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HELDLAND (Heldannic Territory of)
Location: Continent of Brun, southern coast of Norwold. NW
Area: Approx. 51,378 sq. mi. (133,069 sq. km.) is controlled by the Heldannic Knights at present.
Population: 85,000 (10,000 in Landfall, 5,000 in Forton, 43,000 in Oceansend; many more living in homesteads scattered throughout the territory); unknown number of native Antalian-descended peoples living in wilderness.
Languages: Thyatian (Hattian dialect, official), Heldannic, some Alphatian spoken in Landfall and vicinity.
Coinage: Heldannic Standard: groschen (5 gp), gelder (gp), erzer (ep), markschen (sp), fenneg (cp).
Taxation: 15% income tax collected 4 times a year. 10% tithe to the Heldannic Knights, collected once a year. Poll tax of 1 gp per year on those who refuse military service. Taxes are waived for the first 2 years for new immigrants. There is also a 5% sales tax on all items but food and clothing (these taxes are not waived).
Government Type: Military theocracy, member of the Heldannic Empire.
Industries: Agriculture (potatoes, wheat, other vegetables), cattle, mining, sheep, lumber, hunting, war.
Important Figures: Helga Schonberg (Landmeister), Hermann Adalard (Landmeister of Oceansend), Thomas Stilldorfer (Landmeister of Landfall), Siegfried Lenz (Grenzmarschall), Ulrike Bethmann (Grenzmarschall), Dirk Hollweg (Grenzmarschall), Erich Barthold (Grenzmarschall).
Flora and Fauna: Heldland is blessed with many natural resources. Along the coastal regions verdant stands of oak, evergreen, birch, and pine predominate, mingled with dense patches of juniper bushes wherever the sunlight manages to filter down to the ground. Further inland, and in the more settled regions, hardy long grasses, wildflowers, and fruit-bearing shrubs predominate, such as dandelions, buttercups, strawberries, blueberries, and not to mention scattered thistles and wild roses. Towards the foothills of the Mengul Mountains to the west, almost as though sensing the sinister evil that seems to emanate from the forbidding Plateau of Denagoth, much of the plant life gives way to blighted briar patches, lichen, yellowed grasses, and the like. It is also in this region that the monstrous species of plant life, such as vampire roses, grab grass, and whipweed, are known to predominate.
The animal life of Heldland is similarly abundant. Here, one may find animal herds such as sheep, caribou, and moose, as well as more solitary animals such as grizzly bears, lynxes, and beavers. In the northern regions of Heldland live numerous wolf packs. Travellers have noted that, as with plant life, those animals living near the Mengul Mountains appear to be almost sickly-or corrupted-in appearance. In the foothills of those mountains, and in the hilly country north of Landfall, can be found giants (mountain, hill, stone, and the rare frost), goblinoids, lycanthropes, as well as the rare, reclusive sasquatch. Dragons also venture into the territory from the northern mountains; most of those few who have been spotted were identified as red dragons, though a few whites are known to live in the area.
Further reading: CM1 Test of the Warlords, Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.
Description by Adik de Chevas.
It was with interest that I accepted the task of surveying this region of the growing "Heldannic Empire," to see for myself what goes on here-beyond what the knights themselves decide to tell us. Surprisingly, what I had heard of the place turned out, in retrospect, to be fairly accurate. I had heard others call Heldland untamed, rugged, and mysterious-and it certainly was! Of course, I learned much more than this, and perhaps I shall note it down in book form for others to peruse at their leisure, but until then, let the following suffice as your guide to this land.
It is said by the Heldannic Knights that their homeland is a hard land-and its people are equally inured to life's trials. Whether or not this is true, Heldland makes the southerly Heldannic Territories seem as homey as the Streel Plain. The waters of the Kamminer Bucht to the south, and the Alphatian Sea to the east, carry with them winds that are cool in the summer, and frigid and damp in the winter. The waters themselves are very cold all year round; many a sailor has fallen overboard in this region, and succumbed before any assistance could reach them. The weather, too, can be unforgiving. The lands bordering the Alphatian Sea are blasted mercilessly during the winter months by strong winds sweeping southwards from the arctic wastes to the far north, while in the summer months gentler breezes are carried from the southeast, making life far more bearable. In the interior, winter is a terrible time of year: during winter storms, icy gales blow down from the Wyrmsteeth Mountains, and during the summer, the moisture from rainstorms rarely dissipates in the forests, due to the extensive cover of foliage which blots out much of the sun's rays; in some regions it is almost impossible to stay dry.
As mentioned earlier, Heldland, for all its ruggedness, is a thickly-forested land, with trees of many types along the coasts, which, where they have not been interrupted by the ebb and flow of civilisation, extend inland to the foothills of the Wyrmsteeth Mountains themselves. Where civilisation has gained a foothold in this relatively untouched land, it is a tentative one. Apart from the festering sore that is Landfall, and the port of Oceansend, there is little in the way of settlements. There are a number of coastal villages, or partially-constructed keeps, lining the coast, but the interior, as before, is no one's land.
As in Heldann proper to the south, the visitor to Heldland will find a mix of Hattian Thyatians and native Heldanners. In the lands controlled by the knights, the majority of the population is of Hattian extraction-the knights probably wish to avoid the problems they encountered when they first arrived in Heldann decades ago [AC 950. Ed.], when they consisted of but a handful of men against thousands of indigenous Heldanners. Occasionally one will find a Heldanner or two, but these are most often those who have become assimilated into the dominant Hattian culture. Outside the few built-up areas, most people are farmers; they lay trap lines year round, and till the fields in the warm months, sell what produce they can spare, and wait out the winter in their homes. Most often, their homes are sod huts or wooden cabins.
In Landfall, Oceansend, and a number of villages, the people conduct their lives with a little more certainty. There are shopkeepers, craftsmen, grocers, soldiers, fishermen, and travellers-all that one would find in towns and cities further south, only on a much smaller scale (outside of Landfall and Oceansend, that is). In general attitude, however, I think the Heldlanders are definitely different from their countrymen in Heldann proper. Living on the edge of civilisation, they seem to be more practical; they have little time for religious zealotry, as faith alone rarely puts food on the table, and they are plainspoken. Still, many of the newer settlers were awarded generous grants to build their homes here, and thus their loyalty to the regime seems secure for now.
Beyond the colonised areas, however, an unknown number of indigenous people inhabit the forests, living, I imagine, in crude huts and isolated villages, and otherwise subsisting off of the land. I suspect that they are probably related to the native people of Heldann, though I have not met any of these native Heldlanders, so I could not say for certain.
Nominally part of the Alphatian colony of Norwold, under the rule of King Ericall beginning in AC 992, the region now known as Heldland was sparsely settled, with Landfall and Oceansend being the only significant settlements in the region. In AC 1010, the Heldannic Knights, capitalising on the instabilities following the sinking of Alphatia, conquered Landfall and the surrounding region. In subsequent years, their forces advanced all the way to Oceansend, conquering that city after a protracted siege. In AC 1014, the order's knights lost their clerical powers, having suffered Vanya's disfavour over their increasingly cruel rulership over their lands (which did not bring glory to Her). Taking advantage of the situation, Oceansend regained its independence, and the Heldannic Order's control over Heldland slackened greatly, being confined largely to Landfall and vicinity once more.
After the knights regained the graces of Vanya in late AC 1015, they embarked upon a drive to reconquer all of Heldland, including Oceansend, which fell once more to Heldannic forces in AC 1016. Since that time, the knights have been trying to strengthen their hold on Heldland, initiating a colonisation drive to accomplish this.
One place that should be visited if possible is Oceansend, if only for the fact that it is the largest urban area on the Heldland coast which offers anything close to the amenities of a proper city. Originally founded by Thyatians, Oceansend declared independence during the Alphatian Spike Assault [AC 960. Ed.], and maintained its independence until very recently, when it fell to the Heldannic Knights. Although it has fallen somewhat on hard times due to the decline in commerce following the conquest, it is still a fairly nice city, so long as you can ignore the ever-present Heldannic garrison, the fluttering black lion banners, and the tense atmosphere which hangs over the city.
Although there are other pleasant settlements to visit in Heldland, particularly along the coast, none of them are really large enough to be noteworthy, in my opinion. Nice places to spend the night, but little more than that.
If there is any place in Heldland which the visitor should avoid at all costs, it is Landfall. This large town was, is, and likely always will be a breeding ground of scum and moral decrepitude; why the Heldannic Knights allow such a corrupt place to thrive in the midst of their other dominions I shall perhaps never know, but I suspect something is going on behind the scenes. Needless to say, Landfall is filthy, and filled with disease-ridden trollops, greedy merchants, and untrustworthy, self-serving bureaucrats. Avoid it if you possibly can.
Another place I would strongly caution all visitors to avoid is the Finsterwald, which lies many days north of Landfall. Though I never visited the place myself, I have heard it said that the place is a trackless forest filled with swamps, bogs, and ferocious animals. It is also controlled by a man named Helmut Jaschke, who, apparently a former Heldannic Knight himself, has appointed himself the Count of Wolkenberg-which seems to be the name of his purported dominion. The authorities describe him as a traitor, who refuses to submit to the might of the Heldannic Order, but I have heard others say that Helmut had something of an epiphany some time ago, and that he fights against Heldannic supremacy in Heldland because he sees their rule as unjust. Regardless of the truth, travellers are just as likely to run afoul of the count's brigands as patrols of Heldannic Knights intent on crushing him. Best to stay clear until the whole matter blows over.