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Aalban, Principality of

by micky

Area:
1,232 square miles

Population:
35,480

Towns:
Leenz (4500)
Graez (1300)
Ständburg (1085): a small mercantile town on the Aalbanese side of Der Alte Bridge.

Selected Villages:
Fuhrburg (925): a large farming community at the centre of the Principality.
Ansburg (800): the Machinery village is halfway between Leenz and Ständburg.
Nachtruhe (660): West of Ständburg, where the famous Nacht Lagerbier is brewed.
Hügelsee (560): a village mainly populated by pure Hattians, it’s located on the Northwestern border of the Principality.
Ritterburg (470)
Baylingen (385): a small fishing village West of Leenz.
Brändefort (330): this old Hattian Fort borders with the County of High Sonden.

Ethnic groups:
Aalbanese 65% (pure Hattians 45%, mixed Hattians-Alphatians 55%), Flaems 15%, Alphatian 10%, Kaelics 5%, Averoignese 5%

Languages:
Thyatian, Alphatian, Flaemish, Averoignian

Ruler:
Prince Jaggar von Drachenfels, Count of Ritterburg (born 945, M36, Dragon Master of 5th Circle, AL-Lawful)

House:
Ritterburg

Military:
Prince Jaggar is a division commander in the Glantrian army and has the 3rd Banner of the elite 1st Division stationed in Leenz. The Banner patrols Aalban and the surrounding area in order to maintain law and order. Jaggar also maintains an elite bodyguard of 100 men in Ritterburg who are the Personal Guard of the Prince.

History:
First populated by Flaems, Aalban owes its name to its first Flaemish Duke, Voortrije Aalban. The Duke ruled the valley stretching between the river and the mountains to the West from his seat in Aalbansford (modern Altendorf). In 801 AC, during the forty years war and after having pushed the Flaems to the other side of the river, Halzunthram gave the valley to his Hattian followers led by Sigmund von Drachenfels. After the Alphatian leader was imprisoned, in 828 AC, Hattian leader Wilhelm von Drachenfels welcomed in Hattian territories the Alphatians who remained loyal to Halzunthram. Since then there has been a lot of internal fighting between the two factions: "pure" Hattian families (with Flaemish support) and interbreed Hattians-Alphatians ones.

Food:
Surplus food, exported throughout Glantri.

Trails:
The river is navigable and Leenz is the Northern (legal) starting point. Bridges connecting the Principality with Fort Nordling Free Province are generally kept unmapped for strategic reasons. Trails and roads are very well kept. Fair to good trails connect every major village, while Vestrail (Leenz-Ansburg – Ständburg) and Ostrail (Graez-Hirsberg, Western FP) are good trails

Economics:
Despite the high density of population and the presence of a large Military force, the Principality of Aalban produces a food surplus thanks to advanced farming techniques, large amount of farming lands, and the use of swine as livestock. The mountains surrounding Graez provide a large supply of iron, which is quite entirely crafted in the Principality. The mines are considered part of the Principality, instead of the Western Free Province, as they should. Cabbage, potatoes, and grain (beer) are exported to Fort Nordling and Western Free Provinces, as well as swine by-products (mainly leather and pork). The greatest part of trade is held in the towns of Ständburg (where Aalbanese products are exchanged with Bergdhovese ones) and Leenz. Machinery is exported to the Capital. Aalban imports riverboats from the town of Vorstadt, wool from the Barony of Adlerturm and Fort Nordling FP. Taxation level ars higher than the average Principality.

Cultural Curiosities:

FOOD

After having gone AWOL after his last installment on the food of Klantyre. The Piazza’s roving food critic, Micky the Mage returns with his latest culinary adventures. This time we find him in Aalban.

One of my favorite things about Leenz was the food. I was eating non-stop throughout the day since their food is very hard to resist although it would be easy for the majority of you since most of their dishes are pork based. I took some pictures with my new spell ‘capture the moment’ (available in scroll form at my booth at the annual Arcanium in Glantri City for the low price of 10 Cr) of my dishes whenever I could The one below was taken at the Drachenfels Beer Garden on Straße des 17. Schiesse.

Sausages with potato salad.

Three kinds of sausages with liver dumpling, potato salad and sauerkraut

Pork fillet with a sausage and potatoes

Pork with gravy, pork skin and potato stuffed with a sausage

Sausages with potato salad

Traditional mackerel fish in the kitchen of the Drachenfels Beer Garden

ARTS AND LITERATURE

The great contribution to the Glantrian arts would have to be the Opera. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery and costumes and sometimes includes dance. The performance is typically given in an opera house of which Aalban has the highest number, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble. The Hattians are mad for Opera and the openings of a new Opera are always sell outs. The Hattians have contributed many works of military literature to Glantri’s literary tradition. They include military studies of past wars, Glantrian and foreign, biographies of great leaders, and modern essays on the Glantrian military and foreign military.

ARCHITECTURE

The Aalban Rococo style is distinct to the rest of Glantri. This ornate and “pretty” style began becoming popular in Aalban in the 9th century with the creations of Heinrich Bavaria and was a fertilization of Hattian and Alphatian traditional designs. The buildings, can often be found with a pastel pink or blue color, and gold trimmed wood and other carvings. Rococo, also known as Bavarian, lends itself to a more rounded and softer look.

Notable sites:
Leenz

Ruler: Burgemeister Leopold von Drachenfels (born 965) (OD&D: Al L), Leopold is the second cousin of Prinz Jaggar. The Burgmeister is the Head of Leenz deployment of Aalban Armed Militia, and is appointed by the Prince of Aalban. Leenz is the Northwestern most major centre and starting point of the caravans directed to the Capital.

Drachen Zentral is Aalbanese University of Monster Lore and Hunting. Courses are opened to students of every principality, but Aalbanese students generally average 50%. Averoignans and Flaems quite complete the remaining 50%, with few Alphatian, Boldavian, Caurenzan and Kaelic students. Elves and Ethengarians, are quite unheard of at the University. The University has few lodgings for most deserving students, but all around it there’s full of cheap accommodations, as the famous Libelle Gasthof* and Drachenhöle*. Annual fee is determined according to the student’s status, but it can also be bartered with services. The University, in fact, acts, as (Leenz’s only legal) Guards Employment Exchange: every day merchants ask for its services, paying them directly to the University. The University earnings, some 500 gp every month, become part of Aalbanese treasury, after having paid its 50 full-time employees.

It’s possible for non-students to act as guards in the Principality of Aalban; this is however discouraged by bureaucracy and costs. First they have to enlist to Aalbanese Guards Employment Exchange at the Drachen Zentral, cost 2 ducats per week, weekly renewal, then they have to pay 40% of their earnings in advance.

Since the University holds some 500 students, it’s very severe in evaluating them: every year a student has to pass at least 7 courses, failing for two years in a row means the definitive failure of the student.

The University keeps strict ties with the Syndicates of Monster Hunters, that holds an office in the University.

Drachen Zentral provides its students with the following basic courses: Animal Handling, Animal Lore, Direction Sense, Fire-building, Fishing, Hunting, Monster Lore, Rope use, Set Snares, Survival, Swimming, Tracking.

The Noble quarters are surrounded by the natural park with the Great Temple of Rad at its very centre. A famous promenade, the Magiengasse, hosts the headquarters and residence for authorities and nobles. Krema’s Mansion, the private residence of Krema family, is the wonderful palace where Gertrud Krema, aka von Drachenfels, wife of Prinz Jaggar, holds the secret meetings of the Free Anachronistic Society of Aalban. The Palace stands apart from the rest of the Quarters, and was commissioned by Aens Krema, a very rich Hattian-Alphatian mage. It has 336 windows, a different view for every day of the year.

The Port quarters are safe and clean. The area is heavily patrolled and many cargoes are daily shipped downriver. Passages cost 2 sovereign per miles for first-class passages and 5 pennies per mile for second class passages. Third class passages aren’t provided. It’s possible to pay the passages offering one’s services as guard, however remember those wishing to do so have to enlist themselves as guards at Drachen Zentral.

Graez

Ruler: Burgemeister Albrecht von Drachenfels (born 954) (OD&D: Al L) (AD&D: Al LN), cousin of Prinz Jaggar’s father, Morgaithe. The Burgmeister is the Head of Graez regiment of the Aalban Armed Militia and is appointed by the Prince of Aalban. Graez isolation from major trails made it the safe haven for those who didn’t want to meddle with strangers: Hattians purists. It’s considered unsafe for a non-Hattian, and especially for Alphatians, to enter the town, since the militia itself recognizes how little it can do to protect the unlucky. Graez is the greatest stronghold of pure Hattians families. Miners, artisans working raw iron, and few merchants and petty nobles make the majority of the population. A local brewery produces enough ale, Hochwertig Lager, to satisfy the town’s demand. Iron and by-products are exported everywhere in Aalban.

The Iron Mines trace their first pound of ore extracted to the time of Flaems settlers, some 600 years ago. Lacking the necessary care, the mines collapsed and were closed more than once until the arrival of Aalbanese technology. Nonetheless, in 950, the extraction of ore drastically decreased because it was practically impossible at those depths, even for Aalbanese advanced technologies. Magic enabled Aalbanese industries to struggle for survival, but the great amount of ore had to be imported. Fortunately, prospectors appointed by the Prinz found new veins and Aalbanese technicians provided a new mean to extract the ore to greater depths. However, the sophisticated machinery has recently been sabotaged, probably by rebels living in the Western FP, causing the collapse of one of the mines. Since then the safer mean of extraction has proved to be the "classical" partly magic- partly mechanic one. Aalbanese learnt the lesson since the amount of ore extracted has been wisely kept to that strictly necessary to Aalbanese machinery business, and escorted prospectors endlessly search the mountains for new veins of iron. The mines are guarded by a force of some 200 men of the Aalban Armed Militia, under the command of Graez Burgmeister. There are some 1000 workers and auxiliaries in the zone.

The mines should be part of the Western Free Province, but the Prinz of Aalban didn’t like the idea of being deprived of this source of raw material. He appointed a group of thieves to forge the map and to steal the original one from Glantri City. The thieves are actually reinforcing the walls of Schloss Ritterburg’s dungeon and the original map is safely stored in the same Castle. Unknown to the Prinz a copy lies forgotten in the village of Hirsberg, near the mines. Information about the mines is considered top secret, unveiling this secret is considered high treason in Aalban.

Ständburg

Ständburg is a small mercantile town on the Aalbanese side of Der Alte Bridge. Der Alte Bridge is the bridge connecting the Principalities of Aalban and Bergdhoven, 350 yard long and supported by 16 arches. Built shortly after the Light of Rad proclamation, it is named after Friedrich von Drachenfels, first Prinz of Aalban, he who strongly wished to see the two Principalities connected through a stable mean. The bridge is heavily garrisoned and a toll is collected whenever entering one of the two Principalities. Merchants regularly crossing the bridge are allowed to pay an annual fee, which is substantially discounted to encourage trade. The main feature of the bridge is the possibility to move upward part of it, allowing the passage of large ships.

Ritterburg

Ritterburg is Prinz Jaggar’s Residenz. A wonderful Castle, built during the first years of 9th century, its population amounts to 470 inhabitants, plus an undetermined number of magical constructs provided by the recent tireless work of Herr Doktor, Viscount Rolf von Graustein. Commissioned by Sigmund von Drachenfels, his heirs continue to improve it (it is said its walls are unbreachable thanks to countless enchantments cast during the years) and to augment its size. It now contains some 100 rooms, two spacious courtyards, and the aquatic gardens. Every corner of the Palace is a little masterpiece: the Konzertsaal, renowned for its excellent acoustics, the Arbeitszimmer (Study), the Ungeheuer Museum (Monsters Museum), the Gallery with a collection of masterpieces coming from the whole Known World, the Throne Room, the White Hall dedicated to Joachim von Drachenfels (who adopted the white colors of peace for his family), the Prince's Chamber, adorned by portraits and sculptures of the past headmembers of the von Drachenfels family, the Ratszimmer (Councilors’ Room) where Jaggar decides House Ritterburg politics with his most trusted allies, perhaps the most magnificent hall of the Residenz. Springs from the mountains (and a little portal to the Elemental Plane of Water) feed the aquatic gardens. To entertain his guests the Prinz often challenge the most powerful mage to create the most impressive tricks and illusions, and those lucky enough to be present can witness the most unthinkable prodigies with lights and waves and fantastic creatures.

Billeted at Ritterburg are the 100 men of the personal Guard of the Prince. This highly trained and efficient unit is famous throughout Glantri. It is as well trained in ceremonial maneuvers as in proper battle, and have shiny white uniforms. Jaggar takes the time to get to know each and every guard by his name and gives them a feeling of supreme importance. Their stats are:

100 elite fighters (F5, long sword +1, plate armor+1 covered with white fabric, shield, dagger)
5 indoor family guards (F7 sabre+1, dagger+1) all led by Hans von Shtrout, Jaggar's personal guard (F29, two handed sword+3, golden plate armor+4).
Additional weapons: the basements of Ritterburg tower are filled with fine weapons (some of them magical) that can equip several dozen men. The roofs of the tower are fortified with iron and magic. The tower mundane defences are augmented by combat magic's cast by Jaggar and his family and mages. Artillery consists of 1 heavy catapult and 10 different mechanical contraptions that have stats ranging from light ballistae to a heavy catapult.

Fuhrburg

Fuhrburg Military Academy is where Aalbanese draftees learn about the first rudiments of the military discipline, and where Aalbanese would-be graduates learn how to enforce it (with grumpy raucous voice). The Academy has recently been opened to non-Aalbanese would-be graduates. Already representing the safest and easiest career for sons of Aalbanese graduates, in few years, it has become the best alternative to young nobles and petty nobles’ heirs without any magical prowess, too. Tuition is very expensive, and the Academy does provide a great amount of ducats for the Aalbanese treasury (some 1000 dc/month). Located near the great village of Fuhrburg, it holds some 500 soldiers.

Nachtruhe

Nachtruhe is the main brewing centre of the Principality. The most famous and drunk Ale produced is the Nacht Lager. The majority of Aalbanese people hold its strong taste and raw flavour in the highest regard. Its name derives from its crystalline yellow colour, which is told to glimmer in the darkest night thanks to some low-level secret enchantment used in its brewing

Coat of Arms:

Useful links:
Glantrian Political History 828-884 - Harri Mäki and Giovanni Porpora
The Economy of Aalban by Aleksei Andrievski
History of House Ritterburg, by Harri Maki.
The Principality of Aalban by Thibault Sarlat, Giovanni Porpora, and Agathokles.
Glantrian Heraldry by Chimpman