Retupa is an ancient land. Their historians claim that Retupa is in fact the oldest human civilization in the world, traditions and culture passed down intact from generation to generation for thousands of years. Of course, the fact that Retupa is much the same as any other human land (on the surface at least) is attributed to the fact that all other human lands were settled by Retupani!
Except for a few enclaves in major trading ports, Retupa is inhabited almost exclusively by Humans. Retupani tend to have darker skin tones, from coal-black to a honey color, varying locally and even within the family. Retupa has a very stratified society, with little social mobility and perceptible barriers between Noble, the Merchant Class, and the Peasantry. Besides extreme luck, military service is the only way to ascend through the ranks. Retupa’s military has a well-deserved reputation for professional excellence, and many Retupani may be found among the world’s top mercenary brigades and hunters’ guilds.
The Merchant Class
The Merchant Class in Retupa is surprisingly large, considering the strict barriers to social climbing. However, over the millenia, Retupani rulers have learned that giving free reign to the merchant houses results in a far richer Retupa. Merchant Houses are found throughout the land in cities and towns – administering business interests over a wide scale, and lending money to the powerful – who are often far less prosperous. In other lands, many Merchant Houses would have purchased a title long ago.
The peasants of Retupa are not ground into the dust as they have been in many lands, but their lot is not an easy one. Farmers and artisans, much of their work is heavily taxed by the Merchant Houses or the Aristocracy. Many peasants find that life behind a helm’s visor preferable to that behind a plow ox and enlist in the military, hoping for the land grant and possible title that comes with service.
All retired soldiers in Retupa are granted a small land-holding and tax exemption. Many peasants enlist in order to escape the perpetual toil of work, and a small but significant portion of land in Retupa is held by these retirees. Many cities and large towns started as fellow soldiers put their Retirees’ Grants together, spending their retirement with their brothers-in-arms.
Retupa is ruled by a powerful monarch, though nominally advised by (and often opposed by) a council of nobles from traditionally powerful families.
The king or queen of Retupa is a powerful ruler, with direct power over foreign affairs, defense of the realm, and over public works. The monarch is considered the part-owner of all land in the kingdom, and all lands not owned by the aristocracy are wholly controlled by the ruler. In addition, the land of each major city is considered the property of the crown.
There are several powerful noble families in Retupa, all interconnected through hundreds of years of intermarriage. The families exercise a great deal of unofficial influence over domestic policy, and administer much of the land inhabited by the peasantry. The families have limited control over affairs by the fact that their large economic clout can hobble the treasury, though open insubordination can result in confiscation of lands or titles.