The Continent of Forntol
Table of Contents
Politics of Forntol
Economics of Forntol
Places of Interest
The Mountains of Forntol
The Spirit of Winter
The continent of Forntol is one continent on the planet Núrion. It is one of the few continent on the planet (besides Farland and Eruna) that has a civilization, although its civilization is not as advanced nor as ancient as that of Farland. Forntol is an isle of refugees. The land was largely founded by humans, gnomes, dwarves, and others that fled from their native lands on the continent of Farland. All of them fled as a result of the endless and myriad assaults from the great evil one, the Dweller in the Vale. For the humans, the goal was refuge from the Dweller's plague and war. For the dwarves, it was the destruction of their great stronghold. And for the gnomes, their most hated enemy drove them to the new continent's shores.
Because one underlying reason brought all these peoples to Forntol, they found a common bond in their previous hardships. Hardy and accustomed to adversity, the new inhabitants of Forntol established their very own society. For all, it was a fresh start. The land of Forntol was isolated by the exceptionally stormy and dangerous seas that surrounded it, and many of the refugees had died in the attempt to reach it; it was therefore impossible to go back. Soon, Farland was forgotten, except for a cloud of evil that seemed to cover their minds whenever they looked to the west. Remembrance of this evil has led the sea-faring races of Forntol almost exclusively to adopt a policy of seclusion-- they do not leave Forntol and have little desire to do so, except to venture a few miles out to sea.
The huge land of Forntol is made up of wide, coastal areas, rolling hills, and an expansive mountain range near its center. The lowlands are mostly inhabited by humans, gnomes, dwarves, darkfolk, and others. Large, human cities dot the coasts of the north, south, and west, while the darkfolk hold the east, an area of much concern for the good races of the continent. Dwarves and gnomes share the hills with roaming beasts like powerful cold-climate apes and frost giants.
New and unique races have grown upon Forntol, either by the will of their gods or through more natural means. The Teregnaven, intelligent descendents of trolls, advise the good people of Forntol from their tall spire on the western coast. Meanwhile, small, feral folk called the Halkassa'ruukil live in the hills, attempting to maintain their balance between natural savagery and their desire to assimilate into civilized society. And in the dark, tall forests, fierce humanoids called the Kassa'melkuul live in huts and homes under their wide, leafy canopies.
Above this all, the great central peaks of Forntol loom, with tall Garakesh peak rising above them all. The mysteries of the mountains, feared nearly above all things, have only been sought out by the most stalwart or foolhardy of adventures. None of those who dared the great mountains have ever returned.
History and Timeline
5230 E.R. - Trolls are created through the will of Vornoth. A seed of Bestra is implanted in the hearts of some of the trolls, designed to fight the Walker's will. Generations pass, and the seed lays dormant within these trolls for several thousand years.
13,516 E.R. / 1 F.R. - Accounting of time changes on Farland. While this is not documented on Forntol at the time, this will later be documented in the humans' history, when they make their way to Forntol.
4530 F. R. - In the aftermath of the Battle of the Death Downs, the Trolls of Farland part ways. The cataclysmic explosion that devastates the opposing armies awakens in some of the Trolls the implanted seed of good. Reviling their evil ways, these trolls became loyal to their patron, Bestra. Fleeing from their vicious brethren, the "Saved Trolls" take to the sea off of the eastern coast of Farland, leaving their fates to the will of their goddess.
4531 F.R. - Teregnaven arrive on Forntol, having perilously made their way through stormy, reef-filled seas. They form a new colony that is loyal to Bestra and the pursuit of knowledge.
4538 F.R. - Teregnaven are first introduced to the savagery of Forntol, as they venture too far into the low foothills. Vicious apes kill more than a dozen before they are driven away.
4615 F.R. - Construction of the Spire of Bestra is begun, using stone from dangerous forays into the low mountains.
4619 F.R. - The Spire of Bestra is completed; Age of Forntol Learning begins.
4830 E.R. - Beladanall Academy is established at the base of the Spire of Bestra.
5230 F.R. - The period of peace that the Teregnaven had enjoyed comes to an abrupt halt, as bands of dark folk discover the Teregnaven community. Fortifications are erected about the complex, and the saved trolls change their focus from learning to preparation for war.
5243 F.R. - An unorganized orc clan attacks the Spire of Bestra. They're annihilated by the arcane and divine power of the Teregnaven.
5291 F.R. - Another attack is turned away by the Teregnaven, as dark folk attempt a seige.
5336 F.R. - A definitive battle is won in the fields around the Spire. Orcs and others, gathered for a major assault, are decimated by the first Archmage, Kai'Turollen. Word of the Teregnaven's might ushers in a new era of peace and keeps the dark folk at bay for some time.
5740 F.R. (1 P.E.) - Human refugees from Zeland and Farland arrive on the shores of Forntol. After fleeing the Dweller's plague and war in their homeland, the humans lost nearly half of their number during the rough, stormy voyage.
2 P.E. - Humans and Teregnaven begin a tentative relationship, each still distrustful of the others. The Teregnaven share food and educate the humans about the land of Forntol.
7 P.E. - Vetemus is founded, initially as a simple settlement.
19 P.E. - Humans separate into different tribes based on Farlandish ancestry, into two major divisions. One division travesl north, to found the settlement of Rennok on the tundra. The remaining humans continue work on Vetemus.
278 P.E. - Construction of Fargold's Crest is begun to house the ever-expanding human population. The laborers set up nearby, in a makeshift settlement. Construction takes so long that the workers eventually decide to continue living in their settlement, across the bay from the finished Fargold's Crest. This is to become the "working-man's" city of Seahaven.
296 P.E. - During forays into the low hills, humans discover the lush forest of Melkuul Wesfar. Their first meeting with the Kassa'Melkuul proves disastrous. Many humans die as they're turned back from the sacred forest.
312 P.E. - Humans and Kassa'Melkuul, with Teregnaven Arbitration, come to a truce. Respective borders are set up.
786 P.E. - Some dwarves, having escaped the destruction of the great stronghold of Dorlhaud, land on the shores of Forntol. Claiming that Khuldul Rockcarver guided their boat to safety, the dwarves setttle in Forntol with renewed conviction.
789 P.E. - Construction of the great fortress at Walin's Cap is begun.
801 P.E. - Construction of the great, dwarven fortress is complete.
1,000 P.E. - A symbolic council of the races convenes in Vetemus. At this meeting, the Settun Rengavae are set up to govern the land.
1,010 P.E. - Gnomish ships arrive at the shores of Forntol. Seeing the Teregnaven, the gnomes take them for a new breed of troll and flee to the hills.
1,013 P.E. - After multiple talks, the gnomes are coerced from the hills. The humans now play the roll of arbiter, as they get the gnomes and Teregnaven to agree.
1,025 P.E. - Gnomes encroach upon Halkassa'melkuul territory; first contact is made.
1,053 P.E. - Strife between ancient families in Rennok leads to a faction branching off from the city. This faction builds a new city nearby, called Nozukal.
1,299 PE. - The great bard and entertainer Bodop Todowilly lives with an enclave of entertainers in the hills of south Forntol. The fellow's reputation as a master of his trade brings gnomes from the surrounding hills. They set up a community near the bard's hut and learn to ply their trade. This will later become the town of Bodop's Hut.
1,670 P.E. - A small port in southern Forntol blossoms into the diverse, southern city of Sal'Baran, named for the famous captain who thwarted an orcish pirate on the open seas. In so doing, Sal'Baran saved a wealth of cargo that included Teregnaven art and artifacts.
1,713 P.E. - A vast army of orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and kobolds attack the divided cities of the northern tundra. Rennok and Nozukal join forces, though reluctantly, and turn back the dark folk army. Their own numbers are terribly depleted.
1,720 P.E. - Another attack comes, and the northern cities send pleas for aid. A great contingent of dwarves from Walin's Cap and an army from Nopolitus march north and slaughter the dark folk.
1,746 P.E. - The dark folk of the east test another tactic, launching a major assault on Sal'Baran, by ship and by land. Though outnumbered, the Sal'Baran navy's swift and agile ships sink half of the dark folk fleet. The land army of the dark folk is turned away by the Sal'Baran militia and forces from the west. During their retreat, half of this remaining force is slain by the Kassa'melkuul of the Azure Forest, who finally get involved in something outside of their precious forest.
1,970 P.E. - Gnomes and Halkassa'ruukil, led by a hero by the name of Dubbin Ropbadden, fend off the attack of a tribe of apes. The stubborn folk set up a town at the site, in defiance of their attackers. This is to become Ropbadden Hill.
2,009 P.E. - The great human adventurer, Dain Wulltrap, leads an expedition to Garakesh peak. No one returns.
2,250 P.E. - Warlord Muldogg of Vozule is killed in his sleep. The orc nation is thrown into chaos, not to recover for centuries.
2,341 P.E. - Arcane teaching is standardized in the major human citites, in order to establish a new military division of spell-wielders. The teaching is overseen by the master of wizardry at the Spire of Bestra.
2,430 P.E. - Kunevraxas, the "White Wind," wrests control of the darkfolk cities of the east.
The Humans of Forntol made their way to the primitive continent from Farland several thousand years ago, in a multitude of different sea-faring vessels, braving the exceptionally stormy seas. They brought their gods with them. Some came for adventure, some to find a lost civilization's treasure. Yet most came to flee from some evil and to make a fresh start in a new land.
No matter the manner of their coming, the humans came to Forntol. Immediately, these people were set upon by the very mystery of the continent of Forntol. Strange creatures lurked in the wooded hills, feral creatures of unknown origin. Even more nightmarish creatures terrorized the newcomers from the mountains above: white furred, fanged apes with the strength of several men, Frost giants, and goblinkin. And, beyond those...the vile Spirits of Winter came and took human women and children in the night. Even worse, a great, mysterious spire loomed over the humans' new fortifications. They were sure that it represented their coming doom.
Set upon by opposition from all sides, the tribal humans bonded together in common defense, forming cities in the west, north, and south. The humans fought for their lives and the future of their families with a ferocity that they hadn't exhibited in their past. Soon enough, the proud, adaptive humans had formed their own home out of a new continent. As they did, the mysterious spire opened its gates.
The Teregnaven inside immediately befriended the humans, happy to gain a civilized ally in the dark, early days of Forntol's settlement. Through such an alliance, the human communities grew and prospered, as Teregnaven ideas took their progression to levels unheard of in such a short time. Today, the humans and Teregnaven work side by side in an attempt to forge a productive, cooperative community for the gain of both.
The humans of Forntol now live in large cities in the southwest, west, and north. Sometimes besieged by the darkfolk and worse, the humans work with the goodly races of Forntol to build a better future for them all.
Languages: Trade Language, choose one.
The Dwarves of Forntol originated from Farland during the Great Awakening. These first dwarves escaped a cold prison in the Wintervale, after having been taken while fleeing from maurading humans who had decimated the great dwarfhold of Durlhaud. These dwarves, stuck between the great, evil armies of the Dweller and the shores of the tempest-tossed Fornaer Sea, opted for the latter. Hoping to set to sea and strike south along the shores of Farland, the dwarves stole a ship by force and set to the ocean.
Alas, as the dwarves set out, they were beset by a horrible storm. The ship was set astray, and it listed in the tumultuous ocean for many uneasy days. It seemed as if all hope was lost for the wayward dwarves... until the great will of Khuldul Rockcarver took hold. The great father of the dwarves saw need in a land across the ocean, a land rife with attacks from terrors unknown even in Farland. With this in mind, Khuldul's will guided the ship through the dangers of the powerful ocean and washed them up on the dry land of a foreign continent, Forntol.
The dwarves found themselves in a land where rumors, myths, and outright violence had terrorized a foreign people. With a renewed faith and devotion, the former Farland dwarves carved their homes out of the very rocks and mountains of the great continent, building their settlements in harm's way to protect unknown inhabitants of a strange land, all in the name of their patron, Khuldul Rockcarver.
The majority of the dwarves in Forntol live in the great, rocky stronghold in the westernmost plateau. The dwarfhold is called Walin's cap, so named for the great, founding father of the dwarves' history in Farland. Here, they fight the seemingly eternal battle to guard civilized, western Forntol from the terror of the icy mountain beyond.
Automatic Languages: Trade Language and Dwarven.
Gnomes came to Forntol soon after the dwarves, from the continent of Farland. These gnomes were descended from Sag, or Hill Gnomes, in northern Farland. Having spent generations in battle with the ferocious trolls of Farland, these gnomes were forcefully driven from their homes. They fled from the tribes of trolls, eventually reaching the northern shores of Farland. Amid the icy north of the Wintervale, the gnomes took to the seas, trolls in hot pursuit. For weeks they listed on the seas, beset by storms, until reaching the western shore of Forntol.
Immediately upon reaching the shores, the gnomes befriended the humans. Then they met the Teregnaven. The former trolls were immediately seen as enemies, and the gnomes took to the hills in the face of being outnumbered by the Teregnaven. It took years for the gnomes to come to trust the Teregnaven, but now they are willing allies.
The goodly races of Forntol thrive in the small cities of the western shores, but the gnomes have retained their homes mostly in the hills away from the shore. They live in small towns and villages, though some have joined the city dwellers on the western coast.
The gnomes of Forntol are hard-working and industrious folk. They work their farms on their hills and craft works from the stone and wood of the land. These gnomes work hard to provide for a great deal of trade with humans, dwarves, and Teregnaven. Of course, they enjoy themselves as well, and a great many of the folk have taken to singing new songs of their land and telling stories of the great gnomes of hold. Every town has a cadre of bards, and some even form carnival-like events that are taken to the human cities for entertainment.
Since their small group arrived on the shore generations past, the gnomes have reproduced in epic fashion, increasing their numbers to become one of the most prevalent races on Forntol, second only to the humans.
Read more about Gnomes here.
Languages: Gnome, choose one.
The history of Trolls in Farland is violent indeed, as they are a violent race. When trolls were created by the Dark Walker, he envisioned them as new, great foot-soldiers of his army on Núrion, beasts stronger than orcs and ogres, with regenerative powers to allow them life beyond their defeat. As Vornoth bred such beasts, he held the utmost confidence in his creation. Thus he left them unattended for just a small time, but enough for the goddess Bestra to enter and implant a seed of herself into the bodies of several trolls.
These creatures, taken from their evil path by the will of Bestra, soon enough found themselves out of place among the trolls of Farland. These trolls, small in number, made their way from the eastern shores of Farland in great ships of wood, stolen from the army of the Dweller in the Vale. They were reviled among those trolls of Farland, and would have been chased down and slaughtered to the last if the Dweller's attentions had not been distracted by war.
These trolls washed up on the shore of a strange land some months later. They saw before them a wild, untainted place where the Dweller and Vornoth didn't yet hold sway. This land was fertile in the south, though a huge range of mountains dominated its center.
The trolls were required to give up their great strength, their scent and vision abilities (as these were considered useful in hunting prey), and their vile temperament. These trolls were then altered by the will of their god. Their muscles weakened as the secrets of their minds were unlocked. Their skin softened and took on a light olive hue, as their naturally tough hide disappeared. Their facial features condensed and smoothed, making these trolls attractive in an exotic way. The new creatures altered the name of their brethren to "Teregnaven," or "saved trolls". Then they set up their tower, the Spire of Bestra, on the western coast to watch for any pursuit. Of course, none came for generations, and none has yet come.
Today the Teregnaven are the mental leaders of civilized Forntol, offering advice and guidance from their grand tower and outlying city. The civilized races trust in these creatures for their knowledge and wisdom, which is one reason that the men and women of Forntol have never sailed across the expansive ocean to Farland: the Teregnaven are dead set against any return to the west, and they forbid it.
Ability Score Increase. Your wisdom score increases by 2 and your intelligence score increases by 1.
Age. Teregnaven are mature by the age of 30 and can live about 150 years.
Alignment. Teregnaven are almost always good.
Size. Teregnaven on average top 9 feet, and they weigh around 350 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller and lighter. Your size is large.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Natural empathy. You are good at connecting with all creatures. You are proficient with the deception, performance, and persuasion skills.
Healing. You maintain something of your troll ancestor's regeneration. As a bonus action, you may spend 1 Hit Dice to regain hit points as if you had completed a short rest.
Innate Magic. You know the guidance cantrip. Wisdom is your spellcasting ability for this spell.
Languages: You speak the Trade Language and Teregnaven.
The tall and strong forests of Forntol are home to a fierce, warlike race of humanoids called the Kassa'melkuul. The Kassa'melkuul come from quite a different sort of history, one that has been determined more by the hand of man than the hand of gods.
When the Teregnaven came to the world of Forntol, they found small tribes of humans, wild beasts, and... orcs. The former Trolls feared the presence of the orcs, as a connection to the vile nature of their past and thus sought to put an end to the orcs' evil ways. Alas, the will of Bestra would not let the Teregnaven wage war, unprovoked, on the orcs.
Instead, the Teregnaven sought to alter the very nature of the orcs, to in effect make them good. The relative genius of the Teregnaven allowed them to bring in dozens, perhaps hundreds of orcs for testing, and they conducted a series of genetic alterations to drive the will of Bestra into the hearts of the orcs.
The former orcs took on the likes of the nature goddess and her love of the land. They also took on her desire to do good, but their idea of goodness was skewed. These new creatures grew hardened claws for climbing, and their bodies became more in tune with the natural world around them. They took to the trees, building homes and bridges in the great boughs of the pillars of the forest. The Teregnaven, seeing this, called their new creation Kassa'melkuul, or "forest folk."
Though the experiment of the Teregnaven had been only partly successful, their creation had taken on a nature all their own. The Kassa'melkuul proved to be incredibly fierce and powerful fighters, especially in the forest. Thinking that their forest had been infiltrated, the Kassa'melkuul attacked their makers and drove them from their new homes. The Teregnaven were forced away by their creations' fearsome prowess, and the Kassa'melkuul have lived in the trees of Forntol forests ever since.
Their homes lie in the forests of the southern shore of Forntol, in small enclaves built into the high trees. They've grow more civilized in the generations since the days of their alteration, a time that they call the "beginning." For their society, it was just that. Presently, a representative for the Kassa'melkuul can be found in most of the major human cities, to protect the interests of their people and their goddess.
Read more about Kassa here.
Ability Score Increase. Your strength score increases by 2 and your dexterity score increases by 1.
Age. Kassa are mature by the age of 18 and can live about 70 years.
Alignment. Kassa are usually good but don't tend toward law or chaos.
Size. Kassa stand between 6 and 6 1/2 feet tall and weigh about 220 pounds. Females are slightly smaller than males. Your size is medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet. You have a climb speed of 20 feet.
Nimble Climber. You have advantage on athletic checks made while climbing.
Claws. You are proficient with your claws, which are melee weapons that deal 1d6 + strength modifier slashing damage. They have the light weapon property.
Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Kassa Weaponry. All Kassa train with bows. You are proficient with all bows.
Languages: You speak the Trade language and Kassa'melkuul.
The Halkassa'ruukil ("Feral hill folk" or "Hilken") are a feral breed of mammal that lives in the foothills of south Forntol. Some have been known to feed on intelligent creatures, though none would ever feed on another Halkassa'ruukil.
These creatures are partially civilized, living in a tribal society, wherein most of their structures consist of thatched roof huts and tents made from animal skins. Some larger villages have made a concerted effort at shirking the mantle of "cannibal" with which the goodly races of Forntol have labelled them, and these Hill Folk actually farm, eat vegetables, and hunt animals for food. Others, however, remain in the wild and have been known to terrorize outlying farms for food.
The Halkassa'ruukil are the size of halflings, but, having evolved from small animals, have many more animalistic features. These creatures have long, hardened nails for use in their hunting, to slice open their prey. Sparse fur covers much of their little bodies, providing some protection from the chill of life in the foothills.
The Halkassa'ruukil are relatively unconcerned with the politics and tribal squabbles of Forntol. Their primary concern is sustenance and the protection of their families. For the most part, these little creatures do not get along very well with humans and orcs. They are quite friendly with gnomes and Kassa'melkuul, but see dwarves as imperious and demanding. The Halkassa'ruukil are dangerous and unpredictable, but are also extremely loyal if their friendship is gained.
Read more about Halkassa'ruukil here.
Ability Score Increase. Your dexterity score increases by 2 and your constitution score increases by 1.
Age. Hilken are mature by the age of 15 and can live about 80 years.
Alignment. Hilken can be good or neutral. Rarely they can also be evil.
Size. Hilken average 3 to 4 feet tall and typically weigh just under 50 pounds. Females are the same size as males. Your size is small.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Claws. You are proficient with your claws, which are melee weapons that deal 1d4 + strength modifier slashing damage. They have the light weapon property.
Natural athletics. You are proficient in the athletics, acrobatics, and stealth skills.
Scent. You have an exceptionally sharp sense of smell. You are proficient with the Survival skill. You have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks related to tracking by scent.
Languages: You speak the Trade language and Halkassa'ruukil.
Neither Teregnaven or human history are entirely clear on the origin of the dark folk on Forntol. Most assume that the dark folk, consisting mostly of orcs and goblins, came to the continent from Farland in search of a way to further the will of the Dark Walker. Some think that the dark folk come from a much more foreign land, like the relatively unknown continents south of Farland.
No matter which is true, one thing is certain: the dark folk came to Forntol to impose the will of Vornoth. Setting up cities and towns in eastern Forntol, the orcs, goblins, kobolds, and hobgoblins of Forntol have proved to be a constant thorn in the sides of the goodly folk of Forntol.
The only race left with the courage to live anywhere near the eastern cities of the dark folk is the Kassa'melkuul, who vow to fear no race. The dark folk, for the most part, leave the forest folk alone, as their forays into their forests have proven fatal time and again. The other races of Forntol, gnomes in the hills, humans and Teregnaven in the west and north, and dwarves in the mountains, have all felt the bite of Vornoth's fangs. Orc raids come at random but are fierce. Goblin subterfuge is rampant in the large cities, where goodly races arrest the dark folk on sight. Contingents of Hobgoblin mercenaries strike out in the name of their chieftains, waging a ceaseless war against the races of good. And kobolds, the lowest caste among the dark folk, dream of power more than any.
The dark folk are numerous and are only kept alive through their raids and the various farms that are kept in the east. Though they've proven to be poor farmers overall, they manage to provide sustenance for their armies. Still, hunger and poverty are rampant in the cities of the dark folk, as they live only to wage war on the enemies of the Dark Walker.
Dark Folk Racial Traits
Dark Folk varieties and racial traits in Forntol are the same as in Farland. They are detailed here.
The human tongue is the major language spoken across Forntol. It is sometimes referred to as "Trade," or the "Common" tongue. This language is a mix of Farlandish and Kingdom Common.
The dwarven tongue came directly from the dwarven tongue of Farland, though it has evolved over the generations of life on Forntol. Because there is only one main dwarven fortification, the language is mostly only heard in its military atmosphere. Thus it is often called "Battletongue". The dwarven language is quick and to the point, and lacks many of the flowery adjectives of the gnomes or Teregnaven. Dwarves on Forntol do not have the same concern that the dwarves on Farland have with keeping their language secret.
The gnomish tongue has evolved from Farland gnomish into something that most if not all dwellers in the hills speak. The language is much like the dwarven tongue, though with more adjectives and emotion. Being that gnomes are reknowned entertainers, they've encorporated their extravagent nature into the language, making the use of adjectives a sign of knowledge or power. The gnomish language is often referred to as "Hillspeak."
The Teregnaven gained a new language when they became the chosen of Bestra. The language of the saved ones is complex and flowery, much like the language of Farlandish elves. Being that this language is associated directly with the Teregnaven and thus Bestra, the language is often referred to as "Bestran."
Both the Halkassa'rukkil and the Kassa'melkuul have their own respective languages, though they have many sounds in common between them. Each language is formed from a series of clicks, whistles, and words that sounds like gibberrish to anyone who doesn't speak the language.
Finally, the dark folk of Forntol have their own language, which is directly derived from Farlandish Dark Speech. With sharp K's and Z's, the language is a fierce, primitive dialect.
The large, northern continent of Forntol is a land suppressed by centuries of tribal and political squabbles, in addition to the knowledge of what happens in an evil society. This knowledge has led to isolationist tendencies by those that make the decisions in Forntol. Moeover, the geograhical realities of Núrion, especially the stormy and reef-filled seas that surround Forntol, only increase the political isolation of it peoples.
The vast continent of Forntol can't really lay claim to one overarching political structure. Instead, most consider it to be made up of four different political "zones."
The first zone is the civilized zone, which rules over the western human cities, the Teregnaven, the dwarves of Walin's Cap, and the gnomish villages in the hills. The civilized zones are largely loyal to the laws of the Settun Rungavae, or "seven judges." The seven judges consist of a council of seven men, women, dwarves, gnomes, or sometimes others, chosen by popular vote to set up and maintain the laws of the land. These men and women set up rules, oversee disputes, and administer justice via a policing force called the Rungaven, or "judged."
The seven judges maintain peace through the civilized lands, both through their own judgments and through the will of the Teregnaven, who are the ever-present councilors of the judges. Though the Rungaven are a force that can be used all over, they only maintain a constant presence in the human cities.
The second political zone is the tribal existence made up of the two icy, northern human cities of Rennok and Nozukal. These cities are each controlled by tribes, with a chieftain at the head of each. A historical war between these two nations has kept them from establishing any sort of formal government. The "blood feud," as it is called, keeps the attentions of both cities on defense against the other, though they sometimes have allied briefly against outside powers.
The ancient conflicts of the warlike northern cities can only be overshadowed by their common enemy, the orcs of eastern Forntol. The orcs have long seen the two cities of the northern coast as a likely staging area for their conquest of the continent, should they ever organize their forces enough to attempt such a thing.
The third political zone in Forntol is more like a "zone of chaos." Some races of the continent are merely led by an elder of their people, one seen as wise enough to lead. Races like the Kassa'melkuul, the Halkassa'rukkil, and the great apes of the mountain have no real semblance of order to their communities. They instead share the tasks, protection, and leadership of their communities among themselves, led by their strongest or wisest, depending on the community.
Lastly, there is a political zone in Fornol consisting of the orcs of the east. The combined cities of the orcs have long been under the reign of a chief or warlord, that is until recently. Vozule, Gulak, and Darktongue Hill and their outlying villages are now under the control of a humanoid creature called Kunevraxas, or "White Wind."
Kunevraxas is a peculiar creature that descended from the hills of the Forntol mountains many years ago. Resembling a white furred orc about as large as an ogre, the White Wind leaves rumors of bizarre powers like levitation, mind control, and incredible strength. The White Wind forcefully clawed his way into a position of power in the army of Vozule. His cunning, however, allowed him to elevate himself beyond the level of simple soldier and into rulership of the huge population of dark folk residing on the eastern shores of Forntol.
Some have said the Kunevraxas could be the spawn of a Spirit of Winter; others have said that it's a transformed orc that was reborn atop the tallest spire of the Forntal mountains. It's said that the rule of Kunevraxas will bring about a whole new fate for the darkfolk of Forntol... and woe to the good races of Forntol if that fate proves true.
Economics of the world of Forntol are largely dependant on the geographical area concerned, as the attributes of the continent exhibit wide variations. In the south, particularly Sal'Baran, fishermen can make small fortunes with the great bounty of the seas, at times even shipping such products pickled, smoked, or crated live in barrels.
The west coast boasts an incredible amount of inland farms, in addition to their large production centers where they form raw goods into everyday products of use. The west coast, slightly colder than the south, can't hope to draw the same number or types of fish from its seas. However, the western waters do provide for a great bounty of shellfish for consumption about Forntol.
Much of the raw materials in Forntol are mined or harvested in the low mountains, usually by the industrious gnomes. The rocks and ores of the mountains and the lumber of the forest are purchased or traded for from the gnomes, who bring in finished goods and food in exchange.
The economics of Forntol are only structured in such a way in civilized Forntol. The orcish lands, the forests of the Kassa'melkuul, and the humans of the northern tundra are largely self-sufficient. This very lack of cooperation has effectively acted to stunt the growth and development of these cultures, putting them well behind the humans, gnomes, and dwarves.
Places of Interest
The first place of interest seen when touring the western shores of Forntol is the towering Spire of Bestra. This tower, stretching well over two-hundred feet into the sky, is constructed of strong, weathered stone brought from the high mountains. The Spire of Bestra has been the home of the Teregnaven for generations upon generations. As their population has grown slightly, the Teregnaven have built a small town around the base of the tower around which their lives center.
There are two major aspects of the Spire of Bestra and the Teregnaven commune that are quite useful: the Academy and the Court of Thought. The Academy, which started as just a small building with two classrooms, has grown into a sprawling complex. From these buildings, the Teregnaven spread their own particular type of knowledge to any goodly races that come. The Court of Thought, near the top floor of the Spire, is where the Elders of the Teregnaven will meet with leaders of Fortnol to assist in political, social, and religious issues.
When viewing the great, western shore of Forntol, one can't help but notice the monstrous, sprawling city that lies on the westernmost point of the continent. This city is Vetemus, the largest human city.
Vetemus is home to a great deal of the western population and has built inland from the shores to accommodate such a swell. The city is therefore set up with its aged government buildings and homes of the first families near the shore, where the city was first set up. Radiating inland from this point, the buildings become newer and smaller, until they turn into farms that stretch for miles to the foothills of the Forntal mountains.
The oldest family in Vetemus is the Telemerus family. These traders have called Vetemus home since the beginning and had actually taken part in naming the city. The Telemerus family is wealthy beyond imagination, and they show it through displays both generous and vain. The Telemerus family has a great deal of sway in Vetemus, even having a member of the Seven Judges in their family. Vetemus is also the home of the Seven Judges, who administrate their justice from the Great Hall, which is centrally located in the old part of the city.
To the south of Vetemus lie the twin cities of Talwin's Bay: Fargold and Seahaven. These two cities are called "twins" because they're near-duplicates of each other in design and size. These two cities sit on either side of Talwin's Bay, perched just off the shore amid the rocky cliff faces of the Bay.
The most remarkable and noticeable attribute of the twin cities is their oceanic shipping and receiving method, which had to overcome the natural barrier of the great Talwin's Cliffs, which stretch hundreds of feet from the cities above to the ocean below. A vast network of pulleys, lifts, and chutes serve to load and unload ships in the bay below and bring goods into and out of their respective cities.
The Cliffs are a marvel to behold, and have served to both frustrate the people of the twin cities, and to define their way of life.
Further to the east from the Twin cities is the diverse city of Sal'Baran. Demographically, half of the wide, sprawling city is human, nearly a third is gnomish, and the rest is up of dwarven, Halkassa'rukkil, and even a few Kassa'melkuul. This city, relatively far from the largest human cities, is mostly out from under their influence. Though the laws of the Seven Judges still apply here, Sal'Baran is mostly unmonitored and is usually under the control of a trader, businessman, or even pirate who is elected by popular vote.
Because the city of Sal'Baran is rarely regulated, it tends to be a bit more dangerous than the other cities, and the not unheard of appearance of darkfolk only adds to such danger.
The city is wide and low, not boasting the large, aged building of Vetemus. Being a city mostly built on the profits of the fishing industry, the dock area is massive, stretching from end to end of the peninsula on which the city rests. Further inland is the city center, and main housing and industry.
Though Sal'Baran is dangerous and often derided by others, her inhabitants are fiercely proud of their roots and their city. It's often said that "to cross the Sal'Baranan is to invite doom for dinner."
To the north, a smaller human city rests in the foothills of the mountains of Forntal, at the base of the great "Walin's Walk," one of the two routes typically used in trade with the dwarves of the plateau above. This city, called Nopolitus, for a master smith who built it as a small village to trade with the dwarves, is as sharp and angular as the rocks of the mountains above. The city rests with its back against the high cliff faces of the plateau and boasts a nearly impenetrable wall about its other sides. The buildings of the city are square or rectangular, with sharp lines and exact corners. The city holds none of the sweeping grace that one sees in old Vetemus or the Spire of Bestra. Instead it looks gray and utilitarian.
The reason that this smaller city is structured so is due to Nopolitus's brother, who was a skilled tactician and militarist. In designing the city, the former soldier opted for defense and practicality, and the early builders built it to his specifications. While Nopolitus may not be much to look at, it is a bastion of strength in the low hills and has turned back many attacks by the enemies of the good folk of Forntol.
The Foreboding Mountains of Forntol
Long have the great mountains that dominate the landscape of Forntal proven to be the source of a seemingly endless line of enemies for the goodly races of the continent. The large, wide shores of Forntal are home to humans, orcs, gnomes, dwarves, kobolds, goblins, hobgoblins, Teregnaven, Kassa'melkuul, and Halkassa'rukkil. Most of the lowlands of Forntol are inhabited, as these humanoid races live in large cities, tree-villages built into the forest, and small villages in the hills. Above them all, looming over their everyday activities like an eternal, foreboding danger, lie the vast mountain ranges of Forntol.
In the west, the mountains of Forntol are watched over by the dwarves of the fortress at Walin's Cap, a high, flat plateau fortress that looks much like a square cap on top of a blocky head. The dwarven fortress, with valleys on all sides, dominates the western mountains. This proves to be a perfect vantage point for the dwarves, whose visibility stretches for miles in all directions.
Around Walin's Cap and many of the other low cities, small gnomish villages lie in the foothills of the mountains. Much admired and respected by the dwarves, gnomish villages are under constant watch by the powerful dwarves on high. Through centuries of raids and confrontations, the good folk of Forntol have learned to protect themselves from the evil that lives in the mountains, but they've quite an array of opponents before them.
The rocky slopes of several tall peaks of Forntol's mountains serve as home to one very aggressive creature: the wild ape. Dire apes seemed to be native to the land of Forntol, as they were present even during the first recorded history on the continent, kept by early humans. These apes had developed a resilience in even the cold environment of the high mountain peaks. They gather in small groups, with a dominant male, some females, and their young. These dominant males hunt dwarves, humans, gnomes, and even the dark folk for food, sport, and bragging rights over rivals. This inborn aggression didn't go unnoticed by Vornoth, and the Dark Walker maintains a small level of influence on the beasts, ever pushing them closer to overrunning the civilized races.
One civilized race also exists in the high mountain ranges: the Frost Giants. These gigantic humanoids live in small tribal clans and constantly wage war with the "small folk" like dwarves and gnomes, whom they despise. These tribes gather around a shaman, chieftain or, in large tribes, both. They create terror for the races of Forntol, attempting raids and attacks on the civilized races. The only boon for the goodly races of Forntol is that the giants have more enemies among their own kind than among others. The tribes constantly do battle between themselves, vying for power. Were one tribe to unite them all, though, it could spell doom for the civilized races.
Another major enemy for the good races in the mountains of Forntol is the object of myths and children's tales the continent over: the Spirit of Winter. This spirit, or these spirits, as tales regarding their numbers are never certain, wanders the vast expanse of rock and ice, in constant search of something to slake its hunger. Tales of these creatures speak of it looking much like a white-furred, emaciated humanoid, with claws longer than a man's wrist, and fangs long enough to skewer the thickest dwarf. Possibly the most fearsome aspect of these creatures is their hunger. When hunting prey, the Spirit of Winter will be wracked with waves of intense hunger. During such pangs, the creature's joints will dislocate, and rearrange themselves as if the Spirit is attempting to devour itself. The vision of this effect serves as the source of fear for half the continent, often used to scare children into eating their greens.
There are many myths told on the continent of Forntol. Some myths and stories stand out:
The Spirit of Winter
In all cultures on the continent of Forntol, a timeless story told to children exists, a story used to elicit a child's cooperation in some mundane task like eating his vegetables or doing his chores, or just to give the child a little scare. This story revolves around a creature in the hills of the great mountains of Forntal. This creature is called Sorataku by the Kassa'melkuul, Rozz'kubala by the Halkassa'melkuul, Kunemoxis by the Darkfolk, or simply "The Spirit of Winter" by the common-speaking folk of the continent.
Many claim to have relatives or friends who have seen one of these creatures ,but more often than not the witness isn't around to corroborate the tale.
Stories speak of the Spirit of Winter stalking about the snow-capped peaks of the highest mountains in Forntol, though sometimes it must travel to the lower lands for their hunting. Such is the time when livestock, pets, or even small children disappear, seemingly of their own accord.
The parents and farmers, however, know different. These folk, having heard the tales when they were children, know that the Spirit has come and, having killed, is satiated for the time being. They then proceed to tell their children the story of the Spirit, a creature looking much like a white-furred, emaciated humanoid, with claws longer than a man's wrist, and fangs long enough to skewer the thickest dwarf.
Possibly the most fearsome aspect of this creature, and the one that haunts the minds of young and old alike, is its hunger. When hunting prey, the Spirit of Winter will be wracked with waves of intense hunger. During such pangs, the creature's joints will dislocate and rearrange themselves as if the Spirit is attempting to devour itself. The vision of this jerky, erratic movement can strike fear into the heart of any who are unfortunate to bear witness. Of course, those who witness such a thing rarely live to tell the tale.
Many surmise that the Spirit of Winter descended from a few of the first Teregnaven, who were corrupted by evil and took to the mountains. The Teregnaven, of course, will argue this with every breath. They claim that the Spirit of Winter is (or are, as no one knows how many actually exist) a giant that was perverted by the power of the mysterious Garakesh peak, the highest peak in the mountains.
Either way, the Spirit of Winter story serves its purpose, as children everywhere know when to eat their vegetables.
The great peak of Garakesh is the highest peak of the Forntal mountains, stretching into the clouds like a direct path to the divinities above. The slopes of the great mountain are always covered in ice and snow and are rocky and perilous beyond compare. This peak is so named for a wealthy aristocrat from Sal'Baran who attempted to scale the peak. His body was never found...
Myths about Garakesh peak range from its being the source of all evil on Forntol to its being home to a great wyrm bent on hoarding the treasures of those lost in the mountains. Other legends say that a great white beast lurks in its caverns, preparing for its time to take Forntol by force. These legends claim that, in a storm, the beast's ebony horn can be heard blowing down from on high. It is assumed that this is his call to his minions.
Yet other legends claim that a grand treasure awaits those with enough dedication to find it. The treasure is reported, through heresay of course, to be a hoard left behind by a race long gone, a race that will come back for it eventually.
No matter what you believe about the great peak, one thing remains certain. If there is any living thing there, it can see every little happening for many, many miles around from its vantage point. And, if there is something there... it waits in silence.