Thaytis is a seaside empire, famous for its imperial history, the cunning
and treachery of its leaders, the decadence of its entertainment’s, and the might of its army. In many ways, it resembles
the Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire when its armies were achieving their greatest victories and its court was well into its
The Empire of Thyatis consists of the Kingdom of Thyatis, the Pearl Islands
(an island nation with a predominately black population), the western half of the Isle of Dawn (an island settled by humans
from many different races), Ochalea (an island settled by descendants of the mysterious, copper-skinned easterners called
Alphatians), and the Hinterlands (the northern jungle fringe of the southern continent). Here, we’ll deal only with
the nation of Thyatis, heart of the empire.
Thyatis is mostly flatland (with mountains bordering it to the north and
running through the Island of Hattias to the south). The further west you go, the greener things are; the western border is
Thyatis borders the Emirates of Ylaruam to the north (and is normally unfriendly
with them), Karameikos to the west (and remains friendly, although one day it will conquer that kingdom), and the Minrothad
Guilds to the southwest (and remains friendly, trade relations are cordial). Elsewhere, the nation is bounded by seas, which
have helped Thyatis become an important naval power with a tradition both of trade and piracy.
Thincol I (Thincol Torion), Thincol was once a very famous gladiator in Thyatis
City. Many years ago, during an invasion from the far-away empire of Alphatia, Thincol seized control of the city’s
troops and repelled the invaders. He later married the daughter of the emperor (who was slain in the invasion). Thincol is
still a great fighter; he is also an accomplished politician in the Thyatian tradition of deception, cunning, and treachery.
The people of Thyatis admire fighting ability above all else. They tend to
be clever traders. Their politicians, merchants and ambitious military officers tend to be none to trustworthy, but the common
adventurers are reliable enough.
The capital and greatest city of the Empire is Thyatis City, population 600,000.
Thaytis City is justly renowned for the magnificence of its marble architecture and the sophistication and decadence of its
noble ruling class.
Thyatis City is the empire’s greatest seaport, with an enclosed and
defended harbor, and is the seat of the empire’s trade and naval fleets. Like ancient Rome at the height of the Roman
Empire, it is a vibrant, teeming city whose population is so great that it strains against the very walls, whose people are
enthralled by gladiatorial spectacle (the Coliseum seats nearly one-tenth of the city population at a time), and whose Senate
is virtually a school for intrigue and deception.
Adventurers in Thyatis can arise out of the empire’s efforts to keep
subject states in line, to conquer new territories, and to explore new territories to conquer. PCs adventuring in Thyatis
need to be cautious about how they deal with employers and nobles; taking care to make it hard or unprofitable for their employers
to betray them.
The young man with the
unruly mop-top of red hair stood at the ship's rail. Land had been sighted, a few minutes ago, the hilly southern tip of mainland
Thyatis; but the deepening twilight was making the promontory increasingly difficult to see. Landfall tomorrow, they
promised. Thyatis City within two days. The redhead grimaced.
Another man stepped to
the rail-a black man, a Pearl Islander. He wore Thyatian dress, his thigh-length tunic and trousers sky-blue embroidered in
white, his belt and boots shining black, his cloak black without and royal blue within. His hair was graying, and age
had a firm hold on him, but he carried himself well; he walked gracefully, spoke clearly. "I see you're a Hinterlander," the
islander said, conversationally.
The redhead grunted. With
his screaming red hair, his broad and elaborately maintained mustachios, tunic and trousers mismatched in color, and
buskin footwear, he could hardly be anything else. "Name's Dylan," he said disinterestedly, still watching distant
Thyatis fade into the darkness.
"Tanarobi Nuar, at your
service," the islander replied. "I am with the Pearl Island
consulate in Thyatis City."
He followed Dylan's gaze ahead, tried to read what lay in the younger man's face. "Is this your first time in Thyatis,
Dylan nodded. "First time
anywhere, but the Hinterlands."
"Would you care for me
to tell you of Thyatis? I know the land well. I've traveled to all the reaches of the Empire, and beyond to foreign
capitals as well."
Dylan gave the islander
a close look. Had the man guessed at Dylan's state of nervousness, at the trepidation he felt at leaving his homeland
to seek fame and fortune in the heart of the Empire? Tanarobi's face didn't reveal any such prescience...
"Yes, citizen, I would
appreciate that," Dylan said heavily. "What will I find here? Are the Thyatians here so different from those who rule
my land? Where is there money and honor to be earned?"
What Everyone Knows About Thyatis
Observations of a Pearl Islander
"Slow your pace, young
Dylan. I'll answer what I can ... at a more comfortable rate.
"I do not know how the
Thyatian military men governing your land act. Since the Hinterlands were conquered only recently, and the Thyatian soldiers
there must be spending much of their time putting down rebellions-don't bridle so-I can guess that they're harsh and
demanding in your own land.
"You'll find them a bit
different on the mainland. You'll be a novelty, and they'll press you for songs and stories of your native land. You might
earn a good living as a bard-you don't sing, do you? No? Pity. You may find that your style of dress sets new
fashions here, as unfortunate as that might be ... the Thyatians love new styles of clothing and jewelry. I can only
imagine that your vast mustache will be eagerly imitated very soon.
"Oh, but make no mistake;
the Thyatians are warlike here, on their native shores, as anywhere. They love to fight, and to watch fights. Have you
thought about trying the gladiatorial life? You'll make a lot of money, but only for a short time ... unless you're a
very, very good fighter. But, come to think of it, that's a reputation you Hinterlanders have, isn't it?
"They have three great
cities. Thyatis City
is the most magnificent of them, the very axis of the Empire, into which the riches of foriegn lands flow in a steady stream.
Westward is Kerendas, where the greatest horsemen are trained, and eastward is Tel Akbir, a city which still has the colors
and flavors of the Alasiyans who built it centuries ago. Lesser cities it has too, such as once-proud Hattias, Port Lucinius
where the navy has its heart, Julinius on the river, Foreston where the elves visit, and sheltered Biazzan.
"What? Yes, I said elves.
There are many elves in Thyatis. I told you the Thyatians liked exotic peoples. You'll find elves there, native born
and foreign, and dwarven mercenaries and craftsmen, and halfling sailors from the far west, and more besides. Don't be surprised.
"And don't be offended,
either, by peoples' actions and customs which you find repellent or grotesque. First, you must gauge what the person
intends with his actions ... and if his intent is friendly, or at least neutral, try to take no offense. You may find
yourself performing one of your own peoples' customs and realize that you've come within a hair's breadth of offending some
important person-and only this fashion of accepting foreign customs until their intent is learned will have saved you from
death, or worse than death.
"What? Employment? I take
it you're a warrior? You might try the military; if you're smart and efficient-they love efficiency-you could
go far. There's the arena, as I mentioned before; a certain few gladiators become great and rich and retire young. And
there are always mad ventures to find: Treasure hunting, monster-seeking, exploring new lands ... I'm no warrior, and
I've seen plenty of scrapes just doing ordinary diplomatic service with the damned Alphatians.
"It's full dark,
now, and time for this old man to retire for the night. And don't fret about the Thyatians. Ever since your land fell to them
... you have been a Thyatian. I'll tell you more on the morrow. Good night, citizen."
Observations of a Dawn Islander
Scarce had Tanarobi left
before another stepped to Dylan's side, a dark-skinned, copper-haired woman in a gown of forest green. With her fan, she gestured
after the departing Pearl Islander. "Forgive my boldness, Hinterlander, but I am offended by that man's cheerful acceptance
of the conquest of your land ... and his, and mine.
"I am Lyarette from Helskir,
on the Isle of Dawn. It's the most northerly city on the island, and has been hotly contested for by both Thyatis and
Alphatia for a thousand years. We of Helskir have seen the Thyatians and Alphatians at their best and worst ... and I
can tell you, I prefer Alphatians at their worst to Thyatians at their best.
"Why? Read between the
lines of what that Pearl Islander told you! The Thyatians are-" her voice lowered so that it would not carry to the ship's
Thyatian crew- "all liars and cheats who delight in murder and humiliation.
"The Islander said that
the Thyatians have great cities. It's true, if you count greatness by the press of numbers. They keep most of their population
in vast tenements, filthy in the extreme. If you don't have enough money to purchase a great villa, you live in the tenements
with sewage in the streets and a great wall of noise pressing upon you all the day long.
"The Islander said nothing
to you about the treachery of the Thyatians. These are the most treacherous peoples in all the world! Let me give you a rule
to live by: A Thyatian's honor depends on advantage. As long as it's still to his advantage to keep his word, he will do so. As soon as it is no longer to his benefit, his word, his contract, his oath become
meaningless. What you must do is keep your eyes open and, when you see that circumstances have changed and it's no longer
to the Thyatians' best interest to keep their word, prepare yourself for betrayal."
She fanned herself and
gave Dylan a mocking smile. "Welcome to Thyatis," said she, and moved on.
following day, as the ship cruised north along the west coast of the Island
of Hattias, Tanarobi again told Dylan of the Thyatians.
strange customs of these peoples are not so odd when you know how they came to be. I will tell you of their past, as their
scholars teach it to their young. It is a tale long in the telling...
their earliest days, the Thyatians lived far to the south ...”
In the Time Before History
Long before the Thyatians
learned to write, they lived on the southern continent. They weren't called Thyatians then; each tribe had its own name. They
were so fierce and warlike that it is said that they did not laugh at Death, they laughed with him.
In those times, the three
greatest tribes were led by three brother-kings named Thyatis, Kerendas, and Hattias. Sailors of their day had discovered
that a beautiful land lay to the north and north-east, and so the kings decided to forge themselves new kingdoms there.
They built ships and sailed across the unfriendly body of water which separated the two lands. The crossing was long and dangerous,
and great storms killed many tribesmen, so the waters were named the" Sea
of Dread" by those who survived.
The three tribes settled
these lands and built cities named after their kings: Thyatis, Kerendas, and Hattias.
The Days of
The tribes sailed everywhere,
sacking cities and terrorizing men of all nations, except one. These unafraid men were the Alphatians, cunning folk who lived
beyond the Isle of Dawn, in cities built by magic. They saw how powerful the Thyatians were and declared that they must add
these fighters to their empire, so that they could subjugate the world.
The Coming of the Alphatians
In the year of BC 192,
the Alphatians came to conquer. They sent pitiful navies and armies, but these were slaughtered to a man. They sent hordes
of monsters; these were slaughtered to the last cub. Then they sent a legion of magicians, wielding powers the Thyatians
couldn't withstand, and the Thyatians were at last humbled.
The conquerors tried to
turn the Thyatians into Alphatians. They taught the tribesmen letters, arts, music, and even magic. The Thyatians learned
all this, then discarded it and invented their own. The Thyatians learned everything the Alphatians had to teach, and improved
on it, seething within their restraints.
The Struggle for Freedom
A little more than a thousand
years ago, in BC 2, the Thyatians decided that the time was ripe for rebellion.
One Thyatian had become a mighty wizard in the Alphatian fashion; he was Lucinius Trenzantenbium. His
strongest ally was Thyatian general Zendrolion Tatriokanitas. Between them, they made a plan for Thyatian freedom. Lucinius
attacked and defeated each Alphatian wizard Thyatis, killing all, and proclaimed himself King Lucinius I of Thyatis. In the
war that followed, Lucinius and General Zendrolion beat every wave of Alphatian attackers, and stirred the other nations
ruled by the Alphatians into revolt. Eventually, the Alphatians, drained of resources, could no longer fight on
all fronts and gave up the attack. The Alphatian emperor, Alphas VI, sued for peace, and on the Isle of Dawn, a treaty was
signed between Lucinius, Alphas, and the kings of the Pearl
Islands and Ochalea.
But Zendrolion discovered
that Lucinius had been driven mad by the magics he had learned. Lucinius now planned to rule Thyatis as cruelly as the Alphatians
had, helped by the kings of the Pearl Islands
and Ochalea. Back in Thyatis City,
Zendrolion challenged his friend to a duel and killed Lucinius and those allied kings. Zendrolion took the heavy crown of
King of Thyatis and Emperor of the Empire, ruling also the Pearl
Islands and Ochalea. He raised monuments to his friend Lucinius
and named cities for the first king.
The Other Story
That is the tale as it
is taught in Thyatis. Scholars, and historians of the Pearl Islanders, Ochaleans, and others tell it a bit differently. According
to their records, Lucinius and Zendrolion assassinated all the Alphatian wizards in Thyatis, and Lucinius duelled only
one fairly, in a public display of Thyatian superiority.
Thyatis did war with Alphatia, and the other nations did rebel and fought the Alphatians on all sides.
The war continued until all nations were exhausted, and peace was arranged. Thyatis and Alphatia did sign a treaty, and
then the kings of the Pearl Islands
and Ochalea returned to Thyatis for more treaty writing. But ambitious Zendrolion murdered all three and made up the
story of Lucinius' madness.
The Empire's Early Days
Regardless, in what is
now Year 0 of the Thyatian calendar, Zendrolion was crowned Zendrolion I Tatriokanitas, Emperor of Thyatis. He quickly
moved his military in to conquer the Pearl Islands
and Ochalea; those nations, exhausted by the war with Alphatia, surrendered.
But the Thyatians discovered that, in the eyes of their new subjects, they had merely replaced the
Alphatians in the role of hated oppressors. Thyatian conquests everywhere began fierce struggles for independence. Zendrolion's
empire looked as if it would soon be gone; and upon his death (by natural causes) in AC 20, it seemed that the Empire of Thyatis
would soon be no more.
But Zendrolion's widow Valentia was more forceful and clever than anyone had thought. She seized control
and undertook emergency measures. She brought the children of the noble houses of all the subject lands to Thyatis, ostensibly
to teach them Thyatian ways, but also as a hostage-taking tactic which stalled her enemies.
Then, asking the advice
of her wisest counselors and noble hostages, she wrote the Citizens' Proclamation, the cornerstone of Thyatian law,
which set our the three classes of Thyatian society (Noble, Citizen, Slave), and established that all free Thyatians, even
those of conquered lands, were Thyatian Citizens equal in rank and rights to Citizens of Thyatis City herself.
She established a representative body of government, the Senate, with speakers from all over the Empire.
The Senate started with little power, bur conveyed the illusion that each part of the Empire had a voice in its own rule.
She restructured the Empire's judicial system, mandating a sentence of death for any- one who bribed
a judge or senator, and for any judge or senator who took a bribe, leaving the citizens with the impression that what was
fair for one was fair for all in the Empire.
These tactics slowed the movements of rebellion and allowed the Empress to hold the Empire together.
When at the end of a long and fruitful life she died, she was much respected, and is now remembered as Valentia the Justiciar.
The Bright Age
In the centuries after
Valentia, the Empire expanded and worked to make reality of Valentia's promises. The Senate, through pressure and
sometimes blackmail and murder, gained the right to be the sole body which wrote laws for the Empire. Thyatian forces entered
Ylaruam and took several Alasiyan cities, securing Thyatis' borders to the north. Arts and learning flourished;
cultures mixed in Thyatis City;
the Empire remained secure.
Far-sighted Emperors made pacts of peace with the Vyalia elves of the western Dymrak Forest; the elves began teaching their
forest spells to selected men and women called Foresters, who learned both to fight and wield magic in the fashion of
It was obvious that Thyatis would never be able to match the Alphatians in numbers of magic-users ... but,
unlike the Alphatians, the Thyatian emperors supported clerical orders, that Thyatis might be strong in clerical magic.
Hattians, the most grim of the Thyatian peoples, did not like the direction the Empire was taking. To their
way of thinking, conquered peoples were for enslaving, and races were not for mixing. The Empire was doomed unless it
was made to follow Hattian ideals; the Hattians decided to strike.
In AC 313, the Hattians rebelled, launching an army toward Thyatis. But Emperor Alexian II withstood
their siege, then scattered them with his late-arriving Kerendan cavalrymen. Hattias was occupied and its walls
torn down as a sign that it might never again pretend independence of Thyatis.
As Thyatis continued its move into Ylari lands, the northward-moving Thyatians on the Alasiyan coastline
ran into the southward-moving colonies of Alphatians; this began centuries of colonial warfare in the Alasiyan lands.
Years of Reverses
With northern expansion
stalled by the Alphatians, in the sixth century AC the Thyatians began moving west. They bypassed the Minrothad
islands and gloomy Traladara to take the pretty Ierendi islands. Initially, they established only prison colonies on these
islands, which were already inhabited by halflings.
But later, as the Alasiyan conflicts with Alphatia heated up, they seized all these islands and the halflings' lucrative
shipbuilding industry there.
This didn't last. In AC 600, the prison colonies rebelled and drove out the Thyatians. Over the next
40 years, the Thyatians tried occasionally to recapture the islands, but resistance was stiff ... and the Alphatians
were the more pressing matter.
In the eighth century, the Alasiyan war became fiercer. Whole colonies were depopulated by the
war; resources were strained. The Thyatians made one last attempt at grabbing the Ierendi chain, but the reconnoitering fleet
was ambushed and massacred by the wily Ierendians, so that plan was abandoned.
The Alphatians in Ylaruam began pushing the Thyatians out. Whole colonies were destroyed. Some Thyatians
struck out for the Flaemish territories to the far northwest; others came, disheartened, to mainland Thyatis.
In the early ninth century, an Alasiyan chieftain, Suleiman Al-Kalim, united the tribes against both empires
and drove them out with religious fervor. Thyatis held onto Tel Akbir and its small peninsula ... but Ylaruam was lost
to Thyatis. Ironically, by throwing the Thyatians back south and the Alphatians back east, the forces of Al-Kalim also
ended that 300-year-long war with Alphatia.
The Tenth Century
Around the Year 900, Emperor
Gabrionus IV began a new and glorious period of Thyatian expansion. He sent troops to Traladara, conquered that dark land,
and built a new capital, Specularum, on the site of its chief trading village. He expanded Thyatian territories on the Isle
of Dawn, then built Oceansend in Norwold.
His son, Gabrionus V, who took the throne in AC 913, was a more scholarly sort who promoted the arts and
goodwill between men but let the military slip into decline. The cunning Alphatians, of course, took much notice of this.
In 959, when the Thyatian navy was seriously under strength and Gabrionus V was an old man, the Alphatians,
under Emperor Tylion IV, attacked. They overran Newkirk and West Portage on the Isle
of Dawn and prepared to assault the Thyatian mainland. That assault came the next spring, and the Thyatians were not
able to stop it.
The siege of Thyatis City
was short and cruel. The Alphatians, with their magics, battered down the great city gates and drove like a spike to the palace,
where they slew Gabrionus V and proclaimed their victory.
At the time, the most beloved man in Thyatis City was a gladiator, an Oceansend-born Citizen called
Thincol the Brave. As the Alphatians began their looting and destruction of Thyatis
City, Thincol organized the city's surviving gladiators, mercenaries,
knightly orders and army into a massive counterattack. It was a wild, chaotic assault, so unlike the Thyatians' usual
orderly plans that the Alphatian forces couldn't deal with it. The Alphatian forces were smashed and pushed back out of the
Thincol, ambitious and clever, had rescued Gabrionus' daughter Gabriela during the palace assault.
He convinced her that the Empire now needed a strong, harsh man
(such as himself) to build
Thyatis back to glory. Convinced by the combination of his popularity, looks, ambition, ability, and rescue of her, she
consented to marry him, securing his claim on the throne. He became Thincol I Torion, Emperor of Thyatis.
While this was occurring, Oceansend declared itself independent of Thyatis; already the Alphatian
assault on Thyatis was causing more harm to the Empire. It took two years for Thincol to reclaim the lost Isle of Dawn cities.
Eight years later, Stefan Karameikos III of Machetos offered the Emperor his rich duchy in exchange for clear title to Traladara
to the west; Thincol agreed, and used those ducal lands and funds to finish the rebuilding of his military.
Ten years ago, AC 990, Thincol turned his eyes on the Hinrerlands, on rhe southern continent. Hinterlanders,
burly brures with flaming red and yellow hair, occupied those lands in numberless tribes. Thincol admired these peoples and
their lands, and decided to take them. For the ten years, his legions have taken territory after territory, tribe after tribe,
and the process will not stop until all the Hinterland barbarians are Thyatian citizens ... or manage to throw the Thyatians
In these years, too, the Thyatians have had squabbles with the Alphatians in Norwold, on the Isle of Dawn,
and in the eastern sea routes. But there has been no major war with Alphatia for nearly forty years... and many believe
that it's about time for a new one.
"That is," Tanarobi
continued, "the tale of the Thyatian Empire, in its brief form. Scholars can tell you much more of it ... but I think
you know enough to see why the Thyatians are as they are. Now, let's
turn to the land itself, and its peoples …"
"Tomorrow we dock at Thyatis
City," Tanarobi mused. "There you will learn quickly of the Empire and
her peoples. Perhaps you would like to know more of the Empire herself, her great
cities and diverse inhabitants?"
At the top of the page is a link for the map of mainland Thyatis. Refer to it as you read the description of this
The nation of Thyatis is
made up of the southeast corner of the western continent and several nearby islands. North are the Altan Tepes mountains,
which protect Thyatis from desert winds and raids by the Ylari warriors. West is the thick Dymrak Forest, haven of elves and goblins.
South and east is the sea-a shield from foreign ground-troops but a road for Thyatian vessels.
Thyatis is bordered to
the north by the Emirates of Ylaruam, which conducts trade with Thyatis, and permits Thyatian trade caravans to pass
through to the Northern Reaches, Darokin, Rockhome, and the Ethengar Khanates. Ylaruam and Thyatis exist in an uneasy
West of Thyatis is the
Grand Duchy of Karameikos, an independent nation. The ruling class there is largely Thyatian, and its Grand Duke, Stefan
Karameikos, is an old friend of Thincol I, so relations between the two nations are cordial. Stefan Karameikos knows that
the more wealthy he makes his lands, the more the Thyatians will covet it, so much of Karameikos' increasing wealth goes into
West of the Island of Hattias,
the sea belongs to the Minrothad Guilds.
Mainland Thyatis is very
temperate; temperatures in Thyatis City range from 40 to 50 (Fahrenheit) in winter, 45 to 55 in spring, 60 to 70 in summer,
and 50 to 60 in autumn.
The western region of mainland
Thyatis is called the Kerendan Plains. This is the flattest, richest land in Thyatis. Here are the best farmlands and
pasturage, well-watered by runoff from the Altan Tepes mountains. Many caravans pass through, bound for Thyatis City and beyond.
This is the best horse breeding country in Thyatis. Kerendan horses are prized all over the continent,
and Thyatian and Ylari horse breeders keep up a fierce competition as they try to breed the world's most wondrous steeds.
These plains are also the seat of Thyatis' cavalry. The city of Kerendas
is home to the great Thyatian cavalry officers' training school.
This area has three communities of note:
Kerendas is the area's largest city, a thriving seaport and trade
city with a long and distinguished military tradition. It is thought to be less decadent than the imperial capital, and
Kerendans pride themselves on being stronger, faster, and less dissipated than citizens of Thyatis City.
Foreston is a medium-sized town built at the verge of the Dymrak Forest. This
town, a human community with a large number of elves and halflings, is the seat of the Foresters, the order of magic-using
Greenheight, built within the Dymrak
Forest, is a town of Vyalia Elves and the sister
town of Foreston. It is one of two predominantly demihuman
towns to be found in mainland Thyatis.
Thyatis is also a rich farmland. It is not quite as rich as the Kerendas area, nor as flat, but it is more admirably
situated to rule this empire. This area is also notable for its chief waterways, the Mesonion
River and the saltwater Vanya's Girdle. This region has many towns
and villages, and one great metropolis.
City is the center of the Empire, its greatest city, most powerful
port and trade center, seat of its navy and trading fleet. The city has been constructed with soaring stone walls, broad streets
of concrete, huge public works and buildings, lavish villas and mansions. There are also huge tenement areas, with city
block after block of three-and four story tenement dwellings. Thyatians don't use the name "Thyatis City" -the city, to them, is Thyatis,
and the nation is Thyatis
because it is an extension of the city.
Port Lucinius is east of Thyatis
City, at a broad point of Vanya's Girdle. It is a military port where
the navy is trained. It is also charged with the defense of Thyatis
City from naval invaders from the east; the seafarers here take that
very seriously, and call themselves the "Shield of the East." There is a civilian town by the base; it features many entertainments
for off-duty naval men and women.
Julinius is west of Thyatis
City, on the western terminus of Vanya's Girdle. It is much like
Port Lucinius, with a protective naval station and surrounding community, but is smaller than the other defensive port.
Island of Hattias
The Island of Hattias is separated from the mainland
by Vanya's Girdle. The north end of the Island is green and hilly, good grazing land for
sheep and goats. There are many vineyards on the Island; the Island supplies much of the
mainland's wines. Farther south, the Island graduates to rocky hills with patches of deep
forest. The hillsmen are chiefly sheepherders.
The Island has many villages, chiefly on the sea-coast, and one city.
Hattias, once equal with Thyatis and Kerendas, rebelled against
Thyatis centuries ago and the city was crushed; ever since, the Hattians have resented other Thyatians.
Hattians speak a distinct dialect of the language and have different attitudes on many subjects. They
are reluctant to mix with other races, and seem cold and arrogant to those outside their communities. They make the best footmen
in the Thyatian armies.
Peninsula of TeI Akbir
This region was originally
settled by Alasiyans ofYlaruam. The region has adequate farming lands, good grazing for sheep, and excellent fishing waters.
In the early days of the Empire, the Thyatians captured Tel Akbir and began colonizing up the coast. Centuries later, though
driven out ofYlaruam, they held onto the peninsula of Tel Akbir, and it remains Thyatian today.
The peninsula has one large city.
Tel Akbir, built
by Alasiyans and expanded by Thyatians, is a blending of the two cultures. The architecture is a mix of delicate Alasiyan
onion-shaped tower-tops beside the columned temples of the Thyatians. The Alasiyans here mostly do not follow the teachings
of philosopher Suleiman AI-Kalim; most study the cosmopolitan faiths of the Thyatians, while maintaining their Alasiyan
customs in language and dress.
This part of the nation
consists of steep hills graduating into the Altan Tepes mountains. There are rich metal deposits in those mountains,
and there are many mines (worked by humans and dwarves) and many towns supporting them.
This region has three important towns.
Goldleaf is a mostly-human community; it is a trade center where
miners trade gold for supplies, and a craft center for metalsmiths. Innovative techniques are developed here.
Makrast (Broken Mountain) is a dwarven mining and crafting community
settled in the dawning days of the Empire by the Rockhome dwarves who built the palace
of Zendrolion 1. These dwarves make regular trade trips to nearby Biazzan
or to Kerendas, but don't allow humans (other than representatives of the Empire) within their city.
Biazzan was built by Alasiyan settlers, then conquered by Thyatis.
Built in a green valley sheltered by hills and mountains, it has a tradition of education and trade. Here, a university
has grown, with great minds from Ylaruam and Thyatis and the Vyalia elves; it is a haven for scholarship, collection and distribution
of world history and knowledge. Since a major trade route runs through Biazzan, the city sees much regular business.
There are many small islands
within Thyatian waters, and four large ones.
Terentias is 50 miles southwest of Kerendas.
It's a continuation of
the Minrothad chain, and the Minrothad Guilds and Thyatis have had squabbles over ownership of the island. The island is Thyatis'
staging area to the west. Much trade, the national pastime, is conducted here. Pirates make a lucrative living disguised
Mositius is a long island east of the Island of Hattias. It is great vine-growing
territory, and its wines are famous. Toward the center of the island is a volcano; though it is thought to be dead, strange
mists sometimes emerge from its crater and float across the town, with unpredictable results on the townfolk.
Carytion, due south of Tel Akbir, is a haven for the wealthy. Great
villas are built here, on the slopes of the prettiest hills of all Thyatis, overlooking the most gorgeous seascapes in the
Empire. The only villages here are wholly owned by wealthy families. Here also is a naval base, which helps keep pirates
from the island's shores.
Borydos, south of Carytion, is a rocky, hilly island serving as
a prison colony. Once it was occupied by herdsmen and fishermen, but after the Thyatians were driven out of Ierendi, the Emperor
of that time relocated all the population, then deforested the island to make it harder for prisoners to hide. Sea monsters
have been reared in the waters around the island, which discourages swimming escapes. Prisoners are left on the island
to survive as best they can through the durations of their sentences.
Take a look at the map
of the Thyatian Empire. It shows the mainland and the other imperial territories.
The southern and western
shores of the Isle of Dawn have belonged to Thyatis since its first Great War
with Alphatia. The Pearl Islands and Ochalea
have been Thyatian conquests since the early days of the Empire. The newest conquests, the Hinterlands, have been taken only in the last decade, and the process of conquest continues there now.
The Empire has owned many
other lands in the course of its history-southern Ylaruam, the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, Ierendi, parts of Norwold, and elsewhere-but
these regions now rule themselves.
The most recent Thyatian
conquests, still going on, are taking place on the north coast of the southern continent. Blonde-and redheaded barbarians,
strong in war, live there. They take well to literacy, to the Thyatian schools of warfare, and to Thyatian customs ... however,
they stubbornly resist conquest, and conquest of one clan means nothing to the clan living a mere mile away. So Thyatian progress
in this land, while steady, is slow.
The Isle of Dawn was settled by Alphatians before Thyatian history began. When Thyatis rebelled against
Alphatia, it took its war as far as the Isle of Dawn and seized about a third of the island, on the south and western shores.
Now the island is split with Alphatians on one side, Thyatians on the other, and a large unoccupied plateau in the center
of the island's south end.
Thyatian-controlled areas include: Helskir, the Grand Duchy of Westrourke and Newkirk, Redstone
Castle, Fortress of Kendach, West Portage, the dark and nightmarish Shadow Coast, and Castle Furmenglaive and Caerdwicca. In
most of these areas, you find a mix of Thyatian and Alphatian races.
Ochalea is the large island
southwest of the Isle of Dawn. An unfriendly, volcanic land, it was settled by Alphatians too poor in magic to make good lives
for themselves in Alphatia. Consequently, the Ochaleans have never been fond of the Alphatians. The Ochaleans, to make up
for their lack of pure magic potential, have largely turned to clerical studies.
When the Thyatians of a millennium ago rebelled against Alphatia, Ochalea soon followed suit, and
arranged formal alliance with King Lucinius. Ochalea was nearly crushed in the war, so when Zendrolion I killed their king
and occupied the island, they had no strength for rebellion. However, the Ochalean hostages taken by Valentia contributed
much to her reforms.
Since then, the Ochaleans have built their economy on fishing. They have come to think of themselves as
Thyatian citizens, and as the advance guard in the study of clerical matters.
These islands, south and
southeast of Ochalea, were settled by black seafarers of far eastern Tangor in the centuries after the Thyatians settled
in the north. Calling themselves Nuari, after the great island
of Nuar, these people are fighters and philosophers. The Nuari philosophy
calls for individual excellence in all things, so the Nuari make of themselves all they can, studying warfare and the
arts, music and magic, theology and games. But their spirit of individuality and their scattered-village lifestyle meant they
had no military formations or walled cities with which to withstand sieges.
The Alphatians conquered them to control the trade of the pearls that Nuari divers brought up from the
sea floor; the Alphatians called this region the Pearl Islands. Mere decades later, the Thyatian rebellion of BC 2 helped the Nuari throw
off their Alphatian overlords. But soon after, Zendrolion I conquered them again; fortunately, his widow Valentia's reforms,
especially the idea of imperial citizenship, appealed to the Nuari philosophies. Since those days, the Nuari have been prosperous
Citizens of the Empire.
There are no large Nuari towns, only villages. The Thyatian naval base and trading port of Seagirt
is the largest community on these islands.
That, in short form, is
the Empire. To find out more about these lands, ask your DM for further details.
if shocked by a bolt of lightning, Dylan stood dumbstruck in one of the dozens of huge market plazas he'd seen since debarking
All around was confusion and riotous celebration. Wildly-dressed crowds moved
through the streets, drinking wine, singing songs, dancing in the manner of a dozen different peoples, shouting wishes
for the Emperor's health on the occasion of his birthday,
Dylan, bewildered, stood flat against a shop wall and just watched the crowds flow
by. His peoples, the Hinterlanders, treated birthdays with the solemnity they deserved-the day of birth was a milestone
to one's death and was not a day of celebration. But these Thyatians danced in the
That's not all they did. Mere minutes after he'd said his goodbyes to Tanarobi and debarked, he'd run into his first crowd of drunken celebrants; there, a tall, merry copper-skinned
man had tried to kiss him and no Thyatian peck on the cheek, either' Dylan's
first, startled reaction was to smash the fellow, but he remembered Tanarobi's advice
about gauging the motives of the other fellow, and stayed his hand. So the crowd of merry, drunken, dancing, kissing strangers
paraded on unmolested.
Traveling toward the center of the city, he'd seen what he thought were men dressed
as women, and women dressed as men, and units of precision Thyatian soldiers performing spectacular weapons drills in
an open plaza; there were parades, fairs, and demonstrations.
Yet the on-duty city guards were cooly unmoved by the entertainment. When tempers
flared in the crowds, no fists flew-duels were arranged. For all their semblance of wild enjoyment this celebration day,
the Thyatians were creatures of discipline and habit ... Dylan wondered if he would ever understand their contradictions.
You know where the Thyatians
came from and how they came to be as they are. Now, it's time to see what sort of people they are-how they act and react,
what they love and hate.
More than anything else,
Citizens of the Empire admire fighting ability. This doesn't mean that they're constantly fighting among themselves,
knifing one another over the family meal, starting riots at the drop of a helmet. But it does mean that their heroes
are all fighters of one kind or another-even magicians and holy men must be powerful in war to be admired.
Warfare dominates their arts and entertainments-the best-loved sculpture, stage plays, and poems deal with
However, though there is usually some conflict taking place somewhere in the Empire, there is not
always a true war. Such wars drain wealth and vitality from the Empire. So, while a border war with Ylaruam or a far-distant
tribal kingdom keeps the homeland in good spirits and fills the streets with news, an allout war will eventually result
in poverty, exhaustion, and gloom settling over Thyatis. The Thyatians know this ... and so pick their fights carefully.
Thyatians pride themselves
on their discipline. Their soldiers, schools, industries, government, clerical orders, even artisans' guilds and
criminal gangs are organized and professional. However, such a widespread dedication to order has its problems.
An assembly-line is efficient but does not lend itself to creativity.
Because of this, the Thyatians' greatest heroes are those who defy discipline and achieve greatness
alone, unbefriended. The general who leads the army in conquest of a new territory gets cheers in the streets ... but
the unconquered gladiator who fights treacherously and then kicks the corpse of his fallen foe, who makes vulgar gestures
at the senators or the Emperor himself while taking the accolade of the crowds, is the one who captures the heart of the Thyatians.
Thyatians adore the individualists who preserve the Thyatian state but also do not give in to that
state when choosing how to live their own lives.
It has been said that the
Thyatians worship an Immortal called Efficiency-and that they birthed him. And it's true that the Empire loves to do things
in the most efficient manner possible. Wars of revenge are discouraged; wars of conquest and raids for booty are encouraged.
Trade is encouraged, for the middle-man always gets a slice of the profits; speculation in new industry and colonization in
unsettled lands are not, because the chances of failure and loss are so high. Marriages of convenience and of alliance,
at least among the upper classes, far outnumber marriages of love.
When playing a Thyatian,
keep in mind that he'll analyze any situation in terms of efficiency. If what's going on is not efficient, he'll probably
offer a cold, heartless, efficient alternative. Naturally, he won't press the point if it will alienate his friends.
One Thyatian trait may
come as a surprise. The Thyatians, among all the civilizations of this part of the world, are the fastest to embrace
new cultures and races, mingling them with their own with delight and interest. The Thyatians love exotic cultures, races,
fashions and customs. When contact with a new culture results in the sudden appearance of new cults and sects, clerics
and scholars eagerly rush to learn about them, to contrast and perhaps combine with their own.
When conquering or meeting new peoples, Thyatians are quick to write down the history, legends and folklore
of these peoples, to intermarry with them, to absorb their arts and culture. Sometimes the Thyatian conquerors end
up, after a generation or two, being indistinguishable from the natives.
So the Thyatians cannot now be said to be a "race." The races which blend in the Empire include the hardy
olive-skinned members of the original Thyatis, Kerendas and Hattias tribes, dusky Alasiyans, fair reavers from the Northern
Reaches, dark-skinned Nuari from the Pearl Islands,
red-haired barbarians from the Hinterlands of the southern continent, copper-skinned common Alphatians from the Isle of Dawn,
and even elves of Thyatis' western forests. Each of them enriches the Empire's culture, arts, entertainments, and
history. Dwarves and halflings are welcome in the Empire as well, and add to its culture and learning, but cannot intermarry
with humans or elves.
The Role of Magic-Users
One might think,
because the Thyatians dislike the Alphatians, that they would also dislike magic. It's not so. Magic is colorful
and exotic. Magic can be used in warfare. And, most of all, magic is efficient.
So the Thyatians learn and promote the teachings of magic. They have one magical university, the College of Lucinius, in Thyatis City; the human community of Foreston
is the home of the Foresters, magic-using fighting-men who originated in Thyatis, taught by the elves of Greenheight; and
there are many wizards throughout the Empire who teach small schools or individual apprentices.
This is not to say that the magical teaching in Thyatis rivals that of Alphatia or Glantrifar from
it. But the opportunity to learn is there.
However, clerics are spell-users too ... and there are many powerful clerical orders in the Empire. Clerics
are well-respected in Thyatis. Clerical magic has helped Thyatis cope with the overwhelming magical might of the Alphatian
Empire. And clerics fight-they're some of the best fighters in the Empire.
The Role of Women
In ancient times, before
the tribes came to this continent, Thyatian women fought beside their men. According to legend, the Immortal Vanya was a woman
of the Thyatians who achieved immortality. But after the resettling of the tribes on this continent, the tradition of the
she-warrior went into decline. It had never been practiced among the Hattians in any case. By the time of the Alphatian conquest,
female warriors were a rarity among the Thyatians.
But they never disappeared. Today, though it's difficult for a young woman to get formal instruction in
combat, it's not impossible; such women must either find another woman warrior to train them, or convince male warriors
that they have the potential to be good fighters. There are a few female fighting orders, and a few more which admit
both males and females. Additionally, many clerical orders and the Foresters freely accept women.
Once a woman has trained to a recognizeable level of fighting ability-4th experience level-this cultural
discrimination takes a quick about-face. Suddenly, the she-warrior is admired and respected, for attaining proficiency
in warfare and defying long odds to do so.
Opinions on female fighters vary among the Thyatian Empire. The Ochaleans
don't like for women to fight; the Ochalean women who wish to become fighters must learn to fight elsewhere in the Empire.
They're not accepted as Ochaleans when they return to their homeland ... but, as full Citizens of the Empire, they
can't just be sent away.
Women of Alasiyan descent, especially in Tel Akbir, suffer
the same problems as the Ochaleans, but (being on the mainland) find it easier to leave home and pursue their own destinies.
Women of the Pearl Islands are encouraged to become
great fighters and sailors, and are much prized in the Thyatian Navy.
Women of Alphatian descent, from the Isle of Dawn, accept no
limits to their learning. They prefer to become Foresters, but many take on other professions. Some with no magical porential
become dedicated warriors; they enjoy the fact that they can earn status they would lack in communities with strong Alphatian
Women of the Hinterlands have fought beside their men
from as far back as their earliest legends reach.
Empire in Decline
To an ever-increasing degree,
decadence and irresponsibility are infecting the nobility and the wealthy of the Empire. The rich are spending ever-greater
amounts on feasts and festivals, shows and tournaments. Ministers and Senators supplement their incomes with bribes.
The proportion of slaves to Citizens is rising in Thyatis. Greater amounts of wines, liquors and foreign stimulants are being
The Emperor, of foreign birth, is steadfast against these excesses and still sets an example for the common
man. But, increasingly, the court and the wealthy indulge in excess and debauchery ... and eventually this will bring great
harm to the Empire.
Children begin their education
(or are apprenticed or begin work, depending on social status and wealth) at age 7. At age 14, many noble youths become
squires, good apprentices become journeymen, some lads become cabin-boys, and young women are betrothed (among nobility).
Seventeen is considered the ideal year for young women to be married, 21 for young men. At age 18, Thyatians are recognized
as Citizens of the Empire, but are still bound to their families' wishes. Noblemen are supposed to be betrothed at this age;
many men also enter the military.
Age 21 is called Freedom Year. Citizens turning 21 are recognized as free from their families. This doesn't
mean that they are kicked out of their families; it means that they are no longer obliged to follow their parents' decisions.