Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lands of Pergerron: The Silver Coast

I usually try to avoid posting content too closely to when I'm using it in actual games at the table, but I'll make an exception here. The region below is actually where I am dolling up the official D&D 5E Adventure "Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle." It's been removed from the original Forgotten Realms setting and squeezed into the region detailed below. For your reference, Caruum is analogous to Daggerdale, Crom's Hold is Hakar's Hold and Thassar is providing a suitable substitute for the menace of the Thayan wizards. Dragonspear....remains Dragonspear. The whole Kas thing is my own addition to the plot. The Elemental Demon Gods referred to below are in the Pergerron mythology the servants of the Primordials that survived the war of the gods that led to the fall of Old Sar, and they are indeed the Elemental Evils which I will neatly tie into the ongoing Elemental Evil campaign content. If it all goes well I am hoping I can use the upcoming D&D Elemental Princes module, customized for use in Pergerron.

For more on Pergerron, I point you to this page on prior articles!

Paladin of Katas from Caruum
The Silver Coast: The City States of the Amber Sea

The coastal region around the great Delta of the River Anansis is divided between two major city states: there is Haggain, ruled by the cruel king Kataelroth, who oversees the coastal territory from Caruum to the capital of his domain. North of this region is Eskalin, buried deep in the convergence of the “great fork” where the River Anansis splits into three rivers through the delta region, spilling out into the great estuary sometimes known as the Mouth of Kings.

Eskalin and Caruum often come into conflict, but each region also faces threats from other local powers. South of Haggain is the northern tip of the southlands of the Empire of Mesutin, where the powerful city of Angar rules. Westward lies northern Vothrace, a lawless land of nomadic warriors who claim no fealty to any king and regularly war against the rival orcs and gnolls in the region. Beyond that is Thassar, the Red City, where the undead sorcerer-king Sakan’Dazar rules. Thassar, as the stories go, once held much of the Silver Coast and beyond in its control, until marauding barbarians which included both the first men of Anansis and the nomads of Vothrace sacked and pillaged the old and now forgotten Dreaming Empire. Tales from that time suggest a corrupt magiocracy ripe for destruction by the simpler barbarian clans some six centuries ago. The Red City has never forgotten this trespass, and remains the mountain bastion of the once great empire.

Culturally the regions of Haggain, Caruum and Eskalin are all part of the Anansis river culture. Thassar is unique, and its mysterious history is buried in ancient elemental demon cults. Before the arrival of humans there was an older culture, the imperial province of ancient Sar called Ihanefir. This elven-dominated dominion was ruled by the elven Imperator Kas. Kas was a cruel warlord of Sar and it is said that he was one of the last great generals of the old empire to fall before the rise of the Enkanneth and their followers.  The legacy of this era of the old empire is such that the elves retained control of much of the region for nearly two centuries after the fall of Sar. The Ihanefir elves were said to have held out against the encroachment of humanity at this time, but eventually fell or were forced deep into the strongholds in what are now called the Ihanefir Mountains.

In this era a thousand years ago the Silver Coast was given to the sorcerer-king and priest of the Enkanneth called Sakan’Dazar. It is said that in the early days of his rule Sakan’Dazar was a fair and just king, and a worthy sorcerer-priest of the Enkanneth, but that the richness of the magic offered by the  elemental demons of the Ihanefir elves was too tempting to resist, and Sakan’Dazar fell to the seduction of such corruption. Rumors that he was beguiled by the elven princess Coriathis are often believed to be true by the citizens of Thassar, and is usually an explanation for why Thassar maintains its hold at Thassar’s Wall, a fortress-city which also conducts direct trade with the dark elves of Ihanefir.

The rule of the Dreaming Empire lasted only three centuries; after two centuries the elvish rule of the land was all but vanquished, but the Ihanefir settled in a treaty to occupy the ancient western mountains beyond the Serpent Marshes. In turn, the empire had another century of prosperity, but was laid low over a period of a century when the immortal ruler Sakan’Dazar retreated to the Red City of Thassar in the mountains, and left the rule of his empire to a cluster of petty regents who could agree on nothing. When the Vothrace Nomads and the determined men of Anansis sailed down-river and decided to claim the land for their own, the old guard of the Dreaming Empire were completely unprepared. So it was that around six centuries ago the Dreaming Empire was no more.

For close to five hundred years now the men of Anansis have held this region, and while the center of power changes regularly, it has nonetheless remained consistent. Today Haggain and Eskalin are the two centers of power in the region, with Thassar a distant threat and the subterranean empire of Ihanefir all but a memory. Mesutin to the south is regarded by most today as the greatest threat, as the southern empire’s corsairs engage in regular piracy with the Silver Coast.

The Silver Coast (original map, not dolled up at all)
Timeline of the Silver Coast:

-100 to Year -1 (Rule of Sar): Last reign of peace of Ihanefir Province under Imperator Kas
Year 0: Sar falls; Ihanefir is still a hold-out
Year 1 of the Rule of Man to Year 27: Imperator Kas fights against the Enkanneth men and falls; imprisoned in his tomb
Year 28 to Year 111: Sakan’Dazar rules, forging the Dreaming Empire of the Silver Coast. This era is marked by by the end of conflict and a treaty with the Ihanefir Elves which grants them dominion in and under the Ihanefir Mountains.
Year 112 to Year 199: The Dreaming Empire maintains a strong rule; this period ends when Sakan’Dazar retreats to the Red City of Thassar to the west to begin his alchemical studies in eternal life, leaving seven regents in control of his empire.
Year 200 to Year 311: A lengthy period of rule in the Dreaming Empire during which the seven regent families grow into decadence; imperial expansion and protection now non-existent.
Year 312 to Year 381: The Dreaming Empire is besieged by incompetence from within while nomadic Vothrace and opportunistic Anansic pirates attack the land. By 281 the first regent surrenders to the Anansis warlord Ha-Minos, handing his lands over in exchange for peace.
Year 382 to Year 415: The remaining regents fall, and what was once the Dreaming Empire is now divided up by a series of Anansic clans, and the westerlands become the wilds of Vothrace, a people who steadfastly refuse to accept sedentary rule.
Year 416 to Year 850: Centuries of prosperity and growth under the Anansis people turns the Silver Coast into a bustling center of trade. Eskalin becomes a major rival to Haggain, which is founded in 501.
Year 851 to Year 917: the first major war with the Mesutin Empire. This prolonged engagement last two generations and involves a great deal of effort to control trade lanes along the Amber Sea while the Mesutin seek to gain control of the Anansis Delta. It ends in a stalemate, when the Mesutin Empire becomes embroiled in its own civil war following the assassination of Emperor Medeska by his brother Halambor to the south, forcing the empire to drop all expansionist efforts.
Year 918 to Year 997 (present): Haggain grows in power as first Amanor and then his son Kataelroth come to power. The legacy of the close conflict with Mesutin drives the dynasty of Haggain to push for a strong naval force, the great warfleet of the Silver Coast, and reasonable treaties are forged with the humans, atakaans and vumaskans of Asparta to the north and Eskalin to insure cooperation should the Mesutin strike again.

High Elf of Caruum
Elves of the Silver Coast

Physically the elves of the Silver Coast are a mix of dark skinned descendents of the Mesutin elves who populated this region thousands of years ago, with the northern elves that comprised much of the elite ruling class of the northern provinces of old Sar; many of these elvish tribes today are descended from the survivors of the old war, and when spared after their surrender, the men who served the Enkanneth allowed these elves to migrate south, to forge new homes for themselves. These elves were welcome in the Dreaming Empire during its reign as elves were regarded as powerful servants and allies by the sorcerer-lords of that early human empire.

When the Ihanefir Kingdom was established by treaty Coriathis and her servants migrated into the subterranean realms below the mountains and settled in the ancient city of Caeoloth. The worship of the Elemental Demons had corrupted these elves over time, and they gained the smoky darkness in their skin identifiable as servants of the Elemental Demon Lords. As a people they are doomed to stand out from their other kin of the surface, for the darkness of drow skin is unnatural by comparison to most elves.
Warrior of Vothrace
Men of the Silver Coast

The humans of this region are a mix of the rugged and swarthy Anansic settlers of old, a handful of the pale and mysterious bloodlines that hail back to the era of the Dreaming Empire (those that did not retreat back to the Red City when the empire fell) and the tough, ruddy-skinned nomads of Vothrace. Despite such a cultural mix over centuries, the bloodlines of many remain relatively unmixed, due to the tribalistic nature of the immigrants who settled in this region. The dark-skinned Mesutin have a presence in the region as well, with a handful of expatriate families who have been allowed to migrate into the region in exchange for protection against the empire which cast them out.

Other Demi-Humans of the Silver Coast

Tieflings are surprisingly common, and most frequently find their lineage traces back to the old bloodlines of the Dreaming Empire.

Aasimar are less common, but when found they seem to have a mysterious tie to three specific bloodlines, all of which are connected to old royal Mesutin blood in the south.

Halflings are exceedingly common in the region, and have been so for countless generations, profiting from and ignoring the wars of men and elves over the last two thousand years.

Dwarves, meanwhile, can be found in the south, ruling from their holdfast of S’Ralien while plotting eternally to recover their lost cities beneath the Ihanefir Mountains. Caeoloth, now the drow capital of Ihanefir, was once the dwarven city of Maergos….and the dwarves never forget this usurpation and the blood spilt when the elves, backed by the Dreaming Empire, took it from them.

Dragonborn are a spirited but minor race in the region, regarded as stalwart allies and excellent bodyguards and soldiers by those who can afford them.

Vumaskans, the blue and green-skinned half giants of the north, have a small population in the region fostered by the trade merchants of Asparta, always seeking to maintain open trade lanes with Anansis.

Ataakans are regarded as something of a curiosity in the region, for there are no large populations in the immediate area, but much trade is engaged with the Ataakans that dwell in their hidden cities to the north in the Hakar and Kasradol Isles of the delta.

More about Ataakan and Vumaskan playable races in 5E soon…

Vumaskan Sword Maiden

Threats in the Year 997, The Rule of Man:


The Red City lurks across the wilds of Vothrace in its mountain dominion, and the sorcerers are at last beginning to stir. Stories of the depravity and decadence of Thassar may or may not be exaggerated, but it is well known that agents of Thassar have been encountered in Haggain and Caruum, and have on more than one occasion been found guilty of conspiracy to overthrow the rule of Kataelroth and his nobles along the Silver Coast. This subterfuge is typical of Thassar, but of greater concern is a suspicion that they have allied with the Mesutin warlord Cahamad of Angar in an effort to undermine the region politically. While it is generally believed Mesutin has not yet recovered enough strength politically to be a threat to Anansis, Cahamad is an enterprising fellow and he may believe that an alliance with Thassar will help to plant the seeds of corruption from within.

Rumors, of course, that Sakan’Dazar has awakened after seven centuries of sleep are regarded as foolish myth by many locals, but certain elder sorcerers in the region sense the power growing in the western Askofar Mountains, and the ever-present manifestation of scrying upon their very persons from that domain have left some sorcerers shaken to the core, ready to pack up and migrate northward lest they become the next assassination in the name of the Red City.

Imperator Kas
The Threat of Imperator Kas

Imperator Kas was the last and greatest of the military rulers of the province of Hanefir along the Silver Coast. Kas was nearly invincible and immortal due to a weave of ancient primordial magic with allowed him a measure of mind control over humans and other lesser kin. His army assembled at his legendary Castle Dragonspear, regarded as one of the most formidable bastions of Saric power in the old era. When he was at last defeated, it is said that he was locked away in a deep cavern in the Serpent Marshes, beneath an ancient temple of Sahambla. There he was bound by magics never to escape, his soul trapped in a gem that prevented him from possessing other beings. It was only recently that a hapless crew of temple raiders accidentally freed him, and Kas now possesses the body of the Monastic leader of the Monastery of Zeran, a retreat for introspection by servants of the Inner Spirit. The elvish monk Soros is now Kas’s possessed host.

Kas has only just begun his plans to return to power, and realizes that even with his enchanted armor and blade in a healthy possessed elven form he is but a shadow of what he once was. His first act will be to seek out roguish allies and make his way west into the Ihanefir Mountains, to assess the remnants of his old empire and see what remains among the current dark elves of this era. Unknown to him, the elder matron of Ihenefir is Corianthis, who rules as dark queen among her people, who have been utterly dominated by the worship of the Elemental Demons. Coriathis rules in decadence to rival the Red City from the subterranean realm of Caeoloth.

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