Tag: Conjunction

The Verdant Kingdoms – Lyria – History

Lyrian History

The two oldest of the Verdant Kingdoms are Càrceres and Lyria and it’s hard to say which of the two came first. Lyria became a kingdom when most of the other current kingdoms were still warring, bickering tribes and clans. It was born from the necessity of uniting the different regions against the threats pouring from the rifts caused by the conjunction of planes.

The Age of Peace

During the Time of Peace, the first humans settled themselves along the northern coast of what is now known as the Lyrian Gulf. They found the land to be fertile and verdant with a predominantly temperate climate. They quickly started to explore and spread in all directions.

They were quickly introduced to the elder races, who had been living in what would become Lyria for aeons. The dwarves of clan Thoradun and the Aen Canell elves were infatuated with the curious and precocious humans. They took them under their wing and introduced them to the lands, its inhabitants and its creatures.

Relations with the elder races were very warm and under their guidance, the humans started to settle all long the gulf and further inland. They worked the land, fished the streams and hunted in the woods. Eventually, they were self-reliant enough to start exploring the rest of what the lands had to offer.

The Age of Fear

When the Conjunction of Planes happened, the Age of Fear started. The elder races had retreated to their mountain and forest sanctuaries, leaving the humans to fend for themselves against overwhelming evil. While under siege from the evil that poured out of the rifts that opened up across the lands, the humans grew bitter and angry. Their innocence and precociousness made place for impulsiveness, selfishness and greed. Some of the elder races would later claim that it was merely the corruption that the demons brought, while others claimed that the corruption had been there all along, and that the demons had just lured it out of the humans.

The Knights of the Silver Crusade

Eventually, the human started to come to terms with the idea that if they wanted to survive the onslaught, they would have to fend themselves. No longer could they rely on the protection afforded by their association with the elder races. Groups and organisations started to form which actively sought to protect the vulnerable and put up a resistance against the monstrosities from beyond the rifts.

One such group called itself the Knights of the Silver Crusade. They found some success when they discovered the demons to be susceptible to the lyrium ore they had found around the rifts. It took a generation for them to learn how to work the rare metal so that it wouldn’t lose its special properties, but once they mastered it, their ability to strike back at the fiends multiplied. With every victory their notoriety grew and more men and women lined up to join their ranks. Their losses were great, but with every victory their ranks swelled, their understanding of the fiends grew, and they harvested more lyrium from around the rifts.

The Senhadrim

When humans finally started to harness the arcane arts and establish divine connections to an extent that they began to understand where the fiends were coming from and the nature of their home planes, they started to understand the war they were involved in.

The wisest and most talented of these human came together to exchange information, spells and research. Initially they supported the Silver Crusade and its knights with the knowledge they had gathered, but soon they were actively fighting alongside them, banishing demons and closing rifts. They also aided the knights with enchantments, spiritual guidance as well as their rods and staves. Closing and sealing rifts became essential. Not only did it restore peace to the surrounding area, it also allowed for the priests to purify the corruption that had crept forth from the rifts and into the lands and surroundings, and the subsequent mining of lyrium.

Eventually, these men and women became known as the Senhadrim and they were an essential part of the Silver Crusade.

The Founding of Lyria

At the height of the Age of Fear, when the battle against the rift fiends was at its peak and the Silver Crusade was at its strongest, the populace cried out for a leader. The tale of Sir William Garamond, first of his name, was known along all of the gulf. The direct descendant of the fabled Sir Marcus Garamond, the mythical founder and leader of the first generation of Knights of the Silver Crusade, Sir William stood at the helm of the Silver Crusade. He was well respected by all knights, had earned the respect of the Senhadrim, was the founder of the Order of the Gryphon and famously wrestled, broke, saddled and flew the first of the griffons the order became known for.

With the support of the knights, the Senhadrim and the rest of the Silver Crusade, Sir William Garamond was proclaimed king of the gulf. King of Lyria, named after the strange ore they had fashioned their tide-turning weapons from.

The Waning

Eventually, after generations of struggling against the fiendish onslaught under the leadership of the Garamond dynasty, the frequency of the opening rifts plummeted. When the Senhadrim declared the conjunction of planes to be over, the Silver Crusade came to an end and the knights renamed themselves the Knights of Lyria.

The elder races started to reappear from their sanctuaries and found that the world they had turned their back on had changed. They humans they found were more adversarial than the ones they had left behind. The land had changed as well. It now bore the scars of the Age of Fear. The elder races had changed, too. They might have protected themselves by turning away, and perhaps they weren’t as defenceless as the humans were when the conjunction began, but they were by no means spared.

The time of high magic was over and slowly the potency of magic started waning. All but the most dedicated scholars and arcanists lost their grip on the most powerful magic. Even the Senhadrim. Like a muscle, it needed to be exercised lest it wither away. Artifacts were retired, grimoires were stored in great libraries and nobility hung their magical swords over the seats in their great halls.

Just like with the arcanists, people of faith found that they lost their grip on their connection with the divine as well. While fervent prayers were still being answered, the extent to which the priests had been able to perform miracles had been greatly diminished. Church attendance dropped off over generations and the clergy lost much of their influence.

Eventually, the Knights of Lyria became an institution, the Senhadrim lost their prominence and appeared to be dissolved, magic became rare and divine miracles even rarer. People spread across the lands and new kingdoms sprang up. The memory of the conjunction, the rifts and the demons began to fade. But before everyone had completely forgotten, all of the twelve kingdoms that had sprang up during the waning decided to commemorate the new age of peace by agreeing upon a common, shared calendar. They declared it year zero.

War With Cypria and Càrceres

While there was peace, it was a relative peace. For generations Lyria only saw some border wars and some escalating internal conflicts. There were wars in the north, between Helmark and Daerlan, to the east, between Silesia and Mazuria, and to the west, between Cypria and Arroya, which got so bloody that Beauclair ended up stepping in to stabilise the conflict, taking large chunks of territory from each of the nations.

Lyria always remained relatively conflict free. It was seen by the other nations as the birthplace of human civilisation in the Verdant Kingdoms and a good ally to trade with. It was only when Càrceres started to become a powerful trading nation in its own right when things started to change.

Due to its sunnier and more arid climate, as well as due to some breakthroughs in irrigation techniques in the early part of the eight century, Càrceres was able to produce fresh fruits which quickly became delicacies across the kingdoms. While apples, pears and berries of all kinds could be found in many of the kingdoms, Càrceres quickly cornered the market on citrus fruits, which they quickly began exporting to Cypria, Arroya and Beauclair.

Cyprian merchants made deals with Càrcerian producers to become their primary trading partner. It was an unexpected decision that surprised Lyrian merchants. Cypria started trading fruits to the more northern kingdoms in exchange for furs, ore, gems and other goods. It was a mutually beneficial agreement that made both Cypria and Càrceres quite wealthy.

Lyrian merchants felt snubbed and started to try and find ways to outmanoeuvre Cyprian merchants. Their purchasing power was significantly larger than that of the Cyprians, and so the Cyprians quickly found their trade routes drying up. The only thing they could trade their citrus fruits for was coin, which would not have been bad, if the goods they wanted to trade their fruit for had not been bought up by Lyrian traders who started charging extra for goods to Cyprian merchants.

Eventually, Cyprian merchants, with the full weight of the Càrceres monarchy behind them, started to consolidate their power; their fruits were of great value in the northern kingdoms, where winters were long and the health benefits of the citrus fruits were undeniable. Lyrian merchants found that northern merchants would no longer sell their goods to Lyria due to the deals they had made with Cypria.

It did not take long for Lyria to start making threats toward Cypria and in particular towards the Càrceres court. The Lyrians knew full well that Càrceres was the real power behind the southern alliance. Cypria made payments to pirates and freebooters to harass Lyrian merchant vessels and eventually Lyria had to respond by sending out their fleet to secure the southern sea.

Càrceres had anticipated the Lyrian response to the pirate threat and had started to build an armada of war galleys in secret. Fortunately for Lyria, Arroyan spies had discovered the Càrceres production. Arroya, ever the bitter enemy of Cypria, decided to inform the Lyrian court about the Càrceres plan to use their armada to attack the Lyrian fleet.

The surprise that Càrceres had planned did not unfold as they had anticipated. On the second day of the first ride of Spring Storm, in the year 872, they fought a vicious naval battle along the Darkshore against an ever retreating Lyrian fleet. When the Càrcerian armada neared the Lyrian Tooth, they were set upon by fresh Lyrian ships, aided by the Order of the Gryphon, and the armada was destroyed.

After the remaining Lyrian ships blocked the Càrcerian harbours for two years, Càrceres was economically weakened enough for them to sue for peace. Càrceres agreed to break their exclusivity agreement with Cypria and also start dealing with Lyrian merchants. In no time Càrceres was back on their feet, but it took Cypria much longer to recover, and even longer to forget who caused them such hardship.

To this day the second day of the first ride of Spring Storm is remembered by Lyrians and Càrcerians alike. The Lyrians celebrate their victory and the Càrcerians their hubris.

The End of the d’Aragon Dynasty

In the month of Autumn Twilight, in the year 941, when King Phillip d’Aragon, third of his name, became gravely ill, he decreed that from that day onward, until the end of Lyria’s days, men and women would be equal in the eyes of the gods and under the law, in all matter of inheritance.

King Phillip loved his daughter, princess Síle d’Aragon, first of her name, very dearly and saw in her a better leader than in his younger son, prince Estiene d’Aragon, third of his name. Princess Síle had already married to the popular Beauclairois marquess, Tristan of house Valois, and had begotten her father a grandson, prince Tristan, of house Valois, second of his name.

The law instantly became highly disputed, but King Phillip lived long enough to see to it that it was implemented in all of the regions of Lyria. When he finally passed away and the princess took the throne as queen, and with her the Valois name.

There were a great many rumours that the Valois family had ensorcelled the dying king. Many of the nobility disobeyed the new laws of succession, especially in those areas furthest removed from the capital. There was talk of a great rebellion against the new ruler, but it never came. It turned out that the old King Phillip had chosen his successor wisely, for the Queen was an excellent diplomat and monarch and knew how to demand loyalty and keep her subjects happy.

Within two generations most people had gotten used to the Valois name, but there were a few places where cups were raised in honour of the d’Aragon name.

Occupation by Beauclair

On the day of the Greengrass celebration in the year 1064, after months of diplomatic friction between the Lyrian and Beauclairois courts, the king of Beauclair, Palmerin le Septième, sent his younger brother, prince Guillaume de Launfal, marching down the Beauclair Boulevard to invade Lyria.

The host was forty thousand footmen, fifteen thousand lancers, eight thousand knight-errant and two hundred eagle riders. The prince sat astride a mighty Gorgon and his personal guard consisted of seven paladins and four wizards, all riding specially trained unicorns. At the same time, the Elder Foothills and Westershire were invaded by smaller hosts, less impressively outfitted, but still formidable.

The speed with which the host moved from Sanségal to the border was unprecedented, and before the Lyrian court could mobilise the nobility the host had invaded Ashenvale and were marching on Blue Harbour while keeping the Westershire men busy while simultaneously holding the Tiverton Glades at sword point.

From the moment prince Guillaume de Launfal crossed the border, it took less than two rides for Kingsport to be in control of the Beauclairois. King Phillip, of house Valois, second of his name, had fled the capital and had retreated to the east. Prince Guillaume was declared regent of Lyria in name of King Palmerin le Septième de Beauclair.

The reason for this act of aggression was “a long history of arrogance, rudeness, cowardice and a lack of honour.” Lyrians were considered direct, brash, arrogant and too concerned with mercantilism. If the Lyrians were surprised at the invasions, so reasoned the Beauclairois, then that was simply evidence of their complete lack of social graces.

Meanwhile, the exiled King Phillip was rallying support in order to drive the occupiers from Lyria. The Lyrian Knights had pledged their support from the moment the Beauclairois had invaded. They, too, had been surprised by the attack, but had thick walls to hide behind and were not routed from their fortresses easily. The king found sanctuary in Gryphon’s Roost and the Silverpines became the centre of the resistance.

On the first day of the third ride in the month of Winter Eve, 1068, on Midinváerne when scholars say that the Darkmoon was at its fullest the fortress of Gryphon’s Roost was shook by the violent intrusion of a group of five szygani assassins, out for King Phillip’s blood. A dozen crownsguard and a veteran court wizard paid with their lives to bring the five assassins down. While the king got away with only minor wounds, it appeared that the szygani had coated their blades with poison, and several priests of Pholtus were called in to bring the king back to health.

Although there was no evidence that the prince Guillaume de Launfal was behind the attack the resistance eagerly spread that rumour. This hypocrisy by the Beauclairois was exactly the thing that was needed to truly galvanise the Lyrian nobility into action. Feelings of patriotism were further deepened and hatred for the szygani rose to an all-time high.

Though the Beauclairois distanced themselves from what they proclaimed a cowardly attack, and there was no proof of the complicity, they couldn’t shake the implications that they were somehow involved in the assassination attempt.

Eventually the situation became too costly for the Beauclairois to continue their occupation and they called for King Phillip to enter negotiations, arbitrated by the Daerlanian court. In the end it was agreed that reparations would have to be made by Lyria to the Beauclairois court to “mend the damage Lyrian lack had respect had caused the people of Beauclair over time” and in return there would be a full and unequivocal retreat by the Beauclairois and they would return sovereignty to the rightful monarch of Lyria; King Phillip, of house Valois, second of his name.

The Courtenay Rebellion

In 1262, Queen Isabella, of house Valois, second of her name, sits the throne at the tender age of sixteen. She has sat the throne for the past four years, after surviving an attempt to usurp the throne by house Courtenay in what has since been called the Courtenay Rebellion.

Isabella’s father, King Augustine, of house Valois, first of his name, was assassinated by a group of foreigners and House Courtenay tried to take advantage of the political unrest to lay claim to the throne. Lord Charles Courtenay could never be proven to have sent the assassins for King Augustine, and while house Valois was vulnerable an attempt at retribution would have been unwise.

Lord Charles Courtenay’s claim to the throne dated back hundreds of years. The Valois dynasty started from the ashes of house d’Aragon, the previous dynastic rulers of Lyria. When king Phillip d’Aragon had decreed that the next in line to the throne would follow the eldest female line, the throne ended up Queen Isabella’s. Had the throne passed the eldest male line, it would have ended up Lord Charles’.

While chaos was spreading across the capitol of Kingsport, it was the Lyrian Knights who kept the young princess Isabella safe. She was crowned at the age of twelve. Her uncle-by-marriage, Lord Benedict Valois-Antille is the current Steward of Kingsport and councils Queen Isabella on all matters.

The Verdant Kingdoms – The Arcane and the Divine

The Arcane

There is a natural ebb and flow to magic. When the tide of magic is high, its potency goes up, dormant magic comes back alive, the amount of people who can channel it goes up, and the fabric between the planes grows thin. At low tide, magic is weak, certain magic goes dormant, only the most sensitive people are able to channel it, and the fabric between the planes becomes almost impenetrable.

For aeons Gaea has been experiencing a low magic tide, resulting in far fewer arcanists (e.g. mages, sorcerers and warlocks), far fewer demons and supernatural creatures, and an overall loss in the understanding of powerful spells, enchantments, dweomers and artifacts. Some magical artifacts went fully or partially dormant, the power infused within unable to be sustained by the levels of magic. Tomes, grimoires, heirlooms and artifacts that no longer functioned were stored away for future generations, to be revealed when Gaea saw a high magic tide once again. Over time, some of these vaults and caches were forgotten or lost.

People’s memory of powerful magic have faded and made place for superstition and fear. Hermits, mystics, druids, pellars, witches and crones are often shunned in polite society, mostly because they are considered frauds. They find their homes on the edge of small villages, secluded rural areas or deep in the woods. The local peasantry, superstitious and trying to make their way in life with few means, often turn to these people for help. They fear them, but at the same time revered them for the help they can offer. But their help doesn’t always work, and many a mystic has been burned alive in angry retribution to a failed ointment, powder or salve.

The szygani, travelling families from the contested isles in the south-east of the Verdant Kingdoms who follow the old gods and seemed to have a closer connection to the magics of the past, are mostly feared. With their strange ways, their unusual customs, their different tongue and appearance, they are known to curse anyone who crosses them. More often than not their curses come true, and so the fear for them grows, but also their reputation. Only the fearless and desperate approach them for their help.

So now, arcanists, already rare, have a far harder time achieving the same results as their predecessors. It means that accomplished arcanists are even more rare, since most do not have the ability, ambition, dedication or lifespan to reach those legendary heights.

But slowly the tide of magic is starting to turn, and Gaea is slowly changing. Soon, magic will be more common place, and with the coming of magic, so will come the creatures and demons. People who had started to believe that the legends were just stories to frighten each other with while sitting around the hearth fire will have to quickly come to terms with a world that’s rapidly becoming more dangerous.

The Divine

The ebb and flow of magic also effects the people of faith (e.g. clerics, paladins, druids, rangers). The intuitive connection they share with their patron is weakened as significantly as an arcanist’s connection to magic. As a result, when the tide of magic is high, and people of faith are at the height of their abilities, churches and temples are full with believers. The reverse is true at low tide. People shy away from churches and choose to congregate at home, with family. Belief doesn’t wane with the waning of magic, just trust in the institutions and its representatives.

The Moons

Three moons appear in the night’s sky, a bright silver one, a blood red one, and a barely visible blue moon. There are many stories and superstitions about the moons, most of them wildly inaccurate. One thing that few people are aware of that is actually true is that the phases of the moons affect the efficacy of magic.

Silvermoon (Lačhi)
The largest and clearest of the three moons is called the Silvermoon. It appears as a great, silver orb in the night’s sky which sheds a brilliant, crystal clear light when it is prominent in the heavens. The szygani refer to it as Lačhi, one of the old gods. It is the patron of all good-aligned spellcasters. The silvermoon’s cycle is the longest of the three moons, lasting for 36 days from full moon to full moon. Its high and low sanctions last for five days, while its waxing and waning phases last for 13 days.

Bloodmoon (Maškar)
The second largest moon is the Bloodmoon and it appears in the night’s sky as a startlingly deep red orb. The szygani call this moon Maškar and it is the matron of neutrally-aligned spellcasters. The bloodmoon cycle takes 28 days to complete, with a high and low sanction that last three days each, while its waxing and waning phases take 11 days to complete.

Darkmoon (Nasul)
The smallest and faintest of the three moons is the Darkmoon. It gets its name from it’s midnight blue colour, which makes it hard to distinguish from the night’s sky. The szygani call this moon Nasul and they believe that it’s the matron of all evil-aligned spellcasters. The darkmoon is on the fastest cycle, lasting only eight days. It only remains in high and low sanction for a day, and it’s waxing and waning phases last for three days each.

Moon Phases, Alignment and the Night of Three Eyes
There are four phases each moon occurs in, as illustrated above; waxing, waning, high sanction and low sanction. Depending on the length of a moon’s cycle, the length of each phase varies. Each phase has several effects on a caster’s spell or prayer as described below.

Moon Phase Effects Table
Moon Phase Saving Throw Additional Spell Slot** Effective Caster Level
Low Sanction -1 0 -1
Waning Normal 0 Even
Waxing Normal +1 Even
High Sanction +1 +2 +1*
*Only available to spellcasters of 6th level or higher, with a primary ability score of 15 or higher.
*An extra spell slot for every level you can cast, up to a maximum of your primary ability score modifier. If your modifier is +2, then only level 1 and 2, e.g.

When two moons are in alignment, meaning that two moons are both full, they strengthen each other’s effect. When all three moons are in alignment, they call it the Night of Three Eyes, and the three moons boost each other’s effect on magic even further.

Moon Alignment Effects Table
Moon Alignment Saving Throw Additional Spells Effective Caster Level
Silvermoon and Bloodmoon +1 +1 +1
Bloodmoon with Darkmoon +1 +1 +1
Silvermoon with Darkmoon +1 0 Normal
All three moons +2 +2 +1

Note that the moon bonuses from phase and alignment are cumulative.

The Solstice and Equinox

Similar to the phases and alignment of the moons, the winter and summer solstice as well as the spring and autumn equinox has a profound effect on the power of both arcane and divine magic. Both the equinoxes affect neutrally-aligned spellcasters, while the summer solstice affects good-aligned spellcasters and the winter solstice affects evil-aligned spellcasters.

Solstice and Equinox Effects Table
Saving Throw Additional Spells Effective Caster Level
Spring Equinox (20th day of Spring Dawn, 10th day, 2nd ride) +1 +1 Normal
Summer Solstice (21st day of Summer Light, 1st day, 3rd ride) +1 +1 +1
Autumn Equinox (20th day of Autumn Harvest, 10th day, 2nd ride) +1 +1 Normal
Winter Solstice (21st day of Winter Eve, 1st day, 3rd ride) +1 +1 +1

Note that the solstice and equinox bonuses are cumulative with the moon phase and alignment bonuses.

Verdant Kingdoms – Shared Culture (Under Construction)

Language

There is a common trade language which is spoken across almost all of the Verdant Kingdoms. It’s a formal version of Lyrian, highly adapted and streamlined in order to be learned and picked up quickly, while still providing enough flexibility and nuance in order to make due in most situations. One can go anywhere in the Verdant Kingdoms and have a reasonable expectation to be understood while speaking common Lyrian.

Only small pockets of wildermen on the independent and contested south-eastern islands off the coast of Mazuria have refused to adopt the language. Also there are some hard-line Daerlanian expansionists who have refused to speak it, preferring to push for High Daerlan to become the dominant language across the kingdoms, and certainly across the empire.

Calendar

The same calendar is used across the Verdant Kingdoms. There are twelve months, each of thirty days, divided up equally in three rides of ten days. After every two or three months, a special day of celebration would occur that would stand outside any rides or months.

Month
1 Winter Night
Midwinter (celebrate friendships, renew vows and alliances)
2 Winter Deep
3 Spring Dawn (10th day, 2nd ride, spring equinox)
4 Spring Storm
Greengrass (celebrate the coming of spring, gifting of flowers)
5 Spring Blossom
6 Summer Light (1st day, 3rd ride, summer solstice)
7 Summer Flame
Midsummer (celebrate love and music)
8 Summer End
9 Autumn Harvest (10th day, 2nd ride, autumn equinox)
Highharvestide (celebrate the harvest, abundance of food, last time to travel before winter)
10 Autumn Red
11 Autumn Twilight
Moonfest (celebrate the start of winter, honor ancestors, remembering the dead)
12 Winter Eve (1st day, 3rd ride, winter solstice)

The year is 1262. It has been a little over fifty generations ago that all the twelve Verdant Kingdoms agreed upon and adopted year zero as the start of the verdant calendar. It was during a time of relative peace and stoic reconstruction after the last conjunction when the long waning set in.

The Verdant Kingdoms – Lyria – Geography

The Kingdom of Lyria, click for a higher resolution image.

Lyria surrounds the Lyrian Gulf like a horseshoe. The gulf is 50 leagues (250 km) from the northern most shore until the deep waters of the outer gulf. It’s 26 leagues (130km) at it’s broadest on the inner gulf, just north of Kenton to just south of Eastray, and 13 (65km) leagues at the mouth of the inner gulf, from the Lyrian Tooth to the eastern shore south of Fulcaster.

The kingdom is 112 leagues (560km) from its eastern most point, on the three kingdom border with Silesia and Mazuria, to it’s western most point on the border with Beauclair. Remarkably, it’s 112 leagues from its northern most border straight south until it reaches the latitude of its southern coastline. The total land mass is 7007 square leagues, making it the third largest kingdom on the continent behind Beauclair and the Daerlan Empire.

Northern Lyria

The economic heart of the kingdom, Northern Lyria has some of the most fertile and sought after lands. Kingsport is the largest port, the largest city and the seat of the royal court. This means that every ambitious noble house worth its salt has a presence in Northern Lyria, with an exception of a few ancient mainstays who are such a part of Lyria that they no longer have to worry about jockeying for position at court. It is the richest part of Lyria.

Ard Thoradun

The northern mountain range of Ard Thoradun is named after the hidden fortress city of Caer Thoradun, home of clan Thoradun. The Thoradun mountain dwarves are the only people capable of withstanding the harsh environment of Lyria’s tallest peaks and harshest weather, and the only people brave enough to battle the wyverns, frost giants and other supernatural creatures that inhabit the Thoradun mountain range.

Regular caravans of traders descend down the mountain to resupply the mercenaries on the Plains of Strife and bringing their goods to White Fork for sale and transport downriver. The Thoradun metalworks are praised throughout the Verdant Kingdoms and their masonry is sought after by all of the noble families.

Elder Foothills

The hills in the north-west of Lyria, east of Beauclair and south of the Daerlan Empire is named so for the many abandoned elven ruins that can be found there. Several settlements can be found filled with mostly hill dwarf prospectors, elven sorcerors and opportunistic humans. The hill dwarves are excavating the ruins, the elves are searching for their history and lost artifacts, and the humans are mostly Lyrian scholars and Beauclairois dilettantes.

Northshire

The most populated region of all of Lyria is nestled along the northern coast. Here, countless noble houses compete and clash over valuable coastlines and fertile farmlands. Kingsport is the seat of power and the largest port on the Lyrian Gulf, and ambitious noble houses want to get a piece of the influence and wealth that is available there. As a result, there are twice as many noble houses in Northshire than there are in the rest of Lyria combined, the largest of which command unbelievable wealth and power.

The Silesian Road leads east away from Kingsport, all the way to Silesia, and the Beauclair Boulevard leads west towards Beauclair. The quality of these two roads varies from place to place, but in Northshire, they are both neatly cobbled and well-maintained, with sign-posts at every intersection indicating how many leagues to the next important town or city.

Plains of Strife

Officially the Daerlan Empire isn’t infringing on Lyrian sovereignty, but regular incursions are rebuffed on the Plains of Strife. The area is flanked to the east by the Ard Thoradun and the Elder Foothills to the west, forming a natural valley heading south to the Riverlands. From the border it is a straight corridor of easy terrain to one of the three parts of the river Trident. Once the river would be reached a hostile force only has to overcome the garrisons at White Fork, a small town on the Trident in order to sail all the way down to the river Lyn and to Kingsport.

As a result of this constant and imminent threat of invasion the Plains of Strife are sparsely populated, despite the pleasant hills, grasslands and plenty arable land. Several mercenary companies have a heavy presence in the area, as well as several semi-permanent hosts of fighting men on retainer to some of the more patriotic lords of the Riverlands and Northshire.

It’s an isolated part of Lyria where lots of men have lost their lives. Packs of scavengers, carrion crawlers and necrophages can be found prowling old battle fields. They are a plague to the camps and rare villages on the Plains of Strife.

Riverlands

The Riverlands are bordered by the Trident, the river Lyn to the west and the river Teign to the east, Northshire to the south and the Silverpine hills to the north. It is dotted with small hunting and farming communities, isolated from one another by woodlands and rivers running from the Silverpines to the gulf.

The people are honest, hard working and enjoy simple pleasures. They are more prone to follow the old gods than the rest of Northern Lyria, likely due to their connection to the woods. The ability to straddle the line between woodlands and farmlands draws many half-elves to settle in the Riverlands, where they are often appreciated as excellent woodsmen.

Silverpine Hills

The Silverpine hills, or the Silverpines as they are affectionately called by the locals, are the foothills to the south of Ard Thoradun, just west of the Silesian border. Densely wooded, the region gets its name for the steady amounts of snow that comes down from the mountains and dusts pine trees.

The people that live in the Silverpines are industrious and joyous. A surprisingly high number of promising students and professors at the Bournemouth Academy are from the Silverpines and they take enormous pride in perfecting whatever trade they decide to take up.

Not unsurprisingly, the noble houses hailing from the Silverpines are some of the liberal in terms of the freedoms they allow their people. The upward mobility of serfs and peasants in this area is by far the highest in Lyria, provided they can excel at something, which isn’t always easy to prove, but most lords and ladies offer the opportunity to those who are willing to grab it.

The fortress of Gryphon’s Roost, home to the renowned Order of the Gryphon makes its home in the northern part of the Silverpines.

Tiverton Glades

North of the Polivar river and west of the river Lyn, rolling all the way to the Elder Foothills, are the Tiverton Glades. A beautifully wooded area, rich with game, streams and ponds. The soil is fertile so many small farming communities make their home in Tiverton. Tivertonians consider themselves blessed to live in such an idyllic part of the kingdom, while the rest of the kingdom looks upon them as soft and lazy people who never had to work for anything.

Many of the Northshire nobility have small keeps in the Tiverton Glades, using it as a retreat from the precarious life at court. They hunt, spend their days picnicking around the ponds and organise masquerades at night. The Tiverton Glades are very well protected. While the protection level is as high as in Northshire, the area is significantly larger and hiding out in its woods is much easier. This has meant that on occasion, outlaws, brigands and bandits have used its woods to hide out in, capturing the small keeps only protected by a skeleton retinue of guards. This was always met with a very swift and united response from the nobility, who learnt how to work together in the Tiverton Glades despite being at each other’s throats in Northshire. Outlaw activity has since significantly died down.

Eastern Lyria

The eastern part of Lyria likely has the most diversity of terrain; from the marshlands of Eastmarsh, to moors of Dunashire, to the golden farmlands of Fairfields, to the Mazurian hills, to the dark, impenetrable forests of Worthwilde, to the desolation of Farcorner.

Dunashire

The coastal area of Dunashire is very exposed to high winds and therefore has wilder nature with sheer cliffs made of granite which rise up to 300 meters at the highest point. Behind the cliffs, the exposed upland is rugged and infertile with grass- and moorlands. The cliffs are sheer but occasionally open up for small fine sand beaches, small rivers and estuaries, offering safe anchorage.

Due to the rugged nature of region, it’s sparsely populated. Those who live there either live off sheep herding, a tradition they share with their northern Fulham cousins, or off the sea. Dunashire sailors are renowned as great sailors, having been brought up knowing how to navigate the treachery of The Jagged Coast.

The Dunan river that gives the region its name has taken countless generations to etch itself into the granite bedrock and carve a path to the coast just south of Dunagore.

The city of Dunagore sits at the top of a small, 110 meter cliff. At the bottom, near the mouth of the river Dunan, there is a stretch of beach. Large steps have been carved into the rock going all the way from the beach to the top of the cliff. There are exactly 333 steps, each 33 centimeter tall and 3 meters deep and 3 meters wide, going back and forth in a zig-zag exactly three times, for a total distance of 999 meters.

At high tide, the beach is drowned out by the sea. At low tide, it allows access to Dunagore Mount, a tidal island off the coast of Dunagore. An artificial causeway of carved, granite blocks, 3 meters wide and 3 meters deep, 333 in total is accessible at low tide. The island stands at a little under 33 acres.

Dunagore Fortress, which sits atop Dunagore Mount, is a heavily fortified fortress. While its style has a lot in common with the fortress at Fulcaster, it seems it was made for people standing much larger in height. Doorsways are larger, hallways are taller, etc.

Who built Dunagore Fortress the causeway that connects to the mainland, or the steps in the side of the cliff, is a mystery to scholars. There are many theories, but none of them seem to have enough evidence to support them. It is considered a wonderous and mystical place. Many people make pilgrimages to Dunagore to walk the causeway and visit the mount, believing that it was once the home of Paladine himself.

Currently, the Order of the Shield makes its home at Dunagore Fortress.

Eastmarsh

Due to the natural currents in the Lyrian Gulf, the waters off the eastern shore is noticeably colder than its western twin. The resulting precipitation makes the area of Eastmarsh a very dreary place. The swell of the rain water makes the Ivel river a fast moving river until it gets to the coast where a reef in the gulf blocks the river from shedding its water. Due to the sudden slowdown of the river, all of the sediment gets deposited before it reaches the gulf, over time further blocking its watershed. The resulting delta around Eastray has caused much of the hinterlands to turn into a large marshland. The soil is very fertile, but hard to work. The soggy foundation also means that there is a lack of woodlands in the area, which means that settlements and engineering projects are hard to erect. Instead, freshwater fisheries, sugarcane farming and cultivating rare, herbaceous plants.

People from Eastmarsh are referred to as “marsh dwellers” or the less friendly “mud men” or “frog eaters.” They got the latter nickname due to their propensity for supplementing their diet with fish, frogs, grubs and lizards. This as a result of their inability to keep cattle due to the soggy ground. They shun armour and heavy weapons, preferring spears and tridents, and they are rumoured to poison their weapons and arrows. The marsh dwellers are clannish, dour and xenophobic and are considered “odd” by other Lyrians. They talk in thick accent and tend to be more superstitious than the rest of the Lyrians.

Eastray is a small city on a hillock in the mouth of the delta and one of the few larger settlements. Most of the houses inside the city are made of the traditional logs and thatch because the ground simply can’t carry the weight of any stone constructions. The rest of the settlements throughout Eastmarsh are much the same. Some families live on large, log pontoons.

Fairfields

South of the river Bourne lies a very fertile piece of arable land by the name of Fairfields. Many thriving farming communities have been established here, which supply most of the Lyrian demand for wheat, barley and oats. The orchards are renowned for their ciders and fruits, and the breweries make high grade spirits, ales, meads and beers. There are a few vineyards that make decent wines, but they pale in comparison to the Beauclairois wines.

Wind- and watermills dot the landscape and carts haul harvests up to Bournemouth, Egremont and Bournebridge for distribution throughout the kingdoms.

Various noble and merchant houses have a stranglehold on almost all available land here, but ownership of farmsteads and farmholds are constantly changing as they get traded, bartered and swindled between houses. Experienced Fairfields farmers and farmhands are sought after throughout the kingdom for their skills and abilities.

Farcorner

The three kingdom border of Silesia, Mazuria and Lyria is the furthest point away from the seat of power in Kingsport, at roughly 68 leagues. Sherbourne is the closest town to Farcorner, but there are only a few small villages in the region. The area is lightly wooded and due to its desolation the home to several tribes of savage races, like orcs, goblins, ogres and gnolls.

Fulham

Fulham is an unremarkable region of Lyria. It’s not moderately populated and has a lot of cattle ranchers that keep mostly sheep. There is lively wool production and as a result the weaving is of the highest quality. Many of the nobility commission the weavers guild in Fulcaster for tapestries for their halls. Linen production is also common, and as a result, so is paper production.

Most of the people in Fulham live close to the river Wye. Fulcaster is the largest city, which is set on the foundation of an ancient fortress the origins of which are lost in history. Legends have it that a large battle was fought just south of Fulcaster, the remnants of which sometimes can still be found when a new field is plowed. Old weapons and armour are found, as well as bones from men, elves and dwarves alike, as well as some large, horrible looking beasts that can no longer be identified.

People from Fulham are considered hard working, hard-nosed and no nonsense. They work hard, drink hard and fight hard. Travelling shows often have strong men from Fulham, who challenge anyone to wrestle or fight for the chance of winning a silver stag.

Mazurian Hills

The Mazurian Hills are located directly south of the Worthwilde. Straddling the border with Mazuria, the hills are lightly wooded and quite desolate. Few people have settled in the hills except a clan of hill dwarves by the name of Clann Dearg Carraigh, or Children of the Crimson Rock.

The Jagged Coast

The south-eastern coast of the Lyrian Gulf is rugged and treacherous and only navigable by the most experienced captains. Rough granite rocks stick out from the water like teeth, but the real danger lies below the surface where the rocks hide from inexperienced sailors.

Worthwilde

The Worthwilde, or the Wilde, is a region of Eastern Lyria that is fully covered in very dense woods. It is flanked to the south by the Mazurian Hills and to the east by the plains of Silesia. The western part slowly changes from woods to the bogs and marshlands of the Eastmarsh and there is a fairly clear and hard border with the river Bourne to the north.

It is called the Worthwilde because of the potential timber that could be harvested from the area if it wasn’t for the Aen Canell, or the People of the Oak, as the wood elves like to call themselves. They are fiercely protective of the forest and have declared war on anyone who dared to threaten it. The royal Valois family has brokered a peace treaty with the Aen Canell long ago that they are not willing to break, but devious lords and thieving commoners have occasionally dared to enter the forest. Few have ever made it back and those who did came back with their mind shattered, incapable of coherently recalling what happened to them in the dark depths of the Worthwilde. Some courtiers have suggested that such a passively hostile force inside the kingdom is dangerous, but the royal family has always insisted that the faith between the kingdom and the Aen Canell was not to be broken.

The Aen Canell have a city somewhere in the forest which they call the Duén Gwyndeith, or Palace of the White Flame, named after the ruler of the Aen Canell, Gwyndeith, who is also known as Hlaith N’Deireadh, or Lady Without Ending. Legend has it that she is immortal and vividly remembers the time before the Great Waning, when legends still walked the Verdant Kingdoms.

Western Lyria

Probably the least populated part of Lyria, the west has some of the oldest and proudest houses in the kingdom. The people of the west are fiercely patriotic and chivalrous, and believe in Gods, Queen and Country.

Ashenvale

South of the Polivar river, Ashenvale is a large valley filled with ash trees, giving the valley its name. The only river in the area is the river Baugh, which flows into the gulf at Wulferton, the seat of House Grey, an old and important house in the Lyrian peerage who have been dominant in Ashenvale for centuries. Even Blue Harbour, a larger port city on a larger river doesn’t have the same pull as House Grey of Wulferton. There are two small keeps along the Beauclair Boulevard, Ashbury and Woodbury, strategically protecting the vale from both sides. These keeps have become less important now that relations with Beauclair are warm and cordial, but the people of Ashenvale have not forgotten their sacred charge of protecting the western border in case these relationships shift suddenly.

In autumn, with the fading sets in, the ash trees of the vale turn bright colours of orange and red. Many Lyrian artists have marveled at the remarkable and dramatic shift from green to red in only a few short weeks and have tried to capture it in song and paintings, but it is said that all Lyrians should witness autumn in Ashenvale at least once in their lives.

Darkshore

The western shore of the gulf, as well as the western part of the shores off the southern sea are much warmer in temperature and milder in temperament than the eastern part. The coast at Dunashire is very rugged, but the shores off Southernhay are mostly fine sand beaches, with a few treacherous reefs here and there, but much more navigable than its cousin. The reason for its ominous name is due to the amount of pirate activity along that coast. There are many coves and places for anchorage that allow for ambushes.

Long ago the Lyrian fleet fought a severe naval battle against the Càrceres armada, which left the shore littered with shipwrecks. There are regular claims of ghostly ships and strange lights seen off the coast, but nothing which has been substantiated. Occasionally, divers go hunting for the treasures of the many ships under the waves.

Southernhay

The region of Southernhay is a popular retreat for elderly lords and ladies due to the warm climate. The gently rolling hills are also a prime location for vineyards, and several Beauclairois families have invested heavily in the development of the area. It’s not unusual to find small villages and vineyards run by people not speaking the common Lyrian tongue. This has caused some concerns with the Lyrians in the area, resulting in some skirmishes, fights and ongoing feuds.

The Darkshore is a known resting place for many Lyrian and Càrceres ships who fought each other in a naval battle several generations ago. Those and the havoc the pirate wreak along the coast are a regular cause of debris washing up on the beaches or getting caught in gyres off the coast of Flotsam. It’s such a regular occurrence that debris washes ashore that it gave the city of Flotsam its name.

The Lyrian Tooth

Technically part of Westershire, the Lyrian Tooth is a strategic area along the western coast of the Lyrian Gulf. It hides Westchester, the largest city in Westershire, from anyone sailing up the gulf. As a result, the Lyrian fleet is at anchor in the Westershire bay and keeps tight control to the inner gulf and Kingsport beyond. Between the fortification of Dunagore Fortress, and the fortifications on the Tooth, the Lyrians feel that the inland waters of Lyria are well defended.

As a result of the presence of the fleet and the soldiers on the Tooth, the coastal area of Westershire, especially around Westchester, is high in soldiers and mercenaries looking for work. This is also the place for merchant vessels to take on protection before they sail into less safe waters. Most of the mercenaries that are found on the Tooth are older and more experienced than the glory seekers that roam the Plains of Strife in the north, but the gold that a soldier can earn on the Tooth is also significantly less than on the Plains.

Westershire

The largest region in the west, Westershire is known for producing the best tournament knights, supplying the most troops to the Plains of Strife, and fiercely supporting the Order of the Lance at Ironrath Keep, deep in the heart of Westershire. What is unique about Westershire are the Ironwood forests that occupy large parts of the region. Ironwood is incredibly hard wood which is highly valued for spears, shields and lances. It is also sought after the by the shipwrights guild for use as masts. Not only is ironwood incredibly hard, it is also incredibly difficult to work. It requires patience, skill and exceptional tools. Westermen have been doing it for generations and are renowned throughout the Verdant Kingdoms for their ability.

Due to the valuable resource, a few very rich and ancient houses have been trying to outmaneuver each other to gain control over the biggest forests. Even though logging is a large part of the business in Westershire, everyone there knows that if they cannabalise the groves, the next generation won’t be as fortunate as they are, so they are very careful not to harvest too many trees each season. This has also driven the price for ironwood up, and some merchants and nobles have complained about the stranglehold the Westermen have over the trade.

The Verdant Kingdoms – Pantheons

The cultures of the Verdant Kingdoms are varied, and so are the gods the people worship. Below is a description of each of the occurring patheons, their gods, portfolio’s, alignments, symbols and their suggested cleric domains. Where necessary there might be some notes on the way the gods are worshiped, or where.


The Verdant Pantheon

Beauclair, Lyria and parts of Silesia share the largest pantheon of gods. Below is a small selection of the most important ones. There are many more.

Verdant Pantheon (Beauclair, Lyria and Silesia)
Deity Portfolio Alignment Suggested Domains Symbol
Paladine guardians, order LG War Silver triangle
Pholtus sun, light, healing LG Light, Life Sun
Chauntea agriculture NG Nature Cornucopia
Tymora fortune CG Trickery Coin
Mystra magic CG Arcana, Knowledge Star
Raven Queen death, fate LN Death Black Feather
Ioun knowledge, craft, skill N Knowledge Eye
Silvanus nature N Nature Oak Leaf
Tharizdun chaos, change CN Trickery Flame
Takhisis ambition, hatred LE Death Black Crescent
Bane tyranny, terror LE War Clenched Fist
Baal murder, destruction NE Death, Tempest Skull
Belial lies, greed CE Trickery Forked tongue
Beshaba misfortune CE Trickery Antlers
Paladine and Takhisis are siblings. They are both also known as Bahamut and Tiamat, or the platinum and chromatic dragon. In that form they are also worshiped by dragons and the dragonborn.

The Northern Pantheon

The northern countries of Miðgarður, Hellmark and Fintra worship a set of deities who are closely aligned with nature, oftentimes brash, tempestuous and impulsive.

Northern Pantheon (Miðgarður, Hellmark, Fintra)
Deity Portfolio Alignment Suggested Domains Symbol
Heimdall watchfulness, loyalty LG Light, War Curling musical horn
Odin knowledge, war NG Knowledge, War Watching blue eye
Balder beauty, poetry NG Life, Light Gem-encrusted silver chalice
Freya birth, fertility, love, motherhood NG Life Falcon
Odur light, sun CG Light Solar disk
Thor storms, thunder CG Tempest Warhammer
Tyr courage, justice, strategy LN Knowledge, War Sword
Forseti law N Light Head of a bearded man
Hermod luck CN Trickery Winged scroll
Uller hunting, winter CN Nature Longbow
Skadi earth, mountains N Nature Mountain peak
Surtur fire giants, war LE War Flaming sword
Aegir sea, storms NE Tempest Rough ocean waves
Hel underworld NE Death Woman’s face, rotting on one side
Loki thieves, trickery CE Trickery Flame
Thrym frost giants, cold CE War White double-bladed axe

The Tuatha Dé Danann

In Kaedwyn the gods are considered legendary people who long ago ascended to immortality and godhood. They are called the Tuatha Dé Danann, or Tribe of Gods, who long ago roamed the lands.

Tuatha Dé Danann
Deity Portfolio Alignment Suggested Domains Symbol
Dian Cecht medicine, healing LG Life Crossed oak and mistletoe branches
Belenus sun, light, warmth NG Light Standing stones
Oghma speech, writing, knowledge NG Knowledge Scroll
An Dagda fertility, weather, harvest, strength, magic, druids, wisdom CG Nature, Knowledge Bubbling cauldron
Lugh arts, travel, commerce, oaths, truth, law LN Knowledge, Life Pair of long hands
Nuada war, warriors N War Silver hand on black background
The Three Morrígna
Macha conquest, rulership, domination LE War Two crossed spears
Badhbh battle, death, fate, doom NE Death Crow
Nemain havoc, frenzy, slaughter CE Tempest Fang

Monotheism of the Daerlan Empire and Mizuria

The Daerlan Empire and Mazuria most people are monotheistic and follow Deus. Silesia is generally also considered monotheistic, but it is much more diverse and accepting of other beliefs.

Monotheism (The Daerlan Empire, Mazuria, Silesia)
Deity Portfolio Alignment Suggested Domains Symbol
Deus Good G Life, Light, Nature, Knowledge, Forge Two hands in the sign of the aquila
Asmodeus Evil E Death, Trickery, Tempest, War Bloody pentagram
There are aspects of good and evil that some people pay homage to, but those are represented by angels demons in service of Deus and Asmodeus.

The Aspects

Southern-West Lyria, is the home to a belief system which originates from beyond the southern sea and somehow suits the people that live it its distinct arid climate. Established generations ago by a group of travelers whose passage can only be felt by the gods they left behind. The aspects are like gods in the way that someone can have a personal relationship with them, but they rarely have anthropomorphised character traits and personalities like most gods from other pantheons seem to have. They represent more forces, elements or ideals that can be

The Aspects (Cypria, Arroyo and Càrceres)
Deity Portfolio Alignment Suggested Domains Symbol
Aspect of Light sun LG Light Dove-headed female
Aspect of Love love, music, motherhood NG Life Swan-headed female
Aspect of Nature nature CG Nature Stag-headed male
Aspect of Craft crafts LN Knowledge Fox-headed male
Aspect of Knowledge knowledge N Knowledge Owl-headed female
Aspect of Luck luck CN Trickery Cat-headed female
Aspect of War war LE War, Death Lion-headed male
Aspect of Deceit deceit NE Trickery Cobra-headed female
Aspect of Tempest storms CE Tempest Eagle-headed male

The Old Gods

The old gods are hard to describe. To those who worship them, mostly wildermen in the south-east of the Verdant Kingdoms, and the szygani that roam the lands and swear no fealty to anyone but their family, they are more like forces than actual personalities. They have no real names, but people who worship them still have a close, personal relationship with them. They are called the Čhonči, or the moons.

The Old Gods, Čhonči (Neutral, Szygani)
Deity Portfolio Alignment Suggested Domains Symbol
Lačhi (Lačhin, Lačhi Čhon) good NG Life, Light A white disk
Maškar (Mačhan, Maškar Čhon) neutrality N Arcana, Knowledge, Nature A red disk
Nasul (Nasčhon, Nasul Čhon) evil NE Ambition, Death, Trickery, War A black disk with a purple rim
There are aspects of good, evil and neutrality that some people pay homage to, but those are represented by spirits and demons in service to that alignment.

The Elder Pantheons

The elder races have pantheons of their own. Below are some of the elven and dwarven gods. Their pantheons are small, but have many demi-gods who are usually legendary figures who became champions to one of the gods and were awarded for their deeds with ascension.

The Seldarine

Elven Pantheon
Deity Portfolio Alignment Suggested Domains Symbol
Seldarine
Corellon Larethian art, magic CG Arcana, Light Starburst
Aerdrie Faenya air, sky CG Tempest, Trickery Bird silhouette
Hanali Celanil love, beauty, art CG Life Golden heart
Sehanine Moonbow dreams, death, travel CG Death, Knowledge, Light Crescent moon
Labelas Enoreth time, history, philosophy CG Arcana, Knowledge Setting sun
Rillifane Rallathil nature, beasts, seasons CG Nature Oak tree
Solonor Thelandira archery, hunting, survival CG Nature, War Silver arrow with green fletching
Naralis Analor healing LN Life Shield with white dove
Erevan Ilesere mischief, change CN Trickery Asymmetrical starburst
Dark Seldarine
Lolth drow, spiders, assassins, darkness CE Trickery Spider
Vhaeraun arrogance, thieves CE Trickery, War Black mask
Kiaransalee undead CE Arcana, Death Drow hand with silver rings
Knowledge of the drow and the Dark Seldarine pantheon is very limited even among the elves.

The Morndinsamman

Dwarven Pantheon
Deity Portfolio Alignment Suggested Domains Symbol
Moradin creation LG Knowledge Hammer and anvil
Berronar Truesilver hearth, home LG Life Two interlocking silver rings
Clanggedin Silverbeard war LG War Crossed axes
Gorm Gulthyn vigilance LG War Bronze mask
Marthammor Duin wanderers NG Nature, Trickery Mace and boot
Dugmaren Brightmantle invention, discovery CG Knowledge Open book
Haela Brightaxe luck, battle CG War Flaming sword
Dumathoin undermountain, secrets, death N Death, Knowledge Mountain silhouette with a central gemstone
Vergadain luck, wealth, commerce N Trickery Gold coin
Hanseath festivity, brewing, song CN Trickery, War Beer stein
Laduguer duergar, magic, craft LE Arcana, Death Broken arrow
Abbathor greed NE Trickery Jeweled dagger
Duerra conquest CE Arcana, War Cracked skull