The Grand Duchy of Barabourg

Barabourg is both a wealthy and beautiful land, one of rolling, lush green woodlands and valleys sweeping down to glittering, azure-blue rivers. The land is blessed with a warm, temperate climate, and enjoys long summers and mild winters. The climate and fertile land lend well to agriculture of all types, and vineyards are to be found all over the land. Indeed, Barabourg wine is regarded as the finest in all of Lore. Further down the valleys, the locals long ago found veins of gold, silver and precious gemstones in many of the hillsides, and mining for luxury gems and metals further supports the rich economy of this land.

Barabourg is ruled by dozens of minor lords, each presiding over his or her small slice of land from their architecturally-beautiful chateaus, where they spend day and night entertaining the local gentry with lavish parties and masquerades. Wine flows freely and guests gorge of the finest of fare, while out in the fields and vineyards, the serfs and landworkers maintain the lands and the livelihood of the rich folk.

There are few towns and cities in Barabourg, with most folk either rural peasants or the lucky few that rank in the gentry. One notable exception is Beriché, the capital city of the state. Beriché is also the seat of the Duke de la Pompenadé, who rules over all the lords and gentry by a fine thread. Pompenadé has led the land for almost thirty years now, yet holds little power over the lords, and only maintains his position by a series of political intrigues, bribes and flattery of his peers. The Palais Court, the seat of government, is a known hotbed of intrigue and scandal, as the lords engage in debauchery and back-room deeds, and rule over their land with little regard for the honour of their position.

Barabourg was, not so long ago, not a united state. The Thousand Barabourg States, it used to be known. Each lord was a local warlord, declaring his individual land as a sovereign state, and border-skirmishes were all-too-frequent, leaving the land fractured, covered in a permanent pall of war and bloodlust, and of little value or interest to it’s neighbours. It was the grandfather of Pompenadé who began the arduous process of brokering peace between the warlords, showing that the fertility of the land and the value of the precious materials buried deep underground would, if managed correctly, bring more prosperity than any amount of skirmish and war with one another. Within twenty years, the land was united and old Pompenadé was declared the Duke of the lands. Now, but two generations later, the grandchildren of the warlords are plump and foppish, and combat is the furthest thing from their minds. Indeed, Barabourg barely even has an army, and had to rely on military aid from Talleslund when it’s neighbour, the Tamabor Empire, fell into disarray some years ago, and robber knights began to appear all up and down the Barabourg eastern border.

Visitors to Barabourg find the locals as haughty and aloof, a trait found in the lowest commoner right up to the highest-ranking gentry. The Barabourg people consider themselves refined and superior, and look down upon the ruffiand from the Talleslundic north, war-torn east or the religious zealots to the south, in T’munzund. Yet, many consider the fine weather, good food and excellent local wine good enough reason alone to visit, and tolerate the infuriating attitudes of the locals.