A N D E R L A N E
For starters, it's been quite a while since I've updated this series with any additional articles, and for that, I apologize. The pitfalls and challenges of Real Life always gets in the way of personal projects, and as such these articles predictably fell out of the top positions on my to-do list. However, I will soon be starting up an active campaign in this setting and it should be an excellent opportunity to give everything a dry run and see how it holds up to the actions of some dynamic characters.
Additionally, I've made a couple of changes to the setting, but only as far as nomenclature is concerned. 'Windmarch' and 'Seagate', while I liked the names themselves, felt a bit too generic and lacked any sense of national identity. Granted, the name of the game has been to try and create a world that is simple, straightforward and can accommodate a variety of stories and play-styles. Nevertheless, I decided to rebrand 'Windmarch' as Anderlane (the subject of this very article) and the nation of 'Seagate' as Barasea (the next article's subject).
What follows is my attempt to try and marshal together the pieces of information about Anderlane that I have floating around inside my mind, hopefully coalescing them into a cursory guide to the nation itself. It's not going to be a Frommer's, but it should help convey the fundamentals about the place.
The nation of Anderlane is one of the major 'northern' nations in Dragonsgate, sitting to the north of Andujas and Ferrago, and alongside its brother nation, Barasea. The two kingdoms were once united as the Empire of Algard in the days before the Maradi pushed northward from the sands. After the incursion was repelled, the Andujan provinces were united under a singular throne, but the damage done in the war led to a considerable amount of political infighting in the houses of nobility in Algard, fueling a plutarchically charged collapse of order and instigating a severe shortage of tradeable commodities and foodstuffs. In short, a cardiac arrest gripped the empire, and it was split it in two. Political rivalries and disputes about the decisions to begin diplomatic relationships with the new nation of Andujas (or to attempt to annex it into the Empire) caused a huge rent in the status quo in the Imperial Court, notably between the House of Landen and the
House of Thormund (and all of their respective allies and kinsmen). Tensions escalated as the economy of the empire ground to a halt and the Emperor was ousted from the throne by a cadre of nobles hailing from all of the major houses who realized that as they could not make effective decisions for the empire as a whole, that the best decision would be to break the empire into two halves, each led by a monarch that matched the philosophies of the nobles who would serve as his vassals. This created a very turbulent time where titles and fiefs were redrawn and nobles were recreated as masters of different lands in their new kingdom. House Thormund became the most powerful family in the east and laid the foundations for the new monarchic lineage that would build Barasea; House Landen became the monarchic line that would lead Anderlane.
The castle at Edgemoor, straddling a deep ravine known as the blue cliffs, became the major focal point of the two countries' East/West boundary, with two keeps on either side of the ravine and a bridge connecting the two; the House of Thormund took the Eastern keep, as it stood within the lands of the nascent Barasea and the House of Landen took the Western Keep as it stood within the limits of Anderlane. In the one hundred years since the Maradi invasion, the nobility remains strongly in tact and the King's control of the nation has changed very little. Barasea, however, underwent further sweeping changes, as we will see in the next post.
The country is divided into four duchies and five shires (hey, Anderlane is supposed to be vaguely Anglo-Saxon).
The Duchies are Windmarch (the capital city and its immediate surroundings are considered a royal fief, giving the King the mostly technical title of 'Duke of Windmarch' in addition to King of Anderlane), Haidon, Thurnwall and Vanley; the shires are Argrave, West Arborland, East Arborland, Stormland and Thrace.
The capital city is Windmarch (I decided that I should keep a reference to the original name of the nation somehow).
Other major cities in the nation are: Briston, Holston, Artis, Canson Hill, Stormridge, Banniston, Velving Cross and Thasholm. Lasthill, Springpool, Archmere are locations of major military outposts meant to secure trade routes through the country.
House Landen is the main noble family in the kingdom (the current Royal Family), with a fair number of its kinsmen in notable bureacratic positions and holding a majority of seats on the King's privy council. That said, the influence of House Landen in the kingdom is immense, but that is not to say that they are the only noble family in the country that holds any power.
The following is a list of the major regions in the country and the noble house that currently holds the fief in possession. In addition to the duchies and shires of the country, there are a handful of smaller holdings that belong to what would be considered the major nobility of the realm (ie. Nobles holding more than one title simultaneously, much as the King is both King of Anderlane and Duke of Windmarch concurrently).
1. Haidon – House Arken
2. Vanley – House Brightblade
3. Thurnwall – House Graystone
4. Stormland – House Fourwell
5. Argrave – House Carhaen
6. West Arborland – House Blackdrake
7. East Arborland – House Threnmoor
8. Thrace – House Highglen
The King himself autonomously governs nearly all major decisions pertaining to domestic and international matters, though he is advised extensively by his Privy Council, which consists of individuals he appoints from his own court. The Privy Council commands no explicit power or resources, but their influence is still highly regarded, and many instances have been observed where the Council is the de facto ruler of the realm, cleverly manipulating the decisions of the monarch with delicate wordplay and psychological tactics. It should be noted the council can petition the King to certain actions (or to dissuade the king from certain actions), but there is no method of compelling the monarch to act under their advice. As the council is often assembled from courtesans who would be considered either close friends or even family of the king, their advice is scarcely ignored outright, or at least they aren't imprisoned for voicing opinions contrary to the monarch. Members of the Council usually include the following: the High Clerics of the Churches of Heironeous, Pelor, Ilmater and sometimes Jophar; other titles include the Lord Steward, who manages the royal holdings and estates; the Lord Exchequer, who manages the kingdoms finances; the Lord Chancellor, who by default also presides over all official courtly meetings and matters; the Lord Barrister, who handles all judicial matters and handles the enaction and official ratification of new Royal Charters or Royal Decrees; and finally, the Earl Marshal, who reports to the king on all military matters and handles the security of the realm.
The army of Anderlane is sizeable, consisting of 11,000 royal regulars (basic soldiers, not hereditary knights) that can be marshaled at any time, 340 hereditary knights and an additional 2300 men-at-arms that can be summoned to duty from the nobles of the country. The navy is somewhat smaller, with three flagships, twenty frigates and eleven caravels. The main purpose of the naval forces is to protect the coastal lands of Anderlane and to safeguard shipping routes to the Far West to the lands of Formarest. The flagships are rotated between the major port cities of Anderlane, accompanied by a handful of frigates and caravels. The names of the flagships are the Horizon, the Blade of Nessus, the Sovereign Vengeance.
The Earl Marshal has direct command over all naval forces and all ground forces, managing orders to all of his generals and sub-captains.
Major Outposts and Fortresses: Each of the following outposts is garrisoned with its own reserve of royal regulars, which are supplemented by local militias paid for and equipped by royal funds. The royal family never entirely trusted the machinations of the other noble families and saw it prudent to establish permanent holds and keeps that placed soldiers loyal to the Crown within the lands enfiefed to the king's vassals.
Before the Maradi invasion, the people of the Algard Empire had developed good relations with the dwarves that lived in the mountainous regions in the west, and as such, over time, some of them left their subterranean cities and joined their human counterparts, adding the smithing skills of the dwarves to the aptitudes of the people of Anderlane. As such, the quality of their worked metals is much more highly sought after than the metalwork done by the smiths in Barasea.
Heironeous, Pelor and Ilmater are the major deities worshiped in the realm of kingdom of Anderlane, which is to say that their temples are somewhat proliferate throughout the kingdom; Moradin has the occasional temple in areas that have higher populations of dwarves mixed in with the humans (ie. Close to the mountains); Thestu, god of the North Wind has some temples in the coastal cities. Perhaps the largest religion by and far is that of the monotheistic religion dedicated to Jophar, a highly venerated god of protection and vigilance. Anderlane has a considerably large population of druidic peoples, commonly referred to as pagans or heathens, and as such, the ancient, nameless gods of the forests and wildlands are worshipped along the outermost, northern borders of the country. As far as tolerance of the pagan gods and practices go, the regions that are most heavily intertwined with the church of Jophar are less tolerant of the heathen ways; in the region of Thrace (controlled by House Highglen), are the most sympathetic to the pagan way of life and as such, the influence of the church of Jophar is highly limited.
TRADE + RESOURCES
Anderlane maintains strong trade ties to Barasea and to Andujas, though it is beginning to open trade direct trade routes and establish companies and ventures with Maradi consortiums after the latter's intent to join the Council of Nations was made clear. Additionally, the country maintains consistent flow of goods to the lands of Formarest across the Empyreal Sea. Anderlane's major trade goods are hardwood timbers, coal, iron ore, gems, wool, wheat, granite and finely crafted weaponry (a legacy of the master dwarven smiths that have been assimilated into the country). Wheat and timber are particularly sought after in Andujas, where such materials are incredibly difficult to come by; iron ore and gems find a steady market in Barasea where the basaltic soils make mining incredibly difficult and costly.