Thursday, April 4, 2019

O'er The Lands of the Realms: Banecroft

by Jason "Aeston" Rosa

We have a somewhat unique tradition in the Realms of each of us having uncontested authorial dominion over the lands that we inhabit. It's been the norm, as far back as when I was in charge of the Realms Map, that people would request an outlined area somewhere where there was free space and after that it's entire contents were up to their imagination.

Altogether that process fits very well with the way our game works with its decentralized composition. What's a shame, however, is that the very intricate and imaginative designs that people have created for their nations often are not publicly shared for the rest of the community to read and enjoy. That is what I am attempting to address in this new ongoing series.

Working with the land-owners of each of the nations around the Realms, I have used a popular online cartography program to craft detailed maps focusing on each of those countries. I have endeavored to make each of them 100% canonical through repeated conversations and many draft iterations, leaving the land-holders completely in control of what is created while I do the actual cartography.

I have also asked each of these land-owners to write up a description of the countries that they have designed along with some historical context to explain why they are put together the way they are. Please enjoy the first installment of the series, below, and look forward to many many more in the future.

Description by Dan "Diamond" Diamond

Banecroft Barony's principle settlements are the capital town of Banecroft, the fishing village of Nadina, and the elven tree houses of Caer Melyn.  Atop a steep hill above Banecroft town is the landmark Banecroft tower, with wide views of the surrounding area. Banecroft's common folk are independent spirits, such that a few hardy settlers eschew the relative safety of these population centers, and a handful of families have built isolated blockhouses scattered through the land.

The stockaded village of Nadina is next to the lake which bears the same name. The river turns a water wheel as it drains the lake and runs into a swamp. Across the lake there is a mining camp from which silver, iron, and alchemical components are mined. Originally a simple pit mine, the decades have made it deeper and more complicated. There's an inn at the crossroads between the three principle settlements.

In the cool of the forest lies the tree house settlement of Caer Melyn, home to the elves led by Sir Myrddin. Even more remote in the forest is a simple fort, the "Aerie". Built by the Jade Falcons (not to be confused with the more recent Blue Falcons), this serves Barony forces as a base of operations on the western border. There are 3 tall stone obelisks on the borders of Banecroft, the result of some realms-wide mystery of the 990s. These were made into watchtowers by Banecroft, lightly manned with a platform above from which watchfires could be seen by Banecroft tower. One of them now lies outside the current borders, the result of a sacrifice made to help save Sir Pyr many years ago.

Banecroft was originally almost entirely deeply forested, over the decades two events changed this: the Bedlam cloud and massive logging during the brief occupation by Illinar's forces formed clear areas in the East. Now the settled areas of Banecroft have much more land under the plow. While a boon to agriculture, the Bedlam cloud erased the northern part of the North/South road, which was one of the most important trade routes of the Realms, and while still linked to civilization, now it is a dead end and the only traffic is those coming to Banecroft itself, and the lifeblood of trade goes by other routes. A trail, the ruins of what was once a great road in a bygone era, runs east-west.

If you're a land-holder and would like a detailed map made of your territories and to appear as a part of this series, don't worry my plan is to get to all of you one after the other. But you can accelerate the process by reaching out to me over Facebook or via email to