Altacia, City of the Dogmen (A to Z Challenge, A)

1 April, 2015


The City of AltaciaThe Dogfolk did not appear in the ruins of the city of Altacia, once the stronghold of the Warrior’s cult before the Sundering, until a generation after the gods were cast down.  What caused the spontaneous uplifting of the packs of wolves and wild dogs who prowled the ruins is unknown but since then, the city and surrounding area have been restored and the Dogfolk have thrived and expanded throughout the local region.

The city itself is a mixture of restored ancient buildings, surrounded by a belt of newer building that are often in the process of being rebuilt (though sometimes these project last for decades as plans shift and leaders change) in a vast multitude of styles.  The outer part of the city is an ever shifting marketplace and shanty town with only the major avenues kept clear.

While the Dogfolk tend towards anarchy if left to their own devices, circumstances, that is Imperial rule, forces them to maintain at least the illusion of a central government, but it is a minimal government at best providing a ruler (or rulers), currently the charming King Saloman the Dancer, and a loose state bureaucracy that provides courts and organizes a militia under the direction of Vizier Olidox the Shrewd.

But becoming the ruler of Altacia (and it has had queens, kings, first ministers, presidents, pashas and a host of other titles for their ruler) is essentially a popularity contest and the ruler is expected to put on a good show and entertain the people, at their own expense, and their reign lasts only as long as they can command popular support.  Most changes of government are bloodless but occasionally a military minded Dogfolk will seize power by the sword, but they tend to not be much fun so their regimes do not last long.  Through it all, the courts keep what minimal laws the Dogfolk as a whole agree to and the small bureaucracy insures that the tax collectors from the Imperium are promptly and fully paid when they come calling.

The Dogfolk are proudDogfolk society is built on ever shifting groups where the most effective and charismatic leader can attract followers for almost any task.  The basic Dogfolk familial group, which is the building block for larger bands, is formed around several mated pairs, a few loners of both genders, and numerous children.  The mated pairs are organized in a hierarchy of dominance that is constantly changing as lower-ranked members challenge for position.  These small groups are constantly orbiting, being absorbed by and breaking away from the larger bands.  This leads to improptu and informal groups forming and dissolving with great rapidity throughout the city-state and very few successful, long term organizations.  The neighbors of Altacia are often the subject of impromptu raids and scattered piracy by Dogfolk bands  (entirely without government sanction, of course) who have been talked into a raid, piracy, or even a war of conquest by a strong leader.

Notes: the Dogfolk were inspired by the Vargr of the Traveller setting.

Photo by Jaume Escofet and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Wolf image from Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.


  1. Awesome stuff. Great background, looking forward to more.

  2. Dogfolk living in ancient ruins. I’m with it. 😀 Good writing!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

  3. But do they play poker?

    • Of course! They are big on competitive games.

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