The realm known as Razmiran (pronounced RAZZ-meer-ann) was once just another turbulent, violent River Kingdom where leadership changed as often as the years. This changed in 4661 AR, when the land was conquered by a living god named Razmir.
Razmiran is a realm devoted to its tyrannical ruler, Razmir, who claims he is a living god. He asserts that he achieved his divinity by passing the Test of the Starstone and now claims Razmiran as his own.
The actual day-to-day running of the country is done by the gold-masked priests, who have achieved the rank of Vision of the Fifteenth Step. These priests come from all walks of life: some are fierce warriors, while others are powerful wizards. Most citizens obey them without question. Despite having little to do with the day-to-day running of the country, Razmir’s erratic proclamations are always enforced. Razmir issues these commands from a thirty-one-stepped throne. Each of the steps supposedly represents one of the stages Razmir went through to achieve divinity. Atop this throne he hides his form behind an ornate ivory mask.
The history of Razmiran is brief, as it is the youngest nation on the face of Avistan. Razmir first arrived in 4661 AR, stopping in the city of Xer. He then visited a part of the Duchy of Melcat where he set about imposing his rule. He began by ousting the local magistrate and the parasitic trade guilds.
Razmir’s popularity slowly grew until he controlled much of the Duchy of Melcat. Soon, the only part of the old duchy that was not under his control was its capital, Aerduin. Razmir went to Aerduin himself and made three requests of fealty to the Duke of Melcat, all of which were rebuked. That night Razmir conjured a terrible cloud of burning fire and obscuring smoke that descended upon the city. The screams of the dying echoed all night long, and by morning the city was naught but ash and ruin. Since then, the nation of Razmiran has expanded its border on five separate occasions, each time at the expense of a neighbouring River Kingdoms or the country of Ustalav.
Razmiran has poor relations with all three of the nations that border it. To the north lies haunted Ustalav, to the south the elf haven of Kyonin, and to the east lies the River Kingdoms to which Razmiran once belonged. The biggest geographical feature of Razmiran is the Exalted Woods in the center of the country. A secret fortress devoted to the worship of Razmir is believed to lie somewhere near the center of the woods, giving the place a fell reputation.
Situated between the eastern shore of the Lake Encarthan and the western-most of the River Kingdoms, Razmiran is not a particularly large country when compared to the great nations of the Inner Sea region like Andoran or Taldor. It is, however, a huge country when compared to the River Kingdoms to the east. Considering that Razmiran began as a small river kingdom, its current size – after only fifty years of existence – is considerable, and none would deny that Razmir’s conquests are impressive.
The inhabitants of Razmiran live much like any other peasants slaving beneath a tyrant’s harsh rule. The only difference is that those who speak ill of Razmir are not executed as traitors, but burned as heretics and heathens. Religion plays a larger role in daily life than it does in most states, as it is the states main tool of control. The worship of any god other than Razmir is banned and few dare to tempt the wrath of his faithful by criticizing this policy.
Religion plays a large, often a detrimental part in every aspect of Razmiri citizens’ lives. The priests of Razmir overlook no part of society, even the lowliest laborer has a portion of his meager income taken by the priests in what is called the Tithing Step. While everyone else is forced to pay extortionate taxes to them, the priests of Razmir live lives of luxury and comfortin accordance with their station. This lifestyle leads many of Razmiran’s people to aspire to join the priesthood – regardless of their religious beliefs or their doubts about Razmir’s divinity – as it seems to be the easiest path to wealth.
Every year, hundreds of doubters are sent to the heart of the Exalted Wood to be indoctrinated into Razmir’s faith. All of them come back changed. They seem to lose their niggling doubts and return with a new-found faith. Many return with unexplained burns and scars, while some never return at all. Whispers of the foul rituals that may take place in the depths of the Exalted Woods spread rumors of magic that can bend a man’s mind or even warp his soul.
The faith of Razmir is relatively simple. It preaches that life is about the acquisition of gold and power. Those who follow the teachings of the Living God may enjoy life’s luxuries while blasphemers and heretics deserve only to toil for the faithful. The faith preaches its superiority to all other faiths, other gods being regarded as lesser and irrelevant, and outsiders need to be converted to the fold, by force if necessary.
The many individual tenants and rules of the clergy tend to be vague and open to interpretation. Punishments for breaking rules also vary, depending on the whim of the superior priest at the time. Indeed, many of the rules are intentionally contradictory in order to allow more experienced clerics to punish acolytes and thus imbue fear and obedience into the offending individual.