The Society, History und Races from the Blackbloods.Author: Excelsior Entertainment © 2003
The emblem from
Blackblood Empire The four races of the Blackbloods—Ogres, Orcs, Goblins and Trolls—have been united under the iron hand of the Ogre Emperors for over five hundred years. Nizar Bloodbound rules over the lands of the East aided by his Grand Vizier Bukhir and five provincial Satraps—Kirgh, Abakhar, Tarimek, Kazhir and Azam. Though the Emperor is the most ruthless and ferocious example of Blackblood power, it is Bukhir who commands the vast armies of the Empire while the Satraps administrate and control the Empire’s vast provinces.
While many would expect a sprawling nation of chaos and savagery, the logistics of controlling a nation the size of the Blackblood Empire are made easier because of the brutal nature of its citizens. A common Blackblood expression heard with pride throughout the Empire is: "I am Blackblood; therefore I had to fight my way into this world."
The Blackblood Emperors have always known that the strength of their nation lies in their brutality. However, power and brutality are nothing without discipline, and the Empire of the Blackbloods is disciplined by two ever-present concepts, pride and fear. The races of the Empire toil, build and make war with the threat of constant retribution from their superiors, tempered by the idea that their nation is superior to all others. Strength is respected, cunning admired, treachery expected and power feared, but the discipline to hold them together comes directly from the Blood Throne. Ironically, the very things that the human Firstborn decry the Blackbloods for are what give them their indomitable strength.
Since the overthrow of the Orc Emperors, Ogres have held the important positions in the Blackblood society and make up most of the current Blackblood nobility. From the legendary Blood Throne deep in Kharabad, the Empire´s capital, Nizar Bloodbound carefully watches over his land against its many enemies both within and without.
Blackblood society is not only fiercely independent but also extremely sophisticated and refined with its own etiquette and protocols that center on the Imperial Court. Regardless of the Emperors who sit upon the throne, the Blood Laws—chiseled into the vast iron monoliths housed in the Grand Promenade—set forth the codes for Blackblood life. These basic tenants govern the four races and remain enforced by the throne and its allies.
More remarkable than the fact that a nation of such diverse brutality seems to grow in power without tearing itself apart is the fact that in so vast an Empire the will of the Blood Throne can quickly find its way to even the farthest reaches of the Empire. Much of this swift communication and control is credited to the practices of the Satraps’ administration.
HistoryBlackblood society has not always been united. In the early days, before recorded history, the four races that now make up the Empire lived apart and spent much of their time warring against each other and those of the other races that inhabited their lands. These other races, collectively referred to as Infidelis or "unworthy", have been driven to either relative obscurity or extinction by the consolidation of the Blackbloods.
The Orcs, outnumbering all the other races, enjoyed a successful period of conquest, even conquering the powerful Ogre Tribes. During this period of unification, the Blackblood Empire was born. Building on the notion that the various races all share a common bloodline, the Orc Warlords were able to absorb more and more tribes into their union. After half of the lands were conquered by the Union, and more tribes were brought into the fledgling Empire, the Orc Warlord Hakkim proclaimed himself Emperor of the Blackblood Union, and in a ceremony of feasting and celebration the new Emperor christened the seat of power that would unite the disparate peoples of his new Empire. The Blood Throne, bled upon by the highest representatives of each peoples in an oath of allegiance that would continue to this day, and washed in the entrails of those of the same races that resisted Hakkim’s will, would become the ultimate symbol of their power.
This first Empire prospered and grew but was filled with violent internal conflict. In the four hundred years of the Orc rule, several civil wars and an attempted coup eventually led to bloody revolution sparked by the massacre of an Ogre war party led by the legendary Kharime Throatcutter. The Orc Emperor of the time sent Kharime’s force into a futile and ultimately disastrous action against a vastly superior rebel Orc army. Kharime, incensed at the Emperor’s incompetence, took the remnants of his army, later known as the Death Seekers, and marched on the royal palace. They hacked the Orc Emperor and all with him into a thousand pieces, feeding them to the Court’s Ripper Beasts.
The assault signified the end of Orc domination of Blackblood life and the crowning of the first Ogre Emperor, Kharime Throatcutter. Shortly after gaining control of the Empire, Kharime walked alone into the Dreadlands and returned with promises from the Trolls that they too would join the new empire. How he persuaded them to agree has never been revealed, but some sources suggest he slew a Troll champion with his bare hands. However he accomplished the victory, their addition to the Blackbloods made the new empire complete and one of the strongest in existence.
The most famous Blackblood heroes have also been some of the most violent. Zabaka Kinslayer tore the head off his own brother for the Blood Throne, while the present Emperor, Nizar Bloodbound has recently executed a number of Orc officers who were attempting to return the Blackbloods to the days of an Orc Emperor.
In recent years, the lands gained by the Blackbloods during the days of the Triad have been steadily lost to the One King. The Blackbloods have also been hard hit by the rise of the Devout, losing vast tracts of their Empire in the north, with most of the Dreadlands now belonging to Negral. Malika Pass was the final and ultimately futile effort by Blackbloods to protect their northern land from Devout invasion. The Emperor’s own brother, Burbaal, was sent to defend the important pass with a company of the Empire’s best. The fighting was reported to be ferocious, on a scale to awe even the jaded Blackbloods. Wave after wave of Risen and Tormented attacked the defenders. When the pass fell, not one Blackblood was left alive. Burbaal and all those under him died in battle, only to have a Necromancer perform his black art on their corpses and bring them back to life as the unholy Risen. The skeletal form of the Emperor’s brother has been leading Risen into battle all across the northern frontier, and Nizar realizes that the day will come when he must face his kin in battle.
MilitaryThe Emperor boasts the greatest and certainly the largest land army of the world. The core of his army is stationed at Kharabad, and similarly, the provincial Satraps have armies based in their capitals. In times of war, the Emperor levies forces from these provinces. His army is further augmented with conscripts from the smaller towns throughout the Empire.
All Blackbloods like to wear richly colored and intricately embroidered costumes. The varying colors in their dress often reflect the troops’ home provinces. Likewise, their bright silvered armor is elaborately embellished with gold and other precious metals. The Blackbloods believe that if they are going to die, they should be wearing their finest before presenting themselves before their Gods.
Orcs form the backbone of the Emperor’s army. By far the most populace element of Blackblood society, they also form the largest section of the army, having countless divisions created just from their race. Their cruel lust for violence is notorious. Orcs are taught to fight from birth. Some Orc families make their young kill a slave prisoner just so they can be blooded.
The foot soldiers are broken down into three distinct groups: swordsmen, archers and assault warriors. The swordsmen are dressed in bright, richly embroidered clothing, over which are fastened an iron chest piece and a circular plate with the unit’s emblem carved in relief. Twin-layered iron shoulder pads complete the armor for the upper torso. Underneath their robes the Orcs wear a ring-mail skirt and iron-shod boots. Plate armor is sometimes worn on the right forearm and on the back of the hand. They are armed with a falchion and carry a medium-sized spiked shield. The helmets vary slightly in design depending on where the troops are levied from, but generally they are conical with a central spike with ring mail or plates protecting the neck. Higher-ranking soldiers wear more elaborate designs. Some warriors who have distinguished themselves in battle are presented with a two-handed falchion as a mark of honor. These are sheathed in large scabbards across their backs.
The archers of the Blackblood Empire are armored similarly to their larger Orc cousins but tend to forego the upper torso armor as it restricts their firing ability. They are armed with composite bows and maces. The most renowned archers come from the southern city of Japur where they are trained from infancy to wield a bow and are so precise it is said them capable of hitting a Goblin’s eye at 600 cubits.
Finally there are the assault warriors. These are the shock troops of the Empire and as such are more heavily armored than the Swordsmen, having an extra layer to their shoulder pads and an additional half length plate skirt over their robes. They are armed with a particularly vicious broad-bladed spear, a composite bow and a medium-sized spiked shield. The assault warriors of Bezek and Azaghur are respected in all the lands of Chronopia.
The Orc cavalry is usually supplied by the Orc nobility or by wealthy merchants looking for favor with the Emperor. Riding the long legged Kutaras—distant relatives of the Ripper Beasts,Orc archers and lancers are considered to be the elite of the Orc fighting machine. The best Kutaras come from Kharabad where the Emperor personally oversees the now famous breeding stables.
Large tusked Myrmadons,carrying a variety of miniature domed towers or Orc warriors astride armed with pikes and bows—act as the Blackblood heavy cavalry. The Myrmadons are painted in bright colors before a battle and are fed with a special preparation of crushed berries that turn the usually placid beasts into rampaging monsters. It is not unknown for the Mahout to lose complete control during a battle, allowing his beast to go berserk and kill friends and foes alike.
As in Blackblood society, the Goblins receive by far the worst treatment in the army. They are often used in the first wave of attack or used as missile screens to protect other troops. Goblins are usually armed as spearmen or archers. However there are specialist troops that come from the more independent Goblin cities. Probably the most famous of these are the Sword Masters of Qatuk. These warriors fight with two broad-ended machete-like swords called a Kalkarnas. What is not widely known is that Kalkarna is a Goblin word meaning Orc-killer, the Goblins of the Qatuk forest region not being on the best of terms with their other Blackblood kin.
Other Goblins of note are the Ripper-Beast riders from around Terakan in the Southern Peaks. The Ripper Beasts are weird and deadly creatures that allow only Goblins from the Southern Peaks to ride them. In addition to a powerful beak, a Ripper Beast has a solid skull and can charge straight into an enemy’s ranks at amazing speeds, inflicting great damage.
There are two basic types of Ripper-Beast riders: Lancers and Archers. The Lancers act as shock troops, crashing into the enemy lines and impaling them on their spears. The Archers charge forward and then swiftly retreat, discharging a deadly volley of arrows at their foes. Goblin heroes and chiefs from the city of Terakan ride into battle behind several Ripper Beasts, in chariots, the wheels of which are armed with the razor-sharp horns of old dead Myrmadons. The Goblins of Japur have been known to charge into the heart of battle lashed onto an enraged Myrmadon. One of their number tries to control the beast’s direction while the others use spear and bows to assail their enemies from the back of the beast, generally safe from their enemies attacks..
In spite of the latest uprising against Emperor Nizar, the Goblins´ status in Blackblood society is still on the upswing. Only the Swamp Goblins of the Fallen Land are treated as enemies of the Blood Throne though the Emperor has not ruled out some way of returning the errant Goblins to the Empire.
Ogres form the elite units of the army. They are heavily armored in plate and scale and are armed similar to Orc Swordsmen. Ogres have been known to ride white Myrmadon bulls into battle to demonstrate their courage and prowess. Ogres, however, also form guard units for generals and other commanders. These soldiers are distinct in that they wear no robes in battle but instead enter with their torsos bared. They are armed with large two-handed falchions and wear plumed spiked helmets of various designs indicating which dignitary they serve. The Grand Vizier Bukhir’s guards have vermilion plumes and gold and silver face mail. Guard units are considered to be the highest status a warrior can achieve.
The most famous guard units in the Blackblood Empire are the Deathseekers. They are the personal guard of the Emperor himself. They are chosen from all over the Empire for their martial skill and battle prowess. They are always ten thousand of them, casualties being replaced on a regular basis. All warriors in the forces of the Emperor strive to become Deathseekers for it is the ultimate symbol of honor.
There can be little doubt that the Trolls are by far the most deadly race in the Blackblood Empire even though they were the last race to officially join the Empire. For the most part, they still live nomadic lives in the Dreadlands and in the East, on the fringes of the great deserts, but recent incursions by the Devout have forced them increasingly into mainstream Blackblood society. Trolls favor large scythed gauntlets, falchions, fist spikes and iron throwing nets and use them in a variety of combinations. They wear large, ornate iron shoulder pads strapped to a central disc plate carved with the emblem of their unit. Some Trolls have had the honor of serving in the Emperor´s Deathseekers.
The Emperor and his nobility often enter battle atop a large armored palanquin set between four Myrmadons. However it is not unknown for them to enter the fray in less formal ways, as Nizar and his brother did in their younger days, leading from the front with the bloodlust filling them. There is a saying in Blackblood society, "When an Ogre picks up a blade people die. When the Emperor picks up a blade, nations die."
As a people, Ogres live lives in excess of a hundred years and are extremely hardy and powerful even in old age. While the Ogres are far outnumbered by their smaller Orc cousins, they stand taller and are physically more powerful. The rumors that Ogres are less intelligent than Orcs are without merit, for an Ogre has not only a keen intellect but the personal power to enforce his will on others. It is partially this very intellect that has allowed the Ogres to keep the more numerous Orcs vying against each other for power so that they cannot unite to become a threat to Ogre rule. The breakdown of Orc rule can be traced back to the machinations of the Ogre class, their ability to create dissent, and the arrogance of the Orc Emperor.
Orcs form the main bulk of the Blackblood society. It is not unusual for an Orc to live to eighty years, though they do not retain the powerful vitality an Ogre does in aging. They are well built and muscular, standing six cubits in height, and possessing intelligence that is both cruel and calculating. It has been said that they could threaten the ruling elite if they were not so divided by birth and involved in the complex struggle for favor in the royal court. There is a small Orc nobility holding a number of key positions in the Empire, but the majority fill most of the lowlier and mundane functions in the society.
Within the Orc race there is a growing interest in the pursuits ignored by the Blood Throne. The Order of the Burning Star, made up entirely of Orcs, studies the practices of alchemy, medicine and astronomy, fields the ruling Ogre elite frown upon for distracting from martial practices. And while many Ogres have been saved by the salves, potions and medicines procured by the Orcs of the Burning Star, it is the order’s military value that affords them funding and privilege. Orc alchemists with their potions and mixtures are highly sought after by the Empire’s armed forces.
Goblins are small compared to Orcs, weak compared to Ogres and live a mere 40 years. Their short, wiry frames belie their surprising strength. They are the most prolific race of the Blackbloods though they are considered inferior and are treated little better than slaves by their cousins. Thus, they tend to form smaller independent colonies on the fringes of the Empire, in the high mountainous passes to the southeast, and the northeastern marshlands and forests, away from the main concentrations of Blackblood society.
The contemptuous treatment of the Goblins has persisted since the rule of the Orc Emperors and has contributed to many of the problems the Empire has endured, but it has eased considerably since the Ogres seized control. Emperor Nizar values the support of Goblins in the Empire. Indeed, many dictates have been enacted to train and strengthen the Goblin soldier. Because of these reforms, the larger cities in the West of the Empire attract the younger, more eager members of the Goblin race, now regularly seen fighting in the ranks of the Emperor’s army.
The Trolls are one of the strangest races found on Chronopia. Unlike their urban-dwelling cousins, Trolls prefer to live alone or in small nomadic tribal groups that range across the Dreadlands to the north and east of the Empire. Gigantic, four-armed beasts towering over the largest Ogres, Trolls are perhaps the least aggressive race in the Empire. Trolls are peaceful creatures—capable builders and superb artists—until the bloodlust takes them. With the fire of battle in their hearts, they become raging maelstroms of death and destruction so ferocious that even Ogres give them a wide berth on the battle field.
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