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Bissel

Page history last edited by John 12 years, 4 months ago

Region 6: South-West Flanaess, Sheldomar Valley, Bissel Demographics

 

 

March of Bissel

 

Long known as the gateway between the Flanaess and the Baklunish West, where Baklunish, Suel, and Oeridian cultures met. An important strategic point, it has been conquered and re-conquered by all three at various times over the years, turning Bissel into a hive of spying, intrigue and doublespeak, where every man had suspicions of at least one of his neighbors.

After a cabal of necromancers attempted to seize control of the march in 580 CY, the government of Margrave Walgar clamped down on the many fringe groups within his realm, forcibly rooting out spies and treason. The national mood was dangerous and distrustful, as the ethnically mixed peoples of the state let old feuds begin to get the better of them.

And then Ket attacked during the Greyhawk Wars, taking advantage of the politically weakened March. Breakdowns in the chain of command, petty jealousies, and outright treason left the realm conquered by 585 CY. This attack was part of a greater scheme of Iuz The Old, who no doubt had planned to have Kettite forces attack Veluna and Furyondy from behind while he launched a frontal assault.

Alas, this was not to be. Events in Dorakaa soon had Iuz fleeing to the Abyss, with his realm falling apart in bloody chaos and slaughter. His servants spread to the four corners of the Flanaess, creating their Cells wherever they went. Ket was left with a conquered realm and no demigod to guide them, being caught in the occupation of the march, and angry, defeated citizens under their guard.

Spies from all around-Furyondy, Perrenland, Gran March, Geoff, Veluna, and any number of dwarf kings from the Yatils and Crystalmists-attempted to drive the Baklunish out of Bissel, each wishing to capture/liberate the march for their own purposes. Despite all this, the Kettites captured and slew most of their enemies, as they tried to deal with a restless and hostile people.

 

Society and Culture: Bissel is a mix of many different cultures and races, a realm where three lands meet. As such, it is cosmopolitan and ever-changing, at least in social fashions and beliefs. Those people who settle here permanently bring with them a thousand different beliefs, gods, and allegiances, taking a long time to assimilate into the greater population. Landed populations of farmers, hunters, and lumberjacks can often travel to the forests for timber in winter, then to the hills and mountains for mining and herding, all the while farming in summer. Transient populations have caused these conventions to develop as a result of so few people, even permanent residents, staying in one place all the time.

Bissel is a realm where ethnic rivalries and clashes unfortunately can and do take place, especially if travelers from Gran March meet their enemies from Tusmit, for instance. Depending on individual tendencies, people either tend to assemble into small cliques with ?their own?, or are friendly and accommodating to any and all they meet. As such, both horizontal and vertical social structures exist in Bissel, depending on who and where you go.

In the actual ruling of the realm, a feudal system allows the margrave control over the realm by appointing knights and sheriffs as he sees fit for the various townships and baronies. The margrave has the authority to remove barons and sheriffs as he sees fit, and his word can be disputed only by a majority of twenty-five of the thirty-five barons (twenty-six barons and the sheriffs of the eight cities), who are often involved in their own petty disputes based on the cultural differences that separate them.

Now, the situation has become tense in Bissel. The assassination of Beygraf Zoltan of Ket in 587 CY saw an upsurge of rebellion against the government of Graf Imran Tendulkar, who had taken a soft hand to government of the conquered territory. This was put down after some force, even as neighboring nations attacked again, attempting to break Bissel free of its hold. The Bisselites then began to dispute among themselves even as they fought for their freedom-a growing number even of non-Baklunish citizens were converting to the worship of the Baklunish gods, much to the consternation of the Knights of the Watch, in particular. Gran March invaders were forced to fight men who they used to march beside against the hated westerners.

The new Beygraf of Ket, Nadaid, put an end to the chaos at home, and got the hardline clerics and Pashas out of his affairs by sending them west, to Bissel, even as all the surrounding states and demihuman kingdoms were getting involved in heated disputes and negotiations.

In 589 CY, the farming town of Pellak was taken as the capital of the new ?march?, which was less than a quarter of what her original size was. Gran March, the gnomes and dwarves of the surrounding mountains, and even secular Velunese nobility all began their own plots to absorb the broken realm. The defeated realm could offer little resistance in the matter, as most citizens left for greener pastures to the north, east or south when they saw how easily their homeland had crumbled.

The rest of Bissel was re-organized as a Ket protectorate, although the westerners had no choice but to declare Thornward as neutral ground owned by no one, although the Kettites extracted heavy tariffs from those attempting to use it to travel into their lands. This land is calm now, filled with those Bisselites who have converted to the worship of the Baklunish deities, and are now being gradually assimilated into the greater realm, always under the control of Graf Tendulkar.

 

Military Structure: The armies of Bissel are very similar to those of Gran March, its neighbor to the south, in that even the common soldier is outfitted in chain mail, and given a good broad sword and large shield. The Border Companies, as the forces are called, answer to the Margrave and the Margrave alone, with an excellent mix of heavy infantry and cavalry, supplemented by spellcasting wizards and other adventurers, acting as independent operatives and spies as needed.

Ket was likely able to conquer Bissel because of the fact that many of these Border Companies were fighting in Geoff and Sterich against the giants. However, one other factor is clear as well-the military?s strength and ability masked a society cracked by its ethnic conflicts. Contrary to the united and well-disciplined Kettites, the Bisselites usually had difficulties in the chain of command between officers of different races, while suspicions of spying and treason were harbored by other officers.

In modern times, there is little evidence of an organized Bisselite army, the armed forces of any occupying country being the only effective authorities in what used to be the March of Bissel. Its time has passed, most people have said, and it has passed into the annals of history.

 

Ruler: Margrave Walgar, the ranger lord who governed Bissel prior to the Greyhawk Wars, was a grim man who seemed to take little pleasure in life. Throwing himself into his work methodically to the exclusion of anything else, he was, some people whisper, mourning-mourning the fact that his nation seemed to be crumbling around him, causing an ultimate wound to his pride.

A truly good man who wanted nothing more than to live and trade in peace with his neighbors, he obviously must have been disgusted by the endless politicking around him. His few pleasures came from painting and throwing ceramics, something for which he had a great gift. When the westerners finally attacked, and his realm was defeated, he seemed to have viewed falling upon his own sword almost a release and a blessing.

Graf Imran Tendulkar is a very religious and very devout man, who attends his church three days a week. His calm, intelligent eyes are not those of the fanatic, however-he truly believes that he is trying to help people by educating them of Istus, Al'Akbar, and the rest of the western gods. Gentle, pious and charitable, he skillfully rebuffed the hardline mullahs of the True Faith, bringing the people of the conquered march gradually into the new realm.

Larrrangin, the new margrave of what remains of Bissel, is a tall, gaunt man who is very resentful of the new status of his nation. He seems to take little faith in anything from the gods to the ability of his own people anymore, ruling simply because the Knights of the Watch had sponsored him for the position. He is a cleric of Hieroneous, though he mainly gives lip service to his god now, wondering where the golden paladin was as foreigners fought over his country like so many vultures.

 

Foreign Relations: Gran March, Furyondy, secular Veluna, Ket, Perrenland, Geoff, Perrenland, and the demihumans of the surrounding hills and mountains were all allies-*****-enemies of Bissel, depending on how the political winds blew at any given time. Margrave Walgar somehow managed to play them all off against each other, despite his lack of enthusiasm. What remains of Bissel is now hounded by her neighbors, all of whom are pressuring her to join them, even as hostile relations with Ket continue, and the various parties involved dispute over control of Thornward, an open city subject to no state. It is said that its rulers would declare it a Free City, but for the presence of Ket?s forces all around it.

 

Region 6: South-West Flanaess, Sheldomar Valley, South-Western Flanaess, Sheldomar Valley map

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