Epics of Ithaca
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Life in Northern Ithaca is disciplined, but easy going. They value wisdom and peace above all else, but are not afraid to fight for survival and are not afraid to help allies in war either. Interdependent with Southern Ithaca, the two sides of the island are governed separately, but most non-Ithacans consider them to be one country because of the strength of their bond. The Northern side (your side) is ruled by the beloved Queen Helena.
Queen Helena’s rise to power was unexpected to say the least. Before her, Ithaca’s view on women was that of all Greeks; objects, toys, servants, child-bearers. Since the very beginning Ithaca has been marauded by pirates on all sides. It was Helena disguised as a man (Mulan style) that put forth and executed a strategy that crippled pirates in the Ionian sea. And there is not a shortage of men who believe that she also impacted the Aegean pirates as well. After being exposed for a woman there was a trial that she lost. On the night before her execution the people rose up and stormed the palace freeing her and giving her the throne. In annual remembrance of this event, one day in August is reserved for everyone to freely question the Queen’s decisions and reign (she always goes to public forums to hear) and the next day is for celebration. Also, although Ithaca has a queen common women are not allowed to be landowners (and by Ithacan definition true citizens). They’re still treated better than anywhere else in Greece except Lesbos. Helena is seen to be a descendant from the Gods and therefore an exception.
There is an obvious lack of real-estate in Ithaca so every landowner (and by definition true citizen) has to “prove” their worth to Ithaca. All men and some very FEW exceptional women must serve in the military for no less than 5 years and then be ostracized for another 5 years. Being in the military is seen as proof that you’re willing to fight for your country and being ostracized is seen as proof that you have traveled the world and are therefore wise. Usually only about a quarter of the men come back which is perfect for Ithaca’s sustainment. Most Ithacans have a strong sense of brotherhood and so they usually form groups when ostracized to help each other out in the “rest of the world”.
I’m going to start the campaign with you all being ostracized. You all either served in the military together, are friends, or know each other some other way, but you decide to at least start your journey as a group. From here on your motivations can take you anywhere. If this aspect really doesn’t fit into your vision of your character, try to find some reason you would be adventuring with this group that does fit. If this doesn’t fit for a majority of you we should start a conversation about what would.