(out of date) Freebooters of the Havens (Fan Setting)

Moonlit Lagoon by Lincoln Renall

Freebooters of the Havens

South of the Successor Kingdoms, in that region known to scholars as The Drowned Republic , is an archipelago. Once the highlands of the province of Vantoria, of the Republic of Primovantor, these islands have become a wild, mysterious place, with only a pale shadow of the glory of the old republic remaining in the many ruins above and below the waters. Long abandoned, the surviving native inhabitants have regressed to a tribal state. Only in recent times have the great powers from outside the Archipelago given it much attention, yet it has never been ignored. The archipelago has long been a refuge for outcasts, madmen, the ambitious, and pirates. Not much has changed, though the great powers now seek to colonize and exploit it, bringing them into conflict with its inhabitants. Those that refer to the islands by their simple local name; The Havens.

The archipelago stretches across the infant sea, from the realm of the Successor Kingdoms south to the Twilight Glades, and comprises 20 large islands, and countless small islands, sandbars, atolls, and seamounts. Much of the sea is quite shallow, and navigation difficult. Only a few safe routes through the southern islands have been charted by merchants, and those through the archipelago proper have been a closely held secret of the locals, who are experienced with the regions many challenges. Within the last century however the lures of the region’s wealth and resources have attracted many explorers, who have mapped ways through the rest of the archipelago, opening it up for proper exploration and colonization, as well as the eventual removal of the piracy problem once and for all.

The region’s climate is subtropical, with warm rainy winters and hot dry summers. The northern most islands are dominated by scrublands and forests, transiting into ever denser jungles the farther south you travel. Some believe that the touch of The Green Lady lies on the archipelago, others say that it is some mystical remnant from the ancient forests of the elves, of which the Twilight Glades are but a shadow. It is clear some arcane effect is on the land however, as the region is far more verdant and lush than time and climate alone would allow. This effect appears to extend to the sea as well,

Ancient ruins dot the islands, relics of the lost Vantorians, now long reclaimed by nature. These sites are still revered by the natives to the havens. Many of these ruins now lie beneath the waters, navigation hazards as dangerous as any reef, yet to the crafty seaman and diver, potential sources of profit in artifacts, gold, and jewels. Even more so the ruins on the land, which a stalwart explorer can discover and wrest from the primeval forests. The ancient Vanatorian province possessed great wealth, traded from across the known world, and that wealth which may remain to be rediscovered has become a great draw to adventurers and businessmen the world over.

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune Concept Art by Max Rogers

Yet the jungles, forests, and swamps have their own dangers. The island interiors are all but unmapped after the great flood, with few trails. Many poisonous species of insect and snake call the islands home, and great beasts stalk the land. Large and often aggressive, many match tales of the saurians that once once thrived in the now drowned equatorial belt, although whether these are the remnants of those great jungles, or species introduced by others later that have gone feral is unknown. Beneath the waves too, there are many dangers.beyond the navigational hazards, the deeper waters are home to immense crustaceans and krakens, and Water-Wyrms frequent the island shores. There are rumors also of terrible fish-men and seductive sirens, which strike without warning and cause entire ships and crews to vanish without a trace.

Far more pressing a concern to the local kingdoms and would be explorers are the native inhabitants of The havens, which view all not of their tribes as outsiders and enemies. The natives are the descendants of the Vantorians and the Volcae and Albidosi tribes of the northern mountains, which had sought refuge in the republic during The God War. Having lost much of the ancient Vantorian’s knowledge, the survivors have in many places regressed back to a tribal society. Despite wielding weapons of wood, stone, and bog iron, they are capable warriors. With their knowledge of the forests, swamps, and ruins, they strike without warning in lightning raids, only to vanish back into the wilds, leaving no trail. From their Villages, Crannogs, Hillforts, and stone Brochs, they fight to hold what they can from the outsiders and invaders, and no kingdom or colony has ever completely held the island interiors where they have their strongholds. Only a few city-states retain the traditions of the lost Republic, and even those are pale shadows, clinging to ancient traditions and glories but little able to match them. Few kingdoms can muster proper Legions in the Republic style, and rely far more on levies, mercenaties, and tribal auxiliaries.

Each island and its clans and kingdoms currently stand alone, and without unity they will never drive out the invaders and outsiders from their land. At the heart of their division is a spiritual and cultural disagreement. In the face of invasion of their land, some have turned to worship of the The Green Lady as an avatar of nature itself, trading away independence and ancient faith for divine protection. Marching alongside the cult of The Green lady are bestial half-men and eldritch creatures, powerful yet inhuman. The followers of the The Green Lady desire to build a paradise where nature is revered above all things. While others eye the magic, weapons, and sciences of the outsiders, and desire to gain that power and rebuild the kingdom of their ancestors, even if it means changing their way of life. It is not uncommon for such visionaries to make deals with outsiders, trading knowledge of the islands or revered Vantorian artifacts in exchange for steel and gunpowder weapons with which to arm their clan. Sometimes seen as traitors by their tribes, those who seek such power never the less are a potent force. Yet while willing to deal with outsiders, they still view them as invaders, and many visitors to the islands have found themselves under attack by the very weapons they traded on a previous expedition. The divide between these ideological factions is deep and sore, and it has seen families torn asunder and bitter feuds between clans and tribes, furthering the strife.

(part 1. art used for aesthetics, and sources provided.)


Viking Longship by Richard Benning

The Kingdom of Sudreyjar

Located on the islands of Hofn and Floi, the Nordvegr Kingdom of Sudreyjar is an oddity for The Havens. The Nordvegr inhabit from the far north on the shores of the Ardovikian Plain and Mammoth Steppe. They can trace their ancestry back to the same northern tribes which produced the Varangur, yet unlike their distant cousins, the ancestors of the Nordvergr migrated south to escape the Jokulsfella, the glacial death which claimed their original homeland of Asgeirsa in the far north. Sudreyjar however is far from the Nordvergr lands, and its inhabitants have little direct contact with their kin.

The saga of Sudreyjar began over two centuries earlier, with Ketil Brokennose of the Wendlas, who’s clan feuded bitterly with that of Halvdan Yngvarsson, the Wægmunding. The Wægmunding were a powerful clan, and the feud an old one. When Ketil ambushed Halvdan and slew him in the battle of Karnsa, the Elders exiled Ketil and the households of all his allies in the clan as punishment. Sailing south in their two hundred ships, and portaging across to the Vale of Imlar, Ketil and his followers entered into the shores of the Successor Kingdoms. Taking up lives as mercenaries, they raided their way to the south, to escape the reach of the angry Wægmunding’s. In time they sailed passed the Brokenwall Islands and the Port of Lantor. With fewer kingdoms with which to hire on, Ketil and his people turned to piracy, and eventually made their way into The Havens. Finding an island of good soil and sweet water, they chose to settle, naming their new home Hofn, and establishing the first settlement of Sudreyjar, now the port city of Ketilseyyr. With good farmland and abundant lumber for ship building, the Nordvergr of Sudreyjar had a secure base, and they quickly learned to navigate The Havens as well as the natives. Allowing them to raid distant villages and passing shipping with impunity, and trade their booty with nearby kingdoms. Word of their prosperity and activities spread, even to their kin in the north, and they have become a haven for Nordvergr outcasts and brigands of all kinds.

(Road to El Dorado Concept Art by Yoriko Ito)

Emberfall Sanctuary

The oldest and largest colony in The Havens, Emberfall Sanctuary is a power to be reckoned with in the western Infant Sea. Emberfall was founded four centuries after the fall of Winter, although it has only emerged as a regional power in the last few centuries. Located on the island of Emberfall, so named after the salamander name for the active volcano which dominates the southern half of the island, the colony is comprised of a sizable port-city located on the coast, surrounded by lush jungle, parts of which have been incorporated into the city planning. The resulting city appears to emerge from the jungle itself, a blend of aesthetics not often seen in Salamander cities. The city has spread to encompass the edges of the entire sheltered bay, and in many places canals replace roads, allowing for smaller watercraft to travel directly from the bay into the city and its markets. At the center of the city, lying directly on the edge of the bay, is the Temple of the Martyr, a temple complex comprised of three grand structures built in honor of The Three Kings and central to the colony’s faith. Around city are many smaller communities; farming, ranching, and mining villages which support the needs of the city. Many of the tamed species which Salamander society relies on for civil and military labor have been introduced to the island, along with a number of wild species brought over for sport. These species have gradually spread across the islands from escapees until you can find Kaisenor Raptors, Jrooka, Rhinosaurs, Lekelidons, Komodons, and even Fire Drakes living wild in The Havens, alongside a number of other megafauna the Salamanders found already living in the islands.

The colony had its beginning with the Corsair Lord Cholchax, who led the first grand exploration fleet to circumnavigate The Infant Sea. His hundreds of ships reached The Havens at the beginning of the storm filled winter season, and Emberfall was chosen as an overwinter point for the fleet. The first ramshackle city on the site was built from local materials supplemented with the remains of damaged ships from his fleet. When spring came and the fleet was safe to move on, a number of crews chose to remain, having found the island remarkably like home, and not wanting to risk shipping out on a shrinking and increasingly overcrowded fleet. Cholchax, seeing wisdom in having a wayport for the trip back, allowed anyone who wished to stay, and dispatched several ships back to The Three Kings to attract additional colonists in hopes of turning the settlement into a self sufficient community. Sanctuary has attracted many colonists, in particular Arkosaurs and the other races seeking greater social and economic freedoms. The colony has grown into a major trade hub and naval power as a result. At one time it had been home primarily to Corsairs, and preyed on trade passing through the southern islands of the havens on their way to the eastern half of the Infant Sea, with the rise of other piratical kingdoms and ports within The Havens, it turned to mercenary work, selling protection and escort to merchants passing through the region. Which encouraged the rise of trade, as those merchants found Sanctuary to be as valuable a safe port as Cholchax did centuries prior.

(Part 2 of 2 [so far]. art used for aesthetics and sources provided. Material)


sorry for the wall of text but kinda hard to develop a whole region without generating at least a few such. this was the not-so little background for my kingdoms of men army (and the Salamanders and Herd armies i’d love to make)
it kinda grew larger than i’d originally planned… what started as a simple “why are their quasi-vikings in the south?” kind of snowballed as interesting elements came to mind, and interesting juxtipositions, such as the celtic/pictish/scots/romano-british elements (“write what you know”) combined with a semi-tropical archipelago setting.

though i honestly expect to have all of this invalidated when 3rd edition hits. if so i’ll write a new one, i;m sure.


Thought it was great, I love fluff development like this. If it does get invalidated then you could just move it to an archipelago outside of the current map. I love the idea of jungle vikings/Normans.

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agreed. it is just such an odd pairing, given that vikings are usually associated with ice, snow, and cold mountains. yet the most famous vikings were the Varangians, which lived and worked as mercenaries in the Mediterranean, so clearly they can handle warmer climates. in a way this something of a salvage of the Warhammer Fantasy’s “Skeggi”, the Norscan Raider colony in Lustria. which was never really used well or developed at all. (sort of a common theme with the Lustria stuff) as a big fan of Norse history, and a former lizardman player, i always disliked how little development it got.

for this i basically took the concept of “vikings in jungles” and applied it to something with a bit more of a Caribbean flair, while also lifting themes from the real world viking history in england for use. (even some of the names… the “Volcae and Albidosi” where what some of the celts and picts called themselves (Celt deriving from the roman’s name for them, Keltoii, and the Picts from the roman “Pictii”, what they called the inhabitants of the north of the british isles. so between the two you’d have the Gauls, the Gaels (aka irish/scots), and the picts… pretty much a who’s who of iron age and dark age “barbarians” for northern europe) in this draft i even added elements of romanoi-british history with the idea of city-states clinging to the old republic’s traditions… much liek how the romanized Britons kept the dream of rome alive after the empire withdraw in the 4th century, despite the fact that they had fallen into regional kingdoms and prdominantly warband style warfare with very little roman organization left.
since my KoM army is planned to have Viking, Scots/Pict, and romano-british components (doubling as seperate smaller historical armies for the three groups) i figured i should add that element. plus it opens up some fun options if other people decide they want to do their own take on armies from this setting.


i’m thinking i should probably break the section about the locals and the herd into their own sections… one about the local city-states and tribal clans (if i can think of good names for major examples*) and their power struggles, and then split the Herd off into its own section alongside perhaps some notes about the Forces of Nature as a whole. make the tech/nature split less of a defining feature for the region’s locals.

*maybe use some of the more obscure “lost kingdoms”, like Ys, or Lyonesse. or some outright mythical ones with creative respellings?


well i’ve got some notes on additions and changes i’m going to be making, but with 3rd ed coming up and the probability i will need to adjust my assumptions on map scale, i’m holding off doing a rewrite. what i’m working on will expand the venue a bit to include the shores of the continent around the islands, since the two new groups really need more space than it is likely the 3rd ed map will allow, plus it helps avoid the 'island of hats" problem. this also means i’m going to need to rewrite the section on the island natives, as many of their current elements are going to get moved to a mainland region where it will fit a little better. (i’m also considering making the worship of the green lady into more of a cult situation, as it would be more interesting.)

from my notes:

Novavantor - last remaining fragment of the province of Vantoria. this kingdom has two large cities, Venarium and Vilitrium, both near the coast. Before the Flood they were military outposts, walled cities that had grown up around the fortresses. After the Flood they formed the core of a new Kingdom, styling itself as the seed of a rebuilt Empire of Primovantor. Led by the Dux Vantorum, the military leader of the legions. there is a King, a descendant of the ruling line of Primovantor (a Cadet branch with no legitimate claim to the throne), however the King is largely a figurehead, kept isolated and reliant on his Consuls and the Dux Venarium, which actually manage the nation. Venarium has preserved the tradition of the Legions of Primovantor, but have returned to an older model of Legion, with simpler and more uniform organization and panoply of equipment. They rely on their highly trained and regimented infantry forces to make up for any disadvantage in wargear.
(basically a roman expy since i will soon have an Early Imperial Roman army. locations would be the mainland west of the islands, occupying much of the southern coast of that bit. this puts them a little close to the Salamanders, so either i’ll move them to another island or write up a history of conflict between the two)

LĂ©onois - Novavantor Vassal
Another fragment of Primovantor that survived the flood, LĂ©onois had been part of Arcadia, a poorly settled agricultural province north of Vantoria. cut off from the any support from the Empire, and reliant largely on imperialauxilaria units andfoederati for defense, the territory of LĂ©onois evolved into a feudal society, a patchwork of small petty kingdoms centered on the cities and former imperial villas interconnected through an intricate web of alliances, blood ties, and rivalries. The armies of the petty kingdoms rely heavily on levies from the feudal holdings, bolstered by small forces of cavalry and armored infantry drawn from the noble classes and their vassals. Their equipment resembles that of Primovantor of old, but cruder and more simply made, and their levies are mostly unarmored and armed with spear and shield, or bow.
Venarium claims LĂ©onois as a Vassal state, although they only have obtained oaths of loyalty from portion of the petty kingdoms, and many of those are alliances of convenience in rivalries against rival kingdoms. As the two regions do not share a border, Venarium cannot support an army large enough to forcibly occupy LĂ©onois and bring its kingdoms under their heel. They have occupied several coastal towns and created a number of Legion forts within their vassal kingdoms, but these could be easily defeated if the kingdoms of LĂ©onois unified under a single warleader.
(this region would be to the north of the islands. basically an expy for sub-roman britain in a sense, to fit the arthurian sub-roman army i plan to build.)
between the two would be a realm of 'barbarian states" where i can drop my Picts and any other such groups i’ll do.

the idea being that when combined as a single Kingdoms of Men army, it would represent one of various alliances between the powers of the region… if i used them all in one big battle, it would be novavantorian legions backed by their Léonois allies, Albidosi foederati, and Sudreyjar mercenaries…

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Loving all of this, keep on writing! Walls of text are perfectly acceptable when writing fluff, also good work on finding such evocative art to bring the text to Life :slight_smile:

added a few links to appropriate wikipedia pages for their terminology. I view Primovantor being roughly analogous to the Roman Empire. rather than being one giant kingdom it would be an empire with many provinces, in which live many allied peoples and vassal/client kingdoms. this is how i reconcile the fact that the current rulebook describes Primovantor having gunpowder technology as well as using equipment similar to what Basilea uses, suggesting a late Byzantine analog, while also explaining how you get such variety of weapons technology within the Successor Kingdoms. the fragments of Primovantor’s empire were forced to adapt whatever they could sustain locally including that of less advanced peoples, the way that the fragments of the western roman empire adapted the weapons and fighting styles Gothic, Hunnish, and Celtic tribes that dominated their regions while preserving elements of roman culture and learning.

i’m probably overthinking it, but i’m a History guy, and history is a great source of elements for fantasy

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That actually makes a lot of sense, here’s hoping the upcoming rulebook supports or at least allows for it :slight_smile:

the future is certainly up in the air, but i suspect i’m on reasonably solid ground… they seem to be setting Basilea up as a Byzantine-esque setting, with it being the western part of an older larger Empire, centered on the Golden Horn,a center of Religious worship, and even having an elite guard of outsider mercenaries. the heavy Byzantine elements in Basilea seem to suggest they are using a quasi-roman inspiration for the earlier Primovantor, even if the technology base has been shifted all around due to the usual fantasy Anachronism Stew.