Dark Age of Dunland
Player’s Guide to Dunland
This page is the “Cliff’s Notes” version of what every Player in this campaign really should know about the Dark Age of Dunland setting, its history, people, and geography. These are things that every Player Character, even the least educated, would know, so every Player should know them as well, unless they want their Player Character to appear a fool.
Where Are We?
Dunland is a large island off the coast of a much larger continent. Think of the relationship of England to Europe. Dunland is part of the Green Islands. In case it isn’t obvious, you can think of Scotia as Scotland and Verdan as Ireland.
Dunholm is a kingdom in southern Dunland. It started around the ancient city of Dundorum, and expanded south to the Channel/Narrows coast.
Veysar is a County in the southwest corner of the Kingdom of Dunholm, on the coast. Adjacent land to the west is Wild, not claimed by any other County or Kingdom.
Who Else Lives Around Here?
Dwen – other Counties and Kingdoms of the Dwen Tribe of Humans – the natives of Dunland – your own people, unless your PC came here from somewhere else
Albici – the original Tribe of Humans who lived in this place before the Dwen took over and renamed it as Dunland. Look at a map of England – Kornel is Cornwall and Wellon is Wales, and in both of those places some of the original Albici people still live independent of the Dwen.
Goblins – the original residents who lived in this place before the Albici took over and renamed it Albicin (before it was Dunland). They mostly live in the woods and forests now, and sometimes small villages or caves.
Norvik – another Tribe of humans, forced out of parts of their native Norland by Orcish invaders, they have been raiding and invading the Green Islands for the past 150 years or so, and have settled and established their own jarldoms and kingdoms in Dunland, Scotia, and Verdan. Norvik areas of Dunland are mostly along the northeast coast.
Orcs – these invaders have showed up in the past fifty years or so, but are not as effective warriors without their Thoats (carnivorous mounts), which they have found do not travel well in ships (some Orcs have taken to riding horses, but this is a recent innovation). They have settled land to the southeast of Dunholm as a base for raiding into the rest of the country.
What’s All This About an Empire?
About 450 years ago, the Pollian Empire conquered Dunland and made it part of the Empire. They built good roads, cut down forests to expand agricultural lands, dug mines and quarries for valuable mineral resources, and introduced the Dwen to some new techniques in soldiering and building with stone. The Empire was extremely dependent on magic that it got from the Elves.
About 200 years ago, there was a Cataclysm, in which earthquakes and abnormal weather happened, plagues spread and killed a lot of the populations, and the Elves disappeared. This was all very bad for the Empire, and they withdrew to a much smaller central area, easier to defend, leaving outposts like Dunland to sink or swim on their own. Since then, new kingdoms (such as Dunholm) have been founded in what was formerly the Empire’s territory of Dunland.
What About Ancient History and Religion?
A very very VERY LONG time ago, God created Humans and gave them Eden to live in. The Humans made some bad choices and became slaves of the Snake People. God freed the Humans from the Snake People and led them north to their new homes. Some Dark Cities turned away from God and tried to re-learn the knowledge and magic (with Demons!) of the Snake People. There was a big war, and the good guys won, so the Dark Cities are abandoned ruins. All Humans now worship God (some have different customs, but nobody has wars over it), except for some Evil Cultists who are still trying to get power from Demons.
Is There Magic in this Game?
Not a lot, and not generally very powerful, at least not without long and complicated rituals.
The Elf magic is gone since the Cataclysm. What is left is the channeling of holy positive energy by Holy Priests and Holy Warriors, and some Church-approved Spirit Magic used by scholars and Spirit Warriors. For the Bad Guys, there are varieties of Spirit Magic mostly derived from Demons, plus some Unholy Priests and Unholy Warriors who have learned to channel Unholy negative energy.
What Kind of Tech Do We Have?
Weapons are mostly iron or cheap steel (or wood). Good steel and bronze are rare and valuable. (this may be inaccurate, but we are using a bit from a story I once read that said good bronze was really just as good as good steel, but rarer and more expensive due to the rarity of tin as compared to iron, once iron smelting was invented.)
Well-equipped professional soldiers wear chainmail with leather underneath, and wear helmets.
Less-professional soldiers, such as citizenry or bandits, make do with leather armor or a heavy coat, and are usually armed with spears, hunting bows, knives, or possibly farm implements.
Horses are fairly rare, and not often trained for war, so serve more as mounts for leaders and scouts than as any real cavalry (although there are stories of the fearsome heavy cavalry employed in other lands, such as the cataphracts of the Eastern Empire). Similarly, longbows and crossbows are not in common use, and hunting bows are more of a nuisance to harass the enemy than a real weapon of war. Professional soldiers fight in long rows known as shield walls, because they interlock their shields for mutual protection. Amateurs tend to just shout and charge with weapons (and die, if they are facing professionals).
The Albici, Dwen, and Norvik all traditionally built out of wood, thatch, and other simple materials. The Empire built in brick and stone, and embellished their finer buildings with marble and decorations. The Dwen have learned some stone technique from the Empire, and now build important buildings and forts from cut stone, although using simpler techniques than the Empire favored.
Most people walk wherever they need to go, although some farmers (or village co-ops) may have an ox-drawn cart for taking produce to market. Only the wealthy and the war-leaders travel on horseback.
Glossary: Brief Definitions of Terms and Proper Nouns, with links to more detailed info if applicable.
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