Organizations and Factions
After the humans came out of their subterranean dwelling and settled peacefully among the Pasu, they prospered greatly. Currently the largest authority in Loka, the human King reigns over all of the major cities (with the exception of the Advocate controlled Esquemelin), while smaller towns and other lands often fall under the authority of the tribes. While the Pasu live in peace with the king, and the state religion has even influenced many of their own, it is unclear if, were they to go to war, who would win. However, with Serendipity, the Viramarga, and Cetayanti under king control, and with some tribes now loyal to him, the chances continually lean more in his favor, making some clans very nervous.
The King’s Army
The army is the King’s primary police and defense force for Loka. The wastes, containing the druj and marchbeast, among other monsters not yet discovered, are carefully watched over by the armed forces. Most soldiers, however, act as police and peace keeping officers in the cities. Army forces also stop rebellions and uprisings against the King (though these are very rare) and are called upon for exploration missions with the NES for protection. The Army is closely tied with the Viramarga, to whom it contracts out training of new recruits. It is often assumed that someone attending schooling from the viramarga, and to a lesser extent, the Cela, will join the Army once his training is complete. The Army is probably significantly larger than it needs to be for its tasks, citing reasons like the mystery of what may lie deep beyond in the wastes, though some consider the continual standing army to be more of a threat than anything outside might be.
The Royal Guard is the King’s elite fighting force. They report directly to his majesty, and are selected from the most promising candidates out of the Viramarge and Cela. They often get to know the King on a personal level, and are fiercely loyal to him. The royal guard often has one or two people who have mastered both the arts of the Viramarga, and the Cela, making them the most deadly warriors in all of Loka. While it is never able to be proven, the guard has been rumored to be behind some of the King’s more discrete missions. Conspiracy theorists claim that ‘accidents’ in certain laboratories, or ‘disappearances’ of troublesome people are related to the guard.
Viramarga (“way of the hero”), Svarga’s premiere paramilitary school of the arts of war, is based just outside the small town of Abhi, on the edge of the western desert, in a sprawling Bohemian complex called “Basho”, after a mythical vagrant poet. Basho is a dense village of tents, shanties, and caverns carved out of the desert sandstone. Traditionally, Viramarga, and Abhi on a lesser scale, are known for the artist and poet culture of its inhabitants, who are encouraged to use their free time to sublimate their urges and anger through creative pursuits and meditation. This is where students from all over are trained from childhood to be fierce warriors in the protection of Loka, schooled in martial arts and the use of various forms of weaponry. Graduates of the Viramarga can essentially become freelancers and follow their own destiny, or stay with the school and guard the border or police the realm. Most opt to do government work: the pay is better, and so is the food.
Academy of Knowledge and Advancement
The Academy is a scientific institution established in the ruins of an ancient underground fortress of iron and glass where archaeologists found a trove of mysterious artifacts which have long since been used to devise a multitude of helpful inventions, most of them used to improve the daily lives of Lokans everywhere. While they focus primarily on the study and utilization of Svargan technology, they also collect and assess Svargan texts. Unlike the other two schools, the Academy is open to anyone who shows an interest, although overwhelming security within the walls of Serendipity deters most thieves and imbeciles. It may be referred to as a ‘school’, but any fool worth their weight in gossip can see that the Academy is little more than a corporate research farm. They are funded by the Naraka Corporation, which has tendrils deep within its hierarchy and often hires graduates.
Advocatus Diaboli (the “Advocates”)
Evil forever lurks in the womb of the mind of man, and Loka is no exception. Every civilization falls prey to its urges, and the criminal element is the dark side of progress. The Advocates play this role in Winter’s Oasis, a formidable collective of smugglers, murderers, and thieves led by the immortal rogue Leviathan, an enigmatic figure who hides his face behind a jade mask. They originate from the port town of Esquemelin, although Advocates can be found all over Loka. Commanding airships capable of traveling leagues at a whim, they are the few–other than the NES–to have explored beyond the boundaries of Winter’s Oasis and returned to tell the tale. Captains of airships are restricted characters due to the difficulty in procuring such an expensive vehicle, though waterborn vessels need far less justification.
Navigational Exploration Society
Founded by ex-pirate Jonathan Cale, the Navigational Exploration Society is a well-respected congregation of the best and brightest of Loka’s explorers and cartographers. Following the yearly expansion of the country’s borders, they are the royal arm of exploration and they plan and fund all legitimate sojourns deep into the Whitemarch, as well as devise and enforce all vehicle regulations through the Viramarga.
The Disciples of Skanda are a caste of ascetic scholars and historians who reside in Cetayanti (“awakening the consciousness to knowledge”), an exotic monastery in the mountains looming over the eastern rainforests, where they groom students with latent magic abilities in the timeless ways of the Cela, Loka’s eminent magicians and acolytes of the mythical hero Skanda, the first Cela and one of the Saoshyant, the one who devised the deep magic that binds Dozakh Zulm in his lightless prison. The Cela serve as advisors to the royal court and assist the Viramarga in the defense of Loka, though a few notable Cela have fallen by the wayside and let themselves be tempted into dark deeds.
The Naraka Corporation is the entity responsible for the vast majority of Loka’s commercial technological progress and distribution. Chances are, if you can crank it, shoot it, or fly it, it has an engraving that reads, “Manufactured by the Naraka Corp”. They are a well-connected network of business-minded men whose single-minded pursuit of the recivilization of the world has transformed a union of merchants into an empire of patents and products. The production of their implements and engines are mainly centered in workshop factories in Muon, Gilead, and Serendipity. Their headquarters resides in Muon.