Aeons & Ascendants
“Be not at the mercy of fear and superstition. Let not the magister oppress the masses with mysterious arts. Let not the bishop fool their flock with lies feigning as the words of gods. An emperor who sits upon a throne of truth and understanding holds strength which is admired by the honest and feared by the corrupt. We shall be admirers.”
– Imperial Herald Tomathas Kinsley
Ruland is a nation constantly seeking its identity. No nation is quicker to adopt and accept radical policies and social reformation. It is a country where truth is valued over trust, and the citizens can be guided into performing amazing feats (or atrocities) by the guidance of a capable leader.
Ruland is most notable for its advances in scientific research. Due to the Anti-Magic Bill of 810, the Rulish people have been forced to devise mundane solutions to problems which magic had previously solved. As a result, the nation has made strides in the fields of physics, engineering, alchemy, and medicine, the likes of which are unmatched in any region (aside from the neighboring gnomish city-state of Yandalban). These advances also secured Ruland’s status as the world’s trade superpower, with the nation’s primary export being knowledge and machinery. These discoveries have led to a drastic improvement to both Ruland’s quality of living and its military destructive power.
Ruland has become known as the Epicenter of Alchemy. Being the closest substitute to true magic, alchemy replicates the powerful forces once only wielded by great mages, but in a convenient, easy to mass-produce form. In fact, most high-level alchemy involves trapping arcane power in a chemical vessel, but the Rulish government officials in-the-know prefer to keep this fact well hidden. Ruland promoted advances in alchemy through the establishment of the Alchemist Guild: an organization where alchemical discoveries are funded by the government in exchange for manufacturing rights and production quotas.
While the discovery of firearms was seen throughout Ipeiros at roughly the same time, Ruland has made the most progress in perfecting it. The invention of the rifle and revolver, coupled with advances in alchemical bombs, transformed Ruland into a military juggernaut. The casualties of the Arbor War between Ruland and Valance in 814 were the greatest of any nation vs nation war in history. As quoted by a Valancian general, “…their ranks were lined with but quivering footmen, yet the power which they commanded rivaled our greatest conjurers. Our first three lines, and one of their own, were wiped clean in a flash of fire and smoke. War between man shall never again be the same.” Many of these inventions have been readapted to peacetime security, from armed law officers to the airships used in the infamous Faerwind Riots.
Kings and Emperors
Culturally, the citizens of Ruland have always preferred the leadership of one, autocratic figure over any form of congress or republic. Even in the earliest days of the nation’s history, tribes were led by unquestionable leaders who ruled until death, and when one tribe defeated the other, the losing tribe would peacefully assimilate and follow the new chieftain. In more modern applications, monarchs and emperors have had little trouble imposing laws and influencing the populace. Even business managers can drive their employees to absurd limits if they can earn their trust. Rulish people in general feel more secure when someone who is more knowledgeable and wise can make hard decisions unimpeded by regulations of political constructs.
The nation of Ruland first formed centuries ago when various tribal lords swore fealty to a single king, believed to be given true authority by the will of the gods. Ruland’s sovereigns are known for implementing drastic laws, from exiling all elves to executing followers of particular gods, and the citizenry almost always supports these laws. On rare occasions, a dissident will win the hearts of the people, and move them against the standing government. The greatest example of this was the Rationalist movement that led to the collapse of the monarchy and the establishment of the modern empire in 677.
The modern emperors, like the kings before them, passed down the right to rule through their lineage. However, if an emperor is deemed unfit to rule, a movement can be started by the citizenry to have them overthrown peaceably, and passing on the right chosen (always unanimously) by the people. The current standing leader is Emperor Keidan Landriom, most known for passing the Anti-Magic Bill, founding the Alchemist Guild, and engaging in the Arbor War. He currently is greatly favored by the citizenry, and is treated as a charming celebrity as well as a trusted dictator. Other nations, particularly those who actively practice magic, are less supportive of the direction he has taken Ruland over the course of his 28-year reign.
Faerwind is the name of both a city in northeastern Ruland and the territory surrounding it. Removed from the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Almander, this remote region favors natural beauty and simple living over machines and capitalism. Villages in Faerwind are populated primarily by farmers and craftsmen. In fact, Faerwind’s farms are responsible for more of Ruland’s food than any other region, and they compete with foreign traders as the capital’s largest food supplier. Faerwind is famous for its silversmiths, who utilize the regions plentiful silver veins to create intricate works of art.
Citizens of Faerwind place great reverence in Rotima, the goddess of villages and farms in the Iperian pantheon. Unlike other regions that favor her, Faerwinders actually see machinery and convenient living as sacrilegious, rejecting the goddess’ gifts for material amenities. Faerwind also holds great respect for nature spirits, and druidism is not uncommon. Practicing druids, as well as spellcasting clerics of Rotima, have to be careful when practicing their craft; Rulish officers occasionally visit the region and enforce the Anti-Magic Bill, much to the villagers’ chagrin.
Tensions between Faerwind and central Ruland rose over the last twenty years. The empire proposed the construction of a railroad through the northern woods to Faerwind. This was strongly opposed by the natives, as they believed it would disrupt the natural balance. This, coupled with the detention of divine spellcasters and the disruption of the region’s economy by the Alchemist Guild culminated in 828 in what is now known as the Faerwind Riots.