Sunday, February 24, 2013


(not dead, just lazy)

Here's some background for the setting of my C&C campaign, should I ever get the chance to run it again...

Gheron is a fairly small country - at about 7,855 sq. miles, it is somewhere between Connecticut and New Jersey in terms of overall land mass.  It is a land of mild summers and harsh winters.  The terrain is varied -  there are no mountains, but there are several rolling hills, as well as several lakes and multiple interconnecting rivers.  There are also several scattered forests, as well as the occasional marsh or moor, and there are several stretches of area that can best be described as shrubland.  For all that, about roughly 55% of Gheron is arable farmland, a far higher percentage than any of its immediate neighbors (most 'clear' hexes will have a village in it, somewhere between 100 and 1,000 people, usually averaging around 600 or so - 1 in 12 such hexes will instead have a thorp, with somewhere between 20 and 100 residents).  Gheron has two cities - the capital city of Amaltha, and the port city Blacksand (also occasionally referred to as Highport, an older name for the coastal city) - as well as ten towns of varying size.  Its overall population is somewhere around 778,000.

(click to enlarge, of course - larger red hexes = 12 miles, smaller black hexes = 2 miles)

Along with its neighbors, it was once part of the Northeastern Marches of the Great Empire of Kahm.  The Kahmish empire lasted for a little over six centuries, but eventually disintegrated under a combination of plague and internal dissent.  The plague destroyed most of what could be called civilization, with only a few city-states here and there keeping the proverbial torch lit against the darkness for the better part of a century.  A holdover of the Empire's legacy is that Gheron, like all the other current nations that are descended from what was once the Empire's domain, still speak the Kahman Tongue.*

About 40 years ago, one of the many petty barons in the area, Thomas of Amaltha, began expanding his realm, consolidating the other nearby lands under his expansionistic rule.  He unified what is now called the nation of Gheron, only being stopped by the borderlands to the west, and the also-expanding nations of Theros to the Northeast and Arradonia to the Southeast.  These days, some quietly refer to King Thomas as "the Cursed"; he has had four wives during his rule, but all are now dead, and he has no living heirs.  His younger sister, Princess Yasmin, in next in line for the throne. 

That vast majority of the population of Gheron is human.  About 3% of the overall populace is halfling - more so in the villages, somewhat less so in the towns and cities, although the town of Lillton is notable for actually having a majority population of halflings.  The various other demi-humans (dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves and half-orcs) combined consist of about half of one percent of the nation's populace.

The worship of Sarus is the main faith within the land of Gheron (as well as the other nearby nations).  In more rural areas, the Druidic faith is fairly strong (in the early days of consolidating power, Thomas made an alliance with the Druids to help strengthen his power base).  Because of the political power the Druids have, Gheron is not able to fully utilize the forests within its lands, a sore point for some of Gheron's nobility and military personnel.  Relations between the priests of Sarus and the Druids are cordial enough, if somewhat cool and distant. 

Recently, there has been an increase in monstrous activity coming from the borderlands.  As a result, the King has recently raised taxes throughout the land, in hopes of increasing the military presence along the borderlands.  As one might expect, this has not went over well with all of Gheron's citizens.

(same map, minus the smaller hex lines - makes it easier to make out the various rivers)

To the Southeast, Arradonia is about twice as large as Gheron, but due to less overall arable land, has only about half-again the population.  There are huge forests within Arradonia's borders, and unlike Gheron the Druids have little political sway here, so the rulers of Arradonia can utilize those forests more effectively - among other things, Arradonia has the largest and finest navy in the area.  South of Arradonia the land mainly consists of hard plains and deserts, and the various horse nomad tribes that dwell in said lands occasionally raid into Arradonia's nearby villages and towns.

Northeast of Gheron is Theros, a mountainous land that is about three times as large as Gheron, but due to a dearth of arable land, its population is about halfway inbetween that of Gheron and Arradonia.  The mountains of Theros host a wealth of various precious metals, such as silver and gold, as well as no small amount of iron ores.  As a result, the armies of Theros are very, very well armed - even the lowly commoner footsoldier will often wear metal armor as they march into battle.  To the frigid north of Theros' borders, Viking-style barbarians live, occasionally raiding into the nearby settlements, despite the martial prowess of Theros' citizens.

Gheron has pacts with both Arradonia and Theros.  Both of the neighboring countries would love to conquer Gheron and claim the rich farmlands found within, but both nations also know that any invasion on their part would trigger a response of war from Gheron's other neighbor-country.  The last actual war in the area ended 15 years ago, the forces of Gheron and Theros clashing to a relative standstill.  There has been an uneasy peace ever since.

About a hundred or so miles East of Gheron (not shown on the map) is the island nation of Shalza, which is about 2/3 the overall size of Gheron, and has about 1/3 of the latter's population.  Shalza is heavily dependent on trade with its nearby neighbors, which is aided by the wealth of valuable gems that can be mined on the island.  As with Gheron, both Arradonia and Theros would love to conquer and claim the island nation as their own, both for its wealth and its strategic value due to its location.   Like Gheron, Shalza has pacts drawn up with the two larger nations, designed to keep them both at bay.

*yes, I'm shameless

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