Homeland locations for PC races

The civilized world has been reduced to a series of points of light in a great wilderness of danger and monsters.
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Big Mac
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Homeland locations for PC races

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:03 am

Do we have a list of the various possible homeland locations for the various PC races, in Nentir Vale and the wider Nerath area?

I know that Nentir Vale has that "points of light" thing. Does that remove the option of small towns and villages and force players to use large towns and cities as the place of birth of their PCs?

Do some playable races have more options for hometowns than others? If so, which race has the most options and which is the most limited?

Did the later 4e sourcebooks, that added extra races invent new Nentir Vale/Nerath locaions, to act as homelands, or did they retcon those races into existing towns and cities?

Are there many cities that have a strong tie to a single D&D race or does Nentir Vale mostly have cities with a variety of races?

Do the various races have a "history" that explains how they came to live in the various parts of Nentir Vale?

How easy is it to extrapolate from Nentir Vale and design the right level of "points of light" locations across the less documented parts of Nerath?

Would you use the same mix of races across Nerath? Or would you make some races more common or less common in specific Nerath regions?
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Re: Homeland locations for PC races

Post by Zeromaru X » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:44 am

Big Mac wrote:Do we have a list of the various possible homeland locations for the various PC races, in Nentir Vale and the wider Nerath area?

I know that Nentir Vale has that "points of light" thing. Does that remove the option of small towns and villages and force players to use large towns and cities as the place of birth of their PCs?
There is what you have in the maps. They do not delved too much in homelands and stuff. There are broad generalities (dragonborn are from the south, goliaths from the mountains, eladrin from the Feywild), but beyond that, the GM is free to device his/her own homelands.

And nope, you can chose villages and small towns. In fact, the whole Nentir Vale area has only one city (Hammerfast) and one big town (Fallcrest). The rest are villages and small towns. Big cities are way to the south of the Vale, and only a few (Adretia, Sarthel, Rethmil) got a dragon article about them.
Do some playable races have more options for hometowns than others? If so, which race has the most options and which is the most limited?
The stereotypical ones. Dwarves, elves, humans, all had their own "my race only" hometowns. Most others are minorities. This is specially true for dragonborn and tieflings, as lorewise the emperors of Nerath forbid them to do race only settlement.
Did the later 4e sourcebooks, that added extra races invent new Nentir Vale/Nerath locaions, to act as homelands, or did they retcon those races into existing towns and cities?
Retcon in most of the cases.
Are there many cities that have a strong tie to a single D&D race or does Nentir Vale mostly have cities with a variety of races?

Do the various races have a "history" that explains how they came to live in the various parts of Nentir Vale?
Since Nerath was a cosmopolitan empire where peoples of all races lived together, mixed settlements are the norm, while race-only are very rare.

Indeed there is a story, that is in my history document. But to make a quick review, most inhabitants of Nentir Vale today are descendants of settlers from Nerath.
How easy is it to extrapolate from Nentir Vale and design the right level of "points of light" locations across the less documented parts of Nerath?
Rather easy. They even encouraged you to steal stuff from Eberron and FR and put them in less documented areas if you needed help.
Would you use the same mix of races across Nerath? Or would you make some races more common or less common in specific Nerath regions?
Lorewise, all races were wideaspread enough in Nerath. Stuff like 5e's Uncommon races, does not exist in Nentir Vale. That said, dragonborn, eladrin and tieflings, were less common in the Nentir Vale region (only recently started to move there in significant numbers) and more common in central and southern Nerath. Still, were common enough to people seeing a tiefling and not freaking about it.

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Re: Homeland locations for PC races

Post by Tim Baker » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:01 am

Big Mac wrote:I know that Nentir Vale has that "points of light" thing. Does that remove the option of small towns and villages and force players to use large towns and cities as the place of birth of their PCs?
I can't add much to what Zeromaru X has already said. However, I wanted to point out that the "points of light" generally refer to the locations where civilization has a toehold against all of the forces working against it. These points of light are generally small -- a settlement here, a village there -- and the presence of heroes can tip the balance between their survival or their being snuffed out by the malignant forces around them.
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Re: Homeland locations for PC races

Post by Zeromaru X » Wed Jun 21, 2017 3:47 am

I was re-reading some of the material, and here are some generalities about homelands. All the names I'm referencing can be located in the official map.

-Dwarves are the majority of the Dawnforge Mts. population, as they created many kingdoms in those mountains after the Dawn War. Perhaps only sharing this title with kenkus in the northern mountains, as the Raven Queen created the kenkus in that area (according to the Last Garrison novel). Elsir Vale has also a sizable population of dwarves since before Nerath.

-Harken Forest has a sizable population of elves, as the first elves that came from the Feywild entered to the natural world in that region. There is a permanent portal to the Feywild in the Barony of Therund (the Moon Stair), so eladrin and gnomes are common there as well. Elves are also the majority in the lands of the Vailin Alliance.

-Dragonborn founded their first civilizations in the south of the Nerath continent, in the areas known as the Desert of Desolation and the Altaran Peninsula (what is now the Iron Circle area). With Arkhosia at its zenith, they spread to the north, founding Karga-Kul and other cities in the Gulf of Kul (near Vor Rukoth in the official map). They are still a majority there. That said, after the fall of Arkhosia, elves dominated the lands of the Emerald Blade Barony and nearby forest in the Altaran Peninsula. Sea elves and half-elves have a sizable population there.

-Humans potentially originated in Selduria (eastern continent), as Zannad is located there. Zannad is the Yuan-ti empire that enslaved the first humans. They later spread across the world, to the isle of Kelarnil (the island in the center of the map) and later to the Nerath area and founded Bael Turath, so tieflings are common in central Nerath and Kelarnil.

-Shifters originated in the Winterbole Forest area. They are more common in northern and central Nerath.

-Goliath are common in all mountains around the world.

-Warforged are common in Nerathi lands, as they were created by Nerathi artificers.

-Orcs are the majority in the Stonemarch and the Realm of the Gorgon King, what means half-orcs are more common there as well.

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Re: Homeland locations for PC races

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:20 am

Tim Baker wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I know that Nentir Vale has that "points of light" thing. Does that remove the option of small towns and villages and force players to use large towns and cities as the place of birth of their PCs?
I can't add much to what Zeromaru X has already said. However, I wanted to point out that the "points of light" generally refer to the locations where civilization has a toehold against all of the forces working against it. These points of light are generally small -- a settlement here, a village there -- and the presence of heroes can tip the balance between their survival or their being snuffed out by the malignant forces around them.
Ah. I was kind of assuming there were kingdoms (maybe ancient kingdoms) that originally built roads between the various towns and villages, before breaking up and leaving the points-of-light behind.

I didn't cross my mind that it might have been points-of-light from the start.
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Re: Homeland locations for PC races

Post by Big Mac » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:27 am

Zeromaru X wrote:I was re-reading some of the material, and here are some generalities about homelands. All the names I'm referencing can be located in the official map.

-Dwarves are the majority of the Dawnforge Mts. population, as they created many kingdoms in those mountains after the Dawn War. Perhaps only sharing this title with kenkus in the northern mountains, as the Raven Queen created the kenkus in that area (according to the Last Garrison novel). Elsir Vale has also a sizable population of dwarves since before Nerath.
Do you think the dwarves would have expanded under the ground or over the ground?
Zeromaru X wrote:-Harken Forest has a sizable population of elves, as the first elves that came from the Feywild entered to the natural world in that region. There is a permanent portal to the Feywild in the Barony of Therund (the Moon Stair), so eladrin and gnomes are common there as well. Elves are also the majority in the lands of the Vailin Alliance.
That's great. That portal would probably be the point-of-origin then.
Zeromaru X wrote:-Dragonborn founded their first civilizations in the south of the Nerath continent, in the areas known as the Desert of Desolation and the Altaran Peninsula (what is now the Iron Circle area). With Arkhosia at its zenith, they spread to the north, founding Karga-Kul and other cities in the Gulf of Kul (near Vor Rukoth in the official map). They are still a majority there. That said, after the fall of Arkhosia, elves dominated the lands of the Emerald Blade Barony and nearby forest in the Altaran Peninsula. Sea elves and half-elves have a sizable population there.
I still haven't quite got my head around Dragonborn (although I had a Dragonborn PC in Heroes of Neverwinter). I wish I know what a "typical" environment for them would be, but they are kind of new, so there is really only Nentir Vale and the post-Spellplagued Realms (where I believe they come from Abeir, rather than from Toril) to go with. I guess that the Desert of Desolation might be similar to the region of Abeir that the FR Dragonborn came from.
Zeromaru X wrote:-Humans potentially originated in Selduria (eastern continent), as Zannad is located there. Zannad is the Yuan-ti empire that enslaved the first humans. They later spread across the world, to the isle of Kelarnil (the island in the center of the map) and later to the Nerath area and founded Bael Turath, so tieflings are common in central Nerath and Kelarnil.
I've started a separate topic to ask about Selduria. How do you think the humans got from Seldura to Kelarnil? Was there a portal?
Zeromaru X wrote:-Shifters originated in the Winterbole Forest area. They are more common in northern and central Nerath.
Shifters are from Eberron, IIRC. Are they evolved from lycanthropes in Nentir Vale? Are lycanthropes more comon in Winterbole Forest?
Zeromaru X wrote:-Goliath are common in all mountains around the world.
That's a new race for me, although I think there was something similar in Dark Sun, back in the 2e era.

Do Goliath's live on the surface of the mountains or underneath them? And do they live near the foothills (and travel around valleys) or up closer to the summits?
Zeromaru X wrote:-Warforged are common in Nerathi lands, as they were created by Nerathi artificers.
Warforged are interesting, as they are very much tied into Eberron's House Cannith and the creation forges. I'm guessing that the Nerathi artificers would have needed some similar sot of facility to create Warforged. Were they built for the same sort of reason (during a war) or have they been created on an ongoing basis?

Has the decline of Nerath caused a slow down or stop in Warforged production?

Do individual Warforged have a "home factory" rather than a hometown?
Zeromaru X wrote:-Orcs are the majority in the Stonemarch and the Realm of the Gorgon King, what means half-orcs are more common there as well.
Thanks.
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Re: Homeland locations for PC races

Post by Tim Baker » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:14 pm

Big Mac wrote:Ah. I was kind of assuming there were kingdoms (maybe ancient kingdoms) that originally built roads between the various towns and villages, before breaking up and leaving the points-of-light behind.

I didn't cross my mind that it might have been points-of-light from the start.
You're correct that there were previous civilizations that built roads and cities and prospered prior to the current time. Unless PCs are more than a decade old or from somewhere other than Nentir Vale, they probably come from a village or small town. There's one large town in the Vale and a large Dwarven community, but even those are nothing like the cities at the height of the empire.
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Re: Homeland locations for PC races

Post by Zeromaru X » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:39 am

As Tim said, there are places that were part of Nerath, and benefited from the roads and fortresses constructed by the Empire. There are even roads and buildings that predate Nerath. Then you have the Crow Road, in the Dragondown Coast area (were Vor Rukoth is, in the official map) that predates Arkhosia and is still in use.
Big Mac wrote:Do you think the dwarves would have expanded under the ground or over the ground?
In the Underdark sourcebook, there are a few dwarven communities in both the Upper and Lower Underdark (I've documented them in my post about regions). So I guess they did both. Or perhaps they started underground, but when their kingdoms were destroyed during the monster invasions of the pre-Nerath period, they were forced to expand over ground.
Big Mac wrote:I still haven't quite got my head around Dragonborn (although I had a Dragonborn PC in Heroes of Neverwinter). I wish I know what a "typical" environment for them would be, but they are kind of new, so there is really only Nentir Vale and the post-Spellplagued Realms (where I believe they come from Abeir, rather than from Toril) to go with. I guess that the Desert of Desolation might be similar to the region of Abeir that the FR Dragonborn came from.
According to the Race & Classes preview book, dragonborn originated in arid lands. So perhaps you're right.
Big Mac wrote:I've started a separate topic to ask about Selduria. How do you think the humans got from Seldura to Kelarnil? Was there a portal?
Dunno. I guess they migrated by land and sea after Zannad was destroyed. As that was an ancient event in the timeline, there is plenty of time for an old-school migration type.
Big Mac wrote:Shifters are from Eberron, IIRC. Are they evolved from lycanthropes in Nentir Vale? Are lycanthropes more comon in Winterbole Forest?
You know Nentir Vale has bits from other settings. :P

As per the "Shifters of the Cities" (Dragon 387; a dragon article wrote by Keith Baker himself, but that was written for the Nentir Vale setting instead of Eberro), shifters are common in wild areas and lived in almost all Nerath. In the Monster Vault for the Nentir Vale, there is a faction in the Winterbole Forest, the Tigerclaw Barbarians, that has a sizable population of shifters who claim are the descendants of a legendary figure known as "Hota Swiftstripe", the "first" longtooth shifter. Hota was transformed into a shifter by a primal spirit, Hunter of Winter. I guess, someone playing a shifter in a Nentir Vale campaign will chose the Tigerclaw lands as his/her homeland.

Yet, the aforementioned article says that shifters indeed are descendants of lycanthropes. So, perhaps Hota is the patriarch of just one lineage of shifters. Or he is just a myth.
Big Mac wrote:Do Goliath's live on the surface of the mountains or underneath them? And do they live near the foothills (and travel around valleys) or up closer to the summits?
Dunno. There is no canon info. In my campaign, they live in the surface, near the summits.
Big Mac wrote:Warforged are interesting, as they are very much tied into Eberron's House Cannith and the creation forges. I'm guessing that the Nerathi artificers would have needed some similar sot of facility to create Warforged. Were they built for the same sort of reason (during a war) or have they been created on an ongoing basis?

Has the decline of Nerath caused a slow down or stop in Warforged production?

Do individual Warforged have a "home factory" rather than a hometown?
Warforged were indeed created for war. The last war of the empire. Before the war, one of the emperors had commissioned the creation of living constructs who could live on their own (instead of using some magical spirit as a power source) and had the ability to learn for themselves. Elydir, the last emperor of Nerath, repurposed the project for war when the White Ruin's invasion began. The were "never numerous" as per the "Playing Warforged" article (Dragon 364).

There must be forges in the mains cities of Nerath... most of them overrun by monsters who may not even know how to use them, so warforged are a ratter rare PC race. Perhaps the more important cities of former Nerath that survived the fall of the Empire (like Alam-Reth, or Mithralfast, or Erathium) still have a functioning forge... it can be an interesting plot point for a campaign with a warforged player.

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