| This is by no means intended to be a complete guide to every aspect of the region, so much as a quick-and-dirty list of notes to help guide what is and what isn't part of the setting. Things like technology and basic government set-up may not be required for every single post, but whenever you aren't sure about something, this guide should help you out.
The main thing to remember here is that Harper is a medieval era rpg. This covers a couple points, including the breakdown of 'races' in the region (bear in mind that racism is an extremely small minority, smaller even than sexism.)
- The board is also a western style setting.
There are no katanas or ninjas or samurai or jujitsu or what-have-you because the Harper Region does not have any significant trade/contact to speak of with eastern-styled nations. You may find the occasional Asiatic foreigner or descendant of an Asiatic foreigner around, but it will be very uncommon.
http://www.medieval-life-and-times.info/medieval-life/ is a good reference for quick information about medieval life. In Harper, the sexes are very egalitarian, mirroring the modern-day situation in European and North-American countries, where women are not dominated by men or denied opportunities due to gender, although exceptions always exist in certain families or isolated places. Also, due to the lack of a Christian church, those of non-hetero sexualities do not face anywhere near the level of persecution that they have in the real world. the Arcean faith frowns on it, but there are enough other religions in the region to keep overbearing tendencies in balance. In addition, even the poor tend to have themselves a bit better off than you'd expect due to the aid of pokemon and the relative cheapness of pokeballs.
- We have a diverse demographic.
As far as "skin colors" go, you will primarily find white, olive, black, and other non-asiatic peoples as natives. As far as proportions go, there are about 30% white or light skinned peoples, 45% olive complected peoples (including the natives in Doran Village, who are closest to the Inca or Native Americans in appearances), 20% black or very dark skinned peoples, and 5% other (this percentage would include the gamut of asiatic and asiatic-descended peoples who call the region home).
Harper has very little in the way of modern technology, and has not yet invented the flint-lock pistol or the steam engine. The predominant methods of over land and sea travel are powered by pokémon and the natural elements, in the case of sailing ships.
Magic itself is prevalent, if uncommon as far as individuals who possess it, although greatly distrusted and generally disliked. People rely on it only reluctantly, and most often it is hidden behind the proverbial 'smoke and mirrors' such as with pokémon healers. Other instances where it is seen as permissible are in pokeball mechanics and the pokecard.
The distrust for magic developed early on in the hundred years war approximately 500 years ago, and while much about that war has now been forgotten or forgiven (or both), the deep disliking of magic has evolved from the witch hunts that took place as a direct result of it.
Player characters may not have magic.
Yes, people do eat pokémon the same way as we would eat chicken or pork, and there are pokémon raised specifically for food.
- Government Set-up:
The region is set up similarly to the United States or England in that there is a chief ruling position and then a council (like congress or parliament). In Harper, there is always a queen. Her court of Lords and Ladies selects the queen, and the people select their councilmen and women. The council has the power to overrule the queen with a 2/3 majority. Other than being able to overrule the queen's laws if they are found to be tyrannical, the council takes care of the business end up things such as taxes and infrastructure while the queen makes laws and war. Lords and Ladies effectively own the towns and cities as well as govern them, either because their family founded the city/town or because their family literally has built or purchased the majority of it and its lands.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_and_noble_ranks (our lords and ladies are considered archdukes/viceroy level)
Gold pieces (specifically coins) are the region's currency, as the low-quality metal is common enough in the mountains to be widely used. Jewelry and the like are expensive still because the metals that comprise them must be imported and are of a much higher quality.
We do have more than one monetary unit, however. All the coins are made of gold, but there are several types. 'Gold' is still the general word for the pieces, so if you needed a value of five, you could ask for 'five clips,' a 'piece,' or simply five gold.'
"Clip" - 1-gold worth: smallest coin, about the size of an American penny printed with a lucario on one side and a 1 on the other
"Piece" - 5-gold worth: American quarter-sized coin, printed with a noctowl on one side and a 5 on the other
"Florin" - 10-gold worth: American half-dollar-sized coin, printed with two roses on one side and a 10 on the other
"Crest" - 50-gold worth: same diameter but twice as thick as a florin, with the royal emblem on one side and a 50 on the other
"Crown" - 100-gold worth: same size as a crest, with the Queen's face, two roses, and then a 100 on the other side.
- Culture and Isolation:
While people can and do immigrate to Harper from other regions, canonical and not, the region is relatively isolated due to its relative lack of ports for its size and the mountains at its northern border. The neighboring region is known as Caledon, and is most similar in geography and culture to the canon region of Almia, complete with ranger system, although Caledon has its own trainer class as well. It is a country that is frequently absorbed by internal struggles and broken into many small kingdoms loosely united by an overlord today. Currently, there are no known civilizations or habitable areas north of Harper, though the area is largely unexplored due to the highly difficult terrain.