The Liang Impieracy occupies the small continent or island of Saima. It is here that it has stood, through both golden ages and long dark periods, under the longest unbroken monarchy on Macalgra. Even Liang, however, has not been a static institute for all of its long existence. Today, Liang is ruled by the Shen, both an imperial and religious leader. It has a vibrant economy that thrives on sea trade, and the export of luxuries such as porcelain, jewellery, alcohol and clothing. The nation has a subtropical climate that is warm and stable, though slightly cooler than its neighbours, which has allowed agriculture to thrive, and its merchant navy remains one of the world's largest.
Mundane AgeLiang was founded around 3000 RC as a formal state. People settled on Saima far before that, around twenty thousand years previously. The earliest settlers were hunter gatherers and it was only around 10,000 RC that agriculture began to flourish on Saima. This was the Mundane Age. Cities began to develop as agriculture flourished, and surplus food became available, necessitating storage. Around centers of storage and good cropping land, settlements were built.
Spoken AgeAdvancement was particularly slow until the Spoken Age, when spells came into widespread usage. Written language developed for keeping agricultural records, but it proved immensely useful when Spellwords came into use. These words of magic could move earth, build canals, redirect water, heat forges. In merely hundreds of years, bronze and iron technology were both achieved and surpassed. Liang pioneered this advancement, and entered a golden age. The nation was united under the first Shen around 3000 RC, the legendary Lord Omo, and the trade ships of Liang began to spread across the globe. The knowledge of Spellwords spread with Liang's merchants, and they returned with artifacts, culture, luxuries, and slaves. The First Dynasty of Liang ruled over a period of unparalleled prosperity from 3000-1400 RC.
Intermediate PeriodThe Intermediate Period brought a sharp end to the First Dynasty. A systematic series of governmental collapses across the globe destabilised Liang, as the Iron Bubble collapse took place. Magic became the d wnfall of these ancient states. The Creation Spellword gave mages the power to produce iron, gold and other materials at will. Not only was currency devalued, but governmental controls on the production of weapons and armor were lost, and the immense wealth barrier to outfitting a warrior was lowered. Further, economies based on ore mining collapsed quickly. Rebellions were soon equipped with equipment equal to an imperially backed army. Major cities were sacked, and kingdoms collapsed, among them the First Dynasty. Liang fractured into a number of small independent states, the Shen left in control of only his capital at Akachi.
Shen's AgeThe rebuilding period began around 1000 RC. Though it was called the Ryseum Age abroad, Liang began the process of reunifying earlier. The Shen expanded beyond Akachi again, under the leadership of Aterui. He led the reunification with marriage to the Prince of Aoimi, a wealthy coastal kingdom. Together with the forces of both kingdoms, he was able to begin a conquest of the rest of Saima. The conquest was completed under his daughter Sutsa, the Warrior Queen. The other petty nations proved easy, but time consuming to assimilate. She began construction of Dien Chen as the new imperial capital, centrally placed, with the aim of uniting the people of Liang once again. In the spirit of cooperation, she invited the courts of the conquered nations to join her own court, as advisors and bureaucrats. Historical records from this era are vague, as they mostly try to support the unbroken legitimacy of the Shen, so the origin of Sutsa and her father are unknown. Liang began to trade once again under Sutsa's leadership, though the ambition to spread its goods to every continent was no longer present. It found what it needed closer to home. Trade with Sura didn't begin again until 1540 YSB, millennia later. Under the descendants of Sutsa, Liang prospered and remained stable, dealing only with internal strife. For almost two thousand years, Liang remained quiet and peaceful. The 15th century YSB changed this.
Age of ImperialismSura's unchecked imperialism motivated Liang's own, who did not wish to be left behind. They moved to gain control over the indigenous people of the Erewa Isles, and the lands of modern Morioka. The continent of Okinochi had been settled around a similar period to Liang, but it had been overshadowed by its neighbours for most of its history. Its people content with their feudal kingdoms and inter-kingdom wars. These kingdoms were forced to control with Liang's efficient, bureaucratic organisation for the first time when their eyes turned to Okinochi. Yet Okinochi proved a far stronger foe than Liang had hoped for. The disputing kingdoms had honed their skills with in irregular wars, while Liang had barely fought a serious conflict for centuries. Despite the mismatch of technology, numbers and organisation, the kingdoms held out against Liang. Only coastal lands were successfully claimed for decades. The conflict dragged out into a century of bad blood, as Liang slowly inched its way across the continent. Claiming small slivers of territory, and pausing to fortify and subjugate them. Liang's imperial ambitions arguably cost it more than they were worth. The colonials were only ever held tenuously, and their worth was meager once the Age of Ships began.
Age of ShipsThe Liang's mages invented the AetherEngine in the early 22nd century. Widespread adoption was in place by 2160 YSB. This technology gave a significant advantage to Liang, as it reduced the necessary number of mages to operate a ship, gave them faster top speeds, and allowed weaker mages to run a ship. Liang's armada swelled, and the eyes of Shen Shinuru turned towards showing Sura its place. Conflict between Sura and Liang heated up, and in 2170 Liang withdraw its embassy from Sura. Sura began to commission privateers to raid Liang trade routes, with tragic consequences. In 2172, the third son of the Shen was killed with his wife when their ship was attacked by Suran employed privateers. Liang declared war on Sura within a week, and the Gold Blood War embroiled the globe. It would last 18 years, and cost Sura and Liang both dearly. Sura abandoned its colony on Vilgatione, and its Lissimo territories rebelled. The war was officially lost by Sura, though Liang's colonies on Morioka broke free as well, the local lords supported by Suran gold. The cost of life was great, global trade was hurt severely, and the cultural backlash was immense. Sura entered a period of xenophobia, blaming foreigners for its loss. Liang withdrew into cultural conservatism. Shinuru was blamed for dragging the nation into a costly war and his heir was forced by popular opinion to adopt a conservative, inward facing set of policies. Liang stopped trading with Sura for decades, and established the Wuzin to control mages. Multiculturalism and foreign influence were placed in a negative light, and while for a time foreign goods had been seen as desirable and exotic, it was now purged from the high society of Liang. In the 26th century, Liang was hit hard by the Dark Plague, and this further deepen the cultural isolation. Many historical records were lost when the Library of Jinque was burned in 2878 YSB, but the image that remains was not positive. Ceremony began to dominate high society, and beauty standards were pushed to extremes, with elaborate traditional hair styles, makeup and multi-layered robes. Trade dominance was lost, as 'foreign' money became a dirty subject, and many noble families who earned their fortune in trade tried to distance themselves from that reputation. Juventius filled Liang's niche in the following years, taking over global trade quickly. Religion became intensely important to the Liang people during this period, and priest's became esteemed members of society. The Circle of Priests of Dien Chien was founded to advice the Shen on governing matters, and the state began to provide a stipend to rural temples to promote local spirituality.
Age of GolemsLiang's last hope came in the Age of Golems. The Collegium of the Arcane shocked the world with the introduction of efficient, easily produced and autonomous golems. They quickly proved their use in agriculture, construction, and mining. The ruling Shen, Kusha, embraced golems early. While other nations were rocked by global economic disruption, Liang's isolation sheltered it from much of the backlash. He bought many golems from Juventius, and instructed the royal mages to recreate them. Within a decade, Liang was producing its own golems. Agricultural yields rose, and much of Liang's population was freed of need to simply feed the population. He sponsored new manufactories, foreseeing that his golems could not produce delicate goods that might be in demand. Porcelain, jewellery, weaving, clothing and textiles, and bespoke alcohols began to flourish in Liang. The export of these goods grew slowly, while the nations of the world re-established their economies and peace, but Liang was present and waiting when the nearly leisured class began to demand such quality goods. Liang prospered, and since then has remained a strong global contender, once again a major player in the global economy. Its trade ships sail to every nation to sell its luxuries, and return with knowledge and new magics to keep the nation ahead of the game.
The territory of Liang is primarily concerned with the island of Saima, set within the Aioong Strait. It also holds sovereignty over small outlying islands. Historically, Liang territory was far larger, encompassing parts of the Erewa Isles and Okinochi, as well as colonies on Tulan. Over subsequent centuries these expansions were lost, and Liang withdrew to the borders of its homeland.
The state religion of Angjao governs large parts of Liang culture, and its deeply interwoven with the nation's government. Angjao's history is long, and it has in some form or other been a part of Liang society for thousands of years. It is an animist religion, placing importance on the innate spiritual quality of all things. Reincarnation forms a large of Angjao religion, and followers generally believe in a pyramid of reincarnation, wherein charitable and good people will rise up the pyramid, reincarnating as more important people in their next life, usually their own descendants. Contrary to some reincarnated-focused ideas of karma or cosmic judgement, the evil are not seen as the result of reincarnation but of individual failing, and the bad people in life will remain static, unable to progress or go backwards. To overcome the history of your family is considered a great achievement, and deserving of extra reward when once reincarnates. The religion is led by the Shen, who is also the head of state of Liang. The Shen is considered the pinnacle of reincarnation, and Shen who are particularly good may reincarnate to become spirits or magical creatures who watch over the Liang state. Death often viewed as the slow sapping of your soul to the next generation, the soul slowly moving into your children or descendants. The priesthood of the Angjao religion is informal. Local temples are dedicated to gods and spirits/Peh considered important to the local area. The priests of these temples are employed by tithes from the local area. The smallest shrine may be unmanned, and maintained by a lay-priest who works in another profession usually, and the largest may have dozens or even hundreds of priests dedicated full time to their maintenance. These large temples often have formal hierarchies, and smaller shrines that answer to them.
Liang has a healthy export market. It's economy is largely powered by global demand for its fine porcelain, luxury items such as jade or seashell jewellery and carved Vis, and the fine alcohol grown here. Liang remains one of the few areas of the planet with a climate good for wine production, and exports much of the world's wine. It also produces fine textiles and linens.
Related Ranks & Titles
- Shen - Emperor-King and ruler of Liang
- Saima - Island upon which Liang is located.
- Sura Empire - Eastern empire based on Terrosea.
- Juventius - Wealthy trade city-state on Pascent.
- Lissimo - Southern continent, conquered by Sura and later independent.
- Okinochi - Continent directly below Liang.
- Morioka - Feudal state on Okinochi.
- Tulan - South-western continent.
- Peh - Tutelary spirits in the Angjao religion.
History of Civilisation
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A summary of the development of mortal civilisation
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Ancient Sura rules over the East with a slowly weakening grip.