The Kingdom of Gallaca
Λα Ρέινομ ντε Υαλλακα
The Kingdom of Gallaca (sometimes referred to as the Queendom of Gallaca when the sovereign is a queen) is a large, but heavily divided state in southwest Galisea. Its sheer size, and nominal power afford it some measure of influence in the region, however, the instability of the Gallacan state, and the frequent raids made by uncontrolled mercenaries, errant nobles and bandit kings have resulted in some measure of disrespect for the state from its neighbors. Stability has been illusive in the kingdom, though the regnant dynasty has finally begun to turn around, and recentralize the state. The Kingdom is nominally an autocratic, absolute monarchy ruled over by a King (or queen). In real terms however, the Kingdom of Gallaca is a highly decentralized with enormous real powers held by a powerful and toxic array of nobles, mercenaries, and petty bandit kings who have each carved out their own quasi-independent domains. As a result the central authority of the Gallacan monarchy extends largely only to the coastal port cities, and their immediate environs, with others ruling much of the interior in practice, if not in name. The current Tortega Dynasty has been in power for roughly 150 years, and is currently led by Isabel II, who has proven something of a reformer, weakening the power of the urban upper classes, and consolidating her own power base, many believe that she is doing this in a bid to ready for the retaking of the interior from the bandit lords. Though she is not the first to have tried to do so, the rapid expansion of the Queensguard, and the increased funding for the standing army seems to have made an impact on the percieved capabilities of the central monarchy and a few of the less independent minded nobles have submitted to the greater sovreignty of the Queen.
Gallacan culture is varied and diverse thanks in large part to the relative geographic isolation of some communities from others and was formed from their influences, the Aeillan Empire, the Kingdom of Elleryca, and the Meridan Confederacy. Much of the interior was settled by humans, and to a lesser extent, halflings, from Elleryca. With the coastal regions being colonized by maritime traders primarily coming from Merida and Aeilla. The coastal and riverine cities tend towards a maritime culture much more similar to Meridan and Aeillan cultures, with the interior becoming progessively more similar to Ellerycan cultures with the odd region even becoming predominantly Ashevite. Lastly is the Tierra Lanternas, a small part of the nation inhabited by swampfolk with customs entirely their own. The "core" Gallacan culture is generally built around relationships of power and status, with people generally competing for influence in their small society. Competition for resources or prestige is the norm, with people generally struggling to outdo each other in the marketplace. Usually such power struggles are kept civil, however, some more ruthless people are not above hiring mercenaries to disrupt their competitors, and indeed armed muscle is a well sought after skill if only for protection. As one travels into the interior, this trend towards competition becomes less common, and particular in Ashevite communities a more cooperative structure can be found. Families are generally looser in Gallacan culture with relatively lax gender roles, and less inclined towards eldership. People are generally free to pursue their passions to a certain extent (though most wind up farming anyway), and arranged marriages, outside the nobility, are practically unheard of. Gallacans favor the architectural arts, much like Aeillans, but instead of mosaic, favor sculpture as their means of constructing beauty. However, it is far more common for Gallacans to express themselves in music, and in dance, with a great number of musical instruments, and unique dances, originating from the Gallacan territories. String instruments are favored, though percussion is also quite common.
Gallaca was a disunited region for must of the Forging era, with a patchwork of petty kings fighting over territory and resources. This made the area easy pickings for the Aeillan Empire which expanded into the region, and established several provinces in the area towards the end of its expansionary phase. The Imperial state bureaucracy established some infrastructural projects, primarily roads and fortifications to maintain its hold on the territory. Economic troubles, and numerous rebellions in the Gallacan provinces however, forced the withdrawal of the Aeillan Army, and the establishment of the Kingdom of Gallaca as a client of the Empire. Gallaca would maintain its strength through the rest of the Aeillan Era, eventually gaining enough strength to properly declare its independence from the Empire after the end of the Feloran Wars. In the early Reforging Era, the Kingdom of Gallaca become one of the preeminent states in southern Galisea. It would expand into southern Elleryca, seizing much of that territory briefly, and sending missionaries into Ellerycan territory. One hundred years after the start of the Reforging Era, the Kingdom of Gallaca started to go into decline, competition between ambitious nobles, and the challenging of the power of the monarch resulted in a fracturing of the Kingdom's power base. Though Gallaca would not collapse completely, much of the temporal power of the monarch evaporated, limiting the power of the state largely to the coastal cities, with the interior increasingly becoming the personal domains of the nobility, havens for bandits, and bases for the numerous mercenary companies in the region.
Demography and Population
The Kingdom of Gallaca possesses a fairly sizable population of roughly 10,793,000 persons, though it has faced a long period of stagnation since the weakening of the Gallacan state. The population is fairly ruralized, as the once centralized maritime Kingdom has become more parochial and the people have moved back to arable farmlands. Large contrations still exist, but are primarily coastal with populations in the interior, especially in the southern plans the Llanura dispersed extremely evenly. The northern hills are densely populated, but like the plains are fairly evenly dispersed with a large number of smaller population centers. The largest single settlement in the Kingdom of Gallaca is is capital, Galacia which has a permanent population of roughly 55,800 people. There are six other settlements in Gallaca that can be called proper cities, Isabeledo (39,100 residents), Entarragon (27,300 residents), Opuerta (23,300), Vencina (18,600), Kanicia (14,000), and Salamaga with 9,800 residents. Most of the urban population, including virtually all of the country's proper cities in Gallaca is situated on the coast, and along the Rio Gallenda, with the interiors being much more ruralized. Most of the residents of Gallaca are ethnically Gallegan humans. The largest single minority are the Ellerycans, split between humans and halflings. Smaller minorities include the Meridans, Aeillans, and Eriganese humans, Cyrenic dwarves, and Nimearans. Lastly, are the swampfolk of Tierra Lanternas which are a diverse, and hard to account for peoples. Gallegans themselves are a relatively diverse lot with a number of ethnic subgroups each speaking different dialects of the Gallegan language and often possessing slightly different cultural and religious norms and customs.
The Kingdom of Gallaca is a territorially vast state possessing roughly 631,500 square kilometers in territory with relatively even orientation. Due to relatively poor road quality, it takes several weeks to transit the country without using the Rio Gallenda. The borders of Gallaca are largely demarcated by the Yulan Ocean with its overland borders to the east protected by the Odric Mountains, and its north relatively open to the rolling hills of southern Elleryca and Merida where a truly defined border being difficult to pin down and territory decided largely by the loyalties of the local nobles over defined territories. Most of Gallaca is home to relatively moist rolling seasonal plains and hills with dense forests found in the less settled parts of the region. It becomes somewhat wetter in the northern interior, though isn't as humid as the territories of Merida and Elleryca. The southwest of Gallaca is more unique with the Sierra Mountains blocking off the extremely wet swamplands of the Tierra Lanternas. The south center and southeast are somewhat drier than other territories with the bulk of southern Gallaca being taken up by an enormous plain called the Llanura which provides ample farmland so long as the water is managed carefully.
The Kingdom of Gallaca has a highly decentralized army, with the overwhelming majority of soldiers capable of being called into service beloning to the personal retinues of the aristocracy, which is often more concerned with internal power struggles than the security of the wider kingdom. The crown itself maintains a small standing army consisting of 3,000 soldiers, including two small cadres of elite soldiers, the Gallega Queensguard, who are the elite shock troops of the crown, and the Lanternian Hunters, exceptionally skilled levies hailing from the southlands of the Tierra Lanternas. Gallaca is also home to an unusually high number of mercenary bands who are alternately loyal to various nobles, the crown, or to themselves. Gallacan soldiers as a rule possess a wide variety of equipment with various spears and polearms, crossbows (rarely including repeating crossbows), and arquebuses being favored in the infantry, Cavalry are known to favor lances and swords. Archers are rare, but those levied from from the Tierra Lanternas can be said to be some of the finest in southwest Galisea. Armor is generally not uniform at all, with indiduals being provided whatever their noble employer can afford, though as a rule cavalry tends to be better armored (as a function of higher social class), than infantry. Gallaca maintains a modest navy, some 36 warships strong primarily favoring war galleys. Some of these galleys have been modernized with gun decks capable of mountain fairly modern gunpowder artillery, but most are decades old, lightly armed war galleys. The Gallacan monarchy maintains a fairly sizable corps of marines that often are used as urban enforcers. No nobles possess particularly strong navies, with only a handful of gallies passing into the hands of lesser nobles, but privateers are well known to provide ample services to the wealthier coastal houses.
The Kingdom of Gallaca benefits heavily from trade with nearby cultures and is enriched technologically by them. They have relatively impressive agricultural technologies with efficient yield management, particularly among the independent minded farmers of the Llanura, as well as advanced metallurgy. Gallaca trades for gunpowder, and gunpowder weaponry, good clockwork, as well as other highly advanced technologies with the Aeillans serving as the primary providers of these advanced technologies. In recent years, there has been an effort by some to produce these technologies locally, but efforts in this regard are in their infancy and have not yet begun to pay off.
The official state religion of the Kingdom of Gallaca is the Pandroi faith. The existing royal family has tended to prefer the deity known to the Gallacan Pandroi faithful as Kolani, though most noble houses have their own religious preferences. Gallaca has traditionally tried to spread the faith to holdout communities of Ashevites in the north and east. Though missionaries have tried to spread the faith in the Tierra Lanternas, this is one activity that the locals reliably seem to meet with violence, and the last missionaries left or were killed some fifty years ago.
The Kingdom of Gallaca is hard pressed to have normal diplomatic relations with many of its neighbors due to the actions of errant Gallacan nobles and mercenaries occasionally raiding the territory of neighboring states, and the crown itself struggling to maintain control. Gallaca does have relatively routine contact with Merida, Elleryca, Nimeara, and the westernmost Aeillan Successor States, and has intermittent contact with Volgeberg, Qua'adar, and Indhara. It has no arrangements more formalized than basic trade agreements however.
Agriculture & Industry
The Kingdom of Gallaca is a heavily agrarian state with some 95% of the population working as farmers, or other agricultural workers. Normally there is a reasonable surplus of food, though much of this gets consumed by mercenaries, bandits, and other nonproductive purposes. There is a small mining sector, and a modest but growing logging industry the products of which provide the rest of the raw materials needed by the wider Gallacan Economy. Most manufactured goods are produced locally however, with few places other than the largest cities being able to produce significantly more than subsistence without that being taken up by feuding nobles, mercenaries, or raider bands. Skilled craftspeople, merchants, sailors, and educated functionaries make up a small portion of the population, largely concentrated in cities provide for most of the wealth in the Gallacan economy, producing manufactured goods, trade, and the ability to move products into the wider marketplace. Lastly is the comparatively extensive nobility, and warrior classes which are often engaged in fighting each other more than external threats.
Trade & Transport
Gallaca is primarily a maritime trading nation with most of the trade coming from the Guandao to Erigan overseas trade route. There is also a modest riverine route running the navigable length of the Rio Gallega. Overland commerce is conducted on the old Imperial Road network, though these routes are very unsafe, and many elect instead to pay more for shipment over water to evade the throngs of bandits in the countryside, for the less likely threat of pirate attack. Gallacan markets are relatively modest compared to those of their Aeillan neighbors with a decent variety of locally manufactured goods, limited financial services, and certain agricultural products for sale. Most often, foreign merchants sell spices, foreign made goods, and precious gemstones to the locals. Magic items are rare, mostly captured and used by adventuerers who are loathe to give them up. Nominally slavery is illegal, though the sale of slaves is frequent on the Kingdom's extensive black market, which is a major source of income for the underworld of southern Galisea.
The infrastructure of the Kingdom of Gallaca is relatively undeveloped, with most of the infrastructure that has been constructed, being based on the old Aeillan Imperial system of roads and fortifications, known locally as the Vias and the Torres. Though some infrastructural development was made since then, so too has much of the Imperial road network fallen into ruin or captured by illegitimate authorities. Water treatment and delivery is particularly underdeveloped compared to Aeilla, with no major aqueducts, or functioning sewer systems.
Head of State
Official State Religion
Gallaca in Detail
Gallaca in Music(Worldbuilder's Note: The following playlist is suitable background music for an RPG set in the Kingdom or to note the Gallacan culture.)
The Kingdom of Gallaca recognizes the Kingdom of Nimeara, and vice versa, functionaries from both states are regular visitors to the courts of their counterparts, but little in the way of formal arrangements have been made.
The Kingdom of Gallaca and Cyrenica have entered into a limited a trade agreement with few import duties between the two states.
The Kingdom of Gallaca has generally peaceable, but varying relationships with the various Successor States, as a rule they do significant trading with maritime states, though they often are at odds with pirates based out of Halion who often raiding Gallacan shipping, and take prisoners as slaves.