The bloody storied history of Border Baronies Spot #11 in Scarterra | World Anvil

The bloody storied history of Border Baronies Spot #11

There is a joke that every time you visit one of the Border Baronies, it has a new government since the last time you visited, but it's based in truth. On average at least one of the Border Baronies has a change in government every decades. Not counting the Barony of the Dead, the longest running single government is a four generation long human dynasty. The principality of Silfûrhëim is almost as old, but the original elf ruler is still alive though he is old, so he technically counts as a first generation Baron. About half of the Border Baronies, the elected representative or the feudal lord was part of the force that conquered, usurped, liberated, or revolutionized their fiefdom directly.   There are some seventy year old farmers that have never moved their farm but they have six or seven separate lords in their lifetimes.   Spot 11 typically has it's governments typically last between 50 and 100 years. That's actually better than average for why is spot 11 a big deal?   First we are going to establish what spot 11 has. Spot 11 has modestly productive farmland, fairly rich reagent harvesting opportunities, and most impressively an underground river system that links all the ponds and lakes. They have the richest freshwater seafood if not in the entire world, certainly the most tasty fish in the landlocked Border Barnies.   The Border Baronies boast that they were the only region in West Colassia that was never conquered by Mordock the Destroyer the half-orc or by the Elven Empire's expansion. Technically, Mordock never managed to conquer any land here, but one of his lieutenants did manage to carve up a small piece of the Baronies. That spot piece was spot 11.    

Year 1055, Mount Gunabad

  When Mordock was still alive and ruling his empire, but he was sick and a few years from dying, one his orc lieutenants, we'll call him Gunabad, conquered a piece of the Borderlands outright. He held in Mordock's name but he had full autonomy to rule this as he saw fit and Mordock himself never came near the fiefdom which was ubonusual because he loved to tour his holdings, but again he was sick and dying at this time.   Gunabad was an unusual orc. He was happy being part of a barbarian horde, but he thought if orcs were to truly advance, they needed to take up farming. When Gunabad had a fiefdom of his own, this is exactly what he did.   Other orcs used farms before but they relied on enslaved humans to do most of the actual farming. Gunabad did not want to do this. He had been bullying and/or bribing human farmers to share their trade secrets for over ten years in preparation. He also copied the feudal model he saw humans use. When he moved in and conquered this region, he killed all the surviving humans.   Gunabad's Successfully grew enough food to feed his people and produce a little bit of tax revenue for Gunabad and his chosen vassals. Ten odd years later, Gunabad died passed the realm on to his son Gunabad II and then to his son Gunabad III, though he had a very short reign.    

Year 1105, Barony of León

  Eventually the other Border Barons decided they did not want to have orcs for neighbors. Some baronies sent a few invading small armies to try to remove the orcs by force but the orcs beat them every time, given that they were not very organized.   The emerging dwarf kingdom of Stahlheim decided they would use their growing trade revenue to play politics and fronted the gold to sponsor a bunch of mercenaries and adventurers to destroy the Gunabad Barony, establishing a clear chain of command so the many people who wanted the orcs gone were now organized.   The coalition moved in and slaughtered every orcish man, woman, and child much like Gunabad I did fifty years ago. A new feudal government promoting most of the most charismatic adventurers in the coalition to the new nobility. Thus the Barony of León was born.    

Year 1153, New Stahlheim

  A Maylar cult of orcs claiming to be descended from survivors of Gunabad moved in quietly and used Hex magic to infect the entire populace with nasty diseases. Then they mopped up the survivors. The dwarves of Stahlheim mobilized to help sending soldiers and magical healers, but by the time they got there, over four fifths of the humans were all dead.   Stahlheim established the area as an official colony. They invited humans to settle in and once humans made up the majority of the colony, the King of Stahlheim appointed a trusted human to be his direct vassal giving him full autonomy to run the realm as he saw fit asking only a very small tribute in return.    

Year 1250, Barony of Dragons

  A mated pair of dragons were relaxing after a good meal and reminiscing about the good ol' days when their ancestors ruled the world.   "Honey, you know what would be a hoot?" "What are you thinking?" "Let's conquer a Border Barony honey!"   So they did. They killed every dwarf and over half of the humans, set some kobold lackeys to run the day-to-day affairs of the realms and enslaved the surviving humans. Over the next 76 years, twenty-three parties of adventurers tried to slay these tyrannical dragons only to get eaten.    

Year 1326, Contunair Republic

  The twenty-fourth group that attempted to slay the dragons succeeded. The adventurers also killed or drove out all their kobold lackeys. They invited settlers and formed a republic. They did not know that among the settlers invited in, a number of them were infernal cultists.   The cultists bided their time and grew power in secret for more than half a century.    

Year 1422 Barony of Arianna

  The cultists summoned a bunch of Void Demons and offered up the populace as their food. The Void Demons destroyed them and then consumed the cultists as well because that is kind of what they do. The Void Demons then spread out and began attacking the rest of the Border Baronies causing a lot of havoc.   After ten years of this, the Masks of Phidas raised a small army and rode in to clear out the demons. Not wanting something like this to come back, the Masks garrisoned the area, eventually invited settlers in and established a Swynfaredian squib to be their puppet Baroness.    

Year 1536 The Baron-less Barony

  As is often the case with Mask run realms, it was fairly oppressive, but this was beyond the pale. The original Baroness' grandson was a rapacious sadistic monster. One of the survivors of his tyranny rose against him and was a little overzealous in his vengeance killing everyone in the Baron's employ.   The Evil Baron was dead but the rebel forces took heavy losses, so the Masks thought they could still win this and establish a new puppet. They sent reinforcements. Then the rebels called in reinforcements and so on and so forth until over half the population was dead as collateral damage and most of the farms were left fallow. Eventually the Masks and Lanterns got tired of fighting over this insignificant mudhole and both sides withdrew.   After about ten years later, the survivors rebounded well enough that they needed some form of government. They were very tired of hereditary absolutely monarchs and high minded republics. They selected their leader by random lot. Somehow this lasted over a century.    

Year 1566 The Coven of Fish

  An unusually powerful Aranea sorceress in charge of a colony decided she wanted to drink human blood every day instead of just on special occasions.   She figured this barony was isolated and poorly governed, so they wouldn't be able to do much about random citizenry being mysteriously abducted.   The aranea got away with this for the better part of two years until a group of adventurers figured out who and what was causing the disappearances and rallied the people in an anti-aranea crusade. They killed a dozen aranea.   They didn't get the local queen and she vowed vengeance for her lost kin. They also didn't immediately catch on that many aranea can take on human form and the barony was riddled with spies pretending to be humans.   The aranea retaliated and killed scores of humans. The locals eventually realized that there were aranea hiding among them and they worked to oust the monsters in sheeps' clothing from their midst, but Aranea are clever and a lot of them are illusionists. For every aranea the locals rooted out and killed, they executed at least ten innocents.   Between the aranea attacks and witch hunts, about half of the population was dead before they managed to find the aranea queen and kill her, at which point the few surviving aranea cut their losses and scuttled away.   With half the population dead and almost all their professional soldiers dead, the barony was destroyed by opportunistic goblin raiders shortly thereafter.   Assorted outside forces destroyed the goblins fairly easily. When humans wanted to come back, they had to put someone in charge. A coven of wizards reluctantly stepped. They got stuck with an nickname they didn't ask for, the Coven of Fish.    

Year 1660 The Barony of Nothing

  Oh no, the head of the coven is secretly lich an he's gone mad with power! The lich and the rest of the coven fought dragging in the populace. The lich relied on undead hordes so he massacred huge numbers of peasants to be his zombie army. By the time he was defeated, most of the populace was dead.   No one was eager to resettle this area. The area was basically left empty for well over fifty years. Not completely empty. There was some hermit fishermen but no one really made a serious go at farming and the hundred or so asocial loners eking out a living here didn't want or need a government.    

1717 Barony of Love

  A princess in the kingdom of Talama fell in love with her bodyguard, but she was pledged to marry someone else for political reasons. Oh no, what will these star crossed young lovers do?   In turns out forbidden love was the least of their problems. The Kingdom of Swynfaredia invaded and conquered Talama. As an heir to Talaman royal crown, the princess life was in dangerous. Her lover heroically saved her from Swynfaredian assassins and the two lovers fled west with a few hundred commoners who were displaced by the Swynfaredian invasion. The two lovers settled in the Borderlands and declared themselves Baron and Baroness and ruled wisely and justly.  

1818 Mount Gunabad restored

  A century after it's founding, the Barony of Love had fallen from it's high ideals. Some think that maybe Swynfaredian spies sewed dissent but the current Baron was neither especially wise nor just. A series of bad years for crops didn't help much and a coalition of orcs and goblins moved in and killed everyone. There goal was to create an orc and goblin agricultural fiefdom like Gunabad did ages ago. Like before, the human populace was slaughtered utterly.   1820 to the present The Barony of Bats   When Gunabad set up his fiefdom centuries ago, the dwarf people were scattered and weak. In 1818, neither Meckelorn  or Stahlheim were willing to tolerate an orc fiefdom right on their door step.   It took them two years to organize the military force, slowed by Stahlheim and Meckelorn bickered a lot over the details. The orcs and goblins were better organized then the dwarves thought. What was supposed to be a crushing victory in 1822 for the dwarves became a fairly costly victory, but they never the less eradicated the orcs and goblins, every man, woman, and child.   A crusty dwarf historian looked up the archives and pointed out that orcs ruled the area before, so neither dwarf nation wanted to abandon the realm entirely.   Neither Stahlheim or Meckelorn then argued over who should control the area. Neither power could agree on whether control of the area was a privilege they wanted to deny the other kingdom or a burden they wanted to pawn off on the other kingdom.   Most kalazotz , especially the kalazotz attached to dwarf nations, are content to live underground forever, but a few of them are always curious about the surface world. A faction had been clamoring for a mass return to the surface world en masse, and this seemed like a golden opportunity. Plus, kalazotz like to eat fish and this place has a lot of fish. So a bunch of batmen now run the area.   While the lion's share of the kallazotz settlers are from Meckelorn and very few from Stahlheim, The Barony of Bats is technically a fully independent realm under the rule of a kallazotz war hero who the other bats decided would be the first true kallazotz noble. I'm not sure if he should take some kind of Mayan title or just go by "Baron" or "nanananananana Batbaron" Hence the Barony of Bats was born.    

So what makes this Barony so special?

  Lots of Border Baronies change governments and names many times. What makes this spot special is that large numbers of people are killed when the government changes. Coups are common in the Border Baronies, but the violence, if any, is centered on the ruling regime and doesn't normally spread to the general populace, it's just that the people now have to pay their taxes to someone different.   This isn't exactly a secret, but not a lot of historians make a point of studying the history of the Border Baronies in detail so no one living in the Barony of the Bats or elsewhere realizes they are sitting on land watered in blood, and certainly no one knows knows why this land seems to generate genocidal events with disturbing frequency.

Cover image: Map of the Border Baronies by Pendrake


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