Exalted: Blood and Fire
The Empire of Prasad is starkly divided by caste and clan. Each clan maintains its own walled compound within the great cities and minor towns. Untouchables and other low-caste clans dwell in squalor at city’s edge. Closer to the center of each city, the manors of high-caste clans tower amid encircling gardens, their façades engraved with elaborate imagery.
In Kamthahar, the capital of Prasad, rise the palatial compounds of the Dragon Caste, dominated by the twin fortresses of Clans Burano and Ophris. There the city’s Dragon-Blooded princes dwell in splendor, lounging in silken finery or accoutering themselves for war with dragon helms and daiklaves of jade. This is the farthest-flung of the Realm’s satrapies, and in many ways the most glorious. And yet most of these Dynasts have never set foot upon the Blessed Isle.
The Immaculate Philosophy has grown askew in this foreign soil. By the precepts of the so-called Pure Way, the Dragon-Blooded here are gods. Mortals may worship spirits as well, so long as such spirits acknowledge the preeminence of the Dragon-Blooded and the Immaculate Dragons. Immaculate monks consider the Pure Way deeply heretical. Some travel the length of Creation to challenge Prasad’s Pure monks, proving their convictions through battle.
The Prasadi people are many and varied, and for each of them there is a place. Prasadi society is regimented, yet fluid, and it demands the best of each new culture it consumes. Overlapping systems of social stratification have created hundreds of subcultures. For each such subculture, Prasadi cities assign enclaves and duties. Enclaves elect their own ruling councils, which in turn answer to the Dragon Caste.
When Kamthahar stood alone, four castes broadly defined its social hierarchy: the God-Blooded Exemplar Caste, rulers and shepherds of souls; the Sage Caste, advisors and designers of society’s greater order; the Caravaner Caste, masters of battle, travel, and trade; and the Corporal Caste, entrusted with unclean tasks, from construction to sewage to assassination. When the Dragon-Blooded conquered Kamthahar, they claimed and renamed the Exemplar Caste, and cemented their spiritual authority through marriage to the God-Blooded. A few God-Blooded still exist within the Dragon Caste, providing insight into spiritual matters.
Kamthahar’s clans persisted with little change as the empire expanded, for they came natural to the formerly-Dynastic Dragon Caste. Prasadi clans compete ruthlessly for prestige and advantageous marriages, and rigorously track their bloodlines. The Dragon Caste consists of two sprawling clans, Burano and Ophris. Mortal members of Clans Burano and Ophris serve as members of the Sage Caste, and receive constant courtship from mortal clans seeking advantageous marriage.
The Empire of Prasad claims a hundred cultures, each with its own jati. A jati is a tribe of people, either subsumed by the empire or broken off from another jati over time. Jatis build reputations for particular skills and virtues, reputations which affect their social standing and even their caste. Some jatis straddle castes, while others may change from one caste to another if their contributions to the empire demand it. When a jati’s place is improved (or worsened), each member is affected, and so each is accountable for the whole. Most members of the Dragon Caste descend from high-caste Realm-born jatis. Once they Exalt, they swear a greater allegiance to their superhuman peers than to any mortal community, though some favoritism is common and expected.