Into the Wild (KingMaker AP)
The Great Houses
The valleys and lowlands of the Golushkin Mountain are the domain of House Garess, founded on both the defensibility of the mountain terrain and the mineral wealth the house has brought out of the peaks for generations.
House Garess once had a profitable alliance with a clan of dwarves living in the Golushkin Mountains, serving as brokers of a sort for the ores, metals, and worked goods the Golushkin dwarves produced. Lord Howlan Garess even took Toval Golka, the son of the clan-chief of the dwarf hold, as his ward in Grayhaven Castle. This proved fortunate for young Toval, as Grayhaven lost all contact with the dwarf hold of Golushkin during the same winter as the Vanishing. With his own son Bren lost inside the mountains, Lord Howlan, a widower with no other children, has named Toval his adoptive heir. This has earned the dwarf, now a skilled young warrior on his own right, few friends in Grayhaven.
Garess is reserved and tends to stay out of disputes, holding back their allegiance until they can gain the most benefit. They have a reputation for being more interested in what they stand to gain rather than abiding by any loyalties.
House Garess’s motto is “Strong as the Mountains.”
The Lebedas of Lake Reykal are know as the most “Rostlandic” of Brevoy’s noble houses having inherited a good deal of Taldan blood and tradition, including a fondness for sword fighting and an appreciation of the finer things. Their family seat of Silverhall is one of the grandest castles in Brevoy, its spires rising above the shores of Lake Reykal. The Lebedas earn and maintain their fortune as merchants and brokers between the northern and southern reaches of Brevoy, and control much of the shipping across the lake.
Dame Sarrona Lebeda has ruled the house as regent since the death of her husband, but their son Lander is approaching his majority, when he will become lord of the house. His older sister, Elanna spends a great deal of time representing their house in New Stetven, and rumors claim the Lebedas are looking to arrange a marriage between her and Noleski Surtova.
House Lebeda is tempestuous, driven, and prickly about their honor. In short, much like the Swordlords. Rumor has it that they have their fingers in many endeavors and tend to cover their bases by playing both sides of the fence at the same time in order to come out on top no matter which way the situation resolves itself.
House Lebeda’s motto is “Success through Grace.”
House Lodovka have never changed their waterborne ways and have remained strongly interested in maritime affairs since the founding of Brevoy. They have steadily grown their fleet of ships in the Lake of Mists and Veils and their influence along their lakeshore lands and the trade routes crossing the waters. House Lodovka claims comparatively little land in the northernmost areas of Brevoy, and much of the land is unsuitable for farming, but the house has many vessels hauling catches of fish and freshwater crabs from the Lake.
Lord Kozek Lodovka is a cunning old pirate with a love of the water, looking to his house, his family, and his people. They had many ships and focus on the Lake of Mists and Veils. These water dwelling folk are openly merchants but it is an open secret the Lodovkas have never left behind piracy and raiding. They are treacherous when dealing with anyone but House Surtova.
House Lodovka’s motto is “The Waters, Our Fields.”
The easternmost house, Medvyed claims lands nestled against the Icerim Peaks and the Gronzi Forest, and rules them from the fortress of Stoneclimb in the lower peaks. They are a hardy folk, raisers of mountain goats and sheep, hunters in the Gronzi Forest, and cultivators of what good lands can be found on the edges of their harsh territory. The Medvyeds and their people hearken back to the “Old Ways” of worshipping nature in its myriad forms. Isolated forest and mountain shrines to Old Deadeye are more common than temples to Abadar or Gorum.
Lord Gurev Medvyed loves to hunt, ride, and feast with his men. House Medvyed is straightforward, steady, and reliable. Rumor has it that they sponsor anti-Crown bandits in the Gronzi, but this is likely just a tale spread by their rivals to discredit the House.
House Medvyed’s motto is “Endurance Overcomes All.”
From Eagle’s Watch on the slopes of Mt. Veshka, House Orlovsky seeks to remain above the conflicts of Brevoy. Unfortunately, the house’s role as a staunch ally of the Rogarvias has placed it in an awkward position under the current regime. Thus far, House Orlovsky has refused to acknowledge Noleski Surtova as anything other than Lord Regent in the absence of King Urzen or a true Rogarvian heir, but it is becoming increasingly clear which way the political winds are shifting. Lord Poul Orlovsky will soon be forced to either declare for the Surtovas or support a different claim to the Dragonscale Throne.
They are a proud, fierce, intractable hill people, much influenced by their Iobarian roots. The Orlovskies were close allies to the House Rogarvia and do not look favorably upon the current Regent situation with a Surtovan pretender sitting on the throne. They never miss a chance to remind the regent of his true title, and speak as if the Rogarvians are merely on an extended vacation and will soon return to set things right. They will never give up ground when they don’t have to, and are politically patient and calculating in their dealings. They have a longstanding feud with House Lodovka and have see House Surtova as simpering lackeys.
House Orlovsky’s motto is “High Above.”
Since Choral’s final victory in the Vally of Fire, House Rogarvia has ruled Brevoy, until the recent mysterious disappearance. The house built the Ruby Fortress in the city of New Stetven as its stronghold, and Urzen Rogarvia sat in the Dragonscale Throne up until 4699, when the entire family vanished overnight.
The Rogarvias were well known as ruthless rulers, determined to hold Brevoy together in the Conqueror’s name by whatever means necessary. Still, while their loss was not overly mourned, the stability they represented has been. Loyalists have continued to call for investigation in the Vanishing and make much of the fact that their rule lasted precisely 200 years, but it has become increasingly clear that House Rogarvia will not return soon, if ever.
House Rogarvia’s crest was a two-headed red dragon, one head breathing flames, the other bearing an unsheathed sword, representing Choral’s legendary conquest, against a quartered field of white and gold. Its motto was “With Sword and Flame.”
The most influential house in Brevoy, House Surtova, is also the oldest, established in Issia centuries before Choral’s arrival. The Surtovas were infamous pirates and raiders in those early days, and with the Conqueror’s coming were able to parley captured wealth into lands and titles. What started out as a defensible fortress became Port Ice, a settlement that has been the seat of Surtova power for generations.
Looking to secure himself and his progeny as high a place in the new order as he could, Nikos Surtova offered the hand of his daughter, Myrna, in marriage to Choral, binding the house of the Conqueror with his own. House Surtova’s place as the right hand of the ruling house allowed them to move quickly into place after the Vanishing. The Surtovas established a “regency” in the absence of King Urzen, which has quickly become the de facto succession to the crown.
King Noleski Surtova sits upon the Dragonscale Throne, while his sister Natala Surtova reigns as unofficial “queen”, as her brother is yet unmarried. Rumors say Natala enjoys her role far too much to embrace the idea of a proper sister-in-law. Still, there is considerable pressure for Noleski to choose a bride and produce heirs for his new dynasty.
The Surtovas are cunning, manipulative, opportunistic, and use their wealth from their merchant activities to open doors for future advancement. Noleski is fond of his station and the wealth, luxuries, women, and adoration it brings him. His sister has far more ambitious goals, and wants to eventually sit on the throne directly. Whispered rumors say Noleski has another reason for not marrying- a perverted relationship with his sister, Natala.
More open rumors talk about the Surtovas sponsoring raiders and working in conjunction with the Lodovka pirate bands, while it is an open secret that Natala schemes to put her brother directly on the Dragonscale Throne.
The Surtova motto is “Ours Is the Right.”