--Bona al la encycla lorica.
Guilded States in Ethaya
Ethaya is home to many nation-states, most of which are small and weak, led by nobles who call themselves kings, and with lesser nobles serving under them in a feudal system. Their militaries are generally mundane-only (no spellcaster support), and generally number in the lesser thousands, which is about as numerous as individual guilds. Because each guild is spread over much of Ethaya, the number of guild members in each of these states is in the mere dozens, the guilds don’t have the manpower to control all of these states directly, and so these states are quite independent. However with no magic on their side, these small states’ armies are much, much weaker than the guilds. As a result the kings and nobles of these states mostly defer to the guild when guild interests are at stake, and turn the other eye regarding incidences of guild abuse of their guild secrets. In general these states have good diplomatic relations with the guilds (in particular, the Interguild United Front). These states are considered the guilded states, and form the heart of Ethaya.
Because these individual states are weak, they form the Alliance among all the guilded states, essentially becoming one large power bloc. This is a defensive alliance only and only against aggression by non-guild organizations (ie for resisting invasion from other states, or acts of aggression from one of the guilded states). The guilds (led by the United Guilds ensure that all the guilded states contribute to the defensive effort; the guilds are loath to relinquish the influence they have over these lesser states after all. They do this with the threat of sanctions and expulsion from the Alliance for any Alliance member who refuses the call to arms, and in all its centuries-long history no guilded state has dared refuse. The guilds in turn provide magical support to the armies of the Alliance. It is only with this Alliance that the guilded states have resisted intrusion by other neighboring (and generally individually stronger) states. This alliance is only used in practice against states not in the alliance; states within the alliance oftentimes turn against their neighbors, citing a casus belli that paralyzes the greater Alliance to inaction. Depending on what’s at stake, it may be just the two minor states fighting it out or it may draw in coalitions of states from both sides.