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VERTILOCH (Kingdom of)

Location: Southern central portion of the floating continent of Alphatia, east of Haven, south of Alphas'ar and Bettellyn, west of Theranderol, and north of Arogansa. HW

Area: 49,384 sq. mi. (127,905 sq. km.).

Population: 620,000, including Ashar (pop. 15,000)

Languages: Alphatian (Vertilian dialect).

Coinage: Alphatian Standard: crown (gp), mirror (sp), judge (cp). Vertiloch mints no other coins.

Taxes: 15% income tax on everyone of servant status or higher. Slaves are counted as the property of the owner and the product of their labour is taxed as income for the owner.

Government Type: Monarchy governed by the currently elected emperor or empress, member of the Alphatian Empire.

Industries: Formerly government, now mainly agriculture. A few people are dedicated to rebuilding the nation and restoring Vertiloch and Sundsvall, the capital, to their past glories.

Important Figures: Eriadna (Queen of Vertiloch-Eriadna now resides in Alphas'ar, though).

Flora and Fauna: The land of Vertiloch is mostly fertile land good for farming. It was not used as such originally, but farming has greatly increased in the recent years. Despite this, travellers can often find some old monuments or other artistry, though most of these have suffered from ruin or neglect by now. Vertiloch also used to be a nation with few monsters, but that has changed as well after the harsh times Alphatia has seen, particularly with monsters that survived the destruction of Sundsvall when their masters were killed, thus allowing them to escape and roam the nation. Obviously a number of monsters live in the Haunted Marshes as well, but since there has been little reason to go there in recent years, the area should be considered largely unexplored by now.

Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.

Description by Aritmanes.

Vertiloch. Once the splendour of the Alphatian Empire and a testimony to its might in both artistry and, not the least, magic! This once illustrious nation has been a cruel victim of the merciless passing of time and fate, and its current state is a sad reminder of the harsh times Alphatia has seen.

Now Sundsvall is nothing more than a ruin, so the primary city has instead become the town of Ashar, not far from the Sundsvall ruins. Ashar is not the place it once was either, though. Whereas it used to be a place for people to get away from all the activity in Sundsvall, it is now the capital of Vertiloch with all those functions, yet it also the place where all the disheartened survivors from Sundsvall struggle to reclaim the dream of what Vertiloch once was. Though the empress declared that Sundsvall and Aasla were to be rebuilt more than a year ago, little has actually happened.

The Land

Vertiloch is still a beautiful nation centred around the ruins of Sundsvall, the former imperial capital. It runs south along the Greenlake River through the Haunted Marshes to where the river reaches the rim of the floating continent in a long, narrow stretch of land. Before the violent calamities, Vertiloch was the decorated and sculpted monument to the greatness of the Alphatian Empire, and it was a marvel to behold for its incredible achievements, with majestic buildings and beautiful feats in art and magic that confounded the mind itself-Vertiloch was never intended to support itself and instead relied heavily on imported food to sustain its population. The land north of the Haunted Marshes is lush and fertile, and many commoners have turned to agriculture in order to support our nation which used to rely heavily on imports.

The People

In a way the tragedies that have struck Alphatia and especially Vertiloch have lessened the potential famine that threatened Vertiloch, however, because it would have been completely impossible to find food for all of its original population now. Half the population of Sundsvall was killed when the capital was destroyed and still more of the nation's population was lost during the later devastation of the empire. In the years that have since passed, many more of its people have moved to settle in the new kingdom, Alphas'ar. Most of those who remain have turned to farming, but there are some who have stayed to help rebuild the declining nation in an attempt to reclaim its former splendour.

The disillusioned people of ruined Sundsvall who have remained in Vertiloch (rather than going to Alphas'ar) have set up a number of groups. One of these call themselves the Sundsvall Guardians. It is a group of soldiers and adventurers, some aristocrats even, who have vowed to rid Sundsvall of all the vile scavengers, looters and squatters alike, who are defiling the memory of the grand city. In essence, they are the self-proclaimed protectors of the ruins. The Guardians have no authority and since they have been known to turn to vigilantism and kill those they consider to violate Sundsvall, they sometimes cause big problems for the authorities in Vertiloch. Because of this, the Guardians have also chosen to remain largely unknown, and all are apparently anonymous. There are rumoured to be ways to identify them, but these are unknown save perhaps to other such Guardians.

Some of the other people who have remained behind are more like myself in that they choose to help rebuild what they can of the nation. There are several sages who seem determined to keep the history and memory of Sundsvall's former splendour alive. Some locals have called these scholars the Chroniclers, but they are not organized save by common interest. At times these "Chroniclers" have been known to cooperate to reclaim lost lore from the Sundsvall ruins because they clashed with members of the Sundsvall Guardians. The various sages claim they are interested mostly in setting up large libraries so that the history of Sundsvall, Vertiloch, even Alphatia itself, will be preserved for posterity, but it would seem that the Guardians believe that some of these scholars have more sinister motives for acquiring the lore they claim to seek in the ruins.

Recent History

Vertiloch was the primary kingdom of Alphatia and Sundsvall the imperial capital of the empire until the end of the Great War. When the Glantrians unethically used their treacherous "Doomsday Device," they unleashed evil magic that caused a cataclysmic storm which utterly destroyed Sundsvall and plunged all of Mystara into a ghastly Week Without Magic. Half the population died instantly and the glorious City Built by Magic was turned into a ruin. After Alphatia was moved to a floating continent of the Hollow World by the Immortals when a subsequent use of the evil device caused Alphatia's utter destruction, it didn't take long before it was obvious that Vertiloch was a dying kingdom. Empress Eriadna turned the former imperial territories into what is now the Kingdom of Alphas'ar and moved her court to the new imperial capital, Andaire. As the years have passed, many people have followed her and left Vertiloch, slowly draining the nation of its life force. The fact that the food previously imported from Bellissaria was no longer available forced many commoners to become farmers, and since most aristocrats left for Alphas'ar, the number of people who maintained the glory of Vertiloch has dwindled steadily over the years. In AY 2016 [AC 1016. Ed.], Empress Eriadna declared that Sundsvall should be rebuilt, but little has actually been done, since the city has become a haven infested with looters and monsters let loose by the city's destruction.

Don't Miss / Do Miss

Vertiloch was once a nation-wide attraction of impressive feats and achievements in the fields of arts and magics. Those times have sadly passed, though. There used to be monuments and other works of art even outside Sundsvall, but these have suffered from years of destruction or neglect, as the population turned to farming in order to survive, so most of Vertiloch's achievements are now declining when not outright ruined. The ruin of Sundsvall is obviously the greatest example of this. Despite its destruction, one can still sense how mighty it must have been during its years of greatness. It is difficult for people who used to live in Sundsvall to bear witness to this, however, and that might be another reason for its current sad state. Much lost lore and magic may still be found among the ruins if one dares to search them, but it is at the risk of falling prey to other looters and monsters that infest and roam the fallen City Built by Magic, not to mention agents of the Sundsvall Guardians or one of the more nefarious "Chroniclers". The native people of Vertiloch, and Alphatians in general, don't take kindly to people who pick through the rubble for lost Alphatian valuables either. They have all, particularly the Guardians, been known to respond harshly to adventurers and other treasure-seeking folk who do so, particularly if they are foreigners.