The Six Lands exist upon a large continent on a fantasy world. Each of the Lands has a unique environment and a species that fits it. There are several related posts in this set as well.
The Six Lands in Summary
This large ovoid continent has six lands
*Norval is the land of the Three Great Kingdoms.
*Shenaladerel is the deeply forested land.
*The Swamps of Dorasss is the hot humid swampy land where the Swamp Men live.
*Aery is the canyon home of the Winged Ones.
*Daletrel is the rocky unforgiving land of the Five Princedoms.
*Ichroth is the lands of greens and white.
Once, in a golden age, The Lands lived, worked and traded together in harmony. The council of kings ruled over all. However that was long ago. This golden age ended with a wimpper instead of a bang. The Lands simply drifted apart, each to its own course. The Lands, for the most part, exist in isolation from each other. Only an occasional trader and very rare traveller reminds one of the other Lands.
A dark cloak swept over The Six Lands. Merideth came to power though guile and his horde. It was simple. He pit the various Lands against each other. He then conquered them one at a time as they were distracted elsewhere. He ruled with an iron gauntlet holding a whip.
The then Lost King gathered together the rebels. He gave hope to those who had known only despair. He forged the various groups into the Six Armies who were One. His campaign was a study in tactics and cunning. With the Six Armies behind him, he marched to the BadLands and took on Merideth and his horde at the Dark Keep. Upon winning, he left… vowing to return if they ever really needed him.
Without the unifying force of the now Slumbering King, the free folk of the Six Lands went back to their old ways. It was too painful to think of the awful dark times of Merideth. Everyone wanted things to be the way they were. There were the new changes, but they did not last long. The new Council of Kings lasted only seven months, as various princes and leaders claimed a seat or some need or broke the very laws they were trying to create. As the council dispersed, the 6AWW1 disbanded; some to local armies, while others went back to a peaceful life. While a few refugees from other Lands settled in new ones, for the most part, within the span of two generations the Six Lands have returned to the way it was before. Each to its own.
This is the way the players will find it, this is its “now”.
Check the related posts
: This is standard fantasy fare, but it is also Arth Fodder. Each Land is a biome.
Now the fun part: The Sleeping King is from FirstLand. He was the original leader of the Elventi brought to Arth, but separated from his group. He feels it is his folly that destroyed their world and brought them to Arth. It took him a while to find his peoples. By that time, they had begun to establish themselves as a people under his brother The Emperor. Feeling redundant, he kept travelling. Eventually he found this continent and resolved its issues.
Additional Ideas (7)
Geography: Rolling grasslands, vast forest, threaded by blue rivers.
Cultural Template: Middle Europe 1400s-1500s
People and Archetypes: Humans, Farmers, City Folks (crafters and merchants), Knights (armored professional soldiers tied to nobles or cities), and Nobility.
Norval is The Land of Three Kingdoms, and has been since the Golden Age. In fact the Land breaking into three is the marking point for the end of that age.
The First King (a title not a numeric position) was once the leader of the Grand Council of Kings. Just before his retirement, he gave his three sons each a Kingdom of their own - despite the Laws of The Lands (and giving his family 3 votes on the council). The schism behind this broke the power of the Grand Council, as other leaders flouted The Laws of the Lands. Thus each Land is one land by itself.
Since the end of the Age, there has been many attempts to unify Norval again. Some have used diplomacy, others have wielded Bedroom Alliances, other the mighty sword. All this has produced is a complex set of limited alliances, three kingdoms resolute on maintaining their independence, and a state of semi-warfare that has done little to change the affairs of things.
The Three Kingdoms are:
This is the northern coastal Kingdom. Its lack of good harbors has limited its naval and merchantile powers. However this lack of harbors and safe landing points (it is a rocky coast) has also limited any military attempt to access it by sea.
This Kingdom has a farming base that is quite strong. It is also the only consistant source of precious gem and gold, through a set of small mines. This wealth has allowed them to purchase the other resources they need from other Lands and Kingdoms.
The southmost Kingdom of Norval is the closest to the BadLands. This Kingdom finds itself in a position of merchantile power though caravans. Their emphasis is defense against the Beastmen Raiders, with a series of forts and towers along the border. They also maintain outposts at the edges of the Badlands that the caravans can rest in.
The Kingdom of Shal'Norval is the home to the City of Shanala; which in turn is the Home to The Great Colleges. Here learned people of all types and lands come to study, being the only metropolis on the Six Lands. The Kingdom is known for its Scholars, Scribes, and Lawyers (having a complete court system here). These Learned Ones find their places in the courts and places of power throughout the Human Lands.
This is the eastern Kingdom of Norval, the closest to Shenaladerel. This large and deeply forested area is criscrossed with rivers and canals. Upon these waters move the Barges. Mostly these are merchantile barges, moving good and products along the network of waterways between the Walled Cities and Trading Centers.
The Game of War is different here. The Bu'Norval nobles are the masters of River Warfare, using barges to move men and gear to places of battle - as well as battle barges used to take on other river craft. The Nobles here fight for control of waterways, sluices, and bridges, the source of real wealth and power in Bu'Norval. The current King of Bu'Norval, Chandler the IV has been adventurous... he has moved his battle barges into the waterways of other Norvalese lands several times over the decades. To date, he has been repulsed... never to hold any of those territories for long. However, given the opportunity, he will strike again.
Geography: Deep forests, low mountains, rivers feeding into a deep sound that makes the land shaped like a U. Some of the most beautiful land in all the Six Lands.
Cultural Template: North Western Native Tribes of the US.
People and Archetypes: Distinctive Humans - Hunters, Crafters, Carvers, Fishermen, and Shamans.
The history of this Land goes back to before the Golden Age. The orignal folk of this land were the beautiful Forest People. They were a melocholy breed, though long lived were slow to breed. Humans escaping the wars of Norval turned to the Forest People for aide. The Forest People taught them the ways of their land and culture. The Humans adopted their ways, followed their leadership, and thrived. Towards the end of the Golden Age, the Forest People began to die out for reasons not understood. For lack of mates of their own kind, they married into Human lines. While there are no more True Forest People, they live on in their Humans.
The humans of Shenaladerel are distinctive in apperance and manner. It comes from the Forest People's Blood that runs through their veins. They are all long of limb and slight of build. If muscular, they are tight and compact. Their skin is fair to nearly porceline. Their hair is the normal range of colors, but always has a near metallic glint to it. There eyes are exotic in colors, with actual violets and reds being possible.
The people here live in dispersed communities, with each family living in a long house among the trees. There farming is not done in fields, but done in and amongst the trees of their heart forests. They do "ranching" of sorts, with various animals being protected or introduced or culled in limited numbers in their forests. Fishing is still the primary food source here.
While they will use trees and wood for goods, each tree has a spirit - a human spirit. When a "right" man dies, they often become a trees. It is said they can grow in wisdom and bring that back to their human lives. Many trees with "active spirits" are carved with "faces", to show that they are special and to allow people to "talk" with them. While there are Shamans to help people talk with spirits of the trees (and other things), everyone here takes the spirituality of the world seriously.
This is the only place that Sentinel trees grow. (Think Redwoods.) These giant trees have strength, durability, rot resistance, and longevity. They are used to make family houses, because of these qualities (so they transfer to the family) and because the planks will be of such a great size large homes are easy to build.
Cultural Template: Creole + Ninjas
People and Archetypes: The Dorass - Clansmen (fighters/ gatherers), Carvers, Crafters, Divers (deep divers) and WaterSpeakers (shamans)
The Land of Dorasss is not all swamp. Some of it is merely boggy and other parts are actually lakes. The entire land seems to be in a depression of a high plateu. With the skys frequently being either rainy, foggy, or merely overcasts, there is always water here in some form.
Note: The waters of Dorasss trickle down from the mountains feeding the rivers of both Shenaladerel and Avery. The segment of Dorasss that is in the Badlands has no clean flowing water, but the water seeps to the ground table and flows up as mineral geysers.
Dorasss is the land of the Mangrove tree, heavy moss, and a rich diversity of plant and animal life. Some of that life is dangerous to the unwary. It is also the home of the Dorass people. They are also dangerous to the unwary.
The Dorass are humans suited to the wet environment. Their skin is oily, allowing them to not be water logged. Their feet and hands are oversized. Their toes and fingers are quite long. They have distinctive "webbing" at the second joints. Their eyes are large and adjusted to seeing in the semi-gloom and aquatic murk of their Land. Their coloration tends to be pale colors of greens and browns. In contrast to their aquatic adaptions, they are incredibly flexible (natural contortionists), quite strong, and excellent climbers as well.
The Dorass live in raised homes. These homes are either on stilts or are "tree houses" with a mangrove tree. They live in small clan groups, centering their lives around the firepit in their clanhall and the shamans that help them with the spirits of all things. (Water is an analog to the astreal and spiritual for them.) The Dorass clans competed against each other. In fact, the only thing The Dorass can agree on is that they don't like Dryfolk - those cut off from the spirit waters. Dryfolk have, mostly, brought death and destruction to their waters.
The Dorass in tend to dress in tightly wrapped clothing, often including a wrap across the face and head (to keep bugs out). This, plus their propensity to be in odd places (dropping from trees, popping out of the water), makes players think of Ninjas. When out of their Land, they tend to wear similar clothing for holding moisture in against their skins and protecting them from drying out completely. The native weapon of choice is a spear with a back hook spike. The weapon can be used as a spear, a staff, a thrown weapon, or as a climbing tool or animal herding tool.
Geography: US Southwest
Cultural Template: India Middle Eras
People and Archetypes: Wing Folks - First Ones, Guides, Makers of Food, Maker of Things, and Protectors
Aery is a fairly arid land, full of colorful stone canyon. The winds are warm and constant. Clouds move silently on the wind through the deep azure sky. They are not just gentle winds, they can whip through the canyons with quite a force. The sharp Thunder Home mountains seperate the warm Aery and the wet, but warm, Dorass.
Some of the canyons have water, others were carved by the wind. All have something within them. Living among the canyons are the various winged folks. They carve their homes in rocky cliffs. They farm on terraced fields. They hunt the various creatures around them with nets, spears, and clawed gloves. The sounds of their living, laughing, loving, and singing echo through the canyons and buttes.
The Winged Folk are old people, here before the expansion of the Humans. They are like humans with wings. They have a sun darkened skin and hair (mocha brown to latte brown), dark feathered (chocolate brown to mocha brown), and brilliant yellow irised eyes. Their extremely sharp features and chiseled bodies echo the raptors of other lands.
Winged Folks live in a cast society, with five great castes: First Ones (leaders), Guides, Makers of Food (farmers and hunters), Maker of Things (Crafters and Carvers), and Protectors (Mothers and Warriors). Each caste is divided and subdivided in finer and finer divisions based upon tradition. Everyone knows their place and their responsibilities in the Aery.
The Winged Folks are known for their weaving, with intricate geometic patterns and screen painting on their wonderful cotton. (While they wear little clothing, it is all wonderously decorated.) They limitedly trade this and other products with seafarers and the people of Daletrel. Actually the Humans of Daletrel have spilled over to the flats at the edges of their borderlands. A fact that causes distress amongst the Star Guides of the Winged Folk.
The Star Guides interpret the stars and other celestrial motions for the Winged Folk. Part fortune tellers, part astronmeters, part therapists, and part priest, the Guides assist every level of Winged Folk society in dealing with the great celestrial whirl that is life.
While the Guides advise, the First Ones lead. No matter what the grouping, a First One is in charge. There is a pyramidal heirarchy of First Ones, leading to the Grand Advisor, The First, who directs all others... thus leading The Winged Ones.
Cultural Template: Middle European Fedual Period circa 11-12 century
People and Archetypes: Nobles, Knights, Priests, Guildmen, Peasants.
Daletrel is a land full of rocky valleys and mountains and sturdy people. The Land is warm and occasionally wet, filled with seasonal rivers and creeks. Today there are five Human Princedoms united under the High King fit their lives amoung the rocks.
Daletrel was once the Land of the Beastmen. Humans skirting the Badlands finally settled here. Of course, there was war. After an era of war, the Beastmen were displaced by the Humans, thrown to the dark corners of The Six Lands. The Humans continued to war upon occasion, this time amongst themselves. The Land has always been several Kingdoms or Princedoms over the Human Era.
Religion plays a greater part in the life of the people here, since Life and Death is so common here. The Entire Land follows The Human Religion more strictly and devoutly than most beings of the Six Lands. This can make the folks here seem dour and stoic. Everyone here at least makes good form of attendence and adherence to The Faith, even though their personal beliefs might be different. The Faithful here are less tolerant of other odd beliefs, like those practiced by The Old Races.
Daletrel is currently five princedoms ruled by a High King (and his council and army). These princedoms are more feudal, less urban human society than those in Norval. Daletrel is a little behind the times.
The five current princedoms are:
Soco'dale: In a rough and rugged land, this is the most rough and tumble. It border the Beastmen's Snow Dagger Mountans that runs along the border between Ickroth. The Dom Soco'dale rules over the land with an iron fist, keeping his feuding nobels in line. Soco'dale is known for its Iron, Steel, and Pale Iron work (Pale Iron can only be found here. When made into steel (or standing alone) it is more flexible and durrible than standard Iron or Steel).
Kel'Dale: This Princedom is closest to the BadLands. It is the staging ground for the few caravans that cross the Badlands to Norval (or other places). Clans of "tame" Beastmen live here and function as shock troops and as caravan guards. The Dom Kel'Dale is the oldest and wisest of the current crop of Princes. It is said his son will be the next High King.
Sho'Dale: This oddly shaped territory holds the actual center of Daletrel. To the North is Kel'Dale, North West is Soco'dale, the South is Morrowdar, and the East is Seca'Dale. This is the "bread basket" of Daletrel, were there mostly farms and orchards amongst the hills, dales, and rocky fences. It would be idylic. Unfortunately the various noble clans that make the nobility here (under the weak Prince Dom Sho'Dale) intrigue against each other to seize territory and the Princedom.
Morrowdar: Morrowdar runs nearly the entire coast of Daletrel. While there is no great harbor here, there are a number of good safe harbors along the rocky coasts. (Each one a lesser lord's domain). While the people fish here, they are known far and wide as traders along the coasts of the Six Lands.
It is curious to note that brawling here is done more with kicks, rather than punches or grabs. It started with the dockside workers, but all the people here tend to kick. Some nobles have taken to wearing boots with iron edges to add heft and sharpness to their kicks.
Morro'Dale: Two generations ago, three brothers warred. When they finally made peace, the younger brother and his family line were given Morro'Dale, a long river valley that runs the length of the old Morrowdar. The people of Morro'Dale and Morrowdar have a long standing rivalry that the people of Morro'Dale keep alive with cutting remarks, arrogance, and the occasional high kick.
Seca'Dale: While not quite the physical center of the Land, it is the political center. It is from here, at the Castle of High Seat, the High King rules. (High Seat is upon an imposing hill and the only suriving castle from The Era of Beastmen Wars.) The King is elected by the Dom Council from one of the princely families. Sometimes he is a Dom, sometimes he is a first or second son. The King rules though tradition, law, and levies - warriors borrowed from each Princely Dom (who will gleefully fight with other nobels, rather than their own).
Note: The Beastmen have been pushed to the far corners of their own home realm and the worst parts of the others. They only live in numbers in the Badlands.
Geography: Western Canadian Proviences, with emphasis on the Northern ones
Cultural Template: Eskimo or Native Peoples of the Western Canadian Proviences and the Great North Western.
People and Archetypes: Winter Men - No differentation, each person can hunt, craft, and sing.
Ichroth is the lands of greens and white. White is the snow and ice which covers it; green for the evergreen trees that cover the landscape. The Land is a high tundra plain bordered by mountains and rocky shores. The two are the Bowl Rocks - small mountain range between it and Norval and the Greater Sky Lights Mountains between it Daletal. The Bowl Rocks, named for the number of sheltered bowl valleys (made from meteor impacts), are gentle glacier mantled mountains that become more fierce as they approach the BadLands. The Sky Light Mountains are home to the greatest Auroras show for most of the year. They are called The Ice Daggers on the other side, as the other side is taller and sharper in contour. Note: the Bowl Rocks are also home to a nighly auroras, but they are less spectacular than the Sky Lights.
The people here are semi-nomadic, moving from set camps following the great herds. The people here are Wintermen. It is hard to determine if they are an Old Peoples or simply a distinct ethnic group of human. (Some wild scholars say that all Humans came from the Winter men, but most scoff at that...)
The Winter Ones are Humans by all accounts, simply better equipped to deal with snow and cold. They are a bit hairier than most, larger feet (for stability) and hands (for flexibility and strength), and broad noses (to warm the air before it hits the lungs). They have uniformly dark hair and light eyes.
Most of their products are made of magic hardened ice. Spears that appear to be made of glass, great snow forts, and fogged glasses to protect from glare are common items. Almost every WinterOne knows a few cantrips to deal with ice and snow. Those things not made of magic are made of animal hide or bone. However, every ruler has a starmetal (beaten meteor iron) items that allow them to be proof from the ice magics of the WinterOnes.
All clothing is of worked hide, some of them with intricately tooled designs embossed upon them. Their boots are broad and allow for easier traction and balance on snow. One can tell those that have the cantrip that protects them from the worst of the Ice and Cold, as they are less bundled up.
This Land has no Noble class. Each WinterOne is equal, with respect and responsibility given to the elderly. The family leaders are the defacto nobles of their people. The leader of a given group is simply the First Speaker, the first one who can talk in council.
This is not a Land of its own, but a part of each land taken as a whole. This is the meeting place of all six lands, roughly in center of the continent. No one normally lives in these sections of each Land.
It is a rocky and harsh place of extreme winds and little foilage. The temperature is extreme, hot during the day, freezing at night. The only somewhat pleasant part, in terms of temperature, is the Badlands of Ichroth. However, the lands there are boggy, almost Dorass like.
In the area of Dorasss all the water boils upward from hot sulfuric springs and gysers. This feature is found to a lesser extend throughout the Badlands. The waters in the Badlands of Aery and Daletrel are salty springs and gysers, thus creating a salt pan, a flat salt crusted landscape that few can deal with.
The Badlands have become the home to The Beastmen of The Six Lands. They are actually thriving in this harsh place. They will occasionaly raid against the caravans here, but given a little yearly tribute they will ignore most of them.
Many see the Badlands as the symbolic center of the problems of The Six Lands. They are the corruption at the heart of things.. the black cancer that keeps the Six Lands from every achieving a Golden Age again. (To be honest, the Badlands have always been there... though they have advanced some over the centuries.) Near the center of the Badlands, on a tall butte, is Merideth's Keep. It was from here that the black bile of Evil spewed over The Lands those scant centuries ago. The Clans of The Beastmen of The Six Lands have been quietly and reverently maintaing The Keep; awaiting The Return.