Marks of Power
CAPITOL: Aridan City
GOVERNMENT: Monarchy and Parliament
RULER: “High King” Edward Aristeed.
CLIMATE: Temperate with a longer that average rainy season in the North, ranging to Tropical in the South East.
RESOURCES: Gold, Silver, Livestock, and Farming.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Calaran (Fair), Free Isles (Poor), Glenfaddich (Fair), Gontal (Good), Sheridar (Good), Themul (Fair).
GEOGRAPHY: Aridian geography consists mostly of plains with some forested areas. Crater Lake is a large body of freshwater located near the East coast. Aridan is dotted with small mountains full of precious metals. Mining is a major source of income for Aridan.
PEOPLE: Aridians tend to be of medium height and build. Most have dark eyes and dark hair though there is some variation. Subjects of the High King are a hearty, happy lot, they like their lives and their drink. Pubs are often the focal point of towns and villages, serving as a place to meet with friends and relax. They tend to be open, friendly and fiercely patriotic. They treat travelers with respect unless an unkind word is spoken about Aridan.
HISTORY: Created from the ashes shortly after the King’s War, Aridan quickly grew in power. Aridan’s first King, Yorik Aristeed was a great general and tactician. Perhaps his greatest political act was acquiring Sheridar and Gontal as commonwealths. The wealth brought in from these countries, as well as Aridan’s numerous Gold and Silver mines helped the Nation’s quick rise in power.
POLITICS: The King of Aridan is called the “High King.” The Aristeed family has always ruled Aridan and they have governed her fairly and wisely. The creation of a democratically elected Parliament 80 years ago has done wonders for the morale of her people. Though it is little more than an advisory body to the King, the Parliament makes the commoners feel like they have a say in the running of their country. King Edward has sat on the throne for the last 25 years. He is considered one of the most popular in a long line of beloved Kings. His son and heir, Phillipe is a bit of a handful for the King though. Phillipe is very charismatic and enjoys carousing with the common people. Many of the Nobility in Aridan are concerned about Phillipe’s capability as a ruler. The King constantly has to defend his son, whom the Nobility considers to be a drunk and a fop. Only time will tell how well the young man sits the throne, but he has already won the hearts of the common people.
Aridan has a strong standing Army and a decent Navy. There is trade with all the Nations of Doman. King Edward tries to remain neutral in the conflicts of other Nations, though it is rumored that he has been secretly supplying the Elves of Glenfaddich with arms and supplies to aid them in their never-ending war with Calaran. These rumors do not put Edward too high in the Bishop of Calaran’s esteem. While trade with Themul continues, Edward is obviously concerned with the social climate of the Empire. If civil war should break out in Themul, it is unclear which side, if any, that Edward will take.
RELIGION: Religion, like in all the Human nations, no longer has the influence it once had. There are still temples to be found in the cities. Very few priests of any of the hold high-ranking seats in the government. One notable exception is the Paladin known only as Blake, who is in charge of the High King’s protection. Edward also has a Magi advisor.
CAPITOL: New Calar.
RULER: Bishop Harek Teel.
CLIMATE: Varies from temperate in the East too colder in the West.
RESOURCES: Fishing, Livestock, Farming, and Lumber.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Aridan (Fair), Free Isles (Poor), Glenfaddich (Poor), Gontal (Fair), Sheridar (Fair), Themul (Poor).
GEOGRAPHY: Calaran consists mostly of plains and forests. To the West the mountain range known as The Wall cuts off Calaran and the rest of Doman from whatever may lie beyond.
PEOPLE: The people of Calaran tend to have blond hair and blue eyes, with a larger than average build. Calarians are a quiet conservative people; they distrust strangers and are often hostile to foreigners.
HISTORY: Calaran was founded not long after the King’s War when plague and famine wracked the land. From somewhere in Themul there appeared a man who called himself Calar the Prophet. Calar was plainly insane, but the words he spoke rang true to some people.
Calar claimed that the King’s War was caused because the Gods had betrayed them: The Evil “Gift” of magic was what created the Warlock King. He claimed to have received a vision from a new God, one who despised magic and all who used it. Calar believed that The One True God reigned over the Lesser Gods, so his followers should reign over all Doman. Though he was immediately banished from Themul, there were those that found truth in Calar’s mad ravings. They followed him across the Serpent Sea, to lands that were once inhabited by Elves. There they built a city dedicated to the One True God. Calar died when a fire broke out in the Temple of The One, taking the entire city of Calar with it. No one knows what started the fire, but most Calarians think the “Demonic” Elves started it. Even after his death, Calar’s legacy lived on. New Calar was built on the ashes of old Calar and Calaran grew into a powerful Nation, one where the Bishop of The One rules with an iron fist.
POLITICS: The current Bishop, Herek Teel is a man of cunning ambition. He uses his Children of The One to keep a tight hold on the population. The Children of The One, a group of fanatical warriors who act as judge, jury and executioner in matters of faith, are more commonly known as Redmen because of the red tunics they wear as uniforms. When a group of Redmen enters a village, normal hard working people become raving zealots. The common people of Calaran fear the Redmen’s questioning so they are quick to point out the indiscretions of their neighbors. Children of The One usually don’t enter a village without someone being put to the question and burned. That’s how Bishop Teel wants it. See ORGANIZATIONS to learn more about the Children of The One.
Calaran is in a constant war with the Elves of Glenfaddich. Since Elves are creatures of magic, Calarians view them as soulless Demons, creatures that must be wiped off the face of Doman. Small skirmishes along the border are an almost daily occurrence. Eighty years ago a well-orchestrated invasion pushed the Elves so far back that the ancient city of Ta’garan was lost to them. Something horrible happened to the invading army though and it has become a ghost city. Whatever happened that day is a well kept secret and the Calarians give it a wide berth.
Rumor has it that Bishop Teel is preparing his Army for another major invasion of Glenfaddich. The Elves, and the rest of Doman watch Calaran and Bishop Teel closely, fearing that this may be the last invasion needed.
RELIGION: Calaran is a Theocracy dedicated to The One True God. Unfortunately for the Calarians, The One True God doesn’t seem to exist; at least he doesn’t reward his followers with Divine magic like the Holy Family does. Because of this, all magic is considered Evil. Any Spellcasters found within the borders of Calaran are branded as a witch and burned at the stake.
CAPITOL: None, though Skullport is often where the current Pirate Lord sets up shop.
RULER: Varies. Whichever Pirate Lord has the most power could be considered the “Ruler” of the Isles, but no one stays on top very long in the Free Isles.
RESOURCES: Smuggling and Piracy.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Aridan (Poor), Calaran (Poor), Glenfaddich (Poor), Gontal (Fair), Sheridar (Poor), Themul (Fair).
GEOGRAPHY: The Free Isles are a collection islands, one very large one and hundreds of smaller ones. None of the islands, the main one included, have been very well explored. The main island and the smaller ones are all covered with dense rainforests. The only real city in the Free Isles is Skullport.
PEOPLE: The people of the Free Isles are an odd mixture of every Race and Nation in Doman. There is no way to easily identify the people who live there, other than they are a proud and passionate lot who cherish freedom and live life to the fullest.
LANGUAGES: Aridian/Common, Themulian, Goblinoid.
HISTORY: Soon after the Race Wars, Humans learned to tame the sea, not long after that the Free Isles were discovered. The Isles can hardly be called a Nation. They are a place where anarchy and lawlessness reign supreme. The Isles are a haven for Pirates, thieves and anyone else who does not mesh well with normal society.
POLITICS: The closest thing to a political center on the Free Isles is the city of Skullport. Anything and everything happens in Skullport. Slavery, Prostitution, and Gambling are all common and available. A popular saying in Skullport is: “If it would make a Calarian roll his eyes… we’ve got it!” The smaller islands are full of Pirate dens, full of booty taken from the shores of Aridan.
Several times in the past the “High King” has sent the Royal Navy to wipe out the Pirate Scum. The Pirates of the Free Isles are a cunning lot though; the Royal Navy would always arrive to find Skullport an empty shell. The sailors would burn the city to the ground but six months later it would inevitably be rebuilt. King Edward seems to understand the futility of taking the fight to the Isles; instead he has come upon the idea of hiring Pirates as Privateers. He figures that by putting some of the Pirates in his employ, they’ll be too busy fighting each other to raid his coast. Whether his plan works or not remains to be seen.
RELIGION: Other than the odd temple to “The Black Sheep” religion is not a major force in the Free Isles. Though not a church, the Temple of “The Way” bears noting. About thirty years ago an odd looking ship from the fabled Empire of the South docked off the South Coast of the main island. For reasons unknown to anyone, the Devas and exotic looking men and women from the South built a Temple there. They occasionally take in students from Doman and teach them their unique style of Unarmed Combat. What they are really doing there is anyone’s guess. The Pirates have chosen to leave them alone for the time being. See ORGANIZATIONS to learn more about the Brotherhood of “The Way.”
GOVERNMENT: Matriarchal Monarchy.
RULER: Queen Ellerisa Quiensentia.
CLIMATE: Magically controlled, usually temperate.
RESOURCES: Furs, Herbs, Gems, and Magical Items.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Aridan (Fair), Calaran (Poor), Free Isles (Poor), Gontal (Fair), Sheridar (Fair), Themul (Fair).
GEOGRAPHY: The Nation of Glenfaddich consists almost entirely of one great forest.
PEOPLE: Other than Surrash, a small mixed settlement far to the North near the Sheridian border, the only known residents of Glenfaddich are the Elves. Rumors do exist that other intelligent species such as Centaurs and Dryads live within Glanfaddich’s magical borders. These rumors are not easily proven, and the Elves aren’t talking.
LANGUAGES: Elvish, Draconic, Aridian/Common.
HISTORY: Glenfaddich has existed as long as Doman. The Homeland of the Elves once spread across most of Doman. Human expansion and devastating wars have reduced the Elven nation to a mere fraction of its original size.
POLITICS: The only city remaining in Glenfaddich is Tir’Na’Norag, a vast city in the trees. Here is where Queen Ellerisa holds her court; here is where she waits for the inevitable. The Elves are a dying race, very few children are born and continued losses at the hands of Calarian soldiers spell the Elves’ almost certain doom. The Elves have retreated far into their forests where they prepare for Bishop Teel’s rumored attack.
Not all Elves agree with Queen Ellerisa, though, indeed there are small factions of Elves who aren’t content to wait. Some of these groups have banded together and they live wild like the Elves did before the Race Wars. More militant than their cousins in Tir’NaNorag, they practice their fighting skills and hone their weapons. Their intention is to fight the inevitable with their dying breath.
The only other fixed settlement within the borders of Glenfaddich is Surrash. It is little more than a trading outpost where Humans and Elves do business. While some Elves venture out into Doman, Surrash is the only place in Glenfaddich where a Human won’t be killed on sight. Even Humans from Nations friendly to the Elves are not allowed past Surrash.
RELIGION: Most Elves pay homage to “The Earthmother.” In these dark times the Elder Race looks to her even more. The Elves pray to her for a miracle, it would seem though that only “The Earthmother” knows if there is an answer to those prayers.
GOVERNMENT: Duchy (Commonwealth of Aridan).
RULER: Duke Jorrel Emerson.
CLIMATE: Wet and rainy through most of the year.
RESOURCES: Lumber, Fur, Semi-Precious Metals, and Fishing.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Aridan (Good), Calaran (Fair), Free Isles (Fair), Glenfaddich (Fair), Sheridar (Good), Themul (Good).
GEOGRAPHY: Large forests and numerous mountain ranges cover Gontal. The Cauldron, a large body of water in the very center of the Nation, has a reputation for ships mysteriously disappearing in it. Gontal is also full of ruins. The Dwarves left many cities standing in their flight, and the resourceful adventurer can often find artifacts within the husk of the former cities. The Academy of Arlan usually has at least one archeological expedition in the area at any given time.
PEOPLE: Gonts are simple, hard-working people who mind their own business and hope that others do the same. The Nation is considered the “melting pot” of Doman. People from all Nations can be found living and working in Gontal. There are no physical features common to her citizens. There are also numerous tribes of Goliaths living in the northern mountains. Travelers take care to avoid their settlements at the Goliaths generally attack outsiders on sight.
LANGUAGES: Aridian/Common, Dwarven in the Goiliath settlements.
HISTORY: Gontal is another of the Nations formed after the King’s War. When the Dwarves left Doman, they left behind good farmland and the husks of their once great cities. Many Humans found themselves homeless after the King’s War and Gontal seemed like a good place to start again.
POLITICS: Gontal is best known for how unremarkable it is. Gontal is a commonwealth of Aridan, which means that the Gonts pay taxes to King Edward. Most Gonts are fine with this; it saves them the trouble of having to run the country when there is real work to do. Gontal is basically a collection of small villages and towns. These tight-knit communities often govern themselves, usually forming a council of Elders. Only the two cities, Dereval and Hectal, are run by Aridian nobles, although it should be noted that calling Hectal a city might be an overstatement.
Duke Emerson is the closest thing to a ruler that Gontal has. Living in the capitol city of Dereval, he handles the day-to-day affairs of the Nation. This basically consists of keeping the merchant class happy and ensuring that the lumber and other natural resources are distributed where they are needed.
RELIGION: The Church doesn’t have a great deal of influence on Gontal. Perhaps because the Gonts are too pragmatic to spend time worshiping when there is work to do. There are a few temples scattered around, and a few more Druids wandering the wilderness, but Gonts tend to be agnostics.
CAPITOL: Ri Rioch.
GOVERNMENT: Clan Rule. (Commonwealth of Aridan).
RULER: Varies, currently Cromac of Clan Kendrick.
CLIMATE: Cold and wet, with major snowfalls in the winter.
RESOURCES: None per say. The Clans are provided whatever they need by King Edward of Aridan.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Aridan (Good), Calaran (Fair), Free Isles, (Poor), Glenfaddich (Fair), Gontal (Good), Themul (Fair).
GEOGRAPHY: Sheridar has lots of hills and cliffs, making it a difficult region to navigate. Loch Innis is the only notable body of water in the region. To the North, great snowy mountains rise out of the ground. The Goblinoid tribes live in caves carved out of these mountains. The most notable feature of Sheridar is the Great Barrier that closes off what was once Tanelorn from the rest of Doman.
PEOPLE: The Clansmen are a strong, hearty bunch. They are largely built and most have red hair and blue eyes. Beards are a status symbol amongst the Clansmen as are kilts; the Clansmen wear their family tartans with pride. Sheridians tend to be loud and boisterous. They live and drink hard. Still, the other Nations view them with a large amount of respect. They do a hard job and they do it well. That doesn’t stop innkeepers from hoping that the Clansmen stay in some other establishment when they visit foreign lands, though.
LANGUAGES: Dwarvish, Aridian/Common.
HISTORY: The Nation of Sheridar serves a very specific purpose; it was created after the King’s War to contain the Goblinoid tribes in the North and to guard the Great Barrier. After the Warlock King had been imprisoned, the races were faced with the still very real threat of the Goblinoids. Although they were beaten, none suspected them to stay beaten long. To remedy the situation, a group of stout warriors, veterans of the King’s War, agreed to protect Doman from further invasions.
These men admired the ways of the Dwarves; they began fighting, worshiping and even talking like them. Sheridar was a harsh land and the Sheridians learned that the best way to survive and to combat the Goblinoids was to stay mobile. They formed themselves into nomadic Clans and began patrolling the border. They have been the guardians of Doman for 1000 years.
POLITICS: The Sheridians choose their leader every five years when the Clans get together at Ri Rioch, the only stone settlement in the Nation. There they compete in numerous trials to see which Clan is the mightiest. That Clan’s chief becomes the ruler of Sheridar for the next five years. It is a brutal competition and it is not unheard of for Clansmen to be killed in the trials.
RELIGION: Because of the Sheridian’s admiration of Dwarves, they have adopted “The Son of Battle” as their patron. Priests have a great deal of power in the Clans and every Chief has a member of the clergy as an advisor. Usually the will of the Church becomes the will of the Clan.
RULER: Emperor Exeter Valerious
CLIMATE: Hot and humid with a brief rainy season.
RESOURCES: Precious Metals, Gemstones, Livestock, and Farming.
FOREIGN RELATIONS: Aridan (Fair), Calaran (Poor), Free Isles (Fair), Glenfaddich (Fair), Gontal (Good), Sheridar (Fair).
GEOGRAPHY: Dry, dusty plains make up most of the region. Fertile land is scarce so farms often lie in close proximity to the rivers.
PEOPLE: Themulians tend to be short and dark-skinned. Themul is a hot place so her citizens tend to wear little clothing, a fact that makes some of the more conservative citizens of Doman write off Themulians as frivolous. Wise people keep such opinions to themselves though; Themulians are a proud, fiery people who don’t take kindly to insults.
LANGUAGES: Themulian, Aridian/Common.
HISTORY: Themul was the first of the Human Nations and at one point was also the greatest. There was a time when every Human in Doman owed allegiance to the Great Empire of Themul. Before the King’s War, Themul was at the height of her power and the Themulian legions were the most powerful armed forces in Doman. Strong as they were, they could not stop the Goblinoid hoards from decimating most of the Empire. After the Warlock King was defeated, many Human’s found themselves displaced. Instead of returning home, some warriors just stayed where they were and formed new Nations. This was a blow to the Empire.
Even more disastrous for Themul was the loss of her Emperor. Julian Darmon was perhaps the greatest ruler the Empire had ever seen and his family had led wisely for generations. He was killed when he bravely challenged the Warlock King to single combat… he never stood a chance. Julian had never married and the lack of a clear heir allowed the Valerious family to connive their way onto the throne. The Valerious family proved to be the worst sort of political manipulators; their only interests were increasing their wealth and catering to the interests of family friends… that and living the “good life.” The once Great Empire has fallen into decay, her Nobles are a group of lazy hedonists and her people are on the verge of civil war.
POLITICS: Exeter Valerious, unfortunately, is no exception to his family. Often rumored to be insane, Exeter has little interest in the welfare of his people, as long as there is wine in his cup and a woman in his bed, he is happy. He has allowed Themul to fall to an all time low; her coffers are empty and the already exorbitant taxes are not sufficient to pay off the Nation’s debts. Poverty and corruption rule the streets. The Nobility appear to have no concern for the plight of the common man.
The only voice the people have belongs to Duke Rochagnon D’Trael. Though the Emperor holds court in the capitol city of Arlan, it is the Duke and his wife, Marie, who run the city. They are very popular amongst the common people of Themul… too popular for the Valerious family’s taste. It is rumored that Rochagnon is a direct descendant of Julian Darmon and that Marie is a powerful Wizard who defies the Order of Magi by not joining their ranks. Whether or not these rumors are true, if civil war does break out in Themul, the D’Trael family might end up on the throne. That is if they don’t end up dead.
Arlen is the largest city in Doman. One of its most notable features is the Academy of Arlan. The Academy is considered to have the largest and finest collection of knowledge in Doman. It was founded by the Order of Magi in the name of their Goddess and run in conjunction with Themulian government. Knowledge is not one of the Emperor’s major concerns so the Magi have taken over the Academy fully, a fact that many critics of the Order of Magi aren’t happy about.
RELIGION: Arlan is also the home of Pope Roland and the center of the Church of the Holy Family. Religion is stronger in Themul than in the other Human nations, but even the Church is not free of the corruption that grows in the county like a cancer. The truly devout fear what will happen to the Church once the ailing Pope Roland dies.