European Analogs

bbagnas's picture

Harn Islands seem analogous to the British Isles, so I wondered what the other countries were similar. Emelrene feels like a France-like nation, Ivinia is akin to Scandinavia, and Shorkyne seems similar to the Germanic states. Are there any Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Baltic, Italian, or Slavic-like kingdoms?

What is the feel or analog of the other mainland nations?
* Palithane
* Trierzon
* Tarkain
* Beronium
* Hurisea

I'm trying to get a feel for how to portray these cultures and NPCs once the PCs leave the Harnic area.

Jessee's picture

My analogies:

Hurisea - Poland
Shorkyne - Germany
Trierzon - France
Chelemby - Denmark
Emelrene - Netherlands
Palithane - Belgium
Hepkaria - Barbary States

I expect others mileage may differ.

Ponder on,


Puster's picture

Palithane - Belgium
I have my doubts here. First, Palithane is a mix of Imperial, Feudal and Ivinian background, heavily influenced by Emelrenes politics.
Belgium in the current form did not exist before 1830 but was - before Burgund - largely the western territory of the Empire (HRE) and at its southwestern corner with Flandern part of the french feudal system, but unlike Palithane not with a nordic ruling class but rather, starting around 1400 - a feudal class that developed into the Burgundian Valois and later the Habsburg (though nominally Phillipe was ruling from his mothers heritage, not his father Maximilian). In many ways I see this more like early Normandy or later Britanny, but with a different underlaying society. I doubt that there is any good analogy here.

Puster's picture

I think part of the charm of Hârnworld is that it eludes the easy analogies that other worlds often have.
Hârn is similar to England, but totally different.
Azeryan is not Rome or Byzanz at any time, but there are similarities in detail. Kareija is certainly not Greece at any time.

That said... Sicily and Cyprus for me make good analogies for Tarkain or Beronium, with their cultural mix and ruling classes. And yet the differences are larger then the similarities. In politics the barbary states of Algier and Tunis around 1500 come perhaps close.
Chelemby is like a mixture of Frisian/Saxons/Norse with the Hanse taking over, so Lübeck, Danzig or Hamburg en large. Hurisea with its turmoil could be Poland, though Poland always had more framework for its rivalries. Palithane is a unique mix of feudal background, influenced by Emelrene, conquered by Azeryan, then Trierzon, then some Norse. An independent large Normandy perhaps. As the political situation in Europe fluctuated a lot it is hard to fix this.

The HRE, the universal western Empire of the real world, is an interesting and often underestimated topology of interaction of small states within a common legal framework. The fact that so many small states managed to survive is not a sign of political weakness but of legal strength. Works for Hurisea, perrhaps. Or not. In many aspects Shorkyne is far closer to France around 13-1400 then the Empire, as it is in a process of galvanizing strength. The legal base is that all nobles have to support the king and realm, which in the HRE was not a given. Probably there is no analogy for the HRE in Kelestia.

Harbaal is imho not far from the medieval Skandinavia, while Ivinia is more the pre christian Skandinavia, far more fragmented then in later times. Here again the analogies do not carry far when you look at the larger picture, though.

For depicting the world, vignettes can be taken from history. The slavic world, Poland, the Baltics, works for me for anything on the mainland and Hurisea, though the free cantons of Frisia may work, too. The idealized world of France, or rather Burgund, carry well for Trierzon, while the more robust feudal society of Shorkyne can be represented by the various German principalities. For the Venarian sea I do look at the medieval world of around 11-1200, which was dominated by Byzanz and its derivative, Venice and Genoa, nominally part of the HRE. Bring in Byria and Dalkesh and any analogy dies - again, but the cultural vignettes can be found on the courts of Palermo, Nikosia or Alexandria.

Sorry, I assume this was not really helpful.

Which, to me, makes up the charm of Kelestia. Politically it is so different from the medieval world that the similarity in detail is misleading.

BTW: Summa Venariva is imho a monumental work of world building :-)

Jessee's picture


You wrote, " First, Palithane is a mix of Imperial, Feudal and Ivinian background, ..."

Belgium is a mix of Walloon, French and German backgrounds, so similar there. Where my analogy does not match up, is geography, Palithane is not the battleground crossroads between powers. Kingdoms in Harnworld are much more coherent than existing in our history.

I said nothing of the HRE, you added that consideration. Perhaps there is a Charlemagne analogy yet to be in Harnworld??? In my version, the Kingdoms of Shorkyne and Harbaal fragment during Civil Wars.

Ponder on,


bbagnas's picture

Thank you for offering your input and ideas. It was perfect for my needs. I was looking more toward the clothing, artistic styles, and customs rather than dropping a Medieval Nation from Year X into Harn. My goal was to combine the information from the Harnic books and the European analogies to make the states stand out when I describe them. Distinct cultural traits like mustaches, preferred weapons, typical armor, or superstitions lend themselves to immersion, especially since Harn is so detailed.

Balesir's picture

Do you have the Venârivè (and maybe Summa Venâriva) publications? They include illustrations of clothing and typical 'styles', details of social order, military forces and so on, as well as religious details and such.

As others have said, they're not clear analogues, but each region has a fairly clear 'vibe'. For Palíthanè, fwiw, I would suggest more Sicily and Naples, but as with the rest it's not an exact match.

Puster's picture

> I was looking more toward the clothing, artistic styles, and customs

In that regard the main aspect seems to be that Kelestia reflects - or draws from - different eras of history, in addition to geographical aspects.

While Hârn is the classical 1200 England, the armor and warfare of the Ivinian cultures seems to range back towards the viking age, perhaps ~1000 and earlier, while that of Harbaal goes in the later Scandinavian era of around 1200+ again and Shorkyne & Trierzon move into the 14th century, perhaps beyond. Of course the "imperial" influence, as perhaps reflected by Byzanz, would be much stronger here, too, as Azeryan is much closer to Trierzon then Byzanz was to the HRE or France.

Naval development is of course more advanced and borders the second half of the 15th century with the Karunes while remaining in the 11th century for the north. The large galleys we see in the Venarian sea are only reflected in post 1530 Renaissance galleys, or in those pre Actium - which shows that it is the biotope of rivalling empires that makes them, not the actual state of shipbuilding.

BTW: The depictions in Venarive and the modules by Kelestia are usually first class to get you started. The only image where I actually cringed was the Trader in the Thonia-module, H’anvúchè pg 5. That one is so clearly wearing the Landsknechts inspired fashion of the early 16th century that for me he simply does not fit in. Perhaps its because my historical interest focuses so much on this era in general and the Landsknechts in detail (ask me anything there, but only ask if you are prepared for a sermon) that it just connects with too many other receptors in me. But, frankly said, I think this one is just out of the typical timescope. Medieval traders & bankers looked totally different up into the early 16th century that I fail to imagine the cultural background for this Renaissance outfit within any Venarive society.

BTW2: If anybody knows about a good book on the civil society, including fashion and arts, of the medieval (<1400) central & eastern European countries, I would be much obliged.