Principality of Naerie
County of Idee
When the Great Kingdom started its long decline, many countries of the south started to resist the rulers of Rauxes. In 447 CY Idee broke away from the Great Kingdom with some other southern states, forming the Iron League. While the Iron Hills offered a formidable natural barrier, Idee was the state that bore the brunt of the Great Kingdom’s aggression, and many battles were fought on the northern border. This eventually led to the completion of Eddri Line, a series of fortifications that protected Idee from northern attackers. Continuous warfare ultimately changed Ideean military doctrine to favor defense and concentration of forces on the north.
When the Great Kingdom entered its death throes, this doctrine proved a weakness. Over the years the Scarlet Brotherhood had sent its own men to infiltrate the Ideean armies. With many of their own men in positions of power, collapse of the Ideean armies was ensured. Vital coastal areas were defended by second grade troops or local peasant militias. They had no hope against the savage Hepmonalander warriors, hobgoblin troops and elite monks of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Internal sabotage, assassinations and false orders decimated the elite Ideean troops in the north. Almost every local noble was killed with one notable exception being Coriell Eddri. He was saved by his bodyguards and managed to flee to Irongate, along with a large militia contingent. A few scattered military units and refugee columns also managed to flee to the surrounding lands. Having won a decisive victory, the Scarlet Brotherhood put its own agents to rule the baronies and started to establish their doctrine of Suel Supremacy
Birth of Ahlissa
Meanwhile, the South Province of the Great Kingdom had avoided much of the chaos that engulfed the Great Kingdom. Its ruler, , was intelligent, ruthless and pragmatic, something the Overkings of the Great Kingdom had not been for a long time. He knew he possessed some of the greatest fighting forces in the Eastern Flanaess, and he was not about to leave them unused.
While the Brotherhood fortified its hold on the south, Graf Reydrich looked to Idee as a way to expand his territory and turn his lands into a true empire. Reydrich launched his own spies and assassins against the Brotherhood in Onnwal and Idee, eliminating scores of their agents. Some argue that Reydrich’s actions were the reason why the Brewfest rebellion in Onnwal in 586 CY was so successful. That same year, the armies of South Province marched into Idee, quickly conquering the northern half and putting the Brotherhood troops to the sword. Most of the captured Brotherhood troops were killed in mass executions organized in Foelt, but hundreds were kept in captivity and used as slave labor to rebuild areas devastated by the occupation. Reydrich had planned to move into Onnwal as well but heavy fighting and bad weather delayed his plans.
Pleased nonetheless, Reydrich told one of his generals to be prepared to march into the Tilvanot Peninsula by the year’s end over the bodies of the Scarlet Brotherhood’s finest assassins, spies and savages. The general returned to Reydrich’s quarters later that day to find the archmage dead, apparently slain during the act of casting another spell against the Scarlet Brotherhood leaders. The general fled to Nyrond where his story was made public for all to hear.
Into this power vacuum stepped a coalition of military officers and nobles who briefly attempted to establish a realm of their own, renaming South Province the Kingdom of Ahlissa. Several members of this Oligarchy were slain by Brotherhood agents in 586-587 CY, but enough Oligarchs survived to oversee the complete reconquest of Idee by the end of 586 CY. With the founding of the new United Kingdom of Ahlissa, the lands of Idee were made part of Ahlissa. The rulership was granted a general who had overseen the conquest of Idee after Reydrich was assassinated. His name was Barzhaan Haxx.
After the Wars
Of course, some Ideeans never greeted the Ahlissan troops as liberators. A group calling themselves the ‘Idee Volunteers’ staged attacks against Ahlissan troops. These attacks posed little threat to the Ahlissan forces and did little to increase the popularity of the Volunteers. Most people were happy to see the Brotherhood gone and to continue their lives under Ahlissan rule.
In 592 CY a large group Idee Volunteers was killed, including their founder Staceus of Felten, in the Battle of the Hollow Highlands when Ahlissan forces surrounded them on the edge of the Hollow Highlands. Only a few survivors managed to flee. Idee Volunteers also lost much of their political support with the signing of the Naerie Compact where Onnwal and Sunndi recognized Ahlissan rule over the lands of Idee in return for military aid and economic relations. This caused much outcry and many said that is was merely a final humiliation by the other Iron League states that did not assist Idee in any way when it was fighting against the Scarlet Brotherhood.
After this, until the end of 598 CY, Naerie enjoyed relatively quiet period of time, which ended with reversal of the Flight of Fiends.
Naerie did not avoid the calamity caused by the reversal of the Flight of Fiends. However, these were much less severe than elsewhere in Ahlissa, with only few isolated incidents occurring. In late 598 CY, Prince Barzhaan signed a treaty with Keoland for mutual naval cooperation against the Scarlet Brotherhood. It remains to be seen how effective this treaty is going to be but with northern Ahlissa in turmoil, it is likely that Brotherhood and their Duxchan allies will use this opportunity to attack Ahlissa. Various internal problems also remain, the most worrying being a rumor that Idee Volunteers have organised around a new leader. Additionally, with House Lyrthi struggling to keep control of Monne – and failing – Prince Barzhaan may lose one of his more important supporters.
Life in Naerie
This section describes a number of aspects of every-day life in the Principality of Naerie, from religious practices via politics to crimes and their punishments.
Naerie is ruled by six noble houses, several lesser ones, as well as several other important factions. Below are quick references to most houses and organizations, and to their goals.
- House Haxx of Naerie
- House Arxx of Naerie
- House Eddri of Naerie
- House Heshun of Naerie
- House Lyrthi of Naerie
- House Oedil of Naerie
- House Devnor of Naerie
- Idee Volunteers of Naerie
- Advisory Council of Naerie
- Minor Houses of Naerie: Houses such as Drien or Radoc only govern small baronetcies, and they follow the leadership of the stronger Houses whom they have sworn loyalty. Each Baronet answers to his Baron, his liege-lord.
The faith of Zilchus, the god of power, prestige, money, business and influence, is the dominant religion of the Kingdom, and its priesthood is the strongest in Naerie, due to Ahlissan influence. However, that does not mean it is the most popular. Osprem, the goddess of ships, sea voyages and sailors, was very popular in the Old Idee and her worshipers are perhaps the most numerous in Naerie. Worship of Lydia, the goddess of music, knowledge and daylight, is also quite popular because her priests travel the countryside, teaching common folk many useful skills. Oeridian and Suloise agricultural gods are both worshipped, along with sea gods Procan and Xerbo.
Ahlissan soldiers of course brought with them the worship of Hextor. Common people see no need for him but temples to him have been built. Worship of Heironeous is popular but because of the actions of Staceus of Felten, founder of the Idee Volunteers, the church was forced to make a public acceptance of Ahlissan rulership and revoke its affiliation with the Idee Volunteers. As a result, the church of Heironeous has become somewhat pragmatic towards the Ahlissan rule. Common soldiers still worship him but Idee Volunteers have moved extensively to Trithereon, the god of individuality, retribution and self-defense, whose worship is now outlawed in Naerie.
Worship of vile cults and deities such as Nerull are also forbidden, but all Suel gods are allowed to be worshipped in Shar Hesiyev. It should be noted that worship of Wee Jas was quite strong among sages before the Brotherhood occupation, but as it was the only church that supported the occupation, its temples faced extensive purges by Ahlissan soldiers and a vengeful population.
It should be noted that under Ahlissan law, worship of Trithereon is considered an act of sedition, while the worship of evil Suel deities is considered witchcraft. Both are punishable by death.
Commoners are reasonably content under Ahlissan rule. Eddri rulers, relatively nice as they were, still ran a feudal system in Idee, collecting taxes from farmers in the form of coin or produce. The Scarlet Sign was a shock to many people and troops from the South Province were seen as a return to the older system.
Barzhaan knows that it is not necessary to keep the people under an iron fist. While laws are harsh, as is common in Ahlissa, the authorities don’t go after people unless there is a reason. Most people prefer the rule of Kalstrand to that of Hesuel Ilshar.
The scars of the occupation still run deep within the population. Anyone may sometimes meet situations with pure-blooded Suel which lead to conflicts when paranoid commoners see Brotherhood agents where there are none (though of course, there are exceptions).
Most rural people are farmers, working their feudal obligations in their fields, though in some parts of the Principality farmers have a great deal of freedom over their products. Many do simple secondary jobs as well. Some work in more specialized jobs such as charcoal burners or blacksmiths. Commoners in cities can be found doing nearly any job, from street sweeper to construction worker. More specialized ones generally work as assistants to experts such as shipbuilders or salt makers. Fisherman is also a common profession in coastal towns.
Clothing in Naerie
Oeridians typically favor checks and plaids. Those born in Ahlissa tend to wear plaids, while those of Ideean origin wear checks, often in diamond pattern or similar variations of standard squares. Clothing tends toward tight-legged trousers, closefitting upper garments, and capes or cloaks. Wealthy individuals wear clothes made out of high quality leather, either by local or dwarven craftsmen.
Suloise prefer solid colors. Nobles (whether they are part of an Aerdi House or not) usually have two or more such colors in their dress, so parti-colored garments are not uncommon. Naturally the colors of noble Houses are frequently used. Suel people also like to display emblems or tokens on their garments, typically of contrasting color to the basic one. They prefer loose pantaloons topped by a vest.
Hepmonaland Suel in Naerie generally prefer the same types of garments but they are of lower quality. Some might have older tribal tattoos but the practice of piercing and such customs have been abandoned, mainly because of the problems it causes with local people (the Hepmonalanders usually try to blend in). Those in labor camps also had them removed (sometime forcibly) by Ahlissans as bones, needles and such items were considered to be weapons.
Flan in Naerie, being quite civilized, dress very much in the Oeridian style. However, their garments are usually of solid primary colors with very bright hues (such as light brown) predominant. Flan druids still use body paints, but this practice is dying out among others.
Those few Olmans who remain in Naerie have adapted their clothing to suit the climate here, and it reflects a more pragmatic approach than any kind of fashion sense. Leather sandals are generally replaced by sturdy boots or suchlike if the wearer can afford it. Otherwise, shoes made of worked leather are used. Loose robes and knee-length garments are still preferred, but loincloth underwear is usually replaced by an Oeridian-style undergarment that reaches to the thigh. Likewise, a shirt is usually worn underneath the robes. Elaborate headdresses have been abandoned almost completely.
Dwur folk love shades of brown, red and gray, contrasted with bright colors. Those who can afford it usually decorate their clothing with as much precious metal as they can carry. Leather is the favorite material, with wool being popular as well. Much like with Oeridians, checks and plaids are preferred.
Wood olve dress much like the Suloise, except that their colors are pale tints of green, fawn, ecru and dove gray. High olve wear much the same but add blues, lilacs and purples to the more natural forest colors of their woodland kin. Gray olve wear complex and flowing garbs of pure white, sun yellow, silvers and gold lame, set off by polished leather or contrasting colors and highlighted by jewels (if possible). All olve wear cloaks, especially when traveling. These garments are usually neutral gray or gray-green.
Noniz and Hobniz dress in similar fashion to olve, often replacing their trousers with kneelength breeches. Noniz favor more solid colors – brown breeches, a tan blouse, green boots and belt, with a dark brown jacket or coat. A halfling in the same garb might have a yellow shirt topped off with a cap of green with bright yellow leather in it. Both races will often wear striped clothing. When hunting, adventuring or at war, they likewise favor garb of a curiously mottled sort, with greens and brown intermixed.
Material for clothes is produced in abundance locally and high quality textiles are imported from elsewhere as well.
Naerie is blessed with good soil and a warm climate. As such, even relatively small farms can bring in great yields. Much of this is lost to feudal obligations but because land can be farmed almost year-around, there is usually produce to spare. Of course, if some sort of disease, vermin or magical disturbance strikes, then famine is still a possibility.
The staple diet for many commoners is porridge made out of oats, usually with butter added to the mix. The poorest of the poor generally don’t eat anything else. Bread is made out of rye and barley, with ’white bread’ usually being a luxury and thus eaten by well-off people.
Vegetables are used a lot, with olives being perhaps the most frequently farmed (for food and oil). Cabbages, peas, onions, spinach and such are frequently used to make soups. Potatoes are eaten throughout the year because of the ease with which they can be preserved. Those who are able collect berries near the forests and squash them to jelly.
People in coastal towns have access to fish, which is prepared in numerous ways. A few lakes and ponds also offer rural farmers access. Some fishermen hunt sharks and this is considered a great delicacy among the well-off.
Commoners rely on chickens or sheep for their meat, whilst the well-off have access to beef or pork. Goats are used for their milk as well.
In addition to the usual apple, plum and chestnut trees, the Kara tree also grows within the Principality. This tree can grow to a height of 40 feet or more, has rough bark and its branches and leaves produce an irritating resin which causes itching. However, it produces a fruit in summer which, when ripe, is chewy and somewhat sweet, (at other times it’s putrid and somewhat poisonous) and provides a welcome addition to many people’s food tables.
Water is a necessity of life. Towns have several wells and sometimes aqueducts (or rivers) to bring water into the town. Many people keep barrels near their houses to collect rainwater. Usually some sort of cover is kept to keep vermin or animals away from them, lest they contaminate the water. Many times water is sweetened with honey, as almost everyone can afford this.
In many places, junior clerics (even those of Hextor) are assigned to cast purify food and drink on water storages. This does not clean all the water, but it helps the general sanitation and keeps down diseases.
Ale made from barley is commonly drunk by commoners. Those who can afford it drink high quality ales, usually dwarven (usually made in the Iron Hills from Ahlissan grain). Wines are made locally or imported.
Salting is used for meats, which is the reason only nobles eat it frequently, as it is quite expensive. Many commoners use a pot-in-a-pot system (a large clay pot with smaller clay pot inside, separated by sand and watered) to preserve food. Those with means and money (wizards mainly) could even bind an outsider (ice mephit usually) to a container to keep it cold.
The Army of Naerie
The forces that Graf Reydrich used to conquer Idee were part of the Southern Armies of the Great Kingdom, bolstered by many deserting elements of the so-called ‘Glorioles Army’.
Knowing the fragmented lands to the east were no threat to him, Reydrich summoned all the troops he could to strike south at the Scarlet Brotherhood. Thousands of infantry and cavalry formed on the northern border of Idee. It had elements from existing armies, human mercenaries and half-orcs and even orcs from the eastern lands. In total, Reydrich’s army was over 20,000 strong.
The line of fortifications along Idee’s northern borders, the Eddri Line, had delayed previous Herzogs of the South Province, but Reydrich was content to circumvent most of them, striking in a concentrated spearhead. Using powerful magic, he quickly overran the fort of Ascalen and moved his forces into Idee, where he took Ekehold within days.
As his armies spread in all directions from Ekehold, the Brotherhood countered and sent nearly three quarters of their strength against Reydrich. However, while the Brotherhood’s forces fought with fanatical ferocity, they did not have experience in fighting in open terrain against skilled, determined and mobile cavalry. The regiments of Ahlissa were not the tattered and disorganized defenders of Idee that the same Brotherhood forces had harried and massacred before. Reydrich sent his heavy cavalry (still several thousand strong) against the Brotherhood’s main host, supported by a force of infantry held in reserve.
The savages of Hepmonaland outnumbered the Ahlissan horse three to one, but in the open plains of northern Idee, their numbers would not avail them. The heavily armored warriors of the South Province scythed effortlessly through the ranks of savages, scattering all before them and trampling their banners into the mud.
The Brotherhood learned their lesson, but it was too late for them. With most of their forces destroyed, they could only manage to delay Reydrich and hope for the arrival of reinforcements.
These delaying tactics proved moderately successful, especially in Ingmalt where it took a long time to clear the Sarwych forest of Hepmonalanders. Nonetheless, the only Barony that suffered extensive damage during the fighting was Foelt as the Brotherhood was forced back towards the Iron Hills after many bitter fights.
Within a year, the Brotherhood had been forced out of Idee, and all captured members were either executed or put in labor camps. Remnants of their armies fled into the Menowood, where they remain to this day. Fortunately for the Brotherhood, they succeeded in assassinating Reydrich before he could attempt to follow, or he might have followed through with his plan of invading the Tilvanot Peninsula and the land of Shar itself.
When the United Kingdom of Ahlissa was formed, large numbers of Reydrich’s army were sent north and east to ward the borders of the new realm against Nyrond and the North Kingdom. Those who remained behind were tasked with the duty of guarding the new Principality and make sure the Brotherhood would never send its armies north again.
Today’s standing army is significantly larger than it was in the days of the County of Idee, which at its peak in 572 CY had 6000 men, and was much augmented with peasant militias and (many times untrustworthy) mercenaries. The bulk of this force was infantry. The obsession with defending against the Great Kingdom meant that the majority of the army was stationed in the border forts, leaving only a small force to defend coastal cities, a fact well exploited by Scarlet Brotherhood.
The fall of the armies was further helped by highly successful infiltration into the chain of command by Scarlet Brotherhood. This enabled Brotherhood to sow confusion and send Ideean troops to ambushes or on futile patrols across the land. Some fortifications had their supplies poisoned while in others the gates were opened for Brotherhood troops. The collapse of Ideean armies was swift and almost total.
The army of Naerie has been divided into four regular armies and a naval force. The exact composition of each army is not detailed as it’s constantly changing with re-deployments, addition of new troops, etc.
The Navy of Naerie
The sizable navy of Naerie is the only element of the armed forces where accurate count is kept on troop levels, as it is considered vital for the future of Ahlissa to have as large presence in the Azure Sea as possible. Ironically Ahlissan ships sometimes clash with old Ideean ships that the Scarlet Brotherhood managed to capture.
The re-building of the Grand Imperial Fleet of Ahlissa is under way at Prymp, Naerie and, more recently, at Pontylver. Wood is imported from other parts of Ahlissa and now also Sunndi since Naerie lacks large wooden areas near the coast that could be used. Menowood is notoriously a home to hostile fey and Brotherhood remnants, though occasionally some wood is cut down by the military for their own needs, always done from the edge of the forest and under effect of magic circle against good, resist fear and see invisibility to prevent fey creatures sabotaging the operation. Armed soldiers with crossbows and cold iron bolts stand guard over the work crews, along with warmages.
There are many other troops in the army as well than regular infantry, such as the Stalkers, an elite organization of rangers and scouts who are trained for operating independently in wilderness, fighting against bandits, evil humanoids or separatists. The lightest troops in the army are skirmishers, dressed in leather armor, carrying small shields, and armed with shortswords (or other simple weapons) and bows. Horse skirmishers traditionally use a lance or spear, shortbow, shield and studded leather. Ahlissan medium infantry is usually equipped with chainmail and carry either halberds, spears or heavy maces, morning stars or longswords and heavy wooden shields.
Trade and Commerce
The Principality has three notable resources; foodstuffs, gold, and copper. The south of the country is extremely fertile and produces much of the foodstuffs that Naerie trades. Naerie has some mineral resources, mining copper in the northwest and gold in the northeast.
Banditry and piracy (mainly by Scarlet Brotherhood) are the two traditional scourges of trade in Naerie, and military is kept active by hunting them down. Letters of Marque are given out to ambitious privateers to hunt down pirates.
Cattle breeding is the trade of choice for House Haxx, and an ambitious program is underway to improve the cattle in Naerie by crossbreeding with strains brought from the old Haxx homelands in the heartlands of the United Kingdom.
The export of grain and the taxation of commoners are the two main sources of revenue in the baronies. When Prince Barzhaan came to power, general taxes were raised but trade tariffs were reduced. During the last few years taxes have been somewhat lowered since profits from grain export are once again up.
Nobles are exempt from tax in the Principality, but written agreements between the Prince and the Barons stipulate a yearly tribute to the Prince that can take the form of money, goods, land or soldiery. In reality this means that Barons who cannot muster enough soldiery or who have no surplus goods must tax their local population to pay the tribute.
The main overland trade route in the Principality is the one stretching from Naerie City to Minetha and from there to Ekehold, before ending in Zelradton. Routes to Sunndi pass through Adder’s Pass while ancient roads still connect Poelitz to Iron Hills.
The coastal waters are plied by cargo ships transporting grain and other goods between local communities. This sea route extends north to Irongate and further. With Scant liberated, Naerie merchantmen can now travel to Hardby or Nyrond without trouble (though Pomarj can still be a problem), as the Straits of Gearnat are not as efficiently blockaded as they used to be. In Onnwal the main port is Longbridge on Onnwal’s Azure Coast, as Scant won’t be receiving trade anytime soon.
The gog and the trireme are the ships favored by merchants. Less wealthy merchants settle for coastal barges.
Because the trade is so tightly controlled, it is no surprise that some people become smugglers. This trade mainly passes over the Hollow Highlands and the Iron Hills, with most running through the Hollow Highlands
Members of the Thieves’ Guild operate along with their Sunndian ‘colleagues’ of the Iron Band Contraband Cartel. A few Sunndians have infiltrated Naerie and set-up smuggling cells with help from the Naerie Thieves’ Guild.
Not all smuggling is purely for profit. Sunndian sympathizers, especially servants of Trithereon, bring supplies to rebels hiding in the Stark Hills and Hollow Highlands. Clerics of Trithereon also bring healing aid to the Idee Volunteers.
It is suspected that Lord Mendaos Radoc is in league with smugglers and turns a blind eye to their activities for a share of their profits. The authorities have not yet investigated these rumors, but Prince Barzhaan has sent his own envoy to keep an eye on him.
The Geography of the Principality of Naerie
- Barony of Derevendt
- Barony of Foelt
- Barony of Ingmalt
- Barony of Menst
- Barony of Monne
- Barony of Schwente