This is the Council Lands entry in a series of articles. Each contains what would be common knowledge to adventurers from that region and is what is taught in Intro to Cultural Understanding (AKA "How not to cause international war") at the Adventurer's Academy.

The most populous nation, located in the north-east, near the Sea of Dreams and the eastern and southern shores of Lake Coinin.

Government

The Council is structured around Guilds--organizations of people in similar occupations. It is led by a group of Guild leaders and religious/magical leaders. They control inter-guild relations and economic and social progress.

Politically, the Council is split between hardline expansionists and internationalists. The expansionists (who also tend to be socially conservative, elitist, and strongly religious) want to spread the Guilds across as much land as possible. They want to displace or drown out foreign influences. The internationalists want to work with other nations and accept foreign ideas to strengthen the home front. The Council tends to the plutocratic despite being meritocratic in theory.

The wild-cards are the bronze dragon Marci and the Immortal Bard. They are the nominal heads of the Council but rarely are present. They tend to intervene only in large matters--Marci only really cares about Kaelthia and the environs, the Immortal Bard opposes isolationism and schism.

Economy and Currency

The Council’s coin are accepted everywhere and form the monetary standard for the FN. Standard decimal copper -> silver -> gold progression. Letters of credit drawn on the Temple of Kela Loran serve for large amounts. The Council is self-sufficient in most things, but wants dyes and spices. They are the source of much of the magical knowledge as well as fine dwarven metalwork.

Regions

For maps of the various regions, see Council Lands Detailed Map.

Dreamshore

The northern area of the Council, mostly forested hills and mountains along the southern edge of the Sea of Dreams and south of the Orc-Lands.

  • History: second newest region of Council. Settled 60 years ago by a group led by a Coldwind. Not banished per se, but certainly exiled for not playing nice with the guilds.
  • Religion: Syncretic, with Seasons worship and animist ancestor veneration.
  • Demographics:  An even split between wall-builder humans and puun ihmisia wood elves; halflings less common than in other Council regions. Dwarves are present but not common. High elves are rare.
  • Climate: Humid summers, cold wet winters. Mixed forests in hills and mountains, shading toward boreal forests in the north.
  • Economy: orchards, logging, trapping. Barley and oats more than wheat. Sheep and goats predominate, cows are shaggy and mostly for milk or cheese. Lots of preserved vegetables (pickled). Hard cider is a main export (along with lumber).
  • Government: Ostensibly guilded, but people look to the Coldwind family for guidance. Disaffected from Council, considers them to be corrupt oligarchs. Significant separatist movements.
  • Architecture: Cob houses with thatched roofs on the plains. Stone in Baile Craan. Stone and wood in mountain towns. Small windows. Large eaves to keep paths clear during winter. Buildings clustered close together around central farm/garden area. Cities are sparse with plenty of open space. Districts are regimented--residences here, workshops there, shops in the other place, etc. Graveled/paved streets in larger towns.
  • Culture: Serious and reserved in public, boisterous in private. Marital fidelity is important. Heavy drinking (both sexes). Relative equality of sexes.
  • Traveler housing: Inns are rare--travelers usually stay with locals. Guest-right is a big thing. Payment in coin is appreciated (at standard rates), but exotic gifts are better. The matriarch is in charge. Address any comments or requests to her, because it’s her house. Bigger towns may have a communal traveller’s house, but that’s much more like a short-term rental than an inn.
  • Diet:
    • Barley and oat porridge & bread
    • potatoes, cabbage
    • pork & mutton, beef on the plains.
    • Fruit and berries
    • Brandy/cider
  • Taboos and superstitions:
    • Never greet someone across a threshold. It’s bad fortune.
    • Spiders are the servants of the Storm Serpent, killing them brings the storms.
    • Always greet the honored spirits of the house when you enter a friendly house.
  • Threats:
    • Packs of wolves led by dire wolves or Wargs.
    • Very occasional winter wolves
    • Giant spiders in some areas, reports of phase spiders
    • Ruins, often undead infested.
    • Occasional Broken-Tooth orc raids in north part.
    • Bandits becoming a problem in some areas.
    • Area near the north tip of the plains in haunted and avoided.

Baile Craan

Main city of the Dreamshore region. About 6k people. Gets a lot bigger during the winter as trappers/loggers/etc overwinter there.

  • Location: Due north of Kaelthia, nestled into foothills.
  • Defenses: Stone wall and professional guards.
    • Leadership: Kelban Coldwind, a human knight trained by the Sun-shields.
    • Forces: about 100 guards, cross-trained as archers. Squads of 7 soldiers and a sergeant. Ukko il Pilvi (a female wood elf archer) is second in command.
    • Funding: Levy-in-kind + coin from city merchants
  • Leadership
    • Officially ruled by a council of guild overseers. This council is a rubber stamp.
    • De facto power held by Coldwind family. The parents were killed by cultists about 5 years ago, but the children have retained significant power.
      • Anders (guard captain): mid 20’s
      • Haiyomi (house head): early 20s, bard trained. Wealthy due to having been an adventurer. Adventurer’s Guild Liaison currently
  • Economics
    • Lumber-mills outside town
    • Tanners and leatherworkers
    • Breweries (brandy/cider/mead)

Sea of Grass

The main central plains of the Council, an agricultural powerhouse. Sparsely settled outside of the immediate vicinity of the major cities. Mostly rolling plains, with hills toward the south-east.

  • History: the area around Kaelthia was settled in the early years. Tied for oldest of the Council regions, some structures pre-date the Cataclysm.
  • Religion: Church of the Seasons. Very devout. Moderate worship/propitiation of other Congregants. Every village has a church and an acolyte.
  • Demographics: Wall-builders, mixed human and halfling. Half-elves are uncommon, as are dwarves. High elves are rare, as are wood elves. Other races are virtually unknown (outside of cities). People are clustered together--most villages are 500+.
  • Climate: Cold and windy winters. Hot summers. Dryer than Dreamshore. More mild and wet near Rauviz. Mostly grasslands with occasional groves of deciduous trees.
  • Economy: Farming/ranching. Grain, cattle, sheep, and flax are primary outputs.
  • Government: Councils in small towns. Councils have power--usually the ranking guild member is the head of the council. This area is the backbone of the Council’s power.
  • Architecture: Cob buildings, rarely two stories. Rambling and expansive. Only expensive ones are made of stone or wood. All permanent settlements have earthen/stone walls. Since wood is scarce, fuel is mostly from firebrush, a local tumbleweed-equivalent that burns for hours. Wealthy families import smokestone (coal). Clusters of buildings around central storage surrounded by gardens and a wall, then farmland. Graveled streets, paved in larger towns. Mostly sharp angles to roads.
  • Culture: Less reserved than Dreamshore. Drinking and jokes. Still quite culturally conservative. Resistant to change in traditions.
  • Traveler Housing: Each village has an inn, towns have several. Hospitality is still an important cultural rule. Since halflings run most inns, the matriarch is in charge.
  • Diet:
    • Wheat bread, oats for cattle
    • Beef and mutton
    • Dairy
    • Cabbage & vegetables, often fermented or pickled
    • Beer & ale
  • Taboos and superstitions
    • Every person who enters a house should request the blessing of the appropriate seasonal god on the house and on the house-holder.
    • Doors should never face north, because fortune leaks out that way.
    • Never greet someone across a threshold. It’s bad fortune.
  • Threats
    • Low overall threat level, mostly wolves/wild dogs.
    • Bandits are getting worse, raiding caravans.
    • Ruins (especially underground) are an issue.
    • Plains-type wildlife, apex carnivores.
    • Rarer flying menaces (gryphon, hippogryphs, wyverns, manticore, etc).
    • Very occasional bulette or ankheg.

Kaelthia

The capital of the Council, about 20k people.

  • Location: in a narrow mountain valley; a waterfall pools at one end and runs down into a major river.
  • Size (sq mi, including all urban areas):
  • Defenses: Two layers of city walls (20' stone walls with towers). The city spills out of the second wall, but those homes (the slums and estates of nouveau riche merchants) are considered disposable. A standing guard force protects the city
    • 200 military, backed up with casters from temple and academy
    • Any serious external threat will have to face the dragon Marci
    • Guard captain is Maidar Narangerel, a dwarven champion.
  • Economics
    • Center of trade for the nation.
    • Fine-work
    • Magic (both arcane and divine)
  • Leadership
    • Officially ruled by the Council
    • Has limited home rule--city council involving
      • Oracle Eliza (middle-aged human female)
      • High judge Jay (ancient half elf) of the Thieves’ Guild
      • Master Raymond of the Commerce Guild

Rauviz

Second city of the Council and home to about 10k people. Human dominated. Founded at about the same time the nascent Council discovered the dwarves of Fuar Uulan.

  • Location: on a small peninsula on the southeastern shore of Lake Coin'yn (Rabbit Lake), the large freshwater lake that occupies the northern central part of the area. Several rivers run nearby.
  • Defenses
    • A single wall, keep at point.
    • Citizen militia + 100 soldiers under Sungleam Torvald (a Sun-priest).
  • Economics
    • Fishing,
    • trade between Dreamshore and Sea of Grass,
    • Growing trade across the lake to Southshore.
  • Leadership
    • Overseer Jayn of Fishing Subsidiary acts as mayor
    • Sungleam Torvald is military head.
  • Unique
    • Cosmopolitan. Heavy Mocker presence.

Southshore

The newest area along the southern shore. Very sparsely settled so far, but becoming more cosmopolitan quickly. Hub for international trade.

  • History: Settled first only about 10 years ago by a group of Agriculture guildsmen. Initially established in an effort to claim extra land, the settlements struggled for several years. After the Catalysts were assigned there in 205 AC, things started to turn around. It has since become the primary nexus for trade between the members of the FNC. The discovery of the Four Towers on an island in the lake has brought a significant influx of scholars (and high elves in general). An old dwarven mine about a day south of YZ was reopened and the village of Bor’s Sacrifice established nearby with the cooperation of a tribe of goblins.
  • Religion: Mixed. The locals tend to be reasonably devout members of the Church of the Seasons, but there are lots of transients of all religions.
  • Demographics: Mixed. People of almost all races are present, although wall-builders dominate. High elves also are present in significant numbers.
  • Climate: Very similar to the Sea of Grass but a bit more humid. The southern regions get a bit warmer.
  • Economy: Fishing, farming and trade.
  • Government: Communal councils.
  • Architecture: Cob buildings, rarely two stories. Rambling and expansive. Only expensive ones are made of stone or wood. All permanent settlements have earthen/stone walls. Since wood is scarce, fuel is mostly from firebrush, a local tumbleweed-equivalent that burns for hours. Villages are clusters of houses around central store facilities with farmland around them.
  • Culture: In significant flux. Influx of high elves has created a split high/low culture, with some resentment. Influx of outsiders has made some wall-builders xenophobic and others open. Tensions are high.
  • Traveler Housing: Inns are more common than in other parts of the CL. On the three main highways (the Dragon Road leading west, the Windward Way leading south, and the Coastal Highway leading to the rest of the CL). Towns are built around travelers way-stations. Innkeepers are part of the Commerce Guild, which is becoming a major force in this region.
  • Diet:
    • Wheat bread, noodles & dumplings are becoming more common. Rice starting to be available.
    • Beef and mutton
    • Dairy
    • Beer
    • Spices are more common than in other parts of Council
  • Taboos and superstitions
    • Doors should never face north, because fortune leaks out that way.
    • Never greet someone across a threshold. It’s bad fortune.
    • Speaking the names of the dead keeps them from resting.
  • Threats
    • Wild goblin tribes (often backed up by ogres and hill giants) from the south
    • Many large beast/monstrosities to the south-east
    • Occasional raids from the Dust Elves against settlers that get “too close”
    • Sea creatures (including aquatic humanoids) have been seen in the lake and several fishing boats have gone missing

Yuuras Zaali

Main city of Southshore. About 4.5k people. Only about 7 years old and growing fast.

  • Location
    • Lake Coin'yn to the north.
    • Lady’s Grove forest to the south-west.
    • Mostly open plains to south and south-east.
  • Defenses
    • Wooden palisade. Stone wall in construction.
    • Hodgepodge of forces, ~50 full-time guards
  • Economics
    • Trade
    • Research, supplying Four Towers. Becoming a major magical research area.
    • Otherwise similar to Sea of Grass
  • Leadership
    • Mayor Willam. Human innkeeper
    • House-Lord Nos Tywyll. High elf.
    • Overseer Arild. Halfling, Agriculture Guild.

Moon’s Vengeance Foothills

The far east section of the Council. Mostly mountainous with forested hills. Home of most the dwarves.

  • History: The oldest continuous settlement. The city of Fuar Uulan predates the Cataclysm, although it was much smaller then. Almost exclusively dwarven, initially, except for the monks of Tyish (which also predates the Cataclysm).
  • Religion: A mix of devout worship of Korokonolkom, Lon-Ka, and ancestor veneration. Wall-builders are still Church of the Seasons, but many fewer dwarves follow those traditions.
  • Demographics: Mostly dwarven, although the surface settlements and towns have significant minorities of humans and halflings (more humans than halflings). Very few elves of any type.
  • Climate: Bitter cold winters, often with heavy snow. Storms are frequent during the summer. Only hardy plants are grown.
  • Economy: Mining, manufacture, technology.
  • Government: Clans, each with territory. Wall-builders are unofficially “adopted” into a clan.
  • Architecture: Stone and wood. Buildings often set into the ground or into the side of a mountain. Very dense, often 3D (terraces). Extremely regimented districts (by clan and occupation). Heated by smokestone (a coal analogue). Indoor plumbing.
  • Culture: Insular. Very traditional, with deep taboos. Highly opaque to outsiders. Not xenophobic, but change-averse.
  • Traveler Housing: Formal inns, one or two per town. Tightly regulated and standardized. Travelers must show proof of lodgings (in the form of stamped tokens, usually) to stay in town overnight.
  • Diet
    • Wheat & barley bread. Often flatbread.
    • Beef, pork
    • Dairy
    • Honey & mushrooms
    • Distilled spirits, mead
  • Taboos and superstitions
    • Doors should never face north, because fortune leaks out that way.
    • Never greet someone across a threshold. It’s bad fortune.
    • Lying in written word is the ultimate taboo/crime. Forgery is a capital crime.
  • Threats
    • Strange things from the badlands
    • Underground creatures in the mines
    • Giants/giant-kin from the east

Fuar Uulan

Dwarven clan seat in Moon’s Vengeance. Industrial powerhouse. 10k people

  • Location: buried in the mountains. Only some terraced areas are on the surface.
  • Defenses: Multiple layers of reinforced stone doors. Capable of withstanding siege indefinitely. Room to pull most of the surrounding area inside. Guarded by ~100 crack troops, plus citizen militias. Citizens are combat trained and do group drill on 4th-day.
  • Economics:
    • Mining of all types, including precious metals.
    • Manufacture. Major smelteries and powered forges on the outskirts.
    • Imports food
  • Leadership:
    • High Khan Chingis Aibek. Female dwarf. Name reversal common for khans.
    • Council of Exemplars
      • Four exemplars on a rotating basis.