Fakeartist Presents a Work in Progress - Creating a Plane

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Hello everyone, it’s been a while. I used to be pretty active around here a few years ago, but I eventually stopped coming by and I'd be surprised if more than a couple people recognize me. I am (not really) famous for a rather uninspired plane of analogs and syncretisms regarding the Byzantine Empire that I developed in my head more so than in print and a notable argument over vampires in the second Innistrad set. On a more personal note I'm someone who always has a plan for a set, a plane, a world. I, however, often get lost in my inspiration and only rarely get beyond that. I will try to change that here.

For the past year or so I've been toying around with an idea that is still in its infancy in spite of its age. It draws off of an amalgam of eastern influences and western influence. This isn't a return to, or rip off of, Kamigawa or Portal Three Kingdoms. I've also thought of redoing or revisiting both of those in the past, the later more so than the former. Other influences will be present, but I want this to be of my own design. This is something that I desire to be my work, not an assortment of the borrowed.


Yet at the same time, I welcome just about every form of criticism that can be provided. From the bad, to the good, to the dissecting, to the constructive. I also welcome advice, if it can be spared. There's a big project going on so I understand that attentions are focused there first for a lot of you. Yet if there is one thing that I do need assistance on it is direction. To be warned if I am neglecting one area too much, if I am contradicting myself, suggestions for further work and research. I admit to all that at this moment I am more clueless in regards to magic than I was when I first joined, which is a deep condemntation.


So, broadstrokes:


The Nezumi are back, but my intent is to make them original to this new plane. These Nezumi are similar in both structure and appearance to Kamigawa, but noticeably different. Rats have, traditionally, been black. They have rarely, but noticeably, been red. The Nezumi in this plane would still be predominately black, but instead of red I would have them be blue. Their armor would not be so Japonic, but more indicative of Korea and China. It would be a fussion between both, rather than predominately one or the other. Lesser rats will also exist on this plane, and would be used extensively by the Nezumi.

As are the Orochi. Originally I had intended to create a completely new race of snakes that would be similar to the Nezumi, but I wasn't entirely sure how to go about this and the Orochi were readily available for use. Like the Nezumi, the Orochi are no longer going to be centered around Japanese influences (though they were considerably less so than the Nezumi from what I had gathered). Some greek influence and some Incan influence will take a noticeable role in their culture.


In addition I would introduce two new “races” of a similar vein to the Nezumi and Orochi. Monkey and Ox each get a very human form and levels of intelligence that rise to the occasion. The Monkeys would be called Simians. The Ox likewise known as Avoiren. The Simians are heavily influenced by Roman and Tibetan culture, smaller Turkic and Chinese influence can be noted in the finished product. The Avoiren are based in Indian culture, primarily Hindu influenced, but there is a deal of Sikh and Islam that will affect the finished product. I considered, and rejected, French influence. As this starts to materialize it may creep back into it.


There are humans here, and perhaps unsurprisingly they take on a very prominent role inside of this plane. I imagine a great empire that spans much of the land that I’m currently pondering. Roman, Japanese, and Chinese influence make up the core of this empire, but there is much more to it than that. The cultures that influence the peoples, or empires, do not necessarily define or typecast them. It just expands upon social organization, spiritual beliefs, names, and their history. This empire has one capital, five provinces, twenty regions, and hundreds of prefectures. These, as of now, are only loosely defined and may get not much more than a name and a description until this comes further along.


The races are not necessarily segregated, or even tend to group themselves together. There are simply regions where they are more common and more at home. All ultimately fall under the purview of the empire and all are active participants in it. Humans dominate the empire through sheer abundance and finding the ability to be at home just about everywhere. But things are changing, social and climactic upheaval is resulting in migrations and areas where traditionally some groups would not go to are flocked to.  


There are other states and empires as well; various collectives and republics are known by distant rumor far to the north of the endless deserts, along the shores of the great western seas, and across the great oceans. I will not state firmly that these five are the only sentient humanoid races, but I will state they are without a doubt the most prominent and the rest may not get a mention for a very long time. The plane has a history of angels and demons, but it is an increasingly distant memory. There are few alive who remember such a time, and they are too elusive, too dangerous, or both to get straight answers from them. These individuals most commonly are dragons, many of which are ancient. While not an extinct group, their numbers have fallen considerably with time. Common in only a few places, the old far outnumbering the young. Speaking of Dragons, this plane blurs the lines of what it is to be a Dragon. Thus the categorization, when expanded upon, may be more justly referred to as Draconic than Dragon.


These are only the loosely formed ideas for a plane, I will give more concrete and in depth descriptions regarding the planes and the peoples inside of it as time goes on. An update may come later on tonight, tomorrow, days, weeks, or even months away. I ask that anyone expecting one be patient and forgiving, but as I said before any form of response is welcome.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

At the very least, you're going to have to find new names for both the Nezumi and Orochi. Returning to them, but decentralizing them from their historic roots is... ill advised. You should look up relevant myths regarding Rats and Snakes from the source you're actually drawing from.
By saying "I do not want them to be japanese" but keeping the associated names... you're really sort of shooting yourself in the foot.

As for the apes (which is the creature type you'll be wanting) I'd avoid the Simian name. Mostly because it doesn't really fit the theme you're working with. In the past, Jedi and I were codeveloping a world, mostly I was prodding it until he came up with answers, but you have a rich source of eastern mythology to draw from in regards to apes. We derived the ape culture from Sun Wukong of Xiyouji fame.

The oxfolk... I'd once again suggest a different name. In terms of mythology and other things, I'd like to offer you a chance to review my own Hindi influenced world. You can find it over in the M:EM. You should check it out, if only to see what's been done so you can avoid retreading old ground.

Dragons, I'd suggest you just be cautious as you move forward on this end. Mostly because when you start to blur the lines of creatures, and especially icons, you might find people fighting the change more than you'd expect.
Thank you for taking the time to offer some comments, I appreciate it.

The Nezumi and Orochi only have their old names to reference them as a Race being involved in the plane. Though, with your project you created new names and put what they are in parenthesis. Depending on the language base, and how uniform I am. For instance, I considered giving them all chinese styled names: Shuren (Nezumi), Sheren (Orochi), Houren (Ape/Monkey), Niuren (Ox), and Guoren (Human). Would these names be better suited since latin and japanese seem less desirable names?

I will say that it wasn't that I didn't want them to be Japanese, but rather that I didn't want them to be solely or chiefly japanese. I admit that I wasn't clear on that and this may cause more problems than solutions when it comes to defining them.

I've heard of Sun Wukong and Journey to the West before, I actually have a copy of it within an arm's reach. Unopenned though, there was always something else to read first. An influence from that may bleed into it, as its unavoidable given the fame of the archetype. That said, I was also going to work with the monkeys that were in the Ramayana, such as Hanuman. The influence of the Zodiac was also going to be prevalent with them and the other races.

Nice, are you going to do something more with that plane in the future? I'll take a look more closely and try to avoid any overlap in the coming days, but I wonder why you included some of the seven deadly sins? I suppose there's nothing making them firmly western or even catholic, but it made me curious. Angels and Demons are, at least nominally, gone from this plane and have been for generations. That said, their lasting cultural impact is something that just game me an idea. Thanks for that!

I'll be careful then, I was going to include both western and eastern styles of Dragons on this plane. I also had a few ideas for Wyrms, some bordering on the outlandish. I'll keep my peace on that though, until I've thoroughly checked things out first.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

I've been ironing out some more details in regards to the geography of the plane. It is still a ways off from being completed, but it is filled with more literary prose than the broadstrokes of general ideas that I wrote earlier. As before, any comment is welcome, any criticism received, any direction treasured.


Geography:


The primary [written] focus of this plane is a large as of yet unnamed continent. At its center is an empire spanning many thousands of miles in every direction from its capital. The empire is divided into five provinces, which are larger than entire empires in far off distant lands. These provinces are in turn divided into twenty regions. The largest province has seven regions, while the smallest has just three.  Every province and region has a local administrative center, normally a city of varying size. The capital used to be the largest and most paramount city in the empire, upon it laid the hinges of the empire. Now it is the fourth in terms of size, first only in prestige and administrative importance.


The empire is divided nearly evenly in two for the southern half of the empire in the form of a massive river spanning many miles across as it enters into the great southern ocean. But this divide rapidly dissipates in the northern half of the empire. Dozens of tributaries, mighty rivers on their own, are born in the highlands and mountains, dense subtropical forests, and typhoon like weather brought east by the western winds from the many great seas found there. These tributaries grow into one another like the branches of a tree until the two largest and mightiest of them merge, seemingly guided by the broken remnants of an ancient and well-rounded mountain range. At this point of merging is the location of the capital, all but an islet within the mighty river.


Originally a swampy marsh surrounded by thick forests, this was seen as the perfect location for the gathering of a massive state and a near magical location from where most of the sources of magic can be found. Over the three-thousand years of history, the capital has largely been cleared away any remnants of forests to fuel the massive construction of housing. The mountains served as natural quarries for other materials, such as marble and granite. Forests were protected in isolated areas around the capital until a few hundred years ago when mounting population pressures ended the long protected domain. The swamps were largely cleared away as well, for similar reasons.


The process was not entirely destructive, however. Where there used to be forests and swamps, now lay open vast fields and farmlands to fuel the population with food and living space. City walls, which at one point protected the entire cities and its fields, now only barely cover the inner districts where the emperor, his estate, senate, and central bureaucracy can be found. In addition a great many artificial islands grew and dotted the river, both along its main body and its tributary. Some of the marshlands and swamps soon appeared on these artificial islands, and often times in ways that were anything but accidental.


The broken mountains are at their most prominent while sheparding the tributaries, but stretch out in a way that would almost divide the empire in much the same way the river had. Or would have, should the mountains have been uniform in creating majestic peaks. Those are few and rare amongst those mountains. Instead the range becomes little more than hills stretching out across the vast landscape and rarely provide any real obstacle to any encroaching peoples or terrains. As if their defiance was beaten and punished long before there were those who could remember or record such events. Instead, such true mountains are found in the northwest and to the far east. It is said that the mountains in the northwest are so tall that the rains and storm cannot pass them and are forced to surrender their liquid yield to the northern regions of the empire. Regardless, little of anything is left over for the great deserts, keeping them dry and hot.


It is there that the Dragons are most common and most deadly. Those tall impenetrable peaks house the nests and dens of near forces of nature and bringers of fire and destruction. For the most part they are left alone by the Empire, and in turn are also left alone. Those tall mountains are where people do not dare to venture. Dragons can also be found scouring the deserts, one might presume to make their way across to the far east. This leaves the northernmost landscape of the empire susceptible to the occasional raid, which do occur on a rare occasion. Such a danger is not found elsewhere, at least not in the form of dragons.  


Not all Dragons are found there, nor are all dragons fond of such destruction. Luseryu, one of the few dragons known to have had verbal contact with humans, is located in the southern regions of the empire. He and his kin rarely destroy, but are known to be reclusive and live in solitude. His breed is also exceedingly rare, numbering under twenty according to the Shuren (Nezumi) sage Lin Kenko some hundred years ago and that number being smaller than the last given account nearly a thousand years prior. Luseryu is also honored as one of the five patron deities of the empire, regardless of his apparent distance from the people within the empire. But Luseryu is an oddity when it comes to massive creatures.


A distance further south lay the great ocean. Here the empire’s direct control fades, with the ocean being an even greater barrier than the desert. The temperatures are nearly equal in their discomfort for human settlers. There are dozens of islands forming two distinct archipelagos, but few have known to travel to them, and even fewer returned. Vast tempests and choppy seas rule here. Drakes are the most common threat for sailors, but they tend not to go too far inland. They are less numerous here than they are in the western seas, but are far more vicious. They are also amongst the least of their concerns, as leviathans and serpents can be just below the waves. The only true “safe” haven is at the mouth of the great river. Magical wards and the southern garrison provide no small amount of protection for those who live there. Most of them being Shuren and Guoren (Human).


The entirety of the south is nowhere near as inhospitable, but occasionally it comes close for those not native to the area. Forests and fields in the center of the country give way to marshlands, swamps, bogs, and large lakes. Some forests, notable ones, decorate patches in the south, but there are few plains and fewer mountains. Only the marshes and lakes are plentiful. It is here where the greatest concentration of Shuren can be found, living in large villages and cities built in and around bogs and marshland, if not along the great river. Though this has been changing for almost an age in a very slow process, the Shuren have begun to move from bogs and marshes that were their homes. Their magic is no longer so founded there. Cultural and magical skills have been diffusing into populations throughout the empire, often through Guoren in the empire.


In the move to the west the land grows drier and once again forests and fields predominate, if only briefly before the forests recede and the grasslands rule. The broken mountains form the only real natural divide in these dry grasslands. Instead much of the landscape is dotted by some small lakes and some small mountains. They shrink in comparison to the now northern peaks, but in a largely level steppe their presence cannot be denied. To the west the empire’s reach goes the furthest it could ever hope to expand to, but it is little more than lightly populated grasses. The empire once reached all the way to the seas, but the rise of rival states along their shores blocked off the empire’s access and its control receded since there was little value in the overextension. Still, trading caravans of Niuren (Ox), Guoren, and Houren are not rare sights here. Neither are those that prey on them, creature and people alike.


Travelling from the west back to the north brings a great deal of variation, but also a great deal of ignorance. Strong gusts of winds and tornadoes wind through on the backs of tempests making even the weather perilous, beasts and large creatures roam freely as well. The northwest is a virtual no-man’s land, but it gives rise to the sub-kingdoms of the Niuren. The empire subjugated the Niuren not through conquest and assimilation, but rather through the collapse of a once vast empire there. The pieces were much smaller and fell much easier, resulting in a complex web of alliances and jurisdictions. The Niuren Kings fall under the nominal control of the Empire, but their domestic concerns are largely handled locally. Growing numbers of other peoples have begun eat away at this authority, but after nearly an age of domination most of the Niuren kings and their subjects are genuinely loyal to the empire. Often times more loyal than most.


The north also holds a rare, but majestic, breed of white tigers. They are the descendants of the northern patron deity Safeda Namer, which died a thousand years ago while fighting off a horde of dragons during the last of their great raids south. Or so the legend says. It was a massive beast of nearly unparalleled might and ferocity, but also a guardian of both the Niuren and the north. His death saw the transition of the great phoenix Anka Kuşu, the patron deity of the west, and move to the north. Lesser phoenixes can be found in the west, but with the lack of any real danger and the loss of the western seas, they are more than sufficient. Anka Kuşu also appears to have grown much stronger in the north.


To the east the empire’s domain grows to its most tenuous reach. Still well over one thousand miles in expanse, the broken mountains turn into great mountains in the far east. Other dragons are found here, but so too are wurms. Some more powerful that dragons themselves and they are found both above and below land. Baloths and Basilisks roam the dense forests leading up to those mountains. What lays beyond is mostly a mystery, only rumor has ever made it back from far beyond. Yet it is in the east, at least in the buildup to such massive obstacles, that the empire is the most populated. Sheren (Orochi) and Houren are native here. The Houren more to the plans that are closer to the central part of the empire, but they are no less creatures of the forest as the Sheren are in the far more wild exterior. The Kala Chelona, a giant tortoise, dwelled in the east. The patron deity of the east, however, has not been seen almost or heard from for a great many centuries. Some believe it is on the outskirts of the empire defending against far greater threats, but others believe it has died long ago.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Thank you for taking the time to offer some comments, I appreciate it.

The Nezumi and Orochi only have their old names to reference them as a Race being involved in the plane. Though, with your project you created new names and put what they are in parenthesis. Depending on the language base, and how uniform I am. For instance, I considered giving them all chinese styled names: Shuren (Nezumi), Sheren (Orochi), Houren (Ape/Monkey), Niuren (Ox), and Guoren (Human). Would these names be better suited since latin and japanese seem less desirable names?


I think it would help to distinguish your work in a unique way. It would make them yours, rather than a borrowed concept of another world.

I've heard of Sun Wukong and Journey to the West before, I actually have a copy of it within an arm's reach. Unopenned though, there was always something else to read first. An influence from that may bleed into it, as its unavoidable given the fame of the archetype. That said, I was also going to work with the monkeys that were in the Ramayana, such as Hanuman. The influence of the Zodiac was also going to be prevalent with them and the other races.


Both of those are fine to use. I merely suggested Sun Wukong since... well, such a major figure.

Nice, are you going to do something more with that plane in the future? I'll take a look more closely and try to avoid any overlap in the coming days, but I wonder why you included some of the seven deadly sins? I suppose there's nothing making them firmly western or even catholic, but it made me curious. Angels and Demons are, at least nominally, gone from this plane and have been for generations. That said, their lasting cultural impact is something that just game me an idea. Thanks for that!


I've been developing the plane on the backburner for a while. It's a project I add to every once in a while when inspiration strikes me.
The sins are mostly a situation where I'm playing to familiar expectations. It builds resonance.
Thank you for the response Barinellos, I appreciate it.

I think I will run with the chinese styled names, at least until something better comes to mind. I had already started pouring my thoughts onto print with them, so your words only cemented their continued usage.

Sun Wukong may actually get a homage of sorts. As of now, however, the Houren are still mostly a web of concepts along with the Sheren. The Shuren and Niuren have been more developed, and it probably shows.

I can tell you that it did build a certain amount of resonance, as it made the succumbing to a sin much more readily understood in a way that may not have been possible if it was a more abstract and less relatable form of sin. I look foward to the day that you return to it as it seems like you have some very neat ideas.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

So my brainstorming processes have been eratic to say the least. One moment I'm writing a thousand words on geography, the next I'm working on government, and now I'm on content webs.

None of this is concrete in any way, but is rather a product of me having some inspiration after already writing nearly 2000 words on governance in the Empire.

So, here's what I have for context mapping:
Shuren
Nezumi, Anthropomorphic Rats
Main Colors :ubm:
Secondary Colors
Diffusive Colors
Not Found in

Naming Conventions:
Single Character Chinese Surname [Family Name]
Japanese "sounding" Forename [Given Name]

Cherry-Picked Zodiac Influence:
Disciplined, systematic, charismatic, hard working, industrious, charming, sociable, shrewd, manipulative, cruel, rigid, selfish, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, and scheming.

Loose Ideas:
Shuren are the second most common people within the Empire. Within the Senate, they are the greater counterbalance to Guoren.

There are three Shuren families that are the most commanding and demand the most respect. As legend suggests, they are the descendents from the Three Sages who taught the Shuren magic and spoke the teachings. These families are Lin, Li, and Chang. Members of the sage clans are noted to have exceptional magical ability and each specialize in the school of magic taught by the sages. The Lin clan mastered the art of decay and poison. The Li clan mastered the art of necromancy. The Chang clan mastered the art of destroying the mind. All three clans are feared, and all three clans stand at the top of Shuren culture. These three clans can be found amongst the First Ranked Honored Families in the Imperial Senate.

Beneath the Sage Clans are the forty-two marquesses. These are the Second Ranked Honored Families in the Imperial Senate and are made up of the largely honored clans who commanded leadership over tribes, villages, and states before their conquest and assimilation into the empire. Originally purely warrior clans who served as the militant leadership of the Shuren, now they have splintered and fractured over three thousand years of the Empire. Some maintain strict militant ways, including the rigid warrior codes and the art of espionage, but many have become bureaucratic families and joined with Guoren nobility. There are notable, but few, Marques clans who have taken up the art of poetry and philosophy.

The Forty-Two Marques Clans:

Ban
Bin
Bing
Bo [Scholar]
Cu
Cha
Duo [Scholar]
Gong
Gou
Gun
Ha
Hao
He
Huo
Jia
Jie
Kua
Lang
Liao [Militant]
Ling
Meng
Miao
Niang
Nie
Nue
Ou
Pao
Qiu [Militant]
Quan [Militant]
Rang [Militant]
Sai [Militant]
Se [Militant][Scholar]
Sha [Miliant]
Teng [Militant]
Xian
Xu
Yan
Ye [Militant]
Yu
Zi
Zhuai
Zong [Scholar]

Beneath the Three Sage Clans and the Forty-Two Marquesses are hundreds of lesser ranked honored families. These are cadet branches, higher ranked the closer they are to the main line. Other families are also present in the fifth and sixth rank. In total there are 412 clans not accounting for their cadets, which are all given rank and cover all but the clanless of the Shuren.

Clanless Shuren are without social standing and societal support within their native lands and marshes. Instead they flock to the cities and Guoren settlements where they can find acceptance and a voice.

Shuren are rigidly hierarchical within their clans and without. Their latent ruthless ambition is quelled within their family, but outside of their family it is largely fair game as long as they have some tacit approval. Shuren can be exceedingly loyal within certain circumstance and the idea of possession and inclusiveness can be blurred in ways not common elsewhere. This is my clan. This is my lord. My friends, my mother, my empire. This has allowed for some level of diffussion into both green and white outside of the primary and secondary colors. Some clans have even been able to utilize such magics, but they are few.

As for other relevant materials:
The Shuren do not have Ninjitsu, but they do have other forms of spying abilities and trickery abilities.
Shuren have a bushido like style.
Shuren have a philosophical core to their culture that is based on Neo-Confucianism of the Song, Zen Buddhism, and Shintoism.
There were prevalent and powerful groups that opposed the empire and throughout three thousand years attempted nearly a hundred different ways to either bring down the Empire or establish a free and independent south. All of them failed. Most of such Shuren died or gave up.
Separatists no longer exist, or rather are no longer considered sane.
Shuren get along very well with Guoren, and have good terms with Houren.
Shuren are at odds with Niuren and Sheren, however.
The Three Sage Clans have magics, the only one even close to them in magical prowess are the Meng clan who are an even rarer gem. Their specialty is still the magic that their ancestors used and taught, and they are unrivaled in that. The Chang Clan, in particular, has a near permanent presence within the Minister of the Interior.
Many of the Shuren peoples entered into the Empire peacefully, some were even there since the beginning. Only a few entered after conquest.
Many Shuren revere Luseryu as a deity and the guardian of their ancestor's spirits, Luseryu is also most closely linked to the Shuren.
Shuren extensively use lower rats for spying and militant use.
Shuren have a normal lifespan of about 40 years, but members of the Sage Clans and the Marquesses can live for nearly 300 years.
Necromancy is rare and hard to pull off in this plane, no other race has been able to do it apart from Shuren and Demons. With the disappearance of all of the demons, Shuren have a monopoly on it.
Shuren have _very_ close ties with their ancestors and family. The spirits of the ancestors often linger after death and are doubly revered.
Spirits of other people, however, are often quickly stripped of their remaining sanity and turned into mindless minions. Officially illegal, unofficially common.
Shuren exist elsewhere in the plane as well, but there has been no contact with them in over 3000 years.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Hey, Fake.

I just wanted to pop by and say that while I don't feel I can jump into a world-building at the moment (too many other projects) I like what you've got going on here so far. I've only just skimmed it, but it seems pretty crazily in-depth, so well done there. Like I said, I don't have anything overly constructive to add at this point, but I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Good luck and have fun!

Shameless Self-Promotion

These are the MTG Fiction pieces I have written:

Planes of the Dual-Walkers
Allo's Fortnight
The Butcher's Cleaver
Dead Man 'Walking
Showdown
Pariah
Deals and Devils
The Tears of the Djinn
Cromat Comes
Kiss of the Shorecerers
Numerous poems in The Poetry Plane
Magic: The Musical

Please read and comment! I love hearing people's thoughts and reactions to my work!

Must say there is a lot of effort going into this. But do wonder one thing. Out of all the Nazumi clans why are the few scholarly ones all black?
Hey, Fake.

I just wanted to pop by and say that while I don't feel I can jump into a world-building at the moment (too many other projects) I like what you've got going on here so far. I've only just skimmed it, but it seems pretty crazily in-depth, so well done there. Like I said, I don't have anything overly constructive to add at this point, but I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Good luck and have fun!

Hey Raven,

I'm glad you popped by! Don't worry about not being able to commit to a project, this is mostly just my ideas going into type right now. Just making a comment is enough to make me happy.

Must say there is a lot of effort going into this. But do wonder one thing. Out of all the Nazumi clans why are the few scholarly ones all black?

Thank you for interest Shockwave,

When this is all said and done they will not all be in black, but for a context map it'll do. I want to see if it is possible to construct a firmly black philosophy that mirrors a firmly white philosophy, mirroring function and benevolence, but for entirely different reasons. Ensuring the welfare of the people driven to be kind and just to the people as opposed to doing the same to safeguard your own interests with a strong and prosperous people. Loyalty to one's friends and comrades parallel to possessive and protective of your friends. Its mostly in its conceptual stage, but that's why most are in black at the moment.

Thanks again,
Fakeartist

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Back to a more prose narrative style of writing information, but organized loosely in a way to make everything more readable.

Empire

Emperor
The Empire is one of the more complex social constructions in existence on this plane. At its helm is the Emperor, a direct descendant of the founding Emperor. Succession is normally from father to son, uncle to nephew, brother to brother depending on how direct the line of succession truly is. However, it is a mandatory requirement that each new emperor be accepted by the senate and central bureaucracy. Should the appointed heir be found wanting in skill, intelligence, the magical arts, or in sheer charisma he can be overturned for another, more suitable candidate within the imperial line. There are several notable periods where succession jumped between distant cousins until a powerful line stabilized. This process was not always peaceful and can be recipes for disaster should multiple candidates vie for the throne. An increasingly common occurrence, though one that rarely spills outside of capital coups.The convoluted nature of the Imperial Senate is designed in such a way that it is virtually powerless unless it has internal cooperation, but when such internal cooperation occurs it is the single most powerful institution within the empire. Emperors may go against the senate, but few of keep power if they do.

The Imperial Senate
First Rank Honored Families
The Emperor oversees directly the main houses of government: The Imperial Senate and the Imperial Bureaucracy. While the Emperor can rule with an iron fist in his region of governance, he is primarily of an half-executive half-military role and has almost no authority other than veto power over the main legislative and administrative bodies of the empire. The convoluted nature of the Imperial Senate is designed in such a way that it is virtually powerless unless it has internal cooperation, but when such internal cooperation occurs it is the single most powerful institution within the empire. Emperors may go against the senate, but few of keep power if they do. The Imperial Senate is in turn divided into a number of levels and jurisdictions. The main house of the senate is a life peerage granted to the heads or influential members of the first rank honored families. Originally numbering twelve at the foundation of the Empire, there are now sixty families and all of them relatives to the dynastic line, but through maternal relationships rather than paternal. It may stand to reason that these first rank families are the most powerful and influential in the Empire. Primarily composed of Guoren in the beginning, now three Sheren clans, five Houren, three Shuren, and Twelve Niuren clans are amongst the first tier.

Second Rank Honored Families
Immediately below the first rank are the second rank families numbering one hundred twenty families. Here the distribution amongst the peoples is more even. The remaining seven Sheren clans have representation here. Another twenty-four Niuren families can be found in this peerage, followed by ten Houren families. Forty-two Shuren and thirty-seven Guoren nearly split the remaining seats. As with the first rank, the second rank familial heads or their representatives are granted life peerages in the second division of the senate. The powers of the first and second ranked honored families are equal to one another in terms of legislative power. They each receive a single vote in the lawmaking process. The difference is in prestige and direct power of that vote in relation to others, the second rank’s vote is only half as influential in such terms.

The Noble's Assembly
The third, fourth, and fifth ranked honored families are not given life peerages and do not house individual bodies of the senate. Instead, they are given fixed single terms of varying years and must be elected in provincial and regional elections. The third rank has a twelve year term, the fourth rank a six year term, and the fifth rank a three year term. Individuals elected may not seek reelection, but their families may put forward different candidates for the third legislative body. These three ranks also are completely dominated by Shuren and Guoren, though maybe a tenth of the total eligible families are Houren. The reason for this is because while there are only ten clans of Sheren amongst the honored families, the Sheren only have ten clans making the entirety of the population effectively represented. The Niuren clans have their own stratifications, but some 30% of the population there is represented in the senate. Houren are much less numerous than Shuren or Guoren. It is also amongst these ranks that the cadet branches for Shuren and Guoren families are found, which are far more numerous in number and in rivalry than the other three peoples. This particular body is referred to as the Noble's Assembly

The People's Assembly
The fourth senate group is elected solely from the various peoples in elections. Six hundred individuals are elected to a one year term in provincial elections. Individuals elected here can be reelected as many as twelve times before they can no longer serve. While there are other ranked families, there is no restriction to who may be elected and who may be elected in these elections. However they are elected first to provincial senates (120 per province) before twelve of them are chosen amongst the provincial senate members to be sent to the capital to serve in the fourth division of the senate there. In relation to the other houses of the senate, the fourth division has the least prestige but the greatest influence. Every member of the senate is given one vote in their subdivision, and the division is decided by majority rules. All houses have the ability to block any of the other three houses normally resulting in deadlock unless in times of crisis.

Other Divisions
Within the provinces the senate has only two houses: the ranked honored families and the freely elected. The one hundred-eight individuals who remain in the province represent one division while the top five ranked families native to the province are granted a second division number ninety members in total. Provincial Senates are known for far less deadlock, enabling progress even without the capital’s approval. Regions have their own, much smaller, senates: twelve and twelve. Prefectures do not have senates, but they do have forums where all natives of the prefecture have immediate and direct say in local laws. Unless larger and systemic trends are born in such local levels, they are ignored by both provincial and empire-wide senates.

The Imperial Bureaucracy
The Imperial Bureaucracy, however, is not so decentralized or ambivalent. The Bureaucracy is officially headed by three Praetors appointed by the Emperor and confirmed by the senate. Apart from the appointment of leadership, the Emperor and the Senate have no authority real authority here. While having a period of decadence into the first few centuries of the empire’s existence, the Imperial Bureaucracy restored itself into an entity of ruthless efficiency. Each Praetor oversees three ministries based on their role. In this sense, the bureaucracy is an entity of three upon three. Each ministry is tiered with the capital division on top, interprovincial underneath, and provincial on the bottom. Provincial is in turn tiered again pan-provincial, regional and trans-regional, and prefecture levels of government.

First Praetor
The Ministry of the Imperial Family
The first Praetor oversees three ministries: Ministry of Imperial Family, Ministry of the Honored Families, and Ministry of Harmony. The Ministry of the Imperial Family closely monitors all branches of the dynasty and sees to their education and instruction. Their behavior is also observed, and various improprieties are reported. While they cannot touch or harm a member of the dynasty, they can recommend action to the Emperor who often heeds that council. Members of this ministry can be found near the household of even the most minor of imperial clansmen. The imperial clansmen are often terrified of this ministry as much as it respects its power. Their support, coupled with talent, can nearly assure their place in succession. Their ire can leave them bereft of any wealth, influence, and placed under indefinite house arrest for not only themselves but their immediate branch of the family.

The Ministry of the Honored Families
Ministry of the Honored Families performs a similar role, but somewhat less in terms of harshness, with the Ranked Honored Families. Their education and personal instruction is overseen by the Ministry, though ranks three and five can opt to utilize private instruction with proper approval. Rank six needs to request the Ministry’s support for government education and instruction in the magical arts. It is through the Ministry of the Honored Families that nearly all bureaucratic officials in the capital come attain their position and appointment. An independent arm of this ministry assesses individuals in the talent and skillsets needed for appointment and position them within the bureaucracy and then places them where they are best suited. The Ministry of the Honored Families is also known to promote marital matches with imperial clansmen.

The Ministry of Harmony
The Ministry of Harmony deals primarily with matters of propriety amongst the people not ranked amongst the Honored Families and the Imperial Clan. While breeches of impropriety can be eternal black marks against the characters of such individuals, amongst the common people they are rather common and easily overlooked unless it is severe. A fine of one copper, half a bushel of grain, or a day of communal service is exacted for most low level breeches. Moderate offenses are one silver, two bushels of grain, or a week of communal service. Severe offenses are rarely bought off and the offenders are given a year of hard penal service. Such breeches are near treasons that do not result in death. Those that result in death are handed over to a different ministry.

The Second Praetor
The Ministry of Trade
The second Praetor heads these three ministries: Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Cultivation, and Ministry of Public Works. The Ministry of Trade administrates basic forms of taxation on business transactions, determined by uniform weighted scales throughout the empire. Trade of low level items has a taxation rate of 6% of what it is worth. Medium level items have a taxation rate of 33%. High level items, trade of state monopoly items such as salt, have a 50% taxation rate when traded from none state sources. Failure to pay the proper tax value results in a first time forgiveness policy, but the second time they are forced to pay twice the amount of the tax owed. Chronic offenders who have not paid their dues are barred from conducting trade within the empire. This is uniform across all social levels.

The Ministry of Cultivation
The Ministry of Cultivation both allots land for farming, seed for sowing crops, and oversees cultivation. While small subsidiary farms often can work without the hand of the Ministry, those that cannot or are too large to escape their notice are subject to surrendering a proportion of their crop over to the bureaucracy. Such food is used to feed the armies, the state, and provide national and provincial granaries for use in times of dearth whereby food is available to the masses in need of it. The amount of crop taken over by the government is as little as 10% and as much as 60% depending on total yield and the calculated needs of the cultivators. Typically, the amount taken neither harms the farmers nor makes the farms unprofitable, as the Ministry is careful to avoid such breeches of trust. However, as with Ministry of Trade, they are amongst the most hated in the bureaucracy.

The Ministry of Public Works
The Ministry of Public Works is in charge of creating and maintaining all government buildings, major travel and trade routes, magical wards, and defenses. They are also responsible for constructing military facilities and housing for the military as well as the construction and maintenance of government mines and textiles. Because of the massive workload, every citizen of the empire is required to either pay an extensive fine or serve for three months every year in the Ministry of Public Works for communal service. Those committing improprieties work longer, while criminals and those who commit severe breeches are made to work for the Ministry. Even so, there are chronic shortages of manpower in both the west and the east resulting in creative shortcuts.

The Third Praetor
The Ministry of Education
The Third Praetor largely oversees these three ministries: The Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Research, and the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Education provides basic education to those not in either the Honored Families or in the Imperial Line, but such education is only freely provided in the instruction of the state mandated written dialect, basic arithmetic, and basic laws. The written dialect is uniform across the empire, though the way it is spoken can be and often is mutually unintelligible in distant reaches of the empire. Additional education requires coin; coin needed in greater supply the higher up the chain one goes. Those without coin can become apprentices if they show basic magical talent or keen minds, though these are few. Yet it is through the Ministry of Education that individuals not part of the Honored Families can attain office within the bureaucracy. Normally restricted to the wealthy, every generation or so has an individual that rises to the rank of Minister though destitute of power, property, or prestige.

The Ministry of Research
The Ministry of Research is one of the most autonomous ministries within the bureaucracy and the only ministry to be centered outside of the capital. Instead only the Chief Clerk and the Minister can be found at the capital where research notes and benign materials are kept. This is for the safety of the capital as much as it is to allow the researchers more free reign in some of their crazier experiments. To those in other planes their experiments might be tame by comparison, but the Ministry of Research is no stranger to the design of potent magical barriers, flight, artificial constructs, genetic experiments, nearly impossible to decipher codes, the odd monster running loose, and a very large explosion every month or so. The Ministry draws from all fields of magic, but the largest emphasis has been placed on counter measures against the growing threat in the east.

The Ministry of the Interior
The Ministry of the Interior serves to keep a record of the bureaucracy and has some limited oversight inside of the Imperial Senate. Sometimes referred to as the Ministry of Secrets and the Ministry of Records, both half wrong. If there is a deep dark secret hidden somewhere within the bowels and caverns of the government or within the nation, they are known to the Ministry and a record of it can be found readily available. They are the most widely known Ministry by name, but the least known for what they do. Most of this is by design, one in a hundred thousand can be said to have the latent potential to sense other people’s minds. Through selective marriages the odds can be increased somewhat, but it is still a rare talent even amongst the most finely bred families. Such talents are highly prized and rapidly recruited into the Ministry from even the lowest of families and upward to the highest.


To help keep that mess more easily understood:


Now that doesn't cover everything, but it does cover more than I actually have written for the moment. Within the coming days and weeks I will further flesh out the government (such as the Imperial Court being an inferior entity drawing authority from and being subordinate to the three main bodies of government) and the army, but the basic ideas should be there.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. My motto for this thread is: all comments welcome, any criticism received, and all direction treasured.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

More prose narrative rather than a clear conceptualization of facts. On my part I feel like I am writing a descriptive essay summarizing a series of ideas and instutitions rather than itemizing them and giving them structure. That's why I came up with the government flowchart above to make things more easily understood. Once again nothing is firm and all ideas may be subject to change. How? Well, your imput most likely. Otherwise it will have to wait until I start compiling and itemizing this thing into a streamlined presentable piece.

Imperial Court
Apart from the Emperor, the Imperial Senate, and the Imperial Bureaucracy there are other institutions not officially part of any of their jurisdictions. Niuren sub-Kingdoms are the most obvious of such institutions, but most prevalent to the individual would be the Imperial Court system. Its power is subordinate to all three powers that dominate government and is a regular source of abuse and corruption in that the Senate and the Bureaucracy believe they know the best punishments for their wayward charges than the senate. It is only when instances have cross governmental implications that the Courts are able to assert no small amount of autonomy when it can use both parties involved to stymie their influence. Such cases are prized by the courts and can go on for years. Not because of any difficulty in the case or even reconcilable differences between the three groups, but because they allow the Courts to have leverage and assert their own power. The longer they go on, the less they are subject to the whims of the Senate, Emperor, or the Bureaucracy. They have to be careful too, as it is dangerously apparent that they are playing with fire.

At the head of the Imperial Senate is a quorum of twelve individuals (known simply as The Excellencies) containing at least one Sheren, one Houren, two Niuren, and four Shuren in comparison to Guoren. This is rather transparent in that its aim is to provide balance between the main parties in the empire. Just as the Senate has its checks and balances with all four divisions, some level of this has seeped in here. While the Senate has no authority to deny laws and actions from coming into effect, they can upon a unanimous decision (no less than nine votes in favor) provide recommendation to the Senate on such actions as well as give their approval or withhold it to the Emperor. It is not needed, but the Court’s judgment is at the very least considered before action is taken. It is also rejected six out of ten times when they oppose an action. The Court’s primary purpose in that matter is merely to be an advisory role. One which many believe is redundant given the already tedious nature of the system. Their primary duty is rather to uphold law and a perceived sense of righteousness.

Yet, as already noted, their hands are tied in most cases. For starters, the Imperial Family is off limits. That is internal affairs for the Dynasty and the Ministry of the Imperial Family. The First Emperor had divine, heavenly mandate. His progeny are protected by an umbrella of sorts. So long as you share the surname of the emperor and can provide proof of relation (and there are very creative ways to do that) there is a natural immunity from the Court. Some, however, might want for a Court ruling given the harshness of the Ministry. First and Second Ranked Honored Families have less harsh punishments from their Ministry of Honored Families and are largely protected by the Senate making them similarly untouchable. However, such families are often caught in a struggle between the Senate and the Bureaucracy and it is here that the Court attains a measure of freedom to act independently until the Emperor weighs in or until the issues are resolved outside of the Court, robbing them of such necessary leverage. The Third Rank can be, and is, touched. While rare, the Court has some measure of ability to punish them. Always lightly, but it is a small triumph. Each rank can be more intensely scrutinized until the sixth rank is met and the differences are hardly palpable in relation to the ordinary citizen. It is with the citizen that justice is granted without approach or hindrance, making a mockery of their duty.

It was not always like this. The Court was originally an institution equal to the Bureaucracy and the Senate under the Emperor, who had a greater amount of power then and needed more powerful institutions to check him. The Emperor represented the military arm, the Senate the creation of law, the Bureaucracy the administration of the realm, and the Court responsible for order. For the first few hundred years the relationship was stable and harmonious, but then things rapidly deteriorated with warfare, truly monstrous dragons, rebellion, and an ever present war between Angels and Demons. The Court’s power was slowly robbed from it by other institutions until it was made subordinate to them. The current status is the natural result of being repeatedly robbed of power and having its powers usurped, hindered, and ignored. It would, however, be a grievous error in judgment to assume that the Court is powerless. To the masses it is an instrument and image of justice. Even if it is a light shared with the other three.

Compared to the convoluted nature of the other branches of governance, the Court is remarkably simple and direct. The Imperial Court provides recommendations further up the chain, provides recommendations for provincial court excellencies and has an internal army of lawyers under them. Their cases are few and their rulings fewer, but they handle most delicate matters of state in regards to upholding the law. Provincial courts are busier and have more local power. They answer directly to the Imperial Court, but they have the ability directly appoint regional excellencies. They are also less watched and controlled by the other divisions of government. Regional excellencies handle all matters pertaining to petty and fairly low level crimes of the noble families and inter-noble family members and the citizenry. Larger matters are pushed up the chain. Prefecture magistrates then adopt the lowest position and act as upholder of the law amongst the people. Here the magistrates are nearly completely autonomous and installed locally by the forum.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. My motto for this thread is: all comments welcome, any criticism received, and all direction treasured.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Quick question:

What is the established mythos regarding the Elder Land Wurms and the Lesser Elder Land Wurms?

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Quick question:

What is the established mythos regarding the Elder Land Wurms and the Lesser Elder Land Wurms?

No one has an answer for this?

I'll have something coherent regarding the army soon.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Quick question:

What is the established mythos regarding the Elder Land Wurms and the Lesser Elder Land Wurms?

No one has an answer for this?

I'll have something coherent regarding the army soon.



Sorry, been busy.
The Elder Land Wurms were the victims of the world spell that culminated at the end of the Elder Dragon War.
It stripped virtually every last member of the Elder Dragons of their power, intelligence, and wings. It literally cast them down to the earth. There were very precious few that survived the spell intact, even if bad things tended to happen to them afterwards. (Seriously, single digit numbers. We can account for every survivor.)

There really isn't anything regarding lesser elder wurms because... well, that's not really a thing. The wurms just became wurms.
Lesser Elders were very specifically the offspring of the Elder Dragons and their lesser, more basic cousins.
Don't worry about it.

One idea I had, and it is an old one, was to have a sentient Elder Wurm, or Lesser Elder Wurm, take a prominent role in something that I make. Perhaps he had a spark that "awakened" with the spell that cast him and the rest of his bretheren down to the earth preventing it from stripping away the entirety of his/her self? It can be lost since the mending, along with most of the power that would have come with it.

I was thinking about bringing it here and checking to see if that was a good idea. I'm less than convinced now, but I'd like to hear your opinion on it Barinellos.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Don't worry about it.

One idea I had, and it is an old one, was to have a sentient Elder Wurm, or Lesser Elder Wurm, take a prominent role in something that I make. Perhaps he had a spark that "awakened" with the spell that cast him and the rest of his bretheren down to the earth preventing it from stripping away the entirety of his/her self? It can be lost since the mending, along with most of the power that would have come with it.

I was thinking about bringing it here and checking to see if that was a good idea. I'm less than convinced now, but I'd like to hear your opinion on it Barinellos.



Ehhh... I'm not all that behind the idea, but not the concept. If that makes sense.
For one, it's very rarely ever a good idea to bring sparks into it if it's not going to deal with walkerdom, and even then, you already have Bolas filling that in. You'd be faced with issues of saturation and straining the meta narrative.

That being said, the concept of a sapient Elder Wurm isn't out of the realms of possibility. Rather than have it something that the wurm resisted, I think it would be of more use to have the spell just not having as lasting effect on him for some reason and over the course of time, more and more of his past life seeped back into his consciousness until he'd almost pieced it together completely.

Having gone over all that though, I would caution you to tread carefully with using the Elder Wurms, because it intimately ties your plane to a major past event. Which means that you might have to build up some sort of ancient 25,000 year old memory of when the Elder Dragons ruled your world. It might not be anything more than strange relics unearthed and unaccounted for, but there should likely be some sort of sign of the time.

Incidentally.... the Elder Wurm would be so old at this point as to be very nearly cripple at this point in comparison to younger wurms. There's a limit where even the Elder Dragons began to break down, and Bolas hit it before the Conflux so...
I take it its bordering on a bad idea then.

Would it lessen or cheapen my plane if the plane was under the Elder or Lesser Elder Dragons for a time? I ask this because I imagine that it might draw away the focus of *this* plane to somewhere else, a side show in a greater plot. That is something I do not want to do. Not now, especially when I don't even know what I have yet with this plane.

But I have questions: Are not all Wurms descended form the Elder Land Wurms and thus all wurms intrinsically linked to that event 25,000 years ago? Or are these different wurms or a cross-planar pollunation due to the Aether?

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

I take it its bordering on a bad idea then.

Would it lessen or cheapen my plane if the plane was under the Elder or Lesser Elder Dragons for a time? I ask this because I imagine that it might draw away the focus of *this* plane to somewhere else, a side show in a greater plot. That is something I do not want to do. Not now, especially when I don't even know what I have yet with this plane.

But I have questions: Are not all Wurms descended form the Elder Land Wurms and thus all wurms intrinsically linked to that event 25,000 years ago? Or are these different wurms or a cross-planar pollunation due to the Aether?



The lesser elders just didn't exist until the end of the war. Just want to get that out there for clarity sake.
And it probaably wouldn't help your plane to have such a distant history tied to other events.

As for descendance... it's in a much much more nebulous space nowadays. For one, not all wurms are the same sort of wurm that the Elder wurms were. If you look around, especially on Zendikar, they are not reptilian hardly at all.
Yeah, I see no reason your plane can't have intelligent, sentient and even sapient land wurms. I just wouldn't connect them to the Dominarian ones. Give them their own history and their own reason for being what they are, and you should be fine.

Shameless Self-Promotion

These are the MTG Fiction pieces I have written:

Planes of the Dual-Walkers
Allo's Fortnight
The Butcher's Cleaver
Dead Man 'Walking
Showdown
Pariah
Deals and Devils
The Tears of the Djinn
Cromat Comes
Kiss of the Shorecerers
Numerous poems in The Poetry Plane
Magic: The Musical

Please read and comment! I love hearing people's thoughts and reactions to my work!

Yeah, I see no reason your plane can't have intelligent, sentient and even sapient land wurms. I just wouldn't connect them to the Dominarian ones. Give them their own history and their own reason for being what they are, and you should be fine.

Can do, thanks Raven.

I take it its bordering on a bad idea then.

Would it lessen or cheapen my plane if the plane was under the Elder or Lesser Elder Dragons for a time? I ask this because I imagine that it might draw away the focus of *this* plane to somewhere else, a side show in a greater plot. That is something I do not want to do. Not now, especially when I don't even know what I have yet with this plane.

But I have questions: Are not all Wurms descended form the Elder Land Wurms and thus all wurms intrinsically linked to that event 25,000 years ago? Or are these different wurms or a cross-planar pollunation due to the Aether?



The lesser elders just didn't exist until the end of the war. Just want to get that out there for clarity sake.
And it probaably wouldn't help your plane to have such a distant history tied to other events.

As for descendance... it's in a much much more nebulous space nowadays. For one, not all wurms are the same sort of wurm that the Elder wurms were. If you look around, especially on Zendikar, they are not reptilian hardly at all.

Fair enough. I just thought it might have been a neat idea to try out.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Fair enough. I just thought it might have been a neat idea to try out.



There's probably a place for it somewhere. Just have to find a home for it.

Something of a compilation, there's over 5000 words here.


A light sketch of the army has been done.


Geography
The primary [written] focus of this plane is a large as of yet unnamed continent. At its center is an empire spanning many thousands of miles in every direction from its capital. The empire is divided into five provinces, which are larger than entire empires in far off distant lands. These provinces are in turn divided into twenty regions. The largest province has seven regions, while the smallest has just three.  Every province and region has a local administrative center, normally a city of varying size. The capital used to be the largest and most paramount city in the empire, upon it laid the hinges of the empire. Now it is the fourth in terms of size, first only in prestige and administrative importance.

The empire is divided nearly evenly in two for the southern half of the empire in the form of a massive river spanning many miles across as it enters into the great southern ocean. But this divide rapidly dissipates in the northern half of the empire. Dozens of tributaries, mighty rivers on their own, are born in the highlands and mountains, dense subtropical forests, and typhoon like weather brought east by the western winds from the many great seas found there. These tributaries grow into one another like the branches of a tree until the two largest and mightiest of them merge, seemingly guided by the broken remnants of an ancient and well-rounded mountain range. At this point of merging is the location of the capital, all but an islet within the mighty river.


Originally a swampy marsh surrounded by thick forests, this was seen as the perfect location for the gathering of a massive state and a near magical location from where most of the sources of magic can be found. Over the three-thousand years of history, the capital has largely been cleared away any remnants of forests to fuel the massive construction of housing. The mountains served as natural quarries for other materials, such as marble and granite. Forests were protected in isolated areas around the capital until a few hundred years ago when mounting population pressures ended the long protected domain. The swamps were largely cleared away as well, for similar reasons.


The process was not entirely destructive, however. Where there used to be forests and swamps, now lay open vast fields and farmlands to fuel the population with food and living space. City walls, which at one point protected the entire cities and its fields, now only barely cover the inner districts where the emperor, his estate, senate, and central bureaucracy can be found. In addition a great many artificial islands grew and dotted the river, both along its main body and its tributary. Some of the marshlands and swamps soon appeared on these artificial islands, and often times in ways that were anything but accidental.


The broken mountains are at their most prominent while sheparding the tributaries, but stretch out in a way that would almost divide the empire in much the same way the river had. Or would have, should the mountains have been uniform in creating majestic peaks. Those are few and rare amongst those mountains. Instead the range becomes little more than hills stretching out across the vast landscape and rarely provide any real obstacle to any encroaching peoples or terrains. As if their defiance was beaten and punished long before there were those who could remember or record such events. Instead, such true mountains are found in the northwest and to the far east. It is said that the mountains in the northwest are so tall that the rains and storm cannot pass them and are forced to surrender their liquid yield to the northern regions of the empire. Regardless, little of anything is left over for the great deserts, keeping them dry and hot.


It is there that the Dragons are most common and most deadly. Those tall impenetrable peaks house the nests and dens of near forces of nature and bringers of fire and destruction. For the most part they are left alone by the Empire, and in turn are also left alone. Those tall mountains are where people do not dare to venture. Dragons can also be found scouring the deserts, one might presume to make their way across to the far east. This leaves the northernmost landscape of the empire susceptible to the occasional raid, which do occur on a rare occasion. Such a danger is not found elsewhere, at least not in the form of dragons.  


Not all Dragons are found there, nor are all dragons fond of such destruction. Luseryu, one of the few dragons known to have had verbal contact with humans, is located in the southern regions of the empire. He and his kin rarely destroy, but are known to be reclusive and live in solitude. His breed is also exceedingly rare, numbering under twenty according to the Shuren (Nezumi) sage Lin Kenko some hundred years ago and that number being smaller than the last given account nearly a thousand years prior. Luseryu is also honored as one of the five patron deities of the empire, regardless of his apparent distance from the people within the empire. But Luseryu is an oddity when it comes to massive creatures.


A distance further south lay the great ocean. Here the empire’s direct control fades, with the ocean being an even greater barrier than the desert. The temperatures are nearly equal in their discomfort for human settlers. There are dozens of islands forming two distinct archipelagos, but few have known to travel to them, and even fewer returned. Vast tempests and choppy seas rule here. Drakes are the most common threat for sailors, but they tend not to go too far inland. They are less numerous here than they are in the western seas, but are far more vicious. They are also amongst the least of their concerns, as leviathans and serpents can be just below the waves. The only true “safe” haven is at the mouth of the great river. Magical wards and the southern garrison provide no small amount of protection for those who live there. Most of them being Shuren and Guoren (Human).


The entirety of the south is nowhere near as inhospitable, but occasionally it comes close for those not native to the area. Forests and fields in the center of the country give way to marshlands, swamps, bogs, and large lakes. Some forests, notable ones, decorate patches in the south, but there are few plains and fewer mountains. Only the marshes and lakes are plentiful. It is here where the greatest concentration of Shuren can be found, living in large villages and cities built in and around bogs and marshland, if not along the great river. Though this has been changing for almost an age in a very slow process, the Shuren have begun to move from bogs and marshes that were their homes. Their magic is no longer so founded there. Cultural and magical skills have been diffusing into populations throughout the empire, often through Guoren in the empire.


In the move to the west the land grows drier and once again forests and fields predominate, if only briefly before the forests recede and the grasslands rule. The broken mountains form the only real natural divide in these dry grasslands. Instead much of the landscape is dotted by some small lakes and some small mountains. They shrink in comparison to the now northern peaks, but in a largely level steppe their presence cannot be denied. To the west the empire’s reach goes the furthest it could ever hope to expand to, but it is little more than lightly populated grasses. The empire once reached all the way to the seas, but the rise of rival states along their shores blocked off the empire’s access and its control receded since there was little value in the overextension. Still, trading caravans of Niuren (Ox), Guoren, and Houren are not rare sights here. Neither are those that prey on them, creature and people alike.


Travelling from the west back to the north brings a great deal of variation, but also a great deal of ignorance. Strong gusts of winds and tornadoes wind through on the backs of tempests making even the weather perilous, beasts and large creatures roam freely as well. The northwest is a virtual no-man’s land, but it gives rise to the sub-kingdoms of the Niuren. The empire subjugated the Niuren not through conquest and assimilation, but rather through the collapse of a once vast empire there. The pieces were much smaller and fell much easier, resulting in a complex web of alliances and jurisdictions. The Niuren Kings fall under the nominal control of the Empire, but their domestic concerns are largely handled locally. Growing numbers of other peoples have begun eat away at this authority, but after nearly an age of domination most of the Niuren kings and their subjects are genuinely loyal to the empire. Often times more loyal than most.


The north also holds a rare, but majestic, breed of white tigers. They are the descendants of the northern patron deity Safeda Namer, which died a thousand years ago while fighting off a horde of dragons during the last of their great raids south. Or so the legend says. It was a massive beast of nearly unparalleled might and ferocity, but also a guardian of both the Niuren and the north. His death saw the transition of the great phoenix Anka Kuşu, the patron deity of the west, and move to the north. Lesser phoenixes can be found in the west, but with the lack of any real danger and the loss of the western seas, they are more than sufficient. Anka Kuşu also appears to have grown much stronger in the north.


To the east the empire’s domain grows to its most tenuous reach. Still well over one thousand miles in expanse, the broken mountains turn into great mountains in the far east. Other dragons are found here, but so too are wurms. Some more powerful that dragons themselves and they are found both above and below land. Baloths and Basilisks roam the dense forests leading up to those mountains. What lays beyond is mostly a mystery, only rumor has ever made it back from far beyond. Yet it is in the east, at least in the buildup to such massive obstacles, that the empire is the most populated. Sheren (Orochi) and Houren are native here. The Houren more to the plans that are closer to the central part of the empire, but they are no less creatures of the forest as the Sheren are in the far more wild exterior. The Kala Chelona, a giant tortoise, dwelled in the east. The patron deity of the east, however, has not been seen almost or heard from for a great many centuries. Some believe it is on the outskirts of the empire defending against far greater threats, but others believe it has died long ago.


Empire

Emperor
The Empire is one of the more complex social constructions in existence on this plane. At its helm is the Emperor, a direct descendant of the founding Emperor. Succession is normally from father to son, uncle to nephew, brother to brother depending on how direct the line of succession truly is. However, it is a mandatory requirement that each new emperor be accepted by the senate and central bureaucracy. Should the appointed heir be found wanting in skill, intelligence, the magical arts, or in sheer charisma he can be overturned for another, more suitable candidate within the imperial line. There are several notable periods where succession jumped between distant cousins until a powerful line stabilized. This process was not always peaceful and can be recipes for disaster should multiple candidates vie for the throne. An increasingly common occurrence, though one that rarely spills outside of capital coups.The convoluted nature of the Imperial Senate is designed in such a way that it is virtually powerless unless it has internal cooperation, but when such internal cooperation occurs it is the single most powerful institution within the empire. Emperors may go against the senate, but few of keep power if they do.

Army
The military is under the direct control of the Emperor and his followers and is largely self-regulatory when it comes to appointments. Only the highest military leaders need Senate approval, some five individuals in total. The military is further divided into three parts: The outer armies, the inner armies, and public armies. The outer armies are referred to as the Northern, Eastern, Southern, Western, and Central Armies. The inner armies are provincial armies, and are theoretically under the Outer Armies. Public armies serve under the joint oversight of the Ministry of Cultivation, the Ministry of Public Works, and the Provincial Armies; they are sometimes grouped with the Provincial armies or with the Ministries. All of them are under the direct command of the Emperor in theory and in fact, but much of the day to day operations have been handed down to once ceremonial roles.

The Dictator and The General That Pacifies the Realm are the most keen examples of this, both originally largely ceremonial positions whose power was only the execute the will of the Emperor and was largely given to aged respected members of the Imperial Clan. They have now become positions of real power and are given to talented and ambitious members of much younger generations than before. The Dictator has authority over all matters pertaining to the borders and beyond, particularly in acts of engaging in wars and securing the borders from the often powerful beasts that lurk at the edge of the Empire’s borders [thus the end of civilization on all but one border]. The General That Pacifies the Realm has authority on all matters pertaining to the security of the state internally. It is of no surprise that the Outer Armies largely fall under the jurisdiction of the Dictator and the inner armies the jurisdiction of the GPR.


It may also not be a surprise to find that what is usually the case has translated into always the case without the Emperor moving in to settle disputes between his two senior most officials. It is increasingly common for the Dictator to overstep his authorities in the east and south, while the GPR likewise does so in the west and north. Further, armies that traditionally answer to the Dictator or the GPR will do so even in matters that are clearly not in their jurisdiction out of habit or loyalty, causing tension even without the direct involvement of either party. One of the few things preventing civil war between the two groups is the Imperial Guard and the Imperial Bureaucracy. The armies would either starve or be slain should they behave recklessly. Other than that is the Emperor, whose authority is unquestionable even if it has been largely delegated over the years. Even a child emperor who is weak of will can end any dispute between the outer and inner armies without much trouble if the matter is known in advance. If not, then it may take months to settle at great cost of life.


The Imperial Guard is made up of the most elite soldiers the empire has to offer. Those who perform great deeds, those that are known for complete and upstanding loyalty, those that would die without much hesitation; all can be found within the Imperial Guard. The Imperial Guard is commanded by the General of Upstanding Loyalty, the third position in the army to be confirmed by the senate. His consul (second in command) is also confirmed. Many of those inside the Imperial Guard are those who are battle hardened veterans who have spent years on the frontiers fighting against Drakes, Wurms, and other beasts. Revered and honored clerics and priests are also amongst their ranks, as are the most courageous scouts. It is considered the ultimate end for all professional soldiers to join the Imperial Guard.


The fifth, and last, Senate confirmed position is the General who Conquers the West. The General who Conquers the West is the premiere authority of the Western Army. During the past three thousand years all of the armies have rebelled at one point or another. They have also taken sides in inherently domestic squabbles over succession and nearly tore the empire apart. Only in the case of the Western Army had they succeeded. Not once, but four times since the foundation of the empire. The sparsely populated and extremely vast landscape can be described as barren steppe in comparison to the other regions and the army there is notoriously difficult to defeat using an army not native to the west. As a result it was the Imperial Guard that defeated them twice, quelling the rebellion. However, the other two times were not resolved through conquest. In one the “Emperor” candidate’s line died without leaving an heir after nearly 300 years resulting in the Western army folding back into the Empire’s control. The other had the General killed by his Consul, who in turn surrendered after two decades years.


The General Who Conquers the North is typically a Niuren chosen from amongst the sub-kingdoms in the region, his Consul typically an Imperial Clansmen. The General who Conquers the East and his Consul are either Imperial Clansmen are Houren. The General who Conquers the South and his Consul are usually a pair of Shuren and Guoren, neither need be connected to the Imperial Clan. The central army is led by the General who Holds the Center and his Consul, normally taken directly from the First Rank Honored Families. All of the outer armies are professional armies maintained by career soldiers who are expected to follow the army for a period of twenty to thirty years before retirement. Soldiers in retirement are given a daily stipend to pay for all living expenses and are given honorary status as a sixth rank should they not have a rank.


The provincial armies are led by five generals: The General that Pacifies the North, East, South, West, and Center. Originally these positions originated second to the Outer Armies and the two positions provided balance to one another. Now they are secondary positions in charge of conscript soldiers who maintain order within the five provinces. Their titles reflecting regions are now partial misnomers. Their Proconsuls take on the role of the outer armies Consuls. Unlike the Outer Armies, provincial soldiers are conscripts taken from the citizenry. In addition to three months a year serving in public works, every citizen is expected to serve two years in the provincial army. They are mainly there to put down minor rebellions, root out bandits, deal with domestic creatures, and oversee the public armies. The public armies are led by magisters who are appointed by both the provincial leadership and the Ministry of Public Works. A conscript who works for three months or more a year will often find themselves in a public army.



The Imperial Senate
First Rank Honored Families
The Emperor oversees directly the main houses of government: The Imperial Senate and the Imperial Bureaucracy. While the Emperor can rule with an iron fist in his region of governance, he is primarily of an half-executive half-military role and has almost no authority other than veto power over the main legislative and administrative bodies of the empire. The convoluted nature of the Imperial Senate is designed in such a way that it is virtually powerless unless it has internal cooperation, but when such internal cooperation occurs it is the single most powerful institution within the empire. Emperors may go against the senate, but few of keep power if they do. The Imperial Senate is in turn divided into a number of levels and jurisdictions. The main house of the senate is a life peerage granted to the heads or influential members of the first rank honored families. Originally numbering twelve at the foundation of the Empire, there are now sixty families and all of them relatives to the dynastic line, but through maternal relationships rather than paternal. It may stand to reason that these first rank families are the most powerful and influential in the Empire. Primarily composed of Guoren in the beginning, now three Sheren clans, five Houren, three Shuren, and Twelve Niuren clans are amongst the first tier.

Second Rank Honored Families
Immediately below the first rank are the second rank families numbering one hundred twenty families. Here the distribution amongst the peoples is more even. The remaining seven Sheren clans have representation here. Another twenty-four Niuren families can be found in this peerage, followed by ten Houren families. Forty-two Shuren and thirty-seven Guoren nearly split the remaining seats. As with the first rank, the second rank familial heads or their representatives are granted life peerages in the second division of the senate. The powers of the first and second ranked honored families are equal to one another in terms of legislative power. They each receive a single vote in the lawmaking process. The difference is in prestige and direct power of that vote in relation to others, the second rank’s vote is only half as influential in such terms.

The Noble's Assembly
The third, fourth, and fifth ranked honored families are not given life peerages and do not house individual bodies of the senate. Instead, they are given fixed single terms of varying years and must be elected in provincial and regional elections. The third rank has a twelve year term, the fourth rank a six year term, and the fifth rank a three year term. Individuals elected may not seek reelection, but their families may put forward different candidates for the third legislative body. These three ranks also are completely dominated by Shuren and Guoren, though maybe a tenth of the total eligible families are Houren. The reason for this is because while there are only ten clans of Sheren amongst the honored families, the Sheren only have ten clans making the entirety of the population effectively represented. The Niuren clans have their own stratifications, but some 30% of the population there is represented in the senate. Houren are much less numerous than Shuren or Guoren. It is also amongst these ranks that the cadet branches for Shuren and Guoren families are found, which are far more numerous in number and in rivalry than the other three peoples. This particular body is referred to as the Noble's Assembly

The People's Assembly
The fourth senate group is elected solely from the various peoples in elections. Six hundred individuals are elected to a one year term in provincial elections. Individuals elected here can be reelected as many as twelve times before they can no longer serve. While there are other ranked families, there is no restriction to who may be elected and who may be elected in these elections. However they are elected first to provincial senates (120 per province) before twelve of them are chosen amongst the provincial senate members to be sent to the capital to serve in the fourth division of the senate there. In relation to the other houses of the senate, the fourth division has the least prestige but the greatest influence. Every member of the senate is given one vote in their subdivision, and the division is decided by majority rules. All houses have the ability to block any of the other three houses normally resulting in deadlock unless in times of crisis.

Other Divisions
Within the provinces the senate has only two houses: the ranked honored families and the freely elected. The one hundred-eight individuals who remain in the province represent one division while the top five ranked families native to the province are granted a second division number ninety members in total. Provincial Senates are known for far less deadlock, enabling progress even without the capital’s approval. Regions have their own, much smaller, senates: twelve and twelve. Prefectures do not have senates, but they do have forums where all natives of the prefecture have immediate and direct say in local laws. Unless larger and systemic trends are born in such local levels, they are ignored by both provincial and empire-wide senates.

The Imperial Bureaucracy
The Imperial Bureaucracy, however, is not so decentralized or ambivalent. The Bureaucracy is officially headed by three Praetors appointed by the Emperor and confirmed by the senate. Apart from the appointment of leadership, the Emperor and the Senate have no authority real authority here. While having a period of decadence into the first few centuries of the empire’s existence, the Imperial Bureaucracy restored itself into an entity of ruthless efficiency. Each Praetor oversees three ministries based on their role. In this sense, the bureaucracy is an entity of three upon three. Each ministry is tiered with the capital division on top, interprovincial underneath, and provincial on the bottom. Provincial is in turn tiered again pan-provincial, regional and trans-regional, and prefecture levels of government.

First Praetor
The Ministry of the Imperial Family
The first Praetor oversees three ministries: Ministry of Imperial Family, Ministry of the Honored Families, and Ministry of Harmony. The Ministry of the Imperial Family closely monitors all branches of the dynasty and sees to their education and instruction. Their behavior is also observed, and various improprieties are reported. While they cannot touch or harm a member of the dynasty, they can recommend action to the Emperor who often heeds that council. Members of this ministry can be found near the household of even the most minor of imperial clansmen. The imperial clansmen are often terrified of this ministry as much as it respects its power. Their support, coupled with talent, can nearly assure their place in succession. Their ire can leave them bereft of any wealth, influence, and placed under indefinite house arrest for not only themselves but their immediate branch of the family.

The Ministry of the Honored Families
Ministry of the Honored Families performs a similar role, but somewhat less in terms of harshness, with the Ranked Honored Families. Their education and personal instruction is overseen by the Ministry, though ranks three and five can opt to utilize private instruction with proper approval. Rank six needs to request the Ministry’s support for government education and instruction in the magical arts. It is through the Ministry of the Honored Families that nearly all bureaucratic officials in the capital come attain their position and appointment. An independent arm of this ministry assesses individuals in the talent and skillsets needed for appointment and position them within the bureaucracy and then places them where they are best suited. The Ministry of the Honored Families is also known to promote marital matches with imperial clansmen.

The Ministry of Harmony
The Ministry of Harmony deals primarily with matters of propriety amongst the people not ranked amongst the Honored Families and the Imperial Clan. While breeches of impropriety can be eternal black marks against the characters of such individuals, amongst the common people they are rather common and easily overlooked unless it is severe. A fine of one copper, half a bushel of grain, or a day of communal service is exacted for most low level breeches. Moderate offenses are one silver, two bushels of grain, or a week of communal service. Severe offenses are rarely bought off and the offenders are given a year of hard penal service. Such breeches are near treasons that do not result in death. Those that result in death are handed over to a different ministry.

The Second Praetor
The Ministry of Trade
The second Praetor heads these three ministries: Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Cultivation, and Ministry of Public Works. The Ministry of Trade administrates basic forms of taxation on business transactions, determined by uniform weighted scales throughout the empire. Trade of low level items has a taxation rate of 6% of what it is worth. Medium level items have a taxation rate of 33%. High level items, trade of state monopoly items such as salt, have a 50% taxation rate when traded from none state sources. Failure to pay the proper tax value results in a first time forgiveness policy, but the second time they are forced to pay twice the amount of the tax owed. Chronic offenders who have not paid their dues are barred from conducting trade within the empire. This is uniform across all social levels.

The Ministry of Cultivation
The Ministry of Cultivation both allots land for farming, seed for sowing crops, and oversees cultivation. While small subsidiary farms often can work without the hand of the Ministry, those that cannot or are too large to escape their notice are subject to surrendering a proportion of their crop over to the bureaucracy. Such food is used to feed the armies, the state, and provide national and provincial granaries for use in times of dearth whereby food is available to the masses in need of it. The amount of crop taken over by the government is as little as 10% and as much as 60% depending on total yield and the calculated needs of the cultivators. Typically, the amount taken neither harms the farmers nor makes the farms unprofitable, as the Ministry is careful to avoid such breeches of trust. However, as with Ministry of Trade, they are amongst the most hated in the bureaucracy.

The Ministry of Public Works
The Ministry of Public Works is in charge of creating and maintaining all government buildings, major travel and trade routes, magical wards, and defenses. They are also responsible for constructing military facilities and housing for the military as well as the construction and maintenance of government mines and textiles. Because of the massive workload, every citizen of the empire is required to either pay an extensive fine or serve for three months every year in the Ministry of Public Works for communal service. Those committing improprieties work longer, while criminals and those who commit severe breeches are made to work for the Ministry. Even so, there are chronic shortages of manpower in both the west and the east resulting in creative shortcuts.

The Third Praetor
The Ministry of Education
The Third Praetor largely oversees these three ministries: The Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Research, and the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Education provides basic education to those not in either the Honored Families or in the Imperial Line, but such education is only freely provided in the instruction of the state mandated written dialect, basic arithmetic, and basic laws. The written dialect is uniform across the empire, though the way it is spoken can be and often is mutually unintelligible in distant reaches of the empire. Additional education requires coin; coin needed in greater supply the higher up the chain one goes. Those without coin can become apprentices if they show basic magical talent or keen minds, though these are few. Yet it is through the Ministry of Education that individuals not part of the Honored Families can attain office within the bureaucracy. Normally restricted to the wealthy, every generation or so has an individual that rises to the rank of Minister though destitute of power, property, or prestige.

The Ministry of Research
The Ministry of Research is one of the most autonomous ministries within the bureaucracy and the only ministry to be centered outside of the capital. Instead only the Chief Clerk and the Minister can be found at the capital where research notes and benign materials are kept. This is for the safety of the capital as much as it is to allow the researchers more free reign in some of their crazier experiments. To those in other planes their experiments might be tame by comparison, but the Ministry of Research is no stranger to the design of potent magical barriers, flight, artificial constructs, genetic experiments, nearly impossible to decipher codes, the odd monster running loose, and a very large explosion every month or so. The Ministry draws from all fields of magic, but the largest emphasis has been placed on counter measures against the growing threat in the east.

The Ministry of the Interior
The Ministry of the Interior serves to keep a record of the bureaucracy and has some limited oversight inside of the Imperial Senate. Sometimes referred to as the Ministry of Secrets and the Ministry of Records, both half wrong. If there is a deep dark secret hidden somewhere within the bowels and caverns of the government or within the nation, they are known to the Ministry and a record of it can be found readily available. They are the most widely known Ministry by name, but the least known for what they do. Most of this is by design, one in a hundred thousand can be said to have the latent potential to sense other people’s minds. Through selective marriages the odds can be increased somewhat, but it is still a rare talent even amongst the most finely bred families. Such talents are highly prized and rapidly recruited into the Ministry from even the lowest of families and upward to the highest.

Imperial Court
Apart from the Emperor, the Imperial Senate, and the Imperial Bureaucracy there are other institutions not officially part of any of their jurisdictions. Niuren sub-Kingdoms are the most obvious of such institutions, but most prevalent to the individual would be the Imperial Court system. Its power is subordinate to all three powers that dominate government and is a regular source of abuse and corruption in that the Senate and the Bureaucracy believe they know the best punishments for their wayward charges than the senate. It is only when instances have cross governmental implications that the Courts are able to assert no small amount of autonomy when it can use both parties involved to stymie their influence. Such cases are prized by the courts and can go on for years. Not because of any difficulty in the case or even reconcilable differences between the three groups, but because they allow the Courts to have leverage and assert their own power. The longer they go on, the less they are subject to the whims of the Senate, Emperor, or the Bureaucracy. They have to be careful too, as it is dangerously apparent that they are playing with fire.

At the head of the Imperial Senate is a quorum of twelve individuals (known simply as The Excellencies) containing at least one Sheren, one Houren, two Niuren, and four Shuren in comparison to Guoren. This is rather transparent in that its aim is to provide balance between the main parties in the empire. Just as the Senate has its checks and balances with all four divisions, some level of this has seeped in here. While the Senate has no authority to deny laws and actions from coming into effect, they can upon a unanimous decision (no less than nine votes in favor) provide recommendation to the Senate on such actions as well as give their approval or withhold it to the Emperor. It is not needed, but the Court’s judgment is at the very least considered before action is taken. It is also rejected six out of ten times when they oppose an action. The Court’s primary purpose in that matter is merely to be an advisory role. One which many believe is redundant given the already tedious nature of the system. Their primary duty is rather to uphold law and a perceived sense of righteousness.

Yet, as already noted, their hands are tied in most cases. For starters, the Imperial Family is off limits. That is internal affairs for the Dynasty and the Ministry of the Imperial Family. The First Emperor had divine, heavenly mandate. His progeny are protected by an umbrella of sorts. So long as you share the surname of the emperor and can provide proof of relation (and there are very creative ways to do that) there is a natural immunity from the Court. Some, however, might want for a Court ruling given the harshness of the Ministry. First and Second Ranked Honored Families have less harsh punishments from their Ministry of Honored Families and are largely protected by the Senate making them similarly untouchable. However, such families are often caught in a struggle between the Senate and the Bureaucracy and it is here that the Court attains a measure of freedom to act independently until the Emperor weighs in or until the issues are resolved outside of the Court, robbing them of such necessary leverage. The Third Rank can be, and is, touched. While rare, the Court has some measure of ability to punish them. Always lightly, but it is a small triumph. Each rank can be more intensely scrutinized until the sixth rank is met and the differences are hardly palpable in relation to the ordinary citizen. It is with the citizen that justice is granted without approach or hindrance, making a mockery of their duty.

It was not always like this. The Court was originally an institution equal to the Bureaucracy and the Senate under the Emperor, who had a greater amount of power then and needed more powerful institutions to check him. The Emperor represented the military arm, the Senate the creation of law, the Bureaucracy the administration of the realm, and the Court responsible for order. For the first few hundred years the relationship was stable and harmonious, but then things rapidly deteriorated with warfare, truly monstrous dragons, rebellion, and an ever present war between Angels and Demons. The Court’s power was slowly robbed from it by other institutions until it was made subordinate to them. The current status is the natural result of being repeatedly robbed of power and having its powers usurped, hindered, and ignored. It would, however, be a grievous error in judgment to assume that the Court is powerless. To the masses it is an instrument and image of justice. Even if it is a light shared with the other three.

Compared to the convoluted nature of the other branches of governance, the Court is remarkably simple and direct. The Imperial Court provides recommendations further up the chain, provides recommendations for provincial court excellencies and has an internal army of lawyers under them. Their cases are few and their rulings fewer, but they handle most delicate matters of state in regards to upholding the law. Provincial courts are busier and have more local power. They answer directly to the Imperial Court, but they have the ability directly appoint regional excellencies. They are also less watched and controlled by the other divisions of government. Regional excellencies handle all matters pertaining to petty and fairly low level crimes of the noble families and inter-noble family members and the citizenry. Larger matters are pushed up the chain. Prefecture magistrates then adopt the lowest position and act as upholder of the law amongst the people. Here the magistrates are nearly completely autonomous and installed locally by the forum.


Shuren
Nezumi, Anthropomorphic Rats
Main Colors :ubm:
Secondary Colors
Diffusive Colors
Not Found in

Naming Conventions:
Single Character Chinese Surname [Family Name]
Japanese "sounding" Forename [Given Name]

Cherry-Picked Zodiac Influence:
Disciplined, systematic, charismatic, hard working, industrious, charming, sociable, shrewd, manipulative, cruel, rigid, selfish, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, and scheming.

Loose Ideas:
Shuren are the second most common people within the Empire. Within the Senate, they are the greater counterbalance to Guoren.

There are three Shuren families that are the most commanding and demand the most respect. As legend suggests, they are the descendents from the Three Sages who taught the Shuren magic and spoke the teachings. These families are Lin, Li, and Chang. Members of the sage clans are noted to have exceptional magical ability and each specialize in the school of magic taught by the sages. The Lin clan mastered the art of decay and poison. The Li clan mastered the art of necromancy. The Chang clan mastered the art of destroying the mind. All three clans are feared, and all three clans stand at the top of Shuren culture. These three clans can be found amongst the First Ranked Honored Families in the Imperial Senate.

Beneath the Sage Clans are the forty-two marquesses. These are the Second Ranked Honored Families in the Imperial Senate and are made up of the largely honored clans who commanded leadership over tribes, villages, and states before their conquest and assimilation into the empire. Originally purely warrior clans who served as the militant leadership of the Shuren, now they have splintered and fractured over three thousand years of the Empire. Some maintain strict militant ways, including the rigid warrior codes and the art of espionage, but many have become bureaucratic families and joined with Guoren nobility. There are notable, but few, Marques clans who have taken up the art of poetry and philosophy.

The Forty-Two Marques Clans:

Ban
Bin
Bing
Bo [Scholar]
Cu
Cha
Duo [Scholar]
Gong
Gou
Gun
Ha
Hao
He
Huo
Jia
Jie
Kua
Lang
Liao [Militant]
Ling
Meng
Miao
Niang
Nie
Nue
Ou
Pao
Qiu [Militant]
Quan [Militant]
Rang [Militant]
Sai [Militant]
Se [Militant][Scholar]
Sha [Miliant]
Teng [Militant]
Xian
Xu
Yan
Ye [Militant]
Yu
Zi
Zhuai
Zong [Scholar]

Beneath the Three Sage Clans and the Forty-Two Marquesses are hundreds of lesser ranked honored families. These are cadet branches, higher ranked the closer they are to the main line. Other families are also present in the fifth and sixth rank. In total there are 412 clans not accounting for their cadets, which are all given rank and cover all but the clanless of the Shuren.

Clanless Shuren are without social standing and societal support within their native lands and marshes. Instead they flock to the cities and Guoren settlements where they can find acceptance and a voice.

Shuren are rigidly hierarchical within their clans and without. Their latent ruthless ambition is quelled within their family, but outside of their family it is largely fair game as long as they have some tacit approval. Shuren can be exceedingly loyal within certain circumstance and the idea of possession and inclusiveness can be blurred in ways not common elsewhere. This is my clan. This is my lord. My friends, my mother, my empire. This has allowed for some level of diffussion into both green and white outside of the primary and secondary colors. Some clans have even been able to utilize such magics, but they are few.

As for other relevant materials:
The Shuren do not have Ninjitsu, but they do have other forms of spying abilities and trickery abilities.
Shuren have a bushido like style.
Shuren have a philosophical core to their culture that is based on Neo-Confucianism of the Song, Zen Buddhism, and Shintoism.
There were prevalent and powerful groups that opposed the empire and throughout three thousand years attempted nearly a hundred different ways to either bring down the Empire or establish a free and independent south. All of them failed. Most of such Shuren died or gave up.
Separatists no longer exist, or rather are no longer considered sane.
Shuren get along very well with Guoren, and have good terms with Houren.
Shuren are at odds with Niuren and Sheren, however.
The Three Sage Clans have magics, the only one even close to them in magical prowess are the Meng clan who are an even rarer gem. Their specialty is still the magic that their ancestors used and taught, and they are unrivaled in that. The Chang Clan, in particular, has a near permanent presence within the Minister of the Interior.
Many of the Shuren peoples entered into the Empire peacefully, some were even there since the beginning. Only a few entered after conquest.
Many Shuren revere Luseryu as a deity and the guardian of their ancestor's spirits, Luseryu is also most closely linked to the Shuren.
Shuren extensively use lower rats for spying and militant use.
Shuren have a normal lifespan of about 40 years, but members of the Sage Clans and the Marquesses can live for nearly 300 years.
Necromancy is rare and hard to pull off in this plane, no other race has been able to do it apart from Shuren and Demons. With the disappearance of all of the demons, Shuren have a monopoly on it.
Shuren have _very_ close ties with their ancestors and family. The spirits of the ancestors often linger after death and are doubly revered.
Spirits of other people, however, are often quickly stripped of their remaining sanity and turned into mindless minions. Officially illegal, unofficially common.
Shuren exist elsewhere in the plane as well, but there has been no contact with them in over 3000 years.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Have you ever played World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria?
Have you ever played World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria?

No, the closest I got was seeing the trailer a couple times online and on the television.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Another context map filled with information that is mostly just loose ideas.


Sheren

Orochi, Anthropomorphic Snakes
Main Colors
Secondary Colors
Diffusive Colors
Not Found in

Naming Conventions:
Transliteration of Inca Names into Japanese [Family Name]
Transliteration of Greek Names into Japanese [Given Name]

Cherry-Picked Zodiac Influence:
mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, elegant, cautious, strong, constant and purposeful, is possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, and mendacious.

Loose Ideas:

According to Sheren legend there was once a three headed Hydra that dominated the whole world. Five thousand years ago the great Hydra swallowed the Moon, angering the Queen Goddess that lived in it as a fish lives in the oceans. The Queen Goddess fled to the King God who dwelled in the Sun, together the two of them challenged the Hydra whereupon they were defeated but not before severing its three heads. The Queen Goddess and King God then sought out the help of the Angels that dwelled in the stars and the Great Lord of Heaven where upon an army of ten thousand beings came upon the Hydra and severed seven more heads before the heart of the beast could be reached. By stabbing and removing the bleeding heart the Hydra died, its remains creating a great mountain range in the east. Its heads, however, continued to struggle and survive in spite of the death of its body. But as the years went by they were dying slowly, and the Guoren son of heaven pleaded for mercy and leniency for the Hydra noting its former great strength and power. Soon after the Great Lord of Heaven created from the ten heads of the Hydra the ten Sheren Clans. The first three heads became the Kuira clans, named after the Queen Goddess who lives in the moon. The other seven heads became the Ite clans, named after the King God who lives in the sun.

The Kuira clans are all First Ranked Honored Families and the Ite clans are all Second Ranked Honored Families. Each clan has distinctive physical appearances. The Kuira clans are noted for having a different number of arms than the Ite clans, while the Ite clans are noted to appear different colors. While not immediately recognizable to an outsider, all of the ten clans can be differentiated from one another based on their appearance. As such while the Shuren may have clanless members who are at the bottom of society, even complete strangers and orphans will be recognized by their clans and be welcomed. The Kuira Clans have a higher position in society due to seniority and the belief that from these three clans the other seven sprung with respect to the Hydra, not because of exceptional power or strength. The ten clans were actually roughly equal to one another in terms of power before their inclusion into the empire, and remain to be outside of Senate politics. In addition, while some Sheren clans have specialties inside the realm of magic it is much more uniformly distributed and all magic was believed to be inherited from the Hydra and the Great Lord of Heaven, though after their inclusion into the empire changes have occurred: notably the introduction of black magic.


The Sheren were the second to last group to enter the Empire, and their inclusion was some 2500 years ago. Only the Niuren remained unconquered, but the Sheren had entered into the empire willingly. The Guoren Emperor claimed to be a direct descendent of the son of the Great Lord of Heaven, a claim that had been perpetuated for hundreds of years before the empire was even founded. Cultural and religious overlap in their mythologies allowed for a near peaceful integration of the Sheren clans. The Emperor claiming to be descended from the individual that helped spawn your entire people is an easy motivator if sincerely believed. It was, oddly, by both parties. The Huoren were not sure and had a long history of warfare with the Sheren clans, but after peace between subjects was reaffirmed they welcomed the Sheren to largely cool welcome. The Shuren, however, merely believed that this was a ploy used to gain power over the East and found the perceived lack of honesty, even behind closed doors, from their Guoren peers rather condemnable. This culminated in another war, but it was much shorter compared to the other Guoren-Shuren conflicts. A lasting influence of this conflict is the fact that the Shuren and the Sheren do not get along.


The Three Kuira Clans:
Ninaku
Fusaka
Atafu


The Seven Ite Clans:
Maniko
Sanichi
Rokue
Mayata
Inika
Yafuari
Wirakochi


Sheren society is divided into different parts: There are the head of the clans, which operate along the lines of feudal tribes and elected kings. The kings are chosen through a mixture of ritual and sacrifice as well as being nominated as a strong and pious candidate, which is then interpreted by the mystics and Fuwakasi objects. Fuwakasi objects are enchanted artifacts which can test, draw out, or manipulate a being’s inner energy and spirit. Fuwakasi objects are impossible to destroy and the spells that were used to create them have been lost to time. Some believe that they were first created by the Great Lord of Heaven, the Queen Goddess, and the King God. While the oldest are unaccountable, the most recently created Fuwakasi was a gift created by the Oracle Euhimiuse of the Rokue clan to the Guoren Emperor upon the inclusion of the Sheren.


An Oracle is a great Shaman or Mystic that is recognized by three Sheren clans as the premier authority on ritual, magic, the power of their raw emotion, and their ability to predict and cause change. As such there can never be more than three Oracles at a time, and often there will be less than three. There is no clan requirement or even magic alignment to become a sage. Only their resolve, power, and ability to read the stars. A new kind of foresight is developed in a way that is given to a combination of Green and Red magics – the ability to recognize the flow and order of the world and what causes it to change. Often resulting in it being changed on emotional grounds. This has allowed the Sheren to live, change, and create new environments and predict/cause disasters in the east.

As for other relevant materials:
-The Ninaku clan has four arms and three horns growing out of their forehead, they are auburn in hue that is darkest along the spine and lightest across the underbelly.
-The Fusaka clan has four arms and five horns growing out of their forehead, they are striped brown and green along their backs with a paler underbelly.
-The Atafu clan has four arms and one horn growing out of their forehead, they are a dark timber green with dark barely noticeable strips along their sides and face.
-The Maniko clan has two arms and deep eyebrow ridges, they are orange-red in color.
-The Sanichi clan has two arms and two horns growing out of their forehead, they are pale yellow in color with white strips.
-The Rokue clan has two arms and three horns growing out of their forehead, they are auburn in color with deep white strips.
-The Mayata clan has two arms and three horns growing out of their forehead, they are brown with patterned green and vermillion stripes.
-The Inika clan has two arms, one horn growing out of their forehead, and noticeable eyebrow ridges, they are reddish-brown in color with black strips.
-The Yafuari clan has two arms and four horns growing out of their forehead, they are yellow-red in color.
-The Wirakochi clan has two arms with smooth foreheads and eyebrows, they are pale yellow and green in color.
-Sheren clans normally only spawn within the clan, but it is possible for them to reproduce with other clans. The resulting hatchlings are then divided amongst their clans upon noticing of differentiation.
-Sheren normally lay 12 eggs, but can lay as many as 30 or as few as 3.
-Sheren magic includes beast mastery, artifact destruction, illusions, expansive growth, enchantment, a form of divination, elemental creation, environment creation, environment destruction, the channeling of destructive energies and creative energies, as well as the ability to enhance the abilities of other members of the clans.
-The Sheren revere the Kala Chelona as being a creature as old as the nameless Hydra, and the Sheren have some communicable relationship with the Tortoise.
-There are three creatures that the Sheren find religious or spiritual – The Bird which symbolizes heaven, the Puma which symbolizes the earth, and the Snake which symbolizes being, life, and rebirth. The three are not mutually exclusive concepts to the Sheren.
-The Sheren are friendly with the Guoren, but are antagonistic to the other three peoples.
-The Sheren have a form of Bushido, but it is different to that practiced in other peoples and in Kamigawa.
-The Sheren normally live in thick forests along mountain slopes, within the trees themselves creating entire villages above the ground.
-Some Sheren are notable in the Empire outside of the East, they are normally restricted to a few big cities but their nature leaves them rarely good for settled living.
-Sheren, while loyal to their clans, are rigidly independent in nature and can often leave for decades at a time on their own or in groups before returning.
-Sheren have an average life expectancy of about 80 years, though many die much younger than that. A few, with the assistance and mastery of magic, can live up to 150 years.
-The Sheren have entire pantheons of gods and goddesses, of which the King God and Queen Goddess are near the top and the Great Lord of Heaven above all. The reigning Emperor is normally included within the pantheon, as is the founding emperor, as well as the first son of heaven.
-Sheren are the least culturally assimilated group amongst the peoples of the empire.
-There are no other Sheren on the plane.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

I really wish I could offer something more to what you're doing, but with all things said and done, I don't feel like there's that much that can be said given the sheer mass of details you've set up.

Unlike on some of my projects, I leave more open to contributions, though I experience the same problem that I'm referring to.
Basically, All these details kind of overwhelm the subject directly at hand.

Of course, then again, I'm not sure if you're actually looking for more input.
I am always looking for suggestions, input, comments, and criticism. I may post a lot content, but that's just because I have a lot to say. I'm really not sure how to get around that, part of me even thinks I'm not saying nearly as much as I should.

Do you think I'm flooding the thread with too much ideas and that I should shoot for smaller amounts of information?

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

I am always looking for suggestions, input, comments, and criticism. I may post a lot content, but that's just because I have a lot to say. I'm really not sure how to get around that, part of me even thinks I'm not saying nearly as much as I should.

Do you think I'm flooding the thread with too much ideas and that I should shoot for smaller amounts of information?



In the past, I've found that starting with an enormous opening, and then taking it piece by piece gives you the best yield. You start with a lot, then break it down for the crowd.

Hell, just look at my most recent posts in my own worldbuilding thread. They aren't even half the size of yours and they still aren't getting any responses.

If you do such an enormous infodump, then... well, you pretty much tie people's hands. There's so much content that people don't know where to start and they end up overclocking and shutting down.

This is at least what I've found in the past, but your results may vary.
Thanks Barinellos, though this is some parts frustrating, one part disappointing, and an amalgam of other parts that I'm still sorting out.

After a few more broadstrokes are out of the way - History, Culture, Guoren, Houren, and Niuren - I will try to present the information in much more compact and easier to access forms. Hopefully this will have improved results.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

I'll start actually looking this over once the Innistrad Anthology and Jakkard start wrapping up. Working on a style guide on my own was... a dumb dumb dumb dumb stupid dumb idea, leaving aside the fact that I'm doing that while running an anthology project. dumb dumb dumb stupid stupid dumb.

Anyway, I'll be around... eventually... U_U 
Coming Soon to the Magic: Expanded Multiverse: FRAGMENTS: A Shards of Alara Anthology
(Click through to view the cover and announcement page)Want to get your work in the Expanded Multiverse? Come join the project! Oh, and check out my blog, Storming the Ivory Tower: making sense of academia, media, and culture twice weekly.
I'll start actually looking this over once the Innistrad Anthology and Jakkard start wrapping up. Working on a style guide on my own was... a dumb dumb dumb dumb stupid dumb idea, leaving aside the fact that I'm doing that while running an anthology project. dumb dumb dumb stupid stupid dumb.

Anyway, I'll be around... eventually... U_U 

Thanks Keeper, I look forward to having you drop by when you have time.

In hindsight it was less than wise for me to start a project in the midst of an Anthology project. I knew it wasn't a good idea in the first place, but its more fragrantly apparent now. Still, I'm more than happy to make do at the moment and continue plotting my plane here.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

[spoiler=Houren, half done.]Anthropomorphic Monkeys, cross between Hanuman and Sun Wukong
Main Colors
Secondary Colors
Diffusive Colors
Not Found in

Naming Conventions:
Turkish Forename
Roman/Latin Surname

Cherry-Picked Zodiac Influence:
Inventor, motivator, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, dignified, competitive, intellectual, vain, reckless, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, and suspicious.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Loose Ideas for Houren:

Houren are the third most populous group within, though the Niuren are not far behind. Houren were a part of the Empire since its founding, but they were never the subjects that the Shuren were. Their loyalty to the state was one of contract or to a patron, not unflinching obedience and rigid social hierarchy. Instead they were mercantile in nature and seemed to drift from place to place without much restriction. Unlike the Shuren and Sheren, Houren are not so rigidly clan orientated. Obedience or unflinching kinship are not hallmarks of the clans, though the children are expected to respect and follow the wishes of their parents and bonds of kinship create fast friendships and alliances. Its freer and looser though the relationships are somewhat similar. Instead the Houren are communally based and highly social. While in poor taste or near unthinkable for a Shuren to care for the sick or injured who had harmed someone of their clan, it is common for a Houren to do so without much of a second thought unless the harm was grievous in nature and the injury not life threatening.

That does not mean that Houren are a collection of altruistic benevolence. As soon as the person became healthy the person who helped them would smile and ask for a fee, turning sour if the fee cannot be provided or is less than expected. Houren culture in the center-east of the Empire is deeply reliant on trade, commerce, patronage, and contract. Trade sates the near intrinsic desire to grow and expand that many Houren are practically born with. For the most part the trade and commercial practices command stiff but fair prices, and so long as there is no cheating involved the man who sold his house for a sundial will smile, provided the sundial is worth it in his view. Yet since the Empire has expanded far beyond the center, new ideas and thoughts have entered into Houren practices. While not so strong in the center east, elsewhere in the cities and particularly in the south it is not uncommon for them to have learned what it is to be cheated and to cheat in return. A once vast and honest trade has since been slowly tainted by manipulated numbers, inflated values, and deceptive Houren who have learned, perhaps too well, from the company they have kept. As such in the center east there is always some heir of suspicion surrounding distant traders.

Perhaps as an evolution of that system, Houren have come to honor contract and patronage near above all else. Patronage creates a sense of community and the old Houren Kings and nobility often provided the care of those under their rule if there was a need or if they noticed some latent potential. A great many painters, inventors, scholars, and musicians have grown to great fame under the tutelage and patronage of the nobility. When the Empire subdued the last of the Houren kings the practice continued and the Empire took hold of that practice and fostered it for their own. The Empire also provided defense and assistance in times of need, security from the wicked, and a new and larger community. It was a transitioned made easier by the fact that the Empire had been forged with Houren as well as Shuren and Guoren hands. The contracts that a patron signs are as solid a foundation as the rock and earth for the lands, or so it has been said. A contract is a man's written word, and one's word to a Houren is worth more than anything material.

There have been a number of wars between Houren and the Empire, often Houren against Houren when it came to that, when it appeared as though the Empire broke its contract or an Emperor failed in his duties to the Houren. A maelstrom of blades, arrows, and horse sweep across the lands when such a war comes, but such a conflict has occurred in over five hundred years. In a way it can be blamed on a certain amount of earthly knowledge gained by harsh lessons. The Houren cannot hope to stand against the Emperor, this was plainly proven twenty-four times. A twenty-fifth lesson was not needed. Another factor is that Houren have learned that there is deception in the world and the shock and betrayal that comes with it has lessened over the thousands of years. The third major factor is that the Houren have become inseparable from the Empire itself, more than half of the Houren no longer live in their ancestral lands. They live in the capital, along the great southern river, and to the north with its many tributaries. Houren are amongst the more common sights if one travels to the west, and amongst the city-states and kingdoms that stretch along the great western seas.

Clans amongst the Houren were ill defined before the Empire, and even iller before their extensive contact with the Guoren and Shuren. Instead every Houren had five names. Their given name, their parent's names, their paternal grandfather's, and maternal grandmothers. In the misty realm of ancient history some of these names were "frozen" and did not change with the passing generation, only the given name was altered and from these the first clans formed. Such a frozen name typically arose amongst the nobility and those important to the community and gained repute, but for the common people the names still changed frequently with every generation and even first cousins lost track of one another. Upon the foundation of the Empire Houren were encouraged to change their clan name conventions amongst the honored families, while the peasantry were allowed to maintain their names as they always had. Houren then chose names from the Imperial Language and their clans were firmly established. Cadet branches and illegitimate lines split apart and their ranks demoted.

The Five Houren Kingdoms that remained independent upon the foundation of the Empire that eventually were folded into the state by conquest or peaceful subduction chose names after the color of their standards. The words for Yellow, Blue, Red, White, and Black became their family names and the main branches of that family were counted amongst the first rank. Each were permitted two cadet branches amongst the second peerage, some with names like Yellow Sword or Blue White. Lesser Cadet branches and the main families of the Houren who had been with the Empire since its founding are amongst the other ranks, which have most of the remaining clans of prestige, wealth, or influence. Yet, Houren numbers are smaller in comparison to Guoren or Shuren and as such they make up less than 10% of the eligible families as others drown them out in sheer weight of numbers.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Assorted Facts:
-Houren and Sheren were at war before the founding, and the war continued well after it. Since the inclusion of the Sheren into the empire the fighting has been forced to a much lower scale. Bad blood persists between the two peoples within their homelands. Outside those feelings fade away or are forgotten for newer ones, often times Houren officials and military leaders in the east will be appointed and trained from families from the west.
-First Tier Houren Honored Families used to be made up of those families that were with the Empire at its founding and were peers to the first of the kingdoms subdued by the empire. When all of the Houren bordering the empire were integrated the royalty assumed the first rank and the former first rank became lower in the hierarchy. As time went on those new found second tier families main lines died off, lost favor with the empire, merged into other families, or made a great trek west. The last four of the original families were demoted in the last great civil war in the empire.
-The First Tier Honored Families are: Flavum, Caerum, Rubra, Albus, and Atrum.
-Each of the First Ranked Honored Families for the Houren have two cadet branches, which in turn have four cadet branches, and sixteen further branches. Upon the death of the main line each of those branches moves up and adopts the family name of the dead house. All Cadet Branches contain the family name of the primary branch.
-Houren families do not specialize in magic in a general sense, though some specialize in different forms of combat. The Caerum excel in mounted archery, the Atrum in the ways of Spears, and Flavum specializes in the use of enchanted swords.
-Houren family names change depending on the tongue they are spoken, in a sense the family name is not the word but its representation.
-Houren are not particularly religious in a general sense, though there are religious houren. Their mythology was disorganized and self contradictory, and after the establishment of the empire and the "unification" of the Houren much of it died away or became fantasy to inspire actions rather than indicative of truth.
-Houren were not particularly fond of Angels and are amongst the most skeptical of their existence after their disappearance.
-Houren do not worship or revere any particular patron deity and unlike all other peoples within the empire regard the status of the emperor and empire as lacking in divine status. Business, not faith.
-Houren have since their inclusion within the empire travelled in large numbers to the west and are the second most common group of people along the shores of the western seas. Some of the republics, collectives, and kingdoms there are predominately Houren in population leading many to doubt that Houren are, in fact, solely native to the empire.
-Some Houren have learned various forms of Bushido and Ninjitsu like techniques, but those are not native to the Houren. Instead Houren rely on more direct physical styles and enchantments that enhance them.
-Houren have an average lifespan of 60 years, with magical assistance they can live to be 180 under the right circumstances.
-Houren are (obviously) found elsewhere on this plane.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Another compilation post:

Geography
The primary [written] focus of this plane is a large as of yet unnamed continent. At its center is an empire spanning many thousands of miles in every direction from its capital. The empire is divided into five provinces, which are larger than entire empires in far off distant lands. These provinces are in turn divided into twenty regions. The largest province has seven regions, while the smallest has just three.  Every province and region has a local administrative center, normally a city of varying size. The capital used to be the largest and most paramount city in the empire, upon it laid the hinges of the empire. Now it is the fourth in terms of size, first only in prestige and administrative importance.

The empire is divided nearly evenly in two for the southern half of the empire in the form of a massive river spanning many miles across as it enters into the great southern ocean. But this divide rapidly dissipates in the northern half of the empire. Dozens of tributaries, mighty rivers on their own, are born in the highlands and mountains, dense subtropical forests, and typhoon like weather brought east by the western winds from the many great seas found there. These tributaries grow into one another like the branches of a tree until the two largest and mightiest of them merge, seemingly guided by the broken remnants of an ancient and well-rounded mountain range. At this point of merging is the location of the capital, all but an islet within the mighty river.


Originally a swampy marsh surrounded by thick forests, this was seen as the perfect location for the gathering of a massive state and a near magical location from where most of the sources of magic can be found. Over the three-thousand years of history, the capital has largely been cleared away any remnants of forests to fuel the massive construction of housing. The mountains served as natural quarries for other materials, such as marble and granite. Forests were protected in isolated areas around the capital until a few hundred years ago when mounting population pressures ended the long protected domain. The swamps were largely cleared away as well, for similar reasons.


The process was not entirely destructive, however. Where there used to be forests and swamps, now lay open vast fields and farmlands to fuel the population with food and living space. City walls, which at one point protected the entire cities and its fields, now only barely cover the inner districts where the emperor, his estate, senate, and central bureaucracy can be found. In addition a great many artificial islands grew and dotted the river, both along its main body and its tributary. Some of the marshlands and swamps soon appeared on these artificial islands, and often times in ways that were anything but accidental.


The broken mountains are at their most prominent while sheparding the tributaries, but stretch out in a way that would almost divide the empire in much the same way the river had. Or would have, should the mountains have been uniform in creating majestic peaks. Those are few and rare amongst those mountains. Instead the range becomes little more than hills stretching out across the vast landscape and rarely provide any real obstacle to any encroaching peoples or terrains. As if their defiance was beaten and punished long before there were those who could remember or record such events. Instead, such true mountains are found in the northwest and to the far east. It is said that the mountains in the northwest are so tall that the rains and storm cannot pass them and are forced to surrender their liquid yield to the northern regions of the empire. Regardless, little of anything is left over for the great deserts, keeping them dry and hot.


It is there that the Dragons are most common and most deadly. Those tall impenetrable peaks house the nests and dens of near forces of nature and bringers of fire and destruction. For the most part they are left alone by the Empire, and in turn are also left alone. Those tall mountains are where people do not dare to venture. Dragons can also be found scouring the deserts, one might presume to make their way across to the far east. This leaves the northernmost landscape of the empire susceptible to the occasional raid, which do occur on a rare occasion. Such a danger is not found elsewhere, at least not in the form of dragons.  


Not all Dragons are found there, nor are all dragons fond of such destruction. Luseryu, one of the few dragons known to have had verbal contact with humans, is located in the southern regions of the empire. He and his kin rarely destroy, but are known to be reclusive and live in solitude. His breed is also exceedingly rare, numbering under twenty according to the Shuren (Nezumi) sage Lin Kenko some hundred years ago and that number being smaller than the last given account nearly a thousand years prior. Luseryu is also honored as one of the five patron deities of the empire, regardless of his apparent distance from the people within the empire. But Luseryu is an oddity when it comes to massive creatures.


A distance further south lay the great ocean. Here the empire’s direct control fades, with the ocean being an even greater barrier than the desert. The temperatures are nearly equal in their discomfort for human settlers. There are dozens of islands forming two distinct archipelagos, but few have known to travel to them, and even fewer returned. Vast tempests and choppy seas rule here. Drakes are the most common threat for sailors, but they tend not to go too far inland. They are less numerous here than they are in the western seas, but are far more vicious. They are also amongst the least of their concerns, as leviathans and serpents can be just below the waves. The only true “safe” haven is at the mouth of the great river. Magical wards and the southern garrison provide no small amount of protection for those who live there. Most of them being Shuren and Guoren (Human).


The entirety of the south is nowhere near as inhospitable, but occasionally it comes close for those not native to the area. Forests and fields in the center of the country give way to marshlands, swamps, bogs, and large lakes. Some forests, notable ones, decorate patches in the south, but there are few plains and fewer mountains. Only the marshes and lakes are plentiful. It is here where the greatest concentration of Shuren can be found, living in large villages and cities built in and around bogs and marshland, if not along the great river. Though this has been changing for almost an age in a very slow process, the Shuren have begun to move from bogs and marshes that were their homes. Their magic is no longer so founded there. Cultural and magical skills have been diffusing into populations throughout the empire, often through Guoren in the empire.


In the move to the west the land grows drier and once again forests and fields predominate, if only briefly before the forests recede and the grasslands rule. The broken mountains form the only real natural divide in these dry grasslands. Instead much of the landscape is dotted by some small lakes and some small mountains. They shrink in comparison to the now northern peaks, but in a largely level steppe their presence cannot be denied. To the west the empire’s reach goes the furthest it could ever hope to expand to, but it is little more than lightly populated grasses. The empire once reached all the way to the seas, but the rise of rival states along their shores blocked off the empire’s access and its control receded since there was little value in the overextension. Still, trading caravans of Niuren (Ox), Guoren, and Houren are not rare sights here. Neither are those that prey on them, creature and people alike.


Travelling from the west back to the north brings a great deal of variation, but also a great deal of ignorance. Strong gusts of winds and tornadoes wind through on the backs of tempests making even the weather perilous, beasts and large creatures roam freely as well. The northwest is a virtual no-man’s land, but it gives rise to the sub-kingdoms of the Niuren. The empire subjugated the Niuren not through conquest and assimilation, but rather through the collapse of a once vast empire there. The pieces were much smaller and fell much easier, resulting in a complex web of alliances and jurisdictions. The Niuren Kings fall under the nominal control of the Empire, but their domestic concerns are largely handled locally. Growing numbers of other peoples have begun eat away at this authority, but after nearly an age of domination most of the Niuren kings and their subjects are genuinely loyal to the empire. Often times more loyal than most.


The north also holds a rare, but majestic, breed of white tigers. They are the descendants of the northern patron deity Safeda Namer, which died a thousand years ago while fighting off a horde of dragons during the last of their great raids south. Or so the legend says. It was a massive beast of nearly unparalleled might and ferocity, but also a guardian of both the Niuren and the north. His death saw the transition of the great phoenix Anka Kuşu, the patron deity of the west, and move to the north. Lesser phoenixes can be found in the west, but with the lack of any real danger and the loss of the western seas, they are more than sufficient. Anka Kuşu also appears to have grown much stronger in the north.


To the east the empire’s domain grows to its most tenuous reach. Still well over one thousand miles in expanse, the broken mountains turn into great mountains in the far east. Other dragons are found here, but so too are wurms. Some more powerful that dragons themselves and they are found both above and below land. Baloths and Basilisks roam the dense forests leading up to those mountains. What lays beyond is mostly a mystery, only rumor has ever made it back from far beyond. Yet it is in the east, at least in the buildup to such massive obstacles, that the empire is the most populated. Sheren (Orochi) and Houren are native here. The Houren more to the plans that are closer to the central part of the empire, but they are no less creatures of the forest as the Sheren are in the far more wild exterior. The Kala Chelona, a giant tortoise, dwelled in the east. The patron deity of the east, however, has not been seen almost or heard from for a great many centuries. Some believe it is on the outskirts of the empire defending against far greater threats, but others believe it has died long ago.


Empire

Emperor
The Empire is one of the more complex social constructions in existence on this plane. At its helm is the Emperor, a direct descendant of the founding Emperor. Succession is normally from father to son, uncle to nephew, brother to brother depending on how direct the line of succession truly is. However, it is a mandatory requirement that each new emperor be accepted by the senate and central bureaucracy. Should the appointed heir be found wanting in skill, intelligence, the magical arts, or in sheer charisma he can be overturned for another, more suitable candidate within the imperial line. There are several notable periods where succession jumped between distant cousins until a powerful line stabilized. This process was not always peaceful and can be recipes for disaster should multiple candidates vie for the throne. An increasingly common occurrence, though one that rarely spills outside of capital coups.The convoluted nature of the Imperial Senate is designed in such a way that it is virtually powerless unless it has internal cooperation, but when such internal cooperation occurs it is the single most powerful institution within the empire. Emperors may go against the senate, but few of keep power if they do.

Army
The military is under the direct control of the Emperor and his followers and is largely self-regulatory when it comes to appointments. Only the highest military leaders need Senate approval, some five individuals in total. The military is further divided into three parts: The outer armies, the inner armies, and public armies. The outer armies are referred to as the Northern, Eastern, Southern, Western, and Central Armies. The inner armies are provincial armies, and are theoretically under the Outer Armies. Public armies serve under the joint oversight of the Ministry of Cultivation, the Ministry of Public Works, and the Provincial Armies; they are sometimes grouped with the Provincial armies or with the Ministries. All of them are under the direct command of the Emperor in theory and in fact, but much of the day to day operations have been handed down to once ceremonial roles.

The Dictator and The General That Pacifies the Realm are the most keen examples of this, both originally largely ceremonial positions whose power was only the execute the will of the Emperor and was largely given to aged respected members of the Imperial Clan. They have now become positions of real power and are given to talented and ambitious members of much younger generations than before. The Dictator has authority over all matters pertaining to the borders and beyond, particularly in acts of engaging in wars and securing the borders from the often powerful beasts that lurk at the edge of the Empire’s borders [thus the end of civilization on all but one border]. The General That Pacifies the Realm has authority on all matters pertaining to the security of the state internally. It is of no surprise that the Outer Armies largely fall under the jurisdiction of the Dictator and the inner armies the jurisdiction of the GPR.


It may also not be a surprise to find that what is usually the case has translated into always the case without the Emperor moving in to settle disputes between his two senior most officials. It is increasingly common for the Dictator to overstep his authorities in the east and south, while the GPR likewise does so in the west and north. Further, armies that traditionally answer to the Dictator or the GPR will do so even in matters that are clearly not in their jurisdiction out of habit or loyalty, causing tension even without the direct involvement of either party. One of the few things preventing civil war between the two groups is the Imperial Guard and the Imperial Bureaucracy. The armies would either starve or be slain should they behave recklessly. Other than that is the Emperor, whose authority is unquestionable even if it has been largely delegated over the years. Even a child emperor who is weak of will can end any dispute between the outer and inner armies without much trouble if the matter is known in advance. If not, then it may take months to settle at great cost of life.


The Imperial Guard is made up of the most elite soldiers the empire has to offer. Those who perform great deeds, those that are known for complete and upstanding loyalty, those that would die without much hesitation; all can be found within the Imperial Guard. The Imperial Guard is commanded by the General of Upstanding Loyalty, the third position in the army to be confirmed by the senate. His consul (second in command) is also confirmed. Many of those inside the Imperial Guard are those who are battle hardened veterans who have spent years on the frontiers fighting against Drakes, Wurms, and other beasts. Revered and honored clerics and priests are also amongst their ranks, as are the most courageous scouts. It is considered the ultimate end for all professional soldiers to join the Imperial Guard.


The fifth, and last, Senate confirmed position is the General who Conquers the West. The General who Conquers the West is the premiere authority of the Western Army. During the past three thousand years all of the armies have rebelled at one point or another. They have also taken sides in inherently domestic squabbles over succession and nearly tore the empire apart. Only in the case of the Western Army had they succeeded. Not once, but four times since the foundation of the empire. The sparsely populated and extremely vast landscape can be described as barren steppe in comparison to the other regions and the army there is notoriously difficult to defeat using an army not native to the west. As a result it was the Imperial Guard that defeated them twice, quelling the rebellion. However, the other two times were not resolved through conquest. In one the “Emperor” candidate’s line died without leaving an heir after nearly 300 years resulting in the Western army folding back into the Empire’s control. The other had the General killed by his Consul, who in turn surrendered after two decades years.


The General Who Conquers the North is typically a Niuren chosen from amongst the sub-kingdoms in the region, his Consul typically an Imperial Clansmen. The General who Conquers the East and his Consul are either Imperial Clansmen are Houren. The General who Conquers the South and his Consul are usually a pair of Shuren and Guoren, neither need be connected to the Imperial Clan. The central army is led by the General who Holds the Center and his Consul, normally taken directly from the First Rank Honored Families. All of the outer armies are professional armies maintained by career soldiers who are expected to follow the army for a period of twenty to thirty years before retirement. Soldiers in retirement are given a daily stipend to pay for all living expenses and are given honorary status as a sixth rank should they not have a rank.


The provincial armies are led by five generals: The General that Pacifies the North, East, South, West, and Center. Originally these positions originated second to the Outer Armies and the two positions provided balance to one another. Now they are secondary positions in charge of conscript soldiers who maintain order within the five provinces. Their titles reflecting regions are now partial misnomers. Their Proconsuls take on the role of the outer armies Consuls. Unlike the Outer Armies, provincial soldiers are conscripts taken from the citizenry. In addition to three months a year serving in public works, every citizen is expected to serve two years in the provincial army. They are mainly there to put down minor rebellions, root out bandits, deal with domestic creatures, and oversee the public armies. The public armies are led by magisters who are appointed by both the provincial leadership and the Ministry of Public Works. A conscript who works for three months or more a year will often find themselves in a public army.



The Imperial Senate
First Rank Honored Families
The Emperor oversees directly the main houses of government: The Imperial Senate and the Imperial Bureaucracy. While the Emperor can rule with an iron fist in his region of governance, he is primarily of an half-executive half-military role and has almost no authority other than veto power over the main legislative and administrative bodies of the empire. The convoluted nature of the Imperial Senate is designed in such a way that it is virtually powerless unless it has internal cooperation, but when such internal cooperation occurs it is the single most powerful institution within the empire. Emperors may go against the senate, but few of keep power if they do. The Imperial Senate is in turn divided into a number of levels and jurisdictions. The main house of the senate is a life peerage granted to the heads or influential members of the first rank honored families. Originally numbering twelve at the foundation of the Empire, there are now sixty families and all of them relatives to the dynastic line, but through maternal relationships rather than paternal. It may stand to reason that these first rank families are the most powerful and influential in the Empire. Primarily composed of Guoren in the beginning, now three Sheren clans, five Houren, three Shuren, and Twelve Niuren clans are amongst the first tier.

Second Rank Honored Families
Immediately below the first rank are the second rank families numbering one hundred twenty families. Here the distribution amongst the peoples is more even. The remaining seven Sheren clans have representation here. Another twenty-four Niuren families can be found in this peerage, followed by ten Houren families. Forty-two Shuren and thirty-seven Guoren nearly split the remaining seats. As with the first rank, the second rank familial heads or their representatives are granted life peerages in the second division of the senate. The powers of the first and second ranked honored families are equal to one another in terms of legislative power. They each receive a single vote in the lawmaking process. The difference is in prestige and direct power of that vote in relation to others, the second rank’s vote is only half as influential in such terms.

The Noble's Assembly
The third, fourth, and fifth ranked honored families are not given life peerages and do not house individual bodies of the senate. Instead, they are given fixed single terms of varying years and must be elected in provincial and regional elections. The third rank has a twelve year term, the fourth rank a six year term, and the fifth rank a three year term. Individuals elected may not seek reelection, but their families may put forward different candidates for the third legislative body. These three ranks also are completely dominated by Shuren and Guoren, though maybe a tenth of the total eligible families are Houren. The reason for this is because while there are only ten clans of Sheren amongst the honored families, the Sheren only have ten clans making the entirety of the population effectively represented. The Niuren clans have their own stratifications, but some 30% of the population there is represented in the senate. Houren are much less numerous than Shuren or Guoren. It is also amongst these ranks that the cadet branches for Shuren and Guoren families are found, which are far more numerous in number and in rivalry than the other three peoples. This particular body is referred to as the Noble's Assembly

The People's Assembly
The fourth senate group is elected solely from the various peoples in elections. Six hundred individuals are elected to a one year term in provincial elections. Individuals elected here can be reelected as many as twelve times before they can no longer serve. While there are other ranked families, there is no restriction to who may be elected and who may be elected in these elections. However they are elected first to provincial senates (120 per province) before twelve of them are chosen amongst the provincial senate members to be sent to the capital to serve in the fourth division of the senate there. In relation to the other houses of the senate, the fourth division has the least prestige but the greatest influence. Every member of the senate is given one vote in their subdivision, and the division is decided by majority rules. All houses have the ability to block any of the other three houses normally resulting in deadlock unless in times of crisis.

Other Divisions
Within the provinces the senate has only two houses: the ranked honored families and the freely elected. The one hundred-eight individuals who remain in the province represent one division while the top five ranked families native to the province are granted a second division number ninety members in total. Provincial Senates are known for far less deadlock, enabling progress even without the capital’s approval. Regions have their own, much smaller, senates: twelve and twelve. Prefectures do not have senates, but they do have forums where all natives of the prefecture have immediate and direct say in local laws. Unless larger and systemic trends are born in such local levels, they are ignored by both provincial and empire-wide senates.

The Imperial Bureaucracy
The Imperial Bureaucracy, however, is not so decentralized or ambivalent. The Bureaucracy is officially headed by three Praetors appointed by the Emperor and confirmed by the senate. Apart from the appointment of leadership, the Emperor and the Senate have no authority real authority here. While having a period of decadence into the first few centuries of the empire’s existence, the Imperial Bureaucracy restored itself into an entity of ruthless efficiency. Each Praetor oversees three ministries based on their role. In this sense, the bureaucracy is an entity of three upon three. Each ministry is tiered with the capital division on top, interprovincial underneath, and provincial on the bottom. Provincial is in turn tiered again pan-provincial, regional and trans-regional, and prefecture levels of government.

First Praetor
The Ministry of the Imperial Family
The first Praetor oversees three ministries: Ministry of Imperial Family, Ministry of the Honored Families, and Ministry of Harmony. The Ministry of the Imperial Family closely monitors all branches of the dynasty and sees to their education and instruction. Their behavior is also observed, and various improprieties are reported. While they cannot touch or harm a member of the dynasty, they can recommend action to the Emperor who often heeds that council. Members of this ministry can be found near the household of even the most minor of imperial clansmen. The imperial clansmen are often terrified of this ministry as much as it respects its power. Their support, coupled with talent, can nearly assure their place in succession. Their ire can leave them bereft of any wealth, influence, and placed under indefinite house arrest for not only themselves but their immediate branch of the family.

The Ministry of the Honored Families
Ministry of the Honored Families performs a similar role, but somewhat less in terms of harshness, with the Ranked Honored Families. Their education and personal instruction is overseen by the Ministry, though ranks three and five can opt to utilize private instruction with proper approval. Rank six needs to request the Ministry’s support for government education and instruction in the magical arts. It is through the Ministry of the Honored Families that nearly all bureaucratic officials in the capital come attain their position and appointment. An independent arm of this ministry assesses individuals in the talent and skillsets needed for appointment and position them within the bureaucracy and then places them where they are best suited. The Ministry of the Honored Families is also known to promote marital matches with imperial clansmen.

The Ministry of Harmony
The Ministry of Harmony deals primarily with matters of propriety amongst the people not ranked amongst the Honored Families and the Imperial Clan. While breeches of impropriety can be eternal black marks against the characters of such individuals, amongst the common people they are rather common and easily overlooked unless it is severe. A fine of one copper, half a bushel of grain, or a day of communal service is exacted for most low level breeches. Moderate offenses are one silver, two bushels of grain, or a week of communal service. Severe offenses are rarely bought off and the offenders are given a year of hard penal service. Such breeches are near treasons that do not result in death. Those that result in death are handed over to a different ministry.

The Second Praetor
The Ministry of Trade
The second Praetor heads these three ministries: Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Cultivation, and Ministry of Public Works. The Ministry of Trade administrates basic forms of taxation on business transactions, determined by uniform weighted scales throughout the empire. Trade of low level items has a taxation rate of 6% of what it is worth. Medium level items have a taxation rate of 33%. High level items, trade of state monopoly items such as salt, have a 50% taxation rate when traded from none state sources. Failure to pay the proper tax value results in a first time forgiveness policy, but the second time they are forced to pay twice the amount of the tax owed. Chronic offenders who have not paid their dues are barred from conducting trade within the empire. This is uniform across all social levels.

The Ministry of Cultivation
The Ministry of Cultivation both allots land for farming, seed for sowing crops, and oversees cultivation. While small subsidiary farms often can work without the hand of the Ministry, those that cannot or are too large to escape their notice are subject to surrendering a proportion of their crop over to the bureaucracy. Such food is used to feed the armies, the state, and provide national and provincial granaries for use in times of dearth whereby food is available to the masses in need of it. The amount of crop taken over by the government is as little as 10% and as much as 60% depending on total yield and the calculated needs of the cultivators. Typically, the amount taken neither harms the farmers nor makes the farms unprofitable, as the Ministry is careful to avoid such breeches of trust. However, as with Ministry of Trade, they are amongst the most hated in the bureaucracy.

The Ministry of Public Works
The Ministry of Public Works is in charge of creating and maintaining all government buildings, major travel and trade routes, magical wards, and defenses. They are also responsible for constructing military facilities and housing for the military as well as the construction and maintenance of government mines and textiles. Because of the massive workload, every citizen of the empire is required to either pay an extensive fine or serve for three months every year in the Ministry of Public Works for communal service. Those committing improprieties work longer, while criminals and those who commit severe breeches are made to work for the Ministry. Even so, there are chronic shortages of manpower in both the west and the east resulting in creative shortcuts.

The Third Praetor
The Ministry of Education
The Third Praetor largely oversees these three ministries: The Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Research, and the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry of Education provides basic education to those not in either the Honored Families or in the Imperial Line, but such education is only freely provided in the instruction of the state mandated written dialect, basic arithmetic, and basic laws. The written dialect is uniform across the empire, though the way it is spoken can be and often is mutually unintelligible in distant reaches of the empire. Additional education requires coin; coin needed in greater supply the higher up the chain one goes. Those without coin can become apprentices if they show basic magical talent or keen minds, though these are few. Yet it is through the Ministry of Education that individuals not part of the Honored Families can attain office within the bureaucracy. Normally restricted to the wealthy, every generation or so has an individual that rises to the rank of Minister though destitute of power, property, or prestige.

The Ministry of Research
The Ministry of Research is one of the most autonomous ministries within the bureaucracy and the only ministry to be centered outside of the capital. Instead only the Chief Clerk and the Minister can be found at the capital where research notes and benign materials are kept. This is for the safety of the capital as much as it is to allow the researchers more free reign in some of their crazier experiments. To those in other planes their experiments might be tame by comparison, but the Ministry of Research is no stranger to the design of potent magical barriers, flight, artificial constructs, genetic experiments, nearly impossible to decipher codes, the odd monster running loose, and a very large explosion every month or so. The Ministry draws from all fields of magic, but the largest emphasis has been placed on counter measures against the growing threat in the east.

The Ministry of the Interior
The Ministry of the Interior serves to keep a record of the bureaucracy and has some limited oversight inside of the Imperial Senate. Sometimes referred to as the Ministry of Secrets and the Ministry of Records, both half wrong. If there is a deep dark secret hidden somewhere within the bowels and caverns of the government or within the nation, they are known to the Ministry and a record of it can be found readily available. They are the most widely known Ministry by name, but the least known for what they do. Most of this is by design, one in a hundred thousand can be said to have the latent potential to sense other people’s minds. Through selective marriages the odds can be increased somewhat, but it is still a rare talent even amongst the most finely bred families. Such talents are highly prized and rapidly recruited into the Ministry from even the lowest of families and upward to the highest.

Imperial Court
Apart from the Emperor, the Imperial Senate, and the Imperial Bureaucracy there are other institutions not officially part of any of their jurisdictions. Niuren sub-Kingdoms are the most obvious of such institutions, but most prevalent to the individual would be the Imperial Court system. Its power is subordinate to all three powers that dominate government and is a regular source of abuse and corruption in that the Senate and the Bureaucracy believe they know the best punishments for their wayward charges than the senate. It is only when instances have cross governmental implications that the Courts are able to assert no small amount of autonomy when it can use both parties involved to stymie their influence. Such cases are prized by the courts and can go on for years. Not because of any difficulty in the case or even reconcilable differences between the three groups, but because they allow the Courts to have leverage and assert their own power. The longer they go on, the less they are subject to the whims of the Senate, Emperor, or the Bureaucracy. They have to be careful too, as it is dangerously apparent that they are playing with fire.

At the head of the Imperial Senate is a quorum of twelve individuals (known simply as The Excellencies) containing at least one Sheren, one Houren, two Niuren, and four Shuren in comparison to Guoren. This is rather transparent in that its aim is to provide balance between the main parties in the empire. Just as the Senate has its checks and balances with all four divisions, some level of this has seeped in here. While the Senate has no authority to deny laws and actions from coming into effect, they can upon a unanimous decision (no less than nine votes in favor) provide recommendation to the Senate on such actions as well as give their approval or withhold it to the Emperor. It is not needed, but the Court’s judgment is at the very least considered before action is taken. It is also rejected six out of ten times when they oppose an action. The Court’s primary purpose in that matter is merely to be an advisory role. One which many believe is redundant given the already tedious nature of the system. Their primary duty is rather to uphold law and a perceived sense of righteousness.

Yet, as already noted, their hands are tied in most cases. For starters, the Imperial Family is off limits. That is internal affairs for the Dynasty and the Ministry of the Imperial Family. The First Emperor had divine, heavenly mandate. His progeny are protected by an umbrella of sorts. So long as you share the surname of the emperor and can provide proof of relation (and there are very creative ways to do that) there is a natural immunity from the Court. Some, however, might want for a Court ruling given the harshness of the Ministry. First and Second Ranked Honored Families have less harsh punishments from their Ministry of Honored Families and are largely protected by the Senate making them similarly untouchable. However, such families are often caught in a struggle between the Senate and the Bureaucracy and it is here that the Court attains a measure of freedom to act independently until the Emperor weighs in or until the issues are resolved outside of the Court, robbing them of such necessary leverage. The Third Rank can be, and is, touched. While rare, the Court has some measure of ability to punish them. Always lightly, but it is a small triumph. Each rank can be more intensely scrutinized until the sixth rank is met and the differences are hardly palpable in relation to the ordinary citizen. It is with the citizen that justice is granted without approach or hindrance, making a mockery of their duty.

It was not always like this. The Court was originally an institution equal to the Bureaucracy and the Senate under the Emperor, who had a greater amount of power then and needed more powerful institutions to check him. The Emperor represented the military arm, the Senate the creation of law, the Bureaucracy the administration of the realm, and the Court responsible for order. For the first few hundred years the relationship was stable and harmonious, but then things rapidly deteriorated with warfare, truly monstrous dragons, rebellion, and an ever present war between Angels and Demons. The Court’s power was slowly robbed from it by other institutions until it was made subordinate to them. The current status is the natural result of being repeatedly robbed of power and having its powers usurped, hindered, and ignored. It would, however, be a grievous error in judgment to assume that the Court is powerless. To the masses it is an instrument and image of justice. Even if it is a light shared with the other three.

Compared to the convoluted nature of the other branches of governance, the Court is remarkably simple and direct. The Imperial Court provides recommendations further up the chain, provides recommendations for provincial court excellencies and has an internal army of lawyers under them. Their cases are few and their rulings fewer, but they handle most delicate matters of state in regards to upholding the law. Provincial courts are busier and have more local power. They answer directly to the Imperial Court, but they have the ability directly appoint regional excellencies. They are also less watched and controlled by the other divisions of government. Regional excellencies handle all matters pertaining to petty and fairly low level crimes of the noble families and inter-noble family members and the citizenry. Larger matters are pushed up the chain. Prefecture magistrates then adopt the lowest position and act as upholder of the law amongst the people. Here the magistrates are nearly completely autonomous and installed locally by the forum.


Shuren
Nezumi, Anthropomorphic Rats
Main Colors :ubm:
Secondary Colors
Diffusive Colors
Not Found in

Naming Conventions:
Single Character Chinese Surname [Family Name]
Japanese "sounding" Forename [Given Name]

Cherry-Picked Zodiac Influence:
Disciplined, systematic, charismatic, hard working, industrious, charming, sociable, shrewd, manipulative, cruel, rigid, selfish, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, and scheming.

Loose Ideas:
Shuren are the second most common people within the Empire. Within the Senate, they are the greater counterbalance to Guoren.

There are three Shuren families that are the most commanding and demand the most respect. As legend suggests, they are the descendents from the Three Sages who taught the Shuren magic and spoke the teachings. These families are Lin, Li, and Chang. Members of the sage clans are noted to have exceptional magical ability and each specialize in the school of magic taught by the sages. The Lin clan mastered the art of decay and poison. The Li clan mastered the art of necromancy. The Chang clan mastered the art of destroying the mind. All three clans are feared, and all three clans stand at the top of Shuren culture. These three clans can be found amongst the First Ranked Honored Families in the Imperial Senate.

Beneath the Sage Clans are the forty-two marquesses. These are the Second Ranked Honored Families in the Imperial Senate and are made up of the largely honored clans who commanded leadership over tribes, villages, and states before their conquest and assimilation into the empire. Originally purely warrior clans who served as the militant leadership of the Shuren, now they have splintered and fractured over three thousand years of the Empire. Some maintain strict militant ways, including the rigid warrior codes and the art of espionage, but many have become bureaucratic families and joined with Guoren nobility. There are notable, but few, Marques clans who have taken up the art of poetry and philosophy.

The Forty-Two Marques Clans:

Ban
Bin
Bing
Bo [Scholar]
Cu
Cha
Duo [Scholar]
Gong
Gou
Gun
Ha
Hao
He
Huo
Jia
Jie
Kua
Lang
Liao [Militant]
Ling
Meng
Miao
Niang
Nie
Nue
Ou
Pao
Qiu [Militant]
Quan [Militant]
Rang [Militant]
Sai [Militant]
Se [Militant][Scholar]
Sha [Miliant]
Teng [Militant]
Xian
Xu
Yan
Ye [Militant]
Yu
Zi
Zhuai
Zong [Scholar]

Beneath the Three Sage Clans and the Forty-Two Marquesses are hundreds of lesser ranked honored families. These are cadet branches, higher ranked the closer they are to the main line. Other families are also present in the fifth and sixth rank. In total there are 412 clans not accounting for their cadets, which are all given rank and cover all but the clanless of the Shuren.

Clanless Shuren are without social standing and societal support within their native lands and marshes. Instead they flock to the cities and Guoren settlements where they can find acceptance and a voice.

Shuren are rigidly hierarchical within their clans and without. Their latent ruthless ambition is quelled within their family, but outside of their family it is largely fair game as long as they have some tacit approval. Shuren can be exceedingly loyal within certain circumstance and the idea of possession and inclusiveness can be blurred in ways not common elsewhere. This is my clan. This is my lord. My friends, my mother, my empire. This has allowed for some level of diffussion into both green and white outside of the primary and secondary colors. Some clans have even been able to utilize such magics, but they are few.

As for other relevant materials:
The Shuren do not have Ninjitsu, but they do have other forms of spying abilities and trickery abilities.
Shuren have a bushido like style.
Shuren have a philosophical core to their culture that is based on Neo-Confucianism of the Song, Zen Buddhism, and Shintoism.
There were prevalent and powerful groups that opposed the empire and throughout three thousand years attempted nearly a hundred different ways to either bring down the Empire or establish a free and independent south. All of them failed. Most of such Shuren died or gave up.
Separatists no longer exist, or rather are no longer considered sane.
Shuren get along very well with Guoren, and have good terms with Houren.
Shuren are at odds with Niuren and Sheren, however.
The Three Sage Clans have magics, the only one even close to them in magical prowess are the Meng clan who are an even rarer gem. Their specialty is still the magic that their ancestors used and taught, and they are unrivaled in that. The Chang Clan, in particular, has a near permanent presence within the Minister of the Interior.
Many of the Shuren peoples entered into the Empire peacefully, some were even there since the beginning. Only a few entered after conquest.
Many Shuren revere Luseryu as a deity and the guardian of their ancestor's spirits, Luseryu is also most closely linked to the Shuren.
Shuren extensively use lower rats for spying and militant use.
Shuren have a normal lifespan of about 40 years, but members of the Sage Clans and the Marquesses can live for nearly 300 years.
Necromancy is rare and hard to pull off in this plane, no other race has been able to do it apart from Shuren and Demons. With the disappearance of all of the demons, Shuren have a monopoly on it.
Shuren have _very_ close ties with their ancestors and family. The spirits of the ancestors often linger after death and are doubly revered.
Spirits of other people, however, are often quickly stripped of their remaining sanity and turned into mindless minions. Officially illegal, unofficially common.
Shuren exist elsewhere in the plane as well, but there has been no contact with them in over 3000 years.

Sheren


Orochi, Anthropomorphic Snakes
Main Colors
Secondary Colors
Diffusive Colors
Not Found in

Naming Conventions:
Transliteration of Inca Names into Japanese [Family Name]
Transliteration of Greek Names into Japanese [Given Name]

Cherry-Picked Zodiac Influence:
mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, elegant, cautious, strong, constant and purposeful, is possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, and mendacious.

Loose Ideas:

According to Sheren legend there was once a three headed Hydra that dominated the whole world. Five thousand years ago the great Hydra swallowed the Moon, angering the Queen Goddess that lived in it as a fish lives in the oceans. The Queen Goddess fled to the King God who dwelled in the Sun, together the two of them challenged the Hydra whereupon they were defeated but not before severing its three heads. The Queen Goddess and King God then sought out the help of the Angels that dwelled in the stars and the Great Lord of Heaven where upon an army of ten thousand beings came upon the Hydra and severed seven more heads before the heart of the beast could be reached. By stabbing and removing the bleeding heart the Hydra died, its remains creating a great mountain range in the east. Its heads, however, continued to struggle and survive in spite of the death of its body. But as the years went by they were dying slowly, and the Guoren son of heaven pleaded for mercy and leniency for the Hydra noting its former great strength and power. Soon after the Great Lord of Heaven created from the ten heads of the Hydra the ten Sheren Clans. The first three heads became the Kuira clans, named after the Queen Goddess who lives in the moon. The other seven heads became the Ite clans, named after the King God who lives in the sun.


The Kuira clans are all First Ranked Honored Families and the Ite clans are all Second Ranked Honored Families. Each clan has distinctive physical appearances. The Kuira clans are noted for having a different number of arms than the Ite clans, while the Ite clans are noted to appear different colors. While not immediately recognizable to an outsider, all of the ten clans can be differentiated from one another based on their appearance. As such while the Shuren may have clanless members who are at the bottom of society, even complete strangers and orphans will be recognized by their clans and be welcomed. The Kuira Clans have a higher position in society due to seniority and the belief that from these three clans the other seven sprung with respect to the Hydra, not because of exceptional power or strength. The ten clans were actually roughly equal to one another in terms of power before their inclusion into the empire, and remain to be outside of Senate politics. In addition, while some Sheren clans have specialties inside the realm of magic it is much more uniformly distributed and all magic was believed to be inherited from the Hydra and the Great Lord of Heaven, though after their inclusion into the empire changes have occurred: notably the introduction of black magic.


The Sheren were the second to last group to enter the Empire, and their inclusion was some 2500 years ago. Only the Niuren remained unconquered, but the Sheren had entered into the empire willingly. The Guoren Emperor claimed to be a direct descendent of the son of the Great Lord of Heaven, a claim that had been perpetuated for hundreds of years before the empire was even founded. Cultural and religious overlap in their mythologies allowed for a near peaceful integration of the Sheren clans. The Emperor claiming to be descended from the individual that helped spawn your entire people is an easy motivator if sincerely believed. It was, oddly, by both parties. The Huoren were not sure and had a long history of warfare with the Sheren clans, but after peace between subjects was reaffirmed they welcomed the Sheren to largely cool welcome. The Shuren, however, merely believed that this was a ploy used to gain power over the East and found the perceived lack of honesty, even behind closed doors, from their Guoren peers rather condemnable. This culminated in another war, but it was much shorter compared to the other Guoren-Shuren conflicts. A lasting influence of this conflict is the fact that the Shuren and the Sheren do not get along.


The Three Kuira Clans:
Ninaku
Fusaka
Atafu


The Seven Ite Clans:
Maniko
Sanichi
Rokue
Mayata
Inika
Yafuari
Wirakochi


Sheren society is divided into different parts: There are the head of the clans, which operate along the lines of feudal tribes and elected kings. The kings are chosen through a mixture of ritual and sacrifice as well as being nominated as a strong and pious candidate, which is then interpreted by the mystics and Fuwakasi objects. Fuwakasi objects are enchanted artifacts which can test, draw out, or manipulate a being’s inner energy and spirit. Fuwakasi objects are impossible to destroy and the spells that were used to create them have been lost to time. Some believe that they were first created by the Great Lord of Heaven, the Queen Goddess, and the King God. While the oldest are unaccountable, the most recently created Fuwakasi was a gift created by the Oracle Euhimiuse of the Rokue clan to the Guoren Emperor upon the inclusion of the Sheren.


An Oracle is a great Shaman or Mystic that is recognized by three Sheren clans as the premier authority on ritual, magic, the power of their raw emotion, and their ability to predict and cause change. As such there can never be more than three Oracles at a time, and often there will be less than three. There is no clan requirement or even magic alignment to become a sage. Only their resolve, power, and ability to read the stars. A new kind of foresight is developed in a way that is given to a combination of Green and Red magics – the ability to recognize the flow and order of the world and what causes it to change. Often resulting in it being changed on emotional grounds. This has allowed the Sheren to live, change, and create new environments and predict/cause disasters in the east.

As for other relevant materials:
-The Ninaku clan has four arms and three horns growing out of their forehead, they are auburn in hue that is darkest along the spine and lightest across the underbelly.
-The Fusaka clan has four arms and five horns growing out of their forehead, they are striped brown and green along their backs with a paler underbelly.
-The Atafu clan has four arms and one horn growing out of their forehead, they are a dark timber green with dark barely noticeable strips along their sides and face.
-The Maniko clan has two arms and deep eyebrow ridges, they are orange-red in color.
-The Sanichi clan has two arms and two horns growing out of their forehead, they are pale yellow in color with white strips.
-The Rokue clan has two arms and three horns growing out of their forehead, they are auburn in color with deep white strips.
-The Mayata clan has two arms and three horns growing out of their forehead, they are brown with patterned green and vermillion stripes.
-The Inika clan has two arms, one horn growing out of their forehead, and noticeable eyebrow ridges, they are reddish-brown in color with black strips.
-The Yafuari clan has two arms and four horns growing out of their forehead, they are yellow-red in color.
-The Wirakochi clan has two arms with smooth foreheads and eyebrows, they are pale yellow and green in color.
-Sheren clans normally only spawn within the clan, but it is possible for them to reproduce with other clans. The resulting hatchlings are then divided amongst their clans upon noticing of differentiation.
-Sheren normally lay 12 eggs, but can lay as many as 30 or as few as 3.
-Sheren magic includes beast mastery, artifact destruction, illusions, expansive growth, enchantment, a form of divination, elemental creation, environment creation, environment destruction, the channeling of destructive energies and creative energies, as well as the ability to enhance the abilities of other members of the clans.
-The Sheren revere the Kala Chelona as being a creature as old as the nameless Hydra, and the Sheren have some communicable relationship with the Tortoise.
-There are three creatures that the Sheren find religious or spiritual – The Bird which symbolizes heaven, the Puma which symbolizes the earth, and the Snake which symbolizes being, life, and rebirth. The three are not mutually exclusive concepts to the Sheren.
-The Sheren are friendly with the Guoren, but are antagonistic to the other three peoples.
-The Sheren have a form of Bushido, but it is different to that practiced in other peoples and in Kamigawa.
-The Sheren normally live in thick forests along mountain slopes, within the trees themselves creating entire villages above the ground.
-Some Sheren are notable in the Empire outside of the East, they are normally restricted to a few big cities but their nature leaves them rarely good for settled living.
-Sheren, while loyal to their clans, are rigidly independent in nature and can often leave for decades at a time on their own or in groups before returning.
-Sheren have an average life expectancy of about 80 years, though many die much younger than that. A few, with the assistance and mastery of magic, can live up to 150 years.
-The Sheren have entire pantheons of gods and goddesses, of which the King God and Queen Goddess are near the top and the Great Lord of Heaven above all. The reigning Emperor is normally included within the pantheon, as is the founding emperor, as well as the first son of heaven.
-Sheren are the least culturally assimilated group amongst the peoples of the empire.
-There are no other Sheren on the plane.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

And I need a second because there was more than 65,000 characters.


[spoiler=Houren]


Anthropomorphic Monkeys, cross between Hanuman and Sun Wukong
Main Colors
Secondary Colors
Diffusive Colors
Not Found in

Naming Conventions:
Turkish Forename
Roman/Latin Surname

Cherry-Picked Zodiac Influence:
Inventor, motivator, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, dignified, competitive, intellectual, vain, reckless, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, and suspicious.


Loose Ideas for Houren:

Houren are the third most populous group within, though the Niuren are not far behind. Houren were a part of the Empire since its founding, but they were never the subjects that the Shuren were. Their loyalty to the state was one of contract or to a patron, not unflinching obedience and rigid social hierarchy. Instead they were mercantile in nature and seemed to drift from place to place without much restriction. Unlike the Shuren and Sheren, Houren are not so rigidly clan orientated. Obedience or unflinching kinship are not hallmarks of the clans, though the children are expected to respect and follow the wishes of their parents and bonds of kinship create fast friendships and alliances. Its freer and looser though the relationships are somewhat similar. Instead the Houren are communally based and highly social. While in poor taste or near unthinkable for a Shuren to care for the sick or injured who had harmed someone of their clan, it is common for a Houren to do so without much of a second thought unless the harm was grievous in nature and the injury not life threatening.

That does not mean that Houren are a collection of altruistic benevolence. As soon as the person became healthy the person who helped them would smile and ask for a fee, turning sour if the fee cannot be provided or is less than expected. Houren culture in the center-east of the Empire is deeply reliant on trade, commerce, patronage, and contract. Trade sates the near intrinsic desire to grow and expand that many Houren are practically born with. For the most part the trade and commercial practices command stiff but fair prices, and so long as there is no cheating involved the man who sold his house for a sundial will smile, provided the sundial is worth it in his view. Yet since the Empire has expanded far beyond the center, new ideas and thoughts have entered into Houren practices. While not so strong in the center east, elsewhere in the cities and particularly in the south it is not uncommon for them to have learned what it is to be cheated and to cheat in return. A once vast and honest trade has since been slowly tainted by manipulated numbers, inflated values, and deceptive Houren who have learned, perhaps too well, from the company they have kept. As such in the center east there is always some heir of suspicion surrounding distant traders.

Perhaps as an evolution of that system, Houren have come to honor contract and patronage near above all else. Patronage creates a sense of community and the old Houren Kings and nobility often provided the care of those under their rule if there was a need or if they noticed some latent potential. A great many painters, inventors, scholars, and musicians have grown to great fame under the tutelage and patronage of the nobility. When the Empire subdued the last of the Houren kings the practice continued and the Empire took hold of that practice and fostered it for their own. The Empire also provided defense and assistance in times of need, security from the wicked, and a new and larger community. It was a transitioned made easier by the fact that the Empire had been forged with Houren as well as Shuren and Guoren hands. The contracts that a patron signs are as solid a foundation as the rock and earth for the lands, or so it has been said. A contract is a man's written word, and one's word to a Houren is worth more than anything material.

There have been a number of wars between Houren and the Empire, often Houren against Houren when it came to that, when it appeared as though the Empire broke its contract or an Emperor failed in his duties to the Houren. A maelstrom of blades, arrows, and horse sweep across the lands when such a war comes, but such a conflict has occurred in over five hundred years. In a way it can be blamed on a certain amount of earthly knowledge gained by harsh lessons. The Houren cannot hope to stand against the Emperor, this was plainly proven twenty-four times. A twenty-fifth lesson was not needed. Another factor is that Houren have learned that there is deception in the world and the shock and betrayal that comes with it has lessened over the thousands of years. The third major factor is that the Houren have become inseparable from the Empire itself, more than half of the Houren no longer live in their ancestral lands. They live in the capital, along the great southern river, and to the north with its many tributaries. Houren are amongst the more common sights if one travels to the west, and amongst the city-states and kingdoms that stretch along the great western seas.

Clans amongst the Houren were ill defined before the Empire, and even iller before their extensive contact with the Guoren and Shuren. Instead every Houren had five names. Their given name, their parent's names, their paternal grandfather's, and maternal grandmothers. In the misty realm of ancient history some of these names were "frozen" and did not change with the passing generation, only the given name was altered and from these the first clans formed. Such a frozen name typically arose amongst the nobility and those important to the community and gained repute, but for the common people the names still changed frequently with every generation and even first cousins lost track of one another. Upon the foundation of the Empire Houren were encouraged to change their clan name conventions amongst the honored families, while the peasantry were allowed to maintain their names as they always had. Houren then chose names from the Imperial Language and their clans were firmly established. Cadet branches and illegitimate lines split apart and their ranks demoted.

The Five Houren Kingdoms that remained independent upon the foundation of the Empire that eventually were folded into the state by conquest or peaceful subduction chose names after the color of their standards. The words for Yellow, Blue, Red, White, and Black became their family names and the main branches of that family were counted amongst the first rank. Each were permitted two cadet branches amongst the second peerage, some with names like Yellow Sword or Blue White. Lesser Cadet branches and the main families of the Houren who had been with the Empire since its founding are amongst the other ranks, which have most of the remaining clans of prestige, wealth, or influence. Yet, Houren numbers are smaller in comparison to Guoren or Shuren and as such they make up less than 10% of the eligible families as others drown them out in sheer weight of numbers.


Assorted Facts:
-Houren and Sheren were at war before the founding, and the war continued well after it. Since the inclusion of the Sheren into the empire the fighting has been forced to a much lower scale. Bad blood persists between the two peoples within their homelands. Outside those feelings fade away or are forgotten for newer ones, often times Houren officials and military leaders in the east will be appointed and trained from families from the west.
-First Tier Houren Honored Families used to be made up of those families that were with the Empire at its founding and were peers to the first of the kingdoms subdued by the empire. When all of the Houren bordering the empire were integrated the royalty assumed the first rank and the former first rank became lower in the hierarchy. As time went on those new found second tier families main lines died off, lost favor with the empire, merged into other families, or made a great trek west. The last four of the original families were demoted in the last great civil war in the empire.
-The First Tier Honored Families are: Flavum, Caerum, Rubra, Albus, and Atrum.
-Each of the First Ranked Honored Families for the Houren have two cadet branches, which in turn have four cadet branches, and sixteen further branches. Upon the death of the main line each of those branches moves up and adopts the family name of the dead house. All Cadet Branches contain the family name of the primary branch.
-Houren families do not specialize in magic in a general sense, though some specialize in different forms of combat. The Caerum excel in mounted archery, the Atrum in the ways of Spears, and Flavum specializes in the use of enchanted swords.
-Houren family names change depending on the tongue they are spoken, in a sense the family name is not the word but its representation.
-Houren are not particularly religious in a general sense, though there are religious houren. Their mythology was disorganized and self contradictory, and after the establishment of the empire and the "unification" of the Houren much of it died away or became fantasy to inspire actions rather than indicative of truth.
-Houren were not particularly fond of Angels and are amongst the most skeptical of their existence after their disappearance.
-Houren do not worship or revere any particular patron deity and unlike all other peoples within the empire regard the status of the emperor and empire as lacking in divine status. Business, not faith.
-Houren have since their inclusion within the empire travelled in large numbers to the west and are the second most common group of people along the shores of the western seas. Some of the republics, collectives, and kingdoms there are predominately Houren in population leading many to doubt that Houren are, in fact, solely native to the empire.
-Some Houren have learned various forms of Bushido and Ninjitsu like techniques, but those are not native to the Houren. Instead Houren rely on more direct physical styles and enchantments that enhance them.
-Houren have an average lifespan of 60 years, with magical assistance they can live to be 180 under the right circumstances.
-Houren are (obviously) found elsewhere on this plane.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Does anyone have any ideas, thoughts, criticisms, or suggestions for this plane? I'm eager to hear your thoughts on this.

What should I write about next? What do you like or dislike? I don't know if I'm doing the best work I could be.

Thanks!

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Does anyone have any ideas, thoughts, criticisms, or suggestions for this plane? I'm eager to hear your thoughts on this.

What should I write about next? What do you like or dislike? I don't know if I'm doing the best work I could be.

Thanks!

No ideas at all? A paranoid man might think that everyone has lost interest in this.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Reposting,

Sure, I am more than happy to answer your questions and hold off until after the 9th to really get into things. First thing though, I would just like to thank you for having actually read through everything. I really appreciate it. That you're even giving a few general reactions is really fantastic, even if it seems as though the board is going to wipe it clean soon. 

The Empire doesn't have a whole continent. It spreads from a great northern desert (which it only has some minor control over its southern half) and stretches south to cold tempest ridden seas in the south where there are only some rocks and small islands that the empire has very little control over beyond the shore. To the east there is a transition from a plain and gently flowing hills into forests, then from forests into jungles, and then from jungles into jagged hot mountains. The empire exerts only a small amount of influence nearing the mountains and none beyond that. To the west the empire at one point reached the great western sea and had contact with a few petty kingdoms and republics. The empire no longer reaches that far and its western regions are only lightly populated. Its corners are more abstract. To the southwest the Empire ends with tundra and frozen marsh, to the southeast it ends at marshes where almost nothing lives, to the northeast there is a transition zone to desert that is hardly mapped out let alone governed, and to the northwest there are tall mountains that are always shrouded in thick clouds. Rain from the western seas is brought up to those mountains and from there many of the tributaries that eventually form the river come from.

Hopefully that doesn't leave you even more confused.

----

The five patron deities are very powerful and intelligent creatures that have an ancient and now forgotten pact with the peoples of the empire and the being that would become known as the Great Lord of Heaven. The five patron deities are Luseryu, Safeda Namer, Anka Kuşu, Kala Chelona, and Huang Long.

Luseryu is an Kamigawa-esque (or eastern) dragon, green, blue, and black. He is the sire of the relatively peaceful breed of dragons in the southern part of the empire. He is the patron deity of the south and is especially revered by the Shuren.

Safeda Namer was a White Tiger, the oldest and largest of the breed and the only known sapient tiger on the plane. He died facing off against a small horde of large and nasty dragons. He was the patron deity of the north, especially revered by the Niuren, and was red, white, and blue.

Anka Kuşu is the eldest and most powerful phoenix in existence and occasionally believed to be the root of all phoenixes on the plane. Originally the patron deity of the west, after the death of Safeda Namer she moved north. While she is known to be intelligent, Anka Kuşu has not communicated with any humanoid form of life in living memory, nor for many generations before that. Red and white.

Kala Chelona is a massive black tortoise that has not been seen or heard from since it moved further east to combat the mounting threat of wurms and the few dragons that roam there. Kala Chelona is the patron deity of the east and hold a special place of reverance for the Sheren. It is believed to have died since it has been many centuries since it was last seen. Some of its protective defensive magics are still in place being a cause for hope. Kala Chelona is blue, red, and green.

Huang Long was an eastern yellow dragon. In one of the wars early on in the founding of the empire, Huang Long was a mount for the son of heaven. After the Son of Heaven's death, Huang Long became the patron deity of the center and the imperial clan. Each generation of leadership was bestowed great power, strength, and long life by the Dragon's influence. Huang Long disappeared after a civil war divided the empire into two halves within the imperial clan. It is believed that Huang Long died, but its not certain.

----

The Empire is pretty peaceful now. The endless wars of Angels against Demons ended abruptly half a millennium ago with their disappearance. The Dragon raids have become infrequent and the dragons themselves appear to be dying off slowly. Rebellion isn't an issue any more, though there is always a possibility of a civil war over succession that has been lessened as well. The greatest concern for the empire as a whole is maintenance. It is thousands of miles across in every direction spreading out from the capital and it covers a vast range of geography, peoples, and each with their own unique problems. Even with mandatory service required of the inhabitants the job is simply too large to maintain and that creates problems. Elections for senate take place a year or two in advance depending on how far away they are simply to take in travel times. The further from the center you go the greater the danger and the more the land and its creatures seem out to kill you.

The most major building threat beyond that is the Wurms. Wurms bigger and more powerful than most Dragons. There are more of them venturing from the east every passing year and they travel both above and below the earth. The Wurms also have some measure of intelligence, perhaps even smarter than the average humanoid, but the levels of existence as so far off that only the most powerful can even force themselves to be heard. Even then its nearly impossible to get the point across. They are incredibly difficult to subdue with even the most advanced magics and military arts at their disposal and the empire is losing ground there. The empire is helped by the idea that the Wurms simply don't even truly notice human civilization. Its not a concentrated effort to pillage and destroy, but simply to move west and as far west as they can go. This begs a different question though, and that answer could prove to be the single greatest threat to the empires continued existence. Still fuzzy on that.

------

The reigning emperor gives up their name upon ascending to the throne. This has political and religious reasonings behind it and is an influence from Chinese and Japanese culture. I would say more, but I think I've made a big enough wall of text as it is.

Hey Everyone, if you have a few minutes I'd like to point you to two links that you might find interesting. The first is a plane of my own creation that is still in the works. I am always happy for some assistance in working on it.

The second is a link to the oldest continuously running contest in the You Make the Card forum. It is truly a contest like no other. It is faithfully run by a handful of regulars who are always kind and open to any new comers, please drop by and check it out if you're interested in making cards!

Hey, Fake.

So, I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to do about this whole "new site" thing. I want to stay around for the people and the projects, like you and yours, but I' seriously pretty annoyed by almost everything that was done.

Either way, I've bookmarked this thread, so I'll try to come up with some stuff for you in the next few days (hopefully). But until they fix the thread bump thing, we will probably see even LESS traffic through here, just as a warning.

Shameless Self-Promotion

These are the MTG Fiction pieces I have written:

Planes of the Dual-Walkers
Allo's Fortnight
The Butcher's Cleaver
Dead Man 'Walking
Showdown
Pariah
Deals and Devils
The Tears of the Djinn
Cromat Comes
Kiss of the Shorecerers
Numerous poems in The Poetry Plane
Magic: The Musical

Please read and comment! I love hearing people's thoughts and reactions to my work!