Arcane Renaissance: Terra Rynn
The Kingdom of Svain
The Kingdom of Svain lies in the northeastern region of the Orelean Continent. Composed primarily of marshy wetlands and rolling hills, the fertile lands were ripe for exploitation by civilized races. Formally recognized in 154 B.E., The Kingdom of Svain begain as a colony of the Turathi Empire. One of the first intercontinental colonies, Svain would prove to be the doom to its homeland in time, for reasons still speculated upon by scholars today.
Gender Ratio: 0.9 male(s)/female
Strength: High, but unstable
Viewed: with respect
Personal Freedoms: good
Associated Art form: sculptures
When the provincial colony of Svain declared independence and fought a successful war for sovereignty, the remaining elites sought to form a system of government that avoided the primary pitfalls of the old turathi empire. The Turathi empire’s core was built around expansive conquest and entrenched aristocrats whose power was based in their ability to secure resources and influence. The result was a government that advertised equality and participation, but in reality functioned through the personal relationships and trading of favors between the power brokers in and around the empire. Ultimately, it failed because the rulers could not hold the interests of the empire as a whole above their own factions or personal desires.
When Svain completed its rebellion, its leaders decided to enshrine into their governance a central authority whose identity was the heart and soul of the people, in the hope that such a leader would remain above influence, and committed to the kingdom as a whole. The Svanesse Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, with powers enumerated in written document outlining the responsibilities of its various actors and placing them at the heart of authority. At its core, there are three branches: The Crown, the Senate, and the Divine College.
The Monarchy is responsible for creation of law in regards to the rights of the citizenry. One of the central ideas in Svanesse political history is the notion that the world is full of dangerous and unpredictable events. When change is needed, it must be done swiftly, and with certainty. Political scholars argued that too much compromise in initial legal policy would ultimately undercut any effectiveness of the vision of a law. Therefore, the crown retains near unilateral power in the creation of edicts and statutes, and the request of taxes. This power is then divested to royal advisors and landed lords that serve the crown.
The Monarchy is a hereditary position with holdings sufficient to dissuade any individual from bribery or temptation. While the heirs of the crown are the primary successors, the other branches hold significant power to evaluate and approve of a successor prior to them gaining the throne. Political consorts must be 2 generations removed from any political office. Furthermore, children, before becoming eligible, must be approved by the senate and receive a majority vote. A similar system is replicated in the authority vested in lesser lords.
Lords of the Realm
A major component in the royal court is the appointment and affirmation of the lords of the realm. The crown recognizes that it cannot govern effectively from one location, especially as the kingdom grows. So, the Crown grants demesnes to dukes, marquis, viscounts, counts, and barons. In exchange for a parcel of land, and right to collect taxes on that land, the lords were responsible for creation and management of the law within their territory. The title and awards were designed part as an appeasement to warlords that held some of the frontier lands and threatened secession, but also as an incentive to remain loyal to the crown. While titles and family trees have changed through the centuries, the basic structure has remained sound.
The Senate is responsible for the arbitration and administration of laws. The main Senate body is required to sign all laws proposed by the Crown, and are likewise allowed to veto any law the crown proposes, with a 2/3 majority. Afterward, they are responsible for forming and maintain the institutions that carry out the law, as well as arbitrate conflicts when a law is broken. Senators are elected to several committees, which are charged with overseeing various aspects of governing (Justice, War, Commerce, Diplomacy, etc).
The Senate proper is made up 50 senators, each of whom is elected by a lower class of representative. As of 305, there are currently 4 classes with over 200,000 representatives in the kingdom. At the bottom, a 4th class representative might represent between 20 and 100 people; A small city or village might have only one representative, whilst a large city may have several classes of senator.
One of the other important roles the Senate has is the formation and constriction of the Army. In order to prevent complete totalitarian rule, by law, the Army and its leaders are pledged to serve the senate, not the crown. The crown dicates the scope and general order of the army, but the direct authority to command it is held principally by the Senate.
Representatives roles are much smaller than a full senator, most will only cast a vote once a year. Their primary purpose is to organize the election of higher class representatives and senators. The other is to call provincial tribunals – such a tribunal is called when the citizens within a lord’s domain question a law or edict issued by the lord. If a tribunal secures an official censure, the edict is suspended until a higher lord rules on the matter. This pattern can escalated all the way up to the Republican Senate and the Royal Court.
There are also Charter Magistrates. Any small village that applies for a charter is allowed to elect a local mayor and/or council. These bodies are allowed to make and administer laws for that jurisdiction only, but may raise taxes, pay garrisons, and arbitrate law that doesn’t conflict with royal or provincial edicts.
The Divine College
The Divine College’s primary role is to subordinate religious and divine activity to the state. During the later centuries of the Turathi empire, and the years of secession and rebellion, divine worship was mostly a local affair. Towns might band together to build a shrine, support a small cadre of priests, or have local officials conduct acts of cult worship in order to secure the gods favor and appease the more superstitious populace. However, there was no unified agreement on which, if any of those practices were legitimate, or worthwhile.
Because of this, it was difficult for the rebels to build a cohesive movement and unify the people under a single cause. After faltering many times, and only with coalition of several powerful spiritual leaders were the rebels able to spread their mission to the masses. In exchange for their loyalty, those spiritual leaders were given authority over the matters of divinity in the new kingdom, some degree of influence over the matters of state.
Currently, the Divine College is responsible for advising the government on the wishes of the gods, administering the practice of religious observances and practices in the kingdom, and mediating disputes between the monarchy and the senate. Foreign travelers often underestimate the state’s interest in the will of the gods, thereby overlooking the influence the members the College wield. They hold mandatory advisory positions in both the royal court and the senate, and they are the final arbiters of political appeal. Should the crown and the senate come to an irreconcilable impasse, the Divine College delivers final word on a given matter, though this power has only rarely been used.
In Svain, not all priests and spiritual leaders are members of the Divine College. A priest must apply to become a novice, in which they require sponsorship by a number of current members and support from a local region. Once admitted, novices usually undergo several years of education before they are ordained as an Tutor. Tutors may return to their original communities, and their title grants them new powers and responsibilities, such as the ability to serve on local councils, request funds for projects, advice in legal disputes, administer sacred rites and enforce divine doctrine on local priests, and they may call upon local authorized to enforce those regulations.
If they wish, Tutors may choose to further their divine education instead, and gain enough influence to exercise some control in shaping theological course of the realm. There are several colleges throughout Svain, each lead by a Dean. The Deans are responsible for administering the college as a whole, and for representing their college in the Divine Council. The Divine Council is the seat religious power, and is located in capital. It selects membership from the colleges every few years and supervise the practices of divine worship in the kingdom.
The Divine council also elects five Hierophants, who serve as advisors to the royal court and the senate and are final arbiters in matters of political conflict. They hold immense political power and influence and serve as the Kingdom’s High Priests.
The kingdom of Svain follows many the tenets of Paragonism, established the religious pantheon and cult beliefs of the old Turathi empire. The largest colony of Svain would preserve much of the modern Turathi tradition. Local geographic regions have one or more priests, who tend to shrines, conduct rituals for guidance, and interpret divine omens. In an effort to cement its independence, many of the traditions and rituals were altered or sanitized in an effort to bind the new nation.
In the early days of the Svanesse Rebellion, areas where religious practices were more established, the populace respected the priests more than the political officials. It would not be uncommon for groups of holy orders, devoted to the gods wishes as a measure of service, to come into conflict with agents of the state. The early Kingdom feared that if left to its own devices, these divine factions would divide the realm, and weaken the fabric of the society, leaving them open to conquest.
So, they opted to incorporate a form of divine institutions into the state itself, creating the Divine College. Up to this point, divine worship was mostly a local affair. Towns might band together to build a shrine, support a small cadre of priests, or have local officials conduct acts of cult worship in order to secure the gods favor and appease the more superstitious populace. However, there was no unified agreement on which, if any of those practices were legitimate, or worthwhile.
The priesthood was brought in officially as a branch of power within the state, and with that position, they began to lay down standards in religious practice. From there, the College began to bring in various priests and holy orders, in an effort to subordinate them and utilize their influence. While a few organized groups resisted the College’s pull, like the Sons of Turen, many capitulated and have become embedded in the college.
Since then, the Divine College has tread a line between a political branch, and a spiritual guide to the populace. Many of the younger political leaders resent the college’s influence, having grown up after the college helped to bind the disparate kingdoms together. In turn, the Deans and Hierophants are wary of the new Queen and the Senate, and work to solidify their place in the Kingdom.
For the rest of the populace, daily life has remained relatively unchanged – most of the populace look to appease the god’s will in the hopes that their own needs are met. Those who are not vested in a particular faction look to build relationships with those spiritual leaders who have lived with them in their communities, and look to them for guidance.
Magic & Technology
Magic and the Law
While magic is not strictly prohibited, Svain exercises a degree of control over its use within its dominion. For most individuals, this control is done with a Decreto de Práctica de Magia Sancionada, often known as a Mage’s Writ. All practitioners of magic, whether inherent, learned, or divine are required to have such a writ, and to present it upon request by a local official (usually a local magistrate, guild leader, or officer). Only ordained Tutors may instead present their divine seal in place of such a writ.
Failure to do so within a reasonable time usually results in a fine, and or jail time, depending on additional circumstances. Obtaining a writ is considered relatively expensive by most citizens, and one must be re-evaluated every 5-10 years. More importantly, a writ notes the nature of the holder’s magic, their proficiency, their teacher (if applicable), and requires a piece of hair, skin, or blood for security purposes.
Magic in Svanesse Society
The effect of magic on the economy and governments of svain may not be immediately obvious, but can be noticed quickly enough. Many magewright’s occupy positions of master guildsman, and often help to train apprentices to help facilitate all manner of services and occupations. Magewrights help brew potions, build clean lights, secure buildings, repair broken items, copy writing, send messages, and Magewrights tend to be more effective at these tasks, but often charge a premium for their services.
More powerful mages often find themselves employed by the state. Experienced magewrights are used in inter-kingdom communication, scrying, teleportation, and security. The time and training needed to achieve these feats of magical prowess often preclude such individuals from exercising direct political control; for this reason powerful spellcasters are often not in positions of direct authority, but rather serve as senior advisors to lords and senators.
Unsurprisingly, many mages also find a place in the military. The main republican army has a corps of mage knights who often serve as officers for lower ranked soldiers. There are also elite organizations: The Royal Guard, The Castana, and the Marshals, that employ powerful magicians to protect senior leaders, conduct reconnaissance and special operations, and to investigate unusual events within the kingdom.