Map by Anna B. Meyer
Ratik marks the northernmost part of great Aerdy's expansion in the heady days of the old empire and dominion. Its magnificent pine forests offer excellent material for shipbuilding, and the land was heavily protected by good military to fend off the Frost Barbarians and, indeed, make preemptive strikes against them.
Ratik was made a Barony by an Overking delighted at one firm repulsion of a barbarian fleet, and has been fortunate in having a succession of barons who have been distinctly more wise and benign than most Aerdy nobles. For this reason, the mountain dwarves and gnomes of the Rakers have worked and traded on good terms with the humans here.
Ratik's relationship with the Great Kingdom cooled following the ascension of the House of Naelax in the Kingdom, which increasingly neglected this little state. When the Bone March was overrun with humanoids, Ratik began to court the Frost Barbarians and formed an unlikely alliance with them to jointly raid the Bone March and North Province.
Ratik's population is not great, so the people here can only hold their land against humanoids and not decisively repulse them. Ratik men and women are all militarily trained, and conscription is universal. Specialized woodsman troops with bows as well as sling-firing hillrunners are among the cream of Ratik's forces. Ratik is not wealthy, despite its fine natural resources, since it has few customers plying the trade. The Sea Barons and Frost Barbarians buy wood here still; however, trade with the Theocracy is slow, and trade with cities of the North Province is extremely low.
The alliance with the Frost Barbarians is extremely important. This "Northern Alliance" was what gave the previous archbaron, Lexnol the military strength to keep from being overrun by humanoids like the Bone March was in the 560's. It also allowed him to declare independence from the Great Kingdom. The relationship was mutually beneficial, giving the Frost Barbarians the training and military technology they needed to gain relative independence from the Snow Barbarians. Lexnol even made some in-roads with the Snow Barbarians, though there has never been a formal alliance or treaty.
There is a Council of Great Lords that is made up of 14 of the most powerful human and dwarven lords of the land that acts as an advisory body to the ruler. He or she also consults with the burghers of the country's towns and cities. The population is mainly human of Great Kingdom heritage though there are a considerable number of Frost Barbarian and some Snow Barbarian farmers in the northern lands of the archbarony. Amongst the human population is a considerable number of refugees from the Bone March. There are also a fair number of dwarven and a few gnome populations in the hills and mountains. Some bands of wood elves live in the Timberway Forest and at least some of them are willing to serve the archbaron. There is a decent (6%) halfling population, but they get no mention otherwise, probably (I would guess) because they are fairly well integrated into the human population, and not native to the region.
The climate of Ratik is wintry much of the year, with heavy snows swollen with moisture from the Solnor falling steadily during the height of Telchur's sway. The windswept Timberway remains the greatest focus of the realm. It is a hunting ground that produces the pelts and furs used widely in the dress of the nation. It also provides Ratik with its greatest bounty, the timber and shipbuilding supplies that drive much of the economic activity of the archbarony. The western border of Ratik is an endless range of foothills, inhabited by dwarves for millennia. These mountains are dotted with mines of gold and precious gems situated between citadels of stone that protect the ways from the denizens of the deep mountains. Some farming is conducted during the short growing season in the open lands between Marner and Ratikhill.