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Background information for running a game of troubles between Traladaran, Mixed and Thyatian people in the same nation

by Niels Just Rasmussen

How to handle the adventure Harassment:

The Law:
According to the Karameikos Criminal Law, there is no legal "self defense" against oral abuse. It is expected that you ignore insults and don't turn to violence over words. Stefan Karameikos tries to hold his country together of Traladaran and Thyatian people and with a growing number of mixed children/youth often with a Thyatian dad (usually of nobility, or wealthy in some other way) and a Traladaran mother (usually a poor servant girl).

Stefan Karameikos has made Slander a Crime, but it will open an investigation to see if the Slander is definitely false, so it's more for political/economic intrigue. Only if the slander leads to "significant damage to the reputation of the victim, causing harm to his health and fortune" [quote from GAZ1] will it be considered a Class 3 Crime.
This ideal situation is off course that the Law against Slander should stop it from flourishing, but what about simply abuse? Slander is normally rumours used to discredit people's social standing or business that can be proven to cause damage for the person in society. But street abuse is very much different. Being harassed in the street as "looking like a snot-faced half-goblin-bastard it's no wonder you are the favourite of your mom since she didn't mind whatever creature came to her bed" doesn't exactly fall under the "Slander category" since it doesn't mention the name of any character so by definition it is not slander that has to be spread in society (it is not on print either).

A) Traladaran point of view:
Since many have lost status (either degraded nobles, merchants losing wealth or their entire business, farmers losing land) and many turned into service by Thyatians, there is a lot of contempt against "Thyatian oppressors" and the especially women that sire children with Thyatian males. This is especially rampant in Specularum/Mirror with it's hugely increasing population of a landless Traladaran underclass. Anton Radu's Veiled Society really benefits from this and use every means to hire young people into this "world-view".
Mixed marriage children/youth will often have their mother insulted as a "field-madras" unless his mom was raped so in that case he will get more sympathy and the child/youth be encouraged to take revenge.

[GM note on "field-madras": Taken from the Danish word "Feltmadras" for Danish girls that slept with German soldiers during the WW2 - some whom actually worked as spies and giving away information about Danish Resistance to the Germans. Both during the war (already from 1940) and after the war some of them were dressed naked and had their hair shaved of by angry mobs in public to punish and humiliate them. Among many other insulting words were Syfilishoppe - "Syphilis Mare" or Tyskerluder - "German Whore" The children were regarded as "Tyskerunger" - meaning of "German Spawn"].

Stefan Karameikos is under a lot of pressure from Thyatian and mixed families to make this kind of street abuse illegal, but (rightly) fears that such a law could be the spark that ignites a powder keg and cause a massive Traladaran response. Also there is the logistics of actually having troops going around arresting people and having courts proving insults that could simply swamp his courts with cases. If he loses control then it could also be used as an excuse by Thyatis to intervene and removed him from power.

B) Thyatian point of view:
"We are nobles, we are civilized, we are supreme". "The world is Thyatian, but not all people have discovered it yet, but they are about to find out". [essential the Roman view of the World typical for Empires]. The Traladaran people is an ignorant superstitious lot that weren't even able to govern themselves or protect themselves so we had to step in to help guiding them towards Law, Order and Culture. We have to enforce harsh Laws for their own good since basically many parts of their culture are detriment to development.
A lot of pressure from old-school Thyatians on Stefan Karameikos to be more harsh and also have more military control in the towns and cities.
The Thyatis leaders of Karameikos have secured quite good relationship with the Calarii elves that have also been introduced into the army. Ideas about using them as police troops against Traladaran mobs seems like another request that Stefan Karameikos have to face.

C) Traladaran view of other races in "their" country:
The Calarii elves are more and more seen as having sided with the Thyatian. Furthermore Traladarans have always been quite suspicious of elves and seeing them in the army in the streets of Specularum/Mirror certainly doesn't improve their image. Dwarves and Gnomes keep working their mines and remain neutral, but since they mostly do business with Thyatians now, they are slowly also becoming more and more affiliated with Thyatians. Since any kind of disturbance is bad for their business. they will often send troops to secure their caravans and essentially uphold a "status quo" - the Thyatian order.
The Traladarans feel more and more alone in their own country. They still are fairly positive towards the small halfling population since they are not involved in politics but mostly food and bars. Only if they make an "exclusive Inn for the rich" (read Thyatian) will they become targets.

D) Futhermore we have the religious factor:

1) The Church of Karameikos:
It is essentially a Thyatian Church (in my game based on the immortals Vanya and Tarastia). It has started to convert a lot of Mixed and some Traladaran to it's cause. Sin causes the spirit to be stained. To be accepted by the immortals in the afterlife the spirit must stay clean through purification performed by the priests, but no matter how great a sin it can always be purged.
It gives "the righteous" the right to control the behavior of the followers in great detail with the power to order penance (ordering sinners on adventurers, that benefits the church).
It is a church of control, they in reality make for the opportunity of vengeance (Tarastia) and war (Vanya) while still upholding a strict codex of Law & Judgement (Tarastia). The priests knows that the purification ritual is all bogus, but it increases it's power and finances in his quest to win over all the people of Karameikos. "It's all for the greater good". They also know that the Traladaran are superstitious so it's especially designed to convert them.
Some priests actually want to remove these lies, but for two different reasons. One groups wants sincerely to make it a moral religion without the superstition of "purification" (Aleena Halaran), while others wants it as a true "Crusader's religion" where "the righteous" can do whatever he wants, since the Immortals will forgive him exacting vengeance or going to war if it is for the greater good (my PC player).

The Traladarans that have seen through these lies will be even more vehemently opposed to the Thyatians.

2) The Church of Traladara:
It is the religion of Halav, Petra and Zirchev - the three Traldar heroes whom received Immortality in the fights against the Gnolls, that made the Traldar people avoid total annihilation.
The church and it's followers believes that these three immortals will one day make the Golden Days of the Traldar return. The Church wants to teach good virtues and punish people for transgressions accordingly to the sin committed. Magic ritual is seen as learning and so the superstitious culture of the Traladaran is encouraged by their Church, but it has much less control over it's followers. The Church of Traladara gives guidance, it's not about control like the Church of Karameikos.
Some urban Traladarans thinks that it's perplexing that these three hero immortals have tolerated the Thyatians so long in their country. Maybe it's because they are angry of the passivity of their people and they will come to the their help if a true armed rebellion starts.

A rising number of "extreme" Traladarans have even turn away from the three heroes because of disgust they haven't come to the aid of the people when they were in dire need. They are almost always now operating without any immortal following and trust only in themselves. This is becoming more and more common within the Veiled Society.

3) The Cult of Halav:
The idea that Stefan Karameikos IS the return of Halav is perplexing for all groups. That they actually are sponsored by an immortal (it's priests have spells) seems even more strange? For Traladarans is impossible that Halav should come in a body of a Thyatian oppressor and for Thyatians is seems like utter nonsense typical for "The Crazy Traladarans" - since it has an almost exclusively Traladaran following.
Some Traladarans might see them as traitors. A "Cult" that basically have given up hope of freedom and is rewriting Church of Traladara doctrine so that the returning Golden Days have arrived with a Thyatian conquest - or even worse a group paid by the Thyatians to spread this treason.
[It's up to the GM whether it actually is Halav operating alone (without the knowledge of Petra and Zirchev) for a great long-term plot of gaining back the country for his Traldar descendents - or it is another immortal operating - but who would have that interest?].

E) Being mixed:
Yeah it is confusing always being between two chairs. One can join one of the groups hating the other or try a middle road that is increasingly becoming more and more difficult to tread since they are a lot of people that look down on a mixed person from both groups.