Breconn
intro (BREK-on)

Tech Code: 5
Governments: The Incorporated Feudal Fiefs of Taresrange, Travan, Noeled, Loydholm and Lene.
Religions: The Temple of the Sun; The Tare Cult; The Travis Cult; The Loyd Cult; The Noele Cult; The Adun Cult; Lodge Spirit Cults
Industries and Trades: maintain formatting
Major Terrain: Wood.
Primary Languages: Ralstaan.
Major Settlements: Mandorn's Deep, Mournhaven, Taresrange, Tohl Tare.

Geography


Physical Geography

Breconn is one of the smallest provinces of the Shaeish Kingdoms of Ralstaa, and along with Wynd is one of the only ones to be landlocked. It sits on the edges of the Starwood and Cwmbran between Coulbaigh, Wynd and Balleymoore. Few major features mark Brecon's terrain, and it is almost universally a land of low rolling hills, deep river cut vales and narrow winding rivers all blanketed in dense, dark forest with remote patches of dense virgin growth where no man has yet trodden. To the east and west towering mountain ranges in Wynd and Cwmbran shelter Breconn, and that sometimes gives the land an unnatural stillness and peace, and while storms do blow in across Coulbaigh, and rains do sweep down off the starwood, they are blunted, venting their rage on those lands before reaching the borders of Breconn the still.

Unlike Coulbaigh, with its partially tamed woods, or Wynd with its rugged barrens, Breconn is truly a domain afloat in the Starwood. The bulk of the land is unsettled, even unexplored. Copses of dense evergreen softwoods grow close together, clamouring for space. In some places they block out the sun with their thick, dark foliage. In others they grow almost trunk to trunk as they jostle to dominate the forest floor. The undergrowth is equally dense, and though riotous explosions of colour in the form of thorny wild roses are common, no traveller should approach the starwood's briar patches - they say that they only grow on the last resting places of unwary wanderers, and disguise some hazard or pitfall. Lazy streams criss-cross the land, more often heard than seen, but where the waterways and small falls do not reach the wood is eerily silent, and though countless birds pass overhead their cries do not penetrate to the forest floor. In some places the trees are stripped of their bark as if by intense heat, but nowhere else is there any evidence of fire.

Where the land is settled, many towns can only be reached by Ikar, and men only trek overland with loads that exceed the massive riding birds' strength - and then only in need. Men have chosen rocky places, where the trees are sparse, and built walls of timber stakes or stalwart stone against the woods. The only routes through Breconn are game trails and oxen-ploughed tracks remain, and the wood is tenacious in reclaiming its territory. In the towns and cities, and the few free hamlets, clean lines and hewn stone contrast the living riot of the woods, and hold them at bay, though sentries at night often glimpse faerie fires amongst the trees, or say they hear voices calling them by name. Such are the tricks of the wood.

Only in the far east, near the border with Coulbaigh, does the starwood proper relent, becoming the Ruirewood, and though there is no real break between the two, a traveller would immediately know the difference. While the Starwood is unrelenting, the Ruirewood is broken by sunny clearings. Loggers have attacked here without relent, and the fringes of the Ruirewood is battered and broken, but not defeated. There are more free hamlets in the east, and even roads. But they see the shadowy expanse of the true Starwood in the west, keen to reclaim their territory, and they are wary.

Political Geography

Despite the region's relatively small size, Breconn hosts five separate Kingdoms, leaving little land unclaimed by one King or another, as a result there are no major free hamlets or communities of churls in Breconn. House Tare controls Taresrange, House Travis rules over Travan, and currently occupies the city of Taresrange. The ever-neutral House Loyd rules over the land around one of the ancient Deepings; Mandorn's Deep, in which they actually make their home and from which they rule Loydholm. The Tierellic bastion of House Noele rules over Noeled, and House Lene controls the little Principality of Lene.

Taresrange

The westernmost of the fiefs of Breconn, Taresrange confuses many, because though the fief bears the name of House Tare, the township of Taresrange, formerly the fief's capitol, now lies within Travan. Taresrange is the remnant of the original kingdom of Breconn, though the house claims no descent from Breco the Reaver, founder of the now-dead house Breconn. Taresrange is the poorest of the fiefs of Breconn, broken into peace by incessant skirmishing with Travan. Perhaps when again Taresrange has gathered its strength, it will strike again at its old south-eastern foe.

Travan

Five generations ago Travan seceded from Taresrange, cutting the nation in half, and taking its old capitol, earning its place in the Hall of Heroes with ambition and aggression. The Travis Thanes had long been dissatisfied with Tare rule, and when they rose up and named themselves kings they started a conflict that reshaped Breconn, and continued until perhaps a decade ago when Taresrange, broken and impoverished, agreed to a treaty confirming the new borders.

Noeled

Noeled and Lene broke away from Breconn, making Breconn into Taresrange, before Viran reunited Ralstaa, waging a great and vicious war against their homeland. However that war is long forgotten, and now Noeled is less known for its conflict with House Tare than Travan is, (they have since made a grudging but cordial peace) and are famed for founding the Tierellic order, and being its home. No one would now dare make war on Noeled, though they knights position in any conflict would be unclear, and it has been free to fortify its lands, and grow prosperous - or as prosperous as a Starwood fief can be.

Lene

Lene broke away from Taresrange alongside Noeled, and has long been allied with its wealthier fellow. Breconn's smallest and most easterly nation, relies on its alliance with Noeled to keep it whole, but with this security it has been able to focus on growing Caer Lene into a city, and a centre of culture, trade, and thought. Despite its imposing location, wrapped in dense wood, the city of Caer Lene is wealthy, and welcomes scholars and preachers, and sponsors artists, architects and writers, presenting itself as a bastion of culture and knowledge in a savage land.

Loydholm

Separated from its homeland by the secession of Travan, the noblemen of Mandorn's Deep declared for neither side, seizing a small domain around their formidable holdfast, they refused to participate in the conflict, and have remained staunchly neutral since. Hospitality and inoffence have become an art form in Mandorn's Deep, and as a result House Loyd has made many powerful friends (if not formal allies) from all over the High Kingdom, and its ruler traditionally carries the moniker 'Prince of Hosts'.

Social Geography

Perhaps because of the military significance the High King places upon Breconn or perhaps because of the presence of the Tierellic Knights, royal gold flows into the kingdoms of the province, and it is becoming a great centre of industry for the Shaeish Kingdoms. And yet Breconn is almost as wild today as it was when Rallah still walked the land. Truly Breconn is the very image of the Ralstaan land. Deep, imposing forests broken by pockets of dense, suspicious civilization, ready to act. All able bodied men in all of Breconn's fiefs receive rudimentary training at the hands of the Tirellic order, against the inevitable day they are called to defend their home, against beast, raider or neighbour. And yet there could be no safer bastion than within the stout walls of the tohls of Breconn, anywhere in the world. Truly, Breconn is a land of wood and stone.

Folk here make their living never leaving sight of their home tohls, and generations of citizens have remained sedentary, living under the self same roof as their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so forth back into antiquity. In fact how far a family can trace its lineage settled in a given place, especially on the same site, is a source of great pride and prestige.This also leads to profound loyalty to the ruling monarch of a given fief, as if they were family, with a shared history and struggle. In most regions the local house cult is the most popular form of the Temple of the Sun - whether the cult traditionally welcomes outsiders or not - and people staunchly cling to their rulers, and the divine paragons that are their ancestors.

Setting Trait (value): name trait

As one might imagine, food can be scarce with no vast tracts of cultivated land supporting the tohls, but communal gardens in private courtyards at the core of every city block, and narrow tiered fields adorning the inner sides of the walls provide surprisingly well. Small livestock, such as chickens, roam wild the streets, born to those birds cunning enough to escape the servitude of the courtyards, and rooftop pens. Still, many fall victim to the enterprising birds of prey that circle incessantly, waiting for an opportunity. Faith forged in the crucible of peril, and loyalty to fief and family are the shield of the lands of Breconn, and most men agree that it is best complemented by a good stout stick for occasions when the best defence is a skull-crushing swipe.

History


Timeline

c. -1020 D The Ral leave the Isle of Men with the other three last tribes.

0 D Rallah ascends, leaving Ralstaa in the charge of her people.

938 D Voere arrives with the army of Viran Uth-Rallis.

972 D Viran Uth-Rallis dies in Tohl aged seventy-one.

1110 D Carin Uth-Rallis is crowned High King.
1114 D Present Day.

Anecdotal History

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People


Folk of Breconn

Breconn's people are city dwellers, wary of the woods, and more cosmopolitan than their Shaeish country-dwelling fellows. There are many similarities with Lleweith lands, such as Cwmbran, in the way the people live. But the people of Breconn are also proud and martial. Though they are suspicious of strangers they are a proud lot, sometimes braggadocios, and respectful of strength and skill. In Breconn warriors are celebrated, and the knights who fly into the cities on their powerful Ikars, and then stride out into the evil woods with neither fear nor hesitation, are adored. Worship of the evil spirits of the woods is unthinkable to all but the most sinister amongst them, and so Breconn's people cleave with passion to the heroes of the house cult of their fief, and know the history and lineage of their lords well.

Flora and Fauna

Many ancient maps say of the starwood, simply "Here be monsters", and they are right. To a settler the land is a horror, of shadowy woods, deadly predators, and waterways that promise only the most gruesome of ends. Life here is hard, ruthless, cruel, but tenacious. The eldritch woods of the starwood comprise maple, oak, ash, pine, birch, juniper, spruce, poplar and other evergreens, with towering redwoods and majestic firs clustered in regular stands. Beneath the all-encompassing canopies, a carpet of berries, briars, brambles, nettles, moss, and creeping ivy share the ground with large mushrooms, and venomous yellow and red starberries. Beautiful groves of ethereal wild flowers play host to the deadly violet musk-blossoms and man-eating serpent ivy.

Spotted owls, golden eagles, condors, and falcons as well as larger ikar and griffins rule the skies, looking for squirrels, martens and shrews cowering in the undergrowth. Even hird and deer aren't safe from their talons, and the buzzards pick at their leavings. Brown and black bears, and wolves rule the hilly country, but struggle to pass the thick undergrowth that hosts badgers, and stoats. Giant wood-roach, and phosphorescent fire-crickets, fairies and all manner of other small, flying insects make their homes in the trees, and the tree bark, while giant venomous centipedes dominate the rotting forest floor. Warblers, thrushes, cuckoos, woodpeckers, magpies and crows, grouse, pheasants, turkeys, wood pigeons, partridges, terns, buntings, herons, egrets and others yet to be discovered fill the trees with cacophonous song - but even these lords of the canopies are themselves prey to those above and below.

The snaking forest rivers play host to eels, carp, roach, trout, and pink salmon, but they are also home to ravenous bunyip who wait for those stopping to drink at the water's edge. To make matters worse, hagfish and lampreys wait in the shallows, and some even grow to gargantuan size - their hideous mottled flesh slipping easily through the mud and silt of the river bed.

Notable Individuals

His Majesty, King of Tohl Tare, King Shannen Ur-Tare
shannen.jpgKing Shannen of Tohl Tare is young, passionate, and fiery. Quick to broiling temper and just as quick to roaring laughter, the energy, tenacity and self-assuredness of youth is embodied in this stout, long-bearded youth. He came to his throne when the death of his father Sharn ended a long and bitter time of conflict between Taris and Travan, when he was but a princeling, and a steward ruled in his stead while he completed his paige service. Shannen has been kept under control since his return by a court that does not want a return to costly warfare, but seeing the perpetrators of his father's death sitting in the halls his ancestors built with their own hands weighs heavily upon him, and the duty of vengeance is with him daily. It seems inevitable that the passionate young king will seek to settle the score with Travan, though for now he seems willing to bide his time.

His Highness, Master of Mandorn’s Deep, Prince Garrick of Loyd
The master of Mandorn’s Deep, Garrick inherited rule of his iconic home from his long-lived great grandfather. He also inherited a court thought of as the backwater of Breconn. Despite the wondrous nature of the deeping where he made his home, the fief that came with the deeping and the tiny city that surrounds it is easily the least significant in the land of Breconn. Thankfully, Garrick is a private man, and this is the way he prefers it. His land is safe thanks to the proximity of so many strong militant fiefs, and he has little that aggressive neighbours might want, and a fastness that would cost even the famed Ralstaan siege engineers dearly to take. This meant that Garrick, who spent his early years at court in Tohl, and was something of a scoundrel and gambler in that time, was free to lead a leisurely reign and move to and from the City of Lights as he chose. Now that he is well into his middle years, Garrick has begun to show a flair for staesmanship however, and has been the key to brokering a number of important treaties in Breconn. Even the Aetheling Prince Sean makes a point of stopping at the deep when he is in the region, and Garrick's quiet, leisurely reign is threatening to become something altogether more important.

His Lordship, The Grand Marshal of the Tierellic Knights, Cerdren Noele ‘Kingbanner’ Uth-Edric
The implacable and feared Cerdren Kingbanner is Grand Marshal of the Tierellic Knights, and keeper of their Brecon chapter house. The eminent Cerdren has held the post for nearly six years now, and has proved himself both a canny tactician and a hard task master, driving his knights ruthlessly to almost superhuman standards of skill at arms and feats of strength and endurance. The uncle of King Harold of Noeled, Cerdren is also a key advisor to the King, and spreads his time between his duties to his order, and his duties to his house, to the point of standing down from his duties to the temple of the sun - a controversial, but sensible move - and creating a grand chaplain for the order in his place. Encouraging his knights more and more to operate singly like a questing knight and found Tors aligned to the the order all over Ralstaa, some might accuse Cerdren of having his eyes on the post of Grand Marshal of Ralstaa - a post that has not been filled since Allan Caldare himself! Though of course he firmly denies any such suggestion.

His Majesty, King of Taresrange, King Tyrone 'Lordgard' Uth-Travis
Tyrone was never going to be a King. He was not born with an ancestor in the hall of heroes. He was not a commoner, but considering how far he has risen he may as well have been a simple field churl. A noble in the court of the King of Taresrange, Tyrone so distinguished himself as a warrior in the wars between Taris and Travan that King Alduin sponsored him to go to Tohl and become a knight. Upon his return the gruff, earnest young man, who tended to rely on actions to speak for him, was given responsibility for the safety of the royal house - particularly Alduin's Queens and children, for he trusted the youth's integrity absolutely. Still, even in the light of this trust, it came as a surprise to everyone when Alduin arranged for Tyrone to wed his third daughter, and then acclaimed her, and thus Tyrone, his heir. Now that Alduin is passed, Tyrone and his young Queen Julienne rule the fief, and navigate the fragile peace with Taris and the volatile border with Thalentis. Still preferring to let Julienne do the talking, everyone knows that the power of the throne comes from Tyrone, and not everyone feels good about that.

Today in Breconn…


Though Breconn might be a densely claimed land, isolated in the deep Starwood, and populated by teeming tohls separated by miles of unchecked wilderness, it is also a land of military might, and perpetual manoeuvring and jostling for position, strength and standing. Many of the kings here have their eye on greater things and meanwhile miles of untamed forest broils with mystery and malice. In the halls of Mandorn's Deep, where travellers gather to share tales, and rogues and vagabonds who number amongst the Prince of Hosts' many friends tell what they have seen on the roads, the most told story is that of a series of thefts at the legendary swordyard of Noeled. Long have fallen Ralstaan knights had their swords immortalized on this hillside, as they do on all famed battle sites, as befits their skill, but lately many of the older swords have vanished at the hands of some thief in the night. Though they are of fine make, such ancient weapons surely cannot have any value beyond the historic, and yet they disappear.

Juicier speculation regards the generations-old alliance between Noeled and Lene. Some say that King Harold is growing tired of House Lene growing prosperous under his protection, and offering little in return. Some say that this is a mere frustration he has expressed at court, and nothing will come of it beyond further negotiations between the two fiefs. Others say that it is the beginning of Harold's conviction to expand his borders to include a lucrative second city, offering to make the Lene princes his vassals in return for allowing them to keep their throne. Some others have suggested that Lene is looking to expand its own holdings by seeking allies against Noeled, by appearing bullied and maligned, in the hope of carving off a piece of the domain while it battles with a greater power. Of course, it could all be mere hearsay.

The Knives of Rallah, High Kingdom of Ralstaa
The Shaeish Kingdoms Caldare, Donnaigh, Rhuovaith, Kileirey, Balleymoore, Cannavin, Wynd, Breconn, Coulbaigh
The Lleweith Kingdoms Avalaigh, Haeliard, Lammornia, Branddale, Talladale, Bradenthyr, Tohl
The Starwood Cwmbran, Kentallen Wood, Uerenuell
Tuarvael Castrette, Serlot, Friesse
The Dunsain Kingdoms Byrnham, Blackstone, Craigbyrn, Duncarrick, Strath Gorge, Garynshae, The Clanlands, Aulorn's Gate
Director's Miscellany Amenities, Culture, Gear & Prices, Professions, Random Encounters, Small Settlement Generator, Supporting Cast Generator