The Kaselreich is the largest Genosian nation in Vosca, and possibly also the most populous. Its perennial rivalry with the Kingdom of Galli over which of them is the legitimate successor to the Ruvian Empire dates back to the death of Emperor Clovis the Great, the first and last Emperor of The Sunlit Lands. It is beset by strife and infested with the Schwarzvald, but nonetheless is a potent political force when it is ruled by an Emperor strong enough to make things happen.
The Kaselreich today encompasses a region known previously simply as Kasel, which was the home to the Kamen barbarians. Kasel was invaded by the Nogah, a steppeland horde whose legacy is lost to time, and the Kamens were forced to flee into Galli, where they came into conflict with the Gallians. Eventually a peace was arranged, with Gallian and Kamen royalty joining together in the hopes of eventually reclaiming Kasel.
Enter Clovis the Great. A Gallian ruler, but with a Kamen mother, Clovis organized a great reconquest of Kasel, and the annihilation of the Nogah, creating the largest empire since the fall of Helion millennia prior. The Empress of Illegon compounded this by marrying Clovis, uniting Illegon with this mighty Gallio-Kamen Empire to create The Sunlit Empire of Holy Ruvia. The coming of this political miracle had been prophicized since the early days of Genosism, and now it had happened. The Gallians, Kamens and Illegosi were united under one religion, one flag, and one Emperor. The Emperor had two sons, Louis and Kasel (named for the city in which they were born) who by Kamen inheritance law would each inherit half of the kingdom. The idea presumably being to create lasting peace between the two kingdoms without breaking tradition. This might have worked, if not for the tragedy that followed.
Assassination of the Emperor, Collapse of the Sunlit LandsEdit
Clovis was assassinated by unknown parties some time after the unification of the Empire. His death prevented him from using his influence to gently ease Kasel and Galli apart. Instead, the regents controlling his two young sons tore the Empire apart, and the two princes grew up to despise each other, each raised to believe that the Imperial throne was theirs by right. With Clovis dead, the Empire died with him. The Empress of Illegon quietly withdrew from the mounting conflict.
Rise of the ReichEdit
The Kaselreich today is clearly larger than its Gallian adversary, and so must have held on to more of the old empire than its rival. Additionally, the Kasonic Order's adventures in the north may have expanded their holdings through the conquest of pagans and other infidels who could not be brought to yoke before Clovis's death. It is unclear what the Reich's current relationships with Galli, Illegon, and of its other neighbors are.
In addition to the many kingdoms and duchies immediately around Kasel, that are similar in culture, The Reich includes the Thanemarch (a nordic kingdom), Flammeschka (A piece of what might someday become totally-not-Holland,) Vlachonia (A chunk of Alandia & Mayari, see: Hungary) and up until very recently it held Kalmacia (part of the Kalkatts) as well.
South Kamenia (including Galli, Corvonia, Crobundy,) are also on-and-off again parts of the Reich, giving it a bit of a Carolingian vibe. The dynastic politics always ruin it, but Unified Kasel is one of the few powers on the continent capable of directly challenging Karthack or Solar Illegon, and this has led to some spectacular wars before. Fortunately for everyone else, perhaps, the Reich is too unstable and too multicultural to project too much of its power outwards without someone rebelling. It also relies heavily on the Solar Empire Principle to legitimize its hegemony over these often rebellious smaller states, and this gives the Ruvian church a lot of power in their affairs--probably one of the contributing factors to Kaselite Genosism having formed in Kasel.
The Reich’s leadership is centered around the Emperor, descendent of Clovis the Great, the last Emperor of Ruvia. The Emperor of Kasel cannot claim rulership over Holy Ruvia (Not yet, anyway,) However, he commands absolute power in the Reich, at least in theory.
In practice, the nobility of Kasel have gained a high degree of autonomy and have many rights compared to the vassals of other monarchs. This is largely due to the size, age, and feudal nature of the Reich. It is simply impossible to manage it all without delegating authority, and delegates demand a degree of autonomy, and inevitably demand more and more as time goes on. These complex schema of rights and privileges differ between kingdoms, and this for political situations that are almost impossible to decipher for outsiders. Furthermore, the legal system sometimes leaves members of the nobility paralyzed into seemingly nonsensical action or inaction.
It is for example entirely possible for the Duke of Ventria to be forced by the legal obligations of his Ducal title to declare war on a County outside of that title, despite the fact that he owns it. This essentially forces him to raise two feudal armies from his underlings at his own expense and then have them fight each other to protect his own rights from himself. To him, nothing changes, the lands are still his, but within his title the order of ownership and fealty that leads up to him alters, and this can grow even more confusing, and potentially disastrous, if the Duke were to want to, say, divide titles amongst his children.
Perhaps for this reason, Primogeniture is the order of the day in most of the Reich - the eldest son inherits everything.
The laws of Kaselreich vary immensely in details big and small, often from one county to the next. But Allogne is a particularly notable variation. It is considered a full kingdom, and is the only one in the reich with both cognatic inheritance, in which women may inherit on the same grounds as men, and ultimogeniture, in which the youngest living child of the King becomes the new King. Other nations consider it an oddity at best, and laughable at worst, but the dynasty supports its young rulers and has done so well enough and for long enough that the state remains stable, despite no particular immunity from the warring and scheming which is common in the Reich.
The Tigurnzers are people from Tigurnia, one of the provinces of the Kaselreich, though in practice the province wilfully underpays its taxes, refuses all authority, and only offers token acts of submission to the Emperor. These are an independent people contemptuous of foreign rule and courageous in defense of their autonomy, and to protect it. The Tigurnzers fight primarily with pikes and halberds, and are renowned throughout Vosca for their discipline and effectiveness. They sell their services as mercenaries on behalf of their Cantons, and because they are the best at what they do, they are often hired as royal or ducal guards, and traditionally Legio I, the Pontifatrix's personal Urban Guard, is made up exclusively of Tigurnzers.
Kaselreich is an empire mired in feudalism at every aspect of its existence, and the primary fighting forces are levies which are called up along the lines of fealty to whichever lord of king is at war. However, there are also a few military orders of particular note.
Main article: Kasonic Order
The Kasonic Order is one of the few orders of Genosian knights who are what we would call "Militant Evangelists." From the northern regions of the Kaselreich, they have dealt with Pagan incursions into their lands for centuries, and have set out to violently tame the regions that still resist their rule, often with excessive force. (The fact that these conflicts are mostly a result of the Zell's controlled genocide in the North is either lost upon them, or immaterial.) The Kasonic Order's symbol is the halberd, which they wield with considerable skill. The order is not very wealthy, but converts who are spared death often serve the Order for a span of ten years to redeem themselves and their families for their sinful heathen ways. This means that manpower and unskilled labor is dirt cheap to the Order, and so chainmail is still very popular amongst them. Partial plate accessories for more experienced brothers are common. The Kasonic Order is known mostly for its extremely intimidating headgear, including wicked looking crests meant to strike terror into the hearts of their foes, and also for their absolutely merciless attitude towards hostility to Genosians and their protected peoples. The leader of the Kasonic Order, Kyton von Genoburg, was a pagan himself at birth, and his convert zeal was such that he eventually rose to rule the order, and is now the master of the infamous Order of the Black Sun.
The Kaselreich's "Eisenspieße" (lit. Ironspears) or Elf-spears, are famous throughout the land for their opulence, and for their distinctive weapons. By ancient treaty, a thousand swords are provided every year by the Burdinadin to the Imperial Palace of the Emperor of Kasel. These swords (being of a variety that has fallen out of fashion,) are then modified, and made into the heads of short pikes, and issued to the prestigious unit that guards the person and property of the Emperor. The Eisenspieße's weapons are not as long as normal pikes, but they compensate for this with excellent armor (they are drawn exclusively from nobles and the sons of nobles, as they do guard the Emperor himself,) extreme discipline, and weapons that function better in the Badwar phase of the push-of-pike. More often than functioning in a tight unit, however, the Eisenspieße are often sent out in small groups as honor guards for favored generals, or to garrison essential fortresses.
In the Kaselreich, there was once (and some say still is) a man called "Der Eisenhund". This infamous freedom fighter (or bandit, depending on whom you ask,) is a Kaselite folk hero, whom it is said escaped the Inquisition twelve times, stole the crown from the Pontifatrix's head, and slipped into Mount Genosus itself, to copy down an unaltered (the Kaselites believe that the Ruvians edit the Scriptures maliciously before releasing them,) draft of The Solar Scriptures, and hid them in an amphora, which is reputed to be buried somewhere in the Reich even today. This has led to an epidemic of people finding and smashing antique amphorae, in the hopes of uncovering the Kaselite equivalent of the Arc of the Covenant. This has proven intensely frustrating for collectors.
- The Kaselreich is clearly inspired by the historical Holy Roman Empire, and bears some similarities with The Empire in Warhammer Fantasy as well as other depictions of Medieval German Fantasy.
- The Song of Swords developers have said that the Kaselreich is the hardest part of the lore to develop, because the nation after which it was modelled (the Holy Roman Empire) was so labyrinthine and dysfunctional that understanding it well enough to fantasize it is exceptionally difficult.
- The Kaselreich is eventually supposed to be home to supernatural weirdness, that the developers have described as a combination between Twin Peaks and Germanic Folklore.
- Kyton von Genoburg and the Order of the Black Sun might be a reference to Alexander of Brennenburg and the Order of the Black Eagle, from the Amnesia Series. This is unconfirmed speculation.