Shortly after Aroden’s death, regions and ethnic groups in Cheliax quickly splintered. Chief among them was the frontier colony of Molthune, which declared independence in 4632. Its success emboldened Galt and Andoran to follow suit. Using ancient maps of the territory to define new boundaries, Governor Kellon attempted to restore order and safety to his beleaguered people.
Independence, however, does not equal stability. Less than a generation later, the independent folk of the Fangwood Forest further splintered, breaking away from the old traditions that treated them as little more than indentured servants. Acts of sabotage at the various lumber camps throughout the region eventually led to open rebellion, and in 4655, the Fangwood rangers announced their own secession, creating the new nation of Nirmathas. The intervening years have seen six new governors, each drawn from the Molthuni Army, and various levels of open warfare with Nirmathas. Despite the loss of nearly half its landmass, Molthune is still a vast swath of land with a variety of terrain and resources, including mining, lumber, and agriculture.
Most residents of Molthune fall into one of two distinct groups: city dwellers and laborers. The city dwellers, almost all of whom live in Eranmas or Canorate, are considered “Imperial Citizens.” Citizens may participate in local governance and foreign trade and move freely about the country. Most of the rest of the populace are laborers— indentured servants who till the great fields of the central plains and perform the common work that powers the Molthuni economy. While many laborers resent their position, most take pride in their work, seeing it as one part of a greater whole that allows Molthune to maintain its proud traditions while forging a new, independent future.
Imperial Governor Markwin Teldas recently proclaimed that any laborer can become a Citizen by serving in the armies of Molthune for a 5-year period. While this decision enjoys
strong popularity with the working masses, the elite consider it an abomination. Teldas, however, has bigger plans. For while Molthune has extensive resources, it has relatively few people to effectively tap them. Under Teldas’s direction, territorial governors began offering monetary bonuses for extra children in families. Immigrants are promised land in exchange for military or laborer service, and slavery is not only permitted, but encouraged—within strictlydefined, lawful boundaries. (Slaves have a relatively good lot in Molthune. A careful slave with an understanding of the law can advance to citizenship in time—a road completely blocked to slaves of most other nations.)
Although pragmatic, this population drive was born of avarice. Molthune Citizens need more people to increase their riches. More laborers, more soldiers, and even more Citizens ramp up every aspect of the Molthune economy. Teldas’s plan to swell the army’s numbers could allow him to retake Nirmathas, deter potential Chelaxian and Drumish predation, and increase the nation’s wealth within 5 years, thus quieting his critics (or, at least, some of them).