Jan 21, 2012

The Dawnlands: The Orthocracy of Kaddish

The Kaddish are a passionate, neophilic urban society based out of the largest city in the Dawnlands. The Orthocracy of Kaddish is a single massive city (Kaddish) of approximately 450,000 people with a hinterland of another 550,000 stretching across a narrow (80km) river flood plain approximately 100km to the sea. By the standards of the Dawnlands it is a swarm of ants, and no one else even comes close in population


The Kaddish claim to be descended from the Dawnmen, the near-mythical people who slew Eternal Night and began time. They founded the Kingdom of High Kaddish, which endured for approximately 600 years and conquered most of the Dawnlands. In the process, it destroyed the Cities of Night, and subjugated Dwer Tor, only to fall to a revolution 200 years ago which founded the Orthocracy. Since that time, individual warlords, gnostics and priests have jockeyed for control of the city, but no single strong ruler has managed to unite it for more than a decade or so before being deposed.


The Kaddish are predominantly human and halfling, but most other races have a presence there. The Kaddish are the only people in the Dawnlands who are aware of the secret of soulforging, which allows them to create new races and species, and they continue to use this secret to create new ones in the modern day, many of which escape. Dragonmen and the Burnt are only found amongst the Kaddish. Most of the other races and species have at least a token presence in the Orthocracy.


The Kaddish are known for having more religions than the rest of the Dawnlands put together. They worship a variety of gods, demons, spirits, vampiric heroes and other powerful entities. They are the only civilised people who tolerate humanoid sacrifice, and this is their preferred method of executing criminals. Most priests in Kaddish are religious professionals associated with powerful temples and cults. They tend to be sorcerers. Most Kaddish do not exclusively worship one god. The most popular cults in Kaddish include the Black Vermin Gods, the Screaming God, the Headless God, Red-Handed Makar, the Red and Blue Snakes and the vampiric cults.


The Kaddish are the only people in the Dawnlands who are capable of sailing out of sight of land and coming back. They do not regularly do this, but are capable of doing so. While they do still raise some horses, they are inconvenient in the urban metropolis and are too expensive for ordinary Kaddish. Out in the vast agricultural hinterlands, they remain a prestige animal, and most travel is by ox-driven cart. Most Kaddish get around the Orthocracy on foot, in wagons, or, if they are rich, carried on palanquins with armed attendants pushing crowds out of the way.


Factionalism is a fact of life in Kaddish. Everyone is connected to one group or another that supports and protects them in exchange for service. The most common kinds of faction are clans, colleges and cults. Most Kaddish belong to all three, in addition to whatever other allegiances they may have. A faction can make various demands on its members depending on its function.

Clans - Kaddish live in large extended family groups. Kaddish society is polygamous and collectively matrilineal, with all the children of a single mother-group seen as relatives. Like most polygamous societies, a few men have many women and many men have none. Prostitution is rampant, and the excess population is siphoned off into economic colonies and military service. Clan members tend to help pay one another's debts off and ransom one another from slavery. The heads of the most powerful and largest clans are often orthocrats.

Colleges - A college is an organisational unit from the revolution that continues to the present. Theoretically, it was responsible for providing a certain number of men to the Kaddish military. In practice, they are organised gangs of veterans who combine the functions of organised crime and government in one. The members of a college are typically interested in extorting as much money as possible from members of other colleges while protecting their own members from extortion and crime. Colleges are usually run by an orthocrat, and there are usually no more than one or two per district in the city. They typically both organise and put down riots as it suits them. The heads of colleges are orthocrats.

Cult - Religion is ubiquitous in Kaddish life. Kaddish religion is cultic, centred around the fulfillment of a cult rather than conscientious adherence to a dogma or creed. Most Kaddish switch faiths opportunistically to advance their status. Cults help their members with difficult problems that other institutions can't, since they can often muster magical resources for their followers. The high priests of more popular temples are orthocrats.