“If they have no bread, then why don’t they eat cake?”
The Padrician Imperial Court is a bubbling font of new ideas, both palatable and revolutionary.
The Empire of Padrice is the heart of culture and art in Sollundom, with nobles and craftsmen dreaming up new ways of thinking and revelling in the latest fashions or preoccupying themselves with courtly intrigue. The other side of the coin is the unfashionable types, either those who voluntarily excuse themselves from court to pursue asceticism or soldiering, or those who are expelled from polite society for whatever reason. They are a patriarchal society and the Patronic denomination dominates. Their weapon of choice is the dagger or poison, and their clothing often features lace. Their national colour is Blue.
War between Padrice and Angheim resulted in a Padrician victory, and in the peace they reclaimed the Black Shores. However their Princess and heir voyaged to Osterheim, where she was tragically slain. This, combined with his excommunication from the Patronic Church for hosting heathens at his court appears to have driven the Emperor Dionysus XI of Padrice into madness.
Prior to his malaise and sequestering, the Emperor converted to the Matrial faith and courtly dedication to fashion dictated that a majority of his nobles do the same. His closest advisors – all puppets of the Matrial Pontiff, named to gain her favour – are now ruling in his stead, effectively putting the nation under the rule of the Matrial Orthodox Church.
Padrice enjoys a position in the very heart of Sollundom. Only on their Southeastern border are the Padricians bordered by heathens, and even then a mountainous border and the sea keep them secure. As such their primary competition is with their fellow Sollunians: their central positioning brings them rich trade wealth and the ability to pick and choose their alliances.
Padrice mainly occupies a huge, fertile lowland basin spotted with lakes and hilly forests, bordered in the South by the sea and the Southeast by a mountain range. Padricians enjoy a comfortable climate throughout most of the year, with warm but not hot Summers, and cool but not Winters. The sea brings rains in the Winter, but not so much as to flood or disrupt trade significantly.
- The Padrician Imperial Court is not so much a place as a state of being; the Emperor frequently moves between village-sized palaces throughout Padrice as fashions and his whims dictate. Hordes of courtiers, servants, musketeers and hangers-on travel with him, proud in the certainty that they are at the very centre of the world.
- The official Capital of Padrice is filled with ancient stonework and spun-glass sculptures, displaying its rich history, and its role as an economic and political hub. It is said that anything can be found on the streets of the Capital, but only a local would know where to look. The people of the Capital are called the most sophisticated in the world, and it is true that their lives are the antithesis of provincial simplicity.
- Most Padricians instead make their lives in the Provinces; though there are no cities so fine as the Capital, they are mostly wealthy, home to budding industry and healthy trade from within and without Padrice. In stark contrast to the people of the capital, the hospitality of Padrician provincials is renowned. Any traveller happening across a homestead on their journey can be confident of a warm welcome and a hearty meal of local produce.
- The people of The Mountains have a saying: "Victory is achieved not through agility of the body alone but also agility of the mind." The Mountains serve as the border between Sollundum and Southeastern Heathen, and sparsely-populated but well-guarded mountain towns overlook the passes through which trade or invasion might flow. The people of the Mountains have been known to turn back forces of prodigious strength, despite their inferior numbers they employ well-designed defences to their advantage. Many of Padrice's greatest generals come from this region, including the first Emperor.
- Padrice has recently repossessed their traditional lands, the Black Shores, named after the black volcanic sand that is a feature of the region. Their victory over Anghiem secured this land and they have quickly secured it with their own superior military force, a specialized unit of musketeers. It remains to be seen how long they will be able to keep the land however, as the nation prepares for war again, this time in the name of the church.
The powers that be - https://www.blackpowderandbloodlines.com/padrice-structures
Padrice is a centrally-ruled nation with a hereditary Emperor at its head. Claiming descent from an ancient conqueror, the Imperial line is supposedly the most regal in all of Sollundom. The Emperor exerts his power through an intricate and incomprehensible peerage system regulated through his officers - ensuring the loyalty of the nobility and often requiring their presence at court to keep his favour. Although, paradoxically the most trusted are sent abroad on any endeavours that may require.
The life of the Padrician Nobility is all about maintaining the Emperor’s favour. It is very common for a Count or Marquis to spend the entire year away from his lands at the Emperor's disposal, siphoning funds away from productive enterprise towards ostentatious displays of wealth, though clothing and lifestyle. Imperial favour is all about exploiting the complicated rules of behaviour to impress the people who matter - or getting rid of those who would stop you. The idea is to go out and do impressive things, so that word of one's exploits reaches the Emperor's ear. Bards and minstrels can always find work in the courts of Padrician nobility. Those nobles who fall out of favour retire to their estates in disgrace, take up the cloth of the priesthood, or dedicate themselves body and soul to restoring their former station.
The Old Blood
While direct, violent confrontation is frowned upon in Court, many Padrician Nobles possess the Blood and use it to their advantage; whether that be for avoiding violent end or imposing it. The lineage itself is more a point of boast and pride than of practical use, except in times of war where the Emperor and his closest allies will often apply its power directly to their enemies. Those who possess the Blood will often dress in interesting ways in order to hide the scars and blemishes incurred by its use.
The Padrician land army is a mixed bag, mainly consisting of whatever forces the nobility are able to raise themselves. The nobles usually take leadership roles out of vanity, and their troops are equipped with whatever they can afford. Padrician victories are the result of ingenious strategy by a single outstanding general more often than by superiority of arms or numbers. The exception is the Emperor’s own musketeers, perhaps the most elite, best-trained and well-equipped military unit in Sollundom; their efforts on a small scale will frequently prevent larger conflicts from erupting.
Like the army, the Padrician navy is made up of adventurous individuals leading a force of their own assembly. It is undoubtedly the least professional navy in Sollundom, and its vessels are mostly employed in small-scale piracy or counter-piracy. Some more eccentic Padrician captains have been known to organise their crews in very peculiar fashion, adopting codes of behaviour dictating rules of engagement and distribution of loot. Padrician ships and ports offer shelter and safe haven for those fleeing the disfavour of powerful nobles.
The Padrician Church often surprises outsiders in its simplicity, eschewing the pomp of Court for a somber humility. Padrician priests see themselves as guides and counsellors to their flock, requesting a momentary pause for prayer, or a solemn session of religious instruction, as the price for a day’s indulgence. Padricians often claim that it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, and confession or repentance feature heavily in Padrician observance. Padrician attendance at religious ceremonies is far from universal.
Padrice is a wealthy nation, comfortably enjoying the fruits of their land in relative security. They exploit their central position to serve as a nexus for trade among the different nations of Sollundom, and also take strict advantage of the land route East. Until recently, the Mountain passes of Padrice were the primary route for exotic goods from the Eastern Heathen, and clever Padrician merchants still make a lot of money off that trade. Padrician artificiers are also at the cutting edge of technology, having invented the printing press and claiming to have invented the firearm. This ingenuity brings in a pretty penny for Padrician coffers.
- Ingenuity: Padricians value innovation and novelty above all else, and are always keen to support efforts to develop new technologies, styles, tactics, or ideas. This extends to a willingness to adopt popular fashions at a rate of knots, letting the previous ones fall by the wayside. While most Padricians are seen to adhere to these popular fashions, there are many who will also put themselves apart from the flock to adopt ideas that don’t match the common course.
- Pride: Far from a failing, Padricians see pride as a virtue. They ask themselves “how can anyone know a man’s successes if he does not declare them?” They see showing off, boasting and storytelling as an integral part of defending one’s station. In Padrice, humility is a sign of shame or weakness, or an acknowledgement that you’ve got nothing to be proud of.
- Intricacy: Padricians of all stations put an emphasis on living by codes. They prize behavioural ingenuity just as much as any other sort. Whether it be the Privateer’s Codes of their sailors, the byzantine rules of Court, or the Code of the Imperial Musketeers, they pride themselves on their superior capacity to abide by strict and complicated rules.
- Civility: While it is a rare Padrician who does not know how to handle a weapon, they are well aware that their position at the heart of Sollundom is one of military inferiority. They strive for diplomacy not only on a national, but also on a personal scale. Violence and rudeness are improper, barbaric and unsollunian, and as such a Padrician is civil at all times; they hide their insults in politeness, and their assassins in the dark.
- Corruption: Padricians are constantly striving to maintain their reputations and public image. This often comes at a price, either figurative or literal, that they cannot pay. Nobles incur crushing debts and Natural Scientists delve the depths of morality. Beneath its glamourous surface, Padrice harbours thousands of dark secrets that maintain an impenetrable network of blackmail and favours.
- Capriciousness: Padrician society is perhaps the most stratified in Sollundom; the Court is dramatically divorced from the rest of life across the nation, and what’s in fashion today might be despicable tomorrow. The gulf between “in” and “out” is colossal, and it is staggeringly easy for someone to make a faux pas resulting in their expulsion from polite society. Padricians of all stations tend towards mercurial behaviour, impermanent of character and quick to change loyalties.
- Pre-revolutionary France’s intricate but venomous courtly life, Musketeers, and revolutionary ideas.
- Italy’s fashion and trade wealth, particularly Venice, Florence, Milan and Genoa.
- German technological breakthroughs and religious experimentation - such as the Hussites and Anabaptists - are echoed in Padrice.
Six Typical Padricians
- The Courtier: an old-money noble seeking the Emperor’s favour, in order to increase your own personal power and standing.
- The Disgraced Noble: left Court after committing a faux pas or willingly abandoning it, now seeking alternative fulfilment through military service or study.
- The Musketeer: among most highly-trained and well-equipped soldiers on the continent. All for one and one for all!
- The Pirate: officially a Privateer in service to the Emperor, on a mission to intercept, pillage and plunder. Might even get a decent share of the booty.
- The Artiste: a studious mind delving into the mysteries of the world, or an artist pushing the boundaries of taste with a patron’s blessing.
- The Revolutionary Thinker: a dispossessed artisan or fallen noble, a philosopher who looks at the current world order and thinks that maybe it could be different.
The national colour of Padrice is Blue. Their palette is dominated by combinations of pale pastel colours with bright and intricate centrepieces. Padricians who can afford it will show their wealth through their garb, and those who can’t will try to wear at least one item of note.
Silver and steel jewellery and accessories are predominant; not only because most Padricians follow the Patronic Church but because brass is tacky.
Padrician clothing features lace at the openings as often as possible, with rich brocade fabric as a common base. Garments should be cut with a high Roccoco waistline tapering away to emphasise a long figure, displaying the legs on practical garments, and wide, flowing skirts or tails on formal outfits.
Soldiers on campaign might wear the expansive tabards of Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers, or long-coat uniforms such as those worn during the War of the Spanish Succession.
Styles from the late Renaissance and Enlightenment period should be applied to Padrician fashion, emulating the fashion of the Golden Age of Piracy, and the French Ancien Regime.
Headwear should skew late-Renaissance, with powdered wigs, tricornes, bicornes and the like being suitable, and feathers or lace edging featuring on most of them. Wide-brimmed hats, pinned on one side and ornamented with corsages, feathers or cockades, are also appropriate.