SUMMER OF THE WHITE MOUTHED DOGS
|I think this is video game concept art|
Below is an initial attempt to flesh out the ideas behind my fallen Empire Post of last week. The idea behind Fallen Empire/Empire of Rag and Bone is to create a setting where high magic of the most absurd and potent variety exists, but is both rare and mysterious. I have tried to include a few setting hooks into the letter below, which may verge on “Bad wanna-be fantasy author territory” rather then game content. I also try to pull the game ideas (Stone Ships is explicitly from this world) from actual historical events (take a guess what the three below are).
*The Isle Enmity was once a fortress island in the ancient war the destroyed the True Empire. The demon legions under the command of the Imperial Bureaucracy and the False Corrector had fortified the island when they realized that their tactics of resolute attack were failing. Spending over a year using magic and alchemy to carve the entire island of heavy volcanic rock into a network of fortresses, the battle to capture it’s strategic ley nexus and port was one of the worst of the war. So fierce was the conflict that the forces of the Cadet Emperor had to summon archons and offer them a pact to take the island.
It has remained untouched, unplundered and largely unexplored since and represents a treasure of both the ancient magical weaponry and more mundane valuables, striped from at least two provinces buried in the fortress vaults by the Corrector’s armies.
*** The Imperial Road Warden were originally bands of tax collectors, rangers and excise agents who were paid to maintain and keep the roads clear of banditry and dangerous fauna. They do still exists, as the Warden families and hamlets have themselves grown into their own communities over time, and now take their duties and right very seriously. Originally empowered to tax based on a certain percentage based on the expected profits of a trader’s stock and to take this tax from the stock itself if coinage was not available, and then issue a stamped lead pass entitling the merchant to Imperial protection form future taxes (market taxes, province taxes and noble’s road taxes) the Wardens have devolved into a type of genteel banditry. Still able to quote Imperial law (several centuries out of date) and well versed in the ancient value of various goods or the price of passage in extinct coinage, an encounter with Wardens will typically result in the loss of a trader’s entire stock and a traveler’s possession. Wardens are not as hated as the bandits that also infest the roads, because they are punctilious in their duties and never steal a traveler’s horse, wagon or clothes, and always issue stamped lead passes, which are still honored in a few trade towns. Moreover the presence of Wardens, many of whom still carry at least a few pieces of ancient Imperial weaponry, tends to mean that the road is free from mundane bandits. Larger merchant caravans have been known to hire groups of Warden’s as guards or employ an Imperial Barrister to argue law with any wardens encountered. All of these methods have meet with varying degrees of success, depending on the nature of any the Wardens encountered.
Merchants may undertake these methods, and simpler tactic of deception or violence to protect themselves from Warden bands, but they never forge the Warden’s simple lead passes, because it is a known Warden tactic to infiltrate family members (the Warden bands are almost all familial in nature and all Wardens see themselves as kin of a sort) into caravans to ferret out dishonesty. Merchants who cheat or attempt to deceive wardens will be strangled at night by these imposter travelers, and a signed death warrant for a variety of crimes against the Imperial Code left on their bodies.