Capital City: New Theopolis
Relative World Location: Eastern Othonia
Current Ruler / Title: Senator Oratius Vensuvius, Leader of the Senate
Type of Government: Republic
Military Structure: standing army, naval fleet
Guild Associations/Headquarters: Explorers, Patricians
Cultural Advantage: Reduced cost buy-in to Patricians or Explorers Guild (player's choice), half cost buy-in to the Ocean's Fury Martial School
Association/Affinity: water, leadership, exploration, organization
The nation of Maerisius is divided into six City-States, each of which elect 2 members of the Senate. Tie votes are decided by the Head of the Senate in Athenisia. The capitol of New Theopolis, which houses the Senate Chamber, is both the national and regional capital, and is situated on the nation's largest lake. To its north are Opis Limnoula (the Sky Mountain), atop which the Naos Parthenium (the Temple of the Avatars) was constructed, and Dryaditus, the World Tree. Although New Theopolis is a land-locked city, the lake is interconnected with others in a vast chain of lakes that dots the landscape, providing access to the sea via these waterways, namely the river Potamos Achelous.
While the two northern provinces, Vincini and Kairos, extend quite far to the northern sea, the upper half of each province is composed of an unlivable ice bog, which remains partially frozen throughout most of the year. Originally, there were towns in the bog areas, but the swamp encroached when an earthquake crumbled part of the landscape, allowing the northern sea to drain inland, forming a new lake. Over time, the lake began to dry out, leaving behind a murky bog along its southern edge. Today, the distant profiles of half submerged ruins dot the bog, lending to many local tales of hauntings and curses. The small lake that remains to the north butts up against the base of mountains, creating majestic scenery for all who dare to venture into the bog.
The mountains there create a natural barrier between Maerisius and its warlike neighbor Vikaa'ra. Access from the north sea is nearly impossible as the northernmost edge of the mountains is a vast ice field that is navigable only by the best seafarers. Few dare to venture into them, for many ships are lost every year simply by passing too close. Farther south along the Vikaa'ran border, a dense mountainous forest makes invasion impractical, and still farther south is an even larger mountain range that forms a natural barrier with both Vikaa'ra to the west and Ejheria to the south. The Great Northern Current brings warm water northward, ensuring temperate climes along the eastern coastal areas and providing a convenient trade route to Tecuanitzl off its northernmost port.
Most of the coastline is dotted with rock formations that make port cities impractical. As a result, many Faros (lighthouses) dot the coast to ensure safe passage for the merchant vessels traveling the northern current. The island of Thalasa Limenas, off the coast of Minotia, houses the Naos Delphinium (the Temple of the Oracle), which sits upon Menippe Limnoula, an extinct volcano. To the north lies the Abyss of Erilene, the great whirlpool that lies atop the sunken ruins of the Syrene homeland. The remainder of the nation is temperate and open, with very little forestation, lending itself well to the country's various agricultural needs. Finally, the southern bordern with Ejheria is comprised of marshland, which makes it very defensible.
City-State: Athenisia (Central Maerisius)
Ruling Senators: Philoneus Masairae, Lividatis Oronso
Capital: New Theopolis
Notable Cities: Demetris, Herasius, Aphrodenia
The people of Athenisia tend to be viewed by outsiders as stoic and rigid, however they do relax a bit during times of celebration. They are a very formal people, preferring a stable existence of manners and etiquette over the debauchery found elsewhere throughout Maerisius. They see themselves as the leaders of their people, as inspirational figures who must set a good example at all costs. Traditions and customs are adhered to by the letter. The leaders of Athenisia strive for balance and order above all things, adhering to strict schedules and protocols. Anyone visiting their City-State who does not adhere local customs and maintain appropriate behavior may well land himself in prison awaiting trial.
While they enjoy festivities and great feasts, they abhor public intoxication and all manner of undignified or unsavory activities. They prefer "civilized" art and music, and enjoy the beauty in color and symmetry. The sheer beauty of New Theoplois itself draws visitors year round, for it houses the seat of the Maerisian government, the Senate Chambers, as well as Naos Parthenium (the Temple of the Avatars), which sits just north of the town atop Opis Limnoula (the Sky Mountain).
Many travel annually to visit the Temple from across Maerisius, and even more come for the Olympiads, a series of athletic contests held every four years. Just as it holds an important key to the nation's government and religious culture, so too does it hold the center of commerce and education. Both the Explorers and Patricians Guilds have their headquarters in New Theopolis, and the Scholars Guild has built a major branch of their University there as well. The University accepts students from anywhere within the nation, however, any students exhibiting a lack of discipline may find themselves promptly expelled. All in all, despite their outward rigidness in public, behind closed doors, in their homes, and in the great bath houses, it is considered acceptable to behave in an undignified manner as one pleases. They simply believe such activities and froliking should be done in private, not in public.
City-State: Eronia (Southern Maerisius)
Ruling Senators: Gerald LeFriere, Maurice Delaun
Notable Cities: Thesus, Apollonia, Dionia
The citizens of Eronia are generally a laid back, fun loving people, who hold family above all else. They are peaceful as can be, until their loved ones are threatened, then they are capable of anything. They love to live, and they love to cook. Dinner is a time when the family comes together, friends come over, and stories and music are shared by all. If they had a motto, it would be "Good food, good family, good fun." A typical estate consists of an extended family living in close proximity, sometimes within the same great house, sometimes with the children and such housed in their own cottages close by on the property. Vineyards are common, for it is rare that any meal save breakfast is served without wine. They also grow a variety of other crops, mostly herbs, spices, bulbous ground plants, and wheat. Their livestock consists primarily of goats and chickens, but they supplement their meats by hunting small game, mostly rabbit and deer. The area is renowned for their wines, cheeses, and baked goods. They are also known for their excellent musicians, and enjoy anything they can find beauty and pleasure in. As a people, they have a reputation for being rather hedonistic.
City-State: Kairos (Northeastern Maerisius)
Ruling Senators: Ricardo Larra, Santiago Augustus
Notable Cities: Thanos, Charonus
The residents of Herculaneum are known as great romancers, sultry, and seductive, with movements like a cat. Their flamenco dancers are legendary, as are their wines and ciders. Due to the cooler climate, orchards are more common in the north, while vineyards dot the southern areas. They tend to be a vivacious and lively people, yet they are generally very private about the outcomes of their advances. For them, it is all about the show, and the chase, and who they can upstage. Their music and theater tends can be a bit baudy for some peoples' taste, but they love to make people wonder if anything is really going on beneath the surface. They have a habit of being gossipy about such things, often taking bets as to the results and length of time before anything is revealed about the situation.
Their women tend to be headstrong and independent, and their men tend to be ferociously protective of their ladies once they settle into official courtship. Their biggest source of trade goods are olives, wine, and embroidered fashions. The vast majority of their women can sew and mend with the best, and there are many who take it to the next step by excelling at embroidery and fashion design. Some of their garments, particularly for dances and special occasions, are among the most elaborate in all of Maerisius, making their wares coveted far and wide.
City-State: Minotia (Eastern Maerisius)
Ruling Senators: Alexander Tremaine, Thaddeus Heroditus
Notable Cities: Teigra, Selenium, Antitrion
The residents of Minotia are universally a very educated and philosophical people. Education is held at the forefront of Minotian society. Every child attends regular classes up until they reach marrying age, at which point they can choose to enter University. They claim to be responsible for traditional theater, often presenting vast productions utilizing theatrical mechanisms and masks. They are credited with the invention of the deus ex machina plot device, as well as the use of various special effects and sound effects during performances. They are primarily a seafaring people, subsisting on fish and seafood, as well as dishes heavy in eggplant and olives, their two primary cash crops. They serve wine with most meals, and have developed a thriving dairy trade, swapping their yogurts and cheeses with neighboring City-States for meat and other goods. Aside from seafood, the majority of their protein comes from dairy products and mutton. Most goats are not slaughtered, rather they are raised and milked to provide the basis of the local dairy industry.
The region's largest public gathering is the Day of Remembrance. People journey from across the region to the small island off the eastern coast. There, they hold a solemn ceremony on the northern coast of the island of Thalasa Limenas to remember the lost Syrene city of Altea, often stopping at the Naos Delphinium (the Temple of the Oracle) during the course of their journey across the island. Gathering on the beach, they place lit candles into tiny boats, made from dried leaves and paper, and send the boats swirling into the Abyss of Erilene. Before the collapse of magic, the city of Altea floated peacefully in the Sea of Erilene. When magic collapsed, the city sank into the whirlpool now known as the Abyss. The people of Minotia remember that day every year on the 25th of March, and honor the Queen who is still trapped beneath the waves after sacrificing herself to allow her people time to escape.
City-State: Vincini (Northwestern Maerisius)
Ruling Senators: Fernando Oraglia, Lucca Rinicci
Notable Cities: Creon, Phoebius
The City-State of Vincini is the coldest region of Maerisius. The southern areas, near the border with Athenisia, are dotted with vinyards and wineries, and the northern areas are rich with orchards. Most of their sustenance comes from wheat and barley, spiced heavily with garlic, tomato, and onion. Pasta is the most common fare, generally served with a sauce to stretch the meat. There are not many who keep livestock, save for sheep and goats in the mountainous northeastern areas. They, in turn, produce a wide variety of cheeses and dairy products that are traded for grain from the more hospitable climes to the south. Wine is the drink of choice, and most dishes are cooked in olive oil, imported from their neighbors in Kairos.
The denizens of Vincini adore anything luxurious, preferring soft heavy fabrics, like brocades and velvets, to make their garments. They excel at beadwork and the production of cosmetic powders and glosses, for the women of Vincini are seldom seen without much prerequisite primping. While a bit hedonistic and vain on the surface, the people are actually quite practical when it comes to day to day private matters. They simply see no harm in indulging themselves whenever they can afford to do so, but they will seldom, if ever, put themselves above the needs of their family or their country.
They love to outdo each other in public settings, often having improvisational poetry contests during celebrations. Their love of music, theater, and art is widely known, drawing minstrels and artisans from all of Othonia. Their own sculptors are world renowned, as are their painters and architects, and some say the halls of Heleni rival or surpass those of Athenisia itself. Estates are generally large, sprawling affairs, while in-town residences are more quaint and conservative, yet still highly provisioned and embellished for entertaining even the Avatars themselves.