The Empire of Honshu is vast, sprawling and split into seven provinces. It is a beautiful empire of rice fields, mountains and steaming jungles. It is very colourful and seems very peaceful, yet under this calm exterior it can be a deadly place. Honshu is a place of honour and of status. The smallest slight on a person above your rank can mean death. It can be a deadly place.
Honshu is a vast place. On the main continent, only the Empire of Rodinia covers more area. Much of Honshu is coastal and these shores vary from being rough and rugged to low and sandy.
The far north of the land is bordered by high, granite mountains. These are cold and usually impassable in winter. The plains of the Kirin horse-lords abut these high hills.
The east is bordered mostly by coastline with the Sphinx and Ogre provinces both facing that way. The northern part of that coast is lower and more sandy. The southern end in the Ogre territory is more rugged as it feeds into the mountains.
The southern border of Honshu is almost entirely mountainous and a permanent battle zone. Beyond the high and craggy peaks lie the lands of the Rodinians. All the passes between the two empires are heavily contested and disputed.
The western most border of the empire is most varied. It includes the Great Desert in the south west and a few forests and swamps. The main neighbour to the west is Albion and, though small in size it has proven very resistant to Honshu’s efforts to annex it.
The Empire of Honshu is a little over five hundred years old and has become one of the most refined cultures in the Known World. Honour is everything in this land. Position is all. Each and every person needs to be aware of their place in the order of things and how to respond to those around you.
There is a strong veneer of politeness in the realm and manners are hugely important to the way things are conducted day-to-day. Even the greatest lord will be polite to the lowest servant, in the ways that are accepted. The difference is, if the servant shows the lord even a hint of disrespect, the consequences would be severe, quite potentially lethal.
The basic culture here is one of a Feudal society where everyone swears fealty to the person above them on the chain. At the top of the chain is the Emperor. The seven lords of the Provinces each bend the knee to him. In turn each provincial lord has many vassals loyal to him. These vassals typically control the towns or villages of their region, though some live in huge fortified castles, separate from any settlements. Each lord has a number of elite warriors who swears fealty to him. These warriors are called samurai and are of an elite caste.
Beneath the samurai are the more common folk, normal soldiers, merchants and the like. There are many levels of caste below samurai and all the small folk know their place.