Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bess's Nut (Realm)

Everway Realm: Bess’s Nut

This quaint agricultural realm was until recently largely ignored. It’s not the easiest place in the cosmos to reach, and the culture dominating the Realm was neither particularly remarkable nor threatening. The only significant fact about the world known to most Spherewalkers was that visiting Bess’s Nut you need to be very careful while collecting firewood. The most common tree in the entire land is known as the Brown Bess, and it’s seed pods burst with great force when heated.
In the past year, however, word has reached you about some young teenage Spherewalker who has deftly maneuvered the previously trivial political system of the land. He has declared himself Prince and Lord Marshal, and completely restructured the Realm. His name is Blaze.

Usurper Force: Throwing Seed-Pods On The Bonfire
Normal: Thoughtless Disaster
Inverted: Explosive Success

People: The folk here have long been sturdy and good-hearted. They show great capacity for caution and reasoning, but also the ability to make snap decisions when need suddenly arises. This is because of their proximity to the numerous Brown Bess groves. Forest fires are far more damaging when explosives grow on your trees. So the society has had to rebuild itself numerous times, and everyone’s willing to help a neighbor rebuild a barn that blew up or burned down because of an act of the gods.
In addition to a large working class, there is a smaller land-owning class of noble birth. Unlike most such societies, however, the step between commoner and nobility is very small. The nobles are a little better off, but land is owned by birthright and never sold, so it’s not necessarily a sign of wealth or affluence. The system is set up so that those who work the land keep a very large portion of what they harvest and pay only a small amount to the land-owners. The main benefit of nobility is just that you don’t have to work the fields.
A complex military-political system now grips the Realm, with mandatory military service for all men of age 13-25. This could develop into a potent military force, a barbaric fascist state, a tangled mess of bureaucracy and bullying, or a balanced and well-regarded nation based upon community-service. Any of those are possible, and who can predict? The neighbors are, of course, a little nervous, because these changes to the Bess’s Nut political system are being enacted by a 15-year-old boy. Things could easily go out of control.

Economy: The land is mostly self-sufficient, and doesn’t engage in much trade. The occasional Brown Bess Nut is exported and sold as a material component to wizards in realms as far away as Flashfire, Opal or Boundless. The locals will pay well for silks, satins and other luxury textiles, some being brought all the way from Redsky. Most locally produced cloth is quite coarse and itchy, so the smoother and more luxurious the imported cloth the better. They’ve also imported silver and flint lately in large quantities.

Military: The new military drills constantly, and has unveiled some new wonder weapon. Word is they’ve figured out how to harvest a Brown Bess seed-pod, attach it to a metal stock or brace, and then turn it into some sort of fire-breathing projectile weapon. They call it a “Musket”, which is a most unusual word.

Ecology: Temperate and rainy (especially during the winter and spring), the ecology of Bess’s Nut is dominated by the Brown Bess trees. These resemble willows, but dangling among the branches are long (2 feet or more) fluted Seed-Pods. When dry, the nuts of those pods are violently explosive. Luckily it rains enough to prevent that from being an issue for more than half of the year.

Fiber Rose: The local rose has many blooms on each bush, and the petals are easily separated into long fibers - it can be done by hand quite quickly. These fibers are then woven into clothing, blankets, etc. The resulting items smell very pleasant, but are a bit itchy.

Gates & Bordering Realms: There is a rarely used gate to Brewer Barrow, and also more commonly traveled gates to The Seeking and FlashFire. The Realm borders on Panther Hunt, but they are connected only by sea.

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