Skies of Arcadia
The Nation of Nasr holds sway over five closely grouped continents underneath the Red Moon. Four of these continents are so close and have such matching contours that they are often collectively known as The Broken Continent, as if a massive impact shattered a once unified continent into four. Perhaps that is exactly what happened, although if so it was so long ago that there are not even any legends from the Old World about it. If the Broken Continent were a single landmass, it would actually be as large as Valua. The Lands of Nasr are separated into a northern and southern region, with the Broken Continent making up the southern part, and the fifth the northern. The four broken continents are arranged as follows: A small continent in the northwest position, a small continent in the southwest position, a small continent in the center north, and then a large continent that covers the northeast, south-center, and southeast area with a “tail” like portion that reaches all the way down to the mouth of South Ocean. The northwest and north-center continents are often generally considered to be in Mid Ocean, although they do lie under the influence of the Red Moon. Nasr does claim them as part of its lands, but no one actually lives there. The east-north-south continent is a massive desert region, referred to as the Great Nasr Desert.
The Danalii Mountains, which rise to the border of Upper Sky, separate Northern Nasr from Southern Nasr. They start on the center north Broken Continent, run from its tip near Valua to the gap that separates it from the eastern continent, then continue on that continent along its northern border to its eastern edge, where they turn and follow that edge all the way to the tip of its southern tail. A sister mountain range on the Valuan continent stretches up to the north along that continent’s eastern edge protecting North Nasr from Valuan incursion. There are only three breaks in these mountain chains that allow access to North Nasr by ship. The first is the Valla Strait in North Valua, which proceeds all the way across that continent by a series of valleys to North Ocean. However, this is the chief moonstone mining area for Valua, and no access by foreigners is permitted. The Armada patrols this area so heavily, that even pirate ships dare not this strait. The Nasr Navy also maintains a blockade here to make sure that the Armada doesn’t get any bright ideas about coming south. The North Danalii Strait lies between the tip of the Broken Continent’s north center continent where the Danalii Mountains start and the southeastern tip of Valua where the East Valla Mountains begin. However, this strait is blocked by a Sky Rift, and no passage is possible here. The South Danalii Strait marks the final gap in this mountain border, and is created by the gap between the north center Broken Continent, and the east Broken Continent. This strait is heavily fortified, practically blockaded, by the Nasr Navy. It is through the South Danalii Strait that almost all of Nasr’s main commerce flows. There is a land route through a pass in the Danalii Mountains in the east that leads down into the Great Nasr Desert. Caravans travelling this rout pass goods to and from the capital, Nasrad, on the northern most continent of Nasr, and the trade town of Maramba on the southwestern Broken Continent.
A Rock Reef runs from the toroid area of Mid Ocean roughly east west through the gap that separates the north and south sections of the Broken Continent all the way to the peaks of the Danalii Mountain Range on the eastern continent. The double-hulled ships of Nasr are the only wooden ships tough enough to penetrate this reef to regularly visit the trade town of Maramba which lies on the northern edge of the southwestern broken Continent just below the Stone Reef. Since Nasr fears allowing too many Valuan merchant ships into Nasrad at once for fear of Valua using them to smuggle an invasion force, most Nasr-Valuan trading is done in Maramba. This works out well for both nations as the metal-hulled Valuan ships can also penetrate the reef, and taking Maramba would start, not end, a war so the Armada stays away from it. Unfortunately, since most of Nasr’s naval strength is centered around the straits to the north, this creates an area where pirates can operate effectively, although not entirely risk free as a Nasr Naval contingent is based in Maramba.
North of the Broken Continent is a smaller continent were lies the capital of Nasr, Nasrad. Nasrad is a massive city rivaling the Capital of Valua in size and scope as well as a major trading nexus. Nasrad grew from a small village around a desert oasis founded after the fall of the Old World, and is now a sprawling metropolis, and the seat of Nasr’s government. Here the Nasaltan dwells in his grand palace, and guides the welfare of all Nasr.
Technology & Military
The Nasr have developed a hexagonal bracing system that gives their double-hulled vessels unparallel strength for wooden ships almost the equal of Valuan heavy steel plating. Nasr ships rely mostly on thrusters for lift and propulsion. Nasr Navy ships, in fact, rely exclusively on them, although Nasr merchant ships also employ sails as well. The heavy built ships of the Nasr Navy are almost as slow in overall speed as their Valuan counterparts, but their thrusters allow them to change direction nearly instantly in three dimensions, giving them unparallel maneuverability. Since they lack sails, Nasr naval ships are free to protect their entire ship within their special hulls. That, combined with their red moonstone fuel which protects the ship from fire, makes Nasr Naval vessels truly formidable, even in the face of the mighty Valuan Armada. The incendiary rounds, made by mixing red moonstone dust into the gunpowder, are also a major deterrent to Black Pirates, whose wooden hulled vessels lack the fire resistance of the Nasr ships crafted ships.
Nasr is governed by the Nasaltan. The current Nasaltan Rajule Farad prefers a “small” government. Aside from maintaining the navy for defense, and maintaining a surprisingly efficient court system to handle criminal matters along with contract and trade disputes, Nasaltan Farad employs little direct influence upon his people, preferring to let them go about their business in peace. Public order within Nasrad is the responsibility of the city municipality, and they do an excellent job of this. Maramba, isolated to the south by the Danalii Mountains, is almost an independent city under his administration considering how little he interferes with its operations. This doctrine of minimal government has kept taxes low and the people happy. At least so far. Even though Nasr is technically considered to be a declining empire, especially by Valua, it has aged well and decay is proceeding very slowly, if at all. The citizens are for the most part relatively wealthy from the volume of trade and commerce that flows through their lands, and have little incentive to make trouble. The well-supported Nasr Navy keeps the Black Pirates from running amok, and is strong enough to block invasion from Valua. What more could Nasr’s people want? So far, neither they nor their Nasaltan have thought of anything else that he needs to do for them.
Relationship with Other Factions
The Empire of Valua: Being the two premier economic & trading powerhouses of Middle Ocean, Valua and Nasr have long been competitors. Twenty-one years ago this competition erupted into a shooting war between the two that lasted for a full year. Despite this, normal relations were quickly restored after the war. The two governments sit across Middle Ocean spitting at each other like two territorial cats, while their various merchants and businessmen conduct an uninterrupted flow of business that is highly profitable for both nations.
Blue Rouges: They hunt Black Pirates, and harass the Valuan Armada. Nasrians love these guys to no end. Blue Rogues are the folk heroes of Nasr, and the tails of their exploits are the bedtime stories of children and the songs of Nasr’s taverns. Blue Rogues can expect cordial treatment in Nasr’s ports as long as they behave themselves. The prospect of safe haven in its ports is far more effective at keeping Blue Rouges away from its merchant fleet than the guns of its navy ever could be. Still, some of the richer Nasr merchants feel the need to arm their ships as an extra measure of security, and the Blue Rouges do consider them fair game. As long as this “game” happens outside of Nasr airspace, Nasr tends to turn a blind eye to the rouge as long as he is studios in following the Blue Rouges code with regards to conduct towards defeated opponents and castaways. However, because of the cordial relationship between Blue Rouges and Nasr, many of them will pass up even the armed merchant vessels unless they’re really in need of a “score.”
Black Pirates: Nasr has as little use for this scum as the rest of Arcadia, and the hunting down of Black Pirates is one of the only things that the Nasr Navy and the Valuan Armada cooperate on. Nasr often sponsors bounties on the most active Black Pirates to encourage private hunting of these scalawags. It is often Blue Rouges who manage to collect on these, as they are almost always invariably the best-equipped and most well armed “private” vessels.