Toll Wars

Period Overview

Although modern Anduruna culture is far advanced compared to its ancient iterations, it has not proven impervious to instability and conflict.

One of the unfortunate hallmarks of modern Anduruna is the instatement of ideological rather than pragmatic Central City policy. Progressively more ambitious Sabbaton administrations began earnestly legislating to solve the perceived injustice of inequality.

The realm of charity slowly morphed into the realm of government mandated management. Feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, improving the housing of the only moderately appointed, equalizing educational achievement regardless of students’ respective motivation, passing laws to prevent accidental injury... Efforts to make Anduruna perfect proved to be both difficult, labor intensive, and colossally expensive.

Many would point the finger to overreaching social engineering as the source of the resulting strain. Whatever the true cause, it cannot be denied that strain and tension began to increase in Anduruna. With mass media amplifying the volatility, it was only a matter of time until blood was shed. The result was the first official military mobilization of Anduruna in generations - the results of which remain classified to this day.


1182 A.D.: Although at historic lows, poverty and homelessness in Anduruna are seized upon by the political elite as pressing injustices. Attitudes begin to shift in the higher echelons of the Towers, as dignitaries fantasize about how to 'fix' society. Meanwhile, society's technological abilities are becoming ever advanced, as data-scroll functions multiply, and begin to include interpersonal communications and image sharing.

1191 A.D.: Emissary Liddo is elected Viscount, in a campaign extolling the plight of the underprivileged, and the moral imperative for Central City intervention. In office, Liddo studiously enacts dozens of ambitious government programs to cure poverty for good. The other shoe drops, as Sabbaton expenditures double over a seven year period, and a new 'social improvement' tax is instituted.

After a murder involving powers use is sensationalized in the media for months, Liddo undertakes additional legislative goals. Namely, to ensure that no one is ever hurt again, ever, in any way. Anduruna police and shock trooper units step up their hiring rates and although it was already illegal, murder is made... even more illegal. While Anduruna gets 'tough' on crime, its punishments for infractions mitigate in the interests of social advancement. Criminals are no longer imprisoned, they are 'rehabilitated', or 'enlightened'. Taxes are collected to show criminals the softer side of life, and woo them from their non-socially-progressive inclinations. Crime, oddly, increases. Additional funding is directed to continually broadcast public service announcements warning kids of the ‘uncool’ dangers of powers. The only strictly maintained punishment is the proscription of banishment for aggressive powers abuse - and even non-aggressive powers infractions face steeper punishments and prohibitions.

1198 A.D.: Viscount Liddo wins his re-election campaign - but by a narrow margin. Many merchants and citizens find their enthusiasm with the administration mitigated as Central authority tolls slash their incomes. However, a stupendously funded media blitz supporting Liddo highlighted, in excruciating hypothetical detail, the terrors bound to unfold at the withdrawal of expanding federal initiatives. With the government portrayed as an inextricable cog in everyday life, the voters capitulate.

Liddo's improbable reelection proves the point that data-scroll media support and advertising funding were now crucial aspects of the political machine in Anduruna. The ability to reach into every home and cajole every listener places Liddo's power on a higher level than any previous Viscount.

Originally used mainly for entertainment and public service announcements, the city's data scroll broadcasts soon found their scope increasing. Printed news scrolls faced vanishing public interest in the face of the data-scroll. The data-broadcasting networks - located conveniently in the Sabbaton Towers - began running their own news programs. Being owned by the city, however, inevitably tilted the content and spin of their coverage.

As media took on an ever-expanding role in daily and political life, it was also the harbinger of celebrities. With the hurdles of talent and dedication replaced by the hurdle of network approval, single entertainers and performers could be ubiquitously broadcast and recognized. Soon, many famed celebrities were famous more as a matter of arbitrary selection than for any special ability or performing skill - foremost among them politicians pushing an agenda.

Late 1198 A.D.: Federal programs continue to dutifully conscript funding, food, and housing to the job impaired, gouging the revenue from working class incomes. The Sabbaton bureaucrats are surprised and perplexed when the ranks of the benefit-laden unemployed grow. This growing unemployment rate affirms to officials the dire necessity of their interventions, and the need for yet more.

His direction voter-approved, the Viscount translates his moral mandate to be even more far-reaching. Not just poverty and violence, but all major problems are slated for Central City administered cures. Educational achievement, construction safety, regulated hammer hardness and knife sharpness limits, the diony content of fermentae, stair height, licensing restrictions on flight for winged dreamkeepers, regulated sweetness levels in candy, and innumerable other rules and laws, each with their own dedicated federal division, staff, budget, and authority. In every case, it is deemed that increased regulation, legislation, funding, and Central City control are unavoidably critical.

With funding running desperately short, the government is forced to find a solution. The Anduruna currency, lucre', is 'revalued' and reissued by the government. Coins of precious metals are exchanged for paper bills and plastic coins that are mass produced to accommodate ambitious budget expenditures.

1199 A.D.: An altruistic young inventor applies at the Towers for a patent on a new creation - teleportation technology. His work is groundbreaking, and he hopes to proliferate its cost-cutting use and ease the burden on hard-hit businesses and merchants. His research is promptly confiscated by federal agents, and he is arrested on charges of unlicensed research, tax evasion, extensive regulatory breaches, and failing to file for permits. After losing the rights to his own innovation, Scinter is sentenced to a two year prison term.

1199 A.D.: With ballooning federal expenditures straining budgets, the ‘City of Sharing’ media campaign is aired. It highlights the needy, their growing population, and the myriad of other problems threatening the city - and justifies a fleet of strident new socially progressive tax initiatives and regulatory fees. Struggling businesses and middle class citizens are forced closer to poverty, with a massive outcry that is distorted in the news. Untaxed ‘black market’ business burgeons, and shock troopers make raids on un-approved and tax evasive operations. The ranks of the unemployed swell, as any organizations noble enough to struggle in the legitimate market find themselves inexorably taxed out of business.

Protests and anti-tax rallies are held across the city, with wage-earners and business owners protesting the endlessly swelling government expenditures, garnishments, and entitlements. Concomitant with these protests, powers infractions and bouts of violence break out. Shock troopers are dispatched to crack down on the outbursts. In the media, the bloody actions of the fringe are capitalized upon to create a vivid caricature of the ’black market bandits’.

1200 A.D.: Forced out of business or co-opted by Central City government takeovers, a large segment of the population is disenfranchised and disinclined to partake of the patronizingly sanctimonious federal poverty benefits. The gutsiest and most freedom-resolved Andurunans finally decide enough is enough. Thousands of merchants, business owners, entrepreneurs, and independents decide to leave Anduruna and found their own settlement - a free settlement. The ‘bandits’, as the media dubs them, leave the city walls and head for the north.

1201 A.D.: The Anduruna fallguard tournament season goes forward as planned, in a shower of media attention and rapt audience interest. During the universally viewed championship game, disaster strikes. An unidentified dreamkeeper in the crowd unleashes a devastating power attack, butchering fellow stadium-goers. Thirty-two fans and three athletes are instantly killed, and scores more suffer crippling wounds. The population is shocked to the core at the horrific carnage - and shock soon turns to outrage.

Strong action is promised by Viscount Liddo, and he reassures the bereaved populace that justice will be served. Any ambiguity the remaining citizens had about their leadership is swept away in the polarizing tragedy. Liddo immediately passes legislation mandating banishment for all powers use - not just for aggressive infractions. Additionally, all weapons or weapon-like implements are banned from public possession.

Late 1201 A.D.: Initial investigation, corroborated by several anonymous tips, points to the estranged ‘bandits’ as having planned and executed the attack. Viscount Liddo publicly sends an envoy north from Anduruna, to demand the surrender of the individuals directly responsible for the atrocity. Several days after the start of their journey, the entire envoy is found slaughtered and deposited just outside the Outer Wall. A caustic note left with the bodies is the final conclusive piece of evidence needed against the bandits. The first military strike force of modern Anduruna is gathered for combat.

1202 A.D.: In late winter, a strike force of shock troopers is regimented and sent north to counterattack the bandit threat, and the Toll Wars initiate. With their exclusive access to manufactured springer rifles and other advanced gear, there is expectation of an easy victory for city forces. However, unexpectedly intense skirmishing in the dunes north of the city results in shipments of wounded soldiers home, and emergency reinforcements.

Also this year, the Sabbaton Towers introduce a new feature to the public - brand new telepads for transit to and from the Towers. The telepads ferry passengers between the Sabbaton and central District Towers. In addition to personal use, the pads are presented as a safe, city-controlled method for shipping merchandise. Shipping through private companies, or other organizations with suspected bandit ties is discouraged. Meanwhile, the black market organizations remaining within the city experience a surge in concerted organization.

1203 A.D.: The shock troopers return from the Toll Wars - historically, one of the shortest wars of Anduruna. The details surrounding its engagements are immediately classified, and the returning soldiers are forbidden from revealing details. Although casualties, kills, battle sites, and skirmish details remain cloaked, victory is publicly declared. Victory or not, however, conflict continues. Domestic powers attacks and murders continue to periodically shock and terrify the public, requiring increased shock trooper and policing activity to keep the peace.

Late 1203 A.D.: Igrath Winters, an ex-fallguard player and recent veteran of the Toll Wars, is elected Captain of the City Guard, and begins investigating power-related violence in Anduruna.

1204 A.D.: ‘Scinter's Mark’ untaxed black market fermentae is exploding in popularity. Not only is ‘Scinter's Mark’ sold illegally - and therefore half the price of Anduruna-approved fermentae - but its unregulated diony content and micro-brewed flavors far exceed the domesticated competition in quality. The ‘Marks’ become synonymous for black market and anti-government. Some elements of the population seem entertained by this rebellious, dashing connotation, and an emergency media campaign is launched condemning ‘Scinter’s Mark‘. Igrath and the City Guard are ordered to crack down, and put an end to the dangerous ‘Scinter’s Mark’ trend at all costs.

It proves difficult, as the ‘Marks’ seem to have ties to the bandits - and the bandits controlling the flo-wood seed trade are based in the northern dunes, selling their merchandise through illicit channels: further enriching black market elements. Although conflict between law enforcement and delinquents continues, the Toll Wars themselves are concluded. The city of Anduruna moves forward under its new heavily centralized socially controlling power structure, as ‘The City of Sharing’.