Kavun is a dying kingdom of a dying bloodline. The borders used to span much of the cold lands simply called The Crown. Now, wilderness encroaches on the last few cities and towns that have held out in the long downward spiral. To the east lies the Cold Moors and the Icehills, as well as Bowden's Borough, a large forest of oak, maple, and cedar. These are home to barbarians, reindeer, mammoths, and unsavory creatures like goblins and orcs. The imposing mountains known as the Dragon's Spine is home to even more goblins, orcs, ogres, and worse, and they lie on Kavun's eastern border.
To the north are the Iron Pines. It is home to more nightmares, and some say that in the forest's depths lurk otherworldly tricksters that lead people lost in the woods to their doom. Others tell of savage tribes of elves that feast on the flesh of goodly folk. The southern edge of the Iron pines marks the northern border of Kavun. Further north lies the flat plains of the Ghostwinds. These lands are said to be haunted by a long dead god and his followers. The few people who live here are hearty and laugh at the tales told by the southerners about their home. The true danger of the ever-moaning wind is it's cold bite. Even further north that that lies the rest of the Dragon's Spine and the cold tundra called the Nordlands beyond that.
Kavun is bound on the west by the Cold Waters, a river that is icy cold even in the heat of summer. Beyond lies the nameless plains roamed by the Horse Lords. These plains flow into the exotic Southlands below. Beyond that, no one really knows, or if they do, they do not want to divulge that information.
The south holds the Arianak Sea and the various ports and cites of the southlands beyond. In Kavun's golden age, ships from many ports, even those from the other side of the world, engaged in heavy trade at many of it's ports. Now many of the port cities of Kavun are home to rotting docks and warehouses. Though some ships still sail in, they are mainly slavers, looking for a place to sell, and new "goods" to buy.
While many of the cities of Kavun are mere shadows of their former glory, Sal Kavun, Kavun's capital, remains relatively rich. Its streets are clean and mostly free of the thugs that plague the other cities. Most of the populace is well-fed, and richly clothed.
Or so it appears. Sal Kavun, the gleaming jewel of the Eternal Kingdom, is nothing more than a front. Many of the people residing in the city are nobles. Nobles escaping the crumbling cities they hale from to take residence in the one city that can afford them the luxuries their grandfathers and grandmothers enjoyed. The rest are slaves, servants, members of the capital's underbelly, or members of the Royal Guard. The slaves and servants live in fear of the nobles and guardsmen. The slaves fear the lash that comes if they cannot meet the demands of their hedonistic. The servants and the very few freemen fear the guardsmen will throw them into slavery at the whims of a noble, or even at the their own whims.
While Sal Kavun is in the middle of the kingdom, all of the King's Roads converge on the capital city. The trade is enough to keep the nobles coffers full and provide for the nobles voracious appetite for slaves and fine goods. The Pine River provides easy transportation to the Arianak Sea and the ports on the coast, as well as the logging town of Tolmin.
The criminal underbelly enjoys much wealth and prestige here in the capital. Many nobles seek thieves and slavers to snatch what another would not give or sell, whether it be a pretty daughter, or a fine jewel. Assassins are much harder to find, but those that can find, and afford them, find their talents useful in disposing of particularly troublesome guests and rivals.
The closest major port to Sal Kavun. It is the one that sees the most ships. The main imports and exports are slaves, many of them human, but a few who are not. Other goods that flow through the port to the other parts of the kingdom or to the rest of the world are woods, gems, gold, and other metals from the mines in Goldton and Redmount.
The criminal element here is harder, with many more killers here than thieves, although they are not above thievery themselves. Most are wary of approaching anyone for less than reputable work for fear of being killed by someone else hired by a rival or just because they had some coins.
The second most prosperous port, if only because it's located on Cold Waters a few miles from where the icy river enters the sea. The main things that flow through here are mining supplies, smith's tools, metals, and gold. The mining town of Goldton uses this port as it's main point of contact for merchants, while Sal Port receives those that do not wish to risk a crewman falling into the icy waters flowing from the Iron Pines.
Goldport has the smallest criminal element, the town guard being one of the rare exceptions to the stereotype of most of the guardsmen and watchmen being lethargic and incompetent or thugs that are no better than the people they are supposed to arrest. Most of the people here are merchants and craftsmen, with a few being nobles that prefer quiet life in Goldton to the blur of parties, balls, drugs, and sex that their counterparts in Sal Kavun live in.
Goldton is major mining town that lies northeast of Goldport. While Goldport is named for the town that most uses its docks to faciltate trade, Goldton is a bit of a misnomer. A tenth of what comes out of the mines is gold. The rest is silver, platinum, copper, iron, tin, and even the rare adamantine and mithral so prized by armor-smiths.
Many of the people here are miners, smelters, and smiths, with a few running the taverns and shops that keep the always hungry workers feed. Despite being nearly as large as the port that serves it, Goldton still manages to feel close and connected. As a result, very little crime happens, and those that do break the law are swiftly punished.
Redmount is Kavun's other major mining town. While it lacks the veins of precious metals that have propelled Goldton to prominence, it does have more extensive veins of iron and copper. The town takes its name from the singular mountain that rises from the plains surrounding the town. There are many legends about how the stone of the mountain got its characteristic hue, and even about how the mountain itself got there. The towns folk take a certain pride in their storytelling. Some even openly using magic to enhance the tale. The open use of magic by those that learned it or were born with it marks the town as unusual, as does the lack of slavery. While the town produces iron, steel, and copper of undeniable quality, most of Kavun's nobles and merchants avoid the place for fear of losing their slaves.
The small logging town is located north of Sal Kavun on the Pine River. While logging has become harder as the orcs and goblins move further south and west along the Iron Pines southern edge, carpentry has allowed the small town of a thousand souls to continue in the face of ever mounting competition from the goods imported from far-flung lands. How long this will last is a matter of concern for many as the cost of floating wood up the river is continuing to drive the prices up, and the number of nobles and merchants willing to buy down.
The names of the three towns to the east of Sal Kavun have been lost to the centuries. Three Towns consists of two port cities separated by a a brackish, muddy swamp and a third town where the King's Road splits in two to head to the port towns. This has been the area hardest hit by the drop in trade over the past hundred years. Many of the docks and warehouses are dilapidated, filled with rotten planks and beams. Crime here is surprisingly low, with many of the towns folk just barely surviving, there is little to steal and even less to earn from killing.
Redwall is most famous for the legendary battle that stained the walls of the first Lord Redwall's keep red with his enemies' blood. The keep still stands, its walls now black from time. The town is located northwest from Sal Kavun. Most of the buildings are either of gray, weathered wood or blackened stone. The current Lord Redwall has allowed things to decay to a point where the King of Kavun is offering bounties on monsters from the Iron Pines and on the many criminals that infest the town of about five thousand.
Most of the criminals have either joined the town guard or even into the personal guard of Lord Redwall or have formed gangs that fight for control of the town's streets. Those among the guards ranks lord it over the rest of the populace. There are rumors that Lord Gurat Redwall encourages this, and even uses them to fetch some of the more attractive women and female elves and half-elves have mysteriously gone missing while traveling along the Old King's Road near Redwall.
Kael'rathen is an elven city north of Redwall. During Kavun's golden age trade between Kael'rathen and Sal Kavun was extensive, as were the number of half-elves born. The Old King's Road was the main mode of transportation. Contact was cut off at the beginning of Kavun's decline, nearly two centuries ago. Seeing that the royal family was becoming increasingly mad and that other nations were closing off trade with the declining kingdom, the elves sought new parties to trade with. Eventually, they decided on the small nation of Ironwall to the south and opened up a trade route along the eastern side of the Dragon's Spine. Kael'rathen also trades heavily with the dwarves of Four Peaks, and even having a friendly alliance, though there are still complaints on both sides about the other.
Half-elves, the legacy of Kael'rathen's trade with Kavun, are fairly rare in most towns, and are more common in Sal Kavun and Sal Port. Kael'rathen has a larger population of them, and the population of half-elves in Ironwall is on the rise. Kael'rathen's elves tend to treat their half-blood kin with a little pity, and much condescension. This leads most of the half-elves to have at least a little resentment towards them.
While Goldton and Redmount produce some of the finest ore of any human mine, they cannot compare to the output of the massive dwarven hold of Four Peaks. The extensive tunnels and passageways are said to stretch over a thousand miles. The tunnel leading to the elven city of Kael'rathen certainly lends credence to this rumor. The dwarves use the elves as middle merchants, letting them handle negotiations with the various trade partners that have found out about the quality of the goods coming from the dwarven hold.
While most of the dwarves remain in or near Four Peaks for most of their lives, some venture out much further, bringing back tales of the fallen glory of Kavun, the military might of Ironwall, and even the sights of the far-off southlands. Some even find a kinship with the humans of Ironwall and stay. Most avoid staying too long in Kavun's dying cities, fearing that they will become their graves.
High Pass is a town that stands guard over the pass used by the elven caravans to get to Ironwall. Though it is small, the population is quite diverse. Half-orcs, elves, dwarves, humans, half-elves, and even a few gnomes and halflings call the snow-swept town their home. The caravans are grateful for their presence and often boast that one will never find a better friend than a citizen of High Pass. The boast has proven true in many cases. The folks of High Pass are strong fighters, fierce friends, and unflinchingly loyal. The dwarves of Four Peaks often say that High Pass contains the cream of the crop of Kavun, without any hint of irony.
The Kingdom of Ironwall has been around for as long as any history of the Crown has been written. Ironwall's longevity, as far as scholars are concerned, is due to the nation's superb martial prowess and a fluke of geography. The small nation has survived at least a thousand years and even The Eternal Kingdom of Kavun could not bring could not bring it down at its height. Ironwall is bordered on the east and west by branches of the Dragon's Spine, known as the Dragon's Teeth, and the wide valley between them is commonly referred to the Dragon's Maw. Many generals have noted that it is an apt description after their armies have been broken and routed.
The armies of Ironwall are divided into three divisions: the Stones, the Mortars, and the Spears. The Spears are the main offensive troops, consisting of cavalry, pikemen, bowmen, and swordmen. The Mortars are responsible for supporting the other two divisions. They are mainly healers, spellcasters, cooks, craftsmen, and priests. The Stones are what gives Ironwall its name. Heavily armored, highly trained phalanx troops skilled in the use of tower shields. Though many have tried, none have broken through the wall of iron and spears in living memory.
The capital of the kingdom sits in a pass named the Dragon's Eye. Farms lie to the west and south, but to the east of the city lies wall, after wall of thick sturdy stone. While the caravans of Kael'rathen find the barriers a welcome sight, most fear going near the deadly fortifications. The orcs and goblins rarely muster the courage to attempt a raid on the walls.
The capital, despite the utilitarian nature of its buildings, is often vibrant and bustling with merchants, farmers, and townsfolk looking to trade and celebrate. Criminals often avoid the place because of highly efficient Iron Watch, the city's guard. Non-humans walk with little fear of reprisal and spellcasters ply their trade openly.
Two Trove one of Ironwall's two major port cities. It shares many of Ironwall's qualities, having a busy marketplace and a fairly visible and large population of non-humans. The city's people, however, share Redmount's love of stories and tales. Bards are popular and well respected in the city, as long as they avoid bringing down a father's or husband's wrath on his head. Crime is more prevalent here than in Ironwall, but still low compared to Sal Port and Sal Kavun.
Two Trove gets its name from the legend surrounding its founding. A famed pair of rival kings had died one very soon after another, but not before hearing about how his rival planned to have a massive tomb full of traps and treasures. Not to be outdone, the other king planned to have his tomb built on an even grander scale and very near his rival's. Adventurers, treasure hunters, and tomb robbers soon began looking for the famed tombs and the treasures contained within. Many either gave up, or died looking in the wilderness. Some, though, began selling goods to the others, and eventually the town that was to be called Two Trove, after the famed treasure troves, was founded.
Named for the man who founded it, Kalisport is the largest city of Ironwall. It has much in common with it's sister to the east and the capital to the northeast. Crime is a bigger problem, but this is mainly from the foreigners who are either on shore leave or have been left behind. While the constant influx of foreign peoples makes the city more colorful, it is the myriad of taverns and inns that make Kalisport truly unique in Ironwall. The sheer variety of dishes and meals that one can try draws those with a more daring palate, or those wanting a taste from home. Many of the cooks and chefs of the city of nearly 20'000 people have developed local variations on many dishes from around the world, and even fixing their own takes on local dishes.