Digging once more into the well of previously made work that I thought I’d exhausted, here are the descriptions for various lands in Dinosaur Riding Barbarians, a TTRPG I’ve made that I still plan to complete…someday. Currently it’s maybe 60% of the way through a first draft. Completing the system isn’t much of a priority right now, but you might find the fluff useful for other games.
Tyrannassyria is a military state led by a warrior king. While they maintain a priest class just like every other kingdom, the king derives his right to rule not based on being high priest or some kind of incarnate god, but rather due to his martial prowess and proud lineage (which, granted, does go back to a god). The Tyrannassyrians marshal their forces and go raiding every year, sacking cities that neighbor their empire to bring back treasure and slaves. Some cities pay a smaller annual tribute to be taken off the list of potential targets.
Every able-bodied Tyrannassyrian man is expected to take part in these raids at least once, and every household is expected to send at least one man to each annual raid. As such, the Tyrannassyrian army is primarily comprised of light infantry and artillery slinger units, however they also have a professional core of heavy infantry, artillery archers, and triceratops cavalry. These are fulltime soldiers who work directly for the king and his officers. The king’s inner circle have complete legions of professional soldiers, while other officers have smaller forces and govern a section of the hinterlands, including having the right to gather up forces from those hinterlands. The king himself leads the most feared and most infamous of all Tyrannassyria’s military units, a powerful cohort of tyrannosaur cavalry.
All of Tyrannassyrian society fits into a chain of command. The king is on top, his most powerful ministers lead legions underneath him, beneath them are the captains of individual cohorts, below them are the ordinary soldiers (professional soldiers outrank, but do not directly command, citizen soldiers), beneath them are a soldier’s family, and beneath them are the family’s slaves. Everyone is a part of this hierarchy. The blacksmith is also a soldier, a priest is likely second in command to a cohort, a merchant is a lesser captain of a special cohort who is outranked by ordinary captains but himself outranks soldiers, and so on. Captains of cohorts and commanders of legions are free to structure their men in any way they’d like, so the exact chain of command within a legion or cohort can be anything from very simple to a byzantine nightmare.
Anyone outside this hierarchy has no rights at all in Tyrannassyrian society, and when a sacked city is temporarily occupied for longterm looting, the unfortunate citizens of that city can be and often are slaughtered with impunity.
Working for Tyrannassyria
First of all, you’re an asshole. This is totally playable, however. Tyrannassyrian commanders and captains are perfectly free to hire foreign mercenaries on a temporary or permanent basis, and a legion commander who wants a steady stream of non-raid profit might promote one or more of his professional soldiers to a position of minor captain of a caravan-cohort, whose job is to make bank and give the commander ten percent. Any foreign companions the captain ends up adding to the caravan are then a part of his cohort, and thus a part of Tyrannassyrian society. Tyrannassyrian caravans will be left to their own devices about 75% of the time, and spend about 3 months on average on campaign with the Tyrannassyrian army, which will march on a hapless neighboring city, pillaging towns and villages in the countryside before closing in on the city itself, whereupon they may attempt a siege but, being in rather a hurry, will usually make an attempt to storm the city and secure a quick victory.
Brachiosumeria is a collection of city states each led by its own priest king, each of which venerates a specific patron deity. Temples within the city still offer charms and prayers for other deities (though a specific deity’s services may be suspended if they’re patron of a city the temple’s city is at war with), but one god in particular is considered higher than the rest. Thus, a citizen of the fire god’s city can still get blessings from the god of night, or the god of war, or the god of the sun, but they’ll do it by going to a temple run by fire priests where the fire god is venerated above all others, and will probably be required to make sacrifices to the fire god in equal amount to whatever god they actually want to solve their specific problem.
The priest king of a city claims his position through divine right, often claiming to be descended from the city’s patron god, and is initiated into all the greatest secrets of the priesthood. The king’s high priests are likewise initiated into all or most of the secrets, and rank in government remains tied to knowledge of mystical/religious secrets all the way down to magistrates of hinterland villages being the local priests of that village and town guards being supplied with charms (sometimes purely symbolic) of the god whom they ultimately serve. Government scribes and captains of the army, officials whose actual skills are completely unrelated to religion, are still required to know enough prayer and ritual to pass as an acolyte of the faith and to wear the holy symbols of the patron god.
Differences between one Brachiosumerian city and another are not as significant as you might think, given this. The fire god’s city has giant bonfires on festival nights, and the night god has…also lots of giant bonfires, so that festival goers can see what they’re doing in the middle of the night. The sun god’s festivals take place during the day (and at different times of year), but also include lots of drinking and dancing and music, just like everyone else’s festival. Every god considers it their divine mandate to rule over all others and will raid other cities to do so, and festivals are more extravagent when the city’s had a good raiding year and more subdued or even cancelled altogether when it hasn’t. The priesthoods of the god of fire and the goddess of blood have very different cultures from those of the god of the sun and the god of law, but for the citizens of a city they’re pretty much just tribal rallying points.
The Brachiosumerian militaries are small, professional armies comprised primarily of heavy infantry, backed up by levies equipped with a bow. Although relatively rare, the brachiosaur superheavies of the Brachiosumerian city-states tend to dominate their military formations simply due to their massive size. Each city can usually field only a half-dozen or so of these massive war beasts (compared to hundreds of professional infantry and thousands of levies), and it is more common for them to be boarded and captured rather than slain, both because of how valuable they are and because of how impossibly durable they are.
Working for Brachiosumeria
Each individual Brachiosumerian city-state controls the resources of just one city, and raiding is typically preferred to trade as a means of acquiring resources that the city lacks. Raiding is not a very reliable or efficient means of acquiring resources, which means that merchant caravans are very valuable, even as they are at greater risk in a wartorn land full of bandits, deserters, and enemy armies. Brachiosumerian city-states are also more than willing to hire foreign mercenaries for their wars, and because society is more about tribal allegiance to a specific god than following any specific code of laws, any such foreign mercenaries willing to kiss the ring are effectively citizens of the Brachiosumerian city-state even if they don’t actually live there.