Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dinosaurs and Gladiators: A Great Combination

Calastia is the great empire of the Scarred Lands. Not only has it established a hegemony of vassal states across the southern portion of Ghelspad but they have also begun to expand into Termana. It is also beloved by most of it's citizenry, which seems like somewhat of a contradiction on the face of it as Calastia is a Lawful Evil nation. However, there is a way to make sense of it. Although Calastia is presented as a traditional monarchy, it is much more than that. Calastia is in many ways the Roman Empire of it's world. And just like Rome, the Empire of the Black Dragon has ways of buying the love of it's people.

Bread and circuses, that is what Calastia thrives on. The first way that the empire earns both the love and the respect of the people is by keeping them well fed. A populace that has it's basic needs met are far less likely to revolt than a population of starving people who live in squalor and have no hope of things getting better. In fact, a populist uprising is more likely in Mithral than it is in Calastia. These initiatives to keep the people fed have even been able to win the loyalty of conquered territories like the Heteronomy of Virduk.

The other thing that keeps Calastia happy is the games. Commemoratus is a holiday that celebrates the Calastian military. It is celebrated through mock combat and other martial displays. There is some evidence that the Romans started the tradition of gladiatorial combat from similar mock battles. However, the mock combat eventually spread beyond the Commemoratus observances and became a way of entertaining the people and eliminating political enemies.  The games are a popular way of keeping the people entertained and sending a message about what happens if you step out of line.

I know what you're saying, but what does this have to do with dinosaurs? Simple, one of the draws of the gladiator games were hunts and fights involving exotic animals. Even in a world with fantastic creatures such as dragons or chimera; dinosaurs are going to be pretty exotic creatures. Calastia's presence on Termana means that of all the nations and city states of Ghelspad they are the ones who are in the best position to present their people with dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs wander the Gamalganjus Jungle, the one place on Scarn that could easily pass as a lost world. The Calastians could either send their own expeditions into the Gamalganjus from their base in the Titanforge Mountains to recover dinosaur eggs, or they could buy them from merchants in either Buru or Chukema. The cities are havens for merchants who trade with the Gamalganjus natives. Of course the Calastians are going to use eggs to bring their people a spectacle; adult dinosaurs are just too difficult and dangerous to transport. Now this might not be realistic in the real world; in a world where magic exists it would be much easier to transport and raise dinosaur eggs and infants for such a purpose. In fact, a mage could even keep a few of the eggs for the purpose of breeding new stock so that after a few decades trips back to the Gamalganjus might not be needed at all.

Now I am sure that some of you are thinking that I have finally lost it, but just spend some time thinking about it and you will see the genius behind it. If not, maybe this will change your mind. Until next time, good luck and good gaming.

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