I thought I'd throw up some of the short notes I have jotted down on game I'm running. I do appreciate the old drop down a handful of orcs is a cave philosophy, however I can't stop myself from thinking up back stories and history to flavour the stew.
A brief history of the Baronies.
It only took one generation for the men from across the sea to leave the island and cross the Strait of Daggers. Rickard the Tall founded the city of Freeport (since renamed Kingstown) on the mainland and established himself as ruler of the sound in year 30. As the new men spread out from Rikard's Landing they settled the shores of The Sound and absorbed or conquered the natives who were scrabbling out more modest existence. More warlords than barons, there was a short period of expansion as the ambitious second and third generations spread their reach onto the mainland. The first villages and towns they established were in The Soundlands. Also in this time some order was restored in Lakshire, which had much of the most intact infrastructures from before the Fall. Some of the older towns in Lakshire like Swale and Oldcastle never entirely fell in the dark times and inhabitants in some cases could trace their lineage back to the old empire. This was also a period of great rivalry between the new men and the men from the old empire with stronger leaders rising from both groups. The Middlemarch was resettled not long after and for a short time there were a number of small independent kingdoms constantly striving for manpower, resources and dominance. Paradoxically the constant fighting caused large population booms as for the first time since the old empire there were men defending the land and roads and the wild creatures and dark creatures were pushed south. Farming once again became widespread and roads and walls sprang up all across the land.
By the fourth generation, these settlements had aggregated into three large baronies and two major factions vying to control it all. In year 103 The army of Rikard One Eye, the great grandson of Rikard the Tall defeated the forces of Gallien the Strong and became king of all three regions and the independent towns of the west. To the houses that supported him most he gave over the two baronies of Middlemarch and Lakshire, keeping the royal seat in The Soundlands.
In the year 146 King Bartal, son of Rikard, awarded the lands and independent towns on the western border to his greatest supporter among the military, a war leader named Ottol the Fat whom had been a popular leader during years of unusually active raids on the west by goblin and hobgoblins from the south. Ottol took the family name Arnulf and became the fourth baron in the kingdom and ruler of the Westmarch. The Arnulf family was a popular choice to rule and although the independent towns did loose some autonomy, they had long been used to supporting the military and many retired soldiers had settled there so the transition was peaceful with only minor incidents.