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The Mountain Principalities

Nestled amongst the peaks and valleys of the Felsspitze Mountains are a myriad of Baronies, Earldoms, Dukedoms and City-States that once belonged to the Kingdom of Reinhart. To the rest of Turoza, this collection of micro-nations is referred to as the Mountain Principalities. No one knows exactly how many independent micro-nations have emerged since the disintegration of Reinhart in 398 S.E., as some of these ‘nations’ are only as large as the village that their local lord claims sovereignty over. The geography of Reinhart, with its high mountains and isolated valleys, means that some micro-nations are essentially cut off from the rest of the world, with little outside contact since the collapse of Reinhart’s national administration. This collapse has also meant that some areas of Reinhart no longer get the resources to survive that they once received from the Crown. These unfortunate micro-nations are either subsumed by their larger neighbours, or simply cease to exist. Dotted amongst the more remote valleys of the Kingdom are ruined settlements, whose people either fled or starved to death, their baronial castles in ruins.   What all of these micro-nations have in common, is that the aristocratic families that lead each of them are adamant that they are the ones with the rightful claim to the vacant throne of Reinhart, and that their claim is stronger than any other. What is more, even though active conflict between the micro-nations has waned of late, the fact that Reinhart is still, technically in a state of civil war, and that the aristocratic families have had over 150 years to convince themselves of the legitimacy of their claims, means that for the foreseeable future, the throne continues to gather dust. Some of the micro-nations, especially those who would otherwise be cut-off from vital trade routes they need to survive, have managed to forge uneasy alliances with other micro-nations in Reinhart. However, these alliances are incredibly fragile, and are prone to shatter spectacularly, often when one party feels like the other is undermining the legitimacy of their claim to the throne. Some of the more unscrupulous aristocrats have attempted to improve their odds of securing the throne of Reinhart, either by trying to draw one of the other nations of Turoza in to the area to support them, without success, or by appealing to more fey or foul entities for aid. Sometimes these pacts can end with the death of the aristocrat trying to make them, or can cause a significant amount of damage in their local area, particularly when infernal parties are involved….   Occasionally, one micro-nation will attempt to subdue another by force, particularly if they feel that their unfortunate neighbour is in a position of weakness. On the whole, these wars tend to have fairly pyrrhic results, with both sides destroying the bulk of their armies in the conflict. In the rare case that one micro-nation does manage to conquer another, the victor often finds that they do not have the resources to maintain the occupation, in the face of a hostile local populace. The conquerors will often occupy their subjugated neighbour for a token amount of time, normally less than a year, before withdrawing, rather than overstretch their meagre resources. More recently, the micro-nations in the south of Reinhart have had to fight for their very existence, in the face of the Hobgoblin invasion led by Aristarchos the Grim. The woefully unprepared state of the once proud Kingdom of Reinhart, and the fact that the micro-nations are constantly at each other’s throats, meant that Aristarchos was easily able to carve out the area that is now Korinthos.   For the peasants and merchantmen of the old Kingdom of Reinhart, they must try and eek out an existence as best they can, whilst their aristocratic overlords continue to squabble over a dead king’s bones.

Structure

The political structure of the micro-states in the Mountain Principalities on the whole stems directly from the aristocratic system of titles that was in place under the monarchy of Reinhart. When the civil war began in 398 S.E., Dukes declared their dukedoms, Barons their baronies, Earls their earldoms etc., as their own independent entities. Some of the larger metropolitan areas of Reinhart declared themselves to be independent city-states, rather than submit themselves to the rule of their local aristocrat, which would have been little different than being ruled by the monarch, a prime example being the city of Kirchzing in south eastern Reinhart. There is at least one known commune at Vellbruck, high in the central Felsspitze Mountains, where the last Baron of Vellbruck rather misjudged the support he had amongst the local peasantry, who took the opportunity afford them by the collapse of the monarchy to kill the Baron. The peasantry then went on to declare themselves an ‘independent community commune’, and thanks to the remote location of Vellbruck have been left to their own devices ever since. Should a monarch come to the throne of Reinhart that all of the various micro-nations of the Mountain Principalities agree should be crowned King or Queen, then the vast majority of the micro-nations have sworn that they will submit and take their rightful places back within the monarchical system. However, this look unlikely to ever happen.

Assets

The geographical area of Reinhart as a whole has access to a number of resources that were previously used by the monarchy to trade and profit from, but for the varying size and location of the Mountain Principalities constituent elements means that many of the micro-nations are restricted in the resources they can access. In general terms, the central area of the Felsspitze Mountains is an ideal source of high quality building stone, that is exported across the continent. There is also a thriving pastoral economy, based on the herding of sheep and goats, and many of the mountain valleys produce very lush grass pastures, ideal for the rearing of cattle. There is limited land available for the growing of crops in the centre of Reinhart, with the majority of the area’s arable land being concentrated around the north and west coast.

Demography and Population

Like most other nations in Turoza, there is little or no regulation of the movement of species amongst the Mountain Principalities, though some of the micro-nations have established themselves as being primarily for one species. Micro-nations that have erred towards this tend to be further away from the traditional centres of power, or had a single species majority in the first place, purely thanks to tribal settlement patterns of the Nomadic Era. Some single species settlements have emerged since the collapse of the monarchy. For example, the town of Freihofen in the north of Reinhart was founded by a group of Dwarves, who moved on mass as a clan from the Union of Mishtoon to the Mountain Principalities, taking advantage of the power vacuum to claim land for themselves. Unlike other areas of Turoza, there is a much greater concentration of lycanthropes and Vampires in the Mountain Principalities, primarily because there is no longer a coherent system of controlling or curbing their hunting activities that once existed under the monarchy. It is rumoured that some Vampires have even integrated themselves within some of the aristocratic families, or that in some areas, aristocrats turned to vampirism themselves in order to try and increase their powerbase.


Cover image: by Chris Pyrah

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