The River Kingdoms is described as a "chaotic conglomerate of large and small domains, united by a vast river system, collectively known as the great river Sellen, and by their taste for freedom". It comprises more than a dozen 'kingdoms', of which Daggermark is the largest, each with a different political system. Two of these petty kingdoms, Pitax and Mivon, form the northern border to the Stolen Lands.
The River Kingdoms of northeastern Avistan have long been a haven for inland pirates, anarchists, exiles, and anyone who cannot seem to make it in more civilized nations. The Kingdoms are by no means a unified nation, but rather a constantly shifting group of city-states and fiefdoms, each at war with the others both to gain more power and prevent their own demise.
There is no central government in the River Kingdoms, save a loose affiliation of city-states called the Outlaw Council which meets annually in Daggermark. The amount of different kingdoms that form this council is in constant flux as kingdom are often destroyed, conquered or new kingdoms formed. Beyond the council, each city is ruled by its own smaller council or despot, and the warfare between the nations makes the Outlaw Council often little more than a technicality.
Civil war is another common threat to stable government, with assassination and betrayal a simple fact of life in these tumultuous kingdoms. The most vicious of these civil wars occur when powerful lords who have been paid vast sums to act as mercenaries in distant wars return to find their kingdom taken from them.
The only thing that can ever unite the various River Kingdoms is a serious threat from their neighboring nations, even then every single lord vies to be in charge of whatever ramshackle army is assembled to thwart the outsiders. The organization of these rare conglomerate armies are almost as chaotic as the kingdoms themselves with each petty lord trying to out do his rival with feats of battlefield heroism.
River Freedoms: Tenets of the Riverfolk Edit
Outside of the realm of politics and war, the River Kingdoms are also bound together by the River Freedoms, six tenets they universally hold as close to laws as one will find in the lawless land:
- Say What You Will, I Live Free
- Oathbreakers Die
- Walk Any Road, Float Any River
- Courts Are For Kings
- Slavery is an Abomination
- You Have What You Hold