The Heartlands
If the Earldoms to the west seem a pastoral ideal, then the lands that are The Heartlands of Highdunn make them pale. Though not so ancient, nor veined with ancient stone walls, attesting to centuries of habitation, this younger land is nothing if not a haven. Sheltered from foes by stalwart defenders, and from the elements by distant umber mountains, it is a land of rivers and fields, ruled over by a strong but firm king, wealthy from its fields, mythic in its histories. Rich with the hope and promise of the new world.

Tech Code: 6
Governments: Monarchy under the King of Highdunn
Religions: Eastern Dissident Church of the Dioune, Order of the Black Sarith.
Industries and Trades: Agriculture, Fishing, Woodworking, Leatherwork, Coal Mining, Winemaking, Forestry, Bleaching and Dyes, Textiles
Major Terrain: Flatlands, Sea, Swamp.
Primary Languages: Trade Tongue.
Major Settlements: Alton, Caneburrough, Dartburrough, Dorinburrough, Fardell, Keinburrough, Mainburrough, Markton, Merburrough, Midowe, Milton, Riala, Stowerbridge, Talinton, Thairon, Torburrough, Whitehale.


Physical Geography

The heartlands of Highdunn are accommodating lands, not as fertile as the Tresser Veldt or the fields of Reddown, the land is rich and generous. The majority of the heart is made up of a patchwork of low rolling hills with wild grasses and flowers growing on them, broken by low stone walls and golden crops of wheat and corn and barley, and yellowed fields where the cows and sheep have trampled and grazed, known as the Oldarth Plains. Gravel covered dirt roads criss-cross the land, passing over turnstiles and through stout gates while the broad major roads cut through the land from city to city.

The southern part of the Heartlands along the coast is lightly forested with birch and oak, here the rivers Tor and Thair and the Thair's various promontories mean that the land is a combination of raised woodland and lowland marshes. The Thair is wide and while its first few dozen miles are deep and fast flowing, the further north the more sand and silt are in the water and on the banks, and large vessels run aground on sandbars. The Tor meanwhile is navigable all the way to its fork at Torburrough.

In the extreme north of the heart the land is lower and often marshy, here the famous fens of Highdunn, stretching from Tireste in the veldt to where the rivers drain from Lake Nash in the roughlands cover most of the land. The Fenns are very low-lying compared with the chalk and limestone uplands surrounding them, in most places no more than a few leagues above the sea level. Many local farmers have drained individual valleys and built up earthworks to protect the fertile earth usually covered by a few feet of shallow water, but the fenns are liable to periodic flooding, particularly in winter due to water washing down from the roughlands and the heavy autumn rains being trapped by limestone hillsides. Cities and settlement here usually occupy elevated ground, and hazardous mangrove swamps and peat bogs are left alone by those whose living doesn't depend upon them. Many roads through the fens are blocked at the height of the winter floods.

Political Geography

While Highdunn is one of the younger of the nations of Ahlonia it's political structure is also one of the most complex thanks to a century or more of ambitious kings seeking to reform Highdunn. There are fifteen burroughs of Highdunn, each capitoled by a major settlement. Each burrough is broken into roughly five estates. The burroughs are ruled by Barons while the steads within these are controlled by Margraves. In addition decorated veterans are settled on small plots and given the title Marquis, and up to twenty of these Marquis might exist within a single burrough.

Around Thairon three small burroughs all boarder the city, including Thairburrough, the royal burrough, Milburrough and Farburrough over the Thair from the city. Merburrough sits to the east between the sea and the roughlands, then north of this is Keinburrough, and Torburrough runs along the coast from Thairburrough to the boarder with Southaven. The central hills are controlled by Midoweburrough, Rialaburrough, Mainburrough, Dorinburrough, Talinburrough and Marktonburrough with the entirety of the fens in the heart falling into the largest of the burroughs, Whitehaleburrough. The Roughlands to the east are a single burrough unto themselves, with it's ruler Odo merely holding the rank of Baron.

Barons are expected to tax Margraves and send a portion of this tax to the King, while Margraves tax their serfs and Freemen. Barons also have their own territories with their own serfs, and they are expected to pay tax on these too, though no one actually confirms the portion they tithe to the crown, so it is usually considerably less than it should be. Marquises are not expected to pay tax, but the size of their territory is severely limited, and if they grow too influential they are turned into Margraves and given the same authority and responsibility.

Social Geography

Society in Highdunn is typical of that of all Ahlonia. All of Highdunn functions under a very simple class system. At the top is the King a, who governs the nation, makes its laws, commands its armies and levies its taxes from the other nobility, as well as owning some land and resources of his own. Below him are the Barons who each govern a single region in the name of the king, enforcing his laws and collecting the taxes he levies in his name, and protecting the people there. Next are the Margraves, men given the title to control and work the Baron’s lands as they see fit so long as they swear vassalage to the Baron, and often with a price set to renew these titles every few years. Next come the freemen, once indentured serfs who, for some reason, have been granted their freedom. Many talented professionals are freemen, as are soldiers and priests. These men are expected to make their own livings plying their trades, but are not bound to any liege lord. Most rent buildings to live and practice their trade in the hire of the steaders, others are wandering traders and yet others work in the service of one of the Earls as part of his court. Most freemen tend to flock to cities or towns where they can most profitably ply their trades. Below these are the serfs. These are essentially the labour force of the nation, and property of whatever Margrave whose service they are born into. They must be cared for to the satisfaction of the King’s law, but otherwise are the property of whatever Margrave's lands they dwell in, and they may have no property but what their lord gives to them. Finally on the bottom of the social ladder are the vagrants. These are serfs who have abandoned their steadings and their lords. They are outlaws, and anyone freeman or better in class who finds a vagrant has the right to take his ear. Each time he is caught he loses an ear and if he has no ears then he is killed. This extreme form of punishment makes it difficult if not impossible for a serf to escape their masters or their lives. Serfs are not slaves however. They cannot be bought or sold, or even given as a gift, but they come with the land they inhabit and work, so if a domain changes hands so do its serfs.



352 HC Highdunn is founded by Martel Baldardun, a Sigard veteran of the Siele wars, when he lands his fleet where the city of Thairon now lies. He takes the title Earl, but later that year crowns himself King to emulate his lord. The King of Sigard grants him full independence, calling this tiny domain ‘spoils of war’.
421 HC Dissatisfied with being excluded from councils because of their distance from Daultin the Earls of the Tresser Veldt declare independence and King Vandar quickly moves to ally himself with these northern powers, beset on all sides by foes and with no real trade to speak of the Earls agree to the alliance.
703 HC Shiel Meial falls and the last of the Siele flee into the Roughlands. The Siele-King Fieme is killed when his tower is besieged, and his sister the Siele Queen Amiaiele takes command of the refugees. When they arrive in the northern vale they settle among the landsmen there. The Kings of Highdunn tolerate these refugees only because they can’t spare the forces to assail them.
735 HC Mierellia demands independence, King Henry Baldardun marches in force on the Siele refugees, however the Siele veterans of guerrilla war against the humans prove impossible to engage.
736 HC King Henry Baldardun and the Kingsown are lost when the mists of Mierellia rise. In the scramble to find an heir his Lord-Commander launches a second attack, but becomes completely lost and his men are scattered to the boarders of the nation.
1018 HC The twenty-year war begins.
1037 HC The twenty-year war ends when the combined forces of Sigard, Reddown and Highdunn are trapped at Cravenrock and driven into the lake by the Goblyn Vachak Taar. He takes the title goblyn-king, but only survives three months after his victory, before the tribes splinter again.
1139 HC The city of Southaven is granted diplomatic independence by King Lavin under pressure from his neighbours, who were uncomfortable having their religious capital under the control of another nation. The table of Patriarchs is established.
1186 HC Southaven is gifted with its surrounding lands up to the banks of the river Sheim in order to be self-sufficient. Its growth begins out of control as pilgrims and traders crowd its streets.
1305 HC Sigard appeals for aid from Highdunn, but the King turns them down, telling the Steward “My ancestor swore an oath to the King of Sigard, and when his missive arrives so will my troops.” Most people speculate a secret accord between Reddown and Highdunn. Boer Shenien becomes the first student of the High Warlock. When he returns from the tower he is sworn to complete secrecy about what he has learned and what lies within the tower’s walls.
1468 HC The Black Baron Dietric Kessel stages a coup in Highdunn, he is defeated but in a battle with Dane Reise Kessel kills the king personally with the help of the rebel Kingown. Kessel and his allies flee into the roughlands to a pre-planned point of refuge on the Maethian Arm.
1469 HC The Nation of Maethas declairs independence, meanwhile Prince Eldin Reise returns to Thairon and takes the throne of Highdunn. He tries to raise an army to march of Maethas, but cannot muster the funds or manpower.
1482 HC Present Day. King Reise’s daughter princess Serina disappears from Fort Rotheron.

Setting Trait (1): Land of Myth
While Reddown has become dominated by the machinations of the council, the conquest of Sigard, and other political manoeuvrings, Highdunn is still a land where legend and myth are celebrated; where Martel Baldurdun, first King of Highdunn, is beloved, and where ancient histories are not merely history, but the very foundations of the world the people know - as much if not more than current events.

Martel Baldurdun and Daundugar

King Martel travelled anon through the hills and crags of the east for many years giving service to those subjects he found, and by and by he came upon a hamlet sheltered behind a low barrow, and the hamlet was in sore ruin, and only a single elder remained in the places remnants. And Martel came unto the elder and asked him what had befallen his home, to which the elder replied “Lord, some four hours past a giant come from out o’ the hills, and he do battle with all of the men, and sore was our plight but he was driven back, but sir no sooner had the beast parted than I saw that he had taken my daughter and her two sons with him, and the men have gone off to hunt him down, but I fear the sun is setting and few are likely to return.” And at this the King was sore ful of wroth, and he did swear to the elder to find the giant, and so he set out away from the setting sun.

Hard by Martel came upon the Giant sitting in a clearing, and Martel saw that the giant’s hands and chin were red with blood, and that he chomped and slavered even still over some unimaginable meal, and wrath was the King, and he fell upon the Giant, and joined in battle with it. The Giant swung its great club, and knocked the King’s helm clear off his head, but still Martel fought on, until the Giant abandoned its weapon, and came at Martel, and seized the King’s spear and smote it to pieces upon a stone, then it took him in its great arms and commenced to squeeze the very life from him, but Martel slashed at it with his dirk, and rent many mighty wounds about the creature’s flank and neck. As night fell the King felt the Giant’s arms stiffen in death about him, and when his two guards Dol and Sed came upon the King some hours later he was still locked firm in the arms of the dead Giant, somewhat faint and bloodied, and they pried him free, and the King ordered that the head of the Giant be struck off, and set upon the Truncheon of his ruined spear and carried before him wheresoever he should go, and with just his shield the King returned to the Hamlet where his soldiers were gathered.

That night while his camp rested the King was awoken from slumber, and perceived from where he lay, a shaft of light cast down upon a vale hard by, and went he to trove the meaning of this light. As King Martel mounted the mouth of the vale he perceived that the light laid upon a ruin of Siele make, but so peaceful seemed the scene that Martel went unto the ruin, and at the heart of the light sat a little girl, and she hailed Martel by name and bade him sit. And so the King sat on a fallen stone closeby the little girl’s feet, where the light waxed most, and there at his feet the King perceived the remains of a Siele sword, the blade broken in five pieces. And the girl spoke, saying “Your spear is broken good King, and you are in sore need of arms. Take ye this sword and reforge it that it might be the first such formed by the hands of men, and it shall have the blessing of I and my brother upon it, and the King was awed for he realized that he sat in the presence of the Divhi Aliel, and the King perceived also that a broad warrior stood unmoving at the light’s edge who must be Koroth. Then the Divhi spoke again, saying “Like my brother you did battle with a Giant, and like him you did away with it. You are a good and true King Martel of Baldardun, let all know that this weapon shall be a symbol of our favour.” then she bade Martel go and he went from that place and returned to his camp, and upon the morrow he spoke with Dol and Sed of his visit, and showed them the sword, but when he bade them come see the ruin and the vale they were gone.

And so Martel reforged the broken blade with his own hands, and named it Daundugar. The weapon proved to be mighty indeed and magical beyond measure with the blessings of Aliel and Koroth, and it aided Martel in being both a mighty warrior and a noble King, and he would go on to perform many more acts of legendary heroism with Daundugar, the first sword forged by men, in his hands.


Flora and Fauna

Highdunn's flora and fauna are as varied as its range of topography and climate. It has forests of oak and beech in the north and center, as well as pine, birch, poplar, and willow. The southern coast around the Thair has chestnut and beech; the central hills, juniper and dwarf pine. Along the boarder with the Veldt are neatly ordered pine forests and various oaks. Toward Southaven are olive trees, vines, and mulberry and fig trees, as well as laurel, wild herbs, and the low thorny scrub and bracken. Mostly however the plant life is tall-growing soft green grass, broken by patches of thistles. Wild blackberries and poison ivy grow in ditches and hollows under trees alongside mosses and giant toadstools growing in the damp soil and warm, humid air.

Croakers, tree frogs and grass snakes all common in the west are common to the Fens alongside the famous fenn wyrms, but rodents and small mammals such as rats and otters are more common. Black Bears still have a presence in wilder regions, often wandering in and out of the roughlands, and bobcats, wild dogs and foxes are more common predators, though they pose more of a threat to farmers than they do to the exploding rabbit population. Hedgehog and shrew are common, as are weasel, bat, squirrel, badger, otter, and beaver. The birds of Highdunn are largely migratory; warblers, thrushes, magpies, owls, buzzards, and gulls are common. There are storks in Torburrough and elsewhere, eagles and falcons in the mountains, pheasants and partridge in the south. Flamingos, terns, buntings, herons, and egrets are found in the far north. The rivers hold eels, pike, perch, carp, roach, salmon, and trout; lobster and crayfish are found on the coast.

Farmers keep sheep, goats and cattle alongside large herds of oxen. Sheep dogs and hunting dogs are also kept as pets, and most noblemen keep a kennel producing their own pedigree. Horses are rare and expensive, and even the Kings Own are seldom mounted, tending to leave all of the trained horses for the cavaliers of the veldt. Possums and mice have also taken up residence where men live, in thatched roofs, stealing scraps.

Notable Individuals

His Majesty; The King of Highdunn, Eldin Reise
The current King of Highdunn came to his throne after the Black Baron murdered his father during the Maethian coup thirteen years ago. At the time he was only eighteen. Eldin was groomed for the throne from his birth, and trained with the finest arms masters and diplomats in the land. He became a fine statesman and expert warrior, but while he became greater his father, who he admired and loved, descended into a paranoid obsession with his own death, which ultimately probably caused the coup. When his father died Eldin was in Reddown, and could not return home even for his funeral. He hates Kessel, his old arms trainer, with a passion, but recognizes that he cannot afford war with the rebel state. Ultimately Eldin is a good and decent man, with a strong faith in his laws, his divh and himself, and a respect for his subjects if not a love. His temper, though hard to rouse, is legendary, and the only person in the kingdom said to be capable of bringing him out of these rages is his wife Queen Ellen. For the most part the king keeps to himself. His rule is absolute and his word law, whether his subjects accept that or not, so far as he’s concerned. The only thing that stops him being a true tyrant is his even handed sense of justice and his lack of real power over his frontier realm as well as the unflinching schedules of the law.

Her Majesty; The Queen of Highdunn, Ellen Tireste-Reise
The wife of King Eldin and sister of Earl Varn of Tireste is the co-ruler of Highdunn, though officially she is merely the royal consort Ellen is Eldin’s partner in every way. Patient, courteous and thoughtful where Eldin is rash and blunt the King and Queen temper one another to create a fine balance in the rulership of Highdunn, Ellen also serves an important political role, representing her brother and cousins at the court at Thairon. The Queen is respected and loved throughout Highdunn. She is known for being gracious, well bred and a fine orator, though she never forgets her place, that of a woman, wife and mother. Probably her greatest weakness is her daughter Serina. Though clearly spoiled and self-involved, Ellen indulges her every whim attentively and can see no fault with her daughter, nor is she likely to consider any suitor fit for her when it comes time to arrange for succession. Since Serina’s disappearance the Queen has been in seclusion in the royal apartments, refusing to see all but her maids.

Her Highness; Princess Serina Reise
The fifteen year old Royal Princess of Highdunn is thought of by most of the nation as something of a brat. Sheltered and self-important, Serina has spent her life at court surrounded by ladies-in-waiting and by the daughters of lesser noblemen all of whom vie for her attention and favour. She has learned to delight in manipulation and even fancies herself something of a politician because of this, however the princess is far from cruel or callous, merely self-involved. Serina has also learned to be blunt and sarcastic from her father, and has also begun to display his hardheadedness and temperament; all traits that her tutors are concerned will cost her a good marriage. Most people hope that Eldin and his Queen will have a son soon, and the Princess can be married diplomatically rather than in the interests of succession. Despite her self-interest the Princess is fascinated with religion, in an objective kind of way, and her tutors have latched on tho this to teach her mythology for her history and geography lessons. Despite having many suitors fascinated by the glamour and image of the Princess, none suitable have ever come forward, and Serina has never demonstrated even the slightest interest. Recently the Royal Princess has disappeared, apparently kidnapped.

His Blessedness; High Prelate of Highdunn, Sarathi Theandar Marr
The most revered and blessed Sarathi Theandar Marr is a robust and intractable churchman. His very appearance is harsh and austere, with hawk-like features, dark, piercing eyes and heavy, arched eyebrows with an amazingly expressive brow benieth his shaved pate. The High Prelate’s head is long and narrow, and he accentuates this by wearing a pointed goatee. Marr is meticulous about his appearance, but always remains humble and Spartan in the way he presents himself. His only affectation is the pair of metal hoops he wears through pierced ears. No one knows what this extreme oddity represents for the High Prelate, but it is certainly unprecedented amongst the men of Ahlonia, and is generally the first thing one remembers about him. Formerly a Prelate in the order of the Fists of Koroth, the High Prelate specializes in the teachings of the warrior-divhi, and has served extensively as a member of that order’s elite and feared church soldiers, even in his middle years few doubt that Marr is in excellent physical condition, and he still drills select initiates in the secret martial rites of the Order of the Fists of Koroth of which he is a consummate master.

Court Magician of Highdunn, Garrin the White
Garrin, like every other real magician on Ahlonia, is a student of the High Warlock. He left his home in Thairon nearly eighty years ago and went to the Warlock’s tower to petition for apprenticeship with a letter of recommendation from Highdunn’s last court magician Galthras the Green. He will never speak of his time in Skyreach, but evidently he passed whatever tests the Warlock required because he returned seventy years later, not a day older, wearing robes of pure scintillating white and bearing a staff of bleached birch. He took the position as court magician. Garrin is generally quiet and unassuming, and has an abiding love for sleeping and poetry. He also has a dramatic hatred for the cold. Some people speculate that this is something to do with the trial he underwent at Skyreach but he will not make any comment. As a result he is constantly clad in heavy furs and generally keeps a fire lit wherever he goes. Garrinn’s body has not aged since his departure for Skyreach, so that his demeanour is that of a man more than three times his apparent age, generally people see him as a lazy eccentric, but those who know him realize that he is the best friend anyone could have under pressure and his ineffectual appearance conceals potent and dangerous power that few on the Isle understand, let alone are capable of combating. Garrin’s fellow students of the Warlock all over the Isle treat him with a deep respect and reverence, second only to their treatment of the Warlock himself. It seems that whatever Garrin refuses to tell about his time in the tower was truly impressive.


Social Etiquette and Customs

Etiquette in Highdunn is simple. One should always pray and give thanks before a meal, never make eye contact and always raise ones cap or forelock to a superior, or bow to a Baron or the King, and to not in any way demonstrate ambitions above their station. Serfs generally refer to their superiors as m'lord or m'lady, but generally freemen and above should have some concept of the proper nomenclature to not appear parochial and common. Doerage and hospitality aren't so important in Highdunn, though all noblemen are required to house and equip the king's agents should it be needful by law.

Arts and Entertainment

Amongst the lower classes music and singing songs are extremely popular, and the people love nothing more than to get together after a long days work in the fields and sing a song over a few drinks. Thanks to low literacy songs are always generations old, and while a few travelling minstrels try to popularize new songs of their own creation, they seldom find much popularity except in the face of memorable historic events (such as the Maethian coup). Serfs will often bring along pipes made from ox horns or wooden flutes or skin drums to accompany these raucous songs.

To the upper classes this sort of display is common and unseemly, and religious art such as mosaics and illuminations are extremely popular, with many nobles patronizing bookmakers despite many of them only being functionally literate. Mummers plays and storytellers, who usually relate embellished histories, are also popular, and noblemen often sponsor such performances in public places, despite their reception often being dispassionate.


Buildings in Highdunn tend towards being squat, wattle and daub affairs with wooden shingle roofs. One or two rooms is normal, with only the homes of wealthy freemen, Margraves and Marquises having individual solars. Dirt floored stone shacks are also common for serfs towards the north, where they share their homes with barns. For heat and simplicity of construction most homes have a communal eating, living and sleeping space for an entire family, with separate houses for elder children. Usually the other room will serve for food preparation while an elevated store and a latrine are house in separate buildings outside. Usually cleaning is done at the local body of water, and most farms have a man made pond near the house for sourcing water and watering animals. In cities homes will usually have a separate sleeping area for the family and guests, and also have an attic storage space. Usually chamber pots emptied into covered troughs along the streets. The lower level will usually house the family business, be it a shop or workshop.

Every major settlement has its own basilica, and these usually consist of a dome with four structures protruding at regular intervals around the outsides. Normally these are an entrance, vestry, novice's dormitory and priest's quarters. Ceremonies usually take place inside the basilica here, but festivities are always in the open air where the divh can more easily see their devotion. All basilicas also have a bell at the apex of their dome. Smaller towns have simple shrines, usually incorporating a bonfire.


The general diet of a serf in Highdunn includes a lot of root vegetables, grains and stock animal meats, especially mutton, but occasionally pork. Bread and stew are staple meals, and weak ale is the preferred drink, though honeyed mead is popular if rare. Farmsteads usually only eat what they produce, and have modest vegetable gardens as well as their primary produce to vary their diets. In the cities and towns hunters bring other game meats for a little more variation, including wild boar, partridge, pheasant and quail. Most homes also keep a chicken for eggs and goat for milk, but in the cities these are far rarer, and only the pungent goat cheese has a presence. Pickled, preserved meats are less common here than they might be in the roughlands or the veldt, but still have a presence in many hospitality establishments where they need a variable amount of stock on hand. Nobles and wealthy freemen tend to eat beef, their meals are more likely to come in multiple courses, and wines from Sigard or spirits from the veldt are more popular than the local ales.

Fashion and Dress

Sumptuary laws ensure that dress is very stratified by class and not wealth. Serfs wear laced thigh-length tunics, short fur capes, leather caps or hoods, leather shoes and hose of leg bindings. Often they will also have jackets and loose pants in or around the roughlands. Female serfs wear a smock, hose, kirtle, gown, surcoat, girdle, cape, hood, and bonnet. Usually browns, light blues and dirty greens are the common colours, though cotton attire can be plain or even bleached, usually meaning a greyish off-white.

Noblemen commonly wear a doublet and hose, often with linen shirts and fur-lined gowns, which prove especially common for elders. Noble women wear gowns of expensive fabrics with girdle, wimple and low cut laced necklines. Reds, richer blues and greens, and even crimson are achievable, and rare furs are popular, where jewelery isn't. The wearing of ermine and of watchet, a vibrant royal blue, are the exclusive province of the royal family. Priests usually wear short-sleeved robes of light blue trimmed in white with their pates, or usually their entire head, shaved.

Religion and Philosophy

Despite being firmly within the church of the Dioune the faith of Highdunn is a dissident one. The priests of Highdunn classically teach that the divh of the Dioune are two separate brother & sister divh rather than two faces of the same being. Priests of Highdunn argue that this is a simplification of the Diounic faith, and challenge that if the divh choose to be perceived as two beings then to try to understand the source is second guessing the divh. While they don't go so far as to call their brothers blasphemous, they certainly imply it. Also different is the opportunity for independent and specific worship of individual divhi and their individual sarith as well as the divh of the Dioune and to offer prayer to Sarith such as Hanna, Ahlana, Vone or, in more secret circles, Willem Cole. The church of Highdunn has also always encouraged debate and discussion about the Dioune, rationalizing that men, who are imperfect, may not have entirely understood the nature of the divh, and as a result it is acceptable to question the teachings of men about the nature of the divh. How else, they challenge, can there ever be a sixth oracle?

The Order of the Fists of Koroth, who have a major historical presence in Highdunn, only exasperated by High Prelate Marr's close involvement with the order, allows non-members, especially soldiers, to offer prayer only to Koroth, and church warrior chaplains often attend rank and file soldiers on the eve of battle. However in the shadowy places, hidden in basements or in the wilds or in the old Siele ruins the Order of the Black Sarith still meet in their black hooded robes and veils, to conduct obscene rites, devoted to the belief that Aliel and Koroth did indeed choose Willem Cole as their sixth oracle, and the landsmen have lost their way in refusing his divinity.

Setting Trait: The Warriors of the Church (2)
The Warriors of the Church are the most feared military and judicial body in all Ahlonia, and this fearsome reputation is not undeserved. Though they range across Ahlonia, the heartlands of Highdunn are their spiritual home, and Theandar Marr their champion in the church. And with the Highdunner love for heroic epics they are the focus of much attention and admiration.

Transportation and Communication

Travelling around Highdunn, and into the Tresser Veldt and Southaven is very easy, and roads crisscross the land along the boundaries of every different farm. Horses, as in all of Ahlonia, are not the province of men, and mules are more common for carrying passengers while oxen carts are used to pull, or usually drag goods. Carts can carry multiple passengers, and mummer troupes and other mobile freemen use canvas-covered caravans. Coachs can also be hired to travel between major settlements, and their freeman drivers offer a degree of security to their passengers. For communication most travelling merchants and coachmen will usually be happy to carry a message for a silver coin, but noblemen also use trained falcons for short-range messages, and homing pigeons can also be sent out, and are especially commonly used by the Kings Own sending their messages back to the aeries of Thairon.


Legal System and Enforcement

Highdunn's legal system has been penned for the past four generations, and all of its magistrates are charged with knowing and keeping these laws as they are written. A criminal is charged with a crime by an accuser, and then goes to trial before a magistrate who decides whether he is guilty of that crime or not, and elects a punishment according to that crime's schedule. A major problem is overcharging - a criminal is only tried for the crime with which he is charged. If this crime cannt be proven, but a lesser one he was not charged with can he will generally walk free.

Generally only someone of higher social status can try a person, thus a freeman can only be tried by a noble magistrate, a noble magistrate must go to a ranking nobleman, and a ranking nobleman can only be tried by the King. The King can only be tried by the divh of the Dioune, and if they fail to attend his trial he is seen to be absolved.

First Schedule: Drunkenness, disorderly conduct, hindrance of business, littering.
Penalty: reparations determined by the court with the option for dungeon imprisonment (up to 3 months) or reparations with public whipping.
Second Schedule: Minor burglary or theft, minor vandalism, usury, sumptuary breeches.
Penalty: Reparations determined by the court and public whipping with the option for dungeon imprisonment (up to 8 months).
Third Schedule: Disobedience, lascivious conduct, libel, pandering, resisting arrest, slander, robbery, trafficking in slaves.
Penalty: Reparations determined by the court with an additional fine or confiscation of property. Public whipping or dismemberment, with the option for dungeon imprisonment (up to 2 years).
Fourth Schedule: Arson, bribery, fencing stolen goods, harbouring a criminal, forgery, fraud, major burglary or theft, major property damage, rape, major vandalism.
Penalty: Public whipping followed by Dungeon Imprisonment (1 year and up), mutilation, or both.
Fifth Schedule: Assault, battery, escaping lawful imprisonment, impersonating a nobleman, manslaughter.
Penalty: Public whipping followed by Dungeon Imprisonment (2 years plus) with or without mutilation.
Sixth Schedule: Espionage, insurrection, murder, sabotage, sedition, treason.
Penalty: Public or Private Death.


Highdunn retains no standing military, only the Veldt does, except the Kingsown who are a very versatile elite infantry. They have to be able to pressgang infantry in time of war or pressgang watchmen when they duty of protecting a settlement and enforcing the King’s law, but in addition they must be able to operate as scouts, independent warriors or as a unit to form the King’s bodyguard. They are, without a doubt, some of Ahlonia’s most versatile and best equipped soldiers, and perhaps only the Bharvarsh are their equal when fielded en-masse. They are Highdunn’s warriors, their police, and the only individuals who can bear the kingdom’s arms to battle. They are also all given the titles of Marquis, in order to hand out justice to the common men, but will not receive their estates until they retire.

When an army is raised where serfs would be conscriped and drilled then retired by rote in Reddown in Highdunn serfs are merely given a weapon and marched to a battlefield, making their armies far less effective, however since the dead need not be paid at this kind of speed they are considerably less expensive to field. The watch are similar.


Daily Living

Mills are common to much of civilized Ahlonia, however over the past fifty years windmills have begun to appear throughout the heartlands. The common waterwheel, found along all of the major rivers of Ahlonia is slowly being replaced by these unusual structures. Used to grind grains, make flour and even mill timber, and many more freemen farmers are becoming millers. Especially popular in the northern fens around Whitehale, this industry is set to make Highdunn the place where the raw materials of Ahlonia will come to be made into resources.

Major Industry

Farming makes the bulk of the heartlands industry, both grains and produce and stock, especially cattle and sheep. Wool is also common, though milk, cheese and other dairy products have never been embraced. Milling timber, textiles and leather, peat, chalk and loam are all common and profitable ventures. Since the guilds of Sigard and Southaven have largely been discouraged from penetrating Highdunn professional freemen are largely occupied by those tasks that the people of their hometowns need, and so tailors, crofters, smiths, leather workers cobblers, barbers and publicans tend to be found in most settlements. Millers represent the only real export industry in Highdunn, and their income is often exceptional, as is their workload.


Medicine in the heartlands is usually of a good standard. Small villages will usually have a matriarch taught in the ways of simple medicine, and often in some minor magic that may not even be perceived as magic at all, such as the brewing of love potions or lifting of minor curses. Priests are usually left to their various divinations, meaning that medicine in the major settlements is handled by barbers, who take care of anything that needs cutting or bleeding. Leeches and hot irons along with clean water and bandages are the common treatments for most wounds, and disease is usually dealt with using herbal poultices and teas also known to the barbers, but usually this lore is distributed by the Hands of Aliel.



The guilds of Lierkist have been kept out of Highdunn rather successfully, both by the efforts of local noblemen and by the Highland/Lowland Traders Consortium, who run caravans and coaches between all the major centers in Highdunn, including to Nashby, Cavalier Falls and into Southaven. The Margraves ensure that the roads are in good keep and that the consortium and their agents are welcome so that goods within Highdunn are very mobile, and for the most part, can always get to where they are needed when they are needed.


Unlike the veldt or the roughlands, coin trade is a little more common in the heart than barter, especially with outsiders to a community. This is largely due to the healthy level of trade throughout Highdunn. Highdunn mints its own coins, stamped with the head of Eldin Reise on one face and the arms of the mint on the other. There are two denominations of coins, gold and silver crowns, with twelve silver crowns making a gold crown. The pewter sigard trade chits are treated as a considerably smaller value than the silver crown, usually up to ten chits to a crown, but considering that this is considerably less than their value in Reddown they are not normally used.

Today in The Heart…

In Torburrough a battle of the brews is set to take place. During the festival of Arimar the Torsource brewery and the Wellspring brewery will bring their best brews to the city of Torburrough where the Baron or Torburrough himself Michael Tor will judge which is the best in all of Highdunn, and which he will serve at his table henceforth. Freemen and noblemen from all around Highdunn will shortly converge on the town to attend the festival, and inns expect to be bulging with patrons. The Baron himself has no more rooms left in his estate for guests, even in the stables!

The Whitehale rebellion, now more than twenty years past, had been consigned to the annals of history. But now there are stirrings in the serfs around Whitehale again. Too many vagrants are at large, hiding in the fens, and their whispers, and their survival, even prosperity in the form of small vagrant communities with permanent buildings, and especially the willingness of a number of freemen to trade with these vagrant communities, is again raising questions in the minds of the people of Whitehale. The Baron, Clarence White has put out a call to all able men to put an end to these vagrants once and for all, bringing them to justice or returning them to their rightful masters. Many Kings Own and even a few Cavaliers have answered the call, but so have groups of mercenaries.

Also hidden amongst the fens are the ruins of the Siele city known here as 'Seel Fay'. Long thought lost, collapsed into the marsh, recently a group of bleachers working in the fens rediscovered the ruins a mere mile from where they had been believed to once lie. Building their homes on the high ground around the overgrown ruin the bleachers had been happy, but only a few weeks ago travelers passing that way reported that the entire hamlet is abandoned. Rumours that the ruin is haunted are an old legend, but it seems that the legend must be true!

However without comparison the most momentous event to have occurred in Highdunn recently, or since the Maethian Coup, is the kidnapping of Serina Reise, Princess of Highdunn from her chambers at Rotheron Keep. On an unremarkable early-winter evening some eighteen nights ago the Princess was in her personal suite in the keep while touring the Tresser Veldt with her mother. Alone but for a couple of maids, the princess disappeared, one of the maids was found murdered in the rooms and the other is also missing. Little else is known about the event, the Queen is distraught, and the King in a fit of blazing rage has imprisoned a diplomat on a mission from Reddown called Lord Peran after his agents reported seeing servants in Peran's employ making off down the Forest Way that night. Peran is the cousin of Sedric Daultin, and while Daultin has pointed out that the incident reeks of attempting to incite war between the two nations he has also clearly stated that if his kin is treated as anything but an honoured guest that he will not hesitate to use force against Highdunn. This has made Reise all the more determined to lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the hapless diplomat however. Of course, Peran may indeed be guilty, of maybe even Daultin.

Setting Trait (3): A Princess's Ransom Nowhere is Highdunn is the disappearance of Serina Reise not felt. The search of her by the Kingsown, the fear of war with Reddown, and speculation as to what has really happened, as well and many prayers for her safe return, dominate the lives of the common people - especially those whose lives would likely be spent in a war over a proof-less crime.

The Southern Isle of Ahlonia
The Earldoms, The Storm Sea Coast, Southaven, The Tresser Veldt, The Heartlands, The Roughlands, The Maethian Arm, The Vale of Mists, The Forest Kingdom
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