First i thought it best to show the world i am expanding on:
picture by my inner 6 year old!.
Today i am going to look at a nation in the middle of the western side:
VERLAND, the last kingdom.
In times past the west was ruled by a collection of kingdoms, greatest of which was the kingdom of Verland. Known all around for its riches and massive army it was a powerhouse among powerhouses. Verland always stood out for its ability to rise above the petty grudges of its neighbours and expand its borders into lands that would prove to be of strategic importance. The kings held the isles of the inner sea for years while the other kingdoms argued over their own boundries, creating trade routes to the east and protection against raiders. Verland is the last monarchy in the west, the rest being engulfed by the guilds years ago and they stand proud of this fact and are strongly opposed to the Guilds desire to expand further. Despite its past Verland is a major power in decline. The finances of the kingdom have dwindled greatly due to being overtaken in trade by several nations and being unable to keep up with the advances of the guilds in many areas. Added to this is the fact that the crown is in debt to the Guild of moneylenders with little hope to pay make its current world position one of an archaic land that is being made redundant despite its past glories.
The long line of kings of Verland go back hundreds of years before the time of strife. It was the king of Verland that united the west during this time, leading to the fight for freedom against the united forces of the shadow (more about the time of strife in other posts, it is fair to say without the united armies of the west the land itself would have fallen!). Since that time each king has taken the name of the king that led the fight against the forces of darkness so the current ruler is king Thaddius the 127th, his father being king Thaddius the 126th before him. It also seems to be a tradition for kings of Verland to be poisoned by one of their advisers! as it was for the last king, leaving his son, Thaddius the 127th to lead the nation at the age of 7!. Until he reaches his 14th year he is to be served by a counsel of advisers with the power to veto the kings commands if they think it is for the good of the nation. Among the advisers are the Kings mother, a strong woman that wishes to reinstate Verland as the main power in the world through any means. Also the Captin of the northen forces, the Earl of Whiteguard wishes to lead a large campaign against the lairds of Lamavic, a nation that has been an enemy of Verland since its first days. Also involved is the earl of Stonewatch, a man that has great debts to the Guilds and who repays such debts by using his position to further the Guilds plan to take over the west. The royal family rule from the capital city of Silvermarc, an old city known as the jewel of the west. Its great riches in contrast to the dower and functional buildings that make up the rest of the cities and towns.
Life is tough for the people of Verland if they are not part of the top 6% of the population. They are a poor nation these days although the monarchy continue to live in the way they did all those years ago. The economic downturn is shouldered by the lower ranks. The cities provide chances to trade and grow for the smart and talented (and the crooked), but those that live in more rural areas live as farmers, smiths or starve. Many have turned to the life of the outlaw and the forests and wlderness' of Verland harbor many bands of such men.
Religion in Verland is a prickly subject. As a nation the crown and its people worship the Smith and see in his festivals of the forging. However the church is a pawn to the crown since the Templar uprising in the north after the king (Thaddius 86th) removed their leaders from his counsel due to the church arguing with his claim to rule the church as well as the state. The uprising led to the exodus of the Templar orders and the establishing of the state of Immere, which also meant the loss of the only port the nation had in the inner sea (which was absorbed by the new state), destroying any chance of trade with the east. Since that time those wishing to worship the Smith truly in the way of the Templar are frowned upon and often shunned as traitors. This has led to under ground groups wishing to restore the power of the church.
The Verland army is still vast as it always has been and the nation boasts a strong navy. However in terms of military advances it has been left behind. Although it has access to black powder and uses the pike like the more advanced nations it does so by buying the knowledge from the other nations and is still training its troops into its effective use. Black powder weapons tend to be coupled with the crossbows of the past, they do not yet have the ability to produce such advanced weapons in the numbers other nations can. The pike is used by much of its trained foot but also important is the pole arm, used to argument the longer pike and give tactical flexibility. The rough mix of half pike armed units and half pole units make up the core of the verland strength. The royal guard are the cream of the verland army. Chosen from the sons of great officers and lords they are well armed and wear full plate and have the best training of any force in Verland. They can fight on foot but will ride when they can. Although small in number the Royal Guard are often the difference between victory and defeat. Sanctioned Militia groups are used, made up of citizens from a particular location. They are armed by the crown and loyal to them and are tasked as being the first line of defense against raiders and outlaws. During times of war they march proudly along with the other troops, large rag tag groups under their own banners. The riders of the Border Guard live for weeks away from civilized areas, protecting the realm from attack as best they can. These rugged men make reliable light cavalry and will often ride ahead of the main force scouting and raiding the enemy. Verland engineers are no match for the guilds but have still managed to produce effective cannon. This gives them a reply to the artillery employed on the modern battlefield. Leading these armies are great men of office and power, men chosen from great military backgrounds. It is inbuilt in the minds of verland citizens that these high families are to be respected. Not just superiors but truly their betters.
Sooo, thats the first nation to be looked into, dont worry, only 17 or so to go!. Ithought i would throw in some notes on how to use them as a 'gamable' force, cos thats the point of doing this after all!.
In terms of the look of the force i see them as a mid to late medieval English/French style force. Basic foot troops will wear the colours of their regional lord and will be quite uniform in look. Royal guard are all full plate and wear the colours of the crown. Militia groups wear whatever armor that is available to them and will be quite rag tag in style, they will wear their own colours of their area and a banner bearing their groups victories. Border guard are armed with easy to maintain equipment such as short bows and leather armor.
On the table most of their troops will be basic with the militia being poor. The Royal guard are the top end of human troops and this needs to be reflected. They are not overwhelming in terms of missile troops but use black powder weapons and crossbows in equal number. The foot are well drilled using pikes and pole arms. Border guard are rugged and brave but poorly armored. Officers are high quality but with little regard for the common solder.
Their is plenty of scope to game scenarios involving outlaws and rebel Templar groups (both would be common militia quality at best, outlaws could have scouts and good missile troops), as well as using the nations decline in fortunes to fuel games against other nations, a secure nation has no need to invade others!.
Well thats the first one done, i hope it was in some way entertaining or even useful!. This project is by no means a complete thing but more of a frame to offer a starting point, feel free to add to or take from it as much as you like. Any ideas or feed back would also be appreciated as i am winging it to a large extent!.
Anyhow, till next time.....