Pelagrino is a prosperous city state in northwestern Arcadia.
It was founded, and is named by famous Arcadian Halfling explorer, frontiersman and adventurer Stephen Pelagrino. According to the legend, old Stephen was so enamored with the land that he decided to cut his adventure short, and settle there for the rest of his life. To claim the land as his own, he used his tablecloth as a makeshift flag which was later used as a pattern for the city flag.
Demographics and Culture
One of the most striking features of Pelagrino are it's demographics. It is one of the few nations in the world that is mostly populated by so called "little people", namely Halflings, Gnomes and Dwarfs. The short stature of it's inhabitants is so prevalent and commonplace that most of the city buildings are not constructed to accommodate larger races which constitute less than 5% of the total population. In fact new buildings are not zoned or designed to accommodate humans or elves which discourages those races from migrating into the city. It is simply not practical or cost effective.
Majority of Pelegrino citizens (roughly 48%) are Halflings. Gnomes constitute 25% and Dwarfs 22%, rest being larger races such as Humans, Elves, Half Orcs and Dragonborn. Among Halflings, 62% of citizens are Lightfoot, 32% are Stout and remaining 6% are other sub-races. Despite such skewed demographics large people are not discriminated against and welcome in the city as long as they can deal with cramped quarters and tiny beds.
The people of Pelegrino work hard, but also love to celebrate. They are friendly and welcoming but also shrewd and clever. It is one of the few places in the world where education is mandatory and all children must learn reading, writing and arithmetic.
The city is well known for it's lavish holiday celebrations, frequent firework displays, street markets and feasts.
Pelagrino is famed for it's swift ships and trade caravans. Most of these are owned by private merchants or merchant conglomerates that run trade routes all around Eoran. The Pelagrino sea vessels are light and compact compared to those of other nations. Part of this is due to the fact that the crews need less space, and tend to eat less food than human sailors, however much of it is also due to the innovative sail designs.
Pelagrino merchants have impeccable reputation for being fair and reliable. They always pay their debts and their wares are always of the highest quality so they are a trusted brand around the world.
A city mostly populated by Halflings could seem as an easy target for conquest minded enemies, but this could not be further from the truth. The might of the Pelagrino military lies not in the strength of the individual soldiers but in their tactics and application of magic and alchemy.
The Inventors Guild provides the armed forces with many clever weapons and contraptions, including but not limited to cutting edge catapults, various forms of bombs, and grenades capable of deploying noxious gasses or magically infused mist onto the battlefield.
The city is also defended by the famous Sky Knights - brave fighters trained to ride Arcadian Falcons to battle. They're one of the most fearsome light cavalry in Arcadia, capable of mount devastating hit and run attacks darting in and out of range of enemy archers.
The usage of "knight" in their name is a misnomer, because none of the troops serving in these units have any aristocratic titles. Neither do they use weapons associated with knights. They usually wear leather armors and use bows and swords instead of plate and lances, because of weight restrictions. That said, the word knight does evoke the kind of status and respect those elite fighters enjoy at home.
Almost all Sky Knights are Halflings, mostly due to practical considerations: most Gnomes and Dwarfs are simply to large and heavy for the birds to comfortably carry them to battle.
Politics and Government
Pelagrino is a representative democracy patterned after the Fynwell model but with much less class stratification. Stephen Pelagrino envisioned his nation as a classless society without aristocrats, and thus there is no landed aristocracy in Pelagrino. But, naturally this does not mean there is no class differences, as the wealthy merchants are definitely the upper crust of society and have huge amount of influence over the senate.
Pelagrino has envisioned his city as a place where no one goes hungry, and thus the tax revenue is diverted into the education system as well as providing community services for the least fortunate members of society. Additionally all citizens receive a small universal stipend to help them with living expenses. As a result of these policies there are astonishingly few beggars and homeless people in the streets for the city of that size. The tax funded social programs are, of course, inconvenient for the merchants and tradesmen who continuously campaign and lobby the government for tax breaks.
The Pelagrino head of state is a Chancellor - an official position that is democratically elected for a term of 8 years. The position is currently held by Helena Silverbell who is half way through her second term in the office, out of maximum of three.
Unlike Fynwell which uses a sophisticated runoff voting, Pellagrino employs a simple, first past the post voting in all their elections. Consequently, it has developed a two party system.
The two majority parties are known as Moonrakers and Stargazers.
Moonrakers are the mercantile party lead by fabulously wealthy Dwarf entrepreneur Chairman Fitzpatrick Timble. His faction opposes the universal stipend, mandatory education and seeks to reduce taxes to allow trade and industry to fully flourish. They espouse personal responsibility and self reliance as their chief virtues and consider Stargazer supporters to be either idealist dreamers with heads in the clouds or parasites seeking handouts.
Stargazers, lead by Chairman Alana Thornberry seek to keep the dream of Stephen Pellagrino alive. They support the mandatory education, universal stipend and the social safety net programs. They believe that charity towards less fortunate is not a virtue but a responsibility of every well off citizen. They consider Moonrakers to be cruel and selfish.
The current Chancellor belongs to the Stargazer party, which also happens to have majority in the Senate.
Pelagrino has a long standing territorial dispute with Argyle over the territory known as South Quar. While it lies beyond the city limits, the region supplies the city with most of it's fresh water via number of rivers and streams. In recent years Argyle settlers have started developing the area building dams and re-routing streams for agricultural purposes which resulted in water shortages in the city.
When diplomatic measures failed, Pelagrino Sky Knights bombed the Argyle settlements resulting in massive civilian casualties. This resulted in what has later been known as 7 Day War between the two nations. Both sides employed destructive magic and alchemy which resulted in heavy losses on both sides, and devastated South Quar ecology. The vital water supply was permanently poisoned, and the region is now a desolate wasteland populated only by roving bands of ghouls.
Pelagrino has since den build several aqueducts to resolve it's water problems and slowly rebuild diplomatic relations with Argyle, but this event remains a sore spot in it's history. To this day it is unclear who exactly was responsible for the initial civilian pogrom, and while many senators and military officials stepped down as a result of the incident, no one was tried, punished or censured by the govenrment. The colloquial name for this quagmire is Quargyle (combination of Quar and Argyle).