Saturday, April 14, 2018

Bjarmaland (kingdom)

A gnoll kingdom found in the far north between the White Sea and the Ural mountains, comprising of three great baronies: Gaa'Kaa, a vast area comprising the Timan mountains and the western Ural foothills; Glu'Bak, the immense lands of the Dvina and Vychegda river basins; and Yak'Margug, the tundra coastline that stretches along the south Barents Sea. Essentially, the principle landscape is dwarf taiga forests and tundra, covering an area of more than 800 20-mile hexes. Population is a mere 236,000, with only 10,000 in Yak'Margug and 66,000 in Glu'Bak. Settlements are thin and confined to the largest rivers, which allow some communication between disparate areas of the kingdom.

The largest centers are Gok'Lat, upon the Dvina river, the only market town in the entire kingdom, as well as Syk'Kar, found on the Sosola river in Gaa'Kaa. Nearly half the towns number a thousand or more inhabitants, forming immense fortifications against the largely uncontrolled hinterlands.

Bjarmaland was consolidated as a kingdom by gnolls, influenced by advancements in culture west from Samoyadia in the 4th century. Small waves of migrants established themselves over the next four centuries, primarily in Glu'Bak, until such time as war began with the elves of Ulthua. A difficult and long-lasting struggle began for possession of Lake Onega in the mid-8th century, culminating in the decimation of the gnolls at Caerlon in 811. An exodus of gnolls from the west to the east began the year after; Syk'Kar was founded in 813 as the new capital and Vor'Kurta even further north in the shadow of the Urals.

Human incursions began in the 12th century by Novgorodian traders, who found the narrow river lands too well settled to encourage military expeditions. An uneasy treaty was signed by both parties after southern Gaa'Kaa was invaded by the Mongol ogres & uruchai orcs. These did not successfully challenge the gnoll dominance over their northern lands, but forests south of the Pechora source ceased to be part of the Bjarmic domain.

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