Nirmathas – War-torn Wilderness
Nirmathas at a glance:
- Alignment: CG
- Capital: Tamran (9,730)
- Notable Settlements: Skelt (5,400)
- Ruler: Forest Marshal Gavirk
- Government: Meritocracy
- Languages: Common, Varisian, Hallit
- Religion: Erastil, Gorum, Iomedae
During the years of turmoil following the collapse of Cheliax, the Governor of Molthune claimed all the Fangwood as far as Lastwall as part of his newly independent nation. Soldiers from the regional capital at Canorate ensured political stability, but the woodsmen, rangers, trappers, artisans, and fisherfolk who lived between the Tourondel and Marideth Rivers and depended on the bounty of the forest realm soon realized that, just as Cheliax before had pillaged the region of resources while providing little in return, the new mandates from Canorate were simply changing the flow of exploitation from one city to another. Resentment flared as the promise of a new era collapsed, and what started as a few minor acts of sabotage soon blossomed into a guerilla war for independence.
The early years of the conflict were bloody and disorganized, with bands of woodsmen and other irregular troops acting independently. This changed when Irgal Nirmath, a half-elf trapper, united a handful of groups into one sizable force. As his victory-count mounted, his legend spread, and Nirmath drew more rebels to the banner of Irgal’s Axe — as his force came to be known — and even Molthuni commanders began to respect his cunning. After 7 years of war, an uneasy border solidified and the rebels declared victory and independence in 4655. On the very night of his triumph, however, Irgal was taken by an assassin’s blade. His followers clamored to name the newborn nation Nirmathas in honor of their fallen hero. In the years since, Molthune repeatedly invaded its wayward province, and every time, its armies retreated across the Marideth River after pyrrhic campaigns against foes who refuse to stand still or to stay down.
Prominent Nirmathi gather every 4 years to elect a Forest Marshal to lead their military forces. The current marshal, Weslen Gavirk, is a compassionate and determined man well-acquainted with the jack-booted oppression enacted by Molthune in its repeated conquests of his home city, Tamran. He hopes to organize an assault on the nearly completed Fort Ramgate before the Molthuni can use it to launch an invasion. He hopes to duplicate Irgal’s feat of uniting the Nirmathi, but his is a difficult task, as every Nirmathi considers himself an army of one, with every household and village an independent company. While they usually respond to the Forest Marshal’s call to battle, disparate groups of Nirmathi often ignore battle plans in favor of their own ideas. The Fangwood is filled with such merry bands, each considering itself the embodiment of the true Nirmathi spirit. These bands fight injustice (real or perceived) as they encounter it, although they often spend as much time feuding with rivals as stymieing Molthuni incursions. Their efforts are like hacking at limbs without touching the root of the problem — amid these individual acts of heroism, the Nirmathi as a whole struggle to do more than survive.
In war and in everyday life, Nirmathi are fiercely independent. They are a people who define themselves largely by opposition to their regimented and bureaucratic former masters in Cheliax and Molthune. There is great generosity and charity of spirit in Nirmathas, but everything is mediated by the ideals of freedom, self-sufficiency, and liberty above all else. Even the best ideas are ignored or rejected if there is even the faintest hint of compulsion. To infringe upon individual rights and freedoms is to invite blood feud. The partisans of Nirmathas have learned well in forming a nation remains to be seen.
The Forest Marshal is primarily a military position, selected for skill in battle and tactical acumen. As a civil ruler, the Forest Marshal is no more than a symbol, a figurehead. Governance is entirely local, from village elders or exiled nobility to the oldest, wisest, wealthiest, or most eloquent speakers — there is no organized system of rule. Some Nirmathi advocate for a leader skilled in diplomacy, trade, and negotiation, but in an unstable land where freedom, liberty, and the individual are paramount, centralized leadership and the common good are elusive concepts. Alliances and coalitions are ephemeral and often deeply personal, and Nirmathi are quick to recoil when they perceive someone overreaching his authority.
Sources: Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting