Lands of Volta
Duchy of Volta
Ruler: Duke Reynard Voltan
Covering about 40,000 square miles of territory between the Duchies of Niman, Ravenholt, and Ashbury, the Duchy of Volta has been a part of Evendarr's Kingdom for about 100 years. Mountains and glaciers are famous and revered for their natural beauty. Here is found bears, wolves, lynx, elk, reindeer, and deer, as well as all other sorts of small game.
Much of the land (over 40%) is mountainous and only about 30% is suitable for grazing or cultivation/farming. Large tracts of forest cover the lower mountains, an excellent source of lumber that Voltans are sure to cut only as much as necessary to ensure the continuing growth of the forests.
Thin lines separate the three social classes of Volta. The freemen class is the lower class made up primarily of farmers, woodsmen, and miners. They not only may, but also are expected to bear arms and be trained in their use, fitting for a culture focused on warrior traditions. The middle class, typically made up of mercenaries/retainers, skilled laborers, merchants, and craftsman, are well off and commonly deeded lands of their own to conduct their business or trade.
The noble class is a small one, consisting of those who feel it is their duty to protect their people and therefore have the respect of many. They are typically very generous and amicable compared to nobles of other lands, often throwing tournaments or festivals when not out protecting the lands from those who would harm Volta.
Although Voltan nobles are granted all the perks of Evendarrian nobility, they rarely give orders and rather the people follow them out of respect. After all, how can they expect their people to follow them if they cannot trust or respect them? The nobles do not like to rule through authority or titles. A noble who loses the respect of their freemen will undoubtedly be replaced by one who the freemen do respect. Every time in the past when a noble ordered his or her people around, it has resulted in bloody civil war.
Entertainment in Volta mainly consists of wrestling, fighting tournaments, hunting, skiing, and other winter sports. Gambling is also a very large business in Volta. Voltans love to gamble on just about anything.
In the southern lowlands, crops of rye, barley, oats and wheat are grown. Potatoes and turnips, the cheap root crops, some other vegetables, berries, and hearty fruits are also grown. Livestock and goods, oxen, cattle, sheep, poultry, and horses of the finest quality are raised among the rolling hills in Volta, which is well known for their famous Voltan Chargers. Numerous mines exist, and the wealth of the minerals taken is considerable. Silver, copper, nickel, iron, lead, zinc, and coal are produced from these mines. Small quantities of gems are also mined. Quarrying produces excellent granite, marble, and other building stone, which are often used for fortresses since most structures are made of wood. Timber, horses, ale, fur, metals, and metalworking are the primary exports in Volta.
The north of Volta is dominated by two things, the Silver River Valley and “Argent's Wall”, a string of fortresses and watch towers that serve to delay armed forces coming from the Northern Wastes. The powerful Wolf and Snake barbarian tribes live north of Argent's Wall, along with countless war-bands of green-skins and other monsters, including the hated Undead. Argent's Wall is manned by the “Brothers and Sisters” of The Watch, who are volunteers as well as criminals and oath-breakers who have something to prove and strive to restore their own personal honor by serving their Duchy in the harshest and deadliest area of the realm. The five main castles of Argent's Wall are Inverness, Aberdeen, Luft, Narvik, and Steiner.
Earldom of Northgaard
Ruler: Earl Jackson Cathym
Intrigues: Constant threat of incursions from the deep mountains or the Northern Wastes.
The highlands of Northgaard County contain many wild and unsettled areas. As such, the people of the northern areas are hardy outdoorsmen who adore their peace and quiet, generally only coming to 'town' once or twice a year to sell their goods, trade with others, and to stock up for the year ahead. This is done on a market month around September, which most towns adhere to as a tradition. The southern areas and lowlands, dotted with small villages and hamlets, are even more traditional, having more festivals and holidays than their northern neighbors.
Earldom of Southmark
Ruler: Earl Baylor gan Phaebos
Intrigues: Numerous intrigues involving the guilds.
The County of Southmark is the most economically developed area in Volta. The majority of the manufacturing and trades are done here, as this County borders three Duchies. The merchant and craft guilds hold the most political influence in this County. The Baronies of Zarkym and Anym are part of this Earldom.
Baronly of Zarkym
Ruler: Baron Angus Lunarsun
Resources: Crafts, Trade, and Mercantilism
Cities: Grunfeld, Ardynn
Towns: Silton, Tribute, Oberamigau, Dannerau, Terryl
Castles: Castle Ruhr
Intrigues: Many plots involving the different craft guilds of the Barony.
Alliances: Thunderhammer Company, Caravaneers
Hostilities: Crimson Blades, The Dark Path
This is the smallest Barony in Volta, but by no means the weakest nor the smallest in terms of population. Due to the high population density rate, this Barony has some of the best roads and communication in Volta. It serves as both a center for news and trade and has the highest number of skilled craftsmen. Zarkym is also home to the Voltan Brewers Guild, the craftsmen who brew the famous (or infamous!) Voltan Ale. The Barnae family has long held this Barony and has strong alliances with the renowned Thunderhammer Company, who serves as reliable guards, and with the powerful Caravaneers, who dominate the trade routes of Volta. The main menace of the land is the elusive Crimson Blades, a band of brigands, cutthroats, and assassins who have caused mischief for decades. A newer threat is The Dark Path, a shadowy band of necromancers who are responsible for many acts of murder and destruction in the Barony in recent years. The Barony of Zarkym has seen much turmoil in the last five years with trouble with the Brewers Guild, martial law being declared, and the recovery of their Baronial weapon.
Barony of Anym
Ruler: Baron Arias D Anym
Resources: Livestock (Husbandry - Voltan Chargers) and Mining (Iron, Stone, Copper)
Towns: Dillgraf, McClaren, Ostburg
Castles: Axelburg, Verdinburg
Intrigues: Numerous intrigues with the Duchy of Niman.
Alliances: Murphy's Rangers, Trellheim Irregulars, Drok
Hostilities: Kron's Band, Shadowblades
The low mountains of this Barony are wood covered and lush. Many artists, jewelers, poets, and bards live in these verdant mountains and pursue their art. Much of the “high culture” in Volta comes from Anym. This Barony has a relatively light population density, the villages, towns, and cities being scattered across the area. This leaves plenty of room for raising livestock and the famous Voltan Chargers, as they need a lot of space to roam.
The Arran Hills are dotted with many farms. The central mountain region has scattered mines and quarries where stone and metal are produced. The small southern plains make for some of the best farmland in Volta, producing the highest quality goods. Lochniria, known for its waters with aphrodisiac properties, is one of the most beautiful places in the Duchy.
The Anymdin Mountains produce copper in abundance. Once trolls roamed the mountains, but have since been pushed back over time to only a few remote areas. These mountains used to be called the Troll's Teeth Mountains and reach up to 7,000 feet although most are 2,000 to 3,000 feet in height. The deep woods of Hadran and Vordin are both beautiful and dangerous.
Anym has had a long relationship with the woodsmen of Murphy's Rangers who do their best to protect the isolated people of the Anymdin Mountains. Recently the Trellheim Irregulars, refugees from the Duchy of Ashbury who fight an insurgent war across the border versus the Sessuar Imperium forces occupying Ashbury, have been given safe haven in Volta and enjoy wide support from the people of Anym.
Drok the cave troll is an interesting case, as he wanders up to settlers or even into towns and asks to do small jobs, does them, and wanders off. Drok has never attacked anyone who did not provoke him first - he seems to wander quite a bit and has no love for undead or other monsters but likes playing with children.
Two main factions are the scourge of Anym: Kron's Band, a war-band made up of Ogres, Trolls and other monsters appears from time to time, burning settlements and killing the settlers. The Shadowblades are a mysterious group who little is known about except that they seem to be hired assassins and brigands.
The Barony of Anym has seen great turmoil in the last year. Agents of the Horde spread a vile plague that destroyed much of the Barony. Heroes from Volta desperately fended off the plague, which would raise the fallen as foul undead. The plaguelands, while receding, require much work on the part of the citizens of Volta to restore Anym to its former glory.
Barony of Cathym
Capital: Tallon's Hold
Resources: Mining (Precious Metals, Silver Export) and Farming
Towns: Velno, Cascadia, Argentum, Granthym
Castles: Tallon's Hold, Luft Castle
Intrigues: Rumors of organized were-creatures in the Ulfwood.
Alliances: Thorgrim's Company, T'Shok's Band, The Feared
Hostilities: Phoenix Rising, The Krad Elite
The Barony of Cathym is moderately populated, with large areas of lowlands and rolling hills that lend themselves to farming. Mining for precious metals and farming are the two largest occupations in the Barony, the Silver River being the largest source of silver in the area for generations. The Silversmith's Guild is a powerful political influence on not only the Barony, but also Volta as a whole. The northern and western parts of the Barony are under constant threat of skirmishing with green-skin war bands, renegade barbarians, and other monsters due to their remoteness. Argent's Wall extends across Cathym as well, where the Brothers and Sisters of The Watch patrol, ever alert.
The Frost Peak Mountains dominate much of this Barony and reach into the Barony of Dinsdale as a large barrier between the two. The central Frost Peaks average to about 25,000 feet in height. The highest peak is called Thyrra Mak Dan, approaching a staggering 40,000 feet. Due to their height, the Frost Peak Mountains are covered by snow and glaciers year round. The Silver River and its valley are known for its salmon fishing and is a popular place to visit.
Cathym has made many allies through the years but Thorgrim's Company and T'Shok's Band are by far the most powerful retainers of the Barony. Both are groups of veterans of the Goblin Wars fought during the last two decades and are quite powerful. The Feared is a former adventuring company that has entered the service of the Baron as retainers, serving as scouts and information gatherers as well as a capable strike force. Cathym's two main foes are Phoenix Rising, a group of highlanders and their allies who have declared a blood feud against House Voltan and its allies, and the Krad Elite, a band of goblins who survived the Goblin Wars and have grown rather powerful. Unfortunately, this does not make them less annoying - they use their veteran status as permission to be even more obnoxious than 'normal' goblins. They are, however, more than a match for anything but an organized army. This Barony is one of the most stable Baronies of Volta. During the plague epidemic in Anym, agents of the lich Redpath attempted to penetrate this Barony but were repulsed by adventurers.
Barony of Dinsdale
Ruler: Baron Howls at the Wind
Resources: Timber, Mining (Gemstones), Farming, and Livestock
Cities: Stirling, Icemeet, Crystalia
Towns: Hawley, Crystalia
Castles: Hadran Castle, Newcastle
Intrigues: Continuing problems with rebels.
Alliances: Azure Flame, Bolton's Brigade, Greencloaks
Hostilities: Highland Alliance, Bloodfangs, Blackfist, Ungak's Horde
The people of Dinsdale are a fiercely independent breed, known for a long history of rebelliousness and stubbornness. Of the peoples of Volta, this people remain closest to their old ways before Volta joined the Kingdom of Evendarr. The strongest unifying force between the different tribes, clans, and families of Dinsdale is their fear of war bands of green-skins, renegade barbarians, and other monsters, including Undead, which prowl the isolated peaks of the Barony. Dinsdale also is home to Argent’s Wall, a string of fortresses deployed along the Silver River Valley, which separate the Northern Wastes from Volta. The Watch patrol Argent's Wall and give warning of war-bands and hordes pouring out of the Northern Wastes.
The people of Dinsdale are battle-hardened and provide some of the best mercenaries and professional soldiers in all of Evendarr. Most of the timber harvested in Dinsdale comes from the Icewood Forest; however, the forest is probably the most dangerous place in Volta. Numerous green-skin war bands and other more sinister entities live deep within the forest. Depending on the season, the villages in the Icewood Forest either resemble peaceful logging communities or a war-zone. In addition to timber, the southern valleys and hills of Dinsdale are ideally suited to raising livestock. The beautiful towns surrounding the majestic Crystal Lake are some of the wealthiest communities of Volta. Dinsdale also has the fortune of being its own Barony and having a direct trade route to the Kingdom of Avendale.
The Barony has long been allied with the powerful mages of the Order of the Azure Flame and with the tenacious soldiers of Bolton’s Brigade; both organizations are long-term retainers of the Barony. The Greencloaks are a relatively new but potent band primarily made up of Wild Elves from the Icewood and are renowned scouts and archers. Dinsdale has been at war with the Highland Alliance since the founding of Volta as a Duchy. At different times, this war has been either a war on paper or open fighting. The green-skin war-bands of the Blackfist and Ungak’s Horde have been raiding Dinsdale for generations but rarely burn or kill; they prefer to ransom captives and have even fought alongside the Baronial forces against Undead when they come down from the mountains. The Bloodfangs, on the other hand, are infamous for killing, burning, and even eating the bodies of the dead. This band of green-skins is even hated by the Blackfist and Ungak’s Horde. The Barony of Dinsdale has seen little turmoil over the past few years, bolstered by the Brothers of the Broken Circle. The Barony has been the recent target of attacks from the Horde and the strange lizardfolk known as the Dorrathai.