Previewing Reign 2e: Reign Realms

Welcome to another installment of our preview series for Reign, Second Edition. Today we wanted to introduce (or potentially re-introduce) you to the cultures of the core Reign game, as well as link them to their depictions on the cover of the Reign: Realms book, and clue you in on just who that woman on the cover of the Reign: Rules book really is. Without further ado, here’s a rundown on the countries and cultures of Reign.

The Empire

Five disparate cultures that clenched like a fist to conquer their neighbors on two continents, The Empire is now in decline but still vast, wealthy, and cruel. A coalition of stylish nihilists, energetic broadsword fighters, cold pragmatists and passionate scholars once shook the world with military prowess, a variety of enchantments, and a breathtaking willingness to eradicate entire royal lineages. The rebellion of their blood sorcerers halted their conquests generations ago, but the struggle to consolidate power and reclaim their lost vassals continues. Especially now that a new Empress sits upon the throne, one whose predecessor’s assassination is still mysterious…

The Empress

The Empire is the greatest political force in the known world—even if it’s only 3/4 the size it was at its height. It still fields massive armies, funds itself despite rampant corruption, and commands a legion of spies and saboteurs operating far and far outside their own borders. Which is still, perhaps, scant consolation to the Empress, who is seventeen years old, newly crowned, and widely suspected of conspiring in the assassination of her mother.

The Obb-Lobs

What we have here is a lady who doesn’t really care for the word “pirate” but she is from a seafaring culture that does regard everything that crosses the ocean as, technically, their “property.” They’re called the Ob-Lobs and they’re widely despised for their excellent sailcraft and permissive sexual attitudes.

The Ulds

The first country to fall to the Empire was Uldholm, but a funny thing happened when their noble families were decimated: Their extensive network of trade guilds stepped up and started governing. Surprisingly, people who had achieved their ranks through achievement and compromise instead of being born to it turned out to be decent leaders, and in the decades since, guild rule has only solidified. Those in the fifteen guilds enjoy a level of political participation unheard-of in most other nations, and it has propelled a renaissance in magic, art and civic development. But rivalries within the guilds are bitter, and competition between them can be vicious. That’s before you factor in the powerless citizens whose jobs deny them representation.

Forsaken Birthright

The Uldish pursuit of excellence is on display with this young woman who rebelled against her prosperous upbringing by learning enchantment and running off to join a mercenary company, where she got in way over her head. But she did manage to learn some swordplay to go with the fire magic. Now she’s disowned.

Dindavara

A stiff-necked warrior culture whose religion teaches that they are meant to govern the rest of the world for their own good, Dindavara is the rock upon which the Empire breaks. Their name means “the nation of the sword” and their forges produce blades of unparalleled quality—even before their sorcerers sacrifice animals, people or demons to empower them with enchantment. These swords, magical or not, are then borne by five noble houses who train to a martial ideal. Of course, every house has someone ambitious who longs to lead the entire nation, but only one man has claimed the throne, leaving the other great families seething at  perceived slights as they scheme to amass power—by duel if possible, inter-clan battles at worst, and through skullduggery if it’s deniable.

Haves and Have-Nots

Dindavaran culture has a huge gulf between the sword-souled nobles who own everything, and peasants like this brawny blacksmith. He’s fallen on hard times, but there’s always work for a master weapon maker. The question isn’t whether he’s willing to work for foreigners. The question is, can those well-armed noblemen afford to permit it?

The Truils

There are dark lands where the sun never falls, where noon for others is twilight. Those cold and barren lands are where the Truil nomads roam, scavenging, hunting, and moving on. But now Uldish interlopers are trying to settle in their territory, coming in greater numbers every year. Can the Truilish culture of cannibalism, religious lycanthropy and staunch individualism survive?

Warriors of the Wasteland

This dour fellow is one of the Truils, so he has to put up with living in the wasteland and having what little he can scavenge constantly at risk of being taken by Uldish invaders, like the lightning sorceress who killed his son and most of his tribe. He now leads the survivors and is desperately seeking some way to come to terms with the Ulds before they destroy everyone.

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