The Jarldoms

The Hearthlands stretch from the base of the Fire Mountains in the west to the southeastern shores of the Keldaran Channel, running along the border of Goltha. Its terrain encompasses snow capped mountains, regal highlands, fertile river farmland, and rolling plains. Under Queen Tove’s rule, the Hearthlands are divided between the three Jarldoms.

The Fire Mountains

The west of the Hearthlands, from the Temple of Luminous in the north to the Golthan border in the south, falls under Jarl Gamble Audolfson’s rule.

These lands are primal and as beautiful as they are dangerous. The mountains and fjords are home to some of Adrasil’s most dangerous predators, such as the stone and fire wolves who are hunted as a right of passage by berserkers. It is the wolf Jarl Gamble takes as his sigil, as his Jarldom is known for its fiery tempestuousness, and some say bite.

This landscape is jagged and demanding of its peoples, which some say is the reason for the most religious of the Hearthguard taking to the western Jarldom. The westlanders are devoted to the old gods and the old ways. A plethora of stone temples can be found from the deepest of valleys to the highest of windswept peaks, visited by shamans and Gothi and other shieldkin who look to the runes and whispered magics of the world.

In the seizure of this region for the Hearthlands, the far northern temple of Luminous was sacked, which caused not only an outcry amongst peoples in Adrasil, but the worshippers of Luminous amongst the Hearthguard as well. In light of this outcry the temple was later dedicated to gods of any faith found in Adrasil, and was established as a place of worship for any who should brave the northern mountains to seek solace at the temple’s flame.

The mines in the Fire Mountains are the richest and highest producing mines in all of Adrasil for precious metals, gems, iron and soft metals, though the difficult terrain makes high output very difficult. Some communities in the Fire Mountains know the secrets of producing extremely high-quality steel, and steel alloys not found anywhere else in the world. Stories say that Halvor passed this knowledge to the dwarves and the dwarves passed this knowledge to the people of the Fire mountains. 

The dense forests of hard and softwoods allow for excellent timber, resin, varnish, tar, and charcoal production. Being home to more common and exotic fur bearing animals supports a strong fur trade. The horns from Fire Mountain Ibexes are used as a core material to make one of the most powerful composite recurve bows in the world. The only agrarian economic commodity the Fire Mountains can sustain is sheep that are at home in the high-altitude environment. Having lived and evolved at such a high altitude, the wool from these sheep is incredibly fine and of extremely high quality, with excellent insulation, moisture wicking and temperature regulation. After the precious metals and gems from the mines, this wool is the most valuable trade commodity.  The Mountain Yaks raised here are small, and often hornless, but are great milk producers, and can be sustained at the lower elevations of the mountains with relative ease. In the lower lands, along the rivers, some highland cattle can be found, much larger than the Mountain Yaks and better for leather and meat production, though the areas that can support these animals are rare.

As the Hearthguard have settled into their control of their region, their connection with the wild people of the Fire Mountains has grown. They have adopted many of the locals’ practices into their own daily lives, strengthening the bond between them and their citizens further, including the ways of war. For each seat of power within the Fire Mountains, a great horn is forged of fine metals, often decorated to suit the hold for which it is made. These horns can be heard over great distances, echoing off the mountainous terrain, and are used to call all the Hearthguard forces together for battle.

The Midlands

The center of the Hearthlands, from the highlands and Murnock in the north to the Murnock River, falls under Jarl Jorran Karlson's rule.

The Midlands Jarldom is the industrious heart of the Hearthlands. Among the foothills that define the region you will find hearty people who have never known peace. Years of raiding and war between Olaran and Goltha has shaped the daily life of the people of the midlands. Every village is walled and every home made of timeless stone and stout timber roofed with thatch or peet. The Midlanders harvest bountiful timber from the many deep hardwood forests and the rich Mines of Murnock supply the hearthguard with ample iron, copper, and silver. Lumber Mills, smelters, and forges are plentiful. Midland farms are famed for their apple orchards and fields of barley and rye, their Herdsmen tend bountiful flocks of sheep and goat, and the annual salmon runs provide a bounty of fresh cold water fish in the spring. There are even tobacco and hog farms in the eastern reaches of the Jarldom. Among the towns and villages along the Murnock river there are many river ports and shipwrights.

The warrior nature of the Midland people is also evident in the numerous martial training academies and tournament fields in the region.The primary religious expressions are seen in worship of Luminos, Halvor, Fera, and Odar. With a firm decree by the Jarl that all are free to worship as they see fit excepting the harm of another Midlander. The stacking of stones is also seen as a fitting tribute to the gods and spirits, resulting in shrines of stacked stones great and small throughout the land. 

The Midlanders tend to be a common sense lot but have their own superstitions too, given to telling stories of banshees in the eastern swamps, goblins in the abandoned mines or caves of the region, and even tails of strange creatures like the Platypus and Wolpertinger. Ruins of both the former Golthan empire still dot the region, stirring these fantastical tales. It is common to give an offering of blood and milk to the house spirits known as Hobbs. Shepherds Pie and Stollen bread are staples of their diet when not guzzling down the many fine Whiskeys, Berry Meads, and Apple Ciders. Fermented goats milk, known as Kafir, or Apple Cider Vinegar are commonly served after meals to aid digestion. 

The music of the midlands tends towards songs of battle and poetic tales sung by skalds who also serve to record the histories of the midlanders. Haunting melodies of Hurdy Gurdys, deep drums, and shepherds’ flutes are often heard in the mead halls and echoing off the glens. Much of the art of the Midlands is done in tapestry of magnificent sizes.The governing of the Midlands to many outsiders looks like a chaotic mess of feudal lords, freeholders, and citizen thralls.To the midlanders it makes perfect sense for example that every person should serve a two year term in the Hearthguard or learn the healing arts. It is an expression of someone's worthiness to say “they have earned their mail”. In fact, at the many assemblies called Moots which decide law and policy, any person no matter their rank may speak openly without reprisal if they have “earned their mail” in service to the Jarldom. The literacy rates of women in the midlands is much higher than that of the men, because reading and writing is taught while learning the healing arts.

The Lowlands

The east of the Hearthlands, from the Murnock River to the Keldaran Channel, falls under Jarl Tagelia Sigurdson’s rule.

The southlands are a decadently fertile region of grasslands, bracketed by the Murnock and the Keldaran rivers. The moors and riverlands are known for their beautiful hues of purple that come from the plethora of heather and purple moor grasses. Boglands stretch along the Keldaran in the southeast, where the land is low lying, and in the high east and westlands near the Murnock River, purple hills and moorlands stretch as far as the eye can see. In the summer the riverlands bloom with leagues of red saxifrage, which the lowlanders call the stars of Valan. The flowers are said to produce the richest of honeys, and so beekeeping is found in plenty. With the region’s deep, fertile soil, southlanders grow wheat, oats, barley, rye, and other grains in abundance. Well fed by these crops, farmers keep vast herds of sheep and cattle. Past domesticated farms and townships, red deer and wild horses roam the sweeping grasslands.

For generations the southlands have seen much conflict with the neighboring territories of Goltha and Arkadia, and though peace has dominated in recent years, the capital of Lannock still stands as a fortress city. Though under Jarl Tagelia’s rule, Lannock has bloomed into a rich trade port, exchanging grain, wool, honey and beeswax, for lumber and metal from the west and coffee, flax and other exotic goods from the east. Where trade is rich so too is art and culture. Lannock is home to many who specialize in tablet weaving and textiles. In a fertile land the richness in food cannot be overlooked and in Lannock especially. Here is a city rich in mead, bread, sheep’s cheese and meat.

Farther east lies Bash Tiar, the largest fortress on the continent. Once built and stationed by Olaran to protect the southern border against both Goltha and Arkadia, the fortress is now used to train the most elite of the Hearthguard military.