The pious and disciplined family was once the worst-behaved of all houses. Their immoral exploits are legendary, as is the tale of their overnight conversion to the Church. House Li Halan now upholds rigid codes of etiquette, tradition and honour. They now pursue the scriptures as fanatically as they once chased pleasure. Now a deeply pious house, they have a close connection to the Orthodoxy. This sense of traditionalism and orthodoxy may seem stringent to some of its more rebellious members but House Li Halan feels it has a lot to make up for.
While other nobles may snicker at the faithful lords, they more often fear the Li Halan, for this family has proved implacable on both the battlefield and at court. To House Li Halan, structure is an imperative, humanity has its place before the Pancreator, and serfs have their place before the nobility. So important is this that they prefer to be address by House name first. Their vassals are fiercely loyal, for they know their place in the Pancreator's plan.
House Li Halan Edit
Although by itself House Li Halan is squarely behind the Hawkwoods and Hazat in terms of power, its close connection with the Church and its position as a neutral third party in the Hawkwood-Hazat rivalry give it tremendous influence. Originally the house of Lextius, House Li Halan fell far from the pious zeal of its early days into first a time of schism and confusion and then an equally zealous embrace of dark powers. The reign of darkness ended with a swift conversion into a piety far more regimented and zealous than even that in the days after Lextius.
The Misamoto and Duk families that dominated the house during its demonic reign have been exterminated, and the Han and Wei-To families have undergone strict conversions, but there is still a small minority of atavists who cling to the ancient demonistic ways, and far greater than the number of regressives is the fear of future regressives. For this reason, Li Halan lords and peasants are kept under very tight traditional strictures that are intended to make it difficult for any atavistic movement to surface and stay hidden. The Li Halan family has undergone little in the way of internal conflict through the centuries, as the internal conflict it does undergo is extremely bloody and tends to be ended through massacres and the total annihilation of the losing side.
Since Cardano’s conversion, the Han family maintained undisputed power until Halvor the Theocrat’s demise, at which the Naganaka line took over. The Naganaka withdrew after a series of decisive losses in the Second Emperor Wars, allowing the Kung-Zhau family to claim the Prophet’s Throne. Until recently, the house experienced significant tension between the Naganaka-Hidejiri-Lojan-Nijan-Carnifex anti-Imperial alliance and the pro-Imperial Kung-Zhau, Han, Okemo and Teng lines.
An additional source of tension is between the planetary princes and their vassal lords. The Naganaka line is challenged by the Lojan and Hidejiri alliance, and the Kung-Zhau line is threatened by the Naganaka-Nijan alliance. Currently, the Kung-Zhau line has enough ascendancy with its Han, Jong, and Wei-To allies and the provisional loyalty of the Lojan and Hidejiri lines to maintain order. The crusader families are largely those which were dispossessed from Malignatius (led by the Hidejiri, Jong and Teng lines, but also including the Ali and Fung-Ma lines).
The patron saint of House Li Halan is St. Lextius, who famously turned away from his house for fear that unscrupulous people in it would defile his name. Many believed that, by turns, St. Cardano or Halvor the Theocrat were St. Lextius come again, and many Li Halan still search for him to return now that his house is in order for his coming. Ironically, some Li Halan still practice Manja rituals in order to attempt to contact him.
The strengths of House Li Halan mostly stem from its highly faithful populace, who are accustomed to living in a rigid caste system, often in conditions of extreme personal poverty, but with a broader and more thorough centralised social security system than most other serfs can rely on. Not only does this allow the Li Halan fiefs to support a surprisingly large population, but it cuts down on internal strife. Tied to this is the theurgical prowess of so many of its citizens, which is an important military and political factor. The house’s ties to the Church give it incredible influence in the Known Worlds at large, while its not-inconsiderable military might means that it is not at the mercy of even the greatest houses. Of course, the downsides to the Li Halan social structure include a deemphasis on technology, which is a major drawback in many ways (with the exceptions of Lyonesse and Rampart), and an inflexibility that can lead to poor reactions to unstructured and unusual circumstances.
Li Halan Fiefs Edit
Harbours Lyonesse, source of much of Li Halans technology.
Home planet of the Vorox.
Li Halan Royal Offices and Orders Edit
The Hidden Martyrs Edit
A highly efficient network of informants and agents originally established by Cardano to ensure the house never fell into sin again, the Hidden Martyrs are quite feared on the Garden Worlds, but have proven somewhat ineffective when ordered, as they have occasionally been, to infiltrate or act against foreign groups. Their counterintelligence abilities, however, are frighteningly strong, rivaling those of the Jakovian Agency in some areas.
The Jingcha Edit
Responsible for external intelligence, the Jingcha has been compromised by Jakovian Agency plants in the past and purged repeatedly. Currently most of the officers are believed to be loyal to the house, but morale is very low due to the extreme brutality of the purges and the inexperience of the replacements for the Decados double agents.
The Yuan Men Edit
The Li Halan military intelligence bureau, the Yuan Men is an attempt on the part of the crown to organize military intelligence and so prevent local lords from employing their traditional ninja clans for the role. As such it has so far been largely unsuccessful, as it is a fledgeling organization and too thinly stretched to aid most lords.
The Order of the Righteous Anvil Edit
A highly active order of samurai monks, the Order of the Righteous Anvil consists of a number of ascetics who range far and wide serving the Crown and living in poverty. Their belief is that they are the anvil upon which the hammer of the Pancreator will break the sinners and iniquitous folk of the Known Worlds. The Order is recognized by the Orthodoxy, and so all members of it are officially priests as well, though none of them have parishes.
In addition to performing military and paramilitary missions, the Order of the Righteous Anvil is responsible for the physical and occult security of the King and the royal treasures. In combining the functions of Knights of the Midnight Dove with those of the Red Lion Guard, it is closest in function to the Imperial Phoenix Guard.
The Sisterhood of the Patient and the Graceful Edit
The Sisterhood, as it is known, is composed entirely of noble ladies, and acts to ensure that propriety and decorum are maintained throughout the house’s domains. It acts, when it acts, only by dropping hints to the correct people, and it always stays in the shadows.
The Legion of St. Ongor Edit
St. Ongor was the patron saint of the Vorox, and his legion is the official royal Vorox guard. It is made up of many incredibly skilled Vorox in lacquered Voroxian plate who perform ceremonial functions for the royal person and carry out military actions in the name of the crown.
The White Hand of Hombor Edit
This insitution actually dates back to the White Hand, which was the appellation given to the King’s personal ninja clan of choice dating back to the days shortly after Lextius. They were utterly dreaded assassins in the dark times of the house, and they were so ensconsed in House culture that they survived Cardano’s reforms, becoming the White Hand of Hombor, a society of the humble, who did the will of the King in a holy fashion through the shadows. Composed entirely of non-nobles, the White Hand is full of incredible thieves and spies who specialize in martial arts. A number of them are powerful theurges.
The Custodians of the Sacred Grove Edit
Originally a knightly order established to protect and cultivate the groves of xanthic bamboo and shin sha trees that allow the Li Halan to maintain a high degree of military parity while still avoiding complete reliance on technology, the Custodians have expanded their own mission greatly over time. Now they see themselves as champions of the triumph of the Pancreator’s Will over technology, and in addition to hoarding lore of theurgy, they also have a tremendous collection of holy relics.
The Hall of the Benevolent Ancestors Edit
A royal office dedicated to honoring Li Halan deserving of special distinction, the Hall of the Benevolent Ancestors awards truly distinguished Li Halan with various awards, such as honorary custodianship over the Cloak of Authority, the Roll of the Ancestors, or the Cross of Life.
Selected Li Halan Families Edit
- Kung-Zhau: The royal family. “Kung” is appended to them simply because they are currently the royal family. Hailing from Midian, they are less traditionalistic rulers than most previous rulers of Kish. They are seen as liberal because of their highly refined and courtly ways, which are looked on as mildly impious by the hardliners. (Crown on Kish and Midian, big on Rampart)
- Naganaka: Heavy ties to Orthodoxy. Extremely rich. Opposed to Empire. (Crown on Icon and Vorox, big on Midian, Rampart)
- Hidejiri: Militant, prideful, fairly low-technology for their size, though this is changing with their occupation of Rampart. Tentatively allied with the Lojan line. (Crown on Rampart, big on Icon, Kish)
- Han: Cardano’s family, overthrown in the aftermath of Halvor the Theocrat. The family is still looked upon as particularly holy, and maintains significant wealth, power and theurgical ability. Rivals with Naganaka. (Big on Icon, Kish, presence on Midian)
- Lojan: Hardline traditionalists, ancestral rulers of Kish. Devout and conservative but not as politically powerful in the Church as the Naganaka (who are rivals with them). Major opponents of Empire- their common ground with the Naganaka. (big on Kish, Icon)
- Nijan: Traditional rivals of the Kung-Zhau for the crown of Midian. Now they feel it is due to them. Trying to gain the favor of the Naganaka family to aid them in claiming the Midian throne. (Big on Midian, Icon)
- Jong: Powerful warriors. The Jong line was displaced from Malignatius but has managed to gain significant lands on Rampart and, more recently, Beliah. (Big on Rampart, Beliah)
- Okemo: Highly pro-Imperial. (Big on Midian, Rampart, presence on Icon)
- Teng: The traditional rulers of Malignatius, now dispossessed. Extremely anti-Decados. (Big on Kish, Rampart, presence on Beliah)
- Carnifex: Once staunch supporters of Halvor the Theocrat and now tentative supporters of the Emperor. (big on Kish, Icon)
- Fung-Ma: A Malignatius family wed to the Temple Avesti, the Fung-Ma line is low-technology but high-theurgy. (Big on Kish, Rampart, presence on Beliah and Malignatius)
- Wei-To: Distrusted, highly scholarly- sometimes seen as decadent. High incidence of Theurgy. Taken by Kung-Zhau as advisors- enemies with Naganaka. (big on Icon)
- Agichi: Related to Naganaka. Not very militarily powerful, but politically influential. Slightly frivolous, wayward, but ambitious. (Big on Kish, Criticorum)
- Hengeyokai: Distrusted but extremely honorable Kaihonjin- warriors, regarded as slightly “unmannered.” (big on Rampart, Vorox)
- Ali: A small family descended from a very powerful pre-Conversion family of sorcerers. Given to visions, Theurgical powers. Once based on Malignatius. (presence on Rampart, Beliah)
Li Halan Castes Edit
- Kungjin: “Honorable.” Nobles. Kungjin looks are quite Asian and aristocratic. A few Li Halan nobles are not really Kungjin but actually Kaihonjin, with remnants of the pre-Conversion Li Halan look. Obsidian-black skin and aristocratic Li Halan features dominate. They are looked on with distrust, but tend to be rather devout and stern (and slightly more likely to have theurgic talents).
- Lojin: “Wise. ” Freemen rulers or Church freemen are all of this caste. It is almost unheard-of for a non-Lojin or Kungjin to be admitted to the Church on Li Halan domain. Lojin, as a rule, have pallid, greyish skin and tall heads with eyes and foreheads that are almost comically large (exaggerated in all depictions of them). It is considered unclean for them to touch money.
- Mungjin: “Diligent.” Guilders and yeomen, one and all, though a few are serfs. Permitted to touch money, never to rule or to be admitted into the Church. They tend to have yellower, more sallow skin, often to the point of real jaundice, extremely small noses, and wavy hair.
- Vaijin: “Crass,” “Simple.” Most serfs.
- Gojin: “Dominated.” Descendants of non-Li Halan. Almost all serfs. Features vary by location, but are markedly less Asian than other Li Halan castes.