Medieval America Mark III

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Flashman, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Imperial Inkstand-filler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    The State of Missouri
    Missouri_final.jpg

    System
    of Government: Hereditary Feudal Monarchy
    Selection of Leaders: Primogeniture succession within the House of Schwartz
    Population: 1,036,250*
    Totemic Symbol: The Gateway
    Religion: American Non-Denominational Church

    Located on the edge of the American Non-Denominational Church’s reach, the State of Missouri is a strange blend of southern, midwestern, and cowboy cultures. St. Louis, the largest city in the state, is one of the three great cities of the Mississippi River (the other two being Memphis and N’awlins), and is a uniquely cosmopolitan city, having been destroyed by the Baileys and then rebuilt by a combination of Memphian merchants, Kentuckian freeholders, Cowboy converts, and Missourian refugees. Nevertheless, the Gateway City remains a center of commerce in the middle Mississippi, and serves as part of the connective tissue for the central trade routes through America. With the State of Missouri’s tribute to the Iowa Territory keeping their northern flank secure and the St. Louis’s position as a crossroads of trade from Deseret, Chicago, Memphis, and Ohio, the State of Missouri has experienced a remarkable resurgence in the past eighty years.

    History of Missouri

    In the distant past, Missouri was one of the premier powers of the Feudal Core. St. Louis, along with Chicago, Memphis, and N’awlins, formed a chain of large, wealthy, cosmopolitan cities along the western end of the Non-Denominational Church’s reach. Missourian merchants were a common sight in the Mackinaw League, in N’awlins, and in Cincinnati, and were not unheard of as far away as Salt Lake City, Baltimore, and Portland. Missourian dominion extend as far south as Little Rock, and the Schwartz Governors of Missouri were as wealthy and influential as any Governors in the east. The rise of the cowboys in the Prairie, however, led to increasing raids on Missouri’s frontier. As more resources were devoted west, sometimes with disastrous results when cowboy raiders ambushed and destroyed Missourian forces, Missourian borders to the east and south receded. A long, miserable decline set in for Missouri, and even St. Louis began to contract in size and wealth.

    During the Bailey conquest of Illinois, larger raids into Missouri became a common occurrence. The Governors in St. Louis were incapable of defeating them, culminating in the disastrous Battle of Gallatin, where the Missourians under Governor Jackson IV Schwartz were cornered and massacred, the Governor included. Unopposed, the Bailey forces swept south towards the long-inviolate walls of St. Louis and pulled them down, putting the city to the torch and looting everything of value they could find. Many Missourians, the Schwartz family included, fled east, toward Pope-Gallatin County, Shelby County, and the Commonwealth of Ohio. What followed was twenty years of anarchy, with villages and small landowners turning on one another. The once-wealthy territory was subject to extreme poverty, and many powers only did not invade for fear of Bailey reprisal. Only when Lafayette Schwartz, a great-nephew of Jackson IV, came to the Bailey court with the last wealth of his family as tribute to gain the Baileys’ blessing for his pacification of Missouri did the anarchy finally come to an end; even the Baileys had grown tired of the destructive infighting in Missouri. And so, from his new base in the former District Supervisor’s seat of Jefferson City - the District Supervisor had fled to Baltimore when St. Louis fell - Governor Lafayette I Schwartz began the long, arduous process of restoring the State of Missouri. Though it would take another twenty-five years of war, diplomacy, and strong-arming, Lafayette’s great project would ultimately pay off.

    Not long after Lafayette had completed his project, he received a delegation from Memphis about reconstructing St. Louis - the city’s destruction had left a gaping hole in the trade routes of the midwest which Lafayette’s impoverished kingdom could not fill. Now in his late fifties, Lafayette returned to face the Baileys with this proposal, only to discover that the new ruler of the clan, George Bailey, was a connoisseur of the luxuries of civilization, and heartily agreed. Merchants from Memphis provided massive loans to the Governor, in exchange for lucrative trade deals in the new St. Louis. Soon, Missourian refugees, who had fled around the area in the face of the Bailey invasion, began to make their way back to the city. They brought with them many new immigrants; Kentuckian freeholders, whose traditional village lands were being eaten up by Ohioan nobles, came, as did those cowboys who felt the same way George Bailey did and wanted to plant their roots in this new urban environment. An outpost of the Sons of the South, composed of Ozarkians, Ouchitains, and Cajuns made their way north to the new city to offer their services as defenders of the faithful, while many wealthy merchants from Chicago and the Mackinaw League came south to stake a claim in the new market. Perhaps the strangest of all the new settlers arrived seven years after the new construction began; a group of Mormons calling themselves the Apostles of Nauvoo, arrived in Lafayette’s territory, claiming that a holy place was located within and asking to be granted a Mormon Quarter in St. Louis to facilitate Mormon pilgrims and merchants visiting these sites, to which Lafayette agreed.

    Governor Lafayette I Schwartz the Great died of old age seventy-two years ago, after ruling Missouri for nearly forty years. He had brought the State back from the brink of destruction, and though it was now surrounded by nations which it was indebted to, mostly Iowa and Shelby County, it has survived the twenty years of anarchy and destruction that had followed the initial Bailey conquest. His successors emulated some of his wide-reaching success, bringing in still-nomadic but converted cowboy tribes to guard the western borders of the State and encouraging merchants from Louisville and Cincinnati to trade in the rebuilt market on the waterfront. Despite this, none of Lafayette’s successors have been able to emulate his brilliance or determination, and Missouri’s restoration has not turned into a political renaissance. The current Governor of Missouri, Jeffrey II, continues to chafe under the far-reaching trade rights given to Memphian merchants, which have begun to hinder the growth of native Missourian merchant houses. Despite this, Missouri’s contacts with both the cowboys and the mormons has made St. Louis the primary way station for trade moving east to west or west to east, and the bazaars of St. Louis sell porcelain from Salt Lake City and precision crafts from Sacramento on their way to the markets of the east.

    Perhaps the biggest change of the past generation was the restoration of the District Supervisor of Missouri. The District Supervisor’s flight to Baltimore at the beginning of the Bailey Invasion had left the State without it’s traditional religious head, and even Lafayette I’s impassioned pleas had not convinced the Supreme Court to dispatch a new Supervisor. It was only recently, when Jeffrey II offered to construct a new church in Jefferson City for the Non-Denominational Church and subsidize a new monastery, that the District Supervisor of Jefferson City was restored. This event occurred only 15 years ago.

    Missourian Society and Culture

    Missourian society is something of a blend between southern, midwestern, and cowboy social norms. In the east, along the Mississippi, society resembles the norms of the feudal core, with knights ruling over vast estates growing corn and wheat. Missourians largely do not practice the debt slavery of the deep south, as peasants are far more capable of running off into the mountains and defeating noble attempts to dislodge them. Indeed, the political collapse of Missouri and the death caused by both the Bailey invasion and the anarchy has created a shortage of laborers, giving peasants freedom and mobility to increase their wages and begin forming towns and communes. The continued distraction of the Governors in St. Louis, preoccupied with keeping their many enemies at bay while the state recovers, has so far permitted these social changes to continue. As one travels west, these freeholder villages and feudal estates give way, first to monastic communities in the south of the state, where beer and some of the only wine produced in the east are brewed, and more freeholder towns fortified against raids along the rivers. Finally, the western border is virtually indistinguishable from the wide prairies of the cowboys, aside from the presence of Non-Denominational clergy, with semi-nomadic tribes maintaining the edge of the State and trading with the caravans or river vessels traveling along the cowboy trails.

    Missourians have a reputation for being practical, serious, and just no fun, which in part is due to their long-standing contact and conflict with the cowboys. In part, this conflict has led to a “siege mentality,” where many Missourians fear that a screaming horde of cowboys could come sweeping down on them tomorrow, and thus that they must be responsible, prepared, and committed to defending their holdfasts and villages. However, contact with the New Israelites has also brought over some of their more puritanical beliefs; though Missourians do not share their abstinence from alcohol, they do share a general distaste for pork, ostentatious clothing, and spicy food. Even the merchants of St. Louis wear black or muted red, so as not to inspire jealousy or greed for their commercial success. Missourian knights have many differences from their counterparts in Mississippi, thinking the hot-blooded honor duels to be impractical and mutually destructive, and their counterparts in Ohio, considering chivalric tradition and honor to be secondary to the more practical concerns of skill in battle. This has, however, made Missourians ideal candidates for organizations like the Sons of the South, which prioritize skill at arms and a devotion to the expansion and defense of the American Non-Denominational Church, and the State of Missouri represents the northernmost portion of the so-called “Southern Wall” reaching up from the Red River Territory and including those nations which the Sons of the South have strong influence in.

    The aristocracy of Missouri, meanwhile, appears as a blend of elements from the south and north. Some are members of the Sons of the South, which helps to coordinate training and defense of the borders, but also take part is Missouri’s rich river culture in longboats that would be familiar to Wisconsinites. The porous nature of Missouri’s borders and the recent anarchy has made traveling by roads even more dangerous than elsewhere, and riverboats moving from fortified town to fortified town are often preferable to excursions into the wilderness. Like southern knights, Missourian knights are trained both as horse archers and as lancers, though their armor is a mix of plate and chain-mail or scale-mail, more akin to the armor work by the lancers of Ohio or Michigan. Missourians prefer beef and chicken for protein, owing to a distaste for pork shared by their New Israelite neighbors. Missourian castles follow the time-tested motte-and-bailey construction style, allowing for a fortified town center and a fortified castle, providing defenses for both the nobility and the peasants who they rely on.

    Law in Missouri rests almost solely in the hands of the nobility. The dangers of travel and the immediacy of many threats means that Missourians do not have the time nor the inclination to travel to state courts to try matters of crime and punishment. Many New Israelite practices, most notably public stoning, have been adopted for “crimes against the union,” a term which, in theory, indicates treasonous activities, but can be stretched to include giving aid to a rival noble or attempting to sneak off of a lord’s land without his permission. The experience of the twenty years of anarchy has reinforced this localized sense of justice, and even in towns without a noble overlord, mob violence or public attacks on criminals are far more common than actual trials or judges. The District Supervisor in Jefferson City has made attempts to put a stop to this practice since his restoration, but the idea of hauling condemned criminals across the open fields of Missouri to Jefferson City or St. Louis, risking raids, bandits, or escape attempts, only to likely see a similar verdict handed down to them is anathema to the practically-minded Missourians. The Governors of Missouri, for their part, have been permissive of this brand of justice, believing that the nobility of Missouri will be less demanding of independent military command if they are granted a free hand in their judicial affairs.

    No survey of Missouri would be complete without considering St. Louis itself. Were it further from the frontier with the cowboys, it might have been another Augusta, N’awlins, or Cincinnati, the grand capital of a sprawling commonwealth. As it stands, St. Louis is a wealthy, prosperous city of just over 50,000 individuals, making it a reasonably large city - especially for Missouri - but not a particularly large one as far as the great cities of the day go. The city is built around the Gateway, the remains of a great metallic arch which once marked the city’s waterfront. Though the arch itself has long since collapsed, two great marble spires have been raised in the places where the legs once stood, and between them is a great covered bazaar where goods from across America are sold. Some distance from the city proper is the Castle of Washington, the seat of the House of Schwartz and Missouri’s own imitation of the National Mall, all laid out in red sandstone and overlooking a large reflecting pool. St. Louis’s culture has been impacted heavily by Memphis, though other cultural elements, including Chicagoan cuisine and Cajun architecture, have found their way into the city. Somewhat separate is the Nauvoo Quarter, where the Mormons maintain a hospital, bakery, well, and temple, and help pilgrims and merchants from as far off as Deseret acclimate to the city.

    Outside of St. Louis, the only other settlement of note is Jefferson City, the seat of the District Supervisor of Missouri and the heart of the wine-producing country. Situated on the Missouri River, Jefferson City mainly communicates with St. Louis via riverboats, which sail between the fortified towns along the river to avoid the possibility of being waylaid on land. Many monasteries in Missouri produce wine and beer as well as contemplation and solitude, and these goods are generally shipped to Jefferson City in caravans before moving either east to St. Louis and other, further destinations, or west, to pass along the cowboy trail to merchants beyond. Jefferson City is often considered the westernmost beacon of civilization by Non-Demoninationalists, and it is the site of an annual wine fair, where merchants flock to the open grounds to purchase wine, mostly from Missouri but some imported from California and Cascadia, in exchange for other goods. These fairs are attended by many cowboy tribes in the surrounding area, who find many goods they would otherwise not have access to. During the years where St. Louis was a smoldering ruin, Jefferson City was the home of the Governor Lafayette I, and a modest castle outside the city remains a testament to this period of exile. Recently, the return of the District Supervisor has led to a minor boom in construction in the city, with a new church and a new monastery paid for by the Governor.

    The Missourian Cowboys

    When the first cowboy raids began striking at Missouri, it was common for many Governors to underestimate the threat, believing that these raiders were mere bandits who could be dealt with by his vassals. As the death toll from those raids increased, however, the Missourian Governors were forced to take a more serious approach to the cowboy threat. When the formidable Okie Cowboy Micah Twiss burned his way up to the walls of St. Louis, the terrified Governor Ethan III struck a deal with the Twiss clan, granting them lands in western Missouri in exchange for fealty and a conversion to Non-Denominationalism. While the fealty was never strictly enforced, the conversion appeared successful, and the first of many resettlements of cowboy tribes on Missouri’s borders formed a buffer between the towns and holdfasts of feudal Missouri and the open plains of the Prairie. Over the next couple of centuries, more cowboy clans would rise and fall on the border of Missouri, nominally paying tribute and swearing fealty to the Governors in St. Louis, but always existing in a strange, semi-independent state.

    The fall of St. Louis and the twenty years of anarchy led to these Non-Denominational Cowboy clans spreading their power back east. Towns and holdfasts would pay for protection from the Baileys and their raiders, and the Non-Denominational Missourian Cowboys would attempt to provide it. This was not always successful, but by the beginning of Governor Lafayette’s reconstruction of Missouri, the cowboy clans were the largest power brokers in the remains of the state. Now, cowboy culture has left an unmistakable impact on that of Missouri. Beyond the dour dress, serious nature, aversion to pork, and harsh justice already mentioned, the cowboys have also helped to increase the mobility of the Missourian peasantry, giving them the ability to join the tribes and escape the serfdom of the great estates. The Missourian cowboys have also, inadvertently, helped promote Missouri’s unique place on the cowboy trail and in east-west trade. Even the Non-Denominational Missourian cowboys are proficient at connecting with the cowboy clans of the Prairie itself, and cowboy guides are frequently used by Missourian caravans. This advantage has kept many Missourian caravans safe as they travel west, and helped to make St. Louis the primary way station for goods from California, Deseret, or Cascadia moving east.

    With the resettlement of St. Louis, the Missourian cowboys have entered a new era of urban settlement. Several thousand cowboys, largely from the Bailey domains in Iowa, moved south to repopulate St. Louis, bringing with them their own culture and practices. If anything, though, this has made the merchants of St. Louis even more capable in the west, with translators, networkers, and guides to be found within the city itself. Many cowboys have made a successful transition to either merchants or carpenters, working with the Cajun, Kentuckian, and Memphian immigrants to the city to create the distinct architectural style that now defines the new St. Louis. Some cowboys in St. Louis have even gone so far as to build a small, nondescript New Israelite temple within the city grounds, the first of its kind in the State of Missouri. While many St. Louisians have been reticent about this new development, the amount of trade with the New Israelite territories and the many converted cowboys in the city have prevented any sectarian violence from breaking out. This makes St. Louis one of the most religiously diverse cities in the American Non-Denominational Church’s hold, with notable communities of both New Israelites and Mormons living in the city walls.


    *- adding up the population based on the map gave me a total of 986,250, but since on the East Map White indicated that Missouri’s population exceeds 1 million, I added 50,000 to bump it up to 1,036,250.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  2. tehskyman Engineer for the money

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    When I was thinking about Missouri I got something similar. I reckon that the population of cities is not included in the population density map but the color of the map has their population included. So if the pop of St Louis is included it would exceed 1 mil
     
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  3. Flashman A Real Go-Getter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The United Fruit Company, Arkham Office
    Lost Vegas, Part III: Decadence & Downfall

    [​IMG]

    Vegas expanded up and down the Colorado expanding what had once been a relationship of vassal-fealty into outright centralized control. Vegas hired some of the greatest irrigation specialists of Deseret, California, New Mexico and Kuluradu to build complex systems of canals and dams that brought the life giving Colorado further out into the desert. This simultaneously enriched and immiserated the newly minted farmers of the region; while they were able to grow plenty of food, they were now totally enthralled to the authority of the Caesar.

    At its height, Vegas ruled over some 450,000 souls and the city itself held host to 60,000. Partly to be close to the source of their wealth and partly out of vanity, the Houses never moved closer to Lake Mead. Instead a network of canals and tunnels re-directed more and more water up through Lake Las Vegas and into the city - for a time, the city even had one of the rare sewage systems of medieval America, built in the mining tunnels.

    The House proved one of the most remarkably durable royal houses in medieval America. They ruled for centuries in a continuous line stretching back to Randall House, even establishing cadet branches in California and New Mexico - in fact towards the end of its existence, a lucky marriage sat a House on the throne of New Mexico. In Vegas itself they built up the city into a true metropolis. Aside from the aforementioned water infrastructure, the House’s built magnificent palaces and temple-casinos where once mud brick buildings had lined the strip, greatest among them a massive black pyramid built in the style of the New Mexicans. Trade brought countless young men excited to explore all the offerings of the city of sin. In part because of its criminal past and in part because of its semi-nihilistic faith, just about everything was permitted. Vegas did have its own moral codes and taboos, but the ones best known to their neighboring civilizations were irrelevant. The city’s many slaves prophesied that this sin would ultimately be Vegas’s downfall. The Vegasites responded with a hearty laugh on a good day and a crucifix on the bad.

    For the New Mexicans the city grew into a sight of pilgrimage where one would go for the sake of going. Initially this began with the caravans. It evolved into those seeking the lost Fifty-One, and then the city itself became rendered holy. In addition to the large New Age diaspora community that had produced a number of notable Medicine Men and Mediums, it was seen as a strange up-side-down city where one must travel to understand the world as it is; the easy access to drugs actually helped.

    Just as they re-directed all other trade routes in the southwest, Vegas managed to create its own hook up for narcotics. Vegasite ships sailed from the Colorado Delta down the coast of Mexico, establishing trade stations and paying exorbitant prices for the drugs in such heavy demand for the New Agers. Cocaine flowed up, and the Vegasite alchemists even managed to jury-rig a sort of amphetamine out of natural ingredients. The trade with New Mexico was certainly profitable, but a significant amount of the supply would remain in the city to sell to merchants and pilgrims, especially those from the more conservative California. The ruling class even began to partake but, unlike the New Mexicans who refined drug use over the centuries, their was no cultural infrastructure or norms to keep the level of addiction manageable. The ruling family grew decadent in their harem, and more and more control of the kingdom fell to a caste of professionals (predominantly foreign) and eunuch bureaucrats.

    The religion grew more and more ornate. Originally a cult taken seriously only by the elite, it gradually spread to the common folk who worshipped it along side the other regional faiths. Lady Luck was taken on widely, altars to her being found in illegal gambling dens as far away as Vancouver. “The Odds”, originally just an off-hand comment in the prophet’s declaration, took on a new meaning. They ere transformed into a pantheon of minor gods associated with Lady Luck that presided over different matters - after all, each game (whether that be taken literally or figuratively) has a different set of probabilities, and therefore required a different deity to oversee it. Who these gods were ranged from the gods and religious figures of other pantheons to old world pop-culture figures, and what they oversaw ranged from rainfall to blackjack.

    The fall of Vegas came slowly at first. As mentioned above, the Houses grew increasingly degenerate and incompetent, leaving their lands in the hands of their supposed servants. Legitimacy waned, and the people whispered of independence. Previously the Caesars would’ve put a stop to such mutterings quickly with military force, but the military of Vegas grew increasingly complacent and poorly trained as time went on due to the increasing poverty of Vegas. While caravans and “tourists” still flowed into the city the former began to decrease as Vegas finally began to deplete the ruins beneath it, leaving only empty tunnels behind. This wasn’t necessarily a huge problem - the trade routes were still routed through Vegas due to inertia and the kingdom was taking in significant tribute from its greater empire, but the hungers of the House only grew as their fortunes fortunes declines.

    The true fall of the state came when Utah ceased trade with it, citing it as a den of sin that led its merchants astray. In truth this move had more to do with the depletion of its mines then anything else, but the loss of one of the three great powers of the West hit hard. The mumblings of the vassalized and enslaved tribes grew into an open rebellion, with California wresting more and more tribes into its sphere of influence. Then, when the House cadet branch that ruled over New Mexico died, the people of Bajo Colorado, long fed up with the denial of water by the Vegasites, asked the New Mexicans to take them over. The New Agers did them one better, marching an army to the hoover Dam and visualizing mighty Vegas itself.

    The bureaucratic class was not pleased with this usurpation by the New Mexicans and after a few years they organized a rebellion to reassert their control against the New Agers. Long supply chains meant that the New Mexicans were even being beaten back for a time. The harem of the House was paralyzed with indecision, but one member of the Californian cadet branch (not quite so addled as his cousins) took action. He convinced the Governor to fund an army for his claim to the throne and to establish Californian suzerainty over the city and keep it away from the New Mexicans. One army marched east through the arid Mojave while another composed primarily of Nevadan subject tribes marched from the north.

    The year was 2710 AD. An engineer frowned gazing at the Glen Canyon Dam, the second most important in Vegas’s empire. Here the bureaucrats maintained control, though there were constant fears of an invasion coming from out of Dinetah. The scribe took some notes down on his parchment control carefully regarding the appearance of the dam. As he wrote, he heard something; a faint crack. He looked up, searching for the source. Not finding it, he took a note of it on his scroll. Then, he heard it again. Crack. He looked up again, but this time there was no missing it - a huge crack in the dam’s body. The scribe’s jaw was agape - how on earth were they going to patch that up? The cracking noise continued, each sound accompanied by a new gash in the ancient concrete. By now, everyone had stopped what they were doing. A trickle of water began to come through the cracks. Some screamed, others fled, but a few were shocked in horror as this scribe; this ancient monolith was failing. Vegas had built on the wisdom of the ancients, and they had lost.

    The dam burst asunder, a wall fo water, concrete, and silt rushing down the canyon long denied the free flow of water. The scribe was killed almost instantly, swept away down the raging torrent as it swept down the Colorado, traveling faster then any news possibly could. Tens of thousands who lived along the Colorado were killed. Those who survived fled for Vegas.

    The bureaucratic forces were being beaten back by the renewed New Mexican offensive at the Hoover Dam when it came. The bureaucratic forces were retreating towards Boulder City as the New Mexicans pursued. Everyone heard though sound, though: the sound of ten million cubic meters of water rushing towards the ocean. They didn’t know hat the low rumble was at first, but they stopped fighting. As it grew louder its source became clearer, and all eyes were on the river. The deluge came into view, and the reactions of the two armies mirrored those of everyone else. The water overtopped the dam, killing the detachment left by the New Mexicans and creating an incredible waterfall. The erosion process began in earnest.

    The sooth sayers of both sides were unsure what to make fo this development other than that it was deeply terrifying. But the New Mexicans, having no way to cross back over and retreat, and the Vegasites having no choice, bot armies went towards the city. Here, the three armies would meet. The mighty walls of Vegas, some of the largest in the west to protect from nomadic raids (outdone only by some of the fortifications that surrounded Columbia and the wall that enclosed Osamabad), offered the bureaucratic defenders a great advantage, but the other armies came prepared. Great siege engines hurled stones and Utah fire, but to no avail. A Californian scouting party would find a min entrance outside the city, leading below the the city. A small force came in to wreak havoc behind enemy lines while another undermined the walls and planted Utah fire - and just like that, the walls of Vegas came a tumbling down. The three armies met in a confused melee. Killing was indiscriminate in the tight walks alleys and side streets, rivers of blood slowing down knights. At the same time a general uprising of slaves arose, hoping to throw off their shackles. Many civilians had escaped the city before the battle, but not all of them - not by a long shot.

    The climax of the battle came on the Strip as the Californians and the New Mexicans made for the palace. Thousands crowded Las Vegas boulevard. Then, a whistling - a Californian artillery piece had overshot and lobbed its greek fire into the center of town. A great ball of fire rose in the middle of the street - and then there was a noise. A cracking, not unlike what the scribe heard at the dam. It was not enough to stop the bloodshed, however. Neither was the second, nor the fourth nor the fifth. It would be a great moan that gave the men pause. A moan that carried strange portents of a daemon-haunted city, one with nearly a thousand years of history weighing it down. For too long had sinners invaded the city’s splendid isolation, for too long had they destroyed its foundations and monuments for their greed. For too long had they lived in the middle of the desert laughing in the face of gods. The Odds were not in their favor.

    And, just like that, Vegas collapsed.

    Seemingly all at once, the very ground beneath the soldiers’ feet gave way. Now shouting men scrambled to get away, but it was hopeless. The great moaning pit opened up swallowing the armies of the east and west. Within a matter of minutes where once there had been a great city now there was only a yawning black crater, the ruins of the new Vegas mixed liberally with the ruins of the old, alongside thousands of corpses as the survivors crawled their way out. All sides retreated, left to think on what they had done to deserve this. One thing was certain, however; the House had gone bust.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    There’d still be some small communities living around the edges of the yawning pit that swallowed the city. The more heavily-urbanized core of Las Vegas and the Strip would be where the undermining would be the most profitable. More to salvage in those areas. Plus the former Vegasites have nowhere to go. Not to mention the various small towns in former Clark County that could support small remnant communities.
     
  5. Flashman A Real Go-Getter

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    I'm going to go the full diaspora route. The people won't want to stay, they'll see it as cursed, not to mention that there just isn't that much water. The newly ascendant Nevadan herdsmen won't want them nearby, either. And any ground water replinishment was reduced over the past centuries. Most of the survivors either end up enslaved or as a voluntary diaspora. The Californians allow the House claimant (one of the survivors of the battle) to establish a small state for the diaspora around Reno.
     
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  6. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    Fair enough. The aftermath of the collapse could be the next chapter of the Lost Vegas saga. The beginnings of the diaspora, their new reputation as being cursed, and the House claimant establishing Reno as a rump Vegasite state would be a fitting conclusion to the story.
     
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  7. Flashman A Real Go-Getter

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    That was the plan.
     
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  8. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    Maybe the Lady Luck religion manages to survive, in some reduced form at least, in Reno since survivors are glad to have survived the collapse of the city and managed to find a new home for themselves. It'd just be ironic if it survived sans the sinfulness that the faith had in Vegas. This isn't like the modern day where disasters cause the loss of faith. It's a world where terrible events cause people to cling onto whatever faith they can.
     
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  9. Flashman A Real Go-Getter

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    Yeah, I'm picturing something similar to the Babylonian Talmud emerging - they still believe in Lady Luck, but believe they were too sinful and stretching their luck too much.
     
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  10. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    The pre-collapse Vegasite view of Lady Luck and the Odds was that she'd always be there to help worshippers. That, needless to say, lead to arrogance since the Odds were ever in their favor. It also stands to reason that such arrogance would crumble when what would seem like a literal act of Lady Luck struck them down for their hubris. So now instead of impulsively going ahead with whatever crazy plan they have, worshippers of Lady Luck carefully weigh the possible consequences of their actions. This might result in quite a few Lady Luck worshippers in Reno suffering from some form of anxiety as a result since all possible consequences for an action, no matter how unlikely, need to be at least considered.
     
  11. tehskyman Engineer for the money

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    Maybe a shift from lady luck into being a two.faced god like Janus from Greek mythology.
     
  12. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    Like having Lady Luck have a benevolent side and a vindictive side? I’m imaging two-faced coins like a certain DC villain would be popular. As well as having the icons of Lady Luck be two-faced like that same DC villain.
     
  13. tehskyman Engineer for the money

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    I don't think that people would remember Two-Face by this point but the imagery would be similar.
     
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  14. HonestAbe1809 Abraham Lincoln 2020

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    I didn’t specifically say that because they’d remember Two-Face but because that sort of aesthetic is a convenient way of showing duality.
     
  15. KeeCoyote Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    This just came to me. One of the Legends why Las Vegas fell. The Dark Knight of the Bat vs. Lady Luck.
     
  16. Antaeus Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2018
    • Ban
    Made a map of western California. Doesn't match up entirely with what's being done here since it's part of a separate project but I feel it would still find a place here.
    [​IMG]
    I will next be working on the Southern Great Command, followed by the Centre, North, East and finally Socal.

    However, I would like to know what would be the best base map for a detailed map encompassing all of the USA + Canada (including the rest of North America if possible) since the base map I'm using at the moment is the Socialist Atlas of the World's California-Nevada map.
     
  17. Flashman A Real Go-Getter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Location:
    The United Fruit Company, Arkham Office
    Well we have our first ban...

    I can only presume he was a sock. Shame, he made a good map.
     
    CountofDooku likes this.
  18. Vornado Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Location:
    California
    I think it's a shame how many engaged users we lose from this. I don't know what he did to get banned at first but it seems like he isn't doing anything wrong now.
     
  19. tehskyman Engineer for the money

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Transoceanic Contact: East Asia and the Pacific Northwest

    In the industrial era, transoceanic contact between the Americas and the rest of the world was largely dismissed, outside of the first European explorers and the Vikings. However, with the presence of sea-faring cultures like the Polynesians and the oceanic currents the way that they are, the notion that noone ever crossed from East Asia to North America is ridiculous.

    In the new medieval era, Japanese fishermen will occasionally be swept out to sea and if they manage to survive the journey, will land on the shores of the Pacific Northwest or California. In either case, if they're lucky, a passing merchant ship will discover them or they'll find some friendly tribes who might take them in. If those fishermen manage to learn the language then they might entertain the courts of California or the Pacific Northwest. In the case of the Bhuddists ,the fishermen are particularly valued for what is seen as their origin from the Bhuddist homelands. In all cases though, they are not able to return to their homelands, though many remark on the climactic similarities of Cascadia to Japan. The knowledge on how to return to East Asia is fuzzy and the dangers and costs too great.

    However, there are people who maintain a very low volume yet high value trade route from Cascadia to East Asia across the northern shore of the Pacific Ocean, a nearly 7000km one way trip. Most goods making their way to Asia from North America will find their way to Victoria where the sea borne trade to and from the Salish sea congregates in its harbor. From there merchants will often sign a contract to ensure sufficient food and water for their ships at designated stations all the way north. The contract signed is usually with the Order of the Orca who own inns and warehouses in many Cascadian harbors and designated trade outposts/forts further north. The Order itself was founded by the various merchant guilds of the Salish sea to prevent conflict in the already dangerous passage north. Those merchant guilds went to war 2 decades later but the Order survived and has remained neutral ever since. The Order doesn't prevent conflict, but it does provide for the sailors of Cascadia, convert and attack pagans assuring a neutral and safe place for sailors to stay and eat.

    From Victoria ships will sail in short hops from port to port. The itinerary generally goes, Victoria, Sturdies Bay, Nanaimo, Courtenay to Campbell River. Beyond Campbell River lies the Johnstone Strait, a narrow passage separating Victoria (Vancouver) island from the mainland.

    JohnstoneStrait.PNG
    The views along the Inside passage

    Ships will stock up for 3 days of sailing and past the strait will make it to Port McNeil and past that to Port Hardy. The remainder of the route is referred to as the Inside passage, sheltered from the storms and waves of the Pacific by various islands. The vast majority of the route is wild ,though the tribal villages are peaceful enough that sailors will often find a place to anchor and stay. Various merchant ships will begin to turn away from the path north, instead traveling up the fjords of the Fractured Coast, trading with the tribes for various pelts and wild goods. From Port Arthur, the next stop is Ketchikan and further north, Alaska. Most Cascadian ships will travel no further, the maze of islands and sounds too much for them to handle. Trade goods continue though and will make it to Juneau. Here goods making their way to Asia will change hands once again. Travelling from Juneau to Anchorage is fairly difficult as the protection that the maze of islands has provided so far is lost and ships are now sailing between the open sea and the coast. Merchants will pass snow covered mountains and vast glaciers.

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    Yakutat Bay at the peak of summer

    Anchorage is the last town before total wilderness. From Victoria the journey here will have taken about 2 or 3 months. Goods here will exchange hands yet another time for beyond Anchorage are the Aleutians. The Aleutians are well traveled enough that the tribes people are familiar enough with traders and their ships to not immediately attack upon sight. Though calling the vessels which sail these seas ships is a bit generous. At best they might be resemble a long-ship but more often are glorified canoes. And most traders here are not southerners but tribesmen who have journeyed to Anchorage to trade pelts and skins for metal and other tools. As traders travel west ward, the Aleutians grow thinner and the distances between them grow. To reach Attu Island, involves two separate full day open sea trips, a journey only experienced traders will attempt.

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    The Island of the Four Mountains

    Beyond Attu lies a 2 day jump to the Commander Islands, a pair of islands so remote that no human lived there until the industrial age. Then traders will reach Kamchatka where sailing south along the coast will allow them to reach a town formerly known as Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, now named after the bay upon which it sits, Avacha. The few goods that have come from North America will change hands again here. These new traders are usually Japanese traders who have come here for the narwhal tusks and exotic pelts that can found here in the north. Those Japanese traders will return to Tokyo by way of the Kurils, island hopping in a fashion very similar to what was done along the Aleutians. However, the Kurils are generally much warmer than the Aleutians and the journey is much more pleasant this way. The Kurils will give way to Hokkaido where traders will refuel on their way back to Tokyo. Prior to the industrial age Hokkaido was populated by the tribal Ainu. However the colonization of the island by agriculturalists has largely tamed the lowlands. The uplands remain wild though.

    In almost 1000 years a small number of people, no more than 30 have traveled the entire span. Most of their names have been lost to the sands of history. Though there is a man who has seen the courts of Tokyo and Portland and had his adventures recorded in both. Born in Anchorage as Jonothor Chagulak around 2740 to an Aleut trader and his wife when he was about 10 years old, his father took him on a trade expedition to Kamchatka. The trip went well enough until in Avacha, his father lost so much in a gambling match that he was forced to sell his own son to the winning party to pay off his debts. And so Jon was sold to a Japanese trader couple who valued the boy for his knowledge of the Aleut language. They taught him Japanese and took him in as their adopted son. He traveled with them for about a decade until one winter, the Shogun in Tokyo heard of this man from the far north who could speak Japanese and sent for the traders and Jonothor. There he appeared before the Shogun and became a court favorite. Every winter for the next few years he would appear before the Shogun and regal the court of tales of the North. Word would even trickle over to the Chinese imperial court though Jon would never have the opportunity to make it to China. Eventually the chief scribe of the Japanese emperor would write his stories down in a tome entitled, "The Northern Beyond"

    After some time Jonothor would tire of the court life and longed to return to his homeland. That chance came with the death of his adopted mother from sickness. His adopted father died not long after of heartbreak. With this Jon returned north and found some Aleut traders willing to take him back to Alaska. He survived the journey across the Aleutians and made back to Anchorage where he set up a small trading operation of his own and met his wife, whose father was a Cascadian trader. She would convince Jonothor to set up a trade expedition to Cascadia. His expedition would go without a hitch and he would repeat the journey the following year. Word spread of his travels and he told his tales from Vancouver to Olympia. Word of the northerner who lived in the lands across the sea and returned spread to Portland. A scion of the great merchant families wanted to hear his stories in person and arranged for Jon to travel to Portland. In Portland, before an audience of the merchant families and holy orders he relayed his experiences across the ocean and once again became a court favorite. His stories were immediately written down by various scribes in a book called "The Northern Lands and the Nations across the Sea." Jonothor would return to Anchorage where he resumed his trading business. He would die many years later when a storm capsized his ship as he was sailing in the Aleutians.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    CountofDooku, JALC, Kerguelen and 3 others like this.
  20. Flashman A Real Go-Getter

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Location:
    The United Fruit Company, Arkham Office
    Lost Vegas, Epilogue: The Wretched of the Earth

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    And so it was in the year 2710 that a parlay was called between the surviving forces of California and New Mexico in Boulder City. The two parties agreed that something of great significance had happened here, and that the city of Las Vegas had been cursed and its empire was forfeit. The New Mexicans gained control over most of Vegas’s former empire (excepting the newly independent Bajo Colorado), while the Californians retained clientage over the Nevadans. The surviving population was to be split in half - one half would be transferred as slaves to New Mexico, while the other half would be taken to California. The House claimant, Jackson House, arranged for many of those taken in by California to be free, and gained himself mayorship over New Reno. The city of Las Vegas itself was declared cursed, and the local tribes were empowered to kill any who attempted to enter the crater.

    And so it was that the nation of Vegas was destroyed. It would be Vegasite slaves that built the new Phoenix pyramid and the floating gardens of Sacramento. Over the intervening three centuries, however, many slaves both in New Mexico and California would earn their freedom. Some made for New Reno while most others established small communities in their new homelands. A new culture emerged, a diasporic culture built on a history of suffering and slavery. The profound trauma at the heart of post-collapse culture was the question why Lady Luck would abandon her chosen people? Some came to the conclusion that it was because Lady Luck never existed at all, that they had been worshipping false idols and thus punished. These pessimists would convert to the local religions and attempt to integrate, but with little success - prejudice remained harsh against the Vegasites. Forced to adhere to their own community, many searched for new answers within their own cultural tradition.

    The exile community in Elay would see the most complete codification of this growing religious consciousness. A group of priestesses and priests sought out the oral records of the faith and what few texts remained to construct the first comprehensive account of the Vegasite faith in what was called the Bookie’s Book, later shortened to the Bookie. Being written in California, the character of the Bookie naturally took much influence from Scientology and its rigid theology, while the exile communities of New Mexico reflected the looseness and mysticism of the New Age. The Bookie recounts the history of Vegas and its people, beginning with its mythological pre-regression origins and then Randall House leading his people out of the desert and out of exile to build a paradise with Lady Luck playing a prominent role all the way through. The role of The Odds are notably reduced, resembling Christian angels moreso then their polytheistic origins if not outright abstract concepts.

    The ultimate message taken away form the collected tales (and made clear in the commentaries) by the Angelene School was that history operates on people stretching their luck; transgressions are necessary to progress, but pushing your luck too much is hubristic and angers Lady Luck who will strike you down at your apotheosis. Thus the ultimate virtue was not the hedonistic lifestyle of Vegas’s height but one of careful adherence to traditional, tried-and-true methods of living. Most “risks” that ought to be undertaken are ones that have a long history and complicated rituals surrounding them and constant reverence for The Odds that surround each set of actions, with truly novel risks being vanishingly rare and small-scale. Only so-called “High Rollers”, messianic figures with a personal connection to Lady Luck and The Odds, are qualified to undertake the massive risks needed for the community to move forward. One unfortunate side effect of this new consciousness was a constant sense of dread and indecision that paralyzed many Vegasites.

    Angelene Vegasism spread out of the Free Zone into the rest of California where it enjoyed massive success. Priestesses and priests took the Bookie as holy writ despite only being recently written, and commended its compilers as High Rollers. Communities reformed their way of life to live in line with ancient tradition. Slowly but surely, this brand of the religion spread into New Mexico, blending with the New Age influenced Vegasism to for a more mystical interpretation that would still be recognizable to your average Californian Vegasite.

    Of course, this religion did not fix all of the Vegasites’ problems; arguably, it made things worse. Already they were widely ostracized by the surrounding communities as “suppressive” or as harbingers of “bad vibes”. Angelene Vegasism made the Vegasites stick to their own people and traditions even more readily then they had before, making them easily identifiable as aliens. Most communities required Vegasites to wear some identifying marker, usually a “V”, embroidered on their clothing at best or branded on their foreheads at worst. Pogroms were common, spurred by stories of the Vegasites’ sinful ways.

    These stories were not entirely fictional. While the Vegasites themselves mostly refused to partake in the sinful actions they were famous for, they took no such compunctions about inflicting gambling and sin on non-Vegasites: after all, Vegas had originally grown rich on exploration of foreign foolishness, and the more dumb risks taken by non-Vegasites the better the odds were for the Vegasites to succeed. While the casino-temples themselves had largely relegated actual acts of gambling to rare ceremonies and divination, smaller scale casinos and brothels emerged to service non-Vegasites. Such speakeasies were cracked down on by the authorities, and often prompted pogroms when (usually fictional or exaggerated) stories of murder or sexual impropriety emerged from such establishments.

    The free Vegasites became something of a wandering people, going from town to town and country to country. Some would set up shop for several decades at a time, while others lived permanently as nomads. They would offer gambling and divination to locals, and were famed for their skills in money management and risk assessment.

    Recently, a new intellectual flowering has occurred among the Vegasites of Kuluradu. The Caliph and the various Emirs invited the Vegasites to settle and join their courts following a new series of persecutions launched by New Mexico. Free from much of their historical baggage and declared (entirely erroneously) “people of the book”, allowing them to develop free and unfettered. They’ve taken on much from Islamic thought, and many have acknowledged that the Abhrahamic God is likely the creator of the universe, but Lady Luck is the mistress of Vegas and its people. The first Vegasite wanderers have made made their way west where they are looked upon with curiosity by the people of the feudal core. Vegasite colonies are known as far north as the Pacific Northwest, with one enterprising patriarch having even set up a gambling den in Kechikan.

    As for Vegas itself? The city sits abandoned in its crater as it slowly fills up with sand. Untold riches lie in wait, but New Mexican law holds that any attempt to enter the crater is extremely bad vibes and thus punishable by death, lest one bring the dead city’s curse with it. Vegasites hope to return to their home country, but are explicitly forbidden from settling near the city or even along the Colorado. Most of the kingdom was absorbed directly by Dinetah, while the regions adjacent to the old city have been turned into a client state, run by the former slaves of the vegasites who live in constant terror of the ghosts said to haunt the city. Rumors persist of daemons or troglodytes that wander the streets strewn with the debris of the old city and the new, but they are just that - rumors. The only portion of the new city that remains above ground is a titanic vast pyramid, one of the greatest of the casino-temples that now sits at the edge of the crater on a constantly eroding cliff. One day it too shall collapse and give way to the desert, just as Hoover Dam gave way to two titanic walls of concrete flanking the mighty Colorado.

    Vegas may have gone bust long ago, but its champions have started counting their cards. Never forget: no matter how long it may seem to be down, in the end, the House always wins.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018