Norlanin is the largest known continent in the Realm of Strife. It is home to all of the playable races of the Third Creation and includes a variety of kingdoms, sovereign nations, and city-states. With several multi cultural hubs throughout the continetn it is an ideal continent for new groups of players and GMs, as it is relatively easy to justify a mismatched band of adventurers coming together to engage in a communal storyline.
Please note, an updated map is in the works…
Click the links below for zoomed in versions of the Norlanin Map:
Northwest Norlanin (Tolgatha)
Northeast Norlanin (Minocea, Centauri Wilds, Angveldt, Wonderkin, Kazan)
Southeast Norlanin (Leonen, Kazan, Tinermoot, Emladria)
Southwest Norlanin (Solastaris, Tindermoot, Emladria)
- National and Political Divisions
- Diplomatic Relations throughout Norlanin
- Character Classes in Norlanin
National and Political Divisions
The Kingdom of Leonen
Ruler: King Rhoman IV of House Videaus
A densely populated human kingdom made up of seven provinces, each ruled by a Duke, but all owing fealty to the King of Leonen. The nation has seen much political turmoil throughout its history due to a vast assortment of scheming nobles, but stands strong despite itself. While predominately human many other races make their home in Leonen. The use of Spiritual powers has been completely outlawed in Leonen after an unfortunate incident almost 100 years ago, called the Mage Rebellion, when a corrupt Archmage attempted to overthrow the King. If discovered, practitioners of the Spiritual arts are offered two choices: exile or death. Most choose exile.
Ruler: Grand Vizier Etra’vorn of Valkari Roost
The island Kingdom of Kazan is home to the unique race of bird-men called the Kayden. Made up of seven powerful clans, each makes its home in the towering roosts that surround the rocky island. The mightiest of the seven clans rises up to rule all of Kazan from the capital city of Kaydenza. While currently there is an uneasy peace between the Kayden and their neighbours, there is a long history of border skirmishes—particularly with the humans of Northvarn Province. Kazan itself has been deemed unconquerable. How can you invade a nation that has no roads?
Leader: Prime Minister Heplin Bellypot
The Tindermoot is the peaceful lands of the Halflings. You will find no fortified settlements or even locked doors in this land of rolling hills and bountiful farmlands. The Tindermoot is governed by a democratic assembly centered in the capital of Newhearth City and has long been on good terms with Leonen to the East.
However in more recent years they fell prey to a brutal campaign of terror and subjugation at the hands of the Black Dragonflight, now known as the War for the Tindermoot. The Halflings homeland would perhaps have been completely destroyed if not for the intervention of three allied factions; the founders of Eleutheria known as Heroes Guild, the Human Paladins from the Royal Order of Archons, and the High Elven Navy of the Solastaris Refuge.
The Free City State of Eleutheria
Ruler: Guild Commander Brodash
Eleutheria is a free city-state founded by a group called Heroes Guild in the wake of the conflict known as the War for the Tindermoot. It is located northeast of Blueshore, on lands once belonging to the Tindermoot and is often referred to as the City of Guilds due to its unique Guild-based system of governance. It is primarily populated by displaced refugees from the War for the Tindermoot, though as it continues to flourish it has attracted peoples from throughout Norlanin.
The Solastaris Refuge
Ruler: Shogun Solanis’Var
West of the Tindermoot, across the Emerald Bay, is a rugged landmass that the Halfings once called the Headlands. However it is now known as the Solastaris Refuge. Until recent times, this rocky plateau was largely uninhabited by civilized folk, save for a few small Halfling settlements that belonged to the Tindermoot. It is a harsh land of jagged ravines and soaring ocean cliffs, far less bountiful in comparison to the fertile farmlands of the rest of the Tindermoot. There had long been a sense of mystery surrounding these fog shrouded lands, home to ruins believed to have been built by Elves in another age.
Much of the mystery was solved some 40 years ago when a fleet of damaged High Elven vessels limped into the mouth of the Emerald Bay and made first landfall on the rocky island known as the Sentinel and quickly laid claim to ruins found throughout the Headlands. The Halflings of the Tindermoot, ever curious as a people, made almost immediate contact and found what could only be described as an entire nation of refugees, calling themselves the Solastaris Elves. These Elves claimed that the mysterious Elven ruins were in fact the ancient outposts of their once glorious empire from across the sea. Though their Empire fell into decline long ago, they were resolved to reassert their ancient claims to the Headlands and make it their new home. However desperate these Elves were to survive, they were an honorable people, and did not choose to reclaim their lands by force. Instead they pursued diplomatic relations with the Tindermoot and asked for mercy. Moved by the humility and respect shown to them, the Halflings took pity on the refugees and the Halfing Prime Minister annexed the majority of the Headlands to the desperate Solastaris Elves so they could established a new home on Norlanin, a refuge from whatever ill fate caused them to flee across the sea.
Led by their benevolent Shogun, the Solastaris Elves have vowed to never forget the kindness the people of the Tindermoot showed them. Yet they remain a secretive and inward-looking people. Honor bound to their Shogun, they have sworn an oath to keep silent regarding the events that forced them to leave their homeland. All that is known for certain is that when they arrived on the shores of Norlanin they were near death, but now less than five decades later they have come a long way towards rebuilding their culture and prospering as a nation. This does not sit well with their xenophobic neighbours to the north however.
The Emladrian Collective
Leader: First Speaker Talinara Willowynd
The Emladrian Collective lays claims to vast amounts of land, almost entirely encompassed by the Emladris Forest. These long lived wild elves make their homes in the massive trees that are as much a part of their culture as the elves themselves. They are distrustful of all other races though they do allow some trade with their neighbours. Few maps exist that show all of the settlements in the trees of Emladria and intruders soon get impossibly lost and end up victim of the wild beasts that share the forest with the Emladrian Elves. While they have a highly sophisticated society they are still a tribal people at heart with a deep reverence for nature. As such, there are few permanent roads through their lands. The exact organization of the Collective is unknown; however scholars seem to agree that over many thousands of years the isolated tribes grew to massive proportions and were forced to interact with each other. Eventually they formed a Collective society when it became clear that tribal warfare would only decimate the forest they all cherished so much.
The Centauri Wilds
Leader: Govenor Oakem Plainsrunner (Centauri City only)
The Centauri Wilds are a rugged and fertile land north of Leonen. They are aptly named as it is a truly wild and untamed region. It is here that the nomadic centaur tribes make their home, though despite the name there are also some nomadic tribes of humans and wild elves that also live here. In the more isolated regions of the Centauri Wilds it is even possible to encounter tribes of Orcs, believed to be the descendants of Orcish raiders from the Darklands, stranded in the wilds by departing or defeated raiding parties. There are few permanent residences in the Centauri Wilds though some centaurs have been influenced by the culture of nearby Leonen and have settled in various places throughout the wilds. The largest of these settlements is called Centauri city and it is a multicultural hub of trade for the region. While it does have a loose form of government it is local in its reach.
Most centaurs, and other tribes that call the wilds home, continue to look to their tribal elders for leadership. Conflict between various tribes is not uncommon but is usually restricted to small skirmishes. The Centaur people long ago learned that if they fought each other with too much enthusiasm they would fall prey to the warlike Minotaurs of Minocea. The border between the Centauri Wilds and the Dominion of Minocea is ever fluctuating, and the Centaur tribes quickly forget their differences when their ancient enemy the Minotaurs come to threaten their way of life.
The Dominion of Minocea
Ruler: King Drexigor the Scarred
It is said that Minocea could have easily conquered the whole of Eastern Norlanin if they were not so preoccupied with killing each other. Minotaurs by their nature are warlike, though this is oft misunderstood to be blind rage. The Minotaurs simply believe that only the strong should rule and therefore for anything to ever happen in Minocea there must be a great deal of bloodshed first in order to decide who is right. The Minotaurs of the Dominion of Minocea are fierce opponents and when roused to war are almost unstoppable.
The Kingdom of Tolgatha
Ruler: Patriarch-King Desmond Vectus XVII
Tolgatha is another human kingdom, located in relative isolation in the Northwest of Norlanin. While other races can be found there, only humans are considered citizens. As such other races must tread lightly when on Tolgathan soil. Tolgathans themselves are a hardy breed, but have become stoic and rigid after years of weathering not only their stormy coastline but also living so close to the Darklands, the supposed homeland of the green skinned races. They have little room for pleasantries and their disposition is dark and surly. They are governed by a Theocracy and their society is caste driven, something that is not questioned but simply accepted as fact. One can never rise or fall from their station in life. At the top is the religious caste, followed by the warrior caste, the magi caste, the merchant caste, and lastly the servant caste. Non-humans are regarded to be without caste and are foreigners regardless of how long they may have lived there. Tolgathan life is viewed with disdain and misunderstanding by many outsiders but it is this way of life that has protected the rest of Norlanin from being overrun by the green skin hordes to the west.
The Vassal City-State of Volanthia
Ruler: The Grand Council of Volanthia (made up of the Seven Archmages)
Volanthia is called the City of Mages. When the mages were exiled from Leonen after the Mage Rebellion, they traveled to distant Tolgatha and negotiated for a piece of land that the Tolgathans viewed as barren and worthless. In return Volanthia would provide additional resources to the Magi Caste to assist in the defense of Tolgatha. From this land they created a city of wonders beyond imagining. Here the spiritual arts, in all forms, are encouraged and nurtured. Throughout Tolgatha, and beyond, any child that exhibits gifting in the spiritual arts is sent to Volanthia to develop their skills. If their families wish to accompany them they are permitted to settle in one of the outlying villages which provide agricultural support to the City of Mages, but rarely are they allowed within the walls of the city itself. While this becomes a sort of self imposed serfdom, to have a son or daughter included in Volanthian society is more than worth the price they pay. To some outsiders this system seems flawed but it has served Volanthia well and under the rule of the Archmages the city flourishes.
The City State of Wunderkin
Leader: PrimeFacilitatorAndOtherwiseImportantHeadOfStateAndExemplarOfGnomishIngenuity (aka Prime Facilitator) Gorbin Turfwaddle
Equally a city of wonder, though of a mechanical and technological nature is Wunderkin. It is a city build out of a mountain, and is in fact difficult to even distinguish as a mountain due to all the “improvements” the eccentric Gnomes that call it home have made. Mount Wunderkin, as it is often called, is the birthplace of all Gnomish ingenuity and science. They live in relative isolation, most other races knowing it’s safer to simply keep your distance. Rumour has it that deep within their city there can be found passageways that connect into the network of tunnels, known as the Angenway, built by their Dwarven cousins in the Kingdom of Angveldt. However while gnomes can often be found living and working in the Dwarven Kingdom, Wunderkin remains a city to call their own, and they are eternally proud of this fact.
The Kingdom of Angveldt
Ruler: High King Raegar Doune
The true extent of the underground Dwarven Kingdom of Angveldt is unknown, for it is said that their network of tunnels, settlements, mines, camps and waystations have never truly been mapped, for they are ever expanding. This is a testament to the industrious nature of the Dwarves. None can argue that it is a vast Kingdom and its influence reaches the far corners of Norlanin, perhaps even beyond.
Strategically situated beneath the impassable Spineback Mountains, Angveldt stands between the human kingdom of Tolgatha in the West and all the lands beyond in the South and East of Norlanin. As such, the only trade routes by land must pass through the underground Highway of the Dwarves, known as the Angenway. In addition to being a major trade route, the Angenway also connects all the major settlements of Angveldt. It is a marvel of Dwarven engineering, and is easily one of the best maintained road networks in the known world. Its main thoroughfares are exceptionally safe as well, frequently patrolled by the famous Angenway Rangers. However, its lesser byways are seldom patrolled and can be as dangerous as any overland roadway, to say nothing of the innumerable side passageways and so called short cuts that riddle the Angenway and are best avoided by all but the most experienced Dwarves.
Diplomatic Relations throughout Norlanin
|Present Diplomatic Relations Typ. Past Diplomatic Relations||Leonen||Kazan||Tindermoot||Eleutheria||Solastaris||Emladria||Centauri||Minocea||Tolgatha||Volanthia||Wunderkin||Angveldt|
Character Classes in Norlanin
Order based Classes
Several orders can be found in Leonen and Tolgatha. In Tolgatha only humans can be Knights, treated as an elite segment of the warrior caste. Meanwhile in Leonen the Knights of the Realm are landowners in the provinces and lesser nobles in their own right. There are even some Centaur Knights in Wildervarn Province.
Of all the nations in Norlanin only the savage Minotaurs of Minocea do not have a formal priestly order. This is not to say that they do not have their own belief system though. Most priestly orders are local to their own nations with the exception of the Church of Leonen which is subscribed to by the Tindermoot as well. In exchange the Tindermoot is granted an Arch-Bishop of its own that is of equal power to the Arch-Bishops of the provinces of Leonen. Among the humans of Leonen though the priestly order is reserved mostly for females, and is lead by the Matriarch and her four Cardinals from Leonenburg. Also sharing a similar belief system and priestly order is the mountain Dwarves of Angveldt and their cousins the Gnomes of Wunderkin Mountain. In Tolgatha the religious caste is the most powerful of all and it is the priestly order that rules and governs the nation, lead by their own Patriarch King, whose powers are those of any King, and beyond.
Prior to the arrival of the Solastaris Elves, Wizardry in Norlanin was practiced only in the Northern Kingdom of Tolgatha. Here the Wizards made up the bulk of the Magi Caste. With the more recent arrival of the Solastaris Elves, who brought with them a powerful and mysterious Wizard Lord of the Golden Order, Wizardry has now found a new foothold in Norlanin. Volanthia was quick to learn of his arrival and sought to learn what they could from him, sending a contingent of their own Wizards to the Solastaris Refuge. The High Elven Wizards treated them cordially, however it was clear they viewed their understanding of Wizardry as they would a child’s. Some among the High Elves were intrigued by the human Wizards and the City of Mages from which they had come, deciding to journey North to Volanthia to study among the humans and help guide their wizards in the service of creation.
Most Paladins in Norlanin are men of Leonen, serving the One-God and tasked with enforcing Leonen’s strict ban on all spiritual arts. In the aftermath of the mage rebellion in Leonen the King, in cooperation with the Church outlawed the use and teaching of any and all spiritual arts. The vast majority of the kingdom applauded the creation of the new laws but there was still much power in the mage community and enforcing the new law was no laughing matter. With the Church now viewing the spiritual arts as a form of heresy, a new fighting force was created, drawn from male priests and pious knights, throughout the kingdom. This new order of Paladins was called the Royal Order of Archons. Once the mass exile was accomplished the order was retained to act as sort of police force. To this day they remain vigilant for any sign of magic within the kingdom. While their jurisdiction ends at the Leonen border they do sometimes venture beyond on missions of special importance to their King and their Matriarch. Paladin orders do exist elsewhere in isolated pockets. Two of the more significant Orders outside of Leonen are the centaur paladins known as the Keeper’s of the Wild and the Tolgathan Order of Royal Guards.
To the High Elves of Solastaris there are few more honourable and worthy paths in life than that of the Order of Samurai. The ideals and precepts of these noble warriors form the back bone of their entire society. Acting not only as the political leaders of their nation under the guidance of the Shogun, the Samurai also act as the military leaders as well. Their way of life is already becoming a legend of sorts and there are those who desire to emulate it.
Monastic Orders exist throughout Leonen, the Tindermoot, Emladria, and even the subterranean halls of Angveldt, though they take on many forms and functions depending on their origins.
Though somewhat akin to the Monks native to Norlanin, the High Elves brought with them their own form of monastic life. The Shaolin orders are likewise devoted to the religious beliefs of their people but also martial combat, a concept that runs through most of their society. Like most of their practices the Elves of Solastaris have garnered attention from the other races of Norlanin yet again with the aesthetic life the Shaolin Orders offer.
College Based Classes
While martial combat is considered an art form to the Solastaris Elves, as evidenced by the colleges that have already cropped up to teach the next generation of elves, they are not the only race to develop forms of martial arts. It is said that the Wild Elves of Emladris also practice their own forms of martial arts. While information is always scarce when it comes to the Island nation of Kazan, the Kayden have been known to practice a very unique form of martial arts, taught rumour has it, at a magnificent College in the capital.
While once the Colleges of Mages where scattered throughout Norlanin, after the Mage Rebellion in Leonen and the subsequent exile of all magic users, their towers and hideaways were mostly destroyed. But the Mages came together and built their magnificent city in the barren plains of eastern Tolgatha. Here the colleges rebuilt and now all Mage Colleges in Norlanin exist solely within the walls of Volanthia. Mages from all across Norlanin have little choice but to call Volanthia home if they wish to truly advance in their studies. While not traditionally practiced by Wild Elves the Mage Colleges generally open their doors to any would be practitioner of the spiritual arts, remembering all too well the discrimination they have faced at the hands of the “non-gifted”. Unconfirmed rumors do exist that Volanthia may have secret outposts outside of the City of Mages, where their field agents can both to monitor the use of the spiritual arts and to maintain their interests throughout the rest of Norlanin.
With all of the Mages relocating to Volanthia the Battlemages had no choice but to follow. This proved to be a beneficial move for them however as they were adopted as the police force for the new City-State. After all in a city full of mages it wouldn’t do for the city guard to have no spiritual prowess. As an extension of the Mage Colleges the Battlemages are likewise non-discriminatory to the various races.
Guild Based Classes
Where there is wealth there will be those who take that wealth without asking permission, and where they are people such as this there will be Thieves Guilds to line their pockets with the spoils. This is true regardless of country or creed.
When the Wild Elven tribes untied to form their collective nation they quickly realized the need for a fighting force that owed its allegiance to no one tribe and at the same time all tribes. So the Rangers Guild was formed, calling themselves the Asp’enalla, the Silent Protectors. They are the closest thing that the Emladrian Elves have to a national army, tasked with protecting the vast Emladris forest and safeguarding the Wild Elf way of life. But these are not the only rangers in these lands. Dwarf, Human, Halfling, and even the savage Orcs employ Rangers Guilds to act as scouts and trackers. Rangers of the Warrior Caste in Tolgatha act as the first line of defense against Greenskin raiders in the borderlands.
While highly secretive in nature Assassin’s Guilds of various sizes exists virtually everywhere in Norlanin. There is always money to be made in the profession of death and revenge. Perhaps the only exception to this is among the Minotaurs and Centaurs of the wild North-East. These races would never dream of attacking a foe from behind. The glory of combat is to look into the eyes of a worthy opponent as your blade drains his life away after a well fought battle. Of all the practitioners of Spiritual arts the Assassins have perhaps been the hardest to exorcise from Leonen. The same secrecy that protects them from the law of most lands protects them also from the anti-magic laws of Leonen.
Of all the things that the High Elf refugees brought with them to Norlanin, none shames the Shogun more than the Ninja Guild. They stand in stark contrast to the principles and ideals of the Samurai but have been embedded in their culture for so long and keep their secrets so well that there is no way to identify them or destroy them. They are a dark shadow cast on a people who have traveled a long and weary path to try and live in the sunlight. Their legend has inspired other secret societies and would be Ninja Guilds to crop up throughout Norlanin, though none can compare to the skill and sheer will of the Solastaris Ninja.
Rite Based Classes
Though it was never very common, as a form of the spiritual arts Shamanism has been outlawed in Leonen as well but is still widely practiced in other, wilder, parts of Norlanin, particularly among the Wild Elves of Emladris. The Rite of the Shaman (along with the Rite of the Druid, depending on the tribe) is the primary force of magic among the Emladrians, whose connection to nature and the world around them runs very deep. There is even a group of Shamans that make their home in Volanthia.
Like Shamans, Druids are not allowed within Leonen’s borders. There were never many to begin with as they too prefer the wilder places in Norlanin. The Rite of the Druid is a deep part of Emladrian Culture, but can be found any place outside of Leonen, so long as it is away from civilization. The Druids are one of the few magic users that does not have a presence in Volanthia.
The Rite of the Runeweaver is a seldom walked path but one that has developed uniquely amongst many cultures. Most remain on the fringes of the cultures from which they originated, with the exception of the Runeweavers from Leonen, who like so many other persecuted magic-users fled to Volanthia.
Renown Based Classes
The continent of Norlanin is a vast land with a menagerie of cultures and peoples. Many of the people of this land follow paths all their own and it is their deeds, not an affiliation with any given organization, that defines who they are. Among these can be found Barbarians, Vigilantes, Soldiers, Warriors, Zealots, Berserkers, Pit-Fighters, Guardians, Swashbucklers, Clerics, and Marksmen.