One of the most powerful kingdoms in the west, Balcia is an open and expansive realm, with trading outposts across the continent. A founding kingdom of the ancient Western League, though it can muster a strong army, it generally prefers to settle disputes through trade and diplomacy – a tactic that has served it well over the years.
The Balcians are generally regarded as pragmatists, well known for not being too extreme and taking the middle path (which can be admired by some, and ridiculed by others).
The capital city is Bal Magna. The mighty Citadel is a powerful statement of power.
To the west, the free city of Garrets Gowt is a vibrant trading city, ruled by the Merchant Council.
Balcia is ruled by King Edias Alraxson; the third ruler of the powerful and popular Alraxson dynasty. He is eloquent, soft spoken and an effusively amenable ruler. He has a way with words and with people, and always carries a smile on his face in public. However, behind the smiling facade is a calculating, manipulative and fiercely ambitious monarch. He is also extremely pragmatic and cautious. He has much to live up to, and wants to leave a legacy even greater than that of his forebears.
He resides in the Royal Palace, which sits adjoined to the mighty Citadel at Bal Magna. Corruption and intrigue is rife, but stays within understood boundaries in the court.
Continuing the work of his father, he continues to support merchants and global expansion of trade routes. By this way the coffers of Balcia are growing all the time.
Balcia maintains a powerful navy to protect its trade routes and outposts. It pays bounties to encourage free agents to track down pirates and obstacles to its shipping routes.
It has more widespread use of black powder weapons than other kingdoms, due a favourable deal struck with Trond, the manufacturer of the the best firearms in the continent. These are particularly effective on its sea fleet, and its warships are the most feared on the ocean.
The full pantheon of the old Gods are worshipped.
Sorcery and Alchemy are banned, but the ban is not enforced strictly in most places. As long as the trade flows freely and people’s lives are not hampered too much, Balcians by their nature tend to follow a live and let live philosophy.
It’s closest physical neighbour is Aquistria whom it shares a long land boundary with to the north. However the access between the kingdoms is restricted by the mountains and the Wych Wood. Which is no bad thing as the alliance between them is uneasy. The Aquistrians believe themselves superior…
To the East is Ostland. They have good relations with Balcia who came to their aid centuries ago, but tend to consider them a bit weak (as a country and individually). The Balcians think the Osterlanders lack a sense of humour and need to loosen up a bit
To the West is the secretive Isle of Taranus. The Isle is not open and strangers are not welcome. Any trade must be conducted at one of the concessionary ports, where Balcian traders dominate
The Alraxson Dynasty
The Alraxson dynasty was founded by his grandfather, Gest Alraxson. Gest was the son of Prince Angerf, who was the younger son of the old King Stevrad and Queen Angra (from Hagaland). Angerfs elder brother, Harrad, had a different mother – Queen Satherin. She gave birth to two sons, but the second, Victar, was renounced by the King, who thought the Queen had been unfaithful. The Queen and her son fled before the king could act, with help from Duke Gedfrey, an ambitious nobleman with eyes on the throne. Harrad became king on Stevrads death, but he was weak and ineffective. So much so that disputed border land was annexed by Aquistira. Harrad attempted to retake it, but his force was defeated and an accord was made with Aquistria where they could keep the land (on the understanding they annexed no more).
Harrad came to an untimely end while still a young man, which was unexpected. Prince Angerf was abroad at the time in Hagaland. Duke Gedrey had been plotting behind his back and gained support from the nobles to make Victar king instead of Angerf. Angerf remained in Hagaland, having been kept updated of developments. Victar became King, albeit a puppet under Gedfrey’s guiding hand.
Angerf remained in Hagaland, eventually marrying a noble from Ostland, where he moved. Their son, Gest, was charismatic, handsome and strong, and highly popular in the court. His father passed while he was still a young man, and with backing from Ostland and Hagaland he invaded Balcia. There were still nobles who had no love from Gedfrey or the King who supported him.
He quickly seized power and immediately began consolidating his position. Soon after re retook the annexed lands from Aquistria, gaining widespread approval from the masses (and many nobles). Finally, after two failed kings – here was the man they had been waiting for.
Gest’s son, the King’s father Alrac Alracson, was also a hugely popular ruler. He expanded the power of Balcia overseas and greatly promoted the growth of trade. He built a navy to protect the merchant vessels and took strategic coastal locations around the continent to provide bases for the navy to operate from.