Into the Breach
Winterbreach is a wide valley on an unmapped continent, far north of the civilised lands.
By being sheltered in the north by the Blashyrk Peaks, a tall and vast mountain range, and two ranges in the south, The Peaks of Flesk and the mountains of Vakirauta, it has created a (relatively) verdant valley in an otherwise endless tundra (or so it is mused). Despite being covered in snow for most of the year, Wintersbreach does enjoy a few greener months in the summer.
The wastelands that beset it on either side mean that the primary means of travel to Wintersbreach is by ocean voyage, (coming into Port Skarsgaard on the east coast) of which the distance is vast, but still remains the land’s only source of external trade. The land itself is rich with minerals and ores and mining is one of the main reason people make the trip – to get rich. Because the harsh life has driven attempted civilisation away numerous times over the ages, there are also a large number of lost ruins from previous colonisations that pull adventurers from afar, as well as nodes of high magical energy that have caught the interest of the arcane minded.
The oldest civilisation still inhabiting it’s forests and claiming to be the most indigenous of all the races occupying the land are the Elves in the forests closest to the coast, namely The Forest of Silver Leaves and The Forest of Host.
Another old peoples are the Dwarves who have at least one great mountain fortress remaining (namely Zorodan-Tur). Many of the mountains and areas of Wintersbreach are named in the Dwarven tongue, despite having already been given names in Elven, because in their enterprising nature the Dwarves were the first to map the area formally and disseminate their knowledge. In recent times, however, the Dwarven population is very small in Wintersbreach, despite their colonisation efforts, and although this decline can be chalked up to poor weather, hostile wildlife and distance from the larger dwarven communities, the real reason they all but disappeared is a matter of speculation.
By far the greatest population however, are the humans, who have flourished in the wake of dwarven colonisation, and have sprouted settlements throughout the valley, making farms, mining communities fishing villages (such as Astera and even larger cities, the largest (and arguably the “capital” of Wintersbreach) being Barren.
The city of Barren on the eastern side of the valley is the seat of King Pavor Noct, who rules Wintersbreach as his kingdom. The Noct family were a noble house in the civilised lands across the seas to the south, and with a host of retainers, knights, sellswords and colonists, made the great voyage to Wintersbreach to set it up as a kingdom, and so far, have flourished, perhaps better than any attempts before.
The larger towns serve as seats for lords under the king, and rule with relative autonomy in his name, enforcing law as they see fit, collecting taxes for the crown and sitting as advisers on the King’s council. Because Wintersbreach is perhaps one of the least populated kingdoms in the known world, and because the populace has a hard enough time getting by in the hard conditions, there has been no significant civil unrest, and because of it’s isolation has seen no military threat since its inception, making it deceptively peaceful. Deceptively, because, it’s still a wild place fraught with danger and violence, just none of it so formal.
The only town that is officially not part of the kingdom would be Flesk og Mjod the unprecedentedly civil orc settlement, and King Pavor Noct has neither the desire or resources to enforce his rule there.