Shadows Gather Darkly
The region that is now Karameikos was at one time included in the Selentium Empire as part of the province of Thyatis. Klavic and Tergish tribes settled in the area between the 1^st^ and 3^rd^ centuries AS. One branch of Klavic people known as the Karameikans set up a state around the Arokose River, an area that was then claimed by the New Selentium Empire, in the 7^th^ century. Selentine, Kurlish and Algandarve armies failed repeatedly to dislodge the invaders during the 8^th^ and 9^th^ centuries. By the end of this time the Karameikans had annexed considerable additional territory and laid the foundations for a strong state under their leader Stefan I, which he named Karameikos. Under the urging of the papacy, Boris I made the Selentium Church the state church of Karameikos in 866, in return for official recognition of his country. Following the refusal of Pontiff Adrian II to make Karameikos a Benefice, he shifted his allegiance to the Tamorian Church in 870.
Karameikos is the centre of Klavic culture. Karameikan literature consists mainly of historical chronicles and translations of religious material.
The Land: Karameikos is bound on the north and east by Kurland, on the south by the Coradian Sea and on the west by Algandy. The capital and largest city is Mirros.
More than half of Karameikos is hilly or mountainous. The Altan Tepes Mountains cross the country from the northwestern corner to the Coradian Sea. The eastern side of the Altan Tepes Mountains slopes gradually to form the eastern Cruth Plateau, which ends at the Arokose River. The central potion of the southern range is fringed by a series of narrow plains, notably the Thyatian Plain, an important agricultural region. In the south-western part of the country are the broad and irregular Cruth Mountains, which form the boundary with Algandy.
The principal river draining Karameikos is the Arokose. Its primary tributaries in Karameikos are the Achelos and the Cruth. Other important rivers are the Gustos, Castellan and Kerendas.
Approximately one third of Karameikos is forested, and half this area supports tall trees suitable for timber. The Radlebb Woods is the largest forest in Karameikos, followed by the Dymrak Forest and the Achelos Woods. About a third of the timber trees are conifers. Beech and oak trees are also commonly found. Most wildlife is confined to the mountainous southwestern portion of the country, where there are bears, wolves, elks, foxes and wildcats.
The main resources of Karameikos are agricultural. The country also has a wealth of metallic and non-metallic mineral, mainly iron ore. The soil types vary considerably. Some tablelands have fertile black and grey soils, high in humus content and well suited for growing grain. The Thyatian Plain contains brown, loamy soils that are fertile and adapted to diversified cultivation. Deforestation and inadequate soil conservation practices have caused gradual deterioration of several fertile areas.
Most of Karameikos has a continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. The climate in general is more severe than in other areas of the same latitudes.
Cultural Level: Middle Ages.
Ruler: King Stefan III shows more than faint emotion only to members of his family and his closest friends. His speech is gruff and his opinions candid and uncompromising. His judgements are no gems of legal precedent, but fair and even-handed. He appeals to his people as a stern, fair ruler.
Banner: A blue ship on a white field above a sword over an inverted blue v-stripe.
Currency: The Karameikan treasury mints the golden royal, the silver crona, the copper kopec and the electrum halav.
Personalities of Note: Patriarch Aleksyev Nikelnevich is head of the Tamorian Church in Karameikos. He is a complicated, determined man who surprising has a good relationship with Prelate Olliver Jowett, the Karameikan head of the Selentium Church.
The Folk: Karameikans have dark hair and blue or light brown eyes with pale complexions. The males dress in close-fitting trousers and a loose fitting tunic. The Klav women wear brightly coloured skirts and a loose pullover blouse. They favour rings, large earrings, bracelets, anklets, and armlets. Karameikans are thought superstitious by their neighbours. They believe in good-luck charms, curses, evil eyes, omens and portents.
Karameikans value a neat, well-dressed appearance. The main ingredients in Karameikan food is lamb, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers and yoghurt.
The official language of Karameikos is Karameikan. Kurlish is the largest minority language.
Superstitions: An important part of the Karameikan national character is the Shearing Ceremony, developed back before the invasion of the Selentium Empire and still persists to today. When a Karameikan youth approaches adulthood (14 to 19 years of age), either he or his parents decide to hold the Shearing. Soon after, at a dinner celebration that other family members and village leaders attend, the parents solemnly dress their child in travelling gear. The bottom of the child’s cloak is sheared off and left ragged as a symbol that he is an impoverished traveller.
From that time the sheared youth is considered a friend of the family but not part of it. A child so sheared must go out into the world and survive until the family decides he has proved worthy of the clan. Usually living apart from the clan for a few years, or participating in acceptable trading ventures or learning a craft illustrates that the offspring can prosper unaided. When the parents reach this conclusion they invite him back to another dinner and present him with the shorn part of the cloak. The youth, now considered an adult, in once again part of the family. Young woman may be sheared at their insistence, but otherwise do not have to participate in the ceremony.
Native Player Characters: Karameikans are very religious – whether they follow the religion of the Tamorian or Selentium Church. As a result, all characters begin play with the religion proficiency for free.