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Olstenbridge: Noble House

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Rigid and militaristic are the two strongest characteristics of the Olstenbridge nobility. The sons are all schooled in the knightly way and many members have won favour through acts of courage or chivalry. However many sons have fallen on the field of battle and Olstenbridge as a house is beginning to wane. Currying favour is not easy for one who expects just reward for just effort and it is now that the family come to the game of politics they have the realisation they are late studies. Duke Olstenbridge of Port Lenongard leads the catch up in the courtly game of wiles.

Olstenbridge

Trivia: in the novel, “A Tale of Rum Town” the Grissom Delvers completed a mission to recover an Olstenbridge family heirloom before wintering in the city.

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Mercenary Units

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Mighty Griffons

Overview: This company of giant-hunters is kept on permanent retainer to the Duke of Krakmoor. They are stationed in Krank, a town in the Berretain Hills south of Krakmoor City. Troopers work closely with Krakmoor rangers and soldiers in hunting down rogue bands of giants, ogres or bandits of any description. Attrition is quite high but recruits come from many lands to join.
Weapons: sabre guisarme, arbalest, flamberge
Hallmarks: movement discipline, flanking, fake retreats

Fenloch’s Bane

Overview: A Hrostic company famed for city-fighting and breaking sieges. Fenloch was an apparently immortal warlord who was trying to expand into the southern reaches of the Krin territories. The company, at the time under a different name, routed the forces of Fenloch, pursued and slew the warlord, achieving what was once thought impossible and henceforth gained this name in memory.
Weapons: heavy short bows, blowguns, leather-covered chain armour
Hallmarks: all members carry coils of rope, skill in ambush and trap-setting

Eighth Regiment of Marn

Overview: A Hrostic company of heavy infantry known for siege breaking, tackling cavalry, and general discipline. There are no other regiments, the number being the iteration of the company’s form and leadership.
Weapons: goat’s foot crossbows, leaf-bladed long spears, flanged flails
Hallmarks: quality steel heavy infantry plate armour

Gunnar Brashahari’s Mercenary Company

Overview: a tightly knit group of men and half-castes under the leadership of a frighteningly capable half-ogre. They are said to have never lost a battle and are thought of as the most effective mercenaries available. The premium of their audience is 100gp with contract costs to be added to that.
Weapons: bisento, falchion, bronze wall shields, horseman’ s bows
Hallmarks: sallet helms with a ridge from nasal to nape, heavy mail armour, Shentar warhorses

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Where it all began. (aka. My oldest RPG material)

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The first adventures in Khara Thel took place in the Kingdom of Ferromaine. They were off to the east of the island around a small town called Barton. Adventurers would buy supplies after their long journey to the edge of the tundra. Then they would head into the Orancarx Deathtrap. A relic from the Age of Magi where they’d construct elaborate tombs as challenges to the inevitable tomb-robbers. At least those who stole from them would be worthy of the loot.

 

Ferromaine_first adventures

The trip to Barton was mostly from the capital, Excelsior: itself a large city full of intrigue with ancient noble houses plotting against each other for control of the various merchant houses. Underneath it all the various guilds, and organized crime gangs who masquerade as guilds, vie for the patronage of the rich in their dirty schemes. Its location on a delta of marshy islands, the confluence of the Great River and the Silverweb River, make it full of little canals, bridges, and high-walkways for the noble-classes to walk above the hoi-poloi and their stench.

Travelling to Barton was most often done along the coast. The mountains called the Fangharad Peaks are a harsh barrier and it doesn’t help that the pilgrim’s trail to Lake Chinata passes the chasm. Tales blame the chasm as the source of monsters that hunt the Fangharad Peaks and spread into the old forests.

The coast road is much safer. It passes through many villages and a few large towns. Badonium is a city in decline. It once rivalled the capital, Excelsior, but has fallen into despair. Its people seem unable to improve their lot, or even keep it from getting worse, a malaise is in the spirit of Badonium.

The road turns to a muddy trail that passes through the great swamps between Windemere and Promontory Point. It is as if the lake is growing, slowly claiming more of the land, turning it to swamp, and then submerging it. For this reason traders have been using ships instead of the wagons between Shoreton & Windemere and Promontory Point.

Barton is still a few days away from Promontory Port by land but at least the journey is near the sea and there are a few hamlets of fisherfolk who brave the cold winds of Barren Sound.

Once in Barton, the Orancarx Deathtrap is a full day’s hard ride to the west, on the edge of the Orancarx Range. There is a small trader out the front who has built a store out of his gypsy wagon. They say he has the protection of all his ancestral grandmothers, each of them gypsy witches, and none dare bother him. He trades items from those who delve the depths and what he does with them is a mystery; but he always has currency. Yet he seems lonely, or very friendly, and is always willing to talk and offer recipes for making tasty meals out of mundane trail provisions.

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What has been explored in play?

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Jensan from Rustfoot asked what areas have been played in, within Khara Thel. So I’ve made up a map to show those places. Most gaming has occurred in the kingdom of Iron Claw & its protectorates – the various borderlands, city-state of Phrad, and all along the Nihles Reach.

The overview looks like this:

khara_thel_gaming_areas

 

When we zoom in on Iron Claw we see a bit more detail:

Iron Claw Gaming Areas

Lots of overland journeys and sea-travels.

The cities most visited are:

Phrad in the SW of the map

Ferris, near the centre – which is also the setting of my novel “A Tale of Rum Town“.

If you want more information about these places download the Khara Thel – Worldbook System Neutral Draft. It contains details on all the towns and cities as well as information about their environs – as well as armour, weapons, magic, items, people and the rest of the world.

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Khara Hrost, the greatest city

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KHARA HROST

Official Title: Sovereign City-State of Khara Hrost

A small but very influential island in the middle of the Hrostic Ocean is the source of the greatest architects, masons, scholars and mercenary companies of great repute and ability. The island is nearly one quarter built up citadel of stone in which live almost all the inhabitants. Labyrinthine and reaching high the buildings are sprawled above, around and through each other to create a cityscape unlike any other. Flying buttresses carry avenues a hundred feet from the ground through the arch of an aqueduct that runs from a cistern above a university.

 

khara hrost

Other such vistas are the gift of those that can visit Khara Hrost to walk about and marvel at the engineering and masonry. The west of the island is farming lands, rich and dark volcanic loams grow excellent produce all year round in the warm-moist climate. A common occurrence in farming on Khara Hrost is the growth of giant produce from normal seed. The explanation is earthnodes that appear in the subsurface soil of the island and affect young plants. Farmers have since bred giant varieties of some vegetables that are now a stable strain.

Khara Hrost is a sovereign city-state ruled by a council of elite known as the Cerra. The Cerra is composed of 21 councillors, all of whom are experts in one particular field. Candidate members of the Cerra are tested in a protected chamber within the Grey Ziggurat; the central administration building of Khara Hrost. Candidates who pass are reviewed by the existing member or, should there be no existing member, panel reviewed by the other Cerra. Two candidates are then put to testing in a second chamber within the Grey Ziggurat and the one who walks out is given the membership. The one who doesn’t is usually hospitalised for a number of days and cannot remember the testing.

The 22 fields of the Cerra: architecture, art, farming, logistics, plumbing, military strategy, naval strategy, food storage, medicine, information gathering, libraries, quarrying, tunnelling, tax & tolls, banking, education, welfare, sewerage & works, transportation, mortal magic, alchemy and dark arts.

Hrostic exports are bulk exotic plant materials, healing herbs & preparations, skilled personnel, Hrostic steel (high steel) and many other highly-produced goods.

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Jalpa, bird of burden

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Jalpa

A thick-set ostrich-like bird with a large blunt beak somewhat shaped like an axe head. They are strong and make good steeds. Feathers of the Jalpa are short and rust-coloured providing protection from sun and wind. Jalpa have an easy temperament and strong endurance. In the wilds of the Khob Odan, in the Mustang Territories,  they travel in herds feeding on plants, large insects and the odd lizard or slow rodent. When trained they make good riding mounts but are not good fighting mounts – for that get a Kilkine, the variety of Jalpa bred for war.

Height/weight: 7′-8′, 750-900lbs

Carrying capacity: 230lbs

 

d20: Combat, use light horse stats, replacing attacks with one beak attack, 1d6+1.

As a mount:

6.5mph, 50 miles/day

(to 230lb) 5mph, 40miles/day

(to 300lb) 3mph, 26 miles/day

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Maintenance Outage

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The host will be running preventative maintenance on the server. Kharathel.com will be down for about 3 hours. These are the details from the provider.

DATE: May 2nd, 2011 @ 1:00am (EDT)
MAINTENANCE WINDOW: 05/02/2011 @ 1:00am – 4:00am (EDT)
EXPECTED DURATION: 1 – 3 hours

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Immense: a quick walk around the world

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How large is Khara Thel?

Considering one contiguous landmass makes up Khara Thel, with a plethora of archipelago around it, it is IMMENSE. I’m not just telling you to brag but when I see people say their lands are huge, comparing it to Russia, I have to stick a finger up and say, “Ahem. That’s not so big.”

 

You see Khara Thel is more like a ball of string. It’s coiled on itself. The land winds and wends about for many thousands of leagues. Let’s go on a little journey with the archmage and scholar, Meyendir Aravalon.

khara_thel_world_journey

Starting in Iron Claw, North East of the whole world map, we walk a 1,000 miles to Mekong Reldeng. The Boarland Scrubs were a concern – all those mounted Tharkhor on their huge war-boars. Quite the sight, was it not?

From Mekong Relden we walk to Al Hadir, don’t worry about the Ring Channel it’s small enough for us to walk over in this special journey. We are well away from the Gorgax Islands so you’re quite safe, but thank you for the reminder of their dangers. That was another 1,400miles by the way.

From Al Hadir, and its marvellous deserts, we’re going to pass some very rough country. The Blood Ochre Mountains with their ruby mines and slave-labour camps, then over to the rainforests on the other side and the Sea of Mists. It’s lonely out here. No civilization but we follow the rough mountains all the way to the land of the Pilanen – those with the connection to elemental light. Only 5,500 miles. I know you’re tired but we’ve just started this journey. Gird yourself, there’s more, and those Pilanen made boots should last quite a lot longer than your last two pairs.

Now I’m going to let you in on a secret. We travel south-west for a time, past the kingdoms of Nalien Dreenai, and along the coast of the Sea of Draxaam. Here are the hidden kingdoms. You’re very special in having the opportunity to visit these places. The Kingdoms of Eafwhaine have rarely been seen by those of the north. How far? I forgot to mention, yes. I lost count after 1,000 leagues. Oh yes, forgive me, in miles: that’s 3,000. Although I think it was a bit further.

We are a little over half-way and I can see your third pair of boots is wearing thin. I guess the Pilanen boots aren’t as sturdy as they are comfortable. The Vahltic Empire’s southern, and oldest, territories are our next stop. Only another 3,000 miles. Yes it is true. They border Morranzano, home of the Genlei of Shadow. That’s right, not darkness like the Blakh.

North West we head now, into tropical mountains and many huge river valleys. The Inland Sea. Quite a sight, and freshwater, too. This is the northern reach of the Vahltic Empire. A quaint 4,000 miles but weren’t the roads just marvellous. To the east is the free city of Imjin. A strange city-state built on many islands in a river delta. Possibly the largest hive of villainy outside of Krenshae or Port Cutthross. Yes; hard to believe.

Onwards, around the Inland Sea and North East again, through the Khob Odan. A vast dry basin with a few wide but shallow rivers feeding the mighty Mustang River as it passes through. Mostly grass struggling through shale and gravel aid its appearance as arid but that is deceiving. There is quite a lot of life here. Between the three Trade Cities and the various nomad tribes it forms a region many outsiders call the Mustang Territories. How far? Forgive my rambling, a mere 3,500miles.

Storm Bay and its peoples are over there to the north but we’re passing most of them by and heading up to Kiltayre’s coast and the land of the Rett. Just a short leg of another 3,000miles.

So how far have we travelled? I’m sure you don’t really want to know given the state of your poor feet.

Oh? You insist? Very well, it was no less than 24,400 miles.

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Ferris, city

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THE CITY OF FERRIS

Ferris is the second largest city on the Bay of Carnarvon, Philo being the largest, and has an extensive amount of shipping coming through a complicated series of wharves built on various islands in a river delta. The delta has built up about a series of old volcanic cores. This leaves many islands appearing to have spires of stone sprouting up through low hills. Soil is black and silty providing a great agricultural base. Many farms still operate in the delta and on its edges. A few of the spires have had fortresses built on them, or in the case of the Iron Fortress, about and through them.

The Iron Fortress dominates the skyline of Ferris. It is in the delta, on the southeast side, and is engineered out of hard igneous rock that appears like iron to the casual eye. The Iron Fortress is possibly the most heavily constructed fortification in all of Khara Thel. It has resisted the most powerful siege engines of Krakmoor with nothing more than some cosmetic damage. The Iron Fortress is also the palace of Prince Merran, first-born son of King Uthas, the heir-apparent to the Iron Claw throne.

Ferris has a number of wards and each has its own Lord-mayor. The City of Ferris is also made of two Earldoms: Earl of Freeports (south) and Earl of Ferris (north).

The Earldom of Freeports is made up of the following wards:

Free Port South, Freeport City, East Freeport, Shipyard Island, Rum Town, Easton City (The Eastholds), Iron Fortress

The Earldom of Ferris contains these older wards:

South Ferris, Old Ferris, Central Isle, Keychain Island, Strand, Picton, North Ferris, Quarry Town

All answer to the Prince (Prince Merran) who is the overall ruler of what is officially titled, The Principality of Ferris, of the Grand Kingdom of Iron Claw.

Ruler(s): Prince Merran.

Population: 400,000+

Region: Mouth of the Ferris River. South central Iron Claw.

Style: Huge medieval city built across the Ferris River delta amidst a number of eroded volcanic spires. Stone, wood, tiled rooves, battlements, buttressed tenements, cobbled streets, paved roads, stone docks, wooden piers, dry docks all clutter the complex skyline. Hustle bustle hassle haggle, rickety fences, overhanging buildings that are constantly being renovated and extended, are all backdrops to this busy metropolis. Ferris is a well-defended city port. The huge Iron Fortress dominates the SE of the city and its faintly glimmering metallic battlements are visible for miles.

Military: Prince Merran’s armies reside and train in and around the city. A strong presence of soldiers is in the SE of the city and on the docks. Army structures are easily found although they don’t overwhelm the city. Bailiff-stations are common enough to deter most criminals outside of Rum Town. Some regions of the city are heavily fortified, such as the old town and the entrance to the main docks regions, the treasury and the mint, the great barracks, etc. The whole city and most of its farms are walled. Prince Merran’s palace is in the famed Iron Fortress that incorporates the great barracks and a large tourney ground. Soldiers: 6,000+, Guardsmen: 2,500+, Knights: over 500, Royal Guards: over 200, Rangers: 150.

Industry: Treasury: minting of coins, employs neighbouring mines and imports all of its precious metals via war galleon with many escorts. All the support services of a large city can be found. Bureau of Records, Taxation, Lands and Titles, many taverns, armourers, smiths, foundries, smelters, shipyards, dry docks, wagon wrights, farriers, tanners, craftsmen, artisans, masons, engineers, jewellers, furnishers, tailors, etc.

Imports: raw materials of all types, high quality materials, rare materials, gems, precious metals, coal, pitch, salt, sugar, foods, livestock (for slaughter & leather), etc.

Exports: Cloth, ships, metalwork, preserved foods, sails, beer, wine, liquor, finished goods, paper, etc.

Resources: All known resources are nearly consumed.

Known: In the City, none, surrounding area: stone quarries, iron ore mines, lumber, large silver mine, large copper mine, small alluvial gold deposits ~40 miles up river,

Unknown: Marble quarry will be found in 1-10months.

Brief: Ferris is a huge city where anything is possible and is even likely to happen. Prince Merran is the proud and popular ruler of this mighty metropolis. Over 400,000 people live here and many more visit every day. Ferris is a free port, ie. Anyone may berth here after clearing customs. Cargo is lightly tariffed to protect Iron Claw interests and pay for the required infrastructure. A mage guild is here, as is the prestigious Rhastavon College for the Magically Gifted, a chantry of the Guild of Power and the Silver College. A cathedral of the Rose is near the old town and provides care for mothers about to give birth .

Hooks: Political intrigue involving Prince Merran’s royal neighbours vying for his favour. It is a huge port that sees travellers from all over the Bay of Carnarvon and even from across the Hrost Ocean.

 

ferris_complete

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Elyos, border town

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ELYOS

Ruler(s): Baron Elyos.

Population: 6,000+

Region: Elyos Ranges, 20miles E of Iron Claw City.

Style: Low stone buildings, small windows, shingle rooves. Many goods-houses, warehouses. The central, old, town is walled and contains many stone tenements and townhouses.

Military: Being an important trading point for the surrounding farming hamlets and a stopover for coaches from Arloc give Elyos a military presence that exceeds its size. The border forts with the hill giants to the north also have patrols that originate in Elyos and move over the border to recon the area. They return after a round trip of 10 to 14days. A large barracks and sturdy castle house the high number of soldiery. Average amount in town: 550 soldiers made up of; infantry: 250, sergeants: 40, light cavalry: 60, Spearmen: 100, Archers: 100. In addition there are twenty knights.

Industry: Stone quarries, coalmines, ore mines, farming: livestock and crops, lumbering to the south, wagon wrights, horse breeders, army support industries, four breweries and two distilleries.

Resources:

Known: Marble, granite, coal, iron ore, nickel, tin, copper, forest hardwoods.

Unknown: Gold lode (medium) SE 10miles (in mountains), Large black marble deposit, 22 miles South.

Brief: Elyos is an important trading post town and mining centre. Its position in relation to the Hill Giant Alliance and the Border Fort Patrol routes makes its use as a military position fairly logical. Many small but important and high quality industries can be found here. Wagon wrights, horse breeders and the local whiskey distillery are some of the more famous industries in Elyos. Renowned all over the country Elyos whiskey fetches triple the price of normal whiskey. Elyos stallions are also in high demand. They fetch over 100 gold crowns as studs. Elyos is expanding quickly and has already outgrown its walls. Plans are underway to extend the defenses.

Hooks: Border patrols into the Hill Giants Alliance western border. Trouble with hill trolls to the NE 80 miles. An old firedrake resides 80miles to the SE near a ruined castle. Lake Mistere in the NW is home to some water drakes. An island on Lake Mistere is the site of a ruined Dædanic citadel that may hold some treasures and certainly is the lair of a slumbering old drake. In the SE of Lake Mistere a hydra has carved out its territory and is usually hungry due to competition with the water drakes. The hydra’s lair contains a portion of the Dædanic citadel’s treasures that the hydra recovered during hunts.

 

 main_areas_0

Main_areas - Iron Claw West

Iron Claw West

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