Republic of Apseldia

Apseldia (Ap-SELL-deeya) is a city state republic very loosely based on real world Ancient Athens.   Apseldia is a coastal port city with a small amount of fertile farmland around it. It is most noteworthy in that the majority of the population is half-human half-elves.

Public Agenda

To provide a safe and prosperous home for all half-elves.

History

The Elven Empire once controlled a much larger territory than it holds now, but they had to gradually ceded territory to various Human nations bit by bit. This conflict was rarely non-violent. What Humans call the Elven Wars and the Elves call the Receding Wars marked the peak of their conflict and sowed the seeds for the birth of Apseldia. When the Elves and Humans were at war, Half-Elves found themselves unwelcome in Human and Elven society alike, both sides assuming the half-breeds were against them. This prejudice was especially in border regions that changed hands between Humans and Elves often. Policies ranged from systematic discrimination to enslavement to acts of genocide.   A party of Half-Elven adventurers (and one Gnome) spent decades struggling for the welfare of half-breeds. The party ended up gaining and losing members often. When the dust settled, a city that was conquered and liberated by Elves and Humans over and over again ended up in the control of the Half-Elf adventurers and their ragtag army. They repelled enough subsequent invasion attempts from both Humans and Elves, that the two warring parties both decided to settle “the half-breed problem” after they won the war. Both the original and newer members of the adventuring party are known in Apseldia as the Founders. You can hardly throw a rock in Apseldia without hitting a monument to one or more of the Founders.   Neither Humans nor Elves definitely “won” the war. When the warring factions grew tired of the conflict and made a peace treaty officially recognizing the borders of their post-war lands, they also reluctantly recognized the city-state of Apseldia as a sovereign nation. Both sides rationalized that Apseldia would make a good neutral buffer state to separate them.   After hostilities between Humans and Elves petered out, Apseldia spent the first century or so of their existence fending off no fewer than four attempts at conquest (three Human, one Elven), two of which were only defeated after extensive guerilla resistance on the part of a “conquered” populace. Once the major local powers in the region decided Apseldia was not worth the trouble of conquering, Apseldia reinvented themselves from being a refuge for scrappy half-breeds to be a prosperous trading hub.

Demography and Population

63% half-human half-elves, 22% humans, 6% gnomes, 2% tengku, 2% elves, 1% half-orcs , 4% Other   Apseldian Humans    A few Apseldian humans are the children of human and half-elf pairings but most are immigrants.   Humans make up the second largest population bloc after half-elves. The last of the Founders to pass away spoke passionately for not oppressing humans and elven minorities and most have taken his words for gospel. More and more half-elves are having second thoughts about Humans at least. The offspring of a Human pairing with a half-elf is a human, and human-human generations take less time to mature. Many doomsayers believe that full blooded humans could outbreed them and take over Apseldia within a few centuries without drawing a sword.  On the other side of the coin, there are those that believe humans should be included more.  Many humans and their half-elf relatives are clamoring to give humans the right to vote at Council meetings, at least if they have direct blood ties to half-elf citizens.   Apseldian Gnomes   Gnomes are the third largest group. The rural countryside has one gnomish village and the city has a gnomish quarter, but Gnomes are generally welcome anywhere. Since one of the Founders was a Gnome (and he has monuments around the city just like the other Founders), Gnomes enjoy a societal status above all other non half-elves. Also the gnomes’ numbers are small and stable, so only the most xenophobic half-elves do any less than fully embrace their Gnome citizenry. Still, many gnomes grumble that seventy years minimum age of voting is not a fair equivalent to a half-elves’ thirty-five years of age figuring fifty would be more accurate. The Apseldian gnomes are generally the most vocal proponents for a greater inclusion of more non-half-elves.   Apseldian Elves   Elves make up the fourth largest population bloc. Because elves have tried to conquer Apseldia less often than Humans have (in recent centuries anyway) and the fact that elves are not a risk for “breeding out” the half-elves since an elf pairing with a half-elf always creates a Half-Elf, Elven residents are generally accepted with relatively few reservations. A small number of Imperial Elves find their homeland stifling and choose to take up residence in Apseldia. Relatively few stay for their whole lives unless they marry a human or half-elf (in which case they may stay still only as long as their spouse lives). Many are bachelors or spinsters though a few expatriate Elves have married Elves in Apseldia. Thus Appseldia actually has a few “native” Elves.    Full Sylvan Elves rarely seek to become permanent residents, especially if they don’t have Half-Human children, but they often visit Apseldia on their Rumspringas. Dark Elves are generally not welcome. Even outspoken abolitionists find the city dangerous for them. After Apseldia’s first expatriate Dark Elf was found murdered along with his Half-Elf wife and child, no dark elf has sought to stay in the city longer than it takes to make a quick business deal or drop off some ex-slaves, but even dark elf abolitionists do not feel welcome in Apseldia

Religion

Zarthus and his Lanterns are the state religion but, officially all religious practices are welcome. Unofficially, worshippers, and especially priests, of deities on the outs with Zarthus had best be somewhat discrete.   Apseldia is the only land in Scarterra where Zarthus’ Priesthood could qualify as being “the Man.” This has both strengthened and weakened the local temple’s ties with their brethren elsewhere. Priests of Zarthus are involved in most state functions. They provide magical support to the military and police force. They count the votes and oversee the lotteries for positions. Their words carry much weight in the Apseldian Council, but they rarely make their voices heard at the assembly. The ranking priests of Zarthus prefer to let the lay members of the Council sort out their own issues and discourage their underlings from pushing too hard on the political machine without dire need.   Mera is widely worshipped by Apseldians, especially rural Apseldians, fishermen and sailors. The Tenders actually boast more tempes and shrines than the Lanterns do although these temples and shrines are pretty small and modest. Almost every Apseldian Mera priest or priestess is of the Terrawan tradition.   The Guardians of Hallisan maintains a chapel in the city. Apart from the members of the army (which includes a few priests of Hallisan among them), most Apseldians only worship Hallisan on his holy days.   The city houses a large temple dedicated to Nami. Given how friendly Zarthus and Nami usually are, Apseldia City has more enthusiastic worshippers of Nami than one usually sees. The temple also serves as a haven and communication hub for Rover circuit priests in the surrounding nations. Influence from Zarthus’ priesthood has gradually bled into the Nami temple into favoring the Gentle Breeze faction of the greater priesthood. Many believe it’s only a matter of time before the Apseldian Nami temple draws the ire of some of Nami’s more radical followers.   Like in many nations, Korus worship is broad but not very deep in Apseldia. The countryside is dotted with small shrines to him. Most Apseldian Korus priests consider themselves Stewards of the Gift rather than Stewards of the Dominion. Given that there is very little land not used for agriculture or settlement, Stewards of the Dominion find Apseldia mildly unpleasant. The only actual temple to Korus is in the city itself. The Stewards there are well used to serving as mediators to disagreeing groups though the locals generally call on them as a last resort. Many of the disputes they mediate are not Apseldian at all. Foreign priestly factions sometimes travel to Apseldia as neutral ground for Korus priests to help mediate their issues. The fact that Apseldia is a good place to sell wands and potions adds to the appeal of the location.   Greymoria has a few shrines dedicated to her, but no temples. Most Apseldians pay their respects to Greymoria on her holy days and pretend she doesn’t exist the rest of the year. Apseldians who view Greymoria as their primary deity (nearly always arcane spell casters) generally keep their religious preferences quiet. The few Children in Apseldia tend to be very mercenary in outlook, selling magical services for coin, no questions asked. If they have a agenda beyond making gold, they haven’t shown it yet.   Khemra has a large but very modest shrine in the city that theoretically has the amenities of a temple. Apseldians generally make a small offering or prayer at the shrine once a year (if even that often).  Keepers visiting are free to stay there no charge, but most prefer to stay in inns rather than the dusty worn down “temple” of their goddess believing the Apseldians deliberately make it uncomfortable.   Maylar has a small temple in the capital that was, until recently, generally empty. Venerations to Maylar were originally performed by Zarthus priests at proscribed times. Amongst the first wave of Half-Orc immigrants came a single Tester claiming affiliation with the Herders of Men. Zarthus’ priesthood watches him like a hawk for signs of violence of subversive activity. Once in a while the Decadent movement crops up amongst the wealthier citizenry of Apseldia. If Decadents united with half-orc Maylar worshipers they could theoretically do a lot of damage, but for now the half-orcs seem to be playing nice. If they worship Maylar at all, they do so alongside the more socially acceptable among the Nine.   Phidas is even less welcome. Few Apseldians even give his holy days the most perfunctory acknowledgement. Publicly worshipping Phidas is a good way to attract local scorn. The local peacekeepers will usually not lift a finger to help a Mask  should the scorn turn violent. As for secret Phidas worship, few even try. The policy set by the Pontiff that theoretically has jurisdiction over Phidas’ interests in Apseldia has officially (and publicly) announced a hands-off policy towards Apseldia. He says when the Lanterns of Apseldia will buckle under the pressure of having to help govern rather than sew anarchy. “They will fall by their own weakness soon enough. Let us not let them be able to blame Phidas' faithful for interfering.”

Agriculture & Industry

The lands around the city of Apseldia are rich and fertile. The coastal areas aren’t exactly teeming with fish but the city’s fishermen make respectable catches. Despite the wealth of food resources, Apseldia has to import a large portion of its grain and bulk foodstuff, largely because Apseldian farmers focus heavily on growing cash crops, especially wine and olives.   Apseldia has a rich culture of artists and their works of art command a high price in other lands. Their practical craftsmen are respectable as well. Apseldia has little in terms of mineral wealth so ore and the like generally has to be traded for. Apseldia has enough timberland to meet their basic fuel needs, but they cannot sustain timber heavy industries such as ship building and buildings are made out of brick or sod more often than wood.     The biggest Sword of Damocles hanging over Apseldia is simple logistics. Already, the nation cannot produce enough food to feed the population. As the population continues to grow, the risk of starvation increases. As long as trade is booming, Apseldia can more than make up for their shortcomings with imports, but a trade shock could be devastating. It’s been a long time since an outside force has attempted to conquer Apseldia, but an outsider could theoretically bring the whole nation to its knees by forcibly restricting trade.   A small but growing number of Half-Elves have voiced the opinion that Apseldia should conquer some additional crop land to head off this possibility. Others have talked about restricting new immigrants.

Trade & Transport

Apseldia refers to both the capital city and the lands around.  Apseldia's capital is a bustling port city so there is lots of sea trade in and out.   Most of the farmers outside the city only live a few days journey from the city proper.
Type
Geopolitical, City-state
Predecessor Organization
Demonym
Apseldian
Government System
Democracy, Direct
Power Structure
Unitary state
Economic System
Market economy
Major Exports
Wine, objects of art, olive oil
Major Imports
Metal goods, spices, luxury goods, timber
Legislative Body
Apseldia's laws are made by the Apseldian Council.  All male Half-Elf citizens, who are at least thirty-five and Gnome citizens who are at least seventy may participate and vote in any meeting of the Apseldian Council though in reality rural citizens are lucky to be able to participate in two or three Councils per year. Because of this, the major decisions (and routine agricultural policies that largely impact the rural citizenry) are usually made in the Winter when farmers are least busy. Despite this accommodation, city half-elves easily possess both greater influence and greater knowledge in the political realm than their rural brethren
Official State Religion
Location
Official Languages
Related Ranks & Titles
Controlled Territories
Neighboring Nations


Cover image: Symbol of the Nine by Pendrake