Proper Names: Duchy of Minar, The Bard’s Monarchy
Ruler: Duke Jace Brookwater, The Singing Monarch [NG male Kieli human Brd8/Lyric Thaumaturge10]
Government: Elective Monarchy; dukedom is competed for in a tournament every five years – competitors must be a citizen to enter the tournament.
Capital: Minar City
Provinces: One duchy, five viscounts, ten minor baronets, and a dozen minor noble fiefs (lords, mayors, and knight-holds).
Resources: Fish, grain, metals (primarily iron, silver, and tin), poultry and eggs, and timber.
Population: 570,270 (Human 65%, Elf [forest] 8%, Elf [urbanite] 7%, Halfling [hairfoot] 6%, Dwarf [hill] 5%, Half-Elf 5%, Other Races 4%).
Currency: Watermark (pp), Lake (gp), Tarn (ep), River (sp), Rill (cp).
Languages: Anarchic, Common, Denila, Elven, Goblin, Halfling, (Kieli), Kitt, Tiani, Maviun.
The Duchy of Minar’s history goes back centuries. The city known as Minar was founded near the end of the Black Wars. Back then it was little more than a fishing village with an obscure Imperium name. The community has always been a mixture of cultures and races as it was considered a vital stopping point along the Eastern Shore waterways from Wind Plains in the north to the city of Sumdall on the shores of Guardian Bay far to the southwest. Minar broke away from its Sword Imperium overseers soon after the end of the First Ogre War. The Imperium held little sway at that point so the resulting coup wasn’t bloody. The Overseer that controlled Minar at the time agreed to and lost a challenge, which allowed the victor to free the village. The man who won victory for the village had been named Dellan Minari.
Minar is one of the founding members of the Eastern Council. It was Minari who led his community’s delegation on the journey to Lake Nest shortly after the end of the First Ogre War. There were those that were against it saying that the village was trading one dictator for another. Minari was challenged several times during the journey, but he prevailed and signed the Treaty of Lake Nest in 555 N.C., which has been a boon for Minar. When a nearby city-state attacked the growing town, the citizens of Tian came to Minar’s rescue. The two communities became staunch allies and were the backbone communities that built Minar into a duchy. The tradition of challenge has continued to the present day; although, it has evolved into a complex tournament. A duke’s place as ruler of Minar isn’t for life.
Minar, as a duchy, has survived two ogre wars. When the Second Ogre War began in 701 N.C., Minar controlled all the lands between Minar City on the shore of Lake Qualitian to the western hills of the Sunus Mountains with the southern edge of the Lake Forest as its northern border and the city of Tian as its southern border. The onslaught would have overwhelmed the small land if not for the alliance of the Eastern Council. Both Stonn and Thallin immediately came to Minar’s aid and vice versa. The Minarans also found unique allies in the elves of the Lake Forest. The elves had always kept to themselves, before, but when the ogres and their allies came down from the mountains and out of the deep swamps, the elves knew they would perish without aid. They found the Minarans to be the best choice. Since the end of the Second Ogre War, the elven communities have been official citizens of Minar.
Over the years, Minar has also fought border battles with such city-states as Flamerule and Raln. Minarans have never seen themselves as warriors and soldiers, but they have held their own against every force that has challenged them. The conflicts with Raln had always been over fishing rights. (Raln grew out of the Second Ogre War and was never considered an official member of the Eastern Council.) Facing the wrath of not only Minar, but also its allies to the north, Raln had little choice but to bend to Minar’s will. The Qualitian Belt, as a result, is considered a protectorate of the Duchy of Minar. Most recently, Minar fought a brutal war against the bugbear tribes of the Sunus Mountains, which began in 749 N.C. and ended in 751 N.C. The war has greatly changed Minar and its people.
Minar’s lifeblood is its fishing fleet and verdant farmlands. Lake Qualitian is known for its diversity of fish from trout and salmon to more exotic fare such as blackstone flying-fish. Minar’s trawlers have been dominant on the lake for centuries and its Fishery Guild controls more than two-thirds of the lake. Fishing vessels from the Midlands and the Barony of Calot must pay a tariff to fish on the lake and the fishers from the Qualitian Belt are required to be members of the guild. Only the waters surrounding the islands of Mathghamhna and the coastline of the Knotwood are beyond the control of Minar. One does not dictate to arcanists or to blood elves.
Minar has always been a pastoral land, which means it is a vital breadbasket for the Eastern Shores. Only the lands of the Qualitian Belt are more verdant and Minar controls those fields as well. Almost any sort of grain can be grow in the rich soil of the duchy; the main staples are wheat and barley, however. Unlike Minar’s fishing industry, there isn’t one single guild that controls Minar’s farmlands. Instead, the grain is controlled by the Crown; but the duchy’s farmsteads have the right to hold back enough grain to feed their communities. This local control is given up in a time of war, however.
Many of Minar’s farmers also deal in poultry and eggs but such production hardly counts as a true industry. It simply gives the farmers a second source of income during the lean years.
A close third in importance to Minar’s fishing and farming industries are its extensive mines in the Sunus Mountains. These mines constantly produce iron, silver, and tin. Duke Jace Brookwater considers the mines vital to the survival of the duchy’s future, which means the Crown keeps a firm control over the mines. The bugbears of the mountain range are a constant threat to the mines and miners, so armed patrols of knights are commonplace and many of the dwarven miners arm themselves. Mountain Keep was built to offer more protection to the duchy’s mines.
Minar also has a small, controlled timber industry. While logging is allowed in the Griffon Wood, it is forbidden in the Lake Forest. Logging is only allowed during the warmest parts of summer. The poaching of trees at any other time is considered a capital offense, and the elves of the Lake Forest have the legal right to hang such poachers. Often the criminals are hanged at the edge of the forest and left there to rot in order to frighten other would-be poachers. The usual punishment handed out outside the forest is banishment or imprisonment for no less than six months. Those that wish to burn wood in the winter must gather dead fall or buy logs in the larger communities and haul the wood back to their homes. The sale of wood is heavily regulated and highly profitable for the Woodcutters Guild.
Life and Society
Life in Minar is divided between those living in its growing urban sprawls and those living in its rural communities. In ages past, Minar had always been a land defined by its people and its salt-of-the-earth roots. Urban communities were required evils forced upon Minar by the Old Sword Imperium. For many of the duchy’s citizens, living in a city is still a foreign concept.
Minarans have always had a strong sense of community. For example, an orphaned child or a widow/widower becomes the responsibility of the community. A local family will usually adopt a lone child, while an adult who loses their spouse is treated as an honored aunt or uncle, especially if the spouse died tragically or while protecting the community.
However, while this time-honored tradition is commonplace in the rural communities, it is becoming rarer in the city of Tian, and it is no longer an accepted custom in the capital city. This loss of tradition has deepened the division as those in the cities move towards a more urbane way of life. Nobility and mercantilism has become the goal of urban-dwelling Minarans while the duchy’s pastoral populace clings to an egalitarian existence.