Reclamation - The Stolen Lands
People and Factions
Amid the impending threat of civil war, the inhabitants of Brevoy have more pressing concerns than their neighbors’ race, and few judge a person by race alone. Brevans value custom and loyalty regardless of race; thus, anyone who adheres to local traditions enjoys a high degree of tolerance and acceptance. As such, the region boasts a diverse population comprised of nearly every race and ethnicity on Golarion.
Though typically rare in northeastern Avistan, dwarves exist in small numbers in almost every community in Brevoy. Many serve as town blacksmiths, masons, militia quartermasters, or pawnbrokers. The small mining village of Brunderton in eastern Rostland has an overwhelming dwarven citizenry—most dwarves in the region can claim at least one relative or acquaintance that calls the hamlet home—and gem and ore traders from Brunderton travel throughout the area peddling their wares. Rumors of untapped or unclaimed mines hidden throughout the Stolen Lands are enough to get most dwarves interested in exploring the wilderness.
Full-blooded elves are rare in Brevoy, generally preferring to live in Kyonin further to the south. A fair number of rebellious elves, however, emigrate from their homeland up the Sellen River to Brevoy. Often, Forlorn elves pass through Brevoy on their way south to Kyonin to live among their people, and some find the region so amenable that they never complete their journey—although lately, others have chosen to stay after the direct route down the river through the Stolen Lands was closed because of hostility from bandits and worse. The Brevic city of Restov boasts one of the largest concentrations of elves in the region. Long ago, the elves maintained a stronger presence in this region, and rumors of surviving elven ruins scattered throughout the most remote reaches of the Stolen Lands have long intrigued elven scholars and historians.
The boundaries between Golarion and the First World are not constant; in some places, like in the Sellen River basin, these barriers are unusually thin. The barriers thin yet further, rumors hold, in the Stolen Lands—and certainly fey are a powerful force in the region. Many believe that the influence of the First World over the Stolen Lands is the primary reason none have managed to tame the wilderness. Regions like these have long drawn gnomes to their proximity, and tales of gnome expeditions to explore the Stolen Lands are quite common—as are tales of expeditions that become lost and are never heard from again. Gnomes have a strong presence in the River Kingdoms and have established several communities there. Enclaves of less civilized gnomes also exist in Echo Wood near the border of Numeria, Embeth Forest, and Brevoy’s Gronzi Forest, though these shamanistic sects tend to keepmostly to themselves.
Often the victims of unfounded stigmatization in communities of primarily human or elven populations,half-elves typically find Brevoy a welcoming land. The Chelish and Taldan upper classes have long exiled their embarrassing—if common—illegitimate half-elf progeny to the unruly River Kingdoms, and as a result, many of the region’s half-elves claim some noble heritage(even if such claims aren’t formally recognized). Other half-elven settlers in the region are the result of trysts between locals and elves from nearby Kyonin. Regardless of their origins, half-elves find their adaptable nature well suited to Brevic life, especially those settlements in which adherence to local custom is of paramount concern. Many half-elves rise to positions of power thanks to their ability to roll with political changes and bypass unexpected social impediments.
Throughout the civilized world, half-orcs suffer ostracism and prejudice, yet many find Brevoy not merely tolerant of their kind, but in fact refreshingly accepting. Brevans don’t view half-orcs with the same disdain that the half-breeds receive in other parts of the world, and any half-orc who adheres to the strict, provincial customs of the land achieves the same level of acceptance that a similarly compliant full-blooded human would. Half-orcs blessed with less overtly bestial features might attempt to pass for human, keeping the unseemly conditions of their birth a closely guarded the secret and leaving their past behind as they start again with a clean slate in Brevoy or the wild River Kingdoms. Some embrace their heritage, however, and are rewarded; warlords among feuding citystates often recruit half-orcs to serve as elite soldiers, officers, and law enforcement, valuing their blend of strength and cunning.
Brevan halflings tend toward transient lifestyles that shuffle them through Brevoy and the neighboring River Kingdoms every few years. The Fifth River Freedom denounces slavery as an abomination, and inhabitants uphold this tenet of the land as earnestly as they do any other. As a result, the River Kingdoms have become a haven for escaped or freed slaves—especially Chelish halflings—attempting to start a new life without the fear of bondage. A strong halfling liberation movement has taken root in the region, and freedom fighters from across Avistan often congregate in the northern River Kingdoms and southern Brevoy. Non-crusading halflings often work as street performers, pickpockets, or legitimate shop or tavern owners.
Humans constitute the most populous race in and around Brevoy, as they do throughout Golarion. Ethnic Taldans make up well over half the region’s human population; many trace their lineage back to the explorers and soldiers who first tamed the wild countryside ages ago. Descendants of Choral the Conqueror’s army possess strong Kellid bloodlines, as do the barbaric hordes of nearby Numeria. Spring and autumn bring fleets of Varisian flatboats to the Sellen’s waterways as the nomadic people make their seasonal migration between the banks of Lake Encarthan and the Lake of Mists and Veils. Because of the region’s penchant for attracting outsiders from around the world, Chelish, Keleshite, Tian, and Ulfen visitors commonly pass through or make new homes in the River Kingdoms’ many outcast sanctuaries.