Palmheart is a nation created by the lich Leardon Sunflare in 2959. Seven hundred years ago it was the western reaches of old Estorium, a magical empire that spanned much of the continent. Following the Illithid War, however, the empire was left in ruins and abandoned.
In 2959, the wizard Tephra opened a portal to the Far Realm within the ruins of the Estorian city of Derenath, sparking an invasion of aberrations that Leardon and the other Brightstone Heroes moved to counter. During the invasion Leardon met the sorceress Vyrellis, who wished to claim all of Estorium for herself. After some bargaining, she agreed to grant him the western stretch of jungle. Leardon called his new nation Palmheart, after his goddess's holy symbol, intending for it to be a safe haven for the living and undead alike.
Palmheart is a constitutional monarchy. Though Leardon is the sole head of state and does not have a separate legislative body to answer to, he considers his powers to be constrained by the constitution. It was drawn up by Leardon over the course of five years following the nation’s founding, with some input from various other government officials. The constitution is generally considered to be fair to Palmheart's citizens, both living and undead. Individual towns and cities are free to enact whatever rules and systems of local governance that they see fit, so long as they are within the bounds of Palmheart's laws. Three times a year, a representative from each city meets in the capital of Terastra to inform Leardon of any changes in laws, finances, and the like for Leardon to review with his advisors, as well as to bring up issues that require intervention from the national government. Representatives are elected annually by the people of the city they represent.
Slavery is illegal in Palmheart, though enforced servitude is sometimes used as a punishment for certain severe crimes. Turning undead citizens is punishable by fines, then jail time, then exile. Raising someone into undeath against their will is considered a capital crime, and can be punished by death.
The primary deity worshiped in Palmheart is Evening Glory, the goddess of eternal love and undeath. Her main teaching is that love transcends all things, including the bonds of death. Most other faiths are welcomed, though the worship of deities that explicitly oppose the undead is frowned upon (Pelor especially) and the worship of evil deities is prohibited.
Most citizens of Palmheart are living humans. The next largest group is made of of undead of all varieties. Beyond the city walls live small tribes of Estorian humans, aarakocra, batiri goblins, albino dwarves, pterafolk, grungs, and tabaxi. Weretigers have also occasionally been spotted, and the yuan-ti are rumored to be making a resurgence after having been decimated by aberrations during Tephra's invasion.
In terms of wildlife, the jungle is home to many very large animals such as dinosaurs and hydras. Demons, aberrations, and uncontrolled undead also roam the jungle, attacking whoever or whatever they come across.
Palmheart is hot, humid, and rainy throughout the year. The temperature regularly climbs as high as 95 F during the day and seldom falls below 70 F even at night. A day without rain is rare, but rain varies from a steady mist to drenching downpours. Full-blown tropical storms are not uncommon, bringing sheets of rain, high wind, lightning, tall waves at sea, and immense surf along the coast.
Leardon has utilized a Venetian Gothic architectural scheme in rebuilding the ruined cities of Estorium.
Formerly a ruined Estorian city, Terastra was turned into a war camp by the Brightstone Heroes during their war against Tephra. Since then, it has been rebuilt into a slowly burgeoning city. It is said to be expanding not just on the surface, but underground as well. Most of Palmheart's undead live in Terastra.
Leardon's seat of power is a small palace, with two floors on three acres. It does not appear much more lavishly decorated than the rest of the city, as Leardon has no desire to flaunt his wealth and considers excessive opulence to be more in line with sun worshipers. The palace serves primarily municipal functions, featuring relatively simple living quarters for Leardon and his son.
Like Terastra, Rathna was a ruined Estorium city used as a war camp by the Brightstone Heroes. During a battle with Tephra, however, the goddess Nalindra interceded on behalf of the corrupted paladin Gryff, incinerating all of Tephra's aberrant and undead minions within the city's ruins. Many of the soldiers immediately converted to her worship, building a temple dedicated to Nalindra with a shrine to Gryff.
Palmheart's only port town is in the north, along the Inner Sea. Established long ago by pirates as the lone beacon of what passed for civilization in a savage land, Port Norion is run by seven merchant princes, each with an equal vote in matters. The merchant princes each have specific monopolies that cover all merchandise sold in the city, and have an arrangement with Leardon that gets them protection and other access to Palmheart's resources. Leardon otherwise does not interfere in how they run the port so long as they do not violate his laws.
A network of caverns beneath Terastra (and a smaller network below Rathna) that is home to most of Palmheart's undead population, for whom the jungle weather is not conducive. The caverns have been connected to the Underdark, with at least one passage mapped out that connects the two cities. Leardon has so far focused most of his exploratory efforts below the surface rather than above.
Centered on what was once Estorium's capital city of Derenath, this massive zone is heavily corrupted with both aberrant and abyssal energies as a result of Tephra's machinations. Very little natural life survives here, and the region is filled with uncontrolled aberrations, demons, and undead. Several guard posts have been set up along the river Drylin's Run, which forms the northeastern border of the Deadlands, to try and prevent the creatures within from entering Palmheart.