Fantasy Ireland

The politics

Fódhla (pron. foe-luh) is a land of various territories controlled by finte (pron. fin-chuh, often referred to as clans by outsiders). Most finte swear loyalty to a large, powerful fine (fin, singular of finte) that controls a relatively large area by dint of those who are loyal to it. Finte are ostensibly all related but are always made up of a great number of families and marriage within ones finte (but not direct family) is common - and frequently preferred by those of a traditional bent.

Finte are ruled by monarchs who can be removed from power for misconduct or by a significant majority of the families within their rule. They appoint a deputy who is in a similar position to a royal heir. This need not be their blood descendant but must be of the ruling family of a finte. Monarchs of finte who control whole provinces hold the title King or Queen. Monarchs employ a bard of some renown as a sort of head envoy, who will handle many matters related to diplomacy. Disputes over territory and trade are common and, while they typically settled by the word of a province's ruler, often come to blows.

Due to the finte structure it is very rare for any one fine to control the whole country and it is rare for a High King of Fódhla to exist but it has happened at various times by means of diplomacy or conquest. Yet more rarely, an existential threat to the nation as a whole may cause a High King to be elected from among the leading finte of various provinces to combat the threat. Theoretically, the High King's deputy will become High King upon the High King's death but such appointments have not been known to last.

Various small finte of many races exist in the country, and it is common that a small finte will be of a particular race but larger finte that control a large area will typically consist of many races. Fighting within or between finte on racial grounds is rare.

The military

Each finte is expected to be able to raise a small army and it is rare for all but the most disaster-struck finte to be unable to fulfill this. Coastal areas sometimes raise small navies instead but are still more than capable of defending themselves internally.

Due to the diversity of the people, many different forces and weapons can be found on Fódhla but many forces default to lighter "hit and run" weapons for cattle raids, the most common form of internal military dispute. Magic is rarely used in an offensive capacity in such disputes.

On the few occasions that Fódhla unifies to fight off an invader, the invader can expect themselves to face the full magical might of enraged druids, and a constantly-changing array of tactics from various small armies. While this may often be seen as disorangised, it is typically a concerted effort by various leaders to prevent an enemy from organising a coherent attack or defence while druids rally the magic of the land to tear into invading armies.

The People

The people of Fódhla are diverse but hardy and typically share an affinity for the land and ability to thrive in somewhat harsh conditions. While many of them would fare poorly in desert climates, they think little of freezing sleet, driving rain, and howling winds. Many races have made homes in Fódhla over centuries and are often tolerated soon after gaining a foothold so long as they do not intend to take a whole province or, indeed, the entire country.

It is sometimes said that if two Fódhlans are given a subject they will have three opinions and this is often borne out by their enthusiastic, good-natured, arguing. While such arguments may come to blows when mead is involved, it's not uncommon for two who just fought to walk home arm in arm - albeit a little unsteadily. Rowdy celebrations and drinking are common - the old Fódhlan word for whiskey translates literally as "the water of life."

Weak leaders - either physically or mentally - will not be tolerated among Fódhlans and they enjoy word games as much as they do physical contest. Although this makes them canny traders, most are content to trade with whoever comes to the ports and cities.

Fódhlans often emigrate to see the world, adventure, or seek employment. Many send money or goods home to their family, and most return to visit when they can.

Various physical sports are practiced in Fódhla and athletes find great renown but little in the way of direct pay. That said, in a society where money is rarely used, being invited to the best parties is, perhaps, pay in itself.

The gods

The gods of Fódhla similarly relate strongly to the land, with druids being more common than priests. The mythology of Fódhla has much related to the revival of various peoples in the land, often bringing their gods with them who then become part of the Fódhlan patheon or join with another Fódhlan god. Triune gods are common and some Fódhlan gods are thought to be the same deity under many names.

Temples are uncommon outside of port cities, and druids are treated with great respect even by kings. Fódhlans will attempt to avoid harming nature and will refuse to build or clear land in areas where it would do so - including those that have emigrated. Oak trees in particular are sacred to most Fódhlans.

External religions are tolerated but rarely practiced among natives.

The trade

The main exports of Fódhla are textiles, typically wool and linens, while cattle prove an important part of the internal economy. Artwork with stylised and abstract designs are often traded extentally also. Mead and whiskey are traded both externally and internally also. Barter is more common than the use of coin internally, but among those who trade externally coin is held to be "almost as valuable as cattle."

Imports are primarily luxury goods, with little need for staples.

Most trade takes place in port cities, with dedicated traders carrying luxury goods around to provincial capitals.

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