Folks reading this blog might get the feeling that when Slothjemia was created, way WAY back in the late 80’s, it was unbeatable. It has a powerful, professional military, it is politically stable, and has only grown in size since the first players began thrashing about fighting villains (or becoming villains, as the case may be). This is an obvious conclusion to reach, but not because it is true. Slothjemia is almost always the starting point of an adventure, and this viewpoint tends to mean that Slothjemia is portrayed in a rosier light than it otherwise might.
For instance, the military muscle that Slothjemia has is the result of a costly and time-consuming training regimen. Paying for and feeding a full-time army and navy devours a large part of the realm’s taxes, and troops that are killed in battle are difficult to replace quickly. While there is no shortage of manpower, it does take almost a year to replenish a depleted army. After their initial loss at Garvin’s Gap, for instance, the 1st Army had to be rebuilt nearly from scratch, and wouldn’t be operational in full capacity for just shy of two years. This process limits Slithjemia’s ability to engage in wholesale conquest, because even after a victory, they need time to regroup before they can strike again.
On the topic of politics, Slothjemia is not really all that stable. There is a constant struggle going on for influence with the Empress, and while there has never been an open rebellion, there have been sone uncomfortably tense times. Geldenreich is far less stable, and the Torkan Caliphates are on a much more solid footing. One of the key balancing aspects for both of these neighbors is the presence of Slothjemia between them, and in order to maintain a balance between the various principalities of the region, nobody is anxious to have Slothjemia slide into chaos. If that means allowing some of the less savory states, like Sikilia, to fall under Slothjemian control, then so be it. As long as the goblinoids are not spreading north or south, the overall balance is maintained between Geldenreich and the Caliphates. All the Queen has to do is make sure that the petty squabbles of her nobility remain petty.
If all of the countries and powers present in the continent are weighed according to their merits and dysfunctions, Slothjemia is neither the strongest nor the weakest. It is simply the most interesting. Why? Because that is where the fun all started.