The homeland of the ancient Southron race, Southold holds Tyr as its patron, and is known as the most powerful "good" nation in Arik. The feudal society is divided into five duchies, with its capital in Dunthrane and other major cities including Bywater and Montinelle. Southold is largely rolling green countryside, excellent farmland, drained by the mighty Rivers Greyflood and Laine. King Edmund has been engaged in the Third Cortalish War since 1508, which has taken a toll on the nation. The army is feared both for its excellent heavy cavalry and its longbowmen. The Southron coat of arms features the famed blue and yellow canary cross of Athelstan, founder of modern Southold, winning independence from the Videssian Empire in 1066.
The Cortals are a nomadic race who conquered their plains homeland only a few centuries ago. Their empire expanded to include the much older forest realm of Sylvania, though many Sylvanians hope for the return of their beloved King Marko, and view the advancing Southron armies as liberators. Most Sylvanians remain loyal only by the threat of Cortal retribution. The Empire has been thrown in disarray by the defeat of Emperor Vecna's mysterious attempt at godhood, and is now run from the mighty capital Gos by a triumvirate of the priests of Bane, the notorious Fire Wizards, and the army, the infamous dog soldiers. Cortals and Sylvanians tend to be shorter but more powerfully built than Southrons, usually with black hair. The coat of arms includes the Empire’s colors--Cortal blue and Sylvanian red with the Cortaligan eagle.
Kingdom of Tara:
Tara is much like Southold in its feudal society, although its people consider themselves more refined in culture and language, though some would call them more decadent. Their land is beautiful and green, particularly along the shore of Lake Amsorak. The Tarans have allied with the Southrons against the Cortalish Empire in the ongoing war, but have had little success. Their pride is their knights, but the feuding petty nobility have also proven a great liability, and the strength of the king is much less developed than in Southold. The coat of arms features royal purple and commoner blue, with Tara’s symbol, the fleur de lys.
The Videssian Empire was ancient before the Cataclysm 15 centuries ago--the oldest surviving human nation on Arik. The race is devoted to Donablas, Lore of Time, and bear striking white hair even in youth along with red eyes, allegedly the result of some demonic blood in their lineage. Videssos City is the largest of all settlements in Arik. The desolate province of Magistania has perhaps the greatest concentration of enchanted beasts, amid its cabalist wizard overlords. While the Empire has shrunk greatly over the centuries, it remains large, and conflicts with its neighbors in Yazakh, Thonia, and the Thaar are continuous. Because the Videssians once ruled over nearly all Arik, their language is that used by scholars everywhere. The cost of arms includes a yellow and black starburst with the Dragon Helios, legendary benefactor of Videssos.
Thonia is not properly a single nation, but a cold, northern land inhabited by these hardy, human barbarians. The Thonians are known across Arik as a tall, muscular, blue-eyed and blond haired people, and many are explorers or mercenaries in the south. There are five clans, the Snow Falcon, Bear, and Mastadon, Caribou, and White Wolf, further subdivided into innumerable tribes. Ironically, at the heart of Tempest Bay is the Maelstrom, an ancient whirlpool over the site of Oceanus, the proud city the gods smote down during the Cataclysm. The coat of arms includes blood red, snow white, and a Thonian axe, however the five Thonian clan symbols more common.
The Yazakhs are steppe horseman similar to the Cortals, but who never developed into a unified political unit as they did. They remain divided into nine tribes, but have been greatly punished by the gods for throwing their lot behind Vecna during the Disjunction crisis. Much of their lands have been submerged under a great lake, and many refugees have left for other lands. There has been continuous war with Tara and the Videssians since over living space. The Yazakhs are the shortest of all human races, with stout limbs, who are practically raised in the saddle and reared to use their composite shortbows. The Yazakh coat of arms is earthy red, with a natural, wavy white line and famed Yazakh steed rearing.
The Iron League in the north is a confederacy of eight city states, united in the pursuit of trade. Iron Leaguer trading caravels can be seen in the four corners of Arik engaged in commerce. The League's unmatched navy has also fought for navigational and trade rights on many occasions, but prefers diplomacy. Iron Leaguers tend to be thin with black hair, and regard themselves as among Arik's most cultured and advanced societies. The coat of arms is sea blue and blood red with a League trader ship and the famed iron cross.
Irrudium (Green Isles):
These northern islands are inhabited by many clans of the Irrudians. It seems the clans only unite when threatened by Videssian and Cortalish incursions, which has occurred often. The people are known as individualistic and are often identified by their tendency toward green eyes. While not known for their armies, Irrudians are known for their personal prowess in battle, particularly with the mighty claymore. The coat of arms is highland green and heather purple with an oak branch, symbol of Irrudium.
Kingdom of Minos:
The Minoan islands below Southold, long a collection of city states, were only unified a couple centuries ago under a common king. While a strong seafaring nation, Minoan armies are considered weak, and the country has remained on the sidelines in the Third Cortalish War, while trading with both sides. After the Cataclysm, the Minoans remained largely intact and aloof from the destruction and plague on the mainland, hence their highly developed culture. The Minoan coat of arms is a jagged black pennant on white with a coiled sea serpent.
The Thaar is a large portion of the eastern Veronian Mountains inhabited by all manner of goblinoids. While innumerable tribes exist, they all theoretically answer to an ogre overlord, although he has rarely lasted a year before being assassinated or slain on the field of battle. The Thaar monsters, lacking resources in their mountain fastness, launch continuous attacks against their neighbors in Thonia, Hule, Videssos, and Rockhome. Few humans have seen its desolate, monster-infested lands and lived. The Thaar's coat of arms is a five pointed cross in blood red, with crossed sword above.
Kingdom of Rockhome:
Rockhome, in the central Veronian Mountains, is the last of the great dwarven kingdoms, where the dwarves retreated after the Cataclysm. The dwarves have been content to let the other races around them engage in wars, while they tend to their loves, stoneworking and mining. They remain dedicated to Reorx, god of the forge and their creator. The coat of arms of Rockhome is an earth brown field with sun rising over Mount Drakar, and dwarven battle axe above.
Little is known of the Brotherhood, which occupies the huge Serpent's Isle--previously a peninsula but sundered by Brotherhood magicks from its connection to Hule. The Brotherhood's numbers are reportedly low, and most of the huge jungle island is devoid of human life. Its members are dedicated to Bhaal, Lord of Murder, and tend to be assassins and monks. The coat of arms is a purple field with wavy black monk cord line, with red viper ascending staff.
The last elven kingdom--aside from the legends of the so-called Hidden City--is the Galathiene, known to humans as the Broadleaves or Doriath. The elves have little contact with humans, having erected a magic vale around the land so they will not be disturbed. They have been involved in a great internal war with the drow, united under House Everhate after the death of Lolth. King Leafsong is sympathetic to the Southron and Taran war against the Cortalish Empire, but between the drow invasion and dwindling elven numbers, is powerless to help. The elven coat of arms is a forest green field with elven longbow and Forest of the Day sun.
This homeland of the halflings is smallest of the nations of Arik, its green dales surrounded by Southold. More than half of the halflings live within other nations, but this gentle realm, which owes its defense to Southold and has no standing army, is regarded by all as their ancestral land. The halfling coat of arms is simple Earth brown with a forest green stripe.
This great desert realm is alien to most of the other human realms, with a vastly different language, wizardry, and ancient culture. While most live along a handful of great rivers or on the coast, some nomads travel the Sind Desert. Hulers are known as raiders, and many leave their realm to fight as mercenaries. The nation is dedicated to Shinare, Mistress of Fortune, as so often in this desert realm, the people's fate is not their own. The pyramids of Hule are one of the great wonders of Arik. The coat of arms is a Blood red and desert white field with the Huler crescent moon emblem.
Little is known of Hyborea, a magocracy run by wizards and supported by imported human slaves. There is no Hyborean races as such, as these mages traveled here centuries ago to form a perfect society of order where they could prefect their magic arts. Indeed, Hyboreans are rarely seen on the mainland, but their odd spells are talked off for years after. No visitors to Hyborea are allowed; all such expeditions have failed to return. The coat of arms is a Hyborean magocracy circle on red with crown above on silver.