The Five Shires

Location: Along the south shore, west of Karameikos, east of Atruaghin territories.
Area: 10,660 sq. mi. (23,985 km2)
Population: 210,000 halflings, 10,000 other demi-humans and humans.
Languages: Thyatian Common (Darokinian dialect). Some hin sages can speak Lalor, the ancient language of the halflings.
Coinage: Yellow (gp), Star (sp), Sunset (cp).
Taxes: None. Each year, the Clanleaders determine what money and chores need to be done to maintain their strongholds and towns. Clan members then share in cost and labor (according to their wealth) to accomplish these chores. This usually comes out to about 5 to 10% of their yearly income.
Government Type: Each shire is governed by a council of clanleaders with their elected representative, a sheriff.
Industries: Agriculture, especially vegetables (peas, beans, radishes, mushrooms, carrots, onions, and asparagus).
Important Figures: Joam Astlar (Sheriff of Seashire, halfling, male, F9), Tarisco Highnose (Sheriff of Highshire, halfling, male, F7/T7), Maeragh Littlelaughts (Sheriff of Eastshire, halfling, female, F8) Dulene Darkeyes (Sheriff of Heartshire, halfling, female, F8), Sildil Seaeyes (Sheriff of Southshire, halfling, female, F8).
Flora and Fauna: As well as all the normal flora and fauna usually found in the Five Shire's climate and terrain, this land also has many fearie-type creatures (like dryads or wooddrakes), as well as the unnatural monsters (such as lycanthropes and vampires) typical of unsettled forest areas. Various goblinoids can also be found in the northern Cruth Mountains.
Further Reading: GAZ 8 - The Five Shires, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, andJoshuan's Almanac.

Description: by Joshuan Gallidox

Hello dear readers. I am glad to hear that, despite my absence as editor of the Almanac that you continue to purchase future volumes in the series. Since last year, I have been traveling through my homeland as well as spent a rather extensive visit on the isles of Ierendi. I believe that I must have once more embarked upon Yallara, that continuous urge to wander that many Hin acquire during their youth. I guess being editor of the Almanac was just not my purpose in life. But that doesn't prevent me from writing about my adventures.

So, to you, dear and faithful readers, I give the description of the Five Shires - the homeland of the Hin [Halflings, as you probably refer to them. Ed.].

The Land

By far the most beautiful land in the Old World, the Five Shires are dotted with pleasant hills, green fields, and large stands of woods. This scenic paradise is due to moist air blowing inland from the Sea of Dread, only to leave its water behind as it rises and cools in the mountain air. This creates many rivers ensuring fertile land within the Shires.

During the winter months, the Black Spires block the cold Continental Sweep Winds from the north, keeping the land warmer than most other nations of the region. This does not mean that there is no snow in the Shires. Quite the contrary; heaving coastal storms are common, bringing plenty of rain to the mountains, which usually fall as snow. The northern mountain roads of the Shires are often blocked during the winter months, closed to all but the foolish. The rest of the Shires, however do tend to be snow free.

Eastshire is, logically enough, the eastern-most shire. It is mostly farmlands that feed off the Wardle River. Eastshire is the land most often visited by non-Hin, a practice on the rise since the fall of the dread Black Eagle Baron of the former Fort Doom.

Heartshire is a rural hill country that was once rich with mineral and metal deposits. Now, the mines are mostly depleted and the inhabitants are broiled up in industry. Almost everything is made or crafted here; everything but cloth, that is.

Highshire is mostly wilderness, with high mountains, rolling hills, and dark forests. New mines have been opened in the area, and the local economy is on the rise.

Seashire is the coastal country, characterized by its numerous ports and harbors. It is the wealthiest of the Shires because of its booming trade with other nations. Seashire boasts the largest towns in the Five Shries, including the capital Shireton, as well as Thantabbar. The numerous rocks and islands doting the Sea of Dread in Seashire's territory are also the most notorious pirate haven this side of the Old World.

Finally, Southshire is the most settled region of the Five Shires. Its woodlands have long been turned into productive farmlands and many well-used roads cris-cross the countryside.

The People

When thinking of halflings, most people immediately stereotype them as mischievous and childlike. Another common belief is that we are lazy and fear to leave the safety of our homes. While it is true that Hin are creatures of comfort and many never leave the town of their birth, it does not mean that all Hins are the same.

Unlike true children, Hins have far more respect for the property and dignity of others. Vandalism is unheard of in the Shires. Also, halflings have none of that wide-eye innocence that can be plainly seen in all human children.

Upon the arrival at adolescence, many Hin experience the Yallara. This is an urge for excitement and adventure. Some grow out of becoming yallaren after only a year, while others - like me, from the look of things - never do. It is during this time that Hins travel the world and can often be found in just about any civilized land. It is from the returning yallaren that the people of the Five Shires manage to learn about the going-ons in the rest of the Old World. Hin are often a lot more knowledgeable than humans about the world around them.

Most Hins are simple farmers, brewers and shopkeepers. They are always merry and happy. Nothing is more enjoyable to them than a warm fire, a good ale and a moving story. Still, a few are bold, daring, and even dangerous. Ask any Thyatian unfortunate enough to encounter a ship full of Hin pirates. These halflings have a well-earned reputation of being a danger of the Sea of Dread.

Finally, Hins do not worship any of the traditional Immortals like the members of other races do. Instead they revere Hin Heroes; Hins who have accomplished great deeds during their lives, often saving the Shires against incredible odds, and now watch over the Hin forever [essentially, they are Immortals; the Hin just call them Heroes instead. Ed.]. Despite this, Hin priests are still rare. Those that do exist are called Masters, and their goal is to protect the Five Shires from all dangers. Very rarely do they ever step foot off of the sacred grounds of the Hin nation.

Recent History

Although the Five Shires have faced more than enough invasions, conquerors, and rebellions in the distant past, their recent history is rather uneventful; and that's just how they like it. During the Wrath of the Immortals, several Hin units marched to the aid of Darokin when Sind invaded their lands. They were also present to repulse a goblinoid horde pouring out the Broken Lands shortly afterwards.

In AC 1012, the Five Shires was one of the founding nations of the Western Defense League and has remained a member since. The Five Shires also invaded the Black Eagle Barony recently, after King Stefan Karameikos granted them permission, of course. Unfortunately, the Black Eagle escaped his punishment and is now hiding in the magical nation of Glantri.

This Fyrmont, Shireton will be the host of the famous World Games. This will obviously bring many foreigners to the burrows of the Hin, who will only be too glad to show the humans and other races how Hin truly live and behave. I believe this will be the ultimate enlightenment on outside knowledge of the ways ofthe halflings.

Don't Miss

One site often visited by travelers to the Five Shires is the ancient and mysterious ring of stone pillars known as Ringrise. Since I've described this site before in Joshuan's Almanac, I'll talk about something else this year.

Mistmyr Falls is the name of the large waterfalls at the head of the Cruth River along the Karameikan border. Mystmyr Falls is actually a series of several smaller waterfalls in a row, with a net result of water dropping over 300 meters (1000 feet) in about 120 meters (400 feet) of distance. The rush of water is so fast and violent that a fine spray always enshrouds the foot of the plunge in a roiling mists. Rainbows can be seen everywhere, creating such beautiful scenery. Hin children from nearby villages can often be seen playing under the safer sections of the falls, enjoying the sensation of water falling from above.

Another place of interest to some visitors of the land would be Shumbril Tower, also known as The Hin's Own Magic & Mysteries Shop. Here, gentle Alace Shumbril (human, female, M8) sells various potions and spell components. Occasionally, she even has a magical item or two available. I mention this because Shumbril Tower is the only place in the Five Shires where a wizard can find spell components - unless he's willing to go out in the field and gather them himself, that is.

Glantri (Principalities of)

Location: North of Darokin, south of Wendar, west of theEthengar Khanates.
Area: 116,650 sq. mi. (262,463 Sq. km.)
Population: 597,500 humans, with a small percentage of them elves and half-elves [D&D: just elves]. There is also an unknown amount of goblinoids in the Principality of New Kolland.
Languages: Thyatian Common (Glantrian dialect), Alphatian Common (Flaemish Dialect), Elvish (Belcadiz and Erewan dialects), Sylaire (also known as Averoignian), Traladaran (in Boldavia), Ethengarian and numerous goblinoid languages.
Coinage: Crown (pp), ducat (gp), sovereign (sp), penny (cp).
Taxes: Quarterly income tax of 10% as well as a hearth tax of 1 ducat per household. Also, almost every activity - including speaking in public, carrying weapons, wearing armor and spellcasting - requires a license of some sort with fees ranging up to 50 ducats a year for each activity.
Government Type: Magocracy, ruled by a wizards' council. Only mages can be nobles, and their voting power in the council is determined by their rank (prince, duke, count, etc.)
Industries: Various, as each principality specializes in something different. See below for details.
Important Figures: Jaggar von Drachenfels (Prince of Aalban, human, male, M24), Carnelia de Belcadiz y Fedorias (Princess of Belcadiz, elf, female, F12/M18), Juliana Vlaardoen (Princess of Bergdhoven, human, female, M14), Morphail Gorevitch-Woszlany (Prince of Boldavia, human vampire, male, M19), Urmahid Krinagar (Prince of Bramyra, human, male, T5 dual-classed to M14), Carlotina Erewan (Princess of Erewan, elf, female, M10), Dolores Hillsbury (Princess of Fenswick, human, female, M14), Brannart McGregor (Prince of Klantyre, human lich, male, M20), Jherek Virayana (Prince of Krondahar, human, male, M18), Kol (Prince of New Kolland, kobold, male, Wd7/M10), Isidore d'Ambreville (Princess of Nouvelle Averoigne, human werewolf, female, M11), Malachie du Marais (Prince of Morlay-Malinbois, human werewolf, male, M11), Harald of Haaskinz (Prince of Sablestone and Grand Master of the School of Magic, human, male, M17).
Flora and Fauna: Because of the magical interferences and summoning of countless mages, absolutely any plant, animal, or creature - whether native to Mystara or not - can be found within the principalities.
Further Reading: GAZ 3 - The Principalities of Glantri, PC4 - Night Howlers, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, Joshuan's Almanac, and Glantri: Kingdom ofMagic boxed set.

Description: by Alasdhair MacCallum

Known as the Kingdom of Magic by many around the Old World, Glantri isn't even a true kingdom. It's a collection of independent principalities each ruled by a Wizard-Prince with several smaller independent dominions owing fealty to one of the Princes. If only one word could be used to describe Glantri, I believe I would choose "Chaotic." There are more rules in this nation (often conflicting at that!) than anywhere else in the Old World, with license for almost anything you can imagine. I dare say they've even tried to place a license for breathing on a couple of occasions. Their bureaucracy is a mess, and trying to get something done quickly is next to impossible unless you do it illegally.

Despite all this, it is the land of intrigue, backstabbing (both political and literal), and most of all, magic. That is why I love it so. Everyone knows Glantri is a nation of mages for mages. All wizards are automatically higher in social standings than non-mages. Non-spellcasting races such as dwarves and halflings are abnormal to Glantrians and are often chased outof their land.

Clerics and Priests are also disliked by Glantrians. Although they have recently been permitted to cross the Glantrian borders, it is still punishable by death for any of them to openly preach about their religion or Immortals.{and yet they have the Light of Rad 'Temples' all over Glantri -Oracle}

Glantri, above anything else, is isolated. High pine-covered mountain tops surround the entire nation. Whether it's the impassable Wendarian Ranges to the north, the rugged and sharp Broken Lands to the south, or simply the high cliffs of the Great Northern Wildlands to the west, very few trails permit entry intothis nation.

The Land and The People

Because Glantri is actually a mix-match of peoples, cultures, and lands, I have taken the liberty to combine the Land and People sections for this nation. As such, I will describe each Principality in turn, giving both a brief description of the land as well as the culture found within.

Aalban is a principality of plains and pastures. Despite this peaceful look, it is the most militaristic dominion of Glantri. Warriors and mercenaries are plentiful in the area, and the locals are renown for their remarkable siege weapons and equipment.

Belcadiz is a lightly forested area that serves as the home of the famous winemaking elves. Not only is their wine in high demand throughout Glantri, but so is their metalwork, something unheard off for elves anywhere else on Mystara. The Belcadiz are hot-tempered, easy to offend, and enjoy nothing better that a sword duel or two to try and prove their superiority.

Bergdhoven, resting in northern Glantri, is relatively flat. It is a picturesque land with wild flowers growing almost everywhere. These flowers are the base of Bergdhoven's perfume and oil industry. They also attract several mages who need the rare flowers for rare or unique experiments.

Boldavia is a word that causes many to shiver as that principality is often associated with rumors of powerful undead and necromancers. The local Traladarans, who live in small villages among the craggy bluffs and forested hills, are a superstitious lot and are accredited with all the undead legends of the area that spread through Glantri.

Bramyra is a principality that was created to serve as the first line of defense should the Ethengarians decide to invade Glantri. There is nothing of note here except for the vast herd of sheep that roam the hills.

Erewan was once the home of many famous poets, scribes, and artists. Now, the Erewan elves sulk and whine about the goblinoid dominion, spreading false reports about several evil deeds Kol and his minions apparently committed.{false reports indeed -Oracle} These elves have been threatening to leave Glantri if the Princes don't fix the situation. So far, all the Princes have been ignoring them.

Fenswick is the newest dominion granted to the remarkably charming and attractive Dolores Hillsbury. As yet, not city or town has been built as the Princess is content to let her land prosper with its logging industry. This principality is almost completely in the mountains.

Klantyre, the famous fog-shrouded highlands, is another place where the sheep are probably the most interesting feature. The weather is the second most popular subject for the inhabitants; they often wager as to whether it will rain 3 days out of five or 4 days out of five.

Krondahar is one of the most cultivated lands in Glantri. The locals are renown for their silk as well as their leatherworking.

Morlay-Malinbois is a forested land where werewolves are probably as common as non-werewolves. In fact, they are considered full citizens while within this principality and have all the rights that any Glantrian would normally have.

New Kolland can be best described as a giant hole in the ground. Created by a meteor impact and then populated by goblinoids, Kol was appointed Prince of the land in return for preventing goblinoid raids into Glantri. Despite this, humans traveling into New Kolland are considered fair game by the locals and Prince Kol.

Nouvelle Averoigne was famous as the home of the late Ettienne d'Ambreville. It is also renown for its cuisine, and their theatre plays are so popular, they often sell out months in advance. Nouvelle Averoigne is flat near the river, but gets significantly more hilly further inland.

Sablestone is home to Harald of Haaskinz, the Grand Master of the Great School of Magic. There is nothing much in this principality either, except for stubborn farmers who continuously demand that the wizards just leave them alone.

Finally, there's Glantri City, home of the Great School of Magic and capital of the magocracy. In this city, canals replace the traditional roads of other cities, making the gondola the only way of getting around. Glantri is the heart of fashion and style for the nation, and any new trend will soon be copied by all of high-society. Currently, the dark gothic style of Boldavia is in favor, where aristocrats dress up as vampires and werewolves (or at least how they imagine vampires and werewolves would dress).

Don't Miss

Unfortunately, now is not the time to plan a visit to Glantri. The Ethengarians have declared war against Glantri, and the nation is scrambling to marshal it's defenses. If you are of the mercenary type, then you are most welcome to help defend the land, but otherwise, for your own safety, I would suggest postponing any visit, any time this year.
Heldann (Heldannic Territory of)

Location: North of Ethengar and Rockhome, east of Wendar.
Area: 25,000 sq. mi. (56,250 sq. km.)
Population: 250,000 humans.
Languages: Thyatian Common (Hattian dialect), Heldannic.
Thyatian is the official language of the nation.
Coinage: Groschen (pp), gelder (gp), erzer (ep), markschen (sp), and fenneg (cp).
Taxes: 15% income tax collected four times a year. 10% tithe to the Heldannic Knights collected once a year. 1 Gelder head tax collected once a year from all who are not in the military service. There is also a 5% sales tax on all items but food and clothing.
Government Type: Military Theocracy.
Industries: Agriculture (wheat, barley, and potatoes), mining (iron), sheep herding and fishing.
Important Figures: Herr Wulf von Klagendorf (Oberherr, human, male, P19 of Vanya), Sir Geoffrey of Grunturm (rebel leader, human, male, C20 of law).
Flora and Fauna: One can commonly encounter sheep and elk herds, bears, boars, wolves and yeti. Rarer, but more deadly, are the snow apes, hill and stone giants, gnolls and lycanthropes. Occasionally a dragon will be spotted, but the Heldannic Knights hunt them down as soon as possible.
Further Reading: AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, and Joshuan's Almanac. Also, several articles of the Princess Ark series can be useful.

Description: by Sir Hendrik Gultzer, servant of the Glorious Lady Vanya.

It is with pride and honor that I write to you about the magnificent Heldannic Territories and the glory of Vanya. I hope that this entry into the Mystaran Almanac will help refute all disparaging remarks made about the Heldannic Knights and show the world the true valor behind our ideals and way of life.

I now give you a description of Heldann, Gateway to Norwold.

The Land

The lands of the Heldannic people is harsh and unforgiving. Our winters are noted for their cold winds that pierce right down to your bones, and the summer is not much warmer. Cold waters from the northern regions of the Alphatian Sea splash upon our shores, keeping the warm months cooler than most other nations ofthe Old World.

The land is as beautiful as it comes, with many renown painters traveling to Heldann just to paint portraits of the landscape. Pines and spruce are everywhere, and mountain runoffs create numerous small, crystal-clear lakes.

Although covered in pines, the land is rocky and not very adequate for agriculture. Despite this, hardy Heldanners work the lowlands, producing enough food for the people to survive. Further from shore, tall rough-edged mountains dominate the land, effectively marking our border with Wendar and Denagoth.

The People

While our land is definitely picturesque, it is the people of the Heldann Freeholds that are the true heart of our nation. They are hardy and resourceful, never giving up on any task they set to heart. The fact that they manage to grow crops and even thrive in this harsh land is proof enough of this fact.

Heldanner commoners are a tall, light-skinned people most likely related to the men of the Northern Reaches. They toil the fields and are at peace with themselves and the world. The more worthy and brave among them join the ranks of the Heldannic Knights.

The majestic Heldannic Knights were once majority Hattians (from Thyatis), but now they are equally represented between Thyatians and Heldanners. They preach of conquest and glory, and as has been proven in the land of Norwold, these are not empty words. One day, as foretold by Vanya, the Heldanners and Hattians will rule the world in Vanya's name. You, the readers, may scoff at this idea, but do not say we have not warned you. Join us now and become a crusader in the armies of Vanya. Victory and glory are assured.

Recent History

Heldann has had a remarkable growth period recently. The Heldannic Knights have converted the people of lands all the way up to Oceansend to the beliefs of Vanya and the glory of the Heldannic Knights. In fact, the land under our control was so great, we had to divide it into several territories [Notably, Heldann, Heldland, and Vanya's Rest. Ed] which, together, form the Heldannic Empire. Admittedly, a few stubbornly resisted our rulership, but our armies crushed these lawless bands who were known to trouble the other inhabitants anyway. Many have thanked us for our remarkable control on crime and punishment of all criminals.{probably the Death Penalty, for first time offenders -Oracle}

You have probably heard about the troubles the Heldannic Knights have had within their own lands. Maybe you even heard the rumor that the priests of Vanya lost their spells. This is simply untrue! The Heldannic Knights merely chose to no longer use their spells for a period of time just to show the world that they can conquer lands without magic. And we have! On our own, we are a formidable army, yet we also have the blessing of the Lady Vanya. Do you still doubt our glory and destiny to rule the world?

Yes, there was a rebellion in our land led by Sir Geoffrey of Grunturm (there is a 100,000 Geldar reward for his head), but it has been squashed without any problems for the Knights. This rebellion is simply an event blown out of proportion. There is no truth to the rumors that we mistreat the peasants, hence causing the revolt. In fact, the Oberherr himself solved the problem by placing a new leader in the rebellious land - one of the rebels themselves. If this is not proof that we take care of our people and listen to their pleas, then what is?

Don't Miss

Freiburg, the capital of Heldann, was once a filthy and tightly-packed town. But the Heldannic Knights destroyed most of it, rebuilding it with spacious streets (so a parade of Knights on horseback could easily get through town) and sturdy buildings.

At the center of town lies the majestic Star Chamber, a temple and barrack dedicated to the Lady. From this magnificent chamber Herr Wulf von Klagendorf rules the land and the will of Vanya is interpreted by the high priests.

Freiburg also has the most impressive city walls on Mystara. The Knights claim that nothing can or ever will breach the walls. Many architects and siege engineers agree with them.

Ierendi (Kingdom of)

Location: South of the Five Shires and Karameikos, west of the Minrothad Guilds.
Area: 17,240 sq. mi. (38,790 sq. km.)
Population: 58,000 locals, plus as many as 20,000 visitors during the summer tourist months.
Languages: Thyatian Common (Darokinian dialect; for trade and tourist business), Makai (native language).
Coinage: Pali (10 gp), geleva (1 gp), sana (sp), and cokip (cp). All foreign currency is also accepted.
Taxes: Tourists must pay a 10% room tax wherever they stay, as well as a 5% sales tax on food. There is also a sales tax of 5% on everything else for both tourists and locals. Locals must pay a poll tax of 10 gp per person per year.
Government Type: Constitutional Monarchy; power is held by elected members of noble families, while a king and queen act as figureheads for a year-long reign.
Industries: Tourism, fishing.
Important Figures: Reston of Akesoli (King, human, male, F16).
Flora and Fauna: There are not many monsters that can harm people found on the islands of Ierendi, with the exception of Safari Island which is purposefully populated with dangerous animals and monsters from all over the Old World.
On the sea, pirates are the real danger. Sharks are rather common as well.
Further Reading: GAZ 4 - The Kingdom of Ierendi, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, andJoshuan's Almanac.

Description: by Joshuan Gallidox

Ah, the relaxing lands of Ierendi, known by everyone as the touristic capital of the world. And, I must admit that after spending several months there, I long to return. The trip was one of the most pleasant and comfortable ones I have ever taken during my years as a yallaren.

The Land

Ierendi is composed of a series of volcanic islands located on the southern edge of continental Brun. These beautiful islands are covered with lush, tropical rain forests with many colorful exotic animals and birds. The western shores of the various islands are rugged and steep, often containing numerous spectacular waterfalls or viewpoints. On the eastern side of the islands, almost every shore are long sandy beaches with wide sandy bays - ideal for swimming or just plain sitting in the sun. And the water is completely crystal clear and absolutely refreshing. And the water is never too cold thanks to the warm currents from the southwest.

Ten islands compose this nation. Each island has a specialty in terms of activities for the tourists. Well, eight of them do, anyway; the last two are strictly off limits to tourist and even to most natives. Of the most famous islands are Ierendi Island, Alcove Island, and Safari Island.

Ierendi is the largest island of the nation and the location of Ierendi City, the capital of the kingdom. This is where the famous Crown Tourney of Ierendi takes place.

Alcove Island specializes in deep-sea treasure hunting, with several actual sunken pirate ships serving as exhibitions. Actual treasures have even been discovered by a lucky few divers.

Finally, Safari Island is purposely populated with monsters and exotic animals. Here, local guides bring tourists on safari hunts and give guided tours of the ancient penitentiary of the island.

The other islands are mainly residential in purpose, but they also have their own, less talked-about touristic experiences. Still, I've visited most of them, and they are also well worth a trip, even if you don't hear about them very often back on the mainland.

The People

The original native humans of Ierendi call themselves the Makai. Of course, over the years additional colonizations from both Thyatis and the Five Shires have added members of each race into the Ierendi stock. Despite this, the Makai still make up the vast majority of the Ierendians.

Makai are friendly and generous, always willing to help someone out. Of course, since most are also in the tourist business, they are also always ready to sell visitors to the islands worthless trinkets, Makai good luck charms (which never really existed in their ancestral tribes), and anything else to make a silver piece. Makai are easily recognized thanks to their brown colored skin.

The Ierendians live by the money brought in from tourist, and they know it. That's why they are always cheerful, happy, and helpful. When a foreigner is well treated and enjoys his stay, he'll return and give them more money.

On a stranger side of things, the Ierendians have a very unusual method of choosing their monarch. Each year, on Klarmont 1, they hold a fierce competition known as the Crown Tourney. Only renown and successful adventurers can even apply to participate in this tourney. Nationality is irrelevant, as is race. The male and female who score the most points during the competition are awarded the title of King and Queen for a year.

Recent History

The only thing of exception in their recent history would be Reston of Akesoli, the King of Ierendi. This daring soul first won the Crown Tourney back in AC 1007 and has been undefeated since. Reston has set a new record with 9 kingships in a row. There is talk of naming him King-For-Life.

Also of note to some sages and geologists are the recent minor eruptions of several of the volcanoes. Most have only let out small plumes of smoke and ash, with the exception of one major eruption back in Vatermont of AC 1012. Many volcanic experts speculate that the eruption was only the first of several that will soon rock the island nation. Of course, Ierendi officials deny this, expecting that any serious investigation into the matter is sure to hurt their tourist industry.

Don't Miss

To put it bluntly, EVERYTHING! There is not an island or town that is to be missed if one has the time - and money - to enjoy an extensive tour of the islands of Ierendi.

For those of limited budget, however, I recommend Ierendi Island. First of all, it is the site for the Crown Tourney, and interesting things always happen at these competitions between powerful adventurers. Reston always performs admirably, and is well deserving of the title of king. Two years ago, a red dragon participated, causing quite the uproar. This year, an impromptu challenge took place as competitors (and a few other bystanders, myself included) helped a young lady in the crowd of spectators give birth to her child. Judges awarded bonus points to the adventurers who participated. I can't wait to see what happens next year.

Karameikos (Kingdom of)

Location: East of Thyatis, west of the Five Shires, and south of Darokin and Aengmor.
Area: 46,750 sq. mi. (105,188 Sq. km.)
Population: 351,000 humans (40% Thyatian, 60% Traladaran) and 81,000 demi-humans (90% elves, 5% gnomes, 3% dwarves, 2%halflings).
Languages: Thyatian Common, Traladaran, Elvish (Callarii, Vyalia, Alfheim and Erewan dialects). Thyatian is the official language of the nation. Coinage: Royal (gp), crona (sp), and kopec (cp).
Taxes: Quarterly income tax of 25% for commoners and 20% for nobles. Sales tax of 5% as well as an import tax of 1%.
Government Type: Monarchy.
Industries: Logging, mining (gold and silver), agriculture.
Important Figures: Stefan Karameikos III (King, human, male, F15), Olivia Karameikos (Queen, human, female, T12), Terari (Headmaster of the School of Magecraft, human, male, M20).
Flora and Fauna: The wilderness of Karameikos is inhabited with all sort of animals and monsters. Various reports of lycanthropes, vampires, and other undead are very common.
Further Reading: GAZ 1 - The Grand Duchy of Karameikos, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, Joshuan's Almanac, and Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure boxed set.

Description: by Joshuan Gallidox

Having lived and wandered through Karameikos for several years, I am honored to be able to describe the richness and beauties one can find in this energetic, young nation. Karameikos is a land that seeks a bright future, but is also highly respectful of the past. It is home to several large cities of civilization, yet covered in untamed wilderness. Even the people can be divided in two direction: the Thyatians and the Traladarans. Despite all this, it is wonderfully united all in one, making Karameikos the vibrant kingdom it is today.

The Land

Thick, dark primeval forests is probably the best way to describe the lands of Karameikos. Only a few small stretches of land around the larger cities have been cleared for farmlands, while the rest of the nation is uncharted woods.

Despite being mostly wilderness, King Stefan has been working hard on creating numerous roads throughout his nation. While these roads are impressive near the cities of Mirros and Kelvin, with their fine cobblestones and Thyatian engineering, once the city walls are out of sight, they quickly turn into nothing more than a well-used trail. Still, the King's men patrol these narrow dirt roads, making them some of the safest in the Old World. Also, many villages with welcoming inns and households dot these trails, allowing a traveller to always get a comfortable night's sleep.

Further up north, the relatively flat shorelands slowly turn into rolling hills. Many veins have been discovered in these hills, and the mining industry of the nation is slowly on the rise. Soon enough, the hills turn into the towering Cruth Mountains, marking the northern limits of the nation.

To date, only five baronies can be found within the nation:
Halag, once known as the Black Eagle Barony, is a land trying to recover from a former tyrannical ruler. To date, there is no baron to rule over the land, only a castellan appointed by the king.
Kelvin is a major trade city at the heart of the nation. Almost all trade goods from the northern lands of the kingdom will pass through this walled city. A sturdy stone bridge allows caravans to cross Hillfollow River at the city gates. Strangely enough, it is illegal to cast wizard spells within city walls; a fact that annoys the mages studying at the School of Magecraft in nearby Krakatos.
Rugalov is the newest barony and the first with a Traladaran Baron. Baron Yuschiev is currently settling his land with only Traladarans and discouraging all Thyatians from even visiting.
Threshold is a smaller barony whose main industry is logging. For some unknown reason, the village of Threshold seems to create more adventurers than anywhere else in the kingdom.
Vorloi is named after the Thyatian merchant family who owns the dominion. Vorloi is one of the largest sea ports in the nation, second only the Mirros.

The People

As I have already mentioned, two peoples actually form the inhabitants of Karameikos.

The first are the ancient Traladarans who have lived here for more generations than most people can count. They are short, well, for humans anyway, and have dark hair and pale complexions. Traladarans enjoy a simple life and are often viewed as superstitious by most other humans. This has to do with their love of good luck charms, evil curses, and omens from the Immortals.

The second group consists of the conquering Thyatians. The Thyatians have so many racial stocks mixed into their Empire that there is no one Thyatian look to describe them all. Thyatians care more for efficiency and end results than the Traladarans.

Unfortunately, there is much tension between the two. Thyatians believe that the Traladarans waste too much time with their superstitions and religion. They also believe that as conquerors of the land, they are naturally superior to the Traladarans. On the other hand, many Traladarans view Thyatians as greedy, corrupt, and predatory. Older Traladarans view the Thyatians as simply the next wave of bad luck preventing them from re-attaining the Golden Age of Traldar.

In the more cosmopolitan cities of Mirros and Kelvin, interaction with other races have given the urban Karameikans a better understanding of each other. These Karameikans view themselves as Karameikans, with Traladaran or Thyatian blood being irrelevant. King Stefan calls these multicultural people the "New Karameikans." Since most foreigners usually encounter New Karameikans within these large cities, it is no wonder that they all believe the two races to be strongly united into one nation.

Whether the two Karameikan peoples will manage to solve their differences and truly unite as New Karameikans in the future remains to be seen. I, for one, hope that they do.

Recent History

Karameikos is a young nation making almost all of its history rather recent. Still, a few events in the past couple of years can be singled out for the purpose of the Almanac. Most of them pertain to Karameikos trying to make his nation strong, independent of other nations, yet united from within.

In AC 1006, then Duke Stefan Karameikos crowned himself King, declaring complete independence from the Empire of Thyatis. In AC 1012, he renamed his capital of Specularum to Mirros to better represent the Traladaran people of his nation. Also in AC 1013, Queen Olivia Karameikos began financing several public schools throughout the villages of the nation in the hopes of making Karameikos one of the best educated lands of the Old World. Finally, just this year, King Stefan granted nobility to Sir Yuschiev, his first Traladaran Baron.

On the other hand, Stefan Karameikos also removed the title of nobility from his cousin Ludwig von Hendriks. When brave hin adventurers managed to show the King just how cruel and corrupt the Black Eagle was, the Five Shires were granted permission to invade the barony and dispose of the dark baron.

Karameikos was one of the founding members of the Western Defense League, and still remains a member, just like the Five Shires and Darokin.

Don't Miss

While visiting the city of Mirros, I most definitely recommend staying a few nights at the Black-Heart Lily. This notorious inn is where the famous Yolanda of Luln began her singing career over a decade ago. If you are lucky, you might manage to hear her wonderful voice, as Yolanda often returns to the place of her origins (career wise, that is), giving free performances to the patrons of the tavern below.

The Black-Heart Lily was apparently named after a woman who broke the heart of an ancestor of Luthier Sforza, proprietor of the Lily. Although Sforza is a broad, homely man with bristly brown hair, mustache, and beard, he is a jolly fellow who enjoys sharing drinks with his patrons. He also has a good ear for events that occur on the streets of Mirros, and anyone searching for something - or someone - in Mirros could do worse than talk to him.

Even if not in the mood for socializing, the Black-Heart Lily has many comfortable rooms on the second floor, available for the reasonable price of 2 gp per night. This price includes a good hearty meal early the next morning.

Sforza has been known to accept capable adventurers into his inn on a more or less permanent basis at no cost in exchange for their services as bouncers in the tavern on the first floor. Needless to say, the bouncers here are usually capable of dealing with any trouble that might arise, so one had better be prepared to behave while visiting.