Cultures of the Age of Empires

Copyright Peter Mork © 2016


By now, the Te'klu have claimed all of the lands south of the God Mountains, east of the ocean, west of the desert and north of the Great Swamp. This swath of territory has been tilled, sown with seed, and fertilized with the blood of soldiers.

Each plantation or village is a largely autonomous collective that pays taxes to the closest city, which provides soldiers to police and protect. All of the cities in a Warren are ruled by a Governor, a position elected by the resident nobility and approved by the king.

Originally, there were several small kingdoms, but these have coalesced into three sprawling kingdoms. Collectively, these kingdoms formed a republic whose leader was dictator for life. The first dictator (Tawasuyu) was generally considered a benevolent ruler who helped the Te'klu expand their kingdoms while reduced internal conflicts.

When Tawasuyu passed away, decades of strife ensued. None of the subsequent dictators managed to hold power for more than 2 years. Most lasted only a few months. During this time, the frontier shrank as the armies of turned against each other and the Ezolatl harried the most remote settlements.

Finally, the three kingdoms managed to unite behind Tawasuyu's grand niece. Cayk'qui crushed the remaining resistance and began to retake the lands lost in the preceding decades. The nobles were not always happy with Cayk'qui's policies, but the results were impressive.

On her deathbed, Cayk'qui dissolved the republic, passing control not back to the kings and nobles, but to her daughter. Mojarca has inherited the imperial crown, seeking to expand the Te'klu sway without reverting to civil war. Some of the nobles actively support her efforts, a sizeable faction opposes her, and most of the people (including many nobles) are keeping their heads down for the time being.


Most Te'klu live on large plantations, although a fair number now live year-round in cities. About a fifth of the population are landowners, many of whom still own slaves (another 40% of the population). The remaining two fifths are tenant farmers, professional soldiers, and craftsmen.

Culturally, there are wide variations from one region to the next, at least superficially. Every group has its own local customs and rituals, but these are all variants on the same basic themes. Each group is fiercely proud of its athletes and warriors.


Most Te'klu wear short pants and vests, with a poncho and wide hat to provide protection from the rain or sun, respectively. These items include elaborate decorations from which one can quickly ascertain from where its owner hails.

Everyday attire is made from coarse fabric. Fancier clothing is made from fine wool (from eastern Ambitus) or silk (from central Ambitus). This cultural uniform includes a mace of some sort, although in many cases, this mace is more ceremonial and less functional.


Marriages are almost always between two individuals from the same region. For the lower-classes, this likely means from the same plantation or village. For the upper-classes, this usually means the same city or Warren. Potential marriages must be approved by the local leaders, who can often be swayed by money.


All Te'klu hold the Great Lady (Nin-Kisura) in the highest esteem. She keeps the undead at bay and allows the borders to grow without end. Temples to her can be found everywhere.

Each region also has a local patron. Some regions venerate another god. Most worship a local spirit or mythic figure.


The Te'klu are confident that they can overcome virtually any challenge. They fear each other's ambitions, but no external force, save for Psychic magic. They uniformly fear and despise all forms of psychic power, under the (misguided) belief that this, clearly, is the path to becoming undead.


Te'klu have access to the following skills.

Skill Category Skill Note
Armor • Heavy Banded
Armor • Heavy Lamellar
Armor • Heavy Plate
Armor • Light Soft Leather
Armor • Light Textile
Armor • Medium Brigandine
Armor • Medium Chain
Armor • Medium Scale
Artistic • Active Acting
Artistic • Active Mimery
Artistic • Active Mimicry
Artistic • Active Play Instrument: Brass
Artistic • Active Play Instrument: Percussion
Artistic • Active Play Instrument: Plucked
Artistic • Active Ventriloquism
Artistic • Passive Drawing
Artistic • Passive Music
Artistic • Passive Painting
Artistic • Passive Poetry
Artistic • Passive Sculpting
Athletic • Brawn Athletic Games (Brawn)
Athletic • Brawn Power-striking
Athletic • Brawn Power-throwing
Athletic • Brawn Weight-lifting
Athletic • Endurance Athletic Games (Endurance)
Athletic • Endurance Rowing
Athletic • Gymnastics Athletic Games (Gymnastic)
Athletic • Gymnastics Contortions
Athletic • Gymnastics Juggling
Athletic • Gymnastics Pole-vaulting
Athletic • Gymnastics Rappelling
Athletic • Gymnastics Stilt-walking
Athletic • Gymnastics Surfing
Athletic • Gymnastics Tightrope-walking
Awareness • Searching Locate Hidden
Awareness • Searching Poison Perception
Awareness • Searching Reading Tracks
Awareness • Searching Tracking
Combat Maneuvers Mounted Combat
Combat Maneuvers Restricted Area Combat
Combat Maneuvers Reverse Stroke: Melee
Combat Maneuvers Reverse Stroke: Missile
Combat Maneuvers Seaborne Combat
Combat Maneuvers Subdual
Crafts Animal-crafts
Crafts Earth-crafts
Crafts Fletching
Crafts Food-crafts
Crafts Metal-crafts
Crafts Paper-crafts
Crafts Rope-crafts
Crafts Stone-crafts
Crafts Textile-crafts
Influence Bribery
Influence Leadership
Influence Propaganda
Influence Recruitment
Influence Teaching
Lore • General Philosophy
Lore • General Religion
Lore • Magical Divination Lore
Lore • Magical Symbol Lore
Lore • Magical Warding Lore
Lore • Obscure Elemental Lore
Lore • Obscure Faerie Lore
Lore • Obscure Outsider Lore
Lore • Obscure Undead Lore
Lore • Technical Herb Lore
Lore • Technical Metal Lore
Lore • Technical Poison Lore
Lore • Technical Stone Lore
Martial Arts Combat Maneuvers Reverse Stroke: Martial Arts
Outdoor • Animal Animal Handling Specific skills include Aerial, Aquatic, Arthropods, Carnivorous, Dangerous Herbivores, Draft, Flying Monster, Hybrid Elemental, Land Monster, Passive Herbivores, Reptile/Amphibian, Unearthly, Water Monster (see Creatures & Monsters and Fire & Ice)
Outdoor • Animal Animal Healing Specific skills include Aerial, Aquatic, Arthropods, Carnivorous, Dangerous Herbivores, Draft, Flying Monster, Hybrid Elemental, Land Monster, Passive Herbivores, Reptile/Amphibian, Unearthly, Water Monster (see Creatures & Monsters and Fire & Ice)
Outdoor • Animal Driving
Outdoor • Animal Herding
Outdoor • Animal Riding Specific skills include Aerial, Aquatic, Arthropods, Artificial Being, Carnivorous, Construct, Dangerous Herbivores, Draft, Elemental, Flying Monster, Great Drake, Hybrid Elemental, Land Monster, Lesser Drake, Minor Drake, Passive Herbivores, Reptile/Amphibian, Unearthly, Water Monster (see Creatures & Monsters and Fire & Ice)
Power Awareness Read Runes
Power Manipulation Channeling
Power Manipulation Spell Artistry
Power Manipulation Spell Mastery Specific skills for each spell list.
Power Manipulation Spell Trickery
Power Manipulation Targeting
Power Manipulation Transcend Armor
Resistance Divine Resistance
Resistance Impulse Resistance
Science/Analytic • Basic Basic Math
Science/Analytic • Basic Research
Science/Analytic • Specialized Anthropology
Science/Analytic • Specialized Astronomy
Self Control Cleansing Trance
Self Control Healing Trance
Self Control Sleep Trance
Self Control Stunned Maneuvering
Special Attacks Shield Bash
Special Attacks Weapon Brawling
Special Attacks Whip Grapple
Spells • Divine Base Lists Animal Mastering
Spells • Divine Base Lists Channels
Spells • Divine Base Lists Communal Ways
Spells • Divine Base Lists Herb Mastery
Spells • Divine Base Lists Life Mastery
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature's Lore
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature's Movement/Senses
Spells • Divine Base Lists Nature's Protection
Spells • Divine Base Lists Plant Mastery
Spells • Divine Base Lists Protections
Spells • Divine Base Lists Repulsions
Spells • Divine Base Lists Summons
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Blood Law
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Bone Law
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Calm Spirits
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Creations
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Locating Ways
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Lore
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Muscle Law
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Nerve Law
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Organ Law
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Sacred Grounds
Spells • Divine Closed Lists Symbolic Ways
Spells • Divine Open Lists Barrier Law
Spells • Divine Open Lists Concussion's Ways
Spells • Divine Open Lists Detection Mastery
Spells • Divine Open Lists Light's Way
Spells • Divine Open Lists Lofty Movements
Spells • Divine Open Lists Nature's Law
Spells • Divine Open Lists Purifications
Spells • Divine Open Lists Sound's Way
Spells • Divine Open Lists Spell Defense
Spells • Divine Open Lists Weather Ways
Spells • Divine TP Lists Metal Crafting: C
Spells • Divine TP Lists Stone Crafting: C
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Earth Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Fire Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Ice Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Light Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Water Law
Spells • Impulse Base Lists Wind Law
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Dispelling Ways
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Gate Mastery
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Invisible Ways
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Living Change
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Lofty Bridge
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Rapid Ways
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Shield Mastery
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Spell Enhancement
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Spell Reins
Spells • Impulse Closed Lists Spirit Mastery
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Delving Ways
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Detecting Ways
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Elemental Shields
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Essence Hand
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Essence's Perceptions
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Lesser Illusions
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Physical Enhancement
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Rune Mastery
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Spell Wall
Spells • Impulse Open Lists Unbarring Ways
Spells • Impulse TP Lists Guildcraft Mastery
Spells • Impulse TP Lists Metal Crafting: E
Spells • Impulse TP Lists Nomenist Casting
Spells • Impulse TP Lists Ocean Law
Spells • Impulse TP Lists Stone Crafting: E
Spells • Impulse TP Lists Traveler's Ways
Spells • Pale Base Lists Commanding Will
Spells • Pale Base Lists Inscriptions
Spells • Pale Base Lists Nomenclature Mastery
Spells • Pale Base Lists Physical Manipulations
Spells • Pale Base Lists Symbolism
Spells • Pale Base Lists Warding Ways
Spells • Psychic TP Lists Metal Crafting: M
Spells • Psychic TP Lists Stone Crafting: M
Subterfuge • Mechanics Camouflage
Subterfuge • Mechanics Counterfeiting
Subterfuge • Mechanics Using/Removing Poison
Subterfuge • Stealth Picking Pockets
Technical/Trade • General Mapping
Technical/Trade • General Operating Vehicle
Technical/Trade • General Rope Mastery
Technical/Trade • General Sailing
Technical/Trade • General Tactical Games
Technical/Trade • General Using Prepared Herbs
Technical/Trade • Professional Architecture
Technical/Trade • Professional Dowsing
Technical/Trade • Professional Law
Technical/Trade • Professional Mining
Technical/Trade • Vocational Boat Pilot
Technical/Trade • Vocational Cartography
Technical/Trade • Vocational Hypnosis
Technical/Trade • Vocational Prepare Herbs
Technical/Trade • Vocational Prepare Poisons
Technical/Trade • Vocational Siege Engineering
Technical/Trade • Vocational Signaling
Urban Contacting
Urban Gossip
Urban Mingling
Urban Scrounging
Urban Streetwise
Weapon • Artillery, Direct Ballista
Weapon • Artillery, Direct Crossbow
Weapon • Artillery, Indirect Catapult
Weapon • Bow Bow
Weapon • Chains Ball and Chain
Weapon • Chains Whip
Weapon • Chopping Axe
Weapon • Chopping Hammer
Weapon • Chopping Machete
Weapon • Crushing Mace
Weapon • Pole Arms Pole Arm
Weapon • Slashing Long Curved Sword
Weapon • Slashing Long Straight Sword
Weapon • Slashing Short Blade
Weapon • Thrusting Edged Fencing Blade

Specific Te'klu Cultures

Central Te'klu

Historically, the Central Te'klu competed with the Western kingdom for land. Once the Te'klu became a seafaring people, the Central kingdom turned to the sea for expansion (leaving the marsh to the Ivazazhit).

The Central kingdom is the least geographically compact because their navy has laid claim to most of the Warrens that border the sea. They are expert sailors who have grown contemptuous of those who still live off the land.

Eastern Te'klu

The Eastern Te'klu provide the bulk of the food for the empire. They have expanded well into the land of Dreams (Qod). They have assimilated numerous tribes along the way, converting these people to the wonders of potatoes and peppers.

Island Te'klu

When the empire was on the verge of collapse, and the borderlands were falling to barbarian invasion, many Te'klu fled to the islands. These colonists have only sporadic contact with the empire. As a result, the island Te'klu are most self-sustaining than their continental peers.

Western Te'klu

The Western Te'klu have remained truest to their cultural origins. They are strongly militaristic (their leaders are always drawn from the military). They are the least trusting of outsiders, and the most likely to face an invasion from the west.

Starting Skills

Category or Skill Central Te'klu Eastern Te'klu Island Te'klu Western Te'klu
Armor • Light 1 1 1
    Soft Leather 1
    Textile 1 1
Armor • Medium 2
    Brigandine 2
Athletic • Brawn 1 1 1 1
Athletic • Endurance 2 1 2 1
    Swimming 2 1 2 1
Athletic • Gymnastics 2 1 2 1
    Climbing 2 1 1 1
    Surfing 2
Awareness • Perceptions 0 0 0 0
    Alertness 2 2 2 2
Awareness • Searching 1 1 1 1
    Observation 1 1 1 1
Body Development 0 0 0 0
    Concussion Hits 2 2 2 2
Communications: Kish 3 3 3 3
    Kish (W) 3 3 3 3
    Te'klu (S) 7 7 7 7
Crafts 0 0
    Food-crafts 2 1
    Rope-crafts 1
    Textile-crafts 1
Influence 1
    Leadership 1
Lore • General 3 3 3 3
    Culture Lore: Own 3 3 3 3
    Region Lore: Own 3 3 3 3
    Religion 2 2 2 2
Lore • Obscure 1
    Undead Lore 1
Martial Arts • Sweeps 2 2 2 2
    Wrestling 2 2 2 2
Outdoor • Animal 1
    Driving 1
Resistance 0 0 0 0
    Disease Resistance 1 1 1 1
    Divine Resistance 1 1 1 1
    Fear Resistance 1 1 1 1
    Impulse Resistance 1 1 1 1
    Poison Resistance 1 1 1 1
Spells • Divine Open Lists 0
    Weather Ways 2
Spells • Impulse TP Lists 0
    Ocean Law 2
Technical/Trade • General 1 1 1 1
    Sailing 1
Weapon • Artillery, Direct 1 1
    Crossbow 1 1
Weapon • Chopping 2
    Machete 2
Weapon • Crushing 1 1 1 1
    Mace 1 1 1 1
Weapon • Pole Arms 2
    Pole Arm 2
Weapon • Slashing 2 2
    Long Curved Sword 2
    Short Blade 2
Weapon • Thrusting 1
    Edged Fencing Blade 1
Hobbies 8 8 8 8
Everyman Skills Sailing Mapping
Cost [1] 7 7 10 7

[1] To determine a character’s background options, add up the racial cost (46 for Human, Kish) and the culture cost (7–10). Convert that total into talent points or background options using Talent Law. The Kish/Te'klu combinations fall in the 26-75 point range, resulting in 55 talent points or 6 background options.