Coldforged: The Smaller Governments

Each Thursday this year, I focus on a different aspect of the world I’ve created and played D&D in for over 20 years, in the hopes of honing the ideas and cementing enough in place to settle the world in my own mind. This week, having finished the general histories and overviews, I am going to start winding down the regional information, this time taking a look at the governments of Aldashir, Brokensail, and Thrax

There are many powerful players across Tysis, each of them attempting to further their own goals and interests while increasing their own power. While these players expand their influence, there are other, smaller, entities that are doing their best to fend of warlords, crusading knights, and upstart kings. Each of these groups strives to maintain their own autonomy against the weight of the heavy hitters of the continent. These governments vary as much as their people and have found their own methods of surviving the hostile and ever-shifting landscape of Tysis.

Brokensail

The Council that rules Brokensai is one of greed, power, and opportunity. From the outside, it projects a very confusing nature, but the folks of Brokensail have found, that with a few tolerable exceptions, it does the work they need and doesn’t create major impositions on the majority of livelihoods.

Brokensail is ruled by The Honored Council of Admirals, colloquially known simply as The Admirals, of whom there are 10. Each Admiral serves a different term on the council, determined by which of the ten chairs they sit on.

The council’s chairs, each named for a precious material, is unique in form and function, as well as term duration. Each chair is sold to the highest bidder, who must have won the auction for the chair when the term of the prior admiral expires. Chairs are available on a set rotation, and their starting prices are set within the charter of Brokensail. The Chairs are Iron, Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Sapphire, Topaz, Onyx, Amethyst, and Platinum.

The starting price for each chair is a set value of the material that the chair represents. This price, though, is simply the floor for the bidding on the chair. A ten-day bidding period determines the winner of the auction and once the winning bid is paid and submitted to Jets tribute for the coming year, the person who won and paid earns the right to sit on the council as an admiral.

Each Chair, in addition to having its own bidding price, comes up for auction at pre-determined intervals. Iron becomes available every year, Copper every two years, Bronze every three years, Silver every four years and Gold every five. Sapphire, Topaz, Onyx, and Amythest each are available in staggered six-year periods. Lastly, Platinum comes up for bidding only every 10 years.

Longevity and expense bring power to those willing to grasp it as the Admirals rule by council vote and each Admiral has a number of votes equal to the years they will be seated in the chair. Thusly, the Platinum chair holds great sway, and the Iron chair holds very little power in all but the most extreme circumstances. The council has multiple thresholds, with different decrees requiring different forms of a majority to pass. Some need a simple majority (25 votes), some require a supermajority (49 votes) and some will require unanimous consent. The structure of the rules is particularly loose and prone to interpretation within the council, often causing conflicts.

In dire circumstances, a chair may become vacant before its bidding period. If that is to happen, the chair will sit empty until the Iron Bidding Cycle begins, at which time it will go up for bidding, for the standard specified amount, but the high bidder will only serve out the remaining tenure of the chair’s lifespan, so as not to interrupt the bidding cycle in a permanent manner.

Aldashir Citadel

The Drimmen have lost their home, their lands, and for many of their Kingdom, also their honor. Those who are left alive and have heard the call have gathered at Aldashir Citadel, a fortress that rises starkly into the air and watches over the western reaches of the Drimm Mountains. Provided to them by the graces of the King of Tyndaria, Wanderer the Ageless, when they were fleeing the last of their cities to fall to the giants and their kin. It is here that the Drimm will build an army and assault the Giants of Drimm and retake their home. It is this fortress that holds the hopes and aspirations of generations.

When Drimm held court in their halls, it was of a sort that differed greatly to what now is practiced in the Citadel. There, there was a moot of clans, with each clan sending 10 representatives to the gathering, and a strong majority needing to come to an agreement prior to enacting any form of law. Each clan would be heard in turn, and their arguments judged.

Now, in the Citadel, there is a single and powerful king who rules over the whole of those within as well as those in the growing town below. His word is law, and to defy him is to invite years within the dungeons beneath the great fortress. However, there are the 11 Great Laws that all agreed to, and even the king is held to, that define life within the citadel.

  • Warriors between adulthood and maturity, based on heritage and health, will be the only ones allowed to participate in combat.
  • Your background and history are unimportant when determining eligibility for, and promotion within,
  • It is forbidden to flee in the face of an enemy of equal or inferior strength
  • Each member is bound to their battle brethren and will treat them as dear siblings and avenge their deaths, if necessary.
  • It is forbidden to show fear in word or deed.
  • All spoils of war will be equally distributed among all brethren.
  • Feuding among brethren, in word or deed, is forbidden.
  • Speaking ill of one’s brethren is forbidden
  • The young are not to be taken captive, nor the elderly and infirm.
  • none may be permitted to be absent longer than three days during the cold months unless through the kings express permission
  • Any blood feud between members will be mediated by the king and generals of the Aldashir.

The King enforces and abides by the rules set in place, and creates new ones when they desire, with no regard to precedent or custom, though they rarely do so. The king will often have hand-picked advisors on a specific topic, though that is not required for them to make judgments.

Though it is not formally recognized in the charter for Aldashir, the King does recognize the presence of a deliberative body called The Jury. These wise elders and powerful leaders of subordinate clans work as a filter for minor disputes and ensure that the king only deals with the most important topics. The Jury has to be extremely careful, as they exist at the whim of the King, and at any time they could be dismissed, removing them from their position of power. They carefully cultivate a beneficial symbiosis with the King, and have proven to be a boon, for now.

Thrax

The infinite number and ever-shifting temperament of the Thraxian clans are hard to categorize as a single government, kingdom, or any other type of entity. However, these “Barbarians” from the north do have a system for determining and keeping power within the clans that leaders, shamans, and seers all respect and participate in.

Every three years each clan’s current chieftain gathers the greater part of their tribe and ventures to the Devils Teeth. For two weeks at the height of the summer, the clans intermingle. Feasting and contests of strength, endurance and might take up the vast majority of many of the participant’s days. The most important function, however, of the gathering, is the selection of the chieftains of each tribe by the Crones of earth and Fire.

These Crones are the aged women of Thrax who in their elder years receive visions from Decarin and now Takannas, and venture to the Teeth, where they live their last years in the company of other devoted. There, they officiate the important and holy traditions of the clans, including marriage, divorce, and, most importantly, the selection of the chieftains.

Each clan has an appointed day and time, throughout the night and into the dawn, that they are to gather all prospective chieftains and present themselves to the crones. There, each applicant regales the gathered crowd with their justification for why they should become the next chieftain of their clan. The tales include specific customary gestures, traditional phrases and precise rituals that must be done perfectly. Once all of the prospective chieftains have presented, the current chief argues for why they should continue their tenure, and the crones retire to decide. Most often, the Crones agree with the current chieftain and will grant them another three years of rule, but it is also not uncommon for them to see error and hubris in the present ruler and oust them from their role. To disagree with a Crone to her face is a great taboo, punishable by immediate exile, and to defy their rules is to invite a bloodoath and endless challenges to the death.

While this form of leadership selection is an acceptable methodology most of the time, there will be times when a Chieftan falls between gatherings. This is when the old chieftains chosen shaman becomes a very influential player. They will read the runes, see the flames, and decipher the stars to determine who will lead the clan until the next gathering, where they will answer for their choices.

The site of the Gathering, the Devils Teeth, is a relatively recent change, from the shores of Lake Tashai, where the crones had lived for generations. In recognition of the sacrifice that Ter’ina made leading her army against a host that dwarfed her own force, and leading it to victory though it cost her life, Decarin and Takannas sent visions of the battlefield to the Crones, who packed up their village and made a pilgrimage of their own to a new place, with a new life.

Between gatherings, the Chieftain is the absolute authority over their clan. Some retain and listen to advisors, but they are under no compunction to keep them or heed their advice. During this time, they function as war leader, spiritual chosen, judge of disputes and executioner of the damned. They and their advisors are the most powerful individuals in the clan, and it is prudent to take heed of their power.

Well, there it is, the three smaller governments and how they are run. Join me next time as I delve even deeper!