Category Archives: Geography

Smoking Lands, Isle of

by Gerrin

Capital: Hilltop
Population: 170,000 (Kobold 99%, Goblin 1%)
Government: Oligarchy
Religions: major – The Fire Lady (Shinare)
Languages: Common, Kobold
Trade: Furs, Iron, Obsidian, Wood
Legions: Untrained militia
Alignment: NG, CN, LN, NE, CE

The Oligarchy of the Isle of the Smoking Lands is a singular province that is controlled by the leaders of five major clans of kobolds living there. It is an ancient dormant volcano that remained above water following the Drowning. The exterior of the island is bleak and barren land that is usually covered in smoke drifting out of cracks, while the interior of the island is a lush valley full of wildlife, and forests. It is located off the coast of the coast of Gildanesti, near the city of Twin Sails.

Life and Society

Life on the isle is one that is isolative and safe. Most of the kobolds living on the island have little desire to explore outside of the island and the ones that do, are to unskilled in navigation to build a ship to leave. The island is controlled by the five major clans of kobolds.

The military of the island is untrained militia as few kobolds could truly be classified as professional soldiers. The clans on the island frequently war over land and resources, so it is not uncommon for standing armies to be on the march. Borders are often disputed by the clans and trade between the clans is almost non existent.

The legal system of the island is based off of ancient code of laws that are passed down by tribal shamans, while clan chieftains have the final say in the law, the shamans often advise the chief of the law. Laws are not written and therefore are often changed to fit the situation or crime.

The status of chieftain is passed from the ruler at death to his oldest surviving son. If no heir is alive to succeed, inter-clan war will establish a new chief. Often new chieftains have to spend much of their time trying to survive frequent assassination attempts.

Religion

There is no formal religion recognized, but most kobolds worship the Fire Lady (Shinare), or an aspect of the goddess. The kobolds have created several small shrines dedicated to the goddess throughout the land. Holy ground is considered sacred to the kobolds and is considered cleansed land that no blood may be shed upon.

Government

The government of the kobolds consists of each of the five ruling clans has a chief. The chief is advised by a tribal shaman, a high warrior, the tribal elder, and the chief’s sons. All power and laws come directly from the chief who wields it with absolute authority.

Once a year the five chiefs will meet and hold a joint meeting. This meeting allows the kobolds to discuss important topics such as possible invasions, tribal disputes, or the construction of a permanent meeting spot. At this time the five chiefs will vote upon changes and all tribes have sworn to live by the votes.

Military

The military of the island is comparable to untrained militia. Kobold armies are often outfitted with a variety of weapons and armor that are made. Most of the weapons and armor are created by the few goblin slaves that were unlucky enough to have ancestors who lived in the valley at the time of the Drowning.

The military is controlled by the chieftain and his appointed generals. Most of the clans have a standing army that is often on the move trying to seize key border areas. There is no known military organizational system used to separate units.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic on the island is almost unheard of and is rarely seen in public. Very few kobolds have any knack at sorcery or magic. Those who are able to use sorcery or magic often find themselves exiled away from their clans.

The kobolds discovered in the years following the departure of their god mysticism. Kobold mystics run the Shrines of the Fire Lady and often will exchange their services for material goods.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

The Waterfall of the Fire Lady: This natural waterfall is located in the western part of the island. Created by the Drowning, the waterfall is molten lava seeping out of a crack and falling into a large pool of water fed by a stream. This strange natural phenomenon attracts hundreds of kobolds every year and is home to the largest Shrine of the Fire Lady.

The Big Tree Forest: A large forest covers much of the interior of the island. This forest existed prior to the Drowning and is vastly overgrown. Travel through the forest is difficult and parts of it have been left unexplored by the kobolds.

Iron Mines: These mines are the source of iron for the island and often the center of many of the wars. The mines are mined by goblin slaves and the ore is shipped to a processing facility.

Regional History

The Island of the Smoking Lands was settled prior the Drowning by five kobold tribes trying to escape the war ravaged lands. Discovering that the Valley of the Smoking Lands was uninhabited the kobolds moved there for safety. Also moving into the valley in the days prior to the Drowning was a small tribe of goblins who had fled from the minotaur army.

After the Drowning the kobolds living in the valley found themselves isolated from the rest of the world. For several years following the Drowning clans fought each other to gain dominance. During this time the small goblin tribe living on the island became hunted and enslaved by the kobolds to be used to create new weapons and armor.

In 98 AD the kobold clans came together and met, discussing how to peacefully end the killing and establish territories. While the meeting had some success it did not end the struggles between the clans. It did establish the yearly meeting of the clans in which the clans could discuss disputes and concerns.

In 293 AD the kobolds were surprised to find a man named Talin on the island. After capturing the man, he convinced them to hold onto the Pick of Aenor, a legendary weapon sought by the Adlar dwarves. The kobolds would hide the pick in the Waterfall of the Fire Lady until it was received by Talin’s grandson, Telnor, in 376 AD.

Following the departure of the pick, the kobolds again became a forgotten people whose daily life centered on controlling key resources. Feeling safe and secure inside the rim of ancient volcano, the kobolds ignore the rest of the world.

Current Events

    • The kobolds have heard of strangers landing upon the shores of the island.

 

    • Goblin slaves have recently attempted a revolt in the eastern part of the island.

 

  • Strange beasts have been reported flying over the island and attacking local settlements.

Major Settlements

Local clans control the cities of the Isle of the Smoking Lands. The largest settlement is in the southern part of the island. It is home to the largest clan, the Bonebreakers. The other four clans have cities spread throughout the island.

Rock (Large Town 21,000): The largest city and clan home of the Bonebreakers. Rock is a walled town that is filled with small one story buildings and shanties. The clan leaders live in the center of the city in the city’s only stone structure. The current Clan Chieftain is Urg Bonebreaker (CE male kobold noble 2/fighter 4).

Fire Lady’s Home (Town 9,400): This town is located near the Waterfall of the Fire Lady and is the clan home of the Firewatchers. This town serves as the religious center of the isle and is visited by kobolds of all clans. The town consists of makeshift buildings and in the center of the town is a large shrine dedicated to the Fire Lady. The current leader is Thad Firewatcher (CG male kobold mystic 7).

Treetops (Large Town 15,200): The easternmost city on the isles is the home of the Treeseeking clan. This town is built in the forest with hollowed out trees serving as buildings when available. The current leader of Treetops is Grag Treeseeking (N male kobold fighter 8).

Gold Streams (Small Town 3,200): This town is located in the northern part of the island and is home to the Goldsword clan. The town is built on marshland in between the Gold Streams that flow throughout the area. The town consists mainly of makeshift buildings that constantly have to be rebuilt do to the soft ground. The current leader of Gold Streams is Torn Goldsword (NE male kobold noble 1/fighter 4).

Wander (Small Town 5,400): This town is located in the center of isle and is home to Truebow clan. The town is built in the Big Tree Forest and is hidden by outsiders by various methods of camouflage. Fearful of being destroyed the Truebow clan is constantly on the move and the town is difficult to locate. The current leader of Wander is Oril Truebow (N male kobold noble 3/fighter 2).

Onar, Kingdom of

by Nael

Capital: Onar City
Population: 76,000 (Onarian human 95%, Gildanesti 5%)
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Religions: Goddess of Wind (Chislev), God of Fire (Sirrion), God of Stone (Reorx), God of Water (Habbakuk), Goddess of Storms (Zeboim)
Languages: Onarian, Common
Trade: Grain, Cattle, Sheep, Wool, and Fine Linen
Legions: Mercenaries, town militia
Alignment: CG, NG, LN, N, CN

The Kingdom of Onar is a pastoral country, where life is governed more by the seasons than by the edicts of its monarch. Much of the country is cultivated or set aside as pasture for the large herds of sheep and goats that are raised in the shadow of the Condor Range of mountains. Onar was not always an independent kingdom, prior to the flooding the kingdom of Onar was a province of a now drowned realm.

Life and Society

Onarians are a very independent people, who view most outsiders with trepidation. Onarians live simple lives consisting of farming or herding from small mud brick villages built on the innumerable hilltops of the eastern shore. Unlike the other cultures of Adlatum, the Onarians are a matrilineal people, where all the land and property is owned by the women, with males paying “rent” to their wives, daughters and mothers in law, in order to farm or raise livestock. Onarian women are also the warriors as well as the landowners, as it is an Onarian superstition that only one that can bring life should take life. Onarians are a very superstitious people and have as many superstitions and taboos as they have hills.

Religion

Onarians build small shrines to the gods on craggy hilltops and windswept outcrops of rock, believing that the deities of nature view these places as Dhaka, or sacred. Onarians believe that the goddess of Wind (Chislev) the god of Water (Habakkuk), the god of Stone (Reorx), the god of Fire (Sirrion) and the goddess of Storms (Zeboim) created the land of Onar as a reward for their continued devotion. Even when the gods where absent after the Drowning, since the elements remained, the Onarians refuse to believe the gods ever left even when the gods answer no prayers, the Onarians refuse to accept their absence.

Government

While there is a King, the position is mostly ceremonial with the true power is in the hands of the Grandmothers. The Nine Grandmothers are the oldest female relatives of the presiding King and they decide all policy for the entire kingdom. While the edicts are not enforceable militarily, as the kingdom has no standing military, it is enforced traditionally, as the superstitions of the Onarians also reinforce this.

Military

There is no military or standing army in the entire country, rather each village has a standing militia made up of all the females age 13 to 30. The Onarian government, in exchange for grain that the republic is unable to produce, contracts professional soldiers and mercenaries to guard its southern borders and the Pactlands year round.

Magic and Mysticism

Onarians are a superstitious people, who view arcane magic with a jaundiced eye with very few practitioners. While mystics are fairly common, they are almost always dedicated to an element (Air, Earth, Fire, Water) and are viewed as blessed of the gods of nature.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Split Rock: Split Rock is a large granite hill that appears to have been ripped in two. Local legend has it that Habakkuk’s spear came to earth here, splitting the hill in ages past.

The Condor Mountains: The Condor Range is a series of granite and sandstone mountains that travel north to south along the western border that is shared with Gildanesti.

The Pool of Nine Depths: An odd limestone depression filled with absolutely clear water that perfectly reflects the sky. This site is considered Dhaka, by most Onarians as they claim it is the eye of an ancient dragon.

Regional History

It is unknown when the province of Onar was first settled or by who. The Gildanesti claim that when they first crossed the Condor Mountains the people who call themselves Onarian where already present and where ruled by an emperor who lived somewhere in the far east. The Onarians have always claimed that they resided in the far south and where forced north by there conquers and resettled in this northern climate. Onarians have had no large wars and even fewer territorial disputes between countries. Strong ties with the Gildanesti to the west have prevented any major incursion from the south and the Goblins of Thule.

Current Events

    • Onyx drakes from the north seem to be moving farther and farther south becoming more than just a nuisance to herders and there flocks.

 

    • A large cult seems to be building near the Pool of Nine Depths. They Claim they wish to awaken the dragon, which they believe will rise and ravage the world and remake it as a utopia.

 

  • Tammath of Salt Port, one of the largest shippers in all of Onar, claims that he has seem a large black ship sailing to the east from the jungles of No Man’s End.

Major Settlements

Onar City (Large City 25,000): Capital of Onar and center of all government, Onar city is built upon a large flat topped hill that has been terraced into 4 distinct levels. Each level is walled and gated. In the center of the flattened hill top an artificial hill was constructed and it was on top of this hill that the palace was built. Only nobles are allowed within the palace. Even the servants are of some degree of noble blood. Foreign dignitaries and visiting diplomats meet with the King and his council of Grandmothers in specially constructed lower palaces on the great plateau.

Salt Port (Large Town 15,000): Salt Port is the largest and primary port of all of Onar. Ships depart from Salt Port for all of Adlatum. Salt Port is also the location of the Corinesti trade enclave for all of Onar. The Captains Council governs Salt Port; each captain is appointed by the King of Onar after the council of Grandmothers has screened candidates and made recommendations.

Trader Bay (Large Town 11,000): Trader Bay is a large town situated between Salt Port and Onar City. Trader Bay is a Freeport and is used by the Gildanesti and the Etlarnish by permission of the King of Onar. All caravan traffic converges on Trader Bay and many exotic items can be found in the large bazaars and markets that dot the town. Trader Bay is so cosmopolitan that even other races which normally are considered enemies or even Evil, are allowed to trade here as long as they do not cause trouble.

No Man’s End

by Nael

Capital: None
Population: 30,000 (Bakali 45%, Slig 25%, Kobold 12%, Lizardfolk 10%, Troglodyte 7%, Neskudar 1%)
Government: Various
Religions: Various
Languages: Goblin, dwarven, and bakali
Trade: None
Legions: None (tribal warrior bands at most)
Alignment: N

Once a large subtropical savanna dotted with many rivers and streams, the eastern half of the Althand peninsula of Adlatum, No Man’s End, is now little more than a putrid mire of semi-stagnant water and shoulder high razor-grass. The majority of the murky waters slowly drain into the Sodbottom Swamp after the torrential hurricanes of the spring and early summer, leaving behind shallow reservoirs of cloudy mineral rich water which sustains the tall sea of razor-grass and blood-thorn bushes throughout the long dry summers. Frequent grassfires periodically devastate the region, so no large, woody flora survives for long. It is predominantly malaria bearing mosquitoes and the many venomous serpents that call this abysmal place home; even the goblins of Thule choose to avoid this hostile and unwelcoming environment and the mist dwarves of the Sodbottom frequently use the area as a place of exile. The number of bakali who thrive in No Man’s End is unknown, because these bakali are secretive and avoid contact with outsiders unless they are raiding.

Life and Society

Life in the mire is harsh and unforgiving. In many cases it is a struggle just to find food, as the prey is often just as deadly as any predator. Tribes of bakali and sligs are found along some coastal estuaries surviving not by farming but by cannibalism and inter-species warfare, a ritual harvesting of the weakest members of the other race and using them as food when hunting is poor. Some tribes of both species have developed a taste for “talking meat” and actively seek out other intelligent creatures for food rather than what would be considered a more natural prey. This type of preferred cannibalism varies from tribe to tribe with some preferring humans or dwarves while others prefer bakali or slig. Some non-reptilian races do call the area home, but these are usually dwarven exiles that seek to survive the obligatory ten years of exile before returning to the Sodbottom and their dwarven clans.

Religion

Faith and religion along this desolate stretch of eastern Adlatum is as sparse and brutal as the terrain. While bakali and lizardfolk are just as likely to belong to one of the numerous dragon cults as to one of the faiths of the True gods, the sligs of the area seem to have completely embraced the many aspects of mysticism.

Government

No central authority holds sway in the area or governs relations between tribes and races. Each tribe is independent and usually isolated. Every few decades one tribe will begin to conquer its neighbors and attempt to reclaim the ancient glory of there lost civilization but barbarism and savagery have become so ingrained to the races of No Man’s End that the volatile and independent personalities quickly bring everything back to its chaotic beginnings as each seeks to dominate and control the others.

Military

Since the Drowning, nothing resembling an organized military force exists in No Man’s End. Each tribe provides its own warriors and traditions, but the fierce independence that governs this primitive land prevents even a forcible alliance of tribes.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic in No Man’s End is just as wild and untamed as its inhabitants. In large and well-established tribes, focused divine magic, though rare, is seen more often than focused arcane magic. Much more common are practitioners of ambient arcane magic and mysticism, who act as shamans and totemic guides to their respective tribes.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

The eastern slopes of the Reorx Hand Mountains mark the northern and western boarders of No Man’s End. These mountains trap much of the early spring rains that drain into multitudes of small streams and washouts that lead to the lowlands of Sodbottom. The thunderous hurricanes that blast from east to west across the moors have over time saturated the limestone bedrock creating thousands of sinkholes and shallow limestone caves which are inhabited by many of the tribes of the area. On the southeastern edge of the peninsula are the remains of an ancient volcano that suffered a super massive eruption during the Drowning and was flooded by the inrushing seawater. Broken Caldera Cove, as the few Corinesti who know the area well name it, is the most densely populated area of all No Man’s End, inhabited by the largest of slig tribes the Silesia. The Northern Slopes of the Ophidian Mountains marks the southwestern boarder of the area and is home to large populations of kobolds and troglodytes.

Regional History

Little is documented about this area as it was considered inhospitable even in pre-drowning times. Onarian tradition holds that it is was once a great savanna where their ancestors hunted the great steppe lions of ages past. Onarian tradition also claims that if one could ride the river of time even farther back one would come to a time when dragon worshiping bakali enslaved all others to build cities and temples dedicated to their draconic gods. Centuries of enslavement followed where humans where not only used as a source of labor but as a source of nourishment to their masters or as sacrifices on the alters of bakali and slig.

Eventually the draconic “gods” of the scaled folk died out or where destroyed by rivals and their followers left a great spiritual rift that led to the eventual collapse of the civilization. During this time of turmoil, there was a great exodus of formerly enslaved humans to the lands in the north, seeking sanctuary from their former masters and eventually settling on the dusty prairies of what is now the nation of Thule. The passage of chaos in an age before the Drowning gave rise to new variations of bakali and altered many of the native creatures and plant life. The most successful of which are the insidious and rapidly growing Razor Grass, which would eventually force almost all other large vegetation in the area into extinction.

The Drowning and the centuries since that time have had little impact on the area other than to make the land even more saturated with ground water. The fractured tribes of Scaled folk have adopted the more hospitable areas for their own use, but many are nomadic in nature and move from one cave system to another. The primal peoples of this area tend to shun and avoid outsiders, so little is known of them in recent years.

Many of the Scaled folk raid neighboring Thule and Sodbottom for “talking meat,” snatching away their victims into isolated cave oases so that they may be “harvested” at will. Very few escape back to civilization, those who do however bring back tales of barbarism and savage, bloody dark rites performed by their captors.

Current Events

    • The bakali tribes of the south are being systematically conquered and subjugated by a particularly warlike and savage tribe. The Skaal.
    • The Silesia tribe of sligs near Broken Caldera Cove have begun a religious war where brother slays brother over dogma and the mystic shamans are now attempting to stamp out any and all other divine influences, particularly that of Zeboim. The Corinesti grow concerned, as these fanatical mystics seem to be preparing to bring their crusade to the rest of Adlatum with the assistance of unknown persons manning a giant black ship of foreign make and rigging. Corinesti scouts are unable to give a definitive answer as to the ships final destination as the unnatural ship seems to move against the oceans currents at an unprecedented speed.
  • Escaped victims of recent raids are bringing horrific tales of the return of the bakali’s ancient gods; few claim to have actually have seen them, they are large, ebon-scaled beasts whose wings blot out the sun and whose eyes glow with the fires of the Abyss.

Major Settlements

Due to the harsh conditions that come from living in No Man’s End, no major settlements had been developed in the region.

Helionost

by Carteeg Struve

Capital: Helionost
Population: 47,497 (Avanesti 100%)
Government: Monarchy
Religions: Gods of Light
Languages: Elven
Trade: None
Legions: The Divine Wing
Alignment: LG, LN, LE

After the flying city of Avanost crashed during the Starfall, the survivors fled high into the Little Condor Mountains in southern Gildanesti. There they discovered one of the abandoned ruins of the ancient elven city of Sirenethel. Taking their good fortune as a blessing from the gods, the Avanesti tore down the rubble and rebuilt a new city from scratch. Helionost is now the only home in Avanesti society, and although scouts are being sent out to map the surrounding territories and discover what dangers and lesser peoples are nearby, plans have begun to make Helionost their new flying city.

Life and Society

With the exception of the youngest Avanesti, the winged elves have lived most of their lives in the air, rarely sitting foot on Adlatum itself. Helionost resembles the lost city of Avanost in many ways, except that since this city was constructed after the creation of the Avanesti, there were no stairs built. All of the towers have either exterior access or passageways into long shaft-like interiors to allow elves to fly from one level to another.

The Avanesti are xenophobic and do what they can to keep other races away unless there is a necessity. No one of any other race is allowed into the city or even close to it.

Dedication to the cause of good and upholding the Avanesti standard of living is a requirement. Many mistake the winged elves as angels, divine agents of the gods, but the Avanesti have come to recognize their similarities to the beings of legend and believe they must keep themselves as devoted to what is good more so than even angels would. Those who do not keep themselves to their society’s strict standards have their wings cut off in the Ceremony of Descent and exile them, permanently severing them from the sky.

Religion

All Avanesti worship the gods of light, whether they want to or not. The seven gods of light are the source off all righteousness and glory in this world, and the Avanesti, being the self-proclaimed beings of purity as they are, will not tolerate any corruption in their society. As such any religion outside of faith in the seven gods is forbidden by law. What religions one can keep private and hidden is another matter.

Government

The Speaker of the Skies rules above all in purity and light. This is the first and last law governing the Avanesti, however any word or order spoken by the Speaker is absolute and becomes part of that law. Although the nobles may advise the Speaker, his or her decisions guide the city. With the Speaker realistically only in charge of the single city, the governing by one has presented little in the way of problems for the Avanesti. However it has also led to an extreme amount of arrogance from the office. By the letter of the One Law, the Speaker is only required to uphold his office in a fashion that exemplifies what is righteous and good. Only by disregarding that standard can a Speaker be deposed.

Many Avanesti also believe that the Speaker of the Skies is the only true ruler of Krynn, under the gods, and may have final say over any matter regardless of land or local (so-called) rulers. However with so much of the world corrupted and decayed, they understand the need to keep distant from the waste.

Military

The Divine Wing is the military arm of the Speaker. Many are skills in archery, magic, and aerial combat. For most of its history, the Divine Wing acted as a police force for the city. Their only major military campaigns were during the initial war with the ogres, the Avanesti Civil War, and the Days of Darkness. The Divine Wing is lead by the Archand, who follows orders directly from the Speaker.

The Wing has been struggling over the last forty years to learn military techniques for ground operations, especially in mountainous terrains and in forest.

Magic and Mysticism

Arcane magic is a common way of life among the Avanesti. More than half of the population is formerly trained as white wizards, although only in the last several decades has sorcery become a tolerable replacement. With the return of the moons, sorcery is now seen as unnecessary and an affront to the gods. There has been some discussion of making the practice of sorcery a punishable offense.

Divine magic is also highly prized. Clerics of the gods of light have been seen as the only true masters of the Avanesti people beyond their own leaders. No cleric of any other gods are tolerated within their society, and any such follower discovered would be exiled and put through the Ceremony of Descent swiftly. Between the Starfall and its undoing, the practice of mysticism came to be accepted in Avanesti society. However, upon the gods’ return, it was not shunned in a similar manner as sorcery. Although many Avanesti believe mysticism to be a form of heresy, a growing percentage of the population now argue that the purity of their way of life has opened the door for the Avanesti people to use divine magic of their own, rather than from the gods, thereby reflecting their own elevated and now partially divine status in the world. Regardless of which side of the debate an Avanesti is on, a vast majority do admit that any non-Avanesti using such power is a heretic and must be dealt with.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Helionost is located near the highest summit of the Little Condor Mountains. The ice from the surrounding area is now used to gather water and nourish the crops in the city’s gardens. Extraordinarily steep climbs near the upper reaches of the peaks makes any ascent of a land-bound person very difficult, and the Avanesti use the terrain to help keep unwanted visitors away.

Regional History

Around 3450 PD, the Valenesti nobles and wizards fled the continent in order to escape the ogres and a “coming doom” mentioned in the elven Volume of the Prophet. Using powerful magic, the capital city of Avanost is ripped from the ground and disappears far above Adlatum. The elven Volume the Prophet is taken with them. The magic holding the city aloft was unstable, and for many years the city floated above Adlatum within consistent direction or purpose. Keeping the city in the sky took most of the magical energies and attention of the elves during this time.

A decade went by, and control over the city was stabilized. Only then could they turn their attentions towards their dwindling food supplies and issues with the elements. Eventually they guided Avanost back towards their former homeland in hopes of restocking their supplies.

They watched from above as a rush to strange bull-headed men bore down on many of the warrior class that had been left behind during the city’s initial departure. After a fierce debate, an elven noblewoman by the name of Ulavaphanera took control through her own skills as an orator and convinced the city to come to their lesser brothers’ defense. The city rained its defense down upon the previously unseen minotaurs, allowing the warriors a chance to escape by ship. During the battle the Graygem floated over the shores into Adlatum, closely followed by a gnomish vessel from abroad. In a single moment, the gem flashed.

Everyone in Avanost fell into a deep slumber. They finally awoke to discover they had been changed. Each now sported a set of angelic white feathery wings, and they were also capable of flight. Unwilling to return to the mainland and averse to joining their cousins that had been transformed into “creatures” of the sea, the Avanesti remained in their floating home above the clouds.

As quickly as they had been given wings the elves began to rethink the ways of their former lifestyle. They renamed themselves the Avanesti and their leader was given the title of Speaker of the Skies. They looked down on the races of Adlatum as lesser beings. They avoided contact with them and watched as they destroyed one another, content to return to the lives before the ogres shattered their peaceful way of life. Magic was wrapped around the city to hide it from view of the mainland and they enacted laws to keep all Avanesti within the borders of the great city.

After the Drowning, many were horrified at the loss of life across the continent. Most were satisfied that the Drowning was the “coming doom” the city was designed to protect them from, but they wished to continue existence as they had throughout their own lives. Others believed the city had served its purpose and that it was time for them to return to the land in order to help the unfortunate. The blessed city of the heaven fell into civil war.

Magical battles erupted throughout the city, and Avanost and the Avanesti fell from the sky. Most were in remote locations but many people of Adlatum wept believing that the gods were battling and that angels had been flung from the heavens in their wrath. Eventually the civil war ended. The rebels in support of rejoining life down below were defeated. Many were put through the Ceremony of Descent where their wings were cut off before being put into exile. Most modern day Talonesti can trace their heritage back to these fallen Avanesti.

Avanost was lifted back up into the sky, but the Avanesti discovered they no longer had the freedom of movement they had before. They tried to flee the continent but found that the very foundation of their home was tied to Adlatum. The further they moved from the continent, the more the city descended towards the waters of the turbulent seas. Reluctantly, the Avanesti remained hovering above Adlatum. Also, once among the clouds, they discovered that their Volume of the Prophet was missing, lost during the war.

On the first day of 383 AD, the Starfall changed the sky by changing the stars and moons. Upon that moment, the city of Avanost fell from the heavens and crashed into the Dwarfsea. The survivors made it to the mainland, and they quickly made for the higher ground of the Little Condor Mountains as their former city was left in ruins, now guarded by a silver dragon who swore to protect it.

Later that same year, the Avanesti discovered an ancient ruined city near the highest peak in the range. The Speaker of the Skies claimed it to be the elven city of Sirenethel. Believing the city to be a blessing from the gods, they tore down the ruins and began to build a new city, Helionost. Slowly the Avanesti began to scout the nearby mountains and even into the Bitter Wood, trying to learn of what dangers lived nearby in order to better protect themselves. At the same time, several of the nobles began plans to lift the city from the ground and make Helionost their new home in the clouds.

Even after forty-years on ground, the Avanesti remain highly xenophobic. Their interactions with other races remains at a minimum, but even then most of their contact is out of necessity and the need to know what threats other people pose to their way of life.

Current Events

    • With war intensifying across Adlatum, the push to raise Helionost up into the heavens has increased. The process of insuring the city’s foundation is secure for the raising has been heavily accelerated.
  • A group of Avanesti youths have taken objection to the rule of the Speaker and many of the ancient traditions when one of their friends was recently made one of the fallen. Since then they have assisted two elves in escaping the city prior to their trial. The members of this band are now being hunted by the Divine Wing.

Major Settlements

The metropolis of Helionost is the only Avanesti settlement in Adlatum. No other community of the winged elves is known to exist.

Gildanesti, Republic of

by Nael

Capital: Elinost
Population: 358,794 (Gildanesti 70%, Pure Human 5%, Human of Gildanesti Heritage 10%, Kunda 5%, Corinesti 10%)
Government: Republic (Beneficent Oligarchy)
Religions: major – Rosmera (Shinare), minor – Camulos (Kiri-Jolith), Beli-Debu (Mishakal), Tannu (Sirrion)
Languages: Gildanesti, Common, Etlarnish, Elven, Kundaspeak
Trade: Mercenaries, Exotic Lumber, Recurve Horn Bows, Raw Gemstones
Legions: Coastal Legion, Home Legion, Mercenary Legion, Northern Legion, Southern Legion
Alignment: LG, NG, LN, N

The republic is divided into three provinces (the Northern, Southern, and Coastal), each coinciding with one of the legions. The Coastal province which abuts the Sargassi Sea, is easily one of the richest, as 50% of all trade is conducted from the city of Twin Sails. The Northern Province borders the Kingdom of Etlarn and controls Black Drake Pass, the primary North-South passage into Etlarn. The Southern Province is the frontier province and is the first defense against the goblins, trolls, and other monstrous creatures of the southern marshes and swamps.

Life and Society

Life in the republic is probably the best in all of eastern Adlatum and the Midlands; this high standard of living comes at a price. All members of society are required to serve a minimum of five years service in the legions, while members of the Aristocracy must serve a minimum of ten years. Unlike any other country of Adlatum, every single adult can muster arms in the case of national emergency or invasion. Another practice uncommon to the societies of Adlatum is that of mercenary exportation. After the initial basic training all legionary recruits are offered regular service in one of the normal legions or Mercenary Service. With Mercenary Service come many privileges, including after ten years service, eligibility for election to the Common Bench.

There is no legal difference between a male and a female in Gildanesti society, and either sex may hold office or high rank within the legions both traditional and mercenary. The office of Lord Marshal is usually granted via appointment by the Synod, but on a few rare occasions public acclaim has influenced the decision.

Religion

While there is no state religion, both the faiths of Rosmera (Shinare) and Rig Mori (Habbakuk) predominate in the region and even have a small voice in the government of the republic. Other faiths are recognized with the churches of Camulos (Kiri-Jolith), Beli-Debu (Mishakal) and Tannu (Sirrion). During both the first and second silences, when the miracles of the gods where unavailable, faith never left the people of the republic, seeing not the abandonment of the gods but a time in which the gods left mortals to learn and grow on their own.

Although there are nearly all the goodly faiths of Krynn are represented, only the Churches of Rosmera and Rig Mori are official. The gods Beli-Debu, Camulos and Dusios Bardos (Branchala) are worshipped openly, but have no say in the government of the nation, as do the churches of Rosmera and Rig Mori.

Government

By law and tradition, the republic is governed by an elected body called the Synod. The Synod in return, appoints and designates a Lord Marshal from the eligible aristocracy. The Lord Marshal is the supreme military commander and holds a seat in the Synod. The Lord Marshal may only vote, however, if the 30-member council ever becomes deadlocked. The Lord Marshal may submit items before the Synod for consideration such as bills, levies of taxes or manpower, just like any other member of the Synod. The Synod is divided into three branches: The Noble Bench which holds 15 of the 30 seats, the Common Bench which holds 10 of the 30 seats, and the Commanders’ Bench which holds the final five seats. The Noble Bench is filled by the heads of the 15 legacy (Aristocratic) families and is considered a lifetime appointment while the Common Bench’s members are elected by popular vote every 10 years. The Commanders’ Bench is filled by the heads of the Mercenaries Guild, Headmaster of House Arcane, Matriarch of the House of Healing, Patriarch of the Church of Rosmera and Patriarch of the Church of Rig Mori. Traditionally the Lord Marshal is seated with the other members of the Commanders’ Bench.

Military

There are five full time legions of professional soldiers. The Northern Legion is headed by a regional commander appointed by the Lord Marshal, and is approved by the Synod as are the Southern and Coastal Legions. The Home Legion, which is stationed in and around Elinost itself, is headed directly by the Lord Marshal and his to command as he sees fit. The Mercenary Legion is hired out to foreign battles for monetary and diplomatic compensation.

Magic and Mysticism

A high concentration of ambient magic suffuses the lands that comprise the republic, so a tradition of focused arcane magic never truly took hold while the militaristic application of ambient magic eventually lent itself to the foundation of the House Arcane – an institution which intensely trains ambient users in specialized battle magic. Nearly all arcane magic users of the republic are members of House Arcane. Few “wild” sorcerers are to be found as the talent is almost always detected early, and the child sent off for training. Many sorcerers opt for service in the Mercenary Legion, often multiclassing as Coinswords of Shinare (as found in Holy Orders of the Stars).

As with ambient arcane power, mysticism has its place in the society of the republic, however many young mystics are nurtured and trained in the domains of Healing, Protection or War. Mystics who are more pacifistic are usually shepherded into the House of Healing, where they master the skills that enable them to serve as the legions’ medical corps. Mystics of War and Protection domains often end up in the legions serving as aides and battlefield medics. The rare few natural mystics who show a talent for leadership are given officers’ training so that they may serve as the eventual generals and region commanders of the republic.

Being of elven blood, the Gildanesti do not ignore the bardic arts. Many bards travel as part of the different units of the legions both as entertainers and as heralds and aide-de-camp, using their abilities to inspire their comrades. True clerics are common, and Gildanesti clerics tend to worship Camulos, Beli-Debu, Rosmera, or Rig Mori. There is little or no tension between the House of Healing and the clergy of Beli-Debu, although some senior healers think that the intensive training of the healer makes them superior to the “faith healers.”

Major Geographical Features and Locations

The Cold Gates: A pass high in the Condor Range of mountains on the eastern border of the republic, which even at the height of summer is perpetually covered with frost and ice. Rumors persist of a dragon of enormous size and pearlescent white color lairs near the area, but no such sighting has been made in many years. Some travelers have also made reports of strange elves with wings also reside in the nearby peeks, but again these reports have yet to be confirmed.

Black Drake Pass: A large north-south pass through the southern mountains of Etlarn into the northern province of the republic. It is home to small dragon-like creatures commonly called Drakes.

The Condor Range of Mountains: The Condor Range is a series of granite and sandstone mountains that travel north to south along the eastern border of Gildanesti and the country of Onar.

The Bitter Wood: A large semitropical and deciduous rainforest that leads up to the alpine rainforests of the western slopes of the Condor Range. The woodlands are the traditional homeland of the Gildanesti, as it is all that remains of the primordial woodlands or Lost Valenesti. The Bitter Wood is the source of the beautiful Ebon and Rose woods that are exported to the Midlands. It is also the source of the Ironwood and Duskwood trees that have given the Gildanesti Recurve bows their superiority over even the best longbows of the west.

The Kunda March: The southern grass lands where the rainforest ends and the excess water run off heads south to the Sodbottom swamps and marshes. It is here that many Kunda wander with their hound drawn wagons and riding dogs, herding their flocks of grey wool sheep and shaggy haired goats. The Kunda travel in loose family groups or clans migrating with the availability of good grazing and the seasonal rains.

Regional History

The Republic was founded toward the end of the Ogrewars fought between the Valenesti and the ogre and goblin hosts of the north of Adlatum. When reserves of elven soldiers began to thin, the Speaker of the Trees authorized the conscription of anyone with elven blood into the warrior caste of Valenesti, even though this was against tradition, and repugnant to many full-blooded elves. The conscripted half-elves where considered little more than slave soldiers and where often labeled Daub’dae’larden, or Arrow Catchers. Many half-elves where rough trained and marched to the front lines where intolerant generals would send them on missions whose obvious end would leave more than three-quarters of those sent dead or unable to fight ever again. Many generals refused healing to wounded half-elves, reserving divine magical healing for full-blooded elves alone. It was these intolerable conditions that lead Gildanau, a half-elf whose elven mother was distantly related to the Speaker of the Trees, mutinied after a particularly devastating foray against superior numbers of ogres, and the elven generals refusal to reinforce the half-elven troops for fear of wasting elven lives on a position that was of little concern and surely to be overrun. Gildanau and twenty survivors returned to camp and were quickly arrested for desertion of their posts, the now overrun position nearly a league behind enemy lines. Gildanau and his twenty managed to escape and free the other three hundred slave soldiers, both human and half-elven and fled to the far eastern mountains.

Over the next twenty years as the Speaker and the other nobles sought to escape the foretold destruction of Valenesti, Gildanau and his renegades managed to free scores of other slave soldiers safely to sanctuary in the eastern mountains. When Avanost was successfully wrenched from the face of Adlatum, Gildanau launched a final raid to free as many of the remaining half-elves and humans he could. His raid was an utter success, as a new ogre offensive struck south to the now leaderless elven armies of Valenesti. On the long trek lead by Gildanau into the mountains that would later be named the Condor Range; Gildanau received a vision of a majestic Blue Phoenix and after conferring with a warrior priest of the god Rig Mori determined that the site would be the new home of the war weary refugees. In honor of the God who chose to watch over the refugees Gildanau named the site Elinost, the City of God. As time passed and the Ogrewars dragged on, the inhabitants of Elinost took more and more half-elven refugees and escaped human slave soldiers, and the few elves of Valenesti who were appalled by the cruel conditions that the conscripted had been forced into fled with the escapees to Gildanau and his fortified refuge.

When a large tidal wave caused by the passage of the Graygem changed the ogres into the new minotaur race and devastated the lower plains of Valenesti, the wave also allowed the remaining elven warriors to escape on their arks. Gildanau determined that the refugees would forever live free from oppression and that they would continue all that was good of the fallen civilization. During the remainder of his life Gildanau organized the creation of the first Synod and served as the first Lord Marshal, thus creating the foundation of the legions from those half-elves and humans who had pledged allegiance to Gildanau and the 15 remaining soldiers of his 20 brave followers. When Gildanau died, the people gathered in a large assembly and proclaimed themselves Gildanesti, in honor of their lost leader and beloved Lord Marshal. Gildanesti remained relatively isolated with little contact with the world outside its boarders. Other than the seasonal clashes with the minotaur that had claimed all that remained of Valenesti, the Gildanesti had no contact with outside culture and slowly evolved into a truly unique people. They were a true blending of elven grace and longevity with human determination and ingenuity. Before the Flooding (as the Gildanesti call the Drowning) there had been no new injection of elven blood, and the Synod feared that the Gildanesti were all that remained of the ancient race of elves. After the Flooding the Gildanesti expanded to the newly formed Sargassi Sea, and there they encountered the Corinesti, the Graygem altered descendants of the Valenesti warrior caste who had enslaved their ancestors.

Rather than revive old hatreds, the Gildanesti made treaties with the Corinesti, who offered both access to other cultures around the Sargassi Sea and availability to trade. It was during this time that Corinesti blood mingled with Gildanesti, particularly in the aristocratic families when many marriages were made to bind and strengthen the intercultural alliance. This resulted in Gildanesti of noble blood having some features associated with the sea dwelling aquatic elves. In turn, the few Corinesti-human unions that resulted with continued Corinesti colonization of the inland sea brought some of the Corinesti features among the common populace of the Gildanesti Republic. After the Flooding, a time called the Years of Silence, when the gods seemed to cut off all contact with their priests, the Gildanesti discovered that their trained troops where in much demand by the less militant cultures of the north and around the Sargassi. An ingenious cleric of Rosmera founded the Mercenaries Guild and with the aid of the Lord Marshal successfully acquired several long-term contracts with neighboring Etlarn and Onar. These contracts were to provide mercenary troops and war mages for defense and participation in the numerous conflicts that Etlarn faced with rampaging dragons and other hazards to the profit of the republic making mercenary soldiers. These mercenaries were the highest export of the mineral poor republic.

As the Years of Silence drew to a close, a young Gildanesti nobleman named Calhan Mar’troon began to make a name for himself as a commander of a small outpost on the southern border. In time Calhan was promoted to the Command of the Northern Regions and eventually defeated a large black dragon that had been devastating the southern regions of Etlarn and the northern villages of the republic. The Lord Marshal, a corrupt follower of Smer-Tio (Hiddukel), along with some fellow corrupt members of the Synod began a conspiracy to eventually destroy the popular young commander who had ruined many of the illicit endeavors that had for years lined the pockets of the Lord Marshal and his cronies in the Synod. With the return of the gods, a time of relative peace descended on the republic, but relations with the Corinesti of the Sargassi began to deteriorate as the prejudices of lost Valenesti began to resurface among the Corinesti toward the half-elves of Gildanesti.

This time of unrest lead to the Corinesti trade wars. Corinesti privateers would board and raid any ship that had not paid sufficient bribes to the Speaker of the Tide, and often even to those that had paid tribute. When the Lord Marshal closed the Corinesti trade enclave, the Speaker of the Tide declared a trade embargo against all of Gildanesti, giving royal approval to unrelenting piracy against any and all Gildanesti trade vessels. At the same time, a paranoid and high strung Lord Marshal ordered a disastrous assassination attempt against the influential and popular Calhan, resulting in a revolt of the Northern Legions and a march on Elinost after evidence of the Lord Marshals involvement was discovered. When Calhan arrived with his loyal troops, it was to see that the Lord Marshal had summoned both the Home Legion and the Southern Legion to defend Elinost.

The Lord Marshal began a lengthy diatribe against Commander Mar’troon which resulted in a complete revolt of the Southern Legion, a Legion that had in the past served beneath the charismatic general; a general who had shared every hardship that those under his command had, even to sharing their meals and campfires, where it was common knowledge that the Lord Marshal had never served outside of Elinost a career politician and aristocrat. The Lord Marshal abandoned the field and sought protection behind the fortified walls of Elinost.

Seeing the cowardice of their commander and chief, the Home Legion sent heralds and envoys to Calhan. At that time Calhan presented his evidence against the Lord Marshal’s failed assassination attempt as well as evidence of an illicit trade in drugs and slaves, which the Lord Marshal had participated in during the entire course of his appointment. When brought to trial for his crimes the Lord Marshal challenged his accuser to a duel, with the winner declared the innocent party and the loser the guilty. Calhan agreed, and although he won the duel, a wound from the poisoned blade of the Lord Marshal left Calhan weak and mortally wounded. As the former Lord Marshal bled out upon the floor of the Synod, bizarre creatures of chaos erupted all across the landscape. Disir from deep beneath the ground laid siege at the very gates of Elinost, while the coastal city of Twin Sails fought battles with bizarre lobstermen and hordes of undead that marched endlessly from the sea bed floor. The Days of Darkness had begun.

Over the intervening days, Calhan lead the forces of Gildanesti in battle after battle, eventually defeating the Disir and destroying an ancient Disir queen which had laired itself beneath the city of Elinost itself. When Elinost was free and the Disir Queen dead, Calhan collapsed just outside the doors of the Synod. It was here that a strange elf of unusual coloration and presence arrived at the fallen general’s side. As the strange elf touched the dying leader, he was enveloped in azure flames that seemed to dance with no sign of heat or injury to the body of the fallen hero. As the strange elf stood to face the crowed of Gildanesti, the elf proclaimed in a powerful voice, “Behold the Lord Marshal of Gildanesti,” and he transformed into a large phoenix of brightest blue flame and launched itself off into the sky, leaving behind a dazed and fully healed Calhan.

As the new Lord Marshal, Calhan spent the next four months reclaiming the undead infested city of Twin Sails and other chaos-touched areas left over from the initial conflict. When the Days of Darkness abruptly ended, Gildanesti entered the Second Silence and a period of six years also called the Time of the Prophet. During this time Calhan rebuilt the fractured alliance with the Corinesti, a much-changed people who had suffered horribly under the near constant plague of undead and lobstermen. He even married the daughter of the Speaker of the Tide as a sign of reconciliation between the two peoples.

As religious fervor across the Midlands, promoted more and more pro-human policies the Gildanesti began to build stronger ties with Etlarn and Onar, banding together for mutual defense against the increasingly racist and inflammatory rhetoric of the Midland’s Great Sovereign Lord and his followers. On the Night of the Return, the Priests of Rosmera and Rig Mori brought news of the theft of Krynn by Darga Nos (Takhisis), and that it had been she that had been behind Montegron of the Midlands and all the anti-elven policies that had cropped up all across the Midlands. The republic is in strong hands for the first time in over a century, and backed by popular support a thorough investigation into the unsavory practices of some members of the Synod under the previous Lord Marshal is underway.

Current Events

    • An envoy of the Midland Guard has arrived with a small contingent of retainers; apparently seeking Mercenaries and Free Swords willing to travel to the Midlands where minotaur raiding parties have increased over the last few months.

 

    • Something is forcing goblins onto the Kunda Marches.

 

  • A bakali shaman and small force of five bodyguards have petitioned an audience with the Lord Marshal. Rumors run rampant but no definite information has released, however it appears that the goblin incursions to the south is related.

Major Settlements

Regional Commanders often act as the Provisional Governors of the cities they reside in.

Gildanost (Metropolis 98,897): The largest settlement of the southern province, Gildanost was founded soon after The Flooding, as the then southern most boundary of the Republic. Gildanost is the regimental home of the Southern Legion and provides protection to the Kunda nomads who wander the grasslands to the west. The current regional commander is Amatol Nordis (LN male Onarian human ranger 9).

Helionost (Metropolis 47,497): This city is not part of Gildanesti in any official capacity. Constructed soon after the Starfall, the Avanesti have made their mountaintop city their home. So far the Avanesti have kept relatively to themselves with only minimal contact with local authorities. The Gildanesti government has no plans on interfering with the winged elves so long as they do not interfere with them.

Twin Sails (Metropolis 76,459): The second largest settlement of the entire Republic. Twin Sails is also the home of both the Coastal Legion and the Corinesti trade enclave. The Midlanders call Twin Sails the Gateway City, as it is only way for the silk trade of Onar to reach the western countries of the Sargassi Sea. The current regional commander is Fionnovara Del’Mor (NG male Gildanesti mariner 4/mystic of Water 6).

Twelve Towers (Large City 24,875): The gem of the north is the home of the Northern Legion and the most cosmopolitan of the cities of Gildanesti. It is here that the Mercenaries Guild has its headquarters and all the mercenary companies receive there training after the initial recruit training of the legions. The regional commander is Dharma Rheon (LG female Gildanesti fighter 6/Coinsword of Shinare 5). The head of the Mercenary Guild is Duncan Rheon (LN male Gildanesti cleric 5/Coinsword of Shinare 10), father to the northern commander.

University City (Large City 23,799): Located south of Twelve Towers along the trade road to Elinost, lay University City. It is here that the House of Healing, House of War, and the House Arcane have their complexes. Here the officers and special units of the Legions of Gildanesti are trained and eventually assigned to there respective legions. Though unofficial, the Hall of Song also makes its home here where all the bards of the republic are trained. Although there is no regional commander, the government of University City is overseen by a council of the Headmasters of the three main Houses. Captain Commander Llano Morgan (LG male Onarian human fighter 11/mystic of War 5), head of the House of War; Mistress Kinta (NG female Gildanesti cleric of Mishakal 17), head of the House of Healing; and Damogan Prell (LN male Gildanesti wizard 12/Coinsword of Shinare 4), head of the House Arcane govern the city jointly.

Galachot, Theocracy of

by The Sultan

Capital: Mah-Jor
Population: 304,000 (Mahjoran 87%, Human 6%, Kunda 5%, Other 2%)
Government: Theocratic Conglomerate
Religions: Mah-Jor, Rej Joj
Languages: Minotaur, Common, Old Chôt
Trade: Beer, Cheese, Livestock, Sagacity, Wine, Wool
Legions: Followers of the Mahstoic Circle, Emerald Fold Trade Company, Fist of Joj
Alignment: Any

The endless rolling hills of Galachot were once home to the noble elite of a long-dead empire. Throughout Galachot, where once stood a royal manor now stands a monastery. When once the minotaur race deceived itself with notions of superiority and conquest, now they are a quiet, introspective people, concerned with the turning of the seasons and the growth of the community. The lands of Galachot are not without strife, but since the tragedy of the Drowning, the harbingers of chaos, war, famine, and disease, have not set foot in minotaur lands.

Life and Society

When compared to the rest of the world, life in Galachot moves at a slow pace. Whether you’re a farmer, merchant, or descended from a noble line, nearly all Mahjoran minotaurs follow the Mahstoic Circle, the measured procession of the Circle of Life. The Mahstoic Circle (see Religion, below) dictates that all life has purpose and place, and only by searching within can one discover ones own purpose and place. Thus the minotaurs of Galachot are an introspective people, weighing the consequences of each action carefully, be it mending a sheepfold or brokering a trade.

The daily observances of the Circle might seem restrictive or superstitious to outsiders, but the Mahjoran find affirmation and solace in their customs. Even those who do not follow the Circle feel its influence, for each day is divided into phases, as prescribed by the Circle of Life. The exact timing of the phases fluctuates according to each individual, but in general they are observed according to the progression of day into night.

The morning is a time of physical labor, be it toil in the field or martial training: a time of youth, or for restoring youth to the body. Afterwards is a time of industry and commerce; for some this takes place mid-morning, for others this happens in the afternoon. The dusk and early evening hours are a time of community, of interacting with friends and family. And lastly, the dark of the evening and night is for solitude and quiet reflection. All of Galachot is guided by these phases of the day, even if all the peoples of Galachot are not followers of the Mahstoic Circle.

Religion

The prominent religion in Galachot is the Fellowship of the Mahstoic Circle. The theology of the Circle declares that life moves in a great cycle, divided into four phases: birth, coming-of-age, marriage, and death. From the passing of the seasons to the progression of a single day, all things can be divided into the phases of the Circle of Life. As a result, the Mahstoic Circle governs much of the everyday life in Galachot, and many government officials also hold prominent positions within the Fellowship. The Fellowship itself is governed by a coterie of High Prefects, the leaders of the most prominent monasteries in all of Galachot.

But the true head of the Fellowship, the founder of the order, is the minotaur known only as The Golden Bull. He does not concern himself with the minute functions of the order, such as establishing trade routes or determining the price of wool, but rather he is the font from which the philosophy of the Circle flows. All the dedicated ascetics of the Fellowship journey to the Mount of Mah-Jor, in the capital city of the same name, to receive his blessing and hear his wisdom. For over four hundred years The Golden Bull has guided the minotaurs of Galachot along the path of the Mahstoic Circle.

Government

Throughout most of Galachot, the role of government is performed by the Fellowship of the Mahstoic Circle. Each village, town, and city is home to a monastery, presided over by a High Prefect. Often, the High Prefect acts as mayor or lord to the surrounding lands. On the rare occasion that neighboring communities dispute over land rights or trade routes, a lesser Prefect from Mah-Jor or Sur-Ng is called upon to adjudicate. All Prefects achieve their title only after years of travel, servitude, and meditation, thus corruption among the High Prefects is distinctly rare.

The one notable exception to the governance of the Fellowship in Galachot, is city of New Horn. There, the Emerald Fold Trade Company and the militant Fist of Joj vie for control of the thriving port and surrounding lands. New Horn is governed by the Council of Six, prominent members of the community elected for life by the city’s merchant guilds.

Military

The Fellowship of the Mahstoic Circle does not maintain a standing military, though each town and province can assemble a militia of physically disciplined warrior-monks in a time of need. The Golden Guard of Mah-Jor is the largest military outfit with ties to the Fellowship, but the order is dedicated to the policing of Mah-Jor itself; their influence is seldom seen away from the capital.

New Horn is home to the powerful Emerald Fold Trade Company and the Fist of Joj, both organizations with a strong military bent. An alliance exists between the Council of Six and the Fellowship regarding keeping Galachot a land controlled by, “the descendents of Tang,” as outlined in the Treaty of Rexan, but in the two-hundred years since it was signed, there have been no conflicts to test the Treaty.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic in all its forms is commonly accepted throughout Galachot. The city-state of New Horn is home to the Academy of Mages, a collegiate organization devoted to arcane magic. New Horn is also the focal point of the Fist of Joj, warrior-priests who devote themselves to Rey Joj, rather than Mah-Jor. The Order of the Existent in Nur-Chot is a sect of faithful worshipers of Mah-Jor who follow the divine path to discover their role in the turning of the Circle, rather than the disciplined one. Throughout the land, mystic-monks, those ascetics who find their paths outside the rigors of the Fellowship, are common, but none-the-less abide within the great Circle.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Cup of the Moons: Along the northern coastline of Galachot is a bay called the Cup of the Moons. When the moons align and shine full on the waters of the bay, the waters turn calm and crystal clear; one can peer into the depths of the bay and make out all the minute details of the ocean floor. It is common for the followers of Mah-Jor to journey to the Cup as part of their practice in meditation and introspection. The lands surrounding the bay are sparsely populated, but watched over by wandering priests from the temple at Nur-Chot.

The Volume of the Spirit, written centuries before the Great Wave transformed the coastline and created the Cup, speaks of a place called the Moon’s Chalice, calling it “The Door of the Prophet,” which leads to the library where the Volumes were penned. Whether the place spoken of in the Volume and the bay along the coast of northern Galachot are the same, none can say.

Dwyndlewood: The thick, untamed forest that divides Galachot from Etlarn is regarded by the locals as a dark place, a haunted place. Travel from one side to the other is achieved only by the “Dark Road,” from Mah-Jor to Pren’s Glade and beyond, or by circumventing the ‘wood all together, either by ship or over-land along the northern coast. Either route is fraught with danger from typical forest inhabitants, but deep within the ‘wood is rumored to be a cabal of druids, bent on covering the continent in a single forest as dark as the Dwyndlewood.

Myor Fen: In the southern reaches of the Dwyndlewood, where the forest meets the Kundamarsh, lies Myor Fen. Once a grand open-air temple, the Fen is now a haven for pirates and outlaws, as well as more monstrous inhabitants. Rumors persist that the de-facto leader of Myor Fen is a medusa by the name of Sh’rlin.

Traveler’s Tower: Before the Drowning, the Traveler’s Inn stood in along the North Road. The Inn was a common stop when traveling to the coast from the heart of the Empire; a three story building atop a steep hill, the Inn was the only public roof for a day’s travel in any direction. The Great Wave decimated the land around the inn, but remarkably the building itself was largely unharmed. Today, the building is perched atop a rocky cliff overlooking the Gashir Strait; it serves as a lighthouse for ships navigating the straight at night. The Traveler’s Inn not only transformed from prominent roadside way-point to a well known sea-side tower, but in the centuries since the Drowning it has become a museum of curios and artifacts form the drowned Chôt-tang Empire.

Regional History

The minotaur race prior to the Drowning was respected as the dominant political, military, and economical influence throughout Adlatum: Chôt-tang ambassadors sat as advisors to foreign monarchs, the Horned Marshals were called upon to settle border disputes, and the Emerald Fold Trade Company had a gilded presence in every major market from the western coast to their eastern port city. The immense capitol city of Rhas-lac stood as a beacon of civilization and the epitome of culture in the Empire of Chôt-tang.

But it was minotaur philosophy that exerted the greatest influence on the nations of Adlatum; Ryunus’s treatise The Natural History, Tyoo’s Proverbs, and Emperor Tang’s The People’s Will were standard reading for the educated of all races. Even among the small folk, it was as common to call upon Tyoo or recite one of his proverbs as it was to call out to Ry Joj or the other gods. The minotaur philosophers spoke of the natural order in which all life is part of an ascendant pyramid, atop which sit the mortal races. An age of relative peace and enlightenment lasted for more than five hundred years, until the great philosophers of Rhas-lac discovered the power of the Volumes of the Prophet.

When the power of the Volumes, the power to foresee and influence the future of an entire race, was uncovered by the minotaur scholars, the categorical nature of minotaur philosophy slowly began to change into a totalitarian belief that minotaurs were destined to rule; the Chôt-tang eventually saw themselves as the Stewards of Adlatum. Twelve hundred years before the drowning, the Empire found excuse to engage in bloodshed with human bureaucracy of the Midlands, ending the centuries of peace, sending the world economies into turmoil, and forever tarnishing the reputation of the Chôt-tang.

For a thousand years the Chôt-tang gradually expanded the Empire. The kunda, long under the protection of the Empire, were now held prisoner, confined to their own borders on penalty of death. A portion of the noble magocracy of Eltarn was forcibly annexed in 1011 PD. In 542 PD, the elves signed the Pactu Pinyin, an agreement of fealty and non-involvement, and many primitive Oguna were conscripted as foot-soldiers in 299 PD. By this time, the minotaurs sat alone atop their philosophical pyramid, and worship of even the exalted Rey Joj was nigh unheard of. When in 158 PD minotaur scholars discovered that multiple Volumes used in unison yielded greater effect, diplomacy and intimidation were abandoned, and the Chôt-tang declared open war on the Midlands in an attempt to seize the human Volume.

The Canon War, as it came to be called, raged for a century. The fronts expanded and shifted across most of the northern and central regions of the continent. One wide swath of land stretching across the land became the grounds of a stalemate that lasted for eleven years during the middle of the war. This disputed territory became known as the Fields of Death. On the eve of what would have been the largest battle in the history of the entire war, the Great Wave came from the southeast and flattened the battlefields and destroyed the continent.

The Drowning decimated the Chôt-tang Empire. The capital city, the endless leagues of verdant farmland, the mighty armies, all destroyed in a single day of misfortune. The only Chôt-tang to survive were portions of the western invasion force, trapped in the arid lands that soon became known as Sakkaras, and the Chôt-tang noble elite who made their homes in what was known as the Emerald Fold – the lands of rolling green hills and lush forests between the Verdant Plains and the Eltarn Sovereignty.

It was common practice then for the noble Chôt-tang to build their familial manors on a hill-top, overlooking the few homes or small village that served the aristocrats. The worst of the Great Wave hit farther west, but still enough of the ocean fell on the Emerald Fold to flood the valleys and glades in which the servants lived. By days end, the low-lands were awash with salt-water and debris, the manor homes of the noble elite overflowing with refugees.

The land became known as Galachot – the washed lands. For nearly a decade, the land once known as the Emerald Fold was merely a series of high, dry hills amidst a murky sea of treacherous mud and silt. As the land healed itself, and returned to something resembling the rolling countryside it once was, communities grew out from the surviving communes, but the old ways had washed away.

As a result of the Great Wave, the surviving minotaurs of the region adapted to a communal lifestyle. The aristocratic privilege of the old empire fell away amidst starvation and isolation. The “religion of ascendancy,” as the beliefs prior to the Canon War were called, were replaced by study of the old philosophies. But in rediscovering their religious roots, the minotaur were lead by a wise sage whose hair reflected the color of the high-noon sun: The Golden Bull.

The Golden Bull claimed himself a servant of the gods and a lesser prophet of sorts. Traveling throughout Galachot, The Golden Bull taught the philosophies of old, of the Mahstoic Circle, and of Mah-Jor, she who places all things in the Circle, and guides all to find their place in the Circle. Blessed with long life by Mah-Jor, the Golden Bull still leads the minotaur faithful today, from the temple atop Mount Mah-Jor.

By the second century AD, the former noble manor homes had been fully converted to hill-top monasteries. In time, the minotaur became known as the Mahjoran. Soon, Mahjoran communities began to grow beyond the highlands; the greatest of these became Mah-Jor, the seat of The Golden Bull, heart of the Mahjoran faith, and capital of Galachot. In the intervening centuries, trade relations with Eltarn and the Midlands were re-established, Mahjoran culture experienced a renaissance of philosophical notoriety under the guidance of The Golden Bull, and the Fellowship of the Mahstoic Circle has begun to influence much of the governance of Galachot.

Current Events

    • In a rare public appearance, the Golden Bull of Mah-Jor announced his final days. The specifics of when and how were left vague, but the guru indicated that before the turn of the generation he would rejoin the great Circle. What ramifications this will have for the Fellowship of the Mahstoic Circle and all of Galachot remains to be seen.
    • The people of Pren’s Glade are less wary of the Dwyndlewood than the rest of Galachot and Etlarn, except at the mention of the druid Wg’ner Gan. Each day for the last year “Mad Gan,” as he is known to the locals, stands at a bend in the road just outside the village, adds a stone to a pile, and announces, “When the stones reach their zenith, the forest will reclaim its own!” The ominous words are still regarded somewhat light-heartedly by the populace, but the pile grows ever taller, and none have yet risked the druid’s wrath by upsetting the pile.
  • The Council of Six, the rulers of New Horn, have grown increasingly assertive over their control of the Upper Sargassi and the northern coast of Galachot. Maritime conflicts with Solishairon are becoming commonplace. As a result, the entire Sargassi has become fraught with pirate activity. To complicate matters, the Council of Six is currently a council of five, and has been for nearly eight months. The varied merchant guilds have thus far been unable to elect a new council member until the suspicious circumstances surrounding the late Head Council Dzin Rhey’s death are resolved – the elongated delay of which indicates corruption or behind-the-scenes maneuvering within New Horn.

Major Settlements

Mah-Jor (Metropolis 38,000): Mah-Jor, the Golden City, is the capital of Galachot and the seat of the Golden Bull, the spiritual leader of the Fellowship of the Mahstoic Circle. Situated around a steep “mountain” of the same name, Mah-Jor is a sprawling city built in two rings, called Lower City and Upper City respectively. There is no functional difference between the two portions of the great city, save their elevation and defensibility. Many minotaurs make pilgrimage to Mah-Jor as part of a spiritual journey to discover their place within the Mahstoic Circle.

New Horn (Metropolis 63,000): The independent city-state of Galachot pays lip service to Mah-Jor as its capital, but in truth New Horn is governed by their own Council of Six, but numerous factions vie for control of the city. One of those factions is Adlatum’s most recognizable guild, the Emerald Fold Trade Company. (See Chapter X: Organizations.) Another is the Fist of Joj, warrior-monks dedicated to Rey Joj. Should these two factions ever ally for any reason, New Horn could boast a navy strong enough to rival any of that hosted by the Midlands nations.

Nur-Chot (Small Town 1,200): This small town is built around the temple of Nur-Chot. Built in 64 AD as a holy place, a refuge and place of worship for followers of Mah-Jor, Nur-Chot is now home to the Order of Existent, those select few who answer the call of Mah-Jor to facilitate the turning of the Circle in the mortal realm. The Order functions as an auxiliary to the Fellowship, but carries a similar structure for its priests. Many rulers and nations throughout Adlatum seek out the priests of Nur-Chot for counsel.

Persica (Large Town 2,500): The town of Persica in central Galachot is one of the few settlements in the minotaur lands that did not grow from the presence of a nearby monastery. Slavery was commonplace in the latter years of the Chôt-tang Empire. When the Great Wave struck, the old empire was washed away along with the misguided notions that encouraged societal behaviors such as slavery. The people who were once slaves in service to the Empire soon found themselves as indentured servants, freed but impoverished. The town of Persica grew as a gathering place for those souls who desired true freedom, away from the minotaur communities that had so long held them in servitude. Today, the old prejudices from slavery are seldom seen in Galachot, but the minotaur population of Persica has never quite outweighed that of the other races.

Pren’s Glade (Hamlet 120): More than a few of the locals in Pren’s Glade refer to it as, “The town that should never have been.” Built in 56 PD, the town was meant to be a way-point for travel through the Dwyndlewood. From the beginning, the small hamlet was plagued by encounters with giant spiders, ettercaps, wyverns, and worse. When the Drowning destroyed the Empire, Pren’s Glade was left largely untouched. As a result, many of the old traditions still survive in Pren’s Glade.

Sur-Ng (Large City 23,000): If Mah-Jor is the spiritual heart of the Mahstoic Circle, Sur-Ng is the martial center of Galachot. In the days prior to the Drowning, the stretch of land that would become Sur-Ng was home to three closely allied clans, all with hill-top manor homes within sight of each other. As the culture slowly changed from noble-hierarchy to monastic theocracy, the clans developed different traditions, which in turn became distinct martial arts. Today, schools throughout Sur-Ng teach a multitude of variations on these three martial art styles, and Sur-Ng itself is regarded throughout Adlatum as the foremost place to learn hand-to-hand combat.

Etlarn, Kingdom of

by Kranar Drogin & Carteeg Struve

Capital: Etlarn City
Population: 743,532 (Etlarnic human 87%, Gildanesti 10%, Other 3%)
Government: Monarchy
Religions: Autenanima (Solinari), Calorossa (Lunitari), Scuriga (Nuitari)
Languages: Etlarnish
Trade: Forged weapons, mined minerals
Legions: Dragonkin Horde, Etlarn Defenders
Alignment: All

The Kingdom of Etlarn, secluded in the storm-tossed northern mountains of Adlatum, is a realm both beautiful and grim. Founded by humans thousands of years ago, Etlarn has for centuries been under siege by dragons and their lackeys. Although it was founded by those striving to break away from the powerful magocracy of ages past, Etlarn is now a magocracy of its own, one under great strife.

Life and Society

During its heyday, the use of magic for practical and pragmatic uses was extraordinarily common in Etlarn. Now, most Etlarnans focus on the use of magic in order to keep themselves safe during the war. All cities and villages know they are prone to attack from those loyal to the dragons and their kin.

The cities of Etlarn were grand metropolises filled with towers of ornate rising to the sky and connected to each other through grand archways, platforms, and bridges. Magic was used in some architecture for some buildings, but when focused arcane magic failed after the Starfall, several structures were undermined and collapsed, leaving blocks in ruin. Reconstruction began, but efforts changed when the Dragonkin Horde attacked. This has left many citizens in Etlarn living in deplorable conditions while Etlarn redirected its efforts into stopping the invasion.

Those places under the control of the dragonkin are in a worse situation. The Scalebound and those loyal to the dragonkin have no hesitation in taking what resources are available from the people (including the people themselves) in order to strengthen their hold on the region and expand control.

Religion

The moons are the greatest celestial presence in Etlarn. Even after the Starfall, praise and remembrance was often given to Autenanima, the white moon. Smaller sects dedicated to praising Calorossa, the crimson moon, exist as well. For centuries those who praised the ebony moon, Scuriga, kept themselves in secret, leaving their numbers thought small but in truth unknown. Now, with the stability of the world coming undone, many are openly beginning to think that the dark magic of Scuriga may prove itself to be extremely useful and beneficial to the protection of Etlarn.

Government

Each of the cities and towns in Etlarn are ruled by High Elders, magi of experience and wisdom chosen by the ruling king or queen. Within each individual group of Elders, they select from themselves one to act as the figurehead and spokesperson from the Elders named the Lord of the City. This person also casts deciding votes and chooses the order in which issues are brought before the High Elders.

The ruling monarch is passed from the parent to the eldest child, but the child must prove his or herself to be an expert in one field of spellcraft with a passing knowledge of several others. If the child is shown inadequate at the time of ascension, the next child in line is given a chance to take the throne. If the previous monarch has had no children, or if all children failed to pass the examination, each group of Elders across the nation may back an archmagi to take the throne. The mage with the greatest backing across all of Etlarn wins the throne. Often this results in a sibling or more distant relative of the previous monarch being selected. The current king is Archmagi Andoja Uranjos who has been struggling to keep Etlarn City free.

In locations where the dragonkin have control, the local authority is allowed to stay in place so long as they obey all orders from the highest-ranking officer stationed there. If they do not, the troublemaker is swiftly replaced.

Military

The primary defending force for Etlarn is the Etlarn Defenders. The Defenders are divided into the Brethren of the Flame, which utilized Wild Sorcery, the Brethren of the Moons, wielders of White Sorcery, and the Brethren of the Stars, Paladins typically devoted to Autenanima, Pietarde (Paladine), or Pensokia (Majere). These brethrens also included their own elite branches. Included in these subgroups, for example, are the Knights of the Argent Crescent, divine warriors within the Brethren of the Stars who receive divine gifts from Autenanima. The Brethren of the Moons also has the High Arcanists, who serve Etlarn by defending their nation and education their kin among their Brethren in the newest advancements in wizardry. The Brethren of the Flame’s elite corps are the Sentinels of the Throne, a band of experts in the field of wild sorcery.

The other major military force in the region is the Dragonkin Horde. Exactly where they came from is unknown, but they initially appeared to come from the southwest. Now more and more people have joined the “dragons” and their kin in seizing control of Etlarn. Over the previous decades, this army has been steadily gaining greater control over the region.

Magic and Mysticism

Arcane magic, both focused and ambient, is well received as a whole in Etlarn. In the past, there was friction between supporters of both camps, but after four decades of only ambient magic being available, there was a desperate need for wizards with talent in the focused studies once the Starfall was undone. Some supporters of ambient arcane are skeptical of the “stability” of the focused magic considering how it vanished long ago, but some of it may be humor directed at showing how chaotic the ordered version of magic is and vice-versa.

The one type of arcane that many are wary of is the dark magic from the ebony moon. A growing number wish to implement it in the war to better Etlarn’s chances, but others see this as a dangerous temptation that will only lead to the corruption and destruction of their own way of life.

Divine magic has always been appreciated in Etlarn, although usually to a slightly lesser extent than the arcane. After the Starfall, those few mystics unassociated with any faith or organization became highly respected in some parts of the country for their assistance in healing and protection during the war with the dragonkin. There is a question how their services will be respected now that the moons have returned along with the gods, but for now the conflict with their enemies is still their first and foremost concern.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Vaspasias Crater: In the southern reaches of the Etlarn mountains, near the border of the Black Drake Forest, is a enormous crater where magical spells become unstable. Vaspasia was a member of the Etlarn Defenders who was sent to deal with a particularly violent bandit who had managed to convince some of the forest drakes to attack caravans between Etlarn and Gallasfjord. She confronted the bandit and the drake nest, but when using her magic to deal with the situation, something went wrong. Crystals in the mountains held wild magic, acting as batteries for ambient magic. Vaspasias’ magic and these crystals interacted badly, causing massive destruction. Now there is a crate approximately a mile wide and 600 feet deep at its center. Although Vaspasia never returned to Etlarn, and neither did the bandit or the marauding drakes. In the crater, there is still one large partially buried crystal 15 feet long and three feet thick at its base that reacts badly to arcane magic, but no one knows for certain what is causing the wild surges.

Regional History

Etlarn was founded roughly around 2600 PD when several noble mage families from the Midlands grew disillusioned with the ruling magocracy. Preferring to pursue their own paths, they set out on a trek far into the east. Eventually they established new homes in a series of idyllic mountain vales discovered to be rich in arcane energy. Choosing the wisest of their number, Etlarn the Ancient, as their new king, they likewise named their kingdom after their monarch. The common folk who joined their patrons in this migration became farmers, fishermen, and mines while the noble families continued to train their children in the arts of swordplay and spellcraft, as well as building grand and enchanted castles atop and along the mountains ringing the valleys.

Two generations later, the dragons launched their attacks against humanity and the other bipedal races. Etlarn made an alliance with their minotaur neighbors and together they joined forces in their battles against the dragons. Once the dragons were defeated, the beasts went into hiding deep within their own territories.

For hundreds of years, Etlarn stood aloof from the larger tribulations of the world. Though the wizards and sorcerers of the land maintained contact with other wielders of arcane magic, they refused to get caught up in many of the larger conflicts. In fact Etlarn strived to calm many conflicts, often mitigating disputes over borderlines between elven, human, and minotaur territories. Long alliances are formed, and Etlarn is respected as a neutral state by many governments.

Around 1250 PD, a border dispute between the nations of the Midland and minotaurs turns bloody. The growing power of the Divine Bureaucracy in the Midlands and the minotaurs turns to war. Due to specific agreements being violated in treaties, Etlarn lends aid to the Midlands, breaking their long held pact with the minotaurs. Over the next 250 years, the Chôt-tang Empire of the minotaurs grows in strength while the Midland theocracy falls apart from within. While the human nations of the Midlands fought each other, the minotaurs grew in strength. Without a unified alliance from the Midlands, Etlarn withdrew from the conflicts and returned to a neutral state.

When the Canon War began and the Chôt-tang Empire desired to seize control of all Volumes of the Prophet, Etlarn refused to be caught up in the turmoil. Instead the Etlarnans dedicated themselves to furthering their arcane researches, raising their families, and protecting their kingdom.

While most of the kingdom’s wizards revered Autenanima (Solinari), with a smaller group following Calorossa, over the course of centuries several succumbed to the temptations of Scuriga and began practicing the dark arts. Most of these mages were defeated and deposed, banished from Etlarn, but a few managed to conceal their practice of black sorcery and pass on the traditions of the Ebon Moon to their descendants. Tensions also grew between followers of High Sorcery and Wild Sorcery, as each group began to consider their form of magic superior to the other.

The Drowning had little immediate effect on Etlarn, aside from a handful of avalanches and earthquakes triggered by the continent-shaking impact of the wave. A few among the wizards blamed delving into Wild Sorcery as the cause of the turmoil, while the sorcerers responded that if they had not been so constrained by the opposition of High Sorcery, they might have been able to prevent the destruction. The already present tensions rose as accusations and recriminations flew, and civil war between the two groups of spellcasters became a very real threat.

Such a tragedy was averted by a silver wolf (truly a silver dragon) in 30 AD. The wolf acted as a voice for Autenanima, the patron of White Sorcery appeared to all of Etlarn. Through the silver beast’s mouth, he gave both High Sorcery and Wild Sorcery his blessing. “Both the magic of the moons and the magic of the world will be needed to fight the new dangers approaching; they are meant to be used in harmony, not in opposition, against forces that would destroy all that is good and magical about your kingdom.”

It was only a century later that the meaning of Autenanima’s statements became clear, as the dragons awoke from their ancient lairs and began overrunning the mountain kingdom. Although the true dragons were never seen by mortal eyes, the wyverns and tainted creatures sent out had not been seen before. Without accurate records of the ancient war, the scaled beasts were believed by all to be dragons themselves.

Nearly a third of Etlarn fell beneath the horrors of these so-called dragons before the nobles managed to establish means of defense. The Etlarn Defenders, a legion of knightly spellcasters, was established, divided into the Brethren of the Flame, which utilized Wild Sorcery, the Brethren of the Moons, wielders of White Sorcery, and the Brethren of the Stars, Paladins typically devoted to Autenanima, Pietarde (Paladine), or Pensokia (Majere). These brethrens also included their own elite branches. Included in these subgroups, for example, are the Knights of the Argent Crescent, divine warriors within the Brethren of the Stars who receive divine gifts from Autenanima. The Brethren of the Moons also has the High Arcanists, who serve Etlarn by defending their nation and education their kin among their Brethren in the newest advancements in wizardry.

Shining castles became grim fortresses, and walls and watchtowers were swiftly built to hold back the draconic onslaught. While the dragons could not venture far from their lairs, they could journey far enough to wreak havoc on many regions of the kingdom, and their servants were even more deadly.

Etlarn is recently emerging from a dark time. Forty years ago, during the Starfall, the moons and constellations of the old gods vanished, leaving the Brethren of the Moons and Stars without their magical talents. Many strongholds of these two orders were swiftly demolished by resurgent dragons. The Brethren of the Flame retained their talents and covered the retreat for the remaining warrior-wizards and paladins, which has left many among the survivors bitter and resentful. With two-thirds of the kingdom’s magical strength gone, the dragons swept over most of Etlarn, leaving only a single large valley and some isolated fortresses to the Etlarnans. Worst of all was the resurgence of those mortals who have sided with the dragons. The Scalebound, as they are called, have pledged their loyalty to the wyrms, receiving terrible powers in exchange for their souls. Though many of these traitors take up arms openly with the dragons, others work in secret. In wake of such turmoil and betrayal, some among the Etlarnans advocating taking up the arts of Black Sorcery and foul necromancy to do battle with the dragons, or even contacting the Midland Guard for assistance.

Current Events

    • The Artificers Guild of Anglem is trying to build a “lighter than air” freighter using plans discovered from a far off land that involve the use of tamed elementals. This has disturbed the Corinesti Trade delegation who fears it could impinge on their sea trade monopoly.
    • After the Midland Sovereign’s declaration that Elder Dragons were running the Tashrama, it was assumed the church was responsible, whether in whole or in part, for the draconic siege launched against Etlarn. The Tashramadic Council has vehemently denied this, stating they were never risk an assault against a distant foreign land when their own existence in the Midlands is so tentative. So far, no direct evidence has linked the draconic siege with the Tashrama.
    • The Dragonkin Horde recently launched a major siege against the capital, Etlarn City. Although it resulted in substantial losses for the invaders, the Etlarn King Andoja Uranjos vanished along with his eldest daughter during the assault. The rest of the royal family, including his wife, have no knowledge as to what happened to Etlarn’s ruler and immediate heir.
  • Scouts and spies in Gallasfjord have reported numerous ships recently having set out for voyages into the deep sea to the east. None have been able to find out where this fleet is heading.

Major Settlements

Anglem (Small City 8,495): Once larger than the capital of Etlarn City, Anglem has been ripped apart by the magic meant to protect it. Anglem has been come unstuck and instantaneously shifts through the Etlarn and Sky Seeker Mountains, rarely staying in one place for long. The disaster that caused this resulted in the death of 75% of the population, and depression and fear resulted in rampant suicides. When the sorcerers were able to gain some sort of control, holding a sizable portion of Anglem together, the curse of the city became a blessing. The dragons assaulting Etlarn were never able to find the city long enough to launch an invasion and claim it. The dragonkin armies now state they are willing to “show their benevolence” and “allow” Anglem and a few other well-defended locations to retain their independence.

Even before focused magic returned just recently, the training center for the Etlarn Defenders was rebuilt and put back into full operation. It has nowhere near the population it had before, but it is fully dedicated to training those who would stand against the dragons. The educational facilities have also been rebuilt, and any time the city appears to be still for a short while, trade is swiftly and quietly done with nearby towns with those trying to end the occupation.

Everything is not unified in purpose in Anglem however. The Gildanesti Magi Yugorv has come to the training center proposing that the darker magic of Black Sorcery be taught as a viable option for Defenders to use against the dragons. The facilities board appears to be split on the issue. The Lord of the City and Leader of the Resistance, Boeki NurVar, has been hesitant to show support.

Blissport (Large City 16,452): Blissport was founded eighteen months after the Drowning when two separated lovers found each other on the nearby cliff top during a beautiful sunset illuminating the bay below. They and their families settled here, and trade with the Corinesti on the beaches below allowed them to thrive. Since then Blissport became both a trading center and a tourist city drawing those looking for, or who have already found, romance.

A few years after the Starfall, Blissport became the first Etlarn settlement attacked by the Dragonkin Horde. Without any warning, the flying beasts and their ground forces struck the city during the night. No one had seen the ships approach, none had seen the enemy enter the city, and none had noticed when their Defenders were slain. Only when everyone woke in the morning did they realize what had happened.

The Corinesti traders have continued business with Blissport, but the tourism draw of the city has completely vanished. Now Blissport is used as a staging area for shoreline raids on Etlarn’s Sargassi seaside border.

Etlarn City (Metropolis 53,482): The pristine marvel of Etlarn City was seen as the crown of civilization in eastern Adlatum since its founding thousands of years ago. Nestled in the half-valley at the foot of the tall Etlarn Mountains, the city is directly connected to both the settlements in the western plains and to the cities hidden within the monstrous peaks that reach higher than anywhere else in Adlatum sans Terragrym. Enormous palaces and towers of white stone and colorful glass shined ten or more stories tall behind the grand wall surrounding the seat of magecraft where the king of Etlarn rules. Even as the draconic assault laid much of the kingdom to waste, Etlarn City was able to keep the threat out siege after siege after siege. Having defended so well, much of the city is still in good condition, but there has been a slow wearing down of morale draining the will for some to resist.

Gallasfjord (Small City 7,345): What used to be a tiny port village after the Starfall has grown in strength and has prospered under the Scalebound. During the early stages of the war, the village war refitted into a naval port for raids up and down the shoreline on the outer edge of the continent. Due to the amount of wealth and increase in jobs to the town, the people of Gallasfjord have changed their loyalties to the invaders, believing them to be what is best for them and for Etlarn. No longer a shanty village, large permanent structures have been constructed by local Etlarnic humans along with those who bring foreign techniques and styles to the land.

Promesh (Large City 23,542): In the early days of Etlarn, Promesh was founded by King Etlarn’s first-cousin Aphelna, who named it for her late son who long since died in childhood. Since then the city grew to become the academic center for the kingdom. The City of Seven Academies, as it had been called for over a thousand years, drew those who wished to learn about magic and its applications from all over Adlatum. Those who graduated from these challenging institutions with the highest honors almost always gained fame for their works later in life.

The grandeur of Promesh decreased during the Canon War when ability to draw new talent to the schools were weakened by the war, but after the Drowning it returned to its glory as many students chose to remain in Etlarn to become citizens in the high ground of Etlarn. Ten years after the Starfall, Promesh’s fame was squashed, possibly forever as the Dragonkin Horde flooded the valley and turned the city into a military stronghold.

For thirty-years Promesh had been under the rule of the dragonkin and their followers. But on the very night the Starfall was undone, rebels living in the walled city launched multiple coordinated attacks on their occupiers. By morning, the rebels had secured a quarter of the city, sacrificing the government buildings instead to gain the armory and training barracks. Over the following months, the rebels loyal to the kingdom have been gaining control block by block in bloody battles. Even now the city is equally divided between the forces struggling to wipe the enemy out and secure the valley.

Esorucak Islands

by Nael & Carteeg Struve

Capital: Corinost
Population: 360,000 (Corinesti 85%, Gildanesti 5%, Humans 5%, Other 5%)
Government: Corporation, Tribal
Religions: major – Rig Mori (Habbakuk), Rosmera (Shinare), Smer-Tio (Hiddukel), Ve’co Mori (Zeboim), minor – Tashrama (blue branch).
Languages: Elven, Common, Goblin, Narstedhi (only in small isolated tribes, the language of Narstedhi is otherwise dead).
Trade: Everything
Legions: Guild Watchmen, Tribal Warriors
Alignment: All

Although tribes of humans and other races who had survived the Drowning populate many of the islands in the unnaturally warm Sargassi Sea, most of those who live in the region spend the majority of their lives both above and below the waves. The Corinesti ventured into the sea after the Drowning in hopes of finding artifacts to sell to the Airbreathers and also to find new territories less threatened by pirates and other evils. Now many of the islands are under their control and used as trading stops for supplies and goods on their way to ports owned by those who dwell on land and are willing to do business.

Life and Society

There are two types of societies in the Esorucak Islands: one is the tribal life of those who wish to live peacefully away from the civilization of the mainland, and the other are those who work for the Corinesti Trading Guilds either directly or indirectly. On many of the islands, the Corinesti Trading Guilds have built ports for both ships that travel on the surface the water, and for those who transport items underneath the waves. Here the guilds employ just about everyone who is needed in order to keep transport and trade flowing: dockworkers, ship-hands, harbormasters, and even the fish market down the road who keeps everyone fed. Steady employment and the flow of money is what are most important to people in these societies. If one is unemployed, one might as well be dead.

It is important to note that many Corinesti elves live on the islands as much as beneath them. Most of those they do business with live on land, and therefore many have come to live in a similar fashion, even if they need to remain near water. Many of the wealthier Corinesti are often seen wearing garments of rich Airbreather styles.

The other tribal societies have been struggling to make sure the Corinesti do not get a foothold on their islands, or if that has already been done, to make sure they are forced off. Many of these tribes, whether they are human, Gildanesti, kobold, or goblin, only wish a simple life without the complications of civilization they believe were purposefully wiped away. The Esorucak Islands have also not been fully mapped out by the Corinesti, and many of the smaller islands have yet to be discovered or fully explored.

Religion

Recently many families who work for the Trading Guilds have taken to one faith of another. Many people have begun hearing about the return of the gods and are now giving praise to them. The Guilds have no problem with who their employees say their prayers to over meals so long as they show up for work the next morning. Religion hasn’t been uncommon in the southern parts of the islands and Sargassi Sea for a while now anyways. The blue branch of the Tashrama, headed out of the Midland nation of Dhu, has slowly been gaining popularity with a fraction of the population. Although the number of followers had diminished after many learned of an Elder Dragon leading the blue branch, many of the followers have not had their faith waver.

Tribes on the islands have a variety of religious faiths. Many follow a particular god who had been part of the Tao-Shin faith prior to the Drowning, while other tribes worship as cults to gods that may or may not truly exist.

Government

The Corinesti Trading Guilds are the sole power in this region. Five elves sit in council over all walks of life within the Corinesti nation. Each of the four guild leaders have an equal say in what goes on, although each also has complete control over their own guild so long as they don’t cross jurisdiction into another guild’s area. The fifth seat on the council is the Speaker of the Tides. His only official power is that of a tie-breaking vote. He has no ability to bring matters up to the council. That is for the other council members to decide on.

However, over the years the Speaker has gained one very important unofficial power. He has come to be seen as the head of the Trading Guilds public relations. The Corinesti look to their Speaker to tell them of matters of importance that arise, and many foreign powers that wish to do business with the Trading Guilds ask to deal with the Speaker directly. This has become the Speaker of the Tides’ one major asset when needing to deal with the other guild leaders.

The name of the current Speaker of the Tides is Quvaresh Thylosathen, whose daughter Emeranta is wed to Gildanesti’s Lord Marshal, Calhan Mar’Troon.

Military

The Guild Watchmen is the official security force of the Corinesti Trading Guilds. All members are employees of the various guilds and answer to a chief-of-security. Each of guilds has their own chief, and each chief answers directly to their guild leader. Regardless of need, the council has made very sure that the number and strength of the Watchmen between each of the guilds remains relatively balanced in order to prevent any guild from militarily taking advantage of the others.

In tribal societies, bands of volunteers become the warriors who protect the villages and hunt for food. They are also are the men and women who fight to rid the islands of the Corinesti invaders.

Magic and Mysticism

So long as something can be used to aid the Guilds in profit, the Corinesti see it as an asset. However the varying styles of magic are respected differently. Sorcery has been viewed of as more stable and less risky than wizardry since the latter had been recently unavailable for the last forty years. Since the mysticism applied by the Tashrama is claimed to be the same type of magic used by those who follow a single god or follow the recently rekindled faith of the Tao-Shin, the view the Corinesti have on the benefits of divine magic have remained unchanged for years. In the end, respect for divine magic comes down purely to how well available it is. If a priest is unwilling to help the guild, then their magic is seen as useless and unprofitable. If a priest is willing, then the benefits of their magic are respected for whatever profitability is has.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Rhas-lac: What was once the great capital city of the Chôt-tang Empire was left in ruin by the Great Wave. The entire city and surrounding lands were destroyed or submerged in the Drowning, but in the decades following, as the waters settled, slivers of land were exposed. All the inner islands of the Sargassi Sea were wiped clean of any evidence of habitation, save where the great capital city once stood. Mariners tell tales of the island as accursed, that landing there will bring misfortune or worse to all who set foot on the island.

Vagan’s Maw: Deep in the eastern stretch of the isles, a round fissure as deep as the oceans cuts into the sea floor. A great amount of heat bubbles out of the fissure, and many believe this natural event gives the Sargassi Sea its overly warm climate. Strange and dangerous creatures have been known to swim in the area. Few who have explored the depths of the trench have returned, and the Explorer’s Guild has marked it as “More risk than profit potential.” Those who have returned from exploring the hole have come back changed, both physically and mentally. The last Corinesti to return, Herescine Loraladenin, was found unconscious a mile from the maw, with his mouth sealed together by scales and his lower half changed into lizard-like tails. Herescine has not communicated with anyone since regaining consciousness fifty years ago, and although he has not harmed anyone or done anything, guild doctors have declared him insane.

Regional History

Prior to the Drowning, the Esorucak Islands were primarily the high mountainous regions in the grand Narstedh Empire, where a majority of the Canon War’s battles took place. The tiny southernmost islands in the Sargassi Sea were part of the Empire of Dhu, the great power that was both Narstedh’s ally in the war and chief competitor. The northernmost islands were territories controlled by the minotaur’s Chôt-tang Empire, enemy to the people of the Midlands. But in the end, their stances towards each other mattered little. Once the Great Wave struck, the battlefields and glorious cities were wiped out in a matter of a few minutes. Millions died.

The Sargassi Sea filled up the middle of Adlatum, and what most people thought of as the Midlands was moved westward to include the lands of Mauritand up to Bhadlum. The newly formed Esorucak Island (Esorucak being a Narstedhi word for “Lost Glory”) were discounted by most as home to nothing more than rubble, even though scatterings of survivors either found themselves or made their way to the islands. Tribes formed. Most of them were human, but Gildanesti, kobolds, or goblins populated several islands. The Sargassi Sea was unnaturally warm, and the occasional phantom-like steam-storms moistened the islands enough to provide water for vegetation. The tribes survived, sometimes making their own homes, or taking shelter in caves, or even living in the ruins of destroyed cities.

Shortly after the Drowning, the Corinesti Trading Guild began sending explorers into the region, hoping to find relics from the destroyed civilizations they could sell to the Airbreathers at a tidy profit. The venture proved much more valuable than they anticipated. Entire cities were flooded, several sitting relatively intact at the bottom of the sea. Riches out of reach of the Drowning’s survivors were lying about, waiting to be picked up. The Corinesti moved many of their operations into Sargassi Sea. They came to find the warm waters much more comfortable than the South Tabaran Ocean and took over the vastly untouched Narstedhi city of Jovunta, which had been second in size only to the now-destroyed Narstedhi capital. Jovunta was renamed Corinost, and the Guild Headquarters was moved. Since then, many of the underwater settlements were developed in the cities of the lost empires that were merely cleaned up to suit the Guild’s needs.

The Corinesti seized control of many of the islands and constructed surface-traveling ships that could easily sail into human-style ports. The trading centers on the Corinesti islands were designed to allow massive amounts of cargo to be raised or lowered between the world of Airbreathers and the undersea home of the sea elves with little risk of damage to the goods. Some of the human tribes were conscripted into assisting them in repairing what goods were damaged and yet salvageable. Most tribes rejected domination by the sea elves and fought to keep the greedy traders off of their land and away from their homes. Skirmishes with tribes are a constant threat on the larger islands where the two types of societies are forced to interact.

Over the years, the Corinesti became more focused on trade between both Aecka and Keirmn, but they refused to give up trade with their long established business associates on the western shores of Aecka, especially in the Midlands. Still, with the repeated attempts by the Nordar dwarves to expand the Ironvald Empire and the Teusten pirates to control the seas, the Corinesti have recently begun to pull the borders of their influence further south to just the Sea of Tears. The balance of risk vs. profit has been becoming too lopsided in those parts, and the piracy threats in the southern Sargassi Sea have been much more tolerable. Still, some parts of the Guilds do continue to do business in far reaching locations like Vjenor and Trejor.

The most catastrophic event in Esorucak’s history since the Drowning occurred in 300 AD when the Corinesti Trading Guild broke apart in what amounted to a civil trade war. Eleven years earlier, in 289 AD, the Speaker of the Tides had been conducting business in the Sea of Tears, believing he could negotiate with the Nordar and finally put an end their history of fights over rights through certain water routes. In one of the few Nordar victories of the 288-289 AD war (which was a series of skirmishes hardly worth calling a war), the dwarves destroyed the Corinesti vessel without realizing who was on it. The Speaker was slain literally in the final weeks of the troubles before the dwarves called for an uneasy truce. The matter was quickly put to bed, but the seeds of conflict in Esorucak hundreds of miles away were already planted.

In order to make sure that only one of the few elite elves was able to take the position of Speaker of the Tides, the Guild board put in a list of requirements meant to keep out their lessers. Unfortunately, the various houses who had sought position were able to put in requirements meant to keep out fellow houses of power as well as commoners. As a result, only one Corinesti was found who met all of the requirements. The elf was Lias “Wavestrider” Ambrodel, and with the various changes he wished to impose upon the Guild, a majority of the board had no interest in placing him in the Speaker seat. Unfortunately there was no one else to choose.

In the span of ten years, Ambrodel’s leadership resulted in many of the houses quitting the Guild and trying to form their own conglomerates away from the influence of the Ambrodel house. The unified Guild fell apart and a trade war erupted between the houses. Economic devastation swept through the underwater country, and even the Airbreather nations and companies were struck hard by the cut off from their under trading partners. Recessions became commonplace in many of the Midland nations and in Keirmn. Finally the Trade War ended when the four largest competing Guilds joined together to form a council that would oversee the activities of the separate Guilds. The council consisted of five seats: one for each guild leader, and one for the Speaker who would only have the official power of being a fifth tie-breaking voter.

Corinesti society returned to normal with most members taking positions within each of the four guilds. The four guilds are commonly known as the Salvagers, the Traders, the Explorers, and the Harvesters. The Harvesters are seabed farmers and hunters, gathering supplies and growing food from the ocean itself. The Salvagers hunt for pre-Drowning artifacts and recover goods from recent or newly discovered shipwrecks. The Traders are those who deal with Airbreathers, bringing goods above-water to trade with land dwellers. Traders also purchase goods from one land and selling them in a distant port, acting as middlemen between nations that do not often directly deal with each other. Explorers venture beyond the Sargassi Sea and away from Adlatum’s shores, searching out new territories.

Some Corinesti have successfully remained outside of the power of the Corinesti Trading Guilds. Some have joined the Cult of the Shark, a group dedicated to piracy. Others have left the Sargassi Sea altogether and traveled south to the Coral Cauldron, to take up a life of dedicate to the ways of mystics and monks and away from the materialistic greed of the rest of their kind. The Trading Guilds hopes to eventually bring all of their kind back within their fold in the future, and to quell any of the more recent uprisings the tribal barbarians are causing on the lesser settled Esorucak isles.

Current Events

    • The Corinesti Trading Guilds is unhappy over the fact that the new navy of Dhu is being constructed by the pirates who have threatened their trade routes to the south for so long. This has put a strain on many of negotiations with Midland businesses and nations over various contracts, especially since the current Speaker has publicly stated he will no longer put up with the piracy of humans or the Cult of the Shark.
    • A small island buried deep in the Esorucak chain has been recently discovered by the Corinesti to be the hidden home to the intact ruins of one of Narstedh’s larger cities. However the goblins and kobolds living as a single community on the island have been using the ruins as their home for years and are viciously keeping the Corinesti out. No one has yet figured out what they are using the old human artifacts for, if for anything.
  • Herescine Loraladenin, the Corinesti declared insane after surviving a voyage into Vagan’s Maw, has escaped watch by his doctors and traveled back into the Maw. The interior of his home was found covered with writings scratched up on the walls with a knife. The scratches read, “The Heavens will fall. The Gods will weep. Oblivion could have been our salvation, but now hope is lost. She is coming. He is coming. The Great Beast of Krynn is coming.”

Major Settlements

Amviresta (Large City 24,000): Originally home to one of the first tribes the Corinesti Trading Guild had taken over after the Drowning, the tribal land has now been built up into a well established port city. Not only is Amviresta used as a stop over point for many ships traveling from eastern to western Adlatum and vice-versa, the city is also equipped with many tunnels and equipment to help raise and lower goods and people to and from the world of Airbreathers and the undersea kingdom of the Corinesti. Descendants of the tribes who had lost their land long ago are now the manual labor for the guilds, but since the shorter lived races have no memory of the simple life taken up after Narstedh was destroyed, most appreciate the work the Corinesti have brought to the region.

Corinost (Metropolis 76,500): Formerly the Narstedh city of Jovunta, the vast and tall buildings had remained relatively intact during the Drowning, even though it now sits deep at the bottom the Sargassi Sea. Since then the Corinesti have cleaned the city up and taken it over and renamed it. The head of all four trading guilds operate out of Corinost, and the Speaker of the Tides calls the city his home. The wealth of Jovunta has long since been plundered, but the city how is home to the great riches of the Corinesti Trading Guilds. Although most Airbreathers have never seen the Corinesti capital, many claim it to be the grandest and wealthiest city in all of Adlatum.

Vacant Lands

by Carteeg Struve

Capital: None
Population*: 550,000 (Bakali 60%, Sekhnesti 40%) (* Population does not include Other races)
Government: None or Tribal
Religions: Sirr’ushush (Sirrion), Nertos (Chislev), Kirk’k lettz (Chislev)
Languages: Bakali, sylvan, other
Trade: Sugar, precious metals, relics
Legions: Tribal bands, city defenders
Alignment: NG, LN, N, CN, NE

The Vacant Lands are likely the most poorly named region in Adlatum. Originally it was labeled such by Midlanders who saw the land vacant of any civilized society. However the lands of the south are very much filled with a large variety of societies, even if none qualify for the Midlanders’ view of civilization. The two largest groups of people within the Vacant Lands are the bakali and the feral elves (or Sekhnesti, also known as ‘cat-folk’), but it unknown how many smaller societies and races live in the wild forests, mountains, and hills. With so much of the Vacant Land unexplored, it is possible the bakali and Sekhnesti are only a minority of the overall population. Other races encountered in small numbers include various fey, maidens who can turn into swans, large intelligent crystal spiders, short plant-like humanoids, hulking brutes with canine heads, feathered gliding lizard folk, and many more.

The cat-folk and bakali have been in conflict with each other for centuries. Nobody can recall who started the fighting, but it no longer matters. Territorial conflicts have continuously put the races at odds, and anyone from one side will likely instantly try to kill the other on sight.

Life and Society

For the cat-folk, their own take on society rarely involves another beyond their own tribe (or pride as they call it). They are fiercely territorial, and prides have often gotten into fights with each other when one encroaches on the territory of the other. There are frequent cases when one pride has good relations with another, but that usually involves the need for them to group together against a common enemy or less frequently a “favored mating” between the leaders of those tribes. Often when one member of a pride goes off to form a new pride of his own, the younger pride is see as a young child of the elder pride, and relations and mingling between them are often done with great love and camaraderie.

Within a pride, most work together to better their chances of survival in the untamed lands, but their behavior doesn’t exactly mimic that of a cat’s pride. Although the Sekhnesti revere the feline, they are still elven. Some still wear clothing, and so tailors are needed to work with skins. Hunters use sharpened stone and wood as weapons along with their own claws, and so weapon-makers are needed. The art of storytelling is popular throughout the Vacant Land, especially in efforts to keep the memories of their great leaders and heroes alive. So many develop bardic skills or become orators. There are also those who work to uphold their faith to the goddess Nertos and her children, the cat totems. These shamans tend to their pride’s totem and lead religious ceremonies and revivals on important days and nights.

Feral elves of the Vacant Lands rarely build their homes. Few prides use skins to built skins and coverings, but most sleep in caves, the trees, or in the open with others in the pride keeping watch. The common language used my feral elves is their own variation of sylvan, not elven.

For the bakali, life is much more similar to life within civilized areas. Towns and cities have been constructed, and ruins of lost societies have been taken over and rebuilt into homes. If it were not for the tribal mentality of the bakali and the lack of a cohesive government between the spread out towns, tribes, and cities, it would be possible for a bakali nation to be founded in the western reaches of the Vacant Lands. Travel between bakali settlements is also highly dangerous. With violent wildlife both sentient and bestial living throughout the Vacant Lands, claiming that any region outside of a bakali settlement was under their control would be misleading at best.

The bakali are a very spiritual people following the lessons of Sirr’ushush and Kirk’k lettz. Most of their cities are filled with ziggurat and pyramid-style temples to both gods. Bakali from nearby tribes brave the trek to their shrines on their most holy of days to both honor the gods and celebrate with festivities. The bakali celebrations are grandiose events, filled with music, song, food, drink, and a lavish display of lights using herbs, gasses, and sparking rocks.

Most bakali commoners wear no clothing, and the wealthy often only wear clothing that denotes their station: shaman, military officer, or leader. During periods when they are not on duty, they will more likely than not strip down to their scales. There is no use of currency in most bakali settlements. Bartering is the economic practice often used. Recently settlements near the shoreline have come into contact with Corinesti traders, and also any bakali will kill a feral elf on sight due to their long running series of conflicts, the sea elves have successfully begun trade with these few towns. In these few rare locations, the concept of using silver and copper for money has just been introduced to the bakali people.

Bakali homes often use fitted stone and other natural resources as their materials. Cities also include metals such as gold, silver, and gems along with fitted stone for their larger structures. The bakali are also primarily vegetarian in their diets but are capable of eating meat when the need arises.

Religion

The feral elves favor the goddess Nertos and her children, the cat totems. According to their faith, when a pride is formed, a totem is made to honor all things feline. On any night in which a moon is full in the sky, a ceremony praising the goddess is held. During this, the leader of the new tribe spills drops of his blood on the totem and the goddess sends part of herself into the totem. The totem becomes a child of both the goddess and the tribe, forming a link between the two. From that point on, the tribe worships the goddess by honoring the child. Traditions honoring the goddess are included in almost every daily ritual.

The bakali’s faith is spread out between multiple faiths. They follow either the god Sirr’ushush or the Krik’k lettz, and they have a deep hatred of the gods Tazhek (Takhisis) and Hizhek (Hiddukel). According to their history, the two evil ones had long tried to manipulate the bakali race into becoming slaves and fodder in a greater war against the rest of the world. The revered gods then saved the bakali. Sirr’ushush saved them by delivering them from bondage, and Kirk’k lettz by showing them how to survive on their own. The bakali year is filled a large number of holidays honoring one or both of their gods. The holidays come once a month and can range from peaceful periods of fasting and meditation to nights of joyous celebration and feasting. Most holidays last a single night, but others may take the entire day or even a full week (a week lasting eight days by the bakali calendar).

According to bakali faith the gods have no gender, and they refuse to depict them in any form that leads to either male or female traits. Any such depiction is blasphemous since it gives a mortal quality to the immortal beings.

Government

There is no unifying government for either the bakali or cat-folk. Each pride of the cat-folk and each settlement of the bakali are completely independent of each other, even if agreements and alliances form between them. Each pride is run by a leader (or alpha), who can be either male or female. The leader is whomever the pride believes is best suited to lead them for survival-sake and prosperity, but if the pride wishes to change alphas, it will often come down to a fight to have the old alpha removed. Former alphas that survive the conflict are usually ejected from the pride, forced to either live on their own or find a way to begin a new pride.

Leadership for bakali settlements can vary. Usually the leadership is passed down from father to favored son, while other settlements have the same method but with a matriarchal bent (mother to favored daughter). Other settlements have their leader chosen based on the will of the gods through signs given to the High Shaman, possibly in the form of them looking for a young one with a certain birthmark or “blessed” deformity. Some tribes have their leader be whoever is the most skilled and pious shaman, while others choose by drawing lots. For however is leader, their word is law. But upon reaching their status, the head shaman or military leader will always reminds them that without the support of the people, the servants will free themselves of their master as the bakali were freed from the gods of dark.

Military

There is no joint military for either the bakali or cat-folk. Individual settlements and prides have their own warriors and spellcasters ready to defend or attack if the need or want arises. During times when a common enemy results in the need for a larger force, bakali villages and towns have been known to lend their arms to bolster the strength of nearby cities. When a similar situation occurs for the elves, the leaders of the respective warrior bands often confer with each other as equals.

Magic and Mysticism

Mysticism and clerical magic are popular in both cultures, especially in the form of shamanism. The practices of bakali and the cat-folk widely vary, but their devotions to their respective gods are strong. During the times when clerical magic was gone, mysticism became popular in both cultures, but now that Starfall has been undone, the use of divine magic has blossomed yet again.

Arcane magic is rare in the elven prides since most of their magic comes from their shamans. For the larger bakali communities, the use of herbs to create supernatural effects long ago evolved into wizardry. Holy men who are unable to complete a task on their own will often confer with local experts in the arcane. Bakali wizards are always seen as inferior to those who practice clerical magic, but they are still well respected since they extend the abilities of the Holy men into areas they could not reach on their own.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Broeg’jak Isle: After the Drowning, the Pro’trok Hills was a larger region than it was before. For reasons unknown, creatures of Chaos tore into the hills and pulled most of the hills away from the mainland. Now the Broeg’jak Isle (“Barren Isle”) is slowly drifting away from the mainland with currently only a quarter mile waterway separating the two. From a distance the hills on the isle appear lifeless with no vegetation or wildlife. However none who have ventured onto the island have ever returned. When one of the bakali commits a crime of unusual cruelty, they are sent across the waterway known as d’Kraga ja’Nofa (“The Edge of Hope”) to finish their existence in the cursed land.

Kahkarian Wilds: The Wilds is a gigantic tropical forest in the east bordering the Midland nations of Mauritand and Hudiechia along with the southern hills in the Heskeram Desert. Home to most of the Sekhnesti in Adlatum, the cat-folk prides are spread throughout the forest but yet do not make up more than half of the beings living in the forest. Most elves live in the northern and western portions of the woods, close to the Midland borders and the areas close to bakali settlements. Between the prides and throughout the Wilds, a wide assortment of creatures and races keep to themselves or eat anything that crosses their path.

A stretch of forest extends off of the woods heading southern and west. Not technically part of the Wild, these woods are most strongly dominated by the bakali settlements.

Pro’trok Hills: Literally translated to “Red Rock Hills,” the southwestern part of the mainland is a dusty land scored by the harsh sun throughout the entire year. Originally, after the Drowning, the hills were known as Pro’junt (“Fruitful Hills”). The warm moist weather led to large fruit-baring plants that the bakali used for much of their food supply. During the Days of Darkness, creatures of Chaos scorched the hills and tore much of the land away, forming Broeg’jak. Today the hills remaining on the mainland are a desolate region, but the citizens of the city Thel’ock make due, bringing much meat from the animals that live in the harsh surroundings.

Tavacan Plains: Between the northern shore and the Xiaki Peaks, the land is covered in tall grass that hides many dangers. Wild animals hunt and bands of warriors from lesser-known races patrol the area. In the southern parts of the plains, the bakali have secure enough territory to maintain the sugar cane fields, one of the few goods exported from the Vacant Lands via Corinesti traders. Some cat-folk prides prowl the northeastern-most parts of the plains, while bakali patrol the central and southern lands.

Xiaki Mountains: The majestic Xiaki peaks provided many who lived within them shelter from the Great Wave during the Drowning. Even as unprecedented amounts of water poured through to drown the lands to the north, the high summits of the mountain chain were only struck with a light spray. Many of the peaks in the Xiaki chain are covered with snow and ice, and the sudden temperature change from the freezing summits to the tropical bases result in a several clouds misting over the middle of the climbs. Caves of darkness lead deep under the mountains, and they are as filled with as many monsters of various types as the rest of the Vacant Lands.

Regional History

Ages ago the Junga’tek Empire extended its influence far into the continent of Adlatum, but the bakali’s golden age diminished and their grand empire faded from history. Angered by the decay of their greatness, the bakali sided with the dragons during their war against the humanoids, praising both them and the dark gods who promised them their empire rebuilt. When the dragons lost, the bakali’s hopes were destroyed. Only those who had the wisdom to see they were being used as fodder left the war and fled home. They accepted the fact that their empire was gone, and slowly they began to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Their period of peace did not last. Many returned home to where their villages should be to find strange elves with feline qualities roaming the lands. Neither side’s history recalls who begun the conflict, but for the centuries to come the bakali and feral elves fought over territory and resources. The forests and mountains had also changed. Creatures ranging from bestial to wise now lived throughout the lands that made up the inner empire. While the bakali had gone off to fight the dark gods’ war, they lost the security of their own home. With inconsistent communication between the rebuilt settlements, the remnants of the Junga’tek Empire deteriorated to a spattering of tribes living in villages and rebuilt ruins.

When the Drowning came, the settlements living on shorelines and at lower elevations were wiped out. Being on the southern shores of all of Adlatum, the Great Wave struck those villages, towns, and cities with the greatest force. Very little survived, and few ruins of the old empire remained standing. The cat-folk and other races suffered the same. Tribes living in the forest and plains were killed, and those who lived up in the mountains lived.

Seeing how the lowlands were now empty, the bakali were quick to move from the mountains in an attempt to reclaim territory in the faint hope of rebuilding their long lost empire. This lead to further conflicts with the cat-folk, but it also resulted in battles with the military of Mauritand to the north. Soon the bakali lost ground fighting against too many enemies. The cat-folk and others successful ejected the bakali from the Kahkarian Wilds, and they eventually focused on claiming lands in the central and western parts of the Vacant Lands.

The cat-folk entered a period of expansion. When the bakali reached into the Wild several other races turned to the cat-folk for help, but when the bakali were gone, the prides viewed the lands they saved as their own territories. In some places the elves were repulsed, but in others they took root. The cat-folk grew in number and became a dominant presence in the Vacant Lands.

During the Days of Darkness, creatures of darkness tormented all. The cat-folk were hunted by shadows taking the form of tall jackal-headed men. The bakali saw their lands stripped of resources, further destroying their hopes for an empire. Instead of outright killing the bakali, the demonic monsters enslaved the bakali, warping their bodies and minds into slaves bent on fighting and dying for their brutal masters. The Pro’junt Hills, which supplied the region with massive amounts of fruit, grain, and sugar, were burned away to bedrock before being torn away from the mainland, forming both the Pro’trok Hills and the cursed Broeg’jak Isle.

After the Starfall ended the Days of Darkness, both peoples entered a period of prosperity. The bakali were able to rebuild their homes and relations between villages and nearby cities were more tightly knitted. The cat-folk prospered in their own way when their females began to give birth to twins and triplets more often than not.

Fighting between the two dominant cultures continued after the Starfall without much change. However the cat-folk are beginning to make additional enemies. Timber companies from Mauritand have begun to press into the forest to supply the homeless with homes north of the border. Sekhnesti prides have taken this as a great insult and incursion into their own territories and have begun striking back both at the timber companies and the towns neighboring the Vacant Lands in Mauritand. A few prides have also marked their territory just across the border in the woods and mountains of Hudiechia where they are not always wanted.

Corinesti traders have also made successful visits to bakali settlements on the shoreline. A couple of towns and cities have opened themselves up for trade. The Corinesti have seen a great economic potential for using the bakali as a cheaper source of precious metals and sugar to supply the rest of Adlatum. The bakali of these settlements are learning how much the rest of Adlatum desires the metals they have easy access to, and they seek to gain a wealth that can be used to rebuild their glory of old. Unfortunately, the three current rulers of the largest cities of Baccaneesh, Drazhchok, and Tre’thioc all believe their homes should be the new seat of power of a unified bakali state.

Current Events

    • The Lord King of Mauritand has sent a representative to each of the major cities of the bakali, but two of them have been attacked on their journey into the Vacant Lands. Having been the only major city without their representatives assaulted, Tre’thioc is believed to be behind the attacks.
    • The stone buildings of villages near Thel’ock are slowly crumbling one by one. A shaman of Hizhek has come forward to proclaim that the bakali people are doomed unless they beg for forgiveness from Hizhek. The dark shaman was executed and body burned, but when the buildings began to crumble he appeared again to preach the power of his god.
  • Several Sekhnesti prides have begun gathering on the Mauritand border. Some claim it is simply to repulse the Midland invaders, but others have taken to the belief that the higher birthrates are a sign from Nertos that it is time to expand the prides northward. Some alphas worry this may lead to the strength of the Midlands to march into the Vacant Lands, set upon their destruction.

Major Settlements

Although the cat-folk are extremely territorial, they have no permanent settlements constructed. The lesser known creatures living in the Vacant Lands also have nothing that can be deemed a town or city. As such, the bakali are the only people of the Vacant Lands who officially have major settlements.

Baccaneesh (Metropolis 49,850): Located in a wide bowl valley high up in the Xiaki Mountains, Baccaneesh is the oldest continuously populated city of the bakali. Claiming to be the lost city of Vejeneesh, capital of the Junga’tek Empire, many bakali live in the city and surrounding towns. Two giant ziggurats sit side-by-side in the center of the city, one to house the ruling family and the other as a temple to both of the honored gods: Sirr’ushush and Kirk’k lettz. Bartering is the common form of trade here, and slaves are often used as an acceptable form of payment.

Drazhchok (Metropolis 42,900): The smallest of the three cities vying to be the capital of the “eventual” remerging of a bakali empire, Drazhchok is the center of military strength for the bakali. With the cat-folk living in vast numbers in the Kahkarian Wilds and the nearby mountains of the Xiaki chain, the need to know how to fight to survive is greater for those who live in the surrounding lands. The neighboring settlements are still independent of Drazhchok’s rule, but often they request assistance from the warriors of Drazhchok, who are known to be the strongest bakali in Adlatum.

Drazhchok’s current ruler, Je’reka has noticed that several of the nearby coastal towns have begun trading with sea elves from afar. Seeing this as a threat to their dependence on Drazhchok, he has begun to deny military help to those settlements.

Trel’ock (Large City 21,090): Formerly one of the greatest cities of the bakali, the Days of Darkness brought the city to almost total ruin. The hills surrounding Trel’ock were blessed with groves of oversized fruit and valleys of tall stalks of grain, but the horde of Chaos burned the large to bedrock, leaving only dust where live thrived. Many bakali refused to cower to their destroyers and marched off to fight. An army of over forty thousand bakali was wiped off the face of Krynn in a single night. With the surrounding land laid barren, many fighters left the waste to find homes elsewhere.

Those remaining discovered their hills were teeming with monsters perverted by the hordes, but they also discovered the beasts were still edible. The survivors put their vegetarian habits aside and hunted, turning what was meant to kill them into the only chance at survival. Water not collected from rare rainstorms is manually collected from the ocean from buckets lowered down the cliffs before being brought back to the city and surrounding towns. There the water goes through a purification ritual to remove the salt, making it drinkable. People all over the Vacant Lands believe the warriors of Drazhchok are the hardiest people of the bakali. The people of Thel’ock know better.

Tre’thioc (Metropolis 47,500): Instead of focusing on military or historical prestige, Tre’thioc has built itself as a center for bakali life by focusing on faith. Five temples to Sirr’ushush and Krik’k lettz corner the outer ring of the city, and a massive amphitheater sits recessed into Tre’thioc’s center. Although initially meant to be a religious center, the grand and inspiring sermons inspired many bakali bards to come to perform and tell their tales, play their music, or display any other art created. The city was nothing but abandoned ruins after the Drowning, but since then the city has become a thriving metropolis of gold and stone.

The Corinesti who first visited Tre’thioc were shocked by the abundant amount of gold and silver used as simple adornments on even the most humble of homes. When trade began between the peoples, the bakali of Tre’thioc were surprised by how much the sea elves desired the common pretty material. Since then, the bakali have grown much wiser in how much wealth their city has. The bartering system was soon replaced by coinage, and by selling their metals along with sugar imported from tribes north of the mountains, Tre’thioc is the fastest growing city under bakali control.

Teusten, Nation of

by Kranar Drogin

Capital: Jut-Cythyl
Population: 302,451 (Human 89%, Sakkaran Minotaur 6%, Corinesti 2%, Gildanesti 2%, Dwarf 1%)
Government: Monarchy
Religions: Vroevadle (local version of the Tao-Shin)
Languages: Wedoegla (dwarven) and Tap-Speak (Hammertalk)
Trade: Blacksmithing, Mapmaking, Mercenaries, Shipbuilding, Slaves.
Legions: Provincial Fleets.
Alignment: CG, CN, CE.

The nation of Teusten (Too’-sten) stretches from the northern border of the Sundarin Mountains, around Lake Borlesko, up to near Harkestol Mountains in the northern Broken Lands. However many islands throughout Blight Bay and the Shattered Sea, Haskoddpad for example, are populated by Teusten humans claiming to be colonies of their homeland. Some colonies do not exist on land at all but are massive barges located out in the middle of the western seas. Teusten is known by foreigners as a xenophobic hostile nation filled with barbaric raiders.

Life and Society

The ocean waters are the lifeblood of Teusten. Even those who live inland build their towns neighboring rivers and lakes to be sure they are still connected to the greater sea. Villages and cities are lined along the water with docks and makeshift shipyards everywhere. Most homes are stone constructs with thatch roofs, while many larger buildings are made from wood. Often taverns and smithies are the few businesses built with the sturdier stonework.

Foreigners see the Teusten as fighters, drunkards, and brawlers who despise anyone in the world who is not their own kind. But the Teusten have a great love of both life and the sea. Conflict and combat are some of life’s greater pleasures. There are other races that the Teusten do hate and often attack on sight, dwarves especially, but often their malice towards others is a combination of their love to raid, fight, and beat up on those who are not their own kind.

The women of Teusten are often as combative as the men, although less of them tend to travel abroad. Those women that do manage to get a crew and their own ship are often seen as some of the nation’s greats and are most desired by the Teusten men. “Any wife who does not start a fight with you at least three times a day is a wife not worth being married to,” is a common saying among the men. Ironically the women have an identical saying but with the genders reversed and the fight count upped to four. Only in the government itself do women have difficulty attaining position.

Slavery is an acceptable part of life in Teusten. Although most dwarves are killed on sight, there are still several kept for labor. The same is true for minotaurs, humans, or elves. Elves are often seen as a weak race, and the Corinesti are believed to not deserve the sea, above or below. Those elves who prove themselves in physical labor are bragged about by their owners as “the best of their race.” Minotaurs are highly prized and respected by the Teusten. They are seen as greater fighters, and many people long for the peace between Teusten and Sakkaras to end so a great battle of strength can begin once again between them. Small raids not sanctioned by the government still occur, and although they are seen as competition and a threat to their existence, minotaur slaves are often cheered by the populace after capture at the start of their enslavement.

The Teusten people have one unique trading partner. No other race has direct trading tied to the Igurna in Terragrym. Teusten highly prizes its agreements with the Noble Ogres and does what it can to keep any Noble Ogre secrets they learn to themselves. Any ogre ship baring a Terragrym flag is never attacked. Any non-Terragrym flag flown by a non-ogre ship is destroyed with no survivors.

Religion

Most raiders encountered by foreign vessels or besieged people have a wide assortment of faiths. They believe their gods are separate from the pantheons followed by other peoples. They believe themselves to be better than all others, and therefore any real gods would not pay the others heed. Since Teusten’s will often pay respect to the “Lesser Foreign Gods” while traveling in other lands, victims of Teusten raids often witness them actually respecting their own gods and not those of Teusten.

The predominant faith in Teusten is the Vroevadle, a.k.a. “The Currents of the Souls.” The concept of branching currents purifying the soul in different manners is almost identical to that of the Tao-Shin, and it is possible the religions may have common roots. However the Teusten people do not recognize the connection between the churches and are steadfast in believing their own pantheon is completely separate from any other faith.

Government

The nation of Teusten is led by a High Chief known as the Havadman, who is assisted by the Council of Regels. Together they preside over major decisions in the land. The Regels each control a province in Teusten, generally based in the largest city of that area. The Regel is a hereditary position, passed normally from father to son, with daughters gaining the title very rarely. If a Regel dies without an heir, the Havadman appoints a new leader to the province. The Havadman is also a hereditary position with the position passing from father to son only, never a daughter. If the Havadman dies without any heir, the position of Havadman comes before the Council of Regels for them to decide among each other who will lead.

The laws of Teusten are those of any typical nation, regulating theft, rape, or murder (against their own people or property). One exception is that there is no trial by jury or magistrate, as in civilized lands, but rather a trial by blood. Depending on the severity of the crime, the accused has the chance to proclaim innocence by battling either the accuser or a monster in the Arena of Truths in Jut-Cythyl.

Military

Each province within Teusten has itself own section of the overall fleet comprised of numerous square-sailed ships with the bows headed with a variety of strange and fearsome creatures. The sections of the fleet are made up of a vast majority of the Teusten population who sail the seas. Most ships that conduct raids into foreign lands are the ships and crew within the Teusten fleet, but unless an official war is declared by the Regels, the ships and crew are considered “off-duty” and can do what they wish.

Settlements near the borders do have men and women skilled in overland raiding to help push back any incursions that may happened from or against their neighbors. These groups are treated the same way ships are. Unless there is a war, any infraction they commit against Sundarin or Sakkaras has nothing to do with the Teusten government.

Magic and Mysticism

Magic of any sort is not often practiced in Teusten, but the people love to get their hands on magical items and use them to create their own tales of glory. To many in Teusten, an enemy with magic makes them all the grander and makes the story of a sword or axe wielding Teusten slaughtering them all the more grandiose. As such, most Teustens will not learn magic simply because a wizard defeating a powerful wizard is not as glorious as a fighter defeating a powerful wizard. Still, if that fighter ended up getting his hands on a magic weapon prior to defeating the powerful wizard, the story still is considered epic, and thus the use of magic items is “accepted.”

The issue of divine magic is different. In earlier years, clerics used healing magic and other battle-ready spells in Teusten just as often as an wizard in other lands, but that changed after the Starfall. According to the Vroevadle, their gods never left. A test had been put forth to see who was truly faithful. In those times, clerics of the Vroevadle had faith in the gods for the sake of faith, and not for the bribery of magic spells. After the return of the gods, the clerics of the Vroevadle gained the ability to cast spells again, but many of them refuse this temptation saying that they are clerics for the purpose of praising the gods, not to become a holy-wizard. As such, divine magic in Teusten is a great rarity even though most of their clerics are capable of casting.

Major Geographical Features and Locations

Blight Bay: North of the Teusten mainland, Blight Bay is seen by many at the playground of the Teusten raiders. None who wish to keep their ships would ever venture anywhere near these waters. It is true that primarily Teusten ships sail these waters, but most of them are used for deep-sea fishing and trade with Terragrym. Most ships of foreign sail that are destroyed in the bay had mistakenly fled from the Teusten ships and into Terragrym’s waters, where the ogres are far less friendly.

The Floating Cities: Dotting locations in the northern Shattered Sea and points west are barges of great sizes. On these structures are cities built by those who have shunned life on land. The quality and age of these cities vary. Many constructed after the Drowning were built from the debris swept into the sea by the wave. Others built by those better off used materials imported from the mainland or stolen from wealthy ships. Usually these cities reside in relatively fixed positions, but a few are slowly moved for added protection for their raiding activities.

Island Colonies: The northern Shattered Sea is filled with islands under the control of Teusten. The oldest surviving settlements were taken from the dwarven survivors of the Drowning after the Teusten people gained greater access to the seas through their agreements with the Corinesti. Since then, the Teusten-controlled colonies multiplied until the dwarves could defend themselves and hold the line against the human advances. Those dwarves on Teusten islands are usually killed or taken as slaves.

Some Teusten settlements consider themselves part of the greater Teusten Empire, but yet they do not adhere themselves to the decisions and laws set down by the Council of Regels. Several cities were founded or taken over by former members of the Council who had been ousted from their positions. Their descendants (or those who defeated their descendants) now control these cities and surrounding villages on their own.

Lake Borlesko: On the southern side of Teusten, the Borlesko supplies Teusten with a great deal of seafood and other marine resources. Teusten ships patrol the northern areas of the sea, and although there is a peace treaty standing between Teusten and the Sakkaran minotaurs, many Teusten ships will occasionally raid minotaur villages near the shoreline for fun and profit. The lake often freezes during harsh winters, but the ships are often fitted with metal bows during these seasons in order to help break the ice up.

Teusten Mainland: The majority of the Teusten population lives on the mainland gained immediately after the Drowning, residing on the stretch of land between Sundarin and northern Sakkaras. The land is filled with rivers, allowing the Teusten people to settle almost anywhere in the country and still be near access to the sea. As time passed and the population grew, canals were dug to bring the water to regions previously less accessible. Now, most of Teusten is covered with small towns and cities bordering each other, the rivers, and the sea.

Regional History

The origins of Teusten have been lost to the centuries. Some believe they had descended from early Midlands while others claim they came to Adlatum long ago from an unknown continent in the west. Even the Teusten people themselves have no solid record of their past. Most ancient tales are told through song, verse, or plain speak, and the desire to embellish and improve tales is very strong in Teusten. With so many others viewing Teusten as a land of drunken dangerous barbaric brutes best kept away from, other nations have a poor record of Teusten prior to the Drowning as well.

One of the popular tales told by the Teusten about pre-Drowning times include the supposed-fact that they were the ones responsible for starting the Canon War against the minotaurs from the east. Not only is this detail included in their popular culture, it is often bragged about. According to the tales, the sea-faring people had raided against every nation and village in western Adlatum and found no decent competition. So the greatest heroes of the waters prayed to their gods for their luck to improve. The gods responded by having the minotaurs invade the west, bringing a people worthy of combat closer to the Teusten waters and hopefully forcing the other races to strengthen themselves in the long run to better defend their homes. Teusten storytellers refer to the period of time in which the Canon War left many Teusten ships destroyed and warriors slaughtered as “The Platinum Age.”

Although there are records of some Teusten settlements on Adlatum’s then-western shoreline near what was believed to be dwarven held lands, the Teusten claim to had lived completely out in the ocean and sea. After the Drowning, the small amount of the mainland under Teusten control bloomed as they seized control of the stretch of land between Blight Bay and the enlarged Lake Borlesko. The land was and still is riddled with small lakes, rivers, and streams, making access from the lake to the bay and the ocean exceedingly easy. Once under their control, they made sure no one else could pass through without a very brutal fight. Still, many others saw the Drowning and considered life on solid land cursed, and to this day a large number of Teusten people live on large man-made barges located out in the sea and ocean.

The nation of Teusten came out of the Drowning with much prosperity, and they recognized that their glorious foes, the minotaurs, were badly hurt. To extend their thanks for the wonderful conflict of the previous hundred years, Teusten signed a non-aggression treaty with several of the minotaur factions settled nearby. Trade between the two cultures even existed for a few years. The Teusten would pay the Sakkarans in steel and other metals, while the minotaurs would give Teusten slave labor in the form of captured Midlanders, dwarves (especially from Nordarin), elves, Oguna, and even some of their own kind. But even with the Teusten assistance, the Sakkarans could not sustain themselves in the Broken Lands, and eventually the trade dried up. Yet the non-aggression treaty was not violated, at least not to a large scale, and so-called peace continued.

In 10 AD, the nation was almost plunged into total civil war with the death of Havadman Markan of Trojssan. Markan died without an heir, and two Regels both wanted the position. Luckily for Teusten, one of the rivals, Lokri son of Lukoev, was killed in a dwarven raid near Faste Ckold, thus allowing Aanon of Karssan to become the next Havadman. Aanon would rule the nation for the next fifty years, bringing prosperity the likes the nation had never seen before. He began paying people to explore the continent, making some of the best maps on all of Adlatum with rumors of other landmasses beyond the continent. By 20 AD, Aanon had it agreed upon with the Corinesti Elves that they would not raid their coastal cities in exchange for unhindered passage on the seas. The Corinesti would figure out later that Aanon had granted no protections on Corinesti-owned ships not at port in those cities, but rather than risk the safety of the settlements, the Guilds let the deal stand.

From this agreement with the Corinesti, Aanon began sending ships and settlers to the islands of the Shattered Sea. Sometimes these colonizing ships would come upon dwarves who still lived on the islands from the Drowning. The Teustens either killed or enslaved all the natives of these islands, shipping them off to be sold at their markets. The city of Ramal Varkie would arise and become a central city for shipbuilding and transferring timber back to the homeland. By 56 AD though, the reef dwarves started exploring the islands also looking for the lost villages of their nation. Over the course of the next few years, the humans and dwarves would battle each other at sea and on land, with the dwarves losing more islands to the humans before they finally solidified their hold on the other islands. Now, the Teusten colonies include many of the former dwarven islands. Many of these islands still have small dwarven populations on them, but most dwarves are owned by Teusten settlers as slaves. The island population is filled with colonies of settlers who see the mainland as overpopulated. The greatest advantage Teusten gained from these colonies is that they bring in much needed lumber, food, and metals not available in the mainland.

Aanon of Karssan, the Havadman responsible for Teusten’s expansion, died in 61 AD and was celebrated as one of the greatest leaders to have ever led Teusten. His grandson, Aanodac, took over as Havadman with high expectations. The nation continued its growth and its raids upon the other nations in the west. Nothing of important happened though over the next 200 years, as far as most are aware, but in 271 AD the reef dwarves in their ever-growing power at sea launched a surprise attack against some of the various colonies. The Teusten response was swift when Havadman Radac ordered all ships into the Shattered Sea to wage war on the dwarves. The humans were able to capture the island of Haskoddpad during the Battle of the Red Coral in 275 AD. During this, the humans were able to trick the dwarves into crashing half their fleet into a hidden reef the dwarves did not know about. This did not sink most of the ships, but stranded them allowing the Teustens to defeat them easily. Following this defeat, they took over the island and peace was brokered in exchange for the reef dwarves there.

Over the next hundred years or so, the nation of Teusten has continued along doing what it has always done, raiding, pillaging, but staying officially peaceful with the minotaurs to the east and the Igurna to the north. Their concerns with the Elder Dragons in the Midlands is minimal, other than waiting for great stories to arise from the coming war, and possibly to find a way to gain an advantage during the chaos.

The trading practices of Teusten with the Igurna in Terragrym are a great mystery to those aware of it. No one, not even the Teusten people, can remember when peaceful contact between their people and the noble ogres began, and no stories include many details on their northern neighbors. All that is known is that the nation of Teusten treats their economic partnership with Terragrym very seriously and will keep whatever secrets they gain from the ogres to the death. It is very rare for a noble ogres to venture to Teusten to trade, but Teusten ships are the rare few non-ogre vessels allowed to even get within sight of Igurna ports in the north.

Current Events

    • Several of the barge-colonies north of the Shattered Sea have disappeared with only small amounts of flotsam found floating in the water. It is not believed that the dwarves or elves could have done so much damage. Rumor is circulating of a giant ocean-fairing beast having moved into the area. Many sailors are looking forward to a legendary hunt.
    • Minimal trading has begun between the Sakkaran minotaurs tribes east of Faste Vard. The minotaurs have been purchasing parts for sailing vessels in exchange for Midlanders recently captured from tribes near Bhadlum and Vjenor.
  • Less savory sorts are complaining that travel to and from Geetrac Vag is getting longer and longer. The brethren running the floating metropolis seem to be moving the city further and further west into the ocean. Many sea raiders are thinking of finding another city to make their own.

Major Settlements

Faste Ckold (Large City 17,546): Also known as the Castle Shield, Faste Ckold is located on the border of Sundarin beneath the gaze of dwarven settlements in the mountains to the south. Positioned in a defensibly inopportune location, the city is meant to be a tempting target for any siege coming from the Sundar. The Teusten here desire nothing less than getting their dwarven enemies to attack them without provocation. If such an event occurs, it would allow the Havadman and Regels to declare unbridled war against the dwarves. Regardless of being in easy striking distance from the higher Sundar towns, the people of the un-walled Faste Ckold are well skilled in defending themselves.

Faste Vard (Small City 8,210): Also known as the Castle Sword, Faste Vard was founded on the location where the Sakkaran minotaurs and Teusten made their long standing nonaggression treaty. Now it acts as a bordertown, making sure the Sakkarns don’t become desperate enough to take any interests in their lands. Many of the citizens of Faste Vard take great pleasure in venturing into Sakkaras to pick fights with the strong and impressive minotaurs.

Jut-Cythyl (Metropolis 43,484): The capital of Teusten is the largest human settlement north of the Midlands. Like all other Teusten mainland settlements, all roads are simply wide dirt paths between wooden and stone buildings. The Frivord river divides in two, surrounding the city on both sides. The wall circling the city was built to come up out of the river and bay, and it was also made to look like the side of a ship. This gives Jut-Cythyl the appearance of being a floating structure even though it is on solid ground. Sections of the wall drop down to connect to otherwise incomplete bridges crossing the Frivord. Other sections open to connect to giant complexes of wooden docks that free-stand in Blight Bay where ships make port.

The Havadman and Council of Regels meet within the city in buildings that would remind anyone from civilized nations of renovated barns. The Arena of Truths, a place where battle determines guilty or innocence, is also located here.

Geetrac Vag (Metropolis 29,540): Also known as the City of Crashing Waves, Geetrac Vag is the largest and oldest famed floating city in the western ocean. It is also run by a brethren of pirates who do not recognize the rule of the Havadman. After gathering so much material and wealth over the centuries, the city is as well constructed and stable as any major city on land along with being a piece of architectural beauty.

Due to its primary source of income coming from illegal and murderous piracy, Geetrac Vag is continuously moving. Legend claims the city was originally constructed on the shore of the mysterious continent across the ocean in the west before being freed to sail across the sea. Another legend says the city the birthplace of one of the Vroevadle gods of the sea.

Ramal Varkie (Large City 19.803): Also known as the City of Falling Timber, Ramal Varkie is located on one of the larger islands in the northern Shattered Sea. The city was originally named Voldenhaas and was constructed during the reign of the dwarven Hammervald Empire. After being warn down by the Canon War and cut off from the rest of civilization by the Drowning, a fleet of Teusten ships laid waste against a city not used to being so close to the sea. Most dwarves were killed in the attack. The rest became slaves.

The Teustens rebuilt the city, properly adjusting it to become a port town capable of defense. The tall mountains all around the city and Human Bay hide the city from all eyes until a ship finds the pass into the bay or a foot traveler is almost upon the city wall. Voldenhaas used to be surrounded by lush forests, but the Drowning buckled the land and destroyed the trees immediately around the city. As a joke, Teusten renamed Voldenhaas the City of Fallen Timber.

This is one of the few Teusten settlements with buildings and roads made primarily of stone. The surviving forests on the other sides of the surrounding mountains provide Teusten with the best shipbuilding wood available.

Tullgripp (Large City 24,387): Also known as the City of Steel, Tullgripp is only accessible by Blight Bay. Ships enter a wide cave mouth and travel several miles underground before reaching the city ports. The city is a mining colony, filled with men and women supporting the excavation of metals from the rocks deep in the earth. There are no direct routes from the city up to the surface. All traffic comes and goes through the watery cavern.

The city is eternally lit by fires fueled from gasses seeping up from specific points in the cracks of the rock. Being so distant from the cavern mouth, this supplies the city with its only light besides lamps and torches. Some districts in the city are higher than others as the city slopes up parts of the cavern wall or rests on sculpted plateaus.

Parts of the way between Tullgripp and the bay are not safe for ships. Beneath the way’s water impossibly long and sharp stalagmites can tear apart the hulls of any boat piloted by those not familiar with the Tullgripp. Many wrecks lay at the bottom of the mile deep pool.