About Ostark

Ostark is technically the country formed for the Ulgoronists, but in reality, it ended up more as the country for any faith other than Ulgoronisoism. Due to this, Ostark always had a bigger population than Nirnivia and received the larger territory. These advantages gave them an edge compared to Nirnivia when it came to facing the many challenges brought by the near apocalypse, but rest assured, they still faced major difficulties. Their science hasn't reached the glory of before the old war, but they've always been a little more advanced than Nirnivia, and the gap only increased in the present day.

Races in Ostark

Racially, Ostark is more diverse than Nirnivia, in large part due to its religious diversity. Perz and Zargs felt more willing to join Ostark in general because of the reputation of Ulgoronisoists being zealots. As such, the Brigs still formed the majority of the population, but at only 48% versus Nirnivia's 77%. The remaining 52% is mostly formed by Zargs and Perz and both represent a similar proportion of the population. Since few Jonilans remain in general, they are the minority in Ostark, but there are still more of them than in Nirnivia.

Thanks to Ostark's impressive diversity, the different races live in harmony and discrimination is extremely rare, even more so than in Nirnivia. In fact, the tension between the Zargs and other races that can occasionally be felt in Nirnivia is far more subdued in Ostark, though it still exists if you look hard enough.

Religion in Ostark

Religion in Ostark is far less monolithic than in Nirnivia, and this is probably due to greater racial diversity. Ulgoronism, Taidism, and Hynoism are all neck to neck for a race for the second position, the leader changing frequently in mere months. Win-Kui-Noi is the most practiced religion, though only because it is compatible with every other faith and many adopted it as a second religion. Perhaps because of its interest in science, there is a relatively large population of atheists in Ostark and it is growing little by little. The only unrepresented religion is Ulgoronisoism as doing so would defeat the purpose of Ostark's existence. No one, therefore, practices that religion, at least not openly, and it is generally considered taboo to discuss it.

Political system

Like Nirnivia, Ostark is also a democracy, but quite a different one. The country is divided into 139 districts. There are three main political parties and they each have a deputy for every district. The population of the various districts elect their chosen depute. In the end, the party with the largest number of elected deputes within the total of 139 is the one leading Ostark. The chief of the winning party is known as the President and is the most powerful person in Ostark. Upon election, the President forms his cabinet by choosing 18 ministers from his deputes. The defeated parties form the opposition and it is their job to keep the current administration in check. In some instances, it is possible for the elected party to have less deputes than the opposition, this is known as a minority government and usually collapses quickly leading to a new election.

Ever since a tragedy known as the Chestnut war, Ostark has been under martial law, meaning the opposition party has been removed and the President rules unopposed along his cabinet. At first, the people were wary of this as they feared the President might abuse his power. Those concerns proved unwarranted as the President was a rare man who put the wellbeing of his country first. In fact, ever since martial law, Ostark prospered beyond imagination. This quells most dissidents, though a few still wonder what this arrangement might bring in the future.

Political leaning

Ostark is a centrist nation, though it probably leans a bit to the right. They favor individual responsibilities and have a disdain for what they call a nanny state. Ostark still has social programs, but not as extensive as Nirnivia. Taxation is thus less, but some critique the situation as being unfair to the poor. Unlike Nirnivia, they didn't have governmental health care for almost all their history and each citizen was responsible for their own medical bills. Lately, however, the situation has changed somewhat. A few years ago, a new President took charge of Ostark and he slightly shifted the country's state to the left. In particular, he enacted a universal health care system that, while not as feature-complete as the Nirnivian one, provides great relief to lower income families and without imposing major constraints on the budget. In fact, it often seems like this mysterious man managed to fund his programs without any negative impact on the bottom line in general. Most don't know how he can accomplish this, but he surely is a genial politician.

A love of science

The people of Ostark have a great love of learning and knowledge. Their culture produces many talented scientists. It is believed to be due to the fact that many Perz joined them in the beginning and their cultural love of science proved infectious. This is, of course, very beneficial to Ostark and they enjoy generally better technology than Nirnivia, as well as superior medicine and weapons. The differences are slight, but Ostark still has the advantage, and in the last few years, their rate of progress increased even more.

The neutral zone

The neutral zone is a territory separating Nirnivia and Ostark. Entering the neutral zone for any reason is considered a crime punishable by death. Should members of the military enter it, it could be considered an act of war. While seen as a necessity in order to enforce both countries' isolation, enacting a neutral zone proved controversial back then due to resources. Most of the world lied in ruin, and forsaking land seemed foolish to many. In the end, the fear of another war won out. Solid stone walls were also built along the zone in order to prevent anyone wishing to break the rule of doing so. On the Nirnivia side, N.I.S.D.A is in charge of guarding this wall, and Ostark's military does the same from their end.

Despite the law and the wall, it is believed both Nirnivia and Ostark sent excursion into the neutral zone for things such as resource gathering and attempting to infiltrate the other country with spies. No proof exists, which is why those alleged incursions never caused conflict. Criminal organizations sometimes attempted building hideouts in the neutral zone in an effort to hide from the police, but few succeeded.

Once in a while, some poor soul wishing for a new life attempted to enter the neutral zone and cross it to 'immigrate' to the other country. All immigration is illegal by default, a given since even crossing the neutral zone is a crime, so such an attempt is incredibly risky. The vast majority failed and died somewhere in the neutral zone. Those who succeeded gained their new life, but in exchange, faced the constant risk of discovery. Rumors have it that, eventually, a class of criminal organizations specializing in 'immigration' came to be. According to the stories, these provided services such as crossing the neutral zone, penetrating the other country's border, an education of the other countries' history, and custom, fake papers to help perpetuate the ruse, and so on. It is unclear whether such a 'business model' would actually work, as most assumed there would be few clients available.