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Marquet[1] is one of the continents on the world of Exandria,[2] located south of Issylra[3] and southwest of Tal'Dorei.[4] It is where Campaign Three started,[5] and it is one of the settings of the upcoming adventure module Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep.[6]

The adjectival form denoting things and people from Marquet is "Marquesian".[7]

Geography

Fan art of Vox Machina in Marquet, by NLN4.[art 2]

Centuries after the Calamity, Marquet is known as a continent of deserts and mountains, with few bastions of civilization to be found.[8] But only one-third of the continent is desert.[9]

There is some in-stream disagreement on the shape of the continent. A paper map shown on-screen[10] shows an outline[11] that does not match a previous description of Marquet as a U-shaped continent.[12]

The port city of Shammel is located among the beaches of the Bay of Gifts on the northeastern end of the continent. Beyond that is the Aggrad Mountains, which stretch hundreds of miles before reaching the immense Rumedam Desert, also known as the Marquesian Desert.[4] The city of Ank'Harel, an imperial capital surrounded by a web of smaller villages, is alternately described as being near the center of the Rumedam Desert,[4] or only a day-and-a-half's foot travel from the Aggrad Mountains, making it close to the northern shore relative to most of the continent.[13] To the far south are scrubland and marshes leading to the volatile mountains surrounding the Suuthan Volcano.[4] A separate and distinctive mountain formation, the spire-like Smouldercrown Mountains, can be found 290 miles southeast of Ank'Harel.[14] The desert is at least partly bordered by jungles;[15] on the west coast of Marquet is a village surrounded by tropical greenery.[16]

The Rumedam has a sister desert, the Panagrip Sands. To the south are the Gloomed Jungles of Aeshanadoor, home to an erudite orcish society called Yios.[17]

The Hellcatch Valley is near the center of Marquet, and despite its dusty, badlands terrain it is home to a number of independent cities and villages. To the southwest are the spire-like peaks, plateaus, and fertile valleys of the Taloned Highlands, governed by the Stratos Throne from the region's heights. To the northwest of the Hellcatch Valley are the Serpentwind Peaks, and within that range is the jungle valley of the Oderan Wilds.[18]

Shumas is a region in Marquet.[19] It's unclear what relation this has to the Vault of Shumas, a hidden temple in the Aggrad Mountains that belonged to one religion from the beginning of the Age of Arcanum until just before the Calamity, when it was brutally taken over by another religion's adherents.[20]

Notable places

  • Ank'Harel is a large, central oasis city in the Marquesian Desert,[4] locally known as the Rumedam Desert.[9]
  • The Vault of Shumas, in the Aggrad Mountains, was a religious sanctuary[21] taken over by followers of Zehir. It was here that Arkhan found the Wreath of the Prism.
  • Shammel is a bustling port city on the northern coast on the Bay of Gifts, and is home to the Dalen's Closet beach resort.
  • The Scaldwind Sands were once the domain of Thordak and his armies.[22]
  • Shandal is a small village south of Ank'Harel where Shaun Gilmore's parents live.[23]
  • In the Smouldercrown Mountains was a hidden ziggurat that served as a second portal for members of the Remnants to get into the Shadowfell.[24]
  • The active Suuthan Volcano is worshipped in southern Marquet.[4]
  • Jrusar is the capital city in the jungle valley of the Oderan Wilds.[25]
  • Bassuras/Bosarus is in the Hellcatch Valley[26]
  • Yios is a traditionally orcish erudite society.[27]
  • Evishi is a city in the Oderan Wilds[28]

Society

Demographics

Fan art of Shaun Gilmore, a native of Marquet, by David Rodrigues.[art 3]

Individuals native to or descended from Marquet tend to have darker hair and skin than those from more northerly climes.[29][30][31]

Many desert elves emigrated from Marquet to the Menagerie Coast following the banishment of Uk'otoa.[32] Only small numbers of dwarves from Marquet visit the Menagerie Coast as travelers or sailors,[33] but one of the dwarves on Rumblecusp, Alana, hailed from Marquet.[34]

When Vox Machina visited Ank'Harel, it was mostly populated by humans; they saw only one elf, and saw no dwarves or goliaths, but they did see dark-skinned halflings, a few half-elves, some half-orcs, and a couple of tieflings.[35] Tiefling entertainers from the Menagerie Coast sometimes tour Marquet.[36]

People of many races commingle in Jrusar: pachydan, katari, halfling, goliath, elf, orc, gnome, genasi, eisfuura, and more. A young half-elf/half-orc, Anni Aughta, is a performer in the city.[37]

The Duneburrow goblins are known to inhabit the deserts and frightening stories about them are told on the Menagerie Coast.[38]

Politics

Ank'Harel

The central city of Ank'Harel, ruled by J'mon Sa Ord, is in the center of the Rumedam Desert. Numerous small oasis townships surround it,[39] including Shandal, hometown of Shaun Gilmore. It is unclear whether J'mon's rule reaches as far northeast as the city of Shammel.

Aeshanadoor

The wilderness jungle of Aeshanadoor in the south is the home of the orcish society of Yios, the peak of collegiate study and social influence. It is ruled by the Court of the Lambent Path.[40]

Taloned Highlands

In the southwest, the Taloned Highlands' towering mountains hold elevated valleys, shelves, and plateaus with room for agriculture. The military might of the region is held by the Stratos Throne.[41]

Hellcatch Valley

In the center of the continent is the roadway nexus known as the Hellcatch Valley, a rugged badlands of harsh, dusty canyons. It holds numerous independent villages and cities competing for dominance, with no central government.[42]

Oderan Wilds

To the northwest, the lush jungle of the Oderan Wilds is home to many towns and villages along the Honored Trails. Its capital is the five-spired city of Jrusar, home of the Chandei Quorum which rules the region.[43]

Culture

  • The Marquesian language is spoken by many humanoids on the continent; it is the main language spoken in the trade and tourism hub of Shammel Bay, but a majority also speak Common with varying proficiency.[44] Marquesian became the language of the Clovis Concord elite and of the pirates of the Revelry due to Marquesian people settling in the Menagerie Coast.[45]
  • Merchants of import, such as those present for the Harvest Close Festival Victory Pit tournament in Zadash, wore outfits consisting of very light linens of a dull egg-shell white, with trims of gold and purple, paired with deep blue pants.[46]
  • Gambit of Ord is a Marquesian card game.[47]
  • An antiwar folk song from Marquet, Let the Sword Grow Rust, is a code-song used by the Golden Grin.
  • An example of a weapon with a Marquesian flair is a Scimitar of Speed, a finely crafted sword with pearlescent gems embedded in the hilt.[48]

History

During the Age of Arcanum, Marquet was the lush home of a prominent civilization. During the early years of the Calamity, warring nations on the continent turned the verdant landscape into ash and desert,[49] and during the Calamity a vengeful god was responsible for the creation of the Rumedam Desert and the mountain ranges that separate the regions of the continent.[50]

Three to four centuries after the Divergence, Marquesian explorers and traders had a seminal influence on other continents. Over on Tal'Dorei, a legendary spicemonger from Marquet named Abdar helped to fund the construction of Emon in the fourth or maybe fifth century PD, and a major district of the city still bears his name.[51] Around 400 PD, an exploration vessel from Marquet reached the Swavain Islands and first established trade with the Ki'Nau. The Marquesians soon returned and established a colonial outpost called Damali on the Menagerie Coast, the beginning of what would eventually expand into the independent Clovis Concord.[7] A secret sect of Marquesian worshipers of Zehir brought about the banishment of Uk'otoa, who had been a guardian of the Ki'Nau, and an influx of Marquesian travelers to the Menagerie Coast soon followed, including elves who helped found Gwardan.[52][53]

Fan art of J'Mon Sa Ord, by Lap Pun Cheung.[art 4]

At that time in the fifth century PD, the great city of Ank'Harel had just been founded under the rule of J'mon Sa Ord.[54] When J'mon Sa Ord was declared emperor in Ank'Harel, the Marquesian colonists of the Menagerie Coast demanded independence, and the emperor eventually granted it.[55] At the time, the red dragon Thordak tyrannically ruled over half of Marquet[56] from his base in the Scaldwind Sands.[57] Thordak, with his feral armies of kobolds and other serpentine followers,[58] attacked the city when it was perhaps 100 or 150 years old,[59] but after a two-week battle, his armies were defeated and Thordak was wounded, and as he fled north over the ocean he was struck down and fell into the sea.[60] He was presumed dead for nearly two centuries before his confrontation with Emon's forces in 794 or 795 PD.[61]

Campaign One

Vox Machina's quest for Vestiges of Divergence to help them defeat the Chroma Conclave took them to Ank'Harel. They made allies with J'mon Sa Ord and picked up a lead on Anna Ripley, whose adventuring party had beaten Vox Machina to Cabal's Ruin.

After Scanlan Shorthalt left Vox Machina with his daughter Kaylie, the rest of the party returned to Ank'Harel to bring Ripley's hand to the Scarbearers. There they met Taryon Darrington, who joined in their adventures.[62] They also secured a pardon for their employee Jarett Howarth, who had been exiled from Marquet.[63]

Some time later, Scanlan and Kaylie eventually decided to travel to Ank'Harel to exact revenge on criminals who had conned Scanlan for gold. They ruined the criminals and took over their place in the city's underworld, ending up running one of the top criminal organizations in the city.[64]

During Vox Machina's nearly year-long break from adventuring, with Taryon having become a regular member, the party took a winter vacation to the Bay of Gifts.[65] Soon afterward, Scanlan returned to Vox Machina with word that one of his employees, Lionel Gayheart, had discovered a second ziggurat in Marquet's Smouldercrown Mountains. The party investigated and found the Remnants, including a resurrected Delilah Briarwood, moving artifacts through the ziggurat sphere. The party traveled through the sphere to the Shadowfell, beginning their confrontation with Vecna.[66]

Between Campaign One and Campaign Two

In 813 PD, Percy and Vex had a destination wedding at Dalen's Closet, which was interrupted by Sylas Briarwood and some subordinate vampires. Vox Machina finally destroyed Sylas for good.[67]

Around 815 PD, the Myriad crime syndicate established a satellite cell in Marquet.[68]

Around 823 PD, the inter-regional Apex War broke out between the Stratos Throne and the Court of the Lambent Path, but after years of fighting the war ended in stalemate and truce; both societies have been rebuilding since.[69]

Campaign Two

After the Vo villagers of Rumblecusp recovered their memories, many had places to which they wanted to return, and five locations across Exandria were chosen to get people closest to where they wanted to go. One location was on the western coast of Marquet.[70] This location had a beautiful village with tall, bright-white towers and an exterior wall upon a hillside teeming with vegetation, near a cluster of tropical trees.[71]

Behind the scenes

The culture and architecture of Marquet's cities is broadly inspired by 12th-century Turkey, and its outlying villages are reminiscent of early Palestine.[4] In a December 2018 episode of Talks at Google, Matthew Mercer talked about the cultural inspirations for Marquet and his desire to revisit the continent in greater depth:

For me, personally, because it leans so heavily into, you know, Anglo fantasy and the very Lord of the Rings thing, as we've played through, our first campaign was definitely meant to be an introduction to D&D for most people at the table that never played. So I kept it very classic fantasy. And the more we've played, I've wanted to pull in other cultural inspirations. I would love to, at some point down the road, explore more of Marquet in our world, because I grew up loving Arabian Nights and a lot of ancient Sumerian Mesopotamian religion, classic Middle Eastern history, and mythology. I think it's so grossly underrepresented in modern media, and so I'd love to incorporate elements of that down the road as well. I love Eastern philosophy and Eastern mythology as well. It is wonderful and doesn't get a lot of love.
– 
[!h]

Ahead of Campaign Three, Matt wrote in a blog post on the official Critical Role website that the city of Ank'Harel was "deeply realized and fleshed out" with the help of others on the Call of the Netherdeep adventure module from Wizards of the Coast.[9] Makenzie De Armas, a Wizards of the Coast writer on Call of the Netherdeep, stated that the writing team wished to make Ank'Harel cosmopolitan without creating a monolith of any culture and that southern and western Marquet are inspired by her Filipino heritage.[73] She described seeing the setting reflecting her Southeast Asian identity as "important and cathartic".[74]

In the post, Matt also named some locations on the continent for the first time, such as the Hellcatch Valley and the Taloned Highlands. In the post, he also stated that the deserts of Marquet only covered one-third of the continent, reducing their size from a previously stated approximately 70% of the overall land area.[9][75] He also wrote that Marquet as presented in Campaign Three was built with the help of sensitivity and cultural consultants.[9]

Trivia

References

  1. From Matthew Mercer's reddit comment showing the official spellings of Marquet and Ank'Harel.
  2. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) from 2:24:19 through 2:28:25.
  3. See "The Chase to Glintshore" (1x67) at 1:14:46.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 98.
  5. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 13:09.
  6. "Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep" on the official Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons website.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, pp. 17–18.
  8. See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) from 2:24:19 through 2:28:25.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 See "A Warm Welcome to Marquet and Campaign 3!" on CritRole.com.
  10. See "The Fate-Touched" (1x103) at 3:18:30.
  11. See a screenshot of the map.
  12. The shape of the continent and relative location of Ank'Harel and the Aggrad Mountains is described.  See "The Chase to Glintshore" (1x67) at 34:27.
  13. See "The Chase to Glintshore" (1x67) at 34:18.
  14. See "Unfinished Business" (1x100) at 1:03:10.
  15. See "Exandria: An Intimate History" (Sx61) at 7:39.
  16. See "Devoutness and Dicks" (2x107) at 1:29:17.
  17. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 13:54.
  18. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 14:19.
  19. See "The Gates of Zadash" (2x08) at 1:10:46.
  20. See "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" at 1:24 and at 15:08.
  21. See "CelebriD&D with Joe Manganiello" at 15:08.
  22. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 20:19.
  23. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 52:10.
  24. See "Unfinished Business" (1x100) at 0:20:30.
  25. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 16:11.
  26. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 2:53:16.
  27. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 14:01.
  28. See "The Trail and the Toll" (3x03) at 3:25:46.
  29. In Matthew Mercer's notes shared on Twitter, Jarett Howarth, a human from from Ank'Harel, is noted to have dark skin.
  30. Halflings in Marquet are noted to have dark skin.  See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 2:28:39.
  31. Elves from Marquet have a darker complexion than those of Bysaes Tyl.  See "Homeward Bound" (2x48) at 1:36:51.
  32. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 66.
  33. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 162.
  34. See "A Fog Lifted" (2x106) at 2:57:47.
  35. See "The Streets of Ank'Harel" (1x65) at 2:28:39.
  36. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 180.
  37. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 53:08.
  38. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 174.
  39. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 0:13:41.
  40. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 0:13:54.
  41. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 0:14:19.
  42. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 0:14:39.
  43. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 0:15:23.
  44. See "One Year Later..." (1x95) at 1:29:52.
  45. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 9.
  46. See "Whispers of War" (2x18) at 1:08:15.
  47. See "Fleeting Memories" (2x14) at 36:56.
  48. See "Unfinished Business" (1x100) at 3:14:12.  The weapon is identified at 3:37:30.
  49. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 159.
  50. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 13:09.
  51. Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 90.
  52. See "Homeward Bound" (2x48) at 1:36:51.
  53. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 66. See also p. 18, which mentions that Uk'otoa was banished shortly after J'mon Sa Ord was crowned emperor in Ank'Harel.
  54. In 810 PD, the party recalled that Ank'Harel had existed for "about 400 years" and had always been run by J'mon Sa Ord.  See "Echoes of the Past" (1x38) at 2:26:40.
  55. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 18.
  56. See "Desperate Measures" (1x40) at 2:36:36.  Thordak had ruled half of Marquet for centuries before attacking the city; see also the reference from "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) about the city being 100 or 150 years old when he attacked.
  57. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 14:46.
  58. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 20:19.
  59. J'mon Sa Ord says that Thordak attacked Ank'Harel when the city was about 100 or 150 years old.  See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) from 0:16:20 through 0:16:41.
  60. See "A Traveler's Gamble" (1x66) at 21:00.
  61. Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 11.
  62. See the second half of "A Bard's Lament" (1x85).
  63. See the beginning of "Daring Days" (1x86).
  64. See "Talks Machina: Campaign Wrap-up" (Sx31) at 2:50:26.
  65. See "One Year Later..." (1x95) from 1:04:43 through 2:06:32.
  66. See "Masquerade" (1x99) at 1:23:23 through the end of "Unfinished Business" (1x100).
  67. See the entirety of "Dalen's Closet" (Sx47).
  68. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 46.
  69. See "The Draw of Destiny" (3x01) at 14:55.
  70. See "Devoutness and Dicks" (2x107) at 59:42.
  71. See "Devoutness and Dicks" (2x107) at 1:29:17.
  72. See "Critical Role | Matthew Mercer + More | Talks at Google" at 40:22
  73. Twitter icon.png Makenzie De Armas (@MakenzieLaneDA) on Twitter: "For clarification: I'm Southeast Asian. When writing Ank'Harel content for #Netherdeep, we wanted the city to feel cosmopolitan without monolithizing any cultures. So, there are folks in Ank'Harel who hail from south/west Marquet—areas inspired by my Filipino heritage." (2021-10-19).
  74. Twitter icon.png Makenzie De Armas (@MakenzieLaneDA) on Twitter: "It's hinted at in this article, but I'm very proud to say— I helped flesh out parts of Ank'Harel and Marquet. Matt was gracious enough to trust me with part of his world, and I'm beyond thrilled to have gotten the chance to include facets of my identity in this setting." (2021-10-18). See also, the follow-up tweet: You'll see more once Call of the #Netherdeep is released, but all I can say for now is that I legitimately cried a little while writing this stuff. Seeing my Southeast Asian identity reflected in such a major fantasy setting is so important and cathartic. I'm so damn grateful.
  75. See "Critical Role Panel w/ Matthew Mercer and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn from MomoCon" at 34:05.
  76. Critical Role: Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting, p. 98. "Marquessian Desert" and "Marquessian cities".
  77. Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, p. 303.

Art:

  1. Official art of a village in Marquet, by Ameera (source). Used with permission.
  2. Fan art of Vox Machina in Marquet, by NLN4 (source).  Used with permission.
  3. Fan art of Shaun Gilmore, a native of Marquet, by David Rodrigues (source).  Used with permission.
  4. Fan art of J'Mon Sa Ord, by Lap Pun Cheung (source).  Used with permission.


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