Kingdom of Borealis ("The Kingdom") is a large kingdom occupying most of Thessea and is one of the Realm's three major economic, political and military powers, alongside the Sultanate of Sina and the Albion Republic. Spanning almost the entire continent, with population of over 70 million, it is the biggest and most populous country of Horizon. The Kingdom recently survived a bloody and bitter rebellion, known as the Feuerbrand Uprising, that deposed the long-standing Abendstern dynasty and heralded a beginning of the Age of Crimson Sail.
As the majority of my games focus on or at least begin in Borealis, it is the most developed country in the setting content-wise. As a default position, all PCs should hail from the Kingdom or the surrounding lands.
Borealis was founded as a result of continent-wide conquests of Volgen thane Everard Boreale. He united the thanedoms of Volgen, conquered the Frugian isles and Weideland. Even the proud River Thanes of Placia were so awed by his military prowess, relentlessness and ruthlessness that they offered him their eternal alliance.
The conquests of Boreale went on to the North, where he slaughtered the demoralised and poorly-equipped armies of Aluren in the Battle of Anvil Fields, followed by a sacking and razing of its capital city Val Andras. At this point wisdom betrayed Boreale, for in his pride he challenged the warring elves of Gwynnvald and Eldar Shores, aiming to bend them to his will. He did not foresee that two elven kin, their hatred of each other unfathomable in its persistence and passion, would set their irreconcilable differences aside and face the Boreale's armies as a united front. They employed the darkest magic, long hidden within the deepest vaults of Quenn Ulthar and wood elven burrows, unleashing pestilence and black hail onto the humans, who were both exhausted from the long northern campaign and completely unprepared to face such vile witchcraft.
The Battle of Lysica was a crushing, humiliating defeat for Boreale and saw him fall at the hands of a high elven hierarch - the thane's head stuck on a pike and mockingly delivered to his son, Thormond. Admitting defeat against the elves, Thormond retreated and wrapped up the campaign in the north, using the remnants of Volgen forces to establish control over major Transborean cities.
Thormond proclaimed himself King Boreale II (posthumously giving the founding honour to his father) and created the Borean kingdom, granting major titles and domains over major regions of Thessea to those who supported the conquest. The current Borean reckoning of years is counted from the foundation of Borealis 765 years ago.
Outliner and demographics
NOTE: most numbers and scales are permanently WIP as I am not good at geography.
The Kingdom proper spans from the southernmost edge of Port Erfolg in the South to the central summit of Moradin's Crown mountain chain in the North. Most of the territory south of the mountains is part of the Kingdom, excluding the great impenetrable forest of Gwynnvald and Eldar Shores in Transborea as well as a wast swathe of scorched land known as the Great Steppe - domain of the primal steppenvolk and things way older than civilisations of the Realm.
The Far Reach of Thessea north of the Moradin's Crown's summit is a de jure province of the Kingdom; however, Free Cities of the Reach hold full administrative dominion over their internal affairs and trade under the 500 years-old Castle Accord. Additionally, the dwarven state on the Kharad archipelago exists as the Kingdom's protectorate.
Core Borean provinces (excluding Far Reach and Steel Protectorate) span ~ 1,755,568 miles square, of which 46% is undeveloped land and wilderness (excluding, of course, the territories de facto outside of the Kingdom's control). These provinces' total population is approximately 81.5 million people, distributed among provinces as follows:
|Province||Area (sqm)||Population||Density (p/sqm)|
Climate and geography
Climate of the Kingdom varies from province to province. Volgen and Frugia are warm, temperate, Mediterranean-like environs with vast amounts of black fertile earth and friendly topography.
Placia features mostly mild, continental climate. However, it also has great amounts of plains and steppes to the North, flowing into the Great Steppe, and is pierced throughout by rivers and streams - with Thesseans naming it the Lake Country. It is also home to a great number of bogs and the only Thessean inland sea.
State and Government
Borealis is a highly federalised absolute feudal monarchy. It consists of 7 provinces of varying size, economic and military power and degree of autonomy, each of which in practice has immense influence on its internal affairs. While the monarch rules by decree as she sees fit, political considerations severely limit her ability to just impose her will on local nobility.
See also Nobility of Borealis.
The current monarch is Alicia I Feuerbrand of the Feuerbrand dynasty, who assumed the throne in year 765 of Borean Foundation (first year of the Age of Crimson Sail), following the accidental death of her father Constantine I Feuerbrand just eleven days after his coronation. Borean monarch enjoys almost absolute power over the Kingdom's subject, limited only by his or her own reason and political considerations.
Queen Alicia exercises her prerogative via the Royal Annex - a complex bureaucratic apparatus located in its eponymous building across the river from the Royal Palace in Volgen. It advises the Queen on policy and taxation while drafting decrees and wheeling-and-deeling on federal and local levels to ensure that Her will be done. It is led by a monarch-appointed chancellor for terms of 10 years with no term limit. Feuerbrand reforms saw power of the Royal Annex increase substantially, as queen Alicia attempts to slowly limit the power of the Crown. Its current chancellor is lord Gavin Rhass. Three most important cabinets of the Annex are:
- War Cabinet: the civil arm of the Firestarters, the Kingdom's prime military force, led by a Lord Marshal,
- Exchequer: oversees budgeting, tax policy and taxation as well as economic and infrastructural development of the Kingdom, led by its First Secretary,
- Crown Affairs: oversees both internal and external policy of the Realm. Both diplomatic corps and the Royal Inquisition and secret services are within its purview. It is led by a First Secretary (who is also effectively a second-in-command and chief whip of the Chancellor).
Another important (unofficial) state "organ" are the so-called Crimson Five. The name refers to the highest echelon of Borean nobility and civil administration, who act as the ultimate check on the Queen's power in case something goes terribly and irreversibly wrong. The two real codified power they have is to approve of the Queen's declaration or cessation of war and, by an absolute majority of votes, to impose the Queen's tax edicts and other orders on a rogue province. The Crimson Five are currently:
- Lord ot-Rosenkreuz, Grand Duke of Placia,
- Lord Kain, Grand Duke of Transborea,
- Lord Sforza, Grand Duke of Frugia,
- Lord Gavin Rhass, Chancellor of the Annex,
- Lady Flavia Sforza, Second Secretary of Crown Affairs and Her Majesty's High Inquisitor.
The balance of influence among the Five, as of 765, is roughly equal: Varnava Kain and Gavin Rhass are both Feuerbrand loyalists, while Lord Sforza and his daughter, at least on their face, appear to be serving their own interests. Franz-Ferdinandt ot-Rosenkreuz is a wild card: while he begrudgingly supports Queen Alicia for the sake of preservation of the Kingdom, everybody remembers that for the most of the Feuerbrand uprising Placia was on the loyalists' side.
Local administration and taxation
Within grand duchies and smaller administrative divisions, the word of the highest sitting noble there is the law. Grand Dukes essentially rule their lands directly and with impunity, delegating some of it further down the line to grafs and smaller nobles.
In return, the duchies and grafdoms are taxed by the crown in livestock, grain, money, arms as well as levies in wartime. Some of these goods are preserved for emergency relief, while most are used for day-to-day running of the central government in Volgen, building of infrastructure and the Firestarters' maintenance (as well as, of course, war, whenever that occurs).
Laws of the land vary from duchy to duchy due to the way the feudal system works. Some crimes and offences are considered to be offences against the Crown and are prosecuted from Volgen by the office of Royal Inquisition - which sends an assize once in a year or so to see that justice be done. Such crimes are murder, aggravated blasphemy, treason, grand theft, theft of Crown property, worship of Axxerarat etc.
This causes a whole lot of problems for merchants and other commercial men, who need a set of strict rules to guide their deals and resolve disputes. Usually it is achieved by using a mercantile code - a special set of commercial laws drafted by a trans-provincial body and approved by the Annex. Most popular sets of rules are the Talisman rules (of the Brotherhood of Talisman), the Blaustadt rules for inland trade and the Mercurian rules.