Darokin, Republic of

The Republic of Darokin is a huge, sprawling country and one of the wealthiest nations of the Known World – but its wealth is not so unevenly distributed as that of other nations.  Darokin’s peasants are far better off than peasants all over the Known World and it is considered a land of opportunity for anyone with skill and courage.  

Given its size, Darokin is a diverse land with everything from large cosmopolitan cities filled with politics and intrigue to untamed wild lands full of dangerous creatures.  The civilized areas of Darokin are structured and safe and the wild lands are very wild and only nominally part of the Republic.

Darokin is not a nation that has prospered by brute force or conquest, but by cleverness, negotiation and finesse. Wealth and power go hand in hand in Darokin, though Darokin society is not particularly class conscious (flashy displays of wealth are considered bad taste). Because it is a land where even the most disadvantaged citizen has an opportunity to gain wealth, the newly rich are not looked down upon.  Rather, they are congratulated on their hard work and welcomed into the fold.

History.  Even though the area that comprises Darokin has been inhabited for around 2000 years, the events that led to the formation of the Republic of Darokin only took place in the last 200 years or so.  A variety of small tribes of orcs, gnolls, humans and demi-human were amongst the earliest settlers of the area tha was to become Darokin.  However, they were too small in number, too scattered and too primitive to build lasting nations.

Over the course of 800 years, the land became divided between orc tribes controlling a vast territory, including what is now north and west Darokin, The Broken Lands, the Ethengar Khanate, and Glantri, and human tribes inhabiting the area between the Streel River and Alfheim.  However, the orc tribes were not united enough to drive out the humans who had by then organized into agricultural settlements.  The humans were only slightly more united than the orcs under a tribe known as the Eastwind clan. However, over the next 400 years, with the assistance of the Elves of Alfheim, the Eastwind warred with the orcs, expanded their holdings, and united roughly three quarters of the humans.

During this period, Ansel Darokin, an Eastwind, became the first Darokin King.  His reign and the Darokin line abruptly came to an end in 87 AC when his great-grandson was killed without heir in an orc raid – bringing the burgeoning kingdom to the brink of civil war.  The orcs quickly recaptured almost all of their lost territory.  Fearing the orcs, the Elves of Alfheim backed a compromise candidate for kingship – Corwyn Attleson.  The Attleson line ruled for 400 years and drove the orcs completely from what is now Darokin.

As their dependence on and contacts with Alfheim diminished, some of the later and less competent kings of Darokin founds the Elves a useful scapegoat.  In the Fifth Century  AC, deteriorating relations led to the Elfwar – a foolish campaign the Daro had little chance of winning.  It was brought to an end by the battle death of the instigator King Mithras V and an opportunistic siege of Corunglain by the orcs.  The orcs managed to sack Corunglain in 523 AC killing thousands and carrying off the wealth of the city.

With much of its strength sapped, the kingdom's cities and villages began to govern themselves independently and, by 650 AC, the King of Darokin became a ceremonial position.  When King Santhral II died without an heir in 723 AC, the time of kings in Darokin came to an end.

This vacuum led the common folk to look to the wealthy for guidance – since the time of the Eastwind, wealth had been equated with wisdom.  In Darokin much of the wealth was owned by its merchant class, rather than landed lords, due in large part to its many agricultural and industrial exports.  So, the merchants stepped in and provided basic services (and made more money) akin to private governments.  Since these services often came at a price lower than the taxes levied by the Kings, citizens welcomed such practice.  By 927 AC, the largest of these conglomerates essentially merged to found the Republic of Darokin.  

Geography.  The land of the Republic is rich - the Streel Plain, the heartland of Darokin, where half the nation’s residents live, dominates the center of the nation. The farmers of the Streel Plain are able to grow enough grain and beef to feed the whole nation twice over. The mighty Streel River is navigable for its entire length and also provides power for ample mills, forges and other machinery to support many types of industry.   The export of these goods accounts for much of Darokin's wealth and its dominant merchant class.

East of the Streel Plain is the vast Canolbarth Forest – home to the Kingdom of Alfheim - which is entirely encircled by Daro territory. Relationships between elves and humans are now on good terms and the southernmost portion of the Canolbarth actually lies outside of Alfheim and provides wood and timber for all the Republic.  

The area of Darokin that lies east of Alfheim between the Canolbarth Forest and the Dwarfgate Mountains of Rockhome is known as the Orclands.  It is only nominally Darokin and almost entirely in the hands of humanoid raiders. 

West of the Streel Plain is the mighty Lake Amsorak, a freshwater lake that provides a rich bounty of fish.  It is also home to three islands one of which, Itheldown Island, is the site of a large ruined castle and many evil tales. 

Southwestern Darokin is dominated by the Malpheggi Swamp where dangerous creatures thrive. Darokin's only two ocean ports, Athenos and Tenobar, lie just outside the swamp on the Malpheggi bay explaining why most Daro trade goes by overland caravan, rather than sea.

There are several major cities in Darokin: most notable are the capital, Darokin, that acts as the middle of the web of Darokinian trade; Selenica, in the southeast, center of the caravan activities toward Free Traldara, The Five Shires, Rockhome and Thyatis; and Corunglain, a city on the border with the dangerous humanoids of The Broken Lands.

Government.  Although nominally a Republic, Darokin is a plutocracy – ruled by the rich. The plutocrats believe that keeping the standard of living high and keeping the laws fair makes workers enthusiastic – so far, they have been successful. 

Wealth is the key to political access, so the Republic conducts "The Great Reckoning" every five years.  It is similar to a census, but counts wealth rather than population.  Interestingly, the totals are a matter of public record, though it is not polite to inquire directly into another's wealth.   The totals are used to determine each citizen's taxes and their eligibility to participate in politics.

Interestingly, the acts of the elected Republican government (the Outer Council, Inner Council, and Chancellor) do not directly govern all of Darokin territory. Rather, Darokin is divided into the settled Heartlands and wild Borderlands. The Heartlands are governed by the Republican government – the current Chancellor being Corwyn Mauntea.  The lightly settled Borderlands are run much more like typical, feudal domains with heredity Magistrates acting as the law in their domains.

Given that wealth determines access to the halls of power, members of Darokin's Great Merchant Houses naturally make up most of the government.  Their members also make up the leadership of the Merchant's Guild – the single most power of Darokin's countless guilds. The Merchant's Guild Hall in Darokin is the single largest building in the nation.  The Merchant’s Guild has the monopoly over trade, and non-members are not allowed to trade with members, so not being a member means no trade, no business, no money.

Further, a unique and critically important arm of the Republic is the Darokin Diplomatic Corps.  That Darokin has developed an expertise in diplomacy is not surprising when considering: it shares a border with nearly every nation of the Known World, it is dependent on foreign trade and that Daro, as a matter of national character, seem to prefer finesse over force.  Each of the great Merchant Houses had long employed their own diplomats and with the Great Merger of 927, ceded them to the new government.   Since then, the role of the Corps has been to improve foreign relations, mediate disputes between foreign countries when Daro interests are involved, and mediate in business dispute between Daros.  Entry into the Corp is merit based.

If diplomacy fails, the Republic has a professional army of roughly 25,000 soldiers divided into 30 "Legions" grouped into five armies.  The legions utilize cavalry and archer support, but the bulk of Daro legionnaires are pikemen.  They tend to be armed and armored lightly for maximum flexibility to outflank more heavily armored foes.   All Daro soldiers carry a sword known as the "Darokin Rapier," wear padded leather armor, and carry a buckler shield.  The Republic is still rebuilding the Fourth Army, the "Shield of Darokin," after it was annihilated in the sands of The Great Waste  by the forces of the Master of Hule.

People.  The humans of Darokin are a heterogeneous population, made up of several peoples, and this has resulted in a population of light olive complexion, with hair and eyes that can be of almost any color, with brown hair and eyes being the most common.  There are also a number of immigrants from their neighbors, such as refugees from the recent revolution in Free Traldara.  They are a notoriously hard working lot; most are driven by the desire of success. Each generation wants to live in better surroundings and clothe and educate their children better than the last generation did.  Flashy displays of wealth are considered bad taste.  Wealthy merchants prefer to demonstrate wealth by being accompanies by large retinues of servants and employees.  The one release from Daros' typical restraint is the Masked Ball held in every city and town.  Excess and gaudy jewelry and costumes are encouraged.

Given that Alfheim is completely within Darokin, it is not surprising that elves are the most numerous non-humans in the Republic.  They do not seem have a taste for the life of a merchant, but do tend to make excellent diplomats.  There are also plenty of half-elves.  Dwarves are fewer, but do serve as guards and translators on caravans headed to Rockhome.  They also serve as craftsman.  Halflings are pretty rate given the distance from The Five Shires.  Half-orcs can sometimes be found around the borders of the Orcland.

Religion.  Owing to the cultural diversity that makes up the Republic due to significant numbers of immigrants from their neighbors, the religions followed by the people are similarly heterogeneous. There is no official religion in Darokin and nearly all religions of the Known World are practiced here, though there are a few Immortals who find a significant following.

Class Suggestions.  Typically, Daros are expected to join the family business, whether their parents are merchants or follow a trade like cart wrights, blacksmiths or potters.  Those who pursue the adventuring life are viewed with a little disdain, though perhaps they are just trying to earn a stake to become a merchant!  After all, Merchant's Guild membership just costs 1000GP per year plus 1/2% of any wholesale transactions. Of course, the Mastermind would be an excellent subclass for the Darokin Diplomatic Corps and Darokin is like replete with wannabe Swashbucklers.  Given the vast number of people moving through the Republic on business or otherwise, nearly any Class could be found there.   Interestingly, for members of the Merchant's Guild, its few resident wizards can teach useful Merchant Spells – for a fee of course.

Darokin, Republic of

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