Akimoto, First Emperor Athoc: The man most directly responsible for forming the Empire of Keimusho. With his cousin,Shinjo Tomori, Lord Akimoto killed the ancient undead warlord,Li Kong Zhuan. Athoc Akimoto’s descendents have ruled the Empire of Keimusho ever since. It was also Athoc Akimoto who formed the first alliances with theQorchikyodai-chi clan and thetherenrace. Athoc Akimoto is buried in the capital city,Tirygon-to.
Akimoto, Emperor Gonkuro: The current emperor of Keimusho. The current emperor is well respected by the common people and widely considered a cunning general and a bastion of resilience. It was Gonkuro Akimoto who led the army of Tirygon-to against the invading skorne and bakemono armies some twenty years ago. He was married to his beloved wife, Yori Akimoto, though she died seventeen years ago during the great plague that claimed the lives of many Keimushan. His children areImperial Crown Prince Hideyo(25 years old), Imperial Princess Mioni (aged 24),Imperial Prince Tokaji(23 years old) and Imperial Princess Sosanni (21).
Akimoto, Imperial Crown Prince Hideyo: The Imperial Crown Prince of the Empire of Keimusho and first in line to the Imperial Throne. Son of current emperor,Emperor Gonkuro Akimotoand the late Empress, Yori Akimoto. Brother of Imperial Princess Mioni (aged 24),Imperial Prince Tokaji(23 years old) and Imperial Princess Sosanni (21). Where his father, Gonkuro, is well respected by the common people, Hideyo is loved. Hideyo has consistently spoken out against the injustices suffered by the common people and has interceded on their behalf many times during recent years. For the same reasons that he is loved by the common people, it is whispered that Hideyo has made many enemies among the nobility, especially those who long for a return to the laws allowing slavery which were abolished by Gonkuro Akimoto only three years ago. It is believed that Hideyo was the principle reason that the laws were abolished and those noble families and merchant houses who have suffered due to his interference fear the other changes that may yet be wrought by his tradition-breaking ways.
Akimoto, Imperial Prince Tokaji: The Imperial Prince of the Empire of Keimusho and second in line to the Imperial Throne. Son of current emperor,Emperor Gonkuro Akimotoand the late Empress, Yori Akimoto. Brother ofImperial Crown Prince Hideyo Akimoto,Imperial Princess Mioni (aged 24) and Imperial Princess Sosanni (21).
Blood Tear Blossums : “Borrosuma” are the blood-red blossums that are only found within the Empire of Keimusho. These beautiful yet hardy blossoms have the unusual supernatural property of warding against the restless dead. Even the scent of the blossoms is enough to cause most undead to shun an area. The Borrosuma flowers grow from early spring all the way through to mid-autumn and at least a few are grown by most households. These blossums are also used in alchemy and medicine. It is said that these blossoms were formed from the tears ofUzumewhen she accidently killed her daughter,Seikatsu, the fallen Moon Goddess of Life.
Jinin: A mountain city-state to the north east of the Empire of Keimusho. The main exports of Jinin are gems and metals. It’s citizens are generally dour and unfriendly to outsiders, to the extent that outsiders are not allowed to freely roam about Jinin without a Writ of Passage. Being caught without a Writ of Passage can lead to death, at best, or enslavement in the mines, at worst. Writs of Passage can be purchased from way stations found throughout the mountains around Jinin, as well as in the valley leading up to the capital.
Jinn: A citizen of the city-state of Jinin. They are a dour and unfriendly people with dark hair and quick eyes. It is whispered that some Jinn, who have been exposed to unnatural minerals and strange spirits deep in their mines, have developed the ability to shape shift. The Jinn themselves only scowl when asked such things.
Circle, The: The Circle is the name given by theKonuto the governing council of tribal elders that guide the tribes. The Circle is made up of the chieftain and head shaman of each Konu tribe. The Circle speaks for all Konu, as well as their totems, and thus their words are heeded by all Konu and all diplomats who visit the Konu. More than this is not known asvery few outsiders have ever travelled extensively withinTuunguzh, the name given to the lands of theKonu. See also the entries forKonuand Tuunguzh.
Grand Council, The : The council made up of the noble families that govern the provinces of Keimusho. While the Emperor is considered the leader of Keimusho, The Grand Council are it’s day-to-day governors. As would be expected, The Grand Council is an intensely political body where clever maneuvering and well placed remarks can be as deadly as a sword and strike just as swiftly.
Gyr, Kingdom Of: Pronounced: “gear”. The Kingdom of Gyr was the western neighbour of theEmpire of Keimusho and populated by theverrik, an aggressive and intellectual off-shoot of humans. The Kingdom of Gyr had skirmished along its borders with theEmpire of Keimushountil almost a 6 months ago when, seemingly overnight, the entire nation fell silent. Scouts sent into northern Gyr found signs of titanic battles within its cities, though not a single trace of the verrik themselves. A larger unit of the Keimushan army was mobilized and sent to the Gyrii capital of Godesek to determine if King Beusert still ruled, but the unit vanished in the same manner as the verrik themselves. Since then, Gyr has been avoided and only the insane, desperate or incredibly brave will dare visit the ruins of the once powerful nation. After the vanishing of the Gyrii, rumours thatThe Oussarian League, a group of very powerful and self-serving mages based in the Gyrii city of Oussar, had called upon entities best left undisturbed and that it was those entities who had devoured the verrik. It is likely that no one will ever know the truth as even The Akashic Record seems to be tarnished, torn and even deadly when probing the ultimate fate of the Kingdom of Gyr.
Itako: The Imperially sponsored guild of necromancers dedicated to protecting the living from the restless dead. It is also their responsibility to hunt down rogue, foul and/or dishonourable necromancers who have summoned, bound and/or tortured the spirits of the dead. While highly regarded and honoured for their solemn duties, the Itako are also feared by the vast majority of the populace. Even the priests of The Shudan and the mages of The Onmyoji tread carefully where the Itako are involved. Being a member of the Itako is one of the few ways for a user of magic to be exempt from registering withThe Onmyoji, as both groups are sponsored by The Imperial Family andThe Grand Council. See also theItakoinMyths and Legends.
Keimusho, Empire Of : The name of the empire that the characters live in. It is sometimes also known as the Empire of Bloody Tears because of the blood red blossoms that grow within its borders. The empire, while only 60 years old in its current form, was formed from the alliance of several city-states led by First Emperor Athoc Akimoto. Prior to the formation of the Empire, the continent was split into a series of squabbling city-states that vied with each other as often as the horrors that walked the land for over 3000 years.
Kes: The world in which the game principally takes places. Kes is a large though relatively young world and holds many mysteries both powerful and awe-inspiring.
Konu: AKA, The Beast Warriors. A nomadic sub-race of humans who organize into tribes based upon animal totems and live inTuunguzh. The konu are known to be able to shift into the forms of these animal totems. The known tribes of the konu are theSuteru-Sukumo (spider totem), theOsoroshii (the tiger and panther totems), theQaban (boar totem), theQor Dasiyir (bear totem), theJingti-Ying (eagle totem), theShayu (shark totem) and theTiahu-Sa (snake totem). At one time, there were also theShinsah-Goan (crocodile totem) and theAkuma Laoshu (rat totem), but both are believed to be extinct. Konu do not speak of what happened to theShinsah-Goan or theAkuma Laoshu, though the Konu are known to have a great intolerance for rats. Also see the entries forQuestors, TuunguzhandThe Circlebelow.
Kakushi-do: The continent upon which the following are situated: theEmpire of Keimusho, theKingdom of Gyr, theNorthern League,Tuunguzh, the lands ofThe Circle, the city-states ofJinin,Daernagen,Eleth-Felimarl,Haloche, Kalishad,Ptolus, Willowford, the ruined city-state ofKoheishitaand theValley of the Silent Watchers. The entirety of Kakushi-do is north of the equator and given to fierce winters and mild summers, though strong southern winds bring warmth to the southern nations on the continent. Kakushi-do has an inland sea named The Sea of Tears and is dominated by massive mountain ranges (The Giant Spires and the Nanga-Parbat Mountain Range) and wild forests. Kakushi-do is slightly larger than the combination of real-world Asia and Europe.
Kozien: Your adoptive father. A tall, lean man with dusky skin and a long black beard. Kozien is clearly not fromKakushi-do. Also seeIn The Beginningfor more details.
Nastos: Your adoptive uncle. A big, burly, olive skinned man with only one arm who likely taught the characters much of what they know about martial combat. Nastos is clearly not from Keimusho. Also seeIn The Beginningfor more details.
Li Kong Zhuan: AKA, The Blood Tyrant. The ancient undead warlord who ruled the continents of Kakushi-do and Haruka-do for almost 3,000 years. His exact race has been lost to the ages, but he is known to have been able to walk in the sunlight without fear, despite being a soul-stealing blood drinker. He was defeated by the Keishuman hero,Shinjo Tomori, on the battleground that would eventually become the capital city of Tirygon-to.
Nanga-Parbat Mountains: AKA, The Barren Mountains. A massive mountain range, second in size only to theKyojin Wa Wawazu(The Giant Spire Mountain range).The Nanga-Parbat mountains form the border of the far eastern edge ofKakushi-do, spanning from theBurokan Seain the south to theThyrduulf Seain the north.
Northern League, The: A group of cities to the north of the Sea of Tears. To the average citizen of the Empire of Keimusho, The Northern League is a near-mythical place filled with one-eyed giants, centipede-like dragons that breath lightning and the ice riders, the native people. The ice riders are a hardy group of Nyssian elves who craft the snow and ice to build their cities. Tall, icy-white skinned with white-blond or palest blue hair and given to boisterous humour, the ice riders are nonetheless a savvy and honourable people who’s word is “as solid as ice in winter”. The exact governance of The Northern League is unclear to outsiders, other than vague references to “..the Many Eyes of Ice and Fire”. Who or what this is referring to is not spoken of by the people of The Northern League, but the small city states are well maintained, well defended and well coordinated against their Skorne “neighbours”. The Northern League trade in walrus ivory, whalebone, and the furs and skins of animals such as fox, beaver and otter. They also carry amber, a fossilized resin that is cut and polished to make beads, pendants and brooches. All these natural products are traded for various goods with their southern neighbours. Their most sought after goods, however, are their incredibly intricate ice crafts. The ice riders have developed a secret technique for keeping ice frozen regardless of the surrounding ambient temperature. Even their ships are made from ice and is the source of the name given to them by other races. Amongst themselves, they are known as theIsfylla. Also see theNorthern League, TheinMyths and Legends.
Nyss : AKA Winter Elves. The Nyss are tall, thin, and as pale as the frostcoated peaks of their realm. Their hair is typically black, white-blond or palest blue, and their eyes have an icy blue or sometimes violet or amber hue. Their ears sweep up and back into points. The Nyss are almost always found inThe Northern League.
Oussarian League, The: Once a self-serving and powerful group of mages believed to have been the ultimate power behind the throne of theKingdom of Gyr. While their exact membership and goals were unknown, they were known to be ruthless in gaining what they wanted. There was an unspoken rivallry between The Oussarian League of theKingdom of GyrandThe Onmyoji of theEmpire of Keimusho. Whether this was merely a case of being the “biggest tiger on the block”, or something more sinister, was known only to the upper echelons of both groups.
Qorchi: The name of the kyodai-chi clan that is blood-bonded to the imperial line of the Akimoto. The Qorchi number slightly less than three hundred members and live in a walled off section ofTirygon-to, the Imperial capital city of the Empire of Keimusho that they helped to build. The Qorchi clan is led by Forgemaster Muran Qorchi, a kyodai-chi said to have fought in both the second and thirdWars of Bone.
Questors: Questors are youngKonuwho leaveTuunguzh on mystical vision quests. Questors have been seen as far south asThe Broken Isles, as far north as theThyrduulf Sea, as far west as theKurai akumu no numa(Swamp of Dark Nightmares)and as far east as theNanga-Parbat Mountains. Even among other races, interferring with a questor is widely believed to bring bad luck…..even if that just means enraging the questor and being the target of his wrath.
Qurut: A short, stout man with impeccable manners but who never seems to smile. Qurut is the major domo of the small estate maintained by Kozien. Qurut has some skill in psionics. None of the characters have ever known him to say a kind or generous word that didn’t play to his advantage. Also seeIn The Beginningfor more details.
Rahu-Oun Lake:AKA,“Lake of the Lonely Mountain”A steamy, cobalt blue freshwater lake in the south eastern corner of Kakushi-do. The lake is named for the (relatively) dormant volcano that juts out from the centre of the lake. Despite not having erupted for many centuries, the Rahu-Oun volcanic mountain provides enough heat that the lake itself is warm all year round. Rahu-Oun Lake is also where the Shinsah-Goan (crocodile totem) konu once lived. Since their demise, the lake has been avoided by others. The other konu tribes say that the Great Earth Mother’s eternal mourning creates an eery, palpable sadness that even bleeds through into the Spirit World. The waters of the lake are believed to be poisonous to bakemono and other tainted creatures – a sweet irony given that the nearby bakemono tribes were the ones who poisoned the waters of the Lake of Lonely Mountain to kill the Shinsah-Goan.
Onmoyji, The : The group of mages who are bound in service to both the Empire of Keimusho and the Imperial Family of Akimoto. While ceremony, ritual, magic use and spellcraft are certainly prevalent throughout the Empire, The Onmyoji are its highest practioners of magic. All powerful Onmyoji of any discipline (psionicists, binders, wizards, magisters, green bonds, etc) are required by law to register with them, though there are also incentives, both societal and practical, for actually joining the guild. The Onmyoji have small enclaves in every major city within the Empire, except for Tirygon-to, the Imperial Capital, where they are centred and they gather in larger numbers. Their head enclave is a walled section of the Imperial Capital and is only open to The Onmyoji, the Imperial Army of Keimusho, the City Guards and the nobility. Their exact structure is unknown, but all members of The Onmyoji wear the symbol of a sky blue star on their sand coloured robes to show their affiliation. While there are many dabblers in magic, The Onmyoji are rightly respected (and not a little feared) by the general populace and even some of the nobility, as The Onmyoji are often also magistrates for the communities that they live in. Also seeOnmyojiinMyths and Legends.
Rokkaku-to: AKA, The Holy City. Rokkaku-to is the centre of the worship ofThe Shudandeities. Rokkaku-to is also one of the most populous cities within theEmpire of Keimusho and is home to thriving and bustling commerce. Rokkaku-to is known for its strict religious observances and its intolerance of “unwholesome spirits” (being the majority of deities worshipped by virtually every other race). Rokkaku-to is also one of the few cities whose streets are bustling and full of life and colour at all hours of the day. Indeed, it’s Night Markets are renowned throughout the empire. Rokkaku-to is in the south-east of theEmpire of Keimusho and is the second closest city to bothTirygon-to, The Imperial CapitalandTuunguzh, the lands of the konu.
Shinjo Tomori: The theren-trained Keimushan hero who together with his cousin,Athoc Akimoto, defeated the ancient undead warlord,Li Kong Zhuan. Shinjo Tomori andAthoc Akimotothen forged a massive army to push back theverrikand theskorne. Shinjo Tomori is also known for having wieldedKira-Jin, The Sword of Heavenly Light,a katana of singular power that has since been lost to the ages. For his great deeds and heroic efforts, Shinjo Tomori is believed to have ascended toThe Celestial Courtand is venerated as theGuardian Kamiof Stormsby the Empire.
Shudan, The: The Shudan is the name given to the collective pantheon of deities worshipped within theEmpire of Keimusho. The Shudan came to prominence when the early priesthoods of the various deities aidedShinjo TomoriandAthoc Akimoto, the heroes of the FinalWar of Bone, in overthrowing the tyrannical, iron-fisted rule ofLi Kong Zhuan, the ancient undead lord who once ruled all ofKakushi-do with his verrik, bakemono and skorne armies. There are fourteen deity members of The Shudan. The priesthoods of The Shudan deities hold great sway within theEmpire of Keimusho and ensure that the rites and ceremonies to properly venerate and worship The Shudan deities are maintained wherever they are held in reverence. The centre of the worship for all of the deities of The Shudan is inRokkaku-to, The Holy City. See alsoDeities of the Empire of Keimusho for more details.
Spirit World: The Spirit World is the land where the spirits of the living and unliving overlap with the Material World. There is an entry in theGlossarybecause the existence of the Spirit World is not a matter of faith or belief: it is accepted as fact by all. Indeed, many Keimushan can trace their ancestry to a spirit that aided the defeat ofLi Kong Zhuanduring theWars of Bone. Also seeSpirit WorldinMyths and Legends.
Theren: AKA, Moonlight Hunters. The theren are the second eldest of the younger races (behind the xinshu) – the other younger races are the kyodai-Chi (giants), seishin, sukoshi, humans, konu, nagah, mizukri, mokuzai, ryujin, and the dwindling verrik. A deeply contemplative people, the theren prefer the night to the day, gleaning mystic secrets in the stars and phases of the two moons. The theren are at least partially divine and are believed to be able to speak to one another across vast distances. It was a theren who forgedKira-Jin, The Sword of Heavenly Light, the sword wielded by the Keimushan hero,Shinjo Tomori, who defeated the ancient undead warlord,Li Kong Zhuan. As always, little is known for certain about these enigmatic hunters in the night.
Tirygon-to: The capital city of theEmpire of Keimusho. Also the birthplace of the Empire, as well as the site of the defeat of the ancient undead warlord,Li Kong Zhuan. Tirygon-to is the largest and most populous city within theEmpire of Keimusho and is the home of the Imperial Family, theQorchikyodai-chi clan and the headquarters of The Onmyoji. The city is surrounded by massive, kyodai-chi forged walls and is designed to withstand an extended siege against any enemy. Tirygon-to is known for the extensive canal system that links virtually every part of the city, as well as the wonderous floating sky-palace of the Imperial Family. Also see the entry forKeimusho for more information. See Tirygon-to for further information.
Tuunguzh : Tuunguzh is the nation in the south-eastern corner of Kakushi-do where the tribes of the Konu live. Tuunguzh spans from the south-eastern border of Keimusho and extends to the Nanga Parbat Mountains on the eastern edge of the continent of Kakushi-do. It also extends as far north asRahu-Oun Lake and as far south as the Plains of Fire down to the Burokan Sea.
Unbound: a character who does not have a true name – they are “unbound” by naming magic. They are unable to enjoy the benefits of others casting powerful healing magic upon them, though they start with an additional Talent/feat at first level.
Verrik: At first blush, verrik appear human. The only physical difference is that verrik have wine-red skin and either white or blue black hair. Verrik are not human, however. They neither think nor feel as humans do. In fact, members of the two races often have difficulty relating to one another and often come into conflict. Verrik pride themselves on the ease with which they access the Akashic Record and see the other races as short-sighted at best and ignorant animals at worst. They believe they see the world from a larger perspective, which leads them to make decisions based on ramifications that others may not see. This also leads others to see them as arrogant. They value intelligence and wisdom, though are possessed of an innately aggressive nature that can overcome their reasoning and lead to rash actions. They carry with them an aura of wrongness that can send animals into a frenzy. Since the fall of their only kingdom, theKingdom of Gyr, the remaining couple of thousand verrik left are scattered across the lands.
Wars of Bone: Three wars fought over a period of three thousand years against the ancient warlord,Li Kong Zhuan,The Blood Tyrant. At one point,Li Kong Zhuanruled over all ofKakushi-do, but he was eventually defeated almost 600 years ago byShinjo TomoriandAthoc Akimoto. The First War of Bone lasted from approximately 2,800 B.E. (Before Empire) until approx. 2,600 B.E. The Second War of Bone lasted from approx. 2,400 B.E. until approx. 2,300 B.E. The Third, Final and bloodiest War of Bone lasted from approx. 50 B.E. until 0 B.E. and was the furnace that helped to forge the Empire of Keimusho. During and between the Wars of Bone, the continent ofKakushi-dosaw an unprecedented number of undead rise from the defiled or improperly buried corpses of all races. Despite the intervening years, it is the tales and memories of these wars and tyrannical times that has engendered a strong fear of the undead. There is even a sect of necromancers, theItako, who are sponsored by the Empire and who’s role it is to protect the living from the depravations of the undead.
Xinshu : The oldest of the Younger Races. The Xinshu are an aquatic race that live in their “lost” city of Shui xia Chengshi, a mythical place of living coral towers and underwater plant life. The Xinshu are as tall as humans, but far leaner, with glistening skin that ranges from seaweed green through to coral pink and shark grey. Their hands and feet are slightly webbed, though their most prominent features are their octopus-like, tentacled heads and large, oval eyes. The Xinshu can breath air as easily as water, but their language can only be heard or understood under water. Above water, the Xinshu rely upon their natural telepathic abilities. The Xinshu are a serious people and place much importance upon ceremony and honour. Indeed, it is believed that the Xinshu culture was the basis from which the Keimushan peoples gained theirs, though no Keimushan historians or anthropologists are able to trace long-term interaction between Keimusho and the stately Xinshu.
Zaiku : AKA, The Runeforged. A group of sentient, self-aware constructs created thousands of years ago by the Totoru. The Zaiku are usually made from metal, stone or wood. Some few corrupted Zaiku were made from the flesh of other beings.