Hello again! This will be a big diary that covers a lot of lore and history.
First of all, let's go over some history, and how the Northeastern Baltic World got from being technologically advanced in 2000 to being basically medieval in 2517. Allow me to quote my past self:
Early 2000s: Some vague apocalypse happens and everything goes wrong. Some parts of the world have it worse, other have it better. Sweden and Russia in particular take a great hit, but for unknown reasons the area between them, including Finland and the nearby area, don't take as much damage. It is still an apocalypse though, so modern technology is essentially completely lost and mankind is reduced to living in almost stone age conditions for some time.
The rest of the 21st century: The population drops massively, and parts of the world end up completely deserted. Chaos reigns. No recovery in sight.
2100-2150: Despite all odds, literacy survives. Dates are also not lost, as people use improvised methods to keep track. All of those who had old world knowledge are already dead, and due to the chaos little was passed on. In some parts of the world agriculture starts making a comeback, though the methods used are relatively primitive. Larger tribes and new nations start emerging.
2150-2250: Population starts to grow in parts of the world, and agricultural settled civilizations start to emerge once again. Central Europe in particular experiences fast growth. The relatively fast advance of civilization was made possible by recovery of some old world texts and what little was passed on by old generations.
2250-2350: The Eastern Baltic Sea region reaches the Middle Ages. Across the world, from Europe and North America to Asia and the Middle East, feudal realms start forming. However, many regions are essentially locked in "bubbles", surrounded mostly by less civilized regions. New religions have formed, and many old ones have changed. In parts of Finland local Lutheran sub-groups, such as the Laestadians, have taken control of church assets in areas where they are influential. Many pagan religious revivals also occur. Old christian churches are scattered and disorganized, but still exist. In Western/Central Europe, many old nations are nations once again.
~2325: Descendants of former Finnish government officials start building a new realm. Stretching from Pori to Tampere, the Kokemäki River and the lakes connected to it are its lifeblood. It thus gains the name Kokemäkean Kingdom.
Rest of 24th century: The Kokemäkean Kingdom conquers much of Western Finland, including Turku and Åland, and becomes an empire. The Kokemäkean Empire helps the Finnish Lutheran Church consolidate in Western Finland. A period of peace starts.
2375-2475: A century of peace in Finland. The Kokemäkean Empire prospers, cities are re-established and grow, population grows, new realms pop up, and in general things are going well. The Kokemäkeans establish mutual embassies with the Kaiserreich and also the northern Kingdom of Oulu. Oulu is the bulwark of the Laestadian lands of Bothnia and Lapland. Attempts are made to reconcile the churches and unify them, but this ultimately fails. This was not entirely fruitless though, as mutual respect between the "mainstream" Lutherans and Laestadians grow. The situation regarding the Evangelics (not to be confused with American Evangelicals, these are Lutherans) is more complicated.
2475-2515: Following failed attempts to subjugate the Swedish-Speaking realms (referred to as just Swedes from this point on for the sake of simplicity) of Ostrobothnia and Uusimaa, the Empire faces a mass revolt in Åland. The Swedes of the rest of the Finnish Archipelago join in, leading to the creation of the pagan Kingdom of the Archipelago. The Empire attempts to reclaim the islands, but fails spectacularly. Having lost many armies to the Swedes, the Kokemäkean Empire is no longer able to keep control of its lands. Lords and governors start breaking off en masse. By 2517 the Kokemäkean Empire only controls the immediate surroundings of Tampere and its very existence is at risk. The period of peace ends following the collapse of Kokemäkean hegemony.
6 December, 2517. Exactly 600 years after Finnish indepencence the World is a vastly different place. The game starts here.
This is all still canon as of right now. Now let's go over some starting rulers and realms, starting with the Kingdom of the Archipelago
The Kingdom of the Archipelago, like my past self said, formed during the collapse of the Kokemäkean Empire. More specifically, if formed in 2477, with Björn I being its first king. All kings thus far are of house af Marienhamn. It has a simple name, as the founder of the house was a carpenter from Marienhamn.
In the mid 2300's, the Åland Islands and the rest of the Swedish-Speaking archipelago were primarily Svecoman and Lutheran in terms of their religion. Paganism was almost unheard of. However, the islands were disunited and split between warring chiefdoms. This allowed the Kokemäkean Empire, a remnant state of pre-apocalypse Finland, to conquer all the islands one by one, until even the castle of Nytt Bomarsund fell. The Swedish-speaking population was very displeased by this all. They didn't want to live under a Finnish yoke. Recognizing the danger of rebellion, the emperor in Tampere had almost every single inhabited island garrisoned by imperial troops. Even islands as small and insignificant as Kökar had a few dozen troops. The main island of Åland, Fasta Åland, had thousands of Finnish soldiers stationed in the island's numerous castles and fortresses, both old and new. The Ålanders hated the imperial rule over them, but they could do little. After a few decades the religious elite of the islands started collaborating with Tampere. The average islander hated this too, seeing it as treason. In the late 2300's, preachers of a new - or old - religion were roaming the narrow streets of Marienhamn and Pargas. Despite a quick crackdown by the governor, the preachers operated underground. A great number secretly started practicing this new religion - norse paganism. The percieved betrayal of the old religious elite allowed for a religious revival to happen.
Fast forward to 2475. For many years now the empire had sought to subjucate the Swedes of Uusimaa and Ostrobothnia. Many Finnish rulers had bowed before the imperial army, but the Swedish-speakers were less fond of that idea. They resisted the invaders with all that which they had. In their ranks they had also many Swedes who fled the violent anarchy that still ruled Sweden. In 2475, after years of warfare, the empire gathered its largest army yet, and marched towards the ancient castle of Raseborg. A coalition of Swedish rulers had also gathered every soldier they could to resist the enemy. The Battle of Karis, as it became known, was the single largest battle on Finnish soil since Tali-Ihantala. Eventually, the imperial army was essentially wiped out. The Swedes were free to reclaim Tenala, Pojo, and Hangö for the duchy of Raseborg. Following the battle, raids were conducted deeper into imperial territory. The empire had expended most of its army in this campaign. It was soon realized that they could do little to stop the raids. It should be noted that many lost troops were from the Archipelago garrisons. News of this battle spread like wildfire, and the islanders got to know about it too. This caused an almost spontaneous mass revolt. The remaining garrisons were overwhelmed, and few dare to talk about the horrors they faced after surrendering. It did not take long for all of the Archipelago to be completely under rebel control. Bjorn af Marienhamn, one of the leaders of the revolt, was crowned as king. His son Erik rules the islands in 2517.
The empire managed to raise a new army, but manpower was running low. After stopping the raids into its territory, the emperor set his sights at the Archipelago. However, the attempt to reclaim the islands were a catastrophic failure. With no army left, the empire started collapsing for good, being reduced to a rump state. The Archipelago was free.
The Archipelago is entirely tribal and religiously Norse. Let's now look at the situation there.
There's King Erik, of course. He inherited the throne after his elder brother Georg died violently in battle. He rules a relatively stable kingdom with few potential rivals. https://i.imgur.com/nBAOPZI.png
The Nephew of the king and the son of the old king is Bo, chief of Hammarland. He failed to be elected king due to his low age. He still holds a claim, but he is too powerless to do anything... or is he? https://i.imgur.com/qx9oYHg.png
The king's daughter Sofia is another major player in the kingdom. She has proven herself a rather exeptional woman, being well known for her daring adventures. She earned her position as high chieftess of Chipfabrikland. Her husband Åke "the Effeminate" Svensson is less significant. As for his nickname, let's just say that he's not the dominant one in the marriage... https://i.imgur.com/oz8eJP6.png
Finally, high chief Tjudmund of Åboland rules over the Åboland, the part of the Archipelago closest to the Finnish mainland. https://i.imgur.com/HvzGSL3.png
Besides this, there are many other less significant rulers in the Archipelago. Finland Proper and the Mannerheims https://i.imgur.com/TySmcuR.png
Like the Archipelago, Finland Proper was part of the Kokemäkean Empire for a long time. However, there was an ancient rivarly between the cities of Turku and Tampere, which even turned violent once. Indeed, ancient sources tell about a violent war between the Union of Turku and the Tampere Defence Union that lasted between 1967 and 1981. Despite this, the people of Finland Proper were much more cordial towards the emperor than the islanders. After the apocalypse the Mannerheim family managed to assert control over its family estates in the region. They retained their positions even after imperial conquest, and in fact only gained more influence. Carl Mannerheim was the first Mannerheim to become governor of Finland Proper in 2393. His son Gustaf succeeded him in 2467, after his father Carl died at 94. He in turn died in 2478 at 76, after which his son Emil succeeded him. The first two Mannerheims were capable men, but Emil... was not. He also had to deal with the ongoing crisis, doing all he could to keep Finland Proper together and under imperial rule. However, he did poorly, and only managed to waste the province's resources. In 2484 Kokemäkean rule ended in Finland Proper, the province collapsed. Emil, the former governor, only managed to hold on to the county of Kaarina, an old posession of the Mannerheims. He died as a vassal of the Republic of P-Reikä in 2512 at the age of 72. His son Henrik succeeded him.
Emil's junior brother Filip fared better. He had inherited the other Mannerheim family holding, Vehmaa. Following the collapse, he managed to secure his independence, and even went on to conquer territory. He became Duke of Vakka-Suomi in 2491, and died 2515 at age 71. He build a robust duchy for his successor Erik. The junior branch of the Mannerheim family was now in many ways dominant. It should also be noted that the Mannerheims are Swedish-speaking, which is very unusual in mainland Finland Proper.
The current living Mannerheims Henrik and Erik. https://i.imgur.com/qQZO0dy.png https://i.imgur.com/X6ro4XA.png
The liege of Henrik Mannerheim, thanks to his father's incompetence, is Johannes of the Republic of P-Reikä. P-Reikä was formed as a union between the cities of Turku and Naantali after the collapse of imperial rule. Since then the republic has further expanded, and is a major regional power. https://i.imgur.com/7BZyyJB.png
The Mannerheims were not the only old noble family to return to their old lands. The Horn family did the same as well, taking control over some of Salo. Following the collapse of the Kokemäkean Empire, the Horn family consolidated power, taking over all of the Duchy of Salo. The current duchess of Salo is a fine young lady called Josefiina. https://i.imgur.com/XwK71HY.png
Finland Proper is religiously entirely Lutheran. The Archbishop of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Finland is seated in Turku. Uusimaa
Uusimaa, Nyland to the Swedes. Both literally mean "newland". It is where Helsinki, the ancient capital is located. It was the most populous of all the historical counties of Finland. Oh, how mighty it could be if it were not divided in so many different ways. https://i.imgur.com/07mydnK.png
Following the apocalypse Uusimaa has not seen unity. The many dukes and counts constantly compete for power. However, many cities have managed to prosper once again. The most successful cities are Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Borgå, Ekenäs, and Lohja. Culturally the region is very divided. The primary division is between the Finnish-speakers and Swedish-speakers: https://i.imgur.com/FEb7ond.png
Uusmaalainen and Kehäläinen are Finnish cultures, Nylänning is the Swedish culture. As you can see, the Finns occupy the hinterland and Greater Helsinki, while the coastline is Swedish. This is a defining division, as the Finns and Swedes also practice different religions. The Finnish-Speakers practice Liberalism, which is a bastardization of European Neoliberalism. It originated in Helsinki and Espoo, and spread far and wide. The Swedish population practices Svecomania, and to a lesser extent Lutheran Christianity: https://i.imgur.com/auGUxqG.png
Riku Ruotsalainen is the Duke of Helsinki, a truly prestigeous position. He rules over Greater Helsinki. https://i.imgur.com/vzM1SuI.png
The leading Swedish ruler of Uusimaa is Sven Nylander, duke of Raseborg. He is the most powerful remaining Svecoman ruler, ruling over a powerful duchy. Despite this, the future of the Svecomans is at stake due to their poor position. https://i.imgur.com/cUIrFRX.png
Next to him is the Duchy of Lohja, ruled by Duke Petteri. Though he might seem powerful at first, he is in a troubling position. His sisters Maria and Loviisa are his vassals, and they hold most of the duchy's land. The sisters are also rather skilled, much more so than Petteri. Will he be able to retain his position? https://i.imgur.com/Rg6q3kY.png https://i.imgur.com/t9yGJfF.png https://i.imgur.com/94QCZIm.png Satakunta, a stable kingdom
North of Finland Proper lies Satakunta, also formerly part of the Kokemäkean Empire. It has fared quite well.
During the collapse, due to the emperor in Tampere being unable to protect its Satakuntian subjects, the nobles of Satakunta gathered in Arctopolis (Pori) to secede and elect one of them as king. The first king of Satakunta, Elias I, was capable indeed and managed to secure the new kingdom. However, in 2517 (the start date) he is an aging man. He has five children who will continue his legacy, and hopefully keep Satakunta as the region's dominant power. https://i.imgur.com/Aj9ctZP.png
Duke Aaro of Kokemäki Valley is the most powerful vassal of Satakunta, but not even he is in a position to challenge the king. https://i.imgur.com/LCraOgL.png
Under Duke Aaro there is count Taavetti von Huitsin Nevada. He is a man with no parallels, excelling at everything. https://i.imgur.com/JoCTxLZ.png
As you can see, Finland has seen lots of change. Who knows if it will ever see unity again?
This is all for today. Be sure to check out our Discord at https://discord.gg/FZ5Ky5P
I'll see you next time!