Check out the country I made.


Homebrew and House Rules


I'm still working on my homebrew campaign setting. The basic idea is one where firearms have become the primary weapons and magitech is an important part of the world. I've been going back and forth on mechanics and technological specifics for awhile (I'm at 1800 with repeating muskets, and I think I may finally have somewhere to stay in that regard), and I think it's time to put that off for a little while and do some actual world building. So, I wrote up a country in the world that's been in my mind for a long time (a blend of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Canada):

Albhonna

I'd appreciate a look at this first draft, with critique, general opinions, and advice on what information I should add so that new players have the information they need about the setting.


I feel like you should call the Monarch a prime minister or president, sense he is elected by peoples' representatives. It wouldn't be terrible for it to be a real monarchy whose powers have been limited. It comes off a little weird.

I don't get the clans. Are they like lodges and really important to the people or are they just political parties? I think it would make the country seem richer if they were really the decedents of 7 tribes that settled the nation and you couldn't switch tribes without marriage or something. If that isn't the case, you could afford another paragraph to describe what the deal is with them.

I've felt really uninspired lately but for some reason your country gives me a really strong mental image. Mind if I use it? I don't know what I will but it feels like something I could get into.


I like what you have there, but I love maps. Whenever I make a country or a continent or a world for that matter I always start with a map. It helps me visualize everything else and then find natural boundries, etc.

You may have already done that, if so then nm.

Outside of that I like what you have. I do agree the clan system seems a little strange. Maybe its because when I think clan I think being born into it, so its probably just verbiage.

Also what is the relationship between the Queen and the senate exactly? is it as complicated and bizarre as the US government with the president, senate, and judiciary? While interesting politically it could be a bit much to really explain in a game.

I have always been a big fan of simplicity at the table. Honestly even when I use foreign languages I just tell my players "This is the Spanish neck of the woods". Gives them an instant visualization. Thats just me though.


cranewings wrote:
I feel like you should call the Monarch a prime minister or president, sense he is elected by peoples' representatives. It wouldn't be terrible for it to be a real monarchy whose powers have been limited. It comes off a little weird.

I chose monarch because the monarchy is still familial, and when a monarch dies or loses power someone elsse in the royal family takes over. The Senedd votes on which member of the royal family this will be, but it's still a familial succession. It's just not as direct. At one point there was direct familial succession, but it was decided that the eldest child or sibling wasn't always a better choice that a younger one, or perhaps a cousin or a sibling's child.

Quote:
I don't get the clans. Are they like lodges and really important to the people or are they just political parties? I think it would make the country seem richer if they were really the decedents of 7 tribes that settled the nation and you couldn't switch tribes without marriage or something. If that isn't the case, you could afford another paragraph to describe what the deal is with them.

The Clanna were originally familial, and were the nobility. You used to have to be adopted (not easy) or born or married into the clan. This changed with the nation's general shift towards it's own form of republicanism and away from rigid aristocracy, and adoptions became more common, to the point where now most clan members were adopted into the clan or born into it outside of the clan's founding family.

The Clanna are highly important. They are best described as the county government. They make the decisions for the whole county (clan members or not), including running the economy, collecting the taxes, finding and punishing criminals, representing the people to the Senedd, and writing the county laws. It's basically an aristocracy that anyone can join if they are willing to pay the clan taxes and provide military service (Military training and consent to serve in an emergency is a requirement for clan membership, which is why clan membership is so low. While everybody trains, most are reserves, not active soldiers.), and they have a massive say in how the nation is run, seeing as how they are the local government in every county. They also have their own militaries, which act as soldiers, firefighters, wilderness search parties, police, and anything else the clan needs, and the clan militaries form the largest part of Albhonna's land force during a war (the monarch may call upon the Clanna to provide troops in time of conflict).

[quore]I've felt really uninspired lately but for some reason your country gives me a really strong mental image. Mind if I use it? I don't know what I will but it feels like something I could get into.

Go ahead.


Ubercroz wrote:

I like what you have there, but I love maps. Whenever I make a country or a continent or a world for that matter I always start with a map. It helps me visualize everything else and then find natural boundries, etc.

You may have already done that, if so then nm.

I'm trying to figure out how to draw one without it looking horrid.

Quote:
Outside of that I like what you have. I do agree the clan system seems a little strange. Maybe its because when I think clan I think being born into it, so its probably just verbiage.

It is a bit strange, but if it helps, historically you were born into a clan. The current system is fairly new, and the result of a shift towards republicanism.

Quote:
Also what is the relationship between the Queen and the senate exactly? is it as complicated and bizarre as the US government with the president, senate, and judiciary? While interesting politically it could be a bit much to really explain in a game.

It's a bit less complicated than the US. To explain it best, the Senedd is the legislative branch, and the Queen and her staff are the Executive and Judicial branches both.

Quote:
I have always been a big fan of simplicity at the table. Honestly even when I use foreign languages I just tell my players "This is the Spanish neck of the woods". Gives them an instant visualization. Thats just me though.

Think Canada with more Gaelic influence than English influence. I don't like to just copy IRL countries, I like to take IRL regions and play with them.


Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:


I'm trying to figure out how to draw one without it looking horrid.

No problem! Map drawing is too easy when you think about it.

1: don't worry about detail, GM's get caught up in detail too often, same with maps. Get the broad feel of the map, really the players mind will draw a better picture than you will anyway.

2: squiggly lines are A-OKAY! look at sweededm that country is jacked up from a map standpoint. So if you have shaky hands, digital tremors from alcohol, or Parkinson's disease you will still be fine.

3: mountains are 2/3's of a triangle, just the top part. they can look like crap too, because perspective is impossible in a map.

4: make up your waterways as you need them. for the last few months between game sessions I literally added a river to my map and my players never knew.

5: you already have cities, just throw them on the map and you will be fine.


I like this, it reads a whole lot like one of my country descriptions from my own campaign world.

It would provide more potential for palace intrigue and political power plays if owning the monarchy provided benefits to the clan from which the monarch is chosen. That would provide incentive for the clans to form coalitions for the purpose of putting a monarch in power that furthered their own agenda. Agricultural based clans could band together for strength against maritime clans, mining clans or forestry clans. It just provides some political hooks that can become campaign hooks.

I personally would find 100 "counties" too many to deal with, you really only need enough of them to generate a dynamic political environment. The fewer there are, the more powerful each clan would be, and therefore the more likely one clan could maneuver to take over the monarchy.

The navy needs some work. How is the navy funded? From where do the sailors come from? Who runs the navy? The Monarchy? The Senedd?

Running a navy is an expensive proposition. Much more expensive than running an army. Building and launching a single warship is a decades-long activity that costs an enormous amount of gold and requires extremely skilled laborers working in dedicated shipyards. For a country to have a navy of any size is, and always has been, a big deal. For a nation like Albhonna to actually field a navy would require a compelling reason, otherwise the Senedd would find it very difficult to commit the money and resources to building, staffing and maintaining one.


a map

see if this map works for you. I couldn't think of a more efficient way to share it with you. if you like it use it, if you don't then no sweat!


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

I like this, it reads a whole lot like one of my country descriptions from my own campaign world.

It would provide more potential for palace intrigue and political power plays if owning the monarchy provided benefits to the clan from which the monarch is chosen. That would provide incentive for the clans to form coalitions for the purpose of putting a monarch in power that furthered their own agenda. Agricultural based clans could band together for strength against maritime clans, mining clans or forestry clans. It just provides some political hooks that can become campaign hooks.

I personally would find 100 "counties" too many to deal with, you really only need enough of them to generate a dynamic political environment. The fewer there are, the more powerful each clan would be, and therefore the more likely one clan could maneuver to take over the monarchy.

I'm actually considering changing the clan system by going to birth/marriage based clans, fewer of them, and a seperation of the county and clan systems. More on that soon.

Quote:

The navy needs some work. How is the navy funded? From where do the sailors come from? Who runs the navy? The Monarchy? The Senedd?

Running a navy is an expensive proposition. Much more expensive than running an army. Building and launching a single warship is a decades-long activity that costs an enormous amount of gold and requires extremely skilled laborers working in dedicated shipyards. For a country to have a navy of any size is, and always has been, a big deal. For a nation like Albhonna to actually field a navy would require a compelling reason, otherwise the Senedd would find it very difficult to commit the money and resources to building, staffing and maintaining one.

The navy is funded from the Monarchy's treasury, and the funds come from export taxes. The navy is run by the Monarch and her staff according to rules laid by the Senedd. Recruits come from whoever wishes to volunteer. The fact that magitech has led to improved sanitation and living conditions compared to the real world combined with fairly good enlistment benifits and the fleet's high prestige in the country mean a fair number actually volunteer, unlike with the land forces. The reason Aldhonna has a navy is do to it's heavy reliance on exports in it's economy. There are a lot of piracy problems down south, and the Senedd and Monarch feel that their merchant ships need to have protection. Aldhonna also has certain countries that would love to knock them off their economic pedestal to take their place, and wants to protect their merchant ships from this threat as well. Yes, the navy is expensive, but the Senedd and Monarch believe the protection of the export trade that fills Aldhonna's overflowing coffers is worth the immense cost of a navy, and the fact that the navy sees very, very frequent combat while filling this role serves to convince the government that this is true. While this navy is comparitively small for this world (though large for a nation of it's size), it is well equipped, well funded, and well experienced, having a stellar battle record.


Ubercroz wrote:

a map

see if this map works for you. I couldn't think of a more efficient way to share it with you. if you like it use it, if you don't then no sweat!

Thanks, but the site is blocked on Job Corps computers.


Kelsey, thanks for the clarification on Aldhonna's navy.

Some things to think about, just for flavor if you want.

When the USA first started to build a navy, they initially bought and/or built ships according to European "standards". But they could not hope to keep up with nations that were raiding entire continents for gold and silver, or nations which were creating worldwide colonial systems to fund their navy building.

But what the USA did do was to develop their own style of building warships, and soon American shipbuilding technology was superior to the rest of the world which was still stuck in traditional techniques using traditional materials. American ships were faster, more nimble and faster and easier to build. That gave them a major edge such that their smaller navy was still able to compete against much larger naval forces.

I would have Aldhonna's navy be similar to that. Not bigger, but better, faster and more nimble. Then have their naval training and education be superior to other nations as well. Volunteer seamen and well-educated and well-paid officers would give them an edge against press-ganged sailors from larger navies that had to rely on enlistment or kidnapping to man their ships.


Some first thoughts.
I do think the clan system you sketched out would be dysfunctional to say the least, but before going into detail I would ask a question. What is it you want to achieve in game?

A general advice: Do not ignore the countryside. When you described geography I got a Scandinavian feel, with the sort of forestry, mining and fishing that was common in what are now Norway, Sweden and Finland. In the 19th century prior to the industrial revolution from 1860 more then 90% of all people lived outside towns and cities. So put plenty of work into describing a vibrant a living rural area; far too often areas outside of walled towns just end up as areas for monsters in many fantasy countries. As you seem to imagine an economy were most exports are in metal, timber or fish it makes sense that the export would be shipped to the closest port, rather then concentrated to a few big ones. It would also encourage farmers (bondi, peasant, and yeomanry, whatever they are called) to perhaps do their own trading (as was common historically).

About the navy; unless there is a major war there is a fairly small need for major warships to be around. Unless the pirates are actually privateers they should be really be capable to make do with fairly small ships, as speed and manoeuvrability counts more then the raw power (if it is a major event, one send more then one ship). As a comparison, the navy of Henry VIII of England in 1540 had 16 ships over 200 ton and a similar number below 200 ton, galleys and galleasses. England at that point had more then twice the population, but perhaps less focus on naval matter then Albhonna, so I think something like 10-15 smaller warships, and 5-10 major ones seems reasonable for Albhonna. The major ones would most likely spend their time in mothball, and they are very expensive to man fully (a to build and equip a renaissance war galley as about equal to 6-8 months pay for the crew to man her).
In times of war, one would simply arm a lot of merchant ships, and add them to the fleet.

Piracy is however really not a naval problem, but a land one that spills over to the sea.


The clan system is to be rewritten to be less clunky and feel more like a clan bades system, and rural areas are not to be ignored. Thanks to magitech some circumstances are different, but I am trying to be logical.

In Albhonna's case, the navy is mostly quick moving sloops and brigs, designed to be fast enough to chase a pirate or privateer down or respond to a trouble area quickly. It doesn't possess many men-o-war aside from a few lighter frigates, as large warships don't fit their mission. It numbers in the line of, about 50 sloops, brigs, and frigates and around 20 armed merchant ships (these are designed as bait ships, hiding their military nature and waiting for pirates to snap at what looks like a nice prize, then overwhelming them with a large marine complement). I'm using an 18th/early 19th century basis, and for a nation of that era, this isn't that massive, especially with only a couple ships-of-the-line. Albhonna, being a nation that needs to guard worldwide trade lines, needs this many ships. The navy costs a fair bit, but it gets used in combat often enough, and maritime trade is important enough to the nation's economy, to justify the expense to the government.

Piracy may or may not be a land problem at sea, but the Albhonnans still have to handle it. There is enough chaos down south and across the sea where the Albhonnans do their trading to need security against pirates, and there are a few nations willing to send privateers to mess with their economic dominance of their region.

Finally, this is a very high magic world, so not all the circumstances are as IRL.


Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
The clan system is to be rewritten to be less clunky and feel more like a clan bades system, and rural areas are not to be ignored. Thanks to magitech some circumstances are different, but I am trying to be logical.

About the clan system I am still asking the question. What effect do you seek when introducing it?

Quote:
In Albhonna's case, the navy is mostly quick moving sloops and brigs, designed to be fast enough to chase a pirate or privateer down or respond to a trouble area quickly. It doesn't possess many men-o-war aside from a few lighter frigates, as large warships don't fit their mission. It numbers in the line of, about 50 sloops, brigs, and frigates and around 20 armed merchant ships (these are designed as bait ships, hiding their military nature and waiting for pirates to snap at what looks like a nice prize, then overwhelming them with a large marine complement).

I think you are underestimating the level of combat power a normal merchant vessel could have. Several East Indiamans in this period were armed to the level of frigates, and some were refitted as ships of the line. Assigning ships as bait as routine sounds highly cost-inefficient.

If you have a clan system, you could perhaps use that in relationship to the fleet. Basically with a fairly small, but high-quality “royal” navy supported by armed merchantman “clan” fleets in times of duress. A bit like the 17th century Dutch navy perhaps?

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Finally, this is a very high magic world, so not all the circumstances are as IRL.


Korpen wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
The clan system is to be rewritten to be less clunky and feel more like a clan bades system, and rural areas are not to be ignored. Thanks to magitech some circumstances are different, but I am trying to be logical.
About the clan system I am still asking the question. What effect do you seek when introducing it?

Something like medieval Scotland where clan assosiations are politically important.

Quote:
Quote:
In Albhonna's case, the navy is mostly quick moving sloops and brigs, designed to be fast enough to chase a pirate or privateer down or respond to a trouble area quickly. It doesn't possess many men-o-war aside from a few lighter frigates, as large warships don't fit their mission. It numbers in the line of, about 50 sloops, brigs, and frigates and around 20 armed merchant ships (these are designed as bait ships, hiding their military nature and waiting for pirates to snap at what looks like a nice prize, then overwhelming them with a large marine complement).
I think you are underestimating the level of combat power a normal merchant vessel could have. Several East Indiamans in this period were armed to the level of frigates, and some were refitted as ships of the line.

Some, yes, but combat power isn't Aldhonna's main concern. Their navy is for quick reaction and pirate hunting, not for fighting an opposing fleet. An armed East Indiaman may have firepower, but they are too heavy and not fast enough. What Aldhonna needs is sloops and brigs that can give chase to a pirate or privateer ship, which is generally in and of itself small and fast, not big and heavily armed. Aldhonna doesn't really need ships-of-the-line at the moment, and doesn't have them.

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Assigning ships as bait as routine sounds highly cost-inefficient.

It is. Aldhonna may have a good navy, but not every decision it makes is the most practical. There is no such thing as the perfect military that makes no mistakes.

Quote:
If you have a clan system, you could perhaps use that in relationship to the fleet. Basically with a fairly small, but high-quality “royal” navy supported by armed merchantman “clan” fleets in times of duress. A bit like the 17th century Dutch navy perhaps?

In time of a full out war, this could be done. It would probably be the best way to address the fact that the Aldhonnan navy lacks ships suited for use in fleet action.

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