There are six major regions in the world of Kingdoms of Kalamar. Each is divided into nations, city-states, duchies, kingdoms, etc. with a real independent feel from each other. In our update and alternate timeline project updating the campaign setting to 5e rules, we’re advancing the entire world’s timeline nearly 500 years and interweaving world-changing elements from years of running the setting with love and excitement.
As we update the regions we’ll be expanding on the culture and feel of it’s constituent nations to give players and DM’s a chance to flavor their characters and NPCs even more. We’re starting small with Brandobia in the far West–and it’s five principle nations (with the one we’ve invented in the advanced timeline in Blue):
Brandobia – The Old Empire
“A true Brandobian is passionate, prideful and efficient. A more dangerous combination I do not know.” – General Alere Garnak, leader of the militocracy of Korak
In the far West, the Brandobian Empire grew strong and powerful more than a millenia ago. The native elvish tribes that helped the once-tiny kingdom grow into an unmatched power were crushed under the weight of ambition by the Brandobian emperors over and over, generation after generation. After suffering defeat at the hands of the great hobgoblin Crusade of Kruk Ma Kali and civil war amongst the children of of of their last strong leaders, Brandobia splintered into bigoted, xenophobic kingdoms that all sought to define what it is to be the true cultural heirs to a now long forgotten dynasty. The vast majority of the population is human with some concentrated cities (beyond the borders of the major nations) being almost exclusively elvish. Other races find Brandobia at least too expensive (and sometimes too dangerous) a place to settle.
The nations of Brandobia can be best imagined with a backdrop of pre-Rennaissance old world Europe’s colonial powers like England, France, Netherlands, Spain, etc. but imagining them centuries past their prime–a shadow of what they were. Unable to change and constantly fighting amongst themselves. Old rivalries, old insults, etc. Brandobia is also the most overtly racist region (in D&D terms–as in dwarves, elves, etc.–rather than human ones, as skin tone is irrelevant in Kalamar’s bigotries). Demihumans (non-human playable races and humanoids) meet with cultures ranging from patronizing segregations and prejudices in the north to outright slavery in the south. Even Brandobian’s elvish cities (a source of constant controversy and occasional battle) in the far north or near the mountains are famously racist against non-elves, and violently so. All the inhabitants of Brandobia grow up in cycles of violence and quests for cultural purities.
The kingdom of Cosdol still believes in the great cultural primacy of Brandobia. It is said the finest food, music, wine, art, and arcane brilliance can be found in Cosdol and bards across the world still write songs of the beautiful lands and women and men and romance of the place. Cosdol is cosmopolitan, in theory, though some of the old elitism remains. While some of their nobility have strong words to say about elvish barbarians in the forests or wilds, Cosdol has not fought a serious offensive against any people for generations and spend their military might on defending themselves from pirates most commonly.
Eldor, however, fell to a fair disdain of the useless Cosdolese (to their north) and the avaricious Mendarnians (to their south). Most of the wealthiest nobility of the empire had estates in the picturesque and heavily conservative cities of Eldor. To an Eldoran, a true Brandobian cultivates a strong home, a pure culture of traditional laws and a distinct lack of outside influence or modernism, security from rabid elvish (even Brandobian elvish) and the decay of Eastern cultures. Though Eldor may tolerate the presence of other races, none may own property or title. Eldor holds no colonies. It is uninterested in dirtying itself in the affairs of the world.
Mendarn, in contrast, was most influenced by the lower classes and the various temples of Tellene. It was Mendarn where the land owning Brandobian aristocracies first considered the merit of selling titles and brokering in the prestige of the old empire, or taxing churches and encouraging faiths, charging heavy customs fees to demihumans for their commerce. The slums of Mendarn were filled with the abuses of the wealthy and powerful for generations. Mendarn claims it is the last true heir of the old empire and still holds colonies abroad, but greed and war have made its voice small. In recent years, battles and skirmishes to the South have cost Mendarn dearly and those in power have concentrated it more and more in defense of their culture and interests.
Vronndol was founded, with great ceremony and pomp, by a proclamation of peace between Mendarn and Pel Brolenon in the Seutant War (a violent land and sea conflict of the last generation, having lasted near four years). It is Brandobia’s only Republic. Cosdol recognized the fledgling nation a year after the war (and was forgiven many debts in the south, coincidentally), the Kalamaran Empire recognized them shortly thereafter. Eldor has refused and for the last two decades has maintained that the government of Vronndol is false, its borders imaginary, its officials liars, and the diplomats from the East “meddlers in the affairs of one’s betters”. It is little secret that Vronndol is a close puppet-state of Pel Brolenon–but, few are willing to start another war to prove it. Vronndol has very few true nobility and their highest classes are dominated by politicians. Their Assembly represents landed and titled citizens.
Pel Brolenon is ruled by the iron-hand of the Overlord (the god of subjugation) and is Brandobia’s only theocracy. Pel Brolenon is backed and founded upon the tenants of that faith so deeply that the royal line has preferred (in the past) international embarrassment, bankruptcy, even suicide to ruling outside of the church’s authority. Pel Brolenon is home to the slave trade in the world, being the only nation left dealing in such a wicked practice. It is the belief of the Brolenese that Brandobia is meant to stand on the backs of all others. Their expansion into Svimozhia fueled by slave labor and military might has made them the most offensively powerful of Brandobian nations.