Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The History of the Gnome World, Part 3 The Swiss

Despite British claims of commercial dominance, and German military might, the cradle of modern gnome culture is Switzerland Its ore-filled mountains, dense forests, and picturesque coastlines kept many a gnome at peace with his life.

There was a time where every Gnome in creation was patterned after the Swiss. Even with the Wanderlust, while there were changes to the colors they wore, or the shape of the belt buckle, all could be easily traced back to the forest and mountain valleys of the Swiss. This consistency in clothing and custom faded away far before the Gnomans took power, but it's something the stodgiest old Swiss gnome harps upon at the Old Gnome Home.

The Gnoman Empire
While the Gnoman Empire had a vise-like grip of influence in the region, as soon as the empire retracted, the pointed hats came back out and most traces of the Gnomans vanished.  The only influence that has remained was the reorganization of the villages into the modern system of cantons, and the Gladius Swiss officers wield when leading troops into battle.

The Peaceful Age
Peripheral villages slowly evolved into the French and Germans.  Swiss society turned inward and focused on their four loves:

1) Cheese
2) Beer
3) Mining
4) Tinkering

The End of the Peaceful Times: As we have learned from previous parts of the series, Gnomish Wizards in every enclave did all they could to keep the corruption of the outside world from their land, but if they could stop it from coming in, they could not stop the exodus of gnomes with a penchant for adventure. As gnomes began exploring distant lands, they adapted to the changes in terrain and climate, many times discarding the traditional dress for a new cultural identity. And in some cases, embracing the taint of corruption the wizards had desperately tried to avoid.

The Age of Exploration
The conservative Swiss were far behind on the race to explore the Gnome World.   Part of it had to do with the tame effect the Wanderlust seem to have on the centralized Swiss.   The other was the lack of a coastline that the British and French possessed.  It was not until the Thirty Beers War at the end of the Peaceful Times that they seized a number of petty principalities that feigned allegiance to a non-existent Gnoman Empire.    These ports allowed the Swiss cantons to expand their influence both through emigration and economic means. 

Nomepoleon:  The Swiss Cheese Civil War
As the shadow of Nomepoleon crossed the continent, the Swiss gnomes found themselves in direct conflict with... themselves.   Those willing to follow the rule of the tiny tyrant found resistance against the peace loving folk of the cantons.  While the front advanced further and further east, a guerrilla war raged in the mountains, with little progress and a tremendous amount of damage.

Age of Commerce
Post-Napoleon I, Franco-Swiss relations normalized, which allowed the Swiss to expand their exploration.  Despite claims to the contrary, the British were not the first "civilized" gnomes to reestablish contact with the Sikhs.   Small groups of Swiss envoys reached the Sikh lands and established diplomatic relations with them years before the British even decided to venture into the territory.  This relationship has blossomed into a steady alliance, outside of issues regarding beer.

Swiss mining prowess has allowed them to venture further into colonies and exploit their resources.   However, their alliance with the Sikhs has been one of the few successful examples of colonial diplomacy.  Most interactions with natives have turned violent at worst, or simply belligerent at best.

Swiss government is a confederation of cantons. Each canton operates independently, except in times of crisis. Representatives of each canton are chosen in a number of ways. Some are openly elected, some are hereditary, some are chosen from military or business groups. All have identical voting power when the parliament meets and equal standing within its halls.

Four industries drive the Swiss economy:

1) Cheese -  Swiss agriculture is not well known, unless you want exotic cheeses and chocolates.   The Kasemeisters are quite prolific with their production and utility.  It's rumored that only the Maestros Formaggio (Cheese Lords) can milk anything creature.

2) Beer - The art of brewing has created a peaceful environment.  Beer making is considered a family activity, so nothing larger than a regional beer collective can be found to produce it.

3) Tinkering - Tinkering has always existed and has become a gateway for the influence of Santa Claus in Swiss culture.

4) Mining-  Called "Trade Unionists" by conservatives, the miners are bridging the gap between the rural Swiss and the tinker minority.  Miners take great care in respecting the Earth as they mine, but there is a huge demand for the ores and gems the unearth.

Swiss Officer - fights with a gladius from Gnoman times.

Swiss NCO -  fight with a halberds as standard infantry did during the Thirty Beers War.

Swiss Rifles - gunpowder was an invention/gift from Santa Claus, and even the Wizards could not combat such an innovation that the Swiss adopted the weapon, albeit later than most nations.
Swiss Cheese Grenadiers - rural Swiss focus on Cheese, so it's no surprise that the gnomes who complete their mandatory service focus on kitchen patrol and Stinky Cheese.

Swiss Pickaxes and Miners - Mandatory military service has kept the young upstart miners from staging their own coup.
Swiss Cheesethrower - A recent addition from the minds of the Tinkers within the past few years.

Saint Bernard - An extension of the Wizard's power,gifted the the Swiss.  The Wizards have an affinity with woodland creatures, and this has been extended to the loyal Saint Bernard.  This has been occurring since before Gnoman times
Bicycle Tank:  was invented after the Nomepoleonic Wars and may have made an appearance during the Cry Me a River War.
Steam Tanks:   Swiss tinkers first introduced steam tanks during the last years of the Nomepoleonic Wars, and it has taken years of German engineer to improve on the first crude models.

The Four Winds Myth in Switzerland
The Wizard is the dominant influence
Santa Claus holds great sway over portions of military and the tinkers
Swiss Druids and Biermeisters may be influenced by the Witch
Only the most vile of the Swiss (and those are few and far between) pay heed to the Vampire.

Relations with Other Nations
Germans - in direct opposition, unless there is some overwhelming crisis that would force them to ally.  The result of these temporary alliances usually result in the Germans becoming more pure for a bit, and the Swiss fighting the taint of industrialization.
French- Friendly/Neutral
British - Outside of British dominance (shipping/exporting), the British deign respect and accolades to the Swiss.
Irish - Neutral/Hostile.  The Irish are mercenary,with their own culture and gods that are not associated with the Swiss
Highlanders -  Neutral/Hostile, but unlike the Irish, the Highlanders are gnomes.
Russians -  Russian gnomes are more mythical to the Swiss than anything else.  Being separated from the by Germany, only legends of the Nomepoleonic Wars are remembered.
Americans-  the subject of many financial dealings, regardless of what side you're on in America.
Japanese - The Swiss have butchered relations with the Yellow Peril and the German took advantage of it.
Sikhs - The loyal "little brown gnome brothers"

1 comment:

  1. A racist Write-up if I ever saw one. Not ONE SINGLE mention of Chocolat!!!