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Shalkara, also called the Shalkaran Empire, is the largest single political unit on the face of Terra. It spans a huge portion of the landmass of Eurus and ranges from tropical forest to mountainous highland to arid steppes all within one governing body.
what faiths are present, what are the views on faith
Generally speaking, the life of an average Shalkaran is focused around respect, politeness, filial piety, and devotion to the community. Acceptance of the status quo and a profound need to maintain honor and courtesy are thick throughout almost all religious and philosophical traditions allowed the become popular through the centuries. The philosopher Kong Zhongni, whose writings two to three hundred years before the founding of the empire would become the root of most later Shalkaran philosophy, taught that the most supreme virtues were enlightenment and benevolence. The school of thought created by his teachings remains prominent as the foundation of secular morality and is called “Ru”, “Hundred Schools”, or “Fuzinism” depending on who is speaking.
There are a wide assortment of specialized social groups whose status and importance is relatively rigid within Shalkaran culture. There exist martial semi-religious schools and philosophies that devote themselves to teachings of the various Dragon Orders broadly referred to as Shen’dai. There are also Classani, a sophisticated organization of professional Alchemists that are thought to have and maintain a great deal of important secret knowledge. The Bridaini, an elite subset of the military responsible for the personal safety of the Imperial clan, have their own unique status. The same is true for the secretive clans of Lesuri, renowned for supposed espionage, assassination, and political influence.
Customs and Holidays
What days matter to the people
Arts and Exceptionalism
Organization of the Land
Modern Shalkara is divided into 20 major provinces, each as substantial as many other entire nations, with ethnic groups and cultural distinctions that make for a deeply varied society. What unites all of these potentially fractious political units into a whole is the imperial bureaucracy, or Kantu-Kamliss. Brought into being by the second imperial dynasty nearly two thousand years ago, the Kantu-Kamliss is a complex system of civil service that organizes and manages the economic and political affairs of the vast empire. Theoretically a meritocratic structure that would permit any person, no matter how poor their origins, to attain power and influence, the Kantu-Kamliss acts as a stabilizing and coordinating force to reinforce the power of every dynasty. The organization has gone through many transformations itself, but is a consistent element of the unity of the empire and endemic to the Shalkaran identity.
The population of Shalkara is predominantly Human, and power or authority are most readily attaned by Humans in Shalkaran society. In the northern parts of the Empire there are a wide assortment of Barbarian peoples, in particular the Mongol people of the steppes. Populations of the other races exist in enclaves or as moderate minorities in many of the districts of the Empire, but the variety is enormous given the span of the Empire.
Like other facets of a large and complicated Empire, the economy of Shalkaran is profoundly varied. Nevertheless it is particularly known for several export commodities associated with Shalkaran manufacture. The first and foremost of these commodities is silk, invented in Shalkara in distant antiquity and cultivated there by a massive industry. Another enormous industry in Shalkara is the production of paper, also invented, cultivated, and mass produced there to this day. It is additionally known for production of rice, wheat, certain geographically unique fruits, and other foodstuffs. Lastly, it is commonly associated with specific artistic styles, brass, bells, jade, and particular styles of painting and poetry.
An outsider might believe that little has changed in the past three thousand years of Shalkaran history. In ages past, the eastern half of the continent of Eurus consisted of many smaller kingdoms and transitory empires. The shifting and changing politics within that period of history are difficult to assess and shrouded in myth and legend, an heroic age lost to time and allegory.
Shalkara escaped the darkness of unrecorded history earlier than most, however, and in an age of antiquity preceding even the founding of Roma, a warlord named Yin Qui Shalkara forged several disparate nations into an empire approximately 2300 years ago. This first Emperor is credited with the foundation of a political juggernaut that endures to this day.
Passing through many transitions, periods of varied rule, expansion, contraction, war and misfortune, some entity called Shalkara, ruled by a succession of dynastic imperial families, has existed in the east. Conquest, both military and economic, expanded the boundaries of the empire for most of its history. When the empire would begin to falter, to lose territory or rot from within, a new warlord or military leader would rise up and claim the throne for himself, found a new Dynasty, and set about a new period of growth. These uprisings, clashes, and major transformations would come hundreds of years apart, but the most modern dynasty was founded in a bloody civil war that occurred 400 years ago, leaving the modern era one of tranquil stability that gives the Empire of Shalkara its monolithic reputation.
Over the centuries, Shalkara has come into an assortment of major conflicts with competing empires, particularly those of Silla, Nippon, and Angkar. Each of these has at one time or another controlled a substantial portion of the land which is now Shalkara before arriving at the modern condition of détente. As such, there is a certain amount of simmering antipathy that exists between these otherwise stable international relationships.
Major Modern Events
What events will have shaped the experience of characters having grown up there
The physical lay of the land