Sunday, April 12, 2015

The World of Meikyuu Kingdom 12 - About the Kingdom

[Part 12 of my ongoing translation of "The World" chapters from the Meikyuu Kingdom GM's Book 2nd Edition. This is a new chapter within the World section that discusses various aspects of Kingdoms. This can be found on page 114. Original Japanese text and art is © Bouken]
About the Kingdom

The world itself has been turned one huge dungeon of despair, the Endless Dungeons. After seeing its mysterious nature in the previous chapter, we'll be discussing some aspects of daily life inside a dungeon.

Man vs. the Dungeon

In the past, there were no walls or traps that blocked "Ground Zero". Therefore, there was only one kingdom. But when the world was turned into a dungeon, people were isolated in many place, and so there were countless kingdoms. Whether a village or a town can call itself a kingdom is irrelevant. Most major nations are composed of dozens to no more than hundreds of people, and travel between them involved considerable risk.

It is difficult to expand and build a great kingdom by conquering the Dungeons. Dungeonization can cut off or move parts of a Dungeon in an instant. However, living in the dungeon for many years have taught people the art of controlling the Dungeon to some extent. Although not Dungeon Masters, people are able to push back the Dungeon attempting to erode their Kingdom, maintaining a fleeting peace. In fact, some countries have successfully maintained and expanded their territory, steadily gaining power.

A Small Light in the Darkness

While the Endless Dungeon is in fact endless, kingdoms must contend with territorial problems and lack of greenery. There comes a point when people need more liveable space. It isn't little, but surplus land is a premium. In other words, an increasing population will eventually and inevitably require reclaiming a dungeon. Therefore, every kingdom must always expand its territory. If expansion stops, a kingdom will be swallowed by the ever-encroaching Dungeonization and its royalty and people scattered and lost in the dark dungeons.

It has already been mentioned that Dungeonization also affects the human body. Dungeonitis is a terrible disease that changes the shape and form of things. Therefore, people regard the Land Maker as a hero for maintaining and expanding their territory inspite of the effects of Dungeonization. Even if he is doing it out of his own self-interest, no matter his wickedness, the Land Maker is seen as a leader who confronts the dungeon personally.

The hero worship has a limit though. People are mercifully smart and demand a resolute/determined King. An inept ruler will be served with a full-course meal of an uprising, disturbance, usurpation, or an assassination. The Endless Dungeon are not the sweetest place for the incompetence of a ruler to be tolerated. If a ruler is incompetent, other Land Makers must rise to take his place. Otherwise, the kingdom will fall.

In order to avoid such a situation, Land Makers must give it their all. They are then no doubt a hero if their kingdom, though small, burns bright in the darkness of the dungeons, a beacon for the hope of mankind.

Court Scene

The court where the Land Maker's live is also the foremost headquarters for confronting the Dungeon. The most important room is the conference room. Detailed maps of neighboring dungeons cover the walls and table, where the Land Makers conduct a heated discussion to develop strategy.

Audiences with the emissary of other kingdoms are carried out in the Throne Room. Funds may be lacking for building a magnificent throne but it is customary to wear something nice. With stylish clothes, even a humble stone bench can be turned into a respectable throne.

A large hall is used during occasions of an important dinner or a ball. Initially, this hall also doubles as a multipurpose facility: as a square for large assemblies or open space for trading and other purposes (like as an operating room to analyze a large monster's anatomy or as an execution ground for notorious criminals). Other luxurious facilities such as a Seraglio, a garden and orchard, or a museum for monster trophies and loot would have to wait until more funds are available.

The court is probably the most decorated place in the kingdom. Because it is the center of the resistance, art and interior decoration are arranged to give the feeling of open space as much as possible. Mirrors, candles, and vibrant colors are used basically to give the impression of a wide space. Sometimes, a scene is painted on the walls and ceilings. Landscapes from before the Dungeon Hazard and star maps are preferred subjects. The "blue skies" or a "starry sky", "rainbows", and the "moon" have a therapeutic effect on the mind trapped in the Dungeon. It is also good to draw windows or stairs or passages to give the illusion that a room is wider than it is.

Land Makers

The King is a Land Maker, but one man can't run the entire kingdom all by himself. Land Makers also include a vassal corps of ministers, knights, and priests within their ranks. The King is a strong symbol. But his court of officials, each assigned his own task in running the Kingdom, is definitely essential.

The relations among Land Makers differ by kingdom, but they are basically equal. Each of them shares followers, and the King combines them all into one nation. Because of this, Knights and Oracles, through their direct interaction with the people, are sometimes more popular.

Even so, a King is not necessarily out of reach by the common man. After all, it is not unusual that the royal palace is right next door, so people can conveniently drop by for a petition. A kingdom's outside borders are also notoriously ambiguous enough that someone might stumble through a secret door that no one knew about and then you suddenly have a stranger in the throne room. Such vagabonds are often welcomed as a new citizen. Although, sometimes vagabonds may have some ulterior motives....

Talking Beasts

Some beasts are intelligent and can speak a language. These "talking beasts" are the leaders of their kind, very strong monsters that are able to build their own kingdom. In other words, they can become Land Makers.

There are also famous countries, like the cat nation of Jedsounferoux and the monkey nation of Congoland. Rumor has it that the cats of Jedsounferoux who are known to decorate their bodies with strong magical items and accessories are building quite an empire somewhere in the depths of the dungeon.

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