The Eastern Kingdoms are a loose affiliation of mostly Human kingdoms that once controlled much of the trade between Emerald and Jade. They control a small peninsula jutting off of the south-eastern coast of Emerald, directly south of the Dwarven kingdom of Haven, and east of the Firefog Swamp.
The Eastern Kingdoms are ruled by the Council of Kings, an ancient organization that once had members spanning the entirety of Emerald, but now is reduced to just 7 members. Traditionally, every 10 years a new member of the council is declared the Lord of the Council, but the last 55 years have been lordless, with the Council refusing to come to agreement on who should take the position.
The seven kingdoms still under the councils rule once had many distinguishing features and different cultures, but centuries of rule by the council have created an ‘easterner’ culture that now unifies the area. The Common language (once known as Branthellen) serves as the national language, with worship of a pantheon including Abadar, Calistria, Desna, and Gozreh as the official state-sponsored religion. Eastern culture revolves around sea-faring and the lifestyle that brings about, with sailors, merchants, and boat-wrights enjoying the attention and esteem of the common folk. Indeed, many families see gaining a position on a ship as the first step to prosperity, and trades that cater to sailors and the boats they travel on are viewed as honorable occupations for common folk. In fact, brothels and gambling halls are often viewed as great boons to a community with a harbor, a trait not commonly found in other regions.
The Eastern economy relies on the shipping of food and goods from the lands of Haven and Harvest to the many struggling nations of Jade across the sea. Before contact between the two continents was made, Easterners often shipped Dwarven goods and Halfling food-products to the Western Kingdoms, bypassing many dangers and extending the life of the fresh food. However, since the Breaching occurred, Easterners have had to tighten their belts as they compete against the Dwarves own shipping company for business.
Due to orcish pirates raiding out of the Firefog Swamp, the Eastern Kingdoms have developed a strong Navy, which they use to police the Dark Sea. The Eastern Kingdoms also employ a well-ordered border guard that often clashes with giants straying from their lairs in the mountains of Haven and Orc raiding parties coming out from the Firefog Swamp. The interior of the Eastern Kingdoms is relatively peaceful, but bandits and goblins sometimes cause problems in the more isolated villages. Historically, many of the areas in the Firefog Swamp were once part of the Eastern Kingdoms, but Orc raids and the mysterious expansion of the swamp have claimed over 4 kingdoms. This aggressive expansion resulted in both the creation of the Half-Orc race, and a bloody war that lasted for 50 years, until the last great Lord defeated the last Orc warlord in one-on-one combat.
The events of the last 50 years have left the Eastern Kingdoms in decline, with Dwarven trade routes pulling business away and Tiefling refugees overcrowding many coastal settlements. While refugees from the Western Kingdoms flood the Eastern harbors, many more are refused port by the Eastern navy. Ships filled to the brim with Tieflings set off from the Eastern Kingdoms in search of a new home, with many landing on the shores of Shangjiin and beginning their conquest of the jungle. The military has tightened its grip on the kingdoms, searching for Tieflings and Tiefling-sympathizers, hoping to prevent a repeat of the Shadow War. Because of this ‘witch-hunt’ the Eastern Kingdom has become a land where half-humans meet persecution almost daily, and even full-blooded Humans are careful not to criticize the Council openly.