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ALPHA (Kingdom of)
Location: Continent of Brun, peninsula on the south shore of the Great Bay. NW
Area: 9,478 sq. mi. (24,550 sq. km.).
Population: 87,000, including 2,000 hin.
Languages: Alphatian, Elvish (Shiye-Lawr dialect), Lalor, Heldannic, Thyatian.
Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp). Coins of many other nations are in common circulation here.
Taxes: 20% income tax on everyone of servant status or higher, and an import/export tax of 2% on magical items and components, and 1% on all other goods (Naycese kingdoms, Karameikos and Thyatis excluded). 10% of tax revenue goes to the Naycese treasury, and an additional 10% is spent on military forces in the name of the confederation.
Government Type: Independent monarchy, member of Nayce, member of the Norwold Confederacy.
Industries: Agriculture (grows barely enough for its own use), fishing, logging, mining, and trapping.
Important Figures: Ericall (King), Christina Marie Alanira (Queen), Madiera (Magist).
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: CM1 Test of the Warlords, Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.
Description by Synthala of Aasla.
Alpha 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 southern 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 is 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 its 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 these simple people. For some reason, the vast majority seem happy to have 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.
In AY 1985 [AC 985. Ed.] Empress Eriadna of Alphatia decided to establish some colonies on the western continent of Brun and sent many settlers to Norwold. They landed on the great peninsula on the southern shores of the Great Bay and settled on the same site where Cape Alpha had been founded by Thyatians centuries before, naming their village simply "Alpha." In AY 1992 [AC 992. Ed.] Eriadna gave the crown of Norwold to her eldest and non-spellcasting son, Ericall, granting him a great deal of freedom. The new kingdom was too vast to be completely controlled by Ericall's troops, so he proceeded to reinforce his rule over the small peninsula and the nearby coasts, and invited many would-be heroes to settle the unexplored areas of Norwold and to swear fealty to his crown. The strategy worked too well, for dozens of candidates came to Norwold and tried to found their own fiefdom; many failed, but others succeeded, becoming the backbone of Ericall's kingdom.
The Great War resized Ericall's ambitions and made him see his mistakes in accepting so many foreigners as subject rulers of his kingdom. Many of the Norwold lords showed their true colours when Thyatis and Heldann sided with Glantri against Alphatia, allying with either the Thyatian Empire or the Heldannic Knights and attacking their neighbours who remained loyal to Alphatia. The southern dominions were thus ruined by the infighting and later conquered by the knights, who made their way up to Oceansend. Oceansend fell and was regained between AY 2010 and AY 2015 [AC 1010-1015. Ed.], but the situation is still tense down there at the moment. As for the northern lords, Ericall's loyalists were able to contain their assaults and they didn't cause much trouble. Alak Dool was banned from Norwold and Sieger von Duwn obtained independence from Ericall, but signed a peace treaty with him, thus restoring peace in the Great Bay region. King Ericall understood he could not consider himself the King of Norwold, so he renamed himself King of Alpha [and of those many dominions still vassal to his crown. Synthala.].
In Burymir AY 2014 [Kaldmont AC 1014. Ed.] Ericall married the sister of Lord General Mage Beriak [Count of Draken. Synthala.], Lady Christina Marie Alanira, during a lavish ceremony held at the grand ballroom. The wedding was a grand affair, attended by almost all the nobles still affiliated with King Ericall-and even some that were no more. 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.
In AY 2016 [AC 1016. Ed.] the Norwold Wars started and Ericall formed the Norwold Confederacy [a defensive and economic alliance among the free nations of Norwold. Synthala.]. The confederacy started fighting on the southern front with Oceansend against the Heldannic Knights and on the northern front against the invading troops of Qeodhar and the renegade army of Ossian. The war ravaged all the dominions of Norwold and finally ended with a peace treaty signed with the Heldannic Knights, after the fall of the southern baronies, and the allied Kingdom of Ostland. The Qeodharan forces retreated some weeks later, and after the treacherous Black Duke of Ossian was crushed, Ericall proceeded in tightening his grip on the remaining nations and avoided a major war with the dragons of Wyrmsteeth by recognising their dominion over that region in the Draconic Treaty.
Even though the Norwold Wars officially ended in Cyprimir of AY 2016 [Ambyrmont of AC 1016. Ed.], King Ericall believes the Heldannic Knights may try to resume their advance in Norwold during the year, so he has not yet disbanded the conscripted soldiers he recruited in AY 2012 [AC 1012. Ed.]. The decision is very unpopular with the commoners, but Ericall and his generals think it's best to stop the knights at Oceansend's gates than having to fight them on their doorsteps.
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 defensive.
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.
The mountains in the southern area of the kingdom are very dangerous to explore [that's also why the Regent's Pass garrison has been established. Synthala.]. They abound with feral beasts like mountain lions and all kinds of great cats, yeti and sasquatch clans and even a few goblinoids. On the highest peaks, wyverns and other dragon-like beings have their nests, and it is said that an ancient white dragon controls the whole mountain range that extends into the Alphan peninsula.