The Kingdom of Qinlo
Date: Tue, August 13, 2013
Topic: Beyond the Flanaess

East from Hepmonaland lie the islands of a powerful Touv civilization called the Kingdom of Qinlo. Magic, mystery, gladiators, sea monsters, jungle druids, doppelgangers... This and much more awaits for you in this African-themed lost world.


The Kingdom of Qinlo

Ruler: The Chief of Chiefs and Supreme Ruler of the Islands, the King of Qinlo, Tuwanga.
Government: Feudal monarchy
Capital: Qinlo
Major towns: Qinlo (12,700 inhabitants), Tu Touv (700 inhabitants)
Provinces: One island divided into three provinces; one island divided into seven tribal areas with loosely defined borders and one autonomous village
Resources: Foodstuffs, iron, gems (III, mostly pearls)
Coinage: Greatcoin (pp), gold crown (gp), silver crown (sp), common (cp)
Population: 129,000 – Human 99.5% (Touv), Other 0.5% (doppelgangers and hobgoblins)
Languages: High Touv
Alignments: N*, NG
Religions: Unkulu, Touv pantheon
Allies: Merchants of the Doppelganger Island (weak)
Enemies: The Doppelganger Island (mistrusted)


The kingdom, located in the Sea of Sharks, is comprised of two islands: The larger one, called Adda, is half a day sail from Hepmonaland (called Melavi by the islanders) and the smaller island Haiapo is located southeast from Adda. One mile of sea separates their coasts.

Haiapo is the main island of the kingdom. On its northwest coast, just two miles from Adda’s shores, lies their capital and only city Qinlo. The northern and western coasts are nominally under the direct rule of the king, but his court officials keep contact with the village chiefs and take care of taxes. The inner province (without coastline) is ruled by the Great Chief of the Mountain and the area is best known for its Daitta mountain, which is the only mountain within the kingdom. All the kingdom’s iron mines are located here and it’s an ideal hiding place for criminals. Gala Falls of Daitta is remarkably beautiful and home to mischievous fey that sometimes get hostile with intruders.

Southern and eastern coasts are ruled by the Great Chief of the Shores and they are dotted with fishing villages.

Adda is called the Sister Island. Tu Touv (“Home of Touv”), right across the sea from Qinlo, is the unofficial capital of Adda and the only tribally unaligned village in the island. Nearly everyone on the island is a farmer and the densily populated island is mostly farmland. The landscape is flat and has very few forests. The ruler of the island is the Princess of Adda, and traditionally she is the most magically adept daughter of a king (past or present). She can be found from Tu Touv and is well protected by her all-female guard.

In Qinlo, the king and his court rule from the Royal Palace which is, by far, the most magnificent building in the kingdom. The position of king is hereditary and the heir is always the oldest son of the current king. Kings rule for life and their power is absolute.

The villages are ruled by village chiefs, and they report either to the Great Chiefs or court officials (in Haiapo) or tribal chiefs (in Adda). There are seven major tribes in Adda and each of them has one tribal chief. The seven Adda tibes are Bueoul, Ma-Ahra, Mosali, Kharbo, Raffa, Tuhelu and Xaan. These tribes are more mixed in Haiapo, where their membership is less important. The royal tribe of Haiapo is Kanlal, and all its members are nobles. They are also the smallest of tribes, although many of the Kanlal belong to other tribes through intermarriage. In marriage, women change their allegiance to their new tribe. All tribes are monogamous and having more than four children is frowned upon, due to the ancient traditions which reflect the limitations of the small islands. In their culture, the number five is believed to be a bringer of misfortune.

The climate is hot and tropical, but not as much as it is in the jungles of Hepmonaland. Both islands, especially Adda, are fertile and yield taro, rice and cassava throughout the year. There are many bird species and small mammals, but other than those the island doesn’t have that many native animals. There are no horses of any kind.

Fishing is vitally important, but the islanders are not seafarers. In fact, the sea around the islands is supernaturally dangerous and filled with monstrosities of the worst nightmares. Swimming is suicidal due to sharks. Fishermen stay close to the coastline, but sometimes even that doesn’t save them. Every now and then sea monsters rise from the sea and enter the islands causing havoc. Luckily few are capable of such feat. The lack of lumber has also diminished the readiness for sailing. Sailing short distances is safer during early summers and particularly in daytime, when sharks and other monsters are less active near the coasts.

There are a nearly three hundred hobgoblins on the islands, all descendants of slaves taken from failed hobgoblin pirate raids (every attempt in the written history has failed). They are fully adapted to the Touv culture and don’t have that much information of their pre-slavery history. They suffer from discrimination and tend to be quick to anger. Touvs simply call them “goblins”. Nowadays the hobgoblin pirates avoid venturing to the deadly waters of the Sea of Sharks.

The islanders aren’t particularly religious, although ceremonies such as weddings and funerals are observed with piety. Funeral pyres are the norm. Different tribes have their own beliefs and there are no major temples in the kingdoms. Unkulu is the deity of magic, arcane knowledge, foresight and balance, and he is popular among the learned folk. In fact, Unkulu is an alias for Boccob, who has some unknown interest towards the islands.

The kingdom regards Hepmonaland as a sacred place. It’s believed to be the birthplace of humanity and the kingdom has a strict non-interference policy with the natives. The druids of the islands are non-religious and sworn protectors of the jungles. It’s a custom that every fourth male child of each family is sent to druidic training when they are five years old. The wildlife of the jungles is deadly to the extreme, and the druids are trained and well prepared on the islands for approximately 16 years before they set to Hepmonaland. Their mortality rate is high, but most druids believe in the survival of the fittest and accept the short lifespans of their brothers and sisters. The druids have no formal organization; they are merely bonded by the mutual goal of protecting Hepmonaland.

In addition to Hepmonaland, the islanders are aware of only one place outside their realm: The Island of Doppelgangers. The small island is situated not far to the east. The fear and revile of doppelgangers is deeply rooted within the hearts and minds of the islanders, but occasionally they trade with the independent doppelganger merchants. All doppelgangers found within the kingdom are imprisoned and subjected to gladiatorial fights, but in history some have found immunity from persecution (e.g. diplomatic immunity granted by a king).

The most renowned warriors of the islands are the Blood Brothers of Light. Originally they were the bodyguards of the king and lived in his palace, but one hundred years ago the king sent them to protect the coasts from amphibious sea monsters and granted them a knightly status. Many believe that the frequent love affairs between the Blood Brothers and the royal princesses were the main reason for this arrangement (the new royal guards are exclusively eunuchs). The Blood Brothers are tattooed warriors, bards and spellslingers who are all connected through a chain of blood oaths. Any man who tattoos his body and face with the elaborate and colourful symbols of the order and takes a blood oath with one of its members is elevated to a high and respectable position within the islander society. A member of the order may only take two blood oaths during his lifetime, whose names are tattooed on their fists. They are forbidden to marry unless they were already before taking the blood oath. All Blood Brothers are always expected to defend the islands at a moment’s notice and maintain public order at all times. Currently there are almost one hundred Blood Brothers in the kingdom.

Gladiatorial combat is a source of controversy within the realm. The 2,500-spectator arena in the capital was built and used mainly for slave-gladiator fighting, but after slavery was banned, it has been used for executions and professional gladiator fights.

Only murderers and violent criminals who are non-citizen face execution in the arena, mostly by monsters. Successful non-citizens can win their freedom, but this is highly arbitrary and relative to the crime. Such criminals will be exiled from the islands for life.

There are dozens of professional gladiators in the kingdom and virtually all highly trained and exceptional individuals. Conservative citizens revile them and boycott gladiatorial fights while more liberal ones adore them and pay for the expensive admissions. Gladiators have a large and devoted fan-base.

In the arena, professional gladiators fight near-death combats against each other, foreign criminals and monsters (non-cooperative opponents are quickly subdued once defeat has been signalled). Sometimes gladiators are killed in combat, usually by an accident. Non-citizen criminals always fight to the death.

Gladiatorial fights are arranged four times a year during festival weeks.


According to the legend, the ancient Touvs of the Kanlal tribe migrated to islands approximately 2000 years ago. Relative isolation permitted them to distance themselves from the constant tribal fighting of the mainland and the relative security enabled them to build a fledging civilization, with technological advances such as irrigation. The Touv of Kanlal Dynasty progressed quickly in their tiny paradise. One century after their arrival, the Mosali and Ma-Ahra tribes splintered from Kanlals, and within the next few hundred years four more tribes migrated from the mainland. Kanlals has managed to remain in power and in peace with the other tribes to this day.

A little over a millennium ago began the so-called Age of Enlightenment. Thereafter the islands have had many sages and poets as the skill of writing has since been widespread.  In 95 CY the Kingdom of Qinlo was established, along with the current chronology. The King Xunath was the first king, and the ancestor of the reigning king Tuwaga.

The title of Princess of Adda was established in the mid-200s after the failed title of Queen of Adda. One of the ancient kings only had daughters and in 192 CY he created a law which has never been broken: The ruler of Adda must be a female royalty. This didn’t go too well at first, because the Queen of Adda was infertile and since the island has always been populated by farmers, this was seen as a great curse. A king should never reverse his decisions, so he decided that the female ruler should be a virgin for life. After the so far only Queen, all other rulers have been Princesses for life. This has always been seen as a great blessing in Adda, because virgin noble women are believed to have great magical powers. And this has been mostly true, because a majority of the princesses have been powerful sorcerers.

Since the beginning the islanders have had slavery. The slaves were criminals, captured Touv savages and hobgoblins from Hepmonaland. Children born to slaves were slaves as well. Slavery was losing its favour as the islanders began to embrace more humanistic worldview and finally, some 50 years ago, slavery was abolished without much resistance. There were around 700 slaves within the kingdom at that time and over half of them were gladiators in the slave pens of the capital. The descendants of the slaves carry social stigma and many have turned to crime.

The Doppelganger Island was found in 454 CY when a young prince and famous sea captain Nasulu sailed for three days to the east and discovered it by chance. The expedition didn’t end well as he and his crew were captured by a gang of doppelgangers. The doppelgangers took the vessel and attempted to navigate it, but they didn’t have the necessary naval skills. They forced the young captain to sail it straight back to Qinlo. When the doppelgangers arrived, they tried to impersonate the crew, but the king noticed something strange in the way they had sailed to the harbour. Immediately he had hugged his “son”, he called the guards to detain the impersonators. The doppelgangers were revealed and the young captain was rescued. The king, known as Megono the Wise, is still one of the very few who has been able to “smell” a doppelganger without magic.

Future expeditions to the islands were much more cautious, with mages and heavily armed guards. Over the decades, the kingdom has found some allies and many enemies from the island, and engaged in lucrative trade with doppelganger merchants and fought off bandits and pirates. So far no known doppelganger vessel has been genuinely seaworthy, although there are rumours that they are building their first sailing ship. The Doppelganger Island itself remains as a mystery.


High Touv is a dialect of the Touv language, with a considerably larger vocabulary and significant differences in pronunciation and intonation. Written Touv and High Touv are mutually somewhat intelligible, but communication requires great effort.


The current year is 496 QY (Qinlo Years). The counting starts from 95 CY.

Days of the week are Cloudday, Waveday, Ironday, Sandday, Goodday, Marketday, Freeday

Months and festival weeks are Winterfest (festival week), Forging (Winter), Birthing (Spring), Thunder (Spring), Spingfest (festival week), Storm (Low Summer), Calving (Low Summer), Weaving (Low Summer), Summerfest (festival week), Herding (High Summer), Mining (High Summer), Fire (High Summer), Autumnfest (festival week), Harvest (Autumn) Feast (Autumn), Lovers (Winter).

Typical boy names: Azmer, Dauabe, Hiale, Mweba, Negassi.

Typical girl names: Adis, Awa, Belala, Lawabe, Shetunde.

Map of the islands (the symbols may not reflect actual size).

This article comes from Canonfire!

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