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Moonland (Barony of)
Location: Norwold, continent of Brun, southeast of Alpha, on eastern shores of Norwold.
Area: 1,496 sq. mi. (3,875 sq. km.).
Languages: Heldannic, Alphatian.
Coinage: Crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp); barter common.
Taxes: 20% income tax collected yearly.
Government Type: Independent barony.
Industries: Fishing, hunting, agriculture.
Important Figures: Sandralane (Baroness and Patriarch, human, female, P14 of Matera).
Flora and Fauna: Two thirds of Moonland's territory is made of rolling forested hills, while the remaining eastern part is a flatland bordering the New Alphatian Sea. The woods are filled with many animal species, both game and predators. The monstrous wildlife includes groups of humanoids coming from the northwestern hills, the occasional packs of hippogriffs or griffons and wild cats. Also, Moonland is said to harbour more than its share of lycanthropes, and many dire wolves roam its area without fear.
Further Reading: CM1 Test of the Warlords, previous almanacs.
Description by Adik de Chevas and Arcadius.
Moonland is indeed a strange place in Norwold, certainly one that has undergone a drastic change in the past. Today it is a strange, funny place to visit once in a while, especially if you love anarchy and chaos in its most positive form. Its customs are a bit weird in comparison to the more civilised countries, but it is nevertheless a heaven for all those who seek a safe enough hideout from the outer world.
Moonland is located just south of Ironwood, and its borders touch both the elven barony to the north as well as Vyolstagrad in the west. Being nestled between these two dominions, it shows the common traits of all the region, that's to say huge evergreen trees, from sequoias to firs to oaks, that tower magnificently to the sky both in the south-eastern valleys and on the low hills to the west and north. The woods are teeming with natural and animal life, and packs of deer and moose roam freely in these primeval woods, hunted by both wild predators and by humans and humanoids alike. Flocks of sparrows, woodpeckers and skylarks also make their nest in the highest limbs of the tree trunks. Fresh streams of sparkling water flow through the forest and small ponds dot the countryside especially in the eastern zones.
One could say that Moonland is a natural heaven for animals, and in fact the first major industry for the country is hunting [and also fishing along the beaches of the New Alphatian Sea or in the ponds inland. Arcadius.]. There are few farmlands, mostly along the coast, and the leaders of Moonland's communities seem to have no intention to boost agriculture, even though the soil could give fruitful harvests.
The inhabitants of this barony live mostly scattered throughout the woods, and few are the significant settlements to be counted as villages [again, mostly found along the coast. Arcadius.]. The only place that could be labelled "town" is indeed its capital, Lunaria, which can be found in the heart of the dominion. The settlement is surrounded by a wooden palisade and all its houses are basically wooden huts which range from one story shops to three stories inns and taverns. There are in fact many taverns in Moonland, even located in isolated places inside the woods, and each one is a safe heaven from the dangers of the wild woods. Lady Sandralane's own house is the Temple of the Moon, located in Lunaria's main square. The building is a mishmash of different architectural styles of the Old World, even though the original rounded plan can still be made out by the keen observer. The temple's appearance reflects the particular tenets of this faith, which has been gladly embraced by the great majority of Moonland's inhabitants.
Moonland's people can be mostly defined as "peaceful chaotic anarchists," or simply as lunatics in some cases. They all live to the day, without paying too much attention to daily routine and deadlines. Most of the people are hunters and woodcutters, even though Moonland's logging industry doesn't produce as much wood as it could. The reason is that Lady Sandralane has issued a law that regulates the amount of woods that can be cut yearly, and this has been done to avoid deforestation and the consequent loss of woodland game [as is happening in nearby Stamtral. Arcadius.]. Even though Moonlanders do not like laws, they seem to understand the problem and have so far kept in line with the rules. In fact, some rumours even have trespassers promptly caught and executed by other inhabitants, either by skinning or by abandoning them to the wood's dangers.
Moonland has no real set of laws, except the above-mentioned rule about woodcutting, the freedom of faith and the strange law called Majority Rules, which everyone follows. Basically, all inhabitants follow common sense when interacting with one another, but if some disagreements arise, then the people are called to judge over the matter. The two parts may summon up to five people each (even foreigners) and have to explain them the problem, giving each their version of the issue. Then the summoned people give their vote to one of the two, and the part that gets the majority of the votes wins the issue. For this reason, trials in Moonland usually last no more than one day, and there are no formal judges to enforce the laws.
A police force does exist, however, mainly for reasons of protecting the country from outside dangers than for inner security. The Moonriders are also employed as rangers, patrolling the woods to catch any trespassers who hunt illegally or cut down trees without authorisation. They can kill any trespassers on the spot, and can intervene in any brawl or feud only if one of the parties involved calls in for help. This could seem normal to the civilised people, but the fact is calling for help is a sign of weakness in Moonland: this means the individual is not able to take care of himself, and will probably be the target of other assaults (both verbal and physical) in the future.
A few words must also be spent on the unique religion of Moonland, the Church of Matera. This faith worships the moon in all its forms and social applications: the moon as patroness of fertility, love and romance, the moon as keeper of secrets, the moon as cause of change, madness and freedom [three things considered very close to one another by the followers of Matera, each one respected and sought. Adik.], the moon as symbol of stealth and cunning, the moon as lady of sky and sea and finally the moon as bringer of wealth and good health. All these aspects of the moon can be embodied by different Immortals, but the Church of Matera does not really pay homage to each different deity. Rather it worships Matera, the moon, as a whole, in all its different facets and shapes, because the whole cannot be reduced to the sum of its parts. The great majority of Moonlanders respect and follow this anarchic faith, and it is basically religion that keeps them united as their common point of aggregation.
Lady Sandralane came to Norwold from Glantri in AY 2001 [AC 1001. Ed.] to found her own dominion. She was fed up with Glantri's oppressive rules against clerics and priests, and since she was raised by her parents in the faith of Razud in the principality of Blackhill, she could not tolerate that situation anymore. When her parents died of natural causes in AY 2000 [AC 1000. Ed.], she took her decision and came to this side of Norwold, founding her dominion after swearing loyalty to Ericall.
At first Moonland was inhabited by many Alphatians and a few wilder Heldanners, and she tried to teach them all the ways of Razud, issuing many laws to regulate their lives and avoid possible hostilities. At that time, rumours also had her dating none other than King Ericall, maybe in a way to spread Razud's word further in Norwold or maybe truly out of love, this we cannot know. The fact is that with each passing year, the inhabitants of Moonland became more and more restless and she kept adding on laws and decrees to prevent any possible riot. This culminated in the exodus that brought many Alphatians to the Kingdom of Alpha in AY 2005 [AC 1005. Ed.], leaving the barony nearly deserted and prey to bandits and tribes of humanoids coming from the north and west.
In AY 2007 [AC 1007. Ed.] anarchy fell over Moonland when Thyatians landed south of it and marched northwards to conquer this side of Norwold. The Thyatians brought with them a terrible plague in the Tranquil Coast region and Lady Sandralane tried to counter both the invasion and the plague, ending up sick herself and powerless against the Thyatian legions. In a feverish night, she received an omen from the sky, and the legend tells that the silvery moonbeams cured her and transported her to a secret cove inside the woods. There she met with the leader of the lycanthropes living in Moonland and she forged an alliance with him, converting to the faith of Matera [some rumours explain her recovery and conversion with the fact that she was infected by this werewolf and became a lycanthrope herself. Adik.]. From that moment on, the Thyatian legions began to lose ground in front of the chaotic hit and run tactics of the Moonlanders and their lycanthropic allies, and were later forced to retire both because of the resistance and the disease. The Moonlanders on the other hand, did not suffer from the disease anymore, and this was later attributed to the holy moonbeams that bathed them during the night [the real cause is yet unknown to us sages. Adik.].
In AY 2010 [AC 1010. Ed.] Moonland was a different country, with most of the laws abolished and a great deal of independence and authority to all the citizens. Even the taxing was decreased and this prompted many Heldanners living in the nearby lands to come to Moonland looking for a better life [this is especially true for those living in Stamtral and the free territories south of Moonland, where the Thyatians had destroyed nearly everything. Arcadius.]. After regaining freedom and chasing out the Thyatians, Sandralane also declared Moonland's independence from the Kingdom of Alpha and refused to send any salt tax to Ericall anymore [after all, he did not help her when the Thyatians invaded her country. Arcadius.]. Now Moonland is dubbed the "reign of anarchy," rivalling with the outlandish Chaosarchy of Redhorn on this, and Ericall has no intention to reclaim it for now. However, its customs seem to attract many people, both free-willed individuals and wanted criminals, who still come numerous to this little corner of the world.
Moonland's woods are very well tended and still possess much of the ancient magic that fills these places all around the world. A few druids live here and it is always a pleasure to stay and exchange information with these wise men, who will teach you about the ways of the region in order to be prepared for the unexpected.
Also, the capital of Lunaria is a weird enough place to visit, with all its different architectural styles and the amazing Temple of the Moon towering in its centre. Be also sure to pay a visit to the 100 inns of Moonland, since one is completely different from the other. They are one of the greatest attractions both tourists and Moonlanders, and the innkeepers are always friendly to the customers. Besides, if you are travelling through the woods, an inn is the best place to be after the sun sets and moonlight madness strikes.
If you are brave adventurers and love flirting with death and strange encounters, then Moonland's woods after sunset are the place you'd love to visit. If however you are just a normal person, who holds his life dear and wants to see his elder years, then avoid the woods and remain on the trail, since beasts do not usually attack those who do not venture outside the known trails. Another place to avoid is the northern border, where humanoid tribes usually make raids on isolated cottages and unwary travellers [and they do not seem to care if you walk on a trail or not, unfortunately. Adik.].