Altera – the kingdom that took the ancient name for the whole word as their own.
“History is written by the winner.”
“To the victor go the spoils.”
These two statements describe the heart of Altera, the greatest nation in the world. What makes it the greatest? They say they are and no one can challenge them on the point. After the Great Exile, Hector the First carved out the center of the known world taking the best of all the land for his own personal kingdom. It was his grand vision of the world, or perhaps pure ego that led him to appropriate the name “Altera” for his own kingdom, in addition to the name of the world itself. Successive generations pushed the borders of Altera farther out systematically destroying roads that could have independently connected the other nations together. By the reign of Hector V, all roads quite literally led to Altera and no merchant could conduct their business without paying heavy taxes.
To be sure, the lands of Altera are some of the most classically picturesque in all the world and produce a wide variety of goods. Altera also has a substantially sized military with mandatory service before anyone can be recognized as an adult. The land of Altera is largely domesticated with safe roads at night and regularly spaced towns along the major trade lanes. Outright conflict with other nations is almost unheard of, but that is primarily because the other nations are prohibited from raising large armies by generations of treaty negotiations. Being the only organized army in the world, events always seem to go in Altera’s favor. With riots and conflict kept quiet, the standing army branched into other roles in addition to enforcing the iron will of the King. They have laborers who build and repair roads, they protect the borders, collect taxes, enforce local law, as well as providing the noble elite with entertainment through Grand Tournaments.
The people of Altera are the finest in the world and the land is most abundant. Alterans are more than willing to prove this point by putting those who disagree in their place. Physically, more often than not.
Approximate Population: 7,000,000 inhabitants
Capital City: Colstean
Type of Government: Hereditary Monarch
Title of National Leader: King Hector Eventide XXV
Altera has the most stable and temperate climate of all the five kingdoms. While it rains, it is almost never a downpour, the sun is often obscured by the stray cloud, the wind is mild, and the soil is rich. Most trees in Altera are deciduous and show the turning of the season which would otherwise be theoretical at best. Altera is a kingdom of gently rolling hills and quiet valleys.
Titles of Citizens:
King – The hereditary ruler of the kingdom
Lords and Ladies – The landed nobility who functionally own the land and all those who live or work within it.
Knights and Dames – The commanders and war heroes of the nation
Goodman and Goodwoman – The most common class of free people. Front line soldiers, traders, crafters, and merchants.
Serfs – People who have willingly sold themselves into servitude in order to pay off a debt. Children of Serfs are placed into fosterage with a Tradesman of some kind so that they are raised as a Goodman or Goodwoman. No child is born as a Serf.
The individual families of Altera take their lead from the royal family. As the king is the head of the country, so the husband is the head of his family. There are certainly those who disagree and would seek to insight some sort of social revolution but in the end, the Crown of Altera is absolute and the Crown has always been worn by a man. This simple fact is as old as recorded history and tends to end any reform debate before it gets started.
Dutchy of Rince
Dutchy of Sart
Dutchy of Wintonia
Dutchy of Bernicia
Dutchy of Colstean
Some may embrace the ancient heathen ways while others deny their existence all together. Alterans however, know the truth. Once there were monsters of great and terrible power. These monsters feared humanity. They feared humanity’s ingenuity and power and so sought to enslave humanity to their own ends. Humanity rose up against their oppressors and cast out these ancient would-be deities in the Great Exile. Free of outside intervention, humanity has flourished and under the leadership of Altera they will continue to do so. There are gods. The Alterans evicted them with extreme prejudice.
Altera claimed the center of the known world and, in many ways, the best of each country. They have many of the economic resources available to them without having to tolerate the harsher climates found in the distant reaches of the world. Farmers, merchants, and craftsmen of every stripe keep the nation flush with all the basic resources that are needed. The Crown of Altera itself finances a wide range of national programs with steep tariffs on all traveling merchants that cross their borders. As none of the other four nations can reach another directly, the Crown effectively taxes every merchant in the world.
The merchants of the world all have to pass through Altera so they have a collection of the finest ingredients however, their palate tends to be less adventurous than their neighbors, so what is potentially exotic often becomes some form of porridge or stew with vegetables and fresh bread.
Alterans enjoy a wide range of wardrobes from simple day work pants, shirts, and dresses to elegant gowns fit for dinner with the King. Most Alterans do not enjoy high courtly fashion on a daily basis and instead settle for simple tunics and tabards however, every Alteran has at least one set of finery ready to be put into use should the need arise.
Common types of Magic:
Magic, discussion of magic, and magic theory are all strictly forbidden by the Alteran Crown. When they do come up in village folklore, the terms Warlock, Witch, and Wizard are used interchangeably and they are always the villain of the story.
Highly present Cults or Societies:
Noble Paladins and cunning Bards are the traditional heroes of all Alteran legends.
Outlawed Magic, Cults, or Societies:
The villainy of Witches and Warlocks figure heavily in Alteran mythology so anyone who claims such a lineage or is even suspected of such congress is at best shunned and may be publicly executed.
Real World Cognates:
Classical Feudal England and Wales including William the Conqueror and King Arthur