- "Averlanders are not bad for manlings. They're solid in character, stick to their words, and don't put on airs like those nose-in-the-air Reiklanders. And they make the best manling beer in the South! Well, that's not saying much, but you won't choke on it!"
- —Dwarf Merchant[1a]
The Grand County of Averland is a major and founding Imperial Province that lies directly to the south-east of the Empire of Man. As with the province of Ostermark, Averland has an economy based mostly on agriculture, and the raising of cattle and livestock. Unlike most states in the Empire, Averland contains large stretches of unbroken open plains and while this land is not as fertile as those in Ostermark, it proved valuable as grazing grounds for the infamous Averlander cattle herds.[1a]
Averland also has the 'honour' of defending the site of Black Fire Pass, which leads across the Worlds Edge Mountains from the Dark Lands. This is the clearest pass for thousands of miles and as such, is a popular route for marauding Orcs and Goblins. As a result of years of defending it, the Averlanders are held in high esteem in the art of siege defences.[1a]
The LandLacking the Great Forest that covers much of the rest of the Empire, Averland is a series of sun-drenched rolling plains running roughly northwest to southeast between the rivers of the Upper Reik, the Aver, and the Blue Reach. To the west lie Wissenland and Nuln, while the plains rise in the east to meet the Black Mountains and Worlds Edge Mountains. Within the mountains are the kingdoms of the Dwarfs, which stand between Averland and the Border Princes. Averland is a fertile country, its plains watered by the annual floods of the great rivers that border it. In some years, the rivers' water crests far higher then usual, flooding the cities and towns along the banks. Averlanders see this as a price to pay for having such abundant crops.[1a]
In recent years, the Elector Counts of Averland have begun discussions with the Dwarfs of Karak Angazhar in the Black Mountains to construct a series of dikes and levees along the north bank of the Upper Reik to control its waters in flood season. Both Wissenland and the Engineers' Guild of Nuln have protested this. The former because they feel their lands will suffer more, while the Engineers' Guild claims such work is theirs by right and should go to Human workers regardless.[1a]
Away from the rivers, the plains rise gently to the geographical centre of the province, where the Old Dwarf Road and Agebeiten Road meets the town of Heideck. The interior of Averland is given over to small villages of tenants that dot the vast fiefs of the rural nobility. In the west and central portions of the province, nobles devote themselves mostly to raising the famous Averland longhorn cattle, leading their herds each year to the stockyards of Averheim and Loningbruck for slaughter and export. While some barons, particually near Nuln, have adopted sophisticated airs and consider themselves above actually guiding a herd to market, more conservative and traditional noble families still consider it a point of honour to personally lead their cattle, showing them off before rivals. Residents of the two towns know to stay out of the local taverns when the cattle lords are in town, as their retainers like nothing better than a good brawl.[1a]
In the south-central and eastern portions of the country, cattle raising partly give way to viniculture and winemaking, as the country there is more suited to the growing of quality grapes than in most parts of the western Averland. Grapes are either pressed and the wine made on the estates, or the grapes are transported to nearby towns where brokers will sell them to local Wine makers. Famous and infamous Averlander wines includes the Grenzstadter White, which fetches high prices in Marienburg where it is the fashion, and Loningbruck "Ruby" Wine, which is produced quickly and cheaply and is popular with discerning beggars from Nuln to Carroburg.[1a]
The Far East is home to traders in gems, minerals, and furs. Many humans mine the foothills of the Black Mountains and Worlds Edge Mountains, giving a portion of the take to the local lords in return for rights to work the mine. Few venture too far into the mountains in search of mineral wealth, however, for eventually they would trespass on the claims of the Dwarfs, who have no hesitation about hauling a claim-jumper before a Human court and demanding restitution. The Elector Counts of Averland are anxious to keep the Dwarfs happy, and they have secretly instructed their local vassals to help find for the Dwarfs whenever possible.[1a]
The furs commonly brought down from the mountains are beavers, otters, and the rare blue mink, named for the bluish sheen to its fur. Quality furs fetch high prices in the markets of the big cities, and trappers have to be wary of those who would steal their hard-won gains.[1a]
- "How does an Averlander tell a difference between his woman and his cattle? He can't!"
- —Reiklander Joke[1a]
Averlanders claim their ancestors arrived in their province during the great migration around -1000 IC. Masters of horse and chariot warfare, the Brigundians drove out or conquered the existing tribes and made themselves lords of all they surveyed. From their great camps and fort at the future site of Averheim, the kings of the Brigundians made war against the Humans of the Unberogen, Asoborns, and Merogen tribes and the invading bands of Orcs and Goblins. They developed good relations with the Dwarfs and often provided cavalry for their armies. The Brigundians developed a reputation as fierce warriors who liked to strike fast and hard, and they had the respect of even their bitterest rivals. Indeed, their leader, Siggurd, was given the honour of accompanying Sigmar himself in the final charge at the Battle of Black Fire Pass.[1a]
While time and the movement of the people have brought new bloodlines to Averland, the Brigundian traditions are still strong. Though no longer raiding their neighbors nor riding chariots into battle, Averlanders are steady troops who keep their cool and do not break easily. Their nobles fight in cavalry formations wielding lances and sword, while the foot-militias of pikemen and crossbowmen provide support.
The people of Averland are curious folk. Folk whisper the proud bloodline of the Brigundians has somewhat curdled with time, inbreeding, and the looming influence of the Black Mountains. Already considered a little "moon-touched" by most of the Empire, the accession of Elector Count "Mad" Marius Leitdorf caused much amusement at Averland's expense. At their best, Averlanders are open, passionate, and honest about just what they're thinking. If a funeral happens to strike them as funny, well, they'll laugh. If someone upsets them, they'll let you know. Known to be generous, especially when entertaining, Averlanders prize those skilled at the art of telling tall stories, something wandering entertainers are very glad of. Dwarfs are also very welcomed in Averland as their plain talking ways are much admired.[1a]
At their worst Averlanders are contradictory, flighty, and changeable. Astrology and other such superstitions are very popular in Averland, and merchants will often ditch a deal made in "an unfavoruable hour" or on an "unlucky day." Marius Leitdorf, known for his dark depression and strange rages, was considered typical of the Averland temperment. Even Trollslayers have been heard to say that Averlanders are "a bit odd in the head." Their changeable nature has resulted in many jokes about regiments of Averlanders retreating in the face of fear, something that irritates them to no end. They resent any implication that their martial prowess is any less than that of any other states. Averlanders are also known for their intolerance of lawyers and contracts, as they imply a man might change his mind. Those dealing with Averlanders are constantly irritated with their insistence that everything be done "on honour" - particularly given their unreliable reputation. Some whisper this "whim of iron" is in fact a cunning bargaining tool of the Averland merchants.[1a]
Averlanders have a strange, almost "sing-song" element to their speech. They tend to soften harsh words and elongate vowels. Many artists and young nobles with pretensions to poetry imitate an Averlander accent, in a belief that all great geniuses are touched by madness.[1a]
Currently there is no clear ruler of Averland. Their last legitimate Elector Count, Marius Leitdorf, was killed in 2520 IC and no clear claimant to the title has emerged. The other provinces pointed out that this is typical of Averlanders - where all provinces would have a good, honest, short, sharp war, the Averlanders are insisting on a drawn out game of politics, one-upmanship and devious manoeuvring. The Leitdorfs are relative newcomers to the reins of power - having ousted the ruling Alptraum family and seized power in a brilliant if unconventional coup. This grab for power seems as if it will be short-lived however - as the deceased Elector Count's siblings and relatives fight one another, the Alptraums are quietly building money and influence once more.[1a]
To complicate matters, the favours of the nobililty seem to change with each phase of the moon - sometimes they seem to prefer one claimant, at other times, a different one. No one pretender to the title can count on support against their rivals - a situation some scholars believe to be to the benefit of the wealthy nobility of Averland, for whilst the Electoral business is carried out in a dead man's name, no new taxes, levies, or trials can take place. Indeed, many merchants have cause to celebrate this temporary reprieve from Electoral demands, and are in no hurry to see "normality" restored.[1a]
- Official Name: The Grand County of Averland.
- Ruler: None. Succession of power unclear.[1a]
- Government: Royal autocracy, supported by feudal landowners.[1a]
- Capital: Averheim.[1a]
- Chartered Free Towns: None.[1a]
- Major Exports: Cattle, leather goods, fine porcelain, wine[1a]
Locations of Importance
- Averheim - Capital of the province and major exporter of cattle and goods[1a]
- Heideck - Former Dwarf ruin that commands trade traffic from the Upper Reik and Black Fire Pass.[1a]
- Grenzstadt - Fortress-town that commands the western end of Black Fire Pass.[1a]
- Streissen - Former free chartered town that has recently been brought back to Provincial control.[1a]