Location: South of Vestland, east of Rockhome, north of
Ylaruam and southwest of Ostland.
Area: 31,060 sq. mi. (69,885 sq. km.)
Population: 153,000 humans, 8,000 dwarves.
Coinage: Markka (gp), penne (ep), gundar (sp) and oren (cp).
Taxes: None. Most revenue is raised from tolls to use roads and bridges. The rest of the money is raised by raiding other nations.
Government Type: Monarchy, although the jarls (lesser nobles) still hold tremendous power.
Industries: Cattle, goats, sheep, fishing, logging, furs,piracy, and trade.
Important Figures: Ragnar the Stout (King, human, male, F17).
Flora and Fauna: Deer, elk, and wolves can be found throughout the coniferous forests of Soderfjord. Various herd animals, such as sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and bisons can be found in the plains of the nation.
Goblinoids used to be very common in the southern Hardanger Mountains, but they have been defeated and now pose little threat.
Further Reading: GAZ7 - The Northern Reaches, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, and Joshuan's Almanac.
Description: by Misha Mananov
Once nothing but a collection of petty jarls and nobles, Soderfjord has recently been united under the rulership of the charismatic Ragnar the Stout.
It is in the arable land that most of the northmen live in Soderfjord. These coastal plains are a good dozen meters above sea level, with cliffs dropping sharply into the waters below. There are very few places for a ship to land, except at an occasional alcove along the coast.
Deeper inland lies the Great Marsh, a place where entire caravans have been reported to disappear. The northmen claim that the living dead haunt this evil swamp, and I for one believe them. Only the famous Marsh Road is safe, and even then only during the day.
Finally, there are the mountains themselves which act as borders to Rockhome and Ylaruam. Somewhere in the jagged Makkres Mountains to the east lives the Modrigswerg Dwarves, a clan of exiled dwarves who prefer to be left alone. Although the southern Hardanger Mountains are claimed by Soderfjord, no one has lived there since it has, up until last year, been populated by barbaric gnolls and kobolds.
Northmen from Soderfjord are very closely tied to their clan and sadly view all others, including (if not especially) other northmen, as rivals. This has to do with generations of fighting between the clans - the blood spilled during those battles has yet to be forgiven. But such feuds have been decreasing. The new King of Soderfjord has forbidden the most bloody of the clan wars under pains of death. He allows skirmishes and raiding (in fact encouraging it), but draws the line when outright massacreis involved.
Although just as fierce as their brothers of Ostland, the northmen of Soderfjord care little for one another unless they are direct kinsmen. During a battle against a common enemy, they will not watch out for each other, a fact that caused many deaths in the recent war against the Hardanger Kobolds.
Although I have mentioned that the Northmen do not fear anything, this is actually untrue. There is one thing they fear in this world: wizardly magic. To them, it is powers granted by Hel herself, and mages are reviled as stealers of souls and fiends incarnate. If in battle with northmen, by casting a simple magic spell, you might manage to cause all your enemies to flee, or, should your luck turn bad, cause them all to try twice as hard to slay the foolish mage.
This year he participated in the civil war of Ostland, hoping to obtain plunder for his warriors. When the war ended peacefully and Ragnar returned home with very little gold, his reputation dropped more.
Now, rumors in the taverns talk about various Jarls plotting to overthrow the King in the near future.
Location: South of Ylaruam, East of Karameikos and Minrothad.
Area: 42,300 sq. mi. (95,175 sq. km.)
Population: 2,700,000 of various races.
Languages: Thyatian Common (Thyatian, Heldann, Kerendan, and Tel Akbirian dialects). Many other languages are spoken within the Empire, especially in Thyatis City.
Coinage: Emperor (pp), lucin (gp), asterius (sp), and denarius(cp).
Taxes: 25% income tax collected quarterly (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). Thyatians abroad must still pay their taxes. Expensive and magical items are also taxes 25% of their worth. 5% sales tax on all but food and clothing.
Government Type: Monarchy influenced by elected Senate.
Industries: Agriculture, mining, warfare.
Important Figures: Eusebius Torion (Emperor, human, male, F15), Coltius Torion (Prince, human, male, normal human), Demetrion Karagenteropolus (Imperial Magist, human, male, M20).
Flora and Fauna: Bears, boars, centaurs, lycanthropes, mountain lions, dryads, and goblinoids can be found throughout the empire. Pegasus and griffons are common near Retebius, while absolutely anything can be found near the magical estates of Scarlas.
Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperor box set, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, andJoshuan's Almanac.
Description: by Favonius Viator
The glorious and magnificent Empire of Thyatis cannot possibly be described in all its grandeur with just a small entry in the Mystaran Almanac. Still, I will do my best to give the wondrous nation its due credits and describe the most important aspects ofits people.
This entry describes the NATION of Thyatis, which is the heart of the EMPIRE of Thyatis. Thyatis is a nation like Karameikos or any other, its size almost identical. What allows us to call our nation an Empire is the fact that we control several other nations elsewhere in the world. These nations are called Provinces, and at the moment there are two: the Provinces of the Isle of Dawn, and the Thyatian Hinterland Provinces. Ochalea and the Pearl Islands were also provinces, but they have recently claimed their independence.
Thyatians are efficient and pragmatic. Others view this as treacherous, but we simply do what we need to do to get by. Of course we shall make deals that better our nation. To do otherwise would be foolish and inefficient.
If there is any common love for Thyatians, it would be fighting prowess. Coliseums can be found in almost every Thyatian city, and gladiatorial combats draw in crowds like never seen in other nations.
Emperor Thincol also became gravely ill at the end of the war, and rebellions occurred almost everywhere when food became scarce. In AC 1010, the Emperor tried to conquer the remaining Alphatian kingdoms at the expense of not feeding his people. These plans shattered when more revolts occurred and when Thothia soundly defeated the Legions on the Isle of Dawn. These battles ended in AC 1012 when Thincol died and was replaced by his son Eusebius. Eusebius returned the food to his people, and Thothia sign the Isle of Dawn Treaty with the Empire insuring peace on the Isle of Dawn. This treaty cost the Empire the Grand Duchy of Westrourke and a few Alatian Islands, but the Empire has now recovered almost fully.
Eusebius is now looking at Davania and plans on expanding the Empire into the unclaimed Jungles of the southern hemisphere.
Of particular note, I would recommend a trip to Argevin Town in Mositius. This island is geared for tourism, and the taverns are open at all hours. In fact, no business ever closes, regardless of how late at night you visit. Servants are found everyone and are ready to cater to your every need. Theaters, dancing halls, and gambling establishments make up every second building. What make the place even more famous is the Mount Mositisu; a volcano which emits magical mists that fall down upon the population of the island. This mist radically alters the behavior of those who inhale it, causing blind optimism, love, drunken giddiness, laziness, giggling hilarity, or almost any other emotion imaginable. Duchess Triella Tien-Tang somehow controls this mist and makes sure only harmless emotions are inspired by its magic.
Location: South of Heldann, east of Ethengar, north of
Soderfjord and west of Ostland.
Area: 21,060 sq. mi. (47,385 sq. km.)
Population: 155,000 humans, 6,000 dwarves.
Coinage: Schilder (5 gp), guldan (gp), hellar (ep), floren(sp) and oren (cp).
Taxes: None. Revenue is raised from tolls to use roads and bridges. The king is planning on installing some form of income tax in the next couple of years.
Government Type: Monarchy.
Industries: Logging, furs, fishing, and trade.
Important Figures: Harald Gudmundson (King, human, male, F13).
Flora and Fauna: Bears, deer, elk, boars, and wolves can be found throughout the dark, eerie forests of Vestland. Various herd animals, such as sheep, goats, cattle, horses, and bisons can be found in the plains of the nation.
Goblinoids used to be abundant in Makkres Mountains, but they have been routed and chased deeper into Rockhome.
Further Reading: GAZ7 - The Northern Reaches, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, and Joshuan's Almanac.
Description: by Misha Mananov
Not all the Northern Reaches nations are loyal to the ancient
traditions of their people. Vestland is a kingdom which is
trying hard to become like the nations of Darokin and Thyatis.
To attain their goal, the Vestlanders are ready to abandon
everything that once described themselves in both heart and soul.
The rivers of Vestland, known as fjords, are located within deep valleys with very steep sides. The lowlands around these fjords are very fertile and are the site for the numerous farms of the nation. Unfortunately, there is not enough such farmland to feed the entire nation. Once up the valley slopes, a rocky plateau unsuitable for agriculture dominates.
They have schools that teach the former warriors how to read and write, and Norrvik even boasts having the only magic college of the entire Northlands [they study the magical runes taught to them by Odin and his priests. Ed.]. This means that they are slightly less fearful of magic than the other northmen.
Of the old traditions, only the worship of the Northman Pantheon remains; all other customs, notably piracy, have slowly disappeared. Unlike Soderfjord and Ostland, Odin and Thor are not the favored Gods [once more, a reminder that God is simply their term for Immortal. Ed.] of the people. Instead, they revere Frey and Freyja first and foremost, with Odin and Thor only worshiped by the nobles. The church of Forsetta, a key Immortal in Vestland religion, is also popular as their priests have played a vital role in the selection of the High Kings of Vestland since the days of Ottar the Just.
The Vestlanders try to be polite and scholarly, although they are not always successful. It is not surprising to see a man break into a rage and start pummeling the person he was arguing, then stop just as suddenly and ask for forgiveness when his rage is better under control.
Now Vestland enjoys much more relaxed borders since the kobolds and trolls have disappeared. Thus did the 45 winters long Troll Border Wars end. This has opened up the way for settlements in the long uninhabited Trollheim Hills.
This year, to further prove itself removed from its ancient barbaric ways, Vestland has petitioned to become a member of the Western Defense League. So far, the WDL has not decided on whether to accept Vestland or not.
Location: North of Glantri and Ethengar, south of Denagoth and
west of the Heldannic Territories.
Area: 78,170 sq. mi. (175,883 sq. km.)
Population: 400,000, roughly 40% human and 60% elves (including 25,000 Alfheim refugees) [For AD&D, make this 35% human, 50% elves and 5% half-elves].
Languages: Elvish (Genalleth and Alfheim dialects), Heldannic, Thyatian Common (Hattian dialect). Coinage: Di (gp), on (sp), and teci (cp).
Taxes: 20% income tax, collected yearly. Government Type: Monarchy.
Industries: Logging, agriculture (grows barely enough for itsown use).
Important Figures: Gylharen (King, elf, male, F11/M11), Bensarian of Kevar (human, male, M9), Doriath (exiled Alfheim King, elf, male, F12/M15), Brendan Erendyl (exiled Alfheim clanmaster, elf, female, F7/M8), Durifern Widefarer (exiled Alfheim clanmaster, elf, male, R15), Beasthunter (exiled Alfheim clanmaster, elf, male, F12/M13), Starwatcher (elf, male,F10/M20).
Flora and Fauna: The region boasts tall ancient sequoias and pines, along with other evergreen trees that make the logging industry the most profitable one. Throughout the whole region the terrain is rocky and difficult to cultivate, so that only the most resistant and healthy plants and crops can grow here.
The animals commonly encountered in Wendar are moose, elks, bears, wolves (in forests), horses, boars, snakes (in open fields and hills) and even mountain lions. Monstrous species are also abundant, including snow apes, white apes, giant bats, dragons (white and green), giant ferrets, sasquatches, and unicorns.
Tribes of ogres and trolls have been reported living in the
Mengul Mountains, while actaeons, centaurs, dryads, faeries,
fairy folk, gremlins, treants and wooddrakes are sometimes
encountered in the forests.
Further Reading: X11 - Saga of the Shadow Lord, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, andJoshuan's Almanac.
Description: by Christopher Dove
Wendar, a land of mysteries to discover and of monsters to slay. So similar to a borderland, yet so overflown with ancient traditions and customs that are all but barbaric. It is a nation of proud men and stout elves, of sages and fearless rangers, of monster hunters and heroes. It is a country not so different from the so-called "civilized ones" (like my dearest Darokin). Yet the traveler that arrives here for the first time can almost breathe the feeling of bravery and of steadfastness that fills the heart of the Wendarians.
I had always wanted to visit this remote corner of our Old World, but up to now I lacked both the time and the reason to do it. I must thank you, my dear Ursula, for having given back to me that spirit of adventure and that curiosity that fed this old heart of mine in my glory days. I feel my youth is slowly returning me, and it is this job as correspondent for the Mystaran Almanac the cause of the miracle. I will do my best to provide you all, dear readers and editors, with the most accurate information about the places that I've planned to visit this year, and as you've already guessed, my first step back into the path of the explorer has led me to the ancient nation to the north of Glantri, the Elven Kingdom of Wendar.
The first and most important one, Korrigan Forest, lies in the western part of the nation, touching Wendar City and Sylvair, the two most thriving Wendarian cities. It is renowned for the beauty of its sequoias and for the many shrines sacred to the Korrigans, the Nine Elven Protectors that watch upon Genalleth. The legend says that they drew their name from the mythical (and believed extinct) korrigan, a woodland animal that once lived here.
The Forest of Bounty (now renamed Forest of the Curse after the events of AC 1013 and 1014) lies in the southwestern corner of the nation and is currently inhabited by the Alfheim refugees. Mighty and sturdy oaks grow here, protected by a small group of treants that the elves call "The Elders." Woodgate and Oakwall, two other towns, lie at the easternmost border of this forest, and use its wood to boast their logging industry.
Right at the center of the Genalleth Valley we find the Enchanted Forest, a mysterious patch of trees that the elves hold as sacred. According to the legends, here live the fairies with their sylvan friends, the centaurs and actaeons, and those who dare trespass against Nature in this place are bound to be abducted by actaeons and to serve the fairies for the rest of their life. Tales of missing wanderers abound in this region.
The last important reserve lies at the northwestern border and is referred to as the Dark Woods of Baamor. The Wendarians tell frightening tales about this area, whose trees are strangely darker and more twisted than the common trees of the region, and whose fauna is made up of deformed and evil parodies of the common woodland animals. Elven sages blame this to a mysterious being (or race, this is not clearly defined) called Baamor, who tried to poison the entire continent in the ancient days to appease the Dark Immortals. However, the Korrigans rebelled against Baamor and ultimately defeated him, imprisoning the evil Baamor inside one of the blight trees of this forest. Therefore, in order to avoid freeing him, it is strictly prohibited to cut down any tree in this region. In fact, few people venture there, for it is said that Baamor tries to possess anyone who walks into his forest and use him to achieve freedom.
The rest of the region consists of rocky hills to the east and to the south, where the few herders raise their cattle (horses and sheep mostly). In the central plains and moors the humans raise their crops. The valleys and plains are usually safe and free of monsters, but the more one gets to the mountain ranges, the more the trip becomes dangerous.
The Wendarian Range to the south and the Mengul Mountains to the north are renowned for their snow-capped peaks and for the fierceness of their inhabitants. The Wendarian Range, whose peaks average 11,000 feet in height, is home to many tribes of yeti, sasquatches and even a few white dragons.
The only two southern passes maintained and guarded actively by the Wendarians are the Elven Pass to the southeast, which leads directly to Oakwall, and the Kevar Pass to the southwest, from which the Royal Way leads to the capital winding through the Korrigan Forest. There is a third pass leading northwards through the Mengul Mountains and up to Denagoth, but it has not been used since the last war with Essuria, about 80 years ago. Gylharen Keep has been built near the border with Denagoth under the supervision of King Gylharen, and the standing garrison has the sole purpose of stopping (or slowing) any possible invasion attempt from that land. However, since Denagoth has not given any significant trouble in the last decades, the soldiers stationed here have taken on the duty to harass and annihilate any humanoid band trying to cross the border and cause mayhem in Wendar; so far, they've been successful.
Just an example: the name of the country is different for each race. The elves call it Genalleth (after a mighty figure of their obscure past), and the humans call it Wendar, in honor of the first man who created the Wendarian League at the beginning of the millennium. Even the label "Elven" near the word "Kingdom" in the entry for Wendar in every Thyatian almanac would be considered questionable by the majority of the humans living here; but there's more. Every major town has its name translated into both Heldannic and Elvish (the ones written on the map given in the Almanac for 1010 are the human names, obviously), and the proclamations and laws must equally be issued and written in these two languages. Every town with a mixed population has two burgomasters, one for each race, and they both must cooperate and agree to issue anything, from a simple announcement to a legal document. The Wendarian militia is composed 50% of elves and 50% of humans, and each division is either made up of humans or of elves only [AD&D: half-elves can be accepted into either unit].
It seems that in the ancient days the things didn't go this way, but in the last decades many small frictions have occurred and the Wizard King deemed it right to reshape the political and military system this way to avoid bigger problems. Personally, I don't believe he made the right decision, judging from what's happening at the moment, but he's renowned for his wisdom, so I hope he will soon notice that there are far more causes of discontent than he thinks between humans and elves (especially Alfheimers) and that he will pass the right laws to cool down the hotheads.
And talking about the Alfheimers refugees, they're not much happy these days. The first and foremost concern they have is, of course, the fate of their beloved Canolbarth Forest, and from my observations in Wendar I've noticed they've not yet given up the hope to once again walk under the sturdy trees of Alfheim. Now, eight years after what they call "The Expulsion" from Alfheim, the clanmasters are more ready than ever to reclaim their homeland, and they seem sure that their comeback is near at hand. Perhaps they are aware of something that I fail to see.
Regardless, as long as they remain in Wendar, they have to face another issue: the open feeling of hostility and sometimes xenophobia the humans show towards them. Events during AC 1014 (detailed in my attachment) have caused an uproar of the human population of Wendar against the Alfheimers, and the elves have not reacted very wisely. The so called "Alfheim Avengers" have indeed undertaken retaliation acts against some minor provocations by the humans, and now the situation is escalating in a very unpredictable way. I fear that if King Gylharen is not able to contain these acts of violence, we will soon have another nation in turmoil as has happened in the Heldannic Territories, Rockhome, Ylaruam and Ethengar. I wonder if some kind of mental disease has not spread amongst the people of the Old World to cause so much unrest in this brief lapse of time.
And talking about legends and mysterious places, I've heard of a shrine called Shadowmere that lies somewhere south of Wendar, near the mountains. According to the elven sages, this wood is an ancient sanctuary sacred to the very god of all the dragons! Could you have ever imagined: dragons worship Immortals just as humans and elves do! However, nobody has ever found it and the rumors want it to be constantly guarded by the spirits of dead dragons and by a clan of elves who has sworn fealty to this Great Old Dragon instead of the normal elven Immortals! I've always thought the elves have no rival to spin tall tales besides halflings, of course.
Also, in the western part of Wendar, near the small hamlet of Kevar, lives a wise old sage known as Bensarian and very much respected by both elves and humans. I had the pleasure to have a nice and scholarly talk with him, and I have to say that all the rumors about his great knowledge and quickness of mind are well earned. He looks like an old wizened man in his eighties, but there are slight physical traits that reveal a bit of elven blood in his veins [although not enough to be considered a full half- elf, if playing AD&D, that is. Ed]. He is undoubtedly the greatest living expert about the history and the races of Wendar, and I suspect from the conversation we had that he's well versed in the history of the region known as Denagoth, too. Strangely enough however, he seemed a lot less talkative about this topic. However, Bensarian of Kevar is a trustworthy and friendly sage, and I advise any of the reader who have problems and travel through Wendar to pay him a visit: I'm sure he will result much more helpful than what you might think.
The last (but not the least) important feature of Wendar is the Korrigan Forest, the biggest forested area of the country. It is dotted with shrines dedicated to the Nine Elves, the Korrigans, the Immortals who according to the legends saved not only the Genalleth Valley, but all of Denagoth and Norwold from the Great Rain of Fire. This forest resembles Canolbarth in its glory days (according to the Alfheimers refugees), and its inhabitants are friendly and helpful towards all the good-hearted travelers that stop in their small communities (strictly built atop the tall sequoias and pines).
In particular, there is a wonderful holy festival that is performed once a year in this part of the country. All the worshipers of the Korrigans must attend at least once every fifty years: Ad…n Dainy…s (the Land Reborn). This celebration usually takes place around the first two weeks of Fyrmont, when the temperatures and the climatic conditions are at their best in these lands. The sacred festival begins at noon of the first day of the week and ends at dusk of the 9th day, going on unbroken for the entire time. Each day at noon the Holy Keeper of one of the Nine Sacred Shrines "lights up" the shrine dedicated to one of the Korrigans, using some herbs and minerals that provoke an alchemical reaction that makes the whole area glitter. Each of the Nine Shrines has a different color, mirroring those of the rainbow plus pink and grey, and the hue slowly extends to the forest around the shrine during the following days. At the end of the ceremony the forest is divided in nine zones of a different color, and it is said that each one color is somehow magical and related to some kind of spells that can be invoked by the followers of the Korrigans during the last day. Aside from this mystical ceremony, all the elves in the forest celebrate the festival with dances, songs and tales about the goodness and bravery of the Korrigans, who saved the Genalleth Valley from various perils and were finally invited to join the Immortals inthe Upper Skies.
Another obvious place to avoid (if you're not interested in testing personally what's in the afterlife, that is) is Geron Pass, and in general the whole Mengul Range. This part of the country is literally infested with goblinoids and feral beasts like mountain lions and wolves, and dragonlike shadows have been reported much more frequently near the highest peaks. Suffice to say that the pass leads to Denagoth, and nobody wise enough would ever go there without an army as a personal escort. That's why I joined the Elven Crusaders to go exploring that blight and perilous plateau.
Location: North of Thyatis, West of Rockhome and Darokin,South of Soderfjord.
Area: 54,180 sq. mi. (121,905 sq. km.)
Population: 230,000 (believed to have dropped to 210,000 by the end of their civil war, but is as yet unconfirmed).
Languages: Ylari (also known as Alasyan).
Coinage: Dinar (gp), dirham (sp), and fal (cp).
Taxes: 10% sales tax. Also a monthly head tax according to social rank (peasants 1 cp, townsfolk and nomads 1 sp, merchants 1 gp, nobles 10 gp). Foreigners used to pay double the monthlyhead tax.
Government Type: Monarchy.
Industries: Textiles, horse breeding, mining, marble quarrying, glassmaking, and the cultivation of dates.
Important Figures: Hassam "the True" Al-Kalim (Sultan, human,male, F9)
Flora and Fauna: Horse, camels and cattle are by far the most common animals found, followed by sheep and goats. In the wilderness of the desert, djinn, chimeras, dragons, undead, giant lizards, sphinxes, and manscorpions are all rumored to be present. Fiends [AD&D: tanar'ri] are also in abundance at the moment.
Further Reading: GAZ2 - The Emirates of Ylaruam, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, and Joshuan's Almanac.
Description: by Favonius Viator
The religious fanatics known as the Ylari have closed all borders to those they consider unbelievers and infidels. This means anyone who is now a Ylari. Despite this, I believe I can give a semi-accurate, although brief description of their land and can probably guess as to the current philosophies that are being upheld in their society.
There are two major oasis found in the desert. The first is where the city of Ylaruam has been built. Prior to the war, Ylaruam was the capital of the nation, although rumors claim that Hassam has moved his court to Abbashan. Abbashan is of course the site of the second major oasis.
All are devout followers of the True Way, the philosophies given to them by their Immortal, Al-Kalim. Any who do not worship Al-Kalim are considered infidels, a crime now punishable by death within their borders. Even worse than being an infidel is being a mage, at least according to the Ylari.
Although warriors are the heroes of the land, scholars are also well respected (just more proof to their cultural contradictions). Storytellers are also popular among them, and many a foreign bard has made a fortune traveling the Emirates - before being cast out, that is.
This year, vague rumors still filter back to Thyatis. The Sultan has apparently moved his court to the city of Abbashan and replaced a few of the Emirs. Stories also claim that fiends are running rampant in the desert, destroying entire tribes of Ylari. The Legion believes that these fiends spilled over from the events in the Hardanger Mountains last year, but some claim there are too many to be the leftovers of the kobold summoning back in Soderfjord. Regardless of their source, the fiends have kept the Ylari forces from attacking Thyatis, and that is probably the best thing to happen to those fanatical religious barbarians in years.