The Enchanted World, with tips for Campaign Design

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The Enchanted World

The Enchanted World is the latest foray into the realm of Campaign and World design.  The purpose of this particular Thread is to allow me to post my thoughts on various parts of this game world for 4th ed. D&D.  Comments and feedback, though not required, are always welcome.  It is always helpful to hear from another DM/Player who is willing to offer their suggestions and critiques. 

Let's start off with a simple map of the major continent.  I always like to start visually with a map:



Where to Begin?

When a DM wants to make that inevitable move away from the published materials and create their OWN game world, one of the first questions faced will be "Where do I begin?"

This of course is not a small question but rather can determine exactly where you as the DM will proceed during the creation process.

When I start a new game world, I like to look at several factors.  The main influences in this decision should always be your personal interests and the interests of your players. Nothing can be more frustrating than to begin a new campaign only to be halted by lack of interest.  Sure, there might be some hot topic of the day but often those are fly-by-nights which are here today and gone tomorrow.

Instead, focus on what YOU know.  If you are still not sure about it, take a few minutes of quiet time (GASP) and think about it.  What I find helpful is to look at what kind of books do I like reading?  What kinds of TV shows or movies do I like to watch?  These are often very good indicators as to your personal interests. 

Once you have identified what your interest is, you can take an informal poll with your players as to what kind of game world they would prefer.  You might be surprised in the fact that each player may have their own individual interest.  I usually like to follow the "Majority Rules" principle.  If most of my players want a dark, gothic bend to the world, I might want to consider that option.  If the majority want to try a futuristic/sci-fi themed world then you can look into that option.  The truly fortunate DM is one that can easily combine both their own interest with that of the majority of the players.

Still can't make up your mind?  Perhaps this list might help:

Cultural-based World
- African
- Asian, Southeastern
- Central/South American Indian, Aztec/Mayan/Incan/Toltec
- Chinese
- Egyptian, Ancient
- European, Central
- European, Eastern
- European, Scandanavian
- Japanese
- Middle Eastern
- North American Indian

Historical-based World
- Ancient world
- Classical, Rome and Greece
- Dark Ages
- Futuristic
- Ice Age
- Medieval
- Modern
- Post-Apocalyptic
- Pre-historic
- Renaissance

Literature/Media based World
- JRR Tolkiens' "Lord of the Rings"
- Star Wars
- Star Trek
- Magic: The Gathering
- Super Mario Brothers
- The Legend of Zelda

Geographical-based World
- Archepelago
- Desert
- Forest
- Island
- Mountains/Hills
- Underground
- Underwater

Unusual Element based World
- World of sky islands
- a flat world
- a hollow world
- a world dominated by the undead
- a world of eternal darkness
- a world of eternal winter
- a world where evolution has gone bananas (mutants, etc)
- a world within a giant space ark travelling the stars

Of course, there are MANY more options not included on this list.  I don't want to overwhelm the reader will too many ideas but that start a list of thoughts and ideas.  Think about focusing on one of these elements.  Or maybe find a way to combine 2 or 3 together?

Step 2

Once you have decided on a theme, you will need to make the decision of where to begin in your world.  There are basically 2 common approaches: Top Down or Bottom Up.  Both have advantages and disadvantages.  One is not necessarily better than the other.  It all depends on how much work the DM wants to invest in this project as well as the time frame.

If there is only a very short period of time before the 1st game, then you will need to use the Bottom Up approach.  This method allows you to focus on a very small section of your game world and build out from there.

For example, if you look at the map above, you will see an entire continent.  If you want to develop the world from the Bottom Up, you would pick just a small portion of this map and develop this.  You might want to choose the Kingdom of Valoria or the Selenir Conclave.  Or you might to go even smaller and pick a specific province, town or settlement.

I took both approaches in developing this game world for demonstration purposes.  Starting from the Bottom Up, I decided to narrow into a small noble province within the Kingdom of Valoria.  The "Duchy of Fairford," as I decided to call it, is a rugged, frontier-like province in the far northern region of the Valorian Kingdom.  The Duchy is surrounded by rugged hills and highlands as it is in close proximity to the Herald Hills.  The Duchy is likewise heavily wooded due to its connection to the Gloomhaven Wood to the East.  Having all of these extra geographical features will allow me to come with all sorts of ideas for adventure including both city, town, village and wilderness play.

Starting from the Top Down, I already stetched out a simple color map of the main continent on my game world.  For lack of a better name, I simply call it the "Enchanted World" more so for a point of reference than anything else.  This approach also allows me to see my world in a much larger perspective.  It allows the DM to envision the world as a "living and breathing" dynamic.  Each nation state does not simply exist in a vacuum.  Each is surrounded by both enemies and allies.  Presumably, open trade exists to a certain extent.  No one nation would be able to thrive without the occassional aid from an ally.

Next up, I provide some basic thoughts I jotted down concerning each of the countries of the Enchanted World during my Top Down approach.  I'll follow this up with the smaller map of the Duchy of Fairford I played around with during the Bottom Up approach.
Aerona, the Empire of
A vast and powerful nation ruled by a powerful lich (my BBEG). This "motherland" of Aerona has expanded to control all of the central continent.  Land is dark and eerie with a distinct gothic bend.  Skies over the Imperial Capital are kept gloomy and cloudy at all times. 

Belegond, Kingdom of
The northernmost dwarf realm.  Dwarves of Belegond are known as arms merchants and "gun runners."  They have been known to sell to both sides of a given dispute and therefore are not always entirely trustworthy.  In any case, the Royal House of Silverbeard has grown wealthy in the process.  The land is dotted with heavily fortified underground citadels.

Coronar, Kingdom of
The southernmost dwarf realm.  Dwarwves here are a hearty and adventurous lot known for their expansive sea trade and merchant fleet.  Coronar is both ally and rival to Brychan in the northwest.  Coronar mainly trades with nations along the western coastline of the continent.

Brychan, Theocracy of
A powerful trading hub controlled by a corrupted church of Brannoc, god of commerce, messengers and thieves.  Money freely changes hands in these lands, and not always in an honest fashion.  Most anything may be had in the marketplaces of Brychan.  Politically, the land is a theocracy ruled by clerics within the Brychanite Church.  The Theocrat however is little more than a "godfather" forming a powerful crime family hiding behind the cloak of the faithful.

Brythonia, Caliphate of
A wealthy desert nation of the east ruled by a powerful royal house of dragonborn.  In fact, most members of the upper class of Brythonia are dragonborn humanoids with a penchant for sorcery.  The realm is steeped in deep traditions of hospitality, elementalism and genie lore.

Valoria, Kingdom of
A strategically located nation along the southern tip of the Whitehorn Mountains.  The realm is all that stands between the imperialistic Aeronnian Empire to the East and the freelands of the West.  The Kingdom of Valoria is known for its powerful military and chivalrous orders of knighthood.  The most renown is arguably the Order of the Silver Chalice.  The capital city of Meridia is a large and mighty fortress-city located along the banks of the Silvertine River, an important trade route between east and west.

Merthyria, Kingdom of
A sea-going realm of explorers, navigators, sailors and a bit of piracy.  Merthyria maintains a decent enough infantry but is mainly known for its advanced navy and as such is often at odds with the island Kingdom of Peredur.  Although Merthyrian monarchs often distrust Valorian motivations, they recognize the importance of Valoria as a buffer zone against Aerona and therefore generally offer their eastern neighbor military support.

Norngard, Kingdom of
A free land of simple, agrarian folk known for their bardic traditions.  Allied with Merthyria but often at odds with Valkyria, their chief rival state.  The greatest threat to Norngard sovereignty however remains the wild lands of Utgard to the north.  Norngard is united loosely by a powerful king.

Valkyria, Kingdom of
A barbaric realm located along the peninsula formed at the base of the Snowborn Mountains.  The Valkyrians are known for their long history of invasion and conquest.  This tradition of warfare, altheticism and fitness is widely accepted with the elderly generally assuming more domestic or civil roles.

Peredur, Kingdom of
An independent island kingdom with a fierce spirit of freedom and individuality.  Many folk of Peredur are former Valkyrians who came to this more temperate shores for an easier life.  Peredur is a land regulated by druidic traditions and stories of the faerie folk are common.

Gwytheria, Kingdom of
A powerful elven coastal realm with a deep sense of independence.  Gwytheria shares strong political ties with Tritheria and Merthyria.  The eladrin nobility is mostly reclusive while the elf majority is more open-minded and forward thinking.  The land is known for its vast woodlands some of which contain the oldest trees of the Enchanted Lands.

Tritheria
A unique trifold realm controlled by humans, elves and dwarves.  Most of the villages in this nation are fairly homogenous and dominated by a single race.  The larger urban areas are widely mixed and more heterogenious known as great centers of learning.  The coastline of Tritheria is often plagued by the pirates of Viridia.  The monarchy of Tritheria is elected for a 7 year reign with the crown passes between the three racial scions in a pre-determined manner.
Awesome setting. Really cool stuff.
Hrathgar, Empire of
A powerful dwarven realm in the east and perhaps the last bastion of hope for those free peoples in this region of the Continent.  Hrathgar, and her allies, are all that stand between Aerona and complete domination.  Consequently, the Emperor of Aerona seeks the downfall of Hrathgar so it can turn its attention to the West.  Hrathgar is an elected monarchy with a weak central government and a strong nobility.  All nobles and certain officials of the dwarven faith vote for a secular leader who assumes the title of Emperor of Hrathgar for life.

Durnin, Grand Duchy of
A former fief of Hrathgar, Durnin was granted its independence over a century ago in recognition for the role the Grand Duchy performed in the service of the Empire.  Hrathgar greatly values its former possession as Durnin stands as a major marchland between Empires with Aerona to the West and Hrathgar to the East.  The Grand Duchy is continually at odds with the chaotic forces of Draugmore.  The folk of this realm maintain a number of mountain passes to trade with the nomads of Phrygia on the other side.

Draugmore, March of
A lesser vassal to the Emperor of Aerona, Draugmore still occupies a highly significant place in the Lich-Lords plans for the eastern lands.  Protecting the river frontier between Draugmore and Durnin to the East, the Marquis is known as a powerful Warlord-noble.  Much of the armies in these lands however are simply too chaotic to launch any serious strike.

Pryderia, Kingdom of
The hidden valley of the elves (every world should have one).  The eladrin, elves and other fae of this realm are very isolationist with a tendency toward xenophobia.  Very few humans dwell in this temperate valley and so strangers to this land are rather easy to spot by the local natives.  Strangers to the Kingdom will always be watched and eventually intercepted by their Fae-Majesties Companion Guard for questioning.

Utgard
A frigid land in the far north, this wind swept vale was once home to a number of human barbaric tribes.  These humans werre driven southward long ago by the evern more powerful threat in the form of the giants- frost giants in particular.  Utgard remains at the present just a mild threat simply due to giants inability to unite as one under a single ruler.  In any case, these lands are never safe for the humble traveler.  Strangers are often eaten.

Seralia, Sultanate of
A powerful southeastern land ruled by the Sultan of Seralia.  The central regions of the sultanate are very fertile and agrarian-based.  Seralia serves as a major exporter of foodstuffs to Brythonia, its ally to the south.  Seralia enjoys relative safety as no real threat exists to challenge the Sultan's forces.  Occasional raids from marauders of the Defiant Lands are a constant nuisance more than anything else.  The lands are inhabited by both humans and dragonborn.

Rhuthune/Midwein/Golgathar
Sometimes known as the Lost Lands, these three nations proved easy prey for the Emperor of Aerona and his minions.  Once a united kingdom of some renown, the Lost Lands become fragmented as a result of internal strife, civil war and a virilant plague that dessimated a great portion of the human population.  The Imperial Army of Aerona met little challenge as it poured southward overwhelming what was left of the sovereign governments.  Emperor Malikar has set up puppet rulers in each of these lands who serve as regional governors owing fealty to Aerona alone.

Defiant Lands
An inhospitable rocky peninsula with little in terms of natural resources other than stone.  The Defiant Lands have long resisted any attempt at conquest and remain a region of anarchy populated by wild folk, expatriates and barbarians.  A number of fortified towns and minor city-states line the coastline each at odds with the others.

Galidor, Principality of
A human dominated agrarian realm occupying the strategic valley joining the central continent with the vast plains and steppe of the eatern nomads.  Galidor is often threatened by the horsemen of Volkhov but is supported militarily by both Hrathgar and Seralia.

Volkhov, Khanate of
A vast, unstable steppe and grassland nation populated by barbaric nomads with great skills in horsemanship.  Fiercely protective of its tribal territory and aggressive against external threats, the Khan of Volkov is an ambitious ruler who splits his time launching forays into neighboring Galidor in the west and Jhorund to the southeast.  The light cavalry of Volkhov is particularly fierce.  Known for their ability to move at lightning speed while shooting their curved horn bows with deadly accuracy.  The advance scouts of the cavalry are known to piece the arrowheads in such a fashion so as to cause them to emit a mornful wail when fired through the air.

Jhorund
The onyl truly major region dominated by the more base humanoids, orcs prove the dominate force within these rolling hills and treacherous swamps.  No central government has ever assumed control of Jhorund.  Various tribes of orcs, dragonborn, lizardfolk, humans, goblins and hobgoblins each exist at a constant state of war against the others.  Tribal boundaries are routinely protected with deadly results.

Phrygia, Khanate of
A midly more stable nomadic land of former Volkhov humans, the nomads of Phrygia journeyed north under the banner of their charismatic Khan to live a less agressive living.  Some trade is maintained over the mountains between Phrygia and Durnin.  Although a tempting prize for the Khan of Volkhov, the two lands have always existed in a semi-symbiotic relationship.  Each Khan recognizing the authority of the other.

Viridia
A dreadful land of anarchy and utter chaos.  Viridia is a tropical southland dominated by warlords, barbarians and pirates.  Native beasts are often domesticated by the humanoids to serve as beasts of burden and war mounts.
I like the ideas and tips!  What are you using for mapping, if I might ask?  Reminds me of my lovely, old maps of Mystara, haha.
THE BIGGEST AND BEST TIP EVER!

I'm about to share a trade secret (not really) that is worth its weight in gold!  Those maps are all done in a hex map software that is totally FREE!

Here is the link: inkwellideas.com/roleplaying_tools/hexog...

You just need to download the Java software if your computer doesn't already have it.  The guy who developed it is totally cool.  You can even buy the software from him if you want and keep it downloaded on your computer so you don't always have to be online to work on your maps.

Happy graphing!
Country Design

As you notice on the new map, I narrowed in a bit further from the larger continental map to the close up of one specific kingdom.  Designing a nation really is not too difficult if you use the right resources to help you in your process.

Most DMs seem to realize that creativity involves doing a lot of research and reading.  This is true and there really is no way around it IF you want to have a good quality product in which you can be proud.  If you don't really care about your game world, and a half-arsed attempt is all you want to make then that is your choice.  However, if you are going to do something, isn't it worth doing correctly or at least with some effort?

This is why I like to grab a decent geography book for assistance.  When I look at my overall continent, I start to think up very small ideas about the nature of each country.  What is its character?  How does it relate to its neighbors?  A very helpful tip is to go back to your initial theme for your game world. 

I tend to stick to the ol' tried and true Medieval European themes with a dash of Arabic culture and a few other influences to boot.  With this in mind, I might want to decide which Real World country would be most similar to my imaginary country?  In particular, I look at the physical features like coastline, forests, hill, mountains, etc.  I also consider climate but do not necessarily limit myself.  For example, just because Italy is a warmer climate located on a peninsula in the real world, I might want to make a copy of these powerful city states but plop them in a far northern climate where they are more likely to rely on each other for survival.  Or I can put them around the banks of a inland lake making the water a hotbed of trade and perhaps piracy.

When planning a country, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Mountains tend to follow coastlines.  Most larger urban centers tend to be located along a major water source such as a ocean, lake or river.  Rivers flow from the higher elevations inland toward the lower elevations along the coast.  Prevailing winds tend to blow from the west to the east.  Most moisture falls on the westside of the mountain range leaving the eastside of the mountain range drier and more arid.  Of course, these are ONLY recommendations.  If you really want to toss in a tropical rain forest in the middle of your desert, feel free!  If the players ask, just say "a wizard did it."
The Races of the Enchanted World

Major Races
Dragonborn
Dwarf
Eladrin
Elf
Halfling
Human

Minor Races
Deva
Gnome
Half-elf
Half-orc
Tiefling

Major Races

Dragonborn
The race of the dragonborn are both respected and slightly feared due to the advanced years the race has existed on the Enchanted World and the knowledge they have obtained.  Although pockets of these beings can be found throughout the continent as a result of their inherant wanderlust, the majority of them dwell in the warmer desert and coastal environments.  Dragonborn are the dominant race in the Caliphate of Brythonia, where sages believe the race originated during the Dim Time.

Dwarf
The dwarves are sturdy and steadfast race of beings slightly shorter than humanfolk.  Though shorter in size, dwarves tend to be heavier with a wider girth.  According to their mythology, they are descended from ancient earth spirits created by Benethor, their patron deity.  As such, many dwarves prefer environments  with larger concentrations of rock and stone.  They are found throughout the world but control the Kingdom of Belegond, the Kingdom of Coronar, the Grand Duchy of Durnin and the Empire of Hrathgar.  Dwarves are highly skilled in mining, metalsmithing and handicrafts. 

Eladrin
The eladrin, a race linked with the Faerie Realm, are an elusive and enigmatic folk.  The ignorant call them "high elves" as they are often found in positions of authority over their "lesser" elven cousins.  Eladrin by nature are a long-lived race and tend to take on very different points of view compared to human beings.  They have a tendency to be less short-sighted and possess a great proficiency in the arcane arts.  Eladrin are found in natural locations that possess an ethereal beauty reminding them of their Faerie homeland.  Their numbers are greatest in the Kingdom of Gwytheria and the Kingdom of Pryderia.

Elf
The elves are a related race to the eladrin both of whom have a connection to the world of the Fae.  The elves, sometimes called Wood Elves or Sylvan Elves, are a bit more pragmatic than their eladrin cousins.  Elves are more distrustful and quicker to act. sometimes striking first and asking questions later.  It is mainly this racial propensity that unites them to the Eladrin in a symbiotic relation.  The eladrin often take on positions of authority and rulership while the elves form the warrior and worker castes.  Elves are found in most all major woodlands throughout the Enchanted Land with the greatest concentration occurring in Gwytheria and Pryderia.

Halfling
A race of diminuitive creatures roughly half the height of humans, halflings are a race of mischievious and curious explorers.  Almost nomads by nature, halflings only rarely put down roots for any great length of time.  Some scholars believe this is part of the halfling inate survival instinct.  They keep moving thereby making it more difficult for enemies to track them down.  Those halflings that do establish firm roots often do so around more physically powerful allies, particularly elves or humans.  Halflings are found in most all nations throughout the Enchanted World but control no nation of their own.

Humans
Humans, as a result of their more adaptable characteristics, are the most proficient race of the Enchanted World.  Humans are found in nearly all manner of environments and control a large portion of the landmass.  Other races find this tendency somewhat offensive as humankind has a almost unnatural need for power and conquest.  As such, they are also more easily influenced by other races forming a number of "offshoot races" which mixed elements of both parents.

Minor Races

Deva
The deva are fairly rare within the Enchanted World as they are a result of a union between a supernatural creature from the Upper Planes and a human being.  Devas exist in the Material Plane to advance the cause of good but primarily to counter the efforts of the tieflings whom they often oppose either directly or indirectly.  Of course, not all deva are of good alignment.  Taking on a physical form subjects the deva to as much temptation as any other mortal being resulting in the deva's fall from grace.  Devas are considered a true race as they breed true.  Deva offspring are also devas.  Devas are found in many areas but are never the dominant race.  Many tend to operate in secret so as to avoid drawing undue attention.

Gnome
Nature spirits assuming physical form, the gnomes are on average a good-natured species sharing aspects of several races.  Similar to the dwarf, the gnome is lover of metalsmithing and crafts.  they tend to show a preference to gemcraft and jewelry making as opposed to pure iron and other hard metals.  Similar to elves, gnomes also enjoy pastoral settings of unspoiled woodland where they may practice their talents in peace.  Similar to halflings, gnomes also have a great love of mischief and adventure which can sometimes get them into trouble.  Most gnomes refer either Benethor, god of earth or Meru Seedmother, goddess of nature.  Gnomes are mainly found in temperate climates often prefering underground burrow villages in forested hills.

Half-elf
The result of a union between an elf and a human (or an offspring from another half-elf), half-elves are also a true race.  Similar to the deva and the half-orc, they breed true always resulting in a half-elf child.  Half-elves are rare in any case but generally have a great love for life and a joy of living.  They tend to get along well with most all races and can be found in most any environment.  On average, they are found in regions with both a large human and elven population.

Half-orc
The result of a union between an orc and a human (or an offspring from another half-orc), half-orcs are also a true race.  Similar to the deva and the half-elf, they breed true always resulting in a half-orc child.  Since their parentage often includes a member of the aggressive orc race, such unions are generally not happy ones.  Half-orcs are sometimes abandoned in infancy and left to die so such a creature is rare indeed.  Those few that do survive are highly resilient as a result and learn to take care of themselves at an early age.  Half-orcs are more common in the far east near the lands of Jhorund as well as the central lands around the Aerona Empire.

Tiefling
The tiefling are fairly rare within the Enchanted World as they are a result of a union between a supernatural creature from the Lower Planes and a human.  Though free-willed creatures, tieflings often exist within the Material Plane to spread the cause of evil or advance the agenda of their fiendish parent.  Not all tieflings are evil, however, as they are free-willed to choose their own path.  Some see the error of their heritage and seek to overcome the darkness that taints their soul.  Tieflings are a true race, similar to the deva, in that their offspring are also tieflings.  Tieflings are found in many environments but vastly prefer large, urban settings.  Their numbers are more common throughout the Aerona Empire.


Styles of Government

Monarchy
A government headed by a monarch, or a single ruler, often of noble or royal birth.  Monarchies can be headed by any rank of nobility and not just a king or queen.  An independent nation governed by a single Duke would stil be considered a monarchy.  Monarchies can be absolute, with the ruler holding complete power, or limited/constitution with certain limits placed on the ruler and the remaining powers held by some other form of governmental body such as a Parliament or Advisory Council.  Monarchies are the most common form of government found within the Enchanted World.

Autocracy
A government ruled by a single individual, not necessarily of noble or royal birth, who retains absolute and total control over all aspects of life and liberty within the nation.  Often called a dictatorship or despotism.  Though this term is not widely used in the Enchanted World, the Empire of Aerona is technically an autocracy as is the Caliphate of Brythonia.

Oligarchy
Government by committee where several ranking members share power.  Selenir is an oligarchy.

Theocracy
Government by the religious.  Technically, a theocracy is 'rule by god' but in the sense of the Enchanted World, theocracies are government by the divine representatives or high priests.  Brychan is a theocracy governed by the church of Brannoc, god of commerce.

Matriarchy
Government by women or the female aspect.  In matriarchies, the females will hold all positions of power and authority as well as make all laws.  Men will often hold subserviant roles or be non-existant.

Magocracy
Government by wizards or arcane users.  Truly an aspect of a fantasy world, magocracies recognize the power between magic and power and authority.  In such a government, wizards and sorcerers are often elevated in society and hold all positions of government.  Non-spellcasters would likely be seen as lower class citizens or even worse.

Democracy
A government by the people.  A true democracy is very rare as most countries would practice representative democracy.  In such a government, the people are considered the true authority though they elect others to represent them in government.  This form of government presumes that the elected official acts in such a manner as to advance the will of their constituents.

Plutocracy
Government by the wealthy.  Only recognized citizens with a certain degree of advance wealth or land ownership control the government or are allowed a vote. 

Confederation
A government formed through the union of several groups, tribes or nations united for some common purpose.  In most confederations, the individual groups, tribes or nations control their own affairs to come to together to form a limited central government whose authority is usually limited to common defense or foreign relations.

Many of the nation-states of the Enchanted World will share aspects of several forms of government.
Social Ranking and Hierarchy

As players interact with other NPCs within the Enchanted World, it is important to recognize the concept of social standing.  This is particularly important within the various noble and royal courts throughout the continent.  Addressing an official by the inappropriate style or recognizing a lesser noble before a higher ranking noble could be catestrophic. 

This chart might help:

Emperor / Caliph / Shah / Khakhan / Maharajah
King / Khan / Sultan / Padishah / Theocrat
Archduke / Archcleric / Archmage / Patriarch
Grand Duke / Elector
Grand Prince
Duke / Count Palatine / Pfalzgraf / Herzog
Prince / Emir / Furst / Cardinal / Rajah
Marquess / Marquis / Archbishop
Margrave / Landgrave
Count / Earl / Pasha / Graf / Bishop / Prelate / Abbott
Viscount
Baron / Bey
Baronet
Knight Commander
Knight

Nobles versus Royals

There is a very important difference between the terms "nobility" and "royalty."  Royalty implies a higher status than nobility.  Someone who is considered royal is a member of the ruling Royal House of the country.  It is up to the reigning sovereign of each nation to designate who is considered "royal."

In general, the monarch, their spouse and their children are all members of the Royal Family.  In many instances, this might also be expanded to the monarch's grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as the brothers and sisters of the monarch.

In rare instances, a monarch's brothers- and sisters-in-law and the monarch's nieces and nephews can be included in the Royal Family.  Even rarer still, every male descendant of a monarch could be considered a member of the Royal line though they may or may not possess a title (as it was in Medieval France).

Nobles, on the other hand, are either of aristocratic birth or were granted their title by the monarch.  Only the reigning monarch may grant titles and the title may either be granted for the person's lifetime or inperpituity and therefore passed down through the peron's heirs.  Most members of the nobility are granted a portion of land or goods in addition to this title and therefore owe some form of fealty to the liege lord.  This is not always the case however, particularly in the Empire of Hrathgar were many minor nobles can claim their titles and nothing else.  Some nobles other than the monarch may also possess the power to grant certain noble titles as is the case within the Empire of Hrathgar.

In the majority of systems, noble and royal titles are passed down through the male line.  One would inherit a title only if the male parent was of noble birth.  A mother who was noble or royal by birth would still retain her title but could not pass it on to the child unless she was the reigning monarch.  For example, if the Princess of Fairford, a daughter of the Duke, would deside to marry someone of lesser standing, her children would take their rank or title from their father.  She would still be considered a princess but her children would not be unless their father was of sufficient rank.  If the father were a commoner, the children would have no title at all.  If she married someone of higher rank, she would gain her husband's rank and their children would gain titles through the father as normal.

Elven Noble and Royal Houses do NOT practice this gender-based exclusion.  Male and female descendants are treated equally and receive title and/or dues based on whichever is the higher ranking parent.

Children of Imperial Sovereigns usually gain the title of Grand Duke/Grand Duchess or Prince/Princess.
Children of Kingly Sovereigns usually gain the title of Prince/Princess during their minority.  Once they are married, they will usually be elevated to the title of Duke/Duchess but this is subject to the will of the sovereign.
Children of Archdukes, Grand Dukes or Dukes are titled Prince/Princess.
Children of Princes are titled Prince/Princess.
Children of Marquess', Margraves, Counts or Barons do not automatically receive a title.  The heir may be given one of the father's subsidiary titles, if any, as his official style.  In general, children of such nobles are simply styled and greeted the same as their father and may use the term "Lord" or "Lady" before their surname. 
Children of Baronets or Knights do not gain any special title or greeting other than what is custom.

Styles of Greeting

Royals of Imperial Rank (Emperor, Caliph, etc) are styled "Imperial Majesty" (HIM) and greeted "Your Imperial Majesty."
Royals of Kingly Rank (King, Queen, Sultan, etc) are styled "Majesty" (HM) and greeted "Your Majesty."
Royals of Princely or Ducal Rank are styled "Royal Highness" (HRH) and greeted "Your Royal Highness."
Nobles of Princely or Ducal Rank are styled "Highness" (HH) and greeted "Your Highness" or "Your Grace."
Nobles of Marquess or Margrave Rank are styled "The Most Honorable Lordship/Ladyship" and greeted "Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship."
Nobles with the Rank of Count to Baron are styled "The Right Honorable Lordship/Ladyship" and greeted "Your Lordship" or "Your Ladyship."
Nobles with the rank of Baronet or Knight are styled "Sir/Dame" and greeted "Sir" or "M'Lady."

Parade of Nations

Every DM I know has their favorite way of presenting their nations.  I prefer the format found in the World of Greyhawk for its simplicity and thoroughness.  Each nation will be presented in due time in the following format.  Refer to each section for definitions and meaning.

Official Name: The legally official name that the country refers to itself on official documents.
Ruler: The name of the current head of government.  In addition to the individual name, this section will also include that ruler's official rank or title, alignment, gender, race and class.
Government: This section includes information on the basic structure of the ruling government and its basic functions.  Notes on the sovereign's power and influence are included as well as information on how transfer of power is handled.
Coat of Arms: This section details, in strict heraldic terminology, the coat of arms for the nation.  The national coat of arms will sometimes be the personal arms of the sovereign or it may be one for the nation in general.  The coat of arms is a legally registered design that can only be used by the registrant or their designated carriers.  The coat of arms will often be displayed on national flags, banners as well as the surcoats of the military.
Other Notables: This section will include a brief list of some of the more prominent members of the sovereign's court as well as any outstanding members of society at large.
Population: This section will include the base population of the nation, rounded up.  The number will generally only reflect legal citizens of the nation and therefore may or may not include slaves, refugees, ex-patriates or humanoids dwelling in the remote fringes of society and therefore not counted in an official census.
Capital: The name of the capital city and therefore the seat of government where most official buildings are found. 
Major Towns: A brief list of the larger cities and towns in the nation.  Communities with a population below 5000 will generally not be included unless there is some special significance to this community.
Alignments: A list of the more prominent alignments expressed by the majority of the population.  The list will only include alignments shared by at least 5% of the population so minor alignments may not be included.
Resources: This section will list those resources, if any, that the nation is able to export on a frequent basis.  Some nations may have so few resources as to be unable to export and this will also be noted here. 
Major Religions: Listed from the more prominent deity to the least, this section will list the most popular faiths within the nation.  Some folk may pay homage to numerous deities or none at all.  Only those faiths represented by at least 5% of the population will be listed.  Note all religions will be recognized by the state so some may be practiced in secret.  Any official, state-sanctioned religions will be marked by as *.
Military: A brief list of the nation's military strength.  In general, the number will represent about 5% of the population and includes only the standing army.  Mercenary troops or local militias are not included in the official number.  More details of the military will be described in the Overview section of each nation. 
Allies: A list of any nations or groups allied with the nation for purposes of economics or defense.
Enemies: A list of those nations that may be actively hostile with the nation.


Overview: This section of the glossography will provide a description of current national boundaries, prominent geographic features and climate.  Unusual flora or fauna may be listed as well.  Following this will be more details on the ruler and the ruling government.  Finally, a description of the nation's military situation, details on any current campaigns and perhaps overt operations will be listed here.

A nation that keeps 5% of its population in a standing army is an extremely rich one.  Not even the United States keeps 5% in arms except in times of war between industrialized nations.
A wizard did it.  Actually, you raise a valid point.  You can assume that this 5% is NOT entirely funded by the central government.  As many of the nations practice feudalism, a certain percentage of the standing army will be financied by the ruler while the remaining will be financed by the various nobles or leading citizens.  Whether these secondary sources are housed in government garrisons or maintained as personal standing armies, they are still included in the 5% figure as they are on active duty.

You also can't compare "modern" military statistics to a Medieval or Fantasy world.  Other factors may influence these numbers that aren't taken into account in the modern world.
AERONA

Official Name: Fell-Empire of Aerona
Ruler: His Imperial Malevolence, Malekar the Eternal (evil male lich, Wiz 30), Lich-Lord of Aerona
Government: Independent autocracy ruled by an undead emperor; emperor appoint several of his most trusted lieutenants to rule sections of the Empire but he has the final word in all matters
Coat of Arms: Arms sable with base chevron purpure charged with a Dragon, Rampant, gules
Notables: Cadavex (evil male human, Ftr 25)
Population: 300,000 (human 40%, orc 25%, hobgoblin 15%, tiefling 7%, dwarf 5% , dragonborn 4%, gnoll 4%)
Capital: Lugdotha (pop. 31,400)
Major Towns: Bloodpool (pop. 16,700), Druxia (pop. 22,900), Hexfield (pop. 9,000)
Alignments: Evil, Unaligned, Chaotic Evil
Resources: Foodstuffs, furs, copper, some ivory
Major Religions: Kharon, Tormac, Molghur
Military: 45,000 (includes mostly orc and hobgoblin light and medium infantry augmented by human spearmen, light cavalry and heavy cavalry)
Allies: Golgathar, Rhuthune, Midewin, Draugmore
Enemies: Durnin, Hrathgar,l Valoria

Overview: The Fell-Empire of Aerona serves as a blight of humanity upon the Enchanted World.  Once a minor collection of humanoid clan holdings, the land was united under the resolve of a powerful lich, himself a petty noble during his mortal life.  The Imperial Domain, which includes Aerona Proper, is bound by the Hibernian Ocean to the North, the Vesper River along the West and South and the mighty Stormcrest Sea to the East.  The principle feature of this land are the vast rocky grassland steppes that stretch across the middle of the domain.  Low lying hills undulate along the southern branch of the Vesper slowing the rivers journey toward the Stormcrest and filling much of its valleys with marshes and swamps.  An expansive coniferous forest land known as the Scragwood forms much of the northern provinces while partially shielding the land from the bitter winds off the Hibernia.  Famous for its long, harsh winters, the season is contributed by icy winds that roar across the central plains.  Snow covers about half the country almost six months of the year with the farther northern lands covered by a layer of permafrost year round.

The Empire is controlled by a horrible figure known simply as the Lich-Lord.  One of the most powerful wizards in the entire realm, the Emperor Malekar rules through both might and fear.  His ultimate goal being total domination of the Enchanted World, he remains content absorbing small portions of land and territory for time is on his side.  Malekar is a lich afterall and therefore a vile creature of the undead.  His moniker "the Eternal" attests to the fact that he virtually immortal and therefore can afford to act on the side of caution.

Aerona commands an enormous military, perhaps one far too large for a nation of this size.  Much of this is a result of the large population of orcs and hobgoblins that have dwelled in this region or poured into the valleys upon the lich's ascension.  Much of these well armed and armored soldiers are kept in separate platoons as even the most commanding of generals can keep the normally openly hostile humanoids from tearing at each other.  Instead, they are kept busy on long distance raids or assaults to test the defenses of the dwarven lands to the East.  This somewhat chaotic structure is one of the saving graces that prevents the Emperor's armies from simply anihilating the adjacent kingdoms through shear numbers.

Belegond



Official Name: The Kingdom of Belegond
Ruler: His Majesty, King Belvar "the Bold" Gildedtongue, Laird of Deepdale (Unaligned male dwarf, Warlord 18)
Government: Independent monarchy with selective rulership; monarch chosen from the legislative body of clan elders who must be male dwarves; king serves for life and acts as Head of State
Coat of Arms: Arms or with a border azure charged with two crossed seax, argent
Other Notables: Queen Abilyn (Unaligned female dwarf, Bard 11), Laird Niflung, Clan Elder of Hammerhold (Unaligned male dwarf, Paladin 12), Laird Tuvold, Clan Elder of Stortower (Unaligned male dwarf, Warlord 16); Archcleric Dwalin Earthcaller (Unaligned male dwarf, Cleric 16 of Benethor)
Population: 250,000 (dwarf 60%, gnome 15%, human 12%, dragonborn 5%, halfling 5%, other 3%)
Capital: Deepdale (pop. 65,000)
Major Towns: Hammerhold (pop. 8,000), Stortower (pop. 9,000), Kingfisher (pop. 4,200)
Alignments: Unaligned, Good, Evil, Lawful good
Resources: Iron ore, stone, furs, seafood, gems, gold, silver
Major Religions: Benethor, Nerthys, Brannoc, Meru
Military: 11,000 (composed primarily of dwarven heavy infantry, augmented by gnomish slingers and human longbowmen and light-medium cavalry)
Allies: Norngard, Selenir
Enemies: Utgard

Overview: The dwarven realm of Belegond is the northernmost realm of the dwarves in the Enchanted World.  Surrounded on three sides by the great Whitehorn Mountain range, the nation is highly defensive with only its eastern border exposed as it joins the Hibernian Ocean.  Because of its location, the country tends to be cooler than nations to the south.  Its climate does vary greatly however between the southern and northern provinces.  Most farming occurs only within the region around the capital city and to the southeast near the Province of Stortower.  Most of the remaining land is too arid or rocky to produce adequate food supply and so the inhabitants fall to herding and mining.  Along the ocean coastline, fishing remains a lucrative industry throughout most of the year.  Large numbers of caribou, elk and reindeer provide the Belegondians with both food and skins.

As mentioned, Belegond is primarily a dwarven realm though a significant number of humans and gnomes also call this valley home.  The dwarven majority are a clever and shrewd folk relying on their craft and skill at weaponmaking and armorsmithing.  Of course, the dwarven craftsmen will argue that the simple pleasure of their art brings them the greatest joy.  Of course the great amount of profit such an industry provides does not hurt either.  In fact, the dwarves are willing to sell to just about anyone if the price is right.  They have even been known to provide arms and armor to both sides of a conflict often going through an intermediary to prevent their customers from discovering this disception.  Currently, large volumes of superbly fashioned weapons, shields and armors flow south of the border to both the Aeronian Empire and the Kingdom of Valoria thought the dwarves will adamently deny this.  King Belvar is a cunning manipulator who practically bought his seat on the throne.  "Greed is good" is his motto and he loves nothing better than to see the Royal coffers spill over with coins of all sort.

The dwarves are no fools.  They realize that playing to both sides could potentially erupt in their face and so they maintain a strong defense at all times.  The southern border, particularly along the southeast and at the headwaters of the Vesper River are lined with castles and watch towers.  A system of signal fires is maintained throughout the kingdom to alert all in case of trouble and to allow the king to muster the Royal Militia.  Even the major communities of this land are studies in the defensive arts.  Heavily fortified, the greatest of them are thought to be virtually impregnable to attack.  Many in face are build below the surface to provide both a more than adequate means of protection as well as a possible means of escape in the unlikely event of a breech.  The King and the Clan Elders maintain a sizable force of fighters heavily armed carrying sword, axe, hammer or mattock.  These units of heavy infantry are enough to make most would-be attackers think twice before launching a head-on assault.
BRYCHAN

Official Name:
The Theocracy of Brychan
Ruler: His Preeminence, Theocrat Benin, Holy Father of the Exchange (Evil male human, Cleric/Rogue 21)
Government: In theory, an independent theocracy with all positions of government held by members of the Brannoc faith; in reality, the church is corrupt to its core; the Theocrat controls the flow of all goods but each high ranking Prelate operates a portion of an advanced crime syndicate
Coat of Arms: Per pale, vert and gules, charged with an octopus sable
Other Notables: Prelate Doffo, Emissary of Humanoid Relations (Unaligned male human, Cleric 16), Prelate Mino, Emissary of Acquisitions (Evil male human, Cleric 15)
Population: 450,000 (Human 65%, dwarf 15%, halfling 7%, dragonborn 5%, tiefling 4%, elf 3%, other 1% (mainly gnomes and some half-elf and half-orcs)
Capital: Mercuria City (pop. 75,000)
Major Towns: Casile (pop. 24,000), Bagheria (pop. 14,000), Valenza (pop. 29,000)
Alignments: Unaligned, Evil, Good, Lawful Good, Chaotic Evil
Resources: Wool, fine wines, silver, olive oil, textiles
Major Religions: Brannoc*, Meru, Kronum, Tormac
Military: 13,500 (consists mainly of light infantry (longbowmen), medium infantry and light and medium cavalry; naval force includes 4 warships and 6 cogs)
Allies: Valoria, Merthyria, Tritheria, Gwytheria, Defiant Lands, Coronar (sometimes)
Enemies: Rhuthune, Midewin, Golgathar, Aerona, Coronar (sometimes)

Overview: Brychan is nestled along the southwesterns shores of the Brightwater between the lake and the mountains.  Much of the countryside is rocky and mountainous with such topography covering up to 40% of the land.  Little of region is conducive to farming other than along the lakeshore and along the riverbanks of the Terni and Bo Rivers, each of which flow from the mountains into the Brightwater dividing Brychan into four unequal quarters. Grain, (wheat and barley), almonds, lemons, olives and grapes are the largest cash crops.  Some farmers also operate terrace farming farther inland.  The climate is mild throughout most of the year with winter averages of 45F and 79F in the summer.  The land gets most of its rain during the winter months while the summers tend to be semi-arid and dry.  Much of this is due to the sirocco winds that blow across the Brightwater. 

To all outward appearances, the State is a devout nation dedicated to the god of commerce.  Here, the process of buying and selling has been developed into almost an artform.  The clerics of Brannoc control most all aspects of life in Brychan and oversee commercial trade out of devotion to their deity.  However, the particular cult of Brannoc within these lands has grown corpulant with greed and corruption over the years.  The Theocrat uses his holy office to shield a vast network of black marketeers, slavery, assassination and smuggling.   Each of his Prelates are charged with the overseeing of particular aspects of this emorous outfit, often carrying colloquial titles that hide a more sinister truth.  The Emissary of Humanoid Relations is in fact responsible for the slave trade while Aquisitions implies the acquiring of goods both above and below board.  Naturally great lengths are taken to disguise these undercover operations.  Many nations are either oblivious to this fact or, more likely, simply do not care as the trade vessels of Brychan carry forth vast amounts of wealth.  Of course, the Brannocites control both the military and policing bodies within this realm.  In order to operate effectively, such officials sometimes are required to turn a blind eye or perhaps accept a bribe.  The nation is not completely lawless however and any transaction that is carried out carelessly or if the participants are "caught in the act," the law can intercede.  In these cases, justice can be quite swift and perhaps unfair so as to further illustrate to the outside world a most honorable society.  After all, Brannoc is the god of thieves as well as merchants.

The military of Brychan is modest and mostly used to guard the trade routes that cross the country.  Marines sail the Brightwater to protect trading vessels from pirates.  Armed soldiers generally are dispatched with larger merchant caravans to protect the supply routes from bandits along the major land routes.  A number of forts and military garrisons are established along the southwestern mountains to defend against possible monster attacks.  Such stations will also serve as way stops for government officials as they collect protection money from the various farms and villages.
BRYTHONIA

Official Name:
The Caliphate of Brythonia
Ruler: His Sublime Magnificence, Caliph Ordu of Brythonia, Keeper of the Flame (Unaligned male dragonborn, Sor 26)
Government: Independent monarchy with appointed rulership ruled by a Caliph; the Caliph appoints a seven member Council of Ministers to assist him but he has final word; the caliph also appoints his own successor who may be any noble dragonborn creature but is generally a member of the Imperial Family
Coat of Arms: Arms blanc charged with phoenix Gules
Other Notables: Sultan Jego of Garunda (Evil male dragonborn, Sor 19); Pasha Ormin of Qasir (Good male dragonborn, Paladin 14)
Population: 625,000 (dragonborn 65%, human 15%, dwarf 8%, halfling 5%, half-elf 3%, half-orc 3%, other 1%)
Capital: Shalizan (pop. 90,000)
Major Towns: Garunda (pop. 15,000), Ghorim (pop. 45,000), Khazud (pop. 20,000), Qasir (pop. 18,000), Suriya (pop. 30,000)
Alignments: Unaligned, Good, Lawful Good, Evil, Chaotic Evil
Resources: Camels, dates, rare spices, gold, some gems
Major Religions: Nerthys, Ainu, Solovar, Kronum, Galdor
Military: 30,000 (consists primarily of light infantry, light cavalry and medium cavalary; navy of 10 warships and 6 cogs)
Allies: Seralia, Galidor
Enemies: Defiant Lands, Viridia, Jhorund

Overview: Brythonia is the ancient homeland of the dragonborn of the Enchanted World.  Located in the far southeast of the continent, the caliphate is tucked securely between the Azure Sea and the Dragonspire Mountains.  Largely made of a vast, crescent-shaped plateau of mostly sandy desert, some areas within the hinterland are exposed volcanic rock.  To the west of this plateau, the land gently drops as one approaches the Azure Sea.  The shoreline is more flat than the hinterland are lined with swamps and salt flats.  A vast swathe of hostile desert known as the Forsaken Land occupies the south-central region of the plateau.  Few humanoid creatures dwell here save for the few nomadic tribes that move across the region.  The Forsaken Land is said to be haunted by the great and powerful genies, elemental spirits of terrible power.  To the east of the plateau, the land forms a steep escarpment running parallel to the Dragonspire Mountains and forming a narrow valley.  Brythonia has a number of short rivers that run from the central springs and oases to the coast.  The Forsaken Land can go without rain for long periods of time but the coastline and mountain valley see an occasional downpour.  Inland, the winters are cool with frost often forming at night but in summer temperatures can rise to over 120F.

The current reigning monarch is the Caliph of Brythonia, a wise and ancient dragonborn sorcerer.  Few in the Enchanted World can rival his power and he rules these lands with a firm grip.  He is no tyrant, however, and allows each of the noble rulers of the various city-states to govern their lands as they see fit.  Each noble may be required to pay their respects to the Imperial Court from time to time but most keep to themselves, involved in all manner of secretive machinations.  The Caliph is the highest ranking Royal of Brythonia.  Unlike other lands, the throne is not secured with the birth of a male heir.  Though no females have ever ruled in their own right, there is no law forbidding this concept.  Only a dragonborn creature of noble birth may be chosen to succeed the Caliph however.  No other place in the world is more exciting or intriging than the Imperial Court during the time when the Caliph chooses his heir.  The nobles from all over Brythonia venture to the Capital in person or via their emissary to make themselves known, bend the ear of the Caliph, bestow gifts and bribes and keep tabs on their rivals.  Each city-state of Brythonia owes fealty to the Caliph but is ruled by various sultans, pashas, princes and emirs.  Rulership is often viewed as a meritocracy, with the crown being rewarded to the noble with the best ability to govern and keep the Caliphate together.

All nobles of Brythonia maintain small forces of mercenaries, private armies and personal guards.  Each is also required to send either individuals or tribute in kind to the Caliph to support to Grand Army of Brythonia.  This formidable force protects the Motherland from outside threats as well as help to maintain the peace and safety of all its citizens.  Stationed primarily within the Capital City of Shalizan, garrisons are also maintained throughout the nation to protect trade routes, borders and pilgrimage sites.

History: Arguably one of the more powerful nations of the Enchanted World, Brythonia is in reality but a shadow of its once even more formidable past.  The crown jewel of the east, the Caliphs once ruled a vast dragonborn empire that spread both south and east.  The nation was at the apex of mathematics, science and languages as well as arcane study over its three thousand year history.  Historically, many of the dragonborn nobility pursued what they viewed as the enlightened practice of sorcery and the study of the ancient elements of air, earth, fire and water.   In time, this practice turned to an elite system of cabals each dedicated to a specific element.  Great rivalries developed between the increasingly influential cabals until the 6th century of the current Age when open warfare erupted.  What became known as the Elemental Wars, the various dragonborn sorcerers, wielding their potent energies, virtually annihilated one another, along with much of the empire, during the final climatic battle called the Great Conflagration.

Those who survived the wars banded together and journeyed northward toward the lands now known as Brythonia under the protection and guidance of its mighty Caliphs leaving mostly barren wastelands in their wake.  These Great Migrations initially put a burden on the resources of Brythonia's cities but in time, the refugees were accepted and adapted into the collective whole.  Even though but a fraction of its former glory, Brythonia remains a land of power, influence and adventure.
A Basic Treatise on Commonfolk

For a little touch of "reality," I always liked to throw into the mix some more realistic living conditions when it comes to the common folk that the PCs will likely encounter as they journey across the campaign world.  Similar to our real world, how one person lives is greatly dependent on WHERE they live as well as their SOCIAL STATUS.  Humans that live in a tropical climate will live in a vastly different style of housing than say someone who lives in a temperate/urban setting.

In the case of this "Enchanted World," the base categorical differences are Western/Central Continental, Northwestern, Imperial Dwarven, Southeastern Desert and Eastern Nomadic.  Additional details will be given to cover differences between rural and urban settings within each of these categories.

Western/Central Continental


A standard "Wattle and Daub" peasant farm house

The image above will be what the Player Characters will most likely see as they journey through the countries in the Western and Central regions of the Enchanted World.  The most difficult aspect for our modern sensibilities to grasp is just how difficult the average peasant lived back in the Medieval Times.  I know other DMs who have taken these concepts and tweeked them a bit to make it a bit LESS primitive.  That is perfectly fine as it is YOUR game world afterall.  I merely like to keep things "real" and go from there.

As the image illustrates, the average peasant dwelling was quite simple.  Homes where made out of a basic timber frame with an arched roof.  The non-load bearing spaces in the walls would then be filled with "wattle and daub."  Wattle consisted of a tight woven framework of tree branches (hickory or willow was generally preferred).  This lattice work filled the spaces between the timber supports on the four walls.  Over this wattle was smeared "daub."  Daub was a muddy/clay mixture composed of wet earth, straw, lime and cow dung.  The whole mixture would dry into a rock-like texture which became brittle as it aged and would need to be continually repatched over the years.

Over the roof beams, the peasants would cut large bundles of thatch.  Thatch was the most common roof covering available in the country within this region of the continent.  Larger urban areas however often passed civic laws restricting the use of thatch as it was also very flammable.  Some urban areas required commonfolk to use wood shingles, slate or stone tiles which would be less likely to ignite.  Thatch roofs in the country would be favorite hide aways for small birds, bees, wasps and mice.  The peasant family might also hang hides of salted meat in the rafters to slowly smoke over the open hearth below.

Internior spaces in these rural homes were not the most comfortable.  The floor in the average peasant's dwelling was simple bare earth packed down and covered with reeds or rushes from the nearby waterway or marsh.  In the center of the floor was placed a large, flat stone slab that served as the family hearth.  A fire was keep burning on this slab at all times as it was the only source of light and heat for the inhabitants of the house.  Cooking was also often done over this fire and the smoke would rise up, fill the rafters and slowing escape through small smoke holes cut into either the top of the roof or along the two sides of the A-frame.

A peasant's life revolved around this central hearth.  There were generally no separate rooms.  The structure was a simple, large one-room space.  However, some folks may built basic wooden wall dividers to section off portions of the home to allow for more privacy.  The whole family, in any case, lived, ate and slept in this common area around the hearth.  Even the family animals would all be brought inside at night.  This would include cows, oxen, sheep, dogs, cats, etc.  The animals would usually be fenced off on one end of the room while the family shared the other room.  The main reason for this was the simple fact that these farm animals were the most important form of support by providing both food and skin or wool.  Farmers of course would also use the oxen to pull the heavy plow in the fields to grow the crops on their personal strips of land as well as that belonging to their local lord.

Furnishings would be generally basic at the most since most peasants could barely afford much else.  A trestle table, a couple of benchs and a wood chest or cupboard would be about all one would find in such simple country homes.  Wealthier familes might own a wood bed frame topped with a matress stuffed with straw.  Only the master and his wife would sleep on the bed, however.  Remaining family members would roll out reed mats and sleep right on the dirt floor around the fire.

Outside, the "homestead" was roughly divided into two sections.  The yard containing the home itself was called the "toft" and would be either paved with cobblestones or left bare.  The family animals would be allowed to wonder the toft which would be generally fenced in as required.  The larger portion of land, directly behind the house, was called the "croft."  The croft would be the fertile land where the family would plant their personal gardens.  Basic food staples such as cabbage, onions, peas and beans were a necessity to survive the year.  Herbs would also be grown to provide preservatives and flavoring for the food.  Small fenced-in pens might also be kept on the croft for chickens, geese, etc.


Basic urban dwellings

Urban structures were similar to the rural homes in terms of the materials used.  However, urban buildings were generally made into multi-storied structures as city space would be a premium.  Each subsequent floor would be built slightly larger than the one below it creating the effect of the overhang as illustrated in the photo above.  This overhang helped to protect the lower floors from weather while also allowing the higher floors to have more living space.  The side effect would be less light reaching the street level.  This is particularly true if the street itselt was very narrow.  If stone was easily acquired in the region, it might be added to the main floor to provide support to the overall structure.

Urban buildings with more than one floor would be divided into work and living space.  The first floor, which would open onto the street or alley, would be the business space or workshop.  A single door opened into the space.  The front of the room would be filled with the merchant wares for display.  A large shuttered window opening onto the street would be opened with a top and bottom shutter.  The bottom shutter had wood legs to provide a display table to set out the merchandise.  The upper shutter open out to overhang the table to protect against the rain.  At the back of the main floor would be a smaller room used as an office and counting room.  The remaining floors would be used as living space for the merchant's family, servants or tenants.  Generally the merchant and his or her family required all the floors in the building.  The second floor containing kitchen and "hall."  The top floors would be for sleeping.  If the family was small, or there were extra floors,  merchant might rent out space to other families or visitors.  Even the most modest of merchants in city would often hire at least one kitchen servant to help with the chores and this servant would often live in the house as well.
Northwestern Home Styles

As one moves northward, toward the realm of the barbarians, the style of homes changes to reflect the colder climate.  The traditional home is known as the "longhouse."


Traditional northwestern longhouse

Throughout much of the kingdoms of Valkyria, Norngard, Belegond and even Selenir.  With wood being more easily acquired, the northern barbarians use it almost exclusively in their construction.  Longhouses are roughly 20' wide and anywhere from 50' to 250' long depending on the homeowner's wealth and social position.  Most are built around wooden frameworks on simple stone footings to provide extra support.  The walls themselves are made of flat wooden planks (as illustrated in the image above), logs or with wattle and daub. 

Within the longhouse, you will find a large open space containing 2 rows of wooden posts that run the length of the building to support the roof beams.  These posts divide each interior space into three long aisles while also taking the weight of the roof off the walls.  As a result, the walls will tend to bow out toward the center of the structure making them wider in the middle compared to the two ends which provides a bit more living space within.  The central aisle is left open and has a floor of packed earth sprinkled with ashes from the house fire.  Mice will occasionally scurry by.  The central aisle also contains one or more fire circles (depending on the length of the house) or a long fire pit that runs the length of the aisle.  These fire sites provide light and heat and were also used for cooking.  Some with also lined with hearth stones with compartments for warming food and storing cooking utensils.  The smoke from the fire would escape through a hole in the roof which also allowed light to enter the interior space.

On both sides of the central aisle, the family would construct wooden benches topped with wooden planks.  These platforms were used for sitting, eating, working and sleeping and would often be the only piece of furniture in the structure.  Rarely would the home have windows since winter chill was often a problem.  Additional light would therefore come from handmade stone lamps.  The stone lamps were simply a flattened piece of stone with a small depression.  Fish liver oil, seal or whale oil was poured into this depression along with a wick made from fifa (cottongrass) weeds, which grow in adunbance throughout the northern climate.  The lamps were usually only needed in the evenings however as the hearth fire and the smoke hole in the roof allowed more than enough light during the day.

Since the family used the wooden platforms for sitting and sleeping, they would be made more comforatble by tossing a few sheepskins and woolen blankets.  Other than these platforms, the only other furniture would be a trestle table, a box-bed for the master and mistress and perhaps a few wooden stools.  Wealthier families would have more furniture with perhaps a few larger wooden handcarved chairs.  The box-bed would be enclosed in a side aisle and topped with a mattress of straw and covered with animal skin.  Weapons often hung nearby.  Wealthy families may also have linen sheets, silken quilts and pillows.

A few longhouses may also have a raised loft space built at one end of the structure opposite of the front door.  This loft space would generally be too dark and cold for sleeping during the Winter but could be comfortable in the Summer.  Primarily, it would be used to store food or supplies.  The trestle table would be store up in the roof rafters when not in use and taken down for meals.  A few wooden chests and a vertical loom would complete the furnishings.  Spaces under the wood platforms would be used for additional storage of the spinning and weaving materials.

In any case, these structures would hardly be conducive to privacy.  The entire family would live within this single space. 

Small communities and villages within the northern realms would consist of a number of longhouses built near one another and surrounded by additional fortifications such as wooden pallisades or stone walls.
Southeastern Desert Dwellings

A favored building style of the dragonborn of Brythonia, the mud-brick houses of the desert southeast are a typical example of utilizing the natural resources at hand.  In this case, structures are built from hand-made bricks composed of mud and chopped straw.  The mud mixture is placed into preformed wooden molds and left to dry in the desert sun where the bricks become as hard as rock.


Merchant estate on the outskirts of the Brythonia capital of Shalizan.

Housing in this region tends to take on an earthy appearance to match the colors of the desert beyond.  Similar to other nations, the typical home is a single one-room  with the entire family living together in close quarters.  Only the nobility or the very wealthy can afford larger homes usually consisting of a walled compound with about 10 rooms or more.  After the buildings are completed, they are whitewashed with a lime and water mixture to give it a more even appearance, seal the cracks and help to deflect some of the oppressive desert heat.

In urban centers, townhouses are joined together on either side along fine avenues with small square windows built high in the walls.  Houses of the poor are crammed together on packed unplanned streets with children often seen playing on top of the rooftops jumping from building to building.  Wealthy homes would also have gardens and reflecting pools for swimming along with high walls to provide privacy and keep out intruders.  Furniture typically consists of a bed, side tables and a toilet set to fit over a hole.  Kitchens contained a number of small tables and drinking vessels.

The roof of the desert dwelling is usually flat as it would serve as an additional living space.  Many families use this space to cook, eat and even sleep in the cooler desert evenings.  The interior hearth was used more so for cooking rather than a source of heart.  Walls are about 40 cm thick for a 1-story structure while multiple-story buildings had walls up to 1.25 meters thick.  These multiple floors were used by most of the merchants with the ground floor used for businesses and the upper floors used for living space.  Wealthy homes would even have reception rooms and bathrooms.

The wealthy, noble estates consisted of a number of separate buildings.  The main house contained bedrooms for the family, storerooms, bathrooms, harems, reception rooms and sitting rooms.  Nearby would be the grain silos, a private chapel, a garden with a pond and the cattle pens.  Along one wall would be a long building containing the kitchens, more storerooms, servant's quarters, workshops and the stables.  The whole compound would be surrounded by a high wall with the one solitary gate guarded by the lodgekeeper.

Gardens contained fruit trees such as dates, figs, pomegranate and nuts.  Exotic trees like willow, acacia and tamarisk are also common.  Flowers, shrubs and grapevines planted in straight rows filled up the remaining space.
Imperial Dwarven

Unique to the dwarves of the Hrathgar Empire and its subsidiaries, two standard housing structures are common.  For most rural settings, the dwarf earth lodge is the preferred style.  As distant earth spirits, the dwarves of the Enchanted World share a close affinity to the land and their choice of dwellings reflects this fact.



The dwarf earth lodge is a partially subterrainian, geometric style structure.  The earth lodge is found throughout most of the rural communities as well as the western provinces along the Stormcrest.  Composed of a heavy wood frame, the dwarves dig a shallow octogon shape in the ground and erect a series of poles topped with a heavy layer of thatch.  Over this is placed a mixture of earth and reeds or chopped grass which completely covers the structure save for a single opening along the south side and a small narrow smoke hole at the top.  Naturally fire resistant, the dwarves build a vestibule of wooden logs or branches that lead into the center of the mound.  This vestibule is often covered with a piece of woven art that functions as a windbreaker.

Inside the earth lodge, the space is quite warm and cozy.  Dwarf maidens take great pride in the upkeep and cleanliness of their lodgings.  Despite the fact that the ground is simple packed earth, the dwarves will often cover the floor with flat rocks or reeds to keep the space dry.  A stone hearth is placed in the center to provide ample heat, light and a place for cooking.  Smoke is allowed to escape through the smoke hole which can be covered with a flap of animal skin during poor weather.  Though some dwarven families leave this space open and airey, others will sometimes subdivide the living quarters using wooden partitions, panels or hanging cloth to form smaller sleeping quarters for the individual members of the family.  Each sleeping room will contain just a straw matress and perhaps a wood stool or chest. 

Furnishings are kept simple and include additional stools, benches, hand-carved wooden chairs, chests, a large iron cauldron and for the wealthier familes a wooden cupboard.  Most earth lodges will also contain a covered depression known as the "cache pit."  This hidden space serves as a pantry and root cellar.  The dwarves will keep herbs, seeds, ale and perhaps dried meats and vegetables in this space.

Earth lodges are never found alone as the dwarves dwell in communal or clan-based hamlets and villages.  Multiple lodges are build near one another with the shared farm space expanding from the structures.  All dwarven farmers work together and share their food and surplus with all members of the clan as in most cases the clan members are direct blood relatives.  Most of these villages will be at least partitially fortified due to the regions close proximity to the hostile lands of Aerona to the west.  Such villages may be protected with just a simple wooden pallisade (if in the western provinces) or a stone wall (common in the eastern provinces).  Larger or more wealthy clans will further delve a wet or dry moat to surround this compound and provide additional protection.  Only one entry is left into each community.  These are never guarded unless an uncoming threat is detected in which case all dwarves will unite and arm themselves to protect their homestead.

Larger urban communities will consist of stone or wooden structures that follow a principle of geomancy which again alude to the dwarven connection to the earth.  Cities are built along precise and ordered grid patterns often using surrounding topography for defense or shelter.  Some will include vast underground burrow or mining systems for the dwarven citizens while the non-dwarves dwell above ground.  As dwarves tend to dislike heights, it is common for wealthier dwarves to construct homes and estates that spread out over wide spaces as opposed to lofty vertical towers.  In fact, a true indication of the home owners wealth is often related to the width of the structure as opposed to the number of floors since most buildings at ground level are simple 1-storey dwellings.
MYTHOLOGY

Lords of Light
Solovar, god of the sun, light, prophecy, healing and music
Meru, goddess of nature, woodlands, elves, faeries and agriculture
Benthor, god of mining, smithing, crafts, fire, dwarves
Eileania, goddess of wisdom, combat, handicrafts, civlization
Galdor, god of strength, courage, winter, athleticism
Ainu, god of air, storms, avians, weather

Lords of Balance
Kronum, god of law, order, justice, truth
Nerthys, goddess of earth, creation, fertility and magic
Brannoc, god of commerce, thieves, luck and messengers
Uino, god of seas, water, oceans, fishing, sea travel
Seralise, goddess of the moon, hunting, survival, beasts, rangers
Jocasta, goddess of adventure, curiosity, fate and divination

Lords of Darkness
Kharon, god of death, the dead, undead, necromancy
Tormac, god of war, violence, assassins, murder
Molghur, god of plague, disease, nightmares, ill tidings
Abraxas, god of secrets, knowledge, intrigue
Demoriel, goddess of darkness, night, shadows, bats, drow

All Lords of Light are either Good or Lawful Good in alignment.  Their esssence resides in the Upper Planes of the Blessed Realm.

All Lords of Balance are Unaligned.  Their essence resides in either the Spirit World or one of the Elemental Planes

All Lords of Darkness are either Evil or Chaotic Evil.  Their essence resides in the Lower Planes of the Everhell.
METAPHYSICS

To the average commoner of the Enchanted World, the only world they really know and care about is the land on which they work the land and make a living.  Perhaps as they get older, they might think about the afterlife and making amends for their past transgressions.  Of course, divine characters will need to be aware of planar theory as this affects how they activate their powers.

Prime Material Plane
This is the physical universe where the Enchanted World is located.

Spirit World
A symbiotic plane co-existing with the Prime Material Plane, the Spirit World "overlaps" the physical Prime Material.  It is a realm of physical material matter as well as incorporeal spirit.  The Spirit World is the main domain of the Lords of Balance.  Spirits of the Unaligned pass through into this world after death.  The world is malleable according to the thought or desire of the spirit.

Elemental Planes
Consisting of six finite dimensions of existance, each of the Elemental Planes provide the material and energy to form the Prime Material Plane and the Spirit World.  A visitor to one of these planes views their surroundings just as they would in the Prime Material with a view limited only by the horizon.  In truth, the planes are assymetrical.  Each plane is dedicated to one of the following elements: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Light and Shadow.

Blessed Realm
Fed by the energies of the Plane of Light, the "Upper Plane" of the Blessed Realm is an infinite plane dedicated to the side of Goodness.  The Realm is the domain of the Lords of Light and is home to the spirits of good-aligned mortals.  The Blessed Realm is the home plane of the various good-aligned Angels.

Everhell
The "Lower Plane" of existance fed by the Plane of Shadow, the Everhell is an infinite plane dedicated to the side of Evil.  The Everhell is the domain of the Lords of Darkness and is home to the spirits of evil-aligned mortals.  The Everhell is also the home plane of the various Demons and Devils.  Some view the Everhell as a place of eternal punishment and damnation.  In truth, it is what the inhabitants make of it.  Since the native creatures of the Everhell are evil and therefore share common traits such as a love for violence, power and wealth, they are often at each other's throats in an eternal pursuit of domination.
GENIE LORE

Arguably the most powerful elemental creatures of the Enchanted World, the race of genies are the physical manifestation of the elements of air, earth, fire and water.  Believed by some to be the source of elemental magic, the genies control their various planar homelands with an iron will or reckless abandon.

Marid
The water genies known as the marid are the most powerful of the genie races.  Ranging in sizes from 20 to 30 feet tall, the marids are both physically imposing as well as magically astute.  Even the meekest of them can summon forth a deluge with the mere flick of a finger.  Known as utterly unpredictable and occasionally capricious, marids are best avoided if possible though appealing to their seemingly endless vanity is the best way to approach these creatures if necessary.  Marids tolerate djinn and the jann and distrust efreet.  They dislike the dao.

Efreet
The second most powerful genie race is that of the Efreeti, the genies of smoke and flame.  Efreet embody the element of fire and are said to be made of congealed flame.  One of the more domineering of the genie races, the efreet are both wicked and cunning preferring to use their vast slave network to do the work for them.  The efreet tolerate the dao and jann but dislike the marid and hate the djinn.

Djinn
Perhaps the best known race of the genie, the djinn are the genies of elemental air.  Djinn are flighty and capable of changing their attitudes with a whim and therefore should be approached with caution.  They can appear as a whirlwind and are capable of commanding the power of the storm itself.  Djinn like the jann but distrust the marid.  They hate the dao and the efreet.

Dao
The least powerful of the four major genie races, the dao are the genies of elemental earth.  Regardless of their standing in genie hierarchy, they are physically very strong and cunning tricksters.  Dao are perhaps the most greedy of the genie races and spend most of their waking moments engaging in lucrative business transactions or acquiring personal wealth and power.  The dao distrust the jann and the efreet but will tolerate them.  They dislike the arrogance of the marid and hate the djinn.

Jann
The jann are the weakest of the genies and some planar scholars do not even consider them true genies.  Composed of all four elements, the jann can live in any elemental environment but prefer the Prime Material Plane above all others.  They are sometimes used as servants, slaves or mercanaries for the more powerful genie races but often dwell among themselves primarily in the deserts of Brythonia and Seralia.  Jann tolerate the djinn and marid but distrust the dao and efreet.
DAO, Genie     
Level 13 Lurker
Large elemental humanoid (earth)  XP 800
Init
+14  Senses Darkvision, Perception +10
HP 105 Bloodied 52
AC 27 Fort 25 Ref 24 Will 23
Immune disease, petrification, poison
Speed 6 (earthwalk), burrow 6
Scimitar (std, at-will) * Weapon
+20 vs AC; 2d8+6 dmg; Crit. 19-20
Earthshift (std, at-will) * Weapon
+20 vs Ref; 2d8+6 dmg; Dao can move 2 squares before attack
Steel Blade Barrage (std, daily) * Weapon
Close blast 3; +20 vs AC; 3d6+6 dmg and target(s) blinded until end of the dao's next turn; Miss: Half damage and no blindness
Tremor (std, enc)
Ranged 10; +16 vs Fort; 4d8+6 dmg and knock target and each adjacent enemy to it prone
Crystal Shield (minor, daily)
Dao is protected by reflective crystals that end all current marks but do not prevent new one's from forming.
Dust Form (minor, daily)
Dao assumes the form of a cloud of dust until the end of the encounter or for 5 minutes.  While in this form, dao is considered insubstantial, gains a speed of fly 6 and can make no standard actions.  Dao can end this effect prematurely as a minor action.
Earthguard (minor, daily) * Stance
Until the stance ends, dao gains a +1 power bonus to all defenses.
Earthstride (move, encounter) * Teleportation
Dao can teleport 5 squares.
Alignment Evil  Languages Common, Primordial
Skills Dungeoneering +12, Intimidate +14, Streetwise + 14
Str 22 (+12)  Dex 20 (+11)  Wis 19 (+10)
Con 21 (+11)  Int 14 (+8)  Cha 17 (+9)
Equipment Scimitar

The dao are a species of genie common to the Elemental Plane of Earth.  Greedy to the extreme, they care little for anything other than the accumulation of gems which they adore.  Dao are vain and prideful and look at all non-dao creatures as being inferior to them even if the other creature is vastly more powerful then the dao.  Dao have retractable metallic fingernails that allow them to burrow into the earth.  Their native plane is filled with endless tunnels and delvings left by these wicked genies.

Dao males are large and powerfully built often with shaved heads and ornately trimmed beards and moustaches, which they view as a sign of virility.  Males prefer loose fitting pantaloons and ornate necklaces and bracers though they rarely wear vests or shirts.  Dao females are shapely and not as broad as their male counterpart.  They wear their hair long, sometimes tied up in a braid, and enjoy wearing loose fitting silks augmented with jewels of ornate filigree to enhance their beauty.  All dao have the skin coloration of the earth ranging from browns, tans, sandy, grey and even jet.  Their hair is always dark black.  Dao are about 10 feet tall on average.

Combat
Despite their physical prowess, dao are cunning warriors who prefer to strike out from the darkness and then disappear before the enemy knows what hit them.  They often coordinate their attacks along side lesser brutes and soldiers which they enslave to fight their battles for them.  A dao will often send their inferiors into the melee to weaken the enemy before using their Earthstride ability to teleport into the thick of things while lashing out with their weapon attacks.  They often prefer launching a well placed Steel Blade Barrage to cause as much damage as possible followed by an Earthshift in order to reposition their attack if necessary.  Dao are not cowardly by nature but will not hesitate to use their Dust Form to either escape or regroup.  Tremor attacks are often reserved for enemies that attack from a distance such as spellcasters or archers.
NEW MONSTER STAT BLOCK

I think I finally figured out what bugs me about the new monster block format.  I do like parts of it but what I don't like is the fact there is little or no "flavor text."  Part of the fun for me at least in playing D&D is the storytelling.  Knowing a bit about the monster's history, background, etc is nothing but helpful to the DM when trying to weave some type of flavor into the game. 

Now I am an old school D&D enthusiast.  I started playing way back in the late 70s when I was still in grade school and D&D was still in its relative infancy.  Therefore, I have very fond memories of opening up the very first Monster Manual that I received for my birthday, running players through the "Tomb of Horrors" and the "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks."  Back in this day, there was ample flavor text included in most entires.  Monsters were not just static entities to be thrown at the players as an obstacle to hack to bits and nothing else.

For example, the original version of the Djinni including NON-COMBAT forms of magic just as the spells to create food and water or conjure forth soft goods of a permanent nature.  The 4th-edition Djinni, on the other hand, is presented in a very dry fashion with only offensive powers.  Well what happens if my players DON'T want to attack the djinn?  Or what if they come across the proverbial "genie in a bottle" and want to release it?  No where in the stat block is there information on how to handle this.

I think change is a GOOD thing but not at the expense of function or efficiency.  As I mentioned, there are aspects of the new rules that I find very appealing but there are ALSO aspects of the previous editions that are equally useful.  I've been working on a NEW FORMAT for the monster stat block that combines elements of multiple D&D editions.  I'd like to present in this form soon for any thoughts or feedback. 

Stay tuned!

A New Look at some Old Monsters...

MARID
Huge elemental humanoid (water)
Controller
Frequency:
Very Rare
No. Appearing: 1-2
Initiative: +20  Senses: Darkvision, Perception +21
HP: 229  Bloodied: 114
AC: 39  Fort: 35  Ref: 37  Will: 37
Immunity: cold, disease, poison  Resist: acid 15, fire 15
Saves: +2 against immobilized, restrained and slow effects
Speed: 6, swim 10
Basic Melee: Waterhammer (standard, at-will)
+30 vs AC; 2d8+9 dmg
Basic Ranged: Waterblast (standard, at-will)
Ranged 20; +30 vs AC: 2d8+11 dmg
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defenses: See below
Alignment: Unaligned
Size: Huge (20 ft. tall)
Str: 25 (+19)  Dex: 27 (+20)  Wis: 28 (+21)
Con: 21 (+17)  Int: 28 (+21)  Cha: 25 (+19)
Skills: Intimidate +24, Nature +26
Treasure Type: Q (x2) for individuals; B, T, W in lair
Languages: Common, Primordial, Telepathy
Environment: Elemental Plane of Water
Organization: Solitary, Pair or Clan (4-13)
Level/XP: 25/14,000 exp

The powerful marids are a race of genie from the Elemental Plane of Water.  Considered the most powerful of geniekind, the marids are naturally egotistical and arrogant when it comes to dealing with other non-marid creatures.  Physically, they are quite intimidating standing at 20 feet in height.  They are generally well-built and attractive creatures who choose to wear as little clothing as possible. 

Male marids will wear loose fitting pantaloons and occasionally comfortable slippers with the toes pointed upwear in traditional marid fashion.  Female marids are possibly more vain than their male counterparts, if that is even possible, are rarely wear clothing that would cover up their greatest assets.  Both genders do however enjoy accentuating their appearance with the use of brightly colored crystals, gems and jewelry of all sorts though such pieces would likely be resistant to salt corrosion.

The marid is most at home in the warm to temperate tropical seas often constructing an underwater lair just off some island lagoon and deep within a coral forest.  Naturally, marids can breathe water as easily as they breathe air and likewise possess the power to grant this ability to their allies if they should so wish.

COMBAT BLOCK
Standard Actions
Ocean's Fury
(encounter) * Arcane
Close blast 5; +27 vs Ref; 2d8+9 dmg and marid knocks target prone and pushes it 7 squares
Water Spout (recharge ) * Arcane
Area burst 2 within 10 squares; +27 vs Ref; 4d10+9 dmg and target knocked prone can not take any immediate actions until the end of the marid's next turn
Healing Floodwaters (daily) * Arcane, Healing
Close burst 5; +27 vs Fort; 2x8+9 dmg; Miss: Half dmg; Until end of encounter, the marid and each ally in the burst gains regeneration 4 when blooded; as a minor action, the marid or the ally under this effect may end it on itself and gain 20 hp
Minor Actions
Blessing of the Marid
(encounter) * Arcane
Close burst 5; allies in burst gain water breathing for 8 hours
Water Shape (encounter) * Arcane
Until the end of marid's next turn, it assumes a watery form; in this form the marid can shift 6 squares, move through enemy squares and ignore difficult terrain; the marid is considered insubstantial and can move through small openings such as under a closed door or a hole in the wall; in this form, the marid can take only move actions
Special Qualities
Telepathy
The marid can communicate mentally with any creature within 30 squares that is intelligent and has a language.

WAR IS HECK

In any game world that includes a major BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy) who controls an entire country, the threat of war is a natural side effect.  The free peoples of the Enchanted World are under the constant possibility that the Emperor of Aerona could launch a war of aggression at any time.  With this in mind, many of the surrounding free nations and their allies spend a significant portion of their tax revenue on building up and maintaining a well-organized military and militia.

As part of the role of the DM, I like to research the real world to have a basis from which to build my fantasy campaign.  Now with "fantasy" being the operative word, you as the DM are not required by any means to restrict yourself to what goes on in the "real world."  There is a classic Simpsons episode guest starring Lucy Lawless at a comic convention.  Several of the stereotypical nerds in the audience ask her questions about descrepancies in her show Xenia.  Her response was classic "Yeah, well, whenever you see something like that, just say 'a wizard did it.'"  Case closed.  It IS a fantasy campaign afterall and anything can happen.

With that said, I still like to have SOME form of knowledge on the subject matter so I am able to insert at least a modest amount of realism.  This can be easier said than done however as many factors can influence your answer.  The time period as well as the geographical location can all play into your research.  For example, looking from a military perspective, the size of a national military will vary if you look at England versus France during the Middle Ages, etc.  The numbers would also vary if you look at the Dark Ages, the Medieval Period or even the late Middle Ages.

From what I was able to gather, I found that a decent estimate for a country's standing military could be from 8,000-20,000 soldiers.  Larger nations would likely have ever larger militaries.  Military numbers also went up significantly at the mid-16th Century.  Military garrisons controlled by a host nation would average from 100-300 soldiers depending on the garrison location and its strategic location.  The bulk of the standing military was composed, in earlier times, of veteran soldiers who were commissioned by the king or by his officers to serve in the defense of the nation.  These folks held most of the ranking officers and commanders of the various military units.  Your average "rank and file" common soldier would then be composed of the militia.  Most able-bodied males would be required to serve 40-days each year in the military.

In terms of the professional military, ranks were somewhat different than how they are in today's military.  The highest authority of the land of course is the nation's sovereign.  This sovereign will often appoint a more experienced military leader to serve as commander-in-chief of the military (which usually just focused on a standing army and militia with the possibility of a navy if the country is bordered by the sea).  This military commander held the rank of High Constable.  This person was responsible for commanding the military as well as the lesser Constables, each of whom were in charge of a military garrison of some sort. 

Assisting the High Constable was the Field Marshal.  This person was generally in charge of the "logistics" of the military.  This involved the coordination of personel, equipment, siege engines, tents, beasts of burden, etc and moving them from Point A to Point B, certainly not an easy task to be sure.

Under these commanders came the Captain.  The captain was one of the first commissioned officers as he received a commission directly from the king to serve and protect the king's lands in exchange for money, land and/or prestige.  A captain was often put in charge of a "company" which consisted of between 80-225 soldiers.

Assisting the captain was the rank of LieutenantThis term came from the combination of two words: one being the French word lieu which translates as "in the place of" and the other term tenant meaning "holding."  The Lieutenant aided the Captain in his duties, took temporary command if the captain was dead or incapacitated or would also command one of the units of the company known as the "platoon."  The platoon consisted of between 26-55 soldiers.

Under the lieutenant were the officers who carried the military flags.  The one carrying the infantry flag was known as the ensign while the one carrying the cavalry flag was the cornet.  In later years, the two ranks were merged to form the rank of Second Lieutenant although this rank didn't appear until the 19th century in Britain.

Ranking below these commissioned officers but above the Non-Commissioned Officers came the specialists who were granted a special "warrant" by the officers to use their crafts and skills in the service of the military.  Thus the Warrant Officer was created.  I would imagine that such a position is very different in a Medieval army as opposed to the modern position.  Warrant Officers could perhaps be responsible, in a Medieval fantasy setting, from anything from blacksmithing, armorsmithing, weaponsmithing, pyrotecnics, animal handling, espionage, intelligence, transportation, and even food service.

Finally, we come to the Non-Commissioned Officers.  Such NCOs received their ranks from their commanding officers as opposed to receiving a direct commission from the king.  The highest NCO in the Middle Ages was the Sergeant.  Originally an armed servant of the aristocracy, the sergeant once served as a personal bodyguard or man-at-arms to a member of the royalty or nobility.  Such rank was generally earned by highly experienced veterans and in time this rank came to be in charge of the smallest military unit known as the "squad" which included 8-13 soldiers.  Sergeants would assist the Warrant Officers and Commissioned Officers but also be required to be sort of a jack of all trades.  Therefore they would be responsible for just about anything within the military operation.

Just below the Sergeant came the rank of Corporal.  The corporal was essentially in charge of assisting the sergeant with his duties or he may even be in charge of a squad of his own.  Below the Corporal was the Lance Corporal, the lowest rank of the NCOs.  The Lance Corporal would either assist the Corporal or perform many of the duties of the Corporal.

During the Medieval Period, the remaining members of the "rank and file" soldiery was composed of the militia.  The militia was gathered from the able-bodied male population of the country who would sign a "private contract" to serve in exchange for payment.  Thus the soldier became known as the Private.  In earlier times, the king could hardly afford maintaining a large military during times of truce or peace and so the privates would sometimes only serve 40-days a year on a rotating basis based on demand.  In later years, however, a more permanent and more skilled warrior was required and this position became permanent. 

Notice that there are no Generals or Majors or even Colonels.  Such ranks often developed in much later time periods.  However, as mentioned before, as you develop your own campaign world you should feel free to use the ranks YOU find the most interesting.  Even in the real world, there was never a hard and fast rule regarding ranks and these might vary from country to country.
WHO LIVES IN THE CASTLE



The Castle was both a military fortress of war as well as household for the noble and his family. Therefore the castle served two different functions requiring both a military and a domestic staff.

Of primary importance are the noble and his family. This could be anyone from the King himself down to a knight or baron depending on the country of origin. Often the noble would own several castles, particularly if he were the king, and therefore would need to travel from castle to castle. When not "in residence" the Castellan would run the castle's day-to-day functions in the absense of the noble.

After the royal or noble family, the castle could technically be divided into a "Domestic" and "Official/Military" funtion. On the Domestic side, the chief authority was the Steward. A Steward was the head domestic servant and looked after all the household affairs. He also was responsible for the smooth running of the servant's activities. The steward was also generally the person who ordered the supplies needed to run an efficient household.

Under the Steward would be the MANY domestic servants which could include the servants of the kitchen and the non kitchen staff. During Medieval times, the Hall was the center of all life within the castle. It was where the lord, his lady, their guests and visitors would meet, eat and be entertained. In smaller castles, they might even SLEEP in the hall. In the hall you would find the various servants running to and fro serving food and drink to the nobles and their guests. In charge of much of this would be the Butler. Based on the word "bottle," the butler was the servant in charge of looking after the lord's wine storage. The hall might also be were you would find Footmen and Pages. The footmen were responsible for personally attending the various nobles. They might escort them to private chambers, serve them during meal times, etc. The pages were mostly used as messengers and errand boys but would also assist the footmen and butler during busy ceremonies.

In charge of the kitchen was the Cook. Cooks could be specialists in particular foods and therefore be further diversified into soup cooks, pastry cooks, etc often depending on the size of the household. Assisting the cooks would be the Scullery Maids who worked as kitchen maids. They helped with lighting the fires, preparing/cleaning the food, gathering ingredients and washing up the kitchen crockery and utensils.

On the Official Side, the Chamberlain was the chief servant in charge of all ceremonial functions within the noble's "chamber" or "hall." This was often filled by someone with military experience who was now retired and hired on by the noble as a reward for past war service.

Assisting the Chamberlain would be the Marshal and the Chancellor. A marshal served several functions but originally was the military officer in charge of the logistics of moving the garrison of the castle from one place to another. It was only in later ages that the Marshal became more associated with the stables and therefore would be responsible for looking after the noble's horses. Assisting the Marshal would be Grooms who often lived in or above the stable and took care of everything from brushing/cleaning the horses, cleaning the stable floor, laying fresh straw and setting up the saddles and carriages.

The Chancellor was in charge of the chancellory or treasury. This was obviously a very important person since they looked after the noble's financial accounts and would have to be able to read, write and do math. Few people during the Middle Ages could do this other than the clergy so therefore, the Chancellor was often the noble's chief religious and legal advisor. In addition to keeping tract of the treasury, the Chancellor also maintained a staff of scribes to record official messages and financial transactions.

On the military side, the Captain of the garrison of soldiers stationed at the castle was in charge of the daily supervision of the military. He would answer directly to Marshal or the noble. Assisting him would be a number of Lieutenants. This military rank assisted the captain in his daily duties while also taking charge of smaller groops of soldiers. The number and type of soldier stationed in a castle would be dependant on a number of factors including the strategic location of the castle, its role in the defense of the kingdom and the overall wealth and prestige of the noble/royal. Typically the soldiers would include both footmen/infantry and horsemen/cavalry. Each served very different functions.

In addition to all of these servants, soldiers and officials, the castle could also include many other people depending on the whims of the owner as well as the need. This is certainly not an exclusive list and many more could be added but this should help as a base to start.


THE MEDIEVAL MILITARY

Given the fairly limited technology available, armies during the Middle Ages were somewhat limited in terms of their tactics and formations.  Much of this of course was influenced by the culture and environment.  Heavily forested and mountainous countries would likely develop different tactics compared to a coastal country or one that was primarily flat and open.

The fact that the Enchanted World is also a fantasy campaign will likewise influence the military, particularly when it comes to the use of arcane and divine magic.  How would the 100 years War or the American Civil War been different if a cabel of soldiers were able to teleport into the fray, lob a few fireballs around and teleport back to safety.  For that matter, would there be less death if more clerics were available to provide their healing powers when needed?  Or imagine the strategic placement of a few Paladins or Warlords, with their ability to control the layout of the battlefield, and how these Classes might affect the battles outcome.

With all this aside for now, I wanted to look at just the very basic structure of an average military from the Middle Ages.  At its very core, a standard army could be divided into two groups: the Infantry and the Cavalry.  This is a very simplistic division, I know, but I feel a good place to start.  Each group served a very important role in combat.  It could even be argued that a war could not be won without the significant contribution of each.

At the simplest definition, Infantry includes any soldier that fights on foot while Cavalry includes soldiers riding a mount (and not necessarily a horse).  The "Light," "Medium" and "Heavy" descriptors further detail how such a soldier might be armed and armored which in turn affects how they are used in combat.  Light cavalry, which is either unarmored or lightly armored and wielding a longbow, can move much quicker and quieter than a large, heavy warhorse wearing chain mail barding carrying a soldier wearing heavy full plate mail from head to toe.

A secondary distinction is the use of missile weapons.  No, missile weapons do NOT imply a knight is walking around carrying a grenade launcher (although wouldn't that be interesting).  Rather, the term "missile" during this time period simply meant any type of projectile weapon that would be either fired or thrown.  In most cases, this involved the use of either a bow or a crossbow.  Soldiers carrying such weaponry held a very specific purpose in combat.  Primarily, they were needed to inflict as much damage upon the enemy from a distance without having to put themselves in the field of an enemies fire.  Second, given light cavalry carrying bows, they could quickly flank an enemy, fire their weapon and then retreat before the enemy had time to respond.  Such tactics could prove very demoralizing.  Particularly when much of your army consisted of "drafted" farmers and peasant folk with very little battle experience and even less of a wish to die.  These missile wielding soldiers would often be defined as "light" as they were more effective if lightly armored allowing them greater manuverability.  Plus, since they were generally not expected to engage in hand-to-hand combat anyway, there was little sense in outfitting them with heavy and expensive suits of armor.

Of course, dividing an army into just infantry and cavalry does not paint the whole picture even though such groups were a significant and important part of the military.  In addition to the infantry and cavalry, the Combat Force was further augmented with the Special Forces  and the Corps of Engineers. 

As the name implies, the Special Forces unit was responsible for carrying out highly specialized tasks often under extreme danger.  Such operations could include Scouting, Search and Recovery, Reconnaisance/Espionage, Guerilla Fighting and even Sabotage.  In a traditional fantasy setting, such positions would likely be filled with creatures capable of working more or less independently and certainly in manner as to not attract the enemy's attention.  One might think a Ranger or Rogue would be perfect for these roles as their Martial abilities often rely on stealth and movement.  As the DM, imagine a highly trained party of player characters being recruited as a temporary Special Forces unit for some secret and important task.

Perhaps even more specialized is the Corps of Engineers.  This group of highly trained soldiers would be knowledgable in construction and mechanics.  They would be required to build pontoon bridges in order to ford an army from one side of the river to the other.  The Corps of Engineers would also build seige weapons such as catapults, battering rams, seige towers, ballistae and trebuchet in order to assault enemy fortifications.  I could certainly see the fantasy races more capable of crafts to use the Corp of Engineers to its utmost.  Imagine a Dwarven Army and what its Corps of Engineers might be capable of accomplishing!

Finally, no army would be complete without the Non-Combative Operatives.  Though these units may not see direct combat they would still be required to be proficient in fighting techniques though they would utilize their talents to other important uses.  Such units include Signal, Intelligence, Advocate General, Finance, Transportation, Armory and Quartermaster.

MILITARY TACTICS

Although bowmen were deadly even at close range, they traditionally were used as light skirmishers, unsuited for hand-to-hand combat and vulnerable to cavalry.  Therefore archers and crossbowmen were often deployed behind physical barriers such as stakes or poles driven into the ground to protect their front.

A common battle formation was to deploy light infantry armed with swords in the Center Forward position in rank formation.  Heavy infantry, often armed with polearms were placed just behind them in Center Middle in rank or square formation.  Behind these units were placed the archers or crossbowmen in Center Back in rank formation.  Cavalry was position either on the flanks, to protect the infantry against attacks, or in the center as reserve to be deployed as needed.

Depending the unit, the commanding officers would utilize their forces as follows:

Light Infantry- archers, spearmen, scouts or messengers
Medium Infantry- secondary assault, archers, pikemen or man siege equipment
Heavy Infantry- Line penetration

Light Cavalry- mounted archers, messengers, scouting
Medium Cavalry- flank/rear assault, secondary assauly, support
Heavy Cavalry- Line breaking

DAILY LIFE IN A CASTLE

Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a castle?  They certainly are not just static entities encountered by players from time to time.  That is they don't just sit in place doing nothing.  Rather a castle is a working fortress of war and often a home for some royal or noble family.  Having this knowledge is very helpful as it will greatly affect how the Players interact with the creatures within these heavily fortified citadels.

As mentioned in a previous entry, the inhabitants of your "average" castle consist of the military and the domestic.  I say "average" because no two castles are exactly alike.  This is especially true in your typical fantasy setting.  A human castle may be very different from a dwarven stronghold, an elven tower or a gnomish burrow ward.  And in fact, this is often true.  However, since we have to start somewhere, I present how a typical human castle might function.  Feel free to adapt it to fit your setting.

In most communities of the Middle Ages, before the invention of the watch, the average person kept track of time by the position of the sun (among other methods).  The typical day was divided into the Hours with each day beginning at Dawn around 3am.  In many cases, church or temple bells might peel at these regular intervals so that all within hearing range can keep tabs as to how the day is progressing.  Here is a typical time table organized into 8 time periods each 3 hours long:

Dawn 3am
Early Morning 6am
Mid Morning 9am
Mid Day 12pm
Early Afternoon 3pm
Vespers 6pm
Late Evening 9pm
Midnight 12am

Since electricity had not been invented, your average peasant of the Middle Ages was limited to working during the hours when the sun is up.  This was never more true than for the rural class who worked as farmers and were therefore required to get in as much work as the daylight allowed.  With that in mind, tradition as well as necessity dictated that the work day begin at 3am as the sun slowly starts to rise.

As the sun slowly peeks over the horizon, the nightwatch captain of the castle garrison announces the start of a new day with the blowing of his bugle.  With this piercing noise echoing throughout the dark and cold halls of the castle, the fortress' many servants slowly rise from often an uneasy slumber from their straw pallets located in attics and cellars throughout the castle.  The first to rise are the lowest of the kitchen servants who must light the fire in the great hall as well as the main kitchen so that when the cook awakes he can begin his duty.  Servants also carry large clay jugs and buckets out to the castle's well and draw forth fresh spring water.  Chamber maids and pages might also be required to check and relight any wall sconces that might have gone out during the night.  Wood would also have to be gathered and placed near the multitude of fireplaces located throughout the noble family's private apartments.  The valets and handmaidens would wash, dress themselves quickly and hurry to waken their noble masters.

As in many feudal communities, quite a number of the lowest guardsmen are nothing more than common farmfolk required through their arrangement with their local lord to serve a certain number of days each year on guard duty.  This motley crew, though trained in the use of arms, may not always have the best morale as even the best of them must have resented the fact that they were away from their homes, their family and their livelihood on the farm.  In any case, they would serve with honor and duty in order to avoid the stiff penalty or punishments that would come if they should desert their post.  With the nightwatchman's horn, the guards working the next shift arise from their sleep as well, wash their face and hands and begin the process of putting on their armor and gathering their weapons before their Duty Shift began.  The Day Watch would climb the walls or enter the gatehouse to replace the night shift who would go off duty, grab a light snack from the mess before retiring themselves.

Soon the Lord and Lady would rise in their curtained bed while putting on their undergarments with the assistance of the Lord's valet and the Lady's handmaidens.   These personal servants were heavily relied upon by the nobility to perform most menial functions.  They would bring fresh water in a pitcher for the nobility to wash in their basins.  While the nobles cleaned themselves, the valet would lay out the daily clothing for his lordship.  This would include a long-sleeved white tunic which slipped over his head and then was fastened by a simple or jeweled brooch.  An outer surcoat was then slipped over this tunic.  The surcoat, dyed in any of the fashionable colors such as indigo, yellow, crimson, purple or green, was shorter than the tunic with either no sleeves or wide, loose sleeves lined with fur depending on the season and the occasions of the day.  Finally, a fur-lined mantle or cloak was presented and fastened around the neck with another brooch or a metal chain.  A leather belt was tied around the waist and fastened with a metal buckle. 

The Lady's handmaidens had even more tasks at hand.  Many of her ladyship's clothes had to also be laid out.  They were very similar to the lord's clothing though most women would wear linen whimples that wrapped around their head and under their chin.  Her tunic and surcoat were also more form-fitting at the waist and would cover much more of her legs than the lords.  The handmaidens would also work with her ladyship's personal companions called Ladies-in-Waiting.  Much more than a servant, most ladies-in-waiting were daughters of minor nobility or knights themselves called to serve in this very personal function.  The lady-in-waiting would rarely leave the side of her mistress often keeping her company, listening to her troubles, gossiping or even running errrands.  The Lady-in-Waiting and the handmaidens would both help brush and style the noblewoman's hair and apply any makeup and personal jewelry she wished to wear for the day.  (DMs NOTE: Since the lady-in-waiting was so connected to her mistress, I often liked to make her some kind of bodyguard as well with levels in the Fighter, Warlord or even Monk classes.)

Both the Lord and his Lady would also wear simple leggings.  His Lordship's would be pulled up to his waist and attach to his belt.  Her Ladyship's stockings would be shorter rising about thigh high and secured with a lace garter.  Both nobles would wear some kind of leather shoe or boot.  If the noble couple had any minor children, they would likewise be attended to in similar fashion though only her Ladyship would have the priviledge of a Lady-in-Waiting.  If any of the noble family had to bathe, a large wooden tub would have been brought out, lined with heavy cloth and filled with water heated over the stove in the kitchen.  Such thorough cleaning was done on an irregular basis however.  While the nobles finished dressing, their servants would remove their bedpans to be emptied into the cesspit and rinsed out before being brought back to the bed chambers.

Worship service would begin between 4-5am in the castle's chapel depending on custom when the cleric of the Lord's patron deity would say daily prayers attended to by the whole noble family, their guests and their personal servants as well as any higher ranking castle staff not preoccupied elsewhere.   Typical patron gods for human castles included Solovar, the Lord of Light; Eileania, the gentle goddess of wisdom; or even the god of law or the goddess of the earth.   Elven and Eladrin castles often revere Meru, the Seedmother.  Dwarven citadels often honor Berathor, the god of the forge.
LIFE IN A CASTLE, con't

Following the mornings religious services, the noble family, their guests and retainers gather in the Great Hall.  The Steward and his staff have already set up the trestle tables and arranged the benches for everyone to be seated for breakfast.  The first meal tended to be very light often just some bread and ale though the nobility might substitute the ale for wine.  Once the nobles and their guests have eaten, the staff would clear the tables, wash them down, fold up the trestle tables (unless they were needed for the morning activities) and carry them into one of the side storage rooms.  Then the staff would gather in the Servant's Hall for their breakfast which consisted of the same thing: bread and ale.  Of course a few servants must remain on duty in the hall to tend to their Lord's needs and would eat later.

By 7am, the day was moving along.  The castle gates would be opened to allow visitors and guests to come and go.  Guard positions would likely rotate in order to prevent the guards from becoming bored or restless.  The chamber maids would clean up the private apartments, make the beds, sweep the floors, and bring the laundry to the laundress.  The kitchen staff would be in a hustle preparing for the main daily meal which was served around midday.  In the meantime, grooms tended to the stable animals and swept the courtyard.  The garrison commander's lieutenants would go about their rounds inspecting the guards on duty.  The Lord would fill his morning with meetings with his steward and bailiffs or members of his council.  The Lady would greet and talk to the guests and make sure they are properly attended to.  Or she might spend her morning tending to the many daily routines such as embroidery or overseeing the servants.  The blacksmith and his assistants would also be quite busy by now.  They would be responsible for repairing armor and weapons, pounding out dents and making horseshoes and nails for the horses or wagon fittings for the carts.

The soldiers and squires not on guard duty would practice on the grounds while the noble children have their lessons with the tutor.  If the lord was wealthy enough, he might hire a private tutor (maybe a wizard, since this is a fantasy world, or equally learned professional).   Otherwise, the Lord's chaplain or one of his clerks would lead the lessons.  After lessons, the children would be allowed to play.  Girls would play with their dolls while boys would play with their tops, balls, horseshoes, tin soldiers or wooden play swords.  The laundress would probably be in the courtyard by this time soaking the day's linens in large vats of water, ash and lye.  Laundry would be srubbed, rinsed and then hung out to dry.

Everyone would continue their many chores until dinner (what we would call 'lunch') was served between 10am- Noon.
LIFE IN A CASTLE, con't

What probably sounds most alien to us in the modern world is that people in the Middle Ages ate their main and largest meal around early mid-day.  At 10am, the guards on duty would shift rotations once again keeping an ever vigilant eye out for trouble.  The Lord would start to wrap up his morning meetings while the servants entered the Great Hall to prepare for the feast.

Before dinner could start, all the trestle tables would be brought back out and arranged in the hall.  Custom would dictate that one long table be placed at the end of the hall often up on a raised platform or dais for the most important guests.  Symbolism meant a lot and this higher position symbolized the higher authority shared by those seated at the head table.  The remaining tables were placed perpendicular to the head table forming a large, upside down "U."  Benches would be placed along the outside edge of the tables will larger, and sometimes ornately carved, wooden chairs set at the head table for the Lord and his Lady.  This allowed guests to sit along the outside of the table while servants could serve them from the inside. 

Large white linen table cloths were laid over the table with a longer end hanging over the side to be used as a communal napkin.  The footmen and other kitchen staff would arrange place settings providing each person with a steel knife, wooden spoons and a large piece of day-old flat bread which served as a platter for meat.  Earthenware, pewter or silver cups or mugs would be placed at every two seats requiring guests to share drinks.  Custom dictated that the lower rank guest yield to the higher ranked guest seated next to them and to always wipe the rim of the cup after drinking from it.  Smaller, hollowed out loaves of bread containing coarse salt were arranged on the table as salt shakers.  Wooden bowls with small handles on each side were used for soups and stews.

When the meal is ready to be served, at the Lord's discretion, another horn is sounded.  The nobles, their guests and esteemed visitors would gather in the Great Hall to be greeted by the valets and footmen offering basins of water and linen towels so each guest could wash their hands before being seated.  Seating arrangements were carefully choreographed by the Chamberlain according to rank and position of each individual.  The highest ranked persons being seated to the left and right of the noble couple at the head table.  As one moved farther away from this central position, the social status of the individual was deemed as lower with the lowest rank at the two ends.

Once everyone had been seated, the procession of servants would enter starting with the Pantler ans his assistants bringing bread and butter followed by the Butler and his assistants bringing wine, ale or mead.  The main dishes would then begin to be brought out with the Steward overseeing all of the activity and ensuring that each guest had a full plate.  While eating, especially if important guests were present, the entertainment might begin in the middle of the room.  Musicians, storytellers, joke tellers, harpers and minstrels were quite common.  Actors and jesters might also be used as could acrobats and jugglers.

In addition to this live entertainment, life in the castle was particularly different compared to the average peasant in the country.  Peasants had only bread, ale and porridge for the dinner meal.  Residents of the castle, on the other hand, were treated to a bounteous feast of all manner of meats.  Everyday dinner consisted of two or three courses each of several separate dishes.  All repeated the same kinds of food except for the last course which consisted of fruits, nuts, cheese, wafers and spiced wine.  Dinner may begin with a capon brewet (a half-stew, half-soup) with the meat placed on the bottom of the dish, broth poured over it and dusted with spices.  The 2nd course might be a porray soup of leeks, onions, chitterlings and ham cooked in milk with stock and bread crumbs added as a thickener.  Roast rabbit might follow with the meat grilled then cut up and cooked with onions, vinegar, wine and spices and again thickened with bread crumbs.  Each course was washed down with plenty of ale and wine.  At really elaborate meals, even more types of roast meats, stews and fish dishes would follow.

Once the meal was complete, which was generally indicated by when the highest ranking person present stopped eating, the servants would begin to clear the tables, send the table clothes to the laundress, wash down the tops and fold them away again until supper time later in the afternoon.  Further amusements or even dancing might continue for special occasions or everyone might resume with their daily tasks.  Once the nobles and guests had eaten, the majority of the servants would have their main meal.  This would be plentiful compared to the average country peasant but certainly not as exotic as that served in the Great Hall.

By 2pm, the guard shifts would change with the 2nd shift coming on duty, the 1st shift having their mid day meal and perhaps some of the night shift rising to tend to important matters.  Now the afternoon activities could begin.
LIFE IN A CASTLE, finale

As the afternoon arrives, the pace can slow down somewhat.  At least for the noble family.  If there is still estate business to take care of, the Lord will continue his meetings into the afternoon.  Or he might join the soldiers out in the courtyard for sparring practice.  If the weather is agreable, he might even be able to engage in one of his favorite past times- hunting.  Hunting itself is a major event for the nobility as it allows them to get out of the stuffy rooms of the castle and enjoy fresh air and sunshine while exercising and enjoying one another's company.  The typical hunting party will include the nobles and their mounts, a pack of hunting dogs, a huntmaster to lead the hunt, a houndmaster to tend to the dogs and a number of servants whose job it is to scout ahead and flush out wild game.  Even noble women enjoy this sport and may accompany their spouses. 

Alternately, the Lord may wish to undertake some falconry instead using his prized hunting birds which would require a smaller band of courtiers and retainers.

In the meantime, the Lady and her companions or guests might be entertaining themselves in a smaller, private sitting room working on their embroidery, telling stories, playing music or minding the children who will be finished with their lessons in the early afternoon.  Sometime in the later afternoon, the Steward will also need to meet with the senior domestic staff to go over the days receipts and inventory in order to obtain supplies for the next day.

Around 5pm or 6pm, a second meal known as "supper" would be served.  Similar to the earlier dinner, supper is often a smaller meal served later in the day.  If important guests are present or impressions need to be made, entertainment will likewise be provided as before.  One more final late supper might be served again around 8pm or 9pm just before the residents prepare to retire for the day.

During the supper period, the chamber maids and other domestic staff will be preparing the bed rooms for the noble residents.  Fresh linens will be set out if needed, the chamber pot will be emptied again if needed, candles and oil lamps will be lit and the fireplace will be prepared and lit if needed.  As the noble family and their important guests ready for bed, each will have a personal servant to attend to their needs.  The servant will assist in undressing them, setting out any bedclothes,  tucking them into bed and extinguishing the lights if required.  The servants are generally free to catch up on their own chores or retire to bed themselves.  Many of the lower serving staff sleep right in the Great Hall so as to be available at all times if needed.

After the late supper, the cook will give any last minute instructions before retiring for the evening.  The kitchen maids and staff will finish with cleaning up the dishes, cups and cooking pots.  The fire in the hearth will be extinguished and the tables and counters will be doused with water and scrubbed down as well. 

At 10pm, the 2nd guard shift will come off duty and the nightshift will come back on for the evening.  The nightwatch officer will make sure sentries are posted and begin his rounds to ensure the castle is secure.
GET A PERSONALITY

As a psychology major, I was always fascinated by aspects of personality.  As a result, I have found that I like to incorporate some of this into my DM duties, particularly when it comes to "assigning" a personality to the many NPCs that pop up during the game.

I know that the official rule books have posted handy charts and tables to make your NPC less one-dimensional and more of a "living and breathing" entity.  I always found these somewhat lacking in my opinion and often preferred to use my approach which is based on actual psychology theory and perhaps more realistic.

For those who are interested in reading more about this, my information is based on the David Kiersey Temperment Sorter.  Many books have been written about his theories and there are even some very interesting online sites including a 70-question self-test to check your own personality profile.

For that INSTANT role play for your NPCs, roll a percentile dice and record the results for your NPC.  Note that the percentage chance of each personality type is based on real world occurances of each type.

%            Personality Type
01-02      Architect
03-05      Champion
06-15      Composer
16-18      Counselor
19-28      Crafter
29-30      Fieldmarshal
31-35      Healer
36-45      Inspector
46-47      Inventor
48           Mastermind
49-58      Performer
59-68      Promotor
69-78      Protector
79-88      Provider
89-98      Supervisor
99-00      Teacher

Architect
Ocurring in about 1% of the population, the archtect is a introverted personality with the ability to analyze and improve the world around them.  Considered master designers and theorists.  External reality is not imporant.  Architects can seen as shy since they are often engaged in their own thoughts.  Architects are good concentrators. 

Champion
Occuring in about 4% of the population, the champion is an extroverted personality that prefers intense emotional experiences.  They are seen as being very passionate, very independent and highly intuitive about to read the underlying messages in others.  Chapions are very alert and able to respond quickly to emergencies.

Composer
Occuring in about 10% of the population, the composer is an introverted personality with highly developed senses.  The prefer to act first and analyze later.  Composers tend to have very good instincts and often rely on them to get out of situations.  Composers are often very empathic being able to sense emotions in others.  Composers can sometimes be seen as shy as then tend to express themselves less through words and more through their art form.  Composers are good with color.

Counselor
Occuring in about 3% of the population, the counselor is an introverted personality with a strong desire to help others.  Counselors tend to dislike superficial contact but are very private persons themselves.  Often seen as very kind and positive in their outlook, counselors tend to be very good listeners. (DM Note: Because of the general attributes of this type, I would suggest it only be used for non-evil NPCs)

Crafter
Occuring in about 10% of the population, the crafter is skilled at the use of tools and machines.  They are good with their hands and hard to get to know as they tend to communicate through their actions rather than their words.  They are an introverted personality.  Crafters tend to be very loyal and generous and like being impulsive and spontaneous.  (DM Note: I like to think many dwarf NPCs might fit into this type)

Fieldmarshal
Occuring in about 2% of the population, the fieldmarshal is an extroverted personality with a highly developed and analytical mind.  Though the type might indicate a military background, this is not always true though many successful military officers have this personality type.  Fieldmarshals are born leaders.  They have very developed though processes and good at prioritizing tasks.  Fieldmarshals get frustrated over the redundant and nonsensical.  They feel there must be a reason for doing a specific task.

Healer
Occuring in about 5% of the population, the healer is an introverted personality that can appear very calm and shy from the outside though internally they are rarely calm.  Very idealistic, healers tend to see possibilities and not always what is.  They are strong senses of "right and wrong" and like the counselor can be very private people.  Healers share a common trait in that many had fantasy-filled childhoods and because of this often feel apart from the world around them.  (DM Note: Due to the general attributes of this personality type, I suggest that it be used only for non-evil NPCs)

Inspector
Occuring in about 10% of the population, the inspector is an introverted personallity described as being "superdependable" with a strong sense of duty.  Inspectors are honorable people who make sure laws are followed and obeyed.  Traditionalists by nature, inspectors like sticking to customs and traditions that have always been rather than venturing into the world of the unknown.  Inspectors like it when people know their place and tend to be less talkative.  (DM Note: due to the general attributes of this personality type, I suggest that it be used for only non-chaotic NPCs)

Inventor
Occuring in about 2% of the population, inventors are an extroverted personality type with very mechanical minds.  Inventors are good at visualization and looking at all possibilities.  They tend to be very innovative with an interesting circle of like-minded friends.  Inventors are generally non-conformists and very curious by nature.  Considered easy going they are rarely critical of others.

Mastermind
Perhaps the rarest of personalities, occuring in about 1% of the population, masterminds are introverted personalities with the ability to foresee all possible contingencies.  Considered master planners, masterminds are not always eager to take command but nevertheless do make good leaders.  They hate waste- wasted actions and wastes of time and have little concern about traditions.  A mastermind's preference is to just use whatever technique gets the best result.

Performer
Occuring in about 10% of the population, performers are an extroverted personality type generally seen as being warm and humorous.  Often skilled at the performing arts such as music and acting, performers tend to be exciting and full of fun.  They like being the center of attention but their need for excitment and stimulation can make this personality type more susceptible to addictions.

Promoter
Occuring in about 10% of the population, promoters are an extroverted personality known for being clever and full of fun.  Promoters are people of action.  They often enjoy the finer things in life and can be seen as being very theatrical or overly dramatic.  Promoters tend to be charming, confident and very popular.  They are often big risk takers.

Protector
Occuring in about 10% of the population, protectors are an introverted personality type seen as being very protective and loyal.  Protectors do not like experimentation, preferring instead the "tried and true."  They are traditionalists and can be seen as being quite reserved.  Protectors like championing the causes of the helpless.  (DM Note: Because of the traditional traits of this personality, it is recommended that they be of non-evil alignment.)

Provider
Occuring in about 10% of the population, providers are an extroverted personality type and are seen as the most sociable of the personalities.  Providers can be quite nurturing and tend to be active in social services.  On average, a provider is very cooperative and make good team players.  Providers are good at taking charge of social functions.  (DM Note: Because of the traditional traits of this personality, it is recommended that they be of non-evil alignment.)

Supervisor
Occuring in about 10% of the population (including yours truly), the supervisor is an extroverted personality type.  Supervisors are highly social and community minded.  They tend to be generous with their time and energy and often get involved in government or civic organizations.  Supervisors are good at making schedules and sticking to it.  Supervisors are often hard workers.

Teacher
Occuring in about 2% of the population, teachers are an extroverted personality type with an obviously talent of teaching and leading students.  Teachers consider people the highest of priorities and can be quite creative at finding new ways to teach.  They llike having things settled and organized and therefore may be resistant to try new things.  Teachers generally have a very good sense of self.

Now to narrow it in a bit...

THE DUCHY OF FAIRFORD

The Duchy of Fairford is the northernmost fief of the King of Valoria.  It occupies a semi-fertile valley along the Silvertine River.  The current boundaries of the duchy are roughly the Glimmerglass Lake on the West, the Herald Hills to the North, the Short River to the East while the Cranekeep Castle marks its southernmost influence.

Southerly, the duchy is adjacent to the Valorian fiefs of the County of Summerfield along the west bank of the Silvertine and the Duchy of Woodswall along the east bank.  As one of the principle vassals of the King of Valoria, the Duke of Fairford has been given a highly strategic stretch of land just south of the Selenir Conclave.  Perhaps more significantly, it has also proven to serve as a staging ground for the numerous humanoids that dwell within the surrounding wildlands as well as the forces from Aeronna to the East.  The Lich-Lord has on several occasions dispatched token bands of creatures to test the resolve of the humans to the west.  The blessings of the difficult terrain lying between the Duchy and the Empire prove to limit the Emperor's strike force but small bands are able to enter Valoria at this point to spy or simply wreck havok until they are routed by the Duke's forces.

Similar to the other northern fiefs, the people of the Duchy of Fairford tend to be somewhat provincial and certainly more conservative in their opinions of the world at large.  Suspicious of strangers and independent in both thought and action, the typical peasant of these lands is a sturdy fellow who generally keeps to himself and rarely ventures outside of the village of his birth.

Due to its proximity to the Empire of Aeronna, the Duke of Fairford garrisons royal troops as well as his personal military equally about 1,200 men and women.  The Duke can furthermore call up an additional 4,500-6000 able bodied militiamen, mercenaries and men-at-arms if the safety of the fief is in question.  Most of the standing military is evenly distrubuted across the valley in a number of strategically placed castles and fortresses, some of which are even commanded by the legendary Knights of the Silver Chalice.

Totally around 12,193.9 square miles (31,582 square km), the Duchy of Fairford is roughly the size of the State of Massachusetts.  Given its size, one man might be hard pressed to govern the entire fief effectively in spite of his natural talents and leadership skills.  Therefore, as is tradition, the Duke's ancestors have further subdivided these lands into sub-fiefs as rewards to faithful retainers, lesser nobles and lieutenants.  Each of these vassals in turn answer only to the Duke who serves as their Tenant-in-Chief.  In exchange for these gifts of land, they in turn provide the Duke with lucrative payments in cash, goods as well as taxes.  Each is also required to send a pre-determined number of trained peasants to serve as guards for the Royal and Ducal castles throughout the fief.