Centrally located on the continent of Drentae, twenty-eight baronies have joined together to form the Council of Baronies. Bordered by Parnania on the north, Garnock on the south, and Nanerette on the west, the Council is in many ways the hub of the continent’s politics.
The Council is probably most similar to a federation. Each of the barons is monarch of his own barony, but they decide “foreign policy” issues together. Also, while it is most common for the eldest son to succeed his father, the Council must ratify an heir, and in several situations has taken baronies away from families they felt would be a problem for the Council as a whole. Certainly these situations have sometimes been political power grabs from other families, but they have more often been used to remove barons who were not up to the task of ruling a portion of the federation.
Much time has been spent debating this issue and why the member baronies would allow it to occur. In addition to weeding out bad barons (those who would be too weak or perhaps too violent), it has also served to prevent the type of rebellions that sometimes plague monarchies. All the stories of brothers creating civil wars in order to take what they feel is rightfully theirs either due to some obscure law or perhaps due to the questionable fatherhood of the older brother have been removed. Similarly, if someone were to find the long lost grandson of some long dead baron - even if the long lost grandson turned out to in fact have the strongest ancestral claim to the throne, it doesn’t matter, because the Council specifically put the baron into his throne. There is no hope of appealing the decision.
As the center of the continent, the Council of Baronies is an important trading partner for any who wish to take advantage of land travel. Forsbury is well known as the trading hub of the continent, though it likely does not move as much cargo as the shipping ports of Brinston, Helatia or Scaret. While each land is its own, the trade agreements between them are so open that cargo can be moved easily throughout the region, while tariffs are still collected for goods coming in from the outside. These tariffs are usually low enough that smuggling is not a major issue.
Individually, each barony posts a relatively minor military force, but by banding together, they have been able to field considerable armies. Additionally, they are still allied with Parnania to the north even though they served as the major logistical support for the Latvich army of Garnock when it moved through the baronies on its way to attack Parnania and Nanerete. For all practical purposes, they have allies on all borders. The general thinking during the last war (from Garnock) was that the individual baronies were not worth attacking. Each would consider itself a separate entity when it served them or as part of the Council when the larger body served them. Allowing this considerable “nest of traitors and turncoats” to sit in their rear would have exhausted Garnock’s troops that were needed for the battles in the north.