Andoran – Birthplace of Freedom
Andoran at a glance:
- Alignment: NG
- Capital: Almas(76,600)
- Notable Settlements: Augustana (54,200), Bellis (4,800), Carpenden (10,600), Falcon’s Hollow (1,400), Oregent (22,700)
- Ruler: His Excellence Codwin I of Augustana, Supreme Elect of the Free People of Andoran
- Government: Fledgling Democracy
- Languages: Common
- Religion: Abadar, Erastil, Iomedae, Aroden, Cayden Cailean, Shelyn
In the opening years of the Age of Lost Omens, the death of the demigod Aroden threw empires into chaos. Mighty Cheliax, greatest of the human kingdoms, fell to savage wars of assassination and plunder. When peace came to Cheliax, it came at a terrible price. The meticulous and evil House Thrune held the empire in its grasp, and with the help of diabolical servitors bound by magic and fell contracts, this new aristocracy demanded obedience from the old.
The farthest dependencies of Cheliax remained isolated from the madness pouring from the new imperial capital at Egorian and slowly slipped from Thrune’s talons. In Andoran, the greatest and most cosmopolitan of Cheliax’s holdings, the nobles reluctantly submitted to the rule and whims of the scheming devil-masters, betraying their nation and igniting a political fire that burns brighter now with each passing year.
Andoran got its start 3,000 years ago as the westernmost marchland of Old Taldor, a vast wooded plain populated by a curious, peaceful folk in awe of their more civilized eastern neighbors. The seemingly endless timber from the Arthfell Forest fed a growing shipyard at Augustana, and soon Andoran became critical to Taldor’s navy and exploration of the seas beyond the Arch of Aroden. Andorens settled the disastrous Sun Temple Colony on Azlant, and their ships were among the first to reach the shores of central Arcadia, establishing strongholds that serve the nation to this day.
At the behest of the influential Chelish King Aspex the Even-Tongued, Andoran abandoned its ties with Taldor in 4081. The move came just as the armies of Qadira — traditional enemies of the empire — crossed Taldor’s southern border in a brazen invasion. Vastly weakened and beset by decadence, Taldor could not fight on two fronts. It ceded Andoran to Cheliax without a fight. Trade thrived under the kings and emperors of Cheliax, and the merchants of the nation’s towns and cities grew more and more powerful, rivaling the hereditary nobles. Orc raids from the Five Kings Mountains, trouble with druids and fey in the country’s noticeably dwindling forests, harassment by pirates on the open sea, and native uprisings disrupting colonial operations in Arcadia were constant threats, but life in Andoran remained mostly peaceful and free from upheaval.
The trouble in Cheliax in the wake of Aroden’s death threatened that peace. The nation’s margrave and his relatives in the ruling class capitulated to the demands of Cheliax’s new diabolical queen in the interest of keeping things peaceful. They judged correctly that most of their citizens preferred to avoid the bloodshed that drowned the heartlands, but they incorrectly assumed the citizens would trade safety for servitude to the pawns of the Nine Hells.
By 4669, the outrage grew too great for the proud merchants of Andoran. Citing the anti-nobility screeds of Galtan philosophers like Jubannich and Hosetter, the merchants rallied the common man to demand greater rights and cast down the old order. Unlike in Galt, whose own revolution went astray, the merchants of Andoran did not seek to kill their former lords. Instead, they offered their nobles citizenship in the new kingdom without a king, where all men were equal and leaders ruled only at the mandate of the people. Those who agreed were welcomed into the new order. Those who refused faced exile or the noose. Either way, the nobles’ holdings became the property of the state and were often immediately sold off or given to supporters of the People’s Revolt.
Today, Andoran owes its power to a consortium of political radicals, wealthy merchant lords, and sympathetic aristocrats that seeks to spread the political philosophy of Common Rule and open new markets throughout the world. Much of the nation’s impressive wealth comes from precious antiquities raided from distant lands, such as Arcadia and the Mwangi Expanse. Competition for these resources grows fiercer by the year, and exotic locales like the ruin-laden deserts of interior Osirion or slivers of ancient Azlant host proxy wars between agents of Andoran and enemy powers like Cheliax and Taldor.
Andorens seek not just to transform their homeland, but to export their cultural, philosophical, and mercantile beliefs to the world. Years ago, the heroes of Andoran emptied the nation’s prisons and freed all its slaves in an attempt to bolster the strength of the Revolt, and its people thereafter subscribed to a militant abolitionism. Agents provocateurs dispatched from the capital city of Almas actively seek to undermine the Inner Sea slave trade and those nations who actively support it: Absalom, Cheliax, Katapesh, Osirion, and Thuvia being among the worst offenders. The world thus views Andorens as trouble-makers and unwanted ideological imperialists.
The Supreme Elect of Andoran, currently Codwin I of Augustana, manages the Executive Office, a huge bureaucracy that handles most governmental affairs in the nation. The 350 citizen-representatives sit on the marble benches of the People’s Council in the monument-laden capital of Almas. Many once held noble titles, while others rose from slavery or serfdom to speak for their home shires in the assembly. From the highest government official of Andoran to its lowliest servant, nearly everyone believes in the tenets of the People’s Revolt that transformed the nation some 40 years ago.
They are the children of the second and third generations of liberty, and their faith in the Andoren way is resolute. Andoran has a republican, centralized government. The source of power resides in the People’s Council, which is subject to public approval and control. At the origin of the nation’s code of laws is the so-called Associative Act of 4469, which was written by the 350 first councilors as a “private, sworn and voluntary” pact to safeguard the interests of every single citizen of Andoran, effectively opening the way to advanced forms of economical emancipation, administrative development, and affirmation of civil rights.
Every 5 years, all Andorens vote a candidate to the People’s Council, which in turn names a Supreme Elect and appoints ministers, officials, and mayors to the different municipalities. Citizens also nominate a vicar to the mayors, choosing among two local candidates from the clergy of Abadar and Erastil. The Supreme Elect and the chosen bishop of Almas are respectively the mayor and vicar of the capital for the term of government.
In addition to the 30 Ministers who take care of the nation’s finance and foreign affairs the People’s Council includes 20 Consuls, who exercise executive power over the nation’s internal security and command Andoran’s army and navy. The most powerful of the Consuls is the commander of the Eagle Knights of Andoran, General Reginald Cormoth. The commander resides in the Golden Aerie’s Guardian Tower, an immense column from some monumental ruin. The column, brought in pieces from a distant land, was restored and fitted on a pedestal in the middle of the Field of Concord. The tower is topped with a 15-foot-tall gold-plated statue of Talmandor, the avoral patron of the nation and the protagonist of several ancient local legends.
An efficient, prosperous trade system; an egalitarian, transparent government; and a benevolent tolerance of all goodly religions are the three pilasters of Andoran’s stability as a liberal republic. To maintain this stability, Andoran sustains enormous expenses in welfare and security, which are administered by a cabinet of 30 Ministers chosen by the people from among the nation’s most efficient and competent bankers. Andoran’s banking system operates with widespread credit accessibility and interest rates convenient enough to thwart tax evasion and usury. Almas is also the seat of several big banks that support foreign merchant enterprises. The Andoren code of law equates corruption and extortion by bankers and state officials to high treason, and those found guilty of such crimes are invariably exiled after the confiscation of all their property.
The River Bird Catcher
Mothers of Andoran tell their children this tale, set shortly after Cheliax convinced Andoran to break away from Taldor. At that time, barbarian rebels forced Cheliax to set up encampments up and down the Andossan River. Modern Andoran remembers the old bird catcher of the Andossan River as the precursor of Andoren freedom.
Duke Lapist, commander of a Chelaxian encampment, one day noticed his men allowing a harmless river man with a cargo of poultry and small birds to cross the river without harassment. Eager to show his men proper behavior, Duke Lapist confronted the river man, a bizarre-looking old man with a cloak of feathers and a beak-shaped headpiece. When the duke demanded the river man to kneel, the river man replied, “Men are born to walk. Birds are born to f ly. Neither is born to kneel.” When the duke threatened to free the river man’s cargo, the river man answered, “Woe to a tyrant, like thee, if he lets arebel free.” Duke Lapist followed through on his threat and released the collected songbirds. A moment later, the songbirds turned into celestial falcons and attacked the dumbfounded nobleman. The river man, actually an avoral in disguise, revealed his true form. Duke Lapist was torn to pieces in a matter of seconds, but his kind-hearted guards were spared the celestial’s wrath.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting