Nation 1Prototype name: "Happybright"
A small island nation based loosely on Japan. It tends to hold to isolationist policies, and although it does trade and have contact with most other nations, through most of history, it has been relatively weak and not a major player on the global stage. Internally, the nation holds many secrets, notably the study of magic. Now, this bugs me quite a bit, because it runs counter to pretty much everything else everywhere else in the setting. So, I'll probably need to change it, because even if things end up working the same no matter who you are, someone is going to bitch about the fact that these guys have honest to god physics-breaking magic and how it either doesn't fit or they aren't using it properly. But, I digress...
The majority of the population belongs to old families with their own magical traditions, and the art itself requires intense study and investment in personal improvement. The withdrawn politics and culture represent this focus on the spiritual. And, of course, a heavy imperative to keep it all secret. Recently, the alien Mist threat has dragged the country into the spotlight, due to a few attacks made on its shores. The initial damage was severe, but led to a startling discovery: the mist can not only be exploited as a source of energy, but certain materials could be refined into potent magitech circuitry.
The military is kept highly separated from the civilian population. Bases are usually well-removed from major population centers, and the average soldier can only rely upon his fellows. This does breed a strong sense of camaraderie within the armed forces, but the only contact between military and civilian between family members. Assuming, of course, the family isn't mostly within the military already. On bases, personnel are treated well, and effort is put toward maintaining comfort and peace of mind. The military on the whole is one of the largest supporters of new research into magitech cybernetics and augmentations, and the primary user of the same.
A typical civilian spends his or her life furthering the study of magic. Although the average person with little magical power will only master a handful of spells, every such action is seen as furthering the art as a whole. Magic is a complex art treated with such secrecy out of a mixture of egotism and pity toward those either ignorant of it or simply unable to control it. The public opinion on war tends to lean toward regret. Recent advances such as the ability to reprocess mist into a power source have jump-started the nation industrially, and given it the advantage it needs to rival its neighbors. National pride is on the rise.
If things lean more toward Japan during WWII, things could take interesting turns, with war rationalized by ideals such as purity versus impurity, and so-on. I'd have to do some research, but it might make these guys more interesting, or at least potentially less nice.
This is pretty long already, so I'll just do one nation per write-up. It's an excuse to update semi-regularly for a while, anyway. I'm still not sure I want these guys to be involved with actual magic, though.