(note: one of my players has an obsessive love with the Forgotten Realms and whines about any customization.)
Most of the information about Chessenta is found in AD&D 2nd Edition: Old Empires by Scott Bennie (FR10 Accessory, TSR 9274). While good information, I want to change it to fit the vision of my campaign (which is set during the 3.x era).
Customization Brief: I see Chessenta, and the frontier of The Shaar and the Chondalwood, as a microcosm of Gor from John Norman's x of Gor series with a good dose of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian series of short stories blended in. Chessenta is a land that the Barbarian and the She-Devil with a Sword would be most comfortable in, as well as the Tarnsman of Gor.
Chessenta is a land of balkanized city states that resemble Rome and Greece during the Roman/Hellenistic Period. As a whole, the land is Chaotic Neutral in government. You can't tell which city state has built an empire over the others. Each city state has their own culture and government.
Government: Varies by city.
Religions: Anhur, Assuran, Azuth, Lathander, the Red Knight, Tchazzar, and Waukeen.
Imports: Cheese, glass, horses, magic weapons, mercenaries, perfume, pork, and slaves (slaves are an "official" import, see below).
Exports: Art, cattle, gold, grapes, olive oil, quality iron, silver, slaves, statues, weapons, wine
Country Alignment: CG, N, CN, or LN -- depending on where you are at the time.
Cimber: Cimber resembles Republican Rome. Cimber is ruled by a Republic instead of a king, although Tchazzar is often remembered as one of Cimber's last kings. Cimber's Government is Chaotic Good with a leaning towards Law.
Senate of the Cimber Republic: The Senate's ultimate authority derived from the esteem and prestige of the Senate. This esteem and prestige was based on both precedent and custom, as well as the high calibre and prestige of the Senators. The Senate passed decrees, which were called senatus consultum. This was officially "advice" from the Senate to a magistrate. In practice, however, these were usually obeyed by the magistrates. The focus of the Roman Senate was directed towards foreign policy. Though it technically had no official role in the management of military conflict, the Senate ultimately was the force that oversaw such affairs. (cross posted from the Roman Republic wikipedia page)
Cimber's Legislative Bodies: The legislative bodies are made up of Cimber's citizens and freemen on the land. Slaves and children do not participate in politics.
Assembly of the Centuries
Citizens in Cimber are organized on the basis of centuries and tribes. The centuries and the tribes would each gather into their own assemblies. The Century Assembly was the assembly of the centuries. The president of the Century Assembly was usually a consul. The centuries would vote, one at a time, until a measure received support from a majority of the centuries. The Century Assembly would elect magistrates who had imperium powers (consuls and praetors). It also elected censors. Only the Century Assembly has the power to declare war, and ratify the results of a census. It also served as the highest court of appeal in certain judicial cases. (Cross posted and modified from Wikipedia)
Assembly of Tribes
The assembly of the tribes, was presided over by a consul, and is composed of 35 tribes. The tribes are not ethnic or kinship groups, but rather geographical subdivisions. The order that the thirty-five tribes would vote in was selected randomly by lot. Once a measure received support from a majority of the tribes, the voting would end. While the Assembly of Tribes do not pass many laws, it does elect quaestors, curule aediles, and military tribunes.
The Citizens' Council
this body is made up of the non-wealthy Citizens of Cimbar and is similar to the Plebian Council of Republican Rome. The citizen's council also made up the courts, in which trials by council (or jury) can proceed. The accused is typically judged by his peers.
Cimber's executive powers are held by the Executive Magistrates and these have similar powers and structure as those in Republican Rome. These include consuls, proconsuls, and magistrates. Only in emergencies, however, a special magistrate called the dictator is elected to deal with the problem. A dictator has absolute power and no checks, but served for a limited time.
Luthcheq, the City of Madness, worships Entropy. The City of Madness is a democracy gone mad, however. Rule by the Majority is oppressive and the minorities don't get a voice. Luthcheq is like Athens, only after they lost the Peloponesian War. Wizards aren't treated with respect, and they are often treated with hatred. Wizards who are discovered are often captured and sacrificed to Entropy.
Airspur is a powerful trading port that has a government that is similar to Classical Thebes. The port has a large half-orc population, and for a long time took a military stance against Cimbar. However, it is rebuilding itself and looking towards colonizing the frontier. The current king is Khrulis.
Akanax is a military camp that has a government that is similar to Classical Sparta. For a long time, they took a military stance against Cimbar. However, it is rebuilding itself and looking towards colonizing the frontier. The Akanaxi are said to be the most disciplined soldiers in all of Chessenta, and if not, rival's the military might of Cormyr.
Soorenar is an aggressive port city that is allied with Airspur and Luthcheq against Cimbar. The government of Soorenar is an oligarchy who prefers to purchase victory with their large coffers. They tend to get wizards, which often puts them at odds with their democratic ally.
Chessenta's Culture is consistent with the information provided in Old Empires (FR10, TSR 9274). Except for one thing -- the way slavery is handled. While some slaves can be freed for exceptional work, this story that travels about the Heartlands is only a story that is probably spread by Cimber's Spin Doctors. Nothing can be further from the TRUTH!
Slavery is a simple affair, and judging by the slave population, most of them are women. And also judging by the number of women, not all women are enslaved. There are more free women of the land in Cimber, and thus all of Chessenta, than there are slaves. The population stack is like more like 1 in six women in Chessenta is some kind of slave. As for men, there are less slaves of the male gender than there are women, which goes back to Ancient Chessenta when it was a part of Unther.
Why the disparity, it's tradition that at one time in Chessenta there was a real war between the sexes. In the end, the women lost and in reparations all the women in that ancient time were enslaved by the men. Slaves in Chessenta have no rights, no property, and some don't even own their names. An owner can do with his slaves as he pleases, and a slave must please her Master.
If an owner kills her or his slave, it is seen as an owner's perogrative and it isn't considered murder. If neighbor kills an owner's slave, it is considered destruction of personal property and the neighbor must pay reparations (often buying a new slave). However, while **** of a free woman of the land (or better) is considered a powerful crime, there is no law against raping a slave.
How long a person can stay a slave is based on their personality. Only those who want to be enslaved, who feel a need to be enslaved, are enslaved. Those enslaved with a strong independent streak are often freed since they can't be a slave -- no matter how many times their Master may beat them. Since women are naturally submissive, they are the ones that are usually enslaved. Since men are naturally dominate, they usually aren't enslaved.
Most of the male slave population are prisoners of war, and prisoners of debt, tort, law, or politics. Political prisoners and those who are judged of felonious crimes are sent to the mines where they are forced to work as mining slaves. Prisoners of war are sent to the games where they perform as Gladiators. Those judged of misdemeanor crimes and those who are made slaves because they cannot pay a debt are usually household slaves.
Women are different. Most women slaves are, to put it mildly, imported. Most of them become household slaves, but especially beautiful women are trained to be something else.
* Tavern slaves are trained to please the patrons of the taverns. These can range from anything from simple entertainment to worse.
* Courtesans are taught the ways of pleasure. They are taught to please their Masters in every way possible. Exceptional courtesans are often freed and marry their Master.
* Slaves guaranteed to be virginal and pure are often set aside with a white silken garment. Those who are not usually, but not always, wear red.
* Slaves trained to be prostitutes are given little more than a collar with a collection box and then sent out to make money. These slaves can't wait to make money for their master and will accept any and all for their services.
* Courier slaves, although sometimes dressed like prostitutes, are protected by law when they are acting as courier between two parties. To take a courier without allowing her to complete her mission is considered to be defacing private property.
* Exotic slaves are from alien cultures and are seen as truly valuable. They are often trained to please their masters in exotic ways. Their ethnic qualities can range from the Shou and the Tuigan to the Drow Matron forced into servitude, to the Yaun-ti half-bloods.
The Importation of Slaves
Importation of slaves makes it seem like a formal affair. "We import slaves," is spoken of like it's a casual thing. While there is formal importation of slaves, there is such a need that there is a virtual army of slavers trained in extracting and training slaves for market.
These slavers travel about the continent of Faerun, and may even go into the continents of Zakhara, Kara-Tur, and Maztica to get their slaves. Some slavers brave the underdark and will attempt to kidnap drow for the slave pens. Others brave the magical gates and bring back barbarians of a truly exotic nature.
Common Slavers are sent to extract slaves from most of Faerun, especially the Heartlands. These slavers will often try to entice girls into their clutches. If that doesn't work, they kidnap them outright. Chessenta's army of slavers managed to extract just about any girl you can name except from certain regions.
Commando Slavers are trained to kidnap slaves from the Moonsea, Aglarond, Chult, and Thay. Commando slavers are experienced slavers who go into these areas prepared to deal with what may come. They are often successful in bringing their cargo. But once in a great while, they aren't successful. Especially the ones from Thay, whome some regard as a punishment and some regard as the ultimate challenge. (Thay aren't kind to Chessentans who kidnap one of their own).
Long Range Slavers are those who travel to Zakhara, Kara-Tur, the Hordelands, and Maztica to bring back slaves. They travel in ocean going Caravels to these places to trade for slaves, to kidnap them, or cause a ruckass just to kidnap a beautiful lady to sell in Chessenta's slave markets.
Crack Slavers are especially trained to go into the underdark and kidnap Drow women, especially those in matriarchal positions -- the more nubile the better. They are also trained to break drow, and they love kidnapping and breaking drow dominatrixes. They usually break their drow kidnappies into slaves using magical items that have succubi or or Eyrinys spirits bound inside them.
There has been a few times which a Chessentan city had to face a drow invasion because of these slavers. However, due to the nature of the raids, the invaders can't even stay organized for a long campaign, and most cities are experienced in handling a drow raid.
Gate slavers are trained to go into the gates, often with special equipment. Their task is to bring back any girl that is exotic, but not too strange. In this way, Angels, Succubi, Eyrinys, Lilends, and other denizens have been kidnapped to serve as exotic slaves. Even women from other D&D worlds have been successfully kidnapped -- and these slavers often have the story to tell (like the one about the Inspired they successfully broke to be a sex slave).
It is assumed that an adventurer in Chessenta isn't a slave.