Beyond The Shore: Legacy of the Golden Horseshoe
Germanna was the first German settlement in the Colony of Prosperia, settled in two waves, first in 1714 and then in 1717. Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood encouraged the immigration by advertising in Germany for miners to move to Prosperia and establish a mining industry in the colony. Germanna is located on the banks of the Rapidan River, 8 miles upstream of its confluence with the Rappahanock.
As part of a series of land grants awarded to English Imperials to create a buffer against Hapsburg colonization of the New World, the Privy Council granted Spotswood 86,000 acres in the newly created Spotsylvania County, of which the Germanna tract was the first, while he was Lieutenant Governor and actual executive head of the Prosperia government. He served in this capacity, between 1710 and 1719, and in 1716, he carried out the famous Transmontane Expedition and promoted many reforms and improvements. Spotswood resigned the governorship in 1719 after being granted the title Count by Emperor Prospero, and was replaced as the lieutenant governor by Hugh Drysdale in 1720.
The Germanna Colony consists primarily of the First Colony of forty-two persons from the Siegerland area in Germany brought to Prosperia to work for Spotswood in 1714, and the Second Colony of twenty families from the Palatinate, Baden and Württemberg area of Germany brought in 1717, but also include other German families who joined the first two colonies at later dates, as well as the English families of those who participated in the Transmontane expedition and were thus granted lands and honors by Spotswood.
The primary industry in Germanna are the mines, which produce both iron and silver ores, as well as Count Spotswoods Tubal Ironworks, which produces ingots of pig iron as well as some finished goods to be sold in Williamsburg and London. Numerous smaller business including some independent blacksmiths and finesmiths have grown up around the mines and ironworks as well.
Locations of Significance
The Enchanted Castle: Known colloquially as the ‘Enchanted Castle’, the home of Count Spotswood is a huge impressive edifice — a 90’ X 40’ stone and brick Georgian mansion with as many as nine other dependencies attached to it. Public gatherings are often made in the main courtyard in front of the ‘Castle’, where Count Spotswood can address the crowds from his second-story balcony.
Oleg’s Trading Post: Oleg’s Trading Post is located at Swift Run Gap, at the crest of the Blueridge Mountains. Owned and operated by a stern and somewhat unimaginative man named Oleg Leveton and his wife Svetlana, the trading post’s remote location and inconvenient distance from the major colonies has prevented it from realizing significant financial success. This is fine with Oleg, who in truth decided to move to such a remote location to get away from the constant machinations and political maneuverings in his hometown of Charles City. Oleg and Svetlana have spent the past few months building a small fort at Swift Run Gap. Their customers are few and far between, consisting mostly of trappers, hunters, and natives, but the trade in furs and jerky are enough to keep them in business. Business promises to pick up for them considerably if Count Spotswood’s plans to explore and settle the Shenandoah prove successful.
Zimmerman’s Tavern: Germanna’s only “watering hole”, this small tap house is owned by Rachel Zimmerman, wife of Germanna’s constable. Rachel brews her own small beer, mead, and moonshine. There are two rooms in the back which she rents out to travelers.
Tubal Ironworks: Owned by Count Spotswood, this foundry has a cold blast-charcoal blast furnace which produces pig iron, as well as a finery forge to produce silver goods using ore taken from the Germanna mines. Tubal Works iron has become Germanna’s primary export, shipping frames for chumnies, potts, doggs, frying, stewing, and backing panns to the auction in Williamsburg and overseas to England and France.
Leibowitz Workshop: Located next to the Tubal Ironworks, this wooden structure has burned down and been rebuilt at least four times since Isaac Leibowitz moved to Germanna. Strange sounds can be heard coming from it day and night.
The Sickhouse: This long, low-ceilinged building is the closest thing to a hospital in Germanna. Tended by the midwife, Sara Mashi, with occasionally assistance from the town’s spiritual leaders Veer Alamy and Tuesday. Given that home remedies are preferred by most of the villagers for day-to-day care, the Sickhouse is generally viewed as a “place to go to die”.
Hebron Church: While the local Catholic parish is small, it boasts its own prophet, dispatched from Rome. Of course, it’s prophet is the eccentric Veer Alamy, chosen of the strange Indian deity Ardhanarisvara. The Hebron Church, named by Count Spotswood due to his preference for the patriarchal gods of the Levantine, houses twelve full-sized statues and five stained-glass windows, made possible by donations from Count Spotswood and his knights. The statues depict the gods Moloch, Dagon, Cronus, Baal Hammon, Astrild, Yahweh, Hadad, Kothar, Hanuman, Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Ereshkigal. The windows depict the gods Ardhanarisvara, Wōden, Hveðrungr, Saint George, and Izanami. In addition, there is the Altar of the Unnamed Gods, and two-hundred and fifty-one carved niches to hold idols of favorite gods brought by parishioners.
Chopawamsic Plantation: A day’s ride north of Germanna, this massive 20,000 acre plantation, owned by George Mason, rivals the holdings of Count Spotswood. It is run by a small army of slaves, indentured workers, and free tenant farmers. It also commands the only ferries across the Rappahannock and Occoquan Rivers along the Emperor’s Highway.
The Wishing Well: The first of 2 wells dug in Germanna. This one dried up within the first week after being dug. The local legend says that throwing a coin into the old well will grant your wish. To this day nobody has even had their wish granted.
Thond’s House: This meager hut has a temporary look to it, as if it could all be packed up and moved within a matter of hours. In the 3 months he’s resided in Germanna, Thond has set up residence near Zimmerman’s Tavern.
Zen-Topple Farm: This small farm is owned by Zibbler Zen-Topple, having previously belonged to his now aged and invalid parents. Measuring only ten acres, the land includes a small house, a barn, and an outdoor privy.
To be expanded as part of Character Creation
Imperial Families: Berkeley, Beverley, Bland, Bray, Brooke, Byrd, Carter, Clopton, Clouder, Dandridge, Digges, Evelyn, Fairfax, Fitzhugh, Fontaine, Hall, Harrison, Hay, Jarvis, Jones, Lee, Ludwell, Mason, Mercer, Moore, Moseley, Munroe, Nott, Page, Pendleton, Pyeton, Randolph, Robertson, Robinson, Russel, Saunders, Skipworth, Smith, Taylor, Todd, Washington, Wormley, Wythe, Yelverton
German Families: Albrecht, Brombach, Fischbach, Friesenhagen, Hager, Heide, Heimbuch, Hoffman, Holtzclaw, Huttman, Kemper, Koontz, Martin, Otterbach, Reinschmidt, Richter, Spielmann, Weaver, Wilberforce, Zimmerman
Families of Significance
Zimmerman: Hans Zimmerman (32) is the appointed constable of Germanna, tasked with keeping the peace in the small colony. His wife, Rachel (29), owns the town’s only tavern, making it fairly easy for him to keep tabs on the rowdiest of the town’s citizenry. Despite having been married for a decade, Hans and Rachel are childless, and it is rumored that the two have not shared a bed in over a year.
Wilberforce: Originally from Ethiopia, or so it is believed, the dark-skinned Wilberforce family hails from Bavaria. After falling on hard times, Robert and Elizabeth Wilberforce answered Lord Spotswood’s call for miners to travel to the new world. They traveled to Germanna with their daughter, Tess, and both worked the mines before Elizabeth died in an accident. Robert has taken on his wife’s term of indenture to spare Tess from a similar life of debt and servitude. He works double shifts in the silver mines, and also serves with Hans Zimmerman as deputy constable.
Nelson: Among the first families to settle in Prosperia, the Nelsons lost much of their fortune and their home in Yorktown to a series of fires a year ago. Now Thomas Nelson (age 43), along with his wife Elizabeth, and their son William (age 9) are staying in the house of Count Spotswood, at the count’s leisure, a situation of some embarrassment to Thomas.
Individuals of Significance
Count Alexander Spotswood: Lord of Spotsylvania County, owner of the Tubal Ironworks, and former governor of Prosperia Colony. Rich, fat, and single.
Sir John Fontaine: One of the original Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. Resident explorer and author of several popular travelogues.
Sir George Mason III: One of the original Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. He owns huge tracts of farmland just north of Spotsylvania County.
Thomas Nelson: One of the first settlers of the Yorktown colony, Thomas “Scotch Tom” Nelson grew quite wealthy and influential working as a merchant and importer. That is, up until a year ago, when a fire destroyed three of his warehouses and drove him to bankruptcy. Despite his present economic woes, Thomas is still well respected in Prosperia, both as one of the first colonists, and also as a man of peace and dignity.
David Deas and John Deas: These brothers from Carolina colony, are co-owners of the Dembia, a slave ship which regularly runs shipments from Sierra-Leon to the auctions in Williamsburg. They gambled bringing their most recent shipment to Germanna, to sell directly to the local land-owners — a gamble they lost. They have allied themselves with the Count, the local constabulary, and the militia to hunt down those responsible for the theft of their property.
Isaac Leibowitz: Leibowitz is an eccentric. A German mathematician and inventor, descended from the tribes of Israel, Leibowitz was brought to Germana colony by Count Spotswood to develop advanced technologies to be used in the mines and foundries.
Veer Alamy: On establishing Germanna as the seat of his new County, Lord Spotswood wrote to Rome requesting a priest to oversee the citizens. What he got was Veer. Hailing from the Punjab province of the Empires holdings in India, Veer is the prophet of the androgynous god Ardhanarisvara, who is depicted as half-male, half-female split down the axis. While the Catholic church may be “all encompassing”, the settlers of Germanna have been rather off-put by Veer’s tendency to dress in emulation of his patron, and, or so it is rumored, fuck in a similarly “all encompassing” manner.
Tuesday: The proverbial “old witch” on the edge of town. “Tuesday”, as he is known to the Germanna colonists, is a former slave of Count Spotswood. After being freed, he immediately abandoned his colonial dress, returned to using his Ashanti name, moved to the outskirts of town, and began serving as a spiritual councilor for other slaves of African descent.
Adalbert Brombach: Adalbert Brombach is a free tenant farmer who tends the lands owned by Sir John Fontaine. His major claim to fame in Germanna, beyond his prize-winning turnips, is his ability to acquire just about anything, for a price and given time. Rumors hold that he even deals in contraband items such as deadly poisons, though Constable Zimmerman has yet to catch him in the act, nor discover who is buyers might be.
Pierre Tabeau: A French trapper who spends more time in Zimmerman’s Tavern than out checking his traps. He can’t resist a game of chance and often attempts to goad patrons into joining him in one. Once drunk, his accent becomes so thick his words are incomprehensible. Pierre knows the area around Germanna better than most.
Jeremiah Pinkerton: An 11 year old orphan the town has taken to watching after. He has a good heart, but always finds himself involved with some sort of shenanigans. Whether it’s playing pranks by loosening the bolts on wagons or stealing a freshly baked pie out of Rachel’s window, Jeremiah is never far away from trouble.
Sara Mashi: Sara’s family hails from Japan, by way of the Netherlands after her father was deposed as head of the Koga clan following the Koga infiltration of Hara Castle during the Shimabara Rebellion. Sara was born in London, many years after her family’s exile, and later emigrated to the colonies. Now old and white-haired herself, Sara serves as Germanna colony’s midwife, while secretly honing the ancient talents of her clan passed down by her father.
Tess Wilberforce: The daughter of Robert Wilberforce is a student and sometimes apprentice of Leibowitz, and quite the firebrand. She is also an outspoken opponent of the practice of slavery — both the overt kind practiced by the plantation owners, as well as Count Spotswood’s indenturing of father and the other German miners. She has traded harsh words with Count Spotswood, the other landowners, and the traders bringing slaves up from Williamsburg and James City, and only her father’s position in the town constabulary has saved her.
Líadan: This darkly beautiful creature from faerie arrived in town quite dramatically. Luckily, the destruction of the tornado that deposited her in the colonies was blessedly localized, with only a single fatality (a local lettuce farmer named John Robbinson). Although she was initially confused by such human concepts as ‘property’, ‘currency’ and ‘personal space’, she has been willing to pitch in to help the colony time and again, from helping to tend the wounded to hunting for food to supplement poor harvests. She often sings at the inn, and is a very close friend of the Rachel Zimmerman.
Amos Fortune: Once a slave of Sir George Mason, Amos was brought along on the first Transmontane expedition to pitch tents and dig latrines for his master. While returning from the expedition, he burst his chains and fled into the wilds, stealing a beautiful African knobkerrie that had belonged to his master. Wanted for theft, he has been hiding out in the home of the dwarf Thond Grubsmith, his closest friend, in Germanna ever since.
To be expanded as part of Character Creation