The Fred Memorial Society
|Flag||Nine gold stars in a circle on a green background|
While the Dwarves for the most part stay in their mountain mines and fortresses, their nation of Lustrana reaches beyond the peaks, into the wide plains of western Pharae, not particularly fertile, but with enough rivers and wildlife to support agriculture and civilization.
For many years, nomadic peoples wandered the plains of Lustrana, speaking a dialect of the Dwarven language known as Lycian (speakers of Lycian and Lustranan tend to be able to udnerstand one another) and hunting the beasts of the plains for food. Eventually they started to settle down, the occasional Dwarf coming down from the mountains to aid in their town building and taking back the tax that they owed (and still do) to the High King of Lustrana. These settlements grew into veritable city states over time, and formed the League of Lycia, consisting of the fortress city of Bern, the bustling port of Araphen, the snowy forest of Illia, the great magic college of Ertruria, the mountain region of Laus, the merchant city of Kathelet, the still-nomadic peoples of Sacae, the southern port of Badon, the cartel-governed island of Ensana, and the leader of the League, the huge city of Ositia.
The League is a loose coalition of states with a variety of different cultures and values. Each state is ruled by a Marquess, each of which may be chosen differently based on the government of that state. The Maquesses then meet in Ostia to discuss any issues which affect the entirity of Lycia and come to an agreement democratically (though more votes are given to Marquesses whose state is directly affected by the issue).
While some Dwarves and Halflings populate Lycia, the vast majority are humans, stereotyped as tall, broad, blonde haired and blue eyed with little sense of humour. While not quite as bureaucratic a state as Albion, Lycia does have an authoritative justice system. All direct conflicts between members of the League are decided in combat by champions in a deserted mining town now known as the Crystal Scar. In these conflicts, the champions are blessed by priests of the Sovereign Host so that the more virtuous side wins – though more often than not that still translates to whichever side put the most money and effort into their champion. Many a famous adventurer learned their trade in the Scar, such as Taric, the inventor of Gem Magic and Ezrael, the Lycian who produced the most well-known map of the continent.
It is rare that a threat appears which causes the League to present a united front, as their own conflicts are resolved in the Crystal Scar, but when such a threat does appear, or a large brigand or monster threat needs dealing with, the army is built from all member of the League. This army is led by a group of Paladins called the Knights of the Seven, directly opposed to Roun’s Knights of the Nine, the Seven crafted rings attracted to people strong in virtue which grant the powers of the different levels of Celestia, and when they are not protecting Lycia, the Seven actively work to oppose the interests of Roun. Otherwise, Lycia’s army is most known for its formation-fighting pikemen supported by pegasus riders form Illia, wyvern riders from Laus and Bern and mounted archers from Sacae.
|Flag||Three blue lines on a green background intersecting on a gold circle|
In the fertile fields in north-west Lycia fed by the river Letha which flows down from Lustrana, the Lycian nomads settled and built the great hub city of Kathelet. The old centre of the city is built where the Letha splits into two lesser rivers, but the bustling state has since spread so the centre is further northwest. The city itself serves as a trading hub for the entirity of north Lycia, where Laus, Ilia, Lustrana, much of Sacae and even many Rounmen meet and sell to each other.
Kathelet is propped up by a large number of farming settlements all across the river Lethe and its lesser branches. Food is so plentiful here that another of Kathelet’s uses to the League is providing (usually by selling at jumped-up prices) food to any part of the League which is in need of extra supplies. The importance of these settlements makes their protection a top priority, many adventurers and lesser mercenaries are hired by merchant lords to protect the villages from monsters and brigands , who make lairs in the enarly unnavigable swamps in the outer reaches of Kathelet’s territory.
These warriors, when not fighting for money, often fight in the city itself. Duels are allowed, and even encouraged, by the laws of Kathelet, and some even make a living out of conjuring up impromptu battle arenas for people to watch bravos duel each other over real or imagined slights. They can also compete in the city’s Arena, where the champions are paid huge amounts of marks both as prize money and by sponsors.
In Kathelet, money is the highest good. The courts and city guard are openly corrupt and the Grand Chamber where legislation is decided and the Marquess elected does in fact allow one to buy votes. While this does lead to a society where the able often thrive as any service can be sold to someone in the city, it also leads to huge inequality, where wealthy heirs can hold huge amounts of power over those whose only crime was to be born into a poor family and cannot penetrate the market where their own skill is used. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that Guilds were outlawed many years ago, based on claims that monopolies can only hurt productivity, but now even learn a skill requires paying a teacher, and there are few Halfling moneylenders in the city to allow even a first step on the ladder.
However, the private armies of the richest families and merchant alliances in the state keep any rebellion at bay. These armies are recruited from the most proven mercenaries, champions of the Arena and even adventurers from other lands, meaning they are small but incredibly elite forces. In addition to being used for private interests, the law does require that each army provides 40% of its forces whenever the League musters its forces.
In addition to exploited but highly valued farmers and the denizens of the city itself, the lands of Kathelet are also populated by the River Children. These people live on boats on the river itself and are fiercely independent, they never paid tax back when tax was actually demanded by the city, and still now ignore any laws they wish to. While many of these men and women are benevolent and happily trade with the other people of the land, some are essentially pirates, raiding villages along the river for sustenance and treasure.
The current marquess of Kathelet is Garth, a large but shrewd man who made his fortune publicising duels and leads a coalition of professionals in the fighting industry. As a result, he personally controls a significant percentage of Kathelet’s army, and used this as leverage to get himself voted as Marquess. He seems to have some interest into increasing Kathelet’s influence in Lustrana.
|Flag||A winged tree and a white hill|
In the north-east of Lycia, next to the mountains of Laus that border Roun, is the Enchanted Forest of Illia, a snowy, hilly woodland where many magical beasts such as unicorns and pegasi roam. Some Lycians settled deep in these woods, creating the humble city of Ilia, where wood houses sprawl through the trees and most needs of day-to-day life are met by druidic magic.
The Druids of Ilia are certainly the leaders of its society. In the Fey-touched forest (in fact, Queen mab holds her Court in one deep place in the woods), respect for nature is paramount, and those who command natural magics are very powerful. Hence, the people treat the Druids with great respect and abide by laws set by the Druids, which are themselves influenced by the Fey and nature spirits of the area.
The city of Ilia itself is huge, spreading throughout the forest, so is split into multiple Communes, each headed by a circle of Druids who set laws for the Commune based on the wishes of the natural world in that area. The most powerful of the circles’ Magistrates (the one who sets the laws and commands the magic to enforce them) is chosen as Ilia’s Marquess.
Due to food and shelter being provided by Druidic magic to all who obey their laws (and even to prisoners), Marks are not used as a currency in Ilia. Instead, they deal in Blessings. Whenever someone does something that pelases the nature spirits, they receive a Blessing, a snowflake-like orb of nature magic which they can use for some tiny boon. These then become the currency of trade in Ilia for luxuries like nice clothes and alcohol.
Another effect of this society where all basic needs are met is that it is incredibly peaceful, as a result Ilia’s army is only used when Lycia itself is threatened, or when some aberration or rogue Ilian threatens the balance of nature in the forest. In these cases, the Druids are not actually sent into battle, their magic being vital to ensure quality of life in the Communes. Instead, Ilian soldiers consist of expert forest rangers, often accompanied by animal or even Fey companions, and knights on the back of Pegasi or Unicorns that they have bonded with.
Those who do break the strict laws of natural harmony set by the Druids are dealt with harshly. Spells are set on the Communes which immediately trap lawbreakers in strangling vines, until they can be relocated to a prison (often inside a large tree) where they are kept for a usually very long sentence. People can only get out of these sentences by some great act of sacrifice for the nature spirits, such as granting half their life force to a dying tree or going on a dangerous mission to fight an aberration alone. Those who break more serious laws are often killed on the spot by the powerful magic of the Magistrates, and their remains used to fertilise the trees.
The current Marquess of Ilia is Selina, Magistrate of the circle of the Fristus Commune. She is a serene woman who often tries to bring about peace, but has also been touched by Queen Mab herself, owing her both a great command over ice and debilitating magic and an obligation to spread the Queen’s influence through far-reaching sleep magic. It is even spoken in whisper that Mab’s bargain means Selina is obligated to ensure there is more death in the world whenever possible.
|Flag||A wyvern cradling a shield from the right|
The north-east mountains of Lycia form one of the main borders with Roun, since the moutnains of Laus are part of the same mountain range as those in west Roun, and don’t require crossing a large river. Hence, the men of the rough lands of Laus are charged with being the shield that stands between the League and the Knights of the Nine. The city of Laus sits on the west of the mountains, its lavish palace serving as the centre of Laon government, but in the mountains are a large number of walled towns, fortresses where Laus’ army waits as a first line of defence against eastern aggression.
The people of Laus are stronger, tougher and more stoic than other Lycians, living in barely hospitable conditions and relying almost entirely on salted goat and imported food for their sustenance, and under constant threat of attack from brigands, monsters and even giants. The community spirit in Laon towns is strong, though, everyone bands together to ensure everyone survives, and no-one gets left behind – everyone has a use in conditions as harsh as in the mountains.
The Knights of the Seven are based in Laus itself, in their own great temple, as they were in fact founded by a Marquess of Laus many generations ago. The Marquess is actually the second in line to the throne at any given time, as the Ring of Chronias, the seventh layer of Celestia, passes down through the royal line as well. The royal family of Laus is rightly huge, with almsot any family of any history having noble blood within them, as each of the fortress towns of Laus is headed by a member of the royal line. Those who are most respected are given forts deep in the mountains and further to the east, where they can head off more monster attacks and Rounmen incursions. The less respected members of the family are instead given forts on the strip of Laon lands along the river which separates Lycia and Roun, where only rarely do Rounmen venture and try to cross.
Despite the hereditary nature of power, there is still opportunity for advancement in Laus. The castellan and quartermaster of each fort are positions given based on merit, rather than birth. Even the unskilled can make good money herding goats outside the walls, the foolish can even go hunt for wyverns to domesticate for use by the famous wyvern knights of Laus.
Since the only real thing to farm in the mountains is the goat population, and production in the towns is focused on survival and military supplies, Laus has notably little to trade. Some of the forts venture into the mining industry, but that opens them up far more to the horrors of the Underdark, so mining is undertaken only by those towns with no other imminent threat. The untapped veins are worth a lot, though, so the people of Laus do often have gemstones and high-quality metal goods to trade when the time comes.
The current Marquess of Laus is Prince Erik, a petulant teenager who does little to live up to his father, who beat back the largets Rouen incursion in decades. Erik’s corruption and incompetence is so deep that many nobles have considered getting him out of power to install one of the older and wiser people lower in line to the throne. However, Erik is well aware of this, and his spies and assassins are now in every corner of Laus.
|Flag||A bow and arrow on a yellow field|
While many Lycians settled down in the many city states of the League, there is still a lot of Lycia not in any of the states’ territories. These are the plains of Sacae, where many Lycians stick to their nomadic life and live in their ancient tribes, riding with the animals of the wild and hunting for their food. While they eschew many of the trappings of civilization, the Sacaens remain part of the League and happily co-operate with citizens where it is mutually beneficial.
The fact that Sacae has a flag is somewhat misleading, as it is only used by the elected Marquess. In fact, Sacae is a huge land where hundreds of different tribes live and ride serparately. These nomadic tribes are as separate from each other as they are from any other state in Lycia, and are known to go to war with each other over territory or familial disputes (though these are very rarely wars of annihalation). Every year, any tribe that can make it sends a few representatives to the Choosing, in Sansra, a huge camp near the centre of Lycia. Here, they spend a week deciding who will be their Marquess, who travels to Ostia in permanent residence for the next two years.
Life in Sacae is simple, they live in a happy symbiosis with anture, particularly horses whom Sacaens seem to particularly revere, hunting and gathering and following the great herds across the huge plains. The nomads do make camps, sometimes establishing a small village for upwards of a year, but always eventually move on when resources run dry in their current area, or perhaps when a monster moves in to their corner of the plains. Their lives aren’t neccessarily ascetic though, while tribes hunt together and share their food, individuals do practice crafts and hold their own possessions which they trade (for which they do use the Mark like the rest of Lycia). The only permanent Sacaen settlement is Sansra, a huge camp populated by members of many tribes, where tribes in dire need of help can go to seek help and call in favours, or find powerful mages and healers if they need them. In Sansra, no blood may be spilled, and it is watched over by a great shrine to the traveller Gods Farlanghan and Celestian.
Many Sacaens do leave their tribes, sometimes by choice, sometimes by coercion if a tribe becomes to large, and sometimes by banishment if they break a law of their tribe. These Sacaens often become mercenary bodyguards, lending their unrivalled horse archery to those who would hire them, others simply move to one of the city states to settle down in more civilised lands. Mages are normally quite rare among the Sacaens, as a nomadic lifestyle is not conductive to study or forming a connection with the land, but many with innate magic do exist, and some leave their tribe to pursue an latent magical talent in Ertruria or another city. The archery skill of the nomads is also called upon when Lycia musters its army. It is said that on an open field, no army on earth can match the Lycian horse archers.
The current Marquess of Sacae is Sahan, head of the Chono Clan. The Chono are rumoured to be Lycanthropes, and the quiet Sahan has done nothing to disabuse anyone of this reputation – though there have been no confirmed lycanthrope sightings in Ostia since he moved in. He did arouse suspicion when he immediately called for the League to recognise New Rhestilor (which they did in the end), but otherwise the quiet man has sought only to ensure the freedoms of Sacae.
|Flag||A shining star above a lone tower on a purple background|
Long ago, the human Tenser used Mordenkainen’s teleportation magic to bring knowledge of magic to Pharae. The first people he taught were Lycian nomads in the east of what is now Sacae, and there they established a small college of magic. Since that time perhaps a thousand years ago, that small school has grown into the great College of Ertruria, the smallest member of the League of Lycia. While huge, Ertruria is still about the size of a small town, though the magical leylines surrounding it cover an area of plains about the size of a city where Sacaens fear to tread. Each faculty has its own building, the size of a large hamlet on its own, and in Ertruria there is a faculty for every sort of magic that is known to exist.
The people of Ertruria live in dormitories for students, and humble blocks of housing for researchers and teachers – with special accomodation given to families with children so the children can be schooled. The entire mini-city is focused on education, young children receive basic education across all subjects and then as they get older they choose a faculty to study at, and people can come to the city to apply for a place to study though they do not automatically get a place like native Ertrurians.
Each faculty is relatively self-governing, with its own head tutor, head porter (who is in charge of accomodation, food, drink and the like) and head bursar (in charge of applications and discipline), though they are governed by centrally imposed laws. Each faculty sets its own schedule for lessons and provides its own food and the like, sourced however they wish, some create all their mundane things such as through greenhouses and employing sewers and the like, but many buy them from outside. While Ertruria places an emphasis on education for all who are able of any age and race, its main focus is on research, with mages in all faculties working out new spells, practicing magic and attempting to learn the mysteries of the multiverse (and maybe make technological advances in the meantime). While most of this magic would be very helpful to the rest of the world, the self-absorbed faculties only provide it at a price, or when explicitly called upon by the League. When they are called upon, the Ertrurian elite try to solve a problem as fast as possible so they can get back to research, though some use a stint in the army as a way to test out new spells – a few even venture to the Crystal Scar. Notably, though, even many head tutors aren’t actually that powerful, their magical knowledge being far more in theory than in practice.
The college is governed centrally in the Central Administration Building, itself the size of a normal mage college. Here the Headmaster, elected from among the head tutors, is aided by the Chancellor and Dean – appointed by the headmaster – and hundreds of staff to organise timetables, food, money, the cleanup major magical accidents and such. The Chancellor is more in charge of the day-to-day running of Ertruria, and the Dean is responsible for central decisions such as budget allocation and laws. The Headmaster is a position that rotates every year so that whoever was in the position can get back to their research, though the Dean and Chancellor are often kept on to ensure Ertruria continues to run smoothly. The Dean also doubles as the Marquess of Ertruria, the Headmaster being too busy to waste time with the League.
Ertruria does also offer occassional short courses, as quick as one week, in certain topics at the whim of the tutors, for those like adventurers or others who are just passing through. These are often charged at extortionate rates, or for some service to the faculty performed by the adventurer, but are very helpful in giving a better understanding and mastery over magic. That said, students do tend to look down on the ‘part-timers’ who study these courses.
The current Marquess of Ertruria is named Posner, a Dean who was recruited from the Department of Transmutation. His work in intelligence boosting in non-sapient animals has been put on hold while he works as Dean, and he shows a lack of patience for teh League characteristic of the Ertrurian Marquesses, often not even showing up to council sessions.
|Flag||A wyvern cradling a spear from the left|
If Laus is the shield of Lycia, then Bern is the sword. In a southern part of the Lustranan mountains stands the huge citadel of Bern, where the greatest part of the Lycian army musters and trains. Bern is a military police state, where obedience to the regime is unquestioned, and everyone learns to make themselves useful to the army or be disposed of.
Unlike in Laus where anything which helps survival in the mountain towns is valued, in Bern there is only one value – strength and fighting skill. Berin children are taught that the only way to live is fighting for the glory of Bern, anda re taught in weapons from the age of six. The primary entertainment in Bern is various forms of blood sport. In arenas all along the bottom level of the citadel people test various military skills against each other, or against trained monsters (especially wyverns which are common in Bern as in Laus), often to the death. However, fighting outside of this sport is utterly illegal – anyone disturbing the peace above the bottom level is executed immediately by the city watch – made up of members of the standing army.
Bern does have good reason to be so militarily focused. Above the Dwarven halls the Lustranan mountains are full of threats, barbarian clans constantly fight against Lycians, and Bern is charged with protecting the Sacaen villages near the mountains form these threats. Furthermore, Stone Giants constantly attempt to reclaim their mountains from Bern, leading to an almost perpetual war – and that is not to mention the various horrors from both the sunlit world and the Underdark which prowl the mountains. Beyond that, it is men and women of Bern which make up the majority of Lycia’s army when the League musters its forces.
The city is also, being in Lustrana itself, strongly linked to the dwarves. They receive top quality weapons from the dwarves in return for protecting the top of the mountains. Bern also provides a major trading hub for dwarves who wish not to leave their mountain homes. The second level of the city is completely devoted to markets and such, though they are looked down on by the rest of the people in the city. Every other level of the city is dedicated to some part of the army, blacksmiths, training grounds, hospitals and churches, architects and siege engineers, and even one level for the miners.
The government of Bern is simple, whoever is strong enough to overthrow the current regime in a coup will be accepted across the citadel as the new Marquess. This sytem does mean that Bern never reaches a critical mass of soldiers where it would turn its eye on other parts of Lycia, but it also means the mountains are often full of civil war as well as battles against the Giants and barbarians. All war does stop when Bern is called upon to defend Lycia, though, the bonds of loyalty to the League are stronger than greed to take over the city. Despite the fairly common regime change, Bern has never really shifted away form its military ideology – it’s possible that anyone who did try would be overthrown by common rebellion by the culture that has decided military might is the highest good.
The current Marquess of Bern is Alvis, famous for the fact that he moved away from the common trick of Berin knights of wyvern riding – instead he has tamed and rides a gravinid into battle. Like all Marquesses of Bern, he is warlike and always pressuring for Lycia to march against some presumed slight, though this particular ruler seems less supportive of the Knights of the Seven than previous ones.
|Flag||Nine tall towers on a blue background|
To be simple, Ostia, which stands proudly in south-east Sacae, is the greatest city in Pharae, possibly even the world. The grand city, full of huge statues to various gods and heroes, is based on the doctrine that anyone can find a place within its nine-gated walls. There are temples to every god, shops for every good, places for every race, all allowed to live freely as long as they adhere to the laws of the Marquess and pay their tax.
The clearest feature of Ostia is the great nine-towered castle in the centre, which serves as the Marquess’ palace, the main barracks for the Lycian army, and the council chambers for when the Marquesses are called together to make a decision for the whole of Lycia. In this part of the city, grand residences of various noble families mix with embassies of every nation both within and without Lycia. Beyond the central district, the city is a great sprawl of taverns, shops and homes. Sports such as gladiatorial battles and charioteering are banned in Ostia, unlike in Bern, so taverns and the occassional theatre take their place, as well as a host of temples, with one to any worshipped God.
Of course, this means that the evil gods are just as represented as the good ones. Ostia prides itself on ideals of freedom of worship, but the Ostian watch keep a close eye on these temples, as freedom of worship does not mean freedom of human sacrifice or theft. The Watch is not infallible, though, so areas with a Temple of a less than savoury deity are shorthand for rough areas of the city. These unsavoury elements do have their uses though, (questionable) food for the poor of the city is provided by some of the Temples of death gods, and the Temple of Olidamarra have made a killing as information brokers.
Despite its urban nature, Ostia is largely self-sufficient. One district of the city is a great park, about the size of Ertruria by itself, where livestock is raised and food is grown to be sold wholesale to vendors, a small forest is even kept by the Ilian population for use as lumber when no traders have brought it recently. Some areas of the sewers, mostly used by criminals, are devoted to small mining districts. Many richer people even keep large gardens to grow dyes, spices and other luxuries. Furthermore, the nine Gate Districts, located obviously just inside each of the city gates, are filled with merchants who eventually diffuse goods through to the rest of the city.
Equality for all does mean that everyone can fail equally, though. While the Ostian watch is very good, it is even supported by a few Inevitables and Celestials, there is still crime in the huge city, as there are many poor people who have failed to make a living in the city of opportunity and do not want to turn to begging. It is not uncommon for whole areas of the city to be destroyed in some magical accident by a careless mage, or in some great attack by a criminal. Despite this, Ostians tend to remain in their city, trusting in the Watch and vigilante adventurers to keep their little corner safe, often preferring their dangerous city life to dangerous not-city life.
Outside of the city itself, Ostia does not own much land, leaving the plains to the Sacaen nomads. The only lands they do own are a few farming and lumber colonies near the city walls, and one abandones mining colony – the Crystal Scar, where champions fight to determine intra-Lycian conflict. Mages project these battles as images, so people in the city can watch them projected onto the sky.
Ostia is governed nominally by a royal family, though the King or Queen is advised by a parlimentary council consisting of elected representatives of each district. Royal power is still present, though, and the captain of the Watch answers directly to the regent, and they still hold the title of Marquess. The current Marquess of Ostia is Royland, a large and hot-headed man who is quick to be spurned into action by his own emotions or by his advisory council. This has led to sweeping reforms in law across the city which are often repealed a few weeks later, though in Lycian government he is often held back by the other Marquesses.
|Flag|Two pillars with a blue wave between them under a yellow sky|
Where Kathelet is the mercantile capital of the North, Araphen is the centre of commerce for the south of Lycia, where Bern, Ostia, south Sacae and Lustrana and Badon meet to trade. The city itself is a huge port in the south-west of Lycia, supported by a few farming settlements in the surrounding grassland, though most of their food comes from fishing and trade.
Araphen is known primarily for its nature as a cultural melting pot. While Ostia is huge so its great variety of cultures don’t mix much, Araphen is a relatively small city, where Dwarves, Lycians, Halflings, people from throughout Eastern Pharae, and even some Killoren and Elves mix as they come to trade. This makes Araphen a strange culture, influenced by aspects of all who settle there when they come to rest after a long journey at sea. The food and drink is strange to everyone who comes from without, the few Temples worship strange pantheons of various gods and even the dialect is a warped version of Lycian.
The city itself is one large market, controlled by two major factions. The Dockmasters’ Guilds control the docks and the warehouses where many goods are stored, and the Merchants’ Guilds represent the interests of both temporary stalls made by vistors and the established brands and shops of long-term residents. Both of these are strongly influenced by the criminal underworld of the city, who use extortion, bribery and violence to increase their own wealth, though are thankfully split into many hostile mafias.
Araphen prides itself on being peaceful, merchants are forbidden to hire armed people more than three bodyguards, and mercenaries are forsaken in lieu of adventurers, whoa re in great supply in the port city. This does exacerbate the problem of the mafias, though, with no trained soldiers it’s impossible to take down highly trained mafia thugs, and the mafias are highly trusted by the villagers outside the city, who they arm and protect from brigands when there are no adventurers who see brigands as worthy of their atention.
Also due to this lack of armed presence, Araphen is the only state in Lycia which does not provide any military aid in times of war. Instead, Araphen’s duty in war time is to provide most of the army’s funding and also put any adventurers or exotic goods and magic items into contact with the Lycian force.
Governance of Araphen is up to the mayor, who also serves as Marquess. The Mayor is elected every five years, and every citizen of Araphen (anyone who has been there for more than a year) gets a vote. For the next five years, the Mayor has absolute power over the law of Araphen, just like a monarch, but is still held acocuntable to their party, who may not put them forward as a Mayoral candidate the next year. There are a few political parties in Araphen, but the main two are the Hawks and the Doves. The Hawks take a harder line against the mafias, hoping to curb their pwoers and increase the freedoms of the Guilds. The Doves believe in trying to make peace with the mafias by reducing Guild powers slightly to make it so no-one has to rely on them – though they do still enforce the law. The current Mayor and Marquess is Liliana, a Dove who turns so much of a blind eye to the mafias some believe her to be in the pocket of one of the bigger ones (in fact, she is an heiress to a particularly seedy mafia known as the Vess who rely on necromancy). However, she still helps champion the rights of Araphen to pay less tax than the other members of the League and well represents the interests of non-Lycians in the city.
|Flag||A black horse on a blue field|
The south-east port of Badon is the centre of the Kingdom of Badon, essentially just a small and normal country within the Lycian league. Before the League was formed, one group of nomads settled down on the coast and built a castle, where they rules the surrounding area and introduced agriculture to the relatively fertile lands of south-east Sacae. Even now it has entered into the Lycian alliance, badon is less of a city state than the centre of a small land of towns and villages.
Despite being a port, the city of Badon is not quite so much of a mercantile centre as Araphen. Fearing the merchants or guilds’ power, as seen in Kathelet and Araphen, the kings of Badon long ago put a great tax on transactions with non-Badonic people, discouraging any large merchant presence in the city. Merchants of course still exist in the port, but the city has largely embraced its nature as a stopping point for travel around the continent. The dockside of the city is full of street theatre, inns, brothels, and all the other delights of travellers and sailors. An adventurer’s guild stands between the dockside and the residential side of the city to recruit any who want a job while on their way, and the city watch operates a checkpoint next to the guild. The rest of the city is known as a centre for the arts, as they make good money in the dockside and the relative peace of the city makes higher pursuits more attainable.
The people of the fields and hills of Badon are quite separate to the entertainers of the city itself. More similar to Sacaens than city folk, the people of Badon have kept their affinity for horses, and while they live in established towns, travel between them is common as every man, woman and child can ride. Another holdover from the old Sacaen culture is the tribal atmosphere. While towns are not homogenous in tribes, there is still a strong tribal loyalty in Badonic people, which is not as strong in the city itself. However, unlike the Sacaens any tribal conflict beyond a skirmish is stopped by the royal cavalry coming from Badon proper.
Badon is secondary to Kathelet in its production of food, as the almost-Sacaen people are expert livestock herders despite their more fixed villages. Most wealth in the villages of Badon comes from selling high-quality meat to Ostia and Erturia, and also to Araph merchants who then sell it on to foreigners and Berins. Beyond farming, horsemenship and hospitality, the other major industry of Badon is shipbuilding. In the city, many workshops both dockside and palace-side are dedicated shipwrights. many great explorers start their expedition by buying a ship in Badon, as they are known to be unrivaled.
Badon is governed by a monarchy, with each area of villages governed by a Duke from one of the noble families, in a manner similar to that of the nations of east Pharae. The kings are often too busy with the day-to-day running of the kingdom, so devolve powers over the City of Badon to a Governer, sometimes recruited from the commoners if one becomes known as a very skilled administrator and negotiator. Governers not only govern the City, but have limited control over the laws there, hence the legalisation of brothels which are not condoned elsewhere in the country.
The military of Badon is mostly built of its royal cavalry, supported by horsemen drawn by the Dukes from the villages and towns. These soldiers are mostly charged with guarding the Toldeo border, especially now when the Lich King’s armies, rather than the peaceful Toldeo, lurk across it. The other major contribution of Badon to the Lycian army is a professional navy, known as the Badon Corsairs. This tradition started when one Governer, centuries ago, bribed a group of pirates to fight on behalf of the city rather than against it, and even to blockade some of Araphen’s trade routes out of spite. Now the city trains sailors in the combat tricks of pirates to defend Lycia’s coast and also, when needed, attack other southern coastlines.
The Marquess of Badon is another role often devolved by the King. While the King is always officially the Marquess, he often sends a member of the court in his stead. Currently, the Marquess is a man named Randyll, an ex-soldier and current Quartermaster in the royal palace, known for keeping a cool head and brining logic to proceedings both at court and at the Lycian council.
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One curiosity within Lycia is the final member of the League, which does not have a Marquess to send to the council and does not send champions to the Crystal Scar. La Isla Ensana, an island off the south coast of Toldeon, populated by Toldeo-speaking peoples (though they have a slightly different pronunciation and accent) but technically still governed by the Dwarves, is a curious micronation. Its main exports being strange herbs that grow only on the island with some medical, magical and many hallucinogenic properties, alcohol and other unique crops, La Isla isn’t so much governed as it is held together by hundreds of Cartels, which control farms, jobs and land in a monopolistic manner in their area of influence. War between the Cartels is common, and the constant inertia is what causes there to never be a single dominant Cartel and also causes there to be a disproportionate amount of ragtag bands of adventurers coming from La Isla (also possibly influenced by the alcohol and drugs).
The Cartels do pay tax to the Dwarves when a collector comes with sufficient leverage (and protection from assassination), and also pay some to the Halfling King, but otherwise they consider themselves Toldeo and keep themselves out of Lycian affairs. This may ahve been a mistake. When Toldeo refugees came to the island to escape the invasion by the Lich King of Albion, this sparked Murvoth’s interest. Now, a shadowy figure named El Grande wanders the island, ensuring the Cartels are paying their due to the Lich King and not harbouring Toldeo rebels.