The Barony of Laesmoor
One of the Borderlands on the northeastern edge of the Great Remen Empire. A nation under siege. The Empire that once backed it is gone, and with it a major source of soldiers and gold. The Orcs to the west are getting more bold every season, it is feared they will soon mount a massive invasion. This is where the campaign begins.
- 1 The People
- 2 Roads and Rivers
- 3 Cities and Towns
- 4 Society
- 5 The situation
- 6 Orc Tribes
With a population of just a little over 170,000, the barony is getting crowded for a country of its size. A little over one third of the population is urban. This is starting to strain the barony's resources. The baron wants to expand, but between the threat from the orcs and the fear of entering the elven forest or the lands of the empire the people have nowhere to go.
Roads and Rivers
The western river running past Hopsdeen to Belfast is Mount River. It's a swiftly flowing river a quarter mile across in places. This makes it hard to cross except in certain places. There are fords at Hopsdeen and Bedsbrygh. This is why those towns are there, to block passage to the orc raiders that often try to come across there. More often now the orcs will try to cross the river between Geneessbyrgh and Belfast with small skiffs. For that reason this area is heavily patrolled.
The eastern river running from Conwrightfast to Portsfast is the crystal river, so called because it leads to the inland crystal sea.
The southern river leading to Lavernfast is the Lavern River. The area between the ends of the Lavern and Mount rivers is called the Rivergate. So named because this is like a natural opening to allow the orcs in. During the spring and summer companies of the Barons army encamp in a line along the Rivergate just waiting for the orcs to arrive.
The road connecting Conwrightfast to Belfast is the Baron's road. From Conwrightfast to Portfast is the Merchant's road. The one from Midfast to Glaksbyrgh and beyond is the Emperor's road. The one from Abinbyrgh to Lavernfast is Farmer's road. And from Belfast to Portfast is called Soldier's road, for reasons that should be obvious.
Cities and Towns
Only the thirteen largest are shown on the map. Almost two-thirds of the population of the Barony lives in small hamlets and villages that are not shown. These villages average two per 10 mile hex.
The westernmost point of the barony, it is often the first to be attacked by the orcs each spring.
- Population: 7,360
- Soldiers: 560 = 4 companies, 1 cavalry squadron, and 1 raider platoon.
- Lord Mayor: Lane Burnett
- Councilman: Bryce Shaw
- Chief Constable: Clarence Whitten
- Army Commander: Major Sir Dennis Parkinson
Belfast is as the name suggests, a heavily fortified city. The orc raiders seldom attack it directly, rather they roam through the nearby villages and farm lands. This forces her soldiers to come out from behind her massive walls to confront their hardy enemy on open ground, suffering far more casualties than if they fought a more defensive battle. Being so often first to fight has bred a tough and stoic culture. The people of Belfast like to think of themselves as particularly corageous and skillful fighters and it can be dangerous to suggest that they overestimate themselves. The patron god of Belfast is Mars.
- Population: 11,900
- Soldiers: 3,500 = 3 Miliments (10 companies or about 1,000 soldiers per miliment), 3 cavalry squadrons, and 1 company of the Baron's own personal guard.
- Lord Mayor: Baron Johnathon Conwright von Laesmoor
- Chief Constable: Sir Donovan Foster
- Sheriff of Laesmoor: Sir Edward Tilton
- Army Commander: Lord General Sir Thaddeus Sutorius
The barony's largest city, and her capitol. The citizens go about their lives in between the most massive chain of compartmentalized fortifications outside of the empire. They tend to think of themselves as more sophisticated, and perhaps smarter, than those from other towns. Conwrightfast is certainly the center of education in the Barony of Laesmoor. The patron god of Conwrightfast is Jupiter.
- Population: 6,170
- Soldiers: 450 = 3 companies, 1 cavalry squadron, and 1 raider platoon.
- Lord Mayor: Geoffrey Cowper
- Councilman: Steven Anderson
- Chief Constable: Victor Pfeifer
- Army Commander: Major Sir Clement Howe
The eastern point of the defensive gap known as the Rivergate. During the warm seasons her patrols are constantly skirmishing with orc raiders along the Baron's Road. The warriors of Lavernfast have a rivalry with the warriors of Belfast, over who is tougher. When both serve together in an army, it has become traditional to put Belfast on the right wing and Lavernfast on the left wing, to keep them apart.
- Population: 5,380
- Soldiers: 1,200 = 1 Miliment, and 2 cavalry squadrons.
- Lord Mayor: Harland Davidson
- Councilman: Samuel Gregory
- Chief Constable: Sir Paul Brenner
- Army Commander: Colonel Sir Thomas Highway
A fortified city that sits where the Empire's Road meets the Merchant's Road. Centrally located, its troops form the barony's central reserve. The best horses in the Barony come from Midfast and the horsemen of Midfast are regarded as second to none. The patron god of Midfast is Neptune, bringer of horses.
- Population: 4,610
- Soldiers: 250 = 2 companies of marines, and a platoon of men-at-arms.
- Lord Mayor: Karen Warren
- Councilman: Barney Toulmin
- Chief Constable: Sir Gerald Orbach
- Army Commander: Admiral Raoul Courvosier
Once bustling with traffic to and from the empire's western shore the barony's only port is become the realm's largest fishing village. Perhaps more than anywhere else in the Barony, Portfast has been hardest hit by the fall of the Remen empire. Severely economically depressed and often short on food, they cling to the memory of their glory days when life was prosperous and easy. The patron God of Portfast is Mercury, although many if not most feel as if the god has abandoned them. Portfast is believed to be the birthplace of the Flame of the Sky cult, a underground, nihilistic, mystical movement that believes that the catalysm that wiped out the Remen empire was merely the beginning of the end of the world.
- Population: 1,980
- Soldiers: 460 = 4 companies, and 1 raider platoon.
- Lord Mayor: Dennis Ballard
- Councilman: Ulysses Clemett
- Chief Constable: Sir Chet Baird
- Army Commander: Major Jasper Armstrong
Blocking the largest ford on Mounts River, Hopsdeen is a essentially a fortified town. Hopsdean is famous for its alcohol industry, one of the few industries not seriously hurt by the cataclysm. While it produces a number of prestigious fine wines, it is dark, nutty beer that generates most of the trade wealth.
- Population: 1,170
- Soldiers: 105 = 1 company
- Lord Mayor: Keith Davidson
- Councilman: Daniel Knots
- Chief Constable: Sir Donald Watkins
- Army Commander: Captain James Walker
The woodsmen here provide almost all of the lumber for the barony. Warriors from Abinbyrgh are famous for their skill with their traditional weapon, the axe. Proximity to the Elves has lead some to regard the people of Abinbyrgh with suspicion. In fact, they tend to be very normal, down-to-earth people, though both madness and magery seem unusually common among them. The patron god of Abinbyrgh is Diana, although many craftspeople now favor Vulcan instead.
- Population: 1,940
- Soldiers: 360 = 3 companies, and 1 raider platoon.
- Lord Mayor: Richard Crawford
- Councilman: Rudy Flair
- Chief Constable: Leon Billichek
- Army Commander: Major Stanley Altmann
A low wall along the ford is manned day and night during the warm seasons. Occasionally patrols striking into the Orclands will stage from here. Conflict with the Orcs has been draining for the little town and the population is falling. Some fear that Bedsbyrgh is doomed. The warriors of Bedsbyrgh have often been praised for their endurance, but increasingly, the soldiers who take the feild look too young or too old.
- Population: 3,710
- Soldiers: 260 = 2 companies, and 1 raider platoon.
- Lord Mayor: Jerrod Field
- Councilman: Donte Reichard
- Chief Constable: Sir Vaughn Caldwell
- Army Commander: Captain Johnathan Rico
With no ford orcs seldom cross the river here. Rather Camsbyrgh is a large market village. Though there are always more than enough soldiers around, just is case. Camsyrgh has come out of the catalysm relatively well. The destruction of the Remen empire required the rearrangement of trade routes and Camsyrgh was quick to capitalize on the opportunity. Most of their wares are utilitarian items that they manufactor out of local or imported raw materials; especially clothes, tools and weapons. There is resentment from some locals against immigrants, especially ambitious strangers from Conwrightfast or Belfast and refugees from Portfast or Glaksbyrgh.
- Population: 2,880
- Soldiers: 210 = 2 companies.
- Lord Mayor: Alec Crawford
- Councilman: Josiah Pinney
- Chief Constable: Troy Randolph
- Army Commander: Major Esteban Davis
Though there is no ford here the stretch of river between here and Belfast is often the site of orc crossings. Or attempted crossings most of the time. Protracted fighting has forced the town to turn to mercenaries in order to protect itself. Many feel shamed by this and everyone recognizes that the mercenaries cause trouble around town. Many are asking how Lord Mayer Alec Crawford is paying for it all, since the official treasury ran out long ago.
- Population: 2,610
- Soldiers: 102 = 1 company
- Lord Mayor: Nathan Mcloskey
- Councilman: Reuben Hall
- Chief Constable: Damon Reed
- Army Commander: Captain Robert Clarke
Once the sight of massive caravans heading into or coming from the empire was a daily occurrence. People are starting to move to other towns or cites. Like Portfast, Glakbyrgh is dying. Portfast's Flame of the Sky cult found fertile ground in Glaksyrgh and has taken root. Fear of the cult, along with economic depression, has lead to an atmosphere of paranoia and Glaksbyrgh has executed more people than it can afford to lose.
- Population: 1,990
- Soldiers: 50 = 1 platoon
- Lord Mayor: Tim Boyer
- Councilman: Virgil Pratt
- Chief Constable: William Pullman
- Army Commander: Lieutenant Gary Knisely
A large fishing village. Many people have moved here in recent years and it's really a town. There is tension between the native families and the immigrants over the meaning of the cataclysm. The native families tend to believe that the cataclysm was a punishment from Jupiter, warning humanity to turn away from sin. The immigrants tend to think that it was just a random disaster.
- Population: 2,420
- Soldiers: 260 = 2 companies, and 1 raider platoon.
- Lord Mayor: Taylor Perry
- Councilman: Gregory Howe
- Chief Constable: Jarrett Salson
- Army Commander: Major Anthony Rowley
A fishing village, and the southernmost point of the barony. Traffic to and from the other Borderlands has dwindled to nothing in the last few years. The population of the village is falling through emigration, some north into the heart of the Barony but more into the wilderness, convinced that it is the only way to avoid a second cataclysm.
The realm of the Fallen Empire is tech level 3, and was about to transition to TL 4 when the Cataclysm struck. So while it appears medieval because of the physical tech level other advances make the society much different than any medieval society.
Schools are common in every town. While children are not required to go parents often send them, especially in the towns and cities. They recognize that their children will do better if they are educated. This primary school lasts for 8 years, and is free to attend. After that are private trade schools, which do cost money to attend, but virtually guarantee a well paying career. Each of the fasts also has a University. Mostly it is the wealthy that can afford to send their children to a university, there are a small number of scholarships made available to those students that prove their intelligence and ability to learn. Fully 50% of the people of Laesmoor are literate to some extent.
Business models include actual planning, mathematics, and statistics. Town newspapers are given out freely, paid for not by the reader, but by advertisements stamped on the top and bottom of the folded pages. Many workers belong to Guilds which act like modern workers unions.
Medical care is tech level 4, with the added benefits of what would nowadays be called common sense. While surgery isn't possible yet, magical healing is occasionally available. Simple things like washing hands, and wounds, and doctors not killing their patients with leaches means that medical care in the realm of the Fallen Empire is leaps and bounds more effective than medieval medical care. People shun the sick, and are careful to keep latrines away from houses and food. This alone makes a huge difference in preventing outbreaks of disease.
Law and Order
Though the Baron is something of a dictator, the council of cities does have some input into things and can actually veto the Barons laws with a supermajority. The idea that free people have certain rights is guaranteed by the laws of the land. Constables cannot simply attack or kill people on a whim as was common in medieval society. While suspects cannot be forced to testify against their will, everyone who takes the stand in court is forced to tell the truth by magic. This simplifies laws, court rules, and trials considerably. Imprisonment is rare. It's expensive and doesn't benefit the Barony. Rather those found guilty of crimes are either fined, given a few lashes, enslaved to work in the mines or build walls, or in some cases executed. Punishments are generally carried out immediately, though occasionally a good barrister will be able to arrange for an appeal to a higher magistrate.
Constables are not part of the army, they are separate and answerable to the mayor of the city, or to the sheriff for those that patrol between the towns. They patrol the streets of the cities and towns day and night. Armed with a metal-shod club and a very loud whistle. Some basic forensics do exist, mostly based on magic. Most larger departments also employ a few detectives to work on high crimes not immediately solved by the patrolmen. Often these detectives will know a spell or two, or will be a priest or mage working to help the department.
While freemen have the right to arm themselves, walking around a city in with full armor and weapons will eventually get the attention of a large group of constables, usually with a few soldiers to back them up. If you don't have good reason to be walking around with said arms and armor they will persuade you to go home and remove them. Generally wearing a cloth gambeson, a leather jerkin, or nothing larger than a short sword is fine, and even common in the towns on the bank of the Mount River.
The Baron's army is a professional one, modeled after the Legions of the Empire. They carry crossbows, and are trained to fire them in unison for maximum effect. The foot soldiers also have broadswords, and use spears from the rearward ranks. The army's tight formations can be devastating when used correctly against the lighter, unorganized orcs. Since they have the stirrup, the army also has heavy cavalry units. These units are small, and are generally employed by striking the flank of an engaged unit.
The army also has special forces units called Raiders. These groups operate in company or platoon strength much like the historical Rogers Rangers. They strike deep into the heartlands of the orcs, hoping to draw the orcs back to guard their own villages, and to get some payback for the crimes of the orcs. Because the orclands are badlands with little vegetation raiders don't usually have horses. Instead they are trained runners, fit and capable of running for hours at a time.
Abinbyrgh Axe-Fighting 4 points.
Taught only in the town of Abinbyrgh, this traditional art is looked on as strange and barbaric by the rest of Laesmor. Abinbyrgh doesn’t care. It is the style of their forefathers and it is brutally effective.
Skills: Brawling, Melee Weapon (Axe/Mace), Shield. Techniques: Target Attack (Axe/Mace / Leg). Perks: Grip Mastery (Axe/Mace), Weapon Bond.
Belfast School 4 points
The warriors of Belfast are famous for their courage and skill and the Belfast School has become popular beyond the confines of their town. The Belfast School of fighting emphasizes being aggressive and unpredictable.
Skills: Melee Weapon (Broadsword), Shield, Spear, Wrestling. Techniques: Arm Lock (Wrestling), Feint (Broadsword), Ground Fighting, Targeted Attack (Broadsword Swing / Head, Targeted Attack (Broadsword Swing / Neck). Perks: Grip Mastery (Broadsword), Ground Guard, Weapon Bond.
Classical 4 points
The art of swordsmanship is centuries old in Laesmoor and traditional fighting schools are found everywhere. Masters of the classical style care nothing for fashion or gimmicks, trusting in proven techniques and skill.
Skills: Melee Weapon (Broadsword), Riding, Shield, Spear. Techniques: Feint (Broadsword), Targeted Attack (Broadsword Swing / Neck). Perks: Grip Mastery (Broadsword), Weapon Bond.
Lavernfast School 4 points
The warriors of Levernfast have proved themselves again and again on the battlefield and the sword style of Lavernfast has won reputation and popularity throughout Laesmoor. Training emphasizes timing and perfect balance.
Skills: Boxing, Melee Weapon (Broadsword), Shield, Spear. Techniques: Counterattack (Broadsword), Feint (Broadsword), Targeted Attack (Broadsword Swing / Arm), Targeted Attack (Broadsword Swing / Neck). Perks: Grip Mastery (Broadsword), Weapon Bond.
Remen 4 points
Remen fighting survived the death of the empire, due to emulation by the nobility of the borderlands. In Laesmoor, the army of Conwrightfast had already entirely adapted the Remen style of battle by the time the cataclysm destroyed the empire. Involving more economy of movement than local styles, some look on it as decadent and mechanical. Others romanticize it as a great lost secret of the Remen empire.
Skills: Melee Weapon (Broadsword), Shield, Thrown Weapon (Spear). Techniques: Retain Weapon, Target Attack (Broadsword Thrust / Chinks Vitals). Perks: Grip Mastery (Broadsword), Weapon Bond.
The Barony is in trouble. It is on war footing, just waiting for the next orc assault. It no longer has the annual wagons of gold coming from the Empire that was once its primary source of income. The Baron has finally exhausted his reserve funds, and the council of cities is threatening a veto if he raises taxes again. Right now the Baron and his advisors are casting about, looking for anything that might help them out of the looming crisis.
Many different tribes of Orc periodically invade the Barony of Laesmoor. The following are five of the worst offenders.
Bloody Eye Orc
The Bloody Eye are particularly hated even by other Orcs. What they lack in intelligence, they make up for in size, strength and sheer viciousness. Bloody Eye plans rarely extend much further than destroying things and mutilating people. Skin tends to be pinkish-grey and extremely warty while hair is black and patchy. While they generally don’t care much for art, they do compete to see who can have the most body-piercings and are often interested in human jewelry. Bloody Eye Orcs have the entire Orc package plus:
Attributes: ST +2, DX -1, IQ -1 Advantages: DR 1 (Limitation: Tough Skin), Extra Hit Points (3).
Fighting Style: Skills: Brawling, Melee Weapon (Axe/Mace), Melee Weapon (Two-Handed Axe/Mace). Techniques: Eye-Gouging, Targeted Attack (Axe/Mace Swing / Neck). Perks: Grip Mastery (Axe/Mace), Grip Mastery (Two-Handed Axe/Mace)
Wasp River Orc
The Wasp River tribe breeds so prolifically that population pressure is always forcing fresh invasions of other lands, mostly Orcish but sometimes Human. Natural hunters and scouts, they are famous for the terrible effectiveness of their archery. Skin is a greenish-brown with hair growing on the back only. When going into battle, they ritually cut and bleed over themselves for luck. Wasp River Orcs have the entire Orc Package plus:
Attributes: ST -1, DX +1, IQ +1
Fighting Style: Skills: Brawling, Bow, Fast-Draw (Arrow), Knife, Stealth. Techniques: Targeted Attack (Bow / Vitals). Perks: Strongbow, Technique Adaptation (Targeted Attacks).
Broken Fang Orc
Instantly recognizable by their ritually smashed teeth, the Broken Fang are lead not by their warchiefs but by their shamans. They say that the gods of the Orcs have promised them the lands of Laesmoor as their own. They know that they will have to fight for it, but then, the gods of the Orcs never give anything away for free. Skin ranges from light brown to pure black. Hair is white, yellow or red and is worn long. When marching into battle, they carry dead animals before them on long poles as a message to their enemy. Wasp River Orcs have the entire Orc Package plus:
Attributes: ST +1, HT +1 Advantages: Extra Fatigue (3), Extra Hit Points (2), Hard to Kill (1), High Pain Threshold.
Fighting Style: Skills: Brawling, Melee Weapon (Spear), Thrown Weapon (Spear). Techniques: Head Butt, Reverse Grip (Spear). Perks: Grip Mastery (Spear).
Blood Drinker Orc
It may be the tribe’s habit of drinking human blood that first gave rise to the rumor that blood drinkers have human blood, but there is something disturbingly manlike in their features. It doesn’t make them any prettier. If anything, the effect is just the opposite, as bestial features meld with human ones. The Blood Drinkers themselves maintain that they are the original, pure-breed strain of Orc and all others are infected by cross-breading with lesser races. Ironically, blood drinkers often copy human dress to emphasize their superiority to other Orcs. Wasp River Orcs have the entire Orc Package plus:
Attributes: IQ+1 Advantages: Extra Hit Points (2).
Fighting Style: Skills: Brawling, Melee Weapon (Broadsword), Shield. Techniques: Feint (Broadsword), Targeted Attack (Swing / Leg), Targeted Attack (Thrust / Vitals). Perks: Sure-Footed (Uneven).
Black Wolf Orc
The Black Wolf Orcs may be small, but they are mean, crazy and attack in great numbers. They aren’t known for surviving long and often show more zeal than skill, but nobody can doubt their courage. A swarm of mad Black Wolf is a terrifying thing, made only worse by the screeches and howls of their shrill battle-songs. Black Wolf Orcs are covered in brown-grey scales. They have coarse black hair and glinting yellow eyes. Ears are stretched from birth so that they can be distended on wooden frames for display. Wasp River Orcs have the entire Orc Package plus:
Attributes: ST -2, DX +1. Advantages: Combat Reflexes. Disadvantages: Beserk.
Fighting Style: Skills: Brawling, Melee Weapon (Knife). Techniques: Disarming (Knife), Evade, Targeted Attack (Thrust / Vitals). Perks: Off-Hand Weapon Training, Teamwork.