Sons of Ironhold
The Great Powers
To the north-east Theros: They are competent administrators and tough northern warriors. Their major economic activities include agriculture, mining, and production of arms and other forged goods. They also have a reliable sideline in trade both overland and by sea with a competent navy to support their merchants.
They are ruled by a hereditary imperial line. TODO: More here.
Heredity slavery is officially forbidden in Theros and Theran territories. Although slavery may be imposed as a punishment by a magistrate (either for life or for a fixed term), or offered as an alternative to execution. Many slaves end up living short unpleasant lives in dangerous Theran mines. While slavery is rare, the related system of serfdom is quite common. Most subsistence farmers are bound to a lord and owe him always one fifth of their harvest or labor.
Cheat Sheet: Influenced by Northern Europe: England, the Nordic Countries, and Russia.
To the south Castalla: They are skilled merchants, artisans, and sailors. Major economic activities include agriculture, fishing, trade, textile manufacture, and the production of luxury and finished goods. It is a good bet that any item with fine filigree or inlay with precious metals or gems was produced in Castalla. They also have a nascent banking industry as loans between and amongst nobles required the lending of money to take a half step up from the usury that is common elsewhere. Their ship building technology and navy are the best in the world. However their armies rely heavily on mercenaries to make up for poor organization and leadership.
They are ruled by a hereditary imperial line. The aristocracy has grown exceedingly complex as the court often hands out titles, ennoblements, honors, and social distinctions of all types for services. TODO: More here.
The prohibition on slavery here varies a great deal by locality. Officially it is prohibited, but Castallian traders near Xeria cannot resist the profits available from the slave trade. A few bribes can make local officials look the other way. Nearer the capital the ban is fairly well enforced.
Cheat Sheet: Influenced by Southern Europe: France, Spain, Italy.
To the west Xeria: They are deadly cavalrymen and cavalrywomen. Major economic activities include conquest, agriculture, and ranching. The newest of the empires these skilled warriors seized the river delta with ease. They organize themselves by family groups of distantly related cousins and have few titles of nobility.
They are ruled by a Khanate with the leader elected by and from the heads of the leading families. TODO: More.
Xeria is the only empire where heredity chattel slavery is legal. It is practiced widely. Almost all agricultural labor and building projects in Xeria are carried out by slaves. Slaves may be taken in combat or purchased.
Cheat Sheet: Influenced by Mongolia and the Near East: Mongolia, Egypt, Persia.
The Sea of Nations
Between the great powers lies a vast swath of inland territory where they fight their proxy wars. The names and borders of these areas shift constantly. Many of these nations have kings, queens, or leaders with other titles. These client rulers may occasionally play one side off against another to gain some autonomy for a time, but in general they must swear fealty to one empire or another.
They usually have a wide authority to make local laws, observe local customs, and of course enrich themselves so long as they (1) keep the ranks of their armies filled with recruits and draftees, (2) send those armies against their sponsor’s enemies when and where they are asked, (3) provide a good military showing in such battles, and (4) provide tribute when asked.
Cheat Sheet: Influenced by the Pre-Unification German states. Seriously, I probably didn’t draw enough little countries.