The World as We Know It:
The Duchy of the Sutherlands is divided into six Baronies that are subject to the Duke’s rule. Each individual Barony is ruled by a Baron or Baroness and an accompanying noble court entrusted with the protection and expansion of the Duchy. Below you find information available to all common folk of the Sutherlands.
West of the mountains of Sudbyr, northwest of the heart of the Duchy proper lay the lands of Darkholme. Bound in the west by the Sea of Tears and north by the River Treylon, this Barony was initially settled by His Majesty’s finest elite troops, their families, and those brave few willing to settle the uncharted lands so far to the west. In the short time they have had to establish a presence, their realm of influence has rapidly grown, attracting locals desiring their protection. Strict adherence to the Duchy’s laws is accomplished with brutal examples made of those that would go against the Will of the Baron or Duke. Military rule has been the key to their success, as almost every political figure is a decorated soldier. This strict adherence to martial law enforces a strict hierarchy amongst the troops and people of the Barony, such that many find them fanatical to the point of extremism. It is because of this fanatical nature that those who challenge the Barony soon fear the sight of those adorned in tabards of black and gold. Cut off from the niceties of more comfortable civilization, it is a place that those with military ambition and expertise thrive.
Though the expanse that Darkholme covers is vast, much of it is harsh to live within – from the Barrow Downs in the south to the edge of the desolate Wastelands in the north. Darkholme’s scouts have encountered many small towns and villages that dot the landscape, some inhabiting the ruins of a long forgotten civilization and others little more than tent cities of nomadic tribes that existed in the area before the Baron and his people arrived. One thing is clear of all the people that make these lands their home – all have strong survival instincts, instincts that tend to take precedent over morals or ethics.
Port O’Sonya — The Baron, upon landing on the shore of the Sea of Tears, founded his capital at the mouth of the River Treylon due to its natural harbor and capable defensive position. The city was further reinforced by the construction of massive stone fortifications and a citadel perched high above the city, from which the Baron rules. The proximity of the city to the well-known trade syndicate, the Grey Keep, has enabled it to grow rapidly as the trade hub of the Western Sutherlands. Small, shallow draft vessels built by Sea Elven craftsmen come and go from the harbor under the watchful eye of the Western Fleet. Other ships move slowly through the city via the River Treylon, utilizing a series of well-guarded barrier locks to protect access to the city proper. Each barrier lock is named with such monikers as Highgate, Low Wall, Firebreak, and Goldwatch. These identifiers were initially given as the name of the post’s location on the river, but later for the taverns that sprung up along the river banks as trade rapidly fueled growth. This helped to produce a city full of residents that are diverse and salty, a hearty mix of seafaring traders and military personnel. While dominated by a large human population – members of every race can be found in this diverse city. The strong and ruthless will always find a home here.
Shortly after the Duke established the initial foothold in the Sutherlands at La Rochelle, the Admiralty of Orbonne was tasked with the transport and protection of thousands of troops and colonists to the Northern continent across the treacherous seas. While a small fleet headed West to settle Darkholme through the Sea of Tears, the vast majority of the people, supplies, and beasts of burden were brought east across the Sea of Arganea and through the Galeon Ocean to make landfall. The task complete, Duke Timothy ordered the Baron to protect the Eastern coast of the Duchy, providing the remaining ships and manpower to do so. Having selected the largest barrier island central to the Duchy, the capital of New Eit was founded on a bluff, granting a wide view of the ocean in all directions. Pragmatic in the choice of baronial colors, the Baron kept the green and black of the Orbonnian navy for the new Isles d’Honig. These colors are seen throughout the waters of the Galeon Ocean flying high over massive man-o-wars, heavily armed war ships, and swift sloops patrolling north and south along the coastline and through the island chain – ensuring the primary trade route between the Duchy and the Kingdom of Orbonne remains open.
As the sun rises across the waters of the Isles, so too does its golden halo begin to shine across the Duchy. The archipelago the Barony lays claim to is vast, with few of the islands inhabited by more than small fishing villages, leaving much of the realm yet unexplored. Such unexplored territory enables pirates to ply their trade away from the watchful eye of the Eastern Fleet – those merchant vessels that stray too far from the protection of the Barony soon find their cargos and possibly even their lives lost to piracy.
While many of its citizens make their living as part of the military, the Isles has attracted a large mix of peoples of all races and walks of life. Owing to its Orbonnian ancestry, the majority of its people are Human, although sea elves make up the most sizable minority. In the time that the Isles have been established, the citizens have developed a deep love for the beauty of the lands and waters. Banishment is said to the crueler than death to an Islesman.
New Eit – According to legend, the Knightly Order from which the Duke chose his guardsmen can trace their lineage back to this place. How this is possible, no one knows, but their name existed before the archipelago was settled. New Eit was initially established as a fortress on a high bluff overlooking the ocean. The early wooden fortifications of years past have been replaced by a massive limestone walled metropolis containing a variety of one or two-storied stone homes near the towering palace and winding down the bluff to the harbor where wooden warehouses flank the largest open air marketplace in the Sutherlands. Anything can be bought here, for the right price. The noise of the marketplace and its bustling inhabitants during the day can be confusing and disorienting to visitors but it is here that skilled sailors, fishermen, and merchants of the Isles are able to ply their wares.
Lanterns line the streets providing ample light for the visitor and resident alike while Honig’s Watchtower – a lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula, stretching out on the east side of the bay – rotates its mirrored lights through the night, calling the sailors home to the open arms of the capital. At night, one might think that the only export of the Barony is rum, due to the loud singing and stumbling men and women in the streets below. The nightlife in New Eit is legendary with more taverns located on its wharf than all the other Barony’s combined – each with its own story, barkeep, and entertainment – from dancing gypsies to bards singing bawdy tales.
Covering the southern plains of the Duchy, La Rochelle is a grand, flat farmland and is potentially the largest breadbasket of the Kingdom. It was the first place settled by the Duke but still remains amongst the most wild. After the settlement of Tiksylvan was established the Duke quickly began a dangerous foray and reconnaissance mission inland. Many settlers lacking in martial skill remained here as a result. This land is bordered by primitive nomadic tribes, as well as large populations of raiding orcs, goblins, and uncivilized men. Many of Timothy’s recruited Knights cast off the moniker of d’Eit to remain behind and protect these agrarian and trade-oriented people from the potentially volatile natives. The proximity of the goblinoids, orcs, and barbarians has forced the people here to always be ready to defend each others’ land. This has fostered a reliance of neighborly behavior, and some of the Duchy’s finest citizen-soldiers hail from here. The population is almost exclusively human, with other races being the significant minority. This is largely as result of other races venturing inland at the Duke’s command to settle other lands. They are certainly not xenophobic however, anyone who skilled with a plow, a hammer, or a sword is warmly welcomed within the lands of La Rochelle. They’ve even managed to make peace and consistent trade with many of the orcs in the area and many travelers are surprised to find bands of orcs on the road have no intention of attacking them. The Barony is a testament to common folk who have been given a second chance. Hospitality and generosity is what defines these people.
Tiksylvan– The capital city of Tiksylvan stands testament to the humble people of La Rochelle. It is an expansive, sprawling city with nested walls that expand well outside of its natural borders. Many hectare of farmland are protected by its immense concentric stone rings. Woe be to the invading army that would siege it; they would certainly starve before the inhabitants would stop eating fresh bread. Its citizens have worked hard to establish their place among the growing Duchy of the Sutherlands, and most enjoy a comfortable life generated by the fruits of their own labor. Tiksylvan counts many farmers amongst its people due to the fertile soil and ready access to water via the many irrigation works inside and outside the city. Trade is generally unregulated as the populace believes everyone will pay their fair share, and they do enforce it, albeit socially. Once an individual gains a reputation here, positive or negative, it is not easily lost. Knights, gypsies, farmers, tradesmen of all skills, orcs, goblins, barbarians, and multi-generational adventurers come from here. A large majority can trace their lineage back to the settlers that helped found the Barony. Community leaders tend to rise to political position because of their ethical and hard-working nature. Tikslyan tends to generate fair, humble, and honest folk; people who believe in small community values that benefit the majority.
From gently rolling hills and verdant plains, to the treacherous Ulk Mountains and glimmering coast, Rossanoe is a place for many different races and peoples. Despite the beautiful terrain, danger is easily found in the nomadic tribes of barbarians that roam the northern plains and the giants that come down from the mountains. Because of the threat these raiders represent, the people here embody the traditional feudal society of service, although this service is more often to merchants than nobility. In exchange for their crops and products, the common man is given the opportunity to work and live on land closer to the cities and their military forces. Every action taken is in support of this system of service and protection. These ideals of service often lead to skilled warriors becoming honor-driven cavaliers, or even seeking Knighthood in oath to the nobility of Rossanoe. The people here tend to live their lives within either the opulent walls of the capital or the rolling plains of the surrounding lands. Citizens from the more civilized areas tend to believe “everything is for sale” and have a knack for crafting and trade, and a drive to excel in whatever area they choose. As one moves further into the open plains, however, the people become more free spirited. The nomadic tribes shun the ideals of service and civilization, believing instead in the strength of the family and the ability to survive without sacrificing personal freedom. A warrior must tend to his own horse, his own family, his own needs, and he is able to roam wherever he may choose. To the northernmost border, the mountains are home to dwarven clans who tend to keep their own counsel, with massive doors barring all entry. Favored traders will arrive with dwarven goods, but none directly from the clans.
Trestar- The capital of Rossanoe, and the so-called “jewel of the plains”, the strength and height of Trestar’s gleaming white walls are a thing of legend. Clustered trading posts cling to the outer walls, selling goods to the peasantry, and the river harbor is filled with trade vessels loading and unloading their goods. The population here is primarily human, with a smaller number of elves and dwarves beloved for their fine crafting abilities. Wealthy merchants bring the products of their vassals to sell inside the walls, while those unable to do so ply their trade outside. Amongst the trade shacks outside the walls, one can find all manner of simple taverns and entertainers attempting to draw buyers to their area of the town. Despite the inequality, the common folk who travel to the walls of Trestar are able to enjoy themselves. One of the biggest celebrations held is for the famed cavalry guard of Rossanoe. When the mounted soldiers ride forth from the city wearing the blue and white colors of the Barony, the masses huddle on the edges of the roads with flowers and other gifts for the soldiers. Upon their return, the soldiers are met with no less praise. Within the city, gilded entryways and fanciful musicians greet the elite citizenry of Rossanoe, trying to draw their interest in the most decadent goods money can buy. Wines, furs, exotic plants, and nearly every luxury may be found by those willing to look, through both legal and illegal means; money is always the key. Rumor has it that an extensive black market operates within the city, and they take their own toll from the merchants who trade inside the walls.
Between the swamps of Sudbyr and the plains of Rossanoe stands a lush forest. This forest and the surrounding lands make up the Barony of Sahde. While many would claim their own lands to be the most beautiful, Sahde is home to such peaceful and natural wonders that few can rightly challenge it. Sahde boasts the largest population of elves in the Duchy of the Sutherlands and the effects that has on the lands are pronounced. Mortal works are often made to seem like a natural extension of the land, coexisting with nature rather than replacing it. Fey and other creatures close to nature can often be found in greater abundance in Sahde than anywhere else in the Duchy. The people of Sahde are likewise influenced by their elven population, as they are often perfectionists to the extreme. Goods and services produced in Sahde are often slower to be completed, but are of such astounding quality or artistry that few would dare to complain.
Those who underestimate the people of Sahde as being weak, or focused on art instead of practical matters, are swiftly put in their place. The soldiers and heroes from Sahde bring their perfectionist attitude to their martial skills as well, over time producing highly skilled warriors and mages. These skills are in high demand in Sahde, for while the land may be beautiful, dark and dangerous things live in the shadows off the beaten path. While other baronies may face danger from masses of angry goblinoids or undead, nowhere in the Sutherlands contains as many creatures of magical origin as the forests of Sahde. Some say this is because of old fey magic deep in the woods, but one thing is clear; while others may stand brave in the face of danger or war, the citizens of Sahde are the ones most accustomed to the strange and mystical…
Parc Foret – Deep within the woods of Sahde, all roads lead to the magnificent city of Parc Foret. The walls of the city strike a chord between the natural and the man-made, artistic ivy and climbing roses rise up the solid stone walls to combine protection and beauty. Atop the wall stand sentinels wearing tabards the color of burgundy and black, with bows ready to strike down any threats that arise. Upon entering the city walls, visitors are often struck by the perfect combination of form and function within the city. Every surface is a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of the elves, and yet no embellishment interrupts the purpose of any structure. The citizens move about their day with practiced ease, applying their skills to improve their own lives and the city. Music is common in Parc Foret, be it a lute played in a tavern, or a flutist blowing an idle tune. The people of Parc Foret are often stand-offish with new arrivals, waiting to see how well the traveler would fit in with their lifestyle. Soon enough, however, a newcomer will find the people of Parc Foret to be friendly conversationalists, enjoying discussion on a wide variety of topics. In their idle time, the people of Parc Foret often engage in philosophical debate, and these debates often end only with more questions to be pondered. Often times, those who choose to leave the city have questions about life or the world they wish answered, setting them on a road to adventure. For those whose destiny calls them to greater deeds, they find themselves travelling south, and as the forests begin to thin, the small crossroads of Clanthia comes into view.
The people of Sudbyr reflect the lands: harsh and somber. Primarily made of swamps and mountains, Sudbyr was a difficult land to settle in. Where others would find merely struggle and hunger, the Sudbyrians manage to do more than simply survive–they thrived. Sudbyr is a land where only the strong survive, and the harsh necessities of their daily life is seen in the everyday attitude of the citizens and heroes who live there. Citizens of Sudbyr are known to be courageous in the face of danger, and pragmatic to the extreme. One would not be too far off to think that the motto of the Barony is “the ends justify the means”. A Sudbyrian is as likely to aid a wounded traveler, as she is to kill him if it will improve the odds of the traveler’s companions reaching their destination. Undeath is rarely seen as a moral evil in Sudbyr, but rather an efficient use of resources. Not all Sudbyrians are necromancers, however, and Sudbyrians value their pride and self-reliance above all, and bend knee to no living or undead being but their Baron, and Duke. These values have drawn many of the more independent races to Sudbyr, such as orcs, dark dwarves, and fendari, but anyone who respects strength, hard work, and results will find a home in Sudbyr. Those who cannot stand on their own, had best learn to crawl.
Marce – The city of Marce stands tall and imposing, be it day or night. Simple, grey stone walls rise into the sky, adorned with black and silver pennants at regular intervals. Outside the city, between the western wall and the nearby mountain range, the sound of wood and steel slamming together can be heard as soldiers run drills and weapon training. The walls are well maintained and well garrisoned, and many orcish warriors are often seen throughout the city and on her walls. The population is very mixed, the most diverse of any Barony, with the narrow majority being human, but large populations of just about any race can be found here. Dwarves, drae, dark dwarves, orcs and others all make their home here in sizeable numbers. The city itself is practical and orderly, as the citizens go about their day calmly and with little fanfare. Travelers often think that there is little entertainment to be found in Marce, but they simply don’t know where to look. Sudbyrians appreciate a good time as much as anyone, but they like to ensure it doesn’t interfere with the operations of the city.
If any constructive criticism could be leveled at the Barony it would be of their fondness for bureaucracy. An outsider that has not proved their worth to a political official will find a wall of red tape awaiting them if they try and operate outside of established norms for visitors. The mayor would sooner turn away trade then establish relations with a weak individual. Part of making a living here is being able to navigate the complex rules that regulate their markets. All strength is respected equally here. Expect to lose the entire contents of your money purse if you aren’t prepared to haggle before visiting the Bazaar.
Away from the main military and merchant quarters of the city, pockets of livelihood can be found – taverns with music and games, feats of strength and combat, and plenty besides. No matter where one is, however, the sight of men in black and silver tabards draws quiet respect from the people of Marce. The citizens hold great esteem for those who serve in Sudbyr’s military, to stand against the horrors in the dark swamps just outside their doors. If strength and courage are necessities in Sudbyr, these military men and women are grim examples of everything the people strive for: power, discipline, and efficiency. These values make for strong heroes and ruthless villains, and those who truly take them to heart may someday travel to the gathering of Clanthia, and begin to write their name into the annals of history.
Outsiders – You do not have to be from one of the many baronies, there are lands outside here. Those in a barony enjoy the protection its nobles and forces can offer. Clanthia is a dangerous city for sure and often time laws only apply is someone is watching!
Additionally for New Players: New players should seek out the Baron/Baroness or Seneschal of a Barony if they want to be an official citizen of that Barony. This is an in-play process and can be one of your first goals as a new character. Simply ask around town, in play, as your character, and go with it.
The information contained in this page is considered In-Play and may be used as such.