The coastal nation founded on the notions of the free-market, corporations, tradition, and familial bonds
Governmental Structure:The Chairman of the Board: A figure that organizes and runs the Board of Directors, serving as less of a singular leader in whom all power is invested in and a figure who provides a singular vision, direction, and focus to unite the disparate Board. Typically elected pseudo-democratically from the Board and Trust Office - who must agree unanimously on the figure to appoint Chairman. They do not have a term of office, but are frequently released from service if they perform poorly or are disliked by the populace, as they also serve the vital job of being the public face of the Board. They are also the first to take the fall and/or blame for the misdeeds of the Board. The Board of Directors: The ruling body of Ustanan society, made up of the heads of the wealthiest and most prominent companies around Ustana. Every company represented on this board must be what Ustana refers to as "Publically Traded" - in other words, offering tiny slivers of ownership in the company called "Shares" to the public to buy rather than being privately owned. They are charged with managing almost every aspect of Ustanan Society, from sewage, public infrastructure, naval forces, laws, regulations, and more - which they are expected to regularly contribute funds and resources to. Notably, even the fallen city of Rhocenza still has a seat on this board, though it traditionally has sat unused ever since the city's capitulation to Jilixia - symbolic of Ustana's rigid adherence to tradition. Members on the board serve four year terms, though the terms are staggered to ensure the Board does not get wholly replaced at any one time. In contrast, while the Corporations themselves that make up the board do not mandatorily change like their representatives do, they are subject to rigorous and highly public "Grand Audits"(Carried out by the Trust Office) every 4 years to measure not only their earnings and contribution to the country's bottom line, but their overall contributions to the public trust and the people's wellbeing. If they are found wanting, their most successful competitor is chosen to replace them on the Board. The Trust Office: The judicial body of Ustanan Society, made up of specially selected "Brokers" who operate in the Ustanan Stock Exchange but accepted a forced "retirement" to take up a position with the Office for the good of society as a whole. The office is tasked with the critical and vital job of managing Ustana's economy - with the experience of the ex-Brokers who run the Office, they break up monopolies, keep corporate greed in check, manage the share prices of Companies in the Exchange, and protect the public trust from the suffocating influence of the Board. Under their watchful eye, they ensure that no one entity or group gains too much influence over any one aspect of the country's economy and ensure the market remains free and open enough for anyone to achieve the Ustanan Dream. Those who serve in the Trust Office have no official term since they are barred from holding any other job or station while they serve, but they are released from contractual obligations after 6 years, so that they may move on to greener pastures if they so desire - at which point most in the Trust Office choose to accept this and either retire permanently or move on to a new job, as during their time in the Trust Office, the scrutiny they are under is said to border on neurotic. So intense, in fact, that a slew of mental health issues are frequent side-effects of long-term service. Conversely however, the care provided to former and current employees is said to be first in all the world. Founded on the basis of carrying justice to the highest echelons of society, they zealously protect and uphold their moral values - and despite countless infiltration attempts by the Board and its allies, have remained staunchly incorruptible throughout its existence.
Societal Classes:Unlike other more feudal societies, Ustana has no concept of feudal lands or territories - most land in Ustana is privately owned by either individuals, estates, groups, or corporations instead of being owned by Feudal Lords and cultivated by landless peasants. Instead, in Ustana, social class is derived from annual income and the sum total wealth of one's assets in all forms with the populace being broken down into two largely distinct classes, described below. While females are by word of law as free as males are in society, segregation unfortunately is a rampant problem in the overwhelmingly Patriarchal Ustanan Society - a problem which has seen numerous calls for reform in recent years. Equally as important to Social Class in Ustanan Society is one's family - the family one is born into has MASSIVE influence on one's standing in society, as individuals are not recorded in the Ustanan book of wealth and nobility, the Libro d’Oro, or Golden Book: Family names are. This naturally leads to an incredibly familial culture and social structure, as the success one achieves and one's personal wealth(Either good or bad) reflect on one's family similarly, raising or lowering their standing respectively. Because of this, it is hard for children to break free of the jobs of their parents unless they are truly poor - convincing one's family to let them take risks might well spell doom for the family if it does not pay out and leads to your financial ruin. Nobili: The Nobility of Ustana, described as those who make above a certain number of gold pieces per year and who possess a certain amount of assets, either liquid or fixed. Upon their family's ascension into this social class, they have their name inscribed in the Libro d’Oro (Golden Book) as a place of record for all who have earned their way into the highest strata of Ustanan Society. There are no assurances, bailouts, or governmental subsidies to ensure those in this book keep their position, however - one must keep their place in the Nobili through hard work and effort, lest their familial name be stricken from the Libro d’Oro as they are lowered to the Popolari Class. In fact, those in this class are subject to tighter restrictions, sanctions, tax rates, and such to offset their enormous wealth and power in Ustanan Society. Popolari: The class that makes up the vast bulk of the Ustanan Population - ranging from the average working-class peasant to the fairly well-off merchants, smiths, shopowners, and so on. They are defined as those who make beneath the income and asset cieling that would grant entry into the ranks of the Nobili, and who make a living doing work of one kind or another - where the Nobili, true or not, are seen as those who can live comfortably off investments and existing wealth without as much involved labor. They are, in truth, who the country is founded upon - they make up a vast, overwhelming majority of the investors in the companies that make up the Board of Directors which runs the country, and are who ultimately such companies are beholden to(Their shareholders).
The public agenda of the Concord is exceedingly simple - profit, and independence. They are often primarily concerned with looking out for the country's bottom line as well as the well-being of their citizens - making them a somewhat open book to other nations in terms of foreign policy, though this simplicity is also one of their greatest strengths.
The assets of the Concord are vast beyond reckoning - it is little exaggeration to call the Concord one of the wealthiest and richest nations in the known world. They have a vast wealth of monetary resources, but also an ENORMOUS array of naval and other ocean-based assets - their merchant and military fleets are some of the largest and most well-equipped in all the world, their cities are some of the most unique and well-built, and their entire society is built on a bedrock of unimaginable wealth and prosperity...though, also on a well-hid class of oppressed peoples crushed beneath the smothering weight of corporate greed that gave the country its greatness.
Founded some two and a half centuries before the modern day during the Age of Expansion after a flood of refugees traveled southwest across the continent, fleeing the collapse of the Shaoshu Empire at the hands of Jilixia Worldthrone, eventually ended up on the coast to the southwest of the Great Gyatsoshin Desert, founding the village of Ustana as a safe-haven for all who were fleeing such overwhelming devastation. Over time, as this village thrived and prospered by dominating all trade along the south edges of Zheng-Kitar, it grew and expanded - one village became a city, became a metropolis, became a collection of villages, became a collection of cities, and so on until the Concord was founded around a century after the first settlers arrives on the Ustanan Coasts, founded on the ideals of freedom, independence, and economic wealth.
Demography and Population
Ustana is primarily made up of Humans, though large populations of Tortle, Cloud Elves, Half-Elves, and Half-Orcs exist alongside them. Secondarily however, Ustana is one of the massive "Melting Pots" of Zheng-Kitar - almost any species can be found in some numbers here, such as Guīmogoa(Who often burrow up from their underground citadels to trade), Urqet(Who frequently come in from the Great Gyatsoshin Desert), Othraka(Who come in similarly to the Urqet), Kobolds and Goblins(Who are both drawn to Ustana from the promise of a free market and opportunities), and many more species, almost all of whom can be found in its ports and walking its streets for one reason or another.
Ustana occupies most of the fertile south-western coast of Zheng-Kitar along the southern edges of the Bay of Dai-shen-roku, as well as a vast majority of the islands in the archipelago off the coast, drifting in the bay. These lands were at one point held by a few small tribes of natives that once held the territory, but they were quite rudely shunted out of their native lands with promises of large amounts of gold, silver, and other forms of wealth.
The military of the Concord is a thing that very few can fathom - for the simple reason that the Concord has no centralized military, not in the truest sense. Instead, the defense forces of the Concord are largely divided into three categories(Described below) that are all funded privately by the Corporations of the country(Both the ones that are currently on the board and those not on it), meaning that while the many Corporations each have their own defense forces, navies, and civic guard, they are each corralled under the umbrella of the larger force, all rallied together and mobilized as one by the Board of Directors in times of need. This does mean, however, that the military of the Concord can be confusing to outsiders and even some natives - as well as somewhat slow to respond if the Board of Directors cannot move to action quick enough. While the armies listed and described below are largely raised, trained, and organized by the Board of Directors, they are inspected and held to standard by the Trust Office, who ensure they have good and similar equipment, training, and the like.
- Navy - The fleets that protect the Concord's merchant Navies. Moreso than the Civic Guard or Defense Militia, though they are divided into separate fleets under the jurisdiction of different corporations, they are unified and move according to the will of the Board of Directors before their individual corporations, flying the flags of Ustana and their Corporate Sponsor atop the masts. These navies are some of the best and most well-equipped in all the world, and are feared the world over for their coordination, skill, and battle-prowess as well as tactical acumen.
- Civic Guard - The armies that defend the concord's cities from within. They uphold public security, police the streets, and safeguard the country's public buildings and the like. They are heavily aligned to the Corporations who sponsor them, and are divided up into sub-groups according to the corporations of the Concord. Further Complicating things is the fact that each group of Corporate Civic Guard has its own jails and infrastructure, though they all follow the same laws and loosely have the same equipment.
- Defense Militia - The dedicated land-based military that handles defense of Ustana's one land border to the east, protecting the lands of the Concord from External Threats. The Defense Militia, similar to the Civic Guard, are divided into sub-factions aligned to the corporations that sponsor and raise the forces, though they are a bit more unified in purpose and attitude than the Civic Guard, often intermingling on join operations when need arises. Each Corporate Militia is given a section of the border to oversee and safeguard.
The Concord's Relations with other nations are mostly neutral or positive - they tend to stay uninvolved in the foreign affairs of others(Though it also helps they are so far removed from other nations), meaning that most other nations are passively neutral or mildly friendly with them. Only the relatively close Qushu League is friendly to them in any true sense - the two countries bonding over their shared passion for independence, though they frequently clash on matters of economics and wealth.
Agriculture & Industry
Ustana is a mixture of agriculture and industry, occupying and owning the only fertile land south of the Tripalm Spine mountains, as well as many fertile islands in the Bay of Dai-shen-roku. The Shipbuilding and Banking industries of Ustana are some of the best in the world, and their art and food is some of the most historical, pleasing, and incredible known to Zheng-Kitar.
Trade & Transport
Products and people are primarily moved around in the Concord through oceanic travel - roads exist and are maintained by the country, but travel by boat is the primary and quickest mode of transporation available to everyone...and is ironically the safest option, as the roads are poorly secured in some places by the Corporate Defense Militias.
The Concord does have schools for people of all classes to attend, but quality varies from school to school depending on their funding, personnel, and public support.
From Many, One.
Ustana, The Concord, The Corporate Concord
Ustana uses two main currencies as their official currency: The Saltsheets of The Gāngtao Migrant Fleet, and the traditional Three-Coin system of Copper, Silver, and Gold.
Glass, Salt, Wood, Fish, Paper, Pearls
Porcelain, Gems, Dyes, Textiles, Minerals, Wool, Woven cloth
The Board of Directors holds most of the Legislative power in Ustana - the representatives of the corporations currently on the Board who communally decide between laws, country policy, funding, and much more.
The Trust Office holds Judicial power in Ustana - checking the Board of Directors and working hard to keep the corporate society of Ustana a free-market and prevent total market takeover at the hands of the Corporations.
The Executive power in Ustana is split between the Trust Office and the Chairman of the Board, pseudo-democraticaly elected leader of the Board of Directors.
Ruled by CorporationsBrabante Corporation: One of the oldest corporations in Ustana, holder of two distinct records relating to the Board - both longest serving Company on the Board(Ever since the Country's inception nearly two and a half centuries ago), and only company on the board still held by the family who founded it. Ran by the Brabante Family, the Brabante Corporation is best defined by their motto, "Old Fashioned Done Right" - and handles all sorts of business from shipbuilding to weaponsmithing and even interior design. They retain their focus on family values, and are one of the better liked corporations. Webwood Ltd.: A recent company that shot to popularity and a seat on the Board, Webwood Ltd. rose to fame on the backs of a new invention created by the company's founder that allows for rapid dissemination of information, printing information on more accessible vellum and paper mediums compared at massively increased speeds and quantities. Notably, has a large base of operations in Axiom, City of the Great Game, home of the Daogui - though many rumors abound claiming that the company is in fact based there, and simply came to Ustana for more profits. The Barbo Uba Group: A corporation almost as old as the Brabante Corporation, which rose to prominence and continues to succeed in the uniquely Ustanan venture of Investment Banking. They provide advice, assistance, and help to those looking to get into the Ustanan Concord's unique and strange market known as the "Stock Market", where the corporations that exist in the country are bought and sold in "shares". A soulless, heartless corporation that has long since abandoned anything but the pursuit of money. Dragonsun Industries: A large corporation dealing primarily in magic items, equipment enchanting, and other magical dealings. Deals in absolute excellence - everything they create must pass their ludicrously high bar of quality, meaning that while they seldom put out new items or mass-produce anything, everything that comes out of their think-tank workshops is the best in the world. An arrogant, high-handed group that disdains other corporations that deal in mass-produced items and the like. Nymphtech: A heavily militarized corporation, dealing primarily in arms and armor. A HUGE supplier of gear to the Ustanan Militia and Defense Forces, they also have one of the largest privately owned Defense Militias and Civic Guards in the entire country. As one might expect, they are well known to be aggressive and territorial, and frequently get involved in skirmishes with other Corporations - though they are somewhat well-trusted by the populace for the sense of security their well-armed and well-armored militias give them. Vortex Security: A corporation dealing primarily in security for private sector businesses and shops - they are well-known as a corporation of mercenaries who often venture to battlefields all across Zheng-Kitar fighting proxy wars and other battles under the banners of other groups or countries. A place where many from militaries the world over come in their "retirement" to put their skills to use in a more relaxed setting. Wavedream Inc.: Another heavily militarized corporation that makes up large parts of the Ustanan Navy(Merchant and Military), dealing primarily in shipbuilding, sailing, navigation, cartography, exploration, and anything on the water as a whole. Also deals heavily in shipping, trade, and can be found in most all of the ports across the Concord. Is often the first Corporation many travelers visiting Ustana see, as they also deal with immigration and oceanic border patrol and protection. Bull Foods: A unique corporation that many would not expect to find on the Board - dealing primarily with foodstuffs, farming, grains, and all manner of agrarian interests. While not the sole supplier of the country's food, they are the largest and most widely spread supplier of seeds, farmland, grains, foodstuffs, and often help farmers get their food to market in the big cities for a cut of the profit. Started by Farmers for others of their kind, but is frequently accused of losing its heart and soul to the crushing weight of corporate greed. The Crimson Trust: A rival corporation to The Barbo Uba Group, which deals largely with private banking. Is in fact the largest bank in Ustana, which also handles a slew of other business ranging from Investment Banking, adventurer services such as secure storage of magic items and mobile wealth storage, supplying spell components and components for magic item crafting, and much more. Also rumored to deal in more extraordinary items such as Golems and the like to those they trust. Well regarded and trusted by many, but best loved by Adventurers and those on the move with a need to keep dangerous things safe, such as Wizards and the Wealthy.
Though the relationship of the Qushu League and the Ustanan Concord is rough at times due to the Concord's more capitalistic and greed-based society, the two nations nonetheless consider themselves close allies and staunch advocates of freedom. They have several standing pacts and agreements of mutual support and more which have lasted throughout decades - despite the occasional rough spot in their relationship.