In Tarsikka, Oresund, and some parts of Akathia, monsters roam the land. Fear of the night is a way of life for Tarsikkan commoners, as werewolves and creatures formed of shadow stalk the land. In Oresund, trolls and the frozen dead are a frequent threat, and almost everyone has raised a weapon in defense of home and family. In Akathia, the Sultanate of Khodar-i-Gesh has fallen to hordes of ghuls, and strange reptilian creatures calling themselves Marrashi have conquered the Emirate of Rahaal. Only the Caliphate of Dusk still stands.
In Oresund, the frozen dead rise and walk the land. They are unintelligent, shambling corpses that spread disease and destruction. Some of them also hurl damaging shards of ice. They are known to take substantial force to take down, though fire is a considerable help. The Tundra Guard, in each of its incarnations, has struggled ceaselessly against these horrors.
These strange, near-human monsters are known for their hunger for flesh, and their ability to share the memories of those they consume. Ghuls can be recognized by the line of black skin across their faces, at eye level, and many have additional monstrous features such as pointed ears or horns. Ghuls first threatened Akathia in 1175 RE, when a teeming horde of ghuls came out of the Wastelands of Khodar-i-Gesh and began a seven-year campaign of conquest. At first, they were wild and undisciplined, driven entirely by the urge to feed. As the war dragged on and the Sultan’s forces fell back, the ghuls became an organized military force, and the Sultanate’s doom was inevitable. With the Sultanate completely conquered, the ghuls have begun to threaten the Caliphate of Dusk. A group of border guards called the Demeyen Bishak are dedicated to fighting ghuls on the borders of Akathia.
Homunculi are widely regarded as monsters. Scholars of the Church and the laity agree that homunculi do not have souls and are not people. They are constructed from the flesh and bones of dead humans and animated by magic. Opinions on how homunculi should be treated vary from country to country and person to person.
In 1205, strange ships crewed by an even stranger people attacked the Emirate of Rahaal. These invaders refused all attempts to parley. Already weakened by fighting the ghuls in the Sultanate, the Emirate’s defense lasted only three years. The Marrashi, as they call themselves, did not pillage or burn as they conquered, but pressed any that they captured into service. They named the territory that they conquered the Crusader State of Marrash el-Dahaka. They are distinguished chiefly by their leathery red skin.
Shaped like a person but formed entirely of a perfect darkness, shades have been dire threats to the safety of Tarsikka for several centuries. They move about only at night, and no one knows where they hide during the day. Some shades are capable of devastating shadow magic, but most simply swarm their opponents and shred them with their claws. The Silver Swordsmen came into being when the Tarsikkans learned that shades are vulnerable to silver weapons.
There are vast stretches of forest that even the Principalities do not attempt to claim. Trolls hold the lands to the east of the Principalities, Gaunt, and Oresund. Raiding parties of trolls have threatened Oresund since time out of mind; only the great barrier of the Skyskara Mountains protects Gaunt from their attacks. Trolls vary in coloration, including green, brown, and gray skin tones. Stories tell of their toughness, incredible strength, and horrifying magical practices. The Tundra Guard has fought many campaigns against them, particularly in the region of Oresund known as the Eastern Desolation.
Werewolves, and natural wolves along with them, have stalked the forests of Tarsikka and the Margravate of the Skattenmark (in the Principalities of Verdien) for longer than anyone can remember. The nobles of Tarsikka, trained and armed in the ways of the Silver Swordsmen, are the first and only line of defense against these beasts. Werewolves are highly resistant to any weapon not made of silver. No one knows where werewolves first came from, but it is clear that those injured by werewolves do not become werewolves themselves, and there are no indications that werewolves were ever human. A werewolf’s most fearsome attacks are its razor-sharp claws.