Return to: Historical Background of the Shattered Worlds

Britain (City of Music, Capital of Britannia)


“Minoc has the best craftsmen… Jhelom the greatest warriors… Moonglow the most wise of sages… but in Britain, one can find near equals in all the fields, and often cheaper.”


Location: Central Britannia, in the curve of the Serpent’s Spine.

Virtue: Compassion

Government: Constitutional Monarchy, governed by Lord British, a locally elected mayor, and council comprised of various representatives from the guilds in the city.

Imports: Luxuries, Exotics

Exports: Basic Necessities




A gold lute on a navy blue and forest green checkered background




Britain is located on the lee side of the Serpent’s Spine, a vast region that slowly slopes down towards the coastline. Towards the center of the area is Lake Helenna, from which a large river flows down to the coast. The lake rests on a raised area of land, not quite a plateau, next to which the western half of the city and Castle Britannia lies. The area is slightly below sea level, which allows for the channel that was dug to fill the moat. At the center of West Britain is the Old City Wall, which at one time aided in defense, but today is mostly a divider for the various city quarters. East Britain, across the river, is higher and slopes gently in a low hill, giving a better view of the city as a whole.


On the other side of the channel and south of the castle is the Old Keep, which at one time served as temporary government offices in Britain’s early days, in recent years it was converted by the warrior’s guild into a training center. West of Britain lies the farming communities of Paws, which are scattered out, close to the mountains. The pass through the Serpent’s Tail is also here, which leads across the mountains to Skara Brae and Yew. North and east the land is less developed, Little has been done with the region north of the lake, where at one time Lord Robere of the Northern March made his abode, and currently Lord Blackthorn resides. In recent years, with increased activity from the denizens of the mountains, there has been talk of constructing a vast wall on the northern borders, but as yet the funding necessary for such a venture has not been discussed.




Britain is famous for it’s rain, the mountains protect the city from harsher winter storms but rainstorms are quite frequent, it rains nearly half the year. The coast brings moderation to the temperatures, giving Britain a cool but comfortable climate.




During the Cataclysm, most of the original city of Britain was destroyed, including Lord British’s castle. The region quieted relatively early, however, and Britain’s populace survived relatively intact. Lord British, his brother Lord Robere, the visiting king Shamino from the Lands of Danger and Despair, and Lord British’s allies from his home world Iolo, Dupre, and Blackthorn all survived, and sought to rebuild the city.


Lord British, as the last king of Sosaria, continued to act as the city’s ruler during the Reconstruction period. (0-12 A.C.) He governed from the Keep, one of the few original structures to survive. During this period he also sent out numerous forays and expeditions to explore the surrounding areas, one of these was Beorgyth Malphane, who set out in 8 A.C. to establish a presence on the Northern March to watch for invaders. (Before five years had passed numerous orc raids had occurred upon the city.) Dupre was sent to the south, where he made contact with Trinsic, Shamino to the west, where he made contact with Yew. (See the entries for Trinsic and Yew for further details.) By the end of the Reconstruction southwest Britain had been established, the wall built, and the foundations laid for the new castle.


Castle Britannia’s construction started in 11 A.C., and took nearly twenty years to build, the finishing ceremony was held in 30 A.C. The project aided the native Britains in their loss of identity with their old city, and gave them a goal, which kept many from losing heart. The castle also acted as a strong shield which the hordes of orcs and ettins from the Serpent’s Spine broke against like waves of water upon a foundation of granite. Things took a turn for the worse, however.


The same year the Castle was completed the monster armies had unified from the wreckage of Mondain’s armies, and sought to destroy human civilization before it could rise again. In the far northeast they gathered under the G’kar, the fierce troll chieftain, and in the north, the grim Orcish Lord Cruuz defeated seven clan heads in battle, claiming command of all eight into one huge army, with which he intended to destroy Britain. For nearly two decades the city was plunged into war, the only thing that kept Cruuz from overrunning the city was it’s nearly indestructible defenses, the chaotic nature of his own army, (It was said Cruuz slew over one hundred challengers during the war) and the stalwart defenders of Britain. G’kar died at the hands of the hero Uulder Malphane, son of Beorgyth, preventing further invasion from the north, and Cruuz was finally slain in personal combat by Lord Robere, who was granted all of the northern region as his fief and area of defense. With Cruuz’s death the hordes broke apart into bickering clans.


The Golden Years of Britain (49 – 99 A.C.) were an age of unsurpassed expansion and fortune for the city. Believing the threat of full invasion gone, the city expanded beyond the wall and across the river, the population grew in the absence of war and famine. Although orcs continued to raid the outskirts of the city the city militia regularly patrolled the region, preventing chaos and disorder. Dupre traveled south to Trinsic in 80 A.C., where he remained for several decades aiding in training the city’s warriors. Iolo composed some of his best ballads during this era, dedicated to those who had fallen in defense of Britain. Shamino, feeling wanderlust, left the city in 82 A.C. and disappeared for many years. (See the entry on Skara Brae and Yew for further details.) Blackthorn, who had made a name for himself as an alchemist, was sent to Vesper as an emissary in 91 A.C., and spent much of his time also in Moon, attempting without success to forge alliances with both cities. (See the entries on Vesper and Moonglow for more details.) Lord Robere remained in the northern regions and in the mountains, usually at the head of an army keeping the peace far from the city borders.


An early map of the region of Britain, circa year 100 A.C.

A map of Britain proper, circa year 100 A.C.

In 99 A.C., the orcs grew thick again and raids became more numerous.  Lord British, deprived of regular forces, recruited heavily from the local populace to keep the peace. A sinister plot, hatched by an evil necromancer who had been raising an undead army in the Britain crypts, was defeated, as well as a raid by a frightful army of incredibly powerful orcs and an invasion of howling naked barbarians from Samlethe was also halted. This short era of history occupies a brief but interesting part of Britain’s chronicles. The victories were soured, however, by news of a new horde growing in the northeast, which many doubted the aged Uulder, as mighty as he was, could stop.

In 100 A.C., Blackthorn returned to Britain with disturbing news: the mages of Moon, over the last two years, had been using the ethereal forces that had reshaped the world during the Cataclysm to create a new island north of Verity Isle. (See the entry on Moonglow for more information.) Lord British was horrified with the thought of what could happen, but before he could act upon it Yavituk, the ogre leader of the horde, struck with his forces, forcing Lord British to march north hurriedly with what forces he could muster. Before he got there, however, the Great Earthquake struck.

Although by the time it reached central Britannia it had subsided to low tremors, the resulting forces caused a secondary earthquake in the Serpent’s Spine, which struck Britain directly. The earthquakes did severe damage, damaging and destroying many of the structures, and scattering the population to the countryside. This was fortunate, as a small tidal wave from the first quake struck a few days later, flooding much of the city, but taking few lives. By the time Lord British returned half of the city was in ruins.

Luckily the damage had occurred in the spring, by the start of winter most of the city had temporary shelter with which to live out the winter. In addition Dupre came north again in 102 A.C. with many Trinsic engineers, who aided in the rebuilding. The renovations to Castle Britannia were largely due to their insight, which increased it’s defensive capacity, and most of them stayed and established a second branch of the Order of Engineers, which continues to serve Britain today in defensive constructions and mechanical engineering.

Lord British, shaken by the chaos of the turn of the century, found a new focus. The city of had nearly brought an end to the world, because they were largely unaware of anything outside of them, or the ethical consequences of their actions. Lord British decided that beyond rebuilding his own city, his new goal would be to unite the city-states so that such destruction could not occur again.

Only a few months after the Earthquake had struck two ships arrived in port. Their sails were rags, the hulls rived with holes and cracks, and the passengers weak with hunger and illness. They were refugees from the city of Moon, the last survivors. They had been refused sanctuary in Vesper, and had sailed nearly half the length of the world to reach Britain, losing one of their ships along the way. (The fate of the Osprey, the third ship, is unknown to this day.)

Lord British welcomed the refugees, however, seeing it has a promising start to his plans of world unification. The refugees were fed, clothed, and given ample supplies to aid in the rebuilding of their destroyed home. In addition, many native Britains chose to join them, seeing it as a new chance in a new place. The newly christened Moonglow and the city of Britain enjoyed excellent relations, all the way to the Unification, in which Moonglow was a charter member.

Magincian Embargo – 175 A.C.

The embargo was completely unexpected, and the result was a catastrophe. The disappearance of Magincian demand upon the marketplace created a huge overstocking of finished products, breaking most of the trades and craftsmen, who had no one to sell to and nothing to carry. They in turn ceased purchasing raw materials, which hurt the mining and lumbering industries. And so the horrific path continued, as the loss of income affect everyone.

In an attempt to salvage the situation, Vesper, and later Britain, began minting coinage from copper and silver, as gold became scarce on the open market. Vesper used them to attempt to salvage as much gold as they could into the strongest guild’s coffers, Britain to attempt and replace the money that was lost, the government promising to represent full value on them. The evils of this ploy spread, however, leading to most of the city-states sundering trading relations.

And to make matters even worse the hordes of the Serpent’s Spine, smelling the weakness, began systematic raids upon Britain, only adding further to the despair felt by the populace. The political ramifications of the Dark Years, as they became known, lasted for many decades beyond the end of it.

Lord Robere’s Rebellion – 177 A.C.

The death of his brother, and the horrific demands of leadership, had struck Lord British hard. He spent much of his time in solitude, only playing the occasional game of chess with his longtime friend and companion Blackthorn. Rumor holds that he had begun to consider returning to his own world. One night, however, he had a meeting with a being most strange, which changed his outlook and focus. (The events of this are fully covered in the text “My Story”, written by Sherry the Mouse.)

After that event, Lord British decided that his true goal should not be to unite the kingdoms politically but spiritually, through a common system of ethics that would allow unity and diversity. However, the possible necessity of destroying the shattered worlds was a heavy burden, one that permanently distanced him from his old friend Blackthorn.

Lord British announced his system of Virtue the next day, upon which a better society could be built. He made it clear that he required no one to follow it, or to even teach it, that it would be available to all should they choose to follow it. As part of the system he would construct eight shrines dedicated to the eight virtues. He assembled a team of Trinsic engineers and Moonglow mages to aid him in the task, which he personally oversaw. Lord Blackthorn opposed him in public, and eventually moved out of the castle and into Robere’s old abode upon Lake Helenna, which has become known as Thorn Keep. He also constructed his own shrine to Chaos far to the north, in the valley of Samlethe.

At the end of 180 A.C. the shrines were completed, and while they have not reached the hearts and minds of the people of Britannia as well as he hoped, they have been invaluable as refuges for the sick and ailing. (It was rumored that all eight were built upon the foundations of older Sosarian shrines, to this day none are precisely sure of how the shrines were built.) Both Lord British and Blackthorn wrote their books on their respective philosophies shortly after the shrine’s completion, which have since become classics in the realm.

In 250 A.C., at a lengthy meeting held in the small village of Paws, six cities of Britannia signed the Treaty of Unification, forming the Kingdom of Britannia. The five original cities to sign, in addition to Paws, were Trinsic, Britain, Moonglow, Serpent’s Hold, and Yew. Lord British was recognized as sovereign monarch of the Kingdom, and Britain as capital of the Kingdom. Each city-state made certain concessions where their government was concerned, but all continued to have control in local affairs, and would have at least one representative in the capital at any one time to represent their respective city.


The People

The people of Britain have a wide variety of appearances, although most came from northern stock and darker hair and light skin is common. Most Britains do not consider ethnic origin to be of importance, and as a result prejudice based upon it is nearly non-existent.

The Clothing

Nearly any style of clothing can be seen in the streets of Britain, but most favor simple combinations and friendly cool colors. Hats and cloaks are very common, because of the rainy weather, but beyond simple function there is always some variety.

Arts and Entertainment

Crafts and Trades



Government and Politics

Lord British serves in an executive position in local affairs, able to overrule the Council and Mayor for the good of the realm, but rarely does so, tending to international problems in most circumstances.

Last modified: December 30, 2011

1 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Locations « Nails Warstein 04 06 12

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.