The Kingdom of Furyondy
History of the Land
The Great Kingdom of Aerdi, which was than at its peak, established the Kingdom of Furyondy as the Viceroyalty of Ferrond around 100 CY. Ferrond, populated by Oeridians, Suloise and Baklunish who settled here after the Baklunish-Suloise wars, was much larger than Furyondy is now. It originally incorporated most of modern-day Veluna, Highfolk, the Shield Lands, Dyvers and a goodly part of modern Perrenland. Its capital was the city of Dyvers.
As political and financial power became more and more centralized in the hands of Ferrond's rulers, it was only a matter of time before the Viceroyalty began to struggle for its independence. An endless series of political maneuvering brought Thrommel I to the throne in 254 CY and the Kingdome of Furyondy was born.
Thrommel and his descendants had to allow their original set of vassal states independence over the following decades and centuries. Bissel was annexed for a time during Furyondy's expansionist phase, but with the secession of Voll (now Veluna) Bissel could not be retained within Furyondy's fief. Perrenland had always been governed more in name than in practice, and was formally proclaimed independent in 400 CY. The Highfolk, always chaotic of bent, were allowed self-government to the point where the Furyondian King's authority in that land was reduced to a formality. Although the town of Highfolk is technically a part of Furyondy, and there has never been a treaty formally proclaiming its independence, no Furyondian King would try to exercise his rulership there. Finally, Dyvers became a Free City in 526 CY; still paying taxes and tithes to Furyondy though.
Seven noble houses ruled Furyondy's lands during those early times. Six of those families survive today. When Furyondy was a great, sprawling state, the King needed powerful local noble-vassals; but as decades went by and the lands shrank, the nobles kept their taste for strong local rulership and gradually they became almost as powerful as the King himself. The courts of Furyondy's dukes and barons rivaled the splendor of the King's. Although the King legally granted all the nobles their lands, they ruled each of the seven provinces of Furyondy much as they pleased. Indeed, the King did not directly control any lands of his own. This would prove a source of strife and trouble for successive kings in the years to come.
Furyondy's current sovereign is King Belvor IV, a 61-year-old paladin of Heironeous who came to the throne very young in 531 CY, after the death of his father Belvor III. Belvor is strong and brave, a true King. Unfortunately, he is also prone to fits of impatience, and that is his one failing despite his skills as a diplomat and negotiator.
Technically, Belvor is an absolute rule; what he says goes. However he is always required to consult with the representatives of the "Seven Families" (as the noble houses are called). Each of these hails from one of the provinces of the land, and is a minor noble in his own right. These representative form Belvor's Noble Council, which meets in Chendl. Everything has to be agreed to by them before Belvor can act on matters of State, and there are often powerful disagreements between them. One point of precedence, which is very important to the Seven Families, is that their formal titles are not important. They are regarded as equals in rank, above everyone except the King. This is an exception to the usual niceties of life in Furyondy, where social rank and title is of great importance among the elite.
Furyondy is a feudal state. Below the King and the Noble Council is an array of minor nobles who meet in what is termed the "Knightly Conclave", a semi-parliamentary group which considers more or less any issue it wishes to and then offers its opinions to Belvor. This is the forum where the Knights of the Hart are influential, as are a few powerful Guilds, priesthoods, artisans, and the like. There are very subtle difference of rank within this group, which is self perpetuating either by birth (nobles) or by very secret appointments and elections (Guilds).
Belvor also has his own advisors, and he increasingly turns to them for help in trying to make his nobles do what he wants them to do. Belvor also has the Council of Four; a group of four elemental wizards led by the arch-mage Karzalin, who is one of Belvor's most trusted friends. In addition, ambassadors of certain foreign states also play a key role in decision making. This is especially true of Canon Hazen of Veluna, Furyondy's major supporter-state.
Furyondy's feudal system of government is a great assistance to Belvor when attempting to confront other nobles. Legally, Belvor owns all the lands of Furyondy. He grants the provinces to the Seven Families, who must pay him agreed taxes in return. They retain some land for themselves, and lease or grant land titles to minor nobles, freeman, clergy and the like. In turn, they collect taxes from these lesser landowners. Minor nobles may further lease land to freemen or farmers, but may not make land grants without the approval of the provincial ruler. Minor landholders have bailiffs and reeves who administer estates and collect taxes and tithes.
With the impending marriage of Prince Thrommel and Lady Jolene, Furyondy is on the verge of once again regaining part of what was lost. Canon Hazen and King Belvor have come to an agreement that states: Beginning with the reign of King Thrommel III and Queen Jolene, Veluna and Furyondy will once again become one great nation. That the Throne of Furyondy will extent into Veluna and all its provinces, and that all Veluniese citizen shall become citizens of the Kingdom of Furyondy.
The Royal Family
King Belvor's first marriage was to Lady Roshelle of Dyvers. Queen Roshelle was King Belvor's one true love and his greatest failing. It was Roshelle, with her seductive charms, that caused the rift between King Belvor and Lord Dorag and the eventual shame that befell the Kingdom because of it.
King Belvor and Lady Roshelle were married on the 4th of Richfest in 545 CY. Queen Roshelle gave birth to Prince Thrommel on the 14th of Goodmonth in 546 CY. To all Roshelle was a good mother and a fine Queen, but eventually the news of her affair with Lord Dorag was brought out into the open. Queen Roshell was convicted of the crime in 549 CY and sentenced to life imprisonment in the royal dungeons for adultery. In less than a month, a group of renegade knights broke into the dungeon and freed the Queen. Her whereabouts are still unknown to this day and in 550 CY King Belvor had her declared dead.
In 552 CY King Belvor, bowing to pressure from the Noble Council and their fear of only having one royal heir, agreed to marry Lady Veldalla, the sister to Viscount Luther Derwent. The marriage was a good one, though privately Belvor still loved Queen Roshelle and felt that he was betraying his vows.
Queen Veldalla gave birth to Princess Mylena on the 3rd of Coldeven 554 CY. All were happy to see the birth of the daughter, but the Noble Council still wished to see another male heir and pressured the Queen into having another child right a way. Due to complications believed to be caused by the hurried pregnancy, Queen Veldalla died shortly after the birth of Princess Verpelsa on the 20th of Fireseek 555 CY.
The King was devastated by the loss of a second wife and took solace in the Church of Heironeous. In time King Belvor quelled his grief and took on the mantle of pure chivalry, valor and honor by becoming a Paladin of Heironeous. The Noble Council was outraged by the decision, for Paladins of Heironeous are forbidden to take wives, and tried to steer the King from his chosen path. King Belvor refused to acquiesce and the Noble Council was forced to accept that there would be only one male heir to the throne. Needless to say, the Noble Council has spent many years watching over and trying to protect Prince Thrommel.
The Noble Council Provinces
Ruler: King Belvor IV
Standing Army: 850
The Royal Capital of Furyondy, Chendl, lies within the Fairwain Province. Although Fairwain is very small, measuring only thirty square miles, it is said to be one of the most beautiful places in the Flanaess. Fairwain has been cultivated with exotic flora from all over the continent of Oerik.
The Royal Capital of Chendl is located at the center of Fairwain, and is the true gem of the province. Chendl is a most magnificent city, designed from the ground up with architectural elegance and precision. Chendl is strongly walled and has wide canals, hanging gardens, broad boulevards, elegant sculptures, and ample public parks. Continually flaming lanterns shine brightly along the boulevards and the King's magnificent magical garden floats some three hundred feet above the Royal Palace. Access to the King's garden is by two bridges of delicate white arches. These bridges are guarded by some of the King's own House Regiment officers. Atop the magical garden, at the highest point, is a flagpole that flies the King's personal standard when he is at his home. The Palace is a majestic building of gold-veined white marble with a central gleaming transparent dome filled with exotic plants and birds. The Palace grounds hold a temple to Heironeous, the God of Valor. The noted bard Diambeth writes, "The City of Greyhawk may claim to be the Gem of the Flanaess, but I name Chendl to be the Diadem."
Chendl was laid out by master architects and extensively planned. The city was designed to replace Dyvers as the capitol of Old Ferrond. Chendl has no slums, nor any recognizable lower social class housing. Indeed, it can cost a traveler between 5 and 10 Gold Wheatshafts per month to stay here. The current population is over 15,000 individuals; any more and the city would likely be crowded. Because of the limited available space, immigration is closely monitored. Anyone wishing to become a citizen of Chendl must prove his or her "verifiable worth" to the city government first. They must have skills or capital to start a business. Anyone who can pay for lodging is welcome as a visitor in the city.
The citizens of Chendl are very law abiding. A well-trained police force patrols the city. Chendl is a place to wine and dine, sniff the scented gardens, see the opera, and gamble at casinos and gaming houses. All casinos are safe to visit and mostly honest. Royal regulations forbid high-stakes gambling in most locations, but there are plenty of outrageously overpriced restaurants and expensive taverns to spend the gold in. Chendl's social castes are always a concern to the locals. The "old blood" nobility and the Noble Counsel representatives are at the top of the list, Knights and lesser nobles second, skilled artisans and the very richest merchants third, other artisans and merchants next, and everyone else last.
Chendl has a sordid side to it, but not a very large one. The Thieve's Guild here is struggling to survive given the vast numbers of militia and other solders. Only the most daring of rogues can make a profit in this city. The commoners and the nobility alike know that outside the city there are "secret" clubs that cater to high rollers, those outside the nobility, and deal in narcotics and houses of ill repute. It is also a known secret that these clubs are run by the Thieve's Guild, and that their house percentages are considerably higher than legal casinos.
Heironeous is the major faith in Chendl, and High Priest Garaeth Heldenster is a major ally of the King. Those outside of the noble class tend to favor Cuthbert, and that church's leader, Canon Redankin Desmart, supports the King's policies. Other notable religions include Rao, Trithereon, and Delleb.
Chendl has a garrison strength of 850 men, including some soldiers of Kalinstren and the King's own personal forces. These troops, of course, can carry any weapons they need throughout the city, though any other heavily armed figures will likely be closely watched. Three trusted military commanders, Generals Gallantren, Bemedior, and Yemanien, stay within the King's complex and command the troops in Chendl. They are technically subservient to Grand Marshal Derek Strongblade, but he does not spend much time in Chendl and commands little control over them.
Barony of Kalinstren
Ruler: Baron Kalinstren
Standing Army: 7,200
This Barony has suffered the most because of King Belvor's continuing struggles against Iuz the Evil. There are more border skirmishes and battles fought here than anywhere else in Furyondy. This realm has lost nearly one-third of its lands to the evil empire over the last century. Baron Kalinstren is the foremost advocate of launching a direct war against Iuz's kingdom.
Baron Kalinstren, a strong devotee of Trithereon, has few friends in Belvor's court or among his fellow nobles. Only Jakartai of Crystalmist is on good terms with him. Kalinstren's uncompromising attitude does not do his cause any good, and even Belvor wouldn't be sorry if the Baron perished in one of his forays.
The orderly folk of this province live in a state of chronic fear and tension. They are jumpy, nervous people who try to avoid contact with anyone they do not know. Morale is not poor, for the growth of defenses here is rapid. However, many people have relatives who have disappeared into the clutches of Iuz's forces and the nightmares about their fates haunt them. This is hardly a happy land.
County of Crystalreach
Ruler: Count Artur Jakartai
Standing Army: 3,900
Two years ago the previous provincial rule, Count Paulus Halpern, was lost and believed killed by raiders from Iuz. Since Halpern died without issue, Belvor moved to install a new ruler. His choice, the mighty Shield Land's exile Artur Jakartai, was a daring one. Belvor knows Artur is an ally, and considered, rightly, that the other provincial rulers wouldn't object too loudly.
They agreed, for several good reasons. First, Halpern is not known with certainty to be dead, so Jakartai can be said to be a "provisional" ruler. Belvor pleaded that putting an indigenous Furyondian in charge might result in major turmoil if Halpern were ever recovered. Second, the other provincial rulers didn't like Halpern anyway, since he was an overbearing, cowardly, and very snobbish individual. They are not too sorry to see someone else in charge. Third, Jakartai is a genuine war hero who fought along the length and breadth of the Furyondian borders with the Bandit Kingdom. The loyalty of those who fought with and for him is absolute. It would be hard for any noble to oppose such a man. Fourth, Jakartai is known to despise the old leaders of the Shield Lands for their blinkered prejudices. This could be of benefit to Belvor if the Shield Lands or Nyrond tries to rise against Furyondy.
Jakartai is known to rely heavily on Furyondian advisers, especially Halpern's Priest Jalquayne of Heironeous, who is his representative at Belvor's Noble Council, as he was for Halpern. This is reassuring to the other provincial rulers. Jakartai also behaves in a modest and deferential way to the other rulers. His clumsiness and social naiveté is actually endearing to them, disarming their usual snobbery. One exception to this is Countess Rhavelle, who considers him vulgar. All in all, this appointment has been a political triumph for Belvor.
Viscount of the March
Ruler: Viscount Luther Derwent
Standing Army: 3,500
The most populous of Furyondy's provinces, the March is a breadbasket for the rest of the kingdom. Its fields are lush and the land is productive. Traditionally, the March's merchants have been the trading experts of Furyondy. People here know and trust the value of what they are buying.
This reflects the preoccupation of the ruling house. Luther is a grim faced and unsmiling man with a very sharp mind. He has made his fortune through trade, and the Derwent family, together with a handful of other powerful, intermarried, families, own most of the land and wealth here.
Luther is a pragmatist, a tight fisted man who is very adept at staving off Belvor's demands for more money. Privately, he feels that if Iuz goes to war it will be a protracted affair and the Crystal River forms a more defensible southern retreat than the Flare Line. Luther truly believes that pumping all of Furyondy's resources into the Flare Line defenses is a strategic blunder. Luther's second wife, the nervous and much younger Alistacea, is not someone to oppose her husband, although his twin sons Petronian and Timarn tend to favor the King.
Luther is not well liked by other nobles, but he is respected for his skill and coolness in argument. He loathes Baron Kalinstren and considers that a "foreigner" should not have been given the Crystalreach to rule.
Luther's representative at Noble Council is the scribe Telemmand, and expert procrastinator who refuses to make and decisions until he has discussed matters fully with his dour, pragmatic, liege.
Barony of Littleberg
Ruler: Baron Jemian
Standing Army: 3,000
Second in population and wealth only to the March, the Barony of Littleberg is likewise a fertile land, but its farmers grow a greater diversity of crops than their grain growing eastern neighbors. Littleberg has always had a reputation for industry, inventiveness allied with common sense, and the decency and kindness of its folk.
Littleberg also has an unusual population mix. In its northern regions dwell half of Furyondy's 4,500 olves, immigrants from Highfolk and the Vesve Forest. Enclaves of noniz are found at Claw Gorge and Greylode also.
This lack of insularity compared with the March is reflected in its ruler, Baron Jemian. Jemian is a reverer of Rao, and his influential wife Scheredenn favors Pelor, and while Jemian secretly sympathizes with his King's predicament he is ever mindful of the need for caution in planning. Jemian believes that Furyondy's future will not be secured by military efforts, but by uniting its nobles, and he makes overtures to the others to negotiate their differences with the King and unite behind him. However, Jemian lacks the charisma and will to be a true political force. He is, in truth, too pleasant and self-effacing a man to be a real power broker.
Duchy of the Reach
Ruler: Duke Bennal Tyneman
Standing Army: 1,800
This long, narrow strip of territory has a unique atmosphere, simply because it borders on so many different lands. Highfolk, Veluna, and Verbobonc all border on the duchy, in addition to Littleberg and the Gold County. This is a free wheeling, free spirited province.
Caronis is a major trade and travel center, with merchants and other people moving up and down the roads to Veluna City and Mitrik. Velunese influence is a stabilizing factor in the duchy. Duke Tyneman prefers the open and free wheeling atmosphere of his duchy. He is a reverer of Olidammara and a self-indulgent hedonist whose lands lie hundreds of miles from potential war and strife. Tyneman is no fool, but he doesn't understand much of war and the grim lecturing of Belvor and his generals bore him to distraction.
Tyneman avoids most political wheeling and dealings, liking only nobles who are fun to be with, notably Countess Rhavelle. Tyneman has so far refused to raise taxes at Belvor's request, claiming that this might lose trade to Verbobonc which is a plausible excuse.
The Gold County
Ruler: Countess Kyaren Rhavelle
Standing Army: 1,200
The Gold County is the least populated of all Furyondy's provinces, but it is rich indeed. Its name partly derives from the many rich minor nobles who are attracted here by relatively low taxes, as well as the sunflower-like plants, growing on the plains, which are harvested for their seed oil.
Countess Rhavelle is a cunning woman, posing as an almost ingenuous socialite while actually possessing very sharp wit and insight. She admires Belvor's craftiness, but she does not believe that Furyondy will face war for many years. For this reason, she stands steadfast against supplying extra revenue to the crown, and she has a good justification.
Rhavelle considers Duke Tyneman an effete ninny and Luther Derwent a wet blanket. She is wary of ambitious Baron Butrain of Willip, and dislikes the northern provincial rulers. She most admires Baron Jemian, but in truth the Countess is highly self confident and very reluctant to ever admit that she might be wrong.
Social mores play a dominating role in the Gold County. For example, merchants are only permitted to wear simple, dark cloaks and attire so as not to compete with the vivid styles of their noble superiors!
Barony of Willip
Ruler: Baron Xanthan Butrain
Standing Army: 2,500 troops, 4,500 navy
The Barony of Willip is a vital strategic region of Furyondy. Willip is the first port of call for almost all visitors arriving across the lake from Greyhawk, Urnst, Nyrond and points beyond. Willip itself is the largest settlement in all of Furyondy and its baron plays a pivotal political role.
Baron Xanthan Butrain is resistant to further increases in taxation, but he also knows that since Belvor pays for the navy, and the navy brings vast revenues into Willip, that he is beholden to his King on that score. Should the navy be, say, increasingly diverted to a developed Gold County port as a base, the barony would suffer economically. Butrain thus plays a waiting game. He insists on agreements between all provincial rulers before he will agree to raise taxes to fund the northern provinces, knowing this is unlikely to happen.
The Barony of Willip has some quirks compared to most of the rest of Furyondy. Criminal law here is termed canon law and may only be administered by priest of the faiths of Cuthbert or Zilchus. This often means long delays waiting for trials. Most taxes have odd names. For instance, the Noble Tax for lesser nobles is the "Baron's Gold" and the Freesword Tax is called the "Blade Coppers".
Lastly, Butrain has a nemesis. His cousin Gregen claims the title of baron. The true bloodline is disputed. Gregen is believed to have fled to Admundfort, where Iuz may be using him as a puppet to justify any planned strike against Willip. This is rumor that Butrain has never tried to quell. It is said that only the King knows the truth.