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Caerdania Gazetteer, version 1.0

by Simone Neri

FOREWORD: The following material is incomplete and represents a first draft of an attempt to write a gazetteer of the region. It still lacks places and NPCs descriptions. Most of what's already written has to be revised and expanded further. At the moment I have written a rather complete timeline, a short general description of geography and of the government, and the beginning of the description of Ailthan region.
As you will see reading what follows, I've used materials taken from some other authors, in particular Andrew Theisen, which did the first accurate description of this region, and other authors of the Mystaran Almanac as well (Marco Dalmonte Furmenglaive's entry, among others). A special thanks to all of them is due.
I apologise for my English is not all that good, but I hope it's still readable and enjoyable.


Caerdania is the area that includes the southernmost tip of the Isle of Dawn, south and east of Hennonia. The region, today, is better known for hosting the County of Furmenglaive and the Barony of Caerdwicca, two important dominions of the Thyatian Empire, but in older times it has been the seat of an independent kingdom and its culture has peculiar traits in respect of other peoples of the Isle of Dawn. Today Caerdania is famous as a lonely and sparsely-inhabited region, for its quarrelsome clans - proud warriors and skilled seafarers and pirates - and for its dark past of evil presences that have left a lasting mark on its history.

The following material only cares to detail the Caerdania geographical area - that is excluding Eghalway, Hennonia and anything north of them. Most of the information given here take into account some of my other works published on the Italian MMB, that eventually will be translated in near future - mostly the articles Thyatian Demography (featuring a Thyatian timeline and a chronology of Thyatian emperors within - both of which differ somehow from James Ruhland's version found at the Vaults), History of the Thyatian Government and Ethnographic History of Mystara.

Basically, the inspiration of Caerdania comes from real-world Scotland and in many ways the timeline follows the main hints of Scottish history, with the Thyatians loosely playing the English part and the Alphatian the French one. Obviously, Caerdania's culture incorporates elements from Aelann (sort of M-Picts), Thyatian and Ostlander ones. The resulting mix could be defined as a late-middle age version of the "Scottish Highlander Vikings" mentioned in M5 - living in a subtropical climate.

Main tongue of Caerdania is Caerdan (a sort of Scottish Gaelic part of the Goidelic language family); nobles and peasants alike speak it. Thyatian is also spoken by upper classes and in urban areas; it's the official tongue of the government (it's the tongue used to write laws, documents and so on). Alphatian is also spoken, mostly in larger communities which have trading relationships with the Alatians. Trade and meetings with Ochaleans or Nuari are almost always done using Thyatian.

I still have not delved much into Caerdan population issue. As you'll see from the following timeline and descriptions, I think that the inhabitants listed in DotE and official modules (PWAs) are too few for an area put in the middle of south-eastern trade routes and inhabited at least since a thousand years. Moreover, the canonical absence of relevant posts and harbours between West Portage and Furmenglaive or Caerdwicca is senseless, considering the presence of neighbouring Ochalea and Pearl Islands dominated by the Thyatian Empire since AC 0. Therefore, I think that Caerdania should have a higher population in regard to what's listed in official products; this, in my view, justifies the presence of a higher number of villages and towns. This is not to say that Caerdania is like Darokin; it's still a sparsely populated region - but a populated one indeed.
Regarding settlements, all the villages you see indicated in the maps should have between 500 and 1,000 inhabitants; indicated towns should have between 1,000 and 4,000 inhabitants each. A higher number of smaller hamlets should dot most regions of Caerdania.

When talking about administration, there are two autonomous political entities in this region: the Province of Meridiona, which includes central Caerdania and the Barony of Caerdwicca; and the County of Furmenglaive. Both those administrative divisions answer to the Thyatian Empire which dominates them.
The Province of Meridiona is ruled by a Governor-General sent by the emperor of Thyatis. It resides at Grosmouth, north of Hennonia, and administers central Caerdania through his officials - Legates, Quaestors and Procurators. Legates command the military forces stationed in the province (they're auxiliary forces, not imperial legions - Meridiona is not a target of foreign attacks), the Quaestors collect taxes for the imperial treasury, and Procurators watch on public order, lying dawn the law and local matters. All these officials are usually assigned to one area of the province, but tend to stay at Grosmouth, or in the place they've chosen as their residence for most of the time. The Governor-General leaves the province administers herself autonomously for anything that's not of imperial interest - that is apart from taxes collection, internal order and defence.
Today, local power in Caerdania is found in the hand of landed nobility as it used to be in ancient times. Landed aristocracy fills the ranks of the clanheads and it's the richest class of the country. The highest title is that of thane, followed by baron and earl (the latter of Northman origin). The titles' pyramid has widened and complicated with the annexation of Caerdania to the Thyatian Empire and the addition of Thyatian titles (like the same 'baron', and moreover 'landed knight', 'count' and 'duke') to local ones; the most prestigious nobleman of the region is in fact the Count of Furmenglaive, followed by the Baron of Caerdwicca. The latter title represents a type of "baronate" different from the native one, and of much higher rank because granted by the Thyatian Senate or Throne; it represents the lowest step in Thyatian landed nobility's rank ladder - but because of this it surpasses in importance and prestige the smaller Caerdan "baronates".
In the past, noblemen have always ruled as they pleased within their lands; the Caerdan crown was satisfied of the way things went on as long as the nobleman paid due tributes to the king's coffers and gave his liege some aid in wars. As there never was another class that could oppose the power of the great noble landowners, their power has gradually increased to the detriment of peasants and small landowners; peasants without land were slowly reduced to the rank of serfs, and only in border areas small landowners have managed to survive with some success. The lack of important cities has forbidden the birth of a middle class that could break the noblemen's supremacy.
With the introduction of Thyatian law in Caerdania, many serfs has been included in the slave class, and this has hugely strengthened the nobles' control on their subject - and this also explains the favour with which thanes have welcomed the annexation of Caerdania to the Thyatian Empire. Freemen were included in the citizen class theoretically endowed with voting rights but practically excluded from participating in elections because of their rather low income.
Caerdania doesn't have a tradition of elected officials or magistrates; only recently the Governor-Generals have managed to impose the duty of electing at least the Quaestors which lay down the law and the officials of villages and towns (called "sheriffs"). Noblemen have not resented these developments, because they make up the largest part of the peoples rich enough to participate in elections.
Single noblemen are advised by councillors and functionaries of various types chosen by themselves; most common ones are seneschals (charged with the administration of the nobleman's direct holdings or with ruling duties when the nobleman is away), castellans (charged with the maintenance and the defence of castles) and bailiffs (local administrative officials and tax collectors). Ruling staffs of the Baron of Caerdwicca and of the Count of Furmenglaive tend to be more numerous and complex; each of those dominion rulers holds moreover authority over a number of lower-rank vassals, which send them tributes and assist them during wartime.


PART 1: Ancient Caerdania

PART 2: The coming of the Caerdas and the Alphatian invasion

PART 3: The birth of the Kingdom of Caerdania

PART 4: The mac Finns dynasty and the Thyatian dominion

PART 5: The Wars of Independence

PART 6: The Kingdom of Caerdania under the MacRhuns and the MacConnads

PART 7: The Red Death, lycanthropy and the Dark Years

PART 8: The last Alphatian kings

PART 9: Thyatian Caerdania and restoration attempts

PART 10: Caerdania in the modern age

Timeline of Caerdania's rulers

Mac Ciláenn dynasty
Cáedrad I (BC 317-305, king of Mordriu and Dál Arden since BC 318; 'king of Caerdas and Aelanns' from BC 317)
(Various kings until BC 64)

Duntholl dynasty
Bethlad I (BC 64-58, grandson of his predecessor Crinán II)
Findláich mac Coluim (BC 58-41, usurper)
Crinán III (BC 41-6, son of Bethlad I)
Domnall Bán III (BC 6-0, brother; contested since BC 2)

Mac Finns dynasty
Edmund I (BC 2- AC 33, usurper; supported by Thyatis)
Bethlad II (AC 33-43, son)
Edmund II (AC 43-57, fourth son)
Dunmail I (AC 57-64, third son)
Alexander I (AC 64-83, grandson)
Crinán IV (AC 83-102, brother)
Bethlad III (AC 102-114, son)
Alexander II (AC 114-118, son)
Martiana (AC 118-124, daughter; under the authority of a Regency Council)

Regency Council (AC 124-128)
To Thyatis (AC 128-131, protectorate under Imperial Prince Leontius Isauricus)
Malmore Kilconath (AC 131-135, distant relative of the Mac Finns)
To Thyatis (AC 136-332, contested by uprisings from AC 300 on)

MacRhun dynasty
Maelduin I (AC 312-333, descendant of the Mac Finns; crowned AC 312, acknowledged by Thyatis AC 332)
Dunmail II (AC 333-339, son; under the authority of a Regency Council)
Edoard Thynn (AC 339-362, usurper descendant of the Mac Finns; supported by Thyatis)
Dunmail II (restored) (AC 362-380)

MacConnad dynasty
Maelduin II (AC 380-399, nephew)
Maelduin III (AC 399-415, second son)
Godric I (AC 415-446, second son; prisoner of the Thyatians until AC 433, kingdom under the authority of a Regency Council led by his uncle Angus AC 415-429)
Godric II (AC 446-470, son; under the authority of a Regency Council led by the Strathburn family AC 446-458)
Godric III (AC 470-497, son; under the authority of a Regency Council led by the Douglass family AC 470-478)
Godric IV (AC 497-522, second son)
Godric V (AC 533-538, son; under the authority of a Regency Council AC 533-528)
Hethylia (AC 538-576, daughter; under the authority of a Regency Council led by her mother Chendhara AC 538-551)
Dyodres I (AC 576-612, son)
Dyodres II (AC 612-629, son)

To Thyatis (from AC 629 on)


Caerdania occupies the southernmost tip of the Isle of Dawn. On the south-east and south-west, the region is bordered by the sea, and the dangerous Straits of Barbarossa divide it from Ochalea and Aegos. On the north-west, the vast steppes of Hennonia divide Caerdania from the forests of Meridiona, while on the north the border is marked by the slopes of the Great Escarpment.

Mountains and Hills
Caerdania seems to be mostly plain, hosting only one large hill chain, Doolilbhinn Mounts, in the west-central area; nevertheless, the region is in many places marked by low hills, which here and there give to the viewer's sight the imagine of a rather rolling landscape. Both the main hill chain and the smaller hills are generally low but rather jagged, rocky and impassable.
Doolilbhinn Mounts (literally the "Gloomy Peaks Mountains" in Caerdan) represent the largest chain of the region. Their name is due to the stormy cloud that frequently stop east of its peaks, obscuring the landscape for those that watch from the western coasts. Quite devoid of trees and woods of their south-western slopes (except for some areas), the Doolilbhinn are rather low (their medium height is about 1,000-1,150 feet), but in the highest points of the chain they're full of rocky peaks, sharp rocky points and steep slopes. Most of the chain is covered by meadows, pastures and grassy expanses; its north-eastern spurs, which are not by chance known as the Greenslopes, are instead covered by woods and forests. Many small-flow creeks and brooks descend through all this chain to pour in larger rivers; here and there the dales between the hills are pointed by small pools and lakes. The highest peaks of the Doolilbhinn chain are Mount Crughan (3,514 feet), Mount Dorragh (2,540 feet), the Ben Gormas (3,228 feet) and the Grey Peak (2,592 feet).
Furthermost spurs of the Doolilbhinn are called Chlevenlia Hills, which divide Eghalway from Humfries; they traditionally formed one of the borders of the old Kingdom of Caerdania. Drier and rockier than the Doolilbhinn, Chlevenlia reach toward the sea, where they form on the coast a headland called the Sea Sentinel, in front of which a dangerous expanse of sea reefs stretches.
The reliefs found near some locations of the coasts are also worth mentioning; there, they form steep cliffs and forbid mooring; this happens mostly for Carcan Ridge on the Firth of Kaithness, and for The Scarred Hills on the Hollow Bay. Most sea areas near those points are filled with sea reefs, islets and shallow rocks that dissuade anyone to pass through them with aboard a ship.

Plains and Moors
Caerdania hosts vast areas of plains, mostly along border regions of the country, as coasts and eastern and north-eastern areas. Most of the plains, above all in eastern and north-eastern areas of Caerdania where sheep herding is one the main activities of local folks, are used for the herding of sheep. In Farthlingfonn, Ailthan and along south-western coasts farming prevails, while herding avails itself of hill pastures. Sparse groves point here and there these plain expanses, broken by small ponds. The regions of Furmenglaive and Tildamore features the presence of many still water pools, home of mosquitoes and other vermin, and sometimes also of more dangerous creatures; only the bravest among native folk go here to fish, because the mist that usually engulf these moors gives them a grim.

Woods and Forests
The heart of Caerdania, the regions of Damperyll and Saorclanntir, is occupied by an expanse of great woods and forests. Generally these woods are formed by great trees typical of the temperate regions, like oaks and pines, flanked by trees native of hotter regions. Thicker forests are formed by high trees that reach 50'-100' in height and whose foliage forms a roof that lets very few sunlight pass through to hit the undergrowth lying beneath; this type of forest is typical of central regions, while the woods of the Greenslopes are more similar to those of temperate areas, with lower trees and a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees.
The Arsaidhfrith (the "old forest") is an area of ancient and giant trees, grown thinner with time because of the coming of man in these areas. There most large and wide trees can be found, but their position, rather sparse in some stretches, gives also way to a flourishing undergrowth. This forest is the one most settled by Caerdans and the one where men have penetrated more deeply.
The Menhir Woods are a thick tangle of trees of various sizes, most of which are very high; in this area the undergrowth is rare, because of the little light that passes through the forest's roof; creepers and lichens are its main vegetable inhabitants. The name of this forest comes from the number of ancient monoliths and standing stones that lie within it; many of these could trace their history to ages before the Caerda came there from the north. Still today some monoliths are centres of local druidic circles.
Drochsgail Forest (that is the "forest of evil shadows" in Caerdan) is the thicker and gloomier forest of Caerdania. It's made up of dense and crowded trees, and the underbrush if filled with plants and lichen which have adapted to live in the shadow of their larger neighbours. Many swampy pools point this place, making it unhealthy and gloomy. The bleak fame of this forest is due to the numerous wicked creatures that hide within it since the terrible Dark Years. This area of Caerdania is only sparsely populated.

Rivers and Lakes
Caerdania is crossed by some great rivers and by a multitude of brooks and creeks (called "burns" in Caerdan). Almost all waters spring from the Doolilbhinn chain, except the large Afon Du (the "black river"), which comes dawn the top of the Great Escarpment and empties in the Firth of Kaithness. Afon Du is a large river and is navigable until Croisichroich Keep; past this point is impossible to go up the river, because of the cataracts that mark the waters' descent from the Great Escarpment. A tributary of Afon Du is the Afon Gwynn (the "white river"), a smaller waterway that irrigates the plains of northern Caerdania.
The longest river of the whole region is Afon Coed (the "wood river"), which course - narrower than that of Afon Du - runs from the Doolilbhinn to the Hollow Bay. Afon Coed owes its name to the many plant remains - branches, logs and bushes - that its course pushes toward the sea after having picked them up while crossing the Drochsgail Forest. The river is navigable for almost its entire length, even if only small river boat are allowed to do it; it's therefore the main (in fact, the only used) way to cross the Drochsgail Forest and to go from Damperyll to Firthfonn and Glencoefonn. The Afon Coed shares with the Afon Du and the Afon Gwynn a name in ancient Caerda tongue it has kept from ages gone, more similar to the ones of northern Isle of Dawn.
Among other rivers worth mentioning are the Towley, a tributary of the Afon Coed, and the waterways that spring in the Doolilbhinn to empty in the Sea of Dread, like the Strathburn, the long Twyde and the Learghin. The flow of these rivers is not very large and they tend to be navigable only for part of their course- and even so mostly in winter, when their flows are enlarged by rains.
Even if Caerdania isn't an area of great lakes, many small lakes and pools (called "lochs") are spread in the whole land; usually they're small low ponds with boggy borders, but some of them tend to be deeper. The lakes touched by the main river of the Caerdan hydrographic system are rather clear and rich of fish; on the other hand, the lonelier ones are more similar to marshes, filled with vermin and unhealthy air. The two main lakes of Caerdania are Loch Maen (the "lake of stones", so called because of a strange and ancient monolithic stone found on an islet in the middle of it) and Loch Glas (the "green lake"), both located in the central region of the country.

Coasts and Isles
As already said, Caerdan coasts tend to alternate plain areas with stretches of steep cliffs; it's difficult if not even dangerous to find natural mooring areas in these regions, given the number of reefs and shallow rocks with which Caerdan seawaters are filled. Many small islets are found off-shore the Caerdan coasts, last remnants of ancient landbridges that linked the southern Isle of Dawn with the Alatians, and which sank thousands of years ago. The islands tend to be drier and less fertile than the mainland, and generally their borders are more jagged and unwelcoming than those of near coasts; an example of this are the isles of the Hollow Bay, which stand out as rocky spires from the waters, and in particular the largest of these, Skullrock, famed shelter of local pirates. An exception to this rule are the isles of Oeldyn and those of the Firth of Kaithness (especially Cladakye, the largest one), which are covered of flourishing meadows and grassy expanses.
Bays and gulfs of Caerdan coastline (usually called "firths" in the local tongue) are usually the threatening home of reefs and shallow rocks, a danger for all those seafarers that don't know these waters so well; that's why most passers-by seafarers tend to land only in known harbours.

Climate and Winds
Caerdania is located much more south of the Known World and benefits of a subtropical climate, where temperature changes are nevertheless large enough to make the difference between summer and winter be felt; generally the temperature goes from peaks of 91-93 degrees (33-34°C) on the coasts in midsummer, to a minimum of even 37-39 degrees (3-4°C) in winter on the Doolilbhinn. The climate here tend to be rather dry, because this region is swept by strong winds that often blow from east or north-east toward the Equator, and which sometimes transforms into violent gales in summer and autumn. Precipitation is frequent but, given the continue change of the weather, they don't usually last too much; in spring and autumn brief but frequent drizzles prevail, while in summer and winter they tend to give up to violent storms.


Since ancient times, the Caerdas that settled down in this region were divided into clans, that is groups of broad families more or less related one another and answering to the most influent or powerful family head. Each clan had its own allies and rivals among other clans, and proudly kept its traditions, its customs and its historical record. The existence of those clans and their rivalries are the main cause of the weakening of the old Kingdom of Caerdania in front of its stronger neighbours, and they're also what shaped other peoples' rather true view of Caerdania: a land divided in innumerable clans, holdings and houses, torn apart by internal strife among clans and family feuds. Even if this fragmentation has weakened with time and with the annexation of the region to the Thyatian Empire, it stays the important element which has rendered the single areas of the country one different from the other.


Description: Ailthan is one of the most settled regions of Caerdania, the one that has been for a long time the hearth of the kingdom and which hosted its capital Duncanbroch. Today the region falls under the authority of the Count of Furmenglaive, but local nobles have kept strong at least some of their independence. The region is mostly plain and devoid of woods, a great deal of its lands have been farmed or pastured and the properties of great landowners prevail. Many brooks come down from the Doolilbhinn, forming pools and swamps in various location of Ailthan. A great number of castles built in the most different ages is scattered in this region; some of them are still inhabited by important families, while others fell into ruin - this region has long been the border between the Thyatian area of Caerdania and the native independent kingdom, and this explains the high number of keeps dotting this region's landscape.

Important Families: Bhárghan, Callan, Dunismore, Eriksson, Furmenglaive of Lochan, Keith, Laigh, McHarran, McRose, Tregennium, Tromblay, Uglaith, Vormanios.

Places of Interest: