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Samfundet (på engelsk, oprindeligt egne noter).

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Gnom Svinehyrde
Parliamentary monarchy, with the king having the most power. The king has direct control over the courts, as he is the highest instance of appeal. He also holds the executive power, although it is mostly through the nobles. He has, however, direct control over most of the standing army, and the archmages and their colleges answer directly to him. The king can in effect pass laws overnight, although they must be ratified at the next parliament, and he is traditionally given a writ of leave to pass laws himself at this meeting (Writ of Sovereignty).
A parliament is held every 10 years, where the king must invite all noblemen of the realm. A parliament lasts a day, but in reality more than a month, as nobles and courtiers gather in the capitol to trade, bargain and negotiate. They are traditionally in close contact with the king's counsellors in this period, and although the king is not officially required to do so, they rutinely enjoy audiences and pre-acceptance of their new laws, favours and deals with each other. The final day, the true parliament, is mostly ceremonial.

About a fifth of the population live in or close to major cities - a impossible feat in a normal fantasy or medieval setting. Magic is used to enhance crops, weather, conservation and transportation - which means that the inflow of food to the cities almost resemble modern standards. This is one part of the basic economic pulse of the empire, the other is the flow of specialized services back to the country - rain, protection, healing, tool-making, luxury items, etc. mostly come from the cities. At the county-level, the economy is bartering and defined by your relationship with you liege lord - food as taxes, luxury foods and items such as animals and crude tools for certain privileges and favours. The country noblemen mostly use cash, when dealing with the cities - often a longrunning contract will result in a steady inflow of cash, for a years supply of food. In the cities, merchants build warehouses (buying and using magic) and distribute the food in a normal cash culture.

There is no organized religion, maybe because immortality is sort of a fact. Explanations for the natural order is found in a scientific understanding of magic, or a belief in mythical god-like ancestors who built the world and fathered the species. Culturally, there is a huge difference between city and land.

Religion in the cities.
Cityfolk can hardly be called religious, or even spiritual, as a rule. They do, however, have a particular culture which looks not unlike our historical deism / enlightenment thought. Many give credence to the idea of a creator god, mostly imagined as a sort of alchemical force or "will within magic itself", but not one that requires worship. Whatever god was or is, he is absent in the daily working of the world - the closest we come to god is working the same magic he did. "Knowing the mind of god" may be uttered by theoretical alchemists, meaning the same as it means to our modern physicists.
Culturally, some aspects of the world are held in special regard, though - and this could be seen as a sort of "lived religion":
The king and his bloodline are revered as special, and have an almost holy right to rule - they have the purer blood, the clearest ancestral memories and are therefore natural rulers. This echoes in a very rigid and universal respect for those with purer blood, and the respect afforded the noble is almost religious - or at least assumed as fact as religious articles of faith are.
Ancestral memories give a special relationship to mortality and death. While death is still feared, it is not feared as an unknown or the annihilation of the self - something does linger on, and it is commonly accepted that even though your descendants are not recalling your memories specifically, the dead somehow live in the blood regardless. This means that being childless is a huge deal, and an enormous tragedy; and that your life after your last child becomes less important. Childlessness is considered enough to split up a partnership, and the childless often become odd, commit suicide or devote themselves to some cause. The elderly "live for their children" to a very high degree.
Cleanliness, good food, writing and civilisation go hand in hand. The former three are all signs of the sorceror-alchemists, who are held in high regard. The culture of the cities emmulates, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, those who are seen to have something akin to "the power of god". Even the simplest magical items, or just writings or an elaborate meal, is a way to signal both wealth, but also suffistication.

Religion in countryside.
Not much is known, in the cities, of the inner workings of the beliefs of the countryside. As a rule, they are rarely deist in outlook, but more akin to an old nordic or shamanistic culture - only more civilized and affluent than any we know from our history. The country folk often talk of "gods" or a specific god of the weather, an animal or similar. They do not seem to see any contradiction in manipulating the weather by magic, and believing some god controls it - although if hardpressed about it, they will probably concede that they do not know for a fact that there is a weather-god, and that it is mostly a manner of speaking. There are plenty of rumors about country rituals, but little specific is known but this:
The smaller cities fully respect their nobles and the king. There is no animosity from handing over more than half their yield to the cities, only gently chaffing of the cityfolk who are so civilised they cannot feed themselves. They are in awe of sorcerors, and respectful towards all with pure blood - though their respect seems based on some religious ideas where these people are slightly different, holier than other people and not a little scary.
Their idea of immortality is broader. Childlessness is less of a tragedy, and elder people seem to believe that their recent experiences will somehow live on even though they are past the childbearing age.
They honor the animals around them, and believe that they, too, have some kind of ancestral memory. It is not uncommon for country folk to have good luck charms made of some particular animal, or speak of animals as having will, life and memory beyond the individual specimen.

  • The tree. The tree is a symbol of both humanity, the empire and the royal family. It is a common motif in both cities and the country, and there are numerous variations of the theme. Parks, courtyards and farms almost universally have a particularly large tree at a prominent, central location.
  • The stylized tree with crown. The symbol of the empire and the royal house. Particularly used in the city, and on the livery of the king's men.
  • The stylized tree with crown, in circle. The symbol of the holy blood of the king's line, and of blood serving the king. Used by archmages, and on tombstones for fallen heroes.
  • The stylized tree with roots. The symbol of memory, humanity and the ancestors. Mostly used in the countryside, may have additional meanings.
  • The stylized tree with roots, in circle. Not seen, may mean the memory and blood of the ancestors.

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