Honor and philosophy in conflict in an Ancient Empire
Capital: Estuary Palace (pop 54,700)
Major Settlements: City on the Large Hill (pop 29,000), Long Cape Port (pop 21,750), Thousand Generations Temple (pop 18,500)
Ruler: Empress Korasrah “the Emerald Scaled”
Government: Imperial Bureaucracy
Major Races: Saurian
Major Faiths: Philosophy
Resources: Art Works, Ceramics, Rice, Silk, Spices, Tea
Languages: Saurish (Jengu-Na dialect), Draconic
The people of Jengu-Na like to say that their culture was old when the world was young and perhaps it was. It is certain that the Empire of the Saurians once was much more extensive than it is now but when the NewGod war erupted, they withdrew from (or simply lost) their lands outside of the core of the Empire. The Empire of Jengu-Na sealed its borders and waited for it all to blow over … and waited.
By the time the world settled down into its current pattern, the court of Jengu-Na had become comfortable with their defenses and happy to ignore the outside world. A network of fortresses, strong points, walls, water defenses, watchtowers and magical wards guarded the Empire from outside dangers. Naturally, these defenses have spawned their own garrisons and bureaucracy which have every interest in portraying the outside world as dangerous, full of barbarians and entirely unpleasant.
So it was not until the reign of Emperor Roshal “Far Sighted” that permission was at last granted to a group of foreign merchants to trade, but they would only be allowed access to the Empire and its trade at Long Cape Port and no where else.
The Empire seems monolithic but even the small exposure to foreign ideas has begun to disrupt the status quo. Memories of the ancient Empire aside the globe has inspired the most ambitious of the lords of Jengu-Na to agitate for an expansionist policy towards the outside world and recruit for their private armies. They are pitted against the Court and the defense bureaucracy who wish things to remain as they are.
The philosophic orders, many of who mix magic or martial training with their philosophy, are divided over what to do. All of the orders wish to learn from the outsiders, but only on their own terms and at their own rate (which ranges from slow to glacial). But a few of the younger members of the orders have slipped beyond the borders to learn from the barbarians as they return, and knowledge from the outside world is imported, old certainties are reexamined.
The Empress Korasrah “the Emerald Scaled” has only recently ascended the throne and is still absorbing the situation with outsiders, she has yet to decide on what to do but she is most likely to listen to the opinions of philosophical orders … if they ever come to a consensus among themselves. However, much to the concern of all of the factions, she has expressed a willingness to meet with ambassadors of the outsider nations to personally learn about them and their lands.
Estuary Palace, the capital of the Empire and a shining beacon of Jengu-Na industry and service. Government departments checkerboard the city with crafters and places of entertainment while a strong Imperial garrison cooperates with the civil magistrates to keep peace. It is the heart of the Empire where everything gets done, once the paperwork has been completed properly.
City on the Large Hill, the Imperial family lives here when not in the capital and it is a center of arts, culture and culinary expression. Most of the Imperial staff is recruited here and it is a center of Imperial loyalists.
Long Cape Port, the one place in the Empire where outsiders are allowed without special permission but even here they are confined to their own quarter and carefully watched. Outsiders can acquire licenses to allow them access to the city but not beyond and they must be back inside their own quarter by midnight.
Thousand Generations Temple, one of the newer cities in the Empire (having only been around as a city for twenty generations) it is one of the places where the various philosophical orders come to debate and dispute (the occasional brawl between such not being unknown). It also has become a haven for smuggling outsider goods into the Empire as the philosophic orders have an endless fascination with such.
Eyes of the Empress, the Empress is more curious about the outside world than she wishes to be known by her court and government. To this end she has employed a clawful of her most loyal agents to gather first hand information for her, they in turn have built a network of outsiders to bring in rumors, goods and more.
Found Artifact, someone has come into the possession of an ancient artifact from the Empire’s heyday when it reached out well beyond its current boarders. That it is very powerful is obvious, just as it is equally obvious that it needs something -knowledge, sacred water, something unique- from the Empire to make it work.
Smugglers’ Blues, there is vast profit to be made by those willing to break Imperial law and bring in items desired by the Jengu-Na: philosophical works, histories, arms and armor, exotic spices and medicines. In exchange, they will pay in the wonders of Jengu-Na. The deal is probably the easy part, getting in and out may prove more difficult.
Combative Philosopher (Regional) You are deeply devoted to a philosophic order and such devotion focuses your mind. You may gain either a knowledge skill as a class skill or a +1 bonus to skill checks with a knowledge skill. Once per combat, when fighting an intelligent opponent, you may pose a philosophical question via a knowledge check. Your opponent may reply with a knowledge, bluff or diplomacy check, if they do not beat your check (or fail to reply within the next round) you gain a +1 bonus to attack on one attack against them the following round.
Allowed Merchant (Regional) You are one of the lucky few, or your parents were, who are licensed and allowed to trade with the people of Jengu-Na, under strict supervision of course. You gain a +2 bonus to diplomacy and knowledge (local) checks with the Jengu-Na in the treaty city (or outsider friendly Jengu-Na anywhere) additionally, you may select Saurish (Jengu-Na dialect) as a bonus language.