Moved from Setting Background
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.