The Grand Duchy of Karameikos
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Places of Interest within the Grand Duchy
Threshold: Hometown to our adventuring party. This logging and farming settlement is ruled by Patriarch Sherlane, a cleric, also known as Baron Halaran. Nestled at the foot of the Black Peak Mountains, and bordered to the north by Lake Windrush, the town is surrounded by dense wilderness where vampires and werewolves abound.
The town comprises several fishermen's camps, the den of thieves known as Fogor's Isle, also a logging camp in the higher ground to north where trees are felled and floated downstream to be chopped into lumber.
To the north can be found Rezgale's Ruins, once the site of an evil wizard's keep which served as the first ever quest which Lana, Drewen, Threy and Canerzon undertook together. More recently the wizard Bargle the Infamous has shown an interest in the ruins, stationing his bugbear troops here for a while in preparation for a raid on the nearby town.
The Lost Valley of Hutaaka: Once a prosperous civilisation blessed by the jackal-headed Immortal Pflarr; now a deserted ruin, a memory of past glories, spoken of only in myth and legend. This valley was visited by our party, as we encountered both its inhabiting races, the proud dog-headed Hutaakans and the warlike Traldar (descendants of the current-day Traladaran people). Bordered on all sides by impassable mountain peaks, civil war has been raging within the Valley for centuries now, unbeknown to the world outside.
The Valley sports a variety of breeds of wildlife, but up until the intervention of our heroes was plagued by a monster known only as Kartoeba. A being of chaos, this ageless demigod is suspected to have had powers over the undead of the Valley, and was known to have conducted nightly raids on the settlements of all tribes dwelling within the Valley, leaving death and destruction wherever his caustic presence found its way. Kartoeba served a purpose however; it was he who guarded the lost riches of the Hutaakan Empire.
Specularum/Mirros: The capital of the Duchy, ruled by Stefan Karameikos himself. This Thyatian nobleman traded his ancestral lands in the neighbouring Thyatian Empire in return for title to the rugged hills and forests of Traladara, to which he now after long decades of rulership has finally brought some civilisation. Large portions of the realm escape the Duke's control, however, as humanoid tribes, slavers and cults seek to exploit the Duchy in pursuit of their own ideals.
Specularum literally translates as "the City of the Mirrors" as it overlooks a shimmering bay where the ducal fleet is moored. The capital also serves as a second home base for the Threshold Party; most notably since it is here that Drewen, Threy and Lana founded their own working inn. The Flying Ferret Inn is to be found along Westron Alley in the residential Bricktop area of the city, premises which only a year before served as headquarters to a group of treacherous doppelgangers, bent on usurping Duke Stefan. The Inn is a homely place, serving excellent food, ales and comfort to the road-weary traveller. The city also serves as home to Karnus and Vasily, both having grown up in the slum areas of the great capital, but who now find purpose in the libraries of the Magicians' Guild and the Church of Traladara respectively.
Dymrak Forest: This dense oak woodland marks where the Duke's territorial control must surely end, for within this forest dwell dozens of humanoid tribes, such as the cruel goblins who razed the countryside to the north alongside the wizard Golthar, and the raiders who slaughtered Lana's mother. Indeed Lana's home village of Glaston can be found here, on the southern fringes of the forest, along the Eastron Road halfway between the settlements of Krakatos and the more settled Rugalov.
After Karnus stumbled upon the lair of a green dragon Korak, crimelord and co-ordinator of goblin activities, the party sought battle with the wyrm and emerged victorious. Or so they thought... rumours abound of a greater wyrm, one whose size, power and magical might make Korak seem insignificant.
On the eastern side of the Forest can be found the Lake and Island of Lost Dreams, also the occasional group of elves.
Verge: A small northern village located less than a day's walk to the west of Threshold. The settlement is ruled by the Antonics - Lord Retameron, a sturdy and seasoned fighter, and his wife Lady Halia, herself a practising magic-user. This pair couple muscle and magic to defend the homesteaders of their village against warlike gnolls and bugbears, whose clans dwell on the unsettled river plain just a short way to the west.
Rifflian: An elven trading outpost.
Kelvin and the southeast moors: A wealthy riverside merchant city, renowned as a trading centre. Magic within the city walls, as is the case in Threshold, is outlawed save for beneficial effects. On occasion Lana and Karnus have been obliged to contravene the law banning magic-use, in the hope that the authorities will turn a blind eye.
On a plateau to the northeast can be found the ancient hutaakan city of Xitaqa, now crumbling ruins. It was throughout the moors to the east of the settlement that the wizard Golthar led his goblin army, plundering a series of frontier-style homesteads in search of an ancient tapestry-map showing the way to the Lost Valley of Hutaaka, and the age-old treasures therein. The moors are home to wild beings, such as the undead and bands of werewolves, also packs of roaming white horses such as are prized by the Calarii elf tribes. These steeds are protected by the centaur Loshrad, who roams the moors in the form of a magnificent black stallion, and will occasionally trade favours with adventurers who assist in protecting his kin.
Highforge: Open-minded small town comprising many different demi-human inhabitants, including Drewen's ageing mother. The venerable dwarven matriarch retired to this community after Threshold became too busy for her liking. Ruled by King Dorfus, a gnome.
Penhaligon: Large town ruled by Lady Arteris Penhaligon. Walls currently being reconstructed with the aid of local stone giants. Current home to the volatile Gnomish Shop of Wondrous Inventions.
The Black Eagle Barony: A den of infamy and lawlessness to which Duke Stefan does little but turn a blind eye, since the Barony is ruled by his beloved but secretly villainous cousin, Baron Ludwig von Hendrikks. The foremost settlement of the barony, Fort Doom, is perhaps the most abhorred of all places in the Duke's realm; this blackspot is rumoured to serve as home not only to the most prominent members of the Iron Ring slavers but also the wizard Bargle the Infamous. Many may enter but few ever leave, falling victim to the cruelty of the Duke, his depraved pet wizard and their slaver associates. The hin or halfling inhabitants of the nearby Five Shires most heavily bear the burden of the proximity of this place.
Luln: This relatively young town in the western Grand Duchy owes its survival to the town's ruler, a feisty and fearless female swordswoman named Sascia. It is she who determinedly drives back the hordes of bugbears who would otherwise seek to plunder the town, vulnerable as it is, since town defences have not yet been established. It was in Luln that our party first met the shapechanger Yuri Kopernikov, a devil swine, whose bestial transformations led to the demise of several unfortunate townsfolk. Luln is also frequently beset by the agents of its neighbour the Black Eagle Baron.
Blight Swamp: This desolate wasteland spans the gap between the Grand Duchy and the Five Shires to the east; home to all manner of lowlife in addition to the undead and more formidable monsters such as black dragons. Few choose to set foot in this murky place.
Koriszegy Keep: An abandoned and crumbling abode some way east of Luln bordering the lands of the Radlebb elves; these ruins were once the seat of power of a wealthy family who sought a pact with dark forces and suffered disaster as a consequence. The liege of the Keep is said to reside there, afflicted by a terrible curse... none have ventured inside and returned to share their tale. Clerics of the Church of Traladara are forbidden to set foot in this reportedly unholy place.
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