The Dragovar Dynasty
Iomandra has seen many empires rise and fall. The only one surviving to the present day is the Dragovar dynasty, a relatively young dragonborn empire with a rich history punctuated by periods of brutal tyranny and treachery. The Dragovar dynasty arose out of the marriage of two ancient rivals—the Arkhosian and the Myrthon dynasties. Neither dynasty proposed this alliance through marriage. It was imposed upon them by dragon prophets who believed that the union of these two enemies would put an end to their history of warmongering, ushering in a new era of peace. Instead, it led to a seething age of political backstabbing.
The Dragovar are the sworn servitors of Io and dragonkind. They are primarily dragonborn who worship Io’s surviving children, the godlings Bahamut and Tiamat. This decadent, tarnished empire conquered and annexed its rivals long ago, but many citizens fear for its future. Corruption plagues the government, disputes are still resolved by gladiatorial combat, and ancient Arkhosian–Myrthon blood feuds persist to this day. The current emperor is Azunkhan IX (a.k.a. Azunkhan the Seeker). His Exalted Highness would rather explore the Dragon Sea than sit on his throne in Io’calioth, which leaves his unscrupulous sister, Kalavai, to rule in his absence. The royal siblings are served by a coterie of bickering Grand Viziers and Viziers and defended by an honor guard of Arkhosian and Myrthon death knights who have served the imperial family since the dynasty’s founding.
Dragovar citizens pay tribute to the dragon overlords that rule their islands. These dragons do not answer to the emperor, and they are not bound by imperial law. They do as they please, although many of them are quite old and content to sleep for months on end.
For the first 257 years of its existence, the Dragovar dynasty supported slavery. Imperial law made it legal for dragonborn citizens to capture, keep, and sell slaves of other races. In 345 DY, Azunkhan III (a.k.a. Azunkhan the Mad) declared an end to slavery. He also gave credence to his former slaves’ claims that there were more gods in the heavens than Bahamut and Tiamat, and he legitimized the churches of Corellon, Erathis, Melora, Moradin, Sehanine, Zehir, and numerous other deities. Following a deluge of revolutionary proclamations and civic upheaval, the emperor’s corrupt viziers brutally assassinated Azunkhan III in 348 DY and installed his estranged son, Azunkhan IV (a.k.a. Azunkhan the Usurper), as the new emperor. Since then, leadership of the Dragovar dynasty has passed from father to son in the traditional fashion. The current emperor has no legitimate heirs, fueling concerns that the last dragonborn dynasty is nearing its end.
Emperors of the Dragovar Dynasty
- 1–155 DY Azunkhan I (the Great)
- 155–257 DY Azunkhan II (the Ravager)
- 257–348 DY Azunkhan III (the Mad)
- 348–499 DY Azunkhan IV (the Usurper)
- 499–753 DY Azunkhan V (the Conqueror)
- 753–901 DY Azunkhan VI (the Dragonking)
- 901–1138 DY Azunkhan VII (the Prophet)
- 1138–1345 DY Azunkhan VIII (the Wise)
- 1345–1474 DY Azunkhan IX (the Seeker)
The Emperor leaves matters of doctrine and law in the hands of the Council of Viziers, comprised of 19 grand viziers and 100 viziers—all members of the divine caste, and each one a representative of the Temple of Bahamut or Tiamat. Viziers are appointed by the grand viziers, and grand viziers are appointed by the Emperor. Emperors usually try to maintain an equilibrium in the council between Bahamut representatives and Tiamat representatives, but since Kalavai took control as regent, council representation has slanted in Tiamat’s favor.
Cities of the Dragovar Empire
The Dragovar dynasty is spread over hundreds of islands, but there are relatively few cities of significant size.
Io’calioth (City of Jewels)
Referred to as the City of Jewels or the City of Corruption (depending on one’s point of view), Io’calioth is the last of the great draconic fortress-cities, as well as the home of Emperor Azunkhan IX. The crescent-shaped island upon which the city is built is actually a flooded caldera with buildings built into the inside walls. The city’s great harbor lies within the sunken caldera itself and is accessible through a narrow fissure in the caldera’s southern wall.
Ancient warships defend the city of Io’calioth from sea-dwelling threats. The imperial fleet also ensures that conflicts among the Sea Kings (see below) don’t hinder trade vessels entering and leaving the harbor.
Io’drothtor (City of Ghosts)
Nestled in Turtle Bay along the southern coast of Krethmidion, the City of Ghosts gets its name from the forlorn spirits that haunt the city’s streets and catacombs. These apparitions are harmless, and most of the city’s living population pays little heed to them, but their presence can be unnerving to visitors. For reasons that escape even the most learned sages, anyone who perishes in Io’drothtor leaves behind a phantom “echo” of themselves before passing through the dark veil into the Raven Queen’s clutches. These apparitions seem to manifest wills of their own, and they move freely about according to their own whims. However, some residents speculate that these phantoms secretly serve as the “eyes” and “ears” of a sinister agency operating within the city walls.
Io’drothtor is the Dragovar Empire’s eastern stronghold, and numerous warships are moored in Turtle Bay to protect the harbor. Overlooking and enclosing the city are sheer black cliffs pockmarked with caves that serve as lookout points for Dragovar guards. The island’s mithral dragon overlord lurks in the heart of the island, behind a ring of jagged mountains called the Vaultcrags. Krethmidion comes to Io’drothtor twice per year (once in Lendys, and one in Erynian) to collect tribute.
Io’fazor (City of Stars)
The island of Kallahandros breaks the surface of the Dragon Sea and soars upward like a mountain, and surmounting its flat peak is the fortress city of Io’fazor. Soldiers of the martial caste come here to train, and tunnels lead from the city to the broken ring of docks that encircle the island’s circumference. The city’s central feature is a great observatory that contains arcane telescopes. The island’s silver dragon overlord runs the observatory and spends endless hours studying the heavens.
Io’galaroth (City of Caves)
The island of Castanamir is home to a city built inside an underground labyrinth of basalt grottos. The city is almost entirely subterranean except for some gigantic fumaroles that break the island’s surface and allow light to filter into the city streets. Io’galaroth is a grim place, but nearly anything can be bought or sold here. The gold dragon Castanamir is known to wander the city disguised in humanoid form; visitors would be wise to speak well of him. The dragon has no interest in politics and rarely concerns himself with affairs in Io’galaroth. The city boasts more than its fair share of pirates and cutthroats, and two of the empire’s most notorious thieves’ guilds (the Horned Alliance and the Golden Shield) have well-defended strongholds here.
Io’galaroth boasts an impressive harbor, as well as shipbuilding facilities. Dragovar warships protect the harbor and keep a watchful eye on the neighboring island of Mheletros, carved into which is the haunting fortress-prison of Zardkarath. The adamantine dragon Mheletros lives somewhere deep inside the fortress and has been known to eat prisoners who misbehave.
Io’halador (The Sunken City)
This ancient Arkhosian city sank beneath the waves hundreds of years ago, although rumors abound that parts of the city hold magical supplies of air and are still inhabited. It lies a day’s journey west of Hezemendor, a particularly large island in eastern Arkhosia.
Io’rasvim (City of Scrolls)
Io’rasvim is where Tsar Dakor, the Regent of Myrthon, resides. By order of the Dragovar Council of Viziers, the regent is forbidden to leave the city except by order of the Emperor, and then only in the company of Dragovar advisors assigned to counsel him. The City of Scrolls takes its name from its vast libraries of Draconic lore contained within its walls.
Io’vanthor (City of Tiers)
This city rests in the heart of Sytheron, an island ruled by a steel dragon. Io’vanthor watches over the Myrthon Regency to the west and the Kingdom of Sanghor to the south, looking for signs of trouble. The divine caste has a strong presence here, where the alliance between the Arkhosian and Myrthon dynasties was forged with the marriage of Emperor Azunkhan I to Kalavysti of Myrthon. Io’vanthor is called the City of Tiers because it’s a multi-level walled city carved into the side of a mountain.
Io’zargoth (City of Fear)
This shattered stronghold of the Dragovar is now a haunted ruin ruled by the dracolich overlord Tao Feng. The dracolich can sense the presence of living creatures within several leagues of the island and delights in slaying all living souls who traverse its domain.