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Wendar: A Mini Gazetteer

by Jesper Andersen, Jamie Baty, Marco Dalmonte, Gary, Geoff Gander, Lost Woodrake, Mortepierre Malepeste, Patrick Sullivan, Thorfinn Tait and Simone Neri
edited and adapted by Thorfinn Tait
[If I forgot any names, or if you'd like to change the way your name is listed, please tell me.]

This gazetteer was created by the members of the Mystara Message Board, who contributed their ideas in order to flesh out a new 8 mile per hex map of Wendar. The result is far more than any of us could have hoped, providing us with a very promising mini-gazetteer for the country.

Overview

[This whole section needs to be further organised and split into multiple sections.]

The population is a fair mix of humans of Antalian stock (90%) and Dun stock (10%; the Duns are the Celtic-like stock found in Dundadale, the Hinterlands and Robrenn), and of Genalleth elves (similar to Alfheimers, some more like the Icevale elves, many of them rangers). Place names range between elvish, Antalian and Dunnish (minority).

Nestled among two plateaux and two mountain ranges, Wendar (or Genalleth, as the elven race calls it) is a secluded and ancient land that still holds many secrets and marvels even to its inhabitants. Thick evergreen forests blanket more than half of the region, their beauty and stateliness mirroring the Canolbarth Forest in its glory days. There are five major "reserves" (this is the best translation of the way the elves call them) in Wendar, as well as a number of smaller woods, all closely guarded and tended by Genalleth elves and their human forester allies.

The first and most important one, Korrigan Forest, lies in the western part of the nation. Two of Wendar's most thriving cities are situated around the forest; Wendar City is enclosed by the western groves, while Sylvair lies on the western edge of the forest. The Korrigan Forest is renowned for the beauty of its sequoias and for the many shrines sacred to the Korrigans, the Nine Elven Protectors that watch upon Genalleth. The legend says that they drew their name from the mythical (and believed extinct) korrigan, a woodland animal that once lived here.

The Forest of Bounty lies in the western corner of the nation. Mighty and sturdy oaks grow here, protected by a small group of treants that the elves call "The Elders." Woodgate and Oakwall, two other towns, lie at the borders of this forest, and use its wood to boast their logging industries.

After the corruption of the Canolbarth Forest, the Forest of Bounty is inhabited by Alfheim refugees. In AC 1015, events cause the northern part of the forest to be renamed Forest of the Curse.

Right at the centre of the Genalleth Valley we find the Enchanted Forest, a mysterious patch of trees that the elves hold as sacred. According to the legends, here live the fairies with their sylvan friends, the centaurs and actaeons, and those who dare trespass against Nature in this place are bound to be abducted by actaeons and to serve the fairies for the rest of their life. Tales of missing wanderers abound in this region.

[Description needed!]
Forest of Shadows - The origin of the name of the Forest of Shadows is not yet clear, but it surely has something to do with necromancy.

The last important reserve lies at the northwestern border and is referred to as the Dark Woods of Baamor. The Wendarians tell frightening tales about this area, whose trees are strangely darker and more twisted than the common trees of the region, and whose fauna is made up of deformed and evil parodies of the common woodland animals. Elven sages blame this to a mysterious being (or race, this is not clearly defined) called Baamor, who tried to poison the entire continent in the ancient days to appease the Dark Immortals. However, the Korrigans rebelled against Baamor and ultimately defeated him, imprisoning the evil Baamor inside one of the blight trees of this forest. Therefore, in order to avoid freeing him, it is strictly prohibited to cut down any tree in this region. In fact, few people venture there, for it is said that Baamor tries to possess anyone who walks into his forest and use him to achieve freedom.

[Minor Forest Descriptions - need work.]
The Laughing Woods - an ominous name. It may be because the wind makes strange laughing noises when blowing through these trees, or because you can hear giggles and laughter at night.

Scarlet Groves - These woods took their name from the thousands of soldiers who died in the forest defending Wendar from Denagothian invasions in the past. Their blood has somehow incarnadined parts of the trees and the grass.

Kevareth Woods - The forested hilly region south of Kevar, twisting around and among the mountains of the Wendarian Range, and bordering on the Forest of Shadows, is rich in natural resources, and has been the site of various mines. Currently there are only two working mines, but the southern areas of the forest remain largely unexplored; almost surrounded by mountains, they are difficult to access.

[This paragraph needs major revisions.] The rest of the region consists of rocky hills to the east and to the south, where the few herders raise their cattle (horses and sheep mostly). In the central plains and moors the humans raise their crops. The valleys and plains are usually safe and free of monsters, but the closer one gets to the mountain ranges, the more the trip becomes dangerous.

[Water - needs expanded.] Although few waterways and lakes are large enough to be marked on the map, Wendar has numerous small lakes, ponds, bogs and marshes amidst its forests and settlements.

The Wendarian Range to the south and the Mengul Mountains to the north are renowned for their snow-capped peaks and for the fierceness of their inhabitants. The Wendarian Range, whose peaks average 11,000 feet in height, is home to many tribes of yeti, sasquatches and even a few white dragons, not to mention the occasional monstrous results of Glantrian experiments.

The only two southern passes maintained and guarded actively by the Wendarians are the Elven Pass to the southeast, which leads through the gap between the Adri Varma Plateau and the end of the Wendarian Range, directly to Oakwall; and the Kevar Pass to the southwest, from which the Royal Way leads to the capital winding through the Korrigan Forest. There is a third pass leading northwards through the Mengul Mountains and up to Denagoth, but it has not been used since the last war with Essuria, about 80 years ago.

Wendar's long eastern border is constantly watched and garrisoned, because the worst problems come and have always come from Denagoth. Luckily, there are only a few passes that can be used by the Denagothians to effectively march inside Wendar without risking too many casualties on the trip, so these are well guarded. Two keeps, Surewatch Keep and Gylharen Keep, have been built near the border with Denagoth under the supervision of King Gylharen, and these standing garrisons have the sole purpose of stopping (or slowing) any possible invasion attempt from that land. However, since Denagoth has not given any significant trouble in the last decades, the soldiers stationed here have taken on the duty to harass and annihilate any humanoid band trying to cross the border and cause mayhem in Wendar; so far, they've been successful.

The Wendarians have had little troubles with the neighbouring Heldanners in the past two centuries, just a record of quick raids which are normal among the northmen. But the northmen have come to fear and respect the elves during the centuries, so only the hotheads dare try anything against Wendar, and this keeps problems to a minimum. The keep built in this region, the Hawksgate, is intended to oversee the region and halt any likely raid from humanoids and humans alike.

Unfortunately, with the Heldannic Knights overtaking Heldann in AC 957, the relationship has become more tense, and Gylharen must have reinforced the garrison in that region. The Knights are not to be taken lightly, even when they are polite.

The relationship between Glantri and Wendar has been peaceful, and trade has been abundant since the 9th century, when things in Glantri stabilised. The Elven Pass is the only direct route that connects the two nations. It is guarded by the Everway Tower, which together with the Hawksgate shares the duty of monitoring visitors to Wendar, as well as handling any possible raids by humanoid tribes living in the Wendarian Range. The biggest barrier against raids and invasion on the southern border is of course the Forest of Shadows.

The Baamor Woods and the Laughing Woods are a real barrier on the north-western border, and the Wendarians would never expect an invasion force marching through them to get inside Wendar. Likewise, since the malicious effects of the Baamor Woods are so feared, even settling next to it is not encouraged. For this reason there are only three towers in the north, used as observation points to keep the situation in the woods in check. Lerian's Tower is one of these, and indeed the most dangerous assignment for any soldier, which is why it is manned only by elves, who have better resistance to magic. The other towers are the Tower of Twilight, which guards Woodgate, and Aelythnar, a fortress manned by elves, which guards the entrance from the Adri Varma plateau as well as the lowland region between the Forest of Bounty and the Woods of Baamor, known as the Shunned Plains. Aelythnar's position near the border, on a trail running from Woodgate to the Adri Varma Plateau, also puts it in a strategic position.

Although Wendar maintains fortresses and keeps on most of its important borders, the Elvenstar is the primary means of defence, making the country more or less invulnerable to large-scale assaults. For smaller raids and other problems, Wendar often relies more on adventurers than on soldiers. While Wendar does indeed have soldiers, they are insufficient to repel an assault from Denagoth without the protection of the Elvenstar. Wendar has at least a small spy network, with an active agent mentioned in X11. Wendar's armed forces are not significant enough to merit a mention in PWA1, though most other lands detailed have corresponding army entries.

Wendar is a country rather similar to the Freeholds (and likely its population was bolstered significantly by the Heldannic Knights' takeover). Gylharen is not the type of ruler to go for the high taxation necessary to maintain a large standing army. The people of Wendar are freedom-loving and they welcome adventurers. That having been said, there are significant dangers on Wendar's borders, and at the watchtowers around Wendar are well supplied and maintained, vigilant at all times against signs of trouble.

The face of the Adri Varma has numerous rockslides and cuttings, allowing relatively easy access to and from the plateau. [Add a watchtower or two on the border?] While relations with Glantri are cordial, no one could share such an extensive border with Morphail's subjects and not be somewhat cautious.

[Not sure if this idea should stand... Do they really need so many watchtowers?] There should be some sort of watchtower every twenty-five miles or so around the entire border. If this is the case, manning each tower with just twenty soldiers would mean that around a thousand soldiers are stationed in these watchtowers, and not one of these would be a strong enough garrison to really dissuade much of anything. I would tend to suggest, rather, that any such watchtowers be very simple structures, manned, more than likely, by only three or four individuals. Their job would be to defend themselves if necessary, and to signal in warning through some sort of relay. Wendar's frontiers are simply too extensive to guard by force without transforming it into some sort of military state.

Wendar's Government

[Still very much under development.]
Suggestions include a system where the humans and elves are a little more closely knit. Segregating them is okay, but having them living together peacefully seems more interesting if you ask me.

Each full-fledged town has a headman/burgomeister who runs it in conjunction with a civic government (i.e., the town is actually incorporated, and had elves and humans in its governing council). The headman is usually a rich/influential local landowner or noble (in the plains), an elven lord (in the forests) or a loyal person chosen by the king (in critical areas). This system of municipal government extends to the villages. The leader of each town/village advises the king on matters relating directly to that settlement (i.e., crop yields, local diseases, banditry, etc.), but national matters are decided by the king, with the advice of his own officials.

The king holds a "parliament" of sorts (modelled on traditional elvish clan councils) a few times per year, during which the town and village leaders go to Wendar City to raise important matters with the king - who is obligated to provide a response before the session ends - and to pose questions about his policies and plans. In the interests of maintaining stability, the king could be open about anything not deemed a military secret, or anything related to Denagoth. It is during these meetings that the king's advisers develop budgets (based on what town and village heads are saying about taxes, the health of businesses, trade, etc.) and develop priorities for spending (e.g., if Oakwall's leader is having a problem with bandits, more money might be allocated to increase the garrison there, etc.).

The parliament could be imagined as a sort of late middle-age German/Eastern European "Dieta" or French "States-General", i.e. an assembly not too strictly divided by class, in which one could find representatives of the landowners, the townspeople, the forest communities and perhaps in smaller number the druids, the priests of the Korrigans, the demihuman (centaur and the like) population, etc.

Most of the land in Wendar belongs either to the crown or to the clans (the forests above all), while the remaining land is in the hands of the low nobility (elven and human alike).

Major Settlements

City of Wendar

Oakwall - A town in southwest Wendar, named for the groves of oak trees which surround the town.

Sylvair - The most elven of Wendar's towns.

Woodgate

Bensarian's Hermitage - Home to the famous sage of Wendar, Bensarian, who gifted the Elvenstar to Gylharen.

Minor Settlements

Aebhyrn Lwnn - The settlement of a very reclusive, very militant and quite large centaur clan. It is located in the midst of the Dark Woods of Baamor, and unlike many centaur settlements, it has several stone "houses" ("stables"?) that the centaurs built for lodging. It is a well fortified community, led by the charismatic centauress Nawanne Shirvanawe. These are probably the only sentient creatures willing to live in this forest, although no-one understands why.

Ammalanleth - A village located deep in the Forest of Bounty, populated by elves of a more traditionalist bent.

Brethiliath - This village, located in the great deep forest south of Wendar City, is where a Tree of Life is located, closely guarded by Treekeepers. The elves who live here prefer to have little to do with the outside world, and have focused on spiritual matters. In doing so, Brethiliath has become known among Wendarian elves as a place to go to learn about, and meditate on, the relationship between their race and nature, and the grand scheme of life. As a result, Brethiliath sees a fair amount of visitors - mainly elves, but also a handful of human sages interested in such matters.

Bynflaare Hall - Located in the dense Laughing Woods of northeast Wendar, Bynflaare Hall is a haven for Mystics. Several monasteries and abbies are dispersed in between the high, thick foliage - as well as many caves, tree-houses and even "nests" for individual hermits.

Dalvarh°fn - A predominantly Heldanner village northwest of Bensarian's Hermitage, southeast of Surewatch Keep, settled by Heldanners who fled the onslaught of the Heldannic Order in AC 950. The king gave them lands in the rich, rolling plains south of the Mengul Range, both to make those lands more productive, and to create a buffer zone in case Denagoth ever managed to invade - a consummate politician.

Dawnblossom-Qvar - In 862 AC [date needs checked with Glantri timeline] a group of halflings and dwarves escaped the towers and laboratories of Glantrian wizards, and crossed the mountains in a perilous journey towards freedom and safety in Wendar. Many died along the way, but some arrived at their destination and were allowed - although not without suspicion - to settle in the mountains of southwest Wendar. Thus the village of Dawnblossom-Qvar was established. They couldn't agree on one single name, so the first word is the hin name, the second the dwarven one. This town is populated by these immigrants' descendants - who try to fit into the Wendarian society as best they can. However, the cruel experiments had their effect also on generations to come, and the hills of Wendar are often plagued by some strange disease or a monstrous mutation, originating in this miserable community. For this reason, many Wendarians resent these "short people", and demand that they leave the kingdom.

Duncan's Keep is a tiny settlement on the edge of the Forest of Shadows, south of Wendar City and southeast of Sylvair. It is named after the founder, who many years ago was given a fief and instructed to build a small fortified tower to keep the area safe.
Today, Duncan's Keep is home to some 70 families, a mix of humans and elves. Their primary source of income is from woodcutting, timber export and manufacturing goods out of wood.
The local mayor is a human woman named Agnes Stellasdottir of Heldann descent. For a brief period a few years ago, she was the lover of the proud Soderfjord warrior Emrode, when he and his companions were in town after slaying a nearby green dragon that was threatening the community.
From that relationship Agnes bore a son, who is now a little over a year old, named Axel Emrodeson. Agnes does not know where Emrode is today but hopes that he will return to Duncan's Keep one day.
Other notables in the tiny hamlet includes Baron Duncan III, grandson of the founder, whose wife died of sickness years ago before bearing him any children. The people of Duncan's Keep are loyal to their baron but realise that he is now too old to marry again and most people expect that either will the King bestow the barony upon another line or ask Baron Duncan to name one of the villagers his heir.
Most of the villagers hope that would be Agnes, but a few ambitious others are secretly working to improve their own standing with the baron. One of them is the gnome merchant Theodor Thunderburp who has made a small fortune exporting quality wooden goods to Glantri and the Heldann Freeholds. He is quite a comical figure, always making speeches at the tavern or on the village square about how "a person who has had success financially would be the best choice to secure prosperity to the entire village" and such slogans. Theodor has the odds against him, however, because for all his wealth most villagers still consider him a good-hearted clown.
The second contender is a daydreaming bard named Jonaleth Silverbrim from Darokin. He came to Duncan's Keep broke and soon learned about the local political situation. He hopes to become the next baron by wooing Agnes and marrying her, so that when she inherits the barony, he will become baron. Jonaleth is as much an amateur as Theodor but much more scheming. He is not above sabotaging Theodor's speeches, adding to the poor gnome's ridiculous reputation.
The real threat to Duncan's Keep is from the third contender for the throne, a local elven priest of the Korrigan named Meetholan. He is the head of the local church and much more strict (LN) than most elves. He feels that the humans are violating nature around Duncan's Keep and because of their short lifespans and lack of inherent magic abilities inferior to elves. In short, he is a racist. If he inherits the barony, it will turn into a hagiocracy, an area ruled by holy men. And that is sure to put an end to the current prosperity and lessen the lives of humans to those of serfs.
Whatever will become of Duncan's Keep in the near future is up to the DM. Perhaps Emrode and his group will return. Perhaps another party of adventurers will come by and resolve the situation. If not, one of the three contenders will probably get the throne, and the changes will probably send ripples through Wendarian nobility all over the country,

Genalldhon - A village in forested hills south of the Mengul Range, well-known for its artisans, who produce exquisite carvings from nearby stands of birch and oak.

Hvollsvatn - Founded in AC 960 by refugees from the Heldanner town of Skolgrim (now Grauenberg). Although they initially settled in Kevar, frictions with the local humans forced them to petition King Gylharen for permission to settle elsewhere. The king granted them land near the forested hills south of the Royal Way, and gave them mining and limited forestry rights. The region was sparsely inhabited beforehand, and would, he reasoned, provide a stable population base to make the land productive, and from which armies could be raised should tensions with Heldann or Denagoth ever boil over. Today, many people in Hvollsvatn are miners and smelters, selling the iron ingots to merchants who will then transport them to Kevar, Wendar City, and occasionally Sylvair. Hvollsvatn is also known for its competent smiths.

Laurianta - Located in the Enchanted Forest, Laurianta is a prosperous elven village, made so by virtue of the fast-flowing Laure River (Golden River to the humans); the river is so named because of extensive deposits of iron pyrite (fools' gold) in the riverbed rocks, which catch the sun's rays and glow warmly in the water. The industrious villagers have built several water wheels to operate their mills, saws (the wood from Laurianta is recognised for its quality, and some of the finest furniture is made here), and other enterprises. In so doing, they manage to produce as much as many larger villages, while having plenty of time for leisure. Outsiders claim that Laurianta is so named because elves built a bridge of gold, but the village's name, in fact, stems from the fact that the Laure is a dangerous river to ford for the unwary - this place is one of the few safe places to cross it, and the village grew up around the sturdy bridge that was built there centuries ago.

Uumarne - This was a small fishing village, at the shores of Lake Phyrroe, a medium-sized lake at the southern side of the Forest of Bounty. Uumarne grew rapidly as many Alfheim refugees, as well as industrious Leprechauns from Alfheim, settled there - and turned the sleepy community into a thriving centre of commerce and business.

Yngvarsvall - Located northeast of Woodgate, between the Enchanted Forest and the Baamor Woods. Yngvarsvall is a mixed settlement (with human majority of 70-80%), due to the number of elvish soldiers who pass through it to and from Lerian's Tower; some opt to settle down in the town. For those who allow half-elves in their campaigns, a fair percentage of the village's humans (perhaps up to 25%) could be reclassified as half-elves (again, due to the number of elvish soldiers who pass through...). Military wagons going between the town and the tower often use the village as a rest stop. As a result, a small, but moderately prosperous, group of craftsmen and burghers grew up here, trading their services for the soldiers' coin. Its proximity to the Baamor Woods makes Yngvarsvall a watchful town, somewhat suspicious of outsiders, but always welcoming to soldiers.

Keeps and Fortresses

Surewatch Keep - Located on the western border with Denagoth, this Wendarian fortress is charged with watching the porous border regions near Geron. The garrison takes its duty very seriously - the keep has never fallen in its 500-odd year history.

Gylharen Keep - This keep on the Denagoth border was built to protect Wendar city from direct invasion from the Mengul Mountains.

The Hawksgate - One of the busiest of Wendar's border fortifications, the Hawksgate guards the Kevar Pass leading to Heldann. All traffic through the pass is forced to go through the fortress, where Wendarian soldiers check trade goods and enforce border taxes. These soldiers are also of course responsible for the defence of the realm against any possible attack from Heldann. The fort is renowned for its expert falconers.

Aelythnar - The stronghold is a typical elven one, built partly upon the trees (remember the drawing in the Expert set?), on the outer fringes of the Forest of Bounty where it approaches the Baamor Woods.

Lerian's Tower - Located in the gap between the Baamor Woods and the Laughing Woods, this tower was built by a distant cousin of one of the first kings of Wendar to secure the northern marches. Much beloved by the king, the cousin was granted a great deal of autonomy, and ruled the northern frontier as his own domain. The details of his treachery are now lost (likely destroyed), but the cousin turned against the king, and a great civil war ensued, spilling much blood in the lands surrounding the tower (which was thereafter named the Gap of Tears). The king prevailed, and the cousin's name was struck from all the records. He would have demolished the tower, too, but for its strategic importance. The king's son, Lerian, offered to give up his right to the crown and guard the northern border - a duty he upheld until his death 330 years later. Thereafter, the tower was named after Lerian in his honour. Today, it is well garrisoned, with a scattering of human farms surrounding it.

Battle Sites

Wendar rose as a modern kingdom in AC 910 under Gylharen. However, the towns and villages have been members of defensive leagues in the past, so there could possibly have been many elvish (and maybe a few human) nobles or self-styled kings, each ruling a petty dominion. All this to say that there could very well have been many battles between the towns and various factions

Felzuumath's Fall (AC 452) - Located northeast of Woodgate, this is where Nione fought and killed Felzuumath, who had terrorised the towns of western Wendar for many years. The victorious elves of Woodgate piled their enemies into a mound and burned them. Since that time, grass has grown over the remains, and now a fair-sized grassy hill stands alone.

King's Sorrow (AC 103) - Located to the south of Lerian's Tower, this is where the elf king of Amoleth fought, and killed, his beloved cousin. Surviving accounts of the battle say that so much blood was spilled that day, that the plains had become a reddish swamp.

Other Points of Interest

Amoleth - The ruins of Amoleth lie along the southern fringes of the forest to the east of Lerian's Tower. In its heyday, it was the capital of the kingdom of Amoleth, an elvish realm that stretched across what is now northwestern Wendar. A strong ally of the other elvish realms, its soldiers fought numerous Denagothian hordes. The Battle of King's Sorrow broke the king's spirit, and the realm began to decline thereafter. During the chaotic period surrounding the bloody campaigns of Felzuumath, the giant's armies laid the town to siege. Unable to secure aid from its neighbours, and with the garrison of Lerian's Tower unable to reach the town in time, Amoleth fell in AC 433. Most of the population was slaughtered, but a handful managed to escape and bring word to other towns and villages. Elvish fury over the loss of Amoleth united them long enough to wage a successful campaign against their enemies, ultimately leading to the Battle of Felzuumath's Fall.

Moors of Chlyras - These dark moors, at the midst of the Baamor Woods, straddling Wendar's northern border, are home to the hideous Aantkh-Nyr, a murderous and powerful nuckalavee who draws pleasure from killing the centaurs of Aebhyrn Lwnn. He tortured and killed Nawanne's beloved, the former leader of the centaurs, Cephae Wy'rnaav - and she is trying to get her revenge ever since.

Tower of Anorion - Located in the western corner of Wendar, on the edge of the Forest of Bounty. Anorion was an elf-mage of great power, who worked great wonders during the years following Felzuumath's defeat. It was his guidance that led to a period of rejuvenation of the land, which had suffered greatly during the previous decades of war and strife. Inspired to perform greater deeds, Anorion quested for artefacts of great power to increase his strength, and found a strange device in a dead city of strange black stone on the Adri Varma Plateau. One night, there was a great flash of light that lit the sky for miles around his tower, and afterwards there was silence. Visitors found no evidence of habitation the next day, and the lands surrounding the tower seemed corrupted somehow - the vegetation grew sickly, brittle, and grey in colour, and Anorion's orchards ever after bore poisonous fruit. No animal will go near the tower today, and those who spend too much time there almost inevitably sicken and die from a strange wasting disease. It is said that a wealth of magical lore remains in the tower, but it is also said that many fiendish guardians and traps await the unwary, as well as the "curse"...

Mines

Mines of Kevar

Hvollsvatn Mines

Shrines

The Nine Shrines of the Korrigans - Nine shrines, each one dedicated to one of the Korrigans, placed around Wendar inside the forests (with the exception of the Baamor Woods). These shrines are part of Wendar's greatest secret: what really keeps Wendar safe from Denagoth is the Elvenstar working in tandem with these 9 wells of power, which spin a protective magical web around Wendar. That's how the Korrigans enchanted their land in a unique way and completed their path to immortality.

Shrine of the Fiery Champion in the Scarlet Groves
Shrine of the Eternal Wanderer near the Everway Tower
Shrine of the Spring Maiden in the southern Forest of Bounty
Shrine of the Dreaming Seer in the Laughing Woods
Shrine of the Merciful Healer in the Enchanted Forest
Shrine of the Silent Hunter in the northern part of the Forest of Bounty
Shrine of the Silver Carver in the Korrigan Forest next to Bensarian's Hermitage
Shrine of the Rainbow Singer in the woods south of Kevar
Shrine of the Verdant Caretaker in the Forest of Shadows

Shrine of Nione - Located near Woodgate. Nione was an elven heroine of great renown centuries ago, whose deeds are still sung. During a great battle against a Denagothian horde, she slew Felzuumath, a fearsome mountain giant who commanded the evil army (which broke up soon afterwards in disarray), but died of her injuries soon afterwards. Her heroism allowed the crown prince, who was commanding the Wendarian armies, to escape to safety. Out of gratitude, the crown price built a beautiful shrine to honour the hero. Today, many Wendarians who dream of becoming heroes make a pilgrimage to the shrine to seek Nione's guidance, and to pay homage. Some even claim to have received visions while visiting.

The Northern Border

At various times in the past, the elves have claimed the northern wildlands for their own, some undertaking the perilous task of settling the dark forests and building strongholds. In times of prosperity, new realms were carved out of the wilderness, and the border crept northwards. In darker times, evil things swept down from the Mengul Mountains, and from the fearsome Adri Varma Plateau, and in their wake there was nothing but ruined fortresses and towns, and streams of refugees fleeing south, telling their brethren of the horrors that stalked them. Even during the worst times, the heartlands in the south remained free for the most part, made secure by a network of fortresses and towers, but always the wildlands beckoned, promising fantastic things to those with the strength and courage to find them.

Gylharen, wishing to usher in a new era of strength for Wendar, has called on the bravest souls - human and elven - to cross the frontier into the wildlands, and retake that which was lost many times before. This time, Gylharen has the Elvenstone, and the guidance of the Korrigans, to strengthen him. Legends abound of lost elven cities, hidden deep in forbidding ancient forests, filled with priceless lore and treasures: many-towered Soreth, Thalion, with its bridge of unsurpassed beauty, and silver-domed Nimbeth. All were built and held by the elves in times past, and, perhaps, they might be retaken by the men and elves of modern Wendar.

Nowadays, the area has many interesting sites, including bad/good magic points, ruins (probably including ruins of the legendary elven cities), as well as many monster lairs. Rumours also tell of a great (black?) dragon who keeps her lair in the area.

Of course, any attempts to expand the realm into the Northern Wildlands are undoubtedly hampered by the lack of protection from the Elvenstar; its protection stops at the current northern border.

The Elvenstar and the Shrines of the Nine

The Shrines of the Nine represent the borders of the magical web that protects Wendar. The centre of the web is the Elvenstar, in Wendar City.

The Elvenstar works in connection with the shrines of the Nine Korrigans and creates a web of protection all over Wendar. However, if you closely examine the locations of the shrines, you will notice that by connecting them one after the other to obtain the perimeter of the protective area, some areas remain unprotected. These places need keeps and guards to oversee the region.

Also, it is true that the Elvenstar can keep Wendar safe from invasions (exactly HOW it can is not yet clear), it seems doubtful that the Elvenstar can keep villages safe from wandering bands of monsters, dragons or raiders. That's the duty of the local garrison. For this reason, Wendar maintains a few keeps in strategic locations where people need them to cope with recurring threats from nearby mountains or woods.

Religion

[Needs development!]
Wendar doesn't have a religious body or church as such. The Korrigans are worshipped broadly among elves and humans alike, but some human settlements also worship the old Antalian gods Wotan (Odin), Donar (Thor) and Frigg (Terra), especially the settlements in the eastern part of Wendar.

Wendar's Trees

The majority of the forested area in Wendar is evergreen. There is, however, some deciduous forest around the town of Oakwall. The trees of Wendar include sequoias, oaks, and pines. The Wendarian range is clad in fir trees. In areas where springs and little lakes are plentiful, there are aspens in abundance.

Proposed Changes to the Map

- Add some oak hexes around Oakwall.
- Add Shadowmere and the Foxwoods in the southern Forest of Shadows.
- Add more water features - suggestions required!