geography & lore
welcome to our world
“The year is 1290. King Harold, after transforming the duchy of Algundy into a Kingdom and anointing himself King, is away at war with the Fens. In his absence, and in reaction to his unilateral decision to take Algundy for himself and his heirs, the renowned Earl of Westfall, Alvered, has assumed the position of Archduke of Algundy. As the head of the Witan, Alvered Westfall plans to remove the crown from King Harold’s head and restore Algundy to the Duchy it once was, with the Westfall family firmly at the helm. The threat of an Algundian civil war looms.”
Blood Red Roses is set in the League state of Algundy. The League is a group of countries that all share a common heritage as part of the Solar Empire, and share a common religion, the Church of The Grey Lady. The ancient Solar Empire was ruled by the Sun Emperor and as a people they worshipped a pantheon of hundreds of Gods. At the time of the Solar Empire’s collapse Algunds had only been worshipping the Grey Lady for 50 years and continue to do so now with a firmly established faith. Those who do not worship The Lady are considered heretics.
There are other countires who, by their heritage or religion, are not part of the League. Those worthy of note are the ones that have borders with League countries and therefore may hold some influence – The Fenslands, Khanate of the Magyr and further to the south, The Barbarian Lands.
Each country has its own language, history and lore. None of which need to be memorised and all of which are being expanded by the community all the time. The lore of Blood Red Roses is always developing and we invite you to be part of the process with us.
First, let's talk algundy
Some might call Algundy uncivilised, some might say it’s a beautiful, backwater country… The truth is Algundy is not as technologically, culturally or financially advanced as some other League states. It lies at the very Northern edge of the League, far from the southern sophisticated cities of Phoenice that were born during the Solar Empire and as such, change happens slowly. Algundy is, and always has been, a buffer zone, a frontier province holding back barbarians and Wild Folk from The Fens Lands. The time and efforts of certainly the eastern counties of Algundy are spent on keeping the borders safe from not only raiders from Fenslands but also holding back the Evil that emanates from the East.
Algundy’s religion is that of The Grey Lady, and its Church has power and influence throughout its population with those who don’t worship The Grey Lady labelled as heretics.
Algundy is made up of several earldoms, each with their own capital and ruling families. The brief overviews below will give you a glimpse into what life is like in each earldom of Algundy.
Ruler: Earl Thomas Salter
Considered one of the richest Earldoms in Algandy, Badenwald enjoys a mild climate and a bountiful orchard harvest year after year. Located in the north of the Kingdom, sandwiched between the brooding forest of Jaegerwald and the rugged highlands of Nordgard, Badenwald seems like a different country. The countryside has gently rolling hills, well maintained roads and the people seem generally happy and prosperous. The dominant thing a stranger would notice is the neat rows of fruit trees and vines; orchards and vineyards seem to be everywhere in Badenwald.
The nobility of Badenwald enjoy hunting, tourneys and other noble pursuits, but what they most enjoy is profit and taking pride in a respected vintage. Manor houses are more common than castles and tend to be vast things with barns, storage vats, barrel workshops and other necessities. Instead of being surrounded by woodland for hunting, the typical Badenwald manor is surrounded by neat rows of fruit trees and vines.
Badenwald supplies not only Algundy with fine wines and spirits but also neighbouring countries. Barrels travel south and west on oxcarts and wagons; and this is the main reason Badenwald joined the revolt against the original Archduke, Harold. Greed drove Earl Thomas Salter and his court, as Earl DeBurne of Osterune promised to cut taxes and tariffs on Badenwald exports in exchange for military support. The plan was set, the Badenwald army mustered and waited to be joined by the Jaegerwald army before marching together southwards into Redcliffe. Unfortunately the Hunter Prince of Jaegerwald had his own plans and his own scores to settle, and pre-empted the war by invading Westfall four days before the war was meant to start.
Carrying on with the plan the Badenwalders marched south only to be routed when their Earl was captured by Sir William of Redcliffe, the original Archduke’s champion. Earl Thomas spent the rest of the war in Redcliffe, while his family and Earldom spent the rest of the war trying to raise funds to ransom him.
The formerly wealthy and prosperous earldom has languished under the massive debts it incurred during the war of the witch – Badenwald sided with deburne and Earl Salter was taken prisoner. Badenwald incurred debts to free him that it is still paying to this day and has been trying to keep Veermarkian bankers from the door ever since. The rise of the Archduke has seen the fate of the earldom improve however, Westfall investment, the creation of the new ports on the coast and the tariff-free trade with Losse have considerably improved Badenwalds fortunes. The fine wines, spirits and ales of Badenwald – some say the best in Algundy – once again make their way to market across Algundy and beyond. There is a tangible sense of optimism in the earldom, that winter is finally over and the Westfall sun will return the Earldom to its previous position of power. However many of the nobility have personal and powerful reasons for being in doubt of their political position.
The house of Salter, although having ruled Badenwald for ten generation suffer from a terrible affliction, some say a curse. Even the mildest ale or sweetest cider reacts badly with the Salters stomachs causing sickness. Though famed for having the finest alcoholic beverages served at their table the Salters are to a man, teetotal, they smile sourly as they sip fruit juice or tea and watch their guests enjoy themselves.
The Barren hills lie south of Redcliff between Fensgard to the east and Vesterland and Veermark to the west. High altitude, windswept rocks and scrublands form an effective natural barrier between the easter and western Earldoms. Whilst there is a population of shepherds and other commoners that survive on free-roaming animal husbandry there are few settlements of any significance and growth of any crops aside from gorse is all but impossible. Were the Barren Hills more productive in any reasonable sense then an earldom might attempt to claim ownership but for now the neighbouring Earldoms are content to leave alone that which costs them nothing. From the Barren Hills traders drive their herds into the market towns of the surrounding Earldoms to turn a meagre profit before returning to their isolated homesteads to continue their isolated lives. Some say that on the isolated moorland of the hills small enclaves of old faith still remain, families that have kept alive forms of worship deemed profane in more civilised areas of the world and whilst occasionally a priest or two might find the zeal to attempt to minister to the hill-people of Algundy it is few that endure more than a winter or two on its bleak and desolate landscape.
Ruler: Earl Parrsey
Fensgard is the largest Earldom in Algundy, It spreads from the Meadrun in the South and East where it shares the border with the Fenslands, and runs to the Barren Hills in the West. To the north lie the safer, more civilized borders with the Earldoms of Redcliff and Osterune. The land gets more forested and wild the closer one gets to the Fenslands, turning into the occasional bog or marsh. To the West, toward the Barren Hills the land is less forested, becoming moorland and scrub, broken with craggy rocks and strange standing stones. This area has been tainted by the War of the Witch, as Eloise De Noir hid her lair in the Barren Hills summoning Lost to her cause, and, even after her defeat, the Lost still roam this land. The Northern border is much more arable, and the classic idea of the frontier is replaced with farmland, villages and small towns. These Fensgarders would often claim that they are actually the subjects of Redcliff or Osterune rather than be associated with the unruly reputation of the rest of the Earldom.
To the rest of Algundy, the hard working frontier folk of Fensgard are primitive, uncouth and backward, with a little too much fens blood in their veins. To the folk of Fensgard, this may indeed be true, but they have watched the borders of the Fenslands for centuries, and have learned to live with their Fensman brothers across the river, trading with them and even allowing them to settle, sometimes marrying into Fensgard families. This means that the folks of Fensgard can be a little clannish at times, but are also some of the most welcoming Algandians one can meet.
It is no secret that the Algunds were once a barbarian race until the civilizing influence of the Solar Empire came north. Long before the Empire came, the Algunds and the Fensmen of Fensgard warred, traded and intermarried, and at one point Fensgard was in control of the Fensmen rather than the Algunds. When the Empire came north, Fensgard was the last collection of tribes to fall under imperial rule, fighting to the last. One aspect of Algundian history often forgotten by the rest of the Duchy is the Border Stone that sits on a ford in the Meadrun between the border sof Algundy and the Fenslands. This stone has long marked the official truce between Algundy and the Fens, and although this is occasionally violated on both sides by small groups of raiders, both nations would never declare open war on each other whilst the stone remains.
Being independent and resourceful people who have learned to depend on family and neighbours, has lead to another side of Fensgard culture – the Border Reivers. These clans live close to the river, and have relatives across the Meadrun in the Fenslands. If a member of the family is insulted or has grievance, the whole family takes up the dispute, taking ‘justice’ into their own hands. This leads to a culture of low level feuds which occasionally flair up into open warfare between families, going from cattle raiding and banditry to arson, and murder. Should the King’s appointed representatives try to bring a culprit to justice, they are likely to find he’s already fled across the river to live with his cousins for a few seasons until the hue and cry dies down. To give an example of how powerful the Reiver families are, the two largest, the Abbot’s and the Mercer’s can each raise an army of over a thousand fighters.
Prior to the war of the Witch Fensgard was a growing Earldom. Peace with the Fensman seemed to be holding, and there was land unclaimed for those willing to work for it. Many peasants fled to Fensgard to change their luck and escape callous lords nd no one paid too close attention to their neighbours, instead they relied on them in times of danger. The War has changed this, many woodland camps and even villages lie abandoned. The woods now hold brigands, and fell creatures left from the Witch’s great army. The population of Fensgard is a third of what it was ten years ago, and with the threat from the East increasing few are willing to take up lives along the border.
A matter of pride to both noble and commoner alike is the daughter and heir of the Earl, Erika Hawkswift, who lead the earldom against Fensman raiders in her father’s absence, and married King Harald. It was this devotion to their Earl’s daughter that ensured Fensgards loyalty in the war, despite the bitterness of the struggle.
The stereotype of the average Fensgarder is essentially a Fens in Algundian clothing- big, smelly and hairy with an Axe and a bad attitude. Whilst this stereotype can be true in some areas of the Earldom, the true appearance of Fensgard is tempered by the frontier environment. It is true that many Fensgard folk have Fens Blood in their veins, and share features with the Fens, but almost all Fensgard folk have a rugged appearance, dressing in practical clothing and always carrying a weapon- traditionally being the Longbow or axe.
Despite Simon of Wisbruck’s attempts to convert Algundy to the Orthodox Church of Pheonice, many Fensgard folk still worship in the manner of the Old Church, with more than a little Pagan rites and rituals adapted to the worship of the Lady.
Of importance is the site of the Shrine of St. Frideswide, patron saint of Algundy. This was also the location of Wat’s Tavern before it was burnt down a many years ago.
Fensgard brings in a lot of trade from the Fenslands; amber, furs and iron, but also produces it own goods in the form of Lumber and fur. Being mostly forested, only small farms exist in Fensgard, and these are usually enough to supplement crops and grain brought in from more fertile duchies.
Smuggling is well known in Fensgard, as the Fens are very interested in black powder, and the League is very interested in the narcotic known as “Far Dreamer”. The River Wardens and Road Wardens have less control over the vast border of Fensgard, meaning smugglers can sneak across the border with all kinds of goods, avoiding the trade tax levied on all good that cross the borders.
Three Things Every Fensgarder Knows:
- A Few words in Fens: The border with the Fenslands, and the commonality of fens blood means that the average Fensgarder can speak a little of the Fens language. Usually oaths and curses, this words are often never said in polite company.
- A story about the lost: Proximity to the East and to the Barren Hills means that Fensgard has more than its fair share of the lost, as such, most Fensgarders know a story about the lost, or a friend or relative taken by them.
- Their Clan: The fensgarders are often born to large extended clan-like families spread over several villages. Chances are, a Fensgarder would know members of her family across the Earldom, and is always willing to offer hospitality to a distant relative.
Ruler: Prince Aedric Jaeger “The hunter prince of Jaegertwald”
Before the civil war Jaegertwald was possibly the most disliked place in Algundy, its culture is very different to the rest of the Kingdom.
Geographically the Earldom is a single huge forest occasionally pierced by rivers, roads and clearings where humans dared to settle. Although it’s been settled as long as the other Earldoms, the forests of Jaegertwald still have an ancient, unwelcoming feel to them. Here black oaks grow and little sunlight reaches the forest floor, fallen leaves lie like ankle deep ashes. The Jaegertwalders claim there’s is the oldest Earldom, and take quarrel with any who argue this fact, but if true they have learned to live with their gloomy forests rather than try to tame them. Jaegertwald communities tend to be walled or fenced, and give the impression of huddling together for protection from the forest. At the heart of most communities is a manor house or castle where the local lord lives.
The aristocracy of Jaegertwald are at the centre of its different feel, often the kindest thing said of one of them is that they are eccentric. Jaegertwald nobles look upon the nobility of all other Earldoms as a kind of second class nobility, and despise the foppish manners of the Chaubretians across the border. There true hatred is saved for their neighbours to the south, the Earldom of Westfall.
This elitism has lead the noble families of Jaegertwald looking amongst their own for potential marital matches. This has gone on for hundreds of years, and the generations of inbreeding have produced some odd social traits. Twitches, trembles and other nerve damage are common, as is anaemia, albinos and mental instability. Perhaps it’s these occasional mental abnormalities, or a bit of Chaubretian culture, whichever is the case the peasants of Jaegertwald are the worst treated and most downtrodden in Algundy. A Jaegertwald noble cares more for his hounds than he does for his tenants.
Another commented on trait is the cult of vendetta amongst the nobility. All of them seem to have a permanent ongoing feud with another noble family, often within the same family, duels are frequent as are murders. Resulting from this are the Regretful men, a guild of assassins that serve the needs of hurt pride, no decent noble would hire a thug, so the regretful men are educated, eloquent and display impeccable manners, always apologising to their victims for being crass enough to murder them.
Jaegertwald is home to the darkest legends of Algundy, within its dark forests Blood bears roam, normal bears glutted on spilt human blood and now will eat nothing else, their fur stained crimson by their unholy diet. The vampire Princess of Jaegertwald is another tale, it speaks of a noble woman long ago who tried to remain young and beautiful and bathed in blood of children until she became a vampire, unable to leave her castle by day and hunting the forests by night.
Marwald lies West of Redcliff and south of Westfall, the forbidden peaks and moorlands of the Seven Sisters blocking direct trade with the capital of the Duchy and fostering a fierce sense of independence from much of Algundy. It is characterised by its inclement weather as clouds and rain struggle to make their way across the peaks and lose their contents upon the lands of the Earldom. As a result Marwald is home to many a deep bog and marsh and its farmland is often sodden and unyielding to more conventional crops, Marwald exports substantial quantities of root vegetables and peat for industry but to the discerning healer many an unusual and powerful remedy can be found in the depths of its dark, fetid terrain.
Whilst large settlements are uncommon in Marwald it is dotted with smaller, more fortified settlements where low nobility, especially knights maintain a greater degree of autonomy and power than they might in other Earldoms, the difficulties of traversing the peatland only adding to their authority – it is not uncommon for knights to hold judgement or take actions that would more normally be reserved for landsgrave in the absence of easy access to higher nobility. As a further result of this travelling reeves, pardoners and executioners are a much more common sight in Marwald than in other Earldoms, as are judicial champions and other journeymen of the lawyers guilds.
Unfortunately for Marwald the treacherous nature of its terrain accompanied by its borders with chaubrette has made it something of a smugglers haven and refuge for those that have fallen afoul of Chaubretian law. Attempting to deal with those flouting the law in the marshy depths of the Earldom is something of an impossible task and whilst the law in Marwald is often harsh inevitably it falls short of being able to resolve the Earldom’s issues.
Capital: Dun Caithlea
Ruler: Earl Duncan the Rude (the Red)
‘Nordgard stands alone!’ (“Nuurdgat stans aloon!” in the local accent), is the battle cry of Nordgard, and no truer words are spoken. Nordgard is a plateau, the Earldom looks down on its neighbours from towering, and eagle haunted cliffs; only one route connects this isolated earldom to the rest of the Kingdom, the Drovers road that runs to Solnis. The very terrain seems intent on protecting this the smallest Earldom, as long as they hold the road, Nordgard is a fortress and the only part of Algandy that remained free from the Witches first reign of terror.
Dun Caithlea is an ancient granite monolith at the top of the Drovers road, the road actually passes through a tunnel at the base of the fortress. Built onto a spur of rock, the fortress took centuries to build, and seems to grow out of the cliffs themselves. With its position, an army marching up the Drovers Road would be marching to its death, hidden spots along the way would give slingers and javelin men easy targets, and as the Nordgarders say, “rocks are free”
Beyond Dun Caithlea the land opens out as rolling hills and bogs, the terrain climbing in altitude as you travel northwards. What trees grow, grow at the will of the wind, the heaths and vales are often windswept and storms in the Earldom are fierce and frequent. The weather and landscape affects agriculture, little grows well here. Turnips and potatoes, rye and oats, and thick grass that shaggy sheep and cattle graze on. The sheep, or rather their fleece is the Earldoms main export, the cold weather breeds a type of sheep that grows a thick fleece, and in the summer months this is sheared from them and the skins baled, ready to travel down the Drovers road to Solnis where the clothiers guild buy all they can.
The people of Nordgard have few of the luxuries of their lowland neighbours, and the work involved in simply surviving here gives them a rugged quality. Literacy is not common here, even nobles often keep scribes to read for them and to write letters. Clothing is warm and hardwearing, decoration tends to be simple apart from on ones best clothing, where entire winters can be spent on embroidering designs and patterns onto tunics and dresses.
The main social group is the village, often built around a lord’s long hall. Everyone in the village knows everyone else and is treated as extended family, so much so that it’s socially frowned upon to have relations with someone from your village. Villages regularly meet for joint feasts, markets and festivals, the year can see four or five such gatherings, giving the single people of each village a chance to meet, as well as to support their village in various competitions and sports.
Nordgarder nobles are often hard to spot amongst their people, they commonly dress in the same clothes and if a task requires the labour of the community, such as building a new barn, or repairing a bridge, the noble can often be found working in the mud next to his tenants.
In war the Nordgarders do not form a shield wall, they are used to defending from Dun Caithlea. The nobles put on their chain hauberks and take their great axes, and lead the men of the village to the Earls army. The villagers themselves are armed with simple spears, knives and leather shields, with maybe half of them armed with slings, darts and javelins. Trees for making bows are few in Nordgard.
Earl Duncan the Rude is a man loyal to the King of Algandy but also a man who rules with an iron fist, some whisper he murdered his elder brother to ensure the nobles would choose him as the next earl. To his people Duncan has been a good Earl, he does not raise the taxes and rarely interferes in the decisions of his nobles.
Those who do speak against the earl often regret their words, a man who stands in the Earls shadow and acts as his will is Baron Brogan of Dun Darrik. Brogan is the most feared warrior in all Nordgard, not just for his fighting skill but for his savagery, several times in duels he has been overcome with fury and bitten his opponent’s throats, tearing their flesh apart with his bare hands. He honours the old ways he claims by taking the heads of those he kills in single combat, and keeping them above his doorway as trophies. Rumour has it that another collection of heads exists out of sight of casual eyes, the heads of those who angered Earl Duncan.
Nordgard is the last great wilderness for the Wyld in Algandy, few Nordgarders haven’t seen fairies with their own eyes, and folklore and tales of the fay are spoken every winter. Some Nordgarders even have fay blood in their veins, or the blood of the Algunds ancient enemies, the giants and their kin. A Nordgarder feels naked without at least three or four talismans of protection from the influence of the evil fay, or Bain Sidhe as they call them.
Osterunes emblem has always been a black diamond, the heraldic symbol for coal. Famed for its coal and iron mines, Osterune has the potential to be the most wealthy earldom in the duchy. The banks of the Meadrun river are littered with the scars of open bell pits. You dig down until you hit coal and dig outwards as much as you can, until you risk a cave in. Then you dig another pit. Futher West the Earldom has dense forests and remote valleys, some of them quite lawless. Osterune is waiting for the industrial revolution, its combination of iron ore, coal and limestone is going to turn the earldom into the pulsing metal heart of the country.
Wardens March, the road the runs parallel to the Meadrun along the Eastern border of Osterune. During times of conflict, the garrisons would march along this path ensuring no invaders.
Further West the Earldom has dense forests and remote valleys, some of them quite lawless.
The other thing that Osterune is well known for is the mining town of Millbrook famous for being the site of the the largest waterwheel in Algundy, owned and governed by Millbrook family, this land, like much of Osterune i in the hands of the church.
Revised Osterune Heraldry since church rule.
Since the end of Civil War / War of the Witch, much of Osterune is now under church rule, therefore making Archbishop Simon of Wisbruck the de-facto land owner from a taxation point.
This earldom is still being developed – Check back soon!
Ruler: Earl Peter Coalville
Solnis is the earldom North of Osterune, and is the most northerly earldom with access to the Meadrun river. The Earldom has grown rich on the river trade, applying tariffs to all vessels mooring at its docks, and trading extensively with the Fens jarldoms across the river. Despite its Earl sitting upon his throne the true rulers of Solnis are the guilds, the Clothiers guild makes vast profits on combining fine Nordgard wool with dyes brough across the river from the Fenslands. The Stevedores guild control the docks, profiting from all the river trade the Great bridge brings to them, and providing ‘muscle’ to the Clothiers guild in times of strife.
In Solnis, wealth is more important than title, the sons and daughters of wealthy guild burghers marry into the noble families, dowries and trade arrangements bringing new money to ancient titles. Of all of Algundy’s earldoms, Solnis is the most progressive, the feudal system is almost dead here, peasants are almost non-existent. The landowners of Solnis find it cheaper to pay workers for their labour than to provide them with land and home. The capital city of Soln is a sprawling metropolis, only second to Redcliffe in size; its streets are filled with labourers and artisans of all types, and everyone seems to have an idea that will make their fortune, if they can only find an investor.
Besides its merchant’s hall and castle another building counts as a wonder of Algandy, the groaning bridge. The bridge is a marvel of engineering, merely 10 years old, engineers from all over the League were hired to help in its construction. As wide as 3 ox carts and stretching the full 130 paces from the Algundian bank to the Fensland bank, the bridge is one of the longest in the League. Nine great columns are sunk into the rivers bed to support it, the bridge acts as a natural barrier to sea traffic going up river and any but small river craft going downstream.
The bridge has mooring docks for river barges upstream, and for large vessels downstream and in this way Solnis make more profit. Cargo to go up river has to be unloaded, ported to the upriver docks, and loaded aboard a barge which will continue the journey south to Osterune or Fensgard. This incurs three separate fee’s, two docking fee’s and the wages for the stevedores who transfer the cargo. This, along with the fee’s charged for using the bridge have given it the nicknames of ‘the groaning bridge’, from the groans of those forced to pay tolls, or perhaps the groaning of the filled Clothiers guild’s coffers. A more common name along the river is ‘the choke’ as it acts to choke off trade along the river unless Solnis receives a cut.
The cloth of Solnis is famed throughout the northern League, fine woolcloth, light and warm and dyed in brilliant colours by exotic materials from beyond the river. The weavers of Solnis work in great weaving sheds, broad looms run night and day, skilled weavers are in high demand. From the weaving sheds the bolts of cloth travel Westwards on Ox drawn carts, first to Redcliffe, then across the border into the rest of the League.
As can be expected the bolts of cloth attract taxes as they travel from one earldom to another, and this was Solnis’s reason for joining the rebellion of Earl DeBurne of Osterune. The rebel Earl, promised the Clothiers guild that they would be exempt from all tax and duties within Algandy for ten years in exchange for their assistance in the war. With no grievance other than paying taxes, Solnis dropped out of the war as soon as it was clear that Earl DeBurne’s cause was lost.
Walter Jenkins, former Guild master of the Clothiers Guild, makes his home in Soln. One of the richest men in Algandy, and certainly the most powerful in Solnis. While semi-retired, Jenkins maintains a lot of influence and political locally. His daughter is married to Earl Colville’s son, this fact has allowed him and the guild to continue to have the Earl’s ear when attempting to negotiate deals that are favorable to them.
Earl Peter Colville, is a quiet man who enjoys the luxuries of his position. Known at court as “the tongue of the clothiers”, Earl Peter’s mother, wife, and daughter-in-law all came from merchant families in the Clothiers Guild.
Jarl Raddni Raddnisson, a Fens clan chief living in exile in Algandy after being driven out of his clan in a coup. Jarl Raddni constantly maneuvers and schemes to raise enough money to fight to recover his birthright.
This earldom is still being developed – Check back soon!
This earldom is still being developed – Check back soon!
Earl Alvered Westfall Westfall is the Earldom directly west of Redcliff on a direct overland route with Chaubrette. Characterised by its relatively open fields and farmland Westfall has historically been influenced as much by the Foreign nation as it has by Algundy, and shares many cultural practices, holidays and festivities in common with its Chaubretian neighbours. Its primary income has historically come from control of these trade routes as well as the produce of its extensive farmland – Westfall supplies vast amounts of grain to its allies in Algundy, and through its stable weather has extensive vineyards, orchards and other more sophisticated produce to rival the finest anywhere in the Duchy.
The Earldom’s closeness to chaubrette leads other Algundians often to view Westfallers as effete and foreign, especially its nobility that often harbours as much Chaubretian blood as it does domestic. This difference has historically only served to distance those of Westfall even further from the rest of Algundy, often viewing events from afar as beneath their notice, content to watch and wait before acting. Whilst this has many times in the Earldom’s history served them well Westfall suffered terribly during the Chaubretian invasions at the start of the century and as a result was reluctant to commit at the start of the First Civil War and was only goaded into action by the assault upon their Earldom by their neighbouring Earldom’s.
Unlike more eastern Earldom’s Westfall however bore out the closing years of the Civil War, the so-called “War Of The Witch”in relative peace and opulence and was spared the devastation that much of Algundy endured and emerged from the war an economic powerhouse that the ruling power were quick to exploit. The ruling family of Westfall has endured and reigned since time immemorial and is quintessentially “old-money”, they have seen the rise and fall of dynasties, Barony, Monarchy’s and Fiefdoms and still they reign. Now, after years of preparation Earl Alvered has ascended to the Archduchy at the behest of the Witan, the ancient council of Algundy, and stands in opposition to King Harald over the ultimate rulership of Algundy.
Perhaps you’re crewing a member of Chaubrettian nobility or perhaps you’re playing a berserker from Fensland. The following quick guides will help give you an insight into the countries and their people. There may well be some countries with information missing or only a small bit provided. The collation of this lore is an ongoing community project and will forever be expanding.
The grey areas indicate mountain ranges.
This land is still being developed – Check back soon!
This land is still being developed – Check back soon!
Literally, ‘the place next to the sea’, Amorica is a country that is proud of its singular coastline. The northern border sits on miles and miles of uninterrupted ocean. With neighbours Ballatia, Gelderland and Chaubrette, Amorica is a mixing pot of cultures, though as a former Chaubrettian colony their influence remains the strongest. With the access to the sea, Amorica was a fought over land which eventually developed their own government under the rule of an elected official. Though, once Amorica pronounced itself independent from their former rulers, this sparked a new war in which the small province was invaded by Gelderland. It is said that a single village resisted the invasion and were able to beat back the Gelderlanders. The leader of this village was proclaimed King of Amorica and their lineage rules to this day. Under the rule of King Rene Uderzo, Amorica has flourished into a rich country, based on the trade of fish, fish related products and farming.
With a culture so highly based around Chaubrette, Amoricans speak Chaubrettian and have a similar flag. The Amoricans are a serious people, taking trade and commerce very seriously and as a result, have created some of the finest traders in the world and a system of banks that house great wealth. The mass of the populace is either farmers or fishermen. Those who remain on land grow many root vegetables and bulbs, such are garlic and onions. Those who live at the sea have taken great care in developing techniques of hauling fish in great quantities. Gone are single lines and hooks, and instead great nets are used to drag up huge quantities of fish from the sea floor to be sold at market. Fish that isn’t used freshly is often smoked or pickled before being shipped off to other countries.
Amorica is a peaceful place, having earned a reprieve from war and under the protection of Chaubrette, Amorica faces a long future of peace ongoing.
This land is still being developed – Check back soon!
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Situated in the centre of the League, Bruinswald borders seven other kingdoms including their previous union partner Drakkenwald, Givonia, Cinnabar and Lilia. A country famed for its far-reaching forests and woodlands, an exporter of fine timber, a sweet syrup made from tree sap and truffles.
The landscape is marked by tall hills and deep valleys, the roads are hardy and cut through the woodlands to link towns and villages. The weather is mild, it is never too hot nor too cold, it rains more often than not and whole swathes of country can be lost in thick fogs that billow over the mountain ranges to the West.
The Bruinswalder people are hardy, stoic and industrious in their work. Great inventors have made huge leaps in the use of clockwork devices to track time, helping keep the country organised and running smoothly. Their ingenuity has led to the creation of several unique items that include devices that can track North accurately through metal needles, far-seeing lenses and the Alchemist Guild has made great strives forward in the production of larger firearms. While there are these shining examples of forward-thinking minds within the cities of Bruinswald, a lot of the smaller villages are prone to superstition and simpler values. The common folk are proud, hardworking and are worthy fighters. The land is fertile but hard to till with regular ploughs, resulting in many farms being shaped into steps along the sides of valleys where trees have been cleared to make room for crops. The Bruinswalder’s grow a type of grain known as Rye, which they use for many of their baked goods along with another crop known as hops, which is used in the fermentation and flavouring of strong ales.
Politically, Bruinswald has been under the rule of the Hohenstaufen dynasty for the past century, through a prolonged period of peace and prosperity. Though there are rumblings from the other noble houses to challenge the ancestral King’s lineage, particularly from the Habsburg house after a series of taxes levies against landowners to support the crown’s creation of a standing national army. The Habsburg house are also avid supporters of reuniting Drakkenwald with Bruinswald, creating a singular monarchy over the lands there. The current king, King Hans Hohenstaufen II, is a man of only 19 years, there are whispers that his advisors run the country and not the King himself.
The crown is situated in the Northern capital of Lubeck, a large, walled city that is also home to Saschenwald College of Chrugery, many of the finest bakeries in the region and the great Grune-Hugle Monastery where many members of the High Inquisition learned their crafts.
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The Teutonic Cantons – in a nutshell
The Cantons are a collection of loosely allied territories ruled by the descendants of Teutonic Knights from the north of the League. They correspond to a geographical area historically known as Anatolia – the hinterland of Phoenice and also a Holy Land where the first Church of the Grey Lady was dedicated. 600 years ago Anatolia was conquered by the Southern Barbarians who occupied the holy places and rededicated them to their own religion. In a belated response to this invasion, after 300 years of Barbarian rule, the Great Crusade was called to reclaim the Holy Land for the League. This reconquest led to the formation of a number of Crusader states, known as the Cantons. The population are predominantly ethnic Anatolians and followers of the native Church of the Grey Lady, ruled over by a northern feudal Aristocracy and their League-interpretation of the Church of the Grey Lady.
Phoenice and the Golden Empire
The area that today comprises the Cantons was historically known as Anatolia. Early Hellenic histories name the region for the agrarian tribe-people who lived there, known as the Anatolians. By the time of the early Golden Empire, they were recorded as a nation of traders and considered to be ethnically distinct from the civilisations that inhabited the interior of the Southern Continent.
Anatolia was absorbed by the Golden Empire during its great phase of expansion southwards. Already a lush and fertile land, it became a very wealthy Province thanks to the trade-routes that ran through it between the northern and southern continents. As the importance of nearby Phoenice to the Empire increased so did the wealth of Anatolia. The region came to be considered the beautiful green hinterland of the Phoenician metropolis.
Like Phoenice, Anatolia was influenced by the high culture of the nearby Hellenic States; society in the Southern Continent began to take on a distinctly oriental flavour as it became Hellenised. The Province reached its peak when the Imperial capital was moved from Helat in the north to Phoenice in order to be closer to the heart of the Empire. It became a mark of status for Senators and wealthy families to have a villa tucked away in the Anatolian hills.
In the days following the assassination of the last Solar Emperor and the collapse of the Empire, Anatolia – along with Phoenice and the Hellenic States – was relatively insulated from the chaos and economic collapse that engulfed most of the Northern Continent. Civilisation in these areas – and in most of the Provinces of the Southern Continent – survived but remained in decline.
Anatolia during the early days of The League
The effective total loss of the north caused Phoenice to turn its attention to its remaining Provinces in the south, where trading networks with barbarian southern nations still existed. However with its military and political might now shaken, the southern remnants of the Empire were now wracked by internal dissension as old tribal and regional rivalries came to the fore. This in turn made them vulnerable to barbarian incursions from Southern Barbarians – mainly fierce nomadic tribes – from beyond the Anatolian borders.
Perhaps most dangerous to the Empire’s internal unity were the religious changes taking place following The Fall. The Empire had always been a polytheistic regime, content to allow its subjects to worship whichever local Gods they wished and happy to adopt them all into the Imperial Pantheon. However in the wake of The Fall a monotheistic cult from the south was growing rapidly amongst the populace – one which denounced all other Gods as imposters. This southern cult claimed that all the Gods of the Imperial Pantheon had died along with the last Solar Emperor – and that only the deity they worshipped had survived to be reborn into the new era. This was the cult of The Grey Lady of Sorrows. The Grey Lady was a new incarnation of a pre-Fall deity known as “The Dark Sister” – who was herself part of a pair of deities traditionally worshipped jointly known as “The Twins”. According to the cult the other sister – “The Light Sister” – had perished along with the rest of the old Gods and The Dark Sister had become grey, weeping for her loss.
At this critical point in the third-century when the Empire was on the verge of collapsing into a civil war between followers of the Imperial Pantheon and the new cult the Emperor Alexius just happened to have a miraculous revelation. He was visited during the night by The Grey Lady who shared her divine plan with him. Following this well-timed miracle, Alexius declared her the only true-surviving deity and her cult was announced as the new official religion of the Empire. By adopting a southern religion Alexius was making a clear statement about the future of the Empire. Only a cynic would point out that the Grey Lady’s cult had clearly been in the ascendant and was best-suited to injecting fresh impetuous into the Empire; or that the pre-Fall Twins had always been popular amongst the natives of Anatolia and adapting their worship to the new religion was relatively simple.
The Grand Temple of the Twins was located in the Anatolian town of Shalem. It became the centre of the new Faith – a holy place where the dead Sister could be mourned and the new Lady venerated. Anatolia and Shalem quickly began to develop a reputation for sanctity, and would soon become known as the Holy Land. Many of the locales featured prominently in the fables that made up the new Holy Book in years to come these locations would become major destinations for pilgrimages, as the faithful sought to walk in the footsteps of the Grey Lady and her early Saints. The new religion also found favour in the former Imperial Provinces of the newly created League of the northern continent, spread by missionaries travelling from Phoenice.
Alexius’s new religion slowed the break-up of the Southern Empire but could not halt it. Over the next 200 years there were a number of rebellions, civil wars and religious schisms over doctrine that sapped central authority and led to the formation of a number of increasingly independent nations within its borders. Meanwhile the Southern Barbarian nations slowly expanded to encroach on the Empire’s borders.
The Rise of the Crescent
The fifth century saw the unification of the majority of the Southern Barbarian races under a single religion. Following a visit from the Goddess, the Asirian scholar-adventurer Merhak from deep in the deserts of the Southern Continent founded a new monotheistic religion worshipping a new incarnation of the other half of The Twins – The Light Sister. This new religion had sprung from the same origins as the new northern Church – the old Imperial Pantheon – but expressed a simpler and purer practice and philosophy, more in-line with the traditions of the natives of the southern continent, to the complex and ostentatious Church of the Lady venerated on the northern continent. Merhak’s new faith was enthusiastically embraced by his followers and by the time of his death ten years later he was master of his home nation. Southern Barbarian adventurers had come and gone like Merhak before – usually their Empires would collapse within a generation of their death. But Merhak’s genius was in the creation of a Tome – now venerated by his successors – which gave simple rules on how to live, how to worship and how to rule. This was known as the Rule of Merhak. The holy Tome allowed his legacy to survive and remains the basis of Southern Barbarian religion – its instructions are simple enough to understand, and flexible enough to adapt to the changing of eras. Scarcely a generation after his death Merhak’s successors had spread his religion and his empire – a hegemony known today in the northern continent as the Crescent – across almost the entire southern continent.
By the close of the sixth century the armies of the Crescent were crossing the southern borders of Phoenice’s Empire. Their aim was Anatolia and Shalem, location of the Grand Temple of the Twins. Phoenice’s legions were better organised and equipped but numerically inferior to those of the Crescent. While the Asiri armies were of a united purpose, the heartland of the former Golden Empire was also crippled by factionalisation along the usual lines of politics, religion and race. The Crescent conquered Anatolia and most of the Imperial territories within a few years. All that now remained of the former glorious Golden Empire was Phoenice itself, and a few outlying districts.
Anatolia under Crescent Rule
Anatolia was now under the domination of a Hegemony with its own religion – yet for the majority of the population life went on as normal. The Asirian armies were for the most part tolerant of the religion and traditions of the native Anatolians. According to the Rule of Merhak, Asiri were to be respectful of any follower of the Lady regardless of which facet of her Light/Dark aspect they followed. Pilgrims were permitted to travel from Phoenice and the Northern Continent to the holy places of Anatolia – some of whom stayed permanently to found hospices to aid fellow northerners on pilgrimage. Nevertheless certain restrictions were placed by the Asiri on those who followed the northern Dark Sister interpretation.
Under the milet system – where milet referred to an individual’s religion – followers of the Dark aspect of the Grey Lady were required to wear certain clothes and pay an additional tax. They were not permitted to own weapons, ride horses, serve in armies or marry Asiri women. Neither should they ever publically offend Asiri practices; nor attempt to convert an Asirian; nor speak slightingly of Merhak; their church bells must be inaudible to the ears of Asirians; and they must remain loyal to the state. However they were permitted to take part in government and, in spite of the new tithe, taxes were lower than they had been under the Golden Empire. The natives were able to retain all of their old places of worship – something which had not always been guaranteed during the religious schisms of the Golden Empire. For the majority of ordinary Anatolians, life was better off under the Crescent. The most independent Anatolins were the hill-people. These were wilder tribes that, even under the Empire, had always exercised a great deal of autonomy. They had paid lip-service to the Empire, and now they did the same for the Crescent. For them also the rule of the Crescent was distinctly preferred to that of Phoenice – the capital of the Empire had been relatively close, whereas the power-base of the hegemony was far far away in the south, and so the hill-people were able to exercise a great deal more independence.
The number of immigrating Asirians into Anatolia was relatively small – nevertheless their religion soon grew, attracting converts from amongst the Anatolians. In fact the ascetic interpretation of The Grey Lady offered by the Crescent appealed to many of the natives – the Crescent’s faith was simpler, less ambiguous and ostentatious in its practice than the northern faith, and closer to the earlier religion of the Twins that their ancestors had worshipped.
Crescent rule over Anatolia continued for the next 300 years in various forms. During this time various different dynasties and southern nations dominated the Asir religion, usually split by the racial and geographical difference in the origins of the different Crescent nations. Although always under the umbrella of “the Crescent”, Anatolia was in fact ruled by several different Asiri states across this era. At times there were even rival Caliphs, each claiming to be the true Protector of The Faith, causing bloody civil wars. However the natives, for the most part remaining outside of Crescent high politics, did not suffer too severely during any of the transitional periods – neither did their lot significantly change, barring the occasional period of persecution.
The relationship between Phoenice and the Crescent remained complex during this era, shifting back and forth between hostility and peace depending on the circumstances of each. Certain Crescent dynasties were more warlike than others – the Caliphate even going as far as to invade Castille on the northern continent by sea and founding a colony there known to the League as Caliphate. However the states of the Crescent were as likely to be fighting each other as they were the Golden Empire.
Phoenice meanwhile was becoming involved with the former northern Imperial Provinces, now formed into an increasingly formidable confederation known as the League, and found its fortunes waxing and waning as it became entangled in northern politics. Ultimately however there no were no significant changes in the border between Phoenice and the Crescent over 250 years after the Asirian conquest of Anatolia. This changed in the 9th century with the rise of the Bahri Sultanate.
Domination of the Bahri Sultanate
The Bahri family were a wealthy but relatively minor Asiri clan, part of a nomadic race known as the Turcomen, within the Crescent hegemony. Their rise to power began when the Bahri Sultan invited a tribe of Magyr horsemen to the southern continent to aid them in their struggle against the current Caliphs – the Toghru dynasty who were in the ascendant and whom the Bahri had fallen out with during the 8th century. The violent and restless Magyr, enticed by the prospect of riches, accepted their offer and rode around the eastern coast of the Circle Ocean to the Bahri’s land. However the Magyr tribe quickly proved uncontrollable and proceeded to sack much of the Bahri’s kingdom. The Sultan only brought them under control by adopting the Magyr chief as his son.
After this initial set-back, the Bahri were able to take the offensive against the Caliphate. With the new Bahri “Crown Prince” at their head, the Magyr swept the Toghru Caliphate from the Southern Continent. The Toghru fled across the sea to their only surviving territory – “Caliphate” – on the northern continent. Meanwhile the Bahri became the Crescent’s preeminent power. Over the next generation the Magyr horsemen were integrated into the Turcoman people, fitting in well with the nomadic and bandit-like traditions of that race. Their violent ways were never fully suppressed however and the northern stretches of the Southern Continent – including Anatolia – were subject to occasional raids and periods of bandit activity. This began to seriously disrupt the Pilgrim Trail from the Northern Continent to such an extent that it caused concern to the League Church. However the Pilgrim Trail was the least of Phoenice’s worries.
Under the Bahri-dominated hegemony in the 9th century the borders of the Crescent finally began to move northwards again. Spearheaded by the rampant Turcoman horsemen, the armies of the Crescent began an offensive which the Phoenician legions were too few to resist. They were slowly driven back. Even the engagement of League mercenaries, who mostly proved treacherous and dishonest, failed to halt the Crescent’s expansion. Within 20 years the armies of the Crescent were within site of the walls of Phoenice itself.
Phoenice joins the League
Phoenice was faced with final destruction at the hands of the Bahri. By now it was now all that was left of the Golden Empire – its last remaining holdings on the Northern Continent had been lost in the intervening centuries to the League – and was the only unconquered unsacked city surviving from the glorious days from before The Fall. It represented the continuation of uninterrupted Civilisation across nearly 2,000 years, in spite of what had befallen the rest of the world. A new civilisation and culture in the form of the League had of course grown up in the meantime, but to Phoenice those were northern barbarians who had rebelled and refused to acknowledge the authority of the Golden Empire. Phoenice dealt with the League but did so distastefully – the reciprocal feeling was one of jealousy and distrust of a superior civilisation.
However with the Crescent almost hammering on their walls, Phoenice was forced to swallow its pride. The Emperor Arcadius personally journeyed northwards to meet the Hierophant and request that Phoenice be permitted to join the League. Arcadius put forward an eloquent deposition, stressing the unique nature of Phoenice and its links to the past. Emphasising the importance of his city, he also linked the salvation of his city from the Crescent with the eternal battle between true followers of the Grey Lady and the Evil in the East. Finally he also made clear how the actions of the infidel Turcomen bandits were denying the Faithful of the League access to the sacred Holy Land of Anatolia.
The Hierophant was impressed. She wrote to the rulers of the League nations to notify them that not only was she welcoming Phoenice into the northern confederacy she was endorsing its salvation as a holy enterprise. She began the preaching of The Great Crusade.
The Great Crusade
In 857, fuelled by the promise of unlimited remittance of sin and eternal salvation for those who fell in battle against the infidel, the First Crusade was launched. Tens of thousands of men and women – Lords, Knights, Clergy and Peasants – “took the Chalice” and vowed to liberate the Holy Land. They sewed the emblem of a Cup onto their garments and joined what was effectively a mob journeying south to rescue Anatolia from the Crescent. The enterprise was chaotic, in spite of the best efforts of Arcadius and the Hierophant. Some of the armies were professional, most were not – few displayed any discipline. Many atrocities were committed by the various forces as they enthusiastically marched southwards through the League. Some caused by misunderstandings and clashes of culture, others in the name of food and supplies. Such a large operation was a logistical nightmare and many of the enthusiastic Crusaders had failed to adequately prepare.
The first and most enthusiastic armies – and thus the least prepared – arrived at Phoenice in 858 LT. These ill-disciplined and unprofessional early armies were predominantly comprised of peasants. Understandably anxious at having such ill-disciplined rabbles within their city walls, the Phoenicians permitted only the leaders of the northern armies into the city itself. The Crusaders meanwhile, already intimidated by the superior art and culture of the Phoenicians, felt unappreciated by the city they had come to save. Hungry and tired from a difficult journey, an undercurrent of anger and jealousy sprang up amongst the masses of northerners encamped outside the great Imperial City walls. Rumours of treachery began to spread and they began raiding nearby farmlands. One frustrated and starving crusading army even tried to assault Phoenice itself and was annihilated by a Phoenician legion in retaliation.
The only solution was to send on these peasant armies as quickly as possible. They were ushered on to fight the Southern Barbarians in dribs and drabs as they appeared. They were massacred by the Turcomen. Those few survivors who escaped northwards back to their homes spread their experiences and are one of the reasons for the underlying mistrust of Phoenice that still exists in the League to this day.
The Crusade began properly in 859 with the arrival of far more well-prepared and far more professional armies – led by Dukes, Counts, Earls and Barons, supported by mounted knights and well-organised infantry. Learning from the mistakes of the early disasters of the peasant armies, these later armies worked more closely with the Phoenicians, accepting their guides and advice. Formal agreements were made with the Emperor for the division of land following its liberation from the infidel – the hinterland would be returned to the city, while Anatolia and beyond could be partitioned amongst the Crusaders as they saw fit. This met with approval from all concerned – the Crusaders would be rewarded for their efforts with new lands whilst Phoenice would gain a series of buffer-states to protect them from the Southern Barbarians.
The Crusaders then began a ten-year campaign of reconquest against the Crescent, during which the Turcomen and Asirians were driven back. Clad from head-to-toe in mail and riding enormous horses capable of devastating charges, the northerners seemed unstoppable to the Southern Barbarians – within two years they had been pushed back to Anatolia, and towns came under the rule of the northern Church for the first time in 300 years. However the League knights had no experience of fighting in such a hot climate and suffered many setbacks due to disease and dehydration. If not for the help of the Phoenician guides these mighty armies would have never lasted long enough to adapt.
The Crusading army also found that the situation in the south was not the idealistic black-and-white enterprise they had expected. There were many different factions within the Crescent, and the local Anatolians – particularly the independent hill-people – had their own agendas and could not necessarily be trusted. It was certainly not as clear as liberating the natives and smiting the infidel. After many misunderstandings and unfortunate incidents the northerners came to understand the complex political and racial backdrop to their Crusade in Anatolia. With understanding came more success and, more importantly, the wisdom to hold and capitalise on these gains.
On the first day of January 870 LT the Crusaders finally conquered the Holy City of Shalem, site of the Grand Temple of the Twins and the most sacred place in the world. Duke Pepin of Drakkenwald was elected the first King of Shalem by his peers. The Crusade did not end there, and some minor gains were made over the next decade, but with the liberation of Shalem the momentum went out of the enterprise.
Many Crusaders felt that they had achieved their initial goal and began the long journey back to the Northern Continent – some had vowed to not return home until praying in the Temple of the Twins. A few of the more cunning and ambitious had used the reconquest to carve out and claim territories of their own in the Holy Land – having secured a fief, these new landowners were less willing to take part in the risky struggle to conquer new territory. Perhaps most importantly, without a unified purpose, the spirit of brotherhood that had allowed the proud leaders of the Crusade to share power and work alongside each other slowly broke down. Old grudges and rivalries that had developed throughout the campaign flared into arguments. Unable to work alongside each other any longer, some of the Crusade’s greatest leaders fell out and returned to their home countries along with their men.
The Great Crusade was over and the Holy Land recovered – now began the infinitely more difficult struggle to keep it.
Castille is a proud trade nation, boasting one of the largest capital cities across the League. Called Corona de Castilla (Crown of Castille), it stretches from a large natural bay on the coastline, to the mountain range on the other side of the country. The Corona de Castilla has a large port, divided into a few different categories for the various cargo it moves on a day-to-day basis.
The southern province of the country is called Belalćazar (pronounced Be-lal-ka-zar), and mostly hosts the military force of the nation (more on this later).
In between the Corona de Castilla and Belalćazar lies many farmlands and pine forests. This area is more densely populated around the coast, becoming sparsely populated the more inland you travel.
Castille is known for its key role in trading by water, especially from islands west of the League. They trade in many different items, but a point of pride for them is the sale of people. Slaves and slavery is a well versed practice, and in Castille to be against the practice is to be a blight on society. Castille also produces some of the best ship makers known to the League, who can design and produce ships at the very cutting edge of technology.
The people of Castille officially follow the faith of the Grey Lady, however most of the common folk worship her alongside a number of other gods/goddesses. Those of a higher place in society will pride themselves on only following the Grey Lady, but behind closed doors many also follow at least a few other gods.
Castille is ruled over by a monarchy, and has been for many centuries. However, the laws governing Castille change, depending on where you live.
Corona de Castilla is a haven for wealthy elites and high ranking merchants. Taxes are lower, and breaking the law generally equates to paying off a fine, and maybe some show of charity. If you live in the crown, you either live in the lap of luxury, or in desperate poverty.
The lands surrounding Corona de Castilla are heavily taxed, and law is enforced with proper punishments. However, the people living in these lands do not have as much societal pressure on them, and whilst they are certainly not free, they have a more relaxed way of life.
The province of Belalćazar is a training ground for the heir apparent, the Prince of Castille, to practice ruling over a nation. The current Prince is heavy-handed in his approach, wanting to be seen as a strong and stern future king. This is also reinforced with his strict rules of religion.
In the province of Belalćazar, it is seen as treasonous to follow anyone other than the Grey Lady, and the military is known to court marshal and execute those found to be following other gods. The laws are stricter, to mold the people of the military, and those that serve them, into obedience. Despite this, many families are determined to have their children join the military. Not only is it an honourable job for the younger generation of Castillians, but the military push their recruits to venture out into the League, to learn fighting styles of other countries, and then bring them back. This particular practice means that the Castillian military is made of many different fighting styles, making it difficult to pinpoint how to fight against the country as a whole.
Castille get along with many countries in the League, especially those who have coastlines. The trade lines are invaluable, so the current king ensures a lot is done to smooth over any possible issues without conflict. However, the relationship between Castille and Saradisia is tense, due to pirate raids of Castillian ships.
Castille has also made a point to be in good standing with the country of Cinnabar, just over the mountains from them. The two countries share mutually beneficial trade agreements, and Castille is currently in the process of securing trade agreements with other landlocked countries in the League.
Chaubrette is largely a flat landscape with the only mountain range being that to the South East, this means that it has a very different climate to its neighbour Algundy, with a warmer climate and considerably less rainfall per year.
The coast of Chaubrette in particular is considered to have especially fine weather and has been recommended as somewhere where the wealthy should go to convalesce and take in sea air.
The region is broken up into seven provinces. Each province is ruled over by a magistrate who is elected by the king. While most magistrates titles are carried on through the generations it has been known for a new ruler to completely replace the magistrates of the land.
The provinces are further divided into administrative territories, all of which have a capital city which is the centre for its trade, law and order.
The biggest export from Chaubrette is wine due to its ideal climate for growing grapes. Chaubretian wine is highly sort after and is known to be collected and traded far across the league.
More noticeable perhaps is chaubrette’s influence on fashion, both in clothing and architecture/design. Chaubrette is famous for its large cathedrals and monasteries which are highly decorated with arches and sculptures. Elements of these architectural designs can be seen in all of Chaubrette’s neighbouring countries.
Chaubrette is one of the largest producers of silk in the league and the lords and ladies of court are known for wearing large and extravagant outfits. There is a high demand for embroidery and bright dyes in these outfits for both men and women.
Such large dresses pose an issue with relieving oneself and so there is a high demand for expensive perfumes from the upper class which are mostly imported from neighbouring Amorica.
There are two forms of burial that are popular within Chaubrette. In the more densely populated cities large underground crypts known as catacombs have been built. These labyrinthian structures are said to be so complicated that even if the dead were to come back as lost then they would spend eternity wandering around in the darkness. As a precaution however the entrance to ever catacomb is barred with a gate made of silver and iron, a single key to this gate is bestowed to the towns gardien de crypte, these crypt keepers are paid handsomely for having what is thought to be a dangerous job, although many chaubrettians will cross the road to avoid these guardians believing that their time spent with the dead taints their souls.
The other form of burial which is popular in more rural areas is within a raised tombs. These tombs are often surrounded with an iron fence to keep the dead from rising. As such the structures have been known to look like small houses and have earnt the name la cité des morts (city or the dead). It is common for all members of a family to be buried in these tombs, in the wealthy it would also be common to have a second tomb built for servants of the household.
The majority of Chaubrette follows the church of the lady and as such the church has a large sway in political decisions for chaubrette. Every administrative region has a cathedral which tithes are collected to. There are also many monasteries across Chaubrette where monks and nuns are often trained in medicine and churgery.
Cinnabar is an industrious country that is covered in hills and valleys, with streams and canals crossing its landscape like veins. The water runs west from the mountains on the border of Wisbruck, as it heads into the mountain range bordering Castille. The city of Ragwort sits in the peninsular of the state in the north. Small hamlets and towns patter across the landscape in places that require them, with small towns occasionally being abandoned when a mine has dried up of ore, or flooded with water, those that can work the land by farming usually move in so it does not waste away. What small forests they have, contain willow and yew, which are used to make the boats that travel the canals and rivers. They are long thin boats, with a deep hull. The crew size depends on the cargo, but is never more than six. The craftsmanship that go into these boats have been passed down through generations, as they need to be made to the specification of the waterways. All other construction timber is traded in from other League states.
This country is under the control of a democratic government, which was originally founded as a guild to ensure the citizens had working rights as the mines were dangerous and not looked after as the owners did not put money into the maintenance of the shafts. So, taxes were taken so the guild could ensure safety, and keep productivity high, so the taxes remained coming in. This change had happened a few centuries ago, and there doesn’t appear to be any written documentation of who ruled before. The population is happy with this government, but the richer folks who own the mines, are unhappy with the money they are losing to taxes, as they feel the mines are safe enough without all the precautionary measures in place.
What the mines produce from the hills and mountains, differ from vein to vein, but they are famous for their precious metals and gemstones. Gold, Silver, Lead, and Quartz can all be found here. From the mine, the raw material is sent to an appropriate town to be processed. Iron, coal, tin etc. is sent to small towns, whereas ores containing gold, silver, or gemstones, are sent to the industrial part of Ragwort. Once refined, this sent into Ragwort so it may be accounted for, stored, and then shipped across the league. Stone is in abundance within Cinnabar, as it is a by-product from mining, but as it is worked stone, it is used for their roads.
They pride themselves on their purity of their Gold, as they claim to have found a new way to refine the metal from the ore. This is a well-kept secret between those that need to know. Lead has become more wanted across the league with new black powder technology requiring it.
Faith within the country has become lax over time, where prayer is no longer mandatory, but the Government does not penalise those that do have faith as long as it does not interrupt work, or cause harm to others. Some towns have made it clear that some faiths are not welcome within their boundaries, some prefer to keep faith out of the towns completely, others welcome all faiths and celebrate them equally. This has caused a stir within some neighbouring countries, especially those with a strong singular faith, as they believe the people of Cinnabar may be heretics. In the past when strong feelings of hate are shown, the government has a conversation, as gifts are shared, and relations are sated. The other countries of the League are happy with the trade of goods that leave Cinnabar and are invested into the protection of its lands.
Situated centrally in The League, Drakkenwald occupies a unique landscape compared to their neighbours in Angou, Veermark and over the mountains into Wallachia and Polska. The landscape in the west is thick, dense forests giving way to wide open fields and marshes the further east you travel. The eastern border of Drakkenwald sits on and within a broad mountain range that stretches the entire length of the country. The range is fortified in many locations, where passing through the mountains is possible. Though often buried under the snow in the winters, these fortifications ensure that the wilder East stays in the East.
In times long past, Drakkenwald is said to have once been the home to dragons. Great fire-breathing lizards whom the ancient kings would gift virgin maidens to, in order to satiate their hunger for livestock and villagers. It is this myth that gives the country its name, Dragon Wood, Drakkenwald to the local populace. Similar to their western neighbour, Bruinswald, Drakkenwald is an exporter of fine timbers and thick, hearty grains grown in rich, peaty soil. Drakkenwald has several mines that produce coal, slate and towards the Eastern Mountains, mines that home precious metals. This has led to a rise of artisans who can create beautiful trinkets out of gold, silver and gem stones. If a lord wears a fine chain of gold, it is possible that the metal came from Drakkenwald.
The people are hardy but good natured, finding joy in farming, mining and brewing dark ales for consumption. The people have developed a natural sense of contentment, given their lot in life as hard workers. They mirror the weather which is usually clear, but damp during the spring and autumn. Winters are cold, particularly in the higher East of the country, snow falls deep and many villagers face freezing to death if they cannot stock their woodsheds in good time.
Politically, Drakkenwald is focused on keeping the Eastern border safe, the Wallchians are a strange folk with tales of great monsters and evils beyond comprehension there. Polska is much the same, though the people are a larger threat as the Polskans field great armies. While keeping the East safe, the main political party wishes to reunite the country with their former partner, Bruinswald. The government of Drakkenwald, a witan of elders, want to retake Bruinswald and put in place of the Bruinswald King, an elected official, similar to that of Algundy. The Bruinswalders are protective of their monarchy and at border towns there are often brawls between those who seek union and those happy to protect their independence.
There is no better metaphor for Gelderland than when the sun rises and the first light of day causes the great river to sparkle, as if a blanket of diamonds had been laid down, and that beauty hides the dark and dangerous currents underneath. With the great dock stretching along their entire western coast, and the space for ships to dock, turn and refill without needing to go further inland, Gelderland has access to materials and goods that have made it truly wealthy. This wealth, however, comes at a cost and that cost is the great divide between the noble families of Gelderland, the Guilds, and the peasant class, known as ‘Dock Born’.
There are three Noble Families in Gelderland who have risen to prominence through a veritable tragedy of schemes and plots. They are known as the Alta Famiglia, and consist of the Santiana Household, The Vencarlo Estate and The Marovingian Dynasty. These three families have a near impenetrable grip over Gelderland, having brought themselves to a place where they rely on each other as much as desire their downfall. They are ruthless to a fault and have legacies built on unnumbered bones.
The Santiana Household is led by the indomitable matriarch Lady Ekatarina Santiana with her daughter Lucrezia Santiana by her side. The Santiana Household is fiercely matriarchal, and women hold a greater position within it with men often seen as puppets, tools, or contacts. However, these men are handsomely rewarded for their loyalty and devotion and severely punished for betrayal. A noted exception in their view of men is their support for the Gilda Alchemica, most likely due to their equal promotion of skill over sex. The current head of the Gilda Alchemica is rumoured to be related to Lucrezia but like all things to do with the guild, this information is shrouded in secrecy.
The Vencarlo Estate is run by Marco De La Vencarlo, the fourteen-year-old son of the Late Lord and Lady Vencarlo. For the first few months of his reign certain people mocked his age, calling the Estate nothing more than a nursery, this came to a halt when people who publicly said so were found without tongues and thumbs. Young Lord Vemcarlo is always accompanied by a man simply called Scribe who looks very much like the rolls of dried parchment he carries with him. Rumour has it that this is Young Lord Marco’s grandfather. The Vencarlo Estate is the patron of The Navi Veloci and many of the ship’s captains owe their success to the secret dealings of the Vencarlo Estate.
The Marovingian Dynasty is the oldest of the Noble families and one of the most brutal and untouchable for one simple reason. The Church. The Dynasty long ago made deals with the Santa Signora and have provided them with some of their most learned and ruthless cardinals. The current Cardinal Domingo De Signora has seen to it the power of the church and the Marovingian Dynasty are almost completely intertwined and stronger for it. The Dynasty has helped to build the secret police of the Church, the Interrogatori, a feared and brutal group of faithful dedicated to rooting out both magic and enemies of the church and dynasty.
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The Hellenic States, the southern seat of culture and the birthplace of democracy. A warm and dry country that sits on the Great Western Ocean and has borders with Caliphate to the West, Altenburg to the North and Phoenice to the East. Where the sea laps the lands to the south, mountains ring the rest of the country, keeping a natural border between the Hellenics and her neighbours. The country has been prosperous in trade and in culture, developing artisans and great libraries of knowledge. While the county’s history is war-torn and well-won, the recent past has been gifted with time enough to indulge philosophies over martial endeavours.
The Hellenic States are made up of three formerly separate countries that banded together following centuries of war and have since remained the longest running union in the League. The western half of the mainland was once known as Bulgarin and was the centre of a large occupation by the Bulgarites who claimed most of the Western Coast of the League in the past. Over centuries of warring, the Bulgarites were reduced back to their homelands by those from Caliphate and were then invaded to the East by sea-faring warriors from the Cantons. These sea-farers claimed and settled the eastern half of Bulgarin and renamed it for their chief, Alban. Albanland and Bulgarin fought for many centuries over an internal border until a stalemate was reached. The two countries then petitioned their island neighbours to the south, on the five islands of Greka. Greka was a country of thinkers, scientists and researchers who were not well versed in war, rather more proficient in philosophy and arts. With no true army to pledge to either side, it was suggested that the three nations unite and rebuild as one nation.
A treaty was written and monarchs and chiefs unseated in favour of an elected leader to sit as ruler among a senate of peers to govern fairly and by vote, rather than by whim and power. The first Prima Sentori, leader of the senate, was Augustus Hélena and by vote named the union the States of Héla. Over time and through trade, the common name of Hellenic States was used across the League and by her own people. At the time of the union forming, trade boomed as the three countries pooled resources, built a large fleet and set to create bonds with every country on the coasts through diplomacy and trade. In meeting other nations, the States flourished in trading fine artisan goods from perfumes to pottery, olives and rare herbs as well as trading in knowledge. Well respected as the main seat of education in the forming League, the Hellenic States boasted a vast library of scholarly work that covered the histories of great nations, the Golden Empire, the Pantheon of Gods, herbalism, churgery and myths, folklore and other topics of interest to the budding scholar.
The prosperity of the Hellenic States lasted for many centuries, until the senate was mired in allegations of corruption, with men lining their own pockets. Having seated rich traders and merchants over educated men, the country lost many of the links it once had through greedy merchants peddling counterfeit goods or overcharging and taxing exports. Once trade links broke down, they were quickly rebuilt by neighbouring Phoenice who went on to claim the title of Trade Capital of the League. The States were rocked by senators attempting to claim singular rule over the country, assassinations and bureaucracy reduced the once proud nation to a slim sliver of what it had once been.
In the recession of wealth, many traders, artisans and crafters left the country to follow the gold to Phoenice. In the wake of their departure the fragile economy collapsed. Men could not afford to feed their families on the meagre stockpiles available and riots broke out across the land. In the glorious capital of Larissa, the Great Library was burned to the ground, thousands of tomes and books wasted in the flames. It took many years to recover from the mistakes of the greedy, and were it not for the aid of missionaries sent by the Church of the Grey Lady, many thousands would have perished in the famine that followed the riots. Such was the gratitude to the hundreds of missionaries and their ships filled with essentials that the country praised The Lady and took her name as their one religion. Previously they had worshiped a minor pantheon of gods and saints linked to the arts and a naturalistic spiritualism that suggested the world had one living soul that all things were made from. Rebuilding, the Hellenic States will never fully return to the glories of the past, but the people are hopeful. The leadership of the country has fallen to elected leaders of individual regions to represent their people in a simplistic form of government. With the people holding the power, the mistakes of the past might be avoided.
The country boasts many natural resources, from rich and fertile soils that produce excellent crops to volcanic mountains that house many important minerals for mining. The Hellenic States have a fair fleet of both merchant and war vessels and trade primarily with Phoenice but also act as transports to and from the Southern Barbaries, bypassing the Cantons. The traditions of education are still held strong by the Hellenic people, their schools and colleges creating some of the best and brightest men and women in the League. Though quiet and unassuming to the rest of the League, those who hail from the Hellenic States are proud of their heritage, known for free thinking and opulent philosophies, they favour a relaxed pace of life and find purpose in the perfection of their craft.
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The flag of Moldania is a black bulls head upon a field of gold.
“No land has seen so many tears, or known so many curses on lips” – Cardinal Etienne Mareau.
Moldania is the most isolated realm in the League, surrounded almost completely by mountains, the only major land route into the country is via equally isolated Wallachia. The land itself is heavily forested with swampy lakes fed by mountain streams down from the mountain ring; it’s topography can be considered a bowl, the land descending from the mountains to a central lowland that then descends through the passes into Wallachia.
Here the great river known as the Rezca flows over a series of cataracts into the lowlands below, the greatest being known as the Chernovesk or ‘Devils Falls’
In the deep forests of the Moldanian mountains odd creatures roam that once lived across the League. Aurochs, primal cattle wander the forests as lord and master, standing as tall as a grown man at the shoulder, with murderous horns, the wild cattle of Moldania figure on the nation’s flag and on many heraldic designs.
Direwolves roam in packs in the highest forests, though a dying breed, these mighty beasts hunt elk, and any other creature that stumbles into their territory. Dog-bear hunt in remote spots, beasts easily 12’ tall when reared up, these carnivorous bears have no fear of attacking even armed men. Finally in the high passes the last mammoths roam, maybe less than 50 remain, a legacy of an earlier age.
Oras Barza, (stork town), is the capital city, built on Lake Barazan, supported on pylons, it is connected to the shore by an easily destroyed bridge. Mangonels, catapults and ballista towers ring the city, capable of bombarding to destruction any attack by boat, and bombarding the shore. Apart from Oras Barza settlements in Moldania are small towns at best and most are villages or hamlets, huddled in the cold shadow of the local lords stronghold.
It has four recognised seasons, a hot dry summer, a wet autumn known as ‘noroi mic’, (little mud), a cold winter that has the land deeply blanketed with snow, and a wet spring known as ‘noroi mare’ (greater mud)
At the time of the Golden Empire Moldania was a land of mountain barbarians, noted for their savagery in defence. The legions of the Empire were thrown back time and time again by the mountain men, armed with great two handed swords called ‘Falx’; so strong in fact was a blow from a falx that it lead to the Empire redesigning the helmets of its legions.
Even at the fall of the Golden Empire, Moldania hadn’t been tamed, the missionaries sent in to Moldania had gradually won the people over, but the Goddess now I seen as the creator Goddess, worshipped alongside hearth spirits, and wood demons. To this day, the Church in Moldania is locked in a struggle with local shamans and witches, the nobles of the kingdom loath to surrender their spiritual beliefs and allow the Inquisition in.
There are four social groups in Moldania; each with their own rights and responsibilities, but also prejudices against the other three:
The Ban are the nobility, those who rule. The smallest social group they speak a dialect call high Moldanian which is quite lyrical to the listener. Given Moldania’s remoteness this group could quickly have suffered from inbreeding, but the constant turmoil of Moldanian politics raises some, and brings others low, keeping the gene pool healthy.
The Lake folk: or lowlanders live on or around the waterways of Southern Moldania and are the most League like of the Moldanians. They form the peasants, merchants, craftsmen and priests. Despised for their greed by the Ban, and for their soft living by the Drozi and mountain men.
The Drozi are nomads, moving in traditional migration routes around Moldania, some herd, and some act as travelling entertainers and tinkers. The Drozi have a distinct culture and language of their own and are almost a people to themselves. They are considered sly and untrustworthy by the other three groups.
The Mountain men are herdsmen who live in the high mountains, tending their goats and sheep and subsistence hunting. Moving with the seasons the mountain fold descent to the lower valleys to avoid winter in the high peaks. The Mountain men are considered dull witted by their lowland kin.
Spiritually the Moldanians whether noble or peasant believe in only four supernatural things:
Vrajitoi (v-raj -ee-toy) A catch all term for any kind of sprite or fairy, from spiteful forest spirits to the household hearth spirit that cleans shoes and mends clothing in exchange for respect and a saucer of milk.
Moroi (More-roy) River and water spirits, or ghosts of those who drowned, sometimes helpful but always eager for victims to drown.
Strigoi (Strig-guy) Any form of undead, be it ghost or shambling carrion.
Varcolac (V-ray-co-lack) “The hungry” Those above that prey on men, be it as vampires, or werewolf, of hungry ghoul.
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Polska, also known by her citizens as the Polskan Crown, is a robust and hardy nation that borders many nations with her mountainous defenses long known for their prowess in keeping threats at bay from the Eastern Khanate and their incredible faith in the Lady. Her key resources are grain, oxen and furs as the lands nurture the economy of neighbouring countries, the last few decades have been incredibly prosperous for grain trade as surpluses reached an all time high.
They are ruled over by the High Sovereign Michal II, who is assisted by the elective assembly made from the nominated family heads from throughout Polska – this method of leadership was adopted to ensure that all members of the nation of Polska were represented equally under the eyes of the Grey Lady, but it is still a system that suffers from corruption as certain families retain seats on the assembly consistently and pass such positions on to their children or those in their bloodlines. Michal II was preceded by his mother, Aurelia, who was known as “The Vixen of Vehia” and led Polska to the current stability it has garnered and her shadow is still felt as Michal is showing signs that he is as politically savvy as his mother.
Babcia is the current capital of Polska, their pride and joy as she rests within the safety of the mountains neighbouring Wisbruick, accessible only through its nearby rivers and single trade road. The stronghold trades readily with the western world but its gates are just as defensive and battle-tested as their gates with the Khanate, the famed defense at the Battle of Babcia where the winged hussars flanked and decimated those who failed in their siege of the city is often spoken about with pride.
In the centre of Polska, a great lake known as Jasne Serce is surrounded by wondrously blessed land able to grow all kinds of produce, this area is well known for supplying the entire country with glorious harvests. The southern edge that leads to the Circle Sea is the main trade hub of Polska, the twin port cities of Morze and Fala respectively share a bridged alliance though inner rivalries between both ports still arise as they fight for trade from the Cantons, Phoniece and the other kingdoms. Morze, who closely borders the Khanate and specialises in fishing – Fala focused more on international trades, earning the rights after a sordid argument was ended by High Sovereign Szarlota two hundred years previously. Now united as Fala-Morze, they work as harmoniously as rivals can to supply resources to the Cantons and Phoenice.
The military might of Polska is renowned, heavily influenced by the crusades to the south and the defense of the East to fight for Mother Polska is a great and required honor of their heavily faith oriented armies. Almost all men and women of strong stature and fighting age spend years of their lives serving Polska, her standing army is second to none and those who retire from the fight often help within city militias and defense of the counties they live within.
Polska takes pride that it is the last line of defence against the Khanate, the invasions that previously came were hard fought and as a nation they do not forget those who trespass against them – the Lion’s Mouth is heavily defended and the gates that are built there are second to none, Polskan siege engineers often proudly exclaim that it will stand for centuries like the wonders of ancient civilizations. To become a Lion Tamer, the border patrol that holds fast against the threats of the east takes years of service in the forces of the Sovereign, much more than the standard service time expected of all able men and women. Other famed forces are the Winged Hussars of the Obsidian Army and the Polskan Pancerny and the Dragoons – their heavy reliance on cavalry leads to strong Polskan steeds being a commodity that is sought after by nobility throughout the League.
Most villages and counties in Polska are vibrant communities, full of positivity gained from their full faith in the Lady – there are often regular festivals to celebrate the blessings that she provides. Village Wardens, often some of the eldest members of the area, are known to be even-handed and just so even though crime does occur, punishments are swift and rehabilitation is the key goal as the Grey Lady promotes the idea that redemption is possible. Faith being so key to their lives, the idea of heresy or witchcraft to a Polskan is unknown as it would be so gravely against their morals to do such things. Anyone who breaks such morals is judged severely, more so that any common criminal might even imagine in some countries.
● Grey Lady
Cognatic Elective Monarchy, supported by an Elective Gavelkind Assembly.
Generally accepted that the eldest or most responsible family member of dynastic bloodlines leads. Positions of power are then given to those eligible to assist in the governance of the area.
Assembly of Szef
● High Sovereign (King) –
● Sovereign (Baron)
● High Governor (Edda) –
● Governor – (Lord)
● Knight-Governor (Gentry).
● Village Warden –
Closely bordering Wallachia and the Khanate, the land is arable but frequently patrolled and guarded to fend off any evil creatures as well as the enemies of Polska.
Bordering the Khanate, Otvor is the centre of the defence efforts against the enemies in the East. It has many rivers and arable locations but is mainly used to house the Polskan Army and keep supplies to the Lion’s Mouth.
The hub of trade from Zycie and the Wisbruick, most trade routes from the capital of Babcia lead through this county. The arable valley lands are well-used and traded across sea to the Cantons and beyond.
The lands to the north west are often filled with shadows due to the large amount of trees and forest, most open fields are marshes and untenable land but filled with wild game and other animals to be trapped or hunted. The areas around Polnoc have been deforested to allow for small farmlands to keep the citadel alive in times of need but otherwise the common folk eat a very meat rich diet.
The more central areas near the lake of Jasne Serce is used to grow all kinds of produce, this area is well known for supplying the entire country with glorious harvests.
Gateway to Phoenice and Wisbruick, home to Babcia and Matka – the land is arable and filled with farms of wheat – most visitors marvel at the wide spaces filled with such gold.
The lands next to Sicilia and the great lake Jasne Serce, the land is generally filled with farms and river fishing – the border is left guarded by a small force, nowhere.
- Ściana – Wall
The upper north citadel, a huge fortress built into the border walls between Wallacia and Polska. This is the capital of Prazek.
- Morze – Marine
The capital of Otvor.
- Fala – Sea
The capital of Dolina.
- Fala-Morze – The Pearl of Plyn.
The twin port cities of Morze and Fala respectively share a bridged capital, inner rivalries between both ports still arise as they fight for trade from the Cantons, Phoniece and the Eastern Kingdoms. Morze, borders the Khanate and specialises in fishing – Fala focused more on international trades, earning the rights after a sordid argument was ended by a previous High Matriarch.
- Polnoc – Midnight
A stronghold built to the north west, within the ancient days of Polska many found themselves there. It was the former capital in the days of war against Polska’s neighbouring enemies. Now in times of relative peace, it is used as the second city, designated as a defensible location if ever Babcia ever fell to enemy hands or Sciana’s walls crumbled. The second biggest citadel in all Polska, current capital of Sedzivy.
- Babcia – Grandmother
The current capital of Polska, access gained only through its river and single trade road, built into the safety of the mountains neighbouring Wisbruick. The alliance of countries to the west allowed the building of such a stronghold, one that could trade readily with the outside world. The single biggest city in Vroclav, and possibly Polska.
- Matka – Mother
This smaller city lies between Babcia and the rest of Polska, guarding the only trade route into the capital.
- Sorka – Daughter
This city lies next to the heart of Polska, the great valley lake of Jasne Serce. All rivers flow in and out of this place and the lands surrounding it are plentiful and hearty. Sorka was the perfect trading outpost, slowly evolving and growing into the sprawling market city. The capital of Zycie.
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Sardisia is a hilly, craggy island, with smaller patches of flat land around. Being out in the ocean, the common folk generally fish/farm a small area for themselves, and maybe a little extra for local trading. The country is currently in an unstable position, due to change in power and polite but tense trading.
Though there is a royal family, the last generation has seen a change of power within the seat of the throne. Traditionally, the King had absolute rule, with representatives from different areas of the island advising him. However, it is known for the male line of the royal family to “succumb to sea madness”, and as such it has been agreed that the Queen will now take on the absolute rule, which has caused internal conflict. It’s even said that she has changed the line of succession to prioritise female heirs, in hopes of ridding the family of this madness.
The Grey Lady is not a faith practiced here, and whilst you would not be stopped from praying to her, it would be seen as highly disrespectful and you won’t be favoured by anyone. The people of Sardisia worship the God il Mare (the sea) and the Goddess Aria (the air), with other minor gods/goddesses in localised areas.
The main resource of Sardisia is fish, as they have a huge variety swimming off their shores. This includes many types of shellfish, some of which are only found in particular areas of the coastline. As the island is mostly hilly, they do not have many natural resources. Due to this, there are few theories as to how the country came to be, but only those with the highest amounts of power know for definite.
The boats used by Sardisians are known for being fast and sturdy. Trading boats are recognised by others for having a figurehead of the Goddess Aria on them.
Sardisia mainly trades with Castille, however the relationship between the two is currently civil but tense. Piracy is increasing in the waters between the two countries, and it is claimed that some of the boats have a figurehead of the God il Mare, although the Queen of Sardisia denies building any boats like this. Trade to the Spice Isles is good, and Sardisia is quite friendly with them. Groups of traders have recently been sent to other coastal countries, and trade relations are being discussed with them, in hopes of opening the island country up more.
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Made up of 11 counties, with the river Arolsen dividing, and man made canals branching through the Landscape, Veermark profits from a great amount of Trade, as barge and river boat are a predominantly source of both shipping and transport.
Wallachia can also be spelt Wallacia.
Wallachia and Moldania started as a unified country, but following the invasion of the Great Khan Batbayer some 200 years ago, the countries split ties. During the invasion, the people in the Moldanian region were able to build stockades and ramparts within the mountain passes (where Moldania and Wallachia meet). This meant that Moldania was never fully invaded and left Wallachia and its people to fend for themselves. The Wallachian People hid where they could in caves, mountains and the dark forests, and gradually built up enough resistance to retake their region. During this time, the Wallachian people built up such hatred for the northern neighbours that the country chose to go its own way rather than re-uniting.
Now, some 200 years later, that hatred still bubbles away beneath the surface. Whilst they (Wallachia and Moldania) have started trading across the border, there is still a variety of clashes that occur between groups of the nations. The most at risk is the Mountain Goat and Sheep herders that work the mountain along the border between the countries. If either countries herders are caught unaware by the opposition, they would be attacked and their livestock is stolen. It’s a fairly traditional thing to see stolen ‘Lowland Goat’ in the southern Moldavian markets, just as it is to see stolen ‘ Perch Sheep’ in the Northern Wallachian Markets.
Wallachia is located to the Eastern edge of the current League, it sits at the base of the Nemãsurat Mountains that form the border between Wallachia and the Khanate. It is, on average, the highest altitude state of the whole league, with vast areas built into the cliff and mountains of the Nemãsurat range.
The weather is typically wet throughout the seasons, mostly due to any weather fronts breaking on the mountains. Due to the wet weather, there are only 3 seasons across the year. ‘Amortit’ is their Winter, where thick blankets of snow and ice cover the ground. ‘Soare’ is their Summer, whilst its definitely their driest part of the year comparatively, it is still very wet, especially the ground underfoot due to the high ground water level. Any time outside of these two is named ‘Mlãstinos’, which is just a good way of describing the remaining marshy, boggy, swampy and sloppy weather they have for the remainder of the year.
There is a central river, the ‘mare țâșnire’, that runs from Moldania in the north, through the Wallachian region, and then down through the Drakkenwald mountains. Throughout the region are numerous streams that gather water from the mountains and take it into the mare țâșnire. These streams divide Wallachia into small parcels of land which are each controlled by a local lord, named a Gospodar. The homestead of the Gospodars is typically the highest part of their own land , and over the years these homesteads have been built into the various castle, citadels, and fortified churches seen throughout the region.
Each homestead is fortified, not only due to the ongoing civil conflicts through the region but also, due to the beasts that come from the mountains, caves and darker areas of the landscape and stlk the populace. The landscape is a mostly tree filled landscape with huge old forests lining the sides of the mountains and valleys. Normally pasture land only occurs in the closest areas around each Gospodars homestead so they can be better protected.
The wet and dark weather system means the normal wallachian is a hardy and tough soul. But whatever evil grows in the country is equally hard and tough, andare more prevalent during the day due to the cover granted from the sun by the caves and forests that are strewn across the landscape.
The regions controlled by each of the Gospodars are named ’Gospodãries’ and these are equivalent to low ranking, land owning lords. These Gospodaries and then grouped into Boiers, with each Boier being ruled by a Boiers. The Boiers are then ruled overal by the Voivode. The title of Voivode is military in scope, and it goes with the country’s fortified homesteads. This isn’t a country of quiet contemplation for rulership. Whilst there are educated individuals that study and research, they work directly for a Boier or Gospodar to ensure that they are protected from the other lords. The current ruler is the Voevodsha Alina cea mare, she is believed to have been in power for more than 45 Years, some 20 years longer than the voivodeship of any of her predecessors.
Food is a fairly hardy affair. With the lack of large pen pastures, there is less beef available so that is kept for the lords. The serving class enjoy diets made up of pork and goat, with mountain goats being one of the main sources of dairy for the region. There is a huge lean to sour tastes in the food due to the requirement to preserve and pickle fruits and vegetables for the harder months. A general opinion is that the longer vegetables have been off the vine or out of the ground, the better they are for you, so it is very rare that any vegetables are eaten unless they have been pickled first. This also means that the populace tends to have at least a full season with of food stored away so they are better equipped to handle significant problems, like weather, that could affect the harvest.
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Countries of note outside of The League
Four times the size of Algundy and home to the Barbarian Clans, Fenslands is located to the East of Algundy and was once a powerful nation that spread itself across what is now called the League. Its people were forced back until the lands were crushed into a small relic of its former self.
Clans – Although many clans squabble over land and wealth, there are thirteen well established clans that watch over the smaller factions and struggle to keep The Fenslands wealthy and at peace with the League. Trading has become the lifeblood of many Jarls, measuring their wealth by how many warriors they support and how many League luxuries they can serve during feasts. To the East of Fenslands lie the wild and deadly Barrenlands. Clans across the border keep their eyes wide incase of an uprising by the Wildfolk of the Barrendlands. The establsihed Fens clans are:
In addition to these clans there are over sixty small unrecognised clans and factions of old clans that disagree with the old ways, or even the new. There are also lost clans that were cut off during the great war of The Golden Empire to the southern borders of Phoenice. Their traditions and memories of the homeland are uknown to those of the Fenslands. Whether they they remember where theyc ome from or whether they still worship those of Kunn or Knux is also unknown.
Clan Axbyte -The Axbyte clan date back to ancient times, before the great war of Kunn and Knux. Only six of the current clans existed in those fierce and bloody times. Over the years the Axbyte have wanted to regain their status as the most powerful of all the clans and it has been slowly been growing in wealth as it builds on its relationship with the League. The Axbytes even took an opportunity to sack the port of Duan Mulster, originally founded by Clan Ulgendon, seeing it as a vital asset in trading. The clan was led by Snorri before his assasination, and is known for their disregard of tradition and embracing of the modern. Some think that Snorri ignored tradition and history to hide the truth about his ancestors. It is certain that Snorri did not share the ideals of the old ways.
Clan Balder – After the war of the Golden Empire the Balder clan became reclusive in the mountatins, not mush is known about this clan. It is thought that the clan survives by mining and careful raiding in the lands of the south, trading very fine minerals with the Volund clan. This clan has warriors who are careful and collected. They watch and learn before fighting their enemy, skilled in archery. This clan follows the old ways.
Clan Morfax – The Morfax clan are known for their experties with the dead. Being located close to the wildfolk border and with frequent attempts to regain land has led the clan to gain a lot of experience with the undead. Their druids are able to influence the undead and even summon the dead. The druids of Morfax clan have also become aware of dark powers from the East. They are constantly looking for more information on the darkness, believing that it will help them fight Freya if ever she was to rise again.
Clans Grimarr Ost Broo & Grimar Ost Karn – These clans were once, in ancient time, united as one clan – Grimarr – and was the largest clan of all Fenslands. During the great battle of the Golden Empire they split in two. It is said that the clan was led by a great Jarl – Wodnux Grimarr, who had twin sons, Broo and Karn. During the war on the Golden Empire Wodnux fell, leaving his twin sons to lead the clan together. They grew and their joint Jarldom was great and the wealthiest clan after the war. Their relations with the new League were strong but it was all to collapse over the love of one Phoenician woman, Alesia. Alesia met the brothers whilst they were on a visit to Phoenice and soon they had both fallen in love with her. Alesia, herself loved neither but the brothers dragged her back to the Fenslands where she lived under the twins lustful rule. At first, the twins shared Alesia, sometimes sleeping with her until she became pregnant. Both brothers claimed to be the father of the child who would be the future Jarl of Grimmar and, as a result fighting broke out between the brothers. Then, finally Alesia vanished without a trace with her newborn child. Both brothers accused each other for her disappearance and thus the clan was divided. They fought for years and years over any petty thing. Both clans have large armies, ready to fight each other at a moments notice. Whether or not these clans follow the old ways is up for debate.
Clan Ravengull – Teh Ravengull clan own the second busiest port in Fenslands based in North East of Fensland. They export a lot of exotic artifacts from exploring the higher Eastern realsm. They are also expert sailors and the Ravengull navy was much feared in the Golden Empire war. This clan mostly follows the old ways.
Clan Helganarr – This clan is the most holy of the clans in Fensland. They reside in the centre of Issa’s Valley where the great fire Knux burns on his final resting place. It is believed that the fire purifies the spirit so that it will not return to haunt the living. The fire never burns out, some say that it burns from the fierce soul of Knux the Kingmakerand is the same fire that burned his dead flesh away, leaving him free to join Issa the Green. Those who are of schooling will suggest that the fire burns from a possible underground oil resource that fuels the flames. The Helganarr clan have built a huge stone circle around the fire and only those of great importance are allowed to visit the fire and speak to the Gods. Each year at the start of the summer, a Helganarr warrior will arrive at each of the clans of Fensland with a torch from the grat fire. The Helganarr believe in reminding the clans that they need each other and without unity then doom will prevail all of them. The Helganarr are fierce warriors, just because they are mostly holy druids doesn’t mean that they are unable to fight mighty battles. In fact, during the war against the wildfolk the Helganarr were said to be the most ferocious of the clans, dragging their enemies alive to their firepits to burn Freya’s influence from them. The Helganarr follow the old ways but give no honour towards those they deem to have none.
Clan Oddkull – This clan lives hand in hand with the Morfax clan, also located on the border of the Wildlands. Though not as experienced with the language of the dark practices, they like to use the dead as slaves to do their bidding and mine minerals for export to the League. The Oddkull clan is the smallest recognised clan of Fensland and probably do not know of the old ways.
Clan Skorageir – A small clan with little power or wealth, this clan follows the old ways. The Jarl of this clan is Jarl Oskar who is a close friend of Jarl Edvard – the two were friends from boyhood as the clans live relativiely clsoe to one another.
Clan Lupendrax – The Lupendrax clan worship Borris above Kunn and Knux. They worship the wolf which is believed to be Borris’ favourite form to take in his world. The clan wear many furs and use claws of long blades and can call within themselves such rage that they are feared by many fens clans. Titus of Wolfguard battled an honour dual against the Lupendrax champion and won, installing the lan as one of the Wolfguard’s allies against Snorri.
Clan Ulgendon – Another small caln who still take part in raids on Algundy but mainly trade in Solnis. Ulgendon was once a powerful clan but many other clans attacked them for their modern views. They founded the port of Mulster before it was taken by force by the Axbytes. The clan split and was crushed, left to pick up the scraps of a Fens life. Ulgendon are against the old ways.
Clan Volund – The Volund clan are the best craftsmen in Fensland, crafting exquisite jewellery to be sold as far as Phoenice. During the great wars, the Volund clan produced the finest weapons including Balistyrr. In fact any ancient weapon that has been handed down from the great wars will no doubt have been created by the Volund clan. Many clans trade with the Volund clan with materials and minerals in exchange for weapons and gold, or even goods to trade off to the League countries. They don’t have many warriors but the warriors they do have are very well armoured, kitted out with the greatest of weapons crafted to perfection. This clan follows the old ways.
The Wolfgard Clan – This clan has guarded the Eastern borders of Fenslands since the great battle of Widlock in which Jarl Alaf of Wolfgard stood beside Maud Balder and the great Thorwald Axbyte as they pushed back the wildfolk for the final time. It has been the duty of the Wolfgard to keep watch on the wild folk from within Wolvenheath in case of another uprising. After Snorri of Axbyte forced the Wolgard from their lands the border has been left unwatched and now the wildfolk return in force to invade Fenslands. The remainders of Wolfgard search out each other and hope to regain their lands and push out the invading wildfolk.
- Knux the Kingmaker
- Issa the Green
- Angry Kunn
- Freya the Dark
- Wise Borris
- Flegg the Trickster
There is more lore about these Gods available, chat to your Ref team.
Referred to as The Proud Empire of the Steppe, The Empire of the Horse and Bow or the Realm of the Falcon by its rulers.
The Khanate is a large amalgamation of nations in the South East of the League. It is rumoured to be so vast that information as to its full scale is sketchy at best. Most contact with the League at large comes through trade between the Eastern Khanate (the area often seen on maps of the League as the Khanate of the Magyr) and Polska. This is mostly due to a large mountain chain separating the Khanate from the League as a whole, save for a mountain pass referred to as the “Lion’s Mouth”.
The League became aware of the Khanate in its current state over 200 years ago following an invasion from the Eastern lands under the iron fist of the Great Khan Batbayar. Prior to this the Magyar were a disconnected and highly tribal group of mostly nomadic horse traders and breeders with only two permanently established settlements. 50 years ago, the Khan died and this led to a degree of instability and unrest in his Empire.
The Eastern invaders have since mostly withdrawn from this formerly western border of their Empire. But the Magyars began to see the benefits of a more centralised united form of governance, and as such have decided to remain part of the Khanate under more of their own direct authority and steer whilst still remaining in the control of the wider Khanate and the new Khan.
Before the fall of the Khan the ruler of the Khanate was a puppet of the central rulership, who had little relation or care about ruling this new land. After the death of the Khan however the rulership has been managed by one family, The Kassai, leaders of one of the most powerful tribes of the old Magyar families. They rule not as absolute monarchs but more as senior leaders who gain the support of the other families through strength and bartering for allegiances and support between families.
The current ruler is Prince Nergui Kassai, or Nergui the Novice. He is not inexperienced as a ruler being almost 30 years into this role, his moniker instead refers to his regular attempts to increase the uptake of the faith of the Grey Lady in his land. Her faith has begun to conflict with a more animistic faith that came with the invaders from the East which venerates ancestors and spirits of nature over any singular deity.
The major trade exports of the Khanate are exotic furs, Airag (an alcoholic beverage made from mare’s milk), birds of prey (popular for hawking and falconry), stocky recurve bows useful for loosing from horseback (at incredible poundage capable of punching through a man in armour) and stocky ponies that are capable of carrying a man in armour for a full day at the gallop and still having the strength to fight (another gift from the invaders).
The Khanates international relations are, difficult, to say the least. Their geographically isolated location and mountain barriers to most of the other nations, save for Polska, makes organising large-scale formal trade difficult. The Lions Mouth serves as the principal route in and out of the Khanate, guarded by a thick gated wall and a company of Polskan crack troops referred to as the Lion Tamers.
This land is still being developed – Check back soon!
This land is still being developed – Check back soon!
Far to the south of the League, past the Barbarian Lands and further south than most would dare travel, is a land of sand, harsh sun and great, wandering tribes of nomadic people. The Ivory Kingdoms are made up of 20 officially recognised Great Tribes while there are more than a hundred other lesser tribes around them. These 20 Great Tribes are constantly warring among themselves over land, people and access to water, the coast and other reasons. Their kingdoms ebb and flow in this constant warring state so it is almost impossible to make an accurate map of the entire kingdom that would not be incorrect a few months after. However, the bulk of the country is broken into three main areas of land-type.
The north is hard, rocky terrain with red-tinted mud that is baked by the hot sun. The people here have managed to cultivate a livelihood from cattle and trade with the Barbaries and occasionally the League. Learning from wars with the Barbaries, the Northern Great Tribes are superb warriors who defend their lands with ferocity from any who would attempt to claim what is theirs. With such good warriors, the Northern Great Tribes have settled from coast to coast of their available lands and have established solid borders and the formations of independent states. The Seven Northern Tribes are the Wolof, Ghanat, Mali, Songhay, Kush, Axum and Kanem-Bornu Tribes. They are wealthy, trading in spices, silks and gold. It is said that the richest Chief of the Kush Tribe has enough gold that they could drop coins on the ground and walk upon them without touching dirt from their kingdom all the way to the coast, of the Great Western Sea.
From the North, the landscape changes from rocky dirt to sand. A dune sea stretches out as far as the eye can see from coast to coast, sand is all there is. Pocketed among the sand are a few choice oasis, but these are many miles apart and the only peoples who can successfully navigate the unforgiven desert are the three Great Desert Tribes, Ashanti, Yoruba and the Buganda. These tribes have domesticated a desert dwelling animal called a camel. A large animal with a long neck, longer legs and cloven feet perfect for walking on sand. The camel has a hump on their back, made from fat or from water, no one is sure, but it is believed that the hump allows the camel to walk for days without the need of water. This allows the tribes to better ration their precious water reserves. The Ashanti and Yoruba tribes have settled the western edge of the desert, using the flatter, lower land as their main homestead and trade via the sea with the Northern Tribes. The Buganda are a nomadic tribe, ranging across the entire desert from west to east, though it is speculated that they have a main settlement to the east of the great desert where there is a large oasis, large enough for a tribe of thousands.
Continuing south, the country changes yet again. As we move away from the desert and the belt of intense heat, the country becomes wetter and more humid. The desert sand gives ways to grasslands and then thick, wild jungles. These jungles range from coast to coast and are cleaved in half by a mighty river. Jungle climates are home to animals and birds that defy nature and come in such an array of colour that the creatures seem better dressed than the most extravagant lord. This central jungle area is populated by the five Great Jungle Tribes, the Congo, Lunda and Loba, Rwanda and Malawi. These tribes are the most warring, fighting over the available land that is suitable for farming and the trade of the fantastical creatures living in the jungles. The Congo are infamous for their ability to track animals via water and for their use of poisoned darts as weapons. Supposedly the poison comes from the backs of tree frogs.
In the South of the Ivory kingdoms, the remaining 5 of the Great Tribes have taken ownership of the grassy, cooler lands below the jungles. These lands are lush with life, from large plant eating beasts to predatory cats. The Lozi, Monomotaoa, Zulu and Kilwa tribes occupy the largest sections of land, while the Merani occupy a coastal area that allows them to control trade through the area as their land holds one of the only harbours large enough to house the large League ships. Of these five, the Zulu are the best fighters, amazing warriors with a love of spears and shields, though the Lozi are famed archers.
The Ivory Kingdoms are recognised as a single nation, but as described above, are a series of smaller nations with their own agendas and roles. Some are farmers, traders and merchants; others are fighters and famed warriors while others still are artisans, healers, priests and live off the land. It is rare that members of the Ivory Kingdoms travel far to the north.
Religion within the Ivory Kingdoms is far spread, some worshipping local landmarks as gods, sky and sea gods, the gods of the winds and sun. A great pantheon of gods and goddesses that have links to traditional animism, the world itself has a soul and the people worship that. Missionaries have attempted to convert the Northern tribes, with minimal success to introduce the Lady to the kingdoms.
Hind is a mysterious nation to the far, far East of the League. Several times over the horizon, Hind is a hot, humid land that is home to thick jungles and vicious beasts. The people pray to an ancient pantheon of gods and goddesses. Hind was once divided into fifteen smaller regions, each with their own ruler known as a Rajah. Over time, through war and battle, these regions joined together and were eventually united by a singular ruler who set a dynasty across the so-called Hind Empire. The role of leadership was continually contested, with a new ruler rising every few decades to attempt to take the throne. Currently, Hind is ruled by Rajah Balbul who claimed the throne during the Battle of the Sun Temple, in which the previous Rajah was slain in battle.
Around the larger settlements, the jungle has been cleared and farms have been well established for the production of two main exports. The first being a strange, white grain used in many forms of cooking, it dries in the sun and keeps for months in this form. The other export is fine, hand-woven silks in extravagant colours. The silks are sent across the world and are a fine luxury, often the shipments are intercepted by raiders and pirates as the silks are worth more than gold.
Hind follows an ancient faith, a pantheon of gods and goddesses, each with their own role in their version of the creation of the world. Each one is represented through an icon, item or animal. For example, Oordesh the Lover is represented by a flaming heart icon and is related to the brightly coloured parrots that mate for life in the deep jungles. While there are so many gods and goddesses, the people are not ‘church-going’, rather each family prays to the god that guards their family. For farmers, they pray to the Goddess of Crops, for traders they pray to the God of Dealings. They create shrines in their own homes, carry icons on their person and leave offerings at shrines as they travel.
While Hind is considered a power in the East, it is relatively unknown to The League, with few having taken the long, arduous trip to the strange continent. A few merchants and traders have made their way to the West, but stand out in their fine, bright silks and ceremonial head-dresses.