Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Free Territory of Calabria

In the aftermath of The Shattering, Calabria became a loose confederation of merchants and traders. Rather than a central government or feudal system, the territory is moderated by legal contracts. Serfdom and slavery have become social taboos.

The contracts are regulated through self-moderation. Each merchant prides himself on his reputation. However, there is a fine line between shrewd business and bad business.  Legal disputes are typically first settled by an agreed upon by a local Brehon. More complex legal matters are judged in Len Draal, by a panel consisting of merchants who purchase their place on the jury. Great emphasis is placed on preceding rulings in determining the victor of the case.

Defense of the island are provided by mercenary militia. Key to organizing island wide defenses are the Gryphonym. This band of arial messengers are able to traverse the island in a single day. The gryphon riders belong to a reclusive clan located in the Iron Hills. Each of the main strongholds of Calabria has a rider permanently stationed. The Grphyons of Calabria are protected by contract, and a bounty is awarded for the capture or killing of anyone who kills a gryphon.

The Iron and Silver Hills are the two main low lying mountain ranges on Clabria, where mining is a major enterprise. The Silver Hills have peaks up to 3000 feet, while the Iron hills have peaks up to 6000 feet. Mines typically employ the skills of well paid dwarven foremen. It is unusual to have more than a few dwarves on a site, as most of dwarvenkind prefer to remain on their own island across the Northren sea, where lies their ancestral homeland and far richer mineral content. Iron, silver, lead, tin, and copper are the most common elements in the mines of Calabria.

The few Halflings who remained on Clabria after the shattering retreated to the low lying hills of Freehold. They tend to remain in their secluded settlements. There is no known Gnomish hold in Calabria. Even before The Shattering, the Gnomish homeland lay far to the west. Any gnomes met are likely to be on a journey to or from their homeland. Woodbury Forest is a deep an ancient forest, once connected to the fae woodlands which now lie across the Eastren Sea. High elves are known to live deep within these woods. The forest is a launching point for attacks by thieves, who are ever a thorn in the side of traders.

Ruins abound on Calabria. Many of the existing fortifications are re-furbished castles and estates of antiquity. More often, the crumbling ruins are have been inhabited as lairs for creatures or highwaymen. Ancient alters to forgotten gods litter the landscape.

Humanoids are uncommon in Calabria. Here and there, pockets of humanoid clans dwell, most notably in the highlands of the Iron and Silver hills, and within the depths of Woodbury. The occasional giant wanders to explore new territory. Older and wiser giants remain secluded in their highland territories.  Dragons are mostly rumors of ancient days. More common peril awaits in the form of wyverns, and lindworms. Wolves, bears, and wild boar abound. Tommyknockers (Kobolds) harass the miners, but most goblinkind has been hunted to near extinction.

Most armed men in Calabria are mercenaries, in the employ of one or another of the merchants or trading groups.  There is no recognized order of knighthood in Calabria. However, remnants of much older orders still exist, and knights errant from neighboring kingdoms frequent the island. Merchants frown on such free agents meddling in their affairs, and are known to put bounties on the heads of those who prove themselves bad for business. Most bloodletting however, is reserved for humanoid or wild creatures, or limited to personal feuds.

One of the ancient orders is that of the Rangers. They are often mistaken for highwaymen by those who encounter them. Rangers seldom meddle in personal feuds or the affairs of merchants , but rather keep vigilant over the return of goblinkind. Rangers are well aware that the ranks of giantkind and goblinkind swell across the all too narrow seas.

Freehold is comprised of a mix of moors and heaths, and peppered with bogs and woodlands. Many ancient burial cairns and mounds lie within the region, monuments to forgotten clans. Sheparding dominates the economy, as crops are primarily located within the fertile region of the Merchant’s Republic. Calabria offers a rich mix of religious traditions, ranging from the Druidic leaders of the remaining clans to restored Imperial temples.

Imperial Temple and ruins

Inscription on Imperial Temple Door:

"Declare to me from the beginning, and tell me which of them first came to be.
In truth at first was born Kronos (Time) the wily, then Aeros (Air) came to be. And the darkness was sundered by Pyros (Fire). But next came the deep Hydros (Water), from which sprung wide-bosomed Gaia (Earth), the ever-sure foundation of all the deathless ones who hold the Peak and the Pit. And the children of these, and most dear to all, are Phusis (Flora) and Phanes (Fauna), who Lords over all."
-Darkstar, Archon of Time; Theogeny 217

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