After the Storm
Averland is one the Empire’s southern provinces, perhaps the wealthiest. Its capital and largest town is Averheim.
Its troops’ colours are black and yellow. Nobles proudly fight in cavalry formations wielding lance and sword, with pikes and crossbowmen for support.
Its state banner is a golden Sun on a red field, and has been since many of Solland’s nobility settled in Averland after its fall in the 18th Century. Its previous state banner was the Hammer of Sigmar on an Iron Cross.
Averlanders are descended from the Brigundian Tribe (some historians tiresomely never pass up a chance to point out there was no Brigundian Tribe, this was actually a confederacy of tribes including the Avermanni, Agbard, Gesschebi and… most fall asleep by the time any other names are mentioned). The Brigundian tribe were horsemen and charioteers of renown.
The favoured gods are Sigmar, Shallya and Taal and Ryha. In the university town of Streissen, Verena has a strong following. The many mercenaries who come from the south guarding caravans have brought with them their veneration of Myrmidia.
It is a wealthy land of hills and open plains, home to herds of cattle and horses. It has vast fields where wheat and vineyards grow. It lies between the Aver River, across which to the north lies Stirland and the Upper Reik, across which to the south lies Wissenland, though mostly that portion of it that was once Solland.
To the east Averland borders the Black Mountains and World’s Edge Mountains, which are divided by the infamous Black Fire Pass. Though famed as a route of invasion, the pass is much more significant for the trade that passes regularly through it from the Border Princes territory, the dwarf realms and, further south, Tilea and beyond.
Averland has been without an Elector Count since 2520, when Marius von Leitdorf died in the Third Battle of Black Fire Pass. This has lead to a continuing Succession Crisis and rivarly between the great Leitdorf and Alptraum families.
Averlanders have a “sing-song” way of talking. They tend to soften harsh sounds and elongate vowels. Many artists and young nobles with pretensions to poetry imitate
an Averland accent, in a belief that all great geniuses are touched by madness.
Averlanders are considered a little “moon-touched” by most of the Empire, the rule of Elector Count “Mad” Marius Leitdorf caused much amusement at Averland’s expense.
Averlanders have a reputation for being contradictory and changeable sorts, who give too much credence to astrology and omens. A shop may close early or a social engagement be cancelled for such reasons.
Averlanders are very touchy about their word being their honour. They take this to the extent of often being offended if asked to sign contracts or pledges, for having said they will do something should be enough. There is less business for lawyers in Averland but more for Verenan arbitrators.
Some say they then have a habit of remembering what they said, or didn’t say. They are also known for having impractical ambitions that they surprisingly manage to fulfill at times – “a whim of iron”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltXR66uz8iQ
Some whisper this “whim of iron” is in fact a cunning bargaining tool of the Averland merchants.
At their best, Averlanders are open, passionate, and honest about just what they’re thinking.
If a funeral happens to strike them as funny, well, they’ll laugh. If someone upsets them, they’ll let them know. Known to be generous, especially when entertaining, Averlanders prize those skilled at the art of telling tall tales—something wandering entertainers appreciate. Dwarfs are also very welcome in Averland as their plain talking ways are very much admired.
Greenskin Grudge: whenever an Averlander kills a non-henchman greenskin, they may recover their choice of 1 Stress or 1 Fatigue or perform a free manoeuvre.
Horsemaster: the Str-score of any horse ridden by an Averlander is considered 1 higher.
Character Creation Points, Wound Threshold and Corruption Threshold are human normal (25, 9+To, human standard – low end of the major races)
Since the Great War Against Chaos, Averland has had three dynasties of Electors – more more correctly one dynasty and two electors of different families thereafter.
Grünwald Dynasty (2306-2433)
During the Great War Against Chaos (2302/03) Averland’s efforts were not coordinated by any central ruler. Several noble houses and towns raised forces to fight in the war. The most heroic was Count Jurgen von Grünwald (2262-2313). With support from Magnus the Pious, Jurgen became Elector Count in 2306.
The Grünwald family held power for over a century, until the Pudding Tax Revolt of 2433. Elector Count Johannes von Grünwald (2401-2476) was forced to abdicate when he declined the opportunity to vindicate himself in a trial of combat with the champion of Emperor Wilhelm the III (the first Holswig-Schliestein emperor and grandfather of Emperor Karl Franz).
The Grünwalds still hold important lands in Averland, but the line is nearly extinct.
The Grünwald dynasty and Averland suffered greatly in 2424, when the Waaagh! of Grom the Paunch invaded the Empire and cut a swath of destruction across it before sailing from the western shores to attack Ulthuan itself. Averheim itself was spared but the many taxes levied to help rebuild the province fueled anger at the Grünwalds. This culminated in the 2433 revolt.
Alptraum Dynasty (2433-2514)
Averheim’s nobility agreed to make young Graf Kasper von Alptraum (2409-2449) the new Elector. The von Alptraum holdings were small, making him less of a threat to the other nobles.
Kasper married Johannes’ granddaughter 15-year old Ludmilla, in 2440, to placate the Grünwalds. When Kasper died in 2449, Ludmilla von Alptraum (née Grünwald, 2425- 2502) became Elector Grand Countess.
In 2451, Ludmilla married Kasper’s landless cousin Ferenc von Alptraum (2424-2470). Ludmilla kept the position of Elector Countess and Ferenc became her husband consort.
Ludmilla had a son by Kasper, Tancred (2443-2502), and two daughters by Ferenc: Marlene (2465 – present, now 57 in 2522) and Helena (2470-2506).
Count Ferenc von Alptraum died in 2470, leading a trade delegation to Karaz-a-Karak.
Ludmilla did not remarry and had no further children. Ludmilla ruled alone for 32 years, until her 77th year in 2502.
Tancred married Beatrix von Alder in 2468 and had two sons Michael (2469-2502) and Dietrich (2474-2502). Beatrix died in 2499. Tancred, his sons and their families were all killed in the Massacre of Grettstatt in the turmoil of 2502.
In 2485, Ludmilla’s daughter Marlene married Julius von Sachs (2456- 2500), a cousin of the Count of Lengenfeld. They had two children: Ferenc von Alptraum (2488 – present, aged 34 in 2522 – he was named after Marlene’s father) and Annalise (2498- present, aged 24 in 2522).
In 2488, 20-year-old Helena married 21-year-old Count Marius von Leitdorf (2467-2522). Marius’s family had claim to Steissen before it became a chartered town and the von Alptraums hoped this marriage would smooth over the anger at its loss.
In 2502, when Halflings opposed Averland’s attempts to build a road through the Moot, the Grand Countess gave her son-in-law Marius command of the state army as Grand Marshal of Averland and loaned him the Averland Runefang, The Sword of Ruin (also called Mother’s Ruin).
At the Battle of Nearstream, Marius defeated the armies of the Elder of the Moot, and ordered the death of every Halfling standing against him.
While Marius and much of the state army was in the Moot, the Streissen Freistadt broke out in the Bread Riots over food shortages. The town council asked the Elector Countess for troops to restore order. Ludmilla agreed only once the town gave up its charter. The troops massacred rioters, leading to recriminations against the von Alptraums.
When Ludmilla then proposed to keep Streissen under her personal control rather than return it to the Leitdorfs (its rulers before the charter was granted), Averland’s nobility decided creating a free town was always just an elaborate plot to transfer holdings. The von Alptraums were even accused of having instigated the riots.
The worst came when Ludmilla’s only son Tancred, both of his sons (Michael and Dietrich) and their entire families were killed in the Massacre of Grettstatt – Averland’s single greatest loss of noble lives away from a battlefield since the invasion of Gorbad Ironclaw in 1707. To this day, the von Alptraums suspect that the Leitdorfs were behind it, trying to wipe out their rivals, though it is generally believed to have been the work of Streissen loyalists avenging the Massacre of Streissen.
News of these deaths caused the 77-year old Grand Countess’s health to suffer.
Marius von Leitdorf was made Grand Marshall of Averland and beyond commanding troops he took a greater role in the province’s governance.
On her death bed in 2514, Ludmilla’s heart finally gave out. She named her daughter Marlene von Alptraum her heir. Marlene’s son Ferenc was her only male descendant. He was a sickly 14-year-old yet to do any of the “credibility and connections” tour young nobles use to establish themselves.
While the Alptraums mourned, Grand Marshal Marius von Leitdorf was cast as champion both for former Leitdorf subjects being oppressed in Streissen and for the nobility’s traditional rights. Riots in Streissen, Averheim and Heideck called for the Grand Marshal to depose the Alptraums by force.
Support for the Alptraums dropped among commoners and nobles alike as wild accusations flourished. Rumours circulated that the von Alptraums were radical Ulricans denying Sigmar’s divinity. The League of the Hammer agitated that they were unfit to govern.
Marius used his marriage to Helena von Alptraum to claim that he was the only contender capable of leading Averland’s armies, completely ignoring the question of Marlene von Alptraum’s claim to succeed.
Leitdorf Dynasty (2514 – 2520)
On Festag the 7th of Erntezeit, 2514, in Averheim’s Temple of Sigmar, Marius was blessed as Grand Count of Averland. Averheim’s High Priest of Sigmar, Lector Godifridius (predecessor to current High Priest Disciple Kurgan) endorsed him as did gathered nobles and burghers, to cheers from the Plenzerplatz crowd (lubricated at end of the annual Wine Festival).
Thus Marius von Leitdorf came to power and would rule for 6 years, eventually dying in battle at the age of 52.
Marius and Helena had two children, born before he became Elector Count: Leopold (2489-2519) and Rufus (2491 to present, aged 31 in 2522).
Leopold von Leitdorf was a tall, athletic and popular young man. At 20, he killed Hildebrandt von Alptraum in a duel (the father of Clothilde and Mathias).
In 2512, Leopold married Magda von Jungfreud (2493-present) of the Reikland noble family and was made Count of Heideck (despite arguments over its possession). In 2513 Magda gave birth to their only child, Eloise.
In 2515, Leopold entered the Knights of Sigmar’s Blood for a tour of service in which he distinguished himself well. However, in 2519, Leopold and two other knights were lost escorting zealots pursuing a secretive visionary quest into Black Fire Pass. His body and the Königsring (Ring of Kings) were never recovered. This expedition may have been among Vorgaz Ironjaw’s first victims. It is said Marius made his last ill-advised charge against the Orc Warlord crying out “For Leopold!” Recently, Leopold death has been confirmed.
Rufus von Leitdorf is now Marius’ only direct living heir.
Marius’ death in 2520 left the Elector Count position vacant. His personal title of Graf of Streissen passed to his son Rufus von Leitdorf.
Rufus’ supporters at first claimed he was automatically the new Elector Count and tried to arrange the ceremony of succession and coronation.
However the other noble houses and temples did not recognize the claim and even Rufus seemed more interested in his latest paramour (eventually his wife). Disciple Kurgan of the Temple of Sigmar was away with the army mopping remnants of the greenskin horde, and Unterlector Kurt Algirsson was unwilling to act alone to carry out the ceremony.
The Alptraums tried to put forward a candidate but could not agree to support Ferenc von Alptraum as he was seen to be too unpopular.
The “moment” passed as the both families tried to agree internally on alternate contenders while paying pamphleteers to feed the worst suspicions of their rivals. The situation has only grown more complex and resolution seemed to move further away from being realized as months became a year and now almost two years.
“Long Live Leitdorf!” (2520-present)
In the absence of an Elector Count, nobles have continued to govern their estates and holdings while the Council of State attempts to deal with matters of provincial policy. Many merchants freer to move goods have found the situation profitable, leading to the toast “Long Live Leitdorf” (meaning long live the reign of a Council in the Leitdorf name but unable to do very much).
The governance of Averheim itself, which usually rests with the Elector Count, also has fallen to the Council of State.
The Council of State has become increasingly dysfunctional over these past two years. As long as Marius was alive, rivalries among noble houses and their supporters were restrained. Now that the electorship is open, restraint is vanished and the Council is able to make fewer and fewer decisions. For example, efforts to appoint officials administer Averheim or replace existing offices that fall empty are bogged down as each candidate’s potential preferences among Electorship contenders make them unacceptable to one faction or another.
The early appointment of Captain Marcus Baerfaust was the only significant decision the Council was able to make. Captain Marcus Baerfaust of the Averland Greatswords, a hero of the Third Battle of Black Fire Pass, was given command of the Greatswords and responsibility for the security of Averheim.
Captain Baerfaust went north with the army in 2522 to fight in the northern war against Chaos. He was subsequently relieved of his command in Altdorf when it was discovered his aide was part of a conspiracy. Though he was not compelled to do so, out of his own shame, he accepted the vacant position of Governor of the Imperial Penal Colony of Sudenburg. Word of Captain Baerfaust’s fate only reached Averheim at the end of Nachgeheim 2522.
In later 2522, Averland was swept by a witch-burning crusade when the complicity of a coven of witches in a plot against the Leitdorf family was revealed.
Leopold von Leitdorf’s disappearance was found to be witch-plot against his family. Word was also extracted from from a witch that none other than Marius von Leitdorf, mad count of Averland, was the victim of their hexes. His famed madness was all their doing – revenge for the Leitdorf persecutions of their kind.
So not only did witches create the current succession crisis by taking Leopold out of circulation so he could not be the clear heir, they were responsible for years of Marius’ misrule!
Konrad Mauer, The Black Cowl and his older sister Katerina were revealed to be members of the coven (both are still at large).
The witch hunts raged out of control, killing many innocents. The Sigmarite (Leitdorf in particular) and other noble families come into conflict about trials interfering with local authority. This escalates with word that Leopold is dead., obtained by an interrogation conducted by Witch Hunter Captain Mathias Heidelman and Elke.
Conflict between the minor and cadet families and other supporters spills blood as the two factions increasingly come to blows when they meet.
Peace is eventually enforced in Averheim itself by the Knights of the Broken Sword (regional order of Knights from Wissenland and Averland) and mercenaries hired with funds from Frau Beatrice Hurdleberger.
By later Fall 2522, the Storm of Chaos suppresses the threat of civil war with fear of the external foe.
With the war over, it is expected that the noted son of Averland, General Ludvig Schwarzhelm will come to Averheim and – ONE WAY OR ANOTHER – this nonsense will come to an end. Averland will have a new Elector or someone will explain why not to the Sword of Justice.