Craterhold

Craterhold is a loose, arch-libertarian society located in the Medial Tesseract. Being descended primarily from Elovisian tribes, being sandwiched between warring nations, and consistently beset with inter-factional warfare, the Holdsmen and Holdswomen of Craterhold are a hardy and blunt lot who put little stock in centralized authority save for their favored neo-feudal lords.

Demography and Population

The population of Craterhold is overwhelmingly (~95%) Elovisian, with ethnic Voxelians and Verdials often abhorring the idea of such variable government. The remaining population consists of disaffected expatriates from adjacent nations, with (ironically) educated Voxelian dissidents making up the bulk of this minority, and mercenary bands employed by noble houses to fight others as proxies.

Territories

The noble houses of Craterhold occupy almost all territory within the odd crater-shaped basin in the center of Medial C2, with scattered settlements and fortresses on and beneath the surface of D4 built to repel air and ground assets from Voxelia's D2 holdings. While the Craterites are not known for well-organized defense, they are almost impossible to remove from a territory once established and have carried out decades-long guerilla campaigns against Voxelian occupiers in Medial D.

Military

In Craterhold, homeland defense is handled mostly by civilian militias and house security forces. Because Craterhold is an arch-libertarian state, competition and sport are important cultural institutions that serve to establish social hierarchies where a centralized government cannot. As a result, Holdsmen commoners tend to by outdoorsy, physically fit, and familiar with firearms long before they join a militia, though these strengths are offset by a lack of formal education or regimentation. Even among their allies in the Free Faces League and Commonwealth of C armed forces, Craterhold militias are viewed as a rabble unsuitable for offensive operations.   Like other feudal societies, the noble houses of Craterhold also rely on knights - in this case, clad in dieseltech auto-armor - to stake their claims and carry out the duties of professional military officers. For matters that affect a house's holdings as a whole or require striking outside the bounds of Craterhold territory, the noble houses can raise and train volunteers from their own territories to create professional armies. Against Voxelia, the armies of Craterhold are unified; otherwise, the noble houses fight small-scale skirmishes between one another for prestige and territorial claims almost constantly. As a result of this constant infighting, Holdsman armies, while poorly-trained, achieve a high degree of veterancy long before they are ever sent to deal with foreign armies. Weapon systems from the Free Faces League an Commonwealth of C are used to equip Craterhold forces when possible, as the heavy industry sector in Craterhold is very limited in scope.

Technological Level

While the native technological level of Craterhold is somewhat behind that of the Free Faces League, Craterhold does vigorously import and reverse-engineer technology from other nations when possible for their own purposes. While Craterhold engineers are not likely to produce their own groundbreaking technological advancements, they do possess an uncanny knack for finding unexpected cross-compatibilites between technologies from disparate parts of the manifold, creating kludged-together machines that can fill surprisingly diverse roles. Indeed, no two Craterhold airships are exactly the same, and no archetype exists that is not somehow derived from a Leaguesman or Rostran design; in Craterhold airship yards, the saying goes that "if it doesn't know it's dad, it's probably a Holdsman's vessel."

Religion

While many citizens of Craterhold are Unexpectors, there is no official state religion. Most Holdsmen and Holdswomen still retain a degree of belief in animistic traditions, regarding the cubes themselves as having a will that guides the progress of humanity through the ages, while a sizeable minority also believe in the existence of ancestral spirits which wander the world and influence the actions of human beings. As a result of these traditional beliefs, many Craterites eventually become Biocosmists. An unknown percentage of the population - mostly young, ambitious professionals - profess no religious faith, viewing religion as a stumbling block and an unwanted instrument of foreign influence.

Foreign Relations

While foreign powers almost universally regard Craterhold as a fickle and unpredictable nation on the geopolitical stage, the looseness of Craterhold's governing system also makes it imminently pliable to the right application of cash, resources, or bribery. Craterhold, the Commonwealth of C, and the Free Faces League were forced into an odd alliance by their shared enemy in Voxelia, though the latter two powers are keen to prevent Craterhold ideologies from sneaking into their own public discourses and regard Craterhold as merely a buffer state.   Craterhold does have relations with the Manifold Conservation Society, but only insofar as the MCS seeks to preserve all cultures - regardless of percieved "barbarism" on the part of a given culture.   For their part, Voxelia regards Craterhold with the kind of distress that one would normally reserve for cancer or bodily mutation, as the Craterhold system of feudal lords is perceived to be what the Voxelian system of government would degenerate into should the Council of Liars fail to maintain political unity. As a result, while Voxelia is at war to reclaim all the breakaway expeditionary colonies, they would probably cleanse Craterhold of all life if given the opportunity, a prospect that further pushes Craterhold into the arms of the Free Faces League and it's many weapons dealers.

Agriculture & Industry

Craterhold is primarily an agricultural and military power, with industrial output limited in comparison to states like the Free Faces League. Grain harvesting, mining, textile production, private military contracting, and labor for foreign-owned factories are the major economic sectors of Craterhold. Research programs which might otherwise face red tape in more bureaucratic states takes place under the auspices of local lords, making the region an ideal test-bed for speculative or fringe scientific ideas.

Trade & Transport

While the roads situated well within the territory of a given noble house might be paved and well-maintained, they are considerably more rough or even just made of compacted dirt in the spaces between the house holdings or where territory is constantly changing hands between houses. A vast network of unmapped, unofficial roads connects the various agricultural centers of Craterhold to one another, divorcing agricultural commerce from the direct control of the noble houses. As a result, the taxes imposed by the houses must be flat-rate, as actual economic activity within their territory is difficult to measure.   Foreign corporations, such as MartMart International and the League Dieseltech Armory, have established airports to ease their own trade with Craterhold. These airports are deemed to be foreign embassies and customs-free areas for the purpose of facilitating trade, though goods passing into and out of these areas are carefully inspected. Security imposed by the company or the parent state of the airport have ultimate sway over what is and isn't allowed within airport grounds and often take a hands-off approach. The result is that the port towns that spring up around the landing strips proper have a reputation for unsurpassed debauchery and corruption.

Education

While members of the noble houses tend to be well-educated, charismatic, and gifted in the art of public speaking, the general population of Craterhold is not. Most citizens of Craterhold perform some degree of subsistence farming or hunting, with scant few lords willing to invest in the welfare and education services that would cut into their own resources at the benefit of their "serfs." Noble houses who produce manufactured goods do provide training in the relevant trades (i.e. electricians), and since this education is hyper-focused in a given profession, Craterhold does boast a number of highly-trained specialists for certain industrial niches that more wealthy nations would find too expensive to handle themselves on safety grounds (i.e. hazardous chemical production).   Foreign outreach programs from the Commonwealth of C and Free Faces League do provide some degree of these services to maintain friendly relations with Craterhold - after all, Craterhold is important for the the security of these states against threats from the Medial D cube. Private learning institutions do exist in Craterhold and accept alternative forms of payment (i.e. labor, goods, etc.) for those wishing to broaden their intellect beyond what is required to survive in such a hostile environment.

Infrastructure

In general, the closer a citizen travels into territory held by a noble house, the more advanced the infrastructure becomes, with the actual city which springs up around a noble house's estate having running water, sewers, power, and other modern public utilities. The eponymous city of Craterhold is the most advanced and well-defended of these cities, sitting at the intersection of several house territories and ruled in accordance with joint noble oversight. Like most major nations within the manifold, major population centers in Craterhold are often as expansive underground as they are above ground, though the semi-nomadic ethos of Craterhold culure mandates that these underground cities be easily accessible (and exitable) by civilians.   In contrast, scant construction is conducted beyond the crater walls save for military posts, international telephone lines and roads, or the occasional wilderness homestead.
Type
Geopolitical, Country
Veterancy Level
Experienced
Demonym
Holdsman or Holdswoman; Craterite
Government System
Democracy, Representative
Power Structure
Feudal state
Economic System
Market economy
Currency
While the Craterhold economy is so awash in League shillings and Commonwealth credits that these are used freely in the marketplace as legal tender, the persistence of traditional economic practices and the variability of favored lords within Craterhold society has of yet prevented the nation from establishing it's own monetary instruments.
Major Exports
Craterhold's most important informal export is peace of mind; as the nation sits at the "rear" flank of the Free Faces League and the Commonwealth of C, it's military might is important to the continued survival of those nations. In terms of material goods, Craterhold exports finished textiles, mineral dyes, copper, oats, lumber, and mutton.
Major Imports
Craterhold imports fertilizer, biodiesel, finished mechanical devices, and weapons and vehicles of war. While some of these goods are produced locally by house-controlled factory complexes, it is often more economical (if not consistent) to import them from nations with more advanced industrial bases.
Legislative Body
The peoples of Craterhold are unified more by culture and shared history than official edict; to become a citizen of Craterhold merely requires recognition as such from other Holdsmen and Holdswomen. There are sixteen or more noble houses who exist within Craterhold at any given time, whether raised up as such due to their economic power, charismatic leadership, or ideology. Citizens chose their allegiances based on what rules and taxes they are willing to tolerate from the house lords in exchange for the protection and other benefits; freedom of movement is considered sacrosanct within Craterhold explicitly so that citizens can move closer to their chosen lords. The various lords, in turn, oversee both affairs local to their own holdings (via house security forces and administrators) and foreign affairs (via shared accord between themselves in representative conclaves of lords in this sense, Craterhold is governed by a loose form of representative democracy where public assent to policy is determined by personal movement rather than ballots. Craterhold citizens may also chose to move into the mountains beyond the crater basin to live outside of this system - in complete, arch-libertarian individualism - so long as they don't overstep into Commonwealth or League territory. In settlements outside of noble control, matters of local law are settled by a simple majority vote.
Judicial Body
House security forces and administrators serve under the lords of each noble house to enforce the edicts of the noble families. In the outskirts, however, justice must be taken into every individual's own hands or remain undone, as these regions are the demesnes of no lord at all.
Subsidiary Organizations
Location
Official Languages
Controlled Territories
Related Ethnicities

Articles under Craterhold



Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth
Character flag image: Craterhold Unity Flag by BCGR_Wurth

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