Idea Guild > Fields of Challenge

Map Challenge #1: Decathros

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This will work perfect with my Cartography Guild quest too. (Since this isn't a quest, it isn't double dipping :) )

I hereby name Area 3: Vartanadel


Area Overview
Vartanadel claims to be the eldest civilization in the known world. This belief is held close and gives their people, especially their elite, a pompous attitude towards the rest of the known world. The kingdom is ruled with a tight grip by King Korian Comeaga IV. His family has ruled since the mountains were formed without a break in the line. Very few would ever question the word of the king or his men. His word is law. The word of his men is law. To disobey could mean death.

The kingdom is rich. Old rich. Their trade and precious metals from the northern mountains is known throughout and has been around as long as the kingdom. This old money and constant trade keeps the land prosperous and allows the king to stay in power. Loyalty can be bought as needed.

They have a strong military, financed by the king and those he establishes as royalty, and a steady distrust of all foreigners. Their somewhat isolation on the peninsula allows them to be, not necessarily isolationists, but concentrate more inwardly on their preservation and continuing prosperity. All traders of certain goods are escorted by a special society of king’s men, all ships have king’s representation and others are in charge of patrolling the borders. Tourism is not encouraged and the king's men or their agents can be found most everywhere. Turning in a neighbor for treasonous thoughts for a gold piece is a common occurrence....which can also be misused.

The capital, Tanand, is a sprawling city that goes for miles in either direction. Each of the king’s favored builds their own portion of the city for their own use. Because the king’s taste is ficle, there are many areas that are destroyed and or abandoned and overtaken by commoners so the sprawl is a mish mash of beautiful estates, ruins and normal city buildings and business’.

Vartanadel Society
Vartanadel has a single king of a single royal bloodline. This bloodline is whatever the king says it is. So while any Vartanadel will fight you to the death if you say that the current king is not of the original blood, in every circumstance you would be correct. Nobody cares about science or true bloodlines, if the king says his heir is of his blood, that word is irrefutable and by that word only, history is rewritten.

This is a land that history can be rewritten, powerful families of a thousand years erased from knowledge and truth accepted in the world is shunned by the people on the whim of their king. Those with the ring of Vartanadel have the power to destroy, build or change life as they know it with a word. There are only two rings known, one is worn by the king and the other is given to the head of the top royal family in the land…the top royal family that could possibly change yearly during The Naming.

Every year, the king holds a grand ceremony called The Naming. It is the main holiday that is celebrated (or feared) for all of Vartanadel as it is the day that the future of the royal families is released. The king constantly tracks the royal families (or other families of rising wealth and pursuasion) and ranks them all in their loyalty to the crown. Their ranking during the naming determines their ranking and power for the rest of that year.

It is an intricate game of favors, authority and benefits depending on where each family falls in The Naming. Those nearer the top get more privilidge and responsibility and wealth. To be near the top gives them unimaginable and unquestionable authority of most things. The higher they go the more absolute it is. However, these are also the ones that are tasked to do the king’s bidding…and have the very real possibility of failure.

Prior to The Naming there is general knowledge of how has lost the king’s favor and those that have gained it. For the highest of the families that fall only a few spots to their rivals, it may only be a small change in station and a great embarassment. For others that fall fully from the graces, and in the rare case are taken out of The Naming completely, it spells their doom and they lose all, to include their lives in most cases. The higher houses rarely play a obvious hand in the ruining of a fallen house, but they often are the directors of the smaller houses and the pillaging and destruction of the family. As soon as The Naming happens, the families given the “nod” storm the fallen royals home and do their will to erase all history of the family. Once a family has fallen, their name is stricken and nobody is allowed to mention it again. It is as if it never existed. Depending on the familie’s palace it can either be remade to house another family or completely destroyed. Much depends on the orchestration of the destruction of the new high royal families.

The Northern Mines
Most simply call them “The Mines.” In other lands they are often referred to as “The Dragon Mines” by those that have seen the map as the shape of the peninsula and the shape of the mountain ranges the mines are created in looks much like the head of a dragon. They are spoken of in fear as, for most, they are simply a story to be used to scare those that speak ill of the king and his royal families.

The Mines are where people are put to be forgotten. Those left of the royal families that fall from grace, and the Shan that are too loyal to be absorbed by other families, are either killed or sent to The Mines. Those in the population that cause dissention, break the more serious laws or are deamed a danger by the Shan are also removed to The Mines. Others are put there as political moves by those with the power and support to do plan and execute the kidnapping and removal. Those that go to The Mines are never seen again.

The Mines themselves are segregated by location/peninsula, each one ran by a different royal family. There are many paid position for guards and a multitude of other skilled workers. They are respected trades in the north and very misunderstood in the south. Those that work the minds find themselves feared and misunderstood in the south. The skilled workers that make their fortunes in the mine and retire in the south often come up with a different reason for their wealth instead of trying to explain they worked The Mines.

SE mentioned a Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom vibe which fits about right. That and the Count of Monte Cristo type thing would about sum it up.


It is said that Tanad was established in the place of the first man.  The gods had planted man’s seed where the king’s palace now sits and, from there, civilization was formed and so was the nation of Vartanadel.

Through wars and the ages, the capital of Vartanadel has gone through numerous rebuilds.

The main factor of the creation of Vartanadel is The Naming. Those that are brought up in the families through The Naming are able to build or take over property as it is available or gifted to them. Every year there are different palaces, properties and estates that are freed up from those falling from the list. And every year there are those that are brought up in The Naming. Through these manuevers and the availability of propert, the city of Tenand continues to grow and shrink as families change.

There are also numerous ruins dotted in the city and even entire city blocks that have fallen out of repair and remain unclaimed. Location is important and the closer people are to the palace, the more important a rank they hold in The Naming. Many have their own palace near the king’s adn then have a larger estate somewhere else in the city. The more powerful may even purchase rights to a main route between their central palace and their further estate. This further fragments the city into odd districts and forces confusing routes to get places.

The Crossroads
Already started this. 

King Korian Comeaga IV and his Politics
The King comes from a single bloodline that can be traced as far back as you are willing to go. Nobody is ever aloud to see the king but the counselors, the only ones allowed to go into the royal portion of the city, ensure the other royalty that he is indeed alive.

Every year the king actually ranks the royalty and publically lists it. It is this rank that gives or takes away the power of the houses.

Avedis Pavel
Legendary Nishan. The story tells on how he was stabbed in the middle of the back by a crooked trader. He ended up killing all those involved and reestablished the hierarchy before he would let anybody assist him. All Nishan now wear a white mantle with a triangle of red on the back to represent the blood that was spilled from the knife wound while he was doing his duty. It is a reminder to all Nishan’s that duty and the king’s honor always come first. The mantle with the red triangle is called a Pavel in his honor.


It Wasn't Me!
The encouragement for citizens to turn on their neighbor for any lawbreaking or possible insurgence is rewarded with gold. This practice has led to more than a few neighbors trying to get rid of someone they dislike for whatever reason. Bound to be a couple plot options with that!


The Shan
The Shan are the law and voice of the king and the protectorates of the land. The Shan are sponsored by the royal houses and recieve their rank and importance directly from their sponsor’s rank. Those royal houses that have curried favor with the king recieve a higher prestige and honor through that association and, hence, are ranked higher and have more authority.

The actual ranks of the Shan are broadly separated into three categories: Warder, Oathman and Fist.

Rank and presidence inside each houses rank flows directly from the sponsor. Each sponsor will, again, rank all those of the Oathman and Fist ranks yearly depending on how well they served their name. So if the king has ranked a house as his 5th and another his 34th, then between the houses it is obvious to all which one has the authority. Inside the houses, amongst the house ranks, each Oathman and Fist knows where they lie in the listings.

Yearly the king updates his list of favored houses, in order, with a great ceremony called The Naming and 30 days afterwards each house updates their house’s ranks as well.

The Warder is just a common soldier that can wear the king’s colors. He is usually trained well in his Shan trade, understands the laws and is trusted to maintain order. It is a novice rank that lasts as long as it must. Warders are the most common rank and provide the bulk of the protection services. An Oathman must sponsor the Warder if he is ever to attain the next rank. Once sponsored, the Oathman is responsible for that Warder’s continued training until he is promoted to Oathman by a Fist, completing the sponsorship.

An Oathman is more rare and is authorized to pass judgement in the king’s name. Most small towns save any trials and such for when an Oathman comes through. An Oathman will sit as judge and his verdict is final. All trials will be documented, with copies for the town to maintain, and signed by the Oathman and the town’s leader. They can travel with important traders or on their own with Warders. They recieve donations to the king as payment for sitting in judgement which can become a rather lucrative affair for an enterprising Oathman. While their sponsor, and then the king, get their share, the Oathman is usually the one deciding how much that is. A Fist must sponsor an Oathman to make the next rank as well.

A Fist is the top rank of the Shan. While the Oathman can pass judgement and decide the fate of others, theirs is based on written and complex laws. The Oathman must justify their actions and maintain records of their judgements. A Fist has no such requirement. His voice is law and his orders are binding. He can proclaim, with a word, the death sentence for a child or release the most heinously incarcerated prisoner on a whim and not be questioned. His voice, in that moment, is the voice of law. Actions of a Fist cannot be used as justifications for other actions nor in the argument for or against the written law. It is as if the actions of a Fist happen in an alternate reality that cannot be referenced. It happens, directions are followed, and then people move on. Those that question the will of the Fist don’t last long.

The Shan is the face that the peasants see of those that rule them. The actual royalty (as deemed by the king) spend their time in the capital trying to maintain the favor of the king who determines their standing. It is very rare for the actual royalty to leave the city. They must trust their Shans to act in their best interest and do what is necessary in the world to impress the king while they do their own political maneuverings. Trust of their Shans is paramount as each house is always trying to usurp another. In return, the Shans work hard to do great thins in the world that will lift their house’s rank and, in turn, their own. These checks and balances between the houses maintain a fragile balance of the always present ability to abuse the powers the Shan are given. Political maneuvering is always a danger at any level inside and outside the houses.

Shan will never be a part of a ship, trade or city ruled by their own patrons. The only trusted Shans are those of a different house.

The Nishan
King’s men assigned to accompany land traders. Large shipments, or those with controlled goods such as weapons and some currency, are required to have a Nishan along. The Nishan ensure that the traders deal fairly with others and act as a third party ensuring the king’s will is done and the appropriate taxes are collected in his name.  To protect the traders, the Nishan in charge will select the amount of Shan that will be needed for each job.

Often times, the importance of the Nishan in a caravan can turn away traders if there isn’t one with them. Most caravans at least have a Warder and while they don’t hold the authority of the higher ranks, it still lends some credibility to their trades.

The Hulanshan
King’s men assigned to the ports and seafaring routes. Any ship that holds a Hulanshan has a blue and gold penant flown to identify themselves. As far as ships go, there are very few that are actually without a Hulanshan.

It is well known that ships are used to smuggle citizens to one of the neighboring countries that are sympathetic to their escape. One of the Hulanshan’s missions is the boarding of all unidentified ships. Many times, ships flying the penant of the Hulanshan will stop and greet each other out of respect and to gather news. It is a Captain’s death if they are caught flying the penant without proper representation. Any ship that is hailed from on with the penant has no choice but to acknowledge and be boarded.

Other ships may hail a Hulanshan penant if they have need of a judge for a seafaring crime beyond that which a Captain is authorized to give. There are many complex laws of the sea and many a Captain has been removed for overstepping his authority.

A Fist with authorization or a Shan, on a whim, may seize any ship they need to accomplish their mission. The needs of the king outweigh the needs of the Captain at all times. Often these ships will be well rewarded if they oblige the need so it is in their best interest, on many levels, to comply with any Hulanshan’s request. The Royals that are associated with that ship also share in the glory of a ship that assists the needs of the king.

The Hulanshan are also the port authority and track ships, schedules, crew and passengers on all ships. Any major port will have a port Hulanshan to track everything. Many countries have agreements to allow them to work in foreign ports as well. There are other ports where no Hulanshan are not authorized to step on land. At these locations, there is always a Hulanshan on board the ships to record the trades.

The Guarshan
King’s men assigned to the cities and who patrol the borders.

Area 7 is:

Area Overview
Swynmoor is physically isolated from much of Decathros; only Voskinsar, Kazandelve, and [Area 9] are nearby, and there is little access between the swamps and their neighbors. Swynmoor occupies an unusually high marshland, fed by the mountain streams and several natural springs. Some of the excess water drains into Voskinsar or into the sea, but most stays in the marshy basin that makes up the bulk of Swynmoor. It is said there's no real dry land in the Moor, only a few holdouts of dirt that have yet to soak all the way through.

With its elevation, Swynmoor is a relatively cool marshland, generally fogged over with occasional storms sweeping around the Kazan Mountains. Much of the land is wooded swamp, bearing plans of strange variety of adaptation. There are also wide marshlands and glades, with a few drained lands that provide areas for the little agriculture done in the Moor.

Despite its isolation - or in some cases because of it - there are some thriving communities in the Moor. Swynnish men lay a claim to a variety of lineages, be they Skaldeves or Vosks, but they owe allegiance to no one outside of the Moor. They are largely a mongrel people, speaking their own pidgin language and worshiping syncretic gods. Many live in small independent villages, organized loosely by clan or community. There are a handful of small states, self-proclaimed duchies with petty lords vying for rule over small pieces of usable land.

Deeper in the forests are the Kanaarites - marsh elves, an ancient and highly secretive culture. Theirs is the only real power in the Moor, a tiny empire preserving a bygone age. Rarely do Swynnish men see elves, though they may stumble upon some ancient bit of architecture jutting from the swamp now and again. The Kanaarite king officially lays claim to the whole of the Moor, but only administers the deep jungle. The jealousy of the Swynnish dukes has extended to the marsh elves, and occasionally a duke's footmen will skirmish with elf scouts.

The Sinking Jungle of the Green Monolith
East of the Adurak Delta lies a long-abandoned Kanaarite temple. Ages of decay has caused most of the ruined fane to sink, leaving only a tall obelisk of serpentine stone to mark it above the swamp water. It is far from "civilized" Swynmoor in the north, too close to Kanaar for comfort, and rarely occasioned even by Boros dwellers. There are long-standing rumors that a cult worships at the Green Monolith, reveling in ritual slaughter and mutilation. Others say the temple is still accessible, that the interior - while sunken - is dry thanks to elven engineering, and within lie many treasures.

Some ancient pieces of misplaced elvish artifact, often in the hands of bayou witches.

Taalkatsin - gatorfolk in Swynnish tongue - stalk the glades either singularly or in small packs. They are the enemy of Swynnish and Kanaarite alike, an ancient and primitive race that will hunt anything it can catch. Though Swynnish consider them no smarter than their alligator cousins and will kill them on sight, but Kanaarites know they are intelligent and self-aware creatures with a cruel sense of self-preservation. Kanaarites are known to enslave them for ritual or military purpose. Although their sharp jaws and powerful tails are often weapons enough, they also are known to set simple traps in the bayous to catch prey.
▪ Endemic to Swynmoor
▪ Males bulky, muscular; females thinner, agile
▪ Mostly solitary with some females hunting in packs
▪ Couple during mating season, mostly in Blackmarshes
▪ Lay eggs in clutches of about five, tended to by female
▪ Intelligence
  ▫ Primitive, but sentient (Neanderthal)
  ▫ Speak a simple, growling language with primitive syntax
  ▫ Some hunt with simple traps &, rarely, scavenged weapons
▪ Consume nearly any living creature
▪ During breeding & late summer, especially hunt larger prey
▪ No natural predators, save Kanaarites, men, & the slimewyrm
▪ Feared & hunted throughout Swynmoor
  ▫ Swynnish men hunt for food, hide, & vengeance; treat as any other animal
  ▫ Kanaarites know their intelligence, attract them on borders to act as guardians
  ▫ Lescelina speaks their tongue, acts as protector

A wide variety of unique and often unpleasant creatures and plants thrive in the Moor, such as gallowgnats, tarfrog, venomthistle, and the dreaded slimewyrm.

The Slimewyrm
▪ Ancient dragon-serpent
▪ Once a sea-serpent, entered the Moor when Decathros was young & the Grimlak an inlet
▪ Worshipped by ancient Kanaarites, cursed when they learned magic
▪ Magic consumption
  ▫ After curse, sought eternal vengeance on Kanaarites, who kept it out with warding spells and runes
  ▫ Learned to consume magic itself, twisting its form further
  ▫ Broke through wards, consumed the magic of the [important Kanaarite relic] & vomited it out broken & impotent; started collapse of Kanaarite Empire
▪ Lair
  ▫ Ruins of a Kanaarite temple
  ▫ Contains horde of magic items awaiting consumption
  ▫ Attracts magical creatures & many adventurers
▪ Repelled from Kanaar, hunts near Duchies on occasion
▪ Physicality & abilities
  ▫ Long, serpentine body with short but powerful legs and dense muscle
  ▫ Hide of thick, black armored scale
  ▫ Massive head & sharp maw (snapping turtle)
  ▫ Poisonous & acidic breath weapon
  ▫ Bite can drain magic from items & creatures
  ▫ Swims & burrows in swamps with ease

The Sorkatta Mire - A particularly dense patch of swampy woodland that marks the border of Kanaarite territory. It is guarded by the Mire Redoubt, an organic fortress built by Kanaarite Magic.

Newdale, Osterhaven, & Carrham - The self-proclaimed Swynnish duchies, petty fiefs ruled by exiled nobility. Carrham and Osterhaven share a border, marked by the Grimlak River which flows out into the Spiked Sea. Newdale is further west, close to though not bordered by Carrham.

Market Town - Less a town and more a collection of rickety shacks and rafts, Market Town is the Swynnish trade center. Folk from the duchies as well as the bayous come to exchange goods, with a few Sulkement and [Area 9] merchants in the import/export business. For the sake of trade no duke tries to govern the place, though the duchies all claim parts of it fall in their territory.

The Peat Bogs - In the northeast corner of Swynmoor lies this expanse of raised bog. Osterhaveners harvest the peat to export to regions with little fuel. It is, however, dangerously close to the lair of the slimewyrm; many Osterhaveners have taken to minding the trees rather than the peat for their hearths.

The Boros Bayou - A quiet corner of the Moor occupied by Swynnish men, mostly fishermen and lumberjacks. The well-to-do of the duchies want little to do with these "simple folk," and they whisper that witches perform their heathen magic out here.

Adurak Delta - The Adurak river flows down from the Kazan range and empties into a wide delta south of Boros. Where the Swynnish Duchies call Boros witches, the Boros folk consider the few who dwell in the Delta true heathens. The waters are deeper than many parts of the Moor, and though fishing is abundant, it is also the hunting grounds of Gatorfolk.

The Kanaar - The deepest heart of the swamps, and most heavily forested. It is the home and namesake of the Kanaarite elves. Many creatures call it home, natural and supernatural. Swynnish men almost never venture into it, fearing elvish retribution. While some parts are densely populated with marsh elves, it is undeveloped compared to the Duchies as the Kanaarites subsist on native fruits and game that require no tilling or land drainage.

Gal'etas - The capital city of the Kanaarites, the only remaining city of their once-legendary empire. Few Swynnish have seen it, but they say it is a place of great and terrible beauty, with inverted pyramid temples carved from stones sent by the gods.

Dwarven Outpost - When Rainshadow roared into Kazandelve, a small group of dwarves fled the mountains for the foothills outside of the Kazan Range. They have a small outpost south of the Adurak's mouth, in the joint between the tall Kazans and the Atakazan Hills. They keep mostly to themselves, wary of elves and not interested in Swynnish men.

Desert Trading Post - A few traders in the deserts of [Area 9] have set up a small fort in the far south of the Moor. They plan to extend some sort of raised road up to the Duchies, but for now they bring goods up their Broken Road over the Atakazan into the post, trying to attract the attention of anyone who will trade.

Ran'Daral - The god-king of the Kanaarites. Secretive by most standards, he has actually communicated with the Swynnish dukes from time to time, mostly to dole out polite threats. It is said he has the elves building again in the Kanaar, though what no one can say.

The Dukes - The claimants to the western portion of Swynmoor, who give orders from their keeps in Newdale, Osterhaven, and Carrham. Carrham's duke is an exile of Vartanadel extract, a roguish libertine who keeps his Vartan pride but none of their nobility. Another is a rich merchant who made his wealth on the Spiked Sea; he bought a herald to invent a title for himself and funded the construction of Newdale, the most recent of the duchies. Osterhaven is ruled by a Vosk family that laid claim generations ago by some strange fortune. They are in a constant state of near-war, each escalating threats and making wild accusations.

Lescelina, the Witch Queen  - In the heart of the Blackmarsh south of the Boros Bayou lies an abandoned Kanaarite structure that has been built up with a wooden palisade and repaired to habitability. This is the palace of Lescelina, the Witch Queen of the Blackmarsh. She and her cultists dwell in this isolated fortress, doing who-knows-what in a region few other would dare tread. With cascades of red dreadlocks and bright sapphire eyes, Lescelina's Kanaarite ancestry is obvious, though her exact parentage is unknown by most. Her cult practices reqsina - what the Swynnish call black medicine. Some Borosians seek out the Witch Queen if they need powerful hexes or the brute force of Kanaarite gods. It is said such men can expect a lofty price: total obedience to Lescelina when she demands it, an oath that binds their souls. Her court is made up primarily of zealous reqsina practitioners, a majority Swynnish but with the odd Kazan refugee convert and even the rare marsh elf exile. Of the abounding rumors of Lescelina, the most persistent is her relationship with the gatorfolk: she has chased out or (worse) captured those who hunt in the Blackmarsh, the only known being man or elf that protects the creatures. All agree she speaks their language, perhaps even entertains them in her court - and a few whisper that she has congress with the beasts, laying eggs herself to raise an army of Taalkatsin children. In point of fact, she is a were-gator and takes their form from time to time, though she does not entertain any intimate relationship with them.

The Kanaarite Resurrection

In the Court of the Witch Queen

The Men of Swynmoor

▪ Live in the Duchies
▪ Mostly farmers, craftsmen, merchants
▪ Court advisors serve as nobility
▪ Most "civilized" of Swynmoor
▪ Buildings in style of homeland or ducal culture
▪ Speak dialect of native tongue & Swynnish pidgin

Borosians, a.k.a. Bayou-folk
▪ Mongrel ancestry, have dwelt in Swynmoor the longest
▪ Mostly self-sufficient
  ▫ Fishers, outdoorsmen, hunters
  ▫ Trade with Ducals: hides, fish, rare herbs for grain, tools, sundries
▪ Religious to superstitious
  ▫ Popular syncretic religion - reqsina, "black medicine"
  ▫ Offer minor sacrifices to Kanaarite gods
  ▫ Strong belief in hexes, charms, etc.
  ▫ Followers of other gods are descendents of heretics; their errors persist and multiply over the generations
▪ Diet
  ▫ Heavy in fish & game
  ▫ Variety of local vegetables & fruits grown in gardens, some rice cultivation
  ▫ Local brew: mudwater, brewed from roots & filtered through sphangum & tree moss
     ▫ Dark, earthy, avg. alcoholic content
     ▫ Also more concentrated blackmud, distilled liquor with sharp bitter notes

▪ Subjects of Lescelina, with Witch Queen
▪ Sorcerers & shamans
▪ Secretive, feared by many Borosians & only legend to Ducals
▪ Said to speak with gatorfolk
▪ Rumored to have powerful curses stolen from Kanaarite runes
▪ Sometimes sought out by desperate Borosians seeking necessary charms or curses


Area 6: Voskinsar


Voskinsar, or the Weeping Coast as many call it, is a dreary and bleak stretch of pebbly shoreline along the bay. The people, the Vosks, are likewise a dour, dreary lot. Most spend their time fishing the shallow bay's waters in their skiffs and plying the Iron Grove, while deeper inland, trappers and woodsmen eke out meager livings amidst the sparse, flooded woods of bamboo and rain-pine. Despite a somewhat central location, Vosks remain an insular people, mostly uninterested in the kingdoms surrounding them. The Vosks have an irrational (?) fear of Vartanadel, as they believe that the land to the north and west has designs on adding the Voskinsar Coast to their burgeoning kingdom. Likewise the Vosks have nothing but mistrust for the dwarves of Kazandelve. They do however trade with the Sulkment merchants of the Spiked Sea on occasion, and have been known to slosh around the marshes of Swynmoor to the west.


Raintree Manor, long abandoned keep, now sits beneath the bay's waters.



Baymares Sea horses though not horses, the Baymares of Voskinsor are more akin to leopard seals, but considerably more vicious and dangerous to boatmen.


Soglash Main town

Soglash has been rebuilt several times, from the after-effects of  flooding and the occasional maelstroms, which are known to ravage these lands periodically. A town of water-logged and rotting timber, few outsiders visit this gloomy place.

The Iron Grove a nearly impenetrable stretch of unusual mangrove trees chokes the coastline of Voskinsar. It is this "Iron Grove" which prevents the Vosks from ever exploring the Spiked Sea, or truly being a "sea-faring people" but likewise it prevents most unwanted assaults and visits to their rain-soaked lands via the bay. The bark of these mangroves is iron-gray in color and extremely hardy, in fact being the only mangrove species in Decathros to be found this far north. Huge fist-sized snails make their homes clinging to the mangrove trees, and other stranger creatures swim beneath its maze of roots.


Sage of the Iron Grove A druid long driven mad by his self-imposed isolation, the nameless man dwells in a beaver's den-like lair of rushes, salt-water cattails, and twisted mangrove roots, several miles offshore. Known as a sage by the coast-dwelling locals, he is actually loathe to part with any knowledge or wisdom with those that visit him, but can be bribed with gifts.



Area #1:  Kelevest - Land of the Masquenfolk


The Realm of Kelevest holds Yurtevan, the main peninsula jutting into the northern sea, and the frozen island of Thurovine (Thur-o-veen) even further north.

Yurtevan includes several different terrains - permafrost and tundra to the north, boreal forests in the middle, and fertile plains in the south.  There are few mountains, the land having been scoured nearly flat by glaciers ages past.  All of the lands major cities lie within the warm band in the south, with a few chains of towns stringing north.

The people of Kelevest are a superstitious lot, with most folks wearing ornate wooden masks and clothing dictated as much by ritual as practicality. 



This nearly glacial island would be uninhabited were it not for its rich deposits of coal that lie just beneath the perpetual permafrost.  Life clings to a thin warm ribbon, with the exception of the hellish mine-towns that brave deeper into the lands. 

The Charred Valley

Perhaps the warmest spot in Thuorvest, this valley is home to a very long-running underground coal fire.   It is snow-free at its lower elevations and the thin river that runs through the valley is quite warm.  Clouds of smoke perpetually drift about, and the soil is quite contaminated with various substances including heavy metals.  Worse still are areas where the ground is quite thin, and an unwary soul could plunge through into the smoke-filled inferno below.  While there may have been little to be gained here, several parties of well equipped explorer have not returned from here. Rumors speak of things worse then the natural hazards of this region.



The Voxanini - the Devourers of the Wastes




The people of this land wear the masks out of necessity, though they would never tell outsiders their secret.  The Grey Spirits walk these lands, and those without masks risk their attention.  Their attention ranges from simple bad luck and illness, to possession.  Those possessed invariably take the Long Walk north, and are never seen again. Rumors speak of a city hidden deep within the northern boreal forest that is inhabited by raving madmen - the survivors of long walks past. 


The kingdom is a very weakly organized - the king only holds the title by virtual of his military power and alliances with the two dozen chiefs that control the lands.  The primary ties between the various holds is ethnicity and religion. 

I hereby lay claim to area #9.

Beware all! Know ye not what sorts of horrors dwell within the desert wastes? You shall, and soon...


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