The Evil That Men Do
This is the world of Varneth, as it is known in the Middle Kingdom. This is not it’s first name, nor its last, but it’s all you’ve ever known.
The continent is bordered to the west and north by great mountain ranges before opening up to the coastal wetlands west and the artic reaches north. To the south are mountainous deserts and sprawling canyons. Eastward is home to great, dense forests until one reaches the coast. The center of the land is dominated by great plains and sprawling forest, eventually turning to rocky badlands in the northern parts. The Songspire rises from the center of the plains; a monolithic beacon to travelers for miles around. The floodplains to the south and east give way to marshes before turning to grasslands and eventually rocky desert as you move southward.
Most of the so-called Middle Kingdom is a collection of city-states and vassal lands under the rule of the Harnok monarchy, located centrally at the Songspire. The Songspire is a rising monolith of unknown origin, it’s history lost to the ages. It has been the traditional seat of government for hundreds of years, and the city surrounding it is the densest population center on the continent. It is ruled in benevolence by King Harnok VII and his Lady Tallia.
To the north, as the steppes turn to stone, lies Cornath. A massively walled city in the middle of approaching wilderness, it is ruled by the Brothers Gren, Willeth and Wehr. Cornath is the last stop before the northern wildlands between the plains and mountains, holding off the hordes of orcs and goblinoids in an uneasy truce. It also retains some of the best smiths in the land outside dwarven holds. The garrison at Cornath is generally responsible for the North Road leading from Cornath to the Songspire.
To the west, just to the south of the Breakridge Peaks, is the joint Dwarven/Gnomish city-state of Holva. The city itself is a nest of cranes, pulleys and scaffolding, as the clandestine engineering projects between the two races unfold. While remaining mum about their experiments, Holva does allow a garrison from the Songspire and maintains tribute to the Harnok empire in exchange for resources and open trade.
Kra’ha’vak (known in human circles as the Birdlands) is the name of a collection of Tengu aeries in the southern mountains. Though each aerie is a contained unit unto itself, they view each other equally and despite internal squabbles tend to present a united front when dealing with the outside world.
The wild forests of the east are the home to the great Elven Kindgoms. They defend their lands relentlessly from both outsiders and internal threats. Non-elven peoples are generally not wanted there, and the elves are incredibly good at keeping their borders secure.
While Orcs and Goblinkin have sizable encampments in various remote locations and do occasionally raid towns of the Middle Kingdom, they are not organized in great numbers. There have been rumors for years of a massive Orc city somewhere in the southlands, but reports of description and location vary widely, leading most to believe them the ramblings of water-starved madmen who spent too long wandering the desert wastes.
Dragons. They’re myths. You can read all about ’em.
The humanoid races, excepting the Elves, of the Middle Kingdom worship the same pantheon of gods. While people may devote themselves to specific gods, worship of this group is treated as a whole, and many people worship the group equally, calling on specific gods for boons for specific things. There is some infighting between the devout as to why their god is better than another god, but this is isolated. There are no specifically ‘evil’ gods in the pantheon, as each is seen as aspects of a whole, with good and bad properties in equal measure. This pantheon is the state endorsed and maintained religion in the Middle Kingdom.
Elves worship an older pantheon, made up of hundreds of minor gods as well as a large group of overarching powers. Much of it is akin to the modern Pantheon of the Kingdom, but it’s much larger and nuanced.
Like the real world, there are a myriad of other belief systems and worship targets out there. Everything from Dragons, Nature, Magic, and the End of the World all exist as religions. Orcs and Goblins both worship their own deities, and nobody’s really sure what the Lizardfolk do for religion. It’s generally believed that Tengu worship the sky, though they don’t talk much about it.
There’s also strong evidence for older pantheons worshiped by the ancestors of humanoid-kind, though most of that knowledge has been lost to the ages as well as suppressed by modern religions and the ruling class. The eldrich knowledge of these gods are generally locked away in musty tomes deep in ruins, in hidden libraries in religious centers, or in private collections of the rich and powerful.