Originally a mountainous country that dominated it’s neighbors, the Whirling Gate Empire now sits in the Celestial Mountain range on the far east side of the Great Grass Sea, between the grass sea and the Koniro Ocean.
This is a very lawful and harmonious society, with extensive laws and clear heirachy. The laws themselves may not be universal, as the Empire is not one of equality, but they are uniformly enforced as they are applied to the classes and castes among the citizens.
The empire consists of the immortal emperor (who’s name has been forgotten in time, and is usually refered to as “Glorious Emperor”) who appears as a normal human man, a ruling/administrative council of Ogre Magi, an warrior class, and a working class.
These classes are not fixed at birth, and they are not tied to race. More than one dishonored Magi has been expelled to toil in the fields for the rest of his days.
The working class, and the bulk of the simple soldiery, is composed of Hobgoblins. They thrive in these conditions, and enjoy working within the confines of the society. Each of them look to their betters, and idolize the stray hobgoblins that has been promoted to Daimyo or Samurai retainers to prestigious patrons.
The ruling elite is composed of Ogre Magi, who’s various families conspire against each other to expand their power and their estates. This is for several reasons, and not just money and power.
The third race that populates the Empire is the Ko-Oni, the little ogres.
As an ogre mage grows through adolescence he absorbes the magic of the land around him, using it to grow both physically and magically. The magic they absorb runs through the Celestial mountains in the form of Dragon Lines, that emanate from the Nexus of the Lines, the Unassailable Palace, where the emperor keeps his court.
Ogre Mages that grow up near the strongest dragon lines, grow extremely powerful, becoming Elemental Lords. Those who grow up far from these centers of magic never grow into their full measure of power, becoming Ko-Oni.
Thus, the ogre mages fight and scheme amongst each other for the one thing of greatest value, estates where their children can grow to become as powerful as possible, increasing the honor of their family, and extending their legacy to the next generation.
The Whirling Gate is not a metaphor. It is a very real object that rests in the throne room of the Unassailable Palace. It is unclear if the Emperor draws power from it, or or if his power maintains it, but those details are irrelevant in everyday life.
The Whirling Gate is an massive objects some fifteen feet across and seemingly made of hammered bronze. It is composed of three rings that rotate independently in a lazy gyroscopic fashion. They are not linked in any way, but are suspended by magical energy. Withing the rings floats a field of energy of sun yellow light, far too bright to look at directly.
The one thing everyone in the empire is clear on, is that the Gate connects this life and the afterlife, and the more souls that pass through it, the faster is spins. This has lead to certain uncommon expressions in Imperial parlance, such as “charging the gate” meaning “to run headlong into death” and “meet you at the gate” meaning “I may not see you again until after we are both dead”
The Emperor, linked in the public consciousness to the gate, is worshipped as a god, and, despite his godhood being technically unclear, can grant spells to clerics. The Emperor’s domains are Law, Balance, and Competition.
*+2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma
*Creature Type: Humanoid
*Medium: As Medium creatures, Ko-Oni have no special bonuses or penalties due to size.
*Ko-Oni base land speed is 30 feet.
*Darkvision: Ko-Oni can see in the dark out to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but it is otherwise like normal sight, and sharakim can function just fine with no light at all.
*+1 natural armor bonus: Ko-Oni skin is tough and difficult to pierce.
*Oni-Blooded (Ex): Ko-Oni count as Giants for any effect relating to race or type. They also count as their actual type (Humanoid), and may choose whichever is advantageous to them at the time.
*Shadow Affinity (Ex): In areas of darkness or shadowy illumination (including magical shadow), a Ko-Oni gains a +2 racial bonus on Hide and Move Silently
*Favored Class: Wizard (Conjurer) or Rogue. A multiclass Ko-Oni ‘s wizard or rogue classes does not count when determining whether he takes an experience point penalty for multiclassing. However, only one of the classes can be ignored.
(I couldn’t decide if this is LA+1 or +0. Let me know what you think.)