Romance of the Four Elements
Setting Details - Merkator Cultural
Merkator is the nation in the east which has the greatest amount of freedom, and the prosperity that goes along with it naturally. It has enjoyed more years of peace than war, mostly due to a strong defense, and economy. It controls most of the river I’Taiya, as well as the great lake, known as I’Kriia, and has a very strong shipping industry.
Merkator is a nation that enjoys strong economic and social upward-mobility. Those of high-class and high-society welcome those into their ranks who have unquestionably proven themselves in every aspect life as they see it. This means that those with “new money” can be treated with every bit of respect as those with “old money” if they prove that they are worthy of it. One mark of high-society is effective ability at swordplay. Other marks are the ability to hold an intelligent conversation concerning literature, painting, sculpture, opera, fine dining, and wine.
Opera is the greatest and most important form of entertainment on the continent and the greatest transmitter of culture across the world. It contains the best aspects of many different specific art forms: writing, for plot and character development, painting and sculpting, for set design, dance, for choreography, and obviously music, for composition and performance with voice and instrument. For those of high class, opera is regular passtime, for those of middle class, an occasional means of enjoying the earned benefits of life, and a means of getting “in” with the upper class movers-and-shakers, and for those of low class, a rare treat. Opera is also the primary social event of the day, and the intrigues of the spectators can be just as engrossing as the intrigues of the story characters.
Wizards who have been trained in formal mage colleges have a very strong tendency to respect tradition, and conduct themselves in a traditional manner. They have a strong tendency to wear tall, conical hats, or circlets, carry and be trained in the use of quarterstaves and swords, and to wear long robes, tunics or cloaks. This does not mean that wizards eschew new things, but that they have a hard time letting go of the old. A typical adventuring wizard will be wearing a long cloak over a tunic, a circlet, a sword in its scabbard, and carry a quarterstaff and a holstered revolver.