Freeholds

To the southwest of Autumn Land, lies a vast tract of territory that has been loosely claimed by a variety of independent city-states. The rulers of these city-states are called Barons, with one Baron usually being in charge of one city-state. The land of the Freeholds is hilly. especially to the northern part of the territory, but also has ample flat terrain, all of it usually quite fertile, making the land ideal for farming and herding. Because within the Freeholds there are few natural barriers, the inhabitants often engage in cattle raids on their neighboring city-states, and other minor border skirmishes. The natives of the Freeholds regard this as a way to keep themselves strong, and Freeholds are known to band together against any outside invasions, setting aside all internal strife for this purpose. The Freeholds are a fairly large area, and there are plenty of places within its region that are still unclaimed, making this an ideal location where many adventurers choose to retire after a life spent earning riches on the road. However, because this area has few natural barriers to check the progress of invaders, this area is also noted for being plagued by roving bandits, monstrous humanoids, and dangerous beasts of hills and plains, which require those who live in the Freeholds to be ever vigilant.

Major Races: Humans; halflings; beastfolk (especially herbivore-based beastfolk, and the Grand Turos); dwarves; gnomes.

Government: Semi-Feudal city states (exact composition of the local government varies by city state).

Nation Alignment: Neutral.

Major City-States
Surr: Baron Surr is perhaps the most expansionist and aggressive of all the Freeholds Barons, and because of this, coupled with his keen strategic sense and willingness to ally with monstrous races, he has one of the largest holdings, making him the most powerful and independent of the Barons. The Surrians (as those who support Baron Surr are called) are noted for being part of a Lawful Evil tyranny, their main city of Surr is settled far into the north part of the Freeholds, up against the southern face of the craggy Harkness mountain range, while the Surrian barony itself is sandwiched between the Blade and Sweet rivers, dominating most of the northern area between them.

Dukeras: "Two Horns" in Common, this is the main home of the Grand Turos race. The second largest city-state, Dukeras is actually two cities, both with a Lawful Neutral bent to them. Each is closely allied to the other, with their outlying regions having grown so closely together that they are essentially the same state with two separate capitals. Sardas, the more military-minded of the two cities, is located on the coast in a small delta near the Sweet river. Besides being in a state of near-constant conflict with the Surrians, Sardas is noted for having a strong maritime tradition, and for being the home port of many far-sailing pirate vessels, thanks to a strong Lawful Evil tendency among the populace of the city. The aggression of Sardas is offset by the more Lawful Good-oriented populace of Athe, the second of the cities that dominate this city-state. Set on the "horn" at the far western end of the Autumn Land continent, Athe is a nation of philosophers and scholars, though it also has a strong military tradition, and regularly sends its fighting soldiers to help Sardas, while Sardas aids Athe with assistance from its navy. While the two cities have an alignment discrepancy, the Grand Turos are united by their underlying philosophy, and so are tolerant of all who obey the laws of their lands.

Carloft: Set directly on a small spiderweb of paths that lead through the Harkness mountain range, making it an exceptionally important trade area, Carloft is only just barely on the borders of the Freeholds, and only just barely tolerated by the other Freeholders. Baroness Carloft is a powerful and ancient vampire, who exacts a "tithe" of blood from her subjects. However, despite this, the Baroness is well-loved by her people, because of her capable rule. While evil, and prone to occasional excesses, Baroness Carloft seldom preys on her own people, and acts with ruthless efficiency and startling strategic skill to destroy any and all invaders who might try to trouble or conquer her lands. Because of this, bandits and various monstrous creatures (both of which are quite common in the Harkness mountain range) give Carloft a wide berth, and its people are able to live out their lives in relative peace in the middle of one of the most dangerous regions on the continent, so long as they pay the tribute of blood to their baroness.

Killian: In a hilly area just past the bend of the Blade River, on the eastern side, where the Barony of Surr ends, is one of the most peaceful and prosperous of all the Freeholds. This Freehold is ruled by Baron Regis Killian, a halfling who settled the Freehold roughly fifty years ago with the riches he'd acquired from his life of adventure before that time. Once it was learned that a halfling Freehold had been established, many halflings, formerly nomadic, settled there and made a happy existence for themselves, alongside a sizable gnomish population that set up in the Freehold to take advantage of the chance to engage in simple crafts in peace and relative quiet. This is one of the few places on Therafim where halflings have been able to settle down in peace at last, and the settlement is Lawful Good in its setup, with Baron Killian as a benevolent overseer, and elected Sherrifs tending to the needs of individual communities within the Freehold. Killian Freehold also boasts a very potent force of mixed riding dog and pony cavalry, as well as some of the most able scouts and rangers in the land, all of which act to protect the Freehold from incursions by monsters, humanoid raiders, or the bigger folk that live around them.

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