Rigvar is an independent city-state on the western coast of Veşti, surrounded on three sides by the United Republic of Ysdræn. It is ruled by a baron, elected by a small oligarchy of industrial nobles. While the nation has no official state religion, and does not claim any association with any religions, it is famously associated with the Cult of Shast in popular media and history.
All of Rigvar sits on a low coastal plain, which has grown with reclaimed land over the last century. While there is a gradual rise in the land away from the coast, the first hills aren't until thirty miles into Ysdræn. The city proper occupies 181 square miles and extends fifteen miles down the coast, making it the fourth largest metropolitan area in Veşti. It is surrounded by an additional 350 square miles of farmland and suburbs.
Rigvar is officially a baron-led oligarchy. The nobles elect the baron, who holds office until death or a vote of non-confidence by the nobles removes them from office. The nobles have official responsibilities that come with their station, mostly involved in operating the day-to-day functions of the city, but they hold no power to vote on the decrees and laws of the baron. The nobility does, however, determine the compensation the baron receives in office, usually on a yearly basis. The baron is expected to seek their advice as often as possible.
Nobles do not inherit their station by right. The head of each guild and corporation within the city is offered a seat in the nobility, and the bulk of their wealth and power comes from that position rather than the title of noble itself - however, having the ear of the baron and the power to influence the general direction of the nobility is generally seen as sufficient compensation. Nearly all organizations with sufficient means to have a seat on the nobility also provide an estate for their noble, most of which include servants. Should they turn it down for some reason, or step down after accepting the title, that seat is left unoccupied. Any unoccupied seats in the nobility are assumed to abstain from all votes, and no treaties between their organization and any other can be altered. As long as the seat is left open to the organization, the head of it can assume the role at any time after the initial offer is made. The corporation or guild is left to their own systems to determine who will lead them.
The nobility governs their own organizations, and vote and negotiate amongst themselves how these organizations will interact with each other, and when to add or remove a seat in the nobility. Disputes between organizations are generally handled within the nobility rather than courts, and the baron has the right to break any tied vote within the nobility. Should an offense be large enough, the noble for the organization is held personally responsible and tried, sentenced, and punished on behalf of the organization as a whole. Such extreme cases will often also result in the organization losing their seat on the nobility for a time. Nobles are referred to as Lord or Lady, while their spouse is called Master or Mistress.
The baron is the sole lawmaker in Rigvar. While the nobles can determine policies on nearly any topic within their organization or between organizations, these policies cannot contradict the laws of the baron. The nobility has been known to find ways around this, but most such cases have ended in prosecution of the noble. The baron is the head of the judicial system, police, and military of Rigvar. As the head of these organizations, a seat on the nobility is permanently available to the baron, who is always considered to have accepted the position, though it is always treated as empty unless the baron is personally present for a vote. While they have no guild or organization structure, it is customary for the baron to also represent government employees, as well. This seat is always considered to abstain from any elections where the nobility is electing a baron, determining the baron's compensation, or declaring non-confidence, even if the baron is personally present. The baron also negotiates all treaties with bodies outside of Rigvar, though it is customary for the nobles of any organization directly affected to be present as advisors during these negotiations. The baron is referred to as Baron or Baroness, while their spouse is called Master or Mistress. When the baron is casting a vote or participating in debate within the nobility, it is customary to refer to them as Lord Baron or Lady Baron.
Rigvar is one of the few places on Khadaka to maintain the medieval guild system. Within Rigvar, an organization is only considered a guild if it has a license from the baron to operate as a representative body. These licenses do not expire, but can be made void at any time by the baron. Those guilds which have a seat on the nobility are marked in bold. The Thieves Guild remains on this list despite the fact that its license is currently considered void, because it regularly shifts from having a license to being illegal, depending on whether the current baron believes it is better to prosecute or regulate theft. Current tides in Rigvar prefer prosecution, but this has been known to change swiftly. The Thieves Guild has never had a seat in the nobility and it is unlikely it ever will. The Adventurers Guild still exists and has a valid license, but has declined in the past century to the point where it generally not included in lists of the guilds of Rigvar and has not had a seat on the nobility since 1945 Reformed. While the Electrical Workers Guild and the Plumbers Guild do not have seats in the nobility, the Masons Guild customarily takes the leaders of these bodies on as advisors. The leaders of guilds and corporations who do not have seats on the nobility are generally permitted to attend meetings and lobby for the goals of their organization.
- Administrative and Office Professionals United
- Adventurers Guild
- Association of Medical Personnel
- Brotherhood of Ironworkers
- Educators Guild
- Electrical Workers Guild
- Farmers Guild
- Mail Carriers and Sorters Guild
- Masons Guild (recently expanded to include all construction workers)
- Plumbers Guild
- Thieves Guild
- United Entertainers and Stageworkers
- United Foodworkers Association of Rigvar
- United Order of Mages
The Trade Guild was disbanded in 1837 by Baron Donovan at the urging of the nobility, after fifty years of repeated offenses, unscrupulous practices, and broken treaties. For 98 years, the office of the baron was considered to hold the seat on the nobility that represented those who maintained the trade networks and worked the docks of Rigvar. This ended with the Corporations and Guilds Act of 1935, which declared that non-international corporations with at least 150 employees would be given the right to apply for a guild license from the baron and must be recognized as such by the nobility. As Rigvar grew, this was amended to require that corporations have at least 500 employees in 1982 Reformed, though corporations that already had licenses were permitted to keep theirs. To date, international corporations are still excluded from the guild system, even if they are based in Rigvar. However, as the legal definition of an international corporation is that they own property or have employees outside of Rigvar, many corporations have distribution contracts with other companies outside of the country and operate internationally through those channels. Seats for the nobility are generally only offered to five corporations at a time. When a seat is vacated, the nobility remove that seat and then re-establish it in the name of another corporation. As such, the seats are usually held by the five corporate heads who have been most successful at lobbying for their corporation and have made the most friends within the nobility. While this is openly admitted to be a potentially corrupt system, there has been no significant attempt to change it. Currently, the seats are held by Bosoner Shipwrights, Hendricks Foods, Jarlief and Sons Shipping, Kelter Transportation, and Rigvar Overland Express.
Rigvar is, at once, one of the more regimented societies on Veşti, and one of the largest supporters of individual liberty. From a wide perspective, the nation is operated largely on a vast set of treaties and agreements amongst the nobility, some of which have been unchanged for centuries, that direct how the different organizations within Rigvar operate and interact. Social customs, business practices, and even the cost of living are all tied to this system. And, because there is no system for representing people who are not part of one of the guilds or corporations, the vast majority of people seek to join one and thus submit to their rules and customs. It has been difficult for large international corporations to gain a foothold, since even though there is no legal issue preventing them from doing business, there are very few citizens interested in working for them for fear of losing representation among the nobility, and these outside companies find it incredibly difficult to navigate the convoluted market structure.
On the other hand, however, there are actually very few laws that govern individuals. Rigvar is one of the only nations in Khadaka that doesn't have a state religion, and the fluid nature of the nobility means that it is technically possible for anyone to climb the ranks in some organization or another and establish themselves, if they have the right skills and use them properly. The laws on citizenship are incredibly lax, and none of the laws concerning the baron or the nobility actually demand that one be a citizen (or, for that matter, an adult or human, which famously led to the election of Lord Baron Fluffington) in order to hold office. Rigvar is very capitalistic, and is generally considered to be the most pure free market in the world. This has been a source of both significant praise and condemnation for the city over the years.