The Holy Empire of Istar, formally the Kingdom of Istar and the Empire of Istar, was one of the greatest empires on all of Krynn. It stretched from the eastern borders of Thoradin and Taman Busuk in the west, Silvanesti and Balifor to the south, and the Courrain Ocean to the east and north. The lands varied from deserts in the south, hills and forests in the west, open grasslands to the northwest and central, and jungle to the east and northeast. First the Kings of Istar, then the Emperor of Istar led the nation for many years, before the Kingpriests of Istar came to power. The Imperial sign is the falcon.
Age of Dreams
The Empire that would become the beacon of Good on Ansalon had humble beginnings as it started out as a single village founded around 2500 PC. These simple fisherman and farmers had a peaceful living with those around them. This simple, peaceful life would not last forever.
Asanta, Head of the White Robes, came to Istar while seeking a new place for a Tower of High Sorcery. She had had a vision, that one day this small village would be a great metropolis, and the center of good on Ansalon with the assistance of the mages. The tower was built, and gave the people their visions of grandeur. They got rid of their beliefs of ancestor-worship, and took to hear the worship of the Gods of Light, particularly Paladine, Mishakal, and Solinari.
For the next eight hundred years, the Istarans were able to stave off attacks from surrounding towns with the assistance of the wizards. Istar became a city-state around 1750 PC with the defeat of Calah, Odacera, Chidell, and Kautilya. By 1543 PC, the Minotaur Empire's lands had become part of the city-state. The minotaurs though, were able to free themselves, but only for a time, and in about 1480 PC, Istar had become the trade center of the eastern world.
Istar was mostly not involved during the Third Dragon War. Dravinaar, the neighbor to the south, sided with the Dark Queen’s forces though. They bided their time until the time was right to strike at Istar, and that time came when the wizards left Istar to create the Dragon Orbs in Palanthas. Soon as the wizards left, the horsemen of Dravinaar attacked Istar, and razed half of the Lordcity. The people of Istar called to the wizards for assistance, but they were away and could not help the people. So they turned to the church, and they came to the assistance of Istar. The head of the church of Paladine called forth a cleansing flame that put fear into the hearts of the Dravinish, while boosting the morale of the Istarans. The Istarans pushed out the horsemen, and won a great victory. The people of Istar would forever hold this against the wizards, and brought the clerics into a stronger position of power in the Lordcity.
Age of Might
Following the Third Dragon War, Istar grew in power and commerce in the east. A warrior named Lord Galeric named himself the first King of Istar in 962 PC, and formed the Kingdom of Istar. This began the Istaran Age, and would continue until the Empire's destruction.
From 850 PC to 727 PC, Istar issued strict trade restrictions upon the Kender of Balifor in what would be called the Trade Wars. Istarans attempted to force the kender to accept their taxes through military force or legal action, but this all was for nothing. The kender received the “kender tax” that allowed them to be exempt from the Istaran standards. Also during these years, Midrath, Gather, Ismin, and Dravinaar joined Istar to create an Empire. By 800 PC, the Istarian trade standards had spread throughout all of Krynn.
Istar would again have problems with another race with trade. From 673 PC to 630 PC, Istaran and Silvanesti naval merchants fought skirmishes at sea. Eventually the Silvanesti would prevail with the blockade of Istar, and forced the nation to sign the Swordsheath Scroll. The people of Istar began to hate mages even more after the War of Bones in 574 PC, and this helped the church in becoming closer to taking over the Empire. Over forty years later in 530 PC, Istar, Thoradin, and the Knights of Solamnia fought skirmishes with the ogres in the Khalkist Mountains. The ogres had been raiding Istaran trade caravans, but would be driven back deep into the mountains by 522 PC.
Istar convinced their Solamnic allies in 490 PC to drive raiders from their trade routes in Estwilde. The Solamnics drove the raiders from the trade routes by 476 PC, and Solamnia re-signed the Swordsheath Scroll. In 483 PC, Taol joined the Empire. Sixteen years later in 460 PC, Istar had become the most powerful nation on Ansalon, and had kicked the minotaurs out of the sea as the most powerful naval nation.
Istar would continue to have an Emperor as their leader until 280 PC. Emperor Vemior was overthrown from power by Symeon I, and Symeon declared that Istar was the moral center of the world and took the title of Kingpriest and renamed the Empire of Istar the Holy Empire of Istar.
The Three Thrones War lasted from 118 PC - 98 PC, and almost tore the Empire into shreds. The Empire would see four different Kingpriests during this time, but eventually, Ardosean IV prevailed in uniting the Empire under one Kingpriest. During this time, the Edict of Manifest Virtue was declared law.
In the same year of 118 PC that the Edict of Manifest Virtue was declared, the dwarves of Thoradin took this as a personal affront and closed their borders. This act essentially split the continent in two, due to the nearly impassable Khalkist Mountains. The Kingpriest demanded usage of the dwarven roads through the mountains and the Istar War was soon at hand. Sending four legions into Thoradin, the Kingpriest tried to force the dwarves into submission. The dwarves, obviously more knowledgeable of the mountain terrain, crushed the Istaran forces and sent the survivors fleeing back to Istar. It would be another hundred years before Istar would attempt another such incursion.
From 97 PC to 48 PC, this was called the Long Reign. During this time, the Holy Empire saw a long lasting peace with the same Kingpriest. This was a time of peace and prosperity in the Empire, and ogres and goblins were exterminated from the inside of the Empire’s borders. This would not last though, and more strife rose up.
The final Kingpriest came to power in 40 PC, with Kingpriest Beldinas. He organized the Order of the Divine Hammer, which destroyed both Evil and Neutral churches. Slavery was reinstated in 15 PC for the Empire, and in 6 PC the Edict of Thought Control was instituted. Another major battle that Istar fought was the Stone Pillar Battle in 7 PC when they finallly thought they had crushed the dwarves of Thoradin.
In the days leading up the Cataclysm, Istar and Ansalon received the Thirteen Warnings from the gods. These were the different calamities that arose, but people thought that it was the gods of evil that were trying to attack Ansalon. They figured the Kingpriest would deal with the gods, and he attempted to. He made his demand to become a god, and the gods hurled the fiery mountain down upon the city of Istar.
Not only did this sink the city, but destroyed much of the surrounding lands, and eventually formed the Blood Sea of Istar. Almost all of Istar Province and the eastern provinces sank beneath the waves, while some of the lands became part of Khur, Kern, Goodlund, the Isle of Karthay, Saifhum, and the Minotaur Empire. Istar’s holy city was inhabited by Dargonesti headed up by Apoletta.
- Imperial High Road
- Dragonlance Campaign Setting, p. 201-203
- Towers of High Sorcery (Sourcebook), p. 109-113
- Dwarven Kingdoms of Krynn, "A World in Stone"
- Blades of the Tiger, p. 2, 93
- Chosen of the Gods, p. 1-6, 11, 75
- Covenant of the Forge (Novel), p. 127
- Dalamar the Dark (Novel), p. 90
- Divine Hammer (Novel), p. 2, 30, 49, 147-148
- DL1: Dragons of Despair, p. 32
- DL2: Dragons of Flame, p. 2, 32
- DL3: Dragons of Hope, p. 2, 18
- Dragon's Bluff (Novel), p. 61
- Emperor of Ansalon (Novel), p. 154
- Hammer and Axe, p. 271
- Kaz the Minotaur (Novel), p. 38
- Knights of the Crown (Novel), p. 1, 8-9
- Knights of the Rose (Novel), p. 3, 6, 73
- Lord of the Rose (Novel), p. 330
- Lord Soth (Novel), p. 37
- Night of Blood (Novel), p. 6-8, 334
- Sacred Fire, p. 2, 97-98, 142-145, 154-155
- Tales I Vol I 'The Magic of Krynn', p. 20
- Tales II Vol. I 'The Reign of Istar', p. 188
- Tales of Uncle Trapspringer, p. 3
- The Dragons, p. 223
- The Dragons at War, p. 13
- The Golden Orb, p. 19
- The Gully Dwarves, p. 2
- The Inheritance, p. 120
- The Legend of Huma, p. 350
- The Odyssey of Gilthanas, p. 241-242
- The Players of Gilean, p. 1
- Theros Ironfeld (Novel), p. 277
- The Wayward Knights, p. 12-19