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Worldbuilding: Dirty Politics

29 December 201203:50AMworldbuilding

Okay, now it's time to fill these little red dots with people. But first, they're going to need some names.


Ima start on the right, which convention dictates is probably the east. The two close together down the bottom should probably have similar names, being as how they're close together and all. I actually quite like the idea of them being, like, twin cities. Or one city with split personalities. I'm not feeling super creative this morning, so I'll go with something obvious for names. The one next to the desert can be Sandedge, and the one next to the river can be Riveredge. Together, they'd be called The Edges, or maybe The Split City.

The one at the top, by fluke of my random dot placement, is the most isolated city on the map. Thus, it's a prime candidate for being 'the mysterious exotic foreign one'. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to open the map file in Inkscape, and mash random buttons on the home row until we get something pronounceable.

'Kal'. What I got was 'Kal'. I guess that'll do. Maybe it's short for something?

The Split Cities of Sandedge and Riveredge.

So what are The Edges like? (Yeah, that name's growing on me already.)

The two are separated by about half a mile of marsh and a very wide but slow- flowing and shallow river. There are ferries, rafts, very rickety walkways and... how about some stilts? to cross from one to the other.

Riveredge is both smaller and more populous, and is generally where you find craftsmen and 'businessmen'. Sandedge is slightly larger, and home to the Grandmarket, a colossal market square over a mile wide in the center of the city, with covered offshoots snaking through much of the rest of the city. Roughly, Sandedge is where you go for goods, Riveredge is where you go for 'services'.

Nobody runs very much in The Edges. The Merchant's Guild is the most powerful group in the city, but Mercantile Guards can't be relied on for much more than protecting Guild-sanctioned trade caravans and extortingcollecting Guild fees from local businesses and arriving caravans. Whatever you want, if you have the money, you can probably buy it somewhere in the The Edges.

The Gloriously Free and Wholly Independent State of Kal'Telamakur, City of Bridges, Beloved of the Six Goddesses, True Seat of the Archon of a Thousand Fires and Repository of the Prophesies of the Infinite Cascade.

(Kal for short.)

Kal, I've just decided, has a convoluted and intriguing political system based pretty heavily off the Roman history, which I expect everyone will just ignore. I feel like making one up anyway though, and it's my worldbuilding project, so there.

Officially, ruled by the thousandflame archon, but there hasn't been one for over 200 years. In practice, is ruled by a council of ten tribunes. Each tribune holds their office for ten years, and one is replaced each year. The First Tribune is the de-facto head of government, the middle tribunates are judges, generals, and ambassadors, and the lower tribunates are civil servants.

While they're all technically equal in power, the more senior you are, the more actual power you wield. Tribunes have a fair amount of power - touching a Tribune is punishable by death, and a Tribunal Seal, especially a more senior one, can get almost anything done.

Some tribunates carry customary roles - for example, the Sixth Tribunate is a permanent embassy in the Split Cities. At the end of each year, the council assembles as a whole to get stupendously drunk to send off the retiring First Tribune, and to choose a new Tenth Tribune - usually in that order.

(When I started this, I swore I wasn't going to get into imaginary politics. That didn't last long.)

The Free Cities of the West

Now to the left. I mean west.

See, now I understand the appeal of using Empires and Kingdoms and such. If a big lump of area is all part of the same state, you have to do a lot less work.

So to that end, the western cities have formed a loose alliance, which basically means they share a currency and some trade agreements and maintain each other's roads (and maybe some informal agreements to arrest each other's criminals or something like that.) Perieos and Ardens are both ruled by princes, Ariopolis by a captain.

(The names, by the way, are just from the 'Greek sounding names' section of my go-to generic fantasy name generator.)

Ariopolis is essentially a fortress city, and the Ariopolis Standing Guard is probably the closest any of the Western cities has to an army. Mostly they defend against goblin incursions from the foothills to the south-east, and from occasional attacks of desert beasts.

Ardens is the most populous of the three. It's closer to the goblin foothills, but they've largely left it alone. The Prince of Ardens is a particularly gifted magic-user (or so the rumours go) which keeps the goblins away. This is a matter of some tension between Ariopolis and Ardens.

Pereios is called a city because it has some reasonably intact walls and because the local aristocrat wears a fancy hat. It's really more of a large-ish town, surrounded by small holdings, mills, and orchards. It is, however, home to the only shipyard and reasonably-equipped port in the Western Alliance, so it attracts a small but steady stream of would-be ocean-going adventurers, much to the chagrin of the locals.

The roads between the Three Cities are, obviously, filled with exactly the kind of one-tavern towns you'd expect to find along roads.

The Western Gold Crown is the currency of the Three Cities, and the de-facto currency of The Edges. Kallan merchants refuse to accept them though, so to do business in Kal you have to trade your gold for Kal'Telamakuran Most Glorious High Measures (Kallan Coins, for short) at a rate of between five and eight Crowns to one High Measure, depending on how generous your money-changer is feeling.

That's probably enough, politics-wise. Really all it needs is a general outline, enough detail to make stuff seem real and so you have a structure to fall back on when you're frantically making stuff up on the spot... Without going into, like, "oh yes, the count of such-and-such is allies with the duke of thingy, but hates the blah-blah clan of whatsit hill and...". I don't actually find that type of stuff very interesting, to be honest. Maybe that's why I could never get the hang of Game of Thrones.

Tomorrow? Goblins.

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