Western Marches

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The Western Marches are a geographical grouping of human, orcish, dwarven and troll lands to the north of Eltrandor & Caledonia, and west of Drakenburg. The Marches are bounded by the Dragonspines (or Northern Divide) to the north, the Caledonian Ranges to the south, the Alsgart Range to the east, and the Calatravan grain lands to the west.

Maps

The eastern Western Marches

Summary

There are a wide range of cultures and communities to be found within the Western Marches. They include:

History

A thousand years ago, the Cuman and their bitter rivals, the Kipchak, roamed over most of the Western Marches. They fought each other, other tribes now lost, and the equally nomadic orcs of Mishrak and Nadrak. The arrival of agrarian human communities in the years following the founding of the Western Kingdom did little to change the predominant culture. They relinquished the Wylan Hills and the swampy Weisbaum Valley, but otherwise ignored the settlers carving a new world from the marshlands. However, the second wave of migration, led by the great heroes Marcus, Volar, and Bourg at the time of the fall of the Western Kingdom, could not be ignored.

During the next hundred years, the new settlers embarked on the systematic destruction of the native inhabitants. Faced with superior numbers, technology and tactics, the Cuman and Kipchak tribes fell back to the west, while the Nadrak and Mishrak orcs were forced into the far northeast, or into the Black Forest. The eastern orcs soon adopted and modified the tactics of the invading humans, and started building fortified cities supported by brutally-run farming collectives. The horse nomads simply faded back onto lands of more and more marginal value, until it became too difficult for the settlers to eke out a living on conquered lands.

Most of the Aquilan settlers, led by Volar, settled in the rich lands of the southeast, spreading slowly west until the encountered and merged with the earlier Aquillan migration in the Weisbaum valley. This became the Duchy of Volar.

The hardier souls went north and west, bent on clearing the entire marches of the nomadic humans and orcs. These were led by the warrior Bourg. While they failed to completely destroy either the orcs or the nomads, the Duchy DeBourgnac grew from a motley collection of hill-forts into a mighty chain of fortified towns, ever pressing against their less-cultured neighbours. The fifth Duke DeBourgnac, Louis the Great, forged an alliance with the Kipchak, which brought relative peace to the west, and allowed the concentration of forces to the east, where the orcs of Nadrak had grown strong and numerous. The generational Orc wars have occupied the northern March Lords to this day.

Meanwhile, not all the new humans were so violent. Two merchant princes in particular made strong treaties with the orcs, which in return for trade in weapons and technology, ensured that the orcs would not invade the northern parts of Volar. Eventually, the lands controlled by the two families of Halkor and Karne became independent, backed by the orcish leadership of the day in the epic Silent March.

Cultural Attitudes

The Western Marches are a backwater in the baronies, and have been effectively isolated for most of the last 400 years. The human inhabitants have thus developed their own culture, comprising a mixture of old Western Kingdom customs, pioneer practicality, and fragments absorbed from their orcish and nomadic neighbours. The humans are leery of magic, which is rare. They are more medieval than renaissance in their reaction to differences, change, and disturbing events. They follow the church teachings closely. In the last ten years, magic and foreigners have become more common, and a small amount of cosmopolitan and renaissance thinking is starting to emerge in the more progressive towns, such as Calvendar, Aveice and Crefeinn.