and around the city of Xorhun.
The Turami people were displaced westwards by the fall of the Imaskar Empire in 2488 Before Dalereckoning (BDR). The Mulan people, former slaves of the Imaskari, migrated westwards and settled both the western and eastern sides of the Alamber Sea, forming the empire of Mulhorand (east of the Alamber) in 2135 BDR and Unther (west of the Alamber) in 2087 BDR. The Mulan expanded westwards onto the fertile plains of the Akanal, where they came into conflict with the native Turami. The Turami felt squeezed between the encroaching Mulan and the empire of Jhaamdath to the west. Some remained and were absorbed into the Untheric Empire, whilst others moved west, across Jhaamdath Bay, into the sheltered lands known as the Granite Gates. The Turami were allowed to settle this region in return for swearing fealty to Jhaamdath.
Jhaamdath was destroyed in a war with the elven nation of Nikerymath in 255 BDR, which resulted in a High Magic ritual that flooded the lands to the south, forming the Vilhon Reach. The Turami people took no part in the conflict and were glad to be able to forge their own destiny. By 37 BDR, the Turami had founded the city of Alaghôn on the ruins of an old dwarven port. In 75 DR, the city was badly impacted by a plague, but local druids played a key role in purifying the water supplies and helping mitigate the plague in the surrounding lands.
In 132 DR, the mercenary commander Dempster Turmish seized Alaghôn and conquered the surrounding towns after a brief civil war. He expanded the nascent kingdom’s borders to the outskirts of Hlondeth by 145. Turmish lay side to the city, but the mercenary group known as the Company of the Howling Harpoon, aided by the invoker Riliton Mandleweave, successfully broke the siege and forced Dempster to retreat. Turmish died in 150 and his wife Florentine succeeded him. She brokered a peace and trading deal with Hlondeth and abandoned military expansionism as a policy for the new nation. Florentine herself died in 154 with no heir and the nation became divided over the succession issue. However, the Turami chose not to fall into civil war, instead embarking on a leadership competition that was to last no less than 116 years. During this interregnum, Turmish was ruled by a coalition of leaders from its various cities and townships. In 227 Turmish became aware of the existence of the dwarves of Ironfang Deep when the dwarves emerged from under the mountains to defeat the great red dragon Stormcrossing, and struck up trade and diplomatic relations with the reclusive kingdom.
The nation of Chondath launched an invasion of Turmish in 270, just as Alesam Mischwin emerged as the strongest candidate to lead Turmish. Under Alesam’s leadership, Turmish repulsed the Chondathan attack, fortified the border along the Vilhon and brokered a peace deal. Curiously, this deal saw Turmish and Chondath fight a mock war every Shieldmeet, with the two nations represented by their greatest warriors. This tradition has continued every four years without fail since 300 DR, over a thousand years ago. The next one is due next year. The mock wargames are hugely popular, with people from around the Inner Sea wagering on the outcome. The free cities of Amah, Nleeth and Reth were originally founded as training centres for these games but grew in sizeable cities in their own right.
Also in 300, the Academia Vilhonus was founded and started the custom of painting dots on the foreheads of the learned. This custom became most popular in Turmish, and continues to this day.
In 352, Alaghôn was crippled by a massive fire that destroyed its food stores, threatening the capital with famine. The rest of the nation rallied to help save the capital, but were not helped by the nobility, whose bickering over responsibility and cost made the problem worse. In 374, the House of Silvanus was founded on the island of Ilighôn. As well as its religious duties, it kept a close watch on passing ships, improving the security of ships entering the Vilhon Reach. The House quickly became the base of operations for the Emerald Enclave, an alliance of druid circles and nature worshippers which quickly spanned the entire Vilhon region and worked to stop the deforestation of the area.
In 512, Turmish was invaded by the Candlekairn clan of orcs. Three Turmishan cities were sacked and the orcs took their wealth back to their base of operations near Mount Andrus. In 517 the mountain erupted, devastating the tribe but also destroying the stolen wealth. In 522 the Emerald Enclave and elves from the Turmishan city of Xorhun appealed to Lord Arton Githsberry, then the ruling lord of Alaghôn, to halt logging operations in Turmish. Githsberry made appeasing noises, but did little to prevent the practice. By 552, the druids and elves had weakened logging efforts through peaceful protests, political campaigns and constant harassment.
In 717 Turmish fell under the control of wizards’ council known as the Windlass. The Windlass launched an attack on Cedarsproke, determined to destroy one of the two centres of power for the Emerald Enclave. The attack was a miserable failure. The Windlass tried again seven years later, this launching an attack on Ilighôn. This attack was likewise a failure and the Windlass were defeated and executed, being replaced by a merchants’ council.
In 992, Lord Saros led a military coup and seized control of the nation. He rebuilt Turmish’s fleet into the strongest on the Vilhon Reach and established a key military alliance with Hlondeth. Trade was enhanced and by 1150 Turmish’s wealth had exploded, as had its population. In 1220, Warlord Sjorn Sendreth instigated a war against the dwarves of Ironfang Deep to secure the kingdom’s resources for Turmish, but the war was a costly failure (the dwarves caused a massive cavefall to block off Turmish’s main invasion route). Turmish was almost bankrupted, until Sendreth sponsored adventuring companies to bring back treasure to the motherland. Remarkably, this plan was successful and Turmish was able to rebuild its economy over time.
One such treasure-seeking group broken into the lair of the ancient blue dragon Anaglathos and made off with a sizable part of his hoard. Anaglathos refrained from destroying the interlopers, instead tracking them back to their homeland. Anaglathos discerned Sendreth as the man responsible for despoiling his hoard. Late in 1242, Anaglathos landed outside Sendreth’s residence in Alaghôn and killed him instantly. On a whim, the dragon declared himself King of Turmish and was crowned early in 1243.
Anaglathos was an ancient dragon with tremendous knowledge of various matters but absolutely no practical experience in running a human realm. By 1247 the realm was almost beggared into penury, as the dragon demanded its wealth be given over to him entirely. Corwin Freas, a skilled warrior and mighty paladin, slew the dragon and restored hope to the realm. Corwin was proclaimed King of Turmish by popular acclaim but was uncomfortable with the role. After one year, he abdicated and abolished the throne, forming instead the Assembly of Stars and proclaiming Turmish to be a free republic, the first in Faerûn. Corwin then retired. In 1254 there was an attempted coup in Alaghôn to destroy the nascent democracy, but Corwin came out of retirement to defeat the ringleaders, although he lost his own life in an assassination attempt. Turmish’s government survived and prospered.
In 1369 Turmish was briefly cut off from the Inner Sea when the Twelfth Serôs War erupted below the waves. Before he was done, Iakhovas the Taker had plunged the Inner Sea nations into chaos, wiped out the entire population of the Whamite Isles and caused enormous bloodshed. He was defeated in battle at Myth Nantar and teleported into the Trackless Sea (where he was later defeated for good). After the war ended, the Emerald Enclave claimed the now-empty Whamite Isles for their own and began to encourage fresh settlement of the archipelago.
In 1370, the dread mohrg Borran Klosk was freed from a long imprisonment under the Temple of the Trembling Flower in Alaghôn. He summoned an army of drowned ones to his aid and attacked the rest of the city, but was defeated by the Emerald Enclave.
Turmish is unique amongst all Faerûnian nations by not having a single ruler or an appointed mercantile or noble council. Instead, the nation is governed by the Assembly of Stars, a democratically-elected body. Representatives are chosen from across the realm and sit in the Assembly building in Alaghôn.
In theory, anybody can run for the Assembly. However, farmers and other workers usually lack the time, so members of the Assembly tend to be those with the free time to be able to spend campaigning: nobles, wizards, some clerics and merchants. With trade being Turmish’s lifeblood, unsurprisingly merchants make up a majority of the seats on the Assembly, though not all.
The Assembly Speaker, known as the Lord of Turmish or First Lord of Turmish, represents Turmish in dealings with overseas powers and in times of war can take emergency action to protect the realm. Lord Herengar, former head of the Call to Arms mercenary company, is the current Lord of Turmish, a level-headed and practical ruler.
Turmish has been a warlike nation in the past and maintains an impressive fleet to defend its coasts. It has, on occasion, worked with other maritime Inner Sea nations like Cormyr, Sembia, Impiltur and Aglarond against the activities of the Pirate Isles. The pirates try to avoid antagonising Turmish too much, as Turmish is the nearest major power to the centre of the Pirate Isles and could make an excellent base for any attempt to destroy them for good. Turmish today is a much more peaceful nation and maintains only small standing militias to defend individual towns. It does maintain several large mercenary companies which can help protect the nation at need.
Turmish is friendly with the Emerald Enclave, a powerful organisation consisting of druids and worshippers of Silvanus. The Enclave has multiple bases of operations, including Cedarsproke in the Gulthmere Forest to the north-west of Turmish and the island of Ilighon to the north-east (the Enclave also controls the neighbouring islands of Ixinos and Wavecrest and has recently resettled the Whamite Isles). The Enclave works to protect nature in the Vilhon Reach region.
Turmish also enjoys a very long alliance with the city-state of Hlondeth on the Vilhon itself. Remarkably, the yuan-ti of Hlondeth have held fair to their side of the alliance and not attempted to infiltrate or destroy Turmish. The two powers are also aligned with the free city-states of the Vilhon in a not-so-subtle alliance to resist the power of Chondath along the south coast of the reach (an alliance that also includes Sespech, despite the latter’s wariness of the yuan-ti). Turmish and Chondath directly have a pretty good relationship, foreswearing war in return for wargames and exercises that the two nations have practice every Shieldmeet without fail for 1,071 years. So far there have been 268 such games, with the 269th due to take place next year.
Turmish follows the Code of Enlil, a civic code set out by the god Enlil of the Untheric pantheon. Unther and Chessenta also follow the Code, and Turmish picked up on the idea after its founding. The Code is unusual in that it gives the right of reply and fair trial to anyone accused of a crime that would result in their execution.
Turmish’s code of laws, right of reply for commoners and democratic institutions have baffled other Faerûnian nations, who confidently predicted that Turmish would collapse into total anarchy within a few years. More than a century later, the nation is prospering under its anarchic-seeming process, worrying some rulers who fear what might happen if their own people also start getting ideas about ruling themselves.
Turmish values the worship of the gods of nature, such as Chauntea, Eldath and Silvanus, patron of the Emerald Enclave. Its strict code of laws also makes Tyr a popular deity. Nobanion has a large following in Turmish, considering his relative obscurity elsewhere. The darker gods have little pull in Turmish, although Loviatar does have a strong underground following. Turmish’s mercenary companies venerate Helm and Tempus in particular. Surprisingly, given the importance of trade in the nation, Waukeen and Tymora only have limited followings.
Turmish lawmakers venerate the code of laws left behind by the Untheric deity Enlil. However, Enlil himself fled Realmspace in 734 BDR and has not been seen since, and does not respond to prayers from his faithful. Such respect is thus historical in nature, not religious.
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