The nation south of the Blight and west of Solitaire, Gwaithenihar is characterized by an extremely religious population, most of which expresses devotion to one of two Dwarven deities. The first is Apsalah, a lawful neutral goddess of the hearth, war and the moon. The second is Rennakh, a chaotic neutral god of creation, the arts and the sun.
The religious division in the country has resulted in an unusual system of government--the priesthood of Apsalah and the priesthood of Rennakh alternate governing Gwaithenihar, with the capitol city and entire system of government switching every ten years.
Inhabitants of Gwaithenihar - mostly dwarves and gnomes, but with a sizeable population of humans - are known mainly for their devotion to their gods. There is never any argument about whether to worship Rennakh or Apsalah, but rather over which is strongest, or whether they are equal.
Apsa: Currently the sixth year of its Ascendancy and therefore the capitol city of Gwaithenihar, Apsa is an exceedingly well-ordered city, with excellent defenses and many beautiful, carefully-cultivated gardens. Its streets are laid out in a precise grid, making it easy to find one's way around the city, and regulations prevent ugly or even unusual buildings from being made. The city is clean and almost crime-free, primarily due to some very strict ordinances that prevent crime. Here can be found the headquarters of the priesthood of Apsalah. Like most Dwarven cities, the city aboveground is much smaller than that below.
Rennic: Rennic is in its sixth year of Descent, but remains the larger of the two Capitol cities regardless. Immigrants are more welcome here than anywhere else in Gwaithenihar, and the piecemeal city sprawls in all directions as suburbs are added on, each instilled with the character of the culture and architects who built it. While there are city guards who prevent some of the worst criminal excesses, for the most part, anything is permitted provided it doesn't infringe on someone else's freedom. Like most Dwarven cities, the city aboveground is much smaller than that below.
Taisho: Taisho, the third-largest city in Gwaithenihar, is a bifurcated city. Over centuries it has become a locus for those of divine and demonic ancestry. The population abounds with tieflings, aasimar and fey'ri, all of whom coexist more or less peacefully. Generally those with celestial blood have a slight edge on those with demonic or devilish ancestors, because they are more likely to cooperate with each other, and give aid to others. Taisho is a hub of religious and philosophical studies, as well as the sciences, and while it's very hard for outsiders to believe it, the theological races get along surprisingly well.
Customs and CharacterEdit
The flatlands of Gwaithenihar are perfect for growing crops, though much of the land requires irrigation in order to be as productive as, for example, southern Meneluinin.
The nation is ruled in turns by the priesthood of Apsalah and the priesthood of Rennakh. When the government changes hands, its entire governing system also changes.
When Rennakh holds sway, democracy rules, and everyone in the land receives a single vote--the very wealthy and the poorest of the poor being nominally equal. Further, each district votes for a representative, and the representatives gather in Rennic to make the minor decisions that would be too difficult or too urgent for a vote of the people.
Apsalahni criticize the Rennakhi system for its massive inefficiencies, disorganization and corruption.
When Apsalah holds sway, a top-down system headed by an Imperator--the senior priest of Apsalah--makes all decisions, advised by a council of senior Apsalahni priests.
Rennakhi criticize the Apsalahni system for its lack of freedom, its tyrranies and its condescencion toward ordinary people.
Dwarves and gnomes are the most common races in the country, though humans and kobolds aren't uncommon either.
Nearly everyone speaks Common, with many reading it as well. However, Dwarven is a commonly-spoken second language, and more people can read and write in Dwarven script than in Common. Due to constant change in the educational system it's not uncommon for a person to be able to speak only Common and read and write only in Dwarven.
Most priests speak and write some Celestial as well, though Apsalahni priests are usually more literate and scholarly than Rennakhi priests, who are better orators and musicians.