The 9th contest, which now goes back a couple of months was about building a nation. The nation i built, which i am using in my current campaign setting, is called Bakanoria. You might want to grab yourself a nice bottle of wine when reading through this entry... because you're going to want some liquor once you hear about these guys.
“The Land of Songs and Wine”
They say that the land of Bakanoria was founded when the great song dragon Crescendia, upon meeting a particularly interesting and battle hardened looking fellow, asked him, “What in your opinion would scare you more than anything else in the planes?” He responded jokingly, “A Nation full of drunken bards….”
--History Check DC 25
Population: 500,000 --- Human (40%), Half Elves (20%), Halflings (15%), Gnomes (15%), All other (10%)
Alignment: Good / Neutral (but all with a touch of chaos)
Principal Exports: Wine, Beer, Musical Instruments
Principal Imports: Wine, Beer, Metals, Stone, Arms and Armor
Bakanoria is a land where the drunken bard is king. The country is completely geared towards the delights brought upon by consuming wine and the aftermath of this behavior when carried about on a daily basis in excess. The country is filled to the brink with singers and song writers as well as traveling minstrels seeking fame. The populace of Bakanoria are lively and quick to befriend new-comers to the state, but they are also near-sighted and do not realize the many problems that face their country.
Bakanoria sounds like a good idea to anyone who has ever heard of it. That is exactly wherein the problem lies. Yes, it sounds like a good idea… no, a great idea, to virtually every man, woman, and child who has ever tasted a bottle of wine and said, “Gee, I wish I could drink this, sing songs, and be a happy little fairy for the rest of my days”. To the happy drunken gnome singing a battle song to Crescendia as he skewers an orc through the gullet, Bakanoria sounds like paradise; the problem is that it also sounds like paradise to virtually any criminal organization or cult that has enough good sense to go there, exist in the shadows, and work their dirty little hands till they bleed.
As a goddess who likes singing, dancing, telling stories, and a good drunken night at the bar, Crescendia is lacking in a lot of the omnipotence and clairvoyance that other gods possess, which is possibly why she has never ascended with the other gods into the pantheon, or perhaps it’s the other way around (ask her that and see what kind of answer you get…). As she is lacking in this respect, and blatantly encourages her followers to do the same, the country of Bakanoria has become, what some villainous individuals would characterize as, a nation of blundering idiots drunk on joy to the point where its almost not any fun to steal from them any more, but you will continue to do for several reasons: A - its easy; B – it’s pure profit ; C - its fun; and D - their dark gods love bringing misery to a people that is so happy and care free all the time that they are unable to see when they are being conned.
Although the threat of war is mostly gone, the threats from criminal organization and cults go almost completely unnoticed by both the people and the government. Thus, the threats to Bakanoria come from the inside, and, although they appear small when separated from each other, they have been building up and becoming increasing worse to the point where Bakanoria has nearly become a crime state, with the criminal organizations firmly supporting the government in every way possible, because they are such a blithering fools that they wouldn’t know a cult of Vecna if his hand and eye were resting on their shoulders and they were whispering kill, in whatever physic tongue artifacts speak in these days, into their ears of the nations leaders. The Council of Vintners would probably take it as some kind of prank made by a particularly witty bard who was capable of imitating the undead. They might even give him a medal for his charm. It’s not because they are stupid…well, maybe it is, but mostly it’s because they are all drunk!
Where is the goddess in all this? The dragon goddess Crescendia, the focus of all praise and glory, walks among the people, but as she isn’t helping out much with the crime problem, does she really desire to help the country succeed or is she just toying with the mortals as part of a long and hilarious joke? Will she rise to help the country if it falls into peril, or will this duty be left to someone from outside?
Exports and Imports
The countries wine trade is sacred and its production is considered holy. Because of the great care that goes into the production of wine, the people take pride in its creation. They produce it in massive quantities. It is consumed on a daily basis throughout the country, but there is still so much left over that it has become the nations largest, and virtually only, export and the basis of their entire economy. The nation exports wine all around the world and it is consumed in the halls of king and queens. It is extremely expensive when purchased outside of the country as it is unmatched in both taste and strength. The country completely relies on the wine trade for making money, but they also supplement the export of wine with the production of beer and other alcohols, but on a very small scale. Also, the nations many bards have established the manufacture of musical instruments which are also exported. The Musical Institute of Liena is famous for its fantastic precision and intricacy in the production of both magical and non-magical instruments which are sold throughout the realms at ridiculous prices.
The country is self-sufficient in most areas. They have enough people working in places other than the vineyards to maintain their lifestyle, however the people’s cravings for wine have made them less than skilled in crafting metals as well as other finished goods and therefore the country imports these on a regular basis to fill any needs that arise. Missionaries are given top quality goods from other countries when they begin their mission trips into the other realms, mostly because the government understands that the weapons and armor they manufacture cannot be relied upon in battle.
Physical Characteristics, Geographic Elements, and Places of Interest
At first glance, anyone would believe that the semi-coastal nation of Bakanoria is a paradise. The country has an extremely temperate climate: the winters are never very cold and there is almost never snow fall, but the summers are never too hot either. The massive number of coastal cities on their western side, as well as trade roads that connect Bakanoria through the mountains that make up its other borders have helped further their wine trade.
Topographically speaking, Bakanoria is mostly rolling hills and flat arable farmlands. The roads are well maintained and connect all the cities. It has many small rivers that come down from the mountains and flow into the sea. All large cities are along the coast, but numerous smaller cities and villages lie between the vast wineries that occupy most of the land. The only exception to this is Liena, the city of muscicians, which lies at the base of the northern mountains. It is a major trading city with the nations of the north and stands at the top of the red river, so named because of the special red grapes that grow aquatically on the river bottom giving off their color into the water. These grapes are harvested by aquatic farmers and used to grow Liena’s special label wine.
The Capital: Val’sata
Val’sata is a large port city centrally located along the coast. The City is shaped like a crescent moon enclosing the massive bay that is the hub for the nation’s ship based trade. The docks of Val’sata are always outrageously busy, even at night. The city is the base of operations of the church of Crescendia and is the location of the headquarters for most of the organizations, both criminal, and non criminal in Bakanoria. .
The Halls of Crescendia
The Halls of Crescendia are massive and resplendent taverns and are “houses of worship” to the goddess. Official worship is conducted in her Halls each night, but no prayers are uttered and no blessings are given; the people simply gather for drunken parties and the telling to tales and the singing of songs. Outsiders who are not knowledgeable to the nation’s religious customs may find that these practices to be strange at first, but they quickly find themselves sucked into the fun of it all. Religious observance in the halls is therefore almost non-existent in a traditional sense, but pleasure, in all its non-harming forms, is considered to be observing the tenants of Crescendia’s church and tribute to them is paid in her taverns.
Halls of Crescendia exist in other countries and in other forms throughout the world all of which can be marked by the sign above the door, bearing her holy symbol, but those in Bakanoria are more like massive cathedrals than ordinary bars. Each Hall has its own construction, based on the design the owner wished to pursue. In Bakanoria, anyone wishing to construct a Hall must have the church’s blessing; Halls which are established outside of Bakanoria do not have this requirement, though, most of them are established by her missionary bards as places to gather new followers.
The Singing Wells
The Singing Wells appear to be nothing but rather large holes in the ground, connected to an underground river; however, the wells produce beautiful music, drawing all those near to them in admiration of the godly harmony. The Wells appear throughout the country, some in random locations where the ground split open and some were produced by human hands and happened to connect to the proper underground channels. Entrance into one of the Singing Wells is strictly prohibited, but the various criminal organization use them as a means of escaping capture and smuggling; the fact that they are all connected makes underground travel to the far ends of the country easy.
The Den of Crescendia
The goddess, Crescendia doesn’t dwell on another plane, but rather walks among the people of the material one. Her den lies in the mountains in a sacred and beautiful cavern, but its location is unknown to the people of Bakanoria. Her song carries out from this cavern, and is the source of the music that can be heard throughout the country rising up endlessly through the singing wells.
Just under the surface of Bakanoria lies another country of its own. The Underground is a massive network of tunnels and caverns which stretch from the coast to every end of the country. They are all linked by a massive network of underground canals and rivers which link the Singing Wells to the Den of Crescendia. The Underground is home to the less than human members of Bakanoria’s populace, but their existence remains a mystery to the drunken hoards clamoring about above. The sound of the Goddess’s singing is appreciated even in The Underground however, as it provides a cover for the criminal dealings and a means of avoiding detection or capture by the government above. Although The Undergound, technically lacks a capital city, or any cities for that matter, but they have numerous black market outposts with the largest being located under the capital of Val’sata where The Underground connects to the port and thus provides a method of trafficking goods in and out of the country without being noticed.
That about does it for Part 1. In part 2, i'll post Demographic information as well as more information about Crescendia's church, her followers, her rituals, and her holidays. Look for more information in the following posts. Hope you enjoyed this one.