“Your title is worth nothing if I can take it from you.”
The Bloodlines of Angheim’s many noble families emerge from before the dawn of Sollundom, and Angheim’s mighty gaze reaches out across the globe… whenever it is not distracted by its own past.
The Kingdom of Angheim is the most royal of royals. They are steeped in ancient power and the trappings of authority, with one’s place in society determined both by lineage and by the potency of one’s blood. Those who are not royal are often those who seek out something new beyond their homeland, whether they be natural philosophers, adventurers, outcasts, fifthborns, or weak-blooded nobles trying to find land to call their own.
The Church in Angheim is everywhere, but essentially powerless; it is a plaything of the nobility. Noble Angheimers adhere to whatever faith is most politically expedient. They are a society that cares only for power, their weapon of choice is the sword, and their clothing often features buttons. Their national colour is red.
The Prince and heir to the Angheim throne voyaged to Osterheim and was tragically slain. This combined with the loss of the Black Shores to the Padricians, was seen as a sign of weakness in leadership. The nobility of Angheim, led by House Cortez, overthrew the Monarch and claimed the throne. The new Monarch has commissioned a second colony on the shores of Osterheim and the fleet has offered aid to the citizens of Old Adelina.
In the wake of the Black Shores conflict Angheim & Tassanoss signed an alliance to defend against Padrice. Furthermore, the trade agreement between Angheim & Iskaland has solidified into formal alliance, though it remains to be seen whether this will hold up considering the influence of the Matrial Pontiff on the Iskan Duchies.
Angheim is perched across the Northwest of the Continent, bordering all the other major powers, with exposed Northern lands subject to frequent Heathen raids. Angheimers look beyond their lands with a watchful, suspicious eye, and permanently strive to ensure that they are at an advantage.
Angheim’s terrain is mostly vast swathes of windswept moors. Hills grow to mountains in the South along the border with Tassanos, and flatten to the East along the Iskan border. The jutting Western peninsula reaches out towards Osterheim. The interior and the West are characterised by hot, muggy summers and cold cloudy winters, while the elevated mountain ranges feature cool, alpine summers with snowy, frozen winters. The weather is mostly dry except in Spring, when rains blow in from Iskaland and the snows melt. The North gives way to cliffs and crags breaking into islands in the Arctic seas.
- The Blood Moors are a vast expanse of Nobles' holdings carved up into fiercely-contested domains, named for the strength of the Blood in these lands, but also for the amount of blood spilled upon them. Thousands of petty nobles build extravagant fortifications and engage in showy displays of power, each attempting to convince those around them of their strength. As a result, the vast network of castles and keeps across the Blood Moors make Angheim - as a whole - essentially unconquerable.
- Covered in deep, dark forests and claimed from Heathens comparatively recently, The Iron Peninsula has been colonised by upstart, ambitious young family lines. Fifthborns, refugees from the Blood Moors and others seeking to make a name for themselves were obliged to seek out land here to claim as their own domain. Now, generations later, the Iron Peninsula is full - forcing adventurous explorers to reach even further East.
- The Silent Heaths are a series of bare hills and mountains capped with ancient ruins and henges. The area is inhabited largely by common people since the Blood, for reasons unknown, fails here. The cunning inhabitants of the Heaths are excellent farmers and engineers, cutting fields into the sides of hills and turning their produce into leverage for their safety. Despite having no real capacity for trade, expansion or defence the surprising Heathfolk have created a space where they can flourish, and earn the begrudging respect of the rest of Angheim and the rest of Atlas.
Angheim is ruled by an absolute Monarch, exercising direct control over the entire country. The Monarch is always the most personally-powerful Old-Blooded Noble in the land, and is proven as such by maintaining the position against any and all attempts on their person. The Monarch rules from the Capital by decree and by envoy, appointing officeholders to positions of power, and using considerable influence to keep them from rebellion. Reliable envoys are armed with authority and tasked with a mission, while shadowy agents monitor and control foreign affairs in a more underhanded fashion.
Angheim’s nobility enjoys hundreds of years’ worth of inherited wealth, and reside in ancient castles built over generations of war against foes internal and external. The Old Blood is richest in Angheim, and the inherent competition created by its power means that violence between nobles is commonplace. There are whispers that this conflict is fostered by the Monarch to keep them occupied. Frequently, these disputes have been settled by duels, rather than open warfare, and a fashion of duelling has spread not only among the nobility but also among the gentry and the common people.
The Old Blood is revered in Angheim as the true fountainhead of legitimacy and power. Demonstrating that power is essential in rulership, because a weak ruler is easily unseated. Angheim’s Nobility walk a fine line between autocracy and outright tyranny. The constant threat of being unseated and having one’s power consumed keeps most highborn very wary, and the natural conflict this creates means they do not often gather - except to muster for war against a common foe.
The Monarch is the head of the Church of Angheim, partly recognised as such by the Pontiffs in Tassanos but mostly because nobody is strong enough to argue the point. Religious offices are appointed not so much on theological merit, but on loyalty and the value of the appointee to the Monarch. Bishoprics are frequently handed out to lesser nobles to keep them quiet, and the officeholders will just as happily siphon money from the collection plate to keep themselves in luxury. Neither the Patronic nor Matrial Church has any real power in Angheim, and even common priests spend more time counselling their lords than they do tending to their flock. An undercurrent of true believers runs through Angheim, despite suppression by the Monarch's agents, and unofficial and discreet meetings are where the faithful gather.
The national colour of Angheim is red. Their palette is ruled by rich colours with showy adornments. Intricate patterns and decoration are commonplace, with Angheimer attention to quality and detail prevailing.
Jewellery of all kinds is very common, as nobles and commoners alike seek to put their wealth on display as a kind of power plumage. Gold and silver are often freely mixed according to the taste of the individual.
Angheim’s clothing features buttons as closures and also as decoration, often complemented with rich embroidery. Garments should be cut with a high, round or bunched, waistline to emphasise or hide the wearer’s physical presence as preferred, with fabric usually falling loosely below the waistline in both practical and fashionable garments.
Soldiers on campaign might wear the slashed, colourful garments of Landsknechts, in similar fashion to Warhammer’s Empire soldiers. The new “Redcoat” units wear early versions of their real-world counterparts.
Styles from the early Renaissance should be applied to Angheimer fashion, emulating the Henry VIII and Burgundian looks.
Headwear from the early Renaissance, such as flat caps and bonnets, gable hoods or wimples, are most appropriate for characters from Angheim.
- Power: All Angheim’s people take their lead from the Monarch, and respect nothing so much as pure strength. This is generally considered best demonstrated by being the last person standing, but it can also be exerted in more subtle ways.
- Diligence: A careless person is supplanted by a more careful one. Angheimers value detail and are known for attentively completing their tasks. Whether it’s perfecting their longsword technique, practicing their craft, or checking their bed for scorpions, the people of Angheim are perfectionists, or they are replaced.
- Cunning: Angheimers are not all mighty beasts capable of legendary feats of strength. Those without a talent for violence need something else to fall back on, so there is also a strong culture of cleverness and quick thinking in Angheim. Just as impressive as the warrior who slew a foe by throwing a horse at him, is the priest who tricked his lord into drinking murk water and stole his crown.
- Ambition: Despite the lack of trust running up and down Angheim’s social structure, the people as a whole see their ruthless opportunism as a virtue. It means that any office is held by the most capable individual, that failure is punished, and that careful planning is rewarded. Angheim is stronger for it, as each person strives to excel at whatever they do.
- Paranoia: The endless plotting of Angheim’s social order is not without its price. Constantly looking over one’s shoulder is not conducive to a trusting environment, and Angheim is a largely trustless place. Everyone is a competitor, someone who might steal your glory, profit or station. Ruthlessness: When given authority, the people of Angheim exercise it with an iron fist. From the lowest workshop supervisor to the very Monarch, power exists to be used. Service is rewarded handsomely and success is recognised, but always with a mind towards ensuring ongoing subservience. The precarious nature of one’s station means that failure, disobedience and challenge are all punished without mercy, regardless of their cause.
- The Holy Roman Empire’s mess of overlapping jurisdictions and history of noble rule.
- Imperial Russian autocracy
- The corruption of the Italian city-states, and the nature of power there (as outlined by Macchiavelli)
- Spanish and british exploration and conquest
- Wars of royal inheritance (such as the Hundred Years War, the Troubles and the War of the Roses).
Some Typical Angheimers
- The Old Blood: powerful, clever and permanently on guard, ever on the lookout for other nobles and constantly in a state of kill or be killed.
- The Intrepid Explorer: not so rich in the blood and inheritance, having decided to seek out a new life beyond the bounds of Sollundom and perhaps not get eaten by ambitious siblings.
- The Landsknecht: stalwart defender of the realm, loyal to the Monarch and keen to prove that the longsword is still mighty.
- The Conquistador: packed aboard a ship for months on end, lured by promise of coin and glory. Very much unwilling to let that promise go unfulfilled.
- The Wool Merchant: not necessarily wool, but a successful business operator and cunning operator, taking advantage of the nobles’ laissez-faire approach to commerce by becoming richer than them.
Things to avoid
- Actual evil: A lot of people from Angheim are total bastards, but they have good reason. Simple idiotic malice is not common among people who want to survive - since even the most tyrannical ruler has to sleep sometime.
- Game of Thrones: While there is some of GoT’s scheming and conniving in the writing of Angheim, the Lannisters, Starks and Baratheons have no place in Blackpowder & Bloodlines (nor any of the others, neither!).