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Ionace as capital

by Hervé Musseau

From: "James Ruhland

> There was a good reason for putting it on Monster's Island, I think it
>was because Monster's Island is neutral ground, something like having
> Washington in a separate district and in one of the States.
>Eagret Island is neutral ground, and it doesn't have the charm that Monster
>Island does.
>There are lots of little islands out there that would be more suitable, if
>you want "neutral ground".
>Rebuilding an entire new capital in a monster-infested wilderness while
>you're trying to rebuild your civilisation strikes me as a fairly bad idea.

Quoting from MA1014: << Description: The New Alphatian Council decides that they should have a new capital which is easier to reach for commoners than Aquas, yet still be a hard place to invade. After much deliberation, Monster Island is chosen as a likely spot. The island is inhabited by monsters and rugged terrain, which makes it hard to invade. As well, the abandoned dwarven city of Denwarf-Hurgon makes the perfect defensive position. The location is also agreed upon as it belongs to none of the kingdoms of the New Alphatian Empire, making it the ideal neutral grounds.>>

I agree that it is not very detailed why they chose Monster Island as a location. I know I already argued it with some fellow almanac writers, let's see if I can remember it all (if I forget some good arguments, you can back me up guys).

So let's first remember the Alphatian situation at the time. Alphatia had sunk, the empire apart. Insane Zandor had been trying to reunite the remnants, mostly by force and for his own glory. Thyatis had conquered a great part of the former colonies, and only the intervention of Thothia had stabilised the borders. Nobody but a few leaders knew that Alphatia was alive in the HW.

The NACE needed a new capital. So, where?

No one ever lobbied in favour of Norwold, Esterhold, the Alatians, Thothia, the ruined city states of the IoD, or Qeodhar, all of them for obvious reasons. Nobody ever lobbied for the Yanniveys either, though IMHO they could have been considered (neutral ground etc) but they have their flaws (notorious haven for criminals).

So that leaves us Aquas, Bellissaria, Floating Ar, and the remnants of the former Alphatian mainland.

Aquas would be appealing (it's strong, defensible, was part of Alphatia, already has buildings to house a government thanks to Zandor). It also has three major quirks: It's not neutral ground, it's not easily accessible (undersea; remember that not all kings are wizards anymore), and most of all it was the power base of Zandor.

Bellissaria has some advantages too. It's easily defended, it has room. The fact that it's not neutral land might be bypassed by creating neutral territory out of part of it (like for Washington DC). Yet it's not central, way out of the major shipping lane (arguably though, as it depends on where exactly on Bellissaria). If you look at a map and locate Bellissaria, you'll see that it's not really central to the colonies (though you might argue that neither is Wash. DC) as are Aquas and Monster Island. Besides, you should take into account the fact that the council knows of the existence of Alphatia in the HW. The better route to their knowledge (with the Pit down and the Sundsvall Maelstrom's capabilities not yet discovered) is through the North Pole. Bellissaria is very far from the north pole, and from the SM where there are according to Favian Vern more ripstorms than elsewhere that allow skyship into the void and from there into the HW (via the north pole; see MA1015 [the Joint polar Expedition] for more on that subject).

Floating Ar is very well located, but it is not neutral ground. Besides, it's not easily accessible (you need skyship or magic). And the most annoying of it all is that it has so little land masse. Where would you put your buildings? All flying islands that have enough room for that already have a wizard tower. Another problem is that Floating Ar is certainly one of the most conservative of the NACE members, as it once was part of Alphatian mainland and is full of haughty wizards that probably do not like the NACE that much (that's where the name New Alphatian Empire would most widely be used, see another post).

The remnants of mainland Alphatia, now scattered mountainous islands in the Alphatian Sea, are neutral land. Plus, they are very symbolic: remember, the NACE is trying to rebuild the former Alphatian Empire, and thus giving the former colonies something in common (i.e., remembering them their common Alphatian heritage) is a good way to achieve this. Besides, these islands are by definition central to the empire. They are at the cross of the shipping lane (though these shipping lanes have to be re-established).

The main disadvantage of these isles is that they are (except for Monster Island) rather small, and very mountainous, so not easily settled/built upon. They are quite isolated and thus it may take time before they get reinforcements in case of an attack by a foreign power; OTOH, they are easily defended because they are mountainous, and any invading army would have a difficult time fielding an army if the isle are well defended (that's the advantage of defending on mountains, like dwarves). The only annoyance in such a case would be an aerial attack, but few countries have much of an airfleet but the HK and to a degree the Thyatians, and yet the Alphatians have their own airships and hope to soon have enough of them rebuilt to face any possible threat. So, an enemy would have to have a fleet to bring its troops, then infantry to (painfully) assault them, and if possible an airfleet. Not many countries have that, and those that do are unlikely to use it to attack the new capital (too costly for such little gain).

On top of that, Monster Island has additional advantages (and disadvantages, too) to your typical Aasla or Egret island. It's bigger, already has a small city, Sanctuary, with all the access to supplies and shipping lanes it implies (and mercenaries). It also has the ruins of Monster Island, which provide buildings available immediately. Plus, it already has troops stationed there. the main problem is all those monsters claimed to inhabit the island. But so far they have not been much of a problem to Sanctuary, more of an annoyance. So, the council underestimated how monster-infested it was, and thought they would get away with it (maybe with using more troops to clean the area). In the MA1015, there are in fact problems with those monsters, and the council (at least Broderick) are beginning to realise that maybe the went a little too fast on that.