The Five Kingdoms
Dharkonis, is a large, craggy, mostly untamed wilderness with vast stretches of nearly impassable coastline of sheer cliffs and shallows cluttered with razor-sharp coral. So far only a handful of navigable ports have been found on the ruinous coastline, and two full cities have been founded, one on the west coast that was settled by Kesengard, and another on the east, which was settled by Ravenna.
Dharkonis is rich with natural wealth, with bountiful minerals for mining, hardwood forests, and exotic flora. Of course, the wildlife here is more vicious, more dangerous, and more unpredictable than anywhere else in the known world. Lost ruins of unknown civilizations, unexplored cavernous depths, and other mysteries await travelers and explorers alike. Merchants are willing to take fairly large risks to establish trade from Dharkonis, and pirates and privateers skulk in the waters off of its shores waiting for treasure-laden vessels to brave the Maw to return home.
Five hundred years ago Dharkonis was the site of the Aberration Wars, when a huge force of mind flayers and their allies began an offensive with the intent of taking over and enslaving the known world, bending the collective will of the populace to their own, nefarious end. It was at this time when the entire continent was revealed to be a chunk of rock and debris from some other world, presumably the home-world of the ancient illithid, and their purpose here was to begin a new civilization so that they could rebuild their interstellar and interplanar empire. Two major forces contributed to their eventual defeat. First was the combined might of several hundred dragons, who marshaled their forces on the northern coast of Dharkonis and began a counter attack against the aberration army. Second was a large force of drow and their allies who surged up from the Underdark in an attempt to take the continent as their own clandestinely. Fighting a war on two fronts caused the mind flayer forces to break and scatter. The drow, seeing the might of the draconic army, kept below the surface instead of suffering devastating losses at the hands of their unexpected foes. Dharkonis was claimed as a the nation of dragons, named for the ancient dragon (who’s color is still the source of much debate) that initially called for the counterattack. Now it is a wild landscape, dotted with frontier outposts, mining operations and logging camps, with the two coastal cities rising in prominence and wealth.
Ravenna’s port, The Rookery, is a well-established coastal town protected by a stout stone wall and a regiment of soldiers. The soldiers spend as much time repelling hostile wildlife as they do keeping order, so there are pockets of rather lawless populace, especially around the docks and towards the center of town. The rest of the city is a flourishing trade port, that as many merchants and traders call home as fences, smugglers and pirates.
Kesengard’s port, Elgraz, is named for the dwarven word meaning “weak construction”. The dwarven settlers were not happy with the conditions of the buildings they erected, low stone and wooden shacks mostly, that they thought the first big storm would knock them down. Since then the town has grown outward, but is still mostly made up of single-story buildings with wide paths and roads between them, spiderwebbing out from the docks. The docks, contrary to the name, are the sturdiest in the world, made of stone and hard wood by dwarven shipbuilders and engineers. Each dock has a crane for loading and unloading cargo, and each berth can house a ship at least twice as long as the biggest in the world (accounting for progress, their designers would tell you). Elgraz has become quite a popular trading post, guarded by a unit of volunteer soldiers funded by Kesengard gold. The city itself is quite dull most of the time, but once every two weeks it plays host to the Grand Market, when traders from all over the world bring their wares to sell from carts, stalls and right off the decks of their ships. Kesengard naval vessels patrol the water heavily on this day to protect the merchants (and buyers) coming to and leaving port laden with goods and money, and so far no pirate attack launched against the Grand Market has succeeded.
Both the Rookery and Elgraz have offices of the International Guild of Adventurers and Explorers, an organization dedicated to the exploration and mapping of the new lands, as well as the oceans beyond the four kingdoms.