The Kingdom of Vingaard

The only truly Lawful Good nation on the continent of Leng, Vingaard is a bastion of justice and order. This is not to say that it is without corruption and seediness, but the ruler of the kingdom - Queen Madeleine Soleme - is considered to be a wise, benevolent ruler by most. Although the kingdom of Vingaard itself is not particularly large, it is heavily subdivided, representing the many kingdoms and fiefdoms it was assembled from, and its influence spreads far. They have strong trade relations with the hill dwarves of Nirkivish, and the halflings of Nevermoor rely heavily upon Vintish forces for protection against interlopers and viking raids. Furthermore, the secluded nation of Warden to the north is a colony of Vingaard and owes the throne vassalage, though the queen largely allows them to run their own affairs.

The crowning glory of Vingaard is its capital of Solamnus. It is in Solamnus that St. Cuthbert established the Disciples of Vingaard, there that the ubiquitous Trinity of Leng came to be, which is now worshipped in civilised lands across the continent. It is home to the University of Solamnus established in yesteryear by one of its ancient kings, and in days of old was the first place on Leng to stop the persecution of magic-users as demons and monsters. More information about Solamnus can be found by following the link above to the city's page.

Demographics

All told, Vingaard covers an area of 80,000 square miles - about the size of England, with a poulation 2.8 million. Of this area:

Major cities:

Towns: 120 (1,000 to 8,000 people each)
Total Urban Population: 665,000

Villages: 1,200 total (200-1,000 people per village)

Nobility

The Queen of Vingaard, Queen Madeleine Soleme III, is ruler of the country and sole liege-lord of all the royal provinces of Vingaard - consisting of a few of the large regions of Vingaard, as well as several areas that she has not awarded to any lord. The rest of the lands of Vingaard are granted to her vassals in return for oaths of fealty and undying loyalty. The Queen spends most of her time in the Great Beldorn Palace at Solamnus, along with her court - the Queen's court are members of the upper nobility, and each has a specific role role to play. More information on the Royal Court can be found on the Solamnus page.

The Dukes of Vingaard, of which there are 5, are the most eminent non-royal rank of nobility. They rule duchies and answer to no one but the Queen - and even with her, they have a great deal of political clout. Each of the dukes has three baronial vassals, known as Ducal Barons, that control parts of his territory and answer to him.

The Counts represent the standard of Vintish nobility, and between the 15 of them much of Vingaard is divided up. Each count commands a single county.

The Barons are the lesser of the provincial nobility; there are a large number of these - and their domain is often little more than that of an elevated knight. There are 16 baronies in Vingaard. Including the 15 Ducal Barons, this means that Vingaard has 31 Barons in total.

The Knights of Vingaard are noble, honourable soldiery in service to the Queen and liege-lord. Their land is granted to them by the Crown, although the majority hold only a few farmsteads in land - manorial estates, rather than provincial demesnes. All told, there are about 5,000 Knights of Vingaard.

The Gentry are the largest and lowest class of nobility. They don't necessarily have any power or assets to their name - but by virtue of their blood, they are granted an equivalent rank to a Knight of Vingaard. If a duke has three sons, for example, and the eldest succeeds him - then he will become a duke, and the two younger sons will merely be "Lords", unless they become knights. It's impossible to say how large the gentry is, but people tend to keep track of noble families rather than individual members. If a noble family does not hold any lands or assets for a prolonged period of time, it's entirely possible that they will leave the gentry simply by dint of being forgotten. Indeed, the upper class of Vingaard is full of families that were noble at some point in history.

As noted above, knights and the gentry generally possess land. Almost all of the land in Vingaard is divided up in this way; most fortresses and towns have a Knight or Lord who commands them. Likewise, the industries of Vingaard - such as farmland, mines and quarries - are divided up into manorial estates. An individual lord or knight may be responsible for anything from a few isolated farmsteads to many villages. If, for example, an adventurer wanted to build a house in a Lord's demesne - he would first need to pay the lord for the right to use the land. Then he would need to pay the lord for the right to cut down some trees from his forest, and for the use of the lord's quarry. Then he would actually have to hire people to quarry the stone and chop down the trees.

All told, Vingaard has 52 Great Houses: House Soleme (the royal house), the 5 Ducal Houses, the 15 Comital Houses and the 31 Baronial Houses (16 Barons and 15 Ducal Barons). In addition to the 52 Great Houses, there are about 300 Lesser Houses. These consist of the Knights and Gentry, whether landed or not. In layman's terms, the Great Houses are referred to as "nobility", while the Lesser Houses are the "aristocracy". Obviously, for an aristocrat to marry into a noble family is an improvement in their position. Likewise, many aristocratic families intermarry with the upper class (wealthy commoners) in marriages of conveniece; aristocracy is defined by perception as much as anything else, so this is a sure-fire way for an aristocratic family to sink into the upper class and lose the privileges that aristocracy afforded them.

Vintish Provinces

Royal Provinces

Duchies

Counties

Baronies