This is the land’s history as known
to the peoples of Karameikos.
The first part of the history is
recorded in an epic work of poetry of the Traldar (Traladara) people, “The Song of King Halav.” This is an ancient
work maintained by generations of bards before finally being committed to writing about six centuries ago.
The Song of King Halav
In ancient times, the land now called
Karameikos was the forest homeland of the Traldar, men and women so favored by the Immortals and allowed to live in these
The Immortals let the Traldar live
happy, simple lives. The Traldar fished and hunted; the men spent most of their time sporting with one another and offering
praise to the Immortals.
But the Immortals knew that the happiness
of the Traldar was to end. Far to the west, a race of evil beast-men was preparing to march through the easterly lands in
search of booty, prisoners and more hospitable homelands.
These beast-men had their own Immortal
sponsors equal in might to the patrons of the Traldar, so only victory between man and beast-man would determine the fate
of the two races.
The Immortals descended to Lavv,
a Traldar village, to find clever youths and give them secrets they could use to defeat the beast-men.
They visited Halav Red-Hair, a maker
of stone knives, and taught him to forge weapons and armor of bronze. They also taught him the arts of the sword and the strategy
of warfare. They visited Petra, a maker of pottery, and taught her art of the bow, the craft of medicine, the use of the potter’s
wheel, the spinning of flax and the use of the loom.
They visited Zirchev, a huntsman, and taught him how to tame and ride and fight
from horses, how to train dogs to fight for their masters, how to walk silent as the cat, swim as the fish, see as the hawk.
Halav, Petra and Zirchev told the people of Lavv of what the beast-men
intended. The king laughed and tried to drive the trio from Lavv. Halav, using the bronze sword given him by the Immortals,
slew the king and assumed his crown.
In the years that followed, King
Halav, Queen Petra and the Huntsman Zirchev taught their secrets to the people of Lavv and brought all the other villages
of Traldar lands under their sway. Villagers grew into mighty cities, and Halav was renowned for his fairness and wisdom.
Eventually, the beast-men attacked
in numberless waves from the west. The Traldar in glittering bronze armor stood against them. The irresistible force of the
beast-men crashed into the unmovable object of the Traldar, and the war went on forever. Both sides lost great numbers of
warriors; each Traldar fighter slew dozens of his bestial enemies before being slain.
Finally, King Halav managed to find
the king of the beast-men alone on a hilltop. The beast-king was twice the height of a man, with the head of a wolf and a
hairy body that was foul beyond compare. It brought its great axe against the sword given Halav by the Immortals.
This was the final battle of man
and beast-man. It raged on from dawn until noon, both kings growing so tired that each could barely wield his weapon. In the
“Song of King Halav,” both take time to rest during the fight and each describes his resoluteness and unconquerable
Evidently both were right: King Halav
and the King of the Beast-Men perished upon one another’s weapons. Their armies looked upon one another, the beast-men
now fearful because their king had perished, and the Traldar resolutely raising their weapons and barring the beast-men from
The beast-men departed Traldar lands.
Queen Petra and Zirchev took up Halav’s body and returned home. Great was the lamentation in Lavv when they arrived,
but, during the ritual burning of Halav’s body that night, the Immortals visited, spiriting Halav, Petra and Zirchev away. The Traldar mourned their king but turned their eye toward rebuilding
their lands into a mighty empire.
The Dark Age
The time of King Halav has since been called the Golden Age of
the Traldar, and (as all citizens of Karameikos know) the Traldar never did found a mighty empire or even fully recover from
the devastation brought by the beast-men.
Why? Well, according to Traldar legends which have sprung up since
this Golden Age, the land needs to have its king returned to it-King Halav must return to Traldar lands before this can become
a mighty nation again.
Regardless, following the destruction of the Golden-Age Traldar,
the peoples of this land descended into a dark age from which they didn’t fully emerge until the last century.
Individual villages survived, and the tribesmen eventually lived
at greater than subsistence level. Trade soon commenced with Minrothad and Thyatis peoples. The descendents of the Traldar,
called Traladara, began inching their way toward economic recovery. But the Traladara still faced many problems.
In the centuries after the Golden Age, many evil things settled
in the Traladaran forests and mountains. Some evil force cursed the land with vampires, lycanthropes, and other beasts. Today,
every Traladara village has its legends of a neighboring ruin once occupied by a vampire-lord, or some village lad turning
out to be a were-wolf and slayer of villagers. Often, the legends are true, and every good Traladara youth knows that the
land has its vampires and were-beings still.
Because there were horrid things in the woods, travel between
inland villages was unsafe. So, while the coastline villages prospered from the foreign trade, while only the bravest of traders
would risk expeditions into the Traladara interior. As a result, the inland villagers tended to remain isolated and more ignorant
than their seaside cousins.
During this dark age, clans of goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs also
settled in Traladara lands-usually some distance from the human communities. They warred upon one another, and upon the humans,
and in general made the land less congenial for everyone.
More peaceable tribes of elvish and gnomish settlers also came
to Traladara, though. The elves settled in the central forests of the land, while the gnomes settled in the mountain foothills
northward. Both races traded peaceably with the humans and fought beside them against the less friendly demihumans tribes.
Traladara, a century ago, was a well-known trading spot, particularly Marilenev, its
chief city, built where the Volga River enters the sea. There, Traladarans'
traded valuable furs for weapons, wines and other spirits, a profitable enterprise.
Most of the Traldaran profits stayed on the coast and the lands immediately inland.
Few traders ventured inland; those that did included the annual Gnome Caravan, a well-armed force of gnomes who descended
from the northern hills, traded a year’s accumulation of craft goods in Marilenev, and made their way back to gnomish
At about this time, the nations of Darokin and Thyatis began to view Traladara with
increasing concern. The forest nation had never offered them any threat, so they had never erected any significant defenses
against Traladara. But what if its people should be united under a powerful leader-or worse yet, conquered by an enemy foreign
The empire of Thyatis decided the matter by sending troops to the Traladaran capital,
Marilenev, and conquering it, claiming all Traladara for Thyatis. Darokin shrugged and began steps to make sure its border
Thyatis took few real steps to secure Traladara for itself. It installed a garrison
of soldiers in Marilenev. The military commander at the time renamed Marilenev ‘Specularum” (The Mirror City)
after the reflective beauty of Marilenev’s bay. A tax collector took in revenues on all trade money which changed hands
in the city.
Other than that, the rest of Traladara
was left pretty much to itself. The more isolated communities were completely unaffected by the “conquest.” The
traders suffered a Thyatian tax, but the greater Thyatian interest in Traladara meant that trade boomed and they profited
That’s how conditions remained until thirty years ago. At that time, Duke Stefan
Karameikos III, a youthful nobleman of Thyatis, struck a deal with the Emperor of Thyatis. Karameikos, in essence, traded
his valuable ancestral lands for Traladara-and a guarantee of autonomy. The Empire recognized Karameikos’ claim to Traladara,
now renamed the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, and recalled its officials from Traladara territory.
Duke Stefan traveled to his duchy, announced his assumption of ruler ship over Traladara,
and put down the armed insurrection which resulted. After things had settled down somewhat, he began luring ambitious, landless
nobles from Thyatis to help him rule this land in proper Thyatian fashion.
The early years of Duke Stefan’s rule were characterized by both good and bad
On the bad side, many of the Thyatian settlers who poured into the country, swearing
loyalty to Duke Stefan and receiving land grants, were ruthless men who literally stole lands from the Traladarans’
living upon them. Worst among them was Duke Stefan’s own cousin, Baron Ludwig “Black Eagle” von Hendriks.
On the good side, Duke Stefan himself was an exemplary leader, demanding fairness
and honor in the men he directly supervised. He began using the trade tax revenues to build broad, good roads across the country,
uniting the far-flung villages into a single nation. He built a substantial army, using native Traladarans’, Thyatian
immigrants, and even Callarii elves, to protect the Grand Duchy. In short, he began the long, slow process of building Traladara,
a land of unfriendly villages and wolf-howls in the night, into a strong trade nation.
Today, the Grand Duchy is still growing into that nation-it is still young, with its
two halves of the population (Traladaran and Thyatian) largely unmixed and its interior mostly uncivilized. But it is growing
stronger day by day, and most of the nations of the continent have representatives in Karameikos, a sign of the nation’s
growing international importance.
Most of the humans of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos fall into two categories: Native
Traladarans and those of Thyatian descent. Other inhabitants of the duchy include elves, gnomes, humans of mixed descent,
a few dwarves and halflings, the savage demi-humans in their distant villages, and traders who’ve settled in Karameikos-and
among that last category are representatives of practically every humanoid race and nation in the world.
The Traladarans, descendants of the native Traldar tribe of legend, tend to be fairly
small (men average 5’9”, women 5’3”) and light of build. They tend to have pale complexions, brown
eyes, and dark hair (deep brown to black).
In general, they are very superstitious people-if you can call it superstition when
it’s based on truth. They are great believers in good luck charms, omens and portents (palm reading, the reading of
tea leaves or sheep entrails, interpretations of natural phenomena if it’s a strange event, the Traladara consider it
an omen), curses and evil eyes.
Outside the larger towns, education is not widely-spread. In the more rural communities,
most villagers are illiterate, though often a cleric will be lettered. (Player Characters, being exceptional people, don’t
have to worry about this; if you have enough Intelligence to be literate, you can be literate if you wish. If you prefer,
because of the way you conceive your character, that he be illiterate, that is also your choice.)
For the most part, Traladarans don’t care much for Thyatians. They see the Thyatians
as the latest wave of bad luck which keeps the Traladarans from re-achieving their Golden Age. Since many of the original
Thyatian arrivals were rotten land-grabbers, many of the Traladarans see all Thyatians as being the same. (If you don’t
wish for your own character to feel this way, he doesn’t have to.)
Though the majority of the population of Karameikos is Traladaran, the court language
is Thyatian. Thyatian is the language of official documents and trade and is basically the “Common Tongue” of
Karameikos. Most Traladarans under the age of 30 speak Thyatian, usually with a distinct accent which marks their Traladaran
Most of the nobles in Karameikos are of Thyatian descent, and a sizeable proportion
of the commoner population is of Thyatian descent.
Thyatians tend to be physically larger than Traladarans, men averaging around 5’11”
and women about 5’5”. The Thyatians have had centuries to interbreed with other nations, and so there is no one
Thyatian look; hair ranges from dark blonde to dark brown, with occasional redheads (including the Duke); eye color ranges
from blues to browns and blacks. The Thyatians tan more easily in the sun than the paler Traladarans, who tend to sunburn
The Empire of Thyatis is a large, flourishing empire with powerful armies, strong
trade relations with the great nations of the world, lavish arts and entertainments, and a cultural standard equaled in few
places in the world. So it’s natural that many of Thyatian descent tend to feel superior to the native Traladarans.
Among many of the Thyatians, there is a sentiment that Traladarans are superstitious and ignorant, and many feel that Thyatian
spoken with a Traladaran accent denotes lack of mental ability. (Again, this is a prejudice which you don’t have to
foist on your own character if you don’t wish to.)
In the last thirty years, since the arrival of Duke Stefan and his followers, there
have been born many children of mixed Thyatian and Traladaran descent. Most of them are the children of Thyatian men who immigrated
to the duchy, fought in the Duke’s army, then retired to wed local women. Very few children of Thyatian women and Traladaran
A half-breed is likely to be somewhat taller than the average for Traladarans, usually
with dark hair and blue or light brown eyes. How he feels about Thyatians and Traladarans will depend on the way he was raised,
but in most cases the half-breeds recognize that neither Thyatian nor Traladaran has any great advantage over the another;
the half-breed gets along well with people of both backgrounds.
Most of the elves in Karameikos are of the Callarii tribe, a merry and hardworking
tribe proficient in riverboating, riding, horse-trading, hunting and foresting.
Callarii elves are robust and healthy, with very pale hair (blonde to white) and blue
eyes. They tend to wear tunics or robes of green with leaf-patterns embroidered upon them.
The elves are neutral toward humans in general. They become fast friends with humans
who demonstrate honor and humor; they do not cooperate with humans who are pretentious, dishonorable or rude. Duke Stefan
has a guard unit entirely composed of Callarii elves, which has given many elves the chance to meet him, and the Callarii
are favorably disposed toward the Duke.
The largest gnomish community, called Highforge, is in the mountain foothills several
miles east of the town of Threshold. It’s a large and secluded community composed of gnomes (and one allied dwarven
clan); it is mostly self-sufficient but profits from trade with the southern humans.
The gnomes are well-disposed toward the Duke; they did not observe much of the Thyatian
abuses against the Traladarans, but are well aware of the improvement of trade and communication which have resulted from
the Duke’s building of roads throughout the land.
The gnomes have no preferences between Thyatians and Traladarans.
The dwarves living in the Grand Duchy are either members of the Stronghollow clan
up in the gnome community, or are dwarven professionals who have immigrated into Karameikos-often acting as professional soldiers
in the service of the Duke or one of his barons. When they do express a preference between Traladarans and Thyatians, the
dwarves tend to prefer the company of Thyatians, who are practical people, and not superstitious-ridden like the Traladarans.
The halflings in the Duchy are mostly immigrants from the Five Shires, drawn by the
heavy trade in Karameikos and living as professionals within the human communities of the Duchy. There are many halfling traders,
craftsmen and innkeepers in Specularum, Kelvin and smaller communities. While there are no large halfling clans in Karameikos,
the halflings have their own “subculture,” and many frequent taverns and other facilities which cater only to
halflings. When halflings do admit a preference between Thyatians and Traladarans, they side beside the latter, whom they
consider life-loving, romantic, expressive people, instead of the Thyatians, whom they think colder and less sympathetic.
|Tap shield for map
The heavily-forested region used to be known
as Traldara, a “nation” that was really a loose confederation of independent baronies.
Thirty years ago, Stefan Karameikos,
an ambitious nobleman of the nearby Empire of Thyatis, traded his ancestral lands to the Thyatian emperor for Thyatian recognition
of Karameikos’ right to independent rule of Traldara. Spending all his family fortune on mercenary armies, Stefan Karameikos
invaded Traldara, quickly conquering the nation’s largest sea-port, Marilenev, and settling garrisons in all the region’s
He renamed the nation after himself:
It became the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. Marilenev he renamed Specularum, a much more Thyatian sort of name. The Grand Duchy
was recognized by Thyatis as an independent nation: although its rulers never called it a kingdom, that is effectively what
Stefan Karameikos set up his allies and
cronies as regional rulers, allowing the original Traladaran rulers to retain their baronies only when they swore allegiance
The Thyatian rulers, though they control
the nation’s economic and military might, don’t have complete control of the land. Karameikos is dark and forested,
with hundreds of square miles populated only by animals, by loggers and foresters, by non-humans such as elves and goblins.
The Traladaran forests are an ancient home to vampires, werewolves and other dark creatures of legend. Secret Traladaran popular
movements oppose the Thyatians, occasionally sabotaging the plans and activities of their rulers.
Duke Stefan Karameikos, thirty years older and
more experienced, still rules his land. He tries to keep his nation strong, the better to discourage invasion from dangerous
neighbors-such as Thyatis. He does not actively oppress the Traldarans to improve the lot of his Thyatians: the laws he passes
are written to be fair to all. But Karameikos himself cannot enforce every law, and many of his Thyatian subordinates are
not as scrupulous in their dealings with the Traladarans. Karameikos’ wife is Duchess Olivia, an icy, intelligent woman
who is a good advisor for him: his children include Lady Adriana (age 20, a notoriously independent fighter), Lord Justin
(age 18, a slight young man with a talent for mathematics and trade), and Lord Valen (age 14, a clever and somewhat sneaky
young man anxious to learn about the world.
Karameikos is a divided land, its majority Traldaran
population ruled by the invader Thyatian population. The Traldarans are a very free-spirited people whose dress and names
are similar to those of Balkan Europe. The Thyatians are pragmatic and self-centered, with the conquering instincts of the
ancient Romans (with their tastes in entertainment, too). The two elements tend to dislike one another greatly.
The capital city of Karameikos has a population of 50,000
or more (the Traldarans don’t willingly cooperate in the census). It features a great deep-water bay through which much
shipping moves, the well defended royal palace of the Karameikos family, a foreign quarter, a dangerous slum called “The
Nest”, several merchant districts, the walled-off Duke’s Park, and much more.
This northern town of 5,000 residents is a logging and
farming community surrounded by untamed wilderness.
Nestled at the foot of the Black Peak Mountains,
and bordered to the north by Lake Windrush,
the town is surrounded by a dense wilderness where vampires and werewolves abound.
The town comprises several fishermen's
camps, the den of thieves known as Fogor's Isle, also a logging camp in the higher ground to north, where trees are felled
and floated downstream to be chopped into lumber. It’s an ideal home town for player characters. Threshold is ruled
by Baron Halaran (also known as Patriarch Sherlane, a cleric).
This is the capital of the Black Eagle barony, which is
ruled by Stefan Karameikos’ cousin, Baron Ludwig von Hendriks. Von Hendriks is a dangerous man who terrorizes and brutalizes
the populace of his domain; he also conspires to take the throne of the Grand Duchy. Fort Doom has a population of 10,000.
Kelvin, second-largest city in Karameikos (population 20,000) is built where the rivers
Windrush, Hillfollow and Highreach (Wufwolde, Shutturga and Volaga) merge.
Kelvin was designed to be a way-stop for entire caravans and a fortress defending
the surrounding territories. It is a large, walled encampment. Inside the walls are a large field for caravans to set up and
a secondary wall in which is the city of Kelvin proper; inside the city is a third walled area, the garrison fortress and
castle of Baron Kelvin.
The city and surrounding baronial lands are ruled by Baron Desmond Kelvin II, son
of the founder of the city. Baron Kelvin, though young for hid duties, rules well, with military efficiency and impartiality.
Krakatos is a ruined stone-walled village of antiquity; some of the action in “The
Song of King Halav” takes place here, and the site is of some fascination for Traladaran visitors. It has no inhabitants
and should not be used as an origin-place for characters.
Luln, a town of about 5,000 citizens, is a ramshackle community of refugees who have
fled the Black Eagle barony and Fort Doom. It’s
poised between the armies of the Black Eagle barony and Karameikos, and is a small, struggling community.
Its town master is Mistress Sascia; she is gradually organizing the village into a
permanent, fortified community and there is speculation that she is trying to acquire a noble title.
This is the gnomish community, including five clans of gnomes (totaling about 6,500)
and one of dwarves (about 1,000).
The Callarii elves live in the central forests east and west of Kelvin and in the
forested foothills south of the gnomish community. Accurate numbers for the entire elvish population of Karameikos are not
available (the elves don’t bother to keep them and the humans can’t tally them), but a reasonable guess is that
there are about 7,500 elves scattered through this territory, living in communities of 100-200.
Smaller Villages and Homesteads
Finally, though we won’t discuss them in great detail here, there are numerous
villages and homesteads all across Karameikos.
There are several small villages given by name on the map but not described in the
Additionally, there are literally hundreds of homesteads along the rivers and roads
of the duchy. These are one- or two-family settlements, mostly farms and logging operations, with populations ranging from
a handful of people to as many as 750 inhabitants.
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos really is a place of mysteries.
So little of it is settled by humans that there is endless opportunity for adventure in the nation’s woods and northern
mountains. Ancient ruins lie here, long forgotten by the Traldarans and not yet discovered by the Thyatians: There are lairs
where vampires lurk: There are caves from which goblin and bugbear raiders harry isolated settlements; there are hidden camps
of Traldaran freedom fighters who plot the downfall of Stefan Karameikos.
The National Spirit
Before we get on to the business of character creation, let’s discuss what it
means to be a Karameikan.
Traladaran and Thyatian
Earlier, we discussed the differing beliefs and opinions of the Traladaran natives
and Thyatian settlers of the Grand Duchy.
Keep these beliefs in mind when creating your characters-they’ll give you many
But also keep in mind that these are the opinions the Traldarans and Thyatians express
when confronting one another.
When confronting the rest of the world, Karameikans refer to themselves as Karameikans-citizens
of the best nation in the world.
Karameikans know their nation doesn’t have the sophistication of Glantri or
Thyatis- and they’re glad. Too much sophistication, they say, is just another term for decadence.
Karameikans fighters consider themselves as tough as the best fighters of any nation
in the world.
Karameikans of Traldaran descent know they’ve survived the worst that can be
thrown at them-the “Song of King Halav” tells them so- and that, one day, they’ll build themselves again
into the most prosperous and amazing nation in the world. This isn’t an arrogant, chip-on-the-shoulder attitude, but
the quiet assurance of people who know it to be true and patiently wait and work to bring it about. Most citizens of Thyatian
descent who were born in Karameikos have been infected with this philosophy, too.
So, to be Karameikan is to know that you belong to a nation destined for greatness.
And to be a Karameikan adventurer, you must also believe that you are part of what will bring this greatness about. Karameikan
adventurers aren’t braggarts, constantly tooting their own horns and insulting or slandering other lands … but
they do have a quiet, stubborn assurance that no one else is better than they.
The Shearing Ceremony
The native Traladarans have a custom which is an important part of the Karameikan
Called the Shearing Ceremony, it was developed in the village
of Marilenev (Specularum) and was in common use there and in surrounding
areas in the centuries before Thyatis conquered Traladara. Since that time, improved trade with the inland communities has
spread the Shearing Ceremony throughout the land. When Duke Stefan and the Thyatian settlers came, they were acquainted with
the ceremony and generally adopted it.
It goes something like this:
When a Karameikan youth approaches adulthood, either he will approach his parents
or they will approach him with news that it is time for the Shearing.
Soon after, at a dinner to which other family members or village leaders may be invited,
the youth stands silent while his parents solemnly dress him in traveling gear. The bottom of his cloak is sheared off and
left ragged as a reflection of his condition: That of an impoverished traveler.
From that time, the sheared youth is considered a friend of the family but not part
of it. He must make his own way in the world until the family decides he is worthy of the clan. Usually, living apart from
the clan for a few years and participating in acceptable adventures or trading ventures is proof that the youth is able to
prosper on his own; when his parent reach that conclusion, he is invited to another dinner, at which time he is presented
with a garment bearing the clan’s markings or coat of arms. This indicates that he is once again part of the family.
All young men between the ages of 14 and 19 (1d6+13) are Sheared. (Usually, the lad
approaches his parents first, because it’s an embarrassment to wait so long that they come to you.) Young women are
not approached by their parents, but may insist that they be Sheared. Being Sheared and living away from the family for a
few years is a good way for a young woman to earn respect within her family.
When the Thyatians came to Karameikos, they saw in the ceremony a way to separate
the worthwhile from the parasitic in their own families, and adopted the custom.
A Sheared youth from a titled family is not considered to have any title until he
is invited by his family to rejoin their ranks.
Shearing is a human custom, not shared by the demi-humans of Karameikos.
If you're going to create characters from Karameikos, use these rules. If you're not, read them
anyway - they include some notes and special rules which may be of interest to players and the DM.
Create your character - his ability scores, class, hit points, money, equipment and alignment
- exactly as described in the Dungeons and Dragons game. A list of names, and notes on the differences between Thyatian and
Traldaran names, is given below to help.
Don’t use the level title for your character.
If he’s a 1st level Magic-User, write down that he’s a 1st level Magic-User – not
In Karameikos, there are only a few titles –
they’re official designations granted by the Crown, the Church, or other powerful parties. When adventuring in Karameikos,
we won’t be using the D&D game titles at all.
Now we determine where your character is from – both his “home town” and the
social standing of his family.
Family Social Standing
Roll percentile dice (1d100) and compare the result
to the chart below. This will tell you the economic standing of the family your character comes from.
The lowest class is “Penniless.” There is no slavery in Karameikos.
Important note: When you roll your Family
Background, write down the number you rolled; you’ll use it again momentarily.
Traldaran or Thyatian
Now that we know the social standing of the character’s family, we can determine
whether the family is Traldaran or Thyatian is composition.
If you don’t feel you know enough about Karameikos to choose your family ethnic
background, then roll percentile dice (1d100) and add one-half of the number you rolled for the Family Social Standing chart
above (round down). (For instance, if you rolled 67 on the Family Social Standing chart, you’ll roll 1d100 here and
add 33 to the total.)
Compare the result to the chart below to determine your family’s origin.
(Roll 1d100 plus
½ previous roll)
If your result is Traldaran, your family is predominantly Traldaran and its head is
of the native population. If your result is Thyatian, your family is predominantly Thyatian and its head is of that people.
If your roll is Mixed, your immediate family contains both Traldarans and Thyatians; the DM will determine exactly how your
family is set up, but the usual arrangement is of an ex-military Thyatian father and Traldaran mother, with relatives from
both sides of the family.
If, on the Family Social Standing chart, you rolled a 00 (Royal Family), you’re
Finally, we get to find out where you’re from. If you don’t feel you know
enough about Karameikos to choose, or if your DM prefers you to, do this: On the chart below, roll 1d20 and add any appropriate
modifiers from those listed below the chart. The result is your characters origin.
Remember that if you’re a member of the Royal Family you’re automatically
The DM always has the option of choosing from which home town your character is, and
is especially likely to do so for Wealthy characters.
(Roll 1d20, add
modifiers listed below)
Black Eagle Barony
Character is a Cleric:
Character is a Magic-User:
is Very Wealthy:
Explanation of Chart Results
The place you rolled is your character’s home town. Here are some notes on the
individual chart results:
Black Eagle Barony: The character grew
up in the awful barony ruled by Ludwig von Hendriks. If he is of Neutral or Lawful alignment, he successfully fled the Barony
at the time of his Shearing, but his family is still here. If he is of Chaotic alignment, he is probably a character in the
employ of or related to the Black Eagle Baron.
Homestead: The character grew up in one of the innumerable family homesteads scattered across
Karameikos. With the permission of the DM, he may decide where that homestead is and may even choose one listed on the map.
Village/Town: The character grew up in
one of the numerous Karameikan villages or towns. With the permission of the DM, he may decide which is his home town from
the ones shown on the map.
Kelvin, Specularum: The character grew
up in the city indicated by the die-roll.
demihumans communities are not as numerous or diverse as the human communities, so it’s simpler to determine a demihumans
Family Social Standing
Though the elves in Karameikos do have complicated and intricate social structures,
“social standing” is not an important element of that structure. The elf’s profession, and the way their
professions are related and utilized to the good of the clan, are the important elements of the elvish social structure.
So most Karameikan elves are “commoners,” or elves who go about their
professions – foresting, hunting, fishing, fighting, animal training, scouting, etc. Some few families are community
“lords,” and it is they who coordinate the efforts of the community.
None of the elves in Karameikos live in grinding poverty or in lavish wealth. By human
standards, all elves are “Comfortable.”
There are two types of elves in Karameikos.
Most common are the Callarii elves – bright, energetic elves living in the central
There is another elvish community within the Karameikan borders, though, that of the
Vyalia clan. We’re not including much information on the Vyalia clan in this Players’ section, as that part of
Karameikos is largely unexplored.
Should you roll a Vyalia background for your elvish character; the DM will brief you
on your home community and origin.
You’re free to choose where your elf comes from (with DM approval). The woods
where the elves are most numerous are shown on the map, and your character is most likely to have grown to maturity in those
However, you can also choose your character’s current residence. Many warrior-elves
have served in the Duke’s Elvenguard in Specularum and now live in the human communities working as freelance soldiers
Dwarves have a more human-like social structure in their community. However, they
tend to look after their own more than the humans do, so there is no “Penniless” class among them. Roll a Dwarf’s
family social standing on the chart below:
The Highforge community is a craftsman, mining, and trade community, so the fortunes
of the very wealthy are based on creation and sale of exquisite crafts.
Among dwarves in Highforge, the families of beginning craftsmen or miners (apprentices),
or soldiers protecting the community, tend to be struggling.
The families of improved craftsmen or miners (journeymen), officers of the soldiery,
and merchants who accompany the annual Gnome Caravan tend to be Comfortable.
The families of ranking craftsmen and miners (masters) tend to be wealthy.
The families of craftsmen of great ability (masters with exceptional skill) tend to
be Very Wealthy.
The male and female heads of the Stronghollow dwarven family of Highforge can bear
the titles of Lord and Lady.
All dwarves of Karameikan origin come from Highforge originally. With the DM permission,
you can have your character now be a resident of another community, perhaps living in one of the larger human cities.
The craftsmen and traders of Highforge don’t approve of their own children gallivanting
around and performing adventures. Therefore, a dwarf adventurer will not receive any of the benefits of his family’s
wealth until he returns (for good) to his family and community.
Family Social Standing
Roll your Family Social Standing on the following chart:
You may, with DM permission, choose your home town.
Other Character Traits
By now, you’ve created your character and generated the basic facts of his background. Here
are some final things to consider about your character.
Following are some guild lines to character names found in the
Grand Duchy of Karameikos.
You’re not required to follow these guidelines of course.
They are, however, a good indication of what’s normal for the various types of humans and demihumans found within the
Characters of Thyatian origin tend to have given names which are
reminiscent of ancient and classical Roman and Byzantine names: Varis (Varia), Alexander (Alexandra), Valerius (Valeria),
Titius (Titia), Claudius (Claudia), Anastasius (Anastasia), etc. Other given names are appropriate fantasy names.
Their surnames tend to be strong, majestic-sounding monikers:
Karameikos, Penhaligon, Korrigan, for example.
Characters of Traladaran origin have names with a strong Eastern
and Central European flavor. Some examples follow:
Male names: Boris,
Dmitri, Fyodor, Grygory, Ilya, Ivan, Mikhail, Pyotr, Sergei, Stephan, Yakov, Yuri.
Female Names: Anya,
Darya, Ecatrina, Ilyana, Irena, Katarina, Kuzma, Magda, Misha, Petra, Sula, Zandra.
Family Names can be created by adding one of a number of suffixes
to given names. Such suffixes include “os,” “ov,” “ev,” “nov,” “evich,”
“escu,” etc. Example: Ivan becomes Ivanov; Dmitri becomes Dmitros.
Karameikan elves tend only to have one name, something lyrical
and unique, Examples: (Male) Thalaric, Allandaros, (Female) Sythandria, Stellara.
Dwarf given names are a bit hard-sounding and weighty. Family
names tend to derive from wartime deeds or special abilities.
Examples of Given Names: (Male) Thoric, Boldar, (Female) Friya,
Examples of Family Names: Shieldcracker, Ironboot.
Halfling given names are just like common English given names.
Family names are have several syllables and describe family characteristics
Examples might include Bill Trenchermann (from a family of big
eaters) or Anna Hillfort (from a family with a well-defended hilltop home).
The Mystaran Year
Months of the Year
*First day of year celebrated
Days of the Week
Known World Economics
income taxes of 25% (20%for nobleman) are collected on Vatermont 1 (for Sviftmont-Kaldmont); Yarthmont1 (Nuwmont-Thaumont);
Fyrmont 3 (Flaumont-Klarmont); and Eirmont 1 (Felmont-Ambyrmont). Sales tax is 5% on all sales. Import taxes are assessed
at 1% of the cargo’s value. Penalties for tax evasion range from small fines or one day in jail (for minor offenses)
to fines up to 30,000 gp and up to six years in jail.
Basic Metal Values: 1 gp = 2 ep = 10
sp = 100 cp; 5 gp = 1 pp
Currency Exchange Fees
Major Imports and Exports
Weapons & tools, armor, rare furs
Wood, animals, furs, common metals
Horse breeding is on the rise; may soon export mounts
Non-arctic plains, forests, mountains
ALIGNMENT: Neutral good
ARMORCLASS: 2 (as horse) or 5
(as horse) or 18 (as centaur)
HIT DICE: 7
NO. OF ATTACKS:
ld6 (hoof)/ld6 (hoo0/ld8 (bite)
or ld6 (hoo9/ld6 (hoof)/by weapon
Summon and command horses
Silver or +1 or better magical weapons
SIZE: L (5' tall as horse, 7'4' tall as centaur)
MORALE: Champion (15) as horse
Elite (13) as centaur
XP VALUE: 650
This sylvan creature
can change at will between two forms: an intelligent horse and a powerful centaur.
As a horse, a chevall may be any color (though a given individual does not change shades). It is typically
as large as a light war horse. In centaur form, it has the upper torso and arms of a human being and the lower body of a horse.
This form tends to be somewhat smaller than most centaurs, on average, and its ears, unlike those of a standard centaur, are
pointed and elfin.
In either form, a chevall can talk to and understand horses, using sounds which, to human ears, are nothing
more than neighs and whinnies. Using this whinnying language, a chevall can command any horse, wild or domesticated, to do
its bidding. A paladin's warhorse, and other unusual mounts with average Intelligence or higher, are immune.
In centaur form, a chevall can speak Common, the language of centaurs, and woodland sylvan tongue.
Combat: As a
horse, a chevall can kick and bite as noted above. In centaur form, it also bites, but usually wields a wooden club or short
bow instead of kicking. In either form, it can only be harmed by silver weapons or magical weapons of +1 or better enchantment.
Once per day, a chevall can magically summon ld3 medium war
horses, which arrive in ld4 rounds.
Chevalls strive to ensure the well-being of all horses. Once native to the plains, they now appear anywhere that wild or captive
horses exist. They often go about in horse form, checking on the welfare of horses in the service of humans, demihumans, and
humanoids. If a chevall finds a horse that is unhappy with its lot (because of maltreatment or neglect), the chevall will
not rest until it has freed the animal.
A chevall travels alone or in groups of up to three. If three
chevalls are encountered, there is a 50% chance the group is a, mated pair and a foal (which has half the Hit Dice and inflicts
half the damage of adult specimens).
Foraging sustains chevalls
as they travel. They favor vegetables and grains, and may (in horse form) gain nourishment from grazing (although they consider
grass a very bland food, and prefer tasty oats and barley). While they are omnivorous by nature, most chevalls adhere to a
vegetarian diet. This may stem from moral conviction or sheer habit. Chevalls may accumulate some treasure during their travels.
They often trade this for food and goods, bargaining with centaurs and other friendly creatures.
Ecology: Although animals
such as dogs are wary of chevalls, horses never fear them. Chevalls hate wolves and are the blood enemies of werewolves. According
to chevall lore, chevalls were created long ago by an Immortal who wished to protect horses mistreated by their human masters.
Chevall Speed Table
Horse form Centaur
Walk 12 9
Gallop 48 36
A chevall can
carry no more than 260 pounds and still travel at its full speed. It can travel at half speed while carrying up to 390 pounds,
and can move at one-third speed while carrying up to 520 pounds.
As noted in the Player's Handbook (Chapter 14), in a day of travel over good terrain, a creature can travel
a number of miles equal to twice its normal movement rate (a trot); that is, a chevall in horse form can cover 48 miles. In
dire circumstances, a chevall can push itself to a canter or gallop. A canter can be safely maintained for two hours, or a
gallop for one hour, but then the chevall must walk for an hour before increasing it speed again. A chevall will not gallop
if loaded with enough material to reduce its normal movement rate by half; nor will it canter or gallop if carrying a load
which will reduce its normal movement rate to one-third normal.