By: Arjan Wardekker
View Map of Alcarin - world map (75.3 kb)
The Elfstone Campaign Setting centers on the world of Alcarin, a planet somewhat larger than earth. The world contains four large countries that have proven stable over time: the realms of Khemen, Nentis, Tholenfold, and Narre'al. The world map lists them in capitals. Many important regions are listed in large bold font. These regions describe distinct geographical areas and/or areas that contain a group of similar smaller countries. Furthermore, several specific locations are listed in normal font.
Cemen (new name: Khemen) (geo | map): Khemen is the Realms of Earth. It is a standard fantasy environment, with temperate forests, plains and some mountainous areas. Though it is the smallest of the four realms, it has a fairly strong army and can count on various Dwarven, Elven, and Giant allies in case of need. Its economy runs mainly on agriculture, mining products (metals and gems), and trade. Khemen is ruled by a king. Local nobles control the cities and surrounding lands and answer to the king.
Narre'al: The empire of Narre'al is the Realm of Fire. While it contains temperate and warm deserts, mountains, forests, and plains, it is most renown for the large Zherrian Desert and the volcanic regions in the north-east. The realm is well-suited for Arabian style campaign. It is the largest of the realms and boasts a powerful army. Its economy runs largely on metalwork, military products and services, and specialized desert magics and goods. Narre'al is ruled by an emperor, who keeps tight control over his subjects and lands. Local rule is in the hands of various vassals, warlords, criminals, and wealthy merchants, but all answer to (and often are directly instructed by) the emperor.
Nen (new name: Nentis) (map): The theocracy of Nentis is the Realm of Water. It is an archipelago with hundreds of small to huge islands, covered by temperate and tropical forests/jungles and mountains. Its powerful navy controls The Great Ocean and ensures safety on the shipping routes between Khemen, Nentis, and Tholenfold. Its economy runs mainly on trade and tropical goods, such as various fruits and rare alchemical materials. Nentis is ruled by a council of priests (elected by the higher clergy of various religions) and a high priest (appointed by the council). They do not keep very strict control over local rule, but assures safety and collects taxes. Local rule differs per island or city/region, but is usually in the hands of religious or tribal leaders or citizen-appointed mayors.
Vilya (new name: Tholenfold): The empire of Tholenfold is the Realm of Air. The region is covered with temperate and cold mountains. Most remarkable are the countries many flying cities and fortresses, and high alpine settlements. The empire boasts many powerful mages, dragons and aerial forces. Its economy runs on magical goods and services and mining products. Tholenfold is ruled by and emperor, assisted by a council of elders. Local rule is in the hands of local lords, appointed to rule by the council of elders. Often, these local lords are powerful sorcerers, warriors or beings, such as dragons, who answer to the council and emperor.
Eastlands: The Eastlands form Alcarin's oriental region. The area ranges from subtropical (north) to temperate (south) forests and mountains. Power lies in the hands of feodal lords, many of which have formed alliances. Despite the many mini-kingdoms, the region is relatively stable due to these alliances, as well as trading relations. A number of rogue organisations operate beside traditional powers. While some of these have criminal intent, most notably several pirating bands and organisations on the coast of the Shaeron Sea, others are more benign and merely intent on adventure.
Fields of Many Eyes: Barren and rocky, the Fields of Many Eyes are a place that one would hope was empty. However, various types aberrations, magical beasts and monstrous humanoids roam these temperate planes and hills. The area received its name from the large population of Beholders, often encountered in large groups. Other primary inhabitants include beings such as chimeras, nagas, dragons, minotaurs, and hobgoblins
Khrator Plains: The Khrator Plains form the transition from the mountains of Tholenfold to the forests of the Eastlands. They consist mainly of montane savanna in the northern regions to tropical and subtropical savanna further south. The Plains have no specific power groups that influence or control the region. Societies living here consist mainly of various demi-human and monstrous humanoid races. The area's valuable resources are too scarce and spread to draw an active interest from any larger and more organized power.
Morrogh Ambath: At one time, one of the most prominent powers on the world of Alcarin, few now know the exact location of this mythical realm. Morrogh Ambath is the Realm of Negative Energy. During its days of prosperity, it was ruled by humanoid necromancers. Currently, power lies in the hands of more patient and subtle (but no less powerful) undead rulers. Morrogh Ambath and the surrounding lands are cold and rocky wastelands, void of life. Weather in the area is usually dark and rainy, some areas being covered in perpetual darkness (often the result of the dark magics that permeate the realm). Likely the most dangerous area of the planet, few people who venture here without careful preparation ever return.
Mountains of the Gods: These majestic mountains connect the east continent with the north pole. The Mountains of the Gods host the Olympeak, the official seat of the deities in the world of Alcarin. While the frigid temperatures, dangerous terrain, and presence of many monsters provide many difficulties and dangers for travellers, several pilgrim routes run both south and north (over the pole to the west continent). The influence of the city states of Minas-Elen and Cardáre make the southern ranges somewhat safer than the northern ones.
Ormathor Jungle: The extensive and dense tropical and subtropical rainforests of the Ormathor Jungle form the boundary between the cultivated northern lands of the west continent and the southern wilderness. The area is rich in plant, animal and monster species, many of which unknown to the world's scholars. Many monstrous humanoid tribes can be found, as well as several minor kingdoms and the remnants of many more. Travel through the area is difficult at best. Several ancient routes can make it easier, provided one knows where to find them.
Sea of the Void: These dark waters of the southern polar seas, south of the Mystwards and Black Coast, are treacherous. Many dangers lurk in these deep waters, including icebergs, hidden rocky shallows and islands, sea monsters, autumn and winter darkness and volatile weather. The region's name originates from the many ships that sailed here and were never seen again. Main powers in the region are the Dark Elves of De'erech Nesh and the Elven outposts on Lushmiël. The area has a fairly large population of undead (e.g. sea zombies, ghost ships) due to the many ancient shipwrecks, also attracting attention from Morrogh Ambath.
Sea of the Winter's Song: The northern polar seas are a frigid and windy place. While the cold conditions and icebergs provide a threat to ships and creatures in the area, these waters are much safer than the southern polar seas. The Northern Kingdoms are the main power in the region. Due to the diversity of these lands and their inhabitants, their attitude of their ships towards other ships is often hard to predict.
Shaeron Sea: Ranging from tropical to temperate, the Shaeron Sea lies in between the archipelago of Nentis and the Khrator Plains and Eastlands. As Nentis' naval forces focus on the trade routes on the Great Ocean, this sea is relatively light patrolled. Pirating bands and organisations based on the Eastlands' coasts play a large role in the region, although few dare approach the island of De'erech Nesh. Despite of the pirates, the sea is much safer to travel than the more southern waters of the Sea of the Void and the more northern Silent Sea.
Silent Sea: While not particularly wide, the waters of the Silent Sea are much less sailed than the Great Ocean, as the west coast of Narre'al and east coast of Tholenfold are sparsely populated. Trade is mainly local, e.g. among coastal communities of Narre'al, Tholenfold and the Northern Kingdoms. As the area lacks a powerful fleet actively patrolling the seas, pirate and raider activity makes the sea considerably more dangerous than the Great Ocean.
The Arm of Winter: This narrow stretch of land connects the west continent with the north pole. It consists of cold forests, tundra and mountains, inhabited by tribes of barbarians, giants, orcs and other monstrous humanoids. The region contains a fair amount of dwarven citadels and mining colonies and secluded wizard towers as well. The region is quite dangerous, as inhabitants are often in conflict over it's scarce resources and unprepared travellers are considered fair game. Merchant and pilgrim caravans (the latter generally heading for the Olympeak) usually go well protected.
The Black Coast: This long coastline ranges from tropical to moderate plains, hills, mountains, and swamps. It's hinterlands aren't very fertile or rich in resources, the lands near Morrogh Ambath in particular are rocky and lifeless. Except for coastline villages and towns, the area is uncharted wilderness. Power lies in the hands of tribes and small city states, and the Coast is considered a haven for legal refugees. The Black Coast is said to have received it's name from the destruction of a Nentisi fleet by an outbreak of the plague, during the great global wars.
The Frozen Wastes: Alcarin's south pole is an endless wasteland of cold plains and mountains, extending up to Morrogh Ambath. The region is uninhabited by humanoids, and even the monster population is fairly sparse (though usually powerful and in possession of a good deal of treasure).
The Great Ocean: The Great Ocean, the planet's largest expanse of water, lies between the north pole, Khemen, Tholenfold, Nentis and the Black Coast. It is well-travelled and well-protected. The naval forces of Nentis keep a close eye on safety along the trade routes between Khemen, Nentis, and Tholenfold. The northern and southern areas are somewhat less guarded and offer more opportunities for pirates and monsters. These can also be encountered in the better protected areas, but they will need to be more careful and cunning to survive for long.
The Mystwards: The temperate to cold lands south of the Ormathor Jungle are covered in mountains, forests, grasslands, marshes and swamps. The region has a fairly wet climate and is often covered in fog, making the area both mysterious and somewhat treacherous. The Mystwards and are the domain of the Elves, and are mostly uncultivated. Most Elven subraces and ways of life are present in the area, the Dark Elves being the most important exception. The region is rich in wildlife, fey, giants and dragons. It has a decent monster population as well, which keeps away from the Elves and does not include traditional enemies such as Orcs and Goblinoids.
The Northern Kingdoms: The lands north of Narre'al and Khemen are collectively referred to as the Northern Kingdoms. It is a dynamic region of small kingdoms, tribes, warlords, and adventurers-turned-small-scale-monarchs. These structures of rulership wax and wane over time and power struggles, intrigues and conflicts are not uncommon. There are no fixed borders between countries, one's realm depends on one's influence (e.g. military or mercantile power), although the individual leaders may hold different views on this. The region is covered in temperate to cold forests and mountains.
Zherrian Desert: The endless seas of sand, and occasional oasis, that form the Zherrian Desert are a classic example of a warm desert. Some areas are more rocky in nature, especially in the west and in the northeast. The desert is crossed by several mountain ranges as well. Local rule lies in the hands of tribes, warlords and bandit groups, all of whom answer to the emperor of Narre'al. The population of monsters, animals, and plants is sparse but diverse. The region is rich in mineral deposits, which has attracted a surprizingly large population of Dwarves.
Arquen (geo | map): The capital city of the kingdom of Khemen. Arquen is a metropolis of 120,000 inhabitants, and has a busy port and merchant district, being an important stop on the trade routes between Tholenfold, Nentis, and Narre'al. It has a temperate climate. The city is known for its solid stone buildings and wide tree-lined streets and many parks.
Cardáre: The fortress of Cardáre is a small city of 6,000 inhabitants. Located high in the mountains, this city-state is well-protected by mundane and magical means. The city is the seat of power of the Order of the Horn of Valor, an organisation of paladins, clerics and other people dedicated to the forces of good. The exact size, power, and leaders of the Order are unknown. Cardáre granted its name to the world's year reckoning (see Timekeeping), after a peace treaty was signed here that ended hundreds of years of global conflict.
De'erech Nesh: A huge, barren and rocky island, riddled with cave systems. It has a cold climate and the general overcast and stormy weather keeps it relatively dark during the day. The island is controlled by Dark Elves, who keep a presence (cities and strongholds) both underground and above ground. Deep tunnels connect to the islands of Nentis and the main continents. Several ports allow the Dark Elves to keep a naval presence in its surrounding waters.
Flamelake: An inland sea in the empire of Narre'al. Both the sea and its surrounding shores are rich in volcanic activity, and steam continually billows from its waters. Pockets of natural gas and strong ambient magics often set the waters literally ablaze. An elder wyrm red dragon claims rulership over the area, together with a clan of relatives. Travel and other activities are perilous, though some visitors claim to have gained permission by adding appropriate "gifts" to the dragons' hoards.
Lushmiël: This huge island is relatively fertile compared to its "cousin" De'erech Nesh and covered in forests. It has a cold climate. The Elves of The Mystwards keep several strongholds (above ground and underground) and ports on this island, to protect the region from infiltration and attack by the Dark Elves of De'erech Nesh.
Middon-Nasár: The capital city of the empire of Narre'al. Middon-Nasár is a metropolis of 480,000 inhabitants (60% slaves), and is an important military/mercenary and trade center. It has a warm climate. The city is known for its large bazaars, many domed palaces, harems, slave-markets, and military and mercenary strongholds. It is a place of a luxury and a multitude of sights and smells.
Minas-Elen (map): The Elven kingdom of Minas-Elen is a city-state with several surrounding villages and forts, located in a mountain valley north of Tholenfold. With a total population of 12,000, it is Alcarin's largest Elven kingdom. It's wizardly college is well-known for its powerful and wise diviners and seers, and occasionally admits promising students from other places. Minas-Elen plays an important, but covert, role in surface world struggles with the Dark Elves and other forces of evil.
Nenacar (geo | map): The capital city of the theocracy of Nentis. Nenacar is a metropolis of 90,000 inhabitants, and is an important naval port and religious center. It has a tropical climate. The city is constructed mainly of open, wooden buildings and many of it's districts are floating or built on poles in the bay.
Olympeak: A large and remote mountain north of Tholenfold. A wide stairway ascends from the base of the mountain to a plateau at its top. A small Greek style temple at the top provides a portal to a demiplane that serves as the seat of the world's deities (see Religion & Pantheon). It is an important pilgrimage site, and several pilgrim routes run both south towards Tholenfold and north over the north pole to the west continent.
Vaults of Uhmarra: Built mostly underground, the Vaults of Uhmarra are a labyrinth of caverns, halls and tombs. The Vaults are the capital city of Morrogh Ambath, the realm of negative energy. It is a metropolis of 30,000 inhabitants, 80% of which are undead. The living population consists of free necromancers and powerful wizards, clerics, adventurers, monsters, and other types of questionable alignment, and slaves, cattle and minions. The city is ruled by the Necromancer King, a powerful lich. He resides in the Waking Tower, a highly magical structure in the city's central vault.
Vilquar: The capital city of the empire of Tholenfold. Vilquar is a metropolis of 180,000 inhabitants, and an important magical center. It has a temperate climate. A large part of the city is built on magical clouds, hovering high above a wide mountain valley. It's known for its many spires, white and silver buildings, magical ambiance and magnificent views. Mages and flying creatures provide transport services between the cloud top and valley and mountain ridge settlements that form the city's suburbs.
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