the black forest
In the hills and valleys of the River Rhine, lies a picturesque and beautiful landscape. A large forest, known as the Schwarzwald, covers most of the land and people live in small villages and hamlets, most of them never leaving the town where they were born. And although still part of Rome, the people of this region have always felt uniquely “other.” They are not unifed by nation, or by ruler, but rather by a sense of being. To them, they are just “Diutch.” The People.
Here, in this land of unique culture and rolling hills, lies a dark and brooding menace. For an ancient curse haunts these woods. When the sun sets and night falls upon the Schwarzwald the creatures of the night roam the forest. Witches steal children from their homes. Werewolves hunt local villages. And demons and devils try to lure people away from the light of Mithra with promises of wealth and power.
Black Forest At A Glance
|Capital||City – Vienna|
|Population||Varies by Province. At least 85% Human, most non-humans in the Provinces are not Citizens|
|Pantheon||Mithra, Some Olympians, local paganism|
|Known Waystones|| Freiburg – Friedberg Minster
Vienna – Maltesekirche
|Major Threats||Border Wars with Fey, Germanic Tribes, Witches, Werewolves, The Fog|
|Regional DM||Frank Holtham|
Government, Politics, and Orginizations within the Black Forest
The land of the Diutch lack any real sense of unified local government. For years, before the Roman occupation, they were a variety of small Duchies, each ruled by a duke. These dukes would constantly war among themselves, vying for power. But after Rome moved in, the infighting stopped. On the surface, anyway. Dukes and princes still conspire and assassinate one another, but to the peasants, all they know is that they will no longer be called to war for land they do not care about.
The Romans did not stay long within the Schwarzwald. The people were too unique, too hung up in their old ways, and too "foreign to be Roman. But the pride of the people paled in comparison to what they would encounter in the woods. The fog that rolled in when the sun set. The howls of the wolves in the forest. The cackling of the hags from every angle. And even worse, the matter of fact nature that the people gave to all of this. To the Romans, these were horrors. To the people of the Scwarzwald…this was just life. So leaving a Legion or two in a Castrum to defend the borders, and tax collectors to collect money, the Roman empire mostly was fine ignoring this small, terrifying part of the empire and letting it be.
But the Roman Emprie did leave a lingering prescience. It brought architecture, and art, and most importantly it brought worship of Mithra , God of the sun. While only a fringe cult and mystery to the Romans, the people of the Scwarzwald quickly gravitated to the worship of Mithra , building churches and preaching in his name.
And the most impressive thing they brught was their armies. And the people of the Scwarzwald, impressed with the structure and ruthlessness of the Roman legions, learned and copied it. And built from the ideas built their own organization to battle the horrors that lurked within their woods. And thus, the Hexenjaeger, the Witch Hunters, were born.
The Hexenjaeger are ruthless, and they are brutal. When they are called to a village, they will do all in their power to root out the source of the evil and destroy it, and everything in contact with it. It is not uncommon for them to torch an entire village, in fear of the spread of lycanthrope. To murder entire families for harboring a witch. The Hexenjaeger are looked upon as both a blessing, and a curse to the people. They are glad their work is being done, but hope it does not come to their town.
Dragons, Blood, and Curses
An ancient legend is told among the people of the Scwarzwald. And that is that an ancient dragon sleeps beneath the forest. It’s blood bleeds into the soil, and bubbles into the springs and ponds. And legends say it is the curse of this dying beast that is the cause of all the horrors within the Scwarzwald. Whether the stories are true or not, one thing that is for certain is the existence of the substance known as Drachenblut.
This thick liquid, whose color can range from a dark rust to black, is said to be the blood of the Dragon that sleeps within the forest. It is a rare, and highly sought after material that permeates with magic power. Wizards use it as ink in their scrolls and tomes. Smiths use it to forge the powerful and rare metal Dracheneisen. And barbarians and wild warriors drink it to try and gain the power of the dragon. The Hexenjaeger keep a close eye on the use and handling of Drachenblut. For even though it is the blood of a vile dragon, it is one of the few things they can use to combat the forces of the forest.
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