- "Never heard of the place. It’s part of the Empire? Really? A place with Halflings in charge? Well whose stupid idea was that, then?"
- —Wissenlander innkeeper.[1a]
The Grand County of the Mootland, often referred to simply as "The Moot" is a minor and late-founding Imperial Province that was formed in the early 11th century within the fertile farmlands of the south-central Empire of Man. Located in the junction between the rivers of Blue Reach and Aver Reach, the province possesses a rich and highly fertile soil, which always brings in bountiful harvests year after year. For this reason, most of its inhabitants are farmers, and The Moot is one of the main providers of food for The Empire.[1a]
The Moot is predominantly inhabited by a race of short humanoids called Halflings. Roughly half the size of a fully grown man, Halflings are a peaceful and rustic folk, more interested in the comforts of home than adventures and warfare.[1a]
- "If all the world were like this, it would be like a Shallyan’s dream come true."
- —Rolf Eckhardt, Jade Wizard.[1a]
Sitting on perhaps the most fertile farmland in the central Empire, the Mootland comprises portions of Averland and Stirland that were torn from their rule in a fit of pique by Emperor Ludwig of the early 11th century and made into its own electoral province—ruled by Halflings. The Moot is a land of gently rolling hills and grasslands that slopes upward gradually until the land rises in the Greenleaf Hills of the southeast, where farmers raise many famous varieties of tobacco, such as Fogmaker Red, Aver Prime Blend, and the notoriously strong Fumigator. Most of the country is open, with scattered copses of oak, beech, elm, and willow along the riverbanks. The only two forests of note are the Sleepy Wood and the mysterious Alter Forest.[1a]
While the province is watered in its southern half by the Aver Reach, Blue Reach, and Aver rivers, sufficient rainfall waters the land to guarantee regular and good crops throughout the Moot. Mootland is divided into three major regions, four if you listen to some Halflings. Southwest of the River Aver is Aver March, once a prosperous barony of Averland. According to old tales, the Humans of Aver March were forced to leave the area at the point of spear by the Emperor’s troops when Ludwig gave it to the Halflings. To this day, visitors can see the ruined foundations of old castles, their stones mostly carted off for new construction that the local Halflings claimed were once Human settlements. While, it is true that some minor families of Averland claim lordship over areas of the Aver March, few take them seriously. They occasionally petition the Emperor to have their rights restored, but so far their requests have been all filed and forgotten.[1a]
Three towns dominate Aver March; Sauerapfel on the west, Einsamholz in the centre, and Dreiflussen at the southeast. Closer in culture to Averland than other regions, large herds of sheep and goats are common here, while the western march is famous for its apples. North of the rivers lies “Auld Styrlande,” an area of Mootland which was once part of the Grand County of Stirland. It is an area in which farming districts alternate with copses of wood and small fens, and is Mootland’s fertile breadbasket. Two roads access it, but neither traverses the whole of the region. The Moot Road leaves Eicheschatten and heads west, where it joins the Old Dwarf Road in Stirland at the town of Wördern. The other is a short road that runs from the settlements of Einsamholz to the town of Pfungzig in Averland. Neither could be mistaken for a major road, and, indeed, most of the traffic is from farmers, herdsmen, and traders going to sell their wares in one or another market. Inside the Mootland, traffic travels on age-worn cart paths or cross-country.[1a]
The south-eastern region bounded by the loop of the Aver Reach to the north and the border with Averland to the south is formally named “The Duchy of the Fallow Hills”, a title given to it by an Averlander lord of the 11th century who could never get anything worthwhile to grow there. Disgusted, he sold the region to the Halflings soon after Ludwig created the Moot, reportedly muttering “and good riddance” at the signing. The Halflings, however, knew good soil when they saw it and more importantly, knew how to properly use it. Using seedlings from tobacco plants they loved, but which grew poorly elsewhere, they planted fields of the crop along the river and in the valleys, so much so that the area is simply known as “Greenleafs” today, and provides a major cash crop for the Moot. The Mootland government is so anxious to increase their share of the market that they sent traders on long trips around the Empire to give out free samples, in the hope that happy customers will want and pay for more.[1a]
- "All the Big Folk think we’re either cooks or thieves. It’s wrong, I tell you! Do we not have rights as Imperial citizens? Aren’t Halflings whole people?"
- —Eric Greensmoke, Halfling.[1a]
The people of the Mootland are the halflings — not “people” at all in the human sense, but a race roughly half the size of normal men that have always seemed to be wherever man has gone. The dwarfs record that a tribe of “beardless manlings we first thought to be children” travelled with the human tribes as they passed through the Worlds Edge Mountains. On the other hand, some Imperial scholars think the halflings are a race of man experimented on by the Tilean goddess Verena to find a way to resist Chaos, while a few others argue the trickster god Ranald created them as a bizarre joke.[1a]
Regardless of what others say, the halflings simply say they are as they have always been. The Moot is seldom visited by folk of the other provinces, for few can put up with the halflings for long. Those that do go there tell of the sly, secretive undertone to the halfling character. Theft, mockery, and clannishness are rife. Halflings returning home to the Moot find they are welcomed, to an extent. The fertile lands of the Moot have made life easy for the halflings that live there, and they seem unwilling to be reminded of an outside world.[1a]
Halflings in the Moot and elsewhere have never been known as a martial people, and the idea of halfling warriors is the butt of several jokes amongst humans. The truth, however, is somewhat different. In defence of their homeland, or districts within a human town during a riot, the normally placid halflings can be aggressive and brave. During the reign of Karl Franz, as part of the war effort, Elder Hisme sent a large contingent of halflings to act as scouts and skirmishers for the Imperial Army. Several were mentioned in despatches by their commanders for their bravery and resourcefulness, though these were often accompanied by complaints from the quartermasters.[1a]
Places of Importance
- Sauerapfel - Near where the Aver enters Averland sits the village of Sauerapfel, so named for its famous apple groves, which stretch for miles and miles around the village on both sides of the river.[1a]
- Gipfel - A small village in the heart of the Greenleaf Hills, Gipfel is the centre of tobacco production in the Mootland.[1a]