AoT Lore: Nations
In my last blog post, I spoke about where I am at with preparations for the new Kickstarter campaign – you can find that post here.
In this next instalment of my fortnightly Amulet of Thrayax blog, I’m going to detail some of the nations of Intendia.
In particular, I’ll be focusing on the country where Bleakpyre itself is located, and it’s surrounding neighbours…
Bards will often regale you with tales of Heraldsham, the home of the city of Bleakpyre. They may sing songs of it’s bountiful forests and woodland, or spin a yarn about it’s many scenic rivers, and they’d be right to do so – Heraldsham consistently wins the “Quaintest” category in the International Country of the Year (take that Blossomberg!)
Not all of this fair country is so lush however, and in the northeastern corner are barren moors and dangerous bogland, whilst in the northwest you will find the Rawling Hills and huge Ghastly Mountains range, which is mostly void of civilisation.
Then there are the country’s inhabitants – the Heraldans.
Whilst Bleakpyre is a cesspit of evil, where you’re likely to meet your end at the hands of a deranged cultist or back-alley ruffian, the rest of the countryfolk are a mixed bag. Sure, there is still a superior upper class, and being too nice will get you branded a witch, but there are also hard working folk of Heraldsham, who are proud of their chivalrous traditions and of their monarchy (even if that admiration only goes one way).
Unfortunately, a state is more often defined by it’s leadership and between the King, the King’s Council, and the sinister Circle that controls them both, Heraldsham’s foreign relations leave much to be desired.
It’s not easy being a cartographer on Intendia. With the very high chance of wandering into bandits, wolves, or even monsters, it’s no wonder life insurers won’t touch them with a bargepole. In fact, it is so dangerous, that it is common for map makers to completely shirk their responsibilities, and either miss out or fabricate entirely new locations.
This has led to some very confusing, and embarrassing results. For example, when Prince Golval lay siege to his own city (things got pretty awkward for a while), or when Heraldsham inadvertently built a new town for Tregacia and had to pretend it was a cripplingly expensive surprise present.
More recently, Loftland and Heraldsham have been in dispute over who owns the Point of Contention, a mountain in the Ghastlys.
But let’s take a look at these unlucky countries that sit on Heraldsham’s borders:
The unfortunate neighbour to the west/northwest, is the hilly country of Loftland. Long have the Lofts made an effort to get along with the Heraldans, but the snooty upper classes of Heraldsham have always deemed the Lofts as beneath them.
It is this attitude that saw the Heraldans undertake the greatest gardening project of all time, the erection of the Great Hedge (it looks great by the way!), that runs along the entire southwestern border, from the sea all the way up to the foothills of the Ghastlys.
Passage through the hedge can only be made via the Garden Gate castle, and you must have a permit. Conversely, you can only pick up a permit from the bureau in Purity (Heraldsham’s capital city), and therefore most Lofts avoid the gate.
If a Loft really wants to enter the country, the only way through is to traverse the hills to the north and hope they’re not spotted by the Peeping Keep, a “ruin” Heraldsham claims is abandoned, but is really home to some less-than-subtle guards. Really, the whole affair has put off the Lofts and as such, they are an incredibly rare find in Heraldsham.
Tregacia is the affluent city-state on the eastern border. Beautiful and trendy, Heraldans have always admired the Tregacians and will do almost anything they can to be associated with them.
In fact, the nobility of Heraldsham is so smitten, that they named their border fort Friendship Castle, as a testament to the “special chuminess” they perceive the two nations have. In reality, the Tregacians are a little more netural about the whole thing, and will often pretend they’re not in when Heraldans come knocking.
Spanning a great distance in the north east, is the border with Mautany. This is the main land route to and from the rest of the continent, and many visitors and merchants travel along it. As such, the Mautans have set up tolls on all roads between their northern and southern borders, and the fee-collecting mercenaries regularly fight between themselves for the premium locations along the route.
Three roads cross the border from Mautany into Heraldsham, and depending on the foreign policy of the current King’s Council, newcomers are either allowed to take the safer roads, or forced to traverse the deadly Shunning Bog.
Even if one does make it through the bog and into the country, outsiders are generally seen with great suspicion and are subject to angry gesturing with pitchforks, and disdain from the “elite”.
Which brings me to the subject of my next upcoming lore post – introducing the bumbling King, and the other political forces of Heraldsham…
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