OOC A Wreath of Whispers


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The Brier.

Largest river in Aldren, the Brier flows down from the mountains of the south (born somewhere in the easterly half of the Valands), flowing northward down across the foothills and plains. It splits at Greybridge, where its flow goes to the Bay of Whispers as the Bayward Brier and to The Shear as the Ester Brier. The Ester Brier used to flow into Dustrad - now it does not.


An idyllic smattering of large freshwater lakes on Aldren's interior. Home to many small townships and communities, it's well known as a common place for resort estates of the wealthy, and as such, hosts many artisan collectives in the area.


A tiny farming village largely inhabited by halflings and gnomes, it has become overrun by artists in recent times seeking - and failing - to find sponsorship at Fisher's Castle.

Fisher Castle.

A castle-town situated in Fisher Lake, the largest of the Dribbles. Renowned for its fine luxury goods, lavish parties, and in particular, its cranberry wine, harvested in the island's lakefront marshlands. To exist here alone takes wealth, pedigree, talent, or some combination of the three.


A logging village near where the Brier descends from the Valands, they commonly drive logs downstream on merchant barges for use at the shipyards of Briermouth.

Fort Helmer.

One of the remnants of the Render's War. Isolated from much of civilization, in recent years it has become occupied by a company of bandits known as the Leadfeet. They have a particular reputation for harassing merchant boats heading back upstream for their gold earned in Greybridge and Briersmouth.

Hanning's Field.

A farming village caught at the edge of the Shear. Afflicted by the spelldrought of the Shear, as well as the changed weather of the region, many of its farms have shriveled up over the years. Instead, it has resorted to sifting the Shearwater for the crystal remnants of the spell that formed the Shear in the first place - a valuable commodity for the arcane of Aldren.

The Shear.

A massive canyon extending south from the Bleakwood down deep into the Valands. It marks the de facto border between Aldren and Dustrad. Before its creation, the waters of the Brier flowed across both countries, but now, the Ester Brier topples down into the stagnant Shearwater below. Due to the intense magics used to make it, the area around it is affected by a potent spelldrought, though concentrated fragments of the land's mana lay crystallized in the Shearwater.

Fort Forward.

The aptly named forwardmost fort of Aldren during the Render's War. It is still heavily occupied by Aldren military, serving as a forward station against any potential border assaults from the Dustradi. It exists at the only permanent bridge across the Shear.


A sizeable town made up partially of crystalsifters, merchants, and military families of folk stationed at Fort Forward. This is the only point of any legal trade with Dustradi merchants, and as such, it is in a better place than the isolated Hanning's Field. The Ester Brier flows directly through the center of the town, cascading in a waterfall at the end of the town square.


A center of domestic trade and travel in Aldren, while it is not the only crossing of the Brier, it is certainly the best maintained and best defended. Inns and hostels litter the streets, and there is a sizeable market made up of goods from all across the country. There are actually two "grey bridges" in the city - one across the Bayward Grier on the Crown's Road to the Dribbles, and one across the Ester Brier on a path north towards Downriver.


Smaller than Greybridge, this is still a bustling town, serving as a decent resting place and pass-through for folks who want to avoid the larger city. Due to the large military and mercenary presence through Greybridge, Middleton has more of a seedy underside, having a bit of a reputation for being a criminal crossroads.

Fort Feld.

Another remnant of the Render's War, Fort Feld is largely abandoned, though every now and then some band of squatters, crooks, or bandits tries to take up residence and needs to be driven out.

Tully's Tower.

The Ambling Tower of the Wizard Tully, its legs long-since crumbled due to the spelldrought of the Shear. People say the Wizard Tully, the Render himself, is still alive inside - but barely anyone dares or bothers to check. If he is, he never, ever leaves.


A rugged, worn town at the edge of The Bleakwood. Once a thriving centerpoint between the more isolated elven groups to the north, after the Brightwood became the Bleakwood following the Render's War, refugees dwindled those once-large communities to near-nothing. The few stragglers often want little to do with Aldren folk, so Bern stays worn, weary, and forgotten.

Fort Langley.

Once the northernmost Aldren fort in the Render's War, Fort Langley now stands as a guard post against any attacks from the Bleakwood, both from Dustradi trying to find a way around the Shear and from the monsters that seem to endlessly thrive within the thick, yellowed forest. It remains relatively well-staffed, and is largely the reason Bern is still occupied at all.


Capital of Aldren, Briermouth is the largest individual city, the second largest urban center, and the largest trade area in the entire kingdom. It is the main source of exports and imports into the city, its ports said to be busy at all times of day and night. Additionally, it hosts the main shipyards of the kingdom, as well as the Crested Palace, center of government and residence of the royal family.


Second largest trade area in the kingdom, Alder is a port city only rivaled by Briermouth itself. Where Briermouth is a racing metropolis, however, Alder is a quieter place, known for its laid back temperaments, good food, and popular music. It's a cultural jewel, the oldest city in the entire region with some of the most intricate and historical architecture. It is also the largest center of criminal enterprise in all of Aldren, but much of it remains in the background of the city.

Wesser and Ester.

Twin cities on the Hermit's Hook, Wesser and Ester are the largest urban center in all of Aldren. While they do have a significant trade presence across the Fallow Sea, they are even more known for being centers of scientific and philosophical thought. Ester is host to Wren University, the most prestigious school of higher education in the region, and Wesser has one of the largest networks of guilds and companies in the kingdom. They both also share strong ties to the Aerie, floating academy of the arcane, which is often seen travelling up and down the Hermit's Hook.

Spellcasters draw upon the energy of the earth - the mana stored in leylines present all across the land. Because of this, areas exposed to strong magic, especially over extended periods of time, become afflicted by mana fatigue. In extreme cases, such as that of the Shear, this can even lead to spelldrought.

Normally, mana fatigue is a temporary thing, the land growing potent again over time. To avoid causing longer-lasting damage, however (and to avoid interfering with their work), wizards, sorcerers, and other spellcasters of the land need to move from time to time.

For those of divine inspiration, this comes in the form of pilgrimage - paladins and clerics will often travel across Aldren by wagon or foot, spreading their ministry where it is needed. For the arcane, however, a peculiar strategy arose - the ambling tower. Popularized several centuries back, ambling towers are spires enchanted with some form of locomotion. Many are able to simply sprout legs and move around, giving the common name, but some fly, levitate, or even teleport. The most notable of these is the Aerie, a massive floating township, university, and collection of fellows' towers making up the centerpoint of arcane education and research in Aldren.

The Render's War brought about a new way to mitigate this, however. The Power Word that formed the Shear was a spell so powerful, so catastrophic, that instead of merely sapping mana from the surrounding land, it shattered the leylines themselves, leaving concentrated crystalline mana fragments scattered along the Shear itself. Spellcasters of any sort are able to use these crystals to reduce the mana fatigue of an area, increase their own magical potential, and even cast spells in places afflicted by spelldrought.


Aldren is a constitutional monarchy stuck on a delicate balance between traditionalism and social liberalism. While it heralds itself as open and accepting of all, other races and cultures have been historically pressured to homogenize into the majority human culture of the area, and as such, the kingdom is largely monocultural. There are few enclaves of existing non-human cultures, save for some small towns that still cling to their roots and the remnants of the Bleakwood Elves to the north.

Economically, the kingdom practices mercantilism, allowing free trade and participating in aristocratic endorsement and investment of trade companies, artisans, and merchants. A sponsor system is highly encouraged, where individuals of noble birth stake their name on a company or individual and fund its endeavors in expectation of a stake of any profits made. Tariffs are often lobbied for by strong guilds in the Bay of Whispers cities.

Government is highly centralized, with delegates (often nobility) representing regional areas being forced to reside in Briermouth for at least two-thirds of the year, where they regularly vote on propositions and advise the sitting monarch in executive matters. While a system exists for their delegees to appeal to the monarch for their replacement, this is rarely used, and truthfully most folk have little care about the goings-on in Briermouth as long as they're able to live their lives unbothered. Because of this, many areas are more involved in their own local councils and townhalls, which tend to prove far more effective at managing their respective areas while their delegates debate the merits of fishing quotas and scale standards.

The legal system is militaristic, with officers of the Aldren military having absolute judicial authority over cases brought to them. Again, usually towns will have their own forms of local justice without getting the military involved, but in the larger urban areas, almost all crimes are judged by tribunal. This authority extends to the mercenary companies that act in stead of the Aldren military, private companies endorsed by delegates and, in some cases, the crown itself.

The demographics of Aldren lean largely human, but also have not-insignificant amounts of tritons, water and air genasi, forest elves (largely refugees of the Bleakwood), high elves, firbolgs, tieflings, changelings, and forest and rock gnomes.


Dustrad is a loose democratic oligarchy formed of a coalition between various smaller states and provinces. Unlike Aldren, where culture has homogenized, Dustrad's population exists in habitable pockets throughout the otherwise unforgiving landscape, ranging from tribes to ethnostate cities. Instead of being bound together by a common culture, these distinct races find common ground in Solidarity, a principle held that communalism and collective support are more important than individual gain.

The central government operates more like a forum, where the various rulers, leaders, and elected officials of local areas are able to discuss shared policy. The forum must come to two-thirds agreement in order for any decision to be legally binding to all members, but there is no rule against passing policy locally that hasn't been agreed to. Despite this, it is general convention for all members to be on the same page.

Economically, Dustrad does engage in international trade, though they're far from the merchant power of Aldren. They tend to lean autarkal, however, especially in recent years, after the Render's War cut off Dustrad's de jure claim to land connecting to the Fallow Sea from the north, as well as their claim on free passage along the Brier.

The demographics of Dustrad lean human as well, though to a lesser extend than Aldren. They also have high numbers of goblins, dwarves, kobolds, fire and earth genasi, drow, deep gnomes, orcs, half-orcs, tieflings, changelings, and dragonborn.