The Grand Duchy of Karameikos.   Posted by (all groups).Group: public
(all groups)
Thu 8 Dec 2005
at 17:18
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:18, Thu 08 Dec 2005.

 GM, 10 posts
 Game Dungeon Mistress
Wed 17 Nov 2004
at 02:32
What You Know

You are young adventurers in the land of Karameikos, setting out to seek fame and fortune.  Karameikos is a great, wide, young nation; a country of hills and mountains to the north, of verdant woodland, forest, and rolling farmland to the south.  There are ample opportunities for adventure in this vast country, and you have left your homes to prove yourselves.

If you are a human character -- a fighter, cleric, magic-user, or thief -- you were born in one of the small towns on the Duke's Road, the trade route that runs from the far-distant capital of Specularum to the south into the northern Altan Tepes mountains and beyond.  Just before you left, your tutor -- the kindly soul who first taught you the rudiments of skill in your chosen career --had a few last words of wisdom for you, and wished you good luck and good fellow
ship on your journey.  Taking the equipment you needed and the little money you had, you set out on a cool, crisp early autumn dawn to see what your destiny might bring.

If you are a halfling, you have come from a small community of the little folk along the Duke's Road, where you have lived with humans.  Halflings are curious creatures, and while hot food (lots of it!) and a good fire in the hearth are pleasures to return home to, something tells you that a young halfling should be a bit more ambitious.  This shocked some of the more sedate souls in your family, but you were not to be deterred.  You've chosen to seek your fortune along the road, and set off to see who may have need of your skills!

If you are an elf, you have traveled some way from your clan and home.  From the cool, leafy tree-houses of your people, in the southeastern Karameikan forests and woodlands, you have trekked.  You have chosen to head for the bustling towns and cities of the human folk to see what excitement and adventures may be found there.  With a sheathed sword and a small book of magic, you bring your skills as a warrior and wizard with you.  The final advice of the old elf who taught you understanding of steel and magic is still in your ears, and you hope that you have learned well what he taught you!

If you are a dwarf, you have grown tired of the tradition and regular habits
of your clan in their subterranean homes in the foothills west of the Shutturgal
River.  You have many happy memories of your home, where gnomes and dwarves share their work and laughter, but you feel wanderlust.  Such is the way of many young dwarves.  After traveling, most dwarves return to their homes, but they feel the same incurable desire to see something of the great world beyond their heartland as you do.  The grumpy old dwarf who taught you how to use a weapon and to feel comfortable in armor, had good advice for you, and you think this over as your tired feet trudge along the road.

[More local information will be forthcoming for those who want it to help them flesh out their characters.]
 GM, 11 posts
 Game Dungeon Mistress
Wed 17 Nov 2004
at 02:41
This is the land's history, as known to peoples of Karameikos.  The first part of the history is recorded in an epic work of poetry of the Traldar (Traladara) people, "The Song of King Halav".  This is an ancient work maintained by generations bards before finally being committed to writing about six-hundred years ago.

The Song of King Halav
In ancient times, the land now called Karameikos was the forest homeland of the Traldar, men and women so favored by the Immortals and allowed to live in these beautiful lands.

The Immortals let the Traldar live happy, simple lives.  The Traldar fished and hunted; the men spent most of their time sporting with one another and offering praise to the Immortals.

But the Immortals knew that the happiness of the Traldar was to end.  Far to the west, a race of evil beast-men was preparing to march through the easterly lands in search of booty, prisoners, and more hospitable homelands.

These beast-men had their own Immortal sponsors equal in might to the patrons of the Traldar, so only victory between man and beast-man would determine the fate of the two races.

The Immortals descended to Lavv, a Traldar village, to find clever youths and give them secrets they could use to defeat the beast-men.

They visited Halav Red-Hair, a maker of stone knives, and taught him to forge weapons and armor of bronze.  They also taught him the art of the sword and the strategy of warfare.

They visited Petra, a maker of pottery, and taught her art of the bow, the craft of medicine, the use of the potter's wheel, the spinning of flax, and the use of the loom.

They visited Zirchev, a huntsman, and taught him how to tame and ride and fight
from horses, how to train dogs to hunt for their masters, how to walk silent as the cat, swim as the fish, and see as the hawk.

Halav, Petra, and Zirchev told the people of Lavv of what the beast-men intended.  The king laughed and tried to drive the trio from Lavv.  Halav, using the bronze sword given him by the Immortals, slew the king and assumed the crown.

In the years that followed, King Halav, Queen Petra, and the Huntsman Zirchev taught their secrets to the people of Lavv, and brought all the other villages of the Traldar lands under their sway.  Villages grew into mighty cities, and Halav was renowned for his fairness and wisdom.

Eventually the beast-men attacked in numberless waves from the west.  The Traldar in their glittering bronze armor stood against them.  The irresistible force of beast-men crashed into the immovable object of the Traldar, and the war went on forever.  Both sides lost great numbers of warriors; each Traldar warrior slew dozens of his bestial enemies before being slain himself.

Finally, King Halav managed to find the king of the beast-men alone on a hilltop.  The beast-king was twice the height of a man, with the head of a wolf and a hairy body that was foul beyond compare.  It brought its great axe against the sword given Halav by the Immortals.

This was the final battle of man and beast-man.  It raged from dawn until midday, both kings growing so weary that they could barely wield their weapons.  In the "Song of King Halav", both take time to rest during the fight and each describes his resolve and unconquerable fighting ability.

Evidently, both were right.  King Halav and the Beast-king perished upon one another's weapons.  Their armies looked upon one another, both fearful because their kings had perished, and the Traldar raised their weapons and barred the beast-men from advancing.

The beast-men departed Traldar lands.  Queen Petra and Zirchev took Halav's body and returned home.  Great was the lamentation in Lavv when they arrived, but, during the ritual burning of Halav's body that night, the Immortals visited and spirited Halav, Petra, and Zirchev away.

The Traldar mourned their mighty king, but turned their eye toward rebuilding their ravaged lands.

The Dark Age
The time of King Halav has since been called the Golden Age of the Traldar, and (as all citizens of Karameikos know) the Traldar never did found a mighty empire or even fully recover from the devastation brought by the beast-men.

Why?  According to Traldar legends which have sprung up since the Golden Age, the land needs to have its king returned to it -- King Halav must return to Traldar lands before it can become a mighty nation again.

Regardless, following the destruction at the end of the Golden Age, the land descended into a dark age from which they did not fully emerge until the last hundred years.

Individual villages survived, and the tribesmen eventually lived at greater than subsistence level.  Trade soon commenced with the Mynrothad and Thyatis peoples.  The descendants of the Traldar, called Traladara, began inching their way toward economic recovery.  But the Traladara still face many problems.

In the centuries after the Golden Age, many evil things settled in the Traladaran forests and mountains.  Some evil force cursed the land with vampires, lycanthropes, and other beasts.  Today, every Traladaran village has its legends of a neighboring ruin once occupied by a vampire lord, or some village lad turning out to be a werewolf and a slayer of villagers.  Often, the legends are true, and every good Traladara youth knows that the land has its vampires and were-beings still.

Because there were horrid things in the woods, travel between inland villages was unsafe.  So, while the coastline villages prospered from the foreign trade, only the bravest of traders would venture into the interior.  As a result, the inland villagers tended to remain an isolated and more ignorant lot than their seaside cousins.

During the dark age, clans of goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs also settled in Traladara lands -- usually some distance from the human communities.  They warred upon one another, and upon the humans, and in general made the land less congenial for everyone.

More peaceable tribes of elvish and gnomish settlers also came to Traladara, though.  The elves settled in the central forests of the land, while the gnomes settled in the mountain foothills northward.  Both races traded peaceably with the humans and fought beside them against the less friendly demihuman tribes.

Modern Traladara
Traladara, a century ago, was a well-known trading spot, particularly Marilenev, its chief city, built where the Volaga river enters the sea.  There, Traladarans traded valuable furs for weapons, wines and other spirits, a profitable enterprise.

Most of the Traladaran profits stayed on the coast and the lands immediately inland.  Few traders ventured inland; those that did included the annual Gnome Caravan, a well-armed force of gnomes who descended from the northern hills and traded a year's accumulation of craft goods in Marilenev, and made their way back to gnomish lands.

At about this time, the nations of Darokin and Thyatis began to view Traladara with increasing concern.  The forest nation had never offered them any threat, so they had never erected any significant defenses against Traladara.  But what if its people should be united under a powerful leader -- or, worse yet, conquered by an enemy foreign power?

The Empire of Thyatis decided the matter by sending mops to the Traladaran capital, Marilenev, and conquering it, claiming all Traladara for Thyatis.  Darokin shrugged and initiated steps to make sure its border was secure.

Thyatis took few real steps to secure Traladara for itself.  It installed a garrison of soldiers in Marilenev.  The military commander at the time renamed Marilenev "Specularum" (the Mirror City) after the reflective beauty of Marilenev's bay.  A tax collector took in revenues on all trade money which changed hands in the city.

Other than that, the rest of Traladara was left pretty much to itself.  The more isolated communities were completely unaffected by the "conquest".  The traders suffered a Thyatian tax, but the greater Thyatian interest in Traladara meant that trade boomed and they profited more anyway.

That's how conditions remained until thirty years ago.  At that time, Duke Stefan Karameikos III, a youthful nobleman of Thyatis, struck a deal with the Emperor of Thyatis.  Karameikos, in essence, traded his valuable ancestral lands for Traladara -- and a guarantee of autonomy.  The Empire recognized Karameikos's claim to Traladara, now renamed the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, and recalled its officials from Traladara territory.

Duke Stefan travelled to his duchy, announced his assumption of rulership over Traladara, and put down the armed insurrection which resulted.  After things had settled  down somewhat, he began luring ambitious, landless nobles from Thyatis to help him rule this land in proper Thyatian fashion.

The early years of Duke Stefan's rule were characterized by both good and bad results.

On the bad side, many of the Thyatian settlers who poured into the country, swearing loyalty to Duke Stefan and receiving land grants, were ruthless men who literally stole lands from the Traladarans who had long been living upon them.  Worst among them was Duke Stefan's own cousin, Baron Ludwig "Black Eagle" von Hendriks.

On the good side, Duke Stefan himself was an exemplary leader, demanding fairness and honor in the men he directly supervised.  He began using the trade tax revenues to build broad, good roads across the country, uniting the far-flung villages into a single nation.  He built a substantial army, using native Traladarans, Thyatian immigrants, and even Callarii elves, to protect the Grand Duchy.  In short, he began the long, slow process of building Traladara, a land of unfriendly villages and wolf-howls in the night, into a strong trade nation.

Today the Grand Duchy is still growing into a nation -- it is still young, with its two halves of the population (Traladaran and Thyatian) largely unmixed and its interior mostly uncivilized.  But it is growing stronger day by day, and most of the nations of the continent have representatives in Karameikos, a sign of the nation's growing international importance.
 GM, 13 posts
 Game Dungeon Mistress
Wed 17 Nov 2004
at 16:41
The People
Most of the humans of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos fall into two categories: native Traladarans, and those of Thyatian descent.  Other inhabitants of the duchy include elves, gnomes, humans of mixed descent, a few dwarves and halflings, the savage demihumans in their distant villages, and traders who've settled in Karameikos -- and among the last category are representatives of practically every humanoid race and nation in the world.

The Traladarans, descendants of the native Traldar tribe of legend, tend to be fairly small (men average 5'9", women 5'3") and light of build.  They tend to have pale complexions, brown eyes, and dark hair (deep brown to black).

In general, they are a very superstitious people -- if you can call it superstition when it's based on truth.  They are great believers in good luck charms, omens and portents (palm reading, the reading of tea leaves or sheep entrails, interpretations of natural phenomena), curses, and evil eyes.

Outside the larger towns, education is not widely-spread.  In the more rural communities, most villagers are illiterate, though often the village cleric will be lettered.

For the most part, Traladarans don't care much for Thyatians.  They see Thyatians as the latest wave of bad luck which keeps the Traladarans from re-achieving their Golden Age.  Since many of the original Thyatian arrivals were rotten land grabbers,  many of the Traladarans see all Thyatians as being the same.

Though the majority of the population of Karameikos is Traladaran, the court language is Thyatian.  Thyatian is the language of official documents and trade, and is basically the "Common Tongue" of Karameikos.  Most Traladarans under the age of 30 speak Thyatian, usually with a distinct accent which marks their Traladaran origins.

Most nobles in Karameikos are of Thyatian descent, and a sizable proportion of the commoner population is of Thyatian descent as well.

Thyatians tend to be physically larger than Traladarans, men averaging around 5'11" and women about 5'5".  The Thyatians have had centuries to interbreed with other nations, and so there is no one Thyatian look; hair ranges from dark blonde to dark brown, with occasional redheads (including the Duke); eye color ranges from blues to browns and blacks.  The Thyatians tan more easily in the sun than the paler Traladarans, who tend to sunburn easily.

The Empire of Thyatis is a large, flourishing empire with powerful armies, strong trade relations with the great nations of the world, lavish arts and entertainments, and a cultural standard equalled in few places in the world.  So it's natural that many of Thyatian descent tend to feel superior to the native Traladarans.  Among many of the Thyatians, there is a sentiment that Traladarans are superstitious and ignorant, and many feel that Thyatian spoken with a Traladaran accent denotes lack of mental ability.

In the last thirty years, since the arrival of Duke Stefan and his followers, there have been born many children of mixed Thyatian and Traladaran descent.  Most of them are the children of Thyatian men who immigrated to the duchy, fought in the Duke's army, and then retired to wed local women.  Very few are children of Thyatian women and Traladaran men.

A half-breed is likely to be somewhat taller than average for Traladarans, usually with dark hair and blue or light brown eyes.  How they feel about Thyatians and Traladarans will depend on how they were raised, but in most cases the half-breeds recognize that neither Thyatian nor Traladaran has any great advantage over another; the half-bred gets along well with people of both backgrounds.

Most of the elves in Karameikos are of the Callarii tribe, a merry and hardworking tribe proficient in river boating, riding, horse trading, hunting, and foresting.

Callarii elves are robust and healthy, with very pale hair (blonde to white) and blue eyes.  They tend to wear tunics or robes of gree with leaf patterns embroidered upon them.

The elves are neutral toward humans in general.  They become fast friends with humans who demonstrate honor and humor; they do not cooperate with humans who are pretentious, dishonorable, or rude.  Duke Stefan has a guard unit entirely composed of Callarii elves which has given many elves the chance to meet him, and the Callarii are favorably disposed toward the Duke.

The dwarves living in the Grand Duchy are either members of the Stronghollow clan, or are dwarven professionals who have immigrated into Karameikos -- often acting as professional soldiers in the armies of the Duke or of one of his barons.  When they do express a preference between Traladarans and Thyatians, the dwarves tend to prefer the company of Thyatians, who are practical people and not superstition-ridden like the Traladarans.
 GM, 14 posts
 Game Dungeon Mistress
Wed 17 Nov 2004
at 19:50
The Map
Most of the Grand Duchy is forest and foothills with a few large patches of flatlands, moors, and one swampy region.  Most of the communities are on the coast or along the rivers.  There are very few human communities in the deep woods or far from well-travelled roads so the vast majority of the Grand Duchy is unsettled no-man's-land, unexplored and undefended.

Some places, particularly rivers, are often called by two names.  This is because the settling Thyatians, uncomfortable with the native names of these sites, simply renamed them.  Today, when speaking Thyatian, most people use the Thyatian name, and when speaking Traldaran they use the original name.

Points of Interest

Specularum is the largest city in Karameikos with a population of about 50,000 at last count.  Built just west of the point where the Highreach River enters the sea, Specularum is a trade city with a good harbor, ample accommodations for traders and other visitors, and most of the comforts of civilization.  The city is surrounded by the farmlands of the Estate of Marilenev, and the lands of Baron Vorloi border the Estate to the southeast.  Specularum is ruled (through subordinates) by Duke Stefan Karameikos III.  Additional political power lies in the Merchants Guild, the Church, and in the wealthy families such as the Vorloi, the Radu, and the Torenescu clans.

Kelvin, second-largest city in Karameikos, has a population of about 20,000.  It is built where the rivers Windrush, Hillfollow, and Highreach (in Traldaran, Wufwolde, Shutturga, and Volaga) merge.  Kelvin was designed to be a way-stop for entire caravans and a fortress defending the surrounding territories.  It is a large, walled encampment.  Inside the walls are a large field for caravans to set up and a secondary wall in which is the city of Kelvin proper.  Inside the city is a third walled area, the garrison fortress and castle of Baron Kelvin.  The city and surrounding baronial lands are ruled by Baron Desmond Kelvin II, son of the founder of the city.  Baron Kelvin, though young for his duties, rules well, with military efficiency and impartiality.

Penhaligon is a fortified town halfway between Kelvin and the border pass leading to Selenica.  It was founded thirty years ago by Lord Arturus Penhaligon, a friend of Duke Stefan's.  It is now ruled by his daughter, Lady Arteris, who was confirmed in her father's title upon his death four years ago.  Penhaligon village acts as a way-station for travellers coming to and from Selenica.  It suffers its share of non-human attacks, but trade and travel revenues are relatively brisk and Penhaligon is not in any immediate danger.

Threshold is a logging community of about 5,000.  Though small, it's a decent place to live and is not as rustic as most communities of similar size.  Threshold is ably ruled by Sherlane Halaran, baron and Patriarch of the Church.

Highforge is a gnomish community, including five clans of gnomes (totally about 6,500) and one of dwarves (about 1,000).

Duke's Road Keep lies in the mountain pass on the Duke's Road, right at the border between Karameikos and Darokin.  Though mountainous and cold, it can be a cheerful place because of the constant traffic passing through from Selenica to points south.  This fort is garrisoned by the Fourth Division, Duke's Road Battalion (nicknamed Goblin-Crushers for their successful operations carried out against the mountain goblins).

The Callarii elves live in the central forests east and west of Kelvin and in the forested foothills south of Highforge.  Accurate numbers for the entire elvish population of Karameikos are not available (the elves don't bother to keep them and the humans have never counted), but a reasonable estimate is that there are about 7.500 elves scattered through this territory, living in communities of 100 to 200 souls.

Though none are specifically discussed here, there are several small villages and homesteads all across Karameikos, especially along the rivers and roads of the duchy.  These are one- or two-family settlements, mostly farms and logging operations, with populations ranging from a handful of people to as many as 750 inhabitants.
 GM, 16 posts
 Game Dungeon Mistress
Wed 17 Nov 2004
at 19:53
National Spirit
National Spirit
When confronting the rest of the world Karameikans refer to themselves as Karameikans -- citizens of the best nation in the world.  Karameikans know their nation doesn't have the sophistication of Glantri or Thyatis -- and they're glad.  Too much sophistication, they say, is just another term for decadence.  Karameikan fighters consider themselves as tough as the best fighters in any nation in the world.

Karameikans of Traldaran descent know that they've survived the worst that can be thrown at them -- the Song of King Halav tells them so -- and that, one day, they'll build themselves again into the most prosperous and amazing nation in  the world.  This isn't an arrogant, chip-on-the-shoulder attitude, but the quiet assurance of people who want it to be true and patiently wait and work to bring it about.  Most citizens of Thyatian descent who were born in Karameikos have been infected with this philosophy too.

To be Karameikan is to know that you belong to a nation destined for greatness, and to be a Karameikan adventurer you must also believe that you are part of what will bring this greatness about. Karameikan adventurers aren't braggarts, constantly tooting their own horns and insulting other lands, butt hey do have a quiet, stubborn assurance that no one else is better than they.

The native Traladarans have a custom which is an important part of the Karameikan national character.  Called the Shearing Ceremony, it was developed in the village of Marilenev and was in common use there and in surrounding areas in the centuries before Thyatis conquered Traladara.  Since that time, improved trade with the inland communities has spread the Shearing Ceremony throughout the land.  When Duke Stefan and the Thyatian settlers came, they were acquainted with the ceremony and generally adopted it.

It goes something like this:  When a Karameikan youth approaches adulthood, either they will approach his parents or their parents will approach them with the news that it is time for the Shearing.  Soon after, at a dinner to which other family members and village elders are invited, the youth stands silent while their parents solemnly dress them in travelling gear.  The bottom of the youth's cloak is sheared off and left ragged as a reflection of the youth's condition: that of an impoverished traveller.

From that time onward, the sheared youth is considered a friend of the family, but not part of it.  The youth must make their own way in the world until the family decide they are worthy of the clan.  Usually living apart from the clan for a few years and participating in acceptable adventures and trading ventures is proof that the youth is able to prosper on their own.  When the youth's parents reach that conclusion, the youth is invited to another dinner at which time they are presented with a garment bearing the clan's markings or coat of arms.  This indicates that the youth is, once again, part of the family.

All young men between the ages of 14 and 19 are Sheared (usually, the young man will go to his parents first because it's an embarrassment to wait so long that his parents must approach him).  Young women are never approached by their parents, but they may ask that they be Sheared.  Many women choose this as a good way to earn respect within their families.

When the Thyatians came to Karameikos, they saw this ceremony as a good way to separate the worthwhile form the parasitic within their own families, and they adopted the custom.

A sheared youth from a titled family is not considered to have any title until they are re-invited by the family to join their ranks.  Shearing is a human custom, not shared by the demihuman races of Karameikos.
 GM, 25 posts
 Game Dungeon Mistress
Fri 19 Nov 2004
at 17:05
The Faith of Karameikos
Karameikos has three native faiths, detailed below.

The Chuch of Karameikos
These are the beliefs of the Church of Karameikos:
  1. That the acts of assault, abuse, murder, theft, lying, adultery, and living together without the sanctity of matrimony are sins; that these sins stain the spirit of the doer; and that these sins require acts or ceremonies of purification (of severity appropriate to the sin) to cleanse the spirit;

  2. That the unwillingness on the part of the sinner to purify himself of a sin is itself a sin, punishable by separation from the Church, the eventual result of which is the sinner's spirit becoming too stained to ever be redeemed;

  3. That the individual's role in the afterlife will be determined by the amount of stain his spirit bears at the time of his death;

  4. That it is the responsibility of members of the Church to bring the benefits of Church philosophy to the unbeliever, and to remain present even in hostile lands so that the benefits of the Church be denied to no one who desires them; and

  5. That magic ritual with no confirmed basis in formal magic use or clerical ritual constitutes ignorant superstition, and therefore the use of lucky charms, tea-reading, palm-reading, card-reading, and so forth are all valueless wastes of time and effort.
Most of those of Thyatian descent in Karameikos are members of the Church of Karameikos; approximately half those of mixed descent are; and many of Traladaran descent have been converted by the church's compelling philosophy of the "unstained spirit". In all, about a quarter of the population of Karameikos now belongs to the Church, and this segment of the population includes most of the landed nobles and many other powerful political figures.

Many of the members of the Church, especially converts, don't truly understand the church's philosophy. This philosophy is that no sin committed in the mortal world is so great that it cannot be purified from the spirit by great acts of self-sacrifice. Many converts, however, consider it a game with rules to be bent -- that the church philosophy means that they can do anything, so long as they subject themselves to the deeds of purification recommended by their church leaders after the fact.

The Church of Traladara
These are the beliefs of the Church of Traladara:
  1. That the acts of assault, abuse, murder, theft, and lying are sins, brought about by weakness or by the intrusion of bad will from evil or animal spirits;

  2. That the sins of assault, abuse, murder, theft, and lying should be punished in the manner that parents punish children: physical punishment, imprisonment, and the withholding of rights, and even death in the case of extreme sinners who pose a danger to others;

  3. That the role of the individual in the afterlife will be determined by the individual's state of wisdom, strength of character, and good will at the time of his death;

  4. That the relationship of man to woman is a personal matter, not involving the philosophies of the Church unless a sin of assault, abuse, murder, theft, or lying is involved;

  5. That common magic ritual, such as the use of lucky charms, tea-reading, palm-reading, card-reading, and so forth are all declarations of man's curiosity about the world and his determination to preserve himself from evil, and are often rewarded by the Immortals with the gleaning of facts about the future or nature of the world; and

  6. That the events of the Song of Halav are absolutely true; that King Halav, Queen Petra, and Zirchev are now Immortals guiding the righteous and punishing the wicked; and that the Golden Age of Traladara will one day return to Karameikos.
The basic philosophy at the Church of Traladara is that people should not harm one another, and that when they do, the community should punish the wrongdoer in proportion to the degree of the sin. There isn't much more to the degree of the sin. There isn't much more to their philosophy than that, and so the Church is ideally suited to the cheerful and whimsical Traladarans.

The role of the Traladaran cleric is to provide advice to the younger people, based on the cleric's own experiences and examples of the behavior given in the Song of Halav. Traladaran clerics advise the young, perform marriages and officiate at other ceremonies, preach the church philosophies, and promote good will. They also fight -- to save lives or to defeat evil.  Approximately 70% of the population of Karameikos belongs to the Church of Traladara.

The Cult of Halav
These are the beliefs of the Cult of Halav:
  1. That King Halav, dead on the field of the Final Battle Between Men and Beast-Men, was taken up by the Immortals, returned to life, healed, and placed in the deepest sleep;

  2. That the goal of the Immortals was to return King Halav to Traladara when it was time to restore the nation to the glory it held in its Golden Age; and

  3. That the Immortals have decided that this is the time, and that they sent the spirit of King Halav into the newborn Stefan Karameikos, that he would grow up to be the next King Halav.
The Cult is dedicated to the idea that Stefan Karameikos will make Traladara into a mighty nation once more, and will arm it and send its legions to conquer the world for the glory of Traladara. The first goal of the Cult, however, is to persuade everyone (including the Duke himself) of their cause, and this hasn't been easy to do. This tends to frustrate them, but they're determined.

Despite the fact that most people consider the Halavists to be insane, it's a fact that their clerics do work magic. This means that they must be receiving aid and inspiration from some Immortal. So, though most common folk think they're crazy, clerics tend to be very interested in the doings of the Cult.  Only a fraction of the people on Karameikos (less than 5%) belong to the cult.

The Order of the Griffon
The Order of the Griffon is a military order of the Church of Karameikos. Clerics and fighters may be members of the Order.  The Order is a very prestigious society of warriors; its Members are constantly adventuring, going on quests to help the Church, the nation, and the common man. It's held to be a great honor to be a Member of the Order, and so each year many young men and women attempt to gain membership.

An applicant will appear before Lord Olliver Jowett, Patriarch of Specularum, and declare their intent. The Patriarch assigns the applicant to a Member, who will then test the applicant's fighting abilities in sparring matches, will question the applicant's degree of faith in Church doctrine, and will evaluate the applicant's character. If the applicant meets all the criteria for Membership, they will be invited to join.

Members of the Order swear devout oaths to uphold the Church and follow all its directions and they must tithe a quarter of all their earnings to the Church. Members may claim shelter from any Church of Karameikos, may claim aid from other members of the Order, and are afforded the respect due someone of Knight status, regardless of their actual social standing.

Members wear a badge to declare their Membership in the Order.