The Petty Kingdom of Calandria Part 2
Don’t worry fellow readers, I’m not about to post a whole world of built kingdoms and histories and places and peoples. The one nice thing about my D&D setting (and this now carries both campaign and short story relevancy) is that it’s created piecemeal. I can travel to different parts and locations freely and can make and develop whatever whimsy strikes me in that moment. Alas, such freedom isn’t truly allowed in a game setting, which means this little isolated kingdom is likely to be the most developed portion of the world.
And we know this because it got a map. A map gracefully charted by my personal cartographer since I hate coming up with land shapes and the geological features. But I love filling everything in and imagining how life would develop and shape the land it finds itself upon.
Anywho, on to the major sites of the Petty Kingdom of Calandria!
Major Sites of the Petty Kingdom of Calandria
(village, ranches, dynastic fortifications ~21,000 population and 1,400 garrison)
The capital and home to the throne of the House Laranica is the heavily fortified city of Castrus. Castrus served as the focal point for the defensive ring of Calandria’s fort system and it shows. Massive parapets, soaring walls, crenellations, thick portcullis, majestic keep – Castrus has it all. From a dominating position upon a bluff overlooking Lake Aluar, Castrus boasts the prestigious reputation of having never been breached. Course, no attack has ever managed to siege her walls as all wars were ended before a force could march against her. That hasn’t stopped each successive Jarl from adding to the plethora of defensive structures protecting the stone home of the ruling House. As such, multi-tiered gates and inner walls tumble down the precipitous side of the bluff to the newly raised harbour towers commissioned by Jarl Brivis himself. All this serves to create an intimidating spectacle for visitors. Clever engineering has formed a snaking stair wall protecting every home and shanty beneath the Jarl’s gaze. They say not even the Ridgeback mountain goats could hope to leap over Castrus’ fortifications. Keep Laranica itself is an awe-inspiring collection of spires rising like bunched pikes to oversee the people beneath. Despite Castrus’ protections, however, it fails to be particularly populous. The lake, after years of massive fishing from both Calandria and her neighbours have rapidly reduced the schools within it. The cracked rock surrounding the city is an ill-fit for farming but has served well enough as the only other alternative for grazing sheep within the Jarl’s borders. A decent wool and mutton industry keeps some production within the walls as well as locating much of the metalworking and ship building in the petty kingdom. It is clear, however, that the kingdom’s wealth isn’t going to be found in the capital’s influence but after so many years of fortifying, there is no safer place in all the lands. Countess Arosa has decried the irrelevancy of the ancestral hold and demanded that a lavish apartment be constructed in Valencia so that she could be closer to the lifeblood of her nation. While the kingdom’s court still meets within the stoney cold walls of Castrus, much of its influence and politicking is done at the Cath Croya Estate in the bustling heart of Calandria – especially given how the people whisper that the Jarl bends his ear to every whisper of his ignominious daughter.
(city, farms ~65,000 pop)
Ask any from outside Calandria where is its capital and nine times out of ten people will tell you it’s Valencia. Despite demonstrating that the vast majority of nations are rather ignorant of the petty kingdom, what most ever learn about it is the bustling city. It’s no wonder as the enormous settlement not only holds almost half of the kingdom’s entire population, but it is also the single most important trade hub in the region. Though it does not connect directly with the Crossroads, it does connect with subsidiary lines and any foreign merchant’s first point of entry is inevitably through its bronze gates. It’s also where the vast majority of foreigners end up. Supported by the only arable land and the enormous fortified estate which houses the kingdom’s military elite, Valencia rises up over Calandria’s single sea of wheat and oats – the grains hardy enough to grow even in its crisp temperate climates. Valencia’s beginnings, however, were far more humble than one would suspect. Originally, it was just one of the ring of fortifications protecting the inner Calandria proper. But due to its location, temperature and land, it quickly grew from a hearty fort into a sprawling settlement that quickly expanded beyond its meagre walls. It became the home of Calandria’s old warrior council – the Cath Croya – supported by the farmers in its fields and an ever expanding fort that most believe is a palace and not a military base. As such, it has sometimes been referred to as the Etreria of the North though it lacks the romantic raised, decrepit keep over a sprawling plains view as well as the grandiose, multicultural flair of the City of Roads. Few in Valencia belabour the point.
Valencia is home to the wealth and heart of Calandria and its markets are often the last point of contact for most enterprises within its borders. There is a bit of a problem with Valencia, however, in that its conversion into the most populous city in the petty kingdom has left the southern border woefully unprotected. With Valencia’s rise in prominence, the sitting Jarl moved the garrison from the city and has never returned it. The Cath Croya, once the Jarl’s advisory formed from his most elite and expert warriors, were seen as a potential threat to the stability of the kingdom. Their prestige was assured through hereditary inheritance and subsequent generations were less loyal to the crown while their city grew wealthy and prestigious. As such, Valencia has been forced to hire a mercenary militia whose skills and loyalty to their employers is tenuous at best. Their inability to properly police the city has made the citizenry criticize the Cath Croya’s right to govern and many people cry for the abolition of the council and for the Jarl to be granted full fealty of the city. The council, however, holds loftier ambitions. From the grandiose halls of the Croya Estate, they manage a network of scattered castrum scattered about the countryside. These old stone structures are unearthed fortifications from antiquity and provide an early warning and supply line dotting the rollings hills and farmsteads.
Major production in Valencia is focused on the land surrounding it. This is the only location one can find orchards and apples as well as raspberries and more temperate foods. As such, much of Valencia’s tribute to the Jarl is paid in harvests that are then spread amongst the rest of his peoples. And while Valencia is large, it isn’t considered the most picturesque. It almost squats between the hills, crawling and creeping constantly outwards and onwards from its focal about the military estate. Homes pile upon themselves and try to squeeze out the streets running between them. With so many people and so many regulations, it’s quite difficult for locals and foreigners alike to gain a business foothold in its crowded streets. Even its temples seem to struggle with accommodating all the worshippers and must often run double or triple services to attend their followers. The city is, however, known for its feasts and festivals where seemingly the entire settlement gives over to celebration and food practically grows up amongst the streets as the people forget the cramped and crowded quarters for the boisterous celebrations heard all over the hills.
(city ~28,000 pop)
Muros is the proud old city of Calandria. One of the first settlements, there remain a few family lines who lay claim to remembrances of when booming Valencia was just another fort. Muros was originally founded on Calandria’s mainstay industry – lumber. It was the first point of production on the Ceagulla Highlands as well as being the legendary trade hub for the Northern Route. Unfortunately for Muros, the last generations have been hard. The legendary route has long since been abandoned, shifting the focus of international trade to southern Valencia. Untold years of lumber work has clear cut the area around Muros which led to a series of land slides and erosion preventing it from ever becoming arable for the city in any useful amount of time. Even its reliance for being the hub of the new lumber giant Ferrol has come under attack by the upstart Cea. But if there is one thing Muros has, and has it in droves, is history. The old streets are laid with ancient stone from the old times. The homes are a unique stone construct found nowhere else with the possible exception of Iliomar’s Folly. It’s temples are the most revered, being important points of study and worship for their seeming connection with the past as well as holding one of the original verses of the Poetic Saemundr. This reliance on history has kept foreign interests traditionally at bay, as many still look to the Muros scholars and priests as the moral and spiritual leaders of Calandria. Muros also has a proud tradition of being the birthplace of Calandrian architecture and many foreign students come to study the designs and techniques supposedly pioneered within its walls. There is a long and respectable history of engineers coming from Muros. Finally, despite the loss of farm or lumber industry, Muros has a robust animal husbandry and hunting production. They have the famed first caribou ranch as well as the largest hunting lodge in all of Calandria which claims and protects its monopoly on the Ceagulla Highlands viciously.
Cea is considered Calandria’s rising star. A rather unremarkable town, Cea was a forgettable settlement on the Leyme Woods primarily serving as a stockpile and provider for the more distant Ares, Mens and Val Meyra. All this changed with the discovery of copper above Ares which brought enterprising merchants like ravens to a rotting corpse. Cea has been growing rapidly since, seeking to further expand their profits by being the kingdom’s sole point of export for Ares’ production. They have even gone so far as to enter a buyer’s race with Muros over the famous Ferrol lumber. Needless to say, this has stirred a lot of animosity in the older settlement. The merchants of Cea have also reinvigorated Mantrove’s Crossing, though the banditry has certainly cut into their hopes of great profit. But Cea’s rapid development and prosperity has brought many to its walls and it is the hottest place to be currently. This was made even more prominent with the recent establishment of both a ceilidh hall and an academy tower, giving a foothold for the bards and wizards that received chilly reception when attempting to make headway into Calandria previously.
(dynastic hold, village, fishing quays, berry farms and distilleries ~5,000 pop)
Calandria’s northern most settlement, Andrade is built along and protects the legendary Northern Route. They’re one of the few to still refer to it by its old name – Nemento’s Pass – and maintain that it holds the oldest passage over the Ridgeback Mountains. No one makes the journey now, though, so verification of this claim and even confirmation where it leads is unprovided. However, it’s not Andrade’s long, proud history of independence or their own developing culture which they maintain is separate from the greater Calandria whole that the region is most famous. The thing that keeps the name of Andrade on people’s lips is its export of rich rowan wine and ale. Though the alcohol is wildly sought and appreciated, it is not the region’s number one production. The Andrade people are the largest producers of Calandria’s stockfish, caught and pulled form the ocean and dried with the frigid mountain winds along its rocky coastline. Andrade itself, however, isn’t built on the coast. The city proper is huddled around the ancestral Andrade Keep: hold and ancient focus of the dominion of the Andrade line. The Viscount is the last of his kind in the petty kingdom, holding out against the Jarls of Calandria far longer than any other rival. When he was finally brought to swear fealty it was under the solemn promise he would still be able to lord over his lands. Course, none now know exactly what these ancestral borders were so they just refer to the whole mess along the Eume and Allons rivers as Andrade and are done with it. The vast majority of its people are focused in the old walls of Andrade Keep or the village at the ocean’s mouth.
(village, ranches ~800 pop)
The only settlement that strikes out a living on the ice lake Iadra, Mens greatest importance is as the transition point on the lumber exchange between Ferrol and Cea. As the merchants of Cea continue their attempts to undermine their counterparts in Muros, much money has been directed to Mens in order to make it a more viable trade route for the Ferrol wood. Before its curious rise in recent prominence, Mens was a rather unremarkable fishing and shepherding village. Though they claim the fresh water fish is far tastier than what’s pulled from the marsh or ocean, the more temperate and protected Lake Iadra makes it impossible to preserve the fish through cold drying and instead the village relies on an import of expensive salt. Mens is also the only other place with any amount of wool/mutton production outside of Castrus which is focused in the southern hills between Mens and the sprawling farmlands outside Valencia.
(village ~2,400 pop)
Built on the edge of the marsh delta Iliomar’s Folly and the only ancient access point to the northern ocean for Calandria before the fealty of Andrade was sworn, Bares has carved a rather prominent niche in the colder northern climes. From their floating homes, the townsfolk can still plainly see the old stone walls of the failed ancient settlement that gave the marsh its name. The primary industry of the town is the prominent stockfish production, second only to Andrade itself. Unlike Andrade, Bares pulls its product from the waters of the marsh and not the ocean. The people make use of a wide variety of the marine life found in the delta. While fish is their primary export, the people are known for even eating salamander (and the infamous salamander brandy – known for its hallucinogenic and aphrodisiac properties – which is considered illegal in… well… pretty much everywhere). The abundant plants and herbs provide a unique flavouring to Bares’ often questionable cuisine but even more importantly, it is the home of some unique plants valuable for alchemical work and a lucrative export for the town. Finally, Bares has a very prominent hunting lodge and community. The members make the trek out through the Broken Spine Uplands to the wild coastline to catch deer and caribou.
(lumber village ~1,100 pop)
Many hold that this town is the fourth fort of Calandria. A rather impressive lumber trade has developed in Ferrol and the town itself impresses first time visitors expecting some rustic, northern backwater instead of a well structured and fortified settlement. The people of Ferrol pride themselves on their craft and are capable of creating many remarkable structures and monuments from the wood they harvest in the thick Ceagulla Highlands. The palisade isn’t just an impressive show of their talents, however, as it is an important barrier against the beasts that stalk the highlands. At the height of production, one of the most impressive displays is to watch the log jammers make the voyage down the Ice River Mino on the massive rolling stacks of harvested trees. Many liken it to a portable bridge spanning the entire length of the deep river and their navigation is so expert as to be almost graceful. Outside of the massive amount of wood, Ferrol also makes use of the other treasures of the Ceagulla Highlands. Medicine and alcohol is produced from the components of the trees. Leaves and branches are used to brew a mighty spruce beer and the fresh shoots are a natural and staple source of vitamin C for the townsfolk. The leaves also maintain much of the plant’s water and bundles are carried as a portable water source. The people of Ferrol have certainly earned their nickname of Tree-Eaters.
(mining town ~300 pop)
Calandria’s most eastern settlement, Ares is nestled between the thick Leyme Woods and the Ridgeback. Ares has seen recent growth with the discovery of the copper veins in the nearby mountainside. Prior it had been a less productive lumber town with production focused on the softer deciduous woods than what’s found in the hardy highlands. The woods themselves are primarily elm (Leyme is the old tongue for elm) as well as aspen, birch and willow. Outside the elm, the other woods aren’t seen nearly as valuable though the aspen is used for a number of medicinal remedies throughout the petty kingdom.
(village, distillery, berry farms ~200 pop)
Noya would be just another unremarkable village unworthy of mention in any almanac if it weren’t for but one thing: cranberries. All along the river Cabron, travellers can find a sea of the floating red berries being harvested. A series of natural streams snaking off the Cabron create an irrigation network that allows the villagers to easily plant and grow the vines. Then, during harvest, the villagers dam the Cabron at key locations to flood the upland stretches and make gathering the floating berries easier. Then, the winter chill comes and freezes the flooded land, locking the moisture for next year’s harvest as the Cabron dams are torn down to allow the river passage once more. The recorded residents of Noya include the village proper and the berry farmers stretching up its rivers. When not harvesting the berries, most turn to illegal hunting of wild game in the highlands or trekking to Mens for fishing. Of particular note to travellers is a small brewery in Noya which is said to make an absolutely divine cranberry liqueur.
Situated at the foot of Bandua’s Pike is an ancient site. The old ruins are from a time and people long forgotten and most of the structure has crumbled beyond recognition. It has seen a brief revival in recent times as villagers whisper morbid tales of the Countess sending ‘undesirables’ into its darkened depths to be forgotten.
These settlements represent the fortified corners of Calandria. They protect the old entrances to the petty kingdom. Val Meyra guards Mantrove’s Crossing, Val Vaiera the old Sarria river entrance and Val Minor the old northern route. Valencia protected the southern portion of Castrus but grew far beyond being useful as a fortification.
(garrison ~500 pop)
The smallest of Calandria’s fortification network, Val Minor would be the weak point in the armour if the natural landscape didn’t offer its own great protection. Across the rivers lie the soaring Ridgeback Mountains; a long chain far too arduous and difficult for an army to march. While many disused paths run up its side, the locals maintain that only two passages fully cross the range. Mantrove’s Crossing to the south, guarded by Val Meyra and the traditional entry into Calandria and the legendary Northern Route which has seen no use in memory and is held to be merely legend on its own. Val Minor’s most prominent service is to guard the logging route between Ferrol and Muros/Mens from wild beasts and creatures. It’s current standing force is twice as large as necessary but after the difficulties building Arosa’s Retreat, a greater show of force has been dispatched to the region.
(garrison ~2,000 pop)
Not typically considered important until tensions across the lake started to rise again. The neighbouring petty kingdoms have decided to test Calandria’s age old claim to the Uplands, moving people and warriors along Aluar’s coast in defiant claim of the previously ignored land. Fearing an invasion along historical lines, Jarl Brivis has been fortifying and expanding Val Vaiera and beneath the scaffolding it is turning into the region’s most impressive fortification, second only to massive Castrus itself. A sizable dock and small fleet is also being erected in the hopes to sail patrols along the Sarria and the ocean coast as an early warning to potential invasion from sea.
(garrison ~1,200 pop)
Second most important fort as it guards the oldest road leading into Calandria. Course, with the southern connection to the Crossroads running up to Valencia, the pass sort of idled to mediocrity but laziness and tradition had kept it the grandest and most staffed fortification until the recent necessity of fortifying and expanding Val Vaiera. Mantrove’s Crossing was the traditional route which brought the most trade in and out of Calandria as it passed through the much more manageable foothills of the Ridgebacks. However, the development of the southern kingdom’s connection to the Crossroads and increase in banditry beyond Calandria’s reach has reduced the trade passing along old Mantrove.