Obwalla is a region of Modia east of the Sea of Shocked Quartz. Governance of Obwall is complex. Officially, it is a constitutional sultanate ruled by the Obwalla Ascension Dragon Flight, and nominally a member of the New Day Alliance. However, all of the major industrial centers in the region are owned by the Gudersnipe Foundation and are considered total control zones. These areas cover roughly 20% of the land in Obwalla, but contain more than 80% of the population. As such, Obwalla's official government is and always has been largely just for show.
Obwalla is geographically isolated
The region was once a major population center for the Harmachis, and ruins of some of their temples can still be seen. Following the devastation war between Harmachis and Dragons, the region was claimed by the Sultan Samir Dragon Flight. Sometime around the end of the First Chaotic Period, Sultan Samir was defeated by the Grakenchest Dragon Flight, who were in turn conquered a short while later by the Obwalla Ascension Dragon Flight, from whom the region now draws its name.
Following the Mage Wars, Obwalla did not have a major human population. A small scattering of isolated, stone-age villages were allowed to eek out meager existence, so long as they did not interfere with the dragon's hunting ground. Most human settlements were located near the coast. However, as the Gudersnipe Foundation expanded outwards from Modia, they sought to access mineral resources in Obwalla. The Foundation already had numerous mining facilities on the far side of the mountains in Vorosh and was building colonies along the Sawtooth Coast. Fearing they would be encircled, the dragons sought to forge an alliance. This was among the earliest major economic alliances between dragons and humans.
During the Long Night, the region became a net-exporter of food. Given the region's lack of arable land and over all poor soil quality, this was something of a mystery. In fact, most of Obwalla's population lived in extreme poverty and starvation, working to export food to Samuel Fate's industrial regions.
In the New Day era, Obwalla first devolved into a series of waring tribes, then into a group of city-states. The Obwalla Ascension Dragon Flight waged a war of subjugation beginning in N.D. 95 and concluding around N.D. 100. There are two opinions on this event. The official history states that the dragons, acting as a benevolent force, intervened on the human's behalf in order to "save them from themselves". The probably more likely course of events is the dragons siezed the region in order to gain territorial rights as part of the then-burgeoning Trans-Draconic Federation.
In any case, the dragons quickly learned that even with the aid of draconic magic, the region could not be self-sufficient while providing for the humans to an appropriate standard. As such, they invited the Gudersnipe Foundation to re-open the mines and quarries which previously dotted the region. The Foundation, however, required some form of official human government in order for any concessions to be honored by the New Day Alliance. The dragons achieved this by finding a surviving member of one of the previously waring human factions, declaring him king, and calling it a day.
When the first king was assassinated mere days after his coronation, the Foundation stepped in and helped the remaining citizens of Owballa set up a sort of constitutional monarchy. The title of "King" became semi-elected; whenever the king died the citizens were allowed to vote on a new one from any of the hundreds of claimants to the thrown. What followed were a large number of kings dying mysteriously after relatively short reigns, with those who favored heavy concessions to the Gudersnipe Foundation lasting the longest. Average reign-length was only 15 years.
Over the next several years, the Foundation completed an initial survey of holdings in the region, and determined that the various mineral resources being offered had "at best forty to fifty years" of exploitation remaining, with very low potential return on investment. They proposed large-scale investment in the region, constructing factories and major industrial facilities initially to exploit the resources but that could later be converted for other uses. However, in order to ensure their own stake, the Foundation required the dragons(and by extension, their human puppet government) to sign 999-year leases on very large swaths of land. The dragons agreed to this despite fixed rates, because the lease would include an annual tribute in solid gold.
By roughly the third century N.D., the mines and industrial sites had involved to encompass all of Obwalla's major metropolitan areas, as well as becoming total control zones for the Foundation. Every human living in them was, on some level, an employee of the Foundation and received all the rights and privileges therein. This led to urban Obwellians having a drastically higher standard of living than their more rural counterparts.
The chief problem was governance. In the cities and total control zones(and transport corridors connecting them), the Foundation ran the show. Outside of these zones, the king of Obwalla exercised dictatorial power. In the early third-century N.D. the Foundation even put an end to the king elections, allowing the position to officially become hereditary.
The nature of this governance led to a remarkable technology gap between the urban and rural regions. The cities were modern, technologically on-par with any population center to the north in Modia proper. Outside the metropolitan areas, few houses had electricity or running water. Technology, if there was any, was scarce, limited only to handheld and battery-operated gadgets. Farming still relied on human or animal power, and farmers transported their goods in horse-drawn carts to local rail spurs for sale. Since most cities were total-control zones, rural Obwellians were unable to visit. Most never traveled more than fifty miles from home. And though some technologies did see adoption, the rural regions were largely very poor.
By this time, the de Argentine Dynasty had managed to hold the thrown of Obwalla for five generations, and was beginning a push to exert influence over the cities. King Bacule de Argentine pointed out(quite rightly) that the city-dwellers paid no taxes and followed none of his decrees(in point of fact, they were never required to, but the early drafters failed to note this in the country's constitution.
With the threat of civil war brewing, the dragons responded by publicly killing King Bacule and banishing his family from the realm. In his place, the dragons installed Oggdha Izzag, of the Obwalla Ascension Flight, out of Dyrga, by Teldros. Oggdha further changed the title from King to Sultan, and had a new constitution written in which Obwalla was declared a sultanate.
The new government effectively handed control of the region to the Gudersnipe Foundation. Under Oggdha's orders, Obwalla was to be divided up into districts, and each district governed by the nearest city. The sultan would in turn be responsible for naming ambassadors and representatives to the New Day Alliance. The Foundation then began an extensive program of modernization, providing electricity and clean drinking water to the outlying regions.
By the end of the fifth century N.D., Obwalla was little more than a province of Modia, but with a dragon flight in residence.