Continent of Suinvar

Archenholde

Population: 1,924. (93% Human, 4% Half-Elf, 2% Elf, 1% Other)
Ruler: Lord Viktor Wilhelm III (hereditary monarch, Human Aristocrat 7/Bard 3)
Major Cities: Archenholde City* (Pop 646), Battlehold Keep (Pop 337), Sanders (Pop 922).
Major Imports: Produce, wool.
Major Exports: Fish, iron ore, lumber.

Archenholde is a small fiefdom crammed between the southern tip of the Earthspine Mountains and the southern end of the Greatwood. Historical documents postulate that Archenholde was founded by the descendants of the rebel slaves from the now-ruined kingdom of the extinct serpentfolk to the east. Once a small but dangerous kingdom of serpentine humanoids with powerful magic, the serpentfolk took countless humans as slaves. The ancestor of the ruling family supposedly led the revolt that freed the serpentfolk’s slaves. Having relied on the disposable labor of slaves for so long, the serpentfolk kingdom soon fell into ruin.

Archenholde now has only one primary concern: the Grindel Territories. Though Archenholde’s military is small, its elite commando units of Hundred Arrow Archers are highly effective at harrying enemy regiments, and they occasionally receive additional support from the Dembram Republic. Battlehold Keep, though currently only holding about three hundred soldiers, is actually capable of holding over four times that many, to accommodate visiting Dembram soldiers.

Dembram Republic

Population: 215,343. (52% Human, 16% Elf, 10% Half-Elf, 8% Dwarf, 5% Gnome, 4% Halfling, 3% Other, 2% Half-Orc)
Ruler: Dembaran Senate (72 senators elected on a four-year basis; various NPC/PC classes and levels.)
Major Cities: Belfast (Pop 32,155), Calispell (Pop 14,601), End-Vaald (Pop 21,315), Freeport (Pop 74,313), Southgate (Pop 2,225), Kerrigan Hold (Pop 4,810), Stormhold* (Pop 11,255), Vaarsuvius (Pop 36,817), Veritas (Pop 4,013), Wallwatch (Pop 316).
Major Imports: Lumber, produce, horses, wool.
Major Exports: Cut stone, iron ore, magic items.

The Dembram Republic has been a country for nearly six thousand years, longer than nearly any other country in the world. It has a long and strange history. It is said to be the birthplace of democracy (a claim vehemently opposed by the Volgan States to the north, though few take them seriously). In recent history, Dembram has been embroiled in four different wars, all with the Volgan States. The most recent is still technically on-going after 18 years, though it has been under a forced cease-fire for the past year while treaty negotiations take place on the floating citadel that is home to the Archmagi. The citadel is currently located just off the coast of the Vastin Ocean to the east, north of Malthir—a city that is something of a thorn in the side of the negotiators, as both sides are demanding the city falls under their jurisdiction because it is such a key port city.

Thousands of years ago, Dembram’s biggest threat came from the serpentfolk kingdom at the western end of the country, north of the river-port city of Vaarsuvius. The serpentfolk there would raid Dembaran cities on a constant basis for new slaves. Eventually, Dembram began construction of a massive wall, fortified by powerful magic, to protect themselves. The serpentfolk kingdom fought bitterly against the wall’s construction, but they were eventually foiled, mostly thanks to the efforts of the Shining Blade Guild. It is for this reason the guild is so highly thought of in Dembram to this day. While the serpentfolk are long-since extinct, the wall still stands as a shield against the monstrous trolls that reside in the Great Wood.

Everwood (Settlements)

Population: 3,714. (95% Human, 4% Half-Elf, 1% Other)
Ruler: None (scattered human settlements throughout the borders of Everwood, none very large)
Major Cities: None.
Major Imports: Iron ore, produce, textiles.
Major Exports: Lumber.

The massive and aptly-named forest of Everwood houses the elven kingdom of Zanthalon somewhere in its depths, yet the forest is also home to dozens of small human settlements. Ancient monsters and secrets dwell within the forest depths, so the settlements are scattered along the forest’s borders, and few are more than a day’s travel from the forest edge. There are Black Cloak Hunters aplenty near Everwood’s settlements, and they are generally a welcome sight, as they mean that the magical beasts and other dangerous creatures of the wild will be held at bay.

Life in the Everwood settlements generally mean one of three things: growing up to work in one of the many lumber mills, growing up to become a hunter of game for the villages, or growing up and leaving to make your fortune elsewhere in the world. The massive canopy of the forest allows for little light, even in the large clearings where most of the villages are situated, and many find it a confining existence. Others take to it naturally, and find plenty of purpose in helping to supply over half of Suinvar’s lumber supply to the world.

Grindel Territories

Population: 27,633. (26% Human, 24% Half-Orc, 19% Orc, 11% Half-Elf, 10% Ogre, 3% Dwarf, 3% Halfling, 2% Gnome, 2% Troll.)
Ruler: Lord General Harnak The Butcher (hereditary monarch, Half-Orc Aristocrat 3/Fighter 12)
Major Cities: Chefer* (Pop 6,522), Grimfire Keep (Pop 13,566), Grindel Castle (Pop 4,512), Tremen (Pop 1,934).
Major Imports: None (raids).
Major Exports: None.

Perhaps the largest thorn in the side of civilization in southern Suinvar would be the Grindel Territories, a series of small fiefdoms that were overtaken and merged with the Grindel Kingdom centuries ago. Only three generations ago, the king was usurped by his half-orc general, Rorgush. Rorgush’s progeny have held the throne through fear and an iron fist ever since, conscripting not just the citizens, but also nearby dominated monsters into their army. The current ruler, Lord General Harnak, has been pushing for more territory over the past few years. While Archenholde’s clever use of their Hundred Arrow Archers have kept him out of their lands thus far, and The Widening has kept him from assembling a proper assault against Vaarsuvius in the Dembram Republic, Harnak has made some headway against the kingdom of Hyperion to the West, whose soldiers are too spread-out to mount a strong defense.

Hyperion

Population: 54,771. (54% Human, 19% Elf, 13% Halfling, 9% Gnome, 2% Half-Elf, 2% Half-Orc, 1% Other)
Ruler: King Rannos of the Screaming Fist (“appointed” monarch, Human Martial Artist 4/Fighter 1/Sorcerer 6/Eldritch Knight 9)
Major Cities: Arcturus* (Pop 34,609), Kasparr (Pop 13,025), Port Archer (Pop 2,113), Reeber (Pop 567).
Major Imports: Ink, stone, textiles.
Major Exports: Lumber, magic items.

Hyperion is home to an unusual ritual. Whenever the king or queen dies, an ancient and semi-sentient arena awakens known as The Kingmaker. A tournament is held four new moons from the death of the old ruler, and those who qualify in the Grand Melee enter into a double-elimination tournament to fight—often to the death—for the crown. Residents of Hyperion are not the only ones allowed to enter the tournament; anyone may enter, so long as they are human (any non-human entering the arena is violently shunted out; apparently the Kingmaker only allows human rulers).

The current king—Marcus Rannos, also known as the Screaming Fist for the signature spell he created himself based off of ancient martial arts techniques handed down by his original monastery—is in fact born and raised in Hazenport, in the Volgan States. It is widely thought of as destiny that he won the tournament, as he was a wanderer for many years after leaving the monastery and only happened into Hyperion by chance.

Hyperion is currently embroiled in a war on two fronts, both for land. One is with Velanaar to the north, who have recently been trying to push their taxation into regions under the purview of Hyperion. The other is with the Grindel Territories, who have been encroaching on Hyperion for decades but have only recently begun having success; Hyperion’s armies are stretched too thin fighting two fronts.

Ner Dargonholme

Population: 57,299. (97% Dwarf, 2% Gnome, 1% Other)
Ruler: King Vruger Grugosh (Hereditary monarch, Dwarf Aristocrat 6/Fighter 7).
Major Cities: Dargonholme (Pop 0), Ner Dargonholme* (Pop 54,377).
Major Imports: Hides, produce, textiles.
Major Exports: Adamantine ore, gems, iron ore, mithral ore, stone.

Ner Dargonholme is the massive under-mountain city of the dwarves, carved over a millenium inch by inch. After a thousand years, construction is still incomplete, a testament to the patience and steady hand of the mountainfolk. Despite its ongoing construction, the city lies in an artificial cavern nearly four hundred feet below the surface, accessible only by a great stone elevator. The cavern is nearly a half-mile high at its peak, and runs several miles in radius. Light is “herded” into the cavern through the use of enormous mirrors and tunnels burrowd through the ceiling, then reflected off of various enormous gems dug up from the earth.

Even though the craftsmanship of the city is truly awe-inspiring, every last dwarf insists their previous city, Dargonholme (after which this one is named), is so far superior to its successor that, supposedly, even the haughty elves of Everwood wept at its beauty. According to the dwarves, Center sent its divine craftsman, Dargon the All-Father, into the Earthspine Mountains millenia ago to create the First Race from the stone, the dwarves. (Elves in particular find this tale highly offensive, believing themselves the oldest race in Acadecia.) It came as a great tragedy to them, then, when the city was overrun by aberrations and other foul creatures from the depths of the Underdark and the dwarves were decimated. Those that survived were forced to flee to the surface to eke out a living herding goats and mining what few minerals could be found near the surface of the stone. It was not until after several centuries—and two failed attempts to retake Dargonholme—that construction on the new city began. That was over a thousand years ago, and still the city is being built. Even though Ner Dargonholme is a shadow of its previous incarnation, the dwarves will settle for nothing but perfection.

The mines of Ner Dargonholme delve far into the earth and even up into the heights of the tallest peaks, allowing them to find precious metals of all kinds: copper, tin, iron, flint, coal, and most importantly, mithral and adamantine. No other country in the world produces as much of the exceedingly rare adamantine as Ner Dargonholme. Unfortunately, this also brings the dwarves into regular conflict, both with the goblin and Duergar denizens of the Underdark, and the giant tribes of the Earthspine.

North Velanaar

Population: 11,755. (92% Human, 3% Elf, 2% Halfling, 1% Gnome, 1% Half-Elf, 1% Other)
Ruler: None (part of Velanaar).
Major Cities: Elden (Pop 143), Clay (Pop 226), Mabel (Pop 301), Randell (Pop 7,055), Terrorwatch (Pop 1200), Tremen (Pop 912).
Major Imports: Iron ore.
Major Exports: Lumber, produce, wool.

While ostensibly under the purview of Velanaar to the south, North Velanaar is such a wide expanse of flatlands and moors that it is logistically impossible to police it. However, North Velanaar’s population is low enough that an uprising is highly unlikely, and generally the farmers and woodcutters of North Velanaar are content with the king’s rule much farther south.

While a majority of North Velanaar’s eastern border is comprised of Everwood, the left finger of the Earthspine Mountains, and the (unfortunately) aptly named Trollmoors, there is a wide expanse at the north tip of the continent of open plains. The Volgan States has attempted invasions in the past through this expanse, so long ago, Velanaar constructed a pair of fortresses to guard the gap: Upper and Lower Terrorwatch. While each is only manned by six hundred soldiers, the fortresses are superbly-built to withstand siege and only require half that number to man them.

Velanaar

Population: 125,345. (49% Human, 16% Elf, 14% Halfling, 9% Gnome, 5% Dwarf 3% Half-Elf, 2% Half-Orc, 1% Outsider, 1% Other)
Ruler: King Damicus Rogarr (Hereditary monarch, Human Aristocrat 11)
Major Cities: Alterant (Pop 1,233), Chastity (Pop 1,945), Diedrich (Pop 3,544), Erogaard Keep (Pop 4,677), South Eronarr Tower (Pop 355), Velanche* (Pop 105,322).
Major Imports: Ores and gems, textiles.
Major Exports: Horses, leather, produce.

Third-largest seat of power on the continent, Velanaar rules the shipbound trade on the Western coast of Suinvar—and indeed, the Western coast itself. The only city on the West Coast not held by Velanaar is the Hyperion city of Port Archer, the only location outside of Hyperion’s capitol city of Arcturus capable of meeting shipbound traders and thus a major fighting point in Velanaar’s recent push for more land to tax in Hyperion territory.

Velanaar has a history of conflict with their less populous southern neighbor, but rarely has the city-state attempted to make such an overt land-grab. Popular speculation favors the idea that political infighting among the noble families has forced the king to show his strength to his enemies (which includes pretty much all four noble houses) to keep them from trying to overthrow him—something which has occurred between the houses so many times throughout the city-state’s existence that it has become something of a pasttime. House Rogarr has held the throne for a record four generations; usually the new ruler is decided in bloodshed.

Volgan States

Population: 256,031. (38% Human, 17% Elf, 14% Halfling, 11% Gnome, 10% Half-Elf, 6% Half-Orc, 3% Dwarf, 1% Other)
Ruler: Volgan Congress of Lords (Head of each of the twenty-seven richest families)
Major Cities: Balken (Pop 83,000), Kor* (Pop 61,344), Hazenport (Pop 119,422).
Major Imports: Cattle, iron ore, lumber, produce, textiles.
Major Exports: Processed goods, refined metals, ships.

Originally three small city-states founded by three warring brothers, each of the city-states grew continuously until they inevitably began butting up against each other. Now, the three city-states are only separate cities on paper; geographically, they are essentially one entity. The States are ruled by the Congress of Lords, comprised of the heads of the twenty-seven richest families in the country. The five richest Lords, known as the Dukes of Volg, hold what they refer to as the “swing votes,” a laughable term to anyone outside the Volgan States, as it essentially means they can nix any decision made by congress.

Poverty and famine plague the city-states, with the disparity between rich and poor far greater than in any other sovereignty in the world, even the Durance Sheikdom. Despite their size, the States have a relatively small standing army, preferring instead to rely on forced conscription in times of war—conscripts are cheaper to pay and easier to replace than career soldiers. In fact, most career soldiers in the States are marines in the Volgan Navy.

Desperately short on space for their massive populace, the states have warred with the neighboring Dembram Republic—and even the elves of Everwood—for land on countless occasions. They are currently embroiled in the Fourth Volgan War with the Republic, a conflict that has lasted for eighteen years, though they are currently under a forced ceasefire thanks to the arrival of the Archmagi last year.

Zanthalon

Population: 31,033. (97% Elf, 2% Half-Elf, 1% Other)
Ruler: Council of Elders (3 appointed councilors, all wizards of at least 13th level.)
Major Cities: Xivamor (Pop 3,042), Zanthalis* (Pop 26,533).
Major Imports: None.
Major Exports: Hand-crafted weapons, magic items.

Zanthalon is hidden deep within the heart of Everwood. Its capitol, and one of only two major cities, is Zanthalis, a massive city magically crafted to blend into the trunks and boughs of the enormous trees within Everwood, some of which grow to over one hundred feet in diameter and a quarter-mile in height. The entire settlement was crafted using an ancient and sacred art of magic known as Treesinging, performed almost exclusively by druids. Only elves or those of elven blood are taught to Treesing.

Few but the elves have ever laid eyes upon the city, as they are not fond of visitors, but those who have deny that any more beautiful structures exist in the world. Xivamor, while not quite as breathtaking structurally, is still impressive in its own regard. Mostly populated by adepts and druidic intitiates, Xivamor is where the druids of the continent come to congregate to discuss matters of nature when the need arises. There are magically crafted groves and gardens of all shapes, sizes, and colors, each as unique as the druid that grew it. Some of these groves are hundreds or thousands of years old.

Zanthalon is highly self-sufficient, growing its own food, hunting its own game, crafting its own tools, and so on. Many elves of Zanthalon are adept at magic in some form, and what few goods that they require are easily traded for with magic items.

Continent of Suinvar

Realms of Acadecia DM_Apoc