Cultural Notes on Ariadh
The Kingdom of Ariadh is set in the world of Argilos. In overall tone, character, and specifics it will be similar to a romanticized version of England, circa 1250-1300. It is confined to an island off the west coast of the main continent, although it is both somewhat larger and somewhat further than our modern England lies from the coast of France.
Politically, the land is not unified, although Ariadh takes up the largest portion of the main island, encompassing something roughly akin to our modern England and Wales. To the north, in an area roughly equivalent to Scotland, Norse invaders have largely displaced the natives and there is frequent tension between the people of Ariadh and the Norreslaw.
The society is feudal, with a strong aristocratic class, and the king rules by law and custom, but has to contend with strong barons. There can be drastically different treatment of subjects in various baronies, but already the people are beginning to develop the sense that they deserve better treatment than would be accepted in other countries. This leaves them prone to frequently voice their opinion and occasionally to rebel against bad treatment. A clever man can whip the mob into a frenzy, and the late Duke Brellig mastered this skill.
In general tone, imagine a patchwork of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic cultures. There is some Norman-style influence, but it is much more limited, as there was no 1066 invasion. Although the Anglo-Saxon elements dominate much of the society and social structure, celtic faith has remained strong. Instead of the towering cathedrals that were common to our England, sacred groves and wells still predominate. However, monasteries are relatively common and many of a religious nature will join holy orders and live the monastic life.
The population is primarily rural, with something around 10% that can be identified as living in true towns or cities. Even the capital itself has a population of scarcely 50,000 residents, although in certain times of year commerce swells this number by half-again with travellers.