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Lands of the Five Realms
Ruler: The Arch-duchess Adelaide, Sister of the King
The Narland is the homeland of the king and has been for a hundred years. The current Arch-Duchess handles many of the king’s royal responsibilities, in addition to managing her own fief. She is a fierce and outspoken leader, much like the lion displayed on the royal coat of arms.
Patriotism and piety run deep in the Narland. The people tend to be simple, hard-working folk. The barbarian class is extremely rare in the Narland, but paladins and clerics are more common here than elsewhere. Chivalry is important in Narland, and there are many knights and knighthoods. Lions, griffons, and manticores are a common motif in the heraldry of the Narland.
There are six counties in the Narland, each centered on the major cities (Vilderoy, Porthage, Arborharbor, Westhaven, Badlion, and Moledro) and each county is further divided into a number of baronies.
Vilderoy is the national capital. The king and royal family usually reside there, but they also maintain a chateau at Badlion.
Badlion is an important city in the history of the Narland. It is said that long ago Clovis the Great encountered a wounded lion drowning in the lake there. He saved the dying beast, which then served him until its dying day, thus earning a permanent spot on the royal flag.
Moledro is home to some of the best sword-smiths in the kingdom and sees a large number of visitors from the Fabled Lands of Ma’ag, Qeshmet, and Mavedia.
Arborharbor, Westhaven, and Porthage are all important sea ports for the kingdom.
The Elderwood is probably the oldest forest in the kingdom and is rumored to be the home of elves and other terrible monsters.
Ruler: The Duchess Bethany of Scion, Cousin of the King
In ancient times, the Kelbans were the most fractured of all the modern Realms. In fact, the ancient Kelbans didn’t consider Kelbany to be a single land, but rather ten distinct lands, each of which was dominated by a number of warring clans and factions. Since the time of Morcar, however, that is no more. The Kelbans are a single, cohesive people; distant kin of the Narlanders.
Long ago, the Kelbans and the Danmarians believed in different gods. The Kelbans believed in a group of gods descended from the earth itself, which included Manannan Mac Lir, Grannus, the Morrigan, Brigit, Arawn, and Lugh, among others. Even today, these gods are the most prevalent in Kelbany. Modern Kelbans have a healthy respect for nature and subsist primarily by fishing. Most are fond of lively music, strong spirits or ale, and a decent story. Druids and bards are more common in Kelbany than elsewhere. Barbarians in Kelbany hail from the northern half of the main island. Among the nobles, chivalry and knighthood are almost as common as they are in the Narland. Heraldry in Kelbany is a complicated matter, involving clan tartans as well as coats of arms. A white hart graces the flag of the Duchess and her family.
There are five shires in Kelbany, including three on the main island and two among the smaller islands. Each shire is further divided into a number of baronies.
Albry is the capital of Kelbany and home to the Duchess and her royal court
Lockshire and Dunwin are the seats of their respective shires and almost as large and important as Albry itself
The Isle of Kin is home to some of the best bowyers, fletchers, and archers in the Realms, rivaling even those in Arkonia
The Isle of Scion and its surrounding islands are less populated and used by the noble families for hunting. A monument as old as the gods themselves sits quietly on one of the islands.
Ruler: Duke Aric von Eldridge IV
The current duke of Daxony is a powerful sorcerer and a direct descendent of Odo II. He rules his land with an iron fist and is rumored to covet the royal throne. Many Daxons agree with his ambitions and refer to their duke as “Kaiser” – the old Daxon word for “emperor.” The banner of the House of Eldridge sports the image of a hawk.
The Daxons are a proud people who value ancestry and heritage. Many can trace their lineage back several generations, predating the formation of the Kingdom; a few even claim to be decedents of mythical and historical forebears. Daxony’s most important industries are mining and metalworking, because they support Daxony’s large standing army. The Daxon equivalent of a knight is called a “ritter” – a heavily armored elite class of warrior, whether mounted or not. Sorcerers are more common in Daxony than elsewhere in the Realms, especially among the noble houses, but they are still quite rare.
The duke’s most powerful vassals are given unique titles. A burgrave oversees the city of Rindburg and its surrounding environs, while a landgrave rules over the capital city of Sturmgard and the bulk of the Daxon land. In addition, a margrave is in charge of the duchy’s defenses, including those in the Valley of the Tombs. These titles are roughly equivalent to “count,” but not necessarily equivalent to each other. Each borough is further divided into a number of baronies.
Sturmgard, the capital of Daxony, was originally constructed as a storm shelter for local villagers, but grew over time until it became the bustling city it is now.
Rindburg is a fortified port city and is Daxony’s only major access to the sea
The Sunless Forest is almost as old as the Elderwood, but far more dense. The canopy blocks out almost all sunlight, allowing only the hardiest undergrowth to survive.
The Valley of Tombs houses hundreds of burial sites, including the crypts and tombs of Daxon nobles and clan chiefs, as well as those of the last August officials to set foot in Daxony
Ruler: Duke Gunnar Oaktooth
In many ways, the Danmarians maintain the same way of life as they did before the unification of the Five Realms; sailing, fishing, raiding coastal towns, and defending the northern borders. The current duke, Gunnar Oaktooth, has outlawed such raids within the Kingdom, but raids on foreign lands are still permissible. In fact, the Danmarians are far more knowledgeable about foreign lands than any of the other Realms. In addition, the Duke has sworn a vow to defend the Realms from giants; a dangerous but necessary oath, considering Danmar’s proximity to the Jotun Valley. The image of a wolf dominates the Danmarian flag, but bears and ravens are also common symbols in the heraldry of Danmar.
In ages past, the Danmarians and the Kelbans believed in different gods. The Danmarians believed in the Aesir – a group of gods who waged eternal war with the giants, including Odin, Frigga, Thor, Baldur, Tyr, Uller, Loki, and others. Even now, these gods are more prevalent in Danmar than others are. Danmarians value courage above all other virtues. Yet, there are no major knighthoods in Danmar (even though the rank of “ritter” is still bestowed as an honorary title). Barbarians and rangers, on the other hand, are far more common in Danmar than else in the realms.
There are four jarldoms in Danmar, each governed by a jarl. One jarl watches over the Boreal Headland and another sees to the defenses at the mouth of Jotun Valley. A third Jarl manages Port Drear and most of the coastal villages, while the last runs the city of Fjordheim and the lands closest to the mountains. Each jarldom is then divided into a number of baronies.
Fjordheim is the capital of Danmar and a major trade hub. It is also the home of Duke Gunnar Oaktooth.
Port Drear is the largest port in Danmar. Most goods heading to Fjordheim must pass through Port Drear on their way there.
The Boreal Headland is untamed backcountry teaming with dangerous wildlife. Only the most skilled and foolhardy woodsman ever hunt here.
Jotun Valley is the “backyard” of the giants. Anyone foolish enough to venture into it is likely to get eaten … or worse. The Danmarians man a defensive keep at the mouth of the valley, hoping to stop any giants who might wander out of it.
Vulcan’s Forge is the name of both a volcano and the abbey that rests in its shadow. According to legend, the artisan god, Vulcan, dwells in the center of the volcano. The abbey itself is the largest monastic settlement in the Realms and is ran and operated by the good Abbot Abelard Bonaventure.
Ruler: Duke Jutas the Beheader
The current ruler of the Arkonians, Jutas the Beheader, is a strict leader known for his harsh and swift judgments – as his epithet would imply. Yet, he has carried Arkonia through troubled times and his subjects are relatively prosperous, considering the current state of the kingdom. The banner of Arkonia bears the likeness of a horse, a common motif in the heraldry of the steppes.
Most Arkonians are horse-archers and nomads, roaming the Arkonian steppes. Horsemanship is a way of life in the grasslands. Arkonians can be divided into two main groups: eastern and western. While the western Arkonians call the Five Realms home, the eastern Arkonians do not. Yet, the two maintain close ties and trade between them is common. Knights are extremely rare on the steppes, but the city of Arkon hosts a small number of highly skilled and very exclusive knighthoods.
Arkonia is not divided into fiefs, like the other Realms are, but rather by tribal group. The duke rules from the capital city of Arkon, assisted by a count (a title borrowed from the Narland). Sometimes, the title of count is also bestowed upon the leader of a major tribal group, but generally the title of baron is used, instead.
Arkon is the only major city in Arkonia and host to a massive bazaar where goods from the distant east can be found and traded for. Foreign visitors from the distant east are also relatively common.
Smaller villages do exist on the steppes, offering the nomads a place to restock and resupply.
The Arkonian Steppes are a vast place, full of wide open grasslands with very few trees. Hunting on the steppes typically means small game. Nobody knows exactly how many nomads are on the steppes, or even how many tribal groups there really are.