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Flag of Kaoling.

Military dictatorship (Council of Nine)
Source: Dragon Empires Gazetteer, pg(s). 28 (1E)
Ancestry Guide, pg(s). 32 (2E)

Conquered by armies of vicious hobgoblins in the aftermath of the fall of Imperial Lung Wa, Kaoling is now a two-tiered society ruled by ruthless hobgoblins with all other races serving as effectively a slave-caste.1


The hobgoblins of the northern hills had been a threat to the people of what is now the nation of Kaoling for as long as anyone could remember. Before the collapse of Imperial Lung Wa, the lands of Kaoling had always successfully repelled the hobgoblin raids. For centuries the armies of Lung Wa clashed with these raiders, endlessly repeating the same pattern of putting down one warlord after another only to have the next warlord inevitably rise and take command of the hobgoblin hordes time and time again.2

After Lung Wa's fall in 4606 AR, the imperial armies stopped coming, however, and the hobgoblins soon realized their opportunity and invaded. In 4610 AR, the hobgoblin armies poured across the nation, and overthrew six squabbling, nascent Successor States in short order. Initially, the hobgoblins were limited by how far they were willing to venture from the caves beneath the Shaguang Rise but they soon expanded far beyond this. Eventually, the hobgoblins began encountering the armies of their neighbouring nations and in a rare show of restraint they ceased their aggression and founded the modern hobgoblin nation of Kaoling.2


Kaoling sits in the north-western reaches of the continent of Tian Xia. To the north and west, the vast deserts of Shaguang make up Kaoling's border; while to its north-east lies the mountainous kingdom of Zi Ha, home of the samsarans. To the east, where the mountains of Zi Ha end, Kaoling's border continues, rubbing against the hostile elven kingdom of Jinin. To the south-east lie the shores of the Sea of Eels, while to the south lies the militant and powerful Successor State of Lingshen.3


Kaoling is ruled with an iron fist by the Council of Nine, a council of nine of the most powerful generals and warlords from across the nation. From within their number, the council selects one to serve as a figurehead warlord for all Kaoling. The current holder of this position is Warlord Tsung-cha Kavangaki, who is a veteran of the most recent war with Zi Ha. Tsung-cha Kavangaki outmanoeuvred the previous holder of the title and, in the process, has created a coalition that gives him the majority within the council. Below the council exists a vast militaristic bureaucracy that sees to the day-to-day running of Kaoling including enforcing its harsh laws and rigid social discipline.2


Modern Kaoling is indisputably a hobgoblin kingdom, the hobgoblins dominate every aspect of life in the kingdom and Kaoling's remaining humans are treated as nothing more than slaves. All hobgoblins are expected to serve in Kaoling's military and the country is organised very much along military lines. Below the hobgoblins sits a large population of slaves, mostly human but also including elves and samsarans captured from neighbouring kingdoms. Slaves are marked with brands and tattoos that are hard to conceal and mark not only the status but act as a form of identification. The slave caste is not homogeneous as the hobgoblin overseers reward loyalty and good behaviour with unchecked power over other slaves, appealing to their basest instincts towards bullying. Beyond this, Kaoling is also home to significant populations of ettins, hill giants, and ogres.2


A hobgoblin warrior of Kaoling.

Life for the hobgoblin population is very regimented, even by hobgoblin standards, and all its citizens hold a specific rank and status within its society. Harsh punishments are enacted upon any who attempt to rise above their station outside socially endorsed or official methods. The hobgoblin people as a result become particularly cold and distant, many expecting treachery from others as a matter of course.4 Recently, the nation of Oprak has made diplomatic contact with Kaoling via the Onyx Key artifact. While this has led to profitable trade agreements, diplomacy has proven complicated due in part to Kaoling's harsh traditionalism.5


There are only two deities prominently worshipped in Kaoling: General Susumu, the Black Daimyo; and Yaezhing, the Minister of Blood.2 The Kaoling capital city Dhucharg includes massive temples devoted to both of these gods, General Susumu's Palace of the Black Daimyo6 and Yaezhing's Ministry of Blood.7


For additional as-yet unincorporated sources about this subject, see the Meta page.

  1. Colin McComb & Tim Hitchcock. “The Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Primer, 13. Paizo Inc., 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 28. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 47. Paizo Inc., 2011
  4. Mikhail Rekun. Duskwalker” in Ancestry Guide, 32. Paizo Inc., 2021
  5. Mikhail Rekun. Duskwalker” in Ancestry Guide, 35. Paizo Inc., 2021
  6. John Compton, et al. Dhucharg” in Distant Shores, 31. Paizo Inc., 2015
  7. John Compton, et al. Dhucharg” in Distant Shores, 30. Paizo Inc., 2015