Saturday, September 1, 2012

Averlorn Campaign: Predominant Races of the Archipelago

The predominant human races found in the archipelago are the Thugee and the Volkyr peoples who are also two of the three primary human races found in the World of Averlorn.  The Volkyr resemble the people of Egypt in both appearance and culture while the Thugee are a warlike race that bears some similarities to Norse Vikings found in Europe during the middle ages.  Amongst the islands of the Archipelago can be found yet a third major race – that of the Sea Elves.  Living amongst the Sea Elves are Elves of other castes typically found in Elven society.

The third primary human race in Averlorn sometimes found in the islands consists of the men of Ardrois stock such as those found in Thebos and similar civilizations such as Chalcyx, Ertris and Manthinea.  The Ardrois dwell primarily on the mainland and in coastal areas and cities such as Harbor Reach and Zarathus, and further inland.  They are modeled after the ancient Greeks and Romans and even Germanic peoples in both appearance and culture.

The Volkyr – In the Archipelago beyond the Shallow Sea the dominant culture is that of the Volkyr and their stalwart allies the Sea Elves. These two communities have lived in peace since the earliest days of man's recorded history, a situation unique among the various tribes of humanity and demi-humans alike. They share technologies, many customs and to the casual visitor it appears that the Volkyr (folk of the sea) have modeled many aspects of their culture after those found among the sea elves.  The Volkyr aren't ancient Egyptians so much as they are a fantasy culture which posits Egyptian-esque culture in a medieval setting.  They style themselves as the most civilized of the human cultures concentrating more on trade then on warfare.  The Volkyr are a Polynesian like people who originally migrated to the Archipelago from the southern islands of the Great Banks among others.

The Volkyr place a great value on learning and the arts. They consider their society to be a model of civilization and take great pride in the relative cleanliness of their cities, in considerable contrast to the squalor that can be found in the Theban cities of Harbor Reach and distant Grand Oryx. Personal appearance is of considerable importance to most Volkyr and they are fastidiously concerned with personal hygiene, bathing often and keeping their facial hair neatly trimmed. Men folk wear their hair in very short, practical styles, often displaying rather ornate goatees or smartly trimmed moustaches. Some Volkyr warriors go so far as to shave their heads and faces, thus denying enemy combatants anything to grab onto during battle. Both men and women use scents and makeup, eyeliner in particular is common. Volkyr warriors often paint fierce-looking designs on their face which adds to their reputation for being savage opponents in battle.

Physically, the Volkyr are a dark-skinned race of humans with black hair and piercing dark eyes. They are on average a bit smaller than the Ardrois folk and not as muscular as the average Thugee. They are exceptional seamen and ply the waters the Shallow Sea in their sleek triple-lateen ships. Volkyr weaponry is finely made and shows a distinct Elven influence. They favor the longer Elven spear style, the subtle curve of the Elven Sword, and the Sea Bow.

The Volkyr are a pious religious people who worship their great leader the God King along with a dizzying array of Egyptian gods – Anubis, Ra, Set, Osiris, Horus, Isis, Bast (the Cat God), Sobek (the crocodile got) among others.  The Volkyr hold a patronizing view of the Thugee people – they say the Sons of Loki are three times cursed though they are tolerated in Volkry society as many Thugee dwell amongst them in their settlements.  Blue dragons are sacred among the Volkry people, which is a long standing tradition.  Wizards often seek out blue dragons in order to learn from them the ancient Forgotten Lore spells of antiquity lost through the sands of time.  Players seeking out Blue Dragons for such knowledge may use any charisma bonus they may have while speaking with them to help determine how cooperative the ancient wyrms may be about such queries.

The Sea Elves - the other predominant race found in the Archipelago is that of the demi human Sea Elves.  The Sea elves generally live along the coast, are a nautical trading race, and are quite hardy for elves.  They usually live in small coastal villages near the Great Banks and in small kingdoms scattered about the Archipelago.  The Sea elves are far more organized than the elves found in Thebos and other areas inland and trade regularly with the Volkyr.

To the Sea Elves, the Archipelago is considered their ancestral homeland though part of it is currently under the guardianship of the Volkyr.  There exist several small Sea Elf kingdoms and holdings scattered about the Archipelago on some of the smaller islands.

The Sea Elf Kingdoms of the Archipelago - The Sea Elf King or Archmagi holds dominion over three principle realms, holding court according to an ancient schedule understood only by the elves themselves. The exact nature of governance employed by the sea elves is quite mysterious and appears to also be part of some long standing tradition of rotating kings. Within each realm lies one of three magnificent Elven Sea Towers which is the local seat of authority for each realm perched ever watchful on the cliffs above the endless waves.

The Kingdom of Alatheon is actually an island which lies to the north of the island of Rhaghaera, while the Kingdom of Golfyria lies to the west.  Lothalyn is quite distant, lying in the southwest of the Archipelago far closer in fact to the mainland. It is a single kingdom spread across a vast stretch of islands. In spite of the vast distances and their relatively slight population, the sea elves are actually the dominant political power in the Archipelago. This is due largely to the unusual number of dragons found in the islands and their deference if not outright servitude to the sea elves. The Sea Elf Court and all of their kith and kin enjoy the favor of both Io and his son Bahamut due to ancient pacts and favors from times lost to the remembrance of other sentient races.  Naturally, the preponderance of dragons in the area has resulted in far fewer Dragonships in the skies of the islands than might be found elsewhere in Averlorn.

The Sea Elves maintain a series of trading settlements, outposts of a sort. These are always found near the communities of their Volkyr allies and with names such as Tol Alatheon or Dur Alatheon, they are the source of some confusion among men. Nadsul il Alatheon is a trading outpost on a small island not far from the Ardrois city of Harbor Reach and is something akin to a military outpost given the assaults and raids it has endured over the years. The Sea Elves are quite fond of the Volkyr, but view Thugee as little better than Orcs and the Ardrois of the City States with great suspicion.

The Sea Elves are often at odds with the Thugee and there exists racial enmity between their two peoples as the Thugee seem intent on raiding their holdings and generally causing them harm when given the chance.  The enmity that exists between elves and the Thugee (the Northmen of Averlorn) is long standing and encounters are usually a “no quarters asked, none given” sort of affair.  In matters of warfare and defense, the Sea Elves favor the Elven Longsword, the Sea Bow, and the Elven Dragon Spear.  More info about the Sea Elves, the Elven cast system and Elven culture in Averlorn can be found here:

The Thugee – the Thugee are a Viking-inspired race of sub-humans, strong of limb, but dim of wit, possessing brutal features and slightly pronounced canine teeth.  They are the Norse raiders of the Middle Ages raiding the coastline and islands in their sleek and sturdy long ships and striking terror into the heart of their victims.  They can be found in the Archipelago living alongside the primary native human race of the area - the Volkyr, and in a few scattered clan holdings in the north of the island chain. 

Though the Thugee often raid in the Archipelago and are viewed as savage barbarians by most civilized cultures, quite a few have actually settled in the area.  Although they are not the native or predominant race of humans, their numbers are on the rise due to continued raiding and settlement activity, not unlike the Vikings that settled in England, Russia and other places they raided in our world - in the end they were just looking for a better life than the harsh cold north.  Their ancestral homeland can be found in the distant Northern Reaches of the mainland along the coast and in a region called fallen Leutra where the ancient reptile races once held sway.

The Thugee are fantastic sailors, navigators, ship builders and explorers who ply the coasts in their long boats in search of plunder and better lands.  Their weapons of choice include the bearded Thugee Axe (hand axe – also useful as a throwing axe), the Battle Axe, the Great Sword, the Broadsword, the Spear, and the Short Bow while they typically wear chainmail, Norse helms and carry large round wooden hide covered embossed shields.

The Thugee in the Archipelago are scattered among the islands like the pebbles along the beach. They have a few permanent communities in the islands immediately off the coast of Fallen Leutra at what one might call the edge of the Northern Reaches. They are not given to city building and rarely dwell in communities larger than a few hundred families. They view any non-Thugee as inferior and a source of goods, slaves, wives, etc. A considerable number of Thugee have fallen under the sway of Ravishar resulting in a daunting presence of Northmen residing in Malithorn. Still others have found their way to Caeursetti and environs and now live in relative peace as subjects of the God King.


  1. I read this and researched a bit on Vikings. Turns out, Vikings may have invaded Egypt during 1200 BC. I think some of the murals depict snake-like boats with people holding axes in them.

  2. Wow - that's pretty cool. I had no idea the Vikings made it that far south but it seems to be pretty well documented. It seems like there are few places that they didn't reach in their sturdy wooden longships. For instance, they raided Constantinople at one point and were finally let in and eventually served the Roman Empire as the imperial guard if I remember my history correctly. They also raided and pillaged their way accross Russia as well which is a little known fact.