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Alpha (Kingdom of)
Location: South shore of the Great Bay, at the tip of a peninsula.
Area: 9,478 sq. mi. (21,325 km2)
Population: 90,000, including 2,000 halflings.
Languages: Alphatian Common (Alpha dialect, official), Elvish (Shiye-Lawr dialect), Hin (Lalor dialect), Heldannic, Thyatian Common.
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: Crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp). Coins of many other nations are in common circulation here.
Taxes: 20% income tax, collected yearly.
Government Type: Independent monarchy part of the New Alphatian Empire.
Industries: Agriculture (grows barely enough for its own use), fishing, logging, mining, and trapping.
Important Figures: Ericall (King, human, male, F20)
Flora and Fauna: Alpha features the plants and animals one expects of the northern wilderness. The Peninsula claimed by Alpha is devoid of monsters thanks to the Regent Pass, but cold-climate creatures (such as snow apes, white dragons, frost giants, frost salamanders, and sasquatches) fill the rest of Norwold, as well as several scattered goblinoid tribes.
Further Reading: CM 1 - Test of the Warlords, GAZ - Dawn of the Emperors boxed Set, AC1010 - Poor Wizard's Almanac to AC1012 - Poor Wizard's Almanac 3, and Joshuan's Almanac.
Description: by Synthala of Aasla
Alpha, the City of Rangers and Foresters, is blocked off from the inland by a large stretch of mountains that cut off the entire peninsula at the neck. There is only one way through these mountains; an enjoyable hiking path known as Regent Pass. This narrow and rugged gap is guarded by a fortress garrisoned with an entire unit of the King's Guard, including his best woodsmen, climbers, and trackers. This fortress marks the true limits of the king's lands, despite having once claimed all of Norwold as his kingdom.
The land between the garrison at Regent Pass and the city of Alpha is almost completely converted into farmland. Unfortunately, there are only the occasional patch of evergreens here and there, and most wildlife has been hunted to extinction. Druidic lore claims that the soil is rich in nutrients, deposited by glaciers from ages ago. Various natural lakes and small streams make sure that every farm has an adequate supply of fresh water.
At first glance, the City of Rangers and Foresters appears to be one immense fortress, with circles of walls within circles of walls to provide ample defence against any invading force. But despite the intense fortifications, the city earns is name by the numerous parks and woodlands found within the imposing walls. In fact, more wild animals can be found within these enclosed parks than in the land outside the city walls.
Alpha has a remarkable deep-water port within the Great Bay, and ships from around the world can often be spotted within the large harbour. Numerous fishing boats can also be seen scattered throughout the Great Bay.
Ancestry of the Alphans can be traced back to Heldannic, Thyatian and Alphatian roots. Most have been living here so long now that they simply consider themselves Alphans; racial ancestry does not mean much to theses simple people. For some reason, the vast majority seem happy to have a King Ericall to rule them, adding what they believe is a needed form of government and order to their lives. A rather strange belief for people who prefer to be left alone, but an accepted one none-the-less.
Most Alphans are simple farmers or fishermen who do not have the typical Alphatian disdain of non-spellcasters. Being removed from the former Alphatian mainland, magic did not become so mainstream in Alpha as to affect their lives very much. In fact, many of them are awed or cowed by displays of the arcane.
They are polite and welcome strangers eagerly in exchange for courtesy and the occasional stories about your travels. Most will mind their own business, and rarely will anyone try to interfere with your plans. The peasants are content to simply do their work and not get involved in politics and "important" things.
The topic of the year here in the City of Rangers and Foresters was the wedding between King Ericall and Queen Christina Marie Alanira. I myself was invited to the wedding (through connections with the Church of Zirchev), attending the lavish ceremony held with the Grand Ballroom. The Grand Ballroom should surely be included in any list of wonders of Mystara, for the design and architecture are beautiful beyond belief. Even I, who dislikes most buildings, preferring the outdoors, enjoyed my stay in this spacious ballroom.
Still, I have changed subjects. The wedding was a grand affair, attended by almost all the nobles still affiliated with King Ericall (unfortunately for him, that means only a handful). Wealthy merchant families as well as respected priests (such as the Priests of Zirchev) or other town members were also permitted to attend. To celebrate the union, the Town Watch has been renamed to the Queen's Guard. In fact, the love-smitten king has placed her in charge of the Queen's Guard; they are rumoured to place any of the Queen's orders before any order given by Ericall himself.
The other major event concerns amassing a large defence force. King Ericall believes in an invasion from Oceansend, and reports of more Heldannic Knights entering the City of the Sea only confirms his worse fears. [Ed's Note: This is obviously before Oceansend managed to reclaim it's independence.] King Ericall has started conscripting soldiers, but many oppose this initiative. The decision is very unpopular with the commoners. Many believe that Ericall will recall the law any day now.
One sight to visit would be the main palace of Alpha. It lies atop a large hill in the centre of the most fortified area of town. Over a dozen huge buildings all interconnected to each other with arches and bridges and walls. Dozens of chimneys dot the rooftops of the palace, more than likely keeping the place comfortably warm during the cold winter nights here up north. Various small parks and woodlands can be seen within the palace grounds as well, suggesting that great care is taken to maintain its beauty and appearance. And one must not forget the Grand Ballroom, which is a wonder beyond description. Still, despite the architectural decorations, the thick walls and several dozen towers clearly indicate that the main purpose of the palace is indeed defence.
If there is any sight worth seeing above all others, it would be the temple known as the Forest of Zirchev. And despite what you may believe, this account is not biased by my worship of that very Immortal. The Forest of Zirchev is a large temple made out of strong and sturdy oak that stands just over three stories high. A large brass bell tops the tallest spire, which can be clearly heard throughout the city. The true beauty of the temple is its sheer simplicity. Zirchev, in His wisdom, ordered that there be no fancy decorations, extravagant use of riches, or even statues made to honour Him. The only thing indicating that it is a house of Zirchev is a carving of the Forest Immortal's face just above the main double doors.
Zirchev has granted us many wonderful birds who "sing" the hymns during the prayers that honour Him. This wonderful chorus has earned the admiration of many Alphans. Even priests of other Immortals have been known to observe a ceremony or two just to hear the wonders of nature sing in honour of Zirchev. Because of this, many Alphans have a greater respect for nature than most city-dwellers, as the numerous city parks and the wildlands in the area can attest to. Nature will therefore never be mistreated, and we owe it all to the Forest Immortal.