A brief history of the Telman family’s rise to power, the fall of Vessix the Wyrm Tyrant and the birth of modern day Castros.
Prior to modern Castros the southeast lands of Tharstelding lay mostly wild and untamed. Its sheltered tracts were viciously ruled by tribal warlords and the Wyrm Tyrants of the Heman Dal Mountains. Originally settled by immigrants and adventurers from Tirmordane, Pax Thallos and Xar Zanth, the kingdom of Castros was birthed when its future king, Verzies Telman, slew the great white dragon Vessix in 1698 CM six years after the Wyrm Tyrant destroyed Verzies’ home, the bustling frontier city of Catlathon. Verzies soon found himself being praised as a local hero, the warlords and leaders of dozens of scattered villages quickly flocked to his banner. With only the sorcerous queen of Operton, Lady Relan, in opposition, King Verzies and his three sons set out to sack Operton in 1722 CM, eventually successful and creating a unified Castros.
The lands of Castros stretch from the Briar Deep in the East to the Heman Dal Mountains in the West, and from the Southern Reach in the South to the southern edge of High Dar in the North. The fiefdoms that comprise Castros pay homage to the house of Telman, pledging their swords and loyalty to King Artis Telman, the 16th king of Castros.
While being a relatively young kingdom, Castros leads the continent in technological advances and ingenuity by a wide margin. It is not uncommon to see Skydocks in most major cities, where Cloud Captains and Orb Pilots berth their mighty flying ships and land their wondrous hot air balloons. Gunpowder and crude firearms are likewise a recent discovery in Castros. Primitive firearms are sometimes carried by wealthy nobles and adventurers, cannons and other alien weapons are often mounted upon air and water ships as well as the common Sky Orbs.
The Ironhold Dutchy: The most recent territories added to the kingdom of Castros, are those of Ironhold. These lands were originally settled by miners and tradesmen from the Parish of Kedabus as recently as 1997 CM, but were claimed by Castros in the Blackfoot war by right of conquest. The lands original name was Torpan Vol, which in the Thallan language quite literally means ocean of mountains.
A dry and cold place, Ironhold suffers from extreme winters and short mild summers. Resting in the shadow of the Spine, these lands are well known for their year round glaciers and chilly ocean waters. A low volume of rain fall and rocky soil makes cultivation of crops nearly impossible in this region. Most of the residents sustain themselves on high protein meals, tubers and hardy mountain fruits like verge plumbs and thorn melons.
Ironhold is bounded by the lands of Pax Thallos and the Glaive Sea to the North, the Castran Bay to the East and South and the Blackfoot March to the West. The capital city, the mountain citadel of Ironhold, rests on the Eastern most edge of the Spine Mountains along the chaotic shores of the Castran Bay, its hammered iron walls melting into the granite curtain of its mountain home.
People: A hard working people, the residents of Ironhold squeeze out a living from the very mountains in which they live. Thallan blood is common in these lands, and its residents often display these traits with curly hair, darker skin and brown to black eyes. The common folk dress in heavy furs, harvested from seals, mountain lions and goats. Whereas the more wealthy citizens display snow fox, wool and leather garb. Overall the residents of Ironhold appear somber, content and simple when compared to the more civilized and metropolitan regions of the world. Mountain dwarves from Aaeriock Bor, ocean elves from the Briardeep and mountain elves from the spine are all common sites within Ironhold, with Candari, Reg’Ostran and Thirvolan races almost unheard of. Slavery is outlawed in Castros, however it is not uncommon for those with debts that cannot be paid to be forced into “willing” servitude, another trait carried over from the regions Thallan lineage.
Government and Alignment: (Lordship: Duke, NE) Ironhold is ruled by Duke Farkus Jent and Duchess Aredula Jent. The house of Jent’s support was pivotal in the capture of these lands during the Blackfoot Wars, providing the Telmans with supplies and soldiers that turned the tide of the battle against Thallan garrisons. As a result King Torkill Telman granted the Jent family these lands to rule as a fiefdom of Castros. Duke Fakus rules his people, incidentally, with an iron fist. His primary goals are to gather wealth from the nearby Spine and to explore the ruined dwarfhold of Aaeriock Bor in search of its fabled vaults of diamonds. The Duke of Ironhold is also governor of the Sunder Coast Shires to the south, his duties include protection for this region and the appointment of reeves to oversee the cities of these lands.
Major Settlements: Ironhold ranks 6th overall within Castros in regards to population, most of its inhabitants live along the coast of the Castran Bay in the shadows of the Spine Mountains. The largest cities of Ironhold include the mountain citadel of Ironhold (Large City) Population: 22,651, the violent port city of Wavebreak (Small City) Population: 9,820, the isolated mountain mining town of Daggerdown (Large Town) Population: 4,805, and the underground city of Rockreach in on the Western slopes of the Spine (Large Town) Population 3,100.
Religion: An isolated region, Ironhold residents mainly pay homage to the Holy Five, with the largest of its temples located in Ironhold. The headquarters of the Bedlam Road is located within the Spine, just north of Daggerdown, which attracts a high volume of Rafar devotees. The Shattered Pantheon is all but unknown to the populace but the Sand God has a small temple located in Wavebreak, where Thallan travelers and merchants gather to worship their alien god Sendar.
Conflicts: Ironhold is a savage and merciless land. Duke Fakus constantly sends patrols into the mountains or along the coastal road to root out bands of brigands, the occasional dragon or worse. The dutchy has no conflicts with its neighbors due to its isolated location and close proximity to the kingdom’s capital.
Economy: Ironhold ranks 3rd in the kingdom for economic resources, its location in the Spine provides the dutchy with access to coal, silver, lead, gold and even clouded steel. The Duke of Ironhold uses these resources to obtain food, timber, clothing and items not easily acquired in mountainous terrain. The various settlements of Ironhold are heavily taxed, providing the Dukes coffers with additional coin and resources that he expends to maintain the dutchy’s armies and small navy. In addition, the Dutchy of Ironhold controls the Sunder Coast Shires to the South, and receives a hefty sum from the shires in tribute.
Relationships: The Duke of Ironhold maintains shaky relations with the king’s court in Bourne, often providing King Artis Telman with advice when none is sought, or with rebuttals to the king’s demands. This has led those in the king’s court to question Duke Fakus’ loyalty, and to wonder if the savage duke has plans to one day seek the crown or to proclaim Ironhold’s independence.
The Marchessies of Murkhall: The lands of Murkhall are all that remain of the once proud nation of Operton. The ruins of the region’s old capital sit in the southwest corner of the territory as a reminder to all of the might of the Telman family. These lands were taken in 1722 CM by the first king of Castros, Verzies Telman, from the sorcerous queen Lady Relan. Since then, the fortress of Murkhall with its brown stone walls and water roadways has served as the Marchessies’ new capital.
A wet and rocky region the lands of Murkhall are constantly covered in mist and a low hanging carpet of clouds. Its location to the north of the Tablelands and East of the Heman Dal Mountains creates a conversion zone, where the warm air currents from the northeast break against the higher elevations, creating a pocket of rain and temperatures around 55 degrees year round. Various shades and types of nutrient rich moss and fungi grow throughout these wet and sodden lands, providing a plethora of food to grazing herds of goats, grey deer, dinosaurs and giant slugs. These herbivores in turn provide nourishment to dire bears, giant eagles, hippogriffs and owlbears, the lands most notorious and pesky inhabitants.
Murkhall is bounded by the Tablelands to the south, the Blackfoot March to the east and the Heman Dal Mountains to the north and west. The country is split in half by a trio of large swift rivers called the Pale Fingers which converge in front of the city of Murkhall to form the River Endin.
People: Although the lands are gloomy and wet the people of Murkhall typically carry themselves in an upbeat and positive manner, often displaying brightly dyed loose fitting clothing and almost always wearing some form of oiled headwear to stave off the constant rain. The region is well known for its various clothing dyes, extracted from the vibrant fauna that grows throughout the area. Murkians stand taller than the typical Castran, and usually have blue or green eyes. Fair skin and blonde to brown hair are common in this region. Mountain dwarves from the nation of Ikstall are a common site in these lands, as are mountain elves, swamp elves and the occasional shadow elf.
Government and Alignment: (Lordship: Marquis, NG) Murkhall is gently ruled by Marquis Calondor Telman, a distant cousin to King Artis Telman. A soft spoken man in his middle years, Calondor was recently widowed when his wife gave birth to their second daughter Marjaya. A widely popular ruler, Calondor is well spoken of by his subjects, but most fear that the death of his wife has left his mind broken as few have seen the Marquis in the past months and rumors have already begun to circulate that Calondor keeps himself locked in his chambers day and night. The Marquis’ eldest son, Sir Reddlin Telman, has temporarily assumed stewardship over the region.
Major Settlements: Murkhall ranks 4th overall within Castros in regards to population, most of its inhabitants live along the Pale Fingers or on the fringe of the Tablelands. The largest cities of Murkhall include the brown city of Murkhall (Metropolis) Population: 28,823, the painted streets of Lanternloch (Large City) Population: 20,052, the city on stilts Rendfar (Small City) Population: 8,690, and bustling river city of White Forks (Small City) Population 5,222.
Operton: (Ruins) Once a powerful city state, Operton was razed in 1722 CM by the first king of Castros and his three sons. The City of Spires, Operton was once one of the largest and most powerful cities in all of Tharstelding. Many of its spires and towers are still standing today. The ruins are known to be the home of two powerful vampire brothers known as the Lords of Night. It is said that these vampires were once generals that commanded the cities armies against those of house Telman, and that they seek eternal retribution for the destruction of their home.
Religion: Like most Castrans, Murkians mainly pay homage to the Holy Five. The largest House of the Five is located in Murkhall. In addition, the residents of Lanternloch have erected a cathedral to Koolamondo called the Prismatic Halls. This temple is shrouded in multi colored paints and tiles, sticking out from the otherwise drab landscape like a fancy peacock in a field of ash. Dangerous cults dedicated to Pox and Randarous are known to operate in secrecy along the outskirts of the Marchessies within the Blackfoot March.
Conflicts: Murkhall maintains a position of power within the king’s court, and as such they have no conflicts with the surrounding baronies of Ist or Eldath. The surrounding lands are notoriously dangerous. The greatest threat comes from the beasts that dwell within the Blackfoot March and the Heman Dal Mountains. Hags, oozes, harpies, snakes, lizards, dinosaurs and will o wisps have all been the undoing of travelers and settlers.
Economy: Murkhall ranks 5th in the kingdom for economic resources. Its lands are rich in exotic molds and fungi from which rare dyes are produced. The lands are poor for cultivation of food crops, but provide ample nourishment to raise goats and herds of grey deer for trade and consumption. Quartz, emerald and ruby geodes can be found along the Pale Fingers and provide the Marquis with the majority of his treasury.
Relationships: The Marquis of Murkhall maintains excellent relations with his cousin King Artis, a fact that draws jealousy from many in the king’s court. Verbal contention between the Marquis and the Duke of Ironhold is not uncommon as both of these powerful leaders constantly vie for the king’s favor. The various barons and lords that comprise the lesser patrons of Artis’ court are frequently caught in the middle of these scuffs, siding with either of the two powerful lords out of fear or ambition.
The Barony of Ist: The house of Ist was the first to support the Telman claim to monarchy in response to the death of Vessix the Wyrm Tyrant. Catlathon, King Verzies’ town of birth, was utterly destroyed by Vessix in 1692 CM. Since then, the house of Ist has rebuilt Catlathon into a modern marvel of technology, second only to its sister city and capital of Ist, Snevelheim to the southeast. To reward the support of house Ist, King Verzies awarded hereditary land and title to the Ist family, which carries on to this day.
The Barony of Ist leads Tharstelding in technology by a wide margin. Examples include; sky docks laden with air ships and sky orbs that riddle its fabled land ports and skies. Steam engine trains that run from city to city, making transport over long distances achievable to the small folk. Superior firearms and cannons are common place among the rich and powerful. The city streets of New Catlathon and Snevelheim are illuminated with alchemical torches day and night. Bizarre steam powered carriages skirt along the barony’s wide engineered cobbled roads. Many other nations have tried to reach the pinnacle of Ist civilization and have fallen short.
The lands of Ist are comprised mainly of temperate broad leaf forests and low rolling hills. The weather ranges from uncomfortably hot summers to deep cold winters. Spring and fall seasons bring heavy rainfall and thunderstorms annually, the occasional earthquake is also not uncommon for the area. A wide range of animals and plants grow throughout the barony, making the lands of Ist one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world.
Ist is bounded by the Heman Dal Mountains to the west and north, the Saddled Hills to the East and the Blackfoot March to the South. The capital city, Snevelheim, rests at the Southeastern edge of the High Roof Forest and the southwestern edge of the Saddled Hills.
People: Ist has one of the highest populations of hill dwarves and mountain dwarves in all of Tharstelding, most of its ingenious inventions are the result of dwarven engineering. Istian humans tend to be short and lithe, they often wear their hair long and loose. Gaudy clothing with copious layers of lace and linen are in fashion within this region. Being a major port town, all races can be found within Ist’s busy cities.
Government and Alignment: (Lordship: Baron, LN) Ist is ruled by Baron Cyless Ist, the son of the previous Baron Gren Ist, and Baroness Aerin Ist, the daughter of Baron Fendar Eldath. A young and ambitious couple, the new rulers of Ist are learning how to run the most advanced barony in the kingdom through trial and error. The people of Ist care little about the internal politics of their barony, with little more than half of the populace being able to actually name the new baron and baroness.
Major Settlements: Ist ranks 2nd overall within Castros in regards to population, most of its inhabitants live along the steam rails that run between New Catlathon and Snevelheim. The largest cities of Ist include the city of steam, Snevelheim (Metropolis) Population: 32,155, the sky port of New Catlathon (Metropolis) Population: 27,080, the forest station of Timbergate (Large City) Population: 19,141, and the smoke stack city of industry Rezen (Small City) Population: 8,981.
Religion: A bustling port region, Ist houses a diverse range of religious houses. The largest House of the Five is located in New Catlathon, as is a church dedicated to the mental energies of Kire called the Abbey of Thought. A massive temple/workshop, the Skyberg, is also located in New Catlathon. This church is dedicated to Aaestroper and manufactures the barony’s famous air ships and sky orbs, keeping the secrets of their creation locked inside the Skyberg.
Conflicts: Ist is constantly plagued by spies, bent on stealing the secrets of their advanced civilization. Of the spies captured and questioned most seem to be sent from the imperial merchant lords of Tirmordane, the Avian Lords, and from the ambitious Duke of Ironhold. On top of being on the lookout for technology thieves, the barony occasionally loses an air ship or sky orb to the hordes of drakes and manticores that live north and west within the Heman Dal Mountains. Finally, a group of druids known as the Thistle Knights constantly plague the railway that runs between New Catlathon and Snevelheim, seeing its installation as an affront to nature.
Economy: Ist ranks 2nd in the kingdom for economic resources, its technological and logistical advancements place if far beyond all Castran fiefdoms with the exception of the kingdom’s capital. In addition, highly desired timber comes from the High Roof Forest, which contains over two hundred known species of broad leaf trees. Being a major port, Ist obtains a high level of taxes from imported and exported goods, most of these levies are passed directly on to the king, however the remainder is substantial enough for Ist to consider it a major revenue stream.
Relationships: The Barony of Ist is well received within the king’s court. Recent rumors have begun to circulate that King Artis intends to grant Baron Cyless the rank of Duke, and increase his holdings to include the Glaive Sea. The idea of a rival infuriates Duke Farkus of Ironhold, who insists that if Cyless is raised to the rank of Duke it will undermine the king’s influence with the other baronies. Ist is the largest contributor to the kingdom’s coffers, and as such King Artis seems to favor the industrial barony whenever conflicts arise between the baronial states.
The Barony of Eldath: The Barony of Eldath rests in the southwest of the kingdom, just south of the Tablelands. The Eldath families rise to power began in 2008 CM a year after the Wyrm Tyrant Jiselthorn the Red destroyed the nation’s capital city Operton. For the Eldath family’s selfless action on behalf of the kingdom in assisting with both soldiers and coin to destroy the Wyrm Tyrant, and to harbor the refugees of Operton, King Caldar the 2nd bestowed hereditary title to Lord Lenvar Eldath elevating him to Baron. Shortly after, the new baron constructed the gilded city of Kelsoor at the edge of the Nettlewoods as the seat of his budding barony.
Also called the Land of Eight Summers, Eldath enjoys warm and tolerable weather year round. The occasional drizzle of warm rain and gusts of dry air from the nearby Tablelands are the only abnormal weather patterns this region faces. The semi tropical Nettlewoods make up the southern half of the barony, which ends at the Bitter Rapids River. The eastern border is marked by the mighty River Endin, the kingdom’s main waterway. The northern half of the barony encompasses the warm and arid Tablelands in name only, these high and dry plateaus are dominated by savage and brutal tribal chieftains, which the current baron has no intention to root out. The western border of Eldath is recognized as the slopes of the Heman Dal Mountains.
People: To an outsider the people of Eldath seem lazy and slow, their high pitch voices often set them apart from other Castrans when they travel abroad. Eldathians tend to have darker skin, with blue or green eyes being most common. Fashion is paramount in the lands of Eldath, it is common for even the low folk to dress in fine silks or embroidered linens as each Eldathian tries to keep ahead of the ever changing fads. A common nickname for Eldathians in other lands is “petal brained”. Within Eldath, Eldathians have a more civil approach to belittling each other, which they accomplish with backhanded compliments. Humans are the primary residents of Eldath, however their culture and architecture are greatly influenced by their respectable plains elf and wood elf populations.
Government and Alignment: (Lordship: Baron, NG) Eldath was founded in 2008 CM with the elevation of its first baron, Lenvar Eldath. The lands are currently ruled by Baron Fendar Eldath, a portly red cheeked man in his middle years. The good hearted baron’s wife is the lovely Baroness Rose Eldath, who is admired and loved throughout the barony. Baroness Rose Eldath is a devout follower of Kilpfar Sevenstars and Qarrdar, the creators of smells and taste, naturally the barony enjoys several festivals throughout the year to honor the bountiful paradise in which they live.
Major Settlements: Eldath ranks 5th overall within Castros in regards to population, most of its inhabitants live along the regions large rivers and the slopes of the Tablelands. The largest cities of Eldath include the gilded city Kelsoor (Metropolis) Population: 25,040, the perfumed river city of East Rose (Large City) Population: 19,221, the deep wood elven city of Selsondor (Large City) Population: 17,615 and the traveling plains elf city of Rawl (Large Town) Population 4,829.
Religion: A deeply religious region, Eldath houses many churches and shrines dedicated to a wide spectrum of the Shattered Pantheon, the Holy Five and several large circles of druids. The largest house of the five is located in the barony’s capital, Kelsoor. A magnificent garden temple dedicated to Kilpfar Sevenstars called the Floral Halls is located in East Rose, a kitchen church that revers Qarrdar serves the people of Kelsoor and the cities of Rawl and Selsondor both contain large churches to Velmori.
Conflicts: The baronies of Eldath and Marjes have a long history of bitter rivalry that stretches back to the creation of the Eldath barony in 2008 CM. The lands now occupied by the Barony of Eldath were at one time territories of Marjes, until they were stripped by King Caldar the 2nd and bestowed to Lord Lenvar Eldath for his service to the crown. Since that time the Marjes family has done everything in their power to undermine the northern barony and still maintain a level of prestige within the Telman court. This bickering has recently reached a noticeable climax. Mysterious attacks have been reported along the Eldath side of the Bitter Rapids River, leaving small settlements and farming communities in utter ruin. While no evidence has been presented that incriminates the Barony of Marjes, suspicions have been raised. In addition to the conflicts between Eldath and Marjes, the region has a high population of foul fey creatures and dangerous plants within the Nettlewoods and a constant threat from the tribal warlords of the Tablelands to the north.
Economy: Eldath ranks 4th in the kingdom for economic resources. Its most notorious export is perfume, which is highly sought after throughout the continent because of this region’s exotic flowers and oils. Amber, fruit, lumber, cotton, vegetables, flowers, honey and exotic animal furs are all high value exports that benefit the Eldath Barony as well as the kingdom coffers.
Relationships: The current Baron and Baroness of Eldath have had shaky relations with the Barony of Ist in the past due to court politics and trade wars between the two baronies, to mend the issue Baron Fendar Eldath has recently married off his eldest daughter to the current ruler of Ist, Baron Gren Ist. It is well known in the king’s court that the twin Barons of Marjes have long hated the rulers of Eldath, claiming that they are unrightfully occupying lands long held by the Marjes family, and that their presence has cast the Marjes barony from greatness to poverty. The Duke of Ironhold, Duke Farkus Jent, likewise despises the nation of Eldath. His grace publicly proclaims the people of Eldath soft, weak, and unfit for such a high station. Regardless of Eldath’s many critics, the Baron and Baroness of Eldath hold a position of great favor in King Telman’s court, which may be the only reason that the Barony of Marjes has not attempted to reclaim what they consider their lands.
The Barony of Marjes: The sodden tracts of Marjes lay the in southern most section of the kingdom. These lands have long been held by the Marjes family, the last to acknowledge the Telman family king of Castros in 1710 CM, shortly before the fall of Operton. A proud and powerful family, the Marjes line can be traced back almost a thousand years to the first ruler, Archmage Velzun Marjes in 1489 CM.
The lands of Marjes are warm and soggy, plagued by insects and humid fog year round. Violent windstorms ravage the coastal regions, a product of the Southern Reach’s strong currents and unpredictable tides. Lightning storms are common inland, as the humid air mashes against the dryer air north of the Bitter Rapids River.
Marjes at one time covered all of the lands north of the Southern Reach to the Tablelands, but has since been reduced to the lands south of the Bitter Rapids River, west of the River Endin and east from the ruins of Triskelmeen. This geographical area is known as the Sunken Forest, a low rising terrain of hardy twisted bush and trees that have adapted to living in marshlands. The barony’s capital, the castle at Blackfort, rises from the swamp and rests along the coast of the Southern Reach, its walls are constantly recoated in tar to stave off the harsh salt winds.
People: Drab and dour best describe the residents of Marjes. Their harsh climate and bitter past have left the residents little to revere. Humans from these lands often have black, brown or red hair. Black and brown eyes are most common. The region boasts a high population of swamp elves, and small pockets of civilized trolls are known to dwell within the Blackforts walls. Thirvolans, Reg’Ostrans and Candari are also not an uncommon sight. Local residents often dress in utilitarian clothing, which may include wool, insect chitin, or tarred leather to shed moisture.
Government and Alignment: (Lordship: Barony, LE) The lands of Marjes are ruled by twin brothers Calwes and Zefnus Marjes, neither of which has produced an heir or has taken a wife. Rumored to have been sired by the union of a powerful devil and the late Baroness Isowi, these brothers have striking purple eyes and are always seen wearing cowls to cover their heads when in public. Feared by their people, the Marjes brothers rule the barony from the black tar walls of Blackfort with an iron edict.
Major Settlements: Marjes ranks 3rd overall within Castros in regards to population, most of its inhabitants live along the coast of the shores of the Southern Reach or along the regions two rivers. The largest cities of Marjes include the tar walled castle of Blackfort (Metropolis) Population: 28,007, the wind wracked island city of Salfang (Metropolis) Population: 30,480, the sheltered port of Janport (Large City) Population: 19,175, and the mushroom city of Deep Uvar (Large City) Population: 10,923.
Triskelmeen: (Ruins) The old capital of the elven kingdom of Vildarru, the sunken halls of Triskelmeen have lain untouched for centuries. Now home to a great Black Dragon known as Gildarrzimisk the Ravager, these ruins have become a popular place for adventurers and glory seekers. Aquatic trolls breed like rabbits in the swampy ruins, the remains of Grull’s mighty host that laid waste to Triskelmeen in 1010CM.
Religion: Marjes is home to many outlandish religions, while the Holy Five are worshiped by a large number of the barony’s residents, several of the less revered members of the Shattered Pantheon also have large followings. The Grey Halls, a temple dedicated to Mar, can be found in Salfang. A large church to Veneriz and Vaneriz called the Chitten Dome is located in Deep Uvar. The Forked Tower, a large spire where the worshipers of Calldarop gather, can be found at the Blackfort. The largest House of the Five is located in Janport.
Conflicts: The Barony of Marjes and Eldath teem at the edge of boiling (see the conflicts section for the Barony of Eldath), in addition to the tension between these two competing baronies the region is plagued by giant insects, hags, trolls, oozes and the occasional black dragon. It is said that deep within the Sunken Forest gates have been erected that connect the material plane to the Shadow’s Den from which devils have been known to wander into the surrounding swamp and forests.
Economy: Marjes ranks 6th in the kingdom for economic resources. Its major source of income is derived from its ports along the River Endin, chiefly Janport. In addition, the region is known for rare alchemical products and medicinal herbs, including; Dull Root, Firepods and Stump Peppers.
Relationships: Outside of the commonly known hatred between Marjes and Eldath, the barony maintains good relationships with the Dutchy of Ironhold. Its position within the court of King Telman can best be described as tolerance, and at worst suspicious.
The Sunder Coast Shires: The least populated, poorest, and most isolated region of Castros. The Sunder Coast Shires lay in the southeast corner of the Kingdom along the Briar Deep Ocean and the Castran Bay. These territories are under the protection of the Dutchy of Ironhold and in turn are subservient to the Castran crown. These rough and rugged lands have been settled since the beginning of Castran history by miners, farmers, hunters and tradesman.
The southern half of the Spine is a wet and temperate climate, populated with dense evergreen trees and countless small rivers. Cloudy skies, warm clear summers and wet winters are common. The region is home to various complex ecosystems of advanced mammals and reptiles. The coastal regions are home to countless species of birds and marine mammals, this area can have extreme tidal currents during the change of seasons from which the lands are named. Small scale seismic activity is not uncommon in Crass’Shire to the South, where the volcanic Roves of Crass push against their larger dormant brother the Spine Mountains to the North.
The Sunder Coast Shires are bounded by the lands of Ironhold to the north, just north of the city Bywater at the Castran Bay, the Briar Deep Ocean to the east, the volcanic Roves of Crass to the south and the Spine Mountains to the west.
People: The residents of these lands vary from shire to shire. Those from the icy lands of Rimeshire dress in furs and thick wool garments and tend to sport fair complexions, whereas those from Whimshire sport bright pleated clothing and wear gaudy jewelry, tending to wear their dark hair in braids and sport elaborate moustaches. Those from Bywater wear heavy leather aprons called chest capes, and weave ingots in their hair. Natives of Timbershire are almost never seen without a sheepskin hat, and those from Crass’Shire tend to have dark skin and eyes.
Government and Alignment: (Town Lordship: Reeves, Variable) The Sunder Coast Shires are ruled regionally by local Reeves appointed by Duke Farkus Jent and Duchess Aredula Jent of Ironhold. Whimshire (CG) is ruled by Reeve Alkeys Silvermane, a young and ambitious Thirvolan who heads the College of Winds, a famous bardic academy. Bywater (LN) is ruled by dwarven Reeve Skelvon Ten Rings, eldest clansman of the Ten Rings house and descendant of the royal family that once ruled the now ruined dwarfhold of Aaeriock Bor. Timbershire (CN) is governed by the cold and calculating Reeve Tender Quar, the longest tenured Reeve in the Sunder Cost Shires and nephew to Duke Farkus Jent. Crass’Shire (LG) is the seat of Reeve Marcelis Der’Ol and his lady Pendal Der’Ol, an aged couple recently appointed to their station due to their houses significant financial influence. Finally, Rimeshire (LN) is governed by Reeve Zandux Ridden, a wizard of great power and renown thought to have frost giant blood within his veins due to his icy blue complexion and startling azure hair. The aforementioned reeves serve at the pleasure of the Duke of Ironhold, emphasis has been historically placed on a reeve’s ability to control their region and provide revenue to the dutchy and crown.
Major Settlements: The Sunder Coast Shires ranks 7th overall within Castros in regards to population, most of its inhabitants live in the regions five major shires. The Shires include the regions unofficial capital, the city of laughter, Whimshire, known for its bardic and jester colleges (Small City) Population: 8,910, the dwarven mining and smith city of Bywater (Small City) Population: 5,302, the logging community of Timbershire with its carved palisades (Large Town) Population: 4,821, the volcanic hunter’s lodge of Crass’Shire (Large Town) Population 4,290 and the frozen heights of Rimeshire (Large Town) Population 3,422.
Religion: The various shires of these lands hold to their own religious views. Worship of the Five is very common in Whimshire and Bywater, being less common in the remaining shires. The largest temple in Rimeshire is the Frostburn Hall, a church dedicated to the worship of Daermonstrix. Whimshire hosts the Coven of Bar’Tolk, an auditorium dedicated to the god of sounds and echoes. Bywater houses the 1st Forge, a school of smiths who toil in the name of Forgaris. Timbershire is well known for their Green Lodge, a trophy house that revers Wark and Tall Heart. Lastly the lands of Crass’Shire are home to the Caldera, a burning temple dedicated to Infernis.
Conflicts: The Sunder Coast Shires are wilder then the more settled lands of Castros to the north and west, and as such they can be overly dangerous to travelers. Brigands are common along the regions less patrolled roads. Several mountain passes and long abandoned roads to Aaeriock Bor have been reported to be blockaded by bands of mountain giants and the occasional beholder of mind flayer. Beasts aside, the local reeves squabble little with each other, being mostly isolated and underfunded the regents find little time or cause to start a conflict.
Economy: The Sunder Coast Shires rank 7th in the kingdom for economic resources, being heavily taxed by the Dutchy of Ironhold leaves little for the people and local reeves to place within their own pockets. Nonetheless this area produces some high value products that are sought after throughout the kingdom and abroad. Steel, weapons, armor and finished metal products flow from the smithies of Bywater, as well as quarried stone and coal. Furs, timber, meat and processed animal goods are exported by Timbershire. Crass’Shire produces finished and unfinished glass and obsidian, as well as garnets, quartz and bloodstone jewelry. Rimeshire and its wizard reeve have developed a method for the transport of ice, which ensures the valuable luxury product reaches its destination without thawing.
Relationships: The various reeves of the Sunder Coast Shires are not part of King Telman’s court, they report to the court of Duke Jent at his capital in Ironhold. This creates what the common folk of Castros jokingly call the Beggar’s Court, and many wonder as to how the Duke instructs and commands his small fiefdom of servants. Some of the more pronounced barons of King Telman’s court call the Duke with his subcourt of reeves Little Castros. Otherwise the local reeves of the Sunder Coast Shires have little in the way of relationships with the royal rulers.