Background Information.   Posted by Dungeon Master.Group: 0
Dungeon Master
 GM, 1 post
Sun 24 Feb 2019
at 19:06
Background Information
It is my intention to slowly build up the background of this world, rather than to be stuck pulling it all together at once.  So, please look forward to updates and changes over time.

The information in this thread represents shared character knowledge.  All of it will be true from a certain perspective, but there may also be misunderstandings and deliberate deceptions embedded in this information.

This message was last edited by the GM at 06:44, Tue 26 Feb 2019.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 9 posts
Mon 25 Feb 2019
at 07:03
The Expedition
After nearly a decade of heavy fighting, the Gorathian War is finally over with the signing of the Treaty of Kenton.  Each side suffered tremendous losses of lives and treasure and attitudes on each side is frayed to say the least.  Still, territories have been grudgingly ceded by the losing powers, and the forces of each opposing side has formally retreated to newly established borders for the most part.  A few pockets of resistance remain, but it would seem that they too will be settled before too long.

So it has come to pass that the County of Weststone has been returned to the Kingdom of Umlath after many years of enemy occupation.  Situated largely in an isolated valley surrounded by the impassable Ironfang Mountains, the County itself had traditionally been a small community.  Now, it is devoid completely of any known residents.  Still, it is a great prize for it provides access and control over one of the more productive mithril mines on the entire continent.

Knowing the treachery of his enemies, King Bram III of Umlath has commissioned an expedition to explore and to destroy any remaining threats to securing His control over the County.  You and your band have been charged with this mission.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:57, Sat 04 Apr.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 10 posts
Mon 25 Feb 2019
at 17:38
County of Weststone
Prior to its seizure in the Gorathian War, the County of Weststone had been part of the Kingdom of Umlath for centuries.  The County consists largely of the lush and flat Valley of Erastat surrounded by the impassable Ironfang Mountains on all sides along with nearby small town of Two Peoples and the Immanak Toll Gate outside of the valley and its nearby lands.  The valley itself has stony soil and was sparsely populated by farmers, tradesman and the miners that worked the several productive mithril mines at the foot of the northern wall of the Ironfang Mountains.  Although the seat of government is at Castle Weststone in the middle of the valley, Two Peoples was the economic center of the County and housed a small garrison of soldiers for the County and who also served to help reinforce the royal tollkeepers at the Immanak Toll Gate on the Longwinding Road.

Many generations of the Remon family has been masters of the County since its incorporation in the Kingdom of Umlath.  Castle Weststone serves as their ancestral home, although it is no more than a pair of three storied keeps with an adjacent mansion.  The Remon family are known to be a family of able warriors and sly tacticians, and have had more than their fair share of members in the King's War Council, especially considering the small size of their holdings.  In fact, the late Count Farock had died trying to fend off the invading Gorathian army at the Dorim Pass.  Their service has been especially appreciated by the current King Bram III as well as His father King Bram II.  In recent years, the Remon family has typically stayed one half of the year in Castle Weststone and one half at the Royal Court.  The current Count Jakaren, being only twenty summers old, is viewed as a favored nephew by the King and served as His Majesty's personal scribe during the war.

The County was taken as a early prize by the opposing forces in the Gorathian War.  With peace seemingly at hand, it has been begrudgingly returned.  Much of the actual state of the County is not known.  Two Peoples still stands as a small town, but with the large losses of life on both sides of the conflict, it is likely to be a much smaller town.  The impact has likely spread to the surrounding lands as well, and the Immanak Toll Gate was, of course, abandoned during the conflict.  As for the valley, even less is known.  No one has returned to see in what state it has been left.  When the County was first captured, its population largely fled along the Longwinding Road to the neighboring County of Windham, which had a much larger garrison of soldiers and a large castle with defensive battlements.

It is expected that the retreating enemy forces probably took all that they could carry with them at a minimum.  With the war being as bitter as it was, it is more than likely that they left various traps and dangers behind for the Umlathians to discover as they seek to reclaim the Valley of Erastat.

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:19, Sat 04 Apr.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 11 posts
Tue 26 Feb 2019
at 18:55
Map of the County of Weststone

+++++++++++++++++++++++ ffffffffffffffffffffffmmmmm......wwwwwwwwwsssssssssssss
+ County of Weststone + fffffffffffffffffffffmmmmm.....wwwwERONwwwwwssssEBONsss
+  Kingdom of Umlath  + ffffffffffffffffffffmmmmmmm....wwwwwLAKEwwwwwssSWAMPsss
+ f forest            + ffffDERPINESEffffffffffmmmmm....wwwwwwwwwwwwwwssssssss.
+ m mountains         + fffffEMPIREffffffffffmmmmmm.........wwwwwwwsssssssss...
+ r roads             + fffffffffffffffffffmmmmmmmmmm...........wwwwsssss......
+ s swamp             + fffffffffffffffmmmmIRONFANGmmmmmm....mmw...wwssss......
+ w water             + ffffffffffffffffmmmMOUNTAINSmmmmmmmmmmmmw.....ssmmmmmmm
+++++++++++++++++++++++ ffffffffffffffmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....www....mmmmfffff

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:34, Sat 04 Apr.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 14 posts
Fri 29 Mar 2019
at 17:43
The Road to Westone
The road to Westone starts from Castle Aerie in the County of Windham.  The castle is home to the DuMonshak family and renowned for the various aeries from which a dozen full companies of Umlathian griffonriders hail.  It along with the Nigh North Tower are the closest battlements from Westone within the Kingdom of Umlath.  As such, it served a major role in helping to repel a series attacks after the Nigh North Tower was taken in the Gorathian War.  The roads leading north from the castle are therefore understandably in bad shape.

Heading north from Castle Aerie, the large town of Eagles Landing sits are the junction of roads that eventually led to the Derpinese Empire and to the County of Westone and then to the Kingdom of Vespin beyond.  The large town was known as a place for shrewd traders to barter their various wares from the three nations with their very different cultures.  The peace was kept by the town watch along with a company of Umlathian griffonriders that rotate into and out of the garrison there on a regular basis from Castle Aerie.  The town is also known for its large, open-air temple dedicated to Phaulkon.

The Longwinding Road starts in Eagles Landing and eventually runs through much of the Kingdom of Vespin.  As a major trade thoroughway, it had been well-patrolled and well-maintained in peaceful times.  However, the ever rising nature of the Nomac Fen means that one part of it is tough to navigate.  The marsh is home to a various hostile creatures who do not take kindly to travelers trespassing through their territory.  When regular patrols were available, reports of attacks were few and far between.  But those have yet to be re-established with the end of the war.

The Immanak Tollgate marks the end of the most dangerous section of the Longwinding Road.  The gate itself is a large wooden structure standing some five hundred yards long, rising out of the one end of a marsh.  It is strategically placed as to prevent would-be swindlers from circumnavigating the gate to avoid the toll that pays for the heavy upkeep of the road.  The wooden doors that hold the gate are said to magically enchanted to thwart it from assault or other attempts to open it without the consent of the gatehouse's occupants.

Several miles after the tollgate, the road meanders through hilly pastureland and fields of grain.  This area serves as the agricultural center of the County of Westone, as the land within the valley proper is rocky and mostly barren.  Many family farms had lined the road, although their status is uncertain nowadays.

The small town of Two Peoples sits near the edge of the Sunless Woods along the Longwinding Road, which continues to go east.  Meanwhile, a second road going north leads to Erastat Valley.  Two Peoples has a number of surprisingly popular inns for a small town.  This is probably attributable to the popularity of locally brewed Moradin's Firewater, a dark stout drink not for the faint of heart.  The town is (or maybe was) the home of the renowned mage Parsnick the Humble who was known to be particularly fond of the local brew.  The whereabouts of Parsnick has been unknown since the start of the Gorathian War.

The Sunless Woods gets its name from the fact that the forest floor lies in complete darkness even on the brightest days on account of the thick overlapping canopy that blocks out the sun in this ancient wood.  Many of the enormous trees here have lived thousands of years and are said to be haunted by guardian spirits.  The largest of the trees stand nearly a thousand feet tall and over one hundred feet wide.  All manners of predators stalk the woods, taking advantage of the darkness.  Fortunately, the road is a path cleared of the largest trees long ago, although lesser trees have grown increasingly closer as the forest seeks to reclaim the path since.

The Ironfang Mountains that surround Erastat Valley are impenetratable on account of their height, steepness, erratic pattern and razor sharp rocks composition.  Through them though, there is one known path--Dorim Pass, a narrow ascending footway that runs often no more than three feet wide between sheer rock walls and/or steep drops.  The meandering footway twists and turns into the Ironfang Mountains until it reaches the labyrinth in Dorim Pass.  The labyrinth with their narrow and confusing paths is said to allow just a few defenders to hold off entire armies.  The rumors are probably an exaggeration, it was here that the late Count of Westone attempted to hold off the invading Derpinese Army but died.  The other side of Dorim Pass end in a long staircase with wide steeps that alternately runs east and west to the valley floor.

The road in the valley is paved with worn rocks hewn from Ironfang Mountains and slowly finds its way from Dorim Pass to Castle Westone and to mithril mines to the north.  Small hills of rocky soil with little vegetation line the valley floor, although some people have managed to eek out a meager sustenance, herding a breed of hearty goats that somehow graze off the land.  The goats are scattered but ubiquitous there.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:25, Sat 04 Apr.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 15 posts
Sat 30 Mar 2019
at 18:51
The Gorathian War
Historians will continue to argue about the root causes of and the series of escalating events that led to the Gorathian War for ages to come, but certain facts are clear even now.  For decades, the human-centric Derpinese Empire and later together with its vassal states, along with the orcish Markgar Horde, had relentlessly attacked, razed and absorbed over thirty smalller human and demihuman territories with relative ease.  Truthfully, the age-old racial rivalries meant that these smaller territories were never well organized and often stood alone against their larger foe.

This ended with the formation of the Alliance.  Fearing the human-centric policies and the chaos of the Horde, the multi-racial Kingdoms of Umlath, Vespin and Woose and the dozen smaller city-states joined together as the Alliance around thirty years ago.  At first, the Markgar continued to attack and raid, but the combined might of the Alliance quickly proved to much for the Horde and dealt a seemingly decisive blow against the Horde at the Battle of Rastings.  The Derpinese Empire was unimpressed and tried its own campaign against Freroz--a smaller halfling city-state in the Alliance.  The Alliance nearly held firm and the three larger kingdoms brought their collective might to drive back the Derpinese.  It would have seemed that the shift in balance of power would finally put a stop to the Empire’s expansion across the Hermet continent.

Balance of power never lasts.  Twelve years ago, the Gorathians arrived on the western shores of the Hermet from their island kingdom around the Drowning Sea.  With their fell magic, the demon-masked Gorathians raided from their ships and managed to gain a strong foothold on Hermet at various important deepwater ports.  For a while, it seemed that all the people of Hermet could unite against a common cause.  But, that was not to be, as the human ambassadors from Gorathia were able to forge an alliance with the Derpinese Empire, who saw this as an opportunity to break their stalemate with the Alliance.

A short time later, war erupted across the continent with the Gorathians pressing forward from their footholds and attacking any navigable port throughout Hermet.  The Alliance waned against the endless number of soldiers that the Derpinese Empire managed to marshal and the dark magics of the Gorathians who used necromancy and other arts to multiply their numbers many fold.  The Alliance lost important holdings throughout, such as the County of Westone in Umlath.  The situation for the Alliance seemed quite dire.

Then, something happened six months ago.  It is said that there may have been a betrayal on the part of the Gorathians, that the Markgar Horde might have struck deep into Derpinese territory or that the internal politics within the Empire changed.  Rumors abound about the different events.  But, suddenly, the Derpinese Empire sent an emissary to propose terms of peace.  More surprisingly, they were willing to cede a number of territories taken during the war back to the Alliance.  The Alliance were quick to accept and then to turn their attention to the Gorathians.

The Gorathians proved to be a tenacious enemy even without the Derpinese Empire.  The combination of their exotic fighting arts and seemingly unbridled arcane power allowed them to hold onto their holdings.  In addition, their mastery of the sea made them an evasive opponent.  Still, with the combined might of the Allilance, they were able to force a decisive battle at Urmering.  The outcome was vast losses on both sides, enough to eradicate much of the Gorathian threat.  There is no formal peace, but the Gorathians have been driven back to their few strongholds in the port cities of Hermet, which are being sieged day and night.  In the view of the Alliance high command, it is only a matter of time before the final Gorathian holding fall.  This is the current state of the war.  It is almost in the past....

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:29, Sat 04 Apr.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 16 posts
Tue 2 Apr 2019
at 07:07
The People of Umlath
Umlath has its origins as a network of farming communities, and its current population still very much reflect that with the vast majority of people working the land and only smaller towns and villages scattered throughout the kingdom.  Even the capital city of Panrok is only a small city in comparison to others on the continent of Hermet.  There is much pride of this fact, especially among the Umlathian rural communities who view themselves as the hardworking backbone to the kingdom.  On the whole, they are a somber and industrious people with little patience for what they may see as frivolous or trivial things.

Each farming community is largely self sufficient and tend to have little contact outside.  As such, they tend to be provincial and proud of their shared heritage in the community, which sometimes may be racial or taken from bordering nations.  The refugees from earlier wars have not directly impacted them much, and they can be wary of outsiders and foreign influences.  Arcane magic is also a rare sight for these largely farming and logging communities, as it is of limited use to their trades.

The urban areas of Umlath are different.  Umlath is perhaps the most diverse of all the nations on the continent.  In aggregate, no one population can claim dominance, although the races of dwarves, elves and half-elves are the most common with the half-elves holding a plurality.  There are also vibrant communities of halflings everywhere, and most larger towns and the small cities have neighborhoods of other races, such as gnomes, half-orcs and humans.  There are even thriving pockets of lizardmen, minotaurs and other exotic races in Panrok.  This diversity has made the population generally accepting and tolerant along racial lines.

Instead, the urban dwellers of Umlath are divided among the older settlers and newer refugees.  The older settlers tend to be part of the aristocracy or wealthy merchants.  They know their place in the world and act the part.  The newer refugees are mostly poor, having been uprooted from their lands.  Even those who had managed to escape with some of their wealth has diminished greatly by the taxing war.  The older settlers have been less than gracious with the newcomers as their numbers grew.  While the older settlers can be learned and worldly, but the recent war has made them especially miserly in their dealings with the needy.

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:36, Sat 04 Apr.