Welcome to Vilnia: The Regency War
An advanced faction RP in a low-fantasy medieval setting
Recruitment is currently OPEN!
- Jonlor (House Bolvangar & House Riovanes)
- MelonHead (House Goshawk)
- KrazyWolf (House Ividri)
- Sinistred (House Belissarion)
- Lost In My Mind (House Stohl)
- Pisces (House Vlewingshire)
- Galadriel (House Abhainn)
It is June, in the year 1290 of Ajora. War looms in the Kingdom of Vilnia.
King Bestrald I has died tragically, pitched from his horse in a hunting accident in the snowy wastes of Hafgang, where he was visiting his vassal, Casta Bolvangar, the Count of Herzol, with his sons. The infant Prince Parne is left to ascend to the throne at the tender age of six years. The young heir and his junior brother, Prince Timert, are being held under the 'protection' of Count Casta in the remote fastness of Herzol Castle, to the far north-east of Vilnia.
Back in the capital, the now-widowed Queen Cletienne, who had not accompanied the royal visit, petitions Count Casta for the return of her offspring. However, animosity between House Bolvangar and that of the Queen's brother, Emory Riovanes; Count of Eagrose, has made Casta unwilling to surrender his prize to the clutches of the Queen's ambitious family. Casta declares himself Regent on behalf of the young king, and organises a hasty coronation in Dorvauld.
Thwarted by the opportunity to establish a regency of their own, Count Emory and Queen Cletienne widely defame Casta's acts as treasonous and unlawful. Mustering his levies, Count Emory marches to the capital, where he calls upon Confessor Artiver to declare the coronation obsolete, and for his fellow Counts to march alongside him against Casta and his allies. Meanwhile, Count Casta calls upon his own allies and uses the young king to summon aid to put down Count Emory's 'rebellion', assembling a host in the northern Balor foothills.
The two forces march along the river Glanzen towards one another, meeting at Dog's ford on the 21st June, where on the first day of Summer, the great lords of each side meet to parley.
Below is the political map of Vilnia, showing the current territorial holdings of each count. It will be updated as the RP progresses and new participants join the RP.
- Dots = cities/large towns
- Triangles = Castles/forts
- Square = capital city
- A circled dot, triangle or square indicates a large and more important settlement than those without
- Counties controlled by the noble houses are shown by the colours as below:
House Brunic: Royal Holdings
House Bolvangar: County of Herzol
House Riovanes: County of Eagrose
House Goshawk: County of Renora
House Belissarion: County of Cormere
House Ividri: County of Hamarflud
House Stohl: County of Aloris
House Vlewingshire: County of Chalristenia
House Abhainn: County of Crosbhothar
House Vaillencourt: County of Mansfield
If you've read the introduction, you'll have worked out that Vilnia is a kingdom in an alternative medieval low-fantasy setting, inspired by everything from Westeros, to Calradia, to Ivalice. It is a suitably grim world of ignorance, intolerance, violence and a large poverty gap between peasantry and nobility, and where women are considered inferior to men (but can still wield great influence). Magic and other 'high-fantasy' elements are absent from this RP, but that does not mean all Vilnians do not believe in them.
The RP revolves around the civil war between the protagonists of the major noble families of Vilnia for the regency of young King Parne II, and thereby rule of the entire kingdom. However, as with any civil war, it is an opportunity for many to seize lands or power, or to pursue vendettas or vengeance. The aim of the RP is to create a rich fantasy world where the world grows as the RP progresses, through all its participants' contribution, and to weave a compelling and rich storyline.
You can read more about the setting for 'Vilnia: The Regency War', below.
If this tickles your fancy, as a participant in the RP, you will play the patriarch of a noble family, a Count. You can also control 1-3 additional characters in that house's service of any persuasion, but they can have separate, even conflicting agendas with your main character. The aim is to construct a good story, not to win.
The story opens with the parley between Count Casta and Count Emory and their supporters at the Dog's Ford, and your main character will be present as an ally on one side or the other. Beyond that, however, the story will evolve as the RP dictates, and there is glaring potential for others to rise to contest the regency beyond the initial antagonists.
This thread is used for everything from applying to participate in the RP, to prompting IC responses, agreeing on the outcomes of future IC posts, discussing the setting, and talking about how the RP is progressing.
Vilnia is a sprawling kingdom in the centre of the the crescent-shaped continent of Attica. It is a diverse land, roughly defined by six geographically and culturally distinct regions. Its climate is temperate, colder on the north coast, and warmer on the south. All the Vilnian peoples speak the Vilnian language, with some slight regional dialects. The lands of Vilnia are ruled by the King, but are controlled in practice by his sworn vassals, the Counts; regional rulers and leaders of noble houses. These Counts rule their lands on behalf of the King, sworn to provide the Crown with revenue, armies, and counsel. In turn, they exact revenue and levies of fighting men from the minor nobility; the knightly class, that reside in their lands. At the bottom of the chain, the knights own small areas of land and tax the produce of the common peasantry that work upon them.
Vilnia was first formed some 400 years ago, during the legendary 'Age of Unification', when St. Toren converted himself and his people to the Ajoran faith under the guidance of Jarthis the Disciple. He went on to conquer the Vollochts and smaller clans of the grasslands of what is now Anecland. After allying with fellow converts Wode, King of the Lynnemen, and Parne, King of the Vinsaxi, he subdued and converted the heathen northerners with the help of the Hafgars, a foreign people from the frozen continent of Jorvik who were invading the north-eastern Vilnian clans. When the Ajoran faithful had victory, they convened in a great council and, at the advice of Jarthis, elected Toren High King of all the Vilnian peoples and swore vassalage to him. Thus began the first royal line of Vilnia and the great noble houses.
Ajorism, or the cult of St. Ajora, is the primary religion of Vilnia and most of Attica. According to Ajorist teachings, St. Ajora was a shepherd imbued with the spirit of God after drowning in a mountain stream. He was sent into the world as the True Prophet, to teach the people of the world God's truth, and subsequently reach heaven in the afterlife. He was later executed as a trouble-maker by the ancient Intremic Empire by being cut into six pieces, but, according to holy myth, immediately ascended to heaven in a pillar of fire. His cult grew rapidly over the next few centuries, eventually even spreading through the Empire. The teachings of Ajora revere self-sacrifice, honesty, charity, fidelity, and peace. On being knighted by his lord, a man swears to uphold these qualities. Ajora's symbol is a six-pointed star. It is from his birth the Ajoran calendar begins.
Ajorism underwent a schism around 300 years after his death, when the new Church of Ajora split from the older Temple of Ajora. The Church is predominant in northern Attica, while the Temple holds sway in the warmer south-east. The Church, its capital in Thead, is a powerful organisation with its own hierachy. It is ruled by the High Confessor, elected from the Council of Confessors. Each Confessor is the representative of a nation of the Ajoran Church, and is elected by the Bishops of that nation. Each Bishop is responsible for a large area of the Ajoran faithful, and the priests that tend the flock within it. In Vilnia, the Church is an all-encompassing influence, observed by all, and nearly every settlement great or small can boast an Ajoran religious building. Other faiths are barely tolerated in Vilnia.
Vilnia can be divided into six rough regions, distinct in geography and with slight differentiations in the culture of their people. Inhabitants of one region find solidarity with one another, but perceive outlanders with a slight measure of distrust. There is general animosity between north and south and from the east bank of the River Glanzen to the west. The Glanzen is a huge river that runs the length of Vilnia north-south, bringing trade and a much needed accessible path between the bleak Balor Hills and the huge, unexplored, impenetrable, and some say, haunted forest known as the Nachwold, which covers much of western Vilnia.
Anecland is the rich heartland of Vilnia, made fertile by the waters of the Glanzen and home to the capital city, Corontas. It is famed for its bountiful agriculture and its talented artisans, while the regional nobility are renowned for their chivalry and courtly ways. Aneclanders would call themselves outgoing, naysayers may call them whimsical.
The largest region in Vilnia, Vinsax is a land of rolling moors, woods, hill and pastureland. The Vinsaxi are known for their mines and great flocks and herds, and are accomplished smiths and builders. The nobility take great pride in their duty of upholding justice, and duty is the byword of many houses. Considered a little dour by some, Vinsaxi are often hard-working and honest.
On the warm south-east coast, Surmia is home to most of Vilnia's trade with foreign nations by ship across the Bay of Surm and the Sunsea beyond, and by land over the contested Ghoscaire strait. Its large cities are well-known for their multicultural and mercantile nature, while their noble rulers are some of the wealthiest in Vilnia. Surmians pride themselves on their tolerance, but are often accused of being calculating or greedy.
The icy moors and wastes of north-eastern Vilnia are known as Hafgang, after the race of warriors who conquered the region during Toren's war of unification. Slighter, taller, and of paler skin and darker hair that most Vilnians, the people of Hafgang speak their own dialect. A poor and hardy people, their nobility place great worth in skill-at-arms. Resourceful and tough, Hafgars are often guilty of being selfish or brutish.
Lynned, or the Lakelands, is the name of the wooded mountains, lakes and streams of the beautiful south-west corner of Vilnia. Its people ply the great lakes on nimble boats for fish, and their love of music and drink is famous. The noble houses of Lynned generally disdain extravagance and put an adventurous spirit in highest regard. Many Lynnemen are generous and kind, but have a prickly sense of honour.
Considered a backwater by many, the bleak, marshy lands of the Ruk lie cut off from the rest of Vilnia. Its people retain a distinct, traditional culture of which they are fiercely proud. They punt rafts up the creeks, hunting and farming amongst the reeds. The nobility are closely tied to the ancient clan chieftans of old, and a short cloak with their lord's colour is common attire for most Ruklanders. Despite their characteristic bravery, Ruklanders are often scorned as backward or ignorant.
There are a few rules and expectations to consider to make this RP work;
- The normal standards of advanced roleplaying apply; good literacy, consistency, and avoidance of mary sues or metagaming.
- Please try and stick to the premise of the setting. Be creative, but realistic (sic).
- Please inform the OOC thread below if they are unable to post for a few days.
- Remember, you RP the leader of a faction, you don't control the whole faction itself. This is a roleplay game, not a strategy one. As such, other participants can influence things that happen to your faction that are outside of your control, such as a captain turning traitor or a spy infiltrating the ranks. However, it is always polite to discuss such devices OOCly first.
- Important events with uncertain outcomes which effect two participants or more, such as battles, assassinations etc., should be discussed in the OOC thread and agreed upon fairly before the outcome is posted in the RP. Disputes will be adjudicated by the GM (me).
- The amount of troops available to your faction is determined by you in your application sheet, with a cap set at a levy of 10,000 peasants and 2,000 knights. However, average sized houses can call upon half that. Please be fair and do not over-power yourself (more on soldiery below).
- With consideration to the above two, remember, the aim is to create a great story, not to win!
- When posting IC, please title each part with the underlined date and location of where the narrative is set, and the name of the character from who's perspective it is from. You can include more than one character's perspective in one post.
21st June, 1290. Dog's Ford
Reeve of Thorley
If you read the introduction, setting, and rules, and would like to participate in the RP, please see below on how to do so.
To apply, you must first have read the setting and rules above. To participate in this RP, you need to not only create your main character (the leader of your noble house and Count), you need to also give life to his House, his County and any additional characters you would like to RP. As such, there is a little creative work to do!
To apply, please fill out the sheets below and copy them to your post. You should get a response shortly. Everyone is welcome!
Some things to consider:
- All the information I have provided in the setting is intended to be a springboard for your own creativity. I do not have exclusive rights to creating the world of Vilnia! Feel free to add to or expand on the lore in your application.The noble families of Vilnia, as in real world history, are linked together by many bonds of marriage, animosity, friendship etc. You are encouraged to spice up your House by coming up with such links with the other Houses of other participants (of course, it is polite to discuss it with the other person first).
- You can use the descriptions of the six regions as a starting point. They are intended to provide only exactly that, and are not meant to be restrictive. It is acceptable if your County or house differs from the regional norm.
- Please be inclined to create a house of one of the regions that has the least houses already established in the RP there. If this becomes a problem recruitment will be closed for over-populated regions.
- My filled out sheets for Houses Bolvangar and Riovanes are intended as an example, yours do not need to be as detailed, but remember - the more detail you put, the better your application will be!
House [The name of your House]: Counts of [The name of your County]
[Image of your house's coat of arms]
Please use this free design studio to make your coat of arms, its a little slow, but can get some great results, feel free to PM me if you're struggling with it. Please post the image 150x112 size.
You can add info on how it came to be your House's banner if you wish. The colours of your House's coat of arms will dictate the colour used for your house on the map, therefore original looking and coloured ones would be helpful!
A brief overview of the history of your house. Their origins - can they trace their lineage back to a chieftan who fought for St. Toren, or were they elevated in status at some later date?
Important events, famed deeds or positions of power in their history, and other general information. Don't forget to mention their stance in the present day, and whether they are initially supporting the Bolvangars or Riovanes.
Distinct traditions or traits unique to members of the House, whether applicable to your main character or not. Any reputations or particular fame or infamy it has.
The name and a brief description of your house's headquarters at a castle or city.
The name of the patriarch of your noble house, head of the family and Count of your County, your main character.
The County of [Name of your County]
Which of the six regions (Anecland, Vinsax, Surmia, Hafgang, Lynned or the Ruk) your County is located in.
A more precise description of where your County is located, and the size of it, so it can be added to the map (no more than roughly 15 hexes). A short description of its general terrain, and any notable landmarks, areas or unusual weather. Briefly describe the county's major settlements, and any notable minor ones.
A summary of the inhabitants of your county. Is the county populous or wild? Is it predominately urban or rural in population? What are the chief occupations of the peasantry? Consider any unusual characteristics of the commoners or minor nobility, and their relationship with the Count. Mention also any important local characters.
[Number of peasants] commoners / [number of knights] knights
The number of troops your Count can call upon (10k/2k cap). A summary of the background, mixture, and quality of your county's soldiery. Include a rough breakdown of the types of soldier in your army.
Remember, Vilnian armies are chiefly made of levies, seasonal troops. Commoners may be well-drilled and armed by the minor nobility, or may be simply a rabble out for plunder, depending on their prosperity and the diligence of their lords. They fight as anything from archers, to footmen, to light cavalry, depending on their background. Knights, the minor nobility, normally fight well-armoured, as shock cavalry, but they too differ in quality.
Are there any notable or unique companies among your army?
[The forename and family name of your main character], Count of [The name of your County]
A description of the physical traits of your main character, their build, height, skin, hair and eye colour, face, voice, mannerisms, habits and any peculiarities.
A brief summary of your main character's life thus far.
Your main character's personality characteristics, his admirable traits and his flaws, his pet hates and loves etc.
Any unsual skills your main character has or things he is particularly good at.
What your main character is aiming to achieve in the course of this RP, and why.
Name and describe the most important individuals to your Count's rule that are in his service, it could be one of his captains, one of his officers (steward, marshal, chancellor), a family member, a priest, a lover, a spy etc.
[You may have up to three additional characters to RP with who are affiliated with your faction, but they do not have to have the same agenda as your main character, know him or be in the same place as him during the RP - it could be one of your lieutenants or close family members, or equally a soldier or a peasant to provide a different perspective.]
[Name of your additional character]
What is your additional character's profession or lot in life?
Now - time to get stuck in!
Who will claim the Regency?
The two antagonistic houses under my control:
The Bolvangars of Herzol
House Bolvangar: Counts of Herzol
The coat of arms of House Bolvangar has its origin in the legend of its founder, St. Bolvar, who according to the stories, went to battle with three huge hunting dogs at his side, even riding them in some of the more outlandish tales.
House Bolvangar claims its lineage all the way back to St. Bolvar, the legendary king of the Hafgars during the Age of Unification. Bolvar was the leader of the largest group of Hafgars that landed on the north-eastern coast and were successfully extinguishing the regional Vilnian population and establishing their own colonies, when they encountered the Ajoran army marching north to conquer the northern clans. Bolvar had few qualms with adopting Ajora into the Hafgar pantheon, and subsequently the greatest Hafgar chieftans followed suit. As a result of the alliance, these great Hafgar chieftains were made Counts of the lands of newly named Hafgang, while their faith was brought further in line with the Ajoran Church over the subsequent century. Bolvar was made lord of the largest county in the region, securing his loyalty and that of his kin. He named the county after his fortress; Herzol.
Subsequently, House Bolvangar continued to grow in strength over the subsequent centuries, absorbing a number of small Hafgar counties through marriage and enforcement of a number of dubious claims. As a result, in the present day it is the largest county geographically in Vilnia, although far from the most populous. Historically, the Counts of Herzol have chosen to remain distant from the capital, trading unswerving loyalty when called upon for relative autonomy in times of peace. House Bolvangar were one of the staunchest supporters of the Theadish king Folmar, who inherited the throne of Vilnia, during the War of Theadish Succession in 1245-6, during which they were able to occupy much of the Ruk, where they committed a number of atrocities. Massacres and execution of nobles at the hands of Bolvangars and their men has created an animosity for the house in the north-west that endures to this day.
Herzol's most recent ruler was the aging Count Cerda, nicknamed 'Blutdrost' (meaning 'Bloodrinker', in the local dialect) by the peasantry. A violent, paranoid and brutal man, who, according to rumour, sold his soul to a demon and drank the blood of virgins and newborns. He died in 1287 of an infected wound he sustained at a tournament, much to the relief of his family and subjects.
The Bolvangars have a somewhat dark reputation, helped in no great measure by the late Cerda. Numerous black deeds and fabrication of claims in the House's past have made the Bolvangars famed for their cruelty and ruthlessness. As to themselves, the Bolvangars have a tradition of being formidable warriors and proud, pious men. Dedication to the house means they are an unusually loyal and united family.
The seat of the Count is Herzol Castle, an ancient and sprawling fortress with thick walls and a towering keep sitting in the icy moors. It is aging however, and some parts of the castle are in disrepair. A sizable castle village lies within the outer wall.
The County of Herzol
As mentioned, Herzol is the largest county in Vilnia. It covers a large expanse of the windy frozen moors and wasteland of eastern Hafgang, but also the more sheltered climes south of the Steelback Mountains. Other than Herzol Castle, the county's most important settlement is the walled city of Dorvauld, on the southern edge of the Steelbacks. It is a poor and dreary place, but boasts a keep, a cathedral, and the largest market in Hafgang, and many rural families travel there bi-annually to trade.
As with much of Hafgang, Herzol in general is sparsely populated by small, poor farming or mining communities weathering the elements. The peasantry of County Herzol value their independence, preserved by the infrequent contact between them and the knightly landowners due to the sparse population. When they do encounter the nobility, they are regarded with fear but absolute obedience, for fear of rousing the bloody wrath of their lord. Living in difficult conditions and very poor, they are nonetheless tough and resourceful, skilled in hunting, survival, and creating useful items from what at first seems to be junk. The minor nobility have a strong warrior culture, and feuds between them are not uncommon. They give the Bolvangar Counts the unswerving loyalty they demand. Ingram Cruhand, the Bishop of Dorvauld, is a popular figure among commons and nobility alike, while Folmarv Voritter, the county steward and sheriff (responsible for tax-collection), is the opposite. One of the county's most powerful landowners is Sir Garl Veskel, Mayor or Dorvauld.
7000 peasants / 1300 knights:
County Herzol is able to muster some seven thousand peasants to fight its wars. The majority are rural folk with minimal training and only a surcoat and mailed hood, and if lucky, a shield, given to them by their lord. However, the traditional Hafgang warrior culture and the hardiness of Herzol's people means most own their own axe, mace, spear or bow and are proficient in its use. Although more courageous than the levies of some Bolvangar rivals, historically, the fighting peasants of Herzol are particularly unruly and barbaric following a battle or capture of a town, taking part in mass-scale pillage and rapine, allowed and often led by the nobility. Around a thousand of the levy are the well trained and equipped militia of Dorvauld, commanded by Sir Garl.
The warlike minor nobility of Herzol make a powerful force of knights, however, it is for the Vars the battle prowess of the Bolvangar army is famed. The Vars are an order of some three hundred knights based at Castle Herzol, named for the chosen warriors of one of the heathen Hafgar gods of old. Every noble family in Herzol, if they have a third son, is expected to give them up to the Vars on their fourteenth birthday, to squire and eventually be knighted to ride among them. They are the Count's professional army and bodyguard, practicing and drilling the art of war daily, and the first call should House Bolvangar need swords to spill blood. Each a capable warrior, they are heavily armoured and wear signature flat-topped great helms, with huge curved horns pointing up from the sides, and long black cloaks. In battle they are relentless and ferocious shock troops. Maintaining such a force comes at great expense to the Count, and for this reason the Counts of Bolvangar have traditionally turned a blind eye to the excesses of the Vars, allowing them to raid and pillage the peasantry and minor nobility of difficult vassals or neighbouring counties. This has earned the Vars widespread infamy as the 'Horned Knights of Hafgang', and many peasants believe them to be devils in human form. The Vars are currently commanded by the third son of Count Cerda, Casta's brother Sir Cadmus.
Casta Bolvangar, Count of Herzol
Age: 29, born January 17th 1261.
Like many Hafgars, Casta is a tall man, but with the characteristically large and strong build of his father. This is strangely offset by his slender neck, and small, pinched, almost feminine features. He has strong cheekbones and brow, but the components somehow have failed to make a handsome face, the eyes being a little too far apart, the chin a little too weak, and his lips small and pursed. His eyes are notably blue, and he has the habit of staring intensely at those he speaks to or passes by. His voice his deep and sonorous, and he speaks carefully in well-educated tones, tinged with the Hafgar accent. He is clean-shaven, and wears his black hair long, often tied back behind his head.
Casta had a miserable childhood, living in constant fear of his father's wrath. He and his younger brothers, Barich and Cadmus, spent much of their time avoiding court by exploring the many passages of crumbling Castle Herzol and became well known figures to the castle servants and villagefolk. They rarely saw their mother, and their two sisters even less. Instead, they were raised by tutors, well educated in the historical, arithmetical, literary and martial arts.
At fourteen, Casta became squire to his father the Count, subjected to Cerda's capricious whims but observing and learning the intricacies of rule. His father knighted him on his sixteen birthday, and some months later Casta was leading Bolvangar men on the battlefield against a rebellious vassal of his father's, earning his father's approval in a bloody victory and subsequent pillage of the rebel knight's lands. Over the next decade, Casta became a figure of prominence in the Herzol court, as his father's violent irregularities increased. He was frequently turned to by courtiers as a more level head to treat with his father, who often was content to leave matters of state to Casta's judgement.
Casta later married Ellas Veskel, a shy, pretty woman, daughter to Sir Garl. She raises Casta's children at Herzol Castle and stays out of courtly affairs. His daughter, Sidony, and son, Argath, are raised by tutors in a similar fashion to Casta's own upbringing. They too, are fearful of their father, though it is his stern disapproval they tread carefully around, rather than his fist. Casta's brothers remain his close friends and companions.
In 1287, Cerda's insistence of fighting in the melee despite his age at the Eagrose tournament in 1287 was to lead to his death. After sustaining an injury, the wound festered for months until the old Count finally expired, some say helped along with poison by his son. Casta assumed his birthright, and his ambition for control of all Vilnia has since become clear.
Casta comes across as a calm man, polite and witty. He has a quiet sense of humour, and rarely raises his voice. Intelligent, brave, and resourceful, he has an easy authority refined since early adolescence that men naturally adhere to. However, this does mean he absolutely expects nothing less than the respect and obedience he feels is owed to him, exhibiting his cruel and ruthless Bolvangar streak when it is not. He lacks empathy for others, or sympathy for the unfortunate. Casta is to some extent, a scholar, and takes great pleasure in historical works. Equally, he trains daily at the sword, mace, bow and lance. He despises the crudeness and filth he associates with the degeneracy of the peasantry.
Casta is a clever, educated man, able to rationally assess a situation and turn it to his advantage. As a result, he is a charismatic speaker and shrewd tactician and administrator. As per Bolvangar tradition, he is also a formidable fighter.
As Casta's recent ambition has shown, he envisages a kingdom under the rule of House Bolvangar. He intends to put down Count Emory and any other opposition to his regency. He will use King Parne II as a puppet for his own rule until the young king is old enough to be wed to one of Casta's own daughters, and continue Bolvangar dominance.
Most of the county's daily affairs are run effectively from Herzol Castle by Casta's chancellor, his humourless brother Sir Barich Bolvangar. Casta's alliance with Bishop Ingram of Dorvauld has been most beneficial thus far, who organised the hasty coronation of King Parne II in Dorvauld. Casta's staunchest supporter is his youngest brother Sir Cadmus, given to the Vars in his adolescence, he now captains then, and is by all accounts a dogmatic man of fiery temper. Sir Garl Veskel, Casta's father-in-law, is the Count's most useful vassal, controlling Dorvauld and lending his considerable experience to his lord's cause.
The Riovanes of Eagrose
House Riovanes: Counts of Eagrose
The coat of arms of House Riovanes displays the legendary Green Lance, an artifact that according to the tale, Patton Riovanes retrieved from its fey owners in the depths of the Nachwold to wield against the corrupt Count Rothold. The lance hangs above the great hall of Eagrose keep even today, but it is an ancient, warped and brittle thing, the green paint for which it is named almost flaked away completely.
The family of Riovanes is an old house, but not so ancient as it can trace its origins back to the Age of Unification. History first mentions them as wealthy vassals of the Counts of Peredur, owning a large area of land on the banks of the Western Fork. The primary position for trade and transport past the Nachwold led to the development of a large, prosperous city - Eagrose. Around 1020, Count Rothold of Peredur, jealous of his vassal's wealth and power, declared himself Lord of Eagrose and waged war on Sir Patton Riovanes on a fabricated claim, driving him from the city and seizing his lands. Reduced to brigandry, the story goes that Sir Patton quested deep into the heart of the Nachwold, recovering a powerful weapon from the fey creatures that lived there. Bearing the Green Lance, Sir Patton returned, and the people of the county rose up in his favour against their corrupt overlord, and he was subsequently victorious. For his unlawful actions, the then King Holet I removed the lordship of the County of Peredur from Rothold and House Perefed, installing Sir Patton in his place. Count Patton moved his capital to Eagrose, and renamed the county after his city.
Since those days, House Riovanes have grown into a powerful house, due to its prosperous location on the river, and proximity to the capital. Members have the house have served as royal stewards on numerous occasions throughout history. They were one of the chief architects of the rebellion that began the War of the Theadish Succession, and were key to the victory of Rircil Brunic, after which their influence with the crown grew greater still. The marriage of Cletienne Riovanes, Emory's sister, to King Bestrald I, and the position of Count Emory as one of his chief advisors, meant that Emory was considered the obvious choice of regent as news of King Bestrald's death spread. However, Ambitious Casta Bolvangar took the initiative, and cheated Count Emory of his golden opportunity. Thwarted, he prepares to make war to 'liberate' the king from Bolvangar clutches.
House Riovanes is well known for its collective wealth, but the individual humility of its sons and daughters, who frequently disdain extravagance and give much of their wealth to the Church or charitable institutions. Their tradition of dedication to jousting is famed, and a number of famed tourney heroes throughout history are of Riovanes blood. Tournaments are held frequently in the proving grounds outside Eagrose.
The city of Eagrose is a large, sprawling settlement. The old city walls and keep house some of the cities' wealthiest residents, but the majority of the town and the bustling port exist outside the walls. A loud and colourful place, Eagrose is troubled by a criminal community around the docks.
Leader: Emory Riovanes
The County of Eagrose
The County of Eagrose lies south of the less dense eastern reaches of the Nachwold, bordering the sedate waters of the West Fork. Its consists mainly of flat grassland, while its northern parts are broken up by woodland, getting thicker the closer to the Nachwold one gets. The land is swept by frequent rainfall, and the sky is most often dreary and overcast. Eagrose is the county's primary settlement, and houses the majority of its population.
The common folk of Eagrose are characteristically a loud and outspoken bunch, farming, fishing, trading, and rowing barges of travellers north past the Nachwold. They make great celebrity of noble tourney heroes and renowned warriors, but recently a criminal element has sprung up in the slums of Eagrose, and brigands plague the shady edges of the Nachwold. Outside the city, the remainder of the County's population are more sparsely distributed, in farming communities living in small towns and in villages around the manors of the minor nobility dotted throughout the countryside. On the forest edge, woodsmen live independently, hidden away in many wooden villages beneath the trees. The woodsmen are a reclusive people, hunters, lumberjacks and foragers, they travel to Eagrose to sell lumber, leather and rare herbs. The nobility of Eagrose are a hot-blooded lot, notorious for revelling in the taverns and brothels of the city, fighting elaborate duels and hosting extravagant tournaments. The most well-known of these are the elegant Lady Lorais Beauregard, a notorious socialite and seductress, and Sir Osmond Marros, son of one of the city's wealthiest landowners and a widely celebrated tourney hero. The administration of Eagrose is run by the Count's cousin, Sir Bestrald Riovanes. Meanwhile his marshal, Sir Langdon Ward, pursues a running conflict with the notorious brigand chieftan known as 'Lop of the Wood' in the northern county, where his uncompromising punishments have earned him the moniker 'the Gallowsman'.
9000 peasants / 1500 knights
A populous County, the Counts of Eagrose are able to muster a significant peasant levy from their lands. The City of Eagrose itself can produce two thousand militia men, the majority of which consist of the city watch, reasonably well equipped with mail, shield, spear and sword, although lacking in experience. In addition, the wealthier merchant class of the city can put to field in their own small company of lightly armoured riders. However their wealth does not make them as formidable as they believe, and they are an unruly and foolhardy element to the army. An additional five thousand peasants can be mustered from the rural domains of Eagrose, but those without bows have little to arm themselves with, at best a bill or homemade spear, and at worst rusting farming equipment or an improvised club. The minor nobility provide fifteen hundred armoured knights, skilled with the lance from years of tilting in the practice yard and competitive tournaments. Inspired by stories of valour, they are eager for the fray, but in the past have retreated when a bloody and inglorious melee has dragged on.
Perhaps Eagrose's greatest strength is in its poorest soldiers; the large number of woodsmen who fight in their hunting leathers with long bows of yew. Cunning and resourceful, they can move quickly across the wilderness, and are capable shots, skilled in tracking and ambush. It is not common for such men to leave their home villages and take up careers as mercenaries, honing their skills to deliver deadly volleys of bodkin arrows that can pitch even armoured knights from their horses. A company of some five hundred of these men are currently employed by Sir Langdon as part of the campaign to root out the brigand problem in the northern part of the county. Deadly, but greedy and violent by nature, these mercenaries pose a menace to the local population wherever they go.
Emory Riovanes, Count of Eagrose
Age: 42, born May 12th 1248.
Emory is a stocky man of medium height, with a booming voice and swift stride that can leave even tall men blowing in his wake. His face is weathered and lined, his bushy eyebrows drawn together in a near permanent scowl. He wears his brown hair in a short bowl, shaved on the back and sides, as most knights do, and has a thick beard that hides his mouth and part of his neck. His eyes are small and brown, while his nose is thick and flat, having been visibly broken in his past. He has large and hairy hands and feet, and he often stands with his arms folded while others speak, scowling imperceptibly. He dresses in simple, practical clothes in the colours of his house.
Emory was born the second son of Count Jerrod, a quiet, serious child, he was often overshadowed by his athletic and talented elder brother Wilfir, the heir to Eagrose, despite being a dedicated student of both the book and the fighting yard. He had a great love of the woodlands, enthusiastically accompanying his father on hunting trips or visits to the wilder reaches of Eagrose.
During his adolescence, Emory became further estranged from his arrogant elder sibling, who had become a notorious womaniser and reveler, much to his ailing father's disapproval. When a senile Count Jerrod finally died in 1267, Wilfir assumed the ruling seat. Emory abruptly departed Eagrose with a few companions to the woodlands he held dear in his childhood. Increasingly destitute, and unwilling to return to his estranged family, Emory became involved in a band of mercenaries. After a decade of fighting in Vilnia, the Valley Kingdoms, Thead, and even across the Sunsea, Emory had risen to captain the band, and had become an experienced and cunning fighter.
In 1278, news reached him that the wine-sodded and obese Count Wilfir had died of an infection, leaving no heirs. Returning to his homeland with his men, Emory took up his position without pomp or ceremony. He set about clearing his brother's sycophants and socialites from court, and beginning the rectification of the corrupt and ineffective government his predecessor had left. Disliking the bustle and pretensions of Eagrose, he moved his court to Peredur Castle, on the fringes of the Nachwold. In 1280, he married his sister Cletienne to King Bestrald I, beginning a friendship with the King, who appreciated Emory's taciturn honesty. Emory became one of the King's chief counselors and confidants, dividing his time between Corontas and Peredur. Emory himself had married Cordiana Philani, an uncommonly beautiful noblewoman from Surmia, in his time as a mercenary captain. He has two daughters of 12 and 10, Cardove and Leatrice, for whom he reserves an otherwise unseen kindness and gentleness behind closed doors.
The County of Eagrose was by 1289 a prosperous and well-run land once more. Aided by his bloodthirsty marshal, Sir Langdon Ward, the Count led a full-scale campaign against the bandit clans that had been plaguing the rural areas of his county since the rule of his brother. When Casta Bolvangar moved swiftly to seize the regency on King Bestrald's death, Emory was greatly angered, thwarted of an opportunity he believes is rightly his. Now he marches to war, determined to take the regency for himself.
Emory is a straightforward man, almost to a fault. He is direct and unmercifully honest, a trait which earns him few friends. Like most Riovanes, he has little interest in the flouting of wealth or strutting for admiration common in Eagrose's nobility, scorning such behaviour as vain and womanly. He appreciates honesty, hard-work, and prudence, which has led to him finding a rare liking for the company of commoners. Emory is not a particularly talented administrator or tactician, nor does he claim to be, but he is diligent, and wise in appointing those who serve him to posts they excel at. He is imposing and intimidating, even surly, and rarely impressed. Beneath his gruff exterior, he is cunning and ambitious, but maintains strict values of integrity and self-discipline. He is an implacable foe, and his enemies see the merciless violence of his mercenary past.
Emory's time amongst commoners as a mercenary captain have enabled him to interact well with peasants and commoners, who often take to the man far more easily than other nobles do. As well as being a capable swordsman, his former profession has made him unusually skilled with the bow. Although not a particularly likeable person, Emory has a reputation for honesty, which often works in his favour. He has wide-ranging experience and understanding of the world, and does not baulk at using dishonourable but effective tactics.
Count Emory had been confident in thinking he had been bringing the rule of Vilnia firmly under the influence of House Riovanes, with himself the King's closest advisor and his sister Queen, the continuing rise of his family was guaranteed. King Bestrald's untimely death was unforeseen, however, and Casta's quick-thinking has snatched away Emory's golden opportunity. Thwarted and vengeful, Emory seeks to paint Casta as a conniving traitor and destroy him, taking rule of Vilnia for himself.
Emory's wife is a popular woman at court, much admired for her virtue and gentleness, and Emory privately heeds her advice. The Count's closest advisors are his marshal, Sir Langdon Ward, enthusiastic, good-humoured, but merciless nonetheless, and Sir Barbanas Powell 'the Chaste', the grim and pious captain of the mercenaries the Count employs. Emory's cousin, his chancellor Sir Bestrald Riovanes, is a level-headed and reliable character who keeps court in the city of Eagrose. Finally, Count Emory is often seen in the company of a commoner named Reeve, often conferring with him in whispers. Other than advising the Count, none are completely sure what services this man offers, but it is a relationship that the nobility of Eagrose find extremely galling.
Reeve of Thorley
Age: About 40
Occupation: Advisor, bodyguard and spy for Count Emory.
Reeve is a medium-height, thin man with receding brown hair and a short beard. He has a long hooked nose and a bony face and limbs, and quiet brown eyes that carefully observe his surroundings. He is unusually clean, for a commoner, though his teeth are rotten, and he dresses in well-made, but simple, inconspicuous garb. He slouches, and has a deep, rasping voice
Reeve was born to a impoverished family of woodsfolk near the village of Thorley, in a tiny settlement on the fringes of the Nachwold in County Eagrose that did not even warrant a name. His father, a hunter, taught him his trade as he grew up. However, at 16, Reeve was accused of raping a girl in a rural market town, on a trading trip with his father. To avoid the gallows, he fled and became an outlaw. He soon joined a large band of mercenaries, who were more interested in his proficiency with a long hunting bow than his dubious background.
This happened to be the same company that Emory Riovanes later joined, and although the latter was initially unaware of Reeve's existence, the woodsman became well known after he led a pursuing band of enemies into a series of traps and ambushes while the company was fighting in the Valley Kingdoms. Emory, now captain, recognised his worth, and included him in his plans from there on. Since that time, Reeve has served Emory as an advisor, giving his perspective on the wisest course of action. Reeve continued in Emory's service after he became Count, who wished to retain a down-to-earth voice in his ear and the bond of trust the two had developed. In secret, he also serves his lord in performing more dishonourable and unpleasant tasks.. Although Reeve is despised as a cut-throat commoner by many of Emory's closest men, few openly challenge him, such is the Count's favour. In return, Reeve puts up with their dislike with silent enmity of his own, for the loyalty he bears Emory and the easy life the closest servant of a Count brings him.
Reeve is a cunning, if unimaginative man. He is creative in his practical ability, but has little to no interest in the worlds greater mysteries. He is quiet and keeps to himself, silently regarding the world with cynicism and dislike. He is selfish, and other than Count Emory, serves only himself. Reeve has little remorse, he can and has carried out atrocities without troubling his conscience. He enjoys drinking and hunting, and regards women with a predatory nature and a rare smile. Countess Cordiana has complained to her husband more than once for the way Reeve looks at her.
Reeve was stealthy enough to surprise a deer in his adolescence, and now despite his advancing years he is still able to move like a wraith. His common birth and ordinary appearance allow him to pass inconspicuously where other men cannot. He has a shrewd, calculating mind, which aptly reads men and grasps strategy, if not numbers and letters. Reeve is an expert shot with the bow and very handy with a knife. His ruthless nature means he can be employed to perform dark deeds. Some rumours have it that he practices even fouller talents in the deepest recesses of Peredur Castle's dungeons, should the Count order it.