The Old Ones
The southwestern-most of the Imperial Great Provinces, Wissenland is bounded by mountain ranges on two sides and the river Reik to the Northeast. 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.
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 mountain dwarves 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 Dwarves 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 neighboring realms, some of which are vassal states of the Empire itself. Almost all the pass roads converge at Wurzburg, which has prospered from the business brought to its many inns and stables, some of them over a thousand years old. Many travelers take their time to sample the various fine Dwarven ales that are often sold in these places. In the harsh depths of winter almost all the passes to and from Wissenland are cut off because of snow. Springtime brings snowmelt which often results in devastating floods of the lowlands. The most common exports of Wissenburg are ore, silverwork, wool and finished clothing, and wine.
“I’ve never met a bunch of more depressing people in my life”
—Hector Brunwald, Imperial tax collector.
Wissenlanders are descendants of the Merogens, 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. Little time is given for flowery words or fancy phrases, and even less to artists, poets, and foppish Reiklanders.
The folk of Wissenland are known to be a dour lot. 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.
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.
While all the gods are somewhat ritualistically honoured in Wissenland, it is Vorn and the Light that are most favored. The Lightbringer heresy has struck Wissenland deeply, as different lords declare their subjects to be devoted to one religion or another, with often violent results. Currently Wissenland is one of the bloodier battlefields of the ongoing civil and religious war, but the recent sack and destruction of the Lightbringer town of Magdeburg has heartened Vornish Imperial loyalists.
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 foreign wines at the table, they are also infamous for their flat, glutinous bread, thick mutton stews, and heavy “flinter” dumplings
Officially the province is ruled by Grand Elector Countess Emanuelle von Liebwitz, Countess of Nuln, and Duchess of Meissen. In reality she spends most of her time in the free chartered city of Nuln leaving most of the actual governance to the Prince Bishop of Wurzburg.
Feudal with an assembly of nobles, churchmen, and burghers that meets in Wissenberg at the Elector Countess’s pleasure, which is exceedingly rare. Most Wissenlanders are aware that the most tangible power in Wissenland is centered in the Prince Bishop’s seat at his Marienberg Fortress