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Friday, February 4, 2011
Weird Adventures: Imperfect Union
Courtesy of the cartographic skills of Anthony Hunter at Battleaxes & Beasties, here’s a look at the Union, a political body of the Strange New World. It’s presented here without the full key, but many of the denoted places of interested we’ve already visited: Motorton, the Red Dwarf’s city (4), the ogre-haunted Smaragdine Mountains (6), the perilous Grand Chasm (11), San Tiburon, where dwells the King (maybe) of the New World (13), and of course, the City (1).
The Union, itself is a confederation of former Ealderdish colonies, formed for their mutual protection after they were abandoned by the great colonial powers (who were distracted by one of their interminable wars). It’s founding states were the New Lludd Counties, the City and its client municipalities, and the Southron Shires. The Union was designed to have no strong executive, instead vesting its power in a bicameral Union Congress.
The General Assembly (the larger house), has three representatives from each member state, elected by popular vote, though the means by which the slate of candidates is arrived at varies from state to state. The General Assembly is presided over by a speaker elected by the assembly members. The speaker still holds the ceremonial “Speaking Stick” (in appearance, something like a fraternity paddle or cricket bat inscribed with runes), but trials by combat are now a rarely invoked a parliamentary tool.
The smaller house is really a committee, empowered to make urgent decisions--originally defined as times when the Assembly was not in session, but now with a wider application. The committee has one representative from each state, but the number of “votes” they command is based on the population of the state. Each is appointed by their respective state government, but must be approved by acclamation of the Assembly. The chairman of the committee is not officially a representative of any state, and is instead appointed by the Assembly. Decisions of the committee must ultimately be approved by the Assembly, but details need not be publicly debated, and so mostly aren’t.
The seat of the Union government is Phratropolis, a city built with embedded wards and protections in an attempt to shield lawmakers from sorcerous influence.