Kingmaker (New Paltz)
In the far northern reaches toward the Crown of the World, the land and its people become harsh and unforgiving. Winters are long and deadly here, forcing common folk to scratch out a sustainable existence from near-frozen soil during an all-too-short spring and summer. All the while, the lords of the land plot in their keeps and strongholds, jealously eyeing their neighbors’ domains. For centuries, the firm and forceful hand of Choral the Conqueror’s lineage has held these nobles in check, but in 4699 ar, the royal house of Brevoy vanished, leaving the kingdom in turmoil. House Surtova took the contested crown, yet not all of Brevoy agreed that the new king had the right to rule. In the decade that followed, noble ambitions burned hotter even than the hearth fires working to drive away the chill of winter, and now all of Brevoy lies on the edge of civil war.
Brevoy is divided into two lands historically, culturally, and geographically. The vast Lake of Mists and Veils forms the northern border of Brevoy, bound in ice during the winter months, the domain of fishing vessels, merchant ships, and the pirates who prey upon them the rest of the year. The Awzera and East Sellen Rivers, along with the dark depths of the Gronzi Forest, divide the nation into north and south. The Golushkin Mountains south of Port Ice mark the western border, while the Icerime Peaks to the east form a barrier with the old lands of Iobaria beyond.
The northern half of Brevoy, Issia, is a broken expanse of rugged, rocky hills stretching between the bordering mountain ranges of the Icerime Peaks and the Golushkin Mountains, with the lone peak of Mount Veshka rising in its midst. Small, windswept scrub and spiky grasses are all that grow in the rocky soil, save for in small, painstakingly tended plots and in some of the more fertile areas long the lakeshore (which must deal instead with storm surges, floods, and other hazards of equal concern). The mountains offer plentiful stone for quarrying and building, and occasional veins of metals and precious stones for mining, although the locals are generally poor at mining.
Compared to the land north of Lake Reykal, Rostland is a gentle and fertile place of grassy plains and rolling hills. Watered by the lake and rivers, Rostland’s soil is better suited for farming, and the mountains and forest help to blunt the worst of the storms that roll down off of the Lake of Mists and Veils. Still, Rostland is known for its chill winters and its long, slow, and muddy spring season. Rostland is relatively poor in minerals, so most construction is of wood, supplemented by local fieldstone. A few great structures, like the Ruby Fortress or the Bulwark of Gorum in New Stetven, are built with imported stone, but otherwise even the great manor houses are built mainly of wood.