Geography - Chordin
“If the Inferno contains any waste as inhospitable as Chordin, I pray that it has the decency to harbor half as pleasant a place as Chordin harbors in Harpsfell.” – Jothan Blackkard, Gazetteer

Chordin occupies the northeastern reach of Ere, a land of rocky badlands and frozen tundra. It borders The Ashed Lands and Callen on its southern edge and is separated from Genmide by the Strait of Nivia. The north is an ice choked waste, largely covered by the Orudai Glacier.

Small towns and farming enclaves are built against the southern faces of buttes and plateaus to avoid the biting north wind. A few outposts have cropped up in natural caves in the badlands, and ruins of cities dating back as far as Saint’s Landing exist in the badlands, or locked in the glacier’s grip. In sheltered mountain valleys, farming, and life in general is easier, so much of the population that lives outside of Harpsfell lives along the southern border despite the danger posed by the Ashed Lands.

Founded during Draconic Control as a central base of operations for the draconic forces, the region of Chordin and the city of Harpsfell also turned out to be the scene of the dragons’ downfall. It quickly joined the Vishnari Empire to gain badly needed resources now that they were not tended by the dragon nations.

During the Hailene War, Chordin seceded from the Empire rather than commit to war and risk annihilation by the hailene. Instead, Harpsfell disguised its troops as mercenaries and sent them to protect their fellows in that capacity. Chordin thrived economically while other nations struggled with revolution and upheaval as the Empire crumbled during the Age of Tragedies, thanks in part to their low number of casualties from the war and the fact that they were independent from the Empire.

Chordinis tend to be fixated on wealth and comfort; even those working the land are always on the look out for a way to earn extra coin quickly. Social standing among Chordinis is a measure of how many items for comfort and pleasure one has and how many of those were imported. This trait has made the only real city in Chordin, Harpsfell, a monument to excess.

Despite their grasping nature, Chordinis harbor a deep appreciation for the druids who make their lives possible and by extension, the whole of nature as it is embodied by Sylph. Even non-religious Chordinis or those dedicated to other faiths pay at least lip service to the nature goddess.

All food produced in Chordin is consumed in Chordin. Major exports include fur from the arctic creatures native to the northern reaches, expertly reared and trained animals and magic items.

The bulk of Chordin’s national product comes from the myriad upscale inns, restaurants entertainment venues and gambling houses in Harpsfell, Chordin’s capitol. Revenue generated from visitors to the city pay for most of the necessities for both the city and the outlying land.

Chordin is governed from Harpsfell by a counsel of six Great Houses. The Houses maintain power by keeping monetary control over the lands that make up Chordin and the means to work these lands. The fact that Chordin is one of the few nations with a low number of spirit beasts, there is always someone willing to pay for even the most inhospitable tract of land.

The Pact of First Frost
The land of Chordin, with its glaciers, badlands and bitter cold is unable to maintain the basic sustenance needed to run a nation. Luckily, long ago, the progenitors of Houses Subter, Asmatra and Gurrai struck a deal with the druids of the frozen wilds.

In exchange for druidic magic to keep the cold at bay for three seasons out of the year, and make the fallow earth bountiful, Chordin and its houses were bound to codify into law many of Sylph’s tenets in a pact that became known as the Pact of First Frost:

1. No animal can be legally killed or abused for sport.
2. All slaughter for food or trade goods must be done magically and painlessly.
3. No lumber can be cut for construction.
4. Druids acting on the behest of Sylph cannot be barred by city officials in the completion of their duties.

The net result of the Pact is that despite being a haven for luxury and excess, Chordin is actually at the forefront of what passes for environmentalism and magical progressivism on Ere. Gladiatorial arenas exist, but only sapient creatures fight; all the structures are stone, and light and heat in the winter cold are provided by magic.

Organizations and Individuals of Note

The Temple of Sylph
Thanks to the provisions of the Pact of First Frost, the druids hold an enormous amount of sway in Chordin. A loyal cleric or druid of Sylph can expect all due respect from the citizenry and little to no interference by local law enforcement into their dealings unless they present a clear danger to the public good.

Temples to Sylph can be found in most localities and are carefully kept both separate and better maintained than other temples.

The Pandemian Church
Though not viewed with the awe and respect of Sylph’s Druids, clerics of Pandemos are well liked in Harpsfell, where parties and gambling are abundant. Pandemian clerics are viewed as good luck charms and the savviest can make a good living playing ‘pet priest’ to a wealthy reveler.

The Bardic College of Harpsfell
Founded at the end of the Hailene War of Ascension, the Bardic College has become a fixture of the community and a respected institution the world over. Many of the greatest sages of the age studied at the college and most of today’s Loremen hail from there as well.

Today, the College is run by Maximun Lighttouch, a halfling from Mindeforme, who has brought even more prestige and success to the College though shrewd business ventures that have tied the institution to the Academy of the Arcane Arts in Te’ran and to the Library at Siram Leggate in Mindeforme.

The real secret to Maximun’s success with the college however, lies with his underworld connections. In his 25 years as Archchancellor, Maximun has surreptitiously added a thieves’ guild to the normal workings of the Bardic College. Anyone with knowledge of the criminal underworld of Harpsfell knows that the College is a prime source of hirelings and fences.

Master Trestrolm Norry
A native of Novrom, and the founder and proprietor of Norry’s Spellcrafting and Magic Works, Master Norry is the man credited with the economic revolution in the spellcrafting trade. In fact, Norry has a hand in most of the spellcrafting endeavors started in the last century an a half.

His other holdings include Norry Airships, South Coast Apothecaries, Emaru River Steamships, and Black Dwarf Armory. Because of his inventiveness and amazing business sense, Norry is one of, if not the wealthiest person on Ere, including dragon kind.

Even at the age of 180, Norry still makes regular visits to all of his public holdings and spends much time researching new spells and magic items, occasionally hiring adventurers to retrieve rare reagents from the Tresolmi jungle or the Ashed Lands.

Unbeknownst to all but his closest friends and his adopted daughter Deirdre (Human Inborn Caster 5), Norry’s success is do in part to his allegiance to the Deyic temple, whose members provided much material support to him in his early years. The goddess’s reasons for this are unknown.

Major Settlements

Harpsfell (Large City)
The famed Bard City, Harpsfell is a rich and bustling city built across a span of adjacent plateaus. Mystically strengthened architecture permeates the high towers of the upscale buildings and the wide bridges that connect the plateaus.

Harpsfell is literally steeped in magic; even the most mundane tasks are left to summoned beasts and mystical constructs, leaving mercantile, inn keeping and entertainment as the jobs of choice. The red light and gambling districts are lively here, with many card houses and brothels belonging directly (or secretly) to houses and even temples. Money, in the form of Chrodini trifles is the universal language and someone willing to accept it is never far away.

Order is kept by the Infinity Guard, a security force under the employ of House Oralu. The Guard enforces all of Harpsfell’s laws with surprising evenness, though there is an understanding between the Guard and the Bardic College.

From the central bridges and spires of the city, viewers can catch a glimpse of the Old City, a crumbling ruin built within the natural shelter of the plateaus during Draconic Control. The Old City had been the haven for the free peoples during that era and was destroyed in the last battle against the dragons. Now it is a silent hulk, picked clean by adventurers and laired in by a handful of monsters.

Serridan Valley (Hamlet)
A secluded township on the eastern coast, Serridan Valley is an orphanage of sorts for inborns who have proven too undisciplined to remain in their home villages. The town exists as a number of small, but sturdily built stone long houses built against the southern face of a cliff.

Experienced inborns raise the next generation, honing their skills for practical and safe everyday use. Magical items created by budding inborns serve to fund the town and its defense (both against outsiders and less experienced casters)

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