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"Hochland was once the Light of the East. Now it's just embers."
A Hergig refugee[1a]

Hochland, officially the Grand Barony of Hochland, is one of the founding Electoral Provinces of the Empire. It lies in the north-central region of the Old World. Within the boundaries of Hochland, like its neighbor Ostland, lies a portion of the Middle Mountains and vast tracts of untamed wilderness.[1a]

Because of these similarities, Hochland is often compared to its larger and wealthier northern neighbor. "Ostland's little brother" is a term often used to describe the Grand Barony, although never in Hochland itself.[1a]

Despite their backwards reputation within the Empire's more cosmopolitan regions, the people of Hochland are no less sturdy nor skilled than their Imperial neighbours in terms of military capability, as many of the best archer and marksmen regiments within the Empire's military are native to Hochland.[1a] 

Like their brethren in neighboring provinces, Hochlanders are amazingly resourceful people, a trait that is common to the folk of the Grand Barony starting in childhood. Hochlanders are also amazing hunters and trackers, skills that originated with the tribal traditions of the Cherusen people who originally settled the region.[1a]

Geography

Talabecland landscape

The heavily forested woodlands of the Grand Barony of Hochland.

Comprising the eastern end of the Drakwald Forest, Hochland is a heavily wooded province bounded by the Middle Mountains to the northeast and the waters of the Drakwasser, Talabec and Wolfs Run Rivers on the west, south and east, respectively.[1a]

West beyond a strip of Hochland on the left banks of the Drakwasser lies Middenland, and Talabecland lies to the south of the Talabec River, while Ostland girds Hochland's northeastern borders. Deep within Hochland are the Weiss Hills, a treacherous mixture of hill country and fens watched over by the lonely bastion of Fort Schippel.[1a]

Though Hochland is mostly covered in forest, the farms along the river banks and around the province's villages are fertile thanks to the many rivers and streams that flow south from the uplands of the Middle Mountains. This makes Hochland self-sufficient in food, although luxury victuals have to be imported from Middenheim and Talabheim.[1a]

Heavy snows in the winter and rains in the spring make Hochland towns susceptible to flooding, though the prior ruling house of the Tussen-Hochen invested heavily in dikes to control the flood water.[1a]

Heading north from the Talabec River, the land rises gradually to the massifs of the Middle Mountains, forbidding peaks claimed by many, but wholly controlled by none. Three main roads wind through the province: the Old Forest Road, the North Road, and the New Road. The Old Forest Road runs from Middenheim and Talabheim and beyond, the Hochland portion leading from Krudenwald near the shrine-town of Gruyden before coming to the Talabec Ferry.[1a]

Hochland v2

A map of Hochland.

The North Road carries traffic from Wolfenburg in Ostland to the town of Krudenwald, while the New Road opens the way from the lands of southern Ostland to the town of Delbez and then to the Imperial capital of Altdorf. These were built by prior grand barons of the province as part of a plan to develop Hochland's economy through increased trade, tolls, and tourism. Hochland's primary items of export are timber and woodcrafts.[1a]

Thick forests of oak and sycamore grow in the south of the province, while pines and cedar are predominant in the north. Guilds of lumbermen cut down the trees, trim the trunks and float the logs downstream to mills in the settlements of Esk, Bergendorf, Krudenwald, and Hergig.[1a]

The logs are then bought by brokers, loaded on barges, and shipped out. Woodsmen in the south are awaiting the construction of a lumber mill along the Talabec by Count Aldebrand Ludenhof, so they won't have to delay shipping their goods to Ahlenhof in Middenland, but that plane has since been delayed.[1a]

The mill in Hergig is a recent and quite controversial development, for the Elector Count of Ostland felt its existence encouraged illegal logging in his lands and so he demanded tolls for lumber floating down the Wolfs Run River. [1a]

Deep within the forests lies the Weiss Hills, a sparsely inhabited area of moorlands and low hills that are mainly traveled by poachers and licensed trappers and hunters. Much of the land is a royal demesne of the Counts of Hochland, watched over by the warden of Fort Schippel.[1a]

Hochlanders

"We survive, and where there is survival, there is hope."
Elector Count Aldebrand Ludenhof[1a]
Hochlands24

In Hochland, it is often said that a man may love his Longrifle more than his wife.

Hochlanders are for the most part descended from the proud Cherusen tribe that settled in this region of the Old World thousands of years ago. Having mingled for some time with the Taleutens of Talabecland, the tribe eventually left the lands of the Great Forest and migrated to a small area near the Middle Mountains. [1a]

Amidst verdant woods filled with game, these people found the home they had always wanted. Less warlike than their neighbours, they contented themselves with hunting, fishing, and singing praises to Taal and Rhya.[1a]

When other tribes of Men or warbands of Orcs and Beastmen would raid, the early Hochlanders would melt back into their forest, using deadly ambush and warcraft to defeat their enemies. By the time of Sigmar, the Hochlanders had become skilled scouts and skirmishers, and maintained very good relations with Sigmar's own Unberogen tribe, during the rule of his father.[1a]

When the barbaric Norsii tribes began invading the lands of the Cherusens and Taleutens, King Bjorn rode forth to aid his fellow rulers against the Chaos-worshippers. Though the valiant king of the Unberogen died fighting the Norsii hosts, he had driven them back from the lands of the Cherusens. Thus, King Aloysis of the Cerusens became a fast and loyal friend to Bjorn's son, Sigmar, and contributed greatly in his wars to unite the tribes of what became the Empire. Thus, after he became the first Emperor, Sigmar made Aloysis the first count of the Cherusens.[1a]

Hochland is a small but proud province, famed for its hunters and trackers. The Hochlanders' traditional dish of fired venison has been exported across the Empire, but gourmands say it still tastes best cooked under the night sky of Hochland. At their best, Hochlanders are loyal, valiant, and adaptable. [1a]

Present-day Hochlanders are amongst the most open minded and friendly people in the Empire. With their lands being a crossroad for so much of the northern and eastern Empire, they have developed tolerance that is considered unusual everywhere else in the realm.[1a]

Though mainly worshippers of Taal, Rhya, and of Sigmar, contact with travellers and merchants using the roads has made Ulric popular in the northeast, while Shallya also has a strong cult. Contact with educated outsiders has led to a respect for intellectuals, so much so that the rulers of Hergig encouraged the founding of a private academy and even a small school of wizardry.[1a]

Recognising their lands are unsuited to large-scale farming or cattle-raising, the people of Hochland have done what they can to encourage others to visit and leave some of their money behind. Shrines to several cults can be found in most towns and villages, each claiming to be the site of a miracle and having blessed relics for sale.[1a]

Fortified coaching inns sprang up along the roads for the convenience of travelers, though several had been bought by the rival Tunnelway and Wolf Runners coaching company. Fond of hunting in all its form, tales of loyal friendship and jaunty ballads, Hochlanders are also known to be easily distracted by the prospect of little sport.[1a]

Some folk of other Imperial provinces also whisper that the Hochlanders' valiant nature is due more to their naivety than any innate loyalty. Jokes about Hoclanders who love their bow or rifle more then their wives are common, though most are too rude to repeat.[1a]

This dedication to marksmanship has resulted in the excellent Hochland long rifle regiments that have proved so useful in recent times as part of the Imperial military. The Hochland spirit is said to resist defeatism in all its forms, "Even unto Death" as is the Hochlander motto. In recent years, however, much has happened to change the normally optimistic, trusting Hochlander character.[1a]

Notable Locations

  • Hergig - Hergigi is the provincial capital city of Hochland and home to the ruling Ludenhof family.[1a]
  • Esk - Esk is a small Hochlander mining and logging village in the foothills of the Middle Mountains.[1a]
  • Gruyden - Gruyden is a small shrine village dedicated to the worship of many Imperial deities.[1a]

Sources

  • 1:Sigmar's Heir (Fantasy Roleplay)
    • 1a: pg. 49 - 52

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