A guide to the lands and people of Erakal. Concerning the nature of the world since the fall of the Council and the Treaty of Vergyar.
A Brief History
Main Article: A History of Erakal
Once, there was an Empire. The Council of Hyram ruled the land of Erakal from coast to coast, its foundries spewing out fine steel and finer artifacts of magical power, its scholar discovering new sources of magical energy at an astounding pace. It was a Golden Age...of Tyranny. And the Five rose up to defeat it.
Eighteen years have passed since the Five toppled the Council of Hyram. Cloaked as they are in the fabric of legend, little is known of the adventurers who defeated the Council and restored power to the City-States. Only that they came as Five, and that three of their number were lost in the final struggle. The two that remained returned to their own nations as heroes, and soon rose to power. To the South, the half-elven Warlock Kassus took hold of the City-state of Kalon, keeping himself afloat with a combination of political savvy, charisma, and a willingness to make alliances. To the West, the human Warlord Androval took his hereditary seat on the throne of Tumnos, his ascendance heralded as a return to honor and chivalry. It is said that Kalonese agents are present in every City-State, and that in every city-state, there are quiet, deadly Tumnian Warrior-Missionaries opposing them. Though the tendrils of influence from Kalon and Tumnos spread far among the City-States as they jockey for political, economic, and military advantages, there are some who whisper that the two are enemies in a far older rivalry: the love of a woman, one of the Five, lost in the final battle.
Notable City-States of Erakal
A rapidly-expanding city-state.
Main Article: Thallos
Main Article: Vallish
Vallish is a town that grew around Havendusk University, a very old institution that once turned out warrior mages for the old and corrupt regime under the Council of Hyram. In the absence of the old tyrants, however, Havendusk University has become a school for learning, rather than combat. The libraries within Havendusk are expansive, and even with the limitations placed on reviewing the older "Forbidden Hyram" texts by Kassus and the others who now rule Kalon, scholars and mages alike all come to Havendusk.
Its location away from the main bustle of Kalon's government center, yet still on the city-state's main thoroughfare, made the area surrounding Havendusk a tantalizing place to build a trade center. Havendusk has almost fully redeemed itself, and Vallish is slowly transforming from a trade center to something more...A tourist destination.
Main Article: Curig
A free port city that has come to be seen as a marketplace for every sort of good, especially those that have been deemed dangerous and illegal in other locales. While a relatively anarchic port city in many respects, it is relatively safe for outsiders to visit, for any activity that threatens foreign trade (the lifeblood of the city) is ruthlessly crushed by the mercantile interests that reign supreme.
One of numerous small villages surrounding Curig, with a population of about 350, primarily held in villein servitude. A local legend claims that the village was not always called Anavil and owes its name to a masked avenger that terrorized the region some hundred years ago. A number of local youths worshipping Kord and Erathis are working in secrecy against hopeless odds to overthrow the slave masters and lead their people into better life. Recently, they have received aid from a few agents of Tumnos who say that they are seeking to restore or annihilate Curig, the ever-present blight upon Erakal.
During the glory days of the Hyram Empire, the city of Aix was a thriving centre of research, where magical power was valued above all else – certainly above the lives of the thousands of slaves who supported the lifestyle of the elite scholars. Built into the long cliffs surrounding a high mountain lake, the terraced gardens and elegant stone-carved buildings are still known as one of the most beautiful sites on the continent.
After the fall of the empire, a series of revolts amongst the peasant farmers in the lowlands led the ruling council to seek an alliance with the city-state of Kalon, providing their magical capacities in exchange for assistance in crushing the rebellions. The constant food shortages and warfare has weakened the city to the point where it has started to seem a tempting target, protected solely by the arcane power of its legionnaires.
The renewed onslaught brought about by the alliance has led to increasingly desperate measures by the farmers, as they attempt to stave off defeat. Guerilla warfare has become the norm in the lowlands, and more and more civilians are fleeing the constant turmoil. As Aix weakens, its dependence on Kalon only increases and rumors of an imminent takeover are rife.
Main Article: Maerod
Maerod is a predominantly human city that has evolved into an economic powerhouse over the years. It is located near the mouth of the river Pallas, which runs across a large portion of Eskalar. Its source is high in a distant mountain range almost clear across the continent, and while it has its rough spots it turns into a broad and lazily meandering waterway well before it reaches the sea (and Maerod). The gentle current allows for substantial two-way traffic, which is a large part of how Maerod was able to grow into such an economic powerhouse. With the ability to conduct trade both inland by river and by sea, the city has built itself into a major trade hub both for Eskalar and for regions beyond its shores. Merchants from all over come to Maerod for the unparalleled selection of exotic and unusual items available in its famed Mercantile Ward, and a number of well-known arcane practitioners have spent at least some time in the Scholar's Ward.
Influential Individuals and Groups
Kassus of the Five, First Among Equals of Kalon
Kassus is an incredibly charming, calculating soul, a man whose every twitch and smirk is chosen with the gift of both hypothetical and actual foresight. He favors alliances and compromises over all else, and keeps all of his options open until the last possible moment. The agents of Kalon can therefore be members of any race, class, or social persuasion, so long as they are useful in accomplishing the goals of Kalon and its radiant master.
Androval of the Five, Lord of Tumnos
Androval is a formal man, his words bound by formula and ceremony. He spent his youth as a Knight Captain of Tumnos, a title which had lost much of its honor during the Council's rule. Upon his triumphant return form Hyram, he executed the corrupt among his fellow Knight Captains, and announced a return to the chivalry of Tumnos' past. The agents of Tumnos are zealous and unflinching in their pursuit of the City-State's interests--from proselytizing Warrior-Missionaries who preach a return to honor and chivalry, to the Knights of the Unblinking Eye, who travel incognito among the City-States, searching out Tumnos' enemies. While the Knights of the Eye often conceal their identities or hide their true nature when hunting their prey, they always reveal themselves to their targets with proper honor before attacking. This does not, however, prevent them from positioning another Knight or two to block the enemy's escape before the announcement is made.
The Thirteenth Legion
Main Article: The Thirteenth Legion
See Also: Logs of the Thirteenth
When the City-States blossomed after the fall of the Council, the Treaty of Vergyar stipulated that each one maintain a standing army of no more than twelve legions. It took less than a month for the first band of mercenaries to form: the Thirteenth Legion. The oldest and most prestigious band, with a reputation for cunning and heroism, with an honor and devotion to one another that is stronger than any physical bond, the Thirteenth are those who are hired when a problem needs an extraordinary solution.
The various cities and individuals of Erakal were designed by the fine DM and other players of The Thirteenth