Western Realms

Western Realms

The world is made up of several continents, the Western Realms constitute an amalgamation of Kingdoms that refers to itself as the Western Realms.

Institutions Common to the Western Kingdoms


Despite the diversity of cultures across the Western Realms certain institutions/orders are either known of or extant within each of the Western Kingdoms. While these various institutions are known about at some level, the common layperson may not know all or any of the functions of that institution without a special knowledge/lore skill. The common perception of that institution is also detailed.

College of Heralds

The College of Heralds exists individually throughout each Kingdom within the Western Kingdoms but each Kingdom’s College of Heralds maintains at least diplomatic ties with all other Western Kingdom College of Heralds and some like foreign institutions. The College of Heralds serves several functions for each of the Kingdoms they serve. As their name states, their most immediate and primary concern is the maintenance of Heraldic duties such as chronicling family devices and issuing updates to all other Kingdoms’ Colleges of Heraldry. In process of such chronicling dynastic knowledge of many families is acquired and thus the College of Heralds often forms a high level historical knowledge base. The combination of these two elements is the College of Heralds second major responsibility which is to open negotiations/ambassadorships on behalf of the Kingdom they represent. On the field of battle, the most junior heralds also serve as messengers between battling forces.

Social Rank

The concept of social rank is the Western Kingdom’s avenue toward understanding different ranks and functions relative to one another as well as across Kingdom boundaries. The striation of society is a nearly universal concept across the Western Kingdoms and thus all individuals need to understand where they fit in both domestically and internationally if travelling abroad. In most Kingdoms social rank also affords one increasing influence and advantages even when travelling abroad. Social rank acts as a positive modifier to charisma based rolls when the individual using the charisma based ability is of higher social rank than his/her target. The positive modifier is the difference between the two stations. Likewise it can act as a negative modifier when the individual using the charisma based ability is of significantly lower social station (the penalty is the difference between the two stations). Note that not all such “disadvantaged” social rank disparities result in penalties and in fact in most cases there won’t be any penalty based on social rank disparities. The penalty typically would only apply if the individual is attempting an action/result outside/above his or her social rank with regard to the target being of greater social station. Common situations where the penalty would apply would be an individual of inferior social rank attempting to gain an audience with his/her superior at a greatly hastened pace (essentially out of turn). However individual of greater social rank than their target can always take advantage of that differential but that differential of course must be known to both parties.

Kingdoms of the Western Realms

Kingdom of Lockhardt

Government: Lawful Good Monarchy

Population: Neutral Good; 90% human, 6% Dwarf, 2% half orc, 2% other.

Occupying some of the most northerly climates Lockhardt is a kingdom that faced a two front war on a regular basis. To its west lies the Great Kingdom of Zerzegoth and to its north across the icy Shaarak River the Goblinoids of Thull. Even at the peasant level the militarization of society is evident as every populated area is in some way walled in. The poorest such homesteads use wooden walls while much more common are stone walls created, if necessary, by governmentally sponsored efforts.

The Undead Lords War changed little in the lives of the population of Lockhardt. While now the Western Boarder shared with Zerzegoth hasn’t seen an invasion in three years, the fortifications and fighting orders remain in good readiness. However, a considerable amount of the fighting force has been drained from the Kingdom to fight the Undead Lords War. Most peasants and aristocracy are aware of this war and that an enemy force threatens the whole of the kingdom but they have lived with that threat for centuries from Zerzegoth.

Kingdom Politics

Rigid social structure pervades kingdom politics. While there can be upward movement, such movement is rare at best and only slightly less rare is the fall from grace resulting in a downward movement. Concepts of feudalism are core elements of Lockhardt politics at the kingdom as well as local level. But just as important and more significant is the influence of the Church of Vangaul which indirectly or directly has inserted itself into nearly every nook of kingdom life, especially political life.

Guilds:

  • Arms and Armorers Guild
  • College of Heralds
  • Mason’s Guild
  • Silver Smiths Guild
  • Wizard’s Guild
  • Wood Workers Guild

Military Orders:

  • Dragon Lords: the Dragon Lords are relatively few, all being paladins of Vauhngal who have taken as their steed a dragon. The order is based in the County of North Reach where it watches over both the Goblins of the North and up until recently its infamous aggressor on its western border.
  • Knights Templar: is a military order sponsored by the clergy of Vauhngal and the Kingdom. The Knights Templar home is in Westchester.

Social Rank/Structure

RankTitleDescription
10King/Queen of LockhardtThis title is inherited from father to first son and thus far Lockhardt has only had Kings as inheritors. The King, Queen, and all Princes and Princesses are collectively referred to as the Royal Family. The King and Queen of Lockhardt reside in the Principality of Westchester and directly rule this area as their personal fief. The King of Lockhardt however must be confirmed by the Church of Vauhngal.
9Arch Bishop of VauhngalThe Arch Bishop of Vauhngal is recognized as a policy setter co-equally with the Heir Apparent. While the Arch Bishop of Vauhngal does not directly answer to the King of Lockhardt his position of political importance is measurable within the kingdom’s government/social structure. Note: Clergy of Vauhngal bonus already included.
9Heir ApparentThe first son of the Royal Family is termed the Heir Apparent (but is still addressed as a Prince) and is given Stewardship of the Principality of Stoneridge. When he ascends the throne he retains this Principality until he has son of his own. The Heir Apparent may be “thrown down” by the Church (this has never historically happened) forcing the Royal Family to declare the next son Heir Apparent. The Heir Apparent performs the duties of the Kingdom’s Prime Minister.
8Prince/
Princess
Any daughters and any sons of the King and Queen are immediately crowned prince/princess. The next in line after Heir Apparent (prince or princess) and the second eldest becomes the Minister the Treasury.
7MarshalThe Marshal of Lockhardt is a Noble of Lockhardt. The Marshal is responsible for all matters concerning the military assets of Lockhardt and performs duties normally associated with the Ministry of Defense. The Marshal of Lockhardt is addressed as either “Marshal” (on the field of battle or by those in military service to him) or “your grace” in court.
6Duke/ DuquessaDukes/Duquessa are powerful individuals who hold vast swaths of land. The title of Duke (male) or Duquessa (female) maybe held in one’s own right and is inherited from father to first son but in cases where there are no surviving sons (as is common of war) the title (and lands) are passed to the first daughter who (when she marries) forces her husband to take her family’s name. Dukes/Duquessas are considered the final tier of Nobles. Individuals with this title (regardless of gender) are addressed as “your grace”.
6Bishop of VauhngalFurther demonstration of the Church of Vauhngal’s thorough influence in Kingdom politics is that all Bishops of Vauhngal are accorded an honorific title equal with the middle rung of the Nobility.
5Chapter Master of the Dragon LordsChapter Master of the Dragon Lords leads the Kingdom’s Dragon Lords Company. His ties with the Church of Vauhngal, military prowess, and general prestige call him out for special consideration in the feudal structure of the Kingdom. The Chapter Master of the Dragon Lords is addressed as “your grace”.
5Chapter Master of the Knights TemplarChapter Master of the Knights Templar leads the Knights Templar Company. His ties with the Church of Vauhngal (and potentially Lledrith), military prowess, and general prestige call him out for special consideration in the feudal structure of the Kingdom of Coron. The Chapter Master of the Knights Templar (regardless of gender) is addressed as “your grace”.
5Count/ CountessaCounts/Countessas own considerable swaths of land and therefore are always powers to be reckoned with. Primogenitary remains the practice of inheritance. Count (male)/Countessa(female) are always addressed by this title and this rank forms the upper crust ranks of the Aristorcracy of the Kingdom.
4Baron/ BaronessBarons usually form the command staff of campaigns and occasionally are appointed to General of the army for the campaign. Barons also are the first tier of the Aristocracy usually capable of funding their own Army (being defined as more than one company) and as such are also the lowest tier of the Aristocracy placed in the command ranks.
3ShirereeveShireeve is the smallest land holding aristocrat recognized by the Kingdom and forms the lowest rung of the land holding aristocracy (but not the lowest rung of the aristocracy).
2KnightKnights form the absolute lowest rung of the Aristocracy. Knighthood serves a military purpose in the Kingdom and as such knighthood is awarded for military pursuits. Any child born of a knight or higher station may apprentice (squire) to another knight to become a knight. The standards by which the ‘teacher knight’ decides if the squire is to become a knight vary considerably but in the kingdom all squires must have fought in at least two battles before they are eligible to be recognized as a knight.
2Official of an Aristocrat, Noble, or RoyalAny official of the Royalty, Nobility, or Aristocracy falls into this category. This includes military officers (and by extension their sergeants who carry their authority when on an assignment from them), public servants (judges, tax collectors, etc.), etc.
1+Clergy of VauhngalAny cleric of Vauhngal automatically benefits from the Clerical Authority Feat and as such is at least of social rank 1.
1Guild HeadGuild heads are the secular leaders of each Guild of each settlement where a guild may reside.
1SquireSquires usually come from the sons of aristocrats, Nobles, or the Royal Family. They serve a term (of indefinite length of time) under a knight and then hopefully are raised to the ranks of knighthood. For the sons of Shirereeves and greater this rise is virtually guaranteed provided they meet the minimum requirements of knighthood which are: 1) must have fought in at least 2 battles, 2) must be able to provide arms and armor for one’s self and suitable arms and armor for one’s combatant retainers, 3) must be approved for knighthood by the Church of Vauhngal. However, the sons of knights or lower are considerably less likely to be promoted to knighthood without extreme effort on his part. A squire is promoted to knighthood on the battlefield where he qualified provided he’s already met/proven conditions 2 and 3. All risen squires are reported to the Royal Family via the Church of Vauhngal.
0FreemanThese are individuals who are free to move about the kingdom as the are not bonded to any lord or plot of land.
-1PeasantryIndividuals bonded to a nobleman or the land and are in general not free to move about the kingdom.
-3Criminal, MinorThieves and other non-violent criminals.
-5Criminal, MajorMurders and other violent criminals.

Provinces of Lockhardt

North Reach: The County of North Reach is the home of the Dragon Lords and the Chapter Master is its ruler. The entire county is dedicated to supporting the Dragon Lords their steeds needs. As a result agriculture is the main industry of the county with very little crafts or manufacturing outside of military needs. The land is crisscrossed with streams and rivers making long overland treks an arduous endeavor as only main roads have bridges that are maintained.

Stoneridge: The Principality of Stoneridge is granted to the stewardship of the Heir Apparent. The purpose of such a granting is to give the Heir Apparent a personal power base which hopefully will prevent/stifle any potential for internecine warfare between Royal siblings. The Principality may seem large, but vast stretches of the principality are rugged hills and mountains that are nearly uninhabitable.

Westchester: The Principality of Westchester is the royal holding of the King and home to the Knights Templar. With the vast amounts of arable land, Westchester is also considered the “bread basket” of the Kingdom.

Kingdom of Zerzegoth

Government: Lawful Evil Feudalism

Population: Lawful Neutral; 90% human, 4% half- orc, 2% half ogres, 4% other.

Easily Western Realm’s most populous Kingdom, Zerzegoth started as a barony that through its immortal emperor engaged in conquest, intrigue, and bullying to absorb territories around it. Over time its tendency to expand and consolidate has left it with huge counties and rulers capable of launching their own military campaigns independent of the need for the crown to support such endeavors. Zerzegoth as of recent has hit several stumbling blocks which have contributed to a considerable depletion of Kingdom wide resources.

Kingdom Politics

Internally the psychology that pervades the Emperor’s concept of rule flows down and is emulated through his vassals. Might makes for the right to rule. Succession through primogenitary (first son gets everything) is the most common form of passing the reins of power; however succession through assassination insures that those who take the reins of power remain strong enough to keep them. This means that those in power are nearly always backed by a considerable number of vassals and allies who have something to loose should their liege die. Thus part of succession by assassination is the elimination of the entire noble court that backs the current leader. With assassination as a ‘common practice’ the nobles who hold power in any given court must guard not only their own backs but those of their allies since the elimination of their allies invariably means their own end.

Religion is tolerated by the Emperor as a means to maintain control. By controlling the priests of the various faiths the Emperor controls its followers and can, in some cases, benefit from assisting the religion in its objectives as long as those goals (or the results of them) align with his own. Each head priest is individually aware that all the clerics his faith has within the Kingdom are still not enough to challenge the Emperor and by insuring the potential of proper advancement of each faith; each cleric has very little inclination to challenge the Emperor. Additionally, only clerics (regardless of level) never bow their heads to the Emperor for they serve a power much greater and thus they are exempt from showing the Emperor the deference that even his greatest and most favored vassals must still show.

Externally the Great Kingdom of Zerzegoth was at war with nearly all of its neighbors, until the incursions of the Unliving Kings. In any given year at least one major campaign was mounted against a neighbor. Despite the Elves, Kingdom of Lockhardt and others, the Drow were the Emperor’s most intractable foe. The Drow are not only a logical enemy to the Emperor but a philosophical one as well in being diametrically opposed to the Emperor in nearly every way. The Drow by numerical comparison are almost insignificant compared to the numbers of citizen and military the Emperor has at his disposal and yet they strike with precision and devastation knowing little loss. The Great Kingdom actively espouses primogenitary and just it’s opposite the Drow practice gynecocracy/gynocentrism with succession and inheritance going to the oldest female Drow. A further affront to the Emperor is that the Drow Elvin Dragon Riders are easily the world’s finest riders but a privilege reserved only for the greatest of the nobles of the Drow. The Drow say, “the Emperor rules where the Drow are not”. A bitter truth to the Emperor and a reminder to him that he is not necessarily master of all his kingdom.

The Kingdom of Lockhardt easily saw the most significant efforts of the Emperor’s armies to acquire land, until the Unliving Kings War. Here again the Emperor is opposed by a fundamental opposite to him. Where the Great Kingdom of Zerzegoth sees quantity has a quality all its own, the Kingdom of Lockhardt reserves war for the privileged socially elite. Thus the massed formations of the Great Kingdom fall upon the veteran forces of Lockhardt and their allies and the Emperor’s forces were all too often repulsed. Their failure, precipitating some beheadings amongst the lower officer ranks of the Great Kingdom for their failure to win at ten to one odds in their favor.

Kazstaar Hold, being an ally of Lockhardt was frequently the subject of highly ineffectual sieges by Zerzegoth but the numerically limited dwarves can hardly take such attempts lightly because of the raw numbers the Great Kingdom has access to. But being allies of Lockhardt, Kazstaar has relied on their allies for relief efforts and visa versa.

Ulthaen, the Kingdom of the Elves saw the fewest assaults/invasions per decade/century. The dense forest, vast magical resources of the elves and hit-and-run tactics make for infuriating battles of attrition. Attempts to hack down the forest were nearly constant but druidical interests coupled with the massive size of the trees in the area insure that little progress was made there too. The elves cannot expect any assistance from their next-door neighbors the dwarves as a millennia old feud remains well in place in the dwarvish culture.

Social Rank/Structure

RankTitleDescription
10EmperorThis title belongs to the ruler of Zerzegoth who is a Dragon Rider himself and believing himself to be Immortal has no vision of Empire beyond himself and therefore no line of succession exists.
9Heir ApparentThere is none.
8Prince/
Princess
There is none.
7MarshalThe Marshal is a Noble. The Marshal is responsible for all matters concerning the military assets and performs duties normally associated with the Ministry of Defense. The Marshal is addressed as either “Marshal” (on the field of battle or by those in military service to him) or “your grace” in court.
6Duke/ DuquessaDukes/Duquessa are powerful individuals who hold vast swaths of land. The title of Duke (male) or Duquessa (female) maybe held in one’s own right and is inherited from father to first son but in cases where there are no surviving sons (as is common of war) the title (and lands) are passed to the first daughter who (when she marries) takes his family’s name. Dukes/Duquessas are considered the final tier of Nobles. Individuals with this title (regardless of gender) are addressed as “your grace”.
5Count/ CountessaCounts/Countessas own considerable swaths of land and therefore are always powers to be reckoned with. Primogenitary remains the practice of inheritance. Count (male)/Countessa(female) are always addressed by this title and this rank forms the upper crust ranks of the Aristorcracy of the Kingdom.
4Baron/ BaronessBarons usually form the command staff of campaigns and occasionally are appointed to General of the army for the campaign. Barons also are the first tier of the Aristocracy usually capable of funding their own Army (being defined as more than one company) and as such are also the lowest tier of the Aristocracy placed in the command ranks.
3ShirereeveShireeve is the smallest land holding aristocrat recognized by the Kingdom and forms the lowest rung of the land holding aristocracy (but not the lowest rung of the aristocracy).
2KnightKnights form the absolute lowest rung of the Aristocracy. Knighthood serves a military purpose in the Kingdom and as such knighthood is awarded for military pursuits. Any child born of a knight or higher station may apprentice (squire) to another knight to become a knight. The standards by which the ‘teacher knight’ decides if the squire is to become a knight vary considerably.
2Official of an Aristocrat, Noble, or RoyalAny official of the Royalty, Nobility, or Aristocracy falls into this category. This includes military officers (and by extension their sergeants who carry their authority when on an assignment from them), public servants (judges, tax collectors, etc.), etc.
1Guild HeadGuild heads are the secular leaders of each Guild of each settlement where a guild may reside.
1SquireSquires usually come from the sons of aristocrats, Nobles, or the Royal Family. They serve a term (of indefinite length of time) under a knight and then hopefully are raised to the ranks of knighthood. For the sons of Shirereeves and greater this rise is virtually guaranteed. However, the sons of knights or lower are considerably less likely to be promoted to knighthood without extreme effort on his part.
0FreemanThese are individuals who are free to move about the kingdom as the are not bonded to any lord or plot of land.
-1PeasantryIndividuals bonded to a nobleman or the land and are in general not free to move about the kingdom.
-3Criminal, MinorThieves and other non-violent criminals.
-5Criminal, MajorMurders and other violent criminals.

Provinces of Zerzegoth

Principality of Derradune: The most populous of the Principalities of Zerzegoth and the seat of power of Zerzegoth’s King; Derradune consists of nothing more than a single city and some outlying country side. Durradune was built on a hill and built up from the base. It evolved into a city were-in the lower classes occupied the base of the hill, the middle classes (business class) occupied the middle section of the hill and the aristocracy the top most portion of the hill.

Principality of Ostar: Only slightly less populous than Darradune and consists of a single large city with outlying farms, Ostar is Zerzegoth’s only theocracy and is dedicated to the .

Barony of Effax: Effax is the holding of the Dark Artificer. Almost all of the Barony’s activity is conducted by the Dark Artificer’s Steward Genard Hallings since the Dark Artificer can’t be bothered with the mundane running of a Barony. Generally speaking the Barony of Effax is one of the more pleasant territories of Zerzegoth and easily its wealthiest. Given its master, Effax sees its share unusual ambassadors and its Steward is intolerant of those who cannot behave themselves and with his master’s help, if need be, has the power to vanquish troublemakers of any type. The Barony’s primary tithe to the Zerzegoth throne is magical equipment. However the Emperor has very limited control over this Barony which is nearly an independent state except for the fact that it does pay taxes/tithes to the throne.

Western Realms

Over Reach magescape