Shadows of Northmere
Rallas is an independent duchy nestled between the Northmere Sea to the west and the Ridgeback Mountains to the east. Seventeen years ago it belonged to the Kingdom of Astoria, but it has always maintained an independent spirit born of an existence in a rugged and often inhospitable terrain. Rallas consists mostly of mountains, hills, thick forest, and bogs, leaving what little open terrain it has for herding sheep, goats, and cattle. Its people mainly fish, hunt, and herd. Allibar is the capital and the only large city in the realm.
The lands around Rallas were originally settled by Brellish tribes eventually evolving into the famed Kingdom of Brell. Twelve centuries ago, the southern power of Calidar became an empire, conquering Astoria and coming into conflict with Brellin. The Imperials used superior technology, disciplined soldiers, and arcane magic against Brellin’s physically overpowering warriors, cunning rangers, and druids. It took several centuries, but Calidor eventually defeated Brellin and placed its own people in charge of the conquered realm.
With Rallas located between the two ancient realms, it became a mixing pot of the two cultures and developed its own identity. After the fall of the Empire, Astoria rose as a powerful kingdom and captured many lands, including Rallas, which became a duchy. Rallas and Astoria established a unified defense against Domus Khar, an evil land to the north, and later against the Necromancers of Pavik.
Recently, Rallas sought its own independence and warred against Astoria in a bloody revolution. Rallas won its independence, and 17 years of peace has cooled but not eliminated the bitter feelings between the two realms. Recent aggression from Pavik has forced Rallas to accept Astoria’s help in defending its northern border, causing tension amongst those old enough to remember the conflicts of 17 years ago.
Terrain and Climate
Half of Rallas is nestled against the Ridgeback Mountains, with the rest along the eastern coast of the INorthmere. Its northern borders are rugged and protected by a collection of fortresses, earthworks, and walls called the Palisades. To the south, the Ridgebacks converge further into Rallas forming a natural boundary with Astoria and Vyshan.
In the western lowlands, there are frequent fishing villages intermixed with bogs and marshes. In the eastern highlands, the population is more sparse, mainly subsisting of villages of shepherds, woodsmen, and trappers. In the center of the duchy is the Deepwood, an ancient, dark forest that fuels superstitions and tales of ancient Brellish crypts and elven curses.
Rallas has rainy springs, moderate summers, and cold winters, with winds coming from the Mistshroud Peaks that can cut through the thickest of wool cloaks. The coastal lands see frequent fog.
Most practice the Brellish beliefs of druidism, but the region was aggressively converted to the Pantheon by missionaries from Astoria. The old ways are more prevalent in rural areas, but large temples of the Pantheon can be found in urban areas, primarily in Strathaven. An exception is the capital of Allibar, in which the current duke has prohibited the presence of Astorian temples. Rallas is also a land of remembrance in which the deeds of their ancestors in past battles are passed along in song and story by traveling bards.
Rallas is prized for its powerful and courageous footmen. In a land too rugged for horse troops, infantry have been a mainstay for defense and even took the front lines in past wars against Domus Khar and Pavik. Rallas also has a crafty, powerful order called the Oathguard, who swear to permanent service to the Duke and often use greatswords or greataxes and wear heavy armor. Infantry from Rallas are some of the only non-Bron footmen who use two-handed weapons, which match well with their powerful frames.
Rallas also has a crafty order of rangers called the Chosen, vigilantes who paint their faces and bodies with ash or woad-based paint. As expert skirmishers, they can augment Rallas’ defenders as a mobile force that uses ranged or melee weapons as needed, often using spears, javelins, shortbows, and blades. They serve as bounty hunters and more recently have scouted the northern border with Pavik, becoming experts in facing undead.