The Twelve Kingdoms.   Posted by Dungeon Master.Group: 0
Dungeon Master
 GM, 1 post
Sat 2 Apr 2016
at 04:43
The Twelve Kingdoms
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW

The Twelve Kingdoms refer to the twelve countries (actually thirteen, see below) that made up the Empire of Imladrys.  Over a millennia ago the region was actually ruled by two separate empires, the Thyrion Empire to the north and the Vanthis Imperium to the south.  These two great powers were centered on the Sea of Angelis with the mysterious Isle of Imladrys at its heart and, as should be expected, these two powers waged war for many centuries.  Imladrys was often the focal point of their battles.

It is common knowledge that the Thyrion Empire was known for its martial prowess and pious faiths (many would say religious fervor).  They were strong and fearless, reveling in conquest.  Their ancestors had struck upon the idea of conquering neighboring tribes and city-states and enslaving them...but offering their conquered foes a means to rise to freedom if they accepted their fates.  By accepting their lot as slaves, their descendants would be offered full citizenship.  The Thyrese kept their word and many people accepted slavery without a fight.

Although they were not as martially inclined, the Vanthii produced exceptional wizards and scholars.  Their magic was used to ease the lives of the nobility and the merchant-princes while their slaves saw to their every need (and whim).  They were a decadent (though still highly productive) people and wanted for nothing (Thyrion lives were much harsher by comparison).  They weren't given to worshiping gods as much as their traditional enemy, but did pay lip service to their deities (though there were many pious individuals).

They used their knowledge to bolster their massive armies and, by all accounts, should have been able to defeat the Thyrion Empire.  Yet time and again they were stalemated and had to withdraw.  The Vanthis Imperium generally had more troops, better equipment and the might of their magic...but the Thyrese had the backing of their gods, a warrior spirit born of hardship, passionate hearts and a culture that placed a premium upon martial prowess.  Their lands were also difficult to traverse and gave them the advantage when invaded.

Some twelve-hundred years ago Thyrion's emperor, Makkon the Mighty, met Empress Isanda in battle on the Isle of Imladrys.  Makkon was a great warrior who had won his position through great deeds, but he was also well-versed in magic (the first Emperor to practice the Art, but not the first Thyrese...over the centuries such had become more common).  Isanda was a sorceress of note, but was also a bladesinger (she was a half-elf who had learned the practice from her Aelven tutors).

Their meeting altered the course of history.

Their armies had, once again, fought each other to a stalemate on Imladrys.  Both armies were weary from long combat yet their patriotism and belief in their sovereigns was strong and neither side was willing to yield.  So it came to be that during a parley between the two monarch's an agreement was struck to do personal battle with each other.  The loser would yield and withdraw their forces from the island.  When they met in battle each was surprised by the other's skill and knowledge of the Art...they fought to a stalemate three times.

Agreeing to call their battle a draw, the two armies wintered on the island while they discussed terms of peace.  For three months terms were hotly debated, but it became apparent that the two were smitten with each other.  The following spring was spent in the Vanthis capital (the city of the same name), with the following summer spent in the Thyrese capital of Thytanis.  That autumn, the two were wed (amidst much fanfare...and angst) on the spot where the two had fought each other to exhaustion.

The two monarchs managed to keep peace between their two war-weary empires despite many detractors on both sides.  Centuries of warfare had not made their subjects trusting of the other side, and many nobles attempted to raise armies against their monarchs.  Yet they were politically astute and managed to prevent any large scale wars from erupting for the sixty years that they reigned.  It would fall to their only child, Iskandar, to unite the two empires under a true banner of peace...but only through another long war.

Iskandar and his parents planned for this eventuality for many years and, as expected, civil war erupted almost immediately after their deaths (the two died in a tragic accident).  Like his parents, Iskandar was both warrior and wizard, but he was also a priest of Chronepsis the Greywyrm.  Wars broke out on both sides as nobles attempted to determine who should rule the Empire.  Iskandar managed to play each aspiring monarch against the others and thereby systematically ended each threat to his reign.  It took 24 years to achieve.

In the end, he had the adoration of his people, the blessings of the gods, and a stable Empire to rule.  Thus began the Empire of Imladrys (named for the island that was once again the primary focus of the wars fought between the opposing sides).  Starcrown was made the official capital, and Iskandar began the long process of healing the rift between the Thyrese and Vanthii peoples.  He sponsored many programs that largely improved the lives of his subjects and developed laws that would serve them well for over a thousand years.

Iskandar lived for over 200 years and his longevity helped to further stabilize the Empire.  When he died, he had thirteen children.  Twelve were given kingdoms of their own while the eldest was crowned Emperor upon his death and ruled from Imladrys.  They lived long lives as well and the Empire continued to prosper.  Though there were challenges throughout the centuries of the Empire's existence, each kingdom managed to remain fairly stable without falling into decline.  Until the Great War erupted.

During its last days, the Empire bred decadence in the form of weak leaders who squandered its wealth, abused its subjects and trafficked with beings from the nether planes.  When the Last Emperor (Trion) died without an heir (all of his children had died either from assassination or foolish pursuits), the kingdoms erupted into a massive civil war.  The Twelve Monarchs, as they were called, refused to stand down for the common good and succeeded only in tearing the Empire asunder.  It would be 144 years before peace would come again.

And the region would never be the same…

During the first 100 years of the conflict, the various kingdoms changed hands many times and monarchs rose and fell due to both falling in battle and assassination (sometimes from within their own families).  The economies of the kingdoms faltered horribly and the commonfolk suffered greatly for it.  So it was that an individual out of history strode out onto the field of battle.  An individual known only as the Arcanamach, an individual spoken of in historical texts and around tables everywhere as a force to be reckoned with.

He came leading a vast army that outnumbered all others by at least 3 to 1 and with magical power to spare.  He and his family easily overpowered the beleaguered armies and assisted the commonfolk as much as they could (which was considerable).  In addition, the Dragonmarked Houses turned on the Twelve Monarchs while the commonfolk rose against them.  Their fates were sealed.  The Arcanamach and the Dragonmarks forced peace upon the leaders and over- threw the monarchies.

The Dragonmarks took over as monarchs of the Twelve Kingdoms while House Khorvaire, a new family with aberrant dragonmarks, took stewardship of the Star Throne.  This fact angered the other twelve Houses but they were in little position to do anything about it at the time.  The court at Imladrys has become a hotbed of scheming to gain the throne (and depose and then eliminate the aberrant family) while the former bloodlines of the old monarchies scheme to regain their lost power.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:07, Thu 19 May 2016.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 3 posts
Thu 19 May 2016
at 01:24
The Twelve Kingdoms
THE TWELVE KINGDOMS

The Sovereign Treaty changed the balance of power dramatically in the region.  The twelve Dragonmarked Houses became the new monarchs of the fractured nation (in direct opposition to the ancient Treaty of Blood & Marks).  The scions of the twelve royal families were reduced in power (now called High Nobles) and seethe under the rulership of the marked houses (called the Serpentmarks by their enemies).  There is little they can do about their plight, however, as the commonfolk no longer trust them and the marked Houses are largely seen as saviors.

0.  Imladrys:  Technically not a kingdom (as outlined in the Sovereign Treaty), Imladrys was the heart of the Empire's power.  From here emperors ruled over the region and dominated the Sea of Angelis.  Today the High Regent holds the throne in stewardship until such time as a proper sovereign comes to power.  Though each of them is considered an independent nation, the island-state of Imladrys still holds sway over all of the Twelve Kingdoms.  They pay tribute to the Star Throne, but they scheme to rise in power and establish a new Empire.

Imladrys is governed by House Khorvaire and has proven itself to be politically astute, capable and powerful.  For all practical purposes, the High Regent is Empress of the Twelve Kingdoms but, for some unexplained reason, this House has not sought the title.  It is known that the true leader of the House, Xarthalion Khorvaire (aka the Arcanamach and the patron deity of Starcrown) suggested stewardship as part of his political machinations to prevent another Great War, but in truth he could have secured the position for his House.  Why he didn't is a mystery.

1.  Farelen:  This kingdom is now ruled by the Mark of Making.  Next to Imladrys, it is the most prosperous country in the Twelve Kingdoms region.  From here House Cannith began manufacturing the warforged that changed (and actually prolonged) the Great War.  The people didn't see it that way, however, as they saw the use of warforged as saving 'real' people's lives.  This placed House Cannith at the forefront of rulership when the Sovereign Treaty was proposed.  The monarchy is currently in flux as they decide who rules.

2.  Revarra:  This kingdom is now ruled by the Mark of Sentinel.  It is one of the most prosperous countries and its people revere their new royal family with an almost religious fervor.  This is because House Deneith has had a long standing tradition of honored military service and protecting those who can afford it...and sometimes those who need it despite being unable to pay (favors and I.O.U.s were acceptable currency to this family).  The commonfolk were seldom required to pay much of anything in return for their services.

3.  Antiva:  This kingdom is now ruled by the Mark of Shadows.  Though not as prosperous as some other nations, House Phiarlan manages to acquire solid trade deals and fill its coffers through brokering information (and using that information for blackmail and extortion) as well as selling its services as the premiere assassins in the region (through the second branch of the family, House Thuranni [see below]).  House Phiarlan struck from the shadows when they overthrew the monarchs and their human subjects hold them in high regard for it.

Centuries ago many of House Phiarlan's members were abducted by drow, taken into the Underdark, and bred in an effort to create drow with the Mark of Shadow.  The result was the creation of the first Shadow Aelves.  This bloodline has beautiful skin tones of blues, purples or greys with the full capabilities of their marks (but rarely drow abilities).  In time, they escaped the drow and returned to the surface (though they are just as comfortable below ground).  They were accepted by House Phiarlan as a branch family but are not allowed to rule.

4.  Scardia:  This kingdom in the Skyforge Mountains is now ruled by the Mark of Finding.  Decimated in the Great War, the people accepted the rule of the orcs, half-orcs and humans of House Tharashk.  Many Scardians fought beside the members of their now ruling House as well as the Kur'ruuk from Gruunthark (the remnants of which now live among their fellow warmates).  Their warmates were just as fierce as any Scardian warrior and were accepted with respect and honor among their clans.

5.  Variin:  This kingdom is now ruled by House Vadalis and its Mark of Handling.  This kingdom is the bread basket of the region with rich, fertile fields for farming and a hardy grass unique to the region, called damrii.  It provides all the nutrition equines and bovines need and grants them certain other benefits such as increased stamina and virility.  The farmers here have also developed specialized techniques that further improve their crop yields.  House Vadalis earned the commonfolk’s respect by feeding them free of charge during the war’s final years.

6.  Forlais (for-LAY):  This kingdom is now ruled by the Mark of Passage.  This kingdom is known for its many fragrances, art and delicacies that are exported throughout the Known World.  House Orien is well-regarded by her people for transporting refugees away from harm toward the end of the Great War.  This nation is known for its music and other artistic endeavors (regarded as the finest in the world behind Aelvan work).  However, the people of this country are largely considered rude and arrogant.

7.  Aelvanlan:  Itself a kingdom once ruled by aelves, this land is now ruled by the Mark of Detection.  The members of House Medani acquitted themselves well with the people of this land by divining threats to the land and then developing strategies to mitigate the losses they would take.  The grateful people of the land were glad to accept them as rulers, especially since their former monarchy was known for casual cruelty against its subjects.  This land is known for its fine wood and the ships and other products derived from it.

8.  Ventir:  This kingdom is now ruled by the Mark of Healing with House Jorasco being one of the most highly regarded of the new monarchies (if not the highest).  The hinfolk of this House provided free healing services to all who needed it toward the end of the Great War and came to be much beloved by the commonfolk for this reason.  Of course, they took up charging for their services again afterwards, but now provide charity work for those who truly need it (woe follows those who cheat their way into these services).

9.  Parollen:  The Mark of Hospitality now rules this kingdom.  House Ghallanda provided aid and shelter to the refugees of the Great War before it ended and they are almost as well loved as House Jorasco.  Together with Jorasco and (to a greater extent) the lands of Vadalis, this kingdom provides enough food for all of the Twelve Kingdoms region and beyond (though Jorasco and Ghallanda lack the damrii grass of Vadalis).  These three kingdoms are known as the Golden Triangle and are a powerful political force.

10.  Vaheren:  This kingdom is now ruled by the Mark of Scribing.  Though technically held to be the least well-regarded of the new monarchies, House Sivis is adept at organizing and ruling the kingdom.  They 'leaked' the fact that it was their coded messages that assisted the other Houses in bringing the Great War to a halt.  Though they weren't known for their great deeds and they tend to be curt and business-like, they are polite and rule well.  The people have gladly accepted them.

11.  Faenris:  Like Scardia, this kingdom is nestled within the Skyforge Mountains.  Today, House Kundarak and its Mark of Warding rules the land with a stolid acceptance from the large men and women of the region for their assistance in warding them during their battles as the Great War drew to a close.  Though their population was greatly diminished, they did not suffer the losses of their Scardian cousins.  Recently, rich veins of ore have been found deep within the Skyforge Mountains and both kingdoms have gained much influence.

12.  Khazaar:  This kingdom is now ruled by the Mark of Storms.  Coming out of the foothills of the Skyforge Mountains, this kingdom is known for its ships and fine sailors and, most importantly, its skyships.  These flying marvels were developed during the final years of the Great War and were instrumental in turning the tides of battle to help bring a swift end to the conflict.  Since the members of House Lyrandar tend to be a bold and gregarious lot, they have earned the adoration of their people through both words and deeds.

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THE DRAGONMARKS

The first dragonmarks began manifesting over 3600 years ago (beginning with the Mark of Hospitality) with the final mark showing up around 1800 years ago (the Mark of Detection).  The Houses are not traced back to a single member bearing a given mark because certain marks manifested in specific regions amongst a few families. After several generations these families began to understand the significance of each individual mark and came to see certain marks as "true marks" that breed in a bloodline.

Aberrant marks result from intermingling these bloodlines.  Ultimately the true bloodlines would wage war on those with aberrant marks in a conflict known as the War of the Marks. The results of this conflict would unite the true bloodlines officially into the current Houses represented and lead to a founding of the council known as the Twelve. The Twelve would become responsible for codifying the traditions of the dragonmarked families and set forth the standards by which the current Houses are governed.

Eventually, Iskandar would solidify the Empire of Imladrys and the Houses signed the Treaty of Blood and Marks that would limit their political power in exchange for assurances of their continued economic strength. The treaty stood for over a thousand years and was designed to prevent members of any of the dragonmarked Houses from creating standing armies (excepting House Deneith to provide mercenary services), disallowing members of the Houses from marrying into the nobility, and insuring that no House could hold a grant of land.

By the time the Great War was in full swing, the Treaty of Blood and Marks would be set aside allowing House enclaves to maintain military forces.  Toward the end of the war several Houses had gained large land holdings of their own and many of the Houses were said to wield as much power as the nations themselves.  None of the kingdoms had enough power to enforce the terms or renegotiate the treaty and, by the end of the war, they were in no position to prevent the inevitable rise of the Houses to full power.

DragonmarkHouseRace(s)
ShadowsPhiarlan/ThuranniAelf/Shadow Aelf
HandlingVadalisHuman (very rarely Half-Aelf)
FindingTharashkHuman, Half-Orc (very rarely Orc)
SentinelDeneithHuman
MakingCannithHuman
DetectionMedaniHalf-Aelf (very rarely Human or Aelf)
HealingJorascoKender
HospitalityGhallandaKender
PassageOrienHuman
ScribingSivisGnome
StormsLyrandarHalf-Aelf (very rarely Human or Aelf)
WardingKundarakDwarf (any but Thaedar)
'Aberrant'KhorvaireAny (most are Human or Half-Aelvan)

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:33, Fri 08 July 2016.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 4 posts
Thu 19 May 2016
at 01:33
The Twelve Kingdoms
OUTSIDE THE TWELVE KINGDOMS REGION

Of course, the Twelve Kingdoms aren't the only powers in the world and they do not exist in a vacuum.  Other nations and city-states great and small exist on the continent of Illyrria.  Some are more powerful than any single nation in the Twelve Kingdoms region, others are strong and prosperous city-states whose power is still paltry compared to even the weakest of them.  But all are interesting in their own right.  In the end, the Twelve Kingdoms make up a small portion of the overall nations of Illyria.

The Shining Lands

Avalon:  This shining beacon of hope is considered the greatest kingdom of the Known World.  It is ruled by the Golden King (currently Ghaladan VI) who is advised by the Silver Seven, a council of seven paladins who govern his lands as barons.  The Order of the Celestial Knights controls all aspects of government (naturally the King and his council lead the Order) but they seldom abuse their authority as the Order rigorously tests their members and pray diligently for guidance in rooting out evil within their midst.

Theocracy of Empryea:  Although lead by the church of Lathander, Empryea is dedicated to all the Gods of Light.  The Grey Gods are accepted but must pay taxes to be represented in the region (some are still declared Apostate).  All of the Dark Gods are branded Apostate and their followers are eliminated when discovered within the land.  Other than the swift destruction of any worshiping the Dark Gods, the Theocracy rules with a light hand.  They are known for their exquisite religious art which they export.

Lyrna:  Ruled by the Sapphire Queen, the islands of Lyrna have few laws and light sentences for all but the most dire of crimes (rape, murder, treason, severe maiming).  It's people tend to be light-hearted and given to revels and lovemaking when not working.  Marriage in this land is the most open of all the Known World, with some boasting multiple wives and husbands in one home with dozens of children between them all.  The Sapphire sails of her ships are often a welcome sight and pirates avoid them as they enjoy Lyrna for the distractions it provides.

The Grey Realms

The Lord's Alliance: This collection of 9 city-states (all of them quite large and prosperous) are each ruled by their own councils, mayors, or kings but have banded together in mutual defense and trade pacts to stave off the expansion of their neighbors.  Collectively, they are one of the strongest regions in the Known World.  They have an ambassadorial council in Oakfield (a large town in the center of the Goldenfields) that convenes regularly to discuss matters of import and to make decisions for the greater good of the Alliance.

Avalar:  A sister-kingdom to Avalon, this land splintered from its brother after the War of Pure Flame erupted.  A new order known as the Templars of the White Flame gained prominence in the kingdom and threatened to bring down the Celestial Knights.  In time, terms of peace were brokered with Avalar gaining independence.  It is considered a 'grey' nation as the Templars are known for bringing Inquisition (including secretly) to any region they deem in need of cleansing and maintain strict control of their wizards (who are practically slaves).

Iquilona:  Historically an expansionistic kingdom, Iquilona was recently conquered by Grune Battleborn (called the Dragonheart by many).  The kingdom fell prey to the fanatical Cult of the Eyeless One (lead by a powerful undead beholder mage).  Grune (who hailed from Scardia) had been a slave, a gladiator, a raider and pirate, as well as a general and a great hero.  He rose in the ranks of the Iquilonan military, discovered the cult and destroyed it while leading his troops in a campaign to overthrow the Mad King.  He married the princess soon after.

Iron Islands:  The sea raiders of the Iron Islands are feared throughout the Known World for their devastating attacks.  They freely take slaves (especially 'salt-wives') and have no qualms about killing any who oppose them.  They aren't labeled as a 'dark kingdom' because they are usually willing to spare those who simply give them what they want and their slaves are well treated if they are compliant.  The Iron Islands are virtually bereft of resources so raiding is largely a necessity.  They worship the Drowned God.

The Warlands:  This collection of small kingdoms (really simple baronies but most of the leaders here style themselves kings/queens anyway) is a hotbed of warring leaders who all seek to overtake the others and form a proper kingdom.  In many ways it is a smaller version of the Great War and most of the kings here are from the deposed families of that conflict.  These lands are touted as a prime example of why the royal families needed to be overthrown.  The major powers of Illyria have largely decided to leave them alone for the time being.

Vaunthys: Once a ‘shining land’ with a strong monarchy and patriotic nobles and commonfolk alike, Vaunthys has become a fractured region after the loss of their last great king followed by the loss of his daughter and the Crown Prince.  King Admar died in battle against a dragon during a hunt.  A few years later his daughter Aunra (called the Steel Regent for her stalwart strength that kept the kingdom together after Admar’s death) was visiting the port city Mindor with the 12-year old Prince Virinor when disaster struck.

A dark spell took the lives of every child in the city.  During the investigation spearheaded by the Steel Regent, a mysterious mist crept over the city...which disappeared just as dawn broke over the land.  The city, its remaining inhabitants and the Steel Regent were never seen again.  Today, several factions have divided up the once great kingdom and vie for supremacy to take the Oaken Throne.  Though the self-styled King Angmar Oaksilver sits upon the throne, he has little power to exert full control over the land.

The Dark Kingdoms

Kaaz'raac'thuul:  This nightmarish land is ruled by a fallen paladin who somehow managed to become a half-demon (a marquis cambion, in fact) and a quasi-deity.  Many of the people of this land have become so warped that thinking in terms of good and evil is impossible for them.  Acting in what most would consider a horrendous manner is not only normal, but many of the people of this land simply cannot fathom any other way of behaving.  The land is ruled by Kaaz'rac'thuul, his inner circle (known as the Boneheart) and their summoned demons.

Kaargath:  Once a protectorate of the Empire of Imladrys, Kaargath was able to break free during the Great War.  It participated in the war in a bid for the crown, but failed miserably.  Duke Kaargath XVIII is one of 13 true-born vampires (the other 12 are scattered throughout the Known World) and has repeatedly faked his death and regained the throne by being 'born' into the royal family again.  His status as a vampire has been discovered, however, and this ploy is no longer needed.  His aristocracy is mostly intelligent undead as is much of his vast army.

Nightland:  This name has been corrupted over the centuries from Knightland.  It was once a barony to a great and noble hearted paladin who fell from grace and caused the Cataclysm.  Lord Soth became the first (and most powerful) deathknight in the world.  He failed to prevent the Cataclysm because of his own selfishness, jealousy and pride and the land he ruled became as dark and evil as he did.  Today he resides in Daargard Keep sitting upon his throne while 13 banshees wail his failures and his 18 fallen Celestial Knights stand guard throughout.

Malgrys:  Not truly a proper kingdom as rulership constantly changes hands, Malgrys is a monster infested land.  In any given year there may be as many as two dozen 'kings/queens' who claim title over the region.  The most successful groups have rarely retained power for more than a year.  Explorers, adventurers and mercenaries have established that hundreds of deepspawn riddle the area.  The learned speculate that they were seeded there purposely, though for what reason no one knows.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:18, Sun 10 July 2016.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 5 posts
Thu 19 May 2016
at 02:07
The Twelve Kingdoms
DEMIHUMAN REGIONS OF THE KNOWN WORLD

Note:  The Twelve Kingdoms ruled by Aelves, Dwarves, Hinfolk, and Half-Aelves are not considered demihuman kingdoms (they are too cosmopolitan for that).  The regions discussed here are at least 75% inhabited by members of the appropriate race.  There are seven dwarven kingdoms (called Thanes), four aelvan kingdoms (called Coronals), and 2 hobbit kingdoms (called High Shires).  There are others, including the drow theocracy of Daemok'azkra'thrk (normally referred to as Daemok'ra by the learned) and the undersea kingdom of Myrton.

The Dwarven Thanes

The seven dwarven Thanes nominally fall under the rulership of their Highthane, Torgar Thunderhammer (called the Granite King by many as the collective holds of the dwarves are often referred to as the Granite Kingdoms).  In truth, he only truly rules Morduin as the other six thanes are largely independent (and dwarven politics can be deadly).  Still, when threatened the dwarven thanes tend to band together for the greater good of their peoples.  The elevation of House Kundarak has thrown the dwarven thanes into an uproar.

The seven thanes are all said to be descended from the Stonesons (the collective name for the first seven dwarves created by Moradin).  Their names were Mor, Nordmar, Thordun, Duum, Kalshod, Heimdar, and Grymmdol.  The dwarves believe that Moradin made each son from gold, silver, copper, granite, mythryl, diamond and adamantite (the bones of the earth as they call it).  Whatever the case, each of their bloodlines exist to this day in the thanes that rule the dwarven people (dwarven lorekeeping is extremely precise).

Morduin (Hylar):  Ruled directly by Clan Thunderhammer, Morduin is the largest dwarven hold in the Known World.  Over 100,000 dwarves reside in the massive mountain complex with what seems an endless supply of mineral wealth.  They fish the Blackwater (itself a lake connected to the Nightsea, tend rothe herds, and cultivate various fungi for food (in addition to importing what they want).  It is supported by many dwarven thaigs (outposts and cities) throughout the Skyforge Mountains.  Altogether over 250,000 dwarves live in the region.

Neidmaar (Neidar):  Ruled by Clan Foehammer, this city is lead by the aggressive thane Albrik and his equally aggressive council.  More than the other thanedoms, Neidmaar is homogenous in its rulership with less backstabbing politics.  This is due to the fact that they once warred against their own kin (seeing themselves as being treated with disrespect...which was largely true).  As a result, Foehammer is less likely to aid the other thanedoms after they lost the war.  Neidmaar was too strong to overthrow, much to the chagrin of the other thanes.

Thorduin (Einar):  Ruled by Clan Battlehammer, the dwarves of Thorduin and their thane Bruennor are held up as the ideal dwarves for their doughty builds, bulldog determination, pious hearts, unwavering loyalty, and fearlessness in battle.  They have recently surpassed Morduin in both economic and political strength...but the Highthane does not fear disloyalty from this clan as they are staunch allies and have shed blood in battle for each other.  Thorduin's economy is based on mythryl and the newly discovered veins of platinum and amethysts deep in their mines.

Duumthok (Klar):  Ruled by Clan Ironheart, the dwarves of Duumthok mostly live on the surface.  As such, their primary concern is trade although they also mine the mountains.  Lead by the doughty and taciturn Vargal Ironheart, the dwarves of Duumthok have continued the long-standing tradition of building fortifications throughout the mountains wherever the dwarves find themselves.  These holdfasts are used by them and their allies in times of need (most can be destroyed to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands).

Kalshod (Daergar):  Ruled by Clan Deepforge, Kalshod is a city of grey dwarves governed by the iron fist of Thane Azagok (who is, in fact, a durzagon).  A thanedom obviously tending toward evil, Kalshod's ruling council is still intelligent enough not to overstep its bounds.  They live deeper in the earth than most dwarves and mine adamantite ore, mostly using a degenerate branch of their city (Clan Derro) as slave labor.  Kalshod is used as a go-between for the various dwarven thanedoms and the drow of Daemok'azkra'thrk.

Heimdar (Theiwar):  Ruled by Clan Stoneshield, Heimdar's thane is the pious Barundar Stoneshield.  In general, all dwarves practice a kind of practical spirituality, but the dwarves of Heimdar are known for their religious devotion.  Other than this, Heimdar is a standard dwarven hold with an economy based on its mining operations.  However, they have recently begun to be plagued by strange creatures from the deepest recesses of the Underdark.  These creatures appear to be undead but attempts at turning them always fail.

Grymmdol (Zhakar):  Ruled by Clan Stonecrusher, the wily thane Dolgan Stonecrusher has seen his hold grow in prestige.  This is because they quarry a particularly strong stone called thundim that is almost as hard as steel.  It was recently discovered that when crushed and balanced with the proper alchemical mixture, this stone becomes harder still once it solidifies.  Unusually high walls and towers can be built with this concoction as it holds the weight easily (even more so when using a metal 'skeleton' within).



The Elven Coronals

The four coronals of the aelves all dwell in separate forests in the Known World.  At one time one vast forest covered all the land.  This has not been true for many millennia, however, and many aelves (especially the solars) despair because of this.  Long ago they were a unified people in the ancient Coronal of Aelviirnryss.  But the encroachment of humans, the depredations of monsters, and certain global catastrophes changed things.  Schisms were created on how to best deal with these changes and consensus was rarely reached.  They are a splintered people today.

Note also that certain aelves used High Magic to alter their forms.  Many solar aelves became the avariel (winged aelves), lunars became lythari (a type of lycan), while forest aelves elected to become sea aelves.  None of these have formed a coronal of their own (though some have established what could be considered city-states).  These groups (along with the drow) are not considered aelvan realms in their own right.  The star aelves did not alter their forms in this manner (they did something far more incredible).

Aeralann:  This secret land is ruled by the few Star Aelves that reside in Aeden.  Few even among the other aelves know where the valley that holds this small realm is located.  It is said that the magic protecting its secrets rivals that of the gods themselves.  Given that no one has reported finding Aeralann in several millennia, these rumors may not be far from the truth.  Most believe the existence of the Star Aelves to be a myth.  The other aelvan races know better but even they do not fully understand their cousins.

Faelyriis:  Ruled by the Solar Aelves, this Coronal amidst the trees of the Exalted Forest is known for its majestic towers that seem to grow out of the forest more than dwell within it.  Its spires are nearly as tall as many of the great starwood trees that comprise much of the region.  The Solar Aelves prefer to build cities much like humans, but with more artistry than is commonly found among them and with far more concern for the landscape.  Somehow, though, their cities seem to reflect their arrogant natures.

Quinliiryss:  This Lunar Aelf kingdom reflects their natures perfectly.  Using their Aelvan High Magic, the Lunar Aelves have shaped the majestic starwood trees to suit their purposes.  Looking up into the canopy of the trees one sees the immense beauty their magic has wrought.  Soaring branch-bridges connecting trees to beautifully sculpted balconies and leafy canopy-ceilings formed around artistically designed homes.  Beholding these cities has brought some to tears for their artistry (this assumes, of course, the aelves allow their homes to be seen).

Sylvyriis:  Unlike their cousins, the Sylvan Aelves prefer to live in as perfect harmony with nature as they can.  Like the Lunar Aelves, they use High Magic to shape their trees into the forms they need, but they are virtually undetectable by anyone unfamiliar with their terrain.  The trees, branches and canopies of their forest home simply do not appear to be any different from normal terrain to the untrained eye.  Part of this is because these aelves live inside their trees (their High Magic allows the trees to continue to prosper despite their residency).

Khorvar:  Although not actually a Coronal, this small country is the purview of several Half- Aelvan clans (mostly descended from Lunars).  Here any Half-Aelf is considered a full citizen, regardless of lineage, and is accorded all the rights and responsibilities of their nation.  They have formed a democratically elected Republic in which all citizens (Half-Aelvan or otherwise) has a say in who leads their people and what laws are passed.  In reality, however, a group of 9 Half-Aelvan clans controls much of the government and economy (though they rule wisely).



The High Shires

The High Shires are among the most peaceful, pastoral lands in the Known World.  They tend to go a century or more without any major conflicts as most have learned to leave them in peace.  This is because the Shires provide a great deal of food and because the hinfolk are known to have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of miles of tunnels beneath their two nations.  Called the Warrens, these tunnels have served to protect the smallfolk from invaders...and provided near limitless points from which to harry them.

Alaron:  Alaron qualifies as a bread basket with rolling hills and pastoral farms dominating the countryside.  Here the hinfolk grow all manner of things from fruits and vegetables to grains, corn, and exotic tobaccos.  They herd sheep and  reelo (a type of miniature buffalo).  Anyone who assumes the hin are weak, should know that the people of both Alaron and Yodell have successfully (and thoroughly) fended off numerous attacks from aggressive neighbors.  House Jorasco had its genesis here.

Yodell:  This rugged but pastoral land is firmly nestled in the Yondal Mountains and many rivers have their beginnings here (Yodell is likely the most abundant source of fresh water in the Known World).  The hinfolk breed (and ride) rams as a source of food, commerce, and defense.  They grow and/or produce a variety of foods (most of which aren't exported) and cheeses and have perfected a confection that has become extremely popular throughout the Known World  (chocolate).  House Ghallanda had its genesis here.



Other Demihuman Kingdoms

Sivinton Confederation:  Not a true kingdom, the dragonmark of House Sivis was not only one of the first marks to appear, but it was also the most prolific by appearing amongst numerous gnomish clans.  They quickly managed to contact one another and formed a Confederation of communities spread throughout the Known World.  United in common cause, the gnomes of the Known World have known little hardship compared to other races and have spread everywhere (as have the hinfolk).  They are a 'hidden power' of Aeden.

Daemok'azkra'thrk:  Believed to be the largest drow city in the Known World, the Demon City (as called by some) is controlled by a council of demon priests and priestesses (though the priestesses retain the most power).  Over 100,000 drow and their slaves call the caverns of this city home.  It is divided into 27 wards, each dominated by a different demon lord/prince's clergy (though there are over 100 such demon lords/princes worshipped here).  The 27 greatest temples horde the power in the city.

Myrton:  Perhaps the greatest kingdom in all of the Known World (and also largely unknown by anyone), Myrton has holdings throughout all of the oceans on the planet.  A union composed of merfolk, aventi, tritons, darfellan, and other non-evil species, this mighty kingdom can exert its influence both beneath the waves and above them (though it has little to do with the surface).  Myrton is responsible for much of the safety of the coasts throughout the Known World as they curtail the activities of evil sea creatures (though not necessarily to aid the surface world).

Gruunthark:  The largest island in the Known World, Gruunthark is dominated by a race called the Kur’ruuk (themselves commanded by the Kur’ruuk’hai).  The Kur’ruuk stand 6ft tall at a minimum (upwards to 7 1/2ft) with horns that run from their brow to the back of the head.  The Kur’ruuk’hai tower over their charges at 10-12ft tall with much larger horns.  They are a warrior culture with extremely lawful tendencies that seek to bring all other cultures under the rule of the Ur’ruuk (their canonized philosophy).

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:11, Thu 19 May 2016.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 6 posts
Thu 19 May 2016
at 02:11
The Twelve Kingdoms
OTHER KINGDOMS OF THE KNOWN WORLD

Avangis:  Avangis is a strange realm in that is surrounds Tyrann on all sides.  The land is the most verdant in the Known World with dense tropical foliage, beautiful plumed avians, herds of animals with beautiful coats of fur, etc.  Avangis teams with life on a scale unheard of even by the aelves of the world.  Oddly enough, few have had contact with any denizens of the region.  People who go in almost invariably end up coming back out close the their entrance point with no contact with intelligent life.  It is said that a powerful angelic being flies the skies within.

Tyrann:  This mysterious land is rumored to be a horrific wasteland of salt flats, desert, ash, silt deposits and worse.  History reports that it was once a beautiful land destroyed by ravaging magic, but few, if any, know the truth.  What is known is that the region is actively volcanic and highly dangerous for all but the strongest of individuals.  Few who have ever made it into the region have ever returned.  None are known to have ever gone back.  It is rumored that the greatest dragon in all the world dwells within.

The White Kingdom:  Also known as the Wight Kingdom (and perhaps bastardized from that name), this region exists far to the north where no man lives.  Here the dreaded draugr (white walkers) dwell in their frigid kingdom preying on the wildmen who live north of the Icewall.  The draugr are seldom seen en masse (typically happening every 10 millennia apart) but when they come, deepwinter follows with them.  The Icewall was built as much to defend against them as against the wildmen beyond the wall.

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BEYOND THE KNOWN WORLD

The continent of Illyria is massive and holds lands largely unknown to the people of the Known World.  Of course, the maesters, aelves, and many other learned individuals know something of the lands across the continent, but even their knowledge is lacking in some regards.  From the Wailing Land to the lands of the Far West, down the the Scorched Lands until one reaches the Utter South, to the rumored islands that riddle the Seven Golden Seas, strange and wondrous lands abound.

The Wailing Land:  Also called the Mournland, this region is the site of a cataclysmic event that destroyed a vast swath of Illyria.  In fact, the continent is named for the great Illyrian Empire that existed here.  Said to be ruled by a coalition of empires between aelves, dwarves, men and dragons, the Illyrian Empire stretched for thousands of miles in all directions.  The Illyrians had strange technologies and titanic magicks at their command but were a largely peaceful peoples who sought only to increase their knowledge of the multiverse.

Until they destroyed themselves in what became known as the Wailing Blasphemy.  Sages believe that, in their hubris, the people sought to tie their spirits with those of timeless beings of immense power.  The maesters cite evidence found in ancient texts in their possession that seem to indicate some wanting to tie their souls with those of the gods, planar beings and even entities of the Far Realm.  Dragons and aelves deny such accusations vehemently (something that causes men and dwarves to believe the sages all the more).

No one truly knows what happened, but today the entire region that was once Illyria is now shrouded in thick grey smoke that chokes those within and dust particles blow in the constant wailing winds of the region.  Strange magical effects abound and magick is said to twist into unpredictable effects.  Those who have gone in and returned report that the Wailing Land actively works to slay intruders and has an oppressive effect on one’s mental and emotional state.  Fiendish and undead creatures are the least of the foes that one may encounter here.

Malcraea:  The Malcraean people once controlled much of the planet (either directly or through exacting tribute).  Their power was derived from ancient agreements with various gods and planar beings who agreed to aid them in exchange for souls they extracted from their victims.  The power of the Malcraeans has long since been broken, but from time to time a member of the royal bloodline manages to surface with the ability to call upon these ancient allies.  Descendants of these people still live on the isle of Malcraea.

Idun:  This fabled island is rumored to be a paradise inhabited by a race of beings whose beauty is otherworldly.  Some believe them to be aelves, others the first ogres, while some believe them to be members of the Sovereign Host who chose to live in Aeden rather than the Heavens.  Still others believe them to be simple humans who are untouched by age, illness or infirmity with knowledge and magic beyond anything in the Known World.  Most believe this mysterious place to be no more than a myth...a story meant to show what could be in a perfect world.

Abrahn:  The people of this region worship the ‘One True God’ they call ASAK (All Seeing All Knowing).  The desert they dwell in possesses an unusual amount of oases they believe to be blessings from their deity.  Their capital city of Canaas is lush with plant and animal life and is capable of supporting all of its indigenous people (again a blessing, they believe).  There are many sects to their deity, several of which have become more militant in nature.  They are mostly a peaceful people, but certain groups within their culture have become antagonistic.

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:51, Thu 19 May 2016.