The Duchies of Furyondy
Date: Mon, August 22, 2005
Topic: Greyhawk Gazetteer
The chivalrous, southron knights of the Duchy of the Reach. The gilded pagentry and plotting of the Duchy of Gold Country. The archaically anachronistic Duchy of Littleberg. The industrious Duchy of the March. The haunted Duchy of Kalinstren. These are the duchies of Furyondy. Each one different. Each one unique. Think Furyondy is all of a piece? Think again. While united by a common history, each of the duchies of Furyondy has its own character and charactistics. Its not Keoland, or worse, Nyrond where everything is much the same here as there. Furyondy is alive! Or in some cases, undead - haunted actually. By the lingering spectre of Iuz.
The Duchies of Furyondy
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
The Duchies of Furyondy - A Brief Description
In the aftermath of the Furyondian Civil War, the Free Borough Accords established five Dukedoms tributary to the King of Furyondy. These are: The Duchy of the Reach, The Duchy of Gold Country, The Duchy of Littleberg, The Duchy of the March and the Duchy of Kalinstren. In each case, the hereditary nobility of the land has been allowed to remain for it was not King Artur’s wish to see one civil war lead to another. Furyondy can ill afford such distractions when Iuz’ forces still menace the kingdom from beyond the Veng River.
Pursuant to the Free Borough Accords, each Dukedom is made tributary to the King, who is acknowledged as sovereign. Each duke or duchess has sworn fealty to the King, who can levy taxes and call for troops throughout the kingdom. In a nod to tradition and to avoid any possibility of another civil conflict, the traditional right of the Great Families of Furyondy to deny the King taxes or troops is preserved as a right to dissent and have the matter heard by the Knightly Conclave. In practice, however, this is a largely hollow right for the King controls the votes of all royally chartered orders of knighthood, such as the Knights of Fury, who are highly influential with their peers, and all knights of the County of Crystalreach and the Barony of Willip, which are crown holdings. The King can also count on the votes of the religious orders of knighthood, in most cases. The Dukes and Duchesses are perennially outvoted, and are, in any case, rarely of one mind.
Each of the Duchies is unique with its own personality, the singular product of a long history as a quasi-palatinate state. Each Duchy is briefly described hereafter.
The Duchy of the Reach
Bordering on Veluna, the Duchy of the Reach enjoys a long growing season and the significant commercial and agricultural benefits of the Velverdyva River forming its southern boundary. All within the Duchy enjoy a prosperity only surpassed by the Goldlanders. This has earned the Duchy a not undeserved reputation for laziness and easy living. The Reachers just shrug at any such offhand remark and go back to whatever they were doing. The pace of life in the Reach is indeed slow and day-to-day comforts are savored.
Some complain that Duke Tyneman is too “southron,” a mildly dismissive term in Furyondy that both recalls the Short War with Keoland, whose natives are regarded as “soft,” and alludes to too great an affection for Veluna, which while valued and respected as an ally, is yet seen as often too philosophical and cautious when action is called for. The Duke pays such talk, which is never publically stated in his presence, little heed. He sees his Duchy as the best of Veluna and Furyondy and himself as a valuable go between, a role he and his ancestors have played to both nations’ advantage.
Unique in Furyondy, the Duke’s forces are drawn up into Legions, the principle component of which is infantry, not cavalry. Nobles serve as often in command of foot regiments as cavalry. While the noble cavalry enjoys a higher prestige than the infantry, the disparity is not as great as in other Duchies. The Legions of the Reach employ what are regarded as unorthodox tactics. The cavalry, which usually is unleashed as a primary striking force elsewhere, in the Reach supports the Legions, drawing in opponents and turning flanks. When the critical moments of battle occurs, the Legions provide the killing force, crushing opponents between their tight formations of pikemen and javelin armed swordsmen.
At the same time, the knights of the Reach are accounted perhaps the most chivalric of Furyondy. Grand, even showy combatants, they are also courtly, educated, graceful and witty. The cutting remark of a knight of the Reach is said to bite as deeply as any sword stroke. Such knights are notorious seducers and gallants, not a few of which have some degree of bardic training. If the knights native to the Duchy of the Reach have a flaw, it is their tendency toward egotism and overweening pride. Less seasoned knights of the Reach may too easily overestimate their ability or underestimate that of others.
The ducal capital is located at Caronis and gives its name to the Duke’s personal order of knighthood, the Ordus Coronas, which is accounted the greatest order of Furyondian chivalry after the Knights of Fury. Tributary County seats are located in Baranford, Kisail and Ryemend. In all ways, the Duchy of the Reach is a peaceable and united land. Those conflicts present are of a courtly or diplomatic sort. As a result, tourneys are all the fashion in the Reach for the knights are not otherwise tested on an regular basis.
The Duchy of Gold Country
By any measure, the Duchy of Gold Country is blessed. It borders on both the Velverdyva and the Att Rivers, guaranteeing a well watered land with easy means of transportation and communication. It has ready access to the Nyr Dyv and the markets in Dyvers and the City of Greyhawk. Its southern climate provides a long growing season and bountiful harvests of grains, fruits and vegetables. Its wines are heady and sought after. Flowers grow in abundance, giving rise to a famous perfume industry. Arts of every variety flourish. Everywhere, the people are industrious and enjoy a prosperity the envy of every other part of Furyondy and more than a few sovereign countries. As if this were not enough, the Gold Country is so named for the gold mines that gilt an already golden land. The Duchy of Gold Country should be a paradise. It is not.
Golders, as natives are called, are obsessed with money and personal gain. Alone in Furyondy, Zilchus’ temples are the grandest in the Gold Country. No Golder does anything without first calculating what is in it for him or her. Patronage of the arts is simply an investment in public good will and proof of your financial success. Great people enjoy great things. Charity is intended as much to shame your rivals with a display of largesse, suggesting that your resources are that much greater, than any attempt to help the less fortunate, who would not be less fortunate if they applied themselves. The poor are just lazy and of no good. A bargain is had when you have the superior position in a negotiation and can extract the most value for the least gold. If it beggars the other party, so much the better; they will not compete with you in the future.
Reflecting this mercantile bent, the Gold Country has more guilds and guildsmen wield more power than in any other part of Furyondy. Even the nobles of the Duchy regularly engage in mercantile activities without a second thought. None does so more effectively than the Duchess Rhavelle. Not simply the sovereign, Duchess Rhavelle is the chief merchant of the Gold Country. She uses her noble station to ensure that she prospers above all others. As a result, merchants and guilders regularly seek her alliance in trading or business ventures. Duchess Rhavelle is without question the richest person in Furyondy, including the King.
Tributary to the Duchess are the Counties of Stalmaer and Blackwell. Both are held by cadet branches of the Ducal line. If the Gold Country resembles a business as much as any feudal domain, it is a family business, rife with all of the infighting and intrigue of a family grown overly wealthy and powerful at the expense of others.
Of all of the nobles forced to agree to the Free Borough Accords, Duchess Rhavelle did so with the most reluctance and with the most residual bitterness. The Duchess hates King Artur. She hates the loss of her prior prerogatives. She resists every attempt by the King to create a new, more united nation. Duchess Rhavelle stops just short of seeking the King’s death and treason, if only because she has much to loose. Her plots against the King are, however, widely rumored. Of course, she denies any and all such and professes her love of King and Country, while muttering under her breath all the while.
The ducal court in Libernen is as opulent as one might expect. Yet, it is overly formal and prone to cutthroat politics that ultimately revolve around one mercantile matter or another. The priests of Zilchus are everywhere in evidence, unusual at an Furyondian court. While no court enjoys greater displays of art and ostentation, few visitors take away a good impression. Beneath the surface, the venality shows through.
Most find Golders crass, crafty and sly. They also have a reputation for licentious behavior. Money buys any pleasure and many Golders are debauched by the standards of Furyondy, even though tame when compared to the Suel talent for self-indulgence. The polite term to describe a Golder is that they are “obvious.”
Too much, this may also apply to the orders of knighthood in the Duchy of Gold Country. Knightly orders tend to focus in some way around mercantilism, protecting travelers and pilgrims, running hostels or hospitals, and serving as fighting arms of sponsoring guilds or nobles. It is perhaps unsurprising that there are fewer knightly orders in the Gold Country than any other land within Furyondy’s borders.
The Duchy of Littleberg
The Duchy of Littleberg is the agricultural heartland of Furyondy. The Reach and Gold Country may produce more exotic or specialty foodstuffs but Littleberg feeds the nation. It wheat, oats, barley and rye are not exciting but essential in every way as staples. The Duchy reflects this in its character. Littleberg is old fashioned. More nobles who attach Thane to their title can be found in the Duchy of Littleberg than anywhere else.
Bergers, as the natives of the Duchy are called, are hard working, solid citizens not given to the frivolity of the Reach, the venality of the Gold Country or any other extreme. People work hard, try to live good lives and respect their Duke and King. Bergers tend to be a bit quiet, even stodgy, but they are reliable. They do not look down on others who are not like they are but rather try to set an example.
Politically, the Duchy of Littleberg recognizes the Duke, whose seat is in the city which gives the
Duchy its name, the Viscount of Greylode, which is the hereditary fief given to the ducal heir, and the County of Pantam, which is historically a weak title beholding to the Duke, and previously the Baron. The result is a highly feudal structure with the Duke in more absolute control of his Duchy than any of his peers. This is, however, something of an illusion due to the strong tradition of Thanic titles.
Thanes were the principal nobility of old Ferrond. Now styled Barons or Lords or Knights in the main, many in the Duchy of Littleberg cling to their prior Thanic title, adopting new titles more as a matter of convenience than anything else. While the Thanes support their Duke, they are prideful of their traditions, heritage and the Duke must give them the honor and respect they believe they are due to avoid difficulties. The result is an archaic court that is wildly anachronistic but has a dignity and sense of continuous history and tradition that more grandiose modern courts struggle to match.
The common peasants and yeomen are much the same. They revere tradition and follow patterns of life that have not changed meaningfully in centuries. In more rural areas, this can give rise to a degree of superstition and mistrust of strangers but this is usually not the case. For the most part, peasants and yeomen believe that they are living a good life and are resistant to change as a consequence. The one extravagance in each year are the quarterly festivals, where everyone kicks up their heels. Then, it’s time to get to work and the business at hand.
The Duchy of the March
The Duchy of the March is a microcosm of Furyondy. It has something of the Reach’s pagentry. There is something of the refinement of Willip. It has something of the Gold Country’s mercantilism. Agricultural output is second only to Littleberg. If there is a distinguishing characteristic of the March, it is a concentration of manufactures and industry. The chartered city of Free Borough is the best example.
Free Borough is a free city, chartered by both the King and the Duke of the March. It pays nominal tribute to the Duke but otherwise goes its own way. It is not a city established as a court. It is not a city dominated by guilds or merchants. It is a city where large scale manufactures and industries dominate - coopers, carpenters, weavers, tinkers - these are the sorts of enterprises that dominate life in Free Borough. Weaving deserves special mention for Free Borough and the surrounding area is the center of the Furyondy textile industry.
All of the manufactures or industries of Free Borough are controlled by Free Stock Companies. There are no guilds in the typical sense, nor individual, controlling merchants, houses or families. Anyone can purchase stock in one of the Free Borough concerns and share in its profits. Most concerns are dominated by the workers in these industries themselves, each owning a few shares and deriving income therefrom in addition to their wages. Common merchants also own stock as do many nobles, even if they do not publicize the fact out of a fear they will be seen as “lowering” themselves. The city fathers exert the greatest control through the passage of laws that regulate the manufactures and control all trade passing through the city. This has lead to a bitter rivalry with the more traditional guilders of the Gold Country who attempted to take control of Free Borough by buying up stock in its industries. The attempt was thwarted with the stroke of the Lord Mayor’s pen after the Borough Council of Ombudsmen passed the Locale Laws restricting ownership.
Less intensely than in Free Borough, throughout the Duchy of the March there is a high degree of industrialization and manufacturing, most controlled by more traditional wealthy individuals and families. This type of activity is as least as important as traditional agriculture. The result is a very mixed economy that supports an equally mixed set of courts.
The Ducal seat rests in Gursend. The court is a mixture of Chendl’s high chivalry, Willip’s refinement and energy and more traditional models more like that of Littleberg. The Duke has wholeheartedly adopted King Artur’s call for a new Furyondy based on a high chivalric model to the degree that Gursend is sometimes mockingly called “Little Chendl.” The Duke, however, takes this as a compliment. Many are the orders of knighthood found throughout the Duchy of the March and each year the Duke’s Pagent sees them come together in Gursend for a grand tourney and faire, outshone only by the Chendl Listefaire and the grand affairs of the Duchy of the Reach.
The Counties of Brancast and, especially, Worlende compete with the Ducal court in sponsoring orders of knighthood and celebrating chivalry. Each of these counties are assertive and independent minded, but are in no way rebellious. Like the Duke, the Counts of Brancast and Worlende have embraced Artur’s vision for Furyondy. While not as flamboyant as the chivalry of the Duchy of the Reach, the knights of the March outnumber all others in their multitudes. The drawn up horse of the March would give even a Paynim hordesmen, used to vast armies of mounted warriors, pause. Their charge is deafening thunder it is said disturbs Iuz’ sleep in faraway Dorakaa.
In the Viscounty of Barduk and the Barony of Eyeberen, the Marchers get their chance to confront Iuz. While matters have improved since the rebirth of the Shieldlands from near oblivion, the border is still tense. Regular actions and skirmishes take place, even if not as frequently as to the north in Crystalreach. The Duke is careful to rotate his forces on the border regularly. He fears too long a tour of duty could well taint or demoralize his men and he fears a subtler corruption, as well. In this, the Duke is almost alone but because the frequent reployments keep Iuz’ commanders guessing, none complain.
The Duchy of Kalinstren
Kalinstren is like no other part of Furyondy. The terrain is by turns, very hilly, forested and possessed of a sandy loam close to Lake Whyestil that supports thin plant life or none at all where sand predominates and forms great dunes near the water’s verge. Of all of Furyondy, Kalinstren suffered the most in the Greyhawk Wars from Iuz’ invasion and conquest. Now liberated after the Great Northern Crusade, there remains a sadness and melancholia that hangs over the Duchy.
The ducal seat, Crockport, is also the home port of the Lake Whyestil naval squadrons. During the Greyhawk Wars, it was besieged and briefly held by Iuz. While outwardly recovered for the most part, there is something ghostly and wounded about Crockport that is disturbing to those entering the city for the first time.
Much like Crockport, all of Kalinstren seems whole but wounded. Iuz’blow was dolorous and the Duchy has yet to really recover. The native mists that rise from Lake Whyestil and the Vesve Forest only compound a sense of dreaming or wistful regret or remembrance. Much of Kalinstren seems in a still shocked trance or dreaming of things lost and far away.
The Duke spends most of his time and holds court principally in Castle Ehlenestra, far away from the capital in Crockport. There is a forced gaiety to the court that only thinly disguises a deadly seriousness. The late King Belvor is considered a hero in Kalinstren for he lead the Great Northern Crusade that pushed Iuz back. Acceptance of Artur as king is not easy. To many, he is all but a usurper. Personally respected, broader respect for his reign is grudging. Relations between the Duchy and the Crown are uneasy and this is felt on both sides. Of all of the Great Nobles, the Duke of Kalinstren gives more heed to Duchess Rhavelle than any other.
The knights of Kalinstren are equally split in where their loyalties and allegiances should lie. Long a stronghold of the Knights of the Hart, that order is no longer what it was and is now largely confined to the Redoubt and Spinecastle. Uncertainty is the order of the day.
The populace reflects the character of the nobility almost exactly. They are beaten down yet defiant, fearful yet resolved, melancholy and haunted but dream of better days they hope will come.
The Duchy is divided into the ducal demesne in Crockport, the tributary Barony at Ehenestra that is held by the crown heir, the Baronies of the Redoubt, Spinecastle and Salamandra and the Viscounty of North Verge, lately called Gerrenkzerung by some. Redoubt and Spinecastle have been ceded to the Order of the Hart by tradition and play little or no active role in the administration of the Duchy. Salamandra is commanded by Baroness Lady Salamandra IV, who defies the current zeitgeist, in that she is an energetic admirer of King Artur and the Knights of Fury. The Viscounty of the Verge is currently vacant; the entire line having been wiped out by Iuz’s advancing forces during the Greyhawk Wars. The succession is a tangled issue and the Duke has been slow to attempt to resolve matters. Rumors swirl that more is involved here but no certain facts have come to light.