Kelfour's Landing

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Warning: This page concerns archaic world setting information from the I.C.E. Age of GemStone III. It is not canon in contemporary GemStone IV, nor is it canonical for Shadow World as the details may be specific to GemStone III. It is only historical context for certain very old parts of the game and these things should not be mixed.

Kelfour's Landing was the original name of Wehnimer's Landing in the I.C.E. Age of GemStone III, which was founded by the trapper Rame Kelfour in 6025 Third Era of the Shadow World history. It was only twenty-five years old relative to the present of the Shadow World setting, making the settlement a small boomtown which had not yet discovered the ruins of Quellburn. Since the destruction of Quellbourne (Seoltang: "Freezing Land") by the sorcerer Zenon and The Iron Wind two centuries prior, the surrounding region of what is now called Darkstone Bay was little more than the ruins of plundered villages.

Kelfour's Landing has an established layout on a map inset of Quellbourne (1989) source book. Many of the town buildings and NPCs come from this material. The street names were not defined in the book and were made arbitrarily using terminology from the setting such as "eog" or "Andraax". Following the end of the I.C.E. Age these street names were changed to be named after former player characters.

History

Founding

The striped veercat (Modern: striped voalcat/mountain snowcat) had become scarce in the surrounding regions of Xa'ar and Saralis, leading the hunter Rame Kelfour to search for it in the unexplored Kaldsfang (Modern: Trollfang/Dragonsfang) mountains. With the discovery of the vast raw resources which had not been exploited in hundreds of years, Rame spread the tale of the wondrous land which led to an influx of travelers. Most settlers were rustic types such as miners, fishermen, and lumberjacks. However, there were also merchants and craftsmen, as well as adventurers seeking out old ruins.

Rame Kelfour himself was buried in the most notorious such place, the wicked necropolis left over from a much earlier theocracy. This is specific to GemStone III and was established near the end of the I.C.E. Age in an Order of Vult (Modern: Order of Voln) step. It plays into the line near the end of "The Legend of the Necropolis of Etrevion" stating that the graveyard is sometimes used by unsavory locals.

Politics

Kelfour's Landing has a mayor who makes strictly non-controversial decisions, signified by a badge of office in the form of a striped veercat vest. The citizens will meet whenever they wish to vote for a replacement if the mayor takes his job too seriously. What the mayor really does is act as a town judge along with a few random guild chiefs, with mayor having two votes and the chiefs having one each. Ties work out in the mayor's favor. It was not implemented that way in GemStone III. The town judge Renpaw was different from the mayor, who was represented making decisions in his office in Moot Hall.

However, the punishment of criminals is largely similar with the source material, including fines, the stocks, and public flogging. The town does not execute those convicted of severe crimes, but will cast them adrift in a raft, banishing them to the northern edge of the Bay. The counter-clockwise current of the Bay would naturally bring them up to the north, where they might get stuck with the Destroyers of Galtoth.

Citizenship was also different in that it was necessary to own land within town. Citizens would be allowed to speak at town meetings, be exempt from gate tolls, and could rent space at Moot Hall. However, they were all required to serve a few days in the militia each month, unless they met one of a few exceptions. There were many religions including small sects, such as the Shaaljin or Mother Goddess, with few able to afford their own worship spaces. The Temple in what is now called Erebor Square does not exist in the Quellbourne source book. There was nothing of note in that location on the original map, so religions rented space for services in Moot Hall. The deeds theology of Eissa (Modern: Lorminstra) was unique to GemStone III and does not appear to come from supplementary Rolemaster material.

Surrounding Context

While Rame Kelfour was undoubtedly aware he had settled near an Ice Kral (Modern: Krolvin) war camp, he would have been ignorant of the surrounding political context. He was not aware of the history of the area even a few centuries prior, or else he would not have felt he was discovering a new land. The region was not wholly abandoned after the fall of Quellburn (Seoltang: "Freezing Creek"), as testified by the existence of the word parts in the Seoltang language, as well as the Gnolls of Stonehold (Modern: Cavernhold) and the populations of the Blue Forest. In principle, the town was set at the crossroads of a geopolitical intrigue between dark conquerors, who wished to use the area as a staging ground for invading Saralis beyond the southern foothills. The extent this actually matters in practice is dubious.

Lorgalis was preparing to invade from Xa'ar in the west as he did in the Wars of Dominion in the Second Era, while the Iron Wind was subverting him for their own invasion in league with the Dragonlord Oran Jatar. Their recent alliance with the local Kral was GemStone III specific lore, related to the original backstory of the Council of Light. Likewise, the White Dragon's brother Sulthon Ni'shaang was planning on invading from the east, through the Blue Forest into what we call Danjirland. This is mentioned in the Kelfour's Editions but there is no indication these major setting plotlines were actually pursued.

Climate

The climate of Kelfour's Landing was colder than it is generally taken to be for Wehnimer's Landing. Most of the year the temperatures were near freezing, with the coldest months being the summer and winter, with the fall being the only truly warm period. It was warmer than it should have been for its latitude due to the current of the Bay, which would begin in the fall and taper off in the spring. These were mild temperature ranges between around 20 to 80 degrees. The wayward currents were exceptionally treacherous, including the sea monsters, making the Bay dangerous to sail without a Navigator. Only the foolish would attempt it, or the equally dangerous. With the unusually warm water opposite the seasons, there was heavy fog for most months, and perpetual mist in the northern reaches. This is still seen in room descriptions. It was called the Land of Silver Mist, owing to Claedesbrim Bay (Seoltang: "Foggy Edge of Sea"). With little rainfall and arid conditions, the land was mostly unsuitable for farming.

In contrast, the High Plateau and Seolfar Strake (Seoltang: "Journey To Strike Silver") were significantly cooler, but with harsher fluctuations. It is perhaps the reason the water in The Monastery is painfully ice cold year round, consistent with the temperature profile for the location. The High Plateau would be hot in the summer (but cold at night) while the north and south sides of Claedesbrim Bay were cold.

The Kaldsfang mountains were volcanic but mostly dormant. In later Shadow World lore they led down into the demonic Ash Lairs, but this was not established yet when GemStone was using the setting. The blanket of fog and mist with the seasonal regularity of conditions allowed the whole southern side to be covered in forests. It was adjacent to the Black Forest of Dir beyond the Spider Temple, as well, which was a dark forest with its own malevolent history. There were silver mines in the north, which was reflected in the Silver Valley story. These wild equine populations were not based on the source books.

Behind the Scenes

The "striped voalcat" or "snowcat" vest still appears in the game to signify the mayor of the Landing, both in the Raging Thrak Inn as well as worn by a murdered corpse below Moot Hall. This was apparently an assassination by the Council of Light to install their own mayor in preparation for a future invasion. There was a nod to this point in a modern storyline where the mayor was hunting for secret societies, leading to his death for betraying his oath and ultimately causing their lair to be destroyed in retaliation by law enforcement. This led to the destruction of the lair under Cholgar's bathhouse and the opening of branches in Solhaven and Ta'Vaalor. The seeming contradiction of Rone Wehnimer being buried in the Graveyard can be dismissed by the fact that the Deepholt story does not apply to Rame Kelfour.