The Adventures of the Kludge
Avonia is the country on the western border of what was once Caledonia. The border was established as the River Tear, but with the entirety of the border cities (Tear/Riverhaven) belonging to Caledonia.
Officially, it is a single country with a single ruler. However, 30 years ago, during the Formian Wars, the King established 4 districts and assigned each to one of his kin for more direct control during the troubled time.
The region to the northeast is largely wooded, with deep, old forests. The leader of this region is Lady Hannah. It has an imbalanced proportion of women to men, largely due to the protection of their lady liege and the more patriarchal districts bordering it.
The Eastern region is predominantly rich farmland with gentle plains and fertile soil for ample and abundant crops. It is presided over by Prince Jordan. There is a vast disparity of wealth in this region, with the rich generally being incredibly rich, and the poor being utterly destitute. Heritage is held as the most important station, preventing any moving between classes. Slavery is commonplace, and many women and girls are sold by poor families in order to get by. These women are rarely treated well.It is a fierce patriarchial society: Men are superior to women. While women aren’t TECHNICALLY slaves, they aren’t much better. Unwed girls are considered ‘fair game" and there is no concept of ’rape’ here… a man is free to just take women as he likes (assuming she isn’t married to another). Fathers often sell their daughters for livestock/goods, and rarely does a girl make it past 14 without being married off.
The Western region is covered in rocky hills, unsuitable for large scale farming but being of the perfect sort for multiple types of livestock. The region produces an excess of wools and cheeses, as well as various ores and stone from mines in the mountains in the north. It is one of the least hospitable regions and its people tend to be stubbourn as a result. King Stonehand is the ruler, although he holds this position with contempt.
The southern region is a large peninsula that stretches out into the ocean. Due to its ample waterways and positioning that extended it so far into the ocean it has great prosperity in trade. Almost all ships traveling to or from Tear will make stop somewhere along its coast, and the trade from the other regions of Avonia often flows along its rivers as well. The man of authority in this region is Master Marrin. This region is the trading facet for the original country. It has many interlocking highways, many rivers and the docks/seaports to properly use them. Money is the ruling power in this country, and most of the laws focus on protecting people’s wealth and possession. Slaves are permissable/commonplace here, although they are permitted to purchase their freedom and as such tend to be treated more humanely. Nothing is frowned upon if it is an honest (that is, not deceptive) method of earning coin. Pleasure-houses do not carry any negative stigma here as they are considered to be only another sale of service between agreeing parties.
All 4 regions are at odds with each other, although not truly in open warfare, all know border skirmishes and raids are frequent occurances. Although there are no official treaties between them, Lady Hannah and Master Marrin are on more amiable terms, engaging in open trade and avoiding hostile clashes. King Stonehand and Prince Jordan seem to have a non-aggression pact, instead preferring to focus on trying to subjugate the other two areas.
Due to these constant skirmishes each region has established a skilled and niched military best suited for the region it occupies.
Lady Hannah’s wooded region is the perfect environment for vicious sneak attacks. The women often prefer to hide in their tall trees and rapidly fire heavy crossbows into whomever invades their home. There are rumours that they have certain secrets to assist their strategies…
King Stonehand’s military strength comes from the strength of his people. They fight with a mix of thick, heavy longbows, requiring a substantial strength to draw, but allowing for awesome distance and piercing abilities, and heavy two-handed weapons that they swing with reckless abandon.
Prince Jordan’s open, flat plains are most suitable for cavalry. His forces are almost entirely mounted, perhaps because he considers foot-troops to be lesser fighters and drawn only from peasant castes.
Master Marrin, having a greater portion of wealth, and that wealth being in rather localized port/trade regions, has built a large number of formidable fortifications at key points along the various traderoutes. Those towers are manned by skilled ballista teams capable of skewering a man wearing full plate at ranges exceeding 800 feet. Archers and full-plated phalanxes ensure that any closer-approaching assailants continue to suffer severe losses.