Baal's Empire

Word of Ahiram

The Temple of Baal is a religious, political and military empire spanning nearly forty kingdoms. Its priesthood and armies are omnipresent throughout the Land and its influence is felt almost everywhere.

By working tirelessly over a millennium, the Temple successfully extended its influence by erecting temples, instructing the local population in the ways of Baal, converting people to the ideals of the Temple, and electing officials sympathetic to its cause. Lastly, the High Riders, an elite corps of the Temple, has recruits from every kingdom.

In most cases, the Temple's governance is indirect, preferring to remain in the shadow. The Temple  follows a highly decentralized structure, where the High Priest or High Priestess of every local temple has wide latitude in local affairs. The Temple commemorates all local feast days (such as the Feast of Light in honor of Adonis), dispense justice though its tribunals, and can enforce the ruler's edict through the High Riders. Interestingly, the Temple does not levy taxes directly but delegates this task to the local officials. 

At the birth of Ahiram, in the year 1,179 of the Age of the Temple, five kingdoms remain outside the Temple's sphere of influence: The Kingdom of the Marada, that of the Empyrans, Ophir, Atlant and the Kingdom of Tanniin. Baal considers Tanniin the weakest of the five and has been working tirelessly to win over King Jamiir the Third to its cause. Jamiir's wife, Queen Ramel, is the niece of the High Priest of Babylon. At the start of the Games of the Mines, the High Priestess Bahiya  -- from the temple of Baalbek -- has been dispatched to complete the conversion of Tanniin.

Once Tanniin is secured, the Empyreans will be completely surrounded by forces allied to the Temple, and a frontal attack may be possible against the only military power that has never suffered military defeat.

Though the Vanishing Land (Sheit Mot) escapes its control, the Temple has been patiently waiting for the madness of that Land to reach  Marada's borders. Although the mighty giants of Marada could break any frontal assault, they are powerless against the sorcery Sheit Mot would unleash upon them and their loved ones. They would have no recourse but to plead for the Temple's help, who alone could break this destructive tidal wave.

Further south, Atlant is and has always been a headache. Officially, Atlant is within the Temple's fold. Baal's cult is everywhere -- but then so is the cult of any other god. The Atlantians do not put up a fight, do not resist the presence of the Temple nor its teaching, but somehow manage to live as if the Temple does not exist. Whenever the High Riders mount a large-scale military incursion, they end up lost in a maze of canyons and valleys with no enemy in sight, but with no way out either. The harsh winter does the rest. Still, the Temple does not consider the stubborn people of Atlant as a threat.

Ophir is another challenge altogether. Its navy is second to none, its wealth is without measure, and Ophirians are master strategists. The Temple is none too pleased to see a delegation from Ophir at the openings of the Games of the Mines in Tanniin. It had wanted to dispense with the Empyreans and the Marada before taking on this last bastion of resistance, but may have to rethink its strategy once Bahiya uncovers what the Ophirians intend to do so far away from home.

Ah! Power! The Temple craves it, wants it and fears it!

Slippery it is that thing, power. Uncanny! Uncertain! Uncontrollable!

And bitter, bitter like soap when swallowed!”
— Soliloquy of Zuzu the Hip, Jester at the Royal Court of Tanniin