The D&D forum I was using doesn't like reading my giant blocks of text so I thought I'd turn to my L-O friends for advice. I have working on a project off and on for years now. Originally the setting was intended to be a setting for playing 3.5 D&D, maybe 2nd edition. Then I eventually opted to try to make own game system. A hybrid of D&D and White Wolf's d10 system I call D&D10. After a year of tinkering with my system I actually started running a game. Basically I'm testing the mechanics. The player characters are wandering the frontier of a small nation, responding to villages in distress. Very Monster of the Week, but it's a good way to test my combat system. X needs to be stronger, Y needs to be nerfed, that kind of thing. The goal is to make a medium magic setting. Magic is fairly common and well known but it's not as crazy powerful as it is in traditional D&D game. No massive storms of fire, no bringing back the dead, But I want to branch into an actual long term story fairly soon and it's based on what a player said. One of my stories involved two villages that were paying yearly tribute to a local tribe of orcs in order to be left alone. An agent provacteur stole the tribute and tried to frame the villagers as having stolen the other village's tribute in order to watch the bloodbath. The PCs thwarted the villain and got the tribute back. One of the players said "Isn't this village part of a nation, the army should protect them from orcs." So I can have the PCs wander the wilderness fighting Monsters of the Week for a while but eventually I want them them to go to the capital and try to shore up the struggling nation of Fumaya. I have literally over a 100 pages of material on the creation of the world, the gods, the priesthoods, and metaphysics, but I have very little concrete information on the actual people of the world. Spoiler: Cliff notes versions of my gods and goddesses The nine deities are collectively called "the Nine." Each of the Nine embodies one of the nine alignments from D&D 2nd and 3rd ed. They briefly united to overthrow their tyranically progentior god, Turoch, who was trying to eat them and the whole univerese. The progentior god died and his spiritual corpse because a nightmare realm called the Void that spawns Lovecraftian monsters that assail the world from the north and south pole. They don't have agendas like the four Chaos gods of WHF, they just want to eradicate all living things and consume all souls. Collectively they are scary enough that the Good and Evil gods will put asside their differences to contain them. Hallisan is Lawful Good. He is male. He is the god of metal working and mining, just war, chivalry, honor, the Father of Dwarfs, the patron of hard work, defender of the weak. His official Dominion over nature is the minerals of the earth. His Gift to mortals is metalworking. His priests and priestesses are nicknamed Guardians or Valor, or simply the Guaridans. Mera is Neutral Good. She is female. She is the god of the hearth, the sea, drinking water, family, peace, the Mother of Gnomes, the patron of medicine, and a lover of mercy. Her official Dominion over nature is water. Her Gift to mortals is control over fire. Her priests and priestesses are nicknamed Tenders of the Sacred Hearth, or simply the Tenders. Zarthus is Chaotic Good. He is male. He is the god of the moon, revenge, art, music, celebration, finding hidden things, freedom, the adopted father of bastards and half-breeds, and self reliance. His official Dominion over nature is the moon. His Gift to mortals is music. His priests and priestesses are nicknamed the Lanterns. Khemra is Lawful Neutral. She is female. She is the goddess of history, law, writing, knowledge, tradition, the sun, she is the writer of the Compact, the agreement that got the Nine to work together in the first place. Her official Dominion over nature is the sun. Her Gift to mortals is writing. Her priests and preistesses are nicknamed the Keepers of the Way, or just the Keepers. Korus is True Neutral. He is male. He is god of ecosystem, animals, plants, agriculture, prophecy, mediation. His official dominon over nature is the balance of plants and animals. His Gift to mortals is agriculture. His priests and priestesses are called Stewards. The Stewards are split between two factions that rarely work together. The Stewards of the Dominion are nature loving druids and the Stewards of the Gift are civilization loving friends of the farmer. Nami is Chaotic Neutral. She is female. She is the goddess of weather, madness, prophecy, alcohol, arson, inspiration, and freedom. Her official dominion is over nature is the weather. Her Gift to mortals is free will. She was the first deity that gave a Gift to mortals. After she gave free will to mortals and they could choose who to worship, the other deities gave their own Gifts as a form of bribery to win worshippers. Her priests and preistesses are nicknamed Rovers on the Wind, or just Rovers. Even the rare cleric that doesn't like traveling is still called a Rover. Phidas is Lawful Evil. He is male. He is the god of commerce, the protector against the Void, the father of goblins, master of contracts, and the one who lets food grow underground without the sun. His dominion over nature is the mystic Barrier that keeps the Void at bay. His Gift to mortals is the concept of currency. His priests and priestess are nicknamed the Masks of Phidas or simply Masks because their vestments always involve masks in honor of the god himself who hides his ruined face with a silver mask. Greymoria is Neutral Evil. She is female. She is the goddess of arcane magic, the mother of monsters, the mistress of poisons, the patroness of the undead. She is the most feared deity because she curses or sends monsters at mortals who don't love her enough. This causes her to be loved less, prompting more retaliation. Her Dominion over nature is the regulation of wild magic. Her Gift to mortals is wizardry. Her priests and priestesses are nicknamed the Children of the Dark Mother, or simply the Children. Maylar is Chaotic Evil. He is male. He is the god of darwinism, hunting, animal husbandry, disease, decay, low warfare, the Father of Orcs (though Nami helped). His Dominion over nature is disease and decay. His Gift to mortals is hunting and animal husbandry (he wanted mortals to associate killing with survival). His priests and priestessa re nicknamed the Testers of Strength or simply the Testers. Most mortals in my world are polythestic and worship all nine of the Nine, though they usually have a favorite deity. My basic concept is that Fumaya is possibly the unluckiest human nation in my world. They are a small nation of hardy simple folk that happen to be the buffer zone between far stronger nations. To the west is Meckelorn, a traditional Dwarf nation (I have two non-traditional Dwarf nations but this one is pretty recognizeable, axes, hammers, beer, inexplicable Scottish accents, dislike of arcane magic, etc). To the was they border the Wood Elf nation. I tried not to steal too much from WHF but my elves are split into three fairly similar elf nations. They are not as extreme as the Wood Elves of WHF. They like their privacy, but they don't view every single outsider entering their territory as an act of war. They exchange ambassadors with nearby nations and they have have a right of passage loosely based on the Amish Rumspringa. When an elf becomes and adult, he or she typically takes a short rumpspringa (20-40 years) where they leave their home forests and explore the outside world, then they come back home and probably never leave the forests again. Unless they were outcasts or outsiders in their own land, then the elves never come from their rumspringas. To south is the powerful human nation of Swynfaredia. Swynfaredia is noteworthy in that all their nobility have herditary magical abilities which they use to cement their power. They have gone through periods of strife and civil war and periods of expansion. Right now the queen (or king, I haven't decided yet) is eying Fumaya as a potential conquest. Her vassals are getting uppity and an external foe would redirect their energy to something productive. Swynfaredia hasn't done anything overtly hostile yet but their soldiers have been making lots of minor violations of territory near the border just to be petty and to test Fumaya's reaction. To the north is wilderness. Orc and human barbiarian tribes dwell plus assorted monsters. The raiders to the north have been largely given a free rein because most of the army is making preparations for a Swynfaredian invasion of the south. The king, King Henryk who is in early twenties, inherited the throne very recently from his father the previous king. The previous king was wasteful and now Fumaya's coffers are empty. King Henryk is a good man but he is not especially cunning or ruthless. He's not stupid and realizes that both his northern and southern borders are under threat, but he is very reluctant to raise taxes believing the people are already shouldering the biggest burden they can handle. He is relucantant to take a loan because the only institution capable of loaning large sums of money to a king is the Church of Phidas which has a well-deserved reputation for insinuating advisors into the courts of their debtors and turning kings into toothless paper tigers run in proxy by their debt holders. To free up funds, King Henryk cut back on royal frivolaties. Troubadors, tournaments, hunting trips, and the like. He also laid off his royal staff. Problem is many of these laid off staffers are bitter about losing their job and many of them intimately know the inner workings of the court. Which courtiers are vulnerable to bribes and blackmail, which guards are prone to falling asleep on the job, all sorts of stuff. I figure most of these malcontents ended up selling what they know to the fantasy medieval equivalent of the Mafia (though I probably need to come up with a better name than Fantasy Mafia). I am leaning towards to giving the Mafia don supernatural powers, thinking of making him/her a doppleganger. This is where I'm not kind of stuck. I need to create some interesting characters, and I need to come up with some interesting dirt for these malcontents to have. What schemes would the mafia use to fleece Fumaya? King Henryk has a very small parcel of land that he can tax and raise soldiers from. Mostly he has to rely on scuttage and levies from his vassals. I also want to channel the spirit of Game of Thrones seasons 1-6 to create some interesting noble characters. The goal is to create a sandbox where the players characters can bust heads, play politics, or play detective. I think my playing group will lean towards politial solutions. One of the two active players created a very socially oriented character that holds a high ranking in the Priesthood of Khemra. Another player is a jack of all trades elf on Rumspringa of noble birth. Between the two of them, they can probably get an audience with almost any noble or priest they want.