(Written by Christoph.)
Salvar at a Glance
Welcome to Salvar, the largest country in Althanas. Covering the whole northern half of the continent, across jagged mountains and frigid tundra, it is also perhaps the harshest region. The following is exactly what the title says: a brief glance over the region, providing some quick information for eager adventurers and a list of the unique themes that identify this rugged land and its hardy people. For more detailed information, please visit the Wiki entry here.
The Kingdom of Salvar is a product of three distinct elements intertwined: its religious faith, its monarchy and provincial lords, and the untamed wilderness that dominates much of its territory. Salvar's feudal government evolved to survive in the region, instilling in each citizen a sense of their place in life. For them, only if everyone pulls together and does their part will the kingdom survive and even thrive in the unforgiving land. The Church of the Ethereal Sway is the faith of Salvar, of the land itself as well as the country that inhabits it. Its doctrines are as earnest and simple, but also as harsh and unyielding, as land it dominates.
Salvar offers many opportunities for adventure, intrigue, and mystery. From treacherous highlands to maze-like streets of old cities; from ancient ruins in the wilderness to milling villages with dark secrets; from the courts of lords and kings to the strongholds of Orc clans -- this is a land rich with wonder and peril.
Things to remember when role-playing in Salvar:
- Most magic is outlawed -- the reasons given vary depending on who you ask, but the Church of the Ethereal Sway has maintained a ban on "witchcraft" and "rogue sorcery" in the kingdom since its founding, enforcing the law with their own hunters. Only special members of their ranks can legally practice magic. Keep this in mind and be careful when exploring this region with a magic-oriented character.
- Salvar is massive -- at roughly four million square miles, traversing the length and breadth of the region takes considerable time and planning. Much of the land is sparsely populated and harsh in climate, making proper provisions and attire very important.
These are the most notable and distinct storytelling elements present in Salvar. Note that this is far from an exhaustive list, and the themes below are not exclusive to this region. Rather, they are merely the themes most strongly present, the ones that truly define Salvar.
Grim Faith -- Even in the wake of civil war, the Church of the Ethereal Sway holds tight the faith of Salvar's people. On one hand, the power of faith maintains order and stability and gives each citizen a sense of their place. Their clerics perform many good works to defend the kingdom's people and help those in need. On the other hand, their doctrine is intolerant and unyielding, persecuting sorcerers and heretics without mercy. Some might condemn this religion outright, but others see it as the only faith strong enough to hold Salvar together.
Savage Beauty -- Much of Salvar remains untamed, a wilderness of breathtaking beauty but also great peril. Explore mighty rivers and ancient pine forests, brave the jagged cliffs and rugged steppes, and endure raging storms and biting, icy wind. If you can overcome the dangers, Salvar's wilds hold great, unimaginable wonder.
Bad Blood -- Salvar is an old, old kingdom steeped in violent history. Its stubborn people rarely forget a grudge; feuds can last for generations. Orc clans have fought amongst themselves and with the kingdom itself for hundreds of years; the distrust between men and Orc is stained red. Many noble families have been at each other's throats for centuries, barely able to meet each other's eyes without coming to blows. And ever since the civil war, the priests of the Sway and the nobility have been on strained terms.
Broken Crown -- Years of civil war ravaged the land. Though the drums of war have quieted, the kingdom suffers still. With the old king dead and the church and nobility struggling to rebuild their power, anarchy grips the region. Bandits, Orcs and worse roam freely across the countryside. The new king works to consolidate power and restore order, but how long will lawlessness grip the bloodied kingdom?
Buried Secrets -- Salvar is old, but beneath it lie the ruins of even older civilizations. The War of the Tap ravaged the land thousands of years ago, and remnants of the war and the empires it destroyed still hide in the dark corners of the region, buried in ice and snow. Explore lost caves, ruined fortresses, and dead cities forgotten by time. In addition, some secrets lurk closer to home. What ancient conspiracies exist within the Church and the courts of powerful nobles? Uncover the many mysteries of Salvar.
(For more detail on each location, visit the Wiki page.)
Knife's Edge: The capital city, found in the Testhan River Valley, is known for its impressive walls and fortifications, ancient sewers and canals, and Saint Denebriel's Cathedral, the recently rebuilt heart of the Church.
Archen: The 'Gateway to the North', this city serves as a fortified trading post at the southern edge of the Sulgoran Steppes. The Vorgruk-Stokes Trading Company maintains a major presence here.
Tirel: Serving as the main eastern harbor, it sits within the Gulf of Scales. It is one of the youngest cities in the kingdom and is home to an unusually large number of foreign immigrants and refugees.
Pestovo: The oldest known city in the kingdom, it is the main western port. Only its ancient stone central quarter remains, as the rest of the wooden city gets rebuilt section by section every few decades.
Skavia: Here lies the infamous mountains, tundra, and foreboding pine forests of Salvar.
The Kalev Highlands: The highest elevation in the known world, this is a place of wonder, rugged natural beauty, and danger. It is home to Orcs, wild beasts, and a small society of exiled knights.
Berevar: Beyond the frozen seas lies this arctic wasteland. Orcs and the hardiest of humans make their home here.
The League of Salvic States -- the hierarchy of lords that rule the many provinces and fiefdoms. They meet periodically in Knife's Edge to decide new policies with the king. The recent civil war weakened the Church and Crown, allowing the League's lords to gain a stronger voice in government.
The Church of the Ethereal Sway -- an old religion laying claim to Salvar. They are known for both intolerance and dark deeds and their charity and humanitarian works. It is both a beacon of fear and hope for the people. The civil war weakened them considerably, but they still keep a strong voice in the government, with its high priests attending council meetings with the lords of Salvar.
The Vorgruk-Stokes Trading Company -- an immensely successful business that controls much of Salvar's trade, both the legal and illegal kinds. While it holds no official power in government, coin, as they say, is the one true law.