The Teutonic Empire of Lavenrunz is a nation that has been involved in many important historic events in NationStates roleplaying.
The famous Lavenrunzian Empress Joanna von Sachshausen was the secretary-general of the SATO alliance and she was widely respected in the international community. Even though Joanna was assasinated, her nation continues to have a reputation for giving excellent balls and international meetings that are attended by heads of state and other VIPs. The season-themed balls (such as the Winter Ball) are especially popular.
Lavenrunz is a large country to the south of Menelmacar, not far from the south pole. The southern half of the country is mostly rather bleak mountains and hills, with the occasional wooded valley. The northern half is rolling country and windswept plains leading up to rather marshy coastlines. There is one large river that traverses the country, which is not navigable save by small boats. The Empire also includes the marsh islands to the north, the Kingdom of Nasipak, to the east, and also borders the Empire of Athenys.
Most of the population is Lavenrunzian; a fair skinned people with light brown, dark brown red or blonde hair. A few black haired people occur. Small populations of aborigines of Uqardt stock-still live out their semi nomadic lives in the mountainous areas. These are mostly shorter, swarthier people. Several thousand people from the former space colony of Hephestus settled in Lavenrunz recently. While ruins suggesting other races and cultures exist, apart from visitors from Menelmacar and other non-human countries there are no metahuman or nonhuman populations under the law. However, both ghouls and vampires have been known to exist. There was a recent purge of both populations, most of whom were expelled, those attempting to go into hiding being executed.
Flora and Fauna
Small shaggy black bears, leopards, several species of wild antelope, wild cattle, the lesser hairy rhinoceros (nearly extinct) wolves, wolverines, weasels, rabbits, hares, foxes, marmots make up the mammal population. A form of semi-sentient leopard continues to exist by special protection, though not by natural occurrence. Crocodiles in the marshy regions of the coast, and a number of species of lizard, snake and tortoise live in Lavenrunz. Hawks, eagles, egrets, cranes, and a variety of seed and insect eating birds live in the country. Lavenrunz has few forests; most of those are in isolated areas of the mountains. While the country looks plain there are a wide variety of grasses, shrubs, flowers and smaller plants.
Industry and Commerce
Cattle raising is still a staple business, mostly for beef and leather goods. Automotive weapons manufacturing, uranium mining and a budding forestry industry, which is largely based in other countries. The Gestalt-Fabricken Corporation is famous not only for producing cars but also tanks and apcs. Major trading partners include Menelmacar, Terraus, [[ New York and Jersey, Ravenspire, The Territory,Glorious Humanity, The Resurgent Dream, GMC Military Arms, The Most Glorious Hack and Raevyn.
Lavenrunzians are very polite and hospitable. The aristocracy maintains a sense of its martial past by practicing swordplay. To foreigners they may seem overly formal and concerned with minutiae of etiquette, though this is changing as they come more and more into contact with other nations. In particular, the younger generations are more casual. Because of the harshness of the country, they have a rather adversarial regard for the environment. The idea of ‘taming the wilderness’ is deeply set in the national character; even the humblest homes maintain flowers and the idea of a well furnished house with many amenities is considered important. It is also a sign of wealth and prosperity to be able to offer many refreshments to guests. The national service in the reserves is perhaps one of the few things keeping the population from obesity in current times. Lavenrunzians from ancient times have enjoyed the use of saunas and hot tubs. Nudity is not a taboo even in mixed company, though it is frowned upon outside of sunbathing and bathing areas, mostly for reasons of etiquette.
Music is popular in Lavenrunz. The basic elements of horn and drum were originally used in war, and strings, used as entertainment by peasants, became popular a few centuries ago. Folk music, orchestral music and Elvish music are all popular, though the last two generations have imported popular rock and jazz as well. However, Lavenrunz is most celebrated for architecture. The famous buildings of Lavenrunz, including the Imperial Autumn Palace, the Volksraad House, and the Cathedral of the Archangels in Hofburg are much admired and are major tourist attractions. Television, while popular, is largely imported along with most films. Lavenrunzians enjoy poetry and lately some notable writers of fiction have had works on the international market.
The Empress holds the office of Commander-in-Chief of the military, is the supreme justice, the protector of religions and is responsible for all land. The latter is largely dealt with by smaller courts of law in cases of ordinary private ownership, but is directly dealt with by the Court of the Empress when it comes to major transactions, inheritances, and so on. She also has a legislative veto, which must be enacted within three days of resolution. The Volksraad, which is the national legislative body, has representatives from communities in it which elect from within themselves a council of ministers which are delegated the tasks of government by the Empress. There are national parties but few are long lived; the practice was strongly discouraged. The Volksraad votes on taxation, laws, and matters of civil rights.
Head of State: Empress Aurora von Sachshausen
- Chancellor: Hans Schlabel
- Vice-Chancellor: Heinrich von Sohn
- Minister of the Treasurey: Rosalie Braun-Ataria
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Aurora von Konigsmark
- Minister of War: Admiral Carlotta de Goethe
- Minister of Foreign Trade: Prince Karl von Eisenhart
- Minister of Culture: Baron Klement von Thurn
- Minister of Police: Jurgen Hesse
- Minister of Justice: Paul Ehrlich
- Minister of Information: Baron Shein
- Regional envoy: Archduke Amadeus von Sachshausen
- Chief of the Imperial General Staff: Field Marshal the Margrave von Thessmar
- Chief of Air Force Staff: Colonel-General Magda von Drexel
- Chief of Naval Staff: Admiral Rupprecht Brandt
- Chief of Army Staff: Colonel-General Wilhelm Kiesel
The Imperial throne is hereditary to the Von Sachshausen family and has been for the last four hundred and twenty five years. The immediate line of succession is as follows, from Empress Auroa her older sister: Archduchess Magda Von Sachshausen, the Grand Duchess of Mirenburg (age 18) (married to Hegemon Witzig of Terraus; abdicated her claim to the throne)
Then following is her maternal uncle Archduke Carl Von Sachshausen (age 44) and his children by Archduchess Aemilia of Nasipak Archduchess Katerina Von Sachshausen (age 23) (married to Prince Mordred Avernal of Estavia) Archduke Josef Von Sachshausen (age 18)
Following this list are the children of Empress Joanna and Archduke Carl's cousin, Archduke Franz (deceased) married to Archduchess Caroline von Potsdorf, who had three children: Archduke Amadeus (29) Archduke Rupprecht (25, entered a monastery) Archduchess Sophia (21)
Lavenrunz is officially a Catholic country; ceremonies and oaths are legally done under the Catholic Church but there is a dispensation for foreigners. However, there are certain oddities resulting from an ancient Papal dispensation. First of all, married men may be ordained to the priesthood, but bishops and those in the upper hierarchy may not be married. Secondly, the monastic orders of Lavenrunz have both sexes and women religious may preach to all-female congregations. Other Christian sects and religions are officially tolerated and are under the Empress’ protection. However, recent Methodist activity linked to anti-war protests which got out of hand and which were also linked to more violent political activity caused members of that sect to be expelled from the Empire.
Lavenrunz is a country with a fair number of laws but most are reasonable. It is legal to smoke tobacco and mild drugs such as marijuana or drinks like Goddess' Breath in designated cafes. Firearms are forbidden except in the hands of the police or the military, or by licensed hunters and collectors. However, in recent times with large influxes of tourists people have noted antiquated and odd laws like the bow law. Bows may not be strung for use in the city of Hofburg. Moreover, while Lavenrunz has a degree of free speech, customarily this does not include free speech about the Empress. Euthanasia is practiced but only by witnessed consent. The death penalty exists for the crimes of murder, rape and treason. Currently, eco-terrorism and workers' strikes are becoming a problem, particularly with vandalism. Also, loosening of moral laws has become something of an outrage to a growing section of the population. All members of the adult population must submit to examinations as to fitness for the Imperial Landwehr (reserves).
Travel to Lavenrunz
This is not difficult, but livestock, plants, and large amounts of property may not be brought to Lavenrunz save by commercial means. Due to recent difficulties with terrorism and war, Lavenrunz has a rather strict processing of foreigners; they are required not merely to have a passport but the regular travel papers Lavenrunzians need to go from city to city or state to state.
Until about 3 generations ago, the majority of Lavenrunzians lived as their ancestors had --as herdsmen. Trade did exist (largely in the coastal cities) but in fact the merchant families and aristocratic protectors of these places still lived by rigid tradition. A protectorate arrangement existed with the ancient Empire of Cauchemere over those areas. For two centuries, the Imperial Throne was actually controlled by a junta of powerful ruling nobles who, to avoid bloody civil war, divided the country into major provinces and settled a peace around the puppet-figure of the Emperor or Empress.
However, not long after the first use of atomic weaponry, zirconium and uranium were found in Lavenrunz. The assets were quickly seized by one of the ruling families, led by the Duke von der Velden. The Duke, married to an Imperial Archduchess, found himself under attack not only by rivals but also by foreign interests represented by the Grand Duchy of Greater Belfast. His consort, an unusually dynamic member of the Imperial Family, used her influence with her brother the Emperor to call many of the lesser noble families to war to repel foreign interests. This was the first step in the Imperial Family regaining power. Along with it they hired engineers from other lands to build refineries. Control of the mines was placed entirely in the hands of the Imperial Family. Though Emperor Karl Ludwig XII was one of the longest reigning monarchs in Lavenrunzian history (85 years) he was a puppet all of his life, at the end of it his strings pulled by his younger sister, Archduchess Leonora.
Archduchess Leonora took steps. First of all, the leading junta families were destroyed; the few who survived exiled to the Marsh Islands. All feudal structure was abolished, all subjects regardless of rank forced to to swear direct allegiance to the Crown. Secondly, she made great efforts towards modernizing the country. Students were sent abroad to learn all they could. The old feudal structure of the haphazard ancient military was destroyed; officers were hired from other nations to train a fully modern army, navy and air force. Thirdly, she gathered clever merchant advisors and learned all she could about them, taking the steps that would make Lavenrunz a frightening economy one day. However, her own days were numbered. A new Emperor, Ulrich III, came to power, and had her deposed as Regent. His brief reign changed none of her policies, but did do all that could be done to secure power directly to the throne for his son. Ulrich was a sickly man but in his 9 years on the throne he made way for one of the most dynamic and powerful rulers Lavenrunz ever had: Frederick II. Frederick II came to power when he was only 23. However, he had the gifts of charisma, a strong will and a good understanding of people. He despised intellectuals and socialism but he understood that balances of power made for more stability. Thusly, he took the important step of empowering the Volksraad (traditionally just a means of gathering powerful merchants and landowners together for crisis) with legislative authority. However, he maintained an absolute veto and several times shut down the Volksraad when they came into conflict with him. Furthermore, for the first 18 years of his reign they had no authority over the Council of Ministers, which was still appointed by him. During a period of crisis (over land ownership reform) the Volksraad became strongly divided. Factions had emerged, and though the Emperor had fought the idea of political parties, two major ones emerged. One, which staunchly stood by the Emperor's policies, was to become the Federal Party. The other, made up of idealists, would become the Populist Party.
The possibility of civil war loomed large on the horizon, and the Emperor averted it by suggesting that as a compromise they follow the parliamentary system, whereby both parties could suggest their own candidates for government.
One of the most important reforms he did was the abolishment of serfdom. Admittedly, it had not been much of a serious concern: modern agricultural techniques making it largely unecessary. However, the difficult and dangerous mining work made it attractive to some. The Emperor was certainly neither sentimental nor particularly religious, but his complex reasons nonwithstanding, he insisted on freeing remaining serfs, beginning with his own.
Unusually, he had a good relationship with his Heir, Archduke Frederick, and delegated a number of diplomatic and state tasks to him. The Archduke was a very outgoing and charismatic young man, and his death during a ski trip shocked and traumatized the nation and the Emperor. The primogeniture laws required that he recognize as Heir Apparent his daughter, Archduchess Joanna.
Empress Joanna's reign was marked by a number of social and political changes. In particular, she consulted a great deal more with the elected government than her father had. Political parties became institutions. During the latter part of her reign, she became involved in international affairs in a large way when Iesus Christi occupied St. Dominic, on the grounds of defending christians from pagans, and began threatening Athenys in the same way when, following the murder of a priestess by members of the Christian Liberation Army, the said members were sentenced to execution. The Empress chose to defend Athenys, and enmity between Lavenrunz and the Reich began at that point. A long drawn out conflict, with Lavenrunz chosing to side with nations threatened by the Reich such as Ienotheisa, went on for the duration of the Empress' reign, in spite of attempts at negotiation. During the war to preserve Ienotheisa's freedom from Iesus Christi, the SATO alliance was formed. In the last year of her reign, SATO was involved in the Shadow War. A tragic event marking her life was her kidnapping by a radical fringe from Whispering Voices. Rumors of the Empress' humiliation at the hands of this group are unsubstantiated, but courtiers observed her to be a changed woman following her release. Empress Joanna was murdered by members of the Cavalier Guard upon what were found to have been the orders of Count Joachim von Mirbach, who became Chancellor during the uprising of the Christian Democratic Party following the Empress' death. This treachery was later brought to light, and Mirbach and his confederates arrested.
Empress Aurora came to the throne at 14, as her sister Magda, married to the Hegemon of Terraus, did not want to endanger her husband's elected position by taking the throne.