From Humble Beginnings
Overview: The Viscounty of Verbobonc is a near-independent province of the Archclericy of Veluna, ruled in palatine by a powerful viscount. The town of Verbobonc itself is the second largest port on the Velverdyva River, bringing much wealth to the local lords. The writ of the viscounty extends some fifteen miles into the Kron Hills to the south.
Verbobonc is not only a human city, but is home to many elves and gnomes, as well. A few of the former live in lofted ipt-houses, structures built within the boughs of trees of the same name. Most gnomes live in “rents,” small but comfortable dwellings excavated from the dozens of small hills within the city proper.
The town is rich with trade. The river brings goods of all stripe, with caravans and barges more than happy to leave the region loaded down with gems and copper from local mines. Verbobonc’s gnome smiths are renowned across the Flanaess. (Arguably, their most important structure, the Royal Furyondian Mint, spread their handiwork farther than any other.)
The local temperature is mild, featuring cold winters with little snow. The people of Verbobonc are friendly but cautious — most have seen evidence of true evil in their lifetimes, and know that a stranger could as easily slice your throat as look at you. The folk of Verbobonc have channeled this caution into a diligent work ethic. “Hard work keeps the demons away” is a popular local proverb.
Despite its small size, Verbobonc boasts both a religious and secular army. The First Army of the Church is little more than a collection of club-bearing zealots, beaten so often by the Cuthbertine Overseer Branditan that they have become a formidable and well-trained force. This body numbers perhaps two hundred men and women. The Viscount’s Standing Army consists of six hundred pikemen, cavalry and archers, nominally led by the aged Mayor Velysin. In times of great need, these troops are bolstered by rangers from the Gnarley Forest, contingents of clerics from Veluna, and the famous Bootmen of Furyondy’s Duchy of the Reach. An alarming number of adventurers can be found in the viscounty, augmenting the resident forces in unpredictable, often destructive ways.
History: Long before the coming of humanity, Verbobonc was an elven settlement, a small but impressive river town filled with tall, thin towers, narrow walkways and delicate wood and ceramic statuary. The local elves shared their lives with the good gnomes of the Kron Hills, banding together to battle off threats form the north and east. Verbobonc, then, was a military town, aligned with the gray elves of Enstad, though a political entity unto itself. The surrounding hillocks still hold relics of those ancient days, slowly crumbling towers of unsurpassed beauty, troves of buried arrowheads and still-useful armor, and even, it is said, the elven Old Places, sacred refuges hidden in the magical folds of the world.
As civilized humans entered the Flanaess and most elves receded into the woodlands, Verbobonc gained importance as a trade port on the Velverdyva River. At this time, many elves quit Verbobonc, leaving the town to the gnomes and the new arrivals. Thus began a new period in the history of the region, in which two races worked together to improve and grow Verbobonc into a state of its own, not beholden to any greater power. At the dawn of the first century CY, the two primary races of Verbobonc encircled their home with walls, and constructed hundreds of new buildings, mixing a distinctly gnome architecture with the existing elven structures. In this spirit was the slogan “Earth and Stone, Man and Gnome” carved above the city’s north gate, a motto and approach to life that endures to this day.
The viscouty was formally incorporated into Veluna and the viceroyalty of Ferrond in 119 CY. Thereafter, it served as Veluna’s primary river port, a fact that made it a primary target of Keoish aggression during the Short War. Saved from annexation by the Treaty of Devarnish, much of the western land of the viscounty was nonetheless occupied. The looming Castle Estival, just east of the Iron Wood, is a telling example of how deeply the soldiers of Keoland influenced the region in the mid-fourth century CY. When Keoland withdrew from Veluna following the Short War, Verbobonc grew distant from Mitrik. Its viscount still sent a delegate to sit on the Celestial Order of the Moons, but never again would the citizenry be considered completely willing vassals. In these years, the church of St. Cuthbert came into great prominence in Verbobonc, displacing Raoan clerics in important government roles.