Heroes of Midhgardhur
Palnorra is the ancient land whence came much of the culture that made the Norrani Imperium great. Palnorra was old before the city of Norra was even founded. As the Norrani Imperium began to collapse around 300 N.Y., the Emperors of the Norrani Imperium began to look back to Palnorra as a place to rebuild their might (the Hierarchs disagreed, claiming that Norra was a holy city, and should always be the spiritual center of the Imperium).
Around 325 N.Y., Emperor Yulianos moved the capital of the Imperium to the minor Palnorran city of Selyna, anciently dedicated to the moon goddess Luna Invicta, refounding the city as Yulianopolis (and interestingly taking as its patron saint “Hagia Luna,” “Saint Luna”). The city was nicknamed “The Silver City,” “Argyropolis,” which is the unofficial but more common name of the city.
Today, while the Hierarch States of the West preserve the old spiritual center of the fallen Norrani Imperium, some vestige of its temporal power is preserved by the new Empire of Palnorra. This new Imperium is variously called the Silver Imperium (as opposed to the fallen “Golden Imperium” of Norra), the Argent Imperium, The Palnorran Imperium, and even the Selynari Imperium. The throne of the Imperium is called the Silver Eagle throne, and the symbol of the Imperium is the silver, two-headed eagle (recalling the golden, two-headed eagle of the fallen Norrani Imperium, although the new Imperium cannot claim to equally represent “Church and State” as the Norrani Imperium did, since the Hierarch remains in Norra and the Hierarch States).
The state religion of Palnorra is the Dyovian church, following the almighty god Dyovis and his son Melkartes Soter. The ancient faiths of Palnorra are condemned as “pagan,” though many of the ancient gods have been recast as “saints” (with the title “Hagios” for male and “Hagia” for female divinities, hence “Hagia Luna,” “Saint Luna,” is the patron “saint” of the capital city Yulianopolis, which once revered the pagan goddess Luna Invicta as its chief deity).
Palnorra is divided into several regions:
- The Heartland – The land around the city of Yulianopolis stretching west to the ancient Palnorran peninsula.
- The Far Marches – Territory claimed by the Empire, on the border of lands of the Ningul.
- The Home Islands – Islands off the coast of the Heartland and claimed by the empire.
- The Lost Marches – The Hierarch States and other lands once part of the Norrani Imperium, now claimed in name by the Palnorran Empire, but with little to back up the claims. Nevertheless, most Palnorrans believe it is their destiny to someday reclaim these lost lands.
- The Urrabite Marches – The land on the eastern side of the straits near Yulianopolis, known as the Hattian Plateau, a territory locked in eternal warfare with the Urrabites
- The Vylgari Marches – The land north and east of the Heartland inhabited by Vylgar tribes.
Noble Houses of Palnorra
- House Arkonides – a minor house claiming and ancient and distinguished bloodline.
- House Axukos – a family distrusted by most other houses for their friendly relations with the Urrabites, and feared for their magical prowess.
- House Batatzes – an ancient and distinguished family of the Vylgari Marches.
- House Borealides – the house of the current Silver Emperor, Leon VI, Leon the Wise.
- House Bryennios – a warlike family of military officers.
- House Diogenes – a contemplative and philosophical family with strong ties to the monasteries and Dyovian church.
- House Dukas – rivals of House Borealides, with a strong claim to the Silver Throne.
- House Gabras – hereditary lords of Trapezus, on the Urrabite Marches. The family provides banking services of all sorts throughout the empire, relying on a combination of letters of credit and thaumaturgy to keep the system secure.
- House Kaballarios – a family of horse-breeders, horse-traders, and cavalry commanders.
- House Kalkokondyles – a diplomatic house that helps to keep the peace between the various factions of the empire.
- House Katakalon – a family of brilliant military strategists and tacticians who have dominated the training of the Palnorran Legions for generations.
- House Katameros – the family that has provided most of the commanders of the Far Marches, experts at fighting the Ningul.
- House Kurkuas – a family that fled the fall of their ancestral homeland to the Urrabites, whom they regard as blood enemies.
- House Maleinos – a family known to be fanatically loyal to House Borealides, thus trusted by them with command of personal guards and such.
- House Melissenos – a family with powerful ties to the Hierarchy and Dyovian church.
- House Muzalon – lords of the Vylgari Marches.
- House Phokas – a family of valiant warriors who specialize in fighting the Urrabites.
- House Skleros – a family that opposed the rise of House Borealides and has paid the price, falling from imperial favor, now known to support House Dukas.
- House Synadenos – an ancient family from the Heartland of the empire, but now intermarried with Vylgar nobles.
- House Talassenos – hereditary lords of Talas and warriors on the Urrabite Marches.
- House Tarkaneiotes – Descended from some of the greatest smiths of the old Imperium, this family continues its tradition of dealing arms and mercenary warriors.
- House Tokkos – hereditary lords of the Home Islands, descended from Norrani nobility.
- House Tornikios – a devout family, followers of the Hierarchy (Dyovian Church) who have supplied many scions to the church and monasteries.
- House Tzimiskes – warriors of the Vylgari Marches, experts at fighting the Vylgar.
- House Urianites – hereditary lords of the Vylgari Marches.
Standard coinage of the Palnorran Empire is as follows:
|Name of Coin||Pathfinder Equivalent|
|bronze follis (plural folles)||copper piece|
|silver miliaresion (plural miliaresia)||silver piece|
|gold nomisma (plural nomismata)||gold piece|
|gold imperator (plural imperatores)||platinum piece|
The military bureaucracy of Palnorra is notoriously complex. However, the basic unit of the Palnorran military is the Legion, based on the military style developed by the Norrani Imperium more than a millennium ago. The exact nature and disposition of the Palnorran Legions is a closely guarded state secret, but there are usually 30 standing legions at any time, and each legion is ultimately commanded by a Legate who answers to a Prefect, a civilian Senator of high standing who has the favor of the emperor.
The Palnorran Legion has developed a great deal since the early days of the Norrani Imperium. Each has a numerical designation from I to XXX, and a unique silver standard. Each consists of 5 cohorts of about 800 heavy foot soldiers, plus about 200 noble cavalry, for a total of about 5000 or more troops at full strength.
The Great Games
Palnorra is famous for the Great Games – the races in the hippodromes and the gladiatorial combats in the arenas of the empire. For many centuries now, the games have been dominated by four great factions and schools, each with its own associations and allegiances:
- The Silver Faction – The silver faction is said to be symbolic of those who support the current emperor. The current head of the faction is Magister Heraklinius Karavites.
- The Purple Faction – The purple faction is said to be symbolic of those who support the great noble houses of Palnorra and the Senate, as opposed to the emperor. The current head of the faction is Magister Konstans Glanterzenus.
- The Gold Faction – The gold faction is now the smallest of the great four, though it was once the largest and most powerful. It is said to be symbolic of the old allegiance to the Norrani Imperium, and the fall of that empire about 400 years ago has caused the decline of the faction. But now it still maintains links to the Hierarch States and the Hierarchy of Norra, and other foreign powers, especially those associated with the empire’s glorious past. The current head of the faction is Magistra Theodora Lastavenzes
- The Crimson Faction – The largest faction, said to be symbolic of the common people of the empire, and a visible reminder of the power of the overwhelming masses of those people. The current head of the faction (and a major rabble-rouser against the government of the empire) is Magistra Olivia Kataphorites.
Silver Lotus Addiction
Widespread in the lands of the Palnorran Empire is addicition to a drug known as silver lotus. It is made from a type of lotus flower plant. All the parts of the plant can be used, including the petals, stem, seeds, oils, pollen . . . all of the plant contains substances used in making the drug, to varying degrees. The drug can be inhaled (as a dust derived from the pollen of the plant, or mixed into candles or incense and inhaled as smoke), ingested (added as a rather mild spice to foods and beverages, or even distilled into liquor), or even enter the body by the bloodstream.
See the rules for “Drugs and Addiction” on pp. 236-237 of the Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide, which can be referenced here
Silver Lotus Drug
Type: Ingested, Inhaled, or Injury
Addiction: Moderate, Fortitude DC 25
Price: 50 gp.
Effect: 1d20+10 minutes; extreme euphoria and extremely powerful and beautiful visions and hallucinations. Long term addiction increases the duration of the hallucinations; those who have been addicted for years sometimes spend all their time in vague hallucinogenic dream states and fugues from which they never fully waken.
Effect: 2 hours; +1d4 Cha
Damage: 1d4 Con damage
Special: Once fully addicted, a character suffers no further Con damage (though the damage suffered does not heal naturally) and gains no further benefit from taking silver lotus. At this point, doses of silver lotus bring about a euphoric stupor and occasionally a hallucinogenic dream-like state that lasts 1d4 days. During this time, it is difficult to perform any actions. All rolls are made at -4 penalty, and spellcasters must make an ability check at -4 penalty in order to cast a spell. A second dose during this period ensured the state lasts a full 4 days rather than 1d4.