The Principality of Innspa
Proper Name: Principality of Innspa, Province of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa
Ruler: His merciful princely Highness, Lord Valeran of House Garasteth
Government: limited by imperial rights and contracts with major nobles, still unstable in the southern province
Capital: Innspa (in name only, de facto Ralsand)
Major Towns: Innspa (pop. 11,500), Jennden (pop. 5,000), Ralsand (pop. 3,000) (due to Ahlissan law, only human population is being counted)
Provinces: City of Innspa, Harp Basin, Western Adri
Resources: Minerals, foodstuff, herbs, wine, mineral water, livestock, glassworks, wood, tourism
Coinage: Nightingale (pp), crown (gp), noble (ep), penny (sp), common (cp)
Population: Estimated 250,000 - Human 89% (OFs), Gnome 4 % (some people believe there are more gnomes in the Flinty Hills, but these are not under the rule of Innspa), Half-Elf 3 %, Elf 2% (sylvan 90%), Orcs and other Humanoids 1 %, Others 1%
Languages: Common, Old Oeridian, Gnome, Elven
Alignments: N, LN*, LE, LG, CG, CN
Religions: Zilchus*, in Innspa at least a shrine of every human God exists (more or less officially). Belief in former state faith Heironeous was on the decline for a few years, but recently there has been a resurgence in the Free City of Innspa. Temples and shrines for major Gods of other races also exist. In the southern province Zilchus, Hextor and the Oeridian agricultural gods attract the most followers.
Note that in the entire Principality, as well as wiihin the entire United Kingdom of Ahlissa, the Church of Hextor is not illegal and is allowed to act openly. However, recent developments have led to the city watch of Innspa and the troops of the Principality being cleared of Hextor believers.
Allies: None (within Ahlissa: the Principality of Rel Deven)
Enemies: Scarlet Brotherhood, Humanoids of Bone March, North Kingdom. Though the Rhenee usually hate Ahlissa, they are often seen travelling the Harp towards the Adri Forest. Due to the near border, tensions between Nyrond and Innspa are high.
The principality consists of two provinces, divided by the Harp-river: Innspa in the north and the Harp Basin to the south.
In addition to the city of Innspa, the northern province consists of the southern fringes of the Flinty Hills and the Western Part of the Adri Forest (i.e. all parts lying west and north of the Harp river). Those regions are only scarcely populated.
The southern Flinty Hill settlements are loyal to their rulers in Innspa, but Innspa's officials are seldom seen in this part of the realm. The northern parts are in a state of anarchy. Humanoids from the Bone March, former allies of Karasin, are now the real rulers of the land, still claimed by Innspa.
Like most people of the Adri, those living in the western parts of this large woodland distrust Ahlissa and the provincial rulers in Innspa. Most of them hope for a revived Prelacy of Almor or if this dream couldn't come true, for Nyrondian leadership. Only a few of them wish for full independence and even less of those people are loyal to Innspa.
The Harp Basin contains the lands bounded by the Adri Forest to the east, the Harp River to the north and west and the Lyre River to the south. These lands were granted to Karasin by Overking Xavener I. when she entered the United Kingdom of Ahlissa. A variety of other influences both open and concealed threaten the stability of this province. While Karasin rules this land by name only, she already controls some 30 miles south of the Harp, excluding the wooden areas of this region. The only settlement in this part of the region is Hillspride, now paying tithe to Karasin.
Inside the Basin, there is no titular ruler; rather, a patchwork of nobles of all Houses as well as the odd wealthy merchant or even commoner hold sway. The cities of Jennden and Ralsand are the hub of economic and political power in the region, using the twin resources of the great road leading north to Innspa and the river itself. While rulership is high along much of the riverbank, as one goes north or east one quickly enters a no-man's land of petty nobles and the odd village with no clear authority.
The southern region enjoys considerable stability, with frequent patrols still encountering the occasional band of undead or even a single fiend from the blasted lands around the ruins of Chathold. The eastern bank of the harp holds a dozen or so small keeps originally built to watch over Almor. The four southernmost keeps are well stocked and aggressively patrol the banks of the Harp, pouncing on these invaders and keeping order over the surrounding countryside.
The scattered farmers and ranchers of the central lands cultivate their fields and herd their cattle much as before, but as one moves north and east the holdings become smaller and smaller, until the landscape is broken only by the odd hamlet or village on the horizon. These are wild lands, largely abandoned during the chaos of years past and still waiting to be reclaimed.
What is making the issue of control more difficult is the lack of any systematic system of fortifications or even roads in the central and eastern portions of the region. Long a sparsely populated farming and cattle region, the few roads are small things, easily blocked, poorly maintained and prone to becoming a morass of mud during wet weather. Only the great road leading north to Innspa can support large traffic, so for now the remaining lands lie outside of direct control. Most of the fortifications east of Jennden were severely damaged or destroyed during the chaos of previous years, and new structures are expensive to build and to maintain.
After the chaos of the Greyhawk Wars and the insanity of Duke Szefferin's rule in Almor, the entire region was awash with deserters, marauders from the Bone March and the occasional fiend or band of undead. Much of the populace had been reduced to near starvation due to the demands of supporting local troops as well as losses due to raids, and people were slowly moving elsewhere. Now the region is slowly recovering, but the remaining warlords and the surviving landowners only slowly responding to the demands from Innspa to swear fealty to Princess Karasin.
Jennden is the central city of the Harp Basin, its great road connecting the lands from Innspa to Ralsand and serving as a hub of river trade down the Harp. With a population of slightly over 5,000 people, the city is currently building eastward along two great boulevards to envelop the land surrounding the castle of Myrak, the Cranden ruler of the city. As funds permit, this is being rushed to relieve the crushing overcrowding citizens currently endure. The city has now largely dealt with the disease problems of years past, which included in some instances burning several tracts of houses to the ground and rebuilding.
It should be noted that Jennden is a city of virtual lawlessness, where one owns something if he can defend it from others. For years, the city has lived in a state of virtual anarchy, where lawless men ran rampant and took what they could. A powerful thieves' guild has crushed all opposition in its quarter, and wields great power in the city. Many merchants have paid a small tithe to ensure their customers are not accosted, nor their shops looted. Even now, few of good alignments stay for long. Visitors and natives alike are targets for robbery and assault in Thieves' and Slum quarters; local criminals know that if visitors or select local individuals are murdered the lord of the city will intervene, but the common man or shopkeeper sleeps light and often keeps a cudgel close to hand. Despite this, some merchants head south from Innspa under the protection of both Karasin and the city ruler, and do their business here.
The city has a fair river port, which in recent years has enjoyed ongoing construction both in expansion of facilities as well as the addition of a stout wall and guard posts to discourage thievery. Privately owned by a merchant group, in time they hope to deal in goods from Nyrond, the Flinty Hills and the Adri Forest. While the waters of the Harp and Flessern rivers are dangerous to travel now, as times improve they will be able to provide rapid and inexpensive transport for a variety of goods to their facility, can then be transported downstream to Ralsand for the Ahlissan market, or kept for local sale.
Ralsand is a town of nearly 3,000 people that has served as a vital reserve garrison in the region for over a century; its 250-strong troop of blue-liveried light cavalry is famed for speed and horsemanship throughout the region. Today their distinctive uniform also bears the sigil of House Garasteth, but their commitment to the defense of the town and surrounding lands remains as true as it ever was. The town is directly ruled by Valeran of the House of Garasteth, and his troops aggressively patrol the land. Watchful of still-dangerous bands of undead or fiendish horrors from Chathold or even the odd band of humanoids to the north, cavalry troops move here and there on the horizon, safeguarding the inhabitants of the more remote settlements. Ralsand once held a chapter house of the Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom, led by Sir Pellidon of Ralsand. This was disbanded in the chaos of the Greyhawk Wars.
The city of Ralsand is the logical gateway for Ahlissan goods heading north to Innspa or west to Nyrond, and much of the coin merchants spend to move or purchase goods in the Harp Basin is spent here. A large glassworks is busily producing fine goods for Ahlissan consumption, with additional facilities in construction elsewhere. Paper of the highest quality is a major product here, floated downstream from the Lyre river perhaps a day downstream of Tarrentch. Finally, iron ingots flow from here into Ahlissa and occasionally northward to Innspa or Jennden. Ahlissa is poor in metals, and the iron is of high quality. Consequently, the inhabitants of Ralsand are well off; the pockets of craftsmen jingle with silver, and even the common laborer can afford a tankard of ale for a friend.
Because of its location, Ralsand usually sports a fair number of Darmen merchants who ply their wares and can be found in all quarters of the city. Typically accompanied by a few porters or a guard, they are considerably more courteous and pleasant than typical Darmen nobles.
Innspa was found around CY 200 by Gnomes and Dwarves exploiting ores and minerals of the Flinty Hills. At the end of the third century, it was given to House Garasteth as a fief by Overking Edron. Thirty years later an eccentric wizard obsessed with personal hygiene built the first public bath and the gnomes finished work on the first aqueduct, intended to bring fresh water from the Flinty Hills. After Nyrond split from the Great Kingdom in CY 356, Innspa became part of this newly formed kingdom. In CY 391 the famous Lich-King Azal'Lan of Knurl occupied Innspa for short time. It is reported that he went to the Adri shortly after this occupation, never to be seen again in any mortal land… His empire crumbled and Innspa became an independent state. Almost 15 years later, there was such a great danger of the North Province invading and conquering Innspa that the city's council decided to form an alliance with the semi-independent Prelacy of Almor. From this time on, every lord mayor would swear allegiance to the reigning prelate in Chathold, until in CY 580 Prince Corazell of House Garasteth again declared Innspa's independence. At that time, Almor was in a rather weak position, so all prelate Anarkin could do was to grumble and let Innspa go…
During the Greyhawk Wars, this independence was vital to the ongoing existence of Innspa. All participating parties ignored the city and so the war in Innspa was a rather peaceful one. But it took one victim: Prince Corazell himself. His widow Karasin declared him a hero of war, despite the fact that he had died of a brain haemorrhage caused by large quantities of brandy. She further claimed the right to rule Innspa 'in a form of royal trust in his memory.' After the war, Innspa stood upright in a region that was almost totally destroyed. And thus even Innspa began to suffer: overcrowded by refugees from former Almor, Nyrond and the Harp Basin, cut off from almost all trade and surrounded by enemies, especially Duke Szeffrin in the south and humanoids from the Bone March in the north. After Nyrond's invasion of former Almor in CY 586, tensions between Nyrond and Innspa grew enormously. In fact they were growing to such an extent that Karasin in CY 590 finally answered Overking Xavener I.'s call for an Union with Ahlissa: she declared Innspa a part of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa during Growfest CY 590. Now she is acknowledged as Princess of Innspa and has gained the Harp Basin for the new Principality of Innspa. And although the Lords of Jennden and Ralsand (and the surrounding regions) haven't paid their tithes for more than three years now, she is slowly extending her influence further south.
Since CY 591, dragon statuettes recovered from temples in the Forest have been getting into Innspa - only to disappear mysteriously. Some blame this on the reclusive mage, Olafsdottir, while others claim knowledge of a mysterious organization working in secret. And an ancient, elusive tome tells of even more temples, closer to the heart of the Adri... Recently, intrepid explorers into the mystery of the reappearing Isles of Woe have unearthed an ancient text by the Oeridian explorer Mandevilus, which gives a more thorough account of these temples.
Innspa's joining of the United Kingdom of Ahlissa was proudly celebrated with a whole year of festivities. However, not all is bliss behind the scenes, and there is talk of insurrection in various places. The foresters in Innspa's portion of the Adri have never really yielded to Karasin's rule, and there are rumors of an order of holy liberators having set their sights on the regime in Innspa. And there is also the Scarlet Brotherhood, obviously up to no good...
While the nobles who rule the Adri Forest and Innspa make public displays of courtesy and even friendship, their plots run deep. Princess Karasin of Innspa would dearly love to move south, securing control of the road leading down the Harp into Ahlissa. Once the land were under her control, she reasons, she could plot on turning her attention to other parts of the Adri. Prince Molil of the Adri Marchland cares nothing for this province, but guesses a lot of her true plans. Besides, the current battles around Edgefield require his full attention, and he has neither the time nor the inclination to move against her unless threatened.
Prince Valeran covertly seeks to acquire influence in the north, secretly hoping to one day crush Karasin of Innspa. From the southern parts of the Harp Basin, small but well-built roads are slowly growing. By making it easier for goods to flow from the countryside into Ralsand and the goods of the city to return, he seeks to expand his influence by gaining economic power. With his control of the road leading into Ahlissa and his apparent influence with prominent merchants, his words carry considerable weight with Myrak of Jennden. As these two men are the true rulers of the southern lands, Valeran is confident that his holdings will continue to grow in size and power, controlling the lands to the forest edge.
The guilds of the Ahlissan main lands also seek to expand into this region. Long dominating the Darmen lands and seeking to extend their influence elsewhere, several attempts have been made to establish a presence in Jennden and Ralsand. The nobles of these cities have resisted, combining their efforts against the fear of eventual economic domination at the hands of Darmen. While unsuccessful so far, the desire for access to or control of the river system ensures that this hidden conflict continues.