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Victra

Victra flag
Victra flag

Capital: Victra
Languages: Common
Demonym: Victran
Government: Timocracy / Competitive Aristocracy
Ruler: Lord Rit at the top, House Lords below
Example Names: Giles Sandeford, Bron Rudd, Edmund Camshron, Swain Morten
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Formation: The first stirrings of the Victran culture can be traced back nearly a millennia to a group of kingdoms birthed by Selenian outcasts and exiles. These kingdoms were blessed with bountiful agricultural resources and cursed by constant warfare. The rise of the distinctly Victran culture occurred much more recently when the precursor King Balar Victra uncovered the Arsenal Vault where the present day city of Victra is located, gaining possession of the exceedingly rare Canna technology. King Victra used his newfound technological superiority to demand fealty from all others and set about establishing a dominion based on his discoveries and personal philosophy.

Advanced Callings
Longshot: Specialist soldiers who train in the use of Longarms. Often mounted. Considered prestigious figures within Victra and terminal threats outside.

Summary
Victra is an aggressive and increasingly ambitious timocracy where material wealth is considered the highest good. The culture is led by the Lord Rit, Durant Chambers Victra, a ruthless and manipulative figure with grand ambitions. Victran society is heavily class based with the majority of power held by the aristocracy by dint of both wealth and possession of remnant first age firearms called Canna or Thunderers. The Victra were formerly enemies of the Tollam, but the two factions have found common ground against Ossandrian aggression, reducing but not eliminating skirmishes between the two. Victran expansion has traditionally been limited by vicious internal competition between various noble houses and a hyper-competitive social order. The symbol of Victra is the Urvogel, a unique repto-avian creature found across the south of Aeldos

Description
Victran territory extends across much of the southern landmass of Aeldos, spanning a region widely known as the Southern Scythe. The territory is composed of 19 major cities and dozens of smaller settlements and towns. All land and authority is vested in the nine Lords appointed by the Lord Rit. Each Lord is given free reign over their territory at the cost of fealty and tribute to the Lord Rit. Ambition is highly valued, but also carefully moderated by the Lord Rit and acts of rebellion against or disobedience to the Lord Rit are punished severely by the elite Victran Guard. As a result most intrigue and pursuit of power occurs between the Lords.

Victra is broken up into two key regions; North and South.

  • Northern Victra is a rich land of open fields and generally tame forest. The cities here house the bulk of the Victran population and compose the heart of Victran industry and agriculture. Port cities across the north move goods between each other and north to Victran trading partners.
  • Southern Victra is composed primarily of swampy wetlands, bogs and wet forests. These more recent acquisitions are more sparsely populated and widely considered rural backwaters by the rest of Victra.

Victran Houses

Lord Cities Reputation
Victra Victra, Cannich, Golspie, Malig, Etal Ruthless and cunning
Broun Arisaig, Strathyre Arrogant and greedy
Agron Aberth, Yarmouth, Ullapool Aggressive and miltaristic
Gall Bogfeld Independent bordering on rebellious
Fearghal Stanraer, Jura, Tayport Noble minded and valourous
Shaw Coll Curious and driven by the collection of artefacts
Cromarty Cromarty Clever and strategic
Darragh Drummore, Nairn Industrious and powerful due to agricultural bounty
Hywel Etal, Maddington Ambitious and infatuated with the nautical

The Victran are one of the most technologically advanced civilizations of the fourth age. The Victran were beneficiaries of geographic luck, having inherited technologies of the first age from a cluster of vaults containing luxurious cultural items, generator tech, textile weavers, and most importantly traction engines and firearms, all artefacts of the Urul Imperium. These relics created a distinctive culture and triggered a definitive superiority complex among the Victran. In a few short generations Victra went from an unknown agrarian diaspora to an aristocratic industrial nation with imperial aspirations. Victran firepower and ambition likely would have conquered Aeldos were it not for two limitations; the Tollam bordering them in the south, and the limited number of firearms in the Arsenal Vault located beneath Victra.

Firearms are all relics and the Victrans, despite years of trying, have been unable to replicate them. This rarity has made these powerful weapons iconic features of the culture. Owning a Victran firearm is what permits a Lord to participate in the aristocracy and each house owns only a handful. For this reason, despite their potency, firearms are used cautiously in warfare and Victran gunners are almost always high-born owners of the Canna, or their trusted and elite guards. Lower class Victra use axe, sword, and shield, acting as skirmishing forces to occupy enemies.

Traction engines are another major sources of Victran power, enabling the movement of enormous loads of trade goods across the continent with relative ease. For a century now the enormous caravan engines used by the Victrans have been the envy of other nations merchants and traders and the past two decades have even seen the establishment of a railway system between Victran cities and settlements facilitating the fast movement of people and goods. The technology has also been adapted to power cargo ships, though only a handful of these exist. At the heart of this is the Obrais Trading Company who hold a near monopoly on the technology, aggressively pursuing the needed components and mercilessly sabotaging competitors. Obrais caravans crisscross the continent, traveling as far north as Svertheim, protected by companies of well-armed mercenaries. Were it not for the significant amount of Helion required for each engine the trade power of Victra would eclipse most other cultures.

The past century of Victran history is a blur of technological advancement and expansion, all enabled by discoveries of Urul vaults and aggressive attempts at exterminating dangerous southern wildlife. While these attempts have had notable success, making the heart of Victra nearly as safe as that of Ossandria, there are still vast territories of wildland and a diverse population of animal and aberrant threats. And while Brogs, Skulks, Skalrot, Babaecal, Whiptraps, and Glutor all pose significant threats to travelers and settlements, the biggest danger has always been with the Tollam living in the western mountains. For as long as Victran ambition has pushed beyond the Scythe, it has been met by the Tollam love of war. Indeed, until recently the two cultures had been in a state of constant conflict, with the Victra considering the Tollam aggressive savages and the Tollam considering the Victran sharpshooters an intriguing challenge. The recent shift in both cultures attention towards the looming threat of Ossandrian imperialism has yet to prove enduring.

Victran culture is highly stratified with a singular emphasis on wealth and property. While the myth of Victra is that anyone can become a factorum owner, trader, or aristocrat with hard work and entrepreneurial spirit, only those with property are granted privilege and only those descended from privilege are granted property. Philosophical and political writings from outside Victra are suppressed by Victran aristocracy. As a result Victran society is essentially split into three permanent classes; nobles, vassals, and the indentured. Nobles own the land, vassals manage it, and the indentured work it. This can mean strips of fertile farm tended to by peasant farmers or sophisticated factorum filled with assembly line drudges producing the latest goods or clockwork trinkets. And holding it all together is a lattice work of fealty contracts and indentures defining the precise value of any individual beneath the nobility. From the moment of birth onward every indentured knows exactly what they are worth in the eyes of their superiors, a cost/value equation that governs their days.

One of the most well known markers of Victran background is the unique sense of fashion found amongst the nobility. Utilizing technologies and techniques from the Urul imperium, Victran high fashion is ornate; silken coats, tall hats, patterned scarves, fine breeches, waist coats, tail coats, and long coats all crafted in darkest black or garish colours and patterns and all driven by constant competition between the nobility. Another well known fashion trend among the nobility is the wearing of powdered wigs or periwigs. These wigs started as a compensation for balding men and as a defense against the lice (more common in the region of the Southern Mire) but it has become a fashion and considerable effort is made by lords to outdo one another. Many of the house lords maintain their own wig-makers and court gossip rarely misses the topic. Only a few lords eschew the fashion. Wigs made from the hair of certain foreign cultures are highly valued; Selenian and Mujinese in particular.

Knights and the Indentured Army
Each Lord is expected to contribute to the defense of Victra, maintaining a force of combatants ready to be called upon to serve the will of the Lord Rit. Similar to their culture the Victran military is stratified into the noble knights and longshots who represent the nobility, the sturdy and armoured vassals who serve them, and a vast horde of indentured soldiers. All serve beneath the Victran Guard, the elite standing military force of the Lord Rit himself.

Outsiders and Quasi-humans
The trade focused nature of the Victran economy has driven them across the continent, exposing their caravans to almost every other culture. Stories of the lands beyond the Scythe are common, and the culture is generally friendly to visitors, seeing them as curious but not generally threatening. Many nobles consider quasi-humans such as the Tamaa and Kaeki to be welcome, recruiting them into roles in the social games played between houses and using them as status symbols. Tollam are less welcome, owing to a long history of conflict between the two cultures that has only recently begun to change. Few Victra have any notion of the existence of the Oneiri or Bellatori while Heliar are considered no different from other Artilects; animate property.

In Victra there are two stories told of the Bellatori; first amongst the high houses as monstrous creatures lurking in the wild; a species of remorseless hunters with a taste for human blood. Shadows with sharp edges that descend from the trees and carry proud warriors to their doom. The second set of stories, more often found among the working class as a race of guardians set by the Ayr to protect humanity, but fallen to the chaos of the calamity. They say that the Bellatori could best even the Tollam, the great threat of the West. Legends speak of their cunning and stealth in contrast to the brute power of the Tollam, and of their valour and honour in the face of impossible odds.

In Victra the stories of the Oneiri are less clear; mostly childrens tales about ‘dreamsmiths’. Most tales paint them as tricksters who bring enlightenment through vivid dreams. They’re not really portrayed as real people, more like phantasms that visit in the night.

Victran Charm
While obviously not universal many Victrans are uniquely gifted in the arts of conversation. The effect of a strict class structure has instilled in many a combination of social agility, keen wits, and emphasis on manners which serves them well. Paired with often lyrical regional accents, Victrans are well liked even beyond the Scythe.

Trade
The Victran obsession with trade is well known with many cultures considering them a Merchant Empire. Their goods can be found across Aeldos and the products of other cultures are found throughout Victra. Trade is well diversified with the Lords and their servants having considerable skill obtaining access to the goods and commodities of other cultures. Victran traders peddle everything from spices to crossbows to toys and books and they always seem to know where each item fetches the best price.

Pets
Victran have a particular affection for the keeping of tame and wild animals.

  • In northern Victra Urvogel or reptile birds are tamed in honour of King Victra who believed them the most noble of pets.
  • In southern Victra Foxbats are kept and survive off the innumerable insects that dwell in the mire. In return they are sensitive to the signs of Brog and other swampland threat and are also good at finding rich fruit groves.

Music
Most Victran nobility prefers the refined sounds of orchestral or ensemble music, formally played by notable artists in high class settings, and often on singular instruments, crafted with such skill and beauty that they bear their own names. Orchestral theaters and grand shows are common and it is a sign of considerable status to host one. But for some of the “Outsider Nobles” from the west and south of the Dominion the preference is for “Construct Music”. This is music derived from cleverly designed instruments rather than human play. Barrel organs, fiddles, harps, pianos, Orchestrions and other devices which use music recorded on metal rolls or paper. The tangible nature of such music has led some of these nobles to amass collections of music, paying handsomely for sole ownership rights and punishing those who infringe upon them.
The Victran lower classes meet somewhere in the middle, listening to a mixture of manually played music on complex instruments or lesser versions of the automated music enjoyed by the southern nobility.

Victran Firearms Etiquette

  • One must keep two hands on a longarm at all times. They are durable items but it does not do to roughly handle a priceless artifact and tool of death.
  • Pointing the barrel at someone is an overt threat and challenge, even casually, and can result in a duel between individuals of equal class or summary execution when there is a class difference.
  • Breathing is key. Victran breathing techniques for accuracy involve firing on the exhale or firing between breaths.
  • Theft of a firearm is considered a capital offense, punishable in Victra by drawing and quartering
  • Gifting a firearm is seen as a great honour, and indicates that you are asking someone to act as guardian to your family. This is common amongst aristocrats who are disinterested in the rigors and dangers of warfare but who are required to field their canna in the interest of Victra.

Gear
Most Victran soldiers are armed with padded, scale or brigandine mail, polearms and shields. Swords and bows are also common amongst general troops, Blades tend to be double edged. Equipment of the upper class is always adorned with house symbols and embellishments intended to demonstrate wealth and power. Canna wielders are always well guarded, and the Canna themselves always have a name and a story behind them; frequently as rewards of the Lord Rit or family heirlooms.

Victran Values: Prestige, industry, and competition – the importance of struggle and aversion to cooperation and collaboration are fundamental to Victran identity. The importance of reputation and perceived ability outweigh all else.

Victran Terms:
Zek: An insult used by mid and upper class Victrans to refer to poor, uneducated working class people – peasants, drudges, factory workers, and non-nobles. Zeks or Zeka. Embraced by some counter-cultural groups within Victra as a badge of honour.

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