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    Near North

    The Near North lies between the Kameurhorns and the Spearwall, and stretches from Dore's eastern border to the Stormhall Peaks in the west. The climate here is notably cooler than in the Hundred Kingdoms and the Woodmarches, and civilization far more isolated.

    The people of the Near North fall into three groups: the Dornish, the Haluar tribes, and the Northers. The Doren are most common in Dore, Innergild, and Kaulderzhun. There are two principal Haluar tribes in the Near North; the Keldruag of Keldru and the Middurplanz, and the Vorisk of the Voriskoghn Penninsula. While the Keldru remain relatively pure, the Vorisk have mingled with and taken on many of the characteristics of the Vanar Northers. The Vandin and their cousins, the Aesdin, came from the North centuries ago, with the fall of Honduar. The Aesdin allied with the dwarves of Arthringlaur and founded Kameurgard and numerous smaller settlements along the seacoast, while the Vandin went west and were assimilated into the Vorisk clans.

    Features of the Near North
    Bailetais - Rainfall on the Talven Alasen drains down through the plateau and emerges here; as a result the Bailetais is laden with monsters - and treasure.
    Driathorn Forest - A thick, wild woodland between Dore and the Spearwall Mountains.
    Farzwold - The Frozen Forest; a small forest between the Kameurhorns and the Stormhalls.
    Gonenfall Forest - The largest forest in the Near North, the Gonenfall is untouched and largely unexplored.
    Kameurhorns - A vast, towering mountain range that marks the northern edge of the Shadowend region. Beyond it lies the High Ice.
    Middurplanz - Blood-soaked plains, the location of thousands of battles over the centuries between humanoid hordes from the Kameurhorns and the armies of Dore. Small mercenary hobgoblin troops hold minor fortifications, while scavenger gnolls inhabit the ruins.
    Nuatuverg - A small island off the Voriskoghn coast; rumored to be the resting place of an imprisoned Envidier power.
    River Fathing - Marks the border between Keldru and the Middurplanz; drains the Bailetais and by extension, the Talven Alasen.
    River Ylg - A large, slow river, the Ylg marks Dore's border with the Middurplanz. Once heavily fortified, many of the fortifications have fallen into ruin.
    Shrouded Peaks - A misty, fog-ridden mountain range that borders the Bailetais; home to many orcish tribes.
    Spearwall Mountains - A narrow, much eroded range well known for its elaborate spires and twisting canyons. The border between the Near North and the Woodmarches. Not known for its mineral wealth.
    Stormhall Peaks - A wild, unexplored range in the Voriskoghn Penninsula.
    Talven Alasen - The Anvil of Winter, a high plateau in the Kameurhorns. The Anvil once linked Honduar with the southern realms, and dwarves quarried gemstones from underneath, but with the fall of Honduar, the entirety of the Talven Alasen is now monster-held.
    Voriskoghn - The penninsula and area west of Kameurgard and the Gaunt; few large settlements. Homeland of the Vorish and the Vandin; many jotunar and troldfolk. Giants, trolls, ogres, and orcs are all frequent threats.

    Realms of the Near North
    Arthringlaur - Diamondsdelve, the greathall and realm of the mountain dwarves.
    Ceir Yn - An isolated and xenophobic realm of fair elves in the Stormhall Peaks; one of the few sources of mithril.
    Dore - A crumbling realm assaulted by orcish hordes and other threats.
    Gaidrilar - The City of Coins, a powerful city-state built on trade.
    Innergild - The City of Scrolls, renowned for its arcane guilds.
    Kameurgard - A strong but neutral realm ruled jointly by humans and dwarves.
    Keldru - The homeland of the Keldruag tribesmen, a semi-nomadic people renowned for their horsemanship.
    Pelkot - A small realm in the Voriskoghn mostly known for its sea-raiders.
    Zelasklaur - Silversdeep, a dwarven greathall in the Stormhall Peaks.

    Notables of the Near North
    Anagi - The High Druid of the Voriskoghn Penninsula.
    Snowhawk - A reclusive archmage who makes his home in the Gonenfall Forest.
    Travail Icingblade - Archmage and advisor to the Roving King of the Keldruag.
    Secrets of the Shadowend - Notes, scribblings, writings, and memorandum on the Shadowend Campaign Setting.

 

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    The Freehold of Archen

    Archen, Freehold of
    The Orchard Realm
    Symbol: An apple on a green field
    Ruler: Lord Hardel “Applethrone” Archen (hm F3)
    Major Settlements: Tulbadin
    Population: Human, Halfling
    Resources: Agriculture

    This small, verdant realm is well-known for its fruits and grapes (and the products made thereof). Tucked beneath the eaves of the Moonwood, Archen is a land of rolling hills and small dells clothed in orchards and vineyards. Its people live in tiny hamlets; Tulbadin, Archen’s largest town, has barely over a thousand residents. Humans and halflings live side-by-side with each other and the land’s significant fey population, including domovii, apple-dryads, brownies, and spirites. Wild fey from the Moonwood sometimes wander into Archen, and there is precedent for a leshii “king” to claim fey dominion over the Orchard Realm (a claim with little effect on human affairs, unless those affairs including wholesale destruction and bloodshed – in which case the mundane forces may find themselves facing things far more wicked than apple-dryads and domovii)!

    Archen has strong alliances with the Open Halls and Bellarane, lands with similar values and cultures, and with a few of the more tolerant of the lycanthrope families in the Moonwood. It is considered a backwater province, when it is considered at all, by the elite in Triumport, Blackgate, and Orbor.

    Adventures & Encounters:

    • Fey encounters in Archen have notably increased in number and danger since the return of Queen Aliana to Shalane several years ago. What connection there could be between the two lands is unknown, but given the fey nature of the time-lost Queen, a link seems likely. The most tenious rumors allege that Aliana, reputedly raised in a pastoral corner of Faerie, may have actually have been hidden in mundane Archen – though how this connects to recent activity none can say.


    • Tomior Fullcloak of the Meadow Tower, a minor holding in the Marchlands, is bribing and, if necessary, blackmailing the small hamlets, one by one, in an effort to oust Lord Hardel. His family has longstanding trade contracts with Archen, but Tomior wants to cut out the middleman. His economic war has a chance of eroding at least part of the freehold if played correctly and cautiously, but a few of Tomior’s agents are bored with subtle threats, and are using more aggressive tactics. They are currently passing themselves off as a simple bandits, but the ruse may not last much longer.
    Secrets of the Shadowend - Notes, scribblings, writings, and memorandum on the Shadowend Campaign Setting.

  • #33
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    Dungeons

    • Bone Castle: Few specifics are known about this necromantic edifice in the Bone Forest. A few particularly foolhardy individuals claim to have entered the castle and met its skeletal lord, but to no particular end. The relationship between Bone Castle and the Castle of the Stag is unclear, although everyone seems to feel one exists.
    • Broken Tower: An ancient ruin of the Dwarfmoors which marks the entrance to an underground labyrinth said to lead (though only after a great distance), to the dwarven greathall of Hearthhome. Not a few adventuring parties have thought to quietly plunder the dwarves treasure (for surely they have much), and lost their lives beneath the Broken Tower searching for the elusive passage.
    • Castle of the Stag: Built by the elven lord Dualin in the Bone Forest (aka the Corpse-Wood), the Castle of the Stag fell into ruin after his death.
    • Deephalls: Underlying the Hundred Kingdoms, Larenyss, and much of the Shadowend Forest, the Deephalls are less dungeon than enviroment. The three regions of the Deephalls were once one, separated when the sidhe cracked the earth. The hallmark of the Deephalls are the arrow-straight tunnels, eighty feet wide and forty feet high, that run for hundreds of miles beneath the earth.
    • Dungeon of Stones: A fallen gnomish winterhall, the Dungeon of Stones was overthrown by fell creatures ruled by an elemental earth power. No sign of that ruler is visible, but it's creations and bound minions still guard treasures from across the planes. Located in the Turont Hills immediately north of the Eldewood, where the north branch of the Eldeflow emerges from underneath the earth.


    • Endless Dungeon: Once a wizard's retreat, the corridors and caverns of the Endless Dungeon shift, open, and close apparently at random, revealing pristine chambers or arcane workshops filled with enchanted items and magical lore. The entrance is less easily found from inside, it's said. The Endless Dungeon is marked by an empty tower, which sits at the southern tip of the High Hills, east of the ruins of Osar.
    • Greenbind Castle: This ancient overgrown keep in the Moonwood is rumored to still conceal at least one vault full of weapons enchanted against lycanthropes.
    • Hall of Roses: The remains of a bardic college; what is left is filled with riddles, tricks, and traps designed by the elves to test an aspirant's knowledge of faerilven lore and legend. The fallen Hall of Roses sits north of the Hags Mere, under the shadow of Alorm Peak in the High Hills.
    • Hill of the Three Kings: Actually three large barrow mounds, the Hill of the Three Kings are feared and avoided by all wise folk of the Shadowend. The resting places of three brothers, the barrows each open once a year, one a night for three nights, and the hellish undead within ride forth for one night of terror and murder. Many heros have tried to end the rampages of the three kings, but none have succeeded for more than a year.


    • Kaerzin Mus: Castle Mouse overlooks the River Yls near Barvanigar and is kept in good repair by the orcs and brigands of the area. Tunnels and caverns in the bluff below Kaerzin Mus reportedly include passages below the river and possibly into Barvanigar itself, a serious threat to the security of the town.
    • Kaerzin Torn: Between the Gonenfall Forest and the Shrouded Peaks, Hill Castle was one of the anchors of Dorandin defense. The fortress eventually fell to a monstrous horde of orcs, ogres, and giants, but none of Kaerzin Torn’s notable treasures or weapons have ever been recovered or even seen in the centuries since then. Much of the fortress was destroyed, but the central keep and curtain walls still stand.
    • Knighting Well: Of unknown origin; the Knights of the Oak (an order now largely extinct) utilized the outermost areas as a testing ground of a candidate's worthiness; legend says a great temptress makes her home here; undoubtedly she has accumulated much magical treasure over the centuries. The Knighting Well lies in the flat forestland halfway between the Greenflow and the Eldewood.
    • Legionaire’s Tomb: The fabled resting place of the first Amerite legion in the Hundred Kingdoms, the Legionaire’s Tomb is a much sought-after legend.
    • Measureless Maze: This vast dungeon complex beneath the Shalanwode was excavated centuries ago by the archmage Kulan Unculear.


    • Temple of the Rats: A stronghold of the Rat Cult, the Temple has been razed and rebuilt more times than can be counted. Rumor suggests the Cult is struggling to gain a foothold once more, and that they've stockpiled gold, gems, and jewels to fund their efforts. Closest to Shalanholt and civilization, the Temple of Rats lies on the swampy shores of Hags Mere, where the ratmen may seek fell allies.
    • Undercity of Shalanholt: Of unknown orign, the Undercity of Shalanholt was excavated from the bedrock beneath Shalanholt. Streets, buildings, alleys, and fountains are all found in this abandoned settlement, all shaped to human size and fashion. The archmage Kulan Uncùlear is sometimes found here.
    • Vanishing Dungeon: The stronghold of an evil cult dedicated to four dark deities, the Vanishing Dungeon manifests periodically on the Material Plane, disgorging evil when it does.
    • Volgabaern Warren: Once the gnome winterhall Cynwualf, now a goblin stronghold in the White Hills.


    • Well of Swords: The former stronghold of a powerful runesmith, who may have survived into undeath -- survivors report a great number of mechanical and magical traps, all in good repair. They also recovered a great number of fine magical & masterwork weapons. The Well of Swords lies due west of Shalanholt, just beyond the western tip of Hags Mere.


    Unnamed or Undescribed Dungeons:

    • Chelaim Tower
    • Haunting Halls of the Herald-Lords
    • Keep of Wyrms
    • Silent Halls
    • Sinking Tower of Dremdolain
    • Tower Ain
    • Whispering Well
    • the great funerary maze of the archmage Isadollin, famous for her staff of power won from a great red wyrm.
    • a series of crypts used by the Autumn Kings, who ruled a small but rich kingdom for several centuries.
    • the final foul resting place of a high priest of Nevias, who terrorized the populace as a vampire after his first death, and whose malignant spirit was finally imprisoned by Biedon Houl, Clerist Arcanist of Ados, at the cost of his own life.
    • an ancient dwarven hold beneath Kiend Peak, in the High Hills, now the home of a powerful tribe of fire giants.
    Last edited by Nellisir; Friday, 26th October, 2012 at 04:43 AM.
    Secrets of the Shadowend - Notes, scribblings, writings, and memorandum on the Shadowend Campaign Setting.

  • #34
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    @Nellisir Really nice maps. Like to see any dungeons you may have done up.

    Campaign is shaping up to look good too! Keep it up!

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    Orcs!

    Orcs are a violent, chaotic, and fecund race of brutes that livein great cavern complexes, periodically spilling forth in massive hordes to threaten nearby lands.

    Mountain orcs, or high orcs, are the more feared and more dangerous orc species. They dwell in great communities under the mountain roots, places that make the most vile slums of the surface look clean and safe. Here they fight and brawl and breed, until the population pressure grows too great and they find themselves compelled to go to war. Occasionally an orc warlord or king arises and forges a great horde; thankfully these times are few and far between. A few races use mountain orcs as shock troops, but it is rarely worth the effort and difficulty, as the orcs will turn on their allies or each other at the slightest provocation. Mountain orcs also continue to grow throughout their lives; most adult high orcs are no more than human-height, but an exceptionally powerful and lucky orc might become as powerful as an ogre, assuming he survives to the advanced age of thirty or so years. Mountain orcs cooperate with other races only under threat of extreme force; they may keep slaves for a short time, but these invariably are eaten before long. Despite their appetite for flesh, mountain orcs almost never resort to cannibalism - this, perhaps more than anything, accounts for their ability to rapidly expand their numbers in the harsh environments they inhabit.

    Common orcs, also called hill orcs or pig-faced orcs, while still violent and brutish, are far more civilized than their mountain cousins. They can live with other races, and often cooperate or serve ogres, hobgoblins, goblins, and amoral humans. They are often found as soldiers, guards, or soldiers, as they relish fighting and will work for less than a human soldier or fighter. They are slightly shorter than humans, but stockier. Common orcs are also a fecund breed, but not nearly as much so mountain orcs, and like most races they do not grow after adulthood. Their appetites are also broader than high orcs, and they will eat virtually anything, including each other, without hestitation or without ill-effect.

    Half-orcs are the result of unions between orcs and other races, usually humans, but occasionally ogres or other monstrous races. The child of a mountain orc and a human is known as an orog; they are as intelligent as a human, but as powerful as a mountain orc - and accepted by them as well. Many high orc warlords were actually orogs. Ogrillons are the offspring of orcs and ogres. They are stronger and more powerful than orogs, but far less intelligent.

    Mountain orcs are common in the mountains of Sarn and the Kameurhorns. Pig-faced orcs are found throughout the Shadowend, but are most common in the Scarlet Peaks and the Stormhall Peaks. They are employed throughout the Hundred Kingdoms, in Blackgate, and in lesser numbers by nobles in Larenyss and Arramor. They are less accepted in regions that have experienced orc hordes, and usually killed on sight in Dore, Keldru, and Kameurgard.
    Secrets of the Shadowend - Notes, scribblings, writings, and memorandum on the Shadowend Campaign Setting.

  • #36
    I like the map. Well done. What sort of specific feedback are you looking for here?
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    I like the general theme a great deal, goes right to the roots of D&D, one thing I'd change is to have fewer proper nouns in the first post, the long list of names of cities and kingdoms is a bit overwhelming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daztur View Post
    I like the general theme a great deal, goes right to the roots of D&D, one thing I'd change is to have fewer proper nouns in the first post, the long list of names of cities and kingdoms is a bit overwhelming.
    Thanks! Good idea about the overview; I forget when, or why, I wrote it, but it was a "throw in everything but the kitchen sink" affair, and I could probably make it a bit cleaner and less proper noun-ish.
    Secrets of the Shadowend - Notes, scribblings, writings, and memorandum on the Shadowend Campaign Setting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soraios View Post
    I like the map. Well done. What sort of specific feedback are you looking for here?
    Any sort. "Looks nice" is fine. "I like X and y, but not z" is OK too. "Why this, and why not that, or what about this other thing over there" is great.

    I don't really have an specific motive for posting; this is material I've created over the years for my campaigns, and I like to get it out and show it off a little bit.

    If there's an ulterior motive, it's to motivate me to write more, and fill in some of the blanks.

    Edit: OK, and the XP I get for the map is nice too.
    Last edited by Nellisir; Tuesday, 13th March, 2012 at 05:26 PM.
    Secrets of the Shadowend - Notes, scribblings, writings, and memorandum on the Shadowend Campaign Setting.

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    Something Different - Celisia

    This was my entry for WotC's setting search, o so long ago. It's a "quasi" earth, where Celts settled something similar (but not identical, in either culture or geography) to North America, and the glory of the High King's reign has come and gone, leaving his bastard son to try and pick up the pieces. "Vikings" hold the north, the native people the west (threatened by humanoid hordes from even further west), and the "Roman Empire" (doing quite well, thank you) has rediscovered them.

    ====================
    1. In a land of hope and magic, heroes battle to unite a sundered kingdom.

    2. The heroes of Celisia come in an abundance of roles and strengths. The heroes of the Seven Peoples delay the humanoid hordes that press upon them. The freemen of northern Celisia have rallied to Morvan Arthfael’s banner and his claim to his father’s throne, while those in the east cling to the golden ideals of the High King, and carry those ideals across Celisia.

    3. Peace and the preservation of their lands are the goals of heroes across Celisia. Along the Bright Shore, merchants funnel necessities to the war-weary people of Celisia, while silver-tongue diplomats fend off the embrace of a distant empire. Bards and minstrels make their way through the sundered lands of the High Kingdom, bring hope and comfort to those in need, and preserving the dream of a united kingdom, while the common people take up arms against their covetous lords and fight for freedom. Among the Seven Peoples, totem warriors harass and raid the barbarian hordes, giving the clans and camps time to flee, while spirit talkers wage a similar war in the misty lands of the dead to stall the supernatural forces arrayed against them.

    4. Within Celisia, the sudden death of the High King has torn apart the great kingdom he sought to build, as each noble imagines himself on the Throne of Oak and Ash, and has gone to war against his neighbor.
    In the east, traders from across the ocean, from whence the Celisians once fled, have brought grave temptations and fell magics to the Bright Shores, as Celisia comes to the attention of the empire they left behind.
    Westward, the Seven Peoples face growing hordes of barbaric humanoids, drawn out in great numbers from their mountain homelands by an unknown power. These masses, chaotic and nearly leaderless, press the Peoples towards the Celisian lands, and into conflict with the settled kingdoms therein.
    To the north, raiders have watched the growing dissolution of the High Kingdom, and contemplate exchanging their rocky settlements for lives of luxury as conquerors in those warmer climes.
    And in the south, the rich and fecund jungle, haven of the scorned and abandoned, shelters everything outcast from the Bright Shores and Celisia as it has always done.

    5. Magic is a vital and powerful force in Celisia. The path of magic there has led away from thundering displays of destruction, and is intimately tied to nature and the elements. Celisian bards invoke the power of the wind to carry their song, and Winaki spirit talkers call upon fire to burn out disease and repel evil spirits. Wizards compete with spell singing fili to reach the highest levels of magic, and spirit talkers are as likely to bind a restless spirit to their service as destroy it. The seven Colleges of Lore teach wizards, fili, and bards alike, while sorcerous fey-bloods find and master their own innate power. Clerics draw strength from their deities, but share their temporal power with the druids who revere the natural world.

    6. Fili, spirit talkers, faerilven, and totem warriors. Celisia explores themes and images central to heroic fantasy through a rich blend of Native American and Celtic influences. Celisia retains the quests and geis that have formed the foundation of our modern fantasy, but discards the full plate mail, battle mages, and ever-present divine for a setting rooted in the human quest for a place to call our own.
    Secrets of the Shadowend - Notes, scribblings, writings, and memorandum on the Shadowend Campaign Setting.

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