“Danaspree. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany. I love it!”
- Captain Tabran Tain of the
Danaspree is in many ways as diverse as Wargak or Saracan. However it can be summed up quite easily. Fishermen and pirates. All along the concave coastline of the scoop-shaped Danaspree Cauldron are small self sustaining fishing villages and small towns. On the two edges of this curve facing each other across the huge island filled bay are its two major landward cities: Seaguard and Spree. This coastline and the many islands that fill the Cauldron make up Danaspree.
‘Danaspree is all cold shoreline’ is a quote that has been overused in describing the northern country. It is true however that Danaspree is coastal along its entire length and that leaves it open to the ravages of the wind. It is a flat cold and usually wet climate and has little in the way of great natural beauty or diversity. It’s quite flat, near the coast covered in small towns and fishing villages and inland barren and savage.
The islands are quite different with Liquara being lush and green and Dana’s central woodland being so carefully preserved. Though they are still cold and wet of course.
Fishing is all most Dananspreeans know. They are also avid traders, not only with Saracan, Errantlund and Auria but also across the ocean to Vash’Kar, Eltirian and even daring visits to Derioch, the strange northern isle with its oddly alien population. Due to this propensity for trade smugglers in Danaspree are rife, and are renowned for plying their trade across the world. Most of this trade passes through Spree itself, the little fishing towns and villages holding little interest for entreprenurs, or the isle of Dana.
Danaspree is also known for another group of law breakers that also came from but now far exceed – in villainy if not in numbers – the smugglers. These are its world-renowned pirates. Some such as Captain Tabran Tain are known for their forthrightness and even generous dealings. These pirates simply love the freedom of the sea and their right to make their way how they see fit and hang the consequences (rather than the pirate). Others however such as Sleepy Jack of the Fell Crow are notoriously cruel and use fear as their main weapon of offence.
This smuggling and piracy completely undermines any chance of a stable Danaspree government ever achieving any significant change.
Danaspree is heavily human, yet its races cover the spectrum. Humans have a clear majority still and halflings a good 20%. Still it has orc, goblin, cairen, ranat, dwarvern and centaur populations as well.
Danaspree is fairly lawless and is not known for its piousness either. Religion in Danaspree is present but is usually only given the barest lip service. Priests are seen as corrupt as everyone else and not as a morale authority. The aspects of the Avatar of Darkness have always done well in Danaspree and Wild as god of the sea is also highly respected. Servants of Justice, Knowledge and Light find themselves out of place here. Many residents of Danaspree positively embrace irreligiousness.
Some would say the culture of the northerners is to be uncultured. It is true that Spreeans in particular are known for inventive swearing and dirty songs but little else. However that is not universally true. Danaspree is a free thinking place and has very low inhibitions compared to many of its contemporaries. In some ways this merely leads to a very lose moral code but it also has fostered a nation where dancing and music are extremely popular if not considered expert by outsiders. In almost no other land will you find people as readily able to invent new dances and songs without any preparation and see entire ships or villages singing or dancing along by the second verse.
Spreeans and Danites both speak Common but there exists a very specific Spreean accent and an entirely different Danite one. The pirates of the area often accentuate these accents. All of them use many of their own words which only have meanings for them: skivy, wallop, tov, piffled, tringer and bo-done being only some of them.
There is also a thieves cant spoken and signed by the Hidden Blade that is a secret language known only to them.Danaspree is supposedly led by the Spree Port Authority an oligarchy of supposed professionals. Though it is not hereditary getting into the highest ranks of the Port Authority is an exercise in sponsored corruption and has nothing to do with hard work, skill or even mass appeal.
Most educated authorities openly accept that Port Authority is completely under the manipulated control of the Hidden Blade thieves’ guild. It is they in truth who run Danaspree’s ‘legitimate’ government. However despite this Danaspree continues to limp on. It wouldn’t many say if it were not for Dana. Dana has a king and more importantly it has a Ravenfast. Dana whilst hardly a model of excellent living and governance exercises some moral authority and makes some effort to enforce legal trade. This however suits the underclass because it keeps their smuggling valuable.It has been speculated that Ravenfast could, and many say should, take control of Danaspree merely by asking. If he were to do so one must beg the question of how he would be able to change its ingrained nature as one man no matter how powerful. Maybe this is why he supports rather than replaces the government such as it is. No one actually knows. It is clear however that Ravenfast is capable of cowing any and all opposition on a point when he wishes to and so he should be identified as a governing force in Danaspree even if his position is ‘unofficial’.
On land their organisation is almost nonexistent. Seaguard Keep have some troops in the form of marines as does Spree, but even these are simply not ready to fight on land. They are badly organised, badly trained and corrupt to boot. This is one reason why the ‘marines’ of the Danaspree navy adopt the policy of “If attacked by land, get on a boat and get out to sea”. The security forces are only slightly better. The Hidden Blade thieves guild would be the best chance if Danaspree was invaded by land.
At sea there are official Admirals; about nine hundred, in fact. Some receive the rank as a favour, some are self-appointed admirals of their own private fleets, some are simple pirates. In time of conflict, though, Danaspree will take what it can. It can, if the Tokay and Seekan fleets from Liquara (The best and largest Private navies around), and Dana, and Spree, and Seaguard, all joined together; field a fleet that in number could about dwarf any existing fleet on the water. They would have in the region of half a million ships and boats. But the discipline, organisation, training and leadership of such a fleet would be, to say the least, terrible. There is no acknowledgement or respect for any overall leader and so any force would be full of warring factions. For this reason to speak of “Danaspree’s official navy” would be pointless.
Time on Karandia and, for simplicity, on Tal, is determined by the exisistence of the dominant human Empire or Auria. So years from before the Empire are annotated BE those after it or Post Empire are annotated PE. (eg ‘Jomark came to power in 10BE’ means Jomark gained his power 10 years before the founding of the Empire).
Pre 1800BE: Elves present in continent wide Karritan forest which at this time covers much of modern day Danspree.
1000-100PE: Humans cut down the woods to make ships and weapons and cities. They force out the elves and engage in several skirmishes and all-out killing wars.
500PE: By this time it can be proved that both Spree and Seaguard, left over from the Aquati flight to Rimic, existed. Dana also dates from round this time and the island it inhabited is named after the townships on ancient elven maps of this era.
500-505PE: The Wargak invasion effects Danaspree almost not at all as the invasion corridor goes south, not east.
510-550PE: The residents of the Danaspree Cauldron gain reputations as untrustworthy, greedy traders and mercenaries. First time the phrase “Pirates from the Cauldron” is recorded.
550-700PE: Spree grows enormously and asserts trading dominance over all the other coastal towns. It begins to monopolise trade on the Spreean Ocean
600PE: The Hidden Blade thieves’ guild has gained so much power in the streets of Spree that the Merchant Shipping Guild is forced to share power in Spree with them.
1300PE: Records start recording Dana as separate from other settlements on the island: Cove (Hive of scum and villainy) and Anchorage (home to Dana’s fleet) both exist by now. Vale exists, but is only a fishing village at this point.
1330-1332 PE: 1st Recorded Pirate wars (Red Rugga and Slicker Dan’s rival pirate fleets/gangs face off against each other in the Cauldron.) Rugga operating from Cove and Dan from a hidden base on one of the Cauldron’s many minor islands. The conflict ends with Rugga dying when his ship is boarded by some of Dan’s men and he is killed in the fighting. With Rugga dead his ‘mates’ fell into infighting over his ‘treasure’. This left Dan in control of the largest priate fleet and control of the smuggling operations outside of Spree and Cove themselves.
1350: Vale is officially recognised as a town by Dana and immediately installs a voting sytem and creates the Blue Water Guard, a pretty efficient anti-smuggling/piracy group. This is the first visible effort made from within Danaspree to curb its own excesses. Their first Captain of the Guard was Marrjak Stevens, called Swift Jak.
1352 PE: Swift Jack and the Blue Water Guard discover the island base of the Slickers and raid it. Hundreds of pirates are killed and many are captured and hung in Vale. Dan’s horde is taken as confiscated contraband.
1352-3 PE: Slicker Dan sails against Vale with a fleet of allied pirates to avenge his men, retake his treasure and burn the damn city to the ground. However he is betrayed by some of the other pirate gangs who turn on him, some because they wanted revenge, others for power as they wished to replace him, some from fear of the Guard and some because Wiley Mik also of Vale had used some of Dan’s own treasure to bribe them. The pirate fleet fails completely and Dan is captured, tried found guilty and hung with Swift Jak and Wiley Mik looking on.
1500PE: The Tokay and Seekan families each gain the deeds to half of Liquara, the droplet shaped isle.
1520-22PE: 1st Dragon Army Invasions. Danaspree was little effected but some went off to fight in Auria and became known as Land Scuttlers. Mercenary units from Danaspree now always adopt this name when working in force against an outside enemy.
1530PE: The natural Tokay/Seekan rivalry begins to worsen and becomes a blood feud as one son is killed in a raid by the other family. Both families still claim it was the other who spilt first blood and the truth of this incident is heavily disputed.
1647-1653 PE: The Second recorded pirate wars, called the Ruby Rum Fiasco by some historians. Ruby Rum a supposedly incredibly curvaceous and desirable female pirate captain supposedly pulled a dramatic and expensive con on the pirate gangs of the cauldron. She apparently offered herself, all her treasure and a map to the isle of Diamond Dreams to the man who could prove himself worthy of mastering her. Naturally every pirate lord and wannabe could not resist and the cauldron seethed with battles and destruction as the fleets engaged each other directly. It is still unknown to historians exactly what happened to resolve the situation. However it is clear that at some point in 1653 PE quite suddenly and completely, the fighting stopped and Ruby Rum’s band where no where to be found. Several pirate bands disappeared during this period of time and several sometime in that last year. It is still not known exactly what happened but there is a lot of speculation and myth.
1653-4 PE the power vacuum left by the Pirate Wars is filled by the growth of the influence of The Merchant Shipping Guild of Spree, the Blue Water Guard and the birth of the Dana monarchy.
1700PE: Spree and Dana officially form a pact and create the country of Danaspree. No one else really wanted – or was able – to lay claim to the area. It was outside the plains of the horselords, and too far and unmanageable for adoption into the Saracan Alliance. The wood elves had retreated into their forest or sailed for Rimic. So the merchants of Spree with tacit permission from the Hidden Blade made overtures to King Daric Erianor of Dana. The idea took root and Liquara, Seaguard and all the smaller islands and towns just pretty much had to go along with it. Taxation is hardly an issue outside of the large cities anyway.
1788PE: Invasion from Wargak into western Danaspree. they never see Spree and turn back though they suffer little resistance. Some say Ravenfast did something but no one agrees on what.
1813 PE: The Scuttler Riots in Spree. All law breaks down in Spree and the populace go wild anyone taking anything at will. Deaths, thefts, attacks, kidnapping, arson and rape abound. Those strong enough take as they will and weak simply try to hide or flee from Spree. Many are unable to do so and the city falls into a nightmare like state of constant terror and conflict. After months of this steadily worsening situation and the clear inability or unwillingness of Dana to resolve the situation, Ravenfast breaks his usual habit of non-direct methods and acts.
According to the legend he landed in Spree amid fire and lightning and simply destroyed anyone and anything he saw that he did not like. Some fools who had become drunk on their own excesses during this time tried to kill him but were hopelessly outclassed. it is said at one point a coordinated group of ‘a hundred desperate men’ including wizards, clerics, trained warriors, assassins, thieves and archers attempted to trap and kill him. There is a newly built area of Danaspree that is build on the spot where they tried it.
After this demonstration he used the Tabrin Tain Privateers and Blue Sea Guard to spread order back through Spree. Allowed a reinstated Port Authority to replace the destroyed Merchant Shipping Guild transferred increased powers to the King of Dana and left. Some say he had a rather sharp word with the Hidden Blade before he did so. It has never happened again.
1898PE: Second Dragon Army Invasion. Seaguard falls through a night assault from the sea but once the elves mobilise they retake it easily as the Dragon Armies break in the mainland.
1900PE: Dragon Armies driven back by the Stars of Destiny.
Return to Karandia.