Calavria

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Calavria was the richest nation of the Realm before the Fall, but was easily held the smallest population. This made for an affluent people who relied on technology and commerce to further their way of life, and who utilised magic extensively to overcome their numeric disadvantages. A country where guilds, banks, and mercenary companies held more sway than kings, lords, and generals, it was an oddity in the Realm, but too integral a part of its commerce to be overlooked. Since the Fall the Calavrians have either continued to make the most of their prodigiously enterprising talents, or have found themselves left with nothing.

History

The Calavrian Empire

The City of Antinori at the Height of the Calavrian Empire

Calavria was the first kingdom on the continent to emerge as such; when even Damryn was still a land of bickering tribes, Calavria's borders stretched across the coast of the Narrow Sea, including across a lot of what is today considered eastern Ibarran. The use of this land, and the access to the rich islands in the Narrow Sea, brought great wealth to Calavria, and allowed the people to construct the buildings of antiquity which still dot Calavrian, and even a little of Ibarrish, landscape.

They made positive contact with the Iron Empire who, it would later be revealed, thought them to be rather larger and more powerful than they were. However, Calavrian courtesy and the positive prospects for trade meant that the two powers co-existed peacefully, and contributed to each others' wealth and development.

Scholars debate heavily what exactly brought about the collapse. The growing wealth led to powerful ruling classes, who became embroiled in their own internal disputes for control and economic independence, even against the king. It is unknown if this situation was one which the Ibarriards took advantage of to rally their forces and defeat their Calavrian occupiers, driving them north and out of the country, or if this shocking military defeat triggered discontent at Antinori and was an opportunity political dissidents seized.

The Great Pestilence

Regardless, within ten years the Calavrian kingdom was diminished to roughly the borders that were acknowledged before the Fall. The rich and powerful of Antinori had proven that they could and would control the King if they were driven so far; the years after were unsteady and uncertain. Calavria had a large population who were accustomed to wealth and food from the external holdings, but the kingdom simply no longer had access to the farmland which had supported its populace. The Calavrians became increasingly malnourished and standards of living abruptly dropped.

It was the lesser health of a dense population that historians believe was why the Great Pestilence was so devastating. Thought to have started in Sahradia, where it did not afflict the goblins and only infected their human slaves, the isolation of Ibarran meant that it died out quite rapidly there, but not before reaching Calavria.

Here it spread quickly, and was so virulent that even the priests of Vaitera were powerless to destroy it. They could only try to keep the powerful and influential alive as the disease ravaged the population over the next fifty years. It is impossible to precisely calculate the extent of the devastation, but even the most modest figures suggest over 60% of the population died, and it is generally accepted to be closer to 70%.

As the population grew smaller, the priesthood of Vaitera were better able to fight the plague, and so the epidemic was brought to a halt some five decades after it had begun. The country was left considerably changed. The population was more able to sustain itself, but the workforce which the Calavrian industry had come to rely on from the peasantry was significantly reduced.

A New Calavria

First, this led to the rise of the yeoman class within Calavria. The peasants not only began to enjoy a higher quality of life with more of a surplus of food available, but they also had more freedom to work where they chose; if they were dissatisfied in one lord's lands or working under one guild, there would be half a dozen others who would welcome their labour. This led to a greater improvement of their situation, as employers and liege lords could no longer treat the populace as they wished. Rather, they had to be wooed.

This hurt several key industries, and saw a significant problem in that the less palatable tasks, such as working in the sewers or the more distasteful aspects of agriculture, were necessary and yet there were no workers available to perform them.

During the Great Pestilence, the lesser-used form of magic of Necromancy was employed by certain mages. First, to simply manage, move, or dispose of the bodies of the dead, and secondly to use the re-animated corpses to perform tasks where there might have otherwise been a risk of infection. Initially considered distasteful, it became somewhat useful, though briefly died out upon the end of the epidemic. But as the need for a bigger workforce grew, industrialists turned back to the magic.

Through purchased, stolen, and unidentified bodies, which would eventually turn into a market of its own, businesses and even the government of Calavria learnt to rely heavily on necromancy. The jobs which the small population would not or could not do - anything especially dangerous, boring, or distasteful - became the responsibility of zombies, operated and maintained usually by necromancers hired by the businesses or the government itself.

Thus did Calavria flourish once more. It had a workforce who were comparatively cheap and never tired, and a better trained and even educated lower class. Rising standards amongst the living led to employers offering schooling for their workers, and it became accepted generally that Calavrians lived better and were better educated than anyone, anywhere.

Influence of the Realm

However, the small population meant that Calavria could not defend itself against the expansion of Damryn. The king hired mercenary companies from anywhere and everywhere to reinforce the defence; this simply meant that Damryn tightened the noose that was its trade connections and agreements. Although Calavria fell under the sway and influence of Damryn early on, it was one of the last to come officially under the authority of the High Kingdom, and become legally part of the Realm. This was a slow process of eroding Calavrian influence and power.

When tensions heightened between the new Realm and the Iron Empire, for a time Calavria was caught in the middle of it. Damryn funded privateers to accost elven vessels, and when a Calavrian ship was sunk in retaliation, the High Kingdom declared war. However, positive relations with the coastal elves, and elven tensions with Damryn, meant that Calavria saw less of the active warfare than might have been expected; even in war, the elves were loath to attack the ports which they used for trade, and so Imperial ships tended to make their attacks on Damryan ports instead.

Calavria benefited greatly from the land the Realm held across the Narrow Sea, but canny businessmen ensured that relations with the conquered elves were sufficiently positive that, when the war came to an end and the humans were ejected, the two nations could continue to trade.

But it was during this elven conflict, some hundred years or so after the formation of the Realm, that Calavria lost its king. He and his eldest son were killed when their ship sank at sea, and the local politicians, exasperated at the limitations upon their power that the king had exerted, seized the opportunity. Along with support from Damryn, which saw any monarch as a threat to their supremacy, the guilds and banking families discouraged the younger son and heir from outright assuming the throne. This political pressure continued for decades even until the heir's death; the same apprehension discouraged his son, in turn, from seeking coronation, and so from then on Calavria found itself ruled not by a King, but by a Prince. Certainly Damryn issued the statement that Calavria's refusal to crown a new king was a demonstration of their subservience and loyalty to the High Kingdom, and the politicians and businessmen were simply satisfied by this display of their influence.

The Fall

Upon the Fall, Calavria was the second nation of the Realm to be invaded by the Legion, after their foray north to Norlundar catapulted the Realm into war and the signing of the Treaty of the Alliance of Carnthor. When the Iron Empire fell, the Legion followed the Alliance across the sea. Calavria's sore lack of defensible territory, and the battle-weary condition of the army who had been so soundly defeated on the coast of the Narrow Sea, meant that Calavria fell quicker than any other nation in the war.

The survivors fled across the border to Lancereaux, and then north to Damryn, only to join the refugees waiting and hiding in Andermark before the Last Stand and the end of the war. Upon the declaration of peace Meglio Navarra, the next surviving member of the royal family in line for the throne after his father’s death at Antinori, declared himself the Prince of Calavria, and swore to see his kingdom restored.

Cultural Overview

Before the Fall

  • Capital: Antinori
  • Head of State: Prince Atilio Navarra
  • Legislative Body: Chamber of Deputies
  • Population Density: Low
  • Religions: All of the Pantheon except Zartosht
  • Languages: Common, Ancient Calavrian
  • Demonym: Calavrian (a Calavrian)

Calavria was a small but rich land whose hefty industry, especially the textile trade, elevated it financially above the other kingdoms of the Realm. It had a small population after the Great Pestilence several centuries ago, and this guaranteed a higher standard of living for the survivors. Even the lowest classes in Calavria were considered too valuable a labour force to be ignored or mistreated, for at the least they could always seek work elsewhere, and so they were granted better pay, better working conditions, and even an education.

The less savoury jobs, or simply those which required a workforce larger than Calavria could produce, were performed by the undead raised and sustained by the talented necromancers, most of whom were alumni of Antinori's College of Magic. This was considered, despite the distaste of other nations - especially Damryn - to be perfectly normal. The working dead were usually not seen in public, and tended to perform jobs which kept them hidden away, as even the most acclimatised Calavrian might find their presence disconcerting, and it was simply bad business when wishing to trade with visiting foreigners. It did, however, provide a workforce that only redoubled Calavria's impressive industry.

This industry diminished the power of the King, and then later on the Prince, greatly. It was ultimately through power being redistributed from the crown to the wealthy nobility and merchants of Calavria which ensured that the Princes of Calavria remained princes, and not kings. Any nobles who did not involve themselves with the industry of Calavria found themselves rendered penniless and ineffective, and either died out or married into wealthier families. As such, a title did not hold as much worth in Calavria as it did in other countries, even though it would be craved by a rich merchant of low birth. The nobility wanted the power and influence of the industrialists; the industrialists wanted the prestige, in their minds and abroad, of the noble titles. A lesser observer would have been forgiven for not being able to tell where the nobility ended and the merchant class began.

Nevertheless, those with money and influence in the industry held the true power within Calavria. The Prince could not realistically take action without the support of these wealthy individuals, and the Calavrian Court was regularly embroiled in power struggles and schisms as those who wished to pursue their goals sought the support they needed, and to undermine their opponents. Banking families who held all the wealth, traders who controlled commerce with neighbours, and the mercenary companies who enforced the will of all of these formed their own power blocks. Realistically, those responsible for trade and industry were the real ones holding Calavria's destiny in their hands.

Calavria was consequentially a dangerous country of factions warring for dominance behind the scenes. It was considered impossible to find anyone of any influence or use whose loyalty had not already been snatched up by a guild or a family, and the Princes were seen as lazy men whose decisions could be bought by the highest bidder.

However Calavrians did enjoy, as a rule, enough money and free time to bring about change. An intelligent young Calavrian who excelled at studies could find themselves comfortably engaging in academic research for the rest of their life and be supported by their family. If they found themselves researching or developing something that anyone could find of use, they were not at a loss for investors to fund their projects. This extended from the work of the shipwrights, considered the finest in the Realm, to practitioners of mundane medicine, to even the mages of Calavria themselves.

As such, some of the greatest technological achievements of humanity, such as the printing press and the water-powered clock, hailed from Calavria.

Calavrians respected personal qualities, be those qualities wealth or a useful intellect. This meant for a greater degree of social mobility than in any other nation of the Realm, though the nobility would try most desperately to ensure that their echelons were not invaded by the coarse but rich. Equally, it made them rather more sympathetic to women. A Calavrian lady would be expected to marry a husband and maintain his household, but plenty of capable young women took advantage of this situation. It was not too uncommon for a wife to find herself smarter than her husband, and be the one truly responsible for the blossoming of his business - and any canny merchant would learn to do business with her, and grant her the power, regardless of their personal misgivings.

The regard for Saralyne as a goddess in Calavria also meant that women were allowed, if they showed the inclination and aptitude, to follow the path of academic study. Again, the opportunistic nature of society meant that so long as a woman had an idea that was worth pursuing or could make money, they would not be lacking for sponsors and investors. Even the College of Magic accepted women to study amongst them, and accepted them based on aptitude rather than wealth. Social obstacles, however, meant that just as there were more wealthy students than poor ones, so were there many more male students than female.

After the Fall

Calavrians have been refugees from their home longer than any other human people. They are also the smallest group of survivors, considering they had one of the lowest populations to begin with, and that their nation fell to the Legion so very swiftly that there was less opportunity for people to flee. Most of those who live are the formerly wealthy who harnessed their resources and left the nation as quickly as possible, though without their businesses, without their money, they have found themselves left with little more than their minds and any titles they may have held as currency, social or real.

They are in a particularly weak position compared to most of the Realm. They have no military to speak of, for most mercenary companies who owed Calavria allegiance have moved on to those who can pay them. Much of their wealth was caught up in the lost nation, and very few have resources which extended beyond that. Additionally, Calavrians are much less accustomed to a difficult lifestyle than those from elsewhere in the Realm; the yeomanry in particular find themselves with skills that are less valuable in the new world, and they lack the expertise of many other refugees to be able to help in the more essential industries such as logging or agriculture.

The most successful Calavrians are split into three major groups. There are those who have completely attached themselves to other groups, perhaps bringing their mercantile minds to bear, and a handful of the most talented economists have lent their services to surviving rulers. Others, still, have banded together; the nobles who survived and were not lost into insignificance are almost exclusively those who, while fleeing Calavria, used their resources to save who they could. These survivors have become indebted to these nobles, and they form the basis of the political and social strength of Calavria, led by Prince Meglio. They attempt to bring the skills and talents of Calavria to the Alliance as a whole in order to improve the conditions of living for all.

The last are the scholars and mages of Calavria, though this group does include plenty of non-Calavrians who were studying at the College of Magic, or who simply have thrown in their talents with the community. They tend to present themselves either as experts whose skills and knowledge are directly useful to the Alliance, and the College of Magic has re-established itself within Starkholm for this purpose, or simply as a collective containing the remains of the wisdom and knowledge of the Realm of humans, so that it will not be lost. The former tend to find work quite easily, magic being a valuable commodity and those who can streamline various processes of government or reconstruction valued; the latter are smaller, but many embassies of surviving nations are keen that their culture and heritage not be forgotten, and so they tend to find employment.

Many Calavrians, however, have found themselves without wealth and without useful skills or a mentality that lends to the heavy labour needed in the rebuilding. Some of these people are even the formerly influential who have lost their wealth and their contacts, and even they will be amongst those found in the shanty towns, with nowhere to work, needing the charity of the survivors.

Lifestyle

Peasant Class

The peasantry of Calavria were unique amongst the people of the Realm. Most notably, they were not referred to, by themselves or by others, as ‘peasants’. Since the plague the lowest class of Calavrian society found itself in an unique position where they were so few in number that they could afford to choose where to work and for whom to work, as they could not be so easily replaced that their superiors in society could mistreat them. The accepted term for these workers across the nation became ‘yeomen’.

Much of Calavrian society revolved around cities. A family would often enjoy a small house to itself, though siblings would still be expected to share rooms and one would still often find several generations living under the same roof. Conditions would be clean and comfortable due to cheap luxuries such as linens, affordable food, and an effective sewage system. The leaps in medical knowledge that came about from the plague meant that the Calavrians had tackled most of the common causes of disease, such as impure water.

In rural areas much of the mundane tasks were performed by the undead; as such the yeomen found themselves almost exclusively in supervisory positions. This led to rather more scattered villages, and most of the towns and settlements beyond the cities tended to be administrative hubs, or points along trade roads.

The yeomanry of Calavria were expected to have some standard of skill and training, otherwise they would struggle to find employment which could not be performed by a cheaper, more efficient undead servitor. Trade skills tended to be passed on through families, and often multiple generations would work for the same guild or company in a similar job. Calavria, however, enjoyed a better education system than anywhere else perhaps in the world. The guilds of Calavria had discovered that their yeomen tended to be more efficient and effective if they received at least a basic education; as such most of the lowest class could at a minimum read, write, and do basic sums.

If a child showed aptitude it was not too uncommon for a family to save up and pay for schooling at one of the more dedicated educational establishments of the country. This was one of the best chances a child had of advancing in society; a child of low birth could still be trained as an accountant, or taught elvish and become a useful foreign negotiator, and taken on by a merchant as such. Usually this just meant a yeoman would enjoy a more comfortable living than his fellows, but sometimes such individuals would be in prime position to take on a company or further responsibilities if the opportunity arose.

Women amongst the yeomanry also tended to work. An unmarried girl might perform some of the less-skilled tasks until she was wed, but even when there were children to care for they would often make some small contribution to the industry their family worked for. The more skilled might continue to do so into family life; potters, for instance, might make their own goods and sell them at a market to supplement the family income. An education for a Calavrian girl was not impossible, however, simply harder for her to be considered for. A girl of true excellence might find herself schooled and hired, and were especially useful to foreign traders who might send a woman negotiator to nations which viewed females differently, such as Norlundar or the Iron Empire.

Merchant Class

The merchant class were the backbone of Calavrian society. The only difficulty was in telling where they ended and the other classes began. At the lowest end, a small businessman of merchant birth might have found himself difficult to distinguish from a yeoman who commanded some responsibility in the company he worked for. And at the highest, the most powerful businessman might have had an easier time to secure an audience with the Prince than a son of noble birth.

But they were universally well-educated and with some sort of path in life. That path was almost universally the development of a business, usually inherited, and the acquisition of wealth. The dynastic importance of the Calavrian business families could not be overlooked. Traditionally it was difficult, therefore, for someone who was not family to take on directorship of a business, though in the face of personal incompetence investors and other interested parties might decide to throw tradition away in favour of continued fiscal stability. This was when Calavria became egalitarian, as often the best man for the job would often be next hired, and whether a company would return to a family’s hands was questionable.

Merchants tended to live comfortably. Even the humblest would own a house of some luxury, rarely cramped and often with good quality food and furniture. The richest, on the other hand, could be in possession of an abode that would make the nobles of any country choke with jealousy.

In any company which required a large workforce, a merchant was expected to hire a necromancer, purchase or otherwise acquire bodies, and make use of undead servitors to perform minor, mundane, or boring tasks. Supervising them, or performing the tasks too complicated for the simple beings, would be the yeomanry.

The most powerful amongst the merchants were the banking families and the guildmasters. These tended to have massive control over the Calavrian economy, with other businesses either financially beholden to them or reliant upon them for legal recognition, support, and the providing of expertise. Usually family-driven, these organisations were nevertheless too cutthroat to allow blood to get in the way of their success, and becoming embroiled in the affairs of a powerful Calavrian merchant family was often dangerous. Backstabbings, both literal and political, were considered a way of life amongst the Calavrians, and it is from this that their reputation of being more interested in wealth than loyalty has come.

Women amongst the merchants were generally comfortable. In a mockery of the habits of the nobility, and with such importance still placed on family lineage, marriages would often be arranged for political and economic benefit. But a canny Calavrian woman could find herself easily influential over a stupid husband, and the rest of society would often care more about results than propriety enough to deal with her directly. More independently, again, a woman could make use of herself in negotiating business deals abroad, where her status as a woman might be an advantage.

Warrior Class

A Calavrian Mercenary

Soldiers and warriors were probably less well-respected in Calavria than anywhere else in the Realm. Whilst other nations tended to turn to the minor nobility to act as officers in the armed forces, in Calavria such men were assumed to be businessmen or scholars. The warrior class of Calavria was thus a rather motley collection of individuals who entered the martial lifestyle usually through circumstances. Such warriors banded together in the many mercenary companies of Calavria.

These companies consisted of soldiers from all manner of background; perhaps younger sons and daughters of noble families with no head for economics, perhaps the poorer who managed to find a way of life in warfare. Sometimes families would form with a tradition of service - or command - of one or several mercenary companies, but whilst these were well-respected, they formed a minority. Foreigners were also known to serve in the companies, coming to Calavria for more wealth than their martial skills might find them elsewhere.

The way of life varied from company to company, but most often they worked for coin rather than any ideal. As such, competence tended to be more highly valued than anything else, and the most powerful and skilled companies could find themselves earning a considerable amount of wealth and forming valuable connections with large businesses and rich families. This tended to make them influential in Calavria in their own right, as a strong mercenary company was a formidable force. Thus their employers remained keen to keep them content, which gave them no small political influence.

Most mercenary companies tended to hire or purchase a headquarters, or perhaps operate out of a tavern on a regular basis. In exchange for a contract of service a mercenary would have had their food, board, and equipment supplied for them, though some looser organisations might have required an applicant to provide their own gear. These were usually the poorer, less well-respected groups, however. But regardless, these contracts were taken seriously, were legally binding, and deserters were usually hunted down with impunity.

A mercenary might have retired, with enough money, to run their own business of some description. Some would have advanced into an administrative post within the mercenary company when they were too old or injured to fight. The most successful might have made enough money to even retire to high society, living off wealth and fearsome reputations.

It was impossible to deny, however, that the vast majority of mercenaries did not get to that point. Whether for wealth, for some internal conflict between businesses, protecting resources in distant lands, or fighting Calavria's political enemies, most mercenaries never lived long enough to retire.

Noble Class

What was considered to be the nobility in Calavria bore only a superficial resemblance to how the ruling classes were viewed across the rest of the Realm. Certainly there was a group of rich, influential figures who lived apart from the rest of society and, amongst themselves, vied for power over the nation.

The nature of this class differed quite wildly. The administrative duties of the nobility were seen much more as those of directors of companies and heads of banking families than rulers over regions. A young lordling would be born in luxury, generally in one of the cities, even if this was far from the land their family ostensibly ruled. Where in other countries they would be expected to learn the art of warfare, in Calavria they were schooled in economics and businessman. If a Calavrian nobleman knows how to fight, this is probably from lessons in fencing, considered to be a sport where businessmen could discuss their work together.

Birth granted less of a guarantee of success in Calavria. An eldest son might have found themselves inheriting the title of their family, but if they were not the smartest of their siblings then there was no certainty that they would lead up the family business. A canny heir might harness the skills of the family and keep themselves at the head, but a canny younger sibling might manoeuvre past them to the top. Respect was paid to those of true influence, power, and wealth; if a title had nothing to back it up, the regard was solely lip-service.

Self-made men, businessmen of lower birth who made their fortune from opportunity and brilliance, could thus wrangle their way into the Calavrian courts, tweak the ears of the Prince and the banking families. The true nobility of the country would look down their noses at them, but there was too much sense in cultivating such individuals as allies to reject them simply on the pride of birth.

This did not, by any means, suggest that Calavria was a land of equal opportunities. Results might be valued more than birth or even gender, but one was not then seen as a person - rather, as a resource, to be used and exchanged and abused. Only the very capable could get far in Calavrian society, regardless of origin, because only the very capable could survive.

Arts and Entertainment

Calavria was considered to be the height of cultural development across the Realm. The resulting sophistication meant that the rich and influential across humanity might show an interest in Calavrian entertainment, but the masses would not know Calavrian songs as well as they might know, for instance, Damryan ones.

The finest composers of the Realm were either from Calavria or made their way there; great concert halls were constructed so that these performers could show their music to as many people as possible. Similarly the greatest playhouses were in Antinori; these performances were an occasion where rich and poor would mingle. The poor drew great entertainment from the treat of the shows; the rich saw them as either escapes from the tensions of their workload, or minglings where business connections could be pursued and discussed.

Paintings and sculptures from Calavrian artists were highly valued. The written word rose in regard upon the invention of the printing press, as their tales and ideas could now be more easily distributed beyond the limitations of the word of mouth. Both within Calavria and abroad such books and pieces of art could be seen, and an interest was considered to be a sign of sophistication, even in nations such as Damryn.

The last wave of Calavrian art continued the interest the people held, culturally, in demons and the corruption of demons. Since the Calavrians considered themselves rather more enlightened than other people, they ever sought to challenge assumptions taken for granted, albeit within the confines of the church. As such, through their art, they were beginning to further their understanding of knowledge considered 'forbidden', though had not begun to progress into anything controversial. Tales of men falling prey to the manipulations of demons, for instance, were more common in Calavria than anywhere else, as other nations considered them more taboo.

Since it was considered a symbol of status to make time for the arts, showing one's intellect and sophistication, patronising artists and writers was not so uncommon. It was yet another rung to step up on the social ladder. This did mean that one could make a comfortable enough living as an artist, so long as one was skilled enough to earn the patronage of the wealthy. As such, it was not too uncommon to see pieces of art revolving around the work or achievements of a Calavrian noble, either to get their attention or to keep them contented.

Fashion

One can always tell a Calavrian, rich or poor, by their sense of dress. At the very least, dyes were sufficiently cheap that bright colours were a hallmark of any Calavrian, rather than just being the purview of the rich. The poorer classes could still enjoy bright reds and yellows, rather than just common greens and browns, whilst expensive purple was usually a sign of especial wealth.

The wealthy were the most ostentatiously dressed of all, ever eager to show their status through their clothes. Tight clothes were a fashion for men, as these would require help to dress in and so showed that a lord could hire the staff. Waistcoats fastened by ostentatious tags were favoured, along with close-fitting breeches. The shoulders would be padded to make the figure broader, and sleeves slashed. Conical hats and pointed shoes were the fashion, and all of these would be decorated with expensive fur trim or elegantly ornamental jewels and metal fastenings.

Noble ladies wore long dresses with long trains often requiring assistance. Sleeves were long and hanging, often decorated with embroidery or fringing. There was controversy from other nations as necks began to be displayed, but the wealth shown from ostentatious necklaces overcame public disregard. The dresses were cut to be very tight at the waist and then fuller at the hips. Head-dresses were worn which consisted of very large rolls and a high, conical bonnet.

One could tell of the standing of individuals thusly dressed based upon the quality of the materials, the decoration, or the jewellery. Any who dressed such clearly aspired to be influential and powerful within society. The tier of clothing below was reserved for those who needed a more practical lifestyle, or who had less need to display their wealth through clothing, but even a yeoman was subject to fashion rather than solely necessity.

Such individuals would amongst the men favour a close waistcoat or doublet, usually made of wool. A tight belt would pin it together and show the figure of the wearer. Leather was a little too warm to be comfortably worn in Calavria, and so linen was favoured for breeches; underclothes did not need to be full-body garments. Long coats made of linen or wool were favoured in the rain or in winter to keep warm; these were more common than cloaks.

The garb of humble ladies were something of an echo of the rich. They were long, and still tended to come in at the waist while being padded at the hips. The cloth was often light wool or layered linen, and sleeves would be as long as practicality would allow. Often a simple cap upon the head was all that could be practically afforded, but the daringly Calavrian neck-lines remained even amongst the lower classes, and even the poorest tended to wear some sort of necklace as jewellery.

Most Calavrian knights or mercenaries wore whatever was appropriate according to their social standing, rich or poor; they would rarely wear armour when about in society, and in the field they would wear whatever armour stood as most practical. Rich Calavrian mercenaries did favour heavily etched and decorated plate armour, however, and a man of society who wished to show himself a fighter would often carry a Calavrian rapier. Some of the more notable mercenaries amongst Calavrian society might, however, wear an ostentatious breastplate along with their rapier and their doublet, though this was considered the purview of only the most powerful of mercenary men, and anything else was considered pretentious at best, boorish at worst.

Economy

Calavria was the wealthiest nation of the Realm. It was small, but its lands were fertile, allowing good agriculture, some minerals from the mountains, and forests with lumber excellent for shipwrights. But more importantly this last granted them access to the islands in the Narrow Sea, which were generally rich and untouched. Some bore luscious fruit and opportunities for fertile harvests; some were jagged heights full of strong metals and precious jewels.

This wealth allowed Calavria to become a hub of commerce. Not just with the rest of the Realm, but with the Iron Empire across the sea, also. And as technology developed for Antinori to become one of the largest cities of the Realm, and the undead workforce allowed for harder and longer working hours, Calavria became a centre of processing of goods. Food would be shipped to Calavria and packaged; wool to Antinori where it could be weaved. The level of industrialisation was crude, but the most sophisticated in the world.

As such, no man of wealth or business in the world could do his work without needing the cooperation of someone in Calavria; perhaps for the processing of goods, perhaps just to find someone to sell the goods to, or perhaps to make use of the Calavrian ships or water-ways. All business came to Calavria, and so every international business transaction in the world placed gold in Calavrian pockets.

Naming Conventions

Calavrians have two names: a given name and a family name. The latter is often well-regarded, for it shows an individual's history or connections, especially since many companies and businesses are named after the families. Not introducing one's self with a family name tends to suggest that one has something to hide. Even the yeomanry will have a family name and bear it proudly.

The names are based off the old Calavrian tongue, which died out upon the fall of their coastal kingdom and is since used only in matters academic, religious, or magical, but its influence upon the language remains. Names are thus often quite long and lyrical. Last names are as is common derived from words for professions; given names are more often derived from virtues, including religious virtues.

Sample Male Names: Benito, Leone, Tiberio Sample Female Names: Carissa, Gioconda, Vera Sample Family Names: Aglietti, Finiguerra, Torrigiano

Geography

Calavria was a small nation, but saw a lot of variety in one region. The north had gentle slopes leading up eventually to Damryan mountains, and though these were quite low they still bore rich minerals. To the east of the country were the thick forests that permitted the construction of Calavrian ships, and the rest of the country, from the coast to the south, were verdant fields of rich farmland.

The climate was warm and temperate, rarely seeing snow, but there was enough rainfall to keep the warmth from becoming arid. This meant that the farmland was ripe for growing grapes for wine and other fruit, or olives. The hillsides were ideal homes for goats and other such animals. Overall, much of Calavria was of wide open spaces and pretty, fruit-bearing trees.

Antinori was a coastal city, the largest port in the world and the capital of Calavria. It had once been built upon a cliff-face for purposes of defence, but as time had gone by the urban sprawl had spread down the cliffside and further down the coast to mellower waters making for an easier port in gentler waters. This led to a scenario where the rich lived in the buildings of the old kingdoms, literally higher up, while the small bay became the home for traders from across the world, and the most metropolitan place in the entire Realm.

Religion

The United Church held much sway in Calavria, though support of the four Gods was more divided than in most other places. Vaitera saw only a little support; she was admired by the artists of the country for her martyrish ways, but saw more idolatry than genuine worship. Only those people and places who remembered the role of the Vaiteran Church in the time of the Great Pestilence have given her worship a good deal of focus. Aethon was similar; his has always been the church with the strongest visual imagery, but his values had little place in Calavrian society.

Gebrick was better regarded in Calavria than elsewhere, though his Calavrian interpretation placed much more emphasis on his role in commerce and trade than labour. He was seen as the quintessential businessman by the Calavrians, and his teachings about community and binding were often all but overlooked. Tyaus was the second best regarded; though he had little by way of large, formal following, he was often deferred to in matters of government, and his sigil was found on many government buildings and in documentation.

The other Gods received their share of attention in Calavria. Olcan was embraced and loved by the artists and scientists of the nation, and was perhaps better worshipped than Tyaus. Saralyne is well-regarded by the wise amongst the businessmen, and especially by those of the colleges and universities of Calavria, of which there are many. Ferodir was also worshipped by those who might seek out rich new lands for profit, or new trade routes. Due to the many sailors in Calavria, Ferodir's teachings are focused more around the sea than the land.

Antinori probably had the widest variety of churches of any other nation, for so many foreigners would come to the city that they would either set up their own places of worship or enterprising churches would do so for them. Even Thoron had a church for visiting elven tradesmen.

Military

A Calavrian Mercenary Company

Just as the guilds controlled industry and the merchant families controlled trade, Calavria was dominated by the power of the mercenary companies. These first came to power and influence when Calavria was threatened by the armies of Damryn, and without enough of a populace or enough experience to gather their own forces, the country’s coffers were put towards hiring the military expertise needed. This was enough to force Damryn to buy Calavria’s subservience through various trade agreements, and the mercenary companies remained. They varied from small units of warriors to vast armies of soldiers, all vying for influence, and brawls between armed men wearing different badges were not uncommon in the streets.

A mercenary company tended to own or hire some headquarters where its men could be trained, fed, and boarded. They would recruit from the streets or even foreigners, and a contract would be signed; in exchange for their pay and for all living arrangements to be taken care of, a mercenary would promise a set number of years of service. These contracts were legally binding, and deserting was usually harshly punished - and enforced by local law enforcement rather than just the company themselves.

Equipment would be provided, and companies had uniforms of varying tidiness and conformity. Each company would march under a banner sporting their colours, wherever they might be marching. Hires would most often be from a business enterprise, a banking family or guild or company, and send mercenaries to protect overseas interests. It might be as petty as putting down a riot of peasants on a farmland - or it might be hunting down beastkin marauding a mine. Sometimes these would be small pockets of troubles just requiring a small band, sometimes larger scale military endeavours. These were especially common during the tensions with the Iron Empire, and some of the most famous mercenary companies cut their teeth and made their name in campaigns against the elven army. These last would often be hires from the Calavrian government, and often brought with them the most wealth and prestige.

The poorest and worst mercenary companies might just be a group of some dozen individuals, living from pay-check to pay-check. Equipment would have often been personally owned instead of provided by the company, and pay for a job generally split down the middle after expenses were calculated, rather than going to a centralised individual and wages being paid out. But these groups were often flexible and effective - or very, very short-lived - and could also be relied upon to be more discreet or, at least, deniable than a large and well-known company whose men might care less about losing one contract through telling a good story.

The richest were huge enterprises who took in only the best of recruits, perhaps through raw talent or developed expertise depending on the company's interest in training. They were an altogether more militaristic set-up, sometimes going so far as including cavalry and siege weaponry. They would hold parades through the street in advertising for contracts or recruitment, and these were the sorts of groups people thought of when they considered mercenaries.

They were also the backbone of the Calavrian military. These companies, even combining their forces, were smaller than the armies of the Iron Empire or Damryn, but they were superbly well-equipped and often brilliantly trained. Through tactics and discipline they could overwhelm a superior force or, arguably more commonly, make them pay enough for their victory that it would be deemed not worthwhile.

But their reputation was tarnished by the fact that they were, ultimately, just mercenaries. They were their for coin and so did not have the dedication of the armies of Damryn or the Iron Empire; when the job was not worth the money, they were known for cutting their losses and running. Although this rarely harmed their contracts, for no businessman paid enough gold for his mercenaries to die, this denied them the grit and determination to turn failures into successes, as a general rule. As such, even in the War of the Narrow Sea, it was the Damryan armed forces who dominated the field on behalf of the Realm, and the Calavrians just filled in the gaps. So it was also for the march of the Legion across Calavria itself.

The mercenaries tended to be infantry, and excelled at smaller-unit tactics and complicated manoeuvres. This was their true strength, for they were numerically smaller, lacked the skill of Damryan infantry, or the strength of Lancesian cavalry. But in a situation where tactics or environment could be used to a devastating affect, Calavrian mercenaries devastated.

Magic

Calavria is considered the home of magic. The first College of Magic was built there, a magnificent structure in Antinori which housed the greatest arcane minds of the Realm, perhaps of the whole world. There they studied and perfected their understanding of the various schools of magic, theoretically and practically, and passed this on to those who would learn.

Calavrian or foreigner, rich or poor, all were welcome to the College. The patronage the College enjoyed by any company which wished to make use of their necromancers meant that it could afford to accept students based on talent, rather than wealth. Many students would simply study their magic and their preferred school for several years before departing into society, though others would remain and study further, or become professors to pass on their teachings.

Noble families, governments, or companies needing mages would often headhunt these wizards from the College. Talented individuals could often find themselves work immediately upon departing - and for those who were less brightly successful, unscrupulous individuals would not necessarily balk at the aid of an under-qualified mage so long as they got results.

As such, magic was a common part of Calavrian life. Students of the College or arcanists working in the cities were regular sights about. Whether they wore the traditional robes of mages or dressed as others but carried books of arcane knowledge, they were seen about - and above all, they were respected. Magic was used so commonly as to be known but not as to be understood. Most importantly, the magic Calavrians knew best was necromancy.

Necromancy had been an under-appreciated form of magic until the Plague, when everything changed. Zombies could not catch sickness, and so could work on regardless or go to places at risk of infection. And, more importantly, there were plenty of bodies available. Some were purchased, some unidentified were claimed, others were stolen, but life in Calavria went on because of the undead serfs, as they were called, who kept work going.

When the Plague ended, the population was diminished by the illness, and yet the work was still needed. Since then, zombies became a regular fixture in Calavrian life, usually working out of sight but nevertheless in the mills or with the shipwrights or in the fields - wherever simple manual labour was needed. They became accepted and normal, but it is human instinct to find them unnatural and disconcerting.

As such, necromancy has amongst Calavrians become almost synonymous with magic. And necromancers are well-regarded, necessary contributors to society, but also feared and a little mistrusted. So it is with all magic-users in Calavria; respected, and never crossed.

Perspectives on Other Races and Nations

Andermark

"They have sense, yes, and understand the importance of commerce and study. But they have let every dreg of society into their country, and there is hardly enough room for everyone. Not only might they pay for this misjudgement, but so might all of humanity. We would have expected more sense from such a dour people. Do they ever smile? Ever laugh? Even when they were whole, did they enjoy their luxuries or their arts, or did they lose their souls to being rained on every day?"

Damryn

"Damryans think themselves the best people in the world. As if rolling in mud and building a huge capital was a sufficient display of superiority. They might fight, but they are unpolished, unrefined. They value thugs over scholars or businessmen - those who bring their country wealth, and with it, true power, are looked down on and dismissed, while they keep their country flowing! But no matter. They have fallen from grace, and the new world will be built through sense, not brutality."

Lancereaux

"We could not have better neighbours in all the Realm. This, alas, is a reflection more of the rest of the Realm than of Lancereaux. They understand the importance of the fine things in life, and though they do glorify strength they at least do so with more finesse than the Damryans. But they are far, far too obsessed with where a man has been than where he is going. They would elevate a pig if he had a king for a father, and the manner in which they would venerate him would be too, too tasteless."

Ibarran

"As if we could criticise them if we wanted to. The world would call it bitterness for actions hundreds of years old. What should we say? That their scattered way of life should be applauded? That their living in dirt in the deserts ought to be venerated? They are an unstable and unreliable people. They cannot, in any way, be trusted. Perhaps you call that bitterness from a Calavrian. But why would we be bitter and call them treacherous? Simple: they betrayed us."

Norlundar

"They are hardly even a kingdom! Some wooden shacks and the capacity to survive in snow does not make a realm! They have nothing to give us, and everything to take from us. Send them up into the dwarven mountains, let them try to survive there. We have more distinguished men with muscle, and muscle is all they are good for. It is not worth even keeping them as mindless labour; our zombies think more than the Norls, and are twice as hygienic and courteous."

The Iron Empire

"We are expected to hate them. We fought for so long, over so much land, so bitterly. But it was business. And it was Damryn's war, not ours. The elves have their pride, sometimes pride beyond sense, but they are not children with it. They still remember what is important. They fought us, and then they did trade with us. They wage war, but they still have time to venerate those who are not just soldiers. It is likely we will need them in rebuilding efforts. They are too under-estimated."

Dwarves of Kordurren

"They may be coarse in our dealings with them - but they know how to do business. They took whatever steps were necessary to survive, and we can only respect that, admire that. The self-deluding nations might be more inclined to call them treacherous, but what would we call them if they had not done what they did? I do not know, truth be told, but we would certainly call them it using the past tense! We cannot blame them for standing aside. We would do the same in their shoes. But they are prepared to trade, and they are prepared to work with us. We can do business."

Sahradia

"The goblins have been a nuisance, nothing more. Let the other nations fuss over however it was that they slighted the Gods; we care more about how they raided our ships, devastated trading hubs. They are a pestilence, and one it would do us good to properly eradicate. But we have better things to worry about. If they come to us, then by all means, we should destroy them with extreme prejudice. But the Gods will forgive us if we look to ourselves before their outrage."

Beastkin

"It is an oddity of the Andermen that they would tolerate these creatures in society. Desperate times have not become quite that desperate. I am sure this situation will resolve itself soon when they show their true colours. In the meantime, so long as the dog barks when it should, the dog shall have a bone."

Demons

"So typical of the Damryans and Andermen to hoot and holler about the evil of demons while the world lies in the greatest jeopardy. We should worry about what is on our doorstep, not the creatures that go bump in the night. And if a man has the wits to get something useful out of these creatures, then why not let him? I'm sure the Church will be keen to put him down if he fails, so no harm is done. But if he succeeds...?"

The Legion

"Everyone wants something. We Calavrians pride ourselves in being able to find out what someone wants, and then use it on them. Dangle it in front of them so they do what we want, and make them dance to our tune.

But the Legion want nothing. Not gold. Not power. Not land. Or they would have stopped a lifetime ago. They want nothing. Not an absence of want - nothing is what they want. So we cannot reason. We cannot charm, or trade, or manipulate. All we can do, should we see them again, is give them what they want. Let them try being 'nothing' instead."