In the early days of their empire, the Galaryns were in constant conflict with the Genasi. Corsarrs raided the coastal settlements regularly. In their search for allies, the Galaryns turned to Turath, a pirate lord operating out of the now ruined city of Vor Kragal. Calling in countless favors, Turath amassed a fleet and drove the Genasi Corsairs away from the Galaryn coastline. As a reward, the Galaryn Emperor granted Turath control of the southernmost province of the Empire. Never a humble type, Turath took to calling this region ’Turath’s Land’, or Bael Turath in Old Galaryn, and renamed its chief city Vor Turath.
As time passed, tieflings from all over came to Bael Turath, hoping that they would be less feared or persecuted in lands ruled by one of their own. Within a few generations, tieflings outnumbered other races in Bael Turath. Tensions rose and many members of other races moved away from the area, not wanting to live with the tieflings, a race resulting from demonic pacts. Soon, tieflings represented the vast majority. When the Galaryn Empire declined, the canny leaders of the tiefling Great Houses took more and more of the government of Bael Turath on their shoulders until they were practically independent. Then, when they were certain the Empire was too weak to respond, they declared independence.
The next turning point in Turathi history came 125 years ago, when human scholars in Vor Kalash discovered the concept of Psionics, the so called ‘magic of the mind.’ They theorized that certain types of ‘magic’ had nothing to do with spells or divinity, but emerged from the power and focus on the wielder’s will and mind. At first, these theories were dismissed. After all, the Kalashtar had a reputation for outlandish theories. But as more and more the evidence seemed to back up Kalashtar claims, people began to wonder about their other theories. Among the most interesting of these claims, especially to the Turathi, concerned the origins of species. The Kalashtar rejected the notion that the different sentient races were created distinct by different gods. The gods, they argued, had simply created a single humanoid race – probably humans – and over millenia, the species had branched into different races by adapting to new environments. Even the eladrin, the claimed, were simply humanoids who had adapted to life in the Feywild.
As may be easily imagined, such concepts proved controversial. In Bael Turath, many tieflings welcomed a new theory about heir origins. Dwarves too largely accepted the new ideas. One Turathi researcher went farther. Karl Darvinoth claimed that the Kalashtar theory applied to other species as well. Dragonborn, for instance, were a race of dragon who had gradually evolved into humanoid form to facilitate communal living. He pointed to creatures such as draconids and dragonspawn as ‘links’ between dragons and dragonborn. Kobolds and lizardfolk were thus less successful adaptations. Dragonborn tend to have mixed feelings about this idea. Some approve of the idea of their actually being dragons, while otherreject any theory that claims a relation between dragonborn and kobolds.
Not all Turathi welcomed the theory, though. The city of Vor Rukoth argued that they did not need to excuse what hey were with a new philosophy. When the Turathi Ruling Council adopted the new belief, House Rukoth brok all ties with Bael Turath and became a haven for tiefling Arcanists and, unknown to most, to darker things as well.
The Turathi were not inclined to participate in the Psionic Crusade when it was first called. However, the discovery of demonsim in Vor Rukoth, and the increased raiding from Genas – which had remained staunchly Arcanist – convinced the rulers that they were in need of allies. Less concerned with eradicated arcane magic than with dealing with Genas, Bael Turath nonetheless joined the elves of Ulaeviel in their Crusade.
Fifteen years into the war, a group of goblin alchemists developed a blasting powder, and began using it for bombs. The tieflings saw a more efficient use for the stuff. Working closely with the Ironroot dwarves and basing their work on stolen Arkhosian examples, the Turathi developed the first alchemical firearms. After much testing and redesigning, the forges of the Ironroot Mountains were soon cranking out weapons of the Turathi Army.
Before facing Arkhosia, who had by now entered the war, the Turathi nobles determined to test the new weapons against a weaker target. The siege of Vor Rukoth was longer and far costlier than anticipated, but in the end, the Turathi were victorious. The return journey proved nearly as costly as the campaign, due to an ambush by a force of Eladrin and their fey allies. Any joy the Turathi might still have had at their victories was further tainted by the Genasi sack of Vor Turath.
It was in this weakened state that the Turathi Lords received the Arkhosian demand for a peace conference. By this point, the Turathi had accomplished the destruction of Vor Rukoth, and while Genas remained a problem, it was decided that the hazards of continued war outweighed the potential benefits.
Society and Law
The Turathi live with a deep divide between the wealthy and politically powerful Great Houses and the lower classes. Nearly every member of the lower classes is indentured in some way to one of the Great Houses. The majority are content with the arrangement and abject poverty is rare, but a growing and vocal minority call for changes in the system.
Turathi law is highly unusual. For one, Bael Turath is abnormal in that it has professional lawyers, but these lawyers are unlike those in the few other places that have them. Turathi lawyers are fencers-at-law. Like Arkhosia, Turathi law has long been based on the idea of trial by combat. Unlike Arkhosia, this system applies to all cases civil and criminal. Also unlike Arkhosia, it is rare for a party to represent himself. Instead, parties hire champions to represent them. While this may technically be anyone, those who can afford it hire a fencer-at-law. These highly skilled swordsmen are also masters of Turathi law, and considering the personal risk involved, usually have a reputation for only taking on clients they believe are in the right. Often the mere appearance of a fencer-at-law on the courtroom floor is sufficient to draw a confession from a guilty party.
Non-Tieflings in Bael Turath
Turathi lands are far less homogenous than those of Arkhosia. However, tieflings are the majority everywhere but the city of Vor Kalash and its lands. Here the Kalashtar rule, having been allowed the right for supporting Turathi independence. The Kalashtar are highly respected philosophers and experts on psionics. Of all Turathi factions, the Kalshtar were the most vocal in their support of the crusade. They had long argued that the Arcanists would strike out against Psionics if not crushed. Their fears seemd confirmed by the assassination of the Elvenking of Ulaeviel. In response, the Kalashtar developed the Warforged, constructs into which the Kalashtar could psionically project themselves. The intent was that the Warforged be used as mage-hunters. During the crusade, they were often used for such purposes, but they gaiend the most fame for their ruthlessness on the battlefield. After the war, they were largely decommissioned, but rumors speak of Warforged who gained a sentience of their own, or whose Kalashtar operators became lost in them.
The tieflings of Bael Turath are divided into Great Houses, each of whom has a seat on the Council of Rulers. This council long ago supplanted the monarchy as the primary seat of power, and it continues to rule to this day. The Kalashtar are the only non-tieflings represented on the Council. An increasingly vocal minority has called for the lower classes to gain representation.
Like the government, the Turathi military is based on the Great Houses. Traditionally, each House’s troops consisted of armored Knights backed up by spearmen and archers drawn from the lower classes. However, with the advent of firearms, the lower class troops have been armed with more deadly weapons and have begun to have a more decisive effect on the battlefield. This new prestige has led to increased calls for more equal rights.
Ioun is the favorite deity of Turathi tieflings, though all gods are worshiped in Bael Turath. Erathis and Moradin have significant followings, as do Avandra and Pelor.