Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fun With Maps, Part 2: Lianrawl Wants Your Tanned and Uneducated, But Not Your Pity

I just realized something kinda looks like a penis.
 Back again for more map adventures! Sorry for the absence since last time...laptop blackout kinda killed any and all work ethic for a week or so there.

This time we look at the economy cesspool of Nagnomei. D'aw.


Geography: Lianrawl (lee-an-rawl), the sixth largest kingdom, is a predominately grassy plains region that supports general farming and ranching. The coast to the west is rather gentle and is dotted with numerous fishing towns. To the far east begins an arid desert region that leads into the border with Alanjepsta.

There are two main population zones in Lianrawl: the coastal area and the plains region. The plains are divided between the northern Sandnow Plain and the southern region around Lake Moriah. Lianrawl contains three branches of major highway, two that connect to other kingdoms (north-to-south in the valley and branching east to Alanjespta) and one that is contained completely within the kingdom. The capital city is a fishing port located on the coast, promoting the most prosperous region of the kingdom. Although farming and ranching is popular in the plains, it is not considered to be as profitable as fishing and the only reason for a large population concentration is because of the major highway trade route linking between two major powers Hæroa and Branier. Because of this the coast is considered a popular (and cheap) vacation spot for Hæroa's elite. The major waterway, the Crastine River, flows from Lake Cerulean in the Royal North to southern Lianrawl where it empties out into the ocean. Summers are hot and humid throughout the kingdom, and winters are cool but not usually freezing.
Lianrawl is bordered by three other kingdoms: Hæroa (and to an extent the Royal North) to the north, Alanjepsta to the east, and Branier to the south. Lianrawl is flanked by the Rennidrap Ocean to the west.

Citizenry: Rawlians, as the inhabitants are called, are often portrayed as loyal and pacifistic, the ideal "everyday men". Due to their proximity to the Royal North of Hæroa, however, they were often assaulted with the fallouts of war and have met many hardships over the centuries with recovering their economy and military time and again after constant Branieran raids and lack of assistance from their alliance with Hæroa. Since the long standing times of peace, however, Rawlians have managed to rebuild a considerable amount of their population and are seen as beacons of optimism when facing adversity.
Like all the other kingdoms, Lianrawl is an absolute monarchy, but still subservient to Hæroa’s reigning sovereign. Citizens pay two standard taxes: Homeland Tax (to the Rawlian government) and Royal Tax (to the Hæroan government). The King (or Queen) is responsible for collecting and distributing taxes, overseeing in-kingdom judicial matters, protecting religious matters, supervising Lord holdings, and acting as Head-of-State and official representing face to all other kingdoms. In times of war Lianrawl's monarch was also responsible for arranging tithes to Hæroa, procuring troops, and acting as the western buffer to Hæroa. Heirship is determined by the sovereign throughout the course of their reign, almost always by kinship.

Besides the monarchy, Lord holdings are somewhat common in Lianrawl. However, unlike in other kingdoms (aside from Alanjepsta where eco-industries are not available), Lords do not carry much power and often just run glorified ranches, farms, and ship fleets. Past wars wiped out many of the ancient Lords' bloodlines, and the current governments of Lianrawl and Hæroa are wary over the prospect of rewarding Rawlians with parcels of land and the Lord title, as there are few choices left and many of those are privately owned by other Rawlian citizens. The Lords that do exist are mostly located on the coast, although there are a handful located throughout the valley as well.

Towns, villages, and smaller cities are usually headed by an elected official or board, depending on need and size. Villages collected in common areas will usually form intercity committees for trading and politicking with the capital.

Until recent times, Rawlians themselves were considered uneducated and the plebian leftovers of Hæroa. This combines with the statistic that Lianrawl is the "poorest" kingdom in the continent and creates a stigma that most Rawlians are unable to shake when they travel to other kingdoms. However, Rawlians are viewed as examples of hard workers and people of paramount character to make up for what they lack in education and economics - "farmer tans" are considered fashionable. A very small university branch (the smallest on the continent) is located in the capital city, but is grossly underfunded and most academic prodigies are instead referred to the main campus in the Royal North.

Most of Lianrawl's cultural practices outside of religion are regarded as Hæroan copies...a common joke throughout the continent is that the only real differences between a Hæroan and a Rawlian are that Rawlians are darker and Hæroans can read. What Lianrawl lacks in long-standing art and critic culture, however, is made up by its elite base carpentry skills. Although not considered the best or most aesthetic in the continent, Rawlians are often praised for sturdy construction and carving.

Lianrawl has its own native language, Rawlian, but it is not studied or practiced outside of priesthood. The language itself is considered to be related to the native language of Branier, which is also not studied or practiced outside of the priesthood. Everyone in Lianrawl speaks the same language as the rest of the continent.

Religion: Lianrawl's respected god is Shiloh, the deity of the sun, day, and life, and the counterpart to Earth’s Judaism. His temple is located along the main highway in Sandnow Plain, just south of the western branch that reaches towards the coast. It is most notable for its gold trimming and accessibility to the public, whereas most other head temples are located in more remote regions. Both men and women are welcome to serve him as priests and priestesses, although there are vastly more of the former than the latter. His servants are allowed to marry, drink, and partake in other privileges that other gods may not allow. For this Shiloh is often regarded as a merciful, kind god that is open to assisting any and all people, not just Rawlians. Ironically, Shiloh is seen as the primary god of music and other artistic endeavors, which his people in turn are not known for. He is often depicted with a flute or a lyre in many paintings and statues of his likeness...he is often shown in usual "male" wear as well, with short hair and a pointed physique, when in reality he has long, flowing hair and a lean build. Although "available", he does not show himself to people that often, and instead prefers to walk amongst towns anonymously and under the guise of a Rawlian Priest, which prompts almost all households to always welcome a Priest of Shiloh into their homes.

Lianrawl's holiest day of the week is Shiday, two days before Gylday (Sunday). Most worshippers attend weekly services at local temples on these days, where they pray and sing for a majority of their time. Attendance is not mandatory, however, and one is not looked down on for skipping or never going at all; instead, worship is seen as an open time for socializing and, frankly, "partying". The only real restriction on Shiday is that Rawlians are not permitted to practice business with each other, as it is a day for "no tension".

Although many Rawlians do not realize themselves how many restrictions there are in their lives, most from other kigndoms find their dietary and other practices odd. Rawlians are forbidden from eating any pork products, and all other meats must be ritualistically cleansed after slaughter. It used to be forbidden to eat dairy products alongside meals with meat as well, until many famines forced the notion out of practice. In concordance with Lianrawl's fixation on farming in the valley region, a day of fasting and repentance is practiced on the eve of harvest, prompting citizens to be extra grateful for the food they cultivate from the earth and seas. Unlike other continental religions which allow the asking of forgiveness of mortal sins year-round, Rawlians only have this one day of the year to purify their souls. Many festivals are held in the spring and summer months that give extra praise and worship to the sun, but Lianrawl's most sanctified holiday occurs during the dead of winter before the new year and is considered a familiar affair. Each household in Lianrawl possesses a candelabra that they light every day for a week in penance to the absent sun, from Shiday to Shiday. It is customary to exchange new year's gifts at this time. Lianrawl's most infamous tradition is the circumcising of infant males after birth, a practice only found in that kingdom.

Shiloh's Messenger, and thus Lianrawl's official mascot, is Phoenix. Motifs and designs in the shape of a phoenix (and sun) are very popular throughout the kingdom. Phoenix's nest is up in the Fritayian mountains, although some travelers claim to see him roosting throughout the plains as well. Once a year on the first day of spring he molts, and his feathers are rare, high-valued items for the lucky few who find them. Phoenix's ritual of yearly rebirth plays as a symbol for the economically poor Rawlians to remain optimistic and always striving to better themselves.

Rawlians enjoy a pseudo-alliance with Nixey due to their deity, Alillia, being the twin of Shiloh. There is an unspoken vow in either kingdom to provide shelter and sanctuary to each other’s people if necessary while traveling, although Rawlians rarely travel to Nixey. Alillia is not given as much credence in Lianrawl as Shiloh is in Nixey due to her dark nature and emphasis on feminism to the exclusion of men.

A recent addition to religion in Lianrawl is the construction and inclusion of the Temple of Fate just south of Sandnow Plain and next to the highway that connects to Alanjepsta. Its placement was decided based on Fate's relations with both kingdoms deities: she is the lover of Shiloh and daughter of Alanjepsta's Kami. Fate does not have an associated kingdom, and thus Rawlians are not obligated to serve her in any way other than respecting her temple and its servants. Lianrawl is the only kingdom in all the continent to have a head temple for more than one deity.


Yeah we have fun.

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