The Banner Marches are a fecund land carved by retreating glaciers and touched by ancient magic. At the convergence of feuding kingdoms, it is a hotly contested region which neighboring rulers would love to annex. However, it has been many years since any foreign army has set foot in the Banner Marches, fearing each other as much as they do the old magic of the Marches. And so the Banner Marches live free, held together tenuously by the young untested King Arslein and his court at Tir Uldeir.
To the north is Durghess, a dwarven nation following the prophecies of long dead rulers to avenge their betrayal at human hands. The dwarven Ard Reina seeks to honor an ancestral promise by conquering the northern Banner Marches.
To the northwest is Suleistarn, a tyrannical magocracy which has mobilized its citizens on an unprecedented level,creating magical factories and leveling mountains. The Archmage covets the abundant magic in the Banner Marches and it is said he covertly sends out “witch-finders” to abduct youth with the gift for magic.
To the west is Urelgaine, the Coven Throne, a land of mists, marshes, and fell magic ruled by an ancient Witch Queen. Ages ago the Witch Queens sought to master dangerous magics which thrust the world into a dark age, and all the Witch Queens – save one – were killed after this. The surviving Witch Queen remembers what befell her sisters and has plans for the Banner Marches.
Far to the west, beyond Urelgaine, lies Lost Imandel, once a thriving kingdom of elves which was attacked by a massive army of trolls, ogres, and hobgoblins. King Vendremere unleashed terrible shadow magic in defense of his lands – the invaders were repelled but at great cost. Every living being in Imandel became undead, including King Vendremere who became a death knight. Few cross the borders into Lost Imandel anymore.
To the southwest is Paldara, ruled by fierce goliaths in a sort of militaristic meritocracy with distorted socialist values. Their philosophical code – the “Dara” – mandates that they spread the truth of their way of life to the unenlightened…by force if necessary. The southern Banner Marches may be on the Paldishan’s warpath.
Underground, roughly between Paldara and the Banner, lies the gnomish homeland Arszudanri. The first victims of the Goliath invasion 100 years ago, the gnomes were divided into two camps: those who remained on the surface (most who embraced the Dara, a few who fought it) and those who retreated into underground cities.
To the south is Kthorvinth, also called the Ravenbanner Freeholds, a hilly land riddled with deep lochs, mysterious coastlines, and thunder-wracked citadels. Once Kthorvinth was ruled by a family of vampires, but they were overthrown in popular revolt. Now fractious bannerlords scheme against once another, though stories abound of a warrior maiden who raises the Ravenbanner to unite her people by the fires of war…
To the southeast is Tarqinia, a cosmopolitan “monarchy in name, oligarchy de facto” with a powerful navy and a stranglehold on trade overseas. Tarqinia exists in a caste system with tieflings at the top and everyone else on the bottom. The current Queen remains coldly neutral, but some whisper that’s only because she has devil allies spying in the courts of other nations.
Further to the southeast are the Serpent’s Teeth, an island chain of pirates and scallywags who obey no law save for the undying Pirate Lords, and even then only as far as the Pirate Lords can reach. Raiding the eastern coasts of many nations, including the Banner Marches, is a favored pastime.
To the east lies the mysterious Cascadene, Empire of the Dawn Dragon, a landmass equal to the size of all the other kingdoms combined. Folk have always been suspicious of this imperial theocracy, but in the last five years Cascadene ships landed off the shores of Durghess and established a suzerainty. If an invasion is coming, the Banner Marches are the easiest target.