Medieval America Mark III

While I'm not going to ask you to delete it, do note that West virginia is not encompassed under the Great Lakes.
While I'm not going to ask you to delete it, do note that West virginia is not encompassed under the Great Lakes.
It's kinda hard to categorize though. It differs from other Appalachian states in that it's on the west side of the mountains and not contained in the valley between

It has very few of the characteristics of a Great Lakes or Midwestern nation but it's primary interactions are with those nations
I think Albany would be the best they could hope for. That would be pretty important because it'd be highly disruptive to the main trade route going across the Appalachians. Syracuse and Rochester achieve the same effect.
I think Albany would be the best they could hope for. That would be pretty important because it'd be highly disruptive to the main trade route going across the Appalachians. Syracuse and Rochester achieve the same effect.
Obviously it would be impossible to take Manhattan, but if they seize control over Albany it would seem to me that the Hudson Valley would allow for a pretty direct route down to NYC.
Obviously it would be impossible to take Manhattan, but if they seize control over Albany it would seem to me that the Hudson Valley would allow for a pretty direct route down to NYC.
Once word of Albany's fall passes to Genesee County and Ontario and down to NYC, it would be pretty hard for them not to mount a counter offensive. And Quebec is not nearly powerful enough to take on the Church and the Merchant guilds and the State of New York all at once. Any commander smart enough to take Albany will realize how far he has stretched himself.
I'll share a photo which can help with estimating populations. Also, if we're talking about populations being too high, the District of Columbia's population is IMO two times too high
Population Map
Here it is

and here is the population of the west, as can be seen there probably aren't 700k people there, more like 400k, maybe 500k if you want to stretch it

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The State of New York
The State of New York

  • System of Government: Feudal State
  • Head of State: Governor, chosen through primogeniture from the sons of the ruling Lamb family
  • Population: 1,000,000
  • Religion: Non-Denominational
  • Totemic Symbol: Liberty
The State of New York has fallen on hard times. Long ago they lost direct control over Manhattan and Long Island when US troops occupied the territory to secure trade. Genesee County would secede not long after that. But even then things were going fairly well; the Governor in Albany ruled the largest territory in the Northeast, his dominion over the Upstate seemingly secured. New ork was able to throw its weight around and was counted among the great states of the Union.

Everything would change when the Quebecois attacked. The First Crusade struck without warning, Quebecker Chevaliers sacking entire villages seemingly over night. The Governor rallied his forces to meet the Quebecois in battle at Lyons Fall. The Quebecois were almost turned back until the Governor took an arrow to the throat, throwing New Yorker forces into disarray. The Quebeckers stormed south, marching triumphantly into Albany and hunkering down for the winter.

Initially it was not quite clear to the Non-Denom powers should be overly concerned about this state of affairs; it was perceived as just another war, and many were all too happy to have New York knocked out of the running. But as spring melted the winter frosts it became clear that this was something entirely different; New England faced invasion from the north and east, Genesee County and Ontario were under attack, and Quebecois forces appeared to be marching for New York City itself.

A panicking US declared a counter-crusade that would quickly turn back the Francophone advance and even coming very close to taking Montreal before winter turned them back. It would only be some twenty years later when that the seizure of Kingston County would prompt the Americans to launch their first offensive crusade.

Despite the victory New York was not reaping the spoils. After chafing under a year of tyrannical Quebecker rule the State came no closer to finding a legitimate Governor, and a low-level civil war burned through the already devastated country. The US had exercised control over much of the State following the Crusade and elected to maintain control until the chaos subsided. One claimant finally rose above the rest; rather then making up however, he had many of his rivals and their supporters executed, prompting a mass exodus to the territories of New York under Federal control. After the new Governor demanded the return of his land the US held democratic referendums as is their want. The votes came in and the Governor was crushed when he lost almost half of his territory, most cuttingly Albany which was now a Nondenom Supervisory. Too weak after years of war, the Governor limply accepted.

Today, New York is doing well but most assuredly not great. Sure it grows fat off the riches of the Erie Canal, but massive proportions of it are lost to the State thanks to the exorbitant cut taken by the American and Mackinaw Canal Guilds. It may be respected by the other nations of the US as a bulwark against Canadian aggression but it remains under constant threat. And to this day Watertown, Champlain, Genesee and its Hudson territories remain lost to it. Chester Lamb plots to restore the Empire State's lost empire as the Governors before him did. Though New York City itself may remain out of its grasp for the forseeable furtue, Lady Liberty still adorns its flag as they wait for their return to the mythical splendor of the Big Apple.
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The Commonwealth of Mississippi
The Commonwealth of Mississippi

( flag courtesy of @tehskyman )

System of Government:
Feudal Monarchy (de jure), Pseudo-Elective Military Dictatorship (de facto)
Selection of Leaders: The House of Maddox rules from Jackson, along with the District Supervisor, as Governors of Mississippi. In fact, however, the Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi rules at the head of a council of the landed warlords of Mississippi.
Population: 3,162,500
Totemic Symbol: The Stars and Bars
Religion: Non-Denominational, strong Voodoo presence in the South, tolerance of the Evangelical Heresy

The Commonwealth of Mississippi is one of the larger powers of the Feudal Core in the Old South of America. Two of the great cities of the region - Montgomery and Mobile - both remain just outside of the Commonwealth’s borders, Mobile held by the State of Louisiana and Montgomery maintaining a fierce independence. This means that the remaining cities of Mississippi - Vicksburg, Meridian, and Jackson - are the centers of urban commerce and development in Mississippi, and they are not the sprawling, prosperous cities that New Orleans, Mobile, Montgomery, or Memphis are. The result of this is that, aside from the District Supervisor of Jackson, few of the traditionally urban power holders of Medieval America - guilds, church officials, merchant families, and the like - have much power in Mississippi. Instead, Mississippi is truly dominated without exception by the feudal landowners.

Mississippian Knighthood and Aristocracy

Knighthood in the Commonwealth of Mississippi is different from that of Ohio and the Midwest. Knights in Mississippi are trained as horseback archers as much as they are as lancers, able to handle both the recurve bows and lances with skill. The heavy plate armor of the north is often too hot and cumbersome for these knights, so instead they ride into battle in lamellar armor. Outside of battle, knights operate by a code of “Southern Chivalry,” which, while similar to the chivalric traditions that exist elsewhere in Medieval America, is a distinct code of honor, shame, and hospitality. Mississippi knights and lords are expected to be hospitable to their social superiors and equals, deferent to their superiors, well-spoken and well-mannered to the opposite sex, and willing to defend their honor even beyond the point of reason. Mississippi knights share much of the hot-bloodedness and passion that defines the common southern farmer, but are expected to act with more dignity and an air of superiority; dance is proper and formal, not wild and passionate, clothing is somewhat more conservative, and vendettas are always couched in an aggrieved innocence; no southern knight will ever admit to wanting to exact revenge, even though that desire is expected and almost always exacted. Challenges to one’s personal or family honor, which can range from true insults to perceived ones, often results in retaliation. Talking one’s way into a vendetta against a weaker opponent by manufacturing outrage and feigning injury has become something of an art form amongst the knighthood of Mississippi.

The grandest nobles in Mississippi often style themselves with one of two titles: Colonel or Mayor. Colonels tend to be from families whose lineage is more prestigious than their holdings, and thus represent the “Old Money” of Mississippi; they are titled as the Colonel of their family (i.e. Colonel of Randolph). Alternatively, those for whom their holdings are more prestigious than their lineage style themselves Mayors, and are titled as the Mayor of their manor (i.e. Mayor of Vicksburg). Mayors tend to be seen as the “Nouveau Riche” of Mississippi, even though some have lineages hundreds of years old. Of these nobles, the most powerful often band together to form the Golden Circle, a semi-official organization that has existed for the past two hundred years. The Golden Circle serves as both the enforcers and supporters of the Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, and effectively much of the government of the State.

Because the aristocracy of Mississippi dominates the vast majority of their land and has armies of debt-enslaved peasants to work the land, the individuals have time to dedicate to a variety of other activities. Men who are not the patriarch of their family tend to develop themselves as the ideal “Warrior-gentleman” of the South. These men are expected to be fine horsemen, archers, and jousters, as well as dabble in more “civilized” activities, including wrestling, poetry, debate, liquor sampling, and painting. Women, meanwhile, are expected to be pleasant, witty, charming, and hospitable, and are often also expected to be able to provide medical care. Noble men and women are expected to show extreme deference to their aristocratic patriarchs.

The Peasants, Church, and Burghers

The peasantry of Mississippi is more typical of the southern stereotype of hot-bloodedness, passion, and frivolity. Here, much of the Caribbean influence on the people of Mississippi can be seen: their food is spiced like it would be in Jamaica or Haiti, in war they fight with machetes and bucklers like the seaborne raiders of the Caribbean, and their worship incorporated much of the animistic tradition on Voodoo. Of particular importance in Mississippi culture is dance; dances are forms of storytelling, reenacting famous folk tales in Mississippi’s rich mythology while rhythmic drums and flutes add a melodic quality. Troupes of dancers and musicians wander the countryside of Mississippi, seeking patronage from one of the many great lords in their plantations. Most peasants, however, are tenant farmers, tied to their land for generations working under their manorial lords. Uniquely, these peasants are not serfs, but debt slaves, who are often working debts ten or more generations long to their overlords. This system has prevented most any migration by the peasantry, and thus prevented the growth of cities within Mississippi.

Indeed, the social structure of Mississippi makes future development difficult. The strict enforcement of peasant residence and debt slavery has effectively stunted the growth of cities and towns, and with them many of the engines of further state development, namely commerce and any semblance of an educated middle class to serve as administrators of a growing or effective Mississippian State. Further, the large population and abundance of food production in Mississippi has made large-scale social evolution even more difficult; peasant coordination is simply impossible with the amount of people, the distance, and the lack of education or communication, and as such negotiations out of debt slavery or revolts against tyrannical lords can be put down piecemeal. At the same time, however, these facts make Mississippi an attractive target for foreign powers seeking fertile, populous land, and without a strong hand at the helm, Mississippi makes an attractive target for circling vultures.

The American Non-Denominational Church is the official faith of the Commonwealth, with the District Supervisor sitting in the city of Jackson. However, Mississippi has a long history of religious tolerance, primarily out of necessity. In the southern and even central reaches of the Commonwealth, Voodoo or pseudo-Voodoo practices are commonplace among the peasantry, and attempting to root out this heresy felled no fewer than four Governors in mass peasant revolts. Similarly, in the north, the Evangelical heresy promotes a different reading of Christian tradition, rooted in the Old Testament and in dangerous displays of faith and divine protection, the handling of snakes during religious services being among them. Though the Supreme Court has frequently put pressure on the Governors of Mississippi to crack down on such heretical activities, the District Supervisors of Jackson and the Governors have impressed upon them that doing so is simply not possible, and that cracking down of religious dissent would be more likely to topple Non-Denominational rule in Mississippi altogether.

The relationship of the American Non-Denominational Church to the Feudal Core as a whole has also led to this contentious relationship. More than half the District Supervisors of the Church are located in the Northeast, which creates a powerful voting bloc that the District Supervisors of the South have never been able to match. The result of this is that the core of the Non-Denominational Church and the lords of the Feudal Core, Mississippi chief among them, have always viewed one another with suspicion. To the Supreme Court Justices, the Mississippians are half-heathen hotheads who are too busy killing each other over slights to deal with the rampant heresy in their lands, while to the Mississippians, the northeastern justices are pompous aristocrats who have consolidated power to keep it out of southern hands and who don’t understand the realities of ruling in the South. At one point, the District Supervisor of Jackson was impeached by the Supreme Court in absentia, almost leading to a schism between Mississippi and the Church until cooler heads prevailed and the situation was resolved.

Jackson, as the seat of the District Supervisor, and Vicksburg, situated along the Mississippi River, are the two primary cities of Mississippi. Vicksburg serves as the primary port of Mississippi, where the wheat, corn, and cotton produced in the Commonwealth are sold to Louisianan merchants and shipped throughout the known world. Vicksburg is a unique city, where a combination of Louisianan, Mississippian, and Mephian culture has created a distinct blend. Jackson, meanwhile, is Mississippian though and through, with several monastic communities surrounding the city serving as its food source. Jackson is the only place in Mississippi where many finished goods, such as glass, parchment, and liquor, are actually made, making it very wealthy. However, there is still a massive trade imbalance in Mississippi, as almost all the finished goods they use must be imported from abroad, often putting Mississippian nobles in debt to foreign merchants of foreign banks; an irony lost on many of those same nobles who own peasants in debt slavery. Finally, there is Meridian, which is more fortress than city, which serves as the seat of the Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi and the heart of the Golden Circle. The town surrounding the Lieutenant Governor’s Mansion is only slightly larger than most farming villages in order to satisfy the needs of the nobles who travel there.

In lieu of cities or freeholder villages, population centers in Mississippi mostly gather around large plantations. The typical plantation village is a ways away from the Big House itself, often connected by a grand boulevard. The villages are mostly houses for the peasantry who owe debt slavery to the nearest lord, as well as a couple of watchtowers, a church, and a collection of businesses. These villages are run by overseers, trusted lieutenants of the lords who keep tabs on the peasants and keep them in line. Criminal justice is handled by the overseers, and the harshest punishments are generally reserved for those who try to flee the land and are caught, as allowing such movement would undermine the entire social order of Mississippi. The village shops often contain little more than a blacksmith, a fletcher, and a carpenter. Artisans whose goods have more value, such as cobblers, distillers, weavers, silversmiths, and secretaries are generally retainers of the lords themselves, and live in houses adjacent to the Plantation itself.

History and Government

The past several centuries of Mississippian history have been characterized by the gradual erosion of the power of the Mississippian Governors, both within their dominions and in the wider political sphere of the Feudal Core. Nonetheless, this has not stopped the Commonwealth of Mississippi from attempting to become a regional hegemon, and has in fact spurred on several changes within the Commonwealth’s culture and politics. Two hundred years ago, the city of Montgomery, the largest and wealthiest city in Mississippi, flew into revolt after a series of honor-killings between a local lord and a visiting lord from rural Mississippi led to an angry mob storming the visitor’s quarters. The following war saw concurrent invasions of Mississippi by the Red River Territory, the Arkansas Territory, and Shelby County, forcing the Governor to accept Montgomery’s independence. Soon after, a new Governor sought to retake Mobile and open up its fine port to export the agricultural produce of Mississippi, only for a two-pronged retaliatory invasion by the State of Louisiana to force yet another humiliating peace. This humiliation led to the formation of the Golden Circle, an alliance of two dozen of the wealthiest and most powerful families in Mississippi. They nominated one of their own, a man by the name of Isom Cromwell, to serve as the Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, an office in charge of the Commonwealth’s armies and second only to the Governor.

The rise of the Golden Circle saw a proportionate fall in the power of the Governor. As the power of the Governor seemed to be waning, several outlying landowners declared their own independence, forming a band of independent states to the north and east of Mississippi. A conspiracy was ultimately hatched to cleve the Commonwealth in two, forming a rival State of Alabama. The Alabaman conspirators went so far as to kidnap the reigning Governor, Robert IV Maddox, and hold him hostage against the Golden Circle. This was ultimately stopped by the formidable Lieutenant Governor Leonidas Randolph, who defeated a league of rebellious lords at the Battle of Batesville and secured the borders of Mississippi going forward. Roughly 75 years ago, the power of the Lieutenant Governor had clearly eclipsed that of the Governor, and the Golden Circle became the de facto ruling council of Mississippi, going so far as to “educate” the Governor’s children in their stronghold of Meridian to ensure his compliance.

Though the Golden Circle has no official roster of families, certain landholdings are simply too large, too wealthy, and too important to ever be ignored on this council. The Mayors of Vicksburg fall on this list, as do many large landowners along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River. Seven such families have held a seat on the Golden Circle since its inception, and largely dominate the selection process for the Lieutenant Governors - only two in the position’s near two hundred year history have not come from one of these seven families: the Randolphs, the Cromwells, the McCalmonts, the Dunlaps, the Davenports, the Burgesses, and the Rhodes. This system has nevertheless created both boons and pitfalls for Mississippi. On the one hand, the generational prospect of gaining the highest office in Mississippi has convinced many who might otherwise seek independence to remain part of the Commonwealth. On the other, the politicking and scheming surrounding the circle has caused a fair share of blood feuds between families, and any selection of a new Lieutenant Governor without at least a dozen duels of honor is considered a peaceful and successful vote.

Mississippi and Louisiana

Mississippian nobles rely on the State of Louisiana for many things. Spices, essential to the cuisine of Mississippi, must be imported through Vicksburg or Mobile, both of which allow the Louisianans to increase the price and skim profit off the top. Similarly, the coasts and rivers of Mississippi are woefully unprotected, making them ideal for pirates and corsairs from the bayous to prey upon villages and plantations. In exchange for annual payments, New Orleans has cracked down on piracy, keeping Mississippian shores safe. On the flip side, Mississippian Knights have often served as mercenaries for Louisiana, though their honor demands that they be identified as “Foreign Allies” and not serve in the same companies as common mercenaries, and the food produced by Mississippian plantations feeds and fuels much of the Louisianan naval empire. The symbiotic relationship between New Orleans and Meridian has done much to ease tensions between the two states, even if many Mississippian nobles still long for the reconquest of Mobile, and often look down their noses as the merchants of New Orleans.

Despite their symbiotic relationship, not to mention their cultural similarities, Louisianans and Mississippians do not tend to have particularly high opinions of each other. Mississippians tend to see the Louisianans as full-blown heretics, and although Mississippi may be more tolerant than other regions, the boundaries between their faith and others is not lost on them. To Mississippians, the syncretic Non-Denominational/Voodoo practices of many peasants are acceptable, if disappointing, as they are uneducated peasants who have no ability to raise churches or temples; the aristocratic mindset coming out. The Louisianans, by contrast, are educated, wealthy, and able to spread their heretical faith elsewhere, which the Mississippians do not accept. Further, the Secretarial model which dominates Louisiana is anathema to the entrenched gender roles of Mississippi; the perceived unmanliness of the Louisianans is reinforced by their preference for fighting at sea (not on an open field) and their mercantile activities (not farming or overseeing a plantation). Louisianans, by contrast, often see the Mississippians as country bumpkins, whose pride and backwards economics keep them in debt to foreign merchants and keep their Commonwealth from achieving the power it could.
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I find it odd that the electoral system is truly republican: in other states the trend seems to be that if the electoral system is maintained it is almost entirely for show.
I find it odd that the electoral system is truly republican: in other states the trend seems to be that if the electoral system is maintained it is almost entirely for show.
I was shooting for something akin to the Holy Roman Empire; would crystallizing which families get votes to make it a more exclusive, aristocratic club work, or should I wholesale change it to a de facto hereditary system?