- "Aye, we’ve a prince. Why, we’ve had a dozen in just the last year! They’re pop’lar in these here lands."
- —Sap Reinhorf, Dirt Farmer[1a]
A Border Prince is the title given to the regional rulers of the Border Prince Confederacy, hence where the land gets its name. More than most other lands, the Border Princes is shaped by a collection of individuals. Each individual, no matter their race or origin, will often times be known as a Border Prince when such individuals have staked a claim upon these frontier lands.[1a] The race of a prince tends to influence his style of government and the nature of his realm. These influences modify the basic style of government set by the type of prince; a Bretonnian bandit might require feudal homage from his lieutenants but still act like a criminal, while a Tilean mercenary encourages “merchant guilds.”[1b]
Dwarf princes almost never establish new realms. Instead, they reclaim the ancient holdings of their race and work to bring them back to their former glory. This means that they take on the titles held by the ancient rulers of the place and normally try to mimic their forms of government. They think of themselves as the rightful rulers of a place, and unlike everyone else, they may even be able to convince the Dwarfholds that they are.[1b]
Elves and Halfing Prince
These princes are too rare for any generalization to be made. Most people believe that all Elf lords are Wizards, a rumour that most encourage, but it is not true. Most people believe that all Halfling lords want to turn their realms into a giant pie shop. This has only happened once (or so most historians claim), and Max the Glutton used his enemies, and then his subjects, as ingredients.[1b]
Lords brought up in the Border Princes tend to be ruthlessly pragmatic, doing whatever it looks like might work at a particular moment. They have almost no respect for tradition, and their respect for military force is tempered by their knowledge of its limitations. Unsurprisingly, they are the most successful lords, as they have the best knowledge of local conditions.[1b]
Bretonnian princes almost invariably assume the trappings of knighthood and of the feudal system, awarding “fiefs” to their followers. These fiefs might be no bigger than a single house in the lone settlement ruled by the prince, but it is the honour, not the size, that matters. Many make some pretense of worshipping the Lady of the Lake and may even build a Grail Chapel. Others feel that they need a Grail Maiden at their side and so elevate some camp follower to the role. “Maiden” is normally a spectacularly inappropriate designation; these people are popularly known as “Drinking Harlots,” an insulting title with the added bonus of accuracy in most cases.
Bretonnians often name their fiefs after themselves and name the capital after the fief. If they rule multiple villages, those places are often named after the subordinates who have been made into the lords of those areas. Bretonnian princes are the most likely to call themselves “Duke;” a few charmingly naive ones even petition the King of Bretonnia to recognize their status.[1b]
Princes from the Empire often emulate the stronger emperors of that realm, having a heavy military emphasis. Sigmar is often worshipped in these regions, and the princes may try to reproduce the institutions of the Empire in miniature. This may extend to the Elector Counts, though such figures rarely have the power to actually vote. In some cases, a prince has stipulated that his successor be chosen in this way; all such realms have collapsed into anarchy after the assassination of the prince by one of the electors. This does not guarantee that it will always happen that way in the future, but that's the way to bet.[1b]
Some such princes try to reproduce other features, such as the Cult of Sigmar, the Knightly Orders, or the Witch Hunters. A few try to reproduce the Colleges of Magic, but that invariably leads to the destruction of the realm by Cultists of the Ruinous Powers nurtured in the rogue Colleges’ very bosom.[1b]
It is common for these princes to call their capitals “Altdorf,” “New Altdorf,” or something similar. Those from other regions of the Empire might prefer “Middenheim” or “Nuln” as the base, and the names of other Imperial cities are attached to tiny hamlets. This practice has led to the inhabitants giving all the places called Altdorf different epithets to distinguish them: “Drunken Altdorf” is the location of a particularly fine winery, “Soggy Altdorf” is in a swamp, and “Stinky Altdorf” is the home to tanners. All are examples that have been around for so long that the names have stuck.[1b]
Most Princes who hail from Tilea are normally mercenaries, so Tilean characteristics and mercenary ones are hard to differentiate. They are very likely to honour Myrmidia and almost invariably center their realm on the largest settlement in the area. Most encourage traders in that settlement to form a guild of merchants and proclaim the wealth and culture of their lands. Hardly any get beyond proclaiming wealth and culture, however.[1c]
Lords of the Border Princes can be from anywhere at all, and some of them left home to get away from everything to do with their culture. Thus, these princes can rule their domains in many different ways.
- 1: Renegade Crowns (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
- 2: Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (5th Edition), pg. 15