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The Vestenreich

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 8 months ago

The Empire of Roens, Dasnacs and Illasts

Region: Caelea

Common Name: The Vestenreich, The Reich

Government Type: Constitutional monarchy

Ruling Bodies: The Imperial Throne, The Imperial Counsel, and The Reichsstände

Current Leaders: Emperor Peter XIV Utritch-Cael , Heir to the Throne of Cael (Human male Paladin 3/Noble 5);Chancellor Fredrick Zeller (Human male Fighter 5/Wizard 2)

Economic Type: Capitalism

Currency: Goldmark (100 Pfening=1 Goldmark)

Area: 410,216

Population: 70,557,152

Demographics: 57% Human, 12% Half-Elf, 11% Gnome, 10% Elf, 5% Dwarf, 4% Halfling, 2% Raptorian, 1% Other (Illumian, Kith, Kobold, Rilkan, Skarn, Spellscale, Xeph)

Capitol/Largest City: Vendenburg (1,140,000)

Secondary Center: Neidrig St. Peter (population 862,000)

Religion: Largely Caelen Church (Halen Reform), with minorities of Caelen Church (Imperial and Qalitz), southern faiths, the Traveler, atheism and The Living Gods

Major Languages: Vesten (official), Caelen, Qual, Hedlandic, Yullic, Rostic, and Geric are all spoken in minority communities

Symbol: A golden two-headed wyvern on a green feild

Nominal Alignment: LN

 


 

History

 

The western vales of the Dragonrest mountainshave always been known for their abundance of natural resources. The earliest clan holds of the dwarves sprouted up in the region, before being forced east by the elves, and the Dasnac people were later drawn here by the rich soil and abundant timber. Indeed, the western kingdoms of Vesten, Vaterhead, Gary and Rostem would have been the ideal location for nations to grow and thrive...if not for their proximity to the elven isles. The elves have posted a constant threat to the nations of the Sea of Blades, but in the past it was only the occasional raider or small pirate fleet. The navies of the human, dwarven, halfing and low elven kingdoms were more than enough to protect coastal towns form any serious attempt to take them, as well as allowing for substantial trade...so long as the ships never traveled out of sight of the shore, and knew to beach themselves at the first sign of azure sails on the horizon.

 

Vestria was arguably the most powerful of the nations bordering on the Sea of Blades. Founded almost immediately after the fall of the Caelen empire by the decedents of Mark, the eldest son of Cael, Vestria has always considered itself the rightful heir to the Caelen empire. They had a strong martial tradition, and though they had horrible luck as rulers, they were extremely skilled warriors and conquerers. Furthurmore, the Vestrians were arguably the most industrious humans, their mines and forests providing ample materials for their industrial machine. Vestria was a beacon of science on the Caelen peninsula, spurning magic since their war with the Arcane Congress. With their skill in science and sword, the Vestrians provided a stabilizing force in the region, preventing nations such as Gallia and the Arcane Congress from growing too powerful. Sixty years ago, under the rule of Emperor Karl XII, they had formed an alliance with their perennial enemies,Gallia, and partitioned the nation of Trisland between them. It seemed that the Vestrians were trying to shore up their power in case the ascendant Caelen empire decided to strike through Waterhead at what could be their most formidable opponent on their path to reunification. However, the Vestrians plans at expansion were halted by the unthinkable

 

The March of the Elves

In 1062, the elves marched forth with a strength not seen for a milenia. They had spent the past thousand years rebuilding their armies, examining the mannerisms of humans, dwarves and the other folk, and waiting for the right moment to strike. The elves waited until the human nations attentions were turned elsewhere...to the ascendant Caelen Empire, and their alliance with Gallia, that threw the entire region into war. Vestria took it's attention off it's maritime boarders, and instead struck it's forces inland, to prevent Gallian incursions across the Godsfall river. At that moment, the elven fleet poured of their isles and onto the former [risland coast. The Vestrians dismissed the strength, believing the invasion to be just a large raid. Unfortunately they were wrong.

In the months it took for the Vestrians to organize resistance, the elves built up their defenses. The Vestrian response was too little, too late. They lost Trisland in a year, then the Gallians lost their coastal provinces...by the time the realization had sunk in that the elves were invading, not raiding, elven armies had been attacking points in Alsatan and Rostem. The war that followed took years, but little aid for the nations were forthcoming. Indeed, Holtland and Caelea refused to acknowledge an actual invasion was taking place, and Khazad Roens frankly didn't care. Over the next decade, the Vestrians were only just able to hold onto their coastal regions, and were pushed back to the banks of the Godsfall river. The nations of Calon And Gallia literally ceased to exist, their citizens fleeing beyond the Verfels to the arid western coast, eventually establishing the nation of Deraille with what little they had brought with them. Alstan, Waterhead and Rostem held out little longer, but in the end they too fell. Only the formation of a new empire saved Vesteria and Gary

 

The Reich

The marriage of King Willem IX of Vestria and Queen Anastasia III of Gary in 1074 lead to the formation of a new nation, one that was officially termed the The Empire of Roens, Dasnacs and Illasts, but called in large The Vestenreich, the Western Empire. Though the initial performance of their combined forces was abysmal, allowing the elves across the Godsfall and Gerrich rivers, and even into the streets of Gary, within a year, they had began pushing the elves back. It took them two more years to push the elves back across the Gerrich, and another three to reclaim Rostem. Though their forces were incredibly successful, it seemed unlikely the elves would give up ground that quickly...but it was later discovered that the elves abandoned Rostem, leaving only their rearguard to slow down the Vesten forces while the elves evacuated the main body of their army as well as any elven settlers. The reason was obvious, when the elven army reinforced their positions in Waterhead and in eastern Alstan. The elves didn't care about one small, indefensible strip of land when defending it could mean sacraficing troops and risk uprisings in other areas.

 

The Vesten forces annexed Rostem into their empire in 1081, taking the elves position of overlords. The Vestens then mirrored the elves...setting down and building up their defenses. They had lost much in the initial wars, and had never had the time to really restock and resupply. Durring this time the Godsfall river valley transformed from a fertile river valley into battleground between a line of stone fortresses and an arcane forest...though the navy did engage in a few large skirmishes, most of the battles were centered on the Godsfall.

 

Rise of the Mages

Despite their dislike of the Arcane Congress, the rulers of Vestenreich realized that arcane magic proved the most effective weapon against the magi and spellblades of the elves. Started under William and Anastasia, and continued under their daughter Cathrine I (Later IV), the empire hired rogue or independent mages to teach the future warmages of Vestenreich. The first circle, fielded in 1077, proved so effective, catching the elves off guard and saving hundreds of soldiers lives, that it became imperial policy to include a circle of warmages with their mundane soldiers. Cathrine furthered this, introducing Arcane Colleges across the country. These colleges, independent from the Arcane Congress that controlled magic across the rest of the region, boomed with applicants, from noble scions to the children of pig farmers. Nowadays, the army of Vestenreich has the largest magic support of any nation save the elves. Their policy of fighting fire with fire has proven rather effective, staving off considerable damage to the Vesten navy and army...especially compared to the devastating losses incurred by Caelea and Holtland in the past few years.

 

Gerony

The only time that magic did not serve the Reich's armies as well as expected was the Battle of Darjehv. Once part of Rostem, Zirgart, just north of Darjehv, was conquered by Caelea in 1030, though the Caelens never made a serious move into the lowlands of Rostem. In 1103, the Vestrians, seeing the milthril mines of Zirgart and Darjehv, then controlled by Dorello, as the leverage they needed to finally overcome the elves in Godsfall. The Reich's forces, under the cloak of invisibility, marched on Darjehv, which they considered the linchpin to holding the Zirgart passes. Understandably, they conquered Darjehv without much trouble, their attack being completely unexpected by the citizens of the passes. However, if the attack was unexpected, the response was even more so. The Caelen Legion, the Qalitz Army and, most surprising, the combined forces of Dorello, Stillia-Porto, San Rillo, Istan and other Castillian nations. The skirmishes in the passes turned to a massive battle of the outskirts of Darjehv between the four most powerful forces outside the Elven Empire. The Battle of Gerrich was won not by the swords or arrows or magic of Vesten, but by diplomacy. In the end, no nation won...the lands around Zirgart and Darjehv were made independent as Gerony, a nation that was governed by the four fractous nations. Due to their newfound independence, the peoples of the pass were free to sell their valuable stores of iron, mithril and coal to the highest bidder. Unfortunately for the Vestenreich, that was usually Holtland and Khazad Roens. In the end, this expedition proved disastrous for the Reich. The lost the Aven Isles to the elves, as well as parts of the upper Godsfall valley. They were able to push back the elves from the isles, but considerable damage was done to the cities of Aelfshutz, Handegat and Andril.

 

The Fall of Dasnia

The Vestenreich had recovered from it's loss at Darjhev and was ready to make a gamble to try to leaver some of Waterhead from the Elves, when the Elves, in a series of brilliantly planned strikes, plowed through the Vestens at Voraful Valley, leaving the path clear for the elves to march on Dasnia. Dasnia had expended it's resources trying to stave off annexation from the Caelens. Unfortunately, that left them wide open for the Elves to march on through and conquerer Dasnia. After the city of Drenem fell in 1117 to the Elven forces, refugees flooded across the boarders into Caelea, Holtland, and, in the largest numbers, to the Vestenreich. Empress Cathrine granted them land in Obervestenreich, where they founded the town of Utter Alston. These refugees have joined en mass the Vestrian army, in hopes the soldiers of the Reich will finally be able to halt the elves, and drive them from their homeland

 

The Vestenreich Today

 

The Reich has brought stability to the lands of the west, much as the Castillian Union has brought peace to the west. The various barons, dukes and princes have never before been so united, and the wars amongst them are confined to the backrooms and parlors of the cities, and not the farms of the country. Which is a good thing, as any political division would shurely be exploited by the Elves. Unlike Holtland, Dasnia and the Challice, whom the elves consider minor pests, the Vestenreich is a worthy opponent, their soldiers knowing both magic and steel, their faith in their God strong and unshakable. The current emperor, Peter XIV (using the old Vestrian numbering) was a soldier on the front lines for around half of his thirty years, and has dedicated himself to seeing the elves driven from human, dwarven and halfling lands before he must relinquish his throne.

 

The Vestrians were long known for their ingenuity in science and technology. Though Holtland has replaced Vestria as the center of scientific learning, the Reich has become the center of magical innovation, with some of the foremost artificers of the Caelen region having come out of the Reich's arcane colleges. The Reich's main trade routes are south through the nation of Ekku, weather by land or sea. Their caravans also travel through Gerreich to reach the eastern nations of the Caelen region.Though most of their natural resources are used internally to fuel their war machine, their ships still ply the southern waters, looking to buy rare metals and arcane components and trade new technologies produced at home.

 

With the advances in technology, magic and trade has come advances in education. Many children now attend school for 6 years, though the exact time frame is set by parents, as different races develop at different rates. After school, children may attend one of several major centers of learning, whether it is a local college of arcane arts, the Military College of Groß Danzen, the Vendenburg University or another institute, there is almost always a path for furthur advancement for anyone who wishes to peruse it. This has lead to some surprised foreigners, who discover the local blacksmith of the town they are passing through is a scholar of foreign languages, while the farmer they are buying cabbages from spent three years at learning magic at a local college.

 

The Political Structure of the Reich

 

With recent advances in technology have come advances in democracy. Though the various feudal lords who swore allegiance to the rulers of Vestria, Gary and Rostem still hold considerable power, they must all now report to a local Archduke, who is normally kin to the emperor, and who effectively rules a state, or Staat for him. This Archduke is, in turn, held responsible to an elected council, one in each state.

 

Any man or woman who has completed six years of education in a Vestenreich school may vote in elections for local council (those who cannot complete six years of school are considered too stupid and/or irresponsible for their opinions to count.) A local council functions as the government for a region, or Kreise, however they are still subservant to any local lords. Most Kreises are rural districts (Landkreise), though towns are large enough to count as their own Kreise (Stadtkreise). Each Kreis then elects a member to represent them on provincial councils.

 

The current provinces are (north to south) Obervestenreich, Urgen, Neidervestenreich, Erstsdat, Gary, Steirland, Rosten, Aven, Karten, and Otland-Zergart. The cities of Vendenburg and [Neidrig St. Peter] are considered independent city-states, or Stadtstaaten

 

The Imperial Parliament meets in Vendenburg and serves as the government for the entire Reich. It is a tricameral house, being divided up into the Imperial Throne, the Imperial Council, and the Reichsstände. The Imperial Throne consists of the Emperor and the Emperor alone, holding this right though being a decedent of Cael, the Living God. The Imperial Council in then held by the Archdukes of the Provinces as well as the many Barons, Dukes and Princes from the pre-Vestenreich era. Appointments to these two houses are life-long, unlike those to the lowest house, the Reichsstände, which is elected by the people for five-years. The Imperial Council has 148 members, while the Reichsstände has 385, based on regional population. The Reichsstände is headed by a Chancellor, who is elected by the members on the first day of a parlimentary session. For a bill to become law, it must successfully pass though all three houses, thereby granting the Emperor the ability to veto laws if willed, but prohibiting him from passing laws that go against the will of the Lords or people.

 

The judiciary is responsible to Parlament, and all appointments to the courts must be approved by the elected officials at the level of government in which the judge will acting in. Therefor, local judges are chosen by Kreisesständes, State judges by the Staatenständes, and supreme court judges by the Reichsstände. The supreme court handles only the most crucial of trials, such as treason, assassination, and mass murder. These trials usually end with the death penalty for the accused.

 

Climate and Geography

 

The Vestenreich's climate is mostly Mediterranean on the coast, moving to continental with high rainfall inlands. Summers are hot and dry, while winter varries by region, being either mild in the southern coastal regions, or wet and cold in the mountains Rainfall is plentiful, thanks to the Dragonrest Mountains, and falls year round.

 

The Vestenreich is the area of the continent least affected by the innumerable cataclysms. The soils are rich and bountiful, with numerous rivers having cut sloping valleys into the low hills that dominate the nation. The Vesten Plains that dominate Urgen, Neidervestenreich, Erstdat and Steirland are perfect for farming, and tend to slope gently from the foothills of the Dragonrest to the shores of the Sea of Blades.

 

Ethics and Beliefs

 

Deontological ethics is the prominent form of belief in the Vestenreich...the means cannot be justified by the ends. The murder of no man is just because murder itself is not just. Right and wrong acts were established by Cael, and no violation of these laws can be allowed by mortal man. Of course, murder of an innocent and killing another man on the field of battle are considered different, as is killing in the name of self-defense (death penalty is explained this way). Every person is fundamentally alike, and so they should all be treated fundamentally the same, with dignity and respect. By preforming acts against the will of Cael, one cuts their connection with him, and thus the goodness that flows from him, but if one preforms acts that Cael endorsed, one strengthens the bond between oneself and Cael, and the goodness ever present in Cael will flow through into your actions(Divine Command Theory).

 

The religion among the people is fairly uniform, ever since the Edward Hale started the Halen Reforms in Neidrig St. Peter, the western baronies have been largely Halen Reform, though certain communities do exist that contine to follow the Imperial Church or the Church of Qalitz. The Halen Reforms originated 200 years ago in protest of the Imperial Church's corruption and their political maneuvering. (I'll deal with this later in my description of the church branches)

 

Peoples of the Vestenreich

 

The people of the Reich are of many different races and species, but most of them can be classified under the category of general Vesten. Only the nomadic kith and the isolationist raptorians holed up in their mountain homes are really exceptions to the rules. The people can largely be divided up by mother tongues. The kith and raptorians will be discussed later, as the primary function of this document is to explore the people of Vestenenreich, and neither the kith nor raptorians are considered citizens of the Reich.

 

Cuisine

 

The cuisine of the Reich has a tendancy to be rich and heavy. The abundance of farmland meant that local ingredients were abundant, and the cheep food has allowed many cooks to experiment with foreign spices (foreign as in Castille or Qalitz) Rice is the most common grain, grown in great patties in Rosten and Steirland, while wheat, oats, buckwheat and rye are not uncommon, and are ground into a rich, heavy bread Vestenreich is known for. Salads are a common dish, and include tomatos ( a local specialty), cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, kale, eggplants, mushrooms, onions and cabbages tossed with olive oil, vinegar or cheese sauces. Fruits are uncommon, with apples, oranges, pears, plums and many varieties of berries being eaten raw, while quince, medlar, apricots and some berries are used in jams and desert spreads. The most common meat is beef, usually ground and put into pastries or roasted, but poultry, lamb and fish are widely used. Rich soups made with milk or yogurt are popular dishes, as are pastry dishes filled with light cheese, yogurts, sauerkraut or rice. Honey is the most common sweetener, though cinnamon, apples and sugar beets are not uncommon.

 

Though the Vestenreich is well known for it's many wines, the most common drink is rakia. Several types of beers, liqueurs, ciders and boza are also common beverages. Wine, however, is what Vestenreich is known for. Wines of the Reich tend to be red and dry.

 

Some example Vestenreich foods

 

• Boiled beef served with apple and horseradish sauce

• Smoked beef served on sauerkraut with dumplings

• Goulash made with beef, garlic, onions, red pepper and wine

• Lamb or beef kebabs with eggplants, onions, tomatoes and peepers

• A cold soup made with yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, onions, raisins, walnuts and water

• A layered pastry filled with cottage cheese, yogurt, minced meat or sauerkraut

• Sweet bread made with eggs, honey, yogurt, flour and raisins

• Boiled rice bread and kaymak

• A chunky relish of pepers, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and onions spread on rice bread

• Various pickles served as appetizers or snacks

• Grilled ground beef and onions served in a thick pita

• Breaded steak served with creamed cheese or tartar sauce

• Roasted beef and sauerkraut

• A soup made with tripe, milk, garlic, onions and chili peppers

• Baked trout with garlic and olive oil

• Fish soup made with onions, chili pepper, white wine and tomatos

• Potato and cabbage dumplings served with sauerkraut or sour cream

• Grapevine leaves filled with rice and vegetables

• Pita bread served with yogurt and a garlic-cucumber puree

 

Architecture

The architecture is much like that of it's Caelen neighbors, and thus will be detailed in another section later on. However, the closest analogue at this point in time and space would be Tudor style.

 

Dress

Clothing is the preeminent show of wealth and station in the Reich, as it is in the rest of the Caelen region, and is such taken very seriously. Even the poorest peasant has a set of good cloths for use in church services and other social events. Good clothing is considered to be high-quality yet not ostentatious, wealth being represented in the make and not in needless elaborations. Long coats are common among both men and women, typically reaching down to one's knees. Strait skirts are the fashion amongst women, while short pants are in among men. The style is very informal and laid back, though still respectful of modesty and somewhat subdued. Women wear close fitting cloth hats, while men wear short top hats on formal occasions. high boots and long gloves, almost reaching the joints are common right now among both men and women. Jewelry is common amongst city-dwellers and nobles, with rings, broaches and necklaces common in both sexes, with earrings being used almost exclusively by females.

 

Hair Styles

 

Hair is cut short in both men and women, rarely reaching past the shoulder. There is very little styling that goes into hair now aside from quick brushes.

 

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