Vincent Gray: VINCE@sscl.uwo.ca
FEALBRAND RAIDS AHLISSA
Great Kingdom, South Province of Ahlissa, Zelradton
Raiders under the command of one Fealbrand have raided several border posts and attacked troop garrisons in the border regions. He has disrupted the Duke's plans of staging a late fall attack on Idee.
NEW MERCENARY BAND FORMED
Iron League, County of Idee, Naerie
A new Mercenary Band named "The Spines" and headed by a warrior named Adolph and consisting of several highly skilled soldiers and a collection of other men-at-arms. They are looking for work and say that their fees are very reasonable and that they are familiar with the Spine Ridge between Idee and the Scarlet Brotherhood. To retain them please leave a message with the Bartender at the Laughing Halfling (email@example.com or acc_dtw@valpo).
BANDITS IN HOLLOW HIGHLANDS
Iron League, County of Idee, Naerie
Merchants have been reporting a large number of raids on their caravans as they travelled between Sunndi to the East and Idee. In fact no less than 7 caravans have gone missing on the normally quiet and safe route. Currently the only safe route passes through the Elvish Earldom in the Rieuwood, and the Earl charges higher tariffs than the independent villages of the Hollow Highlands.
GNOLLS ATTACK VILLAGES
Iron League, County of Idee, Naerie
Refugees have been arriving in the outlying villages around Naerie reporting that Gnolls have been destroying whole villages near the Menowood. It is suspected by Count Fedorik Eddri that the Caravan raiders and the Gnolls may be one and the same. Sources close to the Count hint that due to the fact that the majority of the mercenaries and troops in Naerie have been moved to the front with Ahlissa to the north, the new mercenaries, The Spines, may be hired for the task of killing the Gnolls and Bandits.
Martin Crossman: firstname.lastname@example.org
ROYAL MAGE NEEDS NEW APPRENTICE
Upon the new year a new apprentice will be chosen to study under Mortellius. Applicants should submitt an essay to the court scribe. The essay should include study interests, prior research, references, and reasons why this highly honored position should be fill by the applicant. Essays will be taken for the next six months. Upon the new year in eights months a new apprentice will be chosen at the winter festival.
BATTLE BETWEEN IMPERIAL LEAGUE IS OVER
Taladas, The battle between The Imperial League is over
The Imperial League lost every living being to the battle. It is rumored that the Army of Thenol had the fabled sword Hellfire, because every soldier of the League had burst into flame and died. The Imperial League is offering 500,000 st for any infomation that leads to the capturing of the sword Hellfire. The Imperial League is offering 1,000,000 st to the person/persons who brings the sword to Lord Batian of Kristophan.
Notes on the battle.... The battle lasted for 5 days. The Army of the Imperial League numbered at 2423 and the Army of Thenol numbered 3446. The first day looked as if the Imperial League would slaughter the Army of Thenol. The second and third day very little fighting occured because both Armies pulled back to a defensive position. The fourth day the Army of Thenol sent a assassin squad to kill the commander of the Imperial League, but the squad failed. On the Fifth day, the Imperial League attacked, While they were approaching a lone man stood ahead of the Army of Thenol holding a two-handed sword. As the Imperial League approached the man swung his sword and a fireball erupted from the blade, a fireball as great as if a thousand mages had cast it at once. The Imperial League died in flames. Thus the Kingdom of Thenol claims the battle won.
From the Sage Jansus.
Kelly McCauley: MCCAUKA@WKUVX1.BITNET
Solamnia (High Clerists Tower), SOLAMNIANS SENT TO SANCTION
Two months after the defeat of Kitiara and her blue dragon armies at Palanthas, strange rumors that Kitiara had returned to Sanction were heard. Reports from Tanthalas Half-elven and Dalamar the Mage give all indication that she had died in the battle. A group of adventurers were asked by Gunthar Uth-Wistan to investigate these rumors. They accepted and, they were sent with an escort of three Solamnics knights. The party included:
Ferrel Ironbeard : Fighter (Mountain Dwarf)
Hauk : Ranger (Human)
Kelida : Fighter (Human)
Werdna : White Robed Mage (Elf)
Tasslehoff Burrfoot: 'Handler' (Kender)
Lavim Springtoe : 'Handler' (Kender) Tasslehoff's cousin
Sir Heros of Coastlund: Abbot of Swords (Human)
Squire Caaman : Knight of the Crown, (Human)
Lord Crownguard : High Justice, (Human)
Most suprising of the group was Lord Crownguard, a High Justice, and father of Derek Crownguard. He went for reasons of his own that he wouldn't share though dark rumor has it that the ill-fated knight Derek Crownguard had been raised as a death knight.
The party arrived in Jansburg carried by three bronzes headed on a scouting mission over Throytl. In Jansburg, the party made inquiries at the local inn, The Black Feathered Harpy about Kitiara. No one had heard anything about this, but a man dressed in furs, a Que-Shu tracker presumably told them to meet him outside of the village after dark. Lord Crownguard agreed, much to the chagrin of Hauk and Ferrel whom both refused to go. Kelida, the other two knights, Werdna, and Tasslehoff agreed to go with Crownguard. Lavim was no where to be found.
That night while Hauk and Ferrel stayed at the inn while the rest of the group, still without Lavim, went to the agreed meeting place. Meanwhile, minutes after they left, Lavim arrived and told Hauk that their companions were being led into an ambush.
Lavim, Hauk, and Ferrel took some horses that Lavim had 'found' and rode out to the ambush fight. What they found amazed them. Baaz draconians, at least fiveteen of them, were attacking the party. Kelida had been knocked to the ground and was unconscious, Squire and Tasslehoff were surrounded. The others were holding there own. Lavim and his group charged into the battle.
The Baaz scattered before the charge and gave the heroes time to regroup. Werdna cast lightning bolt and killed two of them. The rest fled to the south-east.
The party dressed its wound and returned to the inn. In the morning, it was decided that Lavim and Squire must carry the news of the draconians back to the High Clerists Tower, while the rest would continue on.
Raistlin Majere: email@example.com
SOLDIERS DEFEATS 1000 ORCS
The Republic of Darokin, Fort Nell
The soldiers of Fort Nell reported turning back an assault of nearly a thousand orcs, all on foot. The orcs were wielding long swords, backed up by nearly two hundred crossbows, and they exhibited unusually good military tactics. Darokinian casualties were heavier than normal, but still light. The commandant has requested reinforcements.
EYE OF THE SERPENT AGENT DIES DURING INTERROGATION
Alfheim, Alfheim City
Elves report having captured a shadow elf who, under heavy magic questioning, reported being an Eye of the Serpent. The authorities are slightly worried, since they were able to determine that the shadow elf was connected with many more people, but the questioning killed the captive before names could be extracted.
SILVER FOUND AT CHATEAU DE MALINBOIS
Glantri, Viscompty de Malinbois
The Viscomptess de Malinbois today announced the discovery of a large silver depost under her own castle, the Chateau de Malinbois. The Fellowship of Were-Hunters, a group formed to hunt lycanthropes to extinction, were pleased to hear this and are already working to get silver weapons.
Glantri, Glantri City
Glantri, after minimal research into its records, asked the Darokinian emissary to go to Crownguard, the castle of the Klantyre family. The emissary, who was trying to find information on Conor and Angus MacGregor, was a little disappointed, but apparently he is following up on the lead.
VYALIA ELVES ATTAINS COUNTY OF VYALIAN
The Empire of Thyatis, Thyatis City
The Emperor announced the secession of part of the County of Vyalian to the Vyalia Elves, who formally claimed their ancestral lands a short time ago. The rumor mill has gone wild with speculation on what assurances the Emperor received.
BLACK EAGLE BARONY RAIDS DURING FESTIVITIES
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos, Luln
The arrival of a nobleman, Lord Valerius Luctivitae, prompted festivities. Unfortunately, the festivities were interrupted by a nocturnal raid from the Black Eagle Barony. Town's mistress Sascia, personally leading the town militia, repulsed the incursion, and Lord Valerius praised her for actions similar to those that earned her a barony. Baroness Sascia is now the ruler of the Barony of Luln, and she immediately adopted Luln as her patronym.
ELVES SPOTTED IN DYMRAK FOREST
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos, Dymrak Forest
The forest has been silent of late, and the frontiersmen in the area are concerned that there may be some problems if the goblins are preparing for some great move. However, elves have been sighted for the first time in decades, and they were lightly armed and armored, but fast, silent, and apparently deadly. They warned off any humans they encountered, telling them to get out of the "Vyalia Woods."
GENERAL AKHENTOPEN APOLOGISES TO THE CHURCH OF PFLARR
Hollow World, The Kingdom of Nithia, Tarthis
General Akhentopen was called to task for his heresy, failing to recognize that the people he called "those vile dog-men who dare profess worhip of Divine Pflarr" are in fact the chosen race of Pflarr, created by that Immortal in the distant past. The General issued a formal and very lengthy apology to the Church of Pflarr.
MILENIAN TROOPS DEFEATS NITHIAN SOLDIERS
Hollow World, The Milenian Empire, Eastern Border
Milenian troops were reported victorious in a confrontation with Nithian soldiers. Light casualties were reported.
ACOLYTES SACRIFICES FOR HERESY
Hollow World, The Azcan Empire
A number of acolytes and a few of the mid-level priests were sacrificed after proclaiming heresies against Atzanteotl. Apparently, they were also secretly following the teachings of a mysterious emperor of ages past, called Atruatzin, the Quetzalcoatl. Priests of Atzanteotl viciously denounce these beliefs, and they are quick to sacrifice any who profess them.
Mike Phillips: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRACTS SIGNED WITH DWARVEN MINING COMPANY
The city fathers of Cord are pleased to announce that they have signed a contract with a dwarven mining company from the Western Kingdoms to construct a complete set of sewers under the city. Though the costs will be high, the long term benifits to the city will be well worth it.
ELVEN MINSTREL VANISHES
The newly arrived elven minstrel who was fast becoming the most popular act in Cord has apparently vanished from the city. Several well to do locals are still looking for the missing minstrel.
TROUBLES ON THE EASTERN ROAD OF CORD
The roads east of the city appear to have grown more dangerous as fall approaches. Master Send, local grain merchant, reports the loss of a grain caravan this week. City guardsmen report that the caravan was apparently attacked by a large band of orcs, last seen headed in the direction of the evil Lake Tanga. Captain Migan Stonefist reports that patrols eastward will be trebled, and an attack force is being prepared to deal with these marauding orcs.
ADVENTURERS SAVES MERCHANT'S SON
When Master Send lost his caravan, he also lost his youngest son. Apparently the lad was on his way back from visiting relatives in Mist. Fortunately a group of adventurous citizens managed to negotiate his release from the foul orcs. This same group of citizens were also responsible for returning a recently stolen tax chest from a group of marauding bandits that performed a daring raid in the middle of Cord itself.
FATHER TIRLY STILL ILL
On a sadder note, Father Tirly of the Temple of Alara is still suffering from ill health. Apparently the main temple in Reap has still not agreed upon a replacement for the elderly and popular high priest. Let's hope the temple hierarchy makes up its mind soon, so Father Tirly can retire in peace.
Mark A. Thomas: email@example.com
Sandra S. Stanford: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rumor within a caravan
Don't look like you're enjoying the priestess' company too much. Lord Philip [the leader of a group of heavy cavalry helping to guard the troop] has taken quite a shine to her. Heed my advice, my Viristi friend, or he'll put you on double guard duty faster than you can say deus sol. Huh? What does him being a paladin have anything to do with anything? He's still a man and he's breathing!
Rumor in Yagwa
They say those people to the east are having trouble with a plague. Seems that their sailors brought it back with them. Like I always say. If God had meant for people to be traders and money-grubbers then he wouldn't let these things happen. Probably serves them right but we should send some people over to help them.
Rumor in Vir
Insane and wicked humans to the south are pillaging helpless and innocent communities as they marOAch towards the city. The millia [army] has been sent to deal with them and the humans will most surely pay dearly for their impudence. [Actually the humans are marching in the opposite direction, they are not complete fools.]
Legend in a Timnari Clan
Bearslayer [the long dead ancestor of one of the PC's] took shelter in one of those ruins and found what looked like a human skull except it was made of stone. He brought it back to the tribe for everyone to see [and left it when they moved on]. That next year he disappeared while on a hunt and was never heard from again.
Rumor amongst the Orcs
Stay away from the human women. They are all able to summon up the wrath of the gods and use it as they choose.
Common belief amongst the Orcs
Humans take great pleasure in cutting off the heads of orcish babies to make what to them is a great delicacy. They strip the flesh from the skull, cutting it into strips and deep frying it. The brain is liquified and heated in the brain case. The strips of flesh are then dipped into the brain mixture and eaten like chips.
Common belief amongst most other races concerning Orcs
Orcs are creatures of pure evil that delight in pillage, slaughter, torture and rape. This is proven by the fact that orcs never attempt to do anything but attack or flee [usually the latter]. One would do well to assume that they are up to no good. A little preventative pesticide cannot be a bad thing. After all, the paladins of Yagwa confirm that they are evil.
THE FOUR KINGDOMS, A GUIDE FOR THE ADVENTURER
THE FOUR KINGDOMS PRIMER
As told by Ristonofer Glamdring, Seminarian of the Academy.
SHORT HISTORY of the KINGDOMS
"The lands known as the Four Kingdoms encompass a great stretch of land slicing north and south through the center of the continent of Therduin, far west to the great Kingdom of Lorgaard, and east to borders of the ever-encroaching Tyresian Empire. The Four Kingdoms stand now as tentative allies against the threat from the east, a situation that has not always existed.
We are in the first century of what scholars have termed the Third Age of Man. The First was the reign of the great Skuldavian Empire, which ended in decadence and decay. The Second Age encompassed the majority of the history of the Mannish races, spanning nearly three millennia. It ended when the Four Kingdoms themselves united and repelled the threat of the Tyresians for what was thought to be the final time. We have since, to our chagrin, found the celebration to be a bit premature. The Tyresian Empire, now not a threat not to destroy, but to slowly conquer, looms large on the eastern horizon.
During the Second Age, the Kingdoms of Lisorian and Hubran dominated the central part of the continent. In the second millennium, civil war broke apart Hubran, and the Kingdom of S'ilaran was born. River Ophis divided the lands east and west, a barrier that has stood unto this day. Exiles from this civil war migrated to a large island in the south, and the roots of what was to become the Island Kingdom of Kiron were formed by the House of Garwen. By the end of the second millennium, the Four Kingdoms were formed.
Owing to their origins, the Kingdoms were ever at war or strained relations with one another, save Lisorian, who maintained a bit of neutrality, though always aware of the threat from Hubran in the west.
The Hubrian Range, however, has always provided more than a sufficient deterrent to those wishing to invade Lisorian from the east; the wild lands that lay between western Lisorian and Lorgaard have simply never been quelled.
In the latter part of the Second Millennium, the Tyresian Empire, at the time called Vomica Noire, grew in strength and began to expand its arms both east and west. An Emperor by the name of Tyrus seized power and began building his empire through shrewd and some say arcane means. On his deathbed, he vowed to reappear a millennium hence and seize power of the Known World. The empire built on that promise, and harried S'ilaran for centuries, pushing in, then being repelled, and so on. Finally, less than a century ago, it all came to a head.
In the year 2A2882, a man claiming to be Tyrus seized power in Vomica Noire, renaming his land Tyresias, and claiming all lands within his Empire. The Four Kingdoms, embroiled in their own disputes, signed a truce to deal with the threat once and for all. Within days, the leaders of those lands were all slain by assassins. Young Victor of the Kironian House of Garwen, a direct descendent of the founder of the Island Kingdom, took control and enforced the treaty. Soon after, the Kironian Navy sailed for the east, and turned the tide of the war. The Tyresians, who had invaded almost as far as the River Ophis, were repelled, and within a few years, the Tyresian Empire lay in ruins.
This is where we stood until recently. Order returned to the Four Kingdoms, and the House of Garwen regained power in Kiron. Less than a decade ago, however, the Tyresian Empire, thought to be far too weak to consider imperialism, began another march into S'ilaran. Today, the Kingdom that was S'ilaran is totally occupied by the Empire, and the Empire now makes its effort to push into Hubran.
The brave Hubrans boast the finest warriors in the Kingdoms, but soon, the Empire will simply be far too much. The Hubrans have withstood two great pushes to cross the river, but their state is weakening, and the Empire is relentless.
On our own shores, the Pretender King has been put down by the valiant forces of the Loyalists, and the Rightful Heir has been returned to the throne. There is celebration across the island this day, but that celebration may be short-lived. Civil war, if it can ever be called that, has weakened this land to the point of not being able to defend itself should the Empire continue its conquest into Hubran. Even internally the land may suffer now that many good, young and strong men have died in battle, leaving many a widow and untended field.
THE MANNISH RACES
There are three distinct races of man that populate Continent Therduin, divided roughly along east/west lines. These include the Lors in the west, the Therduin of the Four Kingdoms, and the Noirians of the east.
The Lors are the descendants of barbarian raiders from the far northwest shores of the continent in ages long past. They tend toward fair hair, heavier structure and great height. As one migrates further south in Lorish lands, the hair and complexion of the folk becomes a bit darker, but rarely will one find a black-haired Lor.
The Therduin come from the original strain of Mankind as one of the Lesser Races. These people owe their heritage to the primitives than wandered these lands in the time of the Creator Races themselves, and as thusly as widely diverse as the day is long. Free interbreeding with the other Mannish races has led to broad spectrum of body shapes and sizes, hair colors and skin tones.
The Noirians as a race as olive-skinned and dark-haired, more hirsute than the other Mannish races, but not so much as Dwarvenkind. They tend to be thinner as a race than the others, but this is not to say that a Noir could never be of great stature. Little is known about from where their ancestors come, and there are as many theories on this as there are "experts" on the topic.
THE AMANNISH (DEMI-HUMAN) RACES
There are three major Amannish races, commonly referred to as demi-humans. These include the enigmatic Elvesti, the pragmatic Dwarves, and the problematic Ugoth.
The Elvesti lay claim to being the oldest of all the races. Their progenitors, known to scholars as The Eldritch, were one of the Creator Races. They are prolific in their environs, but have no real desire to expand beyond those.
Elvesti appear as shorter, slighter humans, of fair complexion and hair. Average height for an Elf is about 5'5", but rarely does one exceed 5'10". Females are not much smaller than males, and more similar in appearance to their males than any other of the Races. Even Elvesti of extreme strength are not burly the way Humans would be. It is relatively easy for an Elvesti to pass for the opposite gender among those that know few of their kind. Their hair runs from pale blond to bright copper, with many shades of the forest in between. Eyes are generally blue or green, but metallic purplish and red colors are not uncommon.
The language of the Elven-folk has been learned by many other races, but none can speak it in the beautifully flowing tones as the People themselves. It is said to be one of the most beautiful things in all the world. It is also not shared very often with outsiders. Elvesti will not carry on a secret conversation in their native tongue in front of others simply for convenience. It must certainly be a matter of great importance. To do otherwise is considered boorish at best, something that only a Human would be capable of.
The natural capabilities of Elvesti are far above the other races.
They are smarter and longer-lived. Their attention spans, however, are short, and their perspective on matters others consider important is radically different. When you have two thousand years with which to play, a few weeks of poetry and song is insignificant. Other races consider Elves frivolous. This is not necessarily true. When they decide that a matter is worth their attention (be it a war or a flagon of mead), they pursue it fervently.
Elvesti have a great distaste for killing, but are very interested in swordplay and archery. They consider both great art forms, not to be corrupted by use for excessive violence. They understand the need for hunting, but are very protective of any forest environment and it's denizens. They have a great appreciation for things in the wild, but are very aware of the inherent dangers found in nature.
Dwarves are tough, resilient people given to hard work and war, descendents from the Creator Race known as the Drangor. They live mostly in or near underground mines and tunnels, spending much of their time under the earth. All their arts and work are tied to earth and rock.
Dwarves average about 4'7" in height and weigh 150 or more pounds, but it is not uncommon for a Dwarf to reach 200 pounds. Rarely does a Dwarf exceed 5' in height. Their skin tends to be rather pale due to the time they spend out of the sun. They are a hirsute people, and beards especially have great significance in Dwarven life. "Go get shaved" is a popular Dwarven insult.
There is a common misconception that Dwarves hate Elves. While the two races are at opposite ends of the spectrum philosophically, there has never been a Dwarf/Elvesti war. In fact, the two Peoples have often come together during troubled times to face a common threat. Dwarves do have a distaste for Elven lifestyle. While Elves, as mentioned above, think nothing of frolicking and making merriment for days or weeks on end, Dwarves would never consider such nonsense. Time is better served doing or making. The time an Elvesti would spend playing, a Dwarf would happily spend digging through strata after strata of rock in search of gems, or making a carving from a huge piece of stone. Dwarven outlook on life is serious, and their every activity reflects this.
Dwarvenfolk also tend to be more social than other races. They identify greatly with family units and bloodlines. A Dwarf will take great pride in being descended from another Dwarf of renown. Dwarves use family names when identifying themselves with phrases such as "Thangor, son of Groznich", or "Thangor of the Bloodrock Clan", or if a ancestor was particularly noted, "Thangor, blood of Throin Oakenshield". Though very familiar within their own clans, Dwarves are extremely wary of outsiders, and will not identify their clan name to strangers. The simple greeting "Thangor, of the Dwarves" suffices in most situations, although the unspoken implication is "and you're not important enough to know more."
There are rumored to be twelve great clans of Dwarves. Each clan is separate from the others and has it's own personality. Each clan has it's own craft in which it specializes. There are also said to be several Lost Clans.
The bane of the Dwarven race is their reproductivity. Only four in ten Dwarven females is fertile enough to reproduce. The only thing that has kept the race from becoming extinct is their relatively long (300-500 year) life-spans. There is much effort among Dwarven communities to find a cure for this infertility, but as of yet nothing has surfaced. The language spoken by the Dwarves is a rough, guttural tongue, quite an opposition to the lilting, melodic tongue of the Elvesti.
By Mannish standards, the Ugoth are the most vile of the Races. Physically they reflect the standards of their very warlike society. They are big and brutish, more than head and shoulders taller than the average Man, thickly muscled, with skin that tends toward yellowish- green. Facially they tend to be hairless, much in contrast to the rest of their bodies; their features tend to be rather flat, gaining them the epithet "pig-faces" amongst Men.
There are several subspecies of Ugoth throughout the Kingdoms, some far larger than normal, and smaller ones, called Squats that have the cunning and guile that their larger brethren lack. The different strains of Ugoth have many different names.
Constantly at war with something, Ugoth have a tribal society, each tribe being led by the strongest warrior, male or female (though the latter is exceedingly rare). This position of leadership is tenuous as best; a moment of weakness can lead to a new chief. They are warriors without compare when guided by competent leadership, but their own stubbornness and low intellect has kept them a minor, but irritating, force in the overall scheme of things in the Kingdoms.
A great part of the conflict in the Kingdoms is still the struggle between the "Old Gods" and the "One God". The recent war, as you remember, was mostly divided along these lines. The Old Gods have been worshiped by most peoples of the Kingdoms for ages; the One God is less than a thousand years in the memories of Men.
The Pantheist view lends itself to the belief that all facets of life are intertwined. The various deities have lain out guidelines for mortals to though the motivation for those guidelines escapes Men.
Common folk routinely entreat, thank and curse the various deities throughout the normal course of their lives. They see their lives as controlled by the whim of these entities, and do what they can to curry their favor. This comes in the form of both organized and individual worship.
On the organized side, Priesthoods form hierarchal structure through which this worship is done. Priests of a particular deity have had training in the practices of the veneration of that deity. They know the ritual and history of their specialty. They are normally well-respected members of their community, and are looked to for leadership and guidance. Regardless of the deity of the Priesthood, Priests are afforded the respect accorded to Freemen, and those in the upper ranks of the hierarchy are treated as lesser nobles.
Though all recognize the existence of the entire Pantheon, Priesthoods are normally restricted to the worshipers of those deities commonly considered "good" by Mankind. While no one questions the influence of Eregul, god of Death and the Dead, no "good" person would consider worshiping him. The structure of all Priesthoods vary from sect to sect. There have been known to be cults dedicated to the gods of evil, but these are few and far between, at least on the surface.
The Monotheists are no more or less devout in the worship of their god than the Pantheists, but as a community are far more fanatical. The worship of a single, omnipotent being has existed for centuries, but this particular faith springs from the efforts of a single Man named Iescu.
It is said that he came from a little fishing village in the mountains separating Lisorian and Hubran. It is said that his mother was a maiden and his father was the One God himself. Little else is said of his childhood.
It was his mission to bring together all men in worship of the One God, to complete Man's understanding of his relationship with the One God and how to properly worship Him. He is said to have performed great miracles, such as feeding 4000 people with seven fishes and a loaf of bread; healing the sick and infirm; even raising the dead. He made most of his impact here on the Island Kingdom. The roots of the faith and the Kingdom itself come from roughly the same time period, so it is easy to understand how and why this is the primary religion on the Island.
The Pontiff is the leader of the church as a whole. The previous one, who was loyal to Rathsmore, died under unusual circumstances early this year; the Council of Arch-Prelates selected another (with some assistance from His Majesty). The Council consists of 15 members, one each Baronial Arch-Prelate, and the Arch-Prelates of Mele'Kiron and Phila'Kiron.
This station is reserved for the family of the King. Historically, the descendants of the family of Garwen have ruled the Island Kingdom. King Drew, and his father Victor before him are from this royal line. Should Drew sire a son, he, too will rule Kiron. The remainder of the family is accorded the station Royalty, though there are precious few of them left. Drew's elder sister Alicia is married to the Crown Prince of Lorgaard, and his other sisters have been married off to nobles in other lands.
Even though there is a Royal Bloodline, appointment to many posts are given by merit. Titles are normally maintained by birthright, though the King has the option of appointing or removing an entire noble's family from that status and granting it to another, should he so choose. Drew has gone a long way to redefine the nobility of Kiron. Many who were loyal to the Pretender King have been removed, some by force, and new Baronial lines have been redrawn in the Kingdom. The families of Dukes and Barons comprise this class.
This class is comprised of both petty landed Lords and those that have been appointed to Lordship by virtue of their deeds. An example of those appointed to Lordship are the two Lord High Protectors, Mystra the Chaotic and Kel'wyn Weavemaster, who (along with other companions, now deceased) were instrumental in the Liberation of Phila'Kiron in the early stages of the Civil War.
Other post-holders that fall into this class (unless they fall into a higher class already) are the various officials that see to the running of the Kingdom and Duchies. This includes Castellans, Overseers, Marshals, Religious Leaders, and the Knights of the Order of the Crown.
With the rise of the great cities of Mele'Kiron and Phila'Kiron, the middle class of Freemen is expanding at unprecedented rates. These are primarily merchants, artists, and those that have earned their freedom by deed.
The allegiance of a Freeman to the Crown is different from the Commoner.
They are expected to obey the laws of the local Lord, and support him in times of need. Unlike the serf, however, they need no permission from the Lord to come and go; likewise, they do not enjoy many of the same protections and services that the Commoner does.
The Commoner still comprises the majority of Kironian society. These are the peasant farmers and soldiers that serve the Lords of the Kingdom. In turn for his allegiance to the local Lord, the Commoner receives protection and assistance from that Lord, who in turn, owes allegiance to the next, higher Lord. The local Lord is responsible for the Commoner, ensuring that he is outfitted well enough to ply his trade (usually on the Lord's land), or, in the case of the soldier, fed and housed as well. The Commoner (sometimes called Serf) forms the basis of the whole feudal society. Some say it is no more than a different kind of slavery.
In the eyes of the Theotian church, lower-ranking religious persons are considered Commoners, under the jurisdiction of their Lord, which would be the leadership of the church. The Crown tends to stay out of these matters, as it does with much concerning Theotianism (at least until recently).
SOCIETY AND ATTITUDES IN OTHER LANDS
Other lands certainly have their own societies and cultures. All being far larger than the Island Kingdom, they have their various layers of subcultures and countercultures as well, but we will stick to the primary cultural thread of each land. What you discover deep within each land is up to you.
Officially called the State of Hubran, this Kingdom is by far the most rigid of all. It is structured much the same as a great army; war and puissance at arms are of high value here. The capital, Trevor, has very rigid laws concerning who can and cannot carry weapons within the limits of the city. When traveling there, expect to encounter a coldness toward all types of non-Hubrans, especially those who follow those rather esoteric professions such as the Priesthood. Sorcery is strictly forbidden, and any official may make immediate capital judgement on someone accused of it. If you a Weaver of even modest skill, be very wary in Hubran.
Currently the Hubrans are involved in defending themselves from the Tyresian Empire; this effort is draining their resources to critical levels.
A peaceful and gentle land and people. The Lisorians have never known invasion from outside forces, and their attitudes show it. They have a fierce independence of spirit, but are rather warm to outsiders when their independence is not encroached upon. I would encourage travelers to Lisorian to visit the Free City of Gramarye, a most splendid place, especially to those interested in collections of culture and knowledge. It must be experienced to be understood. The Academy, the greatest institution of higher learning ever known, is crowning jewel of this fine city.
Lisorian has become a haven for many refugees and those that would otherwise be political prisoners. Given that there is much undeveloped land within the borders of the Kingdom, there is plenty of space and suitable resources to support the plethora of folk crossing into the Sage Kingdom daily. Some scholars believe that this is good for the Kingdom, and the positive repercussions of new blood will be felt for generations to come. Due to its geographical separation, Lisorian has been least affected by the current conflicts.
Technically, S'ilaran no longer exists, having been absorbed by the Tyresian Empire, but I will make a few notes on the people there. Silaranites are hale and hearty folk, truly dedicated to the lands that they farm and cultivate. There is an earnestness to these folk that seems lost in the great cities of other lands. Many in S'ilaran believe that the land will falter under Tyresian rule, and have dedicated themselves to the preservation of the land itself, regardless of who rules.
I honestly know little of Tyresian society, but I do know this: they are marvelously efficient at all they undertake. Their war machine has effortlessly swept across nearly a thousand miles of land and brought it under their yoke. Their leader, the Emperor Alokkair, I believe, is said to be a shrewd, cunning and cold man of indeterminate age and unsurpassed intellect. It is whispered that many Tyresians truck with Dark Forces, and it is certain that there are Weavers among them.
An ally to Kiron for many centuries, this great Kingdom runs more than a thousand miles north and south on the western coast of Therduin. It has stood since the early years of the Second Age, and the people are proud of their heritage and traditions. They have the reputation for being a bit stuffy, but are indeed people of honor and dignity. They also produce the finest Mannish wines I have ever tasted.
As noted, heritage and tradition play a great part in their society. Instead of building new things, the Lors are fond of refurbishing old things. The great keep Vatis Sacer has recently undergone its 32nd major renovation.
The society is patriarchal to the extreme; a son proudly bears the name of his father (ie-Pierre, son of Jean-Paul) for his entire life, unless his father has met with some loss of honor or other deleterious circumstance. Women are both placed on a pedestal and relegated to second citizen status, all in the name of tradition.
A small, very independent land north of Lisorian, Tever Sypere has been able to maintain its neutrality due to the fact that it is totally surrounded by a ring of mountains, with few passable places, normally with names like Troll Pass and Dead Man's Gorge. Very little is known of the Syperians. The only person I know from Tever Sypere is Lord High Protector Mystra the Chaotic, a volatile and unpredictable Wizard (never call her a sorceress, please) that has done many great deeds in service of the Island Kingdom, and one I number as friend.
There are several organizations or 'secret societies' at work in the Kingdoms. These range from the benign to the malevolent, but one thing is sure. There's got to be a reason they're secret. Here's a thumbnail sketch:
1. The Keepers, a society dedicated to the preservation of all
knowledge arcane. They have become paranoid and dangerous. Avoid
them, especially if you are graced with the Gift.
2. The Order of Order, a renegade faction of the Theotian Church. Unlike the Keepers, they seek to destroy all things arcane, including sorcerers, whom they see as pawns of Dark Forces.
3. The Order of the Crown, the premier association of Knighthood known to all the Mannish races. The Order is dedicated to goodness, justice and chivalry, paying strict adherence to the Code of Atturh.
4. The Web. Spinning their treacheries across the Four Kingdoms and beyond, the Web works toward unknown nefarious ends, linking together similar organizations in all the lands. Their prime foci are feeding the Tyresian slave market and influencing trade (to their own advantage) across Therduin.
5. The Brotherhood of Pathfinders has dedicated itself to assisting the traveler through the wild and wooded lands of the Kingdoms. Little is known of their origins or long-term goals; suffice it to say that they are a welcome site to the lost traveler.
Owing to the feudality that still exists in much of the world, there are but a few great cities of the land. Let me touch on the most important.
Said to be the apex of civilization, this, the capital city of the Island Kingdom is a vast and sprawling metropolis that houses more than 100,000 people. The Theotian Church holds much sway here; the great spires of the First Church dominate the cityscape. The King's own castle stands north of the city, less than five miles away. There is much of this port city given over to art, theatre and high society (such that it is). There is even an inn that boasts running water!
Across the island from Mele'Kiron, more than 200 miles by the King's roads, Phila'Kiron has established itself as the "second capital" of the Island Kingdom. It is from here that good King Drew held his power base while the Pretender sat on the throne, and it is from here that many great works were begun, to include the Street of the Gods, a broad avenue with temples dedicated to both Theos and the Pantheist deities. This tremendous undertaking is still under way.
A great city in the land of Hubran, Trevor has stood almost 2500 years. The city itself is divided into three distinct sections, the Upper, Middle and Lower Cities, mirroring the social station of the three. The Upper City is from where the nobles of the the Ten Families overlook the rest of their hold; the Middle City is dominated by the ever-growing middle class merchant and his business; the Lower is filled with the peasantry of the city--the common laborer and his ilk.
The city is bustling and alive with intrigue. Each of the Ten Families attempts to exert its influence over the others and the Overlord himself as well as corrupting trade and warfare to their own advantage.
The officials of the city itself are rathy wary of adventurers and mercenaries, labelling them nothing more than troublemakers. Passage out of the Lower City into the others is next to impossible for such folk (without judicious application of grease to palms, so to speak).
The capital of the great Tyresian Empire, I have not personally visited it, but I have heard reports from a reliable source. It is at once a beautiful and fearsome place, great artistic buildings spiralling into the sky, hiding dark places of untold evil in their shadow. It is a place I would at least once like to visit.
Weather for the Scarlet Forest
Day One: Warm, Partly Cloudy, No Winds
Well, this isn't much but it is the predominant weather for the
Scarlet Forest this week. Next time I'll explain the general
parameters and perhaps my calendar system, rather than saying
"day one", etc. But in any case I'll do it in seven day blocks,
more if needed since it is pretty easy to generate, though not
very scientifically accurate since I know next to nothing about
The greatest city ever, simply put, this free city-state in Lisorian has stood since the early days of the Second Age. It is here that stands the Academy of Gramarye, the greatest institution of higher learning in all the Kingdoms. It is indeed a place for all to see.
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Day Two: Warm, Partly Cloudy, Light Winds (West)
Day Three: Hot, Clear, Light Winds (North) (Morning Fog)
Day Four: Hot, Clear, Light Winds (West)
Day Five: Hot, Clear, Light Winds (West) (Morning showers)
Day Six: Warm, Partly Cloudy, Light Winds (West) (Overcast towards evening with scattered showers)
Day Seven: Cool, Overcast, Rain (heavy at times)
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Weather for the Scarlet Forest
Day One: Warm, Partly Cloudy, No Winds
Well, this isn't much but it is the predominant weather for the Scarlet Forest this week. Next time I'll explain the general parameters and perhaps my calendar system, rather than saying "day one", etc. But in any case I'll do it in seven day blocks, more if needed since it is pretty easy to generate, though not very scientifically accurate since I know next to nothing about meteorology.