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- Capital: Trolanport
- Population: 250,000 (60% gnomes, 16% humans, 11% dwarves, 7% kobolds, 6% other races)
- Exports: alchemical goods, education, entertainment, maps, precious stones, ships
- Leader: Triumvirs chosen from each of the three Zil cities
- Government: Triumvirate
The gnomes of Khorvaire have lived in the area known as Zilargo for thousands of years, often managing to keep their independence through diplomacy. When King Galifar I was building his empire, the gnomes immediately surrendered to his army, and negotiated their status as an independent province within the kingdom. They maintained this status until the Last War presented them with the opportunity to form their own nation. The Zil gnomes have never sought to build empires, and instead have insinuated themselves into the nations of others. In the Mror Holds, the gnomes do much of the actual work of the banking industry. Gnome merchants and sailors have a strong foothold in the Lhazaar Principalities, and they live and work in coastal communities across Khorvaire. In Breland, gnome crafters and engineers labor closely with the centers of industry. In Aundair, Zil sages hold key posts in the Arcane Congress and the University of Wynarn. They are masterful merchants and negotiators, and they are adept at setting others at ease and weaving words into a pleasing tapestry. The people of Zilargo see language as an art, so Zil gnomes are typically well-spoken and sophisticated. In fact, the gnomes chief export is their diplomatic expertise. This love of language among Zilargo’s gnomes also includes the written word, as Zilargo is home to the [Library of Korranberg]] – the single greatest repository of knowledge on the continent – and also produces the Korranberg Chronicle, the most widely read newspaper on the continent. Zilargo is home to the House Sivis main enclave and the largest of House Kundarak’s operations outside of the Mror Holds. House Tharashk operates a significant gem mining operation in the Zil city of Zolanberg. House Cannith, under the management of Cannith South, also maintians a number of operations in Zilargo, as the Zil gnomes were the first to master the elemental binding magic that have given rise to the many innovations in magical items used across Khorvaire.
The gnomish nation of Zilargo is ruled by the Triumvirate, which was originally formed to govern the Library of Korranberg and its colleges and students. A representative, or Triumvir, is chosen from each of the great Zil cities: Korranberg, Trolanport, and Zolanberg. For the most part, the Triumvirate governs Zilargo with a light hand, only taking action on matters that affect Zil society as a whole. For matters that do, they rely upong the Trust. These secret police place the interests of the nation above all else. The Trust has complete control of law enforcement and national security in Zilargo. The Trust punishes the guilty, and its justice is swift and merciless. There is no court of law or even a city watch. Any Zil citizen could be an agent of the Trust and, thanks to that, Zilargo has the lowest crime rate on Khorvaire. However, the Trust acts only if something threatens society and they use blackmail and intrigue to destroy the threats. Each Triumvir has the power to select agents from their own city to serve as an agent of the Trust.
During the first part of the Last War, gnomes maintained that Zilargo was a loyal province of the Kingdom of Galifar and loyal to the kings and queens of Galifar. This effective neutrality toward all of the Five Nations allowed them to maximize profits by selling to all the armies of Khorvaire. However, in 962 YK, the Zil political stance changed, Zilargo declared itself to be a loyal ally of the Brelish crown. This stance allowed the Zil establish Zilargo as an independent nation that had equal political footing with the Five Nations and Breland in particular, while easing tensions with their most threatening neighbor by declaring alliance. The Brelish crown moved quickly to recognize the Zilargo’s independence and as a fromal ally in the way. From that point forward, the gnomes provided intelligence and elemental-bound weapons to Breland while avoiding most combat. As a result, Zilargo emerged from the Last War stronger than ever, and Breland still owes the gnomes a debt for the services they rendered. The Treaty of Thronehold in 996 YK confirmed Zilargo as one of the recognized nations of Khorvaire.
From the outside, the streets of Zilargo appear bright and cheerful, filled with gnomes that are helpful, attentive, and usually willing to lend an ear to the troubles of a traveler and a hand to those in need. Sometimes this is just what it seems. But the Zil gnomes are schooled in deception from childhood, and, all too often, their good cheer and friendly demeanor is an illusion. Their favorite pastime is intrigue. Everything from the smallest bit of gossip to the biggest of state secrets is ambrosia to a gnome of Zilargo. This eagerness for knowledge is at the foundation of a society that is embedded in a web of deceits, deals, manipulations and outright blackmail. Often these plots are tied to a local community: feuds to shift the balance of power between families, attempts to influence local romances, or economic schemes. Two gnomes may engage in a shadow war to acquire a certain rare book, not because either truly cares about the book, but as a game of cunning and wit. Beyond personal schemes, every Zil gnome has a bond to his family and his clan, and each has its own economic and political goals. Business contracts, mining rights, government positions, influence within a trade guild are all determined by cunning and manipulation. However, in a society that thrives on deception, the gnomes find it extremely important to have someone they can trust without reservation and, as a result, family loyalty is immensely important in Zilargo. While family members may fight one another for position within a clan, betrayal of a direct family member is almost unheard of. Likewise, favors and debts are a serious matter. A web of secrets, favors, and debts binds this nation together, and a gnome may be called on at any time to repay a personal favor or a debt owed by her family. Failure to comply with a reasonable request threatens the entire system and can have grave consequences. Of course, this is a two-way street; a gnome is expected to repay her debts, but she can also call in favors from the people she helps during her adventures.
Important Cities of Zilargo
- Korranberg – while not the capital of Zilargo, most gnomes consider Korranberg to be the most important Zil city, as it is home to both the Library of Korranberg and Korranberg Chronicle.
- Trolanport – capital of Zilargo, this port city is home to major ship building operations and is a center of trade, not just for Zilargo, but for all of Khorvaire as it is a major departure and arrival ports for Xen’drik, Aerenal and Sarlona.
- Zolanberg – the smallest of Zilargo’s three major city, Zolanberg is home to one of the largest gem deposits in Khorvaire. It is also home to House Kundarak’s largest vault outside of the Mror Holds