The Kingdom on the Snake, sometimes called the Crown Territories, is a old and powerful state in the Yellowstone Nations. It was established quickly after the great war, and at its peak embraced everything between the Craters of the Moon and Yellowstone National Park. Dynastic infighting and the rise of new powers have lead to the Kingdom's domain shrinking to Idaho Falls and the surrounding area. Even in its reduced state the Kingdom is a powerful force to be reckoned with.
The Kingdom of the Snake was formed from the Blackadogs raider gang. Under the charismatic and brutal leadership of Mordred I they conquered Idaho Falls and assimilated its fractious gangs into a new state.
Mordred the First's thirty year reign was one of unrelenting conquest. He conquered and enslaved tribes from the Craters of the Moon to Yellowstone National Park. Conquered tribes were enslaved and brought back to Idaho Falls to toil for the kingdom. Their children would become assimilated into the culture of the Kingdom. Soon, Idaho Falls became the greatest city in Idaho's wasteland.
War of Worms
Mordred I death brought on the reign of Mordred II, but the death of the Queen Mother Nimue unleashed fratricidal chaos upon the Crown Territories. Brother killed brother in a quick succession of kings, and bled Idaho dry. It ended 30 years later when Mordred IV killed his last brother. He took his own sister (the sole remaining claimant to the throne) in incestuous marriage and proclaimed that his children would rule for ten thousand years.
Rise of the Protectorate
The Crown Territories were severely weakened by the internal strife, and even decades later the Kingdom was a shadow of its former self. The Teton Protectorate rose from Vault 117 in the east. The conquest was almost unchecked until the Kingdom was finally able to muster a force to meet them at the Battle of Sugar City. There they dealt the Tetonics a heavy defeat, but had no strength to press the advantage.
By the Reign of Mordred VI the Kingdom was crumbling. Much of the territory it legally claimed was ungoverned. When the Lemhites settled Rexburg, they were at first ignored. The Kingdom thought they might serve as a bulwark against the Protectorate and a source of tribute for the Crown. But the Lemhites were not normal tribals, and their construction of the Whitefort hammered in that fact. The Whitefort was seen as a direct challenge to the Kingdom's sovereignty. The Kingdom initiated a war known as the Rexburg Crisis. Their attempted invasion of Rexburg became a disaster. The year long siege of the Whitefort was finally aborted when the Protectorate intervened in the conflict. Beaten and humiliated, the Kingdom retreated back to Idaho Falls to lick their wounds. Mordred VI was blinded by his own bodyguards and banished into the wasteland. His cousin was raised to the throne as Mordred VII.
War of Assassins
Mordred VII ignited a shadow war against the Protectorate and its allies. His assassins were especially successful in the Protectorate where they killed the Lord Protector and his family in a terrorist action. Only the infant Catalina Ranier survived. His attempts to assassinate the Lemhite Patriarch Robert Cartwright led to the Temple Guard being significantly expanded to combat such threats. Mordred VII was assassinated by Sarah Engleton, an agent of the Protectorate who had infiltrated the King's harem.
Mordred VIII Serpentis
Mordred VIII is a boy, not even out of his teens. However, he displays none of the capriciousness and decadence of his ancestors. A veteran of the Damned Brigades, he speaks to the people of regaining their honor and unity, and has raised fanatical support from their warriors who have become jaded by generations of petty feuding. He is the last male descendant of the Blood of Serpentus, but is the first King in generations to have a united Kingdom at his back.
Religion and Culture
The people of the Kingdom worship Mordred I as the River God of the Snake River. They believe all rivers have a natural spirit, but that Mordred killed the old River God and took his place. Mordred I's wife Nimue is worshipped alongside her husband, and is named the Mother of the Kingdom. The Chosen Families in the Kingdom keep precise genealogical records, and ancestral worship is a common practice. Mordred and Nimue are celebrated each year in a great festival on the summer solstice.
The people of the Kingdom cremate the dead and release the ashes into the Snake River. They believe that the dead will go the Mordred's hall under the water to serve their righteous king forever. They do this to both their own dead and their enemies, as all must serve the King in death if not in life. If a corpse is ritually buried under a building or a crop it is believed the spirit will bring good luck. This is referred to as "enslaving a ghost." This practice is suppressed but is still practiced in outlying settlements.
The Kingdom of the Snake is heavily stratified. On the top is the Serpentis Family, the Royal Family. The Royal Family enforces its will through the Chosen Families, military clans of hereditary soldiers that serve the Royal Family in exchange for land and wealth. Subjects are those outside the Royal and Chosen Families. They can range anywhere between wealthy merchants to poor freemen. At the bottom are serfs, hereditary indentured servants of either the Chosen Families or the King. Serfs do have several legal protections to defend them against murder and abuse, but they are difficult to enforce.
The military of the Kingdom is based around the Chosen Families. Chosen Warriors are heavily armed and armored and highly disciplined. They fight in blood related units, and tend to have high morale because of this. When not at war they are enforcers and executioners for the King and his representatives.
Freemen may be drafted as Conscripts. They are lightly armed and trained at the Chosen Family's expense. They are used to support the Chosen Warriors and never operate on their own.
Slaves and criminals are used in Damned Brigades. These suicide formations are sent in to deal with blunts that more valuable troops should be spared from, or as cannon fodder to soften up the enemy. Mordred VIII was famously sentenced to a Damned Brigade for allegedly plotting against his elder brother. He survived, and was recalled to become King when his brother was assassinated.