Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cotery: The River States

The River-States are one of the largest, most powerful coteries - or they would be, if they worked together. Individual Riverstates continually compete with each other in matters of trade, commerce, civility, moral standards and even challenges of diplomatic politic, theft or assassination - simply to prove which is the greater city. This need for ego and pomp makes the Riverstates not only maligned as egotistical, but also praised as efficient, hard-working and willing to put their money where their beak is. Riverstates are often avoided by other Coteries in amtters of physical conflict, as not only are Ducks efficient fighters and traders, nor Geese entirely capable and terrifying heavy infantry, but the outcome from striking, or even simply irking a Swan is far too great to bare.

Riverstates Eyries manifest as huge, mobile fantasy castle cities, roaming the endless rivers of consciousness, trading and selling the Dreams and Desires of Humanity to those who would demand them - for trade cost, of course. Sometimes, strange thoughts and creatures rise from the depths of human subconscious, and it is the city's need to tame or eliminate the thing before it taints the emotional river.

The Riverstates operates to an unpredictable calendar of six political Seasons:

The Season of Masks, when one may express his thoughts and beliefs without associtation to the face behind the mask.

The Season of Carnivals, when every achievement is celebrated

The Season of Knives, when assassination, if unseen, is never inspected further.

The Season of Mists, when the Herons and Storks are allowed free reign of the City, and Ducks must serve them as their betters.

The Season of Lights, when the streets are littered with one candle for every citizen's fondest dream, their needs written on the wick.

The Season of Mirrors, when the Swan is Not To Be Disturbed.


Following the Second Parliament Of The New Age, the House of The Glorious Imperium has been at war with the seemingly monomaniacal Empress Articana, an Ancient Gargant Swan commanding a vast lake of inter-linked, over-frozen Houses, filled with angered warriors of the Lost. Despite efforts to beat her back, and even kill her, following diplomatic talks with Elector Ferdinand and Carla, Goose Champion Of The River, along with Swiftstream ally Ischarrion the Stork, Articana has ended and calmed her rampage. From the eyes of the Imperium, there is a truce - whether the power-hungry Empress believes this is yet to be proven, but many of her dead people have been accepted back to the Imperium... 


Five Principles of The River
  • Duty 
  • Conviction 
  • Achievement 
  • Respect 
  • Tolerance 

OC, The Riverstates can be played as Citystates Venice, Warhammer Empire, Disney Fairytale Castle, Feudal Japanese Palace, or even Jacobean England.

Riverstate Birdsong is, in my head, Folk. Folk Folk Folk. All that stuff we sing around campfires.Yes. Mixed with some Wagner Opera. And Kate Bush



Ducks are resourceful, reliable, and exemplary traders and Courtiers. It is said that no matter what your need is, there is a Duck somewhere that can get, do, sell, buy or kill it for you. Ducks are well-known for being tenacious, lucky, and even have a rumoured existence as Court Assassins. Ducks are good at getting out of harm's way, and attempting to job one is not as straight forward as it would first appear.

Ducks often wear the height of Riverstates fashion - waistcoats, doublets, ruffs, frilly dresses.
Ducks often carry rapiers or daggers.

Type: Pawn
Plumage: Grey or White or Brown
FacePaint: Green or Purple Forehead
Beak: Yellow Duck
Emotion: Desire
Inspirations: Venice Traders, The Sicilian and Inigo Montotya (Princess Bride), Cassanova
Oppurtunities: Courtier, Trader, Spy, Gossip, Assassin, Duellist, Braggart
Qualities: Quick, Swordsman , Knifeman



Kingfishers have a notoriety for being the best traders and salesmen in the entire Dream. To this end, this makes them unpopular with Ducks - this is partially because Ducks feel threatened by the Kingfishers' natural perfection at obtaining desirables, and partially because Kingfishers aren't exactly humble about their skills. To this end,. Kingfishers are rare, maybe one appearing in a Coterie, tolerated by his Duck co-citizens. Damn Kingfishers.

Kingfishers wear much the same as ducks, only gawdier.

Type: Pawn
Plumage: Blue
FacePaint: Orange Stripe across eyes, White on Cheeks
Beak: Orange Long Thin
Emotion: Desire
Inspirations: CMOT Dibbler (Discworld), Delboy (Only Fools and Horses), Pearly Kings and Queens 
Oppurtunities: Honest Trader, Wheeler Dealer, Fence, Extortionist, "Honest Trader", Masonic Leader, Spiv
Qualities: Emotionallist, Merchantillier, Quick



Chickens are resourceful, reliable, and incredibly hard workers. Recently recruited into the Riverstates by promise of home & employment, Chickens more commonly find themselves as the unseen, unheard underclass in every other cotery. While work is bliss, they do require adulation, payment and fair respect. Chickens are at home working, but enjoy a good fight, and will often fight just to solve an argument, or end an awkward silence.

Chickens often wear practical wear: shirts, shifts, hardy trews, boots, aprons.
Chickens often carry practical Knives. Some more martial, angry Chickens grow Talons.

Type: Pawn
Plumage: White or Brown
FacePaint: Red or Green on Forehead
Emotion: Bliss
Inspirations: Farmers, Yeoman, Factory Workers, Navvies
Opportunities: Fighting Champ, Trade Unionist, Heavy
Qualities: Quick, Hardy, Knifeman



Mercenary couriers and duellists, Grebes used to hold a position close to the Duellist Ducks and the Questing Cranes, but their need and Desires outweighed their loyalty to the Swans - some say they held closer fealty to the rumoured Riverstates Moorhens. They now fight, run and message for a Price. Grebes are spurious storytellers and liars, often bigging up their already sizeable victories to Muchausen proportions.

Type: Pawn
Plumage: Brown
FacePaint: Feather Stripes descending over eyes. 
Emotion: Desire
Qualities: Quick, Fancy, Swordsman



The Riverstates are not alien to the idea of recruiting. Some Winged, especially those in Houses otherwise crushed by the States, swear allegiance to a Swan, and devote their lives to protecting the River. Often treated as serfs by their fellow Ducks & Geese, Imperialistic Panderers are known to heroically defend their new Homes & Monarchs... but otherwise keep to the circles of the lowly and the poor, other outsiders. They often associate with the destitute and overlooked, acting as guardians and champions, a position of honesty and honour they could never have felt in their original homes...

Type: Pawn
Plumage: See Previous Winged
FacePaint: See Previous Winged
Emotion: Desire
Qualities: Swordsman, Shieldsman, One more from Previous Winged

- -

Information on The Lost can be found on their own page.



Geese are loud, brash, stout, nor the cleverest chicks in the nest, but are utterly reliable and the best guards, soldiers, watchmen, bodyguards and envoys the Riverstates can supply. Although not renowned for their intelligence, Geese make excellent trackers and detectives, unrelenting and gifted with a base cunning many more wise Winged utterly overlook.

Geese wear simple, hardy clothes, often with a breastplate, helmet and shield. Geese carry spears and swords.

Type: Knight
Plumage: Brown or White
FacePaint: White or Black stripe on nose
Beak: Yellow Duck
Emotion: Desire
Inspirations: Dirty Harry, Knights, Watchmen, Guards, Sam Vimes (Discworld), Judge Dredd.
Oppurtunities: Knight, Watchman, Footpad, Heavy, Detective, Judicial Champion
Qualities: Stalwart, Fearful, Armoured, Fortified, Spearsman


Storks and Herons



Storks (and Herons) have a stronger connection to the River of Thought than even the other RiverCitizens. Travellers and Roamers, Storks live outside and around the Cities (Bonded only by a Centuries-old pact with The Swans), travelling between Rivertsates with unnatural speed and ease, making them perfect Couriers and Messengers, despite their otherwise frailty. It is said that when a Swan dies, only a Stork's connection to the River will allow it to discover and unearth the Cygnet in hiding, and deliver the hidden Cygnet to the Throne, making the Outsider Storks a rare, if not guarded and valued asset.

Herons are the bastard, untrustworthy cousins of Storks. Unlike Storks, they are not given common rites of the Riverstates. Unlike Storks, who are likely to overcharge you for a palm reading, a Heron will simply run away with all your belongings while playing a jaunty tune on it's banjo. Herons live in strange stilt-rigged river settlements, always a small distance from the RiverState's gate. No-one knows who the Herons serve, or what the purposes of their raucous vandalism, trickery and strange sorcery are.

Storks wear erratic clothing - shifts, small waistcoats, silk sashes, headbands, jewelery, silk skirts, veils.

Type: Bishop
Plumage: White
Facepaint: Heavy White or Black Evebrows
Beak: Long Thin
Emotion: Desire
Inspirations: Gypsies, Couriers, Fae, Nightcrawler (X-Men)
Oppurtunities: Palm Reader, Herbalist, Astrologer, Romany Soothsayer, Carny, Sorceress

Stork Qualities: Quick, Knifeman
Heron Qualities: Hardy, Knifeman



The best way to imagine a Crane, without meeting one, is to take a little bit of Goose, and a little bit of Stork, and mix them together. Tougher and more cvombat savvy than a Stork, but with a sense of metaphysical duty and greater purpose most Geese lack. Cranes by nature are wanderers and Questers - always on some personal Quest or mission to retrieve something - wether it's for some personal enlightenment, on some errand for their Swan, or on a life-spanning Quest for some semi-mystical Dream Artefact long lost to the Depths Of The River. Cranes are seriously minded beings - focussed either on piety or honour, if not Duty itself. Stories exist of Cranes, so broken by their failure to complete their Quests, that they lose all hope - and a good portion of their sanity - and turn their backs on the RiverStates, consumed by some personal demon and spat out as some dark reflection of their previous, shining self.

Cranes wear their colours - tabards, tunics, heraldry, over simple armour. They often carry a broadsword and shield, or sometimes just a very large Sword. The more orientally-atuned Riverstates Coteries have more Smaurai-esque Cranes - silk kimonos, padded linen armour, katana. Cranes sometimes carry relics and artefacts they have previously secured - each with a long and ancient history behind them.

Type: Knight
Plumage: White / Black
MakeUp: Heavy White or Black Eyebrows
Beak: Long Thin
Emotion: Adventure
Inspirations: Bors, Gallahad, Parsifal (Arthurian), The Templar (Indiana Jones & Last Crusade), Mifune in Yojimbo and Sanjuro
Oppurtunities: Samurai, Ronin, Questing Knight, Black Knight
Qualities: Armoured, Swordsman, Shieldsman, Stalwart , Sabruer



Swans are one of the most mysterious Winged of all - other-worldy, majestic, elegant and powerful, Swans have strong and powerful connections to the River of Consciousness and thus Dream itself. Capable fighters, leaders and figureheads, Swans are not as physically imposing as many of the other Winged Leaders, but are instead seeped in mythology, rumour and folklore.

Firstly, it is strongly believed that within their lithe, frail forms, Swans are able to command sudden and great strength - a nod of their head and your arm is broken.

Secondly, it is considered a great taboo to lay hands on a Swan. To strike one down would invite a curse upon yourself for all eternity.

Thirdly, Swans to do not become pregnant. When a Swan dies, it is rumoured that a Duck will suddenly realise why, for all their life, they have felt alienated, alone, an outsider. This is because they were secretly... A Swan All Along!

Swans wear beautiful, perfect clothing - full regalia with silk shirts, waistcoats and tight trousers and boots; huge-trained dresses. The combat-minded swan carries the finest, fanciest rapier, often with a left-hand blade or buckler.

Type: King
Plumage: White
FacePaint: Coloured Glitter around eyes, Black stripe on Nose.
Beak: Swan
Emotion: Desire
Inspirations: Disney Princesses, The White Witch (Narnia), The Red Queen (Alice in Wonderland), The Goblin King (Labyrinth), Galadriel and Elrond (LOTR), Gloriana, Mordred (Arthur)
Oppurtunities: Prince, Princess, Emperor, Empress, Shogun, Sorceror King, Self-Sacrificing Monarch
Qualities: Fancy, Oratorism, Swordsman

- -

River Moorhens

Paramores of the Fisher Kings and the True Queens of the Riversates, long believed to have been a myth or misconception. Unlike their Green (And now Red) sisters, these Moorhens believe in love, passion, and being true to oneself: that the River signifies honesty and Destiny and fulfilling that. Masters of combining Bow-work with Floofy dresses, both devastating and graceful.
Moorhens of the River embrace Males & Females, unlike their Red counterparts - Male Moorhens (or Moorcocks) are often as in check with their protective, defensive, sensitive and emotional feminine side as their wives and sisters.
Their is a strange, eldritch friction between Swans and Moorhens. An awkwardness like either refuses to be in the same place, or even exist, as the other

Type: King
Plumage: Black / Blue, Red Plume on Head
Makeup: Red or Blue Wode
Beak: Small YellowEmotion: Desire
Qualities: Fancy, Bowsman, Sharpeshooter


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