The Isles of Blood
The Golden Isles
The Golden Isles are a set of tropical islands set apart from the main empire, colonized by freedom seeking merchants, traders, and investors. The isles were named by the first merchant princes who decided to take up permanent residence. As most of the world is controlled by a powerful monarchy many merchants and traders left for the islands in order to establish business without the heavy taxes laid on them by the government. The empire ignored this mass exodus for a long time believing that the lack of control would cause the so-called Golden Isles to spiral out of control and force the merchants to return on their own, but they never did.
Instead, the Golden Isles became largely prosperous and although a class system was quickly formed and poverty grew, so did wealth. The winners and losers arose quickly and many of the losers either turned to a life of poverty or sold everything they had to return to the empire. The wealthiest merchants were later called “Merchant Princes” and formed a council and small Meritocracy. The The princes established some common laws and divided the islands into smaller Independent bodies. Each Prince was given to leave to organize a militia and they formed a pact to band together in the even that the Empire would return.
The Golden Isles are made up of 5 main islands each governed by a different Merchant Prince. The islands are Martigues, Catalan, Argenbul, Membibwe, and Matoshima. Each island has its own distinct customs, culture, history and goods to be covered in individual sections. By and large the islands are tropical in nature with dormant volcanos, verdant jungles, clear waters and plentiful animal (and monster) life. The wilds of the golden isles are often dangerous and even deadly. Some adventurers even sojourn out to take new land from the wildlife and take their claims. Many of these ventures end poorly, but some are successful and most of those are eventually bought out by the princes.
Despite the formations of the merchant princes and the obvious advantages they have merchants and traders still try their luck in the golden isles today. Additionally some of the less wealthy people who grew up take their shot at fame and fortune, often in the form of adventuring. Some have even rose above their predecessors and overthrown various merchant princes and become leaders in the Meritocracy themselves.