Monday, September 28, 2009


America is much larger, and much more inland than Western Europe, so horses are even more valuable in the American Middle Ages than the European Ages. Horses are expensive to keep, but they are worth their weight, and the value of horses has resulted in intensive breeding for the animal, especially in places like Kentucky and Texas. In fact, many are quite specialized for speed, luggage capacity, and of course, warfare.


Heavy cavalry is the most commonly used tactic in the forest zone of the east, where the regions are vast and not very centralized, and rule is enforced by a ruling warrior class. Horses must be big and strong to withstand battle and the weight of their armored riders, so the midwest is able support horses with the surplus of hearty grains, and the south is able to use the longer growing season and diverse crops to their favor. The Ohio River valley has access to crops, metalworking, and generations of horse breeding that has allowed Ohio to become the most powerful feudal realm on the continent.

For the most part, eastern knights prefer the sun-blocking morions on helms, and the lither saber as for sword-fighting. The more mineral-wealthy north has heavier armor than the south, which may supplement their mail with and arms with leather and wood.


"Templar" is a catch-all term for the heavy cavalry utilized by the Hydraulic Empires of Deseret and California, who's soldiers are theoretically supposed to be untitled and tied to the state, and usually wage war on behalf of their faith. The consolidated wealth has access to the weaponry and horses required to be a knight, but anyone who wishes to be a Templar has to be tested and buy their way in. (This keeps the armies pressed and focused.) In theory, Templars are supposed to be celibate (And Easterners spread rumors of homosexuality), but somebody is keeping the brothels of the deserts open.

In times of peace, warlords will keep their skills sharpened with tournaments held in most major cities. Jousting is the largely the most popular, although melee will take a variety of forms.  In the more Northern regions, there's more of an emphasis on padding up and jumping straight in. Tournament fighting in the South is more about speed, since heavy armors can be uncomfortable in the hotter climate. It's for this reason the Southern nations will hold most of their major tournaments after the harvest season is over, in December and January. Although most of the competing knights are from below the Mason Dixon, everyone from Non-Denominational world is invited. Well-off knights from the north will gladly take a leave from their snow-ridden homes to test their skill in January's Super Bowl Tournament. (The at the behest of the Church, nobody performs on Sunday) The event is not only a big deal for competitors, but for merchants who can sample consumers from all over the continent. The tournament will even present theatrical shows starring characters like Shrek, Snoopy, or Spiderman. The Delmarva Peninsula is home to some of the United States of America's mounted warriors, and they participate. Along the western frontiers, however, herdsmen abhor the pageantry and wastefulness of knights. Their answer to the tournament is the Rodeo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barbarian Tribes

When the industrial age ended, some places took it better than others. Some stripped down major cities and built societies based on trade routes. Some claimed rich farmland and garrisoned it. However, some regions were just out of reach of the more powerful nations. There are cities in America that only exist due to transit for trains, automobiles and airplanes. Once these highly industrialized means of transport dissipated, way of life in the sparser regions of the map was changed drastically. Towns full of closely-knit families were cut off from the rest of the world, and these rural communities ultimately had to adapt. Because the land could not readily provide them what they needed, nor were they connected to any trade routes, the people here eventually phased out of a material life, and many outright gave up a stationary one.

The center of the continent is too cold, or arid, or both to yield vast populations and more complex societies. Those that survived were people who could handle whittling life down to the bare essentials--food, shelter, and clothing. (And very basic clothing that could cover one in the cold) These conditions resulted in a hardier people, who had to be able fight nature on its own terms. Caste systems were largely unimportant, because there was very little wealth one could acquire. There are no noble families here.

The leadership of the tribe usually depends on if it's in a period of war or spirituality. Elders usually interpret and guide the faith of the tribe, and most political decisions are made with the sanction of these elders. However, a lot of the meat and potatoes of decision making will go to a chief. He will coordinate raids on villages, wars with rival clans, and where to head when greener pastures await. In theory, the chief will be the son of a previous chief, however since the entire adult male population usually makes up the army, and there is no class system, leadership is contested fairly often. Grooming one to be head of the tribe is not significantly different from the way others are brought up. All tribe members usually fight the same way, nor is there there an administration one needs to be educated to run. Thus, an ambitious warrior can stage a coup, or an incompetent chief can be overthrown, with little to no difference in how things were run before.

However, some chiefs quite like the idea of having their lines head the tribe for generations to come, and aspire to have dynasties like those in the west. Their sons will be educated in history, sciences, and more sophisticated means of warfare. This has certainly helped tribal leaders become more central authority figures, but elders bemoan the corruption of civilization is slowly eating away at their way of life. The Canadian Kingdom, Greater Texas and Iowa Territory are made up of lands that are slowly evolving from Tribalism to Feudalism, in large part because of tutored scions wishing to emulate the monarchs. Much like the Gauls, Vikings and Mongols before them, eventually the old ways give way to the new.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mercantile Republics

The United States was a republic. Its very breath spread republicanism across the globe, and ushered in a new era for civilization. However, when technology relapsed, so did society, and America is now a continent of barbarian tribes and feudal overlords. Still, there few polities here and there that abide by rule of law, but still much more oligarchical than their 20th century counterparts.


Republics tends to spring from city states, usually found on peninsulas, or sandwiches between rocky mountains. Historically this has included Italy, North Africa, and even the Swiss Alps. In America, these would be the Northeast and Northwest. These allow a certain natural defense from outside conquerors, at least for a little while, and teach these relatively small populations the art of self-reliance. The narrow amounts of land limit the manorial system, and the lack of natural resources incentivize a more craft-making economy. As a result, merchants and guilds run the show, as opposed to  landowners.


The Northeast's clinging to its Republican past isn't necessarily one out of idealism, but inertia. As a political institution, the United States was a republic, and it stays that way, if only because the members Senate and House of Representatives were not about to relinquish their power. New Englanders were also used to a more pluralistic government, with individual townships and their own town councils governing, as opposed to counties which, by their nature, more easily reverted feudalism. That New England communities were some of the earliest meant that municipal structures were more built to human scale, and so an ambitious warlord was less likely to come and take advantage of the chaos.

The Church

The concentrated presence of the Non-Denominational Church throughout the Northeast has also kept warlords from carving at their own slices. The Church was built upon republican ideals, and besides, they don't care for warriors coming and making messes in their backyards. The inordinate amount of Churchmen also means an inordinate amount of literacy, and the learned are much more likely to demand representation, limited as it may be.


The valley between the Cascade mountains is much more fertile than the Northwest, and could make for a very robust manorial system. But it is relatively narrow, and the residents of the once Oregon territory come from a strong tradition of hippie idealism and silicon valley-style entrepreneurialism.  This of course, has led to a warring clash of city states. But in general, they try to avoid feudal west of the mountains. The skillfully belligerent are sometimes granted land along the Columbia River, sort of to be "kicked upstairs" to a buffer state.

Feudal States

As civilization fell into ruin, some were better defended than others. In the deserts, safely isolated governors were able to establish control of the population. On the coasts, a few established city states were able to take advantage of trade routes, and buy themselves out of any trouble. However, in much of the interior of the country, people were lost, confused, and very willing to fight among themselves. Not to mention the constant threats from Barbarians that stalked the frontiers. Only the strong had a chance in this world, and the weak clung to them.

Feudal States were forged out of these fires. Peasants till the fields for the Warlords, who in turn, protect the--even if that often means protection from them. The wide open spaces of the Midwest and Deep South, with fertile fields and longer growing seasons (If not both) were easily able to establish agrarian communities. Much of these kingdoms are therefore located in the Feudal Core, the Heartland of America. However, just outside the core are other very fertile territories like New York and New Jersey, which are smaller but still operate under the same agrarian fiefdom system. The distance between communities in America's interior also plays a big part. Warlords pretty much have carte blanche to run things as they see fit, and the only way to get rid of one if for another warlord to take him out and conquer his territory.

This is where the nature of Feudalism really comes into play. Maintaining swaths of land can be a full time job, so we begin to see delegation. Once a nation or lineage is established, the head of state will allot various counties to allies and vassals, who, depending on the size of the territory, further divide up land among his vassals. These men are generally allowed to do as they wish, just as long as they swear loyalty above. Most Warlords usually possess estates surrounded by villages, as well as a church. Pyramid mounds of earth are built to place the castle on top of. On the frontiers of civilization, especially large fortresses like Rock Island and Macon exist.

This system pretty much allows for little central government, as allies can become enemies, vassals can become usurpers, and devastating wars can be declared at the drop of a hat. As a result, the many different cultures of the feudal zone is constantly in flux. Borders change constantly, and dialects evolve into different languages. The only thing keeping the Feudal Core cohesive in any way is the American Non-Denominational Church. Much of the continuity of the East is found in the Church's documentation, interpretation, and communication between districts.

Though the relationship isn't always perfect, (On account of the Warlords' habit of slaughtering each other and making attempts at unity hard) the Kingdoms and the Church can often have a symbiotic relationship. The Church provides the warlords with bridges, hospitals, and the rather tedious things in life they can't or don't want to bother with. And in turn, the Warlords serve as protectors of the faith on the frontiers. The worry is constantly on the Barbarians that surround the Heartland, and as a result, we've seen the cultures bleed a little into each other. Thus, we see somewhat similar Feudal structures for Voodoo Louisiana, New Israelite Texas, and Catholic Quebec.

As America was built on a rejection of monarchies, feudal lords tend not to have European titles like "King" and "Duke", but "President" "Colonel" and "Governor". It was with these distinctions of American nobility, feudal lords were pretty much able to get away with acting like medieval rulers from pretty much any other country.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pacific Northwest

Much of the west pretty much doesn't bother with the rest of the continenet and pursues their own agendas. This is especially true in the Northwest of America. Tucked in between the Cascadian Mountains and the Pacific Oceans are a group of rival and independent city states like Seattle, Portland and Vancouver. Because most of the citizens are connected to coast or river, the climate is extremely mild, and the resources are bountiful, no particular community can assert dominance.

Like is counterpart, the United States of America, the Northwest city states are a very maritime and a trade-based culture. They're situated very well between mineral rich mountains and timber-heavy forests, and are a very convenient stop between the tundras of Alaska and the deserts of California. The major difference being that Cascadia is not a united empire. Cascadia also nothing to do with the Non-Denominational Church, its citizens are Buddhists.

Because the culture revolves around a harmonious balance with nature, some of the outlying villages and hamlets may build around the very tall trees that make up the temperate rainforests. Farms and a few other places are still located on the ground, but it's strategically advantageous to garrison troops on the the ground, and very few people have to worry about flooding caused by the area's constant rain.

In the region's prosperity and wealth though, the Northwesterners have become ambitious, and sought out to expand. The merchants will support this for the opportunity of trading rights, and to keep the more belligerent war-mongers out of their hair. The most successful attempt at expanding has been along the Columbia river, forging the new kingdom, the District of Columbia.