Gazetteer of Aerrunn
The land of Aerrunn is one of great contrast and conflict. From the frozen wastes of the Northlands to the burning desert Azrai, all manner of peoples and cultures can be found. The world-spanning and dominant Empire of Verun has crumbled, and the indigenous peoples are now forming their own societies and nations.
Aquilia, the focus of the campaign world, has evolved into an early Feudal society. The Church of Alarond has decreed the divine right of Kings and given holy approval to the social customs of investiture, homage and fealty. Kings derive their power from the service of their vassals, and the vassals derive their wealth from the value of their lands. The lands are worked by the various indentured classes of serfs and peasants. Very few men are left free to seek their own fortune, but those that do are envied and feared respectively.
Aquilia is inhabited almost exclusively by humans. With few exceptions, demi-humans are viewed with awe, terror and most likely violence. The interiors of the continent are generally civilized, small villages dotting the landscape every few miles. The local authorities strictly regulate the populace and keep a wary eye on outsiders. This is not to say that occasional banditry is unknown, in fact the strict regulation of the lower classes forces the downtrodden and free spirits to rebel whenever possible. These uprisings are almost universally crushed by the warrior class, usually in a thundering charge of the armored Knight.
The Knight is the pinnacle of the warrior class. Trained and educated from birth to be the ultimate force on the battlefield, Knights are highly valued by their lords. They are above the laws of the common man and answer only to the Church and their own masters. Common soldiers, in the form of men-at-arms and archers often serve as reserve and support to armored Knights and their squires. Magic on the battlefield is almost unknown. Clerics often serve as Hospitalers in armies, however, most sects choose not to participate in the actual conflicts. Wizards and Sorcerers are rarely employed by the great Lords on the field of honor. This is the case in part due to most magic-users reluctance to indenture themselves, and partly due to the nobility’s distrust of their dark skills. Although The Church of Alarond has no official position on arcane casters, most members publicly frown upon its practice.
The century long crusade against the Elves of the Azrac desert no doubt contributes to the Aquilian distrust of arcane magic. The Azrac Empire is ruled by an elite class of Sorcerers, called The Viziers, and they actively employ their arcane art against the Aquilian armies. The Elves hold many of the cities that are considered holy by the Church. The Church, in turn, sponsors nearly continuous Crusades to liberate these ancestral lands, even going so far as to create an elite order of Templar Knights that are answerable to no one save The Holy Pontiff himself. Returning crusaders bring hatred and distrust of elves and magic back to their homelands, infecting the populace with their fervor. Few people in the Aquilia cannot claim to know a friend or relative who left for the desert and never returned.