Kildarians

 

Hundreds of miles south of the Gautrian Lakes, on the western coast of the Valensian sea, lies the once proud and mighty human kingdom of Kildare. Two generations ago the Valensian Empire conquered Kildare, imposing a new religion and social order upon them which caused tremendous upheaval and chaos within the kingdom. The Kildarian King was deposed, his family sent away to the Valensian capital, and the rule of Kildare granted to a Valensian Imperial governor. Many noble Kildarians, young and old, struck out north finding their way to the Gautrian Lakes where they have settled and prospered among the native Gautrians.

During their time in Gautria, the Kildarian warriors and mounted knights have become essential allies against the numerous orc tribes. Kildarian knights are renowned throughout the lands of Gautria for their effectiveness against massive urogs on the battlefield. The wealthiest kings and jarls of Gautria often hire Kildarian mercenaries for their campaigns.

Common Kildarians now living in Gautria can be found practicing all manner of crafts; their skills and knowledge have done much to advance the prosperity of the Gautrian people. Four noble houses of Kildare now hold land and titles in the two kingdoms of Gautria, and their rising power is cause for concern among Gautria’s jarls.

 

The Kildarian Houses

House Voclain: “The Warrior House, The Mercenary House, The Rising Star”, originally from the northern border reaches of Kildare these men are fierce knights and urog slayers known to fight for the best paying kings and jarls and barons of Gautria. Among the other Kildarian houses they are seen as greedy and self-serving because of their recent rise in North Gautria where King Kvig has granted them valuable holdings in reward for their glorious victories serving him on the battlefield. Baron Vulmar Voclain has been a particular recipient of Kvig’s generousity, earning the title of “Silver Lord” when granted the mines of Hellgate (Sagas of the Gautrian Kings #52- The Battle for Hellgate Mines ).

House Marren: “The First House, The Bastard House, The Fallen House”, House Marren is remembered for establishing the original Gautrian Kingdom and building Mosveld Keep in the North. Success as merchants and mercenaries made it the wealthiest of all the Kildarian houses, and House Marren had lands and titles from the North Gautrian Queen Svalla and her late King Gorm. However the upstart House Voclain has gained much reputation and riches under Queen Svalla’s new husband King Kvig and threatened House Marren’s predominance in North Gautria.

House DeGrance: “The Immortal House, The Usurpers, The Hemus Lords”, the most powerful and influential house in all of Gautria has a long and sordid history in the two kingdoms. A House of Kildarian priests, sorcerers and ‘demi-gods’ claiming divine ancestry and practicing dark forbidden magic, they came to influence when Alexander DeGrance arrived in the lands of Timlin. Alexander transformed the fishing village of Herstal into the Great Town of Timlin as he took control of the swamp lotus hemus production, made favorable terms in several business ventures, and financed the resettling of many noble knights from Kildare. To many Gautrians he was a foreign usurper and tyrant, but to the Kildarians of Gautria he is remembered as the “Preserver of the Way” for helping thousands of their countrymen resettle in the Gautrian Lakes after their conquest by Valensia. Alexander was treacherously betrayed and murdered by his own cousin Gottfried DeGrance, who in turn was deposed at the behest of the South Gautrian King (SGK #12- Lords Of Timlin). Charibert DeGrance, Baron of Chalgrave Hold and Steward of the Vangen Border, is the last known blood relation of the Noble Alexander DeGrance.

 

House Conley: “The Merchant House, The Horse Lords, The House of Tyrants”, these men of Kildare are defenders of Timlin and renowned horse breeders. House Conley have proven themselves successful landlords who own many productive farms, fisheries and orchards throughout the lands of Timlin in South Gautria. House Conley has always been a loyal supporter of House DeGrance and Timlin’s beloved founder Alexander DeGrance; Lady Etterna Conley was apprentice and seer to Alexander for years, as her brother Austerchild Conley provided stalwart defense of the hinterlands.

 

Gautrians

The Gautrians are a fierce race of Northmen who have inhabited the Gautrian Lakes for generations. They are said to have wrested the fertile plains and bountiful lakes from hordes of savage Great Northern Orcs.

The Lands of Gautria, split into two Kingdoms by the waterway connecting Lake Tagova and Lake Sund.

The Gautrian peoples are made up of several clans, the Volsung, the Sverkers, the Vastars and the Skanes. All four clans are represented throughout the kingdoms. The Vastar and Skane clans are by far the largest and most predominant; the Volsung are the most wealthy, and the Sverkers are rising quickly to new power.

The Volsungs King Magnus the Defender and his wife Queen Inga the Warlord rule over South Gautria from their fortress of Loland Keep, built of stone by Magnus’ father King Ulfrik Volsung. South Gautria is a land rich in valuable swamp lotus (hemus flowers or grey lotus)- the key ingredient for the making of healing potions. Orcs and men have fought over access to these lotus swamps since days unrecorded.

King Magnus and Queen Inga array for battle

North Gautria is ruled by King Kvig Melgarson The Usurper, a Sverker warlord, and his Queen, the bewitching Svala. King Kvig occupies the capital city of Mosveld, while he gifted his cousins valuable holdings such as  key North Gautrian coastal towns, and Kvig’s ancestral home fort of Helvik. King Kvig’s lands are not so rich as his southern allies, but Kildarian deep mining at Hellgate has recently brought a wealth of silver and other valuable minerals. North Gautria also has its own small swamps where the hemus lotus grows, ensuring competition in the hemus markets of Gautria.

Mosveld, with the Queen’s Tower at the Harbor Wall and the King’s Gatehouse at the main city Gate

The Gautrian Clans

The Volsung Clan: “The Royal Clan, Horse Clan, Clan of Kings”. The Royal Clan were the first of the clans to establish a Gautrian Kingdom between the lakes. Ruled by King Magnus the Defender and his wife Queen Inga the Warlord, the Volsung consider themselves the champions of Gautria as they are always at the fore in bloody battle against the orcs. In all of Gautria their heavy cavalry is second only to the vaunted Kildarian knights. Known as elitists and considered a disconnected ruling clan by many of their subjects in the south, the Volsung account for the majority of South Gautria’s jarls.

The heavy infantry of King Magnus rushes the gate of the LNH Orc occupied North Gautrian town of Larbro.

The Sverker Clan: “The Iron Clan, The Bandit Clan”. The Sverker King Kvig Melgarson rules North Gautria, but many say Kvig’s uncle Skala Grimson, the Jarl of Jarlin has more sway among the clans. The Sverkers are fierce warriors whose jarls are known for their effective diplomacy and ability to hold together feudal coalitions against Gautria’s many enemies. They are considered the “Iron of the North”. Clan Sverker’s smiths are renowned for their iron smelting and weapon making abilities.

Helvik, ancestral home of King Kvig Melgarson

The Vastar Clan: “The Boat Clan, The Pirate Clan, The Slave Clan”. This once powerful clan has seen many of its jarls slain in recent battles against the Orcs of the League of Nil-ith Horn and their Great Northern mercenaries. In the north, Kvig the Bandit king has conspired to dispossess their valuable holdings. Kvig granted the Vastar’s birthright, the rich mines of Hellgate, to Kildarians of House Voclain. Once known as the hardest working clan, the Vastar are now openly mocked and called the “Slave Clan” for losing so many holdings to orcs and men alike. Still, Clan Vastar are the most skillful shipbuilders and sailors in all the Gautrian Lakes, qualities which allow them to dominate the Hedemark, a Gautrian peninsula between Lake Sund and Lake Kisilev not ruled by either of the two kingdoms. The Vastar of the Hedemark are considered pirates and untrustworthy because of their frequent dealings with the League of Nil-ith Horn.

An angry Vastar mob confront Kildarian guards in the North Gaurian capital city of Mosveld

The Skane Clan: “The Stone Clan, The Bonder Clan”. They are by far the largest and poorest of all four Gautrian clans. No jarls and only a few warlords hail from Clan Skane; instead they are renowned as quarry workers, stone cutters and for their skill in agriculture. Clan Skane is often called the “foundation of Gautria” and their farmers joke that it is the many stones in their fields which earned them their nickname “the Stone Clan”. Some of Clan Skane claim no land or lord, roving the lands of Gautria seeking trade and other opportunities. A few of these traveling merchants or “Rovers” have become quite wealthy plying the dangerous roads of the two kingdoms and beyond.

Rovers stop to give service to a South Gautrian warcamp

League of Nil-ith Horn

The Men and Orcs of the League of Nil-ith Horn

The League of Nil-ith Horn is a merchant association formed by an alliance between the cities of Grunevald, Korvald and Kirkisvald, the major cities surrounding the Bay of Nil-ith Horn. Trade in these lands is a dangerous and risky business and the only way for merchants to protect themselves is by traveling together. The impetus for the formation of the League of Nil-ith Horn (LNH) was to protect its merchants involved in trading highly profitable Gautrian hemus potions (made from the healing swamp lotus only found in Gautia), and in the vast slave markets of the Vangen Orcs. While each city has its own merchant association (merchants’ guild) the alliance forms a loose Diet, or parliament, to govern inter-city trade and common policies. The trade between Grunevald, the only human city in the League, and the Valensian Empire (the dominant human empire) provide sea routes to all Imperial cities and the only legitimate port for the orcs of the League to ship any goods through. In most respects the policy of the merchants is protectionist and aimed at producing a Grunevaldian monopoly in the slave markets they supply.

The League of Nil-ith Horn and surrounding lands

The League of Nil-ith Horn Diet meets only infrequently and is filled with divisive politics based on differences in regional priorities. It is more frequent that the regional assemblies, known as ‘Thirds’, meet. There is a Grunevald ‘Third’ based on the internal and sea trades, a Korvald ‘Third’ based on slaves bought out of Kednvald, and a Kirkisvald ‘Third’ based on the hemus trade from Gautria and minerals from the Great Northern mountains. The predominant city in all dealings is Grunevald, which holds a central position as the only human port on the Nil-ith-Horn. The orc cities often complain that the merchants from Grunevald are given advantages over their own merchants.

The Grunevaldians, a race of seafaring men now under the rule of the Valesian Empire, claim the title of Masters of the League of Nil-ith Horn. From their capital city of Grunevald they dominate the other towns and cities of the League. Recently these men have raided and taken Gautrian lands on Lake Kisilev. Led by their famous conquering hero Boyar Gert Theovald the Grunevaldians have established a small kingdom of their own from the keep town of Berwik.

Boyar Gert Theovald and his Grunevaldian heavy infantry

LNH Orc Valdgrafs in the Grunevaldian market at Theovald Hall.

Kirkisvald is the more powerful of the two orc city states within the League of Nil-ith Horn. Its position on the northern most point of Nil-ith Horn bay makes it a wealthy and important trading port in the region. The political and financial interests of this LNH city-state are closely tied to that of their human “masters”, the men of Grunevald. As such many of their orc soldiers (called smerdi or “stinking ones” by the men of LNH) serve in the armies of Grunevald under human commanders. Some of Kirkisvald’s more wealthy and prominent clans have become belligerent recently, often acting autonomously in the LNH frontier regions.  

Graf Gozek and his LHN smerdi

Korvald is an orc city-state situated on the southwestern coast of Nil-ith Horn Bay. Not as important or wealthy as its sister city Kirkisvald, the orc sailors of Korvald are known to plunder the sea ways of Valensia’s great empire, and its greedy merchants are said to smuggle slaves through their own illegal routes. Korvald has suffered damaging reprisals and repudiation as a result. Recently some ambitious orcs of Korvald have devoted their energies to bring the LNH “Temple of The One God” to the neighboring Vangen orcs who have long harried their western borders.

Competing guilds, companies, and families belonging to every city of the League of Nil-ith Horn look for economic advantage and opportunity in neighboring Gautria.  From the lands rich in minerals and peoples, to the hemus lotus native only to its “troll swamps”, the kingdoms of Gautria posses vast and varied wealth to be exploited by the LNH. The League now is focused on control of Ondskap Mere, the great hemus swamp in the contested borderlands of the Vangen and Gautrian Kingdoms.

Vangen Orcs

The Vangen Kingdom

Valden the Ruthless and his personal retinue

The Vangens are a tribe of Great Northern orcs; their recent rise has been due to the great military successes of Valden The Ruthless. The Vangen Kingdom was established by Valden, a brutal and oppressive urog Hertog. Since his conversion to the “Temple of The One God” by the influential High Priest of Korvald, Ursio Erembald, Valden’s armies have unified many of the Vangen tribes into one strong kingdom.

Valden’s horde, well-armed through trade with the LNH.

Under the direction of High Priest Ursio Erembald, orc priests of the League of Nil-ith Horn provide Valden and his urog lords with a literate body of administrators and tax collectors. With their services Valden is able to run an efficient central government from his stronghold of Kednvald.

The Vangen Kingom and surrounding lands

All of the priests are protected by Valden’s laws and his vassal urog Hertogs, and all are held in high regard. The warriors answer to Valden as does the head of the League of Nil-ith Horn “Temple of The One God”, Ursio Erembald, the Habrok of Kednvald. At his capital of Kednvald Valden has seen the many wonders of the League of Nil-ith Horn civilization and the great benefits their new religion has brought to his orc subjects.

Vangen and LNH commerce over the Kednvald Bridge.

Great Northern orcs are free-spirited and fiercely independent however, and countless rebellions have broken out in Valden’s kingdom over its 22 year history. Many Vangens and Kromgaards refuse to accept the “God of Man” and persist in worshipping their own Ancient gods. Their complete conversion is an important matter to Valden, for he has renounced goblins and shaman. Valden believes the only true god to be “The One God, Lord of Light”.

Vangen orcs gather at “The Temple of the One God” in Kednvald

 

The Vangen orcs were part of the Great Northern orc migration and carried with them the gods and majiks of ancient orc lore. Their religion is polytheistic and majik oriented, goblins and shaman spread their cults through great displays of power. These orcs have many different beliefs and oft times magic cults will collide and bloody strife will result. Such is the way of the Great Northern orcs.

A Vangen margrave crosses Kednvald Bridge

Valden “The Ruthless” seeks now to change their ways. Adopting the more civilized religion of the League of Nil-ith Horn orcs, he has welcomed the priests of “The One God” and forcibly converted his own subjects. The “God of Man” has been well received in Kednvald, and other urban centers, but the borderlands of Valden’s kingdom have resisted. Led by powerful goblins, shaman and urog warlords the rebels have fought for over two decades with Valden’s mighty armies.

 

Caravan Wagons

Caravan Wagons

We wanted to explore trade and transport in the lands of Gautria, so my husband began plotting a Caravan Campaign.

Before we could start our travels in North Gautria, we would need wagons.

These were mostly constructed with balsa wood. My husband made a few rough sketches and started building.

My character, as the caravan leader and primary financial backer, got the fancy wooden carriage. This wagon came complete with locking door and attached chests.

The other merchants’ wagons were constructed of balsa beds, with canopies of glue-dipped packing paper draped on wire frames.

All of the tops come off, and various cargoes can fit inside.

Orc Hall

Our Great Northern Orc Tribes needed some heavy fortifications (and feasting spots!) of their own.

Orc Temple

“What does a Great Northern Orc Temple look like?”

That question was asked at the crafting counter one fateful day. Those type of questions usually result in a hobbying frenzy and output of newly-actualized factions or architectural style. This question was no exception to the tool.

 

Orc City Dwellings

After construction on both the Great Northern Orc Temple and Orc Hall was complete, the workers and lesser chiefs got housing as well. 

Fantasy Jarl’s Hall

The most recent (and ambitious single building) project in our workshop is a jarl’s hall/inn with front deck, rear room overhanging the street, removable roof, and removable top story.

This building went from idea to foam pretty quickly.

Here you can see the roof removed, and the upstairs with wood-grain carved foam floor.

The upper story comes off, revealing a large common area with 2 smaller rooms.

The two downstairs rooms have doors that open into the main hall. What appears to be the front door in the ground floor is mostly a hallway, as you’ll see further down.

The details outside are balsa, placed into a layer of wood glue.

The foam is then carved on the inside to match the posts. Wood glue is then smoothed onto the carved side, and the details are scraped clean of excess glue with a toothpick.

The “wooden” overhang is foam, carved and coated in wood glue.

Even the roofs are carved foam.

We wanted a stone floor in this hall, I like the way the ground looked in the orc fortress. That needed to be carved and plastered.

You can see the front hall, and entry door set in place here.

So, time to paint 24 individual sections, front and back.

My husband began to glue the walls by himself, but soon needed another pair of hands.

I had to put the camera down to help, and by the next day, we were able to play with this:

The top roof comes off to reveal the upper story.

Then the upper story comes off.

 

Many patrons were found in the inn tonight!

 

Some patrons retired early,

While others drank the night away.