Thursday, 8 May 2014

Dragon Pharaoh of Phratil: The Enemies Of Phratil

I've undercoated some more Chaos Dwarfs so I'll return to wargaming soon, but here's another post as part of my designing of Dragon Pharaoh of Phratil

More than just faux-Europeans in plate mail wielding longswords: An adventurer outside the city of Habarga, in the land of Mu'Nahre.

The Dragon Pharaoh sounds an all-powerful being, almost a millennia old with mighty mystical powers to protect her and her own priests & army to carry out her will across the seas and void.  Various other lands are vassals to the Dragon Pharaoh: the Elven Princedoms, the Gnomish traders, the Dwarven strongholds and the strange peoples of the Reptilian South.  Beyond the sky, floating in the cosmic void, other worlds have inhabitants who send tithes and prayers to Cleopatra.  The teachings of Draco Deus say that every new soul that swears fealty continues the great plans of the gods, until one day all the world will call the Dragon Pharaoh their lord and it shall be as the gods command.

But things are not so perfect as Draco Deus would wish and there are threats both to Phratil the empire and it's ancient ruler.


For one thing, Phratil must share her world and her skies with other great powers - empires which space the stars and which resist her.  They possess their own armies, their own treasuries and their own Wrydstone Bombs.  As such Phratil is forced to sit alongside them for now, with every side jostling for what advantage it can achieve against the others.

To the east is Phratil's main competitior, the Jade Union.  The JU is made of several independant countries who band together for defence - the main members being the Eternal Kara-Turian Empire, the Republic of Kara-Tur, Kozakura and the Republic of Koryo.  These eastern countries are geographically seperated far from the rest of the world, so evolved very separate cultures - including a curious faith worshipping not gods but an omnipresent soul energy, Incarnum, which all things possess.  The peoples of the JU are famed for their mastery of arcane magic and of producing the best Astromancers.

Arcane magic has been highly researched in the JU: but healing magic is rare, their Incarnum magic focusing elsewhere.  As such sanitation is more of a concern in their cities and diseases a bigger threat to their population.
To the southwest of Phratil there sits the United Mu'Nahrian Emirates, a federation of small states united by their culture and faith.  Mu'Nahre was once a continent-wide empire that collapsed in a revolt - however it rebuilt itself under the aeigis of the church of Tayyah, a monotheistic faith.  The Mu'Nahrians states are want to squabble with each other and have a tenuous grasp on their client states but the fear of religious oppression by Phratil unites them.  Masters of elemental magic and the crafting of magical items, the Mu'Nahrians possess such wonders as the Lightning Railroad which connects their continent's major cities.

It is not only Phratil who have several species living amongst them - the other great powers are just as multicultural.  From left to right, some of the non-human peoples of the UME: the thorn-skinned Cactacae, the insectoid Khepri and aquiline Garuda.


Not all who hate the Dragon Pharaoh are without the Empire.  Client states, off-world colonies and even the heartlands of the Empire can hold those who struggle against the Empire.  Sometimes this is simple politics - upstarts who seek more autonomy or to defect to one of the other major powers.  However, it is more often Draco Deus and their monodominance of faith that breed dissent.

A statue to Caira, goddess of healing, love and childbirth.  She is usually portrayed as a female Satyr though sometimes she is instead shown as a human or elf.
Draco Deus demand that all must worship the Dragon Pharaoh: other deities are only accepted if they can be fitted within a pantheon at which Cleopatra sits near the apex.  But there are many cults which struggle on in the background: cults like Rao the god of peace & serenity; Evening Glory the goddess of undying love; Ioun the god of knowledge & prophecy; and Katharos the goddess of telepathy.

These cults are anathema to the Draco Deus, who brand their members heretics, traitors and devil worshippers.  To deny primacy to the Dragon Pharaoh is to deny her divine right and to undermine the entire basis of the Empire.  Harsh punishment awaits those caught of such crimes, yet the further one gets from the Dragon Pharaoh's throne room the more readily such activity takes place.


The Great Powers have colonised the other planets of Phratil's system and in doing so have encountered other life which did not arise on the same world as humans, elves and dwarves.  Scientists and theologians both have questions to ask about such beings - when one encounters the brain-devouring beasts that lurk in the oceans of Biscales, one has to ask how such beings came to pass and what dark god or demon placed them there.

One of the strange starcraft used by the Neogi
But there are beings beyond even the light of our sun which crave power and see Phratil's lands as plunder to be claimed, Phratil's people as the target of rapine.  Spider-shaped vessels scours the void populated by a vile race called the Neogi, arachnids who make slaves of all they can.  Tieflings, stragglers of an empire which collapsed in devil worship, struggle on and rumours abound they continue to practice black sorcery.  Colonies on the fringers of the known universe report trading or fighting with intelligent beings that resemble simian, squid-headed men, a race of black-feathered people and even anthropomorphic hippos.

Without the might of the Sa'ka, the vigilance of Draco Deus and the wisdom of the Dragon Pharaoh, the great Phratil Empire could not survive in such a sea of opposition.

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