Gripping the lands of Ghorn in its cold, gauntleted fist, the Mortan Empire is the mightiest nation on the continent, having assimilated dozens of conquered realms. This expansionist, human culture is at once magnificent and morbid, enlightened and superstitious, with the glory of its accomplishments eclipsed only by the malevolence of its methods. The winged-skull emblem of the empire – the Calva Alata – is said to symbolize mortal transcendence of death through necromancy, but it also rather personifies the image of Mortan culture – macabre imperialism.
Centered upon the metropolis of Catharsium which sits in the caldera of an extinct volcano, the empire was founded almost 800 years ago by the 13 Godeater renegades of the Scarlet Order of Enlightenment. Guarded by cohorts of the praetorian legions, these Emperors now rule from their palace-tomb within Mount Ashgod. The immortal Lichelords reputedly seek to liberate humanity from its subservience to the gods, and to empower mankind to achieve its own ascendant destiny by fashioning a world-spanning empire of Mortals.
Religious nations despise the anti-theist empire, labeling it an infernal abomination, and claim the accursed Lichelords seek only to empower themselves. The empire’s sinister use of assassination, alchemical weapons, necromancy and overwhelming military might certainly undermines its image as compassionate philanthropist, but the truth is probably that the Mortan Empire is neither a paragon of goodness nor irredeemably evil, but rather a multi-faceted, sprawling edifice of amoral decadence defying, black-and-white classifications.
Within the central federati (states) and the far-flung provinces of the empire, peace and prosperity reign, enabling a thriving network of trade and a sophisticated urban culture. This Pax Mortana is bought with the blood of its crimson-clad legions – the largest, best-coordinated military on the entire continent of Ghorn. Cohorts of the legions march to war beneath the golden standards of the Calva Alata, supported by devastating war-machines and black magic. Civilian society is equally well regimented with a ubiquitous civil bureaucracy, precise social strata, and a complex code of legal rights. Mortan imperialism advocates grandiose cities of extravagant civic monuments. Vast, arched forums, aqueducts, coliseums and mausoleums are constructed in conquered lands to imprint the world with the stamp of Mortan culture for all eternity.