A nation of corrupt governments, extensive criminal networks, and foreign moneys. Contains many major trade routes, many "not at all suspicious little hovels w/ extensive underground storage, and many “totally natural bits of forest high ground overlooking that bend in the road.” Demographically, the cities are mostly human, with representation from many shadow-themed races as well. Forests have a high percentage of wilderness races, including wilden, hamodryads, satyrs, etc… but these are often not the “happy-go-lucky” fey-folk from children’s stories, but rather the ruthless tricksters from kids’ nightmares.

Capital City: Impiltur City. Named for the former nation of which it was once the capital, Impiltur City maintained its capital status largely by default, because it already had the many buildings a nation’s capital would need. Given the complete disgrace in which the Impiltur royalty fell from power, it was no surprise that those who stepped up afterwards, a collaboration of the heads of several crime families, were able to easily set up a puppet government in Impiltur City to “rule” in name only. Technically there is a Prime Minister and cabinet “in charge” of the nation.

Politics: Depending on the city, you will pay homage to one crime family or another, if you know what’s good for you. Politics vary greatly from city to city, and the so-called central government has no real authority at all, save for its seat on the Council of Alliance Nations. And even that seat is well-cushioned with the coins of various crime lords.

Religion: There are plenty of nature worshippers among the fey folk in the forests, but each crime family tends to have their own priests to whatever god their family traditionally supported, and many of them seem to be very devout about their supposed faith. That they sometimes ignore dictates from a particular god about not murdering and being kind to the weak is a matter of discussion for someone outside that crime family’s range of influence.

Crime Families
These are just the known major ones. There’s plenty of rumor here, too, so don’t take all of this as 100% fact.

Bono Family… headed by Jo’tal Bono, a half-elf male, this family includes humans, elves, & half-elves, and has a lot of sway over agricultural shipments in the area. “Agricultural” likely often includes the illicit drug feyleaf, a powerful and addictive hallucinogen (basically a feywild version of opium).

The Celestines… A “family” of deva who have taken their immortality to new heights, the celestines are known to employ flaming swords against anyone accused of necromancy, demand tribute to all the gods for their family’s coffers, and confiscate any artifacts of Ayrkashna (or any other artifact they deem “of godly significance”).

Gambino Family… the leader Vindria Mangini, a halfling female, is the matriarch of this family of “little people”. Entirely populated by halflings, gnomes, and other small races, this family provides a lot of cheap laborers whose power is in their numbers. Their work crews are fairly ubiquitous throughout the land, giving them a bit of a Project Mayhem feel in terms of how they can influence others.

Sforza Family… lead by the dwarven battle maiden Caterina Sforza, who made her millions by taking over poorly-managed armies, the Sforzas are perhaps the best-equipped militarily of the families. Caterina is known to have crucified many of elven descent, though there are also rumors that she’s had a long-standing grudge with a high official in the church of Moradin.

Tanlan Mafia… headed by Lord Breyart Tanlan, a human male, this family is fairly straightforward in their crime attitude. When in their areas, you will pay the tariffs and protection money, lest “brigands” burn down your village in the night. Tanlan is also known to employ several mercenary forces. The biggest of these, the Hydra Company, got its name due to a regimented formation strategy they use that always seems to be able to bring fresh soldiers to the areas that seem weak. Many of Hydra Company are Orc War vets earning better pay after their military service, and there are often Hydra recruiters (frequently prostitutes) sent to The Line to ensure new recruits.

Wallenquist Family… Herr Wallenquist, a tiefling man, leads this family, which owns a great many orphanages and homes for the destitute throughout the nation. And if some of those people disappear every now and again, well… who can possibly keep track of all of those vagrants who come and go? His family holdings are well-staffed with internal pact warlocks and the creatures they happen to summon.

Places of Note
The Warrens of the Gnarly Rangers. The Gnarled Woods are a huge expanse of forest that house many groups of ill-repute. Hidden among them, though, are a group of folks who seek to push back the corruption. They call themselves the Gnarly Rangers. Mostly followers of St. Cuthbert, these forest soldiers work to take down particularly evil organizations in the woods, though their own methods are sometimes as ruthless as those of the groups they destroy.

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