Arkandia is a sizable kingdom, dominating a large section of Western coastal lands. Those who travel, by land or water, know that the kingdom controls only a portion of a much larger landmass. All lands not under Arkandian control are referred to collectively as Nomenark. The origins of the name have been partially lost, and the meaning of the term is now vague. Most assume it simply means “not Arkandian”. Scholars of language insist it has a more nuanced meaning: “once and future Arkandia”. At times in history, the nation has been highly expansionist and martial, conquering neighboring nations rapaciously. These conquests lacked stability, and the maps of the nation show it to have been about the same size for multiple generations now.
It is notable that inland from Arkandia, there is a sizable wilderness all around it, unsettled and challenging to cross. Only the most heavily armed caravans even try, and not all make it. Most trade with other nations is by ships along the coast as a result. The Arkandian name for this great stretch of wilderness is The Anthalp Vast. Its name is drawn from another old word meaning “wall”. Curiously, Arkandian elves call it Kyssellanoth. To a casual speaker, this is interpreted as “a protective zone”, and thus similar in meaning to the Arkandian name. However, students of etymology point out that the word shares its root with the Elvish word kyss’elam, which is means “swaddling blanket”. Based on this understanding, the name for the wilderness could be interpreted as a protective prison, meant to keep Arkandia in as much as keeping other nations out. The debate really only rages among the most bookish scholars of history and language. It is the Anthalp Vast that our heroes have trekked across in their journey from home towards new adventure.
Arkandia is a predominately human nation, though its past expansionist tendencies have ensured a diverse population. Humans make up about 70% of the population, while holding about 85% of all wealth, political power, and cultural influence in the kingdom. Elves are also numerous, representing around 25% of the population. Their wealth, cultural influence, and political power represents all but a small fraction of that controlled by non-humans. The last 5% of the population is a mix of numerous races, with many treated as second-class citizens. Controlling a mere 1% of the nation’s wealth, political power, and cultural influence, these minorities have little impact on Arkandian life. Exotic races face a noticeable xenophobia on the part of the human and elven population, who refer to these races collectively as Duanthians (which means “from under the wall”). As the name implies, the dominant races of Arkandia view minorities as manifested “spill over” from the Anthalp Vast. This racism rarely results in overt mistreatment, let alone violence, but it taints every interaction.
Kord is the highly revered in Arkandia, with temples in every city, and shrines in most every village. The largest religious group dedicated to Kord is the Order of Saint Arkand Valorous. A good 75% of Kord’s priests and paladins in the nation belong to this order. High King Arkand founded the nation, if historians have the right of it, carving the kingdom out of chaotic wilderness in the name of his god. Upon his death, he was sactified and a holy order founded around his legend. This is as close to a state religion as you will find. The majority of the remaining followers of Kord (about 20%) belong to a splinter order called The Pacifist Vigilant. This group preaches that the only purpose for martial prowess is to protect the peace. Not surprisingly, most devout of this order are found leading town militias, serving as city watchmen, or working as bounty hunters and body guards.