| The United People|
and Tribes of Albadia
|Location||NW coast of Ghelspad|
|Ruler||High King Thalos|
|Major Cities||Sifin, Yorek, Horat|
|Currency||None (foreign coins and fur trade)|
|Resources||Lumber, furs, crescent elk hides, amber, jet|
|Source(s)||Scarred Lands Campaign Setting: Ghelspad|
Albadia is a cold, mountains region in the north-west of Ghelspad, inhabited by a race of tall, sinewy barbarians. They are ruled by a High King who is chosen from among the greatest warriors of all the tribes. Though the cities and other settlements of Albadia recognize the sovereignty of the High King, the nomadic tribes maintain relations that range from absolute loyalty to the merest lip service to his rule. The current High King is barbarian named Thalos Who Has Frozen the Sun and Sails the Ice.
For nearly as long as recorded history, there have been nomadic tribes in the cold lands of Albadia. According to the oldest tales of Mount Helliath, the people of Albadia stepped from the cradle of human genesis into the fierce northlands and began their struggle to survive. The titans looked upon them with favor and granted them gifts for their endurance and tenacity. From Denev they received the strength of the land, from Lethene the swiftness and bite of the north wind, from Mormo the gift of witchery to their women. Most Albadians today recognize this tale as metaphorical, for it is ill-omened to claim any links to the slain titans.
Like that of so many nations, the early history of Albadia is uncertain, lost as it is in the mists of time and the chaos of the Divine War. It is said that Albadia's real history began with the Age of the Bear King, when High King Gjorann united the savage northern tribes against the Empire of the Wheel.
Gjorann's deeds still echo in the tales of the Albadians. When the ice hag Yngalla Who Rides the Winds began to harass Gjorann's northern allies, he ventured forth and slew her single-handedly. Gjorann carried out many other brave deeds, and in the end, facing old age, he wandered out into a blizzard, giving himself to the care of the land he loved so much. His body was never found, and many tribes believe that he lives on, watching over his people and seeing to their safety.
The Age of the Witchblood King was named for High King Yngolf, whose mother was one of the Helliann. With the support of the Witchmount, Yngolf declared all-out war on the Empire of the Wheel. For the first time, the Helliann went into battle with the tribes, assaulting the sorcerer-lords of the empire in what came to be called the First Sorcerers' War.
When the titan Mesos was slain, however, arcane magic was changed disastrously, ending the war and sending the Albadians back to their homeland, where they maintained neutrality in the Divine War, defending themselves against titanspawn and divine races alike. High King Yngolf himself perished in a Great Duel, slain by his rival Arnan of the Black Wings, who would be known to history as the Crow King.
The Crow King rejected the worship of Denev and embraced instead Lethene and Mormo. His rule proved disastrous, and during his regime the battle known as the Slaughter of Arnan took place, in which many tribes were slain by divine forces led by the Herald of Vangal. Soon, titanspawn swarmed unchecked across the land, and King Arnan turned a blind eye to their predations.
At last a hero arose, one Liangulf, whose own tribe had been slaughtered by the spawn of Lethene and Mormo. Organizing the tribes in rebellion against Arnan, Liangulf finally challenged the Crow King to the Great Duel and emerged victorious, despite Arnan's use of sorcery.
Proclaimed the Savior King, Liangulf restored worship of the Earth Mother and welcomed refugees from the Empire of the Wheel into the tribes when their realm was destroyed by Gaurak. Finally, despite enormous pressure, Liangulf refused to side with the gods, choosing instead to remain faithful to Denev and take no direct part in the fighting. Tragically, seven years after the end of the Divine War, Liangulf was slain by Mormo-serving Helliann, who were themselves in turn destroyed by Madriel-worshipping Helliann.
Manjolf of the Two Blades, the Darklight King, served briefly before being poisoned by a seductressassassin sent by the Cannibals of Khet. He was succeeded by the druid-barbarian Lothynn Elffriend, who saw his nation through the changes wrought by the Convention of Vera-Tre and the troubles of the Druid War before passing the throne to his son Orjulf. Known as the Hammer King and the Maker of Walls, Orjulffounded a great new city to celebrate his ascension, naming it for his son Thurfas and constructing a vast and luxurious palace. The palace was ill-omened, for it was found empty one day, its inhabitants horribly slain, including Orjulf and his family. Only four people were found alive: prisoners in the dungeons and all hopelessly mad.
Thousands fled Thurfas in the wake of these fearful events, and refugees swelled southern towns to near bursting. This period, known as the Tenth Age of Frost, was a time of chaos with no High King in which tribes raided the overburdened cities, and the underpopulated Thurfas was besieged by the Frostwolf tribe.
When Thurfas fell, Thalos, the leader of the Frostwolves, was proclaimed High King. Refusing to put aside his city-bred wife for a Helliannone, Thalos angered the forces of the Witchmount and further scandalized the tribes by moving into the cursed palace of Orjulf.
Today, the tribes continue to be troubled by Thalos' overly civilized ways. A Great Council held in 136 AV resulted in a champion emerging to challenge Thalos to the Great Duel, but the High King prevailed and the challenger was slain.
This did not end Thalos' troubles, for rumor has it that another Great Council has been called and a new champion chosen. King Thalos' contacts with the outside world, particularly Vera-Tre and Amalthea, have met with approval in the cities - but further stoked the fires of resentment among the tribes. Thalos' daughter Sirida has proved an able diplomat and travels to foreign lands in the company of her bodyguard and cousin, the sorceress Freyhela.
Albadia is a cold land of pine trees and vast stretches of frozen tundra. Nestled between the Titanshome and Stormtooth Mountains, Albadia's people have learned to survive this hard land's rigors. The southern part of Albadia is slightly warmer, protected by the pine forests and peaks of the Stormtooth Mountains.
Past the Amber Wood and Valthas Wood, however, Albadia becomes a place of seeming frozen desolation. Thougha number of hardy shallow-rooted plants do grow in the bitter cold, the earth itself is frozen nearly year round, save for the few top inches of soil that is warmed daily.
Amber Wood: A massive coniferous forest, the Amber Wood gets its name from the large pieces of amber that can be found within it. The Amber Wood is also home to a small settlement of wood elves that traces its founding to the time when Albadia and Vera-Tre were more closely tied than they are now. As the Amber Wood is one of the main borders between the titanspawn-infested Titanshome Mountains and the rest of Albadia, the elves who dwell here are well equipped to deal with threats to their lives and homes.
Arnjulf River: The Arnjulf is, in many ways, a wall between Albadia and the rest of Ghelspad. On the banks of the Arnjulf opposite Albadia lurk the Perforated Plains, a wasteland that is home to fell creatures of every kind. Most of Albadia's major cities are located along the Arnjulf, a testament to that river's rich resources. For defensive reasons, no bridges span the Arnjulf; instead, small but well fortified and defended ferry stations have been established at each of its cities.
The High Snows: When most folk think of Albadia, it is the High Snows that they imagine: long stretches of barrenness, slushy mud interrupted by patches of half-frozen tundra grasses, and the thunder of crescent elk herds. Bombarded by blizzards that blow in off the Stiffened Sea, the High Snows are where the nomadic tribes are most at home. These frozen wastelands also harbor a number of fell beasts, creatures that often strike in the dead of night or during raging snowstorms.
The South Lands: Though often referred to as the civilized south by the tribes of the north, the southern lands are hardly worthy of that description, especially by the standards of places such as Calastia. The cities of southern Albadia are well fortified, thanks to decades of attack by titanspawn from across the Arnjulf as well as marauding tribes from the north. The cities here maintain defensive forces that patrol the lands surrounding them. Within this defended area small farming communities have sprung up, usually encircling a fort of some kind meant for the defense of the farmers.
Stormtooth Mountains: Where the Titanshome Mountains are seen as a place of unrevealed terrors and a nest for monsters, the Stormtooth Mountains are part of the Albadian cultural identity. Perhaps this is because the Stormtooth Mountains protect much of Albadia from fierce sea squalls that blow in off the Stiffened Sea, acting as protection and defense, or because the mountains are seen as bastions of strength to be admired and emulated by the tough Albadians. "Children of the Stormtooth" is an euphemism often used to describe the Albadian people in their bardic tradition. The mountains themselves are rich in deposits of copper close to the surface, causing lightning to dance among the peaks even during the tamest of squalls.
Valthas Wood: The Valthas Wood is a source of much of Albadia's prosperity. It provides lumber, furs, and many other goods, despite its reputation as a haunted place sacred to Belsameth. The fact that the wood is located so close to the Witchmount without incident between the two may support this supposition.
Witchmount: It might be that the Albadians consider the Stormtooth Mountains to be the symbol of their people because that is where the Witchmount is found. The Witchmount is the home of the Helliann Sisterhood, the order of female spellcasters who act as the guardians of Albadia and her cultural identity, history, and traditions. From their mountaintop sanctuary, the Helliann witches continue to guide the tribes and people of Albadia as they have done for centuries - regardless of the wishes of King Thurfas.
Flora and FaunaEdit
Quite a variety of flora and fauna can be found in Albadia. From the nearly temperate civilized lands of the south to the bleak white fastness of the High Snows, the creatures of Albadia have learned to survive extreme blizzards and temperature shifts.
In the southern lands, shrubs and small stands of trees dot the landscape, providing ample shelter to the region's animals. The southern lands are home to a number of small animals, such as hares, voles, weasels, plains rats, and the like. Game birds are found in abundance as well, from small white-grey Albadian pheasants to flocks of massive geese. Deer were also once very abundant in this area, though hunting throughout the years has somewhat thinned down the size of the herds. Hunting has done little to reduce the abundance of boars in the area, however, perhaps because of the danger of pursuing these massive beasts. Some larger creatures do pose threats, from titanspawn to simple dire beasts, but most of these remain away from the civilized areas and are only a threat to travelers.
The woodlands of Albadia - the Amber Wood and Valthas Wood - are coniferous forests made up of tall evergreen trees. Herds of deer run riot along the southern edges of these forests, while their stockier reindeer cousins can be found along the northern fringes and the interiors. The animals of these forests include a panoply of small herbivores, predators, and other more dangerous beasts such as large forest cats, wolverines, and wild boar. There are other, more dangerous threats as well — the Amber Wood houses unpredictable fey and other forest creatures, while Valthas Wood gives shelter to various lycanthropes, spider-eye goblins, and even a tribe of Belsameth-worshipping centaurs.
Rugged lichens and hardy plants grow among the lightning-kissed peaks of the Stormtooth Mountains, providing provender for the various mountain goats, rats, pika, and smaller creatures that live among the crags. Large mountain cats alsodwell here, though they are hardly the most dangerous creatures to prowl these mounts. Dire beasts can be found as well, along with many varieties of creatures that relish the electric nature of the air here, from thunder kites and shockbats to the behir. Tribes of ettins and storm giants are also said to occupy the mountains, though these monsters are assuredly kept in check by the Helliann Sisterhood.
The High Snows are a vast, uncharted tundra, resounding with the rumble of herds of reindeer and crescent elk. Solitary moose are also found in this region and represent a hazard to travelers during rutting season. Scraggly shrubs and cold-stunted trees dot the frozen plains, surrounded by the yellow-white growths of tundra grass, a strong fiber used for many things by the tribes, from ropes and clothing to the angol stew that simmers at every campfire. Wolves and ice creatures are a problem for the people here, as are tribes of ogres and hobgoblins. Spectral undead such as mistwalkers, specters, and wraiths are known to ride the wailing winds of the High Snows.
The folk of Albadia are known throughout Ghelspad for their striking appearance. They are a tall, broad-shouldered folk, with even the women sometimes reaching six feet in height. Blue, grey, hazel, and green eyes predominate, as do blonde and red hair.
Albadian tribesmen tend to wear full, thick beards, and both sexes grow their hair long, usually keeping it out of the way in braids. The typical tribesman's dress is furs and leathers - the men wear breeches of stout leather and a fyrol, a length of sewn furs wrapped around the shoulders that drapes to the elbows. A set of leather fur-lined gloves or bracers and a pair of tall, fur-lined boots complete the typical garb of a male tribesman.
The women of the tribes tend to wear a type of skirt called a garjold, a garment made up of several layers of leather skirts, split so as to facilitate easy movement. Wearing one of these skirts would leave the entirety of one hip and leg uncovered, so they are layered in order to provide warmth as well as mobility. A few of the women wear vests made of stout leather, but most go entirely without tops, using their fur cloaks for warmth. Every woman of the tribes wears a thick, knee-length fur cloak. Indeed, it is a status symbol among the tribes to decorate the clasps and edges of the cloak with fine worked leather, silver wire, and chunks of amber and jet.
Both men and women of the tribes wear jewelry, usually pieces of amber or jet strung on leather cords and worn around the neck. Rings of precious metal are often worn through the ears, though the berserkers of a tribe are known for their other piercings - rings through the septum of the nose, the lip, or the brow. Women often wear small headpieces with tiny polished bits of amber woven into small silver cages dangling on their foreheads.
Tattoos are a prevalent part of the Albadian cultural identity. After a youngster's First Blood, elders ritually tattoo the newly recognized adult with the mark of their clan. Tattoos are also used in Albadian society to recognize other rites and occasions, such as the survival of a war against another clan, the performance of a great feat or deed, giving birth to a child, or learning a trade or skill of great use to the tribe such as magic or might of arms. In the cities, those men who affect a more civilized demeanor have taken to clean shaven faces and close shorn hair, but this is considered foppish even among most city dwellers. On the other hand, a full tribesman's beard is seen as very rural, so the men in the cities often wear mustaches, goatees and the like. Though some urban Albadians do indeed still bear family tattoos, these are usually considered private and are kept hidden beneath clothing.
The modesty that other civilizations are known for has only recently begun to touch Albadia. While the tribes have no such inhibitions, it has recently become considered very low-class for men or women to bare their naked torsos. Woven wool clothing is the norm in the cities. Urbanmenwear fuller breeches than the tribesmen do, though they tend to wear the same kind of boots. Women wear long, thickly woven skirts with either ankle-high shoes or boots. Long sleeved shirts are usually worn by both sexes. Working class men generally wear leather vests that are derived from the vests that tribeswomen sometimes wear, though their design has been altered to include loops and pockets for work tools and coinage. Women tend to wear a leather apron fitted with pouches and loops for much the same purpose.
Perhaps the single most important distinction among Albadians is the difference between tribesmen and city-dwellers. How the Albadian lives, eats, marries, relates to others, worships, and dies are all dependant on this one fact — indeed, these distinctions create enough difference between Albadians that they might as well be two different races entirely.
The tribes are a warrior culture — even hunting crescent elk, moose, and reindeer is considered a battle, for each hunter stalks his own prey, with no assistance from others. Many times, hunters are grievously injured during hunting expeditions. Many signs indicate a warrior's prowess, from the tattoo he receives at his First Blood ceremony to the feathers of the lightning hawk worn by the greatest of Albadian warriors. The warriors are the defenders of and providers for the tribes. Many of them are blessed by the berserker frenzy, considered a blessing of the huror spirit to his favored children.
Though the tribes are indeed a warrior culture, they are hardly a patriarchal society. Quite the opposite, in fact: Albadians trace their lineage through the mother. Though warriors are the defenders of the tribe, the elders of the tribe are made up of the oldest women, for the men rarely live to the age that the women do. This council is usually led by the eldest of the Helliann in the tribe; if there is no Helliann, then it is led by the most experienced woman who wields sorcerous or divine powers. The tribes are divided into clans, and the eldest woman of each clan sits on the tribal council, which holds the true power and oversees the appointment of the tribe's king, who serves to defend the tribe.
City life, on the other hand, is relatively recognizable to those of other lands. There are, however, a few vital differences. The weather that plagues the tribes is just as likely to strike here, despite the cover granted from being further inland. The average city dweller carries with him a fighting knife, or sometimes larger armaments such as a short sword or hand axe if they can afford such and know how to use them. The cities of Albadia are relatively new, especially when compared to many other cities in Ghelspad. As a result, the cities themselves are fairly large and clean, with plenty of space for their folk, unlike many older cities. Despite this, every city maintains a very active and strong military force to defend its walls in case titanspawn or barbarian hordes decide to loot the place of its wealth.
Albadian cities are known for their sturdy timber and stone buildings. The roofs on these buildings are sharply pitched to allow snow to slide off; the eaves of most buildings also jut far from the walls, providing slight shelter to those walking near the building. The wood of these buildings is often carved with knotwork depictions of totemic animals, clan symbols, holy signs, and warding marks against the creatures of the tundra.
Existing as astep between nomadic tribal life and dwelling in the large, gated cities of the south are the waymoots and villages. Waymoots are permanent tribal structures established by one tribe as a sanctuary for any of the tribes, as well as places in which to trade goods without traveling to the south cities. Waymoots are known for their rough log and sod longhouses surrounded by steep earthen embankments, built during the summer months. These embankments freeze hard during the rest of the year, providing strong defenses against the dangers of the High Snows. Many waymoots end up with a lasting populace that eventually grows larger than the tribe that holds it, as individuals or entire clans within tribes elect to settle down in the waymoot rather than continue the nomadic life.
The dwellings used by the tribes tend to be elaborate hide constructions, often standing as tall as nine feet in height. Each family has one or more such tents and a central fire pit. The tents are usually constructed close to one another, both to provide shelter from fierce weather as well as closeness in case of danger. These dwellings are often connected to one another by hide-covered walkways, forming narrow tunnels of a man's height between the tents in a camp, allowing a camp's inhabitants to travel between tents without ever leaving shelter. It usually takes an entire day to break and make camp, though most camps are built and then inhabited for weeks at a time before moving on.
Albadia also has a number of small villages, located almost exclusively in the south and generally within a day's walk of a city. These villages provide the majority of the food grains and other husbandry necessary for day-to-day life in civilized Albadia. Some of these villages are not under the protection of cities or their guards, however; invariably, these places have strong guardians of some kind, be they adventuring bands, mercenary units, powerful spellcasters, or other potent individuals.
One such place is the village of Calhiann, found east of the Ugfrarn waymoot, at the border of Valthas Wood. Calhiann's defender is a short, unassuming man with closely shorn reddish hair and a charming demeanor. When his village is threatened, however, this defender, called Aadroma by his village, is capable ofbringing considerable power to the protection of Calhiann - Aadroma is a werebear, able to shift into the form of a gigantic grizzly bear with fierce fangs and rending talons. Few threats - even those from the dangerous Valthas Wood - are capable of overcoming Aadroma.
Albadia boasts a number of popular entertainments, the foremost of which is dog fighting. The famous Albadian battle dog is well respected for both its fighting prowess and protective nature in both cities and tribes. Yet such sports of savagery are not the only pastimes available in the far north. Albadia has a long bardic tradition, known for its warriorpoets who are able to chant and sing their brethren into greater feats of berserking by invoking the tales of their ancestors and the heroes of the past. The Albadian people love music and song of every kind and are quick to dance and join in such festive activities.
The diet of the tribes consists mainly of meats, plus angol, a slightly sour stew made from the yellow-white tundra grass roots. This basic meal is supplemented with tundra tubers in the winter and sweet berries in the summer. In the cities, most meals consist of foods made from light grains taken from the farms that lie within a day's ride from the cities, as well as meat from domesticated and game animals. The cities also thrive on honey-based foods, which are often traded to the tribes.
Transportation on the High Snows is a matter of slow, steady travel, usually by foot or reindeer-pulled sledges. Among the more civilized areas of Albadia, horses and carriages are the norm, though wheeled conveyances often featurewide, nailed wheels that provide traction and width against patches of mud and ice.
Crime and PunishmentEdit
Crime is rarely a problem among the tribes, All members of a tribe know one another, and any violations against tribes-mates are settled in one of two fashions - by duel or by the adjudication of the council of elders. Some crimes and their related punishments among the tribes include:
Theft (of any scale): Indentured service to the wronged party for one year per gold piece value of the item(s) stolen.
Murder (out of clan): Forced to pay a fine to the victim's tribe or family.
Kinslaying (murder in-clan): Cast out from the tribe after being marked with the Mark of the Kinslayer.
Consorting with Titanspawn: Perpetrator is subject to the blood-eagle, a punishment in which the victim has his ribs pulled apart and his lungs removed and set on his back, "mounting" them like the wings of an eagle. This is a punishment of extreme dishonor and has been used against traitors to the tribe as well. Legend has it that Arnan of the Black Wings was so treated after his death.
In the cities, crime is more commonplace. Each city's government (whether a council of merchants or a noble tribe) employs a body of city guards that acts to apprehend criminals. Standard crimes and their punishments include:
Simple Theft (20 gp or under): Banishment from the city.
Theft (21gp or higher): Removal Of the right hand, or indentured servitude for one Year Per gold piece value of the item(s) stolen, at the discretion of the wronged party.
Destruction of Property: Fined an amount of money equal to twice that destroyed or damaged; the wronged Party is recompensed for the loss and the remainder goes to the city government.
Murder: Death by disembowelment.
In Albadia, many of the gods are revered. Of note are Madriel and Belsameth, two of the triad of patrons for the Helliann Sisterhood. Many among the tribes worship the battle lust and carnage that is Vangal's domain, or propitiate the Snow Queen Fraelhia. The cities usually hold a temple to Hedrada, who is seen as the god of civilization. Tanil is also respected among Albadians, tribesfolk and city dwellers alike, though members of her radical female sect the Handmaidens of the Huntress are justly feared.
Despite the presence of the gods and their servants, however, it might certainly be argued that Denev is worshiped most in Albadia. The third patron of the Helliann and highly revered by the tribes, Denev's blessings are sought after by everyone in Albadia, from the tribesman who asks for blessings on his hunt to the farmer who seeks prosperous crops to mothers in both tribes and cities who pray for healthy children and easy childbirth. Indeed, even the holy days of the Scarred Lands-often co-opted by the teachings of the gods are still celebrated in the old ways, with wild, passionate revels during those festivals of fertility and a thorough respect toward the earth in all cases.
Albadia is unique in that clerics and druids are not the only leaders who rend to the spiritual needs of their flocks. Sorceresses, too, are expected to help lead their people, guiding them with wisdom and using their power for the good of the tribes. A tribesman will not strike down a sorceress unless she proves to be a danger to his tribe or his life. In times past, these sorceresses were considered to be the favored of Mormo, but with the events of the Divine War, most sorceresses consider themselves the blessed of Belsameth, who inherited her mother's title as Queen of Witches. For this reason, many women-Sorceress or not -- revere the Slayer in her aspect as Queen of Feminine Mysteries, as the Goddess of the Moon that is the flow of life-blood within them.
It should be noted that this acceptance of those who wield sorcerous powers does not, however, extend to men. Most men know better than to demonstrate such powers should they manifest. At best, such men are looked upon with suspicion and warned against the use of their powers. In other instances, they are outcast or slain.
Albadia does not, as a nation, have a standing army. Each city is responsible for fielding a militia that it might contribute in a time of war, through this group is largely used to police the individual cities.
This group also constitutes Albadia's only mounted force, for horses have not been used among the tribes since the time of the Tuscar clan. In times past, Albadia's High King has had the ability to call upon the warriors of the tribes, though some whisper that the tribes might not answer such a summons from High King Thalos.
In time of war, be it against titanspawn, another tribe, or another army, the barbarians of the High Snows are led by the sorceresses and Helliann among them. Though the warriors of the tribes are indeed bold, their prowess pales against the feats of might displayed by those blessed with the berserk rage. Those who would lead their tribesmen in battle as warlords must always be able to bring on this berserk rage in themselves.
In combat, the tribesmen use little in the way of tactics or organization. Each man is expected to seek out the most powerful foe he can find and slay him with honor and fierceness and then move on to the next enemy, cutting a swath through the enemy forces until he is cut down or no enemy remains. In wars against other tribes, sorceresses never use their magics to strike down the opponent, rather using their powers only to defend and strengthen their own tribesmen--in this fashion, they allow the Albadian tribal taboo against striking a sorceress to extend even to the battlefield. Against titanspawn or outlander armies, however, the sorceresses have no such compunctions, usually seeking out enemy spellcasters and battling them with slaying spells.
Thurfas is easily the largest of the four Albadian cities. Originally designed by Hedradan engineers in the service of the Hammer King Orjulf Maker of Walls, its original construction shows the pristine symmetry and attention to order that marks Hedradan construction.
The walls of the central keep extend out into the city proper, dividing it into six wards, each pierced by gates that lead to the other wards. As time has passed, the city has overflowed these relatively small wards, spilling into the areas beyond the gates. It has proven unwise to build outside of the walls along the northern section of the city, however, so most of the growth has occurred to the south, along the Great Road leading to Yorek.
Road Town: The spillover of Thurfas that has extended along the Great Road. Mainly the poor live here, though rumor places a burgeoning market of poisons and narcotics here.
Thurfas Gate: The main gates patrolled night and day, closed at night. Those bringing trade goods into the city are charged a tax of 2 sp per wagon or horse-load.
Wayside Fire Inn: Thurfas' largest and most comfortable inn, frequented mainly by locals. The Wayside Fire is run by Narianna.
The Northern Gold: Thurfas' most extravagant and elegant inn, usually frequented by visiting wealthy merchants and nobility.
Palace of the Wolf: Once called the Palace of the Hammer, this is where High King Thalos and his court take their residence. Visitors rarely gain the opportunity actually to speak with the king, unless they are a member of the Frost Wolf tribe - all others are instead directed to audiences with the Queen.
Temple of the Snowy Hammer: The temple to Hedrada in Thurfas, it is capably led by the Exhorter Yrbronthis, who has worked to ingratiate himself into the good favors of King Thalos that he might pick up the reins of justice in the city, allowing his temple to try and judge crimes as the temples of Hedrada do in several other Albadian cities. The temple also maintains a small shrine to Chardun.
Shrine of the Northern Sun: This shrine dedicated mainly to Madriel also houses shrines to Corean and Tanil.
Ward of the Wolf: This section of town is for the exclusive use of the Frost Wolf tribe - the only businesses and homes here are owned by members of that tribe.
Frost Wolf Hall: The massive lodge-hall of the Frost Wolf tribe, this is the residence of Mogresh and his wife Shelhia. Most tribal councils are held here, though the council of women have been made to feel less and less comfortable here. Rumor has that the Reverend Mother Mianathlee has been talking to them, despite her not being part of the tribe.
Frost Wolf Shrine: This shrine, maintained by the Frost Wolf tribe, is dedicated to Tanil, Vangal, and Enkili in his/her manifestation as Bringer of Storms. A small shrine to Fraelhia is also here. Rumor suggests that there is also a shrine to Belsameth hidden away from the eyes of men among the women's quarters somewhere in the Ward of the Wolf.
Spring Bower: Perhaps the largest temple to Idra on Ghelspad, the Spring Bower is reputed to have perhaps some kind of connection to the Courtesans of Idra, many of whom are noted to be of Albadian stock. High Priestess Idraia maintains ties with Idraian priestesses throughout the continent.
Sifin: Sifin is unique in Albadia, in that it is not ruled by a single king. Rather, it is ruled by the King's Council, a group of merchants that owes its fealty to High King Thalos. The merchants of Sifin run the largest network of caravans in Albadia, traveling between the various waymoots and villages, bringing important supplies and goods to these places and trading for the various handicrafts and goods that are desired by those outside of Albadia. It is from Sifin that these good depart Albadia headed for outland markets, both by massively guarded caravans and by ship.
Yorek: Known to Albadians as the City of Academies, Yorek is ruled by King Tomanan, the first king in Albadian history to not also rule over a tribe. With the increase in High King Thalos' interest in maintaining a strong movement toward civilization, King Tomanan - who has ties with the Scaled - has demonstrated that he is loyal to Albadia's High King, which is certainly more than most of the tribes grant Thalos. Yorek is also home to the Yorek Academy of Adventurers, a well known place in Albadia where, for a small amount of money, the average citizen can increase his knowledge of the rest of the world. Though never publicly admitted, it is also common knowledge that the Academy is also a training ground for the criminal guild known as the Scaled.
The Academy of Adventurers is not the only Academy here, however - the Courtesan Academy of Yorek is also present, training courtesans from as far away as Shelzar and Calastia. Rumor has that these Courtesans carry on the ways of a much older tradition, with possible links to the Courtesans of Idra. It is known that Headmistress Taiasha has ties to Idraia, the Idran High Priestess of Thurfas. Yorek is guarded by the Tooth of the Bear, a mercenary company made up of various tribal outcasts (including several male sorcerers) and led by a man cast out of his tribe for huntingdown and killing a huror with a bow.
Horat: Ruled by King Mharnev and defended by the Dusk Stone Guardians of the Dusk Stones tribe, Horat is perhaps the youngest of the cities of Albadia. King Mharnev owes his allegiance to High King Thalos, though in recent years he has been torn between his vows to Thalos and his respect for the man's ability to build a nation, and the voices of his tribe's Helliann, who suggest that Thalos may have betrayed the tribes to the decadenceof the cities while warning Mhamevagainst the same.
- ↑ High King Thalos is a neutral human male; 16th level Barbarian, 4th level Fighter
- ↑ Freyhela is a chaotic-neutral human female; 8th level Sorceress
- ↑ Aadroma is a lawful-good human/werebear male; 16th level Fighter
- ↑ Narianna is a chaotic-good human female; 9th level Commoner
- ↑ Exhorter Yrbronthis is a lawful-neutral human male; 12th level Cleric
- ↑ Mogresh is a chaotic-good human male; 15th level Barbarian
- ↑ Shelhia is a chaotic-good human female; 5th level Barbarian, 8th level Cleric
- ↑ High Priestess Idraia is a neutral human female; 3rd level Bard, 12th level Cleric of Idra
- ↑ King Tomanan is a lawful-neutral human male; 9th level Rogue, 4th level Wizard
- ↑ Headmistress Taiasha is a neutral half-elf female; 3rd level Rogue, 4th level Cleric of Idra
- ↑ King Mharnev is a chaotic-good human male; 10th level Barbarian