Alteraan

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When a citizen thinks of humanity’s technological progress, they tend to visualize the kingdom of Alteraan. Originally made up of the lands between the Cloudpeak Mountains and the Aluraco and Trenton rivers, the kingdom has grown over time to stretch from the islands of Western Manara to the forests of Naida, and more recently into the northern Sachsenheim region of Highwind with the annexation of that duchy following the last Crown War.

Alteraan’s citizenry are divided almost equally between rural and urban communities, with the nation as a whole made up of numerous duchies and city-states. Within the central regions lie the farms and ranches that feed the nation, while the towns and cities along the Treynt River and within the Highwind Plains act as the industrial centres of the realm. In the north-west and northeast there exist the only two large forests left in Alteraan itself, the Shadowhill Woods and the Redcrest Forest. Though unified under the supreme rulership of the Alteraanian Crown, the Alteraanian Parliament holds a strong influence over the course of the realm, though they are held in check by the Order of the Crimson Dragon so as not to presume to overrule the decisions of the King. To be a noble, either in parliament or not, is through mercantile aptitude or careful social climbing, to enjoy the finest luxuries the Five Realms have to offer - providing you can also watch out for all the knives aimed for your back.

For the rest of the Alteraanian society, daily life is centred around working a steady job that will put food on the table and hopefully allow them to own land. Those without their own land rent accommodation on farming estates or in apartment complexes and can often struggle to get out from under the dominion of their landlords. Anyone from prisoners of war to citizens down on their luck can end up as slaves, and their continued hope is that they are able to build up enough capital to buy their freedom again.

Heraldry and Fashion

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The common colours in Alteraanian dress are reds and purples with gold accents, and leonine or laurel motifs figure heavily in ornate outfits. The most common items that a noble or person of renown will invest resources into enhancing is their armour or jewellery in order to better display their prominence.

The style of dress is highly varied, from very functional garb worn by the peasantry, to richly ornate coats and gowns, and everything in between. Due to the amount of trade that flows through the realm and their geographical position, some of the finest tailors can be found in Alteraan, and their creations are widely sought after at home and abroad.

Life and Society

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Family

Amongst the Alteraanians it is the man who asks a woman for her hand in marriage, and amongst the nobility arranged marriages are not uncommon. It is almost always expected that permission be asked of the father of the bride before the marriage can proceed, and dowries from the bride’s family are a commonplace custom. It is highly unusual for any children born of a married couple to not bear the name of the father’s line, though bastards, if accepted, typically take the name of the mother. To the Alteraanians, it is useful to bear several children, and desired that at least one is a male.

An expectant mother relies on midwives, either hired from the midwives guild or taken on as an independent retainer. Those without the gold to do so rely on friends and family, or more recently, the free services of Valerian missionaries. After birth, the time for recuperation is once again dependant on how much money the Alteraanian family can afford, and aside from the nobility, most women are expected to get back to at least light duties as soon as possible.

Education and Employment

The provision of education within Alteraan is provided for children up until they are of the age of about thirteen, after which it is up to the parents to pay for further studies. As such, most children after this age sign-on for apprenticeships with one of the guilds, the military, or the church. Tertiary education is almost exclusively for the nobility and those that have excelled within their training in a particular organisation, and is often provided by those self-same organisations. Employment is reliant on the capabilities and perseverance of an individual, eased substantially based on the wealth of the family they belong to. If lacking in wealth and without an apprenticeship or similar commission, Alteraanians are often forced to turn to manual labour for landowners or the guilds, or prostitution if female.

Entertainment

There is little a citizen of Alteraan likes more than indulging themselves in the wide variety of entertainment on offer throughout the realm. For the nobility, shows in the grand theatres, dancing in lavish balls, and dining at exotic restaurants are par for the course. For the lower classes, these forms of entertainment are rare treats, and most thrills are had instead at horse races, cock-fights, and bawdyhouse theatres. Pianos and organs in various forms are the most common form of musical accompaniment in Alteraan.

Across Alteraan the laws vary considerably around the pursuit of pleasure and vice, generally trending from liberal in the west to quite conservative in the east. Broadly speaking it is easy to procure all manner of intoxicating liquor in taverns and merchant halls, and many drugs, though often illegal, are equally easy to come by. For pleasures of the flesh, street prostitutes, brothel whores and courtesans are all available if one has the finances, and though few laws restrict this practice, much of it is controlled by the guilds.

Life and Death

Within the realm of Alteraan an ill patient can expect to encounter some of the most advanced medical techniques developed in the Five Realms, from cutting edge surgical and drug-based treatments to novel applications of restoration magic. These services can be found in state hospitals operated by the Royal Medical College, within a range of private hospitals, and within the sanatoria for the clinically insane. Alteraanians bury their dead in graveyards on the outskirts of their settlements, carving their names in stone above the grave as epitaphs in their honour. For those with some degree of wealth, mausoleums and ornate crypts are favoured as much for their imposing presence as the ease by which one can carry out checks to ensure none of the dead have risen, locked often more to keep things in rather than out.

Duelling in Alteraan

Duelling is a practice that the ruling class of Alteraan acquired from Valeria, though it never gained the same popularity with the common people as it did there. Duels are less common in Alteraan as a consequence, and many Alteraanians will turn to other means to resolve their differences and to tend to disputes. This does not make the practice unused, and several slights against honour have met a lethal resolution in the form of a duel. For more information, see Duelling in Sarradar.

Commerce and Construction

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While the staple industry of Alteraan has for centuries been agriculture, stronger links with Shenzhou to the far west have brought about an industrial revolution that has spurred the growth of the metalwork industry. Wagon-trains now carry ore from mines in the Cloudpeaks to the Trenton Plains, the heartland of Alteraan, where a numerous foundries and smelters process the material at a rate that surpasses the other realms. The rewards from this new industry have been great for Alteraan, and it is one of the richest human realms. The downside to all of this though is the massive amounts of smog that are being generated by the industry. Although it is possible to construct magical forges that use elemental energies to fuel the fires, these things are typically small and expensive affairs, and most operators rely on non-magical wood or coal burning furnaces instead. While this smog may be unsightly, most Alteraanian inhabitants pay little heed to the mutterings of druids and peasants concerned with Alteraan’s progress, instead quite comfortable in the benefits that the industry has provided them.

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The development of Alteraan has led to a wide range of architectural styles being represented throughout the Kingdom, though brick and timber construction with minimal ornamentation makes up the bulk of the buildings in urban centres. Wealthier citizens and member of the nobility tend to favour marble-clad and highly ornamented versions of these structures, from inner city towers to countryside manor houses. Roads are well paved, plumbing exists in the larger settlements, and electricity also services some of the more advanced centres, with gas lights in the others.







Religion

Alteraan’s citizens mainly belong to the Church of the Silver Court, worshipping Chiera and the Twelve as gods of her Pantheon. Churches and shrines can be found in almost every town, while the larger cities such as Calaran, Whitesand and Telmore also possess cathedrals dedicated to the Silver Court. Solhan mornings are marked as a time for communal worship when people pay homage to the gods and leave offerings, though personal worship can occur at any time as most faithful households will have their own personal shrines to the gods and the celestials that serve them.

More so than in any of the other Five Realms the people fear the influence of The Dark, the corrupting force of the Ancients and their gods that caused the downfall of many human nations and the Ancients themselves. Any worship of the Elder Gods is prohibited and is punishable by incarceration or execution. To this end the Church have welcomed enclaves of Inquisitors and paladins from Valeria and either given them lodgings in their monasteries or land to themselves in exchange for their assistance in rooting out corruption wherever it can be found. Though not all citizens of the realm are happy with Valerian mage-knights hunting around in their towns, their presence has diminished the number of demon-related incidents throughout the major cities.

Language and Communication

The Common Tongue is the overwhelmingly dominant language in Alteraan, though in far flung duchies and in the port cities more exotic languages can be heard spoken. There are those that still speak the Old Tongue of the Sachsens, though mostly for scholarly interests or religious rituals. It should be noted that the Ancient Tongue is forbidden and severely punished if heard spoken or writings are found.

Newspapers such as the Royal Tribune, Calaran Chronicle, and Lorandar Times are the means by which most citizens remain aware of what is going on in their realm and beyond. These are distributed typically on a weekly basis, though some larger centres such as Calaran and Whitesand have daily papers instead. Street criers are employed as well by not only the newspapers but also large trade guilds and familial houses to convey their own particular messages and interpretations of events; a dangerous job, particularly if encountered by someone who doesn’t appreciate those interpretations.

Crime and Punishment

With one of the most formalised and advanced legal systems anywhere in the Five Realms, Alteraan benefits from a justice system that deals with crime and punishment in a relatively fair and equal manner – at least in the major population centres. An Alteraanian citizen by law has the right to counsel even if they cannot afford one, and most punishments take the form of fines, forced labour or imprisonment. Only the crimes of treason, piracy and cold-blooded murder are likely to result in a death penalty. In the cities it is the duty of crown-sanctioned watch forces and appointed judges to enforce the law, though in rural parts the law is enforced by whatever agents have been assigned by the local nobility, ranging from private watch forces, to mercenaries or the occasional lone sheriff.

Military

Though the Alteraanian military is a large force on paper, the actual composition of their forces is quite different to the rest of the Five Realms. Excepting the elite of the Order of the Crimson Dragon, the standing professional military of Alteraan is quite small and made up of small units of House Guard under the command of individual lords. Where the strength is made up is in the large mercenary forces the King and the lords have at their disposal. Hailing from all over the Five Realms and in particular from the far western land of Shenzhou they form mercenary companies that for good regular payments serve the lords.

Whilst these mercenary companies are highly professional and proficient in the arts of war, there are almost always tensions and more than a few conflicts between different companies and with House Guard units. The House Guard and the mercenaries have always regarded the other with disdain, considering each other the inferior force. However, serious armed conflicts between them are thankfully rare in the extreme and punished harshly by the lords.

While the bulk of the House Guard are heavily armoured mounted knights or foot halberdiers the precise composition of each Lords contribution is unique. Some have trained units of peasant spearmen to form defensive positions from which their knights can sally forth while others have learned the bitter lesson taught by storms of arrows and fight entirely on foot, relying on steel and shield to overcome what the weakness of horseflesh cannot.

The mercenary companies tend toward very mixed armour (as each individual trooper provides what they can) from the simplest of woollen padded hauberks through to the finest steel breastplates and helms, their equipment is almost universally the same. The distinctive long bow and long sword of the Alteraan mercenary companies and their brutal efficiency with both is legendary. On the battlefield they prefer to fight from prepared positions, with the advantage of height where possible, and their lines are often reinforced by trenches and emplaced stakes. Creeping western influences from Shenzhou have introduced the crossbow into Alteraanian society, much to the dismay of the landed nobility. While still rare on the battlefield these weapons are rapidly growing in popularity as hunting and personal weapons.

Government and Politics

King Richard Faulkner rules Alteraan. He is the great-grandson of Stansilanius Faulkner, third son of Wilhelm Faulkner and member of the royal family of Sachsenheim. Being the third eldest, Stansilanius was prevented from ascending to the throne that he coveted. He eventually married into the royal family of Alteraan, which was without a male heir, and with the birth of twin sons he secured his lineage there. While a monarchy, Alteraan also had a partially elected parliament that works alongside the king and the local lords to govern the country. While the king has the final say in anything, the parliament acts as a regulatory body for the creation and enforcement of laws, and the general management of the realm and its foreign interests.

Power Groups & Organizations

The Alteraan Crown

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King Richard Faulkner leads the royal family of Alteraan, and as his predecessors is the supreme ruler of all of the realm. The king rules from the Crown’s personal holdings in Thornholme, the halls of the mighty Thornholme Castle. This grand structure has been the royal home of the kings of Alteraan since the year 4:862, and is located on a plateau overlooking the town of Thornholme on the northern shores of the Mistbound Sea. Raynor also maintains working residences in Calaran and Port Sian, and keeps Castle Ilannager on Holenholt Isle as a retreat.

The Alteraan Parliament

Created in 4:920 by King Meradan Nalsarim to aid the running of the realm and provide the people with an extra degree of representation, the parliament is based in Calaran and consists of an Upper and a Lower House, made up respectively of nobility and elected representatives from each of the duchies. They meet every few days to discuss matters of note and decide upon courses of action, although the king has the final say on any decision made. Church of the Silver Court: While the King and the parliament may control the political power within the realm of Alteraan, it is the Church of the Silver Court that holds the hearts of the people in sway. Their High Cathedral within Lorandar is located in Telmore and thus the region acts as a focal point for their worship.

Merchant Federation

Almost all merchants of repute are part of the Merchant Federation. Their power has grown in particular since the fall of the High Kingdom to the point that many regard them as rivalling the authority of the crown. It is clear enough that they hold substantial sway over the Parliament, and many suspect that they are also responsible for bringing about the Crown Wars.

Order of the Crimson Dragon

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With their stronghold and primary base of operations located in Toriac the order is a strong within military presence in Alteraan. Its knights have most of their forces stationed in Central Alteraan, but maintain outposts in all the duchies, including Northern Sachsenheim. They supplement the regular army by guarding prominent sites and patrolling highways. In addition, if monsters or brigands are causing problems, the order frequently dispatches a band of knights to deal with the problem. The Crimson Order’s origins lie with the Order of Avyrnas, the elite mage-knights of the High Kingdom of Lorandar, and before that the crusades of King Sirastus and his father. When the High Kingdom fell, the Crimson Knights were those that supported the Crown of Alteraan, splitting off from the Order of the Azure Dragon and the Order of the Wolf.

Order of the Wolf (Hounds)

Treated in Alteraan as something of pariahs, Hounds here persevere in their duties of hunting monsters and seeking to maintain peace amongst the populace. Though few would ever dare try to take on a Hound, rarely is it that they are greeted warmly by the populace, even after performing some great service.

Society of Venatus

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The Society of Venatus is an organisation of archaeologists and nobles that pay good money for ancient artifacts. The organisation grants archaeological permits to suitable individuals, and records what was found by those people. They also promote civic responsibility and collaboration amongst the Five Realms, and are said to have influence within the hierarchies of each of the Five Realms.

Figures of Note

King Richard Faulkner

The Faulkner family line has never been fully accepted by the citizenry of Alteraan, and this situation has not changed with King Richard on the throne. He is young and untested, and seems to make as many enemies as he does allies. He nevertheless holds a vast amount of power within his realm, with the Alteraanian armed forces at his command and an organisation known as the Eyes of the Dragon serving as his personal intelligence and covert operations division. His power of final say in parliamentary decisions affords him even more control over the running of the kingdom, but like any of the previous rulers of the kingdom he is obliged to use it wisely and sparingly so as to not undermine the legitimacy of the parliament and earn their resentment.

Archmage Artimus Hellbrandt

A Sachsen with silver white hair and an unusually well-built frame, Artimus has been the Archmage of Cloudbank University for over 80 years now and does not look like he will be willingly stepping down from the position any time soon. He is rumoured to have previously been a high level pyromancer within the ranks of the Korashuran elemental mages, but he refuses to say anything on the matter, despite his obvious proficiency with fire spells. He is particularly fond of magical competitions, and for the past fifty years he has personally sponsored the annual Fair of Sorcery that is held on the plain south of Calaran. At the event, mages and non-mages alike can participate in a variety of magical and fantastic competitions, observe the shows, or buy a range of exotic wares. He is particularly favoured by the children who adore the “mythical beasties” displays that he puts on especially for their amusement, and he is always willing to hand out minor magical trinkets to those that behave well.

Lord Jason Caanon

While Richard Faulkner is the ruler of Alteraan, there are others within the realm that also hold significant amounts of power and influence. The local ruler of the Amerdale province, Lord Jason Caanon, is one of these figures. His family has held the reins of power in the province for well over twelve centuries, and has held many parliamentary positions over their history.

Captain Pete Blackwood

For four decades in the sixteenth century, Captain Pete Blackwood was the most notorious figure around the Mistbound Sea. He plundered over three hundred ships and gained a reputation for the horrible things he did to his captured victims before he was finally brought to justice by a squad of dragon knights that were aboard a ship he was attacking. His crew were either killed or captured, his ship sunk, and the captain himself was charred to a cinder by the knights magic.

While his demise was rejoiced for a long while it was not the end of the tale, for when the mists are thick on the lake ships are sometimes later found, the few survivors gibbering of how Captain Blackwood came for their souls.

Lady Stephanie Beckett

As the ruler of the Asurra Duchy, Lady Stephanie Beckett is also one of the most powerful public figures in Alteraan. She is also the head of the Asurran Council of Lords, a caucus of the lesser nobles from the Asurran Duchy that focus their efforts to the benefit of their duchy’s interests. She is a fair looking lady with light skin and long dark black hair, and she likes to dress in raiment similar to what is worn by nobles in the lands of the Shenti. In fact, she has a particular interest in that land, and is constantly seeking to strengthen ties with them, even going so far as to shun the offers of marriage from local nobles in favour of those from the Shenti. She also has quite a strong dislike of Alteraanian politics, and leaves such business mainly up to the other members of the council.

Theodred Smith

Inducted into the Order of the Crimson Dragon at the age of seven, Theodred excelled at divine studies and steadily rose within the ranks of the order’s clergy until he was the High Priest of the order. In the Crown Wars between Alteraan and Sachsenheim he distinguished himself in combat situations numerous times, so when it came to pass that the Grandmaster was slain, Theodred was well placed to take on the role, and did so with little opposition. Theodred spends a lot of his time travelling between cities and visiting the various outposts of the order. Under his command the order has begun mending relations with the other dragon knight orders, which had significantly deteriorated under the leadership of the previous Grandmaster, and had taken a massive blow due to the facing off during the Crown Wars between the Crimson and Azure dragon knights that were on separate sides of the conflict.

The Lion of Hallowfeld

Also known by the Sachsens as the “Butcher of Hallowfeld”, the Lion is Duke Kallistranos of Naida and is something of a hero in the eyes of many young and aspiring Alteraanian officers and soldiers. He led his force of troops against a larger and entrenched force of Sachsen guerillas during the Highwind Revolt, and only through his strategic genius and inspiring courage did they manage to achieve the victory that they did. Though many soldiers on both sides lost their lives and much of the town was destroyed, the defeat was so resounding for the Sachsens that it spelt the end for the revolt throughout the Highwind Plains.

The Dead Man

For as long as anyone can remember the old mountain-folk highway from lands end at the Sharks Teeth to the ruined hold of Khar-meluth has been wandered by an undead human male known only as “the dead man”. Dressed in what looks like an ancient tattered grey uniform he walks the route back and forth, stopping only for a few minutes each time he reaches one end before turning around and heading back the other way. Numerous attempts have been made to impede his progress or put him to rest, but he turns to mist each time he is forced more than a few metres off the highway or if something proves a significant impediment. Those who have struck him down find that he reforms within a few minutes, but rarely attacks even those who do attack him.

The Three

As of late the public attention has been captured by the exploits of a trio of mysterious individuals known only as “The Three”. They are said to be as swift as the wind and as silent as death, and over a hundred individuals now have been found dead by their hands. The lower classes claim that the Three are working to eliminate the corrupt people in Alteraan and help the poor, while the upper classes decry them as thugs and murderers. Either way they have managed to garner the attention of many who seek to stop their growing body count.

Duchies

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Asurra

Asurra is a duchy where wealth is power, and trade and the acquisition of wealth is an ever-present factor of life across its smaller component city-states. Its position facing to the west means that it channels much of the trade between the Lorandar, the lands of the Shenti and the lands of the Far North, particularly through its duchy capital of Whitesand. The landscape of Asurra is one of rolling hills, fertile meadows, and a numerous scattered forests. The land has a temperate climate and receives frequent rainfall as a result of the storms that come in off the sea. Inhabitants of Asurra have learnt to prepare for frequent inclement weather and aside from building particularly sturdy houses, they make sure to wear clothes that can withstand the rain, even in summer.

Caranor

At the heart of Alteraan sits the old homeland of the people that eventually founded that realm. During the time of the Ancients it was a network of slave posts and manufacturing settlements until the humans rose up and overthrew their overseers. These days it is still a hub of industry, with factories and workshops lining the major rivers and numerous cities and large towns forming the economical spine of the realm all the way from the coast up through the Mistbound Sea and to the mountains over to Whitesand. Ravenwood- To the south of Asurra broods the insular Duchy of Ravenwood. With a climate much like Asurra but still covered in much more forest and undrained marshes, visitors to the duchy tend to be those with clear business to enact, particularly when one is faced with the palpable suspicion of its strange inhabitants. The duchy capital of Sangreval is about the only place where a significant number of outsiders can be found.

Yvelle

At the northern extent of Alteraan sits the Duchy of Yvelle. Its craggy hills and hot temperate climate once were home to the human realm of Latharond, a vassal state to the Ancients until they rebelled and were destroyed. Nowadays it is home to olive groves and goat herders.

Naida

Though the heart of the Everwood has been inhabited by wildlings since the coming of humans to Lorandar, the fringes of the forest are home to many Alteraanians that seek a simpler life than the hustle and bustle and commerce of the rest of their realm. Producing much of the meat from hunting and timber from logging for Alteraan, the Parliament has left them to their own devices for a long time. The King though, in his quest to solidify his rule, has spoken openly of the need to educate and enlighten the populace of Naida and bring them closer into the fold - not a move that many expect to go down well. Originally a wildling realm, this land is now one of the seven realms of Lorandar, but retains much of the wildling traditions. The kingdom is also home to numerous ruins, some dating back millennia, but as they are usually of wildling origin, they are under constant supervision and anyone caught attempting to plunder their riches may find themselves being handed out some of the worst punishments that wildling laws deliver.

Western Manara

Inhabited mostly by mountainfolk, bestials, and brigands, the only reason Alteraan has any interest in this highland region is the substantial mineral wealth that can be found under its mountains. From its coastal port-towns expeditions are regularly formed to establish or re-open mining camps each summer and extract as much material as they can before the winter storms close in.

Major Settlements

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Calaran

  • Metropolis

The largest, and one of the oldest surviving human cities on the continent of Lorandar, Calaran was founded in the year 3:562 and began as a small fishing village that supported the mage fortress on Cloudbank Isle just off its coast. It has been razed several times over the centuries through warfare, and seen its fair share of suffering, but it has always pulled through. It’s present ruler is the Lady Kate Abbott and its general the Lord Herran Thurstone. Nerim Alsador is the representative of the king/head of the Eyes of the Dragon. With the magic of the mages of Cloudbank University, and the many advances in technology devised in its cosmopolitan workshops, Calaran can claim to be one of the most developed cities within the Five Realms. Brick houses dominate significant portions of the inner city, and magelight and a decent sewerage system provide the city’s inhabitants with amenities found in few other places throughout the world.

Redworth

  • Metropolis

Port Sian aside, Redworth is the oldest significant settlement of the free Carran peoples on the Lorandar mainland. While some humans had managed to live under the protection of the Wildlings at Port Sian, the first successful settlement of the free Carrans was set up in this relatively sheltered bay after the ill-fated attempt on Caldsaerim Isle. These days, Redworth is the home base for the Alteraanian Navy, and along with Whitesand acts as a key point of international trade for the kingdom.

Telmore

  • Large City

The city of Telmore sits on the banks of the Treynt River, serving as a crossroads for commerce in southern Alteraan. In addition to a thriving agricultural and industrial community and a centre for trade, Telmore is home to the Argent Cathedral, greatest of temples to the Silver Court on the continent of Lorandar. Pilgrims travel from all across the Five Realms to pay homage to the gods at this cathedral, and the due to the importance of the site, the church maintains a strong complement of templars based within the city. The city is also a stop along the route of the Calaran-Whitesand Highway and is a staging point for many of the highway patrols intended to protect against banditry.

Amerdale

  • Large City

Ruled over by Lord Jason Caanon, Amerdale is a quaint and bustling agricultural centre located right in the middle of Alteraan. It is the site of Oakridge University, around which the city has developed, and many businesses rely upon the presence of the student population to make money. Houses are on average only two storeys high and are constructed out of local timber grown in plantation forests to the east of the city.

Whitesand

  • Metropolis

Sprawling across the estuary and surrounding hills of the Calofen River, Whitesand is Lorandar’s largest commercial nexus, and boasts a population of inhabitants even more diverse in ethnicity than Calaran. Sea trade from all over Sarradar comes through this city, and almost anything can be purchased in Whitesand, provided one has enough money and knows where to look. The modern city of Whitesand has been built over the remains of a port city of the Ancients, which itself seems to have been built atop of several even older settlements. The massive ring foundation wall of the central ship dock pre-dates any other structures in the city, yet has provided an immensely sturdy base for later structures.

Toriac

  • Large City

Toriac is the location of both Lionheart Academy, officer school for the Alteraanian Army, and the castle Crimsonclaw, home of the Order of the Crimson Dragon. It is because of these two structures that what was a sedate town of farmers and miners quickly grew to become a bustling hub of commerce, learning and military might.

Eagles Gate

  • Small City

Originally a fortress built by the Lartharondians to guard Eagles Pass against invaders, the structure survived the fall of Latharond and became a haven for people seeking their fortune in the mountains of Yvelle. Those that do not dwell within the fortress itself, reside in clusters of stone houses on either side of it, with substantially more living on the Asurran side. The industry of this city and the entire Eagles Gate principality is centred around the flow of goods through this pass, and particularly ore from the mines of Yvelle.

Sangreval

  • Large City

This city has gone through so many incarnations, that unearthing ancient structures is a common occurrence for inhabitants undertaking excavations. Below the current structures there lie the remains of two previous incarnations of the city when it was under the control of monstrous creatures, a Latharondian city prior to that, an Ancient incarnation even further down, and the odd part that seems to be even older.

The current incarnation of the city is a strange one where outsiders are treated with heavy suspicion until such a time that they prove themselves. Those that create problems for the inhabitants have a tendency to merely disappear. Even its ruler, the Lord Myxtragas is a mysterious character, a foreign noble from the west that wears masks similar to those of the Valerians.

Locations of Interest

Caldsaerim Isle

When humans on Lorandar first managed to escape the chains of their slavery to the Ancients, they began to look for place to settle in safety. Those that did not desire to dwell with the Wildlings instead took to flimsy boats they made and sailed to an island just off the coast of where Redworth now stands. Legend goes that they found the shores of this calm isle possessing of peaceful meadows and towering forests that were a welcome respite from the suffering they had endured under the Ancients. They lived there for a time and built up their strength to a point where they could venture back onto the mainland, and this was fortunate, for apparently something had been roused on the isle by their presence, a force of nature or a beast from the underworld that forced them to flee for their lives. To this day despite repeated attempts, no permanent settlements exist on the isle, and all those that try are never heard from again or return in such a terrible state that they end up in a sanatorium.

Citadel of Annuxos

Rising from the side of Kyseril Peak sit the dark and foreboding ruins of the Citadel of Annuxos. Said in legends to have been the sanctum of a powerful wizard, whatever his eventual fate the castle now lies derelict, but not abandoned. The wizard is said to have created many of the monstrous and magical creatures that populate Lorandar, and it is within these ancient halls that a brave adventurer can likely find examples of this wizards supposed creations. It is a curious fact about this location that it seems to attract monsters from the surrounding lands, and they come to the castle and dwell within its halls for some indeterminate period of time.

Colossus of Wormwood

In the ancient growth of the Forest of Wormwood on the eastern flanks of the White Mountains, there lies a gargantuan tumble of stone overgrown with trees and creepers that seems like the corpse of a deity of earth. If one can be brave enough to reach it through the forest, one can gaze upon a mass of stone that through the verdant growth peers at the viewer with eyes as large as a two storey house, while one sits on the edifices stone fingers, each thicker than the greatest redwoods of Naida.

Darkshard Peak

Since the humans first began to raise their own civilisation on the plains of central Alteraan, the region surrounding the slopes of this solitary foreboding mountain have been avoided. Many whisper that it is the earthbound prison of a powerful outsider, or the location of a lost fortress of the Ancients.

Nevertheless, people eventually gave in to curiosity and began to explore the mountain. What they found was a set of massive black iron doors, which would open only just after sundown, and only if the words that were inscribed upon them were spoken then. Once shut again, they would not open until the next sundown. Inside adventurers found a maze of tunnels and caverns that seem to stretch on and on, inhabited in places by strange types of fungi that gave off light, were edible, or did other things.

Since then the peak has become the destination for the worst criminals that the Five Realms has to offer. A fortress constructed around the gate processes and holds the convicts until the gate is ready to open. In addition the fortress also guards against anyone attempting to get out at such times.

Incarceration in Darkshard Peak is in all essence a death sentence, for other things lurk in the darkness, and many prisoners do not make it through their first night. Some survive though, and even aid the newcomers, if only that they might return the favour at a later point. Interestingly enough a small settlement has developed inside the peak, a haven constructed by the convicts where they gather in mutual safety.

Dragonskull Grotto

In the Starborough Forest east of Tordale there can be found a steep-sided gully, the flanks of which are buttressed by the towering rib-bones of a truly colossal ancient dragon. A mound at the apex of the gully covers the skull of the great beast and its chambers form a caves in which there stands a shrine to the draconic deities. Farnir’s Tower: Built over six hundred years ago by the wizard Farnir and left abandoned following his death, this ivory white tower stands on a hill overlooking the Coldvale River between Toriac and Radensford. In 4:1224 it was cleaned out of the phase spiders that had infested it and was chosen as the new neutral meeting location for the Asurran Council of Lords. This land and the Dead Man’s Highway are entrusted to the care of the Order of the Crimson Dragon, who watch over both and ensure that anyone can travel to the tower uninterrupted.

Lost Mine

Somewhere in the highlands of Western Manara, there is said to be a haunted mine of the most valuable seams of gold and silver that the Five Realms hold. Its discoverers are reputed to have all perished in their greed as they continued to work on despite the coming of the Winter, perishing one by one to the cold until none survived. Stranger still is the fact that each Midwinter Solstice a caravan will arrive at one of the port-towns driven by black cloaked figures and bearing unmarked crates of precious metals that they leave to be delivered to the King, before heading back into the snow and the dark without a trace.

Other Subjects of Note

The Ravenwood Compact

The joining of the Kingdom of Ravenwood to Alteraan occurred just over a hundred years after the fall of the High Kingdom, as raids by Manaran hillsmen, Asurran bandits and pirates from the Broken Sea on Ravenwood townships and trading caravans increased signficantly.

In exchange for Alteraanian highway and naval patrols keeping banditry and piracy down, and renewed campaigns of repression of hillmen activity, Ravenwood signed a compact swearing fealty and providing support to the Alteraanian Crown, though under the condition that they manage much of their own affairs.

The Wildmen

Since the Ancients first brought humans to Lorandar and some escaped into the wilderness, there have been those that through bloodshed or stealth have resisted efforts by the Ancients, the High Kingdom, or the Five Realms to subjugate them. During the time of the Ancients they could do little more than hide in caves and the harshest places and keep on the move in case they were found and obliterated with starfire. Especially after the exodus of many of the wildlings, places such as the Everwood of Naida came to be a boon haven for these people, though still only on the fringes of the forest for fear of the terrible things that dwelt at its heart.

When the Ancient realms began to fall, these people rose up and carved out small nations, standing against their former oppressors and even defeating them in battle. Few were content though to swear fealty a foreign prince when Sirastus founded the High Kingdom, and many a battle was fought between the armies of Sirastus and the Wildmen as they came to be called. All but pushed to the fringes again, these peoples rose up once the High Kingdom fell, establishing their strongholds and fiefdoms once again where the greater nations no longer had the reach to enforce their wills. In the likes of Holamen, Manara, Naida and Yvelle, many of these Wildmen enclaves still exist, resisting the forces of the Five Realms to their last breath. Though they may not have the technology of the Alteraanians or the powerful magic of the Korashurans, they are stoic fighters and possess a formidable knowledge of the land and its secrets, and should not be underestimated.