Marquisate of Huttpach
If you are travelling to the Marquisate of Huttpach, do make sure you pick up a bottle or two of their exquisite Ice Wine, and do feel free to send one on to me, care of the Ravendorp School…. Otherwise I wouldn’t recommend acquiring anything else in this more remote part of the Mountain Principalities, thought their coastline can be rather pleasant to take in on the one day or so a year when the sun properly shines….Extract from Maximilian Hoherberg von Zottehal’s History of the Known World. One of the more northerly micro-nations of the Mountain Principalities, the Marquisate of Huttpach sits in the strip of land that stretches between the northern peaks of the Felsspitze Mountains and the waves of the Eismeer. Despite their more remote location, they have manage to carve out a decent living for themselves, and have maintained relative prosperity connection to the wider world, thanks to their main export product, Ice Wine, and their monopoly over all goods that come out of the neighbouring Community Commune of Vellbruck.
The Marquisate of Huttpach functions as a small absolute monarchy, as the Marquis’ family at the time of the collapse of the Kingdom of Reinghart was able to retain political control and retain its position as the dominant force in the country. The Marquises of Huttpach have always surrounded themselves with a group of advisors, most of whom are drawn from their family, friends and powerful individuals that they wish to maintain a good relationship with, and members of this group will routinely be tasked with looking after one area of political, economic or domestic concern or another. In addition, a representative from each population centre with over 100 citizens attends the Marquis’ court, theoretically to give a more holistic perspective to the Marquis and their advisors as to what issues are of most concern and are effecting their subjects the most. However, in most cases, these representatives are mostly ignored, or simply paid lip-service.
The majority of the economic activity that goes on in Huttpach is concentrated around agriculture, the vast majority of which is geared towards internal consumption rather than export. In addition, the fact that the Marquisate has an extensive amount of coastline along the Eismeer means that there is a fairly large amount of fishing activity that goes on there, along with the occasional hunting of seals, walrus and even whales. Like many nations in the northern reaches of the Mountain Principalities, the Marquisate has large tracts of woodland which can be used to produce forestry resources, principally lumber and charcoal, but with some game hunting activity to supplement the inhabitants’ diets. The Marquisate’s location in the north of the region is rather fortuitous in itself, as they completely control access to the Community Commune of Vellbruck, set in the Steinwurm Valley to the south, which means that Huttpach holds a trading monopoly on the goods (principally honey, mead and beeswax) that are exported from there, allowing them to either buy most of the produce up and sell it on for a significant profit, or set import and export tariffs for Vellbruckian goods. One of the more remarkable trade products to come from the Marquisate is a variety of wine, referred to in Huttpach and beyond as Ice Wine. This wine is produced using a variety of grapes that have been specifically bred to resist the cold winter temperatures that affect the Marquisate on a fairly regular basis, with the vines having adapted to a relatively short season to produce both new growth and grapes. When the first true frost of winter comes, the grapes are frozen on the vine, after which they are immediately picked and the wine making process begins. The result is a uniquely flavoured wine, known for both its sweetness and high acidity. Most of the ice wine produced in the Marquisate is exported elsewhere, and it alone makes up the lion’s share of the nation’s exports, and it fetches a good price across the continent of Turoza.
Demography and Population
Like many of Ulskandar’s nations, the majority of the Marquisate’s inhabitants live subsistence lifestyles as smallholder farmers or working low skilled labouring jobs in the villages and towns of Huttpach. There is an upper-lower/middle class of more skilled workers in Huttpach, who are primarily concentrated in more technical trades, such as blacksmithing etc., and any labourer that is lucky enough to get a position working in one of the Ice Wine vineyards will earn a higher wage, as the basic rate of pay that they receive is much higher other agricultural workers. The wealthiest of the Marquisate’s citizens tend to be merchants and traders, or tied into the political system, including the family of the Marquis. In terms of the species composition of the population, the vast majority of Huttpach’s citizens are Humans and Halflings, though there is a large group of Dvärg who are the core of the forestry and woods-folk activities that go on in the large expanse of pine forest that the Marquisate is in possession of. It is not uncommon to find Half-Orcs and Goliaths in the Marquisate as well, many of whom have found stable and rewarding employment in Huttpach’s armed forces.
The Marquisate of Huttpach maintains a relatively large standing army of approximately 6,000 full-time professional soldiers, at least a third of which are based along the coastline and act as a pseudo-naval force as well, with another third being posted on the border regions. The focus on navel and coastline defence is an effort to protect the nation against the actions of the Isles of Neufeld, who are, to all intents and purposes pirates. A reasonable force of troops is posted along the border with the Community Commune of Vellbruck, who have historically attempted to invade the Marquisate, under the rule of the now deceased Baronial line, and even though the Commune that has risen to replace the Baronial system have shown no signs of outward aggression towards Huttpach, the Marquisate continues to be vigilant in policing the border between the two.