A Kingdom Divided

A RPG based on the setting of PoP 3, taking place roughly a century after the end of the unification wars
 
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 Saeros' Story

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Jing Ming
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PostSubject: Saeros' Story   17.09.13 3:46

So, some of you know that one of my hobbies is to take a couple of minutes per week to design a board game. This has been going on for some time now.

I was doing one about Pendor, but decided to create a new world (mostly for copyright issues - who knows this thing actually sells?). So after creating the system I had to write up the lore and background story, which I did.

This is why I'm here. Please tell me what you think of things, especially the coherence of the story. Is it believable? Does anything sound strange to you?

Your names are already in there as commander or mercenary cards, so don't bother doing it only for the fame.

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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   17.09.13 3:48

First thing: the name of the continent. I'm tending for the first. Which one do you prefer? I tried not to make them sound weird in any Germanic or Neolatin language, let me know if I succeeded.

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Last edited by Jing Ming on 19.09.13 9:05; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : edit: interrogation mark missing. This drives me crazy.)
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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   17.09.13 3:51

Where is this?

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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   17.09.13 3:52

Errr, I might be being blind but where can we find it?
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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   17.09.13 3:55

I'll still post it.

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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   17.09.13 4:21

CONTINENT AND CONTEXT

The continent is called “The Tooth”, because its curved shape resembles a dragon tooth. Other cultures call it Half-Crescent, because they see it as a crescent moon cut in the middle. The official name, however, is Lotharia.

The landmass somewhat smaller Argentina (2/5 of Canada?), surrounded by sea on all sides. It is located on the Southern hemisphere of an unnamed planet, so the cold region is actually on its South.

SHORT STORY OF THE REGION:

Morra:Center/plains:
Republic of Domani:West/wetlands
Kingdom of Hinima: Far East
Boan Empire: Southeast/Mountain
The Twelve Tribes: The Twelve Tribes

Dawn of Lotharia: the tribal nation
Have you ever tried to imagine how medieval Europe would be if the Romans had failed conquering Gaul and Carthage? After near complete defeat, the barbarian tribes have learned from their mistakes and developed their military and culture in order to protect themselves from future invasions. Slowly the previous invaders’ culture was absorbed by the now flourishing barbarian lands. Chieftains became kings, and in the early centuries of the Sun Tribes the hundreds of local regents decided to strengthen the relation between the tribes by installing the practice of the Kraag: a Common King would have absolute power over the tribes, and the myriad of tiny kingdoms would become part of a greater one. The Common King was chosen by competition: any local Head Lord (position equivalent to the former chieftains) could challenge the Common King for public competition (think Highland Games with deadly matches). The one who wins was then crowned king.

All for One: from empire to city-state
While the Sun Tribes prospered in the North(?), the Morran culture, which controlled the rest of the continent, dwindled. The once vast empire crumbled due to corruption and lack of efficient management of resources. It was in 445 that the current Morran doctrine of Bastionship began to be developed. Realizing that they could not hold all of their countless provincial domains without great cost, Morran emperor Cato withdrew his support from all colonies but those on the Morran hills, at the center of Lotharia. Publicly, it was announced that such action was a generous decree of the kind emperor, who freed the borderlands and let them follow their own fate. This event is known as “The Liberation”, and it was the catalyst for the prosperity era of the other Lotharian regions.
Morra gradually became a self-sufficient city-state. The fertile plains and hills on which it was founded provide enough food and water its entire population, and a paranoid administration takes defensive measures very seriously. In the last 3000 years no army has ever broken into its inner walls (either that, or they make sure that such thing never gets registered in history). Throughout history the city alternated between periods of intense xenophobia and closed borders, and others of intense trading, during which the city was a major continental trading hub.

Freedom
Without the support and superior defenses from Morra, many of the border communities died out or were annexed by slightly stronger kingdoms. A few managed to survive, and the most notable example of these thriving communities is the Domanian republic.
Before the Liberation, the Province of Domania was a large community of fishermen and seamen in deep
Southern Lotharia. They relied on Morra for most of their supplies, but gladly provided them with fish and transportation along the coasts in return. The sudden severing of support put them into a tight spot. They were left only with their boats, and could not even survive during the coming winter.

A brilliant engineer (now believed to have been a Brotherhood acolyte) suggested them to build their homes on the boats themselves, and move their “city” around selling goods from different parts of the coast. Although slow, the ambulant "city" moved constantly. They eventually settled in the uninhabited flood plains of the Northeast. There they could use their superior knowledge of seas and rivers to do what no other had succeeded: to build a city-over-the-water. No longer a province, the formed nomadic group of fishermen now bear the name of “Domanian Republic”, or simply “Domani”.

Stone and Iron
Unlike the old Domania, the former Province of Boa was not treated so kindly by the then imperialist Morra.
The Morran capital used Boan citizens practically as slaves in the many iron mines and marble quarries found in the Eastern borders. Therefore it is no surprise that Boa reacted as it did after the dissolution of the Morran empire. While the initial concern of the other freed provinces was to adapt themselves to the new political scenario created by the Liberation decree, Boa immediately armed all of its citizens and declared a war of reparation on Morra. This was answered with force by the capital, which acknowledged the threat and sent thousands of warriors into the Eastern mountain ranges. However, although underfed and outnumbered, Boan citizens managed to survive for long enough for Morran soldiers to lose their will to fight and return to their homeland. Boa rebuilt itself, using to their advantage their large sources of metal and stone, as well as their exceptional smithing skills.


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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   17.09.13 4:34

Northwest
Republic of Domani
Banner: a brown ship with white sails on dark blue field and under light blue sky.


A floating city, with channels instead of streets. Ruled by a powerful merchant class.

They favor ranged troops and naval power over melee. The few shock troops they hire are only lightly equipped – for falling in the sea, or in one of the channels while wearing heavy armor means certain death.

They are the only nation to have the slightest contact with external powers – mostly nomads and small island kingdoms. As a result, one finds many migrants in the islets and floating fortresses. Citizens are free to worship whatever god they want, and the people enjoy much freedom of speech and creed. Everyone is allowed to say anything, as long as the ruling merchants remain profiting.

Domanians usually do not know how to ride, since horses are not allowed in the city's narrow bridged for safety reasons. The city is quite safe, although it has no walls. In case of invasion by land, the city watch simply lift or destroy the bridges. If attacked by sea, the formidable Domanian navy takes care of the invaders without effort.

It is said that the Domanian enlightenment of the 2nd century was caused by the migration of Hinimani refugees who, fleeing from a horrid plague that decimated its population, brought with the them the idea of personal freedom.

Many of the Domani surroundings are similar to Florida’s Everglades: plain terrain with sawgrass, and fresh water one or two feet deep. While one can walk with some difficulty, transportation is usually made by broad and shallow square boats.

Correlate: Venice and the Venetian Republic. Dominated by the merchant class and pluricultural.
Threat: pirates.

Far East
Kingdom of Hinima
Banner: white horse on green field, with golden thriskels revolving on the borders of the banner.


A secluded and very protective society. Their borders are walled in their entirety and heavily guarded, and their countryside is filled with wooden watchtowers towering over their dense forests. Entrance in the kingdom is permitted only on special cases and with constant escort, and the little trade they have is carried out in external outposts designed especially for that end.

Very little is known about them. Public knowledge says they are a very individualistic society who places great value on individual honor and enterprise. Education is compulsory until adulthood is reached on the children’s 15th birthday. Polygamy is encouraged, and women make for almost a half of their armies. Houses are bigger than the Lotharian average and often harbor several families.

Exceptional skirmish and ranger-like troops. Terrible infantry, with generally undisciplined troops, but average scout cavalry. The Lotharian concept of special operations stealth warfare was born in Hinima.

No information is available on their stance concerning the ban of slavery or the enforcement of the official Lotharian gods. The medicinal herbs found in their forests are highly sought after in common Lotharian markets.

Correlate: Pre-invasion China; Sparta.
Threat: foreigners; themselves.

West
Banner: black shield on red field
Boa Empire.

With seat in Hillside, the Boan emperor rules with an iron fist. It has a highly militarized, highly disciplined society. Serving in the army is compulsory, and in times of peace the soldiers build roads and defensive structures on the countryside.

Unsurprisingly, equipment forged in Boa is of very high quality. Boans follow more traditional ways of war, so much emphasis is put on deployment of large contingents of foot soldiers, with little or no attention being given to individual tactics or special operations.

Ancient Boan scholars have created the “Chain Doctrine”, which forms the basis of Boan society. The Chain Doctrine says that a life of servitude and compliance is the best possible way of living. Although Boa has an Emperor, he has no direct control over subjects: each community is divided in tribes, which follow a single “chief” without questions. The chiefs follow the barons, who, in their turn, follow the dukes. Dukes follow the generals, and these, finally, follow the Emperor directly. This is what is meant by Chain Doctrine: each leader is a sort of “emperor” of their own jurisdiction. Any command from the Emperor is passed on to the lower leaders. Mostly due to the low contact common people have with the emperor, he has become a mythic figure, more like a symbol than a mere man.

Surprisingly, instead of fomenting individual thoughts and dissension, this system works quite well in Boa, and the imperial orders are followed without mistake. Although they take longer to reach the lesser ranks and circles, this does grant Boa a faster response time and – also due to the mythic emperor creed – it makes any attempt to undermine the empire by cutting its “head” rather useless, since the individual cells can function on their own for sufficient time to allow a new emperor to arise (or to be put into place).

Correlate: Prussia/Rome/Pre-Meiji Japan.
Threats: insurgents; outlaw anarchists.

North
Banner: a spiked wheel with twelve shafts
The Twelve Colonies.


Twelve tribes that gather on a holy ground four times a year (on solstices and equinoxes) to deliberate on the future of the community. The leading tribe is called Children of the Sun, but they do not have the desire to conquest the other ones. Yet.

They are called “The twelve colonies” because [pending].

The Twelve Colonies worship a group of zoomorphic gods, whose leader deity is Gho, the horse-god. Colonials believe that mounting horses is offensive to that deity (meaning that humans should not be placed above horses and other mounting beasts), and therefore they have no cavalry forces. Instead, they employ war chariots with great skill, which is further favored by the mostly even terrain of their vast plains and deserts.

Correlate: Iroquois? Indian nation? No idea.
Threat: rogue religious barbarians invading from the North (think: Firefly reavers)

Center
Banner: a four-division shield with the following symbols: a lion, a dragon, a snake, and a boar, with a crown above them all (symbolizing the four traditional Morran noble houses)
City-State of Morra


Consisting in a single city, the region is the most ancient human settlement in the continent, with history records dating from 3,000 years ago. The society is very aristocratic, and much importance is placed on titles and lineages. The regents are elected from among the male children of the late king.

Its military culture reflects the belief on the society as a whole, and, for the generals, battles are won by superior might. When in battle, Morrans will make incredible demonstrations of power, often charging with heavy cavalry and bombarding enemies from afar with siege weapons.

Chivalry has an important role in Morran society, and the regular proportion of knights in their armies is higher than all other kingdoms.

Morra is also the preferred destination for adventurers and wannabe heroes. Valor is rewarded.

Equivalent: pumped up UK/France.
Threat: rogue adventurer bands.

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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   18.09.13 12:00

I like what I see so far! The setup of the world makes sense, and certainly conjures up some interesting scenarios. 

Domani - Good! Really like these guys. A nice setup, good mix of culture, history and back story. I might suggest adding some other elements though, so that they are not just Venice. Perhaps emphasise the nomadic past some more? Would be interesting if they had some Berber or Mongolian traits, but in merchants.

Hinima - Good! Nice mix, cannot really fault them. 

Boa - I might suggest taking some traits from the Swiss. Rather than having them as a highly militarised state, instead have them be citizen-soldiers. Each man and woman is given their own equipment by the state, and must spend every fifth day training with those weapons. Think Switzerland's military with the training regimen of English Longbowmen - doesn't necessarily need to be longbows, but something suited to hill / mountain warfare. I just suggest this because Rome has been done to death and it'd be interesting to mix that formula up a little.

The Twelve Colonies / Tribes - You call them both Razz I sense these guys need more work, though their base culture is interesting. Just remember that culture is as much a product of their geography as much as their past (or their inspirations). What about a de-militarised Aztec-esque empire. How would they have evolved without continual warfare for slaves and offerings?

Morra - I like it... but why have they developed chivalric tradition while none of the others have? It just seems a little at odds with your world. I think the culture you have in place for Boa might actually be more appropriate for these guys.
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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   18.09.13 12:38

Quote :
The setup of the world makes sense
Thanks! That's precisely what I wanted to hear.

Good idea with Boa and the Domani. Mongols of sea seems nice.

In previous versions I had made the Twelve Tribes steppe people. I'm still not sure if making it a desert was the best choice. Perhaps a less sandy and flat desert. California? I'd rather make more like the Indians of the Great Plains. Aztecs are too jungle-y and Egyptians to desert-y. Definitely needs more work.

I'll also have to make history more clear in a future version. Morra is partially similar to PoP 3 Sarleon. They are foreigners who colonized the continent thousands of years ago. They once had a vast empire over everything but the natives on the Northern desert. The other cultures became stronger only when Morra lost control over them -many of these former provinces are still struggling to survive as small kingdoms, and the 3 I described are the most successful. Morra didn't develop chivalric traditions, they only kept it from their original homeland. They try to live in the way their ancestors did 3,000 years ago.

For location purposes I considered this may be in the same planet as Pendor, but on the other side of the globe. Now that I think about it, it is not impossible that lesser Sarleon lords were the actual settlers. Erm... 3,000 years ago. I guess we'll never know.

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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   18.09.13 13:02

In that case, there needs to be some semblance of chivalric influence with some of the others.. you see it with Ravenstern and the Fierdsvain in PoP (Empire being invaders, and the D'Shar being entirely different culture being the exceptions). Remember that former vassal states are often quite similar to their overlord, particularly in a "former empire" type setting.

Just look at Dark Age Europe following the fall of Rome. You had the Byzantines and the Holy Roman Empire trying to mimic the fallen giant, even in England you had Romanesque generals and nobles, and codified laws like that of Alfred the Great. Roman villas remained in use for centuries after Rome had left Britain.

I would define Morra as absolutely as you can, then pick traits from it and implant those on the spin offs. Some, like Boa might inherit their military (using the arms of their rival to guarantee their independence... see the Companion states following the death of Alexander... the Ptolmeic Egypt, the Selucids, etc).

Domani - Un-imperial. Their nomadic lifestyle ensured their independence, and they developed their own customs and identity separate from that of the empire.

Hinima - Perhaps using fear like the Germanic tribes against Rome... "Quintilius Varus, Give me back my legions!" - perhaps establish them as the cause for the fall of the empire? Mold the Germans, the Huns and the Goths into one nation for this setting. They appear from elsewhere, and move in their massed numbers proving to be overwhelming. They are very culturally proud however, and disdain this "civilisation" of the empire. Besides, they won so their customs must be superior and must be protected.

Boa - Militarised, should share many qualities of the military of the empire but with their own individualised twists. Think of the Selucid hoplites fighting alongside elephants!

The Twelve - Maybe these should be the Goths / Huns which threatened the empire and brought it to its knees actually... the Hinima could have been the ones forcing them out of their respective homelands. The Hinima are the next powerful empire to clash with the existing rulers... 

Morra - So where does this leave Morra... well take your empire, then fast forward their evolution through (however long since the empire fell). How would they have developed? How would they have evolved. Nice trick is to look at the Ashenborn Vs the Empire (the Empire being the evolved version) in PoP... (See this thread for what I mean; http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,220305.0.html).

Hmmm, that doesn't leave that many factions actually in the empire... Morra and Boa. Domani could be an offshoot I guess, like the Byzantines were of Rome, and the Twelve could be Roman Gaul or Britain. Depends on how large and homogeneous you want the empire to have been.
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PostSubject: Re: Saeros' Story   19.09.13 3:18

I love the diversity of systems with regular interaction (for most!) that you worked in. I also like Mordred's idea of taking a few traits and scattering them in with the successor states.

The southern hemisphere thing kinda throws me off. Perhaps its because I've never thought much about it, but trying to stay in the mindset of 'south=colder' just strikes me as odd! I will certainly adjust to the concept, but, still! tongue 

Have you examined pre-Islam Arabia for the Twelve Tribes? For these purposes it may not necessarily be that distinct from early Islamic Arabia, and the idea of religious invaders from a desert seems to fit quite well. To take a lesson from the reformed Pagans of CKII, perhaps an event of that region is the establishment of a High Priest with nominal control over the confederacy-type? Not necessarily a central controlling power, but a glue that binds that tribes together.

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