The States of the Southlands
The state of Rome holds the marble cities of wealth and prestige, from where the decrees of law for the Southlands are discussed and enacted. Rome is the free state in which the leaders of all other states can meet in peace, discuss the ineffectual nature of politics, and work against the principle of federal involvement.
Legend has it that Rome used to be the seat of a magnificent empire that encompassed even the Godless North, but time and war decayed its influence until only the noble states of the Southlands recognised its authority, however reluctantly. But those same legends also proclaim that the Southlands will rise again, to forge a new destiny made manifest as masters of the Godless North, bringing religion to the heathens.
The central structure of Rome is the House of the White, which holds the only thing that everyone in the Southlands respects: the Constitution. A document of immutable laws, that provides those in the Southlands with the right to free speech, free religion, and the freedom to bear arms. No living being can challenge the authenticity of the Constitution's laws, as some say it was written by God himself, but the scholars and lawmakers of Rome frequently figure out how best to "interpret" its articles.
Carolina is large and prosperous state that has both a mighty naval presence, with its broad coast, and plenty of natural resources. It is well known as a trade state, using both sea routes and the NASCARAVAN tracks to accumulate wealth.
Since ancient times, the waters around Carolina have been the domain of the privateers, state-sanctioned pirates who prey upon smugglers and foreigners, especially Cubans when they can. A Carolinan privateer is said to be fearless and well skilled with both sword and shotgun, a dapper and devil-may-care master of the high seas.
Raleigh, the state capitol, is also called the City of Oaks, surrounded and protected by many of the mighty trees. It is named after its founder, one of the original Carolina privateers, whose daring displays of seagoing prowess helped map the coast of the Southlands many centuries ago.
Hot and humid, the state of Old Dixie is a venerable one, its swamps full of the decaying remains of ancient civilizations. Many expeditions have been mounted to fully map and document the interior of the state, and the lucky ones return. Each township is an oasis of civilization amidst the eerie wetlands.
Somewhere in the middle of the peninsula, the great wizard city-state known as the Magic Kingdom looks into the powers of imagination. Though still technically a part of the state, they are afforded many concessions and tributes, due to their arcane might and the fact that they bring many dollars in through trade and export of rare goods. For many years now, they have been seeking to regain contact with a sister-city somewhere far to the west, beyond the scope of the Southlands.
In the far south of the peninsula, Hebrew exiles from the Godless North make their home, having travelled over land and sea to escape from the bitter cold and make a new life in the sweltering heat. It is said that though these ascetics grow old, they never die, in devoted service to their god as the decades weigh down upon them.
Mostly the domain of a voluminous quantity of alligators, gatormen, and gatorlings, Bayou is a wild and uncivilized state full of dark fungus forests and swampland. Unnatural religions and primal magics can be found deep within the mysterious depths of this state, for those lucky to make it out alive.
The gatorkin of Bayou are strange creatures, capable of human speech and wearing the human pants, but still of reptilian gait. They are usually only found in Bayou, for the swampland makes for a perfect home, but some do try and travel to other states, mainly for hunting opportunities. Gatormen especially, due to their impressive stature, are avid hunters of big game, sometimes even forgoing the civility of a rifle to wrestle their quarry to the ground with their bare claws.
The vast swamp forests are usually only navigable by the oldest and most cunning of gatorkin, who know the waterways like the veins in their bodies. For most everyone else they are a vast and confusing maze of rotting trees and thick mud. There is a mysticism at work within the swamp forests, hidden among the mushrooms that grow bigger than trailers, whispers of creatures not even known to the most venerable taxidermist.
The great city of Orleans dominates the state that shares its name, a beacon of culture in the swampland. Known for its music, food, and numerous churches, Orleans keeps the wilderness at bay with civilization's strong hands of industry and commerce.
Beyond the walls of Orleans is Acadiana, the outlying territories comprised of small townships and independent ranches,who provide the raw materials required by Orleans. It is a friendly sort of country, the locals known as Acadians, a hardy breed with their own distinctive way of speaking, and an inherent connection to the land around them.
Far out to sea lies the treacherous section of ocean known as the Deepwaters, a source of much misery and discontent amongst residents of Orleans and their neighbors along the coast. It is said that greedy souls from the Godless North ventured out there long ago, seeking a treasure cache of black gold, but they delved too greedily and too deep, unleashing some kind of horror upon the seas that lurks there still.
Rocky, mountainous Dominion is a heartland of industry, producing much coal for the great factories that produce the ironwrought weaponry and vehicles that cross the Southlands. The great Appalachian mountains are home to many craftsmen of renowned skill, including many alchemists.
The twin cities of Memphis and Nashville hold a great rivalry that has spanned the ages and shaped the Southlands for years, although it is a friendly rivalry. Both cities have inspired countless bards, with those from Memphis following the Path of the King, the legendary songsmith whose words and hips could reduce a crowd to a screaming powderkeg of hormones. Those of Nashville follow the Path of the Black, a more somber and rebellious sound that defies authority.
A century ago, Dominion saw the founding of the Church of the Broken Cross, a cult that warped the word of religion to inspire hatred and fear in the common population. They offered a choice to the Southlands: join with us, or become our enemy. Despite this ultimatum, the benefits they gave to their members were enticing enough to lure many to their ranks, and despite crusades from Rome to drive them from the Southlands, members of the Church of the Broken Cross still thrive in all parts of the Southlands, some even holding high office.
Mighty Texica is the largest of all the Southland States, due to its monopoly on the precious black gold that lies buried deep within the ground there. Much of its military might goes to protecting the border with Mexico, especially in the arid lands to the west.
The state's capitol, Austin, is home to the Texas Rangers, a group of elite trained forces dedicated to protecting the Texian way of life and liberty. These rangers are found all over the Southlands in their pursuit of justice, doggedly chasing criminals all the way to the Godless North if necessary.
Within the borders of Texica are many Moonlight Towers, where the moonshiners ply their strange work to keep the moon shining in the night sky, or so the myth goes. These strange alchemists are well versed in ancient lore, as well as the production of alcoholic beverages, but are usually quite secretive and keep to themselves.
Mostly unexplored territory dotted by Mormon temples and outposts, Prairie is a mysterious but beautiful land of sweeping plains and great natural beauty. But it is also a land of dangers, full of wild creatures and the strange Mormons themselves, whose ways are unusual to outsiders.
More of a territory than a state, Prairie runs up northwards into the Godless North, its full extent not properly mapped out. Some say that cities of gold and dreams lurk in the far west, shining metropolises inhabited by strange, inhuman, narcissistic creatures that live off dust and only emerge at night.
For the most part, Prairie is open, flat, and unexplored. NASCARAVANs have attempted to make the journey to the far northwest before, to see if trade routes can be opened to the sea, but the trail is long and hard, and none have managed to make it, especially due to the bandits who thrive in the lawless outlands beyond the reach of civilization.
Beyond the Southlands
Not much is known about the nation of Mexico, only that its border with the Southlands must forever be guarded. Those few Mexicans which make their way through are strange kinds, with foreign ways and a musical language that cannot be deciphered by even the keenest of minds. Myths and rumors of great universities, fountains of immortality, and celebrations of the undead make it hard to discern fact from fiction when it comes to the strange southern empire.
The pirate nation of Cuba covets the freedoms of the Southlands, and will frequently raid the coast, seeking to plunder the rich merchant ships of Old Dixie, Bayou, and Carolina. The Pirate King of Cuba, Fimbulcastro, is an ancient lich who rules with an iron fist and the aid of his immediate family. It is said that as long as there is sin in the Southlands, Fimbulcastro will hold onto the throne, and continue to threaten the surf and shore.
The Godless North
The Godless North is a cold and inhospitable wasteland inhabited by heathens and heretics fleeing from the churches and temples of the Southlands, to enact their own mockery of civilized society amid the pines and ice of their wasteland home. It is said that even a man of the Southlands will go insane if he spends too long in the Godless North, surrounded by profane ideas and strange ways, without the comfort of religion.