Age of Ascension
The Empire of Avencia
The lands that now make up the Empire have been called by many names and passed through many hands before its formation. Now at the height of its power, Avencia is the dominant empire of the continent off Egias and the cultural mixing pot of the known world. Expansion happened very quickly, spurred by revolution in the capital city of Valcora. In consequence, imperial borders encompass huge swathes of uncultivated land, numerous frontier settlements, and a great many mysteries.
Modern Avencian culture is varied and colorful, due to the mixing of many cultures over the last few centuries. The empire’s reach is long, and there are all varieties of lifestyles within, from the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Valcoran nobility to the grimly determined soldiers of distant ironoak,, and everything in between. Historically of light skin, but often of mixed blood, Avencians are typically educated, bold, and proud. Most are tolerant of other cultures and customs, at least on the surface. Their confidence in the strength of the empire usually matches their fear of ending up on the wrong side of its law.
Avencia’s great strength lie in its military and economy, but also notable are its art, architecture, and engineering advances. Governed by a complicated system of bureaucratic, republican, and monarchal elements, the heart of the Empire lie in the city of Avencia, and her reach is long.
Avencian citizens lead lives of relative safety, except for the adventurous who stray from the cities. Even the most luckless souls can find work in Valcora; there are a great many dirty jobs in maintaining the hulking metropolis. The average citizen can expect a quality of life that rivals any neighboring land, so long as they pay their taxes and stay out of trouble. Imperial glory pervades everything, giving some a feeling of purpose in something bigger than themselves. For others, the benefits of imperial rule don’t outweigh the price. Ruled by a mysterious Emperor and his council of magisters, with more than just an army behind them, the will of Valcora is absolute. The empire rise to domination through the gentle urgings of good men; it was built on the backs of soldiers and laborers, by rulers who would accept nothing less.
From the Empire’s capital city of Valcora, the Emperor holds ultimate power over all lands and territories. Serving for life, Avencian emperors are rarely known to leave the fortress Carre Dova, overlooking the city. While the thriving metropolis itself is governed by a body of lesser authorities, the overall good of the Empire rests solely on the Emperor’s shoulders.
Settlements throughout the Empire are subject to the decrees of their Emperor, but they make most of their own decisions in regards to basic law and policy. Avencia’s rapid expansion forced the region to become a melting pot of very different cultures and values. In his wisdom, the current Emperor has chosen to leave the power with local leadership who can better anticipate and quicker react to changing circumstances. This fortunate decision has lessened the propensity of local officials to chafe under new management, allowing experienced leaders to remain invested in the success of their own settlements.
The empire finds itself in the profitable position of holding absolute sway over its lands and people, owing to the fact that natural and political borders make it difficult for the dissident to leave. Aside from Ospria, where Avencians are known to be kept at a disadvantage, the neighboring lands are sharply different from the temperate forests and grasslands imperial citizens were raised on.
Additionally, the Avencian capital was built in the shadow of a lone mountain, on a peninsula that juts into the sea in the center of the continent. Easy to find and easy to access, the city’s trade relations by sea have made it a titan of continental economics.
In the Heartlands and Lowlands, if you control the Firewine River, you control trade. Though it was originally built to control the river for the sake of military logistics, the city of Ironoak now also safeguards the chief trade route of the region. With modern ship design and the gentle flow of the upland segment, it’s possible to travel counter to its natural flow with minimal effort. Surprising depth allows for larger riverboats, with deeper hulls than anywhere else.
The majority of Valcora’s food comes from the Statelands, having been long since cleared and granted to noble families in ages past, in the expectation that they maintain productive farms. No expense is spared on the security of these holdings. Building materials are fortunately quarried in abundance from the stone of the Mt. Shatterhull, around which the city is built. Wood, however, must be brought in by caravan from the heartlands, unless one is prepared to pay the significant cost of local wood from the Reserves outside of the city.
Importing luxury items, exotic food, and clothing by sea, Valcora has access to the majority of trade goods valued by Imperial citizens. Industrialization allows the rapid fabrication and shipment of finished goods, including the ships themselves, and these make up the bulk of Valcoran export.
Taxes within the empire are considered fair, and quality of life is slightly above average for the continent as a whole.
Adventurers in Avencia
The people of Avencia do not generally lack for activity, with the bustle of production and trade, and a relatively low rate of unemployment. However, as a public hungry for the ‘latest craze’, it’s not unheard of for adventurers to earn overnight fame and lost it just as quickly. Knowing the importance of keeping its people complacent, the Avencian government prefers to employ adventuring parties as agents, so that they can work for the good of the city while hopefully spending more time out in the field, and less causing trouble in the Districts. Fortunately, its sheer size makes it difficult to upset the city’s economy with extravagent spending after a successful venture.
As well, the bureaucratic nature of Valcoran politics have made possible the formation of both an Adventurer’s Guild, and an independent organization concerned with emergencies, the Wardens of the Dawn.