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The Kingdom of Haven

by Jeff Daly and Geoff Gander

Ruler: Queen Kryndylya (C36, N, Kagyar) has known Mylertendal for the past 50 years and is good friends with her. The ancient wizardess sought the young queen intentionally to influence her in the direction of the arts.

Familiar quote: "Why should I live in the city? There are all those... people there."

Important Personages

Mylertendal (M36, L, Alphatia) is the oldest NPC Alphatian ever listed in canon material. At fifteen years of age she looked upon the Alphatian countryside and had a vision. She worked tirelessly to promote taste and beauty and to swell her countrymen with pride for the visual aspects of their kingdom and empire. It was her philosophy of beautification which took an empire with chaotic splashes of colour and transformed it into a beautiful colourful mosaic which awes travellers even today. Unlike many long-lived mages of other worlds, she is not a recluse. She does not like being interrupted from her sculpting for 'unimportant' things, but she does not hermit herself away in some odd corner of the world. No one wonders if that old magess is still around.

Everyone knows this because everyone occasionally sees her. In many ways, Mylertendal is a part of the city itself. She is an icon, a landmark. There are those who travel far just to catch a glimpse of her.

Familiar quote: "I can think of no more noble pursuit than the beautification of the land around me."

Barumatoran (M12, L, Ordana) is a farmer. He holds a sizeable area of land well north of the Great Southern Swamp. He is a good man, kind to his slaves and generous to his neighbours. He is somewhat of an oddity among the farmers though. He does not believe in using magic to aid his plants in growing. He believes strictly in using his own hands, or his servants, to till the land and pull the weeds. When too much rain threatens he takes natural steps to aid his livelihood. When there is a drought, he uses wagons to carry water from the Great Southern Swamp to his farm. There it is purified by non-magical means. His neighbours shake their heads fondly at the old man and often ask him why he does everything "the difficult way". He only smiles back and responds in a way that baffles them even more.

What can not be disputed is how well his produce grows and how tasty it is. Great men near and far have come seeking his crops over all others. Because of his methods though, his crops are not as numerous as other farmers and carry a pretty hefty price.

Familiar quote: "To help things grow, is magic of the most powerful sort."

Callaanatar (D17, N, Unknown) does not say much but his paintings are well sought after. He paints forest scenes and wildlife, but with incredible life like backgrounds. Upon looking at one of his paintings, a viewer normally dismisses it as third rate work. The main focus, usually a man or a woman or a building, is never well done. But then as the viewer continues looking, brief movements can be seen in the background. This is always the corner of the eye shadowy movement. The viewer generally comes away with a haunted feeling.

Familiar quote: None. He never speaks... only smiles.

Philosophy

There are two ways of looking at the obsession citizens of Haven have with beautification. The first is the outsider who docks at the great port of Aasla. What greets him is an enormous city that, while not as big as Sundsvall, is larger than most in the Known World.

The outsider looks in awe at the gently sculpted buildings with their delicate stonework etching the corners. At first he is bewildered by the size and beauty of the structures but a friendly resident happily points out that any building in Aasla is quite easy to find. If the outsider seeks a tavern, look for earthy browns and greens. If he is instead interested in a magic shop, he should look for sky blue. Any building can be found quickly in this manner.

But after some time passes the outsider becomes aware of the neglect to certain "details" because of the importance of beautification. Certain corners of the kingdom are dangerous to travel through because even the army is used more often than not for appearance. The soldier is often part of the decoration of a government building or is busy preparing for the next big parade.

Parades are a familiar sight incidentally. Not because of patriotic fervour, they are held for the beauty of the march. Complex patterns of marching with the soldiers twirling their staves and playing lively music are what constitute a parade in Haven.

Nowhere is the danger of travel seen more than in the south east where a county, held by one of the non-spellcasting governors of the Kingdom of Haven, is in constant danger of incursions by bandits, undead, and lizardmen from the Great Southern Swamp. As this is a major land trade route to the capital of the empire, something will have to be done soon.

The queen is likely to prefer hiring a party to clean out the swamp rather than taking steps that might deplete the royal funds and take away from her own artistic pleasures.

The second way of seeing the obsession with art by the common Haven citizen, is one of patriotism. About 2000 years ago the empire was run by Emperor Kerothar. He was a vicious self important man who sought to dominate the new world to which his people had arrived. An intelligent farseeing wizardess by the name of Aasla led her people to what would be known as Haven (for it was a haven from the power hungry people of the central empire) and taught them to strive for peace. She went on to become an immortal and looks after the empire as an immortal by the name of Alphatia. She named herself Alphatia not because she wanted to be the "head" of the pantheon of her people, rather she saw the need for a new way of looking at things. In some ways she saw taking the name Alphatia as an apology to their former world. There the "Alphatians" were known as Atlanteans and it was the world that was called "Alphatia". In her own mind, taking the name Alphatia was like an admittance of guilt for what happened to devastate their former world. As Alphatia she strives to teach her people peace.

Now it was about 300 years ago that a powerful wizardess named Mylertendal looked at the empire in all its chaotic glory and decided that a new direction was needed. Just as the visionary Aasla led her people in what she thought was right, Mylertendal saw the mixed colours of the buildings and the wild sprawling forests as needing direction. She began the idea of 'beautification' along a strict code of colourisation and harmony. Her philosophy spread over the entire kingdom and in some cases the entire empire. Now, followers of this philosophy see it as their patriotic duty to see that the colours of their clothes and buildings match pleasantly.

Outsiders should be in awe, according to those who follow this philosophy, of Alphatia not only for the incredible magical achievements but also for their superior taste and wisdom in constructional beauty.

What normally appears to an outsider as a disinterest in "what's important" is not truly disinterest. The rulers and artists of Haven are quite interested in bringing the criminals to justice--they just don't want to be the ones to do it. That is the job of someone else. "Hire an adventurer, send the army, elect an official, whatever it takes. My job is to design the orchard that will grow in the middle of this here town in a few days and its got to be done right."

Landmarks

  1. Mylertendal's Tower in Aasla: Niches cover the walls of the tower. These niches either hold or will at some time in the future hold statues of those Mylertendal considers beautiful either physically or spiritually.

  2. The Haunted Marshes (aka The Great Southern Swamp): Some few whisper that this swamp began when the first native people of the continent were slaughtered at this spot 2000 years ago. Emperor Kerothar's men ambushed a tribe that had made peaceful overtures and ruthlessly killed all of them. It was one of the acts that drove Aasla to lead her people away from the centre of the new Alphatian civilisation.

    But most mages agree that whatever the origin of the swamp, it has certainly grown so large because of the weather that keeps getting pushed to the area by short-sighted wizards seeking to please their people.

    Seeking the eternal sunny day, perhaps with a light cooling shower, thaumaturges are continually being paid by rulers to shove the nastier storms away. Weather patterns collect in this one area and constantly drench it. An explorer can expect very rough storms and a perpetual fog in this area.


  3. The Ivory Forest: In the northernmost corner of this kingdom there is a birchwood forest. It is filled with white and silver trees and looks quite beautiful no matter what the season. There is a druid that looks after the forest and makes sure that not too much of the bark is taken from the trees by any traveller. The druid (Callaanatar) also culls the dead trees and keeps a supply for any woodcutters who come along. He sells the wood to the woodcutters for a fairly cheap sum and a promise not to cut any more wood than the druid gives permission for. This arrangement works well with the woodcutters who are aware of the situation. But there are those come and ignorantly cut the trees and then are punished by Callaanatar.

    Generally the druid has a short temper, flies into a rage, and sucks the woodcutters soul into a magic paintbrush he always carries with him. After this, the woodcutter may be seen as a shadowy presence in future paintings...


  4. Commuter Wormhole Stations: The Kingdom of Haven has the cleanest stations all located underground. When an individual has to go from one city to another in a short amount of time, and when he is unconcerned with price and danger, he goes to a commuter wormhole station and buys a ticket.

    Tickets are sold in 100gp denominations and the overall price paid is spelled out in glowing numbers on the card. For each consecutive station passed on the way to his destination, 100gp is deducted from the overall price of the card. Once he buys his ticket, the traveller passes through security and through the magic portal.

    Neither the empire nor Haven guarantee safe passage however. There are warning signs plastered all over any station (plastered very comely in Haven of course) that explain the dangers of wormhole travel. Astral creatures, strange occurrences, even wormhole disruptions are prevalent in travelling through the astral.

    If one was to make a map of these wormholes they would appear as several lines leading out from the centre of Sundsvall. Of course any such map is merely representative as the wormholes themselves are located on the astral. Only the arriving and departing portals are present on the continent. Aasla, Lesir, Fifeton, Lath, and Ashar each have a wormhole stop on the way to Sundsvall.


  5. The Laughing Flagon on the Alphas River: The Laughing Flagon is the name of a chain of high priced taverns for the well-to-do. This particular one specialises in "Dragon Steak" and "Griffon Leg" dishes that are specially prepared with spices from Ylaruam. Visitors from the Known World find this chain of taverns very satisfying as the portions are not the typical small plates that are normal for Alphatia. However, the dishes are arranged exquisitely with a cook's signature drizzled on the plate with some sugary concoction.

    The ale has "special properties" -one makes the drinker hiccup multi-coloured bubbles, and another causes cloud patterns to form above the ale, and the drinker can watch tiny weather patterns develop (watch out for that lightning!)


  6. Alasarntram's Micro-Brewery: This is a much smaller tavern and owned by a wizard who likes to be reminded of his former adventuring life. The tavern is tucked away on a forgotten street in Adiach but it is well known to the dwarves who visit from Denwarf-Hurgon. If the party aids a dwarf in the vicinity he will likely show them the tavern very proudly and warn them to keep it the secret that it is. Those who can find the place always return for the drinks that glow softly, changing their colours gradually as time passes and sending their muted colours spinning lazily about the darkened tavern.

    There are fine wines here that, when consumed, will cause whatever the drinker is talking about to materialise next to him as an apparition for a few seconds. The barkeep/owner is a retired mage who likes to be reminded of his adventuring life, and if he hears a good story he will create a special phantasmal force to accompany the narrative as the patron speaks.

    If especially touched by a story he may tell the speaker of a long lost hoard that was never recovered...


  7. The Council Club is a huge ritzy building whose decor is entirely earth-toned. There is a huge Club and Sphere course outside and inside there are no less than 4 dining rooms. Each dining room itself is fairly small housing only 150 persons. There is a huge wooden fireplace at one end of each dining room with carved Alphatian Sphinxes on the mantel. Every flat surface has box-like painted designs in red, green, and brown earth tones.

  8. The Royal Topiary: The Royal Topiary was created in AY 1752 by the well-known magist Dendrilliar, whose affection for all things vegetable was renowned. As a gift to Mylertendal, he ventured out into the world and collected every beautiful species of plant life he could find.

    To this day, Dendrilliar's creation astounds visitors. Thousands of steppe land daisies from Ethengar sway to magically-generated winds (another cause of the Haunted Marshes?), their thousands of colours gradually melting into each other - creating a swaying rainbow of hue and texture. Another corner of this ten acre garden hosts the most complete collection of carnivorous plants on Mystara - for their innocent savagery was seen by Mylertendal as another form of beauty. Giant venus flytraps grow along with vampire roses, archer bushes, whipweeds, and strangle-vines, as well as the fabled Cestian gobbler, which Haldemar would also encounter in his own lifetime. There are also great collections of water-lilies, trees, mosses, and, a hedge maze of unrivalled size. Rumour has it that part of the hedge maze is supposedly made up of zzonga-bushes that have been altered so that they can survive on Mystara without protection. This has never been confirmed.

    The Royal Topiary is lovingly tended by a professional staff of 50 people (some of whom are druids), all of whom are well-versed in the more arcane arts of horticulture. For a mere 15 sp, anyone may enter the Royal Topiary, and experience the wonders therein.

Other Towns

The Kingdom of Haven boasts several beautiful towns amidst wide-sweeping, breathtaking landscapes. Circa AY2000 there was a population of 1,200,000.

Lorm is a town along the coast that has several beautiful beaches. It is considered illegal to walk on the beaches though as this would disrupt the beauty of the smooth sand. There are several inns built into the dunes above the beaches that give a visual access to the coast. Built atop the dunes at periodic places are mage towers. These are extremely expensive towers property-wise.

The library in Lorm is an extremely beautiful one. It is neither the largest nor does it have the most spells or research facilities. But it does have smooth white stone that curves along the steps and the pillars. It is seamless as if the entire complex was carved from a single rock. Lorm is a large town that is small in terms of population at 40,000 people. There are five Grand Council members living in Lorm. Of these, three have towers along the coast.

Palvaton is a small town with a keep on a hill that oversees the protection of the town. There are four magical fountains in the town that are set to spray forth multi-coloured wine. There is a mystical cow sculpture in the centre of these fountains that gives forth fine cheese once a day. There are 65,000 people living and working here. There are three Grand Council members living in Palvaton.

Songodir (pronounced like "Zong-uh-deer") is truly a beautiful town. The mages who originally colonised the place decided they had found paradise and constructed many magical devices in the town to see to it that all felt the same way. The people of this town are fed by horns-a-plenty one finds at any street corner. These horns are huge and set in the middle of intersections. One simply strolls by and pull grapes, or turkey legs from the horns as one walks through the town. There are many ever-filling pitchers of wine or milk or honey found in the town. There are constantly loungers along the stone benches that line the milk and honey fountains that are scattered everywhere. It would be very difficult for an individual to take one of the pitchers and escape with it as they would be seen by the people who are lazing about and the gates of the town magically sense when stolen merchandise is being taken through them. There are 140,000 mostly useless citizens here. There are 10 Grand Council members living here in luxury.

Dafe is a small farming town of 7,500 lying north of the more illustrious settlements of Songodir, Lorm, and Palvaton. While it lacks the ostentatious beauty of its southern neighbours, Dafe is well known for the beautiful quilts that are produced by its people. Made of the finest threads, these quilts command top prices throughout Alphatia, and all of them have masterful mixes of colour and texture. One member of the Grand Council is known to live here.

Hady is located midway between Aasla and Goltar. It was originally a rest-stop for people travelling between the two. Over time, the nearby hills to the north were found to have large deposits of quartz and other mundane crystals. Soon afterwards, the locals began mining these crystals, and used them for all sorts of purposes, including for building materials. Today, almost the entire town of 9,000 people is a work of art in itself, with almost every building, and many other structures, being made out of multi-coloured crystals. Hady is known to have one Grand Council member residing within its walls.

Goltar is a town that is sufficiently out of the main stream not to be caught up in the whole beautification thing to an unreasonable level. In other words, while the people of Goltar clean up their trash and see to it that the ocean and woodlands are clean, they do not worry too much about what is fashionable in Aasla or Sundsvall. At a population of 30,000 this town is considered relatively small.

There is one Grand council mage who lives here and considers the town to be "his". His name is Gerethar and he is a very practical mage.

Warzazath was colonised by followers of Aasla who believed that stone and the dwarven race represented supreme beauty. Anyone passing through the gates of Warzathath finds himself magically "enhanced" with dwarven stature and good looks. This town is filled with 65,000 dwarf-like people.

The dwarves of Denwarf-Hurgon just shake their heads and roll their eyes skyward, petitioning Kagyar for patience... There is one very eager Grand Council member here who enjoys playing the "grumpy mage" persona.

Adiach is a major trading town for the Kingdom of Haven. A massive fountain here sends the waters of the elemental plane gushing across the southern part of the kingdom. Here the Aasla River becomes powerful with current and water. There are 70,000 people living in this town. At any time 30% of the population can be considered merchants en route to another town. There are five mages of the Grand Council living here.

Dovir is situated right in the fork between two rivers. It has a major river dock and does a lot of trade. Light shows happen here regularly and are considered an art. This is a town with a population of 80,000. 11 mages of the Grand Council live here and usually participate in the light shows.

Lesir sits right up against the Aaslan Spur. Huge monumental graven faces are carved out of the mountainous rock. Phantasmal shows go on here regularly with the carven replicas seeming to come out of the mountain and speak to the people. There are 100,000 people living here and in the surrounding area. 10 mages of the Grand Council live here. Some may be geomancers.

Fifeton has also carved up the mountain. But they have carved it into reed-like shapes that play beautiful tones whenever the wind blows. Such music tends to fill an Alphatian with pride. There is a library here that is named the Hall of Lost Sorrows and is restricted to members only. Members are those individuals who have devoted themselves to the study of long lost history and magic. These individuals are the greatest storytellers and singers of the realm. There are 120,000 people who live in this fairly crowded area. Fifeton's "Way Station" is located underground. Eight mages of the Grand Council live here.

Saypalt is governed by one of the few non-spellcasting officeholders of the continental empire. As such his town and lands are often overlooked for military aid and he must frequently hire out adventurers to help quell bandits or creatures that crawl from the swamps. It has a population of 60,000 citizens who crowd fairly close together for mutual protection.

Lath is a fairly small unremarkable town despite the fact that it lies so close to Sundsvall. It is a rural setting between two great metropolises. There is a "Way Station" here with a wormhole stop on the way to Sundsvall. The remainder of the population's labourers commute to work in either Aasla or Sundsvall. Lath has two Grand Council members living there but one is very old and may not be around much longer.

There are about 20 Grand Council members who live in Aasla, which has a population of 400,000.


There are an additional 25 Grand Council members living in the countryside. An additional 80,000 people can be considered to be living in the countryside as well. Many are servants of the Grand Council.

Army

As stated before, the army is there to look pretty. This is not to say they do not train, but their training consists of public displays of well choreographed skill. It is typically more a performance than a learning experience.

More important for the defence of Aasla are the magical constructs. The first an invading navy is likely to see are the two crystal globes that hang over the entrance to the shipyards. They fire a powerful magic missile when activated.

Also there are the sculptures within the city itself. Over the last couple of centuries they have been chiselled and enchanted by Mylertendal and her apprentices. They are a part of the city's construction: six minotaurs formed from obsidian lining the steps to the city library, two huge bronze statues that appear to hold up the roof to the government building, and about 20 gargoyles perched in various comical positions along the roof of a chapel to Kagyar are examples of the statuary that helps defend the city and keep it peaceful. The inhabitants know of the power of the constructions and are generally quite lawful in their dealings in the city lest they run afoul of the enchantments. An invading army might very well find itself facing an opposing army of 4,000 constructs of various types.

There have, incidentally, been few attacks. In fact there have not been any attacks since the beautification began.

Colours:

The colours of the Kingdom of Haven are all nine present in the spectrum. The heraldic shield is actually represented by a round shield and the colours spray straight out from the centre. Properly done, one cannot tell where one colour begins and another ends. Ultraviolet and Infrared are represented on the circle.

Flag:

The same colour circle but on a white background. The white symbolises peace. The colour circle was added 200 years ago replacing a broken sword.

What others say about the Kingdom of Haven:

Minister Glorin Hammerhand of Rockhome: "Damned gaudiest place I ever saw! Humans should stick to things they know! Exterior decorating is not one of them. Darn walls make my eyes hurt."

Master stoneworker Darin Greenfist of Denwarf-Hurgon: "Not bad. They had some dwarven consultants for the stonework at least. They got a little over-excited when doing the wall paintings though. Overall not a bad try."

Gaheris of Landfall: "It is a cruel thing indeed to have such rich buildings so near...and yet it would be suicide to try anything. I hear a guy once tried to chip a corner outta one of them emerald towers and got pounded to death by a nearby golem--what's that? Oh yes, they have towers made entirely of one single precious gem. They have ruby towers and emerald and sapphire--what? You say that's impossible. I agree. I never saw no gem large enough to cut a tower out of. But that's Alphatia for you!"

Larrickaltar of Sundsvall, A Hardball player's remark just before permanently gracing the Aaslan courtyard as a statue: "They have this game there. Its called Clubs and Spheres. Basically you hit this small dimpled ball with a club and try to knock it into a hole further down on the lawn. It's real simple I am sure. I never played it. Give me Hardball any day!"