By Tooth And Claw Dragons
NORTH RISTELL, Land of Ice and Onyx

Above the hinterlands of Everdark, Ristell’s vast territory is carved six ways by the great nations of Arcadia, Nyx, Zaegrim’a Oqh, Tempest, the Cloudkingdoms, and the Wilds.

Far north of the Arcadian desert kingdom, the Empire of Nyx rules over a region of icefields, and is deeply rooted in complex histories of magic and mysticism. The liniah, native to the northern region, celebrate a profound connection with Ristell’s moons and celestial bodies; the figure of their worship is Nirni and the Moon That Never Sets, tied into their way of life as intensely as the sun is woven into the lives of their southern kin. Though the Empire of Nyx defends itself with worthy warriors when the time comes, they maintain a peaceful approach to diplomacy that reflects their careful, studied ways.

Neighbour to the Empire is the small, compact nation of Zaegrim’a Oqh. Populated by a strange race known as the nzani, Zaegrim’a Oqh celebrates the intricacies of darkness; their people bear masks of great power, and their cities are carved painstakingly from darksteel and rare, purified obsidian. While all the nations of Ristell have long and proud histories, Zaegrim’a Oqh maintains what may be the oldest link of all: a former Ether from whom they take their name, and the story of an origin in a world distant from this one.

Country/Area Name(s): Nyx, and Zaegrim'a Oqh

Ruling Species: nzani, liniah

Native Language: Common

Capital(s): Nyx; Crysaria. Zaegrim'a Oqh; Szhadar’lond

Monarch(s): Empress of Nyx; Zaegrim's Heart


These are the cities found within this area; each one is marked on the map, and divided by tiers. The larger the tier, the larger the city - tier one may be a small village or town, while tier four may be sprawling cities of grand proportions.

Cities of Nyx:

RACE: liniah. LEADER: Empress Mislia (NPC). TIER: four.

APPEARANCE: Also known as the Crown Jewel of Nyx, Crysaria is carved from crystals growing from the mountainside the city stands alongside of. These crystals absorb the light of the suns, moons, and stars, causing them to glow with their own inner light. Though the crystals are a natural formation, they have been coaxed into structures fit for a royal city. The Imperial Palace at the center of the city is formed from a single towering spire adorned with banners and ice spires. Above the palace floats Nirni’s Diamond, a massive, white gemstone. The glow from the city can be seen on the horizon well before the city itself.

CULTURE: Home to the Imperial Family, Crysaria is host to many important rituals and celebrations, hosted by the reigning Emperor or Empress. The high wall around the city is largely ceremonial, as the numerous city gates are rarely ever closed. Many of these are tied to various star alignments and other celestial events. Nirni’s Diamond plays an important part in the Imperial Coronation. The newly crowned Emperor or Empress will kneel atop the palace, and pray for Nirni’s blessing. The goddess’s blessing is given in the form of glittering diamond dust raining down upon the city. Legend has it that the diamond will depart into the heavens if Nyx ever falls out of Nirni’s good graces.

Dun Modon:
RACE: dwarves. LEADER: King Morol and the High Priest (NPC). TIER: three.

APPEARANCE: Hidden beneath the surface of a mountain range sitting atop Draiyd's mighty back, the inner halls and chambers are carved from solid rock. Corridors intertwine, following the old paths of dried up mineshafts, and, deeper down, active mining continues unabated. Gemstones are evident in many places, and enchanted gems glow with an inner light to illuminate the subterranean city without resorting to smoky torches and lanterns.

CULTURE: While the king is the ultimate secular authority in Dun Modon, many feel the High priest is the higher authority due to his connection to Draiyd. However, the High Priest devotes his time to communing with the god, and will act as an adviser when approached. This has become a firm tradition after past High Priests ran themselves into an early grave trying to fulfill both ruling and carrying out their priestly duties. While they welcome outsiders as guests, they expect the visitors to follow their customs, and respect their culture. Every thousand years, when Draiyd begins to stir, one thousand knights will be tasked with setting up a camp and waiting until Draiyd has moved from his resting spot, ready to lay claim and hold the resulting crater until Draiyd resettles and support sent. During that interval, a shrine to Draiyd is erected, and temporary fortifications put in place. The Thousand all swear to fight and die without taking a single step back from the ramparts, should any outsiders try to claim the land for themselves.

RACE: liniah, human, elf. LEADER: Lady Limasa (NPC). TIER: one.
LANGUAGE(S): Elvish, Common. ALLEGIANCE: Nyx.

APPEARANCE: A city carved from pale grey stone and glassy blue ice, Islafaire is nearly always dusted with a coating of glistening snow. While summer days are clear, if cold, winter brings near-constant snowfall, with the occasional blizzard. The city is surrounded by a beautiful wall made entirely of ice. This wall is maintained by specially trained ice mages who raise the wall into a dome to shield the city from the worst blizzards, and any other threats its people might face. A small fishing fleet is anchored in the nearby lake, and lapine ice sculptures are common sights.

CULTURE: The people of Islafaire are somewhat isolationist, generally caring little for whatever might happen beyond the ice wall. However, they are stalwart if rather unenthusiastic followers of Imperial law and requirements. They tend to view strangers with mild suspicion, but generally offer aid to those in need. They live their lives in unassuming simplicity, and engage in simple rituals to honor Nirni, often in the form of days of silent prayer and meditation.

RACE: liniah, elf. LEADER: Lord Gurnoth (NPC). TIER: two.
LANGUAGE(S): Elvish, Common. ALLEGIANCE: Nyx.

APPEARANCE: Paryx is unique in Nyx due to both its fortified design, and its unusually militant culture. Towering stone walls carved from blue-grey stone ring the island fortress-city, and gleaming ice forms battlements and towers along its perimeter. A bridge of pure ice connects the city to the mainland. Within the city, the buildings are made of pale grey stone, and topped with dark slate shingles. An austere citadel made of dark granite and embellished with pale blue ice stands in the center of the city. Two shrines, one dedicated to Nirni, the other to Meryll, stand on opposite sides of the citadel.

CULTURE: Paryx is where Nyx’s professional soldiers are trained before taking on their official sworn duties. The Imperial Guards are also stationed here when not on duty in Crysaria. Due to this, the city is witness to frequent training exercises and parades. Its people pride themselves on being Nyx’s main line of defence in battle, and zealously keep a close watch over Nirni’s great temple to the north. Due to living by the sea, they honor Meryll almost as much as they do Nirni. They have annual celebrations where the city’s soldiers swear eternal allegiance to the Imperial family, calling upon both Nirni and Meryll to bear witness to their oaths.

RACE: liniah. LEADER: Lord Strogna (NPC). TIER: two.

APPEARANCE: The city is built in the remains of a crater left behind from a fallen star that landed in the early days of Ristell. The low-lying streets are often flooded during the summer, when the river runs at its deepest. The buildings are constructed from pale blue stones, and star-inspired decor is quite common. The roofs of most houses are made of pale grey shingles, and pale, near-white wood is commonly used for doors, shutters, and the like. A large observatory towers above the rest of the city, and houses a large telescope. The observatory can be rotated via the use of a large gears and levers. Smaller telescopes are positioned inside smaller observation towers around the edges of the city. A large library filled with star charts and the like sits below the great telescope.

CULTURE: The people of Starfall are often more concerned with the heavens than they are with the affairs of life on the ground. Astronomers and astrologers are frequently found side by side with priests of Nirni and Zephyro as they track movements of the suns and stars, and try to predict the movements of the elusive whale god. Annual ceremonies to honor Nirni take place in the crater’s center, as the fallen star is widely believed to be a gift from the rabbit goddess. Sphinx scholars are frequent visitors, eager to expand their own understanding of the heavens.

Cities of Zaegrim'a Oqh:

RACE: nzani. LEADER: Arbiter Kzann (NPC). TIER: four.
LANGUAGE(S): Tson; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Zaegrim'a Oqh.

APPEARANCE: A true fortress-city, Bzar’dun stands atop a plateau on a small island, with great walls standing flush with the plateau’s edges, and is constructed of black granite. The walls are topped with battlements and tall, sharp crenellations. Consecutively smaller, but taller, walls provide layered defenses, culminating in a mighty citadel behind three layers of walls. The primary dwellings lie within the plateau itself. Outside the walls, a smaller fortress stands, connected to the city proper by a massive drawbridge which serves as the only entrance, aside from a small waterside gate at the foot of the plateau.

CULTURE: The most insular of the nzani cities, Bzar’dun is home to the finest military academy in nzani territory, and consequently holds a position as home to the finest nzani soldiers. However, while the general populace is rather militant in their behavior, they place just as much emphasis on mental learning as they do on physical conditioning. Positioned on an island as they are, across a freezing sea from the mainland, they rarely see outside visitors, and make little effort to hide their curiosity and casual disdain towards outsiders.

RACE: nzani. LEADER: Arbiter Lka'rena (NPC). TIER: three.
LANGUAGE(S): Tson; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Zaegrim'a Oqh.

APPEARANCE: A black citadel who's sharp towers cut upwards towards the sky, contrasting starkly with the surrounding countryside. In wintertime, it can be seen for miles around, obsidian on snow. The city is lit by scarlet gemlights at night that pulse softly with energy, and the metallic darksteel that the arching walls and intricate buildings are made out of reflects this light tenfold. In the bright light of Ristell's many suns, it shimmers and dazzles the eyes of any onlookers. In design, it is almost triangular in shape, with three multi-tiered towers that arch towards the sky. A single tower rises from the center of four smaller towers in an angular keep, housing the Arbiter, nzani nobles, and much of the garrison. A bazaar lines the northern half of the city, where the southwestern portion is all obsidian-walled houses, and the southeastern district is home to the stables, the Church of Zaegrim, several inns, and multiple other ammentities.

CULTURE: Darlan was once a small liniah settlement, gifted to the nzani's anscestors many years ago. Though all of the buildings the liniah once had have since been demolished or built over, trinkets made by nzani craftsmen still bear rabbit motifs and hold great reverence of the moons, in honor of this gift. Darlan is a trade center for Zaegrim'a Oqh, and is where much of the Oqh's treasury is held and protected, kept by their strong military. Though it is not the capital, Zaegrim's Heart visits often, and many celebrations are held in their presence.

RACE: nzani; mixed. LEADER: Arbiter Dkl'li (NPC). TIER: three.
LANGUAGE(S): Tson; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Zaegrim'a Oqh.

APPEARANCE: Hkmara is guarded by walls of black basalt coated in dark ice formed into a tall, rough-looking ring around the city. Standing outside the city, in each of the cardinal directions, are four citadels that serve as fortified gates protecting the underground tunnels that lead into the city. At the heart of the city stands a large structure replete with spires, arches, and various banners. This palatial structure serves as home to the city’s rulers, an administration center, and as a merchant’s quarter. Gemlights glow with crimson brilliance, standing out starkly against the arctic nights.

CULTURE: Hkmara serves as the primary connection between the nzani, and the rest of Ristell. As such, it is common to see sphinx, sol’tera, and liniah intermingled with nzani, most often in the form of visiting merchants. While the nzani are noted by their distinct masks, merchants of other races have banners designed for themselves which they have displayed for the public to see whenever they visit Hkmara.

RACE: nzani. LEADER: Arbiter Gronn (NPC). TIER: four.
LANGUAGE(S): Tson; Common. ALLEGIANCE: Zaegrim'a Oqh.

APPEARANCE: Capital city of the nzani, Szhadar’lond is a towering city of obsidian spires, arches, elevated walkways, and shadowy alleyways. The lower levels of the city proper lie underground, and never truly sleep. Below this level lie the catacombs and mausoleums. A mighty obsidian wall surrounds the city, itself an intricate network of fortifications, and a permanent coating of frost upon the entire city makes it glitter darkly.

CULTURE: Szhadar’lond’s people, with their masks and often grim, stoic expressions, appear to be cold, and emotionally reserved. However, while they do tend to be reserved towards outsiders, theirs is a rich, vibrant culture, given to great works of art and literature. It is not uncommon to see the occasional sphinx, often wrapped in thick clothing to ward against the cold, discussing philosophy and the arts with nzani artists and scholars. Among themselves, the nzani take part in what they call the Game of Shadows, a contest of intrigue and misdirection with carefully concealed rules and goals largely incomprehensible to outsiders.


These are the landmarks and important places scattered through this area. They can be anything from forests and rivers to special caverns, monuments, ruins, and more.

Akenirni Temple

A beautiful temple-fortress beloved of Nirni crafted of nzani- and liniah-crafted obsidian that sparkles with small, randomly-placed gemlights meant to look like glimmering stars. Four towers surround a multi-tiered pyramid with a flat top that holds a massive and enchanted statue of Nirni, the rabbit goddess of the moon, made from onyx and white marble. It's enchanted to change with the goddess' appearance; when all the moons of the sky are present, it is fully comprised of white marble, and when no moons grace the night, it is completely, unsettling black. A large orb of magic floats around her at all times. Inside, flickers of light dance like stars, and altars often burn with candles and gemlights all through the night. However, there is no admittance during the day, and liniah guardians will turn away visitors at the door.

The Barrows

The Barrows are great stone tombs that house the remains of the former elven rulers of Nyx. While warded with ancient spells, many of the ancient barrows show signs of decay from neglect and age. Within the barrows, the dead lie on stone altars, surrounded by various treasures, preserved by the cold and various spells to retain their appearances. There are tales told of the dead rising to defend what was theirs in life, and some barrows are said to echo with the whispers of the deceased, issuing dire warnings, or foretelling grim futures.

Crystal Lake

So named because of the myriad crystals gleaming in its depths, Crystal Lake’s waters are so clear that boats upon the waters often appear to be floating in air. During winter, the surface of the lake often freezes, though the ice is nearly as clear as the water below. There are many rumors of different creatures, from merfolk to great serpents, that make their home in the depths of the lake.


A long, narrow valley secluded in the mountains, Frostglen is a natural wonder. Year round, the pine trees in the valley bear a coating of ice. When the wind sweeps through the valley, the needles tinkle against each other with soft chiming sounds, much like glass bells, and the ice catches the light in spectacular ways.

Northern Isles

A series of islands, covered by ice and snow, which tower out of the sea. Rare minerals and gems can be found on the edges, although few are foolish enough to attempt to harvest them. Seabirds roost on the islands, using small hollows to shelter their nests.

The Stardust Mausoleum

As the liniah do not leave behind bodies, the stardust left behind at the passing of royal and noble liniah is gathered up and placed within a grand mausoleum. Outwardly, the mausoleum is a large, marble done, surrounded by spires topped with moonstone spheres. Within the dome stands a cylindrical altar onto which the stardust is sprinkled. Over time, the stardust will float into the air to join the res of the gathered stardust which adorns the interior of the dome, making it sparkle like the night sky.

Zaegrim's Lover

An enormous, leafless tree as black as onyx sits alone on a small island. Held sacred by the nzani, Zaegrim's Lover is known as the tree in which Zaegrim laid his beloved to rest after a terrible tragedy. Pilgrims often travel through the icy sea to pay their respects to the Lover - believing that they might feel the love their god had for the lady within. However, recent historians have unearthed some unsettling documents that state that the Lover is not a tomb, but rather a prison.

About Ristell

The world of Ristell is one of extremes; with only a single continent rendered habitable by the gods, the rest of the Realm is said to be covered in fire or ice, and nothing is known of any lands without. Several suns blaze brightly in the daytime, and a handful of moons at night, carefully watched and controlled by Azcen and Nirni. The Moon That Never Sets hangs ever in the sky, worshiped by the iahake, while the suns are honored by sol'tera and sphinx alike.

Ice covers the northern half of Ristell, accompanied by fierce blizzards that tear at the countries of Nyx and Zaegrim'a Oqh, and at Ristell's heart can be found the vast Arcadia Desert, often too hot for most weaker species to tolerate. South lay the jungles and forests of the Wilds, and to the east lay the Tempest sea, holding the kingdom of Tempest, and the various cloudkingdoms led by the keht'shu in the sky.

The Underground is called Everdark, and is vastly different from the surface world - lit by gemlights and sunstones, the peoples of the Everdark fight fiercely the attempts of Arcadia to gain control. Dark-skinned peoples of the surface are often attacked simply for the color of their skin, and many racial slurs exist against sol'tera, liniah, and keht'shu alike.

Realm Contributors: Fyfergrund, Bagelsworth, Darkeh, and Verridith