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Post by GrayWatch on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:54 am

Nation: Weisshaupt

Government Type: Theocratic Dictatorship
Current Mahara:

Weisshaupt is centered around a large bay on the northwestern isle of Ara'niel. Backed by mountains to the east, the land slopes towards the bay. Meltwater from the mountains and rain wash down, carrying soil with them on their inexorable journey into the bay. Along the river valleys between the mountains and the bay proper, the land tends towards small flood plains, where the river periodically spills it's banks and washes over the land, usually leaving behind a coat of rich silt. Near the bay proper, the remaining silt and large influx of water has conspired to turn most of the land along the east and south of the bay into a tangled swamp, stretching miles back inland. To the north the land gives rise to hilly scrubland, largely intermingled patches of barren earth and hardy grasses, becoming more fertile as you progress north east, to the forests beyond the country's borders.

The climate in Weisshaupt is starkly divided between the wet and dry seasons. During the dry season the rivers run low in their banks and the swamp waters recede, leaving an ankle-snapping maze of exposed roots and cloying mud-pits for the unwary traveler to navigate across in the marshes. The marshes themselves become extremely salty during this time. In the floodplains, fresh water is valued in this part of the year, as the rivers are choked with silt, lacking water enough to carry it all. To the north, the hilly scrublands dry out, and most life moves inland in search of greener pastures.

During the wet season the seasonal monsoons come in off the Western Ocean, bringing rain in torrents. The storms rage all the way to the mountains, where most of their moisture is dumped. In turn the water flows downhill, swelling the rivers and bringing the yearly floods and fertility to the floodplains, and engorging the marshes on the remaining silt and water. The swamps come alive during this time of year, and the water level rises, making them more easily navigable by boat, (though perhaps more confusing to do the same, as free-floating vegetation can change the layout of the marsh overnight). At this time the influx of water and reversed flow means the swamp ranges from freshwater to brackish. The scrublands revive, and the nomadic creatures of the land return from their inland haunts.

The economy of Weisshaupt is a mystery to those not native to it. Centuries of isolation from the rest of Ara'niel has bred xenophobia deep into the bones of the people here. The society is largely agrarian. The rich own farms on the flood plains, or herds in the northern scrublands. The poor make due in the underdeveloped areas of the swamps. Trade with outsiders is rare, and the only regular trading partners are some of their immediate neighbors. Even then trade tends to be proscribed. What little they do export is a large variety of exotic plant by products, be they medicinal, poisonous, or hallucinogenic in nature.

Within the nation the distribution of goods is largely government mandated, with excess sold as the producer pleases. Traditional mercantilism has little hold here as the governmental distribution of goods frequently leaves ready markets, but seldom plentiful suppliers. Most merchants instead serve as facilitators, taking payment from the central government to move and distribute the goods as is necessary, in exchange for a fee. For example, if the Dioceses of Welfare mandates that 5 tons of grain must be distributed within a certain city within a certain time-frame, a merchant could take a fee from the Dioceses and would then collect the grain, and transport it to the relevant city, where he may sell it privately, or directly to the Minister of Sustenance, as he pleases, so long as it is all distributed within the given time frame.

Culture & Religion:
The major, and state sponsored, faith in Weisshaupt, revolves around ancestor worship, stressing that the actions and positions one should hold in life is dictated by their ancestors. A man should champion the same ideals as his ancestors have, work in the same trade, live in the same house and in general style himself as closely as possible to the ideals of his ancestors.

More pragmatically, the religion mandates that each person is born into a caste, as determined by the caste of the first born child of their family (in the case of the first born child, they inherit the caste of their same gender parent). Restrictions on jobs, military positions, and the likes apply across castes. Marriage between castes is permitted, but frowned upon and discouraged. As both spouses caste changes to that of the same-gender parent of their first-born it is seldom indeed that the higher-caste partner is willing to risk the loss.

Notably those without a provable ancestry are casteless, and are eligible for no jobs, welfare or similar, being legally considered non-living objects rather than people. Killing a casteless and leaving the corpse in the gutter is considered Tacky and a breach of etiquette, but would be considered littering rather than murder. Most casteless become slaves as a way to at least gain a basic degree of safety.

The religion's view on magic is extreme. Weisshaupt is ancient in it's time, having existed as a nation (even if only in name) for the majority of the Great War and the fear and spilled blood of that time still weigh heavily upon it's people's minds. Somewhere along the way, and understanding that mages were in some way responsible for the Great War translated into an understanding that mages were deliberately malicious to all mankind.
It is the Weisshauptian perspective that mages knowingly corrode their own soul through working magic, or even just perceiving it, inevitably descending farther and farther into pitiless malice, and cold calcultion as they age and grow in power.

Weisshaupt is ruled by it's priest caste, and the actual governing body is divided up into a byzantine maze of inter-competing councils, and bureaus and dogma's. "Officially" the nation is governed by the ancestors, the collective will of which is represented in an avatar called the Mahara, whom is reincarnated endlessly. The Mahara is always a child, carefully brought up on a cocktail of drugs to increase sensitivity to the ancestors voices, and to supress the host personality. Sadly the child must be killed once they reach their majority, as the growing sense of self and resistance to the drugs interfere's with the governing of the ancestors.

In more practical terms the day to day ruling of the nation is handled (poorly) by the vast bureaucracy which has swollen to gargantuan proportions, as the population of priests(each of whom is guarantee'd a government position) swells with each generation.

On a more militaristic note each citizen, both male and female, of any caste save two, is required to serve a total of 10 years military service (often broken up into 2 year sets, spread out over 2 decades). The priest caste is exempt, and a sub-set of the Warrior caste is expected to spend their entire lives in military service, but usually enter as officers, rather than privates.

The military employs mages as a combat resource. Though they are not considered people, the effects which they can achieve are undeniable, and early in their life their souls are not so corroded as to be totally unreasonable. However they are dangerous and would inevitably turn rogue. To this end, each mage has at least 2 handlers, trained and equipped to either defend or kill the mage at a moment's notice and may do either for any reason at any time no questions asked. When deployed in the field mages are given a slow-acting poison, and each handler knows half the recipe for the antidote, while carrying the ingredients for the half they do not know. Mages are uniformly killed before their fortieth year.

Significant Settlements:

Gallow -
The Capital of the Weisshaupt empire, Gallow fancies itself the City of Rivers, but it's detractors more often refer to it as the City of Slime. Resting at the mouth of the Pyran River in the southeast of the Great Bay, Gallow is crisscrossed by canals, rivers and bridges in varying states of disrepair, more closely resembling a delta or archipelago rather than a unified city. While the land around it has been tamed and cut back to some degree, it remains undeniable that it sits amidst the thickest estuary to be found along the shoreline of the bay. The city itself is divided up into sectors, each accessible only via bridge or gate, with certain sectors being restricted to certain castes (exceptions permitted of course, for authorized laborers). At the forefront of the city lies The Tomb, the fortress/palace/temple of the Mahara. Each sector within the city has at least one temple to the ancestor, and many sport the endemic offices of Weisshaupt's massive bureaucracy. Of note the city's port is actually an artificial island several hundred meters out into the bay due to the shallow waters and omnipresent vines and creepers within the waters of Gallow itself proving a hazard to all but the shallow bottomed river boats that ply Weisshaupt's bayou's and rivers. Repair work on the bridges leading to and from the port is a constant and undertaking.

Banisburg -
The Northern Bastion of the empire, none alive remember what the truly massive fortress the city is built on and into was originally meant to protect against but in the modern day it certainly won't provide much of a true defense. While the official line is that the fortress was the work of a group of the original founders of Weisshaupt, to defend against now vacant heretics from the far north, no evidence has ever been found by foreign scholars of population of the northern lands, nor of any attacks upon the oddly placed fortress city.
In the modern day the fortress-city is unlikely to put up much more of a fight than any other city. The fortress itself is truely gargantuan, walls taller than most buildings, and indeed many buildings were formed bay careful building or tearing down of pre-existing walls within the fortress. However as part of it's increasing urbanization, holes have been made in the exterior walls, allowing commerce to flow in. Bastion straddles the often shifting line of climate change in Weisshaupt, not far north are the northern steppes, well known for their extremely distinct wet and dry seasons, to the south the more common floodplains and bayou's of the rest of Weisshaupt.
Banisburg has a highly varying population. The nomadic people and tribes of the north move seasonally, and some number of them inevitably weather the inclement seasons in Banisburg. The year round citizenry are generally contemptuous of the nomads, whom they view as uncivilized, but are by this stage resigned to their inevitable presence. Merchants on the other hand, are generally glad of their arrival, as the nomads bring with them crafts which are popular in the more southern settlements, and the nomads inevitably end up purchasing some number of goods from the merchants to make ends meet over their stay in Banisburg.

Relationships with Foreign Nations:
Officially no relations. As Weisshaupt refuses to consider mages as people it consider's the population of the Conclave to be too small to qualify as a town, much less a sovereign power.

Last edited by GrayWatch on Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:20 pm; edited 6 times in total

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