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Thread: Kingdom of Jade
Wednesday, 31st December, 2008, 01:03 AM #1
Novice (Lvl 1)
Kingdom of Jade
Hi good people of living 4th edition.
I have been thinking a lot about exploring the Kingdom of Jade setting; geography, history, government, wars, the Oni and etc.
I have some ideas for the Kingdom, but there are a few things about the kingdom I am not certain of, so I ask you all or those that created the idea of The Jade Empire, to help me clarify some few things:
Who are the Oni - Are “The Oni” demons or devils? Are they normal men, but twisted by some sort of infernal magic?
How long as the war been going on - There is no clear indication of how long the war has been going on or what the status of the kingdom is.
The Emperor - What was his betrayal and how many years has it been since his betrayal
The Iron General - What has happen to the iron general? why and how long have the descendants of the iron general been protecting/ruling the empire
Religion - So far I have gotten the impression that the kingdom does not believe or praise the Allarian gods, since their culture is atheistic but this is contradicted in section about the twelve gods
Quote from L4W:The twelve gods:
The shugenja of the Kingdom of Jade speak of the Lord of the Tengu, forever in pursuit of the White Maiden, whose father, the king of all, changes the seasons to allow her to hide.
My Ideas and suggestions to the Kingdom of Jade ( Short Version )
In the beginning – It is not known how men and dragonborn came to the land of Jade, but ancient stories tell that dragons brought men to the land from one of the portals of Jade. It is believed that the dragons saved men from a dying world or from some terrible fate. The dragons wanted to live in peace beside men and shared their wisdom and knowledge, but they where not the only ones that offered guidance. Strange messengers of fire, metal, earth, water and wood came to men and dragonborn, and offered them their knowledge and wisdom in return for their protection. Men and dragonborn accepted and cared much more their new masters than the dragons. This did not suit the dragons well because their power was connected with the people of Jade and the dragons feared that they now would loose this power to the Elemental Lords. With a few loyal followers the dragons tried to overthrow the Elemental Lords. A great battle took place but the dragons where no match for the Elemental Lords and their followers.
Early history - The Kingdom of Jade was once made of five kingdoms battling for supremacy. Each kingdom has its own strengths and weaknesses that are corresponding to their elemental affiliation; earth, metal, wood, fire, & water. Each kingdom was ruled by a king that was guided by an Elemental Lord.
The Elemental Lords are supreme beings that posses incredible divine and arcane powers. No one knows where the Elemental Lords are from and how long they have been there; they have simply been there from the beginning. In each region they have their own hidden city; It is common folklore, that the city of the Elemental Lord of metal lies within the mountains of its region. It is believed that the different types of Genasi are humans or dragonbornes that once where touched by the Elemental Lords, and transformed into superior beings.
The kingdoms where united into one kingdom by King Reothan of the Earth region. It is said that the king got the support from all of the Elemental Lords and that is why was able to conquer all the regions. After his victory he proclaimed himself Emperor and his kingdom to be named Jade, after his own capital from the region of Earth (which is now Kingdom of Jades Capital)
A time of peace and prosperity came to the Kingdom of Jade and it thrived for hundreds of years before the shadow came.
The Shadow came swiftly from a mystical portal located in the fire region. It is not known how the portal was activated fore none now live to tell the tale but, it is common believe that The Oni might be the terrible fate men once escaped with the help of the dragons.
Recent history (after the Emperors betrayal) – Even though the Iron General stopped the Emperor and defeated him, he was sadly mortally wounded by the Emperors poisoned blade and died shortly after his victory. He had three sons whom where all great warriors. They were asked by the Elemental Lords to protect the last three regions of Jade from the corruption of the Oni. The sons of the Iron General divided the protection of the three regions between themselves and are now functioning as temporary leaders of the kingdom.
The Kingdom of Jade is divided into 5 regions, the Kingdom itself has 3 regions under control of the Iron General descendants, and the other two are now lost to The Oni
The Five Elemental Lords – I consider them like titans and not as gods. I have not had the time to elaborate on this matter but I imagined that the people of Jade have turned away from the regular Allarian gods to worship the Elemental Lords.
I have more ideas, suggestions and stuff I would like to elaborate on, so I will be posting soon with a follow up.
Feel free to let me know what you think so far about my ideas.
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Wednesday, 31st December, 2008, 10:58 AM #2
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Thanks for giving thought to how we can establish regions of the L4W world more thoroughly.
I'm not sure who originally came up with the Kingdom of Jade, but they should probably be able to answer most of your questions. However, I get the impression a lot of lore for the Transitive Isles has been left undefined when it was written to just establish a baseline for the concepts.
I seem to recall that Oni are considered demons in Asian mythologies, though that conceptualization of demons may not be the same as D&D demons. Much to my surprise, Oni will appear in the upcoming Open Grave book about the undead (its listed in the Table of Contents).
Wednesday, 31st December, 2008, 05:13 PM #3
Defender (Lvl 8)
The Kingdom of Jade was Graf's idea, originally, and I think he had some ideas about fleshing it out, but real life seems to have eaten him. I hope he'll come back someday, but it's probably best not to wait on him for any of this.
There are a few more sources of information on KoJ than what's in the wiki page, with varying degrees of canon-ness. There's a discussion starting here in the discussion thread with some ideas. To summarize briefly based on my understanding of the general idea, the KoJ represents a realm under constant threat by an outside force, the Oni. It is the remnant of an older, larger, empire, that is mostly decayed and corrupted by the Oni's influence. The Oni attack physically, but also indirectly through the concept of "taint", which is sort of like a contagious evil disease or something. The dragonborn who rule KoJ now resist taint by adhering to a strict code of honor, bushido-style; the idea being that you fall to taint more easily by giving in to temptation, and that death, especially death in combat, is preferable to corruption. The genasi nobility are a remnant of the ruling class of the earlier empire; they have limited power, but great wealth, and are accorded respect by the dragonborn as part of the code of honor. The model is the Japanese Shogunate, where the "Emperor" was worshipped like a god, but the country was run by the shoguns for hundreds of years.
Also, there are a few characters with good backgrounds set in KoJ; I'd hate for any fleshing-out to step on that.
There are rumors and rumblings of various people contemplating an adventure set in KoJ. (Ozymandias? Is this you? I can't remember, and ENWorld's stupid PM system won't let me keep older PMs.)
Some random thoughts of my own:
- We've generally avoided creating detailed histories for L4W regions, mostly because the purpose of the setting is to be open and flexible, a platform for DMs to create in and improvise from, rather than a fully detailed setting a la Forgotten Realms. If we write down a detailed history, and then a DM who wasn't part of the discussion wants to run an adventure that contradicts that history, what do we do? One solution that I've advocated that finesses the issue is that any history we write down is an in-game concept, written by an NPC historian. As such, it might be wrong. The historian may have lied, or been ignorant of the real meaning of events, or just be making stuff up to sell books to the gullible.
- The MM list the Oni as natural humanoids, as opposed to outsiders or immortals. I imagine them as yet another race of funny-looking humanoids, like goblins or elves. I don't think we have an origin story for them, but I'm not sure we really need one. And the question of why exactly they're so evil and have this taint power, is probably one best left mysteriously unanswered.
- "How long has the war been going on?" Well, we know that the Dragonborn have been ruling for at least 100 years, and that before that the empire grew gradually more and more corrupt. Was it taint, or was it just the inevitable corruption that overtakes established institutions over time? Again, possibly better left mysterious. But we can probably say that the war has been going on openly for more than a century, and covertly for longer than that. This probably also covers the questions about when the emperor's betrayal was, and what happened to the Iron General (i.e. he held things together long enough to establish a stable remnant of the earlier empire, establish the code of honor, and died of old age a long time ago.)
- I think it would be nice to keep a fairly eastern flavor to the KoJ, a la this post.
I don't want to close the conversation, I'm just trying to clarify what-has-come-before.
Friday, 9th January, 2009, 02:48 PM #4
Novice (Lvl 1)
I agree with you Covaithe. Since I started looking at KoJ myself as a possible setting for an adventure, and began looking through the material that exists, I got the impression that the taint isn't really a disease but a corruption of morality.
The oni are like the archtypical shady guy in a business suit offering a deal you can't refuse. Once you make that first compromise it landslides from there until you're selling out king and country to the Oni for your own ends.
Beyond that the only really concrete thing I hit on is, as you said the asian flavor. For that reason I have found that a better idea for me has been to learn about japanese/chinese culture and let that influence my work. If in the course of running a campaign things happen that necessitate an adjustment to canon, I think that would be much better then all of us sitting here debating it out. By things becoming canon through player activity the "living" attribute of our world really gets to shine.
2+2=4 Fate is certain.
LEB Judge Circa 2009
Saturday, 14th February, 2009, 03:55 AM #5
Novice (Lvl 1)
My character Cross is one of the characters that set his origin in the KoJ.
As far as flavor goes, I had created an organization for the region... a group called "The Jade Dragon". They were supposed to be the Emperor's (undercover) bodyguards; beautiful women, who posed as the Emperor's harem (or the KoJ's equivlent of a harem). It was my intention that the women were recruited from all over the "world" (like Cross's Eladrin mother, for example), and secretly trained at The Temple of the Jade Dragon. I had also included that some of his closest bodyguards used their position to help the Oni with the Emperor's corruption.
Although, I will admit that I made some errors when interpreting the timeline... but disparities may well be explained by fluctuations in space-time, due to the nature of The Transitive Isles.