|Common Names||Hansers, Penny Pinchers, Düdesche|
|Social Classes||Merchants, Traders, Sailors, Craftsmen, Businessmen|
|Major Cities||Ostlaukirchen, Kallerwald, Rötbergerland, Niederzielenwald, Keislanderwald|
The Calderliga Culture are a society built by trade. Originally the traders and coastal peoples of the ancient Wirtemcaller Kingdom, Regalia helped to save them from the raiding of the Skagger Horde. They would eventually fully break off from the wider New Regalian Culture and form their own society, existing along the coastlines of all three Calem regions conducting trade and performing financial tasks. The society is best known for the development of the Hanse, an economic union which has since gone on to help run their society. They are also known as the secret weapon of the New Regalians, as while they spread their ideals through military action and service, the Calderliga spread it more gradually through trade and mercantile pursuits. If you want to do business in the eastern half of the Regalian Archipelago, especially the Calem regions, you’re more than likely to find Calderligan merchants at the top of whatever operation you approach.
- 1 History
- 2 Language and Dialects
- 3 Laws
- 4 Lifestyle and Customs
- 5 Holidays
- 6 Religion
- 7 Literature and Folklore
- 8 The Arts
- 9 Recreation
- 10 Symbols
- 11 Trivia
The Calderliga as a society began as some of the weakest and threatened members of the ancient Wirtemcaller Kingdom. In the past of the Regalian Archipelago following their arrival in the region, the Skagger Horde raided wide and far across the region, harassing coastal settlements and fishing communes for all the wealth they had. One of their most frequent targets, especially as the Regalian Empire began to innovate in their naval combat, were those towns and cities on the eastern and western coasts of the Wirtemcaller Kingdom. Hammered harder and harder as the Horde’s activities were restricted to only these areas, the local populations pooled their resources and sought greater economic security through their unity as a single entity. These communities were also some of the first to see the benefits of the Regalian Empire in the Skagger Wars, as Regalia sought to aid these mercantile-inclined regions defend themselves from the barbarian Skagger Horde. In 100 AC, Regalian vessels started battling the Skaggers away from the coasts of the Wirtemcaller Kingdom, though it took until 150 AC for their raiding to entirely end. During this time, these regions slowly began to adapt their communal societies into formal organizations with a more formal structure they came to call Hanse. Thanks to Regalia, these coastal regions also were able to reestablish trade ties they had once thought were lost thanks to the raiding of the Skagger Horde. But with their defeat, and the Regalian Empire’s freeing of all the former Wirtemcaller territories from chaos, those communes came to join the growing New Regalian Culture.
But despite their many similarities, the Calderliga gradually began to assert themselves as a unique but separate entity from the New Regalians. The oddest feature of this Culture was also it’s divided population and how equally they were distributed, half existing in “Calder West” in northwest Opper Calemberg and northern Dragenthal while the other half existed in “Calder East,” all along the western coastline of Hinter Calemberg and southern coastline of Neider Calemberg. These divisions were formalized throughout the mid-200s AC, as community after community came to see themselves as Calderliga instead of New Regalian. The New Regalians for their part accepted this change, as the Hanse and the Calderliga as a whole were crucial to their economy. Today the Calderlige quietly operate as a powerful mercantile presence in the eastern half of the Regalian Archipelago, second only to the Kade House of Trade and Anahera Cabal in their power and influence. They are largely overlooked though, which has helped them to gain this power, and they used it to help spread New Regalian ideas through their mercantile contacts out to the wider Alorian world. Only time will tell if their economic power will persist.
Language and Dialects
The Calderliga speak Alt-Regalian, the same language as their sister Culture of New Regalian. The only notable difference between a Calderliga and a New Regalian speaking Alt-Regalian is that a Calderliga accent tends to sound a bit flatter in tone, as if it was “Commonized” a bit. For IRL context, a Caldelriga would have an accent similar to a speaker from one of the northern German states, such as Hamburg or Bremen.
Calderligan names borrow heavily from their Alt-Regalian roots, though similar to their dialect has borrowed names from some of their key trading partners. While there is a tendency to follow the New Regalian naming patterns, it is not unheard of for Anglian, or even Ceardian, traditions to blend into the society. Some examples of first names are below:
Due to their extensive knowledge and work in the Regalian financial bureaucracy, the Calderligans have discovered several loopholes in order to profit heavily from the trade networks of the Empire. Instead of keeping quiet and working through the system, the discoverers struck a deal with the central government. In exchange for patching up these exploits, the Calderligans were given several legal freedoms unheard of in the Empire. What followed were the Calderligan Hanse Laws, or Guild Laws, some of which are summarized below:
- Foreign merchants passing through Calderligan lands are required to dock or stop and display their goods for sale over the course of three days before sailing onwards.
- Calderligan Hanse ships are exempt from tariffs and duties when moving their goods to the capital city and other key ports in the Regalian Empire.
- Calderliga Hanse Cities are allowed to trade freely with one another regardless of local law.
- Calderligan Hanse members are permitted to deny law enforcement entry to their business holdings without a warrant from the Emperor, majority vote of the local Hanse chapter, or unless there is credible proof to the risk of loss of life, conspiracy against the State or Emperor, or Heresy.
Lifestyle and Customs
Calderligan families share many parallels with their New Regalian brethren, with a patriarchal head of the household with a supportive wife rearing the children. Unlike the New Regalians, military undertones are limited to respecting authority and proper manners. The mercantile tone of the Culture makes up for this lack of militant upbringing, and Calderligans are known to be cordial with strangers, owing to the notion that pretentiousness can be bad for business. Inheritance is also handled differently. While the eldest son typically inherits his father’s authority over the family, including any noble titles, the other males are often left with parts of the business which they use to expand their own fortunes. Successful Calderligan business owners often capitalize on this tradition by having several sons, who are raised to one day go out of the next town over and settle down, expanding the family’s sphere of influence. Marriage and courtship rituals are practically identical to the New Regalians, with the fathers discussing suitability and planning the inevitable marriage, and the couple partaking in events together. Unlike the New Regalians, the Calderligans have different criteria for a suitable pairing, highlighting their business savvy attitudes. In the simplest terms, couples marry for money or financial gain. Fathers often pair their daughters to the sons of their business contacts or employers, with the goal of gaining further prestige in a trading network. There is also a bit of focus on emotional compatibility, as a happy couple always leads to better business, and therefore more power and prestige.
The Calderligans are famous for their institution known as the Hanse (which is both a singular and plural noun), which translates to Guild in Common. One would be quick to assume that these organizations are simply a local spin on the other merchant guilds of the Empire, but in reality, the Calderligan Hanse are more like mercantile nobility, with their own internal hierarchy of rule:
- At the top is the Guildmaster, who represents the Hanse in political dealings with the nobility of an area. Often the Guildmaster is a nobleman himself, ruling over the largest city in the Hanse network as its Viscount.
- Below the Guildmaster is the Chapter Syndic, which is an advisory panel to the Guildmaster that represents the local Hanse chapters.
- The Chapters are the main structure of the Hanse and have their own internal organization.
- The Chapter Head is an elected individual that manages the operations of his local building and represents the chapter in the Syndic when it is summoned.
- At the very bottom of the hierarchy are the guild members, which consist of artisans, merchants, craftsmen, and laborers that manage individual businesses under the guild. Membership is not free, and every year dues are collected to ensure the smooth running of the Hanse as a whole.
Through this extensive hierarchy, the Hanse are able to generate large profits, which are then returned to the individual chapters. This creates a safety net for guild members, who otherwise would have to fend for themselves in the wide open world. Some Hanse have been known to go a step further by hiring their own militias and warships to protect their members’ interests. In rare cases, a Hanse is able to transform into a Viscounty, with their Grandmaster directly vassalizing under the Emperor. However, most often the Hanse remains as a reliable source of tax revenue for their feudal Lord, who are all too willing to provide protection to the Hanse. The influence of Hanse on Calderligan society cannot be understated, as many dedicate resources to philanthropic pursuits or public works projects. Several different styles of fashion and architecture are named the “Hanse style” in honor of these guilds, to the point where Calderligan Culture is also known as Hanse Culture. While Calderligan locals know the difference between the two, most Ailor societies simply pick one or the other, with no hard feelings from the choice. Calderligans are proud of their regional Hanse, and see this foreign misconception as proof of their economic influence.
Patriarchal dominance is still the highlight of gender roles in Calderliga Culture, with the men acting as the face of the business, negotiating and laboring for their family. Though what is unique with these people is their view of women. While at face value, women are still seen as the supporting half of a household, their standing in society is slightly more progressive than their New Regalian sisters. Calderligan wives can often be seen running the front counter while her husband is in the back toiling in his labors, or working in a side office managing the family finances. What is considered to be the most “radical” difference is how women have the ability to inherit property. While the head of a Calderligan household is always a man, women who have proven more competent than their brothers may suddenly become the main owner of the family business, giving her sway in family affairs often unheard of in the Calem realms. It is not uncommon for Calderligan women to marry older than average, or even remain single for their entire lives, for as soon as she marries it’s expected that her husband takes over ownership. Despite this apparent loss of power, these heiresses still find themselves running the show from behind the scenes, having extensive knowledge of the trade taught by their parents.
Calderligan holidays revolve mostly around merchant festivals and the Unionist holidays dedicated to various crafts, especially the Reiher-tags of the Herons of the Hand. During these festivities, Calderligans ironically close down their businesses for the day in order to reflect on the lives of these individuals and to celebrate the gains of their Culture over the years. Of these holidays, two hold significant importance to Calderliga Culture:
- Marktag, held on July 5th. While celebrated primarily in the capital city of Regalia, Calderligan cities hold their own local festivals hosted by the Hanse that remained at home (as the Grandmaster’s city chapter is usually sent to the capital for the main festival). Unlike with mainstream Ailor society, debts are not forgiven during the festival, but instead, are renegotiated for a better deal, or interests rates are annulled. Calderligans treat debts with the same weight as a knight’s code of honor and always see that they pay them off on time, lest they bring shame to their families for being thrown into a debtor prison.
- Reverential Reiher-tag of Nicoleto the Silver-tongue, June 18th. The day celebrating the Heron of Merchants, Calderligans praise Heron Nicoleto as an example of pious Unionist behavior as a merchant, considering him an honorary Calderligan. Businesses all close during this day, a rare occurrence for Caldelrigans, as citizens visit the local churches for worship and celebration. In truth, there is nothing different from the way other Ailor Cultures celebrate Heron Nicoleto, though Calderligans are always strict in adhering to the practices expected of the merchant class.
Calderligans are primarily Unionist with their style of worship copying the humbleness of the New Regalians. However, due to their trade-focused society and contact with foreign merchants, the Calderligans have a unique position regarding the faith. Calderligans frequently tithe the Unionist Church and tend to be more generous with donations. They believe that their fortunes are a sign of the Spirit’s generosity, and believe that giving back is the rightful thing to do. Whenever the New Regalians want to build another Calemdom-styled cathedral, you can expect the Calderligans to front a majority of the funds to do so, assisting their sister Culture with such actions for the Spirit. Another area of Unionism that Calderligans focus on is missionary work. With so many merchants coming to and from their ports, talks regarding the faith come naturally as a way to explain the fortunes of the Hanse cities. Many colonial missions are funded by Calderligan houses, who wish to use their wealth to spread the faith to every port in the world. In some situations, merchants who convert to Unionism trade exclusively with the Calderligan who showed them the faith for the first time, making missionary work just as profitable as regular trade.
Literature and Folklore
Calderligan Literature is fairly similar to the New Regalian tales of deals gone wrong. While the New Regalians often use these tales as a warning towards interacting with aberrants, Calderliga Culture has a secondary meaning. While they maintain the anti-aberrant rhetoric, these stories also aim to warn children about making a deal that sounds too good to be true. While the Calderligans are notorious for trying to make as much money as possible, even they know that greed can be a destructive force. Children who grow up reading these stories tend to be more appreciative of the literary works, to the point where “making a deal with a demon” is a colloquial term that references a Calderligan making a poor trade with a client, something that has become an idiom in other Ailor Cultures over the years.
The Calderliga Culture follows a reimagined version of the New Regalian Harte-Ziele, known as “Hanse-Ziele” in recognition of the organizations that popularized the school of thought. Whereas Harte-Ziele revolved around harsh words with military backing, Hanse-Ziele chooses economic power as their weapon of negotiation. Calderligan Hanse often utilize their mercantile fleets to blockade their enemies, enacting trade embargoes and sanctions until their demands are met. Another tactic utilizes the size of a Hanse to its advantage. If one city in a Hanse is attacked by an enemy, the other chapters may decide to shut down their ports to the aggressive party, even if they are neutral terms. The aggressor is then forced between continuing the attack on a single port city or face economic ruin from the lack of regional markets. Often, this action is all it takes for an enemy to back down, allowing the defending Hanse to demand reparations from the attacker, making the initial invasion a waste of time and money.
While the Hanse-Ziele actions are often practiced by the guilds of the same same, individual Calderligans also take portions of this philosophy for personal use. A Calderligan who notices a new trader setting up shop nearby may work with his fellow merchants to undermine the business, purchasing the property when the business collapses. Others may use their customer traffic to encourage a business to join the local Hanse, as more members means more security for everyone. In reality, and form of negotiations using financial means can be seen as Hanse-Ziele, with mixed opinions on who you ask.
Since its inception, the philosophy has received large amounts of critiques. New Regalians often denounce the practice as a weaker imitation of their own Harte-Ziele, citing the use of mob mentality to enforce demands over martial prowess. In truth, Hanse-Ziele effectiveness is directly tied down to the size of a network, as smaller Hanse are often no match for a raiding party, choosing to flee their cities until the threat is gone, or using their finances to fund a defensive force of mercenaries (which could very well side with the raiders themselves). At the end of the day, a Calderligan prefers to let his money do the talking, and those with little coin are quick to pay lip service to their enemies.
As with literature, Calderliga Culture copies New Regalian traditions, spinning them to fit a more mercantile mindset. While tales about venturing into the forests are still common to the Culture, they are not as prevalent given many Calderligan cities are on the coastline where forests have been cleared away. Nevertheless, fairy tales are still a popular bedtime story to tell to children, and many adults reference these tales when working their trades.
As a Culture that thrives off of wealth, Calderliga Culture places artwork as a societal display of success. Many wealthy merchants are known to pay for many elaborate paintings of cityscapes and nature scenes, though the most popular choice is the self-portrait. Often seen as overly pretentious by other Cultures, Calderligans have a strong affinity to capturing themselves in their mercantile glory, often hiring Dressolini (and even Ithanian) artists to create lifelike portraits of themselves, which they then hang over the fireplace until they can purchase a new one. The background of these portraits are usually tied to the Calderligan’s trade or work, often an office of study. Trade equipment such as a scale balance or tools are found on a desk or in the hands of the patron, helping to tie in hard work to financial success.
Music in Calderliga Culture is identical to New Regalian Culture, having very little variation given the two Cultures share similar tastes. Some coastal cities may favor foreign music to an extent for the sake of business, but the majority of musical tastes stem around local traditions. The only difference is that the war orchestras and military marches are not as popular due to the Culture’s preference to finances over martial prowess.
Original Calderligan fashion is an interesting subject to discuss, as the majority of the population borrows from other Ailor Cultures. One merchant may prefer the Heartland Ceardian styles while their brother dress as a New Regalian. This mixing of various fashions is what ultimately creates the Calderligan fashion, with several fashions described below.
The first is known as the Jedermann Style, which is translated to Everyman Style. As the name implies, this fashion aims to appeal to every person that comes across Caldelrigan society, from the aristocratic noble to the humble commoner passing by. The main tenant of the Jedermann Style is that “anything goes, so long as it isn’t pretentious,” meaning that elitism or haute Culture is generally avoided when making ensembles unless it’s to focus on that specific audience. A popular example for men is a combination of the Heartland Ceardian/Anglian commoner clothing with the Waldmann New Regalian style. Tightly fitted cotton or wool trousers are worn under leather boots, with an (optional) cloth undershirt over the torso. The dominant arm is left exposed, with the other arm having a sleeve going down to around the elbow. Color choices are focused on earthly tones such as greens, blues, browns, and sometimes whites, though it is not unheard of to choose a brighter color such as orange to appeal to a southern audience. Women tend to follow Heartland Ceardian fashion trends in that they prefer to wear dresses, though it is not uncommon for them to borrow from the Griffer Style of New Regalians and wear simple pants underneath a knee or ankle high skirt, the negative connotations barely a focus on Calderligans.
A unique fashion choice for the upper and merchant class of Calderligan men is aptly named the Hanse Fashion after the guild organizations of the same name. The most striking feature is the round, black velvet hat that is worn on the head, which symbolizes both academia and wealth. A silken robe of a brighter color is worn over a simple white undershirt, with a velvet overcoat worn over the top, again to symbolize affluence. Some Calderligans who wish to pay respect to Alt-Regalian ancestry may drape a pelt over their shoulders, or sewn in with the velvet. Smooth buckled shoes or boots cover the feet, with long stockings covering the knees towards the thigh, with a pair of pants hidden underneath the robes. To accessorize, men may choose to wear a necklace or two around their neck, often with a house or Hanse seal affixed to the main piece, and a few rings on their fingers.
Calderligan women tend to mimic the New Regalian fashion of the upper classes, with very little change in designs. Use of more expensive materials such as silk and velvet is a common practice to add cultural ties to the Cadarwald or Debütantin fashions. Griffer fashion is already included in the Jedermann style, with most women tending to avoid the original style in favor of their cultural mixed ensemble.
The architectural style that arose from the use of brick is known as the Hanse style, which utilizes masonry and brick patterns to design colorful buildings. While the focus on a single material seems bland at first, the various powder mixtures create a variety of red, orange, yellow, brown, and gray color hues, which assist in creating a vibrant array of buildings on a single street. Hanse style buildings tend to be very vertical, with minor accents such as arches extending a foot or less from the exterior walls. In fact, the only notable overhang on a building is the entryway, a practical design choice to provide cover from precipitation. The Hanse style also copies several other architectural themes to create brick imitations of the original. An example of such is the Hanse-Calemdom style, which uses the skyscraper designs of the Calemdom cathedrals and replaces the stone materials with brick. What follows is a very colorful cathedral that would otherwise appear very monochrome and daunting.
Due to their coastal location, seafood is a common staple on many Calderligan plates, with salted fish being a cultural favorite. Their unique connections to foreign merchants also adds another signature ingredient to the menu: spices. Typically seen as an upper-class luxury good around the Empire, the Calderligans have since commonized the use of spices in their meals, giving a more pleasant aroma to the smelly fish dishes. Maritime cuisine designed for voyages also finds its way to a Calderligan plate, with salted beef, potatoes, and onions commonly used. A final local delicacy are the several stews created around the cities and villages of Hinter Calemberg, with a different recipe found in every house. More hearty stews include many vegetables, chopped meat (usually chicken), spices, and potatoes to fill up a worker’s stomach, while broth-based bowls are used to warm up the body during a cold Autumn or Winter day.
Many sports are common in Calderligan society, with sport fishing, dueling, and racing being more popular than others. Some in society capitalize on these pastimes by placing bets on their favorite team, in the hopes that their choice comes up on top. While gambling is generally shied away from in public, an exception is made for these sporting events, as it provides another way for spectators to engage in the sport from the sides. Very rarely do arguments arise from a poor wager, as Calderligans are very aware of the risks they take when placing a bet, and often set aside a gambling fund to use for these situations.
Calderligans commonly engage in leisure shopping, never passing by an opportunity to find an exotic item, or a chance to barter for a better deal. Often these shopping trips take an entire day as individuals talk with the shop clerks over their inventories and tales of odd customers or vendors. The more affluent in society may find the time to take a leisurely trip on an airship, something that has grown in popularity as technology improves the reliability of these floating vessels. The final activity Calderligans enjoy is simply wandering about with no objective in mind. Many enjoy the tranquility of walking around a busy street in the middle of town, listening in to a conversation before moving on their way.
The Crow Eagle is the most common animal in Calderligan heraldry, reflecting their Alt-Regalian origins much like the New Regalians. Another common symbol is the scale balance, representing the many polarities in Calderliga Culture. Merchants and customers, supply and demand, risk and reward, and many other pairings can be seen with the use of scales, making it a versatile symbol for the society that utilizes said tool.
- The Calderligans are one of the largest critics against the Tenpenny Armies, disliking the idea of losing ten percent of their revenue on an army that isn’t focused on defending their financial interests. Many have tried to petition for the tax’s removal, easily defeated by the larger support base of New Regalians and Anglians.
- The Kade House of Trade in Anglia is one of the rare economic giants outside of the Calderligan homeland that exerts its influence across the Empire. Even the largest of Hanse cannot deny that their success ultimately relies on if they have Anglian bread on the table when they come home from work. For this reason, Anglian ports are one of the few areas where Calderligans still pay tariffs at, often at higher prices than others.
- Calderligans have a strong working relationship with Heartland Ceardians. The Dragenthal realm is well known for its extensive trade networks, with Heartlanders often loaning out their ships for Calderligan merchants to use.