The Curse of Frogs
The Doomsday Gazetteer
As this letter marks the opening of a new Doomsday Gazetteer, I should once again address the frustrations of historical study. Objectively speaking, many lands in our world have existed for only a very short time. On those occasions when the Mists have parted, the lands they revealed have typically appeared fully formed and fully populated. The inhabitants of these new lands own full memories of lives well before the emergence of their home. In addition, their historical records often stretch back centuries. In short, dear patron, these folk believe themselves to be as real as you or I, and in truth I cannot disprove the claim.
Common wisdom holds that these new lands were simply “revealed” to the world, having existed all along while hidden deep in the Misty Border. Occultists in some circles, however, posit the existence of other worlds — the supposed origins of the “outlanders,” with which my patron is assuredly familiar. These occultists theorize that each of these realms was possibly drawn into our Land of Mists from one of these so-called outlander worlds.
I once scoffed at such wild theories, but I have now come to accept them on a theoretical basis. Yet when one probes into the recorded history — or even living memory — of a region before its emergence, such history often proves to be vague, incomplete, or even self-contradictory. This situation leads me to the disturbing hypothesis that many lands in our world were potentially created from whole cloth on the day that they first appeared in the Mists. Every aspect of the region’s history, memories and lives predating that day may be nothing more than an unfathomably complex phantasm. I hesitate to guess at the power of the nameless forces capable of such creation, but the facts speak for themselves.
For the sake of clarity, I endeavor to establish a “seminal event” during which each land first emerged — or, perhaps, materialized. Following this seminal event, cross-referenced historical documents from surrounding lands establish the region’s objective existence. I cannot confirm that anything before this seminal event actually occurred in any real sense. Therefore, although I include this “false history” in my accounts, I endeavor to focus only on those historical events that still resonate in the present.
The historical record of some countries reads as a chain of usurpers, one tyrant overthrowing the next. If one or more of the past rulers of a country proves particularly interesting, I provide a brief biography in an illuminated sidebar.
In this section, I present a census taker’s view of each land. My survey includes physical characteristics, fashions, demeanor, customs, cuisine and an overview of prevalent religions. I also present brief primers on the foreign tongues that I encounter.
In this section, I turn my eye to the flow of power and the manner in which it is exploited. First, I provide an overview of each region’s formal government, including law enforcement and prevailing opinions regarding current rulers. Next, I turn to economic power, including forms of currency, natural resources and notable industries. Lastly, I focus on matters of diplomacy, examining how each nation interacts with its neighbors.
In addition, my Requiem research and my year-long trek across the Core have taught me much about the true nature of power. My patron is of course intimately aware of the legends of what I term “dread lords”: vile individuals who mystically bind themselves to their realms in the pursuit of power, receiving dire curses in return. It has come to my attention that my patron almost certainly already knows the identities of these dread lords, but to assuage my own intellectual curiosity, I shall continue to ferret out likely suspects whenever evidence presents itself. Though I suspect that my endeavors have something to do with these dread lords, in recent months I have come to believe that my patron’s true motivation lies elsewhere. Without a doubt, he is searching for something, and I am his proverbial eyes and ears. If my patron would be so kind as to tell me what my quarry might be, it would save us both time and aggravation.
Sites of Interest
Here I present a brief travelogue of my journey through the significant settlements and other intriguing locales in each nation, including noteworthy structures and inhabitants. To capture the flavor — and at times, annoyances — of my travels, I list communities and sites of more esoteric appeal in the order in which I visit them.
Simply for my own reference, I also include a few notes on food and lodging for each community; to be thorough, my surveys have often required convoluted routes and extensive backtracking.
Upon the completion of my survey of each land, I compile my notes and conclude with my executive summary of the region as a whole. For my patron’s benefit, I shall distill my impression of the land, including potential causes for concern and weaknesses that might be exploited.