The Northlands is a large, mostly wooded valley formed by the junction of the Icespine and Stonetalon mountain ranges, drained primarily by the Kedris river basin. The settled portions lie primarily east of the Kedris along the fertile coastal plains, with a line of settlements also extending north.
Cool northern temperate. Spring tends to be cool and rainy. Summers are warm, but rarely hot, with much less precipitation. Autumn is cool but nearly as dry as summer. Winters are fairly cold, with limited precipitation except in higher elevations.
The system of government of the Northlands largely dates back to its days as a colony of the Nethryn Empire. Each major settlement has a hereditary Lord Warden, who rules and dispenses law for that settlement and the surrounding lands. These Lords select a Governor (who by tradition may not be a Lord Warden or any immediate blood relative), who is responsible for making rules and laws for the land as a whole, and is advised by the Lords. The Governor serves either until he or she resigns or is replaced by vote of the Lords.
Numerous tribes of humanoids, ranging from kobolds and goblins in the lower forest lands up to gnolls and ogres in the hills. Giants have been seen on occasion in the mountainous areas.
Cities and Towns
- Armanton: Capital of the Northlands, and its oldest and largest human-organized settlement. Situated near the mouth of the Kedris River, Armanton is the primary hub of commerce for the area since the earliest days, and boasts the most diverse population. Members of all civilized races can be found among its nearly 5000 inhabitants, though the majority are human.
- Berhaven: 250
- Engate: 400
- Fallcrest: Second-largest settlement, with a population of just over 1300. Built at the site where the Kedris River is met by the Thaerd and descends from the forest uplands, Fallcrest became another natural trade point where goods were portaged between the upper and lower sections of the river. The town is still rebuilding and growing from damages caused over a century ago by marauding humanoids.
- Fort Duncliff: Northernmost settled point in the Northlands, Fort Duncliff is situated above the rocky gorge where the Shadas River descends to meet the Kedris. The great brown cliffs make a naturally defensible point, which has never yet been successfully assailed by humanoids. The fort is a collecting point for many seeking to make a name for themselves, though in recent years its character has begun to shift from rough-and-tumble frontier to a slightly more settled nature as defenses have been extended and lands cleared for farming. Its population has grown to over 750, though this number fluctuates somewhat according to the fortunes of its more adventurous inhabitants.
- Karstern: 400
- Margale: 500
- Orrein Abbey: 200
- Standwick: 200
- Taunsdale: 600
- Winterhaven: This small fortified village exists mainly as a stopover on the road north along the Kedris River, and numbers perhaps 450 people including those who farm the outlying area.
Areas of Interest
- Amaelendor: Homeland of the elves and eladrin, this deep and ancient forest lies to the southeast of Shaedis Bay. Its primary town, also named Amaelendor, is the focal point of trade with and among the elves, and is located on the easily navigable Varstad River.
- Dal Ankor: Hidden homeland of the dwarves, nestled deep under the Stonetalon Mountains. Contact with other realms is permitted only at the town of Khar Zakad, located at the highest navigable point on the Varstad River.
- Icespire Mountains: These forbidding peaks lie northwest of the Northlands. The highest slopes are perpetually ice-shrouded, and are thought to tower as much as three miles high in places. Few expeditions from the early days of settlement returned, and the tales they told were of frigid spires haunted by gigantic beasts, including dragons. It has been many years since anyone foolhardy enough to try to venture to this area has returned.
- Stonetalon Mountains: Home both to the dwarves of Dal Ankor, and to numerous tribes of orcs and gnolls, this mountain range is lower and more moderate of temperature than the Icespires, but no less dangerous or beautiful.
Return whence thou came