A Traveler’s Guide to the Archduchy of Renatus

The Archduchy of Renatus (formerly known by the bulky moniker of Maelonbourg and the Wenigzustand) is quite new, and while it incorporates portions of the “little states” in central Partum that have existed for centuries the look and feel of these areas is altogether different. The areas that were previously controlled by independent rulers or merely lands rampant with leaderless anarchy are Maelonbourg, Oublier, Limbourg, Riesenwald, Escaut, Condamner, Chute de l’Ombre, Forêt Verte, and Vlaanderen. Together these previously independent entities comprise the Archduchy, with each of the states now operating as duchies with a central overall leader, Archduke Alexander Kovak. The primary language of the archduchy is Fanolanian, but a good number of people that have settled there also know Geldenspeak, and a few might be fluent in even more exotic languages.

One of the main things that the Archduchy of Renatus has had going for it from day one is that there are virtually unlimited opportunities for people seeking employment or to start business enterprises. Freemen from all across Fanolania have begun trickling in and taking up work as farmers, craftsmen, and laborers due to the close relationship between the two nations. Trade has become a boon to the economy as the archduchy sits in the middle of the route be which wine is imported between Weintäler to Fanolania. All goods being hauled into and out of Chute de l’Ombre when it was still independent had to pass through the archduchy as well due to an agreement that Marquis Devious Maximus had with Archduke Kovak that helped build the economy of Renatus. This included the nascent commercial traffic between the Underdark realms and the surface world as accessed by the tunnels beneath the Burrows in Chute de l’Ombre.

Maelonbourg is the original duchy of the realm and is governed by Duchess Shar Seraphina Thorngage. Maelonbourg is further divided into three baronies: Normand, Serenity, and Westland. It is also the site of the town of Resurrection, the capital of the archduchy. It is here that most of the so-called Troublemakers make their headquarters and launch their various schemes and activities. There is a settlement of xvarts that live in the barony of Normand which is also home to the mining and smelting town of Fer de Grenat. The barony of Westland is where one can find the growing farming town of Imprévu. Rogues in Maelonbourg should be warned that the entire duchy is under the control of a single thieving clan of sorts that is run by the duchess herself. Rumors abound that an even more sinister organization exists here as well to make sure that the peace is kept.

Oublier is the duchy just north of Maelonbourg and is governed from the city of Bozageest by the Archduke’s adopted sister, Duchess Drndyllyn the Wyld. As a famed half-orcish barbarian adventurer in her own right Drndyllyn was the perfect choice to unite the remaining goblinoids in the area with the incoming humans and demihumans. Unfortunately, Oublier has a hostile neighbor to the east, the realm of Lotharingia. While naturally warlike in their own right the people of Oublier are working to secure their borders while redeveloping their agricultural base. Oublier is divided into the county of Boghills and the baronies of Bleakland, Duskstone, Saltmeadow, and Tanglepond. Of these only Tanglepond has a settlement of note, the village of Midway Meadows.

Riesenwald is the smallest portion of the archduchy and also the wildest. Inhabited by faerie folk and benign giants Riesenwald has no real form of local governance or settlements of any real size. It does however contain an abundance of wildlife and natural beauty and serves as the base of operations for the archdruid responsible for central Partum. It is governed (in the loosest of possible terms) by a silver dragon named Ella who has been given the title of Countess of Riesenwald. There are a number of griffins that nest in Riesenwald, as well as a gold dragon named Syren Mirabelle who has married the gold dragon who serves as a baron in Limbourg. For being such a small area there seems to be an awful lot going on just under the surface here.

Limbourg is the duchy just north of Oublier and is governed from the partially ruined and rebuilding city of Käsestadt by Duke Belkin Mas’Grawr, a dark elf who was one of the first of his kind to accept sundered life among the surface folk. Many dark elves have begun to settle in Limbourg now, having been attracted to the area by the lush dark forests and lack of overbearing rulership from the Archduke. Limbourg is divided into two baronies, Cottage Meadow and Lighton. Cottage Meadow is the base of operations for a gold dragon, Baron Burkhart Klaproth, and Lighton has become a dark elven haven overseen by a priestly drider named Baron Chaverin. Drow elves have built a town here along the river border with Lotharingia that they call Sunders Hollow. Limbourg has a problem similar to that of Oublier in that it has a hostile neighbor: Lotharingia in the east. It also has a dangerous denizen in the far northeast that calls himself Kardigazz Drak. There is a tenuous arrangement between Drak and the Archduke that allows the mysterious warlord to live in peace without being troubled by any outside interference. There are persistent rumors that in the dark and wild forests of Limbourg there also can be found the treacherous and profoundly deadly jabberwocky. This is the only one of its kind known to exist on mainland Partum and thus far has proven difficult to find and when it is found it is best to flee in panic with great haste.

Escaut joined the Archduchy voluntarily when the ruler of this land, Count Emile of Gravensteen, swore allegiance to Archduke Kovak following the defeat of the Lotharingians at the Second Battle of Käsestadt. While this was seen as a tremendous diplomatic victory for the Archduke, it was short lived. Almost immediately after the Archduke and his cohorts left Escaut following the ceremony that redubbed the lord as Duke Emile of Gravensteen the Viceroy swept in and laid waste to the city of Gravensteen, the capital of the duchy. An insidious plague was cursed upon the land and while several thousand managed to flee the effects there were many more that fell ill, languished for days, and then perished only to be animated as ghoulish undead. The blight lasted for nine long months before the Archduke and his forces were able to return and begin cleaning up the mess. For almost everyone in Escaut it was far too late. While technically still a part of the Archduchy, it is a blighted landscape of abandoned towns and lifelessness where few dare to tread.

Condamner was absorbed into the Archduchy informally as it is governed by Archduke Kovak’s “First Knight” and Marshal of his military forces, Baron Tubicus Aurelius of Bleakland in Limbourg. Ruling now as the Duke of Condamner, Lord Aurelius is overseeing the transition of daily life from the tyranny of the now vanquished “Le Duc” to a more righteous existence under the somewhat impatient guidance of a paladin. Although a majority of the nobles from the old regime held their posts after their revolution against Le Duc, there were still some vacancies to be filled by the new duke. Condamner will have a long way to go to shake off its past reputation but it is doing so at a remarkable pace. While still not officially under the authority of the Archduke, it will likely be rendered as such in the not-too distant future.

Chute de l’Ombre is a tangled forested mess of a place just west of the Duchy of Maelonbourg. Although a part of the Archduchy it is essentially autonomous in internal matters and continues to be governed by Marquis Devious Maximus. The native population is gnomish, centered in Castle Cambion where the marquis lives, the city of La Roche which boasts the most concentrated population of gnomes in Partum, and the bustling settlement of The Barrows which serves as a trade route to the Underdark.

The sprawling forests of Forêt Verte was once ruled by the powerful and terrifying green dragon named Druuna. This great monster was made even more horrific by her transformation into a dracolich by the Viceroy. Her reign was ended shortly after the capture of the Viceroy, though, and the Archduchy moved in and claimed ownership of this mostly undisturbed forested region. There are no settlements here as of yet, but this will be addressed by the new administrator, a Torkan druid named Esma who is now a Duchess. Travel through Forêt Verte is now quite safe, though, and this has increased the ability of goods and people to be transported to the heart of the Archduchy from Fanolania.

Still technically a kingdom the small state of Vlaanderen joined the Archduchy when King Carl the Squat married Lady Vika, one of Archduchess Lersha’s ladies-in-waiting. This has shifted the bulk of Vlaanderen’s foreign concerns to being Archduke Kovak’s headache while Vlaanderen enjoys many of the perks of pseudo-independence. This will for the foreseeable future solve any problems with food supply that the Archduchy might need to deal with. With one large city and a number of good-sized towns and villages the Archduchy now has a lot more halflings than it ever did before. And that means good food and plenty of it.