A character illustration for any fantasy -themed role-playing game setting. I made this for my own fantasy world of Cresia to be a temperamental but foxy adventurer one might encounter getting into trouble in southern Gruenroth or northern Witchlight Strand.
Also part of my Through the Ages series of illustrations.
Name: Countess Marla Sullivan
Location: Morton, Thrubmorton Fens, Gruenroth
As Countess of Morton, Lady Sullivan holds one of the most important positions a woman can formally possess in Thrubmorton Fens or indeed even in the entire country for that matter. A wife to Count Ludwig Morton, The Crimson Knight, Lady Sullivan is naturally less famous than her husband but many people know that the countess actually holds much more power in her hands than the good count. It’s a common known fact that Lord Morton is a physical man – a man who enjoys the outdoors and getting his hands dirty doing all sorts of physical activities. Including taking part of common construction projects in the city, helping out a local merchant family fix their leaking roof or even rescuing a panicked, meowing cat from a tree.
Lady Sullivan is another matter. She believes that the nobility should actually rule instead of fraternizing with the common plebs. It’s a subject of frequent and heated discussions between the two and a resolution to this conflict does not seem likely until either one backs off on their stance. Countess Sullivan pretty much controls the common affairs needed to make the city function and prosper. She holds control over the civil servants of the city and even the city guard – just because Lord Morton gets easily bored if he’s ever needed to sit down for hours on end and listen to people complain about this and that and their grandmother. Of course if Lord Morton happens to say something to someone about anything really, his word will be final on the subject and everyone else – including his wife – backs off. It’s just a rare occurrence for Lord Morton to have an opinion on how the city should be managed and ran. Not that he doesn’t care, but his mind quickly begins to wander and his interest wane when the matters at hand are routine in nature. Lady Sullivan is the de facto ruler of the Morton family and by extension she pretty much rules the whole county.
Lady Sullivan is very aware of her status and many believe she to be arrogant and condescending because of this. Nevertheless she is careful with her words knowing that in politics the words are the weapons wielding the same power as swords in a battlefield. She does have extensive verbal talents. When she gets infuriated, the words she fires from her lips are continuous, blunt, harsh whippings and lashings that effectively slash the weak points of the recipient. Nobody likes to hear negative things about their shortcomings, weaknesses, looks, mental or physical defects or their lineage. She knows exactly where and when to strike should the need arise. And sometimes it indeed arise.
Currently 24 family members (some of which are just small children) of the Morton family live in the Morton Castle and they extend their power to all activities within the city and throughout the whole county although the family doesn’t enjoy much respect outside of their county as they are being perceived to be too southern in their ways. But their power in their own county is undisputed. Absolutely nothing can happen without the approval of some of the Morton family. The consistency of decision making is held up by Lady Sullivan. She has established a tradition of that forces all the members of the Morton clan together regularly to jointly feast and then to discuss urgent matters, general guidelines on how to rule and what’s happening and why. Roughly twice a week the dinner includes guests such as high-ranking civil servants, guild leaders, merchants, clergy or prominent artisans or some such folks of distinction, merit or otherwise of interest. The meaning behind this is to keep the ruling family “in the loop” of how the daily life goes on and whether or not the guests have any wishes or requests on how their line of business can be helped to function better. Of course many guests are not feeling comfortable enough to express their ideas and feelings candidly but those who dare say their piece often later find out it having a beneficial effect. But everyone also knows there is a fine line not to be crossed – the Mortons do not take kindly to propositions that would lessen the family’s hold (or squeeze, depending on whom one asks) on the affairs of the county.
Name: Barnabbas Sedeven
Location: Gruenwald, Gruenroth
Well … not every great warrior dies in glorious bloodshed at the hands of their enemy. Some only get gravely wounded in the constant mayhem that is battle. Barnabbas joined the Gruenroth’s eastern army at the age of 12 as a cook’s assistant and subsequently held a number of non-combat positions for a few years all the while using his spare time training in order to some day qualify as an actual soldier. He admired the battle-hardened veterans and eagerly observed their behavior. When he turned 16 he was able to join the army. He did not handle the transition from a non-combat unit to actual combat unit that well once he realized that the men he had admired years before did not fulfill his unrealistic and romanticized expectations of them. But he didn’t quit.
The battle of Raiven Valley was a turning point in his career. His unit was all but obliterated in a siege situation when another detachment broke the siege and rescued the ones still alive. That’s when he met Temur Soxion who was leading the detachment. His unit was subsequently disbanded and he joined Soxion’s unit where he stayed for years and rose in rank. Temur had taken a special interest in him, personally trained with him and gradually they become good friends. Years went by and when Temur finally rose to become the commanding general of the army, Barnabbas was appointed to lead a detachment. His first mission was to re-establish an important mine after it was looted by a gang of marauding monsters. Unfortunately the mission went awry and Barnabbas was gravely wounded by a collapsing heavy wooden support beam during a fight in one of the tunnels of the mine.
A period of recuperation returned him to life but it was obvious he would never be able to be join a battle anymore. He no longer possessed full control of his limbs and lacked the fine motor skills needed from a professional soldier. His infrequent attacks of amnesia, stuttering and seizures made him unfit for a support or administrative role as well. His friend Temur Soxion, however, asked for a personal favor from the king himself and a year after the injury Barnabbas found himself managing the stables of the king’s palace in Gruenwald.
Barnabbas is not bitter of his fate. Except when he’s drunk. Over the years he has become friends with the king, his family and the staff of the palace and won respect as a capable stable master. Somehow even the big warhorses accept this solemn cripple as their master and in return Barnabbas treats the horses with equal acceptance. He is often accompanied by Ramien, a white dog found as a shriveling and miserable puppy near the body of an ice elf in the north. Barnabbas healed the poor thing and nursed it to adulthood but like Barnabbas, the dog is not quite well in the head and suffers infrequent odd seizures leaving it unfit for guard duty. Barnabbas still keeps the dog as a companion and they have formed a special bond of kindred spirits.
Name: Eril Halgor Mundrek
Location: Fortress Egarmar, Pallor, Crovania
The dwarves of Crovania are a tight bunch and most are somehow – even if only by extended family members – linked to the Fortress Egarmar located at the heart of the Erildom of Pallor about three kilometers above the sea level resting on a mighty cliff protruding from one of the peaks of the Grellamur mountain. This is where pretty much all of the dwarven males of Crovania get their martial training. The dwarves of Crovania are extremely proud of the fact that their martial expertise has always been highly regarded not by people of Crovania only but the whole of Cresia. Saying out loud something akin to “I’ve trained at Fortress Egarmar.” will produce deeply respectful nods all around Cresia.
Eril Halgor Mundrek is the ruler of the erildom and calls the fortress as his home. He has lived half of his life surrounded by the bleak and inhospitable environment provided by the Grellamur mountain but he would not trade away even a single day. The fortress is his life and baby as well as he is not only the lord of the region but also the commander of the fortress. He participates in the daily life of the fortress as well by giving martial training to experienced veteran professional soldiers wishing to further master the art of killing. His specialties are improvised weapons, battling with broken equipment, disadvantageous positioning, combat with pole-arms and prolonged combat with heavy armor. He has gained actual combat experience in several campaigns over the years – including many conflicts between warlords in Gruenroth and border conflicts between Gruenroth and Zarnova.
Halgor is a man who extends respect to others possessing similar virtues he himself has; like stoic patience, discipline bordering insanity and candidness of speech. He is not afraid to say things as they are and respects others for doing the same even if they would insult or belittle something he values in the process. He has little support among the other erils of the kingdom but his position is still without a question one of utmost importance as he has easy access to an army of highly trained dwarven soldiers. Dwarves of Crovania even from other erildoms are trained free of charge and costs are covered by the erildom of Pallor and while nothing is required of them there and then, it’s expected that they remain in gratitude and support the fortress in any way they can for the rest of their lives. The fortress is open for other people as well but non-dwarves and persons from other countries are subjected to entry fees, training fees, lodging fees and upkeep fees … in other words for outsiders it is quite expensive to enter training in the fortress. However, the training there is brutally efficient, adaptive to modern world demands and offered by extremely skilled instructors many of which are retired and experienced combat veterans themselves. The fortress accepts trainees of all skill levels when it comes to local dwarves but imposes mandatory and dangerous testing for outsiders to determine if they can be accepted to train in the fortress.
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: Werner Baerwyn
Location: Gruenwald, Gruenroth
King of Gruenroth, one of the biggest countries in Cresia, Werner is also a man of humble beginnings and retains his humility while serving his people as their leader. Gruenroth is a vast and sparsely populated country in a constant state of inner quarreling between city states claiming to be autonomous, tribal hordes seeking whatever retribution to whatever ancient and forgotten deed by their neighbors and between barbaric hordes of orcs, ogres and undead from Zarnova and ice elves from the north glaciers.
A competent combatant, Werner is also tempered with hardship throughout his life. His life has been a struggle since his parents were killed by marauding orcs when he was but 5 years of age. Since those times he has been determined to make a difference in the world. He truly believes that a single man can change the course of history.
He has four daughters with two wives – both of which are now deceased. His demeanor is that of a man determined to get his way and his attitude is the attitude of a can do -man. Gruenroth is seen to be in good hands by the common people although disgruntled voices from hot-headed tribal leaders need to be silenced on a regular basis. Gruenroth just might have the biggest army in Cresia but it is also widely dispersed around the country since there’s not a single neighbor that Gruenroth is quite comfortable with albeit actual wars are few and far between. And then there’s the intermittent feuds between warlords; should a military presence in any one area weaken, it will be filled by the forces of local warlords making it inherently difficult a task to keep the country under one rule instead of breaking into dozens of smaller tribal powers that alone would not be able to counter any of the country’s current neighbors.
Name: Temur Soxion
Location: Gruenroth (or where ever princess Leana travels)
Temur is the chief of princess Leana Baerwyn‘s personal bodyguards. He owes his life to king Werner Baerwyn and has vowed a life of servitude to him and by extension to his family. Temur has a history of violence back to his early childhood in the restless mountainous regions between Gruenroth and Zarnova. He was orphaned at an early age and adopted to a reclusive monastery located near the once bustling community of Ilven. The monastery was later ruined by a dangerous shadowy spider cult led by priestess Chya of Zarnovan origin whose influence is thankfully now shifted to warmer climates of Caheb. Temur spent ten years fighting against unspeakable creatures of Zarnovan source at the mountains and eventually joined Gruenroth‘s standing military at the age of 19.
He quickly rose in the ranks as he already had a decade of actual combat experience under his belt whilst most of his superiors lacked the power and skills to even subdue him. While the country is officially living a peaceful interlude in it’s history, the eastern mountainous regions are in actuality a veritable fountain of bloody skirmishes extending the entire border’s length of thousands of kilometers. And have been for quite some time. Total war is held at bay only because the region is just too damned difficult for either country’s armies to deal with (logistically or strategically) and the mountains also hide indigenous dangers hostile to all outsiders as well.
Years went by and eventually Temur commanded the entire standing army of eastern Gruenroth as a general appointed by the king himself. He was hand-picked by the king to his personal guard unit of elite warriors and gladly accepted the challenge leaving the army at an age of 40 and now holds a honorary title of Grand General of Gruenroth. He then quickly outmaneuvered his younger comrades and rose to lead the body guard unit nowadays simply known as The Soxions. When the king’s eldest daughter Lady Leana exhibited signs of interest to travelling the lands, the king appointed Temur to permanently body guard Lady Leana and on that mission Temur is still today. Lady Leana and Temur are good friends now sharing many common beliefs and a quirky, yet benevolent, sense of humor. Both also exhibit a similar appetite to righting wrongs – all in all this makes Temur content, pleased, proud and honored by his position.
Temur is deep, enigmatic, quiet, thoughtful and careful in his choice of words. He is the literal old wise man but also a warrior that can punch your lights out if need be.
Name: Princess Leana Baerwyn
Lady Leana is the eldest child of Gruenroth‘s current king Werner Baerwyn. Leana is a wandering spirit who finds it hard to settle down even though many expect just that from her. She spends around half her time travelling the lands of Gruenroth (and sometimes those of Argan and Akron as well) with a retinue of around twenty adventurers, cooks, servants and bodyguards. She uses her title to settle disputes, right wrongs and reports problems to her father’s trusted aide and political adviser Chalty Veron whom she considers more of a father than her actual biological father ever was.
Lady Leana is a competent and hardy traveler excelling in survival skills uncommon for women in general and she even hunts her own food by traps or by bow and arrow. She is therefore much respected by those who travel with her as she is the exact opposite of a narcissistic and pampered princess – say – like her two little sisters Lady Lucia and Lady Lise both of whom are content living a life of excesses in the king’s palace.
She has a very strong sense of right and wrong and she knows that her moral compass is the one she should be following in a world of injustice, violence, intolerance and hatred. She sees herself at a somewhat martyrish light although she has long since abandoned the need to shoulder the entire world’s wrongs. Some things she can’t alter and she accepts that. It still doesn’t stop her from trying. She speaks her mind freely and never voluntarily bow to men of authority even if she gains enemies that way. Mostly her father accepts her behavior as she does a tremendous amount of truly good things on her travels and the good far outweigh the bad. The king’s only concern is that he wants Lady Leana safely at home sooner rather than later because the future ruler of Gruenroth needs to be Lady Leana and not Lady Lucia or Lady Lise and the future queen must understand that governing a vast nation requires more than just survival skills.
Name: Bjaernulf Wylfesson
Location: Argan (Gruenroth)
Bjaernulf is a competent woodsman, hunter and warrior immensely loyal to Eigor Argan, who once saved not only his life, but the lives of his brother, daughter and wife as well. Bjaernulfs family now lives in seclusion in an undisclosed location somewhere along the northern border of Argan and Gruenroth. This is due to his affiliation with Eigor Argan who in turn is tightly connected to Birger Faegersson – the outcast and hunted son of the king of Argan.
From time to time Bjaernulf travels with Eigor on missions around Argan and Gruenroth and on occasion even Montevoort. While he is loyal to Eigor out of gratitude, the two men also share a tight and true friendship. Bjaernulf feels little else but contempt to the current rulers of Argan and also voices his opinions much more often and with higher volume than Eigor. Eigor is thus vary on bringing Bjaernulf along when stealth and diplomacy is required. Bjaernulf is positively fierce and demonic in combat situations, but unlike many like him, he is also a rather jovial and even funny while relaxed. He has a way with words and enjoys immensely telling about his adventures and also hearing tales told by others. But many times these stories are told in bars, inns and taverns and the tales boosted with alcohol-induced intoxication thus allowing the possibility that something secret is told by accident. Although Bjaernulf is not actively pursued by the king’s men, spies have learned to hide themselves in shadowy corners of taverns that Bjaernulf visits – just in case they hear something worthwhile.
Bjaernulf Wylfesson by Kimmo Mäkinen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Name: Baron Benedikt Zolov
Race: originally human (presumed deceased and is now some form of undead creature)
Location: Zolov, Zarnova
Not much is known about Baron Zolov as few mortals now dare enter the once-bustling trade town of Zolov that has been turned into a maggot-infested hive of undead abominations under the relentless rule of the baron. Located deep into the mountains in a hard-to-reach location almost 2 miles above the sea level, the town is not only remote, it’s positively secluded. The trade town was once an important way point for trade routes going over the mountainous regions between Zarnova and Gruenroth, but two decades ago things rapidly changed as baron Zolov simply took over the region backed up by Zarnova’s vampire queen Anya Voorish.
As Zolov’s residents were converted from living beings into hideous undead creatures, trade caravans no longer considered it a good idea to stop there and currently most of the trade routes using that region have faded into oblivion. The area still has good routes when one wishes to cross the mountains, but anyone familiar with the area would warn any and all travelers to simply avoid those routes and should anyone be fool enough to ignore those warnings, they most certainly would not rent their services as guides.
The exact nature of the former residents of Zolov is under debate and no reliable witness statements have been made in several years. In Gruenroth the whole idea of those undead creatures crawling on their borders is an unsettling one but so far the creatures have not expanded their influence westwards of the bordering mountains. Baron Zolov maintains a stone fortress right in the heart of the old town – in a location that used to house a bustling marketplace. The fortress was built using the undead creatures as slave labor and much of the building materials originate from other buildings of Zolov rendering most of the entire town’s buildings as mere ruins further ruined by neglect and the harsh climate.
Baron Zolov is one of the vampire queen’s advisors in her ruling circle known as The Roskov Ring.