Thursday, July 19, 2012

Players Meet World: The next

Almost all of the questing that's been done in my setting has happened within the borders of the centrally-located kingdom of Myralon. That being as it is, here's a quick guide to Myralonian politics and culture.

Myralon – Situated roughly in the center of Skovorod, Myralon is a rough and tumble society that greatly values personal freedom, glory, and honor. The capital of Myralon is also named Myralon, though natives simply refer to it as “The Capital”.

Myralon's political structure starts with the the common man. The common man is responsible for himself and his household. He is expected to learn a trade and fight in the army if necessary. Above the common man are the big land owners, distinguished by owning enough land that at least two other families live and work the property. There is no official title for big land owners, though, if they are rich enough to erect a keep or castle, the title of lord is customary.

Lords are responsible for the protection of their property and the people who live and work on it. It is not uncommon for lords, especially wealthy ones, to form alliances. It is equally common for blood feuds to break out that can last generations. Lords are free to tax the land they own, and indeed they must, as each lord owes a yearly tithe and tribute to the church and king, respectively. Wars are tolerated between lords so long as no one complains too loudly to the king, the war doesn't get too big, and Myralon itself is not currently at war with another country.

Above the lesser lords are the high lords, vassals chosen by the king himself. These high lords typically take the title of duke or baron or even prince (if the high lord in question has a good claim to the royal family). These high lords are responsible for the lesser lords and command their loyalty.
The king himself is usually descended through a patriarchal line, though there is no special significance to being a first born son, or even a son. The most fit child to rule will succeed the current ruler as the new monarch upon the abdication or death of the old. In cases where no successor has been named, civil war is always a possibility. Adding to the chance of civil war is the fact that no Myralonian royal family has ever declared a Divine Right of Kings, meaning that anyone who has enough balls and enough support from the lords and high lords can become king or queen.

Personal honor is of extreme importance in Myralonian society and is expected to be defended at all costs. Insulting someone's honor is a deadly serious act and duels are not uncommon. In fact, a good fist fight is considered the first step in solving most disputes. There is, however, a stigma attached to a person being seen as too eager to fight. Being overly anxious to indulge in violence can be seen as a sign that one is too stupid to find any other solution.

Myralonian law seeks first to respect the rights of the individual with the understanding that the individual will then do the honorable thing and respect the rights of the state.

Aristocratic Myralonians tend to favor robes and other comfortable garments with heads of families or other important persons wearing ceremonial breastplates often made of precious metals and encrusted with gems. Circlets, similarly decorated, are also popular. Fine fur is considered to be restricted to the royal family. Lower classed people wear whatever they can. Openly wearing arms and armor is accepted and is often a way for non-aristocrats to display their wealth and prowess.

Myralon's peacetime army consists of volunteers sworn to the service of a lord. This volunteer army is typically small and spends most of its time on guard or patrol duty. In times of war, lords are known, however, to conscript any able-bodied man into service. Female warriors are not unknown, however, it is considered “impolite” to conscript a woman.
The king's own army consists of the best warriors in the land who have proved themselves in battle. Known as the Myrmidons, these warriors are unquestionably the finest foot soldiers in Skovorod. There is more information on Myrmidons in the Complete Fighter's Handbook.

The Irevarian Church is big in Myralon, especially the Order of Saint Cuthbert. The influence of the church is comparable to that of the Catholic Church during the dark ages and Renaissance. A town is not considered a town unless it has some kind of shrine or chapel dedicated to the worship of Irevar. Worship of Irevar is the official state religion. However, one does not have to go far to find people worshiping as they please. In the capital, openly worshiping another god is frowned upon, usually by church “officials” wielding heavy clubs. Demi-humans, however, are often spared this harsh treatment, and a quick claim of a dwarf forebear somewhere down the line will usually grant sanctuary.

Magic is all but unknown in Myralon. The king and some other influential lords will have a court magician, but most folk will go there whole lives without seeing magic or a magical item. The royal family posses one or two such relics and nearly every lord and vassal has at least a +1 sword lying around, but anything of greater enchantment is considered to be an artifact from before The Consolidation (more on that later). 

Myralon consists of mostly humans, though, there is a good smattering of halflings, and a load of dwarves. Many dwarves immigrated to Myralon, especially in the north and most notably in the capital where five dwarven clans transplanted themselves and quickly assumed control of Myralon's financial institutions. It is rumored that these clans also absorbed the thieves' guild.

Myralon is based on Greco-Roman and Britanical culture.

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