Regions (TLKoA Setting)
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Heraldry and titles
Doras - A black tree on a deep green field
Emperor, Imperial family (most nobles are relations)
Rydony - A mailed fist with a red sash, holding a sword.
Overlord, Various Guildmasters
Aronbor - A grey keep on white
Archduke, Dukes (archduke used to be an adviser to the kings)
Iosia & Andor - Three golden horns on chequered green and yellow
Hornblower family, assorted noble Houses
Ambvrria - Diagonal purple slash separating black and white, gold trim
Whatever the ruler wants to call themselves, no clear system (priesthood actually in charge)
Mordland - Ship at full sail on a red sea
Spike royal family, original is lords and ladies
Idrez - seven points in a semicircle on a light turquoise containing a red triangle of chaos
5 cities council plus military and religious advisors
Inderinon - A single large silver star on jet black
Military dictatorship, Generals
Asrinon & Rinon - A green coiling tail disappearing beneath waves
Northerond - A large white tooth (any) on brown (often just sackcloth)
Nomadic tribal matriarchy
Maradan - A leaping fish resembling Maradan, azure on silver
Various factions, no established structure yet
Romara - A rearing dragon on orange. Colour of dragon determines tribe
Tribal and dragon worshipping cults
Old Document Dump
'Vaniya Regions' - Warning, may be slightly corrupted.
Ambvrrian trade Alliance
The triplicate of Ambvrria, Mordland and Idrez coexist in a fragile relationships after the bitter skirmishes of the last half century over valuable trading commodities such as coloured extracts from rainbow shrimp which live in the fastest flowing sections of the river Mord, and the clam–pearls found only by the fisher monks of Belge, and the lake-walkers of Edgeburr, both capable of diving to the deepest depths of The Mite, the lake which is both a centrepiece to the three nations, and also where all of their borders meet. Who owns which stretch of river? Is there a line exactly halfway across, or is free for all an option. Rules had to be made, and Ambvrria decided they were the ones best suited to make them, since they retain the belief that their way is superior no matter what.
Personalities: Ambvrria – a republic, just emerging from feudalism, and ruled by an oligarchy, they worship the duality of Elishar, of positive energy, light and prophecy, and Toldoth, of negative energy, darkness and destruction fervently, but don't actively convert. The majority of the wealth and political influence is centred in the north, around the Derren river basin, and the southern farmers are looked down on and exploited. (tax etc.) Leader Has no official title (and the religious leaders hold the real power).
Mordland – a corrupt monarchy, supposedly plagued by raiders and sorcerers, although the tales are fabricated by 'heroes', who then go out to destroy said foul maladies and return to claim huge rewards. They have no gods, although local villagers, cut off from the outside world by their incompetent ruling system, believe in the fundamental earth mother sky father theology, and nobody bothers telling them otherwise. They are at war with rebels in Maradan islands (although the small islands of Xela and Gad belong to Mordland). Mordland is the only country which openly trades with the mostly desert nations of Sarn and Talin [old map], although Dorasi scholars will know of them.
Leader A king. (never a queen). Really messed up bloodlines at this point.
Idrez – a small land of verdant pastures, with the misfortune to be stuck between two of the most money grabbing and badly organised neighbours. Providing fertile farmland and rich sea fishing to Ambvrria's Minerals and Mordland's lumber, Idrez is a state constantly flung about on somebody else's whim. There is a central court of barons, the five cities council (it actually has seven members, with both an Ambvrrian advisor and a representative of the Knights of Order along with the barons). the council generally agrees, but nothing much gets done, and no permanent religious centres besides shrines to Pelor in towns, but all worshippers are allowed to come and go, although conjuration magic is banned, and almost all other magic is hated.
Leader Round table style 'equal council' results in nobody taking prerogative.
Places of DM note:
The Mite contains a portal to the elemental plane of water, where it drains (no rivers exit it)
Salen's key is heavily guarded, but nearby farmers claim to know safe trails, and should divulge said information if the price is right.
The Island cluster of Maradan, Cray, Scarfe, Wade and Alb (in order of decreasing size) lies host to the Bawold rebels, named after both the town built on Maradan (as yet unmapped), and a former population centre demolished to make way for the new Royal summer palace, now located on the peninsula between Barksby and Garbett (also hidden). This is only the given motivation of the shadowy group, supported in part by the Halflings of Iosia, but also handsomely by the many 'heroes' of Mordland. As far as their relations with other nations go, the people of Doras are ambivalent, and there is occasionally trades, but besides Iosia, the Bawold so far remain secret, even to Mordland, although Doras does share a closer coastline, so a better reason to discover them.
Leader There is a power split among the rebels between those who want to settle and forget Mordland, spearheaded by the Dwarf Nulan Marheim and the arguably larger faction who insist on revenge, led by Yeshwar nún Gregory, a Southron.
Places of DM note: Largely wilderness, the few cliffs are coated with birds, whales flop out of the sea, and wild mammals walk freely on the heathland. The few rangers and druids who visit the outer islands serve only to make the wildlife more amiable to humans. Before the arrival of the rebels, the only manmade structures were shrines to Ehlonna or Obad-Hai (never found together) sometimes animals, charmed by one or the other, were sent to tear down these shrines, as a small part of a larger struggle. Beyond the charted maradan islands lies the shifting seas, where, both by magical and natural means, sandbars, whirlpools and entire islands move around at will. Charting a path through leaves you at the shores of the desert kingdoms where Southrons came from.
The predominantly – Halfling population of Iosia lends it towards peaceful strategies, along with it being almost the only gateway into the isolated Aronbor to the North, and Ambvrria and allies to the South. Iosia is a halfway house to all destinations, but nobody stays permanently, and Iosians prefer it that way. Being Halflings, they are host to excellent thieves, but also great cooks, and their brews are the top choice as far away as the outer reaches of the Doras Heartland. They endure hostility from Aronbor, due to their assimilation of Andor and Luhn (and the former large town of Coleont, renamed 'Freedom') after the Islands claimed independence from a state so bogged down in war to the north that they had no way to dispute the transfer. They secretly give aid to the Bawold rebels, as they feel threatened by possible expansionist desires of lands to the south, and think that any outcome would be a good one, as Ambvrrian eyes would be off their backs even if the rebels turn out as failures, so long as as few people as possible know of Iosian influence. They worship the pantheon detailed here as their gods, but believe that gods are for priests, and ordinary people pay homage to a multitude of spirits for every occasion, location, and some even believe there is a spirit for every person or emotion. Note: the 'King's Point' is thusly named because a famous king of men once sailed away to find the lost Aronborians in the west, and is supposed to land at that point when 'a darkness overwhelms his people', or 'the storm of the ages passes the last bastion' depending on which prophet is correct (or both).
Leader Halfling houses are largely autonomous, although the Hornblower family claims the oldest line, boasting bloodlines way back to the old lands (which is the only way Halflings refer to where they came from. We don't know precisely where it was.
Places of DM note: Obviously King's point, where pilgrims travel and prophets stand attempting to recreate the feat of throwing your consciousness forwards in time in order to determine the king's return
The Hysofen is a tall tower on the tip of the cliffs, seemingly of elven make, yet no others of similar style are found anywhere near so far west. Some believe here is the place the king will first be seen from, although it has no prophetic mention.
Aronbor and the Ruhks
Aronbor is the only truly militaristic nation in Vaniya, complete with a fortress-lined western coast, and a China/Hadrian/Game of thrones-esque wall [n.b. According to Ramah, he thought this up before finding GOT] making up its border with the Mandrai, a dark elf race similar to the extra-planar Dunmer and Drow races, but about halfway between in almost every way. Their seemingly unending conflict was originally perpetuated by raiders stealing human children to experiment with in north Midgen's (note: The Country is Aronbor, the states are north and south Midgen) folk tales, and by the threat of ever advancing woodcutters on the Ruhks in Mandrai minds. The conflict has lessened recently, although doom-mongers heed only the 'calm before the storm'.
Personalities: Aronbor – a Militocratic early feudal society, based on deep codes of Honour, who have severe punishments for deserters and consider themselves let down by the meagre aid given by other regions. They have adopted the tradition of abandoning babies born weak to the wilds. They have no qualms about using slaves, most of whom they buy from Rydony. Those young enough are raised as fanatic berserks, and, given the offer of freedom for the recovery of any Mandrai sorcerer’s wand, they go as a mass for the enemy. The older slaves are taken to the mines to endlessly quarry stone for the building of Fortifications or the repair and improvement of the wall, both done by more slaves, and by 'whelps', soldiers still without a confirmed kill. Soldiers are named only by confirmed kills, except the captains, who are changed every lunar cycle. All blooded and above soldiers can enter a vote, and a random name is picked from all of the votes entered in each platoon. These commanders then vote for the next level up in the same fashion. They were left originally as the 'Grey watch', to await the return of their king (who in turn returned to the west, where they originated), but most of the common folk have given up hope. Aronborians are understandably quite pissed that their promised king will land in Iosia.
Leader The Aronborian leader is known as an Archduke, and presides over two dukes, in charge of north and south Midgen respectively.
Mandrai – a remnant of a collapsed ancient decadent Autocracy, the fallen are now more of a Magiocratic Nomad society. They blame the world for their troubles and their religious omens and worship are focused on a rapture-like event in which they (aided by Lolth or Kiaransalee) 'cleanse' the miasma of non Mandrai and their light based worship from the face of the planet. They commonly live in caves in the far north of the Mandlin range, some of which used to be occupied by the mountain Dwarves(thought to contain valuable magical minerals) although slightly more domesticated half breeds live in temporary fishing settlements on the Grey coast (and worship Eilistraee and Khalreshaar). Abandoned 'high Mandrai' temples, palaces and cities may still contain valuable artefacts, as Mandrai would only 'recover' magical items. [DM note: The king leaving for the West allowed Mandrai to retreat to prepare in safety that the border was firm as the X event approaches]
Leader we have no clear evidence of a coherent social structure, let alone the method of leadership which would hold one together, although the dreamers of Lolth wield great influence
Places of DM note: Emberton Gulley is a river valley into which the great general Vance Ember lured Mandrai in the time before the wall. Men hidden in the hills slaughtered the Drow, and consequently the hills, the town and the gulley itself were named in his honour. In fact, many of the warbands call their guerilla fighters an 'ember company'
Generally, the Ancient temples and cities of the Mandrai are so ruined and hidden as to be invisible until you hit the walls, but occasionally the tallest spires, reinforced by some residual magic, peek up from the canopy, or a clearing is created where one has fallen. Once inside, however, rooms vary from hardly noticeable to barely changed, wrapped in vines and hidden from either looters or the weather.
The tribal Orcs of Northerond have a truce of different interests with the slave traders of Rydony, as, like the Mandrai, the Rydonians are interested in the magical minerals found deep beneath the Mandlin mountains, but for totally different reasons, being interested in profit any way it can be found. The Orcs delight in challenge of all kinds, and seek to battle the most challenging beasts, although even when roaming, they (should) never cross the Eltiss river. They sell their hides, furs and elaborate metalwork at the border town of Garm to caravan merchants from Rydony, and at the larger settlement of Majil to trade captains from Perdon and beyond.
Personalities: Rydony – a hedonistic syndicate of slavers (note the elaborate and delightfully named 'Child fair') and traders, who will take goods, from whatever source, and have a complex guild system in their larger towns, arguably the only place where rules are imposed. Their primary deity is Mouqol, of trade, negotiation, and commercial ventures, although Olidammara is widely venerated, especially at the extensive parties, at which plenty of undescribed substances are ingested, and there is drunken debauchery all round. There is no priest or cleric system, although in the villages, usually a wise woman will know some basic healing spells. Rydony endures a rocky relationship with the Heartland, who disapprove of slaving in general, and the moral code (or lack thereof) of the people of Rydony.
Leader The figurehead of Rydonian society goes by the title of Overlord. Overlord Asmar rules in the 'current' time
Northerond – a tribal Orcish Matriarchy, they have no permanent settlements, and the towns in their territory were almost exclusively set up by outsiders, although Gullick, on the river Luin, is their official meeting place for the (summer) solstice festival, where daughters choose a partner from the males, usually paraded bare chested, to properly show scars. They take hair length as a sign of authority in males, and victors in duels, which are fought over pretty much anything, (note, males are legally compelled to have a duel if an eligible female requests they contest so she can see who is the greater) take their opponent's hair and tie it onto the end of their braid. Once it becomes so long as to be in the way, they graduate to strategists, where their hair is on the line for their patrol, and goes to the opposing strategist if a battle is lost. Females' main tasks revolve around the blacksmithing process, as they both mine and craft fine but rough looking armour and weapons. Let's just say, if you were wearing a full suit (despite the weight, they were made for Orcs), most civilised people would just attack on sight.
Leader The matriarch of each tribe is known by the Orcs as what translates roughly (and slightly unimaginatively) to 'clan-mother'
Places of DM note: The Child Fair is, as the name suggests, a marketplace for mainly the freshest and least marked of all slaves, although as travellers stray further from the central hubs, circular pits where slaves stand, or on the more modern ones are rotated to attract attention (some are even held higher than the crowd on hooks attached to clothes) slaves of all kinds can be found, bought, sold or used
The headland at Preyle is the main reason Mirkesh, and by extension, Perdon, have stayed so neutral in the aggression and escalating conflict between Doras (more overtly powerful) and Rydony (has their trade in a stranglehold)
North-East Northerond is, although to most, being so marshy, is inhospitable, the home of the Feyuri. Originally men, they are reviled in most human lands due to their unusual foot and hand webbing, and thus seek refuge with the likewise unwelcome Orcs of the region.
The Doras Heartland
As the most technologically advanced nation in Vaniya, it's surprising that so much of Doras, and indeed also of Romara, it's vassal, is inhospitable wilderness, either due to the giant insect species (ants being the most dominant [note: high intelligence or slightly telepathic players may be able to communicate]) in Doras' wastes, or the reported sightings of dragons around The Sundered Peaks in Romara. For these reasons, most settlements are in the far west or south. The land is, however, extremely fertile around the black hills, so there's no harm in growth. The Heartlanders are tersely allied with the predominantly elvish lands of Indernion and Asrinon, but hostile to Rydony, carrying out rigorous border checks.
Personalities: Doras – a Pedocratic nation of organised scholars, the Dorasi value knowledge over everything else, and their extensive libraries are famous. Using this philosophy, they have managed to amass enough dirty facts about any of the nations surrounding them to keep them roughly under control (apart from Rydony of course, who just don't care. This is part of the hostility). They follow Pelor (of the sun) officially, Vecna (of secrets) at cults and hidden shrines, and Ioun (of knowledge) in the libraries and colleges. With the cultural variety, you will have no difficulty finding deities of all kinds followed, if you know the right people.
Romara – A once savage nation, now pretty much an extension of the neighbouring country, Doras. Their primary worship was directed towards the seasons, given rough personalities, but no names, and was conducted at the peak of The Sleeping Lady, where monks would supposedly expose themselves fully to the elements for up to 24 hours at a time to achieve closer communication with their Gods. How long a dragon has lived there is not known, although it may have been an important part of their worship. Since the Romaran language has never been taught, and contains few more than the most basic words, we'll probably never find out.
The Rinon Elves
As relatively young nations in elvish terms, the Indernians and Asrinians were outcasts from the Eastern elvish nations on Loriande, way across the Eastern Divide. They are allied with The Heartland only through , and although they mistrust Mirkesh and Perdon, they don't let it influence their relationship, mostly because they both keep to themselves anyway, and Doras' looming presence keeps any kind of threat at bay.
Personalities: Asrinon – A theocracy, they worship the sea monsters Kraken, Cthulu and Leviathan [their heresy, and why they left Loriande], they are a mix of all kinds of elf, and although chiefly diurnal, require little sleep, and have no overall way of life. They are closely allied with the sea elves who tend the Gulf, and slightly with Inderinon, as they blame Indernians' warlike tendencies for their expulsion from Loriande, whatever they put themselves through. They are a fairly introverted people, and often live much of their lives without touching the ground, in stilted lake dwellings as at Kerrfield or tree based equivalents as in Oakham. Population centres are small, and many of Asrinon's inhabitants live lonely lifestyles pursuing their crafts, ranging from the mundane to the magical. The only times they will gather together is at festivals at Emerill every 10 years to celebrate their landing in Vaniya, and at Varinon every 50 as a contest in magics, combat and agility for 40-100 year olds, although you only ever participate in one [someone else go into detail here]
Inderinon – A fairly empty but uncharacteristically (for elves) warlike nation, they agreed to a truce with Doras after the slaughter at carnage hill, despite their meagre losses; since they have too few numbers, and were unprepared for such a prevalence of magic use in a human country (humans are still savages in Loriande). Being elves, they are unlikely to take back a promise [DM note: there may be a clause or loophole which extrapolates into conflict- (Further note: Rituals carried out by the Mandrai weaken the magical component of the truce, making it possible to break, if still not lawful). May need full truce agreement script.] They are very interested in astronomy, and worship Vandria Gilmadrith, the lawful neutral Elven goddess of war and justice. They protected the now-Asrinian people and their slightly quirky belief system in Loriande, to the point of death for some of them, and are currently in a bitchy 'I'm not talking to you' relationship with Asrinon until they deem that their cost has been paid back, one way or another. They ignore the sea elves of the gulf, considering them so changed as to not be elvish anymore, and so not worthy of their time.
The Gulf – not technically a country, and not externally recognised, Asrinon and Inderinon shelter The Gulf of Rinon, which gives this region its name. It is a home for all kinds of exotic marine creatures and species, some of which are sentient, and some dangerous. Elven magic, along with undersea gas and heat emitting rifts (it's shape is from plate movement, not sure how this works yet) keep it warm and a favourable location for fragile corals and plants, tucked away from all but the most rare of storm surges [and of course earthquakes]. The pre-eminent sentient race is the Sea elves, who by years of magic have adapted to living, eating and breathing underwater, although a complicated process involving air bubbles and domed houses is needed for sexual acts. They worship Deep Sashelas casually, and there are no doubters, as he is a god very interested in the affairs of his people.
Notable locations: The Summer lakes, The order of the circle on Maloglash and the Thieves' wood.
This desolate and forgotten place is rumoured to contain everything from the dragon king and his Undead armies to nothing more than a few rabbits and some grasslands. Some say nobody settles there because Dorasi forces salted the land in a conflict years before, some that the residents live in expansive underground cities or just holes in the ground. The current official capitals of both countries are in the far north, but are just stockaded villages, with little to protect them from raids from the more daring Rydonian Slaver Captains. These towns, and both villages of heap (overlooked because advancing so close to the border would provoke Rydony) and Refuge (a former fishing village and smuggler outpost now overwhelmed with escapees more willing to turn to theivery than honest work) are the only officially mapped settlements.