Something that is often underappreciated is the Dart Wars of the noble houses of the Lunar Empire. The combatants in these secret wars are spies and mercenaries, analogous to ninja, that are hired by the houses. The Red Emperor himself is rumored to actively participate in Dart Wars and is the likely the single biggest employer of Dart Warriors. It is rumored that there are entire clans of Dart Warriors, training in secret. As a result of the Dart Wars, the noble houses absolutely do not trust each other and prevents them from allying against the Red Emperor.The most obvious result of a Dart War is when a ruling family of a satrap is replaced by a new family; but Dart Wars often involve control of a powerful temple or rule of a city.
So if you want to do a campaign with ninja, paranoid secretive conspiracies, and rapid strikes against rival houses – think Dune, Lone Wolf and Cub, or any good ninja epic – Dart Wars are your friend!
The Heartlands are a seething boil of secret conflicts. The Provinces get them too, but it is often more amateurish. The conflict between King Pharandros and Fazzur Wideread is waged through a lesser Dart War. Assassins, spies, sabotage, etc.
One day all the servants show up for work at the local palace and the old bosses are all dead.
And the servants and workers look at each other and shrug. “Somebody must have pissed somebody off,” they say.And that’s life in the Lunar Heartlands.
All dead except the one kid that was spared because he was carrying a stele of the Red Emperor.
That kid who was carrying the stele of the Red Emperor. Can’t kill him or the Red Emperor will have us all executed.
Rebellions are brutally dealt with as rebellions against justice. But Dart Wars are not rebellions. They are noble houses acting against each other. Tolerated as long as they do not disrupt social order.
The background presence of Dart Wars can explain some of the erratic decisions of the Lunar Army in the Provinces and elsewhere. They keep the ruling families divided and make it easier for the Red Emperor to assert his authority, which is far more important that some barbarian province.
It also means that much of the actual administration of the Lunar Empire is not so much in the hands of the powerful noble families with their Red Goddess initiates and temples, and weird ambitions, but in the hands of Irrippi Ontor clerks who just keep their heads down and issue papers.