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The Onsruur was the council of lords that ruled Khôltar, south Faerûn, for centuries. It was originally the name of a council member that codified the laws in place at the time, known as the Decrees of Onsruur, and over the years the name came to be used for both the code of laws, the legislative body that formed them, and the families that were members.[3][4]

OrganizationEdit

The Onsruur was a council of twenty voting members, one from each of the twenty most powerful families in Khôltar. Other family members may have been able to attend council meetings, but each family only got one vote.[3][4] The organization had practically complete control over the Iron City, regardless of who was elected Belarkh (ruling lord).[1][2]

ActivitiesEdit

The Onsruur were responsible for passing laws, paying the garthraun (police) to enforce the laws and defend the city, paying the malgart (judges) to administer the laws in court, set tax policy, set trade policy with other entities, and generally keep order so that nothing interfered with business.[6][7]

TacticsEdit

Over the years, the Onsruur consolidated its power until it was essentially absolute. Even though the people elected the Belarkh, the Onsruur were the only ones allowed to nominate a person to run for the office. Typically, they chose a war hero or a successful crafter that they groomed and trained for the office, making sure that the person was wholly in their pocket and would speak their words, allowing the Onsruur to work behind the scenes.[8][9] Those that thwarted the Onsruur's wishes or tried to push their own agenda usually met with a fatal accident or died of an abrupt sickness (brought on by poison).[1][2]

Base of OperationsEdit

The Onsruur chambers were in the smaller of the two towers that were part of High Khôltar—the fortress/mansion in which the Belarkh was allowed to reside. Each family had their own opulent residence, most of which were clustered around the intersections of the Iron Way with Erethorn's Ride and Suldroon Street in the heart of the Iron City, in the district known as "Deep Coin".[1][2]

PossessionsEdit

Each Onsruur House hired their own, heavily armed, bodyguards, rather than trust their security to the garthraun. Most of these were human and former mercenaries or adventurers, but other races, including yuan-ti, were represented in their number.[1][2]

RelationshipsEdit

Among themselves, the Onsruur families had alliances and rivalries, but the majority felt that they were the only ones entitled to rule, and were not in favor of expanding their ranks. One man, Darvoro, the extremely wealthy owner of Darvoro's Plates, was very keen to become an Onsruur, but despite his plots, bribes, and spies, his every overture was rebuffed.[10][11]

In general, the Onsruur had a high opinion of themselves and looked down on other countries and city-states, but that didn't stop them from investing in and trading with other entities. Indeed, many of them were actively working on becoming influential in business or politics in places like Amn, Calimshan, Chessenta, Lapaliiya, Sembia, Tashalar, Var the Golden, and the Vilhon Reach.[8][9][12][13]

Their relationship with the gold dwarves of the Deep Realm was somewhat wary, but peaceful and businesslike.[14][15] Individual families had views that spanned the gamut from friendly to stridently racist,[12][13] but the Iron City depended heavily on the iron and other metal exports from the Great Rift.[6][7]

HistoryEdit

Charming folk, to be sure, if ye'll excuse the snarl in my sarcasm.
— Elminster, about the Onsruur.

The original citizen council was formed in the Year of the Thoughtful Man, 374 DR, by the second Shieldlord, Onskrar Hammershield, after the assassination of the city's founder Amberu Khôltar in a misguided plot to inflame human and dwarven emotions and force the dwarves to evict the humans and confiscate their businesses. The plot failed, but to placate the outraged population, Hammershield made an honest effort at forming a representative council that consisted of twelve old and experienced human crafters, four dwarves, two gnomes, and one halfling, plus eight other members that were appointed by him and rotated every season. This council drafted laws, and were consulted about matters of governance, but the humans on the council soon began to take over by subterfuge and skullduggery.[3][4]

Over the next two hundred years, the citizen's council became exclusively human, growing from twelve to sixteen to twenty members, and the seasonal appointees became merely scribes, secretaries, and envoys. This began slowly during the tenure of Shieldlord Hammershield, but after he was killed in a building collapse in the Year of the Ambitious Sycophant, 424 DR, he was replaced by Gonth "Merrybelt" Forgegold, whose management style was considerably less engaged. Shieldlord Forgegold tried to be a friend, brother, or father to all the people of Khôltar, giving them gifts, grants, aid, favors, and garnering as many drinking buddies as he possibly could. Without so much as a questioning look from Merrybelt, councilor Onsruur codified the prevailing council practices into law in the Year of the Wyvernfall, 512 DR, giving humans firm control of the legislative branch of Iron City government.[3][4]

Shieldlord Forgegold left office in the Year of the Alabaster Mounds, 577 DR, and his replacement, appointed by the Deep Realm, was Angloam Dubrin. Dubrin found himself beset by plots to undermine whatever authority the Shieldlord still had and to discredit him with manufactured scandals. He reported to his superiors that the Onsruur was actively trying to overthrow dwarven rule of Khôltar and asked for guidance. The Great Rift dwarves debated endlessly for nearly forty years while Dubrin dodged "accidents" and scandals, dealt with orc hordes and Shaaryan raids, and managed to build a new wall around the rapidly growing city. Finally, in the Year of Orcsfall, 619 DR, the dwarves decided to withdraw from the Iron City and let the humans take over.[8][9]

For his final act, Shieldlord Dubrin got a measure of revenge against the Onsruur when he brought an army to occupy the city for nearly a tenday, making the legislature quake with fear of being arrested or worse. On the last night of the occupation, the dwarf army hand-delivered a flier to every citizen announcing the resignation of the Shieldlord and that there would be no replacement. Dubrin, his army, and the other dwarves in positions of government and law enforcement then disappeared through secret tunnels and let the humans fight over control of the city.[8][9]

Nearly all the Onsruur families tried to become the supreme leader of Khôltar and the inevitable fights broke out. Bodyguards were in high demand and clashes grew more violent and widespread as lawlessness gripped the city. A senior officer named Embran Orntathtar rallied the garthraun and systematically defeated the private militias and arrested or killed the Onsruur members that refused to give up. He then declared himself Belarkh and offered the remaining Onsruur their old job back as his advisory council. They had little choice but to acquiesce and order was restored to the city once more.[8][9]

Thwarted but not deterred, some of the Onsruur Houses tried to assassinate the new Belarkh, but he survived and retaliated with deadly force until they decided he was too formidable, but they vowed his successor would be more amenable to their wishes. It took nearly seventy years and four Belarkhs, but the Onsruur achieved their goal with the appointment of Hulik Strathtar in the Year of the Wandering Sylph, 687 DR. Hulik was essentially a figurehead and a mouthpiece for the Onsruur, and every Belarkh since then was chosen with their approval. Even when the Belarkh eventually was selected by a city-wide election, the candidates were all hand-picked by the Onsruur.[8][9]

When the Spellplague struck in the Year of Blue Fire, 1385 DR, Khôltar was completely obliterated by the collapse of the Underchasm, and the Onsruur, and its reason for being, were no more.[5]

MembersEdit

For hundreds of years, these twenty families pulled the strings of the Belarkhs of Khôltar:[8][9][12][13]

  • Blaskarn: Costers, building firms, slave trade.
  • Carthclarr: Invested in businesses around the Shining Sea.
  • Daunphar: Horse and livestock breeders; connected with Great Rift criminals.
  • Emelduur: First-in-first-out investors, manipulated in their favor.
  • Horthander: Racehorses, foreign landlords, foundry and repair firms; rivals of the Khaundroves.
  • Izimmur: Squeezed crafters for profits.
  • Jhalahaskur: Weapons, mercenaries, costers, and slaves.
  • Khaundrove: Anti-dwarf; cut-corners ironmongery; Tashlutan politics; rivals of the Horthanders.
  • Lhamalask: Perfumes, oils, ointments, poisons, antidotes.
  • Lurpryn: Landlords, slave and drug trade, mercenaries and assassins.
  • Mieruura: Lapaliiyan and local landlords; high-level trade deals.
  • Mispurr: Old money; displayed pageantry; patrons of bards.
  • Naganthuur: Loan sharks, sculpture; minor shapeshifters.
  • Olophyn: Weapons and armor dealers, slavers; hunted humans for sport.
  • Osstiurr: Moneylenders, fences, arms dealers; experimental vapors.
  • Pelardh: Engraving, plating; on good terms with Deep Realm dwarves; rivals of the Voaphangh.
  • Phangarl: Horses, hinges, costers, and businesses in Var.
  • Surlpar: Moneylenders, landlords, monster breeders; weakened by infighting.
  • Voaphangh: Broad, shallow investors; Tinkered in foreign politics; rivals of the Pelardh.
  • Yulzaunt: Landlords, ranchers, non-human investments, medicine; allies with the Voaphangh.

AppendixEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 80–82. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Ed Greenwood (2003-03-05). Part #62: Khôltar, Part 13, High Khôltar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-21.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 84–85. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Ed Greenwood (2003-04-02). Part #64: Khôltar, Part 15, A Brief History of Khôltar, Part 2. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-06-26.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bruce R. Cordell, Ed Greenwood, Chris Sims (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 120–121. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 62–63. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Ed Greenwood (2002-09-25). Part #50: Khôltar, Part 1, First Impressions. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-21.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 85–87. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Ed Greenwood (2003-04-16). Part #65: Khôltar, Part 16, A Brief History of Khôltar, Part 3. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-11-06.
  10. Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 69–71. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  11. Ed Greenwood (2002-11-27). Part #55: Khôltar, Part 6, Looking Around the Farrgaunlar. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-28.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 87–88. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Ed Greenwood (2003-04-30). Part #66: Khôltar, Part 17, More on the Onsruur. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-11-06.
  14. Ed Greenwood (April 2001–May 2003). Elminster Speaks archive (Zipped PDF). Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. pp. 63–64. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2016-09-03.
  15. Ed Greenwood (2002-10-02). Part #51: Khôltar, Part 2, Second Impressions. Elminster Speaks. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved on 2017-10-21.
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