Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Map and Overview of the Varreshiss Islands

The Varreshiss Islands are a small archipelago of islands off the coast of western Toutus, southwest of the Walrus Freehold and north of Teiglin. The climate is subarctic, wet, dull and misty. It freezes in winter, but in summer it rarely gets properly warm, just slightly less cold.
During the Toutus Empire this was the Duchy of Varreshiss, with each large island being a barony. Politically the Duchy has ceased to exist since the Wars between the Empires, but culturally the islanders remember their common membership of the Duchy.

The Baron of Narvellis had been subverted and seduced by the powers of Chaos, particularly Storshin. He had been a Commander among the knights-protector of Toutus and had a contingent of 30 knights. When he fell from grace and his true allegiances were known, the Order kicked him out. Half his knights left him and the other half joined his descent into Chaos. When the Summoning came, Bhael briefly appeared over Narvellis island. Instead of creating a Chaos portal, he turned the Baron into a death knight along with his loyal knights.

Klantorr Island
Klantorr island is now a strict theocracy, with an archbishop rather than a baron or duke ruling. The capital, Charventown, is dominated both physically and socially by the towering cathedral of Rhondus, and clerics of Rhondus act in place of nobility, particularly with regards to justice, crime, the military and social policy. The current laws are stricter than normal (such as Teiglin or Walrus Freehold) but tolerable particularly as the clerics use the threat of Chaos invasion or cultists such as in Narvellis to cow the population - "Adhering to the laws of Rhondus is the best, nay, the ONLY defence against the foul damnation of Chaos!" Previously during the days of the Empires, the Baron of Klantorr was a secular nobleman. In the years leading up to the Summoning a series of three politically astute bishops drew more political power from weak barons in the name of delegation and spiritual guidance. When the Summoning came, the clerics simply took over in the name of emergency contingencies but when five years later they dismissed the baron telling him he was no longer needed, the situation was clarified.

Werberin island
Werberin Barony had been the seat of power of the dukes of Varreshiss, particularly the grand castle of Westlier Keep, with the Senechal of Werberin looking after the day-to-day administration from Cornaxville. It was not Bhael and his Summoning that threw Werberin into turmoil but invaders from Bursia across the ocean during the Wars between the Empires. They launched a surprise attack and cornered and killed the Duke, the Senechal and a hit list of top Varreshiss nobility on Werberin with a combination of stealthy assassins and powerful wizards, followed by a conventional invasion force of Bursian Legionaries.
The assassins succeeded but the invasion did not. The Bursians were thrown back to their ships, but only after causing heavy damage and looting to the towns of Hastlin, Cornaxville, and Endorell, and killing half the soldiers of Werberin. After the Bursians left, Werberin collapsed into anarchy without any clear rulers.
These days Werberin has settled into something in between a federation of the settlements and a less violent anarchy. It is rough, mostly lawless but stable. The towns are filled with ne'er-d0-wells, pirates, roguish merchants and exiles from more lawful realms (especially Klantorr with its repressive morality).

Ryolis Island - Set aside as a game reserve. Plenty of wildlife and some monsters including a pride of manticores and a breeding pair of Chimeras. A hunting lodge for nobility is abandoned but could be reclaimed as a base for adventurers.

Skylock Island - Desolate, windswept and mostly ignored. Several villages (unmarked on the map) of human and halfling shepherds and goatherds who claim nominal loyalty to the clerics of Klantorr but prefer to be left alone.

Serridor Island - The only island with a significant number of elves. Before the Summoning the elves paid nominal fealty to the Duke in Westlier Keep. These days the Theocracy of Klantorr want the elves to recognise the clerics' authority. The elves are having none of it.

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