Dungeons & Dragons
I don’t know what the people of Mintarn did to attract Beshaba‘s ire, but they surely have her attention. For as long as I can remember, Mintarn has lived in the shadow of the dragon Hoondarrh—called the Red Rage of Mintarn since he dwells on an island close by—but for just as long, the people of Mintarn have been able to purchase the dragon’s mercy. Now a series of events conspire to threaten their power to pay the dragon, as well as their other aspirations on the Sword Coast.
Mintarn has long been a neutral ground for various forces—a place aloof from the conflicts between the city-states of the coast and the rivalries of the Northlander Isles. Any ship—be it pirate, privateer, or merchant vessel—could dock at Mintarn and find a warm welcome. Many treaties were struck on its shores, and when peace couldn’t be achieved, soldiers and ships of Mintarn hired themselves out to various power groups, with no fear of retribution on Mintarn.
Not long ago, Mintarn was awash with coin. Dagult Neverember invested heavily in the island, creating a ship-building company, combat-training facilities, and even lending his coin to the yearly tribute to Hoondarrh when other means fell short. The White Sails company in which he invested grew to become Mintarn’s preminent supplier of mercenary ships and soldiers.
Things only improved when Waterdeep wasted its navy chasing Northlander pirates. Then Neverember, acting as Open Lord of Waterdeep, relied on his connections to Mintarn to draft a new mercenary navy for the city. What’s more, Neverember took it on himself to raise Neverwinter from the ashes, hiring more mercenaries of Mintarn to serve his needs as that city’s Lord Protector.
With funds from two of the greatest cities of the Sword Coast filling its coffers, Mintarn knew a prosperity ofwhich its people had never dreamed. It’s true that the same tide that had coin flowing into Mintarn drew much of its young and vibrant people outward, but those they left behind were comforted by the knowledge that their family and friends didn’t leave for war, but for much safer duties.
The trouble started, not surprisingly, with Hoondarrh. Though Mintarn made yearly tributes to the great wyrm and was always careful to neglect not a copper, old Hoondarrh was known to sleep for decades at a time, and the folk of Mintarn took their agreement with the dragon for granted. But something awoke him early
a few years ago, and it was as if the red bastard could smell the gold coming into the island. Although Mintarn had made proper tribute, Hoondarrh landed atop Castle Mintarn, toppling two of its towers with his weight, and roared a demand for more treasure, right then, and in future tributes.
Of course, the folk of Mintarn scrambled to meet the impatient wyrm’s demands. Even if they had all the soldiers shipped away to Neverwinter and Waterdeep, what could they hope to do to mighty Hoondarrh?
Things got worse recently when Neverember was deposed as Open Lord of Waterdeep. The Lords of Waterdeep have decided to reestablish their own navy, and they’ve told the soldiers of Mintarn to leave the city or take a commission among the navy or the city’s other armed forces. Now in Neverwinter, Lord Neverember has decided to do away with a mercenary force as well. He says he wants to instill a sense of civic pride among the folk of Neverwinter, but many in Mintarn see it as a betrayal. Neverember is a cunning man. I think with Hoondarrh active, the Lord Protector is simply cutting his losses. He didn’t get the nickname Dagger just because his first name is Dagult.
Mintarn had been playing the game well, but now it finds itself backed into a corner with few moves left to make. The coin is no longer flowing into its harbors, and many of its best and brightest have decided not to return. There’s talk of hiring adventurers to slay Hoondarrh, but Hoondarrh‘s hoard must be massive. If that’s not enough of a draw to dragon slayers, then there’s no amount of money Mintarn could offer that would sweeten the deal.
I like Mintarn. It has cozy inns, and they make a brilliant green wine unique to their island. But, there are safer harbors during the current storm. Maybe in another decade or two I’ll try Mintarn again.
In the case that you visit, here are a few other things you should know of Mintarn.
Every five or six years, a new tyrant—yes, that’s what they call themselves—emerges on Mintarn, ruling the island kingdom in the name of preserving its status as a neutral ground and a free port. A few years ago, Her Tyrancy was Bloeth Embuirhan, the supposed great-granddaughter of a tyrant from a century ago. She ruled the island through its most prosperous days, but odds are that the folk of Mintarn (and maybe herself as well, if she has her wits bout her) wants someone else on the throne now.
Despite its open harbors and many fine establishments, Mintarn remains a loosely settled island. There are farms and homesteads, to be sure, but also wide, open spaces between them, and enough land that anyone could make a small living if so inclined.