Regions of Bregasland
Abundantly fertile islands in the midst of cold marshes.

The Dour Fens

Sandwiched between the barbarian-held woods of Liathaven, the southern Jotun kingdoms, and the sea, lies Bregasland. The territory is primarily made up of freshwater fenland. Home to “Bregas” (fenlanders), this is a place of small islands of abundantly fertile soil, surrounded by seemingly endless marshes where eels are caught. There are several households here made up entirely of merrow, and several settlements populated by people who have been shunned but cannot bring themselves to leave the Marches.

Bregasland is home to partially sunken ruins, including several stone circles that pre-date Marcher possession of the land. For some reason the marshwalkers that are comparatively common in the marshes tend to leave these ruined structures alone. It is also home to dangerous man-eating lizards, giant insects, flesh-eating plants, bottomless bogs and strange lights that seek to lure the incautious into deadly situations. Those who explore the depths of the marshes here sometimes disappear without trace ...

Recent History

Since the Jotun took Liathaven there has been an increase in raiding along the southern borders of Bregasland. Many residents are concerned that the barbarians will launch a major assault through the Rushes and Gravenmarch. Bregasland has a few forts, but they are generally small, isolated, and mostly located along the western borders. Building a major fortification is hampered by the boggy ground. In recent years, the area has seen regular emplacement of magical fortifications, raised against potential Jotun invasion by Imperial magicians.

Shortly before the Spring Equinox 381YE, and following on from the disasters that plagued the marches during late 379YE and early 380YE, work was completed on a network of granaries and storehouses across Bregasland as part of the Imperial Breadbasket great work.

Following the Summer Solstice 383YE, the Jotun orcs invaded Bregasland. They came in great force, and clashed repeatedly with Imperial defenders. In Winter 383YE, it became apparent that the orcs were supporting their "ally" Mathilda Fisher - a human yegarra. She and her family claimed descent from former stewards of Fisher's Rock who departed Bregasland after the Cousin's War - and were returning to "liberate" the territory from the Empire. Her claims were met with derision by most Bregas... but over the following months the Jotun took more and more territory. They completed their conquest of Bregasland shortly before the Autumn Equinox 384YE, and installed Mathilda Fisher as the ruler of the marshes.

Points of Interest

Graven Rock

This enormous smooth flat grey-stone plateau approximately 4 miles in each direction, extends from the ground with a gently sloping face of only fifty metres or so. From a great height it has the appearance of a large flat pebble buried in the ground with only its upper-level surface exposed. This unusual stone deposit sits in some of the largest expanses of dry, fertile territory in Bregasland, in the region of Gravenmarch. The outer surface of the rock is covered in various entrances and doorways, which are the evidence of many hundreds of years of mining and excavation of the rock’s rich mineral core. The ore deposits are largely played out today, but there are still mine workings beneath Graven Rock that are in use. It stands near the town of Graven, one of the largest settlements in Bregasland, and contributed directly to the wealth of the citizens there. Shortly before the Spring Equinox 381YE, work was completed in one of the deeper caves to create a sinecure that provides mana to the Keeper of the Dour Fens.

Fisher’s Rock

Another eerie stone protruding from the marshes, Fisher's Rock is a black stone mound that emerges from the North Fens near Greywater. Atop it is a ruined tower ascribed to the Sentinel. It is said to be haunted, and there are many local stories of strange lantern lights around the rock that lead people astray. The immediate area sometimes yields peculiar treasures - old cups, coins, and sometimes more significant artefacts. As a result, some of the local clannish merrow spend their time as prospectors; although they are as likely to return bloated with giant marshspider poison as they are to return with something of interest.

The rock apparently marks the ancestral land of the Fishers who, after being on the losing side of the Cousin's War fled west into Hordalant. When Mathilda Fisher returned, and declared herself Steward of the Bregas, she established her court here. Now that she's gone, and her "household" with her, the buildings she raised around the rock stand derelict.

Sabbey's Mound

Bill Sabbey was a monastery that stood on what in Bregasland amounts to a "hill" on the edges of Ottermire. The Sabbey monks were well known and well liked, not only among their fellow Bregas but across the Marches. Their renown is partly for their extensive collection of tales of Bolstering Bill and partly for their skills as expert brewers and skilled apothecaries. The strong spirits brewed at Bill Sabbey were popular as far afield as Tassato and doses of elixir vitae stamped with Bill's smiling face, the Abbey's imprimatur commanded a good price.

During the Jotun invasion of 383YE, however, the Abbey fell into the path of the orc armies. Rather than flee, the monks made a stand, hoping to inspire folk who were sick and tired of the Jotun threatening their lands to put aside their differences and take up arms to defend their neighbours. During the Autumn Equinox, Imperial forces used a conjunction of the Sentinel Gate to reach the vicinity of the monastery, hoping to turn the Jotun back. Unfortunately, while they were able to counter some of the forces arrayed against them, they were unable to contain the orc advance. The abbot and many of his monks fell to the Jotun, and Bill Sabbey itself followed swiftly after.

Despite the outcome, the Jotun forces at Bill Sabbey held their ground and did not try to push forward into Ottermire and The Rushes. Rather, they set about raising a burial mound over the ruins of the dilapidated fort where the abbot and the Imperial heroes made their stand - interring all the fallen Imperials and Jotun alongside the body of a defeated Ice giant of Cathan Canae. The work took the better part of a week - the fort represented the only solid ground in the vicinity - and part of the monastery was dismantled to provide stone for the crypt. Scouts from Ottery say that the mound is now crowned by a single standing stone - a peculiarly Marcher touch to a Jotun monument.

Rushring

A partially submerged stone circle, the notorious site of a number of ritual killings in 365YE. It stands at the centre of one of the so-called dead meres of the Grey Fens, and both local Marchers and Feni alike give it a wide berth. Local legend claims that there are thirteen stones in the Rushring, but accounts differ wildly, in some cases claiming there are as many as thirty-nine. There are likewise many stories about what the circle represents. Some claim it is a band of Jotun orcs turned to stone by a canny landskeeper, while others claim the stones mark the site of some terrible crime or ancient magical accident, perhaps that associated with the formation of the dead meres themselves.

Rum beasts

The Marches are not Varushka, but that is not to say that it is a nation devoid of magical threats. Many Marcher sailors and fisherfolk are familiar with the dangerous shapeshifters that can be found in the Gullet, for example. Ghosts and hauntings are uncommon, but known across the Marches. Strange creatures of the realms may be found anywhere there are regio.

Nowhere else in the Marches, however, are there quite so many stories of odd beasts and dangerous spirits as Bregasland. How real these creatures are is hard to say for certain. Western Bregas swear that the fens are home to eerie nocturnal ebon hounds that spell disaster for anyone who looks at them too closely. Wherever there is deep water, hungry bogs, or shifting paths there are stories of floating lights that lead travellers astray which are said to be the hateful spectres of those who drowned alone in the swamps. There are said to be certain trees that hate humans, and kill lone travellers with magical lures and strangling roots. Some of the people allegedly falling prey to these threats are likely the victims of Feni, or bandits, or their own poor luck traversing trackless marsh. Yet there are dangerous mundane creatures as well - the most common natural threat to Bregas are the giant marshspiders whose natural ability to camouflage themselves against the mud and the rushes and lethal venom makes them an uncommon, but potentially fatal, threat to the unwise.

Marcher characters from the fen are encouraged to come up with local folk tales of dangerous monsters from the deep fens, with an eye toward eerie, misunderstood threats appropriate to folklore rather than more traditional tabletop roleplaying monsters.

Regions

Gravenmarch

Gravenmarch borders Mitwold, Mournwold, and Liathaven, and is sometimes called "the only dry spot in Bregasland" (OOC Note: Unlike the rest of Bregasland, Gravenmarch does not have the marsh quality). The soil here is fertile, and the gentle eastern hills and well-irrigated western fields are dotted with farms, villages, and hamlets. The largest settlement in Bregasland, the town of Graven is found here, in the shadow of Graven Rock. The town grew rich from a combination of high fields and the mineral wealth extracted from the Rock. In happier times Navarr merchants and stridings regularly passed through on their way north from Liathaven, with news and trade-goods from far afield. As with many parts of Bregasland, the people of Graven have a reputation for being odd - but in this case it is due to the number of them who started their lives far away and were brought here by a Navarr guide. Today, Graven is known for the good quality stone it supplies to construction efforts across the Marches, and for the garrison that keeps a wary eye on the orcs of the forest and the Mourn.

Grey Fens

  • Quality: Marsh, Sullen

The Grey Fens are the deepest, darkest parts of Bregasland. The exact location of the western border is a matter for some debate - it is impossible to say where Bregasland ends and the Blutgahn marshes of Hordalant begin. The area is one of the least populated parts of the Marches, with a scattering of isolated hamlets that very much keep themselves to themselves. There is believed to be at least one large clan of Feni in Grey Fens, although the nature of their relations with the Imperial citizens in the area is largely unknown.

The Grey Fens have a number of so-called dead meres - open areas of standing water where no fish are found. The water is clear and appears fresh, but drinking it leads to crippling stomach cramps and, if the imbiber is already weak, may result in death. Landskeepers have studied the dead meres in the past, but about all they have discovered is that they are the result of some ancient curse. Locals know to stay away from the dead meres; on nights of the new moon the water is said to glow with an eerie, pale effulgence that is said to cause madness in anyone exposed to it. One of the best known of the dead meres is the one that surrounds the Rushring stone circle.

The Grey Fens has always had a dark reputation, but there are many here who were unhappy following the liberation of Bregasland from the Jotun imposed rule of Mathilda Fisher. The fact that some families who collaborated with the Jotun, like the Droverbills and their kin, seem to have prospered from Fisher's reign has left many families that stayed loyal to the Empire angry that they have got off so lightly. The sullen quality, reflects the distrust that now permeates the area. Nobody is going to do anything stupid, but the next time something like this happens, then folks in these parts will be sure to put their own household first.

North Fens

  • Qualities: Marsh, Coastal, Rebellious

To the west of North Fens lie the southern Jotun kingdoms, while its northern border runs along the southern coast of the Gullet. The shore is scattered with small fishing villages. As one travels west, each village is said to be a little more insular until the westernmost villages and farms of North Fens are said to border on the xenophobic. North Fens is the site of Fisher's Rock.

The largest settlement in North Fens is Greywater, which is said to mark the furthest west that any wise Marcher will go. The locals make their living primarily from eel-fishing, but since this isn’t a trade that leads to many exports, some of the more daring among them will scour the surrounding marsh for unusual plants and flowers. These are dried, and sold through the markets at Meade for study across the Empire. The small town takes its name from slip clay stirred up by frequent storms: it’s not the best water to drink. A thriving market in pure water exists here, with fresh water from the estuary left to settle in vast oak tanks and then carefully decanted. "Too poor to drink water" is a local phrase applied to the truly destitute, who are forced to drink dirty water.

The North Fens were the centre of power for Mathilda Fisher's brief rule of Bregasland following the Jotun invasion; she had few genuinely enthusiastic supporters, but those she did have were mostly based here. Foremost amongst their number was House Brawness. Imperial justice devastated the house, reducing them to fewer than a dozen members clinging to a single farm in the North Fens. It's no secret that their friends and allies are quietly seething at the way the household has been dealt with, but everyone is keeping their heads down, eager to avoid meeting the same fate. The region has gained the rebellious quality, reflecting the suppressed anger that many here feel. It's quiet for now and could remain that way indefinitely, but as things stand all it would take is an appropriately worded mandate from the Marcher Synod or some equivalent incitement, and the North Fens could rise in armed rebellion.

The one Household that very visibly opposed Mathilda Fisher were the Greywaters. Although the presence of the Strong Reeds in Bregasland was only possible due to the efforts of the Greywaters, their efforts to seek a wealthy reward for their efforts were rebuffed by the Empire. Now the Greywaters make no bones of the fact that they risked everything to back the Empire and they've ended up worse off than those that stayed out of the fighting. The North Fens gained the embittered quality, reflecting the sense of betrayal that the Greywaters and their allies felt at the way the Empire had treated them.

Ottermire

  • Quality: Marsh

Along the shores of the Westmere stretched Ottermire. The yeomanry here are roughly split between fishing the deep waters of the Westmere, and tending to herb gardens and mana sites deeper in the marshes. The most populous settlement in Ottermire is Ottery which stands at the western end of Odd's Way, and at the northern end of the Sallow Walk. Both roads are notable because they are built atop thick packed-earth causeways, crossing the marshes to Odd's End in Oddmire and Sallow in the south respectively. Locals, of course, refer to both causeways as the Otterway, differentiating between the two by stressing the first or second syllable, this causes endless confusion among outsiders. The town itself is a small fishing port that trades the produce of the marshes to Meade and, has a history of sending boats across the Westmere to trade with the Winterfolk.

There are many local stories of boats travelling across the Westmere to Kallavesa, and a number of the Marcher families here show signs of having Wintermark blood in their ancestry. Indeed, the area is notable even among the notoriously eerie Bregas for adoption of certain mystic practices - albeit seen through the lens of stubborn Marcher tradition and allegedly distorted enough that they are barely recognisable to their northern practitioners.

The Rushes

  • Quality: Marsh, Resentful

The Rushes are marshy, like most of the rest of Bregasland, but the further south one goes the more solid the ground becomes. In southern Rushes there are a few more traditional farms, raising crops not unfamiliar to Marchers from Mitwold and Upwold. The most common industry in the Rushes, perhaps unsurprisingly, is cutting and drying rushes for use in roofing and flooring across the Marches.

The only settlement of note here is Sallow, which lies at the southern end of the Sallow Walk that connects the region with Ottermire in the north. Sallowfolk keep themselves to themselves to a degree found off-putting even by other Bregaslanders. Behaving in a manner the folk of Sallow find too familiar, or prying too closely into local affairs, can sometimes result in long knives being drawn - the same long knives they use to cut the rushes that are the main export of the area. Someone bearing a Sallow-cut is recognised across Bregasland as someone who takes liberties, or has a little too much interest in the doings of their neighbours.

A common slur directed at the people of the Rushes, and at Sallowfolk in particular, is that they have closer relations with the Feni than is either wholesome or legal. People of the Rushes take such accusations extremely personally although many of them do not even bother to refute them before reaching for their rushing knives.

SummitElected
Winter Solstice 385YELizzie Stamp of Bildewold
Spring Equinox 385YELizzie Stamp of Bildewold
Winter Solstice 383YEOrrick
Winter Solstice 382YEOrrick
Winter Solstice 381YEOrrick
Winter Solstice 380YEOrrick
Winter Solstice 379YEOrrick
Winter Solstice 378YEOrrick
Winter Solstice 377YEOrrick
Winter Solstice 376YERichard of Bourholt

Recent Senate Elections

As an Imperial territory, Bregasland is represented by a senator elected in the Winter. This title is currently held by Lizzie Stamp of Bildewold; it will be reelected at Winter Solstice 386YE. The table to the right shows the citizens who have been elected to hold this title in the years since Empress Britta died.

When Imperial justice was brought to bear on those who collaborated with the brief rule of Mathilda Fisher, there were many in the Rushes who were punished with heavy fines. Families like the Clakes and their kin throughout the region have been left deep in debt, impoverished and desperate. The region has gained the resentful quality, reflecting the deep sense of injustice that permeates those made penniless by Imperial justice. With the leader of the Clakes gone to ground, it won't mean much for now, but Marchers hoard grudges the way a magpie hoards shiny beads. Folk here would jump at a chance for payback from those they judge have wronged them, if the opportunity presents itself.

OOC Notes

  • As of the Summer Solstice 385YE, the entire territory is under the control of the Marches and thus the Empire
  • Attempting to build a permanent fortification in Bregasland anywhere other than Gravenmarch is likely to encounter significant difficulties
  • While it is possible for armies to travel from West Marsh in Kallavesa to North Fens, it is not possible to cross the Westmere into Ottermire; armies will need to go through Mitwold if they wish to reach Ottermire (or Kallavesa Marsh)
  • Farms in the territory benefit from the Imperial Breadbasket and produce an extra 36 rings each season
  • The bounty of the Imperial Breadbasket was lost when the Jotun claimed the territory but was reclaimed and restocked by the Keeper of the Breadbasket following the Summer Solstice 385YE
  • There are three unique region qualities that apply to Bregasland following the Jotun invasion

Sullen

Folks are sullen that the Droverbills and their kin got off lightly. They could remain that way indefinitely and it won't be a problem, but if that anger spreads across Bregasland it will be a serious problem. When Imperial armies march through an Imperial territory, they are usually welcomed by cheering supporters. The citizens of the Empire take Pride in the Courage and Loyalty of those who pledge their lives to keep them safe. That warm welcome brings benefits which are all the more noticeable by their absence in Bregasland. A sullen population are less willing to sell their food to the Empire; if they do, they want a premium for it. It costs a lot to feed an army - on campaign in enemy lands you can reduce those costs a little by plundering what supplies you can from the enemy, but you can't do that at home. If the sullen mood of the Droverbills spreads then all Imperial armies spending the season in Bregasland will require 50% more upkeep from the Imperial treasury.

Resentful

The Clakes and their associates are resentful of the Empire and would seize any opportunity to strike back. There aren't enough of them to pose a risk at at the moment, but it would be a problem if that resentment spreads to the rest of the territory. Fighting in any territory where the population is resentful is always more difficult. There is the ever present risk that they will inform on your movements to the enemy. Scouts are delayed or betrayed, vital supplies go missing, everything is more dangerous when any civilian could be spying for the enemy. If the resentful mood of the Clakes spreads across the territory then all Imperial armies campaigning in the territory against a human or orc enemy will suffer a 30% penalty to fighting strength for the purpose of calculating victory.

Rebellious

The Empire has punished House Brawness and their allies for their involvement in the Council of Bregas. Their power is broken, but that has done nothing to crush the dream of an independent Bregasland. Provided the outlook doesn't change, they won't be fool enough to try again any time soon, but it would be catastrophic if the mood spread. That would tip Bregasland into open rebellion: the Empire would immediately lose control of any rebellious regions and Imperial armies would be needed to put down the rebellion and prevent it from spreading.

Embittered

The Greywaters and their cousins were bitter at what they saw as the Empire's failure to reward them for their sacrifice in fighting Mathilda Fisher. They kept to themselves, but it would have become a challenge if the bitterness had spread throughout the marshes. The words of the Imperial Synod fell on deaf ears when faced with people who were embittered and angry with the Empire. Liao may be powerful but no aura can change the outlook of someone who refuses to listen. If the rest of Bregasland had become as bitter about the Empire as the Greywaters, then any statements of principle that called on people to support any part of the Empire would fail and no mandate passed by the Imperial Synod would have affected the territory.

Resources in Bregasland

As with all Marchers, residents of Bregasland are likely to control farms, or businesses if they are residents of a market town. Unlike the other Marcher territories, however, the yeomen of Bregasland (outside of Gravenmarch) are much less likely to farm traditional crops. In Bregasland, a farm might represent an eel-farm, or an area where rushes or peat are gathered. A character who lives along the Gullet or the Westmere might even use a farm to represent a small number of fishing boats - vessels that stay close to the shore rather than the kind of vessel a trader may use to visit foreign ports,

More common in Bregasland than perhaps anywhere else are herb gardens and mana sites. Bregasland is an eerie place, and the people who live there have a well deserved reputation for mysterious lore and uncommon wisdom.

The least common resource in Bregasland is likely to be a mine - outside of Gravenmarch, the marshes are simply too wet and too lacking in mineral wealth to easily justify a mine. Of course, any character can choose any sort of personal resource - it's simply easier to explain some choices in Bregasland than others.

Further Reading