View Full Version : Tradewinds: A Land At Peace (4e)

2008-04-10, 09:04 PM
This is the beginning of the setting that I'm working on for 4e; as we don't have much info yet, it will most likely change, but I'm looking for some first impressions here. Also, I am told that the working title (Tradewinds) is the name of a PC game, so I could also use some suggestions for a new title.

The setting has very little open war at the "default" start date; all the nations have learned that it is better to profit off of one's enemies than to kill them, and the outlying savage tribes are currently quiet. But in the shadows, nations, organizations and powerful individuals are fighting a war of words and money, and they are willing to pay for discreet individuals to solve their problems. Not to mention, the lands off of the trade routes are still wild, filled with monsters, bandits, and outcasts. It is a world where money rules all, and intrigue abounds.


Major Powers:

Lakehome: Built along the shores of Lake Jedat, with parts of the city jutting out onto the water on floating jetties. The city is mostly peaceful; their food is mostly derived from fishing the lake and farming nearby patches of land. The military consists of archers and pikemen, as well as a militia of slingers and spearmen who serve for two weeks of the year, largely as guards on the boats that ply the rivers nearby. The city makes most of its money from tariffs on these boats, which are levied in exchange for the protection of the militias.
Races: Human, Halfling, Half-Elf

Numrond: This is the capital and greatest city of the high elves. The avenues are broad, and bordered by great trees. The buildings are made mostly of wood, crafted in curves and arcs. The effect is that of a great forest in which the elves live. Here and there a stone tower breaks through the leaves, either a garrison for the elves’ archers and skirmishers, or the tower of one of the mage colleges that the elves are rightly renowned for. The city’s food comes from the rich forests around it, predominantly game and wild fruits but including some grain from carefully tended rice fields. The city’s money is largely from taxes on the sales of elven weapons and magical objects, as well as a small but essential trade in the services of elven spellcasters.
Races: High Elf, Half-Elf

Udarot: This brick and mortar city on the edge of the forest is home to fine armorcrafters and other metalworkers. Due to rapid growth over the last century, its streets are twisting mazes of old architecture and new construction. The military has a considerable number of crossbowmen, as well as heavily-armored men-at-arms and knights. The local cuisine consists of vegetables from the local fields, supplemented by seafood from Atrovel, from the north. The city’s money comes from the thriving armor trade (which gets its metal from local mines, although more exotic ores are brought in from Dwimrid) and a willingness to hire out the military when the neighboring cities have problems that they cannot deal with on their own.
Races: Human

Bakran: This city is situated in the midst of timber country, which supports the city’s main export, lumber. The city is industrial, with large warehouses to the north side of town, where the timber is taken to Erant for shipping and shipbuilding. Most buildings are made from the local material. The military is designed to take advantage of the forested terrain near Bakran, and consists mainly of swordsmen, lightly armored and camouflaged for ease of movement and ambush. A small contingent of cavalry patrols the trade roads for bandits. The city’s food comes mostly from imports, seafood from Erant and grain and fruits from Deran.
Races: Human

Mudragh: This was the first of the dwarven cities to open their gates fully to outsiders, and is thought of as the dwarven capital. The city proper is aboveground, where there is less need for artificial light, but many of the workshops, warehouses, and mines are belowground. In times of siege, the dwarves can retreat belowground as well, where stores of food and water are kept for just such a purpose. Their food comes from farms aboveground; largely grain (some of which goes into beer) and meat. Their city’s coffers are kept full through taxes on the thriving trade with the eastern cities: Mudragh’s metalwork, particularly weaponry and jewelry, is much sought-after in the human lands.
Races: Dwarf

Norada: This is the breadbasket of the eastern city-states, located on the sides of a shallow valley. The city is walled, but the gates remain open at all times, sending out caravans carrying grain. The buildings are utilitarian, low to the ground and made from the poor timber of the plains, with the exception of the watchtowers scattered through the city that house crossbowmen and halberdiers. The city’s money comes from trade routes.
Races: Human

Atanch: This city was built on rocky land near the mountains, originally to exploit veins of marble and other fine stone, but the miners soon struck gold deposits, as well as crystal and gemstones. The land is poor for growing crops, but with the mineral wealth of the land, there is no object to purchasing grain from abroad. Atanch’s jewelers are famed across the continent, and even the dwarves buy their products (as well as raw materials for their own craftsmen). What few crops the land produces are mostly supplemental in nature; a bit of meat, some vegetables, and, most notably, grapes for a few scattered vintners. The city is built on a small rise and walled against invaders; the local army is strong, to deter raiders, and composed mainly of swordsmen.
Races: Human

Esarn: The areas around Esarn are less arable than around Norada, and support a much lower population, just enough to farm the rugged ground and mine the few mineral resources. (Mostly copper and lead deposits.) Despite the low population of the area, the kingdom maintains a decent military; while low in numbers, the horsemen of Esarn are great cavalry, and manage to protect their lands from raiders and other threats. The one advantage of the Esarni is their position on the trade routes, which allows them to charge tariffs on the goods passing through in exchange for the protection of their riders. This tariff is usually exacted in a portion of the goods carried, rather than in currency. Esarn is built on top of a small cliff with wooden architecture that gives way to stone at the top of the cliff, with outlying encampments consisting of tents.
Races: Human

Adurean: The home of the wood elves is built along both shores of the eastern estuary of the Benemont River. Three bridges cross the river, tall enough that boats can sail under without striking the mast. The forest around the river is not held back, and the buildings of wood and unworked stone fade into the treeline. The town is simple, and needs little money, but what they do need is supplied by the traders from upriver who sail through on their way to ships waiting in the bay. There are no guards in evidence, but that is not to say there are none. Archers watch from the trees, alert for trouble in or out of the city.
Races: Wood Elf, Half-Elf

Minor Powers (Allegiance):

Last Bay (Lakehome): This city is built to accommodate the merchant ships that come to trade in goods from Lakehome and the other towns on the Benemont River system. Though there is a larger bay just to the north, it has a difficult current that discourages ships from attempting to anchor there. The town is built along the south shore of the river and spreads along the bay south of there; a cliff covers the northern coast.

Lathuol (Lakehome): This is Lakehome writ small. Built in a fork on the southern Benemont River, the town serves the river folk who come past to trade. In addition, the town is just below Mt. Eten, on which is kept a watch tower and signal fire. The fire can be seen in the town, and has served to warn of goblin raids in the past.

Coriuklis (Lakehome): This is the first town on the Benemont River south of the high elves’ lands, and it is where guards check for contraband and fugitives on the river barges. Here, too, are the guards that accompany the barges assigned and the taxes gathered. It is not uncommon for high elves leaving their lands to pass through here in order to catch a ship at Last Bay.

Nenrean (Adurean): This town is built on the border of the deep forest in which Adurean is set. Past this point, sailing ships are forced to strike the mast and pole due to the overhanging branches. The river widens enough near Adurean that the mast can be set again. The town makes a small trade with Lakehome in bows and arrows, for which they receive exotic foods and textiles.

The Greensward (Adurean): The elves get most of their grain from here, outside the heavy forest. The land is less densely forested, and the buildings, though still built in harmony with the landscape, are more visible. The people are unusual for wood elves in that they do not favor the bow for defense, as the lack of forest makes traditional sniping tactics less useful. Rather, they favor the longsword, though they still practice hit-and-run tactics.

Celegion (Numrond): The high elves trade here where the forest and mountains meet with the humans of Lakehome, and to some extent with the dwarves of Dwimrid. They share magical knowledge with the humans in exchange for the textiles and exotic goods from the south. They normally remain aloof from the dwarves, although they have been known to collaborate on magical rings, the dwarves providing the metalwork and the elves providing much of the spells. The town is built on the slopes of the mountains, with a wall separating it from the jetties near the river.

Dwimrid: The dwarves of Dwimrid are famed for the power and quality of their rings. They are also uniquely situated for trading, as they are well situated on a pass through the Ironspine Mountains to Celegion, and from there the river leads to Lakehome and the eastern ports. On their side of the mountains, there is also the city of Udarot, a prime market for the fine steel of their forges.

Nerail (Udarot): This is a mining town, which supplies much of the iron and steel needed by Udarot’s metalworkers. It is also the closest town to Dwimrid, which supplies the remainder of the common metals and all of the more exotic ones. The trade passing through adds only a little to an already thriving economy.

Retmer (Udarot): This is a smallish fishing town that supplies Udarot and the other western cities with seafood, and also the crops in the fields nearby. It is also the end of a line of signal fires that warn of raids from the southwest coast, and this is often used against the coastal goblin tribes and the occasional small black dragon.

Atrovel (Udarot): This is the main port for the wares of Udarot and its surrounding towns. It is built upon the southern edge of the bay, where there is more level ground, facing the steep and wooded shore opposite. Atrovel also serves Bakran and the towns around it, although they send much of their export trade to Aradukr and then to Mudragh.

Deran (Bakran): This is a military town, originally founded as an army camp during a war with the ogres from the mountains to the east. After the ogre tribes were driven back, it became a permanent settlement for the troops keeping them penned up in the mountains. There is little trade, but the town grows what food it needs nearby, and receives the military supplies for the garrison from their superiors in Bakran.

Erant (Bakran): This is a small fishing town, but it is the closest decent port to Bakran. There is little trade through the town, but travelers to or from the city usually pass through here on their way to a larger port. The inns and taverns are prohibitively expensive, especially near the waterfront, given the influx of naïve travelers.

Fenr: This town is built around an ancient tower, which has been standing since before the town was built. It shows evidence of elven architecture, but appears to have been built onto by several different occupiers since then, including goblin and orc. The tower now serves as a lighthouse, warning ships rounding the northern coast of the foul winds that are soon to come. Aside from the tower, the town’s only industry of note is the slate quarry near the cliffs east of town.

Aradukr: This dwarven town is farther into the mountains than most, and considerably less known. The locals are wilder than many dwarves, and the city is entirely aboveground. Most of the dwarves are farmers, rather than miners, and raise goats and crops on the steep slopes. They also are much closer to the gryphons of the Ironspine Mountains than most dwarves. Other dwarven cities in need of scouts or messengers often seek out the services of an Aradukr gryphon-rider.

Mailagg: The town is a fairly typical dwarven hall, built around the twin industries of mining and metalworking, but for the fact that it is located on one of the only veins of adamantine of any size whatsoever. The hard ore requires a great deal of work to extract, and the town bustles with activity even on the calmest of days. Most of the material is sold to the smiths in Mudragh, but some makes its way to cities as far away as Udarot.

Thrafhig: This marks the extent of the dwarven lands; it is an outpost to the northeast that guards against the orc tribes in the wilderness north of the Iswer River. The city is mostly underground and lit through skylights in the cavern roof or by artificial fire, and even that which is aboveground is surrounded by a great wall in case of raid or invasion.

Iswatch (Norada): This is the northern of the three major ports on the eastern coastline. Goods coming around the northern coast are typically unloaded here and sent to their final destination on ships smaller than the massive “Caper” galleons capable of withstanding the northern weather. It is also where goods from Mudragh are shipped from, as the two towns are connected by river most of the way; the river itself is treacherous, but a serviceable trade road runs alongside it.

Eriton (Norada): This town is located at a fork in the river connecting Mudragh and Iswatch; most of the trade goes east to Iswatch, but the goods destined for Atanch are taken by caravan from here, and those for Esarn go south by road to East Watch, the Iswer being too dangerous to ship goods on. In addition to its position on the trade routes, Eriton is also the site of the largest quarries on the eastern seaboard.

Cael Haighn (Norada): Not quite as fertile as Norada, this town still manages to share in the bounty that is grain export; it also has slightly better lumber resources, and is the source of much artisan-quality clay and pottery made from it.

North Watch (Esarn): This is the northern extent of Esarn’s lands, originally a post for riders in the event of an attack, and now a trading post as well. The soil is slightly more fertile here, due to the proximity of the river, and the locals are less inclined to the nomadic lifestyle than their fellows from the south.

South Watch (Esarn): This is the southern counterpart to North Watch, and likewise a trading post, in this case with the wood elves and Lakehome. The elves, though forest-dwelling most of the time, trade their weaponry for a few of the Esarni horses. Lakehome deals mostly in the scant excess food that Esarn grows.

Grumagh: This dwarven city was once the border post during times of conflict with the elves. With the tensions now resolved, the town concentrates its efforts on mining. Most of the excess ore and metal goes to Mudragh or is shipped through the tunnels to Dwimrid, but a sizeable chunk goes to maintain an armory in the city, a remnant of the town’s militant bent.

Vergar’s Fall: This is the southern and smaller of the two western ports. In reality, it deals little in cargoes, but serves a vibrant group of fishermen who take advantage of the teeming seas off the coast. Also, the rocky terrain of the coastal cliffs makes it much faster to travel along the coast by ship, even if it does cost more.

Nenuya: This port town has a reputation for lawlessness, due to the corsairs who work out of the harbor. Most merchant shipping around the southern end of the continent sails in convoys, and even then ships give the port a wide berth. The town itself, however, is welcoming, if raucous. In addition to the fruits of the pirates’ plunder, the town is supplied by fishermen who ply the cold waters nearby. The buildings are large and wooden, usually either communal or separated into multiple spaces. The roofs are steeply sloped against the harsh winters of the far south.


The Council of Eleven: This council oversees the trade relations between nations, as well as negotiating prices with the Traders’ Guild and Shipping Union. There is one representative from each of the nine major powers, as well as one from each of the aforementioned trade groups. The council is a forum for nations to negotiate tariffs, guards for trade routes, and shipping prices.

Traders’ Guild: The Guild represents merchants and caravan drivers with the nine major powers. Guild members benefit from higher commissions on the goods they carry, as well as larger guard contingents between cities. Some traders opt out of membership, largely in order to undercut Guild prices, but doing so is risky business. The Guild also does not include smugglers, as their negotiations with the nine powers forbid them to carry contraband. The smugglers have to contend with not only the risk of their trade, but also the increased risk of banditry and a lack of Guild compensation for lost merchandise.

Shipping Union: The Union represents ship captains, dockhands, and some river traders, and members benefit much like members of the Traders’ Guild. The Union does not represent the river traders from Lakehome, who benefit from a deal with their own government. Much like the Traders’ Guild, the Union does not accept smugglers. They also promise a ransom for crews who are taken alive by pirates, and provide compensation to captains who lose ships to piracy in order to keep the sea routes open despite the risk of corsairs.

House Domen: The Domen family has long been one of the larger mercantile families on Vaeror. They control about a tenth of all industry on the continent, especially dealing with textiles and paper. Their heavy involvement in trade has led to a popular belief that the hold a “twelfth seat” on the Council of Eleven. More recently, they have begun to deal in espionage: using their network of trade factors, industrial representatives and corrupt officials, they obtain and trade state secrets to the highest bidder. The House is based out of Lakehome, and has major offices in Iswatch and Atrovel.

The Jedat Consortium: While no longer extant, the Jedat Consortium was a major economic power for 220 years. They originated as a multinational trade group, who oversaw the distribution, pricing, and sale of members’ goods via the Benemont River system. In following years, they became a military alliance as well, and were involved the execution of three wars. This military aspect grew to prominence in later years, as leaders from the former Noradan League rose to power within the group, and their amassed military power was the major factor in their dissolution.

The New Consortium: After the dissolution of the Jedat Consortium by the Lakehome Treaty and the establishment of the Council of Eleven, a few of the leaders of the Consortium formed a trading house located in Lakehome. While denied the control of the old organization, they still had their talent for business, and built their venture into a powerful mercantile factor. The New Consortium has an almost preternatural talent for predicting the demands of the market, and makes astronomical profits from ensuring that their goods are in the right place at the right time.

The Cabal: Not all of the tieflings abandoned their ancestors’ work. The Cabal is made up of tieflings who continue their ancestors’ aim of establishing a wizards’ empire. These tieflings embrace their pact with the devils, and call upon infernal aid in their plans. Within the past few years, they have gained a foothold in Atanch as advisors to several of the most influential noble households; all of these households believe that they are the only ones benefiting from their infernal advisors. The Cabal uses this influence to manipulate Atanchian politics, up to the point of installing one of their human puppets as advisor to the Emperor.

The Fey Circle: The High Elves still retain much of their fey ancestry. Some take up service to fey lords, though only the most accomplished are accepted to the circle. These High Elves look after their patrons’ interests on the Material Plane, typically associated with maintaining fey grounds in the forests of Numrond or combating the agents of opposing fey. The most powerful of a fey lord’s servants is appointed to the Circle, where he serves as a mediator between his liege and other fey lords. The fey lords served by the High Elves are largely friendly towards one another; with few exceptions, their servants do no more than spy on each other.

The Argent Host: This is the core of the dragonborn culture, an army that is called up only in the name of Bahamut. When a crusade is not in effect, the Host consists only of a few devout believers, called Marshals, whose task it is to decide when the Host will be formed, and ensure that the call goes out quickly. These lords make their homes in large cities, where they begin rallying fellow dragonborn to the Host when a crusade is begun. The Marshals are also responsible for approving the actions of any group of dragonborn who wish to lend or sell their services to other groups.

The Ruby Knives: Combining private investigators, mercenaries, and adventurers, the Ruby Knives are a group described as a professional group or guild, but whose members are far heavier armed than most. The Knives are often hired by the nine powers for jobs that require more firepower, subtlety, or deniability than can be provided by their militaries. Any member may accept a contract accepted by the guild’s leadership, but to become a member is most difficult, and requires a certain amount of recognition among other adventurers. To place a contract requires a significant payment and the consent of the leadership; the guild does not accept frivolous contracts or contracts that would result in destabilizing a government. Those placing a contract are guaranteed anonymity; those accepting are not.

The Six Tribes: The dwarven halls are all independent states; none are subordinate to any other. Leaders of the six major cities come together yearly to renew treaties, renegotiate mining rights, and determine each state’s contribution to their joint army. In times of war, the group elects a High King to command the army for the duration of the conflict. Mostly, though, the army is merely a defensive measure, and performs no offensive action more extensive than chasing off an orc warband that moves too close to dwarven lands. The Six Tribes between them have one seat on the Council of Eleven, and the selection of their delegate is an annual point of contention.


Civilized Races:

Humans are the most populous race of Vaeror, but also the most impetuous, always diving in where the older races are more cautious. However, they do have a gift for commerce, and their influence and trade routes have brought about the current era of peaceful coexistence. A human’s personality differs depending on their land of origin:

• Noradans tend to be group-focused, more comfortable when part of a coalition or alliance—more so if they are in charge. They have historically used the influence afforded them due to their grain exports to dissuade invasion, and when war was necessary, formed alliances to deal with the threat. They are not above tricking others into doing their dirty work for them.
• Atanchians are almost two nationalities; the upper class is manipulative and self-centered, due to the intricate plots of Atanchian politics, and they tend to see money as a means to an end. Most others are hardened individuals, very conscious of social standing and hierarchy, whether social or military. Both groups treasure wealth: the upper class values comfort, and the rest are desperate to avoid the back-breaking labor of the mines.
• Esarni are nomadic and free-spirited. They seldom tie themselves down to places or occupations, but they form strong friendships. Most Esarni own little more than they can carry on horseback, and can support themselves in the wilderness for long periods. An Esarni will always be at least familiar with some sort of weapon and all know how to ride. An Esarni’s favored possession is his steed.
• Riverfolk usually have a keen sense of curiosity, and share many traits with the elves who live northeast of them. They love gossip, news from distant lands, and the occasional journey. Their curiosity leads many to dabble in magic: wizards are more common in Lakehome than other human lands, and many people know a little bit of magic, especially soldiers.
• Udarans are hot-tempered and even more impulsive than most humans. On the one hand, there are the artisan metalworkers that make up Udarot’s most valuable trade, and they know their worth—insulting their skill is a quick way to make a lifelong enemy. On the other hand, there are the soldiers that protect the country from goblin raids from the south; the raids are sudden and swift, and leave little room for prolonged indecision. These soldiers are often hired out as mercenaries when the goblin threat is low, giving them a global perspective.
• Bakrani enjoy the simple pleasures: good drink, fine food, and sport. They are peacemakers, and seldom get more aggressive than friendly competition. When they are forced to fight, they try to defend themselves first and foremost, and take no pleasure in killing; they tend well to their captives and do their utmost to capture rather than kill.

Dwarves are highly cautious folk, which leads them to create settlements in defensible areas. This caution leads to a veneration of traditions and history; change is very gradual in a dwarven town. Histories are kept almost religiously, from copies of treaties, to legal and financial documents, to births and deaths. This caution comes into conflict with their appreciation of wealth when the services of dwarven smiths are sought after in foreign lands, especially given the going rates for good armorers. Dwarves also appreciate good food and drink, skaldic poetry, jewelry (usually rings or decorative armor), and, if they are warriors, fine weapons. Dwarves adventure for glory and wealth, to serve their clan, or to drive back the encroaching darkness.

Halflings are nomads. They relate easily with Riverfolk and Esarni, as well as the more adventurous wood elves, due to their curiosity and reluctance to tie themselves down, and have even more wanderlust than the Esarni. In their case, though, the nomadic lifestyle is less a necessity than a means to an end. They value new experiences and become bored easily, and their journeys give them an opportunity to see and do new things. Their curiosity can be expressed in all ways, from a fascination with the varying wildlife they encounter on their travels, to magic, to the more nefarious interest in other people’s belongings. Many take to trading as a way to travel; others are traveling craftsmen or herders. Halfling adventurers are commonly indulging their curiosity, or possibly traveling criminals.

High Elves are, in a word, otherworldly. They retain their connection to the Feywild and their fey ancestors, and many have an offputting demeanor, as though they know things that others do not. Despite this, they are quite willing to deal with the rest of Vaeror, and their wizards are much sought after by the other nations as diviners, advisors, and scholars. While they value comfort, they define it as merely a bit of privacy and the ability to practice their calling without interference. Most High Elves are called to an art, mostly crafts but also including magic, swordsmanship, archery, or even such things as oratory, by the time they are fifty, and most stick to it for the rest of their lives. High Elves often adventure to perfect a martial or magical calling, serve a fey lord, or merely fight evil.

Wood Elves are more “human” than their fey cousins; they live shorter lives, and as a result are more inclined to mortal pursuits. While they value the arts, they do not practice them to the exclusion of all else. Many are hunters or gatherers, supporting the elves’ agrarian society. Most are skilled in some sort of combat, as the elves’ small numbers leave no room for noncombatants. Their adventurers are occasionally outcasts, but more often are on a journey to test their skills or gain experience of the outside world before returning to contribute to their tribes. They tend to be reserved in situations that they have no experience of, but become merry and outgoing in familiar lands and places.

Half-Elves live on the border of human and elf society, combining human impulsiveness and elven curiosity. They fit in well in all company, and pick up the odd talent from those around them, giving them a more diverse set of abilities than most. This versatility makes them well-suited to diplomacy and group work. Half-elves, driven by their difference from their parents’ races and their own innate curiosity, turn often to adventuring.

Tieflings are the descendants of a cabal of human wizards who, in an effort to gain greater powers, made pacts with the forces of the nine hells. This pact, though giving them a brief period of dominance before the Age of Commerce, claimed their souls in the end and was passed on to their descendants in a weaker form. The Tieflings, as they came to be known, were hunted down in the years that followed for the crimes committed by their predecessors. Those that survived formed small tribes in the wilderness until the manhunt died down. Modern Tieflings are not hunted as their ancestors were, but are still viewed with suspicion. They still carry the curse that ultimately claims their souls. Some strive to overcome this curse, doing good works in the hope that a deity will intervene on their behalf, but many abandon themselves to their savage nature. Most of those who take up adventuring fall into one of these groups.

Dragonborn are the instruments of Bahamut on Vaeror; their ancestors were created to fight in a war with Tiamat, a war which they eventually won. Their descendants continue the tradition of service to Bahamut, but when they are not called upon to crusade in his name, they offer their services to those in need, taking up the cause of any who are oppressed. They are few in number, almost always wandering warriors or members of local militias, but their dedication to Bahamut is unmatched. They adventure in service to an employer or to combat evil. Dragonborn are rare, but their martial bent make them valued additions to a local militia. They are viewed with awe by the humans and halflings, and with gratitude by the other races, who have all received their aid more than once.

Savage Races:

Goblinoids (Goblins, Hobgoblins, and Bugbears) are coast dwellers. They live in small tribes, which sometimes unite under a single charismatic leader for short periods. Once he has the loyalty of multiple tribes, this leader is forced to make war upon the civilized races in order to maintain his command over his followers. If left to their own devices or defeated convincingly, the tribes usually turn on and overthrow their leader, after which the horde rapidly falls apart. When not united as an army, goblinoids live by fishing the waters near their village and raiding vessels that stray too close to their waters.

Orcs are a militaristic people, who have long since been driven back into the mountains and the northern wilderness. The strongest orc in a tribe is the de facto ruler, though he often derives support from a shaman or cleric, and this religious leader tends to manipulate the chief to his advantage. It is difficult to unite orcs, as their tradition of rule by the strong often leads to prospective rulers killing each other off. Historically, trolls and occasionally ogres that come into contact with orcs have been accepted as leaders, and manipulated even more easily by the shamans. Orc raids are a constant worry for the dwarves and any other people living near the mountains.

Gnolls live in the foothills of the southern mountains, where they live by hunting and occasionally taking captives from the goblin tribes to farm for them. They are usually led by the gnoll who can gather the most supporters among the tribe (often as a prelude to fighting the other side for the position, or sometimes splitting the tribe), but some are led by fiendish gnolls or evil clerics. These tend to be more powerful than most tribes. Gnolls do not usually raid civilized lands, as they can get what they need by raiding softer targets in the wilderness.

Lizardfolk are amphibious, and fittingly live on the Shattered Isles at the far north of Vaeror. There they hunt and fish to survive, though more aggressive or territorial tribes may attack passing vessels. The lizardfolk are ruled by a hereditary chief, who is advised by a cleric or council of elders. There are three castes of lizardfolk: the Ssavi, or serfs, Asasiv, or warriors and craftsmen, and Vaasol, or knights. The Ssavi are essentially stuck with their caste; Asasiv can rise to the Vaasol by acts of bravery, while Vaasol can fall for cowardice or refusal to support the chief.


Before 300 B.T: The various races live in secluded cities, separated by vast areas of wilderness and foul creatures. Goblins and Orcs stage frequent raids, and control much of the area between cities.
300 B.T: Norada, faced with an Orcish invasion from the north, secures an alliance with Esarn by offering yearly shipments of grain in exchange for their military assistance. Their combined militaries are sufficient to not only defeat the invaders but push them back past the River Iswen.
263 B.T: Atanch, in desperate need of both military assistance and food in the face of persistent raids on their farmland, joins what is now known as the Noradan League as a monetary backer.
261 B.T: Seeing the success of the Noradan League, a small group of humans and halflings on the shores of Lake Jedat secure the protection of Adurean in exchange for their services as messengers along the rivers connecting Adurean and Numrond.
247 B.T: The Noradan League begins a campaign to clear the northern shore of the Iswer River of orcs. Esarni troops do most of the fighting, paid with Atanchian gold and fed with Noradan grain.
239 B.T: The dwarves of Dwimrid, who have traded for years with Numrond, commission the halflings, who now carry regular trade between Numrond and Adurean, to sell a small amount of precious metals in Adurean.
238 B.T: After the success of the first shipment to Adurean, the dwarves open a trading post at Celegion, which sends regular batches of metals down the river to Adurean. The town on Lake Jedat begins to grow, and is known as Lakehome.
236 B.T: The Noradan League, tired of fighting back and forth with the orcs over the same patches of land, fortify the north shore of the Iswer. The fortifications not only house garrisons as a deterrent to attack, but also serve as anchorages for the patrol boats now entering service.
225 B.T: A goblin tribe, emboldened by the valuable goods traveling down the river, moves into the area of Lakehome and begins raiding riverboats. The dwarves and elves, unwilling to see their goods lost, cut back on their commerce.
223 B.T: The citizens of Lakehome, their income from trade dwindling, organize a militia to guard the ships on the river. The goblins, no longer able to take the boats with impunity, reduce their raids.
220 B.T: With the elves and dwarves once more interested in trading via the rivers, Lakehome negotiates a higher commission on the goods they carry as compensation for maintaining the militia. They formalize their role as traders, creating the Jedat Consortium and taking control of the river trade out of the hands of the Kingdom of Lakehome. This name quickly grows to apply to their trading partners as well.
211 B.T: The Noradan League approaches Numrond with an offer of membership in the League, in an attempt to draw the profitable trade in magical objects away from the Jedat Consortium. The Noradan diplomats overreach in suggesting that Numrond deny the Consortium access to their waterways, and the treaty is rejected.
207 B.T: Seeing the success of their trade along the rivers near Lakehome, the dwarves open other cities to trade. In particular, the dwarves of Dwimrid find that the metalworkers of Udarot highly value metals such as mithril and cold iron.
204 B.T: Metal goods from Udarot begin to find their way into the now-thriving merchant houses at Lakehome. Udarot in return finds magical objects from Numrond and bows from Adurean coming back through Dwimrid.
178 B.T: Faced with an increasing level of unrest among the coastal goblin tribes, Lakehome increases the level of the guards on their riverboats. In addition, they begin constructing garrisons at strategic points along the river. The elves and dwarves contribute troops to these forts as well.
161 B.T: The goblin tribes unite under a warlord named Vergar and begin raiding outlying settlements near Lakehome and Udarot. The forts along the Benemont hold, but with high casualties. Udarot approaches Lakehome and their trading partners about an alliance.
160 B.T: Alliance sealed with formal trade agreements, the joint army begins a push to drive the goblin armies back to the south. The initial engagements are hard-fought, but eventually go in favor of the traders.
158 B.T: After two years of fighting, the goblin armies are driven back to the western mouth of the Benemont, where they fortify their position. After a three-month siege, Vergar is assassinated by a discontented tribal leader, allowing the joint armies to smash the now disunited tribes. Most flee to the far south, while others hide in the cliffs along the western coast.
157 B.T: The goblin fortifications at the mouth of the Benemont are settled and rebuilt by a mixture of veterans from the joint army. The new town is named Vergar’s Fall, after their defeated enemy, and declares itself an independent city.
144 B.T: Finally taking notice of the newer alliance forming to their south, the Noradan League sends an embassy to Adurean, where they proceed to undercut the dwarves’ prices for gold and gems. The dwarves protest this “poaching”, to no avail.
142 B.T: Having had no response to their protests, the dwarves close their trading posts at Dwimrid and Celegion. Udarot, cut off from its trading partners, suffers from loss of revenue. Attempts are made to establish trade routes across the Ironspine Mountains, with little effect.
139 B.T: Udarot proposes to build a proper port at Vergar’s Fall, to close the gap in the trade routes caused by the dwarves’ withdrawal. The proposal is met with enthusiasm from Lakehome, which has been suffering from a lack of armor.
138 B.T: The first trade ships travel from Atrovel to Vergar’s Fall. With the opening of trade through Atrovel, the city of Bakran begins to ship timber through Lakehome, buying weaponry and armor in return.
132 B.T: Despite the Jedat Consortium’s continued trade with the Noradan League, the dwarves reopen their cities, but this time they remain neutral, and deal with both sides. They move away from the trade in gold and gems and trade exclusively in exotic metals.
131-89 B.T: In spite of continued attempts to split up the Jedat Consortium, including assassinations and sabotage of magic items from Numrond, Lakehome continues to dominate the trade routes in the south and west. This time is known as the Forty Years’ Peace.
88 B.T: An army of well-armed and cohesive goblins comes out of the southern mountains, seeking revenge for their defeat 70 years ago. They soon disrupt trade on the western and southern branches of the Benemont River.
87 B.T: It becomes apparent that the goblins are no ordinary horde; the deaths in battle of two subsequent leaders have no effect beyond inciting them to greater fervor. The Jedat Consortium is forced to rally another army to do battle.
86 B.T: The goblin army, met with a superior force, scatters and takes to raiding rather than all-out assaults. A small group of dragonborn mercenaries from Udarot lends its services to the Consortium.
85 B.T: It is discovered that the goblins are being supplied, bribed, and otherwise manipulated by Atanch and Norada. Esarn, not a party to the trickery, removes its support from the Noradan League.
84 B.T: With the Esarni military no longer deterring them, orcs from the north begin testing the borders of Norada. The Noradans are able to cope, but just barely, until the arrival of the Consortium’s military on the south border. Faced with threats on both sides, the Noradan League dissolves and is forced to make reparations for the damage caused in the war.
83 B.T: Esarn joins the Consortium, contributing both a trade in horses and base metals, and a significant military contingent. The town of Iswatch enlarges its port, and begins sending small grain shipments around the north coast to Atrovel in order to pay off its war debt.
81 B.T: Atanch joins the Consortium.
79 B.T: The Ruby Daggers are founded by veterans of the Trade War, and immediately begin attracting business from the Consortium.
76 B.T: Norada joins the Consortium, the last nation to do so.
73 B.T: A port is constructed at Last Bay to serve as an access point to the Benemont River system and Lake Jedat. Iswatch begins shipping to the western states via Last Bay for small cargoes, while maintaining the northern route for larger goods.
72-3 B.T: Traders from Atanch, Norada, and Esarn, initially distrusted, are eventually admitted to the leadership of the Consortium. The Consortium continues to improve their infrastructure, constructing garrisons to guard the trade routes and building up the numbers (and legal privileges) of their mercenaries.
2 B.T: More soldiers in Lakehome are employed by the Consortium than are in the army. The Ruby Daggers cease accepting contracts from the Consortium, citing ethical concerns.
1 B.T: The Consortium demands that Lakehome, their base of operations, include them in the government. The demand is met, but the King secretly sends emissaries to Udarot, Esarn, and Bakran requesting help in freeing his lands from the Consortium.

0: Udarot, Esarn, and Bakran seize the assets of the Consortium in their lands on the same night that Lakehome’s soldiers and a group of Ruby Daggers storm their headquarters, capturing the leaders. The law giving the Consortium input into the government is repealed, and the Lakehome Treaty is signed, dissolving the group and instituting a council of leaders from the eight former member states who will oversee maintenance of international trade. The treaty is rapidly amended to include the dwarves, who are willing to join a trade organization that gives them input into price negotiation and arbitration.
1 P.T: The treaty is amended to make the safety of land-based trade routes the responsibility of the local government, not the members of the treaty. Sea routes are to be policed by the states that they connect.
15 P.T: After Norada and Atanch decrease protection of their trade routes, the Traders’ Guild is formed, and boycotts those routes. Protection is hastily raised, partly due to pressure from the other powers.
19 P.T: A similar movement takes place among merchant captains and owners after piracy begins to rise. Cargo insurance is implemented, reimbursing captains for lost cargoes due to storms and piracy. The riverboat captains from Lakehome opt out, being already represented by their government.
31 P.T: The Shipping Union begins offering ransoms for the return of crews captured by pirates; deaths due to pirates drop by three quarters.
55 P.T: The Shipping Union and Traders’ Guild are afforded seats on the Council.
63 P.T: The Council of Eleven, as it is now called, opens depository banks in each of the nine powers; the banks issue notes of credit on merchants’ deposits, allowing them to seal large contracts easily and safely.
72 P.T: The Council Banks are opened to private citizens with a minimum balance of 10000 gp.