Eustace is a semi-autonomous realm that is part of Gard. A rural land with an agricultural economy, Eustace is a magocracy ruled by an elite upper class of plantation-owning wizards and sorcerers. A council of eight wizards called the Archmages exercise ultimate power there, and although they are traditionally bound to the Emperor of Gard, they have been chafing at his overlordship for decades.
The province of Eustace is the world’s largest magocracy, as well as the only Gardish realm never to be directly ruled by a dragon. Eustace is ruled not by a king, prince, or duke, but by a council of eight Archmages, each of whom specializes in a different school of magic. Archmages serve for 64-year terms, staggered such that one new Archmage is appointed every 8 years. Ex-council members retain the courtesy title of Archmage.
Beneath the Archmages is an upper class comprised of everyone who has skill with the arcane. While anybody can theoretically learn to become a wizard, one does not become a member of this upper class unless one receives formal training, either by becoming apprenticed to a known wizard or through enrollment in the Collegiate. And few people are accepted as an apprentice or to the Collegiate unless their parents are mages, or unless their power is truly outstanding.
Alternatively, there are those who have arcane power without formal training, like sorcerers. Wizards and sorcerers always think that only they know “true” magic, but regardless, sorcerers and other untrained casters enjoy the same privilege wizards do. However, the highest echelons of political power are reserved for the formally trained.
Eustace takes up much of northwestern Gard. To the south is the Almond Sea, a body of water more accurately described as a lake, The Almond Sea also borders Claysaw, Pecsmuth, and Casogard. Eustace itself borders Claysaw to the west and Casogard to the east, but trade with those two nations is usually accomplished over the Almond Sea, as the water route is faster. To the north of Eustace is Cadriyal, which Eustace usually has little to do with.
Almost all of Eustace is farmland. This would not have been possible were it not for extensive irrigation systems set up by the mages hundreds of years ago. Now, most of Eustace is divided up into plantations, each of which is ruled over by a mage or family of mages.
Because it is so rural, the only major city in Eustace is its capital, North Almond, which is the central port through which Eustan trade goes. As the name suggests, it is located on the shore of the Almond Sea. The small city of Hydrascale in central Eustace is a local trading hub, but holds little of interest for anyone other than Eustans. Other towns and villages have been cropping up across the countryside, but none large enough to draw much notice.
Eustace is primarily an agrarian society. The vast majority of the population live on farms. Whether they own land or labor in another’s field, Eustans are farmers first and foremost. But unlike in Chester and the manors outside Gideon City, where the land is passed down by aristocrats from generation to generation, Eustan society is structured a bit differently.
In Eustace, arcane spellcasters form a distinct upper class, and all others form a great lower class. This distinction is both enshrined in law and ingrained in Eustan society, so much so that it seems completely natural there. Those without spellcasting power are called mundies, short for “mundanes”. Until the settlement of 472, they had severe legal restrictions. Now, most of those restrictions are lifted, and several laws have been passed to safeguard their civil rights. Wizards still own most of the wealth and land.
In North Almond, the situation for mundies is a bit better. They can own businesses, learn trades, and so forth. But very few wizards would patronize a mundie-owned business, except for alchemical shops. And in return, some mage-owned establishments in North Almond don’t serve mundies, or serve mages first. This practice is now illegal.
Skilled alchemists who have learned to do more than simply follow crafting recipes are not considered mundies in North Almond, though they would be out in the plantations. Therefore, there are few skilled alchemists out in the plantations.
It is traditional for a wizard to adopt a new name upon finishing his or her apprenticeship. The fashion within the last century has been to choose a name based on a color, or derived from a color, or at least with a color as part of the name.
Divine casters are outsiders to the social structure of Eustace. They are not given the same deference due to arcanists, but neither do they have the same legal restrictions as mundies. Eustan mages respect the power of the gods as much as anybody else does.
The main deities worshiped in Eustace are Exene, Avillion, Ielda, and Jackiv. There are no province-wide laws governing worship, but plantation owners may set certain standards for their mundie laborers. The worship of chaotic gods is strongly looked down upon by most of the magic upper class, even more so than the worship of evil gods. In fact, some wizards worship Ilumot or Beuben, and while they usually do so in secret, they face very little condemnation for this (at least, not from other mages).
In 471, Eustace led a large rebellion against the Emperor, attempting to remove itself and several other realms from the Empire in what became known as the Secession Crisis. A party of adventurers discovered that these events were at least partly orchestrated by Cacoglos, an avatar of Yetzahara. In the process of destroying Cacoglos, the mythic source of power that the Archmages had relied on was destroyed. The Archmages quickly called for a truce.
The Archmages then claimed that all of their activities against the Emperor were a result of Cacoglos’ meddling. Most people don’t believe their sudden claim that a dark god was responsible for all their misdeeds, but it sufficed as an excuse to end the war. The Archmages and the other rebelling realms agreed to an arbitration of their claims, mediated by representatives of the Serene See. The result, announced in Sectember 472, restored Eustace to the Empire, but confirmed the Archmages’ roles as rulers of the realm, answerable only to the Emperor. It also forced Eustace into some social reforms.
The settlement has caused upheaval in most of the realm. The reforms set up neutral, ecclesiastical courts to hear complaints by mundies against wizards, and set up many “free towns” for mundies if they do not wish to live on a plantation. The settlement also included large gold payouts as reparation to loyal realms of the empire. The new laws and the tax burden have made Eustan wizards furious with the Emperor, and with the Archmages themselves, who many say gave away far too much. They say that the settlement is an attack on traditional Eustan culture and way of life.
Eustace has one colony in the New World: Dragonfall. This colony is on the northern coast of Freedland, the newly discovered southern continent. A huge portal connects Dragonfall to North Almond. Transit through the portal used to be nearly free. But since the settlement, the Archmages have imposed a toll of 1 gp on portal use. They also sold an enormous tract of land west of Dragonfall, 200,000 square miles worth, to a wealthy Cestrian nobleman named Edred Pendicott. The land is not even charted, let alone explored, but no one from the Old World has yet challenged this.
Humans are a majority in Eustace, but there are sizable gnomish and elven communities there as well. Other races are present, but not as common. There are also slightly higher-than-average rates of outsider spawn (or “planetouched” to use the politically correct phrase), like aasimars, tieflings, ifrits, etc., presumably because their parents are so easily summoned by Eustan wizards.