Nordock is a very large island complex located far from any other landmass. Though several shipping routes pass near Nordock, contact with the rest of the world is relatively uncommon. Several centuries ago, a long forgotten incident caused a massive release of magical energy in the vicinity of nordock submerging a large part of the continent that nordock was once attached to.
The very high incidence of freak magical storms make approaching the island complex from the ocean or straying far from the island's shore a very dangerous endeavor indeed. As a legacy of its troubled past The land is practically littered with Rifts, spontaneously formed and often unstable dimensional portals leading to different, usually dangerous planes of reality.
The north of Nordock is largely unexplored. It is mountainous and cold. Long plains give way to forest covered mountains and frozen tundra. Nordock is nearly inaccessible by sea from the north, except from one small beach to the northeast of the island.
The southern part of Nordock is dominated by the expansive Bay of Nordock, which opens to the Nordock sea. Warm currents from the sea afford a milder climate to the south of Nordock, making the land cultivable. o¬n east and west the Bay of Nordock ends in two large peninsulas.
To the west lies the Trondor Peninsula. Its southern part is the largest center of agricultural production in Nordock. The northwest part is a lawless and savage land. Northeast, connected to the south by the perilous Ornal Pass, are the Benzor Flatlands and Benzor city. Benzor is the second most populous settlement in Nordock. The o¬nly other centre of civilization on the Trondor Peninsula is a small village and port of Trondor at the southern tip. It was established relatively late in Nordock history to facilitate transport of the agricultural goods to the rest of the land by sea, avoiding the perilous and slow passage through Ornal Pass. Rumours of another settlement o¬n the west side inhabited by non-human species have yet to be substantiated.
To the east is the Black Peninsula. It is relatively flat except at the south tip which is dominated by the Black Hills complex. The north part of the Black Peninsula is the most developed area of Nordock. Here o¬n the east coast of nordock lies Nordock's capital. The great city of Brosna and the seat of the Nordock government. Between the civilized north and mostly uninhabited south, is a no-man's land. only the brave and foolish dare to tread here; the journey from Brosna to the Black Hills and Miner's rest o¬n foot is wildly dangerous.
The Bay of Nordock contains three of the other islands of the complex. Mulrok Island, Gurnal Island and the Misty Isles. Mulrok Island is situated very close to the tip of the Black Peninsula. It's capital city, Mulrok, can easily be seen o¬n a clear day from the high vantage points of the Black Hills. In Mulrok beats Nordock's commercial heart. Seated o¬n the mid point of the trip from Benzor or Trondor to Brosna, it is ideally placed for merchants eager to sell food to the developed east and equipment to the rural west. It is also the first port of call of any ships that manage to brave the magical rage of the ocean. Mulrok being the southernmost island of the complex stills bears the most noticeable scars from Norodock's restless past. Mulrok alone contains more rifts than the rest of Nordock put together. The presence of extraplanar beings does not warrant a second look from the inhabitants of Mulrok village, though most planar beings prefer to stay in the aptly named "Gateway Tavern".
Gurnal Island and the Misty Isles are shrouded by mystery and legend. Little is known about what lurks o¬n these islands, though it is rumoured that they are fraught with danger and ripe with treasure. A favourite destination for adventurers, fortuneseekers and all manner of such rogues.
The fourth island of the complex is known as Kabu. Kabu is a temperate to subtropical island of usually low elevation, owing to being in the middle of the warm volcanic current that washes against the shores of the Nordock mainland. Kabu is a colorful and lush island of grassy savannas and ancient, evergreen forests. Attempts to colonise Kabu have been met with disaster, as the island sports a terrifying population (both in ferocity and numbers) of monstrous humanoids and animals. The war for Kabu has been raging for many years now and mercenaries flock to the island in large numbers hoping for a share of the plunder.
The complex is completed by Abiz. Abiz lies east by northeast o¬n a direct line from brosna. Little is known about the history of this mysterious island. For the most part it is a wretched and arid wasteland. Hot and inhospitable, to all except the nomads who call it home, Abiz is a land where only the strong survive.
Major population centers
Benzor began as an outpost for re-provisioning the caravans and merchants emerging from the dangerous trek through Ornal Pass. The high through fare of merchants resulted in quick growth and Benzor soon became a major commercial center. The emergence of shipping guilds and the switch to trade by sea however, put a stop to the booming economic growth of Benzor, transferring the heart of commerce to mulrok island instead. Still, it was Benzorian entrepreneurs that pioneered the formation of the shipping empires. Most of the concerns which underwrite the shipping costs are based o¬n Benzor, as are most of the captains and crews of the merchant fleets. Thus, Benzor by tradition remains the base from which the largest trading companies in the land operate.
From a thriving merchant community, Benzor has become the banking and investment capital of Nordock. To that extent, Benzorian money lenders have replaced the red dragon in the public consciousness as the symbol of covetousness and greed. "Deer meat for wolves, honey for bears and silver coins for Benzorian bankers" is a common saying among trappers, meant to represent the importance of choosing the right bait for the right prey. Regardless of the popular jokes at the expense of the Benzorian financial elite, their importance in the administrative machine of the land is crucial and this is possibly the reason why Galdor the Gold, the ancient guardian of Nordock, has chosen to make Benzor rather than Brosna his home. Due to the city's greater proximity to Mulrok island and its fortuitous position near the o¬nly approach for all ships coming from the ocean, Benzor is the first city newcomers to the land of Nordock set foot o¬n.
The capital of the realm is Brosna. Brosna is the administrative center of Nordock and the seat of its government, the Duke of Brosna. Though expensive and crowded, Brosna still manages to offer a decadently luxurious lifestyle to those with the money to afford it and a cold cell in a dark dungeon to those who can't. Life for the underpriviledged is just as a difficult as it is comfortable for the rich, but the large amount of available jobs, the high salaries and the organised services of the city still attract a disproportionate part of Nordock citizens to Brosna. The north of the city is dominated by the elite and high society, while the south part of the city is reserved for the working class.
The sea-side village of Trondor is little more than a port and a trading outpost. It may be the meeting point for thousands of farmers who flock to the city to load their goods o¬n the ships of the trading companies, or to purchase supplies for their farms, but none of them save the Mayor and the store owners actually live there. Bustling by day, o¬ne would hardly be at fault to think it is deserted after the close of business.
Tobaro is the only other village of note in the Nordock mainland. It is mostly a military outpost, whose purpose is to serve as the first bastion of defense against the denizens of the lawless north. It is inhabited by hardened Northmen. o¬nce themselves uncivilized barbarians who prayed o¬n the southern settlements, they were brought into the fold by the Duke's army and given lands to defend and call their own. They are now the stalwart guardians on the northern frontiers of our proud nation.
Nordock has been blessed with extreme political stability for well over 800 years. The Duchy of Brosna was the only county of the kingdom to remain above the waves after the Great Sundering. Reluctantly at first, but with increasing pace as the years went past the Duke of Brosna assimilated many of the surrounding areas and expanded his dominion over the newly created islands and coastline, creating the Nation of Nordock, which is still traditionally called the Duchy of Brosna.
The Duke is the absolute political ruler. But his power is tempered by the powerfull merchants, bankers and shipping guilds, o¬n whom the Duke depends not only for the flow of goods, but also for administration, policing and political stability. The Duke is still the head of the army, the head of the justice system and the political leader of Nordock, but he rules by granting and removing trading and other privileges or contracts to various citizen coalitions. In essence, political power is transferred appointees of the Duke who hold the rank of Lord Minister (they have no hereditary title, the only noble is the Duke). There are five positions.
Lord Chief Justice: Presides over the High Court of Appeals, whose decisions cannot be overturned except by the Duke, and has the power to appoint judges. The Duke reserves the right to preside himself over any trial or session that he sees fit.
Lord War Marshal: Handles political issues concerning the army and outranks the army's General in the Duke's court. The Duke reserves the right to countermand any decisions made by the Lord War Marshal and to replace the general whenever he sees fit.
Lord Minister of Commerce: The most powerfull Lord Minister in Nordock since he controls the granting of trading privileges. The permits to lease one of the few monopolies allowed in Nordock are granted directly by him as is the final decision o¬n awarding government contracts. The leasing of such monopolies (one of the reasons for the power held by the Lord Minister of Commerce), is a major source of income for the Duchy, gained without having to fight with every merchant in the land over each and every coin given as tax. The lure of great profit is enough to get merchants to agree to part with their gold a lot more readily than duty to their country. The Duke reserves the right to reverse any decision made by the Lord Minister of Commerce, including rescinding leases and cancelling or in extreme cases voiding contracts.
Lord Minister of Shipping: The second most powerfull Lord Minister in Nordock, he is in control of everything that pertains to shipping affairs, including transport taxes, harbor maintenance and fees, adjudication between the various freighter guilds and shipping companies and the granting of vital harbor space and warehouse privileges. once again all decisions made can be instantly reversed by the Duke.
Lord High Admiral: The sea is of such important in Nordock that the admiral of the fleet holds a political position as well. The Lord High Admiral controls all affairs of Nordock's naval forces and his decisions are final, they cannot be countermanded by the Duke. The duke reserves the right to take control of the fleet at any time and to replace the Lord High Admiral at will. Since its very difficult to find a captain trustworthy and skilled enough for the responsibilities of this position, it is normally held for as long as the admiral is fit enough to sail.
The intrigue of the Duke's court as the privileges change hands and interests clash, are exquisitely complex and decidedly deadly. Despite its remarkable political stability (as the Duke and his immediate family are the only nobles), Nordock politics are murkier than the blackest swamp.
Nordock: The Underdark
Deep beneath the surface of Nordock, lies the Underdark. A vast, chaotic series of interconnecting tunnels and caverns driving ever deeper into the heart of the world itself. As complex as the civilization above the crust of the world is, the world beneath the world is just as filled with history and intrigue.
As well as being home to wicked creatures who roam the tunnels and caverns, the underdark is home to three technically advanced, sentient races. The militaristic and industrious Duergar, the savage and chaotic Drow and the mysterious deep Gnomes
-- Co-written by players and staff over time.
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