The Known World

The Commonwealth and its neighbors are located on the Emerald and Ruby Planes. The Emerald Plane is a large island continent, about 860 demarc across [about 2236 miles, or 3612km]. A great mountain range, the Worldspine Mountains, runs up the middle of it; this range is wide, but its peaks are low, and only its central peaks are above the snowline. In the east, there is a large inland sea, the glass sea; the Kingdoms of Men are on the northern peninsula, while the Goblin Empire is on the south. In the southwest, near the coast, there is a smaller range, the Seaward Peaks; running along the southern edge, stretching between the Seaward Peaks and the Worldspine Mountain, there is warm, high steppe-land; the Ash Elves, members of the Shaded Sea People, hold (most of) these steppes.

Stretching from the western edge of the Glass Sea, over the Worldspine, running north along the Shade Elves territory, reaching all the way to the western edge, and jumping to the Haven Isles beyond, is the Commonwealth.

The Ruby Plane lies to the south of the Emerald Plane, separated from it by the Sea of Strife (which is around 175dc across). A great mountain range runs through the center of the Ruby Plane; jungles cover the west, and much of the east, but there are deserts and a rocky, arid lowland in the northeast. The Raptor Protectorate controls much of the jungles and mountains, while the Goblin Empire has conquered much of the arid land in the northeast; scattered other cultures lay between the two. Much of the Ruby Plane remains unexplored; it extends well south, past the Raptor's southern borders.

We have generally assumed a fairly Earth-like world. It is very slightly larger, is very slightly further from a very slightly larger star, and has a slightly longer orbital period of roughly 371 days — but has roughly the same surface gravity, axial tilt, and environment.

The world has 3 natural satellites — one is a large, bright, white-grey body similar to Luna (possibly carved from the primordial planet by an impact), while two are smaller, irregular, darker objects (likely captured bodies), one a dark grey and one a slightly rusty red. The largest is the Light Moon, and is often treated as a lesser partner to the sun in myth and metaphor; the other two are Ash Moon and Rust Moon, and are often associated with decay.

The system also includes various planets, which the locals regard as wandering stars; their word for them, much like ours, has its root in the word for "wanderer." Four of these wanderers are commonly known; like our solar-system, there are likely more, too dull or distant to be visible to the naked eye.

Dates will usually be given using the Commonwealth's calendar, which is based off of the solar year (like the Gregorian calendar in use on Earth). It starts in the year that the New Charter was signed, founding the civilization that would become the Commonwealth. This occurred 830 years ago, so it's presently CY 830.

Some cultures use a lunar calendar, typically based on the largest satellite. Much like on Earth, the lunar and solar calendars don't exactly line up; there are 11 lunar months (each 33 days long) and 9 days to a solar year.

Distances are often given in an old Empire-of-Man unit, the demarc (abbreviated dc); it's based on the distance from the center of city of Hanman to the furthest gate in its furthest wall. A demarc is about 2.6 miles, or about 4.2 kilometers. Another Empire-of-Man unit, the stride (sd), is used for smaller distances; it is, as the name implies, based on the average human stride. A stride is about 30 inches, or about 75 centimeters; there are about 5600 strides to a demarc.

Their day is slightly longer than ours, but the Commonwealth, at least, also divide it into 24 equal units; we pretty much just call those "hours."

History in Brief

The Empire of Man

The Emerald Plane has long been populated by numerous intelligent races — some living in only one corner of it, others spread from coast to coast. Much of the early history of these people is little more than legend now.

Humans are widely believed to be the first city-builders, founding the first cities on the Golden Peninsula (in the present-day Kingdoms of Men) at some point in the distant past. Other cultures followed suit, founding cities and developing civilizations.

More than fourteen hundred years ago (in CY -578) Humans founded the city of Hanman in the Golden Peninsula. It was one of several human cities that grew wealthy and powerful, claiming the territories around them. Hanman was one of the three city-states that united (in CY -385) to form the Empire of Man. The Empire of Man spread out from the Golden Peninsula, reaching west towars the Worldspine, well into the forrested inland.

The Empire founded colonies throughout its conquered territories, granting swaaths of land to local prominent citizens to settle, develop, and govern; many of these colonies prospered. But the Empire was run for the benefit of the Three Cities, at the expense of its other posessions; it was also prone to factionalism and strife, as the Three Cities (and their leading citizens) jockeyed for power and influence. As its distant territories grew and prospered, they began to chafe under the Three Cities' rule.


The Drake's Peaks separate the Golden Peninsula from the rest of the Emerald Plane; thirty demarc west of those peaks, in the inland forest, roughly 130 years after the area had been conquered, the dragon Karrach began to conspire with local prominant citizens to throw off the Empire's rule. They waited for an opportune moment; in CY -227, it came. The Succession of the eigth Emperror Nallos Soriollon was hotly contested, and created a disruption of Imperial leadership; Karrach launched his rebellion, claiming a broad swath of the territory to the west of the Drake's Peaks for himself.

Karrach did not claim all of the lands that the Empire had conquered; former Imperial possessions to the south and west where cut off from the Three Cities and Imperial power. These regions, equipped with their own nobility and institutions, continued to prosper and develop.

In CY -148, more than 80dc southwest of Karrach's domain, a Gnollish tribe sought the aide of the human city of Autumn's Folk against a powerful confederation of their enemies. The humans agreed; their new Gnollish allies where granted a charter to found a manor in some nearby land, in exchange for their martial aid; this charter would come to be called the Old Charter, and formed the template for a new and vital civilization.

The people of Autumn's Reach prospered, along with their new Gnollish neighbors. The charter granted to the Gnolls provided a kind of template; more manors where founded, by Humans, Gnolls and Halflings. Some of these manors became city-centers in their own right. The Old Charter proved an inadequate framework for the growing civilization; 148 years after the signing of the Old Charter, the New Charter was promulgated and signed. The New Charter was designed to govern a civilization, the Commonwealth: it allowed for the collection of taxes, allowed for the funding of a militia and the construction of roads and bridges, and constructed the Commonwealth Council to administer those functions.

The Growth of the Commonwealth

Members of the Commonwealth ventured into the frontiers, founding new manors and spreading their civilization. New races where encountered; some joined the Commonwealth and where welcomed, while others wished now contact with the new civilization and where left alone — the forests of the inland Emerald Plane were vast and deep, with more than enough unclaimed land to support the Commonwealth's growth without requiring conquest or exploitation. The Commonwealth eventually reached the Worldspine Mountains and the southern coast; they also stretched to the Goblin's Peaks in the southeast, where they first encountered the Goblin Kings.

In CY 87, the Empire of Man, cut off from its distant holdings and riven power-struggles, finally collapsed.

In CY 91, the Commonwealth founded the first manors west of the Worldspine. They continued to expand west, founding a narrow thread of mannors running between the territories of the Herders and Shade Elves — eventually allying themselvs with the former, to resist the devastating mounted raids of the latter.

In CY 255, in the Human-dominated Golden Peninsula, where the Empire of Man had been born, the first High Kingship was founded; this marked the ascendency of a new power on the Emerald Plane, the Kingdoms of Men.

In the same year, the explorers and settlers from the Commonwealth first encountered the Herders, west of the Worldspine; shortly thereafter, they first encountered the Shade Elves, and began to conflict heavily with those horseback raiders. The Commonwealth allied with several of the peoples in the area — including the Herd-and-Pack alliance, an alliance of Herders and Gnolls — to resist the Shade elves; a formal treaty between the Commonwealth and Herd-and-Pack was signed in CY 349.

During and after this time, the Shade Elves and the ratfolk of the Warren Isles conflicted heavily; although the nature of it is not widely known, some manner of truce was struck between the Elves and Ratfolk in CY 398, establishing the Shaded Sea Peoples, a dangerous nation of pirates and raiders.

In CY 349, Islandhome was settled; it grew, becoming prosperous. In CY 447, the forces of the Shaded Sea laid seige to it, leading to a short but shockingly brutal occupation; the seige was broken in spring of 448.

In CY 537, Commonwealth sailors first encountered the Raptors on the north-central Ruby Plane. Explorers hailing from a Goblin Kingdom would land on the Ruby Plane a year later, in CY 538, in the far northeast of the plane. The Goblin Kings would establish a permanent settlement in CY 617, and begin their conquest of the plane from there.

In CY 611, a brutal genocide in the Eastern Kingdoms lead to an exodus of Kobolds from those lands; those settlers where welcomed in the Commonwealth, settling chiefly under the Worldspine and in the Haven Isles.

In CY 703, the Goblin's Noble Assembly established the Goblin Empire; their hope was that a stronger, centralized beaurocracy would allow them to both shore up their wounded nation, which had long fallen behind both the Commonwealth and the Kingdom of Men, and to better exploit and conquor the Ruby Plane. The Empire rapidly set about the reorganization of the Goblin's soldiery, and rapidly accelerated their conquest of the Ruby Plane.

The Compact

The Commonwealth now spread from the shores of the Glass Sea in the East to the Haven Isles in the West, and included countless, diverse peoples. The New Charter had not been designed to govern such a vast people; in CY 744, it was replaced with the Commonwealth Compact. The Compact divided the Commonwealth into provinces, allowing each a government that suited it; it also allowed the Commonwealth Council greater authority to collect taxes and duties, and to spend those moneys on a wider arrange of projects within the Commonwealth, beyond road-building and military defence; and it also established an "enumeration of freedoms" owed to every citizen of the Commonwealth. Several former allies also signed onto the Compact, being incorporated as member-provinces; these included the Dragonshire, the Herd-and-Pack Alliance, and the subterranean Clay Men.

A Brief Timeline

CY -578Human city-state of Hanman founded
CY -385Empire of Man founded
CY -227Karrach leads local rebellion, claims land west of Drake's Peaks as his own domain.
CY -221Former-Imperial Human settlers encounter Halflings.
CY -163Former-Imperials encounter Gnolls.
CY -148Gnollish tribe seeks aid of human city of Autumn's Reach, granted charter to manor near city; later known as the Old Charter
CY -121Drakes are created.
CY 0New Charter replaces Old Charter, establishing Commonwealth Council (and the Commonwealth as such).
CY 87Empire of Man collapses
CY 91First Commonwealth manor west of the Worldspine founded.
CY 103Dwarves encountered in the cold north.
CY 255First High Kingship unites human territories on the Golden Peninsula.
CY 349The Commonwealth signs a treaty with Herd-and-Pack.
CY 350Commonwealth settles the Haven Isles.
CY 398Treaty between the Ratfolk of the Warren Isles and the Shade Elves of the Shaded Steppes creates the Shaded Sea People.
CY 447The forces of the Shaded Sea seige Islandhome.
CY 537Commonwealth encounters Raptor Protectorate.
CY 611Kobolds flee genocide in Eastern Kingdoms, settling in the Commonwealth.
CY 703The Goblin's Noble Assembly establishes the Goblin Empire, the better to pillage the Ruby Plane.
CY 744Commonwealth Compact replaces the New Charter, establishing broad funding power; Commonwealth creates more agencies.
The Dragonshire, the Herd-and-Pack and the Clay Men all join the Commonwealth.
CY 830The Present Day