Geography & History
The baronies is a large region on the northern continent comprised of lush hills and small forests. The lands stretch from the crystal coast in the south to the Kvartz-li mountains in the north and from the Ogre lands in the east to the dark peaks of the Iron mountains in the west. The kingdoms of this region are known as the baronies and they are allied is a loose confederacy that was once one nation. 400 years ago the last emperor of Dashita was killed in a prolonged war with a nefarious necromancer, who had come from the north. At the time of his death, the emperor was without an heir, thereby leaving the realm without a formal ruler. As the royal family had no clear line of succession due to the casualties of the war, the imperial warden took up the mantle of rulership until the royal line could be re-established. But within a few years, the barons of the nation began to retract power that they had previously relinquished to the imperial throne and the realm began to splinter into small kingdoms. These new kingdoms kept the titles of baronies and as a gesture to keep the fragile peace of the area they vowed to return to the Imperial rule should the royal line reclaim the throne.
The people of the baronies are very inspired by their history and the heroic actions of the heroes of old. They venerate the heroes and attribute aspects of the gods to their deeds and actions. A hero may therefore personify aspects of several gods and there are often several different cults dedicated to different aspects of a hero and the god that their actions personify. The stories of heroes are often told at night in taverns and or other places where people gather, by bards also known as Renown Minstrels. Each story of a hero is a tale of morality, often telling about an act of cowardice and how the hero overcame the seduction of cowardice and performed an act of great heroism. To the people of the baronies, acts of cowardice include dishonesty, betrayal, fear, jealousy, and stealing. Performing such acts are view as despicable amongst the common folk and will often lead to social stigma if discovered. The evil gods of the baronies are often depicted as monsters that represent different forms of cowardice, and stories are told of their attempt to lure people to perform cowardly acts.
In the northern and western baronies serving in the military, is highly respected while a merchant career is perceived as a less respectable line of work. Many men and women of these baronies have served some time in the army and fought with the enemies of the northern wildlands or patrolled the wilds of the Kvartz-li mountains alongside the dwarfs who live there. This culture gives the people a strong sense of honor and bravery, which in turn gives the northern and western people an urge to display their prowess and boldness. Often disputes are settled with a contest of bravery or boldness, and both men and women participate in these contests. But it is also a common sight at fairs and other celebrations when games of physic allow people to prove their might and brag about their bravery. The defense of one's bravery is seen as paramount in this part of the baronies and ridicule some times leads to fencing competitions where the death of one side has been known to happen.
In the south and east, these roles are reversed and in recent times the Renown Minstrels have changed their tales into featuring more heroes who display a strong sense of mercantile and cunning rather than strength. These baronies have begun to see the ideals of the other baronies as archaic and prefer contests of wills or archery. Wow to the person who draws a knife in a contest in the south, this act is considered the most cowardice act. In the south and east leisure time is spent in conversation or playing games of strategy and wits while doing business or discussing the latest about the politics of the realm.
In all the baronies marriage is often arranged based on the prowess, bravery, or will, of the suitors But many tales are told of heroes who defy the bonds of their beloved and win the right to marry him or her by proving they are the most suited for their hand. Between political and noble families, it is considered good sport to hold a grand contest to prove the worth of a suiter before the engagement is announced. In old times it was custom to allow others to win the marriage if they won the contest at large but more recently it is more of a day of celebration without ay real influence. Such a contest will be cause for celebration and the houses being wed will spend quite a lot on events and feeding the common people.
The gods revered by the baronial people are:
Cerise the goddess of Physic
Laurent god of Love and beauty
Jordane goddess of Bravery
Larue the god of Luck/Misfortune
Vardon the god of Storytelling and writing
Meryle the goddess of Wits
Alsatia the goddess of Mercantile
Dashiell the god of Warfare
Les Sirènes the triumvirate of Harvest and Nature
Quennell the god of Crafting
The largest portion of the citizens in the baronies are simple peasants who pay tribute to Les Sirènes the triumvirate of harvest. They care little for the machinations of the rich and the games of the city folk. The Renown Minstrels who travel the land tell stories of the benevolence of Les Sirènes who protect nature and the harvest. These stories will describe how kind animals help local people who have been seduced by cowardice to act against nature or the simple peasant.