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For map of mainland Thyatis, Click Here...


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 decline.

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 heavily wooded.

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.

Thyatis City:

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.

Adventure Opportunities:

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, citizen?"

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.


The following day, as the ship cruised north along the west coast of the Island of Hattias, Tanarobi again told Dylan of the Thyatians.

"The 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...

"In 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 Struggle-

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 the elves.

  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 city.

  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 out.

  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?"


Mainland Thyatis

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 area.

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 peace.

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 his military.

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.


Kerendan Plains

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 human fighters.

  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.


Central Thyatis

Central 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.

  Thyatis 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.


Surrounding Islands

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 as traders.

  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.


Conquered Territories

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.


Isle of Dawn

­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.


Pearl Islands

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.


As if shocked by a bolt of lightning, Dylan stood dumbstruck in one of the dozens of huge market plazas he'd seen since debarking in Thyatis City.

  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 streets.

  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.


National Character


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.


Fighting Ability


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 martial themes.

  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 origins.

  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 con­sumed.

  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.