In my initial outline post, I wrote about how I was lifting the names and geography of the Forgotten Realms as the base for the world and then I went onto talk about how I seated various different ‘powerbases’ in the world.
I’ve now put that into a bit of a more visual format as per the image below (yeah, I know I’ll never really make it as a graphic designer!), and the rest of this post describes each of these regions in general terms. I make reference to the FR canon as part of the description, simply to help the wider gaming community understand how my plagiarism differs from the established world.
The main purpose of this post is as further background for the players in my D&D campaign.
You can see the Royal Protectorate of Tilverton is in blue, more or less in the centre of the map. Aficionados of the Realms won’t be at all surprised by the location of the powers with three exceptions. Remember that the rest of the areas are more or less as they were at the end of the 2nd Edition run.
Royal Protectorate of Tilverton
Tilverton is governed by a Tyrant, backed by the Royal power of Cormyr. In theory the Tyrant acknowledges the King of Cormyr as their overlord; in practice they are largely allowed to be independent. The main area of friction is foreign policy, in which Cormyr is expected to take the lead.
Tilverton is home to a number of aristocratic families, each of which provides members of the ruling Senate. Senators are elected for life, and are then chosen by lot to take on leading roles within the city. The area surrounding Tilverton is largely arable farmland, and then beyond that traditional D&D wilderness, housing all kinds of ancient ruins, abandoned Dwarven holdings and goblinoid hordes (more or less).
Tilverton is analogous to an early Renaissance Italian city state, such as Florence or Siena, and it can combine urban adventuring with more traditional spelunking with ease.
The Kingdom of CormyrThe King of Cormyr rules from Royal Suzail, on the southern coast of the Kingdom. Many noble houses live within the Kingdom, which is divided into Duchies, Counties and smaller holdings. A complicated set of obligations and duties accompanies the overlords and vassals, whilst the common people have a hard-working and proud mindset.
External threats come from encroachments from the Plaguelands, and the Serpentlands to the South. The King is well loved but towards the end of his Reign, and there are murmurings that a Republic would be more representative of the progressive view of the people.
There are pockets of dangerous places within the Kingdom, though these are mostly on the marches (borders), and the most likely cause of difficulty for an adventuring party in the kingdom is going to be upsetting the wrong baron.
The Purple Dragoons, the army of the Kingdom, are often sent as detachments to support either Sembia, the Dalelands or (rarely) the Elves of Cormanthor depending upon the threats that are placed upon them. Cormyr relies upon each of those lands for various raw goods for their populace and is active in protecting its interests in those other sovereign states.
The Serpentlands: The Encroachment of the Snake-PeopleThe Dragon Coast is now an extension of the Yaun-ti kingdoms that traditionally clustered around the Vilhon Reach which is to the south of this map. Thus the Dragon Coast is becoming lush with vegetation and almost tropical in its manner; the spread of the Snake People changing the very world as well as its political makeup.
The power of the Yaun-ti to manipulate the land is worrying to the human powers, though it is only recently that this has started to become apparent from merchants that have travelled there. The architecture of the cities has also changed with an aggressive rebuilding policy; the main Ziggurat of Teziir having risen from nothing in the last couple of years.
In this region humans are an underclass to the Yaun-ti, subject to their whims. The emphasis is upon what would be comfortable for snake-people, particularly those most like snakes. Thus steps are considered an embarrassing nod to your lack of perfection, horses as a method of locomotion are infrequent and human foodstuffs are considered ‘slave food’ and treated accordingly.
The DalelandsA collection of independent Dales rather than a unified ‘state’, the Dalelands is populated by honest-to-goodness, salt of the earth fellows. Home to a great many halflings as well as humans, the Dalelands are similar to Middle-earth’s Shire.
The lands here produce a fair amount of grain, as well as sustainable timber from the edge of the Great Forest. The Dalestone that stands at the main entrance to Cormanthor records the agreement between the Dalesfolk and the Elves on what can and cannot happen here.
Beneath the pleasant nature however, there is an undercurrent of toughness. The Dales have seen many armies sweep through them (from all directions) and are quite often the place where foreigners do their battling. Indeed the northern section of the Dales remains a heavily contested warzone, something that could quite easily spread further into their lands.
The Elven Forest of CormanthorThe forest stretches for many, many hundreds of miles, and not all of it is home to the Elves. They gather in the largest part of the forest, distributed in villages and small towns throughout.
Their old capital, Myth Drannor, remains a ruin housing demons, devils, dragons and other creatures that are empowered and constrained by the power of the Mythal there.
Within lie many great treasures – items and knowledge – now lost to the Elven people, including the secret of Elven High Magic. Every so often the Elves dream of reclaiming their city, but that dream has yet to reach fruition.
Demons and Devils to the North EastZhentil Keep has long been established as a base of evil in Realms-lore, and it is now the base of an evil demi-god called Iuz (yeps, borrowed from Greyhawk). He rules through seven of his children (collectively called Prince Cambions irrespective of their gender) who are backed by Demonic or Infernal allies.
The Prince Cambions are granted titles by Iuz to represent their favour, ranging from Prince Cambion Primus to Price Cambion Septimus. Movement between the ranks is entirely at Iuz will and he uses this as a tool to stop his family turning upon him entirely. This land is a microcosm of the eternal Blood War that rages across the multiverse.
This part of the world is defiled; a scrub-land with little growth where the populace lives in constant fear and the rule of might over right is encouraged. The capital and major cities is home to quite sophisticated and callous politics; whilst the lands are playthings of the regional commanders.
Each of them aims to gain sufficient Imperium to rise in Iuz’s estimation, and this is gained through achieving power over the other Prince Cambions, subjugating lands, or capturing magical valuables and sacrificing them to Iuz’s power.
The Plaguelands stretch around the relative oasis of calm of this part of the world. They seem to stretch on for ever, though there are habitations of various people and races out there. Think of the Plaguelands as a fantasy version of a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with undead, ravaging monsters and isolated pockets of possibly good communities.
Some traders have travelled across this land and claim that there is a strip of coast that doesn’t suffer these ravages. They bring back goods that fetch a fair price, including a number of magical artefacts otherwise unknown to the land.
Any magical transportation spells that seek to cross this land either fail or (worse) land the caster in a fairly random place they probably would prefer to avoid!
Sembia: Bread basket of the world
Sembia is largely a wheat producer, a fruit producer and a gold producer, their merchants trading mundane wares throughout the known world. If you need to get some where chances are a merchant of Sembia knows the way, is going there as well, and could probably do with the help to get there.
More strictly a federation of independent areas (Cormyr calls them “Duchies” but reality is there’s no common title between them) they have a generally shared agenda that is not at all governed by any common law except that recognised by the merchant community.
If you’re into field upon field upon field of cabbage, here’s the place to come.