Soullivaria - sol-ih-VAHR-ee-ya
- Parent: Nations
- Capital: Grayham
- Population: 506,225 (humans 70%, mustadi 14%, cyclopt 3%)
- Government: Aristocracy
- Religions: The Nine Daughters, Totemism
- Imports: Magic, spirits, weapons, soldiers
- Exports: Livestock, ore, gold, silver
- Alignments: LG, CG, CN, NG, LN
Life and Society
Soullivaria is a mountainous nation, a land ruled by a military aristocracy and reinforced with a network of arcane colleges. Military and magical prowess are placed in high regard throughout Soullivaria, with most noble families giving patronage to one or several mage schools, as well as vying for their endorsement directly to their noble house.
Soullivaria is a very stratified country, with a considerable lower class that performs the bulk of farming, mining, and manufacturing. There is very little commerce with other nations outside of nobles’ interaction, and a great effort is made to restrict raising oneself in the social strata.
Soullivaria has a history crowded with troubles, from insurrection and peasant revolts to insane rulers and unbalanced wizards unleashing misery on the countryside. Despite repeated civil wars and collapses of leadership and economy, the social status quo, whether through tradition or familiarity, always returns to the habits cemented in its record since antiquity.
Major Geographical Features
This mountain range heads south from where it splits from the Ulger. the air grows colder as the peaks grow higher, with snowstorms late into spring a common occurrence. Bluetip trees are common here, and the stone is treacherous, often cascading down in avalanches at the slightest disturbance. Skum have been seen recently, suggesting an aboleth presence deep in the darkness of the caves below.
The Foundriver Deeps
The series of cliffs, crags, canyons, and caves cuts a deep line through the valley between the Ugler and Folger mountain ranges. treacherous terrain covers the area for miles, with only goat trails and hidden hunting pathways allowing for easy travel between locations. Because of its inaccessibility, the area is notorious for hiding bandits, cultists, exiles and worse.
These peaks crawl along the south of the country, wrapping around the vineyards and farms of the Godire Greenway and washing the lands with streams from above. Fog and mist often obscure the ‘Gables of the Earth’ as they are called, and eerie lights can be seen dancing between the arches and canyons of the rocky slopes, ghostly illumination that has never been caught.
The verdant valley nestled in the Gablemists has a reputation for world-class meads and wines. Towns and hamlets linked by dirt roads surround this land, and mounted soldiers protect the hilly fastnesses with speed and precision. The Willowmark and Sweetgarden noble houses preside over most of the valley, and have made a point of defying royal decrees and demands as they see fit.
This round lake, twelve miles across at it’s widest, sits in a bowl of fir and pine high in the Gablemist mountains. Fishing makes for fierce competition among the villages and hamlets that dot the shores, and the many species caught are sought after throughout noble households both in Soullivaria and abroad.
This river tumbles through dozens of miles of mountainous region through the center of Soullivaria before draining into the underdark and filling the cold depths of an underground lake half a mile below ground. Most of the river’s passage is along a steep-walled canyon where cold lichen-covered stone crowds overhead, blocking out almost all the sunlight that vainly reaches for the river’s surface from above. Eels and snakes are plentiful, and spiders and solifugids have been known to grow to enormous size here.
The Ugler Mountains spread across the northern boarder of Soulivaria, staring down at the Maydown River is it winds along toward the sea. Heavy pine stands cover the tops of these low peaks, inviting peryton to nest and humanoids to raid among the sparse thorps and homesteads that decorate the higher reaches.
The Whitewash cliffs comprise five massive and deafening waterfalls that course down the out-thrust chest of granite that is Widowstone Mountain. Calcium and magnesium thicken the waters that burst out of the Widowstone through steaming geysers, painting the tumbles and cliff faces with ages of white residue. What appears to be millions of birds make their nests along these cliffs, providing food and sport for the cliff monkeys that live here as well.
The thickest woodlands in Soullivaria, this range of timber is bursting with oak, aspen, pine, maple, and mahogany. Roads through the stands are heavily patrolled, as fierce animals and beasts haunt the forest and have been known to prey on travelers. Trappers and gypsies carve a life for themselves along the hidden ways through the trees, and rumors and stories fill taverns about their nefarious purposes.
The remnants of Blightside were swallowed up by the Wild Wood long ago, the city losing its battle with the flora and fauna of a wilderness that refused to be denied. Trees and bushes, brambles and vines, almost as if driven by singular purpose, eventually stole every surface of the city, bringing the wilderness back to the streets, walls, and sewers that had been carved in to the woods to take advantage of nearby gem and silver mines. Fantastic stories migrated with the people dispossessed of their home, and the truth of all there was in Blightside and what happened has now been mostly lost to the mists of myth. Some say journals and histories survived, and are most certainly buried forgotten in a dusty library or jealously horded in a private collector’s case.
A mustadi warren located in the Wild Wood, the Bristlestone Fort has a troubled history, with none of the families growing here meeting a pleasant and peaceful end. The most recent conflict saw the Muik Kush fighting with combined forces of Soullivaria and Krajnarod, resulting in the defeat of Toyjan-sim and the loss of thousands of troops from both countries. The ensuing peace has found, once again, a burgeoning community of mustadi reclaiming the caverns and tunnels of the warren.
Canoe (Town 2,296)
Nestled on the edges of the Ziad Forest, Canoe lies on the edge of the Landsever River and at the border between Soullivaria and the plains nation of Kastea. The town has ties with the sunny steppes of the west, and there is a deep respect for many of the tribes found there within the walls of Canoe. So far from the rest of Soullivaria, and on the furthest side of the deep woods, Canoe can hardly be called a Soullivarian town.
Canoe, while walled, has a very open policy with regard to trade and visitors, and while chaotic and noisy, it does not lack a presence of law and order. The nobility is disregarded here, however, and the Godwin House is in its twilight, led only by an aging dowager with no known heirs. The arcanists hereabout are just as foreign, with elemental air magic being currently en vogue and the local mage school made up of young practitioners enthralled with the wild forces of nature, shape-shifting, and tempest-tossing.
Canoe trades heavily the thorps and hamlets along the Landsever River, and millwork and fishing is huge along the tumbling rapids just outside of the town.
Cantemir (Town 2,665)
Home of the fabled Hornstuer, this city on the southern tip of the Folger Mountains commands the Gablemist Pass and the eastern border with the Saunea Confederacy as well. Ranging by the skirmishers of the city is complicated by Saunean views on land ownership, a difference of opinion that may yet bubble up into a more serious conflict. The Hornstuer, unaligned and potent in it’s pursuit of magic based on perception, charm, and illusion, keeps to itself through the diplomatic hardships of the local nobles.
Carved into the granite of the mountain known as The Cindertip, Cindertip Castle was built in folly by the despotic Archraven, the mad wizard king who planted the seeds for his tyranny over the land some two hundred years ago. Built by an undead army and defended by worse, Cindertip Castle fell during the War of Light, and it was the Sisters of the Newborn Mother, a warrior coven dedicated to Lizei of the Nine, that finally brought down Archraven a decade ago.
The Sisters have kept a monastery in the upper halls of the castle since that war, and educate and train the followers of Lizei, sending them off to spread their word and defend the weak and downtrodden. Beneath their hallowed halls, the remaining sprawl of Archraven’s lair can never be fully healed, so depraved and evil were his designs in creating his home. Trials are made of some of the challenges by the Sisters, and other paths lead to still darker things and far deeper secrets.
The Deadmind was a lair created in the Wild Wood by Toyjan-sim. Upon achieving his state of undeath, the Evoker called forth the power of a dark arcane object to return the past life force of the forest and weave it into a living fortress enslaved to Toyjan-sim. The corpses of animals, deadfalls of trees, long-buried corpses, all of them crawled to the clearing in the forest and wove themselves into the dread halls of the Deadmind. The skulls of deer became gnawing guardians at windows and doors. Hundreds of creatures’ eyes stared out and kept watch over the forest. Rotting branches and roots puffed mold and spores into the eyes and lungs of intruders. Everywhere, the representations of decay spied and protected Toyjan-sim and his fierce Muik Kush.
The Deadmind collapsed during the War of Light, but the place where it stood still carries the nightmares and scars brought forth by the evil Evoker.
Durlemir (Hamlet 155)
This tiny community was stranded several years ago by heavy flooding across it’s low-lying acreage, and shortly thereafter rumors of curses and horrible events began trickling across the countryside. A detachment of troops was sent to the town by the local noble family, and never returned. The superstitious family, prideful and fearful at the same time, has quarantined the area with regular patrols and weak magical abjurations to keep people from entering. A noble writ is required to get past the cordon, and no succor will be granted for any ill befallen by those foolish enough to enter. Many blame the nearby Tolema Tower for their woes, with wards and words quickly passed across their bodies at any mention of the old school.
Like a cloying green vat sunk into the base of the Ugler Mountains, the Graien Creik or Emerald Cauldron is a miles-wide oval of stinking, steaming hot springs clogged with algae and fume. Fed by thermals from well beneath the land and deep into the mountains, geysers burst regularly in this area, sending boiling water and rotting vegetation hundreds of feet into the air.
Animals of all types frequent this area, finding easy food and water as well as unexpected danger as bogs, quicksand, and unseen pits overgrown with grasses and moss break legs and plunge the unsuspecting into a sudden lethal drop or a swift boiling demise. Rumors have been spreading of lizard men and similar folk using this as a home.
Jawn Keep stands sentinel at the Dove Pass between the Ugler and Folger Mountain ranges. Ancestral home and seat of the Jawn House power, the massive edifice looks down onto valleys on either side of the pass where the family holds a firm grip. Carrying centuries of history in the politics and military clout of Soullivaria, the Jawn family has maintained their fortune through land holding and livestock, filling the valleys to either side with towns, shoulder-men, and grazing land for millions of head of sheep, cattle, goats, and pigs.
Artitice Jawn (Ftr 11) is nearing his 50s and has to begin considering the legacy he will leave for his nine children, all of which certainly have their own agenda when it comes to life after the ‘Mountain Boar’ has left the chains of mortality. Of greater concern will be the vacuum of leadership left, as both the Gevin House and the collected Rureladden clans are sure to want to step in and exert their influence when Artitice has gone.
This city lies along the border of Soullivaria and Krajnarod, spread across the divergence of the East Run River. The Tumble River and Maydown River continue east as well, and river trade is heavy between Marsana and towns to the east and west. Patrols are likewise heavy along the roads and border, with the Graven Knights controlling all travel and visitors. Dartel Novella (Aristocrat 8) acts as mayor for the walled town and makes a considerable living writing compacts of trade for merchants crossing into Soullivaria. He has everything to lose and gain with keeping the area peaceful and lawful. Recently copper veins have been prospected and opened in the Ulgers nearby, and it’s possible if the finds are substantial, Marsana could see some rapid growth.
Nisseni (Village 844)
Grown from a hunting site of the Morningmelt clan, this village has burgeoned over the past three decades as adventurers come to explore the Wild Wood to the south and the numerous ruined sites that lay within. Gnarled and tangled trees and growth have taken back acres of ancient towns and cities, and the areas must certainly be made safe before the archaeologists go in.
Tower of the Tempest
This basalt tower stands on the northern edge of the Godire Greenway, rising up through the dreary granite of the mountains. The tower houses the Godan Mage guild and school, a collective specializing in elemental spellcasting and control of primitive forces. It is closely allied to the Willowmark noble house and serves their interest so long as the house keeps their affairs from directly conflicting with the Tower of the Tempest.