An old version of a future Gunderland...


Here's something I dug up from my files. It was material for a 3E D&D campaign set after the fall of the Hyborian kingdoms, in 1825 AA. The campaign I was working on, though set in Hyboria, mixed elements from Hyboria, Middle-earth, Aerth (Gary Gygax's setting from the Mythus RPG), David Gemmells "Drenai" stories, and Arthurian legend. Unedited from that which I have on my computer. Never got the chance to run a game in this setting, unfortunately...

Gunderland, Kingdom of
Area: 110,000 square miles. Only 20% of the land in Gunderland is used agriculturally. Another 10% is used for herds (mostly the hilly lands around Mount Golamira and Gundeborg), while 60% of the land is given to forests and glades, settled only sparsely by peasants and yeomen. The remaining 10% is heath, moor, and waste, found mostly in the northern lands, near Cimmeria.

Population: 825,000, including 165,000 in the Duchy of Bossonia, 47% Gunderman, 27% Bossonian, 18% Gunderman/Aquilonian, 5% Aquilonian, 3% Other (including Ligurians, Cimmerians, Picts, other humans, halflings, gnomes, dwarves, and elves, in order of commonality). There are three cities: Gundeborg (the capital, Large City, 13,600), Meckleborg (capital of the Duchy of Bossonia, Small City, 6,800), and Golamborg (home of the Grand Abbot of Golamira, Small City, 5,400). There are seven towns (each the seat of a count) with a total population of 15,450. All the cities and towns are heavily walled. The rest of the population is divided into approximately 1,200 small villages (average population 700), mostly in the southeastern third of the country. There are 16 non-town based major fortifications (twelve in the hands of the barons, four owned by the king) and nine major ruined castles.

Languages: The natives speak Gunderman, a dialect of Aquilonian that is closer to ancient Hyborian than Aquilonian. Bossonian, a related dialect, is spoken in the Duchy of Bossonia. Aquilonian is spoken by the few remaining families of pure Aquilonians, by all nobles, most merchants, and is used as a liturgical tongue in the Temple of Mitra. Gunderman and Bossonian are written in the antiquated Gunder script, while Aquilonian uses the Aquilonian alphabet. Automatic Languages: Gunderman and Bossonian. Bonus Languages: Aquilonian, Bossonian, Cimmerian, Ligurian, Orcish, and Pict.

Coinage: Gunderland maintains the ancient coinage of Aquilonia, though gold is far rarer than in earlier times (and not used to produce new coins) while platinum is unheard of, save from ancient troves. Thus, Gunderland is on the Silver Standard. Copper is minted as Pennies (1 CP), and silver is minted in three forms, Commons (1 SP), Gunders (a 10 SP silver bar, at 5 per pound), and the very rare Royal Trade Bars (a 10-pound bar of silver, valued at 500 SP). Gold coins, when found, are actually worth three to five times their base value (30 to 50 SP each), while platinum is worth two to five times its ancient value (200 to 500 SP each). Values fluctuate based on whether old treasure troves have been recently discovered. Gems are worth their standard value, as though they are very rare, they are also far less in demand than in olden days. Barter is more commonly used in the rural and border regions, as few folk there have any use for silver.

Government Type: Hereditary monarchy. The king rules advised in part by his seven counts, twelve barons, the Duke of Bossonia, and the Grand Abbot of Golamira. This Royal Council meets twice yearly to advise the king and make new policy. The people of Gunderland are Lawful Good/Lawful Neutral, while the people of Bossonia are Neutral Good, leaning toward Chaotic Good.

Industries & Resources: Gunderland has been on a continual war footing for more than 50 years, since even before the initial invasion of the Picts. Being the last remaining vestige of civilization in the north, and trade being sporadic at best, luxuries are at an absolute premium, both imports and exports. Weapons and armor are the major crafts of the city and towns of the realm, though the best armors are extremely rare due to the lack of labor and the loss of skilled craftsmen during the early invasions. Thus, splint mail costs 5,000 sp, banded mail costs 7,500 sp, half-plate costs 25,000 sp, and full plate, if it can be had, costs 100,000 sp! Similarly, greatswords cost 1,000 sp and bastard swords cost 750 sp. Note that the bastard sword, net, and whip are the only exotic weapons available in Gunderland. The base cost of anything that could be considered a “luxury item” is doubled at least, ranging up to five times normal cost for items requiring importation, lots of time, or unusual materials (such as most class-based tools and related items). Times required to make items are also increased due to the greater cost (represents less skilled craftsmen and less time to work on unusual projects). Alchemical items and special substances are not available at any price (though might be had from the King for his special agents).

Gunderland is, for the most part, self sufficient. It has enough resources to produce the weapons it needs and the food the people need. It has mines of silver and iron, and most other base metals needed for industry, including coal to produce steel. It has hard and soft woods aplenty, plus sheep for wool and meat, cattle for hides, ivory, and meat, fowl, grains, roots, and so forth. It does not, however, have any gold or gem mines, or the ability to produce silk or the more colorful dyes, all of which must be had at great cost from the few traders that make their way to Nemedia or the Hyrkanian Empire. Gold and gems could be had from Poitain, were the two nations on amicable footing.

Religions: The Gundermen revere Mitra, but hold a special place in their hearts for their old god, Bori. This has caused no end of trouble with the theocratic rulers of Poitain, who consider the Gundermen to be “heretics and barbarians, and thus part of the reason for the Fall.” Some Bossonians have taken to revering the nature spirits of the Ligurians or the gods of the Faeries (notably Orald and Yavanna). There are also a few wandering druids of the Ligurian type.

Description: Gunderland is ruled by King Garrick, the grandson of King Gerald, who was the first post-Fall king of Gunderland. Though he is relatively young he has lived his entire life in battle. He was born on a battlefield in Tanasul, when his father and mother tried to reclaim part of that land from the Witch-King in 1800 AA. His father was slain by the goblins of the Witch-King as he was born. His mother and her followers returned to Gundeborg after their failed attempt, only to discover that Garrick’s uncle, the heir apparent, had died in a battle against Picts the same day as his brother. Thus did Garrick become the last scion of his line. Fortunately, his grandfather, King Gerald “The Great,” lived to the ripe old age of 75, and trained him in the ways of statecraft and battle. King Gerald died when Garrick was 15, in a battle with Cimmerian raiders. Garrick’s mother ruled in his stead as regent until he was 21, whereupon he became king. That was 4 years ago. Today Garrick maintains the defenses his grandfather built and continues his policies. For all that he is a paladin dedicated to the service of Mitra, he is tolerant of the followers of Bori, which has earned him the wrath of his “co-religionists” in Poitain. He is supported in his heresy by the Grand Abbot of Golamira, who has been excommunicated by the Seven Bishops no less than three times. The king has recently begun the founding of an order of knighthood, in the old Aquilonian tradition, to help preserve civilization and set forth for the people a standard of excellence as well as provide them with a wellspring of hope (and to present a theological foil against the Holy Swords of Poitain). This order, the Order of the Phoenix, is based on the old tale of the blade wielded by King Conan the Great against the demons of Stygia. There are currently only a half-dozen Phoenix Knights, who follow the traditions of the chivalric wandering knight.

Notable Sites: Mount Golamira, the “Black-Hearted” Eternal Mountain, site of the Sepulcher of the Sage Epimetreus, is found in southern Gunderland. There can be found the Last Abbey, home of the Grand Abbot of Golamira and his monks. Since just after the Fall the monks of the Last Abbey abandoned their pacifistic vows and took up the way of the Open Hand, which was taught to them by the last remaining Asura cultists in the kingdom (to whom, through ancient agreements dating to the time of King Conan the Great, the priests had given sanctuary after the purges of the early 18th century).

History: (Too long to include in this post)

Important Figures: King Garrick (LG 25-year old male Gunderman/Aquilonian Pal7 (Mitra)/Nob2, no children), Grand Abbot Dominico (LG 65-year old male Aquilonian Mnk10/Clr10 (Mitra)), Queen Mother Albiona (NG 45-year old female Aquilonian Ftr2/Nob9, one son, one daughter), Royal Magister Grindorf the Gray of the Circle of Sequestered Magicks (NG ?-year old male Gunderman Wiz13/Arc5), Princess Ariana (CG 18-year old female Aquilonian Rog2/Nob2, no children), Duke Hueil ApCaw (CG 32-year old male Bossonian Rgr7/Nob3), Bishop Raibert the Obese (N 52-year old Gunderman Clr14 (Bori)), Sir Tormod the Mighty, Phoenix Knight (LG 29-year old male Gunderman Pal5), Captain Conner MacCanach (CN 22-year old male Cimmerian Bar1/Rog3/Ftr4), Llangwellan the Blue (NG 56-year old male Bossonian/Ligurian Wiz7/Drd7 (Ligurian)), Chiangwu (CG 65-year old male Hyrkanian Ftr7/Rog6/Wiz7, many bastard sons and daughters, Chiangwu is the only nephew of Tanaka Khan via the Khan’s deceased older brother, half-brother to the three full-blooded Hyrkanian sons of Tanaka via their mother, and thus the true heir to the Hyrkanian Empire).

Flora and Fauna: Even at Aquilonia’s height, much of Gunderland was left over to wild forest and glade as a hunting reserve for the wealthiest nobles. Since the Fall, this well-tended “wild” has truly returned to wilderness, and now teems with wildlife, including panthers, apes, lions, aurochs, bears, wolves, sabertooth tigers, and, with the gates to Goblin and Faerie now open, even more unusual creatures, such as dire animals, faerie dragons, chimeras, manticores, and far stranger things. Civilized areas are still fairly clear of these odd beasts, and are the home to thousands of domesticated beasts, including horses, cattle, chickens, dogs, and cats. Dire crows are known to inhabit the Bossonian forests near Pictish territory, and sprites command many glades in central Bossonia, while a green dragon is rumored to lair in the forested triangle between Bossonia, Pictland, and the Ligurian territories. The mountains northeast of the territory claimed by the king and the duke are said to be inhabited by countless undead, brought there by some unknown force from the battlefields of the Border Kingdom. Goblins and other unsavory creatures from the Witch Kingdom cross the Shirki River all too regularly. Treants, werebears, and dryads are found in some numbers in the northeastern forest, engaged in guerilla warfare against invading goblins, undead, and Cimmerians alike. Demons and devils are, according to legend, all too common in the catacombs beneath the Last Abbey.