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Rhaputira, capital of Surabhumi

An eagle soared overhead, riding high on the updrafts from below. Its keen, all seeing eye cast its gaze across the land, out to the horizon, down to the tiniest speck of land. Sprawling beneath lay the vast metropolis of Rhaputira. A city of over a million souls, situated at the convergence of two rivers flowing down from the mountains. Through its streets passed farmers and carpenters, blacksmiths and potters, soldiers, artisans, hucksters, wealthy merchants foreign and domestic - all people of all walks of like filled the open plazas or relaxed by open topped water fountains. Around them rose the city, magnificent pyramids, towers, and fortifications loomed overhead where once there was naught but trees and grass. Aqueducts ran throughout the city, water pumping stations operated round the clock by beasts of burden - or more rarely, prisoners of war. Through every structure, small domicile or vast estate ran water, and beneath the city ran an intricate system of sewers whose contents spilled into vats. Unlike many cities there was no rank smell of habitation, water readily available from the aqueducts. Sprawling away within the walls was the city's housing, constructed of brick and plaster and arranged in neat, orderly clusters seemingly without end. Some houses were vast affairs to house over a hundred inhabitants, others much smaller affairs to room at most five. Each building was arrayed in a group of seven, evenly spaced around a small central plot of open space. Many of these sported well tended gardens of herbs and spices, others boasted proud trees, their canopies granting the buildings below shade from the sun above. Whilst constructed of brick and plaster, many homes were decorated in colorful murals, painters and artists filling the walls of the city with vibrant depictions of old stories, historical events, or religious tales. Intricate patterns of alternating color and shape filled the eye with wonder, and colorful awnings which granted further shade granted yet more life to the city.

The city had once been nothing but an empty river plain, almost uninhabited since the fall of the Ashammai thousands of years past. But then had come the Old Empire, its generals marching at the heads of great armies, vast caravans of migrants seeking new lives following in their wake. When they faced conflict and war, it was swift, the disciplined marching of Surabhi armies spelling the death knell for many a petty king or lord. Hundreds of thousands crushed beneath the steel clad feet as the empire sprawled ever outward, seemingly unstoppable. And when the Empire fell, its heartland falling into toxic oblivion, these lands remained almost untouched. Millions fled, and many found their homes in the fertile plains, valleys, and plateaus of eastern Vehndathaya. Growing swiftly from a minor township to a sizeable city, the inhabitants found themselves under attack by hostile neighbors, rival city states vying for power in the wake of the collapse. And so the residents had begun to build. Rhaputira’s first walls had been measly affairs, scarcely ten feet in height, constructed of wood and earth. Then the city expanded, conquering its neighbors, and so the walls grew to match, quarried stone reaching twenty feet in height, strong towers and fortifications strengthened by the best Surabhi mages still living. And still, the dominion of Rhaputira’s influence expanded, becoming the realm of Surabhumi, one of many claimants to the title of successor to the Old Empire, and so grew the city’s walls. Vast constructs of stone that soared eighty feet into the sky and 60 feet across, towers, crenellations, murder holes, moats, trenches, and more. Within the city rose even greater walls, soaring a hundred feet in height and as many feet across they protected the inner citadel of the city, within them lay the chambers of the realm’s highest council, and one of the true masterpieces of Surabhi architecture and engineering - the palace of the Samraajni. 

Constructed around a vast pyramid as its base, the towering spires and grand central pyramid seemed artificial mountains, their tops seeming to kiss the clouds that dotted the sky. It served not only as a stark reminder of the capabilities of Surabhumi and its denizens, but housed the headquarters of the army, the magery, and the clergy. Each had a sub-pyramid sprouting from the main that, in any other city, would have served as the centerpiece all in their own right. Within each dwelled hundreds if not thousands, military commanders formulating strategy; priestesses deep in the study of not only the religious matters, but temporal affairs too, and new ideas seemed to pour forth from them as readily as water from the city’s aqueducts; mages toiled away the hours deep in their own study, seeking to reclaim the lost lore of the Old Empire. Its central pyramid housed the Samraajni, her entourage, guard, and many others - and could be seen for miles from the city, a stark sight against the horizon. In its shadow lay the council chambers, a proud, domed edifice of marble, granite, and silver. Four spires rose into the sky around it, atop each a depiction of Ishareth in the four recognized incarnations, each facing one of the cardinal directions. 

To the north was the Surabhi Ishareth, naked, three arms on each side, one side holding a child sucking at its mother’s breast, another holding a bundle of grain; on the other a bloody sword in one hand, a shield in the other. The lower hands on each side clasped a hammer of indistinct nature - the hammer of a blacksmith, the mallet of a carpenter, the maul of a warhammer, like its goddess it could create and destroy. To the south, towards Shanrilaath faced the Sangharan Ishareth, a proud, naked, haloed female Sangharan standing over an open sea, her hair floating about her head, a pregnant belly and bearing a great sword in one hand and a burning flame in the other. To the East faced the universal primordial Ishareth, flaming and winged, many eyes that saw and perceived all, a central halo aglow with blinding light, a being unearthly in every manner. To the west, the Tu’mong Ishareth (insert description here).

Ringed by a wall of guards to deter would be trespassers, the council was in session. 

"This is quite the proposal you have for us." Spoke one councilwoman, her brow furrowed. "Our liaison assures us of the honesty of your intentions, and we have all heard of the terrible events that have plagued your land for many years. But... in truth I find it hard to believe an entire realm as broad and diverse as yours, with such a long reaching history of the arcane, would commit to ridding your entire land of thalazhaad. It is... difficult to comprehend, in truth." 

"Councilwoman." The Ambassador - or Broker, if not both - for the delegation representing the Regency of Caelrumoste was a Human woman by the name of Alethea. She was perhaps in her early thirties, with an oval-face, bronze-toned skin, and wavery brown hair along with amber eyes. Many of the other humans amongst her delegation seem to bear similar appearances, so perhaps such characteristics were common in Caelrumoste. She was dressed in an ornate, flowing azure-colored robe, with dim purple embroidery, and bore upon her breast a badge emblazoned with an unfamiliar mark, apparently representing the interim Regency itself as opposed to the traditional emblem of Caelrumoste's throne. "If I may beg your indulgence. You are quite correct that the Numinous Islands'...determination in this matter is likely extreme. Uncommonly specific and absurd, perhaps. If our agenda might seem this way, know it is only because of the equally extreme and absurd lengths to which our enemy has demonstrated they are willing to go in order to plague our lands. I pray that all here have heard of and are familiar with the one-time and eternal Adversaries of the Numinous Islands?"

There was a general murmur of acknowledgement from the stands, and the councilwoman from before spoke. "Yes, we do have a basic understanding. Doubtless, there are some who could provide an exhaustive account down to the most insignificant minutiae of the events. But I digress - they are outlaw mages who waged a civil war within your lands for decades, is that correct? We received emissaries from your lands warning us of these individuals and their nature.

"Indeed - though they are hardly mere 'outlaw mages' as you put it." The Ambassador indicated, albeit with a polite bow of her head in deference. "They are uncommonly capable and driven. The Cursed Days, which spanned three decades, were greatly prolonged by their willingness to go aground, wait, and exploit every opprotunity available to regain power. I myself have experienced such a tactic employed. My home town of Ardovin, some six years ago, had stripped all native Ammacre from the chapels and markets and sealed it away in vaults. But..." She raised a finger emphatically. "We missed a single piece. A cufflink with a small Ammacre stone perhaps the size of a pebble embedded in it. An Adversary used that single pebble to, in turn - corrode a lock, taint two goblets, and kill one guard. They then seized the very vaults we had stored all our Ammacre away in for the express purpose of keeping it away from their ilk."

She paused for a moment, turning her head down. After a brief moment of reflection, she returned her gaze to the Councilwoman.

"I am the only living survivor of Ardovin. And only because I was not there at the time. We learned of that particular individual's methods after the fact through cursory divination. Understand, this was one of the least amongst the numbers of the Adversaries. They cannot be bargained or negotiated with. They are not interested in wealth, prestige, fame, or even political power. All of them, individually, possess an obsessive - compulsion - akin to a glamor, and they will not stop, ever, until they have brought all of the peoples of the Numinous Isles to bear underneath their heels. We do not pretend to understand their motives - only that such motives exist. Even today, we are far from certain that all of them have been apprehended. It is more than likely than one or more may be secluded in some rat hole of the isles, waiting for their opprotunity to strike." Alethea's tone was perfunctory and matter-of-fact, as though she were reciting the contents of a list of groceries.

"And in the face of such...persistent enemies, we must deny them their source of power."

There was a murmur of discussion amidst the council, hundreds of Surabhi discussing amongst themselves, before a different voice spoke. Much younger than the previous councilor, her face showed the marks of an experienced fighter. A nose that broken and never healed properly, scars that crisscrossed her skin, and most prominently - a leg leg that terminated in a stump below the knee, a simple prosthetic lay on the floor in front of her seat, and she seemed skeptical. "While I and my colleagues don't doubt that you speak the truth..." she trailed off, searching for words. "I must ask - if these 'Adversaries' are mages of such power and skill, what fixates them upon your land in particular? There are many nations in the world, such as Anahama, with thalazhaad in seemingly limitless quantities. Surely if these Adversaries seek to gain power over others through magery, they would install themselves in these locations and not an archipelago with comparably less of... if I am to be truthful, everything? If they seek dominion, there are vast lands that could be theirs and yet they war with each other over one particular area? What's more... while I am no shipwright, the logistics of your plan utterly baffle me. Such an undertaking - transporting the enormous quantities of thalazhaad across the world, is something that even Sanghara would struggle with - even with its vast fleet. What's more, if such a plan ​​​is viable, would it not simply be possible for one of these Adversaries to load a similar vessel to the brim with the material, land upon your shore, and wreak havoc despite your best efforts. Thirdly, and most importantly - you know the risk of catastrophe with such a plan is immense, surely? The extraction of thalazhaad is a delicate balancing act. More empires have fallen, the planet swallowing their civilizations, than I can even count. You threaten not only yourselves but millions throughout the world should your plan go awry. What's mo-"

Alethea raised a hand in the midst of the Councilwoman's speech.

"The councilwoman is most observant." She said, her voice clear and firm. Not disrespectful, but notably unaccomodating.

As far as overt displays went, this one was quite pointed. Each coffer was filled to the brim with heaps and stacks of opulent, shining, gleaming, glistering, glittering stones of every shape and cut, as big as peas and the size of clenched fists, flawless in composition, radiating an intensity. The very air seemed to tremble. Several nosebleeds broke out amidst the audience as the pressure in the room seemed to shift with the exposure of the magical crystals to the naked eye, where their dread wonder becalmed the mind with dreams, and yearning.these matters, none of them are the reason for which the council has nobly privileged me with the right to speak here today." She turned and gestured to her gathered retainers - massive and long sinuous, scaled creatures known as Ambucane, who closely resembled drakes after a fashion. With their immense strength, they easily wheeled two covered pallets along, despite their immense tonnage. They calmly - and carefully - wheeled the two pallets towards the center of the chamber, both draped with sheets of fine, silken turquoise. Alethea removed these each in turn with a brief flourish, revealing stacked bronze coffers, thirty-six to each pallet, each one rising to waist-height on its own. The ambucane, with their scaled and corded appendages, removed several of these in turn, opening the lids and setting them upon the floor.

The reaction of the council was mixed. Some gasped in surprise, some snorted in derision. The majority remained silent, simply observing the display impassionately. "This is impressive, no doubt." Spoke another voice, a priestess whose plain robes belied the weight her words carried. "But I and my compatriots are unsure of its meaning. If you seek to bedazzle us with fine craftsmanship, we can certainly appreciate it. But our interest in procuring an allotment of thalazhaad, not in decorative carvings. Thus, while these crystals are pleasing to the eye, I..." she turned to her colleages, obviously at a loss for the correct words, before sighing. "We fail to see the value in it. Our interest is in volume of thalazhaad for active use, not in aesthetics and decorations. It is at the end of the day, a fuel, not a precious metal."

"The councilwoman is entirely correct." Alethea nodded. "What you see here before you are, speaking openly, samples of what we are prepared to offer in bulk. As we are divesting the entirety of our lands of all native Ammacre, and taking advantage of our...perhaps unfortunately sophisticated magecraft and arcane techniques, it has been deemed that it would be wasteful not only of our efforts, but of your time if we were to offer it in any form that would prove less efficacious than possible. All of the bulk allotments the Regency proposes to sell shall ultimately be of similar cuts of Ammacre - already mined, refined, seasoned, treated, and worked into discerning cuts for particularly purposes. The selection you see here before you is a display of every individual form of our native Ammacre we are willing and able to sell in bulk amounts - and, of course, should the council wish to assess and examine their quality, they are more than free to do so. I can assure you that if there is a need and purpose, we have a form of Ammacre available which shall suit both."

The Ambucane continued to work as Alethea spoke, rearranging the coffers in rows and columns, each individual box containing - as indicated - different cuts, colors, and sizes of the crystaline gems. 

"And." Spoke the first councilor, rising from her seat, "Were we to take Caelrumoste up on this trade deal, it is our understanding you require foodstuffs? The realm has many wonders to trade, but such a magnificent offer carries with it an equally magnificent cost. What do your people require most? Foodstuffs, engineers to rebuild infrastructure, farmers to tend the fields, soldiers to pacify the land? 

"At this time, the people of the Numinous Islands are in need of many materials, as you said. Foodstuffs and cereals, building materials and tools, textiles, lumber, worked metal, medicinals, herbs, spices - anything that might be of help to us. We are also in need of ships and sea-faring vessels, and although Caelrumoste is presently concerned with its material needs the Regency will nonetheless consider offers in the alternative of various natures." Alethea elaborated. "All sales shall, naturally, be finalized and proferred to the highest bidders, and the Regency, in addition to negotiating with the Council herein, is already in the process of making similar overtures to other..." She paused as she surveyed the room carefully, picking her next words with care.

"...Interested powers with a need for such items."

The councilor nodded. "The Sangharans too will be interested in these crystals. There is no need to hide your meanings beneath gilded words and layers of obscurity. The truth is clear to all in this room. I will speak bluntly. Surabhumi, in its present state, cannot provide you with ships. We have precious few of our own. Our recent treaty with Sanghara will, no doubt, alleviate this ailment of ours, but such rectification will take time. However, your other needs our own people can, I say without exaggeration, meet in far greater capacity than the Sanghar of Shanrilaath. I am sure you saw the fields of rice and wheat on your journey inland, and I can assure you, such bounty is near universal across our domain. Building materials and fabrics - you can see plainly our abundance of such in this very city. While it is true, the Sanghar have silks, there is rarely such a need for such expensive fair that a sturdy sheet of linen or wool cannot satisfy. Furthermore..." she trailed off for a moment, smiling. "I hope your people have heard of Ukkayan steel? Barring the wildest rumors, that a blade of our steel can slice cleanly through that of lesser make, the stories are true. It is harder, stronger, more workable, and lasts longer than any other steel that is not of an expensive thaumaturgical origin. We produce it in great quantities - ask any farmer, they can attest to it. As far as spices, while Shanrilaath produces a bounty - we produce no less."

"Councilwoman, I am certain there is no need for you to act as gatekeeper as to my interests in possible bids of the Sangharan Senate and Assembly. I am here for your convenience, and will only be entertaining offers directly from the Council. Likewise, there is no need for you to validate your own worth. The specialities of Surabhumi, of course, are well-known factors." Alethea responded blythly. "If the council can achieve consensus both as to its interest in our bulk Allotments of Ammacre and is confident you can make a competitive initial bid for any of them, I am authorized to supply the council directly with Gestalt stones which may keep your administrators abreast of the present disposition of all active bids for all of our available allotments. If there are no further matters of address, I would like to humbly propose the formulation of an initial bid. Please be advised, all bids shall be anonymous - only terms, quantity, and quality shall be made available to possible competing parties."

The councilor nodded. "In that case, representative, do tell us of what it is you seek most. I assure you, if the price is right our realm can provide it."

"It is anticipated that the bids shall eventually be made of and to the specific capabilities of each individual party in turn, councilwoman. I would suggest you simply play to your strengths and make a token initial offer if only to see what others might be bidding. There is no need to deliver more than you absolutely must, I think we can all agree." Alethea responded cooly. The Regency's ambassador, it seemed, had no intention of supplying a firm request.

"If so, I believe we are capable of an initial offer of 250 maund of Ukkayan steel, and..." she smiled. "The Realm of Surabhumi sports, if I remember the last census correctly, around 120 million souls. We grow enough to feed every one of those hungry mouths, and we have ample surplus after. How much do your people need? We grow rice, potatoes, and wheat in abundance."

"It has...been some time since a formal census of the islands was performed, councilwoman." Alethea remarked faintly. "Those that remain on mainland Apocea exist in varying states of indigence. Many are refugees and exiles. I am afraid the Regency cannot readily give you a firm estimate of its own populace."

"Certainly, we understand. Civil disturbance makes an accurate assessment of the population difficult. Nevertheless, in addition to our steel, we are prepared to offer the assistance of our engineers and farmers, and... let us say, to begin with, about one and a half million bushels of rice per year. We can, of course, increase this supply as needed. This is our initial offer for ten allotments, nature irrelevant. It is at the end of the day, a power source, and will be used as such." 

"Of course. A start." Alethea said neutrally, waving over a swarthy-looking elven attendant carrying a small silver tray. Four clear pyramid-cut gems rested on its surface. Alethea then retrieved a small slip of parchment from within her robes, along with a hand-plank and a quill, and wrote out a short line in shorthand.

"The Council of Surabhumi's initial bid has been recorded. I hereby offer the council these four Gestalt stones for use in perusing all active bids. The coffers you see here before you, I leave in your care for examination and appraisal. If there are no further inquiries, the delegation for the Regency of Caelrumoste shall yield the chamber."

"The Council shall deliberate. Thank you, ambassador. You may return to your quarters, or travel the city at your leisure."

@Loo Tenant

it is indeed open, and we are eager to have some new faces! Join in! If the discord link is down, lemme know and I or Eldy can get you a new one in a jiffy.
Nerd Hello Squirtle, I may be interested (if Takanis starts to go smoother)
@Ever Faithful
Vaerheim:

First of all:
Male Varangians were expected to be perfect soldiers the moment they were born while female Varangians were expect to become strong healthy mothers and capable athletes. Babies that were born defective or deemed unfit by the elder judge would be demoted to become a Thenn. Rarely is a baby put to death but only in the most extreme cases.

You are hereby required to have _someone_ shout "THIS. IS. VAERHEIM." and kick someone down a well at some point in this RP.

The most iconic weapon of the Varangian Bannermen is the Long Axe, a two handed polearm that has a large axehead that cleaves through armor.

It should be noted that if you're referring to something like the dane axe, they were actually shockingly light and fast weapons - if you're referring to something like the big heavy two handed bearded axes they eventually supplanted, a smaller wedge can certainly drive through maille or other armor. The dane axe itself has more of a cutting motion and a rather thin blade. Armor is defeated by either going extremely fast, or by concentrating a large force in a small area - something like the dane axe, while not quite as bad as a sword as far as dispersing the power of its blow along a wide area, will still fall short of a two handed spear thrust, an arrow from a powerful bow, or a heavier narrower axe blade.

Barring those little niggles, it looks good! Approved!

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@Heyitsjiwon
Attolia:

Species: Fae/Elven, Humans, Halfbloods

Now now, make sure to show us what you mean by halfbloods, don't leave out any details - we've gotta know exactly how they get here! If you don't mind though, a little elaboration on your exact vision of elves and half elves would be appreciated. We all have different images in our mind if someone says elf.

The Empire's government was initially a form of military junta

A Military Junta you say...?

As for your traits, only Splendid Isolation really fits. Iron Walls and Always faithful simply reflect your rolls - you can keep them if you wish, but a very powerful navy and a small army are already shown in your rolls and in the army/navy sections.

Otherwise... it looks good!

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@Kho
Esher Righacd:

Ah, my favorite not-Scots return.

I... honestly have no criticisms. Heartily approved.

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@PsyKick
Nucaal:

Elaborate on how many Geradamas there are if you don't mind. Sorcerers in this setting are exceptionally rare (as in... 1 in a million or even fewer), and while you can explain having a sorcerer race for part of your magical sophistication for sure, bear in mind that creating a sorcerer race is the goal that numerous great empires tried and utterly destroyed themselves attempting to do. The issue mostly subsides if they are for some reason unable to use crystal - that's where the real power of our sorcerers is shown, but that also negates a lot of... well, their utility beyond normal mages who must take preparations to do magic.

One other thing -
Gear created by the Nucaali are typically modified to present a space to house a crystal for augmenting the gear with magical capabilities.

Pros: The gear can have certain effects in combat or other realms of society where significant impact can be had in more effective ways.

Cons: If the stone is overused, it can explode and have a negative impact on the wielder.


Please elaborate what kind of capabilities the gear can possess. Otherwise, crystal is consumed when it is used for things - you can have it overload if you wish, but it will steadily deplete and eventually fade away as used, necessitating replacement. Unless I'm misunderstanding and this is a different material.

Otherwise looks very interesting and I'm eager to see what they do! Fix those issues or please talk to me to see what we can do, and it's good!

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@Roby6Com
Athia:

Salve, aspirans.

I see you have cannons on one of your ship types. Please remove - this is probably an oversight, but remember - I don't want gunpowder in this at the moment to avoid the arms race/dick measuring contest that follows.

Otherwise I see no issues. Approved.

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@Aleranicus
Neferher Dynasty:

I love it.

Just bear in mind a few of the changes we've made in discussions - your eastern border is fairly good land and a fair number of Surabhi are there - but it is quite mountainous, thus difficult to traverse~

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@Willy Vereb
Quavarazi Empire:

Ahem: Mongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongolongol

Quavaraz, alternatively referred as Aurelia, a huge land mostly dominated by savannas and magically hazardous deserts.

To clarify - is your nation largely desert specifically because of the calamity in the past, or did that simply turn central asia into the Sahara? I'm not entirely sure which. I put mountains where they were with the understanding that the desert was largely natural.

Otherwise it looks great, approved once we clear the above up.

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@POOHEAD189
POOHEAD189's Poopland Andred:

Species: Men

Men, you say.

What you have so far looks good, but... well, there isn't much I can critique.

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@The Nexerus
Empire of East Asia Kuriso:

I love your sheet, man. Please feel free to discuss military/trait stuff with me if you feel the need. Once that's sorted out, happily accepted.

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@Legion02
Exiles of the Barren Isles:

I love this too! My only caveat is not to get carried away with scrying the future and other magical stuff. Not to say it can't be impressive - or that I think you will get carried away for that matter - merely a reminder.

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@Drunken Conquistador
Usharid Sultanate:

Abandoning the proper worship of Abtum for the faith of Ishareth and going as far as declaring that he would spread his “True Faith” to all the corners of the Usharid realm.


Meet me in my office, we have many things to discuss~

What you have so far looks great! Please feel free to message me at any time to work on military/traits and anything else.

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@Terminal
Caelrumoste Regency:

Your sheet is long O.O

You appear to be lacking info on your military - while this isn't a game of EU4, obviously military action will have some role, so while you don't need to go super into detail, a basic summary is useful.

Otherwise... nothing sticks out to me as needing revision. Looks good!
@Taeryn

Fixed!
(WIP) Roll Descriptions

Roleplay is accepting new people! Feel free to join the server, meet new and exciting people, and build a nation to kill theirs with.

Takanis - A Historically Inspired Fantasy NRP



Political Map of the World

Tentative Map of the World (Subject to Change)

In this NRP, you play as a nation of your own creation. This is a setting with heavy historical inspiration, but no direct parallels. The best term for the setting is schizotech - this is a world wherein a mail armored cataphract charge coexists with nitrating crop rotation, the sextant, potatoes and tomatoes available without the need for any great dyings. We have technologies and ideas that would not exist until the 18th century coexisting with the 6th century. The setting is based on the concept of highly developed, intricate societies with a deep, complex web of trade, alliances, and diplomacy, societies that can build monuments to humble the Pyramids of Egypt or dwarf the Roman Colloseum. Vast empires with vast populations, deep history, and so on. That said, this is not a map painting simulator, and if you want to conquer the world, I fully understand, but this is not a Total War or EU4 game and such should not be your driving goal.

Individual nations are player created, with randomly rolled stats serving as a guideline upon which you should build your nation.

This is a world with by now some well established lore, and I encourage you to speak to me and the other players about how your own nation fits into it!

I invite those interested to join our Discord server and get to know the players already in. Slots are somewhat limited, unfortunately, so we do not have indefinite room for new players.

Rules

  • Use common sense.
  • Don't game the rolls.
  • No godmodding, powergaming, etc. You get the point.
  • What the GM and Co-GM says, goes. Please don’t push things this far.
  • No meme nations (why do I have to make this a thing?)
  • Don’t be an arse.


Application



Other Information








And with that, I welcome you to this land - troubled though it may be, and await your own entry into the great games of war and politics that will play out!
January 20, Etremetoryy

Tafun looked up at the embassy of Rotteburg, his gaze darkening at the sight of the structure. He had no fond memories of this building, and it seemed every time he was summoned to it it was under inauspicious circumstances. Never had he come here for celebration or even to send out a letter to the wider world, solidifying the peace. No. The last time he had been summoned as he had, war had broken out between the Realm and Kratoria as the latter sought to prevent the unification of the Kudruni states. And now he was here in the aftermath of the brutal assassination of Rotteburg’s prince. He dreaded to think what the next summons might entail.

Nodding to his driver, he and his guards disembarked from the motorcade, making their way into the structure. After a moment, the Kudruni guards ahead let him pass, and as he made his way under the marble columns he could not help but feel a chill go down his spine.

It was a relatively short trip through the embassy, and only a few minutes elapsed before his arrival outside the room in question. “I am here to meet with Ambassador Ernst.” Tafun said to the guards outside his door, “Foreign Minister Tafun, I have been told it is urgent.”

The guards nodded to him and let him through, revealing the office of the ambassador. A heavily marked map sat on one wall, with several blackboards of notes scattered throughout the room. On the desk of the ambassador, sat a variety of folders and papers, and the Kudruni himself sat in a chair behind that desk. He had a cigar in his mouth, and at the time of Tafun’s entrance, he had been flipping through one of said folders.

He looked up gravely, looking over Tafun before saying, “I am sure you have heard of the assassination, so I will spare you the details. I summoned you due to certain circumstances outside of my control,” he paused, puffing on his cigar, before continuing, “the Kaiser has given the military a blank check to wage war. Heinrich’s general staff has chosen War Plan XXVI for this eventuality.”

He slid a folder across the desk, puffing on his cigar again before saying, “Heinrich the Junior is not his old man. I fear this war. But, at the same time, as long as Kratoria has entered mobilization, there is nothing I may do to help end this war before it begins.”

Another puff. “If we were to halt mobilization, we would be hopelessly behind. We would be subjugated by Kratoria without a fight. I cannot abide by this. Heinrich has granted a week for the ministry to draft an ultimatum, but after that -- and I have no doubt of this -- War Plan XXVI will be enacted. Have a read for yourself.”

“I know of War Plan XXVI, and War Plan XXVI is unacceptable. Invading Pohae, one of the Realm’s biggest trade partners - and a longstanding neutral nation - would be disastrous for foreign relations and popular support for the war. Perhaps the Reich’s general staff thinks such action is required, but doing so will alienate all but the most determined allies of our respective nations, and much of the population of the Realm.” Tafun frowned, “I wish to impress upon your general staff - things are different in Etresna, the people do not meekly go along with what the leadership demands. If we are drawn into an offensive war to defend the honor of a foreign nation, we will be just as swiftly drawn out of it. Raijen Zhami is dead and gone, and her successor does not have her charisma or military inclinations. Zhami was able to convince the Realm to engage in a foreign war for little apparent gain, Anukadi cannot and will not bring her nation into a war as an aggressor against neutral powers on behalf of another country. The Reich’s army is mighty, it is true - against Uruk alone you would certainly prevail - against Kratoria as well your defeat would be inevitable without the aid of the Realm. Neither of our alliances is yet capable of defeating the other outright. I am confident that we can hold them at bay, but we will still need the support, or at bare minimum the neutrality, of the other powers to survive. Should the Realm join the Reich in invading neutral powers, it will certainly align Anvegad against us, Faenaria will wonder as to the safety of their interests and the profitability of trade with a nation that so readily violates a neutral nation, decades of diplomacy and hard work would be undermined in a fortnight. Does your general staff not see all of this?”

The ambassador pointed insistently at the folder. “War Plan XXVI has changed since the last time you have read it. I do not know how often Etremaden general staff revises their military plans -- but, if the complete lack of thought that it could’ve changed in a decade is a testament to your general staff’s ability to account for our changing world, I fear woefully for you.”

“The general staff of the Realm tends to give new names for new plans, ambassador.” Tafun replied, raising an eyebrow, “It is not our custom to use the same names for different plans.”

The ambassador puffed again. “It is not a new plan. We do not take to filling our archives with thousands of new plans that are merely revisions of old ones. Let me remind you that Rotteburg, under Heinrich the Senior, was the first to maintain a dedicated general staff for the purpose of war provisions and plans. We do know what we are doing.”

Tafun sighed, “Would you like to lay out the ‘new’ contents of XXVI, then?” He reached out, taking the folder in hand and quickly skimming through its contents. “I will give this to our own general staff later for their appraisal. Can you please summarize it, for this meeting?”

He nodded. “The northern fronts remain the same -- we will have to preemptively strike before their regular army can fully mobilize to the Kratorian southern border. The south, however, will focus on a looser front line, dictated mainly by smaller skirmishes and raiding parties on Uruk soil. To back them up will be a more dedicated frontline in the petty states between Rotteburg and Uruk, minus Pohae -- under the condition they do not permit enemy troop movements through their borders.”

Tafun nodded, “Yes… the Realm and Pohae are close trade partners, I will do what I can to ensure neutrality from them. The standing army of the Realm has already been alerted to take up defensive positions, and the Raijen is in talks with the militias to begin the process of preparing for war. The people will not stand for the Realm undertaking operations in offense, I do hope you understand this?” Sighing, he gently closed the folder, “Strange as it is, as things are now the only way for the Realm to maintain a war is to fight it defensively. The populace will fight tooth and nail in defense of their homes, but the wars with the other powers were only forty years ago, much of our populace bear scars mental and physical. We will support you, but… in the beginning at least, we cannot send much in the way of direct support. Material, money, these we can do.”

The ambassador simply responded, “Then do so. The fate of the world hangs in the balance, and should the machinations of the diplomatic state fail us, then the loser loses everything. We cannot afford to fail.”

“Indeed…” Tafun mumbled, steepling his fingers, “I hope deeply it is not yet too late, but the realist in me says otherwise. I do not know how this war will go, but you are correct. Failure is not something we can afford.” He sighed again, deeper, “Fools the lot of them.”

“History will remember us all as unequal to our forebears should war break out. In the eyes of history, failure marks us all the fools,” the ambassador simply responded gravely.

Tafun stood, stretching his arms, as he looked out the window on the busy city, “Unfortunately my forebears were some of the more warlike persuasion. There is a time when war is necessary, but that is not now. It saddens me that the world may rush headlong into war when it could be avoided. But every day that seems more and more likely.”

He simply responded, “Our forebears used war effectively, without collapsing our global hegemony and peace. I fear our generation will not live up to that.”

“Our generation has the blessing and curse of a world more connected, more advanced than ever before. A hundred years ago, we could have scarce imagined the world as it is today - I can board a ship and be on the other side of the world in under a month. I can step outside and buy goods from every corner of the globe. And I can send a message to any corner of the world in but an instant. A train can send a battalion of soldiers to the front in less time than it would have taken a single rider to cover half the distance. The era of a small, localized war is gone, I am afraid. It is no failing of our morals or intellect that any war will surely spiral out of control - it is a direct result of our intellect connecting us like never before.” Turning back to the ambassador, Tafun shook his head, “The challenge of our generation, faced with this, is something we have never had to confront before.”

“Then let us hope we are ready to meet this modern world,” is all he said.
@Skepic

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