Finishline. Or close to it. After going over the basics of the setting, and after a detailed look at creatures and religions, it’s high time to give some more background information on the different countries, the names of which have already popped up here and there.
In the vein of classic “continental” fantasy, Nydele boasts some countries whose differences may seem overly pronounced, considering their geographic closeness .
You can read part 1 of the Nydele serie of articles here. Part 2 can be found here.
Still, I tried to placate the Suspension of Disbelief, and place neighboring countries in such a way that having their cultures side by side does not appear too outlandish
Popular non-pseudo-European cultures like desert dwellers or vaguely Asian countries are absent from Nydele in any event. This is a (western) European setting at heart, and nothing else.
Speaking of which: My experience with the descriptions of fantasy nations for most settings is, that there tends to be a lot of hot air and precious little substance. In the end, the texts boil down to little more than “these guys are something like Russians”, but need three long paragraphs (or, heaven forbid, pages) to tell us this. Completely unnecessary if you ask me, and so I’ve decided to go another route with Nydele and compact the descriptions into bullet points for the specifics.
While most of these should be pretty self explanatory and others – like the religions – already have been described in previous articles, the item “archetype” perhaps needs some explanation: This is meant to convey two things mostly. First, how the language and names are meant to sound, and more importantly second, what the average denizen should look like. Of course, that is only a very rough guide, and the countries are meant to be unique places in their own right, not straight up carbon copies of some historical European nations, but it should give you an idea of the gist of things.
Government: Feuding warlords
Demographics: Dwarves 45 %; humans 40 %; giants 10%; others 5%
Religion: Candolian ancestor cult
Government: Split into 10 diotreo (~dioceses), each of which is headed by a lestrado (~bishop). These compete for votes in a common council, which are determined based on the amount of taxes collected every 3 years.
Demographics: Humans 60%; dwarves 25%; gnomes 5%; others 5%
Religion: Church of the Gathalician earth goddess Thalicia
Government: Decadent nobility at court compete for the favor of an absolute monarch
Demographics: Menschen 45 %; Zwerge 35%; Elfen 15%; Andere 5%
Religion: Jevonian faith focusing on the Escaves
Government: Feudal monarchy with a widely spread merchant clan ruling in all but name with economic and military might
Demographics: Humans 40%, dwarves 40%; elves 10%; others 10%
Religion: Jevonian faith
Government: Feudal nobility in exile in Elouse after coup. Ecentric and tyrannic (but disinterested in the day to day running of things) former army general as the new ruler.
Demographics: Humans 40%; dwarves 35%; mermaids/gids 10%; gnomes 10%; others 5%
Religion: Jevonian faith focusing on the father of gods
Government: Magician-only bureaucracy with Confucian overtures (meaning any magically gifted person is able to enter and advance based on tests). Led by the diarchs, determined by lottery among the bureaucrats for a term of 10 years.
Demographics: Dwarves 40%; humans 30%; mermaids/gids 15%; others 5%
Religion: Jevonian faith | Nirbruckian Furasty
Government: Nearly a hundred autonomous duchies and three electorates near the monoliths under a king, who is elected for life but does not hold any power in times of peace
Demographics: Humans 60%; dwarves 25%; elves 5%; others 10%
Religion: Furasty | Nirbruckian Furasty
Government: Enlightened absolutism with a line of magical human kings
Demographics: Dwarves 40%; humans 25%; mermaids/gids 15%; elves 15%; others 5%
Religion: Mindalian godkings. Does not play an important part in people’s everyday lifes.
Government: Absolute, slightly tyrannic monarchy with frequent violent overthrows
Demographics: Giants 50%; dwarves 20%; humans 10%; gnomes 15%; others 5%
Government: Matriarchical aristrocracy
Demographics: humans 45%; elves 25%; mermaids/gids 10%, dwarves 10%; others 5%
And that’s all of them.
I know these descriptions are very short, especially if you are used to the wordiness of games such as the German mainstream evergreen DSA. I firmly believe, though, that such a skeleton approach is really everything one needs to actually run a game set within a country. Even if you don’t agree with me on that, the outlines should still provide a good starting point for adding more stuff yourselves (building it from scratch or just copying it from some other source).