intro (CAN-na-vin)

Tech Code: 5
Governments: The Incorporated Feudal Fiefs of Voere, Toricron, Demiersholm, Kandsholm, and Tael; The Alligned Feudal Principality of Mavynum.
Religions: The Temple of the Sun; The Voere Cult; The Torris Cult; The Demier Cult; The Tael Cult; The Brother of Greenfingers; Lodge Spirit Cults.
Industries and Trades: Herding (hrid, goats and sheep); Forestry; Tanning and Leatherwork; Woodworking; Fishing.
Major Terrain: Mountain; Sea; Wood.
Primary Languages: Ralstaan.
Major Settlements: Baleside, Cadenvale, Caelton, Caer Mavyn, Caer Voere, Cald's Passage, Canneton, Demiersholm, Duron, Ember, Kandsholm, Kelton, Maevton, Shaleton, Surrowdar, Torris Tor, Woodsedge.


Physical Geography

Cannavin sits on the furthest western boarder of Ralstaa, just south of the deepest expanses of the Starwood in a region known as the Larnarch Wood south of the unforested western passage. The province is covered with the fringes of that mighty forest. It is a land of rolling terrain, most of the region is covered in low rolling hills and covered in thick, tangled forests. Here and there natural springs of boiling water push up through the ground, forming steaming lakes in small valleys and shallow marshlands here and there. The forests are almost too thick to navigate, and their trees are tall and dark, their bases and lower boughs are entwined with undergrowth. The forest has a strange and dreadful beauty about it. Thanks to the various hot springs around the region the area is often cloaked in a warm mist and little vents of natural gas often flame in or just above this mist. The locals call this faerie fire and consider it an ill omen.

Southward towards the coast the forest grows a little thinner, and some clearings have been converted into farmlands where corn and wheat is grown amongst the natural fences formed by the forest. The west is marked by the Caperkil Mountains, and they slope down into the Stonebai. The Stonebai coast itself is dotted with huge grey rocks and outcroppings, and mostly formed of barren black beaches with monumental grey cliffs at the headland and many precarious rock formations balancing in the surf. There are a few villages built on cliffs overlooking coves along the coast, though fishing is good the people tend to leave the sea to itself, as it becomes deep and dark quickly and the currents are swift and unpredictable.

Toward the northern part of the region the forests thicken and the hills become steeper and more craggy, great outcroppings of craggy grey stone emerge among the canopies of the trees and occasionally a hill splits down the middle, forming a barren natural valley bordered by cliffs. The springs become more common here, and often flow into little lakes or creeks that go almost invisible under the foliage of the forest, but their babbling fills the forest with odd sounds. Far in the north the hills become bleak edifices of bare stone, and here one of the ancient deeps of Ralstaa stands, abandoned and alone over the Sanathar valley. The valley itself is the only major landmark of the area, formed in the fertile rent in a massive hill, it is surrounded by two high ridges and run through by the river Lomenflow. The land is clear of the tangled foliage of most of the forest, and instead is marshy and wet and constantly shrouded in thick, sulphurous steam. Great waterfalls pour from the cliffsides into the valley and into the river, which is deep and swift and cold. Only the strongest and largest trees survive here, and they are twisted and misshapen as their boughs reach for the sun through the churning clouds.


The weather here is temperate, the summers are cloudy, the spring and autumn rainy and winter often brings a sprinkling of snow, but most commonly just harsh frosts and thin layers of ice everywhere because of the abundance of moisture in the air. Travel is difficult and hazardous at the best of times, but especially in winter when the trees are bare and the ice makes the tracks slick. The temperature varies wildly from clinging humidity to bone deep chill, and few men find it comfortable, but the locals seem used to it. There is also an abundant smell of damp earth wherever a traveller goes.

Political Geography

Cannavin was once a united principality, ruled by the Red Princes of Cannavin, a potent cabal of mages, but since Ralstaa’s unification their power has been severely capped in the region, and the legendary House Voere now makes its home here. Six major houses now control their own domains here, one descended from the red princes, whose influence was too great for the High Kings to dislodge in their own land. House Voere descends from one of Viran Uth-Rallis’ greatest generals and closest friends. The other lesser houses of the region represent an attempt to split the power base of the red princes by granting their most powerful followers independence.

Cannavin is leagues from the City of Lights, and it’s allegiance to the king would be in name only were it not for royalist houses who fear the re-emergence of the Red Princes. The political situation here is clear, each house governs their own lands and owns their own churls, and generally their territories do not extend beyond their furthest settlement, which consists of only a single town in the case of House Toricron. Anything that a house cannot actively control becomes a sort of no-mans-land, and such lands are in conflict, generally claimed by both House Mavyn and House Voere, and while neither has openly come to blows with the other their enmity is clear and their soldiers patrol the lands in large troops, harassing anyone they feel they can afford to.


House Voere acts as the royal agent in the region, collecting the High King’s road taxes from the surrounding nobility and in return marshalling armies and upkeeping the roads on the other houses behalf, all that is except House Mavyn, which keeps it’s own army and refuses to recognize Baron Voere as and agent of the High King. Most recently they have insisted that they will pay only the High King himself, well knowing that he would not approach their remote lands. Voere noblemen who try to extract taxes or soldiers from the Red Princes have a habit of disappearing or re-emerging as the willing servants of the Red Princes.

Setting Trait (value): name trait


Toricron incorporates a single settlement - the town of Torris Tor around the family's fastness in northern Demiersholm near the Balleymoore border. While house Toricron does lay claim to the land a day's ride from their walls, these dense forests contain little of value, and the fact that the Demiers are their allies means that no one has felt the need to challenge this claim. It does result in Toricoron actually sharing a border both with Demiersholm and Hornsholm however.


Occupying the woods between Voere and Mavynum, Demiersholm walks a fine line. The Thanes of this land have devoted themselves to careful neutrality, and being the only house native to the region, they have both a conflict with both sides, and common ground with each, meaning that the fief has, for the most part, remained cautiously neutral, and eager not to offend. Primarily a nation of loggers, furriers, and hrid hearders Demiersholm is by no means as wealthy as its size might suggest.


The eastern fief of Kandsholm is ruled by a regime originally hailing from Caldare, and the Thanes retain many ties there. Occupying the fertile southern portions of Cannavin, Kandsholm is more populous and more incorporated that most fiefs of Cannavin, and a visitor could be mistaken for believing he had not left Caldare as he passes Cald's Passage. But strong tors watch the border with Mavynum carefully, and the north is tense, as if waiting for inevitable conflict. With rich farmlands along the forest's edge, where the trees have been hacked back, Kandsholm is a wealthy land by northern standards.


A quiet but staunch ally of Voere, Tael occupies the southern peninsula known as the Tael reaches between the Stonebai and the Irinbai. What could be a lucrative trade position is quelled by the backwater nature of the Irian Straits, and Tael remains a quaint, modest little barony, though it is certainly better incorporated than the northern lands. Without the rich soils of Kandsholm, its wealth lies mainly in coastal fisheries and pearl diving, neither of which are lucrative.


Mavynum joins a very few other fiefs as merely 'allies' of the High Kingdom, and as such do not owe the same obligations to the High King. Conversely, he owes them few real duties too. In fact, the Red Princes may have initially been too much for Alan Caldare to deal with, but now it has been the status quo for so long, that most forget the land's special status. Sinister in the extreme, thanks to the resurgence of the council of Red Prince is recent generations, no one trusts the magicians of House Mavyn, and everyone expects to feel their wrath eventually, but ultimately their intention remains mysterious.

Social Geography

The people of Cannavin remember the rule of the Red Princes very clearly despite it being generations ago, and as a result they remain a suspicious and defensive people. Like most of the provincial lands of Ralstaa they are fiercely independent, even as individuals within communities. Cannavin is isolated, and its people tend to be gathered into groups normally not containing more than two or three huge extended families, each of whom belong to a family lodge, where they meet under a patriarch to discuss family business. Normally the patriarch will have the ear of his liege lord, except in places such as the lands of House Mavyn, where the people go mostly ignored. These lodges control all things, from the divvying of crops and goods after tithes are made, to marriages, deaths, births, the limited census which Ralstaa possesses, and even religious practices, with the leader of the lodge generally also serving as a spiritual adviser and having contact with or even as an acting member of the group of locals who work to placate the various spirits of the region. Peculiarly in Cannavin these lodges each identify with a totem animal so as not to necessitate the use of last names or lineages, and children born into a lodge are branded with their animal when they come of age, and at the centre of the communal lodgehouse a sacred carving depicting the totem is housed, usually also supporting the roof. Some families exist outside a lodge, particularly those whose homes have changed from one house to another, or those who have fled their homes in secret: These people are outcasts, lodge-less, and must be totally self-sufficient to survive, though most lodges will trade with them happily. Members of a lodge help their own and generally work together, and are deeply suspicious and unfriendly to outsiders. One lodge may be on good terms with other local ones, but feuds are as common among the common people as they are among the nobility.

There are basically two classes of people in Cannavin, as in most of Ralstaa, the landed and the unlanded. Here, unlike Caldare to the south, the villeins are indentured, and they are owned and totally controlled by their betters in the nobility. The noble houses make up the upper class and a middle class is almost unknown here. The common people are closely knitted into their family groups and the nobility operate similarly, although on a large level, and mostly the nobility retain their places through the careful and balanced exercising of good management, protection and force, indeed many nobles intentionally rattle sabres at one another just to keep their peasants feeling that they need defending. The land is relatively oppressed and dangerous, but thanks to the thin population vagrants and wanderers are more accepted here, by the law if not by the people. Still, a traveller will either be treated with anything ranging from unfriendliness to hatred depending upon how prosperous he seems, the less like the common people a traveller is the less welcome he will feel.


The lands of Cannavin once lay several days into the depths of the starwood, and though the Caperkils have always risen above the tree line, the land was still a remote and shadowy one dominated by wilderness and wildness when the Ral first came to it. Despite the relative closeness of Ralsholm, and then Tohl, compared to remote lands like Byrnham, Cannavin - alongside Wynd, Breconn, Cwmbran and Kentallen Wood - was the last part of Ralstaa to have landsmen eyes turn to it, centuries after the horrors of the sundering. When they did first come it was to the Tael Penninsula, around the edges of the Stonebai as they spread north from the gulf of cald. Shaeish settlers brought the sheep to the peninsula with them, but it was in Cannavin that they took notice of the docile hrid, and started taming these massive birds as stock more suited to these forested lands.

At some time around 2625 Rallah allowed the warrior Bray of the Canna to bring his followers north and settle the forests, and the land would come to carry their name - 'Canna-Vin' meaning 'orchard of the Canna' in High Ral. They made their way into the forest several days, following the tracks of the hrid herders, and eventually Bray laid the stones for his tor at Canneton, where he judged the land to be bountiful and defensible. Goods came to and from Canneton over the seas of the Stonebai, and so Barber was also founded at the mouth of the river known as Bray's Path that linked Canneton to the sea. Barber was abandoned decades later as the roads to and from Canneton became more reliable, and settlement pressed north.


c. -1020 D The Ral leave the Isle of Men with the other three last tribes.
c. -990 D The Shay first begin to settle around the Stonebai and Tael Sounds.
c. -980 D Bray of the Canna founds Canneton, and the surrounding lands become known as Cannavin.

0 D Rallah ascends, leaving Ralstaa in the charge of her people.

940 D Voere arrives with the army of Viran Uth-Rallis.

972 D Viran Uth-Rallis dies in Tohl aged seventy-one.

1110 D Carin Uth-Rallis is crowned High King.
1114 D Present Day.


The Folk of Cannavin

Though predominantly Shaeish, Cannavin is home to a goodly number of Lleweith, who were settled here with the Voeres after Viran Uth-Rallis' reformation. The Shaesih here are typical of their kind, living in extended lodges, and cleaving to the old ways wherever possible. The only peculiarity one might encounter here is an even greater than usual mistrust of magicians, sometimes verging on hatred. The Red Princes have driven the usually superstitious Shaeish people into bleak hatred of their fellow practitioners. As a result local wise women seldom practice any kind of divination, and even famous magicians like Reuban the Riddler find no welcome here, and seldom venture into this land.

Irians, banned from settling in shaeish lands by ancient treaty, are almost unknown in Cannavin, despite its proximity to the Irian homeland to the west, except where the mmu-molag hill men venture into the lowlands. Having little real concept of where the border lies, both Ralstaan herders occasionally stumble upon the crumbling estates of degenerate Mmu-Molag hill men, and more often than not these isolationist fanatics, with their eerie new religion, are suspicious to the point of violence, of even innocent intrusion.

In the east, the urgrol raiders wander the woods, as well as roving bands of fey, and a large troll settlement hidden somewhere in the forested mountains on the border with Wynd - one of only a handful known, however legend says that it moves around by night. Of these three the urgrol are by far the most numerous, and the Voere armies are kept busy actively purging regions of their warbands, in bloody clashes all through the summer months. Forestsers stumbling on their herdstones and trophy trees know enough to leave the region quickly and send word to the local knight. If landsmen report sighting fey or trols more than once a generation it is a rarity. Most locals have decided that such creatures may well be merely the stuff of legend, but now and then a traveller disappears completely, and whispers of beastly warriors in the mist, or silent faerie killers in the shadows come quickly to people's lips.

Flora and Fauna

It may be far south from the true depths of the starwood, but even in the forests and mountains of Cannavin life teems, and forests that might appear silent and shadowy at a glance are home to a great many creatures. The ancient forests are predominantly oak, maple, and willow with the characteristic dense undergrowth of brambles ferns, tea-tree, and wild berries, with the forests becoming pine, birch, poplar and other evergreens as it climbs into the Caperkils, before letting go its hold, like dark claws grasping at bared teeth. The Tael penninsula, where the wood does not reach, is blanketed in heather and wildflowers, with copses of beech and juniper, sheltering growths of fragrant rosemary and sage. In the denser parts of the forest mighty redwood stands still remain, and fir, spruce, wild chestnut, and even the immense davian's oak form impenetrable canopies, where plants compete to reach the sun. In the shady stillness below thorny creepers and sinister briars share the ground with large mushrooms, and venomous yellow and red starberries.

In the south vermin and small rodents call the meadows home, such as fieldmice and otters, bot in the forests where large birds of prey like spotted owls and falcons dominate, or in the mountains where hawks and even ikar range only the largest and most cunning of stoats and weasels survive. Mountain lions, brown and black bears, and wolves are the largest land based predators, making meals of hares, wild hrid, red deer, and in the case of bears, the abundant fish of the chill mountain rivers. Bats, squirrels, badgers, and beavers are the medium-sized predators of the region, and make a living on the abundant and often oversized insect life of the starwood, including the giant wood-roach, and phosphorescent fire-cricket. Fairies are rarer here than further north, but thanks to a local belief that they are the eyes and ears of the spirits of the forest, they are not exterminated as they are in Lleweith lands. Like much of southern Ralstaa, the wild boar so common to the clanlands are unknown in Cannavin - possibly because the great many large flying predators wiped them out long ago, for their still appear on the ancient heraldry of Shaeish and Lleweith dynasties. Wild and domestic hrid are prevalent here, and with them they bring the occasional griffin and ikar to compete for dominance of the skies. But it is the rich Ralstaan birdlife that truly thrives here; warblers, thrushes, cuckoos, woodpeckers, magpies, owls, buzzards, and gulls are common, as are eagles, hawks and falcons. Grouse, pheasants, turkeys, fat pidgeons, and partridges all form a staple diet for one large predator or another, while storks, terns, buntings, herons, and egrets are found around rivers and coast.

Reptiles, amphibians and arachnids are all but absent from the southern starwood, with the little skinks and gekos that usually inhabit the forest floor replaced by rich insect life, especially the giant venomous centipedes who plough through the dense undergrowth. The exception is the liar serpent - a small snake that is know for laying its eggs in birds nests. The bird nurses the snake's eggs, and then when the young snake hatches it feasts on the newborn birds around it, before dropping to the forest floor. Rats, even in settlements, are uncommon foreigners and seldom last long, but they do have a tenuous foothold in larger townships.The rivers hold eels, carp, roach, trout, and some of the largest and most prized salmon in Allornus. Lobsters and giant hermit crabs are found on the coast. The giant hermit has a habit of collecting skulls as ideal homes once it is an adult, and this can be unnerving to visitors to the region, especially when the creatures find the occasional landsman skull and scuttle about in it. Giant, slimy, catfish-like creatures that are all maw and teeth dwell at the muddy bottoms of lakes and deep rivers here, as well as other things less common or more frightening.

Stock animals in the region are almost exclusively hrid for meat, hide, wool and eggs, and goats for milk. Goats tend not to live very long in large herds, so most churl households keep their own goat in a roofed pen, as well as a few chickens, who provide excellent fatty meat in lean seasons or for celebrations, though chicken eggs aren't much prized. A nobleman will usually keep pigs, and pork and bacon are considered a stable of a prosperous knight's table, though mere fantasy to a commoner. And even a prince would be though fortunate to be able to serve beef. Fish and venison and other wild fare are generally considered inferior to stock animals for meat, and no self respecting Ralstaan lord would hunt a creature that cannot put up a challenge for mere food. Sheep are common in Tael, and are kept primarily for wool, but churls and villeins also have mutton when the herd is of a generous size.

The Treudachie

Somewhere in the northern mountains, in the mostly unexplored region of the Caperkils west of Duron, legend says a monster called the Treudachie dwells. This terrible creature is said to have a body like a massive wolf, but the bald punk head, wings, and fore-talons of a massive buzzard. More terrible still, the monster was said to be forever afflicted with some terrible disease that wracked its body with weeping sores and boils, and left its coat patchy and balding. Malevolently intelligent, legends differ from town to town about the creature's origins - that is was a magician who dabbled in unclean magic, or an elder who betrayed the mountain spirit seem to be the most popular. Whatever its origin story, the legends all agree that the Treudachie has the power to shed its feathers like great arrows, and anyone truck by one, or even finding one on the forest floor, would be inflicted with a terrible rotting disease that only the beast's mercy could lift. And that mercy always comes at a great price indeed.

Notable Individuals

His Lordship, Baron Siegfried Uth-Voere
From his dark wooden throne in the Lion’s Watch Siegfried is very aware that he is the most powerful man in Cannavin, perhaps in all of northwestern Ralstaa, and though publicly he places great stead in the confidence of the King, privately he knows that it is his name that people drop on their knee to, not that of Uth-Rallis. Whether or not he is happy about this situation, the Baron’s advisers, and indeed even the Baron himself, seem undecided. Siegfried, as well as the rest of his family, resent that House Caldare received a fine land around a trafficked bay while his ancestor, equally loyal and instrumental in Rallis' conquest, was given a backwater, and then given only a tiny portion of it, and a lesser title. But Siegfried knows he cannot pursue justice in the matter, and this only serves to twist the knife. He is a stern, dour man described as sour by many, but he prides himself on fairness, justness and wisdom, as well as on the great strength of those soldiers in his employ and his House's fastness at Caer Voere.

His Highness, Prince Ranier Mavyn
The most prominent of the Red Princes is Ranier, though he takes the name from his great great great grandfather it has not always carried the weight it does today. It is Ranier who began to pursue the study of the arcane arts again in his line, and it is he who has again turned House Mavyjn into a threat to the royalist houses of western Ralstaa. Ranier, as with all of the Red Princes, never shows his face, and thus many speculate that an imposter was sent to Tohl on his service, while he remained in hiding in Cannavin collecting together the forbidden tomes hidden by his ancestors. The second eldest of the current Princes, and undoubtedly the most influential amongst their number, what can be percieved of Ranier under his red robe and cloth mask, is unremarkable, showing him to be a man of average height and build with a shock of thick golden hair protruding from around his mask and under his cap. His voice and movements are similarly indistinct, and suggest to some that he uses a double for public appearances. He is said to be paranoid about assassins to the point of dismissing servants at random almost week to week, and these claim to have never seen the face of a Red Prince or been privy to the full layout of Caer Mavyn.

His Lordship, Aedin Uth-Voere, Lord Mayor of Canneton
The most prominent of the petty officials of Cannavin is the Lord Mayor of Canneton, Aedin Uth-Voere, cousin to the line whose proud name he bears. Canneton is certainly more a city than a town, though it's remote location has stunted its growth compared to the sprawling metropolises to the south and east, so Aedin's position is a lofty one indeed. His task is to mediate between the various monarchs of Cannavin, and ensure that his city is a safe and neutral place to meet, even in times of war between the great houses of Cannavin. This is a task he has excelled in, often against his soldier's instincts, though more and more often the real politics is taking place at Tohl or Surrowdar. A broad shouldered man with receding hair and a crooked nose, broken in several places, few traders or envoys can forget that they are in the presence of a man of violence, who once earned his living taking scalps from bandits and raiders along the High King's highways, however much his fine clothes and courtly manners try to hide this fact.

His Lordship, Arren Taloth, Baron of Brooke-Taloth Hold
Baron Arren Taloth is a man of middle years with prematurely white hair, heavily lined features and gentility not found in most northerners, though he remains a staunch traditionalist. He is proud and outwardly lordly, but ultimately kind-hearted, and prefers to leave people to themselves. The Count might be considered liberal, but ultimately he is more of a realist, and doesn’t see the effort and expense of the iron handed rule of the Voere or Mavyn lords as particularly practical. Besides which Arren enjoys being liked by his subjects, and works hard to maintain his people’s affection and respect rather than cultivate their fear. He is a close friend of Baron Siegfried, though the two do not see eye to eye on many subjects, both men are older and both have military backgrounds, so when they are not discussing politics they are fine company.

Today in Cannavin…

Rumour has it that the Princes of Mavyn are incensed at the theft of some ancient family heirloom, though little information as to what, when or how the item was taken has escaped Caer Mavyn. Either some daring thief has raided the very vaults of the feared citadel, or else one of the Princes has been waylaid and had the missing object removed from his person. Whatever the case, one thing seems certain: agents of the Red Princes are about in all of the major settlements of Cannavin, so they clearly believe that the item has not left the province. Given the sinister nature of the arts practised by the Red Conclave, it seems likely that something so valuable might well prove dangerous in the wrong hands.

And speaking of the Princes of House Mavyn, rumours have again arisen, as they have on occasion over and over for generations, that the Red Conclave serves a master, even more hidden and secret than the Princes themselves - the King in Red. Tales, easily the equal of the direst fable, escape the halls of Caer Mavyn, usually fifth or sixth hand, that tell of servants glimpsing a massive, seemingly deformed figure shuffling about the forbidden halls of the Caer. Or of servants uncovering hidden rooms overlooking the great galleries, in the shadows of which a mighty hunched shape swathed in red robes, hood, and veil is glimpsed for a moment. While the sheer longevity of the legend of the King in Red only lends weight to the probability of its falsehood, the persistence, and a recent spate of disappearances amongst the Caer's staff are sinisterly suggestive.

The Knives of Rallah, High Kingdom of Ralstaa
The Shaeish Kingdoms Caldare, Donnaigh, Rhuovaith, Kileirey, Balleymoore, Cannavin, Wynd, Breconn, Coulbaigh
The Lleweith Kingdoms Avalaigh, Haeliard, Lammornia, Branddale, Talladale, Bradenthyr, Tohl
The Starwood Cwmbran, Kentallen Wood, Uerenuell
Tuarvael Castrette, Serlot, Friesse
The Dunsain Kingdoms Byrnham, Blackstone, Craigbyrn, Duncarrick, Strath Gorge, Garynshae, The Clanlands, Aulorn's Gate
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