New Castle is an independent Merchant Republic located in Northeastern Aldi. It is widely known for being a bustling port as well as pirate hideout. New Castle is a traditional thalassocracy, with power lying in the hands of the ruling party and its leader—Lord Mayor Birger Haga. Its economy is driven by shipbuilding, fishing, and blacksmithing, but the majority of wealth comes from the lucrative shipping industry. To maintain the safety of its maritime routes, the city employs a formidable navy known as the Knights of the Sea Lion (commonly referred to as “Lions”), but even in the waters nearby the city, pirate bands run rampant, raving and pillaging.
Although the Tenshodo has had a significant presence in New Castle for roughly twenty years, in recent years having been rooted out from Pravoka, Lefein, and Kent, has made New Castle’s branch a major hideaway along with Jeuno and Norg.
For centuries New Castle existed at the fringe of Kentian territory and had often been a place where criminals and refugees of the fledgling state of Kent would flee to. Founded 700 years ago, New Castle enacted reforms just over a century ago transforming it from a den of pirates, outlaws, and brigands to a proper nation-state dealing in trade with its neighbors.
Once seen as a goal of Kent’s conquests, the animosity between the two states has cooled, and both currently enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship, and mild rivalry much like Pravoka and Kent do. New Castle has traditionally remained neutral in many of the major wars on the continent with the exception of the Gatrean Containment War, and although the New Castellan army is meager, they boast the largest and most technologically advanced navy in the world.
Relations with Other States
New Castle and Kent had been enemies for the better part of the last millennia. Shortly after adopting their Constitution declaring New Castle a sovereign state, diplomats from New Castle were able to improve relations with Kent and have since fostered that relationship with trade deals that benefit both countries. New Castle has lent its navies to the Kentian cause previously in the Gatrean Containment War, and in other conflicts has used embargoes rather than soldiers to dictate its policy on the world stage.
New Castle and Pravoka had at one time been major trading partners dating back before the constitution was adopted. Pravoka saw New Castle as a natural ally in its wars against Kent, and had offered the nation protection for centuries. Without Pravoka’s support, it is likely that New Castle would have been absorbed into Kent long before it ever became a sovereign nation. Despite this, the relationship with Pravoka is not what it once was, and even New Castle finds its diplomats barred from entering the now reclusive kingdom.
New Castle and Lefein have yet to form any real diplomatic ties. Before the Lefeinian Empire was founded, New Castle had traditionally been neutral towards Lefein, whose borders were far from New Castle’s trade lanes. Additionally, the Lefeinian industry was generally a competitor of New Castle’s, which even prompted the local smithing industry to focus their attention on the manufacture of ships and artillery rather than on conventional weaponry. Despite this, Lefein has never been far behind, even in the areas of which New Castle excels.
After the rise of Batgroob, the relationship could be described as “tense” at best. Kent has continuously pressured New Castle to enact a full embargo of Lefein, of which it has only agreed to an arms and ore embargo. Despite this, many smugglers still deliver raw materials and arms to Lefein from New Castellan ports. New Castle falls in line with the other Aldan states in declaring Batgroob an illegitimate ruler, but has taken no military action against the Empire and seems content to let the other nations deal with the politics of the Great War while New Castle continues to profit from a largely neutral stance.
Altair and New Castle have a strictly neutral attitude towards each other. As they have no dealings with trade, do not share a border, and do not compete against each other in any particular area, they have no reason for any hostility. They do, however, share an enemy in the Al-Terran Empire, though they have no coordinated effort against the foreign aggressors.
Jeuno and New Castle maintain a friendly trade relationship and dedication to neutrality. Although there is no formal alliance between the two powers, their similar viewpoints and interests have made them agree on much more than they disagree.
New Castle’s only true enemy lies in the Al-Terran empire. The Empire’s fleet of airships largely eclipses the usefulness of the New Castellan navy, and the empire has often sent military divisions into New Castle’s territory without regard to their sovereignty. New Castle maintains a strict embargo of all goods against the Empire, and those found circumventing this embargo are charged with treason.
Of all the nations on Aldi, New Castle has taken perhaps the most aggressive stance against the empire, though they lack the army to take any real military action against Al-Terra.
Places of Interest
The Rhotanir Sea
The Rhotanir Sea is one of the Five Seas of Aldi and is located south of New Castle and east of Gustaberg, encompassing the Cieldalaes island chain. The area is a frequented route for trade and travel but the waters can be notoriously rough, often claiming some of the cargo being transported.
A stretch of grasslands punctuated by small farming villages that surrounds the Republic of New Castle.
The Barrel Wench
Once a run-down alehouse frequented by sailors, thieves and worse, the Barrel Wench underwent a defining change when pub proprietor and former sellsword Baderon declared the bar and the inn above it an Adventurers’ Guild. It shares the same building as the Old Mast Inn. While still a popular venue for a pirate to drink away his ill-gotten gains, the majority of the pub’s custom now consists of eager adventurers fresh off the ferries, seeking the quickest path to fame and fortune.
The Invincible—forever titillating the tongues of travelers, and assuaging the appetites of adventurers—where gourmands from around the globe gather to dine on delectable dishes, to sup on sumptuous soups, to indulge their innermost cravings.
Pass through the gates of Onrac’s premiere culinary establishment and be greeted with a bountiful array of exotic delights from beyond the boundless seas. Watch and be amazed as grand battles unfold in the kitchens over fire and flame, pitting experienced masters against budding young chefs, eager to divest their mentors of their most secret recipes. Give in to the forbidden desires of your polished palate and join us for dinner to begin the climb up gilded steps to gustatory greatness!
Standing over New Castle’s harbor, Coral Tower was built to be the headquarters of the Knights of the Sea Lion. The Coral Tower provides everything necessary for an officer to hone his skills while preparing for his next assignment, from a spacious firing range, to a fully-equipped barracks where weapons can be cleaned and repaired.
In an attempt to assist the Republic Navy’s recruitment of skilled marksmen, and prevent those with promise from being beguiled into joining a pirate crew, the city-state loosened enlistment regulations and opened the facilities’ doors to almost anyone, using the name Musketeers’ Guild to entice willing youths.
For centuries, casting nets has been the favorite method of catching fish in the seas off Onrac. Because of this, those who work the nets to make a living have come to be called “pullers,” and over the years, several independent crews of pullers have united to form small businesses of their own. These businesses can all be found in a district of New Castle known as Fisherman’s Court.
One of the largest organizations based there is Waverly’s Pullers — whose activities include everything from the buying and selling of fish, bait, and tackle, to the maintenance of the local fisheries, and the upkeep of the area’s several lighthouses..
Piracy is a common occurrence both in New Castellan waters as well as within the city limits. Many rival pirate gangs often commit crimes against each other as they fight for control of various parts of the city and turf out on the seas. The local authorities are numerous enough to dissuade pirates from openly rebelling against the Lord Mayor, but too few to put an end to piracy altogether. Thus, in most cases the state turns a blind eye to all but the most egregious acts of piracy.
Additionally, there exists a pirate code to help ensure that the city doesn’t devolve into an inhospitable criminal state, and pirates are generally tasked to self-enforce the code. When this fails, the Tenshodo has been known to step in and resolve conflicts that neither the pirate gangs nor the New Castle government can.
The Sahagin have long been enemies of New Castle, operating their own pirate ships and raiding many of the smaller coastal settlements and transports coming to and from New Castle. They rarely take prisoners, and seldom make alliances with any but the most ruthless pirates. Rooting out the Sahagin has proven to be a difficult task in which New Castle has made little progress, and other nations have been loathe to lend aid to.