Nestled on the shores of Schwarze Lagune, within sight of the island on which the ruins of Heimatstadt, the old capital of the Kingdom of Reinhart stand, the city state of Ravendorp has managed to retain its integrity and reputation as the centre of learning amongst the Mountain Principalities and the region of the Felsspitze Mountains. The city is home to the renowned Ravendorp School of Political & Military Science, which continues to be a key pulling factor that draws people in to the city, with nobles from throughout the Mountain Principalities and beyond still keen to have their children educated in the establishment. Set partly on the land, and partly on the waters of Schwarze Lagune, the largest and deepest lake in the Felsspitze Mountains, Ravendorp looks mostly to the lake and to trade in order to maintain its population, and to retain its independence in the area. The city is divided into two district, the Landward District and the Lake District, with the Lake District being built on the waters of Schwarze Lagune, through the use of deep foundations driven into the lake floor and floating platforms. As one of the few Republics in the Mountain Principalities, it is often viewed with wary eyes by the other micro-nations, who fear that its system of popular rule might begin to leech out into the other, much more authoritarian nations that surround it.
The city-state of Ravendorp is a fully fledged democracy, headed up by People’s Lord, who is voted into a four year term, during which time they act as the figurehead for the nation, and are able to make some executive decisions themselves, mostly relating to situations classed as being ‘national emergencies’. The People’s Lord has priority in bringing new legislation or reforms before the Senate, the idea being that they represent the democratic mandate of the people. The People’s Lord also appoints Senators to roles of responsibility that oversee areas of the state’s governance, roles which are usually given out to their major supporters, or in exchange for buying the Senator’s support in the Senate. The People’s Lord is elected from a body of individuals (who are themselves elected) called the Senate. Senators represent either specific areas of the city, or represent certain classes, trades or guilds in Ravendorp. Ravendorp’s military, for example, have their own Senator that soldiers elect from amongst themselves, as does Ravendorp’s Guild of Smithies and the Union of Fishermen etc. This means that depending on their trade, citizens of Ravendorp can potentially be in the position of being able to vote for two (and occasionally more) Senators, one for their area of residence and one representing their livelihood. There are not official parties within the Senate, but Senators will band together into likeminded political factions that can choose to support the People’s Lord, or oppose the legislation that he brings to the table. The political system of Ravendorp means that major or controversial decisions often result in a stalemate within the Senate, and in these cases the People’s Lord has the right to take the matter to a public referendum, where all citizens would be able to vote on the matter. Any person that is born within the city-state of Ravendorp, regardless of where their parents originated are citizens of Ravendorp, and are eligible to vote in elections and referendums. People who move to Ravendorp are eligible to become citizens once they have been resident in the city-state for over 10 years, something that they have to prove to the authorities in order to be entered on the Citizen’s Register.
Ravendorp is not known for being a powerhouse of production or industry, though it is a hub of trade on the northern shore of Schwarze Lagune. As Ravendorp is well connected by road to the majority of the other states in the Mountain Principalities, a lot of goods move through Ravendorp on their journey heading further north and east, with many traders choosing to transport goods over the waters of Schwarze Lagune, directly to Ravendorp, where they unloaded and shipped further on. This means that there is a thriving service industry in Ravendorp focusing on bargemen who ply the waters of the lake, shipping goods to the north and south. In addition, the deep water of the lake provide enough resources for a large and sustainable fishing operation, which mostly caters to feeding the city’s population. The primary asset for Ravendorp is undoubtedly the Ravendorp School of Political & Military Science, which provides a constant stream of overwhelmingly wealthy students who come to learn in the renowned educational establishment, but have also gained a certain notoriety for being very free with their money whilst residing in Ravendorp. As well as this, Ravendorp has become a centre for the trading of antiquities from all over Turoza, but with a special focus on objects that have been ‘recovered’ from Heimatstadt, the ruined capital of the Old Kingdom of Reinhart. Recovery Expeditions still regularly leave from Ravendorp to investigate Heimatstadt for valuable items, and these expeditions are also dispatched across the continent to search for previously lost items of value. This practice is officially frowned upon at best by the other nations of Turoza, but the wealthy citizens of every nation are more than happy to have a priceless antique or curio decorate their residences, and can be confident in there authenticity knowing that they have passed through Ravendorp.
Demography and Population
Like the city itself, the demographics of Ravendorp are split in two. The Landward District of the city, is by far the most affluent of the two, with its residents happily paying a premium to live in houses built on solid ground, though many of these houses are themselves rather palatial in proportion. The Landward District is also where all of Ravendorp’s main ceremonial and bureaucratic buildings have been constructed, and it is also the location of the Ravendorp School’s campus. In contrast, the more ramshackled buildings of the Lake District are predominantly occupied by the poorer members of Ravendorp society, many of whom live in buildings on floating platforms that are well on their way to becoming uninhabitable.
Ravendorp is a true city-state, with almost all of its territory being given over to the construction of Ravendorp city. Situated in a narrow strip of land between the foothills of the Felsspitze Mountains and Schwarze Lagune, there is very little land available for building, which has led to a large part of the city being built on lake Schwarze Lagune itself, with the aid of deep foundations sunk into the lakebed, and large floating platforms where the lake becomes too deep to lay foundations. The undeveloped land that sits between the city and the mountains has predominantly been given over to agriculture, but maintaining this open space for farming is a constant challenge, as the thick forests to the east and west are constantly looking to gain more ground.
As Ravendorp’s territory is so small, even in comparison to the other nations of the Mountain Principalities, the city-state maintains a standing army of around 1,500 soldiers. However, all citizens of Ravendorp can be called into active military service following the issuing of an emergency order by the People’s Lord, which would drastically increase the size of force that Ravendorp would be able to deploy. All of Ravendorp’s military is headquartered out of the city itself, which is defended by a large, well-made stone wall, known as the half-moon wall that wraps around the Landward District of the city, whilst the Lake District is defended by a number of maritime defensive walls and traps designed to restrict the flow of shipping into Ravendorp, or if needs be, cut it off.