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The World

Updated March 4, 2021

Romancing Jan is inspired by, and shares a lot in common with, Regency Era England, but it is not a historical game. Our world is an alternative history world in which some major changes in the historical timeline have resulted in a society similar to but different from the one we know as Regency England. In our version of 1811 England, women and people of all cultures have equal rights to white men. Homosexuality, gender fluidity and non-monogamous relationships are also an accepted part of society. Christopher Columbus died at sea an unknown explorer and modern western colonialism never really took off, but trade treaties and political alliances have been made on every continent. 

We have made these changes purposefully so that players of all cultures and lifestyles can enjoy the experience of immersive gameplay in this romantic era made popular by writers like Jane Austen but without the feeling that they could not have truly belonged in such a society. We have altered history so that our non-cis/white/heterosexual players can feel comfortable creating and telling their own story in this world. 

But if all are equal, where will the scandal and drama come from? Rest assured. The world of Romancing Jan is not a utopia by any means. There are still many inequalities in our world that were present in the real 1811 and that are fodder for the scandal sheets. Those inequalities revolve around class dynamics and the drastic difference in wealth distribution among the landed nobility and the working classes. Sexual scandal still exists as well. Having a child out of wedlock is still wholly inappropriate and shows a lack of moral character especially if one does not support said child. Marriage is still very much a business contract designed to improve family prospects rather than the more romantic but scandalous ideas of marrying for love. The Napoleonic Wars are still happening. Innovation, technological advancement, new forms of art, etc. are still the order of the day and altering the way the world functions. So there’s still plenty of scandal to be had!

Alternative Timeline

1279

Asia

The Yuan Dynasty is established by the Mongol Empire across the majority of Northeast Asia which includes all of China and the Korean Peninsula, by way of the Yellow Sea. The Yuan Dynasty proliferated during its time and significantly developed trade and commerce across Asia, given its extensive line of subordinates ranging from the Ilkhanata to Persia. There is active engagement between East and West and a vast array of cultures are tolerated. This came to be known as the Mongol World Empire, but is short-lived due to a series of natural disasters and political power struggles.

1299

Asia 

Europe

Marco Polo is acquainted with Northeast Asia via the Silk Road, accurately charting geographical and cultural features of China. Polo’s travels enhance overall European awareness of the East. Due to the extensive geographical profile of the Yuan Dynasty and effectiveness of the Silk Road, many Genoese colonies were established and even English merchants came into trade with Asia.

Pre

1300s

Danawan

 The Islands that would come to be known as Danawan are populated by Indigenous peoples and Austronesian peoples from different islands. Powerful clans begin to form, competing for trade routes, land, and population size. The biggest clans eventually evolved into kingdoms, trading widely with other Asian countries.

1368

Asia

The Ming Dynasty takes control, essentially breaking up the geopolitical hold of the Mongol World Empire, continuously holding off nomadic invasion via the newly constructed Great Wall. A tributary system is launched to establish trade settlements and subordinates in Southeast Asia. The Korea Peninsula enacts the Joseon Dynasty and Neo-Confucianism is actively practiced in both empires. In Japan, Sengoku Jidai, a succession of civil wars 

lasting over a century and a half occurs, which ends with Oda Nobunaga unifying all of Japan and discarding the feudal system.

1407

Europe 

Westlands

After meeting the Nordic traders that we call Vikings, the many nations of the eastern coast of what is called America meet for an important cause; to create a written language for the shared base speech of the Algonquin language group, to aid in trade and agreements. Priests of many nations, such as Cree, the Tsalagi, and the Ojibwe, came together to create a script for a written language. This script was then adopted by many tribes and spread as far as the plains of the continent to the Blackfoot and Cheyenne. Literacy skyrockets, and over 90% of all people of the North Westlands become proficient.

1412

Asia

Translator and voyager Ma Huan pens Yingya Shenglan , a compendium detailing the cultural insights of the seaborne kingdoms of Indonesia. Acknowledging the dominance of the Majapahit empire and its vassal states, Ming
China convinces King Wikramawardhana to economic participation in Malacca’s thriving trade ports and requests

submission as protectorate. Majapahit refuses initially, but fearing losing grip of its vassal states on the northern
coasts of Sumatra and Malay Peninsula to the Ayutthaya kingdom - Majapahit negotiates a treaty of mutual benefit with Ming China, gaining their protection.

1435

Asia

After serving as tributary states to Ming China for a couple of decades, Majapahit and Malacca forge a geopolitical alliance with Ming China’s support and funding to undergo military upgrade with a focus on seaborne tactics as the threat of Ayutthaya looms over the region. Ayutthaya launches conquests against fortified Malacca but
ultimately fails, and counter moves by both kingdoms results in the diminishment of the Siamese. This alliance is fortified by royal marriages and trade.

1450

Westlands

The Algonquin base writing language has changed tribe relations in the Westlands. From coast to coast, tribes can communicate and learn of each other. Warrior folk begin to travel as messengers, creating a network of trails, and an Express of trade and mail is delivered to every corner of the land. To facilitate this, the tribes of the north teach the ways of Dog Sledding- mail becomes quicker, and winters become a time of communication.

1460

Asia

The legacy of the alliance between Majapahit and Malacca has integrated both kingdoms into a dual empire, stretching all the way from Indonesia to the border of the Malay Peninsula.

1404

Asia

Ming China sends a trade envoy led by Admiral Yin Qing and diplomat Zheng Ye to collaborate with Sultan Parameswara to establish Malacca as a trade settlement. Malacca officially becomes the protectorate of Ming China
as a safety measure against the expansionary Majapahit and Ayutthaya kingdoms. Malacca thrives as an international trade settlement, attracting merchants from Europe, Middle East, China and India.

1365

The Kingdom of Tondo defeats Majapahit in the Battle of Manila, quickly becoming the most prominent kingdom in the region.

Danawan

1471

Europe
Africa

Portuguese ships arriving on the Mali Empire’s coastline are initially welcomed and allowed to establish a permanent presence and port (1487), but their demand for slaves, gold, further political control, and attempts to enforce cultural and religious dominance lead to tensions between the Mansa of the Empire, who sends envoys to the English to negotiate better trade relations, causing further retaliation from the Portuguese as tensions rise.

1492

Europe

An explorer named Christopher Columbus sponsored by the Spanish Monarchy travels west across the Atlantic but never returns. The monetary loss makes New World exploration an unpopular prospect.

1470

The Kingdom of Tondo takes over control of the entire centre of Danawan. Its ruler now refers to their kingdom as the Tondo Empire.

Danawan

1505

Westlands

In the Westlands to settle old vengeances, as well as create good relations for the new tribes just meeting, the leaders of many tribes decide to host a contest of might and athletics. Athletics, archery, marathons, and Little Brother of War (Lacrosse) are all played. The event is so well received, and relations improved, that is it decided to be done every other year from then on.

1511

Europe

Asia

Alfonso De Albuquerque clashes on the South China Sea with a Spanish fleet, both seeking to control the narrow, strategic strait of Malacca. A parlay is reached between both parties to temporarily rest disputes and coordinate attack on Malacca. The local Sultanate retaliates with Majapahit, using highly specialised seaborne warfare tactics to best the foreign invaders. Both the Spanish and Alfonso’s fleet are destroyed. Malacca and Majapahit are informally deemed the moniker: The Twin Archipelago Kingdoms.

1522

Africa

Europe

The Mali Empire, the Kingdom of Benin, and the Dahomey Kingdom unite for a brutal push against the Portuguese, ousting them and sealing their borders from European contact. The Kingdom of Benin, already known for their recently completed 16000km walls (9941 mi), has a team of engineers lead a massive defense project, and builds their own up to four stories and fortifies them with archer stations and guns supplied from the English.

1559

Europe

Queen Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England and Head of the Church of England. As she is a woman and head of both State and Church, she declares women equal to men and thus, allowed to own property. This initiates a number of conflicts with the Catholic Church and other nations but with the Queen’s influence and power the Enfranchisement Movement gains traction and other nations and churches follow suit.

1521

Europe 

Asia

Danawan

Captain Major Martim Afonso de Mello arrives at Ming China with the intention to build diplomatic trade relations on the Portuguese King’s orders, but relations quickly sour after China discovers Alfonso de Albuquerque’s attempt at an invasion of the Malacca Sultanate in Southeast Asia, a tribute state under the protection of China. The Battle of Shancaowen commences with China emerging as the decisive victor.

Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan travels the ocean with his crew and a small force of Spaniard soldiers. He comes ashore on Mactan, with the help of his Spanish forces, engages in combat against the warriors of Datu Lapu-Lapu, leader of the large chiefdom. The battle of Mactan was  bloody, and the Spaniards were forced to retreat. Magellan is  killed by Lapu-Lapu himself.

Danawan

1525-1529

Spain sends four further expeditions to Danawan. All fail, and only two return home.

1536

Danawan

Europe

Following the influx of Spanish ships, the Tondo Empire, the Chinese trade city of Ma-i, and the Madyas Confederation meet to discuss counter strategy. They decide to unite under the rule of Lakandula, since he controls the most land. They send messengers to other chiefdoms, tribes, and settlements, and invite their leaders to attend peace talks.

1543

Danawan

Europe

Another Spanish expedition lands in Danawan  and successfully creates a settlement. This triggers a mass gathering on Tondo territory to discuss peace treaties and amalgamation for the safety of the native peoples.

1565

Danawan

Europe

The arrival of Spanish navigator and Governor Miguel López de Legazpi with 380 men forces the hand of the Danawanese people. Peace talks turn violent as Dayang Bituin, wife of the Tondo Empire ruler, challenges the Maguindanao Sultan to a duel, on the condition that if she wins there will be a partnership between their kingdoms. The fight lasts twenty minutes, with Bituin emerging victorious. The Great Unification of 1565 takes place in the following days, with the Sultan agreeing to work alongside Lakandula. Together, the Sister Kingdoms of Tondo and Maguindanao control the entire Island Nation, now called Danawan. War is declared against the Spanish.

1536

Danawan

Lakandula now controls the entire Northern region, with the recent Sultanate of Maguindanao holding down the Southern regions. Peace talks are ongoing, and a few skirmishes break out between rival armies.

1535

Europe

King Henry VIII of England, upon hearing of Martin Luther’s dispensation of a second wife to Landgrave Philip of Hesse, declares the practice of polygamy legal in England, accepted and recognized by the Church of England. This allows him to legitimize his heirs and marriages. 

Danawan

1500

Battle of Manila, the Tondo Empire emerges victorious over the Sultanate of Brunei, taking control of its land and its trade system.

Danawan

1520

Shariff Muhammed Kabungsuwan, a mixed-race noble from Johore, settles in the Southern Islands of Danawan and establishes the Sultanate of Mindanao, of which he was the first Sultan. This kingdom practices Islam, and convertes some of the existing local tribes.

1572

Europe

Africa

Maeve O’Malley, daughter of famed Irish pirate Grace O’Malley, continues her mother’s fight against Algerian Corsairs, cutting out her own territory down to Algeria. Upon hearing of wealthy, metal and spice rich foreign kingdoms to the South, she sails down the Ivory Coast to present day Mali. Friendly contact spurs the Mali Empire into the Sea Era; creating a fleet of fast ships for defense and for exploration over the next ten years.

1590s

Asia

A now unified Japan attempts to take control of Ming Dynasty China, but fails due to China’s short-term collaboration with Joseon. The feudal shogunate takes control of Japan once more at the turn of the decade and decides to practice an isolationist principle in order to culturally develop the nation.

1569

Danawan

Europe

After four years of war, the Sister Kingdoms’ forces finally pushed Spanish forces back and reclaimed their own land. After five failed attempts, Spain gives up attempting to colonize Danawan and instead reaches out to form a trade route. Sultan Sharief Maka-alangt and Lakandula tentatively agreed.

1575

Danawan

South America

The Danawan empire expands their trade routes to include South America, with two large ports in Acapulco and Lima. Many sailors choose to stay and raise families, resulting in a mixing of cultures.

1587

Danawan

South America

A Danawanese trading ship, bound for Peru, ends up landing on the southwestern coast of North America. The curious sailors make contact with the local Chumash people, but it ends in bloodshed.

1581

Africa

Oba Idowu commissioned the first official written language to mirror this import. This had a ripple effect through the predominately oral language of Fon, Dahomey, Yoruba, et al cultures that made up Benin, as griots utilized it to help guide students through their craft, the memorization of entire arcs of history, genealogies, epic feats, and cultural stories. Griots still retained a highly vaunted, hereditary status of storyteller, but official correspondence between kingdoms readily adopted written word.

1580

Africa

The Kingdom of Benin’s expedition across the Atlantic Ocean succeeds, landing on coastline in modern day Georgia. They meet the Tsalagi and are introduced to the other neighboring tribes. The Dahomey and the Tsalagi establish trade relations through a series of marriages and verbal contracts. The ship Chizobo’s physician Bolanle orchestrated a very notable intercultural exchange during the first contact with Tsalagi people, offering the well-known Beninese technique of vaccination against smallpox which helped prevent the disease from decimating the indigenous populations from Europeans. In return, the Tsalagi eagerly offer another means of documentation, the concept of the written alphabet. 

1580

Africa

The Kingdom of Benin’s Oba Idowu finances an expedition across the Atlantic Ocean, with his four ships, the flagship Chizobo, Omolara, Olanrewaju, and Amadin, landing on Tsalagi coastline in modern day TN/GE. Dahomey and the Tsalagi establish trade relations through a series of marriages and verbal contracts, with a presence of mixed Tsalagi-Dahomey peoples dominating the cotton trade with the invention of a hardy strain, the cotton gin, and indigo hand dye techniques. The ship Chizobo’s physician Bolanle orchestrated a very notable intercultural exchange during the first contact with Tsalagi people, offering the well-known Beninese technique of vaccination against smallpox which helped prevent the disease from decimating the indigenous populations from Europeans. In return, the Tsalagi eagerly offer another means of documentation, their newly created, written form of the Tsalagi language modelled off English.

1588

Europe

The British and the Spanish naval forces are evenly matched, and so, the British do not get a decisive victory over the Spanish Armada. They enter a treaty with the Spanish Empire, and gain shared access to the Spice Trade, but do not gain a monopoly over the trade.

1603

Africa

Slavery is outlawed in the Mali Empire and the Kingdom of Benin, with the Kingdom of Dahomey following two years later. Indentured slavery has a maximum 10 years of service. Over the next century, cultural/regime changes welcome new trading cultures, with divided loyalties inside kingdoms as each becomes powerful enough to stand alone.

1612

Europe

Asia

The Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies (generally known as East India Company) helps the Mughal Empire (the monarchic dynasty ruling North India) manage and limit the Portuguese expansion efforts in India, and gains concessions from the Mughal Emperor, Jahangir, in return. These include trading rights to the cotton and silk piece trade, Indigo and saltpetre trade as well as the spice trade. The agreement is one that also benefits the Mughal Empire, as the Empire is recognized as an equal trading partner under the treaty. 

1620s

Asia

By this time, the Ming regime suffers greatly from the chaos of internal affairs. Population diminishment is a factor of civil war and starvation due to the Columbian exchange never occurring (on part of Portugal’s failed conquests) and a lack of varied food source expedites the collapse of the Ming empire to its successor: the Qing Empire, occurring in a few years rather than decades.

1654

Westlands

In the most incredible turn of events, trading partners bring Horses to the West. These animals, unknown to people before, become a sensation overnight. Soon, every tribe in the east has them, and their help in plowing, traveling, and hunting make the 'Large Dog' a forever friend. Horses now allow the winter tradition of sending letters into the full year possible. Communication is the fastest it has ever been.

1677

Europe

Louis XIV, in honor of his sibling Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, formally recognizes and legalizes homosexual relations and gender fluidity. In 1681 he uses the pressure of the Assembly of the French Clergy to pressure the Catholic Church into officially striking homosexuality from the list of sins. 

1689

Europe

William III and Mary II upon assuming the throne of England enact the Bill of Rights and Toleration Act which re-strips the Catholics and dissenting Protestants from their ability to hold office. Due to pressure from ambassadors and delegates from new trade allies, the full rights of non-Christians and homosexuals are maintained. 

1708

Europe

Asia

To maintain control over the Indian trade routes, East India Company merges with other rival British traders, forming the United Company of Merchants of England trading to the East Indies. This merger brings prosperity to the merchant class in England, and creates an elite class of British merchants treated like nobility in the courts of both North and South India.

1728

Westlands

With their people now spread between the neighboring tribes, and their mixed Tsalagi/Dahomey children a forefront in the lucrative cotton industry, the Tsalagi have inadvertently put themselves into a strong if dangerous position- as many on either side of the ocean would fight to be in it.

Danawan

1593

Visiting Dominican priests introduce the printing press to Danawan.

Danawan

1609

The first University is established in Manila. Public education begins to be practiced among the upper class.

1629

Danawan

New ruler Lakankalao of the Tondo Empire is forced to abdicate following multiple blunders that sent the region into civil war with the indigenous tribes in the Northern regions of the country. His younger cousin Abay takes power with the peoples’ blessing, and brings peace back to the Northern regions. Lakanabay passes a decree that the next ruler will always be chosen by the people, and can be any member of the royal family. All members of the Tondo royal family are given the surname “Dakiya”.

Danawan

1745

Public education becomes common for all social classes in Danawan. Nearly every citizen is literate in at least one common dialect.

Danawan

Europe

1762

Britain approaches Danawan to create a trade deal. They accept, allowing new products such as wheat, coal, and iron to enter the country.

Danawan

1765

Coins begin to be minted as Danawan moves towards a money based economy.

1811

March 1st

Romancing Jan begins. The London social season closes early due to a smallpox outbreak and everyone is encouraged to return to country homes and cancel large gatherings until danger has passed.

1773 -
1784

Europe

The Regulating Act passes in British Parliament, which establishes new government restrictions on mergers and trade monopolies, redirecting funds to the government and hence the landed nobility in Britain begins to benefit from the Indian trade. William Pitt the Younger’s India Act, in combination with the Regulating Act brings the East India Company directly under government control and trade regulations, breaking the company’s commercial monopoly, and directing the flow of resources to the British nobility.

1720 -
1811

Europe

Asia

The British Government regulates trade and labour with the passing of the Regulatory Act, the Archipelago is set up with British firms of trade, mostly led by primary representative Francis Light, investing in tin and gold mining of the northern tips of Malaysia. Over the years, the regulation of trade and labour by the British government ensures no monopoly in the Archipelago, which means a relatively peaceful trading relationship. Malacca remains a thriving settlement and a diverse, crowning glory of Southeast Asia but does so sometimes with the overhanging cloud of the ambivalence of Chinese politics and Siamese threat.

1710s - 1811

Asia

Europe

The three empires of East Asia enjoy a three way diplomatic relationship as Joseon and Edo Japan agreed on the goodwill of extending their commercial policy to Qing China, as a means to maximise commerce and discourage mutual greed for resource and power. The East India Company actively performs as a customary distributor for China, introducing into England an array of East Asian resources and scholarly personnel. The Opium Wars do not occur as a result. Japanese, Korean, Chinese and even nomadic colonies actively migrate to England in order to establish trade, education and estate

1702 - 1728

Africa

After Mansa II dies in a disastrous lion hunt, the Malian Empire sees multiple short political reigns I before Maghan V and Afia Pereko establish joint rule, uniting the matriarchal Akan and Islamic leaning Mansa line. They are nominally religious, and establish the modern standardization of currency, calendar, and borders, alleviating tensions with nomad peoples/central kingdoms.

1700s

Asia

Europe

The Qing Dynasty’s revision of Confucianism and Buddhism and focus on nurturing scholars leads to a priority for peace and collaboration. As the tea trade expands with investment from East India Company, the British act as messengers across the Yellow Sea to enact a commercial exchange of different tea types with Joseon and Edo Japan, to promote the symbiology of cooperation.

1637 - 1720s

Europe 

Asia

Investment of the East India Company in the Archipelago allows the courts of both Archipelago Empires to exchange culturally and economically with the British.

1636

Asia

Europe

The Manchurian-led Qing Dynasty has overthrown the Ming Dynasty in China. With rumours of shifting loyalties about, the Twin Archipelago faces an uncertain relationship with China, and are confident enough in their collaborative efforts, seeking to end the tributary system. This quickly causes tension, as the Qing Empire views the
British as a rival. The East India Company is sent on a diplomatic effort to enter trading relations with the T.A and quell political tensions.

1630s

Asia

Europe

The new Manchu-led Empire adapts the ideals of the tributary system, eager to continue China’s subordinate states in the Twin Archipelago Empires in Southeast Asia. China’s shift in power leaves her vulnerable to a possible annexation by Joseon and Edo Japan. British involvement in Southeast Asia also causes rivalry tension, all of which puts China in concern in terms of independence and wellbeing. Sir William Courten, a trader of a private maritime company from England successfully launches the first coastal trade settlement in Fujian, China, which finances a newly developing Qing Dynasty and delivers them from the expensive aftermath of an overthrow, reducing the need for the dynasty to resort to conquests.

1630

Westlands

By this time, the Tsalagi have become a powerful tribe, and their status as the negotiators for the trade across oceans leave them wealthy and connected. The presence of mixed Tsalagi-Dahomey people begin dominating the cotton trade with the invention of a hardy strain of cotton, the cotton gin, and indigo hand dye techniques. This coveted cloth leads to even greater wealth for the Tsalagi and their descendants, and trade with nations to the East are facilitated.

1620 - 1770

Europe 

Asia

East India Company invests in the establishment of trade partnerships with local businesses, maintaining control over profits, but the local traders and artisans also benefit from partnerships with the Company. They are not undercut; while there is no chattel slavery, the social system maintains pre-existing inequalities like feudalism, caste system and heavy taxation, so it’s not “equality-for-all” by any means. The trade partnerships make possible class mobility to an extent.

1612

Asia 

Europe

After nearly a century of skirmishes with the Ayutthaya, Dutch forces (The Sea Beggars) arrive and threaten the maritime empires of Southeast Asia, offering to combine forces with the Siamese. Malacca has since grown into what is known as the crown of the Silk Road, now one of the most famous trade settlements in the world. While Portuguese expansions are limited in Goa and the rest of India by the Mughal Empire and British - The Twin Archipelago forges a revolutionary alliance with the British to stop the invasion that threatens Malacca.

1610s

Asia

Europe

Japan enters the Edo period and has intense interactions with Western mercantiles toward the end of the Nanban period, during which Christianity is being aggressively spread by missionaries across Japan. The Shimabara Rebellion effectively ended the Christian movement and expelled Portuguese influence from Japan. The expensive aftermath of this purge campaign led to Japan ending the isolationist principle by enhancing diplomatic relationships with Korea via a new policy (deemed Shin that promotes commercial and technological collaboration but maintains political, religious and cultural separation.

1687

James II of England follows France’s example with his Declaration of Indulgence, which allowed Catholics and dissenting Protestants full political and religious rights and legitimized homosexuality and gender fluidity for British citizens.

Europe

Danawan

1780

Rulers Lakambinidilag and Sultana Melike Maka-alangt create the “Global Academy” program, encourage foreigners to come and share their artistic and scientific discoveries with Danawan, cultivating a new age of development for the country.

English / European Current Time and Important Happenings

Top Headlines in the News: February 5th 

King George V is deemed unfit to rule and Prince George IV is granted the Regency. 

 

The Catholic Emancipation is the current Hot Topic in government. 

Major Recent Events

  • Building of Regent Street begins John Nash's development of the West End of London.

  • The first complete ichthyosaur fossil is found by Mary Anning at Lyme Regis.

  • Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility is published.

  • Francis Place's Illustrations and Proofs of the Principles of Population is published. It is the first significant text in English to advocate contraception.

  • Steam-powered Ferry Services become available in major waterways in England.

Current Wars

  • Napoleonic Wars 1803–1815

  • Anglo-Russian War 1807–1812

  • Anglo-Swedish War 1810–1812

  • Peninsular War 1808–1814

Asian Continent

Northeast Asia

 

 

By the early 1800s, despite each individual empire’s emphasis on cultivating national culture without external influences, commerce has still inevitably inspired union and integration in one way or another. The royal courts of China, Korea and Japan formally established the Four Elegant Accomplishments- artistic highlights chosen to represent the culture of East Asia, which are mainly the checker-style game of Go, calligraphy, painting and a stringed instrument called Guqin. Buddhism is integrated into indigenous religions of each nation, with the exception stricter Mongolians who persist with Tengrism and shamanism. Languages of all three dynasties see a greater similarity in writing and speech, but maintain important differences significant enough to separate.

South Asia

 

 

The East India Company has been losing control over its commercial and trade monopoly steadily, with the British government regulating trade and labour, and increasing taxes. With more British nobility coming into direct contact with Indian traders and merchants, classicism, and colourism begins to re-define how people interact with each other in the courts, but there continues to be a superficial effort to maintain good relations with the Indian nobility.

North India is being ruled by Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, a poet and romantic at heart. He is rumoured to be more interested in poetry than in women, which is code for homosexual leanings. The Emperor and the nobility know of, and accept, homosexuality and bisexuality. Gender fluidity not only exists but thrives. All discussions of sexuality are conducted in whispers behind closed doors, and all affairs of the heart are behind a veil of secrecy. Social spaces—both public and private—are divided along the male-female binary, but this only makes gender fluidity not only common, but almost desired so that the binary can be traversed and transgressed at will. The Hijra identity thrives, as an in-between third gender, able to traverse the strict gender-divide. They are highly respected as advisors and strategists at court, as they are seen to be impartial because of their possession of both male and female characteristics.

The Mughal court is a haven for people belonging to different religions, and religious and cultural syncretism is encouraged. Since India has benefited economically and culturally from trade agreements with the Portuguese, Dutch, Arabs, and Persians as well as the British, the cuisine and fashion of the nobility reflect influences from these cultures in new flavours being introduced and different motifs in embroidery. It is not uncommon to see a geometric pattern inspired by Portuguese art entwined with Arabic calligraphy on tiles decorating a noble’s bedchamber, or a tulip added to a string of jasmine flowers adorning a lady’s hair which, in turn, is covered by a muslin veil decorated with embroidered paisleys. Favourite games include Chess, Polo, gilli-danda (a combination of cricket and baseball), kabaddi, and Carrom Board. British influence brings tennis, and squash, and the nobility also enjoys falconry, and hunting (mainly of local pheasants and deer).

Social interactions are governed by a caste system, similar to the British class system; upward mobility is possible through the acquisition of wealth or by making marriage contracts, but is generally frowned upon, creating social discord and a feeling of mistrust between “old money” and new-found wealth. There are divisions based on geography, religion, class/caste, gender, and wealth. Not every Indian will get along with other Indians, and may establish a deeper friendship with a British person based on a shared passion.

 

South India is not directly under Mughal rule and is divided into multiple Princely States. Afghanistan remains independent, with Afghan rulers benefitting from trade agreements and “right of passage” treaties struck with Britain and the Mughals. Some South Indian Princely States are ruled by women, creating matriarchal social systems.

 

 

With the diversity of nations involved in the strongest trade settlement of Southeast Asia, the culture is varied and wholly international. The tributary system of China is not imposed, but it's empire’s teachings are suffused into society. Confucianism influences the government of both kingdoms, but Malacca and Majapahit eventually lean differently, the former toward Islam and the latter reinforcing teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism. Courts are lavish, patriarchal and gender fluidity exists as a result of indigenous influence. Conservatism in terms of sexuality and gender still exist on part of the growing sect of Malacca’s subscription to Islam and may be limited in sacred spaces.

 

Socially, it is generally accepted and there are no strict customs against it. The seas are explored in ornate ships called kelulus, and the primary melee weapons wielded by soldiers are daggers with curved, wavy blades made to emulate the appearance of crashing waves. Lands are peppered with Buddhist temples, mosques, Christian holy sites. Some vassal states practice matriarchy as a result of local, indigenous traditions. While the Twin Archipelago Kingdoms have been in union for a long time, court intrigue between both empires and the ambassadors of visiting nations exists, which never quite allows both empires to truly integrate.

MORE UNDER DEVELOPMENT- We are hiring writers with Asian heritage to re-imagine this part of our world. Contact us at GM@romancingjan.com for more info.

Southeast Asia

Danawan (Philippines)

 

Strong influence from surrounding countries has made Danawan a diverse and culturally rich nation. As such, there is no organized religion, with people following whatever suits them best. Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and tribal Animism are the most popular, although a few Christian villages do exist. The Southern Kingdom is mainly Muslim, while the Northern Kingdom is primarily Animistic, worshiping local deities known as diwata or anito.

 

With such a variety of cultures, multiple dialects are maintained. The most common are Tagalog and Visayan, which are taught by the comprehensive education system. It is standard for upper class members to know at least two foreign languages, while traders are known to speak even more. Ancient scripts such as baybayin are used to write, though the  western alphabet has grown in popularity among academics.

 

A booming global trade system exists, covering nearly every continent. Balangay and bangka boats are used to traverse the long distances, although Western style ships are also in use. Complex farming terraces, worked with the aid of domesticated water buffalo known as carabao, produce a bounty of produce to be sold overseas. Mangoes and sugar are especially popular. Gold smithing, mining, beautiful pottery, and exotic feathers are also in high demand, fueled by foreign fashion markets.

 

With constant trade between so many countries, it does not come as a surprise that the people of Danawan happily embrace different cultures. While there is still strong national pride, citizens gladly welcome new imports, such as beadwork from the North Westlands, pottery from China, and bronze from West Africa. Local fashions take on a foreign flair with fabrics and jewelry from across the globe, while bellies are filled with both local goods (mangoes, coconuts, fresh fish, rice) and imported goods (corn, potatoes, wheat, apples). In turn, the industrious Danawanese people seek to share their own exports with the world. New movements such as the “Global Academy” program, and the sending of high ranking youth abroad, hope to further encourage cultural mixing for this long standing civilization.

 

The Sister Kingdoms get along well despite cultural differences. The Northern Kingdom of Tondo is ruled by Lakambinidilag, a shrewd matriarch known for her love of science and mythology, while the Southern Sultanate of Maguindanao is ruled by Sultana Melike Maka-alangt, a young woman with a sensitive heart and a love of reading. Muslim influence holds strong in the Southern Kingdom, with many devout followers. In accordance with Islam, many women choose to veil their hair, and most citizens follow the guidelines of what is halal and what is haram.

 

Meanwhile, in the Northern Kingdom, Empire law comes before religious rules. Indigenous knowledge is highly regarded, and many communities still employ shamans and perform traditional rituals. Despite these differences, there are also many similarities. People of all genders can hold power positions, and sexual freedom is enjoyed by all. The rulers work closely together and enjoy each other’s company, meeting once a week at the old border to discuss strategy and share a meal. Their main concerns are making the decisions that benefit the people of Danawan as a whole.

African Continent

West Africa

West Africa is divided into four prominent kingdoms with smaller, tributary/nomadic cattle herders, nations/tribes between all of them, who proudly practice religious pluralism with their native animism/Vodun and Islamic/Catholic/ Protestant influences.


Mali Empire

  • Led by bisexual Mansa Maghan X, Fon/Wolof seafarers and world-renowned  scholars and doctors from its Timbuktu based Sankore University.

Kingdom of Benin

  • AKA the City of 10,000 Walls, led by King Dominion Waruo, the citadel city and modern wonder of the world, exports fine bronze miniatures, masks, and ironworks.​

Dahomey Kingdom

  • Queen Mother Farinda oversees palm wine, salt, and Kola-Ale beverage exports.

Current Wars

  • Anglo-Swedish War 1810–1812

Classes are royalty, nobility, priests, artisans (including engineers), artists, agriculturalists, farmers, indentured servants. Both in West Africa and abroad they have brought their Egungun, ancestral mask festivals, and drum operas covering folktales/epic love stories/Shakespeare adaptions. Also growing in popularity are Malian Dambe Boxing matches, where a boxer’s dominant hand is wrapped in cord/spikes for a possible knockout punch during the three-round game. Clothing is a mixture of new/old, with only ceremonial/religious days requiring traditional fineries.

MORE UNDER DEVELOPMENT- We are hiring writers with African heritage to re-imagine this part of our world. Contact us at  for more info.

North Westlands (North American Continent)

The Tsalagi Nation of the Western Continent

 
 
The Tsalagi, like more people of the Western continent, practice a devout spiritualism based about veneration of all living things. They also feel strongly about their Ancestors, and the spiritually world at large. they are Matriarchal, with men joining their wives' clan- as women gave life, it made sense that they should rule the house.


Their tribe is led by two chiefs, A Red Chief (for war) and a White Chief (for Peace). They elected by popular vote, the votes coming from the women leaders and elders of each of 7 clans- Wolf, Deer, Bird, Longhair, Wild Potato, Blue, and Painted. Although Matriarchal, people of all genders are treated equally. Gender is not defined by the body, and many people Transcend into their true selves, and are spiritual guides.


Tsalagi clans are composed of hunters, farmers, and gatherers, each being just as important as the others. As chores and work are shared equally, everyone had time to work on artistry, such as beadings, sewing, writing, and music.


Clothing and fashion are important to the Tsalagi, and they have adopted much from their dealings with new lands. Their people wear cloth robes and dresses, with beadings and ornamentation. Turbans and hats are extremely popular with the rich and learned. Tattoos are common, with their meanings tied to clan relations, life events, and marriages. Hair is braided and grown long, but shaved heads are common in warriors of all genders. 

UNDER DEVELOPMENT- We are hiring writers with Indigenous North American heritage to re-imagine this part of our world. Contact us at GM@romancingjan.com for more info.

South American Continent

South American Continent

 
 UNDER DEVELOPMENT- We are hiring writers with Indigenous South American heritage to re-imagine this part of our world. Contact us at GM@romancingjan.com for more info.

Australian Continent

Australian Continent

UNDER DEVELOPMENT- We are hiring writers with Indigenous Australian and South Pacific heritage to re-imagine this part of our world. Contact us at GM@romancingjan.com for more info.