The department for historical research was established by Emperor James in an attempt to repair the damage done to Imperial scholarship by Emperor Nicovar. Fifty years passed between the devastation of the libraries and the establishment of a formal order dedicated to regaining what had been lost - five decades for the situation to deteriorate further. Staffed by dedicated civil servants, and taking direction from the Imperial Senate, the new department worked tirelessly to recover damaged documents, and reconstruct those that had been lost forever to the fires of the mad Throne.

The Empire has been in existence for nearly four hundred years, but human civilization stretches back much further than that. The relatively recent arrival of Dawn and the Highborn were proceeded by centuries of orc barbarian chaos. And before that the Bay of Catazar area was home to the sprawling kingdoms that were the ancestors of Navarr, Wintermark, Urizen and Varushka. Any given scholar today knows only a part of the epic history of humankind.

The best records the Empire kept were destroyed by Emperor Nicovar, and much of the early history of the Empire, and the history of the nations that preceded it, was lost. What documents and histories endure are kept in the personal histories and records of communities scattered across the Empire. The civil service works under the direction of the Senate, to recover knowledge that has been lost and to push back the boundaries of Imperial understanding of the past and the present. Finding specific information in the decentralised Imperial memory is a daunting task. Teams of people must spread out across the Empire to seek out lore buried in any of the countless personal libraries.

Following the restructuring of the Department after the Winter Solstice 384YE, the civil service has the resources to research one subject each season. Prior to the murderous events of 379YE, the civil service was able to perform more research each season; the loss of so many experienced researchers significantly curtailed their ability to perform scholastic study.

Since the death of Empress Britta, the Senate devolved much of the responsibility for guiding historical research, creating individual titles - the Minister of Historical Research, the Dredgemaster of Feverwater, Advisor on the Vallorn, and the Imperial Advisor for the Feni. The Dredgemaster had this power removed during the Winter Solstice 381YE, while the Advisors also lost this power during the changes mandated by restructuring.

Commissioning Historical Research

The power to direct the civil servants in the department of historical research lies with the Imperial Senate. Until recently, this power was employed by use of a senate motion. In recent years, senators have created three new Imperial titles, who may all commission a piece of historical research using a senate announcement. Both the Advisor on the Vallorn and the Imperial Advisor for the Feni lost this power of during the Spring Equinox 385YE. The Minister of Historical Research may in theory make any number of announcements but since the decision to retrain members of the Department as prognosticators, the matter is moot. Whichever subject is announced first will be undertaken.

Regardless of how the power is employed, the thrust of the research should be clear. It is possible to commission broad research into a significant topic such as "the history of the Brass Coast" or "Exemplars of Pride", giving the civil service a free reign as to how to proceed. It is more common, however, to select a tight focus such as "the life of Myfanwy" or "the Crown of Three Tears".

Each season, the researchers will provide a report summarising their findings in the previous three months. This often takes the form of a written document detailing what they have uncovered, sometimes presented by one of the civil servants responsible for collating the information. It may sometimes take the form of a discussion with an expert on the issue, or a lead that will secure specific information that requires direct action by an Imperial hero.

The report will often include suggestions for where to take the research next, if there are any avenues of research left that the researchers believe might be beneficial, explaining the problems with uncovering more information, or presenting an opportunity for some action that might help move the research forward. If the researchers do not believe that any further work on a subject will provide additional useful information then they will report that.

OOC Explanation: The downtime after a report is received, the contents will be added to the main wiki. Depending on the nature of the report this may mean a new page detailing the results of the research, or edits to an existing page. Any scholar is free to roleplay that they have received copies of the research document.

For the Benefit of the Empire

During the season following the presentation of a historical research report, the civil service will make the contents available to any scholar who asks as well as dispatching copies of the report to libraries, universities, and colleges across the Empire. This is done to help ensure that the information discovered can never be lost again, and to expand the collective knowledge of the Empire.

Dangers of Historical Research

Uncovering information about the past is not a safe occupation. The eternals known as the Whisper Gallery have shown that they are prepared to take extreme steps to interfere with historical research, for example, including murdering civil servants. The Imperial Conclave has placed them under enmity, but this does nothing to prevent their mortal associates causing trouble for the department of historical research. The Senate treasury once paid a significant amount of money into a fund to protect civil servants associated with the department, but Ris Steelfist, one of the bodyguards funded by the Senate, presented a proposal that saw private citizens fund the defence of the department. Sometimes a project is too dangerous for them to explore directly. In this case, they may call on the citizen with the appropriate Imperial title to undertake dangerous actions, or request additional materials that they cannot acquire themselves.

Citizens who hold one of the titles associated with historical research should be aware that they are potential targets not only for the Whisper Gallery but for other secretive organisations that have a vested interest in preventing discovery of historical information in general, or specific to whatever is being researched.

Leontes the Scribe, Marcher scholar and Imperial Archivist, oversees the Department of Historical Research

The Department of Historical Research

The department of historical research is ultimately overseen by the Imperial Archivist, Leontes the Scribe, who is a member of the Constitutional Court. He is said to be a notoriously curmudgeonly individual whose deep knowledge of the history of humanity has left him with a perpetually dismal view of it. The day to day running of the department defaults to the most senior scholars, each of which in turn directs the remaining handful of researchers, scribes, and investigators. As of the Autumn Equinox 381YE, there are two senior researchers in the department. Each is a veteran civil servant and respected scholar of Imperial history.

Snowstorm Henk

The first Imperial Orc member of the Department, Snowstorm Henk, is a young academic who has an extensive interest in lost Imperial artifacts. He takes a "hands on" approach to research, often dragging himself and his team into dangerous situations such as when he undertook an expedition into the Lorenzo's Deep Pockets, or was (briefly) captured by Thule while exploring Sungold Pass. He often undertakes research where a "fresh approach" is appropriate; the Imperial Orcs are the youngest nation and Snowstorm Henk likes to think about preconceptions and "accepted wisdom" when exploring a topic.

Octavia of Stream's Source Spire

An Urizeni who takes a methodical approach to any project she is involved with. She is at home in libraries, and often delves deep into the root causes of the events she is asked to research. Her reports will often quote other sources; she is in her element when a project requires examining large amounts of existing information and trying to distill it down into a usable format.

Marko Siwarsbairn

An adventurous Wintermark scholar, Marko enjoys field work, especially poking around old ruins and haunted libraries. They are known to take a particular joy in delving into the lives of historical figures, rather than historical events, especially if compiling such a biography will give them an excuse to visit somewhere they have never been before.

Other Researchers

There are a handful of other respected scholars associated with the department of historical research. They are often assigned specific roles by one of the Imperial Archivist. There are also several retired members, or members who have moved on to other departments.

  • Rosalind Friedlin von Holberg (Retired): A graduate and former professor at the University of Holberg, Rosalind is also a veteran of the Druj occupation, and an expert in pre-Nicovar Imperial history. She has extensive contacts among - and some influence over - the various Imperial centres of learning. Rosalind encourages researchers to adopt a detached, academic style with their studies and prefers them to include plenty of references to existing Imperial scholarship.
  • Peter of Hintown (Retired): Something of a maverick, this adventurous Marcher scholar discovered both the Gildenheim runeforge and the mithril deposits that eventually lead to the creation of Pride of Ikka's Tears. In contrast to Rosalind, he has an extensive network of contacts and correspondents outside of established academia, preferring to associate with independent scholars. His main area of academic interest lies with pre-Imperial artifacts, and what little is known about the history of the orc barbarians - especially the Empire's battles with them.
  • Elian Sweetwater (Promoted): A Navarr, of Storm's Run Striding, Elian was best known for his extensive report on Axos and the history of the Terunael there, prepared for the Advisor on the Vallorn. In Winter 384YE, he was reassigned to the Prognosticator's Office.

No Imperial Archives
While there is an Imperial Archivist, there are no Imperial Archives any more - no secret libraries maintained by the civil service. Instead, there are numerous small libraries, archives, records, and similar spread across the Empire. Navarr stridings carry books and scrolls with them in their wagons. Every Wintermark hall keeps a tally of judgement stretching back generations. Every Dawnish house keeps records of its most glorious members. Each Highborn chapter records the deeds of its worthy scions, every Urizen spire maintains libraries both arcane and more mundane in nature. The Marchers have memories written and oral that stretch back to the times before there were any Marchers, while the Varushkan Wise Ones and Cabalists maintain written records and keep the rich tradition of stories and cautionary tales alive from generation to generation. The tribes of the Brass Coast maintain family archives the first scrolls of which were carried with the exiled Founders when they left Highguard. The League cities build white granite libraries dedicated to the history of the city-folk and jealously guard the personal histories of guilds and grudges and debts owed. While the Imperial Orcs are new to the Empire, their cultural drive to education and their reverence of the written word have already begun amassing records, books and scrolls.

There are millions of documents in the Empire. Once upon a time, hundreds of years were spent copying tomes and collecting documents together... and then Nicovar the Mad burnt them down. Recreating these Imperial Archives would cost millions of thrones and take centuries. The closest the Empire has to an Imperial archive at the moment is the great disparate body of writing that is spread across the entire Empire.

Recent Historical Research

This table represents official requests to the department of historical research, whether from the Senate or from one of the titles empowered to commission research. For clarity's sake it also includes the research commissioned by the Lepidean Librarian, although that title does not use researches from the Department.

TopicDateCommissioned ByNotes
Founders of the Sarcophan DelvesAutumn 385YEMinister for Historical Research Vaclav Mladenovich KostiPublished
IsenbradSummer 385YELepidean Librarian Jared of the Suns of CourosIn Progress
Urizen in MareaveSummer 385YEMinister for Historical Research Vaclav Mladenovich KostiPublished
The virtue of JaggahSpring 385YELepidean Librarian Jared of the Suns of CourosPublished
Tower of SolokhaSpring 385YEMinister for Historical Research Vaclav Mladenovich KostiPublished
Saul of the CoraWinter 384YELepidean Librarian Jared of the Suns of CourosPublished
The tomb guards of AhrazWinter 384YEMinister for Historical Research Vaclav Mladenovich KostiPublished
Findings of MagistersWinter 384YEFormer Minister for Historical Research Caleb of the CenotaphPublished
Expedition to investigate AndrettiAutumn 384YEMinister for Historical Research Vaclav Mladenovich KostiPublished
The "Speaker for the Dead" of the Free FolkAutumn 384YELepidean Librarian Jared of the Suns of CourosPublished
Sinking of BregaslandAutumn 384YEAdvisor on the Feni Watt LambrookPublished
Reclamation of SerenSummer 384YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Nathair AutumngalePublished
Palace at OriebSummer 384YEMinister of Historical Research Vaclav Mladenovich KostiPublished
"Old Morgan" Steward of Brock's HeathSummer 384YELepidean Librarian Jared of the Suns of CourosPublished
The Feverwater and the dock of Terunael originSpring 384YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Nathair AutumngalePublished
General Cretatus, the Claw of the Dragon, and the history of the Sword ScholarsSpring 384YEMinister of Historical Research Severin Teyhard von HolbergPublished
The life and example of Sister Ruth of the Seven StarsSpring 384YELepidean librarian Jared of the Suns of CourosPublished
The Doctrine of Human DestinyWinter 383YEMinister of Historical Research Severin Teyhard von HolbergPublished
Origins of the FeniWinter 383YEAdvisor on the Feni, Watt of LambrookPublished
Research black lotusAutumn 383YEMinister of Historical Research Severin Teyhard von HolbergPublished
The Heirs of TerunaelAutumn 383YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalComplete1
Expedition to Sacrophan to investigate the origins of the HighbornSummer 383YEMinister of Historical Research Caleb of the CenotaphPublished
Ghita's VeilsSpring 383YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalPublished
The Origin of Eater of HopeSpring 383YEMinister of Historical Research Caleb of the CenotaphPublished
The Life of DrustanWinter 382YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalPublished
Sungold PassWinter 382YEMinister of Historical Research Caleb of the CenotaphPublished
Abraxus StonesAutumn 382YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalPublished
Maude Daughter of EstherAutumn 382YEMinister of Historical Research Caleb of the CenotaphPublished
The life and final fate of the noble Terunael general Bryony and her crystal crownSummer 382YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalPublished
Anomalous conjunctions with reference to Empress Britta's deathSpring 382YEMinister of Historical Research Ioseph of Phoenix ReachPublished
The past life of Adelina BarossaSpring 382YEMinister of Historical Research Ioseph of Phoenix ReachPublished
Fire from the HeavensWinter 381YEMinister of Historical Research Ioseph of Phoenix ReachPublished
The descendants of Terunael in Axos Winter 381YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalPublished
Exploration of Lorenzo's Deep Pockets (opportunity)Winter 381YETormund of WintermarkPublished
Myfanwy of Hercynia and her travels and relationships with the First EmpressAutumn 381YEDredgemaster of Feverwater Eleri Bronwen's RestPublished
Expedition to Terunael ruins in AxosAutumn 381YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalPublished
Aneira Dancewalker, thought to be General of the Quiet Step during the fall of Liathaven, and her brother Eurion Dancewalker who forged Aneira's TalonSummer 381YEDredgemaster of Feverwater Eleri Bronwen's RestComplete
Mage known as Star, compatriot to Navarr and ThornSummer 381YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalPublished
Rhonwen's FallSpring 381YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Merel EternalPublished
Apaayuqiu King, and the pre-Wintermark history in Sermersuaq areaWinter 380YEMinister of Historical Research Ioseph of Phoenix ReachPublished
Luca Ritter von Holberg, Cardinal of Courage around 125YEWinter 380YEMinister of Historical Research Ioseph of Phoenix ReachComplete
Founders of the Brass CoastAutumn 380YEMinister of Historical Research Ioseph of Pheonix ReachSuperseded by recent discoveries about history and the lives of Erigo, Guerra, and Riqueza
The noble house of Mazzarin of DawnSummer 380YEDredgemaster of FeverwaterComplete
The Charter Stone of the Terunael city of SerenSpring 380YEAdvisor on the Vallorn Siân EternalNo reference to "charter stones" could be found; some information about singing stones was uncovered as part of the research.
The Heart of Peytaht, its contents and the nature of the entities within itWinter 379YEDredgemaster of Feverwater?Published
Cadaver, a sovereign, of the Dark Hearts vale in VarushkaWinter 379YEAdvisor on the Vallorn NebComplete1
The Gwerin Marfae, the marshfolk around at the time of TerunaelAutumn 379YEDredgemaster of Feverwater Corey BrackensongPublished
Further research into the runeforge in SkarsindAutumn 379YEPalladius of UrizenPublished
More origins of the VallornSummer 379YEAdvisor on the VallornPublished
Origins of the VallornSpring 379YEAdvisor on the VallornPublished
The relationship between auras and the paragons/exemplars they are named for with particular reference to Isaella's ResolveSpring 379YEYael of Felix's WatchPublished
The naval campaign of Emperor BarabbasWinter 378YEMinister of Historical ResearchPublished
Briar graves and land fertility in the MarchesAutumn 378YEunknownComplete2
Empress Varkula's burial rites (and their efficacy)Autumn 378YEunknownPublished
Artok Ice GolemsAutumn 378YEunknownComplete
The Incarnadine SatchelAutumn 378YEunknownPublished
The Mask of the VisionarySummer 378YEMinister of Historical ResearchComplete
Mazen and the missing GolemSummer 378YEMinister of Historical ResearchComplete
The Crown of Three TearsSummer 378YEThane Aedred in WintermarkPublished
The Equine RodSummer 378YEMinister of Historical ResearchComplete1
The Imperial Favour of Empress BrittaSummer 378YEIoseph of Phoenix ReachPublished
The life of Megan Black BloodSummer 378YEAdvisor on the VallornPublished
The Campaigns of Emperor Guntherm against the JotunSpring 378YEMinister of Historical ResearchPublished
The Banner of the Gryphon's PrideSpring 378YEMinister of Historical ResearchPublished
The origins of the Volodny Bas CelikSimargl of the Circle of Zulgan-TashComplete3
Coven of the Burning StarIoseph of Phoenix ReachComplete

1: In these cases rather than a written document a meeting with an expert was arranged. As a consequence there are no published details.
2: In these cases the research was used to update existing information.
3: The recipient of the document has declined to have it more widely published

Further Reading

  • Saga - a category that contains summaries of significant events in recent history

Core Brief

Additional Information