“Living times of knights and mares. Raising swords for maidens fair. Sneer at death; fear only loss of pride.”

-- Kings and Queens, Aerosmith

Shield of Lirance

Baron Mumak von Michaela 244 - 250

Baron Kenyonta von Taccio 250 - 274

Baron Dakan von Taccio 274 - 333

Baron Silius von Selvena 333 - 369

Baron Rappan von Taccio 369 - 382

 

Barony of Lirance

Founded 244, by Baron Mumak von Michaela. of Toonal.

Shield: Infinity Symbol on Light Blue and White Alternating.

Part of the Kingdom of Toonal.

Baron Krashnark von Michaela 382 - 424

Baron Thoras Turek 424 - 447

Baron Ulric von Malacohn 447 -

Baron Mumak von Michaela
 

 

No one is really sure why Baron Mumak decided to spend most of his family’s fortune to fund the expedition to this rather hostile land. It is known that a wizard called Schault accompanied him along with several of his acolytes. They were instrumental in finding the site for the new town, and later built a keep along the cliffs the ruins of which can still be seen today.

Over the years it has been rumored that the Baron chose this spot, and even the idea of moving his household here, at the behest and prompting of Schault. The magicians no longer live in their ruined keep but warn all to stay away on the pain of death (or worse). Magicians who have come to Lirance looking for adventure and treasure over the years hint there may be some type of magical node in or under the ruins. The few who proclaimed they were going to investigate were never seen again.

 

After the landing followed two hundred years of expansion and genocide as the Uslu were either killed, enslaved, or pushed back further into the mountains; depriving them of their ancestral grazing areas. One small advantage of the Toonali arriving has been their no mercy shown war on the gnoll tribes that used to completely dominate the Baedlik Plains.

He sent his cavalry against the villages (mostly of the Tuglu tribe) he found on the coast, massacring most of the men and selling the women and children into slavery. After the initial surprise attacks the Uslu people mostly withdrew from the coastal areas while the town of Lirance was built. Over the next 200 years the Toonali have pushed to the mountains; either pushing the Uslu back or enslaving them. The ones that were enslaved work are mostly shipped to Toonal and other destinations in the slave trade while others are treated as drudge labor; performing menial tasks and working as ranch hands, trackers, and some crafts.

 
The Wizard known simply as Schault.

 

First thing someone seeing the town of Lirance for the first time notices is: Defense. The place is massively built for defense, with a large multi-towered keep brooding over it all. Ballista and Catapults are armed and ready for action, their crews quartered nearby on rotating shifts. Raptoran mercenaries in the employ of the Baron circle overhead keeping alert for trouble from the land or sea.

The second thing noticed would be the large number of people enslaved; wearing chains, a ring around their neck, or bearing a brand on their left arm. Many of them are of a darker complexion and speak a language unlike any other most travelers have ever heard before. This is one of the sources of the nobility’s wealth and a thriving market in new slaves garnered from raids into the mountains as well as other lands. Several dozen slaver vessels call Lirance home. Many merchant ships ply the waters of the Bacop Bay bringing trade goods and supplies to Lirance and returning home with a hold full of freshly caught slaves.

Two, three hundred feet long and thirty feet wide stone wharves jut out into the turbulent waters of the Tocuz Harbor, forming a breakwater for the ships at anchor. It takes a skilled pilot to guide a vessel into the breakwater: anyone caught without signet or writ of permission is tortured, put in a cage on the waters edge for the gulls to peck to death, or worse. The wharves were made with magic the locals say; they just appeared one day with a couple magicians and the Baron walking along the shore.

A wide paved road leads from the docks to the town square in front of the Citadel. This is the end point of the Jentesi Road which stretches almost 500 miles up to the city of Tegelen and is used primarily to move produce from the villages and farms into Lirance. There are three gates through the walls; Lacul Gate on the Jentesi road, Vanatorli Gate on the Rouva Road, and the Salucta Gate leading to the Docks.

 

The town is divided by internal walls and towers into five sections though they are referred to as Quarters. The Nobles Quarter, mostly off limits without permission for non residents, the Temple Quarter, Working Quarter where most craft shops are located (Tanneries, woodworking, charcoal manufacture, slaughter houses, etc) the Shops Quarter, and then the Maritime Quarter where the warehouses, slaves quarters, and most transients stay in a host of fast moving innes and houses of ill repute full of faster women.

 There are three internal gates controlling movement in Lirance, the Kongal Gate leads to the Shops Quarter, Mingir Gate leads to the Working Quarter, and the Triota Gate to the Nobles Quarter. There are no gates sectioning off the Maritime or Temple Quarters. Property owners are responsible for their own property and security in the Maritime while the Temple Quarter is patrolled by the Soldiers of the Sea, from the Temple of Poseidon with their silver trident symbols around their neck, and the Order of St. Skytor, of the Temple of Mars, sends recruits here to study and guard the local temple. Their crest with the Sword, Shield and Crown is feared throughout the Empire. A large temple to Aphrodite is situated near the Citadel. Worshippers can be found visiting the temple grounds at all hours of the day and night under the watchful eye of the priestesses.

 

Though best known for their business in the slave trade; Lirance also produces fine Leather products, exports peaches, horses, and pigs, as well as products made from those animals: cured hams, horsehair stuffing for furniture, glue, bacon, and skins of all types.

The Barony of Lirance is considered a “Frontier.” Adventurers, cutthroats, slavers, the ambitious, and people just not wanted anywhere and too dumb to stay away arrive in droves; all seeking fame and mostly fortune in the Mountains to the east.

The Degerloch Mountains are riddled with ruins, crypts, and keeps which are left overs from earlier civilizations and may contain artifacts, knowledge, and gold and gems for the taking. The mountains are also riddled with tribes of cannibals, who revere or even live in those ruins, crypts and keeps.

 

They are not particularly happy with adventurers encroaching into their territory. The more timid adventurers stay in the areas the Barony has cleared of the natives: the risk takers strike for areas where no one else has dared to tread.

 

The Uslu are most definitely a different culture with entirely unusual cultural mores compared to the Argossean ways. The Uslu did not practice or understand the Argossean practice of slavery until the Toonali arrived in 244. Any captives a tribe caught would most likely be sacrificed at the next new moon or other vile holiday. And the menial work? The Uslu use the undead. After Grandfather dies in his fields there is a good chance his body will continue working the fields until it literally falls apart. Where the average Argossean is revolted by undead; the Uslu barely notice them.

Many people have journeyed to Lirance to study Necromancy from the Uslu though it is forbidden in the Barony. Necromancers and their ilk flock to the mountains in an attempt to learn more about the Uslu and their dark arts; many of them can be seen tilling the fields still. For not all of the undead are mindless like zombies and skeletons. There are some beings who have existed in the state of undeath of untold centuries. Where the average townsman would run screaming away from draws a certain segment of society like a moth to a flame. In 434 there was what is now known as the “Duervar Incident” which resulted in all followers of the god Tolomos and citizens of Skaith being banned from the Barony. The Skaithans appealed even to the Emperor seeking redress from the ban only to be famously told, “If you want to go there so badly, invade.” To date no Argossean has been known to have been taught any of the “Ulsu Necromancy Secrets” by the Uslu, though not due to lack of effort.

Another aspect of Lirance different that most of the known world is the number of Trade Wizards present. The Trade Wizards started in nearby Skeg and many use Lirance to test their creations. Unlike your average Wizard; Trade Wizards produce lesser magic items. Things like alchemical gear, potions, low level scrolls, one shot wands, and other minor magics. They can be found all across the Square on Market day and many rent shop space in which to work. This also creates a demand on raw materials used in the creation of these magic items, straight sticks of cedar, animal and monster organs, logs of ash, and various minerals found in the area.

All of this activity generates a huge amount of taxes for the Barony. There is a fee on everything it seems: food, clothing, crossing through the gates to different parts of the city, the number and type of weapons. One thing the guards and tax collectors of Lirance are particularly on the watch for is an individual or group returning to Lirance with treasures and not declaring it. Like most nobles; the Baron asserts the right everything found in his Barony is rightfully at least partially his. Things found outside of his Realm but brought in can be hit with excise taxes. The average rate taxed is 10% though the individual tax collectors can change it at their whim it seems. Undeclared items can be taxed as low as 25% or confiscated. All of this taxation and money changing hands is a fertile ground for corruption, bribery, and outright theft. Needless to say there is a huge blackmarket operating outside of the law. They of course want their cut to everything as well.

 

Degerloch (Southern) Mountains

 Stretching 322 miles and on an average 124 miles wide; it forms an impassable barrier between the Kingdom of Gravenhage to the east and the Barony of Lirance situated on the southern edge of the Baedliks Plains. With most peaks soaring over 10,000 feet into the sky; the tops are very cold, windy, and very inhospitable to most people. Home to a known white dragon population, not too many attempt the peaks. Below the snow is several hundred feet of cold, barren rock which supports some animal life which can find enough to eat among the rocks. Shaggy goats, wild sheep, and dire elk can be found at this altitude. Preying on these animals are hippogriffs, giant eagles, as well as the occasional silver dragon. Below the treeline is where most of the Uslu live; either in the long valleys that hide behind permanent clouds of haze or up on the slopes. The more savage Uslu range the mountains hunting and gathering; sometimes their fellow man. Trolls, Boggles, Bugbears, Chimeras, Duergar, Griffons, Harpies, Hobgoblins, and the rare red dragon are some of the other notable denizens of the mountains east of Lirance. There are several tribal groups of Raptorans that make their home in the mountains.

Baedliks Plains

 

 

The Baedliks Plains are sandwiched between the Degerloch Mountains and Bacop Bay for several hundred miles. Darzhons Chasm, itself thirty seven miles long and twelve miles at its widest is a large crask in the planet which most sages think was not made naturally. The area is very dangerous and the rare expedition to investigate never returns. Some folktales say it leads all the way to the pits of hell itself. The Plains are 606 miles long and 159 miles across at its widest. A little over 70,000 square miles; it is the home most notably of the Ozero Nation of gnoll tribes. Consisting of fourteen tribes (Nestio, Cislita, Farjanesti, Foltestis, Brinza, Cahul, Colibasi, Vadul, Manta, Veche, Pelinei, Tabaky, Gagauzia, and Taraculia) these tribes all follow a cadre of demon-worshipping priests who need a continual stream of victims for their vile sacrifices. Until the coming of the Toonali to Lirance, the gnolls would raid the Uslu to the south as well as the Argosseans to the north to an extent. With the founding of Lirance, the Toonali have carved out the Barony one inch at a time and defeated several armies of gnolls over the past two centuries. This has forced the gnolls to raid deeper into Tegelen and Ardeth to the north and raiding into the goblin, hill giant, bugbear, and even the occasional harpy they bring down with nets.

The Plains are also home to the unique Rust Monster; the only place known by the Argossean civilization where it lives. Basilisks, Ankhegs, Blink Dogs, Gargoyles, Ogres, Perytons, and a few Brass Dragons can be found here preying upon the huge herds of aurochs (wild giant cattle), horses, and others. Other creatures such as flocks of Axe Beaks, and packs of Dire Wolves, also prey upon the herds.

Jentesi Road

 

A Jentesi Road  was begun by Baron Silius during the height of the Koveli incursions strangling water borne travel in 357. It begins in the Market Square of Lirance, exiting through the Lacul Gate and stretching almost 500 miles to the Duchy of Tegelen to the north. Never really used due to the dangers on the Plains, it is used primarily to move produce from the villages, like Dimou 100 miles to the northeast, and farms into Lirance. The cavalry of Lirance patrols the Jentesi Road to Bershad megalith approximately 18 miles north of Dimou.

 

Bacop Bay

The long and stormy bay is  the western border of the Barony. It’s roiling waters are close to one hundred miles wide and three hundred miles long, the other shore being the Duchy of Ardeth. Most of the shipping found on the waters is either going to or from Lirance or Fieltos in the Duchy. Giant Eagles, Chimeras, Manticores, and Bronze Dragons wing in to fish in the waters while Chuul, Sea Hags, and Giant Slugs live under the waves. Ocean Giants, and Storm Giants are seen on occasion as well as Crabman and Sahaugin. It takes a hardy crew in a reliable ship to successfully traverse the Bay.

Fortified Villages:

In 259 Rouva von Taccio, the young bookish son of Baron Kenyonta von Taccio, drew up plans for what he called a fortified village in order to protect the local people in the area from the Uslu, gnolls, and other raiders who would come raiding into the Barony and withdraw before the cavalry could arrive. With the approval of his father the first fortified village was surveyed and built on the ruins of Limenas. Even during construction the folk of Limenas were able to more easily fend off their opponents. With the assistance of the spellcasters of the Homeguard; one fortified village after another was erected.

 

Fortified villages are usually built on top of a hill with water springs. An eight foot wall, four feet thick, enclose a space slightly elliptical and 500 to 575 feet in diameter. The wall has fifteen towers, each one three stories tall, and pierced by three gates: two large enough for wagon traffic and a third emergency gate for foot traffic only. Inside the walls is a three story keep with a six story tower rising from it. On top of the tower is the beacon, mirror, flags, and bonfire for communication with the other villages and the town. Each fortified village is situated within 10 to 15 miles from another village, and is designed to be able to hold four times the number of its usual inhabitants (50 to 150) in times of troubles when the outlying ranches and farms which sprang up in the protective shadow of the fortifications are abandoned and their folk seek shelter.

The master of the village is usually a knight, who on average has two dozen or more soldiers in his employ who live in the towers perched on the walls. Several of the towers are reserved for use by the Barons’ Raptorans. A member of the Homeguard is stationed at the village to provide arcane spellcasting when needed. Each village also has either a healer or cleric to provide aid during attack and lead the faithful in prayer. Many gods are represented among the clerics that can be found in the villages. Rooms are also put aside for Rangers of the Hawk and Shield organization which is the largest Ranger group in the Barony.

Inside the walls, along with the keep, is a collection of 12 to 20 two or three story buildings which both provide housing for the villagers as well as craft shops and warehousing. A center square is the largest open ground and stretches 100 feet between the keep and the village Inne. Each Inne is referred to simply as the Inne (when not in the particular village it will be referred to as the Inne of whatever village it is located in, like the Inne of Limenas.) The operation of the Innes is a Baronial monopoly eagerly pursued by ambitious men from around the Kingdom and beyond. Each building is made of stone, with thick walls, and sported peaked roofs of thick interleaved tiles. Surrounding the buildings, in the space between them and the walls, are pens for horses, sheep, etc, and small vegetable gardens.

Each village has at least one smith as well as a miller, carpenter, wheelwright, and the Inne usually has two or more working girls. Everyone living in the village has an assigned task to do during an attack, the towers are well stocked with javelins, spears, quarterstaffs, nets, and other weapons, as well as oil, boulders, and food and water. Each tower is designed to be able to be held for several days even if the rest of the village is overrun. Most of the villages are now safer then when they are first built with other fortified villages between them and the main threats. But all of them drill regularly and are in a constant state of vigilance having learned from bitter experience.

 
 

Organizations found in Lirance:

Homeguard:

An organization founded by Rouva von Taccio in 263 to provide an active group of Arcane spell casters for the defense of the Barony. Members all wear a small tin token of a tower and lightning bolt, usually pinned to their robe, tunic, or vest. These tokens are faintly magical and recognized by the guards, creatures used in security, and even warding spells. They are also made only in the Homeguard Home building using a small ceremony which ties the token to the member as well as, it is said, a special mural on a wall which will show when a member dies.

Members of the Homeguard are guaranteed housing and food, and enjoy other liberties the general populace do not possess. Like the right to appeal to the Baron in the case of problems with the law. The Homeguard is expected to serve in the various villages and fortresses, as well as patrols with the guards and various military groups like the 5th Heavy Cavalry or Lapsi Tigers.

The Hawk and Shield:

Began by a ranger named, Skitosherril “Skitter” Octroi, who was a member of the Toonali Bronze Moors order. Skitosherril felt the distances and lack of communications with Toonal was too great of a challenge. That, and being held prisoner by Baron Kenyonta von Taccio for several months until he agreed. Skitter, once his mind was made up, created the foundations of a first class Order based out of Lirance whose main aim is to protect the Barony and keep abreast of developments outside on the Frontier.

Raven Knights:

Close cadre of noblemen who support the Baron: either as his personal representatives or as part of his war band when he rides to battle. They are identified by a small light blue badge with a soaring raven imprinted in the middle. All of the members are handpicked. Sometimes he grants membership to someone other than a noblemen or knight he wishes to honor. The last was the Wizard Hospodar for saving him from a white dragon.

Organizations from outside of Lirance:

Warnok Loreseeker:

Formerly a small collection of rogues and wizards dedicated to unearthing lost scraps of knowledge, the Warnok Loreseekers are based out of the Arcane School of Xanator and have become a large and powerful organization of adventurers. The organization has houses in many large cities as well as smaller outposts in outlying areas. As it has grown, the group has become more focused on the mercantile aspects of adventuring, finding lost tombs and ancient artifacts with an eye toward profit rather than knowledge.

Bloodhounds:

Originating in Wervik in the Kingdom of Chaomonous; the organization is dedicated to finding people and bringing them to justice. Some members limit themselves to tracking down criminals while others are willing to hunt anyone for a client who can pay the price. The leadership doesn’t concern itself with such issues; only with maintain the organization’s reputation as the place to go to find someone.

College of Concrescent Lore:

This bardic college, one of the largest in existence, focuses on the acquisition of hidden lore, particularly of the historical or magical variety. They are based out of Utrecht and count Polyhymnia as their patron. History and magical lore are the bread and butter of this college.

Daggerspell Guardians:

Based out of Gravenhage and building on the ancient Dosadan affinity for both wizardry and fighting; these spellcasters wield matched pairs of daggers and use deadly magical powers. The Guardians use their varied abilities to promote their own fair-minded sense of justice.

Grayhaunt Investigators:

Based out of the city of Ruhl and started by a group of adventurers who turned their skills to investigation and private crime-solving. After a few quick successes, they started receiving more investigative work than they could ever handle themselves, and they saw the potential to profitably expand to new communities. The group immediately focused its efforts on the business and organizational aspects of recruiting low and mid-level adventurers with analytical minds and the right mix of skills. The organization takes its unusual name from its willingness to handle murder cases and its high level of expertise in discovering and countering the machinations of powerful undead creatures.

League of Boot and Trail:

Members of this unusual organization regard every road as a classroom and every inn as a laboratory. Devoted to travel for its own sake, they accumulate little lore but see much of the world. Anything of interest to travelers is of interest to the League of Boot and Trail.  Originally created in the Ilsigi town of Marcel, it has since grown along with the Empire and members can be found in any land.

Nightsong Guild:

Born during the wars of expansion in Utrecht. Its members deal in matters not entirely legal as well as those quite clearly illegal – gambling, smuggling, blackmail, and theft. The guild’s reputation is one of extreme skill and competence. Most would refer to the Nightsong Guild as a thieves guild, but it is actually a far more extensive group than that.

Order of Illumination:

Founded in Thyra, the Order exists to seek out and destroy evil wherever necessary. Although many of its members are adventurers, the Order of Illumination is not an adventuring orientated organization. The order is far more concerned with finding and combatting the evils that hide within civilized communities.

Shining Crusade:

A militant arm of good aligned churches and governments. The Shining Crusade attacks the forces of evil, especially fiends and undead, wherever they can be found. The group was founded in 425 in a meeting between leaders of some of the good aligned churches and how to survive in what is an evil empire at heart: The Dosadan Empire. The Shining Crusade was created and recognized by the clerics of Apollo, Aslepius, Athena, Carnadosa, Chesmira, Hera, Nemesis, Phaeton, and Tomanak to name a few.

Headhunters:

This organization was rather surprised, and embarrassed, when they arrived in Lirance to found out the local population actually practiced headhunting. Instead this is an Empire-wide organization for those thrill seekers to whom hunting monsters and looting dungeons is a sport. Banding together to share resources and exploits, guild members seek to increase their personal wealth and prestige through daring raids into subterranean halls.

The headhunters operate a chapter hall in Lirance in which meet to drink, brag, and exhibit the trophies of their exploits in the Barony.

Academy Necromica:

Outlawed in every Realm, this group was founded in the mountains near Panar and continues to appear and affect matters when least expected. With the knowledge of the necromantic aspects of the Uslu spreading through the Empire it was just a matter of time before members of this organization took an interest and began appearing in the area.

Cult of the Dragon:

Cultists believe that a dragon will arise to lead humanity to greatness. A splinter group believes the dragon will be an undead. Cultists have shown up in the Barony of Lirance several times, fomented trouble, and were ruthlessly exterminated.

Cult of the Moon:

Most members are Uslu though it is slowly spreading among other groups. They worship lycanthropes and believe them to be a higher form of life compared to humanity.

Monks of the Dark Moon:

An Uslu group, not much is known about them other than they are a bunch of fanatics who can use arcane magic and worship a sinister demoness.