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
- 9 Yellowstone
- 10 Missouri
- 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 Templeton O'Hern
- Capital City: Detroit City.
They say the Iron City will never fail, and those who live there certainly hope they're right. There was a time recently when Detroit seemed unstoppable, on a meteoric rise to dominance in the Northeast that might well have been perpetual. The only thing more shocking than that its downfall could happen at all is the suddenness of it. Today Detroit has sunk in stature, but she still has ingenuity on her side, and that's carried her so far.
The Rise of Moton
Alexander O'Hern was a mechanical genius from the moment he rolled out of his cradle, according to legend. His armies in the Great War thrived on that genius mind, using traps, battlefield constructions, and technology a hair's breadth better than their opponents to carry the day. When the War ended, O'Hern made a beeline straight for the city he'd had his eye on since he'd first learned about it--Moton.
Moton was the old citadel of the dwarves, by this point virtually extinct--a pillar of rock and iron towering out of a crater lake in the rich Northeast, carved through and around with city. O'Hern seized the city with ferocious pace and settled in for good, diving into his research without a second breath. His lieutenants took to running the city, and as O'Hern had picked for intelligence above all else, Detroit quickly adopted all the aspects of a meritocracy--the smartest ruled the day, running the city council in five-year terms. For the entire span of his life, this was Alexander O'Hern, who quickly made himself an enemy of the entire surrounding world with his aggressive resource gathering and land partition. Conflict with New York was inevitable, and official contact between these two nations was made earlier than any other, out of necessity for the dividing of the Northeast.
O'Hern was obsessed with automation--the divesting of simple, repetitive, and dangerous tasks to machines, so as to free up people for more advanced jobs and more free time. His tenure in Detroit produced many advances that other nations would copy ruthlessly--the rotary printing press, the sparkproof mining lantern, the centrifugal governor, and an early water-powered railroad were among his inventions that turned Detroit into the early industrial giant while other nations were still poking through the pre-War scraps in their territory. However, he would never truly discover his greatest achievement--upon the death of Ian Anderson in 56 A.G., he became frantic at the thought of his own death and compiled ten years worth of notes into "A Compendium of Research into the Motivating Power of Steam"--a combination study of pre-War dwarven mechanisms, geothermal vents, and his own personal research that formed the foundation for the modern theory of steam power. He died barely a month after the publication--but it would change the world, and Detroit would lead the way.
Following his death, Detroit would rapidly industrialize, applying steam to virtually everything that a boiler could fit safely near. It allowed them to punch far above their weight in terms of production, but also consumption--Detroit's hunger for fuel and resources became so bad they went all the way to Minnesota to find it, founding St. Paul Colony in 66 A.G. It was almost a prescient move--the environment of the Northeast was more fragile than originally expected, and over the course of five years between 67 and 72 A.G., the entire environment of the Northeast collapsed utterly. Famines ravaged populations, particularly the Natives, species disappeared, and those attuned with nature as far away as San Francisco reported that the flow of life in the region ebbed to almost nothing. This was enough to gain even the attention of Detroit, who dialed back straight consumption and threw their energy into new, more efficient technologies. It was too little, too late, however--the sudden crash of resources resulted in longstanding tensions with New York flaring up into fire, and war broke out in 75 A.G.. It would last less than a year--New York's human waves met with vicious musket volleys churned out of Detroit's new template-pattern factories, long-firing battlefield cannon, and new weapons such as explosive shells. The conflict was a brutal slaughter, and Detroit stood victorious.
Those who were responsible, profited--the lieutenants had founded great houses to promote knowledge, and slowly these had turned into the great Families of Detroit--O'Hern, Duranti, Chrysler, Packard, and Mahon, with endless smaller houses rising and falling. Slowly merit turned to inertia, and inertia to privilege--and the Iron City grew soft. Caution in exploitation fell away, and many things began to be taken for granted. When war broke out in Americana again, Detroit had been sliding along the top of a bubble for ten years--and was so confident in its own ability that they ordered their merest arm, St. Paul, to attack Chicago itself. Things... went poorly, after that. Humbled and broken from the end of the war, Detroit is still trying to dig itself out of the ruins, and this time, it is them piecing together the scraps of what happened. It's not a great feeling.
Sufficiently Advancing Technology
Detroit's problems are many--what was once a meritocracy has become an oligarchy, where those with the most gold make the rules and the ones without suffer. Many dangerous and disagreeable tasks that were once done by the warforged now have to be done by normal people, and Detroit has few enough of those on a good day. Her nobility is a blend of the brilliant and the bloviating, her culture has stagnated, and she has precious little to celebrate these days. Her people are dissatisfied, her poor pushed to the breaking point. The Natives in the countryside hate her with all their beings, and the countryside itself is still in the delicate recovery phase, no good for exploiting to fuel a recovery. She has to trade for nearly everything she has, and the more she trades, the shorter her advantage becomes.
Which is not to say that that advantage is gone, by any means. Proximity to Indianapolis combined with her own brilliant heritage has meant Detroit has always stood at the forefront of technology, and in combining it with magic she can be said to be the absolute only one in the game. Creating the warforged was her doing, and no-one else has the ways or means to create more in any numbers. Electricity, the steamboat, the railroad--the means of the modern age flow from Detroit, and her factories, while no longer as cutting edge as they once were, are the best in the world. She has plentiful metal left in the dark mines far under the Pillar--no iron to speak of, but plenty of copper, tin, and nickel. New ideas are coming to the forefront even today--including one or two that could completely change the face of warfare and put Detroit back on the top no matter how few men she has, and some that could potentially defuse her ticking time bomb of the poor.
Detroit's population is largely human, with the largest goblin population in the East and smatterings of other races, including some of the most brilliant elves in the world. Detroit is also the location of most of the world's warforged--some have left for other realms, but the majority are still in the city or its surrounding environs. Though a fraction of New York's, her people are still mostly dedicated to the spirit of Detroit and the high quality of life it historically has brought, and will do many things--good or bad--to regain the comfort they have lost. The Iron City may be down, but it will take something truly revolutionary to take her out.
- Founding Date: 2 A.G.
- Government: Democratic
- Leading Official: Governor 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 accommodate the affairs of a full-blown nation. Since the entire island was overbuilt, Anderson (the first Governor) 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. New York would grow with unsurpassing speed, the security provided by the island and the wealth and opportunities provided by her factories and fleet proving immensely attractive to immigrants. Conflict with Detroit was inevitable, and skirmishing wars would ripple through the region from the point the two nations learned of the others' existences. However, true war was only brought out in the 70s, when the Great Northern Environmental Collapse triggered massive famine among the population and inflamed public sentiment against Detroit.
New York lost that war, and took careful notice of why--strength in numbers only went so far against Detroit's technological edge. While Detroit basked in triumph, she turned her eye to potential allies in what remained of the Northeast's Natives, and her coinpurse to acquiring new armor, weapons, and tactics from elsewhere in the world. This would be aided by the development of the Wire in 76 A.G., which among other things allowed New York to purchase cannon in bulk from the foundries of Chicago, dramatically upgrading her fleet's capability and giving her armies new bite. These factors would all come together when war came to the region again partway through the Twenty Years' War, and her diplomacy would pay off with a hasty alliance with St. Paul, leading to the crushing victory at the Ohi Valley and the massively one-sided peace treaty with Detroit in 105.
Life From The Ocean
New York's population is the second-largest in the known world, surpassed only by Chicago and contained in a much more dense area thanks to her proliferation of pre-War buildings. Many of those buildings are ancient, and much effort is put into maintaining them--New York is both a pioneer of force magic and architecture as a result, and by far the largest manufacturer of concrete in the known world. Her population is a melting pot of almost perfect proportions; humans hold the majority, but only marginally, and every race is well represented in the streets of the Island City.
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. New York's businessmen and bankers are the finest in the world, and in the art of making money from money none can compare.
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, then united, began setting its sights further afield, mostly to the west and east following the trade roads by then established. To the east, they ran into Houston and New Orleans and promptly entered into a diplomatic border-jostling paper war that, were it ever declared as such, would be the continent's longest and bloodiest ongoing conflict. In the west, little drew their attention until the 60's, when the fall of Kurt'yip'yak led them to throw their military into the breach, establishing the police-outpost of El Paso and effectively declaring claim over Carlsbad (though neither they nor anyone else has ever been able to enforce it).
In the north, skirmishes with the Natives over grazelands were frequent and initially very profitable for Dallas--then the Okies moved into the Amarillo Hills, and ever since have completely stonewalled settlement to the north. Dallas proceeded to stew for thirty years or so before getting sucked into the Twenty Years War, where their much more highly trained military shocked the world by humiliating the Army of Chicago and securing a healthy peace settlement that has led to a growth boom in the years since the War. For the moment, Dallas' ambitions have been sated, but it can only be a matter of time before they look for the next course.
Dallas produces several things that the continent feels it cannot do without--militarily, they have the largest and most sophisticated gunpowder production setup in the world, thanks to their vast animal populations and the sulfur mines at San Antonio (which are also essential for her farming industry). Their horses are among the finest a Nation-State can produce, and their longhorn beef is widely regarded as a delicacy. Some Dallas entrepreneurs are busily experimenting with a thick, black liquid that seeps from the ground in the west lands that might serve well as a fuel, but this is still in an early stage.
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 and has longstanding beefs with various populations of kobolds, orcs, and hobgoblins. 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.
- Founding Date: 9 A.G.
- Government: Meritocracy
- Leader: Mage-General Jennifer Bao
- Capital City: Seattle Proper
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 lightning 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, Marion 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.
- Founding Date: 63 A.G.
- Government: Monarchy
- Leader: Izithrax, the Copper Lord
- Capital City: Roaring Mountain Citadel
In the heights of the Pacific Mountains, something new is being tried. A nation of many cultures and species, led by a capricious being of incredible power.
"I Had Nothing Else To Do"
The great dragon Izithrax, or "Izzy", was one of the thirteen Dragon Lords during the Great War, and vanished westward after it ended. In 55 A.G., the Alcatrazi pirates reported being raided from the sky by dragons, wyverns, and a host of other beasts not seen since the war's end--and four years later, began boasting of having driven them off in a massive and costly attack. THis was thought to just be pirate talk, until Chicagoan traders in the Valle Amarillo ran into a huge group of orcs and goblins working with uncommon unity of purpose and precision at a series of constructions and landscapings in the great green valley. Guided to the center of the activity, they found dragons perched on the hills and trees surrounding a steaming mountain--and the largest copper dragon ever seen sitting in front with spectacles and a clipboard. What he would say to them would change the course of Americ history.
|“||I have been driven from my estates further west, so since I had nothing else to do I decided to give this nation-state thing a try. Would you be kind enough to let your King know? I'm not sure what the procedure is for this sort of thing...||”|
It was originally thought to be a joke, but secondary reports quickly corroborated it as true, and King Tanner opted to make the trip in person with an entire division of the Chicago Army to meet with the Copper Lord. Though a little less sound than when he had last been spoken with, Izithrax was completely serious about his new "hobby", and showed no inclination of budging--and since taking on all of the dragons he had with him even then would have been a massive campaign, Chicago opted to be the first nation to recognize the new Nation of Yellowstone as controlling the rich trade-pass in 63 A.G.
Izithrax quickly settled into his new role, putting out a call to the various races of the world to come and join in his "idyllic community". Response from some groups, such as chunks of the newly created kobold diaspora, was immediate--others, such as the vast majority of the humans and elves, was virtually nonexistent. Nevertheless, immigration to Yellowstone has been slow but constant over the 50 years since its foundation--dragons provide a security that few other kings and lords can match, and it has been especially attractive since it managed to stay out of the Twenty Years' War entirely.
A Calderic Melting Pot
Today, Yellowstone's population is primarily made up of goblins, with the kobolds forming the second largest group. As both groups prefer living underground, however, most visitors will be initially struck both by how sparsely populated the place seems and how many hobgoblins, orcs, and elves there are. The valley is itself divided into large tracts with villages and small towns occupying passes and crossroads between the steep hills and sheer rivers, terrace farms clinging to the hillsides and mineshafts poking out here and there. The bulk of the population lives at least part-time underground, in vast warrens and cities carved into the mountains, drawing power from the vast volcanic and geothermal activity that underlies the caldera valley. The nation's capital, Roaring Mountain Citadel, is carved into a huge mountain in the north of the valley that you can hear long before you see--huge fumaroles run through it, heating the structure even in the deepest winter and producing dull roars that can be heard for miles. The dragons live inside Roaring Mountain, which with the combined hoards is said to be the most expensive building in the world. Izithrax's chamber sits in the very center, dyed orange with magic lights set in fluorite crystals and ornamented with carvings telling the history of the nation.
Each city in the nation has a representative who stands for them on the Council of Yellowstone, but the true power rests in the dragons--everyone knows it, and there's not really anything that can be done about it. Yellowstone's draconic elite are primarily Copper and Brass, with some Bronzes--all in all, roughly eighteen breeding pairs and their young. Outliers from the various other races exist, but in ones and twos at the most--far fewer dragons than there used to be. The most prominent chromatics on the council are a pair of Blues and a Red. The Blues followed the Brasses north from the deserts, and opted to stick around once Yellowstone got underway--along with the Bronzes, they head up Yellowstone's military and law enforcement. As they are brothers, it was inevitable that they would get dubbed "The Blues Brothers". The elder one, Bluebird, hates the label; the younger one, Blueblood, loves it.
The Red is a stranger case--no less, in fact, than "Red Card" Ascelion, the eldest male child and current heir to the Red Lord himself. As the old Red Lord has not been seen even by his own dragons since the end of the Great War, the Red would be well within his rights to claim his inheritance, and only he knows the exact reasons he doesn't. Ascelion's presence is more tolerated than anything else--though he did provide some help with Yellowstone's construction, since then he's been doing little besides lying around and clashing ideologies with pretty much anyone he meets. The population tolerates him to humor their leader, but it is suspected that the only reason Izithrax keeps him around is to help fund projects and to avoid incurring the wrath of his father by crushing him like an ant.
- Founding Date: 3027 O.A.
- Government: Monastic Order
- Leader: Mark Twain
- Capital City: Grand Fortress of St. Louis
|“||“This is a truth. It is one of many.”||”|
|—The call-and-response of the Archivists of St. Louis|
It is impossible to separate Missouri from the Order of Saint Louis--it would be like trying to describe a river without knowing what water was.
The Order of Saint Louis is, far and away, the oldest organization on the continent of Americana. They are the only ones who survived the Great War intact, though at the cost of much of their history from the time. This is known, because they say so--and they would know.
Founded in 3027 O.A., a date that means nothing anymore, the Order has been based out of their fortress-city in the foothills of Mount Rushmore since at least six years before the end of the Great War. The early journals of Zebediah Mortenson speak of encountering “wandering men of great learning who call themselves Men of Calaveras, claiming to come from the head of all rivers”. They would come into higher notoriety following the end of the Quiet Years, acting as intermediaries between the fledgling nations and supporters of the technological superboom that began to consume the land shortly after that era. Though they were the ones to show Mount Rushmore to General Roger Kalland, they considered it more of a historical site than a religious one and paid it little mind except as the spring-source of nearly all Americ rivers.
Today, Missouri sits sprawling along the banks of several small rivers to the northeast of Mount Rushmore, with the main fortress-city overlooking the young Mizibi as it begins its way north. It is largely divided into two parts--the outer trade-town of Des Moines, and the Grand Fortress of St. Louis the Intelligent, Patron of Knowledge and History. Des Moines, architecturally and societally, cribs a great deal from the Fortress it supplies--though somewhat blase it does boast the highest literacy rate of any city in the entire known world, nearing 90% of the population, and has a much higher than average percentage of intellectual pursuits and related trade--books, artifacts, and assorted errata.
The Grand Fortress, however, is unique. It is built of red sandstone and brick in an almost obscenely ornate style unlike anything else known in in Americana--”Louisian” is typically used to describe buildings aping its style. The fortress is large enough to house an order much larger than the current one in numbers, and there is evidence it once did--today they scarcely number seven hundred, and the majority of those are lay members or friends. The core of the order is precisely two hundred and seventy-four brothers and sisters, of which about one-third are away from the Fortress at any time seeking knowledge or acting as historians-on-the-spot.
Though the Louisians are typically not fighters and attempt to avoid violence with word and action, they have no code of nonviolence per se, and are fully allowed not only to defend themselves if attacked, but to strike pre-emptively if it is deemed necessary to protect their well-being; sensible codes for an order so small in such a violent world. And they are not slouches at it, either--there are none in the whole of Americana who fight like the Truth Seekers.
What makes the Order truly unique, however, is not just its histories, its training, or its vows. Its leader is the man who makes them stand out--their Grandmaster. He is not a god, but he may not be quite a man, either. And though no-one knows his real name, everyone calls him what he calls himself freely--Mark Twain.