ATC - Politzania World History

World Time Line

The below are all anchor links to points on this page
Ancient Eras

The Time Before Magic
The Dragon Empire
The First Empire of the East
The Second Empire of the East
The Third Empire of the East
Human History

Major Areas of the World

Former Empire of Politzania
The Kingdom of Labadour
The City-State Confederation
The SouthWestern City States
The Nomads and the Khanate
The Elven Forest Kingdom
The Central Mountains or Iron Peaks
The Kingdom of Kondore
The Eastern Empire
The Great Swamp of Ardneh
The Orc Mountains
Koin and The NorthEast

The Time before Magic

This world was once a technologically advanced human civilization. Somehow, through their scientific experiments they opened a portal to another plane, and magic leaked into this world. The laws of nature changed, and magic began to seep into people, animals, and places, and technology began to fail. Over a millenia, the human societies crashed as magical creatures and forces grew in power and the humans couldn't fight back without their technology.

This is about all that is known of that time period, and all of this came from some plastic recording device we found in a tomb ancient beyond our ability to measure. It consisted of recordings made by soldiers stationed where the Underdark opens to the northern sea, and tells of their struggles and the death of the last great captain of their outpost as they tried to hold back the magical beings from invading their world.

The Dragon Empire

The God know all, even the end of the world and their own deaths. Knowing who would die in Ragnarok, many wanted to change that fate. Over the centuries, they gradually to openly began fashioning areas for themselves out in the planes and leaving the world to fend for itself, thinking to escape their fates. As each went their own way, only one remained to the world. Hel, being Lawful and ruler of the dead, stayed active here.

Dragons were the first creatures to rule this world after Magic had transformed it. With their long lives and great power and intelligence, they rose to control the world while the rest of the world was still struggling amid the chaos. They saw themselves as vastly superior to humans, and felt they were guardians of the earth and over all it's peoples.

Over time, the various dragon species aligned themselves into two factions, Lawful and Chaotic. The Lawful dragons believed in organizing the humans and other lesser races into cities and controlling them, benevolently or malicously at the local dragon's discretion. The Chaotic dragons felt that the lesser races were potentially threatening to dragonkind, and needed to be kept disorganized, again, benevolently or as a simple food source was less relevant than the desire to keep us scattered and defenseless. The two factions fought each other, with the Lawful eventually getting the upper hand. The war ravaged the world and dragonkind being slow to reproduce took a long time to recover.

At the advice of the Blue Dragons, the Council of Lawful Dragons chose the drow to rule over the lesser races because of their powerful magic, long lives, and lawful nature. With Hel as their patron goddess, they rose to form the first Empire of the Asp, while the dragons sat back and recovered from their war.

The First Empire of the East

With the backing of the dragons and Hel, the drow were aided and quickly grew to become a powerful empire about 3000 years ago. It was based among the islands off the eastern coast, but their power expanded across this continent also. They formed an alliance of 3 races, with the drow controlling the upper crust, the mindflayers (Illithid) controlled the Underdark, while the XXX controlled the oceans. Uncivilized lesser races were found throughout the land, and for the most part the drow let them be, capturing and enslaving only those they needed for the work they wanted to do. They set up a criss-crossing network of portal stones connecting scattered forts and other places of interest into a system where armies and supplies could travel quickly to wherever they were needed. They ruled unopposed across the continent.
The drow became experts at planar magic, and used it for many purposes. In addition to the travelling portals, they travelled throughout the planes, gaining power and knowledge. Some connections to the Shadow Plane were established at this time. They also created portals connecting the positive and shadow planes. A powerful mage could tap into the energy flowing through those portals and over a lifetime, gradually gain enough power to become a god. Vecna, the first Emperor of the East, became a god of magic, evil, and trickery though the latest information says it was not through shadow planes, but other mages began using them to try to follow Vecna.. Vecna's paranoia and greed for power kept any other drow mages from ever achieving his level, but many gained immortality and great power as demigods, etc. Hel welcomed these new gods as needed to fight Ragnarok, since the other gods had forsaken their duties.

As Vecna's power grew, he first broke away from the control of the Dragon Council, and then later challenged Hel herself for dominance. A great war ensued between Hel and Vecna, and between his worshippers and hers. Eventually Hel won, but was greatly weakened. Vecna escaped destruction by somehow cloaking his home island, the Isle of Magic, from anyone finding it. Meanwhile, the Empire collapsed, slaves ran away, and for awhile the drow lost control of most of their empire. A great deal of information, especially magical, was lost in the general destruction.

On a side note, one attempt to open a portal between the Positive and Shadow planes,(the first attempt?) unleashed a ball of energy that killed the mages and others nearby. That ball of energy slowly, over centuries, formed into a being, gained intelligence, and then godhood. Thus, Ardneh was born. As he existed and grew, he was also formed and influenced by the pain and suffering of the slave races that was all around him. He began aiding those races, protecting, healing, and eventually fighting with them for freedom, but most of that was during the second Empire.
Finally, a lowly slug crawling near the master portal absorbed enough energy and it too began a long climb to godhood. It remained hidden in that very complex for millenia, long after the drow had moved out, and only recently exerted his power to take over the place and make it his own. We recently learned that this portal exists beneath the halfling lands. His power is tied to the portal, and he protects it from any and all. Thus Tepes too, achieved godhood through these portals, and with their closing (see party logs) Teeps has begun the slow decline back to being a slug.

The Second Empire of the East

After being defeated by slave revolts, the drow regrouped. No one knows how long passed between the empires, but it is thought to be a few generations only. They once again spread their power across the continent, this time using slave armies and taking more direct control of the land. Never again gaining the total power and level of magic that had marked the first empire, they ruled now with help from the Shadow Plane. The Second Empire is marked by more use of enslaved beings and planar and undead creatures and was even crueler than the first. The influence of the Shadow Plane continued to grow and corrupt the empire. It lasted about 1000 years before it too fell to slave revolts, mostly through the influence of Ardneh. The Great Swamp was a center of their control, but also became the center of the resistance. Having lost control of the land, they had the orcs dam up the rivers and flood the valley making it the swamp it is today.

The latest information seems to show that the Shadow Plane beings used the collapse of the first empire to usurp power in the Eastern Empire. A Shadow Hel began to give power to the clerics of Hel who followed her corrupted practices while those who tried to follow the earlier practices of Hel (not knowing really that two dieties were involved) were shunned and later eliminated, further weakening Hel's power. The Questers Guild, Vecna's elite researchers and explorers, seems to have been at the core of the shift. By the time the Empire recovered and began it's expansion again, the clergy were now all worshipping and being powered by the Shadow Hel. Hel herself, fed only through secret worshippers in the West, became a minor diety, while the Shadow Hel slowly began to corrupt and change the cultural and religious practices of the East into those of the Shadow beings and slowly destroying any evidence of previous practices.

(Since the Quester's Guild was at the core of the usurpation of power, is it possible that Vecna was not defeated after all? Did he also became a shadow being? My guess now is that Vecna's life was saved by the Shadow beings in exchange for his conversion and/or usage of his guild to begin their conquest of this plane by gaining control of the East. In other words, both Hel and Vecna lost, and the Shadow won.)

On another side note, during the rebellion that ended this empire, in an attempt to trap the growing Ardneh, the East lured him into a room using The Manual of the Planes as bait. This room today is in a ruined city that still lies in the swamp and is a worship site for both the Eastern Empire and the West. They trapped him, but he was able to use the book and the power within himself to create his own portals and escape. This episode fully awoke him to self-awareness and his own godhood. He continued to fight the Eastern Empire and helped bring about it's downfall in a great slave revolt.

The Third Empire of the East

After recovering from the collapse of the Second Empire, the Eastern Empire again began to expand across this continent. Their culture was now dominated by slavery, cruelty, and outright sadism. By now, though, the human civilizations had arisen. The various gods had seen what their selfish inattention had created, and they now became active in this world. Several gods intervened with human society, forging weapons of great power with which empires were begun. These empires met and defeated the invasions. Politzania, the City States, Labadour, and the forces of the druids became major powers across the continent. Invasions occurred every 100 years, and each was stronger than the previous ones.

Finally, in 995AF a force came that swept westward across the city states and set up for battle at Eastguard. The comet that appeared every century was in the sky, and this year it signified a great victory for the East. On the night of the comet, whole royal families in the City States, Politzania, and Wellington were assassinated. Shadow beings, miles in length, reached out tentacles destroying whole cities. Plagues hit, fear ruled, and the Eastern forces appeared to be unstoppable. Instead, the gods, with the help of Loki, one of two patron dieties of the east, shifted the comet in it's orbit, pulled it down, and had it hit the Capital City of the East, destroying the entire city including the royal family and releasing the magically enslaved beings all over the world. Chaos ensued, and the Eastern army disbanded and scattered. Subcommanders with their armies, far from home and without direction, pillaged and set up outposts and minor fiefdoms around the continent. Back in the eastern homelands, with the Royal family wiped out, other powerful families began the fight for control of the Empire. Thus, the Third Empire came to a sudden end.

Human History

This is a time line of major events as it is known to the common people of this Continent

BF = Before Founding of first major human city (Politzania)
AF = After Founding of Politzania

The elder races (elves, etc.) sail from over the seas, arrive on this continent and start to interact with the human race. The human race is no more than groups of nomadic tribes at this point.

Gifts from the Gods: The Norse Gods start to appear to the human race and give weapons of great power to aid the humans.

The first large human city-state is founded in the north-central part of the continent. This will be the start of Politzania.

Another large human city is founded in the far southwest. This is the start of the Labadour Kingdom.

Politzania forms a Republic and starts to absorb the nomad tribes. It will grow to become the largest human power on this continent.
Labadour will maintain their feudal system and will become the largest sea power on this land mass.

Most humans are starting to create small city states, much like the ancient Greeks. However, there are still a number of humans who do not want to give up their nomadic lives.

The City State Confederation is founded as the small city states to the east of Politzania form a defensive and trade alliance.

Most of the humans tribes have either created a city state or migrated to the far northwestern lands or southern lands to stay free and live the lifestyles that they love. They will remain a threat to most of the city states and are never forced to settle. They will raid the city-states' lands in times of poor hunting, or just for the fun of it!

In the City State Confederation the City State of The Overlord will start to become the predominate city in the confederation.

The fading. At this time it was noticed that the magic seems to be slowly fading from the world. At this time only the most powerful beings notice. It will take many centuries for most people of the world to notice even a slight change. By the time of the Comet the number of magical beings have declined from the world and even the human mages and priests have noticed.

Labadour builds a great wall to keep the nomadic tribes from the north from raiding their heartland.

The first war between the Confederation and Politzania.

For the first time the orc race leaves their vast mountain lands to raid human areas in large numbers, starting a conflict that will never really end.

The elder races hold great assembly with the human race. The elder races start to withdraw from interaction with the human race. The human race is getting upset with what they call the elder races' arrogant behavior.

First case of reported contact with what will become called the Eastern Empire, the Dark Empire, the Empire of Magic or many other names. Not much is known about them, just that their homeland is located beyond the human lands far to the east.

Koin is founded (This was the starting area of the first characters in the game. )

The dragon races have stayed above the affairs of others, or so it appeared until this time. They start a war among themselves and none of the other races have any idea what the war is about. Many of the races suffer from this brutal war as the Dragons use all means to fight each other. At this time a Great pair of blue dragons take control of a pass next to the Overlord's city. After this war, the dragon races seem to take a more active interest in the human race.

The first of the Eastern Empire invasions of the human lands. They are repelled by the City State Confederation.

All of the druids in the land gather in a wooded valley east of the City State Confederation and start to build the Great Druid fortress.

The second invasion by the Eastern Empire. They are stopped at the great Druid Fortress with aid of the City State Confederation's armies.

The third invasion of the Eastern Empire. This one is very different from the other 2 invasions. Instead of using orcs hired to fight for them, The East included a number of what appeared to be regular Eastern military units with a number of mindless undead used as cannon fodder. They are stopped at the Druid fortress again with the help of both the City State Confederation and a Politzanian army as well.

Politzania started a war with the elves to the south of them. The reason for this war depends on which side you listen to, but most people are uncertain of why the war was started. Politiznia wins the first battle, but the elves retreat into the vast woods that they call home and hold off the Politiznian army for years before a truce is called.

The elder races start to leave and return to their homelands. In the end only a few thousand of each of the races stay behind.

The fourth Eastern invasion begins. A large army of undead, orcs, and magical beings of all types make up this Eastern army. They allow part of the army to lay siege to the Great Druid Fortress, but most of the Eastern army bypasses the Druids and head swiftly into the heart of the City State Confederation before they can muster the mass of their armies or Politiznia can aid them. They also lay siege to a number of cities for a few years in the City State Confederation, a couple of the cites fall and are razed to the ground. The Eastern Army cuts a path across the City State Confederation headed towards the Politzanian Republic.

The greatest battle of all time on this land is about to happen. The Eastern Army is massed just east of Politzanian lands preparing to invade. The large Politzanian army is gathered to meet them. A comet that appears every 100 years at this time blazes across the night sky before the start of the battle. However, this time it is much larger in the sky then ever seen by a living being. It disappears into the horizon and appears to crash somewhere to the east. The leaders of the Eastern Army lose control of the army. It fragments and runs amok. Some fight each other, others form bands and head into the country side. Before the Politiznia army can take advantage, the shock wave of the comet impact hits the area. Thus starts many years of the climate gone wild. Crops will not grow due to the adverse weather caused by the comet strike. Most of the Empires collapse into small city states and countless thousands of people will die from the lack of food and the chaos from the collapse of law and order.

The start. The weather has once again calmed, and the cities start to band together once again.

The Politzanian Empire

The founding of Politzania marks the beginning of the rise of humans on this continent. With the gift of the hammer of Thor, a tribe founded a safe city and forged an empire in the center of the continent. Ruled by an imperial family, for 1000 years they were the dominant human nation on the continent, even as other kingdoms also sprang up. The central plains and forests all fell under their power as powerful cities guarded the border areas:

Homeguard is the home of the ruling family and their ESPo guards and an important seaport and protects against raids along the northern coast.
Westguard borders the swamp and the Blacksky mountains to the west and defended the nation from any barbarian raiding parties coming through those few passes.
Southguard protected against barbarian raids through the southern pass from the Dorian Plains. It was also an important trading city with the elven lands to their south.
Eastguard protected against the eastern city states and from monsters coming out of the Iron Peaks.
The inner cities of Politzania and Wellington, as well as the surrounding areas, were thriving cities and towns. The mages guild in Politzania was particularly impressive.

The empire crashed during the time of the comet, with only Eastguard retaining any of it's power. As the emperor died, leaving only a teenaged girl as heir, civil war broke out between the royal family, the Wellington family, and the Politzanian bureaucracy. In addition, Eastern power broke many of the cities. Tentacles miles long came out of the swamp and smashed the city of Westguard, leaving little but rubble. Southguard was overrun by the western barbarians. Wellington was hit by a plague, driving off the people and leaving it the home to bandits that remain to this day. Politzania itself now has a fog in it's center, encompassing the central palace and mages guild, and anyone entering that fog does not return. The city broke into 5 sections, each run by a bandit warlord and each fought and schemed for supremacy. Nothing was heard from Homeguard for a long time.

A paladiness named Gadda had slowly brought 2 of the 5 sections under her protection and under an elected mayor. Then, Ratboy, the Wellington vampire, assassinated the 4 leaders while they were meeting, leaving the city in chaos. The party eliminated Ratboy, and this city has a real possibility of uniting under Gadda's protection and under a more benevolent government.
Recently, the separate cities of old Politzania (Eastguard and Portstown so far) have been joining the City-State Confederation as equal partners, forming the basis for all the free and civilized human lands across the Northern Plains to be loosely organized by a single council. Hopefully, this will eliminate future wars and bring an era of much needed peace and growth.

The Kingdom of Labadour

The Kingdom of Labadour arose only shortly after Politzania, having received the Sword of Sif and her divine favor. Located in the Southwest corner of the continent, Labadour was protected by the Dorian Mountains during it's early years as it expanded outward into the Dorian Steppes. It also grew into the major sea power from it's fishing and commerce among the many small islands around it's capital city. Over the centuries, Labadour has become renown for it's heavy paladin cavalry. The huge temple to Sif in Labadour trains and teaches the finest force of paladin warriors in the known world, though Raven's outpost will no doubt eclipse it soon.
In the year of the comet, the barbarians to the north of Labadour overwhelmed it's defenses and rampaged throughout it's territory, destroying the power of that nation, but like most it is rebuilding and returning to power again. Once again, their ships are roaming up and down the coasts of the whole continent.

The City-State Confederation

A few hundred years after the founding of Politzania, a number of city-states began to grow in the plains to the east of Politzania. With Politzania as a neighbor, and not always a friendly one, the city-states organized themselves together to defend against aggression, at the same time mostly eliminating the wars between themselves. The City-State of the Invincible Overlord, furthest to the east, gradually came to dominate the others politically and economically. The various cities vary in size and power, but grew during this time of peace and are respectable cities at this time.

During the Eastern invasion just prior to CometFall, the united confederate armies were defeated by the invaders. Two city states were razed completely and the City-State of the Overlord was besieged, hit by a plague, and had the ruling family wiped out by assassins. The main Eastern army moved by to press the attack on Eastguard and Politzania, leaving the various other city states fairly defenseless and easy prey for later cleanup. With CometFall, the Eastern forces broke into factions, and roamed throughout the area, burning and looting and seeking homes and lands to rule. Furthermore, with the weather changes brought by the comet, famines, droughts, and plagues also roamed the land.

Recently, many city states endured these tribulations and have regained their strength again. A bastard line of the Overlord's family was replaced on the throne, and that city thrives. Freehaven was only recently cleared of the undead living there and rebuilding has begun. Banditry has been brought under control, and trade is growing again. Eastguard and Portstown, former Politzanian cities, have joined the Confederation, and the Confederation has also expanded to include Baycastle and Koin to the East.

Southwestern City States

The Southwestern City States, Thridor, Rumsey, and Lollady, are fairly small and located on the Dorian Steppes. The first two are far too exposed to the northern barbarians to grow well. They try to maintain as peaceful a relationship as possible with them, trading with them while remaining alert. They too were overrun by the barbarian invasion in the Year of the Comet, and thought to be recovering still. The party has never been there to know much more than this common knowledge.

The Nomads and the Khanate

There are two groups of nomads on this continent. The Khanate is centered around their capital city on the south-central coast, while the others fill in the northwestern section of the continent.

The Khanate (Mongols): These people are nomadic horseriders and are organized along tribal lines. Thor is their major diety, though all gods but Ardneh are worshipped. They are excellent horsemen and archers, and also excel at drinking. They raise horses and sheep across the southern plain (The Blood Plains) from the elven lands (Turgon Forest) to the Kondorian Jungle. They raid any nearby people to gain status, loot, and slaves. Many of their slaves live in the capital (and only) city, also called the Khanate. This city was captured by them about 500 years ago, and now houses their palace, temples, and many professional guilds. The architecture there is especially noteworthy, as it is a complete hodgepodge of every style of building on the continent, past and present. The skilled slave craftsmen and bureaucrats there keep the nomads living at a good standard of living… as long as your tribe is in good standing with the current ruling tribe. The Mages' Guild there is also quite respectable, and also made up of former slaves, since wizardry is not high in status among these barbarian nomads.

The Eastern Barbarians (Goths): These tribes truly fit the term barbarian. They have almost no permanent structures in their entire area, the HighVeld, with the exception of two small holy sites. They have little ironworking or skilled craftsmen, instead living off what they can trade for or take in raids from the civilized peoples. Their raids rely on speed and surprise, since their arms are inferior to those of their enemies and they have no real armor to speak of. They are mostly hunter-gatherers, unlike the herders of the Blood Plains, and they have Uller as their patron diety. Little else is known about them since visitors are usually invited to stay for a special meal, adding nicely to their usual diet.

The Stinkin' Elves Forest

Little is known about the elves. They live in the great Turgon Forest bordered by the North, East, and West Towers. While the elves are tolerant of trade and some exchange, visitors are stopped at the edge of the forest and not allowed inside. A brief war with Politzania, which neither side could win, has strained relations between the races.

The Iron Peaks

The mountains in the center of the continent, The Iron Peaks, were home to the dwarves and halflings. The dwarves found their home city, Erk, in a valley on the eastern side of the mountains, while the halfling city was found between the three lakes in the hilly area to the southwest. That was all long ago.

During the Eastern invasion, miles-long tentacles rose up from deep within the dwarven caverns and destroyed the city and anyone who tried to fight them. Few dwarves remained, and those mostly sailed back to their islands to the west. The city and ruins became a stronghold for a powerful group of bandits with drow leaders leftover from the chaos following CometFall. It is now called Dong Valley. The party managed to kill one of their drow leaders, the clerical one, before being slaughtered themselves. A couple surrendered, Endo was raised from the dead, and the party went on, greatly reduced in power.

The northwestern part of the Iron Peaks are now controlled by a lich named Charnak and his undead armies, no doubt also formerly part of the Eastern invasion. Little is known about him or his plans.

The southern halfling area was also destroyed by another tentacle. It is now under the control of Tepes, a minor diety. Tepes is a slug who lived near the powerful magical energy of the drow master power-portal and began to absorb the energy and change with it. Tepes grew in power and intelligence over the eons and has spawned a race of sluglike creatures with powerful psionic abilities. He lives a paranoid life deep within the cave complex housing the power portals and center of energy that gave him birth. Whatever halflings still in existence on this continent are controlled by him completely, but the land above is mostly occupied by ogres, and the lakes are filled with huge aquatic monsters. Recently the party snuck into the central cave, and with a magic item supplied by the gods, closed the portal, hopefully permanently. This earned us the hatred of Tepes, but his power is fading and he is now (hopefully) obsessed with reopening it and not with revenge.

The Kingdom of Kondore

Located far to the Southeast, most of Kondore is a dense jungle called the Kondorean Jungle. It is ruled by a king and a very organized and efficient army, patterned after the Romans. They have very dark skin and very little is known about them. They have fought skirmishes with the orcs in the mountains on their northern border for generations, and some small battles with the Khanate. They also fought along with the Eastern Empire in the far past during the early invasions, but seem to be free from Eastern influence now. Their jungles and the distance have separated them from other civilized cultures until recently, creating many differences in culture and lifestyle. They have trained many of the native forms of reptiles to do their bidding, including both walking and flying mounts. Darkwood is grown there, a stronger and lighter wood that is superior to most other woods in every way, and darkwood shields are becoming a valuable trade commodity.

While they were still neutral in the last war ended by the Comet, the change in weather patterns turned the southern part of their kingdom, south of the Southern Ridge into desert, the Comet's Blight, with massive migrations and social unrest. They too are just now recovering from those difficult years and regrowing in their strength.

Below update: 11-March-2011 per email from Tom the DM

TYPE OF GOVERNMENT: Elective Monarchy

The head of each of the 22 Churches gets a vote to pick a new ruling blood line; they must have 13 votes for a new ruler to be chosen, they keep on voting dropping the one with the fewest votes every time. This is done any time a King dies; the Nebka line has ruled since the comet. If the Church's can get 15 votes together they can replace a living King, this law is in place in case the King can no longer perform his duties. The only limit on who the blood line can be is that it cannot be a church member. The head of the army must be a Noble, a Duke cannot hold this position. Only Nobles can hold a position of leading any of the army at any time. This includes law enforcement which is considered a branch of the army.

THE COUNCIL: The King then appoints who he wishes to the offices of the King: Treasury, etc.

NOBLES: At this time there are 11 Dukes who rule over 11 counties. Each Duke has a number of untitled Nobles that he rules over, each Noble either governs a portion of a county, or in charge of law enforcement, etc. Only Noble blood can be in charge of military force!

CHURCH: No one church seems to be in charge. From what outsiders can tell each church has an almost equal power in the kingdom.

LAW: Law enforcement is considered part of the military. The Judges are appointed for life by the local Noble, with the Duke's judge acting has a higher court. The King also has a judge in his court that can oversee the lower courts. A judge has been appointed by the King to run the trading outpost area with all outsiders, and the judge appears to go out of his way to be lenient to people not from Kondore's culture, so no one know for sure how the law is performed inside the Kingdom.

ECONOMY: The kingdom seems to have a very open no-holds-barred economy, with anyone able to make money. The culture appears to have a heavy dislike for guilds and none are known inside the kingdom.

CULTURE: There is some sort of caste system inside Kondore, how you become placed into a caste is unknown or if it is a mobile society, possible to move from caste to caste. It seems to be a very simple system from the outside with caste, Noble, military, church, workers. The people of Kondore do not like to discuss the caste system with outsiders. Overall the Kondorian's seem very eager and open to trade and deal with all outsiders, including orcs! But at the same time they seem untrusting when it comes to what happens inside the Kondore kingdom, limiting travel to just the outer areas of their territory, which includes the merchants. All people must get a special pass to travel inland and only a few have been granted.

The Eastern Islands

Known as the Eastern Empire, the Empire of the Asp, or by other terms, this land is ruled by drow. While the drow rule, the majority of the inhabitants are enslaved humanoids of all kinds, humans, orcs, ogres, etc. The drow are long-lived and powerful people, but breed slowly and kill each other off, as promotions are often gained through assassination. They worshipped Hel and Loki, but now despise Loki for his betrayal in helping shift the comet to fall on their capital city and destroying them in their hour of triumph.

Almost nothing is known about the homelands of the Eastern Empire except that they are on a group of islands to the east of this continent. Past the Great Swamp is Gateway, a city on top of the Cliffs of Shadow overlooking the Great Swamp, then an agricultural area, the Sky Steppes, and a port city. The rest of the empire is on islands that are completely unexplored by the West. The capital city was struck by the comet and is now underwater and destroyed, but surrounding areas and other islands still exist and are also regaining their strength after Cometfall and all the havoc that began. It is believed that with the capital destroyed, other powerful families began to fight for the throne, but that is mostly speculation and rumor.

As the Empire was regaining strength and sending ambassadors to the West, an ancient tome of Hel's worship and doctrine was found which shows Hel as far less evil than her worshippers had become. In the drow drive to power, they had far exceeded her mandate, especially in their use of slavery and the undead. This book has started a movement to return to a less severe form of worship and conduct, but has also ignited another civil war among the clergy and ruling families that continues today.

The Great Swamp of Ardneh

Located west of the Great Forest and between the Cliffs of Loki and the Krull Ranges, The Great Swamp was once a highly populated area during the First Empire of the Drow and was the center of the humanoid rebellions that brought an end to that empire. However, after the whole region was freed from Eastern control, orcs and others dammed up several rivers, causing the whole region to slowly become a vast swamp and destroying the center of the resistance. Since then it has faded in power and importance, and today is populated by subsistance level hunters and farmers. In addition to the humans, there is a race of intelligent reptiles there that are at home in the swamp, have their own towns, and live in harmony with the humans.

Ardneh's personal influence helped bring about those ancient rebellions, and both the swampies and swampie humans are strong Ardneh worshippers. Officially, the Eastern Empire (Empire of the Asp) still claims the Great Swamp, and many swampies are involved in low level guerrilla warfare against their rule. An ancient city there, now only ruins half-buried in swamp, is the location where Ardneh became fully aware of himself and his Godhood. Both Swampie races and the Drow Empire all venerate the location, and a tense peace resides there, with each group controlling the site for 12 hours of each day. Many other ruins are buried in the swamp as well.

Swampie Society
Swampies live scattered throughout the Great Swamp in tiny hamlets of 100 people or less. Human and reptile villages are pretty much separate but interspersed, with the humans preferring areas of solid land while the lizards prefer shallow water. The two live in harmony though they speak different languages, but most speak a pidgin that can be understood by all. Humans build on dry land, but even then, most buildings are raised on stilts or supported between trees, usually between five and ten feet off the ground. This offers protection both against seasonal floods, but also the occasional snake, crocodile, or other predator common throughout the swamp. Most people support themselves by hunting, fishing, and gathering. Some agriculture exists, but most is more of a careful maintenance of a naturally growing food source than actual agriculture. Berries, rice, and rye are staples. Herding of animals is almost unknown. Each village is self-sufficient with most people doing all jobs, depending on the season, but some specialists exist as well. Money is scarce in the swamp, and most specialists, such as a quality bowmaker, would barter his bows for food and/or clothes. Village Elders often collect shares of harvests to support such people and/or care for the sick or elderly. Even the most citified of swampie people will feel at home outdoors, be capable of living off the land and knowing enough survival skills to travel through the swamp fairly safely.

Organization: Individual villages are usually centered around a temple/inn/meeting hall and presided over by the Village Elder, a man or woman chosen by consensus of the village. The Elder is often a cleric and usually dedicated to Ardneh, though all the good gods are honored and respected throughout the swamp. Two or three times a year a regional meeting of Village Elders is held, usually coinciding with holy days or harvest festivals in one of the 3 "cities" in the swamp. These councils usually speak of current news, arrange for care of refugees or other victims, and rarely, talk of defense against the East or some other threat. For the most part, swampies are unaffected by the rest of the world and just do their best to live day-to-day. Travel is rare for most people; they may visit one of the "cities" every 5 years or so for a festival or on a honeymoon, but never outside the Great Swamp. A school of bards exists among the swamps, supported by the Elders, and the travelling storytellers keep the traditions of the people alive and fresh for every generation, and keep them informed of more recent events as well.

Mercy, the largest city in the swamp is located on a dry area of land in the south and has over 1000 people living in it. It houses the Temple of Ardneh, a center of learning, religion, culture, and art where many young swampie teens dream of going. The Temple offers a 3-year program to educate the wisest teens, and few people become elders who did not graduate from the program. Each of the cities are centers of learning, offering apprenticeships in weaving, herbology, agriculture, woodcarving and carpentry. Having quality bowyers, fletchers and spearmakers are important to survival in the swamp, and tradesmen meet to share knowledge and learn new techniques. Each town is located near one of the portal stones, teleportation devices which help connect people across the swamp and whose existance was kept secret from outsiders for many years.

War with the East: With the flooding of the valley untold centuries ago, the swamp ceased to be any threat to the East, but the conditions in the swamp make it not worth the Empire's time and effort to conquer. Still, the two cultures stand in direct opposition to each other, one standing for freedom and caring for individuals under the sign of Ardneh, the other to slavery, conquest by force, and a low regard for human life under Hel and the Shadow. Constant skirmishes occur between the two, usually along the road, a broad causeway through the swamp, used by the East to invade the West every 100 years. Swampies will raid caravans, free slaves, and guide any who want it to freedom and a new life in the swamp. The East will often hang any Swampie they find too near the road and occasionally send patrols to harass or burn villages. In many ways, this war keeps the Swampie culture alive, motivating the people to hold fast to Ardneh and the struggle against the East, knowing the fate (probably exaggerated) of conquered peoples under them.

The Orc Mountains or Krull Ranges

The Krull Ranges are the largest group of mountains on the Continent, consisting of several ranges of mountains going north and south with steep valleys in between. These ranges are peopled by many species of evil humanoids, orcs only being the main one. They are rocky, steep, and inhospitable, and also riddled with caves, streams, and a few volcanoes.

The first mountain range is populated with orcs who often trade with human populations. Endo's brother-in-law, Kang, was a war leader there and was given the Spear of Gruumsh. With it, he united the tribes and tried to build a great and organized empire. He nearly succeeded, but was finally assassinated during an ambush by traditionalists who didn't like the changes he was making. Years later, those same orcs ambushed a trading caravan with Zaldiston along. He alone managed to escape and return to civilization, where he met and joined the party.

The Highest mountains in the Krull ranges, just south of the Great Swamp, are also known to be the ancestral home of the White Dragons on this continent.

Koin and the Northeast

Koin is a collection of 6 small towns that during the Third Empire marked its westernmost territory. Relatively unimportant otherwise, they held an eastern garrison of Uruk-hai orcs, and the invasion of the West began there. Of the 6 towns, 5 were of humans and were known for their skilled craftsmen. This reputation has increased since CometFall, since Koin was pretty much spared all the chaos the infected the rest of the world, leaving it one of the few places still producing high-quality goods. The sixth town was of Uruk-hai, the guardians of the towns. Those Uruk-hai were slowly changed into mostly Lawful Neutral, honorable warriors by their leader, an excommunicated paladin of Sif whose soul had been brought back and enslaved by the East. Together with the Guildmasters of Koin, Koin was set up with a free government led by Guildmasters and focusing on free trade between the East and the West, but free of Eastern control. With Cometfall, he was freed to begin his policy of conversion of the Uruk-hai as his means of regaining the favor of Sif. He succeeded in around 1105 AF, 108 years after Cometfall, and was granted release from his Unlife and Banishment from Sif's presence. With the consolidation of power under the new Overlord of the City State, Koin has fallen under their "protection". The Uruk-hai, left without purpose and being a bit ostracized, moved into the Great Forest to set up a town there and act as its protectors, under the authority of the Druids.

The Great Forest and the Ranger War. The Great Forest, which stretches between Koin and the Great Swamp and up to the northern coast, is a vast area of largely pristine forest. Small hamlets are scattered about, each consisting of maybe a dozen families eking out a subsistance level existence. Most are farmers, hunters, and trappers. The Druids have claimed the whole area, and have set up about a dozen territories each protected by a Ranger. About 3 years ago, the highest level ranger, Randall, allied with the shadow dragon and began a war. Most of the other rangers were killed and many hamlets were wiped out. Our party was in the forest at the time and helped to end the war by killing Randall and his subcommanders and also by assisting the gnolls to rebel against the shadow dragon and abandon the war. Since then the forest has been repopulated to about where it was before. New rangers have been assigned, and many of the refugees from the Iron Peaks (see game logs "Tepes") were resettled there.

Note update: To help maintain regional stability and support a couple of Rangers, Raven had Sherman "retire" as his war-mount and with his freed clan of fellow draco fire-lizards, settle in the south central area of the forest. They provide backup for the rangers as needed and in turn are protected by the rangers as well.

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