The Albaean Empire is an island nation with a long history of independent governance under its Imperial Family. A long-standing rival of Gaulia and, more recently, Novgoraad, Albaea is one of the main belligerents in the World War, as its rapid rise as a regional power is being challenged by these traditional enemies.
Though smaller geographically than its continental rivals, Albaea has industrialized more quickly, and is known for the high quality of its military forces, especially the navy. Its industry is second to none in terms of quality, though lags behind Novgoraad in terms of sheer scale. Key industrial centers include Selmy, Forbaum, and Burchester in the north, Gravnaugh, Welham, and Hestershire in the midlands, and Cremmwale and Landown in the south.
Furthermore, the Albaean people are generally proud of their nation and united behind the war effort. The Empress in particular enjoys widespread popular support from all segments of the population, despite recent setbacks on the continent. Spontaneous rallies and locally-organized 'volunteer defense regiments' are common, and overall public opinion is determined to win the war.
Gaulia has existed as a distinct geocultural entity nds of years, and several major, radical changes in the exact nature of its sovereignty. Occupying a large section of the south-western part of the continent, Gaulia is a land known for both its imposing mountain ranges and its rich and abundant farmland.
Gaulia's most important assets remain its massive population and its large size, which insures ample reserves of every resource. Politically, however, Gaulia has been stagnant for decades. Ruled by a series of weak monarchs, regional control of the vast inlands has slowly slipped away, to be claimed instead by local governors.
The only truly successful force for centralization has been from the military, which, though modernizing more slowly than its rivals, is nevertheless noticeably more advanced than most private ventures. However, this has not been sufficient to oppose Albaea's army, which is smaller but better trained, armed, and equipped, and dealt them several embarrassingly one-sided defeats prior to the entry of Novgoraad into the war.
A vast expanse of northern territory stretching from one end of the continent to the other, Novgoraad is a massive but sparsely-populated nation. With huge reserves of metals and petroleum, Novgoraad's economic potential is unmatched. Racially distinct from the other continental powers, Novgoraad's population came from the far west, sweeping eastward until reaching their current borders.
Though historically a monarchy with imperial ambitions, the significant military defeat in Cimbria at the hands of Albaea's navy led to the rise of populist factions critical of the Imperial regime. Novgoraad's government was overthrown in 1929 by a coalition of lower-class worker's parties and extremist religious zealots preaching a reawakening of Novgoraad's ancient animist belief system. Under rule by a council of clerics, Novgoraad's foreign policy took a hard expansionist turn, becoming more intractable than ever, particularly regarding Albaea's own regional ambitions.
The most powerful of any of the combatants in the World War, Novgoraad's military is both well-equipped and overwhelmingly numerous. Their main drawbacks are two-fold: logistical difficulty in bringing their military might to bear against countries far from their production centers to the west, and a shortage of highly-skilled officers following the post-revolutionary purges that eliminated much of the traditional nobility.
The nation of Cimbria is one of the many smaller countries which became embroiled in the war as a result of its proximity to larger belligerent powers. Occupying the entirety of a pennisula of the same name, Cimbria's main export is fish, though it also has deposits of coal and metals which, though too small to be a major strategic concern, are fueling fairly rapid industrialization compared to its neighbors.
Cimbria's most important strategic asset is the naval port in Wadden. As the northern-most warm-water port on the continent, it was of utmost importance for the Grand Fleet of Novgoraad, which would otherwise be constrained to operating only during the summer months when the port at Varnik is open. Following an unsuccessful Novgoraadi attempt to seize the port, the Imperial Albaean Navy occupied Wadden in 1928 to ensure it would not fall into enemy hands.
Though initially welcomed by the locals, Albaea's imposition of export tariffs to fund the Wadden garrison at Cimbrian expense led to small-scale but violent acts of resistance, and prompted the Imperial Albaean Army to leave a large number of soldiers in the country as 'peace-keeping' forces. This in turn led to an escalation in the tariffs, and thus an escalation in the scale of the resistance. With the passage of the Emergency Act, democratic elections were 'temporarily' suspended, and de facto rule under a foreign military imposed.
Located on the northern interior periphery of Gaulian territory, Sachs has at various times been an independent region under various local dukes, and at other times been a province under the Gaulian regime. Though culturally distinct from Gaulia, Sachs shares many of the same challenges in terms of stunted modernization and weak central government.
Though poor economically, Sachs is strategically important because of its control over the land routes between Novgoraad and Gaulia. Sachs also separates Cimbria from the mainland. A region famed for its high steppe and broad, open plains, Sachs is ideal operating ground for the kind of mass mechanized warfare that has been developed by military strategists in both Novgoraad and Albaea.
As recently as 1933, Sachs, under the leadership of the warlord Otto Merovin, was in open rebellion against the central government of Gaulia. Albaean assistance in this separatist faction, particularly following Merovin's death in a plane crash, lead directly to the war against Gaulia that eventually expanded into the World War.
Located to the far south of Gaulia on its own peninsula, the ancient Kingdom of Hispalia was once a bastion of absolute monarchy, but is now effectively under the rule of a military junta. Though historically a major power, the collapse of Hispalia's colonial empire has led to it being eclipsed by its northern neighbors.
Hispalia has a reasonably modern military, with access to aircraft and armored vehicles of only slightly lower quality than their Albaean equivalents. Though not strategically located during the current conflict between continental powers, Hispalia dominates access to the southern seas via its control of several important straits. At present, these trade routes are closed to both sides of the conflict.
Hispalia is among the few nations to avoid direct involvement in the World War. This neutrality is not the result of isolationist foreign policy so much as economic and military exhaustion following five years of brutal civil war. Lasting from 1923 until 1927, this war saw the deaths of over a million people (civilian and military), and the destruction of several key economic centers during protracted sieges and bombing campaigns.
Located on the far western edge of the Ruthenian continent, distant Qing borders Novgoraad from the west and south, much as Gaulia borders it to the south and east. Ruled by representative federalism, Qing's vast territories are governed semi-autonomously through a labyrinthine bureaucracy of public officials. Culturally, Qing's religion centers around ancestor worship and finding one's place in the divine hierarchy.
Compared to Novgoraad and even Albaea, Qing boasts impressively advanced technology. Their armies are comprised of mobile and mechanized infantry in much higher proportions than either nation, and direct, brigade-level cooperation between their air and ground forces gives them unmatched reactivity in land warfare. Despite having smaller numbers of troops than Novgoraad, they have actually occupied key cities in that country's western regions.
While the byzantine internal politics of Qing are of little popular interest to the people of Albaea, their ongoing conflict with Novgoraad is seen as being of long-term strategic importance. Indeed, loses on the western front are frequently cited as the reason more troops cannot be devoted to the conflict against Albaea. Despite this, Albaean politicians do not consider Qing an ally, and the few immigrants from Qing living in Albaea are viewed with mistrust and outright discrimination.