The Shade Isle Campaign
The Kingdom of Laomark, often simply called “the Mark” by the humans who dwell there, is a huge stretch of land, the whole northernmost third of the Lethandrian continent; but much of it is empty and inhospitable wilderness, and those parts which are inhabited are only sparsely so.
More than half of Laomark is covered by sweeping, empty tundras known as the Nhordvaldlandr. In modern times, only small bands of human and ogre hunters roam the tundras, eking out a simple and primitive existence; but once upon a time, all of the Nhordic humans (as opposed to the Laeshic humans of the west and the Connaïc or Imperal humans of the south) came out of these lands.
Likewise, the entire eastern third of the Laomarki landmass is dominated by two hostile terrains, both monster-haunted: the mysterious and enchanted Sigilwood in the northeast and the troll-infested Eoten Swamplands covering the isthmus to the southeast between Laomark and Rûne (as well as Dolheim).
There are only three towns large enough to be called cities in all of the Mark: Blankíval, Rochtell (the “ch” as in loch), and Sophram. Blankíval is situated on the southern coast of Laomark, just west of the peninsula that juts out into the Caesg Sound; this is the capital of the men of the Mark, where High King Bregus reigns. Upon the island south of that peninsula, in the middle of the sound, sits the city of Sophram: a place known for both its fishing industry and for its universities dedicated to both science and magic. Folk of all races (including the merfolk of the Caesg!) come to Sophram to study, and the Mage’s Guild in that city is the most powerful spell-casters’ organization in all of Lethandria, excluding perhaps the Druid Order.
Rochtell is a stone-sturdy dwarvenholt situated up in the mountains along the western coast of Laomark, overlooking the Great Channel that divides the mainland from Latia. This is the capital city of the Laomarki dwarves, also known as the race of “Black Dwarves” (so-called for the commonest beard-color among them), who are renowned far more for their skill at arms than at smithcraft. The dwarves of the Mark are soldiers before anything else, perhaps the world’s most fearsome fighting force. As to who rules the dwarves, this is difficult to say: the fortunes of the Black Dwarf clans rise and fall with the moon, and their politics are so byzantine that scholars could devote their whole lives to understanding them and never quite discern all the subtleties.
The folk of the Mark, man and dwarf alike, speak a tongue called Nhordi and honor the Seven Gods of the North: a pantheon consisting of Alfader, the king of the gods, and three each of lesser gods and goddesses. The lesser gods are Thünor, the god of thunder and the sky; Baldur, the god of the underworld and death; and Ægir, the god of the seas. The goddesses are Freya, queen of the gods and patroness of love; Hildrun, the goddess of valor and war; and Jordha (pronounced “YOR-tha”), the goddess of kindness, healing, and the earth.
The primary currency of the Mark is a silver penny known as a seld. It’s not widely used, because of the popularity of the Laeshic crown and the Rûnish guilder.