Brevoy is a proud land, known throughout Golarion for producing able warriors, regal nobles, and clever rogues. Yet Brevoy’s two regions, Issia and Rostland, have long held one another in contempt and now stand on the verge of civil war. Both Issia and Rostland were independent nations until Choral the Conqueror’s barbarian armies and red dragon servitors united the regions into a single kingdom two centuries ago. Until recently, the iron rule of House Rogarvia maintained a fragile peace between the two regions. But a decade ago, House Rogarvia mysteriously disappeared, and the conniving leaders of Issia’s House Surtova supplanted them as Brevoy’s rulers.
Now a labyrinthine political landscape plagues the nation, full of secret alliances, provincial loyalties, and nefarious plots; civil war seems inevitable. In Rostland to the south, the swordlords see in many of Issia’s recent political moves the swift approach of such a war. They rightly fear such an event, for Rostland is smaller than Issia, it has fewer armies, and its rolling hills and grasslands offer very little in the way of natural defenses. Worse, unlike Issia, whose northern border stretches along the Lake of Mists and Veils, which offers some defense, Rostland’s southern border lies along a stretch of wilderness infested with bandits and monsters. If Brevoy falls into civil war, it won’t be long at all before the violent, opportunistic vultures to the south move to take advantage of Rostland’s problems.
This southern region of wilderness is called the Stolen Lands. The Stolen Lands have long resisted attempts at colonization. Wedged between the River Kingdoms and Brevoy, the approximately 35,000-square-mile swath of wilderness has a long history of being regarded as “stolen” — from and by whom depending on the point of view. In Brevoy, the lands are considered stolen from that nation’s southern expanse by bandits and barbarians variously from Numeria, Iobaria, or the River Kingdoms themselves. In the River Kingdoms, the general impression is that Brevoy allowed the lands to fall into the hands of monsters and worse in order to rob the lords of the River Kingdoms of more lands to rule. Even within the wildlands themselves, lands are stolen and conquered in constant struggles between bickering tribes of centaurs, kobolds, fey, trolls, bandits, lizardfolk, boggards, barbarians, and more, all constantly skirmishing to expand their holdings while not ceding their own lands to the enemy. As tensions mount in Brevoy, some of Rostland’s swordlords hope to change that fact; they have issued charters to several groups of adventurers, sending them south into the Stolen Lands.
These initial charters are simple enough: re-open the old trade routes along the rivers and scatter or defeat the bandits who have made them too dangerous to use. Beyond that, it seems apparent that Rostland wants to encourage new nations to grow in this region—and believes that by supporting these nascent kingdoms as allies, it’ll gain loyal support in any coming conflict with Issia. It’s a bold and brilliant political move—for if Rostland turned its own resources to the task, not only would such a move weaken its defenses against the north, but the blatant power grab would certainly force Issia’s hand. By sending free agents south, the swordlords of Rostland hope to create new allies without sacrificing their own position of power in Brevoy.
Yet as with most complex and brilliant plans, there are plenty of opportunities for disaster.
Refer to the Kingmaker Player’s Guide for additional data.