|Leader||Lord Admiral P_P_A|
The Wortland League is a confederation of independent maritime city-states and principalities.
The League's member states are scattered across many
servers oceans and border numerous other nations like Kijima, Fengolia and Endria.
The origins of the Wortland League lie in the distant Florinian Sea, on the tropical Wortland (Sabishii) Archipelago. After an invitation by the Emperor of Kijima, merchants from the city-state of Voelhaven settled the islands north of Kijima, founding the colony of Noord Wortland with its capital at Ebbenholm.
Noord Wortland was poor in natural resources, sparsely populated, and ill-defended. Far from Voelhaven, it was on its own to navigate the politics of the Florinian Sea, and relied largely on diplomacy. Noort Wortland maintained friendly relations with most of its neighbours. The constant threat of the hostile northern Kingdom of Finngolia was mitigated after multiple diplomatic crises were resolved peacefully, and a treaty with King Venomthrope granted the Wortlanders a concession on the Finngolian Exile Island.
The peace and climate drew settlers from Voelhaven who colonised the island of Madoie, rich in fertile soil and pastureland. Madoie became the breadbasket of the region and prospered through its export of grains and other natural produce to the outlying islands. Herders from the Madoie were the first to domesticate the horse and introduced it to the Florinian Sea.
Explorers from Ebbenschipp embarked on multiple expeditions into the northern ocean together with ships from Kijima and Kurwa. They charted new sea routes, built outposts along the way, and discovered the Myropa Archipelago.
The stability of the region was disrupted with the War of Voelhaven Independence. Noord Wortland was largely uninvolved in the politics of its mother colony, which had been embroiled in various conflicts and alliances far from the Florinian Sea. The locals had no say in it when the war parties agreed on Madoie as the first battlefield of the war. The Voelhavener coalition garrisoned the island and erected fortifications. The Kingdom of Finngolia sided against Voelhaven, expelled the Wortlanders from neighbouring Exile Island, and provided the enemy Rhodesian allies with a staging area.
After an initial successful cavalry charge by the Voelhaven coalition, the backfiring of a weapon of mass destruction by Voelhaven's North Enderian allies disrupted the coalition's formation and killed most of their horses. The battle turned into a slow grind. Unable to get to the Allies' underwater base, the Coalition could not land a decisive strike, and saw their casualties mount and their resources deplete as the battle raged on. Eventually an enemy agent sneaked into their base, destroyed all their beds, and thus won the battle for the Allies.
The battle was devastating for Madoie. The Wither had killed most of the island's livestock and all of their horses. Craters gaped in the once-fertile fields, now trampled and strewn with corpses. Madoie came under Rhodesian occupation. Under its new governor the island further declined, and ineffective guerilla resistance against the new rulers and scorched earth tactics by the retreating Voelhaveners further depleted Madoie's resources, until the once bountiful island had become a barren wasteland.
The Wortlanders saw the tragedy that had befallen Exile Island and Madoie and feared for their future if they were drawn into Voelhaven's wars and politics again. As the mother colony was preparing for another battle while negotiating surrender, the remaining islands of Noord Wortland unilaterally declared independence and pleaded the Emperor of Kijima for protection. Weakened from the war and pushed out of the Florinian Sea, Voelhaven was unable to oppose this move, and had to acquiesce the loss of its colony.
An exodus of Madoians followed the end of the war. Some were resettled on the Myropa Islands, but the small and frigid archipelago could not support a large population. In solidarity with their brethren, the merchants of Noord Wortland provided a fleet of transport ships and navigators to the refugees for the purpose of carrying them to a new homeland. The Madoians thus set sail into the unknown in search of a promised land to call home in a migration known as the Blue Trek. They discovered and established several colonies on islands along the way, large and small. Some proved untenable and were abandoned or lost, while others like New Madoie grew to modest prosperity.
The Madoian search for a new homeland ended after many years when their remaining ships landed on the shores of what they would christen “Scheldland”. The settlers—since joined by the Junoans—founded their first town of Joodfontein near a native Testificate village located at the southern tip of the large island of Lower Scheldland.
Aided by a mild Mediterranean climate and fertile soil, the settlers expanded quickly into the plains, dotting them with farmsteads and ranches, fields and pastures, villages and towns. The Junoans settled alongside them, but founded their biggest cities on the cape of Upper Scheldland and some farther outlying islands.
It was beneath the creaking windmills and among the windswept golden ears of wheat of Lower Scheldland that the colonists invented slavery, and put local Testificates to work on their plantations. This technological innovation transformed Scheldland into a global breadbasket.
In the meantime, Noort Wortland had established communications and commercial links with the disparate Madoian colonies. When Scheldland became a major producer of grains, slaves, and emeralds, Wortlander merchantmen were ready to carry these goods to the far ends of the world. This newfound prosperity spurred innovations in shipbuilding. New Wortlander ship types sailed ever greater distances, and established kontors, trade posts and colonies to supply the growing fleet. Wortlander merchants invested in Scheldland and took a leading role in founding cities on the eastern half of the island.
The increased interdependence of the hitherto distant and independent Wortlander city-states, merchants and settlers led to a growing sense of shared destiny and need for cooperation, which found its expression in the founding and gradual strengthening of the Wortland League
The loss of Madoie had impressed upon the Wortlanders the importance of naval supremacy, and the economic reliance on maritime trade both made clear the need and provided the means to build warships to protect their trade routes. The League provided the institutional basis for the foundation of the Convoy Fleet, which grew quickly over the years and proved a vital diplomatic and military asset. Favorable treaties were signed with some foreign powers—including negotiating the return of the Exile Island exiles—while others were subjugated through naval blockades or marine invasions and integrated into the League, which took on the character of a global empire.
On a voyage from Madoie, a Wortlander ship was caught in a terrible storm which carried her far off course. She shipwrecked on the coast of an unknown continent, inhabited by strange creatures: centaurs and fauns, minotaurs and vicious harpies. The crew marveled at their discovery, but soon found out that for how alluring the local beast-women were, they were even more deadly. An initial coastal outpost on a hill found itself besieged by dryads and werecats and circled by bloodthirsty harpies, a deadly trap.
The survivors made for the nearby island of Bokkum instead, separated from the dangerous mainland by the Fenngolean Bay. There they set about to repair their ship. This accomplished, they sailed out to explore more of the region, and established a first settlement at STILLNONAME. Finding Mahrtenland rich in resources and its fauna, flora, and womanhood of great interest, they sent word of their discovery home and set about to found permanent outposts in the area, most notably the city and de facto regional capital of Sidwig. The news spreading in the Old World also drew small groups of Fingolians and Breshikans to the region.
Testificates were abducted and enslaved to work in Wortlander iron mines. Bokkum, abandoned after the ship was repaired, was retaken from the Brothen pirates (who had taken control of it in the meantime) and turned into an entrepôt for trade with the mainland, where the United Empire of Solvada had since established itself. The Wortlander colonies grew and established footholds throughout the area, waging war on the native Anubian Kingdom of the western desert and building Fort Aurora in the icy north to get a foothold in the local fur trade.
The League's member states are highly autonomous and have their own governments, laws and policies. Most of its members are city-states ruled variously by local oligarchs or elected officials, some are monarchies, a few are monasteries. They are usually free to conduct their own foreign policy as well, but the treaties of the Wortland League forbid its member states from waging unauthorised war against each other and from trading with foreign powers that have been placed under an embargo by a decision of the Tagfahrt.
Free trade within the League is mandatory, and no tariffs may be levied on goods or merchants from other member states.
The Wortland League has few joint institutions. Envoys of the League's member states meet every two years for the Tagfahrt, usually—but not always—hosted in one of the League's biggest independent cities (Ebbenholm or Sidwig). At these Tagfahrten, unresolved disputes between member states are arbitrated, foreign policy decisions are made, and binding treaties and agreements signed. The Tagfahrten allow state officials and their accompanying merchants from various member states to exchange information and work out deals and agreements outside of the official meetings. A Tagfahrt may also be assembled unscheduled in case of a crisis that cannot be managed at a local level.
Cities that are close to each other but far across the ocean from the rest of the League are organised into regional circles: the Florinian Circle (Noord Wortland, Exile Island, Madoie†, Myropa), the Scheldlander Circle (Drellingen, Niehaven, Ostrow), and the Mahrtenlander Circle (Sidwig, Bokkum, [NO NAME YET]). These circles usually have their own Kreistag meetings, and try to resolve disagreements among each other so they can present a united front on the League-wide Tagfahrten. Some remote isolates like Nieuw Madoie are not a member of any circle.
Not every member of the League is an independent or sovereign nation. Some are tributaries of local rulers (such as Exile Island under the dominion of the Finngolian king), others (like the Scheldlander cities) are properly part of another nation, yet others are colonies and client states of another of the League's member states. Conflicts of interest occasionally arise from these situations, and foreign rulers regard with suspicion their city's involvement in the League. The Wortlanders' expulsion from Exile Island was one such bitter example. As the merchants from Exile Island being later permitted to resettle their town shows, the trade that membership of the League brings with it is usually incentive enough for a city's membership to be tolerated by its suzerain, and the League overall usually tries to maintain good diplomatic relations with allied rulers.
The Convoy Fleet, Wortland's navy, is the League's only common permanent institution. Its main role is to protect the League's shipping lanes, to escort its merchant fleets and to suppresses piracy. The Fleet also defends the League against foreign powers, and occasionally brings its full weight to bear to force hostile states into submission.
Every member of the League, large and small, contributes to the Navy's upkeep by providing ships, sailors and soldiers. Wealthier cities commonly fulfill their obligations through a financial substitute. The majority of the Fleet's sailors are therefore recruited from poorer members states, often agricultural and frontier colonies. For these men, usually volunteers, service in the Fleet is an opportunity to see more of the world and to earn spoils and fame.
The Fleet's commanders are often the scions of aristocratic families from the League's oldest members, to whom service is a matter of honour and tradition as well as a source of prestige. Nepotism often undermines the meritocratic principles of the Fleet, but lowborn men of great skill and vision do occasionally get promoted to the position of captain or admiral.
After three mandatory years of service, a man may return home or choose to stay in the Fleet, signing on for twenty-four years total. At the end of this tenure, he can choose between one of three rewards: a land grant, a ship, or a share in his hometown's trade company. Member states sometimes offer vacant farmland in their vicinity, but most of these land grants are in underdeveloped frontier colonies, often vast and come with dominion over the natives.
The Convoy Fleet is a mostly independent institution, created for the common good of the whole of the League. Certain members of the league exert more influence over its decisions than others, owing variously to their financial contributions making up a large proportion of the Fleet's overall income, the overrepresentation of their citizens among the officer corps, or historical reasons.
This occasionally causes discontent among other members of the League, who allege that the Fleet's operations benefit some cities more than others, that their obligations might as well be called tribute or taxes, or that the Fleet's control of vital trade routes holds their merchants and politics hostage. A period in which the office of Lord Admiral, that of the highest commander, was passed down from father to son over three generations spurred concerns that the Convoy Fleet was transforming into a hereditary empire. The succession of an unrelated Lord Admiral from a remote member of the League ended this pseudo-dynastic interlude however.
Although the Convoy Fleet has at times sided with some members of the League against others or blatantly acted in the particular interests of an influential city, it has shown no consistent favouritism. If the Wortland League was a state, the Convoy Fleet would be a state within the state, acting in its own interests more than anyone else's. The Fleet, as it deems necessary, colonises land to build resupply stations and fortifications to secure its control over particular sea lanes, wages war against independent states to gain access to strategic resources, and punishes members for failing to honour their obligations. These ventures have made the Convoy Fleet a landowner in its own right, and some 14 % of the Wortland League's total territory are in the Fleet's possession.
Wortland's economy is based primarily on trade.
placeholder high degree of specialisation/division of labour
Smaller members of the league commonly combine the functions of government with those of a stock company.
In lieu of paying taxes, the burghers (citizens) of a city must pay for the outfitting of trade fleets. Depending on a citizen's means, he may provide financial investment, provisions in kind, or service as a sailor or soldier. The citizenry thus shares the high risks of these voyages, but also the fruits of success: if a profit is made, a dividend is paid to every burgher. A portion of the revenue is put into the city's treasury, which pays for public works, infrastructure, military expenses, the wages of civil servants and its annual obligations towards the League.
Residents who cannot or will not contribute to a city's trade expeditions cannot hold citizenship. They may live and work in the city, but have no say in its affairs and receive no dividend from successful public trade ventures. Conversely, landowners who do not reside in a city but own farms or plantations in its hinterland may be counted among the burghers if they regularly participate in its expeditions.