- "Sturdy, stout folk in a fight. They seem to take the blame on themselves for Solland’s fall. I’m not sure why."
- —An Imperial Officer[1a]
The Grand County of Wissenland is a major and founding Imperial Province that lies at the most southern territories of the Empire of Man. The province of Wissenland is considered the Imperial armory of the Empire of Man, for it holds within its borders the city-state of Nuln, the largest industrial city within the Old World. From its workshops and factories, the city of Nuln churns out some of the most devastating black-powder weaponry known to Mankind.[1a]
Wissenland's territories was originally confined between the Grey Mountains and the River Soll, but following the destruction of Solland in 1707 IC, the territories of Solland were given to Wissenland. Ever since then, the people of Wissenland have expressed a degree of sorrow and remembrance for their neighbors, going as far as to add the flag of Solland upon their own banners as a sign of respect for their fallen countrymen.[1a]
- "A lot of them are mountain-folk, and they’re about as talkative as Dwarfs."
- —A Grissenwald innkeeper[1a]
The southwestern-most of the Empire’s provinces, Wissenland forms a triangle bounded by the Black Mountains and Grey Mountains on two sides and the River Reik on the third. Originally confined to the lands west of the Söll River, Wissenland in the 18th century absorbed what was left of Solland after the invasion of the Orc warlord Gorbad Ironclaw. Eight hundred years later, the people of Wissenland still often refer to the land east of the Söll as “old Solland” or “Sudenland,” a modern derivation. Like the Reikland, western Wissenland is heavily watered by streams and rivers flowing from the mountains that feed the Söll, which in turn joins the Upper Reik at Pfeildorf. These tributaries are fed by melting snow in the spring, leading to frequent floodings of the towns along their courses. Meissen itself was nearly wiped out from the Great Flood of 2484 IC.[1a]
The farmlands of Wissenland are fertile near the Reik, but as the land rolls towards the mountains it becomes steadily more dry and stony. Chunks of bluish grey flint are so common that many nobles claim that the land is good for little but harvesting rocks. These stones are often seen heaped at the side of fields, or incorporated into local buildings. Many Wissenland children make their first pennies following the plough in spring, plucking the offending rocks from the lands. As a result, many become skilled at catching the odd crow or hare with a well-thrown flint.[1a]
Being so close to the mountains, western Wissenland has abandoned all but the barest subsistence farming, instead heavily depending on mining for its wealth. While the Dwarfs of Karak Norn and Karak Hirn claim large areas of the mountains for themselves, negotiations over centuries have secured rights for Humans to mine, too, though this does not stop illegal operations on Dwarf lands. The Dwarfs do not take kindly to what they see as theft, and more importantly, shoddy workmanship. Overland trade is also important to Wissenland, and many passes cross the mountains from it to the realms of Bretonnia, Tilea, and the Border Princes. Almost all the pass roads converge at Wusterburg, which has prospered from the business brought to its many inns and stables, some of them over a thousand years old. Many travellers take their time to sample the various fine Dwarfen ales that are often sold in these places.[1a]
In the harsh depths of winter almost all the passes to and from Wissenland are cut off because of snow. This makes the underground river starting near Kreutzhofen and emerging near Miragliano in Tilea an invaluable source for year-round trade. Such is the value placed on keeping this “River of Echoes” open that the current Elector Countess’s ancestors agreed that the Tileans should keep control of the 150-mile-long tunnel. The revenue they gain from goods passing through their lands more than compensates for relinquishing control of the tunnel. East of the Söll, the land stretches out in rolling grasslands used for sheep-raising. This part of Wissenland, the old Solland, is famous for its high-quality wool and the fine furs its trappers bring out of the mountains. Wissenland sable is highly prized in fashionable circles in Nuln, Altdorf, and beyond. There are, however, sad reminders of the past in this part of Wissenland. The ruins of many villages and towns destroyed by Ironclaw stand in silent witness to the devastation his horde wrought. Most people avoid these ruins, either out of respect for the dead, or from fear of their Ghosts.[1a]
- "I’ve never met a bunch of more depressing people in my life"
- —Hector Brunwald[1a]
Wissenlanders are descendants of the Merogen, the tribe that settled the area in pre-Imperial days. Like the Unberogen to their north, the Merogens had good relations with the neighbouring Dwarfs, particularly the kingdom of Karak Norn, and they answered in great numbers when Sigmar issued the call to arms before the Battle of Black Fire Pass. The influence of Dwarf culture is said to be the reason so many Wissenlanders are short and practical in their speech. Little time is given for flowery words or fancy phrases, and even less to artists, poets, and foppish Reiklanders.[1a]
The folk of Wissenland are known to be a dour lot. The fall of Solland was a dark chapter in Imperial history, and Wissenlanders seem to carry this shame with them. They are a hardy people, given to few words and little emotion. Their stony implacability is known to soften when they are in their cups, and on rare occasions they might break into “The Lament of Solland” or other such lonesome ballad. At their best, Wissenlanders are stoic, dependable, and willing to endure hardship should it be needful. At their worst, they are depressing, dull, and obsessed with the gods.[1a]
For all their earthy practicality, Wissenlanders are religiously devout, their towns and villages hosting multiple shrines, chapels, and temples to all the recognised gods, as well as local spirits. Many Wissenlanders take a few minutes each day to visit a temple or shrine, working their way through the gods over the course of a week. The people of Wissenland claim this is simple devotion on their part, while cynics elsewhere cannot decide if they are show-offs or trying to cover all the angles—or both.[1a]
While all the gods are honoured in Wissenland, Sigmar and Taal and Rhya have special prominence. Sigmar’s cult centres in the west, where contact with the Dwarfs is greatest. Both Wissenburg and Meissen have large temples that host shrines for the Dwarfs to worship their own deities, whilst upriver from Geschburg in the foothills of the Grey Mountains lies the shrine of Sigmar Protector, a popular pilgrimage spot. It was here in the 14th century that a force of the Elector Count was trapped by marauding Orcs. Their destruction looked certain.[1a]
According to that legend, at the height of the fighting a great horn was heard, and from nowhere a powerful warrior wielding a hammer appeared to lead the Wissenlanders to victory. Revealing himself as Sigmar, the warrior promised he would always protect their people in their times of need. A monastery has since been built on the spot, and the monks are only too happy to give out pious icons, artefacts, and illuminated prayers in return for “donations.” Wissenlanders soften Reikspiel, and deliver it in a monotone that some folk find exceedingly depressing. Tales of death, liturgies, and mournful plays are sometimes delivered in a Wissenland accent, to heighten the feeling of the piece. This heavy, plain speaking, and practical nature is reflected in the cuisine of Wissenland. Whilst they are known to have excellent Tilean or Brettonian wines at the table, they are also infamous for their flat, glutinous bread, thick mutton stews, and heavy “flinter” dumplings.[1a]
Place of Importance
- Nuln - a independent city-state and the most cultured city within the Empire of Man.[1a]
- Kroppenleben - a village that lies at the center of the fur trade within the Black Mountains.[1a]
- Meissen - is a bustling port-town that lies at the middle section of the River Soll.[1a]