Dragaera is a general term for the whole local continent in which the Dragaeran Empire, the East and other little known (for example, Spindrift lands) regions are placed.
- See also Meta:Dragaera.
The primary continent of Dragaera is bordered on the west and south by large ocean-seas. To the north, the Forever Plains extend nearly all the way to the Ash Mountains, which are home to Deathgate Falls.
To the east beyond the Eastern Mountains lie the Eastern Kingdoms: most notably Fenario, but also an indefinite number of other realms both large and small. It is unclear how far these realms and the continent itself extend. Presumably the continent is also bounded on the east by a large ocean-sea, but whether it is settled that far is unclear. That sea, in turn, may or may not be the same one that lies west of the continent. If it is not the same sea, there is at least one more large unknown continent in the northern hemisphere (as a westward traveller from Europe would at length reach the Pacific Ocean and, after crossing it, would have to traverse North America before crossing the Atlantic to reach Europe again).
The southern reaches of the planet are virtually unknown to the major population of the Dragaeran Empire, sea travel south being prevented by the presence of the Great Maelstrom and the Grey Rocks. Orca traders sometimes send expeditions to the south, and there are numerous unconfirmed tales of rich and exotic civilizations beyond the southern seas.
The dominant political entity of Dragaera is the Dragaeran Empire.
Geographically, this covers the majority of the known world, encompassing an area roughly double that of Europe. It is ruled by a feudal system in which Teckla provide the bulk of the labor force, with the noble Houses providing both more‐skilled labor as well as military leadership. Landholders in the Empire come mostly from the houses of Dragon, Lyorn, Dzur, and sometimes Tiassa.
Other realms of Dragaera include the Eastern Kingdoms, a loose collection of nations populated by Easterners and situated beyond the Eastern Mountains. These nations are significantly less advanced than the Empire, but their inhabitants are extremely proud and nationalistic. Though currently at peace with the Empire, many of these nations regularly fight amongst one another, and there are a number of free-roaming barbarian bands that harass the populations of these kingdoms, independent of any national identity. Some factions within the Empire wish to conquer these Kingdoms in an effort to remove any threat that they may pose to the Empire, but the recent leadership of the Empire is directly opposed to these designs.
Small island kingdoms such as Elde Island, Greenaere, and Landsight are also independent of Imperial rule, although they are still inhabited by Dragaerans rather than by Easterners — who are usually referred to as dwarfs in these insular realms, mirroring the Eastern custom of referring to Dragaerans as elfs.
Populations of displaced Serioli, the native inhabitants of Dragaera, also exist, mostly in mountain lairs far to the north. Even though their numbers are now small, they were once a significant obstacle to the expansion of the Dragaeran Empire. Many of these Serioli remain antagonistic to the Empire, some factions even going so far as to aid the Jenoine.
The Jenoine were once the masters of Dragaera. It was they who conducted the breeding experiments that produced the Dragaeran races by mixing the genes of various animal species with those of Easterners. Though now banished from Dragaera, they remain a significant threat to the security of the Empire, as well as all other nations. Recent attacks by the Jenoine have threatened Dzur Mountain and the Lesser Sea of Chaos. If the Jenoine managed to defeat the Empire, they would likely return to enslave the population of all Dragaera.
Economic and Social Structure
The Dragaeran Empire, as well as most of the other kingdoms we have seen, employ a feudal agrarian system.
In the Empire, the Teckla, by far the most numerous class of the population, are the serfs. Most are uneducated and survive by working the lands owned by the nobility or as servants in their manor houses. The primary occupation of the Teckla is farming, but also extends to menial tasks such as mining, unskilled construction work, and lower-level household servants. Teckla can also be musicians, both social and (sometimes) compositional.
In the few large cities, some Teckla are allowed to eke out their own living by begging, or, if they can manage it, by providing services to the wealthy.
The lesser nobility of Dragaera, most notably, members of the houses of Chreotha, Jhegaala, Orca, and Jhereg, are often found in the crafts and trades, and so are the closest thing that the Empire has to a "middle-class". These individuals are typically employed as bankers and clerks, tanners and tailors, merchants, or minor craftsmen. Many Jhereg are also involved in the criminal elements of the cities, although the majority of this house do earn their living legally.
The middle nobility, notably the houses of Athyra, Yendi, Tsalmoth, Iorich, Vallista and Issola, are more often employed as skilled labourers in a service industry. Typical occupations include magician or magical educator (Athyra), diplomatist or minstrel (Issola), advocate or justicer (Iorich), architect or artisan (Vallista), and security services (Tsalmoth).
The high nobility of Dragaera are typically the landholders and aristocracy. This is primarily made up of members of the houses of Phoenix, Dragon, Lyorn, Tiassa, Hawk, and Dzur. While many of these individuals are true aristocrats and so do not labour to survive, the younger sons and daughters of these families do sometimes work at a profession, often in bureaucratic or military capacities. It is said that the Phoenix are the natural rulers.
While technically still feudal, the Eastern Kingdoms appear to have a less rigidly structured class system than the Empire, which results in a broader range of possibilities and greater social mobility.
While most major kingdoms, such as Fenario, have a hereditary monarch and established nobility, other, smaller communities such as the area around Blackchapel appear to organize themselves more informally. In the village of Burz in Fenario, for example, the governance of the village was a precarious balance between the local noble, the Merchants' Guild, and the local Coven.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that inconsistency in who wields power in the Eastern Kingdoms is the norm, not the exception. Often, the only actual government in some areas is a rudimentary town council.
From what-little has been seen of the social structure of Elde and Greenaere, both island realms are kingdoms with a hereditary monarch. Elde, being a large island with enough of a population to muster a sizable military force, has a substantial royal court and may harbor lesser ranks of nobility. Greenaere's small size seems insufficient to require a complex feudal hierarchy, and its palace lacks the defenses that would be expected if any lesser lords (i.e. potential rivals) existed; hence, the whole of that island may be governed directly by its king.
The Houses so intrinsic to society in the Empire either do not exist at all among the islanders, or hold so little significance as to be irrelevant. If Aibynn is to be considered typical of their demographics, the populations are so heavily cross-bred as to render House ancestry impossible to assess.
Art and Culture
Dragaeran artists use a variety of mediums to express themselves.
Within the Empire, literacy is prevalent among the noble houses, resulting in a wide range of authors writing on various topics. Historical literature, philosophy, magical and natural sciences, as well as fiction and dramatic fiction are the major categories.
Sculpture and carvings are commonly generated by Vallista artisans, and decorative painters are common in most of the noble houses, especially the Houses of Dragon and Dzur. Another form of visual artwork is the use of decorative psiprints.
Musical expression mostly consists of solo performers and small chamber groups, although small orchestras are also in evidence, especially in the larger cities such as Adrilankha. Music is divided into two categories, social and compositional, with social music considered beneath the dignity of houses such as the Dzur and Issola.
Dance is also of some importance, especially among Issola, and includes snake dancing as well as dance to accompany musical performances. The Serioli are said to practice an art known as bone dancing.
Artwork in the Eastern Kingdoms is generally of a more rudimentary level, but takes forms similar to those used in the Empire.
Recreation and Entertainment
In the Empire, entertainment most often consists of four major pastimes: gambling, drinking, whoring, and minstrel entertainment.
Brothels are common in the major cities such as Adrilankha. This activity is mostly a legal one — or, at least, any such laws are never more than loosely enforced.
Gambling is also legal so long as all winnings, either by the gaming house operator or by the wagerers, are reported to the Imperial Tax Collectors. Popular games include Shereba, S'yang stones, Orbs, Three-copper mud, and Seven-Clawed-Jhereg. (One should avoid Nine-copper, which is a rigged game.)
Intoxicating beverages, in modern times anyway, generally consist of various forms of wine. The drink known by Easterners as brandy (also called wine in the Empire) is also common. Many regions of the Empire are renowned for the quality of their wines, such as Khavv'n and Aerethia. Brandy drinks are mostly from the Eastern Kingdoms, especially Fenario. The Ailor region of Fenario is renowned for its dessert wines. Dessert wines made by the Serioli are also sometimes available. Another spirit, called Oishka, is sometimes consumed; this is presumably a grain-based distilled liquor.
For information on minstrel entertainments, see Music of Dragaera.
Theater is also a common entertainment, as is reading for those who are literate. There is apparently at least a small market for recreational reading materials in the major cities.
Important Dragaeran Facts
The planet has a 30-hour day and a 289-day year.
In the Empire, weeks are divided into 5 days, and each month has 17 days (See Time).
In the Eastern Kingdoms, weeks are 7 days long. The length of the Eastern month is unclear.