With the 108th Map of the Week we take our first look at the Slovanian River County.
Arnošt, count of the River County, is the most corrupt of the Slovanian nobles. His county, in the southwest corner of Slovania, is more or less a medieval Mafia domain. His subjects don't mind much. Most of them live in the great central valley of the county, which is one of the main Slovanian breadbaskets and, therfore, prosperous.
The count did not gain his wealth by bleeding those he rules. On the contrary, other than for the collection of normal Slovanian taxes and tithes, which are anything but oppressive, he lets the folk alone, as long as they do the same with respect to his operations.
Pure luck made Arnošt prosperous. Clever conniving made him rich. He first was raised to nobilty as the baron of North Junction, which allowed him to occupy the baronial castle there. Almost by accident, Arnošt found a secret passage in the castle that led to the ancient but well-endowed treasury of a fallen and corrupt Ćsir baron who had gone over to the Darkness. In that treasury, Arnošt found some 2,000,000 GP worth of Ćsir coins.
The count is the mastermind of the illegal smuggling operations into the North Kingdom. With the profits from his equally illegal mines in the lower Midworld Mountains of Auđarhome, Arnošt continues to keep his Ćsir treasure secret and hidden. Old Ćsir coins are common in Slovania, but they are nowhere as frequent as in North Junction and Mine Docks. The reason, of course, is the expenditure of Ćsir coin by the count. North Junction is Arnošt's seat of government, but Mine Docks is the center of his illicit business operations, followed by South Docks – based upon the old Ćsir Empire name - in the north. In both river settlements, Arnošt hires corrupt warriors to serve as his border watch.
With the cover of night, the illegal caravans cross the Fjörm River Bridge at Mine Docks with the aid of the corrupt border patrol. The caravans travel along secret trails in the foothills of the Midworld Mountains just we or the outer settlements of Windland in the south. From the Greenhouse ruins, they travel northward, bringing contraband to and from the vampire-ruled North Kingdom and the Dreadlands of the dark draug Duke ţráinn. From Mine Docks, caravans from Windland bring goods and contraband into Windland and transport merchandise northward from that kingdom. The business has proven lucrative for Count Arnošt.
Despite all of this corruption, life in the River County is relatively safe and unthreatening. One could argue that only Grainland County is more secure. Both counties can be considered to be "monster free." The orcs, ogres and draugs that sometimes cross into the Border March and Royal County are unknown in the River or Grainland counties. The only people who are likely to get in trouble in the Fjörm Valley are those who are too curious or who talk too much. The valley is the heartland of Count Arnošt's illegal operations. His so-called palace guard does an efficient job of arranging the fatal disappearance of those who are too nosy or who have big mouths.
Both the revised Royal Charter and the Royal Book of Laws forbid the Slovanians from taking any lands that are outside of the kingdom's borders. Despite that, Arnošt built a bridge across the Fjörm several years ago and then marched into the stone giant nation of Auđarhome, where he claimed several still workable copper, tin and lignite mines that had been abandoned by the giants. The Slovanians are uncertain why the Auđar have not reacted to this illegal annexation of their land. It is known that the stone giants have withdrawn deeper into the Midworld Mountains. It may be that the giants have not noticed yet. Ordinarily, Arnošt's incursion into Auđarhome would have drawn the king, the margrave and the other counts into taking joint action against him. However, illegal as this annexation might be, they all suport it, at least quietly.
That support is a matter of needed resources. There are no valuable deposits of copper, tin or lignite in Slovania. Until Arnošt's incursion into the giants' mountains, the Slovanians had to pay high prices to import these commodities into the kingdom from Windland. As mentioned, Arnošt is no fool. He makes no power plays elsewhere in the kingdom with his gains from the giants' lands. The count sells copper, tin and lignite at reasonable prices to all parts of the kingdom, and the bronze produced by the foundry in Mine Docks is sold throughout his own county and the southern part of Grainland County. The rest of the kingdom buys bronze from the foundry in Newhouse, which also smelts the copper and tin from Arnošt's Auđarhome mines.
East of the Fjörm Valley, River County is a different land. Between the Fjörm and Storming Rivers one finds Slovania's richest farm lands and densest rural population. In this broad agricultural belt, Arnošt and his barons earn a substantial income from tithing and taxes. However, the count has no interest in facing the discontent of a dissatisfied folk. His taxes and tithes are fair and at the Slovanian standard. He also has made clear that his barons are to tax fairly and see to it that the people of the breadbasket region remain content, productive and supportive of their nobility.
There are no big cities in the county. Industrial Mine Docks is the largest municipality, with a population of about 2,000, making it at best a large town. South Docks, North Junction and South Junction all have populations of less than 1,000, putting them in the league of villages or small towns. All of the numerous other farming and Fjörm River settlements have populations of less than 200, ranking as hamlets or encampments. The people of the river settlements earn their living fishing, growing grain and raising milk cows and slaughter cattle.
You can get the map in two versions:
1. The Fractal Mapper (TM) 8 version in FMP format, fully editable, from our Jörđgarđ web page (11 MB).
2. As a JPG flat map of 3000 Pixels x 2440 Pixels (2.4 MB), available with the hyperlink below.
Both versions are released for personal and commercial use under the Open Game License Version 1.0a, which you can read on the Jörđgarđ website at:
The Jörđgarđ World
Next week: North Junction