Epic Dawn Settings: The Empire of Ashua

There are four major settings in Epic Dawn, each styled somewhat after historical Earth cultures (what else could they be styled after?) and each having what I hope is a distinct feel. Theoretically, games run in each region will have a distinct set of challenges and environments that are still connected to the overall concept for the world.

The first and default setting is the Empire of Ashua, modeled somewhat after Bronze Age Egypt. It is an empire centered around the rich floodplain of a great river flowing from mountains in the south to the coast in the north. To the east are wide rolling plains and hills and to the west is teeming rainforest. The empire, named after the river that flows through it, is ruled by an Emperor who was its founder over five hundred years before. He is the heir of the river-god who is also the patron deity of the empire, its mythological founder. He and his descendents are known as the Blood, and they are the Halfling ruling class of the Empire.

The Emperor has had various consorts over his long life, through which come the various lines of the Blood in the Empire. Each consort, when she dies, is honored by being raised to the status of a Saint, and each one has a Great House dedicated to her worship and service. Some Great Houses are very much in line with the Emperor and some are not. Each Great House exercises influence in an area associated with the particular Saint – diplomacy, philosophy, war, and information gathering for example.

The Empire is also served by an order of priests (the term is used generally – there are male and female priests, though more are male) who are known as the Chosen. Their connection to the deities does not come directly from their linneage but through revelation and most of the Chosen are mortal. Some, however, exhibit the same kinds of otherworldly powers associated with the Blood.

As the Empire expanded and absorbed more and more different cultures surrounding it, some of these cultures have sought to maintain some distinctness and integrity. For this purpose, they formed Lesser Houses, modeled after the Great Houses, as a way of organizing themselves and maintaining some autonomy in the Empire. These Lesser Houses tend to be regional and ethnically unified.

(There is a huge amount of information aside from this that just won’t fit on this blog – which is true of all of the settings and background information that I’ll be posting about. I’m just posting a few very basic things that give a feel for a given idea, location, etc.)

Final Note: This setting is well-suited to games that center on intrigue and political games of influence and which have a wide, sweeping scope. Ashua is the default setting of the Epic system and it is geared toward epic games with very high stakes, in a situation where the PCs will always have to maneuver in relation to more powerful forces in the world represented by the Blood and the Chosen.

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