D&D 5th Edition
The Arcadian Empire
The Arcadian Empire is the largest human civilization on the continent of Esrahlia. The Empire has existed for almost a thousand years, and stretches hundreds of miles of territory.
At first the Empire was but a single city, Arcadia, nestled beside the great river of Mora. In ancient times the city warred against it’s neighboring city-states, bands of marauding orcs, goblins, and many other threats. It steadily conquered its surroundings and integrated them into what became known as the Empire today.
People of the Empire:
Humans make up a majority of the Empire’s population, but it is not uncommon to encounter other races such as elves, halflings, dwarves, and others within its borders.
Most inhabitants of the Empire refer to themselves as, “Citizens of the Empire” or “Imperial Citizens”, but only Humans refer to themselves as Arcadians, the descendants of the original people of the city itself.
The Empire is ruled by an emperor, descendant from the first kings of the original city, Arcadia. At first wielding absolute power, there are now many forms of checks and balances within the government. A separate council, one for Nobles and one for Citizens, work together with the Emperor within the Imperial Bureaucracy to maintain order and law. Each province elects a number of persons to represent them in the Councils, both Citizens (commoners, lowborn folk) and Nobles (aristocracy, lords, etc).
Imperial law is practical and effective, extending to all citizens within the Empires borders. Slavery is outlawed within the Empire, although some provinces still practice a form of serfdom. Each citizen has basic rights, regardless of class, and can move up (or down) the social classes through merit, ability, or chance.
Each province is governed by a Grand Duke, most often a hereditary title but some provinces elect theirs through votes by both nobleman and commoner.
Cities vary in their leadership but most are led by a nobleman as governor assisted by Imperial advisers and staff.
The countrysides of the provinces are also filled with small castles of minor lords and nobles. They own large tracts of land and often villages that the common citizens live in. For the yearly taxes in goods and services to the lord, he maintains order and protects the citizens within his lands.
It is not uncommon for these minor country lords to wage war on or raid one another, and even Grand Dukes have fought among themselves. In troubled times there have even been Grand Dukes bold enough to rebel against the Emperor, indeed the Empire has seen its share of civil wars.
The state religion of the Empire is often called, “The Divine Light” and follows the worship of three principal deities:
“God of light and order”
Alignment: Lawful Good
Domains: Light, War
Symbol: Golden sun behind a sword, pointed downwards
“Goddess of life and fertility”
Alignment: Neutral Good
Domains: Life, Nature
Symbol: A hand holding stalks of grain or flowers
“God of knowledge and death”
Alignment: Neutral Good
Domains: Knowledge, Death
Symbol: An open scroll with a skull in front
These three deities make up the primary religion of Empire. However as their borders grew and new peoples were absorbed, Arcadians embraced numerous other deities both large and small. Most are only worshiped within a particular city or province. So long as a deity is not evil or undermines the unity of the Empire, these traditions are tolerated without persecution by the state.
Far more numerous and widespread are those that continue to follow the Old Faith. An ancient religion centered around the spirits and forces of nature, the Old Faith is practiced by common folk and noble-born alike. It is strongest it in the more rural and wild provinces where people live closer to the land than those in the cities. Druids are their primary holy men who travel the lands performing the sacred rituals at harvest times, new years, and other important holy days. This religion is also officially tolerated by the Empire, but it does not prevent some city folk from considering it old fashioned and primitive.