Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Terrae Verterbrae: Northern Kingdoms

The nations of Terrae Vertebrae have their basis in real-world national epics: not directly copies, but filtered copies, responding to literature and the ideals therein. Beyond that, one element of the world building was that most nations of Pseudo-Europe (Vertebrea) were prinicpally influenced by one of the elder races - Elves or Dwarves. This accounts for a cultural difference and a religious divide - if not to the extremes of, say, the Reformation or the Cold War.

Thus, we have the Unified Rite of the faith, and the Manifest Rite (UR and MR; theological differences and creeds can be thrashed out in a different post). This is quite apart from the remnants of the Old Faith.


To keep this a good readable length, this section will only deal with the nations of the northern half of the continent.


These notes were originally fairly stream-of-consciousness. I have tidied them up a little for ease of use.


So, with that out of the way....



Torwick: an island to the North-West this is Arthurian, touch-of-fairy Albion/Logres/Britain-complete with Orkney clan stirring up trouble, old grudges &c. Think Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  Fairy gates. Superstitious peasantry; questing knights into fairy land. Belle dame sans merci. Goblin Market. Wild Hunt contrasts with Chivalry.

There is a High King (Ættar Penvern); he is quite recent to the Throne 

[A touch of Shakespeare’s Henry V also; a young King, yet a canny one. Plenty of Plantagenet drive. Certainly an Arthur; but just as certainly a Pendragon – Looking at you, Uther. See also King Arnthor in Wolfe’s The Wizard Knight

There are plenty of Underkings and Princelings and a Wittangamot to be placated. (UR; Plenty of Old Faith- part of ongoing conflict.)

There is an ‘Ambrosian Order’ of Merlin-a-likes. Mysterious, infuriating. Not quite Church approved....



Everything looks a bit like this: http://gilgalahad.tumblr.com/tagged/lyonesse Seriously, you can’t escape it. It’s getting to be a problem [I, for one, blame the Fairy Folk!]

Nicquardy:  set on the Western coast, below Sylmunnion. Carolingian (fictional matter-of-France) France. The Song of Roland. Plenty of rising movement of Daughters of the Nobility Joans-of-Arc [This got turned into an adventure hook...]. This has many Royal patrons. Serfdom. Yaaaay. Ongoing hatred of Torwick. Peninsula with UR faith being suppressed.  (MR) 

[King Olivier IV. Medieval France; powerful nobles, regional parliaments]

Plays the ‘Heartland of the West’ card a lot – generally prosperous, stable, chivalric – without the weirdness of Sylmunnion, the hidden cracks under Torwick, Nirvanite corruption, the distance of Trygvir, the horror of Hurdamark, the commercialism of Fahflund or the semi-barbarism of the Talliz.

Sylmunnion: High up the Vertebraen continent to the North, on the western side of the moutnains. Finland. Touch of Kiev Rus in cities. Magic, Mystery, Trees. The Kalevala. Giant Pikes. GIANT Capercaillies. Reindeer. Crossbows. Magic as very well integrated into society vs. Guilds and careful negotiation of ‘Civilised’ Realms. Not entirely good or bad; fewer disagreements, more uses of magic for Common Good; more magical accidents, wars over magical resources [Cf. Sampo]

(UR, technically) [‘King’- courtesy title for foreign relations. Really Prince of Prince or Chief of Chiefs. Referred to as ‘Dux Coronal’ by Church. Not meant to meddle too much domestically.  Last century title falls to Dukes of Kuulajarvi. Regency currently; Queen Kaarina {Finnish Catherine} has 13 year old son; Prince Tapani {Finnish Stephen} ]


The Trygvir Isles: a group of islands high to the north and east. Iceland. 'Farmers have feuds'. The Sagas. The Althing. Definitively NOT Thor-and-Odin beards-and-axes Vikings - or rather, I would prefer to play down that angle, similar (perhaps) to way that The Banner Saga does it.

Hurdamark is their main trade partner; a missionary effort is ongoing.  Some isolated folk in the backwaters regard anything further than Fahflund as semi-mythical.

(No set faith) [The Althing. Magnates within it as suitable.]

There is also the remains of an Atlantis-analogue as run by Giants. Half Giants remain in Trygvir (Eight foot or so tall, some hooves, horns, bone spurs, immensely strong; slow of speech but not foolish. Touch also of Shadowrun trolls. Pseudo-Atlantis was a fairly cosmopolitan place.) remain, a shadow of what has gone before. Ancient and mysterious ruins; one might contemplate Nephilim references? See Tim Powers, The Stress of her Regard, Declare &c. [Rules for the 52 Pages to come]


I am also very tempted to start working in the Selkie. Possibly with an aspect of the Hrossa from Out of the Silent Planet about them.


Hurdamark.  East coast. Northerly, but not as northerly as Sylmunnion. Prussian (geographically), wild Germany. Alexander Nevsky, an edge of medieval Russia. Teutonic Knights. Pine forests. Touch of Brothers Grimm lurking-in-the-woods stuff; not quite Hammer Horror. Sincere faith and religious terror (but still quite can be cute, charming, homely in a rural Germanic sort of way, so long as the sun is shining). Baltic-type trade- furs, amber, salt fish.(UR) [King Godric IV Mindaugas]

It is suggested that the Order of St. Tankred’s extensive private property and seemingly ubiquitous presence is in some way suspicious. This is, of course, mere slander. They kill monsters for us. They are heaven-sent to guard us.

There are internal divisions in the Order of St. Tankred; traditional monster-slayers vs. Mercantile state-building sorts. Trade in Hurdamark has been reinforced and enabled by Tankredian banking – but resources to protect villages can be stretched by this.

Fahflund. East coast, below Hurdamark. The river valley reaches deep into the mountains. Netherlands, Rhineland, Bavaria, Vienna. Happy Germany. Lederhosen and Dirndls in the forests; trade, wine, mining on the river. Hanseatic League. Plenty of university towns and scholarly-slanted monasteries (St Hildegard of Bingen).

Conflict: Burghers vs. Stadtholders. Regional assemblies based on cities; must include prominent landowners and burghers. Both tend to resent the power of the other. Everyone else invited (Prominent Priests, by courtesy, wizards, Scholars) resent the deadlock and do the best they can. Elective monarchy- but tend to return candidate of same family.(MR) [King Bertholdt II]

The border city of Agatheburg is pseudo-Geneva; a Palatinate, run by the Prince-Bishop. Has Tomb of Fallen King, St. Vaderian; site of border squabbles, contention w/ Nicquardy. Cf. Alsace-Lorraine?

These last two respond more to historically based images of Germany, rather than any given fictional work. This became a theme, not least because I'm less aware of any urban-based epic poems and Dungeons and Dragons does like to have a few cities about.

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