The lands that make up the Tawdonian Empire were originally divided into five kingdoms which historians refer to as the Pentevarate States. These states were absorbed into the Empire at the conclusion of the Pentavarate Wars (the period of war which lead King Tobias Medaka III of Tawdic to form the Empire). Each kingdom became a province of the Empire and their capital cities became the centres of the provinces. The Emperor’s Governors would run the provinces from the old capitals.
The Northwest quadrant was the kingdom of Menhaden situated in the Menhadese Mountains. Its capital was the fortress town of Menhaden. Menhaden’s chief industries were mining and logging with farming only occurring in the lowland regions of the kingdom. Menhaden was one of the hardest to conquer of the Pentevarate States and the least willing to remain a part of the Empire. At the coming of the Great Plague, the fortress of Menhaden sealed itself off from the rest of the Empire, turning back any who came to its walls and exiling any who showed the slightest signs of illness. This is how Menhaden (the capital, not the rest of the province) was able to survive the Plague with relatively few losses and cut itself off from the Empire. This is also how the city of Menhaden became the only place not to learn of magic and the existence of the Fey. They lived off the city’s stores for the seven years of the Plague. Eventually, people stopped getting sick and some said it was time to reopen the doors. Finally, they had to as food ran short and the citizens of Menhaden encountered people with magical abilities and strange races, mostly Dwarves and Orcs. To this day the Menhadenese are untrusting of mages and the Fey. (Most characters from Menhaden are likely to have an intolerance of mages or Fey.)
The Southwest quadrant was the kingdom of Gallinule, its capital being Old Gallinule city. Gallinule was an agricultural civilization; it’s lands being mostly fields. The major concern of the Gallinese was the presence of the Great Wastes on the kingdom’s western border. No one has successfully crossed the Wastes and returned to tell of it and the Gallinese were convinced the Wastes were getting bigger. They were fairly willing participants in the formation of the Empire because it gave them farther East to go as the Great Wastes engulfed their land. When the Plague hit, the capital was all but deserted as the citizens fled to escape the disease. Many fled into the Wastes, avoiding the plague by avoiding all civilization. No one knows what ever happened to those Gallinese. The Gallinese are a simple folk with much folklore and superstition in their culture. They get along best with the Halflings of all the Fey races.
East of Menhaden, in the Northeastern quadrant was the kingdom of Sinciput. It nestled between the Menhadese Mountains to the west, the Northam Sea to the North, the mountain ranges of the Rocklands to the East and on the south by the Minor Ocean and the foothills that run from the Menhadenese Mountains to the shores of the Minor Ocean and the Rocklands. Sinciput’s capital is the city of Tor’Jadin in the center of the Murmuring Forest. The people of Sinciput farmed the vast expanses of savannah that surrounded the Murmuring Forest, they fished in the Northam Sea and cut lumber in the many woods of Sinciput. The thing Sinciput lacked was minerals. It was very difficult to transport minerals from the mines in the Rocklands all the way back to civilization. The Plague wiped out the Citizens of Tor’Jadin. Not a single human being was left alive and so the city was ready and waiting for the arrival of the Fey into this world. Tor’Jadin is now run entirely by Fey. Human beings are allowed to enter and even live in Tor’Jadin, however few do so for very long.
In the Southeastern quadrant of what is now the Empire is the province of Belceron. It’s capital is the port of Thulud at the western tip of the Minor Ocean. Since the Plague, Thulud broke from the Empire claiming Belceron as a kingdom once again. This didn’t quite work. There is a strong Imperialist movement in Thulud which fought the separatists tooth and nail. The Empire still considers Belceron as a province while many Thuludites disagree. Most of the residents of Belceron outside of Thulud agree with the Empire, or don’t care much either way. The Imperialists and Separatists are in constant struggle to see who will rule. Were the Fey to join sides as a whole or the Empire to solve its internal problems the struggle would be over, one way or the other. For now Thulud and Belceron are dangerous places to be. The land around Thulud is mostly swamp and marsh but the part of Belceron that lies between the shores of the Minor Ocean and the West Hurn Sea is quite pleasant.
Finally in the Middle of this is the Imperial City, formerly the tiny kingdom of Tawdic. It is situated in the center of mineral rich foothills which run between the Menhaden Mountains and the ranges of the Rocklands. This is the center of the Tawdonian Empire, seat of power for the civilized world. During the decades of the Pentevarate Wars Tobias III of Tawdic built the King’s Wall around his entire Kingdom to protect its people and wealth of natural resources from invaders from the other Pentevarate States. When the Empire was formed, the name “King’s Wall” was kept to remind the people of Tawdic of their roots. The Imperial City (also known as Tawdic City or Tawdic) is a huge walled city with the Imperial Palace at its heart. It is the cultural and artistic centre of the Empire, as well as political. During the war artisans from all over the Pentevartate came to find sanctuary behind the King’s Wall. Now that the Empire is rebuilding Imperial City it is as much a hotbed of intrigue and treachery as ever. With Senators and religious officials vying for the support to become Emperor.
There are other places of interest in and around the Empire besides the old Pentevarate Capitals. The Empire’s farthest outpost into the Frontier is known as Battlekeep. It is little else other than a small town built around the twin fortresses of a keep and monastery Also called Fortress Town, the Keep and Emperor’s Outpost, it is located on the edge of the Frontier closest to the Empire. It was built on the Eastern Shore of the Emperor’s Strait, the treacherous body of water which connects the East and West Hurn Seas and the Minor Ocean. Other Imperial villages and farms existed further east but none survived the years of war with the Confederacy of the Great Woods. After the Plague some residents suggested breaking away from the Empire as Thulud had reportedly done. The suggestion was ignored by the Governor and when the dissidents left to found their own villages the forces at the keep, such as they were, brought the renegades back.
There are a number of settlements along the shores of the Minor Ocean and the West Hurn Sea but the Southern coast of the West Hurn Sea and the East Hurn Sea’s coastline are too rugged to warrant Imperial Settlement. It is rumoured that Orc and Goblin Pirates sail the waters of the East Hurn Sea and have even attacked boats and villages on the other inland seas.
The South Shore of the Northam Sea hosted a number of Imperial settlements but few survived the years of the plague. The Eastern shore belongs to the Confederacy of the Great Woods and the Northern Wilds hold the Western Coast. It is said that during the hey day of the Empire several ships sailed through the Northam Sea and into the Great Ocean beyond it. They were to see what, if anything lay beyond the lands of the Great Woods. None ever returned.
To the North of the Empire, between the coast of the Northam Sea and the edge of the Great Waste, lies the huge expanse of the Northern Wilds. This is where the Empire first encountered the Sylan, the Skae and other barbarian tribes that joined together as the Confederacy. The land is mountainous, heavily forested and the climate is extreme. Bitter cold in the long winter and swelteringly hot in the brief summer period. It was too harsh for the Empire to make and plans for settlement but they did use the local tribes for slave labour back home.
To the South of the Empire is the Great Southern Forest. An incredibly dense old growth forest the Empire first encountered many years ago. This thick wood was a barrier that the Empire was never able to explore or exploit terribly well. Expeditions got lost and came out many miles East or West of where they went in. Or never came out at all. All attempts to log the forest failed horrifically. It is said that any who did more than take dead wood out of the Great Southern Forest would meet a terrible fate at the hands of the magical beings who dwelt there.
The Great Wastes are an immense desert on the Western edge of the Empire running from the Northern Wilds to the Great Forest. The Wastes are gradually crawling forward and it is believed that they may reach the Imperial city in a thousand years. No one has ever found a way around or through the Great Wastes. All those who have made it out tell tales of a half buried city full of fabulous riches and strange creatures who dwell under the sands.
The Rocklands mark the boundary between the lands of the Empire and those of the Confederacy. They are an inhospitable region of huge soaring peaks and treacherous mud plains. It is on these muddy plains that the Empire met the full might of the Confederacy’s army and the two great nations fell to war. The goal of each: to exterminate the other. Deep in the heart of one of the mightiest mountains lies the Underground City, home to Dwarves and haven to all Fey except the Orcs and Goblin-like creatures. The mountains of the Rocklands are home to many tribes of Orcs and Goblins and other rugged creatures.
Below the Rocklands, between the Great Woods of the Confederacy and the East Hurn Sea lies an arrowhead shaped wedge of land known as the Frontier. Bordered on the South by the Thunder Mountains through which runs the River Torrent and the two smallest of the Inland Seas, the Sea of Storms and the Sea of Aerie. The Thunder Mountains runs through the Sea of Aerie and up the coast of the East Hurn Sea. Their Peaks are always shrouded in fog and cloud. The Seas of Aerie and Storm are separated by the Raging Falls. Over a mile wide and twice as deep as the flood crashes from one sea to the other. The Frontier has everything from clean, clear lakes and mineral rich mountains to lush forests and rolling plains. The prize to whichever great nation triumphed in the centuries of war. Dotted across the Frontier are the remains of settlements from both the Empire and Confederacy, each wiped out by rading parties from the other. Somewhere in the Stormwood, not far from the Sea of Storms, it is said stands the ruins of a Nosian Monastery but no one in Tawdonia remember building it and none of the Tribes of the Confederacy claim credit for its destruction. Who knows what other mysterious secrets lie in waiting to be uncovered by those wishing to forge a new life on the Frontier?