Sinai Player Guide v5.0: 7.0 - Politics: Who's Who

Sinai Player Guide v5.0

7.0 Politics: Who's Who
  • 7.1 Rephidim Temple
  • 7.1.1 The Bridge
  • 7.1.2 Security
  • 7.1.3 Operations
  • 7.1.4 Maintenance/Internal Affairs
  • 7.2 Darkside and the Underworld
  • 7.3 Savan Territories
  • 7.4 Ashdod / Babel
  • 7.5 Khattan Emirate
  • 7.6 Nordika
  • 7.6.1 Chronotopia
  • 7.6.2 Gallis
  • 7.6.3 Kroz
  • 7.6.4 Olympia
  • 7.6.5 Sylvania
  • 7.6.6 Titania
  • 7.7 College Esoterica / Mages' Guild

  • 7.1 Rephidim Temple

    The Rephidim Temple is the ultimate authority in Rephidim, and, by extension, the major power on Sinai. While it is, on the surface, a religious organization, religious details take second place to the Temple's existence as a governing body. While there is corruption in the ranks of the bureaucracy, and many resent its meddling in private affairs, the Temple remains in power because it succeeds in keeping the peace for the majority of Rephidimites, and acts as a stabilizing force in Sinai international politics.

    The theology of the Temple is a bit muddled, to say the least. While most of the Temple seems to be geared toward the reverence of the First Ones, some branches pay homage to a monotheistic entity vaguely known as "The Star", and the Technopriesthood seems to worship technology. (It might be said that the Audit worships the "Almighty Shekel".)

    The Temple is divided into three main divisions, with the Bridge over all.

    7.1.1 The Bridge

    The Bridge oversees the operations of the Temple at the highest level, headed by the Captain-Astromancer -- who is perhaps the single most powerful individual in all Sinai. In addition to the Captain-Astromancer, the Bridge consists of representatives from each of the branches of the Temple.

    7.1.2 Security

    This branch is devoted to dealing with threats at home and abroad. It is subdivided into smaller departments, though the duties of each department overlap to some degree. These departments would include the Guard (which defends the Temple and patrols the city), the Knights Templar (which maintain outposts on the surface), the Inquisition (which handle matters of intelligence and investigation), the Temple Rangers (which patrol the Rephidim countryside), and the Temple Scouts (where young cubs and kits are raised in the ways of the Temple).

    More Details on the Security Branch

    7.1.3 Operations

    Operations comprises the bulk of the Temple, encompassing a wide number of functions of the Temple bureaucracy, including: the Audit (the Office of Accounting); the Judiciary (Rephidim's legal system), the Priesthood (including the Infirmaries).

    More Details on the Operations Branch

    7.1.4 Maintenance/Internal Affairs

    The Maintenance Department is composed of the Technopriesthood -- mechanically-minded priests who follow ancient instruction manuals that have been put in song and verse to aid in memorization, and are studied and hand-copied religiously. The Technopriesthood jealously guards the Inner Mysteries of the Temple, and is responsible for the maintenance of its mechanical wonders, as well as the study of technological artifacts, in cooperation with the Inquisition.

    7.2 Darkside and the Underworld

    While the Temple may be the ultimate authority on Rephidim and on Sinai at large, its control is by no means absolute. The nearby urban zone of Darkside defies attempts by the Temple to maintain order there, and it serves as a shadow authority, as the major powers in Darkside deal in the trade of illegal goods and services on a global scale. Some contend that the Temple is not the true authority at all in the affairs of Sinai at large, compared to what goes on in Darkside ... and Underside.

    More Details on Darkside

    7.3 Savan Territories

    Until the assassination of the Emperor-Potentate in 6103 RTR, one of the major rivals with Rephidim for supremacy on Sinai was the Nagai Empire, dominated by the snake-like Nagai, and largely populated by countless sub-species of reptiles and quasi-reptiles. With the collapse of the Empire, however, this has split into several more-or-less independent territories, even though the main territory of Nagai Proper still is ruled by a new Emperor-Potentate, who lays claim over all of the former "Nagai Empire", even if he can't back it up with might.

    Now, the Nagai Empire has splintered into countless territories, the larger and more important ones including Nagai (also known as "Nagai Proper" for clarity), Bromthen, Xenea, Kilmanjar, the Beast Lands and the Desolate Band.

    More Details on the Savan Territories

    7.4 Ashdod/Babel

    Before the Sabaoth's ill-planned war against Rephidim, Ashdod held the position as the second-major power of Sinai, under Rephidim and above Nagai. It still boasts the second-largest air presence in Sinai, and it's widely believed that they maintain an extensive spy network, keeping tabs on global affairs. Ashdod, however, does not have a real identity as a nation, but rather as a collection of loosely aligned city-states and territories, with the city-state of Babel acting as the single largest concentration of power.

    After the fall of the Nagai Empire, it seemed that Babel might once again take its place as the second great power of Sinai, but as parts of the Ashdod Territories have started to secede (such as Zahirinee and Saskanar), it may appear that the rising star of the Khattan Emirate may deserve that distinction instead.

    Even within Babel, major Houses openly war with each other, lending Babel its reputation as the "City of Strife". Babelite politics have a well-deserved reputation for involving a great deal of maneuvering and backstabbing, and Babelite culture tends to celebrate a notion of "might makes right", moral relativism, and general opportunism. The Sabaoth ruled by brute force, and at considerable expense of resources. The High Prince, who took the throne after the Sabaoth was slain by a former supporter, was in turn assassinated and replaced by his own wife, who took the title of "High Princess". With the exception of the warrior-class and the priesthood, there is little presence of a sense of "sacrifice for the greater good", and even then, a warrior's loyalties are to his House, rather than to Babel or Ashdod as a whole.

    With the dropping of the Boomer on Babel on New Year's Eve at the turn of the century between 6099 and 6100 RTR, the holdings and core families of most of the major Houses were destroyed, greatly reducing rivalry with the throne of the High Princess in an instant ... but at the same time, weakening what little central control there was over outlying territories that were once these families' holdings. Thus, while the High Princess enjoys much greater personal power in Babel than even the Sabaoth had in his latter days, already two major territories have broken off from Ashdod, and the High Princess is seemingly powerless to force them back into the fold.

    More Details about Ashdod

    7.5 Khattan Emirate

    The Khattan Emirate was once considered the "fourth major power" of Sinai, its wealth and influence being mostly concentrated on a relatively small geographic region. This has all changed in recent years, though, with several developments that have worked in the favor of the Emir so far. First of all, when the Babelites dropped the Boomer on the city of Elamoore, not only did the Red Cliffs bring a sudden surge of wealth of iron that Himaatian merchants were first to capitalize on (before the prices of iron plummeted) and contact with technologically superior cultures ... but it also brought a sudden power vacuum in the neighboring territory of Himar, which the Emir was more than glad to fill. Once synonymous with the Himaat, the Khattan Emirate now encompasses the Himar Territories as well.

    Furthermore, with the discovery of the Gateway Tower in the Sea of Sand, the Khattan Emirate has established its position as the ultimate authority over the tower, successfully pushing the Rephidim Temple out of its traditional role of authority over all Forbidden Zones and First Ones and Sifras ruins. Although Rephidim took the lead in initial exploration of the other planets of the Primus System (of which Sinai is a part), when the war broke out between Rephidim and the Nagai/Babel coalition, the Emir claimed neutrality for his nation ... and when he asked that the Rephidimites pretty much leave further exploration via the Gateway to the Emirate, under the pretense of maintaining political neutrality, Rephidim agreed ... if for no other reason than not to goad the Emir into casting his lot in with Babel and Nagai. The Khattan Emirate has struck a curious alliance with the humanocentric and militaristic "Kampfzengruppe" of Abaddon, and while it may not seem to be omnipresent on Sinai, it has the most presence in the colonies set up on the worlds accessible through the Gateway.

    The Emir's armed forces, air fleet and navies pale in comparison to the military resources of Rephidim in terms of sheer numbers, but the Khattan Emirate has first access to technological advances made available by Abaddonian ingenuity, and almost all of the "sail ship" vessels of its fleet have been replaced with more impressive zeppelins.

    More Details on the Khattan Emirate

    7.7 Nordika

    Nordika is a collection of nations north of the Himar Region on the continent of Ai, clustered around a large Forbidden Zone known as Bosch. Bosch serves to separate most of these countries from each other, but there's still a certain degree of trade between them, and due to freak weather that makes airship travel hazardous, they at times have limited contact with the outside world. Despite this, the standard of living is fairly high in Nordikan nations compared to many surface nations. They are more or less self-sufficient, having some contact with Rephidim, but not really being dependent upon it. Furthermore, slavery is not prevalent in this region -- sometimes a point of contention with Rephidim, Babel and Nagai.

    7.6.1 Chronotopia

    The most powerful of the Nordikan nations, and the most technologically advanced (even with the opening of the Gateway Tower), Chronotopia may not be one of Sinai's major powers, but it can still be a force to be reckoned with when its interests are at stake.

    More on Chronotopia

    7.6.2 Gallis

    Gallis is the land of the Gallees (pure-bred dogs), Gallahs (mutts) and several families of wealthy Kujakus (peacocks). In its past, Gallis has been a nation marked by frequent and bloody revolution, and presently proclaims itself to be "ruled by the people", free of any king. Nonetheless, the ruler of its capitol city, Fauxpas, acts as though he were a king, and the stratification of Gallis' society can be just as cruel as the excesses of any tyrant.

    Gallis has enough of an armed force to present a threat to its neighbors (especially Sylvania), but its largest contribution to the international community is in the area of the arts.

    More Details on Gallis

    7.6.3 Kroz

    A non-entity on the international scene, Kroz is still a place that attracts adventurers and treasure-hunters, and is peculiar in that of the three Princes ruling its eight Principalities, three of them are Skreeks.

    7.6.4 Olympia

    Once a major cultural center of Sinai, and a place of learning and art, Olympia is now only a shadow of its former glory, full of crumbling ruins and hawkers selling souvenirs. It's a popular vacation spot with the rich and idle.

    7.6.5 Sylvania

    This nation fell into ruin generations ago, with the War of the Necromancers. Now, it is little more than a disjointed collection of petty fiefdoms ruled by the lines of the noble counts ... and individual warlords that have moved in to fill power vaccuums. It has a nominal leader in the Czar, but Sylvania is so disjointed that it is helpless in the face of Gallisian invasion. Since the outbreak of the war between Rephidim and the Nagai/Babel coalition, and since Gallis was the first of the Nordikan nations to leap to the side of Rephidim, the Temple has returned the favor by pretty much granting its blessing to Gallis' conquest of Sylvania. Rephidim-produced maps show what was once Sylvania as an extension of Gallis ... even though Sylvanians still living there and defending their lands against Gallisian invasion would have a different perspective.

    More Details on Sylvania

    7.6.6 Titania

    Previously, Titania was known as just a stomping ground for tribes of barbarians who like to hit things with hammers. In actuality, it is that, but in recent times, some of these Titanians have been developing some contact with Rephidim and other major groups, mostly in connection to the Red Cliffs and the discovery of a way to reach Abaddon.

    7.6 College Esoterica / Mages' Guild

    The College Esoterica, generally equated with the Mages' Guild, isn't a "power", per se, but it still has its "embassies" in the cities of the major powers of Sinai, in the form of Guild Halls. Once, the "Collegia Esoterica" included several colleges situated in major cities of Sinai, most notably including Nagai City, Babel, and Rephidim City. However, with the outbreak of world-wide armed conflict between the major powers, and with the Esoterica college campuses becoming a favorite target of enemy attacks, the College Esoterica has withdrawn from its campuses, and set up a single college on the sky island of Caroban -- a wandering college campus that can pretty much only be found by mages, and by those accompanying them. Official training of apprentices occurs here, though due to the devastation wrought on the number of competent mages on Sinai, and the tendency of mages to be singled out as military targets, apprenticeship has dwindled -- apprentices have become far less like "college students", and more likely to be trained one-on-one by a more experienced mage, either at the College, or -- with the Guild's blessing -- abroad.

    The College Esoterica maintains its position as a political neutral group, trying to stay apart from the wars of the major powers, even though graduates of the College are quite likely to find employment assisting warriors of either side.

    The College Esoterica demands and gets ultimate authority on matters concerning magic. Practitioners of magic who are "self-taught" must bow to the authority of the College Esoterica (and join the Guild), and ultimately may have to undergo the costs of a College education even if they already have proven skill in their given Spheres. "Rogue" mages will have a hard time finding legal employment, and may soon find themselves on the run from the law. "Hedge wizards" are highly frowned upon, and typically persecuted, unless protected in some way (such as by being royalty, or by being magic-using priests or priestesses of a state-supported religion).

    The Mages' Guild exists mainly to protect its own interests -- and those of its members, of course. Guild-set standards on prices to be charged for magical services are largely ignored, but they may be invoked if a wizard makes a regular practice of undercutting fellow spell-casters by charging less than a "reasonable" price for his services. This may sometimes put the College Esoterica in the unenviable position of coming down hard on, say, a Life Mage who goes about performing miraculous healing for free, since it may put other mages out of business who depend upon their Sphere for their livelihood.

    For the most part, however, the College Esoterica's interests coincide with that of the general public. Rogue mages who endanger the public (such as necromancers and the like) will be dealt with severely. Dangerous magical items will be confiscated and studied or destroyed.