OK, with the kinda dreary days that have fallen on us here in the area. I've been thinking of my Ardeal setting. Which is sort of my gothic/ravenloftish setting. I thought I would share a little bit of my latest revised version.
Ardeal is a land of primeval forest, mountains, valleys, and rivers. A mostly temperate climate exists in the valleys. The valleys being a combination of meadows, and deciduous forest. These valleys are where most of the towns and villages are located. The unique topography of the area, does create fog on a regular basis. More so in the fall, and spring. As one progresses up the taller peaks they move from alpine forests to snow covered caps. These caps are the source of the many rivers. Rich in resources such as wood, wool, lignite, iron, lead, gold, copper, salt and sulfur. Yet little of it has been tapped into. This is partly due to the remoteness, of the area and the shorter growing season in the valleys.
This is beginning to change as the newly completed railroad has just been established. This railroad is jointly owned by the Ardeal Royal family, and the Royal family of the Kaiserthum-Transleithania Empire. Coming up north from the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. It has one stop, and station in Ardeal. Located in the capital Alba Lulia. The Royal family is considering the idea of adding stations in other cities. But they are currently unsure of this new technology. Wanting to see and understand the possibilities before committing to a large and expensive project.
The residents of Ardeal tend to be a superstitious lot and with good reason. Dark things lurk in the shadows of the towns, woods, and mountains. Only occasionally having contact with these things. When they do appear it is an ill omen, resulting in death. Folk healers, and clergy try to protect the peasants as best they can with charms and prayers. But sometimes these events can only be stopped by the intervention of the Ardeal Guard. But many times the kingdom likes to employ what are known as hunters. They tend to operate in a quieter, and more effective manner. As the creatures of the night tend toward the undead, and lycanthropes. Which at times require special tactics.
The Eastern Orthodox Church is the primary religion of the land. Churches adorned with the Suppedaneum Cross, appear in all the towns of Ardeal. Ranging from huge cathedrals sporting towers embellished with onion domes, to small timber framed churches. All of them seem to feature a religious icon, particular to each area.
Before the conversion of the area to Christianity. The land was under the watch of two primary deities, Perun and Veles. The two of them stand in opposition in almost every way. Perun is a heavenly god of thunder and lightning, fiery and dry, who rules the living world from his citadel high above, located on the top of the highest branch of the World Tree. Veles is a chthonic god associated with waters, earthly and wet, lord of the underworld, who rules the realm of the dead from down in the roots of the World Tree. Perun is a giver of rain to farmers, god of war and weapons, invoked by warriors. Veles is a god of cattle, protector of shepherds, associated with magic and commerce. Only scattered small, and mostly abandoned chapels to them remain.
Ardeal is a Duchy in the Kaiserthum-Transleithania Empire. The Empire is a large collection of kingdoms ruled over by the dual king/emperor of Kaiserthum-Transleithania. The two largest kingdoms in the Empire.
The Ardeal Guard is the Duchy's army and police force. Like most armed forces it consists of infantry, artillery, and cavalry. Infantrymen are armed with flintlock musket and bayonet. Officers sabre, and pistol. The cavalry with flintlock carbines, lances, and sabres. The Guards primary garrison is in Alba Lulia. It maintains smaller ones in Zlatna, Doştat, Vidra, and Şibot. The garrison in Şibot has grown substantially. Preparing for possible unrest, that may be brewing.The monetary system of Ardeal is based on the Leu (equivalent of a gold piece). Lei is the plural wording for the Leu. The Leu is a gold coin produced by the Ardeal monarchy. It features a lion on one side, and on the other a tower from the Crows Garrett fortress. The Leu is further broken down into 100 Ban (equivalent of a copper piece). Bani is the plural wording of the Ban. The Ban has a Lion on one side, and a bundle of wheat on the other.
(Oh and as a side note. I've had some text background color issues that have propped up when posting. Well I fixed it. Screw you HTML, I've got your ass now!)