A World In Chaos
The area known as Valditria is named after an ancient adventurer who initially cleared the land of monsters and dark forces. The place was overrun by lycanthropes for many years and was rarely travelled in until the warlord Valditria led her army there. She established a peace that lasted for many moons, yet that is no long the case.
It is now place full of danger as were-beasts have reemerged and vicious gnolls have taken up residence in the former capital. Altonshire, the home of the halflings, is a place many travelers seek out due to their advances in alchemy and illusion magic, yet which remains secluded due to the halflings distrust of outsiders. United Amvilan is a considered free city where all races are to be welcomed without prejudice, yet with the recent times of troubles it has become a place of distrust.
The landscape in Valditria is a generally lightly wooded area with a few open areas, mostly surrounding United Amvilan and Fort Valditria which had been cleared when the cities were established. Altonshire has a few hills but the rest of the land in the area is generally flat. There are small streams running throughout the land but not a true river which can be used for trade or boating. United Amvilan and Altonshire are roughly four full days ride by horseback from each other while Fort Valditria lies at the western edge of the region, another tenday’s ride west of United Amvilan. The Deathroot Woods make up the southernmost part of the region.
- General Information: The home of the halflings, Altonshire has been a place of mystery for much of its existence. Its inhabitants value their peace and visitors from other races were strictly forbidden. Halflings who left were also never permitted to re-enter their homeland unless sent on official business. The rules had been relaxed slightly as word of halfling alchemy spread through the land, however the continued gnoll attacks forced them into hiding once more. The halflings’ isolation has given them time to work on various formulas and they are now at the forefront in the creation new potions which they mostly use in defense of their lands. They jealously guard the secrets of their alchemical works and only sell them at high prices. Altonshire has no allies besides United Amvilan, though it also has few enemies either.
- History: The halflings of Altonshire have been considered an enigmatic people for centuries. Though a few pockets of smallfolk have left in search of other lands, the majority have remained in their native homeland. Left to their own devices since the union of the islands, they have prospered like few other races.
- Population: Because the hills of Altonshire are so spread out, and many halflings live underground, it is difficult for outsiders to estimate just how many of them there really are. They go to great lengths to keep everything about their way of life secret. Estimations range from fifteen thousand to fifty thousand halflings.
- Leadership: The high houses of Altonshire govern the land by majority vote. But their decisions are largely swayed by the will of the people and the master alchemists. The noble houses are also kept in check by the alchemists who can vote to restrict votes for actions if they believe the noble house is not acting in the best interests of the shire.
- Laws: Most halfling citizens are left to their own business but outsiders are usually either shunned or forced to leave. One most prove their worth to the halflings in order to be allowed entry and if they break any of the local rules they are banished or executed. The halflings fear the downfall that other races have gone through and often swiftly march on potential threats in the area.
- Defenses/Layout: The hills which make up Altonshire are difficult to navigate for those unused to them. Outside races, the gnolls especially, have tried to raid the land with little success. All dwellings and other buildings are formed into the sides of the hills, with many being difficult to spot from even a hundred yards away.
- Religion: There is not a central deity in Altonshire, but the worship of the gods is more prevalent than in other locations on Ardhmur. Many of the halflings believe that it is this general worship which has kept their land relatively unharmed while so many others have been thrown into strife.
- Commerce/Industries: Outsiders crave the unique potions and other alchemic items created in Altonshire, and much of their exports are of that variety. They usually sell the items to merchants in Amvilan, who then in turn spread them throughout the continent. Otherwise the halflings are rather self-sufficient and they rarely interact with outsiders.
- General Information/History: The former capital of the land settled by the famous adventurer Valdritia Wisebrow, it is now in the hands of a force of gnolls. During its heyday many years ago, Fort Valditria was merely the center of a sprawling, prosperous city. It was a magnificent place of peace with a benevolent line of rulers. But complacency set in and the Wisebrow line lost sight of what their ancestors had believed in. They arrived seemingly in the middle of the night and stormed the fort with the help of demonic magic. Since that time the gnolls have secured the fort and use it to ravage the local area. Demon worshippers have also flocked to the fort in the hope of assisting in releasing Noliarith’s creations from their island prison. The gnolls of the fort send warbands far and wide in search of slaves, gold and other valuables.
- Terrain: The area surrounding the Fort is rather rough, with the ruins of the city still emerging from the earth.
- Inhabitants: A savage gnoll force has called Fort Valditria home since they overran it hundreds of years ago. They have numerous slaves with them, mostly humans, halflings and wild elves. Their leader is an ancient, demon-fueled gnoll named Kradash, who is said to have ruled the keep since the original invasion.
- General Information: First settled by a group of halflings and shifters who wanted the world to better understand their people, it is a place where all races are welcome. A medium sized city it is home to many different races now. Outsiders see it as the best place to obtain the various wonders held in Altonshire, while the halflings especially see it as a chance to learn more about the outside world. Because of the wide range of people all individuals are expected to contribute to the defense and upkeep of the city. Halfling fashion is all the rage of the locals, with most preferring baggy pants and bright colors.
- History: Built long ago by a strange group, Amvilan has undergone numerous transformations over time. It started as a place for halflings to learn about shifters, whom they believed were misunderstood by the rest of the world. The two races became strong allies over
- Population: United Amvilan is made up of about 50% shifters and halflings, while the other half is a wide variety of other races. Amvilan is a large city which holds upwards of forty thousand individuals.
- Leadership: Although the city is technically ruled by a halfling prince, The Hidden Hands hold the true power. Virtually all merchants and nobles pay them a “protection fee” in order to keep from being swindled or robbed.
- Laws: Unfortunately the rules against prejudice mean that individuals from all walks of life take up residence in the city. Scuffles are not uncommon as ancient enemies rile each other up. Those who are deep in the pockets of the Hidden Hands, or who are a part of the group, often find themselves above the law.
- Defenses/Layout: The structure of the city no longer holds the amount of people who seek to live there, and outside the walls proper is another layer to the city. It is mostly run down and filled with the poor, and the guards rarely head there.
- Religion: Rengaiset is widely worshipped because of the city’s culture of freedom, while the Hidden Hands favor Nebenis.
- Commerce/Industries: The city thrives by obtaining alchemical potions and ingredients from Altonshire and selling them to travelling merchants at marked up prices.
- General Information/History: It is said the original curse of lycanthropy was created in the Deathroot Woods. It is still home to various were-beasts and other dangers which lurk under the trees. The woods get their name from a root which is often used to craft poisons, though the root has been almost overharvested in the area and is now rather rare.
- Terrain: The Deathroots are a section of trees which covers a small portion of Valditria. The land is mostly flat and only broken by the occasional stream or pond.
- Inhabitants: It is told that a firbolg clan has taken root in the woods along with the lycanthropes and forest elves. The druidic circle Keepers of the Leaf call the Deathroot Woods home, though little is known of them as they are a very secretive organization. Were-creatures are also present throughout the woods, as are wilden and many other forest dwelling creatures.
Xinithiaz – The Warring City
- General Information: The city of Xinithiaz is a place of constant turmoil due to the war between the
- History: Long considered a backwater town with little resources and poor residents, the place boomed with the rise of two merchant families who developed distant trading contacts.