Volera is both the name of the continent and a country. The country occupies the majority of the land mass, with the southern portion below the mountains occupied the Freelands. The content of Volara was originally broken up into small kingdoms that were ruled by independent local lords. Around 500 years ago an attempt was made by young nobleman to unite the lords to provide a system of allies and to help out the peasant class, who were often poorly treated by their lords. His attempts at diplomacy largely failed, and so he decided to unite the land by force. Lord Goldcrest, backed by a few allies and their peasants went on a campaign that lasted for years. When a lord would concede to his terms, either before a battle or after their defeat, he would let live and remain as the “governors” and local lords of their holdings. Those that would not join him were killed, and their holdings were given to peasants or minor lordlings that had showed themselves to be loyal and worthy. He managed to unite the content, except for the area south of the sister cities and the Icecap mountains, where he was repelled, and decided to let them remain as free cities to trade with. He set up the head of this new government in his home of Goldcrest, and set the foundations of the Congress. Just after the first congress had convened however, he was assassinated by representative of one of his enemy’s in hiding. Emperor Goldcrest left no heir, and The Congress soon decided that they should not allow the kingdom to be ruled by a dynasty in any place, so the established the rules of succession.
The emperor is the absolute power of the country, but he is advised by a congress, who can vote on laws that affect smaller policies that The Emperor has the right to block. The congress is made up of two domains, each with two assemblies. Domain Sapient, which is comprised of an assembly of 50 various aristocrats and lords from all over the country who seats are based on influence, and an assembly of 50 commoners, who represent large cities and the surrounding areas, and who are elected by the people. Domain Erudite is made up of an assembly 25 members of the College, whose members are made of the heads of the different orders and other influential members, and an assembly of 25 members of the Guild, whose number is made of the central council and other members voted to represent them by the Guild at large. The position of Senator is one held for life barring the following circumstances: Being nominated for removal by a member of both assemblies in your Domain, then being voted against by 75% of the congress, of by being kicked out by the emperor as a result of a capital crime (anything but outright murder in broad daylight or a poorly hidden treason plot does not count as a capital crime).
The emperor is elected from Domain Sapient, though it is rare for one to be elected from the Assembly of Commoners. The emperor is elected for life, and gives up all of his current titles. He then becomes the lord of Goldcrest, the capital city, and takes that name. He takes control of the holdings of the Goldcrest name, to run as he sees fit. He usually abdicates this to a steward because he is in charge of ruling the country as a whole. The position of emperor lasts until you die, or are voted out by a unanimous decision by the Congress. In the latter case, even though it has only happened once, leads to immediate death, or being set on a boat run by criminals or volunteers for whatever land might exist across the sea.
The Large cities are ruled by a mayor who is elected by the population, and the mayor is subject to their lord. The cities watch over small farming towns in their area. A single lord rules over a large expanse of land, and usually rules from the main city in his land. These lordships are usually a title handed down from generation to generation, but the emperor has the ability to revoke a title if he wants. Occasionally a peasant that has gained some renown, or that has done the emperor a favor in some way will be given a small holding, but this is not common. Some aristocratic families are removed from a lordship, due to the blundering of a member or because the emperor is angry with them. In such a case, they still retain their nobility, and have the chance to regain a seat of power if fate smiles upon them. If a noble house doesn’t have a landing, then they usually reside in one of their country homes or in one of the larger cities. Fighting between houses and even fighting within houses is common, though to do any outright fighting is considered poor taste. Instead, the houses rely on hired assassins or thieves to do their dirty work for them. Overall, this is a land of intrigue and hidden plots.
h.2 Major Factions
There are two main factions that influence the emperor: The College of the Magi, and the Technomancers guild.
The College is the older organization, and deal with the supernatural elements. They were defenders and helped the kingdom grow strong. The college was originally only for the aristocrats, and the few commoners with found substantial magical talents. They tend to look down on the poor farmers and the uneducated of the land. They also had disdain for the alchemists, and local witches that helped the small communities thrive, because they felt that these magic users were only medaling in things they shouldn’t (and in the case of the alchemists, that they will end up blowing up their town in an accident). The College guards all but the most basic magic, preferring to sell their services rather than having to clean up all of the messes meddlers would cause. Some of the younger members of the College are in favor of helping the Guild and bringing the two fields together, but the majority of the College believes that they should keep to themselves. The College is broken down into different orders based on what they teach. Many wizards pick one order of Magic, but some chose two, or to dabble in many.
Scholars haven’t been able to determine whether the formation of the guild came about because of the industrial revolution, or the other way around. The guild is only a half century old, but have quickly risen in membership and influence to be almost equal in standing with the college, which is something that the college can’t stand. The Guild is about one thing: inventing. If you can think of it, the Guild probably has some plans to improve it. Their harvesting machines have made farmers life easier, and their moving tables have revolutionized the way goods are manufactured. The country is more connected than ever because the Motorized Conveyances of the Guild are more affordable, but slower, than the teleportation services offered by the College. Made up of almost exclusively the new middle class, the members of the guild are often Blacksmiths or craftsmen that have embraced the arts of artifice and creating magically enhanced machines, which has long been looked down on by the College. The best of the Guild are even said to be able to speak to the machines themselves. The College believes that the only reason to make artifacts is store high powered spells or so serve some magical purpose, not to make tasks easier. While some of the Guild see themselves as wizards that use objects to convey their magic, most of them see themselves as applying the more scientific aspects of magic, such as runes and scrolls, to the everyday world. The Guild is overseen by a central council, who organize the group and act as a moderation panel, but by and large, each member works by himself or a few close friends.