Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Enigmundia: A List of Ingredients

Since the center of the campaign/adventuring portion of world is going to be a riff on Karameikos, here are the elements I'd like to take from it:

A State With Two Semi-Distinct Classes. There are those who are the conquerors (Thyatians in Karameikos) and the conquered (Traladarans). Some of that has been softened with the very Roman approach of treating all true citizens equally, but there are prejudices and other cultural impediments (indentured servitude, a different caste system prior to the arrival of the Thyatians, and die-hard adherents to native traditions). It should make for the mix of adventuring parties interesting.

Of course, my Traladarans (whose GAZ1 inspiration is unclear to me) are also colorfully attired and fond of food and song, but in a more tropical vein than the very temperate clime of the traditional setting.

A State Associated With A Larger Empire. In GAZ 1, the Grand Duchy of Karameikos is identified as the equivalent of its own state -- independent of the Empire of Thyatis -- but the crafty Grand Duke Stefan Karameikos has requested his friend, the Emperor of Thyatis, to call it a Grand Duchy in the hopes of fooling other countries into thinking it is a part of the greater empire. My still-unnamed state will straddle the fence there: it will be a large colony with an Overgovernor who has been granted indefinite responsibility over it.

This should allow me to play with a lot of the elements of Karameikos along with the echoes of the Spanish colonization of the Philippines.

A Charismatic Ruler In A Turbulent Political Clime. The state is semi-stable, but with lots of simmering unrest in various areas. It takes a strong, cunning, and charismatic ruler to carve out his own kingdom in another land, so my ruler (played in my head by Lawrence Fishburne as Othello) is definitely all of the above.

He has many difficulties to deal with: political rivals from the Empire (with the equivalent of the Black Eagle Baron's Ludwig von Hendricks as the worst of them -- perhaps the Iago to Fishburne's Othello?), powerful native families grudgingly allied with the Overgovernor, rebellions motivated by a desire to overthrow the ruling class and / or the invaders, and not-so-friendly neighboring countries seeking to weaken the hold of the Empire in this region.

Fortunately, his wife -- who loves him dearly, despite her initial cool treatment of him early in their arranged marriage -- is an accomplished spymaster in her own right and aids him in his endeavors (sometimes without his knowledge).

An Organized Church Clashing With Local Beliefs. Moreso than in the GAZ1 treatment, there will be very different religious beliefs in play: a Christian-inspired religion for the Empire, animist, polytheistic, and monotheistic religions for the natives (who were engaged in their own tribal and religious wars before the colonists came).

The reason things haven't boiled over: many of the natives are happy with the stability of the new regime (less chances of raids, avoidance of fickle local gods, a syncretic approach to belief, and some genuine conversions to the new faith) and are tired of the old strife. Of course, if the Overgovernor lets things get worse in their various regions than they used to be...

A State on the Borders of the Known World. Not only is the colony partially unexplored (Karameikos was wild in many parts, despite the civilizing influence of the Thyatian infrastructure like roads, capable military forces, and an organized religion), but it borders on lands inhabited by barbarian races and mysterious nations.

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