Grand Principality of Gorachenya Organization in Getninia | World Anvil

Grand Principality of Gorachenya

The Grand Principality of Gorachenya, commonly referred to as Gorachenya, is a Dwarven monarchy situated on the Gorach mountain range along the Great Northern Sea. It is divided into five different Principalities, Zolichar, Kominov, Vorichan, Repka, and Belodshi. Zolichar and Kominov are ruled by the Grand Prince Yurivich of the Kuzivon dynasty. Vorichan is ruled by Prince Golir of the Karovsya dynasty, while Repka and Belodshi are ruled by brothers Kazim and Olgovich of the Chernovitz dynasty.   The origins of Gorachenyan society date back further than recorded history in the region, with Dwarven communities having acted in the form of clans and tribes several millennia ago on the surface. This surface was harsh and unforgiving, leading to the communities there failing to advance. Eventually, some of the tribes began working cooperatively to burrow beneath the mountains, creating shelter that could stand to the cold and wind. Approximately one millennium ago these tribes began forming into a singular monarchy, with hereditary chieftain roles evolving into roles of nobility. Simultaneously the former clan members who held importance in the workings of clan society found themselves slowly being lowered into powerless laborer or serf status. Over the ages these new nobles, claiming the title of Prince, continually clamped down on power until conflict broke out between the laborers, peasants, and serfs, against the new nobility.   After the conflict ended in a stalemate the Princes and the leaders of the rebellion agreed to the creation of a governing document called the "Dwarven Truth." This document formally established the Grand Principality of Gorachenya as it is known today, with the Grand Prince, Princes, and Vernayaz holding hereditary titles and executive and judicial power, while legislative power, for most internal affairs, being held between the Princes and the Borchan, or "gathering." This was meant to restore some of the power lost during the dissolution of the clans and tribes to the commoners who previously held nominal, yet real, clan influence.   In recent years this balance of power, which has granted Gorachenya stability of centuries, has been threatened. Grand Prince Yurivich has sought to circumvent the Borchan and his vassal princes whenever possible, attempting to cement himself as being truly dominant in the Grand Principality. The other princes, subsequently, have banded together in an attempt to retain their autonomy as noble rules, forming a unified and powerful political opposition to the Prince. More recently the Terruk-Mal have been viewed as a threat to Gorachenyan sovereignty after their successful conquest of Fuíguo. This threat has raised tensions between the Grand Prince and the Princes, with each viewing the others persistence as a threat to any military resistance to conquest. As a result from this tension and political feud many peasants and laborers, who know they'd be fighting this potential war, have began forming groups to try and avert conflict.


Gorachenya is largely culturally homogeneous due to the generally isolated nature of their position in the world. Outsiders are generally welcome, and indeed the Gorach Mountains are known as safe haven to travelers in the barren north, but with the exception of the Jorgan and Pohjion human settlers and exiled Orcs, outsiders are generally expected to leave after their business has concluded and it is safe for them to do so. Increasing southern contact has lead to notable reaction from the most traditional parts of Gorachenyan society, and southern ideas and values are scoffed at by the general population.   Gorachenyan society is patriarchal, with most family affairs being controlled by the eldest male of the household, and inheritance being male biased, although females can inherit property or noble titles in the event of no male heir being available. Men are expected to work in the mines and participate in warfare, while women are expected to do domestic work, such as educating children and cooking/cleaning. As with inheritance, if there is no man in the family to serve for the noble, either for labor or levies, the duties fall on the eldest woman.   Art in Gorachenya is most common in two forms, architecture and music. Most structures in Gorachenya are carved from a single block of stone, as are entire cities. As a result a common form of artistic expression is carving vast and elaborate designs into the walls, floors, and ceilings of buildings. The place of music in Gorachenya is largely due to the engineering of Gorachenyan inventors creating instruments beyond what their counterparts of other races and ethnicities have made. Various complex wood and wind instruments can be found throughout well to do households, and every major city has a theater of some description. Additionally, choral singing is very common, with people of all classes.


Tribal Gorachenya
  Before the modern Principalities and their noble leaders, Gorachenyan society was organized into clans and tribes. These clans and tribes were led by a chieftain, a position which was hereditary. Their role was never formalized, but generally their tasks included preventing internal clan feuds, organizing the clans into a military force and leading it, and leading the clans in decision making. This decision making process would see the Chieftain and clan leaders deliberating an issue and voting amongst themselves on a course of action. The clans, however many were present in any given tribe, would often openly discuss issues of the tribe before sending their clan leader, who was under strong social pressure to accurately represent the clan's wishes.    According to legend these tribes originally inhabited the Guregem plains to the south of the Gorach mountains, and the southern portion of the Frostvellr tundra. Control of these lands were contested by clans of orcs, as well giants, who both made several attempts to take it from the dwarven tribes. In one attack these two forces attacked simultaneously, leaving the dwarves unable to consolidate their forces and effectively defend their land. This resulted in them being forced out by their adversaries. The dwarves then fled to the mountains for refuge. Life in the mountains was extremely harsh for the dwarves, who would subsist only on what limited foraging and hunting could be done. It was during this time that the dwarves, exploring for any location more livable than the mountain slopes and frozen valleys, discovered the Pishna Circle. This area proved to be invaluable to the refugee dwarven tribes, who had thus far lost well over half their population through conflict and starvation. Over the next few decades the surviving tribes and clans consolidated into one tribe in order to protect their new home in the Pishna circle. This was the first major change to the governing of the Gorachenyans, as they were for the first time unified into one polity.    Another century passed before the Gorachenyans decided to try to create mountain settlements to give their recovering population a suitable area to live in. After the first several settlements either failed or proved inadequate the tribe agreed to start mining below the surface to create subterranean settlements, capable of housing more population and allowing the Pishna circle to be used for agriculture. This process was intensive in every way possible, and required a strong and unified tribe for the project to be completed. It was during this time that the Chieftain and the clan leaders became more authoritative and powerful, which would be the second move towards the modern form of Gorachenya.    The first subterranean settlement, which became known as Zolot-Uzik, paved the way for the modern Gorachenyan state and culture. It set the example for all cities to follow, both in construction and operation. Several more cities and settlements would be commissioned in the following centuries, and over the next millennium the dwarven tribes of the plains would be replaced by the Princes, the ancestors of the Chieftain and the Clan leaders. These Princes saw the clans as obsolete in a unified state, and saw it necessary that the rulers be capable of leading unimpeded and unchallenged. As they eroded the rule of the clans they saw their power as less of a responsibility and more of a right, further leading them to cement themselves as absolute rulers. This left the clansmen without a voice in a society that once put great emphasis on the popular decisions of the clan.  
Creation of the Grand Principality
  1200 years ago tensions between the peasants and nobles came to a boiling point. For nearly two centuries the nobles of several principalities, ranging from the princes to the Vernayaz, had been clamping down on their power over the historically free peasant class. Nobles would use wealthy peasants acting as money lenders to force free peasants into severe debt, at which point they would be forced into making an agreement of indentured servitude, or serfdom. In this time the percentage of free peasants went from nearly 90% to 50%, severely curtailing the power of peasants as a class, and allowing nobles to consolidate power both economically and politically.   In an attempt to curtail this massive gain in power by the nobles the peasants began to organize a rebellion. Several prominent community leaders began to organize in secret, with the goal of recruiting enough peasants to this cause, while also being able to arm themselves. This plan was cut very short when their secret gatherings and correspondences were reported to a Vernaya, who then promptly had several of their leaders arrested and executed. The executions led to massive unrest among peasants, and rioting ensued. After several riots turned deadly a portion of Zolot-Uzik was taken over by the rioting peasants, and the rioters had become a faction in rebellion.   In the following weeks and months several other cities in Gorachenya had full scale takeovers of city districts by peasants. Violence between forces loyal to the Princes and the peasant rebels was extremely fierce, with any given building or block being liable to changing hands several times a day. On the surface the Princes maintained control, however several disloyal peasants managed to destroy valuable farmland and forest via arson before they were put down. After six months of fighting neither side had been able to unseat the other from their fortifications, so fighting became less frequent. Still, what fighting did occur after this period was fierce, and left few survivors. After a year of fighting both sides found themselves with dwindling food supplies, inadequate manpower, and a souring taste for violence.   It was at this point that the peasant leaders and nobles met to negotiate a peace deal. The key component of this deal was a document called the Dwarven Truth. It would act as a governing document for Gorachenya, protecting the historical rights of peasants, and codifying the long-established social order between nobles and peasants. The document also contained much of the lore and mythology of the Gorachaneyan people, codifying what was once an oral tradition into written scripture.

Demography and Population

The population of the Grand Principality is made up primarily of the Gorachenyan Dwarves, who make up well over ninety percent of the population. Within the borders of Gorachenya there are a handful of human settlements, almost exclusively ethnically Pohjioni, and all existing above ground in stark contrast to their Dwarven neighbors. Beyond this point there are very few other distinct ethnic groups of note, with most being exiled Terruk orcs, Jorgan humans, and Skala goliaths. These groups combined make up less than one percent of the population of the Grand Principality.


Gorachenya’s geography is mainly made up of the Gorach mountains for which the country is named. In the southern regions the mountains give way to hills, with barren tundra beyond. These mountains and hills continue laterally outside of Gorachenya’s borders, especially along the edge of the Great Northern Sea. The country’s rather short coast is defined by fjords, with many small rivers feeding into the ocean.   The high altitude of the mountains along with the extreme northern longitudinal position of Gorachenya means is perpetually cold, with temperatures rarely going above freezing on the surface, save Zolot-Uzik. As a result flora and fauna are sparse in the region, and any specimen of either is hardy.   The capital region of Gorachenya, Plodavta, has its own unique features. Due to a magical anomaly centered at the mouth of the Tochen river the high peaks of the mountains descend into a large open field with temperatures far above those of the surrounding area. In this small area known as Plodavta, plants and animals flourish compared to the harshly cold mountains, giving Zolot-Uzik’s surface nearly all of the Grand Principality biodiversity. This also facilitates agriculture and hunting on land, as well as fishing and trading on the sea due to the warm water port. This anomaly is called “The Pishna Circle” by the Gorachenyan Dwarves.


The forces of Gorachenya make extensive use of their technological and geographical advantage. Using advanced mining and construction techniques they create fortresses high in the mountains overlooking valleys below. In addition to the fortresses the Dwarves have an extensive tunnel and outpost network used by the Princes’ men, through which any incoming attack can be seen and warned of well in advance.   Gunpowder weapons are used by the Gorachenyans, with each of the Princes having musketeers under their command, as well as cannons. Most recently was the addition of grenadiers, currently only in service of the Grand Prince, with several of his vassals looking into adopting this new weapon of war. The average fighting force, however, still relies heavily on melee and missile weapons, as well as magic.   Given the mountainous nature of Gorachenya and the extensive fortress and outpost network made within it, the Gorachenyan forces often employ heavily defensive tactics. This will often include forcing a hostile force to advance through mountain passes before giving battle, as well as making sure this battle happens within range of artillery from a nearby fort. This has led to very few invasions of Gorachenyan territory beyond simple raids of border outposts, and what few did take place ended with disaster for the attackers.

Technological Level

While behind many of their fellow Dwarves technologically, the Gorachenyans are quite advanced compared to their Orc, Giant, and Human neighbors. As with most Dwarven societies they have developed firearms, both in the form of small arms and artillery pieces. These firearms are extremely simple, being of a matchlock design, however are still of great effect when used in a large and disciplined formation. Similarly, their industrial and agricultural technologies are adequate and surpass those of their neighbors, yet are not the leading examples beyond that scope, particularly in comparison to their Dwarven brethren.   The Goracnehnyans have two unique inventions to their name, first an ice-breaking ship, and second being a variety of intricate musical instruments. The ice breaker is a relatively new invention, taking a relatively basic sailing ship design and encasing the lower portions of its hull in metal to prevent it from being sunk by ice damage, and under the right conditions can ram otherwise impassable sections of ice, or slowly push it with the aid of the wind. The inventor is currently seeking a way to make this ship able to propel itself through the ice without requiring wind, but thus far has yet to solve this problem.   The second uniquely Gorachenyan invention, or rather inventions, is their extensive list of musical instruments. Among them are wind instruments with elaborate key setups, grand pianos, and most breathtakingly pipe organs so massive they take up a quarter of the massive theaters and halls they reside in. These instruments contribute quite significantly to the culture of Gorachenya, given how heavily their art leans on music in their large echoey subterranean structures.


There is no formalised institutional religion in the Principality. Most denizens believe in the mythology and lore of the Dwarven Truth, which is a collection of stories and hymns about ancient Gorachenyans, the land they inhabit, as well as the creation stories of the Pishna Circle, and how the Zolot-Uzik humans came to inhabit it. Most native-born humans believe in the Dwarven Truth as well.   Due to the isolation and homogenous makeup of the Principality, not many religious or beliefs outside of the Dwarven Truth are practiced or known. There is a scornful attitude from many Gorachenyan elders towards southern beliefs, who believe that "outsider fiction" threatens the balance achieved by the Gorachenyan belief system. That said, all are free to practice their beliefs while in Gorachenyan lands.

Foreign Relations

The Grand Principality of Gorachenya has sustained external relations with two entities, the Terruk-Mal, Pohjion, and the stateless giants of Frostvellr and Guixiguo.   Relations with the Terruk orcs have, historically, been quite strained. It has been quite common over the centuries for clans would periodically raid into vulnerable Gorachenyan settlements, and occasionally attempt to attack more well-defended settlements and cities. Generally, this would be responded to with counterraids on the clan or clans guilty of the attack. During feuds the Gorachenyans would align themselves with the rivals of their attackers, and even occasionally send its forces to try and crush the clans it opposed. This has changed in recent years as the Terruk-Mal have organized into a state as opposed to independent clans, and have begun conquering some of their neighbors. The new leaders of these united clans have branded the Grand Principality as a divider of their people, and relations have worsened greatly over recent years. The Gorachenyans now fear the possibility of an invasion from a unified orc army, especially with the aid of incorporated goblinoid armies.   Conversely, Gorachenyan relations have been quite positive with the Pohjion humans for several centuries. Trade agreements, treaties of friendship, and even military alliances against the neighboring giants have been common between the Grand Principality and the Pohjioni, although these positive relations have never culminated in more than circumstantial military alliances.   Regarding the giants of Frostvellr and Guixiguo, the Grand Principality is openly hostile. All border fortresses have orders to report any sightings of giants, and should they move too close to open fire. There have been many conflicts between the two in past centuries, and no diplomatic lines exist between the two.   Beyond these groups the Grand Principality of Gorachenya rarely involves itself with foreign powers, having rare diplomatic engagement with Jorgmark, Volgeberg, Tiefen, Skala, and Dala-Dava, and going no further. This is despite the notable human minority in Zolot-Uzik with Pohjioni heritage.


Gorachenyan secular and religious law is codified in a document called the “Dwarven Truth.” The document establishes the rights of the Grand Prince, the Princes under him, and of all remaining subjects. While maintaining a relatively common feudal class structure, it does give several rights to the peasant class not found in most feudal societies. These rights were based on the old and very defunct clan structure which Gorachenyan society once operated around, where commoners did hold say in decision making.   Dwarven Truth reaffirms the right to rule of the Grand Prince, and the Princes below him, along with the right to collect taxes, raise armies, and collect material resources. It continues to reaffirm the responsibility of the Vernaya (landed noble warriors) to handle the lower level collection and gathering of these entitlements, maintain law and order, as well as the responsibility to provide themselves and their families for military service. In exchange they also receive the right to rule on said lower-level scale. The final pre-existing rule the document reaffirms is the responsibility of the Princes to support the Grand Prince in wars, as well as provide the Grand Prince with a percentage of their tax and material resources.   The key element of the document that makes Gorachenya distinct from other feudal monarchies is the creation of the Borchan. Simply meaning “gathering” in Gorachenyan, the Borchan is an assembly of all free adult male subjects within a certain principality, regardless of their social class. The function of this assembly is to act effectively as the lower half of the legislature, with the Princes creating laws for their subjects, and the Borchan either accepting, rejecting, or proposing modifications to the new law. This is done by a simple majority vote. How the vote is to be counted is not specified in the document, although it is usually done by a show of hands, or by paper ballot. The Borchan is held whenever relevant in an appropriately large gathering place in any cities relevant to the laws being discussed. Typical locations for the Borchan include temples, theaters, and public squares. Laws deliberated by the Borchan include updates to tax code and criminal law. Notable decisions taken by the Borchan have included the establishment of specific rights and responsibilties for the human settlements across Gorachenya, and the decision to allow for females to inherit and lead in the absence of male heirs. The Borchan very closely mirrored how decision making was done in tribal era Gorachenya, and was a very specific demand of the peasant and laborer leaders.   In addition to these power structures the Dwarven Truth creates several rules and regulations regarding the causes of the Black Winter, and other general issues in society. First, it set out to protect resources that are vital to the Grand Principality, namely the natural resources found only in Pishna Circle of Plodavta, the magical surface area above Zolot-Uzik. It limits the amount of hunting, logging, and building done in the area to preserve the resources found only therein. Second, it sets rules on interest rates that merchants and money lenders can charge, as well as general economic regulations. Lastly, it set out to abolish the serfdom and slavery for all Gorachenyan Dwarves. All who were Dwarven serf or slave at the time of the document's adoption were immediately granted a contract of servitude, stating that after twenty years they would become free peasants. All peasants born after this period were to be completely and wholly free. The only major exception to this abolition of serfdom and slavery would be indentured servitude as a form of criminal punishment.

Agriculture & Industry

The Gorachenyan economy largely consists of mining, metallurgy, and manufacturing. Each of these sectors feeds into the other, resulting in a very delicate yet powerful balance. The mining sector is the largest, utilizing nearly half of the Gorachenyan workforce. Collectively these mines go for over 100,000 miles, and go nearly three miles deep. Ore extracted from the mountains is either sent on to be smelted or refined domestically, or occasionally sold raw to foreign buyers. The metallurgy industry, making up approximately one-fifth of the workforce, takes all the raw minerals from the mines and smelts them into usable material for the manufacturing industry. Smelted and refined metals make up the largest export of Gorachenya.   The list of manufactured items is quite extensive. A non-exhaustive list would most notably include weapons, armor, construction materials, hand tools, large mining tools, and agricultural equipment. Individual craftsmen and shops produce these items, all with unique methods and styles in their craft. The decentralized and craft nature of these shops also leads to many custom orders, particularly for nobility and merchants in Gorachenya, and abroad.   Agriculture, as well as hunting and fishing, exist nearly exclusively in Plodavta, the surface area above Zolot-Uzik, due to the magical anomaly known as "The Pishna Circle." Outside of this small area of lush and fertile land, there is some sparse foraging and hunting done in the mountains and tundra, though mostly by military outposts and those brave enough to live life outside of major settlements. This limited agricultural capacity has led to several famines in past centuries and means that Gorachenya quite regularly depends on imports of crops from their Human neighbors in Pojhion.
Geopolitical, Principality
Head of State
Government System
Monarchy, Constitutional
Power Structure
Feudal state
Economic System
Mixed economy
Gorachenyan Grivna
Legislative Body
The Borchan
Official Languages
Controlled Territories
Neighboring Nations

Cover image: Cascade de la Folie, Chamonix. by John Ruskin