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Author Topic: Savage Age: Argyrian Empire  (Read 106330 times)
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« Reply #75 on: August 01, 2011, 02:17:38 PM »

Thank you for the compliment Eilathen. All of my current maps are outdated and need to be replaced, and I'm still struggling with geography in many places. Hopefully I'll get something done before the end of summer.
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« Reply #76 on: August 01, 2011, 02:27:17 PM »

Xenia (Hospitality)
Xenia is a code of hospitality, observed by most Eurian peoples. Though unwritten and not enforced by law, it is nevertheless held up as a matter of serious importance. Those ignorant of xenia are regarded as barbaric, whilst those who pretend to follow the code only to end up violating it are scorned as dishonorable miscreants.

The rules of xenia are much the same from place to place:
  • The host must show hospitality toward his guests; food drink, and a place to rest must be provided by him.
  • Once a host has admitted guests, he is honorbound to provide for them for three days. Only after this time has passed may he drive them from his house, unless they themselves have violated xenia during their stay.
  • The host ought to not ask questions of his guests until after their needs have been sated.
  • Guests should observe politeness and moderation and not demand from their host more than is provided.
  • Guests must not bring violence to the house of their host, and should leave any arms to the care of a servant for their stay.
  • Upon the departure of the guests, the host must provide them with a parting gift. The guests must never ask for such a gift - they have to wait for one to be offered, and courteously receive it as if it were unexpected. As the parting gift symbolises the host's thanks for having had the honor of receiving the guests, failure to offer one is a grave insult; a suggestion that the guests were not worthy. Likewise, guests turning down the gift insults the host, implying that a stay at his house was to be taken for granted.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 01:17:26 PM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #77 on: August 02, 2011, 04:32:31 AM »

Ghostman


Thank you for the compliment Eilathen. All of my current maps are outdated and need to be replaced, and I'm still struggling with geography in many places. Hopefully I'll get something done before the end of summer.


You're welcome! It really has a well rounded depth and feeling. I really hope to see a lot more from you smile

Wow, ALL the maps are outdated (ok, granted I have only seen two...the worldmap and the Euria Detailmap)?! Well, looking forward to seeing your new works.
Maybe the cartographers guild can help with ideas if you're struggling? Just an idea.
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« Reply #78 on: September 23, 2011, 01:36:32 PM »

Bearing Arms in Public
In most Argyrian cities, it is unlawful to carry arms within the city precinct, only the garrisoned militia guard being authorized to exercise armed force in the line of their duties. The details of these restrictions vary from town to town, and tend to be less strict in frontier settlements far from the Empire's core.
In general, these bans are only enforced on actual weapons of war and assorted military gear - common tools such as woodcutter's axes, farmer's sickles and blacksmith's hammers being exempt unless they're being carried openly on the street or in other contexts where they obviously do not belong. Such items are kept within homes and shops and only wielded as weapons to fend off burglars. Staves are often used as walking aids by travelers, and tend to be overlooked as long as they are carried in such obviously non-threatening manner.

Men of noble lineage and their retainers are allowed the right to wear personal weapons in public, but with the caveat that these must be kept sheathed at all times. Thus their privilege only extends to the sorts of weapons that can actually be worn in a sheath: swords and knives. Even the aristocracy are required to disarm themselves before entering certain public buildings and spaces, such as offices of government and courts of law.
Temple-guards - dedicated warriors attached to temples and other holy sites - are something of an anomaly. The letter of the law rarely acknowledges them in any way nor grants them any rights to arm themselves, yet in practice they are rarely if ever stopped from doing so. The authorities simply ignore them as long as they stay within their temple grounds, wherein they are regarded to hold sacred authority independent of profane laws. This sort of quiet acceptance applies to well-established public cults, whereas minority and foreign sects are far less likely to be so favoured.

Of course, those who cannot legally arm themselves may be inclined to do so anyway. The most common manner of breaking the laws is the possession of concealed weapons. Daggers, being easily hidden yet also effective at drawing blood, are by far the most favoured option among petty criminals, professional hitmen, and the common man looking to defend himself alike. In the crime-ridden slums where violent gangs prowl and militiamen turn the blind eye for a handful of coin, ruffians may be seen flaunting more obvious weaponry, typically either improvised arms such as clubs spiked with iron nails, or even low-end weapons of war such as battle-axes bought from the black market.
These restrictions on citizenry do not extend beyond the precincts of urban centers, but even in rural settings and wilderness there are unwritten rules dictated by common sense. Whilst farmers and hunters are expected to own simple and cheap weaponry such as bows and spears, and travelers are expected to reasonably arm themselves out of fear of roving bandits, there are many forms or equipment that are regarded as belonging purely in the military domain. This generally means expensive or heavy arms such as metal armour, warhorses, etc. A band of travelers found bearing such gear may be stopped and questioned by patrolling soldiers. Unless they belong to the military aristocracy, they may be arrested out of suspicion and have their equipment confiscated.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 01:39:56 PM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #79 on: September 23, 2011, 02:21:23 PM »

This is cool, and very atypical for gaming settings, where adventurers tend to haul weapons and armour around like it's no big deal.  A nice touch!
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« Reply #80 on: September 23, 2011, 05:18:11 PM »

And one I agree with and use heavily....
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« Reply #81 on: September 23, 2011, 05:28:09 PM »

The goal isn't so much to disarm characters, as to steer the manner of their equipment toward more fitting choises. And to call attention to context, which I feel tends to be overlooked in gaming.

It doesn't really make sense to lug some big-ass polearm everywhere you happen to go; it's heavy, it's cumbersome, it can't be conveniently holstered, and it probably makes people think you're off to rob or kill someone. It may be something to bring along when you're going to face off your sworn nemesis in a duel at sundown by the creek, not something you'd pack when going to a tavern for a drink.
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« Reply #82 on: September 24, 2011, 09:44:11 AM »

Ghostman

The goal isn't so much to disarm characters, as to steer the manner of their equipment toward more fitting choises. And to call attention to context, which I feel tends to be overlooked in gaming.

It doesn't really make sense to lug some big-ass polearm everywhere you happen to go; it's heavy, it's cumbersome, it can't be conveniently holstered, and it probably makes people think you're off to rob or kill someone. It may be something to bring along when you're going to face off your sworn nemesis in a duel at sundown by the creek, not something you'd pack when going to a tavern for a drink.


agree 110%. no one goes into a tavern wearing full-plate armor. that's ridiculous. you spill your ale, and BAM!, rusty armor.
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« Reply #83 on: September 24, 2011, 04:50:55 PM »

The article on arms was good. I especially liked the piece on temple guards.

--
This does bring up an issue of choice and design. You seem to be designing to be more realistic. The reason that most games don't care much about dress in public areas appears to be this: 1. Lazy game design...possibly ; 2. Players are overwhelmed by having to take on and off and to apply and unapply modifiers when they remove armor--therefore a better character sheet is needed to keep things straight; 3. The games go for a more action-centric feel--players may feel more epic being the Kaius Alexander-type (metal-wearing monstrosity); 4. In many games,the gear makes the player rather than the player's traits define the character--it can get troublesome to reward the monk in all situations while the knight effectively operates at half power--the players may get annoyed.

I think that if problem 2 can be overcome by more games making the tracking of modifiers simpler, then it'll be easier to maintain versimmiltude by having those items removed. But taking on/off armor and weapons can often become an annoying administrative task.
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« Reply #84 on: September 26, 2011, 11:52:31 AM »

Government
The Argyrian Empire casts it's shadow across vast areas, both overland and overseas. It is far too large to be managed directly from the capital, and is thus divided into smaller areas governed by lesser rulers in the name of the Emperor. These territories fall into two types, called Themas and Dominions.

Themas
A Thema is a land thoroughly integrated into the Empire - it is subject to Argyrian laws, it's freeborn population is largely vested with citizenship, regular censuses are carried out by imperial tax-collectors, and military forces are raised to march under the Emperor's banners.

Each Thema is ruled by a Strategos, a kind of governor-general appointed to office directly by the Emperor himself for a fixed term of 5 years. This state of affairs is designed to safeguard the power of the Emperor and check the ambitions of the nobility. The term limits and regular passing on of governorship help ensure that noble houses do not become entrenched in the Themas, treating the lands as hereditary possessions. Although this system has diminished the threat of rebellion, it has also stirred a hotbed of intrigue in the capital, where the aristocracy is constantly vying for the next governorship appointment.

Themas are subdivided into smaller territories called Provinces, governed by Archons appointed by the Strategi. The Provinces are in turn subdivided into Prefectures, governed by Prefects appointed by the Archons.

Dominions
In contrast to the firmly controlled Themas, the Dominions are peripheral lands that have been subjugated through force of arms but not truly annexed. They are largely autonomous states, retaining their native laws and forms of government, though they must pay tribute to the Emperor and submit to his edicts. Dominions are under constant military occupation, with Argyrian soldiers garrisoned in major cities and strongholds. The populations are typically natives without Argyrian citizenship, although large numbers of Argyrian colonist may also be present in these lands.

Roles to be Played
Regional governors are powerful men that can act as antagonists, allies or mentors for characters. Ambitious characters of noble background may even wish to pursue such positions for themselves, trying their hand in the dangerous games of power and politics.
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« Reply #85 on: December 12, 2011, 03:05:58 PM »

Braccheus

The Hand from the Depths

The terrifying sea-monster Braccheus plagues the Strait of Istros, southeast from Periclea. According to local legends, Braccheus was a wicked pirate whose relentless lust for plunder led him to sack the ancient sanctuary of the Crenian Oracle. To punish him for despoiling her sacred grounds, the vengeful goddess sent a cloud of obscuring mist to engulf Braccheus' ship on the Strait of Istros, causing it to be wrecked. To add insult to injury, she transformed the drowning pirate into a gigantic zombie-hand.

Braccheus appears as an immense cadaverous arm emerging from the sea, it's rotting flesh hanging loose off the bones, matted with seaweed and barnacles. It reaches out to grasp at ships passing by, crushing their hulls like a bundle of twigs and dragging them under. So notorious is this menace that ships sailing the strait give wide berth to the continental shore, where the arm most often emerges; they keep closer to the rocky forelands of the island of Karytis, safely out of the arm's reach but dangerously close to the reefs that lay hidden in the waters near those cliffs. Despite all caution it happens every once in a while that some poor vessel gets caught in the strong currents of the strait and drifts too close to the continent, meeting a grisly end at the iron grip of Braccheus.

A curious piece of mariner-lore states that the monster always appears by the starboard side when it emerges to attack, never by the port, stern or bow. For this reason sailors always keep a careful watch at starboard when daring the waters of the Strait of Istros.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 01:18:25 PM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #86 on: December 31, 2011, 06:50:52 AM »

Areté
As explained by Argyrian philosophers, areté is the art of excellence: to walk the path of areté is to achieve one's highest potential, to fullfill one's destiny and purpose of being. In it's broader interpretation the concept can be applied to just about anything - the areté of a mirror would be to reflect any vision as clear and true as reality itself, while the areté of a sword would be to hold a perfect edge on steel at the same time adamant yet springy, with optimal balance and length of the blade.

When applied to Mankind, areté implies excellence of mind, body and soul in unison, for Man is understood to be composed of all three in equal measure, and neglecting any one of these aspects would be a failure to realize one's potential. Thus for a Man to live up to this ideal requires cultivation of the virtues of the mind (such as erudition and judgment), the virtues of the body (such as athleticism and hygiene), as well as the virtues of the soul (such as courage and restraint).

The aristocracy in particular is expected to display areté in everything they do, from mundane day-to-day actions to vital decisions in the face of crises. Failures result in loss of face, and one individual's vices can easily jeopardize the honor of his entire family. Although Men of lesser station are not held to such high standard, they too are encouraged to aspire to this common ideal.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 06:54:25 AM by Ghostman » Logged

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« Reply #87 on: February 18, 2012, 10:41:08 AM »

A Legendary Item: The Gray Savant
(AKA Macabre Oracle)
Kept in the temple of Tatiane at Periclea, the ancient relic formally referred to as the Gray Savant, but colloquially know as 'Macabre Oracle', is an enigma that astounds the wisest of sages. Due to it's ghastly composition - a mummified human head of incrutable antiquity planted on a blackened bronze rod jutting out of a queerly shaped stone pedestal - it is kept in a candle-lit chamber behind a silken curtain, concealed from the eyes of all but the hierophants that attend the temple. It's origins and age are a complete mystery, but ancestral lore attests to it's presense in the earliest eras of rememberance.

The Gray Savant is an object of pilgrimage due to it's mystical powers of prophecy: formulaic questions written on strips of papyrus may be placed in it's mouth, whereupon they are somehow consumed, eliciting a whispered response in archaic language. These utterances are in the form of perplexing riddles, which once unravelled reveal the answers to the questions presented. The speaking cadaver-head has never been known to make an error in it's revelations, but it will answer but once to each person that comes seeking it's wisdom.

All pilgrims are required to donate a heifer as a gift for the temple before being admitted to peruse the enlightenment of the Gray Savant. They will be led to the entrance of the chamber and instructed to prostrate before the curtain. The written question will be fed to the Savant by one of the hierophants. The question and the answer are both penned down on the temple's records, which are accessible to the priesthood and trusted scholars.

Should the head be removed from it's stand even briefly, it's oracular powers would be lost forever.
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« Reply #88 on: February 18, 2012, 03:53:23 PM »

Why didn't I think of this first!?!
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« Reply #89 on: March 18, 2012, 02:53:07 PM »

The Great Houses
After the Emperor, the most formidable political actors within the Argyrian Empire are the Great Houses - mighty noble families that trace their ancestry from legendary heroes and demigods. There are currently 12 such houses, although the number has changed over the centuries as some lineages have perished and new ones arisen. Each of the houses is quite large, consisting of multiple branches and sub-families, and closely associates itself with several families of lesser aristocracy and with organizations such as collegiums. They own estates and operate businesses from various corners of the Empire, but focus most of their attention and assets in the capital, close to the Imperial court wherein real power resides.


While they all serve the Emperor, the Great Houses each have their own agendas to further and interests to look after, and they are not afraid to leverage their political influence in the pursuit of these goals. Each day their courtiers engage in the never-ending game of deception and guile, weaving intricate plots to gain an upper hand over their rivals. Although open armed conflict between the houses is out of the table as long as the Imperial law is upheld, the menace of more subtle, clandestine methods of violence hangs perpetually over the members of these families.


The Great Houses differ somewhat in temperament and traditions, having adopted distinguishing philosophies over the course of their existence. Some are pragmatic, others more idealistic, some advocate war and conquest while others favour trade and diplomacy. Although not every member of a house will share the same views as his peers, there is enough truth to these stereotypes to make them justified.

In the Age of Thunder, the 12 Great Houses include:

Out of Character

Write-ups detailing individual houses will be coming up. Not all of the Great Houses will necessarily be given a detailed overview.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 01:41:11 PM by Ghostman » Logged

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