OOC - The Timber Crag Kingdom...Any Questions?
The Timber Crag Kingdom came into being eight-hundred and fifty years ago, a small monarchy of purely werebears who lived on the slopes of a prominent mountain range and the forested valleys that sat nestled between the granite giants. The mountains formed a natural wall that protected the 16,000-square mile kingdom from invasion from beyond the walls, and anyone brave enough to venture through the narrow passes or over the frozen peaks would find their assault greeted by creatures that seemed to be spawned from nightmares. Easily standing 9 feet in height, even the smallest of mature werebears could decimate a human or mage troop in the space of a few seconds. Moving too quickly for mages or archers to get a good target picture and invulnerable to nearly every weapon fielded against them, the werebears could use the natural defenses of their lands to stave off any attacker. One would think a siege would be in order then, circling the mountain range and cutting off any exterior source of supply, but that tactic would prove useless because the valleys within grew all the produce and were home to all the game that the population needed.
This immunity to sieges became weaker, however, as the population of werebears soon began to grow. The valleys could not support the extensive farming and the natural game was not in great enough quantity, so livestock was needed. Therefore, the werebears turned their gaze to their neighboring kingdoms. At this point in time, the kingdom was only seventy years old and had endured countless attacks and sieges from their neighbors as the other kingdoms sought after the treasures that lay within the mountains. Vast deposits of gold invited the greedy, whereas the rare metal ore within the hearts of the mountains drew the gaze of the more forward thinking. The ore could be made into a steel that had no equal in flexibility or hardness, able to keep a honed edge exponentially longer than standard swords while also flexible enough to take the shock of armored combat without edge damage or risk of breakage. The armor made from this ore could take a hit from a battering ram swung by a squad of trolls without leaving a scuff on the finish. Provided with a proper suspension system to alleviate the pressure that came from massive percussive hits, a wearer of this armor was nigh invulnerable to every weapon known to man.
Arming their soldiers, a practice that is still in place, with arms and armor from this ore, the werebears charged from their mountain homes and captured the lands of their neighbor to their west. The new land provided much needed farmland for raising their cattle and crops, but it opened a situation where they were not sure what to do with the survivors of the attack. Choosing to integrate their society, allowing the humans to hold positions of moderate power, the werebears could open their new borders to allow for trade with other kingdoms. With this influx of trade and raise in the kingdom’s economy, the population grew further. This cycle led to the Timber Crag Kingdom taking over the lands around their initial borders.
With the new lands and growth, the kingdom stayed idle in its land grabs for two hundred seventy more years before an opposing force came upon their Eastern border. The force caught the combined werebear-human army off guard before pushing through to the very center of the kingdom. Finding the current king, a werebear-human hybrid man by the name of Varrin Horda, the general of the attackers executed the king publicly, taking claim of the throne. His claim to the throne lasted a total of three hours before a werebear general by the name of Authun Rowan made his way into the capital with his division of werebear from the Western Regions of the kingdom. Engaging with the occupying force in a bloody battle, the momentum shifted in favor of Authun’s force as they shoved the army out of the capital and back down the slopes of the mountains. Sending them back towards the border, Authun returned to the throne and took it for himself, claiming the role as the defender of the kingdom and therefore rightful heir to the throne.
For the past five hundred years, Authun has turned the kingdom into an empire based off meritocracy rather than a monarchy or dictatorship. The society has turned into one of warriors who take positions of power based purely off their strength and prowess in battle, not by the votes of the citizens. With the help of his son, Thierri, and their outstanding army of mixed heritages (werebear, humans, and mages alike), Authun has conquered the kingdoms closest to them over the span of the last three hundred years, growing his kingdom from 46,000-square miles to 460,000-square miles. The landscape has stayed much the same, with the central mountain range that the kingdom grew from being the center point roughly. There are other mountain ranges in the kingdom, though they are all dwarfed by the original. Other than the mountain ranges that spot the kingdom, it is densely forested with several large rivers that flow through the heart and out towards the sea.
The population is currently 16.8 million: 6.3 million werebears, 4.8 million humans, 3.5 million mages, 900k elves, 700k orcs in various strongholds around the land, 600k dwarves inhabiting many of the less central mountain ranges. Positions of power are not determined by race but by a competition of merits in the concerned field of talent. A general, ruler, or other official dealing with armed forces is tested through combat of arms and efficiency on the field of battle and regarding strategy. A lawmaker is tested on their comprehension of local issues and knowledge of how the common man’s life is. They do not necessarily have a term length, but they can only have two terms at a time before having to take three terms out of office to reconnect with society. Terms range from four years to a decade, duration depending on how well the official fit the criteria. The better the fit, the longer the term, however the longer the term, the more often they will be tested for merit.
Timber Crag has a unique view on slavery. Regarding grabbing an unsuspecting victim from the street and forcing them into a life of slavery, it is outlawed and will be met with lethal reprimands to dissuade others from attempting it. The trade or selling of slaves is also outlawed. However, slavery is permitted under certain circumstances. In the event of a government sanctioned raid or other military action, slaves can be selected through strict criteria. Anyone who takes up arms against a Timber Crag offensive will either die or be taken prisoner and treated as a prisoner of war. Anyone who runs or otherwise reacts with cowardice, can be taken as slaves. The slaves taken through combat are locked to the warrior and his or her family, that is all. The people of the Timber Crag Kingdom believe that fighting valiantly and dying in battle will allow you to move on to the afterlife, known as the Hunting Grounds, where one can hunt and fight amongst heroes for all eternity. An inadequate fighter or coward that is taken as a slave will live like an animal, but there is an opportunity for freedom if they feel worthy. A slave can challenge his or her owner to a duel (not always a duel to the death), and if the slave bests his owner, he is accepted into society as a legitimate member and any memory of their disgraceful past is forgotten. It the slave fails to best their owner but still fights valiantly and to the best of their ability, the owner can decide to free you if they see you as worthy, or move you up the ranks of slavery to a position of less hardship. If the slave shows no improvement over when they were captured as a sign that their spirit is worthless, the owner can decide to return them to their duties or have them killed and damned so that they can never reach the Hunting Grounds.