The Empire is a loosely knit alliance of power factions, mainly those of the Noble Houses, the Church and the Merchant League.
After the fall of the Second Republic there was chaos and as the power factions stabilized, many wars were fought over worlds, assets and political power.
When the barbarian incursions started, the Known Worlds were crippled and the power factions unable to withstand the heretical hordes. This led to the uniting of the Known Worlds under one leader – Vladimir Alecto. With the combined power of all the factions, Vladimir could repel the barbarian invaders and declares himself Emperor of the Known Worlds. Upon his coronation, the new Emperor was assassinated, plunging the Known Worlds once again into chaos.
However, the power factions now understood their weaknesses and quickly established a system of Electoral Votes with which to elect a new Emperor. But because the Electors could come to no accord, a temporary regent was appointed for 10 years.
Although this system was created as a temporary measure, it would be several centuries before an emperor once again would ascend the throne of the Known Worlds.
Not until the great and bitter conflict known as the Emperor wars would a new emperor step forward – Emperor Alexius Hawkwood. Instead of cementing the power of his house, Emperor Alexius decided to found a new power faction – the Phoenix Throne. By playing the various factions against each other, allying with the minor sects, noble houses, guilds, aliens and freemen, Emperor Alexius is slowly building a foundation for a stable Empire.
Some say that with several Throne Worlds, the Imperial Navy and a growing host of Questing Knights at his disposal, Emperor Alexius is prophesied to be the man who will finally unite the Known Worlds and bring humanity back into an age of light and prosperity. Others whisper that he and his successors could be the final blow to individual freedom and the beginning of an absolute reign of tyrants.
Questing Knights – Adventurous Orders
Formed by the new Emperor, the Questing Knights (also called the Company of the Phoenix) chief duty is to go forth into the Known Worlds to seek out lost worlds and worlds without hope, to bring the light of the Emperor to all – to fight with their last breath against the fading suns. This often puts them on them side of the weak, the victimized and unlucky, and usually means that they are frequently outnumbered by enemies who do not appreciate the central authority of the Empire.
Other orders: The Order of the Shroud, The Order of the Mantis, The Order of Vladimir.
Established by the Urth Orthodoxy, the Swords of Lextius make up the bulk of nobles, who, in humility or penance for real or imagined crimes, swear oaths of service to the church. Such oaths may be for a set period of time (perhaps three years or 10), oy may be for life.
Other orders: Order of Saint Yara, The Adamantine Order
The Chorali are church members dedicated to the veneration of the Pancreator through song. They are not a sect, but its members can be considered from any one. Most Chorali are musically talented but little more. Truly gifted Chorali are said to be able to work miracles with their voice alone. Hymns reflect the power and grace of the Pancreator.
Cat-men and snake women, ten-armed monstrosities and limbless horrors, beautiful midgets and freakish giants – all of these and more came out of Second Republic genetic research. These are the most notorious of the Changed, the ones that send peasants screaming in fear and Inquisitors reaching for their flames. These are not all the Changed, however. Second Republic experiments went far more pervasive than that. Many of the Changed give no external appearance as such, and some do not even know their own lineage. These are the ones the Church really fears – the demons living quietly next door.
Inhumans – Monstrosities of peasant nightmare – these creatures have no hope of living in human society.
The Animalized – Genetic experiments where human and animal (or alien) where brought close together.
Mutations – Mutations may pass for human, with enough clothing and bad lighting. Most have one or two obvious manifestations of their difference, but can hide them.
The Tweaked – This category the Church uses to those who can walk unnoticed among humans. The Church considers them the most insidious and the Inquisition will trace any relative so they can be destroyed as well.
Grimsons – Genetic experiments carried out by the Noble Houses in recent years. Chemically enhanced troops, born and breed for war – specially the Emperor Wars. Though not knowing as much as Second Republic scientists, the Grimsons tend to have many disadvantages.
Metonyms – Shape shifters that have extremely fluidic muscles. Some are so good that they can change their features and even their shape. Tough they can’t change their organs and skeletal structure, or so they say.
Clones – One of the greatest crimes by the Church, clones and their creators both face immediate destruction if discovered.