Ours is a heavy burden,
To guard and care for all men.
We bear it because we must
And dare not let our swords rust.
We are the holders of law
Facing anarchy's dark maw:
We are all that stands between
Things that are, and things that seem.
A verse from Claye's The Founding Of The Empire
We stand against the darkness,
A lone and bitter witness -
The dark still makes us afraid!
But our burdens can't be laid
On the shoulders of others:
We chose this path forever -
We are civilisation
Standing against confusion.
A less well known verse from Claye's The Founding Of The Empire
The Empire is old, older than most recorded histories. Rough estimates claim it has been around for over 20,000 years. That's a long time, long enough for patterns to become traditions and stagnation to become reality. The Empire ruled the world in the truest of senses. All nations were dependant on the Ibisian Fleets and the Highway system of travel. Indeed., not a single nation has been able to oppose the power of the Ibisian Empire for at least 5,000 years. People considered it a mountain, but even mountains become hills over time.
Why the Empire fell is considered by many to be self-explanatory: Arkida was evil. For every problem there is such a simple reason given. So neat, so tidy, so wrong. The Empire has had many evil rulers as well as many good ones, people being what they are. There were more evil than good near the end, breeding being what it is among nobility, among those bred to be rulers. The philosopher Karle of Magan once said that it is the destiny of Emperor's to be gods among men, and that men are not meant to be gods. He was blinded and castrated for it, in the years before the Magan empire fell, and his words largely forgotten.
It is a failing of conquerors to seldom take lessons from those they conquer.
Arkida's failing was not that she was good or evil, but that she was indifferent. It honestly didn't matter to her if the Empire succeeded or failed because no one believed it could fall. She was the end result of a line of rulers bred to rule and desperate to leave things behind when they died, extending her life so that something could be left, but uncaring if something was because it was nothing to the Empire. There was nothing she could leave that had not be left before in it's long, long history.
Some say that,. in the end, when The Company invaded the city and she felt death to be near, she chose to die, to leave something behind, for good or ill: Arkida was the last Emperor. This was her legacy to the world, and one that will not be forgotten while the Empire resides in the memories of those who live. The Empire itself became her monument, and she proved that the fall of something may be remembered as much as the rise. Perhaps it was all planned, as some suspect: the indulgences of corrupt advisors, signing warrants without reading them, giving too much power to the lesser bureaucrats, allowing corruption to run wild. What that says about Arkida is terrifying, more than the evils she is said to have done in her life, to her family and those who displeased her. It says that the works of millennia can pass in the blink of an eye, that a moment can undo the work of centuries, and that nothing, nothing at all that shines beneath the sun and stars, is permanent.
Even if the Empire rebuilds, it will not be the same, can not be the same. Arkida fell, Ibis was taken by force. Not even the lies of historians will be able to erase these truths. The Empire can fall. Even if it rises again, it will fall some centuries, somehow, some way. Let that be a lesson for whatever comes next, if it is not forgotten as Karle was, as the Magan Empire has mostly been. There are things that should never be forgotten.
"Geography? Why do you want to know where things is, boy? Things're right there! Going around to see them won't make 'em any more real! Now go do somethig useful, like map out that new quarry!"
Burnished Doorknob, Dwarf miner speaking to the star of the hit Crystal Show "Rock Family Robinson"
The southern tip of Ibis consists of the ancient southern woods, a few hills and plains. It makes great farmland. The Strait is the water seperating Ibis from Eldos and called the Ibisian Strait on the Ibisian side and the Eldos Strait on the other side. Many map makers just use both names on maps of it. So far no war has been declared over the naming of the Strait, though Queen Arkida was considering it before her untimely demise.
This is the map done by Ibisian scribes. The Ibisian province remains the same size it always has, but the new realms formed tend to be less reliable in borders. Indeed, the Ibisian border itself is currently just a political fiction on the maps. Also note that the map in no way should be taken as fact. The locations of capitals and cities is irregular and the information on it is gleaned from rumours.
Amansar is a nice little mlitary-run dictatorship. They are currently mostly at war with Talrien but have been making plans to recapture the Holy City since they are what is left of the Ibisian Army, at least in the southern part of the continent. They are considered the most agrressive "nation" currently and watched over very carefully. So far, there idea of diplomacy is to kill the women and children they offer free passage from war zones to very quickly.
General Atchen Verilos (Human): Nominal head of the Amanasan ruling council, he is not an exceptional general but a very good organiser for the most part. It is likely his influence that had allowed Amansar to hold together as a small nation.
General El Ferin (Human): Possibly one of the most unscrupulous men alive, El is extremly brilliant and likely the reason that Amansar hasn't tried to invade Ibis and claim the crown from the new King.
General Drak Borged (Dwarf): The 3rd signifigant menber of the ruling council of Amandsar, he is a very good strategist and has earned the respect of all his men, even the humans, under any command he has undertaken. Surprisingly friendly for a dwarf, he understands the need of rulers to be in touch with the common people.
The other 5 council members are mostly majors.
Coran Greldis: The only Amansan diplomat, this man is a very good assassin and a reasonably competent diplomat.
The primary area of the campaign consists of of the former Ibis province of the Ibisian Empire. Ibis was the smallest province of the empire because "The Holy City needs no protection." Guarded by an elite guard, a school of mages and the famous Wall, Ibis was thought to be impregnable. This was true, at least in dealing with more conventional assaults. The PCs got in via bribery, treachery and other time-honoured heroics. They elite guard of the city was dealt with by death spells that also killed a lot of innocents, but that's not on any official record. Besides, Queen Arkida killed many, many more during the battle with the PCs.
In point of fact, the battle with Arkida the Terrible - as she was known long before then, when she first extended her life with the blood of her family - was so powerful that even the PCs only recall fragments of it. The end result of the war between Arkida and the PCs is that Queen Arkida did such unspeakable evils that people literally don't speak of them. Her name has become a curse, but she is dead now, and the dead tend to be remembered for the good that did, rather than the ill, even if it's a bit of a stretch.
Ibis is the largest city in the province and the largest port in the world. The other cities in the province are basically for trade and fortified against invasion. Ibis was unfortified save for the ancient palace and the Wall, that could stop any magical and physical assaults on the city proper. It works now, somewhat. The ports are guarded by large magical cannon guns.
One of the smaller new nations, Mantou is run by a band of mercenaries. They run it from various small villages and the land, while good for crops, has no cities of note in it at all. Everyone in the land is armed with weapons and taught to fight, making the people themselves the army of Mantou and saving on expenses. They have opened no diplomatic channels with other "nations" and currently prefer to be left alone and leave others alone.
Dark Eyes (Human): The head of the mercenaries that have claimed Mantou, he is said to be a formidable leader and surprisingly well learned for a mercenary. Very little is known of his past, but he is said to have some familiarity with magic and never orders people to do things he will not do himself.
Ardys (Human): A mage of considerable skill, Ardys is Dark Eyes' second in command and a spellsword of some repute. Some claim he is actually an Ibisian noble but no one is sure.
Elya (Elf): A famous healer, Elya is said to be Dark Eyes' wife and hs studied with almost every famous doctor in the world in her time. There are many physicisans who would be willing to kill to get even a hour alone with her to discuss methods of healing and theories.
The nation of talrien was the entire southern coast of Ibis before the fall of the Ibisian Empire. Since then, it has largely remained by itself and resisted all invasions with a ruthlessness that has surprised many. Common knowledge (such as it is) claims that Talrien is ruled by the most powerful wizard in the world. Of course, many people consider this foolish since Queen Arkida would obviously have killed anyone more powerful than she was ... right?
The Wizard: Ruler of Talrien from The Tower, which has stood since before the Empire, if legends are to be believed. Some say he - or she - is the most powerful wizard in the world, powerful enough that Arkida did not try and destroy The Tower. One strange rumour says Arkida *did* destroy it, but that it didn't matter.
Jaron Keldos (Human):: The actual ruler of Talrien, this man is an efficent administrator and known for having one of the best spy networks in the world, next to the ones the Empire and Magan had.
The kingdom of Verda is beset on all sides by other "nations" and would be in trouble if not for the fact that is is ruled by the order of clerics serving the God and Goddess. Many clerics have migrated to this land along with some paladins and as such few other nations want to tangle with a massing of the Order of Clerics. As paladins are largely insane, few would want to tangle with them, ever. Little else is known about this nation besides the fact that it has ursurped the position of the Holy One from Ibis and installed a new high priest and priestess who rule the land.
Shargos (Human): The Patriarch of The God, according to the decree of the clerics in Verda and the God, or so they claim.
Lingos (Human): The Matriarch of The Goddess, according to the decree of the clerics in Verda and the Goddess, or so they claim.
No one knows why the actual Patriarch and Matriarch in Sanctuary (who have the same title as the new ones) have not contested this appointment.
Our lot is to raise up high
Monuments that someday die
Memories of who we were,
What we weren't, and what we are.
To be remembered! it's all
We ask. The empire may fall
But it did not in our days,
Let that be shown in the gaze
Of the monuments we build!
Let those who will come be thrilled!
A verse (of disputed authorship) from Claye's The Founding Of The Empire
The city of Ibis is the worlds largest port city, boasting over half a million people within it's walls and perhaps the same amount in the outer city and around the famous harbour. At least, that was before Arkida died. After the war with her, all things have changed. The famous Wall of ibis, the black wall that was made sometime during the beginnings of the Empire, is weakened, it's protections against magic barely functioning. The one around the Palace itself is literally gone, as if it never existed at all. The north part of the city, already devastated by the plague last year, is in disrepair and most of the outer city was ruined in the battle. We can only be thankful that Arkida realised that destroying the city would be detrimental to the Empire itself.
Currently, the city is standing. Most of the buildings are in need of repairs and the northern section possibly burnt down and rebuilt entirely, but it is the Holy City for all that. The harbour remains safe from invasion and the city it largely standing, which is a rather impressive achievement. The weather overhead remains unstable and likely will for the foreseeable future. An ambitious spending spree on the Holy City might be necessary to return it to it's former glory as the light of the east.
Aside from the inns scattered around near the gates and a few places of negotiable repute around the city (one nestled just above the bards guild, no less), most businesses are confined to a large section of buildings devoted to streets for craftsmen and various other things. It keeps competition nice and stiff.
Death Gate: The death gate was a travelers gate into the city from Ibis, but was closed during a great plague centuries ago. Every King of the city since has written their name in the gate itself. Those who haven't tended to die very quickly, often with plague symptoms. Toll: None.
Harbour Gate: The gate often used by travellers, the harbour gate is manned at all hours and the guard there are among the best in the city, as well as the most honest. Toll: 2gp to enter, 2gp to leave.
North Gate: The northern gate into the city of Ibis, this gate is used almost exclusive by nobility and the upper class of Ibis. Others can use it, but are seldom let into the city. Toll: 100gp to enter, 20gp to leave.
South Gate: The largest of the gates, the south gate is used by caravans and merchants for the most part. Toll: 5gp to enter, 10gp to leave.
West Gate: The general gate into Ibis, the west gate is often used by Ibisians. Other travellers using it often get questioned as to why they never took the south gate. Toll: 2gp to enter, 5sp to leave.
The city guard have 7 guard houses around the city, one by each of the four used gates, one by the Square, one to protect the middle class and business people and the main guard house by the Death Gate.
The class guilds - called Orders, in order to seperate them from other guilds, naturally - are mostly in the north east section of the city. From left to right, they are:
The Prestige Guild
Psionicists Guild, Barbarians Guild, Bards Guild, Wizards Guild (includes sorcerers)
? (the unknown guild - no one has been able to enter it), Ranger Guild, Monk Guild, Druid Guild, Cleric Guild
Fighters Guild, Rogues Guild, and the Paladins Guild. The Fighters Guild also has a house near the Harbour, where they also train potential recruits for the City Guard.
Poor housing: The poor housing of the city lies in 2 areas. The south section is below the warehouses and is more transient than poor, often housing merchants or entertainers wishing to stay in the city for a long time yet not pay for an inn. The north poor section is a disaster area of burnt and broken buildings where people tried to hold the plague in the city there. An unofficial wall has been made between it and the rest of the city.
Middle class: The middle class housing is largely in the eastern section of the city and houses most of the people. A section near the Death Gate has been developed, and largely houses city and Empire officials in cramped quarters.
Upper class: The upper class live around the Ibisian park in a very well patrolled area. Most of their homes have lawns and are all walled.
Nobility: The city nobility live on large, lush lands arounds the palace complex with various homes away from home for dukes and marquis. Quite a few of them sustained damages during the battle with Arkida.
The only building dedicated to the God and Goddess in Ibis, Sanctuary is made of marble and said to be almost as magically protected as the Wall renders Ibis. The battle with Arkida seems to have done it no harm.
The famed Ibisian wall is a magical wall around the city that was said to be proof against all magical or physical assaults. The war with Arkida - from the inside - destroyed the Wall around the palace and damaged the city one to an unknown extent. It also proved that walls impervious to assault are greatly helped when the guards are impervious to bribery.
|Population of the inner city||500,000|
The above statistics do not include people dwelling in the Palace itself.
Barracks: These are the barracks for the palace guard that even the King cannot enter without their leave. They usually house about 500 men in each but can fit as many as 2000 each if needed. There are currently just 200 palace guards, after the fracas with Arkida.
Courtyard: Just a nice courtyard in the actual palace itself, that's all.
Gardens: The gardens of the palace contain enough food to feed everyone there for a good year or so, as well as being very pretty.
Inner Palace: The inner palace is the official Ibisian palace, a 5 storey fortified mansion. It is generally used for official functions only and most of the palace craftsmen live and work in it now.
Offices: The people who actually run the empire work in these buildings, at levels of power far enough below the King that it is still possible to get things done. No Emperor who angered them ever remains on the throne long.
Outer Wall: The outer wall is a wall around the inner palace itself and it mostly stone. It's only 20' tall but very thick.
Private Palace: This is the Emperors Palace, also used by the King (evne though they're the same person, that position are not). It's said to be riddled with passageways and the dungeons go very deep into the earth. Some of the Emperors has creative amusements. It's currently under construction after the battle against Arkida.
Servants Quarters: The servants quarters.
Stables: The Stables. (Also includes horses, other animals and a riding arena)
Visitors Palace: The Visitors Palace. Iet's basically a place for diplomats and dukes to stay when in the city.
The Wall: There was a wall equal to the one around the city here. When Arkida died, it was vapourized.
Ibisian nobility is set up much like english nobility. However, due to the long length of the Empire's existence, many of the titles bear little relation to the reality of the family estates. Some dukedoms are the size of small villages, in fact. There are 3 dukedoms set aside for heirs to the king, but all have been unoccupied during Arkida's reign. Very few nobles have more than one title, mostly due to he fact that there is only so much land to go around and many people have been given the honour of nobility in the long history of the Ibisian Empire.
This also, not incidentally, makes it a lot easier for the DM to figure out what titles someone has :)
|Courtesy Titles taken from this site|
|Peerage Type||Wife||Eldest Son||Younger Son||Daughter|
|Duke||Duchess||Marquess||Lord <Firstname> <Surname>||Lady <Firstname> <Surname>|
|Marquess||Lady <Husband's Title>||Earl||Lord <Firstname> <Surname>||Lady <Firstname> <Surname>|
|Earl||Lady <Husband's Title>||Viscount||The Honourable <Firstname> <Surname>||Lady <Firstname> <Surname>|
|Viscount/Count||Lady <Husband's Title>||The Honourable <Firstname> <Surname>||The Honourable <Firstname> <Surname>||The Honourable <Firstname> <Surname>|
|Baron||Lady <Husband's Title>||The Honourable <Firstname> <Surname>||The Honourable <Firstname> <Surname>||The Honourable <Firstname> <Surname>|
Baronets are always called "sir". If their wife is of nobility, she is called Lady, otherwise the title is just a courtesy.
Baronets rank lower than Barons and are titled nobility without any land to call their own.
Knighthoods are gained through battle or some other martial service to the Emperpor. They are not hereditary and knights without land generally end up in the service of other lords. They are required to follow a very strict code of conduct:
The Ibisian military was the pride of the world, with a navy that extended it's control globally and a very efficient army.
|Admiral of the Fleet||Field Marshal||Marshal of the Royal Air Force|
|Admiral||General||General||Air Chief Marshal|
|Vice-Admiral||Lieutenant General||Lieutenant General||Air Marshal|
|Rear-Admiral||Major General||Major General||Air Vice-Marshal|
|Commander||Lieutenant Colonel||Lieutenant Colonel||Wing Commander|
|Second Lieutenant||Second Lieutenant||Pilot Officer|
|Midshipman||Acting Pilot Officer|
|Cadet||Cadet||Officer Cadet||Officer Cadet|
|Warrant Officer||Warrant Officer Class I||Warrant Officer Class I||Warrant Officer|
|Warrant Officer Class II||Warrant Officer Class II|
|Chief Petty Officer||Colour Sergeant||Staff Sergeant||Flight Sergeant, Chief Technician|
|Lance Corporal||Lance Corporal|
|Able Rating||Marine||Private||Senior Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman, Junior Technician|
|Ordinary Rating||Leading Aircraftman/Aircraftwoman|
The air force is very small in modern times and consists mostly of men mounted on hippogriffs and pegasi. The old days of men flying dragon-back are, sadly, lost to history.
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