Medieval America Mark III

Table of Contents
  • Medieval America Mark III


    What is it?
    Medieval America begins with an observation, and then a question: "America never experienced a 'Middle Ages.' What would and American Middle ages look like?"

    Medieval America is a collaborative project which seeks to explore a world in which the United States and the world at large has regressed to Medieval levels of technology. The genesis of this project came with "The Atlas of Medieval America", a project by the amazing writer Matthew White to explore this concept himself. The project itself was rather silly and tongue-in-cheek at times, with such fun features as Scientologist Pharaohs rulings over California, an eco-maniac Pacific Northwest, and a Voodoo Louisiana - and yet, it still managed to maintain a sense of realism. Despite the tremendous amount of effort put into it, White never completed this project.

    This led to this discussion on the project in 2007. In 2009, this blog emerged to try and expound upon the world (and it has done an absolutely marvelous job of just that). This was followed by the Medieval America Co-op Project. While wonderful and well worth a read, it was subject to thread drama and disorganization, prompting a reboot into the likewise wonderful Medieval America Tk II, moderated and expanded by the user jmberry, who set out a standard of rigor that ensured high quality and consistency. Unfortunately, this thread petered out after a string of disorganized and improbable entries. Thus, due to popular demand, this third (and, hopefully, final) iteration has been launched.

    Guidelines
    What caused the Regression?
    This won't be answered. Period. Matt White doesn't go into it, Jord839 refused to let it be discussed, and that will continue for this thread. Suffice to say, it didn't involve a nuclear war or an alien invasion or some such. Rather, it was a largely gradual but somewhat chaotic regression. There are few artifacts in common circulation from the Old World. The nature of the Regression raises a lot of questions. One of the most common ones is "What happened to the steel in skyscrapers? Are old cities the new mines?' The answer is for the most part no. If we were to be realistic, there should be plenty of surviving industrial tech and society should be based on harvesting the resources of the Old World. But that's not really the point. Generally speaking, just don't think about the Regression too hard.

    When was the Regression?
    Matt White said the Regression occurred 'over 900 years' ago. For the record, I tend to presume the Regression occurred in 2012, and the setting itself is sometime before the dawn of the 31st century.

    What is the tech level?
    Based on the '900 years' comment, I've assumed the tech is roughly equivalent to the 1300s OTL - this is the High Middle Ages, just before the Renaissance proper.

    What is canon?
    This project has gone through so many iterations and so many ideas have been thrown out there that it can at times be confusing to figure out what's canon and what's not. Here's the simple rule: The Atlas of Medieval America is canonical in its entirety, unless someone has good grounds to challenge one of White's suppositions. Neither the blog nor the Co-op project are canonical unless a specific entry is submitted and deemed acceptable. They should be looked to only as inspiration. Only specified entries from Tk. II are canonical, as listed below.

    Beyond that if you wish to submit a post, all you have to do is write it up, put a good deal of effort into it, and post it here. It will be read and discussed by the participants, who will point out strengths and weaknesses and ensure that it is consistent with pre-established lore and the tone we're trying to cultivate. Taking all of this into consideration, I'll decide whether or not to put it into the Table of Contents, thus canonizing it. It's fairly rare that a post doesn't get canonized, and if it doesn't you can always re-write it.

    Required & Recommended Reading
    The only truly required reading is the original site. Beyond that, before posting we would ask that you have a decent familiarity with both the current iteration and Medieval America Tk II. We also would like to very strongly recommend the Feudal America blog, which while not canon is a great source of inspiration and has a lot of great ideas for the setting. If you have the time, I would advise that you read through the original Medieval America Co-op Project - though not even a little canon and deeply flawed, it also has a lot of great content and, again, can serve as a useful source of inspiration.

    Beyond these directly related projects, I would also recommend reading Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz. While Miller envisions a radically different Medieval America to White, it captures a lot of the same vibe.

    Table of Contents

    General Information
    The Plains
    The Desert The Pacific Northwest The Feudal Core
    Dixie
    New England, Quebec & Beyond...
     
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    Buddhism
  • Buddhism



    The pre-Regression Pacific Northwest was, in many ways, a land bereft of faith. In the Pacific Northwest, more people than in any other region in the nation would respond on surveys as regarded their religious affiliation that they had no religion to speak of. While atheism did not predominate in the region as a whole, it certainly did among the urban elite of Seattle, Portland and Vancouver.

    While it may have been bereft of faith, it was certainly not bereft of spirituality. Indeed, Cascadia was full of esoteric and semi-"spiritual" traditions. Orientalism and pseudo-Buddhist thought was just as popular here as it was anywhere where urban whites had too much time on their hands, alongside various minor neo-pagan traditions. One social phenomenon, while not strictly a religion as such, comes very close to it. Three of the top ten environmentally friendly cities in the nation were located in the Northwest, and it was the region that gave us Green Peace. The region's strong feelings to the environment are natural- after all, Cascadia is literally a rainforest, one of the lushest environments in the Americas.

    When civilization fell, however, these eclectic traditions did not form a cohesive whole, not at first. Christianity, surprisingly, did not make a strong resurgence. Those few faithful in the backwoods lost faith in a religion that had not saved them from the Regression, and the urban elite were still strongly inclined to culturally oppose Christianity. This is not to say atheism predominated. Atheism is largely untenable in a Medieval world, where the workings of the universe are seldom understood, and people are left at the seemingly random and capricious nature of the world.

    Instead of true religion, a series of folk traditions emerged amongst a nominally atheist populace. Half-remembered environmentalist ideas were applied to the world at large alongside a few pagan and Orientalist ideas. Environmental balance was seen as a must, with humans never overtaking nature, as well as the fundamental oneness of all peoples.

    Environmentalism was uniquely possible in the Northwest for a Medieval civilization. In the age of the Native American, the environment was so lush and bountiful that entire sedentary towns could be supported upon hunting and gathering without destroying the local environment. In the new Medieval Ages, this has allowed careful and concerted efforts to preserve nature alongside farms and villages.

    Increasing contact with California, both before and after the Scientology War, was extremely important in the development of Cascadian religion Asian-Californians who held on to their faith who were displeased with the spread of Scientology.

    A unified creed began to emerge two hundred years post-Regression. A hermit (generally termed "druids" by the Cascadian populace) named John Amadi descended from his isolation in the Olympic mountains to the town of Olympia. Here, he preached a very strange form of Buddhism, one that combined a variety of Oriental ideals with environmentalism and Christianity and, most revolutionary, remnants of Communist ideology.

    If the West Coast was the left coast, the Salish Sea was its pinky finger, the leftmost, held up high, and that didn't change in Medieval times. Most cities were run by corrupt unaccountable councils, and Amadist Buddhism preached their overthrew to be replaced with enlightened councils of Druids.

    Amadist Buddhism combined so many traditions into a cohesive whole that appealed to the general public. Despite this, its rise was still extremely unlikely. It likely would've been killed in the cradle, were it not for some extreme social upheaval that occurred among the Cascadian city-states. A simultaneous invasion by sea-raiders from the Lands of Laska allowed Amadism to spread rapidly in the chaos.

    The creed of Amadist Buddhism holds these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal. That a fundamental force links together all living things. That the Regression came about as a result of mankind's overtaking nature. That Buddha, Christ, Cobain and Mohammad were wise, enlightened teachers. That Nirvana can be attained only through study and meditation. And that it is the duty of all Amadists to spread the word, and liberate their brethren across the world from oppression.

    A hybrid of the Western and Chinese horoscope system exists, with the Druids employing it along with natural signs to predict the future. There is a strong belief in animal spirits, especially of this Zodiac, and an entire series of mythological stories has risen up around these archetypal characters, with different towns having different heroes and stories unique to them. The Pisces, the Lung-Dragon, the Sasquatch, they are very much real in the Pacific Northwest.

    The Druids generally serve as sages and advisers, living in the monasteries where they fulfill specific roles, from the book-binders of Portland to the Warrior-Priests of Columbia.
     
    History of the Pacufic Northwest
  • History of the Pacific Northwest



    When the New Medieval Ages dawned, the Pacific Northwest was a relative backwater. California was a quickly consolidating absolute empire, and the industrious Mormons were busy re-populating the Rockies. The Pacific Northwest just sort of sat there.

    Early attempts to maintain state organization collapsed, with local interests proving strong enough to drive the states into smaller bite-size chunks. The Willamette Valley and region surrounding the Salish Sea was so lush that it was trivial for smaller regions to support themselves and have a surplus leftover. This, in conjunction with the disconnected nature of the various mountains and waterways, means that central organization is more trouble than its worth. City-states predominated.

    The first major upheaval came with the Laskan Raiders. A nasty cold spell struck the Lands of Laska, forcing raiders south in search of food and booty. Like the Sea People of the ancient world, this event toppled the order of things, with most cities and confederations falling only to be replaced by new governments and regimes, most of them now converted to eco-buddhism. As many Laskans settled down along the coasts of Cascadia, they formed the nucleus of a trade route. The Cascadians found themselves trading worked goods and foodstuffs in exchange for arctic products and ivory. Isolation was broken for a second time when the Californians came knocking.

    The newly formed Republic of California, fresh off unifying itself under the Etrabolta dynasty and Scientology, was eager to continue its winning streak, and return civilization to the marches of Jeffsin and beyond. Refugees fled from California and Jeffsin as armies under the bear-flag advanced. A significant portion of the population of Cascadia by this point was already descended from those who'd fled when the first of the Scientology Wars had broken out, causing an outbreak of fear among the peoples of the Pacific Northwest. The Californians were aggressive, despotic and, worst of all, without ecological conscience, regularly clear-cutting forests.

    A simultaneous naval and land-based invasion from California nearly brought the city states to their knees, as it plowed up through the Willamette Valley by land and into the Salish by sea. A band of 300 warrior-monks from the Dallis, calling themselves "Jedi", managed to hold off the Californian Army long enough for reinforcements to arrive at the Battle of Portland Meanwhile, in the Straits of Wandifuke (Juan de Fuca), a fleet of Olympic, Tacoman, Seattleite, Victorian and Vancuverite ships repelled the Californian fleet. The Scientologists begrudgingly returned home, and would never again directly threaten the Cascadian homeland.

    This war was extremely important from a cultural standpoint. For the first time, the Northwesterners had a shared common identity. They recognized how they were all more similar to one another then they were to the outsiders, from their maritime tradition, their eco-buddhism, their civic virtue, and their value placed freedom. Even the last of the cultural barriers that existed between the Americans and the Canadians vanished, suddenly meaningless old-world distinctions that didn't affect the modern world.

    The Cascadians at this point truly blossomed into their modern state. They served as the trade capital of the west, dealing between the Californians, the Laskans (which by this point referred to all land north of Vancouver), and the Mormons who sent trade up the Snake River. The Eco-Buddhist orders diversified as the Northwestern city-states became more and more prosperous, occasionally overthrowing the merchant republics to install (short-lived) theocracies. The city-states continue to bicker among themselves, uniting only when a greater threat appears.

    Just such a threat did appear 300 years ago, in the form of Deseret. The small trading town of Kenwik (Kennewick) was established to trade with the peoples of the further down the Snake River, mostly Mormon settlers from Deseret. However, a group of these settlers attempted to establish a settlement rather close to Kenwik, and conflict erupted over these settlers' environmental practices. The local Mormon populace banded together and destroyed the town of Kenwik, sending the Buddhists fleeing back to Cascadia. The Mayor of Kenwik appealed to the various City Councils and Buddhist orders across Cascadia. His tales of the brutal, intolerant and most assuredly non-recycling Mormons triggered an uproar among the city-states, as well as fear that the Mormons would invade. The cities briefly united, and launched a crusade against the Mormon invaders.

    The crusade was spear headed by legions of Jedi, most notably the Columbian Order which had made itself famous centuries earlier in the Battle of Portland. Since then, they had always concerned themselves with affairs up and down the Columbia River, ranging from the construction of temples and monasteries to the protection of Buddhists and local wildlife. After 50 years of fighting, first bands of local settlers and converts, and then the actual Desereti army, the Columbian Order gained a final, smashing victory against the Mormons at the Battle of Boise, leading to the creation of the District of Columbia.
     
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    The Columbian Order
  • The Columbian Order


    "Behold, ye of little faith, ye chopper of trees, ye killer of men. Your reckoning has come- you did not learn your lesson when the Old World fell. You did not live in peace. You did not achieve Nirvana. You did not recycle. We are the future. Columbia shall inherit the earth."

    The Columbian Order was founded relatively early in the history of Buddhism in the Pacific Northwest. The Prince-Mayor (he didn't call himself a prince but essentially was) was overthrown by a group of local converts, and replaced with a Buddhist city council. The insurgents who actually overthrew the mayor, however, swore off politics, instead becoming a monastic order named for the Columbia that flows through the Dallis.

    They spent most of their time fighting on the frontier. The Dallis sits right on the edge of Cascadia proper, going into the wild and uncivilized Columbia Basin, inhabited by Mormon, New Israelite, and even Pagan barbarians unassosciated with any state or formal organization. The Columbian Order was the first line fo defense not only for the Dallis, but for Cascadian civilization as a whole against the barbarian hordes.

    The Observants of the Columbian Order referred to themselves as "Jedi". The Jedi were known from both old world tales of valor, and from Californian refugees who knew the old tales especially well. The notion of the selfless warrior-priest, and the all encompassing life-force that binds together all things was quickly integrated into Cascadian Buddhism, with the Star-Wars being a part of the canonical works.

    The warrior-priests of the Dallis applied the moniker to themselves, and even fought with their best approximation of the legendary Light-Sabres. Taking a cue from the Japanese Zen Buddhists, the Jedi of the Columbian Order employed the relatively cheap and extremely strong "katana", making it their signature weapon. Beyond this, the Jedi of the Dallis would train in a variety of martial arts, and horse riding. Horse riding was only occasionally engaged in in warfare by the Cascadian city-states, since the ubiquitous pikemen nullified their advantage, especially in the relatively narrow and forested environment of the Pacific Northwest. However, when they would make sorties against the Barbarians of Columbia, the Order found horses extremely effective.

    The Columbian Order truly made a name for themselves at the Battle of Oregon City. The local militia wiped out, the only thing standing between Portland, the greatest city in the Pacific Northwest, and the Californian Army was a force of 300 monks. Using the natural chokepoint that is Oregon City, 300 men held off an overwhelming force for four days, until Portlandian and Salish reinforcements arrived to drive back the Californians. They became legends over night, and similar Jedi orders appeared across the land.

    Over the next few centuries, the Columbian Order twiddled its thumbs. They escorted pilgrims to the stupas of the Cascades, launched expeditions against barbarians when they attacked or destroyed some element of nature, participated in local politics when the time called for it, and honed their craft. Generally speaking, they sought to stay out of politics, involving themselves only when they saw grave spiritual danger. The Columbians had a creed somewhat resembling Bushido, calling for detachment from worldly affairs. Provisos include "With great power comes great responsiblity", "Reduce, reuse, recycle", and "For Truth, Justice, and the Buddhist way".

    The nature of the Columbians as a semi-detached order would change drastically when the Mormons attacked the colony of Kenwik.

    The Columbian Order had several branches across Cascadia, competing with any number of Jedi Orders that had popped up in imitation. The order maintained itself by doing escort and minor mercenary work, as well as training secular warriors who do not wish to take the vow of chastity and poverty. The Order was headed from the so-called "Jedi Temple", a magnificent stupa in the heart of the Dallis. Here, it was ruled by the Shogun of the order, an ancient and wizened man who is elected by the most senior of the Jedi. He spends most of his time in meditation, and when he seen he is clad from head to toe in black armor.
     
    City States of the Pacific Northwest: Vancouver
  • City States of the Pacific Northwest: Vancouver


    • Government: Enlightened Republic
    • Head of State: Mayor
    • Head of Government: The Mayor
    • Population: 350,000
      • Vancouver Townsfolk 30,000
      • Vancouver Farmers 120,000
      • Vassal Town Populations 200,000
    • Religion: Eco-Buddhism
    • Totemic Symbol: Orca

    Located a few kilometers from the mouth of the Fraser River, Vancouver is most northern of the major Cascadian city states. Small towns and Cascadian colonies exist further north, but Vancouver is the last stop before Laska. As such it is the primary trading hub for many Laskans, when they're feeling peaceful. Its location just north of the mouth of the great Fraser, also makes it the primary trading hub for furs coming down the river from the interior.

    Just outside the city walls, lies Stanli Park , one of the largest holy groves in the region. Pilgrims from the Fraser Delta as well as Laskan and Interior tribal converts come here to pray and contemplate Nirvana. A quarters days ride beyond the city lies the monastery-fort of Burnabi. This monastery, sitting on top of Burnaby mountain, overlooking Burrard Inlet, is the home of the Brothers of the Whitecaps, one of the largest Buddhist Holy Orders.

    WhiteCapsShield.png
    Shield of the Brothers of the Whitecaps

    In theory Vancouver is run by the mayor who is elected for 4 year terms by the high council. In practice however, the Brothers of the Whitecaps control the city. The merchants pay a yearly tribute to the Brothers and get to trade and wage foreign wars against other cities. Of course this is done with the permission of the Master of the Whitecaps and by his rules. The Whitecaps also operate this way in most of the other towns of the Fraser Delta like Abbotsfyrd, Richmond, Surri and Chilawak.
     
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    The Order of Starbuck
  • The Order of Starbuck, also known as Starbuck's Order is an Eco-Buddhist Order that resides within the city of Seattle. They have great influence with the city's merchant elite. According to legend the original Order of Starbuck was founded by a great adventurer named Starbuck who settled within the city long ago after experiencing great hardship at the hands of the Sylonnes, who are seen as an ocean-going branch of the villainous Sith of Eco-Buddhist lore. They claim that Starbuck founded a faith of great prevalence within the region, especially with the great number of temples in his name. He had sent his disciple, a man named "Tim Horton", to the north to spread Eco-Buddhist thought to the masses. The Order of Horton is still one of the minor orders in the wilds of northern Columbia. The monks of Starbuck's Order are named Baristas, and the lowest ranking members are expected to serve potential future members by enlightening them with Eco-Buddhist teachings. Only by enlightening enough people into the Order, or Eco-Buddhism in general, do members of the Order advance.
     
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    City States of the Pacific Northwest: Portland
  • City States of the Pacific Northwest: Portland

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    • System of Government: Enlightened Merchant Republic
    • Head of State: Mayor, chosen from and voted by members of the City Council
    • Population: 300,000 ,
      • 75,000 townsfolk, 225,000 farmers
    • Religion: Eco-Bhuddist
    • Totemic Symbol: Red Rose

    Located where the Willamette river flows into the Columbia River, Portland is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest. Its status comes from the trade that passes through it, enabling dozens of merchant families to generate wealth.

    Portland is home to at least 2 major orders and countless other minor ones. Because of the abundance of holy orders and their need to record theological musings, as well as their trips into Nirvana, Portland is a center of publishing in the west. Countless Buddhist texts spread the holy word. In addition, various tales from the Californian Canon are published here and sold across the west coast. With such an abundance of books, Portland is the most literate city west of the Plains.

    Primary among its many merchant families is the House of Gates-Bezos. Once located in Seattle, the main branch of the family was wiped out in the Californian Invasion. The family only survived because the 7th son of the head of the house, Jeffery-Paul VIII was in Portland studying to be a monk. Once he learnt of his families destruction, he petitioned to be released from his vows and became a merchant. Now the family specializes in glassware and jewelery moving these goods across the region and beyond.

    Their most hostile of rivals is the House of Jobs. Originally hailing from California, this house fled north along with many other powerful Californian families at the start of the Scientology wars and settled in Portland. Their rivalry with the House of Gates-Bezos is ancient and attempts at reconciliation have been made. The most recent attempt was made 35 years ago, when Syrie Jobs, the beloved daughter of then head of the House, Stephen XI Jobs was to be married to the heir to House Gates-Bezos, William X. Everything was going fine until a week before the ceremony, when William ran off to Seattle with his distant cousin Alexa and re-established the Seattle branch of House Gates-Bezos.

    Generally most smaller merchant families associate with one family or the other for fear of being attacked by both. The two sides generally keep things peaceful in Portland, but on the road and high seas, all bets are off. The two sides will attack lone ships and as such, most trading expeditions are done in groups of 3 at minimum.

    The merchant families are so dominant and wealthy, that unlike other cities, the holy orders do as the merchants say. The holy orders keep their monasteries outside the city walls and do not hold any seats in local council but are allowed to maintain various temples and shrines inside the walls.
     
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    The Columbian Crusade
  • The Columbian Crusade



    The city of Kenwik was originally established by the merchant-houses of Portland. The Snake and Columbia Rivers were the life line of the Pacific Northwest- from there, they gained access to trade with Desert and, by extension, the world. It was this trade with Desert that kept the Northwest in business, then selling it down the Pacific Coast to the Scientologists of California. Not only that, it provided a route to the furs of distant Canada, and its own wealth in timber, wheat, cows and horses. To this end, the city of Kenwik was established to take full advantage of everything the Columbia basin had to offer.

    A good percentage of the populace was of the Mormon faith. Kenwik itself brushed directly up against what was then the greatest extent of the Deserti Empire, which encompassed the whole of the Snake River. In the country that Desert did not directly control, their influence was still profoundly felt- the majority of the natives to the Columbia Basin, both farmers and herdsmen, were Mormon. Or, at least, something resembling Mormon- the Deserti referred to them as "Hilljack Mormons". Nonetheless, the Chieftans would make the pilgrimage to the Great Salt Lake, and assist the Deserti when it did not run counter to their own interests.

    Initially, relations were peaceful between the Buddhists and the native Columbians, but things began to deteriorate. The Buddhists did not approve of the environmental habit of the Mormons- to chop down trees without planting another, to pay no heed to the natural signs, to raise beef for the slaughter. The Mormons, on the other hand, were kind of phased by these gibbering witches who gripped tighter onto their pikes when talk of lumberjacks came up.

    As the population of the Pacific Northwest went up, Columbia essentially served as a safety valve, a place to go to ensure that the ecological balance struck in Cascadia would not be overturned. Stupas and holdfasts were established, the Columbian Order threatening any audacious locals who were concerned by their increasing encroachment on their homeland.


    The Columbia Basin north of the John Day Valley was the primary region of settlement

    Things came to a head about 230 years ago. Some belligerent Jedi sliced some poor fool in half who had some poorly chosen words about his faith. Before you knew it, Mormon Templars had executed the city council of Kenwik, and burned the town to the ground. The refugees of Kenwik fled back to Portland, lamenting the destruction of their city, and warning of the existential threat that the Mormons posed to the Northwestern way of life.

    Normally, it is likely nothing would've been done. The city-states were far too busy butting heads and pursuing their own interests. This time, however, with the incessant lobbying of the Columbian Order, a Congress of Druids and Holymen from as far north as Cold Harbour, and as far south as Eureka was convened. Agreeing that the violence and overpopulation among the city states could upset the order of things, they decided that the declaration of a Holy War would not only unite the city-states and distract them from their squabbling, the conquest of Columbia could served to house many more Buddhists. Perhaps it could be used as the stepping stone to bring Nirvanna to the whole world.

    The Monks and Druids across the land put out the call, telling everyone they ran into to enlist, either joining Jedi Orders or as an infantryman, and the sage words of a druid are scarcely ignored. Those cities controlled by Monks sent their professional militias out eastwards. The non-Monkish cities likely would've taken advantage of this and attacked, were it not for the fact that much of their own populace had left of their own accord.

    The army convened in The Dallis, the last of the Cascadian city-states before you entered Columbia. The army was organized and drilled for a short time by the Columbian Order, before the invasion was launched.

    It would be a brutal affair. Armored Jedi Masters burned Mormon towns to the ground, and planted trees amidst the ashes. Mormons used their "Utah Fire" to light legions of faithful 18-year olds on fire. Cascadians crucified Mormon innocents in a sick parody of the Cross-God the Deserti worshiped. Mormons impaled and burned Druids as witches. It was one of the most horrific wars that either side had ever experienced.



    Though the Jedi were masters of their craft, they were not adapted to warfare on the wide-open plain of Columbia. They would learn many of the Mormons' secrets from local converts. They took quickly to horse riding and heavy infantry tactics.

    Things truly turned in the favor the Buddhists when the Jaegers of Wyoming attacked the Mormon heartland, forcing them to draw back a large number of their troops. The State of Deseret was finally destroyed at the Battle of Boise, when the last Mormon-held town was captured and destroyed. Nirvanna had triumphed over the clouding influence of the Mormons.

    The celebration was to be short lived, however. The question immediately came up: how was the land to be divided? An expansion of the city-states' hinterlands? That would only result in territorial conflict, and shut out the smaller states. Open it to colonization? That could only end in chaos. Give it to one of the Monastic Orders? But which one?

    The answer was clear: the Columbian Order. Not only was it the most respected institution outside of the Cascadian Lama, but it was the driving force in the conquest of Columbia. Its ranks had swelled significantly over the course of the war, both from the eager young men and women who joined it to fight for their faith, and in local converts and tribes who had joined up. It was well situated to govern the whole of Columbia.
     
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    The District of Columbia
  • The District of Columbia





    -System of Government: Feudalism
    -Head of State: Shogun, elected by the Masters of the Columbian Order from the ruling Lang family.
    -Population: 500,000
    -Around 250,000 Buddhist colonists and converts, 200,000 Mormon and Pagan serfs, and 50,000 herdsmen.
    -Religion: Eco-Buddhism
    -Totemic Symbol: Sasquatch


    Columbia was not at all prepared to govern the whole of the Columbia basin.

    It was a simple monastic order. Prior to the Crusade, its ranks had never swelled above a few thousand. Now, it had to deal with tens of thousands, half of which were barely civilized convert barbarians. The Order was a disorganized mess, the Shogun not having the means to exercise anything regarding order across the breadth of the land under his control, from Boise to The Dallis.

    Radical reforms were needed, and the fact that most of the "old guard" so to speak . In the years leading up to the final crushing victory at Boise, extreme reorganization of the Order took place. A young new Shogun, Adam Lang, was the man for the job. Lang was a local convert to Buddhism, and a fervent one at that. He'd proven himself skilled at the katana, and even more vicious than a born-and-bred Cascadian when it came to implementing carbon-neutral living, and when the old shogun died, he was quickly picked by the Masters of the order, seen as a natural fit to adapt the Order to the needs of its many new adherents.

    One of his first and most radical changes was to remove the vow of chastity. The vow of chastity was a bit of an anomaly in the first place- when the Order was established, no other Buddhist monastic order allowed vows of chastity. The priestly tradition came from priests wandering from town to town playing rock and roll, for christ sakes. The reason it had been implemented by the Jedi was twofold: first, because particular to their brand was Zen Buddhism (specifically, what they gleaned from water-logged copies of "Zen in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"), and secondly, being one of the first military orders, they didn't want to threaten the established city governments. Now, they were the government.

    The structure itself was reformed as well. Now, the Jedi Masters, previously ascetic monks and occasional warriors, would be put in charge of a local "Stake", a term co-opted from the Mormons, and at his command would be Jedi Knights, sworn to the Order first and their local Master second. The new Masters would be appointed by the Shogun upon their death. The Shogun himself would be elected from the Masters. The Shogun's scope of direct control would be severely limited, with the Masters handling most of the day-to-day operations. The Shogun would be more of a "big picture" guy, focusing on expansion of Columbia, with the Masters funneling tithes up to him to help the Holy Mission, and being called on for their warriors.



    These reforms were implemented following the Battle of Boise and the Olympic Congress's declaration that the Columbian Order would be suzerain over the new territory. They had not expected Lang to be so bold, and he was denounced within a month of his announcement. In retaliation, Lang invaded and conquered the whole of Cascadia.

    It was the first time anyone had ever invaded the rugged and insular country of Cascadia and won. The reasons for this were manifold: first, and most obviously, the Cascadians were not expecting it. By the time they were in the Willamette Valley, it was too late. But secondly, and more importantly, the Columbian force was one of the most experienced in the history of the region, combining centuries of cumulative martial training and philosophy with the real world knowledge gained from war with the Deserti. Most Cascadian Militiamen had never been presented with the sorts of heavy infantry tactics that the Columbians were whipping out. And the third pivotal factor was that most of the Jedi orders sided with the Columbians, turning over the cities to Lang when he and his men arrived. Creating the District of Salish and the District of Oregon, Lang commissioned a fleet, and sailed for California.

    Confederations of Northwesten city-states had taken Alcatraz in the past to control trade into the Californias, but Lang wanted to go one step further, and conquer California itself, and build the greatest empire since the United States. Unfortunately for him, he and his mad dream died when a massive storm hit his fleet. He was succeeded by his son, Adam Junior. Adam II was much more pragmatic, retreated and attempted to maintain his holdings in Cascadia. He did not succeed.


    Fort Alcatraz, the most important fort in San Francisco bay

    In the course of a decade, the grand "Columbian Empire", which had perhaps the best shot at re-uniting Western America before or since, was reduced to its backwater holdings. Even worse was the return of the Deserti a century later, who would push them even further up the Snake River. The Jedi Orders were disbanded in Cascadia. Some were added to secular militaries, but most were either executed, or forced into hiding. Within 30 years, the Jedi were semi-mythical in Cascadia, seen by the public as champions of the people against the burghers of the cities, occasionally emerging from their hiding when there was a great disturbance in the force...

    Columbia itself has devolved from a Monastic Order into a feudal despotism. Both the Masterships and the Shogunate have become largely hereditary, with occasional shake ups to traditional lineages being very much the exception. It is a heavily stratified society: a good percentage of the population are land-holding Jedi Knights and Jedi Masters, while another portion are free land holding peasants, converts and Cascadians, who pay taxes to their local masters. The other half of the population consists of Mormon serfs, who are essentially salves, who live in constant fear of the horse's trod. The situation is very much like that of the Helots of Ancient Sparta. A full time warrior class spends its time and makes its living killing and pillaging among the Mormons. The high numbers of Mormons make the Cascadian position on the totem pole precarious, however: were Deseret to invade, they would have thousands of oppressed peoples on their side.


    Mormon helots forced to construct one of Columbia's numerous megalithic fortifications

    The primary industry of Columbia is farming. In the wide-open space of the Columbia basin, most of which is not dominated by hard-to-clear (by self imposed regulation) woodland and mountains like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, massive sprawling plantation-style farms can exist. Irrigated by the Columbia, Snake and their tributaries, Columbia is the breadbasket of Cascadia and Deseret.

    A significant amount of the industry also comes from animal husbandry. The raising of cows is strictly regulated in Cascadia. Needing a tremendous amount of land for pasture, and producing harmful methane gas, milk, leather, and beef are vastly more expensive than they ought to be. Pasture is no problem in Columbia, making it the furthest west center of the cattle industry, and is the only major center outside of the Great Plains. Because of this, Deseret, California and Cascadia are able to get away without dealing with the Cowboy cattle-barons unlike the Eastrons. The finest horses in the region are also bred in Columbia, courtesy of the tradition of their mounted Jedi.

    The other primary industry is trade. The Snake and Columbia are still vital in tying together Cascadia and Deseret, one of the most important arteries of trade in America outside of the Mississippi. A hefty tax is collected at Kenwik, where the representatives of the merchant companies buy up goods from Desereti traders in great markets, overlooked by armored Columbians.

    There are few major cities in Columbia, none of them exceeding 25,000. There is The Dallis, traditional center of the Columbian Order, gateway to the west, and the site of the largest fort in Columbia. Built over the original Jedi Temple, these breathtaking fortifications are both designed to defend from any Portlandian treachery, and as a launching point for any future Cascadian invasion. Kenwik is the official capital, home to the Shogun's Castle, and the primary center of trade, sitting at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia. The third is Spokane, the new center of the Columbian Jedi temple. just as The Dallis was once on the precipice of a vast and unknown wilderness where Knights could wander and train, so too does Spokane, sitting on the edge of the Idahoan wilderness, where they may fight and convert the Mormon Hilljacks, and achieve something resembling enlightenment among the endless wilds of mother nature.

    The bulk of the population is distributed among villages and farmsteads, with the local "centers" being the 30 Great Keeps of the 30 Masters. It is from here that local Masters command their Jedi, shelter the peasantry in bad times, and terrorize the Helots in good.

    Despite its war-like ways and the abject slavery it holds half of its population in, the District of Columbia is looked upon with wonderment by the people of the Northwest. The less scrupulous guitar-priests and druids write songs of the noble Jedi, their fights with the Sasquatch, their endless defense against the Cowboy/ Mormon/ Cyclops hordes (their sense of geography is fuzzy at best). Tales of the "Masterless Jedi" are just as popular, those who dare strike out against tyrannical black-armored Shoguns (or the burghers of Cascadia). Columbia is the "Gateway to the East", a land of nobility that may one day ride all the way to fabled Washington, DC. A land of plenty, where many bright-eyed colonists trek to to this day.

    The Columbian Nobility has a less positive view. The Masters grow impatient with their holdings, lusting after more and more resources, demanding more keeps to station their third and fourth sons and daughters. The Shogun of Columbia, Cobain III Lang, hears their cries, and he has a plan. Ethnically Mormon Hilljack converts slip undetected through the lands of Deseret, whispering in the ears of humiliated Wyoming chieftains. Unassuming Buddhist traders sail north to Ankrage, bringing gold to the local pirate-tribes. Katanas are being forged in The Dallis, and all across Cascadia, men and women and hiding feel something. A call to arms. A disturbance in the force...
     
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    Forcasey
  • Forcasey, formerly known as Fort Casey, is a prosperous trading settlement located on Widby Island. The settlement was founded by the residents of the Island following the Laskan raids on their settlements. The settlement is now a wealthy participant of the Pewgetsown trade network. The settlement is designed so that a signal can be sent to outlying farmers to enter the safety of the settlement's walls from the increasingly-uncommon threat of Laskan raid.
     
    City States of the Pacific Northwest: The Puget Sound Cities; Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia
  • City States of the Pacific Northwest: The Puget Sound Cities; Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia

    Sandwiched between Lake Washington and Puget Sound, Seattle has a long history of sailing and sailing prowess. It's merchant ships travel between the many islands of the the Salish Sea and beyond, delivering goods from as far north as Ankrage and as far South as Sinaloa and everywhere in between. With the many peninsulas and islands of Puget sound providing adequate sailing practice, the city is the most maritime of the major City States. As such traders from across the Pacific Coast dock at it's wharves, bringing great wealth and ambitious peasants looking to make money to it's streets.

    Because of its position just south of Seattle; 40 km as the crow flies or maybe a half days sailing, Tacoma has a strange rivalry with Seattle. On the one hand they are constantly feuding with each other over the most petty of things. The village of Kent has switched hands countless times and there is a spot on the Kitsap Peninsula where the two sides have fought each other nearly 70 times. On the other hand the two cities have an informal agreement that neither will attempt to seize absolute control over the other. This means that their navies will never face each other in battle and that their armies will stay out of sight of the other city's walls. It is better that they bicker over villages and islands than run the risk of losing their trade profits if it came to all out war.

    As the site where Eco-Bhuddism was born, Olympia is the site of many a pilgrimage. People from across the region come here to take in the streets where John Amadi walked, where he and his first disciples ate and drank together. Stupas and small shrines crowd the streets. Regardless of the popularity of these temples the pilgrims are here for the main attraction: Amadi's Grove.

    On a spit just out of town, hundreds of trees grow, carefully managed by druids and a small local order. It started when Amadi came down from his isolation, carrying a small fir sapling with him. He planted this sapling and was himself eventually buried beneath it. When John Amadi died, each of his disciples planted a fir sapling in a circle around the original. Eventually they too were buried beneath the trees they had planted. Hundreds of years later and with the devoted care of local monks these firs have grown to be nearly 100m tall each, forming a living cathedral dedicated to the spiritual Fathers and Mothers of the Pacific Northwest. Ever since then pilgrims will bring saplings or flowers on their journeys (or buy them in Olympia) and plant them at the grove.
     
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    City States of the Pacific Northwest: Victoria
  • City States of the Pacific Northwest: Victoria

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    [From here]

    • Government: Enlightened Republic
    • Head of State: Premier, selected from the Victorian Navy and chosen by City Council
    • Population: 255,000
      • Townsfolk 25,000
      • Farmers 80,000
      • Vassal States 150,000
    • Religion: Eco-Buddhism
    • Totemic Symbol: Pacific Dogwood

    At the tip of Vancouver Island lies Victoria. Because of its strategic location at the junction of the Strait of Wandifuke, Strait of Georgia and Puget Sound, Victoria has grown rich off of the trade that passes through it's harbors as well as the tolls that ships pay to it so that they may be allowed to enter the pacific.

    The way this system works is that Victoria maintains a series of naval bases next to the main passage ways into the Strait of Wandifuke. There ships receive a flag marking them as having paid. When they leave the strait, they have to return the flag to the bases on the other side. Victorian ships patrol the strait and ensure that those who have not paid are escorted to the nearest Victorian base and made to pay.

    To ensure that this system works the Victorian Navy is huge, one of the largest. The toll system covers the costs of having it and then some, earning the merchants who run the city a tidy profit. The size of the Victorian Navy also enables it to maintain forts and colonies up and down the coast. The northern End of Vancouver Island is de facto Victorian territory, where control is maintained through friendly neighbors and the permanent presence of the Victorian Navy. From Kitimat to Coos Bay, the Victorian Flag flies. And where ever the Victorian flag flies, friendly ships can dock to take on food and water for their crews and sell their wares. For a price of course.
     
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    The Chosen One and the Sith
  • And one of the many tales of the Columbians is that of the "Choosen One" who will bring balance to the Force. He did battle with an army of Spirit-Tengu of the Sith Tribe of Sky Spirits whose faces were red and black and wore crowns of thorns. The Choosen One did defeat them and bind them to his service. In the deserts and rocky plateaus of Columbia an order of Shinobi gather to overthrow the tyranny of the Jedi Masters, calling themselves the Sith after the Tengu they are assassains and feared throughout the District.

     
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    Cursed Depths
  • The Cursed Depths is the Cowboy term for the mysterious catacombs dotting three areas of the Great Plains. These are strange man-made cylindrical chambers that seem to be built around massive metal constructions of unknown function. The famously superstitious cowboys see them as cursed because anyone who spends enough time in the catacombs either falls very ill or dies of an unknown ailment. Some say that these structures are tombs, and that the strange sickness is a curse placed upon them for violating the sanctity of the tomb. Nobody knows for certain what they are, only that the mystery will be fertile ground for the imaginations of generations of storytellers.
     
    The Lands of Laska
  • The Lands of Laska



    "Laska" is a vague term, geographically speaking. To the Californians and Desereti, it is a mystical land where the sun never sets, where giants roam and build their cities upon the backs of whales. Most do know it is from here that they receive many of the luxury goods they take for granted- ivory, whalebone, balleen, exotic pelts. On one occasion, centuries ago, San Francisco was even sacked by a contingent of Laskan raiders. To the Pacific Northwesterners, however, it is a very real, and very strictly defined region: Namely, everything that sits north of Cold Harbour, a port at the tip of Victoria Island. For the coastal peoples of what was once British Columbia, though they would certainly consider themselves Laskans (the consequence of years of trading, intermarrying and raiding), they do not consider themselves inhabitants of the true Lands of Laska. For the ethnic Laskans, Laska is everything south of the Alaskan Range (including the peninsula), and everything along the coast till you hit the southern tip of Graham Island.

    Laska is a land that knows hardship like no other. For half the year,there is practically no sun, and the snow comes down hard. For the other half of the year, however, the sun shines, shines, shines. This constant sunshine allows Laska to be surprisingly agriculturally productive. Nonetheless, agriculture is incredibly difficult and marginal. The Laskans have developed a number of techniques to maximize output, including mound-building, to create localized microclimates, and constant fertilization of the soil with wood-ash and lime among others. Thanks to these intensive efforts, the amount of cultivated land has gone from a mere 1,280 square miles to a whopping 3,000 square miles, comparable to Norway.

    Laska is divided into two regions: the pan and the handle.

    The Handle stretches far south, terminating at the farthest outlying island, Graham Island. Hundreds of tiny islands lay in what is now know as the Alzandar Arcipelago. These are Laska's most potentially fertile regions, at its southern extreme even holding host to temperate rainforest comparable to that of Cascadia.

    Ostensibly, the largest population center in this region is Joono, home to some 10,000 people, a major port. The only other major city in archipelago is the port town of Kechikan. Sitting at the southernmost end of the archipelago, it is the first stop off for Cascadian ships, and where many hand off their goods to Laskan merchants. Otherwise, most of the population is scattered among the various islands in fishing, farming and hunting communities.

    The Pan is roughly centered around the port-city of Ankrage and the outlying regions, which tend to be the most agriculturally productive region of the state, consequently making Ankrage the population and cultural center of Laska. Ankrage is commonly regarded by the people of the West Coast as the "End of the World".



    Beyond the Laskan Range is Eskimoland. Contrary to Californian and Cascadian myth, it is not host to the lost city of Hoth. In fact, there are almost no cities at all or, for that matter, no Laskans- here, natives make up the majority of the population, both Athabaskan and Inuit, though they are all termed "Eskimo" by the Laskans (despite the fact that they have significant Tlingit, Athabaskan and Inuit admixture themselves). Here, the peoples eke out a pastoral existence, herding domesticated caribou (a practice that is starting to compete with cattle in Laska). Along the coasts, whalers and fishers dominate as they always have. Agriculture is practiced only in the Yukon Delta region.
     
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    City States of the Pacific Northwest: The Willamette Valley; Salem and Eugene
  • City States of the Pacific Northwest: The Willamette Valley; Salem and Eugene

    Salem is a city about halfway between Portland and Eugene, in the Willamette Valley. Looking like pretty much any other medium sized town it's only claim to fame is that it can go toe to toe with Portland and Eugene. It was also once the capital of Oregon and as such claims sovereignty over all of the Pacific Northwest because it was all once part of Oregon Country. Never mind that it was only ever the capital of the Oregon but don't tell that to the mayor.


    As the site of the primary college in this part of the continent, the University of Oregon educates the young children to many merchant houses, teaching them their maths and philosophy as well as all the most important Buddhist teachings. The University lies just outside the walls of Eugene and in exchange for protecting the University the town council of Eugene has a hand in dictating the curriculum of the university.

    As the last major city before the rugged wilderness separating Cascadia from California, Eugene is a trading hub and bulwark against the barbarians who live there. To show its influence, Eugene organizes armed expeditions every year or so. These expeditions proselytize to the hill tribes that aren't Buddhist and will listen, arm the ones that have converted and wage war against the ones who will not. Furthermore Eugene maintains several forts along the road to California to impede the movement of the Californian Army if they ever choose to attack again. These forts also project power deep into the hills and enhance the power of Eugene's expeditions. Small skirmishes happen in the forests if detachments of both armies ever meet but these are few and far between.

    These forts and expeditions have proved to be successful as Buddhist Colonists and converts have begun to farm the Umpquaa Valley. Settlement further south along the Rogue, Yreka and Klamath Valley's are limited by the extent of Californian influence and the terrain however Buddhism is spreading among the hill tribes making it a sizable minority faith alongside the native pagan beliefs and Scientology. Prominent members of Eugene's merchant families are petitioning for a druid council to declare a holy war and seize this land. It is slow going but the idea is gaining ground.
     
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    The High Cascades, Ascendant and Pure
  • The High Cascades, Ascendant and Pure

    Towering above the valleys of Cascadia lie volcanoes, restless giants covered in snow and ice, standing above the mountains that surround them. These volcanoes hold a holy and exalted place among the peoples of Cascadia as the bridges between the land and sky, portals to stars, watching over these lands and protecting them from the wilds of the eastern deserts.

    Rainier: The Great One

    The tallest mountain in Cascadia, she cloaks herself in clouds and shines brightly from her snow capped peaks. On a mountain at the center of the triangle formed by Rainier, Saint Ellens and Adams lies the Taidna Palace, home of Divine Colombian Lama.

    Saint Ellens: The Angry One
    The most active volcano in the region ,she has erupted nearly 25 times in the last 900 years since the regression. Whereas once she was hollowed out, she grows once more to be a magnificent though temperamental god.

    Hood and Adams: Guardians of the East

    Flanking the Columbia river as it flows from the Eastern Basin to Cascadia, these two volcanos guard the land of Buddhism from the treacherous infidels beyond. It is said that if heathen armies were to ever invade from the East, these two would unleash their rage against the invaders and smash them to bits.

    Baker: Loner of the North
    Close to Vancouver, Baker lies far from his siblings. He is a silent guardian overlooking the Fraser Delta and the Strait of Wandifuke.

    Jeffsin: Southern and Remote
    Shorter than his brothers and sisters, as well as nestled deep in the mountains, Jeffsin is hard to see and just barely peeks over the horizon.
     
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    The Laskan Lifestyle
  • The Laskan Lifestyle



    The Laskans live in tight knit communities along inlets and fjords, with most of the population being engaged in farming hardy strains of barley and potatoes, and the husbandry of precious cattle, who provide warmth in the depths of winter. This is not where the majority of the average Laskan's sustenance comes from, however- there is also a significant hunting industry and, more importantly, living off the fat of the sea.

    Maritime culture is the heart and soul of the Laskan people. Even before the Regression, Alaska's primary export (after petroleum) was sea food. When the Regression did occur, those who didn't leave for warmer pastures were in danger of starving- agriculture was totally marginal, and most people had neither the means nor know-how to do the kind of agriculture that would work in Laska. So, without refrigeration to ship fish south, the Laskans began just keeping fish for themselves. And crabs. And mussels. And clams. And, eventually, whales.

    With practically infinite lumber, creating large ships was a trivial affair, and the longship quickly became the preferred design. Not only were boats useful for getting food- they were a must for any sort of transport. Most of Laska is nearly inaccessible over land, thanks to high mountains and omnipresent waterways, necessitating some other way to get from place to place. It is said that once, the Laskan Forefathers rode in the bellies of great metal birds from place to place. Those days were long gone, however, so most Laskans have opted for a low-tech alternative.

    While eventually Laskans did figure out agriculture as new techniques spread from northeast of Ankrage, ocean-going has remained one of the culture's mainstays, and primary means of nutrition in some of the more lean areas, like the Alaskan Peninsula or Graham Island.

    Whaling itself is one of the most famed of the Laskan practices, and an art that seems to have been mastered only by them of all the people of the West Coast. Californian nobility simply could not live without their whale-oil lamps and the countless implements made from bone and baleen. Of course, it's not just the Californians that benefit- the amount of food gained from even a small whale is astronomical, the oil is indispensable in the cold winter, and bone is an incredibly useful building and crafting material. It is a sign of high prestige to have a home partially made from whalebone.


    Whaling has become one of Laska's greatest industry: not only can a whale feed a village for a year (some of the real monsters could feed the whole of Laska), but the baleen, whalebone and rendered fats are worth their weight in gold.

    Hunting still makes up a significant portion of the Laskan economy, but much less then it used to, thanks to centuries of overhunting. The hunting of bears is rather significant, though- claws and furs can fetch a pretty penny from Cascadian merchants, especially from the dreaded Polar Bears.

    Agriculture is still engaged in by almost every Laskan village. It revolves around extremely hardy potatoes, pumpkins, squashes, and barley strains. A complex and highly superstitious system of crop rotation and fertilization with detritus, wood ash and cow manure is engaged in to maximize output. Additionally, large earthworks are constructed for a variety of purposes. For one, they serve as windbreaks. For another, they create pockets of good climate that aid in the growing of crops. Because of the nature of the Laskan climate, with long periods of near constant sunshine (followed by long periods of total darkness), agriculture is surprisingly productive and crops grow surprisingly large.


    A giant Laskan pumkin

    Laskan agriculture is rather intensive. Because of this, it is fairly common for communities to be dominated by warlords. Each village is dominated by a warlord living in his longhouse at the center of town. Usually they have achieved this by being a good warrior, and than getting elected by the village's warriors and elders. These warlords, called Sheriffs, command their people and warriors. Generally, these warlords declare fealty to a nearby warlord, who in turn declares fealty to another, until you get to the largest Warlord in a given region, what is generally referred to as the "Borrough Sheriff", and the town in which he is based the "Borrough Seat". The Borough Sheriffs then may or may not swear fealty to a higher power- the Governor in Ankrage, the President in Joono, the City Council in Kechikan, or the Admiral in Baranoff Castle.

    The Sheriffs are the basis for the long and rich tradition of raiding among the Laskans.

    Historically, every now and then the Laskans would raid and fight one another, usually by boat, or even the tribes further down in coastal British Columbia. 700 years ago, a particuarly bad winter meant that most of Laska was on the edge of starvation. So, some bright-minded guy came up with a plan: unite, and go south.

    Ever since, raiding has become one of the activities most associated with the Laskans by the people of the south. They are rarer then southern lore might have you think, usually occurring only when a particularly charismatic warlord can get enough Sheriffs to drop their differences for a while, or if some calamity (usually a bad winter or blight) forces them to it for survival.

     
    Beelem (Eastern Oregon): The High Desert
  • Beelem (Eastern Oregon): The High Desert

    Before the Regression, when state borders were being drawn up, far too often they were drawn without consideration for the local geography. Oregon is a good example of this. It like it's neighbor Washington spanned two very distinct regions, divided by the Cascades. In Washington's case the eastern part was conquered and became the District of Columbia. Not so in Oregon.

    The high desert east of the Cascades could not be called "Oregon" as that referred exclusively to the lands west of the Cascades. It couldn't be called "Washington" or "Idaho" as this region was never part of either state and both names have already been taken up by separate entities. Nevada doesn't feel right either, the two landscapes are too different. So what does that leave the poor shepherds and mountain men to call this harsh steppe home of theirs? Well they'll just make up their own name!

    So for years after the Regression, they debated around low campfires what to call themselves. Interim names were thrown around but "Desert People" just doesn't feel right you know. Well as time went on, one tribe conquered the rest. They were headed by a man who claimed to be from the Bureau of Land Management or B-L-M for short. His tribe called themselves Beelemites and eventually the name stuck even as the original tribe splintered upon their leaders death. Eventually this region came to be known as Beelem after the tribe that first conquered this land. And now Beelem is the land of the dry steppe and wild Mustangs, home of raiders(when convenient), horse eaters(only the wild ones) and traders(when profitable).

    Though this region once generally practiced its own pagan faith, after the Columbian Crusade, the spread of druids and monks into this wilderness gradually converted the Beelemites to Buddhism. And so they raid the infidels that surround them, storming into the Klamath and Snake River Valleys and stealing anything not held down.
     
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    Laskan Folk Religion
  • Laskan Folk Religion


    Whale-bone totems

    Technically speaking, the Laskans are Christians, but only technically.

    The Laskans believe that across most of the world, things operate totally typically and as you would expect from the Bible. But in the Lands of Laska, things get turned upside down. The primary cause of this is an extension of the Biblical belief in ghosts: namely, that souls in Laska cannot ascend. The theory goes that spirits try to ascend to Heaven on Halloween, before the winter chill sets in and makes the ground too hard for souls to escape their graves. Unfortunately, however, souls in Laska are caught by the Aurora borealis: blanketing the sky, it traps the souls who attempt to fly towards the sun, which is believed to be the gateway to Heaven.

    Here, in the Aurora borealis and in the star constellations, the ancestors of the Laskans are trapped. But it is not a poor existence: far from it. Rather, it is a land of triumph and heroes, mead and fighting, sailing and whaling. It is always sunny in the lands of Aurora, and your deeds can have an impact on the face of the heavens, whether it be the shimmer of the aurora, the flight of a comet, or even the supernova of a star. It is not just home to ancestral spirits, however: saints, both old and new, roam these lands, along side the Archangels. The Lands of Aurora will come to an end in the End of Days, when the Saints and the Ancestors descend alongside Jesus Christ to lead the Laskan people in establishing the Millennial Kingdom.



    The idea of Aurora has had a profound impact upon the culture of the Laskans. For one thing, it has allowed a means to immortalize their ancestors and heroes, with the many historical sagas having their settings moved to the Aurora in a manner comparable to the Dreamtime of the Australian Aborigines or, indeed, the slow reverse euhumerization that all cultures undergo when history turns to legend.

    More importantly, however, it has given them a way to explain the world around them. The environment of Alaska is capricious and harsh: what loving god would do this to them> Well, the answer is that the weather and natural processes aren't controlled by God himself: after all, he's the master of the universe. He's got more important business to attend to. Instead, any number of ghosts, demons, saints and angels control the more day-to-day problems we have, as extensions of their heavenly machinations.These spirits can be appealed to with idols, offerings, and even animal sacrifices.



    There are certain ancestor very prominent in the mythos, known across the land. Eventually, there is no doubt that these figures will one day become as to gods, with the Godhead a slowly shed and dimly understood concept, replaced by Jesus Christ, King of the Gods, and the Holy Spirit. But, that time is not yet. All thanks to the machinations of a single unified church.
     
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