Vespertilia is a big, populous nation located currently in the region of Poland, known and infamous for its culture and citizens. While having definitely a bloody past, most of the warfare was confined in the country's borders, though occasional invasions did happen, and neighbouring regions had to suffer from raiding and piracy. These happenings, as well as well-known ferocity of Vespertilians, made people of the nation a subject of both ridicule and fear. Fortunately, outward aggression of the Vespertilians is considered a thing of the past, though they're happy to show off whenever there's a request for intervention.
While open civil war is nowadays rarely seen, Vespertilia is a land of continuous strife between not only various ideological groups, but also individual common citizens as well. The streets of most cities are littered with bullet casings, while bikers roam the countryside. This, however, does not particularly affect Vespertilians; while most people would find themselves terrorised by gangs and unable to cope with risk necessary to be taken for something as simple as going shopping, for Vespertilians it's the way of life.
Climate and landscapeEdit
Vespertilia is located in cold temperate climate zone, with regional climates ranging from continental to mountainous to coastal. This is due to Vespertilia's landscape: a high mountain range separates the coastline from the grasslands located inland. As latitude goes up, one encounters tundra as well, and the frozen polar sea which is one of the land's natural borders.
Vespertilia is an old country, and events of past years even today bear an influence over the land's inhabitants. Though Vespertilians are not particularly known for their interest in history, on an unconscious level many of them still feel a link with the past.
The land which is now Vespertilia is not suitable place to set up a civilisation. Being one of the last big landmasses to be freed from glacial ice, it was settled by man relatively recently. First newcomers set up their dwellings in dense taiga, upon post-glacial lakes and on morraine hills. They were a hardy people, having little time to develop sophisticated philosophy or create great works of art like other civilisations; actually such civilisations began to appear almost at the time of these first settlers of Vespertilian Plateau.
These people were divided into two main branches; one wave of settlers came to inhabit seaside forests and mountains, while the other walked around the mountain range and set up their tents on landlocked dry grasslands. The latter group quickly embraced horseriding, becoming to measure one's wealth by size of his herd; the former lived mostly by fishing. Both of these peoples were divided into many small tribes, continuously raiding each other. The seaside tribes roamed the coasts in their longships, troubling non-Vespertilians as well, while inland ones sometimes formed horse-mounted hordes to pillage nearby hamlets. As time passed, some of them, either through force of will of their leader or "just so", managed to conquer their neighbours and turned themselves into small principalities. But the countrywide unification had yet to come.
After a couple of centuries, most of seaside settlements were a part of one or another domain, which in turn were trying to grow at the cost of its neighbours. This process, however, was speeded by Blashyrkh, lord of principality of Netoperia. This tough warlord managed to lay his hand on the sceptres of most other lords of the coastal lands, and still hungered for more power. However, upon turning towards inland, he discovered a foe to match him. This man was Atheisthor, who unacknowledged by the seasiders managed to unite the nomads of Vespertia (as their collective lands were called) into a single horde, and was similarly thinking of more conquests. Blashyrkh and Atheisthor fell upon each other in battle of epic proportions, where mushroom-munching berzerkers fought horse-riding pillagers. Yet neither was able to rout the other. Upon seeing the obliteration of his warriors, Blashyrkh opted all-or-nothing solution and issued a challenge to Atheisthor.
The fight has crossed the boundaries of historiography and ventured into the realm of legends. However, despite the mythological intrusions, the event itself is usually considered authentic. While it cannot be archeologically proven, it is said that the fight took place on a burial mound of the fallen warriors and was accompanied by a dozen bards, that the two warlords fought from dusk till dawn, and that finally Atheisthor delivered a particularly mighty war cry and promptly roundhouse-kick-decapitated his foe; Blashyrkh's head reputedly touched ground at the very bottom of the stairs and bounced three times.
Atheisthor, despite his beginnings, didn't use this victory to pillage the seaside; instead, he decided to unite both it and the inlands, calling his new empire Vespertilia.
Vespertilia is a constitutional democratic republic, adhering to the ideology of Leserism. To a bystander, the internal situation seems a thinly veiled anarchy, but this is just the basic tenet of Leserism (from Old Vespertilian "let them do nothing") - what the government does is mostly delivering free entertainment for the citizens while presenting a facade of unity to outside world. Vespertilia employs mixed presidential-ministerial political system (though sllightly leaning towards the presidential), which prevents any of them from concentrating too much power, while also bringing more infighting to the joy of public.
The head of state is the President. No legislation can be passed without his approval, as there is no way to break his veto (other than defeating him in challenge). He also is traditionally the one to declare war, although it is the Parliament that has to issue a declaration first.
The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term, but the number of those terms is unlimited. However, the Constitution states that "the President must be strong to cope with his duty", what in Vespertilia means that anyone can issue an official challenge to the President. When President fails to defeat the opponent, his rule is over and the winner (now Temporary President) declares popular elections (no later than at the end of defeated one's cadency).
Noteforthy fact is that Vespertilian word for president is literally translated as "the meanest guy in the mob". The etymology for this is rooted in history, but, ironically, the President usually has to be just that to remain in his position for enough time to do anything.
Vespertilia boasts two houses of Parliament: the Halls of Evil, the lower one, and the Warlords Council, an equivalent of Senate.
666 members of Halls of Evil are elected each four years in a popular vote. Their task is legislation work; for the law to be passed, there must be at least one vote majority "for", but in some cases the factor is 50% of all members, or other percentages. Also the government is formed by the most numerous party in the Halls.
There are 69 Warlords in the Warlords Council, elected by a popular vote. However, an old law states that anyone who manages to bring one hundred and one skulls of personally killed foes (and prove he did this on his own - this part was added when a group of gravediggers tried to get the seats) is given a seat in the council. The Warlords Council was once ago something more similar to Ministry of War than the Senate, as it included most experienced warriors debating on how to wage war. When Vespertilia became a republic, this traditional council became the higher house of Parliament. Warlords mainly correct the bills prepared by the Halls of Evil, or those rejected to be undersigned by President.
There are many political parties in Vespertilia, and usually there are not less than four or five parties in the Halls.
In Vespertilia, the Highest Tribunal serves as both Constitutional Tribunal and the High Court. The Tribunal has its own military unit, known as Court Usher Guard, that most often serves as defence against mobs dissatisfied with the verdict.
The lesser cases are dealt with by lower ranking courts. What Civil Courts mostly do is to encourage executing the justice on one's own, unless he is for whatever reason unable to do it. Criminal Courts, when the victim is known, do the same, but in cases where there is not a given one victim or victims, they work as any court would in a normal country. Courts dealing with labour stuff are stricter, as Vespertilians don't like the idea of powerful corporations - once ago someone was a bit too interested in Cyberpunk literature, and this was passed to the people; thus such courts can be quite harsh to big companies.
Strangely, the capital punishment is illegal in Vespertilia. Vespertilians seem to consider this a lot too easy way to go, or that vigilante or mob justice is preferable to death sentence at court. The courts, however, often order the "releasement" of suspect found guilty, straight into the hands of bloodlusty mob.
The armed forces are a pride of Vespertilia, with government expenditure reaching well above 40% of the entire budget. The Vespertilians, as people, aren't particularly known for following orders, but the military both appeals to those more authority-minded than the statistic suggests and finds a place for those who don't possess this trait. Vespertilian military is divided into three main branches: the land forces, air force, and the navy. These, however, do not make up the whole of it, due to the peculiarity of Vespertilia: the Independent Brigades.
While Vespertilia owns a number of nuclear warheads, their usage is considered highly unsportsmanlike despite all the fun they can deliver. This is due to one of civil wars of the past, when they came to be seen as "overkill" after a period of gratituous nuking. Most military commanders, as well as common people, are not into development of nuclear weaponry; however, Vespertilian pacifists are perticularly vocal in their support for them, as they believe them to be a perfect deterrent.
Vespertilian Army makes up for the most of the military. It includes, but does not restrict itself to, alpine forces hailing from the mountainous regions and tank squadrons and motorised troops of the steppes. A Vespertilian soldier can expect to be equipped by the state, but most prefer to use the weapons of their own choice; this is generally respected, as long as it does not contradict the unit's or the mission's character. Those particularly adamant are usually shipped to the Independent Brigades. The airborne are a branch of the land forces and operate under their command, but have their own means of transportation and assault planes. Several aerial vehicles are also assigned to the land forces on brigade level to support them on the battlefield.
The leading doctrine of the land forces is called "Blasphemous Victory Of Unholy Grim Horde - Peace Through Superior Firepower". Main tenets of this doctrine lead to some advanced loading system found in most heavy projectile weapons and high calibre of the small arms. The army is generally rather static, trusting in the ability to outshoot the opponent rather than trying to outrace him. How would it serve in large-scale modern warfare is yet to be shown.
Vespertilian main battle tanks are often equipped with various "kvlt" appendages, boast heavy armour and have the means to be easily turned into armoured bulldozers. Due to weight of such additions they tend to be slower than their foreign counterparts, although fast tank, recon and pursuer patterns are also employed.
The air force is responsible for keeping the sky clear for the surface operations, tactical support of the surface forces as well as independent "search&destroy" runs, and strategic bombing operations. The marine air forces are considered a subdivision of the main bulk, often employing different types of aircraft while retaining administrational unity.
Aside from multi-purpose fighters, the Air Force also employs specific types of aircraft for various tasks, like assault planes or strategic bombers. In addition to this, there was once an experimental monstrous blimp, whose purpose was to be a "flying fortress" and flying base for small aircraft. It was, however, discarded due to obvious unpracticality of the project.
Vespertilian Navy's main concern is to ensure the safety of important trade routes and Vespertilia's shoreline. It also plays a supportive but important role by providing strategic mobility to other branches of the military. While most of these duties can be performed by smaller vessels, the Navy boasts several battleships (used mostly as mobile artillery platforms) and of course a number of aircraft carriers. There are also submarine squadrons.
Due to harsh conditions on the seas they patrol, many of Vespertilian ships exhibit the characteristics of an ice-breaker. The Navy also employs cybernetically-enhanced penguins, who serve mostly as living torpedoes and in Marines units. Said units are basically land forces under command of the Navy, performing ambhibious assaults and similar operations.
The Independent Brigades are a peculiarity of Vespertilian military, stemming from mercenary formations of old. These independently-commanded units not only use their own unique equipment and tactics, but also operate on their own, responding to the orders of only the highest command, often performing purely independently after being deployed. High Command also likes to deploy several Brigades simultaneously on a single front to let one make up for flaws of the other. These formations are national pride and service in one of them would be a great honour, if only weren't they consisting mostly of freaks, who otherwise wouldn't be allowed to serve. There are some examples:
- Ist Black Metal Brigade
BMB consists solely of black metal fan(atic)s, often using huge loudspeakers to paralyze their enemies with sound waves, and have a penchant for bat-shaped axes, spikes and such. They like to operate in mountainous regions or dense forests and during the night, which they consider more "kvlt" or "grim".
- Ist, IInd and IIIrd Barbarian Horde
Conan the Barbarian wannabes, their most favourite tactic is straightforward assault in close quarters. Needless to say, those who can survive it are rightly feared. They are prone to set fire to buildings, pillage and various other barbaric pastimes, so letting them loose in vicinity of bases or cities can be quite spectacular.
- Ist and IInd Tactical Experimental Brigade
Mostly crazy scientists and gun freaks - that is, those even more freaky that the rest of Vespertilian population. The first of modern IBs, founded for battlefield testing of experimental weapons. Nowadays they still perform this function, but also apeal to all manner of mad scientists and crazed gunsmiths, who can adapt their equipment to almost any contidion, even during fighting on front lines.
- Ist, IInd and IIIrd Roleplayers' Brigade "Dungeons and Dragons", "Gary Gygax" and "Hack'n'slash"
These are fans of role-playing games who have lost their contact to reality. They use notable in its unusualness system of ranks based on "levels" - advances in levels, usually achieved through killing large numbers of foes or finishing certain "quests", curiously always positively affect the physical performance and health of a soldier. Soldiers of this IB are second to none when it comes to exploring underground tunnels.
- Ist and IInd Homosexual Brigade "GayPower" and "GayPride"
While homosexuals are not discriminated, some prefer to stay away from "normal" formations. These brigades have devastating effect on straight enemies' morale and ability to perform; lesbians were persuaded not to form a brigade because of small possibility of encountering mostly-female formations. Their favourite tactic is attack from the rear.
- Death From Above Squadron
Flying machines maniacs, delighting not so in dogfighting as in using their homemade death-dealing devices on dirt-hopping foes.
- Ist Pirate Fleet
The afficionados of piracy, who tend to dress as stereotypical pirates, speak like ones and such. They are known to have many hidden caches of weapons in various parts of world (these should be treasures, but they are impractical in warfare).
Vespertilia employs free market policy, prefering private enterprise to state-owned industry, while also boasting virtually nonexistent income tax rate. This was achieved by shifting the weight of tax from individuals to value added tax and various other enterprises. The nation is particularly known for its IT industry, both software and hardware, as well as more infamous arms manufacturing enterprises. Economic growth is moderate, but Vespertilians generally have the means to live a decent life. For those less lucky, there is a degree of public social welfare.
Some of the more important businessess located in Vespertilia include renowned software-producing company VespCorp Co. and small arms manufacturer GGC (Gacek Gunsmithing Company). The latter is known for providing bayonet mounts to each of their products, even SMGs and handguns.
Most foreigners find Vespertilian society abhorrent and try to keep as far as possible from it. However, there's a number of foreigners staying as students of Vespertilian universities, or as officials of multinational companies. Some of them actually manage to settle down, but they can be described as anything but numerous. There are also results of less-than-lucky scientific experiments. These miscasts usually roam the most frigid wastes of arctic regions, though some are known to have achieved success in the mainstream society. Of these still in the wild, some are known to form nomadic tribes, while others live in settlements of their own. Goblins live mostly around their town of Nilbog.
According to the census, ethnic background of Vespertilia's citizens is as follows:
- 90% are Vespertilians;
- 4% are Penguins (including cybernetically-enhanced, mutated by radiation, and those acheving semi-sentience on their own)
- 1,5% are mutated dogs (including those boasting antennae);
- 1% are goblins;
- 0,5% are trolls;
- 3% are of other background.
Vespertilian people are known as irate (to be honest, completely rage-o-holic) and weapon-happy. They are hard to befriend, but comparably irate foreigner can quickly gain their respect.
Most Vespertilians keep at least several pieces of armament at home, ranging from common handguns to assault rifles to grenade launchers (including rocket-propelled kind). Dismantling them and putting them back together is considered a decent pastime, as is DIY gunsmithy and car tuning (usually involving armour plates and machine gun mounts). There's a melee waponry and martial arts movement as well; the few gun control activists of Vespertilia usually hail from these environments.
Popular social activity of Vespertilians is rioting. It's said that there's no reason too good to start a riot, and they erupt, both spontaneously and in response to a demonstration of some kind, on a daily basis. These riots are even competitively organised, and each year citizens of Vespertilia vote for their favourite riot of passing year. Mushroom picking is another popular pastime. Once in equal parts edible and toxic, nowadays mostly only edible mushrooms are picked, as other means of disposing of unwanted neighbours and relatives became widespread.
As to cultural establishments, Vespertilia boasts many cinemas and theatres. Vespertilian cinematography is infamous for awfully bad action movies - while their special effects are often hailed, traditional Vespertilian plots are usually incomprehensible (beyond "they shoot each other for two hours"). In addition to this, there exists a rich oral tradition, stemming from the nation's barbaric roots. Storytelling events are as popular as more casual theatrical plays, and many Vespertilian tune in their radios to such broadcasts. There are annual festivals of storytelling, where the speakers compete by trying to impress the viewers with tall tales and stories of old. While retaining basic structure of the story, they often include anachronisms. This is considered a fair part of the game, and clever creativity has granted victory to many a storyteller.
Vespertilian music is known throughout the world, probably mainly among fans of extreme musical genres; the country is one of world's powerhouses in various brands of metal. Since black metal stems directly from its tradition while benefitting from invention of electric guitar, Vespertilian folk has also gained some notoriety.
Recent national census measured parcentage of various religions' worshippers in Vespertilia. According to the census:
- 57% of Vespertilians are Romanian Catholics;
- 17% are Satanists;
- 12% of population is Neo-Pagan or Pagan (among them many various cults);
- 4% is atheistic;
- 2% Teletubbies;
- 8% others (including those who declare themselves both atheistic and Satanic, or Satanic and Pagan).
Among worshippers, however, only 32% admit to attend regurarly to churches, temples, shrines or sites of bloody human sacrifices atop high, eternally frozen mountains where cruel winds blow. Most of Vespertilians - 65% of worshippers - tend to have irregular manner of sustaining their relationship with divine. Last 3% consists mostly of those who tried to impale/kill/burn "the heathens" (that is, people asking them what their religion is) at stake.
the education is one of primary concerns for any Vespertilian government. Despite their bloodlust, most of the citizens agree that easy access to each level of schooling is a must for a developed society. The nation boasts many universities, like University of Vespertilia, Vespertilian Institute of Technology, Academy of Leetness (the "4(4|)3|\/|`/ 0|= 1337|\|355") and many other; the schools are well-equipped and teachers well-paid. The students are often a peculiar bunch, and many foreigners enjoy special campuses built to make accomodation into Vespertilian society easier.
The most known Vespertilian media enterprise is KVLT Daily, also known as Mhrok Codzienny, Vespertilia's leading newspaper. It is led by redactor Saddam Michnik.