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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Empire
« Reply #25 on: August 02, 2004, 12:35:34 AM »
Yet another update-
Guardian of Heaven and First Trickster.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #26 on: August 02, 2004, 10:09:29 PM »
Gods of Earth commenced.
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Offline Shadoweagle

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The Empire
« Reply #27 on: August 02, 2004, 11:05:26 PM »
Ok, I have read only what I deemed to be the 'essentials' of this, because I dont have much time and have a lot of things to do in that small amount of time. I must say, however, that so far, its very gripping :)

I have skipped much of the provinces and prefectures, and only slid over some of the different races, but I love the idea so far. As I was going, I wrote up in a notepad a small section of thoughts that I had for a campaign idea. This may not be in the least what you envisioned, but keep in mind i havent read much :P

Quote
Spirit working as agent for a god, converts a small band of the empire. These few people are the adventurers. The spirit rewrites the genetic code within these peoples minds. Now they arent dominated by the need to expand. Or perhaps the spirit controls them, telling them to carry out assassination missions and the like. Perhaps raids in some provinces, and eventually some Prefectures. Capture some towns and begin to build an army. A counter-empire, as it were. The spirit, driven and calculating, and yet fair and honourable, manages to take on the alliance of the Urwhor, and the Duerga, realising it is only so long until the empire attacks their mountains, decide to join this spirit to build a huge rebel force to attack the empire. The adventurers, who used to be emperials and therefore know all about their strategies, find themselves in command of groups of barbarians, duerga and urhwor, and are set out to capture towns. Perhaps the spirit gives these former imperials a taste of power, which allows them to change the genetics of people, so with every town they take, their army grows. This can turn into a huge campaign which eventually would lead to the siege of the central city, and the attempt at slaying/assassinating the outcast god - the emperor - himself.


That may or may not have made sense :)

I will post more ideas on this thread when I have more time to think and read, but for now, Cudos to you, Captain.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Government in the Empire
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2004, 10:24:06 PM »
Law and Government in the Empire

The Empire's government is basically a series of ever-larger councils who make decisions and proposals up and down the chain of command, all the way from the lowliest Sepu (peasant) to the Grand Deliberative and the Emperor himself.  A lower council makes pleas and requests to higher councils, while said higher councils send down mandates and edicts, sometimes based on the pleas and requests of the lower councils.
The lowest unit of decision is the Individual. An Individual is subject to the Committee, which is a group of Individuals in charge of making decisions for a village or neighborhood. Villages and neighborhoods send representatives bearing requests to the Regional Committee, which makes decisions for its region; there are 4-6 regions (and thus regional committees)  in each state. The Regional Committees send representatives to the Governor.
The Governor is the head of the entire state, and has final say on all the proposals and requests put for to him or her. The Governor's power is absolute, except in the case of the three Great Headmen. The Great Headmen are there to make sure that the Governor does not become to tyrannous, and, together, can deny the Governor the ability to legalize a proposal. The Great Headmen are otherwise powerless, save as possible advisors. Great Headmen are elected from among the populace at random, and new ones are elected each year, whereas Governors rule until death or Imperial removal, in the form of transference or demotation.
The Governor sends representatives to the Convention, a gathering of states for their geographical region of the Empire (South, North, Heartlands, Coast, Mountains). Conventions are times when states can coordinate Codes of Law, swap ideas, form alliances, make decisions for an entire geographical region, and put their power behind bills to be lobbied in the Great Deliberative.
Each state sends a Representative to the Great Deliberative in Assor-Hu. These Representatives work to make laws and edicts for the Imperial Code of Law, which is specific to the entire Empire. The Great Deliberative may veto any decision or legalize any decision.
The Emperor holds final sway over all. Though he rarely does so, if he so wished, the Emperor could instantly make any edict, veto any bill anywhere in the Empire, declare a state to be no longer a portion of the Empire, or declare the Border Wars officially over.

The Truth about the Councils- Except for the various village Committia, the various conventions, councils, and lesser senates of the Empire are complete jokes, artificial structures set up by the Emperor as a way for nobles to seem important, and to play nobles against each other, trapping them in infighting so that he and his Governors can get down to real business. No Governor actually must do what a Convention says; the Conventions are "advisory" bodies. No Governor need actually listen to the edicts of the Great Deliberative- though open refusal to meet the Deliberative's edicts is considered treason, they can safely have the seeming of following the edicts, without ever actually using them at all. Of course, the Emperor gives each Governor the authority to proceed as they wish, though examples of gross incompetence, great treason, or plotting against the Empire are removed.

The Code of Law
The Code of Law was originally created by the Emperor himself as a set of rules governing the chiefs of the Eight Tigers, the chieftans of the tribes which the Emperor forged into his fledgling Empire. Throughout the years, the volume of laws that exists in the Empire has increased in vast amount, but the Code of Laws, the original Code of Laws, has remained the same.

The Code of Laws:
1. There shall be no wanton violence.
2. There shall be no theft of property.
3. There shall be no disobedience towards betters.
4. There shall be no false thought or word.

In essence, this Code of Laws is akin to the Christian Ten Commandments, an ethical code by which to live.

The Ministry of Law
The Ministry of Law is the Imperial body in charge of the judicial system of the Empire. The Ministry of Laws is in charge of keeping laws and edicts that are passed, for policing these laws within the urban areas, and for administrating trials and various processes of law. All citizens recieve a trial in the Empire, though whether or not it is a fair trial is suspect.
The police of the Empire's cities and towns are Ministry of Laws Lawkeepers. Lawkeepers are part lawyer, part soldier. Lawkeepers are trained in the arts of battle, and are dispatched to put down crimes and prosecute perpetrators. In crimes of the least importance (thefts of petty value, assaults, and the like), the Lawkeeper is the judge as well, listening to the arguments of bot h parties and administrating to the cutting off of the thief's ear, or the jailing of gang members.
In crimes of lesser worth, immediate prosecution is not possible. In these circumstances, the trial is taken before the local Magistrate. The Magistrate hears the pleadings of defendant and prosecutor, as well as the stories of whatever witnesses that may have come along to the trial, and then makes his decision.
In greater crimes, the captured (supposed) perpetrator is brought before the Magistrate, who appoints a Lawkeeper to be the perpetrator's attorney. The prosecutor may or may not hire a Lawkeeper to be his lawyer.
Usually, the sentence is a period of time in jail. However, with some crimes the punishment is more corporal, such as the cutting off of an ear in the case of a first-time theft of something of lesser value, such as clothing, money, or non-food goods (stealing of food is generally overlooked by the Law, though it would fall under the label of petty crime). Crimes of murder warrant death, rape warrants castration (or in the rare case of women perpetrators, a hot iron in a certain sensitive place).
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Empire
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2004, 01:21:27 AM »
Magic update power, activate!
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Empire
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2004, 01:40:20 AM »
Whoa...
"Provinces and Prefectures of the North" has the most edits I've ever seen (17). It's done, finally.
Oh, and... Updatum Maximum!
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Offline Grendel

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The Empire
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2004, 02:09:36 PM »
Hmm, on the whole a fairly stable base for a campaign to work with but there are certain elements that need to be looked into in a little more detail, the theme of the Empire being run by the concept of duty, given that the humdrum lives of the peasant classes and the well oiled lives of the ruling classes, give that there is little in the way of middle ground it should be fairly safe to assume that the majority of the adventurers in the world will come from a wealthy background as the unwashed masses would be a lot less likely to have the required funds for equipment or mental drive to look towards improving their lifestyle by force or arms (lets face it...most adventurers are basically armed thugs), if they had the ability to become adventurers they would be more likely to grow up to be revolutionaries, this is not to say that all adventurers would be nobility, just that they would be in the majority, this leads to another conundrum, how do characters of different social background work together as a party, it would be impossible for a peasant who has been brought up in such a socially stagnant environment to see himself as being the equal of a noble borne, and as for the nobles,,,would they have the elan to realise that they were fighting alongside their countrymen and not just issuing orders to the peasant

There are other implications of the Duty driven society, first we need to establish a pecking order of the duties, which duties have precedence over others and in what circumstances, what "Duties" do the nobility have to curb their lifestyle, how does the adventuring lifestyle conflict with their social responsabilities

just a couple of things I would like to see embellished upon

nuff said, I'll get off the soapbox now
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2004, 10:13:04 PM »
Thank you for the bit about most adventurers coming from noble backgrounds, I wouldn't have thought of that.
On the other subject- I am getting to the "Duties" and such. The thread isn't done yet, and they will be put down, eventually.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2004, 11:40:07 PM »
Added Code of Law (Laws and Government), Ever-Mindful Forest (Spirits), and Phoenix (Spirits)
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #34 on: August 15, 2004, 05:22:27 PM »
Very important update to the Imperials section of the Forms of Man. Seriously, you need to check it out. Really.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2004, 08:39:15 PM »
And now the same update to all the rest of the races. Go look at them.
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The Empire
« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2004, 12:30:36 PM »
Travel and Trade in the Empire

The Empire has a well-established system of roads used by travelers throughout the land. In this case, all roads lead not to Rome, but to Assor-Hu, the capitol city. The Ministry of Ways, headed by Mountain of Salt, the Minister of Ways, is the Imperial Authority in charge of blazing new roads and maintaining old ones, as well as seeing to the defense and policing of roads and highways. The Ministry of Ways is also in charge of:
-Policing laws related to ku'we (riding birds).
-Policing laws related to trading within the Heartlands
-Developing new methods of travel, though these have been few of late.

Letters of Travel
To travel any great distance in the Empire, one must have one's way-papers or Letters of Travel, which identify the traveler in great detail, as well as serving as passes through checkpoints. Individuals such as couriers, messengers, members of the Imperial Post, and important Imperial officials recieve special Waymarks, which allow them to pass through checkpoints without all the beauracratic stalling and red tape; those not having Waymarks usually show their papers, and then wait a half-hour for the officials and guards to make a mark on the gate-census, stamp and re-stamp the papers, and take one last identifying glance to make sure that the traveler really is who they say they are.
Roads and highways in the Empire, especially in the Heartlands, are posted with Ministry of Ways road stations called checkpoints. The purpose of checkpoints, especially near cities, is for Imperial officials to check traveler's Letters of Travel and way-papers. Checkpoints also serve as wayrests and places to stop and rest one's feet or feed one's mount. Checkpoints often spawn offshoot inns and road-towns, built to serve the needs of travelers. These checkpoint-towns often have bad reputations as places where criminals congregate and vice abounds, but they are just as often clean, lawful Imperial villages as lawless pits.

Riding Animals
Riding animals are different in the Empire. The lack of horses makes alternate mounts more important, including riding birds and cattle. However, despite the use of riding animals, the vast majority of Imperial citizens just walk.

The Ku'we
There are no horses in the Empire, and they are quite unknown throughout that region of the Earth (save in the desert nation of Shidush, where there are long-legged, horned horses called "foeshimi"). Their place as premier riding animal is taken by the great birds known as the Ku'we, named for the sound which they make ("kweh!").
The Ku'we is a very large, athletic, ostrich-like bird that stands about 7 feet tall, but their light, avian bone structure gives them a weight of about 350 pounds on average. They have enormous, scaly feet brown feet, armed with sharp white talons. They have long necks and sharp-beaked heads with intelligent black eyes and crests of feathers. Ku'we have multicolored plumage; males generally have bright blue feathers with chest feathers of green and purple, while females have yellow feathers with brown on the underside of their (small, atrophied) wings. Ku'we cannot fly, but they can run faster than any horse, and leap much higher.
Ku'we are cheap to feed, easy to care for, friendly, intelligent, and inquisitive. They combine the strength and speed of hosres with less upkeep and stubborn-ness. Playful and curious at heart, these avians quickly accept other creatures they perceive as having good intentions, and they eagerly learn new skills. Due to this, Ku'we racing is a popular sport in the Empire, and it has even spread south to the nations of Dlan and Atazk.
Menial chores such as plowing or pulling carts often bore Ku'we, who need wide open spaces to stretch their scaly legs. They are always eager to see what is over the next ridge.
In the wild, Ku'we group in 'runs' of ten to twenty-five, racing the wind across the plains, or in smaller 'families' nesting in secluded forests and swamps, wild Ku'we are majestic sights to behold. Ku'we generally range between areas of plains and forests,  whole runs dashing in a wide territory of several dozen square miles during the day and separating into families at night, returning to the same sheltered groves, caves, or hollows.
Creatures that approach with obviously hostile intentions rarely get close to a run of Ku'we, as their keen senses and swift reflexes are often more than enough to keep them well out of harm's reach. However, should a particularly daring poacher or wrangler attempt to steal up on a family of Ku'we at night, the interloper must be prepared to face the creatures' sharp talons and powerful beaks as they defend their home. Also, should a thief successfully steal a Ku'we egg or hatchling, distressed Ku'we parents have been known to gather their entire run to chase down the thief and ensure the safe return of their stolen young.

Aurochs, Oxes, Yaks, and Water Buffalo
Oxes, yaks, and water buffalo are a very common sight, and are used to do tasks which bore the excitable ku'we. Nearly ever peasant has at least one water buffalo to pull a cart through his rice paddy, and riding yaks are a common sight in the Firefall, East Coast, and Iceheart Provinces.
In Wind's Edge Province, there can also be seen great herds of wild yak and the famous great aurochs, massive, shaggy yaks that stand nearly as tall as mammoths, with tempers to match their size.

Te'guta
The te'guta is a relative of the bo'te, and like that ubiquitous food animal, it is a shaggy, guinea-pig-like mammal, though the te'guta is significantly larger than its dog-sized cousin, standing about 5 feet tall. Te'guta are common in the South, where ku'we are few and nobles do not want to ride stubborn oxes like the peasants do. Te'guta are slow, skittish, and prone to falling asleep if left still for too long, but they are also obedient, easily-trained, and able to eat nearly anything.

Foeshimi
The only species of horse dwelling anywhere near the Empire is the foeshimi, a species of horse that is bred in the desert republic of Shidush, to the Southwest of the Empire. The original foeshimi were brought with the ancestors of the Shidushi when they migrated from the far west.
Foeshimi stand about six feet tall, and are more long-legged and slender than a horse of our modern Earth. Male foeshimi grow long, wickedly curved horns curving from above the ears. Most foeshimi have a medium brown, glossy coat, with sharp hooves and a rather short, tuft-like tail.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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Excerpt from "A Visit to the Emperor"
« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2004, 01:22:52 PM »
The following is an excerpt from "A Visit to the Emperor", an account of a personal audience given to the adventuring noble Seven Cranes of the Great Eagle Clan. It describes the Chamber of Water, one of the Emperor's six thronerooms, as well as the Emperor himself.

"The hallway we walked down was bare, white stone, lined with columns. Two channels ran along the side of our path, each carrying a stream of clear water. As we neared the towering doorway, we could smell a strange perfume of moisture and lilies and jewels-of-the-mire.
  We entered the Chamber of Water, and immediately bit back a gasp. The chamber was vast, and was flooded with water as tall as a man. The entrance doorway dropped down into steps which led to a series of stepping stones made from black jade, thence going to the platform where the Emperor's Throne of Water sat. The watery chamber was festooned with floating lily-pads, jewels-of-the-mire, and water-lime vines, and musical frogs chirped in the far corners. Below the surface, we could see whiskered-fish and bright-scale fish lazily sliding through the artificial lake. Throughout the lake, there were flat, rectangular pillars of black jade that held up the soaring roof. There was a circular skylight in the ceiling which allowed a beam of light to fall a-slant upon the serene face of the giant stone head that lay tilted behind the Throne of Water. Streams of water rushed from the nostrils, lips, and eyes of that head, spilling across the throne platform into the chamber's lake.
  The atmosphere was cool and wet, and a slight breeze carried the scent of lilies, jewels-of-the-mire, and water-limes. As we entered, we saw only the Emperor, so at first it seemed that there were no attendants about. But we were soon proved wrong; we heard the whispering of cloth, jade, and metal as the Invisible Dragons (OOC: the Emperor's personal guardians) shifted around us. Though we could not see them, we knew they were there.
  Our attention was then drawn to the Emperor himself. He sat on a tall, simple throne of uncarved black jade, with long, straight slits in the back and arms of the chair, from which water poured. The throne had a concave, bowl-like seat, and the water that rushed from the back of the seat brimmed in it, overflowing onto the platform. Yet the Emperor was totally dry.
  He was as one of us, definitely an Imperial, but his hair was long, straight, and silver, hanging below his shoulders. His features were fine and delicate, yet at the same time they contained a hidden hardness. His eyes, those  fabled eyes, were strange; they seemed at times all black but for an iris of color, while other times they were human, but a bright orange-red in color. Upon his head just above the ears, peeking from his heavy silver hair, were two red shapes; were they tiny horns or merely adornment?
  The Emperor wore pantaloons of blue silk and sandals of black jade and silk cord. He wore no mantle, but only a loose vest of blue silk embroidered with the Invincible Heaven Dragon (OOC: The Emperor's personal symbol, a white dragon- think Asian-style dragon, not European). The vest was open, allowing us to see the great orange symbol painted upon his chest, saying "Heaven".
  The Emperor rose to greet us. "We have expected you, favored son," he said, in a voice that was both high and deep, and pleasing to the ear. "We have a task for you."
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Empire
« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2004, 11:09:12 PM »
Duty

Duty is the fundamental concept of Imperial society, wired into the minds of all Imperials by the Emperor himself. The various Duties of society define the social order, for every caste and class has a separate Duty to society.

The lowest Duty is that of the Lan'en, the slave. The Lan'en's Duty is to serve his master well and follow his master's orders, no matter what they may be. The Lan'en's Duty is also to be submissive, efficient, and loyal.
Next is the Duty of the Sepu, the peasant. The Sepu's Duty is to work, to perform the menial tasks of the Empire. Sepu have a Duty to be farmers,  diggers, constructers, and the like. The Sepu's Duty is to be industrious and hard-working.
The Duty of the Esso, the goodman or commoner, is to perform mid-level tasks such as those of cooks, shopkeepers, artists, animal trainers, and so on. The Duty of the Esso is to be clever and skillful.
The Duty of the P'e'ku, the highman, Imperial worker, or noble, is to be the stewards of the Empire, to see to the smooth running of the beauracracy and peace among the people. P'e'ku have the Duty of being intelligent and wise, industrious, and to have authority and pride.
The Duty of the Do-pe, the Priesthood and Astronomers, is to oversee the spiritual life of the Empire. The astronomer-priests' Duty is to be wise, helpful, compassionate, and pious, and to be the speakers and spouses of the Stars.
The Duty of the L're, the Soldiers, is to defend the Empire, to wield weapons for the Emperor. The L're's Duty is to be strong, skillful at arms, brave, and loyal.
The Duty of Ussu, the Emperor, is to be the Father of the Empire, to lead and safeguard the people, to be the master of all the land. The Emperor must be all of what his citizens are and more.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Empire
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2004, 12:02:34 AM »
The Noble Clans

The Noble Clans are the twelve families from which spring the nobility of the Empire. Eight of the Clans, the Elder Clans, are descended from the Eight Tigers, the leaders of the first eight tribes of Imperials to swear allegiance to the Emperor. The other four Clans are the Lesser Clans, founded more recently. There are, in addition numerous Least Clans, very small, regional clans that are usually offshoots of the Lesser Clans, as the Lesser Clans were offshoots of the Elder; Least Clans include Immaculate Mantis, Red Hare, Sword Circle, and the long-lost Serpent Clan, exterminated during the long-ago Tiger-Scorpion War.

The Elder Clans

Crimson Tiger Clan
Crimson Tiger was the first of the Eight Tigers to swear allegiance to the Emperor. His clan was one of fierce warriors and swordsmen, and today, the Crimson Tiger Clan still possesses a reputation as a Clan of mighty fighters. The strongest clan in numbers, the Crimson Tigers recieved the onus of being the first clan to submit, and though they are a strong and proud Clan, they still possess a reputation as quick to submit and unreliable. Crimson Tigers are as often members of the Legions as members of the Imperial Authority, and the famous General Recrimination and Apology was a Crimson Tiger by birth, though he renounced his Clan near the end of his life.
The symbol of the Crimson Tigers is an angry tiger, claw outstretched; their banner is a crimson silk banner with wavy edges, hung from a long spear.
The Crimson Tiger Clan is the enemy of the Water Mask Clan, who they believe are underhanded and cowardly. Also, the Six Wasp Clan has declared that the Crimson Tiger Clan is an Unfriend, due to the Crimson Tigers horning in on the Six Wasps' shipping interests.

Great Eagle Clan
Great Eagle was the second to swear to the Emperor. He was a brilliant yet unstable man, prone to bouts of intense fury followed by periods of brooding, who, once he was taught his letters, wrote two-hundred-and-seventy-four scrolls of revolutionary ideas about the sciences, the Earth, the nature of the Gods, and magic. His clan was never very large, nor very powerful, but they made up for it in ingenuity, and they were always the most advanced Clan. Great Eagles have a well-earned reputation for both great brilliance and great madness. It was the Great Eagle scholar Twelve Sighs at Midnight who founded the Brotherhood of Wisdoms, who still serve the Empire as a sort of combination mad scientist's guild/labratory/scholarly brotherhood/et cetera.
The symbol of the Great Eagle Clan is a great white hawk, wings outspread against the golden sun; their banner is an extra-long, straight banner of grey silk, with golden tassels.
Great Eagles are wisely neutral, but they hold a certain disdain for members of the Unbroken Wheat Clan, who they consider to be peasant upstarts and simple dirt farmers.

Running Clan
Running was the third of the Eight Tigers, a practical man with a head for keeping order. He proposed the idea of the Code of Law to the Emperor, and he was made the first Magistrate. The Running Clan founded the Ministry of Law, and their ties to it are unbreakable. Many Running Clan nobles become Magistrates, and just as many join the Ministry of Law as simple workers. The Running Clan has never stood out very much, preferring to be stolid, practical folk working for the Empire's good, and they are, for the most part, content to stay out of the brightest of lights, though there is a young faction within that has called for the Clan to take a more visible role in the Empire's workings.
Secretly, the Running Clan is also tied to the All-Seeing Eye, the Emperor's secret police and spy network, and the bulk of All-Seeing Eye agents are from the Running Clan. This sinister side of the Clan is spoken of by no member, and the punishment among them for speaking of the All-Seeing Eye to outsiders is exile or death.
The symbol of the Running Clan is a black hand with the Imperial character for "running" in white on its palm; their banner is ochre, with crenelated edges, mounted on a simple staff of unlacquered wood.
Running Clan is the ultimate neutral Clan. They proclaim no rivalries or alliances. However, because the Running Clan refused a claim of no trial on  certain important legal battles of the Advancing Shadow Clan, and because they frequently prosecute Whale's Rib Clan pirates, those two Clans have significant grudges against them.

Water Mask Clan
Water Mask was a clever, mischievious man, known for his sneakiness and pragmatism. He did not join the Emperor until it was clear that the Empire was inevitable. He, and the Clan begotten by him, had, and have, a well-deserved reputation as sneaky, treacherous, self-serving, and very clever. Due to underhanded, sneaky trade tactics, connections to the Moieties (OOC: the Empire's guilds), and various legally-questionable actions in the past, the Water Mask Clan is the richest Clan (despite also being a group of misers and stingy moneygrubbers). Water Masks are experts at avoiding prosecution, and if their was ever a Moiety for thieves, the Water Mask Clan is it.
The symbol of the Water Mask Clan is a blue-green circle with a blue lotus blossom in the center; their banner is a right triangle of black grass-cloth, posted on a blue-lacquered staff with a mask posted on top.
No Clan is Water Mask's friend. Their sneakiness and underhanded dealings have a tendency to alienate them from their noble compatriots. They are especially disliked by the Crimson Tiger Clan (who disdain their roguery) and Running Clan (who are becoming increasingly angry at their skirting of the Law).

Advancing Shadow Clan
Advancing Shadow was a bitter enemy of the Emperor, and his clan was the last to join. Advancing Shadow was a proud and vengeful man, and a mighty warrior (though not as skilled as Crimson Tiger), but in the end, his hatred became grudging respect, and though he refused to bow before the Emperor, he was accepted as one of the Eight Tigers. The Clan of Advancing Shadow are a people similar to their forefather, gloomy and prone to brooding, long-grudging and proud; they have ties to many of the Ministries, Legions, and the Brotherhood of Wisdoms, but there are very few in the Priesthood, as they are not a particularly pious folk. The Advancing Shadow Clan is also not a very urban clan. Most of Advancing Shadows are based in rural districts and wilderness areas, regions that suit their stormy temperament. Their Clan seat is not located in an Imperial Prefecture city, as most Clan seats are; rather, it lies within a forested district owned by the Clan.
The symbol of the Advancing Shadow Clan is three silver triangles; their banner is long and black, hung on a black staff with iron-shod ends.
The Advancing Shadow Clan is a rather unpopular one; it has significant grudges against the Running Clan, White Wolf Clan (who they despise), Crane Clan, and Unbroken Wheat Clan, all due to various "injustices" perpetrated by these clans against them in the past.

White Wolf Clan
White Wolf was a passionate, hasty young chieftan who leapt to join the Emperor when his friend Running bowed. White Wolf was an extremely pious individual, and even today, his Clan has strong ties to the Priesthood. White Wolves are passionate, emotional, and often rash, with a tendency towards blind faith and blind courage. They have a tendency to rush into situations which they might not have a way out of. The White Wolves are very influential in Northern trade, and much of the shipping in the Mountain and western North regions is run through agents of the White Wolf Clan.
The symbol of the White Wolf Clan is, understandably, a white wolf with sharp teeth and jaws spread wide; their banner is fan-shaped and dark red, and is hung on a red-lacquered staff topped with a pair of small bells.
White Wolves are looked upon well in the Empire. While passionate and zealous, they are also likeable and friendly to other clans. A notable exception is the Advancing Shadows, who the White Wolves have long despised.

Crane Clan
Crane was the only female among the Eight Tigers, a woman renowned throughout the land as the most beautiful and the most graceful of all. Crane's people were the second most advanced clan, and though to Great Eagle's pride they never surpassed his clan in the arts, the Crane Clan did surpass, and does surpass, any other clan in grace, honor, and social skill. The Crane Clan is renowned as nobility among nobles, the upper crust of the upper crust. They are the masters of political intrigue, and in every sense of the word, they are refined, cultured, civilized, and graceful. Cranes are often calm, level-headed, unemotional, and calculating. There is a strong bloodline of beauty, especially in the central Crane, Black Crane, and Jade Crane families. The Crane Clan has a hand in every political bowl, stored favors from every Clan and many Moieties going back hundreds of years, agents in the Priesthood, the Brotherhood of Wisdoms, the Ministries, and even the Legions, despite the fact that they are not the most war-like clan.
The symbol of the Crane Clan is a white crane with a golden beak and golden legs; their banner is a straight rectangle of pale-blue silk, with yellow tassles, hanging from a black-lacquered staff.
The Crane Clan is both loved and despised- loved for being the arbiters of Imperial culture, hated for being a bunch of conniving bureaucrats who have a one-up on everybody. Many governors and officials of all kinds dread the coming of a Crane ambassador, though they, contradictorily, anticipate being graced with such a courteous and fashionable guest.

Dust Scorpion Clan
Dust Scorpion betrayed the Emperor, and everyone in the Empire knows that. Dust Scorpion attempted to slay the Emperor and the other Tigers, and everyone in the Empire knows that. The Emperor forgave Dust Scorpion, and all the Empire knows that. And for that Dust Scorpion, and all his clan, were incredibly bitter. Dust Scorpion's hatred was not the anger-tempered-with-respect that Advancing Shadow afforded the Emperor. Dust Scorpions' was the corroding despite of a man who both envies and fears his conquering enemy. Dust Scorpion's betrayal was forgiven, but never forgotten, and the Dust Scorpion Clan is infamous for being hateful, backstabbing, and vicious, a vile people who are part of the Empire only because they serve a distasteful but necessary role in the Empire. Dust Scorpions are the keepers of secrets, walkers in shadows, assassins and spies. They care little for duty, replacing it with loyalty as the pre-eminent virtue; loyalty to Clan and Empire, loyalty (tempered with hatred) to the Emperor, loyalty to their purpose. Dust Scorpions are usually seen as villains, or even as traitors- but from their point of view, their worst deeds have all stemmed from an unswerving sense of loyalty. Ironically, the most hated clan in the Empire is also popularly agreed to have the most beautiful people. There are rumors that the infamous Grass Spiders were originally an outcast family of this clan; certainly the two are similar, though the Dust Scorpions deny it vehemently.
The symbol of the Dust Scorpions is a grey scorpion with a tail curled to strike, the stinger and claws red; their banner is a blood-red right triangle, edged in black.
The Dust Scorpions are hated and feared, and likewise hate all other Clans. Only Advancing Shadows can even passingly get along with Dust Scorpions, those two Clans' viewpoints being somewhat similar. The Dust Scorpions' many incredibly illegal activities (including assassinations and perpetrating the economic collapse of the barbarian state of Atazk) have made them somewhat of a project for the Running Clan to focus on.

The Lesser Clans[/u]

Six Wasp Clan
The Six Wasps were a group of like-minded merchant-princes, centered in Red Coast, who banded together during the Tiger-Scorpion War to profit from the struggle. They did so well, in fact, and lent so much of their gathered strength to the Crimson Tigers, that the Emperor rewarded them by bestowing upon them the honor of being a Clan. The Six Wasps were the first Lesser Clan, and are among the greatest merchant powers in all the Empire. As the children of merchants, Six Wasps are born for merchantry, and their spice caravans and trading wagons are known across the land, and somewhat upon the Seas, though the Whale's Rib Clan is an overwhelming force to contend with upon the waves.
The symbol of the Six Wasp Clan is a black-and-yellow wasp within an orange circle; their banner is black, with red tassles, hung from a yellow-lacquered staff.
The Six Wasp Clan is the bitterest foe of the Whale's Rib Clan. These two clans have long warred over key trade routes, and over control of the Sea and the Islands. Whale's Rib pirates and Six Wasp traders are known to draw rangs upon a glance, and their volatile relationship does not bode well for the future. The Six Wasps also have an Unfriend in the shape of the Crimson Tigers, who have horned in on certain Heartlands shipping businesses that were formerly Six Wasp-owned.

Whale's Rib Clan
Whale's Rib was a notorious pirate and corsair, who sailed from Imperial enclaves on the Eastern Isles and terrorized the Seas for years before the coming of Dawn Breaking Swiftly Now, an Imperial woman of a Least Clan of that day, who tamed him, so to speak. Though Whale's Rib never gave up his sailing, and though piracy still sometimes fed their children, Whale's Rib became a legitimate shipping magnate and sea-tradesmen. The Whale's Rib Clan was an extremely minor Least Clan of the Isles for many centuries, though their pirates were feared, until they seized upon enough booty to buy a rather major piece of the sea-trade in the Empire. In the intervening centuries, the Whale's Ribs have become the consumate sailors of the Empire. The Imperial Navy is almost entirely staffed by Whale's Rib Clansmen, and the Seas are dominated by their swift ships. Whale's Rib pirates can be seen augmenting the clan's trade with a certain corsair flair. Whale's Ribs have a tendency to have sunny, optimistic dispositions, and are usually a few shades darker than the norm, due to the sunny climes and warm temperatures of the Sea and the Islands.
The symbol of the Whale's Rib clan is a breaching black whale with a white eye; their banner is fan-shaped, a deep sea-green, and mounted on a staff of carved driftwood.
Whale's Rib Clan relations are good. They are a happy, well-liked people, despite their piratical leanings, and their traders drive softer bargains than Six Wasp merchants. However, the Whale's Rib Clan has a certain grudge against the Running Clan for their prosecution of Whale's Rib pirates, and the competition between the Six Wasps and the Whale's Ribs has long been known.

Unbroken Wheat Clan


Fox Clan

(To add...)
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« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2004, 12:05:50 AM »
Additions to Law and Government- the legal system and Ministry of Laws.
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« Reply #41 on: August 22, 2004, 12:01:23 AM »
Updates to Clans
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« Reply #42 on: August 22, 2004, 01:53:37 AM »
Ffolkki added to Forms of Men
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« Reply #43 on: August 22, 2004, 09:39:30 PM »
Edits:
Decided that Ffolkki do not, in fact, have blonde-haired individuals in their midst, and added a new Word to Remember.
Also, added Dragonglass Hillsmen as an appendix to Imperials.
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« Reply #44 on: August 22, 2004, 09:42:22 PM »
I'eshu: Magic in the Empire

Breathe deep, breathe strong. Breathe in the magic of the air around you. Make of your mind a void, free of all the detritus of the false world. Know and see.
The Earth is a world bathed in magic. Magic flows across it as tides in the sea. Life exists because we may breathe in magic from the air around us- suffocation and drowning deprive the breathing being from taking in sustaining magic from the air, and thus, they die.

The Way of I'eshu is the path of magic, or at least, the path known in the Empire. I'eshu is known throughout the Empire as a mysterious path through which monks of I'eshu can see the future, know the past, and alter themselves. The I'eshu monks are very much a secret society, and the ways of magic are not at all easy or well-known. I'eshu Masters are feared throughout the Empire as sorcerors, and it should not be assumed that I'eshu is an established order or brotherhood- it is more a tradition.

Only certain individuals are capable of learning the Ways of I'eshu, individuals who are born with the ability to see the flows of magic that transfuse the land. All I'eshu monks are able to see the flows- without this ability, it would be impossible to understand them, or how to affect them. Sometimes, these individuals, known as "bashutengshusso", or "those who are able to see", are generally born with the ability, though it sometimes becomes apparent at puberty. Bashutengshusso often come to I'eshu monks on their own, seeking to learn the Way. Others are sought out by I'eshu Masters; this often occurs when a Bashutengshusso is very powerful or already trained in the ways of hedge magic or Vulgar Sorcery.

Among I'eshu monks, there is a loose heirarchy, from the renowned I'eshu Masters, sorcerors and seers of great power and skill, to simple I'eshu Wanderers, apprentices of the Way who learn the various sutras, techniques, and traditions from other Monks they may encounter. However, this heirarchy should not imply any sort of established order. Just as the practitioners of Kung Fu are disparate communities with similar-yet-different ways, so are the practitioners of I'eshu. It should also not be inferred that I'eshu is an open or well-known practice; everybody knows that there are sorcerors, but nobody really knows what I'eshu is.

It is important now to establish the difference between I'eshu, a form of Noble Sorcery, and Vulgar Sorcery.
When most mortals imagine magic, they think of wild-eyed Bashutengshusso calling fire from the air and wearing cloaks of butterflies, causing rains of frogs, or curing illness with a touch. This is Vulgar Sorcery, also called Wild Magic or Blind Magic (that is, magic used without seeing the consequences). While it is true that magic can allow one to do these things, using power in such a way is an active tearing of the Web of Fate, shredding the skeins of destiny that wind around the sorceror. Those who affect the Universe in this blunt, heavy-handed fashion too much may find that things go wrong- paradoxes occur, time loops, and what was once mere misfortune becomes the retaliations of the Gods. In fact, it is not uncommon for Vulgar Sorcerors (unschooled Bashutengshusso such as hedge wizards, tribal shamans, village wise-women, witches and warlocks, and the short-lived Sorceror-Kings of Manthey) to fade entirely from the Universe, having inexorably destroyed the fates and destinies binding them to the Earth.
Where Vulgar Sorcery is commanding reality to obey you, Noble Sorcery is asking it and tricking it, beguiling the forces of Fate to your favor, and utilizing the uninhibited powers of Gods and Demons. Where in Vulgar Sorcery you may command flame to be your armor, in Noble Sorcery, you bargain for the honor of serving at the hand of a Fire Spirit in his hall for a month and a day, and in return have his blessing. Where in Vulgar Sorcery you may force serpents to shed their venom for your alchemy, in Noble Sorcery you may beguile the Queen of All Serpents, and be her lover, in return for the gift of her childrens' venom. Noble Sorcerors may use the powers of Seeing, seeing the past, the present, the future, dreaming, places far and near; Vulgar Sorcerors may not See, for they cannot send their gaze along the threads of Fate which they have destroyed. Noble Sorcerors (and certainly I'eshu Masters) are often masters of trickery and negotiation, whence springs the Dlanni phrase "to talk like a mage", meaning "to lie".

The Way of I'eshu begins with meditation. No matter what Master a Bashutengshusso may learn from, they will always start their training with meditation. I'eshu meditation involves long periods of fasting and sitting (cross-legged, of course) in an area or chamber which calms the Bashutengshusso, allowing the mind of the apprentice to become tranquil and empty, and allows the meditator to take long, deep, slow breaths, bringing in the most possible magic from the air.
I'eshu Wanderers learn the most basic skills of the Way of I'eshu- those of Seeing. Wanderers study from texts of magical procedures, ancient scrolls and diskbooks, undergoing special excercises which allow the Mind's Eye to open. Some Bashutengshusso never achieve an opening of the Mind's Eye- not all can perform the arts of Seeing. But one can never truly be an I'eshu master without being able to peer into the Web of Fate, at least in some limited fashion.
I'eshu acolytes may also learn the rituals, sutras, and koans necessary to summon Gods; first learnt are those to summon Spirits, for the Gods of the Earth are the simplest and most easily dealt with Gods. Next are those pertaining to Demons- these are accompanied by the means with which to bind said Demons, and long studies into infernal registers in which the Gods mark down Spirits who go ronin and become Demons. The last learned summonings are the limited means by which an I'eshu monk may contact the Gods of Heaven, those far-off and overspread stars. These enigmatic and distant beings are difficult indeed to find and speak to (it is like roping a star, say many I'eshu monks), and even then, they can be frustratingly complex and vast. The consciousness of a God of Heaven, even the lesser Gods of Heaven for which we have no name, is difficult to fit into the spiritual spaces of the Earth, and it is generally not proper or right within the Web of Fate to so interfere with those lofty beings. Mortals cannot, it seems, even conceive the souls of the highest Gods of Heaven (Shining White, Roarer Horribly, et cetera), and thus, those Gods are not within the power of even an I'eshu Master. It must also be noted that these summonings require a fluency in the Language of the Gods, which is not at all easy to render into mortal concepts.
I'eshu monks also learn the Ways of Mortal Power, rituals and experiments by which magic can be used to exalt some portion of a mortal's power or experience. The Ways of Mortal Power can be used to strengthen the body, empower the mind, or deepen the soul. They are also used for healing, and entail a certain knowledge of the body's workings, and of medicine. Monks almost always aid study in the Ways of Mortal Power by practicing the martial arts- Serpent Style and Violet Spider Style are common.
Other learnings which may be included in I'eshu are those of pacifying and contacting the Dead (specifically, those Dead who remain on the Earth or those in the Underworld; obviously, the Dead who enter the Cycle of Reincarnation cannot be contacted until they live again), the causing of illusions and such affectations of the mind, and, in a few places, shapeshifting (though that skill lies on the border between Noble and Vulgar Sorcery).

Not all I'eshu monks may learn all the skills mentioned here- some may learn more, or different, magics. Also, there is an image in many minds that I'eshu Masters are withered old men. This is untrue- most I'eshu studies require a complement of physical excellence, and many I'eshu Masters are among the most fit and healthy individuals one may ever meet.

Note on Low Magic
I have noted that the I'eshu article seems to imply that the world is High Magic. It is not. Only the Bashutengshusso can use magic, and there are very, very, very few Bashutengshusso. There are, at most, 10,000 I'eshu monks in the entirety of an Empire (about 12 million). I'eshu is really, really difficult- summoning the least Spirit takes a great amount of exerted willpower, and keeping the Spirit from simply dismissing the summoner and leaving takes even more. Healing, and other spells of the Ways of Mortal Power, sometimes can reflect back at the I'eshu monk- a monk who heals a severed arm may, in turn, lose his soon in an accident; a monk who strengthens a man's muscles may find himself to a wasting disease.
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« Reply #45 on: August 24, 2004, 10:23:27 PM »
Added:
Music to the Forms of Man.
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« Reply #46 on: August 29, 2004, 03:08:10 PM »
Finally got I'eshu off the ground. Read it, now!
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« Reply #47 on: August 29, 2004, 06:01:42 PM »
Finished off I'eshu. Soon to come- Crane and Fire Scorpion Clans.
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« Reply #48 on: August 29, 2004, 06:56:15 PM »
Added note on Low Magic to I'eshu.
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Imperial Equipment and Stuff
« Reply #49 on: August 31, 2004, 09:56:04 PM »
Imperials have a variety of familiar-yet-different equipment, and it is necessary to know what this stuff is, so...

Rang- Rang means "blade". The rang is the traditional Imperial sword, a hilt-less, heavy blade, shaped like a scimitar with a long handle and a heavy pommel. The blade is held in the opposite fashion as scimitars are- that is, the concave side is the bladed side, and there is no point. Usually about three feet long.

Go-rang- "Great blade". The Imperial equivalent of a greatsword. A very long, heavy rang that is slightly straighter, though still curved. Usually about five feet long, which, for an Imperial, is very long indeed.

Pu'muk-rang, si'ita, and tru'mo- Axe, spear, and mace.

Imperial Armor- Imperial armor is defined as pauldrons, gauntlets, a breastplate and gorget, as well as greaves and armored sandals, and a helmet. Underneath, the wearer dresses in two layers of clothing and a leather jacket-like garment, therefore protecting the regions not covered in metal.
Imperial Pauldrons are essentially plates of hardened leather covered in a mail of metal squares. The breastplate is a solid piece of metal.

Imperial Cloak- An Imperial cloak is much like the familiar European cloak. However, the hood is sewn into a wide-brimmed straw hat (much like a coolie hat).

Discbook- Imperials usually record information in scrolls. However, when information must be recorded in a nicer and more durable way, they are recorded in discbooks. Discbooks are circular, as would be assumed, are circular. They have covers of wood, faced with colored leather or cloth. The pages unfold accordion-style, so that, if one were to unfold the whole book, one would have a long chain of parchment circles, strung together with leather cords.
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