Kaladon in Brief
An Introduction to Kaladon
Dates shown in parentheses are the equivalent year in our world if the game was taking place in 2017 – to give you an easier comparison of how long ago things occurred.
A Brief History
From around 1200 years ago (817) the Dragon Empires ruled Kaladon. There were three of them Auria in the south (metallic dragons), Durusia in the north (chromatic dragons) and Paria in the west (mixture of both dragon types). They and the dragonborn ruled over the continent, and kept the ‘mammal’ humanoid races as slaves. There is no real information or stories about what came before the Empires.
Around 600 years ago (1412) a disease called the Scale Plague swept across the continent. No one knows where it came from, but the effects were devastation. Reptilian life of all kinds was virtually wiped out. The only surviving dragons and dragonborn were on the Dragon Isles north east of Kaladon. They only survived by killing and burning every creature (including dragons and dragonborn) that sought refuge with them.
This was followed by a ‘dark ages’ – around 300 years about which there is little truly known, though many legends told. In this time many of the nations that exist today began to take form.
Around 300 years ago (1717) a hobgoblin warlord Arkath the Conqueror united the goblin tribes in the east and for the next twenty years swept across central Kaladon with a horde of goblins behind him, conquering all before him. He made it as far as modern Clidair when he was slain by a group of elven scouts. With his death the horde disintegrated… but by then the goblins had spread across the land and while the eastern hills on the coast of Saulendor are their ancestral home, goblins can now be found in the wilder parts of almost every land. Goblins (particularly the hobgoblins) also formed mercenary warbands that can now be found serving in many armies.
After the Horde had been defeated the nations as they exist today started to form in earnest. Areas that before were collections of smaller minor kingdoms and duchies began to unify either through greater diplomacy, economic power or simple conquest. By around 200 years ago almost all the nations that exist today are recognisable on a map.
175 years ago (1842) a foolish Baron in Rathag Mhoir performed a ritual to bring himself great power in an attempt to usurp the king. Instead he released a Devil from the Nine Hells who in turn summoned an army of lesser devils and unleashed a magic that corrupted the bodies of the people of Rathag Mhoir – turning them into tieflings.
For the next 90 years the Devils ran riot over central Kaladon. They enslaved Rathag Mhoir, Abarael, and large parts of both Tyllost and Clidair. The dwarves held off every invasion of Devra Marhain, the Eiscairn Mountains helping them do so. And the necromancers of Saulendor with their army of skeleton warriors prevented the invasion of Saulendor. There was ongoing conflict on the coasts of Strathair, the western parts of Clidair and the southern borders of Lothiya. This time came to be known as the Imperium.
The tieflings also revealed the warforged – diabolic constructs that crushed their opposition into the ground, and to this day the warforged are primarily associated with the Devil King and widely mistrusted.
86 years ago (1930) with the Imperium forces gathered for a massed attack on the regions of Tyllost still holding out, a series of rebellions and counter attacks broke out in other parts of Kaladon and an invasion from Devra Marhain struck deep into Rathag Mhoir. The Devil King’s forces collapsed, and a year later the Devil King himself was slain and sent back to hell.
Two years after the defeat of the Imperium the wizards of Strathair began to spread out into the world. They came not as conquerors but as envoys, diplomats, and advisors. Their first goal was to bring more unity to the nations of Kaladon, to stop the different peoples from taking up arms against each other and to be able to unite against any common threats. And they brought with them considerable magical ability that they used to aid those areas worst affected by the Imperium.
While it started out with noble goals, the Strathairi influence grew to the point that they were de facto rulers of Abarael, and of considerable influence in Clidair and Tyllost. Their influence in Devra Marhain, Lothiya, and Siar was significantly more limited, but not nothing. Most political decisions taken for the fifty years that they exerted their influence were taken with a healthy consideration of ‘how will Strathair react’.
It all came to an end 31 years ago when some disaster befell The Secundum – a school of wizardry set up in Sinensis (the capital of Abarael). Exactly what happened is not clear, what is known is that thousands of alien creatures now occupy almost all of what was Abarael, the population consumed, or fled. Abaraeleans now live largely in the eastern reaches of Clidair, though they can be found across the world, their homeland a monster-infested ruin.
The cataclysm resulted in a huge backlash against the Strathairi in particular and wizards in general. Straithairi counsellors were summarily dismissed, several thrown out without even a chance to arrange their affairs. Average Strathairi citizens often fared much worse, even those with no magical ability.
Now nations are more divided than they were, each more concerned with their own borders and success. However there is an underlying feeling of the need to do something about Abarael which could be used to unite people.
A summary of the 12 nations
- Previously a kingdom now a devastated and deserted nation flooded with aberrations. Central Abarael is wholly abandoned to the monsters.
- Some people live in a small section of north west Abarael, in something like a frontier-style town (Whitechurch).
- A large number of Abaraelean refugees live in north east Clidair, particularly in Riatoir, a city growing out of a refugee camp.
- A group of Lymos-worhippers are actively recruiting for ‘The Grand Expedition’ – a crusade-like endeavour to march into Abarael and rid it of the aberrations
- A theocracy dedicated to all twelve gods of the pantheon and where there is no nobility as the land is owned by the church
- Ruled by the four High Patriarchs of the greater gods and a whole ‘feudal’ hierarchy of priests.
- Open to all religions but can be plagued by extremists. Currently that extremist section is the Summer Knights an aggressively warlike faction of Lymos worshippers. However the Summer Knights are also behind the Great Expedition to rid Abarael of the aberrations so in some ways are a force for good.
- Historically allies of Mythran and rivals of Lothiya
- Currently playing host to most of the survivors of Abarael
- Northern nation of dwarves and tribal pict-like humans, separated from the rest of the continent by the Eiscairn Mountains (the tallest on the continent… Alp-like in scale)
- Ruled by the council of the five Thanes who are selected by their individual clans/tribes by various means (some hereditary, some elected)
- Somewhat isolationist in nature
- Historical allies with the fae in Tyllost after being held as slaves together in the Dragon Empire of Durusia, but that relationship has been strained by their very different experience of the Time of Devils
- Definitely a united nation of Devra Marhain – not a dwarven nation and a human one in close proximity to each other.
- Traditional hereditary monarchy-style kingdom with knights and castles divided into duchies.
- Currently ruled by king Malked. However Malked is dying and the succession is hotly contested and everyone expects at least some form of civil war when Malked finally succumbs.
- Strong allies with the Dwarven nation of Troichheim who live in the Border Mountains west of Lothiya. Everyone else views Troichheim as simply part of Lothiya, and economically and politically the two are virtually inseparable (similar to Wales and England… they both consider themselves separate but everyone else views it as a single country)
- Historical rivals with Clidair, and regularly plagued by attacks from the orcs of Wulfhere
- Fluctuating historical relationship with Tyllost – sometimes allies sometimes rivals
- A Nordic/Saxon style monarchy (i.e. a king elected from and by the group of men that are eligible to vote) and a norse/saxon-ish nation. Small towns, no big cities/castles etc.
- Culturally very individualist – people own their own land, plough their own fields, forge their own iron, etc. Has resulted in a nation of generalists rather than one of specialists.
- Has recently (c. 2 years ago) lost the Western War – a four year war with Wulfhere. Now they pay a regular tribute to the orcs.
- Home of the Grimwood – a wild wood that people simply don’t venture into, those that do they never return. The only people that have come back out are wood-elves… who report that they were ‘invited’ to leave… immediately.
- Formerly (200 years ago) a human kingdom… but home of the Devil King during the Time of Devils and now a predominantly tiefling nation
- Ruled by the Parliament of Barons – originally a council of self-appointed tiefling Barons that came together to unite the nation after the civil war that splintered it in the aftermath of the Time of Devils
- Nowadays seats on the Parliament of Barons are elected – but only tieflings can occupy them and only land owning tieflings (male or female) can vote
- Home to many non-tieflings, particularly shifters, primarily in the wilder west of the country
- Distrusted or hated by most other nations. Particularly hated by the Tyllostians due to the devastation the tieflings wrought during the Time of Devils.
- Home of the skyrays – massive flying manta ray like creatures that are the famed mounts of the Mhoirish nobility
- A human and goblinoid (goblin/hobgoblin/bugbear) nation that has long been isolated from the rest of the continent of Kaladon by the Karnmor Mountains (larger range than the Eiscairns, but not quite as tall)
- Ruled by a cabal of necromancers who first established themselves in Saulendor prior even to Arkath and his conquest, when the first necromancer (Melar) used an army of skeletons to defeat an invading army
- Control an army of skeletons that act as guards and soldiers – all Saulites know that when they die their bones will rise again to serve the nation
- Historical rivals of Abarael, and often plagued by raids from the Dragon Isles. Not really allies with anybody but cordial relations with the Siari
- Distrusted by most other nations due to their necromantic practices.
- Halfing nation of sailors and traders on an island off the south east of the main continent. They are closely allied to the nation of merfolk that live in the warm waters that surround the island.
- Both those nations are currently ruled by young Queens. The Siari consider the two nations definitely separate and yet closely allied. Most people from other nations think of the merfolk as part of Siar.
- Not particularly allied with any nation, but never really been the enemies of anyone either – as traders the Siari go lots of places to sell things not to wage war.
- The only real enemy is the sahuagin (aquatic humanoids) that live in the eastern ocean.
- A magocracy made up of about equal numbers of humans and halflings.
- Ruled by a triumvirate of wizards who are considered the most powerful mages in Kaladon.
- Historically closely allied with Abarael, but have tried to dominate relations of most of central Kaladon – for what they at least considered a good cause.
- Home of the Arcanum – considered the foremost school of magic in Kaladon and open to anyone with ability. You pay for your studies by serving the Strathairi in some form for an equal number of years as you studied e.g. teaching new students, using your magic for the benefit of Strathairi communities, serving in the guards, etc.
- Widely considered the cause of the Cataclysm that has destroyed Abarael, which has made the Strathairi wizards very unpopular – where once they were the pre-eminent political power now they are almost pariah
The Dragon Isles
- A small archipelago off the northeast of Kaladon and the last vestige of reptilian life. Home to numerous dragons of all kinds as well as the dragonborn
- A xenophobic and tribal nature driven by the reaction to the Scale Plague (600 years ago) the dragon and dragonborn remain a warlike group almost constantly in conflict of some form with each other.
- Divided into two sets of islands – the North and the South, but the difference between them is unclear to any but the natives.
- Known to raid Devra Marhain, Rathag Mhoir and Saulendor for slaves and plunder that they take back to the islands… the stories say that the slaves are used to feed the dragons
- Very very few that travel to those islands come back alive… and very few dragonborn come out of them other than to raid and plunder.
- Dragons have started making their way back to the main land in the past two hundred years or so, but they are still rare and most are still small.
- A traditional elven style kingdom, home to high elves, wood elves, half-elves and gnomes, referred to collectively as the fae.
- A very traditional ‘caste’ system with high elves as the nobility, wood elves and gnomes the rest of the population.
- The traditional caste system developed when half-elves were rare – so had no stable place for them. However after the devastation wrought by the tieflings decimated the population half-elves became much more accepted and much more numerous – to the point that they are now an established race of their own – i.e. most half-elves are the children of half-elven communities. While originally considered the ‘serfs’ of the system, they are now a powerful enough group due to their numbers and economic power that they are challenging their place.
- As a nation Tyllost suffered the worst at the hands of the tieflings and were almost wiped out. The Great Forest was cut back massively, and the fae still hate the tieflings with a passion… the 80 years that have passed since the defeat of the Devil King are not as long to elven eyes.
- Historically allied with Devra Marhain and sometimes with Lothiya.
- A tribal nation of orcs and wild humans, with a large number of half-orcs
- Until fairly recently it was a splintered nation of tribes fighting among each other as much as they did with other nations. But for the past 60-odd years and in the face of more consistent pressure from Mythran to the south, they have been more united under a succession of high-kings
- There is known to be some level of conflict not only between individual tribes in Wulfhere but also between the more orcish tribes of the north and the more human ones of the south.
- Historically known for raiding Lothiya, but have also been known to work for the Lothiyan armies as mercenaries – very much as shock-troops
- Where the hobgoblins are considered the masters of war (strategy, tactics, organised combat etc.) the orcs are considered the masters of fighting. They have developed numerous martial arts focussed on various weapons and unarmed combat styles. It is said that the masters of the unarmed combat stain their hands black on the blood of their slain opponents.
Gods & Religions
The Twelve Gods (bold indicates the four ‘major’ gods)
- Alfaris: God of the Earth, Dawn and Sloth (spring)
- Fera: Lady of Life, Fertility and Lust (spring)
- Fabrin: God of Craft Inspiration and Obsession (spring)
- Kin: Goddess of Community, Justice and Tyranny (summer)
- Lymos: Lord of the Sun, War and Prejudice (summer)
- Beya: Goddess of Love, Beauty and Vanity (summer)
- Tornos: God of The Oceans, Storms and Wrath (autumn)
- Reaper: Lady of Harvest, Consequence and Gluttony (autumn)
- Serabin: God of Knowledge, Magic and Arrogance (autumn)
- Borea: Goddess of Darkness, Ice and Jealousy (winter)
- Thanis: Lord of Death, Reflection and Revenge (winter)
- Derth: Goddess of Poverty, Charity and Slavery (winter)
By far the majority of people are followers of the whole pantheon rather than worshippers of a specific god. Even clerics and paladins can be dedicated to the whole pantheon. There are naturally some that are dedicated followers of a specific deity but these are rarer, and most will still pay some homage to the other gods – no matter how dedicated to Beya you are it’s a little silly to pray to her for the safe passage of the recently dead into the afterlife.