Tales from Forgotten Europa
The World of Mortals
These are the things that everyone knows. Or thinks they know. Europa is not so tremendous that news and knowledge doesn’t travel . The smallfolk hold their own local truths above all, but these are the things that any fellow on the Continent might know. How they feel about things is entirely another issue, of course. Just be wary of ijits. They aren’t just cattle…
France (aka Bretonnia, We’ll call it France now, to keep everyone’s sanity intact.) France is a hard, battle-tested nation, with an elite nobility almost entirely given over to chivalrous combat (re: the Bretonnian knights who are the flower of Europe knighthood. These are the incredibly elaborate, ornate, embellished noble knights of epic fiction.) France has a good placement to be a solid trading power, however, it has the poor luck to be on the continental side of the Shining Bridge as well, the massive unearthly buttress that the people of Great Britain have built. France is a military power, but quietly so, with the British and the Empire so near. As such they align very heavily with the Spanish and Portuguese and have a quiet tacit alliance with the Holy German Empire. Everyone understands that the British are THE enemies, and not even the most ambitious of local lords can just forget about the English threat.
The Holy German Empire (aka Germania and satellites) This is the umbrella domain of His Holiness, the Emperor Franz of Europa. It covers Germany and vast sections of Poland, Switerland, the Czechs, the Slovaks, Belarus, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, The Ukraine, and Denmark. The Empire was founded recently, only about 450 years ago, the youngest of the nation powers now. It was founded through the military ministry of one Sigmar Hammerheld, or Sigmar Twintail, as he is known to some. He is the first Emperor and the God Emperor. He liberated each of the lands from their former masters (some of which were Chaos-wrought) and formed them into a religious and political unity. The Empire is highly insular, but trade and contiguous borders are realities no one can ignore. They are passably friendly with Ruus and the Dwarfish nations there, France and its nobility, and most of the world’s traders. The Eastern province of the Ukraine is the trading mecca, as the Empire is mainly landlocked, save the western shores where Britain lies. All people who reside in the Empire and hope to be citizens must convert to the one religion of the Empire as well. Outsiders and other races will never be accepted entirely as peers, save in cases of great power or wealth.
Tilea pronounced like Italia, without the I (aka Italy, San Marino, Sardinia, Sicily). This is the realm of the people of the One God. Seafarers and epicureans mostly, this is where the artists and chefs of France have relocated to, due to the wars. Tilea is a combination of peoples and cultures. The ruling class is the people of the One God, but this is a peaceful deity of tolerance and forbearance, and all folk are welcome. Others call him the Lamb God for this very reason, and killed him centuries ago for his patience and forgiveness. Tilea has no political issue with any nation, save a cultural disdain for Kamarg, and frosty relations with those folk. Truly, their shared border with the small nation is fortified and guarded. Tilea is a land of olive groves, vineyards, canals and agriculture. Elves still exist in quantity here, and it is said their nature is what calms this land and its people. Minstrels come in battalions to learn and train here. They are textile powers as well, having all the ports they could ever want for shipping and receiving. They are the money-lords of the Mediterranean.
Spain referred to as Espana. This is the land of steel. Espana is known for the legendary work of Toledo, Barcelona, and Seville. This is the land of explorers as well, and cartography and ship sailing are the fruits of the nation’s people. Spain is the little brother of France in terms of relations, being closely allied. They are also very tight with Estalia (Portugal). They are great providers of food, having lands made for grain and olives and grapes, and maintain a fairly open and active relationship with other lands. Conquistadors from Espana are somewhat overeager as they are in our history, but everything pales in comparison to what Britain is and does.
Portugal referred to as Estalia (Portugal, Morocco and Southern Africa) The Estalians are the great sea-power of Europa. From such a small spit of land (comparatively speaking) Estalia has launched thousands of ships. In fact it is joked that Espana builds the captains, crews, and explorers, and Estalia builds the boats. As one might expect from a country famous for its woodworking, archery is another huge component of the Estalian culture, and this is another holdfast for ancient clans of elves, reputed to have taught their bowcraft to a hundred generations of Estalian fletchers. Portugal is linked at the hip with Espana and very friendly with France as well. Portugal is second ONLY to France in hatred of the British, as their sea-power is never far from combat with the ships of England, and their homeports are too close to the Blackwater for comfort.
Kamarg (an extended Amalfi Coast) Kamarg is very much a wildcard nation. Comprised of the Mediterranean coast of France and the southern tip of Switzerland, Kamarg is a country founded in recent time, due to the Carthaginian Invasion. These people are technologists, the only nation to delve into such a field outside of the British. Their lands are low and waterlogged in from the coast and a host to dozens of small towns, rife with what passes for technology. Of no real militaristic importance, Kamarg exists due to the unique nature of its exports. France tolerates the Kamargians simply because they know to offer very attractive prices on what they DO manufacture. Kamarg, never a pretty place, is soot-blackened by the existence of manufactories. They do not produce things of the level of the British, but if you have seen a blackpowder weapon that DOESN’T explode regularly, chances are it bears the stamp of a Kamargian manufactory. If there are still gnomes in the world, this land would draw them like a magnet. It is said that Kamarg is the only nation to suffer delegates and open diplomacy with Britain, but this might merely be ignorant hearsay.
Carthage (Egypt, Libya, Tunsia, Algeria, Northern Sudan). The empire of Carthage were the long ago foes of the Empire of long-dead Roma, on which Tilea sits today. Once an incredible power, Carthage has been greatly reduced in time. They are war-like (as indicated by the Invasion of only 150 years ago), and opportunists. Composed primarily of Moors and tribes of native north africians, Carthage trades and wars as its moods and perspectives shift. No longer an empire, they have a King, and trouble within their borders, as the legendary horseman of Libya are a fractious, rebellish lot now, sensing internal weakness. Carthage is most represented by its traders now. Having lost the Invasion, their navies were burned to the last ship, and over the intervening years, it has not been able to replenish to a level that could spell trouble. They are considered tricksters and devils by more of Europa, and treated with care if not hostility.
Norsca (Norway, Sweden, Finland) What is Norsca? Not too many know. The dwarves know most, as they still have some ancient Karak (holdfasts) still existing in the snowlands. Very tribal, very fractious people above. The sea-power of old has been dwindling with the British to the south, and the ebb and flow of the wastes to the North. These are the fur-clad berserkers, the blood-drinkers, the shamans and bear-cloak marauders. The people of Norsca give the very definition to the word ‘reaver’ and Imperials know to be wary. They are a rough, brutal people, used to the cold, the killing winters, and the death up North. They trade as needed, and find work as roving mercenaries. They align periodically with the peoples of Kislev and other Northern Ruus. They also align against them. And many and more fall under the taint of Chaos. Europeans all treat Norsca as savages and possible cultists, save when they are needed in a fight. And the Norse don’t seem to mind much.
Ruus (Russia, Estonia, Svalbard, the Ukraine) The ancestral lands of dwarves and the Ruus. A stanch ally of the Empire since its forming, Ruus, is a land given to religious righteousness and ideology. Friendly to most, and a strong trade power, Ruus easily matches the Empire in their chaos-phobic tendencies. They are very wary in Ruus. Northern Ruus, such as the lands of Kislev, are bastions of civilization against chaos, in a way that Norsca never has been. The Cossack-like horsemen are famous chaos-hunters, and they have spent hundreds of generations holding back the ebb and flow of the borders of Chaos itself. Sigmar himself led ten thousand templars to cleanse and save the capital of Kislev, rushing to rescue his brothers from the besieging Chaos incursion. Ruus is broadened by the wealth of Araby and Asiacommunista to the far south and east, and serves as the trading partner between them and the west. Disconcerting has been the presence of at least some British in the lands, up to what, no one can say. The dwarves make staunch trade partners if only decent allies. Kislevians have something of a distrust of dwarves that most Ruus do not. Perhaps they know of something that Southlanders are ignorant.
Araby (Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria) These are secular and closed people, and one does not encounter them often at all in the West. They hail from many principalities and kingdoms, some great and some small. They are men of science and markets, but they are also simple and confusing with their odd customs and accents. There are reputed to be enclaves of elvish folk mingling with the men, but there is no proof, and sailors all tell wild tales. Genies in bottles, chaos-ensorcelled furniture, there is no telling what is true and what is fancy when speaking of the swarthy men of Araby.
Asiacommunista (China, Mongolia, Korea, India, perhaps?) This is a fabled land far, far to the East. You can hear about it from people who once heard songs from a traveling minstrel who said he once visited Araby. There are reportedly elves beyond counting, wealth beyond measure, armies on the march, great wars being fought… but who really knows. There is no trade, no exploring other than the most daring of Estalians. And you know… they sail. And lie.
HyBreasil (South America? Imaginary?) The ancestral lands of elves and gnomes and assorted faerie. Supposedly. Just ask an elf, and they will either snort in derision or pretend they do not speak the common tongue. This is a place where mothers tell their children that sweets grow on trees, there is never a plague, and people can live forever by drinking the water. I dare you to find a sober sailor who will claim to have been there.
Amerhk (North America, perhaps…) Another fabled land, this one absurdly far to the West. A land populated by giants and eternal folk. Occasionally some fossil or artifact will be uncovered and folk will say it must be from the time before, when the giant folk walked the land, long before men, those people who then moved their cities and lives across the undying oceans to the Lands of Sunset. In Amerhk. Whatever legendary, long-dead hero is the name-giver to a town or a city, chances are there is a legend of him sailing due west at the end of his days, to seek out this land and its never-ending challenges.
Great Britain Gran Bretan, Granbrettania (England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland). What can I say about these folk. As this is the ‘common knowledge’ guide, not too much. Secular and closed, this island empire is populated by the weird and the strange. No one knows much, and common legends have them as the bogeymen and villains and cultists of the first order. Truly on maps, cartographers will draw the northwest of Europa and add the legend: Here There Be Monsters.
This is the Bright Kingdom. And what you know about this place, is legend, myth, lie, or fable. And who is to say what is right. You’ll surely find no treatises or atlases to clear up rumor from fact. The truth is that you don’t know, and no one you know has a clue either. Mothers terrify their children with stories from an early age with stories of Europa’s bogeymen: the British. They are alien. They are madmen. They are demons. They have lived across the waters since your great-grandmum was a lass, and it is only because we’re watchful and we’re careful, and the brave French knights water the soil with their blood do the monsters not come and kill us all.
Seriously, Britain is a black, black land. Horrors and madness. The Shining Bridge is one of the greatest triumphs ever created by the hand of man. Possibly man. Impossibly wide, impossibly long, and wrought by the demons of England. The British do not trade, they do not bear visitors. They have turned the waters of their isles into the Blackwater. They build machines. They raise demons. They befoul the land. The are Chaos. The only actual sightings, made by reputable sources in France have them as a military power: strong in their numbers, trained and bearing arms. Covered in steel armor, each of the thousands bearing a helm shaped like an animal. Fitting, the mad beasts of Britain. They walk like men, they fight like men, fortunately they bleed like men. But they are not men. Not in any sense of the word that you would relate to, oh no. Should you find yourself in cursed Deau Vere, the city where the Bridge alights, and have the misfortune to witness them pour over the horizon in their numbers, you will learn (albeit briefly) that the most feared cry in all the world is “The British are coming!”