Tiāncháo, or the Celestial Empire in it’s native tongue, is a massive empire of detailed ritual and complex culture.
For as long as can be remembered Tiāncháo has been ruled by the Divine Emperor of Heaven on Earth (Shénshèng tiāndì dìqiú shàng or 神聖天帝地球上). Though over time it has waged wars of conquest to expand its borders, taking over it’s ‘barbaric’ neighbors. Though usually they go several decades before expanding again, instead demanding tribute of their neighbors during times of peace. Very little has caused them pause since their founding, and it’s rumored that they were the first nation to recover from the Cataclysm.
The one threat they have yet to do away with has been the Gorun Tribes, who encroach on their territory and are eventually beaten back only for another century to pass and they come again. The Gorun have proved allusive to find before gaining massive numbers to try again. This has made the nation very hostile to Gorun, and even ‘civilized’ Gorun mercenaries are usually killed on sight by guards. This has also affected their relations with other ‘beast’ races and even the Nornan, who in Tiāncháo lands tend to live in small secluded communities.
The people of Tiāncháo, and many neighboring nations, believe in Tiānguó guānliáo (The Celestial Bureaucracy or 天國官僚). This basically is an entire order of spirits given authority of various aspects of existence. Humans of proper spirit and refined physical and mental ability can cross over on death to become spirits of the Tiānguó guānliáo themselves. The Emperor and his family however are considered living spirits of the Tiānguó guānliáo and the enforcers of it’s mandate on Celestia.
Their is no formal selection of priests or clerics, instead those appointed by the Emperor are considered ‘divine’ agents. These consist primarily of Scholars, Artificers, Martial Artists, and Wizards who study the Tiāntǐ kēxué (Celestial Sciences or 天體科學). They make up the ‘educated’ and are considered the highest social class in the empire.
Politics and Government
The Emperor being considered a divine living spirit is granted rule of the nation as part of his ‘Mandate from Heaven’. He can make, and break, any rules he chooses. He appoints people of his choice from among the ‘Educated’ class to rule (as governors) in his place under smaller domains (regions), forming his own bureaucracy on earth to match the one in the heavens.
Beneath the Educated are the Jūnshì (‘Military’ which also includes the police) composed of Justicars, Knights, Holy Warriors, and Scouts. Beneath the Jūnshì are the ‘Common’ which includes peasantry and Bards. Beneath them are the Merchants and Thieves commonly referred to as the ‘Dismissed’ (Bóhuí or 駁回). The inclusion of merchants among the dismissed may seem strange, but they are generally untrusted and considered no better than thieves themselves. A ‘necessary evil’ as it may be.
Zhōngguó is the language of Tiāncháo. It’s spoken form is very much like ‘Mandarin’, with a complex written form (中國) of characters representing ideas. It’s known for being hard to convert into ‘Roman Chracters’.
The empire is large enough to vary considerably in climate, from the large temperate region of Nóngtián to the Shāo Jiāo desert at their eastern border.
Silk dominates materials worn by the Empire and so common clothing takes forms of robes, breeches, silk shirts, and dresses.
Races of the Empire
- Chiara, second-class citizens
- Minza, second-class citizens
- Nornan, second-class citizens
- Rethos, second-class citizens
- Fǎguān – Justicar
- Jìgōng – Artificer
- Qíshì – Knight
- Shèng Zhànshì – Holy Warrior
- Shīrén – Bard
- Wǔshù yìshùjiā – Martial Artist
- Xiàngdǎo – Wizard
- Xuézhě – Scholar
- Zéi – Thief
- Zhēnchá Bīng – Scout
Martial Arts of the Empire
- Chin Na
- Chinese Horse-Cutter Fighting
- Chinese Spear Fighting
- Hsing I Chuan
- Hung Gar Kung Fu
- Pa Kua Chuan
- Pak Hok
- Praying Mantis Kung Fu
- Shaolin Kung Fu
- T’ai Chi
- T’ai Chi Chuan
- Wing Chun
Tiāncháo is heavily influenced by ancient China.