We, the Throne of Her Royal and Illuminated Highness, The Lady of Lands, Queen of Queens, Empress Utmai Cjen, Sixth of Her Name and Fourteenth of Her Line, do hereby approve this exchange of scholars between the Imperial Institute of Paranormal and Esoteric Study and the Foundation, so as to foster the sharing of knowledge and greater companionship between the Realm of the Empire and the Lands of the Uncharted North. So We approve the articles proposed and attached, and deliver Our blessing upon this venture.
We seal this in the Imperial Name, this Tenth of Radeyt, in this Year Four-Hundred and Eighty-Seven of the Third Imperial Age.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself “Self, there is no way I can add to this canon: all the characters are set and the plot is already there and I can’t do anything without the continuity getting all awkward."
Never fear! For you see, the group that you see featured in these tales were not the only Antarcticans to be sent to the Foundation. All told, perhaps a hundred researchers from the Institute were sent to the Foundation, spread throughout over a dozen sites: The tales featured for the contest involved only those stationed at Site-19. It’s a simple thing to add more characters at other sites, having their own adventures.
Alternatively, you could always write about the Foundation researchers studying in the Empire, because that is most certainly a thing.
• Last Plane Out of the South by Djoric, Dmatix, Azzleflux, and Zyn
• Turn a New Page by Djoric
• Collecting by Azzleflux
• From On High by Djoric
• Impressions by Zyn
• Memory of a Memory by Dmatix
The Empire - The Third Empire is a strange, wonderful place, both very much different from the world we are used to, and at the same time, little changes. The various provinces have their own unique cultures, but there is an overlaying Imperial culture that all citizens belong to, which focuses on the worship of the Empress, reverence of her chosen servants the Menders and Watchers, and paying your taxes and tithes on time. Beyond that, there's room for whatever cool things you want to add. Deep-desert nomads who ride giant carnivorous penguins, for example.
The Institute - The most important things to remember are that the Institute focuses more on the humanities over the sciences, and that it is public the extent that it is safe and reasonable for the public to know. The Institute often works with smaller organizations, and many exchanges may be working for the institute in this capacity.
Many of the exchangees aren’t strictly scientists. They might be historians, theologians, philosophers, artists, effectively anything that would fall under that catch-all term of “culturalist”. Scientists from the Empire are generally not as strictly defined as we are familiar (he’s a biologist, she’s a physicist, etc): instead, they will have knowledge of a much broader spectrum of fields.
Dealing with Castes
- Summer Court - The default Antarctican. Now, there are many shades of social position in the Summer Court, generally divided along family lines, occupation and where you’re from: Those from the central provinces or Rootrel itself are higher on the ladder than those who live elsewhere.
- Black Court - Black Court culture has a general laissez-faire attitude towards life, often leading to trouble with everyone else. They don’t fit into the typical caste hierarchy, viewing (and referring to) everyone as family. The Black Court is generally viewed with disdain by the Menders and upper-class Summer Court.
- Menders - The great bureaucracy of the Empire. Menders are of higher station than the highest of the Summer Court, despite many sub-orders renouncing material wealth or property. Menders will generally treat lower castes with pity, condescension, or apathy. They have a few alterations from the Blessings of Aqum generally with memory and clarity of thought. All Menders will have some experience in facing the Feastlings and Maws of Eser.
- Watchers - The highest of castes and the chosen of the Empress. Watchers do not interact with the Summer or Black Courts outside of official rituals except in the rarest of cases (such as Lucrezen’s), interacting primarily with the Mender caste. All of these interactions will involve a lot of bowing and scraping, and the majority of Watchers will see this as right and proper. Watchers have various, though subtle, augmentations from the Blessings of Aqum. These include comprehension of languages, perfect recall, clarity of thought, and other things of that manner.
- Minor Castes - There are quite a few minor castes from the outer provinces. They are generally considered of slightly lower station than the Summer Court: however, they still have the basic legal rights of citizens.