Duchy of Tuscana

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Independant Duchy, directly to the north-east of Carzala.

Current News

Recent Events (808 WK)

With the coming of spring a number of refugees from the unrest in Ranke have been attempting to enter the Duchy over the Kiel pass. With the current labour shortage in the east continuing these have been offered re-settlement in Campagna. To support the resettlement of the Sea of Grass lands the call for an extended campaign over the summer to drive out rogue barbarian forces has gone out.

With the pacification of Southern Ranke and the subsequent withdrawal of the Church Knights and the troubles in Ranke proper rumours of a "buffer zone" west of the Sierra Blanca mountains to ensure safe passage of trade to Carzala.

Recent Events (806 WK)

With the continuing unrest post the recapture of Brastor is taxing the resources of Duchy of Tuscana with banditary on its main western trading route to Seagate and political intrigue along the border with Bowcourt.

It is on the eastern front that the most trouble is occurring, with raiders continuing to harrass the lands around Granada and Valencia. Not only has this forced the associated baronies to draft local yeomenary but the wide ridings which used to be used for grazing are now unavailable. A number of times during the closing months of previous summer raiders attacked deep into the countryside around Breslau. The open lands east of Thorn, once rich with grains, currently lies unplowed. While stocks of wheat have avoided stavation, the loss of production has raised prices of all the staples and caused considerable hardship.

The Duke has released the troops raised for support of the Alliance back to their liege holders. To support the continuing action on the eastern borders the Alliance duchal and baronal house militia have been kept together, with the High Lords maintaining their logistic support for the field operations.


Recent Events (805 WK)

  • Tuscana declares support for the Alliance

Tuscana, once a major trading partner with the Five Sisters and Tycho, has been suffering considerable economic depression with once neutral nomadic tribes of the Sea of Grass turning hostile. In addition the continuing presence of the Dark Circle directly to the south of the Duchy has kept both the baronial forces and the activities of the High Lords tied up with keeping them at a distance.

Since the recapture of Brastor Holdings in 802 WK the Duchy had been experiencing a revival in its fortunes but the recent expansion of the Dark Circle has once again cut it off from the south and east. With the recent severing of the overland route from Kiel, the Tuscanan border fortress in eastern Mordeaux, and Seagate, the Duchy's primary sea port, its trade has been restricted to the passage north into Bowcourt.

Duke Julius del Pagani has offered a vanguard force of 200 foot and 30 mounted knights under the young Baroness of San Gabriello Letitia del Pagani. A much larger combined force has been readied by Count Augustus del Pagani and Countess Lucile del Corrino but it is not expected to be ready until at least the spring, possibly as late as mid summer. Current thinking by military scientists is that Tuscana will open a second front from the north but little is being given away.

The tight restrictions on entering or crossing Tuscana have been reiterated in a recent missive from the High Lords Harcount and Pendleton. Their agent Sabastian of Hamburg is currently resident in Seagate and has been seen talking to Guild representitives recently. It is expected that he will be hiring a party but no details are known at this stage.

  • Tuscacan delegation seen in Bowcourt

It has been reported that a deligation jointly lead by High Lady Mazuma and Count Andre de Davort of Haute Loire has at the Court of Bowcourt. Supported by Baron Loius del Papillon and two more unnamed High Lords this represents a major diplomatic move. Rumours ranging from major trading concessions, a withdrawal of forces from the border of Mont Azur to allowing Western Kingdoms transit through the duchy have been heard, but beyond the usual diplomatic pap, nothing of substance has been issued by the involved parties.

  • Guild Party deals with an Undead infestation in Antico Spring 805WK. The Baron of Antico was killed during a hunting expidition but it is not believed to be connected undead infestation, or the Guild.

Geography

The area between Tuscana and Ildrisholm and Brastor is wild and dangerous for mere mortals but shouldn't normally trouble medium or higher parties. The area is populated with bands of goblins, bandits etc. This route was once used quite heavily with pathways along the northern bank of the Sweetwater but now have fallen into ruin. However most large hostiles have long since been hunted down and destroyed, but many tales suggest more are simply well hidden or protected.

The geography of Tuscana is roughly divided up into two pieces. To the south and east is the Sea of Grass. Known as Lower Tuscana, the hills of Altura are the only features of note.

The remaining land is all Upper Tuscana, and is mainly foothills and mountains. Tuscana is placed between two mountain ranges. To the west are the mountains of Mordeaux and to the east are the Eastern Alps.

The plains of Lower Tuscana provide rich land for agriculture and the western baronies are heavily developed with mixed farming. Further east, mainly in the County of Campagna, are large tracts of grain crops.

A major tributary of the Sweetwater, the Clearwater, runs north to south through western Tuscana. This river is in turn fed by two branches, the Whiteflood, which runs north of the Hamburg confluence, and the Blueflood, which runs north east from Hamburg.

Tuscana consists of nine political areas, which are (ordered clockwise from the north):

In addition it has a number of independant cities controlled by the High Lords.

Rivers

Clearwater

This river runs from the city of Hamburg south to the Konenburg Lock. It is wide, slow moving and relatively shallow. It is obvious that a considerable around of civil engineering has been done over time, as many bends have been taken out and its path straightened.

The Koenburg Lock is a series of sluces and shallows, with flood gates installed to control the flow of the river. This allows the level of the river to be kept at a relatively stable height, allowing navigation all year around. The lock itself is not navigable, and portage road has not been maintained for many decades.

Blueflood

Whiteflood

Social

The western baronies (San Gabriello and Tuscana) are closely identified with Mordeaux and the Church is very powerful there. Occultism is a capital crime and the pratice of witchcraft outlawed. The other counties are considerably more "liberal" and eccumenical except for necromantic and diabolic practices.

Each county has a number of standing militia groups whom are mainly professional soldiery. These do most of the day to day guarding of borders, etc but will almost always be local to an area (eg Westbank Yeomany of Antico or Valencian Fourth mounted platoon). These troops are fairly well trained and know their local area extremely well.

Each High Lord has their own guards and are not tied to any area. They generally act independantly of local troops. On average one in four will be Namers and one in ten will be non-Namer Adepts.

Should party members stray (or be rescued, etc) and taken to Tuscana then they are warned to be extremely careful. The people are not particularly friendly and mildly xenophobic and anybody not a local is treated with distrust. The food and beer is good but pricy compared to other places.

Note: The High Lords are currently MIA and any questions about their circumstances will be met with complete ignorance. However there is an advocate called Sabastian of Hamburg (human, tall, thin) who works for the High Lords as an agent. There is a one in five chance he will be in Seagate any particular week.

Languages

Common is widely spoken with limited literacy outside of traders and scholars.

Tuscan (also referred to as Lunar Vulgate) is the most common language of the people with literacy generally higher than they let on to foreigners. The language is closely related to Lunar-Empire and Paliano.

Lalange is common in northern Tuscana though people in most regions will understand at least some.

The upper classes (and those who aspire to be) are usually fluent in Tuscan, Lalange, Common, and sometimes Folksprach or Reichspiel. Though fluency often seems to fade with poor reaction checks and lack of respect.

History

Pre-Penjari

Little is unknown of the area before Penjari except that certain artifacts from that era still exist.

Before times of the Western Kingdom

  • 700 AP

Lubeck built around this time. This is the first of the major cities to be built during time of the Western Kingdom. It should be noted that parts of Thorn existed at this time for an much earlier time but at that time the place was unoccupied.

  • 850 AP

The building on Luneburg and Bremen started in preparation for building Hamburg. The magic used in constructing Hamburg is first used in these two towns.

  • 910 AP

The river bed changed around Bremen and Luneburg to form the island on which Hamburg is built. The foundations of Hamburg are drawn up from the depths of the earth. Hamburg is built by taking a solid block of rock and magically carving the city out of it.

  • 1120 AP

All the major construction work for Hamburg is completed. It becomes the capital of the area from Lubeck.

  • 1190 AP

Work on rebuilding Thorn starts but things do not go exactly as expected. The work does get finished but much of the city is warped and twisted.

During the era of the Western Kingdom

  • 291 WK

The start of construction of Konenburg.

  • 428 WK

The start of the civil war in the area sparked off the the decline of the Western Kingdom.

  • 438 WK

The last major battles of the war finish around this time. While none of the cities fell many of the towns were destroyed. It is rumoured that the Scorched Earth artifact was in fact used during this time. This lead to mass famine and major population decline.

  • 502 WK

It marks the end of the Western Kingdom era. In this year Hamburg, Bremen and Luneburg were finally abandoned. The main cause was population decline brought on by continual poor weather and natural disasters. Many fingers point to artifacts which were used during the war. The location of the worst of these artifacts become unknown or hidden. All the major cities become warded to protect them from time and raiders. The entire region become virtually depopulated.

Modern Times

  • -51 FY

Andretti, son of a Ranke merchant, is born. Later in his life, he forms a mercenary band protecting trading down to the frontier.

  • -31 FY

This is first known date that the area becomes inhabited. A group coming east from Ranke discover Bremen and attempt to loot it. Several of the outer wards around the walls are removed but the central area still off limits. The outer areas become occupied and work starts on removing the remaining wards.

  • -20 FY

Bremen successfully sieged by soldiers from Ranke and the lands west of Bremen, along with Bremen itself, becomes a Barony of Ranke.

  • -20 to -10 FY

Farming around Bremen starts. The use of the Clear Water to ship goods to the coast starts around this time. The population moves across the river but Hamburg and Luneburg left unoccupied.

  • -5 FY

Around this time groups from Bowcourt start mining the Azur mountain range. This brings considerable mineral wealth, mainly from mines abandoned at the end of the Western Kingdom. Bowcourt increases its influence in the area to protect this wealth.

  • -1 FY

This year a group of Mages arrive from Lunar. Together they manage to remove some of the wards around Hamburg, Luneburg and Lubeck. They discover the Rune Gates between Hamburg and the other three cities. Rather than open the cities up to the general population they themselves ward most of unprotected areas in Hamburg and Lubeck, keeping the wealth to themselves. This group later becomes the High Lords and strictly controls the use of magic.

  • 0 FY

The Founding Year. Originally the Barony of Tuscana, after Julius Tuscana, later Lord Tuscana, the leading Lunar Mage. This is also the year 1800 AP or 600 WK.

  • 4 FY

Work starts on building Stralsund by Bowcourt to stop mineral wealth from going down the Blue Flood and out of its coffers.

  • 6 FY

The Rune Gate to Thorn is re-activated but the city is left empty due of fear of what lurks there.

  • 8 to 12 FY

War with Ranke over control of the land around Bremen and east of the Clear Water. In the end Ranke is pushed back beyond the hills to the west. The leader of the war tries to gain control of Hamburg but is defeated and forced to cede all control of Hamburg to the High Lords. In return the High Lords give Bremen and Luneburg to now Andretto, leader of the largest of the mercenary bands hired by the High Lords.

  • 10 to 60 FY

Borwcourt builds Amstel to stop attacks from the western side of the Azur mountains.

  • 14 FY

Andretto, now age 62, with his three sons Pagani, Corrino and Benetini placed the first stone at Kiel, having ordered the construction of fortress against further attacks from Ranke.

  • 15 FY

Andretto claims all the land west of the River to the border with Ranke and all land east of the River with the exception of Lubeck and Thorn.

Also at this time, under the influence of the High Lords, the Transport and Mineral Guilds are formed to control traffic on the river. While this causes contention with Baron Andretto this lack of magic leaves him without redress.

  • 16 FY

Magdeburg founded by the Mineral Guild to milk the growing wealth from the Azur mountains. Magdeburg soon becomes a major industrial town with several large foundries. This is the start of contention with Bowcourt.

Andretto dies and Pagani inherits the lands surrounding Hamburg, declaring himself Baron of Bremen, with Corrino and Beritini claim the land around Thorn and Magdeburg respectively. Both sons begin recruiting peasantry from the Confederated Baronies under condition of freehold.

  • 19 FY

Baron Pagani, feeling pressure from the High Lords decides his family should build their own city out of range of Hamburg. This is the start of Osnabruck, under the the rule of Baron Gucca, son the Baron Pagani.

  • 23 FY

The High Lords, in revenge for Osnabruck, decide to use an artifact found in Thorn to build three cities. The artifact can shape earth but due to lack of research the whole thing backfires. While the cities of Stockholm on the White Flood, Danzig north of Osnabruck and Breslau east of Lubeck get built the land around becomes permanantly depleted. It is later discovered the artifact was used to destroy cities and wipe out surrounding land. Danzig occupied and supplied from Hamburg using portals but the other two left.

  • 26 FY

Baron Pagani dies. Baron Gucca declares himself ruling Lord of House Pagani.

  • 30 FY

Internal trouble within House Pagani comes to the front and the family splits. Rialto moves to Osnabruck and Allemano to Lubeck. Allemano later forced out of Lubeck by the High Lords, where upon it moves to the still empty Breslau. Gucca declares himself Count of Tuscana. Allemano declares himself Baron of Breslau.

  • 33 FY

Stralsund completely finished and trouble with the High Lords in Danzig and Magdeburg rises.

Konenburg is also re-occupied from Lubeck. This is done to stop House Allemano's influence pushing too far south and to protect the High Lords control of transport along the Clear Water.

  • 35 FY

Major work on Osnabruck completed.

  • 62 FY

Count Gucca dies at age 62 and is succeeded by Count Pedro.

  • 72 FY

Bowcourt tries to push south from Amstel but are repulsed. The High Lords coerce House Pagani to form a new house and occupy the land to the south west of the Azur mountains. They offer to help build a fortress to stop Bowcourt attacks and give the new house Stockholm. House Tiagello, ruled by Baron Galano, son of Tiagel, the fourth son of Baron Pagani, is formed and Poznen is magically built. This is the first time the High Lords try using rituals rather than artifacts to shape earth. While the result is not brillient the walls and major structures are built.

  • 92 FY

Geovani, son of Count Pedro, is born.

  • 97 FY

The long expected incursion of Bowcourt begins when Bowcourt invades down the Blue Flood. Forces stopped at Madgeburg. The siege of Danzig begins.

  • 102 FY

Poznen attacked and local populace forced back to Stockholm.

  • 103 to 110 FY

War becomes a stalemate as both sides are drained. Poznen falls in 104 but must of the defenders escape through portals to Hamburg. Count Pedro is killed in defense of Poznen and succeeded by Count Geonavi. Bowcourt is then met with a strong response from Stockholm and pushed back to just south of Poznen.

  • 111 FY

The war comes to an end when the Bowcourt forces are defeated on the battlefield. From this time rumours of a rolling earth and fire artifact surface. Local barons in the north are forced to ceed from Bowcourt and intermarry into the southern houses. This later creates House Davort and House Papillon. The High Lords gain control part of Stralsund and Poznen.

  • 120 to 130 FY

During this decade the trade with the east across the Sea of Grass starts. This also at this time the growth in agriculture begins. It is suspected that around this time the landed Houses started using magic and protecting Wicca in return for magical blessing.

  • 127 FY

House Corrino in Thorn, under the aging rule of Baron Granada, petitions the High Lords to be moved east from Thorn. This is agreed to and the Mages build a new city, to be named Granada. The High Lords allowed the barons greater control within the city and in the west, mainly due to the economic control the landed barons have with their control of agriculture. The large tracks of land to the east of Thorn become the County of Campagna.

  • 139 FY

Granada invested by Countess Marianna. Thorn succeeded back to the High Lords of Hamburg. The border between the Barony of Tuscana and Campagna moves east.

  • 144 FY

House Pagani divides its land two baronies. San Gabriello and Tuscana become baronies under the new lord, Count Geovani. The three way border dispute between Tuscana, Antico and Campagna is settled.

  • 157 FY

Trouble between House Tiagello in Stockholm and House Benetini in Magdeburg. The land around Stockholm was still very poor and House Benetini wanted to build a new town away from Magdeburg. The High Lords in Magdeburg were not going to allow any city to compete with their own so House Benetini decides to move east of Osnabruck into the open plains of eastern Campagna.

  • 159 FY

Work on Valencia begins with earth shaping rituals. This time the Mages take considerably more time to produce the outline of the city.

  • 162 FY

The Country of Capri, a position never actually occupied, is split into the baronies of Alpina Azuri and Altura with House Tiagello gaining all the land to the west of the Blue Flood and House Rialto gaining the lands east of Magdeburg. Land formally owned by House Benetini is given to Rialto, shifting the western border to the eastern bank on the Blue Flood. In return, it conceeded the land from its eastern border to the mountains to Campagna. Campagna also expanded some miles northward.

  • 193 FY

Anton of House Benetini becomes the new Baron of Verde Campagna from Count Verdin.

  • 195 FY

Lucile of House Benetini becomes the new Baroness of Centrale Campagna, Countess of Campagna and the head of House Corrino.

  • 205 FY

Calvi del Allemano is killed in a hunter accident and succeeded by Marco del Allemano. His mother Argenta del Benetini is appointed regent by the Duke until Marco reaches the age of 18.

Old stories from the Seagate Times

  • Political Turmoil in Tuscana

From our correspondent in Hamburg

With the end of the war in Aladar and Aquila, and the ascendancy of the new king increasing political pressure now exists for conformity to the Western Kingdom's policies.

The County of Tuscana, a confederation of nine baronies has up to now been staunchly neutral although its sympathies clearly lay with that of Aquila and Bowcourt.

The area was once part of the Western Kingdom, but fell into civil war after the disappearance of King Sigismund and was eventually depopulated through famine and natural disasters.

The western Baronies of Tuscana, San Gabriello, Padova and Sienna were originally ceded from Ranke, gaining their independence some three hundred years ago. In contrast, the northern Baronies of Mont Azur, Lucino and Haute Loire were founded from Bowcourt and have always considered themselves as allied.

After a protracted war between the northern and western baronies the forces of Bowcourt finally capitulated and the County of Tuscana was formed. With the expansion east over the northern steppes of the Sea of Grass much of the County's resources were occupied.

With the ending of the war the Baronies of Mont Azur and Haute Loire have both expressed considerable interest in returning into the fold and joining the new Western Kingdom. This could irreversibly split the County since the newly formed eastern Baronies of Midi Capri, Cali Capri and Sienna have expressed explicit opposition to such a move.

Rumours are rife about what is happening but most seem to believe that it will be at least late summer before anything definite is decided. It is considered most likely that Tuscana will eventually secede to the Western Kingdom.


  • Professor Causes Stir

Wild Rumours spread by a returning Guild Party that a spectre is now loose on the northern Sea of Grass have been confirmed, Lord Salas of Hamburg has been sighted at the Guild enquiring about hiring a party to deal with the problem.

A party, lead by Sid the Elf (known to be a pseudonym), including Jaundice, Eidelon, Tharkun and Billy Ruben, discovered the problem with doing a routine delivery to Professor Cornelius of Granada. The professor was investigating a ruin to the southeast of Granada, a city in the Barony of Midi Capri, County Tuscana.

Professor Cornelius, a student of ancient and runic magics, has offered considerable aid in those Guild members willing to engage the spectre and its nightgaunt cohorts.

The Tuscanan embassy, formerly located just outside Ranke City has been relocated to the remains of Novalar. The Guild also states that the embassy has a permanent Rune Gate to Hamburg. This has been confirmed but may only usable by strict invitation

NPCs

Baris Garnfeld

Baris is a huge bear (6'4 and 180 lbs) of a man who travelled to Tuscana on a merchant caravan from Aladar and never got around to finding one back. The climate seems to agree with Baris who travels from Town to town looking for all types of work. He has been an enforcer, private guard, wagoneer and miner in the past 8 years he has been here and most people speak well of him as he is a gentle giant, adored by children but treated warily by smaller adults. He has developed contacts all across Tuscana in many different walks of life. He owns a small tenanted farm near Valencia.

Yvonne Sandrym (aka Varnis the Hood)

Yvonne is a Thief, not very good but not bad either so she earns a semi comfortable living in Tuscana. She also works as a courier rider / runner in the towns of Danzig, Lubeck & Grenada where she has the reputation of reliability and ability to look after herself.

George Destrone

George is a seasoned archer who saw service in the baronies war and "retired" here to a less troubled land. He is often employed as a hunter to lead tracking parties when wolves or other predators are in need of culling. He has contacts with all the local lords in Tuscana (by way of their Hunt-masters) and is often invited on hunts with the lords. He mixes well as even if he appears quite rustic in his appearance he makes up for it with a clever mind and one full of knowledge of animals and hunting. He has a small stead in the woods near Stralsund.

Cryn Hewlett

Cryn is the third son of the Mayor of Ashmore in Erewohn who has been sent here to Tuscana to establish trade in livestock and other Tuscanan specialty goods. Cryn spends most of his time socialising in the Western towns around Hamburg and attending all the ‘best’ balls etc. He is a socialite living on the expenses his father has sent with him to organise trade. He has been here since 800 and his father shows no signs of wanting him home and society has begun to suspect a dark past. In 799 Cryn was in a fight over a girl and accidentally ran a man through who was in an altercation with him. As a result Cryn was advised to take leave of Ashmore for several years for the large family of the dead man to get over their loss. He makes merry with his time and is well known in the social circles where he continues a number of liaisons with influential women.