Kingdom of Avandrool
“Has the Last Dancer cast us away, that we should have so carefully planned for legions of the lovely Dancing Dead, to end up with… this?” - Fela-Teli, Bishop of the Black Church

Capital: Raavesh
Settlements: Avan (1,500), Capital metropolitan area (750,000), Drowned Cities (250,00), Kivesh (17,500), North Gate (3,000), Ramadar (12,000)
Ruler: King Ehren Romdhas-Poag
Government: Theocratic monarchy
Races: Gillmen, Grippli, Half-Human, Human, Orc
Faiths: Rajuk Amon-Gore, Rolterra
Resources: Coral, copper, obsidian, seafood
Languages: Aboleth, Boggard, Old Porphyran, Orcish
Border Conditions: Walled (the border of Avandrool is secured with a yellow wall 20 feet high, 10 feet thick. There are at least four copper gates that allow entry).

History
The Kingdom of Avandrool was once a colonial part of the nameless empire that once held Tuthon, Dunmark, and northern Iskandar. Known as a lush, forested region and a bustling trade empire, everything changed when a deadly plague befell the Drooli people, a century after The Calling. Not even the king, Romdhas-Urlg survived the pestilence, thought to have been brought on by elementalists for the crime of neutrality. Fearing the spread of this plague, the neighboring realms worked together, erecting a massive wall of yellow stone to seal off Avandrool. Although several large copper gates were built into the wall to allow entry, few have ever dared to attempt access. Even with the passing of centuries, rumors still abound of the strange death that kills quickly and makes the skin burst with black nodules.

Avandrool is not an abandoned kingdom, despite its appearance. The walls which mark its borders are old and cracked, their yellow surface invaded by sickly green moss. The copper gates are also green, with corrosion. The forest, once rich with giant timbers, is now a swamp land, drowned by dark water that bubbles and oozes, the smell of decay billowing from the mire. When the
pestilence first broke out in Avandrool, a fearful people blamed witchcraft, a common enough belief in the land. While King Romdhas-Urlg cowered in his holiday palace, the secular people relented and allowed inquisitors of the Black Church, those of the Black Hood of Rajuk Amon-Gore to enter and become established. They performed a holy war upon those who worshiped patrons and vague occultism, and stemmed the tide of death somewhat.

The literal disintegration of the land, however, could not be stemmed, as the land changed, cities half-sank, and mutations of beast and bird made the realm a nightmare. Stilt-villages become prevalent as many fled the cities and the unnerving rituals of the Doom Priests. The western province, thinly populated by copper miners, was abandoned to the orcs who called the area their homeland, and is still held by the Azagor Tribe of orcs. Much of the eastern countryside was left to the grippli, who were immune to the plague; their tree-cities house thousands of the frog-men, who hunt giant insects and mostly avoid human contact.

Within a century of the Mordant Vicars’ arrival, the plague itself began to change; less widespread, but more debilitating. The Black Church itself altered the plague using ancient sahuagin rituals used to exterminate the sea elves, the Blackwater plague. Their intent was to kill vast numbers of the population and have corpses prime for creating plague zombies to spread the curse of undeath across Poprhyra. Instead, the deceased reacted differently than those of the extinct elves, forming a black, shiny cocoon. After several days, the cocoon would crack open and release several dog-sized, tadpole-like creatures that would immediately seek water. Within a week’s time, the ‘tadpoles’ would metamorphose into the black-skinned, purple-eyed, gilled humanoids known as ‘mirkdwellers’. The creatures congregated in the dark, dank sewers beneath Kivash and Raavesh, and possess base memories of their human existence… their numbers have approached two-thirds of a million. They are widely responsible for the spreading of swamplands throughout eastern Avandrool, as they tirelessly burrow through the Under-Quarters of the Drowned Cities, eventually opening up a passage to an underground freshwater sea below.

Current Events
King Ehren Romdhas-Poag splits his time between Ramadar, indulging in his various addictions, the current one being Vitae drugs from the Empire of the Dead, smuggled in at great expense. Royal control rarely extends farther than the household Ehren is in, but family has always controlled the secret of processing hoyati, the life-elixir that keeps trade going in the derelict state.
The court has also lately taken up safari in the Hanging Fields, a vast mangrove swamp of drooping willows and moss. Chuul or catoblepas are the favored prey, but any bizarre creature will do. It is said that the ferrymen and beaters that Ehren prefers are chatteled undead, or even more blasphemous- undead grippli, the dreaded defidi.

The Black Church of Rajuk Amon-Gore is locked in a deadly struggle for control of the Drowned Cities with the mirkdwellers, whose numbers, intelligence, and influence is growing. Previously rather less than sentient, as their excavations expand and their knowledge of their remote god, the aboleth avatar the Endless Eye, as aspect of Rolterra, increases, they are becoming more a force to reckon with. Rumors of Rolterran missionaries infiltrating the country are driving the Black Bishops into a frenzy, and inquisitions and purges are reaching as far as the Hanging Fields.

Settlements
The major settlements of Avandrool are:

  • Avan is a small, brave settlement in between the Drymarshes and the Wetmarshes, whose people trade with the grippli and venture forth to harvest coral at the Rana Reef. Other nations’ ships usually avoid or chase their small boats, but those who wish to enter Avandrool usually start here after hiring one of the strangely robed ferrymen in the marshes.
  • The Drowned Cities are the territory of the mirkdwellers, who roam through the eons-old Under-Quarters, and a remnant of Droolian humans. A crude form of trade exists, with the surface people trading raw copper that trickles in from the west for fish and copper tools from the mirkdwellers.
  • Kivesh is the location of the king’s Holiday Palace, and possesses a few towers that are occupied by colonies of aberrant sorcerers, whereas Raavesh has a large temple to Rajuk Amon-Gore; the Raaveshi have less to do with the mirkdwellers, concerning themselves more with the End of Times.
  • North Gate is an old mining town established at the entrance to the old copper mines in the Inuiak Mountains. It has a high proportion of Azagor half-orcs. They manufacture copper goods of very high quality.
  • Ramadar is a far more functional city than the cursed capitals, though closed and xenophobic. Perched on a high bluff, it looks down on the ocean and the grippli tribes nearby equally. It is dominated by the Black Church, but elements of The Endless Eye are infiltrating even the heavily robed and masked citizens of this insular city. The currency of Ramadar is a type of elixir made from one’s life force, a grim medium of trade indeed.

Intrigues

  • A good clerical order has recruited (or commanded) the PCs to attempt a missionary expedition beyond the copper gates, and bring new hope to the forgotten people within.
  • The fallen undine people of The Rainbow Islands have communed with the elements, and foresee that bringing the ‘mirkdwellers’ into the light will restore their kingdom. They are commissioning ships to bring as many of them to the tropical isles as can be accomplished.
  • Crude coracles bearing hideous zombie-like creatures are being towed into the mouth of the Bay of Plagues. Their vaguely orc-fish appearance suggests that the Azagor tribes are turning the Blackwater plague to good use, and may be trying to build up a fleet of their own. The necromancer that cooked up the idea must be eliminated.

See Also