From Dragon Eye Atlas
|Council of Palan
|Faith of Ikoyo
Palan is an oppressive magocracy in the south-west of Auseka. It is ruled by an elite class of mages and is one of the most aggressive users of magic, especially in warfare, due to being located with a high magic region. Its mundane peasant population is oppressed to the point of "voluntary" human sacrifices to fuel the more powerful enchantments.
Palan has successfully resisted all attempts to dispute its border, and its flying ships are the terror of battlefields everywhere in the south. Fortunately, their range is limited and they are rarely seen east of the mountains.
Palan is an old realm, having emerged out of the ancient Kingdom of Kursa some 950 years ago. After that ancient kingdom fell to pieces in a bitter, 20-year succession war, the Guild of Mages took control of the shattered remains of a realm exhausted from war. All sides involved had lost major leaders, and the most influential Guilds of Mages had for several years already effectively taken over as local government in many places, as the actual nobility had invested itself entirely into deciding a succession that did not actually matter anymore.
After an intermediate period of de-facto reign, a new realm was officially founded in 883 BV. While it carried the name of today's Palan, it was again to be a monarchy and its banner was crossed wands under a silver crown. The Kingdom of Palan lasted for two hundred years until another succession conflict loomed. The Guild of Mages had been reformed from an independent entity into a branch of government by then, but found back to its old power and influence under threat of another war, this time not waiting for it to break out, but disposing the king and replacing him with today's Magocracy in 677 BV.
Despite those changes, the official calendar of Palan counts from the founding, so the current year (67 AV) is year 950 in the Palan calendar.
Flag & Emblem
The flag of Palan is Per fess azure and sable, a pegasus passant Or - a golden pegasus on blue and black. It was chosen upon the founding of the Magocracy, as an intential counterpart to the old monarchy banner - gold instead of silver, dark colours instead of light colours.
The golden pegasus represents the glory of magic. As one of the most elegant and magical creatures around, the pegasus is also proud and very difficult to tame. Only a small number of the most powerful mages have one as a personal steed. The dark blue stands for the loyalty and strength of the realm, based on the black foundation of stability and constancy - after the tumultuous fall of the monarchy, stability was among the most important changes everyone expected from the new realm.
For this reason also, the flag is never flown in battle. When a Palan army marches to war, a castle is besieged or a ship enters combat, the Palan war banner will be raised instead, which has the same pegasus, but on a red background. Outside of Palan, especially among those who only ever encountered Palan in battle, many believe that this is Palan's flag.
The political system of Palan is as varied as the country itself. At the highest levels, an elite of very powerful mages rules the realm. A a grandmaster at the head act as the formal ruler, though the Council of Twelve is the actual government. Below the Council, the High Mages form what in other realms would be the nobility, ruling over the land and acting as lords and judges.
However, the mage nobles of Palan rarely deal with mundane and local affairs. As a result, at those levels the realm more resembles a republic, with trade guilds and influential people forming circles and lesser councils that run the government. While there is always a High Mage in charge of an individual province, city or stronghold, there is most often a rather ordinary local government working under him. Most High Mages show so little interest in mundane affairs that they might as well be figureheads.
Palan has an extensive body of laws, and the profession of lawyer is common in cities and some can be found in larger towns. Written laws govern trade and taxes, marriage and family, crime and punishment as well as many details of daily life.
The pursuit of justice, however, differs from many other realms. While crime is enforced with the usual militia, courts and judges, civil matters are resolved according to Kiswaili tradition using an arbiter - a trusted, uninvolved third party, often a priest, who mediates between the parties and tried to arrange an agreement between them. Only when an agreement cannot be reached does the arbiter decide the matter.
An important piece of Palan legislation is that both the Kiswaili Faith and the Faith of Ikoyo are officially accepted religions, and religious prosecution against followers of either is forbidden. This allows even those who live in a region where the other religion is dominant to live their lifes in peace (most of the time).
Palan is a very structured and hierarchical society, organised into a caste system.
Below the ruling mage class, the middle class of Palan is made up of the lesser mages, the guild leaders and other capable craftsmen, traders, the mundane scholars and philosophers, the priests and the officers of the military - each forming their own caste within Palan society.
Finally, the peasants, workers and a vast underclass of mobile workers drifting from job to job are grouped into several lower castes.
Castes are outwards visible by clothing laws, and mobility between the castes is strictly regulated. The military of Palan is the most common upwards path for the lower classes. A peasant or worker who signs up as a soldier will become a veteran after having fought three battles. As a veteran, he is allowed to wear red clothing and enjoys some priviledges. For example, he has the right to rent a room for a reasonable price in any settlement he travels through. There is also a custom of serving veterans first in taverns, and while this is not an actual law, it is largely adhered to. If he distinguishes himself, he could be elevated to an officer rank, and allowed to wear blue clothing, the symbol of the middle class in Palan. Of course, those born into a better class will join the military as officers or even as knights - which in Palan denotes not a low nobility rank, but is a military rank. Knights are also used as peacekeepers and eyes, ears and hands of local lords, and "Knight Errand" is a common term for knights in service of a lord travelling the lands to investigate or resolve matters on his behalf.
In the eastern parts of Palan, in the lands formerly belonging to a much larger Guera, there are still many Wild Elves in the forests, often as nomadic tribes. Very few elves live in Palan besides those tribes, and dwarves are a rarity found only in the larger cities. Gnomes, on the other hand, can be found in most cities and larger towns, and make up about 5% of the total population, and well over 10% in some places.
Palan is famous for its powerful magic, which powers its war machines as well as numerous luxurious for its ruling class. Especially in the capital and the castles and palaces of the High Mages, magically powered lights, various forms of flying transportation, permanently flowing water fountains and other wonders are all among the things it is possible to see.
These are powered by a constant influx of life energy from the peasants and prisoners. Service as a human battery is a common sentence for criminals in the realm, and prisoners of war are rarely seen again. Additionally, peasants have been brainwashed to contribute a human sacrifice, typically one child per village and year, to their lords.
As a Kiswaili region, fire magic is eschewed where possible, and its use is prohibited to all but the High Mages.
Palan is feared among its neighbours for its extensive use of magic in warfare, a feat other realms cannot match. A feature of every Palanian army is the magical banner their battle mage division carries, which serves not just as a rallying point for the army, but also as a massive mana storage for the mages. It is also a point of pride and honor and the loss of the battle standard is a disaster no army will allow to happen. It is often defended to the last man, and many legends are written about the irrational efforts to which army members go to recover a standard lost to the enemy.
Being dominated by magic has one detrimental effect on Palan: Compared to other realms, non-magical innovations are lagging behind because there is so often an easier magical solution available. The Gnomes living in Palan are the main mechanics and tinkerers, while most humans would prefer to study the (reliable and easy) magic instead of the (unreliable and fickle) arts of mechanical engineering. This leaves Palan in the early middle ages by comparison, though there is no lack in any area, as what is missing in technology is more than compensated by magic.
The one exception is the field of combined magic and technology. While Palan has the powerful magic to build flying ships, it is still much easier to keep it intact by proper shipbuilding than by magic. Where technology and magic meet, the technology has to keep step with the magic employed, and as the High Mages have made their spells more powerful over the centuries, with the size of ships increasing, the engineering of shipbuilding had to increase accordingly to keep them from falling apart.
The reverse is not true at all. While engineering and technology could profit from magic in many areas, such as the ability to mold special parts with magic that are difficult or impossible to manufacture with mundane means, these roads are almost never travelled as the mages look down upon such applications of the art and would typically refuse to participate in such efforts.
With the Western Grasslands to the north, a long coastline, dense temperate and rainforests to the south and reaching into the mountains towards the north-east, Palan is economically independent and produces everything it consumes within itself, though not always at large quantities. Especially for metals and other mined resources, trade with Hanzatia is an important cornerstone.
Trade within Palan profits from the Courier Service, which allows reliable, quick delivery of messages and small amounts of goods throughout the realm.
This page is still incomplete and missing content or details that are planned, but have not been added yet.
The official calendar of Palan counts from the founding, so the current year (67 AV) is year 950 in the Palan calendar. It knows the same 13 months as most Ausekan calendars, following the cycle of the moon. A week is five days long, consisting of four days of work and one day of rest. This weekend day is commonly an occasion for sports, celebrations of all kinds, and religious festivals. Often, two or more of those get combined.
Almost everyone in Palan also has "weekend clothes". For the wealthy, several entire sets of clothing only to be worn on weekends. For commoners, one set of clothes, but even for the poor there is at the very least a weekend hat or scarf or shirt. This weekend clothing isn't necessarily better than everyday clothing, though the tradition is slowly shifting towards good clothing.