Life and Society
All Moonshavians are shaped by the rugged striking landscape and harsh weather. The Ffolk revere the land (and the deity who is the land), long aware of the divine power present in the rushing streams secret pools, and mist-wreathed forests of their isles. The Ffolk adore their home with a deep abiding love hard for other humans to understand.
The Northlanders are less moved by the landscape. Their hearts are turned to the sea, and they tend to be boisterous and outgoing compared to their neighbors. Relations between the two peoples are often strained, even if they are better than ever before.
The Ffolk do not often welcome outlanders. To farmers, outlanders are trouble: brigands, thieves who imperil families, belongings, stock, and crops. To local lords and warriors, outlanders are rivals. If they abide by local laws, they are respected but watched. News from the Sword Coast travels fairly well to the Moonshaes, so the previous deeds and reputation of arrivals color their reception. Heroes may be fully accepted by warriors of the Ffolk as their own. The Northlanders have a stronger tradition of sea trade and travel and tend to be simply curious about visitors from the rest of Faerun.
The Moonshaes consist of a handful of major islands and hundreds of smaller islands. Among the noteworthy ones are the following.
Alaron: Ruled from the city of Caer Callidyrr, the island of Alaron is the most powerful of the Moonshae's kingdoms. The rugged Fairheight Mountains to the north of Caer Callidyrr separates the traditional lowland homes of the Northlanders.
Gwynneth: The largest of the southern islands, its northern half was settled by Northlanders from Oman's Isle and the southern part (which became the city of Caer Corwell) by the Ffolk.
Moray: The westernmost of the major Moonshae islands is also the wildest of the southern islands. Since the peace between the Northlanders and the Ffolk, Northlanders have taken to raiding the monsters of the Orcskull Mountains that run down the island's spine. Consequently, Moray is a safer place to live and has attracted Ffolk and Northlander settlers.
Ruathym: This rugged, barren island is not properly part of the Moonshaes at all, lying more than two hundred miles north of the island chain. Ruathym is the ancestral home of the Northlanders, the barbarians who colonized the northern Moonsaes and Luskan. Scattered steadings and villages cluster around the isle's fjords and inlets. The largest settlement is the town of Ruathym, a city of five thousand. The Northlanders here have a long-standing feud with the folk of Luskan on the Sword Coast.
Most of the Moonshae Islands boast at least one or two small villages. The major islands are home to dozens of settlements each, often divided by large stretches of rugged terrain. Large towns are:
Caer Callidyrr (Large City, pop: 21,486): Caer Callidyrr is a leftover of a previous civilization's peak, a mighty castle built on the island of Alaron above a sprawling port city.
Caer Corwell (Small City, pop: 11,459): The home region of the Kendrick family, occupying the south half of the island of Gwynneth, was the land first settled by the Ffolk. Its rocky shores and high moors make it an excellent place for strong minded individualists who prefer space to neighbors, or for druids who seek worship in the temple of the wild.
Iron Keep (Small City, pop: 5,730): The strongest fortress of the Northlanders perches upon the northern shore of Oman's Isle. Iron Keep was formerly the most feared and violent of the Northlander's kingdoms. It's still a warlike realm, but its inhabitants' aggressions are spent on other Northlander kingdoms, particularly the isle of Ruathym
Myrloch Vale: The sacred land of the Earthmother occupies the central portion of the island of Gwynneth to the north of the Myrloch, the island's central lake. Unlike the aspect of Chauntea known throughout the rest of Faerun, the Earthmother of the Moonshaes treasures unspoiled wildlands more than cleared farmland. Only druids and elves walk without fear in this place. The lands' primary occupants are centaurs, pixies, sprites, and the elves of the Moonshaes, known as the Llewyrr. Few of the Llewyrr joined the Retreat to Evermeet, owing nothing to the Elven Court and preferring their life in the Myrlock Vale. Though the Vale is sacred to the Ffolk, Northlanders still fear it as a place of dangerous magic.
For centuries, the cycles of history in the Moonshaes pivoted around the struggles between invading Northlanders and the Ffolk. Early in the 1300's DR, the islands' conflicts took on greater significance. The evil deities Bhaal, Malar, and Talos attempted to take possession of the Moonshaes from the Earthmother.
The evil deities were thwarted largely through the heroism of the Kendrick family and their friends and lovers. The Kendricks ascended to become a new dynasty of High Kings and Queens, expanding the High Throne's hold upon the islands and convincing the Northlanders to accord them fealty alongside of the Ffolk.
The last three decades of rule by High Queen Alicia Kendrick (NG female human Ftr6/Drd7 of the Earthmother) and her consort High King Keane (NG male human Wiz18) have been largely peaceful. Alicia and Keane have raised worthy heirs and appear to have founded a successful dynasty. The islands' only significant problem at this time is a growing conflict with pirates from the Nelanther Isles, who are ranging north in search of better haunts. The Northlanders have proven to be excellent allies against the Nelanther pirates, but adventurers from the mainland can sometimes find employment fighting the pirates' deadly wizards.