First Emperor

The First Emperor
Father of the Iron Throne (in the Iron Throne Empire); King of Humans; Tian Weng (in the Cho-Lin Empire)

Symbol: A spiked iron crown
Home Plane: Arcadia
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Cleric Alignments: Any lawful
Portfolio: The Iron Throne Empire; prosperity of humans in general
Worshipers: Citizens of the Iron Throne Empire and the Cho-Lin, civilized humans
Domains: Cold Iron, Community, Law, Nobility, War
Favored Weapon: Halberd

Physical Description:
The First Emperor is a forbidding figure when he is seen, tall and ominous in cold iron full plate mail that conceals his entire body, his face covered by a cold iron death mask. He carries many weapons on his person, and a tower shield in the other, and is able to use even two-handed weapons with only one hand while still using the massive shield. If the faceplate or any of his armor is removed, the view inside varies according to the viewer. Some see nothing at all, while others see thick, mobile shadow, still others see an animated skeleton, and a very rare few, those of especially honorable nature, see a noble, bearded human with wise and stern eyes.

Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
The organization and management of the vast host of humanity is the principle interest of the First Emperor. Humans are strong when they are united, but weak when their social cohesion breaks down, and so the First Emperor is devoted to keeping the great nations of humanity united and strong. It is known that the First Emperor would be pleased if all of humankind would unite into a single body, much as many of the other races of Therafim have done, but humankind is far too diverse to accept such a thing, most of them outside of the Cho-Lin and Iron Throne empires not even accepting the worship of the First Emperor as their principle deity, if at all.

Honorable, lawful, and without fear, the First Emperor embodies the finest qualities of humanity's flower of knighthood and leadership. He is a commanding presence, proud and fiercely independent, but also willing to surrender his own needs for the sake of others when the need arises. However, the First Emperor is also quite stern, and not known for showing mercy, especially to those who have betrayed the trust of their friends and their country, or those who have broken the laws of the land.

Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
All of the clerics of the First Emperor are of distinct noble bloodlines. To be one of the First Emperor's clergy, one must either be of noble blood, or else be made a noble through the power of the present living emperor of one of the two great human empires, the Cho-Lin or Iron Throne. Unlike other deities, the First Emperor allows his clergy to study to learn how to call upon him for their spells, which means that there are frequently a great many clerics in human-dominated lands, relative to the overall population. This tends to cause the First Emperor's church to form a fairly byzantine organization to govern itself, and their many tall and beautiful cathedrals are testaments to the wealth and influence that the church of the First Emperor wields. In return for this wealth and prestige, however, the vast majority of the clergy of the First Emperor are expected to be on-call to serve in military units as medical personnel for most of their adult lives. The only exceptions to this requirement are the highest-ranking clergy, many of whom serve in military functions anyway by their own choice, and the many non-clerical administrators who help the church to run smoothly. The extensive nature of the First Emperor's church sometimes leads to corruption within its ranks, but the requirement for military service usually acts to keep the clergy honest by their continued dependance on the First Emperor for their spells.

At least once a month, all worshipers of the First Emperor, in order to demonstrate their loyalty to their nation, are expected to go to one of the many cathedrals or smaller church buildings of the First Emperor, and there to attend a sermon followed by a simple ritual meal shared by the congregation, prepared by the clerics of the First Emperor in charge of the cathedral. The primary purpose of this meeting, which is held three times, morning, noon, and night, on one day a week to allow opportunities for everyone in an area to attend, is to let people see and be seen, so that they can share in their devotion to their country and to each other, strengthening their unity. A secondary purpose is to allow the clergy to demonstrate its utility by feeding the people who are part of an individual church building's congregation, and also to allow the clergy to get to know individuals in the community outside of their normal rounds.

The First Emperor is quite isolated among the gods, and because of this has few servitors. There are a number of saints and a few lawfully-aligned angels, however, that come at his beck and call. Also, the First Emperor is served by a good number of hound archons, who are eager to fulfill their task as "man's best friend."

History and Relations:
It is not really clear who, exactly, the First Emperor really is. Some claim that he is the founder of the Iron Throne Empire, while others claim that he is the one who began the Cho-Lin dynasty. As both of these large and powerful human nations are able to share his worship with equal ease, the matter is unlikely to ever be settled. There have been a few times that these nations have gone to war with each other to resolve the matter once and for all, but when this has been done, the First Emperor has removed his power from any of his clerics involved in the conflict, showing his displeasure at such competition. Regardless of whose first emperor he is, the First Emperor is the principle guardian spirit and deity of human-controlled lands, and it is to him that the rulers of these nations look for inspiration.

As a deity with an extreme focus, the First Emperor is seldom involved much with other deities. Because of his lawful tendencies, he gets along well with other lawful deities for the most part, and their worship finds place in human lands without too much difficulty. However, because of the expansionist nature of humanity, and their tendency to overreach what they ought to possess, most of the other gods regularly allow great calamities to fall upon human lands, and both the Iron Throne and Cho-Lin empires accordingly find themselves regularly besieged by a host of enemies on all sides. Since this has the combined effect of keeping the human population from growing too great, and also strengthens those humans who survive, and since the First Emperor lacks the strength of the greater, older gods, he allows these attacks to take place, requiring humans to maintain themselves in an uneasy balance with the rest of the world.

Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
The First Emperor demands only two things from his worshipers. The first is that his worshipers all pay an honest tax, which extends all the way up to the rulers of human lands, especially the Iron Throne. Keeping with this tradition, the present emperor of the Iron Throne is expected to keep no wealth for himself, but to expend all his resources to bettering the empire. In the Cho-Lin Empire, the emperor is allowed to live in a state of greater luxury, but also does not retain his own property, which instead is passed on to the next emperor. The second offering is that of military service, and each person in the Iron Throne and Cho-Lin Empires, as well as many other human lands, is expected to serve for a period of time in whatever military order is present, protecting their lands from enemies. The exact period of time depends on the needs of an individual government or region, and may range from an established tour of duty to a strictly as-needed basis.

Lacking power outside of human lands, and having trouble maintaining power in much of these lands due to the large amount of untamed country found in the world, the First Emperor finds it hard to influence much of the rest of Therafim. However, if human lands are threatened with great destruction, the First Emperor will go out of his way to ensure that there are proper heroes and leaders of the people who will arise to save the nation, and then return to their former ways of life when the crisis has passed, without adding an additional threat. In the most dire of circumstances, when the very fate of an entire human empire is threatened, the First Emperor may manifest personally to rally the people, empowering them with divinely-inspired courage and might.