In a world beset by evil there is a single beacon of hope for the world of man. Holy crusaders and scourges of the Abyss, the resplendent forces of Basilea stride forth from their golden city to strike fear into the hearts of evildoers across the land. Their faith is as strong as their martial prowess, maintained by the pious Sisterhood and Paladin warrior-scholars in their ranks and bolstered by the dutiful Men-at-Arms and fearsome Ogre Palace Guard that march to battle alongside them.
Being a people watched over by literal gods, the Basileans are both pious and conceited. It is difficult not to feel arrogant when one has beings of such power at one’s back, and it is equally difficult not to have faith when your gods manifest physically before you.
Basilea is very conservative, valuing faith and honour above all else. Temples still stand to the Celestians and there is relative peace and stability. Being watched over by literal gods however, tends to make them very arrogant. It also is a major trade hub, occupying the only land route between Abercarr and the Successor Kingdoms. There is also a tendency for religious violence to break out in times of crisis.
Though conservative by nature and paralysed by ritual it may be, Basilea still reflects some of the ancient glories of Primovantor. Its cities are the largest, its princes the richest, its mages the most powerful of all the kingdoms of Men. Basilea’s wealth means that its footsoldiers march to war clad in the finest plate and bearing the very best weapons that money can buy. Basilea insists that it is the only true protector of Primovantor’s legacy – a claim they are all too willing to fight for.
Basilea holds a sizeable territory. The greater part of it is mountainous, as is much of the Infant Sea’s northern coastline. The core of Basilea is what was once the Basilean Massif – a large upland area of plateaus, hills and low mountains. This highland became a twin peninsula during the flooding of the world. The Martolian plains that once connected it to the Primovantian Peninsula have been drowned, along with much else. However, many of the Basilean’s most ancient cities survived the inundation.
Greatest amongst the remaining settlements in the City of the Golden Horn. It is the largest and most spectacular city in all of Mantica. Over a million citizens live within its precincts, according to the Royal Census at any rate; the true figure is likely to be much higher. The oldest part of the Golden Horn occupies a promontory projecting into the Straits of Eriskos. The city was built in ancient times upon the eastern bank of what was once a broad river canyon. Since the Great Inundation, the Golden Horn has been lapped by the sea, and has grown so huge it covers both shores for miles in either direction. The Golden Horn is the crossroads of the world. Man in all his rich variety walks its streets, rubbing shoulders with Dwarfs, Elves, Orcs, Ogres and other creatures seen nowhere else. Within its walls are merchants from every ocean and sellswords from every land known and beyond. It is not the only city in Basilea, and several others have reputations almost as grand:
Ancient capital of the homonymous region and proud inheritor of that nation’s martial prowess, Spartha is home to the Hegemony’s foremost military academy.
Although once one of the great powers of old Basilea, the capital of Cortia is a small city, but it is a place of unsurpassed marvels. Cortis boasts Basilea’s finest artists. The Temple of Aquilan is regarded as its greatest jewel, the beauty of it such that, if all is viewed in one visit, it can strike a man temporarily dumb.
A crucial trade port situated off the coast of Keretia, it acts as one of the Basilean navy’s main depots, and acts as a constant reminder of the Hegemon’s power to the rulers of the breakaway province of Keretia.
A frontier city, Samarik is the only large settlement near the lands of the Abyss and Tragar. Home to five legions of Basilea’s best troops, it is a serious, heavily militarised place under constant threat of invasion.
Tor Amellinus The only Elven city in Basilean territory,this outpost port of the Sea Elf Kindreds is situated at the southernmost tip of the Basilean mainland and is almost entirely autonomous.
The Basileans are all that remains of the once great realm of men, the Republic of Primovantor. Primovantor was the ancient human kingdom that united all of humanity before the God War. After the shattering of the Fenulian Mirror however, civil conflict arose in the great nation. As the centuries passed, more and more provinces of Primovantor declared independence and revolted. As many of these succeeded in their efforts to secede, the once great nation slowly sank in size. By the time of the Winter War, Primovantor was a shell of its former glory.
When Winter was defeated, the resulting worldwide earthquakes and flooding drowned the land of Primovantor. Virtually the entire territory remaining of the nation was flooded, with only two major cities surviving: Primovantor, the capital city, and the Golden Horn, the second greatest city in the republic, perched atop the mountain range between Primovantor and Abercarr. This mountain soon became a small swath of land between the Low Sea of Suan and the Sea of Eriskos.
Refugees from the many human nations destroyed in the cataclysm soon fled to the Golden Horn. This made the city unstable politically, but also made it the cultural centre for most of humanity. As the elves splintered into numerous nations and the dwarfs retreated underground, determined to no longer participate in the affairs of the surface, the Golden Horn found itself on the verge of extinction at the hands of the orcs and the forces of the Abyss.
When all seemed lost and the city was about to fall, a man named Bosilean cried out to the Shining Ones and begged for aid, offering the eternal fealty of his people to the remaining Shining Ones if they would grant their aid. Legend says that Mescator, God of Justice, appeared before Bolisean then and bade him to confirm his words. Bosilean quickly repeated his vow. Suddenly the battlefield filled with angelic warriors, the Elohi. These warriors helped push the orcs back. When the battle ended, Bosilean declared that the Golden Horn would be the capital of the true successor nation to Primovanotr, dubbing it Basilea.
In the wake of the battle, the Shining Ones drew the earth to the sky, forming the impossible mountain Kolosu. There they dwell, in a radiant city where no human dare tread.
Bolisean went on to become the first Hegemon of Basilea, high priest and emperor both. The City of Golden Horn became a holy place. Quickly, the newly converted faithful erected temples to the twenty-three Shining Ones they worshipped. They erected seventy-five other structures in honour of the old Celestians, but these serve more as tombs to the fallen gods than places of worship. Priestly sects devoted to each of the gods debate theology and amass fortunes through their influence. Beside the five provincial governors and the Hegemon himself, the priests control the most power in Basilea. And to hold power in Basilea is to hold power over the largest human nation in the world.
The Hegemony stretches from the edge of the Abyss to the Dragon Teeth Mountains, from the Forest of Galahir to the Ruins of Difetth. Its neighbours do not appreciate the Hegemony’s arrogant certainty in their faith any more than the Basileans approve of their heretical beliefs. The dwarfs of Abercarr grumble about their ancient capital of Difetth in the hands of surface dwellers. They shout over Basilea’s control over their trade with the rest of the world. King Golloch, the king of the Dwarfs, drunkenly swore to take the City of Golden Horn and tear down its gods. To the west and north the Successor and Young Kingdoms chafe as the Hegemony tries to exert its will over them, and the Hegemony was at odds with the stoic Brotherhood until most of the Knight’s kingdom and forces were swallowed by the expanding Abyss during the Edge of the Abyss event. Worst of all Basilea is also the nearest nation to the Abyss portal in Tragar, meaning it is often a target of Abyssal Dwarfs, and at the forefront of the Abyss, holding back the tide of demons and infernal horrors from consuming the world. The City of the Golden Horn was even recently besieged by the Undead when Mortibras the Necromancer marched on Basilea with the abyssal minions of the wicked Ba’el during the Destiny of Kings event.
To face these threats, Basilea raises vast armies of holy warriors. Paladins imbued with divine fury battle for what is right. The Elohi and Ur-Elohi, the angelic servants of the gods, advise and fight alongside the Basilean armies, bolstering their resolve. Basilea’s sisterhoods of nuns ride panthers into battle and the seventeen fiery phoenixes patrol their skies. Across its vast domain, these holy legions march, to do battle with abyssal horrors and cleanse the world in purifying flame.
Although Basilea relies upon its access to the likes of the Elohi for ultimate military strength, even without divine aid the armies of the Hegemony are still powerful. They are comprised of well-drilled troops that are amongst the best disciplined in the world and it is reckoned they are a match even for the Elves: crucially, such is the wealth of Basilea that it can afford to maintain a standing army which few other nations can manage in these times. Its troops are well equipped, well trained, and have religious conviction on their side.
Hundreds of legions of Men-at-Arms form the body of the army, supported by heavy crossbowmen, all heavily armoured. The elite of the army are the Paladins, fanatical warrior-monks clad in ornate plate, many mounted to make up Basilea’s heavy shock troops. Basilea’s temples provide warriors too, in the form of the Sisterhood. These lightly armoured yet ferocious women serve as scouts, light cavalry and skirmishers. Alongside the humans of the Hegemony march Dwarfs, Ogres and others; above all fly the Elohi – the angelic warriors of the Shining Ones – and Phoenixes, although these divine creatures become harder to summon away from Basilea’s core provinces.
The power of the Shining Ones seems to diminish the further the armies of Basilea venture from Mount Kolosu. In this, the worship of the Shining Ones is a limiting factor on the imperial ambitions of the Hegemon – as well as a sign of how closely the Shining Ones have bound themselves to Basilea’s stone and soil.
Magically, the armies of Basilea are strong. The Golden Horn houses the greatest schools of magic in all the world and its mages are numerous and formidable: especially those that wield the sorceries of weather and fire. Its priests take to battle often and they can call down the might of the gods upon the foe in the form of divine magic. Enemies facing the Basileans must endure a storm of fire and lightning before steel meets with steel.
The Basilean navy is likewise potent, capable of projecting the might of the Hegemon all around the Infant Sea and beyond. Without it, it is doubtful the Hegemony’s stranglehold on trade would last. Lesser scholars point to the angels and the gods and the flaming Phoenixes as the source of Basilean might: wiser heads instead look to the Hegemon’s ships.
The four arms of the Basilean military are:
The Sisterhood : Sisterhood are warriors that fulfill all the roles one could imagine, from bodyguard to siege engineers, but by far the most common are the mobile, lightly armoured types, particularly those who have adopted the rule of Oredorus. Most of the orders eschew armour for speed, and act as skirmishers, light cavalry, scouts, and infiltrators. Their preferred weapons are heavy flails, and the glaive, a curved variation on the koliskos,
Paladins: Paladins are warriors beyond compare. Secure in their place in the afterlife, they are afraid of little other than dishonour. Even in times of peace, they spend hours each day in the practise of arms, both mounted and on foot.
Men at Arms: A Basilean legion numbers between one thousand and ten thousand men. Infantry is by far the most predominant type and the most common are units armed with either broad-bladed or the simple but effective ‘daga’ sword. The soldiers are heavily armoured, clad in chain or scale mail depending on where they were raised, additionally protected by large winged shields often embossed with the sun of Basilea.
Elohi: The mightiest of all Basilea’s warriors, the Elohi are the angels of the gods, sent from the top of Mount Kolosu to protect the land the Shining Ones have chosen as their own. The Elohi are beautiful beyond mortal understanding, tall and free of blemish. Wings sprout from their shoulders, gleaming armour of unknown metals clads their limbs. They wield swords and spears the like of which are reminiscent of the terrible weapons of the Wars with Gods.