The Wildlands

In ancient times the land now known as the Wildlands was a beautiful but uncivilised realm of the fey. It was a very sylvan land with wild woodlands and meandering streams and brooks. The fey lived naturally side by side with the land, not building too many structures. Those that they did build were one with nature, blending in with it rather than fighting or competing with it. Their magic was both natural and powerful.

Geography

About 3000 years ago humans arrived on the western shores of this land. These savage and brutal people immediately fought the fey for territory. The fey, a mostly peaceful race, were pushed back by these savages and forced to flee the lands. Some fled to the shores and set sail to safer places. Others fled east into the dark boughs of the forest, where those humans who followed were rarely ever seen again The lands are now split into six city states, each of which claims the territory around it. Each is run as a realm in its own right with its own laws, culture and identity. They share a common religion and tongue, although each state has its own dialect. They now have no real contact with the lands of Albion to the east, beyond the forboding forest, and only a little with the lands of Hishan, southeast of them.   The city states continue to war with one another for territory and resources. Independent traders travel the wild lands between the cities, risking bandits and worse in order to make money trading goods which cannot be produced in other states. There are few roads around the lands and those that are kept charge extortionate tolls. Outside of the six cities the lands are rough and wild. There are a few settlements large enough to be called towns but these are rare.   The seas off the shores of the lands are thick with sailing vessels. Many are traders; some are patrol ships of the coastal states and an alarming number are pirates who make their living preying on the weak.   The wildlands are a land of opportunity for the strong. Mercanaries and adventurers are common; hiring on as caravan guards, becoming bandits, trading, bounty hunting, even performing acts of espionage for one city state against another are all possible ways to make a living if you are capable.   On the city state borders the Wildlands truly live up to their name with dangerous animals and monsters being common. Ruins of a bygone age can also be found on the fringes. Only the strong and prepared dare enter these places as certain death awaits the unwary.   One thing is for certain. The Wildlands surely are a place of High Adventure!   The Wildlands are split into 6 city states: Dominion, Haven, Land's End, Maard, Pembrose and Wetland.   This country has a long coast line, with approximately half of its borders being sea. For the most part it is a land of rolling fertile plains which are farmed by the locals. It is not an altogether safe place though as much of the indiginous wildlife is more monstrous than animal in nature. The cities themselves and the immediate area around them tend to be pretty safe from random monster attacks, but out wandering the wilds things are a different prospect. As such most of the farmers who live off the land are a hardy and resourceful bunch. They need to be to survive away from the protection of the cities.

Fauna & Flora

Wayward Pines

  Dotted with comforting frequency around the Wildlands are a form of pine tree which is a wonderful boon to travelers. The trees are known as wayward pines and are typically found frequently enough in the wilds to ensure that any night out will at least be reasonably comfortable, if one has the knowledge to find them. Of course not all travelers can recognize a wayward pine or know what benefits it holds the weary journeyman.   Wayward pines are large pine trees whose lower branches form a small dome around the base of the tree, making the perfect shelter for travelers. The lowest branches stretch out from the trunk and the leaves drape down all the way to the ground, meaning the area by the bottom of the trunk is completely shut off from the outside world. The canopy of these trees is almost totally waterproof and the bark of the tree is mostly resistant to fire, plus its trunk forms a natural chimney to suck the smoke of a campfire up and away. If the campfire is built of dry wood and not made too big, then it will not even be seen from outside the tree's domed shelter and the smoke will be light enough to escape notice by many passersby. These pine trees are the friend to any traveler who crosses the Wildlands.   It is common for travelers to leave stacks of firewood under the eaves of these trees, and many of them have beds of grass and straw laid out. Travelers typically use the firewood that has been left for them and restock it before moving on the next morning. Most of these trees also have a small stone circle making a firepit, near the trunk. Some even have makeshift cooking spits built under them.

Culture

The Wildlands are split into six city states, each of which claims the territory around it. Each is run as a realm in its own right with its own laws, culture and identity. They share a common religion and tongue, although each state has its own dialect. They now have no real contact with the lands of Albion to the east, beyond the foreboding forest, and only a little with the lands of Hishan, southeast of them.   The city states continue to war with one another for territory and resources. Independent traders travel the wild lands between the cities, risking bandits and worse in order to make money trading goods which cannot be produced in other states. There are few roads around the lands and those that are kept charge extortionate tolls. Outside of the six cities the lands are rough and wild. There are a few settlements large enough to be called towns but these are rare.   The everyday populace of the Wildlands have no access to magic. They consider it a powerful, strange and dangerous force which is in the realms of the priests to control. They are generally suspicious of it and respectful to those who wield it.  

Language

The main language of the Wildlands is Wildland. This is the "common tongue" as it were. This language is not spoken outside of the Wildlands.   There is another language, called the Trade Tongue which is known mostly by merchants and is universal across all the "known world". Very few people but international merchants know this language so it is not a universal tongue by any means. Trade Tongue may be learnt as a standard language if desired.   Some other sects also speak their own language. Priests of Storm, Cashel and Mar, for example learn to speak Celestial; Draconic is the language of the priests of Hex; and it is believed that the priests of Elenir have their own secret tongue.   Starting languages: Starting characters all know Wildlands. That is free. They may take their bonus languages from the usual ones, plus Trade Tongue, Albion, Hishan, Khemit and Imperial Honshu. Unless your background explains how you are fluent in Elven, Dwarven, Albion, etc, etc, taking such languages means you can get by in them, but you have little or no experience of using such languages face to face with native speakers.   Most people in Wildlands are literate.  

Slavery

Slavery is a sad truth in the Wildlands. Slaves are bought, sold and stolen in all the states. Slaves are noted by the custom of tattooing the mark of the slaves master onto their face. Those slaves that are important and educated (scribes and the like for the rich folk of Maard for example) have small, inconspicuous marks in unobtrusive locations, like behind the ear. Those that are labourers and uneducated types tend to have bolder more obvious brands. Unruly slaves who are bought and sold many times have many tattooes across their faces and are often called "map faces", indicating that you can read their history on their faces like a map.   The amount of slaves and the general law and tolerace of slavery varies considerably through the different city states. In Haven for example, owning slaves is illegal. However it is legal to have servants and of course there is no way to remove a tattoo once it is branded onto a slave, so there are many "servants" in Haven who bear the tattooes of slavery. If asked they will tell that they are ex-slaves, now rescued and working as servants and not slaves and the Haven gentry will never admit to owning slaves. But whether these servants are truly free is another matter. Captain Kennit is well known to be opposed to slavery and often embarks on attacks on the slave ships of Lands End to rescue and free slaves.   In Lands End slaves are bought and sold like any other product - and as often they are raided and stolen from places like other booty. The nature of the place means that intelligent and well educated slaves are not really in demand here so this place has more than its fair share of map faces. Lands End also produces more slaves than any other city state, simply due to its raids to the surrounding lands taking prisoners to be sold into slavery.   Maard also does a great trade in slaves and this is where most of the more intelligent slaves often end up - owned by the richer gentry and land owners of this city state. These slaves, musicians, artists, scribes and the like, are often seen as a sign of wealth and oppulence. Maard also has a law that if you do not have enough money to buy a night in an inn, nor a home to go to in the current village, town or city, then you are considered a vagabond and will be picked up by the guards. If you are not ransomed within three days by some external force (a friend, family member, etc), then you will be sold as a slave at the next market.   Slavery is pretty much unheard of in Wetland. It is believed that Dorian Hawkmoon, the effective overseer of Wetland from his domain in the north is an adamant opponent of slavery, having once suffered that fate himself. So his hand is felt in this city state. Wetland is rumoured to use magic to remove slave tattoos and make people truly free again. To that end, Wetland is a haven that slaves often try to flee to. It is believed this helps to swell this otherwise desolate land's numbers.   Pembrose uses some slave labour, especially in the logging industry. They are under constant pressure from Haven to revoke this law but as yet have not bowed to such pressure.   Also Dominion uses many slaves in its mines, often overseen by dwarven masters.  

Races

Humans are by far the most common race in the Wildlands and live everywhere. Dwarves are more common in Dominion than anywhere else. Fey are rare in the Wildlands, apart from the occasional areas of Wetland, and in Pembrose on the edge of the Elvenwood. A very few half orcs can be found in the northern reaches but most are to be found in the rough state of Land's End. A few of the humans found in the Wildlands are foreigners. They tend to come from Hishan, Khemit, The Empire of Honshu and occasionally The Kingdom of Albion. These people are fairly rare here though.

Maps

  • Map of The Wildlands

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