Breetland is a patriarchal monarchy established (conquered) about 500 years ago over a hundred miles north of The Theocratic Republic of San Genaro. There are several Earldoms and Dukedoms held from the king and Breetland follows strict feudal law. Breetland is surrounded by mountains on three sides and the ocean on her fourth. She is a great trading nation. Breetlanders are famous for their use of longbows of yew, which is indigenous to the region. Archers are trained from about the age of 10 and Breetish long bowmen are famed as mercenaries in the southern countries, TRSG in particular. Breetland’s greatest source of income is sheep, primarily in the wool trade. In addition, Breetland boasts the best red dyes in the known world. Her coastlines are dotted with trading ports and her navy is among the best in the world. It is rumored that several of her newest ships of the line boast bombards and musketeers among their armament.
Huge tracts of land are set aside as ‘Royal Forests’. These are nominally for royal hunts and fishing. They are not all ‘forests’ per se but land which can be arable, with meadows, forests, rivers and lakes. Trespassing in the Royal Forests is subject to severe fines and penalties, up to and including death. Poaching is a capital offense, whether beast or fish or foul. At certain times groups of workers are allowed special license to do work in the forests, including the woodcutters and charcoalers guilds to name a few. These are extremely hard to come by and are closely monitored by the Wardens of the Forest. Each forest has a very mobile force of protectors and defenders (Wardens). These forces always contain rangers and druids and can even boast a tree hugging MU or two. Needless to say, trespassing without written license is forbidden. The Wardens are the only people who make the Forests their domicile. The Wardens primary job is to keep the ‘monster’ populations at a minimum and prevent humanoid settlements on lands where they know they are likely to be unmolested by humans. They also enforce the King’s Law regarding trespassing and poaching. On ocassion, land grants previously held by subjects revert back to the king’s holdings and it is possible that ruins of previous tenants are still there. The Wardens do their best to keep these ‘monster’ free.
Breetland boasts few large towns. Essentially most of the country lives in villages centered on individual manors. Most towns are on the coast where trade goods ingress and egress. It is also from these port towns that most, but certainly not all, adventurers come. The sons and daughters of merchants and tradesmen, they have the freedom to travel as they will and usually just want something more exciting than their father’s business.
The Manoral System
Breetland follows strict feudal law and every lord is expected to provide ‘x’ amount of military support to their liege according the size of their fiefdoms, all held from the king. Each lord must provide at least 10 men per hide (roughly 120 acres) when required. Each knight needs at least 10 hides to provide him with the income to maintain his knightly status as a cavalryman. The lord of each demesne executes all manoral law with strict adherence to custom and precedential systems of rewards and consequences. These are not ‘kangaroo’ courts and most of the peasants can expect justice from their lord. It likewise behooves the lord to keep his peasants as happy and functional as possible, so it is in his best interest to be fair.
Breetlanders have less natural resources and arable land as their neighbors. It is therefore imperative that they follow strict adherence to the manoral system to maximize their potential production. Fields are rotated fallow and crops are rotated as well. Rye, barley , flax and wheat are common crops in Breetland. Most manners will keep ponds for fish, ducks and geese, and cotes for doves and pigeons for their meat and eggs.
Each peasant is required to work 5 days a week on the lord’s land and 1 day on their own. One day per week is set aside for rest, worship and other business, including military training. Most peasants are indentured and have contracts in increments of 7 years. If unable to pay rents, it is likely peasants will be expelled and forced into serfdom on another manor, which is as close to slavery as can be. Few serfs ever regain indentured status. It is from these landless serfs that the great bulk of Breetish mercenaries come. After years of military training with the bow, they flee to southern countries where they are no longer held without hope of betterment and can be paid and live free.
Breetland is mildly monotheistic. The Church of Tah dominates the other religions, although it is not above reproach by the people. Lately the Reformed Church of Tah has been gaining support as it’s adherents decry the excesses of the mother church. While all priests of Tah carry a gold or gold plated talisman as a device of their god, the Reformers are known by the universally displaying of only wooden versions of the same symbol. The Church of Tah was brought to Breetland when she was conquered 500 years ago by Hermannic invaders. All of the previous pagan gods of multiple pantheons were forcibly combined into the Church of 500 Gods. Within this church anyone can worship the god(s)(ess)(es) of their choice, however due to the constant bickering and arguments between opposing church hierarchies, the church never poses a threat to the Church of Tah, as was the design. To this day, usually it is the descendents of the indigenous population who worship in the church of the 500.