Once the heart, the soul, and the birthplace of the Empire, Anquocia survived the sundering better than most. The bulk of the realm is a roughly circular land mass approximately 700 miles in diameter. This mass is comprised primarily of forested hills, farmland, and numerous small lakes and rivers. The landscape is marred only by a single area in the southeastern corner composed of deadly bogs and misty plains. The misty plains once held the Imperial city, but are now avoided by all (excepting those magically lured in, as related in The Lost Imperial City.)
Ringing the land are steep mountains whose outward-facing cliffs look down upon salty waters. These mountains are an unnatural phenomenon created before the sundering. The Wizard Council drew them from the earth to provide protection to the lands of the Imperial City, leaving naught but a single bay as a means of trade and transport. Now that bay serves only fishermen.
Ocean surrounds the land. A hundred miles out, the water is covered over in mist. Any entering the mists are never heard from again. These mark the boundary between Anquocia and the Ethereal Void.
Between the fertile farmland, thick forests, and rich mines in the mountains, Anquocia has had no difficulty maintaining its self-sufficiency in the 3,000 years since the sundering. The cycle of sun, moon, and stars across the sky have continued uninterrupted. Seasons change just as they did when the world was whole.
The Five Kingdoms
The sudden disappearance of the Imperial City left a power vacuum which has since been filled by five separate nations. Three of those are human, one is elven, and one is orcish. Humans originally held sway over the land and account for most of the population. The elves keep to their forests as much as possible, as they have since the days when men were no more than savage tribes beating each other with clubs, and have changed little. The appearance of the orcs came as a shock; men had believed them driven to extinction in the heyday of the Empire. Whilst small in numbers at first, they have managed to claim a wide piece of land.
The nations are: Doric, human, a feudal autocracy, lying in the south and southeast; Festus, primarily human, a democratic republic, covering the northeast; Githalt, human, extremely small, situated in the middle; Hrothma, orcish, clans bound by a council of elders, living in the west; Lhea, elven, an oligarchy, safely ensconced in the north.
The first, and largest by virtue of geography, human nation is Doric. Feudal in nature, Doric is ruled over by a king, a complete autocrat whose title is hereditary. Throughout Doric's history there have been more than a few bloodlines to hold the title of monarch. Every century or so, civil war breaks out as a vassal makes an attempt at the throne. Successful attempts mean that a new family wears the crown. Unsuccessful attempts often mean the wholesale slaughter of the upstart's family (at least those unable to flee across the border into Festus.) This history makes the king wary of his vassals. A savvy king will often pit his vassals against each other or unite them in a common cause against another nation, causing them to either squabble amongst themselves or to focus their attention outward rather than begin eyeing the golden crown with lust.
Much of Doric is farmland worked by peasants. There are also large stands of forest used for timber and for hunting. The kingdom produces a fair amount of food, livestock, and timber but little else and must trade for or pillage whatever else they need. The southeastern blights of the monster-infested bogs and the haunted, misty plains are technically part of Doric, although none live there.
Festus is only slightly smaller in land than Doric but makes up for it in numbers. The population is fairly dense, living primarily in cities. Festun craftsmen are the best in Anquocia, while Festun mines are the most extensive. The land is dotted with a fair number of goodly sized lakes which produce an unnatural number of fish. Transportation is often easier by barge than by land due to an extensive network of rivers. Festus holds the only outlet to the ocean, a bay situated in the northeast corner of Anquocia. Unsurprisingly, Festun diet consists primarily of seafood.
For all practical purposes, Festus is ruled by the rich. Voice in government is ostensibly a privilege of all citizens, but only those of significant income or wealth can afford the fees and education required to fully participate. This includes becoming a member of the ruling senate as well as simply voting. Guilds representing the various crafts have great wealth and hold great power over the decisions of government.
Clashes with Doric are frequent, although both tend to resist outright war. Slaves fleeing the brutal mines of Festus sometimes head into Doric while political fugitives from Doric occasionally make their way into Festus. Most of the population is human, although there are a fair number of orcs who live and work (and are slaves) there.
Githalt exists independently only because it would cost too much to bring them under heel and keep them that way. A single clan of fierce warriors, Githaltians do not suffer intruders lightly. Little is known about them. They live on horseback, raise livestock, and are a constant thorn in the sides of the orcs, the Doricans, and the Festuns.
How the orcs survived being purged by the pogroms of the Empire is not known. After the lands of Anquocia were wrested from the larger world and the Empire vanished, the orcs began to filter out of the forests and congregate along the western ends of the land. They formed clans, roughly Celtic in nature, and worked together to carve out their own space. A few dozen clans exist, ruled over by a council of elders taken from each. No more or less savage than the humans, they dwell in villages looked over by stone keeps. Warriors patrol under the guidance of champions who have proven themselves in battle and in single combat. Wise chieftains work to keep their people safe.
The orcs do their best to remain self-sufficient. They have no trust in humans or elves and fought hard to gain the land they currently hold. They fear that Doric and Festus will eventually unite in a common attempt to wipe them out. This fear is unfounded, as Doric and Festus are far more likely to wipe each other out first.
The elves live in the northernmost area of Anquocia. Little is known of them. Scouts constantly patrol the edges of their forest and are not kind to interlopers.
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? Responses (4)-4
This is my first attempt at a pocket realm. It is the setting for The Lost Empire. I've had it in my mind for awhile now and am finally getting it down. It doesn't quite feel complete or all that unique. I'm open to suggestion on improvements, additions, anything that can help it to stand out a little and feel more complete.
I plan to write a few adventures (maybe 5 Room Dungeons) that will take place here, leading up to The Lost Imperial City.
I look forward to voting on this.
The Githalti and the Lheans need to be expanded, of course - while they may keep to themselves, the intrepid PCs will no doubt pester them, and the GM needs to be prepared.
I thought on this a little: the Elves could be manipulative bastards. Just consider it: you have limited resources, limited space, and all those humans and orcs breed like rabbits. The only thing that keeps them from fillingg every space is that they kill each other constantly.
What if they stopped?
With a little encouragement, they are prone to go bashing each other again. With elven guile and sorcery, this is all but child's play.
So, the elves play the factions off againt each other, to draw attention away from their secluded homeland.
They may even acknowledge that some humans have potential, and lure them away, giving rise to all the myths about faeries abducting children.