The Spinelands of Collabris
The Spinelands of Collabris
Durok founded the dwarven kingdom Kalazanbaar when he killed the Titan Raxis, and split the mountain. The dwarves of Kalazanbaar were the dominant power in the Spinelands for two centuries before the Fall.
The Fall of Kalazanbaar
A civil war between the dwarves of Kalazanbaar and Korim. Korim, the smaller kingdom to the north, developed the Construct technology they needed to beat the larger, more established kingdom. Even that was not enough. When the alliance of the Duegar and Drow emerged from Below, the Dwarves of Kalazanbar found themselves fighting a two front war, and lost. The Dwarves of Korim are now reviled by many because winning their war had the unintended sideeffect of annihilating their brothers to the south.
The dwarven kingdom to the north. They are masters of construct magics and though a small kingdom defend their lands with the constructs they build. Their constructs are both large and powerful, and small and delicate. They are ruled by a group called the Crucible: The voting council of the three most powerful houses, thereby preventing ties in the legislature. Great House Aurum, ruled by Thane Ygnal the oldest house and first among equals on the Council of Brass. Voted against the alliance with Ardenia. Great House Cuprum ruled by Thane Gilmarad. Sided with House Argentum in the vote on an alliance with Ardenia. Great House Argentum ruled by Thane Helmoral, the youngest of the three great houses on the council, brokered the alliace with Ardenia. This peace has brought her house great wealth, and power and this threatens Thane Ygnal and house Aurum.
The underground empire of the Drow. Former allies of the Duergar, once the two nations overthrew Kalazanbaar they instantly began fighting and now experience a cold war of spies and assassins always on the brink of tipping over into open conflict. The men of the Northern Sanction consider this something devoutly to be avoided. As soon as war breaks out between the Drow and the Duergar, the Maw will become impassable. And trade with the outside world via Titan’s Gate, will end. Within the vast expanse of Dar-daïthar are several kingdoms, ruled by the Starless Court , and their Empress Veylastravix the Dark Star, the Fate Weaver. Her device is a black star on a deep purple field. The Empress is an Oracle, subject to fits of prophetic ecstasy when the Goddess of the Drow has some important information to impart.
The upper, civilized, kingdom of the Duergar. The lower kingdom Ull’vok fell years ago and the Duergar there went mad and became the Derro. A theocracy ruled by the Hierophant Xadraxim who speaks for the Duergar Creator Diety Molak, the God of Nightmares.
The Northern Sanction
Granted to the men of the north by the dwarves of Kalazanbaar before the Fall, it is the last remaining civilized area of Men. Broken now into three kingdoms.
Allies of Korim. No peace yet with the orcs tribes. Ruled by Queen Aeleth, Ardenia is famous for its bardic college: the College of the Whispered Song (aka The Whisper) led by Master Troubador Cristoph. Ardenia’s bards travel the kingdoms from the high city of Olendra all the way to Titan’s Gate, collecting and spreading news! Suspected by the other nations, but never proven, Queen Aeleth uses her bardic college as a spy network keeping the larger, more prosperous kingdoms of Haldrim and Carus at bay.
Lots of (I mean, “lots”) of half-orcs in this area, because of the proximity to the Urshok Hills and the Red Sun orc tribe. Made a truce with the orcs to the north, pissing off Sethis, a legion captain whose men took to the hills and became the first bandits. They were soon joined by others. Sethis is now Lord of the Burnt Hills Bandit Tribes. You often get just straight up Orcs hanging out here who are outcasts from the Red Sun tribe. Ruled by King Cyric the Grey, in his 91st year, he remembers the kingdom of Kalazanbaar and yearns for those older days when the dwarves of the Broken Spine ensured peace throughout the land. Certainly closer to his end than his beginning, Cryic fears what will happen when he passes. His daughter will be Queen, and Princess Elise lost her husband to the Orc Warfather (then a young Headtaker) Valkun. Cyric knows if his eldest daughter becomes Queen, the peace with the orcs will quickly convert to war. A vocal, traditional minority would like this very much, and in spite of her hawkish sensibilities, the majority of the people of Haldrim love Princess Elise, and remember her as a girl. His younger daughter, Miranda, is a potent enchanter and while Cyric would rather hand the reins of the country to her, whom he trusts, the people are deeply suspicious of sorcery and would not follow a Wizard-Queen ruling from her Tower of Sorcery.
The largest standing army, but they use it for defense. They’re under attack! They can’t commit troops to the pass, they’re defending against the Snake Men of the Scale Hills. Ruled by King Godfrey, the teenaged ruler only recently came to the throne when his father King Edmond died in battle against the Snake Men (Yuan-ti) of the Scale Hills. Rumors persist that King Edmond’s death was not the glorious last-stand the bards sing off. The absence of a body to recover mean the rumors may never die. Godfrey was raised to be a king and a knight and at fifteen is already a capable horseman and warrior. Eager to avenge his father, he is advised by the Knight-commander Duncan.
The port city built and defended by the men of the Northern Sanction. Titan's Gate is the most metropolitan city in the Spinelands. Nearly all sea-based trade to and from the region passes through Titan's Gate.
The home to the Red Sun tribe of Orcs! Once, Urshock stretched south to the mountains, including the Burnt Hills, but the men of the Northern Sanction cut back the forest and drove the orcs north. They now call themselves the Kanrokk, “The Homeless” because the humans of the Northern Sanction, deforested the plain and evicted the orcs from the southern territory. There is a blood fued with the men of Sanction, only recently quenched when Haldrim made peace with the Orcs. But Ardenia can make so such peace without alienating the dwarves of Korim who they depend on for trade.
Warfather Valkun – Negotiated the peace with Haldrim in exchange for access to the port city. He wants trade with the other regions of Collabris. Wants to be a legitimate power in the world.
Warmaster Valarak, sister to the Warfather, leader of the Warhounds, the army of the Orcs who charge into battle with their dire boars. Should Valkun die, Valarak will likely become Warmother.
Beastmaster – Kennel master of the dire boars that accompany the Warhounds into battle. Headtakers – The elite death commandos of the Warfather. Assassins who employ garrotes, and literally take the heads of their victims.
Sunbreaker – Amarax the Shaman, who begins his rituals at dusk when the sun falls.
The Burnt Hills
Home to several bandit tribes all descended from a regiment of Haldric troops who rebelled when Haldrim made peace with the Orcs.
The haunted wood, formerly a nation of High Elves defeated by the Drow to the south after their victory against Kalazanbaar. There are still High Elves here, but they wander the wood in mourning. The drow sacked the High Elf capital of Vellardin. Killed the King and Queen of the White Iris Court. The wood is now populated by giant spiders, hill giants, Ettercap. Other nasty beasties. Now Duke Oranis, The Lord of Autumn, the last surviving member of the White Iris Court is in mourning, his wife and children, slaughtered by the Drow. He is a paladin of the High Elf god Polaris. He refuses to take up the mantle of nobility and the High Elves follow his lead. They call his noble retinue the Court of Fallen Leaves. Most of the elves follow the lead of their Duke and want to fade away. But some seek revenge against the Drow! They call themselves the Court of Winter and follow Lady Verit, the Countess of Willow.
The swamp ruled by Lizardman tribes. Goblins. All that good stuff. The lizardmen ambush human trader for their metal. They are children of the dead titan Raxis. Ruled by their chieftain Xartan.
• The red scale Xanthor tribe, led by Xartan
• The black scale Oran tribe, led by Mallok
• The green scaled Kuroth tribe, led Hedora
The ruined city of Coromagus, left over from the previous unknown civilization. Little is known about the inhabitants of Coromagus, so deep is it in the hostile lands of the Dreshmoor.
The Ban Tuur Steppe
“Ban Tuur” means the "Children of Tuur." The Ban Tuur are Animists who see gods in everything. The greatest of which is the Volcano Tuur, Tuur is the Father of Fire. The men of the Northern Sanctum often refer to the Ban Tuur as "the Horse lords of the south." Fierce nomadic warriors who raid their neighbors and make life difficult for people trying to cross this region. The Ban Tuur believe Tuur's ash is holy and paint themselves with in before combat. They call their elite cavalry, the Ash Wind. When you see these horse riders covered in ash, you know shit is going down! Their priests are the Firespeakers who build ritual bonfires to commune with their god, and create the funeral pyres they use to dispose of their dead. Led by their chieftain, the Gân, a hereditary title named for the first ruler of the horselands. As a rite of passage for their adolescents, they raid the road from Spineguard Keep to Titan’s Gate. The men of the Northern Sanction consider this an act of war! Men are killed in these raids! But the Ban Tuur cannot be negotiated with. Their response is always “children must learn to be adults. What can be done?”
Tuur/The Basalt Throne
The Volcano is known as Tuur to the nomads, they make no distinction between the volcano itself, and the god it represents. Called the Basalt Throne by the Northern Sanction. Its forge is so powerful, magic artifacts can be created here. The men of the north want it, but the steppe nomads protect it and have no use for its magic forge.
The elves of the veil live here. They call the forest V’ael (Immortal Shroud), and humans interpret that as “Veil.” Elves don’t know what this means. Humans are happy calling it the Veil because the forest is constantly flooded with fog from the nearby sea. The Elves of V’ael are immortal as long as they stay in the forest’s mist. Once they leave, they become mortal. A dying V’ael Elf who returns to the forest, is restored to youth. Under the veil lies a sleeping dragon. Basharix. It is the source of the fog. The Elves of the Veil don’t know they’re protecting and ancient dragon. They worship the forest. Basharix The ancient dragon-titan, mate to the Titan Raxis. When Raxis was slain, Basharix wept and went into her Long Slumber. Her tears create the fog. The elves protect her. And await her awakening when she will revenge herself upon the dwarves who slew her mate.
Mountain home to the Nara, the griffon-riding Goliaths living in cities carved into the rock. Skilled masons and stonecutters.
Their capital city of Hethra lies below the highest peak of the mountains, Kuraya. At the top of which lives U’shaka, the God of the Goliaths. U'shaka is believed to be a Prince of the Air Elementals. His servants are called the Nine Winds or the Dukes of Sharash. The Nine Winds are Ahuema (brother), Atuema (sister) Herresh, Rosh The Living Thunder, A’arifar, Merakish, Urriane, Bellathain, Shethiri the Frozen Bite. They represent the 8 winds and the wind that lifts from below (the spirit wind).
The griffon riders are called the Mar-Ushaka, the Breath of God. They are the religious caste among the Goliath and serve as messengers between the mountainous cities.
The Dead Kingdom
Once a kingdom of men, formerly the Southern Sanction, this whole area was destroyed by Kaleth-varr, the druid Archlich. The undead in this setting are the dead legions of the Southern Sanction. The armies, the farmers, men and women who tried to carve a civilization out of the wilderness.
The three kings of the Southern Sanction and their generals became the Nameless. Eleven Wights who had their names taken by the Lich and ride nightmares.
Arabic (Fremen) Dragonborn of the desert. Civilized, not nomadic. Constantly warring against the Yuantito to the east, and the Thri-kreen to the west (off the map) Capital city:
Ziris, the Glass City, the Shining Star of the Sand.
Literally made of stone and glass. The dragonborn fashion glass weapons and armor using their fire-breath. Dragon-glass, also known as Zirathnian Steel is light and strong, durable and also readily accepts enchantment! A democracy where only and all wizards can vote, the Grand Vizir is elected by the Council of Seven, the leading wizards from each school of magic (minus Necromancy, because fuck 'em!). Currently S’vaaj, the Snake-eater, so called because of his string of military victories against the snake-men. Technologically more advanced than the Northern Sanction, the Men of Zir fashion elaborate clocks and time-peaces (not clockwork magics) they have hyperaccurate maps of the stars, and their procession though the sky. The calendar of Collabris is the Zirathian Year. Their mathematics are far in advance of any other culture in Collabris, and have advanced approximation and estimation, on the cusp of discovering calculus. Their nation is bound by the Glittering Way, a network of glass roads connecting their cities, travelled along by chariot pulled by the elkiz, large flightless desert bird.
In the deep desert, the more primitive, older, classical dragonborn civilization still use the wind-powered sand-skiffs. Their knights ride giant salamanders into battle!
The Scale Hills
Home to the Yuan-ti, who battle the Dragon Men of Zir. They are being driven over the mountains into Cardus. Worship the dead titan Raxis. They were his children.
The Titans created the world, and the Speaking Races. They are each represented in many forms and guises. They existed before substance, before matter, before life required flesh. They are not worshipped, they are not gods, and they are often unknown by mortals.
Raxis of Nine Heads, the Dead Titan, the Hydra Titan father to the Lizardmen and Yuan-ti Basharix – The dragon titan, mother of Dragonborn
Grolth – The Orc Titan, the father of goblins and gnomes.
Korr – The Dwarven Titan, Father of Stone and Goliaths
Namura – The Titan of Men, and halflings
Liasel – The Titan of the Elves