by Max Barry

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A Journey Through Radiatia [Part One]

A Journey Through Radiatia



CONTENTS

MAP
INTRODUCING RADIATIA
RADIATIA AT A GLANCE
GETTING THERE
DOs AND DON'Ts

RADIATIA BY REGION:
THE SOUTH
THE EAST
THE HEARTLAND
THE NORTH
THE NORTHWEST
THE WEST

RADIATIA BY STATE:
ALAYENIA
AMENTRA
ASGARD
BAHAMATSU
CHAUCH
CHONGLUNTZ


NUMONGOLIS
PFANTZ
POLARIS
RADIA
RESTERBURY
SAKU
SASKENYA
SKORPTSCH
SLIBEZONEER
SOUTH CHIRIDIA
SOUTH CORPSHIRE
TATHIKA
TCHORT
TUVEA
VATFER
XEGFAUSE
XERCONIA, FCT
ZIIGRUT
ZORBAKH
CLODE
DETZERTSCHA
DIATARA
DIIFGRAO
DRACHENSGARD
GAROTCH
GYANBERK
JINGYURIN
KERPRUSS
LUNTZBUSCH
MENDOVIUM
MIDGARD
MIITLANIA
MUS
NARAS
NAVANGA
NEW VASHURA
NORFUS
NORTH CHIRIDIA
NORTH CORPSHIRE



INTRODUCING RADIATIA

THE RADIATIAN FEDERATION IS A LAND OF EXTREMES, CONTRAST AND GLARING CONTRADICTIONS. NOTHING IS DONE IN HALF MEASURES AND THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "MIDDLE GROUND". THE GREAT NORTHERN LAND IS SIMULTANEOUSLY FAMILIAR - 'AS SEEN ON TV' - YET REMAINS ENIGMATIC AND MYSTERIOUS.

Only one word properly sums up the Radiatian Federation - huge. Its enormous tracts of land cover endless scorching deserts, gigantic snowy forests, unforgiving frozen wastes and crowded, smog-choked cities.

This vastness and variety extends to describe its people - from the laid back hippies of the west, to the relentless hard workers of Chongluntz, to the titanium-tough people of Midgard City or the incredibly friendly folk of Drachensgard.

Of course, technically Radiatia isn't one country: It's actually a federation of 45 states, each with their own language, culture, laws and history and understanding this help you understand the bizarre and often contradictory ingredients that make Radiatia what it is.

Individualism breeds diversity, and nowhere will you find a more diverse array of citizens than Radiatia. It can be hard to believe, but the accountant from Exegrad is just as Radiatian as the nomadic tribesman from Pfantz, and he's just as Radiatian as the yak farmer from Tathika, the factory worker from Midgard and the academic from Radii. They may seem worlds apart, but the Radiatian Federation is a world within a world.

Radiatia is a land of contrast and contradiction. It is a land that prides itself on 'efficiency' but has one of the most inefficient, bureaucracy-choked governments in the world.

It is the richest country in Noctur, yet a percentage of its citizens are illiterate and living in third world poverty, and meanwhile the ultra rich have private bank accounts larger than the GDP of most countries.

It is a nation where one can spend over a week in the desert, without seeing so much as one sign of civilisation, and yet contains some of the most crowded cities in the world. It is a land where extreme heat in the summer turns to extreme cold in the winter. The old joke is true - you can literally get heatstroke and hypothermia in the same place in the same year in Radiatia.

And this sense of contradiction extends to the national psyche: Radiatians are simultaneously bitter cynics and wide-eyed optimists. The country's dark and tragic past has instilled in people a certain callousness and distrust of government (and indeed a distrust of humanity), while the downfall of communism and rise of "New Radiatia" has given birth to a sense of fierce patriotism and pride - this is the Radiatian Century, and boy do they know it.

Post-communist Radiatia's contributions to the world can't be overstated either: Chances are most of your clothes, your car and your household appliances were manufactured in Radiatia, you've probably eaten at Greasy Joe's before, you've probably banked with EDEBC before, if you're unlucky you've probably flown Radiatian Airlines before and there's no doubt you've been amused (or alarmed) by Radiatia's huge influence on global pop culture.

Radiatia is known by many names such as "The Sheriff of Noctur" or "The Great Northern Land". For centuries, Radiatia was closed off to the outside - it was unknown, mysterious and inaccessible. Today it's more open than ever, but while you might think you know Radiatia based on what you've seen on TV, few foreigners if any truly understand this giant country: Perhaps Radiatia cannot ever be understood, only experienced.


RADIATIA AT A GLANCE

POPULATION:

AREA:

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

230.5 MILLION

18,755,722 km2

Z16.8 TRILLION

GREASIEST BURGER:
The original is always best - though Greasy Joe's is by now a global fast food empire, the original Greasy Joe's Extra Greasy Grease Burgers in Meganorf, Skorptsch is still greasier than all the rest - and it's worth staying around for the tour of the nearby world headquarters of one of Radiatia's most (in)famous exports.

TACKIEST THEME PARK:
In most countries the deaths of 10 million innocent people would be considered something to commemorate sombrely and soberly. Not in Radiatia, which instead built the extremely tacky and poor taste CommunistLand Theme Park on the site of a former gulag where millions were put to death. How better to commemorate one of the worst atrocities in human history than by spending the day eating candy floss and riding rollercoasters over a mass grave while plush costumed mascots in the likeness of mass murdering former dictator Drake Zerkus roam the park. No, seriously, this is real - it's located in northern Miitlania.

BEST BEACH:
The Radiatian Federation isn't exactly famous for beaches and a pleasant climate, but Win-Sen in southwestern Chongluntz is just that - and its arguably one of Radiatia's most well-kept secrets. The climate is pleasant and dry almost all year round, and the beach is located in the Gulf of Chiridia where warm winds blow in from the Great Radiatian Desert. Some of the locals might not be too friendly to tourists, with many worried their small slice of paradise is being taken over by foreigners, but as long as you don't draw too much attention to yourself then you too can enjoy the surfing and sunbathing.

BEST OUTDOORS STATE:
There is absolutely no competition for Drachensgard if you're into the great outdoors: There's hiking, mountain-climbing, hunting, skiiing, snowboarding, rafting, abseiling and even a strong scene for more conventional sports like rugby and football that will more than cater for even the most intrepid of adventurers' lust for excitement.

BEST PLACE TO CELEBRATE THE FIRST OF OCTOBER:
Nowhere celebrates the fall of communism harder than Exegrad - the city where the Third Radiatian Civil War began. Get in early to Draco Zerra Square - the place where the throwing of a single can of baked beans ultimately led to the collapse of one of the most vile regimes in history. Don't expect to get much sleep - Exegrad parties hard on October 1st, with fireworks displays known to last for up to 12 hours, while the normally buttoned-down and hardworking locals take to the streets in liquor fuelled frenzies.

BEST WHISKEY:
Far from destroying the local liquor industry, prohibition in the state of New Vashura has actually resulted in the state producing the highest quality (not to mention most potent) liquor in the federation. John Plank's brewery in Lidah is definitely worth paying a visit to - but be warned, the entire company is breaching state law (but a few bribes to local law enforcement will see them look the other way).

LONGEST ROAD:
Radiatian Interstate 1 - which stretches from Nepschu, Chongluntz on the east coast, passes through Xerconia, Exegrad, Radii and Midgard and ends at Hyuganberg, Clode - isn't just the longest road in Radiatia: It's actually the longest road in Noctur. To follow the road is to follow the history of Radiatia - from ancient history in Radii to communist era monuments to weird modern day attractions. It's often incorrectly referred to as the Traiyan Silviu Highway, although in actuality this only refers to the stretch between Exegrad and Xerconia - where Traiyan Silviu led anti-communist troops on the final march to Xerconia during the Third Radiatian Civil War.

MOST UNDERRATED DESTINATION:
The large but sparsely populated states of Zorbakh and Gyanberk are given almost no attention which is a crying shame: Orhan Zatsii National Park, which is located on the border between the two, is actually one of the most beautiful, serene and (unusually for Radiatia) clean places in the country. If you come here there's a good chance you could be driving for weeks before you see another human being.

MOST OVERRATED DESTINATION:
For a city that calls itself "The Entertainment Capital of Noctur", Das Engel is only appealing at night during the summer. During the day the city is as boring, conservative, congested and polluted as any other city (with a slightly higher crime rate) and in winter the whole place effectively shuts down. Granted, it's unmissable in the summer, and the bright lights are dazzling at night, but for half the year Das Engel just isn't all it's cracked up to be.

BEST RESTAURANT:
Radii is a city that knows how to cook and which, frankly, the rest of Radiatia could stand to learn from. It's not Greasy Joe's or Kerpruss Fried Yak here - although a fried yak steak with lemon potatoes and yakkum is a recommended menu choice. Almost anywhere along the waterfront of Lake Talaman is worth looking at, although Vladimir's Restaurant has been in operation since 1799 and is of historical, as well as gastronomical importance.

BEST MUSEUM:
Though as a culture Radiatians are far from nostalgic (with little to be nostalgic about), the country boasts a LOT of very museums, from the Museum of Communism in Xerconia to the Museum of Radiatian History in Radii to even the Traiyan Silviu Memorial Centre in Vatfer. The best and most interesting, though, is the Museum of Elduran History in Kuell, Eldura. Here you'll learn about Radiatia's newest state and the fascinating origins of Eldura and its people - whose story is absolutely unique in Radiatia.

BEST SUMMER DESTINATION:
Detzertscha Springs is the place to be in summer. Yes it gets hot - days 40 to 50 degrees Celcius are quite normal, but a dip into the desert oasis will leave you feeling refreshed, while top quality luxury hotel services (and Radiatia's predilection for hedonism) will see you leave all your troubles behind.

BEST WINTER DESTINATION:
Ever gone to the beach and ice-skated on the ocean? Ever surfed on waves that are frozen solid? No? Then Basha, Chauch is the place to be in the winter: Yes it's cold, so cold the ocean freezes solid, but Basha is a veritable winter wonderland. The city is decorated with ice sculptures, you can travel in style in sled-carts pulled by dogs if all else fails, there will be plenty of vodka to go around to warm you up.


GETTING THERE:

Passport, documents and visas

Most travellers will need a visa to enter the Radiatian Federation, unless you are on the visa waiver programme. All travellers will need a passport (an e-passport is required if you're on the visa waiver programme).

Your passport will be used as your offical ID throughout your time in Radiatia - it is essential to carry ID with you at all times in Radiatia; it is required when purchasing anything from checking into your hotel to buying Greasy Joe's. (For Radiatian citizens, the same applies although this ID is usually integrated in their bank card).

Radiatia also has customs and border checks at state borders, so you will need it if visiting multiple states.

Upon entering the country your fingerprints will be taken and your retina scanned, and customs officials can deny you entry to the country for any reason.

The above applies at all ports of entry, including airports, land borders and sea travel.

Obtaining a visa

By far the most difficult part of travelling to the Radiatian Federation is obtaining a visa. It is often joked that the bureaucrats at the Department of Immigration are more successful at scaring foreigners away than the Radiatian armed forces are!

It is strongly advised that you allow at least two months for your visa application to be processed.

There are several types of visas, which will be detailed below.

The Radiatian visa application process follows three stages:

  1. Invitation

  2. Application

  3. Confirmation

Invitation:

In order to obtain a visa, you will need an invitation from a Radiatian citizen (such as a friend or business partner) or a Radiatian corporation (such as a tour company, hotel or prospective employer).

The person or company inviting you will fill out an invitation form which will be attached to your visa application.

Application:

The application process involves filling out a form, which can be obtained from your nearest Radiatian embassy or consulate. Forms must be done on paper - it cannot be done online.

While the application form is fairly straightforward for the most part, people often get tripped up by the section asking which state or states you are travelling to.

The Radiatian Federation requires you to state precisely which of the 45 states you will travelling to - which means you will have to know precisely where you plan to travel and to have a relatively good knowledge of Radiatian geography.

While the law does allow for foreigners to visit more than one state, there is a limit of 10 states per visit - you will not be able to visit all 45 states in one trip on a regular tourist visa.

While unplanned excursions within a state you have applied to see are permitted, an unplanned excursion to a different state is not permitted, and you will likely be denied entry to the latter state if you haven't cleared it with the FDOI first.

The other difficult section is providing a reason for wanting to travel. This is particularly important when applying for long-term visas.

The Department of Immigration is loathed by anyone who has ever tried to deal with Radiatia, and it is not uncommon for them to decline applications for the most seemingly abitrary reasons.

Unfortunately for the humble traveller, they are the gatekeepers and they only way in is through them.

Confirmation:

After several weeks of waiting, you will hopefully receive a long, rambling letter in legalese that will vaguely hint towards your application having been accepted.

The letter will contain your Citizen ID card, which can be attached to your passport and is to be used at all times during your stay in the Radiatian Federation. (See above.)

Present it upon your arrival in the Radiatian Federation, where you will fill out a further form confirming your arrival. You are to confirm your location every time you travel to a new hotel, or make purchase.

A Visitor Visa gives you up to 60 days in the Radiatian Federation, in the state or states you have selected.

It cannot be extended or renewed unless at least six months have elapsed between trips. The visa will also usually expire if you leave the country, unless you specifically apply for a double-entry visa.

Nations on Radiatia's Visa Waiver Programme need not apply for this visa. (See below.)

The Visa Waiver Programme:

The Visa Waiver Programme is for nations with exceptionally close diplomatic ties to the Radiatian Federation.

It allows citizens to bypass applying for a visitor or business visa, and gives them an advantage in applying for any other kind of visa.

Entry via the visa-waiver programme is a far simpler (dare we say more efficient) process than gaining a visa - provided you have an e-passport, you can be registered online at no more than 14 days before travel, at a cost of 20 Tsenyens.

Provided you use your passport as ID, and do not accept paid employment, you are free to travel anywhere in the Radiatian Federation for duration of the period given to citizens of your nation.

Nations currently on the Visa Waiver Programme:

  • Aazeronia: 90 days travel

  • The Arthurian Isles: 60 days travel

  • Crata: 60 days travel

  • Detectatia: 90 days travel

  • Higgins and brown: 60 days travel

  • Nui-ta: 180 days tavel

  • Poldania: 90 days travel

TRAVEL BANS:

Following the signing of Executive Order 5267 by President Jaagen Autenberg, citizens of nations that are members of the United Nocturian Co-Operation Axis (UNCA) are not permitted to enter the Radiatian Federation for any reason.

Nationalities banned from travelling to the Radiatian Federation:


DOs AND DON'Ts:

While most foreigners assume they know Radiatia, and have seen enough of it on the news and TV to understand it, the reality is that Radiatian culture is often more complex than they realise.

The most complex part of understanding Radiatian culture is understanding that it's not one culture, but a federation of multiple small countries, many of which have their own cultures and even languages - and it's very important to understand the local customs wherever you go and how they might differ to another part of Radiatia.

Never underestimate how big the Radiatian Federation is: This is a country that has a larger landmass than Poldania, Segland, Crata and Higgins and Brown combined. Such a huge landmass breeds a diverse array of cultures.

The following rules should help you avoid committing any faux pas wherever you go in Radiatia:

DON'T:
Talk to strangers in southern, eastern or central states.

It doesn't matter how lost you are, how friendly you are or even if you're lying in a pool of your own blood - in the southern, eastern and central states you will get no help from strangers and if you don't already know someone, you won't be getting any help.

In the south - particularly the big cities like Exegrad and Xerconia, talking to strangers is inefficient - unless they can profit or gain power by talking to you, they're not interested. In the east people just keep to themselves, and while they are generally very polite, it's considered rude to initiate conversation unsolicited.

As for the central states, well, depending on where you go if they get wind that you're a foreigner you could end up with a lynch mob on your tail, so be careful talking to strangers.

Also beware that in many poorer areas of large cities, strangers may talk to you - ignore them and pretend you didn't hear them: nine times out of ten they're a scammer or criminal trying to pray on the naive tourist they've spotted.

DO:
Talk to strangers in western or northern states.

Just when you've got used to keeping your head down, being quiet and being efficient, you go west or north of the Drachensgard mountains and suddenly the culture changes and everyone is super friendly.

There is a very noticeable culture difference between north and south, west and east - in the west everyone's got a smile on their face, everyone's got a joke to tell and people will be fascinated (rather than threatened) to meet someone from an exotic nation.

In the north people are even nicer and will probably bend over backwards to help you out or show you a good time (be prepared for a lot of food and vodka), with the general rule of thumb in Radiatia being 'the colder the climate, the warmer the people'.

One important exception to this rule is the state of Eldura, which culturally has more in common with the central states than the north - although even then Eldurans have more against "mainland" Radiatians than actual foreigners.

DON'T:
Tip.

You might think giving your waiter an extra few Tsenyens for good service might be greeted with gratitude, but don't be surprised if he looks indignant or even insulted.

Tipping (along with bartering) simply doesn't happen anywhere in Radiatia, at all, ever: Paying by cash is bad enough (most Radiatians use electronic bank cards to pay for everything) and paying without exact change is worse but paying with random sums of money is unforgivably inefficient.

At best, they might assume you need help counting your money and offer to explain which banknote is which, but more likely you'll get a dirty look and rude comment about foreigners who can't count.

Pay the asking price at all times: No more, no less - and try not to stand around making small talk while you do it (unless of course you're somewhere up north and everyone's drunk).

DO:
Be punctual.

For the love of all that is good in the world, be on time in Radiatia!

Radiatians time things down the the second and this is a country where trains being more than 30 seconds late becomes a national scandal - so if you're not right on time, don't be surprised to find yourself shunned or alone, or to find you've missed your train/plane/bus/meeting.

If anything you should aim to be at least 20 minutes early for everything - being early is fine, but being late will only enforce the already-negative stereotypes that most Radiatians have regarding foreigners.

DON'T:
Be outwardly religious.

The Radiatian Federation is a state atheist nation, in accordance with Article VI, Section Two, Clause 1 of the constitution.

While there are laws in place allowing freedom of religious observance in private, and a few churches, temples and synagogues hidden in the back streets of most towns and cities, outward displays of religiosity will see you ostracised faster than a Radiatian fighter jet.

Religion is often seen as a sign of mental illness in Radiatia, and taking your religion really seriously in Radiatia will make you look particularly ill. Leave your burqa or orange robes at home (many religious garments are banned most in places anyway), and remember that even a simple friendly "God bless you" may make you look like a raving loony in the eyes of most Radiatians.

DO:
Dress appropriately.

The Radiatian Federation has one of the least hospitable climates in the world, with extremely hot summers and bitterly cold winters. It's essential for your survival to ensure you have the right clothes for the conditions.

If that's not enough, some parts of the country (especially the south) will have dress codes in place in most shops/bars/malls - try to keep to semi-formal wear if at all possible at all times in major cities. (Rural areas are less strict, and in the north you'll probably just wear layers of fur to keep you alive.)

Beards and facial hair are a no-no in the south - although conversely in the north they say everyone has a beard, even the women.

Oh and a gas mask is perfectly fine to wear on a night out - you'll almost certainly need one, as sometimes air pollution in the cities can be very bad, and make breathing difficult. This may be shocking to a foreigner, but it's routine for Radiatians - carrying a gas mask in the winter is second nature.

DON'T:
Talk about communism.

50 years on, it's still a very sensitive subject in Radiatia, and jokes or opinions about the subject will not be appreciated, especially from a foreigner who 'wasn't there' (never mind that half the country wasn't born when the RPSU was around).

Don't assume all Radiatians are rabid anti-communists either: A surprising number sympathise with the ideology and even Traiyan Silviu himself claimed to be a communist.

The fact is that Radiatians take a very complex view to the subject - most grapple with the fact that most of the nation's industry and infrastructure was built by the communists while at the same time struggling with the fact that 10 million people were murdered by them.

You're a foreigner. You weren't there. Stay out.

The same advice applies to Radiatian politics in general: No matter how much of an expert you are on politics, if you're not a Radiatian then you have no business discussing Radiatian politics. (And for the record: Most Radiatians aren't aware of how much Radiatia affects the rest of the world, so using that argument on them won't work.)

DO:
"Grease the wheels" with a few bribes.

Although Radiatians claim to value efficiency, the nation's bureaucracy is often nightmarish.

That said, the country worships the almighty Tsenyen so don't be surprised if you find can speed up whichever recalcitrant official is holding you up by offering him or her a few extra Tsenyens.

Be careful though - bribery is the exception not the rule and can land you in trouble if you bribe the wrong person with the wrong amount.

Don't even think about trying to bribe the police with less than 100,000 Tsenyens, for example.

But in saying that, when used sparingly and carefully bribery can be what turns a good Radiatian vacation into the single greatest hedonistic experience of your life.

DON'T:
Expect Radiatians to have heard of your home country or know anything about the outside world.

Radiatia is a world within a world; and most Radiatians haven't left their home state let alone travelled abroad.

You might be from a very powerful country, hell you could be the President of a very powerful country and the average Radiatian would be none the wiser.

Some Radiatians might be fascinated to learn you're foreign and bombard you with questions about mundane aspects of your life ("Do you have Greasy Joe's?", "Do you have electricity?"), some might be a little hostile of distrustful of you, but there will be absolutely no reference point for them.

"I'm from Higgins and Brown" will sound more like the name of a street address (the intersection of Higgins Ave and Brown Street) than a country, and don't expect them to find it on a map.

In fact, don't expect most Radiatians to find Radiatia on a map...

DO:
Prepare for extremely long travelling times.

Radiatia is huge. This can't be emphasised enough.

You'll definitely spend more time flying, driving or on a train than you will actually at your destination, so learn to get comfortable while travelling. (Seeing Radiatians asleep on public transport is a very common sight - they're not homeless, they're probably just commuters with a six hour commute.)

Even if you stay in the same region, state or (heavens forbid) the same city, you should still be prepared for long travel times as traffic in Radiatian cities is incomprehensibly bad.

Walking can sometimes be arduous too as in many cities people walk from place to place in shelters and pipelines (due to the horrible climate) rather than outdoors - and these can be narrow and very crowded.

Remember to plan ahead - factor in 30 minutes to take the elevator from the 60th floor of your Exegrad hotel to the bottom, factor in an hour in traffic and three days on the highway.

DON'T:
Stop in the middle of the street.

This could literally get you killed.

Footpaths in major cities will usually have lanes and designated stopping bays, just like on the road, and the lanes will have specific directions and walking speeds (don't be a slow walker in the fast lane - you'll be knocked over by people in a rush.)

If you stop, don't expect people to be polite - you'll almost certainly be shoved over and face the risk of being trampled to death. It's not an uncommon story to hear of a tourist in Exegrad who was trampled to death while stopping to check his map - don't be that tourist!

Also beware that in some states (Amentra springs to mind!), jaywalking isn't just illegal but it could result in you being run over by angry motorists and then sued for damaging their vehicle.

Obey street signs carefully!

DO:
Show you love Radiatia.

While they're not all foaming-at-the-mouth jingoists, most Radiatians are deeply patriotic - even the self-hating Radiatians who moan about the country would still never dream of leaving (unless, of course, they already have left).

Don't bash Radiatia or be overly critical - and if you want to make friends, consider learning the national anthem or even buying a simple "I Heart Radiatia" T-shirt.

Even the most cold and xenophobic Radiatian will warm to you if you show them how much you love their country.


RADIATIA BY REGION:

The Radiatian Federation, being such a vast and varied nation, can be further subdivided into regions, each of which bear their own distinct cultures.
Such regions include the Southern States, Far North, the Heartland, the Western States, the East Coast and the Northwestern Plateau.

The exact boundaries of these cultural regions are not fully defined with many states, such as Xegfause and Mus, displaying cultural tendencies attributable to more than one cultural region. Other states such as North Corpshire and Ziigrut are known to display cultural tendencies atypical of their region, while others still such as Eldura and Drachensgard have, arguably, a unique culture.

Occasionally alternative names are given for cultural regions, sometimes based on political or economic factors rather than culture. Examples include "The Farm Belt" which includes states from the west, the south and the heartland and "The Mountain States" which is usually used to encompass the Northwest and the Plateau region together.

But for a traveller unfamiliar with Radiatia, understanding the broad differences between the various regions can go a long way toward better understanding Radiatia as a whole.

THE SOUTH

Featuring densely populated urban jungles, the sweeping vista of the Great Radiatian Desert, sophistry, culture and wealth, the Southern Radiatian Federation is the most populous region of the Radiatian Federation, comprising a third of the total population of the Radiatian Federation.

The southern states are marked by a highly urbanised population, with the south boasting the highest quality of life, highest GDP per capita and highest levels of education in the federation. Four of Radiatia's ten largest metropolises are located in the southern states including Exegrad, the largest city and Xerconia, the federal capital.

Ethnically, the southern states are dominated by White Radiatians, followed by Traditional Radiatians. However immigrants from other countries also have a significant presence in the south.

Historically most of the Radiatian south dates back to the middle ages, or earlier. Great kingdoms such as Radia and Alayenia, as well as parts of the former Chiridian Empire are found in the region. As a result, there tends to be more linguistic diversity in the region, as well as a stronger sense of tradition. It is the only region where Radiatian is a 'native' language, however other languages such as Aliyan and Chiridian are regularly spoken here, as is English.

All southern states have public education systems and well developed infrastructure, and most southerners are multilingual. Southern culture is, however, generally more individualistic than in other regions, and southerners tend to be more direct, less open and less friendly in everyday interactions.

This has given them the stereotype of being either "rude", "snobby" or in the case of many urban centres "plastic".

Intelligence, as well as accuracy, is highly valued in the south while southerners may also appear vain - with southern culture tending to prize aesthetic beauty and presentability over personability.

Although areas such as Radia, Saku and western Alayenia are fairly temperate (at least by the standards of Radiatia), the Great Radiatian Desert is the largest and most notable geographic feature of the region.

Politically the region is notable for its social liberalism. All southern states apart from Alayenia are considered "red states", i.e. safe states for the Social Democratic Union, with ideas such as the welfare state and public education being more valued in the south. Residents of the southern states tend to be more likely to support large federal government programmes, rather than devolution.

States in this region include: Alayenia, Detzertscha, the Federal Capital Territory, Radia, Tchort, Saku, Jingyurin, Numongolis

Xegfause is sometimes considered a southern state, but also displays cultural aspects of the Heartland and is considered a "buffer state" between the two regions.

South Corpshire is also usually considered a southern state but occasionally displays the cultural tendencies of the Western States. South Corpshire is always included as being a "farm belt" state, and differs from the south in regards to the fact that its population is more rural than urban.

THE EAST

Take everything you think you know about Radiatia and bin it, because the eastern states defy every cliche and stereotype there is about Radiatia, and it can be easy to mistakenly think you've left the federation!

The east has a distinctly un-Radiatian feel, which will be immediately noticeable through the fact that Chiridian and Chongkao are much more commonly spoken languages here than Radiatian - while the quiet, intellectual and very polite population will challenge everything you thought you knew about Radiatian culture.

Like the south, the east has a predominantly urbanised population - though easterners are just as likely to dwell in a series of small and large towns as they are to be crammed into a major metropolis. The most notable geographical feature of the area is the Oriens Ocean, with most easterners being among the few Radiatians to live on or near the coast - and the proximity of the ocean affects the local cuisine too!

Ethnically, the eastern states are predominantly Yellow Radiatian or Traditional Radiatian - with a very notable ethnic difference between the east and the rest of the country.

Historically, most of the eastern states consist of the remnants of the ancient Chiridian Empire, which spread north across the region from the Chiridian Peninsula, covering modern day Ziigrut and Vatfer. Chongluntz developed its unique culture, language and history separately with the peninsula caught between Tuthina and Chiridia, and its culture taking on aspects of both cultures as the centuries went on.

Eastern culture is by far the most collectivist in Radiatia (although still very individualistic by world standards), with most easterners being highly educated, unionised and avid supporters of the welfare state - this is a part of the country where the Social Democratic Union dominates local politics.

The eastern states are also notable for their having a much milder and more pleasant climate than the rest of the Radiatian Federation - which is no doubt why the country's fastest growing cities are all located in the region. Whether its the pleasant maritime climate of southern Chongluntz, the refreshing sea breezes that moderate Vatfer despite its northerly latitude or the subtropical winter warmth of South Chiridia, the eastern states are a welcome escape from the harsh and inhospitable climate that the rest of Radiatia endures.

But don't go thinking that the eastern states aren't Radiatian just because they're different - Chongluntz, being the country's second largest state is a major industrial, cultural and political influence on the rest of the country and it must also be remembered that the nation's founding father - Traiyan Silviu - was an easterner.

States in this region include: Chongluntz, Vatfer, South Chiridia, North Chiridia, Ziigrut

North Chiridia is sometimes considered a southern state, due to most of the state being contained within the Great Radiatian Desert - but culturally, historically and geographically, it is most definitely an eastern state.

Ziigrut is something of a buffer state between the east, heartland and north (and it even borders Xerconia, a southern city) and while its history and geography put it in the east, it shares more than a few cultural traits with the heartland and north.

THE HEARTLAND

There's nothing to see in the central states of the Radiatian Federation, and tourists flock from all over the world to see it: The endless nothingness of the flat prairies, steppes and plains of this region hold a certain charm for the traveller who just wants to clear their mind.

And clearing your mind is very welcome in this part of the world - the heartland has a reputation, whether deserved or undeserved, of not exactly being the most intellectually stimulating place you'll ever travel. Folks here are simple and unpretentious and they expect the same of you.

The central states have a reputation for xenophobia, which many would-be tourists might find off-putting, but the reality is that this stereotype is often unmerited. In fact the central states are some of the fastest growing in Radiatia - and most of this due to an immigrant boom. Cities like Yuesses in New Vashura, Furadstadt in Diifgrao and Meganorf in Skorptsch all feature surprisingly large, diverse and thriving immigrant communities.

The fact of central Radiatia is that anyone from anywhere is welcome - just as long as they keep to themselves, and don't start trying to change "the way things are". If you leave your neighbours alone, they'll leave you alone.

Many Radiatian stereotypes were born of this region, with this being the part of the country that loves corn, whiskey, banjo music and most famously gave the world Greasy Joe's.

In ancient times this area was settled by people from the distant island of Vashura, who entered the Radiatian subcontinent via Vatfer and travelled southwest. Vashuran (or a version thereof) is still spoken in many areas and though more than a thousand years have passed between those times and now, many central Radiatians still consider themselves part of a pioneering and colonial spirit.

Heartlanders like to keep to themselves, and don't like being told what to do by anyone - especially the federal government - and that's why politically this region is almost religiously Liberal-Conservative.

This is also one of the more impoverished areas of the Radiatian Federation with low rates of public education, limited employment opportunities and a large number of people living in trailer parks.

The climate (and life in general) here can be tough at times - summers are hot, winters are cold and tornadoes are plentiful, but if you're looking for a simpler life and believe in rugged individualism then crack open a whiskey, get yer banjo out and head out onto the plains because this is the place for you.

States in this region include: Diifgrao, New Vashura, Skorptsch, Saskenya

Mus is sometimes considered a heartland state, and sometimes considered part of the northwest. It's a more urbanised state than most heartland states, and is considered culturally northwestern but with some notable heartland features.

Xegfause, as written above, is usually considered a southern state - but northern Xegfause is unquestioningly part of the heartland.

THE FAR NORTH

The Far North of the Radiatian Federation is the most sparsely populated region in the nation. Although arguably the largest region physically, the states in this region collectively make up just over 5 million people - barely 2% of the population of Radiatia.

The northern states are the least developed part of the Radiatian Federation, containing the highest levels of poverty and - generally - the lowest standard of living, with the notable exception of oil-producing states like Polaris. Geographic isolation, the harsh climate and a lack of infrastructure are usually cited as causes.

Because of the low population, and low population density, the north is not heavily urbanised. However it is often confused with the heartland states and falsely thought of as being a rural region. Indeed it's often easy to confuse northern culture with heartland culture, though they are two very distinct regions.

Ethnically the northern states are fairly monocultural, with Traditional Radiatians dominating the landscape. However, the area is also home to a large number of nomadic tribes, though little is known about these tribes and their customs.

Northerners tend to be uneducated - with the lowest literacy rates in the country, and most people live either as hunters, fishermen or subsistence farmers. Development aid from the federal government has seen most northerners spared from descending into complete barbarianism, however the area is poverty stricken nevertheless, excluding Polaris, which benefited greatly from the oil boom (and is actually ranked, unlike the rest of the north, as the state with the highest standard of living in the country).

Northerners, distinct from Heartlanders, tend to be open to new people rather than xenophobic, with daily life in the north almost always centring around the local tavern. Beer is sometimes drunk, though vodka and other spirits are more commonly used. Indeed, northerners tend to drink alcohol regularly as a means of warming themselves up in the bitter cold.

Radiatian is the predominant language, and the language spoken by more educated northerners, such as government officials and those dwelling in large towns or cities. Nomads tend to have their own, undocumented, tongues.

Northerners are more likely to be religious, spiritual or superstitious and tend to be in touch with their own traditions, although unlike the south this is in the sense of ties to family and direct ancestors as opposed to cultural traditions.

Northerners also tend to be more rugged, uncouth types - not unfriendly, but certainly not cultured or refined either. Actually Northerners tend to be by far the nicest people you will meet in Radiatia - the colder the weather, the warmer the people.

The most notable geographic aspect of the northern states is the Arctic circle, or the proximity to it. The northern states all share an Arctic, or subarctic climate and life in the north tends to centre around bitter cold being a fact of life.

Politically it is known as the "apathetic north", with it usually having the lowest voter turnout in the nation, even in local elections. As a result of the political apathy, cronyism, nepotism and corruption rates in the north tend to be quite high, while political machines are also dominant.

The northern states tend to vote along similar lines. Although they temporarily went red during the Social Democratic administration of Jaagen Autenberg (a northern President), the north has historically tended to be solidly blue with the Liberal-Conservative Party capitalising on the relative social conservatism in the north, as well as the distrust of government (especially the federal government).

States in this region include: Polaris, Slibezoneer, Tathika, Diatara, Kerpruss, Gyanberk, Pfantz, Zorbakh

Navanga is sometimes considered a northern state due to the fact that most of the state is entirely above the arctic circle, however culturally and historically (and to an extent geographically) it is often considered northwestern.

Eldura is a very unique state that doesn't fit neatly into the north or northwest, and is sometimes considered part of either region.

THE NORTHWEST

There's never a dull moment in the northwest - whether you're snowboarding down the Drachensgard mountains, taking in the dramatic scenery of the Bahamatsu volcanic field, hurtling through one the region's many national parks, ice-skating over the frozen northern ocean or simply trying to survive on the tough streets of Midgard City, nothing here is ever boring.

The northwest is a very diverse region, featuring a mix of major urbanisation (with this area being the "rust belt" of Radiatia and known as a major manufacturing region), to medium sized mining towns to comforting rural villages. The dramatic landscape is what binds this region - people here work hard (be it at the factories or in the mines) and they play hard (rugby, boxing, skiing, kayaking and all number of extreme sports are beloved here).

Most people in this region are, in some way or other, influenced by the former Kingdom of Drachensgard which stretched across the region in ancient times and has given the area a distinct "Nordic" feel. While Radiatian has replaced Drachenese as the dominant language in most of these states, many of the old myths, legends and naming conventions remain.

There is a notably diversity of culture too - while people from Drachensgard are famously friendly, people from Midgard are known to be among the rudest and most unfriendly in the world. But wherever you end up, if you can prove that you're hard-working, efficient (and often that you can hold your liquor) then you'll fit it in just fine.

Politics in this region is changeable and a lot of "swing-states" are found here. While areas like Midgard, with large urbanised blue collar populations, remain staunchly Social Democratic, the rugged and rural parts of these states hate the federal government and are therefore staunch Liberal-Conservatives.

Life in the northwest is rugged - the region is prone to volcanoes, earthquakes, blizzards, extreme cold and often rainy and depressing weather even on a good day. Work is hard and you've got to be tough to survive here. But if you're up to the challenge, then buckle up - because the adventure of a lifetime awaits you here!

States in this region include: Drachensgard, Bahamatsu, Chauch, Asgard, Midgard, Miitlania

North Corpshire is often included in this region, with the northern part of the state sitting mostly on the Greater Midgard commuter belt - however the southern part of the state is distinctly southern or western in terms of culture.

As stated earlier, Mus, Navanga and Eldura are all states that could be considered northwestern but could just as easily be considered part of another region.

THE WEST

Chill out and become one with nature among the endless taiga and pine forests of the western states. Anything goes in this part of the country, so take off your clothes, smoke a joint and go reconnect with the trees.

The western states are extremely popular among tourists - both domestic and international. The laid back culture, beautiful scenery and (crucially for international travellers) the fact that English is the dominant language all make the west a very attractive place to be - from the isolated forest lakes of Garotch, to the beaches of northern Norfus to the hedonism and bright lights of Das Engel.

Historically the western states have been influenced by the Radians, the Rivenkans, the Narasians and the ArghNeedANamers - the latter influence most notable in the fact that English is so widely spoken here. A sense of humour is essential in this part of Radiatia - everyone here has a joke for every occasion, and anything goes as long as you don't take yourself too seriously.

In this part of the country, cannabis and public nudity are legal while prudishness and humourlessness are frowned upon and the inhabitants are an eclectic bunch of freaks, weirdos, hippies and more than a few washed up celebrities.

Politically, the west is extremely socially liberal - although this manifests in sometimes hard to predict ways. Some states are solidly red, completely rejecting any LCP conservatism while just as many states are solidly blue, rejecting federal government intervention and indeed any sort of SDU government interventionism.

States in this region include: Norfus, Luntzbusch, Resterbury, Clode, Naras, Amentra, Tuvea, Mendovium, Garotch

North Corpshire shares a lot of western (and even southern) cultural traits but is usually considered northwestern rather than western,

South Corpshire is also something of a hybrid state, with both western and southern cultural aspects - but is usually considered southern.


Part Two of the Guide Continues Here

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