With a collective 3000 years of history and knowledge of many different peoples united under the empire, the Shou boast proficiency with both sorcery and science. Able to treat many ills with herbs and tools, an understanding of math and astrology, and literacy improving steadily thanks to the printing press; Shou-Lung has many scientific achievements to feel proud of. Similarly they have great wu-jen and priests, and long standing magic traditions to pull from. The mages of the empire hold knowledge spanning from the divine to the metaphysical to the traditional. In more recent times, Shou-Lung has been moving away from their roots in magic and toward the future of science. Alchemical research is discovering new wonders all the time, and engineering is thriving. An inventor recently caught the attention of Emperor Kai Chin himself with his silk kite; with it the man flew high above the mountains like a bird. He has since been wisely appointed head of the Ministry of Glorious Flight and has made many great silk kites, some of which have been rumored to fly without strings.
Shou-Lung is an Imperial Bureaucracy. Emperor: The Emperor is said to be the Son of Heaven, and the symbol of the Eternal Empire. He is seen as divinely chosen and inspires the ultimate allegiance of his people. The Emperor chooses their own successor from those they deem most suitable; usually the eldest son, but they may choose a daughter and/or a younger sibling if they see them as being most fit. The current emperor is Emperor Kai Tsao Shou Chin. Mandarinate: The Mandarinate is made up of elite scholars and officials. The mandarins are a select group, centering around the court in Kou Te’ Lung and Ping Chow. They are considered the embodiment of the “superior man”; cultured, talented, and well-educated. The Chancellor: the right hand of the Emperor, chosen by he Emperor at his ascension ceremony. It is the Chancellor’s job to read all reports from the Ministers and decide what is worthy of the Emperors direct attention. The Chancellor controls a great deal; who can and cannot see the Emperor, the Imperial Family’s calendar, the postings of the Emperor’s proclamations, and countermeasures to treason. Imperial Censors: a department of the Ministry of Security of State. These secret agents are responsible to investigate reports of corruption, graft, incompetence, and treason. No one, save the Emperor, is above their suspicion. They work in total secrecy and never reveal their identity until they’re ready to make arrests. No one except the highest officials know the identities of the agents or how many Imperial Censors are working for the government. It is not unheard of for the Emperor to appoint Imperial Censors unknown to the Imperial Censors even! The Bureaucracy: controls the day to day operations of a vast empire spanning nearly two thousand miles and over thirty million people. It is the single most powerful force in the Empire, for although the Emperor’s will is law, it is the actions of the bureaucracy that enforce that law and make it reality. The bureaucracy is organized into eight great ministries; State, War, Magic, Faith, Sea, Agriculture, Public Works and Security of the State. The various ministries constantly jockey for position in the ever-shifting government, for no one is entirely safe from falling into political disfavor. At a single word, the Emperor may choose to abolish or create a ministry. There are Ministers who work in Court, Governors who oversee provinces, and Magistrates who oversee cities within those provinces. The Emperor’s Wu jen: one of the most important advisors. Using wizardry they can see the future, spy upon enemies, and turn away magical threats to the Empire. This person is usually a follower of the Chung Tao faith, as they are known to be the strongest wu jen in Shou Lung. The current wu jen is Kao Shan Ten. The Chamberlain: the one responsible for maintaining the Household of the Imperial Court. They handle the finances and schedule the maids, entertainers, and guards. They administer the needs of the Imperial Family and their various concubines, courtiers, and guests. They arrange banquets, ceremonies, and deliveries of gifts. They are also the Imperial food taster. The High Priest: the Royal Abbot of the official faith, responsible for the spiritual concerns of the Imperial Family. The current High Priest is Kung Pu Mok. Court Painter, Poet, and Historian: often changing as the styles do, the Court Painter and Poet serve the will of the Emperor; composing works of art or poetry honoring his reign. The Court Historian has a life long position, as their task is to chronicle the events of the Court and the Dynasty. The Nobility: the nobility is the weakest of all the factions at Court. Although each Lord has a private army, these are kept small by Imperial decree, and must act in conjunction with Provincial Governors when the Empire faces a threat. The nobility chafes under the restrictions, making it a hotbed for dissent and rebellion. The various houses constantly ally and re-ally trying to position for power, and plots are always afoot.
The empire of Shou-Lung is the largest unified nation made up of a vast stretch of provinces. They have mines for ore and jade, forests with which to harvest lumber and make paper, and expansive river systems for fish and travel. There are great public works for everything from sanitary conditions to temples in all the settlements large enough to warrant a magistrate. The diked farmlands and plentiful rivers, with proper reverance to the rice spirits, keep the bellies of the Shou full. The Empire has many well-trained bushi, horses, ships, and even explosive weapons to protect the lands and people of Shou-Lung. The great Dragon Wall blocks the barbarians of the Horse Plains in the north. Additionally there are forts throughout the country, particularly in the "frontier" and coastal provinces.