THE DUAL SEAS REGION
This region is dominated by the island chain that extends from Calla Island to the barren island known as Frey. The western edge of these islands are known as the Honored Islands and are strongly tied to the Kingdom of Navirosov, which controls Calla. The remainder of the island chain is a wild region with isolated communities and seafaring tribes.
The bulk of the various island communities are sea ports dominated by pirates with the city-state of Thunderport being the most infamous. Thunderport is not a place for the faint of heart. It is considered a kakistocracy — a government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. In Thunderport's case, "unprincipled" is the word. Immorality is commonplace and its citizens turn on each other almost as much as they do their seafaring victims.
Thunderport's main rival in the region is the hidden city-state on the island of Uralt. The city is called Uraltia but that name is the one given to the city by the citizens of Thunderport. The denizens of Uralt are a bit of a mystery but the rumor is that the island is rife with werebeasts. What is known is that beasts and monsters are a common sight along the forested island's shoreline.
The rest of the Untamed Isles (as they are often called) around Blackhound and Uralt are a mixture of barren rocks and windswept shores. The larger islands are home to tribes of humanoids such as humans, islander elves, kobolds, and the dragontouched. These races must not only deal with pirates but also with the ogres tribes that live on some of the larger islands.
And then there is Frey to the south and the various islands to the north — the Tiele Islands and the Isle of Mist.
Frey is unique in that it is a growing law-abiding civilization in the wilds of the Karmine Sea. The Domain of Frey is a thalassocracy made up of seven major cities (its capital, Weife, is major port city) and dozens of other shoreline communities. The island's interior is a harsh place dominated by low mountains and salt flats. Freyans leave these desolate areas to such creatures as the powerful tauric race known as the dracovarans and the goblinoid race known as the bhuka.
The Tiele Islands, like the Untamed Isles, are known for being feral but that wasn't always the case. Before the events of The Transformation, Harqual's coastline stretched from Acheos to Port Tiele to where the ruins of Tih'bin now sit. The region was settled by roaming tribes and a few walled towns most of which either disappeared into the mists or were displaced onto the mainland.
The Free City of Tiele is the one community of note that was left relatively unscathed although it did lose a few allied forts and steadings. It is another city of miscreants and thieves. In the past, when it was connected to the continent, the city was known mainly as a city of vices and banditry. Now, as it sits alone on the dominant island of a new island chain named for the city, Tiele has become more of a port city than it was before The Transformation. The process has been painful but it has also changed the culture of the city. It is still a kleptocracy; however, it isn't as dominated by vice as it was before the mists changed Harqual.
Tiele was lucky; the area around Tih'bin wasn't.
Caer Tih'bin, or the Ruins of the Mist, didn't exist on Harqual before The Transformation. It's appearance has had only minimal impact on the region. It is avoided by the local tribes of The Northlands; however, it has become a destination of choice for adventurers who have heard about it (especially from Woodend and Arkhangel). Many have tried to enter the mysterious ruins but most return home frustrated. Tih'bin remains an enigma. The shoreline around the ruins are always shrouded in mists, which unnerves most visitors.
And with good reason.
The area is haunted by what can only be called spirits of the past. Adventurers report seeing ghost-like visages of people and places that are there but aren't there. These apparitions are usually harmless, but they are very unsettling to witness and interact with. There are undead "things" in the region, however, which only adds to the mystery. Plus, every once in a while, Tih'bin spits out strange monsters that can only be described as horrors of madness. Wizards who have visited the ruins suspect that Tih'bin is connected to either the Region of Dreams or the Far Realms. Or even both.
The last place of note on this map is the Isle of Mist. Unlike the area around Tih'bin, the island, or more appropriately, the legend of the island has existed since the earliest days of the continent's known history. Most agree that the island is real since so many people have seen it. However, very few have been able to visit the island and returned to tell about it. The legend of the island is that it is home to a race of fey elves that are connected more to the Faerie plane than to the World of Kulan. No one knows for certain but those that have come back from the mist shrouded isle speak is shushed whispers of a nirvana-like city called Xulvana where the ancient past walks alive and well. When asked for more, these privileged few refuse to say more; they simply smile and go about their day happily. Even threats do not work on these eerily happy souls.
I'm in the process of trying to update/finish the descriptions for my overview (and regional) maps for Harqual. I've been using the "Homebrew Worlds" forum on The Piazza to get a better sense of what I've already written. There have been quite a few contradictions/mistakes along the way in this thread, so I want to organize things a bit better.
The Piazza thread is allowing me to do this. Plus, once I've finished a description over there, I'll be adding that description to the appropriate post here. I've already done several including two for the Ragik Peninsula.
Hopefully, when I really get going, this thread will make more sense and won't have as much "DarkOranged" text.
I decided this map needed a better look. It now matches the format of my "Overview of the Great Forest" map.
THE EASTERN SHORES
This is where it all started. Harqual began in this region. In fact, the world began here as well even though Triadora existed long before Harqual and Kulan did. However, that's another story...
My 2E campaign began in the Eastern Shores in the Duchy of Minar (then called Mulcrow). The heroes of that campaign are now known as The Companions — Bactra Redwind, Dabuk Tigerstorm, Jeddar Silversun, Dvalin Thunderstone, and Mesik Tindertwig. Those were the original members of the adventuring group.
Since the end of that campaign, I have expanded the region by leaps and bounds and it remains one of my favorite regions for the Lands of Harqual. Minar, Stonn, Thallin, and Wolffire are still the cornerstone "kingdoms" of the Eastern Shores, but the other lands of the region have become important as well. I will go over each land in brief.
The Principality of Ambra is small kingdom that sits on the very end of the Jagged Peninsula. Its capital city is Sunwater and its ruler is Princess Ionela Sandulescu[LN female human, Ftr10]. The principality only has three other towns of note, so it barely qualifies as a true kingdom. Regardless, its strong ties with the Kingdom of Stonn keeps it from being preyed on by larger lands in the region. Pirates are a bit of an issue for Ambrans, however, since the coastal land is so close to the pirate havens on Athien Island, Blackhound, and the Samuanel Islands.
Ambra came about after I decided to place a homebrewed version of Castle Amber on Harqual. Castle Ambra will be based on the old school module (I need to reacquire a copy) but it will likely be changed significantly for my world.
Long before there was the treaty that formed the Eastern Council, the High Forest was the demesne of the elves and fey of Artesia. For centuries, the denizens of the High Forest have remained aloof from the surrounding lands. Only when human expansion threatened to fall every tree surrounding Lake Thallin did the Highborn become more involved in the politics of the region. In recent years, the leader of the Highborn, Emninrieman[N male treant, Drd10], has agreed to a military alliance with the citizens of The Highlands to the north. Relations with Minar are cordial but unofficial, and the Highborn remain isolated from Stonn and Wolffire. While the Highborn are mainly elves and fey, there are halflings and humans living in this forested land.
The Highlands is a land in turmoil. Ruled by a clan council, this rough and tumble collection of communities is growing rapidly. Since the end of the Thallin Civil War, the Highlands has seen an influx of new citizens. Several of Thallin's westernmost communities, including the city of Cabaret, seceded from the kingdom during its civil war and petitioned to join the Highlands. At first, the Highlands Clan Council rejected them, but as the war progressed and King Varath Dragonguard's evil and madness became apparent, the council soon realized that if they didn't help the rebellious communities then King Varath would likely turn his evil hordes on the Highlands next, regardless. The town of Aurora remains the land's capital even though Cabaret is larger by over 1,000 souls. The Highlands population is mainly human but there are an increasingly number of demihumans living in the region (i.e. refugees).
Besides the military alliance with the Highborn Lands, the Highlands Clan Council has struck a trade alliance with Minar.
Back in the day, Minar was known as Mulcrow. That name was from a DUNGEON Magazine adventure called "Rudwilla's Stew." I built Minar from that adventure and the duchy has been an obsession of mine ever since.
Minar is ruled by Duke Jace Brookwater, The Singing Monarch[NG male human. Brd8/Lyric Thaumaturge10]. The duke's title is dependent on his ability to continue to win The Tournament, which is held every five years.
However, life has become a lot more complicated in Minar after the recent war against the bugbear tribes of the Sunus Mountains. Minar, with the aid of Wolffire, won the war but the scars the conflict left on the duchy are significant. The Tournament feels outdated to many and there is a growing movement to have the Brookwater Family officially made the Royal Family of Minar. As to be expected, this new idea is causing some inner turmoil.
Minar is mixture of many races including elves, halflings, and dwarves as well as humans. The capital is Minar City and more than a dozen other communities including the City of Tian. With the sundering of the Eastern Council as an official alliance, Minar has tuned to other regions for allies. The duchy has a military alliance with the Strandlands to the south. However, the Barony of Wolffire, on the other side of the Sunus Mountains, remains a strong military ally, as well. Relations with Stonn remain cool and relations with Thallin are volatile.
If Ambra is small then the Belt is tiny. Yet, the Belt (or Qualitian Belt) has some of the most fertile lands in the Eastern Shores. Farming is the way of life in the Belt. Raln is the capital and the only city. A ruling council of clan and racial leaders control the Belt but the true power resides with the clergy of the Daghdha. (The Nature Lord is the patron god of the Belt.) In truth, this rural land is a protectorate of the Duchy of Minar. (In the past, the Belt suffered under the predations of bandits and warlords.)
The Shadow Magocracy is a mystery. It is a vassal state of the Kingdom of Stonn and its capital is the hidden forest fortress known as Asantyl. Its leaders are known only as the Quinate of Shadow. It is a land shrouded in magic and shadow. Outsiders who are not from Stonn are almost never welcome and even those from Stonn tread carefully here.
There are rumors that The Five have created several permanent magical portals that lead directly to the Plane of Twilight, to an unknown outer plane, or even to Sigil. It is whispered that they wish to resurrect a powerful Old God.
The Kingdom of Stonn is now the powerhouse of the Eastern Shores after the fall from grace of the Kingdom of Thallin. This suits the citizenry of Stonn just fine. They have always considered Thallin to be a land of upstarts and rogues even though they respected Thallin's former king, Travaithian Dragonguard. The Silent Lady[LN female human, Clr10 (Inanna)/Wiz10], on the other hand, sees the corruption of Thallin as a great loss to the stability for the region.
Relations between the two kingdoms is overtly hostile. Thallin is waging a clandestine war against the citizenry of Stonn and many believe it is only a matter of time before war is declared. The Silent Lady knows she needs allies beyond the shores of the Jagged Peninsula and has made offers of friendship to the rulers of the Highlands, Wind Cities, and the Kingdom of Navirosov. So far, she has had little luck beyond the well wishes of her peers.
The kingdom's capital is Stonn City, and its official state deity is Inanna. However, the Church of Inanna doesn't hold as much power over the country as it once did. Yes, the kingdom remains a Feudal Theocracy, but it isn't an oppressive theocracy. All of the North Gods are honored in Stonn (especially Cull and Hades) and many of the Interloper Gods have gained a strong following in this kingdom (especially Dike).
Stonn is the oldest existing kingdom in the Eastern Shores.
The Kingdom of Thallin recently went through a bloody civil war after the death of King Travaithian Dragonguard. His son, Varath, ascended to the throne and quickly outlawed demihumans, worship of the North Gods, made Nether (the Sword God of Hate and Tyranny) the patron deity of the kingdom, and proceeded to commit genocide against demihumans both inside and outside of Thallin's borders.
Chaos ensued. The populace rebelled. King Varath[NE male human, Ari5/Clr15 (Nether)] reorganized the military to include evil humanoids and giants. Ogres, in particular. His actions tore Thallin apart and dissolved the Treaty of Lake Nest amongst the member states of the Eastern Council. The city of Cabaret (and its surrounding communities) seceded from the kingdom. The king marched his forces against the rebellious city and laid siege to it for the duration of the war. In the end, the kingdom's forces were unable to win and hold the insurgent region. The war ended and the expatriated communities joined the Highlands.
For King Varath, however, the war never ended. He simply withdrew so that he could rebuild his forces and find a more productive way to conquer his enemies. Now, he has begun a battle of wits with The Silent Lady of Stonn and looks to gain new allies in his fight for the glory of The Black Tyrant. He has already struck a bargain with the Black Kingdom of the Thunder Orcs.
He is mad.
Thallin's capitial is the City of Fruen. The kingdom's population is now dominantly human as demihumans have fled the region rather than risk facing the Fury of the Dragon (the new elite soldiers of Thallin) as well as the priests of Nether's Deathtide. The rest of the population is made up of goblins, ogres, tri-clops, and a growing number of half-fiends. Half-ogres are slowly becoming more common in Thallin.
All of the Sword Gods are worshiped in Thallin now. The North Gods and many of the good- or neutral-aligned Interloper Gods are outlawed.
The Lands of the Cities of the Wind dominate the Wind Plains that divide the Eastern Shores from the Greystone Mountains and the Lake Gem Region to the North. The Wind Cities are an alliance of city-states that form a loose confederacy. The region is ruled by a council made up the rulers of the city-states and headed by a chancellor. This man or woman is elected every five years; however, since the events of The Transformation, there hasn't been a chancellor who has lived through the full term. They keep getting assassinated and no one knows by whom. Many suspect the backbiting rulers of the Kingdom of Jewels but no proof has been able to be divined. Others suspect a cult dedicated to the Dead Sword God, Vespin.
The region's capital is the City of Alavar. The population is very mixed and religion varies from city-state to city-state. The Wind Cities have a non-aggression pact with the Kingdom of the Silver Leaves (elves) and a military alliance with the Kingdom of the Greystones (dwarves). There is also a tentative alliance with the Free Lands of Arkhangel, however, leaders on both sides aren't sure it will last.
The Barony of Wolffire is a land of contradictions. It is a monarchy but it is also a land of barbarians. It is a growing civilization restrained by traditional teachings that insist the people live as one with the land. Its ruler, Lord Baron Recmair Hault[NG male human, Bbn14] is a hero of the Second Ogre War. He is known as The Wolf Lord to his people and they love him dearly even when he teaches urban progress as a means to survival for his young country.
The Barbarian Lands of the Fiery Wolf didn't exist before the Second Ogre War began. Many of the communities did exist, but they were not allied to each other. Blood feuds and skirmishes threatened to tear the region apart. Then the war came and Recmair Hault rose to lead his people as a champion and a leader. He defeated many monstrous enemies and found new allies for the Tribes of the Fiery Wolf amongst the lands of the Eastern Shores. He fought alongside a group of renown heroes that fought to protect the entire region from the ogre scions and their evil hordes.
Now, he is happily retired and works towards growing Wolffire into a land as great as Stonn but still dedicated to the more "traditional" teachings of the North Gods. Cronn is the patron god of the Barony of Wolffire and all traditional worship of the Pantheon of the North is welcomed amongst the Tribes of the Fiery Wolf. The barbarians of this land fought alongside the citizens of Minar against the Sunus Bugbear Tribes when those tribes invaded Minar. The war has brought the two lands closer together even with a range of mountains between them. The Lord Baron has also agreed to a non-aggression pact with the rulers of the Strandlands.
Wolffire's capital is the coastal City of Falcûne. The rest of Wolffire's communities are either scattered along the eastern shore of Harqual or located on Farion Island. The communities on the island are more traditional than those on the mainland.
New Map: Around Deepwater
Here's a new map that shows the area surrounding the city of Deepwater on Harqual's western coast. Many of the locales from this map are taken from an old DRAGON Magazine article by Ed Greenwood. The article is from issue #128 and has a really cool map.
I've changed most of the names as I did with Waterdeep. If anyone can guess the original names, they win two cool points.
There are several homebrewed locales on the map, however. So don't hurt your brains.
FYI... I just added the description for The Dual Seas Regions (see post #222, above).
NEW MAP: The Far South (East)
I decided I needed a comprehensive overview map of this part of The Far South. I've only show this region piece-mail before; the smaller regional maps don't really show how it all fits together.
When I start making closeup maps in this region again, this map will be my starting point.
Well, after doing the eastern lands of The Far South yesterday, I decided to take a crack at the western lands. This one didn't take as long to put together since I had the other map finalized style-wise.
I'm using a different font due to the fact that I recently got a new computer. When I made the switch, I forgot to copy over the fonts. Therefore, I needed to find a suitable substitute to the Stonehenge font I was using.
I really like the new Carleton font I discovered.
This map shows the first real view of the island chain known a Rumbling Archipelago. Part of Stonegard Island was visible on the old Nebral Peninsula map. The island chain is highly volcanic and this is the one area where fire giants are common. I will likely do a closeup version of the island chain at some point.
The western half of the Far south is dominated by Harqual's largest desert, the Great Expanse, and the lands of the Nebral Peninsula. However, the desert is less a part of the south than it is a buffer zone between the northern lands of Harqual and the Far South. It's denizens don't consider themselves northerners and they are often at odds with the denizens of the Far South.
The 'true' Far South begins near the edge of the desert where a river (called the Daviv River) flows from the southern half of the Patron Mountains and empties into the sea at the Transformation City called Belinay. That city is the capital of the Belin Confederacy -- a collection of city-states that were brought to the Lands of Harqual from the same world. Once on Harqual, they formalized an alliance amongst themselves that has withstood the machinations of the slavers of the Chara Coast.
The Belins avoid the Merewood due to traditional taboos about forests and due to a race they perceive as spiritblooded beings -- the phanatons. These small, bipedal raccoon-folk have lived in the Merewood for over five centuries and have had little competition in the forest until The Transformation completely changed the region surrounding their home. Besides the Belins on the northern shores of the peninsula, other new and unusual Transformation city-states have appeared south of the forest.
DM's Note:Note that I have removed the "City-State" from the Lands of Harqual. The city at that location is now known as Rusthallow. It has a very different background than the City-State.
For example, the Aate and their City-state of Aatente were brought to Harqual during The Transformation, not from another world but from the continent of Kanpur on the other side of Kulan. The Aate now hunt in the Merewood near the Hellion Hills, but they only take from the forest what they need and will often protect the Merewood from poachers.
The Aate fear the strange fey of the City-state of Cardamere (but not the flintlock-toting humans of Rusthallow), which was also brought to the Lands of Harqual during The Transformation. The fey race's origins are otherworldly and remain a mystery. Its citizens, called the Breshidi, have blue-green skin and often have more than two arms. Few of its people have ever left Cardamere, and they rarely trust outsiders. It is known that a human male from one of the 'native' city-states now lives in Cardamere and works towards protecting the Breshidi from those that would exploit them, including his former allies.
Rusthallow is another Transformation city-state that has technology similar to the peoples of the Hills of Ferinmal in the Great Expanse. (Rusthallow replaces the "City State." The map has been updated. -KF) In fact, their flintlock technology is more advanced than even the Badlands Dwarves of Ferinmal. The two lands are now aware of each other and a friendly rivalry has begun, although flintlock competitions between the two lands can get heated. In a few cases, this has turned into duals.
The lands east of the Merewood are the traditional 'native' city-states of this region. There are roughly a dozen of these cities in the region and diversity is the norm amongst the various populations. Before the magic conjunction reshaped the political landscape of the Far South, the most powerful city-states in this region were Foxellian, Livaley, Greol, and Xcellian. Of those four city-states, Xcellian has the largest population. Note that Rusthallow's population is significantly larger than these city-states, which has led to a strain on relations with the newcomers.
The City of Mount Song, in the Carillon Mountains, is strongly good-aligned and is made up of members of such races as Rockwood gnomes, Torin dwarves, southern elves, and even phanatons. Mount Song is the capital city of a powerful demihuman kingdom known as the Carillon Kingship. Humans are a rarity here; however, there is little to no racial hatred towards humanity or even goblinoids. All are welcome if they are good and obey the laws of the Songmaster Kings.
The denizens of Mount Song consider the peoples of Rusthallow to be boorish and dangerous invaders that must be kept in check.
• The volcanic islands known as the Rumbling Archipelago are home to seacliff dwarves, fire giants, the aarakocra, and all sorts of strange and exotic monstrous humanoids. The islands are rugged and even the lowest hills are dangerous. The coastlines of these islands are often shear cliffs, yet there are lowlands that touch the sea. The island chain continues west and south providing a connecting trade route to the Isles of Valossa and to Janardûn. Ships often sail the warmer routes down into the Valossan Sea but rarely cross the treacherous colder waters of Aegir's Sea to the Psionic Lands.
• The Plains of the Black Sand are a smuggler's delight, especially for those that are outcasts from elsewhere. Half-bred races such as half-elves, half-orcs, and uk-kargs do well in this region, as long as they don't try to steal from the Black Sand Tribe. The kobolds of Harqual's most famous group of kobolds lives under the protection of Adamanditar(male blue dragon / 39 HD [great wyrm] / TN), the Majestic Blue Dragon of the Nebral Peninsula. Even though Adamanditar lairs somewhere in the heart of the Great Expanse, he often wings south through the Far South to visit his kobold followers located in these plains and intimidates the evil humanoids living near the White Desert on the Varan Peninsula.
Smugglers who steal from the kobolds tend to disappear but most of the groups working on the plains know better than to steal from them. The various peoples of the Transformation city-state have been quick to learn to fear and respect the Majestic Dragons of Harqual. While the humans of Rusthallow respect the Majestic Dragons, that hasn't stopped them from opposing the kobolds and anyone else who comes into "their" territory.
• Close to the Plains of the Black Sand is Lake Therse and the Savanna of Mysteries. The region is strongly tied to the Merewood and the fey that live in the rainforest. Bandontown is the capital city of the Therse Dependency -- an oligarchy with an integrated population of feytouched, cat races, phanatons, and humans. The city sits on the northern shore of Therse Lake and its peoples work to protect the lake and the Merewood from aggressors. The Savanna of Mysteries is known for its highly magical nature. Druids and sorcerers are often born in this region.
DM's Note:East of the lake and plains lies the Paian Hills Region, which I've already mentioned above. I will talk about that region and area west of Merewood more in the post with the regional map of the Nebral Peninsula.