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[Dark Eras] Byzantine’s Empire & Constantinople Uratha

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  • [Dark Eras] Byzantine’s Empire & Constantinople Uratha

    This is first draft of Constantinople – modern Istanbul in Turkey – Uratha medieval setting. Themisine Protectorate write-up is fan musing of @nikink, author of official Forsaken by Rome chapter in Dark Eras Companion. I expanded it till the Vikings times and made packs for the setting. Write-up can be read without knowledge of FbR, but it would help greatly to understand. More ideas and comments are welcome. So let’s begin.

    Constantinople & Byzantine Empire

    Constantinople – now known as Istanbul in Turkey – is ancient city that was second capitol of Roman Empire. When ancient Empire on West had very difficult managed it’s huge lands in early 300s AD, Emperor Constantine the Great rebuild older Greek city of Byzantium as new capitol in 324 AD – and renamed it on his name, as Constantinople in year 330 AD. After that, line of successors of Emperors fought if Rome or Constantinople should be real capitol of Roman Empire. Finally, in in 395 AD Theodosius I bequeathed the imperial office jointly to his sons: Arcadius in the East and Honorius in the West, dividing Imperial administration, de facto splitting Roman Empire in to two. When Rome on West fell to barbarians, Constantinople on East prospered. Citizens of Eastern Empire till it’s fell to Turks in 1453 AD used calling of "Rhōmais" (Greek: Ῥωμαΐς for ‘Romans’ ) for themselves – even then all around called them popularly ‘Greeks’. Name Byzantium was still used for this new capitol city on common terms, even if not Empire itself.

    Themisine Protectorate

    In contrast to original Rome’s society, Constantinople Uratha are not ruled by balance. On West, Protectorate was ruled by the alliance of Iron Master and Ivory Claws clans. When in late 3rd Century AD the Romulan Protectorate is stretched thin across the world, and the Magna Mater, huge, bloated and self-cannibalizing spirit favoring Rome, is raving mad. The Protectorate separates with the Roman Empire. This has the fortunate side-effect of quelling the Magna Mater's agony for a brief respite in the local Hisil. When comes to divide of Empire, on East and West, the Eastern Protectorate is led by a more equitable arrangement of Fire-Touched and Ivory Claws, with the Poenii clan claiming authority over all matters spiritual, and Iron Claws from Saturi clan over mortal affairs - much like in the Romulan Protectorate, but with more power and recognition granted to the Fire Touched.

    It’s called the Themisine Protectorate. The Fire-Touched, with authority from the gods, and their All-Father, and Father Wolf himself, and touched with divine fevers and insight, guide the more mortal policies enacted by the Ivory Claws. Together they act in (supposed) balance. They have no Magna Mater to appease, or contend with - packs of Uratha squabble over territory until the Protectorate is threatened by packs of 'barbarian' Forsaken. The Themisines bargain heavily with the local Predator Kings, whom they dubbed 'Naturae', in order to combat the rising Forsaken threat, and the constant threat of rogue spirits bolstered by beliefs from dozens of nations and all seeing an opportunity to become the new Protectorate's 'Mater'.

    Over the decades in 4th and 5th centuries the three tribes of Pure further divide the Themisine Protectorate among triadic councils - the Horae. Each council holds three Pure - one of each tribe - and each of the three councils is led by a different tribe.

    * The First Council is led by a Fire Touched in the seat of 'Xarpo', with The Ivory Claw in the seat of 'Thallo' and the Predator King in the seat of 'Auxo'.
    * The Second Council is led by an Ivory Claw in the seat of 'Eirene', with the Predator King in the seat of 'Dike' and the Fire Touched in the seat of 'Eunomia'
    * The Third Council is led by a Predator King in the Seat of 'Orthosie', with he Fire Touched in the seat of 'Euporie' and the Ivory Claw in the seat of 'Pherusa'

    These three councils shared authority over the Themisine Protectorate, supported by a Fourth Council of Nemeses. This council held limited authority - it was convened to lead Themesine packs to war, and membership was fluid. The Atropos seat was for the Predator King, the Clotho seat was given to the Ivory Claw, and the Lachesis seat was given to the Fire Touched. In times of great conflict multiple 'Fourth Councils' were created to cover different fronts, and only rarely was any 'Fourth' council completely filled. Most often, one tribe would fill their seat and take command of the local packs while another tribe would take command elsewhere.

    In this political mosaic, Tribes of the Moon are on margins of actions. Treated early as ‘barbarians’ to Themisine Protectorate, they were often hired to make things Pure could not. Wealthy Forsaken, and useful Forsaken, are welcomed within the Protectorate, but they are not allowed on the Councils, and are thus excluded from ruling it. This makes Byzantine Tribes of the Moon a much more mercenary groups, low community conscious packs – or simply ideological fanatics, sticking to their own high standards on verges of society. Pure in Themisine are having money and wealth – Forsaken needs to fight for the scraps – or leave the game at all, deal with the most important matters for them. They drove to Constantinople, where there is enough human population to let Tribes of Moon to build real community on the lower rungs of society.

    This change considerably with coming of Scandinavian Tribes of Moon in 9th century. The so called ‘vikings’ Uratha are already in mercenaries and pirates groups – and more than ready for getting more gold or silver for their services, even from Pure. After centuries of only governing and politicking, many Themisine packs do not have real bravery to take care of problems in their own territories. And Norse Uratha are more than willing to take jewellery and ground under their care. The more ‘barbarians’ get gold and titles, the weaker is Themisine Protectorate. It’s survive till the end of Byzantine Empire. However, more humans Empire is falling, the more power Forsaken reclaim in this society.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 11-03-2019, 05:18 AM.


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  • #2
    Forsaken packs of Constantinopole

    Packs ideas from Tribes of the Moon in Constantinople. I still did not decide on names for two last packs names - we talk here about it.

    Kunēgóskula tou Theoú ( Hounds of God )

    Pack of Christian Hunters in Darkness werewolves, guarding area around and under Hagia Sophia, with crossing rights granted for Lancea Sanctum vampires, inside Jeremiad Sworn.

    Synélefsi ton Aetón ( Assembly of Eagles )

    Blood Talons and Storm Lords werewolves inside Emperor’s guard unit in Great Palace – palace complex that is city into itself. So called ‘Eagles’ looking over well-being of the Roman Eagle that is Patron of Empire in Shadow Realm, hovering over Great Palace as Spirit Lord. They are "eagle-bearers" (gr. Ornithóvoras), descendants of the aquilifers of the Roman legions that started Eastern Empire centuries before. ‘Eagles’ are known to support Themisine Protectorate of Pure, ‘for the good of Empire’.

    Timovítes ton Chaménon Alítheias ( Cenobites of Lost Truths )

    Pack of Bone Shadows werewolves, guarding Imperial Library of Constantinople, with help from various mages of Keepers of the Word Order.

    Publicanis ( Tax Hounds )

    Pack of Hunters in Darkness and Iron Masters werewolves, looking over various markets and trade in Constantinople from exotic threats for it – like Hosts in bales of silk ( threat of Azlu spiders ) or in grains storages ( threat of Beshilu rats ) – or humans trafficking with things they should no.
    / Important fact – Grand Bazaar as we know is from Turkish times, started in 1456 AD. Before that all Byzantine markets were open under sky. /

    Fídia ( Snakes )

    Pack of Blood Talons and Iron Masters werewolves, looking over chariots demes – medieval sport-political ‘clubs’ for charioteers teams, that were much importance in day-to-day life of lower rungs of Empire’s society. After famous Nika Riots in 532 AD that destroyed almost half of Constantinopole and previous cathedral – Forsaken understood they need to look over ‘demes rioters’, to judge they dangers to people, especially from threats of Shadow and Uratha in their midst. Members are often infiltrate demes teams, literally changing colors – and skins.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 03-09-2020, 05:31 AM.


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    • #3
      Not to be rude but the After the Fall setting in Dark Eras, while set much later does have a relevant tidbit on page 187.

      The marginalization of the Forsaken appears to increase over time, to the point that the legions (or at least one) were under the influence (if not the control) of the Pure and the Forsaken only gained a significant foothold when the Ottomans took the city. Of course, it is possible that the mercenary Forsaken were condemned as 'Pure sympathisers'. Hmmm...

      On another note, I imagine the Council of Eagles (Ivory Claw lodge 1st appeared in The Pure, page 82) to have a presence here on a metaphysical level, the Saturi having made the jump from half of the largest protectorate to lodge after splitting from the Marisi Lighting Forsaken. It might not have been all of the relevant seats (Thallo, Eierne, Pherusa) but I would imagine the Lodge would have put up candidates for each and won at least one of them. I do understand that as a Lodge from 1st edition it is not necessarily a Lodge in second but considering it's counterpart is a Pillar of the Iron Masters...this is definitely a place where I would expect it be.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
        Not to be rude but the After the Fall setting in Dark Eras, while set much later does have a relevant tidbit on page 187.
        I did not read before that Era chapter, as I do not like Demon gameline – and was interested in much earlier Byzantine times ( mainly 700 till 1000 AD ), not Fall of Constantinopole in 1453AD. I did, however, read it now, and I think you description of it is not precise. That’s why I quote here this paragraph, to clear what’s official on Uratha cannon.

        After the Fall, Dark Eras 1WtF frame:

        The Ottoman armies hid packs of Forsaken fighting a parallel war against the great Pure legion of Constantinople, a bloody conflict that made Mother Luna turn away in sadness. But the war was won. Now, the Forsaken have a city to tame, a city filled with wild and dangerous spirits that festered under the uncaring eyes of the Pure. They must be brought to heel. The war may be over, but the hunt has only just begun.’

        All the canon paragraph mention, is that in Byzantine times:
        1. Constantinople is under Pure control.
        2. Spirits Lords are on the rise with favors from Pure running things – which nicely adds up with underbelly ‘paganism’ of Queen of Cities, with whole Greek culture, theater and dramas being mixed with things like sex work in those times. / Side note: In Eastern Roman Empire term ‘Actress’ meant only a bit more than prostitute – actors were doing ‘plays’ from pagan times, with whole gore and live sex scenes, as they were not censored by Eastern Orthodox Church, being ‘pagan traditions’. ‘Actress’ often slept with prominent politicians as mistresses. /
        3. Forsaken are on the rise after Ottomans are conquering the city – which does not mean there weren’t Forsake before in Byzantium – only they did not have power. Running Byzantine setting with Forsaken as ‘damn mongrels’ in lower strata of society, powerless, seems still legit.

        And bonus, thought shared to me by nikink himself –
        4. Forsaken in Constantinople are nothing compared to whole Empire – Byzantine Empire extent got to over 2% of whole world. In their times, it looked more like 1/5th of Asia Minor, half of what have whole Rome in it’s greatest times. Existence of small ‘rebellion’ of Tribes of Moon in low strata’s in The City is nothing to breaking most of their structures in this 2% of world land.

        Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
        Of course, it is possible that the mercenary Forsaken were condemned as 'Pure sympathisers'. Hmmm...
        Purists ( ) in Forsaken maybe condemning sympathizers. Those more pragmatic would take Themisine gold and hunting rights to let them live in Empire.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
          On another note, I imagine the Council of Eagles (Ivory Claw lodge 1st appeared in The Pure, page 82) to have a presence here on a metaphysical level…
          We can simply make fan 2E update for Council of Eagles. Let just think what Sacred Prey of it should be – and I just take out my Lodges 2E template…

          Too be frank, my version of WtA Silver Fangs as WtF Lodge can base for Counci of Eagles 2E write-up. 😎

          Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
          Silver Fangs
          Nobles, Houses of Sun and Moon, Boyars
          “Noblesse oblige.” Being noble is obligation - to country, to people - and first and foremost - to family. It’s most crucial thing to Silver Fangs, Lodge dedicated to ‘proper’ ruling of Uratha - by them and their kin. Heirs to great heroes and leaders, they pass they greatness till this day. They worship their ancestors – and want to always makes them proud of their descendants.

          They come from terrains of now Russia - but in that time they were all varying tribes, fighting with each other. Under guidance of Falcon, one group finally take control and initiated all chieftains and rulers to come to cult of their patron. Under their secret Totem, Silver Fangs remade human tribes in to kingdoms, and those in to empires. They spread all over the world, always making sure “their own” are real force in power. There were only one problem - ancestors.

          Original Fangs were coming from the lines started even in Pangea. Descendants of what would be once Ivory Claws Tribe under Silver Wolf, were meticulous to point to their great forefathers. But then came great schism - Lodge was divided on the matter of joining new heroes as noble ancestors. One side say only original predecessors were worthy of veneration and no new line could join their fold. Other group said there is place for new idols and their own posterity in Lodge. Two sides split, one joining Ivory Claws and making sure no new blood will pollute their kin. Second seek guidance under Winter Wolf in not showing weakness of short sightedness their once brothers shown. They become so called Houses of Sun and Moon - first for close relations with Helios and hatred for Forsaken “mongrels”. Second for joining Luna and her Tribes of Moon, especially Storm Lords. Rest is, like they say, just history.

          Still, both Houses follow the same practice – veneration of ancestors. Each Silver Fang can trace his linage as far as 10 generation back from memory – and those from House of Sun tell they can even to the start of Pangea. Every one Child of Falcon needs to make his ancestors proud of him. He needs to surpass his ancestors. Fangs are (in)famous of always mentioning their ancestors, in even most trivial matters. But to them – it’s matter of remembering those that come before them.

          Totem: Falcon
          Falcon is both most dedicated and one of most vain of avian spirits. It’s royal majesty is awestrucking, but also making you easy target for his hunt on you. His both literal and social predator, taking what he needs, when he needs.
          As Totem, Falcon actively support both Houses and their Tribes in Lodge. Pure and Forsaken war is not his concern, at least till his children do what he says. In his eyes, conflict of two groups is even better - pushed to the limits for other side, Silver Fangs are perfecting themselves in their role as leaders. Regardless before which Firstborn they answer.

          Notice: When mentioning Oath in Bonds section, use proper one for the House from which character is - House of Sun follows Oath of Urfarah ( see Pure book, p. 33 ) and House of Moon follows Oath of Moon ( as described in WtF 2E corebook ).

          Bonds
          Blessing: A Lodge member may lower number of Doors in any Social Maneuvering by one for every dot of Honor Renown he has above his adversary (-ies).
          Aspiration: To be always honorable ( i.e. following Oath ).
          Ban: A Lodge member cannot let a disrespectful character to Oath go away unpunished for his actions.


          The Sacred Hunt
          The Lodge Sacred Hunt grants your character the ability to sense any character who acted against the Oath in last moon cycle. Lodge adherent will see disrespectful as burning with solar blaze ( House of Sun ) or moonlight ( House of Moon ).
          Last edited by wyrdhamster; 11-05-2019, 02:51 PM.


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          • #6
            As started to finally run the setting, I got some more feedback and story needs. For example, my player my declare Sacred Hunt that they may withdraw on purpose, even risking Breaking Point to Flesh. It's perfect opportunity to show them that Predator Kings are hunting those that disrespect the Hunt. 😈 I need to make proper Byzantine pack of Predator Kings, that is more sophistcated than 'humans bad', that also takes whole Constantinople as it's Hunting Ground. Also I will think about Ivory Claws one related to Emperor family and Greater Palace. I'm open to sugestions. 😎


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            • #7
              Generally, as I see Constantinople setting in play, it looks like Tribes of Moon are doing what they should in their areas. HOWEVER, over whole City are three most important packs - of Ivory Claws, Fire-Touched and Predatory Kings. They claim WHOLE Constantinople as it's Territory, even overlapping on the same terrain - they just focus on different strata of society to Hunt. Ivory Claws likes to Hunt inside Day Emperors family and Court. Fire-Touched inside the Church, layman and it's clerygy. And Predator Kings are 'armed fist' of Anshenga Protectorate and they Hunt Forsaken that do not like this deal and are tensioned that they Teritory is de facto part of Pure's 'nobles' terrain - so Anshenga may do what they please. Predator Kings then show Forsaken where is their place in this 'Imperial Food-chain'. 😈 Even more, Pure then 'hunting strata' strategy looks a lot like vampires ones with feeding rights granted by their Night Emperor ( or 'Prince' in game terms) so they may have some Alliance of this, from the start of Constantine the Great renaming the city! 😈


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