War on Three Fronts
The nation of Götzachen – once an Empire, now a loose Federation – is composed of six provinces. Our story is set in the barony of Badrenburg, in the north-west.
The capital, Götzhafen, lies to the south-east of Badrenburg, on the coast, within the Barony of Preiss. Consequently, Preiss is the official and courtly language of Götzachen, and the current royal family is of pure-blooded Preiss descent.
As well as Preiss and Badrenheim, the remaining constituents include four more Baronies: Posen, Westmark, Stolberg and Holbach, as well as a number of city-states.
Westmark lies due south of Badrenburg and is a predominantly farming region. Although poor overall, it is home to a few very wealthy merchants who are leading a revolution in the production of wool and cloth by combining magical and technological methods of production.
To the east of Badrenburg is Stolberg. Hilly and rugged, Stolberg is basically a placeholder until I come up with something distinctive about it.
Further south-east lies the cold, barren border region of Posen. Often beset by orcish raiders, Posen has a reputation for self-reliance and stubbornness.
South of Stolberg lies Holzbach. The most wooded of the baronies, it is both home to the largest groupings of elves in Götzachen, and to the great fleets. Harbeck, the capital city, is home to the Admiralty offices, as well as the largest dockyards in the federation.
Götzachen is a predominantly human kingdom. A large number of Dwarves live in the mountain ranges to the north and east of the kingdom, but they tend not to consider themselves subjects, preferring to conduct trade at arm’s length. A smaller number of Dwarves have settled in the cities of Götzachen; principally these are Southern Clans traders, but there are also a few bands of Northern Mercenaries. Elves and half-elves are better integrated into the cities and towns, but also maintain a number of enclaves in the forests and secluded valleys of the lands. Halflings are uncommon in smaller villages, but many inns and restaurants in towns and cities can boast a halfling chef, and they are also known as capable merchants. Gnomes and half-orcs are heavily discriminated against, and are very rare outside the capital.
Climate, Culture and Religion:
Southern Götzachen is a colder, darker, rainier region than its northern neighbours, and this is reflected in a dour, stubborn, perversely prideful nature. At their best, the Preiss people are considered brave, honourable, and resourceful. At their worst, they can be haughty, humourless, and inflexible. Religious expressions, irrespective of the chosen god, tend to be spartan, emphasising discipline and self-sacrifice. Preiss and Holzbach make fine mariners and soldiers, but have brought forth few fine artists and musicians, with most of what has been produced appealing to nationalist pride.
Badrenburg also has a cool climate, being at a higher altitude than Preiss. However, the north also has longer days, drier summers, and a generally sunnier outlook. Badrischers and Stolbergers appear in Preiss jokes and stories as simple folk, short on book-learning, but possessed of a simple peasant cunning. To the Preiss, this passes for a hilarious joke; to the northerners this cunning is a badge of honour. Religion in the north draws in art and music to a greater extent than their neighbours, and tends to be a more positive, joyful experience for it.
In the south-east, Posen is the coldest and most dangerous of the baronies. Consequently, the people have a stubborn, fatalistic streak. Unlike the other baronies, which are widely beer-drinkers, Posen is not a good climate for grain, favouring a range of liquors, ranging from potato Vodka to fruit-infused Schnapps. Posen also has its own approach to religion, emphasising local saints and religious icons above specific gods.