The Sarmattian Stratocracy was established after the fall of Skos, around 7,000 PN. Sarmatti was established by a powerful half-celestial woman-warrior of the same name.
Then began a long and draining war, as the crusaders of Sarmatti attempted to wipe out the Tyranny of Tigraen and their infernal allies.
It took Sarmatti nearly a thousand years to colonize their homeland fully. As they grew in power, the Stratos became aware of the rising strength of Tigraen. Their response was to expand, taking in refugees and settling lands like Seleucis, extending their influence across as much of western Valea as they could settle.
In 5877, Sarmatti launched their first crusade against Tigraen. The Stratos seized the Ruxallen isthmus and conquered most of the land west and south of Tigraen. Massive summoning assaults from Tigraen repeatedly cut their supply lines, and uprisings drove Sarmatti back. thirteen times they rallied and returned east over the next thousand years, but they could not hold the land east of the Ruxallen.
After the failure of the first fourteen crusades, Sarmatti sought out greater power. The Stratos established several client states, such as Warien - building up the military power of Sarmatti.
In 4020 PN, Tigraen launched the first dark crusade; swarming over the Ruxallen and across the Seleuc Fjord in crude rafts. Their minions conquered Warien, Ors, and half of western Valea. For a time it seemed Tigraen would destroy Sarmatti. For four hundred years, the dominated much of Valea. Successive crusades assaulted Sarmatti itself and were broken, or were undone by rebellions in the restive conquered lands. In 3723 massive rebellions in Warien and Seleucis broke the twentieth dark crusade, and Tigraen was driven east of the Ruxallen.
Sarmatti recovered, and by 3308 PN, they launched the fifteenth crusade. All western Valea was cleansed of Tigraen's influence, and naval landings were made in eastern Valea. The fifth crusade turned into a two hundred year war of attrition, with heavy losses in soldiers on both sides. By 3097, a badly weakened Sarmatti ended the crusade and retreated their exhausted forces behind their fortress lines. Many of the outlying Kingdoms were left to their own defenses. Tigraen's losses were so heavy, they did not pursue.
Though use of dark magic, Tigraen recovered swiftly, and launched the twenty-first dark crusade. Tyrant Greuth had raised a massive force of infernals and mortal soldiers. His dark armies conquered all before them, eventually besieging Corron itself. Mithria Celuvalil sacrificed herself, saving Corron and ending the twenty-first dark crusade.
The sixteenth crusade in 2734 was the high point of Sarmatti's power. For a time, all the west was united against Tigraen; the martyr Mithria gave the crusade a heroine to avenge. The Gnomes of Crythentarc sold passage to the Stratos, and armies streamed into the east. The banners of the Hosts drove all the way into Tigraen. Even the lands east of Tigraen fell, and it looked for a moment as if all the children of Naduum would be swept away. But Grueth was cunning, and the defense of his capital, Arga-Pentha, incredible. Sarmattian Hosts dashed themselves against the walls, and the murderous magical defenses of the capital caused great slaughter. The best Sarmatti had bled themselves to death struggling against those defenses, and the crusade collapsed.
Sarmatti was never the same. Eighteen more crusades were launched over the next twenty-five centuries - but none achieved much success, and some failed after conquering only Ors or some of the Usurper Kingdoms. Never again with the Stratos lead the Hosts to the gates of Arga-Pentha.
Now Sarmatti is a shell of it's former self; still powerful, but much reduced from the glory days of old.
Sarmatti has a mild, nearly seasonless climate. Frequent rains nurture green rolling hills of white limestone. Extremely tall, sharp mountains in the southeast are capped with snow, and the central valley of Sarmatti is heavily forested around the banks of the Skyfall River.
Sarmatti is a nation touched by the gods of light. Many half-celestials and Aasimar gathered here under Sarmatti's benevolent rule. For a time after the fall of Skos, even at the turning of the Age, it seemed Sarmatti would overwhelm the darkness and cleanse all Valea of the taint of evil. Thus, the common folk are law abiding and hard working, usually devout and pious. Sarmatti is led by the best and brightest - those touched by the celestial.
The folk of Sarmatti view the ancient Crusade against Tigraen - and the infernal powers that back them - as the ultimate in self-sacrifice; they have seen their civilization slowly decline, spending their lifeblood to contain and defeat the rampant evil that Tigraen would inflict upon the world. Still, they will not give up the quest, and will continue to oppose evil and protect the innocent to their complete annihilation.
Sarmatti has a strong custom of warrior women; female adventurers, and female leadership. Warrior spirit and religious devotion is greatly admired here.
Sarmatti wear a lot of white or blue, thin fabrics, cool in the summer heat.
Sarmatti brought with her the language of Skos, which is still spoken among academics. The common tongue changed over many years, especially with so much exposure to Celestial. So called High Valean is the common speech of Sarmatti and much of the continent of Valea; related to Skosian, Elven, Auran, and of course Celestial.
Contact with the gods was quite frequent in Sarmatti at first, slowly lessening as the ages wore on. Still, the people see evidence of Celestial power walking down the street in the person of Half-Celestial warriors or Aasimar. Minions of the Celestial Realms are still consulted often, and pious worship is common - every Lawful or Good diety or Aspect has a temple somewhere in Sarmatti; even some of the more powerful Avatars are venerated.
The sheer number of temples built by Sarmatti is astonishing; many ruins of these temples can be found across Valea, in lands the Sarmatti once controlled.
The most important religious figure in Sarmatti was Mithria Celuvalil, Paladin of Skylae, Martyr of Corron. A winged Half-Celestial, beautiful Mithria saved the whole of Sarmatti by willingly sacrificing herself by flying into a rent Tigraenan Summoners had torn to the Abyss. She died, but through her death the rift was sealed, and Abyssal hordes banished. Statues of her are everywhere in Sarmatti, and she is worshipped as a local Guardinal.
Sarmatti is a Stratocracy, or Rule by the Military. The five Stratos - leaders of the Sarmattian Hosts - govern the nation jointly.
The Stratos are served by Warlords, who govern cities or regions of Sarmatti.
The Halgari are an order of Judges who travel Sarmatti lands, hearing cases and acting upon them. Most are Clerics of some kind, who care for the Law.
Sarmatti is cool but friendly to New Skos, whom they see as not zealous enough. They are the staunch foe of Tigraen, and any state they see as too friendly to Tigraen. Relations with bordering powers are difficult at best, because few are faithful enough to be seen as 'good' by the Stratos.
Sarmatti has a massive military - most able bodies are expected to fight in the great Crusade against Tigraen.
The army is organized into five Hosts, each commanded by one of the Stratos. The size of the Hosts vary, though they are always massive numbers of troops.
Every Host is made of up Great Companies of a thousand troops, either cavalry or infantry. Sarmatti makes heavy use of horse archers, light and heavy cavalry, and heavy infantry. Sarmattian archers are always female, freeing up the men to fight in close-quarters.
Pegasi are very common in Sarmatti, and entire Great Companies of Pegasus archers can be found in every Army.
Sarmatti has a modest fleet, but it is second rank behind the army.
Magic is common in Sarmatti; though divine far more so than arcane. More common are ancient magical artifacts and devices, relics left over from an era when Sarmatti was far more powerful than today.
Most of these are lost or have fallen into the hands of others and been renamed. The ancient Sarmattian capital of Corron is their single largest city. Much of the rest of the populace are spread throughout the Stratocracy, in fortified town-camps surrounded by farmland.
Classes linked to the divine are very common in Sarmatti. Summoners are outlawed.