Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Mexico

The arid territories of New Mexico are the last stop before the lands of Mexico. Between the vast cities of Southern Mexico and the kingdom of New Mexico is a wide and blistering desert where only the most daring and hardened nomads live. To the west is the even more blistering Death Valley. To the North are craggy Rocky Mountains. Because of this, New Mexico usually only has to death with the nomads of Texas.

Much activity happens on the Rio Grande, New Mexico's best access to the sea. It was very early on the state was able to reclaim most of the rest of the river, as western Texas is largely unpopulated. The early New Mexico Governor sought this pivotal crossroads of the continent, and for fifteen years battled with the herdsmen for control. After they claimed it, the great river was essentially theirs.

The other major irrigated river is the Gila, extending into the former Arizona. Because it's not as much as a trading crux, the communities are much smaller, and mostly sustience communities and mines. Many of the farmers are descended from American Indians who had access to the larger parts of the Gila, and were able to sustain agricultural communities while the cities on the Salt River withered away. Though the Gila residents live under an iron rule as all desert societies do, the disconnect from the Rio Grande, and the lack of perceived importants, allow the peasants to enjoy their own culture.

While all the desert nations enjoy herdsmen as vassals, New Mexico is the only one where half the population of shepherds. While the New Mexican tribes are not particularly feared, they are generally free to do what they wish, they are protected from molestation from enemy tribes.

  • System of Government: Hydraulic Empire
    • Head of State: President, elected by and from the elders of the ruling Nervaiz family.
  • Population: 900,000
  • Religion: New Age
    • Totemic symbol: Winged Sun
  • Map


The most Northern power in Medieival America is Quebec. starting at the end of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, although it's never been a part of the United States, the fractured feudal states means that it could never quite sit out on politics. The rest of America will tell stories of stories of axe-wielding Barbarians. Although darker times have made the nation fearsome, it's also a rich warrior culture. It has also in recent times become wealthy due to the fur trade, and deposits of gold.

The Quebecois French has largely been kept intact. This comes from a relatively small and consolidated populace along the St. Lawrence. The language has always been a distinctive part when it was a province of greater Canada, and in the medieval age, the Quebecois look at it something that marks themselves as a race. Therefore, any major breaks from the tongue have been considered as good as heresy. A french language makes up the court, as well as the Catholic Church. The Non-Denominational Church was looked at as an American, Anglo institution, and was thus never embraced in these parts. In fact, the Quebecois are the only sizable population not to practice Non-Denomination east of the Mississippi.

Because the land itself is so cold, and because their uniqueness has given it a sense of superiority, Quebec has long waged expansionist wars on the continent. New England has largely had little to fear from the kingdom. The rugged terrain of the Appalachians, particularly the Green and White mountains, have kept Quebec's knights at bay. Therefore, most attacks have been at the westward countries. Every couple of centuries, attempts will be made to conquor New York, for its warmer and fertile fields and vineyards. Access to the Hudson River is also a benefit, as the Hudson is a pivotal gateway between east and west. Quebec will also try to absorb its Canadian neighbors, feeling the lands of Canada were always rightfully Acadian. Invasions peter out or hit a brick wall at Toronto, and even though Quebec's empire is at a vestigial point, it did have the effect of breaking up the Province of Ontario, and eastern Canada is now a spectrum between Anglo and Franco cultures.

  • System of Government: Feudalism
    • Head of State:
      • King, oldest male heir of the ruling Frechette family
  • Population: 1 million
  • Religion: Roman Catholic
    • Totemic Symbol: Fluer De Lis (Lily Flower)

Friday, May 28, 2010

District of Columbia

The District Columbia is a unique feature in Medieval America. Located between the Cascade range and the rest of the Rocky Mountains, it's the only feudal state in the continent's west. It's also the only feudal state state which isn't Christian in denomination. There are no large cities in Columbia, but rather a group of estates and fortresses. The Columbian warlords hold a tight grip on the peasants, as there's on-stop war on every side.

The rivalry of the Pacific Northwest city-states were coming to fierce and bloody heads. The Buddhist priests convened, and in an attempt to create solidarity, declared Holy War on the Empire of Deseret, who's heathen kings had raped the land and showed no respect for the Earth. It was every Cascadian's duty to vanquish the Mormons. The elites would finance these wars, and once Deseret fell, people began setting up colonies. These fiefdoms were at times, a strange mishmash of cultures. They would include Lords with out of town estates, warrior-monks with their own garrisons, and even a few herdsmen who were converted to Buddhism and set up settled communities. Columbia was seen as the future of the continent. The Cascadia way of life and faith would expand further.

However, a hardened Deseret regained control of Snake River. Their hopes of establishing a new world order were vanquished, and Pacific Republics abandoned this new project and went right back to squabbling with one another. While its size was drastically reduced, the warlord estates which had been there for generations remained. Loyalties and chaos would likely have seen the new nation collapse, however the armies of warlord Aiden Lang were able to unify the populace into a single state.

Columbia's relationship with its coastal neighbors to the west is tense and complicated. On one hand, the merchant-cities see the District as a bunch of country bumpkins with swords. On the other, it makes a good buffer against the Mormons. For its part, the District of Columbia seas the the cities of Cascadia as a neglectful parent which needs new blood.

  • System of Government: Feudalism
    • Head of State:
      • Chief-Lord, chosen by and from the warriors of the ruling Lang family
  • Population: 700,000
  • Religion: Buddhist
    • Totemic Symbol: Eco Ying Yang
  • Map


As the United States dominates the Eastern Seaboard, Louisiana is primarily the Maritime power of the Gulf Coast. It is a largely a collection of Creole merchants who set up ports on the edges of the southern bayous. The cities and towns are essentially marinas and flea markets, and largely informal. Not to the nomadic extent of the western herdsmen, but it's common to see open-air markets and ships rendered as sumptuously as houses. The main hub is the city of New Orleans, a sprawling city of canals that is the home to seats of government, important religeous figures, and a vast necropolis to bury the dead.

The city of New Orleans is one of the most important places in America, as it not only serves as the gateway between North and South America, but the Mississippi River is the primary access from inland America to the warmer seas. There used to be a few wars fought to control the city, especially to wrest it from the Voodoo practitioners who ran it, but the Midwest demanded that a peace be kept on the city, because sieges on the river and the city would mean a lapse in trade which could make the upper classes feel like petty country barons at best, and decimate the populations at worst.

Louisiana is also the primary trading partner with Texas. Texas has the port of Houston where it can trade things like leather-work, as they have very little interest in engaging with sea travel. Louisiana also makes a good intermediary buyer. The ruling Anderson family is not on good terms with its eastern neighbor, the Red River Territory. Although Texans and Louisianans are of mutually different faiths, the latter don't much care about that sort of thing, and don't really have anything the cowboys wants. Therefore, the mariners distribute the Texans' goods with the non-denominational world, and in turn bring sundry items to the Texans. All for a tidy profit, of course.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New England

New England is a fractured collection of City-States in the most Northeast of America. Denizens of New England consider themselves the spiritual and intellectual heart of the continent. Six Non-Denominal supervisors have jurisdiction here, making New Englanders some of the most prominent and heard voices in church matters. The new Englanders will also hold conferences the supervisors of the Maritimes. The denizens also tend to be a lot more learned, due to the high proportion of Church schools to population. With the shorter growing season, children have more time to occupy themselves, and schooling at the churches is a good way to keep busy. New England's universities are attended by nobles from all over the east, and such universities are centers of learning and culture.

The universities and church districts may sometimes serve as municipal hubs. Warlords have taken very little interest in the areas, which leaves the communities to run themselves. Most of the towns and villages in New England operate rather autonomously. Communities administer their laws through the local Town Halls, with councils generally voted upon by the citizens. The most direct democracy in Medieval America, although in practice guild leaders easily run these councils. The Non-Dominational district supervisors will often run the towns to extent. People are assigned to secular duties, but the Churchmen's counsel carries a special weight in legal matters.


However Massachusetts, the largest and most populous of the New England states, runs a bit differently. They have a General Court and Towns Halls, but they operate as an oligarchic republic, much like the United States. Providence and Boston are ideal trading ports, and thus made way for a wealthy merchant class. With this wealth and array of ships, Massachusetts began to operate like a decadent bully, and acted like it ran the entirety of New England, and even the Maritimes. Because of this, the smaller New England states allowed the US to establish bases along their coast. It has since been a struggle between Massachusetts and US, with a tug of war on claims to Boston and Providence. Right now, Massachusetts' hope is getting the rest of New England behind them after the US has essentially dominated New England's coast.

  • System of Government: Republic
  • Head of State:
    • Massachusetts: Governor, elected in terms by houses of the General Court
  • Population: 2 Million
    • Massachusetts: 600,000

Friday, May 21, 2010


So how big are the cities in White's World? What are the most prominent?

New York and Los Angeles are the primary cities of the current U.S., and the second largest are Chicago and Houston. (Occupying the "other" two coasts) All four cities seem to see a downgrade in Medeival America. This is largely because these cities have benefitted from interconinetal trade, whereas the oceans feel a lot more vaster in the Medeival world, and trade has to be conducted closer to home. America, in particular, can't be a clone of Europe most of the time because there's simply no great counterparts to the Meditarrnean. All inland seas are in places that are too cold too dry, or too swampy. Therefore, the biggest cities are located on rivers.

So what are the absolute most major cities? The most populated? Maps indicate they would be Cincinatti, Portland and New Orleans. The next tier appears to be Buffalo, Sacremento, Philadelphia, and possibly Houston and Augusta. Interestingly, the latter two cities are not considred trading hubs, while the smaller Salt Lake City is. New Orleans itself may be the most populated city in America--it's certainly the gateway between the Mississippi River and the open ocean.

I'm also curious as to what District Capitals and "Major Fortresses" look like. These are towns which may or may not have large populations, but it seems they have a degree of importance despite size or trade convenience. In reasonable-sized cities like Nashville and Boston, there's probably a good deal of prestige combined with political power. Towns like Lexington and Dover may be glorified abbeys.

We may see less "special" cities out in the west. The "special" communities are very likely the nomadic villages, or cities with the strange monuments that are hallmarks of the Hydraulic Empires. However, there are settled communities in Arizona, but no named cities. I would frankly like to know what they look like.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

American Bestiary

As I mentioned before, it looked like one of things White wanted to do was a catalogue of monsters unique to Americana. He seemed to mostly draw from folklore and cryptozoology. The task can be pretty challenging for the same reason it had to be done--most United States culture post-dates a common belief in the supernatural. I theorize that, as a largely European-based culture, there's probably a lot of European creatures like dragons, elves and goblins. However, the point here is to explore the quintessentially American ones.

On the original map, White only has five; The Mothman, Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, some kind of representation of Aliens, and the Jackelope. The Jackelope has already been featured on the Herdsmen page. Bigfoot would be on the Pacific Northwest one, (Maybe the district of Columbia in particular) the Jersey Devil in New Jersey (natch--maybe the motivator in making it its own nation), the little Roswell fellow would probably be on the New Mexico page. The Mothman could be part of the Piedmont page, but it's not out of the question for it to be in Ohio. Somewhere in the Appalachian range. Maybe even the "East Heresy" or "Tennessy" page.

For me, five was too few though, and I added four more of the Jack O'Lanterns. I could have added many more, but that might have crowded up the feudal core a little too much. I wanted to spread it out a bit. But two monsters that have existed in folklore are the Squonk and the Goatman. The Squonk is said be an ugly, warty creature that sheds tears when captured, dissolving itself in self-pity and shame. The Goatman is an Satyr-like creature that attacks dogs and parked cars. Similar creatures are also said to inhabit Colorado and Kentucky. However, I wouldn't know where to put it. Not only does the Mid-Atlantic have its own beast, but Maryland, as an entity, no longer exist. Plus, less cars for it to attack.

Near the great lakes, one could talk about the hodag, another denizen of lumberjack myth, like the jackelope. A strange cross between a dragon and a rhino, they are said to inhabit Wisconsin and Minnesota. Legend has it, their legs cannot bend, so they sleep leaning against trees. Chopping down its sleeping tree will make it an easy capture.

Upper Quebec would be a great place to talk about the Wendigo, the most well-known of Native American monsters. Obviously, not a lot of American Indian myths would be subject to this kind of thing, (Their folklore is heavily guarded and taken very seriously) but the Wendigo has nontheless been a very frequent opponent in popular culture, throughout films, novels and comic books. It would also add a bit of spice to the Quebec page.

The next two, I'm not dead-set certain on. I have an icon placed on the gulf coast, because the gulf has always been treated as a ripe place setting for the supernatural. New Orealns itself is too "tame" for a mythical beast, but something may be out there in the bayous. Perhaps the best choice would be the "Loupgarou"--Louisiana's answer to the werewolf. Florida also has reports of a bigfoot type creature, the "Skunk Ape". Alabama is also home to the "Wampus Cat", a felinoid shape-shifter. In any case, these, or a combination thereof, could be great monsters.

And finally I have an icon for Death Valley. As you can see, there should be a pattern of "Here be monsters" in rather remote locales. The first one that comes to mind is the Chupacabra, the most famous modern monster in Latin America. However, between the Jackelope's page, and the possibility for the "Roswell" monster, it might be a little redundant. However, upper Mexico has many possibilities, like the weeping La Llarona, and the fiery El Zobro.