The Fall of Barrowald
The Gambatic League
Technically, the Gambatic League is merely a merchant’s guild primarily operating in the north, with the heaviest influence on the commerce of Oteland, the Bruken Isles, and Svorin, though some posts exist in the western fringes of Venant as well. However, by extension, the term and its variant Gambatia also refer to the Bruken Isles themselves, as the League is the governing body of the major cities of Tolhafen and Barrowald, which in turn dominate the smaller cities and settlements across the Isles.
The League was formed under the auspices of King Holund IV of Svorin, in an attempt to create a Svorish hegemony after the Old Venanti Empire finally lost its control of the Plains of Qidia. Naturally, this did not end the way Holund hoped; by the reign of his great-great-grandson Haennar I, the League was able to force the passage of the Mercantile Freedom Laws, which granted complete autonomy to the Gambatic colonies on the Isles. Thus the League as we know it today first became a legal reality.
The first colony at Tolhafen was funded equally by the merchants of the League and the Svorish crown, as were several other smaller settlements. Holund IV and his son Holund V both maintained fairly good relations with the League, as they saw in it the opportunity to exact revenge on their former Venanti overlords via commercial dominance. However, as later kings lost site of that vision in favor of the sheer volume of gold flowing through the Gambatic League, relations began to deteriorate, and the later colonies were created completely independently of the monarchy. Most famously, the outpost at Barrowald was actually founded in secret, as Holund VI had threatened to imprison – or possibly to execute, depending on the source – any Gambamaester caught funding expeditions outside of previously established trade routes. The ships traveled only at night, finally arriving in the Old Harbor of Barrowald, and the League outpost was housed for several years inside one of the few remaining Old World ruins on the surface before moving up to the Seventh Level.
Since that founding, the League worked its way up in the graces of the Grand Mayors of Barrowald, until eventually Gambamaester Torrin was elected to the position – though there is much dispute over the fairness of that election, and unproven rumors of hired thugs watching voters abound. Two years later, the offices were permanently linked, and the League has been the de jure government of Barrowald ever since. Free from Svorish control, and refusing in its capacity as Grand Mayor to join in the concurrent Unification of Oteland, the Gambatic League quickly established political dominance over the rest of the Bruken Isles, in addition to its virtual trade monopoly in the region.