Last time I talked about some of our core game systems – attributes, skills, and progression. For today’s update, I want to switch gears a bit and talk about Kyros’ Empire and the role your character will play in the world of Tyranny: that of a Fatebinder.
The Fatebinders serve a key role in Kyros’ vast Empire. While the Overlord’s rule is absolute, the Empire is too large for Kyros to directly control everyone. Instead, Kyros grants authority over different parts of the Empire to the Archons. Some Archons are governors of provinces or military districts, others control important groups like armies, mage guilds, or specialized agents like the Fatebinders.
Each Archon is granted limited autonomy over their area of control. As long as they serve Kyros’ goals and do not break any of the Overlord’s laws, Kyros permits the Archons to rule their armies and provinces in a manner of their choosing. Because of this, the Archons and the groups they control will often clash with one another. The Fatebinders were created by Tunon the Adjudicator, Archon of Justice, to solve these problems.
As a Fatebinder and servant of Tunon, it is your duty to resolve disputes that arise between the different armies and mage guilds. You decide whose actions are best in line with Kyros’ laws, mediate where you can, and order punishments – and executions – where required. Any citizen in Kyros’ Empire can appeal to a Fatebinder for judgment, even if their problem doesn’t involve a dispute between factions. Doing so is dangerous, as a Fatebinder’s judgments cannot be appealed and some Binders deal harshly with those who bother them for trivial complaints.
Laws of Kyros
Kyros’ laws are numerous, and it is the duty of Fatebinders to interpret them in their judgments. Some laws are absolute, some are contradictory, and some are both absolute and contradictory. Fatebinders spend many years learning Kyros’ laws, the judgments handed down by previous generations of Binders, and the times when Kyros punished a Fatebinder for overstepping with their judgments.
Some of Kyros’ laws include:
Kyros’ Peace: Your life belongs to the Overlord if you vow fealty, and cannot be taken from you except by the Overlord. Legally this means that surrendering in the midst of battle should make Kyros soldiers stop killing you, as your life does not belong to them. It also grants Archons, as extensions of Kyros’ will, the right to conscript citizens into their service as soldiers, mages, or agents. As a Fatebinder you are an extension of Kyros’ Will, and have the right to order the execution of those guilty of breaking the law.
The Magician’s Folly: If a mage inadvertently causes harm or death due to the unknowable perils of magic, the mage will not be held liable if the magic was used for the glory of the Overlord. Many believe this law grants mages more rights in Kyros’ Empire, but they are wrong. Mages must belong to sanctioned guilds under the supervision and control of an Archon. Any use of magic, even a spell as simple as lighting a candle, must occur for the glory of Kyros. To do otherwise means death.
Vows Made in Kyros’ Name: Any vow or expression made using Kyros’ name is a binding legal contract. Breaking such a vow is punishable by death. A statement as simple as, “By Kyros, that man is an idiot!” places the speaker in dire peril. An enemy who hears that and can gather both witnesses to your vow, and proof that the man in question is not an idiot, can have you executed.
The Oldwalls are Forbidden: What are the Oldwalls, you ask? Wouldn’t you like to know…
Right of Appeal
A Fatebinder’s judgment, once made, is final. There is no right of appeal. That does not mean a Fatebinder can make any decisions they want, without fear of consequence or reprisal.
If someone is powerful enough, or the favorite of an Archon, they can demand audience with the Archon of Justice. Tunon will never completely overrule a Fatebinder’s decision. Doing so would undermine the rule of law and the integrity of the Fatebinders. However, if Tunon decides that a Binder has stepped beyond the limits of Kyros’ law, he will order their immediate execution.
Archon of Justice
Tunon the Adjudicator is the Archon of Justice and creator of the Fatebinders. Eldest of the Archons in service to Kyros, he has served the Overlord for over 400 years. Though legends tell of many Archons of Justice in the years before Kyros’ ascension, none have been born to challenge Tunon’s claim to the title in the past centuries.
Tunon is a cold and dispassionate figure, devoid of emotion and sentiment. All that moves him is his devotion to Kyros’ law. His true face is hidden behind a metal mask, his Face of Judgment, so that none may see his expression and so determine his feelings about a case before him.
The full extent of Tunon’s powers is unknown. What is known is that the other Archons, beings of immense power in their own right, fear his judgment almost as much as they fear the Overlord’s displeasure.
-Brian Heins, Game Director