- 1112 DR: Year of the Perilous Storm: Several hundred ffolk fleeing the Witch Winters of Corwell migrate to the Korinn Archipelago.
- 1137 DR: Year of the Falling Menhir: Several bands of wood elves from Loresstlar land on the island of Highport in the Korinn Archipelago.
- 1228 DR: Year of the Tattered Banners: The many islands of the Korinn Archipelago are claimed by a man known as Viledel “the Sea King”
- 1278 DR: Year of Many Bones: The kingdom of Viledal the Sea King is crushed by a coalition of pirates come seeking the sword Taragarth the Bloodbrand.
Life and Society
Architecture: Resources are restricted on the islets of the Korinn Archipelago, trees and stone are scarce on most islets to some degree, often requiring the islanders to use their ingenuity to accomplish even common tasks.
Building is no exception and the average house on the archipelago is often built out of the hulks of derelict ships or pieces of driftwood that wash up on the shore.
Piracy: Without a centralised government on the islands, it is easy for pirates to establish bases on the coast of these islands, or to use existing settlements with harbours as a base of operations. However, the islanders of the archipelago depend upon the pirates and their wealth and goods for survival (the islands often do not have enough resources to sustain their populations), and so they freely welcome pirates (as long as they do not attack the natives or cause too much trouble).
As poor, isolated, trading settlements of very small size, the economy of the Korinn Archipelago is very underdeveloped when compared to the likes of Callidyrr, Corwell, Moray, and even the norl islands.
The islands in the Korinn Archipelago survive mostly on fishing, and rearing goats and sheep on the small scrub grasses that sparsely cover the islands. They trade with each other for whatever resources they can find, using whatever they have going spare, and everything else they need has to be supplemented by passing traders or flotsam washed up on the shore.
In the larger islands with port facilities, a service industry survives catering to the needs of passing traders, but more usually by providing services to pirates that are not welcome in the larger ports of bigger trading nations.
The Korinn Archipelago also makes some profit on acting as neutral territory for norl and ffolk merchants that wish to trade but do not trust each other due to past hostilities.
The Korinn Archipelago is a collection of independent steadings and small settlements that have not been governed by a single person since the time of Viledal the Sea King.
Although every island, and even individual settlements and farm steads on an island, are independent, they all operate under a similar pact of rules that includes not preying upon one another because life is hard enough in the Korinn Archipelago. This pact (often known as the Pact of the Sea King), does not extend to those living outside the Archipelago, and much of the economy of this chain of small islands is driven by goods and coin pirated from other ships and settlements by the Korinn Reavers.
Barret’s Quay: Named for one of the first guildmasters appointed by Viledal during his reign, this island lies just south of Ventris and is considered the property of the guildmasters of Ventris who use it to mine what little rock and ore can be found in this mountainous little island. Barret’s Quay is home to a few score humans and dwarves that work the mines, they work hard for little reward (the mines are strictly controlled by the guildmasters) and are known for being sullen and hostile to outsiders.
Caftenor: As one of the larger islands in the Korinn Archipelago, Caftenor is also one of the major ports in the region, with a rich yield of fish to trade and a sizeable population of 300 humans and halflings. The island is named as a derivative of the terms to denote a norl trader, and it is said that the inhabitants here will trade anything for a decent price.
Caftenor is one of the most southerly islands of the Korinn Archipelago, located less than 10 miles from the north coast of Alaron. The island is covered in scrub grass, with much of the population tending to their flocks in an ever moving and complicated migration plan trying to rear their animals (often leading to violence and occasionally murder between the shepherds).
The rest of the population congregate around a sprawling port on the southern shore of the island with numerous inns, trading posts, sailmakers, and carpenters operating out of the upturned hulls of ruined longships. The inhabitants make a decent living trading fish and large quantities of salt that they claim to mine from the hilly centre of the island.
There is a high incidence of violence and disappearances on the island among inhabitants and visitors that many put down to visiting pirates and norls, however, in truth those who disappear are often alone at the time and are actually abducted by the locals who then trade them to a tribe of goblins that live in Underdark connections beneath the island and mine salt that they trade to the islanders for food (supplemented by the edible slaves).
Chawdik: A small island to the south west of Ventris is another protectorate of Ventris and its guildmasters. It has long since been stripped of any usable resources and is now used only for grazing and fishing by a number of gnome inhabitants that have setup their own community on the island.
Corriban: The most northerly isle in the Korinn Archipelago is a small and desolate place, filled with skeletons and the rotting hulks of trees, with nothing living or moving except for a tall black tree at the centre of the island. Several attempts have been made to investigate the island and claim some unsettled land, but every nightfall the island is devoid of life once more.
In truth Corriban is home to an evil creature known as a Night Twist, a much more powerful and twisted version of the Night Trees that infest the Llyrath Forest. Beneath the Night Twist are a series of caves and caverns that lead into the Deepshaes and the homes of a goblin tribe that knows better than to approach the Night Twist.
Dennik: The second largest island in the Korinn Archipelago is unfortunately one of the poorest as it has been repeatedly attacked by pirates on many occasions seeking a secure base of operations. Dennik is surrounded by high cliffs and bluffs with very few bays usable by large ships, the population of Dennik survives on a central plateau elevated far above the shoreline farming and herding.
Pirates long ago recognised that whoever controlled the central plateau would have a hideout that would be almost impossible to take from the shore. They have assaulted the island again and again and driven the inhabitants into poverty, some pirate groups even managed to take the isle for a time, but were eventually driven away by the local population.
Dragonhome: This is one of the larger islands in the Korinn Archipelago, with resources enough to rival the likes of Ventris and Caftenor. Pine forests cover the central part of the island, surrounding a number of steep, rocky tors that jut out of the landscape like fingers. Dragonhome is so far to the west that it is often included in the territory of Norheim.
Dragonhome however is completely devoid of humanoid life due to the family of not quite adult white dragons that makes its home here and jealously guards its territory from all incursions. The dragon roost atop the rocky tors, giving them an excellent view of the surroundings, and plentiful exposure to the icy winds coming down from the north.
It is believed that this island was once home to a much larger dragon many centuries ago, and that dragon’s hoard may remain untouched on the island (although most would expect the resident family of dragons to have looted this hoard if that were the case).
The norl also have legends that their people landed on north eastern islands of the Isles of Madness (so named for most of the norl that settled there went off to fight for strange fey lords and never returned) many millennia ago before they were ever a scourge upon the Swordcoast. The norl legends also speak of the monstrous wyrm known as Forannur which awoke one winter and scoured the island clean over many months, letting only a few survivors escape come the spring. The norl have searched all of the islands of the archipelago looking for their first home on Toril (and the fabled Figurehead of Rugar the Great), except for Dragonhome.
Grayrock: This small island is typical of those in the Korinn Archipelago. It is home to a copse of a few hundred stunted trees and the centre of the island rises to a mountainous peak filled with caves. A number of tiny walled settlements of norl are dotted around the coast making a living of fishing and farming as best they can.
Highport: Highport is one of the most southerly islands of the Korinn Archipelago, located less than 10 miles off the north coast of Gnarhelm. It is the greenest of the islands, with dense forests and lush grasses covering the lowlands around a cluster of central mountains.
The island has a high population of elven and half elven inhabitants (migrants from the fallen elven land of Loresstlar in Winterglen Forest), plus a few remaining pure human natives. The island does not welcome visitors of any kind, and those approaching the forested isle are likely to be filled with arrows before reaching the shore. It is rumoured that over a century ago, the warriors of Highport even brought down a red dragon of great size in the waters around the island, but no one has been able to get near the waters to confirm it.
The island of Highport is not completely isolationist, it has a number of secure ports around the island where visitors are allowed (only on the southern side), and merchants from Highport are often seen visiting the ports of other islands in the Korinn Archipelago.
Jacaman: This insignificant island is uninteresting in every way, it is small, flat, covered in scrub grass, and without any distinguishing features whatsoever except for the modest house, the owner Roquern, and a gang of slaves that endlessly til the soil and tend to the scrub grass.
Roquern is a portly man of middling years (or so he appears), who deals with passing sailors, trying to tempt them into trading for his scrub grass (which he calls panaeolo) at bargain prices. Other services he provides involve the use of his slaves or his house, again at bargain prices.
Roquern is in truth a Falxugon (a harvester devil) tied to the island, who is tempting those he meets to commit acts of evil. The panaeolo is a herb last seen in ancient Netheril and lost during the Shadowed Age as Archmages attempted to restrict its availability and drove it to extinction from the land (but not the Archmages enclaves). Panaeolo resembles the scrub grass present on the islands of the Archipelago, but with slightly longer leaves and a peppery scent, it attunes those consuming it to the Weave, heightening their magical abilities, however it also lowers their inhibitions and Roquern has selectively bred a variety that has greater powers of inhibition and is augmented by Roquern’s infernal presence to make those consuming it favour evil acts.
The Trading House: Roquern’s modest house appears as a typical ffolk building on the outside; a single story, round building of drystone walls with slate roof, but on the inside is rumoured to be a many layered mansion of proportions that defy the size of the exterior. There whispered to be rooms dedicated to particular forms of pleasure for visitors to enjoy and unwind while their boats are stocked with panaeolo.
A secret door in the Trading House leads to a shaft that extends deep below the surface of the island, although much of this tunnel is submerged in water it is said to lead through the foundations of a tower that is upended and attached to the underside of the this small island.
Pandira: The northernmost isle of Pandira has the best bay in the archipelago, guarded by natural breakers and free from dangerous shoals, this bay is home to a large settlement known as Westhaven. It was the first island to fall to the pirate coalition that conquered Viledal’s rule, and has had the strongest presence of pirates ever since.
The natives have adapted to living with the pirates and the island has become neutral ground for everyone. Anyone that commits an act of violence towards another forfeits their right to protection in this neutral zone and can be attacked by anyone without fear (such proclamations of forfeiture are made by a majority of the pirate captains currently docked in Westhaven).
Rabin’s Reef: This small, forested island lies just off the coast of Ventris and is claimed by the rich guildmasters that own much of the land on Ventris. Rabin was the first guildmaster invested by Viledal the Sea King (a former pirate who joined Viledal’s cause). Keepers from Ventris live on Rabin’s Reef and make sure there are no trespassers, they are well trained and armed and fully capable of turning back a band of pirates.
Tetris: Tetris is an island of green, rolling hills and rocky, windswept coasts, located due south of Pandira. It is home to a number of small settlements of primarily ffolk descent that still maintain many of the old ways that are now lost in places like Callidyrr.
The people of Tetris pay annual homage to the water spirit Fanya who supposedly lives at the source of the only river (most from mainland Faerun would call it a stream) on the island which begins in the rocky centre of the island and winds its way towards the southern coastline. Every year they gather along the riverbank along sacrifice food and wealth into the river to thank Fanya, those returning at night to claim the discarded coins find they are no longer there.
On the northern coast of Tetris, along the rocky cliffs are a series of sea caves that bore directly into the cliff face, these have become home to a fleet of seafaring goblinoid pirates known as the Sithisila who have been ousted from their former haven in the Nelanther Isles and are hiding in the sea caves on Tetris. The Sithisila are operating as pirates and mercenaries (hired through a recruiter in Ventris), but are careful not to prey upon Tetris (in case anyone is alerted to their hideout)
Fanya’s Head: This cave is supposedly located high in the rocky hills at the centre of the island, although no one searching for this cave has found it in a hundred years and some are beginning to believe that Fanya has departed this world.
In truth Fanya’s Head does exist and is home to a fey creature that has safeguarded the ffolk of Tetris for some time, keeping the water fresh, clean, and stocked with fish. The tunnel entrance is actually submerged at the source of the River Fanya (which is itself cloaked in illusion), and the submerged tunnel leads to a series of caves that have been resemble a fey grotto with a dolmen arranged at the junction of several caves atop a shallow puddle of milky water.
Fanya herself has not been seen or contacted in any way in over a hundred years and many of the ffolk of Tetris are beginning to believe she is gone, like so many other of the Earthmother’s blessings.
The Vanishing Isle: This island has had many names and locations over the years but is easily identifiable to sages and historians by the distinctive tower at its centre. In ages past this has been known as the Lost Treasure Isle of Nine Wizards, more recently it was named the Isle of Viledal after its former King.
At the centre of the Vanishing Isle is a tall, curved tower over 1000 ft in height that dominates the landscape around it. The tower is unusual in every aspect, appearing ivory in colour and warm to the touch despite the freezing wind and rains that buffet it daily.
Many have suggested that the tower was crafted by the magic of long lost mages of Netheril or Shoon (or some other ancient civilisation), others suggest that the markings on the tower resemble those of the creator races. Explorers have found Netherese items on other islands of the Korinn Archipelago and divers talk of strange buildings beneath the waves.
The sage Alauthym of Alaron; who studies the nearby ixitxachitl, has suggested that the tower is a natural and indeed living construction borne from the back of a monstrous creature beneath the waves that he dubs The Leviathan. If Alauthym is correct the creature would be nearly 100 miles long, but the appearance and disappearance of similar islands in nearby locations could be better explained by the movements of an enormous creature (perhaps moving in its slumber).
The Vanishing Isle is home to a haggard, old, madman called Keestake, who claims to be the personal Groom to Viledal the Sea King. He has erected a shrine within the tower where the bodies of Viledal and his Queen Liala are laid to rest (perfectly preserved in a state of living death by a badly worded wish), alongside their son Horedel, and all the treasures of Viledal’s reign.
Ventris: The largest of the islands in the Korinn Archipelago, and former capital of Viledal’s nation, is heavily mountainous at its centre and covered with pine forests and small farms along the coast that support the largest population centre and richest settlement in the island chain.
Ventris provides much of the wood and stone for the entire archipelago, and has a number of wealthy guilds and landowners (although nowhere near as wealthy as those in Callidyrr) who control much of the movement of goods and riches in the region.
Ventris is fairly cosmopolitan compared to the rest of the Korinn Archipelago, it is home to pirates and merchants from all over the Sword Coast, populated by all manner of races (humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, even half-orcs). Most people are only temporary residents at Ventris, staying as long as it takes to repair a ship, make a deal, or hide from enemies. The natives, however, are often born and die on this island, seeing little need to leave the richest island in the Korinn Archipelago.
Alhellara (Neutral, Elf – Sunrise, Expert 3): Alhellara is a native of Synnoria, and one of a group known as the Seekers of Sunrise who are tasked with finding male elves and bringing them back to Synnoria to help secure the future of the llewyrr.
Alhellara has long since become despondent at having failed to convince a single elf to join her in over a century. She has taken to hiding out in the Korinn Archipelago, gambling, drinking, and enjoying life’s pleasures.
Demin (Neutral, Human – Tethyrian, Expert 2): Demin is a minor merchant and captain from Ventris who has spent the last decade at sea.
Errant (Neutral, Dragon – Bronze, Dragon 10): Errant is a lonely and insane bronze dragon that flies above the islands of the Korinn Archipelago roaring at the clouds in anger. He has a reckless hatred of pirates, and will go out of his way to destroy them and their ships whenever he spies them.
Gofus (Neutral, Gnome – Forest, Expert 1): Gofus is a simple fisherman on the island of Chawdik who lives among the isolated gnome-only community in return for a tithe of fish to the guildmaster of the Whaling and Fisheries Guild in Ventris who owns the island
Keestake (Neutral, Human – Ffolk, Expert 10): Keestake is a haggard old man that haunts the Viledal’s Isle and claims to be the Personal Groom of Viledal the Sea King. Keestake is quite mad, but manages to retain control for hours at a time when he firsts meets visitors to the island, he will eventually decide the visitors are attempting to steal Viledal’s treasures and then he will seek to destroy them. Keestake is far more dangerous than he appears.
Lythandar (Neutral, Half Elf – Half Human, Expert 1): Lythandar lives on the island of Highport where he works as an apprentice armourer and bowyer.
Mara (Neutral, Human – Tethyrian, Expert 1): Originally from the island of Caftenor, Mara now lives on the island of Ventris where she works as an apprentice jeweller in the Guild of Facets.
Melisana (Good, Human – Illuskan, Expert 1): Melisana is the daughter of Melkeras; one of the wealthy guildmasters of Ventris who runs the White-Sails Guild (sail-makers) and has grown to become one of the richest men on the island. Melisana hopes to wrest the power of the guild away from her father, who she feels is too greedy and vindictive to run the guild.
Melisana has made friendly contacts among the guild and has learned the trade from her father and her contacts well. Melisana is an able sailor and sail-maker with a good head for business, and she is confident that if she can obtain enough money then she can get the support of the majority of members of the sail-makers guild.
Moira (Good, Human – Ffolk, Expert 1): Moira is a farmer and fishwife on the isle of Tetris, oathsworn to Hrolf; a ships captain from Ruathym who frequents the island every few months.
Pretos (Neutral, Human – Tethyrian, Expert 1): Pretos is one of the Keepers on Rabin’s Reef in service to the guildmaster of the White Sails Guild who owns the island. He is an accomplished sailor and fisherman and helps gather food for himself and the other Keepers.
Viledal the Sea King (Good, Human – Illuskan, Warrior 3): Viledal the Sea King was once a merchant and great grandson of Aeroth Silverhelm; the former King of Vlan. After a series of disastrous deals he ended up penniless and abandoned on a tiny island in the Korinn Archipelago enslaved in a pirate hideout along with a number of other unfortunate individuals.
Viledal and his fellow captives liberated themselves and captured the pirate longship. With his new crew Viledal fought against the pirates and soon gathered much of the islands to his banner whereupon he forged a nation of sorts with himself as the Sea King.
For 40 years Viledal ruled the waters of the Korinn Archipelago uncontested, piracy was illegal, and the islanders were safe. Then the pirates began to return, assailing the island nation with ever greater attacks, searching for the fabled sword Taragarth the Blood Brand (which was rumoured to be hidden with one of the descendants of Aeroth Silverhelm, although in truth it had been buried on the Isle of Toaridge before Aeroth formed the Kingdom of Vlan).
In 1278 DR the pirates finally slew Viledal the Sea King in his secret redoubt, where he had retreated to in fear. The Korinn Archipelago became separate islands once more, and Viledal passed into legend as a conqueror and seaman.
Hak-Kubra Clan: The Hak-Kubra are an unusual, small clan of orcs from the Sword Mountains that were moved out of their homes by orcs, dwarves, and other races until they were forced to live among the Mere of Dead Men. Ultimately the Hak-Kubra adapted to life by learning to build crude boats which they used to commandeer a larger merchant vessel.
The Hak-Kubra have long since moved on from taking a simple merchant vessel, they now crew one of the larger Calishite galleys that sail between Calimshan and Waterdeep, stopping at various bays among the Korinn Archipelago.
The Hak-Kubra have transitioned to a permanent sea dwelling clan of orcs, they assault whatever ships or settlements they come across, slaughter all the inhabitants and take everything of value, when their vessel becomes unseaworthy they take another and move on, when the clan grows too large the group splits and takes the next vessel they capture as their own. The Hak-Kubra have spawned at least 3 other short-lived sea orc clans that also prey upon ships along the Sword Coast.
Sithisila Fleet: The Sithisila are a tribe of goblinoids from the Nelanther Isles that managed to steal a ship from pirates docked at the island. They then used that ship to acquire others and form a small fleet of their own, becoming a major power in the Nelanthers.
Eventually the goblin fleet was driven from their homeland by the concerted effort of multiple pirate bands, they were forced to flee and have since established themselves in the sea caves of Tetris. The Sithisila are careful not to attack Tetris or any traffic around that island, instead they prey upon merchant ships along the Sword Coast.
The Sithisila have also established themselves as a mercenary group through an intermediary on the isle of Ventris that sells their services to those requiring naval activities to be performed or a mobile group of mercenaries.
The Sithisila are not typical bloodthirsty goblinoids, they do not kill wholesale (only those that resist, or those they are ordered to kill). They will take on anything weaker than themselves, and have a habit of capturing anyone they can get their hands on, they then sell those captives back to their families or eat them if there is no one interested in paying.
Viledal’s Scales: This armour is made of shimmering, metallic, green scales that come from the creatures known to the natives of Gnarhelm as Sea Dragons. It has been enchanted to become as hard as granite rock (scalemail +1), and the scales naturally trap air allowing the wearer a measure of buoyancy for a short period of time.
The scales were not crafted for Viledal at all, but were made for one of the princes of Vlan, son of Aeroth Silverhelm. Ownership of the armour passed from father to son until it came into Viledal’s possession.
Javelin of Lightning: Captured from illuskans of Gnarhelm by warriors of Vlan.
Errant’s Dagger: Once used by a pirate against Errant, it struck home and acquired an enchanted from the dragons blood that made it a bane to all dragons. Errant has hidden the dagger on the Vanishing Isle, but has been known to carry it himself when he is in human form.
Treasure-Finders Wand: Pirates are an enterprising lot, always on the lookout for treasure and items of values. This wand, like many others, was crafted on behalf of pirate captains to help them locate magical items, several times a day it can be used to show magical auras to the wand holder.
Viledal’s Blood: Keestake gathered the blood of Viledal and distilled it into a flask, hoping to use it to revive the Sea King somehow (his mind was already seriously unhinged at this point. Using magic and alchemical mixtures to keep the blood fluid, Viledal’s blood will impart a measure of Viledal’s innate power to the imbiber. Urphania the Hagshee has been trying to get her hands on this flask for almost a century.
Viledal’s Fist: When Viledal broke free of his enslavement and liberated the other slaves onboard his ship, he slew the captain using a ceremonial sceptre shaped like an arm with a fist as its head (possibly of Shoon origin) that he found in the cargo hold. Viledal had the sceptre reforged as a weapon and used it for the rest of his reign, helping him to battle pirates all over the Archipelago.
After decades of battles, the mace known as Viledal’s Fist, developed an enchantment making it more deadly than usual (mace +1).
Marl: The islands of the Korinn Archipelago are filled with as strange and wondrous variety of creatures as the larger Moonshae isles. Among the most oddly placed creatures are the multi-armed serpentine monsters known as the marl.
Hidden amid the undersea caves and amid the watery tunnels that infest the islets, the marl emerge from their lairs at night to hunt the humanoids that dwell on the land above.
A marl resembles a ten foot tall reptilian humanoid with six or more arms and a huge serpentine tail. They are a scourge upon the island s and are hunted wherever they are spotted, but still their numbers replenish every year without fail. Not all the marl are predatory, and some have integrated as sailors aboard the many pirate vessels that make harbour here.
Night Twist: The Night Twist is a unique creation courtesy of Urphania the Hagsidhe. Urphania took one of the Night Trees of Llyrath Forest; an evil tree of limited intelligence that feast on the blood of its victims and lures people close by making sounds that imitate injured humanoids.
Urphania used her bloodline magic to infuse a Night Tree with the blood of many great heroes of the Moonshae Isles, twisting and augmenting the creature so that it now resembled an enormous black oak with humanoid looking heads (actually the bark covered skulls of former victims) that could smash a firbolg with its powerful arms, a keen intelligence, and a wailing song that drove listeners mad and compelled them to approach the Night Twist.
Urphania’s reasons for creating the Night Twist are known only to herself, but presumably she is guarding a great treasure or secret on the island of Corriban.
Rugar the Great: The norl and illuskan skalds of the Korinn Archipelago speak of a great warrior; Rugar the Great, who nearly conquered all of the Moonshae Isles before he was felled by an elfin maid who captured his people and led them on a dance into another world. The norl (and illuskans) both acknowledge that no such warrior has existed in living memory, nor has there been any elves on all the Moonshae Isles in several millennia.
The norl have no real concept of elves (having never encountered an elf), and their description of the elfin maid (tall, delicate, fey, powerful) could apply to many creatures.
Studious sages have suggested that perhaps Rugar the Great led the migration of northmen up the Sword Coast (which ultimately ended at Ruathym), and there is evidence that a number of these nomadic seafarers landed on the Moonshae Isles.
The legends of the Moonshae Isles speak of an ancient war (known as the War of Raging Leaves), where the forces of light, led by High Lady Ordalf and the LeShay, fought against Kazgoroth and the forces of darkness. Some tapestries and songs depicting this event show human like warriors (strong, fair haired, burly humanoids) in the armies of the LeShay.
If the legends of the Moonshaes and the songs of the skalds are true, then Rugar the Great led his people to the Moonshae Isles seeking a new home, but instead found himself and his people conscripted into fighting a war against a great evil. The few who survived the war must have fled the Moonshae Isles (or remained with the LeShay), for there were no norl on the islands when the ffolk arrived.