At the end of an age, the shadow was drawn across a once-beautiful province. Its fertile lands and proud cities fell before the Fair Folk, cruel even in their retreat. The land was remade for some fifty leagues as the beautiful shores of the Dreaming Sea were born.
Slowly, over the decades, humanity returned. The land filled first with the outcast, the homeless, and the unpopular, and later with their children. Centuries later, a new culture thrives: a melange of refugees who simply called their land “the Shores.”
Recently, the influence of faraway lands has come to the Shores. Amilar Valna, chosen of the dragons, once of the famed Seventh Legion, brought advisors, merchants, and heroes with her to mold the Shores into a powerful and unified land. Now, ten years after she established her rule, events are coming to a head which will either secure her rule or violently unseat her. Conflict is inevitable.
Where will your heroes stand?
The Shores is a collection of NPCs that provide an interesting and conflict-filled setting for newly-Chosen characters. It’s not intended as a full campaign setting, but it makes a good place for a couple adventures. This post describes the territory itself. Later posts will detail the characters who make this such a fascinating place.
(Click map to enlarge.)
The Shores are located along the northern edge of the Dreaming Sea, tucked between a pair of mountain ranges. They stretch for about 250 kilometers of coastline, with perhaps 80 kilometers of land between the capital of Phaedros and the mountains to the north. Phaedros is a thriving city of 80,000 individuals. West along the coast is Tsannia (40,000), and Thaetrana (25,000) lies to the east. Most of the population lives along the shoreline, and roads to inland towns tend to be poorly-maintained.
The Shores are particularly unusual for their large concentration of shadowlands. Ghosts are common here, and ancestor worship is held alongside the worship of local gods and spirits. There are also a number of broken and abandoned manses across the northern mountains.
The coast is lined with warm sandy beaches and coral islands. Deciduous forests cover the land. Olives and spices grow here, along with citrus and kasha. All manner of plant life that is extinct elsewhere in Creation can be found on the border of the shadowlands, but their seeds will not grow in the lands of the living.
The People of the Shores
The local population is comprised primarily of four major ethnic groups:
- Natives, who hold a slight majority, have a range of olive skin, and hair that ranges from brown to black with green undertones or highlights. Eyes are likewise brown, black, or green, often with flecks of other colors.
- Families from farther East have bark-brown skin, dark green hair, and green or black eyes. A handful of families have birch-like skin.
- Families from the South, across the Dreaming Sea, have skin that ranges from sepia to umber to cinnamon-bark red. Crossing the Dreaming Sea means crossing the borderlands Wyld, and eye color is the first thing to be affected – such visitors may have any eye color, including fantastical shades or subtle glows that intensify with concentration and careful thought.
- Immigrants from the Blessed Isle have their folk’s typical pale skin, dark hair, and dark eyes. They are the smallest group, but also the wealthiest.
Local individuals have both a given name (assigned by their parents at birth) and a more descriptive name that they choose later in life. Family names are secret, as it is believed that magicians and witches could use them against the family. Revealing one’s family name is considered a great show of trust.
Using the Characters
The characters presented for the Shores have agendas that they consider important, but not important enough to make them ignore a group of obvious Chosen. Therefore, this setting will be most interesting and believable if encountered by characters as they travel, rather than using it as the first place where a group is chosen by the gods (an event that is typically difficult to ignore). Perhaps the group is crossing the Dreaming Sea and is pulled into events in Phaedros or Tsannia. Perhaps they come here from lands to the northwest, seeking refuge from the Wyld Hunt. They might also be drawn by the promise of wealth or secret knowledge in the mountain range’s manses. However they arrive, you will get best use of this setting if the characters are subtle, at least at first.
The characters of the Shores can also be removed from this setting and used in other places. The more of them that are used at once, the more easily disrupted their individual goals and relationships will be, so we recommend taking just a handful that fit the needs of your particular game.
Here’s a link to the relationship map for The Shores.