*Please Note: The history of the game is constantly changing because new events and player decisions that take place each month can change the course of the game. For the most accurate and recent history and events please join us on Facebook or come to the game and Find Out In Play (which you may hear referred to as “FOIP” on the boards).
Sutherlands territory has been divided into six Baronies for local rule. At its center lies the Ducal seat, Clanthia, a place where heroes gather and legends are born. Not a city, but the manor and personal lands of the Duke where he calls his Barons to gather roughly once a month to address the issues and threats facing the Duchy.
Orbonne is one the longest standing Kingdoms on the face of Tyrra. It is an old and proud nation that has stood the test of Time. Forged in the fires of war, conflict, and intrigue, yet tempered by wisdom, benevolence, and knowledge; it is an illustrious kingdom that stands as a testament to the fortitude of mortal Rulership. As time passed, a line of warrior-kings were born of necessity and unforeseen aptitude arose. The name and line of Nolaric became synonymous with victory. Their sons and daughters led many Heroes into battle and counseled wise alliances, ruling from the capital city of Etienne for many generations. This line has been protected by an order of dedicated men and women, of various races, known as the Old Guard for as long as history has been recorded. The current King, Evander Nolaric, is a wise and just ruler. He sits upon the Throne of Man, as have all of his ancestors, and under his Rulership the Kingdom has flourished to new heights of power and influence. Orbonne has not been without enemies and has defeated many aggressors and rivals throughout its existence. It has instilled much jealousy as the apex civilization that many have sought to destroy or control it. In most recent history it has found itself the target of two very powerful enemy nations; the Carpathian Republic and the Orcish Horde.
The Carpathian Republic was an enemy that shared many common traits with the Kingdom. The Republic enjoyed unparalleled military prowess but was Ruled by a corrupt Senate of influential and significant men and women. Furthermore, the Republic followed a set of core values anathema to Orbonnian sensibility. It valued personal ambition and greed over public service and was backed by a vast military that possessed, as of yet, an unchallenged dominance. The Carpathians had carved their Republic by bloody conquest of other lesser nations via a series of military campaigns that Tyrra may never see again. When the Republic was unable to put Orbonne to fire and sword, their diplomats quickly arrived with honeyed words and an unmatched gift for negotiation. It was only by engaging the rampant Golden Lion in its own game of cloak-and-dagger politics and asymmetrical warfare that Orbonne emerged victorious. Even after the Republic was sundered in twain, a remnant still remains that harbors the old ways. There are always those who never forget what once was.
Next came the Orc invasion that nearly caused the collapse of the Orbonne. They came from the Iron Sands as an unending green ocean that swallowed everything that stood before it. In centuries past, the Orcish penchant for internal conflict kept them from presenting a true threat. However, a new caste jealous of Orbonnian achievement and carrying a drive for conquest had arisen. They possessed an uncharacteristic intelligence, coupled with traditional Orcish strength that proved a nearly ruinous combination. It was only though desperate action and heroic stamina that the lands of Orbonne were saved and the Horde was beaten back. It stands testament to the resourcefulness of a select few heroes, that the Horde turned its aggression inward once more. In addition, some of this caste now resides in the Sutherlands, turned from relentless enemy to ally.
Before these conflicts, in the year 691, the King tasked his most trusted advisor, Duke Timothy, to settle the continent to the North. He gathered all those that were willing to go, offering the opportunity of a new land first to sell-swords, then to second or third daughters and sons, next to apprentices, after that farm-hands, and finally those with a thirst for adventure or just desiring a new beginning. When not enough came forward he offered pardons to debtors and criminals, emptying whole prisons in search of any willing to swing a sword and risk life and limb to colonize the new lands. Even after this call to arms and conscription, being a wise man, he still he found his force lacking. Not just in martial skill but in moral fortitude. He saw salvation in an aging order of Knights. For many generations their order had defended the Orbonnian city of Willantor, but as time passed and their ranks had swelled far beyond what was needed for defense of the city. The order had become stagnant and rife with nepotism. As a result, many had begun wandering the Orbonnian countryside establishing themselves as judge, jury and sometimes executioner for whatever cause they saw fit. Timothy reached out to these wayward young knights errant with the quest they sought. As a result, thousands flocked to his banner, all eager to establish glory for themselves and to create a legacy in a new world.
The Duke and his formidable but motley force made landfall in the lands that would come to be called La Rochelle. They found the lands neither empty, nor receptive to their presence. In an unfamiliar land full of hostile denizens, clever foes, and dangerous beasts, progress was slow and the losses and suffering were great. Over the course of months and then years, in no small part due to the martial prowess of the Knights d’Eit, the careful statecraft of the Duke, and the unbreakable spirit of the Orbonnian volunteers and conscripts, the foundations of the Duchy were laid. Timothy created the Baronies, appointed Barons to rule them, and selected a very few Knights that had truly distinguished themselves as his guardsmen. Baronial lands were won and borders established, however, new threats loomed in the darker corners of the young Duchy.
First came the invasions of the Goblin armies, vast hordes of malicious and vile little creatures screaming for blood. It was the first unified threat the settlers had faced and though they found victory in the end, an odious price was paid–the full ramifications of which are still only known to a few. Next came the Arcane Collective. A powerful civilization which brought conflict that rivaled that of the Orbonnian wars with the Carpathian Republic. They were a people fueled by an insatiable hunger for magical power. Golems led the vanguard, followed by soldiers of magical and martial skill in their bid for dominance over the newly established lands of the Sutherlands. Not just one war, not two wars, but three wars did they wage upon the Duchy in their attempt to wrench the lands away from the settlers. Each time they were thrown back, but the cost grew with every attack, and many well populated cities and settlements were laid waste by the Collective’s dreadful mastery of celestial magics. A truly terrible foe, the Collective was rendered impotent when their source of power was destroyed in a daring raid by Heroes of the Sutherlands. Yet, their threat remained until the Orcish Horde ravaged their homeland.
This new land, settled by a brave few, was a magnet for powers well beyond the scale of those who had settled it. Soon after the Collective was defeated, an Ancient power came calling, with a terrible Dracolich at its command. A being of supreme necromantic power, this Ancient One easily forced the Duchy’s Barons into a decision for which there was no clear solution: the Duchy would be challenged greatly, and could only survive if they ceded rulership to a third party. It presented itself as a savior in which it was the least of necessary evils. The Barons were forced to choose between it, the Carpathian Republic, or a return to the wild lands; they chose it. Scholars will certainly debate for all time if they made the right decision, but they ceded control to its Rule. These times had terrible ramifications for the people of the Duchy and many tens of thousands lost their lives. However, in the end the Heroes constructed a plan to shuck the yoke of this Dark Rule. It took years but they were able to spurn this Ancient One and destroy its Dracolich. Despite this, the scars of the Ancient One’s rule are still evident in the Duchy and its people.
Most recently, King Evander himself called the Heroes of the Sutherlands to War. For the first time in recorded history, the Kingdom of Orbonne and the Duchy of the Sutherlands would be the aggressor. Each and every citizen that had distinguished themselves in the previous Wars was commanded to march on a dark power in a distant land. All that is known is that they left the Duchy in year of 712 and returned a full two years later in 714. They were victorious, but few would speak of the horrors they had seen. Tales of powerful beings of Necromancy, desperate gambits, and unlikely allies are bantered around taverns from Darkholme to the Isles. Only those that were there and defeated this dark foe know the truth. But there are Whispers that the very Will of Mortals was tested against the power of Time itself. Whatever the enemy it is known that they prevailed, for now…