Continental Excursions: The Forkanzan City-States

The shattered remains of what was once the seat of the glorious and far flung Third Imperium, the Forkanzan peninsula is home to twenty city-states. These are mostly not single entities but rather collections of smaller communities that are bound together by geography and united noble families. All told there are actually over one hundred cities and major towns that are in a constant squabble over control. Forkanza is where mercenaries go to get rich because none of these city-states are societally inclined to fielding their own people as soldiers.

While one might think that this constant bickering would lead to the entire region being a desolate wasteland of ruins and carnage nothing could be further from the truth. Battles between the city-states generally involve non-violent means of resolution. Typically the rival armies will deploy on some open patch of ground mutually agreed upon and they decide how best to proceed from there. They might flip a coin, have two champions fight and let the winner determine the outcome, or play a game of chess and the loser has to withdraw back to their city. Rarely do these confrontations break into open conflict. When they do, though, it is spectacular to behold. For all of their posturing and preening the mercenaries that work for these city-states are battle-hardened veterans and will wreck their opponents with hardly any thought to their own losses.

One of the complicating factors in the battles between the city-states is the prevalence of undead that are used by some of the rulers. This is especially true in the area controlled by the three families of Gothortus; Vandocci, Andolinni, and Stragesta. Hardly anyone “lives” in this city-state because the families that rule it are themselves undead. An eternal struggle exists between these three noble houses and it spills over into all other city-states in Forkanza. Of the nineteen other city-states every single one has an allegiance to one of these three horrifying patriarchs. This rarely shifts so the city-states are forever locked in the disputes of leaders that have been dead for centuries.

There is only one force that serves to counter-balance this constant chaos and that is the Holy Imperium Church. From time to time the Supreme Pontiff will issue a decree by way of one of the bishops or archbishops to have them step in and stop a fight between two or more of the city-states. However the Supreme Pontiff has never once issued a decree ordering the Vandocci, Andolinni, and Stragesta families to cease their fighting amongst one another. Whether this is a sign of weakness on the part of the role of the Church or it represents something else has yet to be decided by history.

For the time being though life in the city-states continues to forge ahead. Wealthy because of trade and industry despite their relatively small size the city-states the nobles and merchants invest in fine artwork and luxurious homes to put it all in. Whatever they might lack in real estate the rulers of the city-states and their lesser nobles have no lack of gold, silver, and platinum. This makes them prime targets for pirates and bandits who move quickly from one hiding place to another using the innate hatred of the city-states for one another as a way to avoid being brought to justice. Some of these brigands are as a result remarkably well off themselves and may have several hundred of their own soldiers and ships to carry them about.