Factions of Khitai
Sometimes when strength of arms or sorcery won’t do, the silent blade is the answer. The God-Emperors of Khitai have known this truth for centuries and they have often had cause to use the services of the Brittle Blade.
Once a death cult formed around the ritual of human sacrifice, time has changed the Brittle Blade so that the ritual itself is what they worship. They respect the clean kill, the silent kill and the untraceable kill. They worship the goddess of death and they claim that when death comes, a man of courage can grasp her tightly and ask of her a question which she must answer truly.
The Brittle Blade enjoys the chaos which has come over the empire. They have never had as many contracts as they have right now. The Scarlet Circle use them to silence those who become too vocal in their opposition of Yah Chieng.
It is said that the Brittle Blade were also the ones responsible for the death of the old emperor – on the orders of Yah Chieng and their own elusive master.
Opposing Faction: Shadows of Jade
Worshippers of the gentle god, Yag-kosha, the Children of Yag-kosha are a benevolent cult spread across Khitai.
They are well liked by the general population because they practice only white magic in the name of their god.
They can be found in the villages and cities of the East, spreading their good works by offering free healing to any who ask.
The Children are an ancient cult, tracing their religion as far back as the birth of the empire itself. Their god, Yag-kosha dwelt in the jungles outside of Paikang for thousands of years, teaching his followers wisdom. Then, three hundred years ago, Yag-kosha abruptly disappeared. His disappearance was followed by a brief political upheaval in the faith - there were those who believed that he had abandoned them and others who simply believed that he had returned to his palace in the heavens.
Recently, the Children have discovered what they believe to be the truth of their gods disappearance...
Opposing Faction: Yellow Priests of Yun
Hyrkania is Khitai’s western neighbor. There is no love lost between the two lands – in fact some scholars claim
that the Great Wall was built to keep the Hyrkanian tribes from overrunning the territory claimed by the Khitans.
Though they both share the blood of the Lemurians, Hyrkanians are slightly taller and leaner than their Khitan counterparts – probably due to their life as nomads and horseriders.
Hyrkanians live by a strict code of honor which dictates the status of the warriors in their tribes. They consider certain crimes to be crimes of honor and they will always claim the cost of such crimes in blood.
One of the Hyrkanian Clans has found their way around the Great Wall of Khitai, entering Khitai through the broken wall in northern Kara Korum. They have not come to Khitai for conquest. They seek a man named Bhangi Khan, in order to make him pay for the crimes of his past.
Opposing Faction: Wolves of the Steppes
The dark days that have settled upon Khitai have driven the oppressed and the downtrodden into despair. But there are always those who, when pushed hard enough, will push back.
The people of Paikang whisper of them in quiet corners where they do not think that they can be overheard. The Insurrection, those foolhardy souls who would challenge the God-Emperor himself, hide somewhere in the depths of the Paikang jungles. They are poor, untrained and without strong leadership.
What the Insurrection needs is a leader...
Opposing Faction: None (but known to be working against Yah Chieng and his Dark Legion)
The Jiang Shi are a rumor and a myth, though a persistent one. They are said to be creatures that were once human, but are created when a person’s soul fails to leave their body. They are said to live forever and feed upon the souls of men.
The truth of the Jiang Shi is that they are humans who have been infected by a curse and subsequently changed. The change drives some Jiang Shi insane, leading them to become feral beasts that attack anybody that enters their territory.
The more intelligent Jiang Shi live among the people of Khitai, in their villages and cities, carrying out their daily lives as if nothing has changed. But their lives are uncertain at best, for even the slightest rumor is enough to condemn them to being burnt as a Jiang Shi.
Recently rumor hold that a small village of Jiang Shi can be found in Kara Korum huddled at the edge of the empire just as the Jiang shi have always been huddled at the edge of society.
Opposing Faction: None
When the Mandate was declared, almost two decades past, the new Emperor Yah Chieng declared that the might
of Khitai belonged with its mages. Shortly after that he gave the order to disband the military might of the empire.
The soldiers of the Last Legion are all that remains of the greatest army of the east. They hold the Great Wall despite the lack of contact with their superiors in the east. They are true to their ideals of defending the wall and they protect the dream of the empire.
Recently, however, the Last Legion has come upon many challenges. The Scarlet Circle have decided to push their dominance in military matters and have taken up residence in the Great Wall itself. Now there is a power struggle as the Last Legion try to retain their grip on events.
Further into Khitai, former members of the Last Legion have grown aghast at the Emperor's apparent indifference to the people of the Empire. They have re-armed themselves and seek to strike back at what they see as the injustices done to the common people.
Opposing Faction: Scarlet Circle
The Scarlet Circle are the cadre of sorcerers who effectively control the empire. Their leader is also the Emperor
Members of the Scarlet Circle are arrogant and ambitious and two decades of commanding both political and magical power has given their arrogance a dangerous side. They kill any who refuse to do their bidding and they often engage in petty power struggles against each other – in which the only possible loser can be the pawns that they engage.
Yah Chieng encourages these shows of power; they keep the population off balance and under control. He has withdrawn to his citadel in the center of Paikang and lets his minions have free reign over the empire.
The sole exception to this is Pra Eun, his second-in.command, who has withdrawn to Kara Korum for the purpose of “solitary study”. Few know the reason for this, though many suspect that the second-in-command of the Scarlet Circle might have aspiration to become the first.
Opposing Faction: Last Legion
The Scholars of Cheng-ho used to rule the city of Shaulun. In the slender towers of the city, they used seeing-
glasses to peer upon the face of their beloved goddess. In the darker times of the month, they summoned her servants, the Moon Children, a species of mischievous spirits who dwell in the underworld. But no more...
The war between Gun Hai and Gun Xiu has grown so fierce that mercenaries are pouring in from all over the world to join in the fight. The vast amounts of money being paid out by the opposing sides have led to huge economic pressure on those living in the neutral city of Shaulun. As a result, the Scholars have been pushed from their homes.
Pretending false sympathy, the Warlord of Gun Hai lured them north to his city. He promised them safe lodgings if they would only summon the Moon Children to help to protect his borders. The scholars complied with his wishes, unaccustomed to the harsh life into which they had been thrust.
But the Warlord betrayed them and enslaved the Moon Children, refusing to allow them to return to the underworld. The Scholars were put to work in the city, creating potions and war machines for his use.
Now the Scholars are a desperate bunch – unhappy in their servitude and unwilling to seek their freedom without the presence of a strong leader.
Opposing Faction: Tamarin's Tigers
The Shadows of Jade are the unofficial thieves’ guild of the Empire of Khitai. They are skilled in the art of “wealth redistribution” as they call it, though recent times have put a damper on their arts.
Chaos rules the empire and their profession is now filled by those who are willing to go beyond the moral limits of what their organization allows. In short, their world has fallen apart.
They turned their resources to the search for understanding of their current situation and what they found was that Yah-Chieng’s neglect of his empire had allowed such rampant thievery. Now they seek to restore order to the empire and they know of only one way to do it; ending the reign of the current God-Emperor.
The concerns of the organization are purely practical, restore order so that they can continue making money from the wealthy. The problem is that the current state of the empire leaves many poor and very few wealthy. And those who are wealthy are incredibly paranoid about protecting the things that they own.
Rather than risk revealing the presence of their organization by directly attempting to confront the emperor, or hiring assassins in their homeland such as the Brittle Blade, the Shadows of Jade determined that the best way would be to seek a foreign influence to bring down the emperor...
Opposing Faction: Brittle Blade
Tamarin’s Tigers are a band of mercenaries from Vendhya, come to Khitai to fight in the war between the cities of
Gun Xiu and Gun Hai. Their methods of warmaking are direct and brutal – they whip themselves into frenzy and then ride their fearsome Vaaghasan mounts into battle.
Tamarin’s Tigers are known for their bizarre body-piercings and tattoos. Some of the more aggressive members of the mercenary company have filed their teeth to points. Repeated rumor states that the mercenary company was expelled from Vendhya for their practice of cannibalism.
Tamarin’s men have commited themselves to the southern city of Gun Xiu. They have taken control of security for the entire city and they rule the population with an iron fist. They regularly enlist recruits from the city of Shaulun – but those who fail find themselves in a cooking pot more often than not.
Opposing Faction: Scholars of Cheng-Ho
The Wolves are the organized portion of the bandits who plague the central kingdoms. They are organized into
packs that attack all across the grasslands, howling their fearsome howl as they charge into battle. Rumor has it that they have tamed the real wolves that prowl the steppes, and they use them as hunting companions. Some survivors have claimed that they have seen bandits riding the great beasts into battle – but that must surely be a lie.
One thing is for sure – the Wolves are a constant terror in the daily lives of the Khitan people. They were once like the people that they plunder, helpless and fearful. But the Wolves made the decision that to live in fear is worse than to run free on the grasslands and bring terror to the sheep of the world.
The wolves are led by Bhangi Khan, who rumor maintains is more than half-wolf himself. They have inhabited an area of the Northern Grasslands known as the Pillars of Heaven, an ancient temple whose purpose has long been forgotten.
Opposing Faction: The Hyrkanians
The Priests of Yun are mainly responsible for two things, the cultivation of the lotus plant and the worship of the
Emperor of the Underworld; the god Yun.
They believe that in order to keep the universe in balance, the Emperor of the Underworld must approve of the God-Emperor in the real world. To this end, they have been opposed to the God-Emperor Yah Chieng since he overthrew the former emperor. The Priests of Yun use human sacrifice to speak with the spirits in the underworld, and they have come in contact with Li-Yah, the spirit of the former emperor.
They have their main temple deep in the jungles of Paikang, but they have a presence in almost every village and city between the Great Wall and the eastern coastline. They perform divinations and summon ancestor spirits to advise those who need it. For a small donation, of course.
Their ultimate goal is to see the rightful emperor on the throne. Who exactly that is, only the Priests of Yun know.
Opposing Faction: Children of Yag-kosha
In order to advance with any Faction, you must increase your Faction Rank. This can be achieved by increasing your Faction Points - you must earn the trust ofthe Factions you belong to.