|Culture Level||Dark Age to Chivalric|
|Climate & Terrain||Temperate forest, hill, plain, swamp|
|Year Formed||579 BC|
|Races (%)||Humans 75%, Halflings 14%, Gnomes 5%, Elves 3%, Half-Elves 1%, Dwarves 1%, Other 1%|
|Languages||Darkonese, Halfling, Gnome, Elven, Dwarven, Falkovnian, Lamordian, Mordentish, Tepestani, Vaasi|
|Religions||The Eternal Order, Ezra, the Faith of the Overseer|
|Analog||European High Fantasy; USA|
|Locations in Darkon|
|Transportation in Darkon|
|Inhabitants of Darkon|
|Former Inhabitants of Darkon|
|Flora of Darkon|
|Fauna of Darkon|
|Native Monsters of Darkon|
|This section contains canon info from officially published sources|
- 1 Emergence and Azalin
- 2 Things, Creatures & Personnages of Legend
- 3 Biology
- 4 Geography
- 4.1 Weather
- 4.2 Terrain
- 4.3 Landmarks
- 4.4 Communication
- 4.5 Frontiers
- 4.6 Population Distrubtion
- 5 Authority
- 6 Language & Culture
- 7 Inns & Taverns
- 8 Chronology
- 9 References
- 10 Data from the Ravenloft Catalogue
Emergence and Azalin
A feudal fantasy nation ruled over by the lich-king Azalin Rex, Darkon is the largest domain in Ravenloft. Physically, it takes up the northern third of the main continent, the Core, and its population easily exceeds that of any other single domain. Politically, Darkon is stable but not very influential, with its various nobles kept in check by Azalin's machinations.
In a real sense, Darkon's history is Azalin's history. After being driven out of his original homeland and finding himself in Ravenloft, Azal'Lan (originally a title meaning simply "Wizard King") was briefly befriended by Strahd von Zarovich, the darklord of Barovia. They were experimenting with a few magic spells to help each other escape until eventually Azalin gave up, and wandered into Darkon. After leaving, Azalin found himself the master of a sprawling domain that reflected his cruelty, his obsession with order, his cunning, and his greatest frustration: the inability to learn new magic.
Due to Azalin's desire for unswerving loyalty, Darkon has the most obvious and unique curse in Ravenloft. After spending from one to three months within its borders, anyone not native to Darkon loses all memory of their original homeland, instead believing themselves to have always lived in Darkon. Additionally, they lose all personal desire to leave the country, though some do so anyway out of necessity or circumstance. The memories include a whole new life history and victim often adopt gravestones at the local cemeteries as graves of their ancestors. The lost memories return upon leaving the domain. In From the Shadows, it is shown that their memories are magically recorded in a book in a library in Avernus.
|This feature leads some to believe that Darkon is an unsuitable realm for an outsiders-based campaign. Some players have experimented with campaigns of rediscovery, where the players have no clue as to their "real" histories but can discover them through investigation. (Inspired by the movie Memento and the video game Planescape: Torment.)
Some possible workarounds exist, but these involve doctoring the books in the library. As a plot device, it is possible that Azalin may bargain with powerful outsiders to restore their memories in exchange for a service. For low-level characters, another potential plot device is to have a "finder's agency" investigate their lost memories, which could uncover many events in neighboring Ravenloft domains. Also, the aimless vulnerability of individuals newly mind-wiped lends itself to interesting slavery or gang-related plots.
Azalin's desire to escape Ravenloft led to the disastrous Grand Conjunction in 740 Barovian Calendar, nearly destroying the Demiplane of Dread. His next escape attempt resulted in the equally catastrophic Requiem, destroying his physical form and turning the capital city of Darkon, Il Aluk, into a city of the undead, now called Necropolis. For the five years of Azalin's disappearance, Darkon itself was known as Necropolis due to the influence of that city's darklord, Death. Azalin was restored to his body and his throne in time, and now plots a third escape attempt, the details of which are unknown.
Darkon is one of the few domains of Ravenloft to accept demihumans such as elves and dwarves as equal citizens, and one of the few to embrace arcane magic openly. Darkon is often considered decadent by its neighbors, appropriate enough as Azalin encourages his citizens to debase themselves as a means of salving his own ego.
Things, Creatures & Personnages of Legend
Mountains & Hills
- Argenteus Road
- Corvus Road
- King's Highway
- Martira Highway
- Nebula Road
- Strigos Road (under construction)
- Tempe Road
- Transumbra Road (under construction)
The Shadow Rift
- Rutledge is a port harbouring roughly 250 souls on the Nocturnal Sea that straddles the border between Darkon and Nova Vaasa. It has, as yet, been claimed by neither. Its lifeblood is fishing but it also serves as a pirate haven.
- Tidemore is a small fishing port on the Nocturnal Sea, sitting in the shadow of the Mountains of Misery north of Rookhausen.
Church and State
- Any corpse in the land may rise to fight at the command of Azalin Rex.
Language & Culture
Inns & Taverns
- 383 BC False History: The Arcane Age of Darkon ends with Darcalus Rex eliminating his rivals and becoming king.
- 556 BC The Dark Delvers are in operation by this year or earlier. However, they came from or how they got started remains unknown.
- 579 BC Strahd and Azalin create a portal to Mordent to escape the Land of Mists, but their plans fail as the Mists snatch up that land. Angered, Azalin abandons Strahd and Barovia.. The Dark Powers grant Azalin the domain of Dark as a result.
- 579 BC The Dark Powers draw in Lockwood Manor to form part of the land for Darkon.
- 579 BC False History Late Fall Darcalus Rex is overthrown by Azalin.
- 579 BC Azalin holds a masquerade ball, calling the nobility of Darkon to its mandatory attendance. After Azalin introduces himself and proclaims rule of Darkon to be his, he kills anyone who refuses to acknowledge this right of rule.
- 580 BC Master Bralkain and his wizard underlings inadvertently create the Key to the Abyss, thereby enabling the Whistling Fiend to enter the Land of Mists.
- 580 BC The Whistling Fiend wipes out Creeana,causing all those who lived there to abandon the village or perish.
- 603 BC (Prime Material Plane) Ebb's shadow dragon kindred come into bloody conflict with humanoids. It doesn't go well for her relatives, but Ebb manages to escape.
- 580 BC By this year, Il Aluk has 15,000 people residing within it.
- 605 BC Urik von Kharkov enters Darkon through the Mists. He hears about the immortal power of the Kargat vampires and seeks them out. However, he is enslaveed as one of their vampiric thralls for two decades.
- 625 BC Urik von Kharkov's vampire master is slain. Kharkov flees, casually murdering any souls unfortunate to cross his path. As a result, Valachan forms, and he becomes a darklord.
- 630 BC The Sea of Sorrows forms, giving Darkon its first avenue of sea trade.
- 637 BC Frederick van Richten establishes the Richten Haus estate on the outskirts of Rivalis.
- 650 BC The Kargat establish the Faith of the Overseer in Darkon.
- 651 BC Carcharodon Isle forms in the Sea of Sorrows near Martira Bay It eventually falls under Darkonian rule, specifically that of the Kargat.
- 656 BC Ebb stalks those who killed her shadow dragon relatives, but she is drawn into the Mists. Winding in up in Darkon, she first comes into conflict with Azalin but then reaches an accord with him through their mutual power and condescension towards living humans.
- 684 BC Azalin calls Styrix the night hag into the Land of Mists. After a number of months, her research of an escape proves fruitless. In response, Azalin banishes her from Castle Avernus.
- 688 BC Autumn: The Crimson Death originates in the Boglands. It eventually spreads to Il Aluk and, from there, the rest of Darkon, killing an estimated 1 out of every 5 Darkonians. To combat the spread of the plague, Azalin institutes a merciless regimen of quarantines for the next three decades, ordering death for any whom defy them.
- 688 BC Winter The Crimson Death spreads across Darkon; it claims Rudolph van Richten’s great aunt Helga despite his efforts. As a result, Rudolph is even more driven into his medical studies.
- 689 BC Vlad Drakov and his Talons of the Hawk enter the Mists and come out in Darkon. They immediately put the Darkonian villages of Pound, S'Realm, and Glymshire to the torch. The undead retaliate, and Vlad's mercenaries are expelled into the Mists.
- 689 BC Spring: The Crimson Death is on the decline. History credits Azalin's quarantines as responsible for its decline, though he continues its enforcement for the next three decades. The decreased population allows women opportunities for career advancement previously unavailable.
- 693 BC At some low cliffs in the Forest of Shadows near Nartok, a bell tower allegedly springs up from the ground, tears free of its foundations, and runs off only to fall over the nearby cliffs. Regardless of whether this tale is true, ruins remain at the base of the cliffs to this day.
- 696 BC (Approx.) Azalin assembles the doctrine of the Eternal Order from various bits of Darkonian folklore.
- 698 BC On this approximate year, a mob runs Mikel Gunderling out of Il Aluk on suspicion of using necromancy to achieve immortality.
- 700 BC First Dead Man’s War waged by Falkovnia upon Darkon
- 700 BC The Ragman appears for the first time in an abandoned church located in Martira Bay.
- 704 BC Antonin Madren sets up operations in Martira Bay.
- 704 BC Second Dead Man’s War is waged by Falkovnia upon Darkon.
- 706 BC Erasmus van Richten is stolen by the Radanavich clan and sold to Baron Metus. With the help of Azalin, Dr. Van Richten wipes out all but one member of the Radanavich caravan; Madame Radanavich curses Van Richten.
- 706 BC Van Richten puts his Erasmus out of his misery, but in spite Baron Metus tears Ingrid van Richten to pieces; Dr. Van Richten destroys Baron Metus, starting his career of hunting evil. Unable to live with the memories in Richten Haus, Van Richten moves to Corvia.
- 710 BC Dr. Van Richten encounters his first werebeast near Varithne; he starts hunting werebeasts as well.
- 711 BC Third Dead Man’s War
- 712 BC The Ancestor Uprising - The dwarves of Tombdust Hall drive back the undead ancestors who awaken and threaten the community.
- 712 BC Falkovnia begins entering a planning phase of a larger invasion against Darkon.
- 712 BC Dr. Van Richten meets the mage Shauten; they bond when they are attacked by one of Azalin's patrols. Shauten opens Van Richten's eyes to the existence of the Lich.
- 714 BC Dr. Van Richten receives a visit from his childhood friend, Eldrenn Van Dorn, who is now a ghostly slave to Azalin; Dr. Van Richten learns the terrible truth about Azalin Rex.
- 714 BC Dr. Van Richten moves to Mordentshire, sensing it is politically unsafe for him to remain in Darkon.
- 717 BC Foedus is born in Sidnar.
- 719 BC After three decades of enforcement, Azalin ends the Crimson Death quarantines.
- 716 BC The spirit of Madame Radanavich and her undead retinue discover Richten Haus and claim it for their own.
- (718 BC Dr. van Richten and Shauten encounter the Priest of the Tor, whom they assume at first to be a lich. In hindsight, van Richten realizes this is first struggle against of the ancient dead.
- 722 BC The Fourth Dead Man's War
- 728 BC Dr. Van Richten and his companions defeats the Phantom Army.
- 734 BC Salizarr is drawn from Cormyr into the sewers of Il Aluk.
- 734 BC Bartholomew Nylreav is given knighthood in return for acts performed on behalf of Darkon.
- 735 BC Azalin discovers Hyskosa's Hexad
- 736 BC Elsepeth goes to Nartok.
- 738 BC Styrix creates the Rift Spanner. She begins collectingsouls from the people of Martira Bay.
- 739 BC or Before: After fleeing into the Mists from L'Morai into Darkon, Hermos and company perform for the Darkonians, but the performers only receive rejection and bigotry when they ask for places to stay.
- 740 BC Azalin engineers the Grand Conjunction using Hyskosa's Hexad. His plan to destroy the Demiplane of Dread fails. Fortunately for Darkon, it seems among the least affected.
- 740 BC Panicked by the Grand Conjunction, Hermos and the rest of the folks from L'Morai flee from Darkon into Falkovnia seeking a better life. Isolde saves them from certain demise. Under her leadership, a new Carnival assembles.
- 743 BC Carnival returns to Darkon. Tenira Courant enlists.
- 744 BC After an unnatural rise in monster incursions, murders, and caliban births in Viaki, a couple of hags are discovered as the source. They are dispatched. Glennis McFadden, the third hag in the coven goes undiscovered. She melds into Viaki society under the guise of a human midwife and even advisor to the city council. She is still pursuing her dream of revenge undiscovered as of 756 BC.
- 744 BC Lady Kazandra is sent to Matira Bay. Through her, the Kargat achieve more of a hold on criminal activity within the Bay. Tavelia keeps the Faith of the Overseer from getting mixed up in Kazandra's affairs.
- 746 BC William Gruhman meanders through Martira Bay after being cut off from his doppelganger plant by some twist of fate.
- 747 BC As Carnival stops by the Brautslava Institute, Professor Pacali decides to follow them to study their abnormal physiology. He eventually falls victim to the Twisting.
- 747 BC Karimana Reidkasen is awarded the title of Baroness of Martira Bay after she reveals her husband's corruption to Azalin.
- 747 BC Alanik Ray returns to Darkon and becomes Chief Constable of Martira Bay.
- 748 BC The Ebon Fold are sent out to begin collecting souls. Falkovnian citizens are among those chosen for their attacks.
- 749 BC The Grim Harvest begins.
- 749 BC or 750 BC The Doomsday Device's last prototype is tested by the Kargat, transforming Lowellyn Dachine into Death.
- 750 BC The Nocturnal Sea appears, giving Darkon a sudden eastern sea to trade with. Nevuchar Springs becomes Darkon's greatest eastern port
- 750 BC December: The Requiem occurs. As a result, Azalin disappears, apparently destroyed. Il Aluk is engulfed by the Shroud, becoming Necropolis. However, at this point it is still a part of Darkon.
- 750 BC-755 BC The Shrouded Years As Azalin struggles to regain corporeal form, his mind reaches out to those of his subjects in the Drowning Dreams. Although his loyal minions can sense him, so can Death. Death sends out his Horsemen to prevent Azalin's resurrection and wreak devastation upon Darkon.
- 751 BC After becoming the wife of Burgomeistster Borganov's wife, Hilde Borganov becomes the high priestess of Tidemore. She converts most of the town to an obscure, aquatic religion.
- 751 BC Thought destroyed, the Kargatane goes underground. Lady Kazandra restructures the Kargatane to meet the demands of a world without Azalin and turns newcoming members into her own puppets. However, the group as a whole serves no single master
- 751 BC Bastion Teodorus Raines writes the Fourth Book of Ezra and is recognized as the Bastion of the Darkonian Church of Ezra.[ He cleanses and occupies the Last Redoubt in Nevuchar Springs.
- 751 BC March: Falkovnia launches its fifth invasion of Darkon in the March of Doom. Falkovnian forces reach as far north as Nartok before being turned back by the undead.
- 751 BC In the midst of Azalins absence, the Kargat fail an assassination attempt on Alanik Ray. He flees from Martira Bay to Dementlieu.
- 751 BC A hulking, aquatic monster of unknown nature attacks and partially eats several swimmers near Delagia.
- 752 BC Ebb abandons Castle Avernus and tries to enter the Shadow Rift. When she is unable to, she makes a nest in Mount Nyld.
- 752 BC Tallwich enters Darkon and settles down in the Forest of Shadows near Nartok.
- Azalin recovers enough of his disperse essence to consciously think again, though he still lacks corporeal form. He sends dreams to several allies with plans for his return. These plans apparently involve a soul phylactery.
- 753 BC Locknar Cove, a mostly aquatic domain with a single significant island between Liffe, Nova Vaasa, and Darkon, joins the Nocturnal Sea. Rutledge is its only notable community.
- 754 BC The Celestines establish Nostophilia to monitor celestial events that might foretell events relating to Necropolis or Azalin Rex coming back.
- 755 BC Azalin is restored to corporeal form. Both the plot of Tavelia to control him and the plot of Death to destroy him are foiled.
- 755 BC Necropolis becomes its own domain with Death as its darklord.
- 756 BC Azalin Rex hires "S" to complete detailed guides of all of the domains of the Land of Mists.
- 756 BC October: S returns to Darkon, arriving in Nevuchar Springs.
- 756 BC New Year's Eve: As "S" prepares to leave Darkon, Azalin Rex speaks to her through his shambling undead and provides her with her protective bracers.
|This page incorporates content from the inactive Mordent Cartographic Society. Used with their express permission.|
- Gazetteer II p. 23
- Gazetteer II p. 22
- Gazetteer II p.135
- Gazetteer II p.9
- Book of Sorrows p.60
- Gazetteer II p. 19
- Gazetteer II p. 20
- TSR Jam 1999 Heart's Final Beat]]
- Gazetteer II p.16
- Gazetteer II p.143
- Gazetteer II p. 57
- Darklords p.54
- Ravenloft Third Edition p.17
- Ravenloft Player's Handbook p.19
- Domains of Dread p.17
- Bleak House: Homecoming p. 29
- The Book of Souls (Netbook) p.74
- The Book of Souls (Netbook) p.73
- Gazetteer II p.117
- Gazetteer II p. 21
- Gazetteer II p.92-93
- Gazetteer II p. 13
- Gazetteer II p. 29
- The Baron's Eyrie, Dungeon Magazine #58, p. 50; "over 50 years ago" from 749 BC
- Gazetteer II p. 93
- Book of Sorrows p.56
- [[Van Richten's Guide to the Created p.6
- Gazetteer II p. 94
- Van Richten's Arsenal, p. 11
- Gazetteer II p. 132, was born 40 years ago from 757 BC, the current year of Gazetteer II
- Gazetteer II p. 21
- The encounter is canon, being described in Van Richten's Guide to the Ancient Dead (Book) p.5-6. The date is speculation taken from John W. Mangrum's Unofficial Ravenloft Timeline (p. 26 based on several references in the official source material.)
- Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts p. 91
- Ravenloft Monstrous Compendium II
- Book of Sorrows p. 77
- Carnival p. 40
- Carnival p. 49
- Gazetteer II p. 47
- Requiem: The Grim Harvest - Necropolis p.15
- Gazetteer II p. 48
- Gazetteer II p.147
- The Forgotten Children p.55-56
- Carnival p. 44
- Bleak House: Heroes, Monsters, and Settings p.25
- Champions of the Mists p. 57
- Gazetteer II p. 23
- Domains of Dread p.17
- Ravenloft Third Edition p.18
- Ravenloft Player's Handbook p.20
- Gazetteer II p.138
- Gazetteer II p. 23-24
- [[Domains of Dread P.137
- Gazetteer II p.39
- Champions of the Mists p. 57
- Gazetteer II p.41
- Book of Secrets p.127
- Gazetteer II p.24
- Book of Sacrifices p. 118
- Undead Sea Scrolls 2002 p.129
- Gazetteer II p.24
- Gazetteer II p. 24
- Gazetteer II p.55
- Gazetteer II p. 53
Data from the Ravenloft Catalogue
Ravenloft Gazetteer Volume II - pp8-53
Secrets of the Dread Realms - pp7,17,19-21,24,55
Secrets of the Dread Realms - pp8-9