I’m still working on Arnâron (and I do wonder if anybody actually keeps up with the pace… well, no matter.) I’ve started to give some thought to the layout of the nations, and the balance of power between them.
Let’s first consider the geography and national borders. I haven’t given the nations names yet, so they’ll just be referenced by letter, like so:
Now, let’s take a look at each nation in turn.
Nation A: Temperate weather (for Arnâron), meltwater from the polar cap replenishes the sea every year in the local summer. The downside is flooding and marshland in the north-eastern part of the country. Expansion to the west is limited by extended salt flats (not shown on this map, but refer to an earlier map for a rough idea of where it’s located). Nation A is very close to Nation B, but separated by geography: Mountain ranges and marrow chasms make any overland assault on the neighbor a deadly exercise. This doesn’t mean they’re not trying. Both nations have relatively high birth rates and each is constantly worried that the other may decide it needs the arable land of the neighbor to support its population. They live in an uneasy peace interrupted by frequent short, and very boody, wars that rarely affect a change in the borders. Nation A isn’t too worried about the other nations, as it enjoys relative geographic isolation.
Nation B: This nation benefits from what little precipitation exists on Arnâron. Hot, humid air from the equatorial regions hits the mountain ranges and rains off in the highest parts of the mountain. The water then flows downhill in rivers – a rare sight on Arnâron – and collects in a small basin at the center of Nation B. This nation has probably the best arable land on the planet, and it guards it jealously. Its conflic twith Nation A is constant but usually low-key, for further detail, refer to Nation A. Nation B keeps good relations with nations G and H, which it considers a buffer to Nation C, and good trade relations with nation J, via the functional long-distance canal that connects the two.
Nation C: Draws its qater supplies from melt-water from the southern pole. Its rules are highly expansionist, believing firmly that the best defense is a good offense, and that only the strong have a right to survive. It sees nation D as a constant threat, but assaults across the desert are difficult. This doesn’t stop either nation from trying – and the two countries are in a constant state of war. Nation C sees the nearby city-states K, G and H as part of its territory and hopes that conquering them will help give it an edge over the larged nation D. It is less concered with nation J, which is separated from it by a vast desert. Nations K, G, and H do not wish to become part of nation C, which they see as barbaric and cruel and so the three have formed a loose alliance to defend against nation C.
Nation D: The people of nation D would be very happy to keep to themselves, but unfortunately their neighbors have different ideas. Nation C is waging a constant war against nation D, but thanks to nation D’s superior numbers it was able to repel all attacks. Nation D, however, does not have sufficient numbers to attack nation C in a decisive manner without leaving itself open to the threat from nation F, which is attempting to expand southward.
Nation E: Nation E enjoys almost total isolation and a good supply of water from the northern polar cap. Little is known about this nation in the rest of Arnâron, and rumors abound.
Nation F: Located at the equator, Nation F suffers greatly from the climate and its agriculture has a very low output. Nation F is attempting to expand westward, along the equatorial river, but has so far encountered stiff resistance from barbarians and “monsters”. It is in no position to mount an offensive against nation A in the far north, and so it attempts to wage an asymetrical war against nation D to the south. The lake/sea in between the two nations is the main battleground of the conflict. Nation F does not quite realize that Nation D could easily wipe it out if it somehow can keep nation C from taking advantage of the situation; and has mostly opted not to do so on moral grounds. Ironically, nation D would probably happily help nation F out with food etc if only nation F attempted diplomacy for a change…
Nation G: Maintains good relation with nation B and H, and is constantly under threat from nation C. Nation H is a buffer between G and C, and since G knows it will be next in line as soon as H falls, nation G will support nation H (almost) unconditionally against any attack from nation C. Together with H, it maintains a loose alliance with K, which is difficult because of the distance separating the two; but G and H will attack C’s northern border if C attacks K and so the balance of power has been kept, for now.
Nation H: Heavily defended, heavily fortified, and heavily armed – this nation only knows one way of life: War. Not by choice, but out of necessity. Nation C is a constant threat. The citizens of H have perfected their defense over the decades and have attained a reputation as fearsome warriors as a result. The soldiers of H like to boast that the gods ended their destruction of Arnâron when they came across the armies of nation H; but of course this is nonsense, considering H was built on the ancient seabed. Still, the fact that they get away with such a boast without ridicule says a lot about these hardy people.
Nation J: Nation J is isolated from its neighbours by vast deserts. Unlike nation E, however, it is connected by functional long distance canals to two of them; nations B and D. It maintains lively trade with both of them, and benefits from all trade passing between D and B as it must go through J’s city. The citizens of J, consequently, have a reputation as successful traders and merchants. Nation J is doing quite well for itself, but any change in the political situation in either nation B or D would potentially mean trouble for nation J and so it is constantly attempting to foster a neutral status.
Nation K: This small, independent nation maintains a defensive alliance with G and H to ward off attacks from C. Unfortunately, it is quite isolated, and so troops from G and H can not aid nation K directly. Usually, G and H will attack C to prevent nation C from committing enough troops to conquer nation K. However, nation K’s location and relative weakness means that it is only a matter of time before nation K will fall. The rulers realize this, of course, and are desperately trying to find a solution for their predicament.