The Moot or the Mootland is an autonomous region governed by Halflings located between Averland and Stirland. Administrative autonomy was granted to the little folk by Ludwig the Fat in 1000 IC, during the Age of Three Emperors, after he decided it was about time to give them their own land to govern as they see fit. Ludwig's advisers at the time told him that he cannot possibly grant the Halflings this just because they had contributed to the Imperial cuisine. Nevertheless, Ludwig the Fat issued the edict that the Moot should be its own province and even be permitted an electoral vote (much to the consternation of his more conservative advisers.)
The Moot is formed by a collection of villages, each one headed by an Elder. The Elders meet fairly frequently, called a District Moot, in a selected village which has been voted for by the Elders; such things as prestige and monthly yield is important in the voting process. Topics debated in a District Moot covers the harvest, which is one of the most important areas of discussion, how many fields should be left fallow, if any are flooded, as well as other crop rotation and fertility issues; where herds should be allowed to graze, if they are producing enough milk or not; whether the cheese is up to standard; the amount of pipe weed grown; and if there are any concerns over possible bandit activity. Before the District Moot the chair-halfling is elected by the Elders and this individual actually becomes an Imperial Elector with the power to vote for a new Emperor!
A District Moot is a sight to behold for it is a gigantic banquet where the village Elders smoke enormous amounts of pipe weed and drink ale by the gallon. For some Elders the attendance of a District Moot depends on the size of the banquet and what is being served. Some conservative Elders (those with strong Halfling traditions) will baulk if half a dozen extra helpings of meat pie are not forthcoming and won't attend. Often the local Electors, usually Averland and Stirland, will send emissaries to a District Moot to watch and take note of the proceedings (when politics is finally discussed after the first seven courses) because little do the Halflings know that they could have an influential say on Imperial politics. One of the Emperor's own Plenipotentiaries is always present at any District Moot, as whoever becomes an Imperial Elector from the assembled Halflings could prove to be an important associate and ally. The Emperor's Plenipotentiary will also keep an eye on any other officials sent by the Electors.
Although the Moot relies heavily on Imperial protection it does at least have its own militia, which the Count of Stirland in particular insists upon, to help with combating bandits in the region. Mostly they are a defensive force and not very well equipped to attack. The Halflings make great use of their culinary skills for homeland defence. Just as most Halflings are excellent cooks and can prepare delicious meals some can also prepare cocktails designed to actually harm a foe and even these ingredients are closely guarded secrets just like an old woman won't divulge the secrets of her recipe book. The cocktails are boiled by the cauldron load and contain ferociously hot spices, as well as peppermint herbs, firebalm, and even dabs of gunpowder. The mixture turns out to be quite a wicked brew and highly flammable, not to mention effective when launched from a catapult. Indeed, mixtures of this kind are very effective against goblinoids; apparently the hot spices and herbs play merry havoc with their fungus-like metabolism. This could be one of the reasons why bands of goblinoids aren't as much of a problem as perhaps they should be on the Moot's borders; the stench given off by the boiling brew is enough to put most creatures off from getting too close. This lethal, stinking concoction is reasonably harmless to a Halfling should one consume a portion (he or she may suffer from an hour or two of stomach pains and intermittent blasts of wind) but to a human it is far more unpleasant; this includes almost immediate unconsciousness and at least two weeks, or more, of diarrhoea.
In return for their Imperial vote, the Moot sends some of their finest cooks to the Imperial court and sends small groups of their foresters to serve for a time in the Imperial army. Halflings are not born warriors but they make competent bowmen and can make hardly a sound when wandering through undergrowth. This makes them ideal scouts although their use in any Imperial army is largely symbolic and few Empire generals want them in their army. Halflings in defence of their homes are determined and doughty fighters, however.
Roots: It has been known that Halflings have always been in the general area of the Moot even before the Edict of Ludwig. Their actual origins are not known or whether they are related to humans in any way. (It is claimed that they were engineered by the Old Ones to be immune to Chaos and it is certainly the case that they are highly resistant to magic and Halfling mutants are unheard of.)
Historical Notes: One of the most important dates is 1000 IC when Ludwig the Fat issued his edict and the formal creation of the Moot. The Moot gained an Imperial vote for the first time.
Regional Saints and Heroes: One of the foremost equivalents of a Halfling saint was the first Moot Elder called Feri Goldlock. Feri accepted the formal handover of the Moot to the Halfling people from the Emperor himself and went on to officially sanction District Moots and politicize the village Elders, although today most have reverted back to their indolent ways. Feri is also accorded several splendid ales and pipe weed, all of which it is said were made with the use of magic (Feri's pipe weed today is called "Gold Leaf".)
When the Black Plague devastated whole populations in the Empire in 1111 IC even the Moot wasn't safe, though they suffered less. Sam Proudbelly grew medicinal herbs, as well as toiling day and night to produce as much food as was possible, and helped to alleviate the suffering of the "Big Folk" in the local Averland and Stirland areas. Just three years later, however, a swarm of locusts threatened to ravage his precious harvest, but he used magic to get rid of them. Some say he was blessed by Esmeralda.
One of the most famous Halfling heroes was Drogo Heartfoot. In 1678 he single-handedly killed a beastmen using a meat cleaver. The creature had been terrorizing the locality for many weeks, stealing food and killing farmers. Drogo was big for a Halfling, standing at a towering four-and-a-half-feet, and today he is remembered as one of the mightiest Halfling warriors and defenders of the homeland that has ever been. Big banquets today mark the occasion when he slew the beastman.
Military Colours: The Halfling militia doesn't conform to a strict dress. As all are ranger-type people they tend to wear greens and browns. However, for those in the service of the Empire they might wear the colours and bear the devices of the Elector or noble they are currently serving.
|Settlement Name||Size||Ruler||Pop||Wealth||Source of Wealth||Garrison/Militia||Notes|
|North Riding||*||Village Elders||500||4||Agriculture, Cheese, Fishing||50c||Famous for fish cakes|
|East Riding||*||Village Elders||425||4||Agriculture, Brandy, Fishing, Herbs||30b||Best foresters in the Moot|
|South Riding||*||Village Elders||580||4||Agriculture, Brewing, Fishing||50c||Best beer in the Moot|
|West Riding||*||Village Elders||630||4||Agriculture, Fishing, Pipe weed, Wine||75c||"Gold Leaf", most addictive pipe weed in the Old World|
*The Moot is roughly divided into four "ridings", each one also comprising a collection of villages with their own Elders. There does exist some friendly rivalry between the ridings, such as who makes the most delicious fruit puddings, the finest ale, the best pipe weed and so on. The East Riding lays claim to the best foresters in the Moot due to their historical achievements in the Age of Vampires.