"Prydain, that northern land of barren hills and spare vales, its people poor in culture and proud in their ignorance. Were my lord not the promised king of all of Lugh's people, I would leave their land to the wyverns and be done with it." - Saint Elian, Chronicler of the King
History and Geography
The folk history of Prydain is told around the fire on the long winter nights, and remembers the ancient days when the druid chiefs ruled valley kingdoms and monsters stalked every hilltop. Throughout its long history, Prydain has resisted the orc hordes sweeping down the Wyvern Wastes and Dragonborn raiders from across the Severn Sea. It was the only region to never submit to Arthur, and only became a dukedom of Avalon under King Galahad.
Since the collapse of Avalon, the Dukes of Prydain have ruled from the walled city of Carwyn on the shore of the Severn Sea. That has been a turbulent position, with no family able to establish itself long enough to create a dynasty. In the countryside, the barons, baronets and other minor lords hold the best lands, while free yeomen farm or herd on the fringes. Small towns and villages dot the landscape. Prydain borders Aquitaine to the south and Lyonese to the west, with the Boarback mountains forming much of the border. The Wyvern Wastes stretch north, a trackless expanse of land dominated by orc tribes and roving monsters.
People of Prydain
A number of races call Prydain their home. By and large, the common culture of the region is more important than racial identities, as particularly during the time of Prydain the influx of culture, trade and travel served to integrate the scattered communities. Racial heritage is not forgotten, however, and each group has its own presence in Prydain.
Dwarves have a significant presence in Prydain, due in large part to the mountain city of Thorborimm. The mountain clans that dwell there are not hostile to outsiders, yet have little interest in the outside world. They are proud and stubborn, prone to long grudges, and shrewd. They also produce the majority of the metal ore in the entire dukedom, and very fine steel and gold work.
Some dwarf clans prefer to live a more free and mobile life. Known as hill dwarves, these loose-knit clans live all across Prydain, yet are particularly known for their large trade caravans that travel across the dukedom and beyond. Hill dwarves in general are more outgoing than others, yet still take matters of honour very seriously.
Elves are relatively uncommon in Prydain, yet they have had a large impact on its history. Hygeld SIlverhelm, the warlord who united Prydain and turned back Arthur, and the Archdruid Merlyn were both elves, though from very different origins.
The high elves have nearly completely integrated into human society, where their long lives and skills frequently elevate them to high positions. While some aspire to live as nobles, others are master tradesmen or respected elders.
Wood elves, in stark contrast, are the most isolationist of any group in Prydain, living in semi-nomadic camps in the forest and rarely interacting with outsiders. They are most in touch with the primeval Oghda, and are considered savage and barbaric by their high elf kin.
Whether from mixed parentage or a distant ancestor, you have a touch of both elven and human blood that have granted you half-elven features. Due to the long history of interaction between elves and humans in Prydain, the majority of the aristocracy can claim such a heritage, yet only a small portion inherit the particular combination of traits of a half-elf. Most half-elves have high elf ancestry, as the isolation of the wood elves makes such association far less common.
Merry and good-natured folk, halflings are found in any settled area across the dukedom. Happy to live alongside humans, halflings thrived during the height of Avalon, as the spread of roadways and safety of travel found a match in their natural wanderlust. It is relatively uncommon to see a halfling in any position of power higher than a town's elder, though this has more to do with their own disposition than any prejudice against them.
The largest racial group in Prydain, there are nearly as many humans as all others taken together. By dint of this majority, human culture is sometimes lamented by other races as having dominated all others, yet in truth the Avalorn culture was always an amalgamation of many tribes and races.
Raiders from across the sea, Dragonborn are hated and feared almost as much as orcs. There are no native Dragonborn in Prydain.
Gnomes are something of a contradiction in Prydain. They have no settlements or large groups of their own, yet at least a few can be found in almost any location in the region. Their fey ancestry and ties to the earth make them equally at home among elves and dwarves, both of whom appreciate what gnomes bring to their communities, while their natural charm makes them easy friends with halfling and humans.
In the distant empire of Bael Turath, the scions of the efreeti rule from their magnificent City of Brass. While the occasional tiefling has traveled to Prydain, they have no presence there.
Orcs are ancestral enemies of all the peoples of Prydain, having descended out of the Wyvern Wastes to kill and pillage on numerous occasions. They are not humanoids, and there are no half-orcs.
Adventuring in Prydain
Prydain has known many heroes over the ages, from noble knights to thieves, mages and servants of the gods.