Old/True Empire Geography
The True Empire is a nation with a long and extensive coast line that might well have become a maritime power but for one problem, the Devil’s Sea. This area effectively cuts the True Empire in to two separate maritime regions, one is to the west on the Indertsa Sea and one to the east of the Endless Ocean. The more populous west has always been the focus of the True rulers as it bordered the treacherous Divine Empire. Only thirty or so years ago the True Empire proudly destroyed the Divine Province of Ipranius, now known as the Isle of Hate, ending all Divine authority in the eastern Indertsa Sea. It cost the True Empire almost all of its naval forces but it destroyed a wealthy and populous region of the Divine Empire. The Devil’s Sea meant that it was impossible to reinforce the west and thus hindered the war effort. Since then the two coasts have worked virtually independently of each other.
True Kaegoria (Gleaming Tovaj/Paramanian)
A site of a great Elven city that was sacked by man and rebuilt. Gleaming Tovaj was a beautiful garden city that spread across both banks of the River Palas. It had a sizeable population of Halflings and gnomes along with numerous human guest servants. The premiere Elven port of the east in was home to a sizeable fleet of merchant and war ships. The docks and harbour was sacked by Pamarian and then later destroyed by Man after the Tear from Heaven poisoned the land. Only years later when the winds and rains had cleansed the ground was it rebuilt as Pamarian. After the establishment of the True Empire and the split with the West, it was renamed True Kaegoria.
Tiriya is a large agricultural town and mercantile centre that feeds the Empire’s capital which lies on the Palas River. There are enormous slave estates around the region that are enthusiastically administered by the Clergy of Bralm. Tiriya’s produce is to keep the True Kaegoria fed and little else matters. The overseers are not overly cruel and preach the’ accept your status’ dogma of Bralm to the slaves. Those that adhere to the rules are well enough treated but those that rebel are made an example of.
This was the landing point for the armies if Man when they came to the East. Commissioned by Kaegor himself, the grim fortress of Tervingard guards the straits of Hope. Built by Uhderecht of Plavanth, once apprentice to Dwarven masters, it is a formidable castle. It has two harbours, one on each coast, and quarters for a large army of defenders. As the Devil’s Sea blocks, all but the most dangerous, interaction between to the Indertsa Sea and the Endless Ocean, the two harbours allow for a means of trading between the two maritime regions. Goods are unloaded at one port and transported to the other only to be reloaded and to sail on. There are large warehouses to allow storage while cargoes wait to be forwarded on and a thriving market has developed. Ruled by the Men of War with support from the Priests of Hextor, it is a militarised place. Noticeably there is a small temple to Xerbo, god of the Sea, Sailing, Money, and Business and another to Zahak, there is no love lost between the two. The Clergy of Bralm are present providing the support for the large garrison and naval forces.
This is the great cathedral and centre of the worship of Hextor. His elite follower clerics and fighters train here for one purpose only. No other faith may be worshipped and the teachings of the Scourge of Battle are studied and obeyed.
Large Town: Alignment: TN, Population: 5,250, (84% human, 6% elven, 5% mixed ethnicity, 5% others), Authority figures: Ladislau Bhahri, (human, male, ranger-lord) and Haskar Jubel (human, male, fighter)
This is an old garrison border town charged with defending the northern boundaries of the True Empire from Orcs, Elves, Dwarves and any other interlopers. It was built soon after Kaegor’s victory around a solid and squat coastal citadel with a sprawling settlement around it. It was designed as a functional, if brutal, defensive structure but has never been tested. The harbour is well defended with a stout sea wall and defensive bastion but has never been attacked. To extend the Empire’s authority the Warders of Vigilance were established and they performed sterling work keeping the lands safe. They were recruited from rangers, fighters and scouts to patrol to lands north in to Lemura. As was common back in the early days, the Warders were dedicated to the old lore and particularly the nature god Obad-Hai. As the rest of the True Empire eventually turned away to darker faiths, the Warders remained true to their beliefs but also fell out of favour with the ruling cabal. The order dwindled in prestige and size over the years and has almost been forgotten.
At present the High Warder is Ladislau Bhahri, an elderly ranger-lord of great repute and capability, who has skilfully kept away from the scheming that infects the True Empire. He is on excellent terms with the Elves of Lamura and the Warders quietly co-operate with them on patrols and in containing the feral orcs of the north. There is no formal alliance but in practice, well out of sight, they work well together. Recently a regiment of the Men of War, the Acolytes of Battle, was posted to Udrakadesh to bolster the Warders and as a punishment for the regiment which had failed to perform well while on duties in the far west. Though they had initially performed well in engagements with Divine Empire forces they had ultimately had to be evacuated surrendering the field to their enemies and worse still, Heironeous followers. Haskar Jubel is their leader after it was decided that he was ultimately responsible for the failure in the west and is now based at Udrakadesh as punishment. Though arrogant, Haskar is not stupid and is leaving matters on the border to the capable hands of Ladislau Bhahri. There is no glory to be had chasing Elves and Orcs through the woods so he keeps his men in the settlement and leaves the wilds to the Warders. Udrakadesh has a very mixed populace with half-Elves and half-Orcs not uncommon and thriving communities of demi-humans, particularly Elves. Without a temple of Zahak, trade has actually flourished with numerous small shrines to Zilchus and Xerbo dotting the town. The newly founded Temple of Hextor has replaced the older and much smaller previous shrine. Haskar Jubel and his Acolytes of Battle make up the bulk of the congregation.
Large City: Alignment: LN(E), Population: 13,700, (75% human, 10% Dwarven, 9% Elven, 6% other). Authority figure: High Priest Ibram Mansa of Zahak (human, male, cleric).
Polymera was once a Dwarven trade town that fell during the War of Liberation to Kaegor’s forces in a blood bath of savagery. The besieged Dwarves retreated to a warren of tunnels and caves underneath the fortress and had to be cleared out in viscous room by room fighting. The Humans suffered awful casualties in the battle but eventually won. All of the Dwarves were put to the sword and the town was garrisoned. Many years later the town has grown in to a major trade city for the True Empire where commerce is carried out with Dwarves, Wood Elves and Successor State traders. There are areas of the city allocated for each group and they are very much left to their own devices within their designated locations.
The High Temple to Zahak, the demi-god of commerce, trade and greed, is here and the faith is the most prominent faction in the city. They control all the extensive markets and tax all trade within the city. The old Dwarven warrens are theirs and use them as they wish. Ibram Mansa is the High Priest and effectively controls Polymera with the blessing of the ruling cabal. He is a major advocate of peaceful co-existence with the Successor States and even the Divine Empire to preserve the wheels of commerce. This has not made him popular with the Men of War and the Priests of Hextor but he is supported by the Clergy of Bralm and even the Temple of Wee Jas. There is a garrison of the Men of War as the city is both wealthy and strategically located. It is not a popular posting as it is both quiet and uneventful.
Small City: Alignment: LN, Population: 8,500, (96% human, 4% other) Authority figure: Duke Iskander XIII (human, male, noble) and Mother Vohis of Berei (Human, female, cleric)
Psardis a pleasant settlement on the east coast. It is neat orderly town laid out city with a spacious squares and elegant fountains. It has a broad harbour and market place. It has a fishing fleet and a wide belt of agricultural land around it. It was founded by Duke Iskander of house Salrathian, in the early days of the settlement of the region. His descendants still rule Psardis to this day and are heavily involved with the Old Nobility. The Salrathian’s rule with a paternal care for the populace and take their responsibilities as patrons seriously. Lawful and ordered it is a peaceful place for those that conform and respect tradition.
The Deep Forest (of Bowden)
Bowden was once the site of a great Elven forest till it was razed by Paramanian. In the inferno thousands of woodland creatures died, beautiful forest dells and majestic ancient trees were destroyed. Over the last three centuries the woodland has grown back but not as before. It is now much darker and devoid of the sylvan majesty it once possessed. The Deep Forest is now a dismal foreboding place that is the home to bandits, outcasts and fell creatures. One of the wildest rumours is that a group of elves, called the Blossoming Flowers of Vengeance, have settled in the forest but this is generally disbelieved.
Small Town: Alignment: NE, Population: 1,200, (95% human, 5% other). Authority figures: Eamer Duryodhan (human, male, rogue)
The settlement of Bowden is a trade town dominated by the merchants of Zahak who bicker with the Arcane Order of Thaumaturgists, Men of War and Smiths of Starfall over items created by the Starfall Ore. It has always been a rough and ready town with a high, unreported, crime rate for those without influence, position or protection. Nefarious persons from the Forest slip in and out of the town with little hindrance. The famous Bone Tower is located within the town of Bowden. The tower appears to be fashioned from the bones of gargantuan creatures, rising into the sky as a macabre obelisk crested with a bright blue flame. This gruesome structure is a testament to the practicalities of the clergy of Wee Jas and the Order, who use an undead workforce to handle the Starfall ore avoiding the problems that living folk have with extended exposure.
“When the gods saw the barbarity of Man they wept and a tear fell from the heavens and crashed down upon the land.” Anonymous Elf
This is the site of the magical meteor that crashed in to earth devastating the area. Within its crater the Starfall ore was found and crafted by the gifted Smiths of Starfall. The site was fought over by expeditions of Orcs, Dwarves and Gnolls but none held it in the end. The Starfall ore is similar to mithirl save it glows red and is harder to forge. It also does not interfere with the lower Arcane magics making it popular with the Arcane Order of Thaumaturgists as well as the Men of War and Priests of Hextor who desire magic weapons and armour. Only the Smiths may enter Starfall with all trade taking place at Bowden.
Easternway is an east coast town beyond the Algarvan Hills. It is home to the State Orphanage and a modest temple to the sun god Pelor. It is run by a town council and is famed as being a dull, unfashionable place. Street urchins and orphans are sent here from across the Old Empire to be educated and reformed in the orphanage. In the Old Kaegorian Empire these orphanages were common but this is the last one in the East.
There are also therapeutic springs that come down from the hills which have a reputed medicinal quality. Next to the spa is the Pelor Temple with its hospital. Probably because of its mundane reputation, Easternway is ignored by much of the ruling Cabal. It has too many poor and ill people to be of interest.
Broken Bay Area
Glifasa is a surprisingly prosperous fishing village on the shore of Broken Bay. It is rumoured that they supplement their income through smuggling goods and helping rebels get to Belluzcha. The village has one inn, the Lucky Cod, and a community hall with a number of small shrines in a side room for worship. Overlooking the village are two prominent features a Keep and a Lighthouse. On the landward side there is Glifasa Keep owned by Lord Mastasov. It overlooks the village on a grassy mound flanked by a pear orchard. Out of sight on the other slope is a large pig farm and brewery both of which have a great reputation. Along the coast to the south is a headland which shelters the harbour. At the end is a decrepit lighthouse which leans out into the bay and seems ready to fall into the sea. Its architecture is clearly Elven but war and nature has taken a toll on it.
The Mastov Keep and Estate: The Mastasov family is old nobility with enough sway within the Empire to have a fair bit of freedom in their actions. They have owned the keep and surrounding land for nearly 200 years having moved here from True Kaegoria. Their estates border one of the Tiriya estates overseen by the Clergy of Bralm. It is not known what gods the family worship with them keeping their religion private. Their lands are maintained without the assistance of the Clergy of Bralm providing no hint to their leanings. The Mastasov pigs have a reputation as some of the largest and most succulent in the Old Empire. Critics and rivals gossip that the Clergy pass them any slave corpses which are then fed to the pigs. Others suggest there could be some Dire Boar in their lineage. These rumours do little to hinder the sales with the quality and taste overcoming most people's doubts. The brewery is known for making a consistently good quality Perry Cider. It is not the best in the Empire but well respected. Any excess or damaged pears are provided to the village or Clergy of Bralm in the neighbouring estate.
The Broken Bay Lighthouse: This structure was obviously once a thing of beauty with many carvings still showing. It suffered some damage during General Pamarian's campaigns. That it remains shows there was either little resistance or the forces passed by quickly without conquering it. For as long as anyone remembers it has been considered haunted and avoided. The light comes on every night whether by magic or otherwise but no one has ever been seen to enter or leave.
The Greenbough Vales / The Hobbit Hills
This area of Halflings is detailed here.