Campaign Primer

The Compass Rose campaign is set in the “low fantasy”, quasi-historical world of Ardia. It’s level of progress would be roughly equivalent to mid-16th century Earth. Fantastic creatures and phenomena are just that, fantastic. They are rare and wondrous, at least to the majority of the population…

Major Nations and Political Situation

Colonial Powers

Ealdur and Lettan are the primary nation states of the Ashtar continent, situated in the northern hemisphere of Ardia. They are not formally at war, but tensions are high. Disputes are outstanding regarding territory and trading rights, while the Coorish Trading League (CTL) is rumoured to be using this fact to better its own bargaining position.

Ealdur

Population: 3.2 million (99% human, 1% other), 7,000 on West Hanum Islands

Location: Ealdur in the central and western area of the continent of Ashtar, 5 islands of the West Hanum Archipelago (Calmuth Island, New Cahorn, Athlell, Orbitan, Tulmaria)

Capitol: Llantry (pop. 150,000)

  • Population – Central Ashtarean (90%), Northern Ashtarean (4%), Coorish (3%), Halfling (1%), Dwarf (1%), Other (1%)
  • Geography – situated on a long causeway, composed of two halves, the north and south cities, separated by a narrow channel; to the east is the Silent Sea; to the west is the Bay of the Protector, which opens to the Starbirth Sea
  • Government – Mayor with regional councilors
  • Major landmarks – The Palace of the Monarch, High Cathedral of Galus, Cathedral of Fira, Church of Valeria, The Western University, Office of The High Admiralty, Offices of the Seafarers’ Guild, Academy of the Stars’ Children

Monarch: Queen Elyn of house Wente (coat of arms is a white swan on a green field)

Major Noble Houses (seated) and their Provinces: Athham, Byton, Cahorn, Keye, Ortlander, Rand, Weedon, Wente; around two-dozen lesser (non-seated) noble houses

Offical Language: Ealduran

Exports: silver, oak, iron, gemstones, textiles, fine woodwork

This nation is the largest and most influential on the Continent. It has moderate resources but has a strong agricultural base. It is the most technologically advanced of the major players. It has an impressive navy and, in the last 50 years, the Ealdurans have expanded their holdings to include islands within the West Hanum Archipelago. These islands have provided exotic items and modest reserves in various ores. Their greater value is found in their strategic location at the roughly midway point of the sea journey between Ashtar and the continent of Kayemba. This has not gone unnoticed by the other major nations, who have been increasing their involvement in the islands in the past few decades.

Lettan

Population: 2.3 million (99% human, 1% other), 1,200 on Toomiran

Location: Lettan in northern Ashtar, Toomiran island of West Hanum Archipelago

Capitol: Prue (pop. 120,000)

  • Population – Central Ashtarean (75%), Northern Ashtarean (19%), Coorish (4%), Halfling (1%), Other (1%)
  • Geography – on the River Breev near the edge of the Greywall Mountains
  • Government – Mayor
  • Major Landmarks – Castle of the Archduke, Cathedral of Galus, High Cathedral of Fira, Church of Valeria, Academy of the Stars’ Children

Archduke: Audon of Siry (coat of arms is a green pine tree on a black and white checked field)

Major Noble Houses: Siry; several lesser houses

Official Language: Lettanni

Exports: pine, oak, iron, silver, adamantium

The Lettanni have been playing catch-up to the Ealdurans for centuries but their relationship with the CTL over the last 50 years has greatly improved their position. Lettan has been willing to sell concessions of access to its vast natural resources to the CTL in exchange for knowledge and skills. Their fleet of ships has expanded significantly under the leadership of ArchDuke Audon. This has allowed it to begin competing with Ealdur for offshore exploration and trade.

Coorish Trading League (“CTL”, “Coorish League”, or “League”)

Population: 2.5 million (99% human, 1% other), 500 on West Hanum Islands

Location: south and eastern lands of Ashtar; outposts in Ealdur, Lettan and on Calmuth Island, New Cahorn, and Toomiran

Capitol: rotates every year; currently Leona

Council of Trade: 13 representatives from each of the member cities/states (Arar-s, Brerthyrst-c, Brindi-s, Burja-c, Caldy-c, Esciarvi-s, Fellenfeld-c, Leona-c, Marakfell-c, Menia-c, Sassim-s, Wendgate-c, Zinova-s)

Official Language of Commerce: Brindish

Exports: jewelry, grains, metalwork

The CTL is an alliance of several free cities and small nation states that has existed for some 80 years. It was originally formed to create a common trading platform and security agreement between its members. It has since evolved to include strong trading inroads into the major nation states. The CTL has set up outposts in cities in both Ealdur and Lettan. Its location on the southeastern end of the continent has turned out to be a lucrative position as most trade with the eastern nations passes through here.

Aboriginal Nations of the West Hanum Archipelago

Labreya

Population: 900-1000

Location: Anya (Calmuth Island), Brya (New Cahorn), Waga (Tulmaria), Tahi (Athlell)

Language: Labreyan, most can speak Ealduran as well

The Labreya were the first to arrive from the west thousands of years ago. They had become a magnificent nation of some 10,000… until the Ealdurans arrived approximately 50 years ago. Disease from the settlers and slavery devastated their people and reduced the population to its current level in a matter of a few decades. Today, the Labreya are a ghost of a people that live in the shadow of the Ealdurans. They continue to practise their traditions of fishing, canoe-making and bow-crafting, yet they are increasingly being assimilated into Ealduran society as the colonial government has found little value in maintaining their culture.

Gul

Population: 7,500

Location: Kooyoboo (Toomiran), Yooheelu (Galvar)

Language: Gul

The Gul arrived at the archipelago several hundred years after the Labreyans. They originally occupied a handful of the western-most islands before moving eastward. All of the islands save two were subsequently abandoned after their resources had been exhausted. The Gul, like their colonial counterparts, are exploitative and even went so far as to enslave some of the Labreya hundreds of years ago. They had been considering attacking the Labreyans just before the Ealdurans arrived but backed off from that notion after the latter two nations signed a peace treaty. On arrival of the Lettanni, the Gul first reacted with hostility but were quickly won over with eastern goods. The current chief has even been known to lend warriors to the Lettanni in their skirmishes with the Ealdurans.

Ulgar

Population: 12,500

Location: Urgul (Calmuth Island), Koriyar, Kosh, Gilkish, Urko

Langauge: Ulgaran

The Ulgar are the most independent of the indigenous nations. Of the three original nations, they arrived last. They originally occupied the islands of Kosh, Gilkish, and Urko but, roughly 100 years ago, moved to take the western shore of Urgul from the Labreyans. The Labreyans were unprepared and offered little resistance. There has since been no attempt to re-capture it.
The arrival of the Ealdurans posed a new threat to the western shore of Urgul. The Ulgar, not wishing to engage in a war to defend their side of the island, signed a treaty with the Ealdurans 23 years ago. Although there has been sabre-rattling over the years, both sides have yet to attack each other. The Ulgar do not engage in trade with the colonials (and seldom with the Gul) and are highly self-sufficient though somewhat insular.

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