Arumthar, the Broken Kingdom
Known to most by the simple moniker The Broken Kingdom, Arumthar is truly the very epitome of a tragic land. A vast kingdom once known the world over for its grandeur, its wealth, and its culture, Arumthar fell to some terrible doom long ago. Some say the pride of its kings laid it low, others whisper that delving some ancient and arcane secret brought down a curse, others that the wrath of some maligned Divhi, and still others that Arumthar's collapse was mere cruel fortune. Whatever the truth, the marvels of Arumthar collapsed into rubble. Now, slowly, people have begun to return to this ruinous but rich land. Outcasts, refugees, free thinkers and bandits rub shoulders. But amongst them the mysterious pale plague strikes here and there, and in the night now and then its weak, pallid victims simply disappear.

Tech Code: 5
Major Terrain: Flatlands, Sea, and Mountain.
Primary Languages: Kelorn, Irian.
Ancient Ruins: Kerispur, Kharme, Lynae.

Geography


Physical Geography

Arumthar is a huge region by the standards of the southern coast, stretching from the craggy Tarvuar Hills which mark its border with Taurvann, down the coast of the Aruman Sea in the south, and to the misty Yrelldor Range to the east. For the most part, the land is covered by the Crowyn-Hai Flats, also known as the Arumthar Plains, a region of gently rolling flatland covered by high, coarse grasses with copses of low hardwoods scattered here and there, broken occasionally by tiny rivulets from the mountains and hills that boarder it. Where the streams stop there are marshy wetlands, and here and there around these areas light forests spring up, and animals gather to drink. Sparsely populated, these lands are mostly untouched by he hands of the people of Arumthar, except for the occasional game-track used by hunters, crossing through the grasses. The only notable feature here are the Elkhar Hills situated in almost the dead centre of the plains. These shallow hills surround Lake Skaya, and ultimately rise to towering mountains at their heart. The hills conceal many fertile vales where groves of fruit trees grow.

The plains are warm and dry, often whipped by harsh winds, and dusty in summer. The Tarvuar Hills and the Yrelldors are far more rugged, rocky and barren, with only the hardiest plants and animals being able to survive and brownish rocks and dark clay overtaking the waving tan grasses. Deeper into the hills the land becomes craggy and water eats away little cliffs and gathers in deep pools, forming networks of underwater caves below the hills. Further into the mountains frequent snowfall and rock-slides keep the landscape shifting and hard to navigate. There are few clear passes through the Yrelldors, especially in winter and spring, and most go out of their way to go around them.

The southern coast skirts the shallow, calm Aruman Sea, which cuts into the land, all the way south to the city of Aresfin - which sits on the point of the same name. East of Aresfin locals call the stretch of coastline the Khoper Coast after the Bay of Khoper, which runs all the way past the Yrelldors to points east. Known as the Turenrei Plains, the coastal region is fertile, full of deep, fast rivers and fertile farmlands. Thin forests of sycamore and chestnut trees, and groves of grapes and olive grow wild among the roughly kept fields of local farmers. The Turenreis Plains are divided from the Corwyn-Hai Flatlands by a small region called the three woods, named for the Rynwode, Kestlewode and Yurendel Forest which all meet here. At their ancient hearts, these woods are as ancient as any to be found in the world, but at their fringes they are all new growth, sparse and scrubby. The river Ceiluar, the widest and deepest in Arumthar, and it’s many promontories keep this region green and vital all year round. The land here is still wild, although logging companies are beginning to develop in the northern Kestlewode, where they hack more pockets of farmland from the youthful woods every year. In the flats between the woods, the trees grow together, like tendrils reaching to embrace one another, and small ponds and creeks quickly form, and just as quickly disappear as unpredictable bouts of torrential rain batter the land the year round.

The coast here is mostly made up of long, sandy beaches, broken by rocky headland outcroppings south to the Forest Islands in the Stillwater Gulf, where shallow cliffs and deeper waters take over. The weather on the coast is mild, broken only by occasional storms out at sea that cause silt and debris to drift in off the Aruman Sea. Further south-west around the Mourenian Bay and Hirkane Bay the plains are lightly forested, but no less fertile. No longer farmland, the area still bears the markings of the three great civilizations that have risen and fallen in the region. The more recent husks of low, stone country estates and little towns are occasionally broken by the hulking ruins of truly ancient stone temple-cities, now no more than low, broad walls and buried statues, aged well beyond identifiable detail. The plains here are smooth, rolling and green except where huge outcroppings of grey-black stone or small forests break the horizon. It is warmer and stiller here, with a humid climate that causes tiny beds of brightly coloured wild flowers to grow up all around the countryside. The people leave the land alone, and respect it for it’s beauty and tranquillity, as well as its hidden dangers such as overgrown pitfalls, low-growing thistles and poison ivy.

The Eresfell Downs have a nasty reputation for being haunted. They are a grey, misty area of swamp, full of hidden drops, drowned pits and gnarled dead trees. Most of the water off the mountains flow into here, and Arumthar retains its claim to the region only because no-one else wants them. Even the savage Org tribes of the Karenethri Hills won’t go into the place unless they must. The boarders of the downs are uncertain at the best of times, capable of moving miles from one wet season to the next, retreating into their darkest recesses one year, and flowing unchecked into the low mountains and northern flatlands the next. They too have their share of ruins, usually on rocky outcroppings over the sunken lands. Great cities are said to have been swallowed up by the downs more than once in the lands long history. The air is always crisp and chill, and a still, thick low-lying mist is ever-present - permeating the whole area - adding to its sinister charm. If it’s reputation were not enough, the downs also have a lot of real, physical dangers. Deep pools of mud are hidden amongst the usually knee deep muck, these cloying pits draw anything unfortunate enough to step in them inexorably down to their deaths, pinning them with sucking clay. Occasionally boiling geysers will unpredictably erupt from out of what little solid ground there is, scorching the mud around it dry.

To the west the steep Yrelldor Mountains and dense Courynn Forest seem more at home in the east than here. The mountains are misty and foreboding, formed of dark stone and capped by light snow, almost entirely impassable except through a few narrow, treacherous passes that only the most experienced local guide can find. They are home to only the hardiest of living things and very little stays there for long. The Courynn Forest is deep and dark, growing down the valleys of the mountains and then sprawling over the plains. Further up the forest is always green, and even mighty pine trees grow on the slopes. Deep lakes and fast-flowing streams run into it from the mountains. Despite the warm climate of most of Arumthar, the mountains keep it still and cold in the forests in all but the warmest seasons. The outer edges of the forest teems with life, but it gets stiller and quieter as a traveller draws closer to those deepest, most secret of hidden groves and stands of ancient trees where the shadow world grows closest and the lay lines shine dimly on moonlit nights. Some locals whisper of strange, shadowy creatures lurking in the woods that few will name out loud.

Political Geography

Arumthar.jpg

Arumthar did not get the name ‘the Broken Kingdom’ for nought. What was once the mightiest nation of the west is now shattered almost beyond repair. Some say that the broken kingdom will never rise again, and most have abandoned it to its shadowy fate. The remains of Arumthar look a lot like the rest of the coast, almost as splintered as the kingdoms to the east, but not nearly so populous. Arumthar is a rough collection of vaguely allied city-states, many of whom exert control over neighbouring lands and resources, but none of whom claim definite boarders beyond their own city limits.

Vanefyr

Government: Sovereign city-state ruled by an elected Maester.
Religions:
Industries and Trades:
Major Settlements: Vanefyr.

The eastern coast is entirely formed of independent city-states. To the north of the bay of Khoper these states are also able to control farmlands around themselves, making rather large domains, but with huge tracts of no-man’s-land in between. To the south of the woods down to the forest isles these states fragment even more, until every little town declares its independence. Here there are few people living outside the lantern-covered walls of the settlements. The further from the coast, the fewer people. Most of these east coast states are relatively new, settled only a few generations ago by pioneers brave or foolish enough to penetrate the boarders of this cursed land to seek their fortune. Those who succeeded quickly attracted settlers, especially those wanted for crimes in other places. The pioneering nature of these new settlements makes them rough and not a little dangerous, but extremely prosperous. Vanefyr, the first stop on the road from the eastern kingdoms, and is the most open to the outside world of the Arumtharn settlements, and this also makes it the first stop for those with cause to flee the outside. It claims most of the coast between the foothills of the Yrelldors and the eastern bank of the River Skraye, as far as Loen. It is one of the eldest of the settlements here, and boasts several major trade routes, it is the only real way into Arumthar for any sensible traveller, though there aren’t many who travel through here to stay, and most merchants avoid it’s cursed boarders. Nicknamed the city of gates, rulers are elected for life from a handful of candidate families, with the right to vote in any election being purchasable by any permanent resident. For the past couple of generations Vanefyr has been under the control of the Van family, and the current Maester Warem Van is enjoying the prosperity of his city through which all trade to the outside world must flow.

Loen

Government: Sovereign city-state with aspects of rule divided between a hereditary council.
Religions:
Industries and Trades:
Major Settlements: Loen.

To the south the port of Loen sits on the sheltered coast of the Vanefyr Bay at the mouth of the Skraye. On a good season it’s boarders can reach out to the two rivers that flank it, in a bad season it scarcely claims what can be seen from it’s city gate. Located in one of the most fertile areas of Arumthar, least troubled by the curse of the pale plague, it remains little more than a large town and even this far north very few people have the courage to settle beyond the city limits. The city is badly over-populated, many settlers who find the well-structured legal system of Vanefyr not to their tastes travel here and so the packed lower class districts of town are both dangerous and full of curious individuals. The city acts as a haven for mercenaries, bandits and fortune hunters who pour in and out of the nation as new petty lords try to cleave themselves domains from the once great nation.

Loen is ruled by three powerful families whose patriarchs gather into a council; every five years they rotate, one is leader and the other two advise. The Three Families, the Dorens, the Favells and the Godens are always vying for some way to escape this arrangement and take control of the town, but as yet their scheming against each other has gained them little more than they had to begin with. The patriarchs, or Lords are Adan Doren, Naile Favell and Danyae Goden. Adan is a former mercenary captain, and despite his advancing years remains gruff and martial, Naile has trained for politics for most of his life in classical Kelorn universities to the north, but has found such strategies useless in this thieves den of a town, this frustrates him to no end. Danyae is the current over lord of the town, he is a blunt man who lived much of his life as a sailor and even now has the most concern in the comings and goings of the docks, over which he has almost absolute control. His wife Dalra deals with most of his day to day administration. The town is plagued by gangs and mobs driven by various criminal cartels and, eventually, by the lords themselves.

Eyeth

Government: Sovereign city-state ruled by a hereditary Patrician.
Religions:
Industries and Trades:
Major Settlements: Eyeth.

Eyeth is the most independent settlement in all of Arumthar. Sitting on the northmost reaches of the Bay of Khoper, it calls its boundaries the rivers Ceiluar and Gellion and claims all the grasslands between, but realistically it can only exert any influence over half of that. In essence it exists in the middle of nowhere, the hardest of all the east coast towns to reach by land or sea it’s independence is lucky, or it would not still exist. Despite its economically unfavourable position Eyeth enjoys a large population and healthy trade, timber and fisheries. The town sees occasional bandit raids, but damage is usually superficial. It is ruled over by the Norr family, a group of Kelorn nobles deposed from their family lands in Kipir by a revolution generations ago. The family and a small loyalist army founded the town and still represent one of the single largest military forces in all Arumthar, aside from the Orgish tribes. The Patrician, Allaine en-Norr is the current ruler, though the old man is busy grooming his eldest son Bishan to take his place as soon as possible. In Eyeth he who holds the ear of the army holds power, so the Preceptor Dole en-Veer also holds a great deal of sway here.

Carreth

Government: Dictatorship (technically) under a pirate council.
Religions:
Industries and Trades:
Major Settlements: Carreth.

Carreth is the youngest of all of the settlements, scarcely more than twenty years old, it was founded by the legendary Captain Otal Zakkis, an infamous privateer and agitator, he and his crew are something of a folk legend along the Khoper Coast. The town is little more than layer upon layer of palisade with some rough log structures in between them. The captain’s ship, the Carre's Pride acts as the permanently anchored centre of government for the town. While it could be called a pirates den, most other pirates steer clear. and the settlers are more likely people who are dissatisfied with their rulers and have had the resources to move to what they see as a new centre of freedom and liberation. For their part the Pride’s crew want nothing more than a place to spend their last years out of reach of the many enemies they have made over the years. As yet Carreth has laid claim to no territory beyond its fortifications. Still, the city limits extend every day.

Aresfin

Government: Sovereign feudal territory ruled by a hereditary Ordinator.
Religions:
Industries and Trades:
Major Settlements: Aresfin, Foel, Marieth.

Further south, the Free Ordanary of Aresfin incorporates the city whose name it bears and the towns of Marieth and Foel, as well as most of the Foelcorr River valley. It represents the single united land in all Arumthar. Ruled by the Verne Ordinators since it’s founding some hundred and fifty years ago, the city of Aresfin expanded it’s territories by signing treaties of peace and annexing it’s neighbours, and while Ordinator Bairn Verne is trying to live down the warlike heritage his predecessors left him his nation remains predominantly a military power. Split into nine counties, each territory is ruled by a cont who rules from court at Aresfin. Patronage and jostling for power among the nobility here rivals that of nations like Sandour and Sipra, though the rewards are far slimmer. While Aresfin remains fairly insular and supplies most of it’s own food and goods and is mistrustful of outsiders. Here the power of the shades is far more apparent than further up the coast, ancient ruins are sealed and watched by inland lighthouses on claims, and people seldom venture outside their homes in the darkness. The capital city and it’s towns are all very old, built only a few decades after the fall of the great Arumtharn cloud cities, their buildings are ancient bluish stone and their walls and keeps are solid and defensible. Ordinator Bairn styles himself the peacemaker and works to unite his realm through a series of treaties and strategic political appointments, the kind of shrewd politics not usually seen in Arumthar.

Sorother and Whyle

Government: Sovereign city-states under hereditary Arls.
Religions:
Industries and Trades:
Major Settlements: Sorother, Whyle.

Around the Mourenian Bay the settlements of Sorother and Whyle struggle against one another, locked in a war that neither can afford to even begin. The two towns split over the support of two brothers for the position of Arl Whyle some ninety years ago, those supporting Soroth went to the north with their deposed lord while those who supported Alath stayed in their ancestral home. Two great armies remain garrisoned along fresh battle lines, but while they raid and skirmish neither side can afford the resources to actually launch an attack. While Soroth III and Lord Tarad both hire out their armies as mercenary forces, their resources cannot last for long and their lands grow dangerously poor. The two lords rule their lands and their people absolutely, with only their generals as advisers beneath them. Each convinced of the absolute righteousness of their cause, neither will back down until the other bows before him and recognizes the legitimacy of his claim. Both men are so blindly obsessed with the pursuit of what they consider justice for their ancestors that they are forgetting that their land is dying and their people starving.

Fael-They

Government: Totalitarian dictatorship under a powerful dictator.
Religions:
Industries and Trades:
Major Settlements: Fael-They.

The Dominate of Fael-They is the domain of the much feared and respected Master Randar. Its territories extend from the western bank of the River Brione to the Tarvuars in the north, and all the way to the sea in the south. Most of this land falls inside it’s purview not by the Master’s claim, but by the lack of any other. But the people of Fael-They make it clear that their boarders do not extend an inch beyond the banks of the Luor, into the shades territory. This huge Dominate actually roughly equates to one of the provinces of old Arumthar, and Fael-They has been a centre of commerce since even before the fall of Arumthar. In fact there has been a city on the site of Fael-They since well before Arumthar’s founding, and the scattered ruins and the massive tiers of an ancient temple-city still mark the land over which Fael-They sprawls. A dozen small ports on Girkane Bay act as last-stops for ships travelling up the coast where they can refresh their supplies and perform repairs for the trip home, and the Dominate has several lucrative trade routes with their richer neighbours. Randar holds a great deal of the Dominate’s power in his iron fist. He is a fair but harsh man with an unshakable faith in the letter of the law and deep respect for all things religious. He has welcomed many faiths into his land both because of the aid that they bring his people and in an attempt to drive the shades away.

The Dominate is ruled from Fael-They, the city of temples, where nearly the entire ancient Kelorn pantheon, and some newer more popular Divh are represented alongside various military institutions and powerful merchant-houses. By the Master’s own law his word is absolute, but he may make no decision without first consulting at least three of his huge council of advisors who all come from these groups or represent the various settlements within the Dominate. At the moment the most powerful individuals in this diverse court are Grand Commander Railen en-Corr of the Iron Grip Command, master tradesman Lenel Sorrs of the Overland Coster, Matann Sone of the Loggers and Trappers Consortium and Brodr Falan en-Norr of the First Hand of Otta, but Randar’s primary advisor is warrior-priestess Diadora Usilla, a northern cleric and devotee of Elis, she is currently leading a small following known as the Gathering of the Golden Temple, who are having marked success protecting Fael-They from it’s many supernatural foes - or so they claim.

Foere

Government: Federation of city districts ruled by a Viceroy elected from amongst the Maesters of each district.
Religions: The Old Way, The Aruman Penitence.
Industries and Trades:
Major Settlements: Foere.

Along the coast lie the loose collection of makeshift forts and the tiny herding communities of the federation of Foere, centred on the ancient town, which is built where one of the cloud cities was once anchored. Foere only houses about a third of the population it was built to handle, and entire quarters of what was once a sizeable and beautiful city are now abandoned to ruin. Foere is ruled over by Viceroy Gaelind Tam, who is a known sorcerer, and seems to have perfected a manner of protection for his town, and those of his allies, from the worst of the shades night-time predations. The city of Foere still houses much of an ancient Arumtharn library, inscribed in an almost lost runic language within large crystalline tablets - the reading of which only the Viceroy and his advisers are learned in. While the federation is not wealthy it has resources aplenty, proving comfortably independent - as its isolation demands it must.

Dône and Khole

Government: Sovereign city-states under hereditary rulers.
Religions:
Industries and Trades: Silver, copper and timber.
Major Settlements: Dône, Khole.

Further to the north, past the lands where the fallen city lies, which none lay claim to and few dwell in, lie the independent mountain towns of Dône and Khole. These places are perfect for those who wish to live quiet lives, not bothering those around them; something here keeps even the threat of the shades a distant tale for the fireside. Dône lies in the thin outskirts of the Courynn Forest, built in a valley overlooked by the restored ruin of the Kharmen Citadel. Lord Samial Lukan, a proud and noble warrior and veteran commander, rules the town. The people have a great deal of respect for he and his personal guard, the shining spears, and he rules as their lord and master, tolerating no challenge to his rule. While the threat of the shades and the mysteries of the forest remain, the people are without thought for his draconian rule - more concerned for their safety. Most of the folk of Dône are hunters or loggers, but every summer a cadre of traders travel east to Lake Courne where they take boats south to Lake Alark and Wesfallon where they trade their hardy timbers for supplies.

Khole sits at the very edge of the forest, it is a young town and it controls the Arum pass, one of the few navigable routes into Arumthar. Khole was founded some sixty years ago when local people began to become more comfortable crossing Arumthar’s boarders from Alare and beyond. A foreign lordling called Ildren Khole lost his lands to a neighbour and travelled into Arumthar seeking his fortune. He and the settlers he took with him founded Khole, but when he died the five major mercantile cartels who had developed in the town took control from his daughter Anya, who now serves as the town’s head magistrate. Khole exists only as a stop for trade traffic coming to and from Arumthar, and charges heavy taxes on the pass, which it’s Seneschals hold against unwanted or non-paying traffic. The town’s population is seasonal, rising in summer as merchants test the waters of commerce in the Broken Kingdom, and falling toward winter when the pass can only be navigated with an expert guide, and most of the residents work for a merchant consortium. Every adult male resident is required to serve in the militia when called, and must spend at least two years in the service of the town, either under the magistrate, as a Seneschal, or serving at the town hall. Khole grows and prospers, and represents a new age for Arumthar, and the possibility of new vitality in a dying land.

Kerispur and the Shadelands

Finally, in the very middle of Arumthar, lies the realm of the shades. This little kingdom, based around the fallen ruins of Kerispur is a land of collapsed grandeur and rotting hope. The crumbling memory of the densest parts of the old Arumtharn civilization, and the even older, blood-soaked temples of Kel Madra lie crumbling in this land. Here the dead do not rest easy and the living are all touched by the hands of the mysterious Shade King. In the ruins the specters of the long-deceased rise up in the darkness and enact macabre parodies of their old lives like sad-faced marionettes, while some few corporeal figures pass among them shrouded in dark robes. There is little in the way of law here, the shades gather in the fallen city where their king dwells; hiding their true natures beneath heavy cloth, then move among the uneasy ghosts of their domain, who obey without question or complaint.

Setting Trait (3): We Never Go There The rich heartlands of Arumthar are wild, beautiful, bountiful and balmy. They are also utterly empty. Only picturesquely mouldering ruins remain in testament to the great civilization that once stood here. Even the most valiant or foolhardy of treasure hunter, or the most desperate of outlaw ventures this deep into Arumthar. Yes, these lands are rich. And eerily perilous.

Social Geography

The lands that fall into the boarders of the Broken Kingdom are as culturally diverse as they are physically. The people of Arumthar can be broken into three basic divisions, the Org to the west, the men of the east and the men of the south. The influence that the shades exert is considerable, but they have little culture of their own, but rather enact a mash of stolen society in the night.

The people on the east coast are relative newcomers to Arumthar, drawn from all over the Southlands, they are refugees, criminals, deposed lordlings and fortune seekers all eager to make a new home for themselves in this ancient land where there is no law, no master and every man is king of whatever he can take and hold. To its neighbours, who begin to forget Arumthar’s greatness and its danger, the land is the new frontier where enterprising men can make their fortune, and where legends of the hidden wealth of the ancient world abound. The isolated towns and villages along the coast, all linked by boat because the roads are long since overgrown and buried, are mixes of many cultures, each district of a settlement representing a different creed and heritage. Everywhere within a few months ride has sent it’s war refugees and it’s brigand bands and mercenary bands here where they have settled and mixed, but more come every day to these ramshackle towns. Dozens of religions, languages and cultures are practised in these frontier towns, but universally life is hard, but an ambitious man has many options here. Many fortune seekers come to build their own tiny towns and attract settlers and eventually become lords in their own rights, others come because they have heard of the wealth of the coasts of Arumthar, gold washes in from the sea where once great mountains stood before the sea swallowed much of the coast. Now small towns appear and disappear as gold strikes are proclaimed and fade along the rivers of the east. Yet others come as treasure hunters, planning on pushing into the west and the south where the ruins of fallen cloud cities and immense ancient fortresses still hold the riches and the indecipherable secrets of ancient Arumthar, some even come searching for the ancient lore of the people of Arumthar that allowed them to raise up a civilization unequalled by other men. Whatever their motives these are dangerous, rough men and lead to little real society and a dependence on trade from the outside, only a few settlements can feed themselves and fewer have a high permanent population as the tide of fortune seekers waxes and wanes.

To the south live the people who call themselves the Arumtharns, although few truly are. Just before the kingdom’s fall a huge influx of northern Kelorns came to Arumthar and filled out the lower echelons of its population. The true Arumtharns, descended from the Irians who first came here, are now all but dead, save for those who have settled nations far from Arumthar, and the people of Fael-They. These southmen, as they are called, have dwelt here since the kingdom’s fall. They would not, or could not leave their homes and so weathered the shades attacks and the chaos of the kingdom’s collapse, and lived on, occasionally forming large and powerful political unions, mostly trying to be small and meek so as not to attract the wrath of the shades. They lived in the ruins of a once great civilization, trying to remember what they could while foreign raiders and the shades preyed upon them and their cities burned. These people are a little more socially advanced than their northern neighbours, living in societies and under governments that are ancient by the standard of the outcast Irians. These people have art, although it tends to be bleak, and their literature and knowledge comes from that their priests and sages scrape together from the ancient lores and texts of the Irians and first tribeless.

Organized around the ruins of old Arumtharn cities and fortresses, in the shelter of which they have built their homes, and under the crumbling ruins of fallen cloud cities these people huddle protectively around those who they think are strong enough to protect them from the shadowy monsters in the west and the plundering horde in the east. There is no real system of class, or property and governments here don’t go to any effort to guarantee any rights that are not theirs, but space is greater than the population can fill, and most men can take what they need from the land for themselves and their families and not step on any toes. While the common people hunt or tend small claims found around the walls of their settlements or send tributes of food and goods they are allowed access to the markets for the bigger settlements to barter their goods and are extended the protection of the armies of their local lord. Unlike the east there are few minor lordlings, and settlements have forged together into alliances and federations under their most powerful members. People tend to be sedentary, not wanting to be outside the brightly lit walls of their settlements during the night means that few men will leave the city of their birth by more than half a day’s ride, and federations only hold together while they remain within a day’s ride of another member settlement. Life is harsh and people live in danger, oppressed by the danger that surrounds them on all sides, but their lives are liveable, their homes adequate and their supplies and goods are enough for them to live comfortably, if perilously, in the shattered remains of Arumthar, reminded every day, by the ruins on the horizon and the shadowy figures outside the walls at night, of the grandeur that was once the Kingdom of Arumthar.

The Org of the north-western tribes live like nearly all of their kind, these proud tribes are based around vast extended families, and the strongest and most ruthless among them rules. The Dagha-Bul are the more powerful, named for their founder, their name means bloody jaws in the local Orgish dialect. They live in a huge mobile army, moving from position to position as their battles call them. They provide their own food, forge their own weapons and take whatever else they need from nearby settlements. They have a strongly martial society, as do most Org, their upper classes being filled by warriors and the most brutal and savage warriors becoming the shamanistic priests, or Da-Agah, who are capable of communing with the dead through a dream state called Madra Da Gruul, or closeness to death, in which they eat a certain specific mixture of incredibly toxic herbs, and enter a days-long struggle on the edge of life. The Broud, or hunters, differ from the Dagha-Bul. Like their Dagha-Bul neighbours, the Broud are totally mobile, but they prefer to stay in one place for entire seasons. They are excellent miners, and can strip an area bare in a matter of months and then process it’s resources and leave it in ruin before moving on, it is likely that it is their influence that keeps the downs area so ruined and lifeless. The Broud live in constant fear of powerful nature spirits who seek to avenge their brutal treatment of the land, and so seek to utterly devastate any place they mine, to weaken its spirits beyond reprisal.

History


Timeline

c. 2700 KS The great ziggurat of Fael-They is completed.
c. 3050 KS The first wave of Iri wandering arrives in the region.
c. 3101 KS1 Isle of Men is unmade, and the Sundering strikes the souther coast, the Arumen sea opens up as does Mourenian Bay, the Kyaris Mountains rise from the ground destroying the city of Karii, the population of the coastal city states is dramatically depleted. The city of Kota is destroyed by a monstrous wave. The ziggurat of Fael-They collapses when the earth opens under it. The southern section of the Yrelldor Mountains become Girkane Bay in a massive earthquake.
c. 3200 KS Priest Amm-Mamu bans foreigners from Iri settlements. Amm-Mamu is captured and burned to death by Kelorn raiders.
3382 KS The first clashes of the Lizard War commence.
3393 KS The second wave of Irian wandering begins to settle the coastlands.
3520 KS The Lizard War ends.
3718 KS Sil-Montari secedes from the Kelorn Empire, but keeps the Kelorn name Arumthar.
3724 KS Arumthar faces invasion imperial forces led by Orator Chairon Lam, but repels them at the battle of the Tarvuar Hills.
3736 KS The Kerothean War begins.
3738 KS King Logayne Montari and the companions are lost in the downs.
3747 KS King Lorryc Montari defeats the forces of the Empire at Torenrei field, formally ending the war.
3751 KS Chairon Lam comes to broker peace, and is taken prisoner as a guest at court.
3860 KS King Alrud Montari begins worshipping elementals.
3921 KS The ‘Golden Age’ of Arumthar begins. Kerispur is raised into the sky.
4102 KS Org appear in northern Arumthar.
4591 KS Arumthar Joins The Magocracy.
4676 KS The Magocracy collapses.
4771 KS The last of the Duräd die out.
4778 KS The prophet Rhindur inscribes the Arum prophecy on the wall of the royal palace.
4780 KS The golden age of Arumthar ends, Kerispur falls from the sky, the shades appear, Lorn Montari scatters his court and is killed by the Shade King.
4796 KS The Tohlgar line assumes regency of Arumthar in the absence of the Montari heirs.
5014 KS Fael-They declares it’s independence and announces it’s boarders.
5019 KS Foere is built where the city of Kota once stood.
5026 KS Ordinator Raal Verne of Aresfin unites the Ordinary of Aresfin under his rule with the signing of the Ordinary Pact.
5028 KS Bairn Tolon’s expedition force is lost in the Downs.
5039 KS Arath banishes Soroth from Whyle. Sorother is founded.
5051 KS The town of Eyeth appears.
5056 KS Dône is founded.
5060 KS The port towns of Loen and Vanefyr appear.
5092 KS Ildren Khole founds Khole.
5110 KS Gaelind Tam ascends the throne of Foere and the Federation.
5121 KS Regent Talon Tolghar is killed by a shade assassin.
5130 KS Khole is taken over by the consortia.
5137 KS The town of Carreth is founded.
5145 KS Present Day.

1 Date taken from formal Kelorn histories, local histories consider the period between 3001 KS and 3190 KS to be over 900 years, making formal dating impossible.

People


The Folk of the Broken Kingdom

The Landsmen of Arumthar fall into two distinct groups, like most of the nation, the people of the south, and the people of the east. The southerners are descended from the original people of Arumthar. They say that they are Kelorns when asked, broad built stocky with dark wavy hair and dark coloured eyes, and pale skin, though their complexions are darker than those of their northern kin and they occasionally produce an individual with jet black hair, or with dead straight hair. They tend to have prominent brows and noses like their northern kin, but they exhibit slim, sculpted features for the most part with prominent cheeks and chins. A heritage of intermixing with the Irian people has produced communities unusual features, but they grow rarer and rarer as the generations pass. They are a long-lived people among landsmen, and exhibit exceptional health and vigour even into their old age. They are taller, longer limbed and more lean than the northern Kelorns, and give the impression of being coiled and ready. The older Arumtharns had an almost serpentine build, with sinuous limbs and long narrow trunks, and seem to have been nearly pure blooded Irians, but this has diluted over the years.

The people of the east coast are mongrels, the descendants of emigrants and refugees from the hundreds of nations that make up the southern marches, and sometimes even further. While their vast majority are Kelorn by descent and exhibit all of the common features of the people of the southern marches, they still vary in ethnicity, and now and then a town of people from further a field will crop up and be absorbed by one of the larger communities.

The Org in the northern hills are similar to those who have appeared all over the Southlands region, and are probably descended from the same routed tribes that were driven into the area from their home in the west. Almost a head taller than a man and twice as stocky, their skin varies from a mottled grey-green to a deep forest green with occasional slate-greys and their hair tends to be dead straight, blue-black and worn in long braids. Native to desolate, hilly territory they have the exceptionally long arms and large, hard hands of all of their race, but their tusks tend to be smaller than those of most Org and their jaws less prominent making them appear slightly less savage. Taller, and slightly lankier than their western counterparts their build suggests greater speed and perhaps even a greater power.

Setting Trait (1): Pride of Old Arumthar Once what was arguably the pinnacle of mortal civilization, be it that of man or myr, scattered its wonders with careless grace across this land. The many times great grandsons and daughters of the very men and women who created these wonders still squat in the rotting remains of these wonders. Not entirely understanding them, but never forgetting that the fading fantasy of Arumthar was once theirs. Its secrets dwell in their blood. And that alone is worthy of remark!

Flora and Fauna

The flora of the Broken Kingdom is especially beautiful. In the height of summer, wandering the light, airy forests and clear, rolling grasslands dotted with occasional outcroppings of rock and often with patches of weathered lichen clad cut stone, fallen from ancient ruins, or lone carved pillars rising seemingly at random from the landscape tracing the path of some long passed road, the idle traveller could forget the dangers posed by those who dwell here. Along the coast the land is dominated by a tall yellow-green grass, exceptionally hardy and almost flaxen, it can grow to waist height on a man and the edges will cut if grabbed rather than break. The locals often use it to weave mats or temporary shelters as it is as tough when dry. The grass grows right down to the bluffs along the coast, and it’s only competition is hardy tea-tree, which can grow out of even the roughest cliff face and sprouts in small copses in the grass. Gorse and other weeds are more common in more windswept, barren areas such as clifftops or over the dunes on the few broad beaches along the coast of the Aruman Sea. Further inland clumps of the coastal grass become more isolated and are replaced by a lower variety, broken by large fields of wild clover. Copses of oak, maple, birch and other hardwoods are dotteed throughout the southern grasslands, and under the boughs of these occasional copses, and deeper within the forests are occasional beds of pale cream wildflowers. Further into the forests and around boggy lands huge willows dip their boughs towards the water and occasional fruit trees like apple or pear, and wild blackberries and boysenberries grow in the undergrowth and climb the dead husks of ancient trees and ivy scales the craggy sides of ancient ruins and bare patches of stone. The Flatlands and hills in the north are barren of most plantlife, with only the occasional growths of succulents. Alovera is a favourite medicine of the Kai gypseys who pass over the border from Taurvann. In some lower areas and around the tiny streams in the flatlands and where small lakes gather in the wet season in the hills low, rich green grass dominates the landscape. The Yrelldors are alive with growth, and coniferous woods of fir, hemlock and birch dot the lower slopes and the passes. Higher up where snow is common in all but the height of summer the mountains become rough, bare rock. Wild oats and barley are scattered all over the once-civilized parts of the Broken Kingdom, and many people make a living off these wild growths, commonly located in and around old ruins, but wheat has never grown well in Arumthar, and so all wheat is found in established farmsteads. Wild potatoes are also common, and the traveller who knows what he’s looking for, and roughly where, can eat quite well in the once cultivated wilds. The downs are mostly filled with deep-rooted willow trees, bog cotton and swamp grass, but also large patches of floating swamp grass can create entire floating islands, deceptively solid, in the deepest parts of the downs. This is a major factor of the disappearances in the downs, as travellers move on to seemingly solid ground only to drift for miles or sink suddenly into the swamp.

The beasts of the Broken Kingdom dictate a great deal about how civilized the land must once have been. Gophers, wolverines, stoats, otters and other burrowing mammals are common along the coast and in the forests, as well as enormous numbers of wild red-brown field mice who, with few natural predators, swarm unchecked over much of the old pastoral land of Arumthaar. The seas, practically untapped by the landsmen, abound with life. Small herds of wild grazing oxen are also found here and there, though they have never kept large numbers. Shellfish are especially common with enormous beds of oysters, barnacles and clams. Schools of Trout and saltwater snapper are common in shallower coastal waters, and further out enormous manta-rays, sometimes larger than the local fishing boats, glide through the water. Further out to sea schools of dolphin and wright and sperm whales are the dominant sea life. Octopi are common along the more rocky areas of the coast, and these are a staple part of the diet of most coastal settlements. They can grow quite large, and some species have a poisonous bite, but the greater the difficulty to catch the octopuss the more of a delicacy it is considered. Large black-backed gulls and albatross cruise the skies casually over the coastline, and sheltered bays and inlets are also home to pelicans and wetland grey herons.

In the flatlands the wildlife becomes larger. Huge herds of wild mustangs, and the herds kept by the Kai roam throughout the land, all with their own distinctive markings. It is said that the lord of horses himself roams the lands of Arumthaar with the mustangs, though few have ever seen such a creature. What is definitely true is that the horses of the Broken Kingdom are some of the finest in the world, and some of the hardest to train. The other herds that dominate the flatlands are huge numbers of wild goats. Though the Kai keeps goats they are drawn from these wild herds. The goats in Arumthaar are particularly large, with a thick, shaggy, particularly soft wool. The rams are particularly aggressive and will charge one another or anything that they consider even remotely threatening, even going so far as to attack oxen on the rare occasion that the two meet. They are essentially similar to a smaller alpaca.

In the forests squirrels, rabbits, wild hare, martens, deer and frequent fruit bats are common. Deeper in the forests large dun-coloured wild boar are also quite common, and present a reasonable danger to the unwary traveller. In Aerisfin the hunting of these boars is considered a benefit of the nobility, and the creatures are encouraged in large reserves for hunting. Spearrows, thrushes, starlings and wrens are also common to lighter woodlands. Wildlife in the mountains is sparse, but occasional small black bears live in the lower altitudes of the Yrelldors, coming down to feed on the small mammals in the forests. Large eagles also live in the mountains, especially the Dalens, coming down to the plains to feed. Also on the flanks of the mountains and especially in the Eresfell downs, live swarms of blood-sucking Grafrik. Even less timid than most of their kind, their awful eyesight makes them only a minimal threat to watchful travellers. There is no reliable record of quite what else lives in the downs, but horrible rumours of all kinds of creatures lurking hidden just below the surface of the murky waters abound, and legends speak of tiny otter-like creatures that lure travellers to a watery doom with human-like cries for help, and of great catfish that disguise themselves as islands, then sinks without warning below the surface, taking all on their backs with them.

Notable Individuals

Regent Faran Tohlgar
The Regent of Arumthar, largely an honourary title, is a man well past his sixth decade in the world, and he is sorely aware that he inherited his position from the first regent of Arumthar to have been actively hunted down and killed by the Shades. As a result he is also keenly aware that he can neither fight nor run as fast or for as long as he could when he first assumed the role. He keeps in mind that somewhere in the fell city of Kerispur, some insubstantial silhouette waits and plots his demise. That thought alone fills him with dread. But despite the impending weight of his mortality pressing upon him the regent continues to work, continues to remember, and continues to try to govern the dominion of the Kings of Arumthar in their absence.

Viceroy Gaelind Tam
The Viceroy of Foere is a tall, willowy man, soft spoken and with a slow, precise way of moving. His outward appearance is very severe, with totally shaved head and sharp features. His nose is hooked and his mouth is narrow lipped and small, and his dark eyes thickly browed and piercing. His face lacks the lines of his age, and he has a kind of timelessness in his visage. The Viceroy is intentionally enigmatic, and few people know what to make of Tam, or how to deal with him, and they are equally baffled by the extent of his power. Despite the enigma built up around his persona, people who are close to Tam know that he is a careful, painfully intelligent man. His thoughts are often far above the realms of the mortal, and he spends a great portion of his time in deep meditation, and yet seems strangely grounded. Guarded and seemingly ascetic Tam has a mind like a trap, and is aware of everything that goes on in the Broken Kingdom, he just chooses not to let on the extent of his own intelligence and perceptivness.

Ordinator Bairn Verne
The Ruler of Aerisfin, Bairn Verne is descended from a long line of Verne Ordinators. As close to a purblooded Kelorn as can be found in the Broken Kingdom, even the structure of the Free Ordinatry and Bairn’s title itself harkens back to the days of Kelorn occupation. Still, the Ordinator has made no attempt to contact any of the remaining fragments of the Kelorn Nation, no have any of his predecessors, rather the convenience of this familiar structure has made Aerisfin far more accessable to foreigners, and thus foreign trade, than any of the other lands of the Southmen, and thusly has Aerisfin began, albeit only a little, to actually prosper.

Master Randar
Randar is the almighty ruler of Fael-They and the bastion of old Arumthaar. If ruler by the strong is what the Broken Kingdom calls for then Randar is undoubtedly the finest choice for Master that Fael-They could make, had they been given the opportunity to make it. While he is not the mightiest warrior, nor the finest diplomat that Fael-They has to offer, Randar has two fists of iron and a mind of stone, he is unshakable and his legendary temper means that he is seldom if ever crossed. His rule is absolute and he is more than willing to ensure that his subjects know that he is not only their protector, but also their master, and that the protection of the land he rules comes with the price of absolute and unquestioning obedience. For his part, in return for this obedience, Randar ensures that he keeps well informed and that he regularly consults with the leaders of all of the parties that exert influence within his land. Randar is also keenly aware of the presence of the shades on his western boarders, and because of this he is deeply attentive to the wills of the divh. Deeply pious, likely out of fear than any real devoutness, Randar consults his priests and calls for portents to be read before embarking upon the making of any major decision, and all dealings with him are preceeded by a series of prayers to any divhi he feels might be listening. Also Randar is seldom without a priest, or some major holy icon or relic, and his constant swearing is usually cushioned in frequent prayer.

Duraga-Un’gar and Dro-Baal
The rulers of the Dagha-Bul are the Warlord Duraga-Un’gar and the Da-Agah Dro-Baal. Between them these two form a fearsome pair. Un’gar is enormous, even among his kind, and his body is covered with immense muscles, and with the scars of innumerable battles, as well as the unnatural twists of countless improperly set broken bones. His face is quite round, and his nose and eyes small and set to the centre. He has a wide, cruel mouth filled by jagged teeth, but both of his tusks have been snapped. His ears and his nose are pierced in multiple places and he wears jewellery made from scrimshawed bone shards taken from slain enemies. Duraga also always goes about in his personal war paint, a broad black band zig-zagged top and bottom over his eyes and brow. With his head shaven and in full mail with his battleaxe slung over his shoulder he is a fearsome sight, but Duraga Un’gar is like most Org leaders, he rules by strength and savagery. There is little complexity to him, and problems he cannot solve with violence he generally does not think worthy of solving. Raised as a gladiator, killing animals and slaves for the entertainment of his tribe, he rose to leadership by killing his predecessor and will almost certainly lose his position in the same way.

The real power behind the Dagha-Bul is the shaman Dro-Baal. Even Duraga is afraid of Dro-Baal. Baal is the voice and the hand of the nameless Org divhi that the Dagha-Bul serve, and he claims that he knows all seven of the war-songs of his divhi. Baal has been called upon to prove his power on numerous occasions in his early days as chief shaman, but he rose to every occasion with such gleeful brutality that none have dared challenge him in many summers. Square jawed and long faced, Dro-Baal is relatively unscarred, a feat almost unknown amoung Dagha-Bul warriors. He wears the scales of some great lizard as a voluminous cloak, and on his head is the lengthy skull of a horse. Most unusual however are the shaman’s eyes. One is the usual feral yellow of the Org, but the other is completely blood red. It is said that to meet the gaze of his ‘evil eye’ curses the onlooker to untimely and horrific death, and thus far the rumour seems to have proved itself true, through whether the shaman arranges said death or not remains a matter of debate.

The Shades

In the nighttime world of Arumthar shadowy silhouettes stalk against unnaturally dark skies, seeking only to punish mankind for their arrogance, and for daring to raise their domain up into the heavens. Very very little is known about the Shades, and those who have sought to find more out have never been seen again, either driven with their knowledge to the far ends of the world or else gone forever at the hands of the Shades. Despite their numbers being small, and their having no real society anyone is aware of the Shades are a major presence in the Broken Kingdom, and few men can deny their impact on the lives of it’s denizens. The shades are insubstantial creatures, not jet-black but like a shadow. When they stand against a wall they could be mistaken for shadows, but for the fact that they move about of their own accord, but in the open they are strange, insubstantial, alien patches of darkness in vaguely human form. While humanoid shades are most often encountered legends exist about shades of just about any form. Shades in the form of beasts and even mythical creatures have been seen in the night around Fael-They, where their presence is most keenly felt. While they may appear insubstantial, shades are most certainly not. A man touching one finds that his hand meets and icy cold barrier, smooth and yielding, but not really with any substance, and the shades themselves are more than capable of using their hands and claws to move things about, or fell a man. Not especially strong, nothing seems to hurt a shade, and they seem to neither draw breath, nor eat, or need rest, and with stealth and relentlessness they can bring down nearly anyone they choose. The only proof against a shade, apart from various local charms, is the daylight, no shade has even been seen in the light of the sun, few have been seen after sunrise even in the darkest of places, and even lamplight seems to deter them. They cannot handle being exposed to any light, which seems in keeping with their shadowy nature.

The people of the Broken Kingdom line the walls and boundaries of their settlements with bright lamps, which they have lamp-lighters patrol all night, ensuring that there is never a gap in the light that encircles them that the shades might slip through. In some places pouches or rosemary or the colour red are thought to also be effective in deterring the shades, and while it cannot kill the creature it is widely believed that a stick burned black in a fire can harm the shade enough to drive it away. Shades seem able to pass through obstacles much like liquid, or a shadowy cloud, to reach their desired victim. While they are stealthy, secretive creatures the shades also seem to have intelligence. They whisper hoarsely to one another in an unknown language, and before they attack they will often terrify and panic their chosen victim by keeining loudly and shrilly. Often people huddle, sleepless, behind their wall of lit lamps withing Aerisfin or Fael-They or Foere, while seemingly dozens of voices join in a horrific keening, and shadowy shapes flit around at inhuman speed, hardly visible at the fringe of the lamp light, waiting for an opportunity, for a patch of darkness that would let them overrun the cities. On these few nights the people remember the folly of their ancestors that they are still paying for.

The Shades were the agents of the fall of the old Kingdom of Arumthaar. The people of old Arumthaar raised their cities up into the clouds, too close to the realm of the divh, and thought themselves too great for the worship of their divhi, so the divhi Hapk sent down his agent, a creature called only the Mettetron, but thought to now be one and the same as the legendary Shade King, was sent to punish the people of Arumthaar for their pride and the negligence of their divh. He slew the king and his court, and then summoned the Shades from the underworld, and commanded them to overrun all of the great cloud cities and fortress-cities of the Arumthaarn nation and slay all they found there. One by one they killed the people of Arumthaar, then in some manner caused the magic of old Arumthaar to be broken, and one by one their great sky cities fell to the ground, shaking the earth for hundreds of leagues in all directions, and causing mighty killer waves to rise up miles out to sea. The coastline was changed forever, mountains fell, but the shades remained untouched by all of this destruction, and then they subsided, the mettetron was never heard of again, and indeed only Alarcon Creel's account even mentions his presence, and the people thought it was all over.

Years later survivors looting the ruins came to Kerispur, the falled Arumthaarn capitol, driven deep into the side of a mountain. Here they found a shadow city, where the shades had taken up residence, and swarmed the streets. Though the Mettetron had gone his legions remained, and as the decades went by, so more and more reports came of the shades moving ever outward from Kerispur into the countryside. More terrible, early reports from Kerispur that came when a man could still visit the city and, with care, leave alive, said that around the Tower of Ravnyr was seen a figure mounted on the great shade of some legendary monster, rode a shade to whom all others deferred. This figure, nicknamed the Shade King, seemed to be organizing them, ordering them towards some greater goal, giving them purpose beyond just wandering the night of Arumthaar, coming against any who they encountered.

Setting Trait (3): Fear of a Pale Rider No one in Arumthar, or in the whole world, can truly say what the shades are. No one knows from whence they came, or why. None can say what the pale plague truly is either, or whether or not it is related to the shades. What is universally known, perhaps all that is known, is that the shades are something to be feared, be they legend or reality, and that the pale plague is the curse of the Broken Kingdom, to be kept there lest it taint the rest of the world.

Culture


Social Etiquette

There is little or no etiquette in the broken kingdom, it is a frontier realm, where men claw and scratch to get by and don’t much care who they step on in the process. Little or nothing is sacred, and laws are only obeyed where they are forcibly enforced. To the people of the east the only rule you are expected to obey is not to let any insult go unpunished. While some large groups, primarily refugees, try to segregate off their own districts in major settlements and practice their own cultures they are seldom particularly successful. Similarly the Org in the north have a policy of mught makes right, and anything an individual want can be taken by force. Their only rule is that there are no rules in a fight, anyone can participate, but once one of the major protagonists is victorious the fight is over, and no grudges are held. This stops banding, or major vendettas; of course this courtesy is not extended to enemies of the Org race.

The Southmen once had a complex society with a stratified, complicated etiquette, but this has all but collapsed in the face of the collapse of their society. A few absurd and outdated remnants of Kelorn society remain, although none really fully understand the society. Generally the rule of the south is to live and let live, and try not to get in anyone’s way. Frequent prayer and conscious humility are very much a dominant trait of the southern persona, and a man is generally measured by his modesty, his piety and his keeping to himself and having a good work ethic. Southmen leave each other alone in the hope that others will do the same for them. While they recognise that powerful men have established themselves along the coast, and they are grateful for their pretection they generally have no interest in affairs beyond those in which they conduct their business. In places like Aerisfin or Fael-They where society is finally beginning to re-emerge however some remnants of the old Arumthaarn society are beginning to re-emerge. A man should not make eye contact with his superior on any occasion, but keep his eyes respectfully downcast, and a woman may not make eye contact with a man in any situation. Women must keep themselves completely covered from the neck down, including, and perhaps most importantly gloves. The hands are considered very intimate and for a man to touch a woman’s bare hand is considered to be the realm of only her husband. While there is no such thing as an institution of marriage, when a man and woman begin to live together they are generally considered to be a couple, and the only way this coupling can end is in the woman’s death, which it is perfectly reasonable for the husband to facilitate should he desire this separation. Because of the importance of hands, the grasping or shaking of hands common to most of the lands of the Shattered Empires is quite offensive to the southmen, and they greet each other with a sort of salute, raising a hand, palm forward if they are friendly, and back forward if they are hostile, generally with a slight bow. Bowing is not required in the presence of a superior, not making eye contact is generally sufficient, though more and more often people have begun prostrate themselves before priests in a show of excessive humility and piety in the face of the divh, in an effort to stem the tide of their vengeance. No one is really sure how to deal with a priest, so they tend to err on the side of jubilant adoration just to be safe.

Diet

Along the coast the people are very dependant on seafood, with shellfish being a common staple, often eaten raw with a little salt. Fish are also relatively popular. Sheep are kept in herds throughout most of Arumthar, both for wool, meat and milk, and soft sheeps-milk cheeses are very Arumtharn flavour. Crops of wild barley, oats and beans are common where agriculture is recovering, as well as cotton and flax. The Done-Khole region fosters trade, but their diet is highly dependant on hunters and trappers, with wild deer and boars forming the staple game and each home having a patch of root vegetables to fill out the household diet. Farms here are seldom self sufficient and quite rare, usually growing wild barley and oats, but sheep and goat herds are still relatively common - though shepherds need to know very well where they can and can't stray, and always carry a light with them, and seldom stray far from the lantern-draped walls of their settlements.

Fashion and Dress

If the folk of Arumthar developed a unique costume all of their own, and though their various refugee communities are now very much the minority in the Broken Kingdom, their costume survives. In the old Arumtharn settlements, like Fael-They, women and men of means go about in flowing robes, with stiff collars, and scarves and coats and cloaks, with detailed embroidery and complex layering. Even the most crude peasant will wear layered clothing, with a coloured tabard worn over heavier, plainer robe. A hood or bonnet is omnipresent - in fact it is considered rude to go out in public with the head uncovered - and the hood full more often than fitted,and bulbous at the top. Long tunics and hose with tied on clogs, and often leather pants or aprons, pointed hats and hoods, and other unnusual attire is also common, especially around Aresfin and around the Aruman Sea. Armour here is formed from metal discs, rivitted to overtunics, with one-piece grieves, pointed helmets and bracers, often enameled in cool colours like blues and greens.

Along the Khoper Coast and in the north, where the settlements are younger and formed mostly of outside settlers, the attire is more traditional for the southlands, with knee length canvas tunics worn over baggy goat-wool shirts, and short bloomers over fitting hose, while women wear shapeless smock-dresses of coarse wool. The upper classes tend towards extravagant furs, with voluminous capes and feathered caps. Footwear is nearly universally the felt slippers of the eastern lands rather than the sturdy clogs needed in the wetter lands to the south, and colours are drab and practical rather than gay and tumultuous. Raw-hide vests and skull-caps are common, and silken skull-caps are expected in the nobility, as to go out bare-headed is considered offensive. Armour here is usually little more than brigandine, though splinted bracers and grieves aren't unknown, and warriors and huntsmen usually prefer a sturdy bow and arrow to a heavier weapon.

Technology


Architecture

In the far north of the Broken Kingdom the Org of the Broud and the Dagah-Bul build fortresses on hilltops. On the crests of tall hills, ideally ones so steep as to have only one reasonable approach, the Org build fortified camps. First they dig trenches, which they will with sharpened stakes, up the slopes of the hill. Then there are usually a couple of layers of wooden palasade ring walls, also with sharpened stakes at their bases. Then inside these fortifications, sometimes protected by a gate and log gatehouse, they use the mustard coloured clay of the region to build squat, log framed adobie buildings, usually using the low ceilinged lower levels to sleep in the putting a smaller structure on the flat roves to store food, accessed by ladders which are removed when not in use these small storage huts keep out most vermin and are also drier. Hide roves are often stretched between these adobie lower levels to create yeat more sheltered ground, but also to protect against the worst of the weather in heavy rain or high temperatures. Usually the walls will have one or two tall wooden watchtowers mounted on poles, and at the base of the hill a clay quarry will be kept to repair or extend buildings.

In the south, where people huddle in the ruins of the ancient Arumthaarn settlements, the appearance of the settlements is quite different. The ancient Arumthaarns build their buildings with massive blocks of stone granite, each easily as large up and across as two men, and perhaps an arm’s length thick. These stones are universally decorated with intricate friezes on all of their faces. The Arumthaarns had a penchant for the massive, and even their farmhouses are based around immense, many pillared halls with towering antechambers off them. Clay tiles, pain stakingly painted with designs and pictographs, and immense sculptures of semi-legendary beasts line the interior halls, making the interiors surprisingly warm, and tell narrow windows set high in the walls are designed to let in the maximum light while not exposing the interior to the outside world. The roves are also of thick tile, but over long, solid granite beams that could only have been erected by magecraft. Their fortresses are based around massive causeways guarded by impossibly tall towers that lead attackers through a labrynth before they actually enter the fortress, and their sky cities have raised skywalks and enormous, needle-like towers. They were based around enormous disks, and the buildings extend both above and under these disks in towering, exceptionally intricate, carved, patterned and painted structures with exceptionally smooth, straight lines and burnished brass railings around their many towering walkways and balconies. Beautiful though they must have been, they are universally ruined and overgrown. Within these structures the southmen have taken the shattered remains of the great stones to build stone and mortar houses, usuall resing against a solid, ruined wall or base for support, with thickly thatched roves. These are usually only one or two room houses, with narrow, misshapen doors and windows placed where the rubble best fitted together around them. Some consist of rooms from these ancient structures with their collapsed ceilings thatched over. Purpose-built structures are usually of lashed together logs. The most unusual feature however are definitely the light houses. These great tall structures are usually very narrow, but quite defensable. They have a single room at the top, surrounded by circular balconies, and in the central room sits a huge firepit with a large mirror and lens structure over it. These are used to cast a massive spotlight on the surrounding countryside, to drive off any shades that might be waiting outside, keening for the people who huddle inside the ruins. These light houses usually have a resident keeper, and are often the most beautiful structures in a settlement.

Medicine

It’s a bad idea to get hurt in the Broken Kingdom, because professional healers, or indeed anyone of the scholarly persuasion, generally finds work without having to set foot inside the boarders of Arumthaar. Fael-They and other major settlements have active apothicarties but otherwise the best a person can hope for is the field healing that retired soldiers know or the ministerings of old women and midwives. The faith of Caelwyn never stretched this far south, even in the height of the Kelorn Empire, and so the acolytes of the Lady of Mercy are unknown here and their miraculous cures are similarly barely mythological, so even the few established temples and shrines are no use to the injured or ailing as they might be further to the north.

Close, unsanitary living conditions in the east lead to influenza and plague sweeping through the populace almost annually, and on particularly bad seasons the lords of Eyeth and Loen have had to order whole districts of their towns burned to the ground, sometimes with the sick still in them. With these illnesses come conmen selling faintly luminous potions of various colours at exorbitant prices, then vanishing overnight. These supposedly mystical brews kill more quickly than they’ll ever cure, often containing hemlock or the local burr-root, which leaves the home ripe for the conman to return to a few nights hence and take all of value while the owner convulses and dies on the floor. Still, people throw caution to the wind during frequent epidemics.

The other point of note is the horrible epidemic known as the Pale Plague, that has been spreading over Arumthaar without any sign that it will slow or stop, or any seasonal variation, for decades now. Most common along the souther coast, people who contract the plague become deathly pale and totally hairless and cannot stand direct light. Death is inevitable and no cure nor even any effective treatment has been struck upon. Victims of the pale plague ae immediately segregated to colonies on the outskirts of major settlements to try and stem the disease’s spread, where they live as outcasts until they eventually die.

Economy


Trade and Industry

There is little in the way of real industry in the Broken Kingdom. Few legitimate businesses have been brave enough to chance the bandits of the land, and even fewer locals have had a chance to look beyond simple survival to the possibility of profit. The only places where trade is actively pursued are also the places where fledgling industry is beginning to show it’s worth. In Döne the people have begun logging and milling on a small scale. Producing sturdy hardwood planks and beams, which they then send south on barges down the river Coure to Lake Arcon. Eventually this timber finds it’s way to the marketplaces of Fael-They, and from there goes out to most of the ports along the souther coast. Because there is so little demand for building materials in the south however the industry has remained small.

It is in Khole where trade and industry are really being fostered however. Opening a patrolled trade route through the Arum pass, Khole has contests Vanefyr's claim to the name Gate to Arumthar, and legends of the Broken Kingdom’s lost wealth has drawn many traders to heed this proclamation. Trade is finally beginning to move through Khole, and eventually the Frieman’s Traders consortium are planning to run a highway from Khole to Döne, to grant access to the inner lands of Arumthar. While Samual Lukan has voiced objection whenever approached on the subject the plan continues. Khole has five major trading cartels, but only two of these represent a real potential for trade. The Miner’s Consortium have located a secret silver mine somewhere close by in the Yrelldors, and they have a camp only a few days to the north, though they guard it’s exact location to the death. The volume of silver coming out of this mine, while of no interest to the people within Arumthaar, has earned a great price in the markets of the west, travelling as far as Sandour and Sipra. The other major export is brass and brass-forged tools and farming equipment. Landren’s open copper mine sits on the opposite side of the pass to the town of Khole, and their squat smelter burns day and night, while hammers ring in the many chimneyed workhouse-smithy as men produce great ploughs from dawn till dusk. Loggers and furriers in Khole have always remained a local business. People are wary of the forests to the point of reverence, and are careful to take only what they need from the vast Courynn, and with their trade partners to the west being scattered with light forest there is little outside demand for such goods. If Khole can better foster it’s image as a gateway town, it may not be long until it is an immense, bustling city of trade.

Today In The Broken Kingdom…


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The Sprawling Southlands and the Western Kingdoms
Esterfel Sandour, Irak, Newhone, Kipir, Talrat, Verca, Lebros, Kadar, Zulgar, Qilkur, Maradahl, Azakay, Lamorand, Sipra, Eyat, Usuk, Alare, Zeytin, Braymen Plains
Saldania Ilmarrow, Doraim, Vledos, Kasharyk, Kadoc, Pelos, Bethamzthac, Balica, Karsuk
The Divide Arumthar, The Taurvann
Farland Usdai, Kimmura, Mzrad, Bulghaz, Perapos, Kayaba, Sudar, Sorâne, Hyd
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