Carved from the wild lands of eastern Diemed over 80 years ago, the Barony of Roesone has been struggling to validate its independence and protect its freedom from the greater lords of Diemed and Ghoere. Even today, Roesone’s future remains uncertain; it has the potential to grow in power and influence, but it could just as easily fall to the ambitions of Ghoere.
The lands here, sparsely settled when Daen Roesone brought them under his banner, have attracted new settlers to rediscover its beauty. Drawn by the offer of rich farmlands, these settlers come from all over Anuire, uprooted by wars and troubles. They have come to Roesone to build new lives, and therefore, they tend to stick together and do not stand bullying from newcomers; one family’s problems often end thanks to the efforts of friends. The folks of Roesone also share an interest in exploration – many famous adventurers once called this land home.
Life and Society
Drawn from all corners of Anuire, the people of Roesone are strong-willed and proud of declaring that they will not bow their head before any lord or lady. Less than three generations ago most were bandits or freesteaders who called no man lord, unlike the people of neighbouring lands. Many have yet to truly trust or support the Roesone family, especially after the civil war following the death of the original Black Baron, Daen Roesone, and the occasionally brutal reign of his murderous third son Morghan. Teried, father of the current baroness, did much to restore the confidence of the people, and today they are free and outspoken, able to live as they wish and willing to fight to continue that right. As long as the new baroness continues to respect her subjects, the people will support her rule.
The same could be said for the barony’s nobles. Most are descended from various cutthroats and mercenaries who fought at Daen Roesone’s side and were rewarded with power and wealth in return for their loyalty. Their spoilt children and grandchildren rest of the laurels their forefathers won, living off the fat of the land and solving problems with the edge of a sword. The only true noble among them, Lord Sedrie Bellamie, the Count of Bellam, rules a province that once belonged to Aerenwe. Although he does not openly seek to overthrow the Roesone family, he was a constant thorn in the side of Teried, the current baroness’ father, and rumour circulation among the court suggest that the Count may be seeking an alliance with Ghoere, Roesone’s arrogant and expansionist northern neighbour.
However, the current Baron of Ghoere has no true animosity towards the Baroness and her supporters, unlike the Duke of Diemed, Heirl Diem. Roesone was formed from six of Diemed’s eastern provinces and the ruinous war between the new nation and Diemed crippled that nations army, allowing yet more provinces to slip out of the grasp of the Diem family. Both Medoere and Ilien, much smaller nations than Roesone, but like their larger neighbour formed from former Diemed provinces are the barony’s most loyal allies, recognising the need to combine their forces against their enemy to the west. Diemed has little influence in its former provinces today, but the desire to reclaim them runs deep. It is likely that a major war will one day erupt, and to guard against that day, Roesone maintains good relations with its neighbours and keeps its military ready for war.
Another powerful ally of Roesone’s ruler is the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn, one of the most powerful sects of Haelyn’s faith in Anuire. Like all Anuireans, the people of Roesone are a religious folk and following the founding of the barony the temple did not wait long before sending a party of priests and temple soldiers to found a cathedral in the capital. In many ways the growth of Roesone has been reflected in the growth of the temple, and today the Impregnable Heart preaches to the majority of Roesone’s citizens. This fact was recognised in 544 MR when Baron Teried Roesone declared the temple to be the official faith of Roesone. Several lesser shrines and temples dedicated to other gods exist, but none can match the temple of Haelyn in the hearts of the people.
The fertile flood plains along the Spider River and the lush grasslands of the other provinces provide a wealth of farm produce to Roesone’s markets. Grains such as barley, wheat and corn are common, as well as cattle and a growing cotton industry. The agricultural wealth of this land has attracted not only farmers and settlers from across Anuire; it has also bought the powerful trade guilds. Three guilds are currently fighting a vicious underground war for control of the Roesone’s markets. The most powerful of these is the Port of Call Exchange, based in Ilien and controlled by el-Hadid, a Khinasi merchant who dominates the ranching and livestock trade in Roesone. Siele Ghoried of the Spider River Traders has expanded her Aerenwe trading empire into Roesone and has gained control of some of the northern markets in Fairfield, Ghoried and Caercas. Finally, there is Orthien Tane, a sinister underworld figure who uses subversions, extortion and intimidation to control the mining and logging industries.
Roesone is also home to a handful of true wizards, although none of them are powerful enough to control the magic of the land. Instead two outsiders, Rogr Aglondier of Ilien and High Mage Aelies, of the Erebannien, control almost all of Roesone’s sources. Lord Aglondier is a supporter of the Baroness’ family and has often aided the people of Roesone, but the allegiances of High Mage Aelies are impossible to predict.
A land of gently rolling grassland and farms, dotted with the occasional wood, bog, or hill, Roesone is a frontier realm. Although the land was settled by humans two thousand years ago, various wars left it a wild land, host to a hundred or more abandoned castles, towns, and towers. Most have now been rebuilt or explored, but much of still-wild Roesone lacks the trappings of civilisation. Few of the towns scattered about the kingdom rise above five hundred in population, but in a few years, if the current influx of settlers continues, the countryside may grow to resemble the barony’s neighbours.
Abbatuor was once part of Aerenwe. Its landscape is dominated by the Erebannien. Most farms and settlements in the province are restricted to a stretch of floodplain along the banks of the Spider River. Several small logging companies are controlled by the guilder Orthien Tane. A small port near the mouth of the Spider River, Abbadiel is home to Roesone’s small fleet. Lord-Captain Tael Brosuine rules the province for the baroness.
The Storm Tower: The Storm Tower is located east along the coast from Abbadiel rising above the rocky cliffs, clearly visible by passing ships, but hard to find when travelling over land. No one knows for sure who build this towering structure, although many believe it to be an ancient elven ruin.
Bellam is a hilly province, with some peaks rising more than a thousand feet. The land is rocky and poorly suited for farming, but a few small farms and ranches can be found around Buineridge, in the south of the province. Bellam is a rich province, full of mines, quarries, and smiths. Guilder Orthien Tane of the Southern Anuire Shipping and Imports controls most of these industries. The largest settlement in the province is the mining town of Gheaden Forge. Count Sedrie Bellamie, ruler of the province, lives in Bellamie castle, located just north of the town of Buineridge.
Tarkal Deeps: Located in an isolated chain of hills is a region of caves, abandoned mines, where rumours about an army of Orogs, a newly created awnshegh, and even a sinister cult practicing human sacrifice have been running through Bellam.
The heart of Roesone, Caercas is the largest and most densely population of the barony’s seven provinces. A rich farming province, Caercas’ gently rolling countryside provides a wealth of meat, wool, and leather to the markets in Proudglaive, the capital of Roesone. Caercas is under the direct control of the baroness. However, most of the day to day affairs of the province are run by her castellan, Lord Traese Noelon
Proudglaive: Proudglaive is a city of ten thousand citizens. Proudglaive is also a port city, located on the deep Spider River, and even large ocean-going vessels can be seen tied up at its wharves. Michael Agnelie is the city’s lord mayor, although he reports to the castellan in nearby Blacktower Castle.
Blacktower Castle: The home of the Roesone family, Blacktower Castle sits on a tall crag overlooking the city of Proudglaive. It is also rumoured that the castle is built over an extensive network of caves, and that successive barons have expanded these caves into vaults and storehouses.
Greatbridge: Near the southern border of the province, the small town of Greatbridge was built where a engineers planned to bridge the Spider River more than six hundred years ago. The attempt was abandoned leaving behind the town and a line of stone piers. Today, the only way across the wide expanses of the Spider River are two ferries, one in the north of Abbatuor province and the other in Ghoried province.
Duerlin is a boring stretch of gently rolling countryside, dotted with the occasion hill, woodland. Corn and rye are the most common crops, although several small cherry and apple orchards can be found in the forested plains along the Spider River. Lake Duere, located near the centre of the province is home to a royal hunting lodge and retreat, more commonly known as the Summer Palace by locals as the baroness’ farther held court here for up to six weeks every summer.
The small town of Mienem Falls, located near the source of the Mienem River is the capital of this province, and Richard Ritter (MAn/Br; Nbl1/Ftr2/Rog2; unblooded) is its count. The Ritter family is descended from Karl Ritter, a Brecht mercenary and one of Daen Roesone’s most loyal lieutenants.
Located along the eastern border of the barony, Edlin is a province dominated by farmland and prime grazing land. In the east rises the Delaen Hill, which mark the border of the province and the beginning of the kingdom of Aerenwe. The marshland known as the Elvenmeres covers nearly a third of the province, fed by the Aewende, Mienem, and Black rivers. All three rivers combine at the Elvenmeres and eventually flow into the Spider River.
Like in Duerlin, the guilder el-Hadid, master of the Port of Call Exchange, dominates the livestock and farming industries of this province. He also owns the largest horse stable in Roesone, located just outside the provincial capital, Delaen Gap. The largest temple is the Abbey of the True Heart, a monastery dedicated to teaching and recording the history of Anuire.
Harald Bjording, one of Daen Roesone’s chief lieutenants, founded the town of Delaen Gap. He was sent to protect against an invasion from Aerenwe that never came, and was later gifted the land by the Black Baron. Sven Bjording (MAn/Rj; Nbl1/Ftr5; Unblooded) is his great-grandson and the current count of the province.
The Elvenmeres: Located in western Edlin, where three rivers join to become the Black River, the Elvenmeres is a region of marshland and quiet pools of deep water. Home to thousands of birds, fish, and even the occasional ghost, the marsh is a popular hunting ground for Roesone’s nobles, although rumours of ghosts and witches keep most of the locals away.
The Moundfell: An ancient burial ground and the source of numerous stories about ghosts, undead, and other shadow world beings, the Moundfell is located somewhere in the Delaen Hills, along the border with Aerenwe. Difficult to find during the day, and almost impossible during the night, the Moundfell is rumoured to hold the body of a long-dead Deretha king, who was buried with a powerful magical weapon carried north by his family from Aduria as the Andu tribes fled before Azrai’s legions.
A region of gently sloping plains and scattered farmland along the barony’s northern border, Fairfield’s apparent calm is deceptive. Strategically important, as it provides a route directly into the heart of Roesone, no less than four major wars have been fought in this province over the past eighty years. The gaze of Roesone’s expansionist northern neighbour Ghoere often turns toward the barony’s rich farmlands and the people of Fairfield have been organised into well-trained militias to fight off any invasion. Surprisingly, only a single unit of the barony’s archers protects the province, but reinforcements from Bellamie and Blacktower castles can quickly be sent to protect the province. Several trained scouts based near the border at the Casiere Freehold are occasionally called to active service by the Baroness when Ghoere’s armies come a little too close to the border.
The walled town of Fairfield is the provincial capital. Founded more than four hundred years ago, over the years it has attracted many settlers seeking their own lands, away from the taxes and war of other lands.
Daerin Isilviere (MA; Nbl1; Scion of Anduiras, minor, 10) rules the province as its count. He is descended from Derian Isilviere, the fourth son of an old Taeghan noble family, who convinced his farther to bankroll many of Daen Roesone’s adventures and was rewarded with the province after Daen’s victory over Diemed.
Ghoried occupies the north-western corner of the barony and lives under the constant shadow of the Spiderfell. Although most of Ghoried is part of the Spider River valley, its northern reaches are heavily wooded and quite hilly. It is a rugged land with scattered, often isolated farms and more land dedicated to pasture than crops. The homes of its people are often built with personal defence in mind, protected by heavy shutters and ironbound doors. Count Anchael Denoered is charged with protecting the province from the Spider’s goblin raiders and a single unit of archers is based in the town of Thoeren’s Landing for this purpose.
The Spider River: Flowing out of the Spiderfell toward the sea, the deep, slow moving waters of the Spider River mark the western border of Roesone.
First settled by humans more than 2000 years ago by the Deretha, one of the twelve Andu tribes, the newly arrived humans soon drove out the elven people who had held these lands since ancient times. The clansmen of the Deretha, who cleared and settled along much of the southern coast of what is now Anuire, battled not only the elves who claimed the Erebannien, but also the goblins of the Spiderfell, who were led by their sorcerer-king Tal-Qazar.
Following Deismaar, Diem, prince of the Deretha became the first of the twelve dukes of Anuire, sworn to serve the Emperor Roele. Diem and his family settled in the west, near the site of Roele’s newly built imperial city, and the land that wound become Roesone was little more than thinly settled farmland, feeding the cities of Aerele, Ilien and Moerel, the centres of the Diem family’s wealth and power.
When Michael Roele’s army fell to the Gorgon’s might and the emperor himself was killed by the Black Prince, the empire collapsed, and after a series of wars between Diemed, Aerenwe, and the two duchies that have been combined into modern Ghoere, the eastern provinces of Diemed were depopulated and laid to ruin. Finally, in 299 MR, a horde of goblins sent by Tal-Qazar laid waste to what remained and Diemed’s eastern provinces were abandoned, left to the goblins and those few humans brave enough to claim a home in this now wild land.
By 420 MR, however, that situation had changed. Settlers eager for their own land had claimed many freeholds, although the bandit lords and self-titled counts, barons, and squires who had claimed much of this land for their new domains often taxed them heavily. Diemed, weakened by years of corruption and virtually controlled by the trade guilds, lacked the military might or will to control these lands and they remained Diem in name only.
One of these bandit lords was Roesone, who controlled a large portion of the province of Caercas from his keep overlooking the Spider River. Roesone was a scoundrel and a cutthroat, but his son Daen would rise to become the lord of a nation that now rivals Diemed in size, strength, and influence. Born in 437 MR, Daen left home at age sixteen to become a mercenary and in the following twenty years soldiered his way across Anuire, building up an army of loyal mercenaries, drawn from across Cerilia.
By the time he returned home in 470 MR, Daen Roesone lead a hardened company of mercenary soldiers numbering in the hundreds and soon used his men to enforce his claim on all of Caercas province, bringing sorely needed law and order to the province. He then petitioned Vandiel, Duke of Diemed at the time, for a title and recognition as ruler of the lands he had pacified, only to have the Duke appoint his cousin Uchaene as Count of Caercas. Flying into a rage, Daen called out his troops and in less than a week had defeated the five hundred troops Uchaene had bought with him.
This short conflict precipitated full-scale war with Diemed, and at the request of Duke Diem, its neighbour Aerenwe also joined in the conflict. The war raged for nearly three years and cost the lives of thousands of soldiers, but in the end, through a combination of uncanny military skill and sheer determination, Daen Roesone was victorious and declared himself ruler of the six provinces he had wrested from Diem control. In return for a guarantee of peace, Aerenwe ceded control of the province of Bellam to Roesone, and the war formally ended late in 477 MR.
Under the standard of the Black Hart, Daen, the newly invested Black Baron of Roesone, brought order to the land under his rule and began a program of expansion and settlement that continues to this day. However, Daen was destined to die at the hand of his own son Ivil, who poisoned his father’s ale and arranged the brutal stabbing of his older brother Raemel. Daen’s old lieutenants – Igor Borokiev and Shielin Fhaere – discovered Ivil’s murders and in turn arranged for the Baron’s son to die, claiming the throne for themselves. Within a two months they had falling out, precipitating a brutal civil war that lasted for nearly a year. In the end, both claimants to the throne perished and Daen’s third, and only surviving son, Morghan gained control of the army and seized the throne for himself. There is now evidence that Morghan may have actually killed the Black Baron and Raemel, and framed his other brother Ivil, although this has never been proven.
Morghan proved to be an efficient, if somewhat violent monarch, and held onto the throne from 519 MR until his death in 533. His son Teried ruled from 533 until last year, when his daughter Marlae came to power. Her rulings so far have been both stern and just, but she has yet to fully establish her power and win over the hearts and minds of the people and nobles of this young nation.
A young nation with no long-standing alliances, Roesone has yet to firmly establish its political agenda. Likewise, it has few historical enemies, with the sole exception of Heirl Diem, Duke of Diemed, who has not yet declared war on Roesone, although everyone knows he devoutly desires the return of all the lands that used to lie under Diemed's purview. This includes Medoere, Ilien and most of Roesone.
United in the face of the Diemed threat, Medoere and Ilien are Roesone’s closest friends and allies. These two tiny kingdoms have tied their fortunes to Roesone and the Baroness aids them when she can. As all three are new kingdoms " at least compared to those around them " the rulers have learned to trust each other as much as regents can trust one another.
Both of Roesone's eastern neighbours are relatively friendly, although the current instability in Osoerde could lead to future conflict with that nation. The Baroness has reinforced Bellam province with additional troops to guard against that eventuality, while at the same time also strengthening her northern border with Ghoere. The current Queen of Aerenwe appears to have finally recognised Roesone’s existence, and given up her nations attempts to reclaim the provinces of Bellam and Abbatuor. The two regents now enjoy a cordial relationship, although neither fully trusts the other just yet. Queen Swordwraith is rumoured to have recently sent two of her lieutenants to advise Baroness Roesone on Heirl Diem’s subtle machinations, but in return she has asks for Roesone support for Aerenwe’s campaign to aid the rebellious forces inside Osoerde. Recent preaching by the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn, the state faith in Roesone, urging a holy war against the Eastern Temple of Nesirie, the state religion of Aerenwe, has not done anything to help the relationship and places the Baroness in a serious predicament.
However, the majority of Roesone’s concerns lie to the north, with Ghoere and the Spiderfell. Like all nations bordering Tal-Qazar’s dark forest, Roesone has learned to respect and fear the danger posed by the Spider King and his goblin hordes. The people of Ghoried, the closest Roesone province to the Spiderfell are usually armed for their own protection and constant patrols from Thoeren’s Landing and Caercas keep watch for goblin raiders or a more substantial invasion by the Spider and his troops.
Ghoere is an even more dangerous foe. In the past there have been serious conflicts with Ghoere’s powerful armies, and although Roesone has emerged victorious thanks to its skilled generals and tenacious soldiers, Baron Tael’s growing army is a constant threat. Recent rumours suggest Tael has asked the baroness for her support to his claim on the Iron Throne. If she chooses to support Ghoere, Roesone might gain a powerful protector. Otherwise, Ghoere might choose to attack Roesone to satisfy its expansionist needs.
- Marlae Roesone, Baroness of Roesone
- Daenal Roesone, heir to Roesone and brother of the Baroness
- Vaesin Isilviere, retired captain general of the armies
- See Also: Variant Vaesin Isilviere
- Sedrie Bellamie, Count of Bellam
- Traese Noelon, Lord Castellan of Castle Blacktower
- Gaered Biersen, Lord Seneschal of Roesone
- Michael Agnelie, Lord Mayor of Proudglaive
- Arvuor Raemel, bastard of Raemel Roesone, the oldest son of Daen Roesone, and a minor noble of the realm
Plots and Rumours
The Cat’s Eyes: As one of her first edicts after coming to power, Marlae Roesone decreed that it would be a crime to harm felines in her land, with the severity of the punishment to be determined by the extent of harm done to the cat. It is now a common rumour that the baroness’ bloodline grants her the ability to see through the eyes of any cats and spy on her subjects, but some, more educated citizens wonder if there is not another reason behind this decree.
The Iron Baron: Roesone’s northern neighbour has often been troublesome, and no less than four major wars have been fought for control of Roesone’s resources. Now stories are emerging that Gavin Tael, Baron of Ghoere, has approached Roesone asking for the baroness’ support for his claim for the Iron Throne. Several Ghoeran emissaries have been seen in Proudglaive, and it is now believed that Tael has given the baroness an ultimatum: Ally with Ghoere or face destruction. With its strong armies, imposing castles, and powerful wizard, Ghoere is a serious threat to the young baroness’ rule and many are now waiting to see what her response will be.
The Haunted Ruins: A party of constables from Edlin recently pursued a group of bandits into the Elvenmeres, tracking them to a previously unknown group of ruins deep inside the marsh. The constables entered the ruins in search of their quarry, but only one member of their party survived. He was found several days later, babbling about "the ghosts of elves" and the "door into darkness."
Scholars of the baroness’ court have theorised that these ruins could be the remains of the elven sorcerer Gwyngalyth’s tower. Gwyngalyth was one of the last elves to live in the region, and conducted a bloody war of genocide against the Deretha settlers before an army of warriors and priests finally stopped his reign of terror. As his tower was thought utterly razed and lost forever, the powerful magical items he was rumoured to possess were never located. If this is truly Gwyngalyth’s tower, then it may hold vaults of treasure and magic locked away and waiting for someone brave enough to claim it.
The Spider King: Ever since the earliest days of human settlement, the goblins of the Spiderfell have threatened the peace of the region. The master, Tal-Qazar, one of the most powerful awnsheghlien in Anuire, often sends his minions to raid the northern province of Ghoried, dragging away farmers and herders for unknown purposes. However, in recent months, these abductions have grown in size and boldness. The Spider’s servants have never engaged in abduction and slaving on this scale before and Anchael Denoered, Count of Ghoried, has requested official assistance from the baroness. The count wants an army to drive out the goblin once and for all, but advisors to the baroness have reminded her that no army that has entered the Spiderfell has ever returned alive.
Domain Holding Table
- Law: Marlae Roesone, the baroness, controls half the law in Caercas and Ghoried, two of three levels in Bellam, and one of three levels in each of the rest of the provinces in the realm.
- Temples: Most temples in the domain belong to the Impregnable Heart of Haelyn.
- Guilds: Guildmaster Siele Ghoried, el-Hadid of Ilien, and Orthien Tane fight a vicious underground war to control Roesone's trade.
- Source: The High Mage Aelies from Aerenwe and Rogr Aglondier, Count of Ilien, each seek Roesone's magic.