Tuesday, February 12, 2013

[Olden Lands Gazetteer Preview] United Principalities of Itlania

His Serene Highness, Vincenzo Basile, Chancellor of the Royal Senate, Prince-Regent of Itlanis, Prince-Elector of the Gottic Empire (Neutral 13th level Noble Thief)

Capital: Itlanis (pop. 50,000)
Other Major Settlements:
Catlazano (pop. 16,100)
Galgano (pop. 18,900)
Potlenza (pop. 22,100)
Humans: 8,000,000
Demi-humans: Few (mostly mercenaries or artisans)
Humanoids: Some (mostly raiders or small groups of mercenaries)
Monsters: Few, mostly undead from the Mountains of Blood, though there are many native ghosts, phantasms, and shades in the older cities, remnants from the Dark Ages. There is also a strong superstition concerning the faeries of Twixt, as, for whatever reason, they seem to enjoy causing trouble in Itlania (perhaps because there are so few other monsters to be found). The so-called Fatamále, as the Unseelie are known, have been extraordinarily active of late, and the Witch-Finders of the Temple of Law have been busy hunting down their mortal allies.
Languages: Itlanic; Itlanic, Strigorian, Élyséenais, Elysian
Resources: Electrum, food (wheat, wine), gems (amethysts, pearls), silver

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Itlania is a land of contrasts, from the fertile plains along the Sea of Dread of Itlanis and Potlenza, to the rolling hills of Galgano and Catlazano, to the high forested peaks of the Aegipan Peaks, it has a highly variable geography. This is mirrored by its history, for long ago the coastlands were ruled by primitive city-states of mixed Deshreti, Kartaghan, and Guidhel sort, the hills were dominated by primitive Guidhel tribes, and the mountains were the domain of the Sylvan and Faerie folk. Then the Elysians arrived, and conquered first the coast, then the hills, and finally the mountains. The Elysian Empire combined the disparate kingdoms their ancestors had carved out into provinces under the rule of the High Lord of Itlanis, and the region became the second heartland of the Empire. Even to this day many Elysian maps note Itlania as West Elysion, locally known as Itlania.

By the time of the Doom of Elysion, the disparate peoples of the land had melded into a single cultural and linguistic sort, the Itlanian, though of course each region and city has its own distinct sub-culture and dialect. The land had been spared the worst of the Doom, and the city of Itlanis was perhaps the only surviving port city along the coast of the Serene Sea. Also, the new Gregorian Church had found solid support in the land, from the peasants to the nobility, and thus they were able to help assuage the fears and repair the damage caused by the Doom. And so it was here that for a brief time, under the first Kingdom of Itlanis, civilization thrived, until the second king, Gregorio II, foolishly attempted to claim the Imperial Purple, and for his hubris brought about the wrath of the Titans in the form of the first Dragon Swarm.

During the long Dark Age that followed, Itlania fell back into a patchwork of petty domains and pocket principalities. However, the seeds laid here by the Gregorian Church and the minstrels and questing knights of the Golden Empire grew into strong green shoots, and finally blossomed with the founding of the second Kingdom of Itlania in 1296 under Gregorio III, the then-Prince of Itlanis, who reunited the land from the River of Blood to the Velantine under his banner. From that kernel grew the great Itlanian Empire, founded by Meromagnus I in 1500. That empire finally fell, as all do in time, and in 1715 the region again divided into squabbling principalities and duchies. From 1775 the principalities were legally part of the Gottic Empire, though they often went their own ways as it suited them, and they did so most decisively after the fall of the empire in 1965.

Since then the disparate principalities, duchies, counties, baronies, and city-states of Itlania have been united in name, though not much in spirit. The nobles are acquisitive, the guildsmen are grasping, the priests and even clergy are scheming, and the peasants are clannish, while all are given to feuding over real or imagined slights, let alone over land, wealth, and power. The only thing that keeps them united at all is the threat of conquest by the Elysian Empire, infiltration by the Oligarchs of the Septarchy, or invasion by Paynims, Saracens, or Alspadians. The moment any real or imagined danger disappears, the whole land falls into feuding and fighting. Thus, the major task of the Chancellor of the Royal Senate for the last several decades has been to makes sure there are always at least some low-grade threats on the horizon to keep the warring factions in line!

Prince-Regent Basile, however, now has his hands full, with the very real combined threats of the Great Plague, Paynim invasions, Kryxon ships, and Millennialist Cults far more than he or any man can handle. The Millennialist Cults were more active here than elsewhere, and many cities are still burning from their activities during the end-of-year holidays. Adding fuel to the fire are the Witch-Finders out of Gregorius seeking to burn every wizard who looks at them sideways and the bounty hunters out of the Septarchy hunting down the remnants of the Assassins Guilds who were behind the Terror that followed the revolt of the nobles. And to add to his grief, his nephew, also named Vincenzo, comes of age this year and he will not only lose his power as Prince-Regent but likely also his seat as Chancellor!

Itlania is one of the most urbanized realms of the Olden Lands. There are more than 70 cities each with a population of 5,000 or more, and strictly speaking, Velantia is an Itlanian city, though it is completely independent of the Unified Principalities of Itlania. The countryside, though littered with ruins, is almost entirely tamed, with only the roughest hills and most treacherous highlands in the Aegipan still wild and untouched by the hand of man. Save for far-wandering humanoids, the fey, or vampires out of Strigoria, there are few non-human threats to the peoples of Itlania. And so, like most men elsewhere, when they are not threatened by outside forces, they continue to invent their own threats within…

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