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View Full Version : Victoris [legacy, RU]


Darius
5th of June, 2007, 22:54
[Draft- needs proofreading and a look over by treehouse to insure that this doesn’t conflict with his notes]


Victoris

Population: 5,550

Trade:
Imports: lumber, textiles, finished wood products, raw metal
Exports: fish, ships, boats, weapons
Other: provides sea transport

Appearance:
Victoris has more the appearance of a walled town than an actual city. Most of the dwellings, with the exception of the wealthiest merchant houses and the most powerful of the aristocracy is made of wood. The streets lack any substantial planning, making navigating the city problematic for anyone unfamiliar with the city. There are no named streets, so any directions given are in the form of landmarks. Citizen of Victoris are also notorious for giving directions using landmarks that no longer exist. For example, a citizen of Victoris may refer to a water tower that was demolished ten years ago.


The single largest portion of Victoris is the docks. It is there that the Victoris fishing and merchant fleet is based, and also happens to be where the more infamous Victoris taverns reside. The harbor is a deep water harbor, and is sheltered by cliffs on either side that helps protect it from the storms that sweep in from the sea.

Victoris is also known for the watchtower known as Jomren’s Eye. This is a massive stone structure, seemingly beyond the skill possessed by Valeria’s people and it is rumored, though always out of earshot of the priests of Kharwan, that magic helped erect it. There is a massive bonfire that is continuously fed by the Watchers at the top of the tower as well as a massive signal bell.

The weather in Victoris is continuously damp and it often rains. Winters tend to be particularly harsh, with heavy snowfall being the norm rather than the exception. During the winter months, most of the citizenry turns to repairing their vessels in the anticipation of warmer weather.


Power Groups

Church of Kharwan: The Church is the real power in Victoris, and what is an ill-kept secret within the city is that the cathedral in Victoris is not where the Church hides its mst valuable records and artifacts. Of course, there are some articles kept there, but most are kept in the cave system that runs beneath Jomren’s Eye. Since only Watchers are supposed to have access to Jomren’s Eye, it makes for a well-secured base. There are a number of entrances known only to select few members of the Church, but no one, not even the Archbishop of Victoris knows all of them.
The Church also maintains close ties with all of the merchant families and aristocracy within Victoris, and is often used as a mediator and arbitrator among the various groups. All of this has led to the Church having much more power in Victoris than in any other city. The Church in Victoris is also much more interested in rooting out heresy within the various cities and expanding its power in already settled areas than it is in expanding its current power. Its two most pressing goals at the moment is to bring Corinport back in line with the orthodox church, as well as holding on to as much power as possible in Tyrenos.
The current Archbishop of Victoris is known as Pater Hieronymus. His an older gentleman in his seventies, though his still physically well and mentally very sharp. He is said to have a rather extensive network of eyes and ears throughout Valeria keeping him informed of various developments. Pater Hieronymus came from the Cranach family.


The Five Aristocratic Houses

General notes: All of the aristocratic families started as merchant houses, and over time some of the aristocratic families have diminished back to the stat of merchant families. Tradition states, however, that there can only ever be five aristocratic families at any one time. The aristocratic families elect one of their own to helm the Noble Council, and the head of the Noble Councils vote count triple. The head of the council sets the general domestic and foreign policy of Victoris, with the caveat that whichever family the head of the council comes from is then responsible for 30% of financing the standing army of Victoris with the rest being split 40% equally among the remaining aristocratic families and 20% from the merchant families.


House Grunewald: The current head of the Noble Council comes from House Grunewald. Not the largest or wealthiest of the Houses, the Grunewalds do possess a pedigree that is lacking in the other houses, with the exception of House Cranach. House Grunewald has always sent a large portion of is sons and daughters into the Church of Kharwan, thus being able to influence politics within the city that way. In fact, previous to Pater Hieronymus becoming Archbishop, the past five Archbishops have all been Grunewalds. A large number of Grunewalds continue to dominate the upper echelon of Church positions, a fact not lost on the other Houses.

House Altdorfer: Easily the most wealthy of the Houses, in no small part do to the alliances that House Altdorfer has with the various pirate factions that exist along the coast. In fact, some of the heads of those “factions” are members of House Altdorfer itself. The other Houses and merchant families have not been able to conclusively prove that House Altdorfer has ties to the coastal pirates, though they have their suspicions.
As a point of note: at least one Altdorfer a generation builds a ship and sails it west, never to be seen again.

House Serafi: Unlike the other Houses, House Serafi has built most of its power not through trade but by holding land. House Serafi was a merchant family two hundred years ago, but was at the time the strongest merchant families. House Steen at the time had been reduced to a small insular family, albeit one with a great deal of wealth. Through a number of marriages, Family Serafi absorbed House Steen so completely that even Steen’s name was lost. House Serafi is also known as a house of hedonists and degenerates, and often is the target of Church sermons on how not to live one’s life. Still, they are too powerful for even the Church to move against directly. House Serafi also often plays the role of the dissenter, disagreeing even when all of the other House’s agree.
It is rumored that House Serafi keeps a magician from Canatabrus on as a House retainer.

House Cranach: The weakest of the five house, and also the smallest. House Cranach built its power by commanding the largest vessels in Victoris and being able to hunt the whales and leviathans that dwell off the coast. House Cranach also has some of the most reliable navigators, being able to navigate deeper into the waters off the coast than any other family. It is said to be the oldest house and has held its position of authority longer than any other house. House Cranach also currently enjoys the fact that for the past ten years a member of its family has been Archbishop of Victoris.

House Notke: A relative newcomer to the council, House Notke replaced what is now the merchant family of the Brueghels in what was a dramatic and bloody coup that occurred fifteen years ago. The other aristocratic families stayed out of the conflict in what is still rumored to be fear that if they did not House Notke would work to replace them with other merchant families as well. House Notke has retained a strong mercenary army captained by Hans Garant, formerly of Meirdos.
House Notke is content not to hold the lead council seat… for now.

A sampling of merchant families:
There are around thirty or so merchant families in Victoris. Unlike other cities, where the guilds split along areas of expertise and control, the merchant families compete directly against each other. This has led the beginnings of capitalism to begin to flourish in Victoris.

Family Brueghels: Fifteen years ago, the Brueghels were the weakest of the aristocratic families, having suffered setback after setback over a period of twenty years. Their downfall was complete when the mercenaries hired by the Notkes stormed the halls of their ancestral home, forcibly taking it over. The only reason the family survived at all is that they were so large and spread out that it was impossible to eliminate them all. Still, they are greatly weakened from the position they at one time held.

Family Perril: The same Perril’s that maintain shipping outposts in Iscatha and Corinport also maintain a large trading house in Victoris. They enjoy a virtual monopoly on lumber exported from the North and it has been rumored that should one of the other houses stumble, the Perril’s may suddenly find themselves in a position of unprecedented power, even greater than what they currently enjoy in Iscatha.


Family Ducault: Interestingly enough, the Ducault family is an off shoot of the Grunewalds that came into being right after the Founding Wars. A younger son tried to seize power for himself, but the conspiracy was discovered early enough by his brothers. What they failed to do was kill the brother, however, and he took the last name of his wife. With the supporters he had gathered to himself, he was able to elevate the Ducault’s to the level of a merchant family. To this day, the Ducault’s have a reputation for plots and conspiracies.

Family Kravinov: An example of a merchant family that has refused to let itself be restricted, Family Kravinov has extended its tendrils into every aspect of trade throughout Victoris and the city states of Victoris. Family Kravinov’s assets are not limited to physical goods, however, as they are also consummate information brokers. Kravinov’s are said, with some veracity, to be spies as well.

Family Varget: A family reputed to deal with forbidden information, indulge in incest, contact with yuan-ti, and to deal in such crimes as prostitution, narcotics, and contract assassinations it gives one pause to wonder how it is that the Varget’s still exist at all. The answer is frighteningly simple: they have information on every merchant Family and Noble House. They are also quite willing to deal with anyone that meets their stated price and all of the groups within Victoris has found need to call upon their services at one point in time or another. The Vargets walk a fine line among the rest of the groups, never working for one to the exclusion of others, and they have been known to turn down lucrative assignments to preserve the veneer of neutrality. It is said that there are connections between Family Varget and the Dancing Ladies, but so far, no conclusive proof has been found.

Family Cestra: The Cestras are known for the manufacture of their weapons. While not being as skilled as Iscathan smiths, the Cestras do produce a remarkable amount of weapons each year thanks to innovative processes and procedures for producing weapons on a scale previously unheard of. Family Cestra carefully guards its methods, as well as the exact routes that its weapons take on their trade routes. The Cestras have recently entered into an agreement with the Tyrenos ruling family, which can only have dire consequences for the rest of Valeria.


Allies and Enemies


Corinport
Corinport is one Victoris’ two main allies, the other being the city-state Praegmathia. The fact that Praegmathia are Corinport are in a near constant state of low-level warfare has not stopped the various Houses and Families from dealing openly with both cities. Things are a little more complicated in Corinport as there is a decided lack of centralized authority, so the Victoris power groups content themselves with dealing with the various powers. It should be noted that any merchant en route to Corinport will be heavily escorted.

Tyrenos
The Church in Victoris is beginning to make some grumblings regarding the unorthodoxy that is rampant in Corinport and the surrounding lands, but has so far been distracted by the accumulation of power in the secular government in Tyrenos. The fact that Tyrenos is also engaging in expansionistic practices worries the Church in Victoris. As for Tyrenos itself, Victoris maintains cordial if somewhat cool relations with its sister city. Victoris believes it fairly safe from attack by Tyrenos in thatthere are other, more readily accessible cities that Tyrenos could absorb. That has not stopped the head of the Noble Council to order a full upgrade be made to both the outer wall of the cit as well as the inner circle wall that protects the estates of the Houses and richer Families.

The Noble Houses implicitly understand that should Tyrenos extend its power over Victoris, it will probably mean an end to the system of Noble Houses that has been established and Victoris will be relegated to a minor outpost of the Tyrenos Empire.

Praegmathia
Praegmathia is the other city that Victoris retains close relations to as Praegmathia is the other entry that Victoris has into the central portion of Valeria. Victoris is even more interested in making sure that the balance of power between Praegmathia and Corinport continues as it currently stands. Victoris does not want to see one city or the other gain too much power so it deals equally with both. The power groups in Corinport and the Baron in Praegmathia understand that they cannot afford to alienate Victoris because it will give the other side the added leverage that could tip the balance of power. In fact, the major set backs for both city-states has usually followed one side or the other trying to take a hard line with the Noble Council in Victoris.

The Noble Council has decided to unanimously back Lars Korten in the coming struggle for succession, seeing in him a chance to better control their trade partner.

Iscatha
Victoris and Iscath, despite their distance from each other, have always maintained cordial relations and for a long time during wars, were allied with each other. They maintain a trade alliance only and will not come to the military aid of the other unless circumstances are truly dire. The other benefit of the alliance with Iscatha is that Victoris as a result gains access to trade opportunities in Meirdos and Cavellus controlled land.



History

It is widely held by the citizens of Victoris that it was the first city and it was on their ship that King Jomren sailed. As proof of this they maintain that as their city is located on the coast closest to where their forebearers came, it stands to reason that this must be where the colonists first landed.

Victoris has also held itself out to be the traditional first defense should what the Valerians fled ever come calling after them. The largest number of Watchers are drawn from the citizens of Victoris, and Watchers have traditionally had a large number of members go on to take senior positions in Church hierarchy, even in other cities.

The citizens of Victoris hold that their system of governance extends back to before the wars, in fact extends all the way back to the age of King Jomren. Artifacts uncovered near Victoris have proved the lie to this, and Victoris was in fact governed by a succession of dictators and despots. It was near the end of the wars that the developing merchant class staged a coup and took the city by force, and the five most powerful merchant families established power in Victoris. The last despot to rule in Victoris had been directly opposed to the Church of Kharwan and it was rumored that he was engaged in dark pacts with infernal creatures. As a result, the Church backed the coup and aided the conspirators directly. This also helped firmly establish the radition of the Church being involved actively with Victoris politics.

Magic is banned outright in Victoris though the occasional “miracle-worker” claiming divine gifts from Kharwan are sometimes tolerated for brief periods of time. Should such individuals be seen to rousing the public in anyway, the Church makes a point of accusing them of heresy, blasphemy, or demon worship. A very public and very messy execution is the usual result.