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Karameikos is described as deeply forested flatlands and hills bordered by rugged mountains to the North. The territory is largely untamed, haunted by many monsters and tribes of goblins. Civilization is tenuous and engaged in a constant struggle to push the wilderness back. Ancient nations once ruled there, and many mysterious ruins are hidden about the land. There is also cultural struggle between the native Traladaran people and the new Thyatian settlers trying to build Karameikos into a powerful nation. Karameikos is one of the most frequently visited areas of the 'Known World' in publications for the Basic Dungeons & Dragons game.
Karameikos is ruled by King Stefan Karameikos, a Thyatian who gained rulership over the nation in AC 970 by trading his ancestral lands, the Duchy of Machetos, to Emperor Thincol of Thyatis in exchange for autonomous rulership over the Imperial Province of Traladara. The nation was originally called the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, and theoretically owed fealty to Thyatis, but following the great war between Thyatis and Alphatia, which greatly damaged Thyatis and resulted in Alphatia's sinking, Duke Stefan sold out his homeland and friend and declared himself King, and Karameikos gained greater prominence in the Known World.
The Grand Duchy of Karameikos was first briefly described in the 1981 Dungeons & Dragons Expert Rulebook, where it was presented as a sample wilderness adventure area. Soon following, adventures were published specifically set in Karameikos.
The definitive references for Karameikos are:
- GAZ1 - The Grand Duchy of Karameikos Gazetteer by Aaron Allston for the Frank Mentzer edited boxed D&D game rules sets and the Rules Cyclopedia compilation of same.
- Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure boxed set for the AD&D game.
- In Search of Adventure compilation of Modules B1-B9 of the Basic D&D product line.
Other print sources featuring information about Karameikos are:
- The timeline in the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set.
- The Poor Wizard's Almanac/Joshuans Almanac series.
- The Penhaligon Trilogy of novels also takes place in Karameikos but differs in many details from canon sources.
- Grubb, Jeff. "Karameikos, Ho!" Dragon #206 (TSR, 1994).
- Grubb, Jeff. "The Magic of Karameikos" Dragon #207 (TSR, 1994).
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