Guide for the Perplexed
Welcome to Shireroth and to micronationalism! Whether you're someone who has stumbled upon our site and wants to know more about us or a new immigrant trying to figure out what you've gotten yourself into, the following pamphlet should tell you enough about us to allow you to jump right in and feel that you understand most of what is going on.
According to the DEA, micronationalism is one of the most addictive things on Earth. If you are the kind of person who easily gets addicted to things and doesn't have very much time, you should probably stop reading now.
What is micronationalism?
As the name implies, micronationalism is the game/hobby/way-of-life based on creating and living in small nations. It has many levels, from people who treat it as a role-playing game to people who are dead serious about seceding from the United States or elsewhere as soon as they get enough military might to back themselves up.
Shireroth falls in between. We have no secessionist aspirations but we do try and maintain at least a tenuous grip on reality most of the time. We're simply a virtual nation (and political and social simulation).
All micronations are looking for new immigrants who are interested in contributing something to the community, and Shireroth is no exception. If what you see in this guide seems interesting to you, please consider joining us (if not, please still consider joining us...).
Is this a role-playing game?
Not in the sense of a traditional RPG of any kind that we're familiar with. For instance, we don't have gamemasters or common rules that everyone implicitly follows. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to play a character that's not exactly like you in every way. Shireroth has had its share of talking dogs, and dolphins, and elves, and even cyborgs that command armies of twelve foot tall bear-hybrid-things. Writing stories with characters of your creation is accepted and encouraged.
However, we consider the roleplaying part and the government-simulation part of our nation to be separate magisteria, with a very specific kind of relationship: Roleplaying always yields to government.
For instance, if the Duke of Elwynn were to decree that all elves in the duchy are to die, you don't write about how the elves are all doing fine, but you're welcome to write about the horrors of genocide, or about a heroic individual that escaped to another duchy, or even about a local resistance movement. You can recontextualise and reinterpret the politics, and in fact Shirithians do this quite often, you just can't force the politics' hand.
Similarly, you can't write a story that you have murdered the Kaiser and are taking his place on the throne. That is, unless you have the Kaiser's approval. In essence, within the political simulation there won't be a difference between assassinating the Kaiser with his approval, and being his chosen heir. The difference only exists in the roleplaying magisterium.
If it is helpful, consider Shireroth not to be a simulation of a country but rather a virtual country that happens to be conducting many of its affairs on the Internet. It has a legislature, a university, a square for general discussion, et cetera. Roleplaying is simply a tool for fleshing out the appearance of countryhood.
So what do you do?
Whatever we want, basically. People are always coming up with more ideas to make Shireroth a more interesting place. However, most stuff that happens here generally falls into a few areas:
- We pass laws. Laws can concern everything from what holidays we celebrate to our foreign policy to who gets noble titles. This is really the backbone of the whole system. As a new immigrant, you will not be directly involved in the legislative process. However, you can watch the proceedings of the Landsraad and are encouraged to tell your Duke your opinion on issues.
- We conduct foreign relations. There are many other micronations around, and some of them, like Gralus and Nelaga, are very close to Shireroth, often working with us on various plans. The Ministry of the Exterior works on writing treaties, negotiating solutions to problems, keeping informed on what our friends and enemies are doing, and trying to convince foreign countries to act in ways that benefit us. Sometimes we just visit and say hi.
- We have a military and an intelligence agency. The military chiefly participates in "recwars", a uniquely micronational sport similar to RPGs in many ways. Intelligence often consists of having foreign contacts who are willing to sell Shireroth information on their nations and of infiltrating enemy countries with spies before they can do the same to us.
- We create fiction. We have developed a rich fictional culture, a couple of stories, and some history for our lands and institutions. Usually this is done as a side or an embellishment to the government work, but there are some people who prefer just to write stuff or role-play without any official government jobs.
- We make stuff. From launching model rockets under the guise of a space program to broadcasting KIRS, Shireroth's own radio station, people with hobbies tend to find that associating them with Shireroth makes them more fun and gets people interested in them.
- We have an economy. Together with some other micronations, we're participating in a virtual economy. We share the same bank system and that way can trade with each other. This means e.g.: a Shirerithian buys a picture of a new airship from Nelagans while selling a newspaper to the Gralans. There are also virtual stock exchanges. The ASTEX, the Shirerithian stock exchange, is one of the larger ones within the sector.
- We have our own world, called Micras, which we share with other micronations. Based upon the map, we participate with other nations, conduct foreign affairs and develop our interior policies (e.g.: dividing the land up in Counties).
Where do I go to do stuff?
The majority of Shirithian affairs are conducted on the forum. Go ahead and post boldly - while a Yardistani or two might bite you if you're not careful, they don't have any infectious diseases. We think.
How does the government work?
Our government works on the feudal system. It consists of three levels, each of which is sworn to obey the level above them and each of which commands the levels below them in their turn. On top is the Kaiser, who you can think of as a sort of king. His word is law, although to hold official sway it must be formalized in an Imperial Decree.
Directly below the Kaiser are the Dukes, of which there are currently three. The Dukes each rule over a Duchy, and each have the privilege of voting in the Athelsraad, a veto council.
The third rung on the feudal ladder, and the one you're probably going to be on for a while, is everyone else. This includes titles that previously had significance in the government, such as Baron / Thane, Count. Non-dukes have recently (September 2010) got a direct vote in the Landsraad and have a say in the legislature.
Everyone has the possibility to hold high positions in the Ministries.
How can I become a noble?
- (the normal way) Be an active, intelligent, and loyal citizen. When a noble title opens up, someone may remember you and recommend you for it. There is a good chance of becoming Kaiser after a while.
- (the easy way) Marry into it. The significant others of Shirerithian nobles are granted their own noble titles, although they are not ruling nobles, a small but significant legal distinction.
- (the really helpful way) Recruit some friends to Shireroth. If you get a couple of people to join together, and they prove to be active and willing to found a new Duchy together, the Landsraad or the Kaiser is likely to grant you one.
A great way to prove yourself an intelligent, active, and loyal citizen is to get yourself a job in one of the Ministries. In general, people who just do good work and make a lot of friends in the community are more likely to hold a higher noble title than people who are obviously hell-bent on a title.
What fiefdom should I live in?
Most citizens of Shireroth reside in a fiefdom. If you choose to immigrate, you will be expected either to choose a fiefdom or give the Minister of Immigration and Naturalization permission to choose one for you. The current fiefdoms are as follows:
The Duchy of Goldshire, has been revived!
General themes include history and archaeology (especially Shireroth's own fictional history), religion, economy and industry, Monty Python references, and leadership. Different counties offer chances to develop cultures based on influences from Eastern Europe, India, a large variety of places with no obvious Earthly inspiration - and of course there's still space to add your own.
Also, Goldshire is protector of Shirithian Elwynn, the eastern portion of the duchy that broke away during Plague of the Houses. It is hoped by many that in the future the rifts between Shireroth and Elwynn may be healed, and the duchy of Elwynn re-united.
The Duchy of Kildare (or Dutchy as Kildarians wish to call it) has a long and somewhat troubled history. Traditionally most military leaders have come from this area. It is ruled by Duke CJ Miller, and its culture is an unstable mix of old Apollonian traditions that predate Shireroth and a bit of Ireland that has hung on through the region's many incarnations. General themes include both war and love, union and bickering, and also multiculturalism, Apollonian history and Apollonian religion. Kildare is home to some of Shireroth's better developed minor subdivisions, the old and well-liked Schlangen and Kitanus Fields, the more unique Hallucination, and the more controversial Greater Audentior. It also has a certain amount of influence from micronations that do a lot of business with the means of magic.
Since the Great Consolidation, Kildare became the most influential and most populated subdivision of the Empire. It became even more important after the Laqi Schism which led to the independence of Elwynn.
The Duchy and Anarchy of Yardistan has been revived as well. Yardistan was a (sort-of) functioning Anarchy in the distant past, and that rebellious spirit still lives on in many ways. Yardistan is also currently (Feb. 2012) protector of the ancient Duchy of Brookshire.
How do I immigrate?
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, register on our public forum, go to the Ministry of Immigration and Naturalization (MiniImNat), and fill out the form on the top. For more information on immigration, talk to the Minister of Immigration, whose contact details are below.
Who can I talk to?
If you have some questions about Shireroth or just want to chat, here's a few possibilities.
- The best bet is the forum.
- Or you can try the #nelaga IRC channel on irc.psigenix.net (or on the web)
- Or you can contact people by instant messaging (the given names are AIM IDs):
Any other advice?
- Just participate. The more you do stuff, the more it will all become clear to you.
- Don't worry if you are kind of confused your first few days, eventually everything will become clear. Even the old-timers are still surprised of what Shireroth has to offer.
- If you don't know whether or not to do something, do it. We'll probably find it fun and play along - that's how we built a micronation in the first place.
- Ask questions. Questions are good.
- Talk to people. About anything. The more people you know, and know well, the more enjoyable things will be.
- If you're confused about the forum because you see other nations on it: this is simply to explain. Shireroth is currently sharing a forum with some other micronations, this makes visiting each other a lot easier.
Where can I get more information?
The wiki you're currently reading can give you definitions of most of terms related to Shireroth, histories of our institutions, and descriptions (occasionally warnings) of different people or positions. You should be able to just click on the "Random page" link in the sidebar and learn about a random Shirithian subject, or just read through the wiki and the forum. The easiest way to find out things, however, is to ask about them.