The most powerful nations in Thedas are ruled by humans. Dwarves, Elves, and Qunari are not necessarily considered lesser races, but it is undeniable that humans dominate the lands. For years, human ambition has changed hands and forced borders to spread and weaken. But all in all, very distinct nations co-exist. Peacefully? Not always.
Orlais is arguably the most powerful human empire in all of Thedas. Led by Empress Celene, excellence in both arts and knowledge is how the nation brought itself to cultural literacy and power. But as it is split apart by Civil War between the supporters of the Empress and Grand Duke Gaspard de Chalons, Orlais continues on with its fancy parties as the poor die in the slums. While hot competition drives internal affairs, the nation strives for more propriety, strength, and power.
Ferelden’s rugged kingdom holds an interesting mix of Dwarves in the Frostback mountains, the Dalish elves in the Brecilian Forest, and humans scattered across. While sometimes mocked and called “Land of the Dog Lords”, this nation fought and won against the worst of conflicts, from the Orlesian occupation to the Fifth Blight. Still recovering, Ferelden tries to balance religion, respect, and rule with its melting pot of society.
A nation spoken in highest esteem or greatest disdain, Tevinter Imperium is most known for its distinct culture surrounding magic. As they push the boundaries of magic daily, something unheard of in most Chantry-following nations, Tevinter is seen as a hub of immorality, and a powerhouse of strength. Its citizens strive for perfection in every facet; the social caste promotes mages to the top of the social strata. Joining the Imperial Circle, the institution for magic users, is considered a deep honor. Magic is continuously celebrated and researched as an integral part of everyday life.
Nevarra is a strange place. After years fighting for independence from Orlais, Nevarra stands on its own. But what’s strange is that while Nevarra generally practices under the Andrastian Chantry, the monarchy is advised by the Mortalitasi. A group of mages who practice mummification and research connections between magic and death, the Mortalitasi have strong influence over royalty and politics. While the nation stagnates under the leadership of aging King Markus Pentaghast, the Mortalitasi gain even more influence in the affairs and politics of Nevarra.
Antiva is known for its trade and its assassins. A plutocracy where the rich rule and the Merchant princes engorge the nation with profit, Antiva flourishes with trade. While there exists no official army, many great assassins (especially the infamous assassin group named the Crows) keep the peace alone. The independently neutral Antiva, a place of no barred sale, continues to lavish only in itself.
The Free Marches is a collection of City-States under an agreement of peace. Kirkwall, Starkhaven, and Tantervale are the most prominent city-states as far as size and power, but Kirkwall earns its popularity through the mage-templar conflict igniting at its Circle, the Qunari occupation, and the infamous story of Hawke, the Champion of Kirkwall. While the Free Marches relies on its own leaders, it holds a great stake in trade and, as a collective whole, religion.
The Anderfels kingdom is one that has bathed in blood for ages. Darkspawn blood. Orlesian blood. Tevinter blood, and so forth. Many have fought over this nation. While considered a monarchy, after years of war, the nation’s growth is severely stunted in comparison to other nations in Thedas. Only religion drives the Ander that live here. The country is isolated in comparison to the rest of the world, and with rumors of another Blight rising here, the Anderfels may suffer again. The Grey Wardens have built their main headquarters here, Weisshaupt.
Par Vollen is not a nation, but holds one of the most formidable civilizations – the Qunari. Inhabiting the archipelago, the people follow the religion called the Qun. The Arishok manages the military efforts, the Ariqun dictates the roles of each Qunari in society, and the Arigena handles the economic livelihoods of its citizens. These three, formed as the Triumvirate, embody Qunari society.
For all these nations, most are ill-fitted to deal with any wide-scale threat. Many act against each other, summon chaos within themselves, or pursue their own monetary ambitions. To set aside these differences will take great measures. Whether change should come through religion or politics, one thing is for certain; magic will undoubtedly take center stage- like it always has…
But that- is a story for another day…