Saltmarsh Journal

Journals for the Saltmarsh RPG Campaign

Gazetteer

Map of the High Kingdom from the library of Itea, showing the main areas.

Map of the High Kingdom from the library of Itea, showing the main areas.

The Seven Kingdoms

1. The Kingdom of Vertain

The original kingdom of the High Kingdom, and still regarded by most Lordlings as their ancestral home. Vertain is the only kingdom to be majority Lordling, and presents an idealised view of Lordling life. It slopes down from the Plateau of Anoth to the Inner Sea, and comprises rolling hills and river valleys, dotted with small woods and the estates and palaces of wealthy Lordling families.

2. The Kingdom of Ergolan

The great Kingdom of Ergolan is the largest of the seven kingdoms. It stretches north from the Inner Sea, encompassing the whole of the northern plains.  To the west are the Chianso Hills. To the west is the Vale of Tian and the Erith Hills, and between them the gap of Dor, the other great route into the Great Steppe. But unlike Annalur, which is under contstant attack, the Great Steppe here to the north is less populated, and by scattered tribes of humans rather than wolf-men, and the Lordlings have taken the flight out onto the Great Steppe, establishing The Grand Duchy of Erith as a march in the loop of the Tryvon River and establishing their dominance over the tribes of the steppe, occupying key oases far out into the plains.

3. The Kingdom of Analur

The Kingdom of Analur stretches south-east from the Inner Sea. To the north lies the terrible Plateau of Anoth, to the south lies the Barren Peaks. The long valley that these form gradually slopes up to the Yellow Hills, and beyond that is the Great Steppe, where the wolf-men roam. The Kingdom of Analur thus protects the southern approach to the High Kingdom. Across the Yellow Hills runs The Wall, a complex of walled cities, fortresses and strongholds that deny any army crossing the Great Steppe any access to water on this side. The men of Annalur are hard and dark, both of skin and heart. They are trained in war from childhood for war is a constant threat for them. The hot southern winds blow up the Vale of Analur and give the people their weather-beaten look.

4. The Kingdom of Chandros

The Kingdom of Chandros is the most northerly of the seven kingdoms. Its Lordlings are tall and stern, made harsh by their environment. They are few in number and are regarded as very clannish, putting family loyalty above all other considerations. They live in great castles perched atop sheer crags. The lands between are populated by hardy men and trolls, who render tribute to their remote lords, but are otherwise normally left to handle their own affairs. There are few cities in the Kingdom of Chandros.

5. The Kingdom of Merkaine

The Kingdom of Merkaine is ancient and was once one of the most powerful of the seven kingdoms, renowned for its mages. It stretches south from the Gulf of Merkera, towards the southern mountains. The land, which rises and falls in long ridges and valleys, is rich and well watered, and there are many cities and men here. Such wealth attracts envy though, and recently there have been many struggles between families of high born Lordlings for control of cities and the throne itself, so that much blood has been spent on this, and much money also. As a result, Merkaine is somewhat fallen from its former wealth and glory.

6. The Kingdom of Lerin

The southernmost of the seven Kingdoms. The Kingdom of Lerin is dominated by the Gap of Lerin, the main route to the south and the Great Sunken Desert. From here come caravans bearing spices and silks from the south, and the men of Lerin are rich merchants rather than warriors.

7. The Kingdom of Westaine

The Kingdom of Westaine is really a kingdom in name only, for its territories are poorly connected and rarely heed the word of its King. It was once larger, but the Kingdom of Chandros has expanded at its expense, almost dividing it into two. In the south-east is the heartland of the kingdom. Along the north shore of the Gulf of Merkera stretch a series of valleys, isolated from each other by ridges of mountain and from the north by the White Mountains. These are ruled as semi-independent fiefs by a series of counts, who normally have difficulty even persuading their own populations to obey their rule. In the north, beyond the White Mountains, the land is full of dark forests. Men live uneasily here, menaced by trolls and goblins, and the scattered homesteads pay no attention to the word of the king in far-off Uthelan.

The Grand Duchies

The Grand Duchy of Erith

The Grand Duchy of Eirth, formerly known as the Eastmarch, was established to keep control over the human tribes of the northern steppes, which it has done with great success. It is also to constrain the power of the Kingdom of Ergolan, which it has also done. Although it’s territory is small, it has a powerful and professional army, well trained and veteran of many wars.

The Grand Duchy of Westmarch

The Grand Duchy of Westmarch once controlled a large territory to the south west of the Kingdom of Merkaine, as well as the island of Trinalion. With the weakening of central power and authority however, and the rise of dragon raids, much of its territory has been lost, and is now known as the Forsaken Shore. The pygmies of Trinalion have rebelled to, under their traditional queens, and now do not heed the commands of the Grand Duke. But parts of the Grand Duchy remain, and the Grand Dukes have involved themselves in the affairs of the Kingdom of Merkaine to, taking territory from it while it has been involved in its own internal quarrels.

The Grand Duchy of the Northmarch

Once tasked with establishing control over and holding the line against the trolls of the northern mountains, this Grand Duchy has all but collapsed. It was never a popular posting, patrolling the grim northern forests and ice-capped ridges and peaks, and so the army was always short of Lordlings. With the collapse of central funding, the money to pay for the army has vanished, and the lands of the north are too poor to support a large army. Much of the territory has been lost and most of the rest absorbed into Westaine and Chandros, but two vestiges remain, each regarding itself as the true heir to the Grand Duchy.

In the far west lies the Black Duchy, a region of steep mountain valleys in the very foothills of the great massif of the Northern Mountains. This land always had a larger population of Lordlings than the rest for some reason, and they remain here, in crumbling castles perched high on craggy peaks. Below their fearful peasant populations till the soil and offer supplicatory offerings to their lords. It is said that the Lordlings of the Black Duchy have taken to vampirism to prolong their life and consolidate their power, which is why so many were attracted to this dismal land in the first place.

In the north of the old Grand Duchy lies the great fortress of Stonewall, capital of the Grand Duchy, and here the line of the Grand Dukes continues, although in much reduced splendour. The great fortress, key to the Hangrock Pass, remains inviolate though, even though the Grand Duke’s armies now contain as many trolls as men.

Beyond the High Kingdom

The Kingdom of Arthein

Surrounded by the High Kingdom and yet not part of it, the Kingdom of Arthein is effectively the Forest of Anian. ┬áThis is the great stronghold of the Faerie – the mysterious elder folk who share much of the longlevity and natural magic of the Lordlings. Unlike the Lordlings, the Faerie are capricious and do not seem to concern themselves with the affairs of men or dragons. They defend their woods with illusions and glamours that will delude the strongest of heroes.

The Plateau of Anoth

The Plateau of Anoth is not conventionally regarded as part of the High Kingdom, and yet in some respects is the heart of it. Legends tell that this high and remote plateau, surrounded by tall mountains, was the original heartland of the Lordlings, who ruled from the City of a Thousand Spires that sat by a lake of fire in the centre of the plateau. Legends tell of the thousand year rule of the Tyrant, who was finally overthrown and imprisoned below his own Iron Tower. The Lordlings then left the plateau, which had been devastated in the overthrow of the Tyrant and made it so that no mortal would enter it ever again.

Tian

When the Lordlings left the plateau, a division arose between those who felt that the overthrow of the Tyrant was a new dawn, and those who wanted to keep to their ancient traditions. The traditionalists settled in the valley of Tian, and remain there to this day, in this dark and grim environment. They do not welcome others of their own kind and utterly forbid any human to set foot in their lands at pain of death. Little is known of this forboding land. The Black River flows from the Plateau of Anoth above through the valley of Tian and into the Black Lake.

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