Southern Lands Setting
Refer to the map below as you read:
The western border of the map represents approximately the furthest that people from Amairikashet have settled in the past 200 years. The earliest settlers arrived via the Full-Loop Current about half-way down the eastern edge of the Mirthland spur. As the town that grew here was the first city on the Eastern Ocean, it is known as East Ocean City.
Many races live side-by-side in larger towns, but as seen throughout history, there are generally concentrated pockets for “Dwarf-Town”, “Little-Halfhome”, “Human-Alley”, etc.. Smaller frontier Hamlets and towns are often primarily made up by one race, with a few members of other races living with them. Traditional fantasy tropes apply, with elves being more tree-bound, dwarves and gnomes preferring mountainous terrain and caves, half-orcs settling in warmer climes, and Halflings creating idyllic villages in temperate zones. All of these cultures are fairly new to the Southern Lands, having arrived here after the discovery of the Full-Loop Current (described later). However, a small number of nomadic wood elves and mountain dwarves, had already been calling this area their home for over a thousand years.
In generalities, more Elves and Halflings populate Mirthland, Gnomes and Dwarves primarily make up The Pinswoods, and all races are approximately equally represented in Olddom and to the South (see world map).
Per normal fantasy tropes – feudal/dark ages for the most part, with a few exotic techs here and there. You can advance technology if you’d like, but we’d have to discuss what you’d want to discover/invent, and how to get there.
Flora & Fauna
If it’s in North America and/or the Monster Manual, it’s a possible inhabitant. There may be other creatures in this campaign which are not found in the Monster Manual. Specifically, one unique blight in the Southern Lands comes in the form of giant bug-like creatures not seen in Amairikashet. These creatures have both physically dangerous characteristics and also pseudo-magical powers which increase the peril they pose. The powers are similar to those granted by “the gift”, which is possessed by some of the Southern Land-born population.
Humanoid races (Gnolls, Giants, Goblins, Feral Elves, etc. etc.) also inhabit parts of the Southern Lands, but as far as the settlers know, these races have evolved here on their own over the past few millennia, as opposed to being Amairikashet emigrants.
The political environment is still a loose confederation. Might makes right in the absence of inter-regional law, and the west is particularly chaotic. That having been said, The Congress is a self-declared ruling body of the Southern Lands and is funded by wealthy patrons in Amairikashet. The Congress was originally headquartered in East Ocean City, but 20 years ago moved its headquarters westward to Deecy, just to the west of Tophouse bay.
The Congress is governed by several powerful Wizards. They oversee a relatively strong militia which, outside of local constabularies, is the only organized military presence in the South Lands. Since The Congress is funded by commercial barons in Amairikashet, it has two primary purposes – to gain power in the South Lands, and to gain wealth. It exercises its power by flexing the might of the militia, frequently claiming frontier land for its Amairkaishan patrons. It gains wealth by encouraging settlers to survey and settle on the land, purchasing the right to settle from The Congress for considerable sums of money. Those who settle lands, but choose to not pay for the settling rights (see below), are sometimes beset by unexpected hardship – accidental fires are common in the fields and homes of such non-sanctioned squatters.
Settling the South Lands
The Congress has de facto military control of large swaths of the South Lands, and as a result, has decided to generate a steady income stream by selling off acreage of the new frontier to settlers. It charges a steep price – 500g per acre for normal terrain, 2,000g for any acre which contains water-side property on a sizeable river or lake, and 10,000g per acre on any beach-front property adjacent to a major bay or ocean.
The Congress has limited resources, and wants to maintain a positive image amongst the South Lands settlers, so it doesn’t overtly raze homesteads or towns which have not paid it for settling rights. However, it is common knowledge among the South Lands populace that The Congress does do so occasionally so as to maintain a sense of authority and to instill an incentive for settlers to pay. The operatives that perform these incentivizing acts are soldiers based in bases, a few in each main region.
Settling works as such: pay 100g for a scrying stone which the wizards of The Congress use to monitor a settler’s explorations. When the settler has found a homestead, s/he activates the stone which sends a visual image of the surrounding acre to the wizards. The stone will flash once, twice, or thrice to signify which rate (500g, 2,000g, 10,000g) The Congress will charge for the land, and if the settler accepts, s/he then has 30 days to provide payment to The Congress for the right to that land.
The Congress has never reneged on its word to abide by settlers who have paid for their claim. It has similarly never failed to forcibly evict a settler who has not paid for his/her land-claim within the 30 day window. It does not, however, provide any protection to the claimed land, it simply does not assert its own claim to the land.
Per conventional wisdom, as a settler goes further west, s/he is more likely to encounter progressively dangerous inhabitants and native South Landers. It is also progressively less likely to be visited by The Congress’s fire squads, for now at least.