Geography - Callen
“Callen, from a historical perspective, is simply stunning. The site of Saint’s Landing, former seat of the Vishnari government, and it bore witness to the Western Wars and the Ashing of the Green. Even walking amid warring tribes, it is a historian’s dream. ” – Jothan Blackkard, Gazetteer

Callen is a rugged, temperate land or sprawling steppes, open savannahs and rocky coastline. Chordin and the Ashed Lands border it to the east and northeast, Te’raan and Calderia do the same to the south, beyond the Rame Mountain Range. Though rain is plentiful, streams and rivers are not, making lakes and seasonal streams from mountain runoff the primary sources of lasting water.

The City of the Gods, also called Spinar, was the capitol of the Vishnari Empire for centuries before the War of Ascension. By the end of the war, Spinar and its outlying lands had been inundated by tens of thousands of refugees fleeing their homes to the east in order to be as far from the hailene threat as possible. As it happened, the stress of so many refugees, coupled with many of those being Vishnari nobility now attempting to grab more control in their new lands finally triggered the collapse of the Empire and the beginning of the Western Wars.

Over the next few centuries, warlords rose up, both from the nobility and the ranks of the commoners, and did battle with one another. Much like present day Novrom, warring states came into being and fell or combined into confederations in spans of years rather than decades. The death tolls rivaled the War of Ascension.

All that changed when Calderia attacked. Zealous and wielding divine magic with wild abandon, a splinter faction of the Denaiian Church had seized control of the fast region of salt marshes and coastlines and from there carried out ferocious war against the regions of Callen, Te’raan, and Rizen.

The attacks galvanized the various warrior cultures that had sprung up in Callen. Mustering under the expert command of Agor Henit, who at the time was the chieftain of the largest tribe on the steppes, they drove the invading Calderian army back across the Hal-Yan defile and established military outposts to keep them back.

For his part, Henit became a hero of the entire region and it’s first (and currently only) ruler, called simply the Over-Chieftain.

Callenis are a proud and individualistic people, concerned more for their families and immediate communities than nationalism, though they all recognize that the fate of Callen is a fate they share and so serve their country willingly.

Thus, Callen has a strong military tradition with a warrior’s code of honor that is instilled in children from birth. Personal honor is part of this code and a Calleni is expected to guard his honor with his or her life, never hesitating to challenge a transgressor to a non-lethal duel if need be. Major slights may require a duel to the death.

Many Calleni communities are nomadic, following game animals across the landscape to earn their coin. The variable path of these herds makes tribal warfare frequent, increasing the value of martially capable individuals a hundred fold (the Calleni Warrior code strictly forbids the use of magic in tribal warfare).

Callenis understand an accept most non-combat forms of magic, but tend to scoff as a culture at offensive spells as ‘cowardly’. They are not, however, opposed to enhancing spells such as bull’s strength. They do not, however, have the same feeling toward the emergent sciences, such as alchemy and mechanics, as they see these as still requiring martial skill to use effectively.

The Calleni Warrior Code
Shortly after Callen became a nation, it was already readily apparent that there needed to be a uniform set of strictures concerning duels and battles in order to maintain some semblance of peace in a kingdom of warriors. Thus was the Warrior Code instituted.

The actual code is several pages; outlining the rules for different kinds of duels, the conventions for treatment of prisoners of war and the conduct of soldiers. Any Calleni with any formal martial training is able to quote select passages from the Warrior Code from memory.

Callen holds sway over a great many trade goods, thanks to the strategic position that made it the ideal spot for establishing the first demi-human nation. Iron from the Rame Range, wheat, grain and hides from the plains all add coin to Callen’s coffers.

Magic items aren’t as free flowing in Callen as in other nations, but skill and ability enhancers are still readily available, as are magical weapons. Alchemy and engineering, both highly respected in Callen have experienced a renaissance in the south of Callen, where the spirit beast threat is greater. Alchemical items and firearms are found here in the greatest quantities. Southern Callen is, in fact, the number one source in the world for quality firearms.

Each individual village has its own system of local government, ranging from councils of elders or tribal shaman, to pure democracies. Regardless of governmental system, they all control the land they live and farm on, but have sworn allegiance to the Over Chieftain in the city of Spinar.

Because of this fluid nature to politics in Callen, border disputes, often involving force of arms, are frequent, particularly along the western coast were even fewer roads and cities exist to define boundaries. To add to complications, many communities in the west and in the southern mountains are nomadic while others, particularly transplant communities of hailene and minotaurs are trying to carve out permanent settlements, resulting in many battles over land. Most such battles are fought with a level of honor and civility and those who do not fight with such grace may face repercussions from their other neighbors.

Frustrating everything are the abundant spirit beasts roaming the plains and mountains, some lead by powerful greater beasts that attack any and all settlements within their self proclaimed territory on a regular basis.

Despite lives that are tinted by constant conflict with neighbors, Callenis are easily united by the Over Chieftain’s call from Spinar to the defense of one another, particularly against raiders from Calderia.

Organizations and Individuals of Note

Namano’jin School of Swordsmanship
Callen is a land of warriors, protected and nurtured by a strict code of honor among those who favor force of arms to subterfuge or magic. It should come as no surprise that it is home to some of the most prestigious martial arts schools on the continent.

While there are many such schools, each with fine traditions that span hundreds of years, the Namano’jin School of Swordsmanship stands head and shoulders above all the rest. Every year, hundreds seek entrance, but only six are chosen to learn the ancient way of the sword taught by Master Thorn-burgh Haruula, a minotaur native to the area, and her apprentice-masters.

Graduates of the Namano’jin School are counted among the best combatants favoring bladed weapons – including the exotic kari’dakai; said to be the highest sword a person can master. Namano’jin Sword-masters are awarded magical weapons of along with their title if they can best the current Master of the school in single combat.

Major Settlements

Spinar, City of Temples (Large City)
The one time capitol of the continent spanning Vishnari government, Spinar is still a powerful and prosperous city. Its moniker, city of temples, comes from the Temples of Seven, seven huge temples to the Greater Pantheon, situated in a ring around the central portions of the city. Prior to the Ashing of the Green, these temples floated above the city, but they crashed to earth on that faithful day.

Sprawling out on the plain, Spinar (its name ancient for Web of Life) is known for its monthly tournaments and its many training schools and martial arts dojos. Pilgrims from all over Ere come to Spinar to visit its temples or to seek training.

Spinar’s architecture is unique to Ere now, its broad, flat buildings, none higher than five stories, having been originally build prior to the advances in mystic architecture that make the towers of Chordin or Te’raan possible.

It is not uncommon to witness sparring matches or even real fights for honor in the streets. The guards are under a standing order to allow fair fights to continue wherever they occur.

Bri-sean (City)
Viewed by many as Spinar’s moral opposite, Bri-sean is a large city on the northern edge of Lake Nivia with its own northern border less than five miles from the horrid Ashed Lands. Founded shortly after the Ashing of the Green, Bri-sean was originally a military outpost for the Vishnari Empire, but quickly grew into a stopping point for both expeditions into the Ashed Lands and a major stronghold of organized criminal endeavors.

Once, some a decade ago, Agor Henit, sent in a force of soldiers to attempt to restore law and order to Bri-sean, but they were repelled.

Today, Bri-sean is a large, heavily fortified city, built into the hill it once stood on until there is no hill supporting the upper reaches, only more city. It appears to be a massive ziggurat to those approaching it from a distance. People clamor all over the city, taking ladders or ramps from one tier of the city to the other. In some places, people have even dug back into the sunken sections of the city to set up shop in the cramped city.

It is run by a constantly changing number of rival crime families who each control a ‘layer’ of the city. Order, as it exists in Bri-sean is maintained by thugs hired by these families.

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition © Wizards of the Coast
World of Ere and related original content © Landon Porter