The Kingdom of Tolgatha is a human kingdom, ruled by the Patriarch-King Desmond Vectus XVII. It is located in relative isolation in the Northwest of Norlanin. While other races can be found there, only humans are considered citizens. As such other races must tread lightly when on Tolgathan soil. Tolgathans themselves are a hardy breed, but have become stoic and rigid after years of weathering not only their stormy coastline but also living so close to the Darklands, the supposed homeland of the green skinned races. They have little room for pleasantries and their disposition is dark and surly. They are governed by a Theocracy and their society is caste driven, something that is not questioned but simply accepted as fact. One can never rise or fall from their station in life. At the top is the religious caste, followed by the warrior caste, the magi caste, the merchant caste, and lastly the servant caste. Non-humans are regarded to be without caste and are foreigners regardless of how long they may have lived there. Tolgathan life is viewed with disdain and misunderstanding by many outsiders but it is this way of life that has protected the rest of Norlanin from being overrun by the green skin hordes to the west.
- Nation States
- The Tolgathan Caste System
Tolgatha is made up of eight nation states, four of which are referred to as the Hegemonic states, who dominate the political and social landscape of the nation.
In modern times, of the four Hegemonic States, Tolvarad holds the most influence, and is home of the Tolgathan capital city of Carvalen, the current seat of power for the Patriarch-King. Carvalen is also a center of power for the Magi Caste, who gather at the Great College of Wizardry in Carvalen.
Skvarlin holds considerable power as well, having once been the original home of the Tolgathan throne in the times before the Greenskin invasion of the infamous Orc Warlord Dulgarr the Breaker (see Broken Shield Pass for more details). When the throne was relocated further to the east to Carvalen, in order to protect the King from Dulgarr’s armies, the influence of Skvarlin waned to some degree but it remains one of the major powers within Togatha, and the Skvarlin state capital of Calphos is sometimes still referred to as the Old Seat.
Eastmach holds considerable wealth and power as well due to its proximity to the ancient Dwarven Kingdom of Angveldt. Eastmach has long prospered from trade not only with the Dwarves, but in more recent times also with the establishment of Volanthia, the City of Mages, on it’s borders.
Least of the four Hegemonic States, yet still eclipsing the power of the lesser states, is Baerskund. It is said that were it not for the ferocious Berserkers of Baerskund, who stalked the the eastern bank of the River Drakentaer during the invasions of Warlord Dulgarr, all of Tolgatha may have fallen.
Outside of the four Hegemonic states, the four lesser states are left to squabble over the scraps and often are looked down upon by the Hegemonic States. Yet Tolgatha would not be what it is without them.
Wild and war torn Breccaccia has always born the brunt of every land invasion from the Greenskin hordes over the Darkwall Mountains, yet they remain fiercely proud of their heritage and are among the hardiest folk in all of Norlanin.
Likewise, Westreik has long lived in the Shadow of the Darkwall mountains and has served as the first line of defence against the frequent seaborne predations of Greenskins raiders.
Drakenlund is a vast Northern state whose lands are dominated by the East Drakenzi forest, a dark and foreboding place that clings feebly to the light of civilization. But Drakenlund is rich in natural resources, making it an important though often overlooked state whose name bears witness of the Dragons who are said to call it home.
Ocelund serves as the heart of the Tolgathan navy, home to it’s shipyards and training grounds, as well as the largest foreign port in Tolgatha, Ocelia. This also marks it as one of the most influenced by foreign culture, tarnishing it’s good name in the eyes of the Tolgathan elite and preventing it from ever recognizing status as a Hegemonic State.
Volanthia, the City of Mages, is technically a ninth Vassal State of Tolgatha, however in actual practice it governs itself with level of autonomy that the other States envy . Volanthia owes fealty to the Patriarch-King and is required to committed its significant resources to prosperity and defense of Tolgatha from any threat, but is otherwise largely left to its own devices.
The Tolgathan Caste System
Human characters from the Kingdom of Tolgatha must also adhere to the rigid caste system of their homeland. Human characters of Tolgathan lineage are grouped into one of five Castes, based on the class that they choose.
Any Faith class must belong to the Religious Caste, however only the following faith classes are permitted in Tolgathan society, listed relative to their rank within the Religious Caste:
The governing body of Tolgatha, less of an order than a political organization, though their hierarchy remains similar. As a group they are referred to as the Theocratic Assembly, with the Patriarch-King as their head. Theire power and influence in Tolgatha is without rival.
The zealots are the secret police of the Tolgathan nation, unlike typical Zealots they are governed by the strict Tolgathan Order of Justice and Inquiry (TOJI).
The Clerics of Tolgatha are also governed by a strict order unlike elsewhere in Norlanin, called the Tolgathan Order of Holy Chaplains (TOHC). Because religion is such an important part of the Tolgathan way of life all units in the Tolgathan Army and Navy must be accompanied by Chaplains from the Religious caste.
In Tolgatha there is but a single Order of Paladins that may hold any title or position. Known as the Tolgathan Order of Royal Guards (TORG), these Paladins are a small but elite force that guard the palace of the Patriarch-King, who acts as the ceremonial Grand Marshal of their Order. Paladins of the TORG live only to advance to the rank of High Templar, gaining the honor of becoming the personal guard of the Patriarch-King and the royal family.
The Warrior Caste is second only to the Religious Caste in Tolgathan society. To fight for the Kingdom is considered a prestigious honor. However to be a part of the Warrior Caste requires service in the Tolgathan military in some fashion. Most Vigor, Fury, Honor, or Focus classes must belong to the Warrior Caste, however only the following classes are permitted in Tolgathan society, listed relative to their rank within the Warrior Caste:
The elite arm of the Warrior Caste, each of the Hegemonic states has their own Knightly Orders, each with its own unique focus, history, and set of laws.
Guardian, Martial Artist, Barbarian, Berserker, Marksman, Ranger, Warrior, Pit-Fighter; these classes form the support or specialist arm of the Warrior caste, and are deployed within state troops to augment their forces, or used in roles specific to their skill sets. Each of the nation states of Tolgatha offers their own regional fighting styles to assist in the defense of Tolgatha. In Tolvarad every youth dreams of one day serving in the elite forces of the Guardian Legion, sworn to protect the Theocratic Assembly for any and all threats. Skvarlin brawlers are known far and wide as some of the best hand-to-hand combatants and Martial Artists Tolgatha has to offer. Among the vast plains and rugged foothills of Eastmach are those who live for the thrill of combat, fighting in a romanticized style of their Barbarian ancestors of old. Clad in bearskins and ever stalking the forest lands the Berserkers of Baerskund are legendary among Tolgathans and are frequently used for hit-and-run attacks. Marksman from the vast forested state of Drakenlund are used as specialized ranged support for the army. Rangers hailing from Breccacia act as scouts and rapid-response units. Citizens of Westreik are born into a life of constant conflict and many become renowned warriors that stand as champions of Tolgatha. The coastal state of Ocelund provides the elite fighting force of the Tolgathan Navy, trained for close quarters combat upon a ship deck in much the same style as a Pit-Fighter.
Soldiers form the bulk of the Warrior caste, and can easily hail from any of the eight Tolgathan states, as each state is required by law to maintain a standing force of rank-and-file troops.
The Magi caste is the smallest in size and not nearly as powerful as the Religious or Warrior Castes, however it still holds significant sway in the royal courts and state governments of Tolgatha where human wizards act as scholars and advisers to some of the most powerful men and women o f Tolgatha. Originally in Tolgathan culture any child found to be gifted in the Spiritual arts was sent to the Great College of Wizardry in Carvalen, where they would learn to use their powers in service of the others. When the exiled mages arrived from Leonen following the Mage Rebellion, the Magi class took pity on them and helped negotiate the terms for the creation of a vassal city-state now known as Volanthia, the City of Mages. Since then, many Human residents of Volanthia have been welcomed in as honorary members of the Magi Caste, increasing their numbers significantly. However, this also simultaneously began diluting the power of the Magi Caste, for many Tolgathan Wizards began to migrate from the Great College in Carvalen, choosing instead to study at the Volanthian Colleges of Wizardry. This allowed them to still serve their country but also join in the collective knowledge of all Mages of Norlanin. Their relative station within the Magi Caste is as follows:
Viewed as the “true” Magi Caste, these are the Wizards that have chosen to remain at the Great College of Wizardry in Carvalen, and includes several Wizard Lords who act as advisers to the Patriarch-King himself.
Still a member of the Magi Caste, these Wizards have chosen to study at the relatively new Volanthian Colleges of Wizardry. They are viewed as inferiors by the Carvalen Wizards, though in many respects they are more powerful through their association with the Mage Colleges of Volanthia.
Mage & Battlemage
Human Mages and Battlemages living in Volanthia are extended an honorary position within the Magi Caste, affording them much the same respect as the rest of the Magi Caste. However, without the strict training and solemn oaths of service of the Tolgathan Wizard Orders, they are ultimately deemed to be self serving individuals that cannot be trusted with positions of power within state governments.
Merchant & Servant Caste
The Merchant class is the back bone of the Tolgathan economy, encompassing a wide array of Tolgathan citizens. From rich textile traders to the lowly thatcher and everything in between, it has its own internal hierarchy based on the relative wealth of the merchant. Ultimately no matter how rich or poor they become, a Merchant will always remain firmly placed between the Magi Caste and the Servant Caste, and are afforded at least some measure of courtesy by virtue of not being the lowest caste within Tolgathan society.
If the Merchant Caste is the backbone, then the servant caste is the muscle surrounding it. For without the Servant Caste little would be accomplished in Tolgatha. The Servant Caste is the largest of all Castes and work tirelessly to appease their masters, with no hope of ever reaching beyond their humble lot in life. However rigid this system may be, Tolgathan’s are not a cruel people and the servant caste is still relatively well cared for. Whether this is out of a sense of charity or simply to prevent an uprising if a subject of much debate in the upper castes.
Thief, Monk & Swashbuckler
While more likely to be found among the casteless, these classes can sometimes be found hiding among the ranks of the merchant and servant castes. None of the other castes would ever need to stoop to the level of common thievery or deception as they generally are without want in Tolgathan society.
The Casteless are typically non humans found living within Tolgathan borders. They are treated as the lowest of the low, and do not even garnering the most rudimentary kindness shown to the Servant Caste. It is perfectly acceptable within Tolgathan society to marginalize and exploit the Casteless.
All Remaining Classes
Vigilante, Shaman, Samurai, Druid, Assassin, Runeweaver, Shaolin, Ninja; these classes are forbidden or ignored within Tolgathan society. However as Humans Tolgathans have access to all classes and therefore could still choose one of these. Doing so however, would render then no longer a citezin, forever losing the status and citizenship, thereby becoming casteless and essentially treated as foreigners in their own lands.