Way of the Wicked
The Six Regions
Talingarde is an archipelago consisting of more than a hundred islands. This archipelago may be divided into six regions each with their own unique character: The Cambrian Ports, The Heartland, the Borderlands, the Caer Bryr, the Savage North and the Land of the Yutak.
The Cambrian Ports
This is the center of the nation of Talingarde and the apex of its culture and power. This region is defined by three great metropolises – the capital Matharyn, the northern city of Ghastenhall, and the western port of Daveryn. Each of these three cities will receive more detail in later installments.
This is where most of the population of the nation of Talingarde lives and works. Seemingly one quaint village after another, this is a land of endless farmlands broken up only by small stretches of well-managed forest. Those who truly understand the nation understand that the Heartland is Talingarde’s strength. The cities may create its riches and culture, but without the stalwart yeomanry, country knights and hearty folk of the field, Talingarde would be only a dream.
Located between the Heartland and the Savage North, this border region represents the limits of Talirean power. Unable to fully conquer the north after centuries of incursion and brutal conflict, it was King Accarius IV of House Barca called the Architect who constructed the first version of the Watch Wall. In more educated circles it is still called the Accarian Line.
Accarius constructed nine castles guarding the border. Later Markadian I called the Victorious would add three more. Whoever controlled these castles could effectively prohibit access to the Heartland from the North.
The Watch Wall was intended to contain the monsters and savages so that eventually the rest of the isle could be conquered and pacified. It was never meant to be the permanent measure it has become.
The success of the Watch Wall has bred complacency. Why invade the north when the south is so prosperous? The Watch Wall does such a fine job of repulsing the ill-led assaults of the barbarous humanoid invaders. Thus today, the Watch Wall is little regarded as a pressing military concern. The twelve castles are garrisoned and maintained but little is done to capture the Savage North.
The Caer Bryr
The Western frontier of the island is dominated by the massive forest that gives this region its name. Small Talirean border towns flourish in the less wooded south, but the north remains a land of mists and legends. The Caer Bryr is reputed to be haunted and filled with monsters. There are tales of dragons and ancient evils that still haunt the woods. The only ones who are able to travel here with impunity are the barbaric Iraen, a primitive human tribe that reveres the spirits of the woods.
The Iraen neither revere Mitra nor pay homage to the king, instead preferring their own crude animistic faith and barbaric chieftains. Worse, in times of hardship the Iraen can be quick to turn to banditry against Talirean settlements. Thus their relationship with Talingarde is strained at best. Still, beside the occasional raid or skirmish, there has never been large-scale warfare between the Iraen and theTalireans.
The Savage North
Beyond the Watch Wall lays the Savage North. Often this land is said to be nothing but an empty waste of ice and monsters. This is a complete fiction. The north is dominated by forests and plains rich in life. Here dwell three peoples long demonized or ignored by the more civilized folk of the south – the brutal burabar (the name the bugbears call themselves), the naatanuk (intelligent polar bears) and the mysterious ice elves.
Though little is known about the North, this is certain – it is largest unexplored region on the island. Many a Talirean king has dreamt of conquering the North. So far, those dreams remain unfulfilled.
The Lands of the Yutak
This chain of islands is inhabited by the Yutak, short swarthy black-haired humans. These islands are cold, inhospitable places unsuited to farming or grazing, so the Talireans have left the Yutak to their own devices. Where the southerners see wastelands, the Yutak see oceans teaming with fish and seals. In their one-man kayaks and larger umiaks, they ply the open oceans hunting for fur and blubber. Occasionally, several small bands will unite to hunt a whale.
Rarely, an umiak will appear out of the mist loaded with ivory and furs. These Yutak umiaks will sail into one of the western ports (a few have made it as far south as Daveryn), conduct their business and then disappear once more. The Yutak never trade for gold instead prizing steel, leather and strong drink. Wise merchants keep a stock of steel harpoon heads in case they encounter a Yutak trader. The Yutak will trade much ivory for a finely made harpoon.
Few Talireans speak the strange musical Yutak tongue and few Yutak understand common. The Yutak, much like the savage Iraens of the Caer Bryr, have their own gods and their own way of life. Still, where the Iraen are secretive and xenophobic, the Yutak are a gregarious people. Travellers along the western coast tell tales of Yutak who without invitation join Talireans around a campfire. The Yutak share their seal meat and sing strange but beautiful songs with strangers with whom they share no tongue. It is said that if you are polite and share your own food, the Yutak may leave a gift to mark their passing.