Into the Ashlands
Located in the hilly lands on the western coast below the Harr desert, Galdoran has been an independent nation for several hundred years. Previously a land of feuding warlords, it has only been united by a single ruler for little more than 200 years. Leofric Sewald united the warring fiefdoms under one banner and became the first Frea (King) of Galdoran. In recent years Galdoran, formerly on friendly terms with Praetoria, has taken a protectionist policy against Praetorian aggression and has become much more suspicious and strict about who it allows into its borders. In spite of their misgivings toward outsiders, hundreds of people have moved into Galdoran in the last 20 years, seeking safety and altering the makeup of the kingdom. Galdoran has been ruled for more than 200 years by the Sewald bloodline, leading to the current monarch, the aging Frea Uilfrid. The kingdom is divided into several fiefdoms ruled by nobles who have sworn fealty to the Frea. The fiefdoms are large tracts of land worked by theows (serfs), with a central keep, fort, or castle where the ruling landowner lives. The keeps are surrounded by towns and villages where theows live and work under the protection of the noble. Travel between fiefdoms can be dangerous, as only the keep and the protection of the noble’s forces can guarantee safety. The laws of the fiefdoms can vary greatly, depending upon the will of the landowner. The Frea does not often interfere in the affairs of the nobles beneath him, so long as they honor their fealty to him and keep their people productive and loyal. While conflicts between the nobles are common, and sometimes even erupt into violence, they are inevitably settled and peace is restored by the superior forces of the Frea. Every noble knows better than to arouse the anger of the Frea.
The common people of Galdoran lead simple lives of labor and duty. Most are loyal to the frea and their noble, and would willingly die to protect their lands. Galdoranders in the theow class are generally simple and superstitious people, and often care little for venturing outside of their fiefdoms. Most make their living through farming or trades, and are content to live out their lives in their villages under the protection of their ruler. Galdoranders love stories, as it gives them a safe taste of the world outside their fiefdom, and bards and entertainers are always welcome in their lands. The common gathering place in any fiefdom is the mead hall, where food and drink are enjoyed and tales are swapped. Formerly a warlike people before being united by Leofric, the Galdoranders have not entirely forgotten their warrior ways. Strength is valued highly in Galdoran, and many games and pastimes involve tests of strength. The average Galdorander is trained in the ways of combat from youth, as he may be called to protect his fiefdom or serve in the Frea’s forces at any time.
Eorl Aethelstan, the king’s younger brother, is a well-known practicer of the arcane arts who has made his land a center for learning and magic use. Aethlestan’s fiefdom is diverse, having attracted numerous refugees from Praetoria due to its tolerant policies on immigrants. The Eorl is advised by a council of wizards and his tolerance for the use of arcane magic has made his eorldom attractive to spellcasters throughout the land. The Eorl’s policies have not come without costs, as his fiefdom is whispered about as a place of strange goings on and consultations with otherworldly powers, and his cousin, the Eorl Osgard, has accused Aethelstan of threatening the security of the Kingdom by allowing shifters, spellcasters, and Praetorian exiles to live freely in his lands.
Appearance: Galdoranders in the theow classes dress in simple wool and leather. The most common apparel is a plain tunic with calf-length pants and sandals. The nobles and more successful merchants often dress in fine cloth and jewelry that denote their wealth and status. Most Galdoranders wear a traditional circlet on their heads that holds back their hair. This circlet ranges in ornateness and value from a simple leather strap for theows to a gem studded silver or gold band for nobles. Galdoran is increasingly diverse as it has become a haven for people seeking refuge from other conflicts and lands. Native Galdoranders have tan to light complexions, are tall in stature, and dark, curly hair is common. Galdoranders commonly show the sigil of their Eorl or the Frea on their garments or shields, as a symbol of fealty to their kingdom.
Galdoranders train from youth to fight for the security of their lands. Galdorander PCs gain +1 damage with 1 simple weapon and 1 military weapon of their choice.
Competitive throwing for sport is a common pastime in Galdoran. Galdoranders gain +2 damage with all thrown weapons and may take the Far Throw feat at creation.
Galdoranders prize strength and physical power. Galdorander PCs may add their strength modifier to their starting hit points and gain +2 to strength checks.
Spellcasters have flocked to Eorl Aethelstan’s lands due to their reputation as a place of learning and shared arcane knowledge. Arcane PCs gain +1 to arcana checks and may take the expanded spellbook feat at creation, regardless of whether they meet the wisdom requirement. This bonus is open to Arcane casters from any nation who have resided for some time in Eorl Aethelstan’s land.