The World of Rowan
By Matthew J Finch
© Matthew J. Finch, 1994-2002, all rights reserved
Revised August 31, 2002
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All content is Product Identity other than game specific descriptions and WOTC material such as the names of Player’s Handbook deities. Products and open game content derived from this Gazetteer may be distributed on the web provided that the page contains an acceptably prominent link to the author’s website. E-mail me if you want to use it, I’ll probably agree.
This Gazetteer is intended for the use of both Dungeon Masters and Players of the Dungeons and Dragons Game, Third Edition, though it was originally created under the Second Edition Rules in 1994. Special thanks are due to my wife Madison, to Jim Hazeltine, to Eric Shafer, and to Peter Holtz. Acknowledgement is due to Jack Vance, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Fritz Leiber.
This being the Gazetteer of Cywendain the Parser, traveler of the multipanoply, chronicler of worlds, presented to the Academy of Ryespindle in apology for those events leading up to his dismissal from said Academy and humbly entreating the Academiens to overlook said events, especially those in which certain of the Academiens perished by fire and were subsequently resurrected. The (humble) author addresses herein the world known as Rowantree, drawing heavily upon local authors including Bereward the Urbane, Nezzecharsus the Scryer, Nikolokensor and Taraul Tenspells.
Location and Geography
The world seems to possess but one major continent, floating in a mist-shrouded sea, the Moonmere. The boundaries of the Moonmere are indefinite; indeed, it appears that they either drift off into other planes of existence or function as portals under particular weather conditions. There are numerous accounts of shipwrecks clearly of non-native origin washing up on the shores of Rowantree’s continent, some not of the Prime Material Plane to judge from the accounts of eyewitnesses. Moreover, the continent has been invaded by armies from other continents in the past, and the scholar of history must ask "where did the other continents go, if they are not there now?" I suggest that the extent of this Moonmere Sea through the planes (or through the Prime Material) should be investigated. In any event, I shall restrict my commentary hereafter to the continent itself.
There are three main cultures on the continent, called Galtic, Teutonic and Nethtep. The Galts are native. The Teutonic and Nethtep are invaders (again, from where? It is a fascinating question.) In general, the Galts are chaotic and good in alignment, and their religion centers around a neutral good female deity. Property usually passes through the female line. The Teutons tend to be lawful in alignment, and property passes through the female line. The Nethtep do not really have a trend in alignment that I can perceive, though perhaps there is a slight leaning toward evil.
The Fey Connection
Throughout the continent, distances tend to shift, wilderness has great powers, and portals from place to place or into other planes are linked to natural formations and phases of the moon. Apparently, the world is deeply intertwined with one or more "otherworlds," most of them fey in nature. "Pockets" of fey existence, connected to the world but separate and apart from it are very common. In addition to the more benevolent fey beings such as nymphs or satyrs, these fey realms are native territory to goblins, ogres and hags. The fey realms usually have a culture similar to the area where the portal opens into the world. While woodland fey abound in the Galtic and Teutonic portals, the denizens of the Nethtep fey realms more often include genies and elemental powers.
Goblins and their kin are a significant problem everywhere. Goblins are suicidally inventive, prone to produce individuals of character ability, and they breed like rats. Goblins are flexible enough to live for a long time under the rules and constraints of human civilization, and many cities have a goblin quarter. Many believe it is merely a matter of time before goblins outbreed the more civilized races (on the other hand, the scarcity of true wizards among goblinkind is a strong argument to the contrary).
Elves in the Rowan combine a lofty haughteur with startlingly whimsical decision-making. They are impossible to predict, often irritating to reason with, and dangerous to depend upon. On the other hand, an elf in the throes of an obsession is an unstoppable force. Many elves are so close to their fey origins that they can pass into fey realms without need for the normal portal keys.
History and the Calendar
Written history dates back about 650 years, beginning with the first year of the Stag. Years follow a ten-year cycle beginning with the year of the Stag and ending with the year of the Wyvern. At the time of this writing it is the Sixty-fifth Year of the Stag, meaning that the ten-year cycle has repeated sixty-five times. The years of the cycle are Stag, Manticore, Falcon, Wolf, Moon, Raven, Fox, Bull, Sparrow, and Wyvern. The months of the year are Jantain, Febtain, Martain, Aptain, Maytain, Juntain, Jultain, Autain, Septain, Octain, Novain and Dectain.
The Galtic peoples are the original natives of the continent. At some time in prehistory, a people calling themselves the "Pollioi" invaded the continent, establishing a brief presence in the north and west. In the First Year of the Stag (it is unclear whether the calendar started on this date for this reason, or by strange coincidence), the Nethtep invaded the continent from the East. Unlike the peaceful Pollinian settlers, the Nethtep were conquerers, bringing vast orcish armies with them, and establishing a colonial capital at Psoltis (now Orskabaod). In the tenth year of the Fox, the Nethtep withdrew, apparently because the home empire was in crisis of some kind. Immediately, the Nethtep orcs rose to succeed their masters as rulers of the continent, and the Gaoblinothic hegemony arose. The entire continent was almost conquered by the orcs, but the Hegemony collapsed upon itself in the nineteenth year of the Bull. In the Twenty-third Year of the Wolf, there suddenly appeared hundreds of longships bearing colonists who called themselves "Teuts," meaning "small-folk." These ferocious warriors apparently hailed from a place called Jotenland, a place dominated by giants. Indeed, soon many giants also appeared in great ships, seeking to pillage and plunder the coasts of the Rowan continent, many settling on the Jotencost. Between the raids of the giants and of their fierce refugees, civilization across the north and west of the continent was virtually destroyed. The raids ended three hundred years ago, with the last credible account being penned by Harivail the Cripple, Chronicler of the Court of Oorlsbaug in his account of the Thirty-Fourth Year of the Manticore.
Entries in my Gazetteer
Size: 7,874 square miles
Mercantile: Alziobol’s major export is Alziol Clay, a brilliant blue color used in high quality earthenware, and manufactured by powdering the island’s rocks, then mixing them with clay. The country’s staple crops are wheat and beans.
Political: Feudal monarchy. The barons owe allegiance to the King, who has a great deal of power. Commoners are members of various castes, which they join at the age of ten based upon omens provided by the Metep gods. Each caste has internal rankings within it.
Coinage: GP: Talent SP: Shekel CP: Drachma
Alziobol is a small island country, very suspicious of outsiders and highly regulated by its castes and oppressive nobles. The population of Alziobol is made up of placid farmers and potters, who are utterly subservient to the nobility.
The men of Alziobol wear beards, and cultivate long mustaches which they curl at the ends. Little red hats shaped like upended flowerpots and perched on the heads of the peasants; one can identify the nobles by the fact that they carry scimitars, which are a weapon forbidden to the lower classes. Peasants make do with spears and clubs. There is a warrior-class (who wear skull-cap helmets) and a mage-class (little black flowerpot-hats), and a priest class (little green flower-pot hats), and a merchants’ class (little white flowerpot hats), and degrees within each of these classes which are signified by tassels of varying length and color, worn from the belt. The clashing primary colors which bedeck the countryside make for a brave display, but in truth I found Alziobol a tedious country, for the talk is all of the weather and the wheat and the sheep, and local scandal. It is the backwater writ large, and a whole country built of it. Alziobol is colorful ruralism expanded tediously to a whole society, and I became tired of the place quite rapidly.
Size: About 47,250 square miles
Capital: The Court of Willows (it travels with the Queen)
Culture: Elven and Galtic; matriarchal succession by primogeniture
Mercantile: Trained wildcats and mountain lions, wondrous items of magical construction, tapestrywork and fine textiles, and high-quality timber.
Political: Feudal monarchy based on matriarchal primogeniture. The Queen of Willows and most of the nobles are elves.
Coinage: PP: Golden Wheatsheaf, GP: Silver Missle, CP: Copperknot
The Aorlvan Shaynne is a monarchy ruled by the Queen of Willows, an elfin queen of great power and wisdom, who has ruled this domain for the last 300 years. The portion of the Aorlvan Shaynne which is in the real world is divided into baronies, generally ruled by elves but in some cases by humans, all holding their fiefs at the pleasure of the Queen. The Shaynne is also riddled with bridges to the Fey Realms, mostly leading to other domains of the Queen of Willows. The region is very peaceful, and is heavily forested, with the forests being broken by clearings in which the folk of the land farm, raise goats, and cut wood.
There is an odd tradition in the Aorlvan Shaynne that no one will speak his own name to a stranger. It is perfectly acceptable to ask one stranger to introduce another. The origin of this custom is unknown.
The Court of Willows is the Queen’s court, which travels from castle to castle in the Shaynne, enjoying the hospitality of each in turn. Wherever the Queen may be, there is the capital of the Shaynne.
Size: About 15,000 square miles
Capital: Shemoss (population 75,000)
Culture: Nethtep. Male primogeniture.
Mercantile: Arzoumanian traders are known throughout the world for their willingness to take a risk if the odds are favorable. Arzoumanian galleys are rowed by the merchants themselves as well as their slaves, and nose into most of the world’s ports from time to time. Arzouman maintains fairly regular trade as far north as Troitsland, as far south as the Benjamaine, and throughout the ports of the Thalass Yr and the Thalass Nethtep.
Political: Arzouman has a king, but power is shared among the king, the noble houses, several powerful commoner houses, and the priests of the Temple of Thalasskoptis (the Tentacled One, God of misfortune at sea, may he not look upon us)
Coinage: GP: Talent, SP: Shekel, CP: Drachma
Arzouman is an island nation, famous for its traders and merchants. From this little island nation, thousands of galleys row forth to every market of the world, piled high with trade goods. Arzouman itself produces little of value; indeed, the island’s agriculture can barely support the weight of its population.
The Arzoumanis have long black hair, which they oil and wear in ringlets. Turbans are the most common Arzoumani headwear, and flowing robes are the garments of choice. It is uncommon for Arzoumani men to shave their beards. The fashion and custom in Arzouman is for members of both sexes to wear elaborate jewelry, all of which taken together makes quite a breathtaking display. Bereward the Urbane tells the amusing story of an Arzoumanian messenger to the court of Prince Hengist of Bandralieden, who went by himself out into the Bandralieden countryside to trade with the peasants in the rural country. The unfortunate fellow, in his turban, ringlets, jewelry and robes was mistaken for a creature of the fey realms by the peasantry, who kept him in a cage, attempting to elicit wishes from him until some Bandralieder knights came to his rescue.
Size: About 7,200 square miles
Capital: Kouros (population 25,000)
Mercantile: Goats, cheese, pearls
Political: Askalos is ruled by a king, who is called the Archon, and by his barons, who are called "Ephors."
Coinage: GP: Askalon, SP: Shekel, CP: Drachma
The capital of Askalos is Kouros, a heavily fortified city which dominates the island’s one good harbor. The city of Kouros is tremendously old, predating written history. Beneath the city of Kouros there are vast systems of tunnels and dungeons which have been dug over the centuries.
The island itself is dominated by rocky hills, dotted with groves of cypress and olive trees, which sweep down to isolated valleys where water is trapped in deep, clear lakes. The scenery is quite breathtaking.
Barbayoth(BAR buy oath)
Size: About 45,000 square miles
Capital: Hetairon, on the Galaghebrial Peninsula (population 20,000)
Culture: Nethtep. Male primogeniture.
Mercantile: Ironwork, armor, goats, fish, cotton
Political: Feudal Monarchy.
Coinage: GP: Talent, SP: Shekel, CP: Drachma
Barbayoth is dominated by the Galaghebrial Peninsula, which makes up about one quarter of the country’s land area, but which is connected to the mainland by a spur of land no more than a mile wide. Time and again through history, the nobles of Barbayoth have retreated to the fortifications of the Galaghebrial while invaders have devastated the rest of the country. No assault upon the Galaghebrial itself has ever been successful. The Galaghebrial rises rapidly from the spur which connects it to the mainland, and the coastline of the peninsula is a rocky cliff falling to the sea. The land spur which connects the Galaghebrial to the rest of the country is protected by a great wall, and the gate is protected by the fortress of Iptioch.
Taraul Tenspells writes of Barbayoth: "The folk of the Barbayoth are haughty and fierce. They have been ruled by a military aristocracy for over a thousand years, and they are the only country bordering Gaoblinoth which managed to resist being conquered at some point during the Gaoblinothic Hegemony."
The folk of Barbayoth are predominantly lawful neutral and lawful evil, and the worship of the Metep gods is very strong in this nation.
The mainland of Barbayoth is brutally rugged and wild, pockmarked with deep caves and tangled forests. The area swarms with orcish raiders from Gaoblinoth and with other deadlier menaces that have lurked undiscovered in the unexplored wilderness since the dawning of time.
Dragons recorded as having lairs in the Barbayoth include Memnesvrax, an ancient red, and Tishtaraul, a red wyrm.
Size: Three major islands, Hester 8,100 square miles, Torsing, 7,875 square miles, and Ommel 6,300 square miles.
Capital: Ommeltown, Torsingport, Hesterport
Mercantile: Trade, piracy
Political The Benjamaine is an archipelago of numerous islands ruled by the "Sea Kings," who are the monarchs of the three largest islands of the archipelago; from north to south, Ommel, Torsing, and Hester. The Sea Kings rule domains of indefinite boundaries, which depend on the vagaries of loyalty among the swarm of barons who rule the ports and farmlands of the smaller islands.
Coinage: Each of the major islands mints its own coinage, but any coins are accepted readily here.
From The Book of Peoples, by Taraul Tenspells: "The folk of the Benjamaine are a colorful people, swearing loud oaths and swaggering to and fro, all of them with the rolling gait of the sailor, for these are a seafaring people. They affect the most ostentatious garb that can be sewn for them, and there is a plume in every cap. A ship with a Benjamainer captain is readily discerned by the riot of color he creates at the prow."
Many of the smaller islands of the Benjamaine contain dragon lairs, but the only one worthy of mention in a work of this scope is Flamnenrax, a red wyrm missing his left claw at the wrist.
Size: 22,500 square miles
Mercantile: Lime, mercenaries, borod-stones (a crimson stone which looks like red turquoise), tobacco
Political The Borod is ruled by the Orcish King of the Borod ("Uldagrag" is actually the monarch’s title, not "king." Uldagrag means "Highest Overlord" in the Borod dialect of orcish), who appoints his Dukes from the ranks of the Borodzhol, the King’s personal regiment. The King is also counseled by the clerics of the orcish deities, by certain representatives of the Temple of the Metep, by his personal retainers (such as the exiled Sekoptic Wizard Memnestes), and by representatives of the tribes of the Borod. Beneath the Dukes (which rank is not hereditary) are the Tribal Chieftains, who rule the (approximately) 150 tribes which owe allegiance to the King. The King rules from the impregnable Strapol Fortress, which is in the center of Ulotsgrod.
Coinage: Minted in Ulotsgrod. GP: The Gold Eye, SP: The Arjuk, CP: The Juk.
Taraul Tenspells says as follows. "A miserable serfdom extends forth from the intrigue-ridden court of the King of the Borod in Strapol Fortress, and spreads through the Borod like a cancer, reinforcing and supporting injustice, oppression and bitter rivalries, all in the interest of the survival of the ever-threatened Borod monarchy. The Strapol court is a fester of old hatreds and new plots, and the Borod King, always one step ahead of the machinations of his various Dukes and Tribal Chieftains sits uneasy upon his bloody throne, never knowing when the unanticipated blow will finally come. So it has been for centuries in the Borod, and few of the Borod kings have died of old age. Nevertheless, the power of the Borod Monarchy is sufficient to ensure that many of the Tribal Chieftains will find an outlet for their pillagery beyond the borders of the King’s domain, so that the Borod becomes a threat to its neighbors as well as to the King. Thus far, efforts to excise the pernicious sway of the Orcish Kingdom have failed, though some have penetrated so far into the Borod highlands as to finally break like water upon the walls of Strapol and Ulotsgrod."
Nezzecharsus the Scryer says as follows: "There is much talk in the Strassic Lands and in Magdalos, from time to time about the need for cleansing the Borod of its Orcish overlords and putting an end forever to their depredations in the civilized lands. Such maunderings are generally heard some long time since the last much-touted "Cleansing of the Highlands" or whatever such name has been used to crown the campaign and wrap it in pretty colors for the mustering of the levies. I have been inside Fortress Strapol, and I have ridden on the back of my good horse Yrhoboth through the tobacco fields of the Borod lowlands, and seen the elite Manticora cavalry wheel in the air above Ulotsgrod, and seen the devastation of the Orcish Trebuchet. I have smelled the acrid waft of a devil’s breath upon the air in hidden chambers of Strapol, all by taking the guise of a Duke of the Borod for some weeks. As violent and self-killing is the nature of the Borod, by the same token it is as strong and as enduring as hatred itself. I do not say that the Kingdom of the Borod might not be burned clean and re-sown for the use of civilized humankind, but to dismiss the orcs of the Borod as infighting animals (as is done every second generation or so) is to vastly underestimate and mischaracterize the intricate nature of the orcish social order, which is as abiding and as formidable in many ways as the social order of humankind, although more turbulent."
Dragons of the Borod include Vain the Black (ancient), Yearfrax the Wily (ancient red), and Naroulynx (ancient blue). Many of the dragons of the Borod are willing to work in concert with the orcs.
The Eldannic League
Size: 58,500 square miles
Capital: Mewsbury, population 20,000
Mercantile: Eldan Green (dark green dye derived from moss), essail stones (green gems flecked with gold), beeswax and honey
Political: The Eldannic league is a confederation of free cities, each of which sends an elector to the Eldannic Witan at Mewsbury, where they elect a Lord Mayor of the League to serve for three years. The Lord Mayor and the electors conduct such national business as may come before them, while the towns of the realm maintain their self-rule. The electors (called the Witan) meet in the Witanhall, at a long table headed by the Throne of Eldan, which is symbolically never occupied.
Coinage: Minted in Mewsbury. GP: Honeywax, SP: The Mewsgroat, CP: The Copperknot.
Taraul Tenspells says as follows:
"The people of the Eldannic League are a Galtic people, Clannaig speaking, but in terms of their outlook on life are quite distinct from other Galts. I, as do most scholars, attribute this distinction to the fact that the people of the Eldannic League were conquered by the Nethtep, and lived as slaves, only to be re-enslaved by the dragon Shehelthule after the withdrawal of the Heteirarch of Nethtep, only to be conquered by the Gaoblinothic Hegemony after a brief interval of liberty. Consequently, the Galtic tradition in this land has suffered far more from the oppression of foreign overlords than any other land which still calls itself Galtic. It is a land shot through with secret societies of all kinds, which meet with elaborate ceremony in their concealed haunts, and it is the only Galtic country in which the Nethtep religions thrive alongside the worship of the White Goddess, the Nameless Ones and the Galtic pantheon of lesser gods."
Nezzecharsus the Scryer says as follows:
"Once did I know this Eldannic League as the Nethtep Province of Kordisbaod, under the rule of the Heteirarch in dread Psoltis, which is now Orskabaod. I travelled to Kordisbaod in the train of Mal-Athoud, he anointed herald of the Heteirarch, bringing an Imperial Decree directly from the hand of the Heteirarch himself, recalling the legion of Kelkordis from their station in Kordisbaod to join the Heteirarch in the war across the sea for control of the Nethtep Empire. I stayed in the lands of Kordisbaod rather than return with the legion. After the slaying of Shehelthule by the majestic warrior Karod, Karod ruled in Mewsbury until his death. After Karod died, the Nethtep nobles gathered in arms without the walls of Mewsbury in great force, to set their leader Azalaux upon the throne in place of the infant son of Karod. The Galtic peasantry, together with those enobled by Karod during his reign, were enmewed in the towns and walled cities of the realm, prepared to support the claim of the infant. I was asked to prophesy on the matter by both sides, and said, "the son of Karod will rule Kordisbaod in the fullness of years, but that a darkness would first fall upon the land, darker yet than the shadow of Shehelthule. Rather than taking arms against each other, o folk of Kordisbaod, return to your homes and hone your blades for the grater battle which is to follow," for at this time I had word of the growing hosts of orcs gathering in Gaoblinoth, and of the ambitions of the Urkhan thereof. Nevertheless, as is the case with most true prophets, my word were little appreciated, and I was informed that my presence would no longer be necessary at the parley, which was held upon the field of Nuling Meade. The Galts returned to Mewsbury, and made ready for war, and the nobles laid siege to that, and others of the walled towns of the realm. Then, the Nethtep nobles, being lesser in might of arms than the Galts, made embassy to the Urkhan at Gaoblinoth, inviting him to support their cause. And so the first part of the prophesy came to pass, as the mighty hosts of the Urkhan marched like a black sea into the realm of Kordisbaod, and encircled the towns. One by one, the towns were invested, and fell to the siege engines of the orcs. The walls of Mewsbury were reduced, and Azalaux installed as the puppet of the Urkhan, whose accepted the oath of fealty of Azalaux on the bloody fields at Mewsbury while the city yet burned. I escaped with the infant Eldan to the Nettlebury Shay in the Meerhaelv, where he was raised by elves, and aged only slowly.
Eldan returned to take his rightful kingdom many years later, though he appeared only to be a young man, at the head of an army of Galtish knights and elven archers. The orcish army of the Kordisbaod province was broken at the battle of Felgon’s Pass, and Eldan enfiefed his captains-at-arms with the various towns of his new realm. When Eldan died without issue, he had no discernable heir, save for a distant cousin (for he had lived in the Meerhaelv more than two generations). The ealdormen of the towns refused to acknowledge this foreign relative as Eldan’s heir, giving rise to a brief war which culminated in the capture of the pretender, the renunciation of his claim to the throne, and his subsequent accidental demise. This was the war of Eldan’s Throne. After the war, the Eldannic Witan was formed, and meets in the Witanhall before the empty throne of Eldan in Mewsbury.
Most of the dragons of the Eldannic League are still young, Shehelthule having killed most of the older living dragons during the time when she claimed the country as her territory.
Size: About 35,000 square miles
Capital: The city of Ffalan, on Lake Ffalan, which has a population of 14,000 persons.
Culture: Galtic. Property and surname pass through the female lineage. Druidism is predominantly that of the Green Mother.
Mercantile: Herring is plentiful around the Ceoldish coast, and is a staple of the coastal diet, as well as being salted for export. Ceold exports a number of luxury goods, but does not produce any manufactured goods of note. Ceold’s exports are furs (wolf, bear, fox, mink, mountain ermine, and beaver), Ceoldish tobacco (a plant which grows wild in the forests and is of very high quality, but cannot be cultivated), Steepingpod, a plant the pods of which may be ground to produce a medium-quality coffee (also a plant which is resistant to cultivation), walnuts and hazelnuts. Most of the Ceold’s agriculture is of subsistence crops such as wheat and barley.
Political: The Ceold is ruled by the Queen, whose court is at Ffalan, in the great castle of Lakesider Keep. The monarchy is hereditary, and the queen owns all waterways in the country as well as the Royal fiefs around Ffalan. Duchesses and baronesses are the nobility of the Ceold, with titles often being granted to men, but passed through their daughters. If a woman fails to have female issue, the lands revert to her nieces, and failing that, to the crown.
Coinage: PP: Cartwheel (a large silver coin), GP: Lunar (silver), SP: Penny (silver) CP: ha’penny
The Ceold is a narrow land bordered on the north by Yrvaine, at the Cymbeil River, along the south and west by the Fellfasting Mountain Range, to the east by Feyria, and to the southeast by the Meerhaelv. The country is continually hammered by incursions by the orcs of the Fellfastings, and by occasional disputes with Feyria over the most easterly region of the Ceold, the Wickendales, upon which the King of Feyria has a nominal claim. As a result, it is rare that armed conflict is not ongoing some place within the Ceold, and the countryside is dotted with the oval-towered forts and stone manor houses which bear witness to the omnipresence of warfare within this country.
The Ceold has a very low population density on average because so much of the country is covered with dense forest. Indeed, most cartographers do not draw in the Ceoldish forests, since to do so would leave few visible landmarks. The country is a patchwork of fiefs guarded by a baron’s castle in the center and stretching out to three or four villages with a stone manor house at each. Towns are few and far between away from the coast, and there is little contact between the inland villages save for the occasional visit of a ranger, druid or trapper.
One unusual feature of the Ceold’s social fabric is the "gather," in which a Ceoldish Ranger, together with a druid, or perhaps the village mage, will take the hardier warriors of the town out through the forest, looking for Ceoldish tobacco and Steepingpods. These gathers will go on for weeks, for they provide most of the inland villages with their only cash-producing exports.
The Ceoldish Rangers are another major element of Ceoldish life, bringing mail and news from one barony to the other, slaying dangerous forest and mountain beasts, spying on and attacking orcish troops coming down from the Fellfastings, and enforcing a code of tolerant and generous behavior upon the isolated Ceoldish nobles. The Ceoldish Rangers are a powerful political force in Ffalan when they choose to exert their influence.
Elialborod(Ell ee AL bu rod)
Size: About 43,200 square miles
Mercantile: Pickled eel, intricate lacework, olive oil
Political: Feudal Monarchy. The king is called the Autarch, and barons are called Sutarchs.
Coinage: GP: Talent, SP: Shekel, CP: Drachma
Originally a province of the Nethtep Empire, Elialborod was invaded by the Solomorian Dukes during the Gaoblinothic Hegemony. After the invasion, the Elialborodrim were enslaved by the Solomorians for some time, but managed to overthrow their Solomorian overlords during the Solomorian secession. After the Inquisition of Elbarath, which followed the overthrow of the Solomorian Dukes, High Inquisitor Beroud established himself as the Autarch of Elialborod, and his dynasty has retained control ever since, despite a number of turbulent periods.
Euthiria(ay oo THEE ree ah)
Size: About 27,000 square miles
Capital: Khel Tinnion, population 20,000
Mercantile: Artifacts of Pollinian civilization, olive oil, pottery.
Political: Nobles elect Archons, who rule provinces, Archons elect King.
Euthiria is a republic in which the nobles elect the King (commoners, of course, don’t get to vote). One of the last remnants of Pollinian civilization, Euthiria resisted the Wykyng incursions which destroyed or absorbed the other Pollinian city states. Mages from across the Pollinian regions fled to Euthiria from the disorder and slaughter on the continent. In consequence, great libraries were built up in the academies of the Euthirian towns, and the Wykyngfolk soon came to avoid the island’s shores altogether. In the two hundred and fiftieth year of the Falcon, the six-year famine struck the northern region of the continent, and the arcame spellcasters of Euthiria began to take service on the mainland in order to send back food to the island. Many of these mages took to the life of mercenary kings and court sorcerers, where they had been little more than village spellcasters in Euthiria. After many years of exodus by the mages, Euthiria eventually lost its reputation as the capital of arcane knowledge, although adventurers still come here to seek the myriad of books that must have been disseminated and lost through the island.
Since the exodus of the mages, the city states of Euthiria have degenerated into small towns, with goat-herds grazing their flocks amid the ruins of the fallen structures which once graced proud cities. Many dragons have taken roost in various abandoned ruins or in the newly-wild forests. The best known of these are Luringalagir the Black, Betharilirax the Blue, and Strakisander the Silver.
The city of Khel Tinnion has fragmented into a number of closely-spaced islands (many as little as fifty feet apart), packed full of whitewashed stone buildings with many columns and domes. The Old City, though well-looted at the surface and on the first few subterranean levels, probably contains wealth and arcane rewards for adventurers who dare to seek them.
Size: About 57,375 square miles
Capital: Dol Shannon, population 15,000
Culture: Elven and Galtic. Succession is through the male line.
Mercantile: Steepingpods (medium-quality coffee – Steepingpods cannot be domesticated) grow in the Feyrian forests, together with Blackbramble weed (a harsh tobacco, like Steepingpods, not domesticable) in the highlands. Walnuts, hazelnuts.
Political: Feudal monarchy, with the capital at Dol Shannon. Several elvish fiefs owe allegiance to the Duke of Feyrian elves, who is appointed by the Meerhaelve to serve for a four-year term in the Manse of Fyltrynnyth, a wooden Manse just outside of Dol Shannon. The King is barely first among equals with regard to his Dukes, and war is frequent among the Feyrian Dukedoms.
Feyria extends from the Gulf of Cethria in the north to the Fellfastings and the Meehaelv in the South, and from the Eldorian River in the East, Westward to the Wickendales, a hilly spur of the Fellfastings which extends to the coast of the Thalass Yr. The Wickendales themselves are a disputed region, currently under the sway of the Ceold. Dol Shannon is located in the center of the country, on the banks of Lake Shannon, where the Glayden River widens before it falls to the sea.
Feyria is a country heavily influenced by the politics of the Meerhaelv. In many instances, Meerhaelvian knights have intervened in the affairs of the principality.
Feyria is a hilly country, and is heavily forested. Most of the country’s commerce flows down the Glayden River – the Glayden river valley is dotted with small towns. The river trade down the Seor is less substantial, for the Seor is a rapidly flowing river with a number of waterfalls along its length. Nevertheless, the Town of Seorsmouth (See-ors-moth) at the mouth of the Seor is a metropolis of some 10,000 folk, which has from time to time rivaled Dol Shannon in power and influence.
Dragons are numerous in Feyria. The most notable are Ganagaktis the Green, Shurlak the Terrible (Green) and Meskiskarsis (Green).
Size: 87,974 square miles
Culture: High Teuton
Mercantile: Metalwork and woodwork. Few exports.
Political: Theocracy of the Church of Law, ruled by the High Priest of Law of the Cathedral of Hamarskjold. The Church of Fjordlund is half comprised of clerics of Heironeous, Cuthbert and Hextor, and half comprised of clerics espousing the cause of law itself.
Coinage: GP: Ordo SP: Discipline CP: Pfenning
Fjordlund is governed by a militant church of Law, with very millennial overtones. Most of the population of Fjordlund believes that it is living in the days of Ragnarok, the end of the world in which chaos devours all. Fjordlund is the home of many bizarre military sects and cults such as the Thorvik Berserker Cult, the Grim Rangers, the Paladins of Valhalla, and the Giantslayer Berserker Cult. The High Priest of Law at Hamarskjold is the ruler of the country, and rules with the assistance of the Council of High Priests of the Cathedral at Hamarskjold. There is one High Priest of Heironeous, one of Cuthbert, and one of Hextor, each elected by the Bishops. Bishops sit in the towns, with one bishop per town, ruling over a clergy of priests of the three main gods. Worship of any chaotically-aligned deity is forbidden within Fjordlund, though worship of the chaotic gods, and of deities other than the triad of Heironeous, Hextor and Cuthbert is quite common in the country villages, and even in the open in the cities and towns provided that the practitioner is not too flagrant. Violators of these religious laws do face the possibility of the inquisition, an institution founded by the clerics of Hextor and adopted by the Church.
Size: About 18,900 square miles
Capital: The city of Baltartan, with a population of about 18,000, at the mouth of the Hundred Pipers River.
Culture: Galtic. Property and name pass through the female lineage. Druidism is predominantly that of the Green Mother.
Mercantile: Herring is plentiful around the Galtain coast, and is a staple of the coastal diet, as well as being salted for export. Textiles, silver and musical instruments. Most of Galtia’s agriculture is of subsistence crops such as wheat and barley.
Political: Chaotic, confusing, decentralized, and nominally feudal, with allegiance to clans rather than to any centralized authority. Galtia is ruled by the "Speaking," which is a counsel of Ealdormen elected by the Eorlsclannate. The Eorlsclannate is made up of all the Eorlswomen of the country, meeting once per year to elect the Speakers. The Eorlswomen also elect a King to serve for a ten-year term. Eorlswomen are the hereditary leaders of clans, who assign the fiefs held by the clans, of which there are 300. Needless to say, the country is considered by foreigners to be nothing more than anarchy. In reality, the country is relatively peaceful, but all real authority is in the hands of the 300 Eorlswomen and their husbands, the Ealdormen, who are traditionally war leaders. If a woman fails to have female issue, the lands revert to her nieces, and failing that, to the clan Eorlswoman to reassign.
The folk of Galtia are a colorful lot, wearing tartan cloaks and jaunty hats. They speak the common tongue with a heavy accent, and enjoy bagpipe music. Galtain men are considered to be utterly irresponsible and reckless by even the folk of other Galtic regions such as the Yrvaine and the Ceold.
Galtia is a country of rolling hills and thick, scattered forests, spanning from Loch Harper’s Harvest and the Eastern March of the Fellfastings in the North to the Thalass Yr in the South, and from Pipersbrook in the East to the Three Forests in the West. The Three Forests are the Oranon, Byrfalcon and Urs.
Gaoblinoth(GOW blin oth)
Size: About 360,000 square miles.
Capital: Orskabaod (formerly Psoltis), population 100,000
Culture: Orcish Overlords
Mercantile: Gold, silver, copper, salt, rubies, diamonds, furs
Political: Tribal Empire. The Uhrkhan is anointed and removed from all tribes by the High Peremptor of the Mask, who is the highest Cleric of Gruumsh. The person of the Uhrkhan is sacrosanct to all orcs. No matter how virulent court rivalries become, no Uhrkhan has ever been killed by a pretender to the throne. It is this religious aspect of the Uhrkhanate which has prevented Gaoblinoth from splintering under the pressure of a hundred tribal hatreds. The Uhrkhan commands the obedience of many secret societies, from whose ranks the regional governors of the Uhrkhanate are drawn (members of the secret societies renounce tribal loyalty, and swear allegiance only to the Uhrkhan). Regional governors are called Mandrakhans. Most of the orcs of the towns are either members of the Secret Societies or are "Imperial Citizens," whose allegiance is to town and Uhrkhan rather than to a tribe. Towns are governed by appointment of the local Mandrakhan, although the Uhrkhan will occasionally step in to offer the rulership of a town to a favorite henchman. Many of the Town lords are ogres. The countryside is ruled by the tribal chieftains.
From the Rememberings of Nezzecharsus the Scryer: "I knew Psoltis of old, before it was Orskabaod, when Psoltis was the seat of the Heteirarch of Nethtep. It has changed little in the manner of politics since then; the orcs rule now as masters where they were once but soldiers, yet politics are ever the same here. Psoltis was a cruel place before it was ever a city. It was a cruel city when the Heteirarch ruled here – it is a cruel city beneath the heel of the Uhrkhan and the Masked Shamans of the Forbidden Church. An imperial city maintains an empire no matter who rules – Imperial power has its own life – an empire seated in Orskabaod cannot die, it can only change hands. Of all places in the world that I fear, the earth and stones where Orskabaod stands terrify me more than any other place, for this place is a potent cradle for evil.
Of its history, I shall say this. When the Heteirarch came to the continent from the Nethtep, we brought with us orcish legions as well as human. New orcish legions were recruited from the native population. When the Heteirarch returned to the Nethtep, he brought with him the core of his human legions to fight for him, but he left behind the orcish legions to keep order in the abandoned colony. It was not long before all the Nethtep lands were ruled by the orcs, commanded from Psoltis by the first Uhrkhan, who had been anointed by the Masked Priests after the Night of Dire Omens. The Uhrkhanate ruled virtually all of the continent to varying degrees at the height of its power, before it collapsed. The fall of the Gaoblinothic hegemony has been attributed to many causes – over-extension of military forces, squabbling among the tribes, difficulties of administering such an empire without heavy reliance on human mages, and the sudden invasion of orcish territory from the Meerhaelv and other redoubts of faerie. My own memories of the fall of the Gaoblinothic hegemony are piecemeal, for I spent much of this period using the sight in the service of the court of Yrdeip. I saw the Wild Hunt sweep down upon the orcish siege of Marbolg, and I saw the night of cats in the Ceold, when the orcs were eaten in their beds. I saw the executions of Erebalos by the order of Mandrakhan Goledzhoi. I battled across the continent a war of concealment and revelation with the Masked Shaman Nikhalin, who was known as the dark eye of Orskabaod. It is not a time I wish to remember, but it marked a new chapter of history when the shadow of Gaoblinoth was lightened from across the continent."
Gaoblinoth is principally populated by orcs, although there is a significant population of human serfs as well. Most of the land is under tribal control, with the exception of the towns, which are subject only to the authority of the Urkhan and the regional Mandrakhans. Humans visiting under the aegis of the Urkhan’s license are relatively safe in the towns, but travel through the tribal countryside without a strong escort is ill-advised.
Size: About 3,600 square miles.
Capital: Golhairon, population 8,000
Political: Feudal Monarchy
An island of rocky soil and hilly terrain, Golgoriol has never been a rich country, and few have cared to siege Fortress Golhairon, which makes up the majority of the city of Golhairon itself. The Kings of Golgoriol have occasionally harbored dreams of conquest, and have from time to time obtained estates on the mainland in Solomoriah and Iolbaroth, but wars fought to increase the sway of the Golgoriol Kings have so far come decisively to naught. The greatest fame of Golgoriol obtains from the fact that Bereward the Urbane contracted a severe illness during his stay in Golhairon, which forced him to remain in Golgoriol for a six month period, during which time he wrote prolifically about the culture and people of Golgoriol, producing an entire book about the land, which had originally been slated only for a single chapter in his great work Travels Among the Unwashed. Oddly, this book is quite popular in Golgoriol, and readings from it are often performed in the rural villages.
The Great Southern Forest
Size: About 309,375 square miles
The Great Southern Forest extends across an enormous expanse of the southern continent. The Druids of the Oaken Staff convene deep in the Great Forest at a secret place called the Glade of Oaks, but even the druids have little knowledge of the Forest other than the memorized Direction-Song of the Great Glade. The interior of this primordial forest is completely unmapped. It is certain that the forest houses many refugees from the civilized regions of the north and east, but the number of these outlaws cannot be estimated. Travelers are cautioned to beware Druids of the Dark Tree, especially the Druid known as Braldoreeg the Sacrificer. Notable outlaws include Daffyd Ap Darrell, Gluin Mansbane and Craik the Treesnake. The lair of the great green wyrm Mealgwaris is located somewhere within the Great Southern Forest.
Size: About 270,000 square miles.
Capital: Heidenberg (population 52,000)
Culture: High Teutonic
Mercantile: Leather, swords, armor
Political: Feudal Empire. The Emperor is owed fealty by each of the Princes of the Heidenlaand. The major principalities are Vaardsberg, Riegenschtul, Riisberg, Stauffersberg, Keerikfort, Oorlsbaug, Bandralieden and Straakonsberg. Each Prince has his own barons or dukes who owe allegiance to the prince.
The Heidenlaand is a vast, heavily forested region made up of hundreds of tiny states, all owing allegiance to the Emperor. The Emperor’s rule over most of his vassals is very tenuous, and the Heidenlaand is plagued by constant wars for territory waged among the nobles. There is no predominant alignment in the Heidenlaand.
The Heidenlaand extends from the Markflieder River in the south, which is the border with the Otten Marches. The Western border is the Fellfasting Range and the Mistral Verge. The major geographic feature of the Heidenlaand is the great Mittlefleer River, which waters the cities of Bandralieden, Oorlsbaug, Riegenschtul, Riisberg, and Stauffersberg, and the mouth of which is dominated by the vast city of Heidenberg.
The Teutonic Church of the Heidenlaand is a single entity headquartered in the great Triad Fortress in Heidenberg. The clerics at the top of the hierarchy are those dedicated to Law itself, not to a particular deity. Clerics of Hextor, Heironeous and Cuthbert are all members of the church, generally pursuing somewhat disparate goals, and often in conflict with each other. Each of the major three gods has a strong monastic organization, which excludes followers of the other two deities and allows a place for the clerics to refine ideas specific to the deity rather than to the church.
Dragons of the Heidenlaand forests include the green dragon Klaus ("the Coward") and Igarion. Dragons of the mountain region include the ancient horror Ghanesh and the lesser dragons Seethenraul and Grail.
Size: About 34,200 square miles.
Mercantile: Trade, fine ales and wines
Political: Feudal Kingdom
Hortland’s culture is unique in the continent, being apparently a mix of the various major cultures. The kingdom may have originated as a trading area where humans of unknown descent mixed with Galts and Benjamainers, with minor Wykyng influence. Hortland builds a particularly ugly and precarious ship with enormous tonnage and little ability to weather storms. In these great unwieldy cogs, Hortlander captains hug the coasts to trade with the Otten Marches and the Vilderlaand, as well as with the elves of the Meerhaelv, and bring the cargo to Thrasyldovia and the Benjamaine, where it is purchased by merchants with more capable vessels.
Size: About 49,724 square miles.
Culture: Nethtep and unknown older human stock
Mercantile: Goats, iron, pomegranates, ironwood
Political: Patchwork of small manorial estates.
Iolbaroth is a wild land, dominated by broken, rocky crags rich in iron ore. Wild pomegranate trees fleck the grey landscape with crimson fruit. In the crags and crannies of Iolbaroth’s broken heath, ruined cities burrow into the memory of the earth. Iolbaroth is a harsh, strange land, with memories dating back before the Nethtep came. Taraul Tenspells writes "Many have gone into Iolbaroth and been forgotten, even forgetting themselves to ever depart. Strange religions are yet remembered in Iolbaroth, and nameless beings walk there."
Nezzecharsus the Scryer says: "When once I wished to withdraw from the events of the world, I built a round stone house atop a scarp which overlooked the grey ocean in the northern reaches of Iolbaroth. One night, comes a knock at the door. I open, a stranger enters. We conversed beside the fire in the hearth of my round house. On the next morning, I departed Iolbaroth in haste, leaving my house behind me. It is there still, and I recommend that none search for it, for fear of what they might find there."
Dragons abound in Iolbaroth, perhaps because of the lack of a central monarchy to hunt them down. Most feared is the great wyrm bearing only the name Iolbaroth, a red dragon of tremendous power. The Wyrm Gauldincaulras, a black dragon, is also known to lair in the swamps of Iolbaroth, and the Wyrm Dindarakindras, a copper dragon, has used Iolbaroth as a base to raid into Solomoriah.
Size: About 28,800 square miles.
Political: Feudal Monarchy
Originally a province of the Nethtep Empire, Jezrahael became a province of the Gaoblinothic Hegemony after a brief period of anarchy after the fall of the Empire (this time period is known as the Interregnum of the Jezrahaelite Heteirarch). After the rebellion of the Solomorites from Gaoblinoth, the Solomorian army marched on Jezrahael and continued the rout of the orcish armies, successfully conquering all of Jezrahael, which remained a Solomorian province for some time thereafter. Jezrahael is a redoubt of the forces of good, albeit in a rather mystical manner, in the Nethtep regions. The benevolent rule in Jezrahael has led to more than one invasion of the country by other Nethtep states, usually instigated by the Metep Priesthood.
Size: About 55,349 square miles.
Culture: Giant and Barbarian Teuton
Mercantile: Piracy, raiding, agriculture.
Political: Feudal, ruled by giants
The Jotencost is a craggy land of deep valleys and many fjords, bounded by the Westmir Sea to the Northwest, by Fjordlund and Rosklund in the South and West, by the Joten Crags in the East, and by Thurriland in the North and East. Giants rule the Jotencost in a feudal hierarchy, with several petty kings at the top. These Kings send their representatives to the city of Jotenir on an annual basis, and meet in Jotenir every two years to settle treaties and other matters with the help of the Counsel of the Wise, a group of giantish shamans.
The sagas have it that the Wykying incursions stemmed from the War of Ragnarok, being waged on a far continent, where the giants were winning. Now, Ragnarok continues, at a slow pace, as the giants have come with their human slaves to this continent. Certainly, the great longships of the Jotencost are a serious threat to trade and to the peace of the neighboring regions. The black-sailed ships are reivers who still carry on the Wykyngfolk tradition of raiding foreigners. It is rare that giants actually sail on the black ships, but the Jotencosters are loyal and willing slaves of the giants, often growing to great heights themselves. Dragons of these realms include Virdenthurin the Red (Wyrm), Hulgaur (ancient), and Resinthactes (wyrm).
Size: About 39,375 square miles.
Capital: Nebusbad, population 43,000
Mercantile: Richly dyed handmade carpets and rugs.
Political: Feudal Monarchy
Kezzanek is a narrow peninsula. A former province of the Nethtep Empire, Kezzanek became a part of the Gaoblinothic Hegemony for some time until Kebroth Azarine, the famed adventurer mage, declared himself Sultan of Kezzanek and rallied the enslaved humans of the peninsula to rise against their orcish overlords. Kezzanek, although not much hotter than elsewhere on the continent, is choked with tropical-type forests and abundant, lush growths of bizarre plant life not found elsewhere. This may be the overgrowth of strange plantations cultivated by the Nethtep invaders centuries ago. Whatever the cause, Kezzanek’s jungles are exotic and replete with unexpected perils.
Size: About 37,800 square miles.
Capital: Takak Ijistan, population 20,000
Political: Feudal Khanate
The Khirg region was the far outpost of the Nethtep Empire at its height, the frontier across which orcish and Nethtep armies were repelled by the Magdaloi. When the Nethtep Empire began to collapse, the orcish armies were withdrawn to Gaoblinoth, where they helped to establish the growing orcish hegemony. For a time following this withdrawal, the Khirgs were divided into several warring kingdoms, and these principalities were swiftly overrun by the orcish hordes. This period of occupation was again brief, for the orcish armies again withdrew to support Gaoblinoth in its wars against Solomoriah. The Khirgaloi soon succeeded in driving out the token forces left behind by the orcs, and began the long period of feudal consolidation which eventually produced the Khanate.
Size: About 112,500 square miles.
Capital: Saba Cheshka
Culture: Human, Goblin, Kobold
Mercantile: Pepper, incense, Bordovian tobacco, gold, iron
Political: Feudal monarchy ruled by the Tsarkan. Korboldovia is technically a vassal state of Gaoblinoth. The Tsarkan, however, has been effectively an independent monarch for some time.
Korboldovia is populated by a volatile racial mix; the region is dotted with large and small goblintowns, as goblins have, over the years, fled from the oppression of the orcish hegemony in Gaoblinoth. The hilly northern verge of Korboldovia is almost exclusively the territory of the goblins and their kin, in feudal units owing fealty to the Tsarkan. Human settlements in this area are predominantly the fortresses of the Tsarkan. Further south, the goblin races are more mixed with humans. Dragons of these regions include Lunesharses ("Childsnatcher"), a green female great wyrm, and Prawsanchis, a red male wyrm.
Size: About 67,500 square miles.
Political: Feudal Monarchy. Primogeniture, succession through male lineage.
The Magdaloi are a people formed by the role of their land as a crossroads for migrations and invasions. The Polloi formed the original racial stock of the Magdalen region, and the Magdaloi were numerous and disciplined enough to hold their eastern border against the tide of the invading Nethtep Empire. After the fall of the Nethtep, there was a long process of integration of the Nethtep peoples into the Polloi, as refugees streamed out of the lands where the orcish hegemony was gaining power. This people continually defended against invasion from the east during the years of Orcish hegemony and ambitious Nethtep kings. As time passed, they were slowly and peaceably intermarried with Galtic racial stock of the peasantry and from the west (as was also the case with Piascany and Tiribaldi). Then the Teutonic invasions came, and those few reaver chieftains that chose to settle as far south as the Magdalen also become incorporated into the racial mix of the region. The result is a culture that is unique in the continent, though similar in many ways to the cultures of Piascany and Tiribaldi.
Size: About 45,000 square miles.
Culture: Galtic and fey
Mercantile: Unique plants and nuts (many with magic or medicinal properties)
Political: Patchwork of shires, no centralized government
The Meadowsleeve is not a country but a region comprised of small shires, each administered by an elected or hereditary Lord Shirrif. The rangers of the Meadowsleeve, led by a Lord Captain of Rangers, operate throughout the region. To date, no Lord Shirrif has successfully consolidated the Meadowsleeve into a kingdom, mainly due to the efforts of the other Lords Shirrif and the Rangers. Notable locations include the Plover’s Egg Inn and the peripatetic castle of the Angry Damzels.
Size: About 81,000 square miles of forest
Capital: The castle of Trydach Pell. somewhere in the Meerhaelv
Culture: Fey and elven
Mercantile: Magic items, animal pelts, unique plants and nuts (many with magic or medicinal properties).
Political: Vast patchwork of independent shays (fey realms), with no monarch. Trydach Pell is the ancient seat of the last king of the Meerhaelv, Feedle Ree. King Feedle Ree’s reign was based, as with most great fey kings, upon personal charisma; and after an embarrassing incident his overlordship of the Meerhaelv collapsed. Many elven kings have essayed to replace Feedle Ree on the throne at Trydach Pell, but with no success. The throne itself has been stolen numerous times, but has always returned to Trydach Pell.
Coinage: Coins of most countries are exchanged freely in the Meerhaelv. Rather than minting coins, many of the shays simply melt gold into beads with the same weight as a standard gold piece, and string them into jewelry for ease of use.
The Meerhaelv is a vast forest of mixed oak and pine trees, covering an area larger than most countries.
Size: About 67,500 square miles.
Culture: Mix of Galtic and Transition Teutonic
Mercantile: Fish, wheat
Political: Feudal. Patchwork of baronies with no centralized rule
Coinage: GP: Golden Kingfisher SP: Silver Schilling CP: Copper Pfennings
The Marcher lords of the Otten meet annually to discuss matters of great import at a parliament known as the Ottenstag. The Ottenstag has no set location, but is convened at one town or another in accordance with signs, omens, portents, and briberies according to ancient tradition. The Otten Marches are a region of intense rivalry between the Yrvaine and the Heidenlaand, and these great monarchies use all manner of diplomacy, espionage and warfare to influence the successions of the various Otten baronies in an attempt to bring the region under their sway. The Marcher Lords tolerate this interference cheerfully, and seldom follow through on their prodigious oaths of allegiance to would-be kingmakers. Indeed, it is an enormous frustration to the great monarchies that the Marcher Lords view annexation diplomacy as a pleasant and congenial game played with pomp, circumstance and beer, but signifying nothing. More detached observers have irreverently suggested that the Marcher Lords might simply be better at the game than the agents of the monarchies. In any event, the continued freedom of the Otten Marches continues to hang by a thread, as it has for many years. One unusual feature of the Otten March is to be found in the town of Oden Spode, where it is said that the Widow Schtu’s fireplace (when lit) leads into a town known as Winkleshoal in some other place. Oden Spode itself may be a fey realm, for it is occasionally difficult to locate, and rambles considerably more than the average walled town.
Size: About 67,500 square miles.
Capital: Mollina, population 110,000
Political: The King of Piascany rules a league of competing and warring city states each of which acknowledges his sovereignty.
Coinage: GP: Piaster SP: Crown CP: Penny
Piascany extends from its disputed western border with Rowansleig to the great Nanno River which forms the country’s border with Tiribaldi.
The capital of Piascany is Mollina, the vast metropolis whose merchants and bankers are known throughout the realms. The fertile river valleys and rich Piascan soil have led to Piascany’s rise as a trade center. Piascan merchants in their caravels compete fiercely with Arzoumanian galley traders for control of the markets of the inner seas, the Thalass Yr and the Thalass Nethtep. The great cities of Piascany include Fortissimo, Pilparimi, Ancchazza and the reprehensible city of Ussolo.
The palazzo of the mage Oggio is somewhat located in Mollina, and the city is full of other wonders such as the Whirligig Tower, the University of Mollina, and the Pontemaggio, the bridge where Oggio fought the famous duel of spells with Corscasinn.
Size: About 108,360 square miles.
Culture: Barbarian and Transition Teutonic
Mercantile: Sardines, jarlsleaf tea (a very high quality tea), teakwood (a deciduous tree with wood very similar to tropical teakwood).
Political: Feudal. The Uberjarl commands the allegiance of fifteen Jarls, who, in turn, command the allegiance of their chieftains.
Coinage: GP: Gold Jarl SP: Silver Chieftain CP: Copper Knut.
The Oordept coast of Rosklund is dotted with small towns, from which longships sail to trade and fish. Further into the interior, Rosklund is plainly a wild country, with great expanses of primordial evergreen forests. Rosklund is plagued by giants, and by the dragons of the Joten Craggs. Dragons who have attacked Rosklund’s interior include Malaheim and Liuthmakhar.
Size: About 189,000 square miles.
Culture: Galtic. Male primogeniture. Religion is predominantly Shalmic Druidism.
Mercantile: Rowanslieg produces a considerable surplus of grains, mainly wheat.
Political: League of city states and their territories, dominated by the Druids of the Shalm.
Sheafingcester is the seat of the Druids of the Shalm, and Shalmic Druidism is by far the predominant religion of the common folk in this land. The Druids of the Shalm are somewhat intolerant of non-druidic religions. The five cities of Rowanslieg are The Coronet Stones (at the mouth of the Staarsflieder, Thatching Mead (on the Solstice River), Sheafingcester, Caer Druidon and Abercwenden. The center of the Rowanslieg peninsula is mountainous and wild, but the rivers flowing down from the high peaks water the immensely fertile wheat farms of the Rowanslieg, making this one of the most productive areas of farmland in the world.
Size: About 67,500 square miles.
Capital: Arkanathros, the only major city of Sekoptia. Arkanathros has a population of about 16,000.
Mercantile: The wizards of Sekoptia produce a number of magical scrolls and potions for export. The other major cash export of the country is cotton.
Political: Sekoptia is a feudal monarchy. Although the king is the nominal ruler of the country, the council of wizards holds most of the actual political power. Membership in the Council is a matter of right for any wizard of over 15th level, and there are no formal rules for the Council’s actions.
Sekoptia is a mysterious feudal state, famous for its secretive inhabitants, powerful mages, and single-tower castles. The ruling class of Sekoptia is quite Nethtep in appearance and custom; they have black hair, which is worn long, in oiled ringlets, and have olive-colored skin.
The Sekoptian countryside is extremely hilly, with deep valleys in which villages nestle. Much of the countryside is covered in deep, tangled forests. Local nobles are nominally the followers of hereditary barons, but they are the absolute rulers of their own lands. The barons are usually trained as wizards, and can be of any level; the real power behind most Sekoptian barons is the court wizard.
The principal religion in Sekoptia is that of the Metep. Most of the villages have a temple to the Metep gods. These clerics are generally of evil alignment, although the occasional neutral cleric will also rise in the service of the Metep. Good-aligned adventurers in Sekoptia should keep in mind that although healing is available in these temples, an offering to the evil gods would generally be required in order to obtain the help of the clerics.
Arkanathros has three Colleges of Magecraft, all in the University of Arkanathros. The Arkanopolitan School of Noble Magecraft is principally for the training of young nobles in the arcane arts, and is luxurious and well endowed with funds. The Sekoptiana Guild is less well known, and operates as a secret society. The School of Practical Arcana is the third of the three schools, and is run by the priesthood of the Metep as a training ground for the evil wizards who support the Priesthood.
Size: About 87,750 square miles
Capital: Iroliolon, having a population of perhaps 50,000
Mercantile: Gems, Iron, Furs, Wheat, Leather.
Political: Feudal monarchy.
Coinage: GP: Obol, SP: Silvol CP: Coppek
Solomoriah was a province of the Nethtep Empire, and the furthest stable province from the Heteirarch’s capital in Psoltis (now Orskabaod). After the fall of the Nethtep, Solomoriah fragmented and was soon beneath the heel of the orcs of Gaoblinoth. The Dukes of Solomoriah soon became known as the most loyal and steadfast of the Urkhan’s human minions. Solomorite armies fought as far afield as Korboldovia in defending the Gaoblinothic hegemony. Eventually, the Dukes of Solomoriah, experienced in war and mistrustful of the Urkhan’s ability to maintain an orderly empire, declared themselves to be an independent nation under a King they would select from their own number. Since that time, the Kings and Dukes of Solomoriah have ever been a deadly force of evil and oppression in their own right.
Ordinate of the Stegan Highlands
Size: About 11,249 square miles
Capital: The Spine of Stone, about 7,000 population
Culture: Galtic, Nethtep
Mercantile: Sheep, silver, gold and essail stones
Political: Elected military commander of chivalric orders
Coinage: GP: Stegan, SP: Wardpiece, CP: Chip
The Ordinate of the Stegan Highlands was created as a part of the Treaty of Eldannia, in which the Eldannic League and Sekoptia each surrendered their claim to the orcish controlled Dzagnalda Verge, and jointly established several orders of knights to retake and hold the hills against the orcs. The knights of the Verge succeeded in retaking the Dzagnalda, whereupon they organized themselves into a governing society to adminsiter the state that they called the Ordinate of the Stegan Highlands. The orders of the Verge elect a Lord Protector for the Ordinate, who is the High Commander of all the Orders of the Verge during his tenure.
Size: About 202,500 square miles
Culture: Transition Teutonic
Mercantile: Sardines, metalwork
Political: Patchwork of feudal principalities
Coinage: A wide variety of coins are minted in the Strassic States, some of them by towns. As most of the coins are sized to the standard gold piece, they are usable as coinage. However, they may be discounted by moneylenders or shopkeepers.
The Strassic States are a collection of principalities dating back to the Teutonic Incursions. Over time, the Barbarians of the invading Strass Tribe intermarried with the Pollinian and Galtic natives whom they had enslaved. The result is a vast and disorganized region of warring feudal princedoms.
Size: About 90,000 square miles
Culture: Nethtep, with many goblins and orcs.
Mercantile: Few exports.
Political: Four interlaced kingdoms of Olbolov, Djadenski, Chezesh and Bulbeshka, with virtually no central power in any of the kingdoms.
Coinage: GP: Obol, SP: Silvol, CP: Coppik
The baronies of the Sufirov are divided in allegiance among four kings, with the result that one walks from one kingdom to another every twenty miles or so. When one of the kingdoms goes to war with another, complete chaos ensues, for none of the kingdoms is even physically connected to all of its vassal baronies.
Size: About 49,725 square miles
Capital: Bozhdologoi, having a population of some 20,000
Mercantile: Thrasyldovian coffee, vanilla, cloves.
Political: Feudal monarchy. Thrasyldovia is an oppressive country ruled iron-handed and cruel nobles whose power is seldom checked by the king. The Metep priesthood is active and powerful here.
Coinage: GP: Obol, SP: Silvol, CP: Coppik
Thrasyldovia has a small population, scattered through the gaps of the dark and impenetrable forests that grow in the fertile black soil. The King rules from the city of Bozhdologoi, from his Fortress Lodny, a vast and impregnable castle. There are no dukes in Thrasyldovia; the highest rank of noble is that of Count. As a result, the King’s power is virtually absolute. Provided that taxes are paid, the petty nobility of the realm has a free hand over its fiefholdings. Most towns are small, and the countryside is dangerous.
The country reaches from the edge of the Southron Forest, or perhaps the River Treesdarkening within the Forest, to the River Sworthdeep, at the border with Korboldovia. Bozhdologoi is on the coast, perhaps equidistant between these great rivers, at the mouth of the Marrowing File, a shorter river which benefits from a wider expanse of unforested watershed than the Treesdarkening or the Sworth valleys. As a result, the trade down the Marrowing File has led to development of a cluster of squat and dismal towns in that region, historically under the shadow of the power of the Fortress Lodny. From South to North, the reach of Thrasyldovia is from the Swartsea in the South to the Southern Reaches of the Fellfastings and the Stegan Highlands in the North.
Most of Thrasyldovia’s meager cultivation of wheat and staple crops is eaten in Bozhdologoi; the surplus is from the uncultivated bounty of the great forests, including cloves and vanilla beans. Few people travel the forests by night, for Thrasyldovia is rife with dangerous creatures, including dragons of the Southron Forest, werewolves, vampires, and ghouls. Well-known dragons of the Southron include the Green Dragons Longclaws and Madrigal, and the ancient green dragon Surinalioth, who has seldom departed from his lair in recent history.
Size: 135,000 square miles
Capital: Icevik, population 15,000
Culture: Barbarian and Teutonic
Mercantile: Sardines, jarlsleaf tea (a very high quality tea), teakwood (a deciduous tree with wood very similar to tropical teakwood).
Political: The Thurrilander King rules an enormous and scattered feudal empire which consists of 8 jarldoms and four Marcjarldoms (smaller territories which abut the Jotencost and the Joten Craggs – a Marcjarl has more autonomy from the king but less territory than a Jarl). The Jarls are virtually independent rulers, commanding the vassalage of innumerable petty chieftains. The chieftains rule scattered small villages from their castles. Towns are rare, and cities virtually nonexistent. The people of the region are predominantly chaotic good. However, the people are so scarce that the countryside is a breeding ground for giants, dragons, and worse.
Thurriland is the huge peninsula which circles the north of the Oordept Sond. Its Western limit is the Joten Craggs, with rivers separating the Thurriland from the Jotencost (on the northern side of the Joten Craggs) and Rosklund (on the southern side of the Joten Craggs). The land is filled with primordial evergreen forests, with tiny settlements huddled around castles scattered infrequently through the country. Except for the nobles, most of the folk of this land are barbarian. There is little trade, except around the coasts, and down the slow-moving Griitflod River, which wends its way through a series of small lakes to empty into the Oordept Sond at Icevik.
The ancient white dragon Vivaine makes her abode somewhere in the evergreen forests of the Thurriland interior, as do many of her fell offspring. The eldest of these wyrms (for Vivaine seldom leaves her own lair) are Throshheim (Turot’s Bane), Namnaskinel, and Adrakor.
Size: About 76,050 square miles
Capital: Bravaldi, having a population of some 28,000
Mercantile: Crafts (water-clocks, spyglasses, etc.)
Political: Feudal monarchy.
Coinage: GP: Tiriflume SP: Crown CP: Penny
The Tiribaldi are of a culture very similar to that of the Piascans, the product of slow integration of the Galtic and Pollinian races. The Tiribaldi are renowned as soldiers, and Tiribaldian pikemen are much sought after as mercenaries. The Tiribaldi have a long and colorful military tradition of defending their eastern border from the depredations and invasions of the Solomorites. Tiribaldi contains some of the larger pockets of gnomish settlements in the continent, and Bravaldi is home to a very large number of these folk. The only truly huge dragon of Tiribaldi is Galliscracnar, a blue wyrm, though smaller dragons are numerous.
Size: About 9,000 square miles
Capital: Fjander, having a population of some 60,000
Culture: Barbarian Teutonic
Political: Feudal monarchy.
Coinage: GP: Troitsmark SP: Suvak CP: Ikyak
This small island kingdom is based on adventure and trade. The Troit in general, and the Fjanderfolk in particular, have had a long history as merchants and navigators. The sagas of Troit heroes continually return to their sharpness as traders and their feats in navigating long journeys, which is a distinct difference from the normal traditions of the Wykingfolk sagas. Troitlunder merchants buy goods from all the countries of the Oordept Sond, and trade them in Arzouman for goods produced around the inland seas.
Size: About 84,375 square miles
Capital: The city of Loowenmeer, with a population of 10,000
Culture: High Teutonic
Mercantile: Uberlaaken does not engage in much sea trading, but brings goods from the high lakelands by boat and wagon to Loowenmeer, whence it is transported by shallow-draft "fleerbooten" to Hylaksfjord, the Virholmer harbor town at the mouth of the Laakenfleer, where the cargoes are transferred to Virholmer longships.
Political: Feudal monarchy
Uberlaaken is a large region of high lakes, deep valleys and forest. It is a wild region, but a region with a great many towns, many of them with populations of 3,000 or more. Trade routes are effectively policed by the well-trained feudal militaries of the Uberlaaken nobility. Counts have their county seats in the towns, and regulate the behavior of the barons. Counts receive a share of the town revenue in accordance with the royal charters of the towns. The feudal system operates well, and oppression is scarce. However, the wilderness is a tremendous threat to the Uberlaaken region, for dragons and other monsters from the mountains are a constant menace. In many instances through history, entire counties have been lost to goblin assaults or dragonfire, and countless castles have been lost to the forests or razed to the ground. The predominant alignment is lawful good or lawful neutral. The dragons Tattermane, Two-Tail and Fjordburner have lairs in the mountains near or in Uberlaaken, and have raided the countryside in the past.
Size: About 32,175 square miles
Capital: Ullem, having a population of some 12,000
Culture: High Teutonic in the capital, Barbarian Teutonic in the countryside
Political: Feudal monarchy.
Urland has a scattered population, mostly living in rural manors and farms. Many of the settlements are barbarian, having no contact with the outside world beyond the occasional visits of a cleric or tax collector.
Size: About 18,000 square miles
Culture: Mix of Galtic and Teutonic
Mercantile: Metalwork, carved wood, shaped stonework, wines.
Political: Feudal and fey
The population of the Vilderlaand is of humans and demi humans and faerie in a variegated mixture. The foothills of the Fellfastings, directly north and east of the Vilderlaand, are inhabited by villages of halflings and other peaceful fey beings such as brownies, centaurs, and elves. The mountains themselves house the kingdom of Ironmallow, which is a dwarven town and tunnel complex centered around the citadel of Ironmallow. The King of the Ironmallow dwarves is a staunch supporter of the independence of the Vilderlaand, and has created a system of treaties with the various Vilderlaander barons. In times of trouble, many a baron has fled to the Citadel to gather his forces there. The coastline is predominantly populated with humans, although there are many elves, half elves and halflings in the villages. The Vilderlaand extends south to the Meerhaelv.
Size: About 67,500 square miles
Capital: Hylaksfjord, with a population of approximately 35,000
Culture: Barbarian Teuton
Mercantile: Sea trade as far north as Troitslund and as far south as Hortland. Virholme exports salted and pickled cod by the barrel, and fine leather, which are virtually the only trade goods produced in Virholme. Virholmer captains also carry goods produced in Uberlaaken.
Political: Feudal monarchy. The seat of the King is at Skyrhaag, an ancient castle some six miles from Hylaksfjord, within catapult range of a bend in the Laakenfleer River. It is said that Skyrhaag was build in one day by magical dwarves, and that it contains many odd aspects. The King of the Vir rules a large royal domain, and the remainder of the Kingdom is held between the Dukes of Kierhune, Hrotfjord and Troswyk.
Virholme has a coastline dotted with numerous excellent natural harbors, and many of the coastal baronies sport sizeable fleets of fishing boats and even longships which sail the trade-routes of the Moonmere Ocean. The Vir are relatively civilized, and Hylaksfjord is the major port-of-call on the continent’s western coast.
The Vir were the first raiders to attack the Continent in the second great wave of landings which took place on the northern and western coasts of the continent. At that time, the original Teuton invaders had settled the area in a Jarldom reaching from the present day lands of the Vir to present-day Uberlaaken, and had become integrated with their Galtic and Pollinian subjects. The Vir longships beached near Hylaksfjord and the town was pillaged through the night. Dawn of the next day found Cnar Wod, the Jarl of the Laaklanders, arrayed with his knights and levies before the town, ready to push the Vir back to the sea. The battle went badly for Cnar Wod (it is said that the prior week he had dreamed of a crow eating a pomegranate, and the dream had unaccountably frightened him into a deep depression). The blood-spattered, howling looters broke the ranks of the Laaklanders, and the entire army fled before the Vir to the very gates of Skyrhaag.
Size: About 60,751 square miles
Capital: The city of Ravenskassel, with a population of 19,000
Culture: High Teutonic. Property passes through the male lineage.
Mercantile: Sardines, woodcut prints, coal, ironwood, mahogany, inkberries, silk spiders (not as good as silkworms – can only be harvested wild in the deep forests), sugar beets
Political: Feudal Monarchy
The Wittenland is bordered to the north by the Oordept Sond, to the south by the Eastern Reach of the Moonfallow Range, to the West by the huge expanse of the Trollwood, and to the East by the Mardenwold and the Darkentree Forests. It is a large domain, but without much unforested land.The Wittenland is plagued with green dragons, though most of these are young. The Wittenland is the home of Aulfur, a green great wyrm. Fortunately, Aulfur seldom leaves his lair.
Size: About 182,700 square miles
Capital: The city of Yrdeep, with a population of 60,000
Culture: Galtic. Property and name pass through the female lineage. Druidism is predominantly that of the Green Mother.
Mercantile: Herring is plentiful around the Yrish coast, and is a staple of the coastal diet, as well as being salted for export. Tin, copper and wool are the primary exports. Marbolg produces finished metal goods, and Yrdeep finishes woolen cloth. The highlands grow Blackbramble weed, a very harsh tobacco. In bogs, bogtea roots grow, which make a weak tea. Hazelnuts, walnuts and apples grow in abundance. Wheat and barley are cultivated throughout the country, but Yrdeep consumes virtually all of the surplus of these staples.
Political: Yrvaine (the Yrvaine, or the Yrish Realm) is divided into six dukedoms, plus the Royal Landholdings around Yrdeep. The Dukedoms pass from oldest daughter to oldest daughter in the Ducal lineages of Caldawar, Anglammys, Marbolg, Ferelsbrae, Glanysalder and Tynesproeg. Each Duchess swears fealty to the Queen, but generally each Dukedom is administered as a separate fief.
Yrvaine spans from the Cymbeil River in the south to the Three Forests and the Moonfallows in the North, and from the Thalass Yr in the East to the Moonfallows and Fellfastings in the West. The Yrvaine is a vast and relatively peaceful region, made prosperous by the trade which flows down to Yrdeep on the Yr, the Rhysflow and the Brae Borga rivers. The Ducal families are seldom at war with each other, for the influence of the Cult of the White Goddess is a strong force for peace in the realm.
Yrish towns are generally chartered by the Queen, and are self-governed. The towns help the royal family and the Cult of the Goddess to pay for the upkeep of the Warclannaigs, battalions of warriors which form the standing army of the Yrvaine. The Warclannaigs loosely report to the Queen and to the Cult of the White Goddess, but are essentially free to pursue the guardianship of the Yrvaine with a free hand. There are many instances in Yrish history when a Warclannaig has stepped in to prevent battles between Ducal armies. The Warclannaigs are very highly regarded throughout the Yrvaine, and their role as a peacekeeping force is universally acknowledged.
The Duchesses also maintain small standing armies, but rely mainly upon their ability to call up armies from the countryside in dire need. Since the various knights and barons who rule the villages and fiefdoms of the land owe fealty to the Duchesses, they are compelled to join Ducal armies when the need arises.
Bordered by the Ceold in the South and by Galtia in the North, both of which are small, chaotic realms, Yrvaine’s chief threat is the Heidenlaand, across the Saddle of the Mistral Verge. In recent history, the threat of the Heidenlaanders has been small, for any invasion from the West is considered to be doomed to break upon the Fortress Town of Marbolg. The chief risk to the Yrvaine is not the human polities bordering upon it, but the Fellfasting and Moonfallow mountain ranges. The Fellfastings, in particular, are a highway for orcish tribes moving north from Gaoblinoth, and the Moonfallows are a roiling den of goblins and giants. Both mountain ranges contain the holts of dragons, whose young will from time to time foray into the civilized realms, and even the older wyrms will occasionally take flight from their mountain retreats. The ancient wyrms, of course, inhabit the realms of their own twisted dreams, which intersect from time to time both with the fey realms and with the real world. These great evil terrors, such as Shehelthule and Ghanesh, cannot be said to have a lair which is anywhere in the real world, but such a lair has exits into the real world, and the Dragons Ghanesh, Hasmorgas, and Arkloth are known to have appeared in the Yrvaine on missions of vengeance. The most recent such episode was the attack by the Dragon Ghanesh upon the Trer Ceiri Shay in the Mistral Verge. The Mistral Verge is also made somewhat uneasy by the nearby presence of the Goblin-Town of Kovrosh Aleski. Although the Bogolbin of that town maintains a tenuous alliance with the Duchy of Marbolg out of fear of the Warclannaigs, it is well known that he despises the constraints placed upon him, and would sweep down to sack the rich villages of the Mistral at a moment’s notice were he not constrained by his fear of powerful wizards and armored knights.
Size: About 86,400 square miles
Capital: The city of Fiedelsbrecht, population 13,000
Culture: Mixture of Teutonnic and Galtic
Mercantile: Sugar beets, caravan trade, fish, chocolate.
Political: The capital city of Fiedelsbrecht, in Northern Zeemarch, is the seat of the King’s court at the castle Van Loordscort. Piepersbruck, in southern Zeemarch, is a city of considerably more economic importance.
Zeemarch spans from the Northern Ocean to the northern coast of the Thalass Yr. The country is bounded on the west by Galtia, at the Pipersbrook River. The city of Piepersbruck, with a population of 30,000, commands the mouth of the Pipersbrook River, being located on an estuary which marks the highest navigable point on the river.
Dragons of the Zeemarch include Zarseen, an ancient gold, Yarcrinarl (red wyrm), and Cressirax (blue wyrm).