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Sascria is the last realm in the known world where the old magocratic social order has not changed significantly. The towns of Sascria – the realm has no large cities – are still ruled by wizard councils, the rural areas are still mostly untouched and full of wild and dangerous creatures, and the majority of the population has heard the propaganda of the superiority of the Gifted over mundane people (called “the Soulless” in Sascria) that they actually started to believe it.
Still, Sascria faces the same problems every magocratic system faced: The magic does not function as effectively and easy as before, the old spells that hold up the infrastructure are faltering and sometimes just disappearing and there is a significant lack of young wizards who could follow in the steps of the current generation of magocrats. The rulers of Sascria have faced these challenges with a callous but efficient strategy which has become almost synonymous for the country’s ruling class. If spells become harder to cast and maintain, blood magic must fill the gaps, and this requires sacrifices, preferably of sentient creatures. If there are not enough potential Gifted born within the country, Gifted children must be harvested outside of it. Within a few years, Sascria has turned from a peaceful land of scholars into a warmongering country that sends out war parties hunting for captives to Thuria and Venna, and so-called Witch Hunters, small units under the leadership of a junior wizard are sent out to find children with potential and bring them to Sascria. Neither the war-ridden Republic of Thuria nor the loose alliance that forms the Principalities of Venna has the power to risk an open confrontation with the Sascrian magocrats apart from a few punishment expeditions, and even those are risky.
Sascria is ruled by a Chancellor who has a cabinet of Deans with one member from each of the Schools.
For the other people outside of the country, the Sascrians and their war bands seem to be an incarnation of the infernal forces themselves, but in reality, this point of view is overtly simple. The Sascrians – both the mundane and the ruling class of wizards – feel that the Age of Magocracy has created wonders of knowledge and culture which were unheard of before, and which are rapidly lost throughout the known world. The only place where this knowledge and cultural achievements have at least a chance to endure the next century or so is in Sascria itself, and thus the people of the country feel the obligation to preserve the old customs and knowledge. Pogroms against spellcasters or Beastfolk, which were common place in Ferron and still appear tragically often nearly everywhere else are unknown in Sascria. And while the mundane population is pretty much subjugated, their overall life quality is much higher than those of a self-proclaimed “free” dirt farmers in one of the other realms. You cannot eat freedom, and great gestures and hollow phrases does not make the water supply run.
Perhaps rightly so, the Sascrians see themselves as the last guardians of knowledge and beauty in the world, the last people who are willing to make the effort and the sacrifices which are necessary to preserve the achievements and knowledge of generations before the long night which lies ahead. To them, the hatred of the others doesn’t prove anything but the growth of barbarism and the decline of culture throughout the world. What is the life of a single human compared to the knowledge of generations?
Life in Sascria is peaceful, but monotonous. There are no human slaves (or there are almost only slaves, depending on the perspective) and the towns are beautiful, properly maintained and very clean. There are no belts of abandoned buildings as around the larger settlements like everywhere else. The people of Sascria – both humans and the numerous Beastfolk – live in predetermined castes, which are also divided into different quarters within a town (with the quarter of the wizards in the center). Nominally, the different castes are all equal with the exception the wizard’s caste, but due to the growing military aggression, the warrior caste has become the second most powerful in the realm. The other castes – the craftsmen, farmers, sailors and artists – are still about equal, though.
The common Sascrians combine the physical features of both the people of the North and South – their skin is much lighter than those of Ferronian or Vennan heritage, but it is also not as pale as the light skin of the Rhyrgians. The hair color is often also quite light, but it is a typical feature of Sabscrian culture to color the hair in the colors of their castes – orange for the craftsmen, green for the farmers, blue for the sailors, yellow for the artists, red for the warriors and metallic silver for the wizards. Everywhere else, these hair colors would be too expen-sive for the majority of the population, but in Sabscria, colored hair is seen as basic right only the casteless and other scum doesn’t color their hair.
Beastfolk have become integrated into the caste system. Here, caste membership is much more important than ethnic background, and the difference between two humans of different castes are usually greater than the differences between humans and beastfolk within the same caste. There are two notable exceptions in the case of the two most numerous beastfolk species though: Wolflings form the backbone of the Sascrian armies and war parties as well as of the warrior caste, and are highly respected. In Venna and Thuria, Wolfmen are almost automatically associated with Sascria, and usually have a pretty bad reputation, but in Sascria, they are valued members of society, and often more praised than their human comrades by default. The other exception are the ratlings, which are treated as a plague in Sascria and not as sentient creatures at all. There is still a bounty on ratlingtails, and often, they are killed on sight or captured to fuel blood rituals. Despite this open violence and persecution, the ratling population in Sabscria seem to be very stable and steadily growing.
Sascria remains the only society in the known world where religion plays no significant role in daily life. The official position of the magocrats is that there are no gods and any form of faith is a laughable superstition, a position which is usually shared by many other Sascrians as well. Openly shown religious fervor is usually considered as a sign of barbaric naiveté and primitive superstition and is generally made fun of.
Natural Resources and Industry
Sascria still produces a high degree of its raw material through magic, but the manufacturing of these goods are a task of the craftsmen caste. The land of Sabscria is lush and fertile, and the agrarian production is very high – enough to usually export wheat and corn to more frugal places. The most praised product of Sascria is the Sascrian silk, the most exclusive and expensive cloth in the known world. Generally speaking, even the poor in Sascria have access to much better food, shelter and clothing than the vast majority of people elsewhere.
Sascrian warriors have a very uniform access to weapons. When a young member of the warrior caste starts combat training, their talents are tested and they are put into specific branches based on the weapons they show the most talent for. All of these branches, use uniform armament and training, with a focus on polearms, swords, and axes. Human Sascrian warriors usually wear heavy armor and form the center of battle lines with long spears and other polearms, while the lighter armed wolfmen cover the flanks and use axes and swords – and their own teeth, if possible. Archers form a separate branch and usually in-clude both humans and beastfolk.
Sascrian warriors are usually associated with the color red, and wear red badges, clothes and color their hair (or in the case of wolfmen, their manes and sometimes their entire fur) in a deep crimson. Sascrian warriors are usually on foot, as horses do not like the predatory smell of the wolfmen and are therefore usually more a hindrance than a help for the warbands. The warriors therefore carry most of their equipment themselves and rely as little as possible on beasts of burdens, which greatly increases their mobility.