First off, the civilization in all of Rodoria is somewhat similar to medieval north-European culture in terms of building-design, clothing and weapons. Crossbows and ballistae are the highest technology publically available. Although some sexists exist, as they always will, the genders in the kingdom are generally perceived as equals, although there is a slight tendency for men getting positions of leadership over women. Both men and women can serve as soldiers and can educate themselves. Otherwise, is really dependant on which duchy one is in, with each having different views and values.
Wenal - Inhabitants referred to as Wenalics
Represented by the color gold and the royal crown.
There is not much to be said about the duchy of Wenal's history, although the it is rumored that the very capitol of Rodoria, Wenal City, was built on the ruins of largest of cities left behind by the Gazzeral after their defeat. After the short, but rather bloody war against the Gazzeral, Wenal City became the seat of the first council ever consisting of a union of deigan, penin and humans, which then elected the first king of Rodoria, Roland the Ambitious. As one could expect, this makeshift council of the three races quickly dissolved after this, and the deigan and penin left the kingdom to rule itself, although it remained closely observed by the two halves of Wegam Fermos.
Today Wenal is in a rather unique situation compared to the other duchies, since Wenal is the only duchy without a duke - nor has it ever had one. It is really only called a duchy as a means to simplify the relationship of the ten parts of Rodoria. Instead, with the royal family extinct, it is now run by a council of noblemen and women from the most prominent families of the duchy, supported by officers of the Rodorian army, which try their best to keep the population from running amok. Wenal has rather impressive military resources, in particular in force of impressive cavalry and an assembly of royal knights, but they refuse to get involved in the civil war raging amongst the duchies. They believe that none of the dukes should get to rule Rodoria, even if they prove the strongest. Instead they sit tight and undertake the extremely challenging task of trying to make the everyday life in Wenal continue as if nothing had happened, allowing their residents to live in decadency while they send out agents in the search of remnants of the royal bloodline. They believe that only a descendant of Roland the Ambitious could claim the throne of Rodoria in a lawful manner, and thus end the civil war.
"Even as the world falls to chaos, order will remain our virtue."
Etlon - Inhabitants referred to as Etlonians
Represented by the color red and the organized and militaristic gorilla.
Etlon is one of the two only duchies established after the foundation of Rodoria. The seed for the creation of Etlon were sown after the defeat of the Gazzeral back in the Barbaric Age, shortly after the kingdom of Rodoria had been formed and the duchies were still being planned. In this time, a single commander in the armies of the humans brought to Roland the Ambitious’ attention that the human armies had more than proven their superiority during the war against the Gazzeral, and pointed out that it was clear that there was no reason for their new kingdom to degrade itself by naming deigan and penin their equals when humanity had the potential to become their superiors. This human commander was named James Etlon, and is famous for supposedly being one of the greatest tactical minds and leaders in the history of Reniam. James recommended the king that they mobilized their new Rodorian army and defeated their non-human competitors. King Roland turned down the request, however, stating that they owed a debt of loyalty to their allies for helping them conquer this new land, which had been generously granted to them. James was enraged at this, thinking that leaving an opportunity unexploited was foolish. He left the Rodorian army and instead gathered mercenaries, peasants and young adventurers around him, using his skill and knowledge to train them to be a powerful militia of organized soldiers. With his new personal army at hand, James lead a campaign against southern Wegam Fermos - the farthest they could get from the restricting reach of Wenal City - and before King Roland could interfere, James had already conquered large areas the neighboring country, forcing deigan forces backwards and taking a piece of land larger than even the duchy of Wenal. Seeing this, King Roland was impressed, but he knew that the violation of the alliance between Wegam Fermos and Rodoria would infuriate the Fermians, yet King Roland was reluctant to give away this new addition to his kingdom. In a cunning move to keep this new land, he immediately named James Etlon as the duke of the area, founding the duchy of Etlon, thus legally making it property of Rodoria. Meanwhile, to ensure peace with the Fermians, King Roland finally had James Etlon arrested and charged with treason. James was executed for his crimes, but his title of Duke of Etlon passed down through his bloodline, thus keeping Etlon under Rodorian rule.
In present day, the duke of Etlon, Arognar Etlon (who was nicknamed the Crimson Duke instead of the traditional Red Duke because of his relentless desire to conquer the surrounding duchies) is called the equal to his ancestor when it comes to tactical expertise, and thus he is reputedly the most skilled commander of the entire Rodorian army. When the Withering broke out and eradicated the entire royal house, however, the Crimson Duke took that as a sign that the days of the weakness that the kingdom had suffered since the death of James Etlon, and that it was time for the throne to be passed on to those who truly deserved to lead Rodoria. Under his command, Etlon quickly expanded their borders into the territories of Nemhim, Anaxim and Pelgaid, establishing three military outposts there to keep their enemies in check. Citizens of the duchy are reduced to cogs in a greater machine, with everyone serving a function to fuel their war-efforts. Everything is done with militaristic efficiency, and anything that threaten to weaken the combined strength of the duchy is quickly removed or reassigned to where it can do no harm. Etlon has the largest, most organized and varied army of all the duchies, will stop at nothing to conquer all of Rodoria.
"My voice is the sword, my will the shield, and my army an extension of both."
Gilmah - Inhabitants referred to as Gilmahin
Represented by the color black and the slithering and deadly viper.
When humankind was given the control of the land that became the kingdom of Rodoria, several the eight original duchies were formed when Roland the Ambitions divided his domain to his companions from his adventuring days. One of these companions was Reg Gilmah, who became the duke of the duchy of Gilmah. Reg was not a companion that King Roland had chosen by his free will, but rather out of necessity because he, during his adventurous youth, had been in need of arcane knowledge and magic power. Reg possessed both of these in abundance, being one of the most powerful wielders of necromancy of the Barbaric Age. Unfortunately, Reg’s bloodline inherited the rule of Gilmah only for a couple of generations, until the time came for Reg’s granddaughter, Delian, to wear the title. Delian Gilmah's knowledge necromancy exceeded that of her grandfather, and through dark rituals, Delian undertook the first recorded transformation of lichdom and, gathering like-minded necromancers, soon after founded the Black Tribunal. She is known be the enchantress who cursed the Land of Eternal Night to its current state, and was the reason that necromancy became outlawed in Rodoria. Since Delian’s betrayal of Rodoria, Reg's bloodline appears extinct, leaving the title of duke of Gilmah vacant. To remedy this, a duke is now elected by the people each time the last one perishes, rather than inherited through bonds of blood.
One of the duchies with a darker history, Gilmah is nevertheless also a rather powerful force within Rodoria, as it is the place where everyone who wishes to seek out the darker secrets of the world goes. Gilmah is the only place aside from Fokon where demons and Ismyel are openly worshipped, and as a result, a sinister atmosphere rests over the entire duchy. Unlike those of the other duchies, the Gilmahin army has no real specialty, but is rather a somewhat mediocre entity. However, rumor has it that Gilmahin sorcerers secretly practice forbidden magic, thus making up for their relative weakness by possessing powers that none of the other duchies will be prepared for. Gilmah does not wage war against the other duchies to put their duke on the throne (since in Gilmah, the title of duke is considered worth less than in the other duchies), but because they wish to make Delian Gilmah and her Black Tribunal the rulers of Rodoria. Their main goal is to defeat the duchy of Pelgaid, thus releasing the Black Tribunal - and the undead horde under their command - within their walls.
"Fear the embrace of darkness, for in darkness, all secrets are left untold."
Pelgaid - Inhabitants referred to as Pelgaidians
Represented by the color white and the loyal and cooperative wolf.
Pelgaid is the newest of the duchies, being established almost a full century after the defeat of the Gazzeral. When the former duchess of Gilmah, Delian, undertook the transformation into an immortal lich, the necromancer sought to the borders of Jevog Denûm to the east where she used her dark power to awaken a host of undead, starting the struggle known as the War of Bones with the goal of conquering all of Rodoria. The new threat quickly alerted the rest of the kingdom, however, and with one of the only joint efforts of all of the duchies (except, naturally, Gilmah), they managed to hold back the tide of undead. But the king soon saw that the unholy forces under Delian’s control would only grow in power, as more and more necromancers joined her ranks in the Black Tribunal, and that it was only a matter of time before the Rodorian army would fail. It was then that a paladin of Liya, Eremus Pelgaid, stepped forth to offer that his holy order would move forth to fight the undead horde, occupying it while the other duchies seized the opportunity to wall in the enemy to prevent them from spreading. The king accepted this offer, and Eremus and his order of paladins fought bravely against the Black Tribunal while the duchies all sent as many men they could spare to raise a mighty wall around the battlefield. The War of Bones lasted almost half a decade before the wall was completed, and only then could the paladins retreat from the cursed Land of Eternal Night. Although Eremus received a mortal wound during the exodus, the king saw fit to grant him the title of duke before he perished, taking land from Anaxim and Zerul to reward him a duchy of his own to pass down through his bloodline. Ever since then, the dukes of Pelgaid have protected Rodoria from the undying threat from the Land of Eternal Night, where Delian and the Black Tribunal patiently wait for the day when they can bring the War of Bones to the end they wanted.
Pelgaid is probably the single place in all of Reniam where the inhabitants are the most determined to battle evil, and despite of the rest of Rodoria being thrown into civil-war, Pelgaid has no interest in conquering more land. Instead they concentrate on keeping the undead in check, but now that they have lost the support of the surrounding duchies - since these now spend all of their efforts on fighting each other - Pelgaid stand alone, and is weaker than ever towards the forces of the Black Tribunal.
"Through all calamities, we will stand vigil. In the name of Liya, you shall not pass!"
Anaxim - Inhabitants referred to as Anaximites
Represented by the color green and the tree, completely in synch with nature.
When the union of humans, deigan and penin invaded the lands of the Gazzeral, they were surprised to find that other creatures than the lizard-people had made their home in the region. In fact, in the great Anaxim Forest - the largest forest in all of Rodoria - they found other humans and deigan who had lived there for generations. They were druids, barbarians, mages and rangers, who claimed to guard the forest by any means necessary, even if it meant turning against their own kind. King Roland thought the determination of these guardians was admirable, and so he decreed that Anaxim Forest should remain theirs, and not a single tree should be harmed. In order to further ensure that Anaxim Forest would remain untouched, he named his companion, Sevol Greenmark, who was a ranger himself, the duke of the duchy that shaped around Anaxim Forest.
As time has passed, the dedication to nature and the passion for archery has stayed with the Anaximite people. Their duchy is one of the most internally peaceful and stable in Rodoria, and even as they go to war they strive to uphold traditions such as the annual archery contests and the introduction of the beauty of forests and nature to the children of each generation. Aside from that, the people in Anaxim lives by the same idea as many other duchies does: that their own duke is the one best fit for taking the throne of the chaotic remains of Rodoria. However, the military in Anaxim is not armed for warfare on a larger scale. Their soldiers have taken up on the ways of the rangers, using light armor and wielding light weapons and bows, thus rendering them inferior to the might of most other duchies in direct confrontation. Instead of fighting open battles, the Anaximites fight their neighbors by ambushing their platoons with archers and robbing their trading-caravans.
"We have no fear, for we serve nature, and nature is the greatest force of all."
Fokon - Inhabitants referred to as Fokonians
Represented by the color pink and the tranquil and ponderous tortoise.
In the southern part of the humans’ new territory, they found an area where vegetation seemed to flourish even more magnificently than in the rest of Rodoria, and the people figured that it had used to be something like the Gazzeral's old main field for growing herbs and crops of different kinds. This place was by far the most fertile in all of Rodoria, and King Roland decreed that such a vast resource and a place of such incredible beauty had to remain untouched by the bloody hands of battle. In order to ensure this, he formed a duchy there and granted it to his old companion, Hans Fokon, who was a priest serving Reina, the goddess of mercy. Hans made good use of his new position and took good care of his new responsibility, lovingly tending to both plants and soil. He and those who shared his legacy maintained what was known to be the most beautiful thing in all of Rodoria: the Famous Flower Fields of Fokon!
Over time, Fokon became the main site of worship of deities of both good and evil, and soon the Joint Temple of Immortals was constructed, dedicated to all gods, demons and Spirits of Union. The inhabitants there does not care about the civil war around them, since they are pacifists, but instead maintain their lifestyle from before the Withering. They merely wish to be left in peace, trusting in their while their herbalists are at work with brewing elixirs of their many different herbs, hoping to find a cure for the plague. Fokon has no army and no guards, but rather trust in the Wardens and the Favored Ones tied to the Joint Temple of Immortals to take care of whatever problems could arise. They specialize in healing, both medicinal and magical, and are foresworn to aid anyone in need that comes to them - something not all of the other duchies approve of.
"War begets only violence and death. Serenity is what gives us the joy of living."
Nemhim - Inhabitants referred to as Nemhimians
Represented by the color orange and the quick and cunning rat.
Another one of King Roland’s companions, Erik Nemhim, was the thief of the old band of adventurers. As all of King Roland's other companions, Erik was granted a duchy of his own upon the foundation of the kingdom. There is not much more to be said, except that Erik died a mysterious death only months after having received the title, a death that was supposedly caused by poison and that had Erik's son claim the title suspiciously quickly.
Over the years, Nemhim has become the one of the duchies that has the lowest moral of all, harboring more criminal activity within Nemhim City than in the other nine duchies combined. The guards there are lazy and corrupt, and as a result, the citizens have learned to fend for themselves. While speaking in high praises of the others' efforts and keeping on good terms with them all and keeping the Nemhimian soldiers within the borders of Nemhim, their spies and agents lurk in the other duchies and assassinate important officials, sabotage armories and otherwise powerful defensive structures, and often even steal things right out of the other duchies' treasuries. And all the while they are doing this, the Orange Duke plots to become the new king of Rodoria himself, but rather than send his own men into battle, he cunningly play the other duchies against each other, hoping that the civil-war will bleed them all out to such a degree that Nemhim will eventually be able to steal away victory from their weakened countrymen.
"Why bother when it is so much easier to let someone else do it?"
Seclyr - Inhabitants referred to as Seclyrians
Represented by the color yellow and the tenacious and fearsome wild boar.
Another duchy without any remarkable history, this place was also granted to a companion of Roland the Ambitious, Seclyr the Barbaric, a mighty warrior who was said to wield incredible prowess in battle. An interesting fact about Seclyr, however, would be that it was the first of the duchies to put restrictions on the study of magic. Instead they have focused their efforts on training the finest and strongest warriors in all of Rodoria, having every skilled fighter train ten more whenever they became skilled enough, as well as the duchy hold annual tournaments with grand prizes for the winners in order to motivate their inhabitants to train their skills to the utmost. Naturally, the best place to do that is in the army.
With the outbreak of the Withering, the duchy of Seclyr very quickly came to the conclusion that the horrid sickness was definitely of magical nature, and thus they concluded that magic was obviously an evil and unpredictable force and was best left unused. The Yellow Duke increased the enforcement on the restrictions of magic, as well as outlaw not just a couple of types, but making all magic illegal in Seclyr - the punishment for practicing any kind of sorcery being death by burning on a stake. While the forces of Seclyr easily can keep the few unfortunate magicians within their borders in check, methodically executing them as they are discovered, they turn their awesome warriors - each soldier being a master of its field and handling their weapons with practiced expertise - against their surrounding neighbors. The Yellow Duke is determined to defeat all of the other duchies and seize the throne, just for the sake of making the law against any kind of magic countrywide, completely hindering its use in Rodoria.
"We strike with our arms, not our swords, and cut with skill, not a blade. The strongest survive, and none are stronger than us."
Zerul - Inhabitants referred to as Zerulics
Represented by the color blue and the wise and attentive owl.
Yet another of Roland the Ambitious companions was given this duchy out of gratitude from the king, this one to a sorceress called Sylvia Zerul, the only one able to contest with the necromancer Reg Gilmah’s knowledge of the arcane. As such, Zerul took after its duchess' preferences and became the seat of magic, knowledge and education in Rodoria.
Culture in Zerul is rather aristocratic in nature, with the majority of the population being scholars and students that come from all over Rodoria in search of knowledge. Zerul City is almost exclusively inhabited by these learned men and women, along with magi, while peasants are mostly reduced to living outside of the city, tending to mundane businesses such as farming, mining and trading. Like the 'brutes' of Seclyr, as the magi of Zerul refer to them, the wizards of the Zerulic population very quickly came to the conclusion that the sudden appearance of the Withering, as well as the very nature of the way it affected its victims, pointed to that it was a product of magic. Instead of banning the use of magic entirely, they intensified their studies in sorcery, logically assuming that if magic was what had caused the plague, it was only natural that magic would wield the final cure. So while their modest army patrol the borders of the duchy, supported by mages wielding the awesome power of their arcane wisdom against any intruders, their scholars and wizards research in the Great Library of Zerul to discover a possible cure for the plague.
"The wise shall inherit Reniam, and wisdom is our trademark."
Relimon - Inhabitants referred to as Relimonians
Represented by the color purple and the greedy and intelligent raven.
The smallest of all the duchies, the Relimon peninsula was granted to King Roland's councilor and former companion, Frank Relimon, who was a wealthy merchant who took care of the boring business-part of the adventurous group. The merchant lead on his legacy in his new domain, where he quickly established a powerful trading-empire, drawing further success from the Grand Relimon Harbor, from which he sent out ships to all the duchies and several countries along the northern coast of the continent. It was also a ship from Relimon that discovered Melenaoth, and a duke of Relimon that lead the battle on sea that finally ended the war with the Melenian people.
For the other duchies, the safety of the Melenian Ocean ended quite abruptly when the Withering broke out. The Purple Duke, after having stationed numerous guards and mercenaries at the one and only connection between Relimon and the mainland, made a new deal with Melenaoth. In return for a continued trade between Relimon and Melenaoth, the Melenian pirate ships were once again allowed to attack any Rodorian ship that did not fly the banner of Relimon, giving that duchy monopoly on all seafaring in the Melenian Ocean. In Relimon, they believe that fighting the other duchies would be a waste of both time and money. Instead of meddling with the others' war, they sit tight and concentrate on their trade routes, and make a nice additional profit by selling resources and weaponry to the other duchies to fuel the civil-war and keep money coming. They are confident that the only right way to take the rule of Rodoria is to let the other duchies bleed each other out, and when Rodoria was practically bankrupt from the war, Relimon would step in and use its accumulated wealth to literally buy the entire country.
"War may be cruel, but it is good for business."