Brightland

Tales are told across Therafim of shining castles, fair maidens, valiant knights, wise wizards, and just kings. These tales largely originate from the Isle of the Mighty's Brightland, so-called not just because of the good nature of most of the folk who live here, including most of the rulers of the land, but also because Brightland is actually quite bright and sunny much of the year, with seasons that seem almost magically tailored for being picturesque as well as ideal for the needs of its people. Famine is almost unheard of in Brightland, save in those times when things go significantly wrong.

Brightland's prosperity depends upon its ruler. The True King (who is usually a king, though there are rare occasions when a True Queen has been selected instead) of Brightland is chosen from among the human-blooded members of the Pendragon line, the selection made by the head of that line, the great gold wyrm Pendragon himself, who still makes his lair beneath the great castle of Camlann as he has for generations uncounted. However, while Pendragon guides the rulership of Brightland, he does not rule himself, because he would quickly turn into a treasure-hungry tyrant. But as the power behind the throne, Pendragon is a potent force to unify the people of Brightland, as a figurehead, and all the allies that rally around him and the True King. When the True King is strong, healthy, just, and competent, the land prospers, the people are happy, and the powers of Darkland are easily pushed back by the unified heroes and rulers of Brightland. When the True King is weak, in ill health, gives in to sinful acts, or is foolish, then the land falters, misery and misfortune prevails, and Darkland begins to spread its influence abroad.

While the True King is the undisputed ruler of Brightland, the actual leadership of this nation is more complicated than that. Most rulers of sufficient power and wealth can take the title of king or queen, while lesser rulers call themselves lords and ladies, and so it is not at all uncommon for great heroes to be able to save a prince or princess (the son or daughter of one of these lesser royalty), and inherit a kingdom that is really only a few miles square. All of these other rulers owe their allegiance to the True King, though the exact loyalty of some of the more corruptible among them tends to vary widely, depending on the status of the True King in health as well as competence and military might.

The landscape outside of the settled areas of Brightland are given over almost entirely to the fey and to the many enchanted creatures that live in these lands. The inhabitants of Brightland have learned, by and large, how to appease the fey, and this avoid drawing down potential calamities upon themselves. Animals with intelligence as good as any human are known to live in these wild areas, and many of these are able to talk. Thus, if anyone goes hunting, it is considered good manners to check with the local fey first, and most animals with intelligence make sure to wear some sort of clothing or other distinguishing mark in order to make it clear that they are not a suitable target for mere hunting, though they might be brought up on legal charges should the occasion warrant it.

Major Races: Humans; Elves; Dwarves; Halflings; Gnomes; Good Fae; Good Dragons and dragonkin; Good Giants; Beastfolk.

Government: Enlightened Monarchy.

Nation Alignment: Neutral Good.

Major Cities:
Camlann: Camlann, the seat of the True King's power, which varies in exact appearance according to the personality and tastes of the present True King, though it is almost always immense and majestic, with a bustling, prosperous community built up around and within the castle. In the middle of Camlann's central keep is the Round Table, the place where all rulers in Brightland can meet and have an equal say, a great table with a hollow middle section (for serving, speaking, and entertaining purposes) large enough to seat up to two hundred. So long as the True King has possession of Camlann and the Round Table, he can perform the King's Evil, which, contrary to how it sounds, is actually a rite of healing, whereby the True King is able to lay on hands as a paladin of his level and hit dice, and also can use Remove Disease and Cure Poison on all good-aligned persons touched at will, as a 20th-level cleric. The True King is also able to bestow the ability to Smite Evil on anyone who swears fealty to him and is of good alignment, though this can only be used once by the being who receives it before requiring another blessing from the king to use the ability again. Those who charge into battle with the True King are also immune to fear, and gain Damage Resistance 2/- so long as the battle continues, and the king is still conscious and fighting alongside them.

Fiddler's Green: This fishing community is located on the south end of the Isle of the Mighty, facing towards Matrakal. Secluded, isolated, and peaceful, Fiddler's Green is said to be a small piece of heaven sunk to Therafim for the enjoyment of those who have set the ways of the sea aside. By itself, Fiddler's Green is not really a terribly important location, being a simple fishing community. However, the fisherfolk who live there are important indeed, since almost every one of them was, at one point in time, a pirate that had since reformed and turned to a more peaceful way of life. Fiddler's Green and the small islands just off its coast are the site of more hidden pirate treasure, much of it buried, than anywhere else on Therafim. The inhabitants of Fiddler's Green actually make a game of it, hiding their treasure, which few of them have any real need for now, in a variety of locations, and then challenging others to find it. Those who find a treasure get to keep it, though the challenges that it takes to reach some of these treasures can be quite elaborate, as might be expected of a community with a lot of time and money on their hands, and a taste for roguish ways.

Musari: Traditionally ruled by a queen, Musari is known as one of the most back-and-forth locations in Brightland. This makes sense, however, as it is ruled by two sisters, twins, both of fey blood (granting them both a very long lifespan), who constantly scheme against each other, and are continually overthrowing and banishing the other. One of these queens of Musari, Morgana, is a member of the coven in Pegana (see the entry on Darkland for more on Pegana), and perhaps the longest-lived of the Coven members, thanks to the mercy of her sister. Locasta, the good twin, is loyal to the True King, and is a known consort of Pendragon. Each twin is constantly striving to overpower the other, and the state of the True King generally determines who is in charge at any given period. However, despite their fierce rivalry, the sisters of Musari also love each other dearly, and will take great pains to save each other from permanent harm, even if it means abandoning a particular plot or turning on former allies to do it. Musari's lands tends to vary with the current ruler, though it is overall a fairly nice place to live provided that one does not run afoul of the sisters. Musari is also noted as the home of the Wise Old Man, Musari, after whom the land of Musari is named, considered by all to be the oldest human on Therafim. The Wise Old Man was part of the first arrival of humans on Therafim, and he is a living repository of knowledge. What has kept him alive so long is not known, as he refuses to say, but it is also known that he cannot die by ordinary means, if at all, something he alternately calls a blessing and a cursing by degrees.

Rosenbar Cathedral: Not just a large, fortified cathedral, but also the lands surrounding it, Rosenbar Cathedral is a school founded by paladins and good-aligned clerics to ensure that the proper teachings of the gods would always be remembered and recorded. Rosenbar Cathedral is a massive place, elaborate and impossibly ornate, the result of work by several generations of humans. It stands as a testament to what humans can accomplish, and its architecture, embellishment, and design rival even the greatest dwarven and elven works for beauty and majesty. It is a museum of sorts, holding many holy relics, and a great library on the workings of the gods and their servitors. Many paladins and good clerics come here on pilgrimage to pray and receive the blessing of the gods. Besides being a central location for the worship of the good deities, perhaps the largest on Therafim, Rosenbar Cathedral is also a fortified city, not far from the Giant's Stair, where knights and paladins and clerics receive martial training as well as training in the academic side of their religions. All knights who intend to serve the True King directly must make their vows in Rosenbar Cathedral, and they risk terrible curses should they violate these oaths made before the gods themselves.

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