Freistadt Republic Settlement in Scarterra | World Anvil

Freistadt Republic

Freistadt (German for free city)   Tentative Geographic Assignment: Spot 7   Basic Concept: Freistadt owes its origins to a ragtag tribe of former slaves and ex-serfs settling the area.     History: According to the region’s own lore, there were some runaway slaves from Kahdisteria but most of the runaway slaves that founded Freistadt hailed from Uskala. In Uskala, if a man or woman is convicted of treason, their children and their descendants till the end of time are sold into slavery.   Freistadt is one of the youngest and the oldest of Border Baronies. The Freemen did not march in and overthrow a previous Baron, they entered a wild unsettled area and tilled the soil themselves. In this sense the realm is the youngest because it was one of the last to be settled. Freistadt is one of the few Baronies that was never subject to a total coup that completely overturned the government. The Freeman are very proud of both of these facts.   Very early in their history, the Freemen tried to reach out peacefully to the local goblins (who were also the descendants of former slaves), but this was a disaster with the goblins literally kidnapping and enslaving humans from Freidstadt. Now, the Freemen are utterly ruthless, killing any goblin they see.   For the most part, Freistadt had very little interaction with the other Baronies or Meckelorn who they are very close to geographically. This recently changed when the Freemen allied with the Meckelorn border patrol to take down a particularly vicious tribe of scale giants . Since then the King of Meckelorn decided that the safety of Freistadt directly impacts the safety of the dwarves living in the southern portion of his realm.   Meckelorn would never give humans aid. Every spring, Meckelorn pays Friestadt a bounty for every goblin, giant, and other monster that the Freemen killed in the previous year. Every Fall, Meckelorn sends over weapon smiths and engineers to boost their fortifications and weapons (especially large weapons like ballista capable of bringing down giants). The price of the dwarves’ services is always exactly the amount the dwarves paid the Freemen six months prior. In practice this results in the freemen getting the dwarves’ services for half of the price they would normally charge humans.     Government Style: After escaping the tyranny of Uskala, Freistadt’s ancestors swore never to bow before a king ever again. They named their leader the First Citizen initially, but later opted to adopt the title Baron to fit in with their neighbors better. Here, “Baron” is the official title for the ruler, not just the slang title. Barons are traditionally part of the feudal system that includes kings, but generally barons are less stuck up and closer to the people than higher lords.   Barons are chosen by merit. When the Baron dies, the Lanterns of Zarthus take over the rulership of the realm temporarily and then oversee a series of contests to fill the vacant Baron seat. Any adult can choose to compete. Usually six to ten men and zero to two women volunteer. The Lanterns make the contestants engage in physical contests like foot races, arm wrestling, archery contests, stone throwing contests and then they throw in some mental contests like scavenger hunts and riddle contests. After every event, the contestant who comes in last is eliminated. And so on and so forth until one contestant remains and is crowned Baron (or in theory Baroness). The paper crown is then ceremonially burned to show that the new Baron is not a lord over the people but is a servant of the people, first among equals.   Freistadt believes strongly that the government who governs best, governs least. The Baron theoretically has the final word in internal disputes but it’s considered bad form for two disputing Freemen to take their issues all the way to the Baron. The Baron’s main jobs are to organize the militia and as of recently, greet visiting dwarves.     Character of the Realm: “Hardy and simple folk.” Family and neighborly ties are strong. The harsh conditions breeds a toughness in the locals. Men and women are alike are expected to know how to defend themselves. Versatility is a highly prized trait. It is not uncommon to meet locals with extremely varied professions. “Elaine is the village’s cobbler and midwife.”   Meckelorn dwarves tend to hold this barony in high regard. These humans maybe be a bit unruly and undisciplined but they are tough, hard-working, honest, and have strong family ties. The latter traits are things the dwarves' respect highly. Dwarven rangers visit the barony often to compare notes on the activities of goblin tribes and other monsters frequently.     Religion: Zarthus is very anti-slavery and supports self-reliance. Zarthus worship is the predominant religion here and always has been. The words of the Lanterns always have great weight. Korus, Mera , and Nami are held in high regard but priests and theurgists for these gods are rare here. Hallisan and Khemra are distrusted. The three evil gods are staunchly opposed, especially Maylar whom the Freistadters associate with the many monsters in the area.     Challenges: The region is more rugged and less arable meaning Freistadt is fairly small in terms of population compared to the other baronies. This also means the denizens are generally very exposed to goblins, scale giants, and other things that go bump in the night.   Freistadt has virtually zero native magical traditions besides one or two Lantern theurgists that occasionally take on acolytes. Immigrants who have magical ability are usually welcomed with very little questions about their backgrounds. The magical defense of the realm is resting on the shoulders of amoral criminals and dark warlocks.
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Cover image: Map of the Border Baronies by Pendrake


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