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Central Brun

by LoZompatore.

I draw this map to better understand what elements may be placed in the vast empty area of central Brun. Some conclusions may well be discussed, but most of the information I gathered are canonical.

As you may see from the list of sources, the map tries to summarise all the bits of information about this area that are dispersed in the various official supplements. Again, the map collects all the available info, even if they are related to different historical periods. They are collected just to give an idea of which influences may be predominant in a given region of the map.

The method I used as a basis for this work was a kind of "superposition": if two official sources depicted the same data in two different ways I put in the map both of them, considering them as if they referred to different events/places/migrations. I think it's a suitable way to enrich the description of unknown areas without being involved into never ending quarrels about the "correct" version of the canon that should be used.

Important: I did not insert fan-based material. This does not mean that I don't like the work already done for this region. I just wanted to summarise the canonical information about the central Brun area (and suggest some other addendum from still unplaced canon material), just to give a basis for the developing of the undescribed areas and for the improvement of the historical background of the region.

Here is the map:

Elements from canon with a definite placement:

Humanoids migrations:

Continuous lines represents the GAZ10 migrations, while most of the dotted lines represents the movements described in the HW set migration map. I prolonged the migration moving in the NW direction to take in account for the invasion of the Sylvan Realm of the Moorkroft orcs. In my "superposition" approach each migration corresponds to a different humanoid group. In particular, the dotted humanoid migration that goes SW along the Yalu river might be identified with the escape of Ungar Red Fist, the kidnapper of Yogo the mad and the original stealer of the Blue Knife from Urzud.
For the beastmen migrations I considered only the GAZ10 data. If we consider also the HW migration info it would be necessary to add a beastmen movement from northern Norwold to the west.

Elves migrations:

Continuous line represents the Ilsundal migration as is described in GAZ5. Dotted lines show the HW's set elven migration. Again, I supposed that these two movements refer to two different migrations (the dotted one likely being the route of the famous "second migration" from Grunland). Maybe it would be interesting to attribute the final part of the dotted migration to some small group of elves that reached the Sylvan Realm from an independent route with respect to Ilsundal.
I showed also the possible route of a group of elves that fled the Sylvan Realm in AC600 and then reached Graakhalia in AC610 (from CoM Explorer's Manual). This migration may be also the origin of the Tarlyon elves clan of CM5 (see below) that I placed in the northern side of the Black Mountains.

Neathar migration:

HW's migration map show that the original region of the Brun's Neathars is the same area occupied by the barbarians that will invade Hule many millennia after. These barbarians are also the ancestors of the human population of the kingdoms of Robrenn and Eusdria.

Earthshaker route:

From CM4. Earthshaker was discovered by Milos in a mountain range west of Glantri (possibly the Black Mountains) and it is moved first to Glantri then to Norwold. The gnomes inhabiting it may be loosely related to the cursed gnomes described in X5 that are condemned to roam the Great Pass region without never finding the exit.

Forest coverage:

It comes from the general map of Mystara with some modifications due to other smaller scale maps (there are no big forest in Hule, while the region SW of the Bylot Hills is a desert). I also added a couple of big woods north of Wendar that are visible in large scale DotE and WotI maps.

The route of Thelvyn Foxeyes from the Dragonlord Trilogy:

Thelvyn route from Dragonwatch Keep to Wendar should be a straight line. The voyage is uneventful: Thelvyn has the armour of the Dragonlord, and is escorted by a gold dragon and some other companions, so the other creatures of the region avoided the group.

Confirmed nations and political entities:

The land area they claim is coloured in yellow. In detail:

- Moorkroft Realm engulfs the Sylvan Realm and the whole coast south of it, for at least a week of travel on foot (from CM7). The southern coast (a grassy region) is inhabited by Moorkroft minions (orcs). East of this realm there are other human dominions allied (or subjected) to Moorkroft. From this region come the human wyvern riders that compose the elite troops of the mage's army.

- Dragonwatch keep is an ancient Blackmoorish castle that survived the Cataclysm and now is a temple of the Great One. It is empty ant it is guarded by cleric-gold dragons (from the Dragonlord Trilogy).

- Cropland is a peaceful country of nearly harmless farmers and fishers. They settled the last part of the Yalu river, from the big waterfalls to the sea. It is described in Dungeon Magazine #6-7 and it is guarded by the Lawful Brotherhood.

- The Chaotic Sisterhood is an alliance of aranea, witches and savage humans (man-eaters) that is centred in the ruins of Dravya (the ancient capital of the Dravish Empire) and controls the eastern roads from the Trident Bay. It is loosely described in Dungeon Magazine #6-7.

- The Lawful Brotherhood is described in some modules (X9, Dungeon Magazine #6-7, SC) and it has many outposts. The northernmost is an alliance of humans, tortles and lupins and it is centred in the ruins of the Dravish city of Yazak. It controls the most of the plains to the Bylot hills.

- The Neutral Alliance is describe in Dungeon #6-7. It is made from nomadic shepherds (humans) and rakastas and it controls the Bylot hills and the desert plains placed SE of them (the Dry Flats).

- Barbarians (north of Hule): they are described in PWAIII. Given the fact that they limit Hule's expansion northward, their territory should extend along the whole northern Hulean border. I think that the barbarian territory also extends in the southern Midland forest, where they may be advantaged against Hulean aggressions.

- Barbarians (Northern Wildlands): they are described in the X10. Though not united, their territory should extend NW of the Realm of Wendar. They probably may be found also in northernmost regions.

- Qauriks: they are a little secluded human community described in AC9. We know that they live in a deserted valley in the polar regions, underneath a magically heated dome. The society is governed by some man eaters mages. Even if the placement of the Qaurik enclave is arbitrary, I think that this position might be suitable.

Elements from canon with a NON-definite placement:

1) Yalu river savages:

From Dungeon #6-7: they are grouped in human tribes along the Yalu river north of the waterfalls. They prey for floods and possibly barter with the passing visitors.

2) Savage humans and elves of the Midlands:

They are just cited in the Dragonlord Trilogy, along the Thelvyn route from Dragonwatch Keep to Wendar. I placed the humans near to the human realms allied with Moorkroft, while I placed the elves in the fringe of the Midlands Forest, in a place touched by the Ilsundal migration.

3) Koralgesh, Vinyard, the White Mountains and the pirates:

From Dungeon Magazine #2. These places will not fit very well in other places (a not so broad mountain chain, with a coastline facing west), so I put them here.

4) The Taneilim Kingdom:

From the Book of Wondrous Inventions. It's a kingdom of barbaric elves. I made an odd connection between them and the humanoids that live in Oenkmar: in both places it is shown an odd magical artifact similar to a radio. It may be that this "radio", that was built in Taneilim, was stolen by the ogres of Ogremoor and then brought to Oenkmar over the centuries.
I placed the kingdom of Taneilim along the elvish migration route, and also along the direction of Wogar's migration.

5) Tarlyon elves:

This is a clan of civilised elves that lives in a valley described in CM5. They have a Tree of Life (possibly not a mother Tree). This valley is sometimes visited by Gyerians coming from the west, while many humans inhabits the south. The most probable place for this clanhold is north of the Black Mountains. Thus, the gyerians inhabits the northern plains of Hule.
It is possible to connect the Tarlyons to the small migration from the Sylvan Realm that brings a group of elves in Graakhalia in 610BC. The Tarlyons may be the main group of the migration that stopped near the mountains, bringing with them a branch of the Tree of Life of the Sylvan Realm.

6) Original position of the Taymora, Urduk and Ethengar people.

From PC3, CoM, GAZ12. Taymora and Urduks are both Neathar people coming from the north. So they both may have left the original Neathar region around 2500BC, to settle in different parts of the Known World. From GAZ12 we know that the Ethengarians lived in a grassland at the border of Blackmoor civilisation, that froze after the Cataclysm. The Ethengarians roamed for 1000 years in the continent (so they are native of Brun) before settling in the steppes where they now live.
In my opinion the best positions about these populations are the ones I showed in the map.

7) Northern Gnomes:

From the Book of Wondrous Inventions. We just know that they live in the frozen plains of the north, where they built suitable machines able to skate on the ice (and only on the ice). I placed them west of Norwold, in a region that is frozen accordingly to the general Mystara map.

8) Gronmak e Othwa:

The Othwa are goblins, the Gronmak are ogres. They are described in the introduction of the "World in Flames" article of B. Heard that is found in the Vaults. They live in the central Brun and the Othwa are followers of Wogar and should live a little northern than the Gronmak (who does not follow Wogar). I placed them in a region where the Wogar migration crossed another humanoid movement, so that the two different clans can come to live close to each other.
Moreover, we know that the Othwa are surrounded by other minor tribes of goblins, that I added in the map.

10) Cryion:

From AC9. They are big furry humanoids that inhabits the subarctic regions, possibly near to rivers and lakes. They live of hunting, trapping and fishing and they are nomadic. I placed them in a wide area just south of Hyborea, in a region rich of water. The Cryion migrate south during the winter, to raid and trade with the nearby settlements.

11) Wildwood:

From AC1: It is the place of birth of an elvish NPG (Juno from Wildwood). In her background it is said that Wildwood is the thickest and oldest forest of the continent, so it seems very reasonable to me to locate Wildwood in the centre of the great Forest of Midlands, not very far from the Ilsundal migration route.
The elf speaks the ogre language, so I thought that a clan of ogre lived nearby (I placed them north of Wildwood).

12) Western Forest (AC1):

Again from AC1, it is the place of birth of another NPC (Madoc Gwynn, a warrior). We just know that the Western Forest is far, and it is placed "where the mountains drop in the woods". I placed it east of the Endworld Line.

The route of the Earthshaker and the gnomes:

This machine was discovered in the "mountains of the west", then it was brought to Glantri and here it was teleported to Norwold by the wizard princes. Here is the citation:

CM4, page 10:

Milos discovered Earthshaker on one of his collecting expeditions for the princes of Glantri, deep in the wild mountains far to the west. He persuaded the gnomes living in the behemoth to return with him to Glantri. Once there, the princes, in their wisdom (and fear of each other), refused to buy the device, ordering him instead to take it from their lands. He did manage to bargain for a way to magically transport it, so as not to cause destruction and ruin as he travelled.

To answer to the Hĺvard's idea of having a reduced kingdom of Dorfin IV, a possible hint may be the fact that the "wild mountains far to the west" may well refer also to the Endworld Line. So the gnomish clan that inhabits the machine might be an offshoot of the gnomish empire of Dorfin.
Consider also that the Earthshaker (from CM4) "consumes a lot of coal and water" in order to move, so it cannot be found in a desertified area (thus excluding the arid side of the Black Mountains). The Endworld Line, with its forests on the eastern side and possibly with its many rivers that flow into the Yalu may be a good choice for the original placement of the Earthshaker. I preferred the Black Mountains because they were nearer to the Borean Valley, where we know that Blackmoor had its outposts.
Another hint about a kingdom of gnomes may come from the Dragonlord Trilogy, in the first book. Here it is described the fleeing of the gnomes from their besieged city of Torkyn Falls (in the Three Fires Volcanos area, Boldavian mountains) around AC500. One of the gnomes (that are fleeing northward) says to Thelvyn:

I don't know if we will ever meet again. This land has not been kind to us these past few years, with our cities falling one after another. We have strongholds in other lands, places were our race is flourishing. I think you know the place I mean."

This place is never specified, but it may be connected to the empire of Dorfin or to the "Northern Gnomes" of the map above.

The Taymora coming from the north:

From PC3, page 41 of the "Sea peoples book":

During the ancient days following the destruction of Blackmoor, bands of humans calling themselves the Taymora moved south. Arriving at the fertile plains surrounding the southern sea, they established settlements along the cliffs and in the plains. They traded with the Verdier and Meditor elves...

Consider that the Taymora should be of Neathar stock, given this sentence of PC3 (page 28 of the "Adventures book", end of the first column):

Anyone who examines the doors sees that they are engraved with scenes of pastoral life. Happy, smiling humans carry baskets of fruit and follow teams of oxen as they plough fields. The dress is reminiscent of that worn in ancient Greece.

So I connected them to the Neathars living north of the Black Mountains, and I supposed that they came from this region in 2500BC, possibly with the same migration movement that brought the Urduks in the Great Waste area (from CoM they entered the region in 2500BC, too).

The three aligned alliances:

The information Agathokles pointed out about the story of the three alliances are correct. It is possible to reconstruct their history from some canon references in SC sourcebook and in the X9:

The first modern colonists to come to the Claw Peninsula actually arrived a couple of years before the Ispan wave (which means AC902).
These colonists were members of the Brotherhood of Order (also known as the Lawful Brotherhood), the philosophical "ancestors" of the Inheritors of the Order of the Ruby. The Brotherhood originated in the City-States on the other side of the Gulf of Hule. Its colonists located the first Brotherhood outpost at the present site of Old Fort, at the tip of the peninsula.
These colonists were soon followed by shiploads of adventurers from many different parts of the world, particularly Ispans. The first Ispan settlement, then in the lands claimed by Narvaez, was Nueva Esperanza (New Hope), which eventually became known as Smokestone City. Nueva Esperanza declared independence three years after the founding of Narvaez and was allowed to secede without a fight. The people of Nueva Esperanza got to know those of the Brotherhood, and they began a peaceful trading relationship. They also signed a mutual defence pact, and soon Lawful Brotherhood trading posts, defended by Nueva Esperanzan warriors, appeared along the coast. Occasional influxes of colonists from the City-States, and of disaffected Baronials from the north, caused rapid growth along the Savage Coast. Native tortles and dwarves, and a few halfling settlers from far to the east, also joined this odd alliance.

From X9 we know that these three alliances come from the Savage Baronies (from the city of Slagovich, in particular), where they were called Brotherhood of Order, Brotherhood of Light and Chaotic Brotherhood, respectively.

Almarrón attacked Nueva Esperanza in 939 and quickly took over the entire Claw Peninsula. Some of the Brotherhood of Order went into hiding, while a small sect became the LB Trading Company and maintained many of the group's trading posts.

999 The first vial of crimson essence is produced by an alchemist in Saragón. The secret spreads to a group of adventurers who become the first Inheritors. Some of the Inheritors rise to power in both the Brotherhood of Order and the Friends of Freedom. To balance them, other Inheritors join the Neutral Alliance.

1001 The Inheritors face internal conflicts and reorganise the aligned societies (the Brotherhood of Order, the Neutral Alliance, and the Friends of Freedom) into the three Orders of the Inheritors (the Order of the Ruby, the Order of Crimson, and the Order of the Flame).

So the lawful brotherhood seemed to exist as a Unitarian organisation just between AC902 and AC939, then it split into several different orders. X9 module and Dungeon Magazine #6-7 adventure, which is related to X9 references, might be set in this period. Otherwise you may think that the three groups described in the Tortle of the Purple Sage adventure are some offshoots of the original alliances that have lost most of their ties with the main seats of their orders. Now (AC1000) they are fighting for supremacy in the western Yazak steppes and in the Bylot Hills area.
Notice, however, that in DMG #6-7 the Richland Trading Post (a small community described also in SC sourcebook) has about just 200 people, while in SC it is a thriving community of some 2300 people. This suggests to place the Tortle of Purple Sage adventure in the past with respect of AC1000.

Just to clarify the multiple names of the three alliances, here is the correct matching of the various names, from SC sourcebook:

Lawful Inheritors belong to the Order of the Ruby, the organisation once known as the Brotherhood of Order or the Lawful Brotherhood.
Chaotic Inheritors belong to the Order of the Flame, once called the Friends of Freedom, the Chaotic Alliance, and (in some places) the Chaotic Sisterhood.
Neutral Inheritors belong to the Order of Crimson, once known as the Neutral Alliance.