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• ANGLAMAR and the WEST •

Northwestern Mythandar is a wide country of rugged mountains, forested hills, green farmlands, rocky storm-swept coasts and wild rivers. It is dominated by the kingdom of Anglamar, founded nearly 300 years ago by barbarian clans who went on to build a thriving medieval civilization. To the west, across the Sea of Storms, lies Nordland, where the people live much as their ancestors did centuries ago. They are sea-raiders (in the Viking style) who cross the sea in dragon-prowed longships to raid each other and their neighbors each Summer. Farther south are the Storm Isles, inhabited by simple clansfolk. North of Anglamar, in the towering Icewall Mountains, stands the dwarven kingdom of Irongate, far older than anything built by man. For now, the Dwarves are allies of Anglamar as they constantly battle against the orcs of the mountains. To the east stretches a vast forested wilderness inhabited by Elves, the last remnant of a realm that once covered all of the West. Farther east and north of the elven realm is the semi-barbaric land of Varalkia. Southward, beyond the passes of the Storm Giant Mountains, are the old Inner Sea Lands, once ruled by the Empire of the Inner Sea.

Weather and Climate
The climate of this region ranges from arctic in the Far North to seasonally warmer along the southern coast. Winters are long and harsh throughout most of the West, especially north of the Winterborne River. By late Autumn, the mountain passes are snow-blocked and by Mid-Winter the rivers are frozen over. In Spring and Summer there are frequent storms along the coasts and plentiful rain inland. East of the Andural River, Summers are especially wet, while south of the great river, in the Duchy of Arandor, they are sunny and warm, with snows coming well after the end of Autumn. Most travel occurs during the Summer, on land and at sea.

Trade and Agriculture
The vast majority of people in Anglamar are peasant farmers and herding folk. Across the western coastal plain, the broad valley of the Andural, and the rolling hills of eastern Anglamar, people work small farmesteads or the large plantations of the nobility. In the Gondish Hills, they herd sheep and highland cattle while sheepherding is the only resource in the heath-covered Weathermoors. Along the coast, from Beren Bay southward to the Andural, fishing is the trade. In the Northern Marches and the Eastmark, folk tend small farms cut out of the forest and hunt and harvest timber, while the northern mountains produce ores and furs that are greatly in demand throughout the West.
     The coastal cities of Westhaven and Arandor are the centers of shipping in Anglamar, their ports hosting merchant ships from all over the West and the Inner Sea. Aragond is the crossroads of overland trade in Anglamar and the northern city of Beregond is famous for its iron-works.
     In the Storm Isles the people are poor farmers and shepherds, with some mining tin in the central highlands. The Nordlanders fish the arctic sea and raise some goats and cattle, though their wealth comes from raiding and a sea-born trade in northern timber. The dwarves of the Icewall Mountains mine and trade their iron to men in the North, while the elves of Wildewood subsist largely independent within their forest realm.




• KINGDOM OF ANGLAMAR•

The largest and most powerful kingdom of western Mythandar, Anglamar is a feudal country (resembling Europe in the Early Middle Ages). It is a rustic land of stone castles and thatched roof farming villages, rough highlands, green forests, and rocky coasts. The land is ruled by an hereditary noble class, the Barons, who rule with the authority of the King. However, most people are peasants - poor farmers, middle class tradesfolk and wealthy merchants.

The people of Anglamar are Koths, typically blonde and fair, though dark hair is common in the south and east. They farm in the countryside and raise cattle and sheep, practice trades in the towns and fish the coastal waters and rivers. Centuries ago, when the Empire ruled the Inner Sea lands, the Koths were barbarians who hunted and herded across the north. They learned to forge iron from the Dwarves and eventually settled the lands west of the Andural River. After the Empire fell 500 years ago, the Koths united under a King, Thelron the Great, and founded the kingdom of Anglamar.

The people of Anglamar speak Kothic (which would sound like Old English) and those who can read and write use the old Imperial alphabet. Most folk worship the Old Gods. But, many have converted to the New Faith from the Inner Sea. Officially, folk are free to worship as they will. However, most of the nobility of Anglamar have been adherents of Mythas for some time now, and the Church, under the leadership of the Archbishop of Arandor, wields considerable influence at Court.




• NORDLAND •

The land northwest of Anglamar is a cold, mountainous country of endless Winter and savage sea storms. It is a harsh and rugged land, where the last barbarian Kothic tribes settled centuries ago. Unlike their cousins in Anglamar, they are far from civilized, clinging to the old way of life. They live in sod and timber villages at the edge of the sea where they fish, hunt whales and seals, raise rabbits and a kind of shaggy white sheep for meat, milk and wool, dig and forge iron, and build longships with which they raid the mainland. Nordlander raids occur in Summer when the sea is relatively free of ice, and the sight of their square-sailed dragon ships off the coast of Anglamar causes sheer terror among the inhabitants of the North.

The kingdom of Nordland was established 85 years ago when the legendary hero Haagon Dragonslayer rose to the chieftainship of Vygard (now Dragonsgard), subdued the other chiefs and declared himself King. The realm now includes the four Great Holds of Dragonsgard, Haramir's Hold, Garlsted on Rune Isle, and Viksted on the northernmost of the Storm Isles. Recently, a new settlement has been established on the mainland coast at Thunder Bay ... Nordland's relations with Anglamar are relatively peaceful, now, with only an occasional coastal raid. However, dragonships still pounce upon merchant vessels encountered on the Sea of Storms.

Nordlanders are typically tall, blonde or red-haired, with pale eyes of blue, green or gray, and the men wear beards and their hair long. They are boastful and warlike, valuing battle skill and bravery above all else. The women have the reputation of being as fierce as the men, and it is not uncommon for a woman to command a ship of raiders or even be chieftainess of a holding. Nordlanders have a superstitious fear and loathing of mages. They worship the Old Kothic Gods - Valkan Stormlord, Fraya the Horned Goddess and Umo the Sea-giant. They have little tolerance for the New Faith.


• THE STORM ISLES •

Beyond the Anglamar coast lies a large group of islands, the farthest western dwelling of men in Mythandar. The Storm Isles are high and wooded, with rocky coasts lashed by storms from the sea in Spring and Summer and ice storms from the north in Winter. The main island, Kinnaran is dominated by Mount Kaerdon, which is snow-crowned year round. There are red deer, wild pigs, fox, goats, rabbits and other small animals on the isles and sea birds of all kinds flock their rocky shores.

The Storm Islanders are not Koths like the folk of Anglamar, though they speak the same language now. They are the last of a people who dwelled along the western coasts before the Koths pushed into the West. During the 900s IR, these people were either absorbed by the Koths or migrated across the sea to the isles for refuge. Here, they have struggled to survive against Nordlander raids while maintaining their own identity. Less warlike than either of their neighbors, they have found it best to offer little or no resistance, encourage trade and remain hospitable. On the northern isle of Kinnor, they are subjects of the Nordlander rulers of Viksted, and the family of Urveld Trollslayer has treated them fairly in the past.

The Storm Islanders are a handsome folk, generally smaller and darker than the people of Anglamar, with brown hair and, often, dark eyes. They do some farming, though the land is too rocky and poor to raise more than a few crops. They fish, hunt, herd sheep, cut timber and - on the main island - mine tin ... There is no king or overlord of the Storm Isles. The people live in small independent coastal villages, each with an elder or elders who speak for the people. They pay homage to the Druids and defer to their council in matters of importance. Representatives from across the Isles meet at the Standing Stones on Kinnaran during the Summer Solstice. The Storm Islanders worship the Old Gods, particularly the Earth Mother, who they call Idanna, though some in Kinnoch have accepted the New Faith. There has been a monastery of Mythas on Kintare for centuries and the monks there are regarded as the guardians of learning and history in the Isles.