Epic Dawn Settings: The Commonwealth

Really a collection of very diverse cultures under a general political structure, the Commonwealth is loosely modeled after east asia and south asia. Clearly, this is a vast diversity of cultures, and the Commonwealth is the most complex setting for Epic Dawn.

In very broad terms, the Old Empire’s incursions eastard into the realms now known as the Commonwealth was successfully resisted, and this resistance was based on a rejection of the source of the Old Empire’s power – an overt connection to the spirit world. Faced with a seething army of giants and warriors and monsters, fueled by the wrath of a blood god bent on conquest, the response of the various cultures of this region was to band together not with their own opposing deities but through the idea that the denizens of the spirit are very real but that they are not benevolent, that they are in fact demonic, and must be resisted.

Many of the cultures that joined in this loose alliance had independent traditions of seers and mystics who were able to hone their vision and will to achieve supernatural feats. These various wise men and women found that they were able to communicate with each other in a realm where only the consciousness could go. Through this communication they were able to organize widely distant allies in mutual defense against the onrush of bloodthirsty hordes.

Out of this long mutuality grew what is now known as the Temple of Mind. The various seers and mystics, working together, were able to develop a shared culture and system of training and development. Their connections grew, and through them, the connections between the disparate cultures they arose from.

Through this the monks and nuns of the Temple of Mind were able to establish a loose hegemony, working together to influence the various cultures along lines they supported. Primarily for defense, this organization gave rise to a Commander-General who later became the Governor-General, a figurehead for the Commonwealth who was primarily responsible for organizing a united front against foreign incursion.

Since the fall of the Old Empire over 500 years ago, this situation has changed. The organization structure that began as simple mutual defense has been strengthened, with the Governor-General becoming a more powerful individual, sometimes even referred to as an Emperor. The Temple of Mind’s hegemony has tightened to the point where it is the source of almost all power across the Commonwealth.

The main resistance to the power of the Commonwealth and the Temple of Mind is an individual named Akko, known as the Demon Prince. He is the son of Kaia, a sorceress who served the Demon Rai (for the Commonwealth, spirit or deity = demon), and he is carving out his own small kingdom in resistance to the Temple of Mind and the Governor-General. A surprising number of people flock to his banner, even after hundreds of years of repression of indiginous beliefs about spirits and the spirit world. Thus far, Akko’s power has proven adequate defense against the attacks mounted by the Governor-General and even attempts by the monks and nuns of the Temple to spy on him from a distance.

It is Akko’s stated purpose to create a realm where communities are free to connnect to the spirit world without the interference of the servants of the Temple. This is of course entirely counter to the structure of belief that the Temple has worked to create for hundreds of years. During that time there was of course resistance, sometimes massive, but in recent generations only Akko has been able to resist their attacks for an extended period of time. There is also the problem that Akko is in fact the child of a Demon and a Sorceress, meaning he will be around for a long time.

Final Note: The Commonwealth is, obviously, loosely based on various Asian cultures, and is well-suited to a campaign that is interested in these settings. Granted, there are (hopefully) a lot of important differences, but that is the theme and the feel of the setting overall. Other themes involved are the contention between the materialist mindset and the spiritual mindset, how one can demonize the other and what the result is. It also has an edge of paranoia with the monks of the Temple of Mind, able to read your very thoughts and secretly (or at times openly) controlling the political structures of all cultures they touch.

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