Kingdoms and Lands
The world where Gloriana can be found is vast, with continents and civilizations across oceans. Gloriana is the largest kingdom on this particular landmass, and its denizens have explored few others.
A distant kingdom famous for its brave knights, wise Queen, and fantastic beauty.
Most folk have never been there, they have only heard of its glory in songs and tales.
Where our story starts. There are small barons, dukes, knights and little kings. Small villages farm the meadows and valleys, but to travel between them requires one to wander through the perilous woods. Practitioners of magic may be feared or loved, depending on the superstitions that hold sway.
Most characters should be from this area—if not, they have arrived here, for one reason or another.
Small but fairly wealthy, Marchen’s neighboring kingdom continuously schemes to increase its own power and influence. King Ralzemon von Borgondhi does his best to inconvenience and impose on Marchen’s sovereignty without going far enough to attract the High Queen’s attention.
A vassal kingdom of Gloriana, to be detailed
A dark forest valley where it is said the sunlight does not touch the ground. Wild Folk, Elves and monsters dwell here, and if you ever wander there you will certainly never return. The monsters that stalk our village at night come from there. Ri Searbhas, the Bitter King of the vale, has sworn to kill every human he can, seeking vengeance for his father’s defeat three generations ago.
A mist shrouded valley of haunting beauty. Willow trees grow on the sides of sheer cliffs, concealing beautiful springs of pure water below. Fireflies flit through the woods at night and glowing mosses light the way. This was once the demense of Queen Dakona, until she was betrayed and her family exiled by the witch queen Mairg. Now the lands of Angren are wilder than before.
The Dragon Empire, magnificent and across the distant seas. Ruled by the Golden Emperor, Elam is home to lush jungles, glittering sands, marvelous cities and strange magic. Spice and pearl traders from Elam occasionally make their way to Gloriana, but rarely to the Marchen Woods.
A rival kingdom. Separated from Gloriana and the Marchen Woods by a series of imposing mountains, Taranat’s fierce cavalry are known and respected throughout the lands. Their home is cold and rocky and they domesticate yaks.
This fertile valley is home to multiple lords and clan chieftains. Some of them swear fealty to Gloriana, others are allies, while others still are suspicious or outright hostile. War for control of key rivers is common.
Learn the lore of kingdoms four
The sky realm far above
The faery lands lie close at hand
Our home we know and love
The realm below where all souls go
When life comes to an end
Know the roads to each abode
Their signs and their portends
—From Paracelsus’ Little Book of Knowledge
The land of the living is closely connected to the mystical and hazardous Otherworlds. Collectively with the mortal realm, these are known as the Four Kingdoms
The mystical world above the earth, ruled by the Thunder King. Every cloud is a land unto itself—some hide mountains of snow, carved out by the ice-bearded Grafa. Others may lead to the Morass, a murky swamp where the trees have trunks of spun smoke and foul smog festers in pools. The highest peaks of the Sky Kingdom are home to the storm giants, who guard the celestial lights—said to be the gates of Paradise—from their marvelous city of Nimbus.
The land-beneath-the-hills. Faery is a world that lies perilously close to the world of Gloriana. While fairy mounds, toadstool rings and standing stones are clear signs of a door to faery, there is always the danger of accidentally stumbling through the wrong ring of trees, or walking a path on a moonlit night when the wolves howl, and finding yourself in another wood entirely.
Travelers who are lost in faery may never return—and if they do, it may be many years later. Faery is loosely ruled by the Seelie and Unseelie courts. Woe to any who fall into the clutches of the Unseelie, but those who meet the so-called Fair Folk are still in dire peril.
Also known as the Kingdom of Shadows or The Land of the Dead. A dark world with no sky, buried deeper beneath the earth than any Faery mound, the Underworld is a place of grays and blacks. Empty and haunted cities mirror each mortal settlement, reminders that all must die. The souls of the dead can sometimes be found here, along with tortured spirits, demons, shadow creatures and other fearful beasts.
The Kingdom of Shadows itself is barred from mortals by a terrible gate. Merely walking in the Land of the Dead can devour the strength and vitality of mortals. Only great heroes can survive a journey to this dark place.
Paths of mind and wandering, barred to the children of Dusk, Dawn, and Night. Enshrouding all as a mist, bending to the wills of the learned, flowing through all kingdoms, reaching into the shadows of the soul. A fog that conceals us from Beyond the Stars. You walk the land at night without seeing your own feet.
— The Mordavian Tablets
Largely unknown or defined by magical lore, the mysterious and so-called “Fifth Kingdom” seems to be the world where mortal minds wander as they dream. Little is known of its expanses, save what mortals know from their own nightly wandering. There is power here, for those few who learn to wield it.