The Axe-Bearing Guard are based on the historical Varangian Guard, mercenaries from Scandanavia who formed an elite bodyguard for the ruler of Byzantium. Unswerving in their loyalty to the Basileus, these Northerners fight with reckless ferocity, not seeming to notice their wounds in battle. These days, being in the Axe-Bearing Guard is pretty dull – mostly they guard doors in the Great Palace and escort the Basileus and the Royal Family to and from services at the Holy Basilica – prompting some of them to leave and become adventurers.
The Platinum Knights are paladins of Themecia, goddess of justice, protection, nobility & honour, sworn to protect the god’s clerics and followers from harm and to mete out justice to evildoers. From their chapter house in Parsantium, the Celestial Bastion, the Knights support the Parsantine army in fighting back raiding humanoids. Some choose instead to become Platinum Knights-Errant. These knights are free to wander the lands, taking up honourable and chivalric quests to fight evil. All of the Knights follow a chivalric code:
The Code of Themicia
Protect the weak and the vulnerable
Live and die with honour
Fight for justice and welfare for all
Punish the evildoer
Respect and obey your superiors
Guard the honour of your brethren and sistren
Do battle bravely and fairly, eschewing trickery and deceit
Always speak the truth
Never leave a quest unfinished
I’ve also written a fair bit about Parsantium’s powerful guilds. These organisations are often at each other’s throats over goods and services where their spheres of influence overlap, leading to street fighting, arson and sabotage. Rival guilds sometimes call on the gangs of the Hidden Quarter to do their fighting for them, complicating the situation further. Other guilds are corrupt or have something to hide; some, like the Entertainers and the Vintners, just want to get on with making as much gold as possible. The idea with the guilds, as with the rest of the book, is to provide plenty of cool adventure hooks for DMs and players, as well as adding some verisimilitude.
Next up, I’m going to detail the noble families of Parsantium. Then, it’s on to the gods, the last chapter of the book. The current word count is 76,500 so my latest estimate on the final total is 81,000.