Begma

Setting » Golden Circle » Begma

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Begma may be the most progressive of the Amber's allies. It is a constitutional democracy that benefits from many wonders of engineering an technology which are unique to the nation.

The first thing that most people think about in Begma is the technology. Masters of steam and clockwork, they produce daily wonders and very nearly daily disasters. One sage observed that Begma remains standing only because her people's ability to create always slightly outmatches their ability to destroy.

Politics

Begma is an affiliation of city-states, each rules buy a duke who owe nominal fealty to the King in Begma City. While Begma's history is full of wars between the dukes, the alliance with Amber brought great prosperity to the nation, and that shifted priorities to trade, and with it came local democratic institutions which, in turn, spread to the nation as a whole. However, that move towards democracy did little to move towards any sort of unification. Begmans still have fiercely held local identities and more importantly, cling to local laws. Begman law is such a vastly complicated network of local, regional and national laws, none of which have clear precedence, that it has become something of the national sport.

Magic

Begman magic is shaped by two priorities - a desire that things be concrete and a matching desire that they be rational. As an approach to magic, this approach seems almost nonsensical, but it has created a very Begman style. Begman artificers (who consider themselves to be engineers or technicians, not wizards) concentrate on things that can be built to perform a task. While a wizard from another shadow might call down fire to burn his enemies, the Begman would build a device of clockwork and gears to do the same.

This is a bit of a double edged sword. On one hand, the Begman will require more time and effort in preparing his device, but on the other hand, his device is repeatable. Theoretically, once it's built, it can keep calling down fire indefinitely.

Unfortunately, the reality is a little different. Begman technology is notoriously unreliable, and while it's impact can be dramatic, its failure can be even more dramatic. Regular maintenance can stave this off but the talent that allows for the creation of these marvels is rarely paired with the patience to maintain it.

To outsiders, this seems like a depressing, inevitable cycle of doom, but to Begmans, this is not merely tolerable, it is _desirable_. The greatest virtue of a Begman artificer is not his works, but what they _mean_, and what they demonstrate of what he _knows_. Once a device has been completed, the only interest it has to a true Begman mind is in testing out its limitations, and even that has only so much appeal when compared to moving on to the next project.

For a Begman, the only true failure is one you learn nothing from. The unfortunately corollary of this is that victories are measured the same way, and a "Begman Victory" has become something of a colloquialism for something that can only be judged as a success by very specific criterea.

Class

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Begman nobility still have a lot of money and titles that guarantee invitations to the best parties, but their role has been diminished by the rise of parliament and local governments. Parliamentarians have some status as well, but the constant mix-up which is the Begman legal system makes it very difficult to track who is actually important, so they end to all simply get treated as "politicians". The true elite of Begma are her engineers, especially those bearing the golden gear that marks them as artificers. Brilliant, sometimes mad, they are the most-watched people in Begma, both for their inventions and for their sometimes eccentric antics. Sponsoring a well known artificer is a major coup for any lord or politician, and the rivalries and competitions between artificers can be legendary.

Notably, this is muddled further by the lines between these groups being very blurred. Many a noble holds elected office or bears at least the silver gear of a technician.

War

In Golden Circle matters, Begma is rarely an aggressor, since its ability to project force afield is greatly limited. At the same time, they are a hard target indeed, as any foreign aggressor is likely to find themselves facing down any number of impossible war machines.

Internally, Begman battles have begun being settled by proxies, usually supplied by rival artificers. That this is woefully impractical is rarely an issue, because it provides a fantastic spectacle.

In support of amber, they contribute troops and some small number of experimental war machines to any effort, but most of their contribution is on the staff and supply end. Dealing with the technical and legal complexities of life in Begma leaves one very well equipped for matters of logistics, and the stereotypical Begman fighting for Amber is a supply sergeant.

Trade

Begma buys materials and sells finished goods, simple as that. What materials and what goods? Virtually anything. While not truly industrialized, they have the closest thing to industrial production capability anywhere in the Golden Circle, and it's mostly a matter of what that capacity is turned towards.

There is also a constant market for Begman artificed goods, but this is a small, high end market.

Play

Begma is a peaceful, civilized place, and there are few opportunities for the kind of adventure that one can expect in wilder places, but for all that it is hardly quiet.

The most obvious play hook in Begma are its devices. Steampunk clockwork is everywhere, and the greatest inventors of the realm are constantly creating more devices of unquestionable brilliance but questionable merit. Artificers are always hot to know what other artificers are working on, and when occasion comes for two or more artificers to compete, whether for a wager or a formal contest*, things are sure to get out of hand.

For a player in Begma, the easiest path to adventure is getting caught up in the intrigues of the artificers. Stolen mystery devices, encoded plans, gigantic, impractical war machines - all of these are the starting point for any number of plots.

* Sponsoring such a contest can bring great prosperity and reputation to a town, but it can also bring devestation is the artificers get too excited.

Contact: Adirondack

External Links

Expanded, Player-defined Wiki for Begma - begma.roadtoamber.com

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