Pirates of The Jewel Archipelago
The Jewel Archipelago- the collection of islands off the southern coast of the continent is collectively known as the jewel archipelago. there are 6 major islands, Entella, Hybala, Cagliari, Gaeta, and Como, as well as many more small, uncharted islands, some which have not been set foot upon by mortals.
Kingsport- located at the mouth of the Volun river which connects the Middle Kingdoms to the sea, Kingsport is the destination of seafaring trade vessels for their cargoes to the shipped upriver to the heart of the empire. It is a massive town that is the base of the imperial navy. As a major trade city it is a cultural crossroads, and the inhabitants of the city are among the most multicultural of any in the empire. There is a bard’s college in Kingsport that has professors from all corners of the empire.
Rumbottom Cove- this town started as a collection of pleasure ships in a cove on Kosh island. The amount of bottles that have been tossed overboard left the floor of the cove being littered with brightly colored glass that reflects the sun, making the cove lit with a riot of color during the day. The town is the port of harbor for pirates of all stripes, from the wealthy and foppish Dread Pirate Wendelsmithe, to the dirty and bedraggled Hook-Hand Murray. The Town is run by the Council of Pirate Captains, an elected group of 7 senior captains who stay on the island to keep the lawless inhabitants from burning the city to the ground. Laws are unwritten and sporadically enforced. The presence of the Council, however, ensures that there are seven Man-O-War pirate galleons at the island at all times, which has so far kept any foolhardy plans to be a pirate king from succeeding.
The Bladed Isles- this treacherous area of sharp rocks and riptides forms the home of the pirates of the southern seas. These jagged outcroppings are the tops of submerged mountains, the “tail” of the Dragonspine Mountains. The three main islands are Kosh, Strum, and Vare, pirate hide-aways all, and dangerous places. Kosh has the safest bay, and so it the capitol of the pirates, in a way. There are always sightings of strange beasts at sea, but the Bladed Isles has a higher incident of such stories. This could be due to the denser population of often-drunk pirates, but the treacherous and largely unexplored rocks may be home to stranger creatures than people think.
The Middle Kingdoms- Located centrally on the continent is the Aurturi Empire. The Middle Kingdoms enjoy a temperate climate, and the terrain is hilly and forested, but there are great tracts of farmland. The Middle Kingdom is split into 5 Counties, each ruled by one of the 5 highest families, Terlago, Drake, Berregard, Von Holden, and Ghast. House drake rules over the central province, which is home to the imperial capitol. Each county is divided into duchies, and within each duchy there are several barons. Large cities are ruled by governors appointed by the duke, and small cities are governed by mayors, appointed by the baron.
Drakkenwold sits at the heart of the empire. It is still heavily forested despite centuries of expansion and farming. It is the seat of Imperial power and home to the Drake noble family. The inhabitants of Drakkenwold tend toward lightly tan skin and dark hair, though it is a sign of aristocracy and elven heritage to have lighter hair and eyes. The Capitol is Eramir.
Middenheim lies to the north, against the Worldscrown Mountains. It previously bordered on the Orcish kingdoms, and many of the citizens of Middenheim have some Orcish blood in their family line. It is a cold land, with most of the sustenance provided by sheep herds and fishing from the many rivers and lakes. Middenheimers tend to be tall and broad, and most are very hirsute. They tend toward fair hair and eyes. The Capitol is Hrothgar.
Eria is the province on the empire’s eastern side, near the Dragonspine Mountains. It is a misty and rather grim land, often rainy and often cold. Few crops grow well in the area, but its forests are teeming with wild game that provides sustinence for the peasants and nobles alike. Inhabitants of Eria tend to be pale, as they get little sun, but their hair and eye colors are anything but uniform. The capital is Accadia.
The Kush is the wide expanse of arid flatlands on the south of the empire, between Drakkenwold and the Crextec jungles. The land is mostly grasslands of varying fertility, with a strip of desert in the middle. It has many farms that produce a great quantity of the empire’s wheat and grains. The Kush’s population tend to have dark skin and hair, but their eyes can be of a wild array of colors, some which are not usually found in humans or elves, such as red, violet or yellow, hinting of an otherworldly ancestry. The capital is The City of Pillars.
Gaogol is the westernmost province, bordering the Charred Expanse. The land is temperate and lightly forested. There are many ancient elven ruins in the area, from the days of old, and most are said to be haunted. It is a superstitious and rather backwater province. It’s inhabitants tend to be pale and thin, with black hair and dark eyes. The capital is Mordwatch.
The Border Princes – Lesser provinces encircle the Middle Kingdoms. These are more lawless territories, ruled over by powerful warlords or excessively wealthy merchants. They have no nobility officially recognized by the Imperial bureaucracy, but they often set themselves up as aristocracy. These provinces are the second largest source of raw materials, after Khitai. They are more frontier than the Middle Kingdoms, often densely forested, or else barren and desolate.
Khitati- The Land of Mysteries. It is the only place where Dragons still live openly. The Dragonspine Mountains provided the country with protection from the expansionism of the Empire, as the Dwarves refused to allow armies to march through the passes beneath the mountains, and marching over them would be impossible. The empire hadn’t yet had a need to develop a Navy at that point, so Khitai survived relatively undisturbed. After the Middle Kingdoms and the Border Princes were Unified and the Orcs and Wood elves driven out of the mainland, the Empire sought to bring Khitai into the fold via trade. Khitain silks and spices quickly became the most profitable wares for a merchant to trade in, and the country proved to have a near inexhaustible supply of raw materials to exploit. When the Dwarves shut their holds, there was a rush to the sea, and merchant houses resorted to murder to get rights to the best ports. The cut-throat attitude has died down in the decades that followed, but there are still many privateers who are employed specifically to ruin the livelihoods of certain guilds. Thus trade with Khitai continues. Many of the Khitain demi-human races are immigrating to the Middle Kingdoms, eager to explore.
The Frozen Reaches- in the far north on Pangaea, seperated from the rest of the continent by the towering spikes of the Worldscrown mountains, the Frozen Reaches is the span of glacier-scarred coastline that is now home to the Orcs. The land is mostly arid tundra, with fjords turning the coastline into a jagged maze of cliffs. Visible from any point in the Frozen Reaches is the Caldera of Lakagígar, a towering mound of black stone, constantly billowing smoke and glowing red in the night. Lakagígar himself spends his time nearly entirely submerged in the lava, only his nostrils and eyes are usually visible. He revealed himself fully to the Orcs when they first came to his slopes, stepping out of the lava and standing taller than the mountains themselves.
The closest things the Orcs have to a capital is the temple built on the slopes of the Caldera, hewn from the living obsidian and fashioned in the style of their ancient buildings from the days of the great orcish empires. There are many small villages scattered around the Reaches. Sustenance is derived from sheep, fish, and sea-vegetables.
The Crextec Peninsula- primordial jungle covers the southern tip of Pangaea, hiding the crumbling stone ziggurats the ancestors of modern lizardfolk built. The jungle houses many relics of the bygones ages, massive reptiles, dire animals, and apes who have an uncanny resemblance to modern men. Beneath the creeper vines and dense foliage lies a massive network of old stone, the ruins of a vital civilization of lizardfolk. Stone highways, overrun by vines and cracked with age, connect to the ruins of ancient buildings, great stone edifices with intricate carvings that hint of dark rituals and cannibalistic sacrifices to terrible gods. It is here that the displaced Wood Elves now live. The change from temperate forest to jungle and the anguish of having their ancient homeland so thoroughly destroyed has made the Wood Elves even more savage than before. While never truly benevolent, the Wood Elves of old were at least balanced, reflecting the neutrality and implacable qualities of nature itself. Their attitude now is more cruel and predatory, and some depraved individuals have even been trying to wake the old gods of the lizardfolk. The Imperial Forts lining the coast report increased boldness from the Wood Elven raiding parties and many ships are found, anchored near the coastline, floating empty but for bloodstains.
The Charred Expanse- Once the ancient woods of Tol Lorien, home to the wild and beautiful Wood Elves. Bryndis, The Dragon Empress of the Aurturi, fought a great war with the wood elves, and finally drove them from the Middle Kingdoms by burning the forest down. The woods were reduced to a vast desert of ash, the splintered trunks of some trees turned to glass by the intense heat of the magical fire. What remains is a silent, eerie land, which is nearly impossible to cross. There are no rivers or lakes anymore, nor animals or living vegetation. Villages on the border of the Charred Expanse tell tales of elven ghosts and even stranger horrors living in the ruins.
The Dragonspine Mountains- Along the Eastern edge of the Middle Kingdoms the Dragonspine Mountains rise into the sky. The ridge of the Dragponspine runs all the way from the sea to the north of the continent down to the tip of the Crextec peninsula. The “tail” of these mountains forms the jagged stone spires that mark the Bladed Isles, and the main crest on the continent is what made travel between the Middle Kingdoms and Khitai so difficult when the Dwarves closed the Deep Roads. The Dwarves have holds throughout the mountains, great caverns carved in the rock to form underground cities.