Jarnheim – The Lay of the Land

The Jarnheim Peninsula and the surrounding islands have roughly the same land area as the modern day Nordic countries (e.g. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) combined. Much of the coastline, and the areas surrounding a few larger rivers, is settled, but large swaths of inland is still unexplored, mostly due to rough terrain, such as mountain ranges, craggy hills, active volcanoes, and glaciers. Valleys and fjords are densely forested, and much of the wilderness is home to dangerous wildlife or hostile sentient races, such as goblins, ogres and trolls.

The hostilities between men and elves are very much a thing of the past, as no man alive has memories of the wars that were fought centuries ago. The elves were soundly defeated, and then they simply left for more remote areas further inland. Mothers still tell their children cautionary tales of the baby-stealing elves with sorcerous powers, and once in a while a few adventuring sorts are met, but for the most part, men are left to their own devices.

Another race with a presence on the peninsula are the dwarves, but theirs is a race severely in decline, as their numbers grow fewer with each passing year. If one was to trust the dwarves themselves on such matters, theirs was once a powerful nation spanning the length and breadth of the whole peninsula, but few people nowadays pay the dwarves much heed. Barring the rare adventuring types, and traveling craftsmen or traders, the dwarves are content to stay within their own strongholds, hidden deep within the mountains. Rumor has it the dwarves are engaged in constant warfare with another subterranean species encroaching on dwarven territory. The identity of this enemy is not known, however, and the dwarves are not telling.

Of the major races inhabiting the Old Country, there are a few worth mentioning, who’ve never had that big a presence in Jarnheim: the orcs and the halflings. Neither is much of a seafaring race, and never got around to emigrating en masse. There is a, however, a small halfling minority living in a ghetto of Jarnheim’s largest city Gjallarborg, and once in a while, one might be found working as a deckhand on merchant ship, but other than that, most country folk in Jarnheim consider the existence of the half-men a fairy tale.

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