Kingdom & Empire’s fictional setting was developed over the course of several years as the intended setting for a series of fantasy fiction novels. It was in this context that we began to develop ideas for how the fictional world would look, who would be the nations and races within it, and how our imagined history of the setting had created the preconditions for the central narrative we wanted to tell.
The time we had already invested in developing this fictional setting became a great advantage for us when we adopted it for Kingdom & Empire. It means we already have a solid grasp of who each of the nations and factions in the game will ultimately be, what their histories are, who their allies and enemies are, how they look, what sorts of military doctrines they follow, and who their famous battlefield commanders are.
Furthermore, since this fictional setting was originally intended for a fantasy novel series, we have also invested a great deal of time in developing the central narrative arc of the setting. This central narrative arc provides us a ready made basis for a lengthy narrative campaign that will allow Kingdom & Empire players to play out the main story of the setting. Along the way players will meet unique characters with important roles to play in this central narrative, and you will see the setting grow and change as the story develops.
In this section we will introduce you to a few of the many nations and cultures of the Pittan continent, and to their unified antagonists in the Ithican Empire. The nations of Pittia have a wide variety of races, cultures, histories, and levels of magical and technological development. The relentless conquest of their continent by the Ithican Empire means there are no longer disparate nations within its territory, however the remnants of other races and cultures can still be seen in Ithica today.
The Nations of Pittia
The Kingdom of Celesia
The Kingdom of Celesia was formed when a number of city states voluntarily banded together under the rule of King Richard Whitehall the III. The walled city of Celesia became the capital of this new Kingdom, and the surrounding cities and villages began to grow and flourish under the safety provided by the Kingdom’s military. As the Kingdom continued to grow and expanded its borders, it eventually came into contact with other nations, some of whom would become its enemies. On a fateful day in 4 BDR, the caravan of King Richard III’s sister was attacked by Dragons while travelling between Celesia and the city of Temenia. Outrage over this attack led King Richard III to raise a large force to begin a genocidal military campaign against the Dragonkin, all but wiping them out from the continent. Since the conclusion of the Dragon War, the Kingdom of Celesia has become a dominant power on the Pittian continent.
The Kingdom’s economy is largely based on rural peasant agriculture centered on the village, supplemented by village petty industries. While the Kingdom does have several cities of note, particularly the capital, where merchant trade and craft guild production predominate, the fundamental basis of Celesian life remains traditional agricultural production. Rural Celesians tend to be pragmatic and hardy peasant farmers who are proud of their traditional way of life, but who are also used to having to adapt to life’s necessities. Celesia’s nobility, on the other hand, have developed a very high opinion of themselves and their martial traditions in the wake of their success in the Dragon War.
For the most part, the Kingdom of Celesia remains at a level of technological development consistent with feudal agriculture. The largest technological advancement Celesian society has seen in the last few decades was the introduction of arcane core powered Skyships and Praetorians. The Kingdom received these wonders through an alliance with the Amaranthine Conclave that was formed in the years prior to the Dragon War.
The Amaranthine Conclave
The Amaranthine Tower is the seat of the Amaranthine Conclave and is the beating heart of Arcane Power on the continent of Pittia. The Tower is an imposing crystalline spire of pure amethyst that was raised from the earth and shaped by the early leaders of clandestine groups of those born with The Gift. Those early leaders raised the Tower to create a home for those born with The Gift. They organized the Gifted into separate schools according to their particular expressions of arcane ability: The Seers, the Arcanists, the Alchemists and the Wardens. Each of these schools is represented in the leadership of the Conclave by the most accomplished member of the respective school.
The Conclave has lead the Amaranthine Tower for the protection and training of all those born with The Gift. Children born with arcane abilities used to frequently be abandoned, chased out of communities, and even killed by superstitious parents and townspeople. The Conclave created a large scale, organized effort to send representatives far afield to locate and recruit such children. This has dramatically improved the lives of the Gifted, though at the cost of becoming subject to Conclave authority.
The Conclave is essentially a large monastic organization. There is a strong emphasis on channeling The Gift in ways that serve greater needs, rather than selfish ones. Life in the Conclave focuses on study, training, duty, and discipline. Within Conclave territory there are a number of agricultural towns and villages that have welcomed the protection the Conclave provides. The Conclave is able to to trade the services of its members with these communities, and trade products enchanted by its alchemists much further afield in to meet its material needs. The Conclave also has little use for technology outside of the arcane powered wonders they have developed themselves, and in some cases shared with other nations.
Dragons have inhabited the Pittian continent since time immemorial. Their size and arcane power meant they saw the increasing numbers of beasts and men on the continent as more of a food source than a threat. From their dens clustered in the Centium mountain range, they roamed fair afield in the plains, forests, and hills of Pitta, hunting man and beast alike. When humans eventually began to settle at the foot of the mountain range, they quickly learned the benefits of making offerings to the Dragons. In exchange, the Dragons would pass over those settlements and raid the more densely populated villages to the south.
Eventually, these offerings turned to worship, and prolonged exposure to the arcane power of the Dragons began to have lasting effects on the human settlements who would come to be known as the Dragonkin. They developed a tribal and shamanistic culture centered on worship of their living deities through rituals, offerings, and rites. The Dragonkin met their food needs primarily through hunting, gathering, and basic pastoral animal herding. The Dragonkin tend to live in small, close-knit communities and nomadic tribes rather than large settlements. Their lifestyles meant that they had little interest in, or use for, technology, and the Dragonkin never rose above a very basic pre-agricultural level of technology.
Unfortunately, the fate of the Dragonkin was largely sealed when King Richard III of Celesia began a genocidal campaign against the Dragons in the wake of the attack on his sister’s caravan. Bolstered by Praetorians and Skyships developed by the Amaranthine Conclave, and bringing the best of Pittia’s Dragon Slayers under the King’s banner, Celesia devastated the Dragons and their followers. Today only a few scattered remnants of the Dragonkin are thought to remain.
The Ithican Empire
The Ithican Empire spans an entire continent that lies across the southern sea from Pittia. Ithican civilization began in the Bleached Flats, a sunbaked wasteland of minimal resources. The people who lived here were forced to scrape out a meager existence as nomads in an arid wasteland. This hardscrabble existence continued until one day, out of the sun blasted wastes, three women in jet black robes appeared. The swirling sands and blistering winds of a sandstorm danced around them, but dark coronas of arcane energy protected them. The women led these nomadic people through the desert to a massive tower of solid Obsidian. It was at the foot of this tower that the Ithican Empire began. Under the guidance of the three women, the Meritocratic Code that governs all life in the Empire was set forth.
Under the Meritocratic Code the social position of all individuals and family houses depends on the glory they bring to the Empire. This glory must be achieved through contributions to expanding Ithaca’s borders and to the effective administration of Ithica’s existing territories. In this way the selfish interests of personal and family house aggrandizement were aligned to the interests of the Empire. This oriented Ithican civilization entirely towards territorial expansion, and it was not long before the people of Ithica were expanding and conquering other towns and cities. Eventually, this expansion brought the Ithican Empire into contact with the other civilizations that once shared its continent.
The Dyridians were a sea faring nations that lived on the southern tip of the Ithican continent. Little is known about what their civilization was like, as their culture was smashed and their remaining population enslaved after they rejected the Empire’s offer of voluntary vassaldom and attempted to militarily resist. The Dyridian’s had believed they were capable of defending themselves, but they sorely underestimated the military advantages that Ithica gained from their burgeoning industrialization of arcane power.
After the total subjugation of Dyridia, the Empire turned its attention towards the other large nation that shared its continent, Ulfar. Having just witnessed the fate of Dyridia, Ulfar immediately accepted voluntary vassal status. With the conquest of their continent complete, the Ithican Empire turned its sights across the sea to the resource rich Pittian continent as its next target.
The almost total orientation of Ithican society around Imperial expansion has marked every facet of their cultural, social, economic and technical order. The Empire meets its economic needs entirely through the spoils of conquest and the taxation of subjugated peoples, as all Ithican citizens are required to serve in the Imperial army and in the civil administration of the Empire. Ithica’s culture centers on the achievement of personal and familial glory by serving the Empire, and vice versa. The Empire is also at the absolute forefront of arcane core technology and is in the early stages of an industrialization on its basis.