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Give me knowledge to know what to do,

The wisdom to know when to do it,

And the courage to change the world.

TThe Urizen live in the mountains, in settlements called spires, clusters of buildings, halls, galleries and balconies that are carved into a hilltop or the side of a mountain peak. Spires tend to specialise – a given Spire might be known for its fine craftsmanship, the beauty and artistry of its musicians, its dedication to martial affairs, or its mastery of one or more spheres of magical power.

These majestic peaks have shaped their society – they are defensible, but can only support a small population. As a result Urizen is the smallest nation in terms of population, although its numbers have been slowly increasing since it joined the Empire. Critics might claim that the mountains have also given the Urizen an undeserved sense of superiority – they literally look down on everyone else, and their small population gives each of them an inflated sense of their own importance.

The Urizen prize rationality and learning above all other qualities. They favour a rational, ordered approach to life and their culture is defined by the philosophies and ideals they have embraced. They are an ambitious people with a desire for perfection in all things and most Urizen spend what time they can in study, contemplation and practice. Scholars and philosophers are prominent but magic is the highest discipline of all in Urizen and their most prominent citizens are usually powerful mages.

The archetypal Urizen is an educated person who applies their learning and discipline to every part of their life. An individual Urizen might easily be an implacable blade-master, oratorical reformer, dedicated natural philosopher, wise theologian or powerful magician. Wherever possible they seek to expand their understanding of the world and their role within it, and apply that understanding to achieve their goals.

Urizen love to see practical applications of knowledge, lore and philosophy. While learning for its own sake is laudable, the Urizen value much more highly knowledge that is used to create tangible benefit – to change the world, even in a small way. They are credited with creating whole branches of natural philosophy and mathematics formalising and codifying ideas such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry, but they are most proud of practical inventions such as the telescope or the many magical rituals they have created. They apply their learning to make their lives more comfortable and fulfilling, and there is a common belief in the importance of achieving something elegantly and with the least expenditure of effort.

Urizen aspires to a sense of timeless tranquillity. They seek to cultivate serenity and calm in themselves and in their environment. Most Urizen live a structured life that provides a foundation for them to build their identities around. They’re not moribund or calcified, but disruption of the personal daily routine is a clear sign that there are problems that demand their attention.

Urizen place great stock on politeness and good manners. Their Nation is a place of competing and sometimes incompatible philosophies. It is also a Nation where it is easy to become isolated from your neighbours. As a consequence, a level of assumed respect reduces the likelihood of a misunderstanding souring relations.