This is a sneak preview of the League of Seven Charters. We thought players would be interested in seeing cultures and kingdoms as we work on them. As with all Sneak Previews, details may change over time.
The League of Seven Charters
It is unlikely that Admiral Alsen Golent appreciates that perhaps his greatest legacy is creating a country and trade power out of the remnants of the very pirates he spent his career hunting on the open seas. There is no denying that the League of Seven Charters would not be a country without him. One does not always have the luxury of choosing their own legacy.
The League consists of seven autonomous city states, each ruled by a former captain of the high seas, a title now called a Sevenfold Seat. While not every captain was bequeathed, in the past, with legal ownership or captainship of their vessel, there is no denying the each of the Sevenfold Seats was earned with money, blood, and maybe not a small amount of treachery.
Despite the past, the Sevenfold Council rules the League and keeps the peace, for the most part, among themselves and the leaguefolk who have taken residence in their cities. The Sevenfold Council convenes twice a month in Travos, with the good Admiral not only sitting at the head of the council table but also acting to broker the peace between the varied and colorful rulers who occupy the Sevenfold Seats.
Formally the High Admiral of the Blacktallow Kingdom, Admiral Alsen fell out of grace when his King was slain and Queen Elysia took power. In her rise to power, the Queen enslaved all free Shoathri; her edict named them no more than beasts and property. Although the Admiral himself escaped, he never forgave the nobles of Blacktallow for falling in line under the Queen’s edicts.
In retaliation, the Admiral essentially stole much of the fleet of Blacktallow, then called a Kingdom, and sailed south away from his former homeland. No small number of Shoathri countrymen and women rallied under his sail, and he landed the fleet in a pirate’s cove on the western edge of the abandoned southern peninsula. There he seized the lawless town that existed in that cove, and founded the first of the Sevenfold Cities, Travos.
From there the Admiral moved up and down the desolate and abandoned peninsula, capturing the fortified towns and forts in those lands. The southern peninsula had suffered a number of misfortunes that had left the area lawless and abandoned by good folk, but the years of hunting pirates gave the Admiral a knowledge of that coast. The Admiral knew he would never hold order over the lawless and wild lands himself. Instead he would impose order and, when he found a Captain strong and intelligent enough to hold an area of this land, he would offer them a seat on his council.
Not everyone was as eager as one might imagine to accept the Admiral’s offer, but his offer was just generous enough and just advantageous enough to prevent the most powerful captains and bandit lords from allying against him. In the end six additional Captains rose from the bloody infighting to become influential enough to claim one of the seats. This is how the Sevenfold Seats came to pass. It has seven seats not because that number held some political or mystical meaning, but rather that was simply the number of rulers strong enough to seize a territory and strike a bargain with Admiral Alsen.
The land of the leaguefolk has a storied history, and the people and tales have always involved the sea. The land is said to be infused with the Sea of Mists, and when the mists rise from the sea the veil between this world and that realm is thin. All manner of things rise up and roam the shores and lands between the city-states. Not only does this make wandering the lands when mists have rolled in dangerous, but it also means that the leaguefolk can’t always count on murder or execution to be the last time they will be forced to deal with an enemy. The Sea of Mists can embrace and even call back within its fog many folk who have called the sea their home.
The seven city-states and council seats include the following:
Travos – Travos is the most influential city-state of the League. It is the city where the Sevenfold Council meets, and it is the city that the Admiral has claimed as his own. While Travos is not as big as Majesty, the city is extremely influential and the Admiral imposes a beneficent order on his city and his land. Under the Admiral’s leadership, the city is the safest of the city-states. It is clean and prosperous, and many visitors come to meet with the Admiral on many types of business. It is particularly crowded during the times when the Sevenfold Council meets, and there is a flood of visitors and sailors that keep the constables and city watch extremely busy.
Although the Admiral welcomes anyone to the city if they obey his law and his peace, Travos is mostly populated by Shoathri. The Admiral, and the Shoathri that run the city with him, have a certain intolerance for the uneducated and unrefined. To their sensibilities, it is the wild and savage nature of many of their race that has given rise to the prejudice and misfortunes inflicted upon the Shoathri. As a result, the Shoathri of Travos are extremely careful to maintain the utmost refinement, tact, etiquette, and decorum at all times. Their clothing is well tailored and maintained. Many still adopt the styles from the Commonwealth of Blacktallow, but some adopt the finest formalwear from other lands.
Majesty – The largest of the seven city-states, Majesty is a large trade city that accepts all types of ships wishing to trade, including ships outlawed in other countries. Pirates of all types frequent the city, and it can be rough for people unfamiliar with the landscape. The city was rebuilt on top of the gothic ruins of the old Imperium city of Itanor. Although some of the city was ruined during the battle that finally drove the Imperium out of the eastern reaches, in the end the invading army chased the well trained Imperium soldiers west up the river, leaving the city remarkably intact. Majesty is now one of the biggest trade cities on the inner sea, dealing in all manner of goods allowed by the Sevenfold Council.
Although there are many questionable items sold in Majesty, there is no slave trade allowed in the League of Seven Charters. One requirement of the Admiral stipulates that although each City-State is mostly free to write their own charter, each charter has certain shared laws and the first is that slavery is outlawed; all men and women within the League are, barring crime or debt, free.
Majesty is ruled by Lady Faena Bonne. Also called Dread Faena, she has a reputation as a fierce and ruthless pirate, and an even fiercer and more ruthless businesswoman. She runs Majesty efficiently, and gets her cut of all business conducted there. She is so thorough that leaguefolk use “Faena’s cut” as a euphemism for tax or unavoidable business expense. Her former crew serve as her officers and they enlist and pay guards, craftsmen, and other talent as needed.
Sol – Sol actually consists of three allied fortresses ruled by Lady Helania Brimgrade, a former noble of Vellingrim. Lady Helania rules it with an iron fist, and brooks no question to her authority or power. Her Charter recognizes the basic tenets laid forth by the Admiral, but from there the Charter contains an extensive set of laws that she enforces within her domain. Lady Brimgrade wields an extremely impressive amount of personal power. Although she is a skilled swordwoman, Lady Brimgrade can also call on powers of both Light and Fire to heal or destroy. Some claim she is one of the Demonbound, but not within earshot of her or her loyal guard. She also has a band of particularly well trained warriors that serve her called the Hellions.
Sol’s fortune comes from a lucrative mining of true elements. The mountain fortresses guard both physical mines in the mountainside that produce True Earth, and fly sails to gather True Air. Some say that the Lady Brimgrade also controls an impossibly deep well of shadow someplace within her domain where she mines or gathers True Void, but this rumor has never been substantiated.
Tome – This city-state was constructed by pirates almost a century ago by towing the hulks of captured or damaged ships deep into the marshes that surround the town. The hulks create a sort of makeshift labyrinth, and the citizens have created planked walkways that crisscross in the narrow lanes created between the ships. The center of the city has an ancient tower that acts as the fortified dwelling of the Lord of Tome, Lord Captain Drek Skellig.
Lord Drek Skellig is a were-rat, one who appears to his makeshift pirate court in either human form or rat-form as suits his mood. Drek Skellig is an active pirate, and has gained an impressive fortune; all of it ill gained. Lord Skellig obeys the Admiral’s edicts and includes them in his charter, but his laws are otherwise a constantly changing mish-mash of his emotional shifts and whims. Three times he has been betrayed, and disloyal men and women have attempted to rise up and depose him, and each time he has personally slain those foolish enough to act against him.
One would think with a name like Tome that the city-state might be a place for scholars or at least a place of learning. Nothing could be further from the truth. Lord Drek Skellig has a particular hatred of books and scrolls and other written works. Those who seek his favor will bring him all manner of written knowledge. He pays well for such items, either in treasure or in favor. Lord Skellig is good on his word about rewarding those who bring him written works; it is perhaps the one consistency of his character. Rarer works please him even more. He gathers in his tower these written treasures until his horde has reached sufficient size to please him. When his written horde is large enough he declares a holiday; the Burning Day, and destroys all of them in a large fire on the steps of the tower while the town descends into a drunken and often violent celebration.
Floros – The brightly painted city-state of Floros is ruled by Captain and Master Thespian Marsellis Tempestria. Although Master Tempestria has, in public, admitted to engaging in a bit of banditry and piracy in his time, he has retired from those pursuits to act as the Lord Mayor of Floros and to sit on the Sevenfold Council.
Floros was created by Master Tempestria as a hide away and sanctuary for performers and performance artists of all sorts who were persecuted by the strict artistry laws of Vellingrim and, until her recent deposal, Queen Elysia’s Blacktallow throne. Master Tempestria spent the early part of the city-state’s humble beginnings whisking wanted artists away from the coast and out to his then hidden retreat. The city-state has a high population of performers who practice all manner of performance arts.
Lord Marcellis also is the patron for the Lady She’lea’s dueling school, the School of Three Roses. While there may or may not be truth to the rumor that Master Tempestria and Lady She’lea were once lovers, her school, her presence, and her students provide a healthy disincentive to other city-states, pirates, or invaders who might otherwise be tempted to raid Floros and rob it of its meager wealth.
Although Floros has many lesser theatres, it is home of perhaps the greatest and strangest theatre in Aerune; the Theatre Fortuna. The theatre, called both haunted and cursed, brings vision and madness to those brave enough to perform on its stage. Some who perform on its stage are blessed with wondrous magic, and others are swept up in violent tragedy and are slain in some dramatic fashion. Sometimes the theatre itself sweeps all of the participants into some ancient play or story, and other times the drama on stage will involve persona from faraway places. Despite the obvious dangers, would be actors and actresses travel from far away for a chance to perform on the stage and risk death to gain wisdom, or magic, or madness, or all of these.
Iovos – This city state is built in the ruins of an ancient Imperium estate, although the whole of the city state has been meticulously rebuilt, decorated and gilded to serve the tastes of its Pirate Lord, Captain Antone Stefolare. The Lord Captain claims to be a descendant of ancient Naporea royalty, and any who question his lineage are subject to his temper and his vengeance. The whole of the city is ruled by “noble” houses, all of which vie for power in Lord Stefolare’s court. Like ancient Naporea, the noble houses that inhabit the city are proud and easily offended so visitors must take care with how they speak in the city.
Iovos boasts two excellent dueling schools; the School of the Five Deflections and the School of the Red Whisper. There is fierce competition between the schools, and that pride has spilled, at times, violently into the streets. The young nobles also quite often find other reasons to become offended on behalf of their houses, and blood can run in the streets when houses clash. Captain Antone finally outlawed dueling when the costs of finding and removing the bodies of young nobles became a concern for both city expense and manpower. Young duelists have, by the day, followed the law but at night masked nobles go forth seeking to satisfy their vendettas and feuds with steel.
Both the School of the Five Deflections and the School of the Red Whisper can agree on one thing though; the School of Three Roses is in all ways inferior to the Iovos schools and any who would suggest otherwise, particular members of that school, would offer grave insult to Iovos, the schools there, and the noble families.
Iovos makes much of its money by hosting a series of city wide celebrations where outsiders are welcome. The number of visitors grows dramatically during these festivals. The nobles travel the streets masked so no one knows them and they are not obliged to defend their honor if a visiting reveler says something that might otherwise be considered offensive. Special guards are hired during this time from the noble houses to keep the peace. Knowing that much of their yearly revenues comes from these festivals, the noble houses take great care to ensure the safety of the visiting guests during this time.
Grames – Although Grames itself is nothing more than a large fishing village, it is the home of the Driftwood King and his court. The Driftwood King is said to be a ragged man of the sea, steeped in magic and able to call upon the Sea of Mists itself. The wizards and shaman who serve him dwell in the Caverns of Salt near Grames, and they have all come to learn the magic of the Driftwood King. The Driftwood King claimed a seat on the Sevenfold Council, but his chair often remains empty when the council meets.
The Driftwood King is served by a merchant named Master Theod Heron, who often speaks for the Driftwood King both in Grames and, when he travels to Travos, at the Sevenfold Council. Master Heron accepts requests to meet with the Driftwood King. While the Driftwood King does not often accept invitations or visitors, many who have lost something at sea seek his aid.
With such an eclectic array of city-states and leaguefolk, the outfits of this land vary wildly.
Travos folk are very proper and keen to maintain a groomed and proper appearance. Although vests and collars and hats are not uncommon, many tend to favor fashions that were once more common on the high seas. The Shoathri favor all manner of accessories, including hats, coats and cloaks, spectacles, monocles, pipes, canes, and fans.
Most folk, when asked of the League of Seven Charters, think of Majesty and pirates that frequent that city. Majesty displays all manner of pirate dress and affections. Leather armor, tattoos, piercings, wild hair, head scarves and even war paint dominate the fashion. Everyone carries weapons. Some put on airs and wear long coats and tall boots. Not many pirates from Majesty wear flamboyant shirts or sashes. They leave that to Floros.
Floros is a city of performers, and they dress the part even in everyday life. They tend to wear loose and colorful clothes. Vests are a common fashion in Floros; with or without a shirt. Floros wears all manner of flamboyant dress, though they avoid harlequin styles so as not to offend the nobles of Dremasque.
The people of Sol favor subdued colors, with plain and functional clothing that offers an almost military look. Armor and surcoats, like Vellingrim, are common. Only the Hellions and Lady Helania Brimgrade wear red; citizens are not allowed that color. While it is not illegal for visitors to wear red, those who wish to be polite avoid it.
Iovos nobles dress in fineries befitting their noble legacy. They tend to favor darker colors; wines and burgundies, and blacks, and grays trimmed in silver and gold are the fashion of city. Lace collars and cuffs, doublets, and short capes are common. They tend to wear their most elaborate clothing during the festivals, with matching masks to hide their identities.
Leaguefolk that dwell in Tome tend to wear clothing that is functional and somewhat threadbare. They dress like bandits and highwaymen, peasants, pirates, and the like. Some of the wealthier merchants will wear a higher grade of clothing, but clothes do not stay well in the humidity of the marsh and the people often smell and look like they belong in that place.
The servants of the Driftwood King wear robes of gray or green or dark blue. Their clothing is sometimes decorated to look like the sea, and just as often those robes are worn from the salt of the sea and the magic of the Sea of Mists. The other townfolk are mostly fisherfolk and dress in that manner.
The way you might role play varies greatly depending on the city-state where you spent a majority of your time. You might do your utmost to maintain proper decorum if you hail from Travos, and you might talk with slang and poor speech if you frequent Tome. There are some common themes in the League, however.
~ All folk are free.
~ Watch your back.
~ Charters change.
~ Leadership changes.
~ Your strength is only as strong as your current alliances.
~ Alliances change.
~ Sometimes goods change hands unexpectedly.
~ The other kingdoms want to believe they are more stable than the League but they are wrong.
All religions are followed or ignored fairly equally in most of the League of Seven Charters. The nobles in Iovos most often favor the Woven Faith. Many performers in Floros have adopted the Celestial Court as their faith.
Pirates bring lots of different magic to the League of Seven Charters, but the Sea of Mists permeates the land and the servants of the Driftwood King have strong magics when they are practiced in this land.
Despite the extremely varied types of leaguefolk, almost everyone respects the Admiral. He brought together the violent and sometimes murderous exiles and lost folk who previously frequented this land, and that alliance has brought a lot of wealth, both legitimately and illegally, to the leaguefolk.
The League is a large peninsula south of the Commonwealth of Blacktallow. Each city-state controls the lands around their main city, although not many live outside the cities because the land is dangerous when the Sea of Mists rolls in.
That said, there are three additional towns on islands nearby that are independent of the city-states of the Sevenfold Council.
Flotsam and Jetsam – These towns are out on islands near the League. They predate the Admiral, and have remained independent both because of the sea that separates them from the mainland and the brothers that founded them. Each town is ruled by a Minotaur who tolerates the lost folk and cast aways that hide here from the world. Each town is ruled by one of the brothers; Flotsam by a minotaur named Gorering, and Jetsam by his brother Felhorn.
Breck – A township of undead refugees who have escaped the Sea of Mists and now eke out a miserable existence in the mortal realm, with the constant fear that they will be drawn back into the Sea of Mists by the Captains and the lighthouses found in that realm.
The most important personages known in the League of Seven Charters are the lords of the Sevenfold Council, described above.