The Dragon State is a small aggressive country in the Yangtze River Valley. It is ruled by "The Grand Dragon Marshal" and his army and populated by peasants who are held as virtual slaves. The Dragon State, centered in "the hidden city", has grown constantly, purely through enslavement and conquest. It is plagued by constant death from radiation related sickness, such as cancer, and ongoing struggles with neighbouring communities. The state is unofficially split into three areas, one south of the Yangtze, one on the north east banks of the river, and the old state in the mountains and southeastern banks of the river. In addition to this, the state's defence strategy consists of a depopulated zone around the inhabited area, creating a large but empty swath of no-man's land around their domain. Knowledge of this Chinese state remained unknown until fairly recently, according to WRCB data. It has virtually no diplomatic presence, apart from its claim over "historic China" and refusal to acknowledge Taiwan and other recognized states in the Far East.
- See main article: History of Dragon State
The Dragon State started out as a small military band ruled ruthlessly by a man named Hong, who gained the title "the Dragon" through his successful use of stealth and unexpected strikes. Hong's reputation grew and he built up a state under his ruthless control. In his final years, he declared himself to be Grand Marshal of "the Dragon Lands" referring to just about anything his troops could control. After his death in the mid 1990s, the Dragon Marshals have been unable to equal Hong's reputation, military success, or personal control, but the Dragon lands have grown despite it. Indeed, much of the army prefers it this way however much they may respect the dead Marshal. Since Hong's death, a war with Nanchung has removed many of the Dragon Land's enemies to the south, and a perpetual war for slaves in the north-east has provided the dominion with much of its current population. The current ruler of the Dragon State, Marshal Zhi, has recently shown an interest in at least discovering other populations, has loudly announced to surrounding nations his presence and power.
The society of the Dragon State is uneven, with the bulk of its people, the peasants, who are virtual slaves, the soldiers, not much better off, the officers with a lot of power, and an almost absolute "Grand Dragon Marshal", hindered only by the "Grand Generals".
The bulk of the people of the Dragon State are captives from raids and other conflicts. The only rights they have is that if the soldiers happen to be around when one peasant injures another, they will intervene and beat up the aggressor (and perhaps the victim as well). Each peasant is assigned to a village, and if found outside of it will be severely punished or killed. Each peasant is taxed so much rice, though some villages have put themselves out of the reach of starvation, even with the tax. The peasants are isolated and not allowed to know where any other villages are, and generally have no idea how the domain is doing.
The soldiers have absolute authority among the peasants, however, they come from a similar source, and it is often only a whim that separated these two groups. The soldiers are kept intensely disciplined, and are only taught enough geography to maintain the control of the local area. They are constantly moved around as a unit, and kept from getting to know other units and bond with them. They are not allowed to know of the location of "the hidden city" or of the "rest cities". As the Dragon State is perpetually at war with its neighbours, most Soldiers do not live more than 9 years in the army, and many die before they reach 5.
The officers are basically the upper class of the Dragon State. They have the power of life and death over their soldiers and peasants, and though the Emperor and his Lords technically hold the power to kill them, it is used more and more rarely as time goes on. Officers are allowed to know the location of "the hidden city", and receive leave in "cities of rest". They are the only class (apart from the Grand Generals) who are allowed to marry, and in fact, all women who fall into the hands of the Dragon land live in "cities of rest", where the utmost care is taken to ensure the survival of the next generation, who will be officers, peasants and soldiers coming from defeated enemies. The cities of rest are protected by elite soldiers who are technically of officer rank, though they do not command troops.
The first set of rules for the Dragon State only had one Grand General, the "Dragon General", or selected successor to the Marshal. The status of Grand Generalship has evolved into something that is earned, forcing the Marshal to concede special status to the Grand General.
So far there are four Grand Generals:
- the Dragon General, successor to the throne
- the General of the River, commander of the naval operations
- the General of Rest, administrator of the cities of rest
- the General of the Frontier, keeper of the zone between the settlements and the outside world
While relegated to specific duties, the Grand Generals have great influence among the troops and can occasionally counter the authority of the Marshal.
The Grand Dragon Marshal
The first set of rules stated "what the Grand Marshal says is law". In practice, only one Marshal, Hong, was able to maintain this practice. The Lords assert a large influence on the officers, and combined have more power than the Marshal. However, the Marshals still have the legal right to absolute power, and they have a history of brutally using it.
Despite the title, the Marshals are not hereditary, and are chosen by the previous Marshal prior to his death. So far, they have all been previous "Grand Generals" in the Dragon State. Indeed, the original purpose of the title was to designate the next Dragon Marshal.
The current Grand Dragon Marshal is Gang Pu.
The Dragon State has a small population for the area that it inhabits, around 250,000 men and women. The area could easily hold more, but one of the main weapons to keep the peasants under control is isolation, which demands depopulated space between the villages. Each village is essentially self-supporting, salvaging tools and on occasion given a few by the army to grow crops. Individual villages are quite close and also quite different from each other. A few communities have been set up in the ruins of cities to manufacture goods -- mostly ammunition and other equipment for military use. These peasants are treated better than their rural counterparts, but are also watched much closer. There are also a few factories that make farming tools, cloth, pottery, and timber. One community, located near the former city of Anqing (安庆/安慶), specializes in boats. The cultural center of the Dragon lands is in "the hidden city".
The Dragon army is the very core of the dominion, and could even be described as being the domain. For the most part, the main weapon of the Dragon army are its soldiers and their old riffles. While their opponents frequently have equal arms, the Dragon troops make up for the disparity by emphasizing stealth, making raid deep into enemy territory, and having superior supplies of ammunition, a major concern in the area. The ideal Dragon strike is made on a community that does not know the Dragons are within 30 miles of their place, and consists of surrounding the community, making a decisive first strike, engaging in a heavy shoot out, and taking the prisoners who surrender when they run out of ammunition. Recently they have developed heavier weapons, but these have not been used heavily, as they are not well suited for the tactics of "Dragon Troops".