Gazetteer.   Posted by Raellus.Group: 0
Raellus
 GM, 1 post
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 23 Aug 2015
at 20:52
Gazetteer

A directory including descriptions of points of interest in and around Balefyre, and the wider world surrounding the Great Inner Sea.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 20:53, Sat 04 June 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 2 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 23 Aug 2015
at 21:04
The Free City of Balefyre

Balefyre is situated on the rocky, barren north coast of the Great Inner Sea, just west of the River Snake estuary. There are many tales regarding the city's beginnings. Whether it began as a tiny fishing village, pirate hideout, or cultic pilgrimage site, once modest Balefyre is currently a bustling city, now growing at an unsustainable rate.

The city's name is derived from the beacon fire once lit atop a rocky outcropping above the bay (Beacon Hill), set on foggy evenings to guide local fisherman to safe harbor in the wide, relatively placid river estuary. Others claim that the firelight was originally intended to lure lost ships to their doom on the rocky outer banks, where the contents of their torn wooden bellies would be gathered up by the waiting villagers. In any event, the balefire became an important waypoint along an otherwise long and lifeless shore. Over time, the fishing village grew into a town, and then a small city, a resupply point on the less-travelled northern coastal route across the Great Inner Sea, midway between the more civilized, populous lands of the east and west. Hardscrabble farmers eventually settled outside the first city walls, cultivating the nearer reaches of the unforgiving steppe landscape that roll away towards the dark, savage mountains that limn the northern horizon. Until quite recently, Balefyre's significance began and ended as a transshipment hub. Despite occasional expeditions of conquest mounted by both eastern and western kingdoms, Balefyre has so far managed to retain its status as an independent city-state.

Balefyre would have remained a small, quaint city had not platinum been discovered in the badlands to the north, nigh on four seasons ago. Word of the strike spread quickly around the rim of the Great Inner Sea, and beyond. Since that time, prospectors, entrepreneurs, adventurers, and ne'er-do-wells have arrived at Balefyre by the boatload, eager to seek- and lose- their fortunes in the now-bustling city. Balefyre has expanded quickly with the influx of fortune seekers, overflowing its outer walls. The elected city government, known as the Fire Council, often unable to reach a speedy decision even in much quitter times, is struggling to keep up with the demands of a growing and largely transient immigrant population.

One item that the Fire Council agrees upon is the annexation (and taxation) of the platinum fields. Serving as the platinum fields' primary base of operations is Yonder's Hole, a semi-fortified mining camp. Establishing and maintaining complete control of this rich prize preoccupies the Council; its members are well aware that greedy eyes have fixed their gaze on Balefyre from afar. The platinum fields have also drawn the unwanted attention of sundry monstrosities that call the harsh badlands home. The Fire Council is struggling to both secure the city and beat back the increasingly numerous and aggressive hoards that threaten Yonder's Hole and the platinum fields.

Balefyre is divided into several wards, with Beacon Hill (aka, the Rock) providing a central reference point. Along the southeast side of the city, bordering the broad estuary of the River Snake, is the Harbor Ward. Along the River Snake, north of the Harbor Ward, is the narrow but crowded River Ward, home to the city slums. North-northeast of Beacon Rock is the Gate Ward, Balefyre's largest and most populous neighborhood. To the west of Beacon Rock, atop the cliffs that overlook the Great Inner Sea, is the Sea Ward, which contains the luxurious estates of Balefyre's wealthy merchant families.

The population of the city is just over 90% human, with the remainder divided among the World's other civilized humanoid races- elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, half-elves, and half-orcs. This is beginning to change, however, as many clanless dwarves pass through Balefyre on their way to ply the ancestral trade of their people in the seminal platinum mines north of the city.



Beacon Rock
A steep, rocky massif atop which balefire's namesake beacon was first lit, many turns ago. The old balefire has for some time been replaced by a modern masonry tower that serves as both as lookout and lighthouse. It is known colloquially as The Rock. The old balefire has long since been replaced with a stone-built lighthouse/watchtower, known locally as the Moon Tower (as "it gives the city a full moon every night of the year"). In recent years, its beacon light has been upgraded with gnomish technology, increasing its brightness and range, and a bellows-powered foghorn has been installed.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 17:22, Thu 24 Nov 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 13 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 1 Sep 2015
at 01:21
The Harbor Ward

Just southeast of Beacon Hill, directly west of the docks, is the Harbor Ward, dotted with warehouses, shops, dive bars, and flophouses.



The Pit
A sprawling gambling and drinking establishment offering games of chance and skill. Whether you're looking for cards, dice, or more exotic entertainments, the Pit is the place to find it. Rumor has it that the Pit's backrooms are host to blood sports technically illegal according to city law. The Pit also offers rooms to rent by the hour. Notty Lemongrass (aka Toesplitter) owns/runs the place.



Three Sheets
A dive bar catering to sailors.



The Breakers
A flophouse catering to same.



The Mermaid's Tale
A full-service tap-house and inn. Slightly more upscale than Three Sheets or The Breakers. It's managed by a man named Begley. Lana is a comely serving wench there.



The Red Lantern
A relatively upscale brothel with rooms for rent by the hour. Due to the recent influx of fortune-seekers, it is currently operating as an inn as well.



Strongarm's Smithy
Master-crafted metal goods, made to order. Prices at Strongarm's are high, but the quality of the merchandise is exceptional.



The Fish Market
Open daily, from just after sunrise to just before sunset. Since word of the platinum strike got out, the Fish Market has been increasingly beset with squatters of all sorts. Recently, the Fire Council had a large tent erected in one corner of the fish market to temporarily house the overflow from the city's fully-booked inns. It offers cheap shelter but no privacy or other amenities.



Dayv's Pie Wagon
This food wagon is currently parked in the Fish Market. It's proprietor, the titular Dayv, is a gnome with impressive culinary talents.



Warehouse Row
A stone's throw inland of the docks' piers and jetties, a band of warehouses runs roughly parallel to the harbor line.



Warehouse 8
Headquarters and home of Lovad Padín, mysterious expatriate owner-operator of an import-export business.



Fisherman's Alliance Meeting Hall
Located right off of the fish market, this large stone building is one of the oldest in Balefyre.



Merchant League Guildhouse
This ornate building, larger than the Fisherman's Alliance Meeting Hall, is the headquarters and meeting place of Balefyre's powerful merchant's guild.



Customs House
Headquarters for government revenue collection related to water-borne trade.



Fire Watch Guardhouse
A small blockhouse near the waterfront housing the guard detachment responsible for public safety in the harbor ward.



Temple of Mera, Queen of the Deep
In a city that relies heavily on the sea for its very sustenance, the Queen of the Deep is widely revered (or feared, depending on one's outlook). Currently, Balefyre's second largest, most influential house of worship.



Temple of Aero, Lord of the Sky, Bringer of Storms
Sometime consort of Mera and Tera, Aero is also worshipped by sailors.



The Neck
Locals call the main north-south road running from the Harbor Ward to the Main Gate 'The Neck'. The Drowned Rats call the subterranean sewer main running beneath the Neck, 'The Jugular'.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 17:21, Thu 24 Nov 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 17 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 12 Sep 2015
at 20:35
The Gate Ward

Inland and directly north-northwest of Beacon Rock is the Gate Ward, Balefyre's largest neighborhood.



Main Gate
This heavily fortified city gate is the main landward entrance to Balefyre.



Fire Watch Keep
Located near Main Gate, Fire Watch Keep is the headquarters and main barracks of Balefyre's small, professional city guard, the Fire Watch.



Council Hall
At the base of Beacon Rock's landward side, stands the seat of Balefyre's government, the Fire Council. Council Hall also serves as the city's court and main library.



Temple of Luz, Bringer of Light
On Beacon Hill (part of lighthouse)?



Temple of Arma, the Warrior
More of a shrine, really, to Arma, Warrior Maiden- patron deity to good-aligned fighting men and women-at-arms. In Balefyre, most long-term supplicants are members of the Fire Watch. The shrine is tended by Brother Jaro, an elderly Armist cleric.



Rofl's Forge
Rofl makes, refurbishes, and repairs farming- and now mining- tools.



Farmer's Market
Fresh produce and livestock from the nearby countryside. There is talk on the city council of relocating the farmer's market to outside the city walls so that the current space within can be built upon.



Temple of M'c-Donál, the Farmer
A modest temple to the god of agriculture and animal husbandry, directly adjoining the farmer's market.



Arcane Essentials
A small business catering to those who dabble in magic. Its proprietor is a male elf named Arlö.



Vanouen's Armaments
A shop selling new and used arms and armor, conveniently located just next door to the Temple of Arma.



Pigs and Blankets
A travelers' rest inn near the farmer's market.



The Squeaky Wheel Tavern
A drinking and dining establishment near Main Gate.



Nature's Way Herbalist
A shop selling herbs and other natural products. Its proprietress is a half-elf druidess named Evra.



Vander's Love Nest (working title)
A comfortable two-story residential building recently deeded to the Four for their service to Balefyre.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 04:30, Thu 12 Apr 2018.

Raellus
 GM, 26 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 25 Sep 2015
at 02:42
Sea Ward

West of Beacon Rock, north of the cliffs known as Seawall, and south of the Gate Ward, is the airy and exlusive Sea Ward, home to Balefyre's elite.



Temple of Biz, the Merchant
Patron deity of business and commerce, Balefyre's wealthy merchant houses long ago contributed to a small but ornate temple dedicated to Biz. Over the years, it has been expanded and renovated, making it Balefyre's largest and wealthiest, if not most influential, temple.



Sunset Club
A members-only social club for the city's wealthy and well-connected.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 02:03, Fri 08 July 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 30 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 25 Sep 2015
at 02:52
River Ward

A strip of low-rent housing that runs from the Harbor Ward north along the west bank of the River Snake to the city wall. The River Ward is Balefyre's poorest neighborhood.



Pudo's Pawn
A pawn shop and general store. Just about any item- gently used, of course- one could want can be bought, sold, or pawned there, but Pudo drives a hard bargain.



The Scuppers
A seedy beerhall known for it's watered-down ale and frequently lethal bar fights.



Pennyskirts
A cathouse where the working girls will reputedly "lift their skirts for a penny."



Shrine of Fortuna (aka Lady Luck)
An increasingly popular minor deity. The recent flood of fortune seekers has led to the rapid growth of what used to be a small shrine of little import. Thanks to dramatically increased donations, it is currently the city's fastest growing church.



Corpse House
Cadavers are kept here until they can be transported to the ferry landing just north of the city walls and, from there, across the river to the Dead Ward.



Tanneries
Balefyre's small, indigenous leather-making enterprise, specializing in goatskin.



Bálint House
The Five's modest urban estate, their reward from the Fire Council for rescuing the miners besieged in Yonder's Hole.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 20:20, Sun 27 Nov 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 31 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 25 Sep 2015
at 02:54
Dead's Ward

Balefyre's sprawling cemetery, this enormous barrow is located on the far (east side) of the River Snake estuary. A small temple of Mortis, lord of death and the underworld, is sited just off the east-bank ferry landing. The necropolis can only be accessed from Balefyre by a ferry running from just north of the city walls.



Ferry Landing



Temple of Mortis, Bringer of Death
Small temple to the god of natural and accidental death located at the riverside base of the barrow hill.



Crypts
Near-surface graves with tombstones, mausoleums, and other memorials to Balefyre's dead.



Catacombs
The catacombs descend to the water-table.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 19:42, Sun 24 Apr 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 32 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 25 Sep 2015
at 02:54
Yonder's Hole

A colorfully-named, semi-permanent mining camp two full days' march north of Balefyre. Most of this ramshackle shanty town is enclosed by a crude wooden stockade. Yonder's Hole is at the center of a radiating ring of exploratory mine shafts in a known platinum-producing region of the badlands. The Fire Council is currently attempting to annex the young, potentially profitable settlement but is meeting with some resistance from its motley assortment of independent-minded residents.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 19:37, Sun 24 Apr 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 33 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 25 Sep 2015
at 02:55
Midway

Seminal caravansary- a single unfinished inn and corral, really- on the wagon trail to Yonder's Hole, a full day's march north of Balefyre, founded by a former caravan captain named Ol' Klem. The centerpiece of Midway is a travelers' rest dubbed Pace's Place, after Ol' Klem's late associate.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 17:15, Thu 24 Nov 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 114 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 12 Nov 2015
at 00:39
Place-holder

For future use of the DM.

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Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 103 posts
 Human Rogue
 Tegyrius
Fri 27 Nov 2015
at 19:27
Ardane
Ardane is a small nation occupying a rugged swath of the Great Inland Sea's north coast, far to the east of Balefyre.  The region, homeland of the Imani tribes, has a long history of conquest and occupation, invariably followed by the conquerers and occupiers deciding that the Imani weren't worth the trouble.  The last of these occupations was particularly brutal, leading to an eventual alliance between the Imani tribal leaders which outlasted the invaders' expulsion.  Over the following century, the Imani gradually assumed the trappings of more developed neighboring states, culminating in the establishment of 14 noble houses and the founding of Ardane 331 years ago.

Government

A major factor in Ardane's long ascent to nationhood was the Imani cultural fondness (some say "fixation") with the form of law, combined with a desire among the tribal leaders to prevent any one rival from assuming too much power.  The result was a monarchy with rigidly-delimited powers and an assembly of nobles who collectively hold all authorities not delegated to the monarch.  Predictably, the exact balance of power has swayed back and forth between these parties (popularly referred to as the Throne and the Hall) over the years.

Local Theology

The third and often decisive faction in the Ardani government is the priesthood of the Cofgodas.  While the greater deities are as present in Ardane as anywhere else the Great Inland Sea touches, the Imani tribes also worshipped their own household gods.  As the nation solidified and the noble houses emerged, a parallel consolidation took place in the local pantheon.  Today, each of the Fourteen pays respect to "its" ancestral patron cofgod above the others, while the common people - and, by tradition, the house which holds the throne - invoke them as a whole.  One of the Cofgodas' most important collective functions is as divine witnesses to legal proceedings, and they're also the patrons of cities, commerce, history, and upward social mobility.

In Ardane, the Cofgodas priesthood is intimately tied to the Ardani judiciary.  They also have less regular ties to the Ardani bardic traditions, the merchant community, and the Throne's diplomatic corps, which are the usual ways their meager power and influence are carried outside Ardane.

Economy

Historically, Ardane's economic cornerstone has been a jealously-guarded wool trade (the sale of Ardani sheep outside the kingdom remains a high crime).  Lesser, though still lucrative, export products include honey, alum, leather, and copper.  Of note, Ardani copper is a favorite of enchanters, both in pure form and when alloyed into brass or bronze, though industrial demand for the product has greatly lessened over the last century.

Though late to acquire writing, the Imani tribes had a strong oral history tradition, and this has carried forward into the modern Ardani bardic schools.  Ardane has long been a favored destination for scholars of Northshore history, as the Imani bards and shamans incorporated each conquerer's stories into their own repertoires.  Since the Tricht Restoration movement emerged some forty years ago, Ardani performing arts have achieved more widespread fame and performers from Ardane have been in high demand throughout the Great Inland Sea.

Ardane does not have a strong maritime history due to a lack of wood suitable for shipbuilding.  Only in the last century has an Ardani merchant marine emerged, largely due to the investments of wealthy individuals trading in the Caliphates.  Most Ardani-flagged vessels are still of Caliphate build.

People

Ardane is human-dominated, with about 80% of its people expressing full-blooded human heritage.  The nation's northwestern border lies against orcish tribal lands and most of Ardane's 15% half-orcish citizens come from this region - indeed, two of the three noble houses with lands in this area claim blood ties to their orcish neighbors.  Elven blood is relatively common along the coast, particularly in places with long-standing ties to the elven city-states of Tiasil and Sofia.  With the decline of Ardani copper exports, many of the dwarven enclaves have picked up and moved elsewhere, and only a few stubborn holdouts - mostly young and locally born - still claim Ardani allegiance.

Foreign Relations

The Ardani founding accords prohibit the monarch from maintaining a standing army answerable to the Throne.  Each Ardani noble house has its own military; as may be expected, these are of highly variable quality and strength.  There is no Ardani navy to speak of, though most of the houses with maritime lands maintain a few warships for commerce protection and coastal defense.

Traditional Ardani foreign policy, such as it is, is mildly isolationist with a stated goal of making the nation too unappealing to invade again.  Recent monarchs have attempted to open Ardane to the wider world but the tradition-bound Hall has stood in persistent opposition.  However, foreign relations are one of the authorities expressly held by the monarch, including the appointment of ambassadors and the establishment of treaties.  In addition, the Throne commands the Throne's Reach, a network of covert agents drawn largely from state orphanages and the Cofgodas' priesthood and sworn directly to the ruling house.

Current Events

One year ago, the reign of House Riordan ended with the death of King Phelan II.  The king died without issue and Ardane immediately dissolved into chaos as various cousins and relations-by-marriage fought to establish the primacy of their own claims to the coronet.  The Throne's Reach, which many insiders expected to be the guarantor of a clean succession, has been absent from the fray.  With the instability of Ardani export hubs, the national economy is struggling and few foreign traders are willing to enter port here.  There is a steady exodus of Ardani refugees fleeing the chaos, almost matched by the trickle of expatriates returning home to join the incipient civil war.

Miscellanea

The national colors of Ardane are green, gold, and black.  The national flag is a green field with a gold harp above crossed spears.  Most of the Ardani noble houses use some variation of this design, replacing one or two of the elements while maintaining the overall arrangement and color scheme.  House Riordan replaces the spears with a quill and (after King Nuall I gained the throne) a ceremonial mace.

This message was last updated by the GM at 02:57, Fri 15 Apr 2016.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 183 posts
 Human Rogue
 Tegyrius
Wed 6 Jan 2016
at 18:59
The Caliphates
The Caliphates are a collection of nine small to mid-sized polities along the Great Inland Sea's southern and southeastern coasts.  They're the successor states to the Unseen Empire, which ruled most of the area in question until about two centuries ago.  The Unseen Empire's rulers were genies - primarily djinn and efreet, with a minority of dao and a scant handful of marid.  The nation's name came from their habit of remaining literally invisible except to their chosen mortal servants.  Their dominion spanned half a millennium, until the rise of al-Muharrir.

Al-Muharrir was an air genasi, the bastard son of a djinn whose elven mother fled the Unseen Empire for Tiasil.  Born in exile, al-Muharrir grew up on his mother's tales of subjugation and his stepfather's lessons in wizardry.  He returned to the Unseen Empire in his fiftieth year and, over the next decade, crafted the insurgency that would bring down the genies' rule.  In the resulting power vacuum, he established himself and his fellow wizards as the genies' successors, declaring a Caliphate spanning the breadth of the former Unseen Empire.

Al-Muharrir ruled as Caliph for another four decades until his eventual assassination at the hands of a cabal of vengeful genasi, former privileged functionaries who sought to restore their positions of power at the imperial reins.  His death without a declared heir fragmented the Caliphate.  The breakup was surprisingly peaceful, and the nation's nine provinces devolved into states whose borders are broadly recognizable as today's Caliphates.

The modern Caliphates bear broad cultural and demographic similarities, though individual nations vary widely in legal codes and social permissiveness.  Humans are a majority throughout the Caliphates, though genie blood is common and bears no particular stigma in most quarters.  In the southern inland regions, nomadic elven tribes are common, while a leathery dwarven offshoot race shares territory with lizard-folk in the rocky western foothills.  The day-to-day tongue is Common, though most official proceedings and high-class social events use one of the Primordial dialects.

The Caliphates have what's arguably the most advanced economy on the Great Inland Sea.  The concepts of mercantile companies and legal contracts first gained widespread acceptance here.  Private ownership of virtually anything is legal (for a price), with the exception of water, fire-producing fuels, and mineral rights.  These belong to the Caliph of a given Caliphate, who (by literal interpretation) holds them in trust for the gods.  Recent years, and warming relations with the formerly-aloof hill dwarves, have led to a significant increase in metals exports, which has driven down prices throughout the Great Inland Basin.  Other economic cornerstones include salt, rice, sugarcane, and dyes.  Major imports include wheat, wood for shipbuilding and other skilled trades, and textiles.  The Caliphates also serve as a trade hub for goods arriving from the inland territories to the south and east.

Relations between individual Caliphates are not always cozy.  Intrigue is a multinational pastime, and just as bloody as it was in the time of the genies.  Open warfare is rare, as the Caliphates' meager military strength is concentrated on protecting trade routes and the attendant monopolies.  More common are sabotage, assassination, and high-profile losses of face.  These same tactics characterize the Caliphates' occasional hostilities with other nations.  Indirect problem-solving is a virtue, with highest esteem going to those who leave just enough evidence to imply their involvement while still preserving plausible deniability.
Raellus
 GM, 404 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 15 Apr 2016
at 02:59
Varimor

Large kingdom that dominates the western shore of the Great Inner Sea, south to the Strait of Rilep.

Seagate: Principle Varimorian seaport on the Great Inner Sea.

Landfall: Medium sea port.

Slipway: Medium sized city located on the northwest shoulder of the Great Inner Sea. Known for its shipbuilding industry.

Smackhaven: Fishing village west of Balefyre. Easternmost coastal outpost of Varimor.

Hazyview: A small seaside town between Slipway and Smackhaven.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 20:55, Fri 29 July 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 486 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 4 Jun 2016
at 20:17
Freeport

Large, metropolitan city-state on the southwestern coast of the Great Inner Sea, across the Strait of Rilep from Seagate and the Kingdom of Varimor.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 04:21, Mon 06 June 2016.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 1 post
 High Elf
 Monk
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 23:50
The City State of Thand-vaar

Thand-vaar is both a city and the country surrounding it, an Elven land far to the west of the Great Inland Sea, one that is many thousands of years old and steeped in both history and tradition.  The city itself is fabled for its beautiful and sprawling parks, intricate and sculpted buildings and great centres of learning.



History:

Legend has it that several thousand years ago there were originally three castes amongst the elves of Thand-vaar, the Illuminated Elves, the Grey Elves and the Green Elves.  The Illuminated Elves were the noble class in charge of the nation, great houses of arcane practitioners who enjoyed their positions of authority and worked diligently to maintain the status quo.  The Grey Elves were those that lived in the great city, skilled tradesmen and women, merchants and soldiers, builders and scribes, all of them skilled artisans in their chosen field, diligent and productive.  The Green Elves worked outside city in both the fields and the forests that made up the rest of the country of Thand-vaar, farmers and hunters, herbalists and gatherers, great scouts and protectors of the land.

The country flourished, though it was quite insular and isolationist, and the Illuminated Elves mastered many great mysteries of magic, learning much and seeking for even more knowledge.  They began to change in outlook as their obsessive hunger for an even greater understanding of the arcane arts drove them on, twisting them as their desire for power grew in them.  The army, originally established to defend the lands of Thand-vaar from external threats, became a tool of suppression, officers and men alike blindly following the orders of their Illuminated Elven Generals even though they knew that those orders were wrong.  Obedience and conformity were the norm in Thand-vaar and the Illuminated Elves exploited that to maintain their positions of power.

Over several centuries the Illuminated Elves gradually became tyrants who suppressed any form of opposition, any calls for change to the established order.  Traditional was everything and challenging that was almost unthinkable.  They banned the carrying of weapons or the practising of magic by any but their loyal army and vassals, their fear of an uprising against them was so great.  And the Illuminated Elves descended further, worshipping evil deities and entities in their quest for arcane power and understanding, becoming evil despots practising despicable rites.  Some scholars now maintain that they were seduced along their path to evil rather than deciding to take it themselves but the point is academic for descend to evil is what the Illuminated Elves did.

However their suppression of their subjects could not last.  Though powerful the Illuminated Elves and their loyal vassals were not sufficient in number to maintain their position indefinitely.  After many years forces of rebellion rose against them approximately three millennia ago and the civil war that resulted was both bloody and brief.  Many of the Illuminated Elves were destroyed but the survivors and their allies fled Thand-vaar, seeking a new home where they could continue their dark practices.  Legend has it that they fled underground seeking privacy and security to continue their dark studies and that took a new name, becoming the Drow, a race of Dark Elves feared throughout the known world.

The remaining Grey and Green elves in Thand-vaar dedicated themselves to rebuilding their nation and city again, repairing the physical damage inflicted by the civil war to the both landscape and the people and establishing a fairer and more just society.  Thand-vaar grew again and embraced trade and interaction with its neighbours, becoming a beacon of culture and civilisation within the known world.  Though Thand-vaar is now less isolationist and reclusive than it was under the Illuminated Elves, it is still a place that few have visited or met someone from.

The remaining Elves who rebuilt Thand-vaar were changed however and formed themselves into two races of Elves rather than castes within one Elven race.  Most in the great city of Thand-vaar and the cultivated lands around it became the High Elves while those who cherished the wild, rural lifestyle more became the Wood Elves.  Both still coexist well together and peace and prosperity have flourished under a much more democratic government, following the election of a council of elders after the expulsion of the Illuminated Elves.  That council has existed ever since, governing Thand-vaar wisely, though the councillors serve such a long term of office that to many outsides it looks like the city is ruled by a class of nobles rather than by an elected council.  In fact many foreigners who visit Thand-vaar regard the Eris’Marran, the First Councillor for want of a better translation, as the Monarch who rules the City State rather than simply the head of the council.



The Ral’Keth:

When the Illuminated Elves were at the height of their despotic rule of the City State of Thand-vaar their ban on the carrying, training with or usage of martial weapons or the practising of arcane magic by anyone except the Army and the trusted vassals of the Illuminated Elves, prompted the creation of a number of Orders.

One of these was the Ral'Keth, originally an Order of Warriors keen to learn how to fight, without weapons if necessary.  They became Warrior Monks, experts in unarmed combat, using precision strikes to inflict grievous wounds on their opponents, often as bad as those inflicted by sword or axe.  These first initiates strongly believed in defending the weak and helping those less fortunate than themselves and they became one of the sources of rebellion against the Illuminated Elves, engaging and defeating those soldiers who remained loyal to the corrupt noble class, playing their part fully in the unprising even though they regretted every casualty they inflicted in the Civil War.

After the War the Ral'Keth transformed into an Order dedicated to the protection of not just the reformed Thand-vaar but also those in need outside of the City State, becoming self-appointed guardians of the week.  Being Elves from a reserved society like the City State of Thand-vaar their view of morality can often be quite simplistic and so the Ral’Keth can appear quite judgemental to many others in the known world, sometimes almost naďve in their approach.