Sanction of the Athar
Benefit: It takes four failed death saving throws to kill you, rather than the normal three.
Benefit: Being trained in a skill grants you a +6 bonus to the skill in question, rather than the typical +5 bonus.
In the far southwestern portion of Koar’s western subcontinent, the Buandazi Empire considers itself one of the world’s great powers. The views of other nations on this subject are somewhat more reserved. Certainly the Empire was a powerful nation it its heyday, but centuries have passed since then, and by any objective terms, Buandar culture has slipped into decline.
Eleven hundred years ago, the Buandazi Empire was founded by the king of one of one of more than three dozen tiny fragmented states that controlled what is present day Buandazi and New Silverheim. Not unjust, but at the same time, unbound by any particular sense of morality or righteousness, King Buandaz IV organized his neighbors along a common political axis, and set about absorbing or conquering the entire region.
A bare twenty years later, Buandaz IV’s coalition controlled all it surveyed, and the Senate – nominal controlling body of the territory’s government – confirmed his leadership, naming him Emperor Buandaz I, and officially naming the lands under their governance in his honor. As Emperor, Buandaz ruled well, seeing to matters of military import while allowing the Senate which he had established to handle all the routine of civilian life.
At this juncture, one might expect a fall, but none was to come. Over the centuries since its founding, the Empire has simply slumped as both a political power and a culture. The bounty of wood, metal, and building stone the once drove Buandar trade has been tapped out – not to the point of privation, but enough to stifle exportation – and the Empire’s always lax moral views have given rise to decadence and depravity of every sort.
Politics & Society
The descendents of Buandaz IV’s line possessed his intellect and political savvy, but many of them have not possessed his sense of values. His great grandson, Buandaz VII, was the first of this sort. Trading on his political influence to bolster the family coffers, Buandaz VII implemented political changes which can be held in large part responsible for the current state of affairs.
Under Buandaz VII’s reign, indentured servitude, the buying of political favors, and the keeping of private military forces were all given precedent under the law. Changes ostensibly made to “insure economic stability, bolster national security, and secure the continuity of government,” which ultimately resulted in the rise of the very wealthy into the ranks of the political elite. Where once the Emperor and Senate had seen to the betterment of the Buandar people, now they saw to themselves.
Although from time to time over the years, an Emperor or ambitious Senator has attempted to launch a return to the politics of the Empire’s golden age, it is the rich who rule now, and so it seems likely to remain. The current emperor – Sectumn XXI – apparently complicit in the political dealings of his Senate, has called for a revival of past glories, but rather than harkening back his own predecessors, he calls Buandazi a revival of the mighty Empire of Sul’Amon.
Though an apparently noble goal, for the Empire of Sul’Amon was undeniably great its time, the subtext of this is clear: Sectumn XXI wishes to spread the power and influence of his nation by conquest. Sul’Amon was the great culture of The Imperial Epoch, but it was also the greatest military power of its day, and conquered nearly the whole of Koar by the sword, not the word. Of course, historians caution, it was also the only nation in history more corrupt than the modern Buandazi Empire, and it was the Sul’Amoni ambition for power that lead to The Betrayal and the end of an age.
Geography & Features
Situated on the southwest corner of Koar, along the Bladewind Coast, the bulk of the Buandazi Empire is composed of rolling hill country, interspersed with broad river valleys. In the south east, ridges of golden sandstone, cracked and upturned, run along the coast of the Wing Seas, the start of the topsy-turvy landscape of The Sun Hills on the subcontinent’s southern tip. To the north, the foothills between the southern climbs of The Bladewind Mountains and the Gael Peaks on the western coast come together to form The Emperor’s Gap, a narrow band of hills that offers passage into New Silverheim.
The Empire does a brisk trade along both the western Bladewind coast, and the eastern coast along The White Sea. While the white sea coast, with its proximity to Tanarel in The Trader’s League, and it’s access to the profitable markets of The New Sea beyond is the more profitable coast, the western shore doesn’t lag far behind. The products of the Empire’s fertile river valleys and northern mines are carried down The River Brend by ship, and the southern Bladewind has grown fat off the profits of the trade up and down the river to the capital.
Straddling the River Bran, Buandar is the Empire’s greatest city and capital. Though notable cities populate the Buandazi coasts and borders, none are so ancient or great as Buandar itself. The city lies at the center of the nation in both a political, and geographic sense, and has been the sight of civilization since at least the end of the Imperial Epoch. The city’s underbelly is caverns, tunnels, sewers, and pipe works, the accumulation, burrows, and backfill of thousands of years of uninterrupted human development.
Politics & Diplomacy
The Buandazi Empire is fortunate in that it’s three closest neighbors are content, for one reason or another, to mind their own territory, and show no intentions of invading. Given the declining political state of the Empire, it is an open question whether her – admittedly well trained – legions would be able to repel any serious attempt to conquer the long held realm. On the whole however, the Empire’s lack of political credibility has had the benefit of making them no country’s enemy, at the cost of being no country’s friend.
The Empire’s most closest neighbor is New Silverheim, to the north. Part of Buandazi territory for more than eight hundred years, the Empire’s political structure had long since grown too unwieldy to manage the huge space. On these grounds, emperor Septnal III arranged the sale of the territory to the Dwarfs of Silverheim some three centuries ago, and divided the vast proceeds amongst his political cronies. Though the decision has been a key political issue ever since, the Dwarfs have developed the fledgling nation into one of one of the Empire’s most lucrative trading partners, and their closest military ally.
To the Empire’s east, over land through the arduous passes of the southern Bladewind mountains, or (more commonly) by ship across the White Sea, the Trader’s League is by an order of magnitude the Buandazi Empire’s greatest partner in commerce. The nation shared by both Demons and Devils in exile during The Age of the Dead, the League has always been too conflicted and individualistic to threaten its neighbors, and too greedy to turn away their merchants. The Empire is a major supplier of food and manufactured goods to the League, while the League supplies the Empire with shipments of exotic goods and slaves, who are leased into terms of indentured servitude on Buandazi soil.
The Buandazi Empire’s final and most enigmatic neighbor is the Sun Hills, on the sub-continent’s southern tip. Although not a formalized nation, it has become widely known in the time since the dissolution of The Seal that the nearly uninhabitable territory was the domain secretly controlled by the Angels, Devas, and other beings of the upper planes during the Age of the Dead. Though the greatest of the upper-planar beings have now departed to rejoin their kin, the area still hosts a small population of those who have chosen to stay behind, and the Empire maintains informal relations with the Deva cities along the Wing Seas, hoping to tap a new market for trade.