The Carayku Empire is the sphere-wide government of Pachaspace. It has a population of about 5 million citizens and consists of several space bases, dozens of planetside colonies and thousands of small villages and fiefs located throughout the millions of miles of Pachaspace. The Empire is a semi-theocratic state, with the ruler, known as the Sapa Capa, being both head of state and high-priestess of Mano-Capac. All rulers are Dragonborn who claim direct lineage from one of the three queens of Mano-Capac, and are also the matriarch of one of the three noble houses of Waterspirit, Firestone or Blackthorn. The Empire is known for it’s public works, cultural tolerance, excellent justice system, protectionist trade policies and literally religious obsession with gold and silver.
The Empire was founded about 700 years ago by the legendary silver dragon, and patron deity of the Empire, Mano-Capac. The empire grew out of the tattered remnants of the Grand Alliance in the aftermath of the Dracolich War against the black dracolich Ayarpay Yanasuchuq Uma, which devastated the race’s home planet of Kay. The Empire was founded when Mano-Capac and the leaders of the tribes and kingdoms that made up the alliance together founded the orbiting city of Cuzco by cobbling it together out of some of the shattered remains of the 2nd moon of Kay, Mamapacha. Mano-Capac ruled the Empire for it’s first hundred years, in that time taking on the mortal queens who would found the noble houses and the mortal lover who would later help create the legal foundation of the empire, Kusi’s Code.
Due to many of the stipulations of how the Carayku government is obligated to provide for it’s people, and also due to the difficulties the early empire face with infrastructure, most of the empire’s largely peaceful history is dominated by a series of major public works projects, especially on the breadbasket of Cocomama and on expanding and developing the area around the capital of Cuzco. This included a series of major explorations along the largely untouched The Rainbowflow which established contact with the tributary’s crown jewel of Burespace, the development of a unique Carayku navy, the building of a spelljammer dry-docking system throughout many of even the smaller towns of the empire and the establishment of a courier network.
Since it’s founding, the Empire has engaged in one war, a 100 year long set of skirmishes against the Neogi known as The 1st Cara-Neogi War. The Empire spent most of that war slowly losing to the Neogi, before the Imperial Elven Navy threatened to intervene on their behalf, forcing the Treaty of Garden, which put Pachaspace under Elven protection but guaranteed the Neogi and traders from Waterdeep special rights in Carayku ports.
Rulership of the Empire has oscillated between the three houses, with Waterspirit having the most rulers but Firestone having the most years in power. Blackthorn heirs tend to be less likely to be picked in peacetime due to the harshness of the house’s worldview, which doesn’t gel as well with the Empire’s generally optimistic outlook, but due to the exploits of Qhawa Blackthorn during the war they tend to be overwhelmingly popular in times of crisis, so most have been installed during an emergency meeting of the Golden Council.
The Carayku Empire is a feudal society with a few twists. Kusi was a halfling of humble origins, and the society established by the code of laws he had a hand in building, while favorable to nobles, allow an unusual amount of social mobility for peasants.
The lowest class of Carayku society are Rurayruna, also called Bondfolk. By Kusi’s Code, any sentient may obligate themselves to any lord that shall have them in exchange for food, clothing, housing and a small wage of 1/2 copper a day. They must then do any task the noble asks of them, even dangerous or deadly ones, though a bondperson may buy their out of of their lord’s service at a cost of 30 copper or be dismissed by their lord at any time. A person may also become bonded due to being unable to pay the penalty of a crime or pay back some other debt to a noble, in which case they receive no wage and the money goes to repay their debt, or until their lord forgives the debt. Debts can be inherited and are usually amongst children. Bondfolk are, thus, generally migrant workers roaming from job to job, eating when they have work, starving when they don’t. Much of society looks down on them as unsuccessful, so unable to make ends meet that they must live off a noble’s good graces. In reality, most bondfolk are peasants who suffered a bad harvest or minor criminals. Bondfolk make up about 10% of Carayku society. When war comes to the Empire, and a noble is asked to muster their forces, it will be their bondfolk first, though in a protracted war the peasants may be conscripted as well.
The second and largest class of Carayku society are Chakruna, also called peasants. Peasants make up the majority of citizens of the empire. All peasants are sworn to a lord, whom they or one of their ancestors chose. They are allowed to work on their lord’s land: mining, farming, fishing etc. in exchange for some portion of their harvest in kind, usually as much as 50% between their lord, their lord’s lords, the imperial taxes and the temple obligations. For miners mining gold, silver or precious gems, this tax can go even higher. Unlike in most feudal societies, a peasant can actually buy off their obligation to their lord and become freefolk, at a cost of 30 gold pieces. Usually, this is actually paid for by another lord who is seeking to poach a peasant, since most peasants don’t have the skill set to survive as freefolk.
The third class is Qhaturuna, or freefolk. Freefolk are unlanded people, typically adventurers, artisans and merchants, who owe no fealty to any lord in particular and survive on wages and contracts. Generally speaking however, freefolk will have a patron, often the lord whose obligation they or their ancestors originally bought their obligation from, or to some local lord like the Lord Mayor of Cuzco, to whom they have some duties to in exchange for the right to conduct business in the empire, outside of buying from and selling to merchants in the foreign quarter of Cuzco, and from whom they are able to purchase or rent land for their business. Freefolk are free to change patrons as they please, and patrons are allowed to dismiss them as they please, but changing patrons often will mean losing the land bought or rented from the original patron, so changing patrons is rare. Official guilds and some fraternities and Trading Companies in good standing with the Empire are allowed to patronize individuals in lieu of a noble. Freefolk generally have to give 10% of their income to their patron, in addition to other taxes, though some guilds and companies, particularly those that pay wages to their members, do not expect this duty on those wages.
The fourth class is Tariparuna, or clansfolk. Clansfolk are dragonborn who are members of one of the three noble dragonborn houses. Tariparuna are obliged above all to their house, their house’s matriarch and the empire, and exist outside the normal structure of the nobility, though most are effectively freefolk with an obligation to their house. Taripuna can buy or rent land from any noble who agrees to it, and may also purchase and develop imperial land not yet granted to any noble, retaining the deed even after a title has been granted. Tariparuna who are granted titles by the council of chiefs immediately put their fief under the control of their house and matriarch, due to their strong obligations to her. Any citizen who is dragonborn, not just those that can trace lineage back to Mano-Capac, can be adopted into a noble house, and generally are welcomed with open arms if their ideals match that of the house. However, dragonborn within the house are expected to only marry other dragonborn within the house to keep the bloodlines strong. The house also expects financial and material support from it’s members to go towards it’s hoard, generally amounting to 5% of their income, besides the other imperial and clerical taxes, but can also expect to take advantage of family loans, resources and connections, which usually more than make up for this. Clansfolk are also generally favored for jobs as magistrates and naval officers.
the fifth class is Llaqutaruna, or magistrates, officiants, state scholars, members of the imperial court and professional soldiers. Again, these people exist outside the nobility, and in this case only pay imperial taxes, as the Empire is patronizing them directly. Such individuals can generally expect state-provided housing and a fairly generous wage, as well as some limited time outside of state duties to pursue their own interests. It is not unheard of for state wizards to run a magic business on the side, though state duties generally take up most of these people’s time. Many are also Tariparuna, or might be members of orders or societies that take a portion of their wages.
The sixth class is Allparuna, or nobles. In theory anyone can become a noble if a landed noble of sufficient ranking grants them a title, though generally only exceptional individuals in good standing receive the benefit, and most titles are inherited. At the time a title is granted, the lord granting the title is required to also grant an estate of at least 10 acres of land to their new baron, or else some other holding from which the new noble can derive sufficient income to support themselves, or else provide that noble with an income food and housing. Not all nobles are landed with fiefs, many being knights or retainers of other nobles. All nobles trace their fealty up, through other nobles, to one of the Chiefs in the Golden Council or to the Matriarch of one of the dragonborn houses. A noble can expect to pay 10% of their income to their lord if they are landed, though they do not have to pay any imperial taxes except export tariffs. They must still pay clerical taxes though. Nobles that are also Tariparuna who trace their fealty to their matriarch do not have to pay the house tithe. Once granted a title, a noble can patronize freefolk, take on peasants to help work their lands in addition to those tied to their estate when they receive it, and are outright expected to take on at least a few bondfolk, who often act as servants, unskilled laborers and soldiers. Finally, nobles are expected to respond to calls to arms from their lord or their lord’s lords, and expected to muster a certain percentage of their bondfolk. There may also be additional obligations or codes of conduct, depending on what tribe the new noble is part of. Upon death, a noble’s first born child inherits the whole land, while the rest become unlanded and live on wages paid by the first child until either the inheritor dies with an heir or until they die themselves. Children of low-ranking and unladed nobles generally become Freefolk.
The seventh class is Taytakura or priests of the sphere. Priests pay no taxes, although traveling clerics are expected to give up to 20% of their income to their church. People from all walks of life can theoretically become priests, though the process is very selective. Priests often have to obey strict codes of conduct that impact every aspect of their lives. For example, priests of Inti must be men and can only have sex with men and priests of Mamaquilla must be women and can only have sex with women. Priests also often have some duties within the temple hierarchy, though the only duty of any priest of the sphere outside of this hierarchy is to the Empress herself, though priests of Inti and Mamaquilla do not even have to obey her.
The eighth and final class is Quilqiruna or the Silverfolk. These are female Taripuna, all of noble birth, who can trace their lineage directly to Mano-Capac, and thus are candidates for becoming a matriarch or empress. Silverfolk pay no taxes, including to their house and the clergy, as do their spouses, and if they fall on hard times can expect the empire and their house to take care of them. It is taboo for Silverfolk to mate with other silverfolk, or dragonborn that belong to another house, and any non-dragonborn children produced by a Silverfolk are considered illigitmate, though the house may take them in out of sympathy. Children of a non-female Silverfolk are not considered Silverfolk, as the line passes matrilineally, although being part of the imperial family and descended from a deity carries benefits regardless. When the matriarch dies, the most senior Silverfolk of the house convene to decide which female Silverfolk will become the new matriarch. This can be any heir, though usually one of the senior members of the house is chosen.
The Carayku empire is formed from the multi-cultural coalition that originally formed to oppose the Dracolich. It is a cosmopolitan empire the is unusually tolerant of views that do not match it’s own outlook. On the whole, Carakyu culture tends towards Lawful Good, despite the inclusion of several typically evil species within the Golden Council. Many of the peoples from typically evil cultures are the descendants of the few tribes which didn’t join the Dracolich initially, many of which tended to be more neutral oriented. After 700 years in the empire as well, the cultures have slowly moved at many as two steps towards Lawful Good.
The 9 Peoples
There were 9 Peoples that formed the Grand Alliance, the few tribes left by the time the Dracolich’s plan to end all life was abundantly clear to all but the ignorant Bullywug. Many of these tribes were actually, by that point, coalitions of small tribes who had banded together.
The People of the Sun
Humans The bulk of the Grand Alliance was the People of the Sun, originally called The Mount Vayapa Coalition. These tribes turned to religion, especially the gods of light, Mamaquilla and Inti, to save them from the Undead hordes. Humans remain the largest clerical demographic besides the Dragonborn and are some of the most religious people in the Empire. The People of the Sun are also renown for their diplomacy, as human leaders are largely responsible for bringing the alliance together in the first place.
Symbol A Gold disc with an image of the sun on it.
The People of the Earth
Dwarves The dwarves were the second people to join the Grand Alliance, and are credited with giving what was once a desperate group of humans the arms and equipment to effectively fight the dead. The dwarves brought a level of engineering to the otherwise backwards people of Kay that helped the alliance hold out for years.
Symbol A great mountain with a hammer above.
The People of the Wheel
Gnomes While the Dwarves brought their artisans skills, the gnomes brought innovation. It was gnomish scientists that conceived of the first ships that would cross the stars, and before that, gnomish explosives and alchemy as well as guerilla tactics bought the alliance precious time. The gnomes were the most devastated people by the end of the war, save perhaps the Kobolds, and their remaining numbers are small.
Symbol Three gears, turning each other.
The People of the Woods
High Elves and Wood Elves The elves had attempted to remain isolated from the conflict, but once the demons started to appear, and it was clear that this was a true invasion, the Elves contacted the ancient silver dragon Mano-Capac, and presented the increasingly desperate alliance with unparalleled leadership and knowledge of the land. The elves that survived spent most of the war healing the land and the sick, their numbers too small to fight in great armies, and their efforts were instrumental in fighting the demons.
Symbol A pine tree with a crossed bow and blade in front.
The People of the Dark
Dark Elves Up from the depth of the earth, fighting tooth and nail through the undead and demon hordes, ragtag, devastated and mistrustfully allowed into the ranks, the Dark Elves of the Spider’s Eye clan had learned early on that the Dracolich was not to be trusted, despite their promises of a conquest of the surface, and so began this tribe of Dark Elves’ long flight from the Underdark. While many of their brethren joined the Dracolich, later becoming the same mindless zombies as everyone else, the Spider’s Eye joined the alliance and, over time, reformed some of their more wicked ways. The Dark Elves brought information, and to this day are the Empress’ eyes.
Symbol An eye with 8 legs.
The People of Blood
Orcs With the induction of the Dark Elves into the alliance, the humans gained a better understanding of how to communicate their cause to former enemies. This new outlook served them well when the hordes of the Screaming Skull clan demanded entrance to an alliance fortress, with catapults ready to besiege the castle. The Chief of the Screaming Skull clan had forseen a vision of a great, dead dragon, and realized that the only way to save his people was to fight alongside those who only a decade ago he would have ransacked. Though the rage of the Orcs never subsides, and the Orcs still chafe under the peaceful prosperity of Empire, Mano-Capac taught them to funnel their anger into more constructive pursuits.
Symbol A screaming skull.
The People of the Jungle
Lizardfolk long avoiding contact with the other intelligent species, when the demons began invading their jungle river homes, the Lizardfolk of the Piranha Tribe fled to the mountains, and there found the alliance. Great lovers of magic in this sphere, they soon found themselves lost in the study of the human magical arts, and grew to become some of the alliance’s most powerful mages as the war dragged on. The Lizardfolk who fled were suprisingly vast in number, and the now declining alliance found that it’s membership had swelled significantly with their addition.
Symbol A green Piranha
The People of the Crags
Goblinoids Despite the continuing danger, the Hobgoblins and goblins of the 5th Spear Legion had been at war with the alliance for almost the whole war. But as alliance defenses continued to crumble, the Hobgoblin leadership began to realize that it was only the stalwart resistance of their enemies that had been keeping them alive themselves. On the eve of the great battle with the Dracolich, the 5th Spear marched up to the last alliance fortress with a white flag and spears lowered. These peoples were tough indeed, and it would be the highest honor to make a last stand alongside them.
Symbol 5 spears in a semi-circle, with the middle spear elongated.
The People of the Knife
Kobolds Worshippers of evil dragons, most of the kobold were all to eager to serve the Dracolich. All but the matriarch of the Scaled Dagger clan. At first one of the Dracolich’s most loyal servants, she had caught wind that the dark one was considering sacrificing every kobold in the world in a genocidal blood ritual that would end all life on the planet. While all the other Kobold clans marched to their deaths with jubilation, she and her clan quietly slipped out of the ranks and snuck over to the alliance, where they defected. This selfish treachery quite possibly saved the world, and though their god had forsaken them for this ultimate betrayal, one which lead to that god’s very demise, the Kobold species lived on as the final, begrudging tribe of the Empire.
Symbol A knife striking a black dragon scale.
Other Species of the Empire
Most dragonborn native to the sphere are the descendants of either Mano-Capac or one of the other good aligned dragons that fought, and mostly perished, in the Dracolich war. Dragonborn are honored in the Carayku empire as being close to the gods.
Halflings have no tribe to represent them on the Golden Council, but traditionally the important office of Steward of the Imperial Hoard is only ever held by halflings, though there are a few exceptions.
While an important member tribe of the grand alliance, at least in spirit, the Myconids retreated to the underdark of Cocomama and do not participate in the Empire, despite technically being citizens. Out of respect to their choice, no taxes are levied against them.
Freefolk in the empire generally have a 20% tax on their income. That is, a 10% tax from their patron, a 7% tax from the empire, and a 3% religious tithe. Foreigners selling goods to the empire can expect a tax called the Gold Tax, where for every 10 gold or silver coins they earn in the foreign quarter doing business, they must give one to the empire, which for merchants is in addition the the Cuzco Trade Guild’s 10%. This also applies to sold arms and armor. Adventurers that are licensed in the Carayku Empire also need to be aware of the hoard tax, an additional 5% tax on any coins or gems salvaged, plundered or looted which goes directly onto Mano-Capac’s gold hoard deep in the imperial palace. The Hoard tax applies to all adventurers, even Carayku nobles and members of the imperial family.