View Full Version : Ioulect Peninsula (Setting)

2009-01-02, 10:40 PM
The Ioulect Peninsula

The Ioulect Peninsula is intended to be a setting for a 4e campaign I intend to run sometime fairly soon, and as such is going to be fairly rough, consisting entirely of the one region and only discussing races and politics as related to that single region. I may or may not expand the setting to include other areas, particularly the continent proper, in the future. For now, please look over what I already have, point out mistakes or areas where things simply don’t make sense, and make suggestions. Ideas are always useful as inspiration, even if I don’t use exactly what you said :smallsmile:

Also, if anyone would like to take the geography and rough map I've made thus far and make a better version of the map, that would be much appreciated. I have neither the tools nor experience to create anything much better than what I have now :smallfrown:

In the spoiler are just some rough notes I hammered out to start off with. I’m just including it for completeness, and perhaps so people know where I’m going a bit better. Races:
Dragonborn-Gnoll-Longtooth Shifter

By side:
Brute: Dragonborn (Unchanged; high STR, favors Warlord)
Tank: Dwarf (Unchanged; high CON, favors Fighter)
Spy: Half-Elf (Unchanged; Diplomacy boost, favors Warlock)
Normal: Human (Unchanged; standard race for country)
Small: Halfling (Unchanged; traditional little folk, favors Rogue)
Magic: Tiefling (Unchanged; Preexisting demonic flavor, favors Wizard)
Foreign: Genasi (Unchanged; preferably not Watersoul, favors Swordmage)
Tin: Warforged (Use MM stats for no Construct subtype; favors Fighter)

Brute: Longtooth Shifter (Unchanged; high WIS, favors cleric)
Tank: HalfElf (Unchanged; high Con, favors Warlock)
Spy: Doppelganger (Give Fey origin; high CHA, favors Warlock)
Normal: Elf (Unchanged; standard race for country)
Small: Gnome (Give Fey origin; high INT, favors Warlock)
Magic: Eladrin (Unchanged; high INT, favors Wizard)
Foreign: Genasi (Unchanged; preferably not Watersoul, favors Swordmage)
Tin: Warforged (Use MM stats for no Construct subtype; favors Fighter)

Brute: Gnoll (Unchanged; high Con, favors Fighter)
Tank: Hobgoblin (Unchanged; high Con, favors Warlord)
Spy: Kobold (Unchanged; high DEX and thief skills, favors Ranger)
Normal: Bugbear (Unchanged; standard race for country)
Small: Goblin (Unchanged; high DEX, favors Rogue)
Magic: Tiefling (Unchanged; Preexisting demonic flavor, favors Wizard)
Foreign: Githyanki (Give Immortal origin; high INT, favors Swordmage)
Tin: Warforged (Use MM stats for no Construct subtype; favors Fighter)

Peninsula, Italy-esque
Name: Ioulect (You-LEKt)
West side elevated w/ 50-100 ft cliffs on coast
South end has craggy "spike" out of west end, extended from west side cliffs, that gradually drops to sea level and below.
North end goes to forested foothills then bare red mountains
East end drops to plains and sandy beaches south of foothills, swamps south of the beaches, and forests south of the swamps
Peninsula is roughly 800 km from southern coast to last line of northern peaks, with the "spike" reaching another ~50km out to sea, and roughly 400km wide, with ~5km across spike

Special racial considerations:
Half-Elves are not a viable race and must be the child of a human and elf or eladrin
Longtooth Shifters are a semi-viable race created by Feywild-corrupted natural humans, but breed true with others
Tieflings are a viable race, originally created by binding demons to pregnant female humans, gnolls, hobgoblins, bugbears, elves, or eladrin, but breed true with other tieflings or any of the originator races to spawn more tieflings
Warforged are built by Genasi and effectively used as slaves. Cannot breed, but presumably could construct more warforged.
Genasi are mainly Watersoul and are sailor-merchants with largely marine settlements. Have submersible vessels to avoid Gith raids, and are extremely hostile to Githyanki. Sometimes work as mercenaries for humans or elves.
Githyanki are Astral pirates who raid ships with their flying vessels, but usually avoid going over land. Extremely hostile toward Genasi and uncooperative towards most others, but occasionally work as mercenaries for goblinoids.
Elves are descended from Eladrin refugees from the Feywild, but are now considered more civilized than their ancestors.
Eladrin are always either freshly summoned from the Feywild or are the child or grandchild of 2 or 4 Eladrin who were freshly summoned. Children of children of children of eladrin summoned from the Feywild are Elves, even if all prior ancestors were Eladrin. Children of an Elf and Eladrin are Elves.
Eladrin and Gnomes in the Feywild are constantly hunted by more powerful creatures, so are always of classes that require no study, mainly Fighters.
Gnomes do not lose gnomishness, regardless of generations in the natural world.

Sociopolitical Considerations:
Humans have one major city on the main river of the peninsula, but are away from the coast due to unusable swamplands the river empties into. Human lands consist of the plains, beaches, southern forests, and swamps, and are the single largest country in terms of area and population.
Elves are farther north on the peninsula and their main city is also on the main river. Elven lands consist entirely of the forested foothills and are second-largest on the peninsula.
Genasi technically inhabit the largest city on the peninsula, though most of it is underwater. Genasi claim several sections of the western cliffs and possess a fantastic artificial harbor system.
Bugbears (and their other goblinoid associates) claim the entirety of the northern mountains, but do not truly hold the northern or eastern sections.
Dwarves claim the entirety of the northern mountains, but do not truly hold the southern or western portions.

Humans, Elves, and Bugbears make up 70-80% of the population in their respective countries, with another 10-20% Halfling, Gnome, or Goblin, and the remaining residents a mixture of other races.
Genasi appear to be nearly 99% of their settlements' populations, but certain past events (mainly wars) imply that there may be 2, 3, or even 4 Warforged in the cities for every Genasi.

Economic Considerations:
Genasi are wealthy traders and mercenaries due to easy sea access and relatively easy means of avoiding Githyanki pirates. Most foreign merchants come to Genasi city to trade with peninsula cultures, and most peninsula cultures come to Genasi city to trade with foreigners. Consider basing on Carthage.
Humans and associates are primarily agrarian and provide much of the food for themselves and the Genasi. Also possess major centers of learning due to prevalent Ioun worship in cities. Strongly consider basing on Athens.
Elves tend to export fine woods and magic items. Elven forest produces unsurpassed wood for musical instruments, and Fey knowledge makes for strong magic. Elven forest should be cold - magical frost?
Dwarves export ores from their mines, particularly iron, finished metal weapons, and occasional mercenaries. In exchange, they seek primarily human crops, of which grain is most prized.
Bugbears mostly trade with the orc nation to the northwest, but also sometimes come to trade ores they come upon in their excavations.

In short, Genasi are richest, Humans are somewhat wealthy, Dwarves are middling, Elves are somewhat poor, and Bugbears are mostly out of the peninsular trade.

Geography of the Ioulect Peninsula

Overall, the Peninsula is a warm temperate area, characterized by a constant gentle slope as one passes from the southeast to northwest end. The country is divided into 7 distinct regions, known in the human tongue as the Redcap Mountains, Coldhunt Forest, Orcsback, Shallow Swamp, The Little One’s Woods, Bloodblade Cliffs, and The Dark Wizard’s Sacrificial Dagger.

The Redcap Mountains:
The Redcap Mountains are a wide and low mountain range separating the Peninsula from the continent. Their name comes from the high iron content of their stones and their low peaks, which combine to make the range have a red tinge even in the heart of winter.

Due to their low altitude, these mountains are not particularly difficult to cross. Even the tallest peaks never reach more than 1200 meters above sea level. There are trees at the summit of several peaks, though most are far too rocky to sustain anything larger than a simple shrub, so travelers can typically find enough food and fuel for their journey. However, there are 2 major passes, Hammer Pass in the east and Anvil Pass in the west, each stood over by an old Dwarven fortress.

From the mountains spring the beginning of the two major rivers of the region, the Warmwater River that flows through Coldhunt Forest and the Redstone River that passes through Orcsback and into the Shallow Swamp.

Coldhunt Forest:
Coldhunt Forest consists of light to medium forest upon the eastern foothills of the Redcap Mountains. The region would be fairly unremarkable if not for the obvious enchantment that has flowed through it since time immemorial. Whatever sorcery causes it, the forest is persistently far colder than the rest of the country. The average temperature ranges from 16 degrees Celsius in the summer to -12 degrees Celsius in the winter. These woods are touched by frost most of the year.

Despite the fact that it is truly not particularly warm compared to the mountains it springs from, the relatively high temperature of its waters as it flows through Coldhunt is what gives the Warmwater River its name. This torrent gradually cools and picks up speed as it is fed by streams in the Forest before emptying into the sea.

Orcsback is the name given to the wide expanse of rolling plains in the central part of the Ioulect Peninsula. There is little of note geographically here; the Redstone River passes through it before broadening out and becoming Shallow Swamp, and the plains drop off sharply into the Bloodblade Cliffs on the west coast.

Shallow Swamp:
As it nears the lowest point of the peninsula, the Redstone River begins to become far broader, slower, and shallower, eventually changing from a proper river to swamps. These freshwater glades are almost entirely flooded, and those areas that aren’t are consistently wet mud most of the year. This swamp can be dangerous to the unprepared, but most of the local farmers consider it to be a valuable source of food and fuel. The water is usually less than a meter deep, and never more than four, and is inhabited by countless fish, amphibians, and reptiles.

The human government has tried to drain portions of the swamps on many occasions, and attempted to dredge a deeper channel so ships could reach the sea, but these attempts have consistently failed. Some say it is because the river flooded and washed away the work, but others claim it is due to an enchantment similar to the one on Coldhunt Forest. No one is truly sure.

The Little One’s Woods:
Named for the arboreal culture of Halflings native to them, the dense southern forest of the Ioulect Peninsula are avoided by most civilized folk. While the northwestern side of these woods has been cleared for farmland and wood, they are still considered to be infested by wolves and other dangerous creatures.

Bloodblade Cliffs:
Ranging the entire length of the west coast of the Peninsula, the Bloodblade Cliffs are composed of the same iron-rich red stone as the Redcap Mountains. The cliffs are quite sheer and drop ten to thirty meters into the ocean below. There are only a few safe descents on the entire coast, and most of those are the site of a settlement.

The Dark Wizard’s Sacrificial Dagger:
More commonly known simply as The Dagger, this black stone outcrop juts nearly 60 kilometers into the ocean. The surface is completely devoid of visible life, the rocks look jagged and dangerous, and legend has it that the ancient castle floating a hundred meters overhead, bound to the Dagger by adamantine chains as thick as a man, is the headquarters of the dread dark wizard Falbatorix. No one goes to the Dark Wizard’s Sacrificial Dagger.

Politics of the Ioulect Peninsula
There are five main political groups on the Ioulect Peninsula, defined by the race that holds most of the power and wealth in that group or the main settlement in their territory. These five groups are the Teshan Humans, Sylvanor Elves, Regchata Genasi, Redmine Dwarves, and Ibis Bugbears.

The city-state of Tesha is the largest, though not the strongest, of the nations on the Ioulect Peninsula. The humans of Tesha and their Halfling and Dragonborn allies are the masters of Orcsback, the Little One’s Woods, and Shallow Swamp. The rich farmland of the plains has allowed the human population to grow to a size unrivaled by the other land-bound races.

Because they consider their good fortunes to be due to a greater degree of wisdom than their rivals, the Teshans, particularly the nobility, put a great deal of emphasis on teaching their young. The most prestigious school in the known world, Ioun’s Library, is located in Tesha, and the alumni of this academy are advisors and leaders in many kingdoms.

The current leader of Tesha, perhaps not surprisingly, is an alumnus of this school, the Half-Elf Warlock known as Alila the Witch. She and her assistants constantly consult the stars for advice on what direction to take her beloved nation. For the past decade, they have never been disappointed.

The Elves of Coldhunt Forest were once Eladrin refugees from the Feywild, but in the only documented case of interplanar travel without a summoner, managed to open a temporary rift to the natural world. Since this event, these people have created a small haven for themselves and other Fey in these enchanted woods.

In terms of population, the Elves are the smallest race on the Peninsula. Coldhunt Forest is not suitable for significant agriculture and does not have enough game to support a sizable population, so only their mastery of magic has kept the Fey free of foreign control. Since their arrival, though, the other nations in the region have learned that the elves are not as easy to defeat as they would first appear, and thus a peace has reigned between Sylvanor, Tesha, Regchata, and the inhabitants of the Redcaps for nearly half a century.

The Elves are a significant force economically. Coldhunt’s low temperatures means that the wood there is superb for musical instruments, and their magical talents make their spell-infused tools desired throughout the region. Most Elves trade for food, the freedom of bound Fey, and the components needed to bring forth more of their Eladrin and Gnomish cousins from the Feywild.

Sylvanor’s King Rilial is generally a wise and capable leader, having learned the history of his people well. He is occasionally known to set his eyes on something that is ultimately out of his reach, but on only one occasion has he taken the attempt too far. This event, just over fifty years ago, nearly led to the destruction of his nation, and he will not make such a mistake a second time.

Regchata Genasi:
Genasi are largely an aquatic race, making their home along the Bloodblade Cliffs. Consummate traders, they use the fact that most of them can breathe underwater to create unmatched harbors, unpiratable shipping lanes, and secure settlements. The quality of the Regchata harbors is such that larger ships can port there than anywhere else on the peninsula, and thus most trade comes through Genasi territory.

Those relatively few Genasi born without the Watersoul are usually charged with guarding overland trade or commanding the Warforged legions if they do not go into the world as mercenaries. Most of the Genasi of the Ioulect region consider living on land to be inherently inferior to living underwater. They feel they can fly in the sea, so why bind oneself to the ground like a common servant or soldier? Some of the wealthiest Genasi women even refuse to go to the surface to give birth, allowing their child to drown if it cannot breathe the sea, though this is considered extreme even by Genasi standards.

Non-Watersoul Genasi are considered second-class citizens, at best, though Windsouls are sometimes admired for their power to swim the sky. The wealthier an individual, the more powerful they are. The leadership of the state is given to a council of five Genasi who bought it at auction when an old councilor died or when they simply bribed a councilor to give the seat to them.

Redmine Dwarves:
The dwarves of the Redcap Mountains are at a semi-constant state of war with the Ibis, and usually keep to themselves otherwise. Little is known about them, other than that they are digging deep into the mountains and bringing back fine iron, which they bring to the lowlands to trade.

Ibis Bugbears:
The bugbears of the Ibis tribe and their other goblinoid allies are at a semi-constant state of war with the Redmine Dwarves, and otherwise have few relationships with the races of Ioulect. While they do occasionally bring iron to the cities on the peninsula, they do most of their trading with the Gnoll kingdom to the northwest.

More recently, a previously-unknown priest, Caul of the Scarlets, has risen to prominence by claiming divine revelation. Most of the clans ignore his warmongering, but increasingly many young men have flocked to his banner, eager for him to reveal the ones the gods wish them to destroy.

2009-01-02, 10:41 PM
Races of the Ioulect Peninsula

Hulking herders, hunters, and sometimes miners, Bugbears in the Redcap Mountains are all members of the Ibis tribe. Bugbears spend most of their time herding a variety of deer well-suited to the rocky forests, though their methods are more akin to a wolf pack’s than a human shepherd. The bugbears constantly have their clansmen hike a loose circle around the herds, charging and shouting at any deer that stray too far. When the tribe needs meat, the people simply slay one and drag it into the woods, where it is butchered, preserved, and eaten. Between the herds and the berries and roots found in the forest, the bugbears mostly thrive, deep in otherwise-untamed wilderness.

While all the bugbears are from a single tribe, this does not mean they are entirely united. The main groups are separated into family groups, referred to as clans, distinguished by the region they inhabit or some other characteristic. Separate clans will occasionally come into conflict, but these are usually minor feuds and almost always end in members of both clans interbreeding, forming a new third clan.

Bugbears will sometimes dig deep into the stones, seeking iron to trade with other races, but they are mostly somewhat isolationist. They do have a long-running conflict with the Dwarves who occupy the mountains, as both races compete for the same food, water, and mineral supplies.

Naming Conventions:
Bugbears have names from many sources. Most are named in the Common tongue, and thus are called something that would not be amiss in a human city, but the rougher names from the Goblin tongue are not uncommon either. There are no surnames in bugbear society; rather, individuals are distinguished by the clan they belong to, so a common name might be William of the Highpeaks.

Current population:
Approximately 20,000 scattered throughout the Redcap Mountains. Highest population density around Anvil Pass. No major population centers.

4E Game Statistics:
As Bugbears from Monster Manual 1, but remove Oversized ability.

Also known as changelings, Doppelgangers are a race of shapeshifters native to the Feywild. In that enchanted realm, the Doppelgangers use their ability to appear as more powerful creatures to avoid being killed and eaten. Those that are summoned to the natural world are usually used to replace the children of their summoner’s rival or as spies in enemy courts, and most of those that are discovered are burned at the stake. Those rare few who outlive their masters often flee to Coldhunt Forest and Sylvanor, where they can be free.

Free doppelgangers usually lend their services to the Elves as spies, Warlocks, and merchants, usually disguised as normal Elves to avoid the hate their race is usually subject to.

Naming Conventions: Most doppelgangers have several names that they answer to depending on the guise they take and society they are among. Birth names are usually Elven in origin, though many never use that name once they reach adulthood.

Current Population:
Approximately 250 throughout the Peninsula, almost all of which are in the city of Sylvanor or other Elven settlements, with other concentrations in the cities of other races.

4E Game Statistics:
As Doppelgangers from the Monster Manual, but add the Fey Origin ability.

More commonly known as Greater Dragonfolk, most of the Dragonborn live in fortresses nestled in the Bloodblade Cliffs. A largely military race, the Dragonborn and their drake-riding cavalry once dominated the Peninsula. However, millennia ago the Riding Drakes were driven extinct and the Dragonborn were defeated, leaving room for the humans to move into the region.

Now, the Dragonborn that leave their cliff havens are mostly integrated into the human societies, working as manual laborers and soldiers. Many of them grow to lead other soldiers, their natural majesty attracting much admiration.

Naming Conventions:
Dragonborn usually give their children one name at birth distinguished by the color of their scales, a second once they first use their breath weapon after the energy they spit, and a third at adulthood after their chosen profession. However, not all dragonborn are the same color throughout their childhood, their breath has been known to change due to a traumatic event, and circumstances often conspire to make them do things they did not expect, so it is not unknown for a dragonborn to be named completely differently from their appearance and powers, as the legendary white-scaled lightning-breathing warlock Sunrise Frozenthrone Twinblades demonstrates.

Current Population:
Approximately 600, about 100 of which are outside the enclaves.

4E Game Statistics:
As Dragonborn from the Player’s Handbook.

Dwarves are seeking something, though they do not seem to know what. It is deep under the stones, and when they find it, their end will come. So, the dwarves dig down, ever deeper, ever seeking, only coming to the surface to eat, drink, and rid themselves of excess rocks.

Dwarves are a highly conformive species, nearly to the extent where they have a hive mind. They very nearly have no thoughts of their own, doing everything in their power to continue their mines. The bugbears consider them almost vermin; like ants, the dwarves will take whatever food they can get their hands on whenever they come to the surface, and they kill any bugbears who might try to defend that food. Unfortunately for the goblins, Dwarves are remarkably durable, and so largely control about half of the Redcap Mountain range.

Some rare dwarves do suffer from a mental condition which, in other races, causes dangerous psychosis. These dwarves seem to split off from the dwarven hives, become relatable by the other races, and unusually decent and upright members of other societies. These dwarves, in their individuality, often take large quantities of ore-rich stone from the dwarven refuse-heaps, which they then take into the lands of other races where they are given great respect. Others will go into other lands and find work as soldiers, work in which they excel as they are still abnormally conformitive, or smiths.

Naming Conventions:
Healthy dwarves do not have names. They do whatever is needed for the group. Mentally ill dwarves usually either take whatever name people call them (which means they often have names that are variations on “dwarf” or “short one”) or whatever name they might happen to like.

Current Population:
15,000; perhaps 1000 of those are madmen.

4E Game Statistics:
Only crazy dwarves are playable. These use the statistics from the Player’s Handbook.

In their native Feywild, Eladrin are a race of wild wanderers, forever fleeing the more powerful Fey beings who hunger for their flesh. In that land, there are no Eladrin cities, no Eladrin culture no Eladrin home. They are little better than savage apes.

Few non-Fey creatures choose to summon Eladrin. There are stronger creatures that can be called if a warrior is needed, prettier if a companion is desired, and stealthier if a spy is required. However, Elves tend to consider every Eladrin a cousin, and they do occasionally summon them to protect “family” or for their magical natures.

Freshly-summoned adult Eladrin never have complex training, and usually attempt to flee from anything, including Elves, that is not a familiar Eladrin face, hiding in the wilderness. Children, though, do sometimes take to Elven training, civilizing these people and usually making strong mages which are eager to protect the ones who saved them from their lives in the Feywild. Eladrin children of Eladrin, wild or not, are also usually willing to be educated by their Elven cousins, and are a valued part of Elven society.

The grandchildren of any Eladrin born in the natural world are always no longer Eladrin, instead being Elves (or Half-Elves). The child of an Elf and an Eladrin is always an Elf, indistinguishable from the child of two Elves. The child of a human and an Eladrin is a Half-Elf, again indistinguishable from the child of a human and an Elf. It appears that the magic of the Feywild that infuses Eladrin leeches out over the generations in the natural world, thus leaving their descendents as the less-magical Elves.

Naming Conventions:
Wild Eladrin typically have extremely guttural-sounding Elvish names, while more civilized members of the race are named in the more normal Elven fashion.

Current Population:
Approximately 500, few of which are freshly-summoned. Almost exclusively found in the Coldhunt Forest.

4E Game Statistics:
As Eladrin from the Player’s Handbook.