Principalities of Jarm
There is no additional briefing material available to characters who are originally from this nation beyond what is presented below.FAQ
The focus of the Empire campaign is on the Empire and on the actions of it's citizens, so every player must play an Imperial citizen following the normal rules for character creation. If you are fluent in one of the languages spoken in this nation then you can create a character who was originally from here but who has now become a citizen of the Empire if you wish.
The Principalities of Jarm are an old, confident nation that lies many weeks sailing to the east of the Empire. It is a little larger than the Empire, but regularly riven by internecine bickering between the various factions that rule there. It is often engaged in conflicts with the smaller nations that border it, occasionally engaging in wholesale wars of conquest against those neighbours for resources.
Of particular interest to Imperial citizens are the Jarmish ports which are open to trade with the Empire.
The Principalities are divided into three broad areas. They spread along a wide swathe of coastline with several major rivers; most of the Southern and Northern Principalities have at least one settlement with access to the sea, and many of the Eastern Principalities have a ship-navigable port along one of these waterways. The climate tends to be temperate, a little warmer than the southern Empire in Summer and a little cooler in Winter.
The Southern Principalities are the oldest, and the land there is widely settled and agrarian. The Northern Principalities are cooler, with more hills and bounded on two sides by high mountain peaks. Much of the Eastern Principalities is covered in forest, and many of the people here are the descendants of conquered peoples; the eastern borders are prone to regular raids from nearby nations and at least one tribe of orcs.
The Jarmish people are human. All lineages are known, but there are strong lines of changeling and naga - scions of these lines rule several Principalities. Orcs are known in several parts of Jarm, especially in the Eastern Principalities, but they are exclusively of low station. Those orcs who are not labourers serve in the military and have a reputation as ignorant savages, surly bandits and primitive barbarians incapable of appreciating the various fruits of Jarmish life.
The rulers of Jarm are all magicians; only someone with the ability to cast spells can hold any position of authority. Those who cannot master magic are consigned to the ministerial class or even the landfolk - non-magicians are allowed to own property and wealth but they cannot hold public office.
The people are roughly divided into four classes, and there is comparatively little social mobility. The Magician-Princes are of the Noble class, and their families control most of the wealth, land and magical power in Jarm. The Ministerial class serves the Principalities as educators, scribes, merchants, translators, diplomats and judges and form an educated middle-class under the Magician-Princes. The Landfolk are labourers and shopkeepers, and their standard of living is generally much lower than that of the equivalent Imperial citizen. The lowest class are the Slaves who are considered property, and live short lives of hopeless drudgery. Slightly outside this class-system are doctors and chirurgeons, who have a status somewhere between slaves and landfolk, and are generally considered to be bad luck by more sophisticated Jarmish citizens.
Each Principality maintains its own military forces, and it is only among the soldiery that any semblance of meritocracy is encountered; the Jarmish people are oddly practical when it comes to matters of protecting their nation, and it is entirely possible (if extremely difficult) for one of the Landfolk or even the Slave-class to rise to a position of authority within the army of a Principality.
Jarm is made up of a number of self-contained Principalities, each ruled over by a Magician-Prince. The principalities tend to be around the same size geographically as an Imperial territory. Most Principalities have a single small city at their heart which is the site of the Prince's palace and where the governance of the Principality takes place. While individual Principalities choose their ruling Prince in various different ways, the power rarely moves beyond the control of three or four long-established families; it is rare for a single family to completely dominate a Principality. The Noble class sets the law within their domain, and while they are rarely subject to it they are constantly aware of the need to maintain the respect of their peers within the Principality and in neighbouring domains .
Each Prince also holds a seat in the House of Princes in the city of Jarm (a central Principality whose Magician-Prince is appointed by the House of Princes directly and serves as an administrative hub for the nation). There they conspire with and intrigue against each other for position and control of their nation's resources. There is traditionally a good-deal of cut-throat maneuvering between the Northern and Southern Principalities who both seek to exploit the resources of the Eastern Principalities.
While the nation appears chaotic, it is governed by a small body of shared laws. For example, no Jarmish may shed the blood of another Jarmish citizen. This law extends from to the Noble class all the way down to the Slave class. A Magician-Prince.who ignores this law will face the censure of her peers, and several Princes have been toppled by their neighbours for ignoring it. This law is suspended during a formally declared state of inter-Principality war, which is known by a number of names in various languages (zemsta, kättemaks or pomsta) all of which roughly translate to 'revenge' or 'vendetta'.
A peculiar side-effect of this universal Law has been the creation of a low-status class of doctors and chirurgeons; because they often have to shed the blood of their patients for their own good, they are both disdained and valuable to the Jarmish people. Still, given a choice, any Jarmish citizen would prefer to seek out magical healing over mundane healing.
Interestingly, it is also illegal for anyone outside of the Noble class to own a bow, and crossbows are completely unknown. Principalities rarely field units of archers, preferring to use soldiers trained in the use of thrown weapons such as javelins. Some Principalities maintain elite units of archers made up of troops that have proven their loyalty to the Magician-Prince, but even these soldiers are not considered to own their bows. When a military archer is not on campaign, her bow remains the property of the Magician-Prince. This can leave them at a serious disadvantage; many Jarmish armies include soldiers trained in the use of large shields specifically to protect their fellows against enemy archers. The use of archers during internal conflicts is heavily frowned upon, and many Magician-Princes are cautious about deploying bow-wielding troops during the regular inter-Principality tussles. This restriction is believed to be a consequence of the extensive use of mage armour among the Nobles of Jarm - they ensure that a weapon as devastating as the bow is carefully controlled.
For the most part, only the Magician-Princes and their retainers are allowed to practice ritual magic in Jarm, although many of the citizens know an incantation or two. Jarmish ritual magic tends to be a combination of Astronomancy and Music of the spheres. Only members of the Noble class are allowed to form or participate in covens, and members of other classes found to be practicing ritual magic as part of a group are dealt with very harshly.
Magical items and potions are rarer in Jarm than they are in the Empire, and the majority of Jarmish artisans focus on crafting robes, implements and ritual paraphernalia for the Magician-Princes.
Jarm has no dominant religion; rather the Principalities embrace religious freedom. With the exception of a few theologically minded Principalities, spiritual beliefs are seen as relevant only to the individual. While many Jarmite citizens cultivate an attitude of amused indifference to religious matters, many more wholeheartedly embrace the tenets of one creed or another.
Consequently adherents of the Way rub shoulders with members of the Gemeinwesen sects; spiritualists and necromancers loudly debate with materialists and ancestor worshippers; and temples of various gods and powers compete for congregations with the shrines of eternal cults.
The closest Jarm gets to an established priesthood are the astrologers of the Ministerial class. These magicians combine minor rituals from the Realms of Day and Night with the study of the heavens to offer advice to their fellows. Many Jarmish will consult an astrologer before embarking on any major endeavour. While the people often consult these diviners for advice, they do not necessarily follow it - the astrologer fills a cultural role, but few Jarmish place their advice above common sense or their own desires.
Recent developments in northern Jarm have seen a surge of interest in the tenets of the Way of Virtue. Magician-Prince Hillar of Limitu has given permission for a "significant" temple to be constructed in his principality. With the assistance of the Imperial Synod, the temple is now spreading the tenets of virtue to Jarmish converts throughout the principality - and potentially the whole of northern Jarm.
Look and Feel
Jarmish costume is strongly influenced by Indian, Southern Asian and Malaysian styles. As befits such a cosmopolitan nation, a very wide range of materials, colours, degrees of ornamentation and styles are found here. Men and women alike enjoy loose fitting, flowing clothing made of loose, wide strips of clothing wrapped around the body and often accompanied by a shirt or blouse. Other popular styles include a long coat cut to just above the knee worn with tight-fitting trousers similar to the sherwani; the kurta or kurta pyjama (a knee-length shirt usually made from cotton or linen); the salwar kameez; the choli and the lengha.
Jewelry is extremely common among the Jarmish, made from a variety of precious and semi-precious materials. Delicate chains are especially common, and the Jarmish love pendants and intricate head-pieces. Wrist and angle bracelets are much more common than rings - ornate rings are often seen as a mark of indolence as they imply that the wearer does not work with their hands. Likewise, the head is rarely covered by anyone other than the Landfolk; a hat often suggests that one works outside exposed to the rain and so individuals of the Ministerial and Noble class avoid them, preferring jewelry instead.
The principalities are polyglot, with languages from all over the world spoken in various Principalities. The Jarmish are the descendants of a wide mix of forerunner kingdoms, immigrants and the children of subject peoples; there is no dominant language, and many Jarmish are multi-lingual as a consequence. The languages most commonly spoken in Jarm are shared with many of the surrounding nations, and can be represented by any language belonging to the [Slavic language group].
The Principalities in Play
The Empire has traded with the Principalities of Jarm for several centuries, and both nations have benefited from that trade. It is important to remember that the Principalities are much more loosely connected than the nations of the Empire, and that they treat intrigue almost like a popular sport; a good relationship with one Principality might automatically result in a bad relationship with another. The same applies to characters with roots in the Principalities; they may have links to a family in one Principality, but this gives them absolutely no standing with any other Principality. Each Principality keeps itself a little apart from the others, so it is relatively easy to include a Jarmish character or incident in a background; a character who is known by people from one Principalities is likely to be entirely unknown, or even receive a hostile relationship, from the others. It is also easy to play a character who has come from the Principalities to settle in the Empire, or whose parents or grandparents did the same, but how convincing this role may be may depend on your ability to speak one of the Jarmish languages.
Language is also likely to be confusing to Imperial citizens - there is no dominant language, and people from different parts of Jarm may well have problems communicating with each other. This situation is exacerbated for Imperial Citizens who don't speak any of the languages common in the area. An entire class of translator-diplomats exists to smooth over relations between the Principalities, and these are likely to be the sort of characters that Imperial citizens deal with regularly when they are in Jarm.
Slavery is a reality in Jarm, and one many Imperial citizens (especially the Freeborn and the Imperial Orcs are very uncomfortable with. Orcs in general are not welcome in Jarm, and an orc will always be assumed to be of the Slave class. An orc that does not belong to someone is 'up for grabs' and may end up being enslaved. Most Jarmish have no more information about the Empire that the Empire has about them, and many are entirely unaware (and unconcerned) that the Imperial orcs exist.
Perhaps the biggest difference from the Empire is the role of magic; people who are not magicians have very little standing in Jarmish society. A Jarmish magician might make an Imperial citizen their fascinating exotic lover, but if they are incapable of performing magic they will soon tire of them. Likewise, visitors to Jarm must be careful not to engage in ritual magic without the permission of a Prince's family; the Jarmish have little concept of diplomatic immunity - a criminal from the Empire will be dealt with summarily by the Magician-Princes exactly as if they were a Jarmish citizen.