Arkonia, Nation of Mages
A Wiki Update
Arkonia is part of the Western Kingdoms, the original setting I used to run in. The core idea was to see how people could use magic in everyday life, not just as a force multiplier for fights. It cultivates magic users of all kinds and holds them to a higher standard than normal people. I hadn’t read Harry Potter when I designed it back in 2001, but it has a very Harry Potter meets gaslight feel, only without all the secrecy of wizards.
Arkonia in a Nutshell
Arkonia, being a magocracy, doesn’t mirror any particular piece of real world history, unlike most of the other kingdoms. Rather, it mirrors the human body. In the heart of Arkonia lies Parak, an ancient, twisting city, the centre of their temporal and magical power. The roads and rail lines are the arteries of the nation, and all travel flows outward from the heart. All commerce moves inward. On a social level, the only real class distinctions are between spellcasters and non-spellcasters, though there’s a small wastrel class, the children of mages who aren’t proficient with magic themselves.
The nation is ruled by a Magocratic Oligarchy, that is to say, a council of mages. Admission requires great public recognition and admiration, as well as a willingness to participate in government (The last stipulation was made in I+540, after Baladas Demnevanni refused to take time away from his research to join the council, despite his accolades). In general, they try to find the best person for the job, rather than the most popular, or simply using inheritance. This sense of efficiency pervades every aspect of the Arkonian government. Government is something that must be done so research moves along more smoothly. The mastery of magical power is paramount.
There is no public religion, though many people have private gods that they offer a prayer to. Most spellcasters see this as silly. One person’s gods are another’s powerful etheric beings. The idea that they provide magic is ridiculous, due to the observed transparency between arcane and so called “divine” magic. Nonetheless, this notion of clerics and druids persists, with them venerating various deities, none of whom the arcanists feel beholden to. It’s a much more modern look at religion, which may or may not be working out.
Arkonia celebrates mages because it was founded by mages. By the Arkonian calander, it’s I (Inception) +974. Almost a thousand years ago, they were a few huddled refugees, dependant on their magic for their very survival. But they grew. Their evokers powered the mighty furnaces that heated them, their necromancers raised the dead to till their fields. Transmuters and abjurers built and warded the rail system, as well as hardening their people to the cold. Illusionists mustered entertainment at the end of every day, and enchanters convinced the brutes and beasts of the land to serve the budding nation. Diviners sought the best routes through the wilderness, the best site for a city. And the conjurers sheltered everyone while it happened. Magic has been the very lifeblood of this civilization from day one. They depend on little else.
Magic in Arkonia
A seemingly redundant topic, but this refers more to modern magic. It’s everywhere in modern Arkonian society. The upper classes will decorate their clothing with illusions, with the warier ones layering themselves with protective spells. It’s countermeasures are equally widespread, though. Even the lowest town guardsman must be aware of the possibilities of illusions, enchantments, and abjurations muddying the law. Attack spells aren’t licensed, as they are in Graceterre, but the punishment for abuse of such things is very harsh. Arkonian mages are supposed to know better.
The Specifics of Sorcery
Sorcery is part of the reason most spells aren’t licensed. How do you deny someone something when it’s part of their nature? The balance between sorcery and wizardry is one of the things that’s slowly shaped society. Anyone can be a sorcerer, after all. If they have the potential. It provides some upward mobility for ordinary citizens who can’t afford to go to the Bardic College or study wizardry. Dragons are a thing of legend, giant beasts from another age, but it’s said that they have something to do with the creation of sorcery, and dragonblooded sorcerers are considered lucky.