Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
The nation of New Urgen is number 25 on the map. New Urgen is an unaligned, highly conservative monarchy with strong military traditions.
New Urgen is a large and underdeveloped nation on the North Encyron coastline. It has, throughout its history, ruthlessly expanded at the cost of its land neighbours, a fact that has left it – in this modern, enlightened age where land grabs are frowned upon – with a plethora of festering resentments against it and surprisingly few friends in the world.
New Urgen is currently led by King Fillipos ‘the First’ – thus called because it is well known that the King was always, if not an idiot, at least disinclined towards such petty concerns as running the country and far more inclined towards such pursuits as gambling, drinking, and hunting; but the situation changed markedly some 17 years ago when, on an ill-judged tour of his newly-conquered Arkalian provinces, local Solarian rebels attempted assassination; the ambush left several bodyguards dead, the rebels massacred, and the King with a bullet embedded in his helmet with a nasty impacted skull fracture beneath that forever blunted the King’s already small wit. Ever since the incident, what little skill the King had for governance was gone; and in between devastating mood swings and crippling headaches, he was left in an awkward position that lay between ‘clearly unfit for rulership’ and ‘unfit enough to need removing from his station’.
Ever since, his realm has been administered by a council of advisors, hastily and discreetly empowered to do so during the King’s ‘illness’, and of whom the emergent leader was Fillipos’ son then-young son of 17, also called Fillipos. Prince Fillipos has proved an able and popular regent; and, as the de facto heir, most people beyond the royal court joke that his reign has already started – hence the epiphet of “The First” that his father now bears, either unknowingly or uncaringly.
Prince Fillipos officially ended the adversarial policies of his forefathers; and began instead attempting to reach out to neighbours – both for simple peaceful stability, and for allies to end the scourge of piracy along the North Encyron coast – and forge trade alliances with overseas powers. While many were initially skeptical, Prince Fillipos clearly recognised that the growing might and wealth of such regions as Transarbina was based on careful advancement, of sweeping away obsolete tradition and embracing such transformative forces as the railroad, ironclad steamships, and global trade. But he also knew that to do so, he had to open trade routes and commit to the development of industry and infrastructure; already New Urgen has, at unwise expense, launched the first of its new “Alliance” class warships ready to seize control of the seas from pirates and Arkalian raiders; the vessels are large enough to, just about, be classed as one of the super-warships called Dreadnoughts. Their single Dreadnought is pitiful compared to the Empire’s and Republic’s dozens, but it marks New Urgen as a rising regional power with amibition and foresight.
The neighbouring democratic republic of Morgrovia has long built small, steam-powered ironclad vessels to escort trade convoys, but has still suffered from piratical attacks that areas closer to the Empire are free from – the Empire has never paid that much attention to North Encyron, perhaps because nations there by and large are disinclined to ally with or submit to it. Morgrovia’s relatively advanced military technologies – acquired at great expense from the Transarbinan League – have for nearly 50 years prevented New Urgen even considering a conflict; but under Fillipos, several patient years of negotiation led to trade routes and border crossings being established, and encouraged a general thawing of relations.
However, New Urgen’s direction is shifting slowly and subtly; the failed nation of Arkalia sits at New Urgen’s nebulous western border, spawning rebels, militias, and organised crime – including piracy, threatening the young and vulnerable trade routes overseas. Morgrovia, though, has thus far outright refused to support interventionist policies to restore order in Arkalia, fearing it would become a cover for Collectivist or Imperialist ideals to be injected into the region and turn the coast into a new front line in the war of ideas – and protesting over the growing naval armament program New Urgen has been embarking on. The news that New Urgen was constructing a Dreadnought led to a rapid chilling of relations.
New Urgen has therefore begun to make overtures to the island state of Korakova; the island, the world’s last true Mageocracy, has also long suffered from piratical raiding of trade routes, but the insular autocratic mages of the Prismatic Circle, Korakova’s ruling body had never cared enough to devote their resources to solving it. Fillipos hopes to change their minds, and has had reasonable success in gaining their support for shared naval policing in the region; though given the Prince’s newfound hobby of magical dabbling, perhaps they are also persuading him around to their ways of thinking.
Modern New Urgen is attempting to actively and rapidly industrialise; as a result many undeveloped rural regions are being suddenly opened up by roads and railways, factories are proliferating around major cities, and entire new towns and cities are arising in the remote northern Ramshead Mountains – some of the world’s tallest – where long-ignored territories have suddenly begun exciting prospectors who went looking for tin, copper, coal, and even gold…
New Urgen’s laws specify that Dragonborn are property unless they can produce a suitable documentary proof of their self-determined status (a Freedman Pass); if they cannot then they can be ‘seized’ by the Crown for up to two years until their owner claims them – then they can be sold on at auction.
New Urgen is the game’s starting location.