The Republic of Merana
Merana is an island nation that flies in the sky above a deep, dark cloud bank called the Veil. It is ruled jointly by the elderly king Tristan von Koenig, and the high council from the Guild of Mages, sort of like the president and congress. The nation consists of multiple islands, and is generally a mixed racial society. The High Council is led by the 3 Lofty Ones – Vedron, Anadile, and Normos. It is through them that the majority of the administration of the country is handled.
The official Religion in Merana is primarily about sun-worshiping, and for good reason – the sun provides them power and food. The Children of the Sun, the local church, is led by High Priestess Surana. However, the aristocracy views religion as more of an opiate of the masses more than any real source of political power; typically it is only the lowborn who believe and worship. The nobles pay verbal tribute to the church, but it is little more than platitudes.The priesthood provides medicine, food and care for the poor and needy.
The races of Merana are varied, but the nobles and governing mages are majority elven. Among nobles, status is everything, and status is measured in one direction: Altitude. The closer one is to the Veil and the dangers it provides, the lower one’s status. In capital the city of Sancta Vita, the towers stretch to the heavens and many nobles try to literally one-up each other by building higher and higher towers.
The merchants and working class are typically human. There are occasional noble humans, but their shorter lifespans tend to lend credence to the elven disdain toward them.
The heart of the Meranan economy is the manufacture and production of processed elunium. In its raw state, elunium is simply a very light, malleable ore. However, after undergoing a special (secret) purification and treatment process by the mage’s guild, it hardens and becomes capable of flight. When used as a building material, sufficient amounts of elunium allow the building to fly. This is the main method of sustaining the islands; massive structures built from elunium raise them up into the sky. The High Council is very exacting with how much elunium they are willing to release to the outside world, and the limitations they set ensure their relative safety – none can afford to build an air force to challenge the Veil Guard. The processed elunium is either sold to other vendors, or then used by the Artisans Guild to build. The Artisans construct useful things for the nation – airships, buildings, cities, new islands, etc. The Mage’s Guild processes the raw elunium into the metal. The Artisan’s Guild then uses it for building materials. The republic does trade, but they essentially hold a monopoly on an extremely valuable resource. This makes other nations somewhat jealous. However, strong building materials and things that are heavier (ore, rock, processed metals) are rare in Merana, and what they mostly trade for.
Merana has mostly eschewed the use of metal for high-durability ceramic. The more wealthy nobles have towering homes built of the stuff, inlaid with elunium.
The working class consist of dwarfs, gnomes and possibly warforged (if people want warforged characters) working in the mines. These folks mine for elunium. The goblins and orcs tend the farms and populate the farming communities on the lower islands.These farms provide food and building materials for the airships. Tieflings, Eladrin, Drow and other races are somewhat rarer in Merana, typically members of the Veil Guard, or merchants.
The islands are mostly self-sufficient in terms of food and water – they extract water from clouds in tanker ships, and there are many lower flying islands seeded with livestock and farming communities.
For those interested in skulking the shadows, the underworld of Merana is literally carved out from the bottoms of these flying islands. There are whispers that the underworld is run by a single entity known as Capa Barsavi. Barsavi has negotiated a truce with the High Council – Barsavi’s followers will not steal from them or the Veil Guard, and they will turn a blind eye toward Barsavi’s indiscretions. Nothing illegal happens without Barsavi knowing about it.
Merana has a standing armed flying navy called the Veil Guard. They are primarily stationed in bases and airships along the lowest altitude, acting as a buffer between Merana and the Veil. The Veil Guard is currently led by Admiral-General Teron, a dragonborn veteran of the first Veil War. Periodically, enemy forces send raiding parties across the Veil, and attempt to acquire varying resources by force. The Veil Guard is there to repel these incursions.The Veil Guard itself is primarily made up of Dragonborn officers and mixed-race soldiers/crew members. Like the nobility, this is not racially mandated, but the militaristic nature of Dragonborn culture predisposes them toward military service.
The Veil itself is a partially magical construct, created hundreds of years ago, and is shrouded in darkness. Hundreds of years before present, Kosthe the Wise, one of the 3 Lofty Ones from the High Council, led a rebellion against the Guild. He was exiled from Merana, and sent into the Veil where all thought him to have died. In some ways they were correct, for about a century later, a legion of undead warriors and monsters emerged from the Veil, carried by gigantic flying skeletal serpents. It took all of Admiral-General Tyllos’ mettle and skill to repel the invasion, and it was not without cost – the Veil Guard was nearly wiped out, and in the final climactic battle, Admiral-General Tyllos gave his own life to defeat the leader of the invasion force – the lich form of Kosthe the Wise, now calling himself “the Undying”. Kosthe the Undying has since withdrawn his undead forces, but still periodically sends raids across the Veil for unknown purposes. Divination magic has proved unfruitful on anything inside the Veil. However, there are rumors that Admiral-General Tyllos has been seen leading some of the raids.
Recently, the Veil Guard has been reporting raiding incidents from privateers flying the flag of the Empire of Bala Sharr. Bala Sharr has long been Merana’s largest purified elunium consumer and trading partner, but these incidents are quite alarming. The ambassadors from the Empire have denied any Imperial involvement. There have been further rumors that there have been undead attacks far above the Veil in isolated farming communities, but these have yet to be substantiated.