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Thursday, October 27, 2011

[Avatar of the Kaga] The Reis Confederacy

The Reis Confederacy occupies the northern parts of Exodus, an area frequently called by its original name, the Wyldlands of Bal. Its lands are covered in sweltering jungles whose northern border vanished into thick permanent fog that swallows men’s souls. The land is overrun by feral tribes of Caliban and Enuka. Massive monsters roam and threaten its inhabitants.

The Confederacy is the least unified of all the major empires and the one whose leader has the least control over her subjects. The Confederacy is exactly that: a confederation. It is composed of a number of city-states that control the land around them and that fiercely vie for additional power. This constant in-fighting has been one of the hallmarks of the Wyldlands since the days of the First Ones’ Empire. Life in the Wyldlands is a struggle and those who come from there are known as fatalistic, dour tough, rugged and self-reliant nature. They are frequently considered backward and unsophisticated by natives of the other great empires.

The Wyldlands were never fully conquered by the First Ones. Still the First Ones built many of the towns that rise today. The balites rose to support the Kaga to overthrow the First Ones. During the Arman migration, new cities were founded on the east coast. The original Arman have since integrated into balite society. The Confederacy was the last of the great nations to be formed. In the 4th century BC, Euhudi high priestess of Khayne went on a massive campaign of conquest, imposing the worship of her dark lord. She organized her fellow worshipers into a strong brotherhood called simply "the Brotherhood of Khayne". She conquered most of the Wyldlands until she was stopped by a confederation of free cities and foreign mercenaries at the Battle of the River of Blood. The battle crushed the Brotherhood's power. Victorious, the leader of the free people's army, the Panther Warrior Ataulpa was crowned the Imperator of the Reis Confederacy. The Imperator and his successors led their troops into Sametia and Koryth to expand their own power.

The Twilight War began in the Confederacy when a Dominion ambassador was murdered by a member of the Protectorate embassy. The crisis that followed led to the Protectorate declaring war but being unprepared. The Imperatrix was ready. Her troops advanced through Sametia, annexing Arman and Dominions holdings, all the way to the Abaddon River. The Confederacy has the dubious honor of having fielded they only undead army in the history of Exodus. Confederate General Xon was a powerful necromancer whose actions horrified the jaded balites. The Confederacy had to destroy the general and his undead army. The Battle of Aremyhk ended the Twilight War after the janissaries routed a large army of Confederate.

The Confederacy was a founding member of the Imperial Alliance, grudgingly agreeing to the establishment of the Sanguine Covenant as the official religion. To this day few Confederate cities have abandoned their ancient worship for this "new faith". Sanguine missionaries are increasing and their work is reaching the populace. Religion in the Confederacy like everything, is simple and brutal. Although the sacrifices of intelligent being is rare, it still occurs, particularly in Caliban-dominated areas. The worship of Khayne is widespread here and the Brotherhood still exists, though it must hide its activities.

Confederates are a very diverse bunch. Indeed, the Confederacy is the only land of Exodus where humans do not form the majority. Calibans, dalrean, enuka, humans and Sasori form 95% of the population. In spite of this mix, the rulers of the Confederacy have been overwhelmingly human, including the current dynasty. This diversity has not created a homogenous culture. Each culture (racial, geographical and regional) firmly defends its own and integration is rare.

Since the murder of Empress Mercy by Prince Bial, she has troops searching for Prince Bial, but they have so far come up empty. It is no secret that the Imperatrix and the Prince are in love with each other. Empress Cassandra has accused the Imperatrix of hiding the prince in her palace at Awanesa, something that is vehemently denied by Lolani. It would be a major crime to harbor a regicide. Tensions between the two nations has escalated and although war is not imminent, both sides have deployed troops and reinforced border garrisons. Tensions are high on both sides of the border.

The Imperatrix

Imperatrix Lolani is the current ruler, following the death of her mother, the albino khymerion recently ascended to the throne. Her mother's top advisor and personal astrologer, a mysterious figure known as "the Bronze Sage" prophetized a number of calamities including a star fall and a terrible plague coming in its wake. He also prophetized that from the Gaszi dynasty, an albino child would be born that would lead to the the destruction of the Confederacy. As fate would have it, Imperatrix Sepatha's firstborn was the albino Lolani.

Lolani's childhood was one of isolation. Few wanted to associate with the one who would destroy the Confederacy. She was a pariah in a gilded cage. She spent her time in the library learning about the history, lands and people of her future domain. Lolani was a dark and sad child until Prince Bial of the Caneus Empire arrived for his trials. The two became fast friends: two solitudes are better than one. She nursed him back to health after his terrible mauling.

Imperators in the Confederacy hold power only to the extent of their own will and charisma. Weak rulers hold no power while strong ones can do what they please. Lolani's rule is still young so it is unclear how she will turn out to be. Thus far, she has ruled with a just and steady hand, one that many attribute to the quiet guidance of the Bronze Sage.

The Flavor

The Confederacy has two major influences, that initially seem completely opposite one another. First, the city-states of the Confederacy are organized and look much like the empires of the Aztecs and Maya: tall stepped pyramids where ritual sacrifices are held at the top for all to see. Cities in the Confederacy are built to impress travelers more than functionality. Grand open streets, parks and plazas are common.

The second influence is that of African tribal realms such as the Kongo, the Zulu and the Mutapa kingdoms and famous tribes such as the Masai and the Ngoni. These groups established a complex system of allegiance through trade, conquest and influence. Many tribes (all races together) are dressed in manner of the these warriors.

The more urban the Balite, the more likely he is to be dressed in an Aztec/Mayan style. The more rural ones are more commonly dressed much more in an African style. Whatever their origins: feathers, headdresses, face and body paints, and monstrous masks are at home here. Add to them brightly colored animal skins for clothing (leopards and lion skins are particularly sought after for their bright, vibrant colors).

Dancing holds a special place in the Confederacy. Not only for entertainment, but dancing is also part of the warrior culture. Dances mimic the ebb and flow of battle, teaches young ones the traditional attacks and defenses. Much like Tai Chi is for martial arts.

The Confederacy is a dangerous land of contrasts, colors and mystery.

The Army

Unlike the other major empires, the Confederacy is not a unified nation, joined by a major ethnic group. It should come as no surprise then that the Confederacy's army is composed of a number of autonomous regiments under regional commanders assigned by their home city. This makes the Confederate army the most diverse in all of Exodus. It makes them the largest, but also the one with the most complex command structure. This complex structure is based on promises made by the general to the city-states or tribes that agree to participate. Like for the imperators, Confederate generals have to lead through force of will, threats and personal charisma to get the army functioning correctly.

The Confederacy uses a lot of large creatures, such as dire animals, dinosaurs, elephants, giants, trolls and whatever else they can wrangle from the jungles. These creatures are frequently sent to the front of the army before hordes of screaming tribesmen. "Horde tactics" best describe the tactics of the Confederacy (when in doubt, send more troops).

One military unit is tied to Confederate power above all else: the panther warriors. These warriors are the only ones allowed to wear panther armor, armor made of a panther skin. These warriors are famed for their solo fighting prowess. They fight with and as panthers or tigers. They commonly serve as generals or war lords. (Panther Warriors are a Prestige class found in the NeoExodus Campaign Book).

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