Palanar

Palanar

Overview

The forest-covered lands of Palanar are home to a diverse mix of races and lifestyles. Still largely nomadic, with wild elves and peaceful human tribes crossing the lands as their fathers and forefathers have done before them, Palanar is a wild, though peaceful nation. The coastal regions are far more densely populated with villages and small towns more common there than elsewhere. Apperby has become the unofficial capital of Palanar, where tribal leaders meet to talk through their differences and where trade and commerce thrive and the settled people of Palanar come to sell their wares. The small port city is located on the banks of the Aggenbor Sea and gives superb access to Arrasia as a whole. Apperby is also home to The Grove of Palanar, where the tribal rulers gather to discuss affairs and make decisions.

The Grove of Palanar is where the annual gathering of the all the leaders of the peoples of Palanar takes place, known as the Rite of the Grove. All of the races and tribes of Palanar are represented and through the gathering the future governance of Palanar is set for that year. The Grove is chaired by the Archdruid of the Gray Order, whose job it is to oversee the will of the Grove. The annual meetings are always chaotic and tense affairs as the many cultures clash, complaints are aired and grievances sorted through. Issues rarely go unresolved and it is exceptionally unusual for conflicts between factions to become bloody affairs.

Elves are common, but mainly confine themselves to either a nomadic way of life, or live in ancient communes deep in the woods and forests of Palanar, having contact with men only for the annual Rite of the Grove or when Palanar requires their help. Palanar is also home to a large number of gnomes and they likewise prefer their rural way of life, though are often drawn to the larger communities by the lure of precious stones.

The druids of the Gray Order, who can be found in settlements all over Palanar, reinforce the loose political structure. It is through these that the will of the Grove is enforced and they also act as consorts and advisors to the chiefs and rulers of the peoples of Palanar. If conflict should break out between tribes, the local druids will usually arbitrate for peace, though occasionally this can only be achieved through a special calling of the Grove. Those that ignore the will of the Gray Order will be brought to justice by whatever power the Grove has at its disposal.

The arrival of Karnish merchant vessels brought new wealth to Palanar and helped oversee the development of Apperby and Talamein, but has also seen Karnish influence grow considerably over the years in the larger settled areas in regular contact with the Karnish merchants, though has hasn't filtered through at all to the nomadic tribes. Karnish is spoken in most coastal communities, though Annasse, the language of their ancestors, is still the first language of Palanar.

In recent years, the coming of the Urgolians has caused much concern amongst the Gray Order and the people of Palanar. Raids and incursions are much becomming much more common, though as yet still sporadic, and Talamein itself has even come under attack on a couple of occasions.

Significant Trade Export

Exotic Herbs and Spices: The elves of Palanar sell their herbs and spices to the human or halfling merchants, who in turn sell it to the merchants when their ships appear. The spices are especially sought after and fetch a high price in Karnish, where they are used to create exotic dishes for the rich and powerful.

Exotic Wood: The exotic trees of Palanar are sought after around Arrasia, where they are used to build beautiful pieces of furniture or to decorate the homes of those that can afford the luxury of using such expensive woods.

Precious Stones: Hematite, lapis lazuli and turquoise can all be found in Palanar, where they are mined and sold to merchants when their ships dock. The gnomes of Palanar are well known for their skill at creating beautiful works of art out of the stones.

Brief History

A wild land with natural geographic defenses as borders, the lands of Palanar were populated primarily by the elves who had migrated south from The Green Forest, and a few nomadic tribes. Of no political or military value, Palanar went mainly untouched by the early Amman expansions. However, with war breaking out between Amman and the elves of The Green Forest and the need for Amman to secure a land route to Eppen, Palanar soon became an important enclave in the wider wars of Arrasia and Amman's desire to conquer Eppen and the entire Falagrim Peninsula.

While in itself of little value, the Amman army found itself under constant threat from the elven archers as they journeyed south. As well as taking heavy casualties, the supply lines also became stretched and vulnerable. This problem was made even more acute as Palanar became a popular hideaway for renegade armies who had been forced into retreat, where they could lie low and regroup. These groups battled constantly with the Amman forces on their march to Eppen.

Amman mounted two major campaigns into Palanar in order to exert some control and bring the lands under the umbrella of their empire. Both were badly handled affairs, though the first Palanar campaign proved to be an initial success as its forces drove against its disparate enemies. However, the Order of the Gray Druids, who had settled in this area during the great exodus of Zaramal, brought together the leaders of all the many armies now stationed in Palanar. This alliance of, predominantly, men, elves and gnomes caught the advancing Amman forces totally unawares and in the largest pitched battle on Palanar soil, the Battle of Orothak Ridge, was defeated and driven back.

Despite efforts by the Order of the Gray Druids to maintain this alliance, it remained loose and sketchy and only really came together again during Amman's second campaign of Palanar. Although more prepared for a large-scale battle, the Amman forces had become so bogged down in their war with Eppen that there were never enough troops to force a victory in the area. Despite early successes, the alliance once again gathered pace and the Amman forces were soon forced into a general retreat. The alliance soon dispersed, but Amman was never again to try and control what it considered to be a worthless piece of land.

The inability of Amman to control this area proved essential to the defense of Eppen, which itself proved vital in turning the tide against the might of the Amman empire. With their forces and supply lines constantly under attack, they could never muster the forces, or adequately supply those that they did, in order to break into northern Eppen. The need to use their massive naval might to achieve the conquest of the Falagrim Peninsula was to ultimately have devastating consequences for the future dominance of Amman over Arrasia.

After the fall of Amman, small settlements sprang up along the western coastlines as the roving armies and peoples of Palanar began to settle. The Order of the Gray Druids called a meeting in their sacred Grove, where the loose alliance was formalized. It was agreed by all parties that the druids would oversee the alliance and chair the gatherings. In later gatherings, the druids were granted even greater powers. Several times the alliance was called to act against outside threats - primarily humanoids traveling down through Zaramal or The Green Forest, though occasionally to deal with wayward alliance members.

More recently, Palanar has seen itself under occasional attack from the Urgolian hordes, who pass through Zaramal and deep into Palanar territory. The raids are irregular, but violent, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. It was during one such raid that the Gray Druids were forced to call for a small alliance of humans and elves for the defense of Talamein, which otherwise may well have been overrun. The alliance proved successful at repelling the Urgolians, but concerns are growing that the Urgolians may well one day soon arrive in far greater numbers.

The Major Towns and Cities

Apperby: (pop: 3,000) The unofficial capital of Palanar, the leafy city of Apperby is the home of The Grove of Palanar. Apperby's position on the Aggenbor Sea has seen it become part of the Karnish trade routes and established it as the most significant port in Palanar, through which the majority of trade passes into and out of the country. The city itself is very leafy, with buildings scattered amongst copses and large grassy areas separating the various quarters of the city. The dock area is the most built up, with warehouses and markets filled with the bustle of merchants and those selling their produce.

Talamein: (pop: 1,500) The establishment of a Karnish trade route with Zaramal has seen Talamein grow in both size and significance, as it acts as a stopping point for those traveling to and from the city of Azbar. The arrival of Karnish merchants has also seen an increase in the wealth of Talamein, attracting all manner of entrepreneurs. Rapid growth has seen a once small, sleepy village grow into a mish mash of wooden buildings and tight streets. Everywhere, people hawk their wares or look to make a quick profit. Pickpockets and cutthroats are common, especially in the seedier areas. The streets are covered in the filth of rapid over population, with vermin and disease common.

Organizations

The Order of the Gray Druids
The Archdruid of the Order of the Gray Druids oversees the loose political alliance of the races of Palanar. He chairs the annual gathering of the Rite of the Grove and he is responsible for the governance of the nation and for overseeing the will of the Grove. Groves of the Gray Order can be found all over Palanar and rarely will an encounter with a druid, of any race, within the borders of Palanar be with any other druidic order. Druids within each community are highly respected and play an important role, as it is through them that the will of the Archdruid is exerted. The Order of the Gray Druids can also be found all over Zaramal, though there they have no national political influence, though exert some control at a local level.


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