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Colonies on Davania

by Bruce Heard

We did mention that several nations of the Savage Coast had established colonies on the Davanian shores (the continent down south across the sea from the Savage Coast -- for those who didn't know). They were never designed. I had originally planned on covering these in a Known World Grimoire in DRAGON(R) Magazine a couple of years ago, but the column reached an end before I could complete that task.

More unfinished business.

What little we know about Davania appears in the latest Almanac (the one released in November 1994). If you look under "Davania" in the geographical section, it talks about a collection of city states (Kastelios, Garganin) of ancient Milenian origins. These are all independent from each other and are heavily inspired from ancient Greek city states. They do business mostly with the Yavdlom of the Serpent Peninsula, not too far north.

Also in the same book are notes about the Realm of Emerond -- these guys are cool-looking humanoid aliens with a green skin, who have learned to use the local jungle to their best interest. I had originally created these in an earlier episode of the Princess Ark in DRAGON Magazine.

There also is a city in that general vicinity that had originally been founded by Hulean explorers, but since then, it went independent. The Hulean navy being pretty much useless (with the gracious help of the fleets in Slagovich, Texeiras, and Vilaverde), Hule was never able to reestablish their power over that part of Mystara. They will never be able to until they conquer all these sea-faring nations.

It would make sense that Vilaverde, Texeiras, and the Eastern City States (in particular Slagovich, Hojah, and Zvornik) would found colonies further west along the Davanian coast. The eastern city states would have the advantage there because of their position north of the Serpent Peninsula. This forces Texeiras and Vilaverdan ships to either sail straight south into high seas -- a bit risky even for them -- or follow the eastern coast right under the nose of the Eastern City States. The latter is a longer route and the eastern city states would probably cause some difficulties there, especially to Vilaverdan ships. These are often considered pirates, more so than Texeiras vessels. I would assume therefore that colonies founded by one or the other City States to be more common on Davania. After all, Texeiras and Vilaverde have concentrated their efforts and their rivalry on the western shores of the Savages Coast.

The list isn't exhaustive either. A couple of Renardois lupin colonies might have sprung to existence on Davania, probably with some help from generous Glantrian friends seeking to support their ally's expansion in that area of Mystara. Definitely add several trading posts from nations as far away as the Minrothad Guilds. Of any Known World nations, the latter definitely has the wherewithal to accomplish this.

Don't forget to include the natives either. Some could be quite civilized and simply tolerate the foreigners out of short term interest (selling trading concessions to rich adventurers or to other nations isn't out of the question), or a temporary inability to militarily defeat the newcomers. Others could be tribes of nomads simply ignoring the coastal lands, or primitive humanoids just waiting to find a weak spot to sack. Now that the RED STEEL(R) Setting is a part of the AD&D(R) Game, we have all these neat humanoid race for which to develop new civilizations. How about a wemic nation of nomad warriors to really mess up all these fine "civilized" colonies?

With all these interests engaged in a fierce competition for colonial expansion, natural resources, and exotic secrets, that part of Davania is bound to become a hot bed of intrigue and naval skirmishes. There be pirates! Perhaps one could look at the 1600's Caribbeans, 1700's East Indies, and 1800's China as good sources for inspiration. That ought to make for a fun setting.