Volksreich Imperial Survey
There are other nations in this world. It would be foolish not to consider how the Volksreich considers them. However, the stereotypes of Volksreich can often be inaccurate. What is an odd custom to the Volksreich citizen might be sacred tradition in another state, and vice versa. Considering there hasn't been a major war in the last few decades, it is important to be aware of world politics. History is full of examples of wars spilling into neutral nations, drawing them in. It would be folly to allow that to happen to this generation. -Darius Bisandine
Listed here are major nations in the world, their perceptions of the Volksreich, our perceptions of them, the reality of the matter, reasons they might immigrate to the Volksreich, and local politics. Note that I am not trying to offend anyone of these nations' descent, but rather show common perceptions on both sides.
Our Images of Them: The Othuns have long been our rivals. Recently, though, there has been lasting peace with them. The common image is they're finally "growing up" past their empire building stage. There is also a technology gap with Othun. While some units have rare advanced weapons they imported, most still use matchlocks. They has been the odd skirmish sometimes, though thankfully, these are getting rarer every day.
Their Images of Us: The Othuns also view the Volksreich as long term rivals who are "growing up." However, we are losing our 'war-mongering' ways, rather than vice versa (and in the spirit of fairness to the Othuns, sometimes we have instigated more than one skirmish). Some more extremist members of Othun, however, see us as rich hoarders of technology, who will stop at nothing to destroy the Othuni culture. Then again, the Volksreich has extremists who feel similarly about the Othuns.
The Reality: The reality of the matter is not off the mark. The Othun Sultanate was once the Volksreich's most bitter rival. Now, those days are gone. The Othun Sultan is finding it hard to keep up with the Volksreich technologically and militarily. Their empire is getting harder to control, as more and more rogue generals each try to form their own empires. The Janissaries, warrior-monks sworn to protect the Sultan, are some of the few things keeping the Sultanate together this long. The threat remains, however, perhaps one day, a rogue general might threaten both the Sultanate and the Volksreich. Rumors about that Volksgrenadiers have been deployed to remove some rogue generals, before they can become threats to both states, but again, these are only rumors.
Common Reasons for Emigration: The centralized power structure is fading, slowly but gradually. Many people are displaced from work, and find it hard to seek employment. Also, the occasional in-fighting by rogue generals displaces people. Thus, many come to the Volksreich to security or to find work.
Our Images of Them: To us, the Freelands Republic is a collection of many states under a central federal government. The east coast is full of thriving cities, but massive amounts of pollution. Due to political corruption, however, many ultra-rich get away with unsafe labor practices and pollution dumping. However, the west of the Freelands is rugged and untamed. One thing that is not very popular in the Volksreich is the fact they continually break treaties with the native Hurun in order to snag gold-rich land. Likewise, they do not like it when we sell arms to the Hurun to help them fend off aggression. Of the two political parties, the Republicans and Evangelicals, the Republicans are normally the favored one for dual citizens. The Evangelical party is favored by religious fanatics who feel it is their right to dominate the Hurun lands.
Their Images of Us: To most Freelanders, the Volksreich is a mixed bag. In one hand is the monarchy they once fought against, and the other is social progressivism unlike anything in the Freelands. However, while they have technologies we do not, they do not have some of our technologies. There are plenty of people with dual citizenship in both nations, which helps with cultural exchanges. Westerners might not like us, as we supply arms to the Hurun natives, who they continually fight with in skirmishes for resources.
The Reality: Despite arms deals to the Hurun natives, the Freelands is still closely tied to the Volksreich. They are the most powerful democratic republic in the world. Warm alliances and more economic co-operation pave the way for future friendly relations with them. The Republican Party and Volksreich see eye to eye, for the most part. The other political party in the Freelands, the Evangelicals, is a religious fundamentalist group with obscene amounts of political power. They also are not above rewriting history. For instance: While Deists founded the Freelands Republic, the Evangelicals insist the Founders were Evangelicals. Also, Evangelicals favor unfair laws and taxed breaks, as well as being the primary supporters behind grabbing land from the Hurun Confederacy.
Common Reasons for Emigration: Many people emigrate to the Freelands in search of a better life. Likewise, many people move to the Volksreich to be closer to family. Like many other nations, the poor who can afford it emigrate to the Volksreich. The polluted and overcrowded east coast constantly drives people to the Volksreich, or west within the Freelands. Both us and them, however, send exchange students with increasing frequency.
Our Images of Them: Tzu was once the most powerful empire in the world, when the Volksreich had yet to exist. The dynasty of Tzu changes every few centuries, though the dynastic cycle has stagnated recently. To the Volksreich, Tzu is a center of culture, but one that has fallen behind. A corrupt dynasty has been a political deadweight, and hard to deal with economically. Some limited trade and immigration goes on, but not a lot as before.
Their Images of Us: Tzu views everyone outside the nation as barbarians. The Volksreich is no exception to this, but because we are one of the few nations even allowed limited contact, they view us as "slightly better." In past eras, there was a public education system and civil-service like meritocracy. No longer. Peasants often cannot tell between technology and thaumaturgy, and often assume foreign goods are 'evil items' (an image promoted by the government).
The Reality: Tzu is torn between traditional authority and anarchy. Cities and coastal areas are controlled by the government, while bandits and warlords have free reign of several interior stretches of China.
Common Reasons for Emigration: Tzu immigrants have arrived in the Volksreich since it officially made contact with Tzu. Unrest and a corrupt political system have driven many to settle in the Volksreich and elsewhere. Even today, many cities have a "Tzutown" in them. Like with many other immigrant communities, extended families can bring over new members.
Our Images of Them: Choyun is a reclusive nation politically, though economically, it is very open. The government is only to happy to buy large volumes of goods. What they are doing with such goods is unknown. The populace is very well educated, living standards are on par with (if not surpassing) the Volksreich, and they have an interesting view of technology. For their technologies, they combine thaumaturgy and technologies to do things our machines can do less efficiently. The local religion worships a single deity, the Machine-God. Why they'd buy large amounts of our less-efficient technologies is unknown, but theories abound.
Their Images of Us: To be honest, we are not sure. The government is officially neutral to most people, but especially friendly to the Volksreich and Freelands Republic. Historically, both Tzu and Yamato tried to invade them, and the resounding defeats have deterred both powers in the future.
The Reality: Again, we cannot be sure. The infrastructure practically surpasses the Volksreich. Despite the fact the country is mainly rugged and barren, the culture and technology are surprisingly well-developed. A few things have gotten out, though. There is a great education system, but the government is somewhat mysterious. It is a technocratic theocracy, where scientists and engineers are business leaders and religious figures (called the chaebol in the local language). Each providence in the nation elects their primary leader. However, the primary leader must be a respected researcher or engineer. It is difficult, though possible, for foreigners to gain citizenship here. One must possess intellect and willpower to see it through.
Common Reasons for Emigration: People rarely leave Choyun. Those that do, however, often come looking for foreign technologies and thaumaturgical rites. Combinations of technologies and enchantments often garner the most attention.
Our Images of Them: Leyte is a sparsely-settled chain of jungle islands. There are foreign missions and trading posts, giving some villages modern technology, but for the most part, most are primitive tribal societies. Tzu and Othun have tried to invade in the past, but have been driven off. The people of Leyte might not be as advanced as other nations, but they have powerful thaumaturgy and use the jungle for excellent tactical advantage. The Volksreich officially has listed Leyte as an "area of strategic interest," but has not stationed many troops there, save small garrisons around religious missions and trading posts. Weapons are sold to the local tribes to discourage foreign invasion. Sometimes, tribes might attack foreigners, but the Volksreich works to only fight defensively.
Their Images of Us: Leyte does not have a united government, but rather, several tribes over countless islands. Our image, like other nations, depends on the tribe. Some see us as helpers against foreign interest. Others see us as would-be oppressors. The majority, thankfully, are in a consensus we pose no threat.
The Reality: Leyte tribes are diverse, indeed. Thankfully, most of them view us as unthreatening. It is of interest to note warring between the tribes has been reduced since we have arrived.
Common Reasons for Emigration: Leyte has many people in it who would love to explore. After all, without explorers, the islands would not be settled in the first place. Also, many come to the Volksreich for economic opportunity. Many of the Leyte immigrants to the Volksreich are of the Orthodox faith, and in terms of local personas, Bishop Serlach Zarusal is of Leyte dissent. The rate of intermarriages between Volksreich and Leyte peoples is fairly high.
Our Images of Them: Like Leyte, the Hurun Confederacy is listed as an "area of strategic interest." The fact they control vast tracts of land with untapped resources, and are just north of the Freelands is one reason many rush to claim the region, or at least the support of the people in it. The popular image of their society is a "noble savage" type, but with a democratic structure for their tribes. Another is the Freelands betrays them for their own greed.
Their Images of Us: The Confederacy is grateful for supplying them with modern gear, and is seriously considering joining the Volksreich. To them, we are a paradise. Druidism is like many of their local religions, and the Great Spirit of their religion has even been compared to the Universal Clockmaker of Deism.
The Reality: The Hurun are not one tribe, but six smaller tribes with a republican structure. Each village elects a chief, and a Grand Council of elected chief-senators select possible candidates for a president. The president is popularly elected, and a group of elder shamans act as advisors and judges. This structure is almost exactly the same as the Freelands Republic. However, the Hurun have the misfortune of being behind technologically. While the Freelands have pushed the Hurun around, they are now more wary of how closely the Hurun are aligning themselves with us. The Kaiser does not wish to loose the Freelands as allies, and is gradually working to ensure the Hurun can stand on their own two feet, rather than surviving as a colony or protectorate of the Volksreich. However, once the Hurun have developed enough on their own, eligibility for membership will likely follow.
Common Reasons for Emigration: Many Hurun followers want to experience the Volksreich for themselves. Also, many travel abroad seeking to draw attention to their homeland's plight, as well as try to forge alliances. However, the normal factors of work and employment also draw many.
Our Images of Them: Quen'cha is a mysterious empire. It is full of wealthy aristocrats, and dirt poor slaves. The breadth of it goes from mountain-top fortress cities to untamed jungles. All foreigners who travel here are threatened, for many who go here are enslaved. Some engineers from this empire seem to be slowly but surely modernizing it, as airships have been sighted. However, hardly any ships or boats are ever sighted, perhaps for lack of interest in a navy. There are tales of palaces made of gold, but again, these might be rumors spread simply to lure more potential slaves into their domain.
Their Images of Us: It cannot be easily known. Judging by what little information we have gathered, all non-noble born are considered potential slaves and tools of the "pure blooded." As one escaped slave recounted, a common slogan was "There was no pure race but our race, and there is no way but our way."
The Reality: Again, if these accounts are accurate, the Quen'cha are a disturbing state indeed. Most nations have banned slavery, while Quen'cha not only clings to it, but is always looking for more slaves.
Common Reasons for Emigration: Few escape from Quen'cha. Those that do bring tales of being forced to work it nightmarish conditions, as slaves to a decadent empire. Simply escaping to poverty in another nation is preferable to many. However, not many escape.
Our Images of Them: The Yamato Shogunate is a backwater chain of islands, divided up and fought over by countless feudal lords and clans. Sure, there are war-tales of the feudal society here, from samurai (warrior noble caste) to ashigaru (militias of peasant conscripts), and other stories. However, a good deal of these are stories. The almost-tribal fighting does not attract many interested parties, save a few traders (who have limited contact anyway) and missionaries (who are limited even more with contact).
Their Images of Us: The Yamato dislike most foreigners, pure and simple. The reason this backwater remains a backwater is due to them expelling anyone who acts, looks, or speaks differently than them. Different clans are partial to different outsiders, such as some warlords seek foreign support, and can be a bit more open minded.
The Reality: The Yamato Shogunate is a bit on the xenophobic side, but different factions all have different attitudes for outsiders. Sadly, it is simply majority opinion that foreign ideas, people, and goods are to be guarded against. The constant warfare of the clans does not make people think very highly of the state, as feudalism went out of favor in other nations a long time ago.
Common Reasons for Emigration: Not many people leave Yamato. When told the outside world is even worse by several warlords, the peasant class often stays more content with their lots. Those that do leave are either driven by curiosity, and want to see if the warlords are true or lying. Others are trying to escape the constant strife. And some leave due to illegitimate trades, namely smuggling in foreign goods. Some nobles have even left, looking for more foreign support for their clans.