Holds of Pern

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Major Holds

Given the current circumstances, the Major Holds have formed tight-knit alliances, defending one another's territorial borders and generally sharing military forces. Each individual Hold remains sovereign, with its own Lord Holder - with one exception. But in practical terms, they function more like nations with multiple major cities, and cotholds scattered between.

Fort, Ruatha, and Southern Boll

The Fort territories are having their own problems. Fort Hold and Ruatha Hold are fighting a war on two fronts: on the one side, they continue to make aggressive attempts to seize Nabol from High Reaches. On the other side, they have to constantly deal with raids from Fort Weyr dragonriders, who steal everything from herdbeasts to entire supply wagons. And if you've never seen a bronze dragon lift off while hanging on to an ox-drawn cart, count yourself fortunate.

Southern Boll has been worst off in the fighting. The once-peaceful weaver Hold is too far south to be of significant help to Fort or Ruatha, so it has been largely abandoned by its northerly neighbors for the riders to scavenge at their leisure. Southern Boll offered what reinforcements they could in the way of guards and whers at the beginning of the war, only to be ignored when they called for aid later. The residents have grown accustomed to regular raids, and even Discovery dragons may find an extraordinarily hostile reception.

Benden and Lemos

Benden Hold continues to tithe to its Weyr, albeit reluctantly. To outsiders, of course, they will claim fierce pride in being the last loyal Holds of Pern. But to anyone inside, it is bitterly clear that Benden submits out of fear of going the way of Fort Hold. Lemos relies upon its vast swaths of forest to supply the Woodcraft and Printercraft Halls - and those trees are all too vulnerable to dragonfire. For now, pacifying the dragonriders is absolutely necessary.

They occupy a frustrating position in the war: while Benden and Lemos together control a substantial portion of the eastern half of the Northern Continent, both Crom and Nabol are to the west, past Telgar Hold and a significant mountain range. Too far to successfully move an invading force, in other words. They occasionally make desultory attempts at pushing south, but Keroon and Nerat have little to offer but beasts and crops, respectively. Benden doesn't stand to gain from outright aggression, so they concentrate on holding their own territory.

Bitra Hold

Technically, Bitra is aligned with Benden and Lemos. Technically. In the… loosest possible sense. In more realistic terms, Bitrans have always been a practical sort, and when a new industry arose they seized it with both hands. The Soldiercraft doesn't have a hall - it's not even really a proper Craft - but if it did, it would be in Bitra. Fort's got the whers, sure, but Bitra's got hundreds of turns of practice at running a black market. There is a reason why "loyal Bitran" is Pernese slang for a mercenary, nowadays.

High Reaches, Tillek, and Nabol

Nabol is in a risky position. Caught in a vice between Ruatha and Telgar, one might expect the second mining Hold of Pern to fall quickly. But Nabol has an advantage: Ruatha is simultaneously fending off Fort Weyr, and Telgar is simultaneously fending off uprisings at Crom. Neither invading force can afford to devote their full attention to seizing the mine… and Nabol has some truly ferocious allies.

High Reaches Hold has devoted its full force of wherguards to the protection of Nabol, and High Reaches Weyr has sent entire wings of dragons to patrol the skies. Unlike with Crom, the Nabolese fully welcome their defenders, and High Reaches has their complete cooperation. Even Tillek has joined the defense; it is a long and dangerous sea-voyage around Boll Peninsula to the Big Bay, but Tillek's fleets are the fastest on all of Pern.

Keroon and Igen

Along with Bitra, Igen supplies the second largest number of mercenaries to the war. Located in the heart of a desert in the midst of a severe drought, and with only the Tannercraft Hall to their name, Igenites are emigrating in massive numbers to join the fight at Nabol or Fort or Ruatha. Sure, they might get killed for it, but at least they'll get a decent meal first. Igen Hold has a reliable working relationship with its Weyr, distant but professional, and dragons have been working with farmers on massive irrigation projects to try to revitalize the peninsula.

Keroon has fared somewhat better; their fields have been largely spared by the drought, and their beastcrafters get a generous income selling off herdbeasts to feed the massive combat whers. They've even developed a thriving side-industry. It turns out that the racing whers they've been breeding for a century are valued as scouts and messengers too; whers are harder to intercept than runnerbeasts, as they travel at night and can defend themselves with teeth and claws.

Ista and Nerat

Ista and Nerat have the least to offer to the war at large. Ista Hold never put much stock in modern technology to begin with, being essentially a tropical island paradise. They're currently busy watching in bemusement as Ista dragonriders try to learn how to fend for themselves for the first time in centuries. As for Nerat, the Farmcraft Hall continues on regardless of what everyone else is doing. Seeds still grow, the seasons continue on, and no knowledge has been lost. The only trouble the farmers will experience is the loss of synthetic fertilizer, and Faranth knows there's plenty of wherry dung to go around. Every now and then Nerat has to repel an over-eager patrol of Benden whers, but that's the worst of it.

Telgar and Crom

Currently, in terms of sheer military might, Telgar is the single strongest Hold on Pern. They hit Crom hard and fast while all the other Holds were still bribing caravans and bickering over trade routes, and since then everyone else has been struggling to play catch-up. Telgar's dominance is held in check by the fact that it has no allies; Fort and Ruatha together can match it, for instance, or Benden and Lemos together. But Telgar holds Crom - and the entire metal-rich mountain range on which it sits - by sheer raw force. The elite of Telgar's wherguards are equipped with firearms, an egregious expense of metal which no one else can match. They are only clumsy muskets, unreliable and poor at aiming over any distance. But it's damned difficult to argue when you've got leather armor and spears, and the other guy is holding a firearm and riding a wher.

As for Crom, the seat of the Minecraft Hall is in a dire way. The Lord Holder and his entire family have been put to the sword. There was, theoretically, a Steward - but even if Telgar could be expelled and Crom's sovereignty re-instated, there's no guarantee that the rest of Pern would acknowledge a Lord who wasn't of the bloodline. More likely, whatever power ends up removing Telgar will instate their own puppets… and Crom will continue as it has for the past twenty-eight turns, just under more discreet control. The residents are growing restless, however. Entire teams of miners have been staging increasingly aggressive riots, with their whers for support.

Minor Holds

There are countless small Holds scattered across Pern. If you want your character to be from somewhere that isn't one of the major Holds listed above, feel free to simply make one up. It might be a good idea to have the general location in mind - the area around Igen is primarily desert, for instance, and will produce a very different upbringing than growing up near High Reaches. But if you're not into the war and intrigue, this is a great way to make a character who has grown up somewhat sheltered from the conflict.

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