Burtow is equal parts prairies, deserts, and jungles, divided up by steep mountain ranges. Though a colonial empire flourished here centuries ago, the modern-day Outback consists of a few oasis cities and miles of reclaimed brushland. Randwick is the major hub of trade for the country, and exports ivory, exotic spices, and warriors and guides used to the hard life of the desert. Though there are rumors of lush lands to the south, most of the northern continent of Burtow is harsh, rugged terrain. There’s little room there for expansion, and so most life is confined to the cities and towns along the northern coast. The population of these coastal settlements numbers around 1.5 million.
- Emperor Titus Pulo- “Emperor” of Burtow
In the distant past, the land that makes up Gastonia was a collection of smaller, independent kingdoms, and it was the first region incorporated into the Burtow Empire around 600BA. Ankh-Moporok was the primary landing site, and the small city quickly grew into the sprawling metropolis it is today. When Burtow's grip on Erna began to weaken in 3AE, the remnants of the fallen kingdoms rallied their forces and declared their independence in no uncertain terms in 6AE. With its armies wholly preoccupied with fighting the Harkath rebellion and in danger of being cut off by the kindgoms' revolt, Burtow quickly recognized their new freedom, allowing the area to move to self-government with little damage to lives or property.
Despite the withdrawal of the Empire, Ankh-Moporok remained an economic and cultural force, and the kingdom based there quickly rose to prominence. Slowly, through economic inevitability and military might, they absorbed all the other newly freed kingdoms into one nation. The Fallen Kings once again fell sway to a greater power, becoming governors of the provinces that had once been their lands. In the time since then, the monarchies have vanished completely, and only the names of the provinces of Gastonia remain as a reminder of the ruling families.
Once Gastonian expansion met Jetstone and Ecaz in the east, the Sage Mountains in the west, and The Rahklands in the north, the Senate turned their focus on solidifying their position as the greatest nation in Erna. This put them in direct conflict with Harkath, a nation that had been united under one guiding banner since the Burtow Rebellion. The origins of the war are still hotly contested, but in 290AE, the two superpowers slammed together on the field of battle. The war waged for six bloody years, stopping for only two years with the signing of the Clash Accords. As fighting pushed the front ever closer to the capital along the Tarmane Sea, the Gastonian Senate relocated their entire government south, to the city of Ankh-Moporok. Over the next three years, the war slowed to occasional skirmishes along the Gastonian-Harkath border, but even today, in 308AE, the "war effort" is still a major economic driver in Gastonia, especially as incursions from the "Savage Races" from The Rahklands become more common.
GovernmentEditThe Gastonian Senate was originally composed of the ruling elite of Ankh-Moporok, but as the provinces' influence grew, they each secured a number of seats. Within the Senate, there are committees of Senators who represent the interests of the main industries, such as lumber, agriculture, fishing, mining, the army and the navy, and advocates for the interests of the provinces.
The Senate is currently led by Minister Richard Stald.
Gastonia is technically in a state of war with Harkath, and maintains a strong embargo on Harkath goods. However, Ecaz acts as an intermediary between the two, and so it is not uncommon to see a scratched out Harkath stamp on products in most towns and cities.
Gastonia has a non-aggression pact with Jetstone, which remained officially neutral while Gastonia and Harkath fought. Gastonia is open allies with the rest of the eastern nations. In the west, Gastonia tolerates the existence of Freeland, mainly because any force attempting to reach the pirate nation must either sail from Anhk-Moporok around hundreds of miles of coast or cross both the Sage Mountains and the dense Strangethorn Jungle.
Sesset was founded by force on some unsettled Gastonian territory east of the Sage Mountains, but bought peace with Gastonia with a steady stream of iron and other valuable ores from the mines it quickly established. The Sorcerer King Findalimus, whose magical power secured his new kingdom, made a personal visit to the capital in 210AE to sign the treaty that keeps Gastonian armies away from Sesset's doorstep.
Demographics and CultureEditGastonia is the largest nation on Erna, and boasts a population of nearly 12 million souls. Its population is distributed fairly evenly across its territory with the exception of The Barrens, which are largely uninhabited, and Ankh-Moporok, the sprawling capital city which houses over 200,000 people. The second largest city in Gastonia is Graylan, which sits on the northern coast. It was the nation's capital for most of its history, but the seat of the government was moved when war broke out with Harkath in 290AE. Roughly 6-8% of the population lives in urban areas, a figure that is thrown off somewhat by the sprawling metropolis that is the capital.
Gastonia also has the most diverse population on Erna, with large amounts of elves, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes living both with humans and in their own settlements. When the empire surrendered its hold on Erna, many natural citizens returned to their home continent, but many more stayed where they were- where their families had been living for generations. The Risen Kingdoms that now make up Gastonia were some of the friendliest lands immediately after the rebellion, and as a result the human population of Gastonia is heavily influenced by Burtow ethnicity and culture.
- The Bulwark, Gastonian Fighters' Guild
- Arcane Associates, Gastonian Mages' Guild
- Royal Apothecary Society
- Storm Masons
- Riot Revelers
- Clatchet's Emporium
- Shadow Dancers
- Gastonian Cultural Preservation Society