The final territory to fall into the empire, this region was successfully taken in 465 - 481 CM by Emperor Corminon Greyhelm in a guerrilla war that stretched for 16 years. It was commonly whispered that near the end of this conflict Emperor Corminon had developed an addiction to Bull Leaf, a highly addictive narcotic that grows naturally in this region. His death shortly after the conflict is contributed to this addiction, however official imperial records state that he died of natural causes in 483 CM.
The temperate forest region at the foot of the Thunder Peaks, North and East of the Skeld River to the shores of the Northern Reach are commonly known as the North Forest Kingdoms, or the Greatland Forest. The abundant supply of much needed timber is a major export to the neighboring nations of Pax Thallos and Xar Zanth. These forests are also home to many species of wild animals and plants that provide lush furs, hearty food and medicinal herbs that are highly sought after across all of Tharstelding.
Pendlestar: Lying in the Eastern half of the Greatland Forest is the nation of Pendlestar. A mostly forested region that stretches from the Northern shores of the Skeld river to the Fellstone islands off the coast of the Copper Sea, splitting the Greatland forest in half and running East to its border with Tir Torrent. This region is mostly comprised of wood elves, with the occasional human spotted within its larger cities. Pendlestar enjoys comfortable summer and spring months, with short and mild winters. Over half of the nation’s population works in the forestry industry, with lumber, trapping and agriculture making up most of the regions workforce demands. The capital city of Riftwatch is an impressive elven work of art, with its gilded spires bursting through the forest canopy and its magical lanterns lighting all of the public roads at dusk. The capital city is spiral shaped, centered around a massive obsidian archway known as the Rift. Legends speak of a time nearly two thousand years ago when the gate suddenly came to life with devilish monstrosities pouring relentlessly from its placid surface. It’s said that the first emperor of Tirmordane, Ser Temmeras the Greyhelm fought back the foul devils and led his army into the portal, shortly after his crusade the Rift became dormant once more, and Ser Temmeras was never seen again. Since that time scholars, wizards, clerics and emperors have all tried to study or tear down the Rift. But the massive black archway has yet to reveal its secrets, or fall to the mundane tools of elves and men, seeming nearly indestructible.
People: Pendlestar is the center of fashion and culture for the elven race of Tharstelding, nowhere in the world is there a higher concentration of elven architecture or people. The humans who visit these cities often tell tales of a place infused with life and magic such as brooms that sweep floors unattended, or couriers made of shining light running messages at break neck speeds between the great elven houses. The typical wood elf of these lands appears similar to the elf described in the Core Rulebook, however it is fashionable in Pendlestar for elven males to wear their hair short. Silk and linen clothing is common, with an emphasis on bright color. In addition most elven women weave small gemstones into their hair, which can be a sign of station or wealth.
Government and Alignment: (Household Council (Octarchy), CG) Pendlestar is ruled by the eight elders of the major houses in the city of Riftwatch. This form of government requires a majority of houses to approve major government policy such as war, taxes and diplomacy. The minor dealings of the nation are left to each individual elder to deal with as they see fit. The eight major houses in Pendlestar include; Elsenfar, Tasartir, Ancalime, Tinerveil, Minyator, Vinsul, Camthaleon and Dorthoniun. Of the eight major houses Elder Silvanor Ancalime and Elder Elkoor Elsenfar hold the most sway, usually garnering the support of the other houses behind their agendas.
Major Settlements: Pendlestar ranks 6th overall in regards to population, mainly due to the natural life span of its elven majority. Mainly a tribal people, elves of the Greatland Forest rarely settle in numbers, instead its population is scattered throughout most of the region. Nonetheless some large settlements are present, they include the spire ridden keepers of Riftwatch (Large City) Population: 17,845, the elven fortress of Elkhall near the center of the Greatland Forest (Small City) Population: 9,920, the coral walled half submerged city of Baermor on the Fellstone Islands (Small City) Population: 8,441 and the forest canopy city of Skybranch (Large Town) Population 4,680.
Religion: A deeply spiritual people, the elven residents of Pendlestar has erected some of the most visually stunning churches in all of the empire, including a sunken temple on the outskirts of Baermor called the Deepened Gate dedicated to Gilldronis and Lenarsiz the Dripping Prince. At the capital city of Riftwatch a large House of the Five rests in the shadow of Velmori’s Tabernacle, a massive golden spire that reaches far above the forest canopy dedicated to the worship of Velmori, creator of elven kind. Smaller churches and shrines dedicated to the various gods can be found in most major cities and scattered throughout the forest lands.
Conflicts: Pendlestar is a land or peaceful tranquility, their vigil of the Rift is one of tradition now more than necessity. The largest threat that the elders of this elven nation face stems from the Greatland Forest itself, with the occasional rise of a green dragon, the stampede of a roving dire elk herd or the random plant beast transplanted from forestry operations. The occasional pirate raid along the coast is also not unheard of, due to Pendlestar’s close proximity to the slave nation of Pax Thallos across the Copper Sea.
Economy: Pendlestar benefits tremendously from the Greatland Forest, ranking 10th overall within the empire in economic power. Most of this nation’s exports include raw and finished timber, furs, rare and exotic herbs, honey and perfumes created from wild forest flowers. The Avian Lords of Arn and Kelterran are heavily invested in Pendlestar’s timber industry, which provides most of the empire with greatly needed wood products. The elder rulers of this kingdom are all that stands between the greedy ambitions of the Avian Lords for profit and their desire to clear cut swaths of land and the resident elves desire to harvest forest in a sustainable manner.
Relationships: Pendlestar is a peaceful nation, and as such it maintains good relations with its neighbors of Archonvale, Ribbon Bridge and Tir’Torrent. The people of this kingdom tend to ignore the more militant nation of Skeldercairn to its Southwest. In addition, neutral relations are maintained with the nation of Pax Thallos across the Copper Sea, one of Pendlestars major trading partners.
Archonvale: In the Western half of the Greatland Forest resides the scholarly nation of Archonvale. Primarily an elven nation, this area has seen an influx of human settlers from nearby Arn over the past fifty years. A region of gentle temperate forest, this country enjoys some of the most peaceful weather in all the empire, with warm summers and cool winters. The capital city of Archon resides inland near the shores of the Northern Reach. A mix of human and elven architecture, Archon’s mirrored silver walls and its massive library the Peerless Athenaeum are well known by bards and scholars across the empire.
People: While most of Archonvale’s permanent population is of wood elven decent, the area has a large migratory population of candari, thirvolan and human scholars. In addition, the mixed race makeup produces one of the highest concentrations of half elves on the entire continent. The city of Archon is a melting pot of culture, with racial districts and crowded public markets. The port city of Fesstrath in the nation’s farthest east corner is primarily a human settlement, and the last stop along the Skeld River before it drains into the Northern Reach.
Government and Alignment: (Monarchy, Matriarch, NG) Archonvale has been ruled by the Verdant Queen, Queen Jastra Falanae, for over three hundred years. Under her wise rule the nation of Archonvale has become a haven for elven kind, and an economic powerhouse. Queen Falanae is quite open about her distrust of the Avian Lords of Arn and Kelterran, knowing full well that if these merchant lords gained a foothold in her kingdom they would strip Archonvale of its vast resources. Instead the Verdant Queen places a large deal of trust in a smaller organization comprised of enterprising elves called the Es’Coterie, who ensure the queen that they have the interest of Archonvales natural beauty in the highest regards, and profit as a secondary consideration.
Major Settlements: Lightly populated, Archonvale ranks 12th overall in regards to population. The region is mostly rural, with small urban pockets centered on Fesstrath and Archon. The largest cities of Archonvale include the silver city Archon (Large City) Population: 19,231, the thriving port of Fesstrath (Small City) Population: 8,100, the twisted forest town of El’Durrath (Small City) Population: 6,701, and the deep wood fortress of Falstone (Large Town) Population 4,819.
Religion: Large temples dedicated to the Holy Five, Velmori and The Stain can be found on Archon. The city of Fesstrath, being a port town, is home to several large churches, temples and shrines. In addition, a cell of slime worshiping fanatics, known as the Slithering Brotherhood, operates in secrecy out of El’Durrath paying homage to Vaneriz. The Silver Queen has made it a personal goal to overcome and destroy this twisted cult after her eldest son went missing several years ago while visiting El’Durrath.
Conflicts: The kingdom of Archonvale maintains an open level of neutrality when dealing with other nations. Political differences often lead to full out arguments between the diplomats of Archonvale and the Avian Lords within the court of the emperor as to the direction of this Kingdom and its vast national resources. In its past, Archonvale has had its share of Wyrm Tyrants rampaging the Greatland Forest and uprisings of wild elven tribes. Recently, a band of militant elves under the purple raven banner of Lord Valas Selven has run a guerilla campaign against Archonvale, accusing the queen of pandering to the imperial crown and proclaiming their goal for a free and independent Greatland Forest kingdom. While this rebellion has resulted in little more than a few razed lumber operations thus far, the intensity of these raids is increasing, causing the Avian Lords to publicly criticize the efforts of the Es’Coterie.
Economy: Archonvale’s close proximity to the mouth of the Skeld River, Arn and Kelterran makes its valuable timber resources greatly desired. In addition, this region has substantial deposits of petrified wood, amber, furs, fruits, vegetables and livestock. Archonvale ranks 4th in the empire in regards to total economic power, trailing only Kelterran, Arn and Goldkeep.
Relationships: Maintaining an open policy of neutrality, Archonvale’s most advantageous allies are Pendlestar and the imperial seat at Kelterran. The Silver Queen turns a blind eye to the warriors of Skeldercairn, and considers her kingdom close friends with the people of Ribbon Bridge. Increasing tensions between the Es’Coterie and the Avian Lords of Arn and Kelterran is placing pressure on both the Silver Queen and the Emperor, the words exchanged between these two merchant classes have recently been as sharp as drawn blades, and many wonder how long the more powerful Avian Lords will keep these arguments at words alone.