Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
Ruler: His Illustrious Glory, Beygraf Zoltan,
Shield of the True Faith
Government: Feudal monarchy with semihereditary rulership; beygraf must have proven fighting skill and leadership (magical ability also preferred)
Languages: Common, Ancient Baklunish
Ket is the easternmost Baklunish state and a trading center between the central Flanaess and the Bakluni lands to the west. Its people are predominantly Baklunish, but there is a racial mix; trade brings exchange and intermingling of peoples, after all.
Zoltan’s court is an odd mix of eastern and western influences; while the Baklunish goddesses Istus and Xan Yae are widely revered, the manner of their reverencing is distinctly western, for example.
Ketite raiding parties have been known to make forays into other Baklunish lands, but Ket has always feared the might of Keoland in particular, and with good cause. Its alliance with Iuz served the twin purpose of establishing Bissel as a buffer and controlling the vital trade route through the Bramblewood Pass. Ket is not a fertile land, with better pasturage than wheatland, but its reserves of copper and gold from the southern Yatils are good, and it is a prosperous land. Ket’s rulers smilingly dismiss any notion of further territorial ambitions, and they may be telling the truth, though the Velunese would say otherwise
The Greyhawk Wars
Ket was studiously neutral at the start of the war. However, Beygraf Zoltan of Ket had actually negotiated a secret treaty with Iuz, and at a critical juncture of the war, Ketite horsemen invaded and conquered neighbouring Bissel, threatening the left flank of the forces of Good. Ket had become identified as Evil, and the states that had been formerly suspicious of Ket because of its aggressive border raiding were now openly hostile to Iuz’s new partner.
Spring of 585 CY
Ket continues to occupy Bissel: “Bissel was forced to surrender by the fierce horsemen of Ket”; a group of Tusmit mercenaries in the city of Greyhawk is viewed with suspicion since “some are fearful that they might be spies in the pay of Ket”; Perrenland was “subjected to the aggressive territorial ambitions of Ket (fairly frequently)”; and Ket’s rulers “smilingly dismiss any notion of further territorial ambitions…although [Ket’s neighbor Veluna] would say otherwise.”
Lopolla’s population was decreased slightly to 22,000. The Baklunish goddesses Istus and Xan Yae are now widely revered in Ket.
Ket is not a fertile land but is good pasturage, and has reserves of copper and gold.
Although Baklunish people have golden-hued skin, Ketites’ pale yellow or tanned skin betrays their mixed ancestry.
Ket’s reputation as an evil nation is cemented. Rary, a formerly-good archmage who had betrayed his fellow wizards at the end of the Greyhawk Wars, had originall come from Ket.
People of Ket
Of the 275,000 residents of Ket that live outside The Bramblewood Forest, the demographic is overwhelmingly (98%) human. There is a small but influential population of 5,000 dwarves—most live in clan strongholds in the Yatil Mountains; however, others have moved into the cities, especially Molvar, or have joined military units. There is also an even smaller—and decidedly non-influential—community of 2700 halflings living in small halfling communities scattered across the rural countryside. Another 5,000 people of other races—gnomes, half-orcs, half-elves and even a few non-Bramblewood elves—are concentrated in the major cities.
The human Ketite population looks and acts as Baklunish as any nation in the Baklunish West. However, the constant transit of traders and caravaneers from other nations for five centuries has had an effect—although members of the great noble families and powerfu merchant houses are almost entirely of pure Baklunish blood, the middle and lower classes are a blend of Bakluni, Oeridian, and Suel.
Ketites are extremely lawful, and feel that the greatest good comes when everyone works together. Vigilantes and spontaneous posses are unheard of in Ket—the people expect the duly appointed Threshers, Jurats and other members of the judicial system to handle lawbreakers.
Protected by the surrounding mountains and a strict set of laws, confident in their military and respectful of their government, the people of Ket are generally happy and confident. Street festivals are a common occurrence, featuring contests of skill, fortune-telling, music, food and drink, as well as the favourite form of street entertainment in Ket, puppet shows. These shows are not merely the children’s entertainment found in other lands—the puppeteers of Ket are highly skilled, and can wrest raw emotions from their wood-and-cotton creations, causing laughter, tears, anger and love in their audiences. The best puppeteers—or rather the best-known puppets—are famous in Ket, and conversations at dinner parties will revolve around the latest adventures of the twins Janfruz and Jandral, or the plight of Poor Yazmin, always unlucky in love
The relationship between Ketites and elves of the Bramblewood—indeed, all elves—is one fraught with mistrust and prejudice on both sides.
Relations between the wood elves of the Bramblewood and Ketites had always been cool—the Ketites thought of the Bramblewood as a dangerous chunk of firewood that no right-thinking intelligent creature would ever live in, while naturally the wood elves thought the Ketites were a brood of uncivilized tree-chopping thugs.
In comparison, relations between Ketites and wild elves were non-existant, since the wild elves ambushed and murdered any Ketite party that came far enough into the Bramblewood to parley with them.
So the theft of the Cup and Talisman—hallmark of the worship of Al’Akbar—by elves only made a bad situation worse. A few Ketites believed that even if the wood elves were not actually responsible for the theft, they certainly knew who was responsible. Most Ketites, however, simply believed that all elves were complicit in a Flanaess-wide conspiracy against the True Faith; so they made every attempt to take out their anger on any wood elves that they encountered.
The elves responded in kind, and a war of sorts has raged on the boundaries of the Bramblewood and along the Irafa Road since then.
Elves of all other types—usually visitors to Ket—were also identified with the “elvish conspiracy”, and life has not been easy for elves in Ket since then.
Occasionally there is a thaw in relations—usually due to the mutual efforts of more liberal-minded Ketites and wood elves who see advantages to peace with Ket—but inevitably an “incident” fomented either by Ketite-haters or elf-haters results in another spate of warfare.