Inhuman Fridays!

Last week we had brawns, this week we have brains as we continue with series of character sheets looking at the Inhumans who began the Great War nearly 2000 years ago.

When playing as the Inhumans, remember that the runes and arrays were given to humans only, meaning that while the Inhumans could draw and use the runes, there wouldn’t have been much of a chance to do so when they were at war with humans. Also keep in mind that only human blood can activate the arrays (other than energy and orichalcum of course). Inhuman blood has no effect on the arrays just like animal blood.

Next up this week are the Akkedyr!

The Akkedyr were alien things, strange things, things that did not seem natural. Both insectoid and reptillian, they frightened men more than any other Inhuman race, because they could think as we could. They were never physically powerful creatures, as evident by their physical Skill Levels all being below 100, but they had their slave armies to do their fighting. However, they were master intellectuals. Their Lore and Will Skill Level start at 100 and cap at 200, meaning there was little they did not know or could find out with their Investigate and Intimidate Skill also breaking the Level 100 cap.

Some excerpts from The Runed Age Corebook about the Cordyr.

“Cold, calculating, the Scourge of the West and the bane of our civilisation. The Cordyr may have been affable, the Froskdyr fascinating, the Riusdyr loyal, the Kwendyr mysterious and the Sauddyr vain, but none exemplified cruelty as much as the Akkedyr.”

“However, unlike the Sauddyr, the Akkedyr prefered dry, arid regions and more importantly, they could understand us humans as no other inhuman could. ”

“The surviving texts speak of a dissociative state the Akkedyr could undergo whereby they would truly believe themselves to be of the race they were mimicking. Through this they could speak our tongue, read our alphabets and even debate with us. Some philosophers have called them the most intelligent of the inhumans for their ability to see right into the hearts of men, even though their own true thoughts were so alien to us.”

“There were absolutely no differences between males and female because Akkedyr were both at once. When not in heat, Akkedyr had no genders, no sex, they simply were. Only during heat would the environment dictate who would be male for that cycle and who would be female.”

Inhuman Fridays

This week we go from small and furry to large and slimy as we continue with series of character sheets looking at the Inhumans who began the Great War nearly 2000 years ago.

When playing as the Inhumans, remember that the runes and arrays were given to humans only, meaning that while the Inhumans could draw and use the runes, there wouldn’t have been much of a chance to do so when they were at war with humans. Also keep in mind that only human blood can activate the arrays (other than energy and orichalcum of course). Inhuman blood has no effect on the arrays just like animal blood.

Next up this week are the Froskdyr!

The Froskdyr are large, amphibious creatures that are as powerful as they are quick and we see this with their Athletics starting at 50, their Constitution at 40 and their Fight at 55. All three of these skills can go above 100, so a Froskdyr at his best will be able to beat any human he finds. One thing where the Froskdyr fall down, however, is the social aspect. They spent most of their lives underwater and thus, while they did form families and communities, were never prone to idle chatter and gossip, their voices reserved for only the most important of matters.

Some excerpts from The Runed Age Corebook about the Cordyr.

“What records we do have, that are of any reasonable degree of accuracy, comes from the Froskdyr captive taken near the end of the Purge by the Emperor of the then Empire of Man. This poor creature called Beltiz, enslaved
by the Emperor and trotted out for his court’s amusement wrote down the oral history of this people as best he knew it. The Froskdyr, amphibious as they were, had little use for writing when it could not survive their time under the water, so kept their histories as songs much as we Neoists have done.”

“Being amphibious creatures, the Froskdyr never ventured far from water, their communities always on riverbanks, streambeds and on lake edges. When they did set out from their watery homes, which Beltiz tells us was not
quite often, their towns and cities were in the wettest, most humid areas of the eastern continent’s rainforests.”

“In respects to the Froskdyr military during the Great War, it is unsurprisingly that their focus was in the water rather than on land. Our own records state that their navy was beyond compare, and even without ships there
was nothing as dangerous as a Froskdyr in the water. The seas, rivers, lakes and swamps were areas that we avoided later in the war, knowing that any amount of Froskdyr could be hiding beneath the surface and we would never have known. ”

To learn more about the Kwendyr, all the other Inhumans and the lore of The Runed Age, you can purchase the book from DriveThruRPG at: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/165870/The-Runed-Age-Corebook

Inhuman Fridays

This week we continue with series of character sheets looking at the Inhumans who began the Great War nearly 2000 years ago.

When playing as the Inhumans, remember that the runes and arrays were given to humans only, meaning that while the Inhumans could draw and use the runes, there wouldn’t have been much of a chance to do so when they were at war with humans. Also keep in mind that only human blood can activate the arrays (other than energy and orichalcum of course). Inhuman blood has no effect on the arrays just like animal blood.

Next up this week are the Cordyr!

This week we start seeing the more “inhuman” Inhumans whereby their max Skill Levels will be able to go beyond what even the best human is capable of. The Cordyr are an excellent example of this. They stand, on average, only three feet tall and so their lives, and their perspectives on life, will be vastly different than our own. Being of canine origins also means that their perceptive senses are far more attuned to the world than our own, and this is why their Perception Skill ranges from 60-130 and their Investigate Skill Ranges from 50-130. Like other canines, the Cordyr have immense families that they can call upon and so their contacts can go up to a whopping Level 150.

On the other hand, while they have safety in numbers and can spot a threat coming a mile off, they are tiny little things and that can be bad once something comes close. Their Athletics range from 20-90, their Constitution from 10-60, and their Fight from 15-55. They are exceedingly terrible in a fair fight, and that is why they developed crossbows.

Some excerpts from The Runed Age Corebook about the Cordyr.

“While their diminutive stature did not lend itself to the melee of war, they had already invented an early form of the crossbow, allowing them to be deadly at range without the need of training or strength. But what truly set them apart was their sense of smell, even today we still say a man has the nose of a Cordyr”

“They were indifferent to the cold of the far north, where they first met us, their fur merely growing thicker among the northern populations. This adaptation to the environment suited them well in their semi- nomadic lifestyle, shepherding their herds across the vast lands, always in search of greener pastures.”

“The Cordyr’s affinity with their herds, and most animals, are by now legendary. Much like how our hounds are adept at herding sheep and cattle and seem to have a preternatural sense when hunting, so did the Cordyr. It said they were so close to animals that they could know precisely what their herds or even their prey was thinking.”

To learn more about the Kwendyr, all the other Inhumans and the lore of The Runed Age, you can purchase the book from DriveThruRPG at: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/165870/The-Runed-Age-Corebook

Inhuman Fridays

This week we continue with series of character sheets looking at the Inhumans who began the Great War nearly 2000 years ago.

When playing as the Inhumans, remember that the runes and arrays were given to humans only, meaning that while the Inhumans could draw and use the runes, there wouldn’t have been much of a chance to do so when they were at war with humans. Also keep in mind that only human blood can activate the arrays (other than energy and orichalcum of course). Inhuman blood has no effect on the arrays just like animal blood.

Next up this week are the Kwendyr!

The scholars of Middelburg say that the Kwendyr are what we humans could have become had we not been uplifted by the grace of the gods. They are beastial and savage and this is reflected on their character sheets. In mental tasks they are worse than us humans, and you can see this with their max 40 in Runes and 50 in Lore. However, they start off with a 40 in Fight and Shoot and 50 in Athletics, so when it come to the physical side of things, they have a headstart in life. None of their skills go above 100 like some other Inhumans, so some humans can have the upper hand over them, but they do start off better.

Some excerpts from The Runed Age Corebook about the Sauddyr.

“Like miniscule ogres were they, unable to comprehend speech, script or runes, gutterly barking at each other in order to be understood.”

“They did not fight us on the field with honour. Like the other inhumans, they had no concept of this word, preferring the dark and the element of surprise to attack us. Where the Froskdyr would wait for us in the rivers and swamps, the Kwendyr would await us in the trees, waiting for a caravan to pass by before dropping onto us.”

“Of the inhuman races, we know the least of the Kwendyr. We know that they never progressed past stone tools, being given metal weapons by the Sauddyr. We know that they lived by the absolute rule of “might makes right” as so many beasts do, with the strongest among them (predominantly males) ruling over however a number of Kwendyr he could control and having the pick of any mates he so chose. Beyond this, there is little I can tell you.”

To learn more about the Kwendyr, all the other Inhumans and the lore of The Runed Age, you can purchase the book from DriveThruRPG at: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/165870/The-Runed-Age-Corebook

Inhuman Fridays!

This week we begin a new series of character sheets for you and, due to popular demand, we are taking a look at the Inhumans who began the Great War nearly 2000 years ago.

Only one of the six Inhuman species still survive to this day, the giant Ogres, but if you are keen on playing some sessions set in the mythical times of ages past, then these will definitely help you.

When playing as the Inhumans, remember that the runes and arrays were given to humans only, meaning that while the Inhumans could draw and use the runes, there wouldn’t have been much of a chance to do so when they were at war with humans. Also keep in mind that only human blood can activate the arrays (other than energy and orichalcum of course). Inhuman blood has no effect on the arrays just like animal blood.

First up this week are the Sauddyr!

The Sauddyr are perhaps the closest in stature and abilities to humans and as such you can see they range in Skill Levels from 30 – 100 just like regular humans. The only skill where they are worse than humans are of course Runes, which start at 0 but can, if the Sauddyr study hard enough, reach 100 like regular humans.

Some excerpts from The Runed Age Corebook about the Sauddyr.

“No two specimens still existing or draughted in old manuscripts look the same. The sheer variety among the Sauddyr are extraordinary. Oh, they share similar features: eyes that can move independently of each other, a lizards tough scaly hide, a propensity for horns and barbs and spikes, but that is where the similarity end. Some have barbs and spines across their body, making them akin to a hedgehog while others sport massive horns from their crowns in an assortment of numbers. Some are as green as a summer forest, while others could hide amongst the basalt of an active volcano.”

“While the Sauddyr were not overly fond of clothing, each surviving taxidermied specimen is riddled full of holes meant for piercing, again showing the vanity of these creatures who would bedeck themselves in so much precious metals in order to show that they alone are the best. Amid all the historical records of the Sauddyr, this last thought is repeated again and again. The Sauddyr were positively obsessed with showing off their splendour and power. Each one had to outdo his neighbour in order to show who was the best among them.”

To learn more about the Sauddyr, all the other Inhumans and the lore of The Runed Age, you can purchase the book from DriveThruRPG at: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/165870/The-Runed-Age-Corebook

Animal Fridays!

Today is the last of our Animal Friday series where we give you some animal character options that you can use in your games.

First we gave you man’s mighty steed, then we gave you man’s valiant hound and last week we gave you man’s ferocious foe. This week, us humans become the predator.

This week we give you our third animal: the noble stag!

Much like last week’s bear, the stag won’t often be seen in Middelburg outside a butcher’s, so you will have to travel deep into the woods to find this majestic creature.

One thing that is immediately apparent is how close the stag’s profile is to that of the horse from a few weeks ago. That is not just a coincidence because horses and deer share a few similarities. There is a very game-y, mechanic-y reason for this. If you remember three weeks ago with the horse character sheet, horses aren’t quite what they seem in The Runed Age. Rather than making horses by breeding small ponies selectively like we did in the real world, the humans of The Runed Age selectively bred goats to make their horses, meaning the horses in Middelburg, and elsewhere in the world, have horses, tufts of hair on their chin and are remarkable climbers.

However, not all cultures went the way of the goat for their mounted animal needs. The Tolians and some Uttosian cultures instead ride domesticated stags. Among the Tolians, the reindeer is the most coveted mount, but they domesticate and ride many kinds of stags. So, if you are playing an Uttosian, a Tolian, or perhaps a northern Westerner or Cael that grew up close to the Tolian borders, you might well be more experienced riding a stag than a horse. If that is the case, feel free to amaze the people of Middelburg by bringing a stag into the city. You will surely be the talk of the town. Just make sure no one thinks you’re bringing the stag to slaughter!

That’s it for the animal kingdom. Yes, there are plenty of animals still out there, but none that you will meet in Middelburg or its surroundings that need a character sheet for the game.

Next week we start a new series that will take you back 2000 years to a time of myths, legends, heroes and when monsters still walked the lands!

Animal Fridays!

First we gave you man’s mighty steed and last week we gave you man’s valiant hound. This week, however, we aren’t giving you a pet to play with.

This week we give you our third animal: the ferocious bear!

Definitely not an animal you will encounter in your daily life in Middelburg, except for a pleasant trip to the zoological gardens, but there is more to Alfresia than just one city. If you ever think of venturing outside Middelburg, especially on foot, you better beware because the east-Fresian brown bear is powerful and ornery creature.

Middelburg, as it name implies, sits between two mountain ranges. Should you leave the city by any means other than boat, you will find yourself in the highlands and that is where the native brown bear makes it home. In recent times there has been a decline in the bear population as the roads become more frequently travelled, but once out of sight of civilisation you will find more than enough to keep you occupied.

For the purposes of gameplay, bears are incredible combatants. With a minimum Constitution of 60 and Fight of 70, you have to be particularly brave or stupid (or both) to take on a bear single handedly. If you think running away will help you, you might forget that an angry and hungry bear is one of the fastest things on four legs and with an Investigate and Perception minimum of 40, you will be hard pressed to escape it.

A bear is a dangerous beast, so act accordingly.

Animal Fridays!

Last week on Animal Fridays we gave you the character sheet of man’s mighty steed. This week we give you man’s best friend, and not only that, we give you the breed that you will most commonly find on the dirty streets of Middelburg.

This week we give you our second animal: the valiant dog!

If you compare the top character sheet of the DOG with last week’s HORSE sheet, you will find that there is a far, far larger range of skill levels for each type of skill. This is because, while horses were trained mainly only to pull things and carry things, different breeds of dogs were bred for their own purposes. We have hunting dogs, ranging dogs, guard dogs, show dog, companion dogs, sniffer dogs, all sort of dogs!

The other thing to notice is that there are quite a few skills that break the 100 skill level cap of humans, most notably Investigate and Perception. It is simply the case that the senses of dogs are unbelievably better than that of a human; the sense of smell of sniffer dogs can be up to 6000 times better than a human’s sense of smell.

The second, lower, character sheet is the breed of dog most often found in Middelburg and the dog you will encounter 9 times out of 10 in the city. The Middelburg Mongrel, otherwise known as a City Mutt, is just that, a mongrel of dozens of different breeds of dogs all mashed together over the centuries. No one is sure anymore which breed forms the base of the Mongrel, all they know is that the shaggy, drooling thing can be found everywhere, and if you aren’t careful the feisty things can get quite aggressive and they know which part of the human body to target.

Animal Fridays!

Our new project for Fridays is to give you some character sheets of things you might not have thought about using in your games. Specifically, animals!

Yes, our furry and feathered friends can have character sheets of their own, and can even have wound slots and hit locations!

The character sheets will be giving you over the next few weeks will be the truncated tables rather than full character sheets for humans just to make it easier to get your head around. Each of the Skill Levels in the tables will also be given in a range rather than a fixed number, because each breed of an animal will be different in characteristics so you can play around within that range to create the animal you want. It will also allow you to increase the skills of any animals you own over time, just like with humans.

With all that said and done, here’s our first animal: the trusty horse!

While the horses the people of Middelburg and the wider world of the Runed Age are very similar to ours in the real world, there are a few differences. The main one and most obvious are the horns. Yes, horses in The Runed Age have horns like goats as you will see in all the images of horses in the corebook. This is because what the people of the Runed Age call horses evolved from goat like animals. This means that the horses you will find in the game are slightly shaggier than our real world horses, are better at climbing, and have some magnificent horns.

One of the key ways of distinguishing breeds of horses are by the shape and size of their horns. The Fresian horses have curled horns much like sheep and quite shaggy fur, while the desert horses of the Neoist western states have sleek, soft fur and long straight horns. The horns are not only just for decorative purposes as the animals use these horns in their mating displays and can actually be taught to use them in combat. Warhorses often have their horns covered in sharp, thick metal and taught to run headfirst into enemies. Many a massgrave are filled with dead humans stuck onto the heads of dead warhorses.

Princes of Middelburg

Today we finish off the Princes of Middelburg series, and for a bit of symmetry the last Prince, just like the first, will be more than one person.

This week’s Prince is the Matriarch and Patriarch of the Progenitorist Faith!

As with the Prodigalist High Priest, Alfresia never had its own Matriarch and Patriarch until its independence a century ago. Before this, the Progenitorist faithful were led by the by the two Exarches under the command of the Matriarch and Patriarch of Fresland. The exarches were among the happiest of Alfresian citizens when independence came as it meant an instant promotion for them. Unlike the Prodigalists, the Progenitorist faith carried on much the same as ever for it is an old religion and it takes quite a bit to upset the order of things.

As the first organised religion in Alfresia (and most of eastern Jytoh), Progenitorism has a history that stretches back to before the Great War with the Inhumans. Other than prestige, this means that the religion has had the time to get comfortable. Most of its greatest philosophical and theological questions have been debated and answered, its most famous saints have been canonised and the greatest religious upheavals are in the past. It is a quiet and slow religion these days when compared to Prodigalism or even the strange and foreign Completism. Its philosophies and practices have seeped into the very soil of Alfresia, and today it merely cares for the nation rather than actively converting the “heathens”.

The main reason for the slow, often languid, nature of Progenitorism is the relationship between the Matriarch and the Patriarch. In the eyes of the faith and the gods they are equals in everything, just as the Heavenly Progenitors are. They have equal authority, demand equal respect, do equal amounts of work, but most importantly: only together do they form the leader of the faith for their nation. No decision can be made except through the approval of both the Matriarch and Patriarch. Should either not approve, then no decision is made. Sometimes it can take decades (or centuries in particularly egregious cases) for a simple decision to be made if the Matriarch and Patriarch are not on good terms with one another.

This dual leadership of the faith can sometimes be confusing for non-believer as it seems unintuitive at first. It becomes even more confusing once the structure of the faith is revealed. It seems obvious that the Patriarch would be responsible for all priests, monks and abbots, and the Matriarch responsible for their feminine counterparts, but this extends even to faithful flock. All male Progenitorists, clergy or not, are under the command of the Patriarch while all female Progenitorists follow the Matriarch. No male Progenitorist has to listen, agree, or follow any order by any priestess, nun or abbess, and a female Progenitorist can ignore the Patriarch himself should she so choose. However, it takes a brave (or stupid depending on where one stands) person to actually do this.

It is because of this dual leadership of the faith that the Matriarch and Patriarch represent only one of the Princes of Middelburg, as it is only by acting together that they can make decision representative of the entire faith. It is also because of this that the Matriarch and Patriarch are the least active member of the Princes and they are only truly called in when a matter arises of the greatest importance.

Princes of Middelburg

Last Wednesday we looked at the Prince who ruled the nation of Alfresia. Now that we have finished off with the four secular Princes, we’ll look at who controls the hearts and minds of Alfresia.

This week’s Prince is the High Priest of the Prodigalist Faith!

Clearly not the full title, no, not for someone of this stature. While he may be colloquially called the High Priest, his full title is “The Sovereign, Eternal and Most Revered Ordinary and Rector of the True Faithful in the Free State of Alfresia“. That is exactly why he is simply called the High Priest.

Alfresia never had a High Priest until it gained its independence a century ago. Under Prodigalist Canon Law, each sovereign nation can only have one High Priest to guide it in terms of spiritual matters. Thus when Alfresia was still only an archduchy of the Kingdom of Fresland, it was the Fresian High Priest who ruled the Alfresians Prodigals. Fresland, however, was a very large kingdom and so the Archduchy of Alfresia had its own Archbishop to govern it as the High Priest’s proxy.

Now that Alfresia is free it seems that the island is too small for both an Archbishop and a High Priest. For all intents and purposes, the Archbishop was the High Priest before the War of Independence; he ruled from the great Eternal Temple in Middelburg and already took care in the governance of each priest, bishop, monk and abbot on the island. What was there left to do for a High Priest? Some speculated that the Archbishop would be the one to become one of the Six Princes of Middelburg, but the new High Priest was a wily man, a politician at heart.

Leaving all the administrative work to the Archbishop, the High Priest was free to travel across Alfresia, letting every peasant and bourgeois merchant know exactly who he is and what he can do. The Archbishop continued on being the true head of the Prodigalist Faith in Alfresia and the High Priest became a figure head, but a figure head the faith can’t do without.

The High Priest has become the greatest lobbyist of the Prodigalist Faith, making it his life’s work to keep the interest of his flock in the forefront of every important politician and merchant on the island. The Archbishop may trade in souls and spirits, but the High Priest trades in favours and information, likely selling his soul in the process, but advancing the Prodigalist agenda one favour at a time.

Princes of Middelburg

Last Wednesday we looked at the Prince who commanded the entire military might of Alfresia. This week, we look at the youngest of the Princes, but perhaps the most powerful.

This week’s Prince is the President!

There are some who argue (the Presidents’ supporters chief among them) that the office of the President is technically older than the Merchant League of Fresia, but this is mere political grandstanding. The Merchant League was created during the Alfresian War of Independence a century ago while the rebel President was only properly sworn in after the nation became free. This technicality is not just a piece of trivia to be used in a weekend’s pub quiz night. Among the six Princes of Middelburg, the rulers of Alfresia, influence matters more than all the money or might in the world; and as so often the case, the youngest sibling always has a lot more to do to gain that influence.

While the President is nominally the head of state for Alfresia, he has not nearly as much power as he would like. Some believe this is intentional, that the other five Princes ensured the President was hamstrung at every turn, so that they can do as they will. The first of these impediments is the Senate who runs the day to day affairs of the nation, passing the laws that keep the island running. While the President has veto power, it is not infinite and many a time a President’s wishes has been overturned by the Senate’s actions. The idealistic calls this the checks and balances of a democratic society. The cynical call it the effectiveness of bribes and backroom deals.

The second impediment to the President’s power are the Princes themselves. Only the Merchant League does not answer to the President, being its own sovereign nation; the other four Princes must, in theory at least, bow to the Senate and thus the President. After all, the Field Marshall and the Supreme Judge are public offices while the leaders of the Progenitorist and Prodigalist faiths are only citizens in the eyes of the law. The truth is a different matter and this is where the influence mentioned above comes into play. The Field Marshall controls the military, the Supreme Judge the courts and the priests the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of faithful Alfresians. The President can’t simply through his weight around, because he know if push comes to shove, the Princes could easily overpower him

This week’s Prince is thus a much more cunning and diplomatic Prince than the others, because only the most cunning, conniving and flattering survive as President. He may not have as much innate power as the other Princes, but hard work creates a power of its own. A lesson, perhaps, in democracy.

Princes of Middelburg

Last Wednesday we looked at the Prince who ruled over the execution of the law. This week we’re look at the Prince who control the might and power of Alfresia.

This week’s Prince is the Field Marshal.

This one man controls the entirety of the nation’s military. The Navy, the Marines, the Infantry, the Cavalry, the Artillery and the Provost; all six branches of Alfresia’s military reports directly to the Field Marshal. Nearly every coup, rebellion and revolution has been won or lost depending on which side the Field Marshal fought. In terms of armed personnel, there is no one more powerful than the Field Marshal and he knows this well. It takes a brave, or stupid, man to get on the wrong side of the Marshal.

The military title of “Field Marshal” is an ancient one and stems from Alfresia’s imperial days. When Alfresia was a vassal of the Heavenly Empire of Man, its military consisted mostly of the Imperial Legions drafted from the local populace. The Legions were the Emperor’s way of keeping its territories safe as well as a show of force to its vassals. The Legions were loyal only to the Imperial Throne and so kept the nobles in line. In those days the Marshal was merely the stable master of the Legion and every Legion outpost had one. A civilian rank, the Marshal was little more than a servant to the Legion.

As the years rolled by and the Legion became a more modern fighting force, the Marshal was brought out of the stables to care for the horses out on the field, ensuring that the Legion could be a mobile force. This necessitated that the Marshal be able to command Legionnaires if and when necessary. Thus the rank of Field Marshal was created, if only to be equal to a Lieutenant. It would take many more years for the Field Marshal to become the title of the commander of a Legion Cavalry Regiment.

By the time Alfresia, as part of Fresland, left the Empire, the rank of Field Marshal was given to the commander of the entire army. While mainland Fresland was happy with this, it did not sit well with the Alfresians. As an island, and a long skinny one at that, Alfresia has a greater need of a navy than an army. It is far quicker for men to travel around the island by boat than overland. Thus, in short order, the Field Marshal had control over the navy as well. “One army, one man” was a common idiom of the day. Such power in one man’s hands ought to have been feared, but as with most other titles, the title of Field Marshal was taken by the Archduke of Alfresia, to add to his already cast collection.

It was only in recent times, after Alfresia became a republic, that the problem came to light. Giving one man sole control of the entire military may not have been the brightest thing to do, but it was done and the Field Marshals over the years have resisted all efforts to reduce their power, even going so far as to threaten a coup or revolt. As it stands, there is a tense stand off between the political and military spheres of the nations, each vying for greater power while trying to reduce their opponents’.

Next week we’ll look at, perhaps, the most straightforward of the Princes: the man who rules Alfresia.

Princes of Middelburg

Last Wednesday we started our Princes of Middelburg Series by looking at that Merchant League we have all come to know and love. This week we’re changing track and looking at the arbiter of life and death in the city.

This week’s Prince is the Supreme Judge.

A sanctimonious title for sanctimonious men. This position dates back to when Alfresia was still part of the Heavenly Empire of Man, back when the Kings, and later Archdukes, were the sole arbiter of the innocent and guilty in Alfresia.

Along the line, when the system of courts became more structured and unified, the supreme judge in Alfresia became the title “Supreme Judge of Alfresia” that the Archdukes could add to their repertoire of titles and names, to show the world what pious and lawful men they were. Today, however the Supreme Judge is no longer an inherited title, although saying “any man can become Supreme Judge” is stretching it a bit. Like all politics, back room deals are worth more than all the knowledge in the world.

The duty of the Supreme Judge is to ensure the law is carried out in an honest, legal, and dutiful a manner as is humanly possible. It is his role, at least nominally, to oversee every judge in every court in Alfresia. This responsibility comes with great power as the Supreme Judge can overrule any lower judge anywhere on the island.

As well as poking his nose where it may not belong, the Supreme Judge also sits in court and presides over his own cases. Only the most politically valuable cases reach him, of course. Only those that are of great public interest, or politically sensitive is seen to by the Supreme Judge.

Lastly, the Supreme Judge must sign off on every execution on the island. As can be expected, most of this is merely stamped without really looked at, as there are more than enough executions occurring across the nation, but it does put him in an interesting position. Should he so choose, he can commute the death sentence of whatever convicted criminal he desires. There is a very good reason the Supreme Judge is always a very wealthy individual.

Next week we’ll look into the Prince the one who controls all the armies in Alfresia.

Princes of Middelburg

Last week we finished delving into the families that comprise the Fresian Merchant League, that behemoth that seems to consume everything it touches. However it is not the only power in the city of Middelburg.

In the streets they call them the Six Princes of Middelburg. They aren’t actually Princes and there aren’t just Six of them, but symbolism is often more important than accuracy. The Six Princes are the six institutions which, together, control every aspect of life, not only in Middelburg, but in the entire nation of Alfresia. From the legislative to the judicial, the economical to the military, and even the two dominant religions, these Six Princes rule over the nominally free nation with an iron fist.

The Fresian Merchant League is one of the Princes, with the three Patriarchs and the Matriarch of the Four Governing Families acting as its liaisons. Not all businesses and stores in Alfresia are owned by the League, not for lack of trying mind you, but none can argue against the fact that League sets the economical policies of that nation. As the saying goes: whether you like them or not, eventually everyone ends up working for the League.

Next week we’ll look into the Prince that holds the executioners blade in Alfresia.