ę 1995 G Adamson


The Valorn Empire 2

Faerieland 4

Arial 6

Tainrearg 8

Mereth 11

Allemaren 13

The Aelin Empire 15

Khosala 17

The Anghain 21

The Valorn Empire: Kingdom of chivalry

Faerieland: Kingdom of the elves

Tainrearg: World leader in commerce

Arial: Forest land of the ghelflings

* The Southern Principalities of Tainrearg: Scattered remnants of a once-mighty empire

Khosala: Desert land of the nomads

* Niflheim: Kingdom of the night elves - King Nethrin; Zealia: much weaponsmithing;

* The Hold of Romen: Mountain realm of the dwarves

Allemaren: Leading the renaissance

Aelin Empire: Empire of strange customs

* Mereth: Matriarchal lake republic

* Gaunt

* Gline

* Yondelle

The Anghain: Horse people

* The Isle of Dreams: A myth

* Still to be completed.

The Valorn Empire
Capital city: Lomar
Major cities and towns: Lahrn, Ivrin, Tarimas, Talath, Jasmin, Dryze
Political system: Feudal monarchy; nobles give their fealty to the King, who rules absolutely, usually with one or more advisors. The nobles rule their demesnes with little interference from the King, provided they pay their taxes.
Races: Predominantly human, with a minority of elven traders and scholars
Languages: Common
Predominant alignment: LN
Ruler: His Imperial Majesty, King Nivrim Darion (LG) (4847 to present), who had been regent in place of Idriel TaleÚn, until she was deposed (in absentia) because of a technicality. Previous rulers were Cromar Nerval (4833-4847), and Lorgin Destrarn (4815-4833). In the question of succession, blood comes first, then the stronger contender. If the only heir is female, she must marry or forfeit the crown.
Justice and the law: Nobles are less subject to the law than commoners, but justice is meted out quickly and harshly. The law is fair within one's station, so any commoner can expect the same treatment as any other. The law tends to the letter rather than the spirit.
Allies: No specific allies, but trade agreements with Faerieland and Tainrearg.
Foes: No specific foes, aside from raiding pirates. Many nobles conduct feuds with each other.
State Religion: The state religion is the worship of Araforn, but religious tolerance is exercised. The religions of Tarnis and Farath are well thought of, especially among soldiers.
Common religions: Araforn, Tarnis, Farath, Storm.
Resources and economy: Mining, especially in the south, furs, wheat and corn (in the west), worked metal (weapons especially). The country is self-sufficient, but trades with Faerieland for luxuries like fine cloth, ornaments and fine wines, and with Tainrearg for human resources like artisans and textiles.
Terrain: The terrain varies from rolling grasslands in the west, east and north, to mountains and hills in the south. There is a fair amount of forest, mainly to the north (Coldwood), and along the midlands (Lurin Forest), tending to forested hills further south, toward the Troll Mountains. There are some small marshes along the coasts of Lake Lurin.
Climate: Valorn falls in a cold to mild temperate area. The northern parts have mild summers and freezing winters, the southern parts tend toward cold to mild winters and warm summers. Rain is common in summer, especially in those areas near Lake Lurin, and snow in winter is frequent. This makes the southern parts of Valorn very suitable for agriculture.
Population commentary: Valorians generally tend to be honourable and chivalrous. Poor treatment of women is severely frowned upon, but conversely, women are not afforded many of the opportunities that men are. Most people are organised and neat, and polite to strangers. Physically, most Valorians are fair skinned with slender to medium builds. Dark, black or red straight hair predominates, with pale green, blue or grey eyes. Hair is usually worn short, and men are clean shaven. Most Valorians wear simple, coarse-woven clothing because Valorn doesn't have a very advanced textile industry and cloth from Tainrearg and Faerieland tends to be expensive. Most shoes are simple pieces of hide, roughly sewn or tied. Nobility, however, usually wear the best fabrics available (almost always made from imported cloth), typically in styles that may seem slightly archaic to traveller from other countries.
Customs: It is customary in rural areas of Valorn for nobles to provide hospitality to noble-born or distinguished travellers. Typically serfs will direct such travellers to the nearest lord rather than provide this hospitality themselves, but they will open their homes to poorer travellers. It is customary to always wait to be invited into a home. This custom developed from stories of vampires who allegedly cannot enter without the permission of the homeowner.
Buildings Buildings in mid- and southern Valorn are made of stone, while further north, timber predominates, because of the easy availability and insulating properties of wood. Serfs' homes are typically built of rough stone, with sod or wooden roofs. Within cities, buildings are usually made of stone for the first or second storey, with wood for the rest, and timber or slate roofs. Very few buildings exceed three storeys high. Nobles and wealthy landowners usually have stone castles or manor houses, with timber or slate roofs. Inhabited castles are usually large and elaborate, many with a mixture of styles, but there are also a great number of ruined or uninhabited castles, most of the motte-and-bailey style or simple keeps. The seat of the Empire resides in Kinniver castle, a massive, impregnable castle built on a basalt island in the Great Eastern River, close to the eastern shores of Lake Lurin, in the capital, Lomar.
Military notes: Valorn has a fairly large army, backed up by the elite Knights of Valorn. Although the army uses fairly conventional tactics, they are well trained, especially in mass movements. Valorn's navy is small, but well equipped.
Notable personalities: Ulworth, Advisor to the Throne, is an elderly sorcerer, who is devoted to the throne. Vandalor Darion, uncle of King Nivrim Darion, is rumoured to be the father of Abu-Ska, the man who died in prison in Tainrearg and is thought to be one of the causes of the downfall of King Ereneth of Tainrearg.

Capital city: Frost
Major cities and towns: Celowin, Litwar, Seatown, Scaith, Rilidale.
Political divisions: Faerieland is divided into a number of hereditary counties: Unŕr, Waric, Crystal, Umbra, Celowin, Moonwood, Border, Gallows, Ril, Luin, and Northfalk
Races: Almost entirely elves, with some humans and ghelflings.
Languages: Mainly elvish, but all citizens know Common, and will speak Common to non-elves.
Predominant alignment: N, tending to NG
Ruler: Her Radiance, Queen Serene MilanÚ (N?) (4848 to present). The previous ruler, King Glorfindel Anduin, who ruled from 4833 to 4848, died in mysterious circumstances. Previous rulers were the pyromancer queen, Queen Arienthul Arkenstone (4815 - 4833), who died in the Arak War, her sister Queen Celestia Culwen (4796 - 4815), who abdicated, and King Rolońr Deepwood (4635 - 4796), who died of old age.
Justice and the law: While there aren't many laws, the laws that exist are enforced harshly. Most laws involve penalties against harming other citizens, or crimes against nature. Non-citizens have fewer rights than citizens, and the law tends to be stricter with non-citizens. There are no human citizens. The death penalty (by sword) is typical for murder, loss of a hand or eye for theft. Some penalties may seem rather extreme to non-elves, like the loss of a hand for destroying a tree, or death (by burning) for the burning of a forest.
Political system: Feudal monarchy; nobles give their fealty to the ruler, who rules with the cooperation of the council of nobles (who have advisory powers only). The nobles rule their demesnes with little interference. Rulers are tolerated only as long as they act in the best interests of their subjects. The King or Queen is usually selected by the incumbent to succeed him or her.
Allies: Trading agreements with Valorn and Tainrearg.
Foes: None
State Religion: No state religion. Places of worship are often used as places of learning and knowledge.
Common religions: Celebdil, Calorn, Ariens˙l, Rothelm, MiŰlyn, Vidhbh, and, to a lesser degree, Malac and Farath.
Resources and economy: Wine (in the south) and mead, jewellery, gems and precious metals (mined in the east), works of art, furniture, finely crafted weapons and armour (especially chain). Faerieland is renowned as a leader in magical research, and magical items and books from Faerieland are sought after in many countries.
Terrain: Mostly forested, especially to the east and south, with some hills to the north-west, the Spine to the east, and frozen hills and plains to the north.
Climate: Faerieland is freezing most of the year, warming to merely cold or chilly during summer months. Blizzards are common during winter, as are cutting winds. Spring is characterised by freezing sleet.
Population commentary: The elven Faeriefolk tend to be hostile or, at best, neutral toward humans and especially dwarves until they are well known. This makes the elves seem very cold and aloof to outsiders, but amongst themselves they are a gentle and easy-going race, fond of having a good time. Elves in Frost tend to be a bit more cosmopolitan. Physically, the elves are short and slender. They have hair that is black, brown, white, silver, gold, red or orange in colour, always straight, and wear it short or long styles. Elves have no facial hair, and always have very fair, clear complexions which don't tan to any significant degree. Their eyes can be various shades of blue, green, grey or purple. Humans found in Faerieland tend to the characteristics of Valorians (to the west and north) or Tainrargans (to the east and south).
Buildings: Dwellings in most parts of rural Faerieland are organic, coaxed from living trees over generations. Many in the forests of Faerieland simply cannot be found, because they blend so well with the surroundings. Having buildings of living wood can protect the people from the bitter cold, as well as satisfying the elven love of nature. Houses to the far north, in Lansen, Celowin, and Medhbh, tend to be made of ornately carved timbers, because of the lack of suitable numbers of living trees in those areas. The city of Frost, however, has buildings made largely of white stone or marble, with many elaborate, beautiful spires.
Military notes: Faerieland has relatively small, but very well trained, well equipped and flexible army. Faerieland's archers are very well known for their accuracy, and the Faeriefolk are also well known for their military intelligence.
Notable personalities: The Archmage, Celestia Culwen, rules Celowin County, and is rumoured to live somewhere within Faerieland.

Capital city: Cail
Major cities and towns: Olorţn, Dragon Village
Political system: Arial has no rigid political system. The king is basically a figurehead for negotiations with other countries. There are village elders, who act more as repositories of wisdom than as rulers. Inhabitants of Arial are generally kept in line only by peer pressure, and are expected to uphold basic rights themselves.
Races: Mostly ghelflings, with some halflings, and a few elves (mainly in the north).
Languages: Mainly elvish, although Common is widely spoken too.
Predominant alignment: CG
Ruler: King Lirriwi SilwŰ (4823 to present), who rules only as a representative of Arial because other countries expect a single leader. No-one can remember who the previous king was (it was too long ago for humans, and the ghelflings don't care).
Justice and the law: All citizens of Arial consider it their duty to enforce the law when and where appropriate. Punishment often consists of being ignored by other people (the ghelflings consider this terribly cruel) for minor infractions, and exile for serious crimes, like theft or murder. If the criminal resists punishment, any citizen is prepared to enforce the "law" at arrow-point. In cases where there is a dispute on facts, village elders are called upon to mediate. Arialites have no compunction about dealing very harshly with those that commit crimes against them.
Political divisions: None.
Allies: Although Arial has no formal allies or trading partners, there is a great deal of informal trading with Tainrearg and Faerieland.
Foes: None (Arial as a country has no real value to potential conquerors).
State Religion: No state religion. Temples (to any deity) are regarded as places of entertainment and merry-making.
Common religions: Calorn, Malac, Mielyn, Celebdil, Vidhbh, and HolinnŰ.
Resources and economy: Arial's dwellers are generally self-sufficient, sharing the fruits of their labours freely with others, knowing they can expect the same. Musical instruments from Faerieland, and expensive beverages from Tainrearg are popular trade items.
Terrain: Arial is completely forested, with rolling hills and mountains to the east. There are very few large open areas.
Climate: Arial is cold most of the year, warming somewhat in summer. The perpetual tree-cover has tempered extremes of temperature and precipitation.
Population commentary: The ghelflings are a very isolated race, so they tend to be very curious about any visitors. They don't appreciate others disturbing their environment though, and will react fiercely to any threat on themselves or their homes. Amongst themselves they are a very sharing race -- most of them don't really understand the concept of money, because they share everything with each other. A musician, for example, shares his music with the community, a baker will bake bread for others, a scholar shares his knowledge, and so on. Children, the infirm and the aged are not expected to contribute to the community, and are looked after. Ghelflings are usually very hospitable to strangers or travellers, but those that betray their trust are dealt with harshly. The ghelflings live in very small communities scattered all over Arial, usually numbering no more than a few hundred citizens each. Even Cail, the capital of Arial, would to be classified as a small town anywhere else.

Physically, ghelflings are small and delicate-looking. Most have black or dark brown hair, always straight, although red or silvery hair is not unknown. Eyes tend to be bright blue or green, and they have fair complexions.

Customs: Arialites consider it important to have a feast in honour of almost any occasion: they will have a feast at the birth of a child, birthdays, arrival of a traveller, departure of a traveller, or almost any other chance they get.
Buildings: The ghelflings live in homes made from the living wood of the trees, often high up in the branches, or in small networks of caves (especially to the east, near the mountains). They have very few 'buildings' as such. Cail is somewhat of a tree city, with more than half the population of Cail living in the trees.
Military notes: Arial has no formal military force. All citizens are trained in the use of weapons (typically bow and spear) for hunting purposes, and all will participate in defence of their communities if the need exists. Very few marauders would attack an Arialite community: a defending force that moves silently and invisibly through the trees armed with deadly bows makes a terrible foe.
Notable personalities:  

Capital city: Istari
Major cities and towns: Ilbree, Rancorin, Teomar, Hewport, Estmar, Highport, Low Cay, Matal, Menel, Mylar, Finla, Nerow, Varda, River Cay, Devinn, Giantn, Eliador, Formar.
Political divisions: Tainrearg consists of a number of states with loosely defined borders. The areas south of the Iron Hills are largely unorganised. There are a number of free cities (Hewport, Teomar, River Cay, and Giantn) which do not fall under any state. Each state is governed by a titled noble called a seneschal, who answers to the king. Each state has its own parliament. The states are: Istarin, Rancorin, Rudan, Samar, North Aginou, Aginou, Edianin, Estrai, The Mark, Tairol, and Finla.
Races: Predominantly human, with a few ghelflings, halflings and dwarves. There is a shrinking minority of elves, mainly merchants in the counties of Rancorin, Istari, and parts of Rudan.
Languages: Common, with some variations in dialect.
Predominant alignment: LN, tending to LG.
Ruler: King Devar Anguin, "Ta'larin" (Elvish for "Bright Blade") (4848 to present). He claims to be the last surviving heir of King Baruin the Just, who was slain during the Arak War. Despite offering no conclusive proof of his lineage, his claim to the throne was supported by the major banking houses, various merchants and nobles, and the Mages' Guild. He is very wealthy in his own right, and it is rumoured that he has an outside sponsor. The previous ruler was Ereneth Dragonbane (4833-4848), who abdicated on the basis of Anguin's claim. He and various of his supporters (especially the Grand Marshal, Freehand, who escaped from prison), are being sought for high treason. Ereneth, as the most senior noble, was elected king after the death of Baruin the Just, who died in the Arak war in 4832 without issue, but when he mysteriously disappeared for ten years, Grand Marshal Freehand ruled Tainrearg in his place from 4833 to 4843. Prior to King Ereneth's ascension, King Baruin the Just had ruled from 4828 after the death of his father, King Lorgin Destrarn III.
Justice and the law: Each state is responsible for its own affairs, appealing to the king only in unusual circumstances. Mayors and magistrates answer to the seneschals, who in turn answer to the king's magistrate or to the king himself. In theory, the king is subject to the law. The clergy are largely exempt from the law, answering to their own legal systems. All men are supposedly equal before the law, but in practice the wealthy and the nobility are favoured. Those accused of crimes are generally considered guilty until proven innocent, although considerable leniency is allowed regarding proof of innocence. Penalties range from fines, beatings, and imprisonment for lesser crimes to death or outlawing for major crimes.
Political system: The king and his advisors pay credence to the Low House (a parliament of commoners and the middle class) and the High House (composed of nobility and the very wealthy), although final authority rests with the king. Regionally, a similar system operates, the seneschal having the authority. At city or district level, many systems abound, such as town councils, mayors, elected citizens, magistrates, and others, all answerable (in theory) to the seneschal and state parliament. Under the current king, this system is in danger of breaking down in favour of an absolute feudal monarchy. In remote areas, true serfdom still abounds, although elsewhere landed peasantry pay rent and are considered free. In the cities, guilds are prominent, and the merchant class is rapidly expanding.
Allies: Tainrearg has trading agreements with Valorn and Faerieland, and to a lesser extent, with Romen, Niflheim, and Allemaren.
Foes: No specific foes, but relations with the Southern Principality are very strained, if not hostile. Also, relations with Khosala are somewhat strained since the Khosalan ambassador was brutally murdered at a Tainrearg court ball in 4847.
State Religion: No state religion, and freedom of worship is allowed.
Common religions: Large followings of Araforn, Cabisse, Storm, and the Holy One. Smaller followings of Malac, Calorn, and Mielyn (especially in Rudan). The worship of the Holy Father/Mother is growing in wealth and influence in eastern Tainrearg, under the nominal authority of the Holy Seat in Tarenne (Allemaren). Clad in yellow, fanatical priests, known as Guardians of the Source (or Buttercups), are proselytising and spreading the faith.
Resources and economy: Mining, in iron, silver, and some gold, timber, wheat and cereals, livestock, ship building. Tainrearg is self-sufficient, and reasonably wealthy. Trade, both internally and with neighbouring countries, is expanding. Major trade centres are growing, and the merchant fleet is very active. Manufactured goods, mainly textiles and metal goods, are exported, and Tainrargan artisans are much in demand. Inflation and currency debasement, coupled with worsening conditions in the poor and disorganised south, however, have resulted in increasing tolls, fines, levies, and a tax rate that varies between 20 to 80%.
Terrain: Forested in the north and east, with open grasslands in the central parts. There are many hills and mountains toward the Spine in the east. The southern region of Tainrearg tends to be arid steppe, with some fertile regions scattered around.
Climate: Cold temperate in the north, warming to temperate in the central regions. The south is warm to hot. Snow in winter and a high rainfall are characteristic of the northern and central parts, with less rain the further south one goes.
Population commentary: Tainrearg was originally a confederation of states, and the populace still retains regional heritages:

Rancorans tend to be more reserved and cultured, because of a strong elvish influence;

North Aginoux and Aginoux are passionate and quick to emotion;

Istarins are cosmopolitan, and somewhat suspicious;

Rudanians are passionate and hospitable;

Samarans are typical mining stock, grim and dour;

Tairolans and Estraians are cheerful, conservative, and stubborn, and appear somewhat slow;

Edianins and The Markers are farming stock, close to the earth, and very hospitable; those from the south of Tainrearg are typically hard, grim, and very clannish.

Physically, most Tainrargans have fair to ruddy skin, medium to stocky build, light coloured hair, usually longish, green, grey, brown or blue eyes, and are usually clean-shaven (in north-western Tainrearg a common combination is blonde hair and brown eyes); further south, darker skin and beards become more common. Tainrearg is quite a patriarchal country, so very few women are found in positions of power (certainly it is inconceivable that a women could become a seneschal or rule the country).

Clothing tends to be functional: tunic and breeches or dresses, usually of wool or cotton. The more well-to-do wear similar styles, with made of finer materials and more ornate. In larger cities, varieties of styles abound.

Customs: Weapons larger than daggers are not allowed in many cities, by law being required to be handed in or sealed with wire and lead.
Buildings: Tainrargan buildings are mainly half-timbered and plastered north and east of the Blight. Larger cities, particularly Istari, have walls and buildings of stone as well. Almost all buildings in Rudan are of wood, ornately decorated. Further south, where wood is more scarce, structures tend to have a higher stone content, and thus are also fairly squat, while buildings further north are higher and more graceful.
Military notes: Tainrearg has a medium-sized well-trained, professional army. It can, in addition to the army, also call on various knightly orders, most notably the Order of Deepsnow. There are some elite 'ranger' units, composed of rangers and woodsmen. The navy is well-equipped and trained, though small.
Notable personalities: Ereneth Dragonbane, outlawed, is somewhere in Tainrearg. Freehand, until recently the Grand Marshal, is outlawed, and is rumoured to be somewhere in the depths of the High Forest to the east. The Archmage, Celestia Culwen, is rumoured to live somewhere within the mountains on the eastern borders of Tainrearg.
Notable features: Istari: Notable mainly for its size, it is very large and sprawling. It's a relatively young city which developed from a trading nexus, and has been the capital for only a couple of hundred years. There is an imposing castle in the centre of Istari, and also notable is the Tower of Wizardry, a large spiralling tower with the university around it. There are many temples and statues, and buildings tend to be adorned with statues of historical personages.

Matal: has a well-known "Crystal Bridge" across the Matal River, supposedly made of a single piece of quartz or milky-white crystal in ages past.

Rancorin: Rancorin is a beautiful city, and was the old capital of the first confederation.

The High Forest: The High Forest is wild and untamed, full of strange creatures and dangerous monsters. Settlements and farms tend to be along the edges or on major roads, which are well patrolled. More and more parts of the forest are being tamed and exploited, especially in the eastern parts.

Capital city: Mereth
Major cities and towns: Jehanun, Bannelinn, Westward, Borrogane, Queste, Port o' Fre
Political divisions: Mereth is politically divided into the city of Mereth, and the six mainland cities. Each city is responsible for the protection and upkeep of the lands surrounding it. Each mainland city is administrated by two elected Councillors, while the city of Mereth is run by the Matriarch herself. The Council of Twelve meet with the Matriarch regularly to cooperate in the administration of the country.

Within each city, there are many sororities, who have women as their members. There are also many guilds which are generally run by men, but they wield almost no political power.

Races: Human.
Languages: Common.
Predominant alignment: LN
Rulers: The current Matriarch of Mereth is Morraine Fregran, originally of the city of Borrogane. Though young and beautiful, she is said to have a will of steel and veins of ice. The previous Matriarch, Samanda Vulpin, died of old age in 4845.
Justice and the law: Each sorority deals with infractions of the law by its members, with the accused being judged by a randomly selected group of 13 citizens from the sorority. Men are judged by a Councillor, and penalties are very harsh, with many crimes (such as murder, rape, assault of a citizen, and theft from a citizen) carrying the death penalty. There is very little crime in Mereth, with most crimes being committed by non-Mereth travellers who don't understand the laws.
Political system: Mereth is a republic, with rulers elected by citizens. The Matriarch is elected from within their number by the Council of Twelve (and a replacement for the vacancy in the Council is elected by the sororities of the city from which the Matriarch came). Each Councillor represents a city (with the Matriarch representing Mereth), and she is elected to her position from among their number by the Matrons of the many sororities in each city. The Matriarch is elected for life, but Council elections are held every ten years (or as needed, in case of premature death or the Councillor being elected as Matriarch). The next election is to be held during Springfeast of 4850. The Matron of each sorority is elected by the members of that sorority, and all citizens belong to a sorority.

A citizen is defined as a woman of 16 years old or older who was born in Mereth, or been invited to join a sorority by that sorority's matron. No man can be a citizen, and very few women not born in Mereth are citizens.

Allies: None, though Mereth does trade with Allemaren, Tainrearg, and Gaunt.
Foes: Mereth is too isolated to be easily threatened by any country, though a small invading force from Anghain lands was recently repulsed (with some difficulty, because of an element of surprise) in the south-east of Mereth.
State Religion: Though not an official state religion, the order of Rothelm is very well-respected in Mereth, and the Holy Seat of Rothelm is in Mereth city.
Common religions: The deities CabissŰ, Calorn, Ariens˙l, MiŰlyn and Vidhbh are worshipped in Mereth. Storm, Araforn, the Holy Father/Mother and Tarnis are treated with derision.
Resources and economy: Mereth is largely self-sufficient, relying on much internal trade between guilds and cities. Some goods are imported from other countries such as Tainrearg and Allemaren.
Terrain: The Isle consists largely of rolling green hills, but the mainland, though fertile, can be quite hilly, and very rocky nearer the Spine.
Climate: The climate is generally warm, though the island is balmier than the mainland, which can be quite chilly at times.
Population commentary: Male and female children are nurtured together, but at the age of three, they are separated. Boys are affiliated with a guild, and brought up by the male members of that guild, learning the trade of the guild, as well as social details like the respect of women. Girls remain with their mothers, but during the day are educated at a sorority. The sorority they go to is usually the sorority the mother belongs to, but occasionally they will join another for political reasons.

The Mereth people are almost always blonde-haired, with blue eyes, and generally tall. This makes it very easy to spot foreigners.

Customs: Merethfolk are triskaidecaphiles: they believe in the power of thirteen, and many decisions are based around things adding up to thirteen. There are thirteen councillors, if the Matriarch is included, and many sororities have their own "councils of thirteen".
Buildings: Most buildings are elegant and designed in a fairly open-plan layout with beautiful gardens and a sense of harmony. Columns are popular, but not many buildings are more than one story in height.
Military notes: Mereth has a small standing army, but each city also has its own army. The army generally consists of daughters who are not destined for the family trade or for politics or religion.
Notable personalities:  

Capital city: Tarenne (pop. 300000)
Major cities and towns: Neilbrun, Aarbach, Harabrun, St Kerinth, Helva, Enn, Maraglaad
Political divisions: Allemaren is divided into small duchies and counties, each administered by its ruler. The church also holds some lands and administers them. The lands around major towns and cities are semi-autonomous from the ruling noble.
Races: Human, with some dwarves.
Languages: Common, with dialects in rural areas.
Predominant alignment: LN, tending to LG
Rulers: King Ferdinand Tulmar (4832 to present) and Queen Anja Tulmar of Gardelegen-Sinvaniei (4843 to present) . The previous ruler, Gheorge I of Gardelegen-Sinvaniei (4817-4832) and his Queen Elissa were slain by goblins during the Arak War. Ferdinand, an excellent military general, was elected king by the Nobles' Council after the war. He married Anja 11 years afterward. There were at one time some malicious rumours that King Ferdinand was a vampire, but since he has been seen in daylight, most citizens don't believe these rumours. Queen Anja is known to be crippled, but is able to walk in summer, spring and autumn with the help of some magical device.
Justice and the law: A legal code and constitution determine the legal rights of every citizen, from the lowest peasant to nobles, who are all considered equally subject to the law. In practice, it is more difficult to initiate proceedings against nobles and the wealthy. Accused are considered innocent until proven guilty. Penalties for minor crimes include fines and public humiliation, while for major crimes, penalties are imprisonment, exile, or death. Major centres have "Cathedrals of Justice" where legal proceedings for the district are concluded. Travelling magistrates, known as "Blackshields", administer justice and penalties in more remote areas (this concept dates back to a system introduced by King Ferdinand). The church stands outside the secular legal system, being subject to its own laws.
Political system: The king and queen are considered co-monarchs, with various rules of precedence governing lineage, marriage, and coronation. The heir of the current rulers will inherit the throne on the death or abdication of both parents. Should there to be no rulers and no heirs, the Nobles' Council will elect a ruler from its ranks. Any decision of these natures is subject to ratification by the Church. Not surprisingly, the Nobles' Council is a hotbed of intrigue and power play. There are, however, certain inviolable rules and ethics. A specially elected magistrate oversees the Nobles' Council along with the Church. The Nobles' Council also acts in an advisory capacity to the rulers.

Districts are governed by titled nobles and advised by regional councils of the middle classes. Towns and cities are governed by mayors and town councils.

All people have recourse to the king or queen, whose authority is final.

Allies: Romen is a military ally. Allemaren trades with Romen, Niflheim, and to a lesser degree with Mereth and some southern countries. There is a small amount of trade with Tainrearg across the mountains.
Foes: Aelin, although peace has been made after the recent Aelin invasion.
State Religion: The Church of the Holy Father/Mother (or Holy One). Other religions are tolerated, but not widely catered for. One deity is worshipped, faith depending more on personal insight than religious dogma. Clerical magic is seen as divinely granted and not to be used frivolously or to interfere with the divine plan. The Church wields a fair bit of secular and political power, but is also plagued by fundamentalist schisms, especially those stressing the divinity of man and those seeking the subjection of all to the authority of the Church.
Common religions: No other religions are common in Allemaren.
Resources and economy: Mining, manufactured goods, wines and food. Allemaren is a rich and fertile country with an active economy, but prices tend to be high. There is a rapidly expanding middle class, and guilds are becoming increasingly powerful. Bureaucracy is becoming a problem. Allemaren is a major cultural and learning centre, highly advanced with regard to culture, art, architecture, medicine, science, sanitation and health care. Knowledge is exported in the form of books, art, scholars, artisans and craftsmen.
Terrain: Allemaren is bordered by mountains to the west and north, and much of the country is mountainous and hilly. The country to the west of the Ilmar River is mainly forest; to the east of the Ilmar, it is mainly rolling grassland with some forest. Most of Allemaren lies at a reasonably high altitude, dropping quite sharply toward the coast.
Climate: Allemaren has a mild to cold temperate climate. The winters are cold, especially in the mountains, but the summers tend to be warm. Rain is common throughout the year, especially in autumn, and snow is frequent in winter. The weather in the mountains can to be very unpredictable.
Population commentary: The standard of living and education in Allemaren is almost unparalleled in Lune. The people are generally religious and traditionalist, and while they take their time in befriending strangers, are hospitable. Men in the eastern areas can be touchy about their honour, and most of the populace are strongly patriotic. There is still a reasonably large stratification between aristocracy and commoners in attitude. Women are treated with respect, and are equals in many respects. Moustaches are popular. The wearing of armour in cities and towns is considered gauche, but gentlemen are expected to wear rapiers or smallswords (even though the king himself usually appears in public bearing a massive ancient broadsword). Clothing tends to be simple and comfortable, but often colourful and decorated.
Customs: Feast days are popular, and are usually preceded by holy services. The most holy day is the 20th day of Deepsnow -- the Day of Revelation.
Buildings: Stone is used in the cities for churches, fortifications, and important buildings. Dwellings are normally plastered and half-timbered. Houses, generally three to four stories high in the cities, are often painted and decorated, and stonework tends to be lacy and delicate. Statues and carvings tend to be very popular. Wooden structures are common in forested and mountainous regions. Tarenne is believed by many (those that haven't seen Frost, anyway) to be the most beautiful city in Lune, with many structures of marble and dressed stone, and its "flying bridges", which cross the gorges through which Tarenne's rivers. There are many castles in Allemaren.
Military notes: Allemaren has a very small, well-trained standing army, which doubles as town guard. Every male is trained in weapons.
Notable personalities: There are rumours that the Archmage Celestia Culwen, supposedly a friend of the Queen, makes her home in the west of Allemaren.
Notes: Since the end of the war with Aelin, which began in 4847 and ended in 4848, life is slowly returned to normal. Fortunately, looting and pillaging by the Aelin troops was minimal, and reparations are being made by Aelin. Although the Allemaren army was smashed, actual casualties were low, most units being scattered. The population that remained in Allemaren during the invasion were largely left alone, but many thousands of slaves, mainly soldiers, were taken and are now being repatriated.
Notable features: Maraglaad Mere: This lake is reportedly bottomless, with clear blue water at the shores but black in the middle. A monster (a giant quid, apparently) has infrequently been sighted, but reports are unreliable.

Grausteyin: This mountain peak in north-west Allemaren is said to be a giant demon turned to stone in a great battle (and indeed, it does vaguely resemble the head and shoulders of a giant humanoid. The seven peaks surrounding it are supposed to be its servants. Legend tells that one day the demon and its servants will awake and lay waste to the region. The area is noted for sudden, violent storms.

The Knoll: Three days travel from Tarenne is the Knoll: the spot where the martyred prophet Clavus was restored to life many centuries ago. It is a holy site for pilgrims, and it is said that miracles occasionally happen there.

The Helva Battleground: South of Helva, this is the site where the Allemars threw off the yoke of the southerners 350 ago. Even today, relics can still be found. It is also the site of a recent battle against the Aelin.

Schaidfell: Fifteen miles from Harabrun, this is the site where the Prophet ascended after his murder by the Yondells many centuries previously. And ancient church marks the site, on a cliff face overlooking the Storm Sea.

The Dark Forest: Settlements are few and far between. Many strange things abound in the parts of this dense forest.

The Aelin Empire
Capital city: Haele (pop. 300000)
Major cities and towns: Oriant, Murb'ara, Do'pantiple, Okhrida
Races: Humans only
Languages: Aelin, which is a very strong dialect of Common.
Predominant alignment: LN
Ruler: Ruhvan, Radiant Right of Aelin, Jewelled Sceptre of Righteousness, Emperor. He is never seen by anyone, aside from his personal guards and certain close advisors. Shevorne is the High Priestess of Kasvin, and wields a great deal of political power, especially since it is said that she has seen parts of the world outside of Aelin's borders.
Justice and the law: Aelin law is rigid and harsh. Slaves have no legal rights. Commoners are subject to a different code of law from the aristocracy. Judges decide cases and tend to the letter rather than the spirit of the law. Penalties are harsh, and include fines, mutilation, slavery and death. Torture is considered an acceptable method of obtaining confessions.
Political system: The emperor has absolute authority, although the priestesses of Kasvin keep him in check to a degree. Districts are ruled by governors. There is a rigid division between the commoners and the aristocracy, and they do not mix. The very wealthy may be elevated to the aristocracy on occasion. The emperor, seldom seen, can be misinformed and manipulated. Wealth and position determine power, as positions in the hierarchy are either granted or bought. Intrigue and plotting are rife, and bureaucracy has been raised to an art.
Political divisions: The country is divided into districts, which change frequently in position and owner by decree, power play, or whims of state. The empire tends to be expansionist.
Allies: None. Yondelle is a protectorate of Aelin.
Foes: Gaunt, Allemaren, Gline and Romen are enemies of Aelin by virtue of Aelin's recent attacks on them.
State religion: The goddess Kasvin is worshipped. Only noblewomen may join her priesthood, and the priestesses are held in awe and revered. The emperor, Ruhvan, is Kasvar, Kasvin's male counterpart, who has been cut off from his divinity and trapped in human form for centuries. Evil and quite mad, he has been constantly scheming a return to his divine status. With the destruction in 4848 of the gem Kas'Lai (and the resultant end to the war Aelin was waging on surrounding states), his latest scheme has failed. Kasvin is determined to prevent his return to divinity, as he would be powerful and deranged enough to destroy Aelin itself, but she is bound not to intercede directly. Only small sects actually worship the emperor.
Common religions: None.
Resources and economy: Aelin is a rich empire and totally self-sufficient. Being totally isolationist, there is no trade with other countries. Although the land is not overly fertile, agriculture is well developed. Aelin is quite advanced culturally and scientifically, especially in the fields of medicine, mathematics, and astronomy. The aristocracy, wealthy and educated, provide the scholars, scientists and legislators. The middle classes are also well-off. Hard or manual labour is usually done by slaves and criminals, and slaves are found everywhere. There is a small, clandestine trade in foreign slaves, especially elves.

The Aelin currency is a confusing system based on coloured beads and disks strung on coloured strings, with gold and silver being held in large banking houses.

Terrain: Aelin's terrain is mainly rolling grassland, often rocky. There are two major mountain ranges, and some forest areas.
Climate: Aelin lies in a mild temperate region. The summers are hot and dry, and the winter cold and wet (inland, temperatures can drop to well below freezing). The northern parts tend to be colder, the southern areas more arid.
Population commentary: Aelin folk tend to be pragmatic. They are unquestioningly patriotic, and follow authority more or less blindly. They consider non-Aelin to be barbarians. The upper classes will have nothing to do with commoners, and are well aware of the privileges of rank. It is suspected that the aristocracy are descended from a different race of people, probably conquerors, from centuries back. From their ranks come the rulers, scholars, scientists, artists, and the clergy. The commoners are the merchants, artisans, craftsmen, and farmers.

Aelin noblewomen have their arms amputated at the shoulder at puberty, to show that they never need do anything for themselves. This custom, which may seem barbaric to foreigners, is not questioned, but rather welcomed, for it proves the girl's elevation to the status of noblewomen. Noblewomen are considered the equals of men in most respects -- in fact, more than half of the scholars and orators are women. Among the lower classes, men and women have rigidly defined roles.

Aelin clothing consists of wide, comfortable trousers, shirts and blouses, woolen coats or cloaks, and boots or sandals. The differences between male and female clothing are small.

The Aelin folk have olive skin, mid-brown to black hair, and brown, hazel or green eyes. Nobles usually have straight hair and are lighter in complexion, others have curly hair. Generally the men go clean shaven.

Customs: Games are very popular, as is alcohol and a bitter drink akin to Witches' Brew, known as kaef. Holy services are held and noon and sunset every day or second day.
Buildings: Buildings are generally of stone or brick, three to five stories high, with many archways, minarets, and pillars. Buildings tend to be close together and intricate; colourful geometric decorations are common. Cities and towns have interior city walls within which the aristocracy live. Barred to most commoners, the buildings there have large gardens and fountains.
Military notes: Aelin soldiers are brave and zealous, but inferior in terms of strategy or tactics. Aelin boasts a large army, with some units consisting of slaves (these units are typically fanatical, as they are promised freedom for exceptional bravery). The emperor's personal guard wears red and black, and will do almost anything to achieve the emperor's aims.
Notable personalities:  

Capital city: None
Major cities and towns: None known.
Races: Humans only
Languages: Khosalan, a rather exotic language completely unrelated to Common..
Predominant alignment: LN
Ruler: There is no single ruler of Khosala. Each tribe rules its own areas, although they do occasionally cooperate.
Justice and the law: Justice is dealt with by the sharif of each tribe. There is very little crime in Khosala, as typical penalties range from loss of a hand or eye to exile or death (and with Khosala's geography, exile usually means a lingering death). Betrayal of the tribe is considered to be the most serious offence, worthy of several days of torture before death.
Political system: Khosala has a tribal society with four main power groups: the Sharifs, the Wise Women, the Mages, and the Galat'nir.

The Sharif is the tribal chief. The position is always held by a male, and is basically hereditary. However, each successor to the position must be formally approved by the tribe; thus it may not be the eldest son who wins the title, but ideally the most able. If the Sharif dies without sons, or none is approved by the tribe, an heir is sought firstly among his close relatives (both male and female are titled shalif). This is often a nephew or son-in-law; selection of a brother is unlikely -- he has already been passed over once -- but either a nephew or son-in-law ultimately continues the bloodline. The heir-apparent is often designated early in life, distinguished by his leadership skills, strength of character and popularity. It is in the interests of his brothers to support the heir-apparent in order to maintain the ascendancy of their immediate family; quarrelsome or treacherous shalifs are unlikely to gain the approval of the tribe as sharif, and those that are brothers will rarely be accepted in any case. It is not unknown for a family to be ousted from their position if the tribe feels its best interests are no longer being upheld. Brothers therefore tend to cooperate in a close-knit group, and to support their father, a slice of power being better than none. In the even of a difference of opinion, a splinter group may leave the tribe, but this is most unusual as their chances of survival are generally slim.

The Wise Women are the mystics of the tribe, and the closest the Khosalans get to religious figures. They are venerated and also respected, if not feared, for their talents, which occur irrespective of social station, although the traits appear to run (albeit erratically) in some families. Young girls displaying the early manifestations of the powers of a Wise Woman are fostered by the group, forging strong links between these individuals that transcend those of family and ultimately tribe, although the extent of the bond is known only to the Wise Women themselves and not to any outside the group. The Wise Women thus constitute the only group that operates truly pan-tribally, making them in some instances capable of and responsible for the behind-the-scenes manipulation of large numbers of people through their influence in every tribe in Khosala. The intent of the Wise Women is not necessarily to dominate or control the Sharif, but it is certain that it is very difficult for the Sharif to rule without the tacit approval of the Wise Women of his tribe. One must suspect that many of the "accidents" befalling Sharifs and turbulent shalifs are engineered by the Wise Women, who thus help to maintain the prevailing social structure. On the surface, the Wise Women appear to the tribe as conduits and wielders of mysterious and dangerous forces outside the common experience through the enactment of various rituals which enhance the abilities which are their birthright. They are also funds of knowledge, in some cases of seemingly supernatural origin, including a limited clairvoyance. While clairvoyance is definitely a real power of some Wise Women, it is more usually the result of a secret conference with others of the Wise, presented to the tribe as prophecy. The limited telepathic abilities of the Wise Women, one of the first things that marks a child for fostering into the order, makes them very difficult to deceive, a talent for which they are feared.

Mages: All users of magic in Khosala are male; just as there are no "Wise Men", there are no female mages, and it is believed that this is impossible rather than merely proscribed. No female Khosalan would attempt to use magic, in the same way as no male would think to attempt the rituals of the Wise Women, any more than either would attempt to fly by leaping off a cliff. Unlike the Wise Women, however, Mages are solitary and do not generally collaborate or cooperate except in the case of master and apprentice. This limits their power as a class in influencing Khosalan society, although individual Mages may wield enormous magical powers. They are not bound by tribe, and may associate themselves with their native tribe, any other tribe, or no tribe. A Mage is made welcome and treated with respect wherever he goes; most do not involve themselves overly with tribal concerns, but are formidable allies or opponents should they do so. A single Mage may disrupt the carefully laid plans of many groups of Wise Women, but as they are so few in number, they are very much the wild cards of Khosalan politics.

The Galat'nýr is the group of elite warriors in each tribe. All are female, as, although members of both sexes and all classes are trained in the use of weapons, it is only a few of the women that reach this peak of excellence. This probably has to do with fighting style: Khosalans prefer to fight from horseback, and there is a stronger bond between a Galat'nýr and her horse than can be achieved by any man and a horse (or sometimes between a man and a Galat'nýr, for that matter!) Thus not only do the horse and rider function as a synchronised unit, but the more cooperative nature of women results in a force of Galat'nýr using interdependent manoeuvres with deadly efficiency. The main function of Galat'nýr is as bodyguards, and they are generally very loyal and highly efficient at protecting their ward (and each other) from harm, even against overwhelming odds. Failure to defend a ward or comrades is not tolerated in Khosalan society, so individuals will usually fight to the death to fulfill their duty. Confrontations between the full force of Galat'nýr of rival tribes are generally either stalemates, or blood baths.

In some ways, membership of class in a Khosalan tribe is very fluid. The succession of Sharifs is generally hereditary, and his family are of the shalif class. The Sharif is responsible for the overall welfare of the tribe as an extended family; he makes decisions on internal disputes, on where the tribe should move, and with whom they should trade or fight. Members of his close family are generally involved in advising him and executing his plans. Other families and individuals are on much of a level, differentiated mostly by wealth assessed in terms of livestock (primarily horses) and silver. However, selection into one of the other three power groups is dependent only on talent, so a shalif may not have the aptitude to be accepted into any of these groups, while an orphan of the poorest family may become a powerful mage. In this way an individual may rise to prominence in the tribe through his or her innate superior abilities and be accorded greater respect than an ordinary individual born into a higher social position.

Most Khosalan tribes are nomadic within a home range. They herd animals where possible, and trade with other tribes and also on the borders of other countries. Arguments may develop over trade routes, access to water, alleged raiding of stock or attacks on members of one tribe by another. The environment is harsh and there is little leeway between the survival and ruin of a tribe, with the result that tribes are generally somewhat suspicious of each other, while at the same time having to depend on each other for certain commodities. Any major arguments are mediated by the Sharifs or shalifs of the respective tribes (in which they may be helped or hindered by the Wise Women), with their Galat'nýr escort in vigilant attendance.

Political divisions: Khosala consists of a number of nomadic tribes who trade with each, and fight with each other. There are rumoured to be large cities deep within the desert of Khosala.
Allies: None. Khosala has no formal trade agreements with any country, although they have had representatives in various countries. These representatives are typically chosen by the Sharifs of some of the more powerful tribes, and those nearest the foreign country.
Foes: None, but the Bar'gura tribe bears Tainrearg a great deal of enmity because a member of their tribe who was selected to be a representative to Tainrearg by a convocation of tribes was murdered at a state ball in Istari in 4847, and the murderer never punished.
State religion:  
Common religions: .
Resources and economy: The Khosalan tribes trade with each other on occasion, and also to some degree with foreign traders, particularly for good quality weapons.
Terrain: Khosala is essentially a single barren desert, mainly hard, dry, rocky soil. There are some rugged hills in places, and oases scattered around, as well as some areas consisting of sandy dunes. This desert is home to a number of dangerous creatures, of which the notorious Khosalan Red-backed scorpion is the most lethal, with a variety of deadly poisonous snakes also in abundance.
Climate: Khosala has a temperate climate. It's warm to hot in summer, and mild in winter, although winter nights can be freezing. Because of the extreme dryness of Khosala, these conditions can seem much more extreme
Population commentary: Khosalans usually wear either sandy-coloured robes for enduring both heat and cold, or lighter tunics and flowing trousers when combat is expected. They are calm and emotionless when dealing with strangers, but can be wild and raucous among themselves. They fight fiercely, rarely giving or taking quarter. Physically, they are of average height, but are normally quite lean. They have swarthy, sun-darkened complexions, aquiline features, and usually blue or brown eyes.

Family and group identity is important to Khosalans. In many, but not all tribes, an individual's name will include syllables from the names of both parents. Their full name, though not often used within the tribe, gives the name of each parent in full, the connecting syllables denoting gending, to thoroughly identify the individual and his or her antecedents. The individual's own name is given first, followed by the connection 'ash' and the father's name. For females, this is followed by 'ben' and the mother's name; for males, 'ash' is used again. 'Ash' denotes 'child of', while 'ben' means specifically 'daughter'. An individual may be addressed or referred to by their own name alone, their own name plus patronymic, or by their own name plus patronymic plus matronymic. Naturally, all members of a tribe take a pride in their tribal name.

Military notes:  
Notable personalities:  
Notes: Most of the detail of Khosala was contributed by Claire Jamieson, player of Kherin ash'Kulal ben Aqueridh.

The Anghain
Capital city: Dobrin (pop. 20000)
Major cities and towns: Kisvarda, Nayatadd
Political divisions: The Anghain, also known as the "Horse People", are a semi-nomadic people. There are numerous clans, most of which are suspicious of each another and there are many feuds, alliances and uneasy truces. Each clan is ruled by a chieftain, or "Tain" who swears allegiance to the "Grantain" or overlord. A state of war existed between the Anghain and the Dragannan, an offshoot of the Anghain, but the latest Grantain has been making peaceful overtures to them.

Some of the clans are Mah'dianah (the Grantain's clan), Cul'ChCul, Treheiill (which was largely wiped out by the Great Plague of 4849, and has now been absorbed into Mah'dianah), Fahann (now disbanded and scattered among the other clans), Behal (only barely surviving after the plague), Fintarinn, Athult, and Sinn.

Races: Human
Languages: Dialect of common.
Predominant alignment: CN
Rulers: Todrin Mah'Dianah, of clan Cul'ChCul, is the Grantain of the Anghain. He was appointed Grantain by the Druids after the untimely deaths of Grantain Brador Cur'Fahann and his wife, Grantiaina Ch'Vana, by plague in 4849.
Justice and the law: Justice tends to be swift and harsh. Each clan administers its own criminal and civil justice. Criminal cases are usually dealt with according to the crime, civil cases are dealt with on their own merits and according to an extensive traditional code. Civil disputes between nobles are sometimes referred to the Grantain.
Political system: Clans are ruled by an Tain, a hereditary chieftain. It is uncommon, but not unknown, for a Tiaina, wife of a Tain, to rule after his death or incapacity. Despite their feuding, most clans are loyal to the Grantain, who is based in Dobrin. The position is hereditary, devolving first onto the eldest surviving male heir, then onto the foster-sons, and lastly onto the eldest female heir. Although women are not barred from the position in the absence of male heirs, it is not unknown for them to voluntarily relinquish the position in favour of other male relations. The situation has not arisen for generations, however.

Although many clans would like nothing more than to butcher each another, they all respect and are represented at the twice-yearly councils in Dobrin.

The political divisions within each clan tend to be as follows: The Tain has his attendant nobles, who are either born to the position or are vassaled. This is a process whereby a man in a lesser position proclaims himself a vassal of a superior, and pays him in some way, in return for patronage and protection. The process is entirely voluntary and may be cancelled at any time by either or both parties. Position, therefore, is a function of wealth and status. Beneath the nobles are freemen and below them the "workers", generally criminals and those performing some penance and captives from other clans awaiting ransom. All are loyal, in the first instance, to the Tain, however. There is no clan hierarchy, alliances and feuds being the order of the day, except that the clan of the Grantain is respected and considered above such feuds and alliances..

All clans are loyal to the Grantain, and the title is so firmly ingrained in Anghain culture that usurping the position is virtually unthinkable. The Grantain himself, however, has little power other than heading his own clan, acting as spokesman before outsiders and arbitrating between clans.

Allies: There is a fair bit of trade between the Anghain, Yondelle, and isolated settlements in the Borderlands.
Foes: After the war known simply as "The War", a large number of clans split off from the Anghain. Calling themselves the Dragannan, they are nomadic warriors who live only for war.
State Religion: The Anghain worship Nature, personified in a number of aspects. The names of these aspects of Nature differ from area to area, and are often unnamed. The Sun is universally venerated as Bi'in and the earth as Ch'Isvetra

There are wandering priests who are held in great esteem. Magic is used by priests, but is otherwise largely ignored. A darker presence is to be found in the Druidic order, which reveals little about itself and seldom meddles in day-to-day affairs. Should they choose to interfere, however, they are feared and venerated. Their holy sites are in the forests. Many people consider the Druids to be the true rulers of the Anghain, though they involve themselves with people very little.

The Dragannan also worship Baro, an evil aspect of blood and glory. It was his cult that caused The War.

Common religions: No other religions are common among the Anghain.
Resources and economy: The Anghain clans are generally self-sufficient. Most clans have permanent villages which are used as bases and trade centres. There are three cities which are major trade centres. Horses and livestock are traded amongst themselves and with outsiders. Jewellery, cloth, pelts and leather goods are produced for trade. These are traded for metal and luxury items. There is also some mining of iron and gems.

The concept and importance of money is noted, but far more important indicators of wealth are the number and ostentation of personal decorations and items, the amount of land owned and the number of horses on it, and the status accorded the individual by his peers and vassals. Money, therefore, is seldom saved but freely spent.

Terrain: The Anghain steppes consist mainly of treeless grassland and rolling hills. Large areas are rough and broken. There are many forests and lakes and some ranges of hills where ore and gems are to be found. The soil is quite rich and abundant wildlife wanders the plains.
Climate: The steppes are generally hot in summer with cold winters that can be extremely harsh. It rains heavily in spring and autumn with huge thunderstorms being common. The summers are dry and windy.
Population commentary: The Anghain people are descended from nomadic warriors who many centuries ago had conquered large areas and most of the neighbouring peoples. After The War the Anghain were decimated and sundered and their power broken. In the past few hundred years, they have tended to settle down and have started farming and trading. The men still range far and wide hunting, foraging and fighting with other clans. Despite having learned to live with their neighbours, if not one another, the Anghain remember their past glory - they are still fearsome warriors and all children, boys and girls alike, are taught to ride and shoot. Boys are also taught to fight with swords, spears and bare hands. Despite their feuding, they can be surprisingly united against a common threat until it is removed.

The Anghain are a volatile, emotional people with a rich tradition of lore, music and dance. Very few people can read and write, although most Tains and their heirs can. The people in the cities, merchants and tradesmen, have a much higher literacy rate.

The Grantain and his family are well educated.

Anghain society is male dominated, but women are in many ways treated as equals; they are allowed to own property, they may divorce their husbands and they rule in the home. The Tiainas and Grantiainas are often advisors to their husbands.

Horses are very important to the Anghain and are very well looked after. The bond between an Anghain and his horse is incredibly strong. To lose one's horse is a tragedy; to lose it through neglect or stupidity is a disgrace. Anghain horses are of a small but hardy breed.

The Anghain are very proud, even insolent and exceedingly fond of bombast and a good fight. The concepts of honour and the "proper forms" is likewise important.

Ridicule and shunning are considered two of the harshest punishments for any Anghar.

Anghar clothing tends to be richly embroidered with brilliant colours and elaborate patterns. Jewellery is common to both sexes.

Male garb is usually tunic or shirt, breeches and boots, sandals or shoes together with sword and knife. Leathers are worn in winter. Beards and moustaches are common.

Women usually wear long dresses and colourful cloaks. Short knee-length dresses or shirts with wide skirts, which are often divided for riding, are also common. Boots, sandals or shoes are worn. Hair is worn long.

Formal clothing follows the same pattern, but is usually white or light, with contrasting items or embroidery in browns, yellows and light blues.

Customs: Men's names commonly end in "-or" or "in", women's names commonly start with "Ch".

Feasts are popular, with lots of singing, dancing and eating. Hunts and contests of all kinds are organised. Honour is integral to the Anghar way of life, and an Anghar's word is sacred. Contests of honour are often used to settle disputes, and even wars. Usually, the challenger will boast that he can best the other at anything, allowing the challenged party to name the terms of the contest This may be anything from a fight to the death to a poetry or dancing contest. The letter, rather than the spirit, of a promise is often adhered to, though.

Between clans, noble children are often fostered for a number of years to the noble families, where they are taught the skills they will need as adults. This cements alliances and acts as an insurance. They are returned to their families just before adulthood, which for boys is considered to be 18 years old and for girls 16 years.

Between the ages of five and nine, a boy is given a foal of his own with much celebrating. Girls are often given horses at the same ages.

When one warrior saves another, the one who was saved may make the other his blood kin. They then consider themselves brothers.

Bodies are burned, not buried.

The children of a Tain have stylised horse heads tattooed on their left palms as babies, the children of the Grantain have a circle around the horse's head.

The Anghain are highly superstitious, crippled or deformed people are respected as "special" and dreams are paid a lot of credence. Taboos and geasa, which are laid by priests, have much power.

Bards are revered. Although loyal to their own clans, they often travel and are an important source of news as well as being repositories of culture and advisors. They often act as fools, saying things that no one else may say and live. In any conflict, they are left untouched.

The Anghain are fastidious and spend much time on personal adornment. Their domestic surroundings tend to be simple, but the ornamentation is lavish. Culture is very important.

Buildings: Sod huts are common. The villages and towns have wooden buildings. Only Dobrin has some stone buildings and a city wall.
Military notes: Anghar horse-archers are deadly and a large army can be assembled at very short notice. They suffer from poor tactics and a lack of unified command, however. The Anghain are fierce warriors whether mounted or on foot, and use sword, spear and shield, and leather or chain armour, if any.
Notable personalities:
Notes: This section contributed by Karl Kaufmann.


The Mages' Guild

The Council of Power

The Entertainers' Guild

The Dark Council (Assassins' Guild)

The Order of Deepsnow

Southern Principality: Shorter, medium to slender build; olive (French Spanish) complexions, dark hair (long, bearded/moustached), hazel or brown eyes.

Allemaren: Fair, easily tanned skin (light in winter, dark in summer); two typical types: dark hair and eyes, and blonde hair and light eyes. Straight hair. Moustaches popular.

Gaunt, Gline, Yondelle: similar to Allemaren, with Slavic features.