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World of Whitethorn player's handout

the_David

Explorer
Some time ago, back in 2003 actually, Ed Cha posted a link to the player's handout for his World of Whitethorn campaign setting. Ofcourse, the link is now dead and the topic is closed. :erm:

Now I'm gonna do something about that. With a little bit of magic, and some help from the wayback machine.
 

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the_David

Explorer
The Lost History of the Kingdom of Calas

In the Year 1032 during the Second Age of Man, barbarian invaders arrived on these eastern shores from the lands across the Nardun Sea. Many of the inhabitants, known as the Kalen, fled into the woods or sought refuge in the south with the Knights of the Mar. Those that remained fought beside their leader the sorceress-warrior Obdea, but failed and were mercilessly enslaved by these barbarians who called themselves the Tehar. Obdea was beheaded, her body thrown into the river. The Knights of the Mar then waged a courageous war to free the people and restore order in the land. Though few in numbers, they fought valiantly against the barbarians who were led by a mighty warrior known as Bomur. A large man of immense strength with cunning battle skills, he could cut through several men in a single swing of his axe.

The barbarians fought until their defeat in the Year 1041, when Bomur agreed to accept the god Orithen as his savior and free the Kalen from servitude. Under the guidance of Lord Harwick, Bomur vowed to abandon rape and pillage and began civilizing his people. They settled at the mouth of the Hem River and many of the Kalen returned to teach the barbarians how to farm and fish. As a result, the settlement prospered and soon grew to become a large town. In their honor, Bomur named it Kalas (“Town of the Kalen”), now known as Calas.

As years passed, Calas began to gather considerable wealth through its profitable trade routes and rapidly developed into a great city. As the power of the city grew, Bomur’s son Halmur broke his father’s vow and invaded the lands surrounding Calas in the Year 1068. The territory under his rule expanded and so did his influence. After declaring himself king, he demanded that the Knights of the Mar accept his rule and pledge allegiance to him. The knights were led by two brothers, Pallon and Dunn, both brave and noble men. Pallon wanted peace restored to the land and believed Halmur’s word that he would expand no further and establish law in this realm. He acquiesced to Halmur’s rule in the Year 1079 and thus ended the Eleven Year War. In return, Halmur granted him the title of prince. He also promised to relinquish power to Pallon’s son if ever he had no heir.

Dunn, on the other hand, mistrusted Halmur and gathered some of the Kalen to found a new realm in the West Mar. He declared himself king and swore to rule for the good of the people, rather than strict adherence to piety and order like his brother. Consequently, he relinquished his knighthood and so did those knights that followed him. Dunn's rule ended when as he vanquished the Green Dragon (Velsiun) that terrorized the townsfolk, its massive serpentine body fell upon and crushed him. His successors continued the rivalry between Dunmar and Pallomar, however, while keeping an eye on Calas.

Halmur kept his word and established order in his realm under the basic Principles of the Paladin. Unlike his father, he truly converted to the teachings of Orithen and baptized his own son according to local tradition in the Year 1081. He then ordered all newborn children to be given names in a similar fashion (though not all listened). Sadly, his wife Onalla died from eating poisonous berries while walking through the woods one day. With the child still in her arms, Onalla’s lifeless body lay on the ground when the Druid Eolewer found her. A helpless baby, Cunedain was adopted by the childless druid as his own. Not knowing his heritage, Eolewer took him into the forest and taught him the ways of the woods.

One of the townsfolk, however, said he saw a wolf take the child and the king fell into despair. Without an apparent heir, Halmur grew worried about the succession of his line and took a wife of local origin named Brica. She bore him five sons, the eldest being Dearc. After Halmur’s death in the Year 1093, Dearc assumed the throne at the age of nine. At this time, a wiseman calling himself Farahar arrived from a faraway land in the East and told Brica that someone from the forest would challenge Dearc’s right to rule. The queen, suspecting that Cunedain was still alive, ordered all wild children born in the woods surrounding Calas to be killed. Hearing whispers of ill in the wind, Eolewer took Cunedain to the Great Forest seeking refuge with the treefolk. Six years later, Dearc reached adulthood and Brica, satisfied with the wiseman’s advice, lifted the order. In gratitude, she built a great tower for him near the city seeking his counsel from time to time.

Cunedain remained in the Great Forest and fathered a child with an elf named Sehmil. Having learned of his birthright through a witch he encountered one night in the misty fog of the forest, Cunedain named his son Calath or “Child of the Kalen”. Calath roamed the woods guiding weary hunters to safety and helping wandering villagers back to their homes. His sons and daughters went on to take the role of protectors of men lost in the Great Forest.

Many years went by as stability and order reigned in the Kingdom of Calas. Then, a new wave of barbarians known as the Hellar arrived on the northern shores of the realm in the Year 1149. Savage and untamed, they were not unlike the previous invaders. These vicious warriors, however, trampled over the northern territories engaging in senseless destruction and wanton killings. This would not cease until the barbarians’ advance was halted by a stronger force, for they respected power and only feared those mightier than themselves.

In the Year 1153, Baron Vernest’s tower in Oester came under attack. The baron sent a messenger to Calas to ask for immediate assistance. King Lodan, son of Dearc, refused to support the tower’s defense. His father had sold the title and land to Sir Vernest, a Gallian Knight, who had married a relation. But the king suspected something amiss when the baron began remitting fewer and fewer taxes. Moreover, he was rumored to be squandering his wealth on finding a way to attain eternal life.

Regardless, King Lodan wanted to prepare his army in Mullikin for a counter-offensive to ward off the expected invasion of Calas. The baron's tower stood against the siege for 14 days, but could not hold any longer. Feeling betrayed by the king and despondent over his wife Iwenfal’s apparent suicide, Baron Vernest ordered the tower be burnt to the ground. Great winds from the sea helped the flames ruthlessly burn the surrounding forest as the villagers of Oester fled. While some of these villagers later returned, they suffered terribly at the hands of the invaders and never trusted the Crown again. Foul creatures looking for the corpses of the fallen took over what was left of the forest. Any tree that grew here became dark and twisted and it was thereafter called the Blackened Woods.

Meanwhile, King Lodan readied a great army to fend off the barbarians at the fortress in Mullikin. The fighting was intense and the battlefield lay with many dead on both sides, but the fortress stood strong and victory seemed near. At the last moment, however, the barbarian leader Krom made a pact with the Orcs of Gragok and soon swarms of these fetid creatures covered the battlefield accompanied by unspeakable abominations from beyond the Mull. It seemed the end had finally come and the lands would be ruled by the cruel and savage allied with the evil and foul. King Lodan’s army and the Knights of Pallomar fought bravely, but they quickly became overwhelmed by the invaders.

Just as all hope seemed lost, the druid Eolewer, urged by young Calath, led the Friends of the Great Forest onto the battlefield to aid in the fight. Soon the tide turned when Krom fell by the sword of brave Calath and Krom's forces panicked fleeing back into the hills and wastelands of the north. King Lodan’s army advanced into the northern territories and reclaimed the lands surrounding Oester. The barbarians were kept at bay across the Maldun River and thus ended the War of the Northern Invasion.

They settled in the land north of the river and Krom’s son Vron proclaimed himself king. Thus, the Kingdom of Helleras was founded and antagonism between the two realms continues to this day. But while Calas is prosperous and civilized, Helleras often suffers from famine brought about by its own chaos. So often has power changed hands that instability has remained the only constant. As a result, being not far from the border, Oester continued to be plundered by savages seeking food to feed on and women to breed with. The poor villagers have been terrorized for years, yet there has been no effort to rebuild the tower due to rumors that the grounds are haunted by the ghost of Baron Vernest.

Meanwhile peace prevailed in Calas and old friendships were renewed. As gratitude for his aid, King Lodan granted Eolewer rulership of all of the Great Forest. Although Eolewer maintained that no one ruled the Great Forest and he could only serve as its guardian, he became known as the Druid King. Regardless, Lodan promised not to interfere in the affairs of the forest which satisfied Eolewer greatly. Thus, the sovereignty of these ancient woods was preserved for many years to come.

Calath’s heroism, however, was not recognized by King Lodan as the wiseman Farahar advised him to be wary of the young man for his growing fame posed a threat to the Crown. Nevertheless, the kind and charismatic Calath became very popular with the people and was loved dearly. Jealous and fearful, King Lodan grew anxious and desired to have him “disappear”. Eolewer knew of the King’s intentions and told the birds in the forests to sing a tale of Calath, not Lodan, as the rightful ruler. Hunters and villagers alike began to hum the song of “Calath the Brave, Calath the Just” and there were even some rumors of his true heritage. Fearing that he would be blamed for Calath’s death and upset the people, King Lodan called off his plans. The birds stopped singing and the people forgot about Calath who returned to the Great Forest with Eolewer, as he had always wished. Peace and prosperity have blessed Calas and the surrounding lands for many years since.

It is now the Year 1312 during the reign of King Anuron and your tale begins.
 
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the_David

Explorer
There is no more. Ed Cha wrote this in 2003, and I posted it so you won't have to use the wayback machine on the dead link to find this article.

Ofcourse, you could buy the World of Whitethorn adventures, and the novel.
 



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