Next week I run the first session in my new fantasy roleplaying campaign (still to be named). It takes place in the same world as my recent short story – The Final Prophecy of Jalahar, currently in editing. The events in the game unfold a few years after those depicted in the story. This would make a lot more sense if you knew either story, I know, but I can’t reveal those just yet.
What I can reveal is some of the background information; my notes, essentially. This is basic stuff, outlining the geographic area and hinting at both political structures, trade and so forth. There’s even a crude map! Norkol is inspired by a mix of early Nordic middle ages and dark fantasy. You won’t find jolly gnomes or aloof elves here, but a goblin might steal your firstborn in the night.
I will be sharing the progress of the game, once we get underway. In the meantime, here are some notes on Norkol and the island of Vitas.
Norkol consists of an eastern peninsula and a number of islands to the west. These lands hold a number of small kingdoms and clan strongholds. The people are hard working folk, farmers, fishermen and hunters for the most part, but also some of the best sailors in the world. The weather is harsh in the fall and winter, the winds and snow taking their share of lives every season. The summers are hot and dry, and the people depend on the flow of streams and rivers.
It is a time of stability and peace in Norkol. The kings have intermarried their sons and daughters, and forged alliances that have left their lands to prosper. The last of the goblin tribes were defeated half a lifetime ago, and now traders from the southern lands can be seen at some of the bigger markets, selling exotic spices, wine and silks.
The Island of Vitas
TThe western part of Norkol is the largest of the islands. Vitas stretches about 120 miles from north to south, and about 90 miles across at its widest point.
The Long Forest stretches through the middle of the island, separating the more settled and domesticated eastern half, from the wilder and largely untamed west. Brek and Salthorpe are the only real towns in the west. Brek (population 2,000) is known for its ship builders, Salthorpe (population 1,000) for its salted cod and smoked herring.
On the eastern side, the southern most city of Grenthorpe is the largest settlement on Vitas holding over 20,000 people, swelling to as many as 35,000 during the summer months, when trading is at its height. The Grenthorpe fleet is strong and patrols the Bay of Kings, which is sometimes plagued by raiders from the smaller islands to the south, around The Bay of Teeth.
The largest city of the north is Bitton (population 8,000, up to 11,000 during trade season) on the coast of the Bay of Sighs. A trading hub connecting Vitas to central Norkol with its busy port and three major trade routes by land, north to Valborg, east to Brek and going south, the Spear Road leads to Seston and Grenthorpe. Along these trade routes are many small settlements and hamlets, inns and guarded rest stops for travelers.
Between Grenthorpe and Bitton lies Seston (population 5,000), a lakeside town that has grown rapidly during the last 20 years. The area is known for its wool and a nearby iron mine.
The northern highlands, north of the Bay of Storms in the west, and the Bay of Sighs in the east, has an unwelcoming rocky coast leading into the Norkol Sea. Besides the Valborg clan, a weatherbeaten tribe of whalers – and in harder times, raiders – not many people live in the highlands. The town of Valborg holds about 1,000 people.