A Minor setting hack for 13th Age
This is a hack of 13th Age, meant to use the bulk of the source material for 13th Age but to reskin it to simulate a high fantasy version of China. In order to do this I have slightly altered some of the icons, as well as envisioning the Dragon Empire as being somewhat more unified than it is in 13th Age.
13th Dynasty has a less freewheeling feel to it than default 13th Age because it is a specific setting designed to use the 13th Age rules, rather than a generic setting designed to showcase them. The Dragon Empire of 13th Dynasty is beset by troubles without and within. Many of its biggest problems stem from the civil wars that ended the 12th Dynasty around 75 years ago (so within living memory of elves, and certainly within the memory of all the PCs grandparents, who either lived through it or in the immediate aftermath of it). Like China at the end of the Warring States period, the Dragon Empire is currently trying to reestablish itself after a long civil war. The setting has post-apocalyptic overtones – vast areas of what was previously the Dragon Empire are now uninhabitable wastelands, and remnants of the forces that once tore the empire apart (the forces of the Diabolist and the Lich King) still exist, brought to bay but not entirely defeated.
(After much thought I have decided to include the original gendered titles for icons based on the original 13th Age for clarity. I would, however, encourage GMs to change them to something gender-neutral).
Icons are very important to 13th Age, and are important to 13th Dynasty as well. With a bit of adjustment all of the icons in 13th Age work, but they operate on a level that is initially far above that of the player characters. They have vast resources at their disposal and entire organizations at their beck and call. many of them also work together keep the Dragon Empire together and can call on one another for favors. Even many of the evil icons maintain tenuous relationships with their good counterparts by virtue of the power they wield or favors owed from the past.
The Archmage (Ambiguous) – stalwart defender of the Dragon Empire (or scheming power behind the throne), the Archmage advises the Emperor on all things arcane. The Archmage is also responsible for dealing with magical threats to the Dragon Empire, for overseeing and approving the development of magic within the Empire, and for supervising the creation of magical items. From Horizon City, he assures the magical security of the Empire and its leaders. If he sometimes “oversteps” in his zeal, that’s part of the job.
The Crusader (Ambiguous) – [AKA: the Warlord]. Commander of the Dragon Empire’s armies, the Warlord is largely a force unto himself. At the moment there are sufficient external threats to the Dragon Empire to keep the Warlord busy doing battle with the Diabolist and the Lich King. However, there is no doubt that the Warlord wants power, and has his eye on the Invisible City and the Dragon throne.
The Diabolist (Villainous) – pure evil on a stick, the Diabolist has made pacts with creatures from beyond the earth, from hell itself, and seeks to overthrow the empire and install herself as its ultimate ruler. Only the fact that she and the 12th Dragon Emperor (now the Lich King) betrayed one another, and the sacrifice of the Great Golden Dragon, prevented her conquering the Dragon Empire during the 12th Dynasty, and only the constant efforts of the Warlord and the Archmage now keep her in check
The Dwarf King (Heroic) – [AKA the King of the North]. The Dwarf King fights a continual battle to hold the northern marches against the raids and attacks of the Ork Lord, while being continually pressed by the Diabolist from the south and west. He is unstinting and uncompromising in his duty. Though the nation of the dwarves is separate from the Dragon Empire, they are tied together by trade, treaties, and an alliance going back hundreds of years. All attempts to drive a wedge between the dwarves and the Dragon Empire have failed – so far.
The Elf Queen (Heroic) – [AKA the Queen of the East]. The Elf Queen reigns over a semi-autonomous region in the east of the Dragon Empire. During the civil wars of the 12th Dynasty, the elves suffered tremendous casualties, and most of the male elves were slain fighting against the Three and an invasion from the Fire Islands. By necessity they are now a matriarchy, fiercely loyal to their Queen. The territory is still wracked with unrest.
The Emperor (Ambiguous) – ruler of the Dragon Empire, ultimate authority, the Emperor oversees the Empire through a vast network of civil servants, courtiers, functionaries, legates, governors, and spies. His actual person is seldom if ever seen by most, for he dwells in the Invisible City, a virtual city within a city which is open only to a few. From within he issues the edicts and orders that keep the Dragon Empire functioning. Gossip about the Emperor is a favorite topic throughout the Empire, but actual knowledge of his person and doings is very rare.
The Great Gold Wyrm (Heroic) – [AKA the Great Golden Dragon]. Adviser and mentor to numerous dynasties the immortal Great Golden Dragon has been part of the Dragon Empire since the beginning, and in at least one dynasty was de facto emperor. During the great Civil Wars of the 12th Dynasty, when the Diabolist created the Abyss and the Red Wastes, the Great Golden Dragon chose to sacrifice itself to prevent the demons of the abyss from overrunning the world. It still fights every hour of every day to prevent demons from coming through the rift, and only by its efforts is the world still safe. Though the Great Golden Dragon does not itself get involved in the affairs of the Empire, it has an extensive network of followers throughout the Dragon Empire who carry on in its name.
The High Druid (Ambiguous) – [AKA the High Lama]. Controlling the vast wilderness of the Wild Wood, and with followers in all the wild areas of the kingdom, the High Lama is the leader of those who follow the old ways of animism and nature spirits. The High Lama’s domain is part of the Dragon Empire in name only, and the High Lama himself pursues his own agendas and plans. While he does not seem to have his eye on the Dragon Throne at the moment, there is considerable friction between him and the Priestess for the Emperor’s favor. At the moment that favor rests with the Priestess, pushing the High Lama to undertake sometimes questionable activities in defense of his land and his sect.
The Lich King (Villainous). [AKA the Undying Emperor]. The great war that ended the 12th Dynasty took place because of the Imperial family’s use of necromancy to prolong their lives. Though exiled to an island, the 12th dynasty continues in the person of the Undying Emperor, a powerful lich lord. His defeat is one of the top priorities of the Dragon Emperor, but his sinister ships, crewed by the undying remnants of his soldiers and followers, remain the scourge of the Midland Sea and are one of the decisive factors in preventing the Dragon Empire from truly unifying. Within his great tower, made from the still-screaming bodies of his victims and enemies, he plots his triumphant return to the Invisible City and conquest of the Dragon Empire.
The Orc Lord (Ambiguous) [AKA The Great Khan]. Far to the north is a great empire of orcs who live a largely nomadic existence, riding the steppes on their fierce warg mounts, demanding tribute from all their neighbors, conquering those nations which show weakness, raiding where they cannot conquer. For a time, long ago, they actually conquered the Dragon Empire, and an orc sat on the Dragon Throne and ruled the land. The Great Khan longs for those days, and that power, and eyes the wealthof the Dragon Empire with avarice. It is well known that his agents are active within the Dragon Empire, and border skirmishes between the Khan and the King of the North are nearly continuous. The widely held belief is that there are only three things restraining the Khan at the moment – the great behemoths, the threat posed by the Diabolist, and internal troubles.
The Priestess (Heroic) [AKA the High Priestess]. Leader of the State religion, the High Priestess, along with the Archmage and the Emperor, are the three legs on which the Dragon Empire precariously balances, now that the Great Golden Dragon is occupied in the Abyss. An unrelenting force for good, the temples and monasteries that she oversees throughout the land often serve as a check to the excesses of the Emperor and the Archmage. She allows local religious leaders a good deal of autonomy in their actions and decisions, but acts as the ultimate spiritual, ethical, and moral arbitrator to the various sects of her religion. She is in almost perpetual conflict with the arch-druid for theological reasons.
The Prince of Shadows (Ambiguous) [AKA The Iron Monkey or The Monkey King]. Leader of the various organized crime organizations of the Dragon Empire, and an unparalleled martial artist and thief, the Iron Monkey is said to touch every die that is rolled in the empire, taste every cask of wine, and touch every coin. Despite their criminal enterprises, the Iron Monkey is not without redeeming characteristics: they are fierce opponents of slavery and banditry, and have been known to side against the empire’s foes. The Iron Monkey’s assistance was vital in overthrowing the Undying Emperor, and their followers are often seen as heroes by those oppressed by greedy nobles. Gossip about the Iron Monkey is a much-loved topic at inns, road houses, and markets,
The Three (Villainous) [AKA The Council of Dragons]. The Council comprises some of the oldest and most powerful dragons ever. Long ago the evil dragons conspired to destroy the eldest of the good dragons (with only the Great Golden Dragon surviving) and were the original rulers of the Dragon Empire. Over time, however, their power has waned until now they directly control only a small portion of their former empire. Currently there are only three dragons known to be active on the Council – the Red, the Blue, and the Black. There are two others known – the White, who was killed by the Undying Emperor and now serves as his undead thrall, and the Green, currently held captive by the Elf Queen.
(Most of the races have special rules representing their relationship to certain icons. However, no characters are required to spend their points on any particular icon. The special rules represent opportunities, not requirements.)
Dark Elf – [AKA “The Silver Folk” or “Silver Elves’]. The product of magical manipulation of the elves by the Council of Dragons long ago. The Silver Folk were created to conquer, and eventually corrupt and replace the elven race
Special rule: Silver Elves may treat the Elf Queen icon as Heroic and the Dragon Council as Villainous, the Elf Queen as Villainous and the Dragon Council as Heroic, or both as Ambiguous – player choice.
Demontouched – Demontouched are a new thing in the 13th Dynasty. During the great civil war that ended the 12th Dynasty, the Diabolist (then the Warlord) opened a rift to the abyss and dramatically increased the number of Hellholes throughout the land, unleashing numerous demons into the land. The result of the great magical energy released at this time is that now some people are born demontouched. They are generally considered to be ill-omened folk, but are undeniably powerful.
Special Rule – the Demontouched may treat the Diabolist as an Ambiguous or Villainous icon – player choice.
Draconic – dragon blood flows through the veins of all the races (some say that the dragons actually created all the other races, though scholars and priests dispute this). It occasionally manifests as an individual who is born manifesting a portion of their draconic heritage. Such individuals are sometimes revered, sometimes feared.
Special Rule – Draconic characters may treat The Dragon Council as an ambiguous or Villainous icon – player choice.
Dwarf – Dwarves and Gnomes are both offshoots of the same original race that fractured during a long-ago civil war, but in the present Dynasty are allied and largely intermingled.
Special Rule – Dwarves can take the Dwarf King as an ambiguous or heroic icon – player choice.
Gnomes – Gnomes and Dwarves are offshoots of the same original race that fractured during a long-ago civil war but in the present Dynasty are allied and largely intermingled. Where Dwarf culture focuses on physical hardiness and stoicism, Gnome culture focuses on merriment, jest, and magic. Combined they make for a formidable alliance.
Special rule – Gnomes may take the Dwarf King as an ambiguous or villainous icon – player choice.
Half -Elf – Half Elves are a new thing in the world. Prior to the end of the 12th Age they did not exist, and nobody’s quite sure what to make of them at the moment. It is possible that they are the world’s response to the Demontouched, or simply a result of the mingling of the great magics that were used to end the civil war. In any event they are now sometimes born to both humans and elves, regardless of parentage.
Halfling – nobody knows where Halflings come from. Apparently not even the Halflings. Their origin stories are diverse and conflicting. There are no official records of them in the Dragon Empire until the 6th Dynasty, so it appears that they are younger than other races, though many of their tales indicate that they are much older. For now they are spread thinly but relatively evenly around the Dragon Empire, mostly in rural areas. In the north they tend to group into their own communities, whereas in the south they mix with other populations. Halflings are also famous for the communities they build on the backs of Kodo behemoths.
Special Rule – halflings may choose one icon to define as heroic, ambiguous, or villainous – player choice.
Half-Orcs – [AKA “Orcs”]. Half-Orcs are not the result of interbreeding between orcs and humans (or anyone else). They are simply orcs who live within the borders of the Dragon Empire and follow its culture and ways. Long ago, the tribes of the Great Khan conquered the Dragon Empire, and many of the Great Khan’s people established themselves there. Since that time Orcs have been a distinctive minority throughout the land. The term “Half-Orc” is a reference to their “civilized” ways, as distinct from what citizens of the empire consider the barbarism of those who follow the Great Khan.
Special rule – Orc characters can take the Great Khan as a Heroic icon – player’s choice.
High Elf [AKA “Light Folk” or “Light Elves”]. More similar to the Silver Elves than they would like to admit, the Light Elves are also a product of magical manipulation – this time by the elves themselves – to combat the development of the Silver Elves. After their victory the elven people looked to them for leadership, and they have been considered a sort of noble race ever since.
Special rule: High Elves may treat the Elf Queen icon as Heroic, Ambiguous, or Villainous – player choice.
Human – humans are the most common race in the Dragon Empire. They’re everywhere. Other races sometimes consider them a veritable infestation.
Special Rule – humans may consider either the Emperor or the Archmage (but not both) as a Heroic icon – player’s choice.
Wood Elf [AKA “Grey Folk”, “Green Folk” (particularly those who follow the High Lama), “Grey Elves”, “Green Elves” “Fair Folk” or just “Elves”). The original elven stock, unchanged from the beginning of the first dynasty, still makes up the bulk of the elven race.
Special rule: Silver Elves may treat the Elf Queen icon as Heroic, Ambiguous, or Villainous – player choice.
The Dragon Empire is divided into a number of provinces, each based around a major city. Most of the provinces are, at present, at least nominally tied to the authority of the Emperor and the Dragon Throne. I have deliberately left out specific borders, as was done in 13th Age.
Caifu Province and the City of Coin
Caifu (“Wealthy”) Province lies in the western part of the Dragon Empire, and is without doubt its single wealthiest province. It is the base of the Empire’s merchant fleet, receives trade from the dwarves and gnomes to its north, and has some of the best farmland in the entire empire. The Emperor often uses governorship of this province as a reward to loyal families, so rulership here changes frequently.
The Warlord makes his home in Caifu province, in the great fortress complex of First Victory. The presence of a large part of the Imperial Army here means even more wealth for the merchants who equip and feed it.
The capital, the City of Coin, handles much of the legitimate trade of the Empire. Its nearby sister city, the Port of Shadows, handles much of the illicit trade. It is rumored that the Monkey King lives and operates out of one or both cities.
[Caifu Province corresponds to the area north of the Kneedeep river, east of the Giantwallk, and south of Calamity Lake, with the exception of Anvil.]
Zhou Province, the Imperial City, the Invisible City
The seat of the Imperial government, from which all authority and benevolence of the Dragon Throne and the Dragon Emperor flow, Zhou (“Axis”) Province is the most metropolitan and urbane in all the empire, and its citizens consider themselves to be superior to the unwashed masses elsewhere. The business of Zhou Province is governance, and the Imperial Bureaucracy is spread out across the province with various schools, universities, departments, offices, officials, and functionaries scattered throughout the area like leaves fallen from the tree of government.
The Imperial City, the largest, oldest, and most impressive city in the Empire lies here, and exists to maintain the Emperor’s rulership and support the smaller, but even more important Invisible City, where the Emperor lives and from which he governs. In the current dynasty, the Invisible City is not physically invisible (though it is said that in some past dynasties it has been) but is a walled city-within-a-city, largely inaccessible to outsiders. By tradition, those who dwell in the Imperial City avoid mention of the Invisible City within, particularly to outsiders, and tend to act to the greatest extent possible as though it is not even there. Most maps of the Imperial City simply leave it out altogether (which can sometimes make navigation precarious).
Horizon City, where the archmage lives and works, is also a part of Zhou Province. If Imperial City is the most glamorous city in the empire, Horizon City is the most amazing. In Horizon City, magic is everywhere, and magical marvels abound – from the magical lanterns which light the city at night, to floating buildings where powerful magi live, to the great tower that dominates the skyline and reaches all the way to the overworld, where the archmage oversees the magical needs of the Dragon Empire and toils ceaselessly to advance its study.
[Zhou Province corresponds to the area around Axis, south of the Kneedeep River, east of the Giantwalk, and west of the Lost River and Gorogar’s Maw.]
Bai Wan Province and the City of Saints
Bai Wan Province lies in the south of the Dragon Empire. For several of the early dynasties of the Dragon Empire, Bai Wan was an independent nation, and despite its eventual integration, the people there still show an independent streak, dress distinctively, and speak with unique accents.
Bai Wan means “One Million”, a shortening of the province’s older name of “Land of One Million Spirits.” It is sometimes referred to as “Million Temple Province”
Geographically, Bai Wan is the largest of the provinces, encompassing the whole of the South and Southeast Empire. In practice the portion of the province that is actually controlled by the Empire is small, comprising mainly the area around the City of Saints, and the eastern coastal areas. It is from here that the Priestess oversees the functioning of the Empire’s many religious sects.
In the center of the province lies the wild wood. This area, under the authority of the High Lama, maintains a good deal of independence from the Empire as a whole. Worship of the old ways of Tao and Animism still hold sway here, and the gods of the new religion are not particularly welcome and neither are imperial tax collectors. At present the Dragon Empire has bigger problems than this thinly populated forest, and largely ignores the Wild Wood, but some friction between followers of the old ways and the new is inevitable in the province, and when it becomes serious enough the Empire will intervene in favor of the Priestess.’s followers.
The largest city in Bai Wan is the Priestess’s stronghold of the City of Saints, where every day is a festival of some sort, and followers of the various gods, pantheons, sects, temples, monasteries, nunneries, cloisters, and what-have-you of the state religion all meet and intermingle under the Priestess’s watchful eye to hash out differences and avoid conflict.
[Bai Wan Province corresponds to the area east of the Red Wastes, south of the Midland Sea, and extending to the coast.]
San Long Province and Blue City
Blue City has had many names over the centuries. Long ago, it was the original seat of the Dragon Empire, when actual dragons reigned. Later it was a bastion from which the Dragon Council ruled. Later still it was a bastion city on the eastern marches of the Dragon Empire, guarding the coasts against invasion. And in between these incarnations it has been a ruin, destroyed or abandoned after one conflict or another.
During the 11th Dynasty the Emperor came to an agreement with the Dragon Council. In exchange for promises of support (and some say geasa to prevent betrayal) the Emperor returned the ruins of their former capital to the Dragon Council and granted them rulership over the city and the surrounding province.
San Long (“Three Dragon”) Province is the abode of monsters. Here the various intelligent monstrous races – creatures that would be hunted down anywhere else in the empire, are able to live in relative peace and form a unique society. San Long is also the dark underbelly of the Dragon Empire, the only province in which slavery is practiced (openly), and the only place where evil gods are worshiped (openly). The Emperor gain’s use of the Blue’s researches into dark magic without the risk of the Archmage getting corrupted, the use of the Black’s unparalleled spies and assassins while maintaining an aura of deniability, and potential support of the Red in putting down rebellions or dealing with external threats.
For all that it is a dangerous place, San Long Province and particularly Blue City are very much on the Lawful side of their Evil. Chaotic Evil monsters are as despised here as anywhere else, and even Neutral Evil creatures must tread carefully and are usually found in the rural regions of the province, and even there thinly.
[San Long Province includes the area around Drakkenhall north to the southern edge of the Spiderwood, not including the Queen’s Wood. It also claims the various eastern islands of the Midland Sea, but actual control over them is dubious at best]
ZhiZhu Province, the Queen’s Court
Zhizhu (“Spider”) Province lies in the Northeastern part of the Dragon Empire, and is comprised mainly of the woodland realm of the elves. The Empire considers it a province, but for most of those living there it is a quasi-independent nation, albeit one which shares friendly relations and close ties to the Dragon Empire. Largely self-sufficient, the province neither imports or exports much, and by human standards is largely unsettled and unmapped. And that’s just how the elves like it. Due to a glamour placed upon it long ago, the terrain of the area is somewhat fluid, and it is difficult to find your way if you do not know what you are doing. The Queen’s Court in particular is known to move around throughout the entire province.
Elven society is largely matriarchal because of the high casualties they suffered at the end of the 12th Dynasty.
[ZhiZhu Province comprises the Queen’s Wood north to the Grey Towers and east to the Spider Wood. The area west as far as the marshes is also considered part of the province, but the Queen rules it through benign neglect].
Bei Bao and Forge City – the Dwarven Kingdom
A Kingdom in its own right f the dwarves and gnomes of Bei Bao were early allies of the Dragon Empire, have been part of it during some dynasties, and actually ruled it for awhile. At present, though not part of the empire, they have a very close alliance.
Bei Bao is highly militarized, and much of the economy revolves around feeding, arming, and supporting the armies which it must maintain to protect itself against the forces of the Great Khan to the north. Almost all dwarves spend some time in the military, and all are trained to fight in formation. Dwarves consider anyone unarmed in public to be undressed and look upon them with disdain.
Bei Bao (“Northern Bastion”) Province is known for three things – the quality of its forge work, which produces the best arms, armor, and equipment in the Empire (virtually all “Masterwork” quality equipment comes from their forges), the potency of its alcohol, and the unstinting hatred its people have for orcs in general and the Great Khan in particular. They have always fought against the invasions of the Great Khan, serving as a shield for the Dragon Empire. During the dynasties in which the Great Khan’s forces overwhelmed the empire, they led the resistance which eventually drove the orcs out.
Bei Bao is also unique in that it is bigger underground than on the surface. In theory the Northern King claims the entirety of the Underground as his domain, though in practice the area that he actually controls is considerably smaller – mainly the area under the province itself.
Forge City is both insular and unappealing, devoted almost entirely to mining and manufacturing. Though citizens of the Dragon Empire are not forbidden from visiting they are not encouraged to do so, and usually find little of interest aside from smelting, forging, and brewing once they arrive. The city of Anvil, which has a majority gnomish population and which deals more in trade than manufacturing, is much preferred as a destination.
[Above ground, Bai Bao controls the lands around Forge, south to the lakes, west as far as Moonwreck, north to the Dragonwood, and east to the Fangs.. It also controls the area around Anvil. Below ground it claims the whole of the underworld, but actually controls only a corridor between Forge and the Anvil known as the Undermarch.]
The Free City of Concord
Not precisely a part of any province, and indirectly supervised by the Elf Queen, the Free City of Concord is an experiment in social engineering.
Since the schism of the Elves long ago, the Elf Queen has sought ways to reunite her fractious people. As part of the arrangement that brought the Elven Kingdoms into the sphere of the Dragon Empire, she was granted a port city. In an effort to learn more about how to settle strife between groups, the Elf Queen invited citizens of all the nonhuman races to settle there, taxed them lightly, and largely left them alone to learn to govern themselves. The result was a raucous, often chaotic city full of all the nonhuman races which is ever changing and often times confusing to outsiders. Neither the Emperor nor the Northern King are particularly comfortable with the city, and even the Elf Queen sometimes expresses misgivings about the place, but so far the experiment has produced some very interesting results.
[The Free City of Concord controls only the area around the city itself. In theory it is actually part of ZhiZhu province, but de facto it is independent.]
The Free City of New Port
New Port is part of a project by the Emperor to form a new province in the lands north of the Wild Wood. It is a relatively new city, now booming because of settlement incentives from the Dragon Throne, but is so new that it has not had much time to develop its own character yet. Certainly there is money to be made here, and adventure to be had, but whether the scheme to form a new province succeeds or fails is unknown at this time.
[New Port controls only the area around the city at present, though the plan is for a new province to be carved out controlling all the cleared lands north of the Wild Wood.]
The Rebellious Province of Xiwang
To the Northwest lies the former province of Xiwang (“Hope”), now in full rebellion against the Dragon Empire and awash with demons and other unsavory extraplanar creatures.
During the wars that ended the 12th Age Xiwang was relatively peaceful, aside from occasional difficulties with giants and raids by the Great Khan. Near the end of the wars, when the Great Golden Dragon sacrificed itself to block the Diabolist’s attempt to open a rift to the abyss, the Diabolist was decisively defeated, and forced to flee his former stronghold in what is now the Red Waste for the edge of the Empire. Xiwang was relatively weak, and was an easy conquest. Now it is controlled by the Diabolist’s forces, which have opened numerous Hellholes in the region to spawn hosts of demons.
The Diabolist does not have things entirely in hand, however. She faces constant attacks from the Warlord to the South, the King of the North to the East, and a stubborn rebellion that she has thus far been unable to quell within her borders. She also spends considerable effort attempting revenge against the Lich King, her former ally,
[Xiwang once encompassed the Stalking Trees, the Cairnwood, Lake Hope, and Moonwreck. These days the borders change with the march of armies.]
The Red Wastes – final battlefield of the 12th Dynasty
The Red Wastes are where the final battles of the 12th Dynasty were fought. Tremendous and unstable magics were used by both sides in a final bid to secure victory, and these magics tainted the land for hundreds of miles. Though officially still part of the Dragon Empire, in practice the Red Wastes (and the adjoining Abyss) are little more than a dangerous, corrupted wasteland filled with strange and unpredictable magical effects, monsters, and the remains of entire armies that fought and died here. Thanks to the Archmage and the followers of the Great Golden Dragon a narrow section of coast has been cleansed to the north of the Red Wastes, but travel through this area is still precarious.
The Island of the Dead, Home of the Undying Emperor
At the end of the 12th Dynasty, the Wizard King was driven from the Imperial City in defeat, his legions of undead largely destroyed. He had built and maintained a powerful navy, however, and when he fled to an island in the Midland Sea, the forces of the Dragon Empire, weakened from the long war, were unable to dislodge him. There he remains, with the descendants of his few surviving followers and his remaining undead minions. Powerful enchantments now guard the island, rivaling (or some say surpassing) the power of the current Archmage, and it is likely that it would take the combined might of a unified Dragon Empire to destroy him, Thankfully his involvement in the affairs of the Empire is mostly confined to commerce raiding on the Western Midland Sea, and occasional minor forays on land for specific objectives. The animosity between the Lich King and the Diabolist over their mutual betrayal also still burns hot, and he spends much of his energy on attacks against his former ally, much to the relief of the Emperor.
[The Island of the Dead is comprised of the Island of Necropolis. The Undying Emperor also claims Omen, the Spray, and really the whole Dragon Empire, but does not control them].
Dynasty Known For
1st Dynasty Rulership by Dragons
2nd Dynasty Rulership by the evil dragons, destruction of good dragons
3rd Dynasty Defeat of the Dragon Council, Elven Schism, de-facto leadership by Great Golden Dragon
4th Dynasty Conquest of the Dragon Empire by forces of the Great Khan.
5th Dynasty Warring States period where no one holds the Dragon Throne for more than a generation. Schism of Dwarves and Gnomes.
6th Dynasty King of the North rules the Empire from vast underworld holdings. First records of Halflings.
7th Dynasty Religious fervor as Animism/Taoism sweep across the land. The High Lama is de facto leader of the Dragon Empire, though the King of the North still sits on the throne. Elves rebel against the empire.
8th Dynasty Invasion of the ogres from Fire Island results in the conquest of most of the empire. The Warlord leads from exile.
9th Dynasty Reconquest of the Empire and defeat of the ogres. An undisputed Emperor once more sits on the throne. Elf King captures the Great Green Dragon. Rise of the Priestess and the State Religion.
10th Dynasty A time of relative peace and prosperity, marked mainly by lots of internal politicking.
11th Dynasty The Archmage becomes the power behind the throne. Great magics worked. Rise of the Diabolist.
12th Dynasty Rule by the Wizard Kings. Widespread use of necromancy eventually leads to civil war.
13th Dynasty The present
Barbarian – very common along the fringes of the Dragon Empire, but also in its wilder places such as the various woodlands, mountain ranges, and along the eastern coast.
Bard -of course there are bards.
Cleric – fervent believers in one of the sects of the State Religion, which supports a number of pantheons as representatives of a larger, more encompassing (but seldom seen) deity.
Commander – usually a military officer, but sometimes a traveling judge or other official of the Dragon throne.
Druid [AKA Taoist] – really another form of cleric, only representing a different religion, which is somewhat at odds with the state religion at present.
Fighter – ubiquitous
Monk – monks come from a variety of backgrounds, from monastic orders of the State Religion to self-taught peasants striving to fight oppression to devoted followers of the Great Golden Dragon.
Occultist – one, and only one – ever.
Paladin – like monks (and somewhat similar in outlook) Paladins are warriors devoted to a particular Icon, and given special powers due to their devotion.
Ranger – usually found in the same places as Taoists. Tales about Dwarven, Gnomish, and Half-Ork rangers doing battle against the encroaching forces of the Great Khan are also extremely popular these days.
Rogue – generally considered trouble by the authorities of the Dragon Throne, but still sometimes useful.
Sorcerer – often known as witches, these self-taught users of magic are sometimes feared, sometimes revered.
Wizard – scholarly and well-respected by the people, wizards are considered to be the authority on all things magical.