The Drow War
The World of Ashfar:
The humans who live here have made their home in about as cold and foreboding of a place that could be imagined, yet they seem to like it. Boskenland is all birch woods, bleak hills, and blue rocky outcrops. The original settlers here were a hearty bunch that have retained their burly, robust approach to life.
Beyond the border of Boskenland and the Eagle Nations lies a barren tundra that is basically an artic wasteland. No humanoids have ever settled here even though there is enough hunting to support life. The area is rumored to be home to dreadful monsters that shun the warmer climates of Ashfar. Legend tells of a snow warlock or Ice Queen who has a frosty citadel in the heart of the waste but no human has been known to have laid eyes upon it. The closest settlement to the waste is Ommersdale, a thriving town built upon fur trade.
The Eagle Nations:
This huge country was originally known as the scarred land and entirely wild filled with monstrous humanoids, giants, and dire animals. About six hundred years ago Caldrazan warriors decided to come here feeling it was better to rule in a new country then serve in the old. The fighting was hard but eventually they carved out a place for themselves in this land. This small group started out as a small village and grew into a large cities. The settlers organized themselves into regional states, some feudal and some democratic, according to the citizens preference. These sub-kingdoms are called the eagle nations since it represented freedom from the chains of the past. At one time they became one of the more powerful nations on Ashfar, but recent conflict has caused various nations to feud. The monsters were pushed to a small area in the center of the land, but recently they have been growing larger and larger taking back the land that the frontiersmen had originally carved out. There is a small settlement of elves living somewhere in the eagle nations and they do operate a portal in this country.
This island was at one time a human prison colony that has now been completely taken over by pirates and thieves. They prey on ships sailing the seas especially heading to the eagle nations. The pirates of the Shard are not the only freebooters in the Incarnadine Ocean; there is at least one other major group known as the Sea-Harriers whose home is yet undiscovered. Reports talk of a Pirate Queen who was once a noble of The Kahoor country. The Shard has not been a prison colony for a long time but children born here are raised to be one thing , a rogue. The rogues raised on The Shard sometimes make their way to the mainland and put their skills to good use once they arrive.
This land bridge between the northern and southern continents is a sprawling ran forest many hundred of miles from end to end. Even though the humans to the north were able to conquer and claim the lands of the eagle nations, the humidity and sheer danger of the Cendra jungles proved to be too much for them. Part of this is rumored to be some sickness that seems to overtake humans spending too much time in this area. The jungles are known to be thickly infested with kobolds on the outer edges. There also seems to be some reptilian life living deeper into the jungle. There is rumors of a nomadic tribe of animalistic humans living n the jungle and some expeditions into the jungle have come back with golden ornaments and artifacts seeming to be used by or created by a humanoid race. Whether this is true still remains a mystery.
The Horned Reaches:
This vast area of desolate prairie is named for the many herds of horned animals that roam across this land. (buffalo,ibex,antelope, feral cattle, etc). It has never been settled though small villages of humans do exist. (think cowboy/frontier towns) and some bands of thieves. This land serves as a natural barrier between the northern lands and the home of the elves, Shallenoi.
Shumil is a land of merchants, laborers, and tradesman who left Kahoor to seek out a home without so much old world hierarchy. The still support Kahoor and supply them with exotic spices and silks, keeping their old country from invading and allowing open communication. Plus this benefits them with a hub in the other continent for their goods. These people came with a plan when they settled here and their extensive irrigation and plateau cultivation methods quickly brought flourishing crops to this country. They have a very disciplined military and have no desire to expand their borders but focus on defense. Natives of Shumil are usually humorous, sarcastic, and enterprising, usually quick to see the profit and benefit of any undertakings. They also have not allowed the elves to create any strongholds in this area which the elves quietly resent. there are rumors to be human magic users in this country and a school established to teach and research, something that most humanoids have had little access to. This has never been proven by outsiders and is either a myth or a well guarded secret.
This is the original Elven homeland before Xoth Sarandi was discovered and colonized. It is the oldest, continuous civilization in the world. Little is known about this country outside the elven community Although it is widely known that there is more magic worked in Shallenoi then anywhere in Ashfar.
Little is know about this land rumored to be home to the Drow. There seems to be a strange fog surrounding this land. The only reason there is any mapping of this area is that in a storm Brith’s ship “The Black Whale” sailed near this strange isle. The ship eventually made its way to land . The crew was never found except for Captain Brith’s journal… the elves have refused to share the information the Captain left in this journal but have warned the rest of Ashfar from traveling there by spinning many tales of horror. So far it has worked.
Jagged mountains encircle the southernmost land mass of Ashfar in broken crooked land masses. Legends tell of tribes of frost giants that have made this their home.
Also called “The Crown of the World” is a series of gigantic peaks that rise out of the sea. Strangely regular and artificial looking. These peaks form an insurmountable barrier concealing whatever lies beyond them. Wild theories abound about what occupies this place but one thing is known… whatever lives there occasionally sets the sky on fire with rainbows of light, chasing each other in arcs and ripples. These lights can be seen from the Waste and the northern mountains of Caldraza.
This island is home to elven arch mages and is the undisputed center of Ashfar. Around the island are titanic stone sea gates which connect to far off parts of the globe controlled by the elves. This feat of magic have kept the elves able to have colonies anywhere they choose and keep them supplied and defended without having to risk travel by the open sea. Xoth Sarandi is the crossroads of the world for those able to pay the elves for use of their magical travel. The outer areas of this land are used for visitors to the city for other races and those that live there to work for the elves. The inner island is restricted to the elves alone and the few honored guests they deem worthy to come inland.
This green and peaceful country is home to Ashfar’s Halflings. They live here as they always have isolated and content. The dangers here are few there are no monsters and very little contact from other races. Sometimes Halflings from Verda become bored with life here and travel to other lands to seek adventure.
The hills of Vella are where the gnomes of Ashfar reside. They have kept goodwill with their neighbors the Halflings of Verda but are much more curious and eager to explore the world. The academies of Vella are acknowledged to the best in the world for mechanical science and handcrafting. Trainee artisans are required to spend at least a year as a journeyman, traveling around Ashfar and offering their services where needed, usually as jewel crafters, stonemasons, and metal smiths. The capital city of Vella is “Quinazzi, the pale snow jewel” a city of canals, walkways, and intricate stone fascias. The gnomes are also known for the crazy contraptions they create and have avoided difficulty of traveling by sea by the flying machines they create. The elves deem there machinations as unworthy due to the engineering over use of magic and resent them having their own means of travel thought hey have not thwarted them as long as they remain content with their island home.
This small island is notable only for being the place where a massive drow army was defeated a thousand years ago. It is an independent country of simple human folk though Caldraza considers it part of its own country. The Capital of Chillhame is Saragost, a walled city that boasts a fortified harbor.
Saragoost is considered one of the largest cities in Ashfar.
A long established Monarchy Caldraza is one of the more refined and wealthier human nations. King Titus lost his son a year ago in a murderous attack by a clan from the southern country of Ghael. This has lead him to declare war on the entire nation. Troops have gathered on the border but hostilities have not broken out yet. Caldraza supplies most of the world with fine glass product among other trade. The royal palace at Beacon City is walled on the outside with black glass panels.
Tribal humans organized into clans populate this wild hilly country (think Scotland) The clans are usually feuding with one another but the war declared by King Titus is causing them to band together. The Border between Caldraza and Ghael is the river Schlas, which is too borad to be fordable in its lower reaches and runs through the monster infested Forest of Meere in the upper .
This mountainous region is the home to most of the dwarves of Ashfar. The rock is rich with precious minerals and good iron ore. The dwarves of Svarth are on good terms with the humans of Jahannum whose gritty, militaristic ways appeal to them. However the mountains in the northwest of Svarth are not populated by the dwarves and they warn any who attempt to travel there to turn back, if not by their own will then by dwarven escort.
This is home to a militaristic, proud breed of humans very knight-like in appearance and personality. They have traded goods so long with the dwarves that they have received the nickname “The Iron Dukes” Their monarch, Krom Kalamarstoltz rules from the steel plated fortress called Burgenstoch Castle in the capital Foltzinstein. This country has some of the finest horses in Ashfar and boasts of jousts and many chivalrous pursuits. However the land is controlled with the iron fist of their monarch, who although is fair delivers justice swiftly while sending a message for any wishing to repeat an injustice.
The empire of Visk covers more ground then any other in the dominion of Ashfar. The climate ranges from temperate eastern zones to a flat tundra. The horseman of Visk boast of being the being the finest in the world obviously this thought is challenged by the inhabitants of Jahannum. However they do have an impressive Calvary that not only protects their borders by handles any problems esp. any raids on their border towns. The emperor of Visk is Caranacus who looks to be about 30 however he has ruled for 60 years with the confidence of an unconquerable tyrant. He has been known to escape death countless times and has walked away from assassination attempts that have left those around him torn to shreds. Some say that Caranacus is no longer human, that he is some sort of vampire or incarnate ghost. Whatever he may truly be his people fear him event those who adore him would gladly die in his name.
To the northeast of Visk is a land of hills, rolling low mountains, and woods and is the closest thing to a goblinoid nation in the lands of Ashfar. The border of Urmish and Visk is the river Blute. Urmish contains masses of tribal orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, ogres and bugbears with no known human settlements at all. Only the jungles of Cendra are less civilized. The Wall of Grand Iora prevents the creatures from moving south while the river Blute and the natives of Visk keep them from moving westwards. Note that Urmish is the human name for this land to the inhabitants it is simply where they live if it has a name at all.
This hot country is blessed with mineral wealth and huge tracts of fertile land, and has a rigid caste system. The nobility are so far removed from the peasantry that they are almost another species all together. The King of Kahoor is Parhav the Thirty-First a mere boy at the age of 14. Despite his age he is not sentimental and has overseen quite draconic punishments for his subjects. The law in Kahoor is rigid and ignorance of it is not an excuse. Furthermore the upper classes can commit crimes with impunity while a serf would be stoned to death for the same thing. There is literally one law for the rich and another for the poor. Kahoor’s principle dependency is Shumil where people go to find a more tolerant society though the work there is not less. On the border of Kahoor and Urmish lies the Grand Wall of Iora a spectacular structure built by the serfs in the country consisting of white stone that spans unbroken with guard towers at half mile intervals.
This region is thickly forested with great rolling swathes of green land between the wooded regions. It is widely considered one of the most beautiful lands in all of Ashfar and of all the settled lands it is the least built upon. Qual is the home of the wood elves, elves who left the land of Xoth Sarandi and magic to live a life in the wild attuned to nature. There is also a huge half elven population in Qual. For some reason in the past humans were forced to come here and the wood elves choose to protect them though the reason why has been lost., but those humans were adopted into the families of the wood elves. The people of Qual leave most of the rest of the world alone but fiercely protect their homeland from any invaders.
This country made of high mountains and eternal snow is under the rule of the wise and benign monarch King Kallimon who remains neutral in the conflict of his neighbors and has occasionally been called to broker diplomatic resolutions to their conflicts. Nobody has been successful in invading the country because even the peasants seem to be trained in the use of martial arts. There is an abundance of monasteries in Murduk Ram which draw seekers from all nations in the world. Those who wish to learn the fighting arts of the monk are well advised to pack light and travel to this country.
There is no patron God in this country, worship is of choice here thought the King does worship Fharlanghn
Desert of Sharn:
This bleak, sandy zone of dead land effectively seals off Jahannum and the northwestern countries from the remainder of the eastern continent. It is all but uninhabitable except for monsters, madmen, and hard bitten desert nomads. As if the heat and lack of landmarks were not enough, traveling this desert is almost a suicidal mission. Large lodestone deposits cause magnetic compasses to behave erratically making magic the only means of navigating the desert. There are legends of demon haunted rock plateaus in the deserts center though this has never been confirmed.
The Topaz Dominions:
This mighty kingdom of pyramids and sand dunes is ruled by the Sun King, Al’Zarad, who the people of this land believe to be the reincarnation of Boccob. Its people are sun tanned and brawny raised with a respect for wizardly magic since human wizards are often in control of the cities here. The Sun Kings special infantry forces, The Phoenix Legions, are also priests of his faith giving them the ability to wield divine magic while in the fray( Paladins of Boccob LN). The lands of the Topaz Dominions are strikingly different then those in the northern country with buildings made from clay rather then brick and mortar, and some items you would expect to find are rare here or missing all together. The King here is fanatical and a bit touched so the worship of Boccob is unlike most places and wizards elsewhere though respectful of this land also have a disdain for it. Any wizard here must register with the royal palace and those in charge of the cities are trusted by Al’Zarad to enforce not only the worship of their diety but the law of the lands. Any child showing promise out of the common folk are immediately sent to the Golden City to learn at the Academy of the Sun along with any child a wizard in this country has. Being turned away or expelled from this school of learning basically casts you out of society all together and being born to a family of wizards has its challenges. Laws here tend to be different for the wizard folk then the rest so there is definitely abuse in the system and a heiarchy. This place is a bane to the elves who feel that so much magic use among the humans in this matter will lead to untold problems, however they have been unable or unwilling to do anything about it as of yet. It is illegal for travellers here to represent any other god outwardly other than Boccob, they are free to come in worshipping who they choose as long as they keep it to themselves.
The predominately human republic of Valjinn is a prosperous and stable country. With the murky damp Kandang to the north and the cryptic, bleak mountains of Murduk Ram to the north it is a country of stability between two extremes. The rulers are a council of elected representatives headed by a president referred to as the Falcon Elect. This council is based in the city of Sephardia. There is considerable hostility between Kandang and Valjinn.
The southern tip of the continent is a marshy place of river deltas and rice fields where the houses of common folk are built on stilts. This part of Kandang hosts large amounts of families of boat people who live their lives migrating from island to island. Further North one finds the ancient cities and lonely towers on hillsides along with curious ruins of an age when dragons walked the land in mortal guise. A hereditary line of sorcerers form the ruling class in Kandang with the usual claims of dragon blood applying. The ruling King claims to be descended from the last golden dragons who lived here when humans still lived in caves. To be a sorcerer in Kandang is a great honor as it proves one is related to the dragon kings of old. This however makes for some strange customs that are repellant to strangers. The best known custom is that of blood preservation. Thus to keep the lines pure brothers are married to sisters and parents to children etc. This results in strange deformities and mental issues though some do have draconian characteristics giving their claims merit. Many hundreds of years ago Kandang ruled over the whole of Valjinn until they gained there freedom.
Very little is known of this swamp like area filled as far as recorded with nothing but monsters. There is a thick fog that covers the entire border of this land and few have been able to travel more then a few miles from the bordering lands. What lies beyond the fog is a mystery however many shipwrecks have been recorded of the shores of this land and few pirates will travel close to its shores.