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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 21, 2003
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    Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:03 pm  
    Foreign Policy

    What is Gran marches foreign policy towards their neighbors? In particular Bissel who is essentially a satellite state. One of the reasons for my question is wondering how you handle the Thornward situation. Do you have it returned to Bissel as in LG or is it still a partitioned city ala the LGG. If it is still a divided city, I could see Gran march having several feelings on the situation.
    1- Let it continue to be divided as that keeps Bissel form gaining an important source of trade and thus continues their reliance on Gran March
    2- DO whatever they can to get it back into the hands of Bissel as they would then be able to exert a lot more control over it than what they have now?

    Any other thoughts on that or other neighbors?
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
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    From: Orlane, Gran March

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    Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:15 am  

    Before I dive into my take on Bissell, I want to describe the politics of the March as I and other members of the Gran March Project have conceptualized it.

    Gran March is a country that has been settled in its current form for more than 650 years. Despite this, it has remained a frontier for most of its history. This is probably the single largest reason for its very militant structures. Historically it has always been geographically surrounded by forbidding wild lands.

    1. The Lortmils to the east, with hordes of humanoids, lost valleys and impenetrable vales. These mountains are surrounded on nearly all sides by civilized lands, and yet they remained wild and uncontrolled. Even races that participated in trade, such as dwarves and their princes, rarely cooperated in military operations to quell the region.

    2. The Rushmoors to the south is a nearly impenetrable swamp of vast size. To give a real world example, it is larger than the Okefenokee Swamp of Georgia and Florida; it is nearly as large as any similar wetland on Earth. This region is at best difficult to conquer, based on simple geography. However, is also a site with historic importance in that is was one of Vecna’s capitals. There are strong political forces which do not want this area explored, among them the Malagari and Silent Ones. A place of rife with lizard men, trolls and numerous other horrid creatures, the Rushmoors are also a place rife with undead, at least at certain times of year. In the GMP, at certain times of the years, zombies, skeletons and ghouls wander out to attack travelers and remote farms. This goes back to the earliest days of the March, and special measures to alert these travelers have today become traditions, such as the Tolling of Bells during the warmer months.

    3. The Dim Forest forms the western frontier, and though it is not as large as some forests in the Flaness, it is as dark and wild as any. Its eaves have barely been penetrated by the forces of the March. Even cutting a road through its narrow southern spur, designed to encourage trade with the remote Barony of Hethiye and support the Armies in Hochoch has proven difficult.

    4. The Plains of Law Ran Valonn is a broad grass plain to the north of Hookhill. This area is inhabited by lonely farms, herds of centaurs, and wild cattle. This area was “conquered,” by Tavish in 302 CY, however, there is a large divide between the populous areas of the southern March, and the populated areas of northern Bissell, and thus this is an empty space that is historically peaceable only by the consistent commitment of troops.

    This frontier character was balanced by the cities of Lortenford and Shiboleth in the south. The areas along the Lort and Sheldomar rivers were, and are, the bread basket of the nation. The population was high, and relatively sheltered. It was the Gran March, with wild lands on all side.

    Then the March began to change. In 438 CY, Commandant Berlykin was killed in the Short War. Bissell was lost. The March retained a small portion of what was originally its northern province. Today this is the Barony of Valonn, though there are small portions retained in the Barony of Colinae. This defeat is, arguably a first blow to the Knights of the Watch.

    As a result of these losses, the Barons were allowed to elect the Commandant. The Knights of the March, whose martial guidance had preserved the nation for generations, were displaced. The barons and the nobility present but suppressed since the first days of the nation, were suddenly in charge. A second severe blow was dealt to the proud Knightly Order.

    Less than seventy years later, in 510 CY, the Hateful Wars began. Keoland refused to aid the Demi-Human crusaders. It is speculated that pressure from the Keoish throne is the reason that the March did participate militarily, though they did provide logistics and supplies to the dwarven armies. This reluctance is a curious moment in the history of the March, as the March stood to benefit as much or more than any of those who prosecuted the war. Some claim that this started dissatisfaction with the Sun Throne, one that resulted in a more independent March.

    With the conclusion of the Hateful wars, the March was a changed nation. The largest frontier, the one that endangered the heart of the Gran March was gone. No longer was it necessary for large garrisons of the March army to watch the Lortmils day and night.

    The end of the Hateful wars proceeded a long and peaceful period in the March. The trade route from the north, running to Keoland brought great prosperity to the populace, the Barons and to the nation. Geoff was stable to the west, and Keoland slumbered to the south. Bissell, though a lost colony to the March, was peaceful and trade grew steadily.

    Such is a time in a nation when the fires of division begin to arise. The Knights of the Watch were beloved by the masses and watched by the Military. However, as a militant order, they were left with little to do. The Army of the March presided over the basic security, along with the household guards of the Barons.

    Merchants prospered, and gained ever more influence in the land. Shiboleth, with its rare silk, gained great wealth. Lortenford, sitting on the trade routes to the Ulek border, gained influence. March horses, bred in Baronies of Paysanne and Valonn were a growing trade item.

    Baronial influence, for the first time in the history of the March, meant something, and they wished to expand this influence. Old ties with the noble houses of Keoland, of whom many of the barons were descended, were reinvigorated. The Commandants, in a continual series, were of the nobility.

    Prosperity lingered, and political intrigues grew. For the first time in it’s history the March had no wars to fight, and its borders were quiet, if not safe.

    It is into this that the lightning bolt of the Greyhawk Wars struck in 582 CY. Every other nation in the Sheldomar was attacked, yet the borders of the March were untouched. Its armies went abroad, and fought the good fight.

    In 584 CY, in an unprecedented move, the Knights of the Watch convene a council. In a few days, and by means that are little understood, the duly elected Commandant of the March steps down and the Knights placed one of their own in charge of the March.

    This act, coming after their stunning defeats at the hands of the Ketittes haunts the March till this day. After suffering a humiliating route at the hands of their nemesis, and being overrun by the giants, the Knights determined that they should be in charge. THey should rule, even though their losses had caused a schism within their own ranks. Though the resentment this created is not pervasive through the society, it does permeate the upper ranks of the military and nobility. Even the merchants and temples, who have enjoyed the peace and stability, are watching with some concern. Does this herald a return to the aggressive past exemplified by Berylikin?

    This act was followed up by a two pronged campaign to reclaim both Bissell and Geoff. In both instances, the Knights and not the March have benefited. Yet the Army of the March, the sons and daughters of the common man, hold the line as the Knights lord over it all.

    In the west the war has stalled with no significant campaigns for several seasons. The Knights have established a Protectorate over Hochoch, and seem disinclined to do more. To what purpose was Hochoch reclaimed? Was it to retake Geoff, or to advance the supra national agenda of the Knights. Outside the bounds of the March, the Knights rule in Hochoch, as they have not since the defeat of Berylkin.

    I have added this as backdrop. While it does not answer your question, you will see in my next post it’s relevance.

    I will finish this up tonight.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:43 am  

    That's the way I pictured the situation being also. In the Campaign that I've been working on I have the Knights as one of the "Bad Guys". They're not evil but their expansionist policies put them at odds with the other powers.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
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    From: Orlane, Gran March

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    Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:55 am  

    I don't have them as a "bad guy," ... yet. IMC i don't generally portray political groups as evil/bad, or good, so much as a group with an agenda. Often a member of the group will do evil in order to support the agenda of the group. Just as often the leadership, even if of good alignement, then rationalize that act out of the way.

    I regards to Bissell, I have followed the lead of the LGG. I believe (and I dont have my book here) that it states that the KoW have insinuated themselves heavily into the local positions of power, often without the approval of anyone.

    This seems to me to typify a move to sieze power, or at least control it from behind the scenes. In my game (this is not necessarily what the participants in the GMP have concensus on) I have the Knights trying to create dominions from which they operate, and which are completely under their governance.

    I am not currently running a game which is ahead of the GH timeline, but I will be in the near future. In that game, Hochoch is the focus, and the Knights do not desire oversight of the Gran March. However, they do not have the numbers to defeat the giants. This requires the GM army. Once that is accomplished, who gets Hochoch.

    The government and populace of the March (excluding the Knightly Commandant) want to see a unified and somewhat docile neighbor to the north. The goal of those outside of the Knights, broadly stated is to be careful that the Knights do not emerge as the rulers of Bissell and Hochoch.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
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    Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:13 pm  

    Well I like to follow the LG whenever possible - Thornward was retaken for regional reasons (no warfare) and not roleplaying concerns.

    Personally I like the divided city model much more; it is just to juicy a point of contention to simply give up. IMHO
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:59 pm  

    Anced_Math wrote:
    I don't have them as a "bad guy," ... yet. IMC i don't generally portray political groups as evil/bad, or good, so much as a group with an agenda. Often a member of the group will do evil in order to support the agenda of the group. Just as often the leadership, even if of good alignement, then rationalize that act out of the way.

    That's how I always try to play it too which is why "Bad Guys" was in the parenthesis. They are just one of the power groups fighting for control but will be one of those facing off against the players.
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