Master Playwright Rank/Title in Age of Defiance | World Anvil
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Master Playwright

As seen in
Writer, director, llaudaind...   While not burdened with the lofty duties of the Watch-Rider or the intense physical labors of the Master Breeder, the Playwright is no less critical to the people of Bainshaebo. They are charged with distilling the goings on of the world at large both inside the city and throughout the system into easily digestible formats. Hearkening to ancient times when Freelanders exchanged news in story and song, the Playwright preserves the history of the Thangien people in a medium that cannot be burned, moldered, or shredded. The only way to kill a story is to slay the storytellers, but history has shown bad things befall those who cross the Master Playwright.


The gift of gab and a mellifluous voice is a must since flat humor and dull delivery are quickly rejected by the audience, which in the Playwright's case is is the populace of Bainshaebo. A quick wit, sharp tongue, and fighting spirit are also required since as leaders of the llaudaind, Playwrights are generals in their own right.


Most Playwrights are roughly fifteen cycles of age (30 years Earth-time)or greater and study extensively at the Archives of Raaezen since they are old enough to speak and read. When the current Master retires from old age or expires, his successor must be able to recite tales from memory as well as craft new ones of their own. Historically playwrights have always been male since they have a wider grasp of the workings of the world and more prone to "marrying their job". Very few Playwrights marry and the title is never hereditary since creativity is not always genetic. Playwrights must also be staunchly devoted to the Queens, for Roth favors them in exchange for helping cultivate their benevolent image.


The previous Master will name his successor at the moment of retirement or expiry. Only once in recent history has a playwright taken the mantle unexpectedly due to foul play.


Storytelling is not their only responsibility as the Playwrights supervise the llaudaind, coordinating performances, designing outfits, and engaging in performances themselves. They are often the first to explore and adopt newer technologies, anything that advances the delivery of the craft. They stay up to date with the news and package monumental events and stories in ways even the youngest can comprehend.


Playwrights assign performances to teams of their troupes on a daily basis, scheduling locations and devising new scripts. If need be a Master must attend meetings of the Council of Houses however droll, because as a speaker to the masses, the Council must be informed of public desires. The Playwrights traditionally act as a counterbalance to the Watch-Rider. If history is written by the victor, Playwrights are the ones who do the writing and mercilessly dunk on the losing party from then until the end of time.


In addition to access to vast stores of knowledge in Raaezen, Playwrights enjoy the favor of the Four Queens and consult with the Silver-Haired Maiden regularly. Prominent houses pay a hefty sum in goods or coin to schedule llaudauns for private events, funds the Playwright lavishes on devising ever more epic ballads and striking props. Playwrights lack the political muscle of the Watch-Rider but it is best to curry favor nonetheless, since their allegiance is needed to influence public opinion.

Accoutrements & Equipment

Playwrights often dress illustriously, if a bit gaudily, in order to execute performances on the fly. They wear light, loose-fitting outfits and often wear multiple costumes in layers, specifically designed to be changed and peeled away quickly. Sometimes they will absorb themselves in a favorite role so much they will carry a prop artifact with the same reverence as the original.

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

Bad playwrights never last long as they're swiftly run out by the audience, and even the Queens are known to rescind their favor in disapproval. Very seldom in history has a playwright been forcibly ousted, either by a bitter student, hostile attacker, or more surreptitious means.


Early Existence

  The exact establishment of the position is unknown but is believed to have preceded Deres, who preferred to spend most of his time at Mazzan and Peirolyth. During the City Strife, many llaudaind risked their lives to smuggle out ancient artifacts and priceless texts to escape destruction by Yapign's youngest son Yanwis. When the theft was discovered, many llaudaind were slaughtered. Following the Bloody Bricks, the successor to Master argued that as many llaudaind as warriors died, and none would dare gainsay him lest they find themselves on the receiving end of a most unflattering llaudaun.  

The Genesis Plague

  The Playwright of the time played a crucial role in diverting public outrage from the diligent staff of the Traedeskaton following the nightmarish outbreak. By painting Sening as a narcissistic, conceited, reckless quack, and Payina a vain, misguided fool obsessed with beauty, the Master Playwright was able to save the reputation of the Traedeskaton. The trade-off was that the reputation of the House of St'lur suffered long after, a price King Wuelro shouldered admirably till the end of his rule.  
Events of Aftermath
  Although a minor character, Khanphe is first seen performing for some of the Ronin Warriors-or Morind de Witheren as he dubs them in the Thangien language- dressed as Kaosu the Ancient One.  
Events of Foes From Another World
  Khanphe comes off to Sage as being a bit too enthusiastic translating the tale of the legendary Armor Bearers to the masses. He goes on to explain how important heroes and warriors are to the Thangien people since he knows too well the crime of unfettered censorship.  
Events of Cataclysm War
  While not directly seen, Khanphe is mentioned to have recovered from losing so many of his llaudaind during the Weeping Death. It is possible he was the actor portraying Talpa, or Ouagli the Demon King as the Thangiens call him.  

Spoiler Warning: Upcoming Content!

  Ronin WarriorSpectra
"RyoTakin! RyoTakin!" Ryo made a face when he heard his name called. He was not in the mood to speak with the Master Playwright but paused and turned around to politely greet him. Ryo hesitated in speaking, however, when he noticed the way Khanphe had one knuckle braced against his hip and the gilded prop Staff of Ancients the older man had seemingly taken to carrying with him at all times clenched in the other. If Ryo didn't know any better, the typically exuberant Playwright looked quite cross with him. "RyoTakin, while I am overjoyed to see you have survived the harrowing placed before you, it has come to my attention that you no longer wish to be addressed as Morind de Witheren!" Ryo pursed his lips and nodded solemnly. "Why!?" Khanphe demanded, exasperated.   "Look, Thangien isn't exactly a second language for me, and I still need to use translator buds from time to time, but I've done some digging and morind doesn't just mean 'knight', it means 'death-knight', or 'death-dealing warrior'. I just don't think the title is fitting for us anymore. Associating us with Witheren implies we serve her when we don't. Just call us Ronin. We serve no master," Ryo explained as straightforwardly as he could.   "Raeo Flamerider, the only word in Thangien for masterless is Freelander, and you are not Freelanders, you are heroes and should be distinguished as such!" Khanphe insisted and jabbed a finger at Ryo. "Do you know the story of Ander Vai Stel Vethu?"   "Yes, I know, I've heard it dozens of times..." Ryo began.   "Then you will hear it again! And I will speak of it, again and again, as I have in the many years since his passing! That is the promise I made to his memory, and to his widow, and to his children, and to myself! Perhaps I have done too good a job in my storytelling, painting an image of a timeless, ageless man, but in truth he was no older than you are now when he undertook his Flight into Fate!" Khanphe spoke emphatically, shaking his finger furiously after each sentence. Ryo scowled and inhaled deeply but remained quiet, getting the feeling he was in for a doozy.   "Ander did not venture forth seeking greatness, any number of fates could have befallen him. He could have been eaten alive out on Kundain, or chosen the life of a Freelander, but fate led him to Bainshaebo. He did not choose greatness, greatness chose him! And when we are called to improvise, we do so to the absolute best of our ability!"   "If you're trying to make some 'All the world's a stage' comment, I've been through that before and its actually not fun ..." Ryo grumbled irritably.   "Then you make it fun! You bury yourself in the role! Not just for yourself or your ego, but for your audience! That is the true reward for us llaudaind, that we not just entertain and delight spectators, but inspire them! Encourage them to take up arms in defense of their loved ones, to stand fast against the perfidy of evil! To not afford you the honor and recognition you rightfully deserve is to discredit the sacrifices made by heroes such as yourselves and Ander!"   "I get what you're trying to say sir, I do, but if you want to call us by some lofty title, come up with something other than Morind, and don't associate the gods with us either," Ryo replied curtly and turned around and walked away swiftly, leaving Khanphe fuming.   "RYOTAKIN!" he bellowed. Ryo paused and looked over his shoulder at him, but Khanphe remained where he stood. "Do you know why I smile so much?" he asked and pointed at his face. "Because if I went about all the time frowning as much as you, I would not have such a youthful countenance! I would look twice as old as I am now!" Ryo said nothing but merely let out a snorting chuckle and turned back around, shaking his head as he departed. Khanphe stood there with his knuckle planted on his hip, looking frustrated with the Ronin Leader.

Cultural Significance

Masters are viewed with almost superstar status among the populace not merely for their delivery but their ability to translate outside events and customs. Not everything seems to stick, however, as Ander unsuccessfully tried to explain Christ's Mass to a young Khanphe at the time, largely due to the differences in Thangien faith and the lack of winter season and coniferous trees. Decades later Khanphe would receive a dose of rock n' roll and the following year put a distinctly Thangien spin on it.
Other stages had been set up throughout the Pavilion. Singers and musicians delivered their own interpretation of rock n’ roll as only Thangiens could. Gathered crowds danced and waved their arms wildly under the red sunrise.
— Cataclysm War Ch. 15

Notable Holders

Deres, The Father of Metal
Erroneously viewed as the first Playwright, the master artisan split his time among the Four Corners and relayed information of his discoveries to his contemporaries at Raaezen. While he did facilitate invention of many tools of the trade that would become staples of llaudaind and the Playwrights, he leaned more towards the analytic and academic side of history than the sprawling embellished epic. He is credited with establishing the practice of brutally satirizing historical villains such as Yapign and his sons and later Sening, Architect of Suffering, and Payina the Plague Queen. The spirit carried on with charictures of Dynasty Emperor Talpa as a whimsical, almost buffoonish character.

Orn Orn Grast, Khanphe

  Current Master Playwright, Khanphe translates into War-Speaker, and he takes his name quite seriously, taking up the mantle at a relatively young age when his predecessor perished under questionable circumstances. His mourning troupe strongly believed the current Watch-Rider had the old master assassinated in retaliation for his dissent and ridicule, and in retribution, Khanphe made it his life's mission to ruthlessly denigrate the ruling Grand House. When Ander Vai Stel Vethu rose to prominence, Khanphe employed his creativity to transform the former soldier into a reluctant folk hero then an almost messianic figure up to and after Ander's death at the Battle of Banguk. When Torke's House of Taurit ascended to Grand House and began to turn things around, Khanphe threw the full support of his troupe behind him.  
Orn Orn Grast, Khanphe, Current Master Playwright by Mardrena
Made with Inkscape and BlackInk
"Take the narrative weave of Geoffrey Chaucer, the rapier poetic wit of William Shakespeare, the soaring embellishments of P.T. Barnum, the musical powess of Yngwie Malmsteen, the eccentricity of Wierd Al Yankovic, and the chin of Bruce Campbell and jumble them all together in a blender...and you would end up with Khanphe. At over sixty Earth-years of age, he has got to be Thanged's first and oldest otaku..."
— Sarah Ann Goode, xenohistorian
Tyatatiainte threw up his arms and the audience cheered, except for the Ronin. He removed his mask and revealed himself to be none other than the Thangien playwright, Khanphe. The people cheered louder, and Khanphe smiled and turned around.   "Vedar Morindae de Witheren!" he shouted and pointed to each of the wooden boxes. The lids opened once more and the armored actors rose and stepped out onto the stage. "Taun Rhakka, Taun Vaihku, Taun Kuno, Taun Gaui, Taun Khaori, Taun Brach, Taun Sayer, Taun Uvin, Taun Fennon! Euir vor Morindae!" Khanphe announced and the other actors from the opening scene stepped out. All together the actors bowed and waved. The children cried out with glee and pointed at the heroes in the nine armors.   "It's…us! This…is about us! Azuro! How did Khanphe know all this?" Rowen stammered.
— Aftermath Ch. 11
Circa 3000 B.C. (5000 years Earth-Time)
Form of Address
Master, Lord, Playwright
Alternative Naming
Talespeaker (Freelander)
Equates to
Even though their duty is god-given, they operate autonomously from the office of the Watch-Rider, Master Breeder, and Master Physician, but are considered equal for the purpose of guiding the people.
Source of Authority
Roth, Goddess of Victory
Length of Term
Related Locations
Profession | Jul 26, 2023
Ander had carried along many things from his time, but there was one thing the Thangiens had never seen from the Modern Age on account of it having not been invented back then. The visitors from Earth had spent the majority of the day being wowed. Now it was Thanged’s turn.   The first notes rose into the air from the bow sliding along the strings of a violin. White-armored fingertips moved deftly over the holes of an ornate flute. Black-armored fingertips strummed the strings of an electric guitar, while nearby another pair of hands elicited accompanying tones from another guitar. A series of rapid beats from a set of drums kicked the rhythm into high gear, and the people of Thanged got their first taste of rock n’ roll.
— Foes From Another World Ch. 20

Cover image: Master Playwright Header by Mardrena


Please Login in order to comment!
Jan 27, 2024 21:30 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Really interesting article. I liked reading about their duties and some of the previous holders. The quote by Sarah Ann Goode made me chuckle a little. :)

Jan 27, 2024 21:46 by Mardrena Lockehart

I liked my friend Firo's comment when I showed him the completed artwork "Who redecorated this guy's face and how?"

Crazy Anime Cat Lady and Gamer Nun, Proud Texan Enjoying Renaissance Faires.
Jan 30, 2024 00:19 by E. Christopher Clark

Well done. The last line of the opening, "The only way to kill a story is to slay the storytellers, but history has shown bad things befall those who cross the Master Playwright," is brilliant and closing with some of the excellently described holders of the title was a fantastic choice.

Now it's time for the awkward wave.
Mar 15, 2024 01:29 by Dani

Ah, the excellent capabilities of the playwright - a necessity when public opinion needs swayed and reputations need saved! :D Love the descriptions in the sidebar for "Foes From Another World Ch. 20" - elegant, theatrical, and rooock!

You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
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