"Where there is darkness, we will make light."
Urizen is a nation of magic forged from boundless ambition, of decisive action guided by reason. It is a realm of wonders; of majestic spires and citadels that reach toward the azure sky; of glittering lightstones that send messages arrowing across the mountain valleys in the blink of an eye; and of artificial labourers powered by magic that toil tirelessly in the fields to support the magicians and scholars of this mighty nation.
The mountains of Urizen rest on three pillars, magic, reason, and ambition.
The first pillar is magic – they see magical prowess as the highest achievement, and there are few places in the world where magicians are as influential as they are in Urizen. Magical prowess is not an end in itself, but rather a means to an end, a way to change the world. It is a tool forged through study, honed by reason, and wielded with absolute certainty. The Urizen see themselves as the only people in the world wise enough to understand the consequences of using magical power to achieve their goals.
The second pillar is reason – only those who understand the world are fit to change it. The Urizen devote themselves to study and learning, striving to perfect their understanding of the world and their place in it. Nowhere else in the world is education seen as a necessity the way it is in Urizen, a consequence of the natural drive to perfect the self. The superior understanding of the Urizen has allowed them to intervene at key moments in the past to move the Empire onto a better path. The risk is that without the light of knowledge the great experiment can only end in darkness and failure.
The third pillar is ambition – the Urizen are utopian, wanting nothing less than the perfection of all humanity. They seek to achieve excellence in the things they do, the better to perfect the world around them. There is nothing that cannot be made better by someone with the vision and will to do so. These lofty aspirations drive them to carve mountains into cities, to educate the ignorant, and to shape the fate of nations.
In Urizen the most important lesson is this – that a single individual can change the world if they have sufficient will to do so.
Five things to know about Urizen
- They study magic as the highest discipline. Not everyone is a magician, but in Urizen magic permeates everything.
- They live their lives by reason. Rationality and logic are the tools with which they pick apart the secrets of creation.
- They aspire to mastery of themselves and the world around them. They prize personal excellence and seek to build a better world for everyone.
- They value elegance and precision. The best course of action is the one that produces the biggest change with the least effort.
- Education is the greatest gift. People who understand the world are simply better than people who do not.
What the citizens of Urizen are not
- Pacifists or procrastinators. They are reasonable people, but are quite prepared to fight to get what they want – they're just likely to consider for a moment if violence is the best course of action before they attack.
- Asian or East Asian. Urizen draws inspiration from high elves, classical Greece, and societies of wizards, but not directly from Asia or East Asia.
- Unarmed combatants. When the Urizen think of martial skills, they think of weapons. Wrestling or even touching your enemies is a distasteful idea. Much better to keep them at bay and overwhelm them with your consummate weapon skills than let them get close to you.