Sternhaven Aristocracy | The ruling class of nobles
Prince Stern du Arc | Ruler of the Principality of Ravenwind, High Lord of Ravenwind County, Lord Mayor of Sternhaven, Supreme Knight of the Phoenix. Prince Stern is a an of some size – well over six feet tall, perhaps 235 pounds – and his skin has been darkened by long exposure to the wind and sun, as befits a man of the sea. His beard and moustache are thatched with silver and kept neatly trimmed. Most of his hide visible around around his armor is crisscrossed with the scars of a lifelong swordsman, and his knuckled hands are broken and swollen with, as rumor has it, a history of finding “volunteers” to main the battlements of a thousand ships. But the Prince’s eyes, most say, are what one remembers from any meeting with his Grace. Pools of comfort to innocents, they are also tempests of fury to enemies of the realm.
Although of significant wealth, du’Arc does not favor the fancy dress as does his friend Count Artropolous; rather, he wears the more serviceable clothes typical of a sea captain. He does, however, rarely go out without gloves or gauntlets, and never has he been seen sans his phoenix pendant, clipped to his shirt. His boots are leather of a curious blue unavailable at the tanners, and his the grip of his longsword is clad in sharkskin.
du’Arc is a capable captain of men and admiral of ships. As an explorer, he was the first Greyhawker to map the southern continent, and in his personal vessel Raven he tracked pirates, captured enemies vessels, and liberated enough booty to fill the halls of a Canistani pasha. Since carving the Principality of Ravenwind from the Viridistani map, du’Arc has earned the respect of both the dwarves of Capurnia – King Nodra Ironhelm has named him “dwarf friend” – and has made a strong alliance with the elves of Viscum, who account du’Arc as a staunch supporter.
Although the Principality is both strong and growing, du’Arc has suffered some loss. Four years ago, the heir to House du’Arc, Collwyn, was assassinated in the streets of Sternhaven. The elder du’Arc conducted purges following this the like of which had never been seen – dozens killed, hundreds arrested, though the thug who nocked the arrow that slew Collwyn was never apprehended. du’Arc became a darker man, after that. When the Second Canistani War ended, it brought Ravenwind new territories to administer and, though the terms of the peace were reported beneficial and just to all parties, du’Arc refused to sign. Technically, Ravenwind and Canistan have never ceased hostilities and, if ’tis true that du’Arc blames the Canistani for the death of his son, it may very well be that hostilities will never cease, so long as Stern du’Arc holds the throne of Ravenwind. Of late, the Viridistani have arrived on the political scene, with new energy and fresh troops. But du’Arc remains steadfast in his opposition to the indigenes of the southern continent.
Count Sebastian Artropolous | ruler of Amedio County, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar. When the Scarlet Brotherhood assassinated the ruling class of the Sea Prince Hold, the 3rd son of the Prince of West Keep, young Sebastian, was on his personal yacht, fishing as was his wont. And thereby he survived the merciless attack that devastated the Hold and put an end to the reign of the Sea Princes. Warned by a family servant and friend, one Astin Lostel, who escapted the carnage in a punt and managed to reach that last Artropolous, the pair set sail for on a perilous, unplanned journey to the only port the knew was safe, Norport, on the Southern Continent. Twenty days hard sail later they arrived, exhausted, starved and half drowned from storms and high sea, they arrived. Within days, word of their tale got out; within weeks, they’d charmed the populace, and become local heroes.
Two years previous, most thought most thought the youngest son of Artropolous a typical sion of privilege: brash, spoiled, foppish, vain and vulgar. He was not without intelligence and education, having spent his formative years amongst the Sages of West Keep, and he was not without some skill at the blade, having spent his free hours in the dueling pits where his martial spirit was never questioned. But in a Hold teeming with rugged individualists, Sebastian was simply another noble face. Today, however, he is a vibrant and well-loved leader of men. Wealth seems to find him, and his finery is off the highest quality; save for the serviceable cutlass at his hip, he wears the most expensive cloth and is bedecked with jewelry. But his largess is similarly gaudy, and his friends and followers are as loyal as they are numerous. He is a fine Count to House Du’Arc, but in the end, he sees the position as temporary. There is a day coming, those who know Artropolous say, when he will return north to the Hold and reclaim it, as King, in the name of the Sea Princes.
Count Regis Brandon | ruler of Drake County, Armsmaster of Ravenwind, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar. Brandon, a native of the Great Kingdon far to the north and east, is not imposing of size; however, his quickness and skill at arms are legendary, and he is a master of such a wide variety of weaponry, ’tis said the Count may kill a man with the scrolls of a sage. Scrolls or no, Brandon’s mail and sword are of the highest quality, and his followers and troops are continually training and prepared for any fight, no matter the odds or location.
Count Perthius | ruler of Krishian County, Lord High Magister of Ravenwind, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar.
Count Lamron uth Glitner | ruler of Ollman County, Lord High General of the Armies of Ravenwind, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar.
Sir Lastel Sharade | Ward of Dragon Chateau, Master of Osprey Peninsula, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar. Dignified and serious, Sir Lastel Sharade is tall, grey-haired knight of Suel heritage. And much like his predecessors, he mislikes being rushed. Sharade prefers caution and planning to impetuous brinksmanship, and he is well known for his well-planned strategies and long-term goals. That does not, however, make Sharade timid: once a coarse in decided, he pursues its execution relentlessly. Similarly, House Sharade and Dragon Chateau are paradigms of courtliness and law. When Sharade gives an order, he expects it to be obeyed at once and without question, and he would be shocked to learn that one of his house failed to perform with excellence. Sharade brooks no incursion to his court – the most formal of the Houses of Ravenwind, those who would not be on their best behavior whilst in the House of the Dragon will certainly reap the consequences.
Sir Zorac Romaro | High Prelate of Sternhaven, Governor of New Essex, Ward of Castle Phoenix, Lord High Priest of Osprem, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar. A brilliant tacticians and military strategist, Zorac despises cowardice, and he is widely known for his intolerance towards those who do not pay respect to Osprem. Conversely, his love for comedy, joke-telling and humorous tales is similarly well known. Zorac saw to the publishing of a popular book of offbeat humor, one that is read through the Principality.
Sir Bastonel | Lord High Minister of Justice, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar.
Sir Zorba | Baronet of Sternhaven, Lord High Master Bard, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar.
Sir Pirid du Arc | Lord High Prelate of the House of du Arc, Knight of the Phoenix Exemplar. Pirid is many things: bald of head, round of middle, homely of countenance, showing his years… and as kind and scholarly a priest as exists on the continent. His only dream as a youth was to be the serve Osprem as the abbot of a fishing village; today, he is continually shocked to find himself Prelate of the largest cathedral in Ravenwind and, perhaps, the entire Southern Continent. His flock numbers in the thousands, and a more beloved churchman would be impossible to find. And yet, Pirid devotes his most pleasant hours to teaching and scholarly pursuits, ever mindful of his position as personal Advisor to the Prince, and it is said that among Prince Stern’s counselors, the good-natured Pirid may be the most influential.
Sir Luther Cromwell | A defender of the good and just, Cromwell is well known as a powerful and devout Crusader for Osprem. He is the current Ward of Osprem Tower in Sternhaven.
Sir Paranon | Ward of Ehlonna Tower. Device: White Snow-owl on field of gray.
The Powerful and Perilous | Some noble, some not, all dangerous
Heroditus Constantine | Heroditus is by and large a tolerant man, whose goals and toil have developed over the course of years, often at dear costs. In spite of certain physical limitations, Heroditus’ is driven by an seemingly inexhaustible energy and drive when it comes to expanding his knowledge and experience. Heroditus is best known as the leader of the Academy of the Arcane, one of the largest, most powerful and most well known wizard’s guilds in the Principality. In addition, he is the successful owner of a profitable merchant fleet and the confidant and close friend of Prince Stern, all of which continue to increase Heroditus’ power, prestige and influence. Over the years, this has added a bit of a paranoid element to Heroditus’ personality, but that has mellowed somewhat and he now devotes much of his time to the workings of the Academy, his business ventures, and magical research.
Vestrate Aurora | A small, bald, unimposing Bakluni, Aurora is Headmaster to the School of Illusion of the Arcane Academy. Never seen without his orange and silver robes, his traditional dragons ornamenting the sleeves, Aurora can oftenbe seen walking the Academy grounds with his two companions: his redwood walking stick, which he is never seen without, and his wolf, Pal. Always careful of social standing, Aurora has never enjoyed the fame of his counterparts Perthius, Heroditus, and Ubyk, but those in the know about the Academy have speculated that Aurora’s arcane expertise matches – and perhaps, tops – any of them. His knowledge of magical weavings, for example, is far in advance of any of his more famous colleagues. Beyond this, however, little is known of Aurora, prior to the day he arrived in Sternhaven, tablets in hand, to teach novitiates the way of the Majickal Arts.
Adventurer’s Row | From rogues to rangers, dungeon-dusty and flush with gold
Ubyk Tarragon | Warder of the Viscum, Elven Liason, Master Examiner of the Wizards Guild. Ubyk stands a mere five feet tall, with violet eyes and pale gold hair. He is described by most as “pudgy for an elf”, an unusual quality given the expected toned form associated with hardened adventurers. Ubyk is a reputed avid adventurer, always investigating one theory or another over the course of his exploits and no task is unreasonable when knowledge may be unearthed or a fresh understanding of mystical workings may be garnered. He normally dons a cloak of black fur, bestial in nature, and a gray hooded mantle. A wide pouched girdle encircles his waist, undoubtedly harboring a variety of exotic herbs and materials suited to manipulating magical energies. Close inspection reveals a pair of simple rings, one on each hand, and a heavy, garish, torc-like medallion of peculiar unattractiveness beneath his robe collar. An earthy green robe, polished leather boots, and a silver skullcap complete his ensemble. No weapons are visible, nor are there apparent signs of wizard-type protective accoutrements, supporting the rumor that the mage disdains physical combat and its ingredients. His conversations tend toward discussions of magic and its research, and his knowledge of mystical spells and principles is surpassed by none in the territories. Ubyk shuns public politics, seeing them as a barrier to learning, but is rumored to have a fair network of agents that keep him informed of doings in the barony, for in his eyes: knowledge is power.
The Academician | Of prior to the day he arrived in Middlesex, nothing is known of the human who calls himself the Academician. Indeed, little is known even now. He wears simple robes of silk, with no sigils or House insignia. He speaks little, less so in the company of his master, Ubyk Tarragon, the elven Magister, deferring always to Ubik’s word. He tarries not in the taverns, nor at the hearth, though he may occasionally be seen observing the archery contests from the swales with a keen, educated eye. Beyond that, it is assumed that he bends ever vigilant to his work, conducting research into things arcane with his master. Otherwise, the Academician is unremarkable of visage, plain of dress, and circumspect of speech. He maintains a polite, almost melancholy air in conversation, leaning on a carved staff of wormwood for support. Occasionally, he can be found at the local bowyers, conversing with the elvenfolk, with his hood back and wizard’s tonsure-and-skullplate open to the afternoon sun. But of his puissance in the Art, one can only guess. Ubik’s powers are widely known and prodigious, and it is assumed that any student of his must certainly be of no small skill, but the Academician has never been one to flaunt dweomercraft – the infrequent cantrip, for the entertainment of the local children, is as far as he has ever been seen to proceed.
Flakton Forsey | In the company of mages, there are those who specialize in the command of the spirits of the air, of the earth, of the sea, of fire… and then there is Flakton Forsey. Old, hunched, dour, mercenary, Forsey has made enemies in every city in the Principality, taken gold from every blackguard master, eschewed politesse and apprentices with equal abandon. But throughout Ravenwind, Forsey’s power as an Elementalist is known. The ka-sharnaa’s of the air, the gromes of the earth, Old Nico the Living Sea, red Krshnakivoon the Blazing Pyre – all know the name Flakton Forsey, and even these most powerful elementals have at one time or another done his bidding. For this reason is Forsey feared, and for this reason does his service command the gold he demands. Beyond this, his unappealing nature keeps him segregated from the run of humanity, and he misses it not.
Zac Dicet | The hulking mute Dicet has earned his living by his slow wits and massive broadsword since before the Master of Mercenaries can remember. As thick in the head as he is through the bicep, Dicet goes from one sword-swinging job to another, earning his silver and maintaining his silence. When not on the job, he can often be found at a back table in the Whaleman’s Inn, his engraved broadsword Rectifer at his thigh, his chain shirt unlaced at his corded neck, and a bag of bloodmoney on the table in front if him, slowly diminishing as he downs ale after ale in surly silence.
Hartack Stilletto | If the brute Dicet could be said to have a friend of any sort, then that must be the ubiquitous Hartack of Krish. Dark and dour, Hartack and Dicet have worked together on several occasions, and evidently consider each other comrades of a sort. Hartack is always cloaked in black finery of a baroque style, probably some Krishian design, though the studs of his armor can be seen when he pulls aside his cape to give fools warning in the shape of his beautiful longsword, named SerpentTooth.
Hewitt and Vermillion Bloodstain | Many have wound up on the wrong side of an argument with one of the brothers Bloodstain, but few have crossed swords with them and lived to tell of it. Both are warriors, knights in service to none but their own whim, cavaliers of casualty. Vermillion, the elder, reportedly carries the blade of his ancestors, while the younger Hewitt bears a rune-lit sword of calamitous repute. Both are festooned with weapons, and when the pair arrive, armored for battle and astride steeds of great size and mass, trouble soon follows. Or so it was for many cycles; few have seen or heard of the Bloodstains of late. ‘Tis said they’ve gone back to their native Cannistan, to raise hell amongst their brothers, while others said they’ve gone the plains in service of some nouveau landed gentry who can stomach their rough methods.
Moebius Dasgov | The halfbreed Moebius, part elf, part human, is a curiosity to those that know him. A solid swordsmen, Moebius is rare to anger and rarer still to draw his blade. A subtle and accomplished craftsman, Moebius avoids the workers’ life, though it might bring him good coin. Intelligent, a learned speaker, polite and educated, Moebius can be seen in the company of blackguards as often as in that of cultured folk – he sits as equably with cutpurses from the city as with mages from the Academy or ladies of high birth. Recently, Moebius served as chief advisor to Freiherr von Bek of Barduk, where he earned a reputation for savvy dealings and effective administration of his lord’s manor. But since Bek’s disappearance, Moebius packed up and left Barduk for points east. None has heard from him since, though rumor has it that he has taken up with the dwarves in their never-ending campaigns against the mountain humanoids.
Legendary Troublemakers | They might be dead, but the tavernkeepers still tell their tales
Freiherr Ulrich von Bek | Landgraf of Barduk, Knight of the Falcon. A mercenary, adventurer and, finally, Knight and Landgraf, von Bek had a talent for finding trouble and making it worse. von Bek’s appearance was unremarkable – a typical warrior, in blacked field plate, his shield bearing the device of House von Bek (a stylized werewolf in silver, rampant on a field of ebon), and his trusty longsword – save for one hideous feature: his left eye, put out (it’s told) by his own hand on some terrible errand, scarred and blistered, with a gilt patch barely covering the oozing gap. Those few who saw von Bek sans patch told in whispers of a dark ruby, exquisitely cut, that lay in the riven socket as a substitute. von Bek was a luckless mercenary, and he bore then battle scars of a thousand duels. It was only toward the end of his life (if he is dead at all, for his body was never found) that his fortunes brightened – knighted by Stern, von Bek became Landgraf of Barduk, a small farming village situated in the lawless lands almost halfway to the Canistani border, two weeks hard ride through the Viscum to Sternhaven. Orcs, bandits, hobgoblins, thri-keen – all bedeviled the place, and von Bek took after them with a vengeance not often seen. He fought them all – some to victory, some to stalemate – and built up the ramparts in the meantimes. For all his work, von Bek still rode to a siren’s song, and would disappear from his table in the Tower of Barduk for up to a month at a time, seeking who-knows-what. Sometimes he would return with gold, sometimes with wagons of weapons and supplies, sometimes with naught but a fresh scar or two and a foul countenance. It was one of these trips that was his downfall, or so it is believed; von Bek left one day, caparisoned for war as was his wont, and simply never returned. No one knows what became of him – but von Bek was foolish in some respects, and took easily to a fight, despite the odds. And regardless of his land and titles, he still followed to rough-hewn code of the Mercenary, among whom honor is paramount, and slights real and imagined are settled in spilt blood. There are some who say that von Bek will someday return to Barduk, with a chest of jewels or a wagon of gold, and resume his peerage. But most agree that, in all likelihood, he met is match on some distant battlefield, far from the windswept grasslands of his adopted home.
A Cast of Thousands
Balin | A jeweler and justician. He is never seen out of doors during daylight hours.
Belgar | Prince of Haven, and member of the White Drakes.
Blain | Paladin, and co-Captain of Osprem Tower.
Bueguelin of Loftwick | Sage of the College of Colleton; Specialist in demi-human anthropology, biology and legends/folklore.
Cornwall O’Cryllor | Sage of the College at Colleton; Specialist in the biology and activity of arachnids and ichthyoids.
Grenlac De’Gradsul | Sage of the College of Colleton; Specialist in physics, architecture, engineering and meteorology.
Gunnar Sven Gate | Paladin, and co-Captain of Osprem Tower.
Harad of Gryrax | Sage of the College of Colleton; Specialist in Oerthian anthropology and languages.
Jutla of Willip | Sage of the College of Colleton; Specialist in fungi and treelife.
Kayen Teiva | A fairly well-known wizard, owner of a small magic shop and master to several pupils.
Maliant the Magnificent | leader of the White Drakes and Ward of the Tower of Sunset.
Omar | A local cutpurse of dubious skill. More of a beggar than a robber, and always in trouble with the city guards.
Panzerel the Beneficient | Headmaster Sage of the College of Colleton; Specialist in Cryptography, Divination and Sigilistics.
Prolyn Hastell | Member of the White Drakes.
Regis | Knight of the Falcon, Warmaster of Prism Keep.
Rence | An occasional visitor to Sternhaven. Although probably a cleric, he seems uninterested in proselytizing.
Rossin Rostal | Member of the White Drakes.
Shrom | Priest of Beory. Although often seen in the company of Rence, where the former proselytizes no one, Shrom recruits continually.
Simlinton | The lighthouse keeper. He actively recruits trainees to aid him in thge keeper’s duties, and those he dismisses, he sends to the Orders.
Somulax the Learned | Sage of the College of Colleton; Specialist in humanoid/giantoid law, customs and folklore.
Stella Stalkern | Member of the White Drakes.
Zouriss | Often seen in the vicinity of Ravenroost Castle, Zouriss is a sour, unpleasant loner who is rumored to have a pet tiger.