Population: 1,056,923 (Humans 72%, Wood Elves 15%, Plains Elves 5%, Candari 1%, Mixed Dwarves 1%, Other 6%)
Government: Empire comprised of smaller kingdoms. Religions: House of the Five, The Shattered Pantheon, Druidic
Major Imports: Armor, Weapons, Cloth, Horses, Glass, Coal, Silk
Major Exports: Olives, Olive Oil, Wine, Gold, Herbs, Timber Currency: Eagles Falcons and Sparrows
The Folded Kingdoms of Tirmordane
As chronicled by the Greyhelm Imperial Scribes, 306-493 CM.
The seventeen lesser kingdoms subservient to the emperor of Kelterran compose what are commonly referred to as the Folded Kingdoms of Tirmordane. Since the empires expansion in 306 CM the Folded Kingdoms have one by one been conquered and fallen into the ever expanding empire. Most of the kingdoms listed below have long been under imperial rule, the people of these lands over time calling themselves Mordanian in name, although they still carry on their customs and traditions in much the same way as they did when they were independent. This blending of cultures and societies through centuries of Mordanian rule has resulted in the widespread acceptance of many local holidays, making Tirmordane a melting pot of many lands under the rule of the Greyhelm family.
Kelterran is the capital city of Tirmordane, and the spawning point from which the empire of Tirmordane grew. From this location the armies of the Greyhelm family expanded west to encompass the Western Kingdoms, sliding up and down the shores of the Eldross. Once these lands were subdued, the Greyhelms then turned their swords to the South and East, breaking the city states of the Interior Lands and the tribal kings of the Hill Vales. Finally, the empire swept north, ravaging the River Kingdoms and the North Forest Kingdoms. Their expansion was slowed and finally stopped as the armies of Tirmordane butted up against republic soldiers from nearby Xar Zanth, the Calemil Mountains to the South and the mighty Heman Dal range to the East in 493 CM shortly after the fall of Belltros.
Life & Society: The people of Kelterran are survivors. The lands they reside in are famous for their past confrontations with evil cults and sinister tribes of Gnolls. However, the modern residents of Kelterran try to forget the dark past of their city and carry on with day to day tasks. The empire is actually a collection of 18 small kingdoms, all subservient to the emperor of the Talon Throne and supreme ruler of Tirmordane. Being a collection of many peoples, Mordanians come in all shapes, makes and sizes. The typical Mordanian has distinct olive skin and black ringlet hair. A majority of Tirmordane’s people celebrate eight major holidays at the turning of the seasons, a large portion of Mordanians work in the empire’s thriving forest industry. Nearly half of all finished lumber in Tharstelding comes from lumber operations within Tirmordane's borders. The nation first came to power in the year 306 CM under the leadership of a great Kelterran warrior named Ser Temmeras Von Hildergrad called the Greyhelm. His tale is one of adventure and struggle, leading up to the point where he led a crusade through the Rift into the very pits of Shadow's Den, never to return. The current ruler of the empire is William Greyhelm (LG), a descendant of the epic warrior Ser Temmeras. The common people of these lands respect his kind rule and the memory of his forefathers. William is still a young emperor, and many are still waiting for him to prove himself. Some whisper that William is actually a puppet to the real heads of state, the immensely powerful merchant class known as the Avian Lords, so named due to the nation’s currency which is minted with bird emblems.
Major Geographic Features: The empire of Tirmordane has eight distinct seasons, much like the rest of Tharstelding. Its borders are the Greatland Forest to the north, the Heman Dal Mountains in the east, the Golden Hills and Calemil Mountains to the south, and the Eldross Ocean to the west. The borders of the empire are well established, with conflicts generally arising from within its borders.
Greatland Forest: The Greatland Forest is by far the largest forest on the island of Tharstelding. It is home to thousands of elves and divided into two kingdoms, Archonvale in the West and Pendlestar to the East, some of the wealthiest and most subservient kingdoms within the empire. However, another group of elves in the Greatland Forest pits itself against the two elven kingdoms and against the imperial rule of Tirmordane. This faction is run by Lord Valas Selven (LE), an exiled instructor from the Archonvale war colleges, and his Battle General Salstric Vel (NE). Recently, they have been plaguing the smaller settlements and destroying vital logging operations, seemingly bent on eradicating the frontier villages and ambushing military patrols. The lumber operation is vital to the empire and is harvested from the forest under the strict supervision of the elven kingdoms and Tirmordane officials.
Skeld River: The Skeld River is roughly nine hundred miles long and a little under a mile wide at its widest point. The river houses several unique species of fish that the empire profits on. Small fishing communities often hire on mercenaries to protect them from Valas' war bands. The Skeld is fueled by the massive Thunder Peaks to the east. The four River Kingdoms located along the Skeld River include the stern warriors of Tir’Torrent, the tribal clans of Skeldercairn, the stunning arches of Ribbon Bridge and the economic powerhouse of Arn.
The Golden Hills: The Golden hills house several of the more savage and alien kingdoms of the empire, including the savage Fanglands, the dwarven lands of Goldkeep, the undead masters of Candletop, and the tribal warriors of the Painted Hills. These foothills of the Calemil Mountains are known to be laden with gold and natural caves. An abundance of hiding places natural features has drawn the attention of many bandit gangs. It is said that long before Tirmordane was the empire it is today that the dwarven King Myylith ruled the land above and below the Golden Hills.
Grey Lake: Originally named Lake Oskerfelt after the ancient kingdom that resides on the lake’s north shore, Grey Lake was renamed on the empires one thousandth birthday in celebration of the great Greyhelm rulers. It is the second largest lake on the continent of Tharstelding with a surface area of 7300 square miles. Only the hardiest of fish reside here due to a high density of clay that gives the water a grey sheen. The lake’s natural clay deposits are a very valuable resource for Tirmordane. More recently, numerous reports by local fishermen tell tales of something large beneath Grey Lake’s clammy surface. The reports of several boats gone missing in the night seem to support these wild claims, already rumors have begun circulating in dank lakeside inns that tell of a great eye the size of a four bench rowboat seen beneath the surface, but as of yet no solid evidence exists to support these claims. The flailing kingdom of Oskerfelt still remains on the lakes northern shore, beset by the hungry ambitions of its neighbor Red Fold to the north. On its southern shore, the oceanic elven nation of Torkar claims mastery of both the lake and the Eldross Ocean.
The Red Fold Badlands & Skabvol Gorge: The Red Fold Badlands encompass most of the western shore of Tirmordane north of the Grey Lake. Red Fold is the seat of the Karkaran family, the matriarch rulers of Red Fold, who rule from the Palatran Throne with a cruel savagery. This area has been heavily eroded by coastal winds and rainfall. The rugged terrain contains vivid colors of blue/black to red clay, hardy shrubs and stunted trees dot the landscape. The most notable feature of these lands is the massive Skabvol Gorge, an area extending from the Northwest to Southeast some 100 miles, splitting the kingdom in half. Unlike traditional canyons, the Skabvol does not appear to have been naturally formed by rivers or water runoff. Even stranger still is this areas dead magic trait, it is commonly known that within the Skabvol magical items cease to function, and spell casters lose their ability to cast.
The Fern Spires: The Fern Spires are the tallest trees in the empire of Tirmordane, with its central trees reaching nearly 500 feet in total height. This temperate forest is rich in game and edible plant life. The region is home to several large tribes of forest gnolls, a score of green dragons and a large druid sect of the Circle of Nazus. Littered with ruins from a long deserted elven kingdom, these woods are a favorite spot for local adventurers and creatures wishing to escape the otherwise heavily populated kingdoms of White Shore and Arn.
The Broken Crowns: The Broken Crowns are a large range of flat topped hills located in the southwest of the empire. Heavily populated by game and exotic plants, these subtropical lands seem out of place in this mostly temperate region. Named for the way the hills look from a distance, the Broken Crowns stretch some fifty miles in all directions along the border of Torkar and the Painted Hills. Ruins of a long forgotten cyclopean kingdom still dot these lands and draw in adventurers from all across Tharstelding in search of their lost secrets and treasures.
The Lesser & Grand Artise Rivers: The Lesser and Grand Artise are fast moving mountain fed rivers that originate in the Calemil Mountains and drain into Grey Lake. Freezing cold during all but the warmest of summers, these rivers are bursting with wild salmon every year during the month of Clouds and Songdrift. The Grand Artise is little more than a quarter mile wide at its widest, with the Lesser Artise less than one hundred yards at its widest point. Both rivers are similar in length, with the Grand Artise stretching some three hundred miles, and the Lesser nearly two hundred miles.
Soldier Pine Grove: The smallest of the major forests within the empire, the evergreen glade of Soldier Pine Grove is located completely within the borders of Shields End directly south of the capital city. A fairly populated forest, with trappers, homesteaders, elves and hill dwarves these woods seem more “urbanized” then the wild Fern Spires or Thornmantle.
Thornmantle Forest: The Thornmantle Forest rests in a valley where the Calemil and Heman Dal mountains join creating a convergence zone in the southeast corner of the empire. The warm air currents that flow down from the Thunderpeaks break upon the mountains here, creating a pocket of year round warm winds and making the Thornmantle Forest a unique subtropical forest in a normally temperate region. With more rainy days than not, this region is home to a diverse ecosystem of strange and bizarre creatures, including a high population of monstrous humanoids and dangerous plant life.
Important Sites: The sites listed below are just a small sample of Tirmordane's diverse kingdoms.
Fesstrath: (Large City 14,560) Fesstrath is a major port of Tirmordane, this city imports and exports most of the empire's finished and raw goods. The city is run by High Lord Silvanis Evenbow (CG), an elven Avian Lord of immense wealth and power. Fesstrath has several pocket communities of wood elves located within and surrounding its massive walls. This city is constantly plagued by the rebels Valas and Salstric. The Western Garrison of Tirmordane Soldiers under the command of West General Qwellion is stationed in this area at Fort Tearisk across the Skeld River.
Kelterran: (Metropolis 46,956) Capital of Tirmordane and seat of the High Emperor William Greyhelm (LG) this city is truly a marvel of modern engineering. The lords and ladies of Kelterran are always in contest for the favor of the emperor. So much that they have been known to “gift” the city with statues of William’s ancestors doing great deeds. Kelterran is a rich city, and in being so it draws the attention of many would be thieves and adventurers. The church of Glitanius, the Gates of Panacea, houses its headquarters at the House of Five in Kelterran.
Galedorn: (Small Town 950) A place with a dark past. Galedorn has had its fair share of encounters with evil cults that seem to be drawn to this town due to its close proximity to a massive half excavated temple dedicated to the elements from a long lost civilization. At the peak of the most recent cultist’s power they had erected a stronghold only a few miles from the small town, from which they attacked the surrounding lands. Not long after they began their attacks the cult was put down by the swords of William Greyhelm’s most powerful emerald knights. The town was put under the control of Lord Ordock (LG) and Lord Wale (N) whom were granted lordship due to the part they played in bringing down the temple of cultists. The area has since known many years of peace and quiet. The town itself is little more than a farming community, from time to time a band of adventurers comes through to search the nearby ruins.
Yelsdt: (Large Town 2,685) or the Granite Keep as the local residents refer to their home town. Yelsdt is a large gold mining community just south of the Golden Hills. The local mining operations are watched over by lord Rulik Axebreaker (LN) who resides in his great granite keep at the center of the town. Yelsdt is a staging point for many adventurers that wander under the Golden Hills to seek the lost dwarven mines and strongholds of old King Myylith, rumored to be in somewhere under the rolling hills. Other than the occasional outsider or adventurer that visits this isolated town Yelsdt is a peaceful and orderly place where most of the dwarven miners keep to themselves. This town is also famous for its cart races which it holds annually on Barreldown, the event attracts nobles and racers from all across Tharstelding.
Emerald Tower: (Large City 12,056) The Emerald Tower is more like a military base than a city. Its barracks house the eastern garrison of soldiers loyal to Tirmordane. The Eastern Army is under the command of East General Jeridious known as the Tempered Rose (LG). The empire’s elite military cavalry, the emerald knights, are trained here. These amazing warriors patrol the eastern lands of empire, securing trade routes and vanquishing bandits or the occasional roving monster. The city surrounding the keep is run by High Lord Brandon "Justice" (LN), a man known for his fairness and generosity. Young men from across the empire flock to the Emerald Tower with ambitious dreams to join the empire’s most elite group of soldiers.
Dervarn: (Small City 5,856) Dervarn, Land of the Olive Lords, is a large farming community responsible for the massive production of olives and olive oil that is a key export fort the empire. The city is under the supervision of High Lord Beldish Dervarn (NG), a hero of the wars in Galedorn. The city has new walls and a new keep. A recent earthquake has opened a large sinkhole several miles west of Dervarn. Hill dwarf explorers have reported a great expanse that opens into a massive network of tunnels that seem to run under the entire length of Tirmordane. This has drawn many adventurers to the city of Dervarn over the past months as they are eager to see what lies beneath the surface of these lands.
Blackwater: (Large City 23,154) Blackwater is the capital city of Tir’Torrent, one of the River Kingdoms of Tirmordane. The city and kingdom is ruled by River King Jace Vonhilster (LN) from his massive fortress Ven’Dragar high above the walled city of Blackwater. The architecture of Ven’Dragar allows for the tributaries of the Skeld River to flow under and around the impressive fortress before converging into the Skeld River at the feet of the Thunder Peak Mountains. The city proper rests on the north bank of the Skeld River, just south of the Greatland Forest. Ven’Dragar is perched in such a manner as to make it viewable from most of the city, if one is high enough or has a clear line of sight. Most of Blackwaters buildings are slate roofed large quarried stone structures, with cobbled roads. The entire city is surrounded by a thirty foot high wall of grey bricks.
The Citadel of Arn: (Metropolis 32,566) Capital city of the territorially small nation Arn, The Citadel of Arn rests at the center of a massive one hundred foot wide arched bridge that spans the Skeld River, constructed by master dwarf masons from Isktall, the Skystone Crossing is one of the most impressive feats of dwarven engineering above the surface of Tharstelding. The city of Arn proper rests on both the east and west banks of the Skeld River, with numerous docks and piers stretching into its wide body. A merchant city through and through, dominion over Arn is passed through the wealthiest of the Avian Lords, with the current ruler being Avian Queen Feldis Morgan (LE).
Bright Rock: (Large City 23,400) Quite aptly named due to its large buildings constructed of polished river rock, in more shades and hues then can be imagined, the city is surrounded by a three ring wall of alternating red, green and orange rocks. Bright Rock is the capital city of the nation of Skeldercairn and its war like people known as Skelds or Skelderfolk. The current ruler of this city is Blade King Argus Logsmith (CN) who wears the Crown of Blades.
Ribbon Bridge: (Large City 15,554) The City of Bridges, Ribbon Bridge is literally built spanning the Skeld River on no less than 30 wide and articulate bridge ways. Towers, shops, homes and all manner of buildings are built into, under or along the sides of these bridge ways. The city guard has the ability to raise several key bridge points to make the central area of most bridges inaccessible in case of invasion or emergency. The Moor family has ruled Ribbon Bridge for over 300 years, the current rulers being River King Fandris Moor and River Queen Ulvanis Moor (Both NG) who are well loved by their subjects.
Folrshold: (Large City 20,224) Folrshold is the capital city of the Painted Hills, however city is a term used loosely when describing Folrshold. The city is comprised of permanent tent structures, with hard packed dirt roads and roving herds of domesticated animals sharing the streets with pedestrians. A tribal people, residents of Folrshold are ruled by Elder Ulk Fourbrows (CN). The Elder’s Tent rests on the shores of the Grey Lake and is a three story structure framed in ivory and draped with the skin of a massive black dragon personally slain by Ulk Fourbrows in his youth.
Candletop: (Metropolis 21,550 living souls, 30,100 undead slaves) Candletop, also called the City of the Damned, is the capital city of the kingdom Candletop, one of the four Hillvale Kingdoms. Nestled deep within the Calemil Mountains along a major north south trade road, the metropolis of Candletop is awe inspiring with its gothic black iron architecture, numerous rows of carved statues and multitude of undead slaves.
Goldkeep: (Large City 17,347) The shining ramparts of Goldkeep can be seen from miles away, the towers of Goldkeep are centrally located in the Golden Hills to protect the regions multiple mining operations. Seat of King Lovar Clovenbeard (LG), ruler of Goldkeep, the city is painstakingly arrayed in tight rows and districts of small to medium sized buildings of stone and wood surrounding the three golden towers that make up King Lovar’s palace.
Keckspire: (Large City 15,558) Hiding behind a massive twisted bramble wall, the dangerous city of Keckspire is the seat of King Kork Bonebrow (CN), a savage and power hungry ogre mage of amazing power. Intermixed with huts of bone, buildings of wood, grown walls and the occasional stone structure, this sprawling city is home to many races of savage humanoids including, kobolds, orcs, goblins, bugbears, gnolls and countless other primal races. While humans and the more prominent civilized races sometimes visit this city, they are often treated with extreme racism and cruelty.
Rivinport: (Metropolis 31,899) The coastal metropolis of Rivinport teems with activity day and night, one of the major ports of Tirmordane and the capital of White Shore this coastal town is a hub of social interaction and financial power. The coastal city boasts no less than five one hundred yard piers, its tall keeps, homes and warehouses all whitewashed brick and mortar structures, sometimes painted blue, pewter or ochre. Home to a massive church, the Pinnacle of Waves, and seat of King Orlas Leveris (LG), within the white washed walls the city is a land of law and traditions, however outside of the Pearl Gate, down in the dock districts, one might be lucky if their purse was the only item lost after a night of drunken debauchery.
Malax: (Large City 11,892) Malax, the city of graveyards, has seen its glory days. Today there are more residents residing in the local tombs then living within its deteriorating and crumbling walls. It is clearly evident by the cities architecture that Malax was once the jewel of the kingdom, but decay and time coupled with Oskerfelts recent troubles have left its once proud spires and elaborate keeps in shambles. A city three times the size of its population, large swaths of Malax are uninhabited and avoided. Capital of Oskerfelt, and home to Queen Natravine De’Grell, what’s left of Malax is protected by an elite order of knights called the Riders of Dawn who are headquartered out of Malax and lead by Knight Captain Ser Wear.
Skabvol: (Metropolis 25,310) The cliff side city of Skabvol is built deep into the walls of the Skabvol Gorge, an area of dead magic. The city of Skabvol spans the breadth of the gorge via suspension bridges and natural stone archways. Blood Queen Tyvanis Karkaran (CN) rules Skabvol and the surrounding kingdom of Red Fold from her Palatran Throne, a throne comprised of the skulls of leaders that the Blood Queens have vanquished.
Torkar: (Metropolis 31,685) The pearl of the Eldross Ocean, Torkar is the capital city of the kingdom of Torkar. Built on the shores of the Eldross Ocean, the city of Torkar is famous for its massive stone piers, the Seabreakers, its draconic and oceanic elf rulers, as well as its elite aquatic soldiers the Tidal Spears. Set between the Broken Crowns and the Carul Peninsula, the shining city of Torkar sprawls out from behind its driftwood walls with its swirled elven spires and its seashell cobbled roadways. This city boasts a high population of Oceanic Elves, Candari and Thirvolans, with humans comprising less than 40% of the total population.
Shields End: (Metropolis 35,888) Shields End, located in the eastern tracts of the Interior Lands, is a large circular city surrounding a single hill upon which Shield King Forn Karakason (LN) rules from his fortress, The Adamantine Heights. A city of law and structure the surrounding city stretches from the Adamantine Heights in all directions like a massive spoked wheel. The city is encased in an iron wall that looms an impressive seventy feet above the ground.
Zend: (Metropolis 41,647) A city of learning and enlightenment, known for its colleges and innovations, the city of Zend is the capital of the kingdom of Zend which occupies the central section of the Interior Lands. A city without permanent walls, the wizard colleges control a device known as the Fendis Sphere which allows their senior instructors to raise and lower a wall of pure force around the city should it require defense. Ruled by the most learned of professors, the city of Zend is currently controlled by High Dean Pulpon Longfellow (NG).
Baskhold: (Metropolis 41,410) The City of Gates, Baskhold is ruled by the most brutal of its tribal warlords, currently King Ralk Stonebrow. The most impressive structure in this city of iron wrought high rises is the Mulch Pit, a grand covered arena that can comfortably seat twenty thousand spectators. The floor of the arena can be flooded to allow small scale naval battles or it can be left dry and prepared with traps or other fortifications all for the enjoyment of the cities savage populace. Most of the Mulch Pit’s gladiators are “volunteers” however it is not uncommon for the arena’s operators to force captured slaves into the action.
Riftwatch: (Large City 17,845) Deep within the eastern half of the Greatland Forest, along the shores of the Skeld River is the spiral city of Riftwatch. Rearing out from the Rift, a six hundred foot obsidian arch left over from a dark time long past, the city of Riftwatch is one of the modern marvels of this age. A place where unparalleled elven architecture blends into mundane magic, Riftwatch is a sight to behold, elven spires burst from the forest canopy, unseen servants scurry about carrying messages for their elven masters, brooms sweep the streets unattended and magical lights dance on every avenue. Rulership of Riftwatch, and in turn the nation of Pendlestar, is held by the eight most powerful households within the city.
Archon: (Large City 19,231) The Silver City, Archon, is the capital of Archonvale, located in the west half of the Greatland Forest. The lattice walls of Archon are plated in polished silver, creating an almost mirror like finish from which the city earned its nickname. Archon combines living architecture into its city, with buildings of living earth and wood. Small streams run through the elven city feeding the buildings and lattice domes. One of the world’s largest libraries, the Peerless Athenaeum, is located within Archon, and is a popular travel destination for scholars and bards from all across Tharstelding. The queen of Archon, and Archonvale, is Verdant Queen Jastra Falanae (NG) who has ruled this nation for over 300 years from her elven citadel Cren’Delral at the heart of the city.