The Patrian Empire is a stern domain, one given to hard laws and unflinching resolution. Their armored legions have held the vaster Dulimbaian Regency at bay for a thousand years, vigilant through times of uneasy peace and open war alike. Their vast swarms of slaves toil deep in Imperial mines and coax forth crops from the broad fields of their latifundia, and their labor feeds the citizenry and arms the legions that defend the land. Yet the Patrians have been at war for so long that every aspect of their culture has been touched by the sword.
Every male Patrian citizen is inducted into the legions on their sixteenth birthday and held to service for twelve years. The best are enlisted into the matchless Patrian legions of heavy infantry, armed with their gleaming steel armor, painted shields, and razor-sharp assegais. Less promising material is assigned to support legions to manage military logistics and oversee the vast numbers of slaves that fuel Patria’s industry. While women are not inducted as a general matter, determined female citizens are permitted to join women-only legions and earn the civic rights of their brothers.
Patria’s slaves are composed chiefly of Dulimbaian prisoners of war and their heirs, though Patrians and others who commit crimes not quite worthy of death might also find themselves shackled. Such men and women are found at all levels of society, from the trusted agents of the Emperor himself to the poor wretches who live out their brief lives in the darkness of Patria’s mines. All but the poorest citizen family has at least one slave. Dutiful slaves can hope to be manumitted by their owners in time as a reward for faithful service. Many families much prefer to employ proven freedmen of their household rather than untrustworthy strangers.
Patrians talk much of the devotion and contentment of their slaves, and for some this is doubtless true. For the bitter masses of the mines and fields, however, there is only fear, hatred, and the vigilance of their keepers. Slave rebellions have scalded more than one Patrian district.
Aside from the finest heavy infantry in the world, Patrians are also famed for the quality and profusion of their stone architecture. Their least city is as finely-walled and defended as a castle of some less capable nation, and their aqueducts, sewer systems, and tall-built buildings are the envy of their peers. Skilled Patrian engineers can even duplicate some of the civic engineering tricks of the Bright Republic with their mundane arts, and the villas and domiciles of the wealthy have running hot and cold water and excellent plumbing.
Patrians are relatively devout followers of the Church of the One, though some suspect that it’s chiefly to contrast their faith with the ancestor-worshipers of Dulimbai. Unlike in some other nations, the clergy of the One here are friendly to the idea of slavery. Cynical freedmen often embrace the church as a path to status and influence.
Most Patrians are of Akeh stock, dark-skinned and dark-eyed, and favor the richly-colored “great robes” of their ancestors when carrying out civic duties. A senator would be undressed for his duties were he to appear without it and his ceremonial hill-leopard cape. Laborers and people at their relaxation favor tunics and trousers for both sexes, perhaps with a mantle for women of substance.