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The Holy Country
During the Great Darkness, the Only Old One, a Troll who may have had one or more divine parents, took control of the Castle of Lead on the Shadow Plateau. His strength saved many trolls, and others who sheltered until his 'wings'. He would rule this land until the early 1300s, though the EWF and the God-Learners would both challenge him. The land's many peoples sometimes resented his rule, but his power was undeniable. In the end, even the God Learners came to rue crossing the Only Old One. Until Belintar, the Stranger from the Sea, came out of the waves. He killed or drove off the Only Old One, then forced all the pieces of his country into submission and built the City of Wonders, a marvelous capital.
From then until 1616, he ruled, periodically reborn in a great contest, the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Fate. Then Jar-Eel the Razoress slew him and the Lunars are moving in and Malkioni exiles have seized one of the six realms of the Holy Country for themselves. It remains unclear if the Holy Country is dead or if it, like Belintar, will rise again.
- Terentius Gaius, a Kobold: This is *our* land, our final refuge from the creatures who have long oppressed us. As humanity spreads like a tide, burning and killing and chaining nature with roads and buildings, we have gathered here to defend the world which once was. This is the last remnant of Genert's Garden and we are its final tenders, led by our chiefs and priests. Those who wish to pass must supply us with wealth, or perish for trespassing. You already stole most of the land from us! We won't let you take this!
- Harrathos, a Minotaur: You can pay the toll with goods or food, or we can turn you into food! We hunger for the taste of man-flesh! *pause* As in *human*-flesh, I'm a man, you idiot.
- Harmast, a Trickster of the Torkani: You will never find more rubes per hour of walking in your life, not even in a city. Big and strong of body, with brains like hamsters. I probably shouldn't insult hamsters, I still have scratches from last time.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: They're not dumb enough to attack our armies, but we will never conquer the Holy Country without first either bringing these people to the light of the Red Goddess or turning them all into ground beef. I incline towards the latter, as they make the Orlanthi look like pacifist hermit philosophers.
Ruled by the seemingly Immortal Ironhoof, this is a collection of animals who turn human, humans who turn animal, oddly sentient animals, oddly animalistic humans and half-man, half-animal monstrosities, from chimeras to centaurs to talking owlbears who do philosophy to feral escaped herd men from Prax. Ironhoof is a minotaur except when he's a centaur or a bugbear (half bear, half insect of course), or... He sometimes dies then comes back to life and is known to be a devotee of the Horned Man.
- Population: Who knows? Though most outsiders would say 'too many'.
Raiding, that's another question.
They are not Hsunchen but the two groups sometimes work together and are sometimes mistaken for each other.
- Bugbears: A kind of hideous mix of bear, human, and insect, with insectile heads and furry bodies halfway between humans and bears; they can sustain bipedalism and are tool users. They become very angry if compared to Jackobears. Bugbears are often friendly to Trolls, sharing worship of Gorlikki and similar aesthetics. They do not fear sunlight, however, and sometimes bands hire on to watch over troll lands during the day, then sleep when the Trolls are active. It is often rumored that some Bugbears seek to be either more bear-like or more insectile.
- Centaurs: Half-man and half-horse, they are friendly to the Grazelanders, sometimes holding joint worship ceremonies. They helped bring about the rise of the Feathered Horse Queens among the Grazelanders, overthrowing their worship of Kargazant. They are wise and skilled at medicine; they also study both shamanism and sorcery. The most powerful known Centaur, Ironhoof, is the leader of Beast Valley. He is an Ascended Hero who they summon back when they need him. Centaurs are skilled archers.
- Kobolds: Dog-men who range in size from 1 to 3 feet tall depending on breed; they have dog heads and human bodies with dog-like fur. They have claws but they're not very impressive. They claim to be from another world in the sea of Chaos, where they were usurped by pygmy Dragonnewts; as a result, they hate the Dragonnewts and like to raid them. The fact that this amuses the Dragonnewts, who make a point of capturing them alive and returning them unharmed really, really makes them mad. Kobolds are sneaky and make good ambushers. They are vulnerable to flattery. A kobold who is raised from infancy by a member of another race will bond to him and tries to act as if he is one of whatever people raise him. Kobolds are carnivores but don't normally eat sentients. Except for Dragonnewts, who they consider a delicacy. Kobolds practice shamanism and insist is it *impossible* for them to become theists or sorcerors.
- Manticores: No one likes the vicious, sneaky Manticores. They have a human head and intellect, a lion's body and strength and a scorpion's poisonous tail and sneaky nature. At the battle of Tadafall, the forces of Chaos tried to destroy an allied force of humans, lions, and scorpions all fighting to protect Genert's Garden. The result was the fusion of the armies into one force which slew many Chaos monsters, then had to flee. Manticores are meat-eaters and will eat any kind of meat except their three origin species. Few trust them because they are very cunning. Manticores and Minotaurs do work together though; Minotaurs are the only thing a Manticore will let ride them. They rarely know any magic but a few become Shamans.
- Minotaurs: Despite a well earned reputation for savagery, they are actually vegetarians. They were the result of an unusual, rare quarrel between Storm Bull and his wife Eiritha. Each slept with a human to try to create an agent of revenge. To their surprise, the two agents fell in love and ran off together; this led Storm Bull and Eiritha to reconcile. They are often powerful in shamanic magic and use it to ensure plentiful plant growth so that they can get enough food to survive. Minotaurs are friendly to anyone pledged to Urox despite their usual temper and suspicion of humanity. Manticores and Minotaurs work together; Minotaurs are the only thing a Manticore will let ride them. Minotaurs favor axes and like to grow hedge mazes; their young hide in the center, more easily guarded. Being invited into their maze is a high act of trust and friendship.
- Solarians: They have nothing to do with the sun. Rather, they are the powerful shamanic children of Arachne Solaris, the Goddess of the Great Compromise and of Time. They are human to the waist and spider below that. They are omnivores and quite wise and use tools and armor for their human halves. They sometimes have visions of things to come; this is known to make them very hard to surprise. They tend to be advisors to the Centaur leaders of Beast Valley.
The inhabitants mostly live by grazing and hunting and raiding their neighbors; the population is thinly spread (1 hex can support 28 minotaurs or centaurs, 56 solarians or bugbears, and about 200 kobolds), but very potent if Ironhoof is alive to lead them. They allow caravans to pass down the river or the trails but they must pay a tax which tends to be rather... arbitrary.
The most dangerous inhabitants are the boar-riding Tusk-Men, who appear to be part human, part troll and part boar. They wreck havoc across Sartar and the Holy Country, though most especially on regions near Beast Valley, then escape into caves and return home. They live in the western hills, using tunnels to reach other parts of Sartar and the Holy Country and plunder them, then return home; this is generally assumed to be magical.
Beast Valley has no real army; each tribe of Beast Men fields a force of warriors led by a chief and whenever Ironhoof is alive, he assembles those small hordes into a big one which mostly relies on hard-hitting melee forces. A warband might range from 20 minotaurs to 200 kobolds. A strong chief might unite multiple warbands into a horde of a 1000 or so warriors. Ironhoof unites all the hordes. One such horde numbered 30,000 strong and basically laid waste to everything in sight just by trying to feed itself.
Allies: Balmyr Tribe of Sartar, Ducks Enemies: Dragonnewts, Grazelanders, Sundomers, Troll Woods Trolls
- Calmaria, Daughter of Callista, initiate of Caladra: We have been the Pharoah's slaves for so long that we don't know what to do with our freedom. Still, despite the many sins against the gods of our neighbors, I think we will have to work with them or the filthy Red Goddess will enslave us all. Plus, they will make good body shields.
- Erikos, Warrior and Initiate of Aurelion: The Esrolians cannot fight worth a damn, but drown you in troops. God Forgot is a good trading partner who respects our ways. If we work with them, we can keep the Esrolians from conquering us. The Lunar Empire? If it can get through the endless Esrolian armies, then we're dead anyway. I expect some Superhero will kill the Red Emperor and knock the Red Moon out of the sky long before they reach us. If there's anything to learn from the history of the world, it's that ambition gets you killed by the gods and then they shit on your remains. I'm surprised they lasted this long.
- Lilestra, a priestess of Esrolia: The Caladrans are too obsessed with incest to realize that they've allowed men far too much power. They also basically live like pathetic Hsunchen, but without magical animal powers. They violate the Earth to collect firebone and earthblood. The Pharoah could keep them in line, but with her gone, we're going to have to do something about them... somehow. Probably we will talk about it until they try to raise a volcano under one of our cities and then it will be war. Which is the last thing we need with the Lunars breathing down our necks.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: Basically useless, but boy would I hate to have to try and conquer and hold this. I think this is going to require Heroes to deal with it by overthrowing their gods. Otherwise, they'll dump lava on us and endlessly snipe us in the jungle while we get sick and die. No thanks.
This is a huge swatch of jungle with volcanoes which created it all during the time before the Dawn; rich soil grows crops and jungle like crazy and the natives worship the Volcano God and Goddess, the children of Lodril and Gata, Aurelion (half brother of Asrelia, earth god) and Caladra (fire goddess). Caladran culture encourages tight sibling bonds and teaches siblings will be reincarnated together, over and over until they achieve all their dreams and then will go to live in the heavens with Caladra and Aurelion, assisting them. Men protect with weapons and women destroy foes with fire magic. Men till the earth and women burn down the forest to fertilize it. Women also handle the cooking and men the weaving. Men fish and women hunt. Men learn to find firebone and earthblood, which can be burned and turned into useful things. Working together, men and women turn firebone into diamond, which edges the weapons of the Caladralanders, making them incredibly sharp and strong. The Caladra / Aurelion cult has four runes: Earth, Heat, Fertility, and Harmony. Male initiates gradually turn more and more black (coal level black, not like normal humans) and women gradually become orange like a fire. The deeper your initiation, the more change.
Some people, however, initiate into other cults. Ernalda has some popularity here, as do Heler and Gustbran, but the most common other cult is Veskarthan the Deep (Earth, Heat), the volcano god father of Caladra and Aurelion. He fought Argan Argar and lost and was forced to build the Castle of Lead; he hates Trolls still. He is most commonly worshiped as a war god.
Caladrans live in movable villages, practicing slash and burn agriculture and sometimes dodging lava flows and ash falls. They maintain shrines at the major volcanoes but have to rebuild them a lot.
Every summer they fight wars to take captives to sacrifice at the volcanoes. Without them, their harvest will fail and they will go into hard-to-escape decline.
Each village fields a force of part-time warriors, led by the chief. There is no central government now that Belintar is dead, but every village is part of a confederation which fields a joint force. Men fight with a mix of ranged and melee weapons, while women support them with fire magic; every warrior is accompanied by a woman into battle. Massive amounts of fire magic helps to make up for their lack of discipline. They excel at guerilla warfare. (A typical village of 600 people could in theory field up to 300 adults to fight, but in practice will send about 50 warriors (7 or 8 of which will be highly skilled) and 50 fire priestesses (of whom 7 or 8 will be devotees) into the field. A confederation of 10 villages could thus field 75 highly skilled warriors and 425 part-time warriors, 75 fire devotee priestesses and 425 fire initiates. Such a confederation occcupies 10 hexes of the map.)
Allies: God Forgot Enemies: Esrolia
Matriarchy of Esrolia
- Jaloopaboo, Merwoman of the Realm Below: They are great trading partners and friendly to our kind. At times, the Earth and the Sea have been enemies, but they revere every goddess and so they revere ours and we live in peace. May it last forever! I suppose it does help that neither of us can really conquer each other. Just keep your menfolk away from them so they don't have to put up with their ignorant ideas about men.
- Sir Frederick of the Righteous Duchy of Maniria: Wealthy yet incompetent, ruled by evil witches who have enslaved the land to their endless goddesses. That rock over there probably has a goddess in their opinion. But there is only one God and we serve Him. We cannot put an end to their evil while the Lunars come for us all, but working with them is only barely better than if you had to work with Broo or Scorpion-men. Still, compared to the rabid man-animals of Prax or the insane Beast Men...
- Lilestra, a priestess of Esrolia: There is no more perfect or peaceful land in all of Glorantha; if the Lunars would leave us alone, we would leave them alone. As it stands, it's up to us to get the rulers of the other parts of the Holy Country to pull their male heads out of their asses and listen to wisdom. It won't be easy.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: The devotion of Esrolians to peace is commendable and so is their rejection of the mad storm gods. Unfortunately, they overdo it; the Red Goddess picked both a man and a woman to rule her empire; the Seven Mothers included men as well. But the Esrolians seem to think men are only useful to fuck and plow fields. They hold me in contempt as I hold them. That is why the Grandmothers must bow to the Red Goddess or die.
This was once a normal Orlanthi land, but many of its men rushed off to battle against the sea during the Godtime and perished; the desire of the Vingotking rulers to send even more men into the meatgrinder led to a coup by the women of Esrolia. The whole basis of society changed when the Earth worshippers took command, banning worship of Orlanth and replacing him with Barntar and other lesser male deities. The rise of the many cities of Esrolia worked further changes; the old tribes and even the clans are long gone. Esrolian society is a collection of extended families headed by 'Grandmothers', who owe fealty to Earth Queens; the Earth Queens collectively rule through a council. To become a Queen typically requires a contest which is a Heroquest. Some titles are held for life, others are temporary. However, they are divided into factions which now endlessly squabble with the Pharoah dead, hampering a strong response to the Lunars. Indeed, the Red Earth faction calls for conversion to the Lunar faith. Most women initiate to Erlanda; about 1 in 7 initiate to some other goddess, or in a few cases gods (like Issaries, Lhankor Mhy, and Heler).
Men are basically second class citizens; they're essentially regarded as overgrown children who have to be controlled for their own good. They can hold no position of authority and are always under the authority of their family and their spouse if married. Their marriages are decided for them, generally on a political basis. That being said, men are found in any non-political occupation, though most are farmers in the country and craftsmen in the city, usually initiated into Barntar, Issaries, or some craft God like Gustbran. (Always male gods; women may initiate to any allowed cult, men are restricted. Warlike gods are banned, like Orlanth, Humakt, Elmal, etc.). Certain men rebel, with covert initiation into banned gods, though hiding the tattoos is not an easy thing.
The army of Esrolia is always underfunded and poorly trained, due to this division and the fact that Esrolian men are not encouraged to be very tough, while Esrolian women mostly see war as something that stupid people do, unless you have no choice, though some Queen factions support preparations. Further, male gods who might make male soldiers tougher in war are banned. Shield and spear forces usually fight best behind the hefty fortifications which the Esrolians invest in copiously; they are also quite skilled at siege warfare. Also, Esrolia has so many people, it sometimes wins by sheer numbers. The cults of Babeester Gor, Maran Gor, and Vinga provide elite forces and magical aid.
Esrolia has a standing army of 30,000 people, but can supplement this with another 120,000 poorly trained milita when needed. Esrolia fields 2,000 light cavalry, 1,000 heavy cavalry with lances, 15,000 medium spear infantry, 10,000 lightly armored archers, a thousand Earth priestesses of various cults, and a thousand elite initiates and devotees of Babeester Gor, Maran Gor, and Vinga known as the Fist of Esrolia.
Esrolia is hugely populous; the population density tends to be 3-5 times that of Sartar, producing huge amounts of fruit, grains, vegetables, and meat. Coffee is a very popular drink along with tea. Esrolia is much more urbanized than most Orlanthi lands, with some 30% of the populace in cities, in part because the countryside produces a huge surplus.
- Danyas: Major Robi, who commands this fort, takes out his frustrations by raiding Caladraland and slaughtering its raiders, egged on by his wife, the Priestess Jola, who enjoys the flow of loot. This may eventually cause major trouble, though this fort is quite tough, as is usual in Esrolia.
- Esrolia City: The capital is home to a good 30,000 people and nearly equal amounts live within 20 miles of the city. It is a sophisticated city with houses of stone and sturdy wood with tile roofs. The fanciest buildings are made from marble, like the many temples of the goddesses of the Earth rune. The Council of Queens meets here in order to rule the country and many who live here work for the government in some manner. The Esrolian Mint is a special gold-tinted marble and has a very distinctive style which everyone knows because it is on the back of all coins.
- Estel Lake Town: This small town of 500 souls would not be important unless you like to eat fish, if not for the tri-annual Queen of the Fish Run; the winner becomes one of the Queens of Esrolia and has the job of promoting the fertility of the fish of Esrolia through various rites held at the temple here. Queen Janika will soon have to defend her title; she is noted for her powers over the Water rune.
- Nochet: This ancient city dates from the First Age and is a huge sprawling metropolis of 100,000 people. It is the largest city for hundreds upon hundreds of miles. The city is an endless mess of twisty, bendy streets and ever changing styles of architecture. It contains temples to dozens of goddesses, many quite obscure. The city is technically a Free City, though in practice, it goes where Esrolia goes. The Queens of the Temples govern the city. The heart of the city sits on a massive upcropping of rock, then spills down across the river, along the shore, up and down the riverbanks and into the countryside in a tangled mess. Some parts of the city have canals instead of roads. There is a giant statue of Imarja, the divine patron of Esrolia, over the mouth of the harbor. The temples here are ancient and huge. The Great Library of Lhankhor Mhy is the biggest library east of Kerofinela, though the Great Library of Sog City would dispute this. The Great Hospital of Chalanna Arroy is definitely her greatest temple. Heler's Rock stands at the mouth of the River of Women, where it feeds into the harbor. The Storm Temple stands on a rise on the north side of the city, home to Orlanth and many minor (in Esrolia) male deities (such as Odayla, Humakt, and Elmal). All connected to this temple are exiles from other Orlanthi lands, as local men are not allowed to initiate to Orlanth or other war gods. There is no temple of Yelmalio, only a ritual space on the north side of the city where annually, the Hill of Gold is enacted, except it ends with trolls eating Yelmalio. The role of Yelmalio is always played by a criminal sentenced to death. The space is maintained by the Temple of Argan Argar, which is patronized by trolls and those who do trade with trolls. Next to the sacred hill is the Troll Market, where Troll goods are for sale; bulk metals are especially popular for purchase, though the truly daring can sample Troll cuisine. Kyger Litor is worshipped as well, in a temple inside the sacred hill. At the very center of the city is the Temple of Ernalda, a great square of marble with many shrines within it to lesser Earth goddesses. Over a hundred priestesses dwell within. Once a year, the shrine of Ty Kora Tek within the temple holds a ritual in which you can gamble to bring a loved one back to life. But if you lose, you die. The Great Harbor Market is home to the Temple of Issaries, including shrines for his children. All trade in the market is blessed by Issaries, thanks to ceremonies held the first day of each of the five seasons, plus the Sacred Time rites. Just across the river from Heler's temple is the temple of Dormal, who opened the seas to all. It resembles a great ship; the Ship of Life church is allowed by them to have a small shrine here for Western merchants. About a third of the population are foreigners.
- Trade Fort: Thrice besieged by the Lunars, this ancient castle rises above the wide Creek-Stream River on a spire of rock raised up by the very power of the goddesses of the Earth rune. Lunar forces died in droves at the foot of the rock, pelted with stones and incendiaries. Hidden fungus farms inside it can feed everyone indefinitely... or could. With the Pharoah dead and no troll allies to run the farms, the fungus is said to be starting to die off. Major Lorant is an unusually skilled soldier thanks to his war experiences and the high priestess, Firenza, actually listens to him, even if she makes the final decisions.
- Verperem (11,000): This is a typical Esrolian Market city; it is square shaped to invoke the blessing of the Earth Rune and all buildings are square with only a few exceptions. The temple of Esrolia at the center of the city is surrounded by a great square plaza tiled with alternating purple and gold square stones. The local Earth Queen's palace stands on the eastern side of the plaza and the northern side opens into the grand market of Issaries, one of the few non-square parts of the city. South of the river, there is a sprawling suburb of warehouses and homes of poorer folk, which don't follow the all things are square rule; many live in multi-story 'mountains' with six to eight rooms per floor, usually with an entire family or three crammed into one room with a central courtyard with a private well for residents. The slightly nicer ones have winches set up to let you haul water or other goods up to your room. The most famous mountain is 'Mount Halara', where you have to join the cult of Halara, goddess of the night sky, but in return, you get twice the space of a normal mountain, water piped to your room, and a nice garden space in the central courtyard. You pay rent by joining religious ceremonies which strengthens the temple / observatory at the top.
Allies: Heortland. Enemies: Caladraland, God Forgot, Righteous Duchy of Maniria
- Terentius Gaius, a Kobold: When the Machine God fell, they should have ensured the God Forgotters were wiped out. Who knows what creepy Chaos-Machine worship they are up to now? If we could reach them, I'd recommend we kill them all.
- Gavin, God Forgot Boater: The rest of Glorantha is content to look to the past and wear their grandfather's clothing and to abandon all sense for blood-soaked religious crusades. While they murder each other in service of demons, we will look to the future. Also, keep your legs in the boat, otherwise the electric eels will kill you. I don't mind feeding the mer-folk but you should.
- Harmast, a Trickster of the Torkani: Some of the very hardest people to trick in Kerofinela, but you know, easy victories are boring. Now watch as I pick this... ORLANTH'S LIGHTING CORRUSCATING THROUGH MY FLESH, AAAAAAAAAAAAA.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: Smart, but too few in numbers and their homeland is mostly wiped out half the year. I do not fear them or their machines, but I would like to know their Road-Making Secret. Also, I have to reluctantly admit that their Bubble Boats are fun.
- Officials: 1000
- Sages: 2000
- Soldiers: 20,000
- Craftsmen: 37,000
- Farmers: 40,000
During the Great Darkness, this land mostly sank into the ocean and the rest turned very swampy; the gods of the inhabitants abandoned them and never came back. Even Magasta, the lord of the Sea, would not listen to their pleas. So they decided the Gods could just go hang. Unfortunately, bitterness could not ward off the Great Darkness. What saved them was the Rock of Heaven falling from the sky. This strange rock / structure was riddled with rooms and machines and inside it, the creatures of Chaos could not come. Further, they discovered many secrets from it which they used to create the city now known as Refuge.
During the Second Age, the God Learners came and the people of God Forgot mixed technology, sorcery and God Learner wisdom. The Rock of Heaven became the Clanking City, home of Zistor the Machine God. Then the EWF, the Orlanthi, and the Dwarves allied to destroy the city and its god. Once again, the natives concluded religion was not worth it and gods fail you in the end.
The inhabitants of God Forgot do not practice any religion at all, nor do they dally with spirits or delve into mysticism. They are sorcerors and technologists. There are constant rumors of a secret Zistor cult, but nothing is proven. Their technology remains interwoven with sorcery; basic training in this constitutes the 'common magic' of the land.
The God Forgotters are heavy consumers of coastal birds and sea food; they fish and trade in boats powered by strong jets of water generated by complicated devices known to involve burning wood or earthsblood (from Caladraland), elementals, and sorcery. The boats are made of thin, powerful ceramics. These boats are shallow and can operate in the parts of the country which frequently flood.
Gods Forgot is at its driest during Dark Season and at its wettest during Sea Season. Fire Season is a miserable bath of humidity, though water levels gradually sink during Fire, Earth, and Dark Season, then rise as the storms of Storm Season come and the ocean rises or maybe the land sinks during Sea Season. At 'high tide', every swamp hex is under 4 to 8 feet of water; at low tide, the swamp becomes dry ground with many small streams and ponds. Most settlements are on the areas that never sink below water. Gods Forgotters can build impressive roads, but rarely bother because flooding will bury them much of the year.
They are quite aware the Duke of Maniria is looking to extend his rule to them and they don't want it at all. They don't want the Esrolians either. The Caladralanders are too chaotic to conquer them, so they ally with them.
God Forgot sort of follows the Malkionist Caste System, but the war which trashed the Clanking City led to revisions of it; now you travel to Refuge and take an exam at 18 which determines if you will be an Official, a Soldier, a Sage, a Craftsman, or a Farmer. Officials govern, Soldiers fight, Sages study magic, history, engineering, and other lore, Craftsmen make and operate technologies which have been certified, and Farmers fish and grow crops (And act as teamsters). In practice, most people end up like their parents. Changing your assigned caste isn't impossible, but is very hard. Each caste wears distinctive clothing, dominated by a caste color: White for Officials, Silver for Soldiers, Purple for Sages, Blue for Craftsmen, and Green for Farmers.
God-Forgot fields a force of heavy infantry with pole-arms in enchanted armor, backed by golems and by lightly armored missile troops armed with crossbows; when possible, specialty bolts are supplied which may explode, cause paralysis, poison targets and so on. Older Soldiers often have artificial limbs. Forces are small and elite. Sages provide magical services in war. Hoverwagons (using Elemental Air magics) and Bubbleboats transport forces. 2,000 Heavy Infantry and 3,000 Missile Infantry Soldiers can be turned out to fight, more in an emergency, along with a force of 1,000 golems, sustained by the Sage cast and the repair work of the Craftsmen. Few Sages have direct combat magic, but they are highly effective in field fortifications and sieges.
The inhabitants of God Forgot have extended life spans but not true Brithini immortality. They live, on average, 140 years, if not killed first. The time other cultures devote to religion, they devote to a mixture of group sorcerous rites and to maintenance of their magical items and technology.
- Casino Town (5,000) has seen better days. During Belintar's rule, it was a haven for gambling, prostitution, black market trading, tourism, and banking. Now it's struggling to get by with the Magical Roads and Fish Roads closed. It is also a city where strange things happen, because it is centered around a great stone pillar which has the Luck Rune on top. No one can *make* the Luck Rune do anything, but this is a town full of coincidences and 100,000 to 1 chances sometimes seeming more like 50:50. Its inhabitants believe their rune of bad luck cannot last forever!
- Hustle McQuack?'s Nest: Hustle McQuack? is a black-feathered Duck with a green-feathered head who is about as muscular as a Duck can get. He is known to be on hard-times as catering to Duck clientele has not gone as well as he apparently imagined, though the casino side is popular with non-ducks, done up in the style of Duck architecture near the Upland Marsh.
- The Green Flame: Done up like an Orlanthi feasting hall, this catered to visitors from Heortland, Esrolia, and Sartar. It is stumbling along and is most noted for the great brazier of green flame; it's a miniature version of the sacred flame of Sartar but is not the same flame, though some idiot periodically tries to steal it back to Sartar. It is mostly a bar with some gambling and a few rooms for rent. Freelance whores can be found here.
- The Temple of the Beast Rune: This was not a temple, it was basically a combination inn/brothel for those with very exotic tastes, especially in Beast Men. But now it's shut down and it's rumored that anything from a band of minotaurs to chaos creatures lurk inside it; as long as they stay inside, no one is going to mess with it.
- Uleria's House of Pleasant Rest: A great gleaming white marble temple to Uleria; it is part-temple, part-casino, part-luxury hotel, and part-brothel, as you would expect. Unlike most of God Forgot, there are actual believers here and the Sacred Time rituals are for initiates only, except for a lucky few chosen by lot. For a donation, the temple can also supply magical healing. Initiates and Devotees of Chalanna Arroy can stay here free if they help with any healing needs; there is almost always one on staff, though the Ulerians can also heal.
- The Great Road runs from Rhigos to Refuge; it pre-dates Belintar and is made out of a substance purified from godsblood which gives it a smooth black finish; it is elevated high enough that during the high tides, it does not flood. There are periodic rest-stops for travellers. It has to be maintained by annual sorcery.
- Refuge (20,000) remains the most high tech of human cities, which is to say still far behind modern Earth, but advanced compared to others. Many of its old wonders died with Zistor the Machine God but many miracles still remain. Not that anyone here believes in Miracles except for a handful who follow various Malkionist churches. The city has water purification through an ancient machine constructed from components modelled on those found in the Rock of Heaven. Gas lamps light the streets. The roads are paved with a substance made from godsblood acquired from the Caladrans, giving it a smooth black finish and being very durable. Some buildings rise as many as ten stories with reinforced metal frames and the Refugians possess advanced metal forging methods which make these frames possible. They do amazing things with clockworks.
- Magnus, Golem for Hire: Magnus may well be the oldest living thing in God Forgot; he was crafted by a God-Learner and is a fully intelligent golem. Classed as a Sage, he investigates mysteries for hire when not busy working on improvements to golem magics. Magnus is noted for being able to disguise himself as any kind of golem and thus can easily pass unnoticed. He is also noted for the Magnus Fist, a sorcerously enhanced punch which can break almost anything. *If* he can hit you, since he is only a decent fighter; he is a Sage, after all. He shouldn't *have* to punch things. He is known to have survived the fall of the Clanking City but is close-mouthed about it.
- The Purification Rune: This pillar has stood here since the Rock of Heaven fell from the sky. Refuge rose up around it, even as the Clanking City rose around the Rock of Heaven itself. This rune purifies everything brought into the city and makes work which requires purity easier. The inhabitants perform sorcerous rites during Sacred Time to maintain its power. The Hospital of Refuge stands next to it; wounds there never become infected and healing becomes much easier.
- The Temple of Knowledge: This is not an actual temple, but it's done up in a grand style, though with granite, not marble. A few Lhankhor Mhy priests and priestesses can be found here alongside the staff though. Maintained by the city, this is a lending library. Those who fail to return books on time end up hunted by retaliatory magics. It is rumored there is a secret collection of God Learner texts, but past thieves either failed to find it or did not live to tell. The head librarian is Lando, son of Unamum the first four weeks of a season and his sister, Lana, daughter of Unamum, the second four; where each goes half the year is unknown but they always return with more books. They are both of the Sage Caste and known to be potent in the Truth Rune.
Allies: Caladraland, Heortland. Enemies: Esrolia, Righteous Duchy of Maniria
Heortland (Hendreiki Lands)
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth: King Broyan will lead us to victory over our foes! Remember, Orlanth triumphed over the Great Darkness. Remember the battle of I Fought, We Won. We will not bow to Chaos. ORLANTH LIVES! The Red Whore will die!
- Grakk Barukk, A Troll: Typical Orlanthi, which is to say, they don't listen to their mothers and the men all run around like headless chickens. But we will back them against the Red Tyrant of the North. She has the stink of Gbaji on her. Perhaps it is time for Arkat Kingtroll to come again.
- Sir Frederick of the Righteous Duchy of Maniria: These idiots cling to their old ways, damning themselves to demons for nothing as children. Fools. But the Lunars will conquer them before we can.
- Harmast, a Trickster of the Torkani: The Hendreiki have spent so much time with their head up their ass pretending that nothing SHOULD EVER CHANGE that I feel they deserved conquest. Also, the Malkioni always make me laugh with their made up God. 'Invisible God'. The greatest con ever and I respect that.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: Madmen who worship the demon Orlanth, though he is clearly dead. Closeminded and intolerant, it's no surprise that they are on their last legs. Whitewall will fall and then the rest of the Holy Country. Bow before the Red Goddess, barbarian thugs!
- Population: 155,000 or so. Divided into 172 clans and 20 tribes.
Heort! Son of Damdrev the Horned and Red Drenyan! Heort! Of the Deer Folk Clan of the Vingotking Clans! Heort, who entered the Darkness and found Hengall and learned the secret of the Star Heart! Heort! Who won the I Fought We Won Battle and brought back hope! Heort! Who united the Eastern Vingotkings! Heort! Friend to Tukutu and ally to Ezkankeko, the One and Only Old One! Heort! Who lead the Army of the Man Rune at the Unity Battle! Heort! Who rediscovered secrets of Orlanth! Heort! Who brought back the Lawstaff and taught us to live under Orlanth's laws! Heort! Who divided the Clans by the Secret of Three: War, Balanced, and Peace! Heort! Who led the Unity Council that brought light to the world when the Sun returned! Heort! To whose greatness we all aspire!
Fractious, proud, and great, the Heortlings have squabbled endlessly with each other, the Esrolians, the sea folk, the trolls, the dwarves, each other, the elves, the Beastmen, God Forgot, various invaders, Tusk riders, each other, each other's pets, their herds, other people's herds, Praxians, dirt, the sky, the Sun, the Lunars, the EWF, the God-Machine Cult, the God-Learners, those Pamaltan crazy elves, more Trolls, the Kitori, dragons, dragonnewts, trees, random winds, lack of wind, each other, imaginary sea people, Sheng Seleris, Kralorelans, Pentans, more Praxians, the Esruvlians, and the Ducks. This has left them vulnerable to conquest many times, including paying tribute to Ezkankekko, being conquered by the Empire of Wyrm's Friends, a brief period of rule by bird-riding women they try to pretend never happened, a period of God-Learner invasion, rule by the Esruvlians and something never spoken of to outsiders at all. Do not ask.
They have often ruled the Esruvlians to their south and have largely ruled Esruvlia since the fall of the God-Learners. After the fall of the God-Learners, the Orlanthi clans ruled the countryside, Malkionists ruled the cities and there was an uneasy balance. The God-King slew King Andrin in the early 1300s and many clans fled north into Dragon Pass to escape. When Belintar returned Andrin to life, he restructured the land so that the Malkionist areas were ruled by royally appointed nobles and sheriffs. Northern Heortland, where the Hendreiki lived, remained traditionally Orlanthi. Gradually, the Malkioni outnumbered the Orlanthi more and more and took more and more power over their own region. But while Belintar lived, he kept them in check.
But when Belintar died, Seshnelans arrived and led a Malkionist revolt and now the country is broken in two and the south ruled by Duke Richard and the north by King Broyan. Further, the Lunars are trying to conquer the country and the Sundomers raid it without mercy. The Heortlanders return the favor, of course.
Heortland is a classically Orlanthi culture; the regions which changed are now in the hands of Duke Richard, who is hated in Heortland as a foreign invader who leads traitors. The Lunars are hated but those who followed him are MORE hated. King Broyan is a sturdy, experienced warrior and a powerful initiate of Orlanth and Elmal. He has given refuge to Starbrow and her followers.
Each clan has a small number of Weaponthanes and a larger fyrd they can call out to fight, but only the thanes can fight year round; the fyrd is hard to keep in the field during Sea Season when it needs to plant and Earth season, when it needs to harvest. This is a huge problem in the face of Seshnelan-style knights and the Lunar Army. A typical clan can field 20 Thanes and 200 fyrd; a typical tribe can field 180 thanes and 1800 fyrd. In theory, Heortland could put 3,600 thanes in the field and 36,000 fyrd. In practice, if you assembled every clan together, your army would probably slaughter each other and trolls, broo, etc, would descend on all the defenseless steads and eat everyone. Heortlanders are much better at small-scale to medium-scale raiding and that's a serious problem for them right now.
- Cerdrichall (1,400): The Sons of Cerdric Clan, leaders of the Starfall Tribe (10 clans) have their hall here in crater where a star fell to earth and protected Cerdric and his clan during the Great Darkness. There is huge mineral wealth here and a large temple to Gustbran and another to Asriela, in addition to the usual Orlanth and Ernalda temples. They have an awe inspiring 30 thanes, well equipped, and a 300 person fyrd with unusually good training. Most of their resources go to mining, so they have to import food, usually from the rest of their tribe. Every so often, they find a new fragment of the star, made of glowing white crystal, which is generally used to either make a sword or a lantern. The great hall contains Maedralanthorn, forged by Cerdric's wife in the great darkness; it once stood in a tower to illuminate the tula. It is said anyone who sleeps in its light gains a great blessing against the darkness. As you might expect, this clan and its tribe are enemies to all trolls. If all the legends are true, Trolls have besieged the inner tula a good 21 times! Today, trolls wanting to penetrate the central village would have to get past a ring of watch towers, then get through a ditch full of fish who like to eat Trolls (allegedly), then break through or climb the great wooden wall, blessed to resist fire, not that Trolls usually have fire.
- High Spine (1,200): The Highforge Tribe (8 fairly spread out clans) has its capital here, inside a large cave partway up a mountainside. They mine and sell metal to other tribes more than they hunt, farm, herd, or raid, though they do all four. They have more nimble mountain goats than sheep, and do interesting things with the goat milk, especially cheeses. They have large shrines to Ernalda and to Gustbran. Queen Magratha is a powerful devotee of Ernalda and more friendly to the Malkionists to the south than most of the Herotlanders like, though she is a staunch enemy of the Lunars, proclaiming them as children of Chaos. They are allied to Odayla's Home, but have an old feud with Halfort which is only semi-in-abeyance. High Spine controls Heortland's main trade route to Prax and has a substantial temple of Issaries as a result.
- Odayla's Home (1,000): The Sons of Odayla tribe (10 clans) rule the forested lands around this shrine, the greatest shrine of Odayla in the lands of Dragon Pass. They control unusually large tulas because they mainly live by hunting; this has given them the skills to dispute any lunar invasion, picking it off and ambushing it. King Maran has sworn fealty to King Broyan and sent some of his people to help defend Whitewall, which is well known to be the main lunar target when the hammer finally comes down. They also have a large shrine of Yinkin and many alynxes. They are allied to High Spine, but have an old feud with Halfort which is only semi-in-abeyance.
- The Shrine of Storms: During the Great Darkness, followers of Orlanth survived here, protected by a perpetual storm which smote their foes. It's still there, protecting the Shrine, one of the great holy sites of Orlanth. It backs King Broyalan and shouts defiance at the Lunars. There is an ancient stone circle here, ringed by a great wooden wall; the priests live in underground chambers carved long ago by Ernalda's followers. There is a high stone tower, used for religious rites.
- Whitewall (5,000 but can hold *many* more, as many as five times that): This ancient shrine of Orlanth and fortress was long disputed between the Kitori and the Heortlanders until the breaking of the Kitori in the mid 1500s by King Tarkalor Troll-Slayer of Sartar. Now it is the capital of what is left of Heortland and a major target for the Lunars. It's shining white stone walls stand atop a high hill constantly home to high winds. The White River flows around the southern side of the hill and there are wells inside the hill which never run dry. Great food stores ensure it can stand a long siege. Temples to Orlanth, Ernalda, Heler, Elmal, and Humakt can be found here, with smaller shrines to many other gods. King Broyan rules from here, though his clan (High Flyers) and tribe (Carastra) are found in the lowlands, save those who dwell here now. He wears the Sword and Helm of Vingot.
Allies: Balmyr Tribe of Sartar, Esrolia, Troll Wood Trolls Enemies: Lunars, Sundomers
Righteous Duchy of Maniria (formerly Heortland, known also as Esruvlia)
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth: Once we crush the Lunars, we will drive the filthy Rokari Crusade back into the sea. We have no use for God Learner bullshit here. Orlanth lives and the Hendreiki will BE FREE!
- Harrathos, a Minotaur: If the Malkioni try to seize our lands, we'll happily send them to hell, which is where those who reject the gods and spirits go.
- Sir Frederick of the Righteous Duchy of Maniria: The Invisible God guided us here once the oceans opened to save this land from darkness. And save it we will! The Glorious Crusade cannot be stopped! King Richard will lead this land to new glory and crush the heretics and demons who surround us. Especially the witches of Esrolia.
- Harmast, a Trickster of the Torkani: The Hendreiki have spent so much time with their head up their ass pretending that nothing SHOULD EVER CHANGE that I feel they deserved conquest. Also, the Malkioni always make me laugh with their made up God. 'Invisible God'. The greatest con ever and I respect that. You know, if I hid in the ceiling during one of their worship ceremonies... yes, I see potential here.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: Formidable foes whose personal potency and sorcery from their false religion makes up for their lower level of discipline. Mind you, compared to the thugs of Heortland, the Malkioni forces look like Dara Happans. Their cities are well organized. They are civilized and once we cleanse them of the delusion of their 'Invisible God', they will be a valuable part of the Lunar Empire.
The destruction of Danmalstan during the Great Darkness forced many Malkioni to flee to distant lands; several small colonies survived the darkness in this land, though surrounded by Orlanth worshipers, the Heortlings. A struggle between them ensued; the Malkioni came to take the name Esruvlians, and sometimes fell under Orlanthi rule. They created their Aeolian Church, which blended aspects of Orlanthi and Malkioni practices.
The coming of the God-Learners tipped the balance in favor of the Esruvli, who ruled under the God-Learners. After the fall of the God-Learners, the Orlanthi clans ruled the countryside, Malkionists ruled the cities and there was an uneasy balance. The God-King slew King Andrin in the early 1300s and many clans fled north into Dragon Pass to escape. When Belintar returned Andrin to life, he restructured the land so that the Malkionist areas were ruled by royally appointed nobles and sheriffs. Northern Heortland, where the Hendreiki lived, remained traditionally Orlanthi. Gradually, the Malkioni outnumbered the Orlanthi more and more and took more and more power over their own region. But while Belintar lived, he kept them in check.
But when Belintar died, Seshnelans arrived and led a Malkionist revolt and now the country is broken in two and the south ruled by Duke Richard and the north by King Broyan. The imposition of the Rokari church doesn't sit too well with the Malkioni or the Orlanthi, though the Esruvlians learned long ago to adapt to their environment. The Esruvlians say, Survival trumps clinging to past ideas, for the dead have no ideas. Most of the Malkioni are Aeolians, or would be if allowed to do it their way.
In theory, if you assembled *all* the knights and their followers, you could field 450 knights, 1,000 light cavalry, about 1,000 priests, wizards, holy warriors and other oddballs, 15,000 heavy infantry (pikemen with shields), 15,000 archers, 10,000 light infantry with spears, and 5,000 mercenaries, funded by the cities - 2500 medium infantry and 2500 archers. The odds of assembling *all* of those are pretty low and would strip the defenses of the borders and then Praxians, trolls, more trolls, sea monsters, heretics, rioting peasants and the like would run amok.
- Argentan: Argentan controls the western terminus of one of the major caravan routes to the Vale of Pavis and access by road to the March of Prax. It has grown to a little over 9,000, of which its inhabitants are very proud. Merchants haul the products of Maniria here to sell to those in the caravan trade and buy the goods which come from the Vale of Pavis and from points East. Spices are especially popular and Argentan mulled wine is a very popular product. The city is flourishing, so discontent is low. Argentan is home to Bishop Marcel, whose Cathedral augments the Rune of Trade, which is never called the Issaries rune here, unless you enjoy burning for heresy.
- Castel du Domfrondele: This unusual castle is home to the Order of Saint Elleish, the Malkioni order of female warriors. Many Rokari are dubious of this order because they think women should stay home and be domestic. However, the tiny group which came with the Seshnelans has boomed in size as natives of Orlanthi background have flooded into the order to the surprise of all, along with some local Malkioni women. Mind you, the Orlanthi keep calling Saint Elleish 'Vinga', whoever that is. This seems connected to the order discovering a brace of holy javelins marked with Saint Elleish's rune; scholars are now scrambling to understand how they got here. These javelins can be hurled up to a mile by one of the faithful and inflict hideous wounds on monsters, creatures of darkness, trolls and the like. Given the order has to fight monsters from the Mire of Sloth and troll raiders, these have been invaluable. Baroness-Abbess Julia du Domfrondele is very optimistic about the future but worries that many in her order need better spiritual formation. But their bravery... Still, she remains optimistic that the future is bright, though she does worry at times about the Lunar heretics showing up. Thus she calls for peace with Heortland until the Lunars are dealt with. The local District church is attuned to the Rune of Combat (Mastery).
- Castel du Escolat: This fortress used to be a hillfort and now is a proper castle. It's job is to tax trade on the road and stop raids from Heortland; it is really good at the former and not good at the latter. The fortress needs more cavalry as its heavy foot cannot keep up with lightly armored raiders from Heortland. The peasants grow restless. Further, trolls keep marauding as well, sometimes teaming up with the Heortlanders! Baron Luc du Escolat is, to say the least, not happy. He is a Seshnelan, part of the group which helped Duke Richard seize control of the area. He begins to think he got rooked. His wife Mari, however, has had great luck in raising high quality snails, considered a delicacy among Seshnelans. The local District church is attuned to the Rune of Fire, in order to help deal with the trolls.
- Castel du Nord: This is actually a market town (Vingothold) with a hastily built tower and bailey thrown up now that it is suddenly a border region. Baron Enri du Nord is a Seshnelan with an absolute contempt for his mostly Orlanthi subjects; they return the favor by hating him too. Malkionist services have to be held in the castle because the new church has burned three times and somehow the statue of Saint Gerlant came to life and started killing faithful Malkioni, a heresy which is said to have left Baron Enri stunned for a half hour before he could actually take action to deal with it. Ever since his freeze-up, even his men seem sluggish in his service and he is desperate to restore his reputation as a warrior. Right now that means raids into Heortland and beating to death with a hammer ever captive Heortland raider. The local District church is attuned to the Rune of Earth.
- Darkwatch: This tower and bailey castle is home to Baron Denis le Blanc, a Seshnelan who now vastly regrets he ever aspired to move up in the world. He knew little of the Holy Country and failed to understand his new rich lands had been rich because the God-King had not just let the monsters of the Shadow Plateau run riot at will. Now his men die in droves, the peasants are terrified and rebellious at once, and the wine, fruit, and wool production which made this area rich is in tatters. If not for the iron will of his chaplain, Father Jerome, he would have fled in terror. Father Jerome's power to command holy light has been invaluable in preventing total collapse, along with his ability to restore the morale of Denis' men. The local District church is attuned to the Rune of Fire (Spiritual Light, especially potent against Darkness creatures).
- Dinan: This modest city of 4500 people seethes like a cauldron; the Orlanthi part of the population is outraged at the condemning of their faith and burning of their churches. The Malkioni population mostly clings to Hrestoli ideals and is uninterested in the strict caste system of the Rokari faith. The new Bishop has to hold loaded crossbows on his congregation each week and armed patrols roam the streets, quelling discontent. Three hundred bodies in various states of rot hang on the walls. Worse, cultists of Lanbril are rumored to have turned from theft to organizing revolution. Bishop Marzan is outraged and hurls invective every week and calls on the Duke for more support; at times he talks of killing every heretic. The local Cathedral is not functioning properly due to this discord; in theory, it is attuned to the Plant Rune in order to help grow crops.
- Falase: This is a market town (Honorville, 3,300 strong) being fortified into a huge castle. Many knights of Saint Horal have flocked here to serve under the faithful Baron Etienne du Falase. The old townsfolk are Malkioni; they are dubious about the Rokari faith but very enthuasiastic about finally having decent protection against monster raids from the Mire of Sloth; too many of their kin have been turned into herd-men for their taste. The new cathedral is crude but well attended, as they know they need God's protection. The demonstrated ability of Father Ugo to turn herd-men back into normal humans has ensured that the locals will play along with his babbling about caste barriers and other theological matters which pale in the face of monsters who can turn humans as stupid as animals and then eat them. The countryside is full of ranchers and shepherds and other livestock raisers; such people can flee from raids more easily than settled farmers. This does make the area somewhat dependent on grains and vegetables hauled in from Argentan. A squadron of thirty knights dwells here who directly serve the Duke, but are sworn to aid the Baron. This is seen as a huge sign of Ducal favor and it has raised morale. Past national rulers had a tendency to tell the locals to man up and kill the monsters themselves unless the raids turned into full scale invasion. But the Duke clearly takes their problems seriously and this pleases them. But couldn't he spare a few more knights?
- Felles: Felles is a reinforced hill fort which now holds castle status for some value of castle. This isn't to say anyone would want to attack it; it has a half dozen underground wells and enough stored, smoked food to last a two year siege. Its soldiers now wear Ducal uniforms but their life is hardly different. Trolls raid, we kill the trolls. We raid the trolls, they kill us. Many men live here in the cold times and go out and cut timber to ship down the river in the warm season. Sometimes trolls eat them. Life goes on as always, really.
- Garniers: Baron Stephen Garniers has really ambitious plans to conquer the Troll Woods which will never come to pass unless the Duke signs on, which seems unlikely given current problems with Heortland and the whole looming Lunar menace. Baron Stephen would happily make peace with Heortland and swear fealty to the Lunars if he got to kill trolls as part of the deal, though he is not a Lunar agent. He hardly even knows what the Lunars stand for. He just wants to kill those damn trolls. Is that too much to ask? His base is a modernized hill fort; it has to be said that for all his obsession with killing trolls, he runs a tight ship and the fort is well organized and well governed. Baron Stephen has a very good eye for finding and promoting quality talent; likewise, he is rather sloppy about caste distinctions, being of old Malkioni stock in this area. The last chaplain to complain got himself eaten by a troll, so the new one just keeps his mouth shut.
- Hillverge Castle: This is an old Orlanthi fort; the old Chief converted to the Rokari church and is now Baron Swen of Hillverge. No one here takes the conversion very seriously and few priests come out here who would challenge it. Chaplain Paul keeps sending letters complaining but right now, no one seems to care if Saint Horal is depicted by the locals as Orlanth in modern armor or if the locals claim he is married to Saint Melena, who is actually the wife of Malkion! Raids from Prax have picked up since the Lunar conquest, but a small clan of Bison Riders now serves Baron Swen, having been driven out of Prax. Much to the confusion of Chaplain Paul, the chief of the clan had a vision of Saint Avlor and his clan is now dedicated to that saint, even if their worship of him bears little resemblance to proper Rokari rites. (Chaplain Paul is quite sure that impaling Sable Riders and Lunars on spikes is *not* an approved way to venerate Avlor! Or any saint for that matter!)
- Le Havre: Le Havre is a market city of 10,000, most noted for its annual Wagon Races. The contestants must haul barrels of brandy across a difficult route without losing any barrels and reach the end first. The city is a center for distilling wine into fancier forms and makes very good money off it, good enough to allow heavy bribery of the poor, keeping them quiet. Churches are in the middle of converting over to the new standards and the old temples to gods like Orlanth are now burned out shells. But there are whispers of angry ghosts haunting the old ruins. Also, worship ceremonies keep going wrong, though it seems to mainly be because a lot of the populace isn't familiar with them yet.
- The Mire of Sloth: Gorp, Newtlings, and Morokanth haunt the Mire of Sloth; certain legends claim this is where Gorpgod was slain; certainly it has been a mucky mire that has killed many unwary travelers since the first dawn. The heat and humidity tend to induce lethargy in anything non-native and the new Archbishop of Rouen has proclaimed the mire is a test for the faithful, renaming it the Mire of Sloth. The Morokanth within claim all of the March of Prax rightfully belongs to them, but they've been saying that for a very long time. And who cares what freakish monkey-monsters think? Not the Manirians, anyway. The Newtlings just want to be left alone to fish and gather fruits. And the gorp just want to eat you.
- Perche: This is a fortified market town of 3,200 with an attached castle of recent construction. The locals are mostly Orlanthi in culture but are willing to put up with Rokari babble because Duke Richard takes defending them seriously. Balli Pierre du Langue leads a force of knights and soldiers who fend off raiders and man a handful of ships which protect the coastal trade. He is young and energetic and not very religious, being one of the Old Malkioni. He and his chaplain feud endlessly but in the end, his chaplain has little power. Perche is very proud of its annual fishing contest, which used to be a religious ceremony.
- Praxwatch: This overambitious fortification is far more grandiose than is really justified, but Baron Serge always dreamed of ruling from a giant castle. What he rules is Orlanthi herders who refuse to obey him or acknowledge his authority except at swordpoint, which means he has to rule by force and is just barely holding on to power over them. Raids by maniacs riding impalas doesn't help either. The one good thing is that the Order of Saint Carpattia has sent some knights and runs a proper church for him, so at least he and his followers can worship in something that didn't used to be for that damn Orlanth. Sometimes he wishes he'd stayed in Seshnela.
- Rennes: Rennes is a market town of 7,000. It has a long history of horsebreeding and leathermaking. It is surrounded by land on which cattle grazes and horses roam. The city smells of tannin, though the leathermakers are downwind of the normal winds. There is also some redsmithing from bronze dug up in the hills northeast of the city. Most of the populace have enthusiastically embraced the Rokari Church, as the city was thoroughly Malkionized to start with. Some two hundred rebels still hang from the walls, now reduced to skeletons.
- Rouen: is a flourishing city of 15,000 in the middle of farmland which gently slopes down to the sea. Vinyards and fields of wheat and barley surround the city. New dairies are springing up, providing cheese and other milk products. The city is growing, spilling beyond its walls; inside the walls, it is very crowded with four to five story buildings jostling against each other and overhanging narrow streets; you are always in shade in Rouen. Also, there's always some people watching you and possibly someone about to dump a chamberpot on you, though just because outsiders amuse them. It isn't personal. The old Malkionist cathedral is now being upgraded; there's a brand new statue of Rokar in front. But not everyone's happy, as the lower classes rushed to the Rokari church a lot less than the upper ones. Especially those who clung to Orlanthi customs. The working class districts seethe with discontent of a variety of kinds. As long as the bread and cheese daily handouts continue, though, that discontent will just simmer. Rouen is the capital of the country now and the old Sheriff's House is being converted into a proper mansion for the Duke.
- Troll Watch: This is a ducally owned castle; the balli is Martin Garniers, son of Baron Stephen of Garniers. He took a job with the Duke because he wanted to kill trolls and, well, he gets to live his dream a lot. Trolls and other horrors come down off the plateau, out of caves inside it and out of the Shadow Mire. Casualties are high, but pay is very good. Most of the soldiers are mercenaries who are paid well, then run riot in the support service village inside the walls. Most of whose inhabitants are mercenaries in their own way.
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth: Trolls are halfway to beasts, but they fight Chaos with great force, so I look forward to working with them to kill all the FILTHY Lunars.
- Grakk Barukk, A Troll: Once again, the Pelorians are trying to shove their made-up light god on us. You can't fool me, Gbaji. The Only Old One is dead, but we live on, hungry to devour our foes. Perhaps it is time for Arkat Kingtroll to come again. This was the greatest Troll kingdom and it will be again.
- Sir Frederick of the Righteous Duchy of Maniria: Trolls are demons for killing. What more need be said?
- Harmast, a Trickster of the Torkani: Eurmal was once a troll, you know, until he ate too much and threw up his troll soul. The trolls understand what is important, even if they find it hard to cut the apron strings and move out on their own.
- Jalat KON-hel, a Lunar Captain from First Blessing: Pathetic man-animals whose time ended long ago. It's time to wipe them out. Admittedly easier said than done.
- Population: 41,000 Trolls
Once Ezkankekko, the Only Old One, son of Argan Argar and Esrolia, ruled here from his Castle of Lead and the City of Black Glass, which Argan Argar forced Lodril to build; now he is dead, long dead, slain by Belintar. But with Belintar fallen, some believe he may return from the grave to save the Holy Country. Or eat it. Or maybe some of both. As it stands, the land is always in shadow, even in full sunlight, and trolls and monsters of the Darkness roam the land and live inside the plateau in scattered bands.
Troll Woods Trolls
Once the trolls of this forest, allied with the Darkness rune-masters of the Kitori ruled a huge swathe of this area. But King Tarkalor Troll-Slayer of Sartar crushed the trolls and the Kitori and now they hide inside their forest, hemmed in by their neighbors. In recent years, they had aided the Heortlanders against the take-over by Duke Richard of the Righteous Duchy of Maniria. What is left of the Kitori and the Trolls live together in the forest, greatly shrunken in numbers.
An ancient Mistress Race troll, Cragspider the Firewitch, and her family rule from the Great Troll Delving, an underground fortress where the Trolls grow fungus, mine lead, and hide from the sun. It connects to tunnels with secret exits they use to raid into Prax; there are great Temples here to the troll gods and goddesses. Cragspider is incredibly ancient and possibly of divine descent. She long ago performed the Heroquest that ensured any Trollkin birth would come as an entire litter and not just one. She also is rumored to command Fire magics and a Dream Dragon of Darkness.
Allies: Heortland, Kitori, Taralas Elves, Shadow Plateau Trolls Enemies: Beast Valley, Prax, Righteous Duchy of Maniria
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