Return of the Tyrant
The Volkstadt Peninsula
Formerly known as the Sovereign Duchy of Ottelstadt, Volkstadt (or the Volkstadt Peninsula) is now a conglomeration of loosely affiliated counties, each squabbling for more power and influence over the others. While some regions have shaken off the yoke of oppressive nobility and are governed by democratic councils, other areas are still stuck in the past, with the people looking to a Viscount or Viscountess for all their answers.
Recent History, in brief:
The realm was governed by a number of harsh, cruel, or intolerant monarchs when it was still known as Ottelstadt. As time passed, the nobility became more decadent and greedy, growing fat off the land by taxing the peasants to the brink of starvation and encroaching or sometimes outright invading the lands of elves and dwarves for profit, completely disregarding ancient treaties between mankind and the elder races.
The worst of the line was Count Ustlav, who along with his wife, the Countess Malveria, ruled Ottelstadt in tyrannical fashion.
Among the many attrocities commited by Ustlav, the Tharindor Massacre was without question the worst, an indirect response to a mining dispute between humans and dwarves in the town of Schwarzwald. (See the Tharidnor Massacre entry for more).
The mineral rights dispute in Schwarzwald raged on for months and kept miners out of work, in turn causing an iron shortage and considerable loss of profit on Ottelstadt’s exports. When trade relations between Ottelstadt and the Republic of Navarra broke down completely because of the iron shortage, Count Ustlav stepped in to force the dwarves’ hand. When the mountain folk refused to budge, the Count ordered his troops to march into the Iron Reaches and wipe out the dwarven city of Tharindor with a sinister toxic weapon.
A rebellion began in the wake of the massacre. An army of humans and dwarves alike, disgusted and outraged at the crimes committed by the Count, rose as one and liberated the realm. Ustlav was removed from the throne and ultimately executed. The land was thereafter known as Volkstadt (‘the free state’).
Volkstadt no longer has any recognized form of central government. Each county now governs itself, which often causes problems when a decision with repurcussions for the entire land needs to be made.
In some areas, the nobility has been ran off entirely. These areas are governed by some form of democracy, usually an elected council.
Yet some parts of the realm still believe in the nobility, despite the sins of past Counts and Countesses who governed poorly. Most of these minor noble houses’ lineages date back to the formation of Ottelstadt.
Two notable areas within Volkstadt are considered their own sovereign lands: the undermountain empire of Khet-Myram in the Iron Reaches (ruled by the mountain dwarves under King Brogan II) and the elvish city of Thorn within the depths of the Moonwood, which is considered its own city-state.
Volkstadt’s climate is considered humid continental. The winters are usually dry, though the people are quick to remind outsiders the Volkstadian winter is just as long and cold as a winter in the Ivory Wastes. (A slight exaggeration, but the temperature does indeed drop into the negatives at the height of winter in Volkstadt). Due to the land’s proximity to the Tempest Bay, summers are almost as long as the winters, featuring warm and humid weather with intermittent periods of monsoonal type rainfalls. Heat waves are rare, but have been recorded in the southern part of the land once every few years or so.
The territory consists of moderately hilly grassland plateaus broken up by many small streams and rivers. Forested areas are also commonplace, the two largest woodland areas being the Trollmere in the south (a deciduous woodland) and the Moonwood to the northeast (an evergreen forest). The Iron Reaches mountain chain divides the land in the north. The highest point of Volkstadt is located atop a particular mountain in the range known as the Stone Tooth.
The ground soil is a dark, earthy color – rich and well suited for agriculture. Corn and wheat are staple crops in the land. In the southern most parts of Volkstadt, red clay soil can be found, which does not take to farming quite so well. Fruits harvested include grapes, apples, plums, raspberries, strawberries and occasionally melons.
Common wildlife seen in Volkstadt consists of deer, wild boar, bats, wolves, and badgers. The area north of the Velwyth River is home to many different species of birds.
Gold and silver are the most common type of currency accepted, although copper is often used in smaller villages/hamlets among lower class citizens. Volkstadt coins are mostly octagonal in shape. Only the oldest coins, minted in the formative days of Ottelstadt and bearing an image of the royal crown, are round in shape. Silver and gold trade bars emblazoned with the image of Count Uslav are still in circulation among merchant houses despite the grim reminder of the past they represent.
- Platinum Pieces – ‘Drake’
- Gold Pieces – ‘Mark’
- Silver Pieces – ‘Gestirn’
- Copper Pieces – ‘Pfennig’
Volkstadt has adopted a calendar system very similar to the old Ortellium system, which features 360 days in a year, divided among 6 months of 60 days each.
The months are:
A week consists of 6 days.
The current year is 4428.