The LEGENDS OF MÄLICE Campaign Setting ©
The Lydian Islands was designed to provide for a great starting point for your campaign and for beginning players. The islands present a myriad of environments and challenges that can scale easily as your players characters gain strength and power.
The island was the ancient homeland of the elves of old, the greatest and most advanced race that inhabited the world of Malice until one day they simply disappeared. In an instant elvish communities vanished, fires left burning, food left to rot and over time the wilderness of the island claimed back its domain. Some Praetorians scholars speculate their disappearance and some theories have gained traction. One opinion is the elves found and activated a long ancient artifact, banishing those on the island to another dimension (though it doesn’t explain for the wild animals and savage races on the island such as lizard-folk still being present). Others say the elves found enlightenment and were able to transcend the material plane, forever changing the race. Whatever happened, elvish ruins dot the islands landscape full of riches to be plundered. And maybe they will tell the legend of what happened to the elves of old.
A little over 100 years ago, the Praetorian Empire made a push to colonize the island with human influence, starting three colonies after pushing back the savage wilderness. The three colonies, Ebium, Arcus, and Jadsum were successful in their endeavor, populating the island and creating a life. But their troubles would be far from over. After establishing the colonies, a renegade perpetual hurricane hundreds and hundreds of miles in diameter manifested and isolated the island ever since.
There are three major cities located on the Lydian Islands – two which are on the larger island and the other on the smaller island. These cities are very different from each other and provide all sorts of urban environments. In addition to the cities of the Lydian Islands there are a few small towns and many smaller villages that dot the island, along with ruins of the long disappeared elves.
Arcus of the South, as known by the Lydian people, has a lumber based economy, and therefore its houses are made of wood. The potential for fire is a real threat in Arcus. And if one were to happen, the city would be in real trouble. The people here have a socialist political system – each member of its society does their part and poverty is a rare sight in and around the city. Although a wall surrounds and protects the city, it is not very large – a story high at most – and could be prone to attacks from outside the city. The city is not entirely defenseless as the best archers on the Lydian Islands hail from Arcus, this is an advantage Arcus takes does not take for granted and all citizens are required to take archery lessons, even the children throughout the year must train. The forests nearby are a godsend for Arcus as they contain one of the only sources of darkwood on the islands and as such any darkwood item constructed in Arcus costs 25% less resources and time to make than would normally require of the same item.
Ebium of the North, has an economy that depends on the iron rich mines and other metals than can be mined from the nearby mountains. The politics here are very militaristic and loyalty to the Praetorian Empire is unquestionable. The buildings here are made of stone and very rigid to the eye. The architecture wastes no resources on aesthetics; every part of a building or wall has a purpose. It is very common for civilian owned buildings to resemble militaristic structures and the cities walls are made of iron and are imposingly tall. Behind these walls an enemy would have to deal with the cities famous heavily armed infantry. Similar to Arcus, Ebium has a forced conscription military where every citizens must serve in the army for 4 years with an additional 2 month service every year thereafter so its populations is well defended.
The Ebium Wall Post stands as a defense against the wilds in the north from encroaching on Ebium. Most citizens of Ebium hope their conscription allows them to serve in the Ebium Watch or the Emperor’s Road Guardsmen.
Jadsum enjoys a tactical location on the smaller of the Lydian Islands, it is separated and naturally more independent than the other cities, towns and villages. It has no abundant resources and relies on trade to fuel its economy, more so than the other cities. The Jadsum’s are particularly well known for their ship building as they control the only navy on the island. Jadsum’s government is headed by the 5 Merchant Houses whom pass laws and judgment.
Ordale is a smaller city located between the large cities of Arcus and Ebium. The small city lies on the river that provides to be a natural border between the north and south. The buildings seem to be made from bricks that are made from the clay gathered from the river. Iron is brought down from Ebium to be turned to steel, and hard woods are shipped up from Arcus to fuel the steel mills.
The islands are very diversified in environment and in terrain and provide a plethora of scenery for any adventurers.
Surrounding the larger cities are many villages and farm land. While they are reasonably protected by the local cities they still have their problems in addition to the bandits, kobolds, lizard-folk and wild animals.
Some of the plains have been cultivated into farmland, but much of it remains undeveloped. The grasslands of the Lydian Islands range from flat lands to rolling hills. Dangers in the grasslands include blink dogs, giant eagles, ankhegs, kobolds, and lizard-folk. Anyone traveling on the far side of the wall might encounter centaurs, ettins, and even hill giants.
There are two big marshes on the island. The Fresh Marsh is at the foot of Blue Mountain and drains into the islands only major river. This helps create a natural barrier between the north and south. The primary inhabitants here are a tribe of lizard-folk. They have not given the civilized races much trouble for the past few generations, but lately there has been more activity recently as small hunting and scout parties have been seen wandering the plains, and even the farmlands. Other dangers that players may encounter here include giant fiendish crocodiles, a green hag, shocker lizards, chuul, and other life forms yet known. The Salt Marsh, to the east of Ebium is not created by rain and instead is created by the flooding of the ocean tide twice per day. It is similar to Fresh Marsh but is much more inhospitable to the civilized races. There are all sorts of beautiful nasties in this marsh and is home to creatures much more worse than those found in the Fresh Marsh from spirit naga’s, xorn’s, shambling mounds, and even a hydra!
The Lydian Islands are rich with vast forests; the economy of Arcus is almost based entirely on the harvesting of this lumber. The rich pockets of darkwood allow it to be obtained much more quickly and cheaply than throughout most of Malice. The forests are largely unexplored and contain many ferocious and magical creatures. The further than one travels the more dangerous the threats become. On the far side the Crescent Mountains lies the Dead Forest. No one knows what inhabits this part of the forest as anyone who has ventured in has never returned. Dangers you might encounter include dire boars, dryads, ettercaps, nymphs, owlbears, worgs and other creatures. The deeper into the forest you go you may encounter dire bears, driders, phase spiders, trolls, and maybe even a unicorn.
The mountains are rocky and steep, riddles with limestone caves. There is a kenku city on isolated cliffs unknown to the city races, and they have been watching in secret. Other things explorers might find include stone giants, storm giants, giant eagle nests and even a roc nest. Other creatures may inhabit the mountains but no one can say for sure, rarely anyone returns from such expeditions.
The peak of Blue Mountain is tall enough to have a snow cap year round. There is not much to hunt and so creatures of any nature are few here. Most things here spend their time conserving energy, but some may come down for the occasional hunt. Things to run from include a frost worm, a mated pair of remorhaz, winters wolves, and of course avalanches.
The Gath Wastes are a result of rain shadow caused by the Crescent Mountains. It gets almost no rain, is very hot and practically inhospitable. Food is scarce and encounters are few. Here in the desert is a population of snake people called the yuan-ti. Things to look out for include sand storms, flash floods, followed by an a burst of green life, followed by swarm of locusts, a purple worm, and a legend of a dragon.
A dormant volcano named Blue Mountain can always be seen in the horizon. It is located at the center of the main island and is taller than the other peaks. Dangers within or on the surface of Blue Mountain may include azer, a balor, fire giants, hell hounds, and salamanders.
Being that this is an island, the ocean plays a great role in life on the island. The deeper ocean is very rough and only the largest of ships can survive the storms on the inside of the hurricane but almost no ship can handle the hurricane that has perceptually plagued the island for 100 years. The calmer waters within the bay play host to an array of smaller fishing boat traffic along the occasional Jadum military patrol ship. In the calmer waters one would find smugglers, pirates, dolphins, merchants, and sahuagin. Over the darker waters one might find a dragon turtle, water elementals, a kraken, or even those people overcome by the hurricane known as the Drowned.
There are the remains of a fallen elven kingdom on these Islands. The elves left this island a thousand years ago and no one knows why, but everyone can agree on one thing: elven kingdom leave behind a lot of cool treasure.
The hurricane that rages around the island has done so for the past 100 years for some unknown reason but everyone knows it is not a natural occurrence. The people on the island attempted escape after escape but all they saw was death and readily accepted their fate, although a few are driven to look for answers. The hurricane has sheltered the island from the events of the outside world which has left it relatively untouched – and its inhabitants are relatively ignorant of that same outside world although a few ship-wrecked sailors mention a world ruled by dragons and their kin, of lands where humans, elves, and other races are of a second class and they talk nonsense of walking machines. But who is to say for sure, these people must have sort of dementia?