The city and kingdom of Roccasone, one of the Polforian states, was a human city and independent State in the Dargoina Mountains, in the Degoland Pass, during the Middle Human Age. Founded at the 2227 a.a.H by Sargonic and Degolander settlers, it will become a short lived independent state 2411 a.a.H, lasting until the fall and destruction of Roccasone at after some 29 years of independence at the 2440 a.a.H attacked by the Dark Legion of Demons, during the Second War of the Power.
Roccasone is the name of both a city and later a province and then an independent State in the Dargoina Mountains. It began from humble, frontier beginnings as a castle and trading post and grew into a sophisticated city of tall walls and buildings from high castle towers, stately homes, and fine theatres. Its well engineered constructions and magnificent natural views made Roccasone a city of wonder of the world of Aiers. It also served as a gate city, protecting the 'lands of men', and also a vital resupply point for trade.
Despite its mystique as a great human outpost on the edge of an unknown and 'evil' wilderness, the city and its lands thrived on the collective backs of slave labor. Roccasone's growth and economy required great labor in a frontier setting, which only increased as the colony developed until slavery was institutionalized as an end to itself, fueling the worst of human inclinations.
Allied Colonization Following the First War of the PowerEdit
After the defeat of the first Dark Legion of Demons in First War of the Power, the human-elven alliance made several attempts to settle down in the region of Polforia during the Middle Human Age. human settlers arrived to colonize and attempt to form the lands of Polforia as their new home. This was done as part of an allied initiative to prevent remaining Dark Legion forces from rebuilding in Polforia, and to build human, and some grey elven, colonies in these former demon controlled lands.
Due to the instability of the region, many of these new colony attempts soon failed, but some were more successful than others. Roccasone thrived due to its strategic importance as a colony that resupplied great caravans of colonists and traders going back and forth, essentially guaranteeing the city's prosperity for a long while. The general failure of the allied colonialism initiative would harm the fortunes of Roccasone as well.
Roccasone Founded as a Gate CityEdit
The City of Roccasone, founded at the 2227 a.a.H would be one of the most successful colonial realms founded in Polforia: a city guarding the mountains' path to the Northwestern Kingdoms in the Dargoina Mountains -the Degoland Pass-. Due to their location as an entrance of Polforia and strategic interest of the Northwestern Human Kingdoms, this colony will thrive for about 180 years, being known as a Frontier of Humanity: as humanity's last border into the demon lands of Polforia, especially after the fall of many other settlements and the arrival of human refugees from Polforian colonies, they will develop quite an attitude and disdain to non-humans.
Roccasone had been founded as a resupply depot and defensive citadel in the mountains, to protect human--and grey elven--colonists in their travels through the mountains, and to resupply them in venturing into the Polforian frontier. The people of Roccasone wanted to see themselves as a bridge into the dangerous unknown, and to reap the benefits of the incoming and outgoing trade. From the inception of the colonial initiative, the effort was to displace and subjugate the nonhumans or 'barbarian humans' who had aided the Daemoni and formed many of the troops of the Dark Legion of Demons.
But after the first century of the city's existence, it became increasingly obvious that the efforts and colonialism had met with failure. This failure was often due to some of the unusual and wild and less than fully productive lands composing Polforia. The failure was also largely due to the nonhumans and barbarians who were supposed to have been displaced or subjugated; but those peoples would win the contest with the colonists of this 'mop-up' operation by the Northwestern formerly allied states. Resentment in Roccasone (and elsewhere) against the native Polforian peoples would grow and grow as a result.
In a certain sense, it was almost as if the first war with the Dark Legion of Demons had never ended. It became bitterly considered that the Dark Legion's mortal minions had managed to defeat the 'good people' who had come to dispossess or rehabilitate them.
Development of Roccasone's Slave CultureEdit
The hard work of building of a colony in a difficult environment with hostile, non-human inhabitants in the new lands made conditions amenable to promoting slavery. For example, much hard work needed to be done to move earth and stone, cut paths through stone and woods, and build roads through the pass to ease the passage of caravans of hundreds of people, and large wagons. Mining operations would take place for iron and precious metals, stones would be quarried for building the roads and castles, the city of Roccasone, and mountain villages. Herding of sheep, goats, and cattle and processing of their meat and cheeses to feed both the people, and resupply the soldiers stationed in the fortifications, and the passing colonists and traders.
While much, if not most, of this work was done by free people, the temptation to use slaves began early and never abated, as the need for the roads and supplies was very great. Non-humans of the mountains and highlands and criminals were put to work very early on to supplement the labor. Soon, slaves from outside would stream into the growing settlement and later, the growing province. It was a regular sight to see for small coffles of slaves walking along with the larger trade caravans during the early decades of the colonization effort.
However, as new colonies ceased to be established, and many founded colonies failed to grow, and withered and died, Roccasone's trade and the passage of people and goods through the city slowed. But Roccasone would now use slaves in imaginative ways to produce other goods for trade, moving beyond its frontier role, and into a greater manufacturer and producer of items such as iron ingots and forged products. While free people could have done these jobs, and often did, the mining, hefting, shoveling, pounding and transporting were more and more frequently done by slaves. The western human states found this remarkable, but generally dismissed it as a peculiarity of a frontier colony.
Also, natural catastrophes -some ground quakes of the decade of 2330's- severely damaged the city, and destroyed bridges, mountain roads, and paths from the east side of the mountains to the west, which meant a further loss of contact to the west. This spurred the people of Roccasone to colonize greater areas of the western Polforia highlands, foothills and the bordering Polforian lowlands in order to support a city and mountainous province that had grown to a significant size and population over a century. In some cases, Roccasone annexed small, nearby colonies for their mutual survival, and reestablished failed colonies as farm villages. Roccasone needed to become more self sufficient, while desperately trying to rebuild their city and--more importantly--their roads to the west.
In order to gain more 'peasantry' for these newly founded Polforian petty domains under Roccasone, the native peoples, various sorts of goblins, orcs, Beast People, Kanovs, and some blood elfs and sylvan elfs, and dwarves and 'barbarian' humans were conquered and captured, and made into slaves, further swelling the slave population. Over time, the slavery instituted soon after the city's founding had become more and more a part of Roccasone society in a way that it hadn't been for the human parent nations to the west. The human nation of Roccasone would rebuild its bridges and roads with slave labor, the city's construction and the province's internal development would rise to new heights--but became an increasingly darker and different culture than Sargos and Degoland.
Additionally, the once thriving Roccasone economy would suffer greatly due to the Sargonic Wars (2407-2419). While as a result of the war Roccasone will become independent of the joint Sargonic-Degoland Kingdom (2411 a.a.H) , they at first supported the Sargonic in the war, and the proclamation of independence was instrumental to avoid the fall along with the rest of Sargos. Then, while Roccasone forces fought in the conflict, their presence was incidental, being much more important to them to maintain their economic interests, although they failed in this.
Independence was not a big leap, as the city and its domain had become increasingly isolated since the ground quakes of the 2330's and the failure of so many colonies in the hostile land of Polforia. This was not a situation that Roccasone wanted, as monies were received to maintain their internal military and trade was very important for them. Roccasone wanted to be a gateway city, bridging the mountains, and prided themselves on that. Becoming a city-state on the periphery of humanity was not at all what they wanted, but that was what happened.
Fall of the Roccasone StateEdit
There were multiple reasons for the failure of Roccasone. The loss of a vibrant economy was a big reason, as Roccasone found itself reduced to being a periphery state rather than the strategic trading city that it had begun to develop into. Its over-reliance on slaves made it a dedicated slave culture rather than a 'society that happened to have slaves' which led to detrimental societal effects and prejudice based on reasons of race and origin. Ultimately, the biggest reason was the failure of the stated colonial effort to prevent the formation of a second Dark Legion of Demons, which indeed came to pass.
Roccasone was hit very hard economically by the Sargonic Wars, and independence. For the remainder of the Sargonic Wars, the once thriving city had lost its markets to the human west, resulting in an even greater reliance on the slave trade. As well, no longer a Province of Sargos, this ended the stipendium sent yearly by Sargos to Roccasone to maintain their armies and fortifications.
Trade would improve gradually in the years following the Sargonic Wars, but never gained again the situation previous to the war, which was already depressed from the height of the city's trade several decades earlier due to the failure of the colonies established in Polforia. Overall, the city continued, but its coffers were often empty and its military readiness in the form of knights, soldiers, and castle maintenance would suffer from what it was prior to the Sargonic Wars. Although, for a city-state and human population of its size, its defenses and military establishment were still considerable.
To fill the money gap, slaves would even perform some supporting tasks in the municipal and military functions of the city, such as the city couriers and haulage force known as the Horses of Roccasone. Employment of free people would suffer even as roles for slaves increased yet more. The reluctant new State would attempt to sell its wares, including slaves, anywhere they could, such as to barbarian Polforian states, dwarven caravans, and Dungeandar drow. The institution of slavery, which had begun as a matter of expediency, had now degenerated into an end unto itself.
The glut and disregard of slaves would lead to a great slave revolt which would rock the city in 2437 a.a.H. There was a grand, fine theatre in Roccasone that was now reduced to being used as a sort of gladiatorial arena and denigrating slaves in various humiliating ways as in the manner of 'dog and pony shows'. In many ways, the theatre was a sort of model for the great and lofty exterior of the society, but the decadent and putrid soul of these people of Roccasone.
Within this arena, a--seemingly--spontaneous rebellion of the gladiator slave Pumori took place (See Pumori of the White Fang). In actuality, this was a well coordinated slave revolt which was based on most of the theatre slaves, but many other slaves outside the make-shift arena were also involved and helped make the revolt happen in many ways. For example, the slaves--'Ponies'--involved in the courier service (see Horses of Roccasone) who failed to deliver messages as the revolt was getting under way, and likely helped the various slaves plot the revolt in spreading the secret messages of the slaves. Certain mercenaries also turned against the city, such as the adventurers Bog and Gunn Oddsdottir, which aided greatly in the success of the revolt.
As a result, most of the city of Roccasone fell briefly into the hands of the slaves who had toiled there. The high citadel of the city and various positions such as city towers, fortifications and walls remained in the hands of the citizens and soldiers of the city. Having no way to truly conquer the city before outside troops arrived, and certainly no way of conquering the greater nation of Roccasone, Pumori led her followers out of the city and out of the mountain nation to various destinies in Polforia. Other slaves attempted to hold onto the control of the city, but were soon crushed.
Westward March of the Dark LegionEdit
The 2430's is also the decade that the demons returned, forming the Second Dark Legion. This is where Roccasone's role as a 'gate city' and being the 'bulwark of humanity' would come back to haunt them as faced with a greater military threat than it ever had before. Worse, Pumori would resurface a few years following the great slave revolt as a commander within the Dark Legion, and would take a special interest in the destruction of Roccasone. Between the vast army of orcs, kanovs, ogres, goblins, werewolves and demons, and its fear of Pumori and their own slaves, the city would respond poorly to the crisis. In 2440 a.a.H., Roccasone would be the first human kingdom to fall as the armies of the Demons marched with their dark Banners to the west.
Most of Roccasone's inhabitants will be slaughtered or otherwise would leave the city. Only a relative handful of survivors were able to escape before the conquest of the city was complete, while the rest were enslaved by the dark legion. Many of the survivors would be hauled off to demon cities in the east, never to be seen again. The Succubus Queen Laisha will become the ruler of the ruins of the city, rebuilt as an outpost of the Dark Legion: Skallgard, The Garden of Skulls.
After Roccasone's FallEdit
The fall of their state made the people bitter survivors, as they had to escape, taking refuge in the west. The Kingdom of Sargos, after the battle of the Sargonic Plains, seeing it wouldn’t be anytime soon they would be able to launch an offensive and take back lost territory –as Roccasone-, despite the promises made to the Roccasone refugees, they would instead settle them forcefully in the southern lands of Sargos and the riverlands, to populate these lands, deserted after the demonic campaign.
The Roccasone survivors and their descendants, set among communities of grey elves and very different humans, along a border to the steppes of the Barlans in a dangerous and poor frontier will keep their cultural identity, with them never accepting the territories they had been settled by Sargos but as a temporary refuge, always harboring the desire to return to their “ancestral lands”.
In such a way, they will keep for about 200 years after the fall of their city their identity as people of Roccasone, until war seems to have crept up in these lands once more. the Third War of the Power was fought between 2633 - 2675 a.a.H. before it was ended by the Great Cataclysm. (see The Cataclysm)
After the geologic turmoil and struggle for survival of the Great Cataclysm ended, some surviving descendants of the nobility and people of Roccasone (real descendants or imagined that they were), would again be homeless. A mercenary company called the Children of Roccasone would capture and annihilate a new city founded by various orc refugees of various orc tribes and nations of the sunken Polforia. The new city of united orc races and tribes was called Bludvar.
The Major of the Children of Roccasone was Thulian Naft who determined that they would destroy the orcs and take their city of Bludvar on the theory that the land was once part of Roccasone's domain. This theory was nothing more than wishful thinking or an outright lie to motivate Naft's followers. Roccasone was to the south of where Bludvar was founded, and The Cataclysm had literally tumbled the mountains its ruins had sat into the newly formed sea. But after much preparation, the Children of Roccasone were entirely successful in capturing the city of Bludvar and murdering the entire population of former orc refugees.
The new--human--city and its eventual kingdom, would come to be called Naft, named after the Company Major Thulian Naft. A few years following the capture of Bludvar, Thulian Naft would achieve more successes in defeating foes and capturing more territory for the nascent human state; and would ask for, and receive, a crown. He would reign for the last several years of his life as Thulian I.
Roccasone was centered in the western Dargoina Mountains, a curving mountain range that formed the western and southern 'rim' of the geologic 'bowl' of Polforia. The city was placed at the eastern side of a major mountain pass called the Degoland Pass, where the mountain range narrowed, and where roads could be built. The Degoland Pass was vital for carrying supplies, armies and heavy equipment across the mountain range, and connecting Polforia with the western human Five Kingdoms of the Northwest. The importance of the pass made the city prosperous and allowed it to grow. The mountains also contributed greatly to the defensibility of the city, but also to its periodic isolation, and imposed limits on its physical and economic growth.
Down a rocky slope from the foot of the lower walls of Roccasone, was a large mountain valley, with villages and fields which provided much nearby sustenance for the city. Other, smaller mountain valleys scattered many kilometers around the city also held small villages and farms, and provided access to mines in the mountains.
Much productive land in Roccasone consisted of small mountain valleys and foothills on the eastern side of the Dargoina Mountains. On the west, the territory of Roccasone ended about the midpoint of the Dargoina Mountains, with Roccasone and Degoland sharing the Degoland Pass. On the eastern side, Roccasone's territory extended into the lowlands of Polforia.
Newer villages came to be established in the lowlands. Much of Polforia is swampy, not well suited for agriculture and can be disease ridden. Also, Tribes of goblins, Kanov warlords, Ozcura Orcs and other orc bands and werewolf packs abound; also, monsters like ogres, trolls, giants, and other monsters wandered freely, making normal peasantry difficult to maintain. This is why most allied colonies failed, but Roccasone made use of slaves for much farm work and defended eastern villages in various ways such as stockades, forts, and frequent patrols.
Products from the farms include pork, poultry, and grain and vegetables, and timber cut in the forests, and fish from rivers.
Roccasone began its existence as a royal dependence of the King of Degoland from the 2227 to the 2245 a.a.H. Then, it would be recognized as a city.
Later it will become the Marche of Roccasone, governed by a Marquis: first a charge that depended on appointment by the King of Degoland, it will later become hereditary, and will be a Marquisate until the independence at the 2411 a.a.H. After that, it will be a monarchy.
The noble leading family of Roccasone had unexpectedly become royals. Tibal I was the city state's first and only king. Tibal was known to be 51 years old as of 2440 a.a.H. with an adult son, Valerian de Roccasone. Independence was achieved in 2411 a.a.H., with the new king's father, the Marquis, acting politically in the background for some years.
Outpost of DegolandEdit
At first being an advanced outpost, dependant of the Kingdom of Degoland, to guard the pass of Degoland from the remnants of the Dark Legion in Polforia, it had a strong military detachment and were planned heavy fortifications: because of this, during its time as a part of the kingdom of Degoland, the military forces present in Roccasone were of the Royal Army of Degoland.
Due to the costs of this, later the king of Degoland will institute Roccasone as a Marche -the Marche of Roccasone- ruled by a Marquis. However, due to the shortage of resources, this meant the army and fortifications defending Roccasone decayed, and as the colonies the humans and elves had set were falling, the Army of the March of Roccasone simply wasn't enough.
This situation will only reverse with the personal union between Degoland and Sargos, as the King of Sargos and Degoland, worried about the military situation of Roccasone, will assign a yearly contribution -the Roccasone Stipendium of the kingdom to bolster the defenses and armies of Roccasone payed in gold and supplies: it will be during this time that Roccasone, founded by the Kingdom of Sargos, will reach their strongest military might, with the larger fortification plans and size of the armed forces.
With the independence of Roccasone during the Sargonic Wars, this will mean the end of the Roccasone Stipendium of Sargos, so suddenly the new king of Roccasone had in his hands an army too big for the treasury to keep, and extensive fortifications that needed to be maintained. Short of funds, many of the forces of the army of Roccasone will later be used as slavers, and as well due shortage of funds and corruption, will suffer in the quality of their equipment, and as well the size of the army will gradually be reduced. As well, without funds, many fortifications wouldn't be properly kept up.
The city of Roccasone itself was a fortified city in the mountains, with high walls and various levels. It had a very strong and highly placed citadel within the city. As well, it had several various sized castles and forts located along the road or borderlands.
Roccasone had a well established order of knights, and traditionally had a large infantry per capita of free men. Military suffered somewhat in last years of Roccasone's existence.
Militia was also commonly used, particularly mobile dragoons that acted as cheaper alternatives to knights and real soldiers. They patrolled the roads and sometimes conducted slaver runs for the Roccasone State.
The city and its lands were traditionally devoted to being both a bridge to the colonies established in Polforia, and a bulwark against the warlords of 'barbarians' or various demons of the land. Roccasone was meant to be a focal point of business, and tolled those passing through, or assessed taxes on trade conducted.
Much trade consisted of supplies of smoked meats and flour and metal implements in the early days of the city.
Meats and cheeses from goats and cattle remained a key component of the highland produce. More lowland meats and grains became available in the second century of the Roccasone's existence.
Pork and mutton would become important as well as Roccasone grew and 'normalized' into an established colony. Wool production and the making of woolen clothes for both domestic use and exported trade would also be an important industry.
Much mining took place for various resources such as iron, and precious metals. Forging steel and tool and weapons manufacturing were common industries.
Obtaining, selling and training of slaves was an important internal industry in Roccasone. Slave training became fairly advanced for a human culture that had little experience with the practice of slavery before the colony's founding.
Slaves would often be specifically trained to fulfill particular roles. For example, a primary category of slaves were the 'horses' that were slaves who were involved in transport of messages or goods. The Horses of Roccasone were slaves that were meant to carry packs of goods on their backs or messages in the up and down environment of the mountains, and were kept in good condition for this work. The term "Horses" was also somewhat abstract as it could well include strong slaves who raised goods of great weight on winches, for example.
Despite humiliating aspects of dress and hair, the 'horses' had a good reputation for trustworthiness, perhaps because it was a safer and better regarded role than many received? Even so, many 'horses' had much harder labor in hauling heavier loads, and even the elite 'horses' working as couriers for the military of the city would betray their masters in the Great Slave Revolt.
Other categories of slaves existed as well. Whether they were as elaborately defined as the Horses of Roccasone is unknown.
The slave population could be quite varied.
- Green Orcs: The northern Green Orcs of Polforia were the most common slave race
- Kanovs: The people of Roccasone tended to view the Kanovs as inhuman, or else humans that had given up rights for being endemic demon worshippers. Often used for heavy labor
- Humans: 'Barbarian demon worshippers', enslaved criminals and their descendants, or increasingly, those enslaved due to poverty
- Light Elfs: The varied types of Rossnes elves, Grey elfs, the more aboriginal Sylvan elfs, or the demon worshipping Blood elfs became favored domestic servants in the city, or fleet 'ponies' of the Horses of Roccasone
- Dwarfs: A small number of dwarfs performed various industrial roles
- Green Goblins: The northern green goblins often found use as miners digging shafts and tunnels that they were adept at squeezing through.
- Ur Dur Goblins: Likewise involved in mining, and generally considered the most disposable of the slaves, Often used in gladiatorial contests as minions
- Others: Werewolfs, Loranor, and other Beast People, various Dark Elfs or orcs were used for gladiatorial games or otherwise in circus like settings
The citizens of Roccasone evolved their culture from their Degolandic pioneer forebears, and ongoing influence from the combined Sargos-Degoland Kingdom. The primary language spoken was predictably mostly Degol. Indeed, of course, Roccasone was an outpost and then province of Sargos-Degoland for most of its existence, but it had a certain geographical isolation that led to a more independent development.
Much of the transformation came from the city evolving from a fort to a trade city and then to a city and then city-state lost in the mountains at the periphery of the human world. The outsiders native to the mountains and to Polforia to the east being seen as a hostile presence. There was a powerful sense of 'Us vs. Them' feeling of superiority towards, and fear of, most of the peoples to the east whom they regarded as savages. Yet those 'savages' were necessary as slaves to take the place of peasantry that couldn't grow as populous as normal due to the constraints of the mountains and hostility of Polforia.
A Slave SocietyEdit
The people became much accustomed to the use of servants and slaves. Poor free persons living within the city who were without servants were looked down upon. Free peasants existed in the countryside much like any human society, but with many slaves working the land as well.