Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gazetteer: Presidency of Dhrataka

being the first in a Series of Posts concerning
the Countries of the Glorious continent of Mahindya

The Presidency of Dhrataka is a territory controlled by the Red Lion Trading Company, a massive trading concern based in the Kingdom of Devon, back on the Continent (aka Imagi-Europe). The owners and investors in the RLTC are safely ensconced back home, but their governors, factors, and company troops are busy making fortunes for them here in this wealthy new land. The Presidency resides primarily on the former Dhrataka Raj, a kingdom in western Mahindya, and parts of the Sultanate of Khanjavur, although several smaller fiefdoms have also fallen under the dominion of the RLTC. Both the Raj and Sultanate were acquired through trade agreements, and in the case of the Raja, the RLTC is also responsible for his safety and comfort in perpetuity.

The first trading posts were established by the RLTC, along with other Devon merchant companies (since absorbed), in the 1630’s, and the company has been waging peaceful conquest ever since, with periods of less than peaceful conquest breaking out frequently. In part this is because of the trading concerns of other countries from the Continent, including Francia, Joa (both still here – see future installments of this gazetteer), and Zeeland (now gone, except for mercenary remnants). The enormous Zarist Empire, which stretches from the eastern edge of the Continent to the Great Eastern Ocean, also borders on the northern edges of Mahindya, and its agents and traders can be found competing with the RLTC as well.

At other times, trade and real wars have broken out with native princelings both large and small, although in the last 30 years or so there has been an amalgamation of many of the continent’s smaller states into larger nations. Sometimes this has been willingly, sometimes less so. But it does mean the RLTC now has some potentially formidable opposition on the continent and conflict seems inevitable, despite the merchant princes back in Devon preferring quiet conquest…as it is better for the bottom line.

The Presidency is broken into both districts overseen by RLTC Commissioners, and small princely states still run under native rule, but overseen the RLTC’s Governor. The districts are primarily in the former Dhrataka Raj and Sultanate, but some include abolished princely states. The RLTC has complete legal authority over the Presidency, although this was not originally intended by the native princes, and they are supported as necessary by Devon. However, the home country tries to be disinterested in affairs here but RLTC principals do have a great deal of political clout, and some Devon troops are now in Dhrataka to back up RLTC units.

The RLTC’s military is primarily to ensure agreements are followed and revenues are collected, but some company governors and generals have used them to forcibly expand the company’s holdings. RLTC’s military includes infantry regiments of Continental expatriates, sepoys both good and bad, and some odds and sods collected from the continent’s dispossessed. Their cavalry mainly consists of native mercenaries or allies, but a pair of small troops of Continental hussars and mounted infantry are also available. The company’s preferred mercenaries are Sartisian (think Sikh) and Rajput cavalry.

Quick Facts on Dhrataka:
Power Structure: RLTC Governor –> Commissioners –> Raja (sometimes a Regent) –> Princes
Governor: Duke of Redonda (Archibald Lewiston Hurst)
Military Leader: Lord Blackstone (Algernon Lyttleon-Wrey)
Native Leader: Raja Vijaysata
Capitol City: Sanagar
Other Cities: Champadan, Umcherry, Murza

Notes on Personalities:
The Duke of Redonda is a gloomy middle-aged man of mediocre talents. While his popularity remains middling at the moment, his treatment of the native population is harsh and his more astute staff are trying to warn of rebellion in the air. Some are even trying to work around his policies to mitigate their effects, while those in the military are trying to brace themselves for internal troubles that may soon bring on external troubles as the vultures start to circle.

Unfortunately for those in the RLTC military, their leader, Lord Blackstone, makes Duke Redonda look like an over-achieving genius. While young (33), supremely good-looking, generous, cheerful, and popular, he is also a womanizer who has been selling out the company’s concerns for any native bribes he can find. Even if he wasn’t a self-indulgent lout, he has neither political nor military skills of note. Given some of the talent now found elsewhere on the continent, particularly in the Department of Dravancore, Redonda and Blackstone are a bad, bad combination.

[NOTE: The personalities are based on Tony Bath’s wargames campaign book, and include disposition, morality, generosity, loyalty, appearance, popularity (derived in part from other traits), intelligence, energy, political skill, military skill]

The Continent of Mahindya

It's been a long gap in posts here after my first, so here's a simple map of the continent with nice big place names:
(as always, clicking on the map will bring up a bigger version)

My versions have smaller names for the countries and names for the cities as well. However, while this is about version 4 of the map (freehand, hex paper, 1st draft w/o roads or names), now I'll be creating a point-to-point map from this, as that's the way my campaign rules have gone. Most of the towns will disappear, but critical ones will remain as locations. Ports, river crossings, entrances to passes or the last town before the desert will all stay.

Also, the only roads on this are really trails (fuzzy brown lines) through deserts or mountain passes, I sketched out a road (trail) system for the continent, but as per the above comments, that's changed.