The Kingdoms of Hesket and the Known World: An Overview
Below you will find short summaries of each country. For richer detail, please see the full country entries.
Allondell is the "central" kingdom of the world, with a culture similar to England and its neighbors. Allondell's terrain varies from bustling cities to grassy fields to forests that would rival Sherwood. For most characters, Allondell will be the "center" of civilization. Allondines are not known for favoring any particular deity, and temples to all the different gods dot the Allondine countryside.
Tolbury, the country's capital, is one of Hesket's largest cities, full of both prosperous merchants and hardened street folk.
A land much like southern Europe, Bilgosh is the source of many legends of the darker creatures—werewolves, vampires, and the like. In 1008, these creatures even took over the country, with a vampire and his minions now ruling the land.
Perhaps because of this, its people, particularly the peasants, are very superstitious. In their faith, Bilgoshmen are known to particularly revere Brinnig and Perinnia.
This Scotland-like kingdom stretches from the rocky Highlands in the west to the Lowlands of the coast. As with Scotland, there is a slight cultural divide between the Lowlanders (who tend to be more urbanized and "civilized") and the Highland clans (who tend to be more rural and "rough").
In addition, scattered through the kingdom are pockets of Caelti (CALE-tee), the descendants of the former rulers of the land. For centuries, the Caelti have practiced a secret art, "blood magic", in which humans are sacrificed to power magic rituals. Many Caelti, especially the blood mages, use these powers to try to re-establish Caelti supremacy over the land.
Cadfaigh's recent history has been troubled. The Caelti rebelled in 993, and the country fell into a three-way War for the Throne in 996 when the previous king's legitimacy came into question. The victor of that war, Queen Marilyn, is finally bringing stability back to the land. She is married (and allied) to King Dmitri of Ragnorack, who fought on her side in the civil war.
For more information on Cadfaigh's history, see www.quest.org/cg/countries.
A kingdom much like medieval France. Chardreau is a land of lush fields and bountiful vineyards, neither of which have gone unnoticed by its merry residents. . . . The Chardrois are a festive people, and are notable worshippers of Sarana, Majenir, and Dorial.
This archipelago is not a united country, but rather contains eighteen different independent states, mostly principalities and duchies. It includes not just a large chain of islands, but also a peninsula of mainland north of Iñarra. Delonan culture is reminiscent of Italy, Greece, Malta, and other Mediterranean lands.
Due to Delona's reliance upon the sea for its well-being, Kyta is a popular god. Sarana and Ubrialla are also favorites, though particular focus varies from state to state.
Yamamoto invaded Delona in July of 997, and made quick work of many of the eastern islands, conquering the Duchy of Napermo and several other islands, naming them the province of "Seiguntou." There is now an uneasy peace in eastern Delona.
The Grendarr Mountains (GRENN-dahr)
Not a kingdom, but a region of almost unbelievably steep mountains that only the stout dwarves seem to be able to cross with any efficiency.
On the surface of these mountains reside not only many fierce beasts, but also tribes of human "barbarians," who trade furs with the agoraphobic dwarves for weapons and armor to use in raids against the nearby kingdoms. Rannash and Zotra, naturally, are favorite gods of these people.
A somewhat dusty land, where El Cid and even Don Quixote would be right at home.
Iñarran culture places high value on family ties, and thus Perinnia features prominently in their worship. A romantic fondness leads to affection for Alia, and a conscious mortality (as well as fear of ghosts and undead) fuels worship of Tralados.
Vaguely resembling the medieval Ottomans/Turks, the Kiljuk Empire remains only loosely united by its supreme king, whom the Kiljuks call "sultan" (sool-TAHN). The country's politics remain a consistent struggle between the lords (or "pashas") for the power to rule "behind the throne.
Kiljuks are known for the reverence they show Sarana, goddess of music and poetry. The Kiljuk cities are dotted with coffeehouses, where storytellers and musicians delight the crowds. Many of these establishments double as Saranan temples! The many scholars and vast schools of the Empire provide many worshippers for Elune.
A country similar in flavor to Germany. While agriculture can be limited in its mountainous terrain, Kislevia serves as the gate between Allondell and the lands to the west, and profits well from the trade. Kislevia also acts as the primary gate for Ragnorackan traders, who head through the kingdom's mountain passes.
The Norse kingdom, whose king barely maintains the loyalty of the numerous lords or "jarls."
Kjolns are a vibrant, blond people, who fish the northern seas extensively and also send their vast ships southward to raid. Tales of their ferocity are well-known. They are typically fond of the gods Rannash, Kyta, and Furthane.
A forested isle off the coast of Allondell and Cadfaigh, the Linneralians are a Gaeldic people who migrated centuries ago from the mainland. From the winding hills of Clwyru to the vast Gwndylen Fens, the Linneralians are a simple but resourceful sort, and their veneration of Ubrialla is well-known.
As one journeys further east across the isle, the pastoral homesteads and gentle forests begin to fade. Instead, the northeastern half of the island is covered with a huge, dark forest—the Siolidh (SHILL-ih)—still unexplored by humans after all these centuries.
Not a country, but a region of numerous countries or "emirates," ruled by "emirs" (eh-MEERS). The bronze-skinned Marakhs dress in loose-fitting clothes to better cope with the arid climate of their land.
The often fatalistic outlook of the Marakhs has spawned several enthusiastic sects of Balthazar ("Balhazra" as she is called in Marakhin). The hot sun fuels worship of Brinnig, and many turn to Ubrialla for sustenance from the arid land (though Ubrialla is much less a "forest" goddess in their image, understandably). Prayers for Zotra to send welcome rains also ring out in Marakh temples.
Far from mahiri forests or dwarven mountains, Marakhin has no friendly non-humans. As a result, the Marakhs tend to be wary of all non-humans, including the mahiri, dwarves, and other civilized creatures.
This mountain valley was once wilderness, overrun by orcs and wolves, populated by but a few human traders, and claimed by no lord. In the 950s, an alliance of settlers/conquerors from the neighboring kingdoms of Cadfaigh, Kislevia, and Kjolnir, and then carved out a more civilized land from the northern wilderness.
After the sudden death of the king in the autumn of 992, the land fell into chaos until Count Dmitri the Red from Kislevia (now King Dmitri of Ragnorack) stepped in six months later, with a Kislevian army right behind. Order returned and prosperity followed.
During Cadfaigh's 997-998 civil war, King Dmitri of Ragnorack was betrothed to (and supported) the victorious claimant, the current Queen Marilyn of Cadfaigh. The two were married in 999 and the two countries are now inseparably allied.
As King Dmitri venerates Balthazar, the cat goddess has seen new popularity in the kingdom. Majenir's arts are revered in the dangerous frontier, as are Tiranon's in the untamed forests.
For more information on Ragnorack's history, see www.quest.org/cg/countries.
Hesket is home to many wandering persons from no home country: the Rosheni. They are a traveling people, who make a living through performances, storytelling, or minor merchanting, though reputation (whether true or not) holds that many also take advantage of their traveling nature to engage in less noble professions. Rosheni typically live and travel in "clans" and maintain fierce family ties.
A small duchy, resembling the Low Countries of Europe (Belgium, Luxembourg). Culturally similar to Chardreau, the Roudoigne zealously defend their independence so as to keep their rights as free traders. Roudoigne often serve as Hesket's smugglers or embargo-breakers, and many risk the perilous southern seas to trade with the Southerners.
The prosperous craft guilds of Roudoigne have financed numerous temples to Furthane, including the largest Furthanian temple, the Grand Church of the Holy Weaver, paid for by the clothmakers. Roudoigne's numerous port cities also pay great homage to Kyta.
Meaning "Western Archipelago," Seiguntou is the Yamamotoan holding in Hesket. Once part of Delona, Seiguntou includes the former Duchy of Napermo, plus a number of other smaller islands once belonging to Philiathos and Veneza. Most of Seiguntou's residents are of Hesketine origin, and there is considerable rebellion against its foreign rule.
Of the "dark continent" across the sea to the south, little is known; few Hesketines can reach there, blocked by Kiljuk and Marakh raiders. However, traders from these southern kingdoms tell tales of humid jungles, unknown gods, mystical temples, and ancient gold. . . .
The Steinlands (STINE-lands)
These seven mountainous duchies were once ruled by Zdunarova but were culturally distinct. They rebelled in 1004 and won their independence several years later. There is no single monarch, but rather a loose alliance between the dukes and duchesses, who derive their wealth from mining and their position on major trade routes.
A balmy island near Chardreau and Iñarra. For decades the princes of this land have been notoriously weak. Elunian priests, counselors to the princes, have gradually expanded their influence, so that by now it is common knowledge than the Elunian church is the real ruler of the principality. The priests keep the na´ve princes pampered, content that the Elunians, holders of mystical secrets, will use their unbounded knowledge to properly guide the country. In their own defense, the Elunians have ruled relatively well, keeping the land peaceful and limiting their own abuses.
Naturally, this has influenced worship in the land, for temples to Elune dot the cities and countryside, dwarfing those of the other gods.
An independent duchy culturally similar to its neighbors Allondell and Chardreau, Valenne is distinguished by its treatment of magic. In 972 a collection of mages, many of them priests of Elune, attempted to overthrow the Duke, Lawrence the Grey, and install his cousin Bertrande upon the throne. Duke Lawrence defeated the coup, angrily banished most of the country's stronger mages, and toppled the Elunian temples. Ducal proclamations played upon popular superstitions of the darker side of magic and magical abilities. For the already superstitious peasantry, the Duke's words only proved their fears true, and soon even city folk became wary of most magery of any kind.
The rebels went into hiding, receiving clandestine aid from Tamplonia and its Elunian church. The rebels made their final stand at the twenty-fifth anniversary celebration of the Duke's victory, in April 997. The Duke made use of several powerful magic stones which eliminated all magery in the entire country, crippling the rebel mages and allowing the Duke's forces to again triumph. Mage magic is still ineffective in the country.
An archipelago across the Great Sea, far to the east. Yamamotoan ships sailed west, reaching Hesket, only recently (in 993), so Hesket still knows little about this country.
Relations with this new and strange land grew unfortunately strained shortly after first contact. Cultural misunderstandings about Hesketine dragons resulted in the Yamamotoan fleet siding with the Caelti against the Cadfainn during the Caelti rebellion in 993. Yamamoto was later to learn of the true nature of the Caelti, but not before the kingdoms of Hesket grew to mistrust the easterners, who in turn believed that all Hesketines, not just Caelti, were "baby-killers."
Political maneuvering among factions of Yamamotoan nobles led to the nomination of the country's first Shogun, Ikoma (ee-KOH-mah) Harunobu, who was charged by Emperor Makoto (mah-KOH-toh) to take power and defend the country against the "dragon-slaying baby-killing barbarians" of Hesket. Yamamoto invaded Delona, the easternmost part of Hesket, in July 997. The invasion went far worse than expected, but Yamamoto did capture some territory, calling its holdings Seiguntou (say-GUN-toh).
(Since only Yamamoto has ocean-crossing vessels and they rarely sail to Hesket, players will need permission from the Game World Committee to create a character who is from Yamamoto or any other Dosanese land.)
The Zdunarovan Empire, with an Earthly northern Slavic flavor (such as the Russians, Poles, or Czechs), is now a vast land. A few centuries ago, its rulers held no more than the city of Zdunarosk, but have expanded rapidly through conquest and marriage. Most of the lands in northwest Hesket now bear allegiance to Zdunarosk, whose rulers probably wouldn't mind adding Bilgosh to the list.