These Green and Unpleasant Lands
The people of the Havenlands are generally distrusting of strangers, doing their best to avoid them, when not working the land or attending religious ceremonies most people keep their doors firmly locked and who can blame them? In addition to the towns and villages, stranger remnants of ancient days dot the landscape of the Havenlands, faerie forests, stone circles and strange burial mounds to name but a few.
Countries of the Havelands
The phrase Havenlands does not refer to a single country but rather a small group of neighbouring countries, each fiercely independent and yet linked together by proximity and ancient ties.
- Havenland: The largest of the countries making up the Havenlands.
- Scrotland: A cold country to the north of Havenland occupied by a fierce-minded and spiritual people, also home to largest of the Dwarven clans. The cold temperatures of Scrotland breed a hardy people who have a flippant attitude to life and danger that many other find odd, but the people of this great country known that–when death can come swiftly and at any moment–you should celebrate the time that you do have.
- Oldenwale: To the west of Havenland lies Oldenwale (also known as Fada Siar in the Elven tongue), an ancient lands of mists and poetry, dotted with monuments to bygone ages and home to many of the Elven families that migrated from Emeraude. During the Goman occupation of the Havenlands, many celtic customs survived here that were erradicated elsewhere in Havenland. Oldenwale is home to an ancient druid tradition stretched back into pre-history.
- Emeraude: Believed to be the original home of the Elven people and one of the few remaining gateways to the worlds of faerie, Emeraude is a verdant, lush place steeped in history, many people have emigrated to this island over the years, weaving their traditions into the tapestry of this emerald isle. The people of Emeraude are particularly spiritual, and it is said that there are many there who can see the dead or communicate with the spirits of the departed, in the rest of the Havenlands the slang term ‘Emeraude Eyes’ is often used to refer to someone who can see otherworldly things.
Life in the Havenlands
The people of the Havenlands still rely heavily on the ancient and patched-up straight, stone roads that were laid down by the Goman Empire many, many years ago, with most modern roadways being limited to compacted dirt tracks and woodland trails. Goman roads link larger towns and generally travel in straight lines, taking the most direct route between two destinations.
Humans are by far the most common of races in the Havenlands; Dwarves and Elves also exist in smaller numbers although they are strange fey-like creatures who tend to lurk on the borders of the human lands, only entering when they need to trade or for their own bizarre purposes. Elves are believed to be more common in the western lands adjoining the Havenlands whilst Dwarves reside primarily in the north.
There are many species of twisted fey and goblinkind who also make the Havenlands their home, but they generally stick to the wilds and steer clear of humans, except for a few species that have adapted to a more urban environment.
The Havenlands are divided into a patchwork of counties, each rules and administrated by a local Lord.
Currently the Havenlands are rules by a monarchy and the remnants of an earlier feudal system, although the Royalists who support this system are currently being challenged by a large body of men who have seek a more egalitarian style of rulership and have christened themselves the Parliamentarians, this civil war has split the landscape with both sides in the conflict laying claim to various towns, villages and even whole counties.
The current hierarchy in the monarchy (from most to least important is):
Queen > Dukes > Lords > Knights > Merchants > Peasants
The merchant class is a relatively recent addition, due to the nobles unwillingness to engage in wholesale trade, many merchants have been able to carve out a suitable amount of status for themselves based on the large amounts of wealth they have accumulated.
Most poorer people in the Havenlands still rely on barter for trading, however merchants and those in more civilised environs have a variety of coins they can use to facilitate financial interactions.
The most commonly used coin is the silver shilling, most monetary transactions are carried out using this, much rare that this is the gold pound (or quid), and lowest of the coins available is the half-penny (or Hayp’nee).
Strangeness in the Havenlands
The Havenlands is permanently shrouded in a green-tinged fog or haze known as the Drab, sometimes it is thick and dense (this often happens in the capital of Lunden and is known by the locals as Lunden Pea-soup) whereas at other times it is only present as a light mist. At night when the temperature falls the Drab often clears allowing the people a glimpse of the heavens.
The Drab is believed to rise from a deep, mysterious realm beneath the surface of the world, known as the Gloom (although the inhabitants of particular areas often give it colloquial nicknames, Northgloom and Middergloom to give two examples). The vapours that make up the Drab are present in far greater concentrations in the Gloom, giving rise to a nightmarish realm of green fire and creatures that many people of the Havenlands refer to simply as Hell. Demons and green-tinged horrors emerge from the Gloom where it touches the surface and the Lords of the land fight a never-ending battle to hold them back, or rather they did. With many Lords distracted by the current civil unrest in the land, their forces are spread thinly, more and more it seems like the creatures of the Gloom go undiscovered, wreaking havoc on the surface world.
The deeper one goes into the Gloom the thicker the green vapours become and the more bizarre creatures are encountered. Scholars have split the realm into three strata, the Upper Gloom, Lower Gloom and Deeper Gloom, although it is not known how accurate these descriptions are, since few who venture into the depths of the Gloom return.
It has been theorised by scholars and wise men that, deep in the Gloom, at the centre of the world lies a huge hunk of a spinning, arcane metal known as Gloomium, to touch or gaze upon this metal and it’s emanations for too long invites disaster and madness. Occasionally this metal seeps to the surface in all manner of forms, twisting wildlife and warping the landscape. Those creatures and natural features that have been altered by the influence of the Gloom are known as Gloom-touched.
There are those that worship the Old Ones who believe that this is all part of a scheme by these eldritch entities to enter our world through the Deeper Gloom where the barriers are weakest, although this belief has no basis whatsoever in scientific fact.
Much of this material is adapted from the Midderlands OSR campaign setting and bestiary, the image of the various Gloom levels was based heavily on the (far superior) graphic on page 9 of the Midderlands book. The currency table was taken from the Midderlands campaign setting with extraneous text removed. No challenge is intended to any copyrights.