Tales of Telluria: Birthright and DeathRight
An Outsider’s View:
“A tolerant place, with pleasant people and a fair government. As a nation, they are at peace with many of their neighbors, just as the people within the country are at peace with their neighbors. Races, religions, classes… All are welcome there! Taxes are low compared to many other countries, and the climate is quite temperate; it seems like a great place to settle down. The College of Magic’s Battle Mages keep it safe from conquest by Tokis for now and the Goblin Emperor has yet to reach that far.”
An Insider’s View:
“A region of tolerance, Pekal is built around the personal legend of Lamnian Endremin: a well-known nobleman of human and elven houses whom led us to our independence. His rule ushered in a new a new age of racial tolerance and equality. When he died his son took up the dreams that had been built up around him and proclaimed that Pekal would never again know the rule of Kings or Princes but that of a Senate. How noble must a man be to turn down a Kingship for the betterment of his people!
The senate rules fairly and leniently, if sometimes slowly due to bickering, but the Praetor, that is what we call our national leader, hasn’t the ability to oppress us as the old, hated emperors did.
We are well off, but not rich. Most trade is coming to, or going from, the College of Magic. Have you seen it? Largest in the world they say and full of more wonders and terrors than you could imagine in a lifetime! Work is good, taxes are light, and almost everyone has enough to eat. People of all demihuman races and clans come here to live in a land where they can choose their friends easily."
A little over two centuries ago, Pekal was one of the Vast Empire’s largest holdings. The people of Pekal, Lord and Commoner alike, having enough of the oppressive Kalamaran Empire, revolted. Though not the first Province to revolt, they are the cornerstone of the rebel alliance that keeps the Kalamaran Empire at bay. The leader of the Glorious Revolution, Lamnian Endremin, was a half-elf with both Elven ( Cilorea ) and Brandobian (Mendarn) royal blood. Aid from Cilorea and the College of Magic assured a successful revolution in less than a year! However, Lamnian was slain in battle while his troops were capturing the Imperial Commandant. His son, Kafen , whom was to be crowned King by his people, refused, accepting only a Praetorship. A Senate was formed from the old noble houses (now called Patricians) and the peasants (often referred to as Plebs), whom had fought so hard in the battles against the empire, were given freedoms not seen by many others. The first official ruling, signed into law by the Praetor, was that Pekal would never again be ruled by Kings, Princes, or Emperors, but only by the Senate of Pekal itself. The elvish heritage of the old royal line, coupled with the former Prince’s young age, as well as his popularity with the peasants, led him to be an important political figure into the twilight years of his life.
Ever since their independence, Pekal has been at war with the Kingdom of Tokis whom the Kalamaran Emperor has ordered to retake the “rebellious province.” In the last decade the war has intensified year after year as the Emperor Kabori, more competent and attentive than other recent Emperors, has pushed ever harder for the reunification of the formerly Vast Empire. Despite the assistance of the College of Magic, Pekal would have been overrun if not for the aid received from Paru’Bor, Tharggy, and Cilorea whom supplied supplied armaments, supplies, and troops.
The Navy, by standing numbers, is technically outnumbered , but it’s ranks are swelled by pirates paid to attack merchant ships bound for Imperial lands.
Pekal has a reputation for racial tolerance and harmony. The Revolutionaries realized they would be crushed under the heels of Imperial Legionaires without significant troops of their own, thus every race and group was courted to garner supplies and troops. Acute military leaders devised a combined arm strategy that is envied by much of the rest of the world. Even before the revolution the Arcanium attracted students from across the known world. A wide variety of humanoid races dwell within Pekal’s borders. It is, in fact, one of the few countries that extends full property rights to Kender (halflings) whom are only allowed to stay within their own ghettos or encampments in most other countries. Refugees from the Kalamaran wars against the Elvish and Dwarven Kingdoms are also not uncommon as they know they are safe within the borders of Pekal. More savage humanoids are rarely seen in Pekalese society due to the alliance against the Hobgoblin Kingdom of Norga-Krangrel and Emperor Kabori’s known usage of Orcish mercenaries. Among the most common human sub-groups are Kalamarans, Brandobians, and Svimohz (in that order) with smatterings of Fhokki, Dejy, and Renaarians as well.
As would be expected of a country with such a diverse populace, a great number of religions flourish here, including some evil ones. The Arcanium is also the world’s largest Temple of Enchantment (dedicated to the god of Magic itself), and is given legal provision as the “priority” religion of the country. Therefore most communities have a small shrine to that diety, even though most of the populace feel no real connection. The Halls of the Valiant, the Parish of Love, and even the Order of Though have larger congregations among the masses.
Unfortunately, and to much consternation of the Senate, Pekal is not blessed with that many trade goods. They have an abundance of foodstuffs, but most trade is bound for, or out from, the College of Magic in the Capital. Furs traded down the river, and particularly those of the seals found in Baneta, are somewhat prized. Moreover trade goods from Cilorea are traded through Pekal to the rest of the world as the Elven country has no other trusted trade partners.
Geography at a Glance:
While many of Pekal’s boundaries are contested due to ongoing wars and treaty disagreements, Pekal has made claim to a significant swath of land in the center of the continent. To the south the Elos Bay is an obvious border. To the west a strip of land a few miles wide along the Banader river marks the edge of Pekalese power. The young country claims most of the entirety of the Kalokopeli forest as it’s domain. Of course the various native monsters as well as the Goblinoid Empire of Norga Krangrel, as well as the Militocracy of Korak contest this claim on the Kalokopeli forest. To the north the Renador river marks the boundary with Ek’Kasel. To the north Pekal has been allowed only a very small fraction of the Kalalali Forest by the Elves of Cilorealon, whom allow some of the other Young Countries Alliance to lumberjack specified areas for timber (though there are always arguments about how much should be allowed). The NorthEast border is a line of stonemarkers with a few forts and watchtowers (as Pekal does not entirely trust it’s fairweather ally Paru’Bor to keep out Imperial incursions). The El’Liral river forms the front of the war betwixt Pekal and Imperially Allied Tokis.
Government & Legal System: Republican Senate
The Senate of Pekal is considered the ultimate legislative and judicial body within the country, and also has sole power to levy taxes or declare war. Thus the SPQR flag of Pekal is carried high into battle to remind the Legionaires of the Republican ideals for which they are fighting and dying. The SPQR on the flag stands for “Senatus Pekalis Qui Retur” which is old Kalamaran for “By the Senate of Pekal which brings Reckoning.”
The Senate of Pekal consists of 100 seats shaped like an ampitheatre in the capital at Bet Rogala. The Senate building itself was designed for excellent acoustics. The domed roof is held aloft by 100 fluted Corinthian Columns made out of the finest marble in the land. Each one has inscribed on it the name of one of the founding senators of the Republic. Senators serve in one of the dozen districts of Pekal and are elected to decade long terms. For this reason the Senators are known as “The Most Honorable Hundred” or simply “the hundred.” The College of Magic (The Arcanium) is one such district. Each of the races of the alliance also has a few Senators (Elves, Dwarves, Kender, Gnomes, etc).
Once these Senators have all been elected by their “Districts” then a Speaker for the Senate and a Praetor must be confirmed. The Speaker of the Senate is the senior member of the Senate, and while only allowed to vote to break ties, still has great importance due to the fact that it is the Speaker of the Senate alone that chooses the order of topics to be debated and voted upon. The Praetor is both the chief executive and the supreme military commander of the nation, but also has no votes on the Senate floor. Praetors serve for a half-century (life for most humans) and are selected only from among former Senators. For details on how the elections occur, whom can vote, and the requirements for various offices, see the “Legal Details” section below.
Population Demographics & Race Relations: Highly Mixed
Half Human (including half-breeds), Tenth Elven, Tenth Halfling, Tenth Dwarven, Tenth Gnome, Remainder Other Humanoid.
Pekal is a haven for those that hate the Kalamaran Empire or the Brandobian Kingdoms. Dwarves from Irontop, Elves from Doultharion, and Kender fleeing Brandobian persecution often end up traveling through Pekal. Due it’s high tolerance of their cultures and religions, many end up deciding to set up settlements there. This has caused Pekal’s population to balloon, and the percentages of non-Humans to be quite high. Due to the fact that Pekal is one of the few countries to allow Kender to gain citizenship or own property, many of the “halflings” (as humans often call them) have flocked to Pekal. Kender are now the fastest growing demographic in the Republic. To become full citizens requires either significant coin or military service, which makes Pekal’s military highly integrated.
Prominent Languages: Kalamaran & Merchant’s Tongue
Kalamaran was, and still is, the main language of business and governance. However, it would be safe to say that Merchant’s Tongue is spoken here more than anywhere else except for the great port cities of Zoa or Shorgga-Provaaz. The sheer diversity of races nearly requires it to be an unofficial secondary language. Due to the presence of the College of Magic, most any language can be learned here, so long as one has sufficient gold to pay for the lessons. For the same reason Draconic is also spoken here more commonly than in most other places (save of course Kobold Lairs). Brandobian, Elven, and Kender (halfling) are the next most spoken languages.
Trade comes down river all the way from Brandobia through the river route from P’Bapar all the way down to Baneta at the Elso Bay.
The Senate of Pekal must ratify all treaties to take effect. While no one country can truly be called the “official” head of the Young Country’s Alliance, Pekal certainly leads much of the discussion and military actions of the area, especially since they are the front in the war with Emperor Kabori and the rest of the Imperial Loyalists.
Pekal is friendly towards most all of the enemies of the Imperial Loyalists (which includes the province of Kalamar, the Kingdom of Basir, the Kingdom of Tokis, the Duchy of Dodera, the Lands of Tarisato, the subjugated dwarven nation of IronTop, and the Foederati Orc Tribes). Thus Pekal is allied with Paru’Bor, Ek’Kasel, Doulathanorian, Ek’Gakel, Tharggy, Korak, P’Bapar, Cilorealon, & Paru’Bor.
While Pekal technically has little to no border with the Goblinoid Kingdom it is still technically allied to the Militocracy of Korak, to which they send a contingent of Battle Mages every year to assist with the war against the Goblinoids. The Senate has ratified a treaty of Alliance with the Valkyrie Queendom of Tharggy in the hopes that forcing Kalamar to fight a multi-front war will leave less troops for invasion. Many of the Senators fear the mob rule that has paralyzed the Democracy of Ek’Gakel may come to their borders, so relations with that country have cooled as of late. While P’Bapar is technically Pekal’s oldest ally, and in fact largely started the revolution, it has shown to be truly fair-weather in that it no longer sends anywhere near the requested aid or supplies in the fight against their old overlord. The Wild Elf nation of Cilorealon is an ally by both treaty and marriage that has yet to falter. Paru’Bor has, in recent times, seem to draw closer to the Imperials again, causing frantic fortification building along the border with that nation.
The Pekalese army epitomizes not only a combined arms technique, but also racial integration. Halfling scouts, gnomish engineers, elven archers, and dwarven shock troops aid a core of human hastati infantry and light horse cavalry. Generally speaking, each of the non-human racial brigades is made up of exiles seeking citizenship in Pekal. The College of Magic loans a significant number of battle casters which have turned the tide of many a battle (particularly the navy battles). While the Imperial forces rely on heavy infantry and fortifications the Pekalese military model calls for much higher mobility (which is necessary considering the large and porous border it has). Though the Hastati and Legionaires fight with similar weapons (spear, sword, and shield) the doctrine is rather different. Legionaires form a Testudo (tortoise) with their heavier shields and armor while Hastati function more as front line peltasts. As Pekal has only one port of note, their standing navy is not that large, however the Senate has been very generous in handing out letters of Marquis against the Imperial Navy effectively turning most of the pirates of the Elos Bay into a large irregular navy in the service of Pekal.
The Pekalese Legionaire are medium infranty instead of the Kalamaran heavy. This means that they wear medium armor (usually scale mail or chain mail for more elite units) and have a greater focus on mobility. After all, you lose every battle you fail to show up to! Patricians make up most of the officership as well as almost all of the cavalry while Plebs do most of the fighting (and dying) as infantry. The Pekalese cavalry is far better equipped and trained than their Imperial counterparts and this has helped win many battles.
The battle casters are a corps of magic users both arcane and divine that perform military service in lieu of having to actually pay for their magical training at the Arcanum. A few individuals stay on well after their mandatory service periods due to the fact that military service comes with many rewards for those that are already citizens of the Republic. Every legion is assigned a squadron of battle casters.
The Halfling Corps is the largest and is composed mostly of slingers with supporting outriders and scouts. The halflings are lead by Nolan Brighteyes, a clear-eyed soldier that bunks and messes with his own slingers, and whom has recently won great praise from the Praetor and Senate for personally discovering an Imperial spy. This, combined with the fact that slingers are easier to train and halflings are easier to feed, means that Nolan Brighteyes has been given dispensation to double the number of his slingers. Unfortunately slingers, particularly halfling ones, are seen as far more expendable troops and so the Kender Corps find themselves in action almost constantly. Moreover stealth missions through enemy lines are naturally more dangerous than usual encounters. Often the Halfling Corps will assist the Gnome Corps is the destruction of enemy Siege equipment. Moreover such missions preclude effective backup. It is a dark joke that more Kender die for less freedom than anyone else in the Republic.
The Elven military company is led by a prince of their own people, one Elevion Solivandrial, whom boldly ears a gold diadem that he took in a raid a full day’s ride over the border into Tokis. The Tokite royal family has demanded the diadem back as per the custom of civilized fighting but the haughty elven prince has refused. He is a proud warrior known for taking offense at minor slights, and for dueling at any pretext. His archer company are excellent light infantry able to hold a force much larger than themselves.
The dwarves provide the heaviest infantry in Pekal with their famed shield walls and heavy steel armor. Though few in number their stoic nature, excellent equipment, and tough training means that they hold the point of heaviest attack in any battle. They often travel with the gnomish engineering corps and act as defenders of fortifications that are being erected. As to be expected, most of the dwarves in the Steel Ribbons (as they jokingly call themselves) are refugees from the Imperial conquest of IronTop and are led by *
Though they are the smallest of the Corps, the gnomish battalion still serves an important duty. The gnomish engineering corps design many fortifications and much of the siege equipment used in the war. Moreover specialized squadrons within it focus on sabotage of enemy fortifications and siege engines. Because of their similar size the halfling corps tends to work often with the gnomish battalion to cut across enemy lines and destroy enemy Onagers, Trebutchets, and Catapults. The gnomes also work often with the dwarves in the construction of fortifications throughout the Republic.
The navy is led by
Capital: Bet Rogala, “City of Royals” the Old Summer Capital and home to the College of Magic
Baneta: City of Seals, Port of entry to the Republic
To vote in the Senatorial elections one must have participated in a census (also done every decade, two years before the elections), and pay a poll tax. Unfortunately, each of the dozen districts has only one polling place (the district capital), and the poll tax of 1 gp is equivalent to half a month’s pay for most plebs (peasants). Thus most plebs never vote in the elections as the costs of the tax and traveling are far to onerous. However, the plebs still pride themselves on the fact that they, unlike most of the rest of the peoples of the world, at least have the right to do so.
Senators must be the equivalent of 20 human years of age, and must have held a magistrate position in the past as well as owning a certain amount of land OR have held an officership in the military (which requires either attendance of the exclusive military academy or having been promoted for cunning and valor on the battlefield by a far superior officer). As Senators are not paid for their service, it is little wonder that a few dozen patrician (noble) families have provided Pekal with most of it’s Senators for the short history of it’s Senate. Luckily, the plebs always love heroes, and many Senators try to garner votes by promising to uplift brave adventurers to Magistrate positions.
The Praetor must be at least middle-aged for it’s race as well as having served at least one full Senate term (of ten years). Seeing as the Praetor is selected by the Senate, and the position is unpaid, it has been entirely unheard of for a Pleb to hold the position.
Those individuals put forward for Magistrate positions are collectively known as “the Honorable” regardless of being Plebs or Patricians. Magistrates are bureaucratic figures that serve duties as diverse as judges (which includes investigators), mayors, sargeants of town guards, Counts, tax collectors, champions, and inspectors.
Moreover Pekal is more and more becoming a country of immigrants. In fact Pekal’s integrated combined arms military is entirely predicated on a continuous stream of immigrants and refugees giving military service in exchange for citizenship. However military service is not the only way one can become a citizen.
Pictures to possibly add:
SPQR flag (would prefer in purple): http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qTFq-QdsMcY/VU—GI389QI/AAAAAAAAKsA/X_7GeXD9jzM/s640/Reman.png
Roman Senate Painting: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qTFq-QdsMcY/VU—GI389QI/AAAAAAAAKsA/X_7GeXD9jzM/s640/Reman.png