From Tapestries MUCK
The area was settled in 0 A.L. by immigrants from Layleaux and was formally incorporated as an aristocratic republic in 40 A.L.
Chehon is the second most populous region of Curuoskar and has both the most active economy and the largest volume of off-world trade on the planet. The overall economy of Chehon is dominated by the transshipment and brokerage industries, with he domestic manufacturing, import/export, service, and tourism industries holding a lesser — but still quite significant — role.
The territory of Chehon is a relatively narrow strip of land running along the western shore of the single, unnamed continent of Curuoskar, bordered on the west by ocean and on the east by a mountain range. Chehon's territorial claims encompass an area roughly 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) north to south and 200 kilometers (125 miles) east to west . The majority of the inland area is dominated by untouched temperate forest to the north and subtropical forest to the south. As one moves inland the terrain shifts from beach to plains, foothills, and then mountains for nearly the entire stretch of the country, with periodic, relatively flat river valleys breaking up that pattern.
There is more land to the south which Chehon does not claim; Chehon only claims the land between the western shore and mountains north of the equator. The southern tropics, temperate regions, and sub-antarctic reaches of the Curuoskar super-continent are currently unclaimed.
The Northern Protectorate consists of the territory north of Chehon City. It has a temperate climate and is dominated by broadleaf forest in the lowlands and lower hills, with the highlands and mountains seeing more in the way of evergreen forest and snow pack. The further south in the province one travels, the more the balance shifts towards deciduous forest, with the southern edge of the province seeing a bit more in the way of Mediterranean foliage.
Chehon City and the Otter River Valley sit between the Northern Protectorate and the Southern Territories. This area is relatively flat and enjoys a warm, wet, mild climate for most of the year. Most of the river valley has been deforested for agriculture or construction, and what woods remain are generally second generation forest with quite a lot of shrubby undergrowth.
The Southern Territories are somewhat mixed. Research has shown that a catastrophic magical event is most likely responsible for scouring the region sometime in the past; the area is now dry in summer and muddy in winter. Despite occasional attempt to revitalize the area, the land's lack of existing plant life allows the wind to strip the topsoil, which has impeded those efforts. Once past the wastelands, however, the Southern Territories are warm, wet, and heavy with rapidly growing Mediterranean and subtropical flora.
Immediately after the founding of Layleaux, some of the immigrants coming through the Tapestries from other worlds found the new city not to their liking; usually for one of two reasons. The first group, a small tribe of otters, found the idea of urban life foreign to them. The second group simply disliked the cultural norms of Layleaux and found the sensuality of the place impossible to handle. So in a decision almost everyone involved in came to nearly immediately regret, Layleauxian puritans and Lutrai agreed to set out together to find a new place to live.
The trip was easy enough; the lake south of Layleaux feeds a river, which the party followed to the sea. However, the cultural heritage of the Lutrai — based around a free-wheeling enjoyment of life — and the (comparatively) conservative nature of the other half of the party quickly led to the two groups parting ways and settling immediately afterwards. It didn't quite come to blows, but everyone involved was quite happy to stop sharing the same barge.
So Chehon was founded in 0 A.L. at the outlet of the Otter River, and the Lutrai claimed an island at the northern edge of Chehon Bay; close enough to trade but far enough away for the comfort of everyone involved.
In what Layleaux would call the Years of Trade (0 A.L. to 20 A.L.), Chehon remained a fairly small haven for those whose temperament made them a poor fit for the Portal City. The town began to develop into a typical magical township, with wealthy (or dangerous) immigrants claiming generous plots of land on the northern side of the valley and setting themselves up as a fledgling nobility while the town itself beginning to grow into a center for fishing and simple cottage industry. The primarily medieval, magical nature of immigrants during this period mean that even today, the area known as Oldtown is still a center of magical teaching and craftsmanship.
Later in this period, as the Tapestries connected less magically-inclined worlds, many of those individuals immigrated to Chehon. With them came some more "modern" concepts, such as city services, utilities, organized schooling, and organized corporations. Most of these ideas did not penetrate the society of Oldtown significantly but still tend to dominate the middle of current-day Chehon City.
Failure of the Tapestries
The collapse of the Tapestries was not as big of a concern in Chehon as it was in Layleaux due to the separation between Chehon and the Castle; indeed, sudden increased demand for manufactured goods and domestically produced foodstuffs were a benefit to Chehon's economy. A new wave of immigration, this time from Layleaux itself, followed, as did the expansion of the local manufacturing industry. As alternate forms of cross-world transportation began to relieve the pressure on Layleaux and its monopoly on off-world trade, immigration from Layleaux tapered off; however, some people stayed in their new homes and brought their attitudes and cultural norms with them. The resulting culture clash between these new immigrants and those who came to Chehon specifically to get away from those attitudes led to a certain amount of civil unrest and resentment that occasionally can still be seen today.
Space Travel and Incorporation
With the discovery of Curuoskar by space-faring societies, the promise of the planet as a trade hub — particularly for illicit goods, given its out-of-the-way placement — was immediately identified. A number of shipping interests from several different realities combined their resources and decided to put a space port on the planet to support that trade. Several sites were considered, but ultimately Chehon was chosen because its proximity to the ocean gives a safe place for ships experiencing difficulties to splash down, because there's a nearby local population to provide workers, and because of the large settlements on the planet, it's the one closest to the equator...which helps reduce the energy needs for a ship to get back into orbit.
Representatives of the shipping cartel met with representatives from the local nobility, local trade guilds, several elected representatives, and an envoy of the Lutrai, and a charter was drafted which all the groups ultimately agreed upon. This was the Chehon Charter of 40 A.L. and united all of Chehon under a council government made up of representatives from the major interests within the city-state.
Lapine-Lupine War of 56 A.L.
The introduction of a space port and the creation of a formal government led to a rapid expansion in all industries, but first and foremost it led to the creation of a extremely large amount of trafficking of slaves — both Layleaux natives and offworlders — as well as transshipment of drugs and weapons. Ultimately, this led to a short, yet brutal conflict between a clan of escaped rabbit slaves and a wolven trading house. This conflict grew to include species chauvinists on both sides split more-or-less down the predator/prey divide and primarily took place in the northern portion of the Southern Territories.
The conflict between the Lapine Nationalists and the various mercenaries hired by the wolven family went on for several months, culminating in a threat by the prey species to detonate a bomb in the city home of the wolves, and a counter-threat by the wolves of orbital kinetic strikes in the territory held by the nationalists.
The exact details of what followed are uncertain, but it seems likely that one or the other of the belligerents began to carry through on their threat. The result was that the wolven trading house, the mercenary vessels in orbit, and every living thing in the territory held by the lapine nationalists disappeared and no sign of them has re-emerged since. The only surviving belligerents were those outside of the contested areas at the time of the disappearance. Hostilities have not renewed since, and the war is considered to have ended by all but the most dedicated of veterans.
Post-War Period & Current Day
Despite the destructiveness of the war and the loss of life, only a few changes have really emerged as a result of the conflict. The focus of the slave trade has shifted from chattel slavery to the creation of quality servants and educated laborers, with mass pens and lot auctions largely a thing of the past. Species-based tensions are generally higher than they once were, though such tensions are less likely to flare into violence.
The largest day-to-day changes for Chehon since 56 A.L. are twofold. First is the "energy tax," a zone covering Chehon City and most of the Northern Protectorate which saps the power from strong energy sources and powerful weapons. Second is the Port Authority: a standing military force tasked with the protection of the City, the Protectorate, and the various communities north of the city.
Chehon is governed by a two-tier council. The lower tier represents the various communities within the confederation, whereas the upper tier represents the major established interests of the capitol city:
- Upper Council
- Representative of the City's Citizens (Chair)
- Representative of the North's Citizens
- Representative of the South's Citizens
- Representative of the Nobility
- Representative of the Trade Cartel
- Representative of the Guilds
- Representative of the Corporations
- Representative of the Clan Houses
- Lower Council
- Representative of Oldtown
- Representative of Midtown
- Representative of Newtown
- Representative of South Chehon
- Representative of the Port
- Other representatives of outlying towns, villages, and communities.
The upper council's decisions must be made with a two-thirds majority vote; the upper council governs on military affairs, extends membership to new states and provinces, breaks ties in the lower council, and sets all tax rates. The lower council makes decisions by simple majority vote and governs on all other matters.
A citizen has two votes. If they're a part of one of the other groups, they may cast one vote for their Citizen's Representative, and one for their other representative. Citizens not represented by any of the other categories may cast two votes for Citizen's Representative. Citzenship is defined as either 1) any person living within the bounds of any province of Chehon for a span of one or more years or 2) all Chehon landholders, regardless of place of residence. A citizen also has one vote for their representative on the lower council.
The council serves both as executive and legislature. The judiciary is simply a department within the government in service to the council.
There are a host of departments, mostly concerned with the day to day operation of the city and the maintenance of its infrastructure (the Departments of Roads, Water, Power, etc.). The most well-known departments are the Department of Customs, the Department of Revenue, and the Department of Justice.
The Department of Customs governs who can leave the space port and who can come in, as well as what goods can come and go. Customs Officers almost inevitably take the form of a bored-looking creature in a blue shirt and black slacks either inspecting crates with a clipboard or sitting in a booth by the space port gates. Official policy is that prohibited goods are not allowed to pass under any circumstances, but de-facto policy is that paying a "special tax" will get a stamp on nearly anything; particularly if the officer is looking particularly harried that day.
The Department of Revenue is concerned with the collection of taxes. The energy tax is automatic, so Revenue mostly concerns itself with import and export duties and with making sure that "tax-exempt" weapons — those that aren't affected by the energy tax dampening field for one reason or another — don't leave the space port while in transshipment.
The Department of Justice serves as the Chehon justice system. When a crime is committed, the victim can file a report and evidence, which is reviewed by a panel of Justice Officers. If the officers determine the petition to be valid — that the offense caused the victim permanent harm or significant monetary loss — they will dictate the punishment and authorize a bounty to be placed for the apprehension and punishment of the individual that committed the crime. As a consequence, there is no police department or prison system in Chehon, really; justice is by contract.
The Chehon "Port Authority" is the military service of the Chehon Confederation; member communities do not usually maintain their own military )though internal conflict and the troops that come with it are more common in the South). This service acts as a defense force, and is rarely called to action. It's only useful for countering threats that are big enough to disrupt the stability more than military action would, but threats that are minor enough that the protection granted to the world as a whole doesn't kick in. As such, they aren't commonly seen in action.
Chehon has a policy of keeping its serving military personnel's identities a secret, under the rationale that those bold enough to provoke a military response are bold enough to attack its personnel at home. As a result, the dark blue uniform - consisting of a composite face mask, peaked cap, long coat, boots, and gloves - has a distinctly dystopian feel to it.
Chehon's economy is dominated by trade and brokerage: the city itself is considered one of the best places in known space to make connections and to find even the rarest of goods. Most of the foreign traders found in Chehon are there to network and arrange buy and sell orders, connecting incoming shipments with people seeking cargo to transport to their next destination.
The import-export economy is diverse. Chehon imports complex manufactured goods, luxury goods, exotic foodstuffs, and other low-volume, high-value items. In turn, it exports grey goods — slaves and drugs — as well as locally-produced armaments. Its primary export is energy, however, in the form of its currency.
The Chehon credit is a currency backed by energy and redeemable for its energy value in fuel or in supply from the city power grid. The "change" denominations — anything 10 credits and under — are coin-shaped, high-density batteries which can be used both with the appropriate pocket-sized converter and by most mages for use in spells and enchantments. In general, a single credit is worth about the same amount of energy as one liter of gasoline (1/4 of a gallon of gasoline). However, goods are priced at what people will pay and what they think something is worth, not at how much energy it costs to make the good; as a result, it's not uncommon to see a medieval smithy price his wares at the same level as a merchant selling energy-based tools of a similar purpose, based on the quality and hand-made nature of his goods.
Purely domestic economic activity is dominated by two categories of goods: low-volume, high-quality, hand-made luxury items and high-volume necessities. Chehon attracts artisans seeking a diverse clientele, just as it attracts those seeking the perfect example of whatever they might be seeking. However, its true industrial manufacturing is reserved for common household goods that everyone needs which simply are too cheap or bulky to be worth importing. Examples include fur shampoo, disposable containers and utensils, basic first-aid supplies, non-luxury refined foods (soda, beer, candies, flour, sugar, etc), and fuels.
Demographics and Culture
The demographics of Chehon are hard to precisely measure, but more or less mirror those of Layleaux: the population comes from an incredibly diverse array of backgrounds (though twenty-first century Earth is over-represented) and the species mix is dominated by furred mammals with a smattering of hominids, scale-bearers, aquatic mammals, and avians.
The culture of Chehon City is quite different from that of Layleaux, despite the demographic similarities. Chehonian citizens are more likely to be focused on mercantile, political, and military matters than Layleauxians, and while Layleauxian is intensely egalitarian, Chehon has more stratification in income and its people give more thought to social status. Sexuality, while still a significant aspect of Chehon's culture, isn't prioritized as it is in Layleaux, and some subcultures actively oppose its open expression.
All in all, Chehon is much more fractured and prone to factionalization than Layleaux is, simply because the goals of Chehonians tend to not only be more diverse, but are also frequently at odds with one another. For this reason, native Layleauxians rarely visit Chehon; individuals tend to visit once and never return, or ultimately move to the area.
The culture of the southern portions of the Northern Protectorate borrows heavily from the original Lutrai settlers; creatures who settle in the area tend to form small, cooperative communities with a minimum of factionalization and strife. The majority of the denizens are naturalists, farmers, druids, and fae-touched who seek a life with more meaning than that available to the east, but without the hustle and bustle endemic to the city.
The far Northern mountain areas play host to a culture which is much more clannish, isolationist, and less accepting of outsiders. Typically individualist cold-weather species tend to populate these areas, which gives the area a much more "highland" feel to it.
The Southern Territories are a harder place than the north, and a more dangerous place than the city. Chehon's charter does not mandate that it police and protect the south, and the position of the government is that while it lays claim to the area and its natural resources, it has no current plans to bring any order to the place; so long as the people living there pay duties on what they import and export, the government doesn't really care what they do.
As a result, the south tends to attract those with a more primal nature: the predators, the warlords, the dragons, the explorers. Those who want to own something, to conquer something, to hunt, or to revel in sheer anarchy make their homes in the wastes and tropics. The more adventurous may even establish small city-states south of Chehon's territorial claims, but those settlements are rarely heard from and, indeed, often fail for one reason or another. For these reasons, the south is by far the region of the planet where the on-world employment of the mercenaries is most likely.