Americana (DnD Campaign Setting)/List of Nations
From D&D Wiki
- 1 Chicago
- 2 Minnesota
- 3 Detroit
- 4 New York
- 5 Dallas
- 6 Los Angeles
- 7 Las Vegas
- 8 Seattle
- Founding Date: Pre-Historic
- Government: Monarchy
- Leading Official: Queen Dorothy the First
- Capital City: Chicago proper
No matter what way you slice it, the greatest of the Nations is Chicago. Though she has recently been rocked by internal turmoil the Jewel of the Prairie still stands monolithic at the country's head, her capitol's towers attempting to scrape the sky so far above the rest of her land.
Chicago city proper is the only major city that didn't have to be refounded after the Great War, as for reasons unknown some parts of it had actually survived the combat, while cities known to have been of smaller (though still considerable) size like Seattle and Dallas were completely obliterated. Even so, she lost almost all her population to the War, but when it ended the gleaming towers beckoned to many- so many, that the city would grow far greater than she ever could have dreamed.
The city quickly filled and overfilled, and even as they expanded the city she had already become a fledgling nation- the first Nation, in fact, and soon to be the greatest. Eight years after the end of the war Chicago declared dominion over the vast, empty lands of the prairie, claiming herself sovereign and establishing the first borders of the Nation of Chicago. Her leader, General Alfred Townsend, had already promoted himself from General to King, establishing the Chicago Monarchy and assembling the necessary national government that now stepped in and put order to the outlying towns and communities. The new nation had very firmly put down the hammer on any dissenters, and the rest of the country eagerly followed its example. Chicago's dominance would go unchallenged for sixty-five years, until the Copper Lord reappeared in the passes to her west to found the nation of Yellowstone. Shortly thereafter, Detroit's victory in the Great Scrap led to it directing enormous energy and resources to its St. Paul colony, hemming them in from the east as well. Increases in Native activity began to harass Chicago's trade from the south, and now the greatest country in the world began to feel truly boxed in.
This directly led to Chicago's involvement in the Twenty Years' War, having entered to try and gain dominion over Las Vegas and thus expand her influence to the West Coast. This backfired in an incredibly spectacular manner, leading to the death of King Horace I, the eruption of organized crime under Big Al, a series of humiliating military defeats at the hands of Dallas and Vegas, and the still-active Treaty of Missouri, with its painful (though nowhere near crippling) reparations payments. Chicago today has had her nose badly bloodied for perhaps the first time in her history, but she is still Chicago--she knows how to get back up from a scrap, and it only makes her all the more determined.
The City in the Sky
Chicago has the most elaborate book of laws in any Americ nation save for New York, and appropriately has an equally elaborate government. The Queen sits at its head, with her cabinet of Ministers immediately below, each of them governing aspects of the country- Internal Affairs, External Affairs, War, Labor, Postal Service, et cetera. The Mayor of Chicago proper also sits on this cabinet, though unlike the ministers he does not have a calling vote. Also unlike the Ministers, however, the Mayor runs his own Cabinet- this one ordaining similar functions but for the city alone. Though the Ministers do most of the top-level work in the Nation, they all answer to the Queen- often bringing her an issue for advice or support- and the Queen can overrule any decision the lower echelons make.
Chicago as a Nation is very business-minded, a trait that likely stems from its role as a massive trade hub. The nation is always looking for ways to make life easier or more practical, and to allow its citizens to increase the amount they earn, which has led both to an aggressively expansionist political dogma and a trade economy unlike any other known. Chicago's population is considerable, but the nation could actually live on two-thirds of its owned land- yet every arable inch is farmed, every potential deposit of minerals explored. The excess is shipped out, feeding the massive populations of Detroit and New York, while the government and its people reap the rewards. The population is majority human, though it features the strongest dwarven community after Detroit and considerable populations of every other thinking race.
The people of the city proper have one of the highest standards of living in any modern nation-state on average, but many may tell you they wish they lived elsewhere. Chicago has a long history of problems with organized crime stretching back before there was history to have, and the modern-day city is no different; dozens of criminal organizations of varying size and sophistication are constantly working the inner city over. The northern, richer side of the city is generally safe, but in the south and west edges living conditions are appalling and crime a way of life. The police force is one of the finest in the world as a result of this constant battle for security, despite being shot through with rare but deep streaks of corruption.
Of course, the government is only worse. Though Queen Dorothy herself has proven a just and sound leader, most of her cabinet and ministers are so foul "you can smell them in St. Paul". As a result, the police force finds itself fighting a battle on two fronts in its War on Crime, and such a war is unwinnable.
Chicago's relations with the rest of the nation-states are fairly good, particularly with those in the north and east of the country such as Minnesota, New York, and Indianapolis (less so with Detroit). Relations with the West Coast and the Southwest have been fairly nasty in recent years following the memory of Chicago's attempts at conquest during the Twenty Years War, but not unmanageable. The country is still paying reparations to San Francisco, Dallas, and Las Vegas in the form of coal and meat for its role in the war, and as such the air and land trade routes between those Nations are fairly secure at the moment, as the southwesterners want to ensure they get their due. Los Angeles, however, has been unusually quick to forgive and forget; zeppelin traffic between the two nations these days is heavy.
Despite the depth and extent of crime and corruption in Chicago proper, a light has recently been lit in the darkness. A group of low-and-mid-level politicians, law enforcers, lawyers, and vigilantes calling themselves "The Untouchables" have recently begun a massive campaign to clean up the city, fighting the small battles tooth and nail and backing off from the big ones they can't win. Despite the intense corruption in the government they're drawing huge amounts of support, though their battle is far from won.
The exact initiation requirements for the Untouchables is unknown, but is almost certainly limited to those fighting crime on a regular basis within Chicago proper. Members of the Untouchables are all Lawful or Neutral Good, usually with at least basic training in self-defense with either weapons or magic, depending on the individual preference. Many have more elaborate training, but few can be considered true masters of their school of combat. Untouchables as a rule are generally very high in Charisma- it comes with the job in Chicago- and usually religious in some form or another. Almost all are employed in some form of law-related business, and most of those in the Chicagoan government.
The Untouchables have no uniforms or official meetings- that would make it too easy for the government to stop them. The standard form of identity is a bat-shaped pin, usually worn out of sight, such as under the collar or lapel. Their organization appears to be by and large one simply of cooperation against crime (as no central mythos or mantra has been uncovered), and it is doubtful they have a single leader, though rumors abound of a monstrous, mythic figure who fights crime by hand in the undercity and who, in all accounts thus far, is said to be half-man, half-bat (though this may derive from the group's logo).
Joining the Untouchables is likely not an option for player characters as few would be inclined to devote their entire life to fighting corruption in Chicago- especially on a government paycheck- and the group provides no known benefits to joining. But the Untouchables will gladly assist anyone helping them to clean up the city in pretty much any way available to their specific position, and in similar and opposite manner will go after any criminal with a brutal vengeance.
- Founding Date: August 4, Year 105, Age of Glory (A.G.)
- Government: Democratic/Oligarchic
- Leading Officials: Mayordomo Sigmund Rochester/Chief Leaping Pike
- Capital City: St. Paul City/Minneapolis
Americana's youngest nation is also one of her most interesting. As a result of the turbulent nature of her founding the territory of Minnesota is split in jurisdiction between two equally great and important powers: the Minnesote Natives and the Detroi secessionists known as the Paulites. This dual nature is what allowed the nation to not only become independent, but rise rapidly in power.
The territory known as Minnesota (a Native term of ancient origins meaning "sky-blue water") had long been one of contest for the established nation-states. On the one hand, the area was a treasure house- vast tracts of arable land lay unclaimed in the south, towards the borders of Missouri, while the northern area (though harsh in terrain and climate) lay under a thick blanket of pine forests, concealing huge deposits of iron ore.
But on the other hand, the entire area was fiercely defended by the Minnesote, one of the most advanced tribes of Natives who also happened to be bitterly territorial.
Several nations attempted to take the region by force during the Age of Strife and all were brutally beaten off by the Minnesote's guerilla tactics, and indeed it looked like the region would never be settled until the Detroit ruling council decided to take a different tack with the Natives- one that, for the Iron City, was singularly uncommon.
Slowly, as the Age of Strife drew to a close, the Detroi began filtering settlers and equipment in small numbers to a point on the Minnetonka River just north of a sizable waterfall. This continued even during the Detroit-New York war at the start of the Age of Chaos, and by the time the Detroi began laying out the Marconi Wire they had a sizable city built on the banks of the Minnetonka.
The Minnesote took notice of this, but when they sent a war party to attack they found not cannons on the walls but a delegation with a white flag. The Detroi wanted not war, but cooperation- in exchange for allowing the St. Paul Detroi to mine and lumber the north, the Minnesote could keep control of their land and have this control officially recognized by the second-most-powerful Nation on the continent. With Detroit backing the Native control, no-one else would dare assault the area with land claims, and the Iron City would get its resources.
The deal was struck. St. Paul was officially founded that day, and the Natives began work on their own permanent city on the opposite bank, to ensure that the deal was upheld. By the start of the Twenty Years War, two massive cities had erupted as if from nowhere, and a steady stream of ore and timber was now working its way back over the mountains to the furnaces and forges of Detroit.
Then Chicago entered the war, and thus came the Secession of St. Paul. That history is well-known and shall not be recited here, but it was the critical point in the nation's history, and highlights three very important aspects of the new Nation: its skill at diplomatic negotiation, its close relation to the Native tribes, and its complete and utter dominance of any battle fought either on or near the water.
In the aftermath of the War, the new nation informed Detroit that while it had no intention of stopping the trade agreement that had led to its birth, it would not be used as a pawn of that Nation, to be used up or thrown away on a whim. Detroit still gets its Minnesota iron, but now it pays the price like with any other trade agreement- and the defense of the region of Minnesota and its Native control now falls on the shoulders of the young Nation of St. Paul.
Minnesotan refers to anyone from Minnesota, but the inhabitants are actually split into two groups- the native Minnesotes and the immigrant Paulites.
The Minnesotes are a primarily agrarian culture, supporting their populace through a mix of hunter-gathering and simple agriculture, growing a wide variety of crops. The term Minnesote specifically refers to the "elven" members, but in common use it refers to any being who lives in the Native manner- whatever their species. The Minnesote governmental culture is best described as parlimentary- individual villages have their own individual chiefs, who meet on a Council when a decision is to be made that affects the Minnesote as a whole. The strongest of these chiefs is the leader of the Minneapolis tribe, Chief Leaping Pike, making him in effect the Minnesote leader.
St. Paul represents the other Minnesote faction- the Detroit people. The "Paulites" are a rugged, individualistic people with a fierce yen for independence and a love for the harsh country they call home. Though their architecture and culture still make recalls to Mother Detroit, their government is radically different- instead of a Ruling Council as in Detroit, the Paulites have a single "Mayordomo", who presides over the operation of the City and as an extension the entire territory. At large the government more resembles the New Yorki style of operation, with City Leaders for the major towns like Rainmouth and Mannikot keeping their regions secure while answering up to the big man in St. Paul City. The current Mayordomo is Sigmund Rochester, who is in his second elected term (each Domo can be elected twice, and terms last five years) and who was responsible for the Secession in the first place.
The territory is still officially under the control of the Minnesote, but in the six years since the nation's founding the two groups have essentially taken equal shares of the burden of managing such a massive area. The Minnesote and the Paulites are still distinctly separate groups and share a sort of "friendly rivalry" as to who can do better in just about anything. But should a threat come along to either Minneapolis or St. Paul, you can be sure that both sides will be there, fighting side by side whether on the battlefield or in the diplomatic channels.
Both the Minnesotes and the Paulites are heavily dependent on the waterways and lakes for transportation and shipping, and both sides are extremely powerful on the water. The Minnesotes rely on speed and stealth in combat, using fleets of canoes and small, quiet motorboats to travel around and ambush those they don't want. In contrast, the Paulites have a small navy of monstrous sidewheel battleships, packed full of cannon and driven by huge coal furnaces, that can take out any other ship on the water. But these are few in number, and as a result a fight between a Minnesote "mosquito fleet" and a Paulite steamwheeler would be about a fair match.
Though both factions are relatively weak on land, no other nation-state- even Chicago- would dare to challenge either Minneapolis or St. Paul on the rivers. Their navigators ("riverwalkers") are the best of any faction, and they have strange connections with the flora and fauna- some Minnesotes are rumored to be able to command tamed Dire Mosquitoes or Giant Northerns, and Minnesotans on both sides are very skilled with ice magic.
- Founding Date: Pre-historic
- Government: Oligarchic
- Leading Official: Chief Councilman Leopold Steelhand
- Capital City: Detroit City.
- Founding Date: 2 A.G.
- Government: Democratic
- Leading Official: Mayor Theodore White
- Capital City: New York Island.
- National Motto: Leven uit de oceaan (Old Yorki: Life from the Ocean)
That the ocean is bountiful is never in doubt as long as life goes on in New York Nation. Easily four-fifths of the national population live on The Island itself, and the small Plymouth Territories on the mainland couldn't hope to feed that mob if every inch of their land was farmed. Hence, the Greatest City in the World relies highly on two factors to ensure its own survival; good relations with food-producing neighbors, and complete dominance of all things maritime.
New York was one of the original nations refounded by the Seven Generals after the Year of Peace; namely, she was refounded by one Ian Anderson, who was a fervent patriot, hardline skeptic, and staunch believer in the might and reliability of science. The Island had always been a great city, but during the Great War some horrific science or magic had been worked against it, and so though the buildings still stood, nothing but bare bones and clothing remained of her people. This led to the rise of a cult determined to keep anyone from getting back on the island, lest they reignite the gods' wrath, and this led to General Anderson tearing the cult apart after they threatened to stop him with force from returning to the Island.
Anderson's hunch was right. Whatever had killed the original citizens, it had long run its course, and so Anderson and his army had themselves a city, chock full of technology that had previously been lost. New York quickly jumped to the head of the technological world based off the discoveries of the past, and this attracted inventors, entrepreneurs, and scientists of all types, which ensured the boom would continue. This proved key to getting the nation up and running, and off near the head of the pack for quite a while.
General Anderson organized New York's government off the model of the original city government, with a few tweaks to acommodate the affairs of a full-blown nation. Since the entire island was overbuilt, Anderson (the first Mayor) put all his focus onto the sea, both for gathering food from it and trading the bounty that they didn't use for other goods.
Life From The Ocean
The problems with feeding a population as large as New York's are self-evident, and with so little space available, it is no surprise that New York depends on the Appalachian Ocean for survival. While its Plymouth Territories do produce some extra food for the Island City, in addition to feeding themselves, New York survives on three principals: fish, finance, and foreign relations. Fish is the mainstay of the New Yorki diet, but it does not all go to the bellies of the citizens--nearly half the take of the nation's fishing fleet, by far the largest of any nation, is loaded onto ships headed all along the Appalachian Coast, bringing cod, haddock, and swordfish from Anderson Sound to markets as far north as Rainmouth, Minnesota, and as far south as Oaxaca, in Mexico.
In addition to the fish trade, New York also deals heavily in technology; though years behind the technological might of Detroit, they are far less secretive about their creations, which has earned them a great deal of wealth by trading it. Granted, most of this colossal income never comes close to the shores of the Island City; it tends to go straight into buying huge shipments of grains and meats to feed the population. But nevertheless, a century of buying and selling with other nations has made New York very rich indeed.
It is a complicated diplomatic quagmire. Over the past hundred years, New York has gone to war several times and with many nations; however, despite hostilities on the battlefield, the trade ships never falter. Hatred and politics give way every time to necessity, for neither side in these arrangements can afford to break off market relations, even if they meet in battle. New York needs foreign goods--rice and iron from Minnesota, coal and beef from Chicago, fruits from Mexico, foodstuffs from Atlanta, spices from New Orleans--to keep the massive city alive, and the countries it trades with would be greatly poorer without New York's coin.
That, and everyone seems to have a taste for cod.
- Founding Date: 2 A.G.
- Government: Monarchy
- Leading Official: King Gregorio II
- Capital City: Texas City
There is only one true city in the southern ranch-lands--a massive metropolis of wood, stone, and concrete, drab on the eye and utilitarian in the extreme. The War left nothing behind in the south, and everything seen nowadays has been built since then. It is a land that makes its own history, that has clawed its way up to empire on its own--and as a result, it is a land with ambition.
This is Dallas.
After the end of the Great War, the army of General Zebediah Mortenson rode south, to settle the grazelands and fields that had been completely flattened by the war. It soon split into no fewer than six smaller factions, each with its own agenda, with Mortenson winding up in command of the second-smallest, which founded the original town of Dallas--this is why Dallas is recorded as being founded in 2 A.G., though the modern nation-state did not come about for at least another thirty years.
That it exists at all can be owed to Mortenson being a masterful schemer and tactician. Slowly over the years he built up his power base, beginning by "uniting" his Dallas with nearby Amarillo (the smallest of the six factions) to form the Dallas-Amarillo Confederation in 7 A.G.. This made him the second smallest faction, again. A few years later, it became the Dallas-Amarillo-Galveston Confederation. Then Arlington came into the fold, and it was suddenly just the Dallas Confederacy, "for reasons of simplicity".
Zebediah Mortenson died at the age of eighty-eight in 35 A.G., crotchety and vitriolic to the end. By the time of his death, he had been the Confederacy's first King for seven years. Two weeks before his death, the factions of San Antonio and Austin (originally the strongest of the six original factions, which split over debates on dealing with the "Dallas problem") had followed Fort Worth into the ranks. The six were reunited, and the Confederation was complete.
Note: the seal of the modern Confederation reflects this. It consists of six five-pointed stars, with one large one in the center and five smaller arrayed at the points. The star at the top point is divided down the center.
Dallas, like Los Angeles, is always looking to expand its borders. However, unlike Los Angeles, Dallas pursues these aims with at least a modicum of subtlety and tact. Their diplomatic corps has the longest history of any of the Americ nations (New York and Detroit didn’t begin trading until at least 7 A.G.), one of the most aggressive track records, and one of the best success rates—and if the diplomats fail, Dallas can back up its words with force. Though the Dallas Army is at best the continent’s fifth largest, its training and organization are impeccable, and its cavalry without peer.
Even so, Dallas lacks the raw power to stand up to most of its largest neighbors, and as such prefers to pursue its dreams of empire slowly and quietly—oftentimes under the pretense of helping startup nations, such as El Paso. These efforts are, in part, fueled by a long-ingrained belief of superiority to everyone else, especially those “else” who aren’t human--Dallas has more humans in proportion than any other major Nation. However, the recent spread of Presidism into the nation’s eastern territories has been making a valiant stab at dulling that old prejudice—though it will be many years before it makes any sort of large-scale change.
- Founding Date: 7 A.G.
- Government: Religious Council
- Leading Official: None Specifically
- Capital City: New Compton
Large, angry, and demanding, Los Angeles is by far the dominant power on the West Coast of the continent--but geography and political topography have made them a tiger in a too-small cage. You can always expect an Angelan to be the one pushing for the boundaries as hard as he can, with any means available.
Los Angeles was one of the original nations refounded by the Seven Generals, and by far the one which took the longest to be re-established. The General responsible for the resettlement, Ricardo Hernandez, arrived in what was left of the old city and discovered, in his own words, "a holy land." He had been given a clear sign, in the form of a literal sign; on a hill overlooking what was left of the city, enormous letters proclaimed that this was the land of the "HO LY WO D". It didn't take a genius to figure out what the missing letter had been; Hernandez was certain that this great city (later named New Compton) had contained the Holy Word of a mighty religion. However, not all of his army agreed with him on that point, and it took years before everyone was either in agreement or dead; only then could the founding of Los Angeles officially begin.
However, the same religious debates that held up LA's refounding proved to be the catalyst for massive expansion. Under the guidance of the Holy Word, Angelan pilgrims and crusaders quickly made vast claims on the region, overrunning many fledgling nation-states themselves. However, they soon found themselves at the end of their rope--to the north, the old city of San Francisco blocked further expansion. To the west, the young but mighty fortress of Las Vegas held sway over one of the best passes through the Pacifics. And to the south, the magical enclave of Phoenix kept the Angelans from marching towards Mexico.
As a result, L.A.'s massive population is crammed onto the oceanic plain, and every few years they make a push for the borders--a crusade against Vegas, diplomatic battling over land with San Francisco, threats and skirmishes with Phoenix. This combined with their nearly-incomprehensible-to-outsiders religion has given Los Angeles a longstanding reputation of being aggressive, borderline fanatical, and unpredictable. In war, few can match them--and few would trust them as allies.
Those few, however, do exist. Los Angeles has close diplomatic ties with the two other major powers on the coast of the Cordillera Sea, namely San Francisco and Seattle, and recently (post-Twenty Years War) has begun sizable air trade with Chicago. The only major Cordillera Coast power that L.A. will not deal with in any way is Alcatraz; the slaver-pirates have been the target of a continuous Holy Crusade of Regulation ever since the two groups first came into contact in 38 A.G..
By Audience Vote
|“||Like, repent, dude. Don't be such a busta. Ya know yer soul's gonna burn fer sure, like, if ya don't repent.||”|
|—Adam Sandford, Usher of the Holy Audience|
Los Angeles' government is one of only two to be openly run by the local religion, with good reason: eighty-five per cent of the population belongs to the Audience of the Holy Word. The city of New Compton, along with the countryside under Angelan control, is dotted with shrines and holy sites to the countless demi-gods, lesser gods, and prophets of the religion--most noticeably to outsiders, every road in their territory is lined with mile-markers known as "Hope Stones", after one of their Gods of Travel.
Not everyone in Los Angeles is an Audience member-but there's no questioning who is the top dog. Insulting the Word is an almost-guaranteed death sentence within the borders, either at the hands of an enraged mob of locals or, if you're unlucky, the Audience's mysterious religious inquisitors known as the Ushers. For that matter, there's no guarantee that agreeing with the Word will be a ticket to safety, either--the religion has so many different sub-sects and opposing factions that infighting is almost constant, and there is never a safe place to stand in these arguments. The best advice to outsiders of all stripes is, when it comes to religion in L.A., the safest course is to not get involved at all.
The Audience maintains a sometimes-hostile rivalry with the great Presidential religion of Atlanta; in doctrine and conduct they could scarcely be more different, but each religion's scriptures pay homage to the other's gods (the strongest example of this is the President Reagan, who was said to be a major Actor before ascending to his Presidency), meaning that open religious war is not likely to happen any time soon in Americana.
Despite its militant nature, L.A. is still an important hub of travel and transportation, and provided you can dissect the local dialect, the city is a marvelous source of information and adventure. In addition, the city's diplomatic ties with the nation-states north of it give it a wealth of raw materials to feed the ancient factories in the Old City's heart; as a result, L.A. is by far the largest manufactory west of the Pacifics (though it pales in comparison to Chicago, Detroit, and New York).
A Note: Angelans speak in a bastardized mishmash dialect, an example of which has been provided above; this dialect is a combination of various film stereotypes and existing local speak (gangsta, surfer lingo, hippie lingo, Valleyspeak, cholo slang, and any other such L.A. stereotypes are viable candidates).
- Founding Date: 30 A.G.
- Government: Consulate
- Leading Official: The King
- Capital City: Fort Las Vegas
Fort Las Vegas stands tall, loud, and lurid astride the Paso de la Paz, like a grotesquely colored parody of a proper city. Built from the best that money can buy and populated by the dregs that no-one else wanted, it is a triumphant testament to the power of unbridled, unimpeded capitalism--and the nasty side effects which follow it around. Though it bears all the trappings of a proper Nation-State, Las Vegas is all about the city itself--the city which never sleeps, kept lit and awake by Neon's magic.
So long as you've got the means, there's ways for anyone. Welcome to the city that welcomes everybody.
As the nations of Dallas and Los Angeles began to expand in the early Age of Expansion, traders and explorers heading out from those cities noticed there were very few ideal passes through the Pacific Mountains. Of these, too, only one was truly ideal--the Paso de la Paz, in the south parts of the range. So, very soon after the two Nations made first contact, seven traders and merchants from both nations joined together in a cooperative enterprise--to set up an outpost in the pass, control all trade passing through, and make a big damn pile of cash while they were at it.
The site they chose was the ruins of a town almost exactly halfway through the pass, which these wealthy men quickly set about renovating and fortifying. It was the work of a few years, but in 25 A.G., Fort Las Vegas was officially declared complete. It was thin, at first--roughly a mile between the two walls--but it straddled the entire pass, giving the men complete control of what passed through. And they had only four rules posted.
- Everyone is welcome.
- Everything is worth trying at least once.
- Majority rules.
- If the majority doesn't like something it's tried, it won't be tried again.
Those four rules would be the sparks of a fire that would roar up in the Paso de la Pax, proving impossible to stamp out for good. News of the new outpost quickly spread, and with it the short list of rules. And, as planned, the news drew in business, but also all kinds of slime and scum. The massive influx lead to the fortress' population exploding phenomenally. The space between the walls was expanded massively, and enough outlying towns sprang up around in the pass and around its mouths that within five years, Vegas was able to officially declare itself an independent Nation-State. But it came with a price. Before the Age of Exploration was even halfway over, Vegas' reputation has spread from the Cordillera Coast to the Appalachian Sea: a city and nation with no inhibitions, no restrictions, and nothing truly sacred.
The Unholy City had been born.
Glitz and Glamor
Sadly or not, Vegas' hype does outstep the fact. The Nation does have a Book of Laws, which is mostly a catalog of common sense--murder, rape, theft, property damage; anything that's bad for business is forbidden, and punishable by heavy fines. Vegas has no death penalty; its harshest punishment is permanent banishment from the Nation's borders--after you've been stripped of everything including the clothes on your back. On the other hand, though, you're much more likely to get a fair trial in Vegas than in most of its neighbors--alongside its freedom and its free trade, the thing the city values above all is a fair hand.
However, Vegas is much more lenient regarding many things most or some other nations have banned; gladiatoral fighting, strange religions, bizarre marriages, even slavery. The most two glaring exceptions Vegas makes are cannibalism and Geddonism--neither one would be good for business. So long as it brings in more money than it drives away, it's probably going to stick around--partially out of necessity. Except for some small industries and a few mines in the Pacifics nearby, Vegas' income depends entirely on people wanting to part with their cash as they pass through. And on that income depends the city's survival--Vegas is New York's biggest competitor in terms of importing foodstuffs and raw materials to feed its populace and industry. Were the trade ever to stop, Vegas would dry up and wither away.
Which put them in an interesting position when Mikhail Poletiazhelyi launched his first zeppelin in 105 A.G.. This technology meant that trade over the Pacifics could now take place without having to go through the four passes--which, if it got big, would be very bad news for the Unholy City. But on the other hand, if they outright forbid airships from going near them, the things would just go around, and the death would be quicker. As a result, there is no ban on zeppelins landing in Vegas--rather, the Fort is now home to the second-largest airship landing field on the continent, second only in size to Chicago's (although it is slightly behind Los Angeles' in terms of traffic handled). Still, the new flying machines are a worry for Vegas--though, thankfully, not a big one quite yet.
Vegas, in accordance with the Four Golden Rules, is willing to work with anybody; however, not everyone wants to work with Vegas. Los Angeles is by far their most well-known opponent, mounting regular Crusades of Regulation against the Unholy City--though up until the Twenty Years War, these had been gradually diminishing in size and intensity. Taking their place, however, is Vegas' most vocal opponent by far, namely Salt Lake: ever since its founding, the Men of Joseph have sworn that they will not rest until Vegas is nothing but a memory. Their zeal, however, far outpaces their numbers or their strength, so for the moment all they do is rant and rave.
Clark's Council and the Everyman
Vegas' government is a consulate--the people elect seven figures (men or women, human or otherwise, Vegas isn't picky--so long as the majority chose them fairly, they're in) to serve and represent them on Clark's Council, to which all the nation's mayors and all the city's local authorities answer. The Councilors are allowed to serve "for fifteen years, or as long as they are able"--with only four things being able to declare a Councilor unable to serve. Death, crippling injury (at least one Councilor was rendered blind, deaf, and mute during his term), movement to another Nation, or proven corruption.
As mentioned, Vegas values a fair deal higher than almost anything else--and a corrupt Councilor means that no-one gets a fair deal. If, at any time, any one Councilor is proved to have been abusing their position and/or influence for their own gain, the entire Council is forcibly resigned, and seven new figures elected to the seats. And in order to make sure that nobody starts messing things up, every time the Council is re-built after being proven corrupt, it elects one more man.
This is the Everyman. One person, chosen by the Council, who exists "to keep us honest"--an everyman from the populace at large with the sole job of making sure the citizens are being served. Of course, they don't just go out and grab the first man they see on the street in front of the Council building--usually, it's someone who's done something noticeable. However, it is never someone who's even for a moment been involved in politics--that is the one caveat.
Whoever currently holds this position is allowed to choose their own title. The Everyman serves as long as he is able. The first simply called himself the Everyman. The second changed the title, making himself the Chairman of the Board, after his old job. And the third, and current one, took his stage name with him when he took up the position, calling himself the King.
Other than attending the weekly meetings of the Council and making regular sweeping checks for corruptions, the Everyman has no real duties at all. The King, in particular, spends his days and his paycheck wandering the stages, casinos, and plazas of Fort Las Vegas, practicing his original trade as a bard, and training any who are interested in the art.
The rain pours down endlessly on the high-peaked hills of the northwest. It thunders into Rainer Bay with a sound like drumming on hide, loud and penetrating, able to be heard from miles off. It slams into the coasts and hills, grinding down the ancient stone and hard-packed dirt, bit by bit, each day. The land crackles with magic--mortal magic, on the ground, fighting a desperate battle against the endless rain, and an older, greater magic in the sky above, sending dancing lighting around the tip of the Sky Needle.
This is the land of Seattle--a living legacy to what happens when man attempts to chain a god.
The old-city of Seattle no longer exists, even in part--as with Dallas, the Great War wiped it clean from the face of the earth via unspeakable sciences or magics. Not even the faintest scars remained at war's end to hint at what had happened. But the land around was rich, and fertile--and more importantly, uninhabited.
It was first settled by one of the Seven Generals, Abigail Hess, the only female warlord of the lot. Her army's trek over the Pacific Mountains was a bitter one, costing over half its strength--including a band which became today's Do'na hillsmen--and yet once they had settled down, their numbers flourished in the rich northern rain-forests. Farming was easy, the growing season--though short--was bountiful, and the land itself seemed to crackle with life... and magic.
Hess was a magician herself, one of the first few to realize that talent and survive the Great War, and made it her duty to keep the art alive, founding the Seattle Magician's Academy (today's Seattle Magic Enclave) in 19 A.G.. Indeed, for a good twenty years, it looked as though the isolated settlement would explode into a great power--until Hess' ambition got the better of her.
Hess recognized that most of her advantages hinged upon the weather, especially the frequent rain. The goblins of the Columbia Hills had, for ages, believed that the weather was a blessing from their rain-god (who, according to modern theologists, was an aspect of the Meheek weather-god Tlaloc). Hess believed the gods existed--no-one who had come out of the Great War alive could not--but unlike Generals Kirkpatrick or Hernandez, she believed they were merely great, not omnipotent. And if they were not all-powerful, their power could be bent to a stronger will.
It would be her greatest mistake--and her last. On 20th Midspring, 45 A.G., at the height of the rain months, Hess and a number of her associate magicians attempted to chain the rain-god. Two days later, it broke free again. Nothing remains of the isolated tower where they tried it, aside from a burned-black patch where nothing has ever grown again, scarred into the earth by countless lightning strikes. And from the instant the experiment failed, the rain began to fall on Seattle--and it has never stopped.
Bitter Work and Bitter Drink
Seattle has never forgotten this first, great failure. It is impossible to, when it thunders down around you at all hours of the day. Reluctant to blame their great leader and chief magician, they blamed the goblins for the catastrophe, and have since made it their goal to obliterate any they find on their lands.
That the lands are there at all is a sign of Seattle's stubbornness in the face of holy opposition. After the rain did not let up for a week, and the burned patch of the experiment tower was discovered, the remaining mages took action to ensure that the god's wrath did not completely wash the northwest into the sea. Low-powered magical wards and spells cover the entirety of Seattle's territory, even the parts which have spread beyond the eternal rain--slowing down erosion, speeding up river-flow, and even dulling sound, so as to provide some respite from the constant drum.
But these wards require constant maintenance, and shortly after they were laid down Seattle was nearing the breaking-point. Her mages were few in number, and exhausted--it quickly appeared they would have to choose between dropping the wards and losing the land, or driving themselves to death keeping them up.
Enter a hapless Meheek trader, by the name of Huilipachi. Having heard stories of the land of eternal rain he sailed north, with the intent of making a killing on goods from sun-seared Mexico. Among his goods was a single sack of beans from the kaffe plant.
Kaffe is a holy drink among the Azteca of central Mexico, to the point of having its own god--the priests drink it to stay awake during multiple-day-long ceremonies. To the Seattleites, it was a blessing from heaven, but they lacked the resources to trade for a constant supply of the bean. So, instead, they used Huilipachi's own beans to keep him awake until he told them how to grow it on their own.
When he finally collapsed, and told them the plant needed blood to thrive, not one of them even batted an eye.
In the end, the mages let Huilipachi go, and compensated him lavishly for his goods--enough so that though the story of his confinement did get out, it did so quietly, and spread slowly. And when the next Meheek traders found themselves welcomed with open arms by Seattle, all precautions vanished. Surely, it was just a merchant's tale... though the Seattleites always bought every kaffe bean they could get their hands on.
Seattle today revolves around two stalwart pillars; magic, and kaffe. Not for nothing is the Mage's Enclave considered one of the three greatest in the known world--the Seattleites have been honing their craft for decades, and it is nearly without peer. To Seattle, surrounded by enemies and constantly pressed by migrating moose-men coming down from Canadia, any magic which does not keep the rain or their enemies from washing them away is frivolous—worth study, but of secondary importance. This has made their battlemages the most feared on the entire Cordillera coast, and possibly on the entire continent.
And it is well that they are known for their magic, for their other legacy is quite darker. Seattle depends on kaffe to function—most of the mages are hopelessly addicted to the drink, and it has become culturally ingrained into the functions of the state. But, since kaffe needs blood to grow, this means that there is a constant and covert flow of slaves into their lands, occasionally taken in battle but usually bought from the pirate-slavers of Alcatraz. These slaves are rarely seen in the streets or tunnels of Seattle’s cities, instead being confined to the vast underground greenhouses around the outskirts. There, they till the kaffe fields—and, when they can work no more, they feed them.