The below is not required reading. It is background material of the setting. It is a lot of information and some of it is pretty trivial. I am only scratching the surface of the Kingdom here, and I actually left out quite a number of Duchies, Counties and Baronies.
The Kingdom of Silmaroth
The Kingdom of Silmaroth was formerly two different kingdoms which were united in 732 when the Queen of Ardamoth married the King of Silmar, sealing their union against the Southern Empire of Caresh. By this time the Empire had finally absorbed the long since defeated Empire of Belemar, leaving only the rebels on the naval island of Dholg which continues to remain defiant even to this very day.
The Province of Silmar
The Province of Silmar is the cold and windswept area from the tip of Cape Murder in the North, to the Imperial Border in the south. Silmar is a place of suspicions and of persecutions; a place where magic users are burnt at the stake and crusades are launched frequently. The reasons for the crusades may wary, but the basics remain the same; the lure of the dark arts has consumed someone and a Crusade must be launched to purge that which has succumbed to darkness.
Silmar is also a land of dark coniferous forests and shadowy marshes filled with moss and mushrooms. The Province Silmar is separated from the Province of Ardamien by the huge mountain range known as the Cyllerean Mountains, wherein dwells the Mountain Trolls and the savage barbarian nations. The Province is also known for its many silver mines and its picturesque villages. Some travellers claim that Silmar is a paradise inhabited by the denizens of hell, a place so mysterious and beautiful that the inhabitants have become obsessed with the idea of cleansing it of evil. Thus they spend most of their lives, distrustful and looking over their shoulders; always prepared to point an accusing finger, before the finger is pointed at them.
Piety is important in Silmar and often the act of being pious is more important than the actual faith in itself. People talk of the pious and the devout ones, and those wretches living in sin. Sin leads to seduction, seduction is the way the infernal ones lure people to witchcraft, and witchcraft is the ultimate of sins; every spell an erotic indulgence with the sinister lords of hell. Silmaroth never runs out of potential witches to trial, and there is always a stake and fire wood ready for another burning of the hell-spawned. Some family lines have been marked by witchcraft throughout the centuries and being born in one of these families is indeed an ominous event, for fingers will be easily pointed in their direction.
This region lies at the very heart of Silmar, and is the King’s own lands where only he taxes the population and where his estates can be found in every major city. Here the social elite gathers and here the King annually choose his new guardsmen recruits from among thousands of hopeful. The heartlands are important due to the abundant farmlands, the strategic location at the heart of the western Kingdom and especially due to the important weapon industry. The smithies of Silmar are never quiet and the steel forged in the Heartlands is indeed of superior quality.
The Capital City of Koenigsburg
The Capital was founded nearly eight hundred years ago, in the year 234 after the landfall, by refugees from the cataclysm on the old continent. It was the first place where the royal heir of the throne of Cal’Duahn wanted to settle down, due to the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The Old City is nested at a huge shelf of the mountain Sebelon where the Royal River cascades down from the highlands and run across the shelf, forming a small body of water called the Prince’s Pool, before the water once again falls of the side of the mountain and thunderously crash down at the base of the mountain where the New City has been built after the Old City no longer had space available. The legends tell that the Prince of Cal’Duahn was so impressed by the location that he forgot everything about practicality and demanded his royal abode built there.
Important centres of activity throughout town remains the awe inspiring Old City, which visitors can only gape in amazement at, it’s robust Norman architecture mixed with foliage and flowers grown by the Royal Gardeners in true Cal’Duahn tradition. Other places of note are the Citadel of the Order, where the HexenJaegers, the Holy Order, has its base of operations. Their grip of the population of the western realms is so powerful that some say the might of the Grand Cardinal HexenJaeger rival that of the King. The Temple of Fhalgharod should not be forgotten, and is a white walled complex of golden domed buildings built atop a hill in the New City. Here the worshippers of the Sun gather every Sunday morning on the huge temple plaza to praise their lord, the rising sun. This is a colossal event which draws nearly one hundred thousand citizens and pilgrims, and their chanting can be heard even outside the city walls. Not only is this an important religious gathering, but a way to prove how pious and devout you really are and thus many people make a show of themselves in order to get noticed.
Koenigsburg is not the largest city of the heartlands, nor is it the most productive, but it is where the court gathers and where all the major political decisions are made. In Koenigsburg the social elite shops their requisites on Jewellers Street and they party at court gatherings or on one of the countless fetes thrown by the nobility and other members of the social elite. It is in many ways the true face of Silmaroth; a place of beauty and festivities, but also of facades, hidden motives and fervent burning of that which they do not understand.
The City of Therben
The City of Therben, perched atop a small hillock and sprawling out on the surrounding plains, is the major production centre of the Heartlands. Here the streets are often filled with the dark smog from the ever burning furnaces of the huge smithy complexes and only in fierce wind can fresh air be inhaled without the stench of burnt coal, human sweat and molten metal. This does not bother the inhabitants of Therben overly much, as the city primarily consist of smiths and apprentices of the craft, aside from the weapon merchants and the army supply corps. Of course the city has a large number of other citizens, but at least half the population of about one hundred and ten thousand citizens is directly tied up to the weapon industry in one way or another (weapon merchants, smiths, apprentices, porters, caravan drivers and guards, army supply personnel, coal merchants, ore merchants, etc…) After a visit to Therben, a PC will sneeze black snot and his clothes will smell of smoke and sweat.
The dark and foreboding atmosphere of Therben is the home of an oddly high spirited population, and the unadorned red brick homes of Therben are hospitable places where friendship is highly valued. Of course they are preoccupied with the danger of Sin, just like any other place in Silmar, but their definition of Sin is looser than in other places. This has bothered the Holy Order to such a degree that they recently opened a “Moral Office” within that city, with two appointed guardians of moral and piety.
The City of Wilhelmsburg
Imperious Wilhelmsburg is the trade centre of the Kingdom and also the largest city in the north. With its more than five hundred thousand inhabitants, it sprawls across the countryside, completely engulfing the middle sized Wilhelm Lake, and actually containing two royal palaces; the Old Castle and the Beuvian Castle, as well as a host of elaborate mansions of the nobility. The city is known for its beautiful architecture, and the use of white marble has always been fashionable within the city walls, although the city fortresses and defences are of purely grey tiled Norman style architecture. There are five distinct city districts: Trader’s Town, King’s District, the Slum, Wilhelm Lake, and River Town.
Trader’s Town is where the city is most vibrant and alive, where hawkers stand at every corner and where small plazas frequently appear along the plentiful city streets and avenues. The City Watch moves in full squads here, as the area is ripe with thieves as well as agents from other nations, notably from the empire. There are a lot of foreign residents here, and this is the area where other nations keep their embassies.
The King’s District is where the Old Castle was built, and is sometimes referred to as the Old Town. It is a quiet district where the “old money” lives, and the residents own walled compounds, often with lush gardens within the walls. It is a great place for looking at architecture, gargoyles, fountains and beautifully decorated walls and buildings.
The Slum is the part of the city which is in the greatest state of decay and ruin. The buildings, although beautifully made, are old and falling apart. The Slum is organized in several ghettos and each ghetto is dominated by a criminal gang of cutthroats. Apart from that, the slum is full of passion and real people. Here the HexenJaegers hold little sway, even though there are few more enthusiastic bystanders at the burnings, than those hailing from the slum. Life is cheap here, and there is no recognized guild structure whatsoever. The rest of the city is dominated by guilds, but no such thing as a thieves’ guild can be found in the slum.
Wilhelm Lake is the area surrounding the lake, as well as the four islands within the lake itself. One island has been reserved as a park, and the citizens can be ferried across to it for a small fee. Another island was the first to be populated when the Duke of Sharaldon built his exquisite summer palace there. Evil tongues whispered that the Duke’s Palace by far outshone the King’s Palace and this prompted the King to construct a new palace, this on the third island. That Palace came to be known as the Beuvian Castle and with its white marble arches and buttresses it is more a piece of art than any actual stronghold. It was devoted to the memory of the fallen Kingdom of Cal’Duahn, where the Silmarites originally hail from, and is renowned for its great beauty and fabulous artistry. The last and largest island became occupied by diverse members of the social elite and is a city district in its own right, commonly referred to as Wilhelm Island.
The River Town is the area surrounding the Oloan River, which runs straight to the coast. The river is deep enough that large vessel can navigate it, canals having been dug in places where the river was formerly impassable. The River Town is heavily bridged and full of rowdy taverns and storehouses. It is outside the city walls and the architecture is mainly wooden, except for the larger warehouses and the dock facilities as well as the bridges.
The Northlands are vast areas of nearly uninhabited icy wilderness, where the glaciers of the last ice age have yet to fully withdraw. There are no major cities here, but a few towns of note. In the northlands a rough strain of Silmarites live and the only things they have in common with southerners are the penchant for hunting witches and a common language, although their dialects can be pretty thick.
Cape Murder is the northernmost tip of the Dhargenaas continent, and is a windswept and cruel place where two seas meet and ferocious storms batter the shoreline. It is a site of importance in some rituals of religion and sorcery, so the HexenJaegers have a local constabulary nearby to catch any would be sorcerors in the act. It is not a desired post within the hierarchy of the Order, and it is considered a punishment to be relocated there.
This is a huge canyon located close to the battered plain. The legends claim that two powerful sorcerers once battled here and that the earth was ripped asunder in their cataclysmic struggle. This theory only fuels the peoples’ conviction that warlocks and witches are dangerous and potentially life threatening, and thus deserves to be burnt. Within the rift some pretty rare minerals have been discovered and the canyon has become home to an entire town of mine workers and caravan drivers. Rift Town this place is called, and is a place full of makeshift structures. It is a place where men work during day, and drink and sleep with whores in the evening. Thievery of rare minerals has occurred and the penalty of doing so is death at the end of a rope. From this very area the Holy Order receives their magic defying metal and from this area the rare ingredient Oorklse, which strengthens the steel in the Silmarite swords, is extracted.
The Battered Plain
The Battered Plain is a huge region which is sparsely forested and filled with waist high grass. It is the home of several tribes of horse nomads, the aboriginal population of Silmar. While they are not recognized as Silmarites, the government leaves the heathens alone and in return the Silmarite caravans are left alone, save for some bouts of trading and bartering. Some sages theorize that the nomads are the descendants of the advanced Bluethon culture, of which remains can be found, scattered throughout the continent, but this theory often receives the butt end of jokes comparing amazing feats of architecture with dumb horse nomads living in crude huts and makeshift tents. Still the nomads are renowned as great horsemen and their fine steeds fetch great amounts of money on the Heartland marketplaces.
The Ruins of Limmeran
These are the ancient ruins of the Bluethon City of Limmeran. In its prime it must have been an amazing sight, as the ruins cover twice the ground that the city of Wilhelmsburg does. These rusty coloured ruins feature soaring towers whose doors cannot be breached, strange mosaic patterns raised on a dais, and vast underground labyrinths and catacombs. The ruins are not known to be haunted, unless one counts the countless treasure hunters searching the ruins and occasionally murdering each other in their quest for loot.
Morchyn is a huge swamp area, where icy cold water and strange creatures exist. There is nothing much hospitable about this swamp and given the fact that it is named after a strange species of insects whose eggs are laid within the flesh of animal or human craniums, it is not a popular place to visit. As the eggs slowly mature, the hatched larvae get their nourishment from the flesh and brain of the host, a process which slowly drives the host insane with pain and hysteria, before death mercifully arrives. The swamp itself has been rumoured to host a witches’ coven known as the Morchyn Coven, but the Holy Order has not seen fit to mount an expedition into that dreary swamp.
The Grey Coast
The Grey Coast is the western shore of Silmar, where the sea violently crash against the scarred and battered coastline. Deep green coniferous forests seem to follow the shoreline endlessly and the Silmarites, unlike the Ardamians, have no coastal towns, as their larger towns and cities are located upstream the major rivers, which most often are navigable by larger ships. When Cal’Duahn fell during the cataclysm, the legends tell of horrendous monsters erupting from the ocean, and that memory ensures that Silmarites won’t ever build coastal towns, although a few fishing villages does exist.
This is a huge inland lake some twenty miles from the Grey Coast. It is the first lake that the survivors of Cal’Duahn encountered, and it is the settled area which is closest to the coast. The Koniegssee is a lowland paradise, bordered by a mixed forest, small fishing villages and reed filled sand beaches. It is a typical example of serene Silmar landscapes, where everyone would be happy had it not been for the threat of the empire and the dangers of being accused of witchcraft. One village, Tharesiel, is actually the oldest Silmarian settlement on the Dhargenaas continent and its Chapel to Fhalgharod, the Sun God, was founded as long ago as year 146 after the landfall.
The borderlands are the war torn areas close to the border of the Southern Empire. Here several border baronies can be found, along with the powerful Duchy of Borenland, wherein lie such important border towns as Carloburg, Eckholt, Sanlich and Malenna. This region is dominated by rolling hills and is densely populated, for it lays close to the formerly independent city states of the now Conquered lands of the Empire. This region used to see heavy caravan traffic; spice, silks and horses from the Empire, armour, grain and fish from Belemar, along with the exotic goods of conquered cities such as ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Âºr-Kanesh and Kel-Keledon. Now the only traffic from the south is the armies of the empires, which has now invaded roughly half of the Borderlands.
The Duchy of Borenland
The Duchy of Borenland is home to the Duke Stein of Borenland, a descendant from the Kingdoms finest line of commanders and generals. As a token of the Crown’s gratitude, Stein’s family line, the Borenlanders, got their own province at the heart of the trade routes to the south, ensuring the entire family line a vast income from border taxes and trade. Alas as fate would have it, the relations with the south eventually soured to the point of war and Duke Stein lost half his Duchy to the Empire, which invaded while he was in the capital, courting the Countess of Grazenhof.
Borenland is a rich Duchy, ripe with natural resources and with several key towns and such important fortresses as Malenna and Carloburg. The army of Borenland is one of the best trained within the Kingdom and the recent defeats at Malenna and Eckholt has shaken most of the men of the Kingdom to the core of their being. The King is outraged and desperate, and has ordered Duke Stein back to rally the defences of the Kingdom. Meanwhile the national armies are mustering in the city of Arbad (in Ardamien) and outside the city of Therben (in the Heartlands).
The Western Cyllereans
The Cyllerean Mountains is a vast mountain range splitting half of the Dhargenaas continent in two. This half is mostly Kingdom territory, but it cannot be claimed that the Kingdom rules the central Cyllereans, nor much of the Western mountains. Therein lays the Dwarven Kingdom, where the miserly and greedy dwarves swindle honest Silmarites out of their hard earned money. Still they are an important source of trade, and their craftsmanship is unparalleled, if a bit costly. Only two dwarven cities are known to man: Khazad-Khazan, the warriors’ hive, and Khun-Khuzdhul, their holy city, both within a territory Silmaroth claim as its own, though the Dwarves have shown no sign to pay the cumulative taxes that the Crown of Silmaroth claim.
Most of the Kingdom’s claim to the mountain comes down to three passes and mountain roads. Lion Pass is the prime trade route between Silmar and Ardamien, and this pass sees heavy caravan traffic. There are outposts every ten miles, so the four month long crossing of the mountain range should prove fairly safe to a caravan travelling to Ardamien through Lion Pass (Which is often called the portal to Silmar) and further on Lion Road.
The Lost Road
The Lost Road got its name from the fact that it often is overrun by the different barbarian tribes of the Cyllereans, such as the Ugeroth and the Tweani. Considered that the Cyllereans covers such a huge area, entire barbarian nations can be found within. While they do not have the manpower or the resources of the Kingdom and the Empire, they prove to be fearless opponents which often swarm outposts, slaying all within. In addition, the worship of Chaos Entities is popular within the tribes, and strange fiends and entities are rumoured to travel the mountains. Sometimes beastly men can be seen alongside cohorts of barbarian tribals, fighting like they were brethren. This has caused the barbarians to be feared and mistrusted in both the Kingdom as well as in the Empire. There are tribals who have entered the lowlands and offered their service, but most are repelled by the hate and distrust they encounter among the civilized folk. Most of those reaching Silmar perish at the stake.
Dead Legion Road
This is the third path and it lies close to the Imperial section of the Cyllereans, within what was once the old Empire of Belemar. The road got its name from an ancient battle between Royal Ardamian Knights and a Legion of Belemar. As the name indicates, the Ardamians butchered the legionaries and the name stuck. It is considered a dangerous route nowadays, as Imperial raiders harass and plunder the caravans.
The Province of Ardamoth
The Province of Ardamoth, or Ardamien as is the modern name, was the first of the Old Continent settlements on the Dhargenaas Continent. Of course the Imperials from Aumethorion had already founded the Careshian Empire (The Southern Empire) and the Belemarians had founded the Empire of Belemar, but the Ardamians were the first from the Old Continent and arrived just 10 years after the landfall.
Of Cal’Duahn rebel stock, the Ardamians fled the harsh justice of their peers, for they were free thinkers and enjoyed physical challenges and sports. While they do possess the same mean streak as Silmarians, they are not zealous to a fault. In Cal’Duahn free thought was not considered a good thing if strict rules and doctrines were broken, and this led some of the Ardamien leaders to rebel against their rulers. The rebellion was a lost cause, the might of the Silmarian strain of the Cal’Duahn too great, and the rebels fled the Old Continent nearly one hundred years before the cataclysm that decimated their brethren.
Paradoxically these enemies of old would prove to become staunch allies when faced with the perils of the Southern Empires of Belemar and Caresh, and when the two empires merged, the Queen of Ardamien, then Ardamoth, married the Silmarian King to seal a mutual protection union between their countries.
Ardamians prove to be quite different than the Silmarians. The HexenJaegers move silently here, lest they end up lynched by a mob of enraged citizens. The people is more closely knit together and burning one of their friends at the stake for supposed wizardry is not something people like to witness. Thus the HexenJaegers kidnap and burn their victims in this region and their wear anonymous clothing to hide their identities while in densely populated areas. They do like to ride in force and terrorize isolated villages, but this habit has made them even more unpopular. They have a hard time of convincing the population of the holiness of their cause as they have no cataclysm to strike terror at the heart of the free willed people.
Still the Ardamians have enough flaws to go around. They are proud and haughty and if given the chance they will brag about themselves and their kin, for hours at end. They are brutal and physical puns like punching each other while unaware is considered good humour. Strength is important and only the Monks of Ketange-Ishatal preserve the old ways of physical perfection and spiritual enlightenment. The latter is often forgotten by the regular Ardamien citizen and the intellectual shallowness of the regular Ardamian is the subject of several Imperial jokes, while the Silmarite jokes mostly centre on perceived Ardamian perversions and miscomprehensions.
The Lond Bhalas Peninsula
This huge peninsula is the home of the Bhalas Ardamians and the region is mostly cold, hilly wilderness. The Ardamians live in scattered villages here, much like the Cyllerean Barbarians, and they are a mixed people where Ardamian-Barbarian marriages frequently occur. The names of Bhalas Ardamians reflect their union with the barbarians and they have even taken to tattooing elaborate patterns on parts of their body, in true barbarian fashion. The Bhalas Ardamians are renowned raiders and their coastal villages have all at least one long ship in which the male villagers depart to raid the southern coastlines as well as distant places like the Acaian Islands and even Valkarhoth.
The City of Lond Bhalas
The peninsula is named after the big city of Lond Bhalas, which is recognized as the greatest port in all of Silmaroth. The cobblestone, beam and thatched roof architecture lends a certain rustic charm to the city, which is the home of nearly seventy thousand Bhalas Ardamians. There is no proper city wall, but the port area is one huge fortification, with tremendous towers guarding the sea entrance as well as the entrance from the city itself.
There is nothing much special or magic about Lond Bhalas, and evil tongues claim that is why they have such an urge to leave the area. Indeed Bhalas Ardamians can be found in every part of the world, and often work as mercenaries or body guards. They value physical perfection above all else and are often excellent warriors.
The Hills of the Arakosh Tribes
These hills lay at the very northernmost border of Ardamien, in an area which has yet to be conquered by either Kingdom or Empire. There are some scattered Ardamien outposts here, but the Arakosh Hillsmen travels these hills mostly unchecked. It is the Ardamien frontier and life here is a constant struggle for survival and skirmishing frequently occur. There is some Arakosh Hillsmen who has joined the Ardamian society as fishermen, hunters or mercenaries, but these are just a minority of the tribes.
The Bay of Ardam
The Bay of Ardam is at the very heart of Ardamien. Here lie the provincial capital of Argalath and the fortress town of Arbad. It is a relatively small area, but the most bountiful in terms of natural resources and arable land. Here the Kingdom produces its prime grain, cattle and even iron. They even extract gems like amethyst and emerald from the local Athiahn Hills as well as the rare Ekeiat resin, extracted from the evergreen Ekeiat trees which can only be found in Ardamien, and with an oddly high frequency around the Bay of Ardam. This resin is vital in the production of alchemist items such as fire oil and smoke bombs.
The area surrounding the bay is dotted with towns and is where more than 70 percent of the population lives. This is where the Crown Prince has his palace within the Royal Forest of Abelarden, sometimes described as “his highness playground” by mocking Ardamians. The bay area is the only part of Ardamien in which the threat of Barbarians, Goblins or Mountain Trolls is not ever present, and even wolves and bears are rare.
The Provincial Capital of Argalath
Formerly the Capital of Ardamoth, the proud City of Argalath is the cultural centre of the Ardamians. Built on the spot where the rivers Argalath and Gelthienord both meet the Bay of Ardam, the city is densely forested with trees in every garden and along every street. For this very reason the city is often called the city of trees, and combined with the grey, cobbled architecture this city is a coarse but beautiful place. There are no snobs or dandy nobility within the city and the Warden, the Earl of Ardam, is most often a no-nonsense down to earth kind of guy, the usual racial traits of the Ardamians aside. The atmosphere in the city is so casual that the Crown Princes of Silmaroth long since refused to live there and instead took residence within the Forest of Abelarden, where a miniature version of the Koenigsburg Court resides, playing the games of the Western nobility.
The City of Arbad
For long but a town, a recent wave of immigrants from the war in the south has boosted the population threefold and now it is the biggest city in the north, east of the Cyllereans. Arbad has been constructed on the slope of the small Mountain Odhan, and the steep sides of the mountain require the roads to zigzag up towards the summit, where the Earl’s Castle has been built. Decidedly the most impressive Ardamian City, Arbad has recently grown a huge slum on the outskirts of the city perimeters. A huge shantytown of huts and tents it is, outside of the city walls. The foulburgh* has problems concerning sewage and crime, but the Earl has recently tripled the patrols and thus hopes to cope with the situation. On the Northern side of the City, the Face of mount Odhan has a rather spectacular cliff face and the drop from the summit down to the beach of Ardam Bay is more than two thousand feet.
*Foulburgh: The part of the city outside the city walls. In this case the shantytown.
Lake Tarnil and the Woodlands
Lake Tarnil is also referred to as the Silver Lake, and is a huge inland sea completely surrounded by a deciduous forest. In the sagas the Tarnil Forest was cleansed of evil some three hundred years ago, when the newly ascended God Sil’Durhon and his clergy raised an army to purge the forest of elves. The maidens captured during this brief war were later chained within the temples of Sil’Durhon and there they must repent their sins for the rest of their eternal lives. At times the High Priests of Sil’Durhon pity these maidens and bless them with the seed of life, resulting in the scions of Sil’Durhon, the half-elves, champions of Good, who are tutored and trained to become true members of the faith. Due to the recent schism between the Empire and the Kingdom, the church of Sil’Durhon has fully withdrawn from the north and pledged their full support of the Imperial Throne. This has led these priests and half elves to be branded as traitors in Silmaroth.
The Lake is surrounded by a number of fishing villages, as well as the town of Bhurad, which is the staging point of caravans entering the Cyllereans by the Lost Road. The southern bank of the Lake is where the border swamp begins and within this swamp the Ardamians have constructed three fortifications to defend their borders from the Empire. Within this very swamp the fighting has reached a stalemate, the Imperials hitherto unable to dislodge the Ardamians from their mosquito ridden strongholds. The rumours even whisper that within one of the Strongholds, only a handful of survivors continue their resistance, half dead of starvation; fed only by the rotting meat of their fallen comrades, they laugh madly when the Imperials charge, fighting beyond the point of death, denying the Imperials their victory.
The Eastern Cyllereans
The Eastern Cyllereans are pretty much like the west; harsh, barren lands where half giants, goblins, wolves, trolls, and countless barbarian tribes live. The mountain passes are nearly impassable during winter and hazardous during summer. While the mountains are surely the home of many hostile creatures, the Ardamians have a certain kinship with the Mountain Barbarians and they are tolerated better than most. Still this does not exclude frequent battles, as the barbarians fight among themselves as gladly as against zealous Silmarites or haughty Imperials. They only respect their own clan, and those clans they have sworn allegiance to.
The P’tuah Plateau
The P’tuah Plateau is the common denominator of the highland plains in the middle of the Cyllereans. Ardamian colonizers have made their way here, and they have adopted the clan structure of the nearby barbarian tribes. They still pay taxes to their lord, the Earl of P’tuah, and he sends his taxes to the crown. Still there is no grand revenue from this region, as there are mostly goat herders and warrior clansmen in the area. The Earl of P’tuah is unknown in the Royal Court of Koenigsberg and it is just as well. He is usually just an unwashed, rude barbarian anyhow; at least he would be in the eyes of the courtiers.
There is one location of note on the P’tuah Plateau. The Ketange Monastery is a haven for Ardamian intellectuals, sorcerers and the otherwise spiritually gifted. Located close to the aboriginal caves of the Plateau, the monks harbour knowledge, even embroidering sacred texts and precious information into the fabric of their own clothing, the fabled Ketange-Robes. In particular they are preoccupied with the notion of evil, and their discoveries have left some of the monks addle brained or half mad with panic, denial and despair. Still the monks who retain their calm take care of their unfortunate brethren and thus the monastery can be a frightening place, filled with the screams of the tormented souls.
Sample Organizations, Cults and Orders of Silmaroth
The Royal Knights
The Royal Knights is a detachment of guardsmen from the royal guard. They receive elite training and highly ornamental as well as somewhat functional equipment. Only the very best recruits from noble and highly pious families may get the training necessary to become a Royal Knight. In battle these knights ride alongside the King and the Crown Prince, safely perusing the battle from the rear of the ranks. It is known to be one of the safest martial professions in the realms and such young men surely attract the attention of pretty young women, eager for the perfect match. They are the heroes of the Silmarites, and when they occasionally enter battle to save their King, they do so with competitive ferocity, eager to be the first to slay those insolent enough to threaten their King. They are impetuous but not that eager to enter the carnage of front line battle.
The Order of the Sword
The Order of the Sword is a Kingdom Order based in the Malheuerat Fortification, a major stronghold on the Lion Road in the Cyllerean Mountains. The members of the Order can only enter through invitation, and once a member there is no return, for the secrets of the Order are sacrosanct. The Order teaches a unique combination of Swordplay and, some would say, Sorcery, using rift channelling to imbue themselves with enhanced abilities and techniques, and to imbue their blades with enhanced attributes. While their rift channelling in not earth shattering in scope, they do manage to achieve slight advantages this way.
The Order focus primarily on fencing techniques and the ritualistic magic involved is not a major field of study. Members of the order tend to favour combat in which agility plays a role, but they have no objections about wearing panzer when they enter chaotic battles. Their use of ritual magic is a well guarded secret, a necessity due to the zealous nature of the Silmarites.
The Dreamer Cultists
The Dreamer Cultists believe that reality is just the broken dream of an entity known as the dreamer. Our dreams are the real reality they claim and thus these cultists spend most of their lives studying in vast libraries within the realms of sleep. They favour narcotics and other dream enhancing substances, and entering one of their temples can be an unnerving experience, as nearly everyone therein will be in a comatose state.
The Monks of Ketange-Ishatal
These are the ancient Holders of Lore, keepers of secrets; the Monks of Ketange-Ishatal live quiet lives of meditation and contemplation on the P’tuah Plateau. While they receive combat training, especially in the art of wrestling and staff fighting, the Monks focus primarily on lore and each monk has a field of specialty.
The Asdarien Vale Witches’ Coven
The Asdarien Vale Coven is the only openly active Coven of Silmaroth. The HexenJaegers know each of their names, know their whereabouts, has promised a large reward for their heads, but has yet to kill a single member of the Coven. The reason is that these witches dwell in Asdarien Vale, in a forest known as Silent wood, and they are the concubines of the Wyrm of Asdarien Vale, a multi gendered dragon fiend, unseen by any but the witches and the one they please in weekly orgies of obscene pleasure. The tales that reach the Silmarites about the blasphemous orgies within Asdarien Vale sicken and enrage the population, and there is a vast reward offered for the slaying of the slithering, phallic wyrm of mist and mystery.
The Witches specialize in divination and summoning and many a scheming Silmarite noble has visited the wild-eyed, nude, mud covered witches one week and condemned them the next. Apparently just as surprised as their fellow citizens that demon spawn would manifest in their rivals mansion, a telltale sign of Asdarien Coven involvement.
The Iron Cabal
The Iron Cabal is an underground organization of warlocks and sorcerers. Life for a magic user is difficult at best in Silmar, and this Cabal operates a number of hideaways and secret facilities throughout the Kingdom. The Iron Cabal is ruled by a council of sage sorcerers and membership can only be attained through apprenticeship to a current Iron Cabal member.
The HexenJaegers, often referred to as the Holy Order, is an order of Holy Warriors whose sole purpose is to discover and banish the presence of evil. According to their doctrines, witchcraft is the ultimate of evil, and their puritan soldiers can be discovered everywhere within the empire. Every HexenJaeger receive a magic defying necklace upon admission to the order and thus they prove to be lethal adversaries to any mage. Still such entities as the Asdarien Wyrm prove to be fatal for them and steel is as effective as ever against a HexenJaeger out for your blood.
The White Shield Caravan Company
The White Shield is a typical Caravan Company, operating from Therben and transporting coal from Gerbenburg to Therben, as well as Iron from Ardamien or the Grey Hills to Therben. They hire mercenaries as caravan guards and they train merchants in the art of leadership and numismatics. A White Shield Caravan will typically be outfitted with a lot of guards and a huge number of wagons. They transport goods in large quantities and believe in the safety of the convoy principle.
Sons of Silmar, Mercenary Company
The Sons of Silmar is one of the largest Mercenary Companies within the Kingdom. They only admit Silmarites from the Western Province and are haughty and disdainful towards everyone else. They refer to themselves as the pure blooded and are considered, by non-Silmarites, to be racist, chauvinist pigs with a penchant for ambush and slaughter. They are currently rumoured to be in the Duchy of Borenland, fighting for the Kingdom.