Archduchy of Wolfhausen
A nation state in all but name, some would say, as the strings of government appear to be pulled from Kjörnsjo rather than from within Wolfhausen. It may only be a matter of time before the Archduchy becomes a province….Extract from Maximilian Hoherberg von Zottehal’s History of the Known World. The Archduchy of Wolfhausen is the most north-westerly nation in the area of the Mountain Principalities and it sits right on the border with the Kingdom of Kjörnsholm, with whom the Archduchy have maintained a good relationship with ever since the collapse of the old Kingdom of Reinhart in 398S.E. This relationship was strengthened by the intermarriage of the Archducal family of Wolfhausen and the Royal family of Kjörnsholm, when a minor royal from Kjörnsholm was married to the son of one of the Archdukes back in the 450sS.E. However, this relationship has strengthened yet again, since Queen Evelina of Kjörnsholm has decided to name the son of the current Archduke, a certain Hagen von Gerlach as her heir, on the condition that he must disown all claims to the title of Wolfhausen, something which he, and his father, were more than happy to oblige to. This has led to a large amount of speculation that Kjörnsholm will at some point attempt to expand their territory into the area of the Felsspitze Mountains by absorbing Wolfhausen as a new province. If this is an aim, it is far from clear, though that does not stop it from being on peoples’ minds and lips.
Wolfhausen has been ruled from well before the collapse of the Kingdom of Reinhart by an Archduke or Archduchess, all of whom have come from the von Gerlach family. The ArchDuke/Archduchess rule theoretically as absolute monarchs, supported by a number of appointed advisors, and a court of high status individuals who are invited into the court to give their ‘council’ on important matters. However, the Archduchy has always maintained the tradition of giving the people a vote in matters that are deemed to be of national importance. Such matters might include the declaring of war or peace, or the agreement of a new trade deal or alliance. These votes are called at the discretion of the Archduke or Archduchess and are in no way politically binding, though in instances where the people have voted for one thing and the authorities have decided to do another, the people have used it as a grounds to show their displeasure in less civil ways. Often these votes are used by the Archduke/Archduchess to canvas public opinion on important matters before they make a decision, rather than using them as decision drivers. In addition, it is important to note that the Archduchy of Wolfhausen hosts a permanent diplomatic presence from the Kingdom of Kjörnsholm, which is made up of an Ambassador and several attachés, who provide a constant link with the Kjörnic court at Kjörnsjo and who also provide council to the government of Wolfhausen as and when requested. Rather than being seen as a symbol of Kjörnsholm attempting to assert their dominance in the region, it is explained, in Wolfhausen’s court at least as a mark of the respect that Queen Evelina has for her relatives in the Mountain Principalities.
Like many of the northern states in the Mountain Principalities, the Archduchy of Wolfhausen does not have vast acres of fertile farmland, and although they are a predominantly agrarian society, the majority of what is produced from the arable and pastoral farming activities in the nation are retained for domestic consumption. However, Wolfhausen’s position on the shores of the Eismeer means that they have a large animal resource base to draw upon in terms of seal, walruses and whales, from which they are able to get resources such as meat, skins and walrus ivory that can be sold and exported. Wolfhausen’s close relationship with the Kingdom of Kjörnsholm, means that it is also the beginning point of the northern trade route into the Kjörnsholm to the west, and many people in the Archduchy have made themselves very well off through the buying of goods from other nations in the north of the Mountain Principalities, and selling them on for a higher, though not unreasonable price to traders and merchants from Kjörnsholm.
Demography and Population
Compared to many of the other states in the Mountain Principalities, the Archduchy of Wolfhausen has a larger percentage of people living there that would be classified as being middle income and above, which is partly to do with the regions close ties to the Kingdom of Kjörnsholm, which is able to use the Archduchy as another access point to the resources of the Felsspitze Mountains, which has consequently allowed many of Wolfhausen’s people to capitalise on this trade themselves. The close relationship with Kjörnsholm does also mean that Wolfhausen’s economy is somewhat supported and stabilised by their larger neighbour to the west, which helps money to flow into the coffers of the government and the people there, and as a result raise the standard of living. Nevertheless, many of the Archduchy’s people do still live a rather meagre lifestyle, focused on subsistence agriculture, fishing, foresting and hunting. Because of the Archduchy’s proximity to the Kingdom of Kjörnsholm, and the province of Stäpplandskap in particular, there is a large number of Goliaths who live in the area, who are equivalent to around 30% of the population, along with a reasonable community of Dvärg, who account for another 15%. The rest of the population is predominantly made up of Humans and Half-Orcs, though there is a small percentage (less than 10%) of the population that is made up of Halflings and Gnomes. There are few Dwarves in the region, primarily because of the presence of the significant population of Dvärg, with whom they do not get on.
The Archduchy maintains a modest military force of several thousand troops, the majority of whom are stationed at garrisons along the line of the Felsspitze Mountains in the south of the country to protect from raiding by mountain tribes, and along the border with their nearest neighbour in the Mountain Principalities, the Shire of Lausee. There are a few small, token border garrisons along the Archduchy’s border with the Kingdom of Kjörnsholm, though these garrisons tend to protected by new recruits who are still undergoing training. The majority of Wolfhausen’s troops are trained to a basic standard, and they are a full-time military force as opposed to being a temporary or voluntary force, but they have rarely been tested in serious, prolonged combat. Since the declaration was made public that Queen Evelina of Kjörnsholm was naming her second cousin, the current Archduke of Wolfhausen’s son, Hagen von Gerlach as her heir to the throne of Kjörnsholm, a permanent detachment of 50 Huskarls, who act as the monarch of Kjörnsholm’s elite personal bodyguard have been despatched to Wolfhausen to protect Hagen von Gerlach from harm.