Introduction to this Age

The old empires of Kahun and Gawain are falling apart, Edwin is torn by civil war, and Maze struggles to hold onto its possessions in the Territory, threatened by the emerging superpower that is Domus, and the forces of the Arctic. The mode of travel is the horse, and the best way to dress is to stick enough feathers to qualify as a bird onto your hat, and carry around a sword. All natives are furry (Skin Avian are present here too). No native humans.
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JamesG
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Introduction to this Age

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The Age of Cavaliers

The Kingdom/Commonwealth of Edwin

The great Kingdom of Edwin is split in two, the North loyal to the King of Edwin (Loyalists), the South loyal to the Parliament (Parliamentarians), with religion playing an important role on both sides. The King has been labelled a traitor to Edwin by the rebellious Parliamentarians, and will execute him if he is captured, and likewise, the King has ordered the head of the Lord Protector of the Parliamentarian faction, if they can catch him first. The Loyalists have a whole way of life that has prevailed for centuries to lose, facing a corrupt Parliament run by a religious madman. The Parliamentarians stand under a parliament, perhaps the first example of democracy on the continent. If they fail, they stand to lose Edwin to absolutism.

Though there are some Northern Parliamentarians and Southern Loyalists, the main forces of each faction control these counties:

Loyalist Counties: Fortriu, Yorkshire, Northumbria, Lancashire, Éireann, Gwynedd, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk

Parliamentarian Counties: Suffolk, Essex, Wessex, Devon, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent

At present, the Loyalist system of governance is each county is represented by the nobility, whom answer to the King. It used to be the system that members of Parliament also represented each county, but during this Civil War period, the Loyalists do not recognise Parliamentary authority. The military of the loyalists is not well organised, made up of peasants armed only with halberds and unreliable muskets ranging from matchlocks to antiquated arquebuses, though the gentry of Edwin are mostly on the side of the Loyalists, and have the money to provide better weapons and armour. The Loyalist Army does not enforce any uniform beyond red and white sashes, to be worn over normal clothes or armour. It numbers near 50, 000 in strength, with yet more tens of thousands employed in the logistics of the army’s baggage and supply train, and the acquisition of beasts of burden.

In the Southern counties of Edwin, the Parliamentarian system of government is in place, with Members of Parliament representing each county, which votes on issues, presided over by the Lord Protector. It used to be the system that Lords also represented each county, but during this Civil War period, the Parliamentarians do not recognise Noble or Royal authority. The military of the Parliamentarians is far more disciplined than the Loyalists, using a system known as the New Model Army. This army has standardised training for unit formations, issuing commands, supplies and logistics, and drills for the loading and firing of weapons, matchlocks all provided by Parliament. The Parliamentarian New Model Army does enforce a uniform of red coats, as red is the cheapest cloth they can buy. Edwinish red-coated soldiers of the next two centuries are uniformed as such from this regulation. This army numbers around 50, 000 in strength, as well as tens of thousands employed in the logistics of the army’s baggage and supply train, and the acquisition of beasts of burden.

Religiously, the Church of Midas is the prevailing religion of the Edwinish continent, though it is divided between a harsher and more lax doctrine. The Loyalist faction favours the laxer, King’s Church of Midas doctrine, which allows for theatres, pubs and does not forbid the acquisition of wealth, whereas the Parliamentarian faction prefers the Orthodox Church of Midas, a stricter code which forbids drinking, entertainment and displays of wealth. These religious factors play a heavy part in the division between the two factions of the Edwinish continent. Despite religious differences, the Loyalist faction is well-disposed to Domus, as they fought with the canine kingdom in the Thirty Year’s War. The Parliamentarian faction believes that war has created too many problems for Edwin. They are not friendly to Domus.

The Kingdom of Domus

The Kingdom of Domus has seemingly recovered from the horror of the Thirty Year’s War. During the period immediately following the War, the nobles of the land became focussed on the acquisition of power. The Parlement, a group of lawyers and advisors to the King, sought more political influence themselves, hoping to have an influence on Domish policies, instead of simply obeying the King. Upon taking power, Louis XIV, the ‘God-given’, soon made his position clear on that front. Parlement would have no such authority, and once the Cardinal, the King’s advisor and friend, died; all Domus would be governed solely by His Majesty.

At present the Domish system of governance is each county is administrated in theory by the nobility, however all important decisions must be decreed by the King. The King, a divinely ordained position, is seen as the defender of the people’s rights, if ever the Nobility, whom have more direct authority over the people, should become unfair or oppressive. The military of Domus is a strong emphasis on a regular army, with near 100, 000 troops, infantry, cavalry and artillery, with tens of thousands employed in the logistics of the army’s baggage and supply train, and the acquisition of beasts of burden. The Army does not enforce a strict uniform in the infantry, though the colour white and the fleur-de-lis symbol is expected to feature prominently. The King’s Musketeers, an elite regiment, is expected to wear blue with white fleur-de-lis symbols.

In terms of religion, the Domish are primarily of Trinidian faith, with the old religion of Celeste and Loup falling into a minority. In the Thirty Year’s War, Domus was pitted against Maze and Gawain, and thus tensions between Domus and these nations are high. Domus was eventually aided by the Kingdom of Edwin, before the Civil War, and so Domus is well-disposed to the Loyalist faction on the Edwinish continent.

The Holy Gawainian Empire

The Holy Gawainian Empire, a contiguous state since the late Mediaeval period, is an old idea, that is now falling apart. The Thirty Year’s War left the Gawainian countryside ravaged by foreign armies and mercenary soldiers, and her proudest cities, such as Bayreuth, Brixen and even Nördlingen pounded to rubble by the siege cannon of battle after battle to claim and reclaim the strategically important areas. The Duchies have begun to take on much of their former independence, and now the land is held unified only by a thin thread of supposed allegiances between the Electors. The Holy Gawainian Empire is now neither holy, nor an empire, nor even Gawainian, given the individual characters the Duchies are taking on.

The Gawainian system of governance is one in which each Elector holds almost autonomous power over their Duchy. As their titles suggest, the electors elect their monarch to be Emperor, however the Emperor is not able to have significant effect over the Duchies, existing only as a relic of the Empire’s former glory. Each Elector is responsible for raising his own army. As this is the case, it is impossible to say that any uniform regulations may be generalised for Gawain as a country. Given the quite literal decimation of the Gawainian population, none of the Duchies have an army any larger than 10, 000 men, most falling below that level. As such, Domus’ united Army now outnumbers the total Gawainian forces.

Whilst the Holy Gawainian Empire, as the title suggests, attempted to place all of Gawain under the one faith, The Church of Midas, the decline of Imperial fervour and values means that once again, Gawain, whilst officially a stronghold for Midas, is, in practicality, lacking unified faith amongst its people. Gawainian relations are tense between Domus and Edwin, from the Thirty Year’s War period, though amicable towards Maze, given the support from that country.

The Kingdom of Maze

Maze is at the forefront of its power in this Age. Though the Age of Muskets sees many colonies upon the Territory of the Ravens, the first to explore the New World are the Mazans. The Mazan Empire has claimed vast amounts of Piriqui territory for the past 100 years, and though Maze has had to sacrifice some colonies to the power of Domus, it will do all it can to retain its Imperial glory. The King of Maze knows the dangers the country faces from Domish power to its South, and so allies itself with the only significant power he can trust, Gawain.

The Mazan governing principle is that each province is administrated by members of the Royal Family, with the king himself ruling from the capital. The military of Maze, whilst not powerful by Domish standards, is at a significant height in Mazan history. Armour is popular amongst the army, but the only official uniform required is a yellow sash to mark out Mazan soldiers amidst the smoke and confusion of battle. The Army is numbered at approximately 75, 000, and is spread across the Mazan Empire in the Territory of the Ravens, as well as on the Mazan homeland.

The Trinidian Faith finds its strongest bastions in the Mazan lands, with most of the population strong worshippers. The Mazans have attempted to export this belief to the Avians of the Territory of the Ravens, with mixed results. During the Thirty Year’s War, Maze came to Gawain’s aid, and thus is friendly to the mustelids, and unfriendly to the Loyalist Edwinish and Domish. Maze is particularly hostile to the Arctic Islands, as the Tsar took advantage of Maze’s huge military drain in the South to invade and conquer some of the rodent Empire’s northern colonies, under the pretext of a centuries old claim to those lands.

The Tsardom of the Arctic Islands

A new ruling dynasty has arisen to the Tsardom of the Arctic. The period of weak and corrupt Tsars is finishing, and the new Tsar must set about to reclaim the loyalties of each principality, which has slowly drifted from control in the resulting famine and drain on the nation from the Thirty Years War, amongst other local conflicts and rebellions. The Time of Troubles, for the Arctic is now over. The time to reforge her as a great nation and Empire on the Piriqui continent has come.

The Tsar is the State. This is the only real form of government, with all the Princes of the principalities of the Arctic and her Empire on the Piriqui continent under his driect control. Like Domus, the Tsar is seen as a divinely selected leader, and a defender of the people. However, unlike Domus, to keep the nobles in check, the Tsar relies on the RAEKO, the Rike Arktik Empire Keepers of Order, the secret policing organisation descended from the Mediaeval New Keepers of Order. This he uses to make certain everything is running smoothly in each principality, and no Noble is acting beyond his authority. Militarily, the Arctic maintains a tradition of a disciplined army that has been required to wear uniforms of one variety or the other since Mediaeval times. The Empire Forces and the New Model Army of Edwin are the only strictly uniformed militaries on Feila at this time. The Empire Forces Army, whilst allowing the individual purchase of armour and furs for the cold, insists upon white cloaks with the black insignia of a two-headed stoat rampant, for infantry and cavalry. The Black, White and Purple colours of the Arctic feature prominently in all uniforms. The total army is only 40, 000 troops in total, not including all furs employed for logistics and requisitioning supplies, however these forces maintain a high level of training making them quite valuable in any conflict.

Religion is a major part of Arctic life, with the Arctic Pantheon of gods, headed by the Goddess Kukik, being the dominant religion. This religion exists nowhere else outside the Islands and Empire. The Arctic is well-disposed towards Gawain, neutral to the Edwinish factions and Domus, and quite unfriendly to Maze, as it fought Maze and invaded some of its Empire during the Thirty Year’s War, in the Northern Campaign, as it was known.

The Yamaha Shogunate

Yamaha has brought every noble under the monarch's control, and the nation has begun a closed-borders policy. Whilst many a bold explorer has snuck into the feline country, only the bravest and the handiest with a rapier has made it out, the Yamahans being decidedly xenophobic. Yamaha's lack of precious natural resources makes it an unappealing colonial option to the more powerful nations when compared with the gold-rich Territory, which even the Arctic is keen to take a slice of. Catching onto this, it will not be long before Yamahan explorers begin the journey across the great mountain range that cuts the continent in half, to discover what riches, and what dangers lurk within.

The shogun is the ruler of Yamaha, and decrees laws that must be obeyed by every noble. The nobles themselves, whilst technically in control of their own territories and armies, are constantly kept busy by the shogun, whom keeps them travelling and working in such manner that no noble can have enough time to plan any sort of uprising against the shogun’s authority with any other noble. The combined armies of each noble under the Shogun would number at approximately 40, 000, a dangerously low number considering the Arctic forces to its North-East, however a lack of interest in the resource-poor Yamahan territories has saved it from Imperial conquest, as any annexation of Yamahan territories by a foreign power would prove to cost for than its benefits.

Religiously, the Yamahan territories are predominantly concerned with household gods as their religion, the spirits of their family and ancestors being more important than an overarching god of all things. Due to Yamaha’s closed borders policy, an influence of foreign religions is minimal on this part of the continent.

The Territory of the Ravens

The Territory of the Ravens is in a difficult state of affairs. From the East, the Mazan Conquistadores and subsequent colonisation has seen tribal lands pushed ever further back by towns and ports unfriendly to their presence. Any Avian tribes captured by Mazans are expected to convert to the Trinidian Church and learn to live in Mazan society. If they refuse, they may be shot as heretics. Of course, the language barrier means that most Avian prisoners are killed, and their children placed in the care of the Church.

From the North, the Imperial forces of the Arctic Tsardom are also on the move to claim the more temperate zones of the continent. Tolerance for Avians is even lower, the Arctic pantheon has no god for Avians, and so they are considered nothing more than dangerous animals. From the West, Yamahan explorers are busy scouting out potential for taking resource rich regions for themselves, and the Domish have already claimed some Mazan areas in the South. The time of a wild, Avian dominated Territory is coming to an end.

The Kahunian Empire

The Kahunian Empire is fading. It has not been ravaged by war, as Gawain has, but decentralisation of power is leading to an undermining of the monarch's power. Failed reform upon failed reform sweeps over the government, and the people are beginning to lose faith in the whole system. Throughout history, Maze has been constantly threatened by Kahunian raids and invasions. Now the old power of Kahun is stagnating, Maze, now rich with Piriqui gold, becomes ever more a worry. The Kahunians send troops to the border, hoping to ward off any Mazan Imperial ideas, but it is unlikely that this measure would really be able to stop Mazan Imperialism, should the rodents ever wish to add the reptile country to its Empire.

The system of governing in Kahun is a system in which the Sultan rules over the whole country, with advisors assisting him. This system is falling apart, as every town or province has power-hungry war lords, nobility and reformists vying for local control, fracturing the integrity of the so-called Empire. Due to this decentralisation of real power, the Sultan is afraid to call up any military, as each town or province is obliged to raise its own armed force. If the Sultan were to order the provinces to mobilise troops, and the provinces, holding the real power themselves, refused, it would prove once and for all that the Sultan has no authority. Therefore, the Sultan merely advises the nobility of the provinces to the dangers of Maze. Kahun can raise a an army of perhaps 40, 000 soldiers with actual armed combat knowledge, though each unit has its own allegiances, and the army as a whole would not operate as an effective, united fighting force. Kahun could also raise another 50, 000 peasant conscripts, divided in loyalty and unity, armed with little more than farming equipment and trained in nothing but how to work the land. This is an impressive number on paper, but every country of Feila can see through this façade of power, at the fractures between every province of the Empire. The Army, if actually required to undertake a serious campaign, would not last long.

Religiously, Kahun, like Gawain, is failing in maintaining a unified religious demographic. The official religion of the Empire, the Kahunian pantheon of gods has long fallen into obscurity, with a minority of worshippers. Trinidian influences from Maze affect the Southern parts of Kahun. Kahun is unfriendly to Maze, as it is afraid of Maze’s power that may come back to haunt the reptiles, after enjoying such a long period of dominance over the rodents. It is neutral to affairs of Gawain, Edwin, Domus and the Arctic.

Technology

Technology in the Age of Cavaliers is not drastically different from the late Mediaeval period.

In warfare, however, many things have changed. Whilst plate armour is quite popular for officers and wealthy furs in battle, the face of war has changed, mostly due to the advent of black powder, and the changes it has wrought. Musketeers are now a popular form of infantry, using matchlock smoothbore muskets. These weapons are very smoky, have no sights for accuracy, are pointed, rather than aimed, and are fired off by a burning cord, the ‘match’, which is connected to the trigger. The matchlock muskets are used in conjunction with pikemen, to protect the musketeers in melee combat. Mass musket volleys are the only effective use for the weapon.

Matchlock musket:
http://www.militaryheritage.com/images/matchlock1.jpg

An advance on this firing mechanism is the wheel-lock. This is a complicated firing mechanism, in which sparks are created by a rotating wheel. This is an expensive device, and requires a lot of maintenance, however, it provides an advantage in that it is more reliable in wet conditions, and there is no glowing match to give away the musketeer's position in the dark. This mechanism may be fitted to either pistols or muskets. This is an expensive weapon, and so would only be used by gentry and nobility.

Wheel-lock musket:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... 2.50.8.jpg

The cannon is another addition to the 17th century arsenal. Slow to load, smoky and loud, these weapons can range from great siege cannon, to lighter culverins. It is because of these cannon that military formations have evolved from deep box-like formations, to spread out lines of infantry, to minimise the damage done by a single cannon ball.

Example of warfare of this age with the matchlock:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... -K_063.jpg

In terms of maritime technology, this is an age of exploration, and ships are being build bigger and stronger, to survive long journeys at sea. The naval warships of this period are growing ever larger. Ever since the defeat of the Mazan Armada, the warship has gone from a large emphasis on carrying soldiers, to a large emphasis on cannon. The biggest ships of this age can carry up to 90 or so cannon of varying shot sizes. Tactically, however, naval battles are largely a free-for-all for each captain to do as he wishes.

Example of naval combat and the appearance of ships in this Age:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... h_War.jpeg

In terms of civil technology, much of the countries of Feila are rural in nature, not much different from Mediaeval standards. It is in the cities and major towns that real technological progress can be seen, mainly in construction to allow more impressive cathedrals, palaces and places of business being built. Bricks are now in use for many houses, and stone architecture is now common in larger towns. Ice cream is a recent invention, as is the barometer and the telescope.

Clothing

Clothing in Edwin, Gawain, Domus and Maze are all quite similar.
Male:
The usual form of dress for members of the gentry and nobility is frilled shirt and long undergarments, reaching almost to the shins. Over these light clothes, breeches may be worn, reaching to the knee if on formal occasions, to halfway down the shins for normal day wear. These may be decorated as the wealth of the wearer dictates. Over the shirt, a doublet is worn, which is a kind of tight fitting jacket. A typical sleeve of this period was full and slashed to show the shirt beneath. Decorative ribbons are pulled through eyelets on the breeches and the waist of the doublet to keep the breeches in place, and are tied in elaborate bows. Wide-brimmed hats are common in this period, with extravagant feathering and pluming. Frilled gloves are also popular, as are neck frills, though stiff neck ruffs are somewhat old-fashioned by this time. Buckled shoes may be worn for formal occasions, whereas shin and knee-high boots with wide brims may be worn for day-to-day wear. Spurs are common for riding boots. Gentry and nobility are rarely seen without a sword of some description such as the rapier or sabre.
Examples of normal dress for male gentry and nobility during this period:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... Mytens.jpg
http://www.executedtoday.com/images/Charles_I_big.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... Stuart.jpg
http://screenrant.com/wp-content/upload ... eteers.jpg
http://www.costumes.org/history/17thcen ... ey1643.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... _Guise.jpg
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For the peasantry and soldiers, dress and style are similar, but many cannot afford the decoration that is common amongst gentlemen and Lords. Soldiers may be recognised by their thick crossbelts, carrying their swords and matchlock weapons. Infantry may also carry halberds, if they are strong enough, or short pikes.
Example of armed soldiers:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... rtywar.gif

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... keteer.jpg

Female:
The usual form of dress is a smock and linen drawers worn underneath, as well as the use of corsets to hold the body is a certain shape. Embroidery is popular in gowns at this time. Gowns usually reach to the ankles, and have full sleeves. Petticoats are also worn under the gown. Shoes are worn at most times. For outdoor wear, wide-brimmed hats are also very commonly used.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... enkian.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... enkian.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... ange02.jpg


Clothing in the Arctic Islands is different from its Southern counterparts. The trend is more to robe-like garments and furs. The wealthier Arctic furs are fond of Southern fashion styles, so highly laced and decorative patterns are becoming popular in Arctic dress, even extending to highly ornate boots not found in more Southerly dress styles. This trend is also evident in ladies fashion, with more Southern looking gowns and petticoats, though furs also feature prominently.

Examples of Arctic dress for ladies and gentlemen:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... MihGTG.jpg

Magic

Magic is still commonly used in this era. Amongst the lower classes, magic use is usually not developed beyond being a gift, whereas the gentry, nobility and royalty all receive varying degrees of tuition in magic. It is considered impolite to use magic at formal occasions. Offensive magic is highly valued at war, particularly in naval combat, given the flammability of ships, and thus, many magic users may be placed aboard ships to ward off magical attacks, and deliver such magic in return. In armies, magic users are often assigned to units to protect them from magical assaults. As the concentrated use of magical defences over battalions is easier to maintain than a magical assault, magic users are not vital in turning a battle, given the ease at which magic is deflected. The matchlock is a more decisive weapon.

Honour


Honour is a concept that is the norm for only three levels of Gawainian, Edwinish, Domish and Mazan society, Gentry, Nobility and Royalty. The Clergy have no 'Honour' as such because they are humbled before the eyes of Midas or Dios. Honour is an idea that makes those three classes act with chivalry towards each other, and politely. It leads them to 'honourable' acts, which usually correspond with working against crime, attending Church, avoiding insulting people, and defending the honour of others. If one member of those three classes offends another, they may be forced to duel, to 'satisfy' the offended party's honour.

Duels


Duels are as commonplace amongst the Gentry, Nobility and Royalty as insults, as both correspond each other in frequency, given that insulting another is a dishonourable act. Duels are between two people, though truels, between three people, are possible. Each combatant must have a 'second', a person that stands by to make sure no cheating or foul play occurs while duelling. When a person challenges a duel to defend their honour, the common practice is to throw a glove or gauntlet on the ground in front of the other duellist, who then picks it up, and slaps it across the challenger’s face, signalling they accept. Leaving the glove means the duellist declines, and thus loses their honour, only to be regained if they accept at a later time.

With the duel agreed of, the duellist that was challenged, NOT the challenger, picks the weapon they will be using, from bare fists to rapiers to pistols. They will also agree upon when the duel is won. There are three 'levels' of seriousness when this is concerned.
1. First Blood. The duel is over when one person draws the other's blood, thus winning.
2. Knock Out. The duel is over when one person is too tired, or unconscious to continue.
3. To the Death. The duel is over with the death of one combatant.

The duel usually ends any dispute between the parties involved. However, if the offended party lost, and is still alive, they have not defended their honour, and thus are shamed, and not worthy to duel again.

Servants

It is the usual practice of any gentleman or lady to have a servant, or 'lackey' in this age, or more, depending on the wealth and status of the person. Servants usually follow around their masters, to perform tasks such as looking after the horses, carrying items whilst travelling, and importantly, being an ally should the master ever get into a fight. Gentlemen are often in the practice of disciplining lackeys by hitting them, which is considered acceptable if the servant committed some indiscretion. Servants are never afforded the same comforts as their masters, expected to sleep outside the door in order to warn of any intruders, and only allowed days off at the master's discretion. Nobility and Royalty will have several servants. Peasants would never have a servant.

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