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The Tyrenic Empire is a Roman-inspired fantasy faction with highly trained soldiers and plenty of coin for mercenaries. Does your world need a large, formidable faction? This article is designed to help you flesh it out.

On the north shore of the Rohn Sea sits the city of Tyrens, capital of the Tyrenic Empire, a power that rules the southern half of the continent. Tyrens is a hub for commerce, mercenary work, and political intrigue.

To the north of Tyrens sits the mighty volcano known as Khorvan. It has slumbered for a long time, though recently it has begun to remind the world that it still lives. Can Khorvan’s recent activity be taken as a sign of displeasure from the gods? If so, can it be prevented?

The Tyrenic Empire

For the last two hundred years, the Tyrenic Empire has ruled a substantial portion of the south side of the continent. They take their name from their capital city, Tyrens. In theory, they are a representative democracy, allowing even conquered peoples representation in their senate. In practice, their ruler is worshipped as a god, and his word carries as much weight.

The Empire’s soldiers are easily recognizable. Their armor varies slightly by unit and environment, but the rectangular, blue and silver shields are a constant feature. The shields are emblazoned with the unit’s number and insignia.

Non-human soldiers are not uncommon, but non-human officers are practically unheard of. One of the few exceptions is Kij-Zuzz, an officer in the Fifth Legion known for his brilliant tactics.

The true strength of the Tyrenic Empire comes from its logistics. Their troops build straight, smooth roads as needed, allowing quick movement of cargo and people. As well, their currency is widely accepted even beyond their borders, allowing the imperial forces to quickly gather supplies without having to waste time ransacking villages.

The Tyrenic Empire is religiously intolerant. Within its sphere of influence, only the Empire and its ruler are to be worshipped. They generally stop short of desecrating religious sites, but strongly discourage their use. Any region that wants representation in the Senate must first renounce their previously practiced faith and build a substantial statue of the reigning Emperor.

The City of Tyrens

Tyrens is a bustling city, home to merchants and mercenaries, artisans and artists, politicians, and more. The city is nestled comfortably in a valley between two crags of volcanic rock, protecting it from many storms. From the decadent Administratum to the rowdy Hunter’s Hall to the famous East Side Bath House, Tyrens has something for everyone.

The Administratum

In the northwest corner of Tyrens, atop a large outcrop of volcanic rock, sits the civil centre of the empire. This is the Administratum, a complex of bureaucrats’ offices and clerks’ record halls. At its center is the Tyrenic Curia, the hall of government where the Senate meets. Even when the Senate is not in session, several guards stay posted near its entrance.

Lavrentis the Golden, god-king. Blond-haired Lavrentis is a tall man with bronze skin and blue eyes. His incredible charisma and good fortune have led the people of Tyrens to believe that he is as powerful a god as any of the old ways, if not more so. Under his rule, the crops have been bountiful, the weather has been pleasant, and the times peaceful. As a result of all of this, he has an ego the size of a small continent.

Stathis, advisor. Lavrentis’ uncle Stathis served Lavrentis’ father faithfully, and now he serves the son, guiding his rule and preventing him from making excessively foolhardy decisions. He truly means well, but even he has started to believe in the gospel of the Imperial Cult, and he is blind to the harm being caused by ignoring the old ways.

The Forum

The Forum is a wide plaza dotted with statues and vendor stalls. Many citizens come here for food, merriment, and gambling. Fights are not uncommon here, but they rarely escalate beyond fisticuffs.

Many people make a living selling food and ale here. Even in the dead of night, you can always find at least one merchant selling Charred Meat on a Stick and mugs of ale. The prices are pretty standard— five copper for a mug of ale, a silver for a Stick of Meat— but the merchants aren’t above overcharging strangers or drunkards.

Yasun, philosopher. Yasun is a tall, wiry man with long, unkempt brown hair. He sleeps wherever he sees fit, and carries a lantern that he shoves in the face of anyone he doesn’t recognize, claiming that he is looking for an honest man. He knows much of what is going on in the area, but he mostly just yells at people and urinates on government buildings.

Etrias the Long-Winded, philosopher. Etrias is a pale man with white hair, He is often followed by a gaggle of acolytes, who he lectures at length about the nature of the cosmos, which he believes to be a battleground for powers of pure morality.

The Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase is a wide, elegant staircase made of volcanic rock, which is on the west side of the city. It connects the main level of the city to the Western Reach, at the top edge of the valley. People often meet at the bottom or top of it, since the place is quite hard to mistake for anywhere else.

The Western Reach

The Western Reach is a relatively well-off area of Tyrens, populated by soldiers and smiths. At its center, where the Grand Staircase connects it to the rest of the city, is an old temple. This temple is now used by the Tyrenic government as an armory and a smithy for producing the golden lanterns that guards and soldiers carry.

The Lucerna Factorem

Across the boulevard from the Curia sits one of the key facilities of the Imperial Cult, the Lucerna Factorem. The factorem is not a place of worship for the common folk, but it is one for those in the clergy. Here, the holy symbols of the Cult are made. The most common is an armlet crafted to resemble the golden wreath-crown of Lavrentis himself. Most prominently, however, the golden lanterns are made here, in the deepest chambers of the factorem.

These hexagonal lanterns are roughly the size of a man’s fist, with a rigid handle on top. The light source is not a candle, but is instead a brightly glowing crystal held in the centre by golden spokes of metal. The light from the crystal reacts with the kind of ink the Tyrenic Empire uses for signing official papers, allowing easy verification of authenticity. A small trigger on the handle opens an iris on the bottom of the lantern, aiding in this. The trigger can be locked in place. Some say these lanterns also act as keys to caches of imperial weapons and secrets, but who truly knows?

The East Side

A block or so past Heroes’ Boulevard, the city becomes much more cramped. It is a maze of red tile roofs and white walls, with people constantly flowing through the open spaces. A few buildings have small yards, and most of these are businesses: The blacksmith, the baker and so on. The largest building in the area is the East Side Bath House.

The Hunter’s Hall

The Hunter’s Hall is a large concrete building on Heroes’ Boulevard, marked by a marble statue of a hawk. The main floor is a large eatery, and near the entrance is a counter with bounty contracts behind it. Its high, vaulted roof has numerous windows, allowing natural light to fill the area.

Beneath the building are a number of small rooms for mercenaries or other travelers to rent. These rooms are a step up from sleeping on the street or in the woods, but just barely.

Tiberius, bounty contractor. Tiberius is a tall man with a missing leg. His right leg is missing just above the knee, the result of an ill-advised fight against a bear. He has a chair on a rail that he can shift back and forth behind the counter, allowing him easy access to bounty contracts and money for payouts. If asked about the injury, he will just say “Somebody told me bears can’t run downhill. Turns out, they can.”


Alekos, mercenary. Alekos is a bronze-skinned man with gigantic muscles and a large, diagonal scar running across his chest. He carries a battle-axe with a pick on the back side. A knife made of chitin is sheathed on his belt. He works as a sword for hire, chasing bounties and working as a bodyguard as work comes up. When he’s not doing that, he can be found drinking somewhere.


Alkis the Giant, bounty hunter. An absolute hulk of a man, Alkis stands at seven feet tall and has fists the size of the average man’s head. His black hair sticks straight up and his dark skin is marred with dozens of scars. He fights with a gigantic piece of wood he carries with him. This piece of wood carries no particular significance to him, and if it breaks, he will simply grab something else heavy and use that.

Makis the Pugilist, brawler. Makis is an agile and muscular woman who fights with a pair of metal-banded gloves, called cestus. While she is a talented fighter, she much prefers wandering the wilderness and climbing cliffs. She is an excellent wilderness guide, especially in the area around Khorvan.

Tik-Nik the Chitinous, insectoid mercenary. Tik-Nik is a six-foot-tall green insectoid creature. His head is topped with four thorned horns. His body is covered in chitinous plates. Though he cannot naturally speak the local language, he uses a combination of a notched piece of chitin and an intricately carved stick to make sounds that are very nearly but not quite like natural human speech. He carries a spear made of wood and chitin and wears a necklace of trophies from the bounties he’s brought in. This is considered somewhat gruesome, even by mercenary standards.

The Temple of Khor

Ancient Desert Temple - Desert - Day (44x32) - Cropped

The Temple of Khor sits near the caldera of Khorvan. Once, it was a splendid pilgrimage site with an attentive set of acolytes. Unfortunately, it was cut off from Tyrens a few years ago, due to toxic volcanic gas vents breaking open in the forest below. In the time since then, this temple has fallen into ruin. This process has been exacerbated by another shift in the mountain, which has rent a chasm into the temple grounds. This chasm is now partially filled with lava, making the whole area somewhat uninviting.

A Note on Realism
In real life, being in this area for a few minutes would be lethal due to the heat. Depending on the tone of your campaign, you can either ignore that fact and treat the lava as something that’s only hazardous if you actually touch it, or go the Legend of Zelda route and use alchemy or special clothing to make the area endurable.

The main route from Tyrens to the Temple of Khor passes through the Khorvan Forest, winding up the side of the volcano. Stone benches and small shrines dot the sides of the path, built by visitors passing through over the centuries.

At the midpoint of the path is the second most famous sight in Khorvan, a tree the width of ten men shoulder-to-shoulder. Many weddings have been held here, and food scraps from the subsequent feasts have made the soil quite rich in nutrients, allowing the tree to grow even bigger.

Five years ago, a shift in the volcano’s structure caused several volcanic gas vents to open up in the forest, severing the path in many places and spewing dangerous gasses into the forest. This scenic forest is now much more treacherous to hike through, and no one truly knows how stable the remaining pathways are.

There is, however, another way up to the Temple of Khor. Westward along the volcano, a series of iron rungs have been hammered into the cliffs, forming what the locals call the “Iron Path.” This used to be the only way to reach the Temple of Khorvan before the forest path was built. It zig-zags between outcroppings, giving several opportunities for rest between legs of climbing, but it is still a difficult climb. The Iron Path is visible from Tyrens, at least when the sun glints off the rungs. At the top is a broken and disused treadwheel crane, which was once used to haul heavy stones and other objects closer to the temple.


Thanks for reading this article! I hope the Tyrenic Empire will make an interesting addition to your setting, whether as an enemy or an ally. Its wide reach makes it powerful, and its religious aspects should rankle the religious members of your party.

The insectoid species that Kij-Zuzz and Tik-Nik belong to will hopefully get their own article in the near future! It’s already partially written, but let me know in the comments if you’re interested in hearing more and I’ll bump it up in the queue.

As a side note, the “Iron Path” is what’s known as a via ferrata, and you can find them throughout Europe (especially Italy) and to a lesser extent anywhere else with mountains.

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