wiki:realms:thalassagorod

Thálassagorod

Realm Information
Name Grand Republic of Thálassagorod
Founding 73FC
Motto “For our prosperity”
Government oligarchic republic
Current Ruler Vozhd Elizaveta Polládushi
Capital City of Thálassagorod
Races Within Gorodan Middle men (mostly human), Wilder Peoples (mostly human)
Primary Religion Thálassagorodian Free Pantheon, Dvaja litsa Príroda
Language(s) Trade Common, High Thálassagorodian, Vulgar Gorodan, Sosnovyye tribal languages
Demonym Thálassagorodian
Currency Thálassagorodian solidus
Realm Leader Mansquid

Geography

The city lies at the end of the warm waters of the Zettiphon bay on a lagoon jutting out from the cold Black forests and wildernesses of the Gryaz' highlands.

The City takes it's name from the Lagoon it's built on, which is named the Thálassa lagoon.

The surrounding land is rough, cold and difficult to live in. The Gryaz' highlands do contain some very fertile soils but due to unpredictable weather and overall cold temperatures few crops will grow reliable. Of these Potatoes are the only reliable staple crop.(much of which is made into vodka)

View of typical woodlands in the Gryaz' highlands

The waters of the Bay of Zettiphon are unusually warm and hosts a massive variety of sea life. This is due in part to usual water currents brining warm water up from the central sea, but also to a high level of tectonic activity leading to many volcanic vents at the base of the bay.

The territory of the Republic mostly follows the coast line of the Bay, as due to mercantile and naval interests of the great families there is little of value further in land to interest them. The Gryaz' is also notoriously difficult to manoeuvre through, and providing a logistical nightmare to any force seeking to aggress through it. This is both a great boon, stopping the Republic from facing any major attacks over land, but also a great thorn in it's side, due to it shielding hostile Sosnovyye tribes.

History

The lands of Thálassagorod have been inhabited for as long as records go back by migratory tribal peoples. Many believe the current Sosnovyye and Thálassagorodan peoples both descend from humans living in and around this area since long before the first comet.

However it is known that at some point the area and more specifically the lagoon the city is built on were colonized by the Acros empire. Though only lightly as the region had little in the way of valuable resources and was an untamed wasteland. The lagoon’s use as an important navy outpost was seemingly the only major reason for the Acros’ interest in the area.

Because of the frontier nature of this naval outpost it was spared much of the death and destruction faced by the rest of the empire, folk legend claim that the few people stationed at the outpost didn’t even realise the empire had collapsed until the arrival of the last armada.

The last armada was a large collection of civilian and naval vessels which had been outside areas affected by the destruction of Acros when the first comet arrived. They had grouped up slowly over a few years after the destruction and slowly moved through the central ocean looking for surviving remnants of the empire. After finding the lagoon, what remained of the battered armada moored their ships on the sands of the lagoon decided to settle on the only surviving remnant of civilization they could find.

Of course this wasn’t the start of the city, as at first the people living on the lagoon faced critical shortages of supplies, unable to properly feed, cloth or shelter themselves in an outpost designed for only a handful of occupants. However local Sosnovyye peoples who were able to survive in the harsh climates of the bay traded and intermixed with them, providing them with food and the knowledge needed to survive. Eventually the mix of sheep herding, potato farming, fishing and small amounts of local trade throughout the bay using their remaining ships allowed the community to flourish. With the introduction of constant but slowing trickle of refuges ships and local tribes people seeing the advantages of the ship bound society the population grew significantly.

The growing population quickly outstripped the capacities of the new settlement and a solution was needed. Population eventually came together and created a ruling council of elders who could make laws and enact the will of the people collectively. The first thing the council did was create a limit on new immigrants to the settlement, they did this by making all people currently living within it full citizens but only allowing people to become Citizens by being born to Citizens or marrying one. Any one who was not a Citizen would be allowed to live and work within the city but only at the behest of someone who is already a Citizen. While this did slow the overpopulation, as many future historians would note, this flawed idea would lead to extensive exploitation and repression of “resident” groups within the republic.

However this declaration in 73FC is counted by most as the founding of the republic and city.

The history of the city and republic go hand in hand, with the size and power of the republic depending highly on the power and wealth of the city at it’s centre. Over time both of these elements have expanded and contracted many times, though the most notable overarching instances of rise and fall are marked as the 5 ages. In order to give these time periods their proper focus they have been separated into their own topics:

Economy

Trading is the lifeblood of the City’s economy, with most other economic and industrial activities supplementing the abilities of the families to own and operate massive trade fleets to as many corners of the world as possible.

Guilds are ever present throughout the republic and exert great influence over the economy and politics of the Republic. Some, such as the Merchants guild, have such great power, wealth and influence that the head of the guild in some ways has more power than the Vozhd.

The decentralized, highly competitive and morally relaxed nature of the many trading families allow for the development of highly profitable, if volatile, trade networks. These families can further benefit from the many advanced techniques and industries the City hosts. Including some of the most advanced mages in the world, Specialising in “Storm magics” e.g. magics that allow the manipulation of winds and sea, often used in navigation or to speed up voyages.

The City also has a large and elaborate shipbuilding industry, several naval academy's and a highly advanced banking system.

Other City based industries include extension weapons and tool foundries, jewellers, brick makers, brewers, and a large amount of glass works.

The City continuously imports large amounts of food from the surrounding lands, to supplement local fishing.

There is also very high demand for foreign luxuries and any good exotic or rare enough to be seen as prestigious to own, though only among the wealthy Citizens. The City also imports a variety of raw materials, as local sources for many basic industrial goods such as clay, sand and iron have either been depleted or would be prohibitively expensive to extract.

Territories outside the city tend to have more traditional feudal economies, based around subsistence farming and exporting what little excess they have. Normally to the City itself.

Vodka, is the largest single agricultural product made within the Republic's borders.

Culture

There are two main classes of people; the “Citizens” and the “Residents”.

Citizens are a small but disproportionately wealthy and influential group within the city. As they are the only ones with proper legal status, including the right to vote and to own businesses or property. Residents include the vast majority of the population but have very few rights often being Serfs, debt slaves, indentured servants or other kinds of contractual ownership by Citizens.

The only way someone can become a Citizen is either by being the child of a Citizen or by marrying one. There is no other way.

There is a vast animosity between the two groups despite them being mostly segregated throughout the city. The Residents within the city live very miserable lives and routinely revolt. The Citizens within the city live in complete luxury but constantly bicker and plot against each other leading to short dangerous lives. Outside the main city in the less urban areas things are much more relaxed, with better conditions for Residents and less wealthy and backstabbing Citizens.

The most popular sports in Thálassagorod are usually wrestling or martial arts based, at least among the Residents. Of these the most notable are Thálassagorodian mud wrestling, oil wrestling, water wrestling and of course goose running.

Alcoholic beverages, particularly strong spirits, such as vodka made from local potato crops, are highly popular among both the Residents and Citizens of the republic.

Tribal peoples known as the Sosnovyye live throughout the republic in the hinterlands and wildernesses. Crime and corruption are so rampant they are considered important aspects of the functionality of the republic.

Mage towers are one of the most important and distinct facets of Thálassagorod. Tall, dominating usually square towers with open but often roofed top floors. Mage towers are found in every major settlement controlled by the republic or it’s families and are so deeply tied to the architecture and military strategies of the nation as to be symbolic of this to most people. As such they function as important moments of personal or familial prestige and are often built more for decoration than practical use. Read more about Mage Towers.

Citizens often organize their families into political/economic entities, with family members owning and commanding many different operations but working together and answering to a few elders or a single all controlling patriarch or matriarch. Some of these families are very large, wealthy and politically powerful. Most businesses, institutions and territories are controlled by members of these families. There are a few very large powerful and wealthy families that control most of the republic, currently there are 4 bigger and more powerful than any other that struggle for power between themselves these are called the Great families.

These families have proper names but are commonly referred to in public by their sigil. Most Great families use sea creatures as their sigil. The four currently are-

* Polládushi or “The house of the Squid”- generalists, cares about results not methods. The largest and most wide spread, considered ruthless and brutal- current ruler is a member

* Mandristyk or“The house of the Eel”- Magic, exploration and foreign contact, seeks power by exploiting the new and the unknown.

* Marodernos or “The house of the Dolphin”- Ruthless merchants and underhanded rogues, smugglers, spies and assassins found here.

* Pozheztalevi or“The house of the Narwhal”- Industrialists and warmongers, controls the plurality of civic protection, mercenary contracts and weapons manufacturing.

In the past the Republic was dominated by one single Great house- “The house of the Serpent”. Or Zmeya They gained power over 400 years ago and ruled with an iron fist, very unpopular and only stayed in elected power through underhanded means,(even by the standards of this city). They were coup’d and assassinated en masse shortly after the second comet, leading to the rise of the current 4 and major political change. No known living members.

Peoples

Tribal peoples known as the Sosnovyye live throughout the republic in the hinterlands and wildernesses. They are afforded special status within the city due to long lasting treaties and laws, in their favour. They are not allowed to be charged taxes or given debts by the city, this gives them great power among the lower classes and generally they are one of the few groups of outsiders that face active persecution from the residential population. Though Citizens tend to be on much better terms, this is usually only from a business angle due to Sosnovyye tribes exporting vast amounts of animal products and other food stuffs, which are vital to the contained operation of the city and the lifestyles of the Citizens.

The Sosnovyye are semi nomadic herders who mostly rely upon herds of sheep and goats for food. Some tribes practice a from of slash and burn agriculture. They have no formal unified government, with most tribes operating independently of each other and the Republic of Thalassagorod. However they have a cast of priests that operate beyond tribal lines, called the Chernoknizhnik. They even having a temple on the temple isle of Thalassagorod. These priests are often able to force agreements and unity between tribes and are usually responsible for negations with outsiders. For more see: Dvaja litsa Príroda

Despite the vast majority of the population of the Republic being “human” most outsiders are quite shocked at how board the definition of “human” is with in Thálassagorod. Centuries of immigration, voluntary or otherwise, has caused a genetic and racial mixing pot with in the Republic, and especially within the City itself.

One of the most notable differences is one that can be traced through to the Sosnovyye or even pre-Sosnovyye peoples who live at the edges of the Republic. These peoples often have very animalistic traits to them, particularly the physical traits of animals they live along side, such as goats, sheep, elk, deer or pets like cats and dogs. While most of these traits are fairly subtle, like unusual hair colour patterns and coverage, some are highly notable, some people are born with full horns, animal ears or eyes, and even cloven feet or claws.

These animalistic physical traits are also found within the people of the republic though to a less degree. some great families take great pride in having their members display a particular trait, for instance the house of the narwhal greatly prefers members who have horns, and have in the past selected potential spouses based on them having horns.

Other non human traits from distant races can also be found among the population, though instances of these traits are smaller it is not uncommon to see normal humans of unusual height(both tall and short), pointed ears, heavily bearded men or women, scales, fins, spines, unnatural skin or hair colourations and even occasionally fully functional gills. Which these are a sample of traits found throughout the city there are many more in many varieties, originating from many races.

The natives of the Republic and surrounding lands do not find this unusual and often remark on how odd it is that foreigners are so uniform in their traits. considering “human” to be such a board term that even peoples who would be considered elves or dwarfs in other places would be thought of as “human” here. There are some communities that consider themselves a distinct race these are often ex-pats of other nations, that live together.

Many categorise the mixed genetic less animalistic peoples of the city and central republic as Gorodan Middle men and the Sosnovyye and more animalistic members of the republic as Wilder Peoples. Many foreigners consider neither truly human, sometimes counting them as distinct races but a true distinction is impossible to make.

Government

The government can best be described as a Plutocratic republic. There is a single leader of the republic, called a Vozhd. They rule for life and are replaced by election after the prior one dies or resigns. Any Citizen may vote in the election.

While the Vozhd has a great deal of legal and political influence they wield little actual power, with many institutions paying only lip service to their power or being officially disconnected from it.

However due to politics between families, bribes and threats of violence the elected ruler is usually the head of whichever Great family is most powerful at the time, and often very unpopular outside of said family.

There is very little centralised power or authority, most aspects of the state are run mostly autonomously by whichever family controls it. This includes civic protection, meaning most city guards or police operate similarly to crime families. These Citizen owned civic protection organizations usually do not protect or care for Residents There are also Resident lead organizations that fulfil similar roles, these are actively persecuted by most official civic protection groups for being organized crime, though many Residents see them as legitimate organizations for their protection. The most powerful of these Resident crime groups is called “The 5th House”, or internally as “The house of the Leviathan” In some areas they have such power that they can act as local government. They style themselves as a Great house for the Residents and try to create the image of being protectors of the poor and downtrodden, though most other societies would class them as a dangerous mob.

Religion and Mystery Cults

Religious thought throughout the Republic, though most notably in the city, is that of religious cynicism, local beliefs posit that the many deities that people worship are merely aspects or masks of vast, powerful and completely inhuman cosmic forces that we could not comprehend. As such all deities are merely parts of these greater forces, like actors playing multiple roles. This conveniently explains why there are so many differing interpretations of local deities and so many countless and contradictory religions found at ports across the world. The same actors play different roles depending on the audience. While an actor may be strict in staying in character for a time, it is important to remember an actor's job is to lie with conviction, and the forces that govern this world are very good actors. Officially the Republic has a very high level of religious freedom, as any religion that is recognized by the Guild of the many faiths may be freely practiced without official objection. However in practice, due to the exorbitant fees the Guild charges, only faiths favoured by the wealthy and politically well connected can afford representation in the Guild.

The Guild has many requirements for a faith being recognized, all designed to make as much profit for the Guild as possible. The primary of which is the existence of a physical space of worship on the Temple Isle. An Island gifted to, and completely owned by the Guild, space is at a huge premium. Without a temple or shrine on the Island and continued fees for renting the land it’s on and for maintaining the structure the Guild can and will ban any religion that cannot pay.

This means in practice the most represented faiths are either the personally favoured deities and spirits of the ruling elite or foreign faiths with large amounts of capital to spend trying to spread their beliefs or as political leverage.

There are many local or regional deities that are favoured by much of the populous in a pantheonic system. While each deity will have a domain and specific legends and rites they are all considered only aspects of greater, less comprehensible, forces. This prevalent belief that deities are only one “face” or aspect of a certain divine force gives great flexibility to local belief structures, and goes a long way to explaining why there is little concern or rejection of the massive overlap and sometimes outright contradiction of local and foreign deity’s power, domains and origins. To the people of Thálassagorod they are parts of the same beings showing themselves in different ways for different people and places to ease their understanding.

This flexible belief system is likely why the organized church of the Thálassagorod is so open to religious syncretism and foreign belief systems. That and the promise of church taxes.

To add on to this, and perhaps because of the mixing of different but similar deities over time most deities of the Thálassagorodian local pantheon have some form of duality or polarity in which they have multiple personas which they use dependent on region, person they interact with or reason for interactions. Often this polarity is between male and female forms with most deities having both, some having a third neutral form, some having many forms with a rarity of gendered and ungendered aspects.

There are 3 major local deities favoured by the Citizen elite that claim the 3 largest temples on the Island.


The two faced deity of the seas and sky: Grozacherna/Volnycherna


The many faceted deity of the family, parentage and the home: Otetsobog/ Mamaobog/ Roditelobog


The ever changing deity of the forge, craft and warfare: Utyugformo


While there are many other deities and aspects of deities worshiped by the people since shrines, temples and other places of worship are managed by the Guild of the many faiths most have only small simple shrines as their followers cannot afford the glamorous temples that the wealthiest Citizens can patronize. This has led to a religious black-market of sorts with the existence of the Mystery cults.

For more on local religion and a more complete list of Deities see: Thálassagorodian Free Pantheon

The Mystery cults are secretive underground organizations often based around niche or unpopular religious practices. Though not always, since they are simply a form of vaguely tolerated secret society they can encompass a vast range of purposes, structures and guiding beliefs. Due to a number of these cults having highly powerful and important individuals within them, who would prefer their activities to be unquestioned, the authorities of both the Guild of the many faiths and the republics law enforcement have given a large amount of leeway for groups they believe to be a Mystery cult.

Some Mystery cults are exactly what one would expect, believers of publicly unacceptable religions meeting in secret, such as the Cult of Manmu, which worship an alternative god of the seas to Grozacherna/Volnycherna, which has been repeatedly barred from official status by the many powerful patrons of Grozacherna/Volnycherna who do not want competition.

Some however act more like social clubs, such as the Cult of the Goose, a group of liberal minded residents who meet in secret as to criticise and undermine the Citizen elite however they can. The goose name was chosen due to their association with annoying Citizens and the tale of the Goose feathered vagabond, a local folk hero often thought to be a member of the cult.

Some operate as extensions of criminal organizations seeking to hide aspects of their operations through ritual secrecy and religious veneers. The fifth house, also known as the House of the Leviathan, has an inner circle that operates in the manor of a cult, referred to as the cult of the Leviathan. Despite the intimidating name, the cult exists mostly as a way to keep reliable encrypted bookkeeping out of the range of the authorities.

Some Cults do however have more sinister intentions, these are the least well known and most dangerous, some practice magics that require highly immoral and illegal acts, some engage in gross acts of excess and debauchery and some have vastly more dangerous intentions all together. Many talk of the Cult of the Original, an ancient group who followed a deity whose very existence was deemed so reprehensible as to be wiped from the earth. Yet deep at the bottom of the temple isle, on a patch of land unbuilt on from before the birth of the city, it is said you can find hooded figures, meeting around a simple, ancient shrine. To worship a being that came before, and will remind for long after.

Military

There is no formal military of the Republic, the closest thing would be the Vozhd’s Repbulican guard, which is an elite ground of professional soldiers loyal to the position of the Vozhd, but not necessarily the current Vozhd.

Most military actions are carried out independently by individual families. These military actions are normally small scale and often naval in nature. Because of this most trading families own several War ships and can easily outfit merchant vessels for war if required. Most ship combat is done by family members who have been trained in magics. Who use their long range magical capabilities to assault enemy vessels without getting close enough for any unwanted boarding actions or stray arrows.

A typical Naval vessel would be manned by a Mage captain, a small number of well trained and equipped fighters that make up their personal Retinue and of course the crew, often slaves or press ganged Residents. Any land based military actions are usually undertaken simillary with a family Mage and their small group of Retainers but often leading a larger group of mercenaries. Mercenary companies are often contracted to independently take care of conflicts that the family does not consider worth sending a trained family mage to deal with.

In Times of great conflict, where the Republic is under existential threat or in some other form of total war, the Grand Admiral of the Republic has the authority to raise a Great host. This legally requires all families that are able to outfit a mage for war and join the levied force of the Admiral. Mages are expected to provide their own warships as well and in times of Truly great need any Citizen can be called up for war and all are expected to be able to equip themselves and any vessels they own, for war, at request. In practice however this has not occurred for centuries and the Admiral would struggle to convince most families to participate should the need arise for a Great host. Most recent conflicts have been settled entirely by Mercenaries or the involved families and the role of the Grand Admiral of the Republic is often seen as mostly ceremonial at this point

Mage towers are one of the most important and distinct facets of Thálassagorod. Tall, dominating usually square towers with open but often roofed top floors. They are key to military success and the ability for Citizens to control an area. Many point to the abilities of a fully functional mages tower and the associated network of teleportation circles as the single most important factor in the republic's continued security. Read more about Mage Towers.

Foreign relations

Despite the Republic being based around the City of Thálassagorod it also controls a large amount of territory and outposts outside the city, usually either close to the city, the bay or near important trade routes or at strategic locations.

Most of these territories and outposts are owned and administered by local Citizen families. The rulers of settlements, fortifications or large tracts of land are called Boyars. Though this title is social in nature and provides no influence or rights beyond that which come from the value of whatever they own. Though it is considered somewhat prestigious.

The Republic also administers a number of settlements that have their own forms of local government and often can operate with a high degree of autonomy.

The Republic’s families also own and operate large trading fleets and trade routes. These families will sometimes own warehouses, offices and outposts in other sovereign nations as private ventures, however the Republic still claims a degree of power over these extra national territories.

Despite the claims of control by the Republic’s government, in truth most families can act with impunity, provided no other family has the power to stop them. Due to this some view the nation as a rogue pirate state, as the many families often violently compete with each other and other traders for valuable routes and locations.

Diplomacy for the Republic is a confused mess due to the autonomy with which many families operate. But the Vozhd can officially speak for all Thálassagorod in this regard, and usually the government aims for peaceful diplomatic relations with all their neighbours. However the Republic and Citizens of Thálassagorod are above all things opportunistic and greedy, and are more than willing to act with any amount of violence if profit can be found.

Minor wars between families or of families against outsiders is common, meaning there is almost constantly some form of conflict, even if minor, going on. This is often exacerbated by families who can profit on these conflicts through the sale of weapons, magics or foreign mercenaries.

Magic

Magic in Thálassagorod is a tool, pure and simple, whatever works most effectively is practiced regardless of origin or cultural association. Much of the magics practiced throughout the republic are heavily influenced or directly copied from foreign magical knowledge, imported over centuries of exploratory mages seeking out exotic new powers and spells. However the mages of the republic have also developed their own magics, extended and expanded pre-existing magic and frequently mixed pre-existing magics together in new ways. Leading to an innovative and highly advanced, though decentralized and chaotic, magical understanding.

Much of this innovation is conducted by some of the most influential organizations in the republic, being the mages guild and the many schools of magic. While the guild has complete authority over the republic's mages and magical institutions on paper, organizing and ordering mages is a nearly impossible task. Meaning the guild isn’t able to influence much control over mages beyond their direct employ. They do however own and operate many magical manufacorums, enchantment offices and mage towers.

Most research and training however is taken on by my individual schools. Which specialise in a specific approach or objective and is a collection of mages who are interested in those fields, along with students they train into said field.

Though there are many schools ranging in size from massive thousand people operations all the way to a handful of collaborating mages, there are a few more important ones to note:

  • The Storm mages

Those who seek to control the skies, the seas and weather. They tend towards traditional elemental control through willpower and use of magical artefacts. By far the most influential and populous.

  • The School of transmutation

Those who seek to change physical materials into other forms, through alchemy, thaumaturgy or runic crafting. Vital to magical manufacturing and the creation of magical artefacts. A favourite of creatives.

  • The School of brimstone

A highly offensive school, seeking any path to destroy their enemy completely through any method no matter how brutal. Highly usual in their methods there is no unifying theory between them other than the desire to see very large explosions.

  • The Topology mystics

Experts in the esoteric and meta-magical, their biggest exploit is their knowledge and mastery of teleportation, a closely guarded secret that assures their position in the republic. Incredibly secretive and highly isolationist.

Some other, less popular but still, noteworthy schools would be:

  • The seekers of Immortality

A very well funded but thoroughly unsuccessful school that seeks to find the answers to eternal life. Though they have found some quite useful and very expensive ways of extending one's life beyond what would be naturally possible, they’ve never successfully found a way to insure one lives forever in a way that wouldn’t step into the realm of necromancy.

  • The school of necromancy

Masters over death in a very literal sense. While they were one of the earliest and most powerful schools, they are now a tiny shadow of the power they had several hundred years ago. Ever since the last great headmaster died suddenly while controlling a small army of the undead that went rogue after his passing, the school has been forbidden from operating inside the city itself.

  • The coven of augury

A school dedicated to searching for knowledge of the future, unfortunately while they have scoured the world for methods of discerning the future from astrology to bone reading it seems the best they can do so far is self fulfilling prophecies.

These schools vie for power frequently though rarely reach open conflict they are highly competitive for money, influence and most importantly new students to teach and incorporate into their school. Most schools have a headmaster and a collection of magical masters who oversee the operation of the school. The running of which mostly comes down to teaching new mages, testing or experimenting with new magics or politicking between schools and the guild.

Invention of new magical techniques or the discovery of lost or foreign magics are the highest markers of success within Thálassagorodian magical society. The main rewards of achieving this being; exceptional political clout among your school's mages and of course the ability to charge out of the nose to use or teach it.

  • wiki/realms/thalassagorod.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/09/18 14:20
  • by mansquid