- THE DALES
- THE GONDISH HILLS
- THE NORTHERN MARCHES
- THE STORM ISLES
- OTHER LOCATIONS
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LINKS ON THIS PAGE ARE STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION
The northwest of Mythandar is a broad country of rugged mountains, forested hills, green farmlands, rocky, storm-swept coasts and wild rivers flowing to the sea. It is dominated by the great kingdom of Anglamar, founded 500 years ago by barbarian clans who went on to build a thriving medieval civilization. To the northwest is Nordland, where the people live much the same as their ancestors did centuries ago. They are sea-raiders (in the Viking style) who cross the Sea of Storms in dragon-prowed longships to raid eachother and their neighbors each Summer. 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 who are the last remnant of a realm that once covered all of the West. And southward, beyond the passes of the Storm Giant Mountains, are the old Inner Sea Lands, once ruled by the Empire of the Inner Sea
The climate of this region ranges from arctic in the Far North to warm and sunny along the southern coast. There are seasons -- Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Winters are long and harsh in the North. By late Autumn, the mountain passes are snow-blocked and the rivers beginning to freeze. In Spring and Summer there are frequent storms along the coasts and plentiful rain inland. Most travel occurs during the Summer, on land and at sea.
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 controled 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. When 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 Bishop of Arandor, wields considerable influence at court.
- Clersists' Isle
- Windover Bay
The "City of Open Gates" sits at the crossroads of trade in western Anglamar. Merchants from Westhaven and Arandor bring their goods by wagon over the King’s Road through Aragond and then northward to Gondaran. Likewise, wagons from the north pass through on their way to the seaports. The city is constantly busy, day and night, even in Winter, and over the centuries has grown beyond its stone walls with stables, animal pens, wagon repair services (blacksmiths, carpenters, wheelwrights), inns and taverns. The Old City, within the walls, holds the wealthy merchant residences, temples and most expensive shops, while at its center stands the Old Keep, the ancestral home of the Baron as well as the headquarters of the Knights of Gond.
The Baron of Aragond is the most powerful noble between the lower Gondmar and Andural rivers, ruling the land for a day's ride around the city. The taxation of merchants is the barony's greatest source of revenue, and the Merchants' Guild of Aragond has an influencial voice in the affairs of the city.
The best known inn in Aragond is The Braying Cartman, a large three-story hostelry, tavern, and waystables surrounded by a low, gated wall, standing beside the King’s Road heading north. Aragond is famous for its annual High Summer Fair held in a great open field outside the city, which becomes covered with colorful tents and crowded with visitors from all over Anglamar. The Fair’s tournament features the Knights of Gond and their rivals, the Knights of the Gryphon, in fierce competition, though the Knights of Arandor always make a showing.
Across the harbor from Windover Bay, rises a steep, rocky island. Atop it stands an ancient stone abbey that is said to have been built before the founding of Anglamar. This is the Abbey of Ever Burning Light, run by a clerical order of Mythas, sworn to poverty and dedicated to quiet study and prayer. The only access to the island is by boat and the narrow winding stairs carved into the rock of the cliffs. Once a month, a handful of monks take a small boat to Windover Bay to buy food and other supplies.
Folk are welcome to visit the abbey to consult with the Abbot or to find sanctuary and healing. Those who stay for any length of time are expected to live as the monks do – to work at common everyday chores and spend much of their time in quiet contemplation and prayer. The Abbey is also known for its extensive library of ancient books and scrolls, and scholars and bards often come here in search of obscure lore. Offerings for the maintenance of the library are expected.
The trade town of Riverdale is a collection of cottages and businesses that sprawls on both sides of the Andural River. Its center is Green Bridge Tower, which stands on the middle span of the ancient stone bridge across the river. Traffic moving back and forth passes beneath the tower’s arch, which can be closed off with a massive iron portcullis at either end. The Lord Mayor of Riverdale also holds a King's Commission as Warden of the Bridge, with the authority to seal the bridge and call upon local militia and baronial forces in time of war. His garrison usually consists of no more than a score of men commanded by a sergeant-at-arms.
This small town sprawls along the shores of a circular bay on the coast southeast of Westhaven. It is walled by green hills to the north and east, through which a spur of the King's Road runs. The town is spared from the worst storms off the sea, though it sees a lot of rain in Spring. The people are fisherfolk and tradesmen, used to a quiet and uneventful life. The bay is not suitable as a port for large ships. Though wide, its waters drop when the tide goes out, making it possible to walk almost all the way across to Clerists' Isle.
Windover Bay is best known for the tall, white lighthouse standing on a rocky promontory to the south, and for its unique and picturesque inn, the Foundered Duchess. Decades ago, a southern merchant ship was driven into the bay by storms where it went aground and was abandoned. Eventually, a local entrepeneur, Welgrin, took possession of the hulk, shored it up and refurbished it as a seaside inn and tavern. The Duchess is famous for the open air restaurant on its upper deck, open in fair weather. Like Dunadain and Everune in the Gondish Hills, Windover bay is known as the residence of some former members of the Old Royal Guard.
- Shadow's Glen
- Sunderguard Keep
- Sunrise Pass
The oldest city in Anglamar and (many claim) the most beautiful, Arandor’s white walls and towers rise above the Andural River near the sea, surrounded by checkered farmlands, groves, vinyards and green pastures. Its architecture of carved arches and colonnaded courtyards hearken back to the days when Arandor was the northernmost outpost of the Empire of the Inner Sea. The city’s stone river docks reach out into the river and sea-going ships and river boats come here to trade. The sections of the city are laid out in concentric circles, each rising in elevation from the outer walls to the beautiful Ducal Palace. The main thoroughfares run from South Gate and River Gate, straight to the palace walls, passing through white stone archways as they climb from each section to the next.
Lower City is the commercial section of Arandor, where the shops, markets, travelers’ inns and poorer housing are located.Middle City holds the wealthier merchant residences and guild halls, as well as the barracks, armory and stables of the City Guard. In Upper City are the noble residences, public buildings, parks and the magnificent Grand Cathedral, the only temple in the city. Unlike most of Anglamar, the people of Arandor are nearly all adherents of the New Faith, and the Archbishop of Arandor leads all of the faithful in Anglamar.
The Duke of Arandor rules Anglamar south of the Andural River, from the coast east to the mountains. The province was an independent realm until two hundred years ago when it was acquired by King Othred through the marriage of his youngest son, Prince Edred, to Arandor’s Princess Rosamun. Their son, Edmun, was granted the title of Duke. This places the current Duke in line for the throne of Anglamar if the King should die without an heir.
The Duke commands the Knights of Arandor, who wear green and white surcoats and helmets with white horsehair-plumes. Arandor also has a maritime tradition and many southerners serve in Anglamar’s navy. The Duke’s own war carrack, the Sea Stallion, ports at Arandor harbor and makes annual cruises up the Anglamar coast in Summer.
The grassy meadows and fertile fields of Immerdeen make it the rural heartland of southern Anglamar. The countryside is scattered with cottages, barns, windmills and rail-fenced pastures where white faced cattle graze. There is a single stone tower where a squad of militia sit watch with little to do but eat, sleep and banter with the local farmers.
Immerdeen’s fame, however, comes from its horse breeders, and the tall, powerful, snow white Immerdeen stallions which are widely regarded as the finest horses in Anglamar. King Thelring’s favorite charger, Stormwind, is considered the finest example of the breed. Veston Sturl is the King’s Horsemaster and he regularly travels from Gondaran to Immerdeen to inspect and manage the bloodline.
In the mountain foothills east of the city of Arandor lies a narrow green valley of lush grass and hardwood forest. A small clear lake rests in the valley, fed by highland streams, and on the edge of the lake is a quaint wood and stone inn. The Glen is pleasant the year round, with cool weather in Summer, light rain and scant snow in Winter. A reclusive bard lives there and a few chosen guests come and go with the seasons, among them the ruling family of Arandor. Shadows Glen is protected by powerful magics, mysteriously placed and maintained. Very few folk have ever seen the place, though many in Anglamar have heard of it.
This distant castle marks the southernmost extent of the kingdom of Anglamar. It is a functioning fortress, fully staffed with servants, grooms, cooks and armorers and manned by twenty knights and 200 men-at-arms of the Knights of the Gryphon. The garrison pulls a six-month tour of duty at Sunderguard, which, unlike Kragmoor in the North, is considered to be a pleasant enough assignment. The troops are permitted to take their leaves in Arandor. Sunderguard’s knight-commander holds the title of Warder of the South and has the authority to call on troops from Arandor if the need ever arises.
This wide valley rises into the Storm Giant Mountains, granting egress to the highland valleys that lead, eventually, south to the lands of the Inner Sea. A day’s travel into the mountains, two ancient stone fortresses flank the pass with a half-ruined wall between to mark the farthest northern extent of the Empire in the days before the founding of Anglamar. Abandoned for centuries, Emperor’s Gate stands empty, for Anglamar does not maintain a garrison here. Wild beasts and other creatures now make their lairs where Imperial soldiers in burnished breastplates and plumed helmets once stood guard against the barbarians of the North. Beyond the Gate, an ancient road of broken stone pavings follows the pass higher into the mountains …
The gray walls and squat towers of Beregond rise on hills above the mouth of the Winterborne River. It is a dank, foggy place, rainy in Summer, freezing in Winter and lashed by storms year round. Outside the central keep, the city is a maze of gloomy, narrow, rain-slick, streets with buildings crowded close, climbing in uneven levels up from the harbor. The saying goes that the only level spot in Beregond is the Baron’s banquet table and this may be true. The city’s small harbor controls traffic up and down the Winterborne and ships of the Royal Fleet are stationed here to protect the northern coast from Nordlander raids.
Northern iron comes to Beregond down the Winterborne by boat, and the city is known for its ironsmiths. The red glow of forges light the city at night and hammering echoes constantly through the streets. Weapons and armor of Beregond steel are of the finest quality, second only to dwarven steel, and Kordane’s Arms and Armor Shoppe is the place to buy them. The famous blacksmith employs dwarven craftsmen in his business.
The Swords of Beregond, a tough, grim legion of experienced men-at-arms led by the Grey Knight, serve as the city guard as well as the Baron’s personal troops. In addition to patroling Beregond, the shores of Beren Bay and the King's Road for a day's ride, they man 10 catapults and some 25 heavy balistae on the walls of the city, many of them trained on the harbor and the river beyond. The Guard keeps in practice by firing at the hulks of old boats and barges on the river.
This ancient forest of oak, elm and maple trees extends from the northern hills nearly to the coast. It is the last remnant of the ancient western forestlands where elves used to dwell before the founding of Anglamar. Today, the wood is largely untouched and uninhabited, except for the town of Hamling, and under the protection of the Green Mage, Lansalon of the Wood. Travelers are warned that cutting timber in Elderwood is a dangerous endeavor, as well as against the King’s Law.
According to local lore, Elves are sometimes seen in Elderwood and it is suspected that they travel there by means of a magical gate.
This small town on the southern edge of Elderwood is a quiet, scenic burg. The people are friendly and hardworking. They hunt game in the forest and are well known as woodworkers and carpenters. Hamling also has the greatest concentration of witches, healers, minor mages and other practitioners of the Art of any place in Anglamar. Lansalon the Green Mage, a known ally of the Old Guard and the Northern Rangers, also lives here and considers himself the town’s – and the forest’s – protector.
- THE DALES
- Howling Hills
- THE EASTMARK
- Dead Orc Pass
- Deadwood Forest
- Greyshadow Mountain
- High Horn Keep
- Long Isle
- The Wildewood
- The Barrows
- The King's Road
- Kragmoor Keep
- Lake Miragond
- The Weathermoors
- Winterwood Forest
- The Gondish Hills
- Lake Evermere
- The Olde Inn
- THE NORTHERN MARCHES
- Runestone Pass
- Iron Vale
- Haramir's Hold
- Rune Isle
- Thunder Bay
- THE STORM ISLES
The land of the halflings in Anglamar is a green and rolling country of farms and hill burrows where simple folk till the soil, raise sheep and a small breed of reddish cattle called kinderkine, tend their trades and mind their own affairs. The Dalefolk are peaceful and generous, hard-working and gregarious among themselves, but wary of outsiders and largely disinterested in affairs beyond their borders. They are loyal subjects of the King of Anglamar and will proudly affirm that fact to any who question it.
The county of the Dales was granted by King Holmar, great-grandfather of Thelring, in gratitude for the halflings’ service in the Battle of Howling Hills during the Long Winter of 1339. There, a force of some 300 halfling archers led by Buckleman the boatwright, marched from their homes along the Andural River to meet an invading orc horde from the mountains. Many halflings were slain as they fought a slow retreat, giving the King’s forces time to arrive. In the end, Holmar himself led the charge that broke the orcish ranks. Afterward, he gave the halfling folk the Dales as their own land and granted Buckleman and his descendants the title of Warden of the Dales, equal in standing to a Baron.
Men are not allowed to live in the Dales, though they may travel through it with the Warden’s leave. The current Warden of the Dales is Neddlemer, great-grandson of Buckleman, who lives in Arbuckle Hill overlooking the river. Visitors should beware that the Dalefolk are the Royal Family’s staunchest supporters, and woe to the traveler who makes derogatory talk of the King within earshot of a halfling of the Dales.
The Dalefolk worship the Old Gods, revering the Great Mother as Mistress of the Harvest and the Hearth. They also recognize Hob the Prankster and try to avoid his influence.
This range of stony, thinly wooded hills lies between the Andural River and the Storm Giant Mountains. The only inhabitants are deer, wild boar, wolves and other beasts. In the Long Winter of 1339, an orc horde from the mountains was met in battle here by halfling archers, who slowed their advance until the army of Anglamar could arrive. As reward, King Holmar granted the halflings of Anglamar the Dales as their own land.
The land east of the upper Andural River is thickly forested and sparsely inhabited. Beneath the endless green shadows are scattered pits and burial mounds, for this is where the barbarian Koths first came into the West, crossing the great river 600 years ago to settle onto the land that would become Anglamar.
Now, the Eastmark is a frontier province under the authority of the Baron of Eastinghold. Most people live along the banks of the river in farmsteads cut out of the forest where they grow small crops of produce, hunt deer, and raise some cattle. Though not as dangerous as the Northern Marches, life is still rough and difficult. Winters are harsh, the Summers mild with frequent thunderstorms out of the east. Orc raids and other monster incursions are common. The people are stubborn, clannish, and resentful of the nobility. Banditry, cattle thieving and feuds are common.
The capitol of the Eastmark is a small hillside keep surrounded by a rambling town of wood buildings on the banks of the upper Andural. There is little to be found here amdist the uneven sprawl of timber lodges aside from a smithy, stables, cattle pens and farmer’s market. In the center of the town, before the gates of the Baron's keep, is a muddy open space dominated by a large gallows capable of hanging six men at once. (some say, half-jokingly, that it's the busiest place in town). There is a river dock where goods brought in by the forest folk are loaded onto boats and transported downriver. The width of the river here and the steep bluffs that wall its western shore force transport south to Long Isle for trade.
Sir Kayle, the Lord Sheriff, commands some 100 foresters (archer-trained men-at-arms). He wields considerable influence in Eastinghold, and any noble must take into account that his men and many others (including merchants) in the Eastmark are loyal to the Sheriff for one reason or another. This can cause problems for a Baron when it comes to an accurate accounting of taxes and actual control of the barony. More than one nobleman has found himself to be little more than a figurehead in Eastinghold.
Elves are occasionally seen passing through Eastinghold, alone or in small groups, though they keep to themselves and do not stay for long. The Elder Race in not generally well-regarded or trusted in the Eastmark, though according the King's Law, they may not be harassed or delayed. There is some resentment toward them because the Lady Aravel forbids men from crossing the Greyflow River.
The Hunted Stag is Eastinghall’s only tavern and inn. Tiberas Hule is a strange, secretive, dark-haired foreigner (some say from the Inner Sea Lands) who has run the Hunted Stag for as long as anyone can remember. He is rumored to have many contacts and can pass messages by unconventional means to anywhere in Anglamar.
Dead Orc Pass
This high, narrow pass cuts through the Storm Giant Mountains south of High Horn Keep. Though frequently snow-blocked, it is used by brave travelers passing to and from the eastern lands. The passage is dangerous and it gets its name from the fact that rival orc tribes often clash here and their remains litter the mountain trail. Soldiers from High Horn keep watch on the pass for orcish incursions from the mountains.
The land north of Greyshadow Mountain, between the upper Greenwater and Easting rivers, is a barren stretch of dead trees and withered undergrowth, scattered with weathered stone blocks from the ruins of ancient dwellings and marked here and there by blackened mounds of earth. This is all that remains of the Elven realm of Ealdas, overrun in the orcish invasions 150 years ago. The land is silent and empty of life, a seemingly endless expanse of dead trees and brown earth. The Elves of the Wildewood do not go there and they do not look kindly on people who do.
Anglamar’s easternmost settlement is a small collection of wood cottages and timber lodges partially surrounded by a wooden wall. The inhabitants hunt the forest around Greyshadow Mountain and travel the long miles over the Forest Road to Eastinghold for trade. It is a lonely, isolated place with its only protection a small garrison of the Baron’s soldiers and the presence of a resident mage adept.
The town is well-known as the last stop for adventurers bound for the lost mines and monster lairs of Greyshadow Mountain. The locals greet visitors with courtesy and wry humor. Over the years they have seen many enthusiastic swordsmen, thieves, adventuring monks and up and coming young mages pass through town in search of fame and fortune – and not so many return. Some of the townsfolk amuse themselves with private wagers on the survival of adventuring parties headed "up the mountain."
The One Way Inn, run by the retired swordsman Donagal, caters to the special needs of adventurers. He has healing potions, torches, vials of holy water and flaming oil, alleged maps of various lairs and tunnel mazes on the mountain, rooms to rest and recover – everything for the itinerant dungeon-crawler at not-so-reasonable prices. The walls of the common room are decorated with trophies from previous adventures. Perhaps the most famous are the stuffed minotaur's head mounted above the large fireplace or the gleaming red and black carapace of a giant fire beetle, the size of a small pony, adorning the wall beneath the stairs. Here, one can hear every dungeoneer’s tale of orc-brawls, near escapes and hilariously miss-fired spells. Conversations starting off with "Did you hear the one about the …?" are commonly overheard – usually involving a dwarf with a crossbow, a mage in an alcove, or a thief sneaking up on a dragon.
The mage adept Erwyn, called Raven by those who know her well, dwells in an old stone tower outside of town. She is a sorceress of some renown who has adventured throughout the West. Rumor has it that she was an apprentice of the arch-mage Falkard in Westhaven, and a former paramour of the mage Eldane (among others).
"The Mountain" towers above the eastern forestlands between the Greenflow and Easting rivers, marking Anglamar’s eastern border. From its tree-covered flanks, one can look out over an endless ocean of green. On a clear day, the misty rise of the Weathermoors far to the west can be sighted, and the towering snow-clad peaks of the Dragonspine Mountains to the north. The peak contains ancient dwarf-holds and worked out mines which have now become the lairs of wild beasts, trolls and other creatures more foul from the depths of the earth. Over the centuries it has been a popular destination for young and daring adventurers. Halfway up its slope from the town of Greymantle are the ruins of an old borderland keep which has been a popular destination for adventuring parties. Legend says that there is a dragon’s lair on Greyshadow Mountain (but no one seems to know which dragon lives there).
High Horn Keep
This lonely castle stands on the foothills of the Storm Giant Mountains in the Eastmark. Long ago, it was the seat of an ancient barony. But that noble line died out and the castle is now a frontier guard post, manned by soldiers of the King, and the place of Royal exhile. Individuals who have earned the special wrath of the King of Anglamar are sentenced to spend the rest of their lives here in utter seclusion. Escape is unlikely, since the keep sits atop a sheer cliff with only a single passage through rock which can be sealed by an iron portcullis. There are also said to be magic wards in place around the castle.
Currently, there are two guests incarcerated at High Horn. Their identities are not widely known, though one is rumored to be the Lady Ingral, long ago the mistress of King Thelric and a witch who tried to remove the Queen.
The knight-commander of High Horn holds the title of Warder of the East and commands a force of 20 knights and 200 men-at-arms, along with their support personnel and the castle staff.
In the Eastmark, if you want to trade or travel, you go to Long Isle town. The place is a cluster of wooden buildings crowded onto a low narrow island in the midst of Long Isle Lake. Goods come downriver from Eastinghall, where they are traded in Long Isle’s wood-planked marketplace, and merchants from the rest of Anglamar come here by boat to the town’s sprawling wooden docks. The buildings of the town are crowded up against each other in ramshackle fashion, many of them standing out over the water on thick wooded pilings. During Spring when heavy rains raise the level of the Andural River, the island is flooded and the inhabitants must get about by row boats and rickety wood and rope bridges strung across from upper floor to rooftop. It is an altogether colorful and chaotic place, thriving on trade and visited by folk from all over the kingdom.
The Birdwatch Inn stands on wooden stilts at the island’s north end. From its riverside balcony is a magnificent view of the lake, the wooded shores and the in-flowing river. Old Helferen’s kitchen is famous for it’s roast fowl and fish stews and the rooms are comfortable, if one does not mind the building swaying and creaking like a ship.
At the far eastern border of Anglamar lies the last remaining realm of Elves in the West. Here are the oldest trees and deepest forest shadows of the eastern forestlands. Very few humans have been allowed to cross Wildwood’s border, which is demarked in the west by the Greyflow River and the north by a tall marker stone, weathered and carved with elven symbols, standing on a bare hill. Elven archers in mottled green cloaks turn back travelers and have been known to kill those who press their intention to enter. Orcs and other monsters which sometimes roam the forests stay clear of the Wildewood.
Wildewood is ruled by the Lady Aravel, Queen of the Elves in the West, and has been for as long anyone can remember. The Elf-lord Alandar is known to frequent her realm.
The capitol of Anglamar is a majestic city of pale gray stone towers and slate-roofed houses, surrounded by a massive stone wall, amidst rolling green hills and farmland. Three huge oak and iron gates stand open year round, unless the city is threatened, and traffic flows continuously in and out – carts and wagons, travelers afoot and mounted, squads of armored knights and men-at-arms. Colorful banners fly from the towers and hang draped from the walls. Trumpets peal from the battlements, announcing the arrival of dignitaries. The streets are filled with townsfolk, shop-keepers, traders and visitors. It is a busy, thriving city filled with all the color and pageantry of a medieval kingdom.
In the center of Gondaran stands the Royal Castle, the residence of the Royal Family and headquarters of the Knights of the Gryphon. City affairs are attended by a Guilds Council, made up of the local guildmasters who meet in Guildsmans’ Hall. The King allows them autonomy in city government, though any important policy decisions must be approved by His Majesty.
Other important locations in the city are:
King’s Square is a wide, paved public area before the Royal Castle, dominated by a marble statue of King Thelron the Great and the last Royal Wizard, Izander. The Citadel of the Guard, which is the headquarters and barracks of the City Guard, as well as the location of the city dungeon. Market Quarter, fronted by Trade Street, a broad thoroughfare that hosts a large open air bazaar and farmer’s market. Notable shops in the Market Quarter are Bolyard’s Armory (the finest weapons and armor), Menelaar’s Apothecary (potions, elixirs, powders, unguents), Salan’s Silks and Sundries (Her Majesty’s favorite dress shop) and The Olde Gondish Bakery.The Royal Cathedral, a Temple of Mythas attended by priests and clerics and supported by public tithing.
This area of ancient burial mounds is where Kothic chieftains were interred before the founding of Anglamar. Green turf covers the mounds and ancient stone circles and carved menhiirs stand here and there. Travelers avoid the Barrows since fogs and strange mists cling to the ground and it is always colder here than it should be. It is commonly believed that whatever treasure and artifacts lie buried in the mounds are cursed, and that anyone who robs them will meet an unpleasant end.
This small town is north of the Dales on the edge of Lake Miragond. The people tend small farms, graze dairy cows on the surrounding hillsides, and fish the waters of the lake. They are the only folk who have regular contact with the halflings of the Dales, trading with them via the Twain Road, and both humans and halflings can be found patronizing the Overhill Inn. The old hilltop tavern and hostelry gives a view of the Dales to the south and Lake Miragond to the north, and the fat innkeeper Ferador proudly offers halfling beer and whitebread on his menu.
A village on the King’s Road, between the Gondish Hills and Harrowood, unremarkable except for a small abbey of Mythas nearby. There is a smith, stables, a wheelwright and a comfortable roadhouse called The Green Way Inn, known for its fine venison stew and ornate fireplace. The fat old Abbot, Eolmer, was once an adventuring companion of the arch-mage Falkard and the swordsman Mordendan, and known for his heavy-handed approach to offering absolution (with one hand raised to heaven and the other gripping a mace). Now he trains young adherents to the New Faith and spends time in the Green Way reminiscing and greeting travelers.
The only town in the Weathermoors is a cluster of native stone cottages and circular stone animal pens clustered around a spring-fed well. It is the center of the wool trade, where shepherds bring their flocks for fleecing and the wool is processed and loaded on wagons for transport to Gondaran. The people are quiet, serious and hardworking, not known as the friendliest folk in Anglamar, but among the most even tempered. They have little interest in the rest of the world and view a solid work ethic (up early, work all day, early to bed) as the greatest virtue.
The Wolf’s Head Tavern is known for it’s strong, bitter ale, gloomy ambiance, and the unfriendliness of the owner and patrons to outsiders. Still, it is the only public establishment in town where a traveler can get a drink, warm meal and a bed for the night.
The King's Road
Anglamar is connected by a network of raised, packed earth roads and stone bridges. Long ago, the Kings realized that prosperity depends on trade, and trade relies on travel as farmers and merchants carry their goods from farm to market, town to town, using wagons and animals. Thus, a system of reliable roads was constructed.
The King’s Road extends throughout Anglamar (except in the North and the Eastmark), connecting all of the major market places. Though the roads are considered Royal property, they are required to be maintained by the nobles who’s lands they cross. Willful destruction of the roads or bridges is a serious violation of the King’s Law ... While fighting brigands near the Elderwood, the mage Orlan accidentally collapsed Whispering River Bridge with an ill-placed fireball. For this, he spent half-a-year in Gondaran’s dungeons, during which he claimed to have spent the time contemplating the finer points of spell control.
The massive granite fortress perched atop a cliff at the northern edge of the Weathermoors overlooks the barren approaches northward to Winter Gap. It is a foreboding, lonely place blasted by blizzards in Winter, rain-soaked and muddy in Summer. No one lives on the land surrounding Kragmoor, though herds of reindeer and wolves cross the barren flats to the north. The castle’s purpose is simple: To keep watch on the Gap and send warning if the monstrous hordes of the Far North ever come south again. The castle itself is manned by thirty knights and 300 men-at-arms of the King’s own Knights of the Gryphon, and it is considered a hardship or punishment to be stationed here for a season. The knight-commander of Kragmoor holds the title of Warder of the North. He has the authority to call on troops from throughout Anglamar if the need arises.
This cluster of villages and farmsteads is located in the midst of the richest farming region of Anglamar. The surrounding country is green and fertile, producing grains and produce in abundance. Plowed fields, barns and windmills are everywhere and herds of dairy cows line the roads. Goods are transported by wagon to the far reaches of the kingdom. There is little in the way of the shops and services found in most towns. The villagers regularly travel to Gondaran to shop or deal with traveling traders who pass through the area with goods for sale. However, there are several small taverns which cater to the farmers, and two well-known inns with extensive stables and animal pens. The Hall of the Blue Ox is a low, sprawling stone building (formerly a huge dairy barn) on the King’s Road to the west, famous for its huge drinking hall. In the center of Middlefields is The Windtower Inn, where the rooms are located in a large and no longer operating windmill.
The deep blue lake north of the Dales is surrounded by woods and lush meadows where dairy cows graze. The town of Farhill stands on its western shore and the Royal Family maintains a summer residence here at a small keep known as Gryphon Manor. When the Queen is in residence it is not uncommon for halflings from the Dales to cross the hills and the lake to visit (it’s said that Her Majesty loves nothing more than Summer evenings on the lakeshore with halfling children running about). At such times, of course, a contingent the Knights of the Gryphon are close at hand (Her Majesty would say "under foot").
On a small mist-shrouded island in the lake stands a white stone tower said to be the home of a sorceress who has not been seen for many years. It is not known whether she still lives or has perished on some adventure in a faraway land.
A stony upland of heath and bare knolls in northern Anglamar. It is an infertile land, cold in Winter, dank and muddy the rest of the year, good for little but sheep herding. The Moors are scattered with ancient ruins which the locals believe to be haunted. At night, the sheep herders of Hoven bring their flocks in to stone-fenced enclosures to guard them from wolves and other predators.
This tradetown on the edge of Winterwood Forest is where merchants come from the north to trade their goods in Winter. The town is the site of the Mid-Winter Trade Meet, where furs and leather, iron, and fish from the Winterborne River are brought from Northinghall by wagon or pack train to be traded for southern goods. It is also the place to find work as a frieghtman, blacksmith or wheelwright -– or as a caravan guard or merchant’s bodyguard for those with skill-at-arms. For many weeks during the Winter, the town is a bustling place, since the merchants don’t return north until Spring. In Summer it becomes just another waystop on the road to the Northern Marches.
The town is not walled and most of the buildings are wood shacks and log halls. However, in the center of Wintermeet is a two-story stone building built like a small keep. Wayfarers’ Hall is run by Hodgern Rus, a fat giant of a man as ugly as a troll. He charges outrages prices during the trading season for rooms, meals and stabling, but is quite reasonable the rest of the year.
The thick stand of oak and maple runs along the south bank of the Winterborne River. Folk come to cut hardwood timber for carpentry and load wagons with deadwood for the Winter, and there is plenty of game – deer, bear, squirrels, wild fowl and boars along the riverbanks. The King’s Road runs north from Wintermeet and through the forest to the crossing of the Winterborne. It has been known to be a good place to get robbed by bandits.
The Gondish Hills
These highlands run from Traveler’s Tor in the northwest to the hills east of Everune in the southeast. There are several towns and other points of interest, including The Olde Inn, Gryphon Peak and Lake Evermore. The hills are not generally rugged, and there are scattered woods, grassy dells and small streams throughout. A few farmers and herders live here.
A small town in the Gondish Hills on the flanks of Gryphon Peak, a rambling collection of lodges and cabins, a smithy, a tavern (The Green Gryphon) and an ancient stone watchtower. In the old days, the tower was a watchpost where warning signals where relayed across the highlands to Gondaran. When fires were lit on the western plains below, the sentries on the tower would light the bonfire atop it so that it could be seen to the east. Thus, in popular lore, the lighting of the watchfire at Dunadain means that Anglamar is in peril. The post is not manned, now, and hasn’t been for a hundred years. Dunadain is a quiet place where several veterans of the Old Royal Guard have retired. It holds a secret, as well, known only to a few.
The cold clear lake below the Gondish Hills is an idyllic spot in Anglamar. It is walled by wooded hills and protected from the worst weather year around. The lake is well-known as a fine place to fish and as the home of a mysterious sea serpent-like creature known as the Serpent of Evermere – which, however, no one has been able to prove actually exists. The locals simply shake their heads or chuckle when asked about it.
A small town on the shores of Lake Evermere, Everune is a peaceful out-of-the-way place. The people fish the waters of the lake and travel by boat down river to Westhaven or upriver to Gondaran for their trading. As in other towns in the Gondish Hills, former members of the Old Royal Guard have retired here. The town’s only tavern is a small, dull establishment, colorfully named The Splashing Serpent.
This dense, hard wood forest is remarkable for its size and the plentiful game that inhabits it – white-tailed deer, black bear, squirrels, fox, rabbits and wild pigs as well as all types of birds. Many of the trees are large and ancient .It is a favored hunting wood for nobility and the common folk who live nearby, and the people of Greenharrow cut some timber for building and firewood.
In the midst of the wood stands an old ruined castle, Blackharrow Keep. Legend says that the noble family who once inhabited the castle and ruled the land around it died out over many years as the result of a dark curse. The ruins are considered unhealthy or haunted and the local folk avoid it, rarely venturing that deep into the forest.
The Olde Inn
The large rambling hostelry known as The Olde Inn has stood at the foot of Travelers’ Tor for at least two hundred years. It is famous as the meeting place of adventurers from distant lands, though many of those have moved on. The Northern Rangers know this place well, as do the valiant Brightblades, a mysterious Duke of Elsewhere, a firey sorceress, a princess or two from far away, a planes-wandering centaur, magical elven sisters, a drow lord, and an ancient benevolent dragon. Now run by a grizzled old dwarf named Gault, the Inn remains unchanged and is still the place to find the strange and mysterious. Stories of a gate to other worlds are neither confirmed nor denied by those who know the place.
Below the Inn is a crystalline lake fed by highland streams, and above it looms Travelers’ Tor, crowned with ruins and said to be the lair of a dragon, unseen now for many years. Within the mountain, legends say, is the magic-sealed tomb of an ancient lich, the last remnant of a long-dead race.
THE NORTHERN MARCHES
The land north of the Winterborne River is a rugged country of mountains, thick pine forests and wild icey rivers. Winters are long and harsh, with deep snow in the highland valleys well into Spring. The Marches are sparsely inhabited by tough frontier folk who hunt for furs, cut timber, mine for ores and raise some cattle and a breed of tough mountain horses. They are an independent sort who survive by their own skill against the weather and the perils of wild beasts, orcs and other monsters from the North.
The Baron of Northinghall has authority over the Marches, but his power reaches barely beyond the gates of the keep –- or as far as his men-at-arms can ride in a day. Running the barony has been a difficult job at best, and there have been several nobles to hold the title over the last century – none of them related. The King wishes a strong and stable frontier to protect Anglamar from northern threats and he has little patience for incompetence. He encourages settlement and has offered lands in the North to lesser nobles. Few have taken up his offer. The King is also concerned about incursion by the Nordlanders and, in fact, there is already a Nordlander settlement on the coast at Thunder Bay. The Baron of the Northern Marches is expected to employ enough men-at-arms to secure the frontier, encourage trade and expand settlement –- all the while maintaining the peace among the common folk. Fortunately, a wise and fair-minded Baron can count on the help of the Northern Rangers in this effort. An unwise and heavy-handed lord can expect just the opposite.
The largest settlement in the Northern Marches is a grim, rough stone keep surrounded by a town of timber lodges and a palisade. The place is cold in Winter, damp and muddy in Summer, with little of the comforts of civilization. There are three stone buildings at Northinghall – the Baron’s Keep, the Gate Tower and the smithy. All else is constructed of wood. Thick pine forests surround the town, and the Icewall Mountains loom above it to the north. Below, a muddy road runs to the banks of the Winterborne where wooden docks serve the boats that carry traffic across the river. The huntsmen, miners and timberers of the Marches come to Northinghall in Autumn to trade with merchants from the south, and many of the northern folk spend the Winter there, returning to their camps and lodges in the mountains when the snows thaw.
Northinghall has sleeping lodges, smithies, stables and carpentry shops for the repair of wagons. The tavern known as The Sleeping Bear’s Cavern, run by the bear-like Roland Longarm, is a long, two-story log hall that boasts the strongest ale and mead in the North. It’s ever-blazing fires, roast venison and elk, and thick brown bread make it the place to visit in Nordinghall.
The stone-built smithy of Ulf the blacksmith is notable for one of it’s employees –- a scarred and docile rock troll who works the bellows. The monster is accepted by the residents for his usefulness in defense of the town. When orcs attacked and battered down Northinghall’s gate five winters ago, it was Ulf’s troll that stood in the breach, wielding an iron maul with devastating effect. A previous Baron was disturbed by the troll’s presence in town and ordered the blacksmith to send it away. Ulf is said to have replied that His Lordship was free to ask the thing to leave if he wished. The troll remains.
The timber-walled town west of Iron Vale is the place where merchants gather to load their wagons with mountain ore. Of course, services have sprung up here to serve the iron trade - wheelwrights, carpenters and smiths for wagon repair, animal traders to provide oxen and horses. East of the town is Riven Falls, where the Stoneriven River falls from the mountains walling Iron Vale. Two narrow trails wind up the cliffs requiring that loads of iron be brought down by mule train. Hammerfall thrives during the Summer, but is nearly abandoned in Winter until the merchants return. Needless to say, the iron trade is an important source of wealth for the Baron of Northinghall and his soldiers guard the town and keep a close watch on the trail leading to it.
This mountain town is a cluster of timber halls and houses surrounded by a log palisade. The inhabitants are tough and independent, having to deal with the worst of the northern winters and frequent raids by orcs and other monsters. They hunt, cut timber and mine some gold and silver from the mountain slopes. They also raise tough, gray-colored horses in the high meadows, and this is the breed preferred by mountain travelers and the Northern Rangers in particular.
Though subject to the authority of Northinghall, there is no love lost between Highsaddle and the Baron. One reason is that the town is the defacto headquarters of the Northern Rangers who have had run-ins with the Baron’s soldiers in the past (another may be the fact that the people here are proud loyalists of the King while thumbing their noses at the lesser nobility every chance they get). The people of Highsaddle are friendly enough. But, it is well known that there are three mistakes a visitor can make to ensure a short and unpleasant stay - horse-thieving, speaking ill of the Royal Family, and open prejudice toward the Elven race.
Harper Olwain and Faranor Half-elven are master breeders of Northern grays, both Rangers themselves though Harper long ago retired from adventuring. Olwain Hall stands outside Highsaddle, a two-story timber lodge, bunkhouse and large winterbarn – all stoutly built to withstand the weather and orc attacks. Harper’s wife, fiery-haired Maera, is the unofficial mayoress of Highsaddle.
Other personages of note include one-armed Hort who runs the town’s only drinking hall, The Lodge. The Elf-lord Alandar, one of the founders of the Northern Rangers, is an infrequent visitor, as are the mysterious tattooed mage Eldane, the veteran dwarven adventurer Brund Stone-reaver and the Nordlander Thars Bloodaxe.
This narrow gap through the Icewall Mountains is walled by cliffs and towering peaks and snow-blocked most of the year. It is orcish territory and rarely traveled by men. Ancient, abandoned Dwarf holds stand against the cliffs, now inhabited by orcs and other creatures.
During the North War 50 years ago, a band of adventurers led by the famed swordsman Derek of Westhaven and including the elf-lord Alandar, the mage Balastar and the dwarven brothers Brund and Brom Stone-reaver, trekked through the Pass to attack the Wizard-King in his Citadel of Black Ice. Their quest was long and arduous, filled with hardships and battles -- the stuff of legends. In the end they were instrumental in defeating of the Wizard-King. Today, Runestone Pass is watched by the Northern Rangers, ready for any sign of incursion from the Far North.
The city of Westhaven, at the mouth of the Gondmar River, is the largest and busiest seaport in Anglamar. There are at least a hundred ships anchored in the city’s harbor at any given time, and it’s said that a person can find a ship to almost anywhere. Merchants from throughout Anglamar come here, bringing their goods by wagon. The landward side of the city has liveries and animal pens while the sea front is famous for its fishmarket and warfside taverns, among them The Dancing Mermaid and the The Olde Gull and Anchor. The city’s shops are many and varied. Nearly anything can be found and purchased here (legally or not) and the Docks Ward is known as a rough and dangerous place, especially at night. It is also suspected to be the headquarters of the Shadow Guild in Anglamar, an organization of thieves and assassins that operates throughout the West and the Inner Sea Lands.
The seaside castle known as Admiralty Keep is the headquarters of Anglamar's navy, commanded by the King's Lord Admiral. There are at least a dozen warships (heavy carracks armed with ballistae on their forcastles) stationed at Westhaven harbor. From Spring to Mid-Autumn they patrol as far north as Beren Bay, south to Sundered Strait, and west to Kinnoch in the Storm Isles.
Several famous personages live in Westhaven, including the Falkard, Arch-mage of the Order of the Blue Star (in a spell-guarded tower on the city’s north wall) and the swordmaster Mordendan. In Docks Ward, the wealthy mechant Dumar deals in wines, silks and linens, spices and other exotic goods from the south. The man is known to have contacts throughout Anglamar and even into the Inner Sea. Hesk, who runs the Olde Gull and Anchor, is rumored to be a fence and one of the main contacts of the Shadow Guild.
This coastal town sits atop the cliffs overlooking the sea. It is a small, rain-soaked fishing burg with a tall, gray stone lighthouse. The town docks are reached by winding wooden stairs that lead down to the water. Large ships cannot dock here, due to the lack of a harbor and the treacherous rocks. Seacrest is famous for its tavern, the Storm Lantern Inn, run by a grizzled old one-eyed sailor named Valgray.
Off of Seacrest’s point are the Windspurs, a chain of jagged rocks rising up out of the sea which are a hazard to ships. Sailors steer clear of Seacrest, but storms sometimes drive ships onto the rocks and the townsfolk are always ready to salvage the wreckage.
This massive stone fortress straddles the mountains in the eastern Icewalls. It is the home of the Dwarves in the North, ruled by old King Horgrim Highhammer who has been King of the Dwarves for as long as Men can remember. Beneath Irongate is a great subterranean city, vast mines, forges and foundries. Humans are not welcome in Irongate, though merchants come to Iron Vale in Summer to trade. The Dwarves of Irongate are the masters of metal-forging, stoneworking and mining, and it is said that the treasure hoard of Irongate rivals the riches of any human kingdom in Mythandar.
The Dwarves of Irongate hold the passes against monsters from the Far North, and they constantly war with the orcs of the Icewall Mountains. They aided Anglamar in the North War against the Wizard-King, when his hordes marched south 50 years ago. The pact between Anglamar and Irongate promises that if ever the Wizard-King should threaten the south again, the Dwarves will open their fortress and march to battle.
Dwarves have always lived in the North. They built Irongate, Stonegaard and other fortresses long before the coming of men to the West. Men first clashed with the Dwarves in the mountains, but soon learned to avoid the short fierce warriors with their weapons and armor of hardened iron. Though contact afterward was rare, legends say that it was from the Dwarves that humans learned the skill of iron-forging (and this may be true since the people of the Inner Sea were still using bronze when they first encountered the barbarians of the North). As humans settled down, the Dwarves began to trade with them and the two races fought together against orcs and other monsters. By the time of the founding of Anglamar, Dwarves and Men were allies.
The Dwarves in the North have lost Stonegaard and other smaller holds, and their numbers have been declining for centuries. They are still fierce and proud, protective of king and clan and jealous of their secrets. Horgrim is hailed as King of all the Dwarves of Mythandar, even those who survived the fall of Stonegaard and wandered into the East.
The Dwarves worship Kor the Founder, Lord of Earth, Stone and Fire. He is described as a giant dwarf (if one can imagine it) with wild red hair and beard and blazing eyes, wearing burnished scale and chain armor, iron guantlets, and wielding a massive enchanted hammer, Earthshaper. Legend says that Kor aided Valkan Stormlord in the war against the giants (actually, the Dwarves claim that Valkan aided Kor) and that the dwarf-god made Valkan’s spear Thunderheart.
A high, barren valley in the eastern Icewall Mountains. Snowbound in Winter, the Vale is the sight of many old worked out dwarven mines. Many battles have been fought here between dwarves and orcs over the centuries and bones, ancient weapons and armor lie scattered across the frozen ground. In Summer, iron merchants from Anglamar come to the town of Hammerfall and hike the cliff trails up to Iron Vale to trade for dwarven iron.
Centuries ago, this mountain fortress was a thriving dwarf hold, ruled by the ancient Forgefire clan. Despite constant warfare with orcs, the Dwarves of Stonegaard increased in numbers and wealth as they traded with their cousins in Irongate and neighboring human tribes. Then, after many centuries, the orcs of the Dragonspine Mountains burst out of their caverns in uncounted numbers, driven out by some ancient and nameless evil from deep under the earth. They overwhelmed the Dwarves’ defenses and took the city, slaughtering nearly all the inhabitants. The few survivors scattered into the mountains, some finding refuge in Irongate while others wandered elsewhere. All of Clan Forgefire were killed.
Now, Stonegaard is ruled by King Hurrk of the Black Tusk orcs and, though there is constant warfare with other orc tribes, their numbers are growing. There are fears that soon they will boil out of the mountains in numbers that have not been seen for centuries.
The land to the northwest of Anglamar is a cold, mountainous country of endless Winter and savage sea storms. The people of Nordland are Koths, like those of Anglamar, but they are far from civilized. Nordlanders cling to the old barbaric way of life from back in the days of the Empire of the Inner Sea. 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 coasts. 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.
Nordlanders are typically tall, blonde or red-haired, and pale eyed, and the men wear beards and their hair long and braided. They are boastful and warlike, valuing battle skill and bravery above all else. The women have the reputation of being even more fierce than the men, and it is not uncommon for a woman to command a ship of raiders or even be chieftainess of a village. Nordlanders have a superstitious fear and distrust of mages. They worship the old Kothic gods - Valkan Stormlord, Umo the Sea-giant and Fraya the Horned Goddess.
The largest town and home of the acknowledged King of Nordland, Haarik Horn-bearer. Dragonsgard stands on a rocky height at the head of Dragon’s Fjord with glacier-bound mountains rising up behind it. It is a sprawling collection of timber lodges and roundhouses, enclosed by a stout timber palisade. The deep narrow inlet of Dragon’s Fjord, walled by cliffs where glacier-born waterfalls plunge to the sea in Summer, is large enough for a dozen dragonships to harbor below the town. In the center of Dragonsgard is a massive lodge, Dragonslayer Hall - aptly named, since the giant, bleached skull of a dragon crowns its peak above the entrance. Haarik’s ancestor, Haagon Dragonslayer, earned his fame by killing the red dragon Kargarax and mounting the monster’s head above his hall when he became the first King of Nordland. Haagon’s descendants carry a great black war horn which was fashioned from one of the four horns of Kargarax’s skull.
At Dragonsgard, Haarik commands an elite force of 100 warriors, the Huskarls, each a hero in his own right. Their almost nightly carousing and drinking bouts in the King's great hall are famous throughout Nordland. One of the residents of Dragonsgard is Yergal, High Priest of Valkan Stormlord and Haarik’s close advisor.
This hold stands at the head of a narrow rocky inlet. It is a timber-walled enclosure of lodges centered around a large greathall. Behind it, bare mountains rise to the north with glaciers groaning down their slopes. The people are fishermen and seafaring raiders (in the Viking style), stubbornly independent and unfriendly to outsiders. The Hold is ruled by Tarl the Red, a descendant of Haramir Farfarer, a rival of Haagon Dragonslayer, celebrated in sagas as a sea raider and warrior who was never defeated in battle. Hanging in the Hold’s greathall is a large round iron-bound shield that belonged to Haramir himself. It is said that the warrior who bears that shield in battle cannot be wounded.
The people are loyal to the King of Nordland, though, like all Nordlanders, they occasionally fight among themselves. There is a long standing blood-feud between Haramir’s folk and the people of Rune Isle.
A mountainous island across the Sea of Storms and south of Nordland. Its inhabitants are subjects of the King of Nordland, though there is no love lost between the Rune Islanders and Dragonsgard. There is a single large settlement on the island, Garlsted, a cliff-side holding surrounded by sheer rock faces and log walls. Unlike most Nordlander greathalls, Garlsted’s is built of natural stone with a timber roof. The town is subject to sudden and violent sea storms and the northwestern side of the island is covered with frozen sea spray and sleet in Winter. Nothing grows on Rune Isle. Food and supplies must be brought by ship from elsewhere and the people are generally poor and miserable.
Garlsted is ruled by Rolf Knor’s son, a bearded giant of a warrior renowned for the amount of food he can eat and mead he can drink at a single sitting. Rolf hates Haarik and dreams of the day when he will slay the man and make himself King of Nordland. In the mean time, he eats, drinks, abuses his subjects and sends his dragonships out to raid (though he never goes himself).
In a cliffside cave above Garlsted lives the Witch of Rune Isle, an ancient hag and a powerful sorceress who, folk believe, can change herself into a large raven. It’s said that she constantly poisons Rolf’s mind with lies and false praise, perched on his shoulder in the greathall in raven guise.
This small steading on the rocky eastern shore of the Ice Reach was established only a few years ago by folk from Dragonsgard and Haramir's Hold. In the Summer there are perhaps 20 families and twice as many warriors living at the settlement which has a log wall and a single large hall at its center. They harvest timber from the mountain slopes to be shipped to Dragonsgard for building and ship construction. In Winter, many return home, leaving the hold nearly abandoned.
Thunder Bay is the first permanent Nordlander settlement on the mainland, and the King of Anglamar is concerned that further Nordlander expansion will follow. For now, he is not willing to take action against them, since Anglamar and Nordland have been at peace for many years (aside from the occasional raid during Summer). The fact is that there are some in Anglamar who see the Nordlanders as natural allies - estranged cousins, as it were, and they would not want to alienate them in a dispute over territory that is largely uninhabited anyway. The Baron of Beregond is on good terms with the Nordlanders and dragonships can often be found at port there. There seems to be a growing friendship between some Nordlanders and the Northern Rangers ... Thar's Blood-axe, one of the leaders at Thunder Bay, is known to have been an adventuring companion of Prince Thelgar, Sparrowhawk, Maera of Highsaddle and Brund Stone-reaver years ago.
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 the rocky coasts.
The Storm Islanders are not Koths like the folk of Anglamar, though they speak the Kothic language now. They are the last of a people who dwelled along the western coasts before the barbarians pushed into the West. They are a handsome folk, generally darker than the people of Anglamar, with brown hair and, sometimes, dark eyes. They do some farming, though the land is too rocky and poor to raise more than a few crops. They fish, hunt, 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 ruled by an elder. Representatives from across the Isles meet at the Standing Stones on Kinnaran during the Summer Solstice. Though not particularly warlike, the villages will unite against a common threat when necessary.
The Storm Islanders worship the Old Gods, particularly the Earth Mother, who they call Danae, though some 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.
The largest town in the Isles, called Stormport by Anglamarian traders, is a scenic place - a large, log-walled village at the head of a rocky inlet where several small rivers empty into the sea. The inlet is deep enough to accommodate ships and the hill cliffs on either side protect it from storms. Highlands rise up behind the town and Mount Kaerdon towers to the north. Merchants from Anglamar come here to trade, particularly for tin and wool which the Islanders pack down from the hills. There are wooden docks built out from a long natural stone pier. Above the docks and outside the walls of the town is a large drinking lodge that caters to foreign sailors and merchants, Umo's Hall, as well as a busy fishmarket and businesses which service ships and the sea-trade - boat builders, rope and net makers, sailmakers, and others.
Kinnoch is ruled by a council led by Neel Kelwyr, whose family settled here long ago as fishermen. He is considered the Lord of Kinnoch, by foreigners, though the locals consider him nothing more than the wealthiest man in town.
The northernmost of the Storm Isles, Kinnor, is ruled by Nordlanders who settled there some 30 years ago. They built Viksted as a winter port and a place to build and repair ships. The Storm Isles have been visited by Nordlanders for centuries. They came here to raid, at first, then as a stopover for water and supplies on their voyages farther south. Now, they are here to stay and Viksted is part of the kingdom of Nordland. The town is a typical Nordlander settlement –- a timber palisade surrounding log homes and a great hall, located on a hill above the sea. The small port is protected from the worst northern winds by a rocky headland, and there is a small beach where longships can be dragged up out of the surf.
For now, the ruler of Viksted is Urveld Trollslayer, a renowned warrior of more than 90 winters who was a swordmate and champion of King Haarik in his younger days. The old chieftain is soon to die and spends his days and nights abed in his greathall, tended by his daughter. He has no surviving sons and it is speculated that the daughter may be named to succeed him. Of course, she would have to survive challenges from other warriors, and it is expected that Rolf of Rune Isle would send at least one of his sons to take the hold from her.
Citadel of Black Ice
North of Winter Gap stands a monstrous black fortress, half-buried in a great glacier. Once the stronghold of the Wizard-King, it is now his prison, frozen in time and sealed by powerful spells. The land around it is a gloomy, frozen wasteland, littered with frozen corpses and the debris of battle, and shattered by great crevices radiating out from a blackened pit south of the ice. Arctic winds blow constantly across the barrens and the cracking and groaning of glaciers echo mournfully in the frigid air. Occasionally can be heard a loud, low thundering, like stone on iron, rolling across the ice. That is the sound of the frost giant Krol hammering on the massive gates of the Citadel with frozen fists as he seeks to free his master.
The Citadel was sealed a hundred years ago by the combined efforts of the mages of Anglamar at the end of the North War and the Wizard-King’s defeat at the hands of the Company of the Sword. It is said that, eventually, Krol will batter his way through, and on that day – if the Wizard-King still lives – he will be free to resume his war against Anglamar. This may be true, since it is not known if the tyrant was slain. According to Alandar and Brund Stone-reaver (the only survivors of the Company of the Sword) the Wizard-King was buried in his throne room’s collapse. However, the sorcerer’s power was so great that he may have survived. Anglamar keeps watch on Winter Gap from Kragmoor Keep and the Dwarves of Irongate stand ready to go to war if the Wizard-King should ever reappear.
This frozen, uninhabited island lies west of Nordland, beyond Ice Fang Bay. Glaciers cover the island and the ice cracks, groans and thunders as icebergs calve off into the sea. Black smoke rising from the volcanic mountain at the heart of Helkar Land can be seen from as far away as Rune Isle. The sea around Helkar Land is avoided by Nordlander sailors, not only because of the danger of icebergs, but because it is inhabited by monsters. Nordlanders believe that there are frost giants on Helkar Land, exiled there ages ago by the god Valkan Stormlord. An ancient dragon is also said to live in the volcano at the island’s heart.
This barren, rocky table-like island is separated from the mainland by narrow Sundered Strait. A monster lives on Tor Island, though no one is quite sure what kind of monster. All that is known is that the creature is BIG. Roars and rumblings echo from the island out across the sea at night and the few daring souls who have landed there have never been seen again. Merchant seafarers and pirates give the isle a wide birth. Though, legend says that the infamous pirate Varosa buried his treasure somewhere in one of the many caves of Tor Island’s cliffs.