Order within - Chaos without
Mendev is a land defined, created even, by conflict with infernal forces beyond anything seen elsewhere on Avistan. The people of this land struggle constantly with the demonic rift of the Worldwound along the western border. Mendev is now in the middle of its fourth holy crusade and, along with the pious and righteous, this crusade has attracted its fair share of mercenaries, outcast and ne’er-do-wells of all types. On top of all this, theirs is a war of inquisition against the land’s original tribal inhabitants who may harbour secret cults devoted to the demonic. Mendev is a land of conflict which, despite its crusader origin, often degenerates into war that is less than holy.
Mendev is, in theory, governed by Queen Galfrey, Sword of Iomedae. She is a noble and just leader who manages to balance leading Mendev compassionately with the need to ensure the crusades can continue to hold back the fiendish attackers. The problem with Queen Galfrey’s noble leadership is that it does not stretch far enough—not much further than the walls of her fortress capital of Nerosyan. Beyond the city’s walls her commands are no longer law and the various commanders in control of the other cities, towns, and armies within Mendev each interpret her commands a little differently, some commanders taking more liberties than others. This has lead to division within the crusade, particularly since the latest crusade has seen the number of mercenaries, rogues, and other so called “low templars” rise to match the number of pious crusaders.
Mendev, as it is today, is one of the youngest nations on the face of Avistan along with Nirmathas. Mendev as it is now began with the First Mendevian Crusade in 4622 AR. The crusade was launched to stem the tide of chaos flowing from the Worldwound.3 This crusade was launched by the faltering church of Aroden, whose death was somehow linked to the formation of the Worldwound. The church tried to use the crusade to whip the followers into a righteous frenzy. These crusades were to be led by the followers of Iomedae, hungry for a righteous cause to fight for. As the thousands of pilgrim crusaders flooded up the Sellen River, across the Lake of Mists and Veils, and into Mendev, the crusader state was born.2
This first crusade managed to push back the demonic hordes in short order. It was deemed a success; the crusaders believed they had defeated their abyss-bound foes. And for almost a generation it seemed that the frontier with the Worldwound would remain quiet. But then the demons struck back with a terrible vengeance and the crusaders suffered defeat after costly defeat, their worst loss being the crusader city of Drezen in 4638 AR, which now lies well within the Worldwound. On the heels of that defeat, a Second Mendevian Crusade was launched. Two more crusades have transpired since then. Mendev is now in the middle of the Fourth Mendevian Crusade. With little hope of achieving a complete victory, the crusaders seem to have settled for merely containing the ever-present threat.
The inhabitants of Mendev are a strange mixture of peoples ranging from high minded gallants to back alley thugs. While many of the land’s inhabitants were swept to this northern land in the fanatic zeal of one of the crusades, many are natives of this land whose families lived here long before the crusaders’ arrival. These people, the native Iobarians, had much in common culturally with the neighbouring kingdom of Sarkoris, now the Worldwound. The Iobarian inhabitants tend to be treated as second class citizens by the crusaders, as they still practice their ancient druidic faith. This, unfortunately, makes them suspicious to the zealous crusaders of more traditional religions, and has led to many Iobarians burning at the stake for their heretical beliefs. In fact, most of the Third Mendevian Crusade seemed more focused on burning and purging heretics than it did on driving back the actual demonic denizens of the Worldwound. This suspicion is further fuelled by the fact that Sarkoris was rife with cults dedicated to the demon lord Deskari, cults which Aroden himself hunted down and destroyed during the Age of Enthronement.
The other more recent inhabitants of Mendev are the crusaders. They still arrive weekly by the boat load, streaming in from across the Lake of Mists and Veils. The arriving crusaders are an odd assortment. During the First Mendevian Crusade, those who sought to fight the invading demons were generally the most high-minded, virtuous people of the southern lands: clerics of good deities and noble paladins. However, by the Fourth Mendevian Crusade, the quality of crusaders had deteriorated. Many mercenaries flocked to fight in this seemingly endless war, and they now outnumber the truly sincere crusaders. This situation is made worse by the fact that many southern nations now see the Mendevian Crusades as little more than a convenient dumping ground for political dissidents, thugs, criminals and other undesirables. Now the true heroes who seek to stem the demonic tide flowing from the north are outnumbered and surrounded by mercenaries, thugs, displaced criminals and demons.