Vissio is a small nation to the north of the Patrian Empire, its native population long since absorbed by ancient Patrian conquest. The stern rigor of the south was softened by this assimilation, and the exquisite defensibility of Vissian cities soon made the northern colonies wholly independent from the emperor in Patria. Southern generals make noises about reclaiming the “rebel provinces” every generation or so, but the war against Dulimbai absorbs the empire’s strength.
Some suspect that the emperor is not particularly eager to send the legions north. The far-faring traders of Vissio do business with every other nation on the continent, brokering manufactures from the Bright Republic, commodities from Patria and Dulimbai, and rarities from around the realm. They maintain a mercantile neutrality in the face of war, and so hostile powers often find Vissio useful as a neutral trading partner and source of condottieri mercenaries.
The Vissians are proud of their role as merchants, but prouder still of their culture, music, and sculpture. Vissian poets and musicians are the glory of half the realm, even if the equally haughty grandees of Dulimbai sniff at “barbarian noise”. The sculptures carved from the white marble of their hills are desired by every rich patrician in the west, and their inherited Patrian skill in architecture has been softened by a love of beautiful adornment and rich decoration.
This adornment does not come at the price of defensive utility, however, and the Vissian hill-towns and trading ports are famously well-fortified. This defensive prowess has led to centuries of treachery, scheming, and assassination among the rulers of the city-states, each one relying on knives in the dark and gold under the table to accomplish what soldiers in the field cannot. Vissians are notorious for their political pragmatism and capacity for ruthlessness, along with their passion for personal excellence and artistic refinement.
One of the oldest instruments of Vissian policy is the secretive organization of scholar-assassins known as the Order of Redactors, or more colloquially as the “Razors of God”. Descended from an ancient group of university masters dedicated to the excision of undesirable people from the world, the Razors have become decadent, divided between an idealistic faction that seeks to improve the world through targeted murder and a more pragmatic group that takes the contracts they are offered at the prices the market will bear. Razors generally operate within the boundaries of Vissio, though some can be coaxed out with sufficient gold or by an intriguing cause.
Both Razors and rich nobility are known for taking advantage of the peculiar clockwork prosthetics that Vissian maestros fashion. These prosthetics take the place of missing body parts or are implanted subtly under the skin, performing marvels for the user. Unlike Bright Republic cyberware, these prosthetics work anywhere in the realm, but are too expensive for all save the elite or those with special connections to the reclusive maestros.
The men and women of Vissio favor splendid dress of rich Dulimbaian silks and lush brocades, with slashed tunics, colored hose and hats of extravagant character. Working commoners rely on more practical wear, but retain a love for color.