The Kingdom of Ormgard
Ormgard is a large country nearly five hundred miles across that stretches from the coastal cities of Cessina and Vlardingen in the West, to the borders of the Dark Forest in the East. The southern border with the outlander kingdom of Nahofo is complicated by the large forests populated by the Wood Elves who pay fealty to neither kingdom. In the North and to the East, the enormous mountain peaks, the homelands of the Dwarves, present a barrier past which no Gardian has ever been. North West of here, the mountains give way to the rolling hills and then to the steppes, both the homes of the fierce Barbarians some of whom still contest the authority of the King.
Ormgard itself consists of wide areas of gently rolling farmland, with few remaining large woods and no true forests. Farming is the major industry and Gardians trade food with the Dwarves (in return for metals and gemstones), and with the Outlanders (in return for fine cloth, spices and other luxuries). Travel within Ormgard is never safe, there are no good roads and perils such as bandits and Orcs abound. In addition the only beasts of burden are oxen for pulling carts, so travel is always on foot and journeys can be measured in weeks and sometimes months. Those who do need to travel beyond the safety of their own village usually choose to do so in the company of armed guards. Travel in the East is particularly perilous, for the Dark Forest is a breeding ground for Orcs, Ogres, Trolls and worse.
It is the custom in Ormgard that to invite a person into your house is to offer them your hospitality and your protection. Because of this it is very rare for people to invite strangers into their home, and since most craftsmen carry out their trade in their home, there are no shops in Ormgard as there are in the Outlands. Instead folk meet in the Free houses (alike to taverns or inns) that are an inevitable feature of even the smallest village. Here merchants conduct their business, arranging prices, deliveries and collections. For those who appreciate a little privacy, most Free houses have a private room or two that can be hired. Peddlers and stallholders tout their wares in the streets, but these people are the exception and are rarely considered to be a part of the merchant classes.
There are several major cities within Ormgard, all protected by thick walls to repel attacks by bandits and Orcs. Hearth the most ancient of the cities in the realm, has three great walls, each built to encompass the entire city at the time of construction. However most of the population live in small villages or towns and must rely upon the protection of local nobles and their warrior bands for protection. Virtually every settlement in the land has a feudal lord, usually a knight, whose duty is to protect the inhabitants, collect the taxes and serve his liege.
These knights either serve one of the numerous Barons and Counts appointed by the King or else their liege is one of the five great Earls. The Earl’s lands are not appointed by the King (as are the estates of Counts and Barons), but are hereditary passing immediately by law to the named heir or the eldest child of the old Earl. The Five Earls are The Earl Varda, the Earl Blackwolf, the Earl Gervalt, the Earl Sendria and the Earl Wyvern. Following the death of King Gerard I, After being protected by Lady Blackwolf who served for a time as Regent, King Gerard II now sits upon the Throne.
Regions of Ormgard
The Kingdom of Ormgard is comprised of five Earldoms and the nations Capital 'The Hearth'
In addition to these regions, there are the Dwarven Mountains dotted across the nation which act like independant city states. And the Wood Elf Forest, a nation to the south that has close enough ties to Ormgard that it may as well be considered part of the nation.
There are also large areas of land unclaimed by the King, dangerous places where few dare to tread
There is a wide world beyond the borders of Ormgard. The following list comprises some of the more well known or influential nations of the world, but is by no means a complete list.