The current dominant power in the region is the Kingdom of Valrorim. The Valrorim were a subject people under the Empire of Ahros, but were hard to rule, and they revolted, creating their own kingdom based in Valros, and eventually overthrew the Ahros. But political control is hard across the Ahros Sea and past the free city of Aerinska. Valrorim claims all lands from Havis to Durrow, and from Galdurang to the Swelter. But really only the land south of the Great Forest is truly all civilized, and the Great Forest Road forms the northern border of what the Valrorim really control. Bend and Longknife are very remote march towns. Endhome and Havis are nearly independent city states. Valrorim is currently looking to solidify control around the Strait of Ahros, feeling like the lands of the Strait of Havis are not as resentful as the Ahros side.
Valrorim arose to prominence in the region about 100 ybp.
The capital of the young kingdom is Valros, a relatively modern seat of power for the Valrorim, built near the old Havis keep of Varos.
Main nervous system of the kingdom are the two roads that leave east and west from Valros. There are substantial towns a couple of days travel apart along the coast and they are surrounded by fertile farm lands. Machet and Hillcrook are two day’s travel apart on the way to Endhome. Topfield and Willow are two day’s travel apart on the way to Havis. These roads are known, respectively, as the Endhome Road and the Havis Road.
King Svarden III is the third of his line, and the first to be more an administrator than a warrior.
Now considered one of the Havis Keeps, the foundations of Varos were built by the pre-Havis Barakites, the same people that built Barakus. The Havis peoples drove out the Barakites, and built Varos into a full castle, before losing it to the Valrorim early in the rise of the Valrorim.
These hills south of the Great Forest form the uplifted heart of Valrorim. There are rich mines here, but their real cultural significance is as the ancestral home of the Valros hill people – originally rugged barbarians that eventually organized, rose up, and threw off the power of Ahros. The northern edge of the Killat Hills, however, also houses a low-grade steady stream of monsters that settle and emerge from the ruins of Barakus – a long lost city from an even older time. The original Valros were actually escaped slaves from that city, and have some old folk tales that still reference that place as a synonym for hell. In addition to the old Valros, the Killat Hills are the home of a sizable population of gnomes.
Fahla is a large island (30 mi long) 20 mi off the coast of Valrorim. Despite its strategic position in the shipping lanes between the Straits of Ahros and Havis, it is abandoned. There is the ruins of an old keep and tower there, and it is deeply haunted. Folk claim it’s only the water that keeps the undead there contained, and so nobody takes boats there, for fear of giving them passage!
Endhome is a major trade city on the Strait of Ahros. It was an Ahros holding late into the Ahros-Valrorim war, and still has some of that character. It is basically transplanted from the FrogGodGames Lost City of Barakus setting.
Havis (Duchy of)
Havis is no longer a kingdom on it’s own, but rather is a province of the Kingdom of Valrorim.
The Strait of Havis is named from an even older kingdom that built ancient fortresses around the bay to control the waterways. In fact, the common reckoning calendar is based on the founding of the Havis kingdom, as it signals the first real human civilizations in the area.
The old kingdom of Havis was based in Havis at the mouth of the Glimmerun River, making that a very old city, and the Hornkeep the first of the Havis Keeps. The Havis people traded and warred around the Strait of Havis, gradually consolidating power over a span of about 300 years, until Ahros came in.
Havis was prominent 900 ybp – 600 ybp and is the first major recognized kingdom of the area.
City of Havis
The city of Havis is a very old settlement, and has grown up over time. The original city was the heart of the Havis kingdom. Havis is one end of the Great Forest Road, which was the overland trade route to Endhome. The Frog God Games locale of Bard’s Gate is the reference for Havis. The extent of the remaining Havis culture is based in the city of Havis, and the Mayor is also titled Duke of the Havis, as his roles overlap.
At the mouth of the Glimmerun River is the town of Bend. Bend is a very old frontier town. It gains it’s name from the bend in the Glimmerun River that it sits at, and is a key location for trade moving along the Glimmerun. Across the strait, however, is the land of Rakat and it’s goblin realm. Near to Bend are the ruins of an old keep originally called Castle Deebo, but now called Deebo’s Folly. Castle Deebo was built by the Havis to defend the upper reaches of the Glimmerun from the monsters of Far Borea, and the goblinkin of Rakat, but fell to an army of trolls lead by a Hag that swarmed from Far Borea and the swamps at the headwaters of the Glimmerun. Castle Deebo was re-built, but fell again to a horde from Rakat. It has not been rebuilt, and has gathered it’s new name over the years. There are rumors of deep dungeons beneath it, and some have started to see lights in the ruins, suggesting that monsters are moving in, close to Bend.
The relations with Rakat are not great, as one might assume, and Bend maintains it’s walls and watches the strait carefully.
Given it’s geography, I think I might use Red Larch from Princes of the Apocalypse as the info for Bend.
Willow in particular is home to an unsavory element, and is often associated with bandits and ruffians that prey on the Havis Road. While these folk are very skilled in wood craft, they are not always friendly with the elves of the Great Forest due to their hunting and logging.
The Havis Keeps
The Havis Keeps, named Varos, Hornkeep, Delis, and Aziir, were built to control the bay, and were each built by a confederate of the Havis king.