NEPA Known World
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos
Karameikos, a very young kingdom in a very old land, lies on the southern coast of the continent of Brun on the planet Mystara, in a region its inhabitants call the Known World. As nations go, it is a small one. A rider on a fast horse can travel from Karameikos’ capital, Specularum, to its western-most settlement at Fort Doom in 3 days, to its eastern-most village of Rugalov in 4½ days, and to King’s Road Keep in the Altan Tepes Mountains to the north in eight days. Yet within its boundaries any group of enthusiastic heroes can find enough adventure, danger, treachery, and excitement to satisfy them.
Karameikos is a heavily forested land bounded by mountains to the north which form its natural border with the Republic of Darokin. To the west is the nation of Halflings called the Five Shires. To the north and east, across the vast Altan Tepes mountain range, is the mysterious desert nation, The Emirates of Ylaruam. To the east is the mighty Empire of Thyatis, from whence the ruler of Karameikos, Grand Duke Stephan Karameikos III, hails. To the south are the island lands of the Minrothad Guilds and the Kingdom of Ierendi.
In many ways Karameikos, in the year 997, still exists as a frontier nation cut out of an ancient wilderness. Uninhabited forest covers a great majority of the nation – uninhabited, that is, by humans. A population of elves, humanoids, and monstrous creatures thrive within its borders. Further, these wildlands cover the ruins of ancient kingdoms and buried cities or the lairs of fell beasts.
Humans have always lived in the land now called Karameikos. The earliest known people, the Traldar, were a traditional, rural folk. The descendants of the Traldar, the Traladarans, were conquered over 100 years ago by their neighbor, the empire of Thyatis.
This slightly deceptive map of Karameikos, http://www.classicdndinkc.net/karameikos.gif , shows the major cities, towns and other areas of Karameikos. Notice that the original Traladaran names are used for Fort Doom (Halag) and Specularum (Mirros) and towns such as Vorloi and Sulescu are noted as the same size as even Specularum.
One experienced in the political situation of Karamikos knows that tension abounds. Though it has been 27 years since Grand Duke Stefan Karameikos III took ownership of the Traladaran nation, enmity still exists between the natives and the Thyatian “invaders.” Some say it is only the all too common presence of dangerous humanoids and beasts that keeps the Humans from civil war. Those in the know, however, how swiftly Karameikos crushed the Marilenev rebellion in 971. The decisive action seems to have unified te nation in part and has even led to those in the Cult of Halav (a small religious movement prevalent amongst extremist Traladarans) to believe that Duke Stefan is the return of Halav long preached in the Traladaran Church. Stefan has never publicly acknowledged these claims either way but he surely knows of them as that belief is commonly known though not held.
There are three major divisions of humans in Karameikos. The Thyatians (both transplants from the Empire and native born Karameikans of Thyatian descent) are the minority in numbers but the clear majority in wealth. There are perhaps one Thyatian for every 10 or more Traladarans. Most have begun to build a new uniquely Karameikan culture but all are still intensely proud of their Imperial heritage and retain the Thyatian reputation for arrogance. The Traladarans, who once ruled these lands, are the overwhelming majority of humans within the territory but many live in relative poverty when compared to their Thyatian countrymen. The Traladarans are often portrayed as backwards compared by the Thyatians and indeed they are generally superstitious and worship Immortals of their own creation (primarily Halav, Petra and Zirchev who just happen to be legendary heroes of the Traladarans but also including some that are considered pagan by the Thyatians). The last division of Humans are the Darine. There is no question that they are related to the Traladarans but they have their own nomadic society and are far more superstitious than the average Traladaran. They tend to live in caravans, traveling from city to city selling their wares which more often than not are stolen from their last stop. They practice a magic involving fortune telling, potions, and charms.
As for the towns, there are many but most are no larger than the clan-like homesteads which dot the central countryside. Specularum is the seat of power in Karameikos. It has a population of around 50,000 permanent residents making it the largest settlement by far. It is a place of laws and trade. It is a place where learning takes place and fortunes can be found. For the unwary it is a place where you can get your throat cut by walking down the wrong alley.
The Estate of Marilenev surrounds Specularum and contains the farms and orchards that keeps its people fed. Marilenev Village is just to the southwest of Specularum and is home to about 900 people and Castle Marilenev. This is a huge castle with dark and crumbling walls. It still bears the marks of the fighting during the families failed attempt to overthrow the Duke in 971. The Duke pledged funds to repair the castle but the family never used them, swearing fealty to the Duke but still holding some grudge against him.
The Barony of Vorloi was awarded to this Traladaran family for its loyal service to the Duke during the first years of his reign, including their assistance in putting down the Marilenev Rebellion in 971. The village of Vorloi is a large coastal port with around 7,500 inhabitants.
The Estate of Dmitrov is a fishing community on a small peninsula to the south of the Barony of Vorloi. The village of Dmitrov is home to about 6,500 people.
Sulescu Village is located on the western side of the Mirros Bay. It is a quiet fishing village of 950.
Luln is a large town that is somewhat fortified. It cowers in the shadow of its wild and dark neighbor, the Black Eagle Barony. This is home to around 5,000 people.
The Black Eagle Barony ranges from hills in the north to central plains and finally to southern forests. Both the hills and forests abound with goblinoids and this condition seems to be encouraged by the Baron, Ludwig von Hendricks, and his right hand man/Court Wizard Bargle the Infamous. Fort Doom, previously known as Halag, is the fortified city that Baron von Hendricks calls his home. It is home to about 10,000 humans (and perhaps numerous goblinoids if the rumors are true). The Baron is the half Hattian cousin of the Grand Duke. Why the Duke allows the rumors to go unchecked, no one knows.
Koriszegy Keep is a known haunted site and is better left avoided.
Threshold is a law-abiding town of 5,000 inhabitants and is growing fast. There is much opportunity here. Though its growth is recent, it has long been a settlement of the Traladarans. Its currently ably ruled by Patriarch (and Baron) Sherlane, a high official in the Church of Karameikos and formerly a high official in the Church of Thyatis.
Krakatos is an ancient, somewhat ruined walled village. It is being revitalized by the Duke and he has picked it to be the location for the new Karameikan College of Magic. An Alphatian is rumored to have been hired to be its first Grand Master.
Penhaligon is a fortified town of 3,750 located between Kelvin and the Darokinian town of Selenica. It sits at the foot of the foothils of the Black Peak Mountains.
Kelvin is the nation’s second largest city, having a population of approximately 20,000. Almost anything can be located here as it is sits at the confluence of three rivers in the center of the nation and is the half way point between Specularum and the border with Darokin in the north.