- Parent: Nations
- Capital: None
- Population: 64,500 (80% minatour, 12% mustadi)
- Government: Collected Tribes
- Religions: Animism
- Imports: finished goods, textiles, timber
- Exports: gold, silver, stone
- Alignments: CN, CG, LN, CE
Life and Society
The combined tribes of the Muizzin Minotaurs make up the largest collected herd of Thule, nearly fourty-thousand minotaurs united under the first grand Herdshield in over three centuries. Aurawzur Greyhorn of The Amber Steppes leads the untied tribes with a doctrine of peace and defense while fending off constant challenges to his rule by unruly and violent upstarts.
The minotaurs of Thule oscillate between their ancestral nomadic existence and their more recent sedentary lifestyle. What amount to permanent hunting villages have been established on the Amber Steppes and in the foothills of the Coalstain range. They worship animal avatars of the gods, druidic followers of the creatures around them and the powers they represent.
Most are curious about customs and trade with other people of the World Primordant, treating most every other race as curiosities to be studied and contemplated. Much of this attitude is transplanted from the cyclopts to the north, but is has also evolved from the overwhelming of strength the minotaurs in battle. Many other creatures who walk on two legs who are smaller than the minotaurs are considered fragile beings that could be crushed with a single misstep, regardless of their potential for violence or retribution.
There are, however, many in Thule who embrace their more bestial past, and work to make might and force a template for leadership and interaction with foreigners. All who consider this are left wondering what their aggressive stance means for the future of Thule's relationship with its neighbors and partners.
Despite their peaceful history of honor with the cyclopts of the Deloponesse, Thule minotaurs remain suspicious of arcanists.
Major Geographical Features
The Coalstain Mountains to the northeast and the great gouges in the ground that form the rifts of the Earthshread to the east cradle the lands of Thule along the coast of the Pale Sea. Massive timber forests march into the neighboring nations to the south, a two-hundred mile-long timberland the locals call the Greenfingers.
To the west of these dominating features, Thule opens to the coast, with miles and miles of savannahs, gentle hills, plains, and grasslands spreading from border to border. Herds of sheep, cattle, rothe, and swine are kept, and a wild discipline of farming fills lowlands with grains, rice, and root vegetables that choke off all other plants and spread for miles, conquering acres of land over the course of a week.
The Amber Steppes are a savannah sweeping across the western portion of Thule, covering roughly one-third the land in the nation with wild grains, grasses, soft hills and gentle valleys. Hundreds of tribes roam the Steppes, often settling for months at a time where game and food are easy to collect before moving in slow migrations known as the aptislac or “steppewheel”. The lands are considered a sacred property by the minotaurs of Thule, representative as the counterpoint to the Coalstain Mountains as a representation of where they arrived, both geographically and spiritually, from where they began.
These dark peaks, blackened spires hammered by continual thunderstorms as the warm air from the Pale Sea collides with cold winds churning up from the south, march along the northern portion of Thule. The center spine of the range averages fifteen-thousand feet in height, with the massive Tower of Night and the Abyssal Rise continuing another five thousand feet higher, a pair of mountains stabbing skyward from the center of the range.
Humanoids and riches alike are plentiful throughout the Coalstain range, with gemstones and precious metals running in healthy veins. Salt mines are common in the western peaks, and coal, iron, and copper spill along massive underground passages to the east. The danger of gnolls and bugbears lies along every valley and through every pass, and larger creatures and nightmares make travel and residence a life of hardship, battle, and menace. The mountains are the original homeland of the minotaurs, centuries of their existence spent among the caves and chasms of the Coalstains forever warring with the ogres, giants, and monstrosities that dwelt beside them.
This canyon spreads out w from the southern end of the Coalstain Mountains, cutting east through the plains north of the forest span of the Greenfingers. The resembling the footprint of some global beast were one to look down upon it from on high, the heel of the handprint marks the eastern border of Thule. Rivers slowly carve their way through the mesa and plateaus as they roll down from the mountains, with waterfalls and rapids a regular yet spectacular sight. Goats and climbing antelopes populate throughout, and the common ancestry of the Thule and yeralt minotaurs is obvious in their communal towns and cities dug into the cliffs.
The Sleeping Hills
The Sleeping Hills roll across the western plains of Thule, running north from the Bay of Night to bring a premature sunset to all who live east of their rise. Webbed with wild and pernicious vegetation, the hills and their valleys are often wreathed in mist for most of the day, fending off all by the fiercest sunshine to mask the floor of the land in wispy yet disorienting fog. Beasts are numerous here, with dire bears, boars and cats staking claim to the weak in their culling of sheep and goat herds that thunder over the hills. Ancient barrows and crypts riddle the hills, a leftover from a civilization that some have linked to the giant race that raised the Monolith of the Heavens between Krusish and the Deloponesse. Hauntings are expected here, and the general population steers a wide path from the murkiest of the hills.
This open air market and settlement covers a wide circle of hoof-hammered land in the Amber Steppes. Tents and lean-tos, tepees and yurts crowd along makeshift roads and avenues in what has recently become more of a permanent settlement than a migrating marketplace. It is a place of honor for foreigners, and to be vouchsafed by Thule and allowed here to barter and banter is a considerable measure of an outlander's success.
Both the surface minotaurs of Thule and the yeralt minotaurs of the underdark dwell in this massive cavern, a bowl of caves in the heel of the hand that is the Earthshred. Half in sunlight, half in darkness, the city covers several layers of caves and terraces, collecting around the crossing of two underground rivers, the Hollowhorn and the Nightshimmer. Custom from the lands below and the lands above crisscross, as does traditions and news for any number of peoples.
This is the ancestral path to the Coalstains, as permanent a dwelling as can be found in the mountains populated by the plains-loving Thule. Oral histories make it known that the Thule minotaurs once dwelt withing the sharp and towering Coalstains, pledged more to a violent existence battling the giants and humanoids for land, food, and treasure. The Ker-Nodju marks the valley that found their journey's end, and it is a ceremonial stop back and forth for travellers crossing the mountains into Jordren or the Deloponesse. Several mountain roads begin and end here, and temples and feast halls crowd the shallow plateau upon which the village sits.
The remains of an ancient harbor town provides a convenient point of trade between the minotaurs and the djohame of Jorldom. Seals and walruses fill the abandoned bay even during a day of custom, and the djohame delight in using massive harpoons to hunt the orca that gorge on such beastly meals. Little of permanenece beyond foundations of stone buildings and shattered, kelp covered quays remain of what must have been a thriving port. Now, the minotaurs raise their tents and pavilions three or four times a year to trade goods, news, and culture with the Jorldanes, perhaps one of the few classic races that match the minotaurs in stature.
Recently, the minotaurs have begun interacting with the rest of the World Primordant. In fits and starts, other races have come to greet the combined herd, intrigued by the passive yet powerful citizens of the Amber Nation. The hobs of Ait journeyed this far west and have begun trade for precious metals the minotaurs find little use for apart from ornamentation, and the djohame of Jorldom to the South have open trade, bringing an odd assortment of finished goods in trade for stone and metals.
It remains to be seen what impact these interactions have on the minotaurs of Thule. They are a pragmatic, spiritual, and understanding nation, slow to stir yet quick to act when their lives or way of life is threatened. So far they have succeeded in entreating the other races out of curiosity rather than need, and it stands to reason that they will keep to themselves, reacting only when they are used or abused in pursuit of wealth and power. Woe be to those who stir the minotaurs from their waking sleep of peace on the Amber Steppes. Their past in the violent mountains to the northeast is not so far behind them, and power can be felt in their presence, something deep and ancient as the hills and peaks.
- The yeralt encampment at the Black Topaz in the Earthshred has discovered an ancient staircase diving deep into the ground. Scouts have headed down for nearly half a mile with no end in sight to the steps, but realized, when coming back up, a strange poem was written line by line on the risers of the stairs.
- The minotaur brigand Goldengore and his pack of tasloi henchman have gained control of a series of hunting trails through the Greenfingers. They are demanding the most peculiar tolls for hunters and timbermen to pass, trapping some folks in the Greenfingers for weeks at a time.
- The spell-singer Than Vallie has been sentenced to hard labor for using arcane words of power within site of Cloud Evenesai. The Willowmark noble house in Soullivaria has made an offer to any who retrieve their wayward heir; through diplomacy or force of arms, it matters not.
- Massive specimens of vegetable plants have somehow gained sentience and begun a campaign against their previous oppressors. Farmers have fallen in a surreal battle with their former crops, and help is needed to turn the tables once again and discover what has transformed the plants into violent attackers.
- The elusive Moontusk has been seen again, and some Jorldanes are keen to hunt the massive walrus and claim title as his captor. There are even a few who have placed their desire for glory ahead of the peace that exists between the djohame and the minotaurs, and ignoring the traditions of Thule could find more than just walrus blood spilled.