The Shade Isle Campaign
Latia (pronounced “LAY-sha”) is an island off the northwestern coast of the Lethandrian continent, surrounded by the Great Channel and the Westron Ocean. In this day and age, Latia is populated mostly by gnomes, with some humans and a few elves. But this was not always so; in ancient times, before the Fall, it was a far more cosmopolitan place.
A mountain range known simply as the Belt runs east and west across the island. In pre-Fall times, these mountains were a political boundary between two warring kingdoms, Pensula in the south and Ecadia in the north. The Black Knight who broke the world was, in fact, the Lord of Ecadia, the Baron Norman Julian Merkedar. Three great heroes, Sir Clarence of Legas, his elvish lover Judith, and their young wizard companion Claremont, led the Pensulan armies and opposed Merkedar; but they were unable to stop him from going to Páradhel and ensuring that nobody in Færith could ever afterward Have Nice Things™.
Much of the damage that was done to the geography of Latia, especially north of the Belt, remains to this day; but then again, much of the island’s geography is quite changed. The south of Latia is mostly gnomish by population: the populations of the old cities of Legas, Betouus, and Medii, and the towns of Houghton and Lochton, are almost entirely gnomes. Only one city, Bergram, which is a tiny and independent kingdom on the southwestern shore of the island, is mostly human. The Forest of the Ancients, which fills nearly all the land between Bergram and the Belt, even yet has some elves remaining.
In the southeast of Latia, a short range of mountains called the Myst Mountains leaves a tiny stretch of drylands, almost desert, known as “the Hodab” along the shore. Two tiny islands off the coast here, Laduil and Laduine, were once home to peaceful fishermen and villagers, but now the only settlement there is the Rogues’ Roost, in the hands of pirates.
North of the Belt, the country now called Eorland is a blighted and blasted wasteland: all that remains of the ancient nation of Ecadia. A great table-mountain known as the Terata Plateau rises up and fills the center of the landscape, stretching across more that fifty miles east to west and not quite forty miles at its widest point north to south. Only monsters are said to dwell atop the Terata, but even if that’s true, nobody (or nothing) ever comes down from atop the plateau.
One city, populated by humans of Nhordic extraction, sits on the east coast of Eorland: an independent colony called Æsirberg. The northwest of Eorland is rugged and mountainous country: there, an old, haunted, dead city known as Caer Dunn guards the pass into the Merk Vale, whence the Black Knight once ruled.
The people of southern Latia are mostly gnomes, with some humans and elves; but nearly all of them practice the Elvish religion, and they speak a language called Laeshic, which is derived from an old dialect of Elvish. (Imagine it sounding something like Welsh or Gaelic.) North of the Belt, there are few people except in Æsirberg; these people have named the north-country Eorland, after their own tongue, a Nhordi-derived dialect called Eorlish. (Imagine it sounding rather like Dutch, Frisian, or Anglo-Saxon.)
The Elves hold that there are three deities which govern the universe, but their deities are more like impersonal forces of nature than traditional gods. The gods are to be honored and placated, but not necessarily worshiped in the ordinary sense. The Elvish trinity is comprised of: the Dagda, the Good God; the Morrigan, the Goddess of Magic; and the Samhain (pronounced “SAH-wen”), the Shadow of Night. Elves believe that regularly observed rituals, especially on holy days (like solstices and equinoxes), should be observed to please the gods and keep the machinery of nature running smoothly; but they don’t presume to believe, for example, that the gods answer prayers or care about the lives of mortals. (And even before the Fall, when the elves were all magically ageless, they still regarded themselves as mere mortals, since accident or violence could most certainly end their lives.)
The gnomes of Latia are the innovative, entrepreneurial sort. While those that dwell in the small villages and on farms are as provincial as you might expect halfling-folk to be, the city-gnomes are always busy at something—science, engineering, finance, trade, shipping. The Latian Navy (to say nothing of its Merchant Marine) is slowly growing to become the envy of the world; the only thing stopping it from becoming an unstoppable force wielded by a Great Power is the fact that Latia is not a centralized nation-state, but rather a collection of loosely allied city-states and principalities.
The currencies of Latia, the silver crown and gold sovereign, are commonly found everywhere that the Laeshic gnomes sail and trade, which is practically all over Lethandria.