The Dawn of a New Age
Married to the sea, this large island group, consisting of nine major islands and over a dozen minor ones, of varying size and shape separate by as much as 40 miles in some places, make up what is left of the once grate Kingdom of Talismarr. The sea has always been vital to Talismarr, and always will be. Originally fishermen, the Talismarran became supreme mariners, charting the oceans and journeying to every continent centuries before the other cultures. Exotic, mysterious, alluring, and sometimes deadly, the Talismarran rule the waves. While most other merchants won’t dare sail beyond the sight of shore, the Talismarran go places no one else will, and thus control and exploit trade routes and resources no one else can. The Talismarr take their dangerous ocean born life seriously. Ships business, particularly during times of crisis such as storms, requires intense focus. But when work concludes and no danger threatens, their ships are ripe with the sound of laughter and music. As Talismarr grew more prosperous however the life of sailors gave war to the life of merchants and traders. Talismarr is a land of experienced merchants who know how to hold onto power and young traders who scheme for a share of it. As diplomatic skill came as second nature to the highly political Talismarran relish the art of the deal, the skill of gaining advantage through negotiation but never through outright falsehood or cheating. Talismarran are scrupulously honest, they bargain hard and well, but no trader or sea captain can claim to have been cheated or sold goods of dubious quality. And when the Talismarran reach an agreement with someone, they will sail thought storm and fire to keep their side of a deal. Although Talismarr does not control as great a proportion of Tallene’s trade as it would like. Talismarr trade in Vastonia controls Talismarr much more than Talismarr trade controls Vastonia. Talismarran generally observe laws of contracts, debts, and interest payments. Quite often Talismarr observe these laws all too well, exploiting loopholes that others had not imagined. Talismarr conceives itself as a young aggressive and expansionist nation of traders trying to regain the prestige they once controlled. Talismarr is a land of wealth and the grasping drive to earn more. Most Talismarran spend their lives making money, doing business, having a hearty time in ways that display wealth, and gossiping about the world in general and their neighbors in particular. A hedonistic and uninhibited people, the Talismarran are open, friendly and lascivious in the extreme. Trade is their life blood and Talismarran are friendly to those with a pouch full of coin. Though the islands are fertile, the space is at a premium, with people, animals and crops all competing for the same soil. Despite it’s relatively small size Talismarr is once again a major sea power, thanks to the skilled and courageous sailors that call Talismarr their home. Talismarran society is fairly egalitarian, though people tend to fall into one of three professions: fishermen, merchants, and sailors. Talismarran sailors are highly skilled, and command high prices for those who seek their expertise. Ancient Talismarr history was defined by a series of conquests. Even though dozens of colonies once swore fealty to the Talismarr, they consider their premiere achievement to be the exploration, and mapping of the entire world. Talismarran are generally regarded by other races as pompous aristocrats who dream only of their decaying past. It is said that every generation of Talismarr mourns for the “Golden Days” when the power of their kingdom was rivaled only by the gods. After the Cataclysm The Noble Houses reformed Talismarr. Taking the useful elements of their former kingdom, the Centaurum was created as a ruling and advisory council. The head of the highest Noble House became the King, leader of the people, and soul of the Kingdom. His word is law and every proclamation is for the good of Talismarr. Surrounding the King is his Court, composed of the Advisors, and leaders of the Noble Houses. The Court helps the King make decisions on the Talismarr’s various policies by advising that he take certain actions. The Advisors are a group of elite statesmen who oversee various aspects of Talismarr. Senators from the Centaurum come to Court to explain the needs of their constituents and those of the kingdom at large. Noble Houses seek the goodwill of the King in assisting their various enterprises across the World. Heading the Advisors is the Prime Minister. Should anything happen to the King, the Prime Minister rules as regent until a new King is chosen by the Centaurum. The Centaurum is a parliament composed of the most powerful Houses in the kingdom. It is a highly politicized body; its members constantly jockey for position and status within its ranks. Talismarran culture is defined by the family. One’s family (or House) defines one’s cultural rank, status, and title. A House’s social position is always in flux as other houses gain or lose their prestige as a result of other House’s machinations. Houses with long histories of service to the kingdom are held in the greatest respect. Noble Houses hold much wealth and power and are deeply involved in the politics, economics, and industries of the Kingdom. To have power in Talismarr society, one must play the game of blackmail and backstabbing. While one can work to increase one’s position in society, connections in high places do not hurt at all. The power of a Nobles House is relative to the amount of dirt they have on other Houses. Talismarr’s nobles recognized early the dangers of untrained troops guarding the merchant fleet against piracy, and so the creation of a fully professional army and fleet was among the first priorities of the new Kingdom. Practicality has gotten in the way of this vision. All military actions originate from the King or a member of his chief military advisors, of whom the Grand Fleet Admiral is the head. The bulk of the Talismarr’s ground forces are composed of Guardsmen, led by the Guardsman Elite the kings second military advisor. The Guardsmen were originally organized as an elite arm of the military to escort the Emperor during wartime. But there duties have grown to form the military and law enforcement branches of the kingdom. The Guardsmen are divided into three branches: Talismarran Guardsmen (the domestic and colonial police force), Military Guardsmen (the foot soldier of the military), and the Royal Guardsmen (the guardians of the Kings house and the king). Talismarr Guardsmen are usually low-brow Talismarran with little motivation to advance in society. These enforcers of the law are, generally, not too intelligent and are easily bribed. Most Talismarran Guardsmen receive little-to-no training. Military and Royal Guardsmen, on the other hand, are typically well-trained, and armed and armored in the best equipment Talismarr can buy. Talismarr’s Navy is still without peer among the other races in both number and tactics. Without straining their resources, Talismarr is able to simultaneously defend itself and its merchant fleet. While ship design hasn’t changed much for centuries, the Talismarran have maintained their technological edge over the other races. The most important Talismarr naval ship is the Dromon, a light and swift boat with three masts, and two-decked, at 55 meters long and six meters wide the ship is manned by 100 sailors of whom 45 are marines who in battle are supported by a number of the rowers.