To the uninformed observer, the United Duchy of Tharsamund runs like a well-oiled machine. The many Precieux Familles (Noble Families) have a sphere of influence, one they work to maintain for the entire nation. Each family has a Patron(ness) that sits on the Grand Council that administer and creates laws to better serve the people. They let outsiders see this as a harmonic arrangement that works out to the benefit of everyone. The truth is not so clear cut. Each of these families wishes to exert influence over the others, or at least expand their own reputations. This can become problematic when it’s to the point of discrediting the other families.
The nation is mostly stable, but the savvy politician can see the shifting in prestige of each Famille, this is usually achieved by accomplishments of its members in research, magical prowess, resources, discoveries, and inventions. This also works out that the country is meticulous and efficient. The only drawback is that the hotheaded and reckless often resort to violent spell duels to settle insults and differences in opinion. While the Council officially frowns upon these disputes, punishment on the victor is relatively light.
Each famille’s niche is part of a larger Bureau, which is a large category. This is to enable cooperation among other groups. The Bureaus are Security (Diplomacy, Tactics, Police, Intelligence, and the Courts), Knowledge (History, Arcane Lore, Alchemy, History, and the Academie), Commerce (Banking, Agriculture, Transport, Trade), and Aesthetics (Architecture, Entertainment, and Crafting). For more information on these see each individual Famille.
The only independent institution is the Church of the Lightbearer, who the majority of Tharsamundians revere. The Church prizes progress and does not interfere with the daily
back and forth between the Noble Families, seeing it as the product of Zenaide’s divine will. In fact, the Church supervises the seasonal festivities which culminate in the weeklong Crimson Carnival.