Recent History

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By the death of Prince Han, the Rock of Bral had entered its modern age. While an infant compared to the ancient spacefaring races, planetary civilizations, and interplanar entities, Bral filled a place in the Known Spheres that had long been desired. It was a center for money and accumulated wealth to be massed and wagered. Fortunes that had stagnated for centuries or longer became the entry pieces into a new game. Bralian economics and interplanetary trade empires became the new tokens on the game board of the Prime Material Plane. The Rock of Bral started something that the major players of the Known Spheres had been waiting for without even knowing it.

The Middle Years

By the time Prince Leo took the throne after his father’s death, he was already middle-aged with years of experience working as an intermediary for House Cozar and their various allies and partners. Before working for his father full time on Bral, Prince Leo was a member of an adventuring party under a false name, starting the tradition of Bralian nobles traveling in their youth before inheriting their estates as a means of avoiding stagnation and staying in touch with the modern world.

While Prince Leo was no powerful mage like Han was, he had trusted advisers and allies at his side who could monitor and maintain what his father had put into motion. The first half of Prince Leo’s rule was marked with the same consistent growth that the Rock of Bral had known since the early days of Cozar. If Prince Leo had a flaw it was his tendency to stay out of the spotlight. He lacked the natural charisma of his father and grandfather, and unintentionally sent messages that he was a weak leader.

The decline of the Rock of Bral took place during the second half of Prince Leo’s rule, but began with events entirely unrelated to him. The sun of the crystal sphere at the center of Vodonispace erupted into a nova, destroying the central government of the Vodoni Empire and the twelve star systems they ruled over. While the Vodoni Empire was notoriously evil and corrupt, it had stabilized a distant region of the Prime Material Plane that was inhabited by a number of other dangerous entities. The Vodoni Empire’s ruler, Emperor Vulkaran, left no methods of succession in place as he planned on ruling forever. Chaos fell upon the twelve crystal spheres of the Vodoni Empire one by one, as rebellions that had long been brewing finally had the opportunity to strike at the tyrants who ruled over them, who had found themselves confused with lack of leadership, distracted with looking to fill various gaps of power, and vulnerable due to cut supply lines.

While the conquered territories of the Vodoni Empire won their freedom over a decade of fighting it was at great cost. As the Vodoni Empire fell the evil they had kept in submission was let loose. Space monsters that were only contained by the well organized legions of Vodoni troops were set loose, while long oppressed cults were free to openly worship their dark deities now that the state worship of Emperor Vulkaran ended. Neighboring crystal spheres that had massed armies and navies to prevent the Vodoni Empire from conquering them now saw nearby star systems exposed and ripe for the taking.

Because the region of space the Vodoni Empire occupied is separated from the Radiant Triangle where Bral is located by a dark and deadly expanse of phlogiston called “The Weird”, it took time for the effects to reach the Rock. But attacks of massive space monsters were reported. Bold strikes by rogue navy fleets that had turned to piracy disrupted what had been stable trade routes. Worship of evil deities on the rise lead to a number of dark clerics surfacing and seeking glory in the name of their gods, and a rise of undead plagues let loose on planetary systems. When tough times hit Bral’s economy, Prince Leo was unsure of how to deal with new developments and answered the questions of investors and businessmen with silence.

The honeymoon of the “Bral experience” quickly faded public attitude changed and those with wealth, either old or recently acquired, looked to hoard it in the face of upcoming hardship. Space exploration and trade took back seat to many planetary-based governments that wanted to prepare for local issues of their own or who needed ships to combat marauders crossing the Weird. While a younger Prince Leo may of had the fire in him to rise up and lead people through the crisis, he was old by the time of the Vodoni Empire’s collapse and died without ever giving resolution to the troubled times.

Bral’s Collapse

When Prince Frun took the throne of Bral people were hopeful that he would provide better leadership than Leo, and at first he showed the right signs. Having never adventured, Frun was a bit of a local celebrity in Bral known for attending parties and befriending average citizens. He had never gone to a formal school or academy, practiced no arcane magics, and seemed to be the sort that people could relate to. Further, he was charismatic and a down-to-earth public speaker. The public was hungry for a change of leadership from Prince Leo’s distant and hands-off approach.

But for all the public confidence that Prince Frun enjoyed he brought zero experience or sense to the table. While Prince Leo heavily depended on advisers and systems put in place by his father, he assumed that his son would have the same safety nets. Yet much time had passed since Han’s death and advisory and specialists had changed hands to others that were equally skilled but loyal to themselves, not the Cozars. Frun’s ignorance and inexperience was taken advantage of by the people who his father had told him to trust, and he ceded political power unwittingly and foolishly invested the crown’s riches into enterprises that were unlikely to turn a profit or had little to no long-term benefit to Bral.

As danger was on the rise in the Known Spheres, business entrepreneurs were put second to defense. The oldest and most unified military organization that existed in the Radiant Triangle was the Elven Imperial Armada. Consistent of long-lived elves experienced in naval and ground warfare, the armada was unified in a single pantheon of deities and dedicated to the defense of the innocent. Mercenary defense companies that had waited for the opportunity to prove themselves found that when the time came they had no funding. Even Prince Frun put his confidence in the Elven Imperial Armada and donated ridiculous sums of both personal funds and tax money to their actions, moving the spotlight and initiative from Bral to the elves.

While the Elven Imperial Armada was able to set up a stable blockade around the Weird and kill or drive off the most dangerous of foes, Frun’s actions had inadvertently made Bral irrelevant. While for the majority of Frun’s rule he remained popular, it was only due to his friendly attitude and the work of various propaganda artists looking to make the crown seem stronger and wealthier than it actually was. The turning point came when Prince Frun agreed to meet with a neogi ambassador, who he kept waiting for two weeks. When the neogi finally grew impatient and demanded Prince Frun’s attention, the king had the ambassador thrown out of the palace.

The response by the local neogi fleet was to approach Bral, which was relatively undefended due to the decline of mercenary ships, and drop a large meteor in the middle of the city. The result caused over a thousand deaths, destroyed millions of gold worth of business establishments, and lost all faith both local and foreign in the throne. As money poured out of Bral slums developed in the city. Though Frun’s two sons had left home to become adventurers during the later years of his rule, they returned to find their father a bitter man distracting himself with what little coin he could sell off from the once great vaults of his family. Prince Frun died not long after, having drank himself to death in front of a picture of his great-grandfather with the shame of letting Cozar’s dream die.

The Rise of Andru

The fifth king of the Rock of Bral was Prince Calar, Frun’s eldest son. Like his father he was a nice man, good looking and leader-like. He was a warrior that adventured across multiple star systems, a bit of a hero with stories popular with the citizens. Perhaps his most important similarity to Frun was that he was completely inept, with no understanding of money, income, or business. While he was an adventurer, Calar dealt with radical tyrants and underhanded despots with his sword. As king, it seemed he would attempt much the same.

Calar never got the chance, as six days after he was crowned king he went missing. A couple days later he was found dead, having somehow been jettisoned into space along with a heap of trash. Prince Calar left behind a young and pregnant wife, Ellana, and citizens of Bral hungry for leadership and change whose dreams perished along with him.

Then came Andru. The younger brother of Prince Calar, Andru had been a bookish and quiet youth who stood in his brother’s shadow. During their adventuring years he had studied wizardry that he supported Calar with, and while many thought that he would continue his studies upon his brother’s death he took up the throne.

Proclaiming himself as king until Calar’s son, Aric, came of age, Prince Andru restored the glory to House Cozar. He was bold and ambitious like Cozar himself, knowledgeable about magic like Han, and could cut good deals and learn when to delegate like Leo. The first task that Andru did upon taking the throne was to clean out the wreckage of the neogi meteor crash site and rebuild it as the Grand Market. Andru took out numerous loans at ridiculous interest rates to fund his projects, and reopened the Interplanar Dimensional Gateway that had shut down decades prior due to lack of maintenance. Andru invested his own personal wealth from his adventuring years and marketed family treasures as collateral to start up his projects. Taxes were lowered dramatically when the market opened: Prince Andru was practically paying businesses to come back to Bral.

It worked extraordinarily. Andru attracted old investors who had thought Bral’s time had passed, both foreign and planar, and set up shops across the Grand Market. He invited delegates and ambassadors from planetary systems and businesses across the Known Spheres to Bral, trips paid for by himself, to negotiate deals. In a matter of years Andru had paid off all the debts he’d accumulated to start his projects with full interest paid. He tapped allies and resources acquired by his house that were distant and out of contact, and began building his trade empire.

The first ten years of Prince Andru’s rule saw him buy every ship that he could get his hands on and provide cheap shipping with high-paying wages for his crews. He set construction to be performed on various land owned by House Cozar across various interplanetary systems, and took advantage of cheap labor to offset his large expenses. Prince Andru worked hard to earn trust and sign business agreements not just with not only Bral’s nobility, but of nations far and distant with construction of embassies for them to use.

Though productive, Prince Andru has been largely a phantom in his rule, as he has only appeared to the public a handful of times. Most appreciate what he has done, as Bral’s natives around during Frun’s rule can see how much the economy has approved. Others claim that Andru worked behind the scenes, dealing underhandedly with threats and associating with dark forces in the process of Bral’s restoration. It’s no secret that the number of usually hostile races who come to Bral have dramatically increased, including illithids, beholders, drow, and the occasional fiend.

But for those willing to look the other way, Andru’s rule has a number of benefits. The mercenary companies that he’s funded now rival the Elven Imperial Armada in number and strength. Piracy is at its lowest in centuries, with many pirates bought out by Prince Andru to join his trade empire or mercenary companies for more pay than they made raiding. He’s heavily invested in magical arts, having hired a great number of wizards to maintain not only Bral’s complex spelljamming systems but also to provide magical defenses. While many rumors circulate about Andru and his practices or reasons for his secretive nature, no one denies his shrewd business skills or diplomatic genius.

Modern Day

In the past eight years, Andru has cemented his rule over Bral tighter than any king prior to him. He owns land on dozens of different planets and is king over far more people than one would expect. While he rules from the Rock, a small asteroid, the combined population of his subjects far exceeds that of most groundling kings and queens. Most of the land he owns is resource rich, which his fleet of trade ships circulate across the Known Spheres.

Prince Andru maintains good relations with rulers, leaders, and figureheads on many different planets, from a number of different governments, religions, and military groups. Any organization with power has been offered an embassy on the Rock of Bral, save those forces of evil in the material plane. While on the surface a force of good and law, Andru remains ties with more questionable allies to ensure that they don’t interfere with his own holdings, and quietly directs them towards fighting themselves over him.

Various aspects of Bral’s economy are delegated out to the noble families, who maintain the local economy, foreign relations, living necessities, defense companies, magic services, and any other business which he considers profitable and healthy for society.

Andru’s power is diverse. His numerous lands and the workers who dwell in them, as well as the trade fleet that goes between them represent personal sources of income. He also benefits greatly from taxation on the businesses that go through Bral, since as king he owns nearly all of the land on the Rock and maintains the right to levy taxes. Economics aside, Andru holds 49% of the votes of the Council of Captains, the delegation that decides laws on the Rock of Bral. This number is not by chance: since votes are determined by how many ships one owns, he buys or sells as necessary to hold the same percentage.

In the shadows, Andru has personal ties to a large number of organizations and has earned the trust, or at the very least respect, of entities and associations widespread and powerful. Only he knows exactly how complex his web of promises and deals is. Prince Andru also controls the group known as the Watch, an organization designed to ensure economic fairness and come down on lawbreakers, though his critics often point out that the Watch is more so a tool for Andru to keep power in the hands of those with his favor.

If Prince Andru has a weakness it is that his rule is not legitimate and his claims to the throne are coming to an end: Calar’s son, Aric, is soon to come of age and as per the laws of Bral’s succession, Andru must cede the throne to him. Despite this, Andru has made no attempts to further a transition of any sort, nor discussed such a thing with any of his allies or partners. While many are wary of this unjust reach for power from Andru, others suspect that the great wealth and advantages that the Rock enjoys are only due to a very delicate balance that only Andru himself knows how to maintain. Whether Prince Andru will yield the throne to his nephew, or if Aric Cozar will wrest it from his uncle’s grasp, remains to be seen.

Recent History

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