Aachen Province

(AH-kin)

The original Aachen Province is (c) Frog God Games.
Aachen Province remains loyal to the Kingdom of Foere, and is ruled by a Lord-Governor appointed by the Overking. It is a relatively peaceful province, but potential revolution is brewing among the nobility. Order in the province is beginning to decay as outside trade dwindles due to high taxes at the border, and the pressure of this decline is already affecting the farmers and peasantry.   Lord-Governor Theriven the Leopard is the veteran of several feudal wars, the younger son of a noble Foerdewaith family, born in Troye. Without any prospect of an inheritance, Theriven took service as a mercenary, and distinguished himself on the battlefield as a staunch supporter of Foere. He is a grim and unflinching man, intolerant of dissent and difficult to read. As a widely-traveled warrior, he is enough of a realist to see that even in the close province of Aachen the Kingdoms are no longer offering much support in return for the revenues they collect, and that the prosperity of “his” lands is slowly dwindling. He is unnervingly quiet on this subject, a complete cipher.   A vast number of the landsgrafs in Aachen resent the unequal bargain being given to them by the Royal Court, which is to pay high taxes in exchange for slight assistance. They hear of the power of the nobles in free Suilley, and look across the borders to see the riches of a predatory nobility in Eastreach Province; and they compare it to their own role as providers to a hungry, desperate, foreign empire. To most of them, the reason for the difference is obvious: It is the hand of Foere that keeps them weak. More and more they are talking behind closed doors, and training their men-at-arms in case the need arises to take one side or another in an armed resolution. So far, the situation cannot be described as a volatile one, for most of the landsgrafs consider themselves to be hereditary Foerdewaith, even if they are angered by their brethren nobles to the west.   A few nobles, predominantly barons but also a few landsgrafs, have begun to call their heritage “Fairdevaine” rather than “Foerdewaith,” reflecting the local Aachenland dialect of the Westerling common speech. These are the nobles to watch the most closely, for if the nobility of Aachen begins to sever itself from the bloodlines of the Kingdom of Foere, rebellion is nigh. At the moment, though, most of the nobles perceive the situation as more of a family squabble among Foerdewaith lords in the same empire, not as a dispute between two different nationalities. In short, lines are being drawn, but they are still faint. The pot simmers, but the heat remains low.

Structure

The Lord-Governorship is not a hereditary title, being an appointment granted in the Court of Courghais by the Overking. Thus far, no Lord-Governor has refused to surrender the office or establish a hereditary succession; most of them are, in any case, anxious to return to the civilized center of the Kingdoms of Foere once they have accumulated a modest fortune in the provinces.   As a general rule for understanding the government of Aachen:  

  • If it is a high road, a bridge, or a court of law, a Regional Governor is in charge of it.
  • If it is a city, the mayor reports to the Lord-Governor and to no one else (although the Regional Governor still runs the court system).
  • If it is a town, it either reports to the Lord-Governor as a city (a “free town”), or is governed by a noble as part of the feudal system, although the courts remain under the supervision of the Regional Governor.
  • If it is a piece of land, a wagon-trail, or a village, a noble of some rank is in charge.
  The province has seven major partitions ruled by Regional Governors who are appointed by the royal court in Foere in the same manner as the Lord-Governor, each of whom administers the roads, courts, and some of the towns across a wide region. Within the regional governorships, but reporting directly to the Lord-Governor, are well-defined feudal landgraves, each ruled by a noble lord bearing the title of “landsgraf,” who administers the countryside (but not the courts or roads) over an area roughly 50 miles across. Local barons, in fealty to the landsgrafs, govern at the lowest level of the hierarchy. Most barons have the double responsibility of maintaining a court for the governor, while owing military and tithe duties to the landsgraf. These baronies can be of wildly varying sizes; many are little more than a small castle surrounded by a mile or so of dreary wilderness; others might encompass a small town and several miles of fertile farmland. The seven Governorships of Aachen are: Aixe (containing 9 landgraves), Vermis (containing 13 landgraves), Gretspaan (containing 6 landgraves), Tremonde (containing 8 landgraves), Dlante (containing 4 landgraves), Sauv Lar (containing 7 landgraves), and Basivaine (containing 5 landgraves). At present, no landsgraf holds more than one landgrave, so there are 52 landsgrafs ruling the land of Aachen, in fealty to the office (but not specifically to the person) of the Lord-Governor.

Assets

Grain, wool, cloth, manufactured goods, cotton, furs, gems (common and semiprecious), silver.

History

The native Aachenlanders were absorbed into the Kingdoms of Foere when the province was established by King Macobert in the past. At the time, the Aachenlanders were a loose affiliation of tribes having been previously united under the Atlantean Empire, sharing a common language and trading among each other fairly peacefully. The original language of Aachen has entirely died out, first replaced by High Boros and then by the Common tongue, although it has left the Aachenlanders with a still-recognizable accent in their Westerling speech, and several idioms not found elsewhere, such as expressing “don’t wait too long” by saying, “don’t let fish eat you.”   The entire region south of the city of Vermis was devastated by the vast wildfires spawned by the explosion of the Tower of Oerson, a wind-blown wave of flames that eventually spread all the way to the Matagost Peninsula, thousands of miles to the east. The city of Aixe was spared only due to its huge, lake-fed moat, and might still have starved to death in the ensuing famines if it were not sited directly upon a road leading to areas not affected by the fires. Untold thousands died from fire and famine in the rural areas of what would become the Province of Aachen; scholars estimate that the population of the area took 300 years to rebuild to its original numbers as they stood before the fires.

Demography and Population

Around 230,000 total population, 25% in major cities and the rest in rural areas.   90% human, 5% smallfolk, 5% elf.

Territories

The relative stability of Aachen as a province should not be understood to suggest that the countryside is nothing but a placid expanse of fields and cheerful peasants, although many such places exist, especially in the heartlands. Many forests spread through the region, harboring beasts dire and strange, and there are countless areas in Aachen that have either never been tamed or that have been allowed to return to the wild. In particular, the lower reaches and foothills of the Cretians and the Carrion Swamp are home to bandits and monsters alike. Settlements in these remote areas cling grimly to their existence in the face of these threats, receiving only sporadic, halfhearted support from those who boast of the province’s stability.   The wilder parts of Aachen are home to tigers, which can be a threat to herding communities. The tigers of Aachen (often referred to as “leopards”) are spotted rather than the striped varieties more commonly found in lands of Ashenthorn, most likely a strain that has survived from the days when the land was covered with great forests.

Trade & Transport

As with the western region of Eastreach, Aachen is fairly well populated, with numerous farming towns and trading villages. A fairly extensive network of passable roads in the province allows even the smallest settlements access to large markets, so farms are generally large and prosperous in the Aachen heartlands. Moreover, Aachen’s internal governance is much better organized than its rather corrupt northeastern neighbor Eastreach, with fewer so-called “tolls” being extorted from travelers by petty nobles and pocket fiefdoms. Many of the small towns in Aachen hold great “fayres” during which peasants from the surrounding regions and traveling merchants from other towns congregate to buy and sell all manner of goods. Such fayres are often held three or four times per year.   Unlike its neighboring province of Eastreach, Aachen does not enjoy a lucrative financial relationship with Westden (for which the Lord-Governors have been more than a bit resentful in the past). For this reason, the Lords-Governor of Aachen charge fairly extortionate taxes on foreign caravans heading to and from Westden — which is in turn one of the many reasons Westden conducts so much traffic by riverboat through Eastreach, skirting Aachen entirely.

Founding Date
21780 A.E.
Type
Geopolitical, Province
Capital
Vermis
Demonym
Aachenlander
Head of Government
Theriven the Leopard
Government System
Monarchy, Elective
Power Structure
Feudal state
Economic System
Traditional
Parent Organization
Kingdoms of Foere
Location
The Borderlands

Notable Settlements

Aixe, Becqueril, Dlante, Elet, Gretspaan Citadel, Taundre

Articles under Aachen Province


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