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Nothing great without cost.

TODOCheck the rivers against other nations, geographically and psychosocially.

TODO Rewrite the intro - it's far too Italian. - Attempt made 08/07/12 - longer but with more... non-Italian elements - Felix

Tales of the League have been made famous by street balladeers - rival theatre-houses and rival gangs, savage duels where wits matter more than swordplay, strange secrets in the city canals which only the Merrow boatmen have mapped. The long con is as much an art form here as the politics of high office, and coffee-house covers both. Powerful Carta clash over business interests and the League's mercenary Free Companies are sought at the Empire's borders. The Church of the Little Mother feeds and shelters the orphans of those border conflicts - any one of whom might become one of the Merchant Princes of tomorrow.

This is the League. The four great rivers that run down to the Bay of Catazar are the veins of this fierce nation, carrying the lifeblood of trade. Its cities are its beating heart, pumping steel throughout the Empire, and the people of the League are city-folk through and through. Do not think them soft, however! They are a driven people, who tolerate neither weakness nor lawlessness, and who earn their fine lifestyles through hard work and hard dealing. Competition is everything, and from the wealthiest moneylender to the loudest street bravo, they are sharp as steel, quick-witted, and always ready to seize the moment.

Five things to know about the League

  • Life is competition, and someone is always keeping score. Citizens of the League love to compete – in commerce, in entertainment, even in love.
  • Keep your loyalties close, like the rings on your fingers. League loyalties are fiercely held and hard to break.
  • Coin counts, and everything costs. In the League wealth is status - this is the land of conspicuous consumption.
  • Everything is on show, like a mask on your face. Performance runs through the heart of the nation.
  • Keep your wit sharp, but your blade sharper. Citizens of the League pride themselves on their charm and intellect, but they’ll never, ever shy from a fight.

What the citizens of the League are not

  • Popinjays. While appearance and social standing are important, looking good and making witty comments is no substitute for actual deeds. Scratch the surface of the League and beneath you find a Nation of ruthless, ambitious people absolutely committed to their goals.
  • DaVincian Inventors. Citizens of the League are creative, and they love trinkets and gew-gaws, but Empire is not a game that supports the invention of new technologies. League characters are audacious, rather than inventive.
  • Organised Criminals. The League is not home to Mafia families, and they have a cultural respect for the law because it helps create a shared understanding of the "rules of engagement."
  • Italian. While the cities of the Italian Rennaisance are part of the insiration for the League, they are not the only inspiration. The cities of the Hansceatic League, Rennaisance Prague and the County of Flanders are all part of the flavour of the League.

A street map? You need much more than a map of the streets to navigate this city, my friend. There are rules to this city; break them, and the Carta will break you.

The Steel Throne, Act II, scene iv

The Nation