Countries (Ricasa Supplement)
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Archivist's Notes: Will post the map I drew as soon as I find the frakking thing.
Ricasa is flat. That's the only word one can use to describe it. There are some exceptions, of course, such as the Shield Mountains of Calthoras and the Great Cliffs of Opridenik, but for the most part the continent is endless flat land. But that land is far from being all the same boring area- Ricasa's terrain looks like a jigsaw puzzle painted by a drunk. No two countries look alike, and some of the features seem so impossible that it could bend your mind.
Far more varied than Ricasa's physical topography is its political topography. No less than ten nations exist on the continent, each of which has its own advantages, culture, and style of existence.
Archivist's Note: The common forms of government catalogued by the archives make appearances here, along with one unique homebrew variant. But, they rarely have the same name, so where the names clash I have listed both the given Ricasan name and, in parentheses, the form of government it is commonly known as.
A few notes on the planet in general would probably be a good idea.
Marex was named thus after an old, old legend directly tied into the pantheon of the Ten Gods. According to legend, the three sides of the Lost War- not good, evil, and neutral as we see them today, but rather just three big sides fighting- were led by three great commanders: Solus, Lunei, and Marxim. Our limited historical evidence supports the existence of these commanders, though the names are debatable and interestingly similar to three old, now defunct words in the Mages' Language meaning gold, silver, and mithril. According to history all three leaders killed each other in a large battle almost at the very end of the Trial War. The legend states that back then, the evil gods had attempted to gain a hand in their war against the good ones by "shattering" the sun (the terminology is imprecise. A variation on this legend told by followers of the evil gods is virtually identical, but with the good gods doing the shattering). Three pieces fell to earth and were found by the three who would become known as the Lightbringers: the only sources of light in a now-dark world. They met their fates in the battle, and the last light dimming caused the gods to notice the shattered earth and all the other problems. So they stopped fighting to rebuild and sent the spirits of the three to govern the three main angles of the universe. Solus became Sol, the light of the sun. Lunei became Luna, the glow of the moon. And Marxim became Marex, the heart of the world. The legend was popular enough back during the pre-Founder's War era that the distinctions faded and the names those bodies wear today became popular.
Though not technically a country, the point is nonetheless a powerful force on the continent. Rising two hundred feet above the Sea of Souls, the point is crowned by Arcane Tower, the only institute for magic on the whole continent. All mages on Ricasa at one point or another have visited the Tower, which in addition to being magic's only academy, the site of a huge museum, and the home to the Order of Arcanus, is one of the best places for casting overly large spells- it sits atop a tapped nexus of psychic energy.
Author's Note: The mages' compound was founded by and is thus named after an ancient mage, Arcanus, who according to their history was the first mage of all time. Some other sources debate this, but there is no questioning that he was one of the earliest mages, and unquestionably the one who brought magic into the public eye- an interesting course in and of itself, considering the heavy emphasis the magic orders of other known worlds place on secrecy. Notable is that in the mages' language, the origins of which are unknown but which definitely predates Arcanus or the Order, arcanus means both "trustworthy friend" as a noun, and "secret" as an adjective. Also, the nexus which the tower sits atop is not unique, but it is the only one that has never noticeably moved in all this time. Others have been detected, but they tend to jump around so much that prolonged use is impossible.
Country of Iron forged by war, Bastion is the smallest country on the continent and yet one of the most important. Massive deposits of iron lie under thickly wooded hills, giving the few but hardy peoples of this country seemingly endless supplies of the raw materials needed to make steel and forge weaponry, which they sell to the rest of the continent. Bastion weaponry is renouned even beyond the Ricasan shores as being incredibly high-quality, and the trade of weapons has made the country extremely rich.
Though few in number, Bastion's people seem to be unable to stop experimenting with their relatively new nationhood. The country is one of the most progressive on the continent, having tested out all kinds of things- and some, such as democratic elections and equality for everyone, are looking surprisingly attractive to the surrounding nations.
- Government: Democratic.
- Capital: Chartrane.
- Other Major Cities: Soulshore, Redlund, Iscotto (ee-soh-toe).
The hard, cold land of the Star Knights, Calthoras endures the cold winds from the north and with them the monsters being unleashed in the endless war there. The land is bracketed all around by mountains, and the foothills of the two gread ranges cover the country. The capital city, Ionafis, sits behind walls of tempered ironstone, forged countless ages ago by the dwarves who once lived in the area. At the core of the country, the town of Capam sits at the head of the only fertile valley in the country, eking out food for the nation from the rocky soil. Nearby, the Yuza Mine searches out and digs up the one resource that the country produces heavily- mithral. And to the far west, the trade port of Jinzal brings in money and supplies required to keep the country from collapsing under the endless onslaught.
Calthoras, by nature, has always been a country of many ruled by a few- in this case, the militaristic Star Knights acting as a guard force for the peasantry. But as of late, the peasants have become dissatisfied with living under the thumb of a rather cold, elitist regime, which prompted the creation of the Arbitration- a council of common Calthorans who act as a foil to the Star Knights' ancient system.
- Government: Arbitatory (Parlimentary).
- Capital: Ionafis.
- Other Major Cities: Capam, Jinzal.
The freeloading kingdom of the good King Jacinus, Canadia is renouned as a place where laws are nonexistant and the ale is free. Sadly, neither of these bedtime stories are true, though no other country has cheaper ale. Canadia's laws are light, however, stating only the basics- no theft, no murder, no unjustified destruction, nothing below the general moral code (I.E. rape, slavery, playing bad music*), and a few annexes to that make up the entire book of laws for the country. Canadia is rich in mineral resources, such as gold, saltpeter, iron, and adamantium, and as a result the country has grown incredibly rich. Though largely unconcerned about where they end up eventually, the Canadese feel impressive devotion to their country, and defend it rabidly whether in the bar or on the battlefield.
The country itself isn't much to look at, admittedly; almost all of it is grassland, with rocky plains taking up the border with Calthoras. Thin bands of forest guard the border with Capraht, marching slowly up towards the dense morass of the Laculis Forest on the Calthoran border. Below that simple surface, however, rich veins of minerals run criss-cross like a metal net, offering untold wealth for the inhabitants. On the surface, the biggest staples of agriculture are wheat, oats, and barley, though recently the country as a whole has accquired a taste for Malanese corn.
- Government: Anarchistic Monarchy (The country is considered the embodiment of Chaotic Good).
- Capital: Treycona.
- Other Major Cities: Farpoint, Seiocol, Jalathai.
Not even officially recognized as a country by the rest of the continent, Capraht is the territory conquered in a bloody war by the dastardly Baron Zensora, who demands concessions of the rest of the continent and constantly rattles his spear at them. Capraht is mildly rich in resources but is painfully shackled by the Baron's armed forces, coined the Black Army after the original force of evil from the Founder's War. It is the only country in Ricasa that has never had a seaport, yet despite its lack of naval power the rest of the Continent hesitates at ordering the Baron off their shores; it took the might of the entire continent to crush him in the Trial War, and no-one wants that conflict to repeat itself.
The transformation from any of its neighbors to Capraht is startling, but it is most definite when seen passing from Canadia to Capraht along the Treaty Road. The banded forests and low grasslands give way almost immediately to a rocky, barren landscape that only alters near to the Cictora River, where the country's only fertile land is swarmed over by farmers desperately trying to feed their nation. It is not a sight for the compassionate.
- Government: Military Dictatorship.
- Capital: Zensa.
- Other Major Cities: None (Formerly Tiret, Shell City)
The last bastion of the elves on Ricasa, Kalantar is thought of by the outside world as a brilliant area of light and magic. Behind the border, however, one can see that Kalantar is clearly in decline. The magic wards wane, the golden lamps along the Avenue of the Lord are dimmed, and the great forests have begun to wither at the edges. The inhabitants have lost none of their resolve and power, however; the elves show no sign of waning with their country, and while their magic is less than that of the ancient wards, it is no less deadly.
Kalantar is cut on its eastern edge by three trade roads, which are the only paths that outsiders are allowed to take without explicit permission from the Elven Lord himself, and all of which converge at Lasthold. It's a beautiful jaunt, but every so often there's a well-hidden checkpoint in those trees, so keep to the path...
- Government: Oligarchic.
- Capital: Lasthold.
- Other Major Cities: Unknown (hidden)
The golden fields of the southeast can awaken the farmer in any heart. A vast, warm country with a practically endless growing season, Lamelloth provides much of the food for miles around its borders and indeed for much of Ricasa. The country's people are largely rural, tending the huge farms and herdlands, but civilization flourishes both along the southern coast and around the capital, Onar, in the dead center (or as close as can be gotten) of the vast nation. Following the Trial War, the port of Yehul was gained on the Kolvet coast and renamed Koveline (coh-veh-leen), and the territory around it increased the size of the country by another fifth and gave them a small border with Canadia.
Though rural, the Lamells are not to be trifled with. Their military leadership has worked hard to keep itself free of any political ties, and the farmers of the Golden Plain have proven themselves many a time before to be fierce opponents and steadfast allies. In addition, trade sanctions from Lamelloth are some of the most powerful forces in Ricasan politics, as the wheat fields, pig farms, and chicken coops of the Flatlands are the sole reason several of the other countries stay fed.
- Government: Councillary Kingdom (Constitutional Monarchy).
- Capital: Onar.
- Other Major Cities: Goldpoint, Koveline, Viturce (Vee-tur-say), Elinizer, Eastfield
The Silver Duchy of the Bay of Kolvet, the Malanian peninsula and the duchy that encompasses it form the eastern arm that defines the Bay of Kolvet. Seated on the silver throne in the proud port of Nidensk, the Duke rules his people with a wise judgement and a kind heart. Malania is a rich land, with extensive mines of (you guessed it) silver, copper, and various gemstones, as well as the extensive sulfur mines in the southeast of the country and the bevy of fish in the Bay. As a result, despite its isolation, Malania has become one of the richest countries on the continent, trading heavily with its in-house neighbor, Opridenik, the little country at the cap of the peninsula, Bastion, and its sister nation across the sea, Canadia.
The Malanese people, if at all possible, are even more rabidly patriotic than the Canadese. But the country as a whole recognizes their dependence on the rest of Ricasa to survive (no crops save corn have taken off in Malania), and thus trade relations are kept good to ensure survival. And the deal goes both ways- Malania makes the best machinery and equipment of any country on the continent, and everyone always needs more.
- Government: Monarchy (Dukedom).
- Capital: Nidensk.
- Other Major Cities: Arcane Point (officially Malanian soil), Katalya, Diolthis, Porchovy.
Officially the Dwarven-Human Collective Nation of Opridenik, the last stronghold of the dwarves is literally carved out of the Great Cliffs that tower on the east edge of the Malanian Peninsula overlooking the Sea of Souls. The city-nation extends from just below the top of the cliffs all the way to the bottom, honeycombing back into the rock along the mining tunnels dug by the dwarves following one of the richest mithral deposits ever found. Though the dwarves shun the sea, preferring to work the rock to their will, the humans who live among them saw the chance for an impregnable position, and at a gigantic jag in the coast they created Cove City, a sprawling port that crosses the bottom of the cliffs and which has made Opridenik into a thriving trade hub.
The Dwarves, by nature, are private creatures- they'd rather not get too involved in the outside world. But the humans among them have convinced the dwarves that such relations are vital for the Collective's survival, and as such the dwarves have started a heavy line of trade with their neighbors. Dwarven construction work is also highly valued across the continent, which has led to many dwarves leaving their home to build the new cities of the far countries.
- Government: Parlimentary.
- Capital: Cove City.
- Other Major Cities: The Whole Country.
The warm southlands had never felt the breath of war- until the Pirate King, Feldiris, and his Ocean Alliance sailed up from the further south. The government of Serlithana, commanding from the beautiful White City of Wathe, holds a tenuous grip on the western coast and the northern heartlands of the country, but the entirety of the south coast and much of the land inwards of it is solidly under the control of the Pirate King.
Serlithana is a beautiful country, almost completely flat, with grasslands that seem nearly endless; perfect for the ranching lifestyle of the country, which produces seventy-five percent of the meat and animal products of the continent. Though peaceful by nature, the Serliths are brutal negotiators, often managing to come out the victors in a trade deal, and second only to the Styaleni in mercantile skill. Serlithana also makes some of the best machinery and metalwork of the continent- not finessed things like Bastion weapons, but solid equipment like scythes and plowshares, beaten out of Canadese iron.
- Government: Democratic.
- Capital: Wathe.
- Other Major Cities: Oleander, Goldport, Mystica.
The country to the west of Baron Zensora's militant nation, the bar of thin, stony land known as Styalenuth has long held a fearful watch on their smaller but more powerful neighbor. The country has always depended on the kindness of strangers: back in the Trial War, the Styaleths sided with the wrong people and as a result lost most of their fertile land to Kalantar and Serlithana. Only in the south is the land fit for farming: over three-fourths of the country is stony and uneven, and the only source of raw material in the north is the vast tin mine at Yselea. The Styaleths, instead, use their country's position (and their extremely elite military group, the Commandos) as a trade advantage, controlling the only decent route through the center of the land. Rich from the voracious trade on the Orcopa Ocean as well as on the Seacoast Track from Jinzal to Wathe, Styalenuth thrives by doing business with their neighbors.
- Government: Dual Councillary.
- Capital: Sokogu.
- Other Major Cities: Yselea (yuh-sell-ee-ah), Pothega, Nemonas.
Not many people dare to leave the shores of Ricasa- yeah, they have their problems, but for the most part the Nine Nations are the most comparatively peaceful areas on Marex.
To The South
To go to the south, the pious say, is to attempt to sail a course to Hell itself: Lorthas has long been believed to set his throne at the bottom of the world, and around the throne of the God of Death can only sprawl the Land of the Dead. Whatever the case, it definitely would seem to be heading into hell: as a ship sails further and further away the temperature rises to incredible extremes and the air is so thick and humid that it feels like trying to breathe cotton. Though none are quite sure how far away they lie, to the south across the Sea of Dreams lie the Southlands; the rich, wild green hell which spawned Feldiris and his Ocean Alliance. According to captives, the Southlands are almost entirely covered in a forest so dense that it would take a man twenty-six days to go two miles across country, where any arrow will find a target no matter where it is shot- and where the pirates, descendants of the original Ricasan colonists and a few local tribes, are constantly battling the inhabitants of the deep jungle for survival.
To The East
What little we know about the lands beyond the Sea of Souls comes from the occasional adventurer and trader who make their way across that violent ocean, but the news is surprisingly good. To the east lie a series of semi-wild lands with moderately advanced peoples dwelling there quite happily, and happier when their neighbors to the west stay out of their business. But Ricasan technology and goods fetch high prices over in the Eastlands, and as a result the rulers of those far countries must decide which is the lesser of two evils. Necessity usually wins out.
Feuding is common among the disorganized nations of the Eastlands, and in the past occasionally one or another warlord would send a ship out to Ricasa searching for adventurers, mercenaries, and the like to fight for him. The practice still happens occasionally today, though much less frequently. Few are ever seen again.
To The West
Far less is known about the western countries. While there is definitely a populous people there, only one man ever made contact with them: Pyotr the Restless, a chronic wanderer who did much of Ricasa's little overseas exploration. Pyotr made three trips across the Orcopa Ocean to the west countries, and on the third went with the intention of establishing a connection between Westlands and the Calthoran government. He never returned, but a few years later a fire-gutted hulk drifted onto the shores of Styalenuth. It was identified as Pyotr's ship, the Fair Winds, and in the hold was a metal chest with the seal of the Calthoran government on it.
When this was returned to Ionafis and opened by the Star Knights, it revealed three separate maps of the Westlands with notes from Pyotr attached, evidently descending from the northernmost points to the southernmost. The maps become more and more shaky towards the bottom, though, and the attached notes from Pyotr gradually insane from some disease, so their accuracy is questioned and no further expeditions have yet been made.
To The North
And, of course, there is the northern domain. The seas to the north are always frigid, and not too far from the Ricasan coastline they freeze completely solid in a band nearly five miles across before you reach the hard, permanently frozen soil of the Northlands. Seemingly endless hordes of monsters live in the frozen north, dwelling in a vast network of tunnels to avoid freezing solid. Jun, the Mistress of Hatred, is said in legend to have her castle planted directly at Marex's northernmost point.
The problems with the Northlands arise from the fact that the ice's width is variable, and the channel's width is only ten miles. During the winter, the oceanic ice expands outwards, and if the weather is cold enough it comes right up to the shores of Calthoras, in places thick enough to allow a golem to cross safely. Yet monster attacks in winter are almost unheard of; most of the common enemies the Nine Nations face find our winters too cold for comfort, and straying outside of their tunnels in the frozen hell of a Northlandish winter would be unthinkable. In the summer, the ice retreats huge distances, sometimes even up to the shores of the Northlands, and as a result Ricasa fears the summer, as the hordes launch their fleets to try once more to overcome the Starlands.
Few attempts have been made to chart the Northlands, the most extensive having taken place during the end of the first half of the Founder's War when the Ninth Calthoran Shieldbearers (Calthoras' elite guardsmen, normally found manning the defensive posts in the Shield mountains and incredibly resistant to the cold), as the arrowhead of a counterassault during the winter of P.G.T. 1412, drove back the enemy into their own tunnels and penetrated those to a distance of half a mile in every direction before being driven back, mapping them as they went. Other than that, the Northlands are generally considered not worth the trouble, and remain by and large a mystery.