Home of the most powerful and vilest practitioner of the dark arts, the Great Necromancer Maz-Torgoth, the Empire of Maz-Torgoth has inflicted pain and suffering across the Veiled World for over a millennia. Their agents lurk in every nation, and are rumored to pursue their evil agenda on other worlds. Within their own borders, their citizens worship Maz-Torgoth as the Great Father, and are fed a steady diet of lies, convinced that they are the true, the just and destined for glory. It is the outsiders who are corrupt, depraved and worthy only of contempt.
Nations Name: Empire of Maz-Torgoth
Form of Government: Imperial
National Symbol: Domino masked face, half smiling, half angry.
National Colors: Gold and Scarlet
Leader(s): Emperor Maz-Torgoth
Population: 3 million
Military Strength: 1 million (counting undead and demons)
State Religion(s): Cult of the Great Father, The Desolate Ones
Primary Products: Slaves, silver, weapons, grimoires
Secondary Products: Some export of evil slave creatures
Encounter Frequency: Very High
The Empire of Maz-Torgoth was once known as the Kingdoms of Pelnos and Thraxes over 1300 years ago. Existing to the north-west of the League, they were related in language and culture, though more wild in temperament. Their lands were home to many wild beasts, magical creatures and bands of rebellious men. The kingdoms had long been at peace, with a history of marriage between them, until in 600 BH, the attacks began. A few villagers disappeared at first, and then families, followed by whole isolated villages. Evidence was found in each kingdom that made it seem the other was to blame, and accusations and bitter words erupted. Undead began to rise Pelnos and attack the living, while in Thraxes demonic creatures attacked and made of with victims. Armies were raised, and soon open war broke out, each side convinced that the other was consorting with evil. After three hard years of war, when at last they could war no more, and their nations lay prostrate in economic and physical exhaustion, the king met, a meeting of peace arranged by their advisors, but each planning to end the war through assassination. Each king grasped the hand of his former friend and plunged a knife in his heart. And the advisors laughed and laughed. Men fell back frightened as the advisers, a pair known as Maz and Torgoth were revealed to be one, Maz-Torgoth, the Necromancer. His armies of undead were massive, swelled by raising the battlefield dead, as were his ranks of demons, summoned by years of blood. Pelnos and Thraxes were no more, replaced by the Empire of Maz-Torgoth. Many bowed to him, in awe and fright and he built his army, the Imperial Army from this core.
With promises of wealth and power, he marched toward the League. In swift order he conquered undefeatable Therapnia with sorcery, soon followed by Tyrinos, Ephira, Meyara, Eliapolis and the rest of the League. He drafted more men for his armies, and marched toward the West. The Akkyrian Empire fell, as did the Khana City States, Mayda Empire and other smaller kingdoms. Nomads were driven before his advancing armies, desperate for survival away from his palpable evil. He reserved his undead and demons for the hardest fights, building up a cult of personality, projecting an image of a great conqueror. While planning his next campaign, a drive toward the Shang Empire, he was assassinated by his Warlord, Eukrites, who had secretly loathed all that he witnessed, but hid until he could strike.
Using an enchanted sword, he cut down Maz-Torgoth, ending his mortal, though magically extended life. Unfortunately, his spirit lingered, bound to his Empire through sheer hate and willpower. Existing as a ghost, he watched while his Warlords fought over his empire. Five years after dying, he was able to contact a young magos and trick him into a rite that allowed him to possess his body. He slew Protokrates, but his excitement at being alive again was dashed when he felt his powers weaken, the possessed body aging. He had to rule from his palace, as he raced to discover a way to extend his life as each body aged extremely fast, and changing bodies left him weakened. The League, Akkyrian Empire, Mayda Empire and Khana City States all broke free, the Empire shrinking to a fragment of it’s once extensive size.
In 572 BH Maz-Torgoth emerged from seclusion with a new means of trading bodies that would last longer, but knowing that he could only inhabit a host so long before burning it out unless of his own blood. He devoted all of his power to finding those who are even remotely descended from him and the village in Pelnos where he was born and begins his great work, back-breeding the captured descendants to make a perfect copy of himself before he died. An entire society was built around this conceit, raised to worship him as a living god.
Over the next six centuries, Maz-Torgoth focused on his great work, building a society dedicated his vision. He also roamed other nearby dimensions, and in 45 BH, he found a weapon he would use to punish the world, the Host. Planning and preparing over the next half century, he tricked the Empire of Tse’tah into opening the portal, allowing the Host access to Quernos. He met them there, bound many of the most powerful members of the Host to his service. Another quarter century of bloodshed would follow, with many kingdoms brought down, millions dead, and the face of the world changed. After being grievously wonded, he again found many of his gains stolen by rebellious subordinates, and his feud with the Khrythian Empire and the Deathlands continues to this day. The 2nd and 3rd Void wars have proven frustrating, each initially promising, and then victory denied by the intervention of third parties.
Maz-Torgoth has again sunk into a state of melancholy, brooding while he plots revenge upon the world. His empire is evil, multilayered construct, with a central core of fanatically indoctrinated believers, surrounded by rings of undead and demons. Each generation is closer to being what he once was, allowing him to use bodies longer and longer. The Empire is populated by people who look increasingly similar. Purity of bloodline determined your place, with those closest in positions of power, and those furthest turned over to necromancers or demonologists. Recently he has starting binding lesser imps souls to mortals to create his “Gremlins”.
Imperial politics and the backstabbing, assassinations and infighting that make it function seem like madness to an outsider. The Empire is based on checks and balances, and not putting too much power in any one persons hands. Maz-Torgoth has been betrayed by too many subordinate to trust any with too much power, and prefers to have them keep an eye on each other. The Chancellor, Chamberlain, Castellan, and Constable each serve to assist and harm each other, while maintaining the Empire, while the Sibling Guards and Warlords balance military power for internal and external purposes. Within each there are factions and power plays encouraged by the Emperor and his servants. Within the Auric City and Gilded Palace itself, the fights are settled with bribery, assassination and blackmail, with each faction identifiable by their chosen colors.
The Imperial Councilors:
Colors:White, Green and Silver
Controls: Day to day running of the non military side of the Empire, and is the chair of the Sibling Council (formed of the most powerful of the Emperor’s “Relatives”)
Colors: White, Blue and Purple
Controls: In charge of the Royal Household, Sibling Communes and the Imperial Person. Serving under him are the Caretaker, the Shepherds, and the Matrons (all focused on the Siblings)
Colors: White, Gold and Yellow
Controls: In charge of the defenses of the Auric City, the Gilded Palace and the Emperor’s personal protectors, the “White/Wight Guards”
Colors: White, Red and Orange
Controls: Dispensation of “Justice”, in charge of hunting down insurgents and manages the Imperial Agents.
The various Imperial Agencies serve to produce the food, housing and armaments needed by the Empire’s troops, maintain records and knowledge, and also serve as the voice and hands of the Emperor. Current agencies include the following:
Imperial Constables, Imperial Priesthood (Crimson and Shining sects), Imperial Household, Imperial Diplomats, Imperial Engineers, Imperial Factorum, Imperial Archives, Imperial Magi
Commander of the Sibling Guards: The Commander of the Sibling Guards is responsible for the training and combat readiness of all Sibling Guard units, and works hand in hand with the Warlords of the Empire to ensure that the Hordes are kept effective and loyal. Since the Sibling Guards are often exposed to outside influences, any veteran who is suspected of even minor disloyalty is “retired”.
The Siblings are the free human residents of the Empire of Maz-Torgoth, devoted to him through the teachings of the Cult of the Great Father. They are born and raised in Sibling Communes, separated by sex at the age of eight and trained to serve the empire. Continual testing and evaluation occurs during their lives, with each being chosen to fulfill a role in the mechanisms of the imperial state. Only those who prove themselves ambitious, loyal or “true believers” are allowed to learn the truth about the Empire and survive. Those judged weak, defective, disloyal, or a possible risk are taken away by the Shepherds to “Retirement”, joining the ranks of the unliving, becoming a host for demons, or otherwise serving the state. The Constable and his agents continually monitor Siblings for signs of disloyalty or rebellion.
Since the purpose of the Siblings is to eventually recreate the flesh once worn by the Emperor, they have become increasingly similar to each other over time. While individual Siblings will differ in age, scars and such, they all tend toward reddish blond hair, olive skin, brown eyes and features of Danaoi descended peoples. Those born at the same commune will often be even closer in appearance, like fraternal twins, or in some cases identical. To show allegiance many Siblings will often dye their hair or pain their faces in shared colors, especially in the Sibling Guards and imperial Agencies. To those visitors who come to the Auric City, is can be very disconcerting to see the same general face, though Siblings can spot the differences much easier.
The Siblings are raised to consider anyone outside the Empire as a threat, brainwashed by stories of the Emperor’s early life and continual propaganda. Contact with outsiders is heavily monitored, and outside of the Auric City, the only living humans are Siblings and slaves unless heavily escorted. The greatest joy in a Siblings life is to be selected to serve in one of the Imperial Agencies. Being chosen as an Imperial officer is similarly prestigious, followed in descending order by service in the Sibling Guards, apprenticeship in the crafters, and assignment to the Communes
The Sibling Council is composed of representatives of each of the Imperial Agencies, the Commander of the Sibling Guards, The Admiral, the Caretaker, and the High Matron. The Council is chaired by the Chancellor, as a check on the Chamberlain, to whom many of the council directly report, the Commander and Admiral being exceptions. The Council works with the Chancellor and Chamberlain to administer the day to day rule of the Empire, provide armaments and supplies to the armies of the Empire, and maintain the Gilded Palace and household of Maz-Torgoth. The Council also coordinates the birth and raising of Siblings themselves, working toward the birth of a perfect vessel for Maz-Torgoth to inhabit and be reborn.
The Admiral: Based out of Abandonment Bay, the Admiral is in charge of the Empire’s fleets, as well as hosting visiting allies fleets and keeping watch on them. He has a rivalry with the Commander, but is usually seen as secondary in importance due to the many land based threats to imperial power. He is usually chosen from the Siblings, but in some rare cases has been an outsider.
Caretaker & Shepherds: The Caretaker is the chief necromancer of the Empire, and is tasked with maintaining stocks of risen dead, as well as the culling and processing of Siblings found defective, disloyal, or no longer of use to the Empire. He is assisted by his Shepherds, who the other Siblings have been trained to treat with respect and awe. The Shepherds can request access anywhere, and take any Sibling unless barred by a member of the Council itself, or one of the Emperor’s direct officials. They are recognized for their long white robes, golden crooks and shaven heads. They are also highly trained in the martial arts and espionage, and only true believers make their way into the ranks of the Shepherds. Higher level Shepherds are also skilled necromancers.
High Matron & the Matrons: The High Matron and her Matrons are in charge of the Sibling breeding program and communes, and while nominally under the charge of the Chamberlain, the High Matron only truly fears the Emperor himself. The Matrons have several functions, with groups devoted to divination (so as to determine which pairings are best to complete the Sibling task), education (they are responsible for the indoctrination of Sibling youths), testing (to determine Sibling roles and occupations) and protection (many matrons are trained in spellcraft to protect their charges and communes). The best matrons are chosen to serve in the capitol or placed in charge of a commune, while less capable members are given more menial tasks.
The military of the Empire is extremely rigid and organized, even the goblin and otherworldly units. Companies of a hundred are combined into Regiments of a thousand, and Armies of ten thousand. Every five armies are under the command of a Warlord, forming a Horde. Each Army has it’s own standards and character, for Maz-Torgoth knows the value of pride and competition. Each regiment if a mix of infantry, cavalry, and archers. The infantry is usually goblins and gremlins, with some shock units of giants, trolls or minotaurs attached. The cavalry is usually Sibling Guards on horses or goblins on wolves, though occasionally the Emperor will detach a unit of his White Guard to assist. The archers are usually goblins, with a small Sibling presence. Special units of Wraith knights are mounted on giant fire breathing bats, and the elite shock troops are demons and devils personally picked and summoned by Maz-Torgoth and his Warlords. Special forces of risen dead lead the attack, with necromancers waiting to reanimate the enemy and add to the forces of Maz-Torgoth.
Emperor Maz-Torgoth: As a 1500+ year old wizard, Maz-Torgoth appears quite healthy. Ever three months or so he changes bodies with some unfortunate, shedding the burned out husk of his previous victim. He is extremely powerful, the very forces of magic saturating his frame. Each new body is enchanted to resist bite of weapons, poisons, and normal means of death, and Maz-Torgoth always has at least a dozen artifacts of power on his body, most designed by himself. He is never without a personal guard of thirteen demon possessed knights, his “White Guard” and one of his closest advisors, the Chancellor, the Chamberlain, the Castellan or the Constable. He plots to conquer the entire world, then others after that. If he could, he would like to become the supreme being in the universe, but will settle for starting as a god.
The Chamberlain has been with the Emperor for over 1000 years, having been turned into a lich as part of his experiments with body switching. He changed bodies every year, as part of the study.He is usually dressed in official robes, his head shaved bald and painted with sigils. He controls the Royal Household, and also is in charge of the Sibling Communes and the Sibling population.
The Chancellor: The Chancellor has also served the Emperor a very long time, having been bound into his body over 5 centuries ago, summoned from the Nether Realms to serve the Emperor. He is responsible for the running of the Empire, controlling trade, commerce and distribution of supplies. He wears court robes, and keeps his hair long and ornamented.
The Castellan: The Castellan was once a Commander of the Sibling Guards who saved the Emperor’s life taking a enchanted blade meant for him. The Emperor has him turned into a vampire so that he could protect him for eternity. He has held the post for 300 years. A rough and blunt man, he is rarely seen out of his armor, constantly checking guards, alert for danger.
The Constable: The Constable is the sole mortal among the Emperor’s closest companions. He was once a Sibling Guard, who’s skill at backstabbing and plotting his career advancement earned him the “honor” of serving as Constable. As such, he works to ferret out traitors, spies, and other disloyal elements from within the Siblings, as well as keeping tabs on all who visit the Empire, and maintaining spies outside as well. In appearance his is a Sibling in his early 50’s, usually dressed in fine clothes of dark color and decadent cut.
Warlord Durko, the Blackwolf: Originally a petty noble from Vychod, Durko is the current High Warlord of the Imperial armies in charge of planning all offensives, as well as defending the imperial borders. His Horde, the 5th “Horde of Shattered Hope”, is stationed along the Khrythian border, where Durko would love to lead an offensive soon. A massive man(6’8″, 300 lbs), Vandari is a master swordsman, and has been in the service of Maz-Torgoth for three decades, escaping a sentence of treason in his native land.
Warlord Bakhos, the Bonelord: Originally from the Hegemony, Bakhos was revealed as a practitioner of the Apocalyptic arts and escaped to serve the Empire. Now, two decades later, he is a Warlord of the 2nd , “Horde of Thundering Mayhem”. It’s Armies are composed of elite infantry and support troops, and distinguished themselves during the last war, besieging and taking several fortresses in Skarpa. The Emperor is considering a change to the Citadel Mountains, considering the poor showing of troops there. Bakhos is eager, and a extremely capable backstabber. Durko is his most bitter rival, holding the position he covets.
Warlords of Maz-Torgoth: The remaining Warlords are ; Grumal Phaslan, the Dweorg Slayer, 3rd “Horde of Ice and Fire”; Gharko Yaryrig, the Souldancer, 4th “Horde of Voidspawn”, Wendig Omnos, the Yeti, 6th “Horde of Mountain Killers”; Vlasid Xerng, the Blooded, 7th “Horde of Leeches”; Kasfargh Uilonin, the Outcast, 8th “Horde of Raging Infernos”; Wrenidina Ciambi, the Black Witch, 9th “Horde of Curses”; and Meirean Kinslayer, the Demon Aelf, 10th “Horde of Shadows”, Ameliana Krikoyky, the Iron Maiden, 11th “Horde of Eternal Pain”. The 5th, 11th, 3rd, and 9th are along the Khrythian Empire border. The 2nd and 4th and 6th are along the Hegemony border. The 8th are attacking the Citadel Mountains, and the 7th and 10th patrol the Mayda-Akkyrian borders. There is no 1st Horde, their name stricken from records after they followed Marshal Khrythos in his betrayal of the Emperor.