Over the past few decades Sindal has undergone a series of remarkably-rapid and mostly-admirable societal changes. It will be very interesting to see what becomes of the nation over the next few decades - assuming it does not implode under its own momentum.
Sindal is one of the founding members of the Grand Alliance. It is the hub of much trade in the continent, and also home to the keenest minds. In times gone past Sindal was inhabited primarily by gnomes, but its open trade routes and increasing pressure from the Dominion have led more and more people to settle within its borders, making it quite a melting pot of races. Sindal's northern border with the Dominion is defended primarily by a dazzling array of traps and illusions.
Life and Society
Sindal is a cosmopolitan nation, welcoming to people of all races. Gnomes (mostly rock gnomes) are the historic inhabitants of the nation, and still make up around half its population, but the other half are made up of people from every other race in the Alliance, and more besides. Sindal is an old country, and well-developed. Most old cities are built on and in hills, as while gnomes are equally happy below ground as above ground, they do like the opportunity to exist in both habitats. For this reason the historic gnome cities are almost universally built part above-ground and part underground. With an expanding and increasingly diverse population, newer settlements and expansions do not always follow this trend.
Sindal sits between the two most productive members of the Alliance, Khazarak and Esé-Nal, and has good sea or land routes to most other member states besides. This, combined with its open and welcoming nature, has led to it becoming the trade hub of the continent, and it has grown rich on tariffs and trade duties.
Sindal’s social structure is very complex. There are many large, noble gnomish families, but the gnomes have not taken the family structure to the extent that the dwarves have with their clans. There are various different classes and castes within the society, from the rich nobles to the muck-scraping peasants. To the gnomes' credit, they have had no trouble slotting in members of other races to all stages of their society - with the exception, of course, of the noble families. That being said, some gnomes feel that the other races have become too prominent & numerous in Sindal, and that the gnomes' say in 'their' nation has been reduced too far.
The Sindai are perhaps the most advanced of the nations of Nalunara when it comes to equality of the sexes. They long ago came to realise that females can be just as imaginative, capable and witty as the males, and females can be found in as many roles as males across Sindal. They are also favoured as advisers or officers in the military, to take advantage of their different way of thinking to males, and in constructing Sindal's defences, for their sometimes cruel but extremely imaginative minds. They are not limited to the military, however, and can be found in many civilian jobs across the nation, albeit in slightly lower numbers than males.
Government and Politics
Sindal is ruled by a council of twenty-nine gnomes. These gnomes are elected from the ranks of the leading noble families of Sindal. The Sindai often proclaim that they have the only democratic government in Nalunara, but in reality only those from the noble families, and other members of the higher-class of Sindai society, are eligible to vote. The voters decide who to support based on a bewildering array of qualities and considerations including, but not limited to, the candidate’s charisma, objectives, policies, desires, personality, sense of humour, accomplishments, dress sense, gender, family connections, personal wealth, hairstyle, friends, enemies, and also how the voter happens to be feeling at the time, what the voter’s friends think, how many times the candidate has been a councillor before, and what Their Rick said about Our Tam at Aunty Magi’s wedding.
The army of Sindal is not particularly large, but the wealth of the country ensures that the army of Sindal is extremely well equipped, and always uses the best weapons and armour. Gnomes are not exactly formidable fighters, and the generals realise this. They instead capitalise on their strengths. They invest heavily in guerilla warfare, small squads harrying the enemy constantly. Mages, especially illusionists and beguilers, are very common in the army. Members of more physically capable races are used to form a solid fighting core around which the rest of the harassment can be focused. Fighting an army of Sindal is a true headache for an opposing general, as he cannot tell what is real and what is not, or, most of the time, just what the hell is going on.
When it comes down to pitched battles, or large enemy forces, Sindal's army finds itself completely outclassed. In such situations it usually relies upon support from the much-stronger armies of Khazarak and Esé-Nal.
The official religion of Sindal is that of Garl Glittergold, the patron god of the gnomes. However, with the increasing racial diversity in the country, and its focus on trade revenues, worship of Niela is now perhaps more significant to a lot of Sindai. Although there are temples to various gods around the country, the Sindai generally prefer to show their faith at small shrines in their own homes. Most traditional families, rich or poor, will host a weekly 'sermon' in their houses for their family, to reaffirm their faith and ask for the gods' blessing. The priesthood is smaller in Sindal than in many nations, with few Sindai feeling drawn to it. The majority of priests that do exist tend to spend their time wandering the towns, villages and cities, visiting homes and ensuring that families are upholding the faith correctly.
With two highly-productive nations on its borders, always willing to export goods to wealthy Sindal, the nation has not needed to establish large industries of its own. Instead, the emphasis is on new and innovative creations, rather than mass-produced, boring, well-established designs. In recent decades the Sindai have begun to perfect the art of creating artificial constructs to aid them at work and at war, and these beings are beginning to be seen more and more frequently. For now their intelligence is extremely limited, but the Sindai are always hard at work improving their designs.
A significant source of revenue in Sindal is the exploitation of the resources from the Spellscar. The Sindai have established a vast number of mines in the lands surrounding the eastern edge of the scar, plundering the wealth of rare metals and gems found within. They also trade extensively with the aquatic inhabitants of the Scar for the rare magical goods found in its waters.
The Equalist Movement
A loosely-organised movement growing in popularity with the non-gnomes in the nation, the Equalists believe that the gnomes are being too greedy with their political and societal power, and are not sharing it fairly with the newcomers to the nation. They think that many gnomes are stuck in the past, refusing to acknowledge that Sindal is now a nation for all races. The Equalists campaign for non-gnomes to be allowed to vote, to run for office, and to be elevated to the nobility. The Equalists are very varied in their methods: some prefer peaceful protests or reasoned debate, while others believe only violence will force society to change.
With the increased commerce dominating Sindal, Traders have flocked to the nation in larger numbers. By their tradition Traders stay out of local politics, but politicians typically seek to avoid offending them lest they feel the economic consequences. Traders can be of any race, and the increased presence of races usually uncommon in the Alliance has helped to speed Sindal's move towards cosmopolitanism.
The only real port in the country, Kodel lies on the edge of the Spellscar itself. The sheer cliffs do not make for a natural port, so the gnomes of decades past laboriously quarried an artificial harbour from the land. This has been expanded over the years to cope with increasing demand. Kodel is absolutely vital to Sindal's trade network, and is the hub of a vast number of trade routes.
The capital city of Sindal, Trithel is built on and under three large hills positioned next to each other. The hills are separated by sheer cliffs and deep valleys, and so are linked by a bewildering amount of bridges and walkways. The bridges are of every conceivable design – any aspiring architect considers it their duty to add at least one more bridge to the gathering throng, and most do their best do come up with something original. With so many bridges already in place, dreaming up a new idea is becoming increasingly challenging, and so the new bridges are becoming more and more bizarre. The bases of the valleys are filled by raging rivers, connecting up before flowing away to the south. Tunnels do connect the undersides of the hills, and these require constant maintenance to keep them watertight.
Inhabitants Gnomes (mostly rock gnomes) 50%, halflings 15%, dwarves 10%, elves 10%, other races 15%.
Languages Gnomish, Elven
Neighbours The Kwal Dominion, Esé-Nal, Khazarak, Ormir, The Wescuan League
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