Pathfinder - Carrion Crown
Lastwall was founded with a single purpose in mind, and that ancient purpose still drives much of life today. The nation was founded to keep watch over the Whispering Tyrant, Tar-Baphon, at the end of the decades-long war known as the Shining Crusade. The Shining Crusade ended with the defeat of Tar-Baphon, but the victorious crusaders could not utterly destroy him. Instead they imprisoning him beneath his cursed capital of Gallowspire. Lastwall was founded after this to ensure that the Whispering Tyrant would never escape his eternal prison.
Lastwall is ruled by a single person, the Watcher-Lord. The current Watcher-Lord is Ulthun II, a very young ruler only 19 years of age. Despite his youth, Ulthun II has already proven himself in battle. He is an ambitious leader who wants to secure and expand Lastwall’s borders into the territory of its enemies in the Hold of Belkzen. Not only is Ulthun II a capable, talented young leader but he is also an eligible bachelor with suitors swarming his castle in Vigil. Although his position gives Ulthun II absolute power, in practice he rarely exercises this, delegating authority and seeking good advice to help him rule as well as possible.
The absolute power inherent in the position of Watcher-Lord creates the potential for tyranny, but this has never been a big problem in Lastwall. The Watcher-Lord is elected by the Precentors Martial of the Crusader War College, who look for purity of heart, clarity of mind, and someone who embodies the crusader ideal. As a result there has never been a Watcher-Lord arrogant enough to try and assume tyrannical control over the country.
Lastwall is a relatively young nation when compared to Osirion or Nex, having only existed for approximately 900 years. It was founded in 3828 AR after the seventy-four year-long Shining Crusade finally drew to a close. They defeated Tar-Baphon, but not having the power to kill him, instead imprisoning him beneath Gallowspire. The crusaders realized that Tar-Baphon’s prison could not be left unguarded, since Tar-Baphon had already cheated death once before. His first defeat was brought about by the god Aroden himself in 896 AR. If even death at the hands of a god could not stop him forever, then leaving his prison unguarded seemed to be inviting trouble. The decision was made to keep a permanent presence in the region. At the start of the Shining Crusade the crusaders had commandeered the Ustalavic town of Vellumis as their base of operations. Now they claimed an entire region as their own, allowing them to keep a permanent watch over Gallowspire and creating the nation of Lastwall.
Since its founding, Lastwall has stayed true to its purpose, standing guard against the undead horrors of Ustalav and the savage orcs hordes from the Hold of Belkzen. Both are tenacious foes and require constant vigilance in order to contain them. The orcs in particular have proven particularly troublesome, having pushed back the borders of Lastwall three times since its founding. The current border has held well due to an influx of money and troops from Lastwall’s southern border. It is not as heavily fortified as the Sunwall, the first border with the orcs, Harchist’s Blockade, the second defensive line, or even the ramshackle previous border, the Hordeline.
Apart from the near-constant fighting against its stated enemies foreign and domestic, the history of Lastwall has been relatively free of wars or external conflicts. It has remained neutral, refraining from getting involved in international politicking, and attempts to remain true to its founding aim of keeping watch over the Whispering Tyrant.
An exception to this was during the reign of the evil warlord Kazavon, who led an army from Ustalav deep into orc territory and constructed the grim castle Scarwall in 4043 AR. Overjoyed at the arrival of a potential ally, Lastwall sent diplomats with tributes and overtures of friendship. Unfortunately, Kazavon was not interested in an alliance and flayed the emissaries alive. The inevitable conflict this sparked resulted in the Battle of Screaming Tree in addition to numerous other confrontations. Unable to defeat the tyrant in open battle, the Lastwall hero Mandraivus led a team into Scarwall in 4058 AR and slew Kazavon.
The only other major event in Lastwall’s history was its split from its founding nation of Taldor during the Even-Tongued Conquest in 4081 AR. When Cheliax declared it was breaking with Taldor to found its own empire, Lastwall too broke with Taldor. Rather than becoming a part of the Chelaxian empire, it became an independent nation, declaring that it needed to be free of any political infighting to allow it to keep watch over Gallowspire. Cheliax agreed, and while Taldor objected, it did not have the military clout to enforce obedience. Even so, Taldor continued to provide vital funding and recruits to Lastwall.
Lastwall is a nation marked by both impressive geographical features and regions of danger. It is located on the western shores of Lake Encarthan, the largest fresh water lake in Avistan. Lastwall’s largest city, Vellumis, sits on Encarthan’s banks. To its north, just across the border with Ustalav, lie the Hungry Mountains. To the south lies the Fangwood, the majority of it within neighbouring Nirmathas. Despite these regions of bountiful natural resources, Lastwall is bordered by two incredibly dangerous areas. To the northwest lie the lands of the Hold of Belkzen, a barren region of dusty plains filled with savage hordes of war-loving orcs. To the north, nestled in the Hungry Mountains, lies the Ustalavic province of Virlych. This desolate region is home to Gallowspire, the prison of Tar-Baphon, and is inhabited only by the restless dead. All saner inhabitants have long since abandoned this desolate land.