Unlike many empires, the Empire of Tarsis gained little of its dominion through conquest.

A thousand years ago, the evil lord Ghul waged war against the rest of the world, his armies comprised of demons, undead, and horrible monsters. At that time, a group of humans called the Prust occupied the area around the city of Tarsis far to the east. When the Prustan forces from Tarsis came westward to the help defeat Ghul, they stayed, helping to rebuild and establish order. Following their terrible defeat in the Ghulwar, the folk west of Tarsis welcomed not only the Prust’s help but also their advances in science. The Prust (and the Grailwarden dwarves of the same area) brought with them firearms, clocks, printing presses, and even steam-powered engines. They built roads, waterways, and wellordered cities with running water, sewer systems, and postal services. Their laws were not arbitrary but codified in a book called the Vast Codex. In short, life under the Empire seemed good.

The Empire, however, also brought with it strict controls. Various freedoms suddenly vanished in the name of maintaining order. Official citizens of the Empire achieved rights denied noncitizens, such as permits to own firearms. The Church of Lothian became the official religion of the Empire, and eventually the only allowed religion. Other faiths were persecuted, and ultimately arcane magic was demonized, restricted, and finally outlawed. Life became very complicated.

For hundreds of years, the Empire of Tarsis expanded its domains and influence. The Church of Lothian, or simply “the Church,” became omnipresent within society. Emperors and empresses came and went. It seemed that the LionGuarded Throne was destined to rule the known world forever.

But slowly the pillars supporting the Empire began to decay. The Edict of Deviltry was overturned, and arcane spellcasting became legal once again (even before that, time’s passage had brought with it more safe havens for the practitioners of magic—including the city of Ptolus). Other religions practiced fairly openly, and the Church of Lothian was no longer organized or powerful enough to stop them. Education worsened. Complex Prustan and dwarven devices wore down and were forgotten rather than repaired. If anything, the last two hundred years have seen a decline in science rather than its further advancement.

Lion-Guarded Throne sits in the center of the Imperial Palace in the capital city of Tarsis far from PtolusThe Lion-Guarded Throne sits in the center of the Imperial Palace in the capital city of Tarsis. Its crafters used 25,000 gp worth of gold and other precious metals in its construction and spent collectively over one thousand man-hours on its relief work and ornamentation.

The Emperor of the Church lost the bulk of his army during the barbarian attack on Tarsis about a decade ago and now keeps only his Knights of the Dawn and bodyguards.