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Author Topic: An Empire Asunder ~ In Need of An Emperor  (Read 4325 times)

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Offline MarissaSeraphOfInsanityTopic starter

An Empire Asunder ~ In Need of An Emperor
« on: July 28, 2013, 08:08:08 AM »
An Empire Asunder


The Introduction

”War is devastation and ruin, predicted and remembered as glory.”

For over three hundred years, the continent of Selice has been torn apart by unending hot and cold wars between the lords of the Selician Empire and the independent nobles of the Grand Duchy. What once began as a heated political dispute over the right to sovereignty, which all involved assumed would be laid to rest within a matter of months, has long since blown into a devastating civil war that has defined countless generations. Entire cities have been levelled into dust in the wake of rapacious hordes, crops no longer grow on lifeless fields watered with the blood of entire armies, and bloodlines as old as the Empire itself have been extinguished – sacrifices to a war started by bickering nobles that none alive today have ever met. Living in a state of total warfare is the norm that has defined the lives of entire generations, punctuated only by brief, unofficial ceasefires when both sides are too depleted to continue fighting – only for open conflict to resume again once one side believes it has licked its wounds enough to press the offensive once more.

However, for the first time in three hundred years, all of that is set to change.

Outbreaks of pestilence and famine threaten to sap the last vestiges of strength remaining between these two titanic nations, while a new power in the south bides its time, like a hungry predator stalking an increasingly weary prey. The two factions have agreed to a peace conference, hoping to bring an end to their centuries-old dispute. But will old enmities make way for new realities, or will the desire to settle old differences tear the continent asunder?


***

Hi, my name is Marissa and I’ll (hopefully) be your GM for this game. The premise of An Empire Asunder is simple. Two competing nations, both with radically different ideologies and a deep seated hatred of one another, have been invited to attend a peace conference in (somewhat) neutral territory in order to bring an end to a long and devastating war. While this peace accord will take the form of a final formal agreement defined by the players, binding the nations together through marriages between opposing houses will go a long way towards bringing everyone together – whether such a marriage is a loveless relationship of pragmatism or your characters manage to find love amongst the enemy is up to you to determine. Also invited is the aforementioned third nation, the Kingdom of Sahal, which threatens to engulf them both if they refuse to set aside their differences and stop beating one another senseless. The players will take the role of various nobles, whether members of the royal family or various other nobles (Counts, Dukes, Barons, etc.). Down below you’ll find some lore on the three kingdoms and some background to the conflict to help you with designing your characters, along with a character sheet which will also offer some suggestions that I hope you’ll find handy. The character sheet of my own character, which you should find in the subsequent post, will also offer you some insights into the location and context of the peace conference.

The game will be a freeform RP and I tend to take a rather laissez-faire approach to roleplaying, meaning that I hope to give you as much creative freedom as possible to shape the storyline however you see fit. Open conflict should be rare, as all monarchs have agreed to ban their followers from fighting on pain of death, although such dictates will not pose a problem for the cunning and discrete individual. However, the weapons of choice for most players will be cunning words, backroom deals and secret alliances based on mutual interest. In the interest of full disclosure, I tend to be woefully forgetful, so if I’ve left out any important information or you just have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll answer them as quickly as possible. I hope you enjoy what I’ve come up with, and I look forward to hopefully roleplaying with you all.


The Factions


The Selician Empire

A refined and cosmopolitan state, the Selician Empire once held the entire continent under its dominion, with the Emperor’s rule stretching from north to south, east to west, and everywhere in between. Originally the Empire only controlled the western half of Selice, a wealthy and prosperous region full of majestic cities and wealthy trading outposts, with constant bickering between the ancient noble houses and a new wealthy class of merchants forcing the Emperor to rule with a heavy hand to maintain order. Seeking to ease the tensions between the old houses who ruled and the “new money” that had acquired wealth and power but lacked noble titles, the Emperor sponsored colonisation efforts in the uncharted eastern regions of the continent, allowing this new class to seek their fortune in the untamed frontier and gain lands and titles of their own. The new nobility in this region were granted a much longer leash in governing their new lands than their western brethren and it wasn’t long before even noble lords began to follow them eastwards in pursuit of further land and power for their respective houses. However, when these lands grew into prosperous and wealthy fiefdoms the Empire began to reassert a greater level of control – when these lands were wild and untamed, it made more sense for the lords on the ground to have greater authority in making decisions than distant Emperors and Empresses, but now that these lands were peaceful and prosperous it only seemed natural that they should be subject to Imperial decree just like everybody else. And while it would have been unfair to impose taxes upon lands being developed entirely out of pocket by enterprising souls, the fact that the east was now amongst the most affluent regions of the Empire made it only fair that they now be subject to Imperial taxation to pay for the services and order that the Empire afforded them. However, the new gentry, long since accustomed to their own independence, chafed at the notion of ceding control back to the Empire – precipitating in a crisis that saw revolts and the eventual secession of most of the east. This secession eventually led to full scale civil war, when the Emperor dispatched military forces to reassert control of the rebellious territories he maintained were legitimately controlled by the Empire.

Imperials believe in strong, central authority and that it is the role of the Emperor to benevolently make decisions for the greater good of the Empire as a whole, even if this comes at the expense of individual fiefdoms. While various nobles rule their own fiefdoms beneath the Emperor and on their behalf, claim to such lands and titles is not hereditary. Immediately after the civil war began, the Emperor instituted reforms allowing himself to appoint the successor to an individual fiefdom whenever a vacancy presented itself, in order to prevent further attempts at secession and insurrection. Theoretically, this means that all nobles and their potential successors are completely dependent on the Emperor in order to claim lands that have been in their families for generations. In practise, however, the Emperor typically honours the claim of the oldest legitimate heir to a deceased monarch, with only a handful of notable exceptions serving to remind the nobles of their place as loyal servants of the Empire. By contrast, the position of Emperor or Empress is a hereditary one, with the throne passing to the oldest legitimate heir of the previous monarch. Imperials tend to view the nobles of the Grand Duchy as vile traitors and self-centred separatists, willing to plunge their lands and subjects into anarchy and disregard the collective good of the Empire as a whole, all the while pleading “sovereignty” in order to maintain a grip on their own power.

The Grand Duchy of Nobles

When the Empire sought to expand into the wild, untamed lands of the east, the Emperor granted a long leash and vast powers to nobles willing to use their own resources to conquer these lands and bring them into the Imperial fold. Almost immediately, enterprising and ambitious nobles, seeking new wealth and stifled by the rigidity of the western Empire pushed forth into the uncharted frontier and, in less than a century, established new fiefdoms that reached as far as the seas of the eastern shore. Unrestrained by Imperial dictates and with only a light guiding hand from the now distant capital, these lords prospered greatly in their abundant and fertile new territories, and rapidly developed affluent cities that rivalled even the oldest in the old Imperial lands themselves. However, when the Emperor sought to reassert control over these quasi-independent territories, the new nobles began to chafe as more and more power was stripped from them and concentrated back towards the capital. The imposition of new taxes, the drudgery of dealing with distant bureaucracies and the gradual usurpation of powers the nobles believed were rightfully theirs all began to take their toll, precipitating in a revolt that saw the secession of some of the easternmost duchies and counties – followed by the entire eastern half of the continent. Despite being independent-minded and interested only in their own holdings, these nobles found common purpose in their cause and need for defence against the Imperial forces sent to reassert Imperial authority, and within months the Grand Duchy of Nobles was formed.

The lords of the Grand Duchy maintain that those living within a particular fiefdom are more qualified to make decisions that best reflect their needs and interests than a distant Emperor residing in a capital half the world away. In particular, they feel that as the Emperor resides in the west and nobles living there have greater ease of access to him, Imperial dictates are always going to reflect the interests of these western lords. As the name implies, the Grand Duchy is headed by a Grand Duke or Duchess, but unlike the Empire this title is not a hereditary one. Rather, each noble within the Grand Duchy will come together and vote for one amongst them to be appointed Grand Duke or Duchess and the official head of state of their confederacy. This titular ruler serves for life, unless impeached, and has been granted a number of powers such as command over all the armies in each fiefdom and the right to negotiate on behalf of all, under the strict understanding that the administration, laws, and day-to-day affairs of each territory will be handled by their individual rulers and not themselves. While the Grand Duke/Duchess cannot meddle into their internal affairs of their fellow lords, and can be removed from office by a two-thirds majority vote, they are not without their powers and often hold the absolute respect and support of the nobles who appointed them in the first place. The independent nobles of the Grand Duchy view the Empire as tyrannical and oppressive, more than willing to trample all over whichever of their inalienable rights stand in the ways of the whims and fancies of whomsoever happens to sit on the throne at the time.

The Kingdom of Sahal

As more and more resources were drawn away to fight on the frontlines, both the Empire and the Grand Duchy were forced to abandon remote villages and distant regions to bandits and other criminals, who took advantage of the lawlessness to plunder at will. Over the course of a hundred years, the entire southern periphery of the continent – a remote region of empty badlands, treacherous mountain ranges and hardscrabble townships – was subsequently abandoned by both governments and the order they maintained, left to be fought over by self-proclaimed bandit kings. Whereas the strategically worthless lands of the south once existed as a hodgepodge of feuding warlord states, with control of various territories constantly shifting as a result of military conquests, changing alliances or treasonous lieutenants, the bickering warlords have since been brought to heel by the most powerful among them. Since this time, the newly minted Kingdom of Sahal has bided its time, growing in strength as it waits to sweep across the continent like a scourge and conquer both the Empire and the Grand Duchy in their weakened state. However, with few resources and constant infighting, the only hope of the desolate south to expand is for war between the Empire and the Grand Duchy to continue until both reach the point of breaking.

The Kingdom of Sahal is ruled by a self-proclaimed High King or Queen, the leader of the most powerful group who is capable of enforcing their will upon their rivals through the threat of conquest. The closest analogue to nobles within Sahal are the various bandit kings who, through control of their own mercenary armies, have been able to carve their own fiefdom out of the south, which they rule with an iron fist. Rather than claiming noble titles, these brigands have resurrected the ancient Imperial title of Warlord – a rank traditionally bestowed by the Emperor in times long since passed upon those who conquered new territories for the Empire – and this remains the standard title for addressing them. However, it is not uncommon for these Warlords to also bestow upon themselves any additional titles that catch their fancy – including the ranks of Duke, Baron, or Count – so long as their opulent accolades do not appear to imply a higher status than the High King/Queen who rules over them. Both Imperial and Grand Duchy nobles alike are united in turning up their noses at the aristocratic pretensions of these common criminals – so much so that the Duchess Grace has invited their representatives to the peace conference to pressure her guests to reach an accord. The Duchess intends the treaty to serve as a show of force to cow their imperial ambitions, but the warlords of Sahal see it as an opportunity to sow dissention and discord amongst their enemies and, if need be, legitimise their claims to the south by convincing one of their enemies to ally with them, rather than with each other.

Character Sheet

Insert Picture Here

Name: Who the hell do you think you are?
Title: Duke of Nukem, Count of Chocula, etc.
Faction: Selician Empire, Grand Duchy, Kingdom of Sahal, or independent.
Age: Be ye smooth-faced or wrinkle-skinned?
Sexual Orientation: Just for the reference of other players, lest someone tries to stick their thing inside someone else’s thing and it just becomes terribly awkward for everyone involved.

Goal: What is the ultimate goal of your character in entering the peace conference? Do you seek to forge peace amongst one another or do you hope to derail the proceedings? Or do you have another end in sight? For example, you might chose to make a character who seeks to form an alliance through marriage to protect their weakened fiefdom, or perhaps you seek revenge against another character who has wronged you during the war, or maybe you even seek to defect to the enemy. Be as creative as you want here. While the in-universe characters may or may not know about your aspirations, if you also want to keep your goal a secret from their out-of-universe writers feel free to PM me so I know for my own reference. 

Personality: A description of the personality traits of your character.

Appearance: I know it’s a little redundant to ask for this since you’ll most likely be including a picture of your character as well, but just a short description of your appearance would be appreciated.

Biography: While I’m not one to set a word or paragraph limit, I do ask that you try to be as detailed as physically possible. The more details you include, the easier it will be for other players to determine how your characters will interact and whether they have any shared history together that makes the story more interesting. While I’m far more interested in quality than quantity here, I do reserve the right to ask you to pad it out a little more before being accepted if it feels a little bit lacking.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 07:41:57 PM by MarissaSeraphOfInsanity »

Offline MarissaSeraphOfInsanityTopic starter

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 08:08:36 AM »

Name: Grace St. Clair
Title: Duchess of Castiana
Faction: Officially the Duchy of Castiana is part of the Empire and Grace is an Imperial vassal. Unofficially, she is independent in all but name.
Age: 21 Years Old
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual

Goal: Having been forced to flee her ancient ancestral homeland during her earliest years, and witnessing the terrible cost paid in blood to reclaim it, Grace is determined to hold her city at all costs. While she remains at least nominally loyal to the Empire for its assistance in holding Castiana, she would just as readily defect to the Grand Duchy or declare her independence if she believed that it offered the best chance of ensuring the unending rule of herself and her noble line. As the last surviving member of the House of St. Clair, she also seeks to restore her family to both abundance and greatness, and seeks a partner that can offer her security and a bloodline as proud as her own.

Personality: Aristocratic in her bearing and possessed of elegance, refinement and wit, Grace is the very model of a St. Clair noblewoman. Well versed in diplomacy and military tactics, she is also rather proud, occasionally bordering on arrogant, particularly when it comes to her noble lineage. However, Grace is perhaps best known for her fiery independence – she refuses to bow to anyone, and even with the presence of the Royal Family in her domain she insists on not bowing before them in order to reflect her status as the neutral host of the peace negotiations. She also possesses a rather sharp tongue and a fiery temper, famously shouting humiliating insults at enemy nobleman trying to take her city from her. While she might return an insult levied at her with a playful quip of her own, she is quick to anger at any perceived insult against her noble House – unless such an insult is aimed at her deceased father.   

Grace is a woman caught between two worlds. On the one hand, the people of Castiana and the House of St. Clair have always been independent-minded in their sensibilities, sharing many of the values of the Grand Duchy. On the other hand, close ties between her House and the Imperial Royal Family prevented the Duchy from seceding when the war broke out, and a constant Imperial military presence on her border fiefdom has quashed any future possibilities of defection – at least, until they were forced to clear out in preparation for the peace conference, leaving only her loyal forces within the castle walls.

Appearance: Well known for her physical beauty, Grace has pale skin, piercing blue eyes and flowing blonde hair, typically tied in a simple ponytail so as not to get in her way during battle. When not clad in lightweight, flexible armour, she often wears dresses adorned in the blue of House St. Clair; elegant and beautiful, yet practical and easy to get out of in the event that she quickly needs to change back into armour. Her frame is rather petite, and she is notoriously thin; eating very little, especially since the death of her brother. Despite this, she is nevertheless in perfect health, and moves with lithe grace in both metal and cloth.

Biography: Had she been born a few centuries earlier, Grace St. Clair would have inherited a thriving city situated along a nexus of important trade routes, at the very centre of the continent itself. Today, however, Castiana is located at the very frontlines of the civil war – the last great city remaining on the border that hasn’t been reduced to rubble. While she was originally born in Castiana, Grace was separated from her homeland at the tender age of 5, when forces of the Grand Duchy successfully conquered the city and forced her family to flee into exile. Consumed with shame and embarrassment at losing their ancestral home, and refusing to be remembered by history as the man who drove the House of St. Clair into ruin, her father, Duke Raymond, became obsessed with reclaiming the Duchy. Grace herself was commonly neglected and ignored by her father as the stateless nobles constantly roamed between fiefdoms, attempting to drum up support for a counteroffensive. Her sole companionship in this lonely time came from her older brother, James, who served as her one and only friend.

Despite near-constant Imperial sieges to Castiana, Grace would not see her homeland again until the age of 18, when her father forced her into a loveless marriage with the Count of Ostia, Julius Reinhardt, in exchange for the support of his armies. Count Reinhardt was a merciless, pitiless brute of a man, who viewed his new wife as more of a trophy than a partner – a bauble to be worn on his arm to show how even once great Houses such as the St. Clairs would be reduced to bowing before his comparatively meagre House. Fortunately for her, her much hated husband would be slain in the battle that saw Castiana restored to her father’s hands. Her father himself would subsequently die during an outbreak of pestilence mere months after reclaiming the city, dying content in the knowledge that his dream had been realised and his heirs would claim their rightful place upon the throne. The Emperor was swift in legitimising the claims of the powerful House of St. Clair to the Duchy of Castiana, and her brother was named Duke by Imperial decree as soon as news spread back to the capital of his father’s demise. The two then ruled their home jointly, restoring the defences and resisting countless more sieges together.

A year later, her brother would be killed in a dual with a Grand Duchy noble during yet another siege of the city. Consumed with rage and grief, Grace took to the battlements and lifted her skirt right in front of the enemy army, declaring “You may have slain one St. Clair, but do you see this? I have the means to produce a dozen more of our line, and each shall avenge this stain upon our family honour a thousandfold!” She then proceeded to rally the defending troops to deliver a crushing and humiliating defeat to the Grand Duchy forces. Grace was subsequently named Duchess of Castiana, and under her leadership the city remains intractable to any attempts at invasion, earning the begrudging respect of even the most hardliner members of the Grand Duchy. This respect, combined with her city’s location on the border, made it the only agreeable choice for all parties to host the peace conference and Grace is determined to ensure that, no matter the outcome, her and her city ultimately prosper.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 04:46:28 AM by MarissaSeraphOfInsanity »

Offline Hercinia

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 09:12:08 AM »
I skimmed through it (I'm at work) but I'm going to say that I'm interest in this game.

Offline MarissaSeraphOfInsanityTopic starter

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2013, 11:26:39 AM »
I'm glad to hear it. And don't worry, feel free to take your time. I've just posted up my character sheet, which provides a few more nuggets of lore about the setting so feel free to skim through it whenever you have time. I'm about to head to bed, but if you have any questions just ask and I should be able to get to them tomorrow morning.

Offline Strifesblaze7

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2013, 02:35:30 PM »
I may be interested

Online Odanrav

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2013, 03:23:10 PM »
Think I'll say I'm pretty interested as well. Really appreciated the amount of depth and detail you lent to the background and lore of this. If I had any questions I guess they would be as it pertains to differences between the three kingdoms besides the political ones. As in, is there a great cultural or ethnical difference between the Empire and the Grand Duchy, or even Sahal for that matter? Does slavery exist in one of, if not all of the realms? Any other tidbits like that that can add to the differing nature of the 3 realms. Beyond that, my only curiosity is if you envision a overarching plotline taking effect, or if you plan to allow all of the subplots to take their course and see where that takes the thread.

My first inclination was to be a high ranking Warlord in the southern kingdom, possibly a legitimate rival to the High King, or at least rumored to be so (but for the time being acts loyal). Might be inclined to take on a secondary role as well should the need for more holes to be filled arise, just to let that be known. I do so love games of political intrigue :). Anyway, great work so far on this and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Offline Shjade

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2013, 05:26:59 PM »
Well. Shoot. To be honest I don't know if I should throw my hat in the ring for this for a variety of reasons...but I couldn't not at least write up a character sheet when I knew I had the right look in mind for one right away. So what the heck.



Name: Koroga
Title: Warlord ("Let the folk with more coin than common sense call themselves pretty things. I need none of it.")
Faction: Kingdom of Sahal
Age: 32
Sexual Orientation: Bisexual. There are rumors of rather unconscionable acts of this nature that go on among the bandits of Sahal, but really, who wouldn't expect that kind of tale-telling from nobles with regard to their "inferiors?"

Goal: Horribly abuse the hospitality of Castiana by imbibing far more than her share of the local supply of wine while she has the opportunity.

Real Goal: This, too, is a raid, in a sense. There can be no direct rape and pillage but there certainly is room enough to bring back a good haul. The way the war in the north has gone thus far garnering sufficient support from either side would most likely result in both sides crumbling under the weight of the Warlords driving forward into those "noble" lands. While it would be ideal to sway the Empire to their cause, given the rather more paranoid nature of the Empire's pattern of rule in recent times it seems far more likely that she'll be able to hook the Duchy into a scheme of crushing the Empire with the help of Sahal's fighting strength; then it would simply be a matter of picking apart the remaining Dukes as they find themselves scattered across far too much territory to defend. This war is, after all, two factions fighting over the land that contains both of them. They simply lack the manpower to assault into enemy territory and defend their homes at the same time. Her heart bleeds for them. Honest. 

Personality: Koroga isn't one for games. Oh, she'll play them, don't get me wrong, but she plays to win and she plays for keeps. Where some Warlords have trouble stringing an intelligible sentence together (and this goes for Koroga herself if her temper's hot enough), Koro's well enough educated to maintain the semblance of a proper conversation if need be, at least when the topic is one with which she's familiar: warfare, murder, thievery, dance, mysticism, a slew of other subjects the nobility no doubt considers too crude to be worthwhile.

At the foundation, Koroga thinks of wealth as the enemy and, by extension, so is anyone who has it. The Dukes, the Imperials, all these high-class bastards who think themselves so much better than everyone else for having a stranglehold on the things everyone needs or wants. They haven't earned it. They don't deserve it if they can't keep what they've got with their own two hands. You don't get handed anything in Sahal for your blood or your paperwork. You get what you take. You keep what you hold. That's the way it should be. That's the way it is.

Appearance: Koroga's age shows mostly in scars. When the majority of your life has been spent keeping yourself in as close to peak physical condition as possible just to stay alive you tend to shed years through stress and injury more than putting them on in smile and frown lines. She's a pretty continuous shade of mocha brown from head to toe and every inch of that that can be toned up is. She's not rippling with muscle - that kind of bulk would just get in the way, slow you down - but there's no flab hanging onto those abs bisected by a darker tan scar from some old tearing blade's work, nor excessive roundness along the limbs practically blanketed with a combination of healed slashes and twisting tattoos, the ink work interrupted by those smooth dimpled lines in more than a couple of places. Without the marks of war on her face detracting from its features she might, by some standards, be thought pretty. Heavy-lidded eyes of a brown so alive it's nearly red in the right light, rather well-maintained skin considering her lifestyle...but the scars are there, including a small notch in her tongue no doubt caused by her own teeth. If there was a lifetime in which Koroga could have played The Pretty Girl, this one isn't it. Not particularly modest, either, at least not comparatively: where the nobles show up in their gowns and their suits and all that stuffy trash, Koroga tends to dress in a manner that flaunts her various markings: chest wraps that leave her arms entirely bare, sarongs that show nearly all of one leg or the other through the open space beneath their knot, sometimes just a tabard held in place with a sash. (This is, of course, when not preparing for a battle; Warlords might be uncouth, but they're not too stupid to know the value of armor, hardened leather at the very least.) Her hair is a dark red, almost black in places, or else it is black with some kind of red color added into it; it's hard to say one way or the other.

Biography: "You wanna know how you end up with bandits? I'll give you a hint: it's not the life any kid grows up dreaming about. No sane kid, leastways. You never ask some pup, 'Hey, whatcha wanna be when you get big,' an' hear him say, 'I wanna fight over scraps just to stay alive! I wanna hafta hide from all the people who think they're good guys an' say I'm not one of them, an' can't be one of them, 'cause they'll try to kill me if they see me where they don't want me to be! I wanna never have anybody want to be around me or ask me for favors or even talk to me! I wanna be a bandit!' It doesn't happen. So how do they end up that way?

"You bastards.

"You force us into this waste of life and say we're the criminals for it. We're criminals for not agreeing to just lie down and die because we're not wanted. Because we're different. Because we're outcasts. That makes us the outlaws and you the righteous folk for casting us out. That's how this happens.

"That's how a girl barely big enough to even lift a sword, let alone swing it, ends up in the middle of nowhere with her father's corpse for company, her mother carted off to gods know where to do I don't even want to know what to pay off her family's "debt" for living. That girl gets by on sheer luck, picked up by slavers to sell her off in the southlands for a few coins. Oh yes, being enslaved was lucky, that's the life I have to thank you for. The life that, instead of ending for lack of water right then and there, got extended by servicing weapons and armor at a blacksmith's shack in some place you've never heard of and would never deign to visit if you had. And don't act like you weren't expecting to hear worse when I said "servicing." I know all about the work your kind have for young slaves.

"Luckier still that I'm not the type to just give up. If that was my lot in life then I'd be damned if I didn't make something of it. I put my heart and soul into that work, menial as it was, until it wasn't so menial anymore, until my keeper had to respect what I could do, how important I was becoming to his work. Things took their logical course after that. See, courtly expectations of women don't really show up much down south. We care more about what you can do than who you are. What I could do was cut down the idiots who tried to burn us out of house and home. That got me some respect. Turning out to be an accomplished raider when those fools' Warlord offered me a spot in his party? That got me a chance for something more. Something better. And I've been taking those chances to climb ever since.

"Yeah, you can tell just looking at me it hasn't been an easy road. You people make war over stupid political decisions and throw other people into the problems you make for yourselves. We're a lot simpler down here: we do what we have to do to get what we need, what we want. We take care of our problems ourselves. If other people want to help us, that's on them. You won't see me pushing some poor sot out in front to die for me; what you'll see is a line of those men at my back because they know I'll get them what I say I'll get, as long as they're there to get it with me.

"You people call yourselves noble. We're the ones who live that way.

"Get this useless meat out of my tent; I've got to get ready for the meeting. If they end up saying something suicidal I want to be there to hear it myself."

Online Odanrav

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2013, 06:45:01 PM »

Name: Xhan Torrus
Title: Warlord of The Blackreach
Faction: Kingdom of Sahal
Age: Mid-30’s
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual

Goal: To anybody looking from the outside in, they would assume Warlord Xhan’s only motivations to be fighting and fucking. And they wouldn’t be completely wrong in those assumptions. He is notorious throughout the southern realm for being a man of fierce bloodlust and a even greater lust for women. Yet despite his seemingly complete loyalty to the High King of Sahal, many whisper the Warlord has plans to depose him. And as for the farce that is the peace summit, Xhan simply wishes for it to be over and done with so the war, and the fun, can once again commence. And hopefully this time the High King will listen to his advise, and march the southern armies north. As an aside, the journey into Imperial lands provides him with the opportunity to conquer a few northern cunts as he has always wanted. Though he would have preferred going north as part of an army, and not a emissary for piece. Regardless, he plans to make himself well known to the whores of this place called Castiana. He has a thought towards taking a wife or two back with him when he returns to Blackreach.

Personality: The powerful Warlord of the Blackreach is rude and vulgar at the best of times, and abrasive and confrontational at most times. When meeting Xhan Torrus, no man should expect a lord’s courtesy. Xhan respects and admires few men, and even them are not beyond his taunting. By all accounts Xhan is a deadly warrior in his own right, though his own hubris leads him to believe he’s nigh unbeatable. Seldom does he worry himself with political bickering and things of that nature tend to bore him to tears. His intellect for military strategy stands opposite his blunt misunderstandings of the political battlefield, his great weakness.

Women are held to low standards in Xhan’s eyes. Only useful for breeding and tending to a homestead, or other menial tasks. He finds it foolish that northern men and some southerners allow themselves to be led by women, and thus think of them as little more than women. Xhan also has few qualms about enslaving his fellow man, particularly the women and children of conquered lands formerly belonging to rivals in Sahal. 

Appearance: Xhan is a tall, imposing brute of a man. His body is sculpted in muscle and marred in scars from dozens of battles, great and small. Short cut medium brown hair sits atop his head and across his jaw and lip, giving him a heavy stubble he rarely takes the time to shave off. His eyes are a light brown color, slightly lighter than that of his hair. Typically, Xhan wears medium to heavy armor, and is never without his trademark great sword flung heavily across his back.

Biography: Xhan’s story begins with his father, Xhoro. Who was a freed slave risen to great prominence thanks to his own skill in battle. Xhoro challenged the Warlord Maylon, his former master, to a duel and handily defeated him. All of his followers then flocked to Xhoro's command. Xhoro began to move his people west, to the wild lands known as The Blackreach. A large craggy peninsula jutting out into the western sea that was home to dozens of small warring clans, all vying to be the rulers of the lands. In time, all of them were either destroyed or surrendered to Xhoro's will and he proclaimed himself the first true Warlord of The Blackreach, taking the name of Torrus as his family name. In his old age, he finally was able to sire a son, Xhan, to pass on his legacy, and also commissioned the construction to begin on his new line’s seat of power, The Blackfort. Which was located on the edge of a sheer faced cliff that bordered with the sea. Xhoro would die three years before it’s completion, and his heir only twelve at the time but already showing great promise in the art of war.

The son would grow into becoming just as fearsome a warrior as his father, as Xhan quickly established himself as a force within Sahal by winning decisive battles at the ripe ages of sixteen and nineteen against rivals in his own lands. He also established to his people that his cruelty and severity knew few bounds for those who apposed him. In both uprisings, Xhan put every male of the conquered family to the sword, ending the line abruptly. And then married the daughters of the defeated warlords, enslaving the remainder of the household. These actions derailed any future attempts to supplant him as the true Warlord of Blackreach.

The years passed as Xhan ruled from the Blackfort, only riding out to face another rival should the High King in the east call for his men, or to deal with small matters in his own lands. Biding his time and slowly building a army that numbered over ten thousand strong. The Torrus family would grow large as he took five wives and sired eleven children (so far), the oldest of which only being ten. Xhan is assumed to have a great number of bastard children scattered across Blackreach and farther east as well, though he has shown no desire to raise them as his own and only recognizes the children he has with his many wives. In recent years, Xhan has risen to become one of Sahal’s greatest generals and was even invited to come along to Castiana, though he insisted on bringing near a hundred of his own men, believing they were simply riding into a Imperial trap.



I hope it's found acceptable, and let me know if something should require changing. Also, should you come up with something Shjade adding some backstory between Koro and him is always welcome.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 09:17:13 PM by Odanrav »

Offline MarissaSeraphOfInsanityTopic starter

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2013, 08:55:07 PM »
I may be interested
Hiya, Strifey! Long time, no see. ;D

Think I'll say I'm pretty interested as well. Really appreciated the amount of depth and detail you lent to the background and lore of this. If I had any questions I guess they would be as it pertains to differences between the three kingdoms besides the political ones. As in, is there a great cultural or ethnical difference between the Empire and the Grand Duchy, or even Sahal for that matter? Does slavery exist in one of, if not all of the realms? Any other tidbits like that that can add to the differing nature of the 3 realms. Beyond that, my only curiosity is if you envision a overarching plotline taking effect, or if you plan to allow all of the subplots to take their course and see where that takes the thread.

My first inclination was to be a high ranking Warlord in the southern kingdom, possibly a legitimate rival to the High King, or at least rumored to be so (but for the time being acts loyal). Might be inclined to take on a secondary role as well should the need for more holes to be filled arise, just to let that be known. I do so love games of political intrigue :). Anyway, great work so far on this and I'm excited to see where it goes.
Thanks so much! That means a lot to me. And those are all excellent questions. On the issue of cultural differences, the entire continent was once ruled by the Empire and as a result, even barbarous Sahal maintains at least some links to Imperial culture. Any divergences in cultural tastes would have come about as a result of the war. I suppose the best example I can come up with is real-life Western civilisation. While states we define as "Western" share a lot of similar characteristics, social structures and values that are readily identifiable, each country also has some variations unique to themselves. So I guess you could say that the Empire is the United Kingdom, and that the Grand Duchy is America (you know, if the American Revolution was fought because of the inalienable rights of the noblemen) - very similar in terms of shared history and culture, but unique in their own way since their separation. If we really wanted to stretch that analogy beyond breaking point, you could say that Sahal is my fair land of Australia, but really Sahal is probably most indicative for what life is like for the average person living in the war. These are just men and women, former citizens of the Empire and the Grand Duchy, who were cut loose by both governments and ended up falling through the cracks. While the noble class would define them as being culturally "deviant", and might have been correct in their assessment a few hundred years ago, the people of Sahal are really the cultural norm for common people in even the Empire and the Grand Duchy these days - hardy survivors who've learned to adapt in whatever ways they have to in order to survive.

As for ethnic differences, the Empire was a multi-ethnic state when it ruled over the entire continent, and as a result so too is everywhere else. I've made it like this so that someone who wants to play a character belonging to a certain ethnic group isn't pigeonholed into having to join one faction they may not necessarily like or be interested in because they're excluded from another. As for slavery, it's technically illegal in both the Empire and the Grand Duchy but since the war that law is hardly ever enforced. Both sides need access to cheap labour to keep the war going, and the roving hordes of displaced refugees afford them that in abundance. Of course, the stuffy nobles always euphemistically refer to it as something else, like "conscription," but it does exist. Of course, slavery also exists in Sahal, but they're actually honest about that fact.

As for the storyline, it'll mostly follow various subplots and schemes of the players' own creation, but I do have some events such as festivals and tournaments to keep the narrative moving forwards. And as GM I reserve the right to take any subplots that interest me and throw a little fuel on the fire to thrust them into the fore of the storyline. I hope I've answered your questions well enough, but if you feel I didn't answer any of them properly or come up with any new ones, don't hesitate to ask.

Well. Shoot. To be honest I don't know if I should throw my hat in the ring for this for a variety of reasons...but I couldn't not at least write up a character sheet when I knew I had the right look in mind for one right away. So what the heck.
If any of those reasons have to do with the storyline feel free to bring them up, and I'll see if there's anything I can do to smooth those issues out for you. I really like your character, and she's approved.

Oh, and to answer the question you sent me by PM, you're right. It was a typo and a Grand Duke is removed by a "two-thirds" majority vote, not a "three-thirds" majority.

I hope it's found acceptable, and let me know if something should require changing. Also, should you come up with something Shjade adding some backstory between Koro and him is always welcome.
Oh boy, our characters are going to love each other! He's more than acceptable, and approved. While I don't need you to make any changes, the part about the retinue he's bringing with him does remind me of an editorial note that I forgot to bring up earlier. While characters are allowed to bring a handful of servants to attend to their needs - or perhaps more importantly, handle their food - and an even smaller group of bodyguards, the number of people allowed inside the castle has been quite limited to try and strike a balance between safety concerns and too many people with weapons who hate another in the same place. Your 100 men will be allowed to make camp outside the castle walls but only some will be allowed to accompany you inside.

Offline Shjade

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2013, 11:22:49 PM »
I hope it's found acceptable, and let me know if something should require changing. Also, should you come up with something Shjade adding some backstory between Koro and him is always welcome.

Considering he thinks women are only good for bedding and baking, I doubt Torrus and Koroga would have much common history aside from the possibility of his coming on to her and her replying he should go die in a fire.

Edit: neat, I guessed right on almost everything for backstory purposes. How convenient. xD
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 11:28:55 PM by Shjade »

Online Odanrav

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2013, 07:37:19 PM »
@ Marrisa

That does pretty much answer my biggest questions and I thank ya for the acceptance. And I always thought the 100 man party would be a background force camped outside the castle and not really involved. I simply figured a prominent warlord wouldn't go anywhere without a significant number of swords at his back. I might name a random servant or guard from time to time that follows him, but they won't be significant.

@ Shjade

Quote
Considering he thinks women are only good for bedding and baking, I doubt Torrus and Koroga would have much common history aside from the possibility of his coming on to her and her replying he should go die in a fire.

If the two of them have met, this is not a possibility, but a certainty =P. He also probably would have offered to wed her, with the purpose of adding her forces to his own, which I would dare to guess was harshly rejected since there's little chance he would have given her leeway to lead any of the men lol.

Offline Chronoclasm

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2013, 11:30:22 PM »
Hi Marissa! This is an excellent bit of world building you've done, and I might well be interested in joining the rest of these fine men and women in fleshing out your storyline. I do have a handful of questions, before I decide what I'll be submitting for my character, though:

(1) Abra-cadabra!: Does magic exist? If so, in what manner?

(2) What does this button do?: What are the technological limits of the setting? Have firearms of any sort been invented? Do ships outfit cannons? Or is it prototypical "medieval" technology, with windmills representing the snazziest tech the realms have to offer?

(3) Deus Vult!: What is the setting's cosmological and theological belief system like? Is there one god, one Church; multiple gods and temples for each; is every country different in its beliefs? Are there historical comparisons to be made with concerns to dogma and general practices (whether that comparison be to Christianity, Buddhism, or what have you)?

(4) But-but-but, you're a woman!: What are the gender roles? Is it a patriarchal society? Is sexism alive and well? What about racism? For that matter, what are the predominate ethnic groups, and are any of them "non-human?"

And finally,

(5) I hit you with my axe and now you are dead: How will we be handling confrontations? Will you be making rulings (and if so, what will your criteria be)? Or will you be relying on us to be grown-ups about it and privately determine how our in-character conflict is handled? (Rock, paper, scissors anybody?)

My apologies if any of these were already touched on. I've only skimmed the thread, as I am in the process of heading out. I'll re-read the established lore in better depth tomorrow; promise!
« Last Edit: July 29, 2013, 11:58:48 PM by Chronoclasm »

Offline Shjade

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2013, 02:52:06 AM »
He also probably would have offered to wed her, with the purpose of adding her forces to his own, which I would dare to guess was harshly rejected since there's little chance he would have given her leeway to lead any of the men lol.

Pretty much, yeah. The idea of a commitment doesn't bother her, but he's definitely not the guy for that role, and I'm sure he'd have enough of a reputation to know that much without needing the firsthand experience. As far as she'd be concerned he's just another Warlord: he does his thing, she does hers.

Offline Strifesblaze7

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2013, 05:26:36 AM »
Can I be another warlord?

Offline MarissaSeraphOfInsanityTopic starter

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2013, 11:43:15 PM »
Sorry for the late replies, everyone. I had internet problems yesterday and I wasn't going to type all of this on my phone.

That does pretty much answer my biggest questions and I thank ya for the acceptance. And I always thought the 100 man party would be a background force camped outside the castle and not really involved. I simply figured a prominent warlord wouldn't go anywhere without a significant number of swords at his back. I might name a random servant or guard from time to time that follows him, but they won't be significant.
I thought as much, but it was something I meant to mention earlier anyway so thanks for reminding me.

Hi Marissa! This is an excellent bit of world building you've done, and I might well be interested in joining the rest of these fine men and women in fleshing out your storyline. I do have a handful of questions, before I decide what I'll be submitting for my character, though:

(1) Abra-cadabra!: Does magic exist? If so, in what manner?
Hocus No-cus!: Thanks heaps, Chrono and I'll try to answer all of your questions as best as I can. Luckily for me, this first one is easy. Magic doesn't exist in this universe. I hope that doesn't turn you off it too much.

(2) What does this button do?: What are the technological limits of the setting? Have firearms of any sort been invented? Do ships outfit cannons? Or is it prototypical "medieval" technology, with windmills representing the snazziest tech the realms have to offer?
Self destruct engaged: Technology straddles the line somewhere between the High Medieval period and the very, very early Italian Renaissance. Things like cannon and primitive, single-shot firearms are in existence, but in limited number and often designated to priority regions or armies.

(3) Deus Vult!: What is the setting's cosmological and theological belief system like? Is there one god, one Church; multiple gods and temples for each; is every country different in its beliefs? Are there historical comparisons to be made with concerns to dogma and general practices (whether that comparison be to Christianity, Buddhism, or what have you)?
Beati Pacifici: I didn't include information on religion because it doesn't have much bearing on the storyline, but it does exist. Religion is monotheistic in nature, and most analogous to European Christianity and the many branches thereof that emerged during the Reformation. The Church is officially neutral in the conflict, and offers aid to the civilians of both nations. However, because the Pontifex resides in the Imperial capital, and Emperors of the past have meddled in the affairs of the Church in ancient times, the Grand Duchy sponsored a schism amongst sympathetic clerics, resulting in a splinter group called the Renunciates. Essentially, the mainstream Church is similar to Catholicism, with the Pontifex serving as the head of the church in its entirety. The Renunciates are more decentralised, rejecting an absolute authority figure, and placing a greater emphasis on the role of the Church at the local community level, along with greater tolerance of different interpretations of their bible.

(4) But-but-but, you're a woman!: What are the gender roles? Is it a patriarchal society? Is sexism alive and well? What about racism? For that matter, what are the predominate ethnic groups, and are any of them "non-human?"
Do my thighs perplex you so?: Imperial society was originally patriarchal in nature, but the war rapidly changed that. As male nobles often led their armies into battle, it often became common for the entire male side of a noble house to be wiped out. Essentially this situation resulted in noble families having to accept the legitimate claims of their female members to their lands, or run the risk of their entire house and its assets being absorbed by another house that married the powerless female survivors. Today it's not at all uncommon for women to rule fiefdoms or command the military forces assigned to their holdings, but that said, there is a small minority who would rather a return to the old ways. Culture is mentioned in a previous post, and the empire is a multi-ethnic state, but there are no non-humans.

And finally,

(5) I hit you with my axe and now you are dead: How will we be handling confrontations? Will you be making rulings (and if so, what will your criteria be)? Or will you be relying on us to be grown-ups about it and privately determine how our in-character conflict is handled? (Rock, paper, scissors anybody?)

My apologies if any of these were already touched on. I've only skimmed the thread, as I am in the process of heading out. I'll re-read the established lore in better depth tomorrow; promise!
Nu uh, I'm invincible!: At present I'll be trusting people to work out conflicts amongst themselves, and determine an outcome that they can both agree on via PM or in the OOC. In the event that this proves impossible, or creates more problems than it solves, then I'll have to step in on a case by case basis but how I'll determine a solution depends on what the problem happens to be at the time.

Can I be another warlord?
You can, indeed. Sahal is turning out to be a lot more popular than I expected.

Offline Strifesblaze7

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2013, 08:53:32 PM »

Name: Axon Leeros
Title: Warlord
Faction: Sahal
Age: 25
Sexual Orientation: Straight

Goal: To have his own, untouched and undisturbed piece of land with a beautiful and powerful wife.

Personality: He is driven to get what he wants and respectful of anyone that he deems worthy of it. He is confident, stubborn, fiery and willing to fight with all that he has for his people.

Appearance: His hair is black and goes to his chin, his eyes are ocean blue. This is his armor.

Biography: Axon is a young warlord, too young to be respected in the eyes of some of his followers but he has earned his place. His father was killed in a fight, a small skirmish that happened on their lands and Axon was challenged by an older member of the tribe for power and leadership. He accepted the challenge and defeated the man, therefore earning the right to lead his people until he saw fit to leave them or another challenger defeats him. He is trying to secure the borders of his land, trying to give his people a good home so that they don't have to worry about losing it.

As such, he has taken a rather defensive stance to protect his land, he is not a coward but he doesn't wish to make a foolish mistake and lose his lands. He plans to do all that he can to keep his men fighting on their lands to keep them safest, he feels that they know their lands better than anyone and should be able to repel any attackers that may come at them.

Offline Chronoclasm

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2013, 11:46:29 PM »
Thank you for your erudite responses, Marissa. You're as intelligent as you are adorable, and you have all the makings of a medievalist. That being said, it'll be a day or two before I finish my character. I'll submit something by the weekend.

I'll try to come up with a concept that balances out our mighty warlords (and I'll almost definitely side with the Grand Duchy).
« Last Edit: July 31, 2013, 11:48:35 PM by Chronoclasm »

Offline Countdown0

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2013, 12:56:29 AM »
So, being very interested in this, I have a couple of questions.

First, would I be allowed to make a character who is an officer in the Empire's military who is present at the peace conference to protect Imperial politicians present?

Second, given the response to the technology available, would it be okay if my character we renowned (and possibly feared) for his skill with the single-shot firearms that exist in the world? I have this idea of him being a naval officer who particularly enjoys the smell of the black powder burning and the sound of cannons exploding, and who is regarded in the Empire as a military prodigy. He'd be very off putting to most people at the peace conference, and very ready to shoot somebody in the face, but the Empire would consider him something of a 'necessary evil' to keep their diplomats feeling safe and secure.

Offline Belisuavious

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2013, 01:01:10 AM »
Name: Conan de Rennes
Title: Duke of Bretagne
Faction:Grand Duchy at the moment, liable to change
Age: 26
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual

Goal: Conan wants the best for his Duchy, which like the Duchy of Castiana, has the misfortune of being caught between the two great powers, though his is farther north and isn't as much of a battle ground for the two forces. That doesn't mean that his lands have escaped the ravages of war, and the snarling wolfshead banners have marched to war into the Imperial lands more than once, and back into the lands of the Grand Duchy a couple of times as well, depending on which power was backing the current Duke.

Currently, what would be best for the Duchy of Bretagne is to see the Duchy of Castiana neutralized as much as possible, since the two Duchies share a border and due to their opposing allegiances, have skirmished and raided through each others lands. There has always been a rivalry between the House of St. Clair and House de Rennes, especially while the southern St. Clair's profited from their position, while the people of Bretagne was far less prosperous. The war brought these problems to a head, and gave an outlet for these frustrations.

Additionally, Conan is in favour of ending the war as swiftly as possible. His lands are bleeding from the constant fighting, and as a well respected warrior, he won't suffer any loss of face by declaring that it is finally time to end this bitter conflict.

Personality: Conan is above all else, an honest man. That doesn't mean he is stupid, he knows better than to expect honesty in return. He is slow to anger, but once roused he will be a dangerous enemy. The one exception, when he loses his patience and is much quicker to anger, is when dealings with the house St. Clair come up. His family, with the odd exception of an outlier relative who the Empire placed on the Ducal seat, has never been a friend to the St. Clair's and being brought up in that environment, as well as the constant border fighting, has embittered Conan towards his southern neighbor.

Appearance: Conan stands at 6 feet tall, and is well muscled as benefits his role as a warrior and general. He does his best to stay clean shaven, and during this diplomatic meeting he has kept himself impeccably well groomed.

Biography: Brought up in the newly restored House de Rennes, which had only just gotten its home back from an Imperial backed pretender a generation before, Conan has been extremely active in protecting his lands against Imperial encroachment. This went double after his father died besieging Castiana. To that end, he bought, stole and borrowed as many horses as he could, turning his small personal forces into an all-mounted force, to quickly reach any part of his land that was being threatened. More recently, in the past three years or so, this has led them south to fight the forces of the restored St. Clair family. Conan, while a brave and skilled warrior and leader of men, has been able to do little more than skirmish and raid the forces and lands of his enemies.

With the levies being fewer and fewer with every call up, and less and less money flowing into the treasury, Conan knows that he cannot keep fighting forever, and has begun trying to talk other dukes around to his point of view. He is less than thrilled about the location of the peace talks, but must make do with what he has.

Offline MarissaSeraphOfInsanityTopic starter

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2013, 01:34:01 AM »
Strife and Jecter, you're both approved. And I can see our characters getting along swimmingly already, Jecter.

Thank you for your erudite responses, Marissa. You're as intelligent as you are adorable, and you have all the makings of a medievalist. That being said, it'll be a day or two before I finish my character. I'll submit something by the weekend.

I'll try to come up with a concept that balances out our mighty warlords (and I'll almost definitely side with the Grand Duchy).
Careful now, flattery will get you nowhere. That's a lie. I'm a sucker for flattery and you just earned yourself bonus points. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

So, being very interested in this, I have a couple of questions.

First, would I be allowed to make a character who is an officer in the Empire's military who is present at the peace conference to protect Imperial politicians present?

Second, given the response to the technology available, would it be okay if my character we renowned (and possibly feared) for his skill with the single-shot firearms that exist in the world? I have this idea of him being a naval officer who particularly enjoys the smell of the black powder burning and the sound of cannons exploding, and who is regarded in the Empire as a military prodigy. He'd be very off putting to most people at the peace conference, and very ready to shoot somebody in the face, but the Empire would consider him something of a 'necessary evil' to keep their diplomats feeling safe and secure.
You can certainly play a military officer assigned to protect Imperial diplomats, since most characters would probably have some kind of NPC bodyguard with them anyway and the input of military experts would be considered valuable by the assembled diplomats.

As for the second point, characters are allowed to bear arms for self defence since it would be virtually impossible to prevent them from acquiring some and most would feel uncomfortable being unarmed so close to the enemy. You do have to keep in mind, however, that the Emperor has agreed to hand over anyone who kills a foreign dignitary for execution and that the Duchess has ensured that her guards outnumber both factions to ensure that major violence doesn't break out.

Offline Strifesblaze7

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2013, 01:36:08 AM »
I call her cute and she argues. O_O

Offline Shjade

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2013, 12:41:24 PM »
You do have to keep in mind, however, that the Emperor has agreed to hand over anyone who kills a foreign dignitary for execution and that the Duchess has ensured that her guards outnumber both factions to ensure that major violence doesn't break out.

Which, to be honest, gives me cause to wonder if the Empire would risk someone they consider necessary, fearsome and a military prodigy by sending him to a place where they know his lust for gunpowder murder might get him executed.

I mean, if the guy has the reputation you say he does, Countdown, it seems pretty likely everyone at the meeting would know who and what he is. Wouldn't it be worth it to pretty much anyone with anti-Imperial proclivities to bait him into attacking them, even if it meant their own death, if it would immediately get rid of one of the Empire's military darlings? It'd be baiting the enemy queen with one of your knights: you'll make that trade almost every time with hardly a second thought.

It seems like a strategic blunder to let a guy like this anywhere near such a meeting, much less in the role of chaperone to make him feel even more defensive and ready to shoot someone. If anything he would be the one in need of a babysitter to make sure he doesn't do something suicidal.

Just thinking out loud, mind you.

Offline Wajin

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2013, 05:22:06 PM »



Name:Brahanan "Brahn" Vaelen

Formal Title: Duke of Ravthorn

Informal Title: The bloodied Duke

Faction: Grand Duchy of Nobles

Age: 21

Sexual Orientation: Bisexual with a preference for younger people of both genders

Goal:

Brahn's sole reason for even coming is to show of his, his family and his vassal's wealth. Ravthorn is famous in the Grand Duchy for producing only the finest wood and wine. He cares little for the drama of others and sees the potential of marriage as just a bonus. Since the start of the war, the income from his lands' wine production has decreased immensely, the use of his wood for weapons has meant a great added revenue as he secretly sold wood to both sides to maximize profits.

His family has always cared little for what side they were on as long as they were left to their own devices. Brahn has promised each of his vassals a great reward if they were to marry into influential families.


Personality:
Brahn is greedy in every sense of the word, if there is a chance he can get richer, he will do anything to get there. Outwardly he seems to treasure his family immensely, but it is not so, he loathes the members of his family, but the prestige of the name comes before all else. He is a cold, calculating and cynical man when one gets to know him. He will do anything to further his own position and has demonstrated this in the past.

Though the rare few he love he loves with a passion that is seldom seen, he treasures the company of his friends and loved ones immensely, and will only ever relax when he is in the company of those he trusts. He is in no way religious and has on many occasions made it known that he is a deist, believing in a creating force, but not that this force influences the world any more.

Brahn appreciates physical strength, his family motto being "Strength in body, strength of mind" as such he is greatly interested in the parties coming from Sahal and hopes to find allies within the warlords, not for the sake of the Grand Duchy, but for the sake of himself and his lands.

In what spare time he has Brahn trains rigorously, both in swordplay and less noble forms of combat. Brahn likes to challenge his might by solving puzzles and inventing things. He often upgrades the siege equipment of his armies when he finds a flaw in current designs. He studied languages when he was young, along with mathematics and history. As the last heir in line, he was always led to do what he wanted, taking up weird interests like alchemy and study of animal anatomy.

Appearance: Brahn is a handsome young man with light brown hair, a body to match even the most beautiful of ancient statues. He is ambidextrous and it shows as he is often spotted writing with both hands, a trick he learned from his deceased mother. He usually wears flamboyant clothes of foreign appearance, though he can also be spotted wearing the family armour after practices. He always carries his family blade at his hip in a scabbard of ivory
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide


Biography:
Brahn was the youngest of three brothers, his two older brothers being 3 and 6 years older than him. The youngest of his older brothers, Tristan, was betrothed to a noblewoman in the Empire, a business partner of the Vaelen family, though on his way to a meeting with his betrothed's family, his retinue and Vassals were all slain by bandits. At this time Brahn was 15, but still ventured with the men sent out to punish the bandits. When the men returned to the castle only Brahn and his oldest brother Caileb was still unscathed, Brahn's sword stained with blood while Caileb was as clean as when he had left. This unwillingness to kill the killers of their brother convinced Brahn that Caileb was unfit to be Duke.

When Brahn turned 17 he challenged his brother, now Duke due to the death of their elderly father, to an ancient ceremonial duel the Vaelen family used to resolve internal power struggles. This ceremonial duel is known as the Dance of Blades, the two duellists fight with dulled blades but carry ritual knives. The duel consists of 4 periods during each period the duellists must hit the other with his dull blade, during the following intermission the one who received the most blows must cut himself upon the location of each blow. Brahn had for the first time in all of Vaelen family history not been hit even once and had hit his brother 17 times on different spots on his neck. The gathered nobles and family watched in horror as Brahn forced his brother to nearly decapitate himself, only for Brahn to then take the formerly white, now blood red, cape of the Dukes from his brother putting it on his shoulders, proclaiming himself the new Duke. This event earned him his informal title The bloodied duke

Since that day Brahn has never been challenged to any duels using swords, he was banned from competing in other nobles' contests. He didn't mind, now that he was Duke he spend his time managing the fortune of his family, expanding their trade connections and mercantile alliances. Brahn has chosen so far not to be betrothed to anyone as he doesn't see himself as a father in the near future.

Brahn's ancestors weren't known to travel down to the border regions to defend the lands themselves, preferring to let the vassals in the southern part of Ravthorn. They liked to keep along the coast and enjoy the finer life. Brahn disdained this behavior when he was young, first from his father, and then from his brother. 3 months after taking the title from his brother he ventured with the bravest of his men to the borders and beyond after a band of slavers from Sahal had kidnapped his goddaughter and his best friends wife. They caught up with the slavers, but instead of simply killing them, Brahn brought them back to his lands to start working on a series of wooden towers, placed along the borders of his lands. When they finished, Brahn had soldiers inpale the slavers alive on the huge wooden spikes protruding from the tower. Brahn founded a new order of knights in Ravthorn, the order of the bloodied stake. These knights were tasked with keeping invaders from Sahal from entering his lands, and those that did got the same fat as the slavers. Once every year Brahn would participate in what the knights called "the Hunts" Now the southern borders of Ravthorn intimidates any would be invaders by portraying the impaled skeletons and rotten corpses of invaders on these massive towers.

Brahn journeyed to the meeting with only 4 of his greatest vassals, but with a host of servants carrying gifts to all the gathered lords to show his faked good intent.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 03:14:43 AM by A Japanese Dane »

Offline Violetstiele

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Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2013, 08:22:09 PM »
Character Sheet
No pic yet.

Name: Gideon Rochelle
Title: Duke of Rochelle
Faction: Selician Empire
Age: Old (ill)
Sexual Orientation: hetero

Goal:
Seeking a husband for his young daughter and a ruler for his lands before his death.


Personality: Strong (mentally) and decisive. Though forced by illness to be in a chair with wheels, he still rules his rich lands as if by will alone.

Appearance:
He wears court appropriate attire at all times, though his weak legs are kept covered by a blanket. His white hair is cropped short as is his neatly trimmed beard. From his face, his eyes stare out and seem to miss nothing.

Biography:
Once considered one of the greatest military minds in the land, the old man retired to his imperial estates as his sickness grew too hard to hide. His only wife died in childbirth, leaving him a daughter. She is his only living family. It's been known that he's shopping about for a husband for her, someone strong enough to be the Duke Rochelle needs after he's gone, but until he appeared at the peace conference, no one had realized how sick the old man really was.


Character Sheet



Name: Megan Rochelle
Title: Lady of Rochelle
Faction: Selician Empire
Age: 18
Sexual Orientation: hetero (she thinks) lol

Goal:
Megan wants nothing more than to please her father. She wishes she could ease his burdens and is frustrated that he will not believe a noble woman can do more than bear children for her realm. While she has no skills in any military sense, she has watched his court for years and feels confident she could manage that if nothing else.

Personality: Little is known about her outside of Rochelle, however she is sweet on the surface and strong willed beneath it.

Appearance:
Megan is a beautiful girl with long wavy red hair and big blue eyes. She is busty, but slim hipped, with a long delicate neck usually bearing some fine jewel her father has gifted her with. 

Biography:
Raised by servants and a distant relative who passed away two years ago, Lady Megan has been trained in all the skills an imperial noblewoman is meant to have. She has been constantly chaperoned since coming of age, her virtue and reputation being of great concern to her father.

(Apologies for the giant pic. I'm having technical difficulties over here)
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 08:52:26 PM by Violetstiele »

Offline Strifesblaze7

Re: An Empire Asunder (Court Intrigue/Freeform RP)
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2013, 08:46:43 PM »
Use that code. XD