Dawnforge Crucible of Legend
It is an age of empire, and the clash of rising civilizations casts the factions and organizations of the world of Dawnforge in stark relief. The future is an unknown horizon, and the lands of Ambria, Tamerland, and Zangala are a battleground for competing visions and conflicting dreams.
The tiefling lords of the Valhedar Dominion have built an empire on fiendish pacts and dark sorcery. The ancient city of Valhedar rests in the shadow of a great volcano whose fires burn with the unholy light of the lower planes. Since time immemorial, the wizards and disciples of Valhedar have communed with the dark powers that dwell in the heart of the mountain. These ancient and evil beings share their knowledge and strength, and the Valhedrin worship them as gods. The brooding idols that lien the broad avenues and canals of Valhedar are not the fearsome visages of imagined fiends – they are the dark forms the tiefling see when they gaze into the pit. The tieflings’ dreams of conquest are driven not only by their own lust for power but also by the need to placate their masters with suffering and sorrow.
The lords and ladies of the Kingsmarch are the children of a dozen noble bloodlines and the champions of a hundred rival banners. Their shared language, culture, and history bind them together, but true unity remains an elusive goal in a land where all of the great families were born to rule. The greatest of the scattered realms of the Kingsmarch is Deluin, a southland kingdom ruled from the walled port city of Avennar. King Enir II traces his line back to the barbarian princes who first settled the banks of the great rivers. Deluin stretches across the southern reaches of the Kingsmarch between the Horn River in the west and the Shield River in the east – the boundary mark that separates the Kingsmarch and Emerlyn. This kingdom and its people have paid the steepest price in the wars with Valhedar, and losses suffered on the fields of Dor Erlon have prevented Enir from pressing his claim in the Kingsmarch.
Seven Cities of Anderland
The breadbasket of Ambria consists of the humans of Anderland and their seven great cities. Each of these city-states is ruled by one of the princes of Anderland. Though loosely allied, the princes are more concerned with the welfare of their own people than with the well being of their neighbors. Wile a stronger alliance might benefit all of the rules in the region, the princes have difficulty seeing this, as each hopes to eventually unite all of Anderland under his or her own banner. For now, the city-states work together when it is convenient and help defend one another from threats when they can, but it is a rare prince who will put his own lands at risk for another. The Seven Cities of Anderland are as follows: Ebernath, on its island in the Parthian Sea; Elnaria, a wealthy city on the northern border; Larakis, the most prosperous of the Anderland port cities; Ironwall, the grim city standing guard over the haunted Pale Forest; Riversend, a river city built on exploration and trade; Seaward, largest of the seven, sitting on the shores of the wealthy Goldspring Sea; Saranor, on the border of Sildanyr to the east and home to a microcosm of the elven civil war; and Stormhaven, port city with access to the oceans of the world.
Three Kingdoms of Aradath
The Three Kingdoms of Aradath are among the oldest civilizations of Ambria. The dwarves, in fact, claim that the yare the eldest race, that they were hewn from the stone of the world by a god of the mountain in the first days. The giantkind contest this claim, and many scholars believe there are thins far older than either race that dwell in the dark and wild places of the world. High King Odvar Ironforge rules the dwarves of the Stormfells from the fortress city of Stoneguard. This great holdfast is built into the side of Mount Aradrun, and a determined dwarf could journey for weeks through the endless vaults, halls, and mines hewn from its ancient bones.
Giants of the North
The giants that share the Stormfells with the dwarves of Aradath are ruled by Balon Thunderhorn, who is called the Storm King. Despite this title, the storm giant’s realm is not a true kingdom and it does not even claim a name of its own. It is a loose alliance of giant clans whose allegiance to Thunderhorn’s banner is forged of awe and fear. The clans that offer fealty to the Storm King include all the races of giantkind, with the exception of frost giants and fire giants. The frost giants are far more common in the show-shrouded peaks of the Frostfells and the Icehammer Front. The fire giants rule the deep places far below the Storm King’s realm. The great citadel called Skyhold is built into the summit of Mount Imperion, the highest elevation in Ambria. The culture of the giants of the Stormfells is a simple one, and the clans spend most of their time warring against each other and hunting the last dragons remaining in their mountain home. The Storm King’s throne in Skyhold is crafted from the bones of a great wyrm, and the giants’ prowess at dragon hunting was an important consideration in Hael Ironforge’s decision to make peace with the Stormfell clans.
The elves of Sildanyr are the magical children of the fey creatures that have dwelt in the wild places since the world was born. Their war-torn forest kingdom is ruled by a dawn elven king and queen from the ivory-walled city of Ersevor at the foot of the Morningstar Mountains. It was King Aelorn who issued the edict banning the night elves’ new religion and inadvertently sparked a civil war. Most of the elven settlements in Sildanyr are small communities built around the roots and in the boughs of the ancient trees. The kingdom’s economy is a simple one, but the magic and plenty of the great forest provide the elves with all they need. There is some trade with Anderland and beyond, but the dawn elves require little that they cannot craft or gather for themselves.
The culture of the night elves has been radically transformed in the years since the disciple Baleth introduced her people to their new goddess. They have been driven from the villages and cities of their homeland and now live as desperate fugitives and rebels in the Morningstar Mountains. Their lives are devoted to the worship of Lathail and the bloody war they must win to reclaim their birthright. Most of the night elves have followed their priestesses into exile and open rebellion, but a few have refused to turn their backs on the old ways. These night elves are tolerated in the communities of Sildanyr, though fear and distrust have often marred their lives and relationships. Some have left Sildanyr altogether, refused to take sides in a war they know can only end in tragedy and loss.
Serpents of Zangala
The great empire of the yuan-ti stretches for hundreds of miles from the savannas of northern Zangala to the southernmost tip of this ancient land. The serpent people laid the foundations of this empire in the days when dragons and glaciers ruled the north, and their civilization has endured for untold centuries. The heart of the yuan-ti empire is an ancient stone city on the banks of a marshy lake in the heart of the jungle. Marazan is a city of great pyramid temples, alien spires and arches, and vine-wreathed shrines and idols. The trueblood lords of the city live in decadent luxury. They are priests who offer blood sacrifices and foul prayers to their dark gods. The yare dreaming sorcerers who search for hidden dimensions and black places with half-lidded, reptilian eyes. The thinblood lower caste and the slaves of countless races who serve these alien masters live in fear and squalor. The temples and spires are built on their labor, and the only reward they can expect is the chance to offer their lives on bloodstained altars.
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