Friday, February 17, 2012

Negune: The Nation of Regalia

The nation of Regalia is by far the largest of the five nations on the continent of Negune. Founded eight centuries ago by the legendary bard Horatiana The Beloved, Regalia is a benevolent monarchy, so named because Horatiana was fond of wordplay, but lacked any talent for it. Regalia controls the entire eastern coast of the continent, providing it with the easiest access to the only other known landmass, the continent of Kalimesh. Regalia also boarders every other nation on the continent, except Ribanko, which has become completely isolationist and refuses to engage with the other nations; and Stekett, which, despite not sharing a boarder with Negune, is still most easily reached from Regalia rather than any of the other nations. Given these two significant advantages, Regalia has become the center of culture and trade on the continent.

Regalia is comprised of seven provinces: Centralia, Volpan, Pyensal, Sextent, Shield Haven, Garvain, and Tonshire. One for each of the seven adventurers who united the peoples of Negune eight hundred years ago. Though the seven continents are not explicitly named for one of the companions, each of the seven capitol cities has a bronze statue of one of the heroes just inside the town gate, along with an inscribed plaque penned by Horatiana herself.

Regalia is a monarchy guided by the traditions put forth by Queen Horatiana. Though no formal constitution has ever been drafted, in true Bardic style, Horatiana had every wall of the sprawling royal palace engraved with lessons she had learned, and her philosophies for leadership. These engravings do not legally bind the monarch. In fact, Monarchs often ignore certain engravings when they do not suit their needs or plans. However, the engravings are respected, and on three separate occasions, monarchs have been removed from power for violating the spirit of these philosophies. The wisest of Regalia's monarchs, it is said, spend their lives strolling through the halls of the royal palace, carefully studying the engravings left by their ancient forbear. So respected is this wisdom, that it has been disseminated throughout the seven provinces, and "Take wisdom from the walls" has become a common saying among Regalians.

The current monarch, Queen Byethen, is particularly devoted to these teachings. In accordance with them, she has established a council of seven advisers--one from each of the provinces--which are drawn from the town mayors, and cycled out after one year to make room for a new adviser. She has also assembled a council of 33 scholars, wizards, clerics, soldiers, and government clerks whose primary duty is to argue with her. To "Play Asmodeus' Advocate," if you will. They may respond to her ideas only with argument, or silence. Though they have no power to overrule her, the walls discourage her from taking any action she cannot defend. Queen Byethen also spends one week of each year living and working in a random town within her kingdom, so that she might never forget the hardships her people face.

Something which the walls are most emphatic about, and which no ruler has yet ignored, deals with the royal succession, and the separation between the nation of Regalia, and the seven provinces which constitute it. At any given time, there must be seven potential successors to the throne. Each of these successors is made the ruler of one of the provinces. The monarch may replace a successor at any time, based on any criteria, or completely arbitrarily. However, so long as the successors have the confidence of the monarch, they should be allowed to rule their provinces as they see fit. When the monarch has died, or otherwise cedes the throne, whatever advisory councils they formed during their reign gathers, and selects one of the seven to take the crown of Regalia.

Regalia is a fantastically wealthy nation. In terms of resources, it has an ample amount of forested area, plentiful fishing, rich mining, and expansive farmland. Regalia is so rich in natural resources, that no necessary commodity needs to be imported from any other nation--though the provinces themselves do need to trade with one another. The surplus of resources has also made Regalia rich in the gold and platinum of other lands through trade. Regalia's prosperity has reinforced the native legend that Negune was blessed by the gods to make it a place worthy of heroes. That legend has even spread across the sea, to Kalimesh.

Though the specific culture varies from province to province, a few common themes unite Regalian culture as a whole. Despite being governed by a monarchy, Regalia fosters a meritocratic culture. The nation's wealth has allowed education and other opportunities to be offered to most of the people. At present, two of the seven provinces are ruled by people who were born on the lower rungs of society: one a farmer, the other a miller. And as province governors, these two will both be considered as potential monarchs when Byethen leaves power.

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