|Flag of Alexandros
The land of Alexandros (also known as The Heartlands) and the city of Alexandria are the prime setting for play on Emblem of Ea. Alexandria is a free-spirited, festive city with lots of atmosphere, culture, exoticism and adventure but it was not always this way.
Today, it's been nearly five hundred since the end of rule by House Aiglos of the Eldanar and the collapse of the Millennium kingdom. Since then, House Alexandros ruled until the end of the old monarchy at the hand of Charn. Prior to this, these lands were of grave importance to the political holdings of the High Artificers though records dating back to that time period are scarce. The end result is a region full of ancient ruins, buried relics and long forgotten artifice.
Alexandros' rich history makes it a target for relic hunters and the target of historians. Visitors come to study the ancient magical city of Genrivia, to quest for the secret passages to Morduzum and Estania, or the lost lands of the ancient elves and dwarves.
Its central position and the strength of its magic landscape makes it coveted by other nations of the world. It is a land characterized by both empty, monster-infested wild lands, places of great natural beauty and thriving centers of industry, trade and exploration that serve as hubs of civilization in what would otherwise be untamed lands. The City of Alexandria is located in the Heartlands in a regional community known as Alexandros.
Nearly seven hundred years has passed since the founding of this active nation!
Its flag reflects its strength, pride, and history, with the Phoenix rising from flames in traditional golds and reds. A symbol of reinvention and strength, it is close to the heart of many Alexandrians, symbolizing who they are and where they have been. The red works with the gold to symbolize fire, strength, and rebirth. The wreath symbolizes peace and leadership.
Alexandros (The Heartlands) is home to a number of local landmarks. Not all of these are on the map, though they're all places that exist, and may be referenced, or used in plots of any sort.
|Am'shere Portal||Recently an unearthed stable portal to the distant continent of Jammur and the Jungles of Am’Shere was unearthed. This open portal has caused numerous troubles but has also enabled groups like the Academy of Sages and Explorers Guild to fully sponsor expeditions into the depths of the jungles. On several occasions, strange creatures have wandered through to wreck havoc, including a titanic ‘land-dragon’ that wandered through the area and nearly destroyed the western city walls of Alexandria along with her herd of children. Nevertheless, exploratory efforts continue by various organizations, often involving members of the Explorers Guild. Watch is maintained by the Sith-Makar on their side and by the Alexandrian military on their side, in a cooperative effort to control the risks the portal poses.|
|Bright Hope (Sunken Hope)||A peat-mining town nestled at the edge of a swamp, it was a thriving little community for many years until a black dragon named Uskvutha came to the swamp. With aid from Genrivian kobolds, the town was undermined and collapsed into a sink-hole overnight, resulting in the death of most of the populace. The signs leading to Bright Hope have mostly been vandalized to read Sunken Hope, and nobody has had the heart to correct them.|
|The Eldwyn||A great vast mosaic forest of a number of mixed species and wildlife with large sprawling sections of forest woodland, evergreen and shrubland. The great depths of which have overgrown ancient cities, cradle forgotten mysteries and embrace the concealing of forgotten magicks and enchantments which it yields only from time to time. Further divided into a number of seperate woodlands given it vast size. Formerly a part of the continental forest belt which included the great Periantha that lies hundreds of miles to the north and the western woodlands of Myrddion. Parts of The Eldwyn include Mythwood, Felwood and the Feywood.|
|The Eidolon Court|| The Eidolon Court was discovered in fall of AR 999 shortly after the festival of the High Hunt and during a season in which orcish Raiders from the Desolation were menacing local commerce. Adventurers were lead, they claimed, to it by divine forces and discovered an intact ancient temple with images and energy devoted equally to all the gods and not just a single god or a single order of gods. Furthermore, while in the Eidolon Court they claimed to be able to hear the sound of music and the words of the gods whispered to them. This effect was later dubbed the Presence and the Music of the Eidolons. The discover prompted a religious upswing in the area as clergy and members of all faiths undertook pilgrimages to the Eidolon Court and archaeologists sought to unlock the mystery of its origins.
Today, recent upheavals have seen its guardians and paladins draw blade and close the Court's borders in efforts to protect it.
|The Felwood|| Five hundred years ago the great Daemon Wars gripped much of the continent and the taint spread by the princes of darkness corrupted much of the land. It is believed that The Felwood, the north eastern most aspect of the greater Eldwyn Forest, was due to this. A deeper and darker forest then most, a near ever-present mist pervades much of this woodland that grows more and more dangerous after nightfall. Formerly vibrant and beautiful, it resists any efforts to cleanse it and has steadily grown in size, encroaching on safer woodlands and paths in the southern reaches of Eldwyn. Evil festers here in a number of different incarnate forms and a number of ancient secrets have been swallowed up. Attempts by Druids to heal the forest or Rangers to successfully root out wickedness within it tend to fail. In recent years, Myrddion has sponsored ongoing attempts to cleanse the woodland but has met with limited success.
The broken sky over the Felwood is Sandy's fault.
|Genrivian Gorge||In the days after the sundering, a group of mages came together to preserve what was left of their magical learning and to rebuild anew a society. This was the first attempt of many to come but it was one that cast a disastrous shadow over those that would follow. For a time, all was well. Genrivia flourished. But it was not long before rot set into its heart and one wizard, named Kiranix, heard the tainted call of Thul's dark blessing. Declaring himself Lich King of Genrivia, Kiranix laid waste to the countryside and slaughtered those would oppose him before finally being struck down by four great heroes, with the aid of a powerful black dragon named Gartangatoth.
It is said that so powerful was the Lich King's essence that he could not be permanently destroyed as other, lesser undead had been. Rather, he and is servitor Mok-Zomat were bound and would remain so for all eternity.
Genrivia itself was leveled in this war and sank beneath the earth in its wake.
Centuries would pass and, in time, the city and its lore would be forgotten were it not for a chance encounter by some Alexandrian Adventurers. In a battle, a chance spell blasted through one of the walls, leading into the chasm that the fallen city had come to rest in, now inhabited by a multitude of creatures -- primarily kobolds.
It is now open to exploration, if you can survive, and has been the source of important archaeological discovers in recent history. With Alexandria's return, work on the ruins has begun again for things that might help stem the tide of darkness... or further them.
|Happy Valley|| The land that the gnomish township of Happy Valley was built upon was one called Desolation Valley. Gnomes, with their typical cheerfulness, settled the land and declared it was now 'Happy Valley'. For many years, they toiled in the fields, making a meager living from their agricultural trade while they settled in, dealing with whatever problems cropped up from the rugged landscape they had settled in. Few knew, however, the truth that laid beyond the cheerful exterior. Indeed, the gnomes relied on the underestimation of them by their fellows to begin and create one of the larger silver mining enterprises in the region and to solidify their claim on the lands so that it could not be taken from them. Indeed, Happy Valley is now a bustling township based around this and its elder council decides exactly how much of the silver will be sold over a given period, carefully controlling it to maintain maximum profitability.
It is said that the gnomes have an alliance with a local hill giant tribe, unusually, and numerous strange creatures to call upon for assistance should they be troubled. Due to these stories, few do -- and those that have haven't returned.
Indeed, even in this dark age, the gnomes of Happy Valley continued to do quite well and have entered into a burgeoning relationship with their dwarven friends that should serve to benefit both of them -- even possibly to Alexandria's economic detriment.
|Mythwood Forest|| The Elven forest of Mythwood is an oligarchy that considers itself bound by blood to the elvish queen and court of Llyranost but distant enough from them to retain a sense of autonomy and freedom. Dealings with Llyranost are rare though not turned away when they come for the elven nation is one and not as sundered as many other cultures. An oligarchy, Mythwood is ruled by a council of a few representatives from various small towns built into, above and around the trees of this forestland. Mythwood itself is primarily characterized by its population of Grey and Silvan Elves which contrasts with the normal nomadic behaviors and tendencies of those cultures.
|The Redridge Mountains||An enormous mountain range known for it's rustic red colors, overhangs forming roofs over mountain paths, lone spires of rock and ancient shrines left behind by the Eldanar civilization of the ancient Millennium Kingdom. Many of which bear operations and slumbering magics unknown to the knowledge of men. A number of rich mining colonies exist here as well, the most noteworthy of them being Mythril Lode which is a vast colony built into a great sinkhole that extends miles into the earth. Tombs of forgotten kings and ancient passages and roads that lead to the Frontier beyond persist. The mountain range follows the continental divide and anchors itself in a south to north direction, acting as a sort of backbone spine to the region of Alexandros. It's high peaks shield and impenetrable walls shield the nation from adverse conditions that rise up from the depths of The Desolation and refute invasive forces that must cross its passes in order to enter from the east and the south. The range cuts north and west to cradle the northern portions of the Eldwyn Forest and then it diminishes into foothills and rocky terrain of red earth and hardened soil between Alexandros and Bludgun. Roads through here are often fraught with peril as bandits, pirates and monsters use the terrain to their advantage. A number of ancient mysteries abound within these slopes including the ruins of the ancient weapon of artifice known as The Planar-Disjunction Cannon.|
|Spell Cannon Peak|| Discovered by adventurers well-nigh a decade ago now, the Planar Disjunction Engine (or 'Spell Cannon' as it's known to everyone but sages) was an old Kulthian weapon discovered installed within a mountain a day's ride from Alexandria. Originally, it was deployed just once, felling Merkabah from the sky just before it reached the city, but in the process the ancient machinery suffered a catastrophic failure resulting in a planar breach to the Elemental Plane of Earth, calcifying and destroying the machine and everything around it.
For a while, nothing more than an interestingly-shaped series of stone carvings, the mountain was kept under watch just in case.
During the five year absence of Alexandria, however, the mountain was abandoned, and has become a dangerous place swarming with elementals that seem to be drawn to the site. In 1015, the site of the Spell Cannon was reclaimed by heroic bands of adventurers who stormed the peak and set it right. While many were concerned about the reactivation of the weapon in question, the ruling council of Alexandria seemed to feel that it was necessary. The Spell Cannon has since been fired once into the ocean against what was said to be a Sahuagin fortress deep beneath the waves.
In general the people of Alexandros (and more specifically, Alexandria) consider themselves the major cosmopolitan power of this part of the world. The people who dwell within it know that Alexandria has become something of a marvel and is so life in it is at least better, if not more bizarre then most places in the world. Although not completely jaded or plagued by the 'Nothing New Under The Sun' way of thinking, the color, atmosphere and festive pace of the city causes the local inhabitants to be more tolerant of different beliefs, races and cultures then most areas of the world.
Alexandria benefits from an excellent harbor, the protective embrace of the High Kingdom of The West, a powerful magical school, several prominent temples, an active sea harbor and a bustling air-station which in turn contributes to artifice, industry and technology. It is said by some that if you look hard enough, you will find that Alexandria contains at least one of everything. Tolerance is a virtue here though some age old prejudices to continue to exist. People are not allowed to conduct themselves in a manner that is harmful to other races and the centuries, sometimes millennia, long history of violence and ill doings by some causes even the most well meaning of their races to be scrutinized and watched closely. The sight of a sith'makar mercenary or an oruch dock worker is not impossible though still exotic when witnessed but generally the more known a race is to be uncivilized the more the city guard will keep them under close watch.
Races: Predominantly human, Alexandria's view of the rest of the world is seen through human eyes and human eyes of a primarily western philosophy and way of thinking. Human culture here shares many similarities with nations such as Dragonier, Myrddion and areas of The Vast. One could say that Alexandrians are far worldlier then these other lands and that they value their freedom more. There are still a few elderly humans who can still remember when Altima's armies broke through the city gates and rushed through the streets and many more can remember the accords with Myrddion.
Humans comprise the bulk of Alexandria and so control most of the commerce and their viewpoints on things color Alexandria's laws, morality, justice system and general hierarchy of politics and government. Dwarves are not an impossible sight in Alexandria due to the presence of the industrial district and the fact that Alexandria grew out of a mining settlement and those mines are still functional. Many dwarves work in the number of smithies and foundries that line the Industrial District or work with the magitech equipment that provides Alexandria with what magical energy it has.
Elves are a much rarer occurrence within the city. Sometimes the streets of the High Quarters contain the arrival and progression of elvish dignitaries from lands as far away as Llyranost but few elves actually move to settle here outside of adventurers seeking to make a name for themselves or elves summoned here for missions by their superiors. Otherwise, elven kind tends to view Alexandria like they do most of the major human cities, seeing it as overcrowded and over indulgent in many ways.
The small folk of the world - being Gnomes, Halflings and Gobbers - also find much to do in Alexandria. Sections of the Southwest side have been taken over by groups of Goblins that migrated to the city for reasons known only to them. Halflings are often scattered throughout various parts of the city and Gnomes typically congregate themselves near the Guild Centric areas near the Academy of Sages or in the Industrial Row.
Regarding exotic and monstrous races, Alexandria has at one point in time seen them all with the exception of the truly rare and exceptional. Sith-makar caravans from enclaves in Am'shere are a seasonal occurrence as explorers and traders with their great thunder-lizard mounts sometimes enter the city to barter and trade.
Daily Life: Daily Life in Alexandria is rarely boring but not necessarily difficult. A bustling center of trade, commerce, different races and a central headquarters for many guilds, living in the city provides for a plethora of events and situations. The warm climates and comfortable springs and hot summers mean that much activity is spent outdoors though to be certain there is much to do within the colorful buildings that dot the area. Alexandrian families share a closeness that many other settlements lack. The humans here have been through much within the past three generations and those who have survived and continued on have close bonds with one another, born from battle, loss of freedom and revolution. Alexandrian society is not as patriarchal as some societies although men are expected to be the breadwinners of a given household. The women are allowed the same rights as men are but girls are typically raised to assume their expected roles as women of western society.
Food and drink in Alexandria tends to vary from common to more exotic than most have the stomach for. The number of diverse races that travel through here for various reasons force the different taverns to either adapt or bar certain races from coming there. For the typical Alexandria, meals tend to be full and hearty with roasted meat, sharp cheese, stews and berries being plentiful. The dense forestland is prime hunting ground for a number of hunters and so there is no short supply of various forms of venison. For the hearty, cooks specialized in preparing Orc-Style meals, baking dwarven Stonebread or brewing Dwarven Spirits do exist and are willing to challenge a daring connoisseur of foreign foods.
Festivals and Entertainment: For more information on festivals, see the Calendar.
Life and Society
In terms of Alexandros as an entire region, it is largely a land of great hills, lonely forests, high moors, towering mountains and monster infested areas with pockets of strong civilized areas and well maintained roads cutting through this land and providing areas of sanctuary. Despite the dangers of living here the farmers, frontier folk, walled city dwellers and other hardy souls are strong and independent enough to carve out successful lives here on the edge of what is called The Frontier. There are dozens of walled cities, enclaves, farm towns, monasteries, fortified strongholds and more that call Alexandros home. Chief of these is Alexandria City itself, the Lord's City over the domain, retaining its role as capital despite the dissolution of the Old Kingdom at Altima's and later Myrddions hands.
In-between these centers of trade and thriving and bustling areas of activities are stretches of wild lands occupied by savage species and dotted with ruins and remnants of the previous ages and recent wars. As result, Alexandros welcomes ambitious explorers and adventurers as treasure troves of high and dangerous magic, nests of powerful and perilous monsters and ruins and mines that require mapping and excavating are an ongoing occurrence. Secondly the adventuring community tends to bring a sense of protection that the everyday armed forces of various cities and even Myrddion does not always offer. It is the adventurers who often willingly go in and root out infestations of trolls and ogres, rescue the farmers son from cannibalistic gnolls or offer exotic protection to caravans on both land, sea, and air that the normal armed forces do not provide.
One aspect of life in the frontier is the fact that it is often changing. Orc tribes move through the area at times, sometimes raiding, sometimes proposing tenants of honor and balance and sometimes just being general troublemakers. Trouble in nearby Bludgun has caused one tribe of Orcs to even settle in Alexandros itself and seek sovereignty within their own established domain. Their arrival certainly has affected trade routes, hunting territory and established borders and is just one example of how things change and change rapidly in terms of Alexandros.
The people of the heartlands tend to be stubborn, independent and proud of their abilities to thrive in challenging environments. One might say that there is a bit of a division between the people who dwell in the bustling centers of civilization such as Alexandria and the people who dwell in the trading outposts, farming communities and frontier towns which are clearly the majority of settlements. The people of the frontier consider those who dwell in the walled communities to be somewhat soft and given over to complacency. During the era of Altima, many of the rebel groups were formed by the people of the frontier and farming settlements while those in the cities were under guard and slaved away to sate the needs of the Witch Queen.
Nevertheless, despite all of this one might say that both city dwellers and folk in the frontiers tend to share the traits of friendliness to strangers. Each traveler, adventurer and merchant is seen as a potential allies and patron, customer and neighbor and even allies in a fight. Even those who enjoy the splendors of a city as well favored as Alexandria are often reminded that nothing is impenetrable and perfect and even though that Orc over there with the arms the size of your head may look frightening, he's probably a good ally to have.
Editor's Note: We're still working on fleshing out these sections as we go. PI sections will contain stock descriptions, and suggestions for encounters, as well as other items that may be helpful. In the meantime, please bear with us. There's alot of ground to cover!
Common Story Themes
Alexandria sets itself apart from other locations by its thriving sense of invention, its history, and its politics. The Skygate stands testament to its inventive achievements as well as its central place in world trade. Its history arcs back to the days when gods roamed the earth, and beneath the great city of Alexandria and the land of Alexandros lie the ruins of vast civilizations.
A modern-day comparison of the city might be Greece or Venice rather than Rome. It sits between giants, on a fertile landscape. It's become a melting pot of cultures as well as, over history, a hotly contested landscape.
There will always be tension between Alexandria and her surrounding lands as well. The needs of the outlying areas, the farming landscapes, the forests and woods will always be at odds with the metroplex. However, what unifies Alexandros may be its sense of pride.
Some themes are:
- Racial tensions*
- Political tensions
- Trade and invention
- Exotic, ancient ruins
- By microlocale**
* While Alexandros is a melting-pot, these can flare up from time to time--territory wars, misunderstandings, and so on.
** See right column.
For there it is! Alexandria City, the Lord's City Alexandros and one of the magitech industrial centers of the western world. Nestled against the southern slopes the mountains that bisect the heartland regions and facing south towards the rolling sea, the city seems to both gleam with festivity and energy as much as it smolders and toils with industry and commerce in a sort of strange duality that colors its entire atmosphere.
From above it has the look of a multi tiered wedding cake with its varying districts built along the descending slopes of the mountain sides. A vast outer war encircles the city proper, separating it from the varying outlying miniature towns that have sprung up outside of its walls. Closer to the mountains a second wall towers up encircling the towering structures of the government buildings and the castle district and it is this wall, with it's immense circular airship gate gleaming of wood, gold and mithril, and emblazoned with the soaring eagle of House Alexandros, that the airship races towards.
The skyline is dotted with ships. Some massive military vessels, others two man gnomish junkships that look ready to go down any---WHOOPS-there goes one now. A pair of gnomish merchants go careening into the river with their wares scattering about everywhere in the process. Your airship sails on by, uncaring.
The trip to the portal to Am'shere is not *that* long. It takes the better part of a couple days to get there. The first thing that tells you that you're nearing is the increasing number of Alexandrian patrols in the area. They appear to be accompanied by numerous Sith-Makar, actually, with each patrol having a member or two that looks like he belongs from the jungle land. They appear to be fairly well acquainted. The patrols do not stop you, but you are eyed with each passing. it would appear that they were alerted to your coming.
Eventually, the terrain begins to take on a blasted look -- with old trees that have been knocked over and land that has laid fallow for some time. While the land is beginning to recover, as it eventually would, it definitely bears the sign of something that is going to take many, many mroe years for its saplings to begin growing in place of the many knocked over trees that line the path you're following.
A fortress of stone rings a central point -- and that central point is what appears to be a great, swirling tear in the world itself. Hazy images of a jungle are occasionally flickeringly seen if you stare at it long enough. This point is heavily, *heavily* guarded. The walls of this newly finished and constructed fort are in tact and fresh and manned. Moreover, over this whole fortress is a great, bluish dome of force, indicating that the whole area around the portal is magically sealed. Just ahead of you at the gate are a group of human merchants, dressed -down- for the cold weather you're experiencing.
Given its location, Alexandros' landscape is as varied as its populace. What is encountered where often depends on the microlocation.
|Am'shere Portal||Warm Forest||The area around it is magically influenced by the constant gateway and jungle-based critters native to Am'shere could be justified as slipping in for the purposes of any given plottage. The area tends to be heavily patrolled by druids of both Alexandria and Am'shere to prevent cross-contamination, which can also be used.|
|Bright Hope (Sunken Hope)|
|The Eldwyn||Forest Temperate||The Eldwyn refers to the central and northern Eldwyn as the Felwood. Deepwood and Mythwood are all technically parts of the Eldwyn, so will have similar creatures (save where noted below).|
|The Eidolon Court||Underground (low level dungeon on the outskirts)||Expect mid-to-high level encounters if digging around the Court itself. The surroundings can be considered All Planar Terrain due to the Celestial Gate (currently inactive).
The forest around The Eidolon Court should be the same as the Forest Temperate. Within the Eidolon Court itself, monsters are rarely encountered. However, the Eidolon Court sits in the middle of an ancient ruined city. This city is only partially uncovered by the forest and there would be numerous underground chambers and hidden caches yet to be discovered.
|The Felwood||Temperate Forest, mildly Planar (Abaddon, which is equivalent to our Outlands), Abyss (Our Abyss), and Hell (Our Iron Hells)||The Felwood is a corrupted section of the Eldwyn Forest. Exposure to large, moving gaps and tears to the lower planes have damaged this forest, creating a separate ecology from the rest of the Eldwyn. Furthermore, occasional extraplanar beings slip through, some to the point of there being visible clashes between opposing forces of evil (Law and Chaos normally), and skirmishes. Dedicated work by Mythwood Rangers, Adventurers and Alexandrian forces keep things in check but anything likely CR 10 and under is possible to slip through, while more dangerous creatures are more rare, due to efforts.|
|Genrivian Gorge||Underground, Forest Temperate||Encounters here play to the established, unique quirks of Genrivia such as the kobold society and the Beholder. Ropers are not unknown.|
|Happy Valley||Temperate Plains, Hills Temperate, Urban||Mostly known as a gnomish community, xorns and hill giants have been spotted here.|
|Mythwood Forest||Forest Temperate, Urban (Mythwood's cities, Swamp and Warm Mountains, Aranthalas Ruins and Poisoned lands)||Creatures aligned with fey might also be plentiful due to the sildanyari and associations with Quelynos.|
|The Redridge Mountains||Hills Temperate, Forest Temperate and Mountains Temperate and Coastline Temperate||On the eastern side things change to Mountains, Warm and Hills, Warm on the descent to the Desolation borders.|
|Spell Cannon Peak||Forest Temperate, Planar Earth (but any Planes are justifiable as the Spell Cannon operated by ripping open Planar walls and then sending a shockwave out from the resulting collapse)||Any creature from any planes could have slipped in even though it's been dormant for approximately 11 years Game Time (6 years + the 5 year gap). Otherworldly creatures will be the most plentiful, given the Cannon's history. Of the elementals, earth will be the most plentiful, though there may be constructs leftover from the Illuminated Order War.|