Ulek, Duchy of
Proper Name: Duchy of Ulek
Ruler: His Noble Radiance, Duke Grenowin of Ulek (NG male elf Wiz11/Ftr2)
Government: Independent feudal monarchy with hereditary rulership, royal and major noble houses are exclusively elven
Major Towns: Axegard (pop. 13,200), Tringlee (pop. 14,500), Waybury (pop. 11,500)
Provinces: A fairly chaotic assortment of noble fiefs, the largest of which is a barony and the smallest (a tower and the hill on which it sits) a principality; leaders who are not elves may hold minor noble titles; many gnome strongholds subject to the duchy exist in the Lortmil Mountains
Resources: Foodstuffs, cloth, electrum, gold, silver, gems (I-II)
Coinage: Moonveil (pp), suncrown (gp), shootingstar (ep), bellflower (sp), oakleaf (cp)
Population: 392,200—Human 43% (Sfo), Half-elf 32%, Elf 19% (high 75%, sylvan 25%), Gnome 3%, Halfling 2%, Other 1%
Languages: Common, Elven, Keolandish, Sylvan
Alignments: CG*, NG, N, CN
Religions: Elf pantheon, Ehlonna, Phaulkon, Phyton, Beory, Fharlanghn, Kord, gnome pantheon
Allies: Ulek states, Keoland, Gran March, Sterich, Geoff (exiles), Verbobonc, Kron Hills, Highfolk, Veluna, Furyondy, Dyvers, Greyhawk, Duchy of Urnst, Knights of Luna, Celene (greatly strained), Knights of the Watch
Enemies: Pomarj, Iuz
Overview: The duchy is one of the three Ulek states, former subjects of the Keoish throne, which still maintains friendly relations with its immediate neighbors. As one of the few countries in the Flanaess ruled by an elf sovereign, the Duchy of Ulek also manages to preserve a harmony between its citizens of differing races. The duke has long tried to encourage the same cooperation among differing groups in other nations, though with limited success. The duchy continues to be prosperous commercially, trading with Keoland, the lower Uleks, and Veluna, as well as Celene and the gnomes of the Kron Hills. The duchy’s half-elven merchant clans are considered to be some of the most resourceful and honest in the Flanaess.
The lands of the duchy lie between the Kewl and Sheldomar rivers, with the Lort River separating the duchy from the Gran March. Its northeastern boundary is found somewhere within the Lortmil Mountains, though duchy troops guard the entire length of Celene Pass. The duchy is unofficially divided into a northern and southern region. The lands between the Axewood and the Kewlstone Hills, and areas south, are primarily occupied by gnomes and wood elves. The northern portion, from Ulek Pass to the city of Waybury, is home to the high elves, as well as most of the half-elves and humans.
Provinces within the Duchy of Ulek:
- Archbarony of Gliddinshar, Tringlee
- County of Carnelis
- County of Goldfields, Barleyton
- Earldom of Anduath
- Earldom of Chalcedor
- Earldom of Echofar
- Earldom of Emerdwere, Numbelnost
- Earldom of Jasperin
- Earldom of Montaven
- County of Nelvinaar, Winterdorf
- Earldom of Riverdale, Forfaladuin
- Earldom of Saprisarn
- Earldom of Silverlode
- March of Aglonde, Mabnagor
- March of Dunwater, Adurlell
- March of Evelar, Axegard
- March of Istruin, Waybury
- March of Taurbundail
The army of this small nation consists of cavalry, infantry and archers, in nearly equal proportions. The heavy and medium cavalry are almost entirely made up of human warriors wielding lance and mace, while the light cavalry has both high elven horse archers and lancers. Units of human hillmen and pikemen complement the wood elf archers of the southern duchy. Knights of Luna are present here, as well, though not among the duke’s forces. Most are guests at the mountain keeps of high elven nobles near Celene Pass. Knights of the Watch sometimes visit the duchy as well, but they are far less welcome by the natives.
Other Settlements and Locations within the Duchy of Ulek:
- Hoch Dunglorin
- Hurstwerks Keep
History: The Uleks have provided shelter to Good-aligned nonhumans for untold centuries, while wars and displaced human nations have moved across the Flanaess, consuming most of the habitable lands. In the lands of the duchy, elves are the predominant race, though immigrant Suel briefly threatened this sovereignty until forced out by subsequent waves of Suloise in concert with the native elves.
Keoland made this a province in later generations, but not without first conceding local authority to the high elven duke and granting him a voice in the Royal Council. This arrangement was satisfactory to all, until the Keoish undertook a series of wars to increase their territory. The elven duke and his subjects, including humans and gnomes, turned away from the Keoish throne then, and evicted the king’s garrisons. The Ulek Rebellion was successful, due in large part to the cooperation of the three Uleks, but also because of the distractions caused by other rebellions in the kingdom. The policies of Keoland eventually became less aggressive; after lengthy negotiations, the Duchy of Ulek was granted full autonomy.
Trade was always important to the duchy, and the half-elven merchant houses of Waybury soon monopolized trade with the elves and gnomes of Celene and the Kron Hills. They recognized very early the serious threat presented by the nonhumans of the Lortmils, and with their counterparts in the gnome merchant clans of the Kron Hills, worked to unite the Uleks and Celene in a defensive coalition. For several years this was adequate, but after the prince consort of Celene was slaughtered by orcs within sight of his own borders, nothing less that total war would suffice.
The Hateful Wars involved the entire region of the Lortmils, and while the citizens of the duchy were not foremost in its execution, they were nonetheless very important in supporting the front line troops. The duchy provided some troops to the underworld campaigns, and perhaps just as importantly, it supplied food and other necessities to the dwarven and elven armies. The full force of the duchy’s military was brought into action once the nonhumans were driven to the surface, and helped their allies to push them from the Lortmils altogether.
The years that followed were very prosperous for the duchy. They had good relations with all their neighbors, and continued to dominate trade between humans and nonhumans in the region. The Greyhawk Wars saw the duchy join its Keoish neighbors and others, under the Treaty of Niole Dra. A combined army traveled north to aid Furyondy in its defense against Iuz, unwittingly leaving the Lortmil highlands exposed to invasion by the orcs of the Pomarj. Only a token force led by a dwarven commander from the Principality of Ulek stood between the orcs and their control of the mountain passes. His determined defense of the highland routes was ultimately successful, after the arrival of relief forces from the duchy and county; when news of the invasion reached the duke, he pulled half of the combined duchy and county army back from Furyondy to hold the Lortmil territory. The fact that he received no support from Celene was a bitter drink to take, yet after the conclusion of hostilities in the north, the duke continued to favor diplomacy with his supposed ally.
The duke has remained committed to diplomacy with Celene, but he has also been strongly supportive of the Principality of Ulek in its conflict with the nonhumans of the Pomarj. His support of the campaign in Sterich has already been rewarded, and he wishes to see his ally, the Prince of Ulek, regain all of his lost territory as well. To this end, the duke allows some of his troops to serve in the Principality, absorbing all expenses for these units. He also helps support many Celenese troops, including units under the command of the Knights of Luna, in the same manner. At present, he has not supported any action against Celene or its monarch, but several of his most powerful nobles wish him to do so.
Conflicts and Intrigues: Knights of Luna are gaining influence among the duchy’s nobles. A blight of tree-killing worms in the Silverwood is destroying elven tree-shelters, and many wood elves are falling ill from a related affliction.