The most successful country in the Known Lands. Aurea controls considerable resources and it’s size and location ensure it has a great deal of influence in the affairs of the Known Lands. The country has been ruled by a council of Dukes, since the forced removal of the royal line two generations ago, who are advised closely by the Church of Celuviel (the countries official religion). Aurea operates under a feudal system, but unlike other peasants Aurean serfs have constitutional rights. They are a guaranteed level of protection and care from their Lords and are involved in law making at all levels.
The council has been responsible for sweeping social change which has resulted in the countries current good fortune. It is a well organised, prosperous and above all safe place to live. Taxes are high making Aurea an unpopular centre for immigration, but the taxes are put to use strengthening the country rather than lining the coffers of the nobility.
The stability of the last 50 years has initiated an age of enlightenment in Aurea. The arts and sciences flourish, the rights of all races and religions are acknowledged and free speech is encouraged. Aureans (as followers of Celuviel) tend to prize all high quality goods which are chiefly supplied by Menas to the South, despite the extortionate prices!
Aureas relationship with Menas is complicated. Modern Aurea was actually founded a century ago following the expansionist campaign of the Menasian Prince Ple’as after his marriage into one of the Aurean noble lines. Ple’as new kingdom marked a prosperous beginning for the region, but Menas drained the new country to the brink of bankruptcy before the Aurean Dukes deposed the Menasian monarch. Despite a period of distinctly cool relations between the two countries strong trade ties persist, out of necessity rather than choice.
The Pestilence entity marched a plague ridden army from Menas into Aurean. This coupled with increased demonic activity on it’s South Western Border has taken a toll on the nation. Martial law has been declared by the Council of Dukes and a war leader has been elected from within their ranks. Duke Herald has taken a hard line in an effort to stabilise a country ravished by disease and fearful of invasion. All borders are now closed to non essential travel. The death sentence has been re-introduced and is applied to a wide range of offences from hoarding food up to consorting with demons. All Menasian nations and followers of Death, Corruption and Abyss have been advised to leave the country for the duration of the crisis as the authorities can not guarantee their safety. These daconian measures have so far proved effective in maintaining Aureas stability,but at the cost of the nations liberal nature.
Aurea now finds in’s self at war with it’s tiny neighbour, Morvania, over the rare mineral rights. A recent Morvanian offensive, taking advantage of Aurea’s weakened state, has led to bitter fighting on the Aurean Eastern border.
Morvania lies 3 days’ travel east of the Emerald Gap along an infrequently used trade route. It is bordered by the small but wealthy Principality of Magary. Only the spice/herb trade caravans pass through taking goods to and from Ty-zen. It is a wild and dangerous place, long associated with Drune and the Realm of Necromancy. The Church of Drune is the state religion. There are many ancient tombs and barrows in Morvania, which have lain undisturbed for centuries. Great wealth reputedly lies buried within them but they are almost all well guarded or trapped. Morvania is a tiny principality, set on a high plateau amidst a high mountain range. Morvania has always been close to the realm of Necromancy, which explains why it is so poorly known as few wish to travel to a land where Undead roam freely at night. Undead in Morvania tend to be regarded much like wolves and other dangerous creatures in other lands, no one likes them and everyone fears them but they’re just part of the landscape really. That said the Morvanians are proud of their country and regard these Undead as part of their heritage, although they don’t begrudge (and indeed often welcome) the odd vampire hunter, wholesale hunting down of Undead is right out of order as far as they’re concerned. The Church of Celuviel has made several forays into Morvania to “cleanse the land of the foul Undead taint” but each time they’ve come unstuck as they invariably get accidentally, brutally torn to death by rampaging mobs of aggrieved Morvanian patriots.
The Morvanians are a very proud and fiery tempered people, quick to anger and slow to forget. Duels are common over the slightest of insults and from these blood feuds which run on for centuries can easily develop. The current ruler of Morvania, Crown Prince Otto, who is described as a paranoid tyrannical ruler who keeps the peace by enforcing the law to the utmost of his power. This rule has had the knock on effect of an extremely low crime rate and prosperity in the region!
Famously his purges of suspected spies resulted in the deaths of several villagers, the bodies on stakes around the fire pit. Otto himself uses spies extensively and has spies everywhere. Local are well rewarded for bring the smallest transgression of the law to the attention of the authorities. Levels of punishment very but all are harsh ranging from fines to floggings, severing of limbs to impalement. Groups of guards often swoop into villages to carry out a ‘crime sweep’ issuing punishments at any time.
Laws of the Land in Morvania
1 ) All bodies must be buried before sunset this must be performed either by the killer or by employing the services of a professional. All living creatures killed must be buried unless for food. There are people who will do it on the cheap.
2 ) No removal of any items of warding (from the lucky horse shoe to the protection glyphs) from public or residential buildings.
3 ) Only licensed citizens may bear arms.
4 ) Membership of the Morvanian Liberation Army or the popular Front for the Liberation of Morvania shall be considered acts of treason against the crown.
5 ) No disturbance of the tombs and barrows.
6 ) No acts or talk of sedition against Prince Otto
7 ) Taxation on rising Undead. (The locals often save up all their lives to afford to be raised as an ancestor on their death).
8 ) Tend the dead. At mid-day all the graves must be swept clean and flowers/plants etc arranged. At dusk, the graves must be danced over singing and ringing bells to wake up the dead. Some graves are shunned and not tended indeed some have their tome-stones shattered; these are generally the very evil Undead who try and prey on the villagers.
9 ) No theft of personal or crown property.
10 ) No murder or slaughtering unless proved in self defence.
11 ) No pleasing of carnal lust with women, men or beasts unless with their blessing.
12 ) No desecration to the temples of Drune.