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Real World Inspiration for the Isle of Dawnby Simone Neri
I had been working for a while on the IoD cultural issue, but then I stopped because of lacking time and other projects.
Here are some details of my take on the whole region. Perhaps you can find something useful amidst them (some material has been borrowed from other authors of the Vaults and not only).
According to my migration maps (which take into account LoZompatore's take about the right position of Mystara's axis before GRoF - KW is really the north pole in this version), two ancestral human races inhabit the ancient IoD: the Asyidhi (a western branch of the Neathar Afridhi that comes to populate the ancient IoD) and a branch of the Oltec Oltecindians.
So, ancestrally, in the IoD we've a population like M-Hamites/Semites (ancestors of the later Nithians and Alasiyans that will then move to the KW) and a generic copper-skinned population descended from the Oltecindians.
The ASYIDHI evolve as follows: they split into many branches, two of which are the NITHIANS (that will then move in the KW before BC 2000), and the Aseni (ancestors of modern Alasiyans, that will be enslaved by the Nithians around BC 900 and in part deported in the Ylaruam region as slaves - from GAZ2 we know in fact that Alasiyans come originally from the IoD).
Around BC 2000 a Neathar-descended population, the ALBANS, arrives in the KW and crosses the land-bridge of Soderfjord-Redstone region (soon to collapse because of the sinking of the Taymoran-held southern part of the KW) and splits in various branches. These Albans are the population that brings M-Celtic culture to the IoD.
They split in many populations, which should belong to the Brythonic and Goidelic language families:
* Dunaels (modern Dunadale and northern Westrourke regions) [M-Wales, Cornwall and generic Celts of Britain]
* Albernians (Shadow Coast region - from central Septentriona to Meridiona) [M-Celtiberians]
* Teihzels (modern West/East Portage and Kendach regions) [M-Bretons]
* Ruagallans (Redstone region) [M-Irish]
* Caerdas (southern Meridiona, Caerdwicca and Furmenglaive regions) [M-Scots]
These populations settle among the less numerous Asyidhi. The Asyidhi in particular could have given birth to M-Middle Oriental cultures (Phoenicians, Jews, ancient Syria and Anatolia, etc.) in the southern and eastern part of the IoD.
Regarding Asyidhi-descended peoples, I was thinking to have the Aseni culture settled in northern Septentriona (their descendants could also have survived the Nithian enslavement and deportation, and continue to live in northern Septentriona then under Thyatian dominion), while another culture (like, say, M-Armenians) could be placed in the Scars region, i.e. in the smaller plateaus and mountain ranges of the central IoD, between Kendach, West and East Portage.
Another Asyidhi-descended population are the Aelanns of Caerdwicca and lower Meridiona region, which are a sort of M-Picts. This is a bit odd, because we have a Pictish people born out of M-Semite population, but it's useful to explain the difference between the Aelanns (M-Picts) that settle in those areas and the Caerdas (M-Scots) that later invade the region and generate the M-Scottish culture of modern Caerdwicca and Furmenglaive.
The northern IoD is also invaded, from BC 2000 on, by Antalian-descended tribes from Norwold and Heldann. These tribes settle mostly in the Helskir region (they're the Helska) and in northern Westrourke (they're the Oskmans). There they generate a sort of M-Norwegian culture, which explains the Westrourkian names we find in TM2.
Around BC 1100 the Nithians come to the IoD, founding Thothia and conquering other areas. DotE says that Trikelios, Ekto and even Dunadale and Deirdren are Thothian foundations. However, they could even be previous settlements then conquered by expanding Thothians, and later renamed in another fashion.
IMHO there's not a great need to have another M-Greek culture in the eastern IoD, and could be better to explain the origin of Ekto's and Trikelios' names in another way (perhaps they origin from a wrong Alphatian spelling of the Thothian names of the cities, or from another native culture at all).
Humanoids should come from Norwold during the Dark Age of the Antalians (after Loark's invasions), say around BC 1000. Perhaps some humanoid tribes learned the basis of seafaring from Antalians. This explains not only their travel to the IoD, but also how could they be find in Limn (see Limn description in DotE).
Adding Thyatians, Alphatians and some Ostland immigrants here and there, we have a AC 1000 IoD settled more or less as follows:
* DUNADALE: ancient M-Celtic (Wales or Cornwall) culture, later in part conquered by Nithians/Thothians and then by Alphatians. Probably the coast is more cosmopolitan, with Alphatian culture prevalent, while the interior of the country is more anchored to ancient M-Celtic roots. We know that Alphatians once gave the "confederacy" status to Dunadale, and that the confederacy then fell into decline (see one of the library hints in M5). I placed the rise of the Confederacy at the end of the 6th century AC; the confederacy manages to reunite the "whole" Dunadale (including northern Westrourke, see again Dunadale description in M5), then the country fell into decline when Thyatis was able to reconquer the northern Westrourke region under Gabrionius IV (beginning of 10th century AC).
The inland "bogs" should be inhabited by humanoids and other monsters.
* CAERDWICCA and FURMENGLAIVE: M-Scottish culture, with roots in ancient Asyidhi-descended Aelannian culture (M-Picts), then conquered by the Caerda and turned to M-Scot culture. Influx of Northman immigrants from 6th century AC on, which transformed the local culture in M-Scottish. I labelled the whole region of Caerdwicca, southern Meridiona and Furmenglaive "Caerdania" and I gave it a detailed history of independence and wars until modern age - around 8th century AC, when the region fell under Thyatian dominion. If you're interested, I can translate it in English along with the accompanying map and post the whole thing of the boards.
* EKTO and TRIKELIOS: Ancient settlements, perhaps from a native culture, or from Nithians/Thothians themselves. Place for a culture of the Middle East, perhaps Phoenicians, Jews, or whichever population of M-Anatolia or M-Syria we can think of. Later conquered by Alphatians, and at times also by Thyatians (Thyatian language spreads here also, see PWAs).
* GREAT ESCARPMENT: unknown, except for some ancient Thothian ruins and settlement, aranean and elven presence. Perhaps there's enough room to place here some forgotten people (Mishler's Stone Folk and perhaps barbarian descendants of the Asyidhi or, even better, the Oltecindians).
* HELSKIR: ancient Antalian population, then conquered by Alphatians after BC 1000. Lots of immigrants from other places, mostly Heldann, Norwold, Northern Reaches, Thyatis and Alphatia.
* KENDACH-WEST/EAST PORTAGE: Place of Teizhel culture (M-Bretons), then conquered by Alphatians and Thyatians. In the central plateaus region I planned to put an M-Armenian culture (Asyidhi-descended). Marco Dalmonte, in his Codex Immortalis made Kendach the site of the M-Arthurian myth, with Halav in search of Immortality being M-King Arthur, and his sword Caledfwylch being M-Excalibur. The costal areas both of West and East Portage should nevertheless be very cosmopolitan (Alphatian, Thyatian and elsewhere immigrants).
* MERIDIONA: Continuing M-Celtiberian culture in the north, then turning to M-proto-Scots (Caerda) in the central forests. I called the southern steppes "Hennonia", and they should be inhabited by semi-nomadic tribes (according to M5), perhaps of Asyidhi or Oltecindian origin. The southern forests of this region belong to the M-Scots cultural area.
* REDSTONE: M-Irish culture, then conquered by Thyatians.
* SEPTENTRIONA: In the northern part of this region an Asyidhi-descended culture could survive, mostly in the steppes and in the badlands. Perhaps they're descendants of the Aseni, ancestors of the Alasiyans. In the Shadow Coast, where the forests begin to take place, M-Celtiberian culture prevails, with Thyatian overlapping. Place for dark sorcerers, monsters and undead also.
* THOTHIA: ancient Nithian settlement over Asyidhi-descended native population. Presence of rakastas in the eastern steppes. Probably the short-lived "empire" of Thothia (eastern IoD and Alatians) fought a war against the mother empire (Nithia) when the latter turned to Entropic worship. Later conquered by Alphatians (after BC 500), but probably again independent for some time (the Treaty of Edairo is signed in the NEUTRAL city of Edairo, remember?). Culturally Thothia should be similar to Tolemaic Egypt, that is ancient Egyptian culture with implants of foreign (Alphatian) customs and ways.
* WESTROURKE: ancient M-Celtic culture, then occupied by Oskmans. Conquered various times by Thyatis and Alphatia, recently seeing a wave of Ostland immigrants. The northern part of the country (north and west Dust Reaches region) is more M-Norwegian in culture, while the central and south region (where Westrourke city lays) preserved hints of the original Celtic mood.
That's all in sum. With a little time I can translate into English also the more detailed history of Caerdania (Caerdwicca + Furmenglaive + southern Meridiona), and post some detailed 8-m maps of the region.