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The campaign takes places in the lands controlled by the city Mastaria. Mastaria can refer to either the city and the country at large.
Mastaria is officially similar to a city-state. The city council in Mastaria holds a special court for the Council of the Greater Mastaria Lands and Holdings, the rulers of the country. These are chosen from the six soldiering guilds, and well as the City Lord, chosen by unanimous consent among the others.
These seven people rule the vast stretches of Mastarian plains and forests as best they can. The six soldiering guilds (Carlton’s Riders, Moorhigh Soldiering Guild, The Knights, Oneshot, The Outriders and Five Spears) are both officially and practically the rulers of the land, and their policies and power determines that of Mastaria. For example, the borders of Mastaria are fluid. Less so the further north one gets, but nonetheless. The borders only go as far as the soldiering guilds can position soldiers without too much death.
The world of Mastaria is a dangerous, unexplored place. In fact, Mastaria know of no other civilized country than themselves and an eastern alliance deep in the desert. People do live both west and south, but in sparse villages and without much in the way of security or technology. This is in no small part because in nature, and the very earth itself, magic seeps through form some unknown place. The entire world is infused by it, and, helpful or not, few can avoid it their whole lives. By contrast, the militaristic regime of Mastaria shines like a beacon of civilization, a mantle the city has taken on itself long ago. Much like the Romans of our world, all around them barbarism and animalism prospers and only here does reason live!
The people of Mastaria
Mastaria is composed of several major regions, and the people inhabiting them rarely interact with each other. As such, there are several distinct cultures to be found. This is not to say that they are utterly alien to one another. Several traits run through them all, such as a great cultural focus on horses. With the distances in Mastaria being what they are, all but the most isolated villages had to travel far on horseback several times in their lives, and routinely use them in their daily life. There are far more horses than people in Mastaria.
The northern part of Mastaria is the grand valley in which the city Mastaria itself lie. It is the capital region, and the richest by far. A full half of the population lives here, nearly a million in Mastaria alone. The valley is graced with the kindest weather of all the regions, enjoying short winters and mild summers, allowing for far easier infrasctructural development here than elsewere.
The people here are of typical scandinavian stock. Fair-haired and blue-eyed, they tend to be taller than those of the other provinces. They are the richest and most technologically advanced of the provinces, but in spite of their proximity to the city Mastaria, they suffer a reputation, as the much rougher weather of other provinces trains their inhabitants to endure more temperature extremes than their northern cousins.
The central part of Mastaria is the largest and of overwhelming importance to Mastaria, though they are loathe to admit it. While the region itself is unusually barren, not even the rivers offering much in the way of comfort and luxury, it binds all the regions together. Passing from one to the other is impossible without crossing into the center region, save for the north and eastern regions.
The people of the region are nomadic, travelling up and down the rivers and endless roads, either with the seasons or the caravans. Many of the regions inhabitants live their entire lives as caravan guards, experts-for-hire and mercenary compagnies. Lacking a fixed home, they have become renowned for their adaptability. Furthermore, the necessity of crossing almost all trade and transport through the region as well as the cultural tendency for many to live with these waves of travellers, the people of the central region posses great levels of education, and access to multiple kinds of trade goods from all over the land, even though they produce very little themselves. Due to their close level of integration, and nomadic acceptance of moving around a lot, they are often favored as soldiers and recruits in the soldiering guilds, as well as by travelling scholars of various kinds.
The eastern region is comprised mostly of the desert part of Mastaria, bordering the northern mountains and the eastern desert border. The northern parts of the region are the most fruitful, the mountains absorbing plenty of rain and the soil being protected from the sand by elevation and trees.
The population is concentrated to the north as well as the three city centers, built around the most plentiful water supplies. These cities are Radjii, most western of the cities and noted for its rebellious population, Damak, the largest, southernmost city and Hedja, a northeastern city-fortress, and also the only truly contested territory in Mastaria. Their people are noted for their vicious, sturdy horses and appreciation for magic.
The western border is the closest of the three pioneering regions to Mastaria. It concerns itself mainly with subduing the forest and attempting to extract resources from the magic-fuelled regions beyond. A number of mercenary companies are on Mastaria’s official payroll as the Western Expedition Party, charged with expanding Mastaria’s border to the west. In practise, they act as more of a police force, trying to keep the peace in the dangerous region. The goal of expansion hasn’t been followed officially for nearly ten years.
Most of the people living here are immigrants; the western region has very little of its native population. The soldiering guilds have long tried to get wholly rid of them, but they remain endemic to the area, living either in the cities or with their own kind. In the cities, they are often slaves or laborers, and as a consequence, the population have spread from there, setting up communities in areas less familiar with them. As such, they are becoming more and more common in the southern region, for example. When they live with their own kind, it is often in small towns, adhering to their own traditions and obeying their own lore. Pineholm, a city on the western edge of the region, is the famous seat of the native population, and the only major point of habitation they retain.
The south-eastern region is the largest of the pioneering states. It exists in part to provide a southern anchor for the desert front, but also to tame the excessively vicious nature in the area. Even more so than the western region, the land here is ripe with magic, and it often manifests itself in infection of humans and animals, unique species of plants, and a myriad of odd events. While the soldiers here, mainly Knights and Carlton’s, officially have several expansion goals to the east, meant to relieve the front, these are all long-term goals and have long since been put on hold. Until the forest that divides the southern regions can be tamed, reinforcements cannot reach the south-eastern region fast enough, neither to deliver a decisive blow, or to build up infrastructure to ease occupation.
The people here are, contrary to the other pioneering states, mostly native. The arrival of the soldiering guilds almost fifty years ago was seen as a blessing, given their tough existence, and they readily accepted submission in exchange for protection and purpose. They now lead the expedition parties and Carlton’s have recently started recruiting a large amount of them.
The south-western region is the oldest pioneering region, predating the south-eastern one, which was the one to define the term, by almost four hundred years. The region has slowly increased in size, the only one to do so reliably, making its way south-west through the comparatively benign nature. The recent discovery of reliable access to magic metals have spurned the House of Three Pennies to invest heavily in the region, the first echoes of a prominent future.
The population of this region is mostly migrational. Besides, the natives here mostly live in separated communities with little contact with each other. Unlike their western compatriots, the south-western administrators have worked closely with the native population, and it is a region with great promise for the linguistically minded, since many of the small cultures have their own language. the various villages are provided with essentials in exchange for aid in the form of scouts, maps, guards, secure outposts and survival training. The Outriders originally sprang out of this region, and still have strong ties there. As such, the south-western region remain surprisingly tightly-controlled and integrated with Mastaria, despite the great distance.