Founded by the desert dwelling Dragonborn over a thousand years ago, the Dravistan empire eventually expanded to the edge of their desert and found the coastal dwelling Halflings. Expecting to have to conquer these unusual small humanoids they instead were welcomed as “neighbors” by the imminently hospitable race. The two races worked out a beneficial arrangement where the Halflings can benefit from the Dragonborn’s more fearsome military protection and the Dragonborn in-turn are provided with the bounteous food produced by the more fertile coastal regions the Halflings inhabit. Over the years the Halflings became to their role as a part of the Dravistan empire, though this arrangement only lasts as long as the native Dragonborn don’t interfere too much in the Halflings’ laidback way of life.
Size and Population
Dravistan borders cover most of the Kithandere continent, though most of this land is desert expect for the coastal regions which receive more regular rainfall. The desert cities built by the Dragonborn are generally compact, multilevel sandstone affairs that have sprouted up near major oasis or other landmark. The coastal regions are largely inhabited by Halflings, who are the major producers of agricultural products. They tend to inhabit sprawling country towns dotted with farms.
The Dravistan empire is ruled by the Sandscale family. The family has been the head of the Empire for the last two centuries. They have a standing army of Dragoons that are some of the best trained soldiers in the world. Each Dragonborn city is ruled over by an Imperial Overseer, while each Halfling town has its own elected mayor. There is typically a small contingent of Dragoons dedicated to each Halfling town to serve as military protection with all the Dragoon forces in a given area reporting to an Overseer.
Society and Culture:
Dravistan is built upon a strict caste system. A Dragonborn inherits that caste of their parents at birth and are taught the appropriate skills and knowledge associated with that class. Movement between classes is fairly restricted with the unique exception of the Dragoon class to which one can only be appointed by the imperial family. The only other major way to move between classes is through marriage, though most marriages occur between families of equal status.
Not a true class, this group encompasses all members of imperial blood. Imperials are the unquestioned rulers of Dravistan and every member can directly trace their blood lines back the first Imperial family. Imperials inhabit the highest positions of power and influence whether its ruling a small province or acting as the head ambassador to other nations. It is absolutely unheard of for a member of the Imperials to be subordinate to anyone other than another imperial.
The immediate family of the reigning Emperor’s fall into their own subclass of Imperials known as the Great Family. This includes only the Emperor’s children and any surviving parents.
The Dragoon are the nation’s elite military class and are second only to the Imperials in power and influence. Unlike all other classes no one can be born a Dragoon. To become a Dragoon one must be recommended by an existing member of the class to receive Dragoon training. Training takes nearly a decade and is as rigorous as it is deadly. At the completion of training a potential Dragoon must undergo a particularly dangerous series of test to prove their skills. At the conclusion of the tests if any survive who are found unworthy of the Dragoon title they are put to death. Those who survive and are found worthy are taken before the Great Family in a lavish ceremony and are declared Dragoon.
Any children born to a Dragoon inherit the class to which the non-Dragoon parent belongs. In the event that both parents are Dragoons then the child inherits the class the parents possessed prior to their Dragoon training. However it is not uncommon for a Dragoon parent to rear their children with the goal of them ascending to the rank of Dragoon.
The Priests are a quasi-class and are responsible for running the various temples and sanctuaries throughout the Dravistan Empire. Priests can come from any of the other classes and is considered to retain their original class standing.
However, while each individual Priest is a citizen of the Empire and subject to its laws, as a group Priests are seen as a branch of the Church of Aitheoir. This gives priests a level of freedom and influence unheard of anywhere else in Dravistan. A high ranking priest can easily stand next to an Imperial and carry just as much power and influence. Because of this Priests find themselves under an unusually high level of scrutiny by both the Imperials and Dragoon.
The artisans are the main producers of goods within Dragonborn society. They create a wide variety of products that are sold and traded throughout the Empire and include such professions as blacksmiths, alchemists, bakers, tailors, etc. Many artisans also offer various services related to the goods they produce while the less business saavy rely on merchants.
As opposed to artisans who offer created goods, merchants are the providers of various services throughout the empire. This includes innkeepers, moneylenders, peddlers, etc. Most view merchants as simply a higher class of peasant.
Peasants consist of farmers, laborers and the like and typically own their own land or operate on the land as a freehold, paying annual fees to the land owner.
Slaves are a class of Dragonborn who have been sold or indentured into the service of another Dragonborn. Most slaves are either born into slavery or sold at a young age into slavery by parents who cannot afford the burden of raising the child. Though rare some Dragonborn will indenture themselves for a pre-determined amount of time in order to pay off debts. Any Dragonborn who keeps slaves is required by Dravistan law to be able to house and feed them. However the definition of housing and feeding is very minimal and most slaves are fed scraps and kept in slave dens, small shacks or rooms where as many slaves as possible are forced to live together.
The Va’Dravis is not an actual class but a state of exile and considered by Dragonborn to be a fate worse than death. Being declared Va’Dravis, Not of the Dragonborn, is an especially severe punishment reserved only for those who have done something that is seen to have betrayed the very nature of the Dragonborn race. As such it is an uncommon punishment that is usually an event of note within the borders of the Empire.
Only the sitting Emperor can declare someone Va’Dravis. When that happens the Priests of Bahamut forge a special metal collar that is heated to extreme temperatures and placed around the Dragonborn’s neck. This collar contains spells that bind the victim’s Dragon Breath power and induce mild pain when they try to speak Draconic. These spells are engraved on the outside of the collar and are also present as raised glyphs on the inside so that when the heated collar is pressed around the Dragonborn’s throat the spells are seared into their flesh as well.
After a Va’Dravis has been bound by the collar he is taken to the edge of the city and sent off into the desert with no weapons or armor and only a small container of water. While many considered a blessing for the desert to claim the victim’s life, as it is better to be dead than Va’Dravis, the innate Dragonborn pride and stubbornness rarely allow even a Va’Dravis to simply give up and die. Instead most Va’Dravis push on, driven by either the desire for vengeance or the hope for redemption.
In the rare instance that a Va’Dravis survives the perils of the desert they typically have no choice but to flee the borders of Dravistan and forge a new life among the other nations as no towns or villages within the empire would tolerate their presence even in passing.