The World is divided into three major continents: Varice, Kiynan and Ornland. Read on to find out more about their countries and key cities.
The cold, Northern continent of Varice is populated by the Iceborn, hardy folk, adapted to living in a harsh climate. Raiding, skirmishes and outright warfare are commonplace and merely a fact of life in Varice. The continent is divided into three countries: Harg, Siv and Caim.
Harg is the northernmost country on Varice. Its northernmost tip is called The Drifts and is an enormous, ancient glacier. Very few crops can be farmed in this desolate country, but rich iron deposits exist in their Red Mountains and the Hargans are renowned metalsmiths.
The Frozen Keep is the capital of Harg and is a wondrouusly designed castle carved directly into the glacier ice of The Drifts. Frost and Naije are towns that exist to support iron mines and numerous smithies.
Siv is the easternmost country on Varice. It is a place of marshes, swamps and tundra, teeming with dangerous wildlife. While not as cold as Harg, the Siv also struggle to farm their inhospitable lands. With no ore to mine or trade, the Siv rely heavily on hunting, trapping and animal husbandry. They are masters of efficiency and expert bone carvers, never letting any part of a kill to go to waste. The only major settlement is Anuk, the country’s capital, a humble collection of buildings surrounded by marshalnds.
The southernmost country on Varice is the richest in natural resources, with abundant evergreen forests and ores in their Skyclaw Mountains. Their climate and lands are also the most amenable to farming and they export food heavily to their neighbors. The Caimen are nevertheless no strangers to hardship, suffering constant raids from the Siv and the Harg, desperate for their resources. They are bordered to the South by the Cold Sea. Swift is the capital city, a thriving port and home to the greatest wealth on Varice. Caim has no other major population centres, but is dotted by innumerable towns and villages.
Founded by refugees from Varice, Gaurvia is a comparatively temperate and fertile land. It is bordered by the Cold Sea to the West, the Kingdom of Paladia to the North, the Silver Sands desert to the East, the Qume Peninsula to the Southwest and Buccaneer’s Bay to the South.
In addition to numerous rural towns and villages throughout the Kingdom, Gaurvia also has five major port cities: Brockton, Brine, Rest, Nunliss and Spire. Its capital is Vidliank. The Kingdom is crisscrossed by roads, leading from Vidliank to the other major cities.
Brockton, Brine, Rest, Nunliss
Gaurvia thrives on trade and as such has developed many ports to receive ships of varying sizes. The cities are each ruled by a local Regent, loyal to the King, who send taxes on to Vidliank. While the kingdom is prosperous, there is great social inequality, with the nobility hording much of the wealth for themselves. The common people rely on fishing or other trades to earn a living.
Spire is the richest place in the World, a cosmopolitan city of trade and technological wonders. Traders from all over Kiynan come to Spire to trade and swap news. It was originally founded by the Gaurvians, but the city’s population quickly became so diverse, that it evolved a unique culture of its own. When the Gaurvian War of Succession broke out, the Regent of Spire left the city to participate in the fighting. The city’s trade guilds came together to elect the first Governor to replace him, effectively turning the city into an independent republic. When the war ended, King Rigar Stoneworth of Gaurvia realized that commerce in Spire would benefit from a lack of interference, and hence profit his kingdom. Spire was allowed to continue operating independently, no longer expected to pay more heed to the King of Gaurvia than to any other ruler, so long as its taxes flowed reliably into Vidliank.
The guilds’ influence increased over time and hold all of the real power in the city. The Inventor’s Guild is the largest and most influential guild in the city, attracting some of the brightest minds in the World. There are guilds for every trade and each market niche, including the Grocer’s Guild (butchers, fish salters, fruit salesmen), Metalsmith’s Guild (blacksmiths, weaponsmiths, armorsmiths, toolsmiths), Artist’s Guild (goldsmiths, diamond cutters, painters), Carpenter’s Guild (builders, furniture makers, boat builders), and the Weaver’s Guild (weavers, seamstresses, dressmakers).
Towering above the confused mass of buildings of every height, width and colour, is the mysterious twisted obelisk for which the city was named. The obelisk stood long before the Gaurvians had come to Kiynan, before even the Qume inhabited the lands. It is a relic left behind by the Letheans, but why it was erected and what it meant to them remains a mystery.
The capital of Gaurvia is dominated by a massive castle, which is the home of the King. Unlike the other cities, Vidliank has no Regent or Governor, and local matters are decided directly by the King. All roads lead to Vidliank, and there is little that happens anywhere in the Kingdom that does not appear in a report delivered to the monarch.
The Kingdom of Paladia is a peninsula bordered by Gaurvia to the South and by the Cold, Silent and Endless Seas on every other side. Its only major city is Daybreak, a busy port, while also home to the Academy and the mighty fortress of King Proudfist. Paladia is a welcoming, cosmopolitan nation, that prides itself on knowledge, wisdom and enlightenment. Even the lowliest field hand will have received a minimum of primary education.
The islands Southwest of Gaurvia are home to the Sea Tribes. They, along with the Qume, all share common origins and have engaged in trade and peaceful contact since time immemorial. Each tribe does also have its own unique culture, shaped by their particular islands.
The Qume peninsula is a tropical, rich and fertile land. The surrounding waters are similarly productive and offer plentiful resources.
Fayl is a small rocky island, dominated by a volcano the natives call Tagofa, which means Mount Thunder in Ganec. The volcano erupts often, oozing slow flowing lava with no explosions and very little ash. The fertile volcanic soil on and around Tagofa provides ample food for the islanders.
The island of Bok is a single, salt-water swamp. Numerous predatory animals thrive there, the apex being large alligators.
Toop island is covered in hills, rocky in parts and covered with jungle everywhere else. It holds rich copper and tin deposits which are heavily exploited by the island’s natives.
Ilnt island is covered in thick jungle, which is the source of the livelihood of its inhabitants. The jungle provides bountiful harvests of fruits, nuts and edible plants. Game is also plentiful. In essence, the island is one, big orchard.
Predators are relatively few and include only three species. Two are diurnal, one fox-like and one jaguar-like. The apex predator is a nocturnal, tree-dwelling, carnivorous ape. Taller than a man and bulkier, the guhro is supremely lean and agile. It has four limbs, all clawed with sharp, curved black claws. Its fur is black, it has a long, powerful prehensile tail. Its face is flat, with a slightly protruding snout, lined with canines.
The Silver Sands is a vast desert, covering the interior of the continent of Kiynan. Its sands are very fine and light grey in colour. It is dotted with oases, but they are few and far between. Despite the scarcity of water, a number of plants and animals call the desert home, including camels, desert tortoises, vultures, snakes and various insects. The apex predator of the sands is the Giant Trapdoor Spider.
The Silver Sands are also home to the nomadic Valkans, a mysterious race who have wandered there since time immemorial, gliding on their enormous kites. Few others dare to venture into the desert and fewer still live to tell the tale.
Founded by refugees fleeing Ornland during the Magician’s War, New Ornland is a prosperous kingdom. While they have much in common with their relatives on Ornland and their allies in Gaurvia and Paladia, they are somewhat more egalitarian, with less of a marked difference between the nobility and peasants.
New Ornland is bordered by the Gilded Heights mountain range to the West, which reaches from the North to South coast of Kiynan, making overland travel virtually impossible. The Kingdom includes numerous fresh water lakes, all feeding into each other and grouped at the base of the mountains, dubbed the Clustered Lakes. The Kingdom is bordered by the Silent and Endless Seas in all other directions.
The capital city is Haven, but the cities of Freshwater and Tradewood are of equivalent population, development and importance in trade. The vast majority of the Fled live in or around these three centres, with very few towns or villages located elsewhere in the heavily wooded Kingdom.
The temperate, fertile continent of Ornland lies far to the East of Varice and Kiynan. It is populated by the Ornish, a deeply spiritual culture that has lived there since time immemorial. The continent is ruled by the theocratic Houses, which regulate the use of magic and dominate the lands around them. The exact borders of the territory of each House is constantly in question and shift regularly, as the Magician’s War rages on.
The Western portions of Ornland are heavily wooded, but the Eastern reaches are rocky and mountainous. It is bordered to the North by the Restless Sea, known for its storms and towering waves. To the West is the Silent Sea, where the weather is overwhelmingly calm. South of Ornland is the Shrouded Sea, a body of water that remains mysteriously covered in mist year-round.
The Southeastern portion of Ornland is a region known as Lethe. While scattered ruins left behind by the Lethean Empire can be found everywhere on Ornland, and parts of Kiynan, the largest and best preserved are to be found in Lethe.
This includes the remains of a great citadel, and in its centre is a sparkling Crystal Tower. Built entirely of translucent rock, the tower reflects light from the stars into every room, so that day and night, the illumination within the tower remains constant. The Tower gleams and glistens from a great distance away.
An enormous pentagonal temple can also be found within the walls of the citadel, seemingly dedicated to the strange gods worshipped by the vanished Letheans. Mysterious statues of their deities also remain.
Despite the fascinating ruins and possible treasures to be found within, few ever venture into Lethe. The Necromancers of House Despair warn any who will listen that the veil between life and death is badly damaged in those lands, allowing wraiths and demons to wander directly into the physical world. Anyone reckless enough to travel there runs the risk of having to fight demons or even become possessed by them. The entire region is also permanently choked in heavy fog, making it virtually impossible to navigate without the help of a Necromancer.