The Troll Kingdom of the Black Forest is one of the associate members of the Allianz Deutscher Länder, the Allied German States.
The economy is supported mostly by agriculture (in the Rhine valley) and light manufacturing.
Officially, the militia can only number 1/1000 of the population, and hence only about 7300 sentients are active members of the militia. However, the entirety of the police force and quite a number of private citizens are “reserve members”. While no combat tanks or fighter planes are permitted by the treaty, the magicians working for the country proved their spirits quite capable when the Kingdom seceded on February 19, 2043, and more than a few Western dragons have been seen on military bases.
The King is Berthold I, born in 2010, goblinized in 2021 and one of the best street samurai in Europe in his day.
The Copenhagen-Zürich maglev line run by Transrapid AG stops in the nation’s capital of Freiburg.
It’s hard to see the dividing lines on the map in the Germany sourcebook, but it looks like Offenburg, Bühl, Kehl (across the river from Strasbourg), and Villingen (on the eastern border) ought to be just inside. (Need to get a good topo map of the area...)
When the government is a feudal monarchy, you don’t have to worry about citizens voting for impractical measures— all you have to do is keep them content with their current lot in life. This makes it possible to follow a long-term vision. The vision that Berthold I and his advisors have devised is intended to bring Orks and Trolls into their own in the 21st century.
The high school equivalencies and university degrees in the Kingdom are rare, because Orks and Trolls don’t have the lifespan to throw away on accumulating general knowledge. The schools in the Kingdom are designed to pack the four R’s— reading, writing, arithmetic, and research— into the students, and get them ready for entering apprenticeships that lead to the job market. (Ork and Troll children enter puberty two or three years earlier than Human children, and at 15 are ready to start families; children who can’t hold down a basic service job at age 9— the onset of puberty— are rare. With that kind of lifespan, you don’t need to spend time studying biology and chemistry and history and literature before you enter the job market.)
With this kind of focussing, the Trollkönigreich Schwarzwald is capable of turning around a new generation of workers in a profession faster than any nation working on a human timescale. The Kingdom’s officials are hoping to capitalize on this enough to acquire outside investment to boost the economy and lower the 38% poverty rate. As the education system comes into its own, the availability of skilled workers should eventually cause the megacorps to knuckle under and treat the Kingdom like a respectable country.
To compensate for the lack of general education, there are a number of channels on the local Matrix carrying documentaries and other educational shows. (Most of these are imported, but there are a few respectable foundations creating them locally.)
The University of Freiburg is working to achieve a reputation as the source of the most fiercely egalitarian peer reviewers on the planet. Anyone working there is required to weigh all academic topics stringently for their merit, without paying attention to the sex, race, megacorporate affiliation, or any other irrelevant quality of an academic. While work done inside the country is often discounted by outsiders as the messing about of a bunch of sloppy trogs, the rare fair-minded individuals have to admit that their standards are competetive. (Members of the Dr. Faustus Society are finding it hard to get a foothold in the Kingdom; their Old Boy Network is being actively discouraged.)
The Kingdom makes a point of trying to attract more educated Orks and Trolls to the country. (No one outside the highest echelons of government is sure, but most analysts believe that making Humans into noncitizen “wards of the state” was a step performed to sweep away human institutions that would make life difficult for Orks and Trolls, who have to operate under different paradigms, rather than a racist reaction.) As the King is a former shadowrunner, there are also consulates and noble titles available for purchase on the sly. Such titles are not easy to abuse, as the country is careful to avoid having all its consuls placed automatically on a persona non grata list. Since many shadowrunners retire rich, King Berthold hopes to get some of that money ploughed into his own country.
The country is not yet wealthy, but there are occasional “genius grants” for folk displaying incredible mental acumen: these consist of quiet trips to have encephalons, cerebral boosters, and/or mnemonic enhancers installed, or an Increase Intelligence +4 spell lock. (Berthold’s government is working on catching the country up to modern bioware and leónization practices, and plans on subsidizing mind-enhancing and life-prolonging technology once they’re available homegrown.)
A team of Trollish martial artists (including at least three Physical Adepts and a couple of former street samurai) are working on a new martial art called Trollschlag (“troll-strike”), an art designed for people who typically stand nine feet tall, have long arms, short legs, dermal armor, aren’t quite so fast, and have impressive physical strength. It is an unusual combination of boxing and drunken kung fu, with an emphasis on hand strikes and forearm blocks. The moves involve a great deal of cunning— one of the classics is the straightforward knuckle strike that “misses” and turns into a vicious elbow strike. There are many kiais and other flashy moves, designed to take advantage of the intimidating size of a Troll.
A state-sponsored initiatory group (which trains regularly with the militia) performs mandatory magical testing on all children, not stinting on the possibilities of shamanic, hermetic, or physical adept potential. The initiatory group’s strictures are Oath (loyalty to the country), Belief (in the country’s goals), and Material Link; any magically active person can join.
Improving BuMoNa medical care in the nation is a high priority; currently, the socialised system is of lower quality than the rest of Germany. Fortunately, Orks and Trolls are in general healthier than humans, so the population is better off than an equivalent human one under the same level of medical care.
In a society centered around Orks and Trolls, many things are different from the normal human-centric milieu. Without humans around as a baseline, all the “good habits” developed throughout the 20th century to prolong life past the age of 70 have fallen by the wayside: tobacconists proliferate, since few Orks and Trolls are going to die of lung cancer before old age gets them.
The average citizen has a different perspective on time than a human usually does. On the one hand, the short lifespan encourages revelry and enjoyment of life, since there is only so much of it. On the other, the short generational time (about 20 years to a human 30) promotes a stronger feeling of continuity than most humans feel in the modern era. There are a lot of loud parties, but also a lot of responsible parents.
Visitors to the Trollkönigreich Schwarzwald instantly notice the size factor. The furniture is designed for Orks and Trolls: rather than furniture being the “extra durable” model that barely holds an Orkish frame, Orks are comfortable, and Elves and Humans look like children perching on it. (Quality furniture in Orkish and Trollish sizes is a respectable export industry.) The pubs all permit smoking, and serve drinks in pint and quart glasses.
Visiting humans can have trouble getting into some places, since they’re not regarded as people in the Troll Kingdom. Orks and Trolls can, however, sign documents taking responsibility for them as a “retinue”, and will function as an effective passport into areas that would otherwise discourage human visitation.
Resident humans are effectively serfs. They have a limited range in which they are able to travel, both within the Kingdom and within the towns of the Kingdom, and they are the responsibility of their local feudal lord. A human marrying a citizen gains most of the privileges of citizenship; their spouse assumes personal responsibility for them.
The 7% population of “Other” in the Kingdom— half a million sentients!— is due in large part to the government policy of accepting other “fringe” sentient peoples as citizens, such as sasquatches, nagas, free spirits, and dracoforms. Accepting such beings as citizens is another means of procuring outside investment, since there are few countries that will permit them to own property. The official government line is that such exotic beings deserve regard as individuals, just as Orks and Trolls must fight for in other countries.