In the 5th Century PC the Holy Sigmarite Empire is the largest human Empire on Palurin. There are smaller dominions of men, including the satellite protectorates of Pellenar, Ebenland and Kustenland, but the HSE dominates them all. Founded by Empire explorers many of the customs and traditions of the Holy Sigmarite Empire have remained largely unchanged since the first explorers set foot on the new world. The HSE has expanded greatly since its beginning, but it is still ruled by the hereditary monarchy of the Alptraum family, whose colours are yellow and black. The religious leadership of the nation comes from the Grand Theogonist of Sigmar, or the Pontiff, who wields great influence, although no real political power.
The Empire is divided into several states, each of which is ruled by an aristocratic family. The state is then further divided into provinces which are ruled by lesser lordlings. Each lord and lordling is expected to protect their own lands and set their own laws in line with the teachings of Sigmar. They are also expected to pay taxes to the Imperial coffers, but any change in taxation must be agreed upon by consent of a majority of the states, in a gathering known as the Imperial Court. Th Emperor also has a large standing army which is also his house army, as the ruling Alptraum family also governs the capital state of Sigmarheim.
The HSE has a large Ogre population, as Ogre mercenaries made up a significant proportion of the original settlers. The Ogres of the HSE are fiercely loyal to their adopted state, as they themselves helped to build it. Although the Ogres hold no positions of real power, The chieftan of the Ogres is the nominal head of the HSE military, much to the irritation of the aristocratic lords. In addition the Ogres contribute substantially to the Empire's income, usually by campaigning against the Empire's enemies, and they are given large license in their expeditions, and can keep half the loot of their campaigns.
The West of the Empire is also the most populous, and almost half the population live in this region, which stretches from the Duron mountain range in the north to the border of Hoffenland. The states of Bergland, Helland, Neuland, Sigmarheim and the Nimarn Valley make up the west, and they contain the largest city in the HSE and its capital, Sigmarheim. Hellveg is also a major town on the river Nimarn. The Sigmarite church is based in the capital, and the Imperial palace and Cathedral of Sigmar are the largest and most impressive structures in the Empire.
The West is the oldest region of the Empire and has the oldest noble families and traditions. Westerners tend to look down on the other regions, particularly in the aristocracy. The fertile lands of the Nimarn Valley also make the region the richest in the Empire, and the populous here tend to be the most loyal to the Emperor and his family, whilst also being the least religious.
The south consists of Hoffenland, Sudhafen and Galamor, along the coast of Galamor Bay. Since 420PC Hoffenland has extended to the Pan Coron Ocean, with the new harbour town of Eichenwald sited as the Empire's newest port. The south is dominated by fishing industries and naval power, and Galamory is the home of the privateer navy of the HSE, a group of licensed but privately run warships, who often act outside the control of the Emperor on the high seas. So long as they don't start a major war and pay a share of their profits to the crown, the Emperor has in general turned a blind eye to the activities of the privateers. The official Holy Sigmarite Navy is based at Sudhafen, but has only been in action once, against the navy of Typhus, with disastrous results. It is generally looked down upon by the privateers of Galamory, who see the Imperial Navy as for show rather than doing anything useful.
The south is generally loyal to the Emperor, but even less religious than the west, and the official religion of Sigmar is often surplanted by that of the Goddess of the Sea, Manann. The people of the south have an affinity with the sea, and are often regarded as a little strange by the rest of the Empire, and their customs are the most divergent from the rest of the nation. The south has also been plagued by Dark Elf and Skaven raids for hundreds of years, and the populace are generally keen on enjoying life as much as possible rather than worrying about the future.
The east consists of Schinderland, which was the largest state in the Empire before the expansion of Hoffenland, Dortland, and Niederland, and its population is mainly concentrated on the Great and Lesser Canaur. Schinderland is a state of rolling meadows and dispersed settlements, with much of the population living in and around its seat of power in Niederdam, the Empire's second largest city which is also home to the Empire's colleges of magic. Niederland is the furthest east of the Empire states, and is more populous than Schinderland, its rich and fertile soil providing ideal farming land for its inhabitants. Wurmlingen on the Lesser Canaur and Oberbrucken on the Greater Canaur are the largest settlement. Dortland is similar, though smaller, with its seat at Gross Dortbeck.
The easterners are the most religious, or even pious of Sigmar's lands. The East is the newest part of the Empire, with Niederland only having half the history of the west, and Dortland even less. In the east the cult of Sigmar is very strong, and pilgrims will often walk barefoot to the cathedral in Sigmarheim. Ulricans, already a minority in the Empire are distrusted and often discriminated against. The level of education is also poorer in general, as most of the region is made up of farmers, although Niederdam does boast a university as well as the Colleges of Magic.
The north of the Empire is comprised of just two states. Ancient Nordingland is ruled from Weissbruck, and for centuries was the northern border of the Holy Sigmarite Empire. Then in the third century PC the Drazkharov family, who trace their lineage from Kislevite kings, were given a lordly seat at Krahefort. Since then they have expanded their state of Holwingen to the north and east, and established Erichsbrucken and Franzbruck on the northern reaches of the Canaur. The north is colder than the south, with harsh snowy winters, and is populated sparsely. The soil is poorer and the gentle valleys in the south give way to bleak moors and forbidding forests. Most of the population of the north live in one of the three major settlements, but unlike the other HSE states Holwingen is ruled not from a settlement, but from the Castle of Krahefort, the Empire's largest and most impressive fortification.
The people of the north live more simply than those in the south, and the settlements are built of stone and thatch, rather than half timber and slate. Harvests are poorer and food more difficult to find, and this is often very dependent on the weather, and as such the population tend to be superstitious in nature, mistrustful of the decadent ways and easy lifestyles of the south and west.
Adler An Zee
Adler An Zee is the newest addition to the Empire, a new colony bought from the dwarfs in 376PC in exhange for the Duron Mountains. A large number of Ulricans have moved here, eager to be free of the discrimination of the HSE mainland, and over 50% of Adler An Zee worship gods other than Sigmar. A large Ogre population has also moved to Adler An Zee, as it is nearer the campaigning grounds of the Kaalroen Empire and Typhonian Enclave.
Kustenland is the smallest independent human nation recognised by the Holy Sigmarite Empire. It is completely surrounded by the HSE and totally reliant on it for its continued existence. Kustenlanders are mostly peasant farmers, and most of those who want something different out of life end up in the Empire anyway. In time the full merger of Kustenland with the HSE is an almost certainty.
Ebenland is very similar to Kustenland, though larger and its inhabitants, mostly trappers and rangers, are fiercely independent. Much of Ebenland is marshland and of very little value.
Pellenar is the largest independent human realm after the HSE, ruled by a King from the capital Ingolrop. Its customs are similar to those of Old Kislev, and it is believed to have been founded by Kislevite travellers a few centuries after the establishment of the HSE. Successive Emperors of the Empire have recognised and guaranteed the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Pellenar, though a number have tried to peacefully integrate the realm into the HSE.
Pellenar is dominated by flat grasslands, which make it the ideal land for horses, and it is horse breeding at which the kingdom excels. Most Empire knights and nobles prefer a Pellenar steed, and the people of Pellenar are often known as the "horse lords".