Summer Country

Coutraman Confederacy

As a continent, Summer Country is a lush place, fertile and temperate, with fairly regular seasons. To the southern end of Summer Country, near Avalon City and the Shatterlands, the changes of climate, while still temperate, are quite mild. To the northern end of Summer Country, the climate gets steadily colder, until, where Summer Country borders Rimevast, it becomes bitter cold indeed. The land is covered with temperate rain forests, thanks to bounteous trade winds blowing from both directions (winds that, sadly, are deflected off of the mountains of Crescent, leaving that continent as dry as it is). None of the normal races except beastfolk (who live in areas appropriate to their types) are originally native to Summer Country, and so there is a roughly even mix of appearances among all 'outsider' races. Most non-beastfolk races that do live on Summer Country, however, have been there for periods ranging from a century or two (most human and halfling groups) to almost a thousand years (elves and dwarves), and so they have learned, more or less, to share the land.

Places of Note:
Avalon City: Avalon City (often just called Avalon) was founded originally by dragons, seeking to create a model society in which all races could dwell. These ancient wyrms founded Avalon City not long after the arrival of humans and their fellow offworlders to Therafim, in an effort to create an alliance between the new races and the old ones. However, these efforts floundered over the course of several centuries, as displaced and occasionally outright criminal elements poured into the new, thriving metropolis, and the original high ideals of unity and friendship were replaced with mere cosmopolitanism. As they lost gradual de facto control of Avalon City, their intended utopian paradise, these dragon founders departed, and left Avalon City to the merchants, outcasts, and criminals who had become so dominant.

Founded on ideals of diversity, the architecture of Avalon City is equally diverse, with styles ranging from the very oldest sorts of draconic building, to the most common, tossed-up buildings of the slums. Presently, Avalon City is an independent city state, perhaps the most powerful single city state on Therafim, its central placement in the world making it a center of trade and commerce of all sorts, and its astonishing tolerance for all varieties of people making it an ideal haven for pirates, outlaws, outcasts, and adventurers of every stripe, though it is the noble houses that rule the city (though it is possible to buy one's way into the nobility, with enough of both money and connections), along with a rather complicated city bureaucracy that keeps things running properly. A Supreme Council, also called the Five, or the Council of Founders after the five dragons who originally founded Avalon City, rules Avalon City, assisted by a small army of bureaucrats. There is also a certain amount of stratification of classes, based largely upon wealth and power, and how long that wealth and power has been around, with the elite "old money" on the top of the heap, claiming to continue the high ideals of the draconic Founders, most of these families having indeed been part of the original founding of the city. After the old money families are the "new money" houses, which consists of all wealthy companies, houses and families that came after the dragons left. Adventurers are also fairly common in Avalon City, and it is not uncommon for especially successful ones to be adopted into rich families or companies, as a way of mixing in new blood. There are significant criminal organizations in Avalon City, and these range from mere street gangs all the way to the most elaborate global criminal organization ever formed - The Syndicate - which keeps its headquarters in Avalon City, its high-ranking members burrowed secretly into all layers of society.

Les Innocents: Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of Summer Country, the events that took place at Les Innocents were the final stroke that led the dragons founders of Avalon City to depart for good. Founded some miles to the north and west of Avalon City, away from the bustle of that metropolis, settled in the foothills of the relatively small Kirsing mountain range, Les Innocents was a small fortified city devoted to taking care of the many orphans and other children that had begun to be left to fend for themselves on the streets as the city began expanding beyond the ability of its governing bodies to control it. Les Innocents was run by a small number of paladins and most holy clerics, who were watched over and governed by one of the most virtuous of the five Founder dragons of Avalon City. However, over the course of less than a century, the Dark One, the wicked being that seeks the downfall of all the gods, and the misery of all living things on Therafim, subtly worked on Les Innocents, using his agents in the then-developing Syndicate to infiltrate the clergy of Les Innocents, and through them, the children growing up there. What had once been a place of safety and nurturing slowly transformed into a den of abuse and excess, hardly better than a prison - worse, in fact, because the smaller, weaker orphans could not defend themselves even as well as a grown criminal in a prison. While the dragon that was in charge of Les Innocents kept a safe haven around herself, she was the youngest and least experienced of the Founder dragons, and also the most idealistic, and so she was not able to recognize the signs until it was too late, and agents of the Syndicate were trying to kill her while she slept. In the battle that ensued, a fire broke out, and Les Innocents was gutted with fire, leaving no survivors, save for the dragon, who left, sadder and wiser to the ways of mortals. The dragon Founders soon after abandoned Avalon City to whatever fate its inhabitants might choose.

Les Innocents itself is a terrible place, a home of ghosts and nightmares, stained in the blood of innocents and the taint of darkest corruption. Steeped in horror as it is, each visitor to the fallen orphanage will find a completely different sort of place, as though it were being constantly rearranged by the spirits of the not-so-departed that dwell there. Not all of the ghosts that live there are evil, but most are, as most of the truly innocent or good ones departed to their proper rewards after death, leaving only a very few that remained to try and protect mortal visitors from the many malevolent entities that now dwell in Les Innocents, along with the haunted, tortured psychic echoes of children that went to better places on their deaths, but left the pain and hurt they had suffered behind as dangerous encounters for the unwary. These entities range from incorporeal undead to beings drawn to negative emotions, to "traps" of raw negative energy with malevolent purpose, to (it is rumored) evil Outsiders who managed to tear through the cracks of dimensions. The dragon left the part of her horde in Les Innocents, and so it is still there, but the treasure, vast as it was, has been scattered around the fallen orphanage by the present inhabitants, acting as a lure for the adventurous, the brave, and the foolish to a deadly scavenger hunt.

Pixis: An interesting region (almost, but not quite a nation), Pixis is the chaos-ruled land of the fey of Summer Country, located in the forests of Summer Country's eastern seaboard. While the fey are most common in this region, in all their many varieties, as are a host of magical beasts and similar beings, from griffons to owlbears to unicorns, no one group really rules or owns this land. Gnomes have moved in and made several small and pleasant semipermanent settlements, as have wood elves, and wolfen and actaeons are regularly seen in nomadic bands, but all these groups are nonintrusive on the life of the forests of Pixis, and so are able to live in relative peace. Logging and furrier companies from the Coutraman Confederacy and Lichthamner regularly try to set up shop in this region, and while they might have some minor success on the outskirts of Pixis, any attempts to reach the inner regions for such wanton and destructive commercial interests is destined to end in tragedy.

Trevalis Academy and the Great Library: Founded on the same principles of acceptance and growth as Avalon City itself, Trevalis Academy is the largest center of learning in the world, and also home to the Great Library. Though it is considered a suburb of Avalon City, found a few short miles to its north, in the rocky hills just a few miles to the east of Les Innocents, and its government answers more-or-less to that of the Founder Council, the Principle and faculty of Trevalis Academy is almost a law unto themselves, barring occasional audits by the Avalon City bureaucracy. Just as people from all over the world go to Avalon City for financial reasons, people from all over the world go to Trevalis Academy for academic reasons.

The majority of the population of this city of learning are students, many of them the children of the rich and powerful from all nations, though a few less-wealthy but promising people are also able to get in on regular scholarships. Besides the student body, who are expected to live in the dorms (required for those attending for their first year) or in housing in Trevalis Town (which is off-limits to first-year students), which lies down at the bottom of the tall, smoothed off hill where Trevalis Academy is located. The rest of the population of Trevalis Academy is made up of faculty and staff, which includes researchers who produce magical items, spells, and occasionally creatures that the Academy sells for a significant profit, the heavily-armed and magically-bolstered Academy Guard, who often get tuition and training in the Academy as part of their payment. Life as an Academy Guard is well-paid, but also very dangerous, not only because of the occasional danger of riots and orc raids (though most orcs prefer to party in Trevalis Town rather than trash the place), but also because of the inherent dangers that come with guarding a place where some of the most organized and extensive magical research on Therafim takes place.

Trevalis Town is built on commerce with students, and can be a very wild place at times, only barely kept under control by regular patrols of magic-assisted guards, and known as a haven for orcs, kobolds, and other undesirables who come into town to party with the students. Thus, while Trevalis Academy is a neatly-groomed, well-kept, and very orderly facility with Lawful Neutral tendencies, Trevalis Town is only just barely kept within the bounds of Neutrality, with a strong Chaotic leaning, and all but major riots are generally overlooked by the guard, so long as nothing leaks up the hill to Trevalis Academy and its property.

The Great Library, as it is known throughout the lands of Therafim, houses the greatest collection of books and scrolls found in Therafim, collected over many lifetimes by a host of beings with the intent to preserve knowledge. This majestic domed and many-spired building is smooth along the outside walls with the only windows being high above on the third floor, and has several magical guardians who never sleep and stand watch over it almost constantly. These guardians are overseen by a small and elite cadre of warforged, many of whom have magical abilities of their own. The Librarians of the Great Library are considered some of the greatest experts on finding information in the world, and many of them are normally considered monstrous races, including a few of the mysterious Spellweavers and a good number of kitsune, who often wander the rows of books in their fox forms, ready to assist any authorized visitors. Becoming an authorized visitor to the Great Library is generally an adventure in itself, and usually requires sharing some knowledge or giving up a book, map, or scroll of one's own to be stored in the library in exchange for access. The greater the value or rarity of the knowledge shared, the more complete the access granted.

Terrain Features:
Kirsing Mountains: With its northmost and largest mountain, Kirsing Peak, the smallest of the "large" mountains on Therafim, the Kirsing Mountains are noted for being relatively small, for mountains, but are also noted for being incredibly rugged and almost impassable, except by a very small number of dwarven and orcish hidden pathways that lead through the mountains themselves, or to a few incredibly able scouts who can go over the mountains. The Kirsing Mountains are crawling with orcs and kobolds, as well as a sizable duergar group, making the few dwarves who live there have to constantly battle for the rich iron and precious adamantine deposits to be found there. Some of the best-equipped orcs on Therafim live in the Kirsing Mountains, thanks to frequent trade with the duergar, and these orcs often lead raids out onto the Coutraman Confederacy, and even all the way to Avalon City, whenever their numbers grow large enough for them to start to seriously covet more than is their due, which is, of course, quite frequently.

Kudurru Range: Named after Mount Kudurru (a word that means "path marker") at the far north of the range, this is the only range to rival the Granite Mountains of Autumn Land for size. The Granite Mountains are still unrivaled for their immense mineral wealth, but the Kudurru Range still has ample reserves of minerals, especially deep deposits of adamantine. It is also the location of Deepforge, one of the major undercountries of Therafim.

Northwood: A lush, cold rainforest that covers most of the northern reaches of Summer Country, Northwood is known for being the home of many nomadic tribes of actaeons and wolfen, as well as several cold-dwelling halflings and wood elves. It is also a source of lumber and furs for many nations, though it is also known as a major home for dire animals and dangerous magical beasts, so all endeavors that include Northwood as a part of them must take the greatest care. This danger, incidentally, ensures that Northwood is given the time it needs to replenish its forest growth and animal populations.