Name: Artor Cambori
Location: Warder Keep, Akron
Whatever one thinks about The Warders in general, one can not deny that Artor Cambori is a capable and multi-talented man. Originating from a traveling merchant family from Groam, Artor has had an upbringing that highlights the meaning of personal achievement instead of relying on traditional safety nets provided by friends and family. Indeed during his youth he did not have time to make friends since his family was always moving about to yet another exotic nook of the world in need of cinnamon or cold-smoked sole fishes or whatever. While his parents were there to help him out, they actively encouraged him to find his own solutions prior to seeking comfort, help or a shoulder to cry on from them. He did and it served him well.
Cambori joined the military life at an early age of 17 after his parents were murdered by a rampaging horde of ogres while they were traveling the dangerous Medon Pass between Akron and Groam. He served awhile in Akron as a regular soldier stationed in the town of Medon. Then he joined the esteemed The Eighteen Griffons unit (border patrol units under the direct rule of the king of Groam) whose entire purpose was to guard the borders of the kingdom at troubled locations. While he served in the unit, the unit was involved in many tolling conflicts around Groam and a severe back injury fighting a rampaging werewolf on the north shores of Dhaira Bay forced him to retire from the unit permanently. Miraculously he healed within a year but did not find the desire to pursue his military career anymore. After six boring years raising corn, apples and turnips he grew restless and sought out some compatriots of his old days in order to form a mercenary group. This is how the mercenary group The Warders came into existence.
Cambori had made decent coin serving others but not nearly enough to build a base of operations for his group. The group was teetering on the edge of disbandment for a few years taking odd jobs here and there until they had made enough money to establish a permanent base. They bought an old abandoned and obsolete fort, fixed it, moved in and made it their base. Since those days they have made themselves famous and are one now one of the most reliable and stable mercenary units available in Cresia.
Artor is a cool – even reserved – man with a strong sense of righteousness and it his solely his judgement that has landed the unit their deals. Artor has weeded out clients and jobs that he sees problematic from the perspectives of ethics and morality. They won’t be part of random assassinations nor burning the villages of peasants just because someone would be willing to pay for that work. Artor’s leadership has been examplary and his position within the group is firm and stable – in fact many think that the group would wither and die should something happen to Artor making him unable to steer the group. Artor is in his sixties and in remarkably good health and still fit for physically demanding work. He refuses to sit behind a desk while his men are doing the work and instead rides along with them to whatever dangers lie ahead. This makes him a rather hard to reach man since he one can’t just show up behind his door and hire his posse on a short notice.
Name: Ludwig Morton “The Crimson Knight”
Location: Morton, Thrubmorton Fens, Gruenroth
A member of a long line of knights and other noblemen of Groam descendance, Ludwig Morton is the current ruler of the city of Morton and the neighboring lands known as Thrubmorton Fens. Thrubmorton Fens is the southernmost area of the kingdom of Gruenroth covering a large area of mostly forested swamp land. The people of the area are packed into few town and cities and they consider themselves to be more part of Groam (or Akron) than Gruenroth due to their cultural and genetic past. Ludwig is the primary ruler of the city and the lord of the lands surrounding Morton (the fortified city of New Mere Fort and the trade city of Mullion both fall under Morton’s rule). And as is common in Gruenroth, he holds no title as such and the lands he control are not that well defined. Morton is known throughout the lands as The Crimson Knight – a nickname that originates from his youth. He supposedly defeated a red dragon (making him one of only a handful of men ever to be known to do such a deed) living in the mountainous area known as the Bloodspires and that was said to be the mother of a strange variety of reddish brown lizardmen that have been seen from time to time in Thrubmorton Fens but who seem extremely rare or elusive now. He brought the remains of the dragon to Morton where the parts were displayed in front of hundreds of citizens in the market square of the city. Ludwig then hired a well-known dwarven alchemist by the name of Durgar to extract the fiery redness of the dragon and instill it’s power into hardened armor plates that would then be molded into a suit of armor. The process lasted for two years during which time Ludwig rose to lead the city and the area. Morton’s red armor is said to contain extreme magical properties but those can as easily be old wives’ tales than absolute truth.
Ludwig Morton is married to one Lady Sullivan and they have two sons and one daughter now. The immediate family of Morton’s include a total of 24 living persons, most of whom live in the city of Morton or Mullion. That fact makes the Morton’s family a rock solid clan that is likely to stay in power long after a single of it’s member is gone. The family is close, effective and stable unit whose members share common interests and strong beliefs in how the area should be ruled and nurtured. They also maintain a strong presence in every possible city function and even though the family is well liked by the citizens, their apparent need to control everything is frequently causing problems in the area.
Ludwig is a rather well-mannered and civil man despite his reputation as a fierce combatant. He is comfortable in a leading position but his close ties to powerful people in Groam and Witchlight Strand make him suspicious in the eyes of other Gruenroth leaders – many of which would gladly see his family banished from Gruenroth. He is very much a hard-working man and regularly accompanies common citizens in even menial tasks such as bridge-building, tree-cutting, roofing etc. He gains enormous amounts of respect thru these events but in all honesty he doesn’t do those to win popularity contests. He simply enjoys manual labor and getting his hands dirty. Perhaps he senses that he needs to stay in shape for who knows what unpleasant events the future brings?
Name: Lucius Valonia
Location: Warder Keep, Akron
Warder Keep is a small fort in Akron just south of the Witchlight Strand border, some 100 kilometers North-East of the city of Agale. It originally belonged to Groam but as Akron separated from Groam and became an independent kingdom, the fort was abandoned and fell into disrepair for several decades until purchased by the mercenary leader Artor Gambori who renewed the fort and made it the base of his mercenary group.
Formerly a general of the smallish military forces of the independent city state of Karthis (located at around the border of Groam and Akron in the north) , general Valonia fell into severe arguments with the city-state’s new ruler. The arguments were mainly fueled by Lucius’ insistence to grow Karthis’ military presence in the area. Lucius believes that unstable times are ahead and that Karthians should wake up and stop smelling the roses – he thinks that the time of independent city states is running out. Lucius wanted to enhance Karthis’ military by growing all the aspects of the armed forces, forcing a mandatory military service time to all male Karthians and to set clearly defined borders (including peripheral forts and outposts) that the city-state will defend with vigilance and vigor. The soldiers in Karthis are all skilled and honored professionals, but Lucius thinks there are simply not enough of them to meet the challenges of tomorrow which eventually need these professionals of violence.
Lucius was eventually politically crushed over the course of three years and none of his ideas were taken seriously enough by the civil rulers. The mind-set in the city-state is that the skilled mercenary groups present in the city are enough of a military presence. After a time general Valonia found himself time and time again in bitter arguments and one day after a heated discussion with the leader of the city guardsmen – a man blindly loyal to the civil rulers – he simply announced his retirement, packed his belongings and left Karthis.
He rode straight to the Warder Keep where he met several men who he had both fought against and fought with in the past. And of course he knew their leader Artor Cambori very well too. The Warders were commonly used by Karthis to accomplish several semi-military tasks in and around Karthis. And many times Lucius was the final link in the hiring of these mercenaries.
Artor didn’t just embrace Lucius to be one of his mercenaries. He thought that Lucius had too much political baggage and too much enemies and was too proud to become but one rank’n’file mercenary of The Warders. After a night involving much drunken shenanigans, they ended up drawing their swords in disagreement. Other Warders stopped the men and threw Lucius out of the keep. But Lucius had made up his mind … he was to become one of The Warders. He set up camp about half a mile away from the keep. He then marched to the keep each and every day for a duration of almost 8 months to ask for a chance to become one of the mercenaries. Artor was not always there. After refusing Lucius for 99 times, Artor changed his mind and finally Lucius was accepted.
That was 5 years ago. Since that time Karthis has been needing the services of The Warders in alarmingly growing frequency.
Location: Bloodspires, Witchlight Strand
One of the foremost leaders of the several restless and bloodthirsty demihuman tribes of Bloodspires (the mountainous wilderness in the North-East corner of Witchlight Strand), Chieftain Grom bows for no-one. There is no formal king among the biggering tribes of orcs, goblins, kobolds, hobgoblins and ogres and what-nots of Bloodspires, but if one would be appointed today, Chieftain Grom would be a strong candidate for such a post. Grom probably does not live to see himself rising as the King of Bloodspires since he is not particularly interested in uniting with anybody that’s not an orc and orcs are no more populous than their rivaling demihuman brethren. The orcs themselves are just a fraction – albeit a strong one – of all the inhabitants of Bloodspires and even the different orc clans have blood feuds and ancient rivalries running through their veins. The area called Bloodspires is practically devoid of humans and while most of the lands technically belong to Akron, the kingdom has long since given up efforts to maintain a strong presence there and has withdrawn their forces and outposts to the more hospitable coastal regions.
Chieftain Grom is ruthless, cunning and intelligent. He would be considered an intelligent person even if he was a human or an elf, but for an orc Grom is definitely exceptionally bright. However his conniving brain is constantly under attack by his impatience and bursting temperament that frequently cloud his judgement in all matters ranging from domestic affairs to warfare. Proof to that is his bastard son with the famed gold digger Hym Grog who seduced him to a six month long romantic affair a few years ago and that ended when Hym Grog got bored and caught herself a nice and rich gnoll warlord Gerom Sharg.
Grom has supporters in all the orc clans inhabiting the Bloodspires and several tribes of goblins and kobolds and other demihuman races, but he has not yet been able to show enough leadership to form a solid and wide ranging supporter base that would allow him to claim a more prominent position. Nevertheless he is not just a chieftain among chieftains anymore and anytime the orc chieftains hold meetings of any kind, when Grom speaks his mind, silence falls and his propositions are met with shy nodding and grunting signalling agreement.
Several authorities in coastal cities of Witchlight Strand have seen Grom’s growing power as alarming and a few unsuccessful assassination attempts against Grom have already been attempted. The Liaglades elves are, however, not at all worried about Grom as such, but the possibility of a united demihuman front is what makes the elves more cautious and even frightful. The elves see Grom as too violent and bloodthirsty to be able to form a cohesive union between the tribes and races, but eventually such a person is bound to rise among the demihuman ranks. The elves hope that as long as Grom stays as the alpha predator, rising usurpers – no matter how much potential they would have in forming a cohesive front – are in mortal danger and hopefully that delays the inevitable by a generation or two.
Humans on the other hand more generally acknowledge Grom’s possibilities in achieving some sort of powerful pact or alliance between the orc clans. If such a pact would form, the power of the orcs would grow considerably and might draw the lesser dominant races of Bloodspires towards them. Whatever the future holds for humans and elves, the orc Clan of Grom is enjoying successes after another under the leadership of Chieftain Grom.
Name: Milja Markovec
Location: Port Magalie, Witchlight Strand, Kingdom of Akron
All the inns and taverns in all the countries around the continent have one thing in common. They need skilled workers to serve the tables, do the dishes, help the intoxicated to their beds, offer an ear to weary patrons or join in the merry singing. And keep a smiling face through all this to secure a tip.
Milja works in the biggest tavern in Port Magalie. The place, The Wyvern’s Nest, is located in an ideal spot pretty much at the dead centre of the bustling port city and has a constant stream of patrons no matter the day or hour. She has served tables there for three years and is a highly popular figure in the tavern. Well liked, open, chatty, witty and with a hearty laughter she has charmed both the local busy bees stopping for a drink after the day’s work and travelling merchants just spending this one night in the city.
Her position is such that she hears things. Many things. And while not a tell-tale by any means, she has been known to line her pockets by dropping an essential piece of information to needy adventurers who treat her good and respect her hard work.
Milja is an excellent singer and was the founding singer in the events now known as Wyvern’s Tuesdays – evenings filled with laughter, singing, poetry, musical acts and such. The events are free for all to attend but since the place is usually packed on those nights, the performers receive a small fee from the tavern’s owner as well as nice tips from good performances. Milja sings on her own, as part of a choir and with percussionists and string-instrument players. She performs mostly local folk songs but also has been known to surprise the audiences by singing songs originating from far away lands. Calculated as it may be from Milja’s part, patrons such as Calishem merchant sailor crews easily tip much more when they hear a common tune so far away from their homes and when one has a boat load of sailors doing the same … anyone can do the math.
An illustration for any fantasy -themed role-playing game settings. This one I started in 2007 but for some reason never finished at that time and it has been sitting in a dusty old forgotten corner of my hard disc for years until I finished it this week.
Name: Zora Shaalvaina
Location: Port Magalie, Witchlight Strand, Akron
Now a resident of the bustling port and capitol city of Witchlight Strand – Port Magalie – Zora has found living in the city unexpectedly delightful and quite contrary to what she was being told back in her traditional elven homestead some 50 kilometers up north from Port Magalie. While elven, her family has had dealings with humans from Gruenroth and her family tree reveals even a mixed marriage between her elven grandmother and a human from Gruenroth making her technically one quarter human. All this background has resulted in her adopting to human-centered city life quite easily.
She has the looks of a timid and lithe – albeit somewhat regal – little girl but in actuality she is resilient, determined and not at all blue blooded. An experienced forester and naturalist, her services as a guide are in high demand aided by her variety in language skills. She speaks all the elvish languages of the area, is fluent in Niesen (the main language spoken in Witchlight Strand), many southern dialects of Roth (spoken mostly in Gruenroth) and even manages basic sentences in Orcish due to her family homestead’s location being close to orc controlled bad lands.
Zora is open-minded and easily persuaded into adventures of some risk making her a tad naive. However, she has managed to keep herself out of harm’s way thus far by running fast and can live off the land without problem if need be. She currently accepts jobs as a guide to adventuring parties and commercial caravans seeking safe passage to Gruenroth. She knows of many routes that are safe from marauding orc bandits due to religious reasons (“Superstitious lot them orcs, they are!” is a favorite quote from Zora). While in the city, her services can be rented at The Wyvern’s Nest – a bustling inn right at the heart of Port Magalie – where she is a well known patron.
A fantasy character illustration for any fantasy -themed role-playing game setting.
Name: Miriam Ronvar
Location: Cormael, Inhal Org, Kingdom of Akron
Being a member in one of the leading dwarf clans has it’s perks. Clan Ronvar members have their bed made for them within the dwarven communities but also automatically have a high standing outside traditional dwarven areas.
Miriam is distantly related to the current Count of Gorgehold, Uran Ronvar, Her chosen path in life, however, led her out from Gorgehold as she chose the life of a travelling adventurer instead of a more traditional role. She traveled from Caheb to Argan doing the occasional odd job to sustain herself and joining other adventurers in miscellaneous quests – not all of which she is proud of.
After a decade she returned to Akron but instead of going back to Gorgehold she met a man through an act of fate and settled down with him in Cormael. But life was cruel to her and snatched his beloved away from him only after three years of marriage. Miriam was by then a happy and respected citizen of Cormael and the leading figure of her clan in the city and made a decision stay in the city and call it her home. The clan members of the Clan Ronvar within the city are all under her lead and she has the final say on what activities the clan takes part in. Currently the clan members have a solid piece of the metal goods trade, control at least part of the forges in the city and gain income from quarries by controlling part of the workforce associated with the quarries.
Miriam is a modest and timid-looking stout little woman but has a strong and adamant will matching the best of trained men and she is quite skilled in various aspects of the adventuring life. She makes no noise of herself – unlike a few of her fellow clan members in the city – and keeps quiet on things she has no constructive to add. In the city of Cormael, Miriam now works as a foreman and Quarry Master in charge of the daily operations of one of the stone quarries near the city. Her position of authority is a cause for constant friction between her and human males under her lead but so far she has been able to resolve things admirably. On her spare time she is a frequent patron of the Quiet Dwarf tavern that is – despite it’s name – a rowdy and noisy bar frequented by some of the more … unsavory elements of the city and constantly monitored by the city guard. She happens to live on the same block the tavern is located. While not creating trouble herself she does enjoy the tavern’s rather restless atmosphere and even takes part in bar fights on occasion. She is well known and well liked by the tavern regulars and her wide knowledge of the world she has gathered in a decade of travelling is both admired and respected.
Name: Hargar Ber Marono
Location: Wild mountain regions between Akron, Caheb and Groam.
The wild mountainous regions between Akron, Caheb and Groam are home to a wide variety of species. Many of which are brutish, violent and inherently dangerous and so the regions have never been claimed by any neighboring “civilized” country.
One of the species claiming the mountains their home is known simply as hill ogres – a misnomer really since many of their kin live in plains as well. Hargar Ber Marono leads a tribe of 80 hill ogres who dwell in areas south of Medon Pass. The tribe in question is semi-nomadic; they settle one area for some months at a time and then move to a different area returning to earlier locales doing cyclical moves between seven or eight camps. So when they abandon a camp, it usually takes at least a couple of years before they return to it. The camps are located roughly at the same elevation points (800-1500 meters from sea level), but span a rectangular region of at least 100 x 20 kilometers.
The ogres raid eagerly whatever they encounter and while their weapons may not be much more than stolen dull swords and broken axes, their fierce attitude and pack-hunting tactics make them quite deadly in deed. The entire tribe with even infants included take part in these raids and their females are not in any way considered lesser or inferior in any aspect of combat although the tribe is traditionally always led by a male ogre.
Trade routes between Akron and Groam using the Medon Pass are regularly targeted by Hargar’s tribe so any bigger convoys and caravans are discouraged to travel the pass without enough guards to be able to defend against the brutes.
Hargar doesn’t bow to anybody and is not a brute to be reasoned with. He considers humans as pesky annoyances but feels some sort of misplaced kinship with dwarves. If any dwarf should approach him with intentions to discuss trade-offs regarding free passage, it is less likely to end up in bloodshed. Although if he judges he has the upper hand, he makes demands completely ludicrous up to and including giving up females to be used as sex slaves by the brutes.
Name: Lady Melia Sur-Romano, Countess of Wywold
Location: Wywold, Akron
The wife of count Roberto Romano, current ruler of the small county of Wywold in Akron. Lady Melia is of Wywold origin herself and has been married to Roberto for 8 years. Lady Melia is originally from a small fishing village named Altenwold near the border of Akron and Ferria. She served as a cook for Roberto during Roberto’s initiation ritual when he was appointed the Count of Wywold by the king. Roberto was so taken with the excellent food prepared by Melia that he summoned the cooks in the dining hall and applauded them. She was soon selected as Roberto’s personal chef and they were married two years later.
She was already adept at using knifes, fishing hooks, tridents and such from her teen years. She wished to become as fearsome combatant as her mate and after some rather loud confrontations with her husband, they came to an agreement: she will get receive the best training available in Wywold in exchange for preparing meals for Roberto every three days. A deal was struck and years and years later Lady Melia still prepares her husband a meal every three days and has become one of the most adept combatants in the county. Their deal is well known in the county and oftentimes the people of Wywold make jokes about doing something every third day.
She is a balancing factor to Roberto as well. His harsh and stern style of ruling is mellowed down and smoothed by Lady Melia. While she is not an easy lady to deal with, she does understand that uncalled for or excessive harshness is counter productive. Lady Melia is currently herself teaching the art of swordmanship in the castle courtyard one day a week. While technically competent, agile and well-equipped, she severely lacks one of the basic training of true warriors – facing death during actual combat.
Name: Count Cory Cormagh
Location: Cormael, Inhal Org, Akron
A long-time ruler of the county of Inhal Org in Akron. Count Cormagh is a competent and fearsome warrior standing at a formidable height of 190 centimeters and sporting a hefty weight of over 120 kilograms. He is the eldest of current counts in Akron. The count handles most of the county’s affairs himself up to and including dealing with the numerous bandits and brigand warbands harassing the trade routes between Akron, Calishem and Ferria. The three countries are at a peace, but the border areas are notoriously unsafe for various reasons. The lake district south of Cormael is particularly active and houses at least two dozen groups of pirates and bandits – each with dozens of members.
Count Cormagh has grown a wisdom unusual for warrior types and is widely considered a very intelligent and a deeply thoughtful man with profound insight into how the world works and how one could alter it’s workings. His rule is just and even and his lifestyle is respected by his subordinates as he is more alike a common man than a noble man. He prefers asceticism over grandeur and discipline over excess. He drinks and plays jovial games with the common working men in taverns frequented by commoners and he offers a helping hand to build a new shed for local farmers if the situation presents itself. All this does not mean that he somehow loathes his nobility. On the contrary he considers the prime principle of his rule to better understand the obstacles and difficulties the common man encounters in their day to day life.
A competent and fearsome warrior, Count Cormagh never backs down from a confrontation. He personally trains his best men as he believes that he can’t survive if he can’t trust on the skills of those who are supposed to protect him.