One night, of thunder storms and earthquakes, about ten years ago, three unexpected events took place that threw the whole of Brevoy into turmoil - and the effects are still being felt today.
1) Urzen Rogarvia (King of All Brevoy) and all of his blood relations, no matter how distant, just suddenly disappeared over night. One night they were there, next morning they weren't. Anyone who could trace their heritage back to Choral the Conqueror (even babies and children) just disappeared overnight. There have been a couple of claimants, who were disproved etc - but basically, the whole of the Royal Family disappeared mysteriously over night.
2) The Golka Clan of Dwarfs who formed a partnership with The Garress family just disappeared. Their underground strong hold disappeared from view amid a night of thunderstorms and earthquakes - and has not been seen since. There have been expeditions etc … But there is no sign of the Golka or even their stronghold. It is like they never existed.
3) Sky Watch, a city built around an ancient and arcane tower in the north east of the country, has sealed itself off with powerful magics. No living creature can enter it and none has been known to leave.
None of the Mages, Clerics or other wise folk have been able to resolve any of those issues - even though they tried. They haven't even worked out if the three are linked, or how. The effect has been to throw the whole of the country into turmoil. Surtova tried to move into the power vacuum but doesn't really have the strength and power to fully seize control. And no one else has enough power or influence to send him packing. The country hasn't resolved the issue over ten years. Surtova claims to be King. At least one house (Orlovski) only recognise him as Regent. New Stetven, the capital, hasn't gelled under him. Everything sort of staggers along, and the nobles plot.
Even the colonial ventures (such as Drelev, Middlemarch and Varnhold) are probably just a part of those machinations.
This table ranks SOME of the nobles, or their houses, that are influential across Brevoy. It does not list every Noble or Aristocrat in Brevoy, but I think it includes all the families and people that I have used as examples - as well as a few that aren't. Below 10 influence points and you probably won't be recognised as 'properly aristocratic' in influential circles. This is also a snap-shot, taken fairly soon after Midmarch and the other colonies were founded - don't be surprised if it isn't completely accurate :)
Descendants of Choral the Conqueror and his hostage wife Myrna Rogarvia (Nee Surtova), they held the throne of Brevoy for 200 years. Their influence spread (Violence for those who opposed them, titles and rewards for those who supported them) until they controlled New Stetven, its surrounds, and the North Eastern Rostland plains. Until King Urzen Rogarvia and all of his blood relatives disappeared about ten years ago.
There was a hiatus for a while, and then Noleski Surtova moved to claim the throne for himself, first as regent and then as King. However, he did not have the financial or military strength to impose his will on the capital, and the networks that King Urzen had controlled.
Rogarvian control had been built on minor nobles houses controlled by sons (directly) and daughters (indirectly) of the blood – and when these blood nobles disappeared the network started to fall apart. In many cases husbands of Rogarvian wives assumed control and started to build their own alliances. But many wives of Rogarvian husbands lost their property and position, as rents and taxes fell due and there was no family machinery to support them. Many property and businesses reverted to their original owners, and fell out of the 'network' all together.
House Rogarvia had controlled the Rostland plains – They married into some families and made sure that they made sure that all the Viscounts and Governors were members of the family. On that fateful night, most of those senior officers disappeared overnight – leaving the region in Chaos. In some places one lordling or another took control of their small area, and while some of these new leaders claimed Rogarvian connections, others had never been strong supporters of the Rogarvia.
Surtova has never had the resources to keep control of Port Ice, make a play for New Steven and control Rostland. Now the area is splintered with little real leadership or direction.
Originally pirates and Traders from the far side of the Lake of Mists and Veils – originally Port Ice was just a safe port for them on the west side of the lake – a place to over winter, take loot and rest up before trade and pirate trips down the Sellen. Originally the ruling family were worshippers of Gorum, although as they ventured down the Sellen elements of Hanspur worship crept in. They were already powerful, but under Chorale their recklessness was tempered by the wisdom of Abadar - and they became the most powerful house in Brevoy. Intent on defending themselves both at sea and on land, the Surtova train both heavy-blade and light-blade warriors.
Well-ordered, strong and powerful - they are prepared to fight for what is theirs, what they think is theirs and what they think ought to be theirs. This has long lead to tensions with the Lodkova who share their cold watery domain, and the Orlovski’s, their inland neighbours. Their younger and less powerful members still raid and harass Lodkova on the water and Orlovski inland.
The Surtova stronghold of Port Ice and its surrounding area are very strong and secure, while their ships control the Western end of the Lake of Mists and veils - and this ,aintained by the King's Uncle, the Count of Port Ice. The Surtova also have a respectable presence in the capital, New Stetven - Noleski Surtova has claimed the throne and Ruby Fortress (The Palace) and taken over the City's administration. While they are not strong enough to dominate the capital in the same way as the old king and his family, the Surtova are still the most powerful house in Brevoy - by quite a long way.
As a family, they have something like 425 Influence points.
One of the main merchant / noble houses in Brevoy, they are considered to be the Brevic noble family that epitomizes Rostland; they have a significant amount of Taldan blood, an appreciation for fine things, and a love of sword fighting. There are Rondello and Light Blade duelling schools in their stronghold of Silverhall, while it is seen as desirable for aristocrats to know Rondello, most of their combatants are taught light blade skills suitable for use on their trade fleet.
While they control a lot of land, the Lebeda are primarily a Merchant House with a fleet of trade vessel that work around Lake Reykal, along the East Sellen River, through Lake Hookentongue, to Mivon and beyond. So much so that they have taken Abadar as their primary patron deity.
The Lebeda have a strong presence in New Stetven, and control a lot of the water bound trade that the city depends on. Overall, they are one of the richest and most influential of the noble families, second only to the Surtova. They have 200 Influence Points.
Located between the Gronzi Forest and the Icerime mountains - the Medveyd are a bit of an anomaly for the Issian noble families. They are more interested in the land and tradition rather than in fighting, skirmishing or making money. Their people are farmers, hunters, trappers and woodsmen – good solid stay at home folk with with simple tastes and few pretentions. Their patron deity is Erastil, and their warriors tend to be archers or axe-men.
They are well distributed - while Lord Gurev rules the family from Stone Climb, most of the family is live in small villages and lordships spread across their lands. Tower Houses are common by the mountains and fortified manors close to the forest.
While they trade for metals, weapons and some materials, they are pretty much self-sufficient in respect of food, basic clothing, building materials etc. Which all means, although they are one of the mid-strength houses, they are able to stay above much of the trade based politics of the other noble houses. They have about 190 Influence points.
Lodkova – A Fishing and Merchant house based high up in the Lake of Mists and Veils. They came originally from just the other side of Claw Point, the families that make up the Lodkova clan are primarily fishermen – who aren’t above a bit of Free Trade or piracy. Their current base of Winterbreak eventually became bigger and more important than the holdings on the Iobarian side of Claw Point – although many people still have family who live over that way.
Unlike some of the other houses, Lodkova rose to prominence through their leadership skills and the desire for a common purpose (and a common defence against the Surtova) among the local fishing, pirating and trading houses in the region. Like most of the other ‘Issian’ houses, the Lodkova revere both Gorum and Abadar, which helps maintain the tradition of skirmishing & raiding (particularly with the Surtova across the Lake) whilst helping them to maintain the fishing and trading concerns around their islands. They prefer light combat styles that are suitable for shipboard fighting.
One of the mid-strength Great Houses they maintain fairly good relations with both House Orlovsky and House Medvyed who are trading partners to the south. While their island base is secure, and their ships agile – they only have a limited presence in New Stetven, the capital. They have about 175 Influence points.
Originally ‘settlers’ from the city of Orlov, the traditional capital of Iobaria. Once here, they feuded and scrapped in a friendly way, amongst themselves, as they oppressed the local population. Then when Choral the Conqueror came, they banded together and sorted themselves out. They tend to consider themselves to be a bit more sophisticated than their neighbours and (to some extent) above politics. They try and keep themselves to themselves – although they defend their borders against Surtova hotheads assiduously.
They were also great supporters of the Rogarvia, after all without Choral, they would still be small nothing more than warring groups, and have (so far) refused to accept Noleski Surtova as king. To them he is acting as regent on behalf of the true Rogarvian king. Like most of the other Northern Houses they balance worship of Gorum and battle with worship of Abadar and trade. Because of the mountainous terrain of their home territory, they tend to favour skirmishers rather than other types of combatant - although there is a tradition of training most of their nobles in some elements fencing and pretty sword play.
Their mountain stronghold is no great source of wealth and they have a limited access to trade routes - a small river to the Lake of Mist and Veils in an area controlled by the Lodkova and a long overland route to Lake Reykal. They have a limited presence in New Stetven and about 165 Influence points.
House Garess had become organised before the advent of Choral the Conqueror - their burgeoning relationship with the Golka clan had shown them the value of mutual protection and working together – before it became clear to the other houses. Originally worshippers of Gorum, first Torag and then Abadar crept into the mix. They still value those who can fight to defend themselves or their interests, but they were one of the least aggressive of the houses. Their military strengths are based on heavy armour and the heavy-blade fighting techniques that work so well in defence.
Since the Golka Clan were lost, House Garess have struggled. They still have access to some minor supplies of ore, but their main source of income was lost at a stroke. Since then Garess have been on the lookout for new sources of metals and ores.
House Garess have become inward looking – more concerned with themselves and the missing Golka Clan that with outsiders. A lot of their income was lost along with the Golks and while they are still strong on home territory, their influence has waned significantly, and now they are one of the weaker houses. They have about 160 Influence points.
The Rostland Aldori are, perhaps, the original group of the Aldori ‘Super Family’, led by the indomitable Lady Jamandi Aldori. A true descendent of the original ruler and the First Sword Lord she has started to use the title of baron again. These are the Aldori who stayed in place after their conquest by Choral the Conqueror, but did not really accept his rule. They are based in the eastern most parts of Rostland and the city of Restov.
They control a small area of land close to the border between Brevoy and Iobaria (which they have settled recently), it is well away from the political centre. They have other holdings in the city of Restov. Like many other members of the ‘Super Family’ they are renowned Duellists, Fighters and Mercenaries. Unlike many other Noble families, each new generation has to be adopted into the family afresh. Very few don’t ask to be adopted, and very few are rejected. – but they are continually refreshed by people loyal to the cause of the Aldori.
With secondary titles and interests Lady Jamandi has about 80 Influence points.
The Khavortorov family are a hot-tempered family that has produced knights for many generations and are a branch of the Aldori ‘super family’. They accepted Rogarvian rule, prospered by providing paid military support to the Rogarvian kings, and were awarded a barony for their services. They are based in New Stetven and their barony to the east of the city.
Their wealth and influence comes from a top quality, Aldori Style, sword school in New Stetven and a set of mercenary barracks. Baron Khavortorov rules the family from a small castle in his barony. Like many other members of the ‘Super Family’ they are renowned Duellists, Fighters and Mercenaries. They have a good working relationship with House Ventus and 60 Influence points.
Lady Carmela Rogarvia-Green, Viscount Skywatch controls the area around Skywatch. The city itself might be sealed, but in the surrounding countryside life goes on. The Lady Carmela was married to the Rogarvian Viscount who marshalled the troops that kept the Skywatch countryside in order. When the Viscount ‘disappeared’ one of his officers tried to take command - however, Lady Carmela used her house troops to put down that rebellion. Others rallied to her cause, and (with their help) she took control of the region and claimed the role of Viscount for herself, although she states publicly, that she is holding the title in lieu of her ex-husband and will answer to the Count when Skywatch is reopened. She is a formidable diplomat, who employs good commanders and loyal soldiers.
Carmela has married again (one of her local lords) and rules the local countryside as its Lord. She commands a sizeable army and has a number of minor lords and lordlings who support her. She makes the old patriarchal lords uncomfortable - particularly as she has declared her six year old son to be her heir. She is a formidable diplomat, and her new husband is a good soldier and they have 60 Influence points.
New Stetven - Capital of Brevoy
The population of this northern metropolis is impressive - large enough that if they should ever find their voice you would want to listen. Fortunately, they generally settle for grumbling loudly about problems, rather than facing them head on. However, the New Stetven City Watch and Militia could be a political significant force – if their commander (Captain Flamane) thought it was in his interests.
House Rogarvia controlled New Steven by controlling the city's administration. Tax collectors, weights and measures, licencing officials, court officials (all sorts of posts) were staffedby low ranking Rogarvia and their supporters, and all of the senior post-holders had Rogarvian blood ties. This allowed them to keep a tight grip on the city and its finances. When those leaders disappeared along with the rest of the Rogarvia, the system coped because people promoted themselves and moved up the chain - but it broke the one-family monopoly and domination of the system. There are still some Rogarvian spouses and supporters active in the administration, but they ten to keep a low profile. Others lost their income, some lost their home and some lost everything. With no strong force or guiding principles to hold them together these Rogarvian Survivors have splintered into small factions and have little real political influence any more. Lady Gray, described below, is a good example.
They consist of new money families, refugees from abroad and old families that didn’t make it big - all sorts. Many own enough land, property or businesses in, or around, New Stetven to keep a large manor house or a small estate – and there are enough of them that, when they band together, they have a voice. Some Examples include …
South of New Stetven the banks (on both sides) of the East Sellen river is dotted with villages, farms and fishing hamlets. Piers allow boats and small ships to stop and load (or unload) cargo – and they carry Fish, Grain, Raw Linen and Hemp up the river to New Stetven. These settlements run right down to the Brevoy Borders – and their residents are a tough and fierce lot. The lordlings of these villages (mainly Master of …) are descended from the leaders of Choral’s original horde – and while they were loyal to the Rogarvia - they are less loyal to the Surtova and are somewhat unpredictable. Note
Telgar Gurov Leads the South Steven Farmers. He was never much of a farmer (he leaves that to the rest of clan) and is seen by many as a throwback to his ancestors. Telgar is somewhat of an Intimidating leader - but it seems to work well enough among his rough and ready people. Telgar Gurov has 19 Influence points.
The Free City of Restov
Restov is an independent city, with its own City Guard and Militia - but it also has a leader in the shape of its Lord Mayor. Restov is the place to go if you want to learn sophisticated swords play, with more duelling schools that any other city in Brevoy (including New Stetven) and its Guard and Militia are amongst the best trained troops in the region. It is surrounded by small independent lordlings and and estates that look to the city for leadership. It is also where you find most of the hot-heads and rebels. It needs a good strong Lord Mayor to keep the city in check – but still get some political leverage in the rest of the nation. While all of the major Noble Houses, and many of the minor interests, have a representative here - The Rostland Aldori are the most influential. Some examples include …
Recently there has been a push to colonise the areas south of Brevoy. Four charters were issued - to: Baron Drelev, Henry leMaistre, Maegar Varn and The Iron Wraiths. Unfortunately, The Iron Wraiths have not been heard of recently …
Midmarch is the main game setting and you find details of the most influential people here.
Henry leMaistre is the Governor of Midmarch.
Varn of Varnhold - Maegar Varn is a minor noble tasked by Restov to deal with the Nomen centaurs. His reward will be dominion over the town he builds. It hasn’t been going as well as it could.
Maegar Varn has 24 Influence Points.
There are a number of other aristocrats that wield some influence. These include …