Cho Lin Empire

This is the largest nation of Heaven's Tear, taking up most of the warmer southern two-thirds of the land on the continent to the west of the mountains, and even extending onto the mountains themselves, with various stepped farms carved right into the hills and lower reaches, making room for pastureland and cultivated fields. It is also the oldest and first established of the human-dominated nations, with a history that extends almost a thousand years into the past. This well-populated and diverse but also largely isolated nation has some of the most fertile and productive farmland on Therafim, thanks to the Twin Rivers. It is bounded on the north by the Raging Jungles, and on the east by the Stormlords mountain range. Cho-Lin is the place where the traditions of the samurai, the ninja, and monks originated, though the secrets and concepts of these different classes has long since been spread across much of the world thanks to trade and cultural exchanges, as well as more than a few expatriates. The people of this land have a longstanding tradition that they are the direct ancestors of the gods, and they do indeed seem to have some of the longest lifespans and highest education rates to be found among all the human realms, as well as the prevalence of Spirit Folk, a race that is never found anywhere else, except when fleeing from trouble at home, or on special assignment, and one which is never born outside of this continent. Many of the Spirit Folk and their human relatives make up the household of the Celestial Emperor (sometimes Empress), considered by many to be a manifestation of the gods on Therafim, and an extension of their will. Since this ruler is indeed selected from the numbers of the royal family through open and very plain manifestations by the gods of Law, this claim may indeed have some merit, especially since only three emperors in all the thousand year existence of Cho-Lin have ever been considered failures in the mighty task of running the country (though some might say that this is also in large part due to the highly efficient Celestial Bureaucracy which runs most of the day-to-day business of the Empire).

Major Races: Humans; beastfolk; dwarves; halflings. All the major races with skin rather than another covering tend to have darker hair hair colors, along with folds of extra skin around the eyes, which give them a slanted appearance. It is often possible to tell the area that a person is from by the exact amount of slanting in the eyes and the tint of the skin. Skin coloration seldom goes darker in natives than a slightly swarthy shade, which is most commonly found in dwarves and a few of the mountain folk. Most humans and halflings have lighter golden to creamy shades to their skin.

Government: Imperial with governors on the local level, who rely on numerous warlords who maintain order and protect the people in districts, while reporting to the officials of the Celestial Bureaucracy, who in turn report to the Celestial Emperor, who answers to the gods themselves, and to the occasional assassins who are sure to claim his life should he lose the mandate of heaven. There are three primary warlords, calling themselves Generals (General Mifumi, General Chu-Chin, and General Shou-Hibi), and they divide the kingdom between them for managerial duties, each of the three Generals having three Warlords who further divide the land’s administration. These three generals often compete with each other, sometimes in military conflict, though open warfare seldom results so long as the Celestial Emperor has the mandate of heaven and the loyalty of much of the army, as he does at this time. The current Celestial Emperor is named Kariyama Yoshi (the family name is first, followed by the personal name, as is the custom throughout the Empire), who is presently at the experienced age of forty-four, having done much adventuring in his younger days, before the weight and responsibilities of his birthright came to him, requiring him to turn his life over to the service of his people.

Nation Alignment: Lawful Neutral

Major Cities
Forbidden City: home of the Celestial Imperial family and their staff, servitors, and the highest-ranking government functionaries; also the religious seat of the nation, with large numbers of priests who perform essential ceremonies; no one else is allowed, except by special invitation, though this is often given to pilgrims during proper times of the year, and to the general public for short periods and under strict supervision during special holidays.

Lung Mei: official capital and center of the Celestial Beauracracy.

Pey Fong: center of silk production.

Hotoro: military center; site where the warlords meet for council, and then redistribute their forces as needed; training place of the first human samurai and home to the greatest warriors in the Empire.

Wa-Shu: largest port city in the Empire, known as a hotbed of spycraft.

Yama: mountain city; major farming community center; site of the nearby monastery that became the originating point of the peasant warriors who would later become monks, and the major meeting place of the first clans of hired assassins who would later become ninjas).

Maroko: city of dwarves; set in the southern part of the Stormlords mountain range; major producer of metalcraft and stonework, as well as skilled workers and engineers; source of the original bushido philosophy from which the samurai code was taken).