The Government of the Stormlands
The Stormlands will follow a relatively standard form of feudalism, with the in-game positions of power roughly translating to position of government. Those higher on the feudal hierarchy can expect to wield more political clout on the long-term goals of the Duchy, while those lower will be able to make their will known through representatives.
I am absolute in my determination that the common people of the Stormlands have some avenue for political expression, and the current intent is to allow that through a series of bureaucratic councils. It has been my experience in running gaming communities that most attempts at a true bureaucracy in online games tend to fail, and so these councils will initially be kept both loose and advisory until our ability to support firmer rule has coalesced.
The lowest form of these councils will be the People’s Council. Each county will be given the opportunity to run a democratic election from which a representative will be nominated to sit on the People’s Council. These representatives will meet at set dates with the Duke, allowing any issues from the common people to be expressed directly. Re-elections will be hosted on a semi-regular basis, and oversight of these elections will be provided by the Duke and their staff.
Above this will be the First Council. Each Count will be given a seat on this council for as long as they hold their hereditary title. The First Council will likewise meet with the Duke to discuss Duchy wide matters and to commit to large scale projects. This seat will be held by the title, rather than the individual, and so any changes to the holder of that title would immediately result in changes to the council.
Alongside this will be the Second Council. This council will be made up of ‘High Barons’ who will act as the Duchy’s generals and chief judiciaries. These High Barons will be selected by the Duke from the pool of Barons within the Duchy. This council will generally only meet during times of particular unease within the Duchy, such as during times of war.
And lastly there will be the Close Council. This council will be made up of individuals directly chosen by the Duke. This council will act with the authority of the Duke in most matters, effectively acting as a ‘Hand of the King’.
Otherwise, the day-to-day managing of the lands will be left to those who are, per the feudal system responsible for them. The work involved in the running of a Duchy is far too much for one person alone, or even a council of people. The delineation of these responsibilities is a necessity for the smooth running of the lands, even if it might occasionally slow down the decision making process.
Responsibilities of the Counts
Each Count will be given ultimate responsibility for the commercial and social growth of their County. They will be required to recruit and administer those who join their lands, as well as act as an intermediary towards the Duke for their people. Overarching goals for the realm will be passed down from the Duke, and it will be expected that the Count and his staff will act in the best interest of those goals.
Responsibilities of the Barons
Each Baron will be empowered by the Duke to police the territory assigned to them. They will be supported monetarily to recruit and train a standing militia capable of responding to local threats, as well as recruiting and supporting contingents of full-time soldiers who will assist in the policing and training of the local population.
During times of war, the Barons will be responsible for marshalling the militias within their territory and leading them in any engagements.
Responsibilities of the High Barons
High Baron will be a title specifically created for the Stormlands, and does not currently have a mechanical or pledge level analogue. High Barons will be individuals selected from the ranks of the standing military, and each will be assigned a region of Barons to manage. They will act as an intermediary between those Barons the the Counts within their region, as well as acting as a source of authority for minor concerns.
By removing Barons from the standard feudal chain in this manner, it is my hope that they will be made exempt from the daily politics of County life. This will assist in allowing those Barons to focus more of their time on their own, more security oriented tasks.
During times of war, the High Barons will act as the generals and commanders of the armies of the Stormlands, leading their Barons into the fray
Responsibilities of the Mayors
Mayors will act under the supervision of their local Count to build up the commercial and social growth of their villages, towns and cities. The exact method of this supervision will largely be under the control of the local Count, with general oversight provided by the Duke to prevent abuse.
Responsibilities of the Common Folk
The Common Folk will act in the best interest of the Duchy in all that they do. They will pledge allegiance to their local Count, and commit themselves to a path of self improvement. In doing this, they will also commit themselves to improving the Duchy proper.
Military focus of the Stormlands
The Stormlands will field the most skilled heavy infantry on the server. This is my ultimate goal for the military. The spearmen of the Stormlands will be the match of any soldier of any foreign military. Through constant competition, training, and innovation we will make the server tremble when the Stormlands march to war.
We will disseminate the lessons learnt by our professional army down to the everyday citizenry so that they too may defend themselves. By empowering the common folk of the Duchy, we will protect our lands side by side, with little to differentiate those who dedicate their lives to the defence of the realm and those with more social or commercial desires.
Economic focus of the Stormlands
Stormlander weapons and armour will be found throughout whichever Kingdom we call home. They will be sought out by the quartermaster of armies across the world. King and Queens will demand Stormlander steel for their honour guards. We will grow wealthy selling our arms to allies during times of peace, and dominant in war wielding them against our enemies.
It is expected that each of our Counts will have their own particular areas of expertise, and we will make every attempt at leveraging those specialties to the benefit of the Duchy. As mentioned earlier, a degree of flexibility and willingness to step outside of one's comfort zones will be heavily promoted within the Stormlands, and that is expected to influence our commercially focused citizens as much as our militaristic ones.
I would particularly enjoy attracting a County interested in the breeding and taming of animals to the Duchy. The possibility of Stormlander mounts being traded across the continent alongside Stormlander steel is something I would love to aim for.
Religion in the Stormlands
The official religion of the Stormlands will be a form of animist spiritualism, similar to the Faedin religion that has been described by the developers. Followers of this religion believe that all living things have a spirit or soul within it, and the honouring of these spirits is core to the daily lives of many Stormlanders.
Stormlanders as a people are welcoming to divergent ideas, and so many find the beliefs of foreigners interesting and worthy of investigation. The followers of those foreign religions have found fertile ground to sow their own theological seeds, with many churches and cults sprouting up throughout the Duchy.
Competition within the Stormlands
Competition and the constant self improvement of one's abilities is central to life in the Stormlands, and this will be made evident through a series of friendly competitions that will run throughout the land.
At the highest level this will involve setting each of the Duchy's Counties against each other in regular tournaments, covering a wide range of skills and professions. Each Count will be given the opportunity to nominate participants in these tournaments, with the winning County being granted boons, as well as prestigious titles, until the next round of events.
The boons granted through these tournaments will always be relatively minor in power. The intent is not to allow those who succeed to rise up even further, but to encourage everyone within the Duchy to actively improve themselves and strive for greatness.
The Counts and Mayors of the Stormlands will be encouraged to run similar competitions within their own lands. By creating ladders of advancement for individuals, from a local town’s tournament up to the grand tournaments hosted by the Duchy, we will provide the motivation to begin on the path to greatness.
Miscellaneous Stormlands information
- The official colours of the Stormlands will be the deep blue and shining silver of a storm ravaged sky.
- The official emblem of the Stormlands will be a silver stormcloud throwing down three bolts of golden lightning, two smaller, minor bolts and one larger, central primary bolt.
- The official motto of the Stormlands is “A Storm is Coming”,
- People from the Stormlands are Stormlanders, and they do Stormlander things.