Government Style: Imperial Monarchy/ Tribal Tetrarchy
Ruler: Emperor (Sevastokratos) Miklos XI Gyla
Population: 20 million
Alchemy: Accepted but Uncommon
Ritualism: Very Common
Forge Magic: Widespread
National Symbol: A four-pointed star with a silver ring around its intersection
For the Empire of Tharicia to rise, the Empire of Oak, Enderias, had to decline. When humans first came from the wilds of the east and for ages thereafter, the Empire of Oak called them friends and shared the land with them. The Firstborn ceded more of their land every year, until the humans came to view them as weak, and attempted to seize still more by force. At the Battle of the Black Spur, the Empire of Oak dealt a bitter defeat to the loosely-allied tribes of humans. The humans withdrew for a decade, fortifying their borders and rebuilding their forces, until the four tribes came together at the Stone of Takresh and formally allied, dedicating themselves to the defeat of the Empire of Oak. Their chief warlord was Nikolos of the Strazha Tribe.
Within a few months, the humans had suffered a second crushing loss at the Battle of Three Gods, overwhelmed by the magic of the Firstborn. The humans retreated again to the village at the Stone of Takresh. Nikolos defeated each of the champions of the other tribes in single combat and proclaimed himself Turannos over the Takreshi peoples. He built a city around the Stone, where he raised another army, the largest force the world had ever seen. Nikolos' army marched on Uethil, the capital of Endeiras, where they were repelled again. In the Battle of Highgate, the humans slew some of the greatest warriors of House Tíogair, but again they were driven back, until finally Nikolos had no choice but to sue for a lasting peace. The three great wars that humans waged against the Firstborn would forever darken their relations. When Nikolos finally passed away, the highest echelons of the four tribes gathered, chose an Emperor, or Sevastokratos, from among their ranks, and defined a means of inheritance that would endure for millennia.
The Tharicians grew powerful, proud, and wealthy as their empire grew. They expanded northward until they ran into the wild tribes of Druma who would not be conquered. They were daunted by the fearless warriors of Mazhan, and made peace. Those who rejected the rule of Nikolos’s successors built colonies along the sea and intermarried with the Ophiran tribes. The few explorers who sailed south past the barrier islands in the Bright Sea never returned, and none can say what they found.
They learned magic as well, and grew in power, though they were forever surpassed in this by other nations. Their mages sought solitude for their experimentation, and ventured to the edges of the Empire and beyond. Towers known as the Four Beacons were the most important such places. On the stony northern shores of Druma, the Alemnet Tribe built the Northern Beacon. The Western Beacon, built by the Gyla tribe, was said to be nearly tall enough to see the island of Endeiras on a clear day. In the east, the Strazha mages built the Eastern Beacon as a crossroads of magical lore between Tharicia, Ophira, and Ton Isiq. The Southern Beacon stood not far from the city of the Targovishte.
In comparison to other lands, the Bourgoise, or Merkantas, and commoners of ancient Tharicia had extremely comfortable lives, and the nobles still more so. They had martial and mystical power as well, and they grew vain and arrogant. The common people (who bore rights and privileges above the serfs) wore fine cottons from Ophira, carried weapons of good steel, and might even own silks imported from Endeiras. In the Prophecy of Lygora they saw the promise of personal significance in a world in which everyone around them had the same incredible riches. They grew obsessed, and in that obsession turned their gaze away from external threats until it was nearly too late.
In spite of their many flaws, the Tharicians had many notable virtues as well. The average noble or commoner of Tharicia was loyal first to his own family, second to the Empire, third to his Tribe, and fourth to himself, though this self-loyalty typically expressed itself as pride. They added much to humanity’s historical achievements in skill at arms and every kind of craft. They used these resources to make the land within their borders secure. They were gallant in battle, brave in exploration, clever in the arts, and tireless in pursuing their goals. When the Most Foul raised his banners in war against the world, Tharicians made up the bulk of the armies that opposed him, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers took up sword, spear, or staff to fight. Many would prove their heroism by giving their lives in that war.
What makes Tharicia great?
Tharicia was, without question, the wealthiest, mightiest, and largest of the human lands; Endeiras challenged their military might only prior to the start of the Great War. The raw power of the Empire has not been surpassed in any of the kingdoms of the Truce Era or the Regnal Era. They tirelessly sought to understand and settle the world around them, and were filled with a spirit of exploration and determination. They believed that their resources, ingenuity, and knowledge of the Prophecy of Lygora would allow them to conquer any obstacle. Until the start of the Great War of Shadow, it seemed that their victories might go on forever. Though they were not the world's greatest in any form of magic or craft, they were highly advanced in all of them, and unfettered with superstitions other than their precious Prophecy. Tharicians in general demonstrated a fierce loyalty to family and empire.
What makes Tharicia less than desirable?
The Tharicians were an arrogant, self-absorbed people convinced of their own manifest destiny, particularly in the words of the Prophecy of Lygora. They had little interest in the accomplishments of other countries, unless they seemed worth buying. The humans of Druma and the Firstborn of Endeiras had a long memory for the treachery and aggression of the Tharicians. Divisions between the four tribes caused fierce, often bloody, conflicts within the Empire, though they still stood together when facing external threats.
Faith and Religion
In the distant past, the Tharicians worshipped household gods, praying to them for the solace of the hearth, for protection from the storm and the things that walk the night, for preservation, and for hope. By the end of the First Age, even the commoners of Tharicia regarded themselves as too civilized and urbane for such backward, outmoded beliefs. A few communities of outlanders from Druma or the other lands still clung to their traditions.
The people of Tharicia believed that both their own personal fates and the fate of the Empire could be discerned from careful study of the Prophecy of Lygora. It became something very near a state religion in itself, with official interpreters. However, it offered no moral or ethical guidance, but rather a series of circumstances in which someone will be enriched or destroyed.
Theme & Costuming
Tharician arrogance and obsessions can easily take their inspiration from Imperial Rome, or from modern-day America. The closest analog is the Byzantine Empire, if said Empire had remained in control of the world at large for millenia, and their general flavour & language is a kind of Hellenized Latin.
We encourage Returned players to wear tattered, stained, or dusty clothes when they rise out of the Grim Prison. However, Returned wear whatever clothing they can come across thereafter, possibly recreating the styles of their forgotten homelands. Tharicia’s style of dress reflects ease and splendor, most resembling the Italian and Spanish Renaissance. Doublets and silk or linen trousers are popular for men, and were often adopted by women of the theatre as well. Noble women wore elegant gowns and brocade bodices, high collars and pearls. Gold jewelry and large precious stones in ornate settings were also quite common as displays of wealth, though the pearl was especially prized. Tharicians also imported the fabrics and motifs of the other civilized cultures, adapting or accenting their own styles with foreign flavors. Ophiran colors and, by the end of the first age, Endeiran silks were extremely popular, as were the patterns of Mazhan.
Returned hailing from Tharicia receive the first level of Fortune for free, or pay two fewer points for any other level of Fortune.