The island kingdom of Kelidra

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LoZompatore
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The island kingdom of Kelidra

Post by LoZompatore » Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:52 pm

Here is a pretty long description of a new area in the setting: a large island I called Kelidra which act as a bridge between the already detailed regions of Refuge Point and the Fiori Hills. I also included some elements of conflict between Kelidra and Refuge Point, just to set things in motion throughout the setting. As usual, many details are yet to be determined, even if I tried to include as many info as possible from the start. Hope you enjoy the reading! :)

Maps:

First of all, here is the map in a 8 mi/hex scale:

Image
A full-scale version of this map can be found here.
A zipped bitmap of this file can be downloaded here.

Notes:

The green dots are lizardfolk settlements
The violet dots are Solerris settlements (see below)
The blue dot over location 11 is a rani settlement
Location 8 is an undersea city, likely populated by mermen, tritons and the like

And here is a larger map in a mixed 8 mile/hex and 24 mile/hex scale showing Refuge Point, Kelidra and the Fiori Hills all together. Hope this could be effectively used as a basis for detailing nearby regions in order to build a proper regional map! ;):

Image
A full-scale version of this map can be found here.
A zipped bitmap of this file can be downloaded here.

Description:

The large island of Kelidra is a former Birhamian and Taltinian colony, now ruled by a Parliament of Captains and by a constitutional monarch. Its most notable feature is an ancient, impressive Birhamian lighthouse, still perfectly functioning as of today. The lighthouse (called "Pamuar", which simply means "the light" by its builders) is a slender granite tower some 550m (600yd) high, sit on top of the Everwatcher, the highest mountain of Kelidra. The light itself stands at a total height of 2000m (2200yd) above sea level and it is visible 176km away (110mi) in every direction.
Due to its strategic importance, the island and the lighthouse were attacked or invaded by neighboring countries a few times during its long history. In particular, relationship between Refuge Point and Kelidra were often quite tense if not openly hostile: rivalry for control over the profitable trade routes with the Gnomish Coast is the leading cause of this enmity.

History:

The Birhamian rule:
the
Birhamians colonized this place shortly after they arrived in the area, more than 14000 years ago. The original inhabitants (if any) soon merged with the large number of colonists who arrived from the rest of the empire, so nothing is known about them. The island was an ideal hub for sea trading activities in the Lesser Aberrate Sea, so Birhamians built a large lighthouse in order to make sea routes safer. Trade flourished as planned, and island's inhabitants became very wealthy. Military ships patrolled the seas from a strong navy outpost in the southwestern part of the island. Lured by the warm and friendly climate many riches from the rest of the empire moved on the island and built large villas for themselves. The lighthouse was improved many times and, by the end of Birhamian dominion in the area (some 9000 years ago) it was an impressive, long-lasting magical building, mostly self-sufficient.

Rise of the Solerris:

When the Birhamian elite and its armies abandoned the area, the island fell in a long dark age. The inhabitants left on the island were mostly the poorest and the servants of the wealthy owners of the villas: they soon were overrun by raiders from the neighboring coasts; eventually they mixed with them and reverted to a more primitive way of life. After a couple of centuries of nearly uninterrupted raids, a resourceful shaman called Amerodes managed to create (or summon) a strong breed of large, aggressive wooly beasts (the Jallac) and taught his people (now calling themselves Solerris) how to tame them. The Jallacs helped greatly in defending the inhabitants against barbaric invaders and gave also them milk, wool and cheese, so they became the most valuable asset in the island.
It is now widely believed that the shaman actually impressed some kind of magical mark over his people which enabled them to be obeyed by the Jallacs: no foreigner ever managed to tame them, most of those who tried found themselves killed by the beasts. Moreover, it was soon discovered that such a because it was soon found that such a magical mark was transmitted to descendants only if both parents were of the same ancestry of Amerodes and of his original neighbors. Any child of a Solerri and a foreigner was at best ignored by the Jallacs, never able to become a shepherd of these beasts. The advantages given by the ability to tame the Jallacs were so large that almost every Solerri married inside its community and had children from other Solerri partners. Strangers and foreigners were never allowed to stay for a long time on the island, for fear of the corruption they could have introduced in the magical mark. After many millennia of endogamic marriage the Solerris were not able to reproduce successfully anymore with other human stocks. When the Solerris realized this, they started letting a few worthy foreigner to settle again in their island, mostly for the sake of trading and technology exchange.

The meeting with Taltinis:

Around 3500 years ago Taltinian explorers led by the famed Ralowael the Daring arrived on Kelidra. Admired by the manifest civilization level reached by these newcomers - which closely reminded them to the legendary Birhamian culture - the Solerris let Taltinian colonists to massively settle the coastal areas of their island, while they kept for themselves the hilly pastures of the interior. Taltinians built cities, harbors and wharfs on the island, and used the place as a major trading hub just like their Birhamian predecessors of thousands years before. The Solerris profited from this activities as well, absorbing Taltinian customs and knowledge, but also finding themselves pushed more and more inward as new inland regions were opened to Taltinian colonization. It is to be noted that Solerris' number was never too high, due to the small number of births induced by their forced endogamic condition.
The intensive colonization effort and the help offered by the Solerris in repelling any foreign invasion made Kelidra one of the last Taltinian enclaves in this part of the world. Facing with the unstoppable decline of their authority over their major colony of Refuge Point, the remnants of Taltinian elite fled to Kelidra, merged with their kin and their culture survived on the island for a few centuries more.

The strife with Refuge Point:

About 1260 years ago, the last Taltinan rulers were killed in Kelidra by an attempted invasion from Ashen Cliffs's barbaric raiders looking for loot and treasures on the island. Ashen Cliffs raiders were a strong force at the time and most coastal nations, including both Kelidra and Refuge Point, tried to develop a strong navy in order to repel their incursions. Ten years later, fire gnomes settled in the western shore of the Aberrate Seas. In need for supplies and end products, gnomes start a very profitable trade across the sea.
Following the increase in Raiders adopted more subtle strategies, including the use of foreign flags and captured military vessels in order to board merchant vessels and sack coastal communities. As a consequence, diplomatic incidents between coastal nations became common throughout this period. A few unscrupulous military commanders exploited such misunderstandings to lead real attacks into enemy territories, pretending they were led by raiders.
It was 1186 years ago that such a tactic backfired with tragic consequences, starting the short but bloody War of the High Seas between Refuge Point and Kelidra (see below the detailed chronicle of the war).
Following this episode, a lasting feud and a bitter rivalry between the two countries ensued: wars for dominance over trade routes, the use of privateers and punitive raids against each other were common practices for centuries. Piracy from the southern lands further exacerbated the problems, especially in the first century following the War of the High Seas. A few major invasions of the opponent's metropolitan area were attempted on both sides, each time involving more and more allies and resources, but all of them failed.
The Aberrate War - the last major conflict between the two countries - was fought some 130 years ago. It saw undersea people, gnomes, lizardfolks, ranis, dwarves, elves and Steel Ogres mercenaries all fighting each other side to side with their Refuge Point of Kelidran allies.
The war menaced to wreck the entire economy around the Aberrate Seas and to start many new lasting feuds among both parts' allies. Luckily a stale point was reached after Refuge Point forces won a large naval battle at the Beem Shoals. A peace conference was successfully arranged at Belewir, and a free-trade treaty was signed.

The present:

Open war between Refuge Point and Kelidra was avoided up to now. Actual relationships between the two countries are of a cold courtesy, but a hidden, subtle trade war is still brought on by both powers. Nevertheless, it is believed that further wars between the two countries will be avoided given the fact that each opponent will see its economy in ruins after a much dreaded full-scale conflict.

Descritpion:

The island of Kelidra is populated by a mix of Solerris and descendants of Taltinians and immigrant people. It is noted for its large Birhamian lighthouse which is still functioning on the top of the highest mountain of the island.
The land is administered as a constitutional monarchy. It was once a despotism, but influences from the Fiori Hills' gnomes induced people to protest and successfully ask for a constitution. At present the king is mostly a ceremonial figure, the last monarch with true powers was Queen Holliria, who resigned peacefully in year -290. Power is held by the Parliament of Captains, an elective body of 77 people. The Parliament derives its name by the fact that only a ship captain with at least 10 years worth of seafaring experience can be eligible. Voters are people over 25 which accomplished the 3 years-long military service.
The island can be roughly divided in two halves: the settled, civilized northwest, and the wilder southeast. This division is mostly due to the fact that the modern main trade route between the eastern and western shores of the Aberrate Sea cuts along the northern side of the island, thus biasing any island development and settling project.

Settled Northwest:

--- The capital city of Elinna (population 47000) was built over Birhamian and Taltinian ruins and it is believed to be continuously inhabited since -3427. The city has an excellent and well defended deep-water harbor, placed at the end of a long gulf whose waters are well-protected against the strong currents of the high Aberrate Seas. Elinna is conveniently placed in the middle of a road network leading to the other civilized parts of the island. The whole coast northwest to the city is deeply settled and farmed, while vineyards, fruit tree cultivations and pastures dot the surrounding hills. A strong keep guard the entrance of the Dimming Gulf and protects the city from sea invaders thanks to its long-range artillery.
--- Two other major settlements (both built over ancient Taltinian cities) act as trading gates to the eastern and western coast respectively. A strong keep similar to that of Elinna guards each city as well.
--- The western island of Kelidra's Gate is the main control outpost to the Gnomish Coast. Swift vessels and mounted flying creatures spread from the large naval base of the island in order to concentrate most nautical traffic through the strait of Kelidra's Gate, so that merchant ships can be inspected and pay their duties to the authorities. Needless to say, such a policy is not welcome by any foreign or domestic trader, so smuggling and the use of alternate (though illegal) routes are common.
--- A dozen of Solerri settlements are scattered around the Pamuar Lighthouse mountain. Such places tend to be avoided by foreigners (which includes also most of the human inhabitants of Kelidra) due to the temperamental behavior of the dangerous Jallacs. A few merchants from the coasts periodically venture to the villages to trade Jallacs' milk, wool, cheese and ivory for mostly sought assets among the Solerris.
--- A set of working and depleted granite quarries, which also represent one of the main exports of the island, are scattered in the hills around the lighthouse. Dwarves, gnomes, humans and outcast Solerris work in these places. Network of tunnels as ancient as the Birhamian rule are sometimes found in the oldest sections of the quarries.
--- It is believed that a long-forgotten Birhamian city stands buried not far from the lighthouse. Due to the relative isolation of the area, very few adventurers or explorers had the opportunity to search for it, but a few strange ornaments and tools owned by the Solerris seem to strengthen this hypothesis.

Southeastern wilderness:

--- Seafaring lizardfolks established a few communities in the southern swamps when they fled gnomish pressure in the Fiori Hills some 350 years ago. They managed to develop the area with fishing, rice and vegetables' cultivations. Being not an overly aggressive people, they were allowed to stay on the island. They seldom trade with nearby human and rani settlements and they are still in contact with other coastal lizardfolk settlements along the continental coast. The cultural exchange with humans and ranis - though limited - led to significant improvements in the seafaring capabilities of these lizardmen.
--- An abandoned Birhamian/Taltinian city on the southwestern shore is currently being settled by ranis, who claimed it as a compensation for their help in the Aberrate War. They import food from the nearby lizarfolks and seem to be involved in land reclamation efforts in some of the most sunk districts of the city. Their true intentions are obscure at best.
--- The ancient, large naval base of Brichan's Guard is maintained by the army of Kelidra in the southeastern coast of the island. It was built shortly after the war of the High sea and named after the hero Brichan, who managed to alert the Kelidran navy of the impending Refuge Point attack. Meant to protect Kelidra from Ashen Cliffs raids and Refuge Point aggressions, it also acts as a backup naval base in case of a large-scale enemy aggression. More than one thousand years old, it is a mostly self- sufficient settlement, with rich farms and pastures scattered around it. Nearby timber woods are carefully cultivated in order to build and repair ships. It is by far the main naval base in this half of the island.

The Pamuar Lighthouse

The lighthouse has always provided a safe crossing in this part of the Aberrate Sea, even when people were reduced to barbaric state and roamed the sea with raft-like ships. In more civilized time the lighthouse has always entrusted its possessors with an improved knowledge of the surrounding seas, ensuring dominance over a large territory, large profits in trade and the possibility to maintain a strong military fleet.
As described above, the lighthouse is a slender, round granite tower 550m (600yd) high without doors, windows or other visible entrances. The top of the spire is an hemisphere made of some kind of transparent stone, inside which a bright, rotating red light is visible during both day and night. Clockwork moving mechanisms can be spotted by airborne observers peering through the glass, while it is believed that the transparent stone also acts like a lens by focusing the red light in bright beams which are visible far away. The light makes a full rotation exactly every 30 seconds, thus acting also as an excellent clock (this greatly helps in latitude determination and improves navigational skills wherever the light is visible).
Entering the building is hard at best. The granite stone is magically hardened, impossible to break with non-magical tools. Moreover, a thin lead layer is inserted into the walls and basement floors (a similar, transparent layer is merged into the glass at the top of the structure), preventing any teleportation spells to bypass it. Foundations reach a compact granite layer some 18m (20yd) underground, so the lighthouse walls cannot be easily breached by tunneling below them.
The inside of the building is entirely filled with the clockwork mechanisms that rotate the red light, with spare part warehouses, with a forge and a mechanical workshop. Three golems constantly recharge the clockwork mechanisms and maintain the whole structure. Golems are intelligent and very old, the youngest one being awakened more than two millennia ago. Two out-of-order golems (former custodians) and three "replacement" golems are enclosed in special coffins in the building basement. A new "replacement" construct will automatically awaken every time any "on duty" golem stop functioning.

The War of the High Seas

Admiral Galdriol was widely believed to be the real master of Refuge Point around 1200 years ago. He was an ambitious man, seeking to ensure dominance over the new and profitable trade routes just established with the gnomes. Through his spies among the barbarian people of the south he learnt that the city of Rorm was planning a large pirate raid to the eastern coast of Kelidra. Galdriol believed he could exploit it in order to destroy the rival country's fleet, which at that time was inferior in number and power to Refuge Point's one.
The admiral swiftly and secretly gathered the fastest military vessels he had - actually the best of Refuge Point navy - and sent them towards Kelidra in small groups, camouflaged as freighters. Once close to the main naval base of the country, which was located in the eastern coast, the ships would group together into two large fleets in order to block any access to the base and then attack and destroy the docked Kelidran ships while most of them were still unaware of the impending pirate attack. Galdriol hoped that the combined blows of the Refuge Point attack and the following pirate raid would be able to destroy most of the Kelidran naval forces; in his hopes he also planned an invasion of the military weakened island.
The first part of his project worked as planned: "freighters" task forces reached unnoticed the vicinity of Kelidran, helped in maneuvering by the same lighthouse of Kelidra. They swiftly boarded and sunk any reconnaissance Kelidran vessel who patrolled the area, thus leaving the whole eastern coast of the island unprepared against a surprise attack. Then they started regrouping for a nighttime attack on the naval base, the barbarian raid just one or two days away.
Unluckily for them, a group Refuge Point idle ships, awaiting for reinforcements to arrive, was spotted by the crew of a magically concealed, fast smugglers' ship, which was leaving the island the same night of the planned attack. Brichan, the smugglers' commander, correctly identified some of the freighters as Refuge Point military vessels, as he was accustomed to avoid them during his illegal traffics to the city-state. With a daring move he managed to secretly board one of the ships and learnt about the two impending attacks.
Although a criminal he was also a loyal subject of the Kingdom of Kelidra, so he emptied to the sea the holds of his ship and sailed as fast as he could to Kelidran naval base, in order to alert the navy. He managed to outdistance the aggressors and reach its destination, a few hours before the combined attack force was ready to block the port.
Most of Kelidran ships hurried to reach the high sea and confronted the partially assembled Refuge Point fleets when they were still deploying and getting reinforcements, shattering their planned surprise effect. A long naval clash lasted for the whole night as new ships from both sides entered the fray. By dawn, the skillful admiral Galdriol managed to disengage most of his fleets and fled back to Refuge Point, pursued by the slower Kelidran ships.
With the help of Kelidran mages Brichan successfully tracked the pirate fleet - still days away from the coast - and teleported on the raiders' flagship - a noticeable risk considering the planar oddities of Thalassa. Here he persuaded the barbaric admiral to pursue with her fast ships the weakened Refuge Point vessels: he tricked the admiral by saying that those ships were fleeing from a successful raid on Kelidran and that they were slowed by their load of stolen treasures. Moreover such fast ships were a valuable asset to be captured, and the combined attack of their two fleets could have seriously weakened Refuge Point's defenses in the short time. Yaath, the pirate leader, agreed to help the Kelidrans and successfully intercepted the fleet of Refuge Point three days later. Pirates were able to engage Refuge Point ships by outmaneuvering them for a whole day, long enough for Kelidran ships to reach the battle and attack. At about the same time, pirates boarded isolated enemy ships and realized that the Refuge Point vessels were empty of any treasures, so they revolted against their Kelidran allies and tried to disengage. A chaotic and fierce naval battle among the three navies ensued. By the end of the day the three groups separated. Pirates were severely depleted pirates and fled south, Yaath lost in the battle. Galdriol lost many of his best ships but managed to return to Refuge Point with a weakened fleet. Having lost many ships and crews without any real advantage for the city-state he fell into disgrace and was exiled. The fleet of Kelidra was the real winner, having repelled two enemy attacks with relatively few losses. In the following years the country underwent a massive shipbuilding program, creating separate fleets and land defenses in main coastal cities and founding the naval base of Brichan's Guard, in honor of Brichan, who became a hero of the country.
The worst effect of the war, which officially lasted less than two weeks, was to spring a lasting an bitter enmity between Kelidra and Refuge Point.

New elements in timeline:

-3427 Historical date of founding of Elinna by Taltinian settlers led by Nobacur, daughter of Ralowael the Daring.
-1535 The last Taltinian rulers and noblemen of Refuge Point flee to the Taltinian colony of Kelidra due to a popular revolution. By this time the majority of the population of the Refuge Point area is made of extraplanar refugees and other (non-Taltinian) people.
-1259 The last Taltinian rulers in Kelidra are killed during a major successful raid from the nearby southern land of the Ashen Cliffs, thus ending the Taltinian lineage in the northern continent.
-1238 A major volcanic eruption on Chrelos crushes the Fire Gnomes' Empire and forces a few large Fire and Aquatic gnomish clans to relocate elsewhere. Aquatic Gnomes lead the migration to a sparsely settled coastline on the southern coast of the Lesser Aberrate Sea. Fire Gnomes settle on the Fiori Hills and along the coastline further northwest, while Aquatic Gnomes populate the shallow offshore of the whole area (which will be called the Gnomish Coast in the following centuries). Both gnomish races dislodge lizardfolks from the region and reclaim most of the coastline swamps where lizardmen once lived. The large number of civilized settlements founded by gnomes starts a very flourishing trade between the two coasts of the Aberrate Sea and a new era of economic prosperity (and conflicts) in the whole region ensues.
-1186 War of the High Sea: Two Refuge Point fleets led by admiral Galdriol exploit a large raid of Rorm's pirates on Keidran and try to destroy Kelidran military ships while still docked. Refuge Point attack fails and the two fleets find themselves pursued by both Kelidran and pirate’s ships. The latter, swifter ships manage to engage Refuge Point vessels long enough to let Kelidran fleet to attack. A large naval battle in the high sea ensues, with uncertain results. Refuge Point ships manage to disengage and severely weaken the pirate fleet, while Kelidra manage to repel the raiders at a relatively low cost. A bitter and lasting enmity between Refuge Point and Kelidra ensues from this episode.
-1123 Pirates of the Ashen Cliffs are definitely destroyed by the navy of Kelidra thanks to an alliance with the undersea city of Joolim. Altough assaults on single freighters will continue throughout the next millennia, pirates will not be able to assemble large raiding parties anymore.
-1090 The Fire Raid: forces of Kelidran military fleet helped by Fire Gnomes from the Gnomish Coast set an incendiary raid against Refuge Point in the attempt to destroy most of its merchant and military fleet. The attack is a tactical failure, as most of the military fleet escapes in the high sea a few hours before the attack thanks to a vision a charismatic citizen had in a place called The Stone Hedgerow. Nevertheless, the external docks and most of the seashore quarters are badly set on fire by long range incendiary weapons and magic. Before the military fleet manages to repel the raiders, almost one third of the city is set on fire, including most of the mercantile ships, and many hundreds of people are killed.
-995 Kelidra conquers the barbarian city of Rorm, the so-called "capital" of the land of the Ashen Cliffs, which for centuries led the largest pirate raids against neighboring countries.
-530/-528 Steel Ogres disembark in the northeastern shore of Kelidra and swiftly conquer all major seaside communities of the island. As soon as Steel Ogres' forces venture in the hills leading to the lighthouse their land troops are engaged by the Solerris and their powerful tamed Jallacs beasts. Heavy weapons are brought to the island to help infantry in subduing the Solerris, which responds with their beasts, their superior knowledge of the hilly terrain and guerrilla tactics. A long and bitter fight ensues with heavy casualties on both sides. The stalemate is broken when the extraplanar gate which reinforces the Steel Ogres closes; heavy weapons and elite troops are moved back to Refuge Point, having failed to conquer Kelidra's interior. Following an increase in local resistance the whole island is evacuated by the Steel Ogres in -528.
-350 Lizardmen fleeing gnomish pressure in the Fiori Hills settle themselves in the southeastern coast of Kelidra.
-290 Following popular demand and a lost naval battle against Refuge Point in the eastern seas, Queen Holliria of Kelidra abdicates. A constitutional monarchy is established on the island and Queen Holliria's son Prince Agalain becomes the first constitutional king.
-133/-130 The Aberrate War: A mutual imposition of heavy trade tolls on foreign ships and imported goods lead to a massive army buildup in Refuge Point and Kelidra and a large scale attempt to destroy each seafaring economies. Allies and mercenary troops from many other countries become more and more involved in the struggle. After three years of war, a stalemate following a large naval battle between Refuge Point and Kelidra results in a sudden end to the war. A peace treaty is signed in Belewir and the two countries do not engage in further open wars up to present.

Any feedback, suggestion or criticism is welcome!
:)

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Boddynock
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Re: The island kingdom of Kelidra

Post by Boddynock » Fri Jun 11, 2010 2:30 am

Excellent write up. I especially like the idea of the Fire Gnomes being major supporters of Kelidran, perhaps going so far as being the only kingdom with an official embassy with the 'kingdom' of Brixton. Fire gnome merchants tending to trade with Kelidran and use the money/supplies in order to fund the fire gnome efforts to drive out the gnolls and eventually plan yet another civil war in the Fiori Hills. Perhaps there is sort of a mutual exchange with the Kelidran supplying Brixton with magical items and timber for ship building, in return Kelidran gets access to Brixton ore, weaponry, and their siege engines.
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