Dark Tides of Salinmoor
Once dwarfed in size and power by the now-fallen empire of Carceron, the Kingdom of Gaeland has become the strongest political entity in Rivencrown today. In addition to the nation itself, whose borders stretch hundreds of miles north and south through the Abhainn Dale and east to west from the Wyrmrest Mountains to the Barrier Peaks, Gaeland counts several vassal states as part of its domain: the March of Ardwall lies to the north, the Duchy of Westgarde to the west, and the Duchy of Ulrich to the east.
The kingdom is very rustic for its age, with great swaths of untamed wilderness ranging from tangled forests to gloomy swamps. Remnants of long lost villages or crumbling fortresses that fell during the age of Vecna’s rule dot the hills and fields. These ruins and wilderness areas are havens for monsters, primitive humanoid creatures, and bandits. These sorts of threats are a common plague to the travelers, explorers, and merchants that make a living navigating the harrowing trade routes between settlements.
Fortunately there are foils to those that would prey upon the people of Gaeland: orders of noble knights, bands of skilled hunters, mercenaries for hire, and local soldiers and militiamen all patrol the roads and settlements of the kingdom and protect the innocent from harm. Most cities and townships, and even a few smaller villages, offer a standing bounty for goblin ears. Posters can be found in taverns across the realm offering rewards for the capture or death of noteworthy criminals. Though it is not a glamorous job, keeping the people of Gaeland safe from these dangers pays handsomely.
Settlements ranging from tiny hamlets to sprawling cities are found across the kingdom’s countryside; these are sometimes several days’ travel distant from each other. Roadside inns can be found within a day or two ride of larger towns and cities, but few innkeepers are bold enough to build their establishments in dangerous territory outside of civilization’s reach without some sort of protection. Travel via the two great rivers that run through the dale, the Abhainn and the Highwater River, is common.
Larger cities are the crown jewels of Gaeland—centers of population where all manner of people and races come together to meet, trade, work, celebrate, and worship. These cities also tend to be where the noble families and mercantile guilds of the kingdom are headquartered. The most prominent cities include the nation’s capital of Baile An Lár, the bustling port of Sulhaven, the western river ford city of King’s Crossing, and the northern trade hub of Marlbridge.
Located in a temperate climate and sheltered by tall mountain ranges to its east and west, Gaeland benefits from short, mild winters and cool summers. Rainfall is common year-round, resulting in storms and flash floods in lowlands during the colder months, while higher elevations and northern provinces see snow.
Gaeland is governed by the Council of Abhainn, colloquially known as the Court of the Land, which is selected from nobles, guild masters, and other influential figures from throughout the realm. They gather year-round in the kingdom’s capital, with most members dwelling in the city for three months of each year; an annual moot is held during the summer festival. The council is the lawmakers and arbiters of the realm. When the time comes to select a new monarch of Gaeland, that duty falls to the court as well.
Andras mac Lir is the recently crowned king of Gaeland. Elected by the Council of Abhainn upon the previous monarch’s death, Andras is the first ruler of Gael descent in recent history—the Lion Throne was previously held by Suel bloodlines for the past five hundred years.
There have been no significant, large-scale threats to Gaeland in recent history, though danger always lurks at the nation’s borders. One hundred and fifty years ago the neighboring elven kingdom of Lóritaurë and the people of Gaeland engaged in a territorial war over lands east of the Abhainn Water, which ended in the elves retreating beyond the Wyrmrest Mountains. Several generations of humans have passed since the war, but elves have long lives and longer memories. Only recently, perhaps within the last fifty years, has the cold war between elves and humans abated and relations between the two kingdoms begun to improve.
In addition to fragile treaties with elvenkind, Gaeland must be vigilant against the witch kingdom of Doraaka Magar in the north, as well as pirates and mysterious denizens of the Gilded Isles to its south. Not to be overlooked, the monstrous races are an ever-present menace as well: clans of vicious giants and goblins inhabit the mountain ranges at Gaeland’s western border, though neither has been active beyond occasional raids or hunting bands. Goblins have not been organized in large numbers in Gaeland since the kingdom’s founding.
The realm is not without allies, of course. Gaeland enjoys amicable political and trade relations with the nation of Furon to its northeast, as well as with the halflings of the Whistling Hills. The kingdom of Navalla, which lies beyond the Barrow Hills and the Blackmere swamp to the south, also counts the people of Gaeland as steadfast allies.