The River Kingdoms are where the desperate go to escape their pasts and carve out new lives. The lords of the nearly two dozen River Kingdoms constantly fight among themselves, and small mercenary companies battle for ownership of each hamlet and bridge. One result of the frequent infighting is that food in the River Kingdoms is quite valuable. Few souls dare to farm or raise livestock for fear of banditry. What little food is grown is kept secure in castle granaries or well-guarded cattle pens; food suppliers become local heroes, and mistreated farmers or cattle herders have been known to torch their lands and find new towns, where they receive a hero’s welcome. Those who hide here and grow strong include hardened criminals, exiled nobles, firebrands, religious zealots, slavers, and necromancers, but even these treacherous folk tend to follow the strong code of River Freedoms. Those who rule are strong, wily, and willing to do anything to keep their hold on power. The governments of the River Kingdoms range from brutal despotism to pure anarchy, and represent every step in between. The only thing that can briefly unite the River Kingdoms is a threat from Galt, Numeria, or Razmiran, and even then, each princeling vies with his fellows to lead the resistance. Larger realms find the River Kingdoms to be useful sources of mercenaries and a convenient place to exile undesirables. Attempts to seize and hold River Kingdoms territory prove expensive, thanks to the locals’ martial skills, honed by years of infighting.