Realm of Bal-Kriav
Bal-Kriav is a home brew campaign setting realm for Dungeons & Dragons. It is akin to the D&D campaign settings Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, etc. There are deeper origins of various Higher Powers, and instead of planes there are systems. Origins of creatures and races may also be quite different than how used in other game systems.
In the Age of Creation, Chaos was sundered, giving rise to worlds, life, civilizations, and a permanence to Negative Entropy that had not existed before. It was a time when Creationists manipulated entropic matter and energy, giving it form and purpose. For the Primordial Lords, attuned to the ebb and flow of Chaos, each time a world was created, they felt Chaos shrink, resources and energy drawn away,
... to serve the whims of a Covenant lackey.
- Cari'phis, from the ice runes of Perge'khas - "Covenant Thieves"
The rise of structure and order where there once was randomness and eternal change led to the Dawn War. It was a long war, impossible to conceive by those with finite life spans. A Covenant victory, it meant that everything outside of Chaos, the systems of Nawirrûs were here to stay.
The Dawn War gave rise to another great conflict. This war swept the Mortal Systems. In the Demon Spawn War, demon lords and their seemingly countless legions were looking to expand their real estate. This was to become the God Era, where soon-to-be gods and their angelic armies, the Quara'tun Covenant defeated the demon invasion, sending them back to the Abyss.
These two great wars have left their mark across many regions. After the God Era, the Mortal Systems were left to the mortals. The history after that is largely focused from the perspective of Nuciregmas historians on the world Bal-Kriav.
We start our voyage at Angvild isle, a place pulled into this world from Chaos in the Dawn War. Today, it is home to the Gimrune and other peoples of Engineen. The Engineens lay claim to inventing the first dirigibles. Travelling north from Angvild, we pass the former pirate haven Arrowoyn. A short travel north from this island we come upon the Bone Rigs. These bone platforms serve as ports of trade with the lich leaders of Sôvuk isle. Leaving the macabre rigs, we travel west to one of the marvels of the realm, the Sea Tunnel. By way of this otherworldly sea passage, ships can make a rapid journey to the far northwestern corner of Midrêth.
We sail west past the Sea Tunnel and shadow the coasts of the Aerie of Dragons. Numerous ruins dot the landscape of this war-torn region, some of the most important are the remnants of the ancient empires Arkhosia and Bael Turath. In the interior of this region are many dragons, dragon-bloods, and giants. In one part of the Aerie is the Ice Tear. At this enormous keep, the machinations of the great wyrm Amaglothorn led to a great valley being covered over by a glacier.
Leaving the coasts of the Aerie of Dragons, we cut south across the Sea of Mourning for a brief view of the dreaded isles of Necrocrypt. Get to close to this horrifying place and you will encounter the death ships of the Black Tide of Thasmudyan. This empire is one of the most sinister of the realm. Scattered across Necrocrypt are many Durkoth ruins. It is in these places that some of the most wicked creatures and organizations learned their dark arts. Going south past this undead haven, we come upon the continent Karterus.
Journey into the interior of Karterus and you cross the deep jungles of Ma'Ohari. Be wary, for in the interior is the powerful yuan-ti empire Malshirk'iss and the fiery empire Goth-Dyvermoir. The greatest marvel of this region is Mughakh-Gol. From afar it looks like a mountain range, but is in fact a wall, built by the primordials during the Dawn War.
South of Ma'Ohari is the region of Gulimbor. The region is the birthplace of some of the greatest empires in history, but also a land that was so blasted by the Gulimbor Catacylsm that it was depopulated of civilized peoples. Continue south and you enter the lands of the minotaurs, Azrik. In this region is a place called Elphion. This forest has the largest concentration of earthmotes in the realm. Some of the wealthier cities of Bal-Kriav buy these from Ba'lith and then take them home using skyships. South of Azrik is Bug Country, technically known as Hive, a land swarming with insects, both small and gargantuan, most with little intellect, a few with the cunning and intelligence rivaling the illithids.
We now travel east across Salzârrâk to the continent of Straiden, and port in a city of Pipe Home. Here we relax and enjoy time with the halflings before making a dangerous trek into the interior, crossing into Weretopia, Land of the Lycanthropes. Spend only a little time here unless you want to end up running with them. We turn north, hiking through the passes of highest mountain range of the world, the Elephant Backbone. Travelling west, you enter the Earthen lands of Karnegmoth. In this region, you will encounter lands warped from exposure to Chaos, ruins of one of the greatest empires of the First Epoch, Tinnanguth. This nation employed creatures from Granitoid to do their dirty work, eventually falling to them. The environment is just too strange for us to travel into Karnegmoth, so we head northeast instead, into Izagunbar. In this region we take to the coasts and view the most seaworthy ships of Bal-Kriav and have a drink with the elderaunts, or spend quality time in the fighting pits. If you want to be just a spectator, then go see a game at the Centrifuge Coliseum.
A journey do north and you again reach Brucrumus. Travel too far southeast of Kautha and you enter troubled waters. The source of these storm-tossed seas is a perpetual hurricane called the Tintibulus Chute. We head to Hells Womb and make a call to the greatest city of the realm, Paradomea City. Don't take the name Hells Womb literally, nobody is sure why it was named thus, but the name stuck and was recorded as history by Ermikel the Balance. Hells Womb is one of the more populated and interesting regions of Brucrumus. In this land there is a lich government, the Council of Nine, ruling from Paradomea. These are not your normal liches, I like to think of them as an immortal syndicate seeking wealth over evil-doings. There is also a nation of knights with their code of honor, it is named the Council of Bile. There are several other empires and wonders of this region, but my ink is limited, so we move on.
We leave Hells Womb and sail west. The next region we come to is the Lands of Purity. By land this region is difficult to reach from Hells Womb. There are only two main roads, the Sorrow Road and the Gunal. The Lands of Purity is considered the last bastion of the good in a wicked realm. Perhaps that is a bit much, there are other good empires and places, but the Lands of Purity has a long history of law, order, and goodness. In the interior of this land is Galathien. It is the largest inland sea on the continent. In the Sylvan Kingdoms is the Oaken Gate. This intra-system rift was used by kriavian elf colonists from the other side of the world to come to the Lands of Purity and establish the empire Galadriël Fëfalas. They are not the only foreigners to come to this land. The Norderns were divinely helped when they came to this region.
We now leave the Lands of Purity and enter the vast wetlands of the Troll Bogs. This region is a haven for trolls, poison dusk and greenscale lizardfolk, yuan-ti, giant lizards and reptiles and other monstrosities. The difficulty in traversing the region is the reason for the bad maps of the area. In the northern part of the region is the Bog Sea. Here you will find the floating cities of the Norderns. One of the most dangerous empires of the region is the Ningizzida.
We head northeast of the Troll Bogs to another wild region called the Northern Hordelands. Here you will find the witch-led Theegan hordes. This area has a number of strange areas, like the Primordial Storm, Yagolorn, and Kapha-Lak. What is probably the most perplexing thing to rise out of this region was the gnoll empire Yagamph. For gnolls, this empire achieved a remarkable level of civilization.
Speaking of empires that are different than what you would expect, we head further east to Grashakh. This region is dominated by the Orchish Empire. The Githirmil are a breed apart from your normal chaotic orc. Many generations of these Githirmil were educated and disciplined by an otherworldly lord named Emperor Blac'drugulois. Grashakh is a mountainous region that towers above the regions bordering it. During the Horgon Era and into the First Epoch, the Titan Empire of Glangveif ruled from the northern reaches of the Giant Steps.
Grashakh is bordered to the east by two regions. The southeastern region is Miradelgûn. This land is home to the Ogre Union and various xenophobic tribes of elves and a nation of evil dwarves. These dwarves committed such atrocities to their enemies that the god Naraz-Nâru forsaken them. The Rethmorg dwarves are concentrated around Mulbind-Fel.
A large tract of Miradelgûn's southern and eastern areas is covered in the Sands of Hell. Long ago, during the Lith-Crillion Era, the sand giants of this area worshiped a race of mysterious beings that walked among them. These humanoids are called the Lith-Crillion. The Pyramids of Power were built by the sands giants for the Lith-Crillion. These pyramids are scattered all over the realm. Although this is off-topic, the Helas Vessels are structures that are also scattered across the realm and just as immense in size as the Pyramids of Power.
The other region bordering Grashakh to the east is Miradelgûn. There is not much to say of this region. It is a wild land with few civilizations, even the elves here are near-xenophobic. The major feature of Miradelgûn is a very long depression called Drenvun. The eastern border of the region is Erethor.
North of Miradelgûn is the region of Cinazan. Much of Cinazan is controlled by the Khazarkar Empire. In the heart of this region is a great depression called Izen'nâth. Directly above it, is a vast earthmote called Gindinâth. In the western part of Cinazan is the Core Sea. Long ago, this sea was much bigger than what it is now. The Chaos War caused a lot of damage to this region. The cities that the Hordes of Chaos captured were warped and permanently tainted by Chaos.
Further west from the Core Sea, we enter the Tribe Steppes. This region is the hunting ground of the jara. Sometimes, these jara are rallied together under a charismatic leader and they become a Jara Khan Horde. In the northern map of the Tribe Steppes is an area called Flux. This area has a long history. It once held the Titan Empire of Cûngin-Zar. Then it became home to the chaos hordes of Neeth-Theen.
We now travel to the central western edge of the Tribe Steppes and enter the High Wood Country. This region holds several elven empires. All of these empires came to this land from Turgon. They were driven from their homeland when a gate was opened to the Abyss. Much of the High Wood Country is covered in deep primeval forests. The largest forest is the Taurquion. It is said that this forest is sentient and guided by the Angrods. In the northeast of High Wood Country is Timinórë. This place holds the frozen corpse of a son of Thrym.
South of High Wood Country is the Clans region. This mountainous region holds the dwarven empires of Phlehorn. As would be expected, the elves of the High Wood Country and the dwarves of the Clans are constantly in conflict. The dwarves have linked all the cities of the region with train tracks. This system of rail lines is called the Kibar-Kûn. The Clans western border is Nielalroch. The only seafaring people of this region are the dwarves of Grimmarsveinn. At Klord, we hire a ship and head southeast across Nielalroch to Arcana.
Arcana is a mysterious island that is hard to reach. It is often fog-shrouded and has very powerful sea serpents in the waters surrounding it. The island holds the largest number of Lith-Crillion ruins in the realm.
We sail around Arcana and head to Turgon. This island once held four city-states of elves and rival lizardfolk tribes. If you enter these lands, then you might as well consider yourself in the Abyss. They are ruled by Demogorgon and his minions. These demons seek nothing more than to escape Turgon and wreck havoc on Bal-Kriav. Fortunately for the people of the realm, Turgon is surrounded by a boundary ward. This magic field allows primes to enter, but keeps non-primes from leaving - at least most of the time.
North of Turgon is a fiery island Kolning, and north of that are the Maze isles. We won't even attempt to enter this area. This is off-topic, but if you like mazes but don't want to risk getting wet, then head back to Hells Womb, go to the Eastern Shar and then head down to the Apex Maze.
To the west of Maze is the continent Gorejun. The easternmost region of Gorejun is Vhurghad. This wild region is inhabited by dinosaurs and other giant-sized creatures. The smaller creatures of this land are just food for the big ones. Another region of this continent is Malurn. It was named for its vast deposits of iron. Much of this iron is not native to Bal-Kriav. It ended up on this world in what came to be called the Dûlan-Nûl Firestorm.
We now head north of Gorejun into the churning seas of Edhelviel and then to Azrinn'nûr. In the heart of these isles is a whirlpool that serves as the exit from the Sea Tunnel. Heading southeast of Azrinn'nûr we come to the coasts of the Great Expanse. This region of Brucrumus is north of the High Wood Country. This is a wild and large region with few civilizations. In the Second Epoch, a great gear from one of Mechanus's worlds broke away, drawn through a rift to the world Bal-Kriav. This massive clockwork gear is the Gear Monument. It rests in the plains of the Great Expanse. This otherworldly machine has given rise to a growing presence of machines at Helmogorn.
Heading east we sail into the cold waters of Nautrek. We pass twenty miles north of the Dead God Fountain, any closer and the water will be too turbulent to write. Nautrek is a dangerous sea, not for what dwells here, but for all the icebergs. North of this cold sea is the continent of Elemantum. This land has three regions. The two lower regions are home to creatures not of this realm. They were brought here when two crazy mages created thrones, and then imprisoned themselves in them. The Pumice Throne is sited in fiery lands of Anubeth. Its opposite is the Glacial Throne of Igas. The other region of Elemantum is Magrâbik. This land is home to a very old race called the Nithians. These people are citizens of the Tamlêrran states which are led by wizard-governors. The people of this region revere magic, and had the good sense to erect a boundary ward around the two unstable regions south of them. This boundary ward is of the same nature as the one surrounding Turgon; both made to keep things locked up.
- Phoslomor, cartographer of the Third Epoch, excerpt from the book "Phoslomor's Survey of Midrêth"