Before the Logruswrack, Chaos was divided into the following factions:
Great Houses: Alars, Helgram, Hendrake, Jesby, Nurgal
Free Cities: Al-Rassan, Brandenburg
Minor Houses of Note:
- House Enki: A small house of scholars and sorcerors, House Enki has been engaged in linguistic studies of shadow for centuries. They are especially noted for their mastery of the ancient Sidar, Aklo, and Quenya tongues. (Alars)
- House Formian: This race of ant-men first appeared as invaders from shadow who tried to conquer Alarsways; they were defeated, and swore fealty. They are organized into worker, priest, soldier, and sorceror castes, ruled by the great Formian-Queen. (Alars)
- House Modron: These strange beings constructed Alarsways for Alars I after he defeated their ancient enemies, the Slaad. Modrons are strange beings of Order who seem to nevertheless flourish in the environment of Chaos. They are organized into and born into castes, though some few rise in caste status through special rites of rebirth awarded to those who perform exceptional services. They resemble geometric solids; the more sides, the higher they are in status and intellect. (Alars)
- House Porfirez: This House is actually a religious order, dedicated to Challar, the Serpent of Cunning. (Alars)
- House Criamon (The Yellow Lodge)-- House Criamon studies arts for trying to predict the future; they've had a rather mixed job of it. (Helgram)
- House Deathbusters -- This oddly named clique of sorcerors and logrus experts study death and rebirth and ghosts and are rumored to be seeking some means of immortality not dependent on the Sigils. (Helgram)
- House Flambeau (The Crimson Lodge)--They are experts in energy magics, especially fire, fire, FIRE! (Helgram)
- House Gabriel -- The fact that they have nearly the same name as the famous construct of Fire is just a coincidence, they insist. They are prophets and visionaries, collectors of prophecies and religious lore. (Helgram)
- House Harlock -- House Harlock has the odd custom that each new Count of Harlock takes on the appearance and persona of the previous one; it is said that 'Count Harlock Never Dies'. Harlock is a house of sorcerors, conjurors, and logrus masters. While competent at warfare, they are not noted for that. (Helgram)
- House Khalid -- They are actually a monastic order which worships Milithi, the Serpent of Wisdom. (Helgram)
- House MITHRIL -- House Mithril is a fairly new house, formed as a result of an initiative by Helgram to form a high-tech fighting force. Various groups of mercenaries banded together and offered their services to Helgram, which has kept them on retainer ever since. Rumor claims the House has a Shadow-travelling sub on a level of power with the Radiant, but this remains uncertain to those outside the House. (Helgram)
- House Vishnu -- A group of potent blue-skinned mystical warriors who are all priests of the Defending Serpent. (Helgram)
- House Dalgo -- Honorable warriors who pride themselves on their skills and their long tradition. They are especially notable for their skills at seige warfare and construction of seige machines. (Hendrake)
- House FASA -- Masters of High-Tech warfare, they go into battle driving giant battle-mechs. Assuming they work where the battle is, anyway... (Hendrake)
- House Flanders -- This is a league of small commercial towns; they are expert craftsmen, making weapons for the other houses and providing cloth for uniforms as well. They also produce large squads of skilled pikemen. (Hendrake)
- House Hannibal -- Despite a bit of an obsession with Elephants, House Hannibal produces some of the best tacticians in Chaos; it's wisest to find someone else to plan the large scale strategy, though... (Hendrake)
- House Marlborough -- This house is noted both for chain-smoking and for its skill in the art of strategic manuever. Many a campaign of this House was won before a blow was ever struck... (Hendrake)
- House Rupert -- Masters of the ancient art of cavalry; if it can be ridden, someone in House Rupert has tried to ride it. (Hendrake)
- House Thanagar -- The Hawk-Men of Thanagar are experts at aerial combat and also make excellent M.Ps. (Hendrake)
- House Verdititus (The Artificers)--They specialize in the construction of magical artifacts and the brewing of potions. (Hendrake)
- House Wallenstein -- Lords of a high mountain plateau, they specialize in middling tech forces (early gunpowder troops), as well as in the art of using mercenaries without getting screwed. (Hendrake)
- House Billmore: They specialize in shapeshifting and underwater exploration. (Jesby)
- House Chanicut: Politicians who advance Jesby's interests in court. (Jesby)
- House Hellas: House Hellas are as much pirates as traders, heavily involved in raiding Darios' shipping and its allies. (Jesby)
- House Hudson: Great explorers, heavily involved in fur trading as well. Hudsonways is noted for being mostly wilderness and home to many fur bearing animals. (Jesby)
- House Madison: More jurists and philosophers than sailors, they help defend Jesby's legal interests in return for aid in defense. (Jesby)
- House Thayan: Naval theorists and strategists, noted for producing huge mountains of historical and naval theoretical works. (Jesby)
- House Thompson: House Thompson has prospered of late by building a trading network in Amber's Golden Circle, especially in the region of Hang-Kung / Cathay / Lipun / Siam / Sind. (Jesby)
- House Branni: Expert builders, House Branni is said to be able to put roads anywhere, anytime, any way you like. (Nurgal)
- House Gen: Artists and interior decorators. (Nurgal)
- House Ivy: Noted experts in plant magics, gardening, exotic plants, and plant care. (Nurgal)
- House Ren: Noted metalworkers who are more high-tech than many of the other houses of Chaos. (Nurgal)
- House Rockhome: A house of Dwarves who live in a flying mountain range. (Nurgal)
- House Yaziri: Students of the many magics of shadow, they have extensively explored and catalogued shadows which possess unusual forms of magic. They are known to maintain a small presence especially in the shadows of Mystara and Lovin' Spoonful. (Nurgal)
The biggest revolution in Chaosian politics in centuries happened during the Herald Crisis, in which the main opposition to the throne not only collapsed, but most of it came over to the Throne.
The Royal Faction was friendly to Amber and to some extent inter-married with Amberites (Davros of Nurgal married Motoko of Amber, Touga of Amber married Suu of Alars).
Great Houses: Darios, Formorian, Tremere
Free Cities: Sarantium
Minor Houses of Note:
- House Fallez: Ship builders of great skill. (Darios)
- House Hammerhead: Shark-men. They are vicious fighters and well-adapted to underwater operations. (Darios)
- House Magellan: Naval explorers and scouts. (Darios)
- House Peche: House Peche has several logrus masters of great skill who provide extra firepower in war and prepare shadows for wargames in peace. (Darios)
- House Yasten: A house of naval historians. (Darios)
- House Beavis -- Dim-witted, pyromaniacal heavy metal fans who even House Formorian only tolerates because they have a really great music collection if you're into metal. (Formorian)
- House Discordia -- A collection of mystics and philosophers who believe it is both necessary and wise to be as contrary as possible in order to force others to question their beliefs. They joined House Formorian because they believe it most compatible with their way of life. Many Discordians become advisors to members of other houses. (Formorian)
- House Dormammu -- Lurking, mysterious sorcerors whose heads are always on fire. They are rumored to have dealings with certain weak gods who survived the fall of the Sidar. They're also rumored to make up rumors about themselves to inflate their own importance... Lord Falme's birth house. (Formorian)
- House Drow -- The Drow have roughly 3,000 times as much class as anyone else associated with House Formorian. They support it only because they hate House Danaani even more than they hate freaky whack-jobs. (Formorian)
- House Elagabalus -- There are many reasons why many in the courts dislike Elagabalus. They worship the sun which shines high in the sky of their shadow, sacrificing people and horses to it. They tend to be disrespectful of Serpent worshippers. They have honed incest to a fine art. They believe their leader is an incarnation of their god. And they are hideously tacky and drunken. However, they are also expert shifters and skillful sorcerors too. (Formorian)
- House Ettin -- Dim-witted, two-headed giants who are fearsome combatants in battle. (Formorian)
- House Extreme -- House Extreme is actually pretty mild for a Formorian ally, being composed of people who are ever so slightly suicidal and like to do sports in the most dangerous environments possible. (Formorian)
- Taylor Club -- This group of psychopaths think Taylor d'Arden was the coolest thing ever, and want to be as cool as they think he was. Only the protection of House Formorian has kept them from being wiped out. (Formorian)
- House Deidne (The Green Lodge)--Druids on Parade (Tremere)
- House Lasombra (The Gray Lodge)--Religious magi who worship the Serpent of Shadows and study the arts of shadow magics (Tremere)
- House Salubri (The Order of the Third Eye)-- House Salubri studies mental magics and physical healing, dedicating themselves to healing body and soul. They are noteworthy for all shifting a third eye into their foreheads which they use in their magics. (Tremere)
- House Shaea (The Women's Council)--This house is quite unusual in that they are all female (using shapeshifting magic to reproduce). They are experts in the art of power words, and the crafting of figurines and potions. They also study and record the history of the Courts. (Tremere)
- House Thig (The Silicon Lodge)--House Thig is an oddity in the courts. Their home shadow is a world of technology simulated through magic. (Tremere)
- House Tzmisce (The Red Lodge)--Twisted freaks who practice shapeshifting and blood magics, which they have perfected. They tend to either have excruciatingly beautiful human forms or twisted, freakish beast forms as their most commonly used bodies. (Tremere)
- House Ventrue (The Golden Lodge)--House Ventrue practices strange money magics, working subtle sorceries to track, control, and anticipate the flow of funds. (Tremere)
Being bent over a barrel and taken repeatedly during the Herald Crisis united these houses in their disgust for Amber and the Throne of Chaos. They are not as strong an alliance as the royal faction, as each house has its own agenda it tries to drag the other two into and it often simply sets its policies by 'whatever the Throne and Amber will hate'.
- House Darios wants to crush Amber and Jesby and the Throne and Helgram and...well, they have too many vendettas to list.
- House Formorian wants to destroy House Danaani
- House Tremere would like some vengeance on Amber, but also would like to MAKE LOTS OF MONEY.
Great Houses: Aesir, Vanir
Free Cities: Venetia
Minor Houses of Note:
- House Gothia, a forested, cold land of navigable rivers and great lakes (Aesir)
- House Midgard, whose shadow defends access to Bifrost. Midgardways is a long mountain range with a huge chasm on one side, over which Aesirways floats at the end of Bifrost. (Aesir)
- House Moria, a shadow of relatively sane dwarves which is one giant mining complex. (Aesir)
- House Vandergar, a frozen land of reindeer-riding herders and nomads (Aesir)
- House Adolphus: They are the strategic masters of House Vanir's alliance, making plans for the other houses in times of war. They also have studied middling-tech warfare (early gunpowder), and are very adept at it. (Vanir)
- House Bjornfjiord: Skilled sailors and traders, they are noted for their ability to coax a little more speed out of their ships. (Vanir)
- House Lapp: They live in the frozen tundras, riding on reindeer and providing a strong cavalry force to House Vanir. (Vanir)
- House Orkney: House Orkney are sea-pirates who lurk in the troubled, foggy, monster-haunted waters of the northern Sea of Chaos, operating out of a chain of foggy, rocky islands inhabitable only by fools and madmen. (Vanir)
- House Vinland: House Vinland controls a great, fertile island in the middle of the Sea of Chaos, with a large mountain range running down its middle. They provide food for many of their allied houses. (Vanir)
Aesir and Vanir have been traditional allies; they have stayed out of politics to a large degree, but have tended to vaguely back the Throne when push comes to shove. Mostly, the House long prepared for the Herald Crisis due to certain old prophecies; it has since been seeking a new major purpose.
Both houses have long focused on building their skill as individual fighters and sea-travellers; they are heroes, rather than soldiers.
Free Cities: Coruscant, Gotham, MegaTokyo?, Zeta Cygni
- House Aztechnology -- A strange minor house which worships Pindin, the Serpent of Fire, and makes occult techno-sacrifices to him.
- House Fortunati (The Gamblers)--They study the magics of chance and probability.
The New Cities form a powerbloc which has a great interest in technology and in remaining free of the control of the Great Houses. Unlike the Old Cities, which have largely aligned themselves with various powerblocs in order to plot against each other, they mostly stay out of politics and focus on SCIENCE!
Great Houses: Danaani
Free Cities: Valencia
Minor Houses of Note:
- House Albion: A nation of charioteers who live on a substantial island. They are great storytellers and clever tradesmen.
- House Alfheim: A nation of elves; they are fairly isolationist, but ride when Danaani calls. Well, actually they walk. They are expert archers and hunters and skillful sorcerors as well. They are singers and poets.
- House Celtae: Rampaging barbarian footmen who love to hunt and explore the forests of shadow. They tend to be tall, muscular, and dark-haired. They are noted for their skill at poetry.
- House Cimmera: Once allies of Aesir, they defected to Danaani after being saved from the machinations of the evil Thulsa Doom. They are metalworkers of great skill, when not out marauding and raiding each other because that's what they're good at.
- House Magrathea (The Masons)-- House Magrathea specializes in building shadows to order.
- House Pictae: Sneaky little short people who run about naked except for a good coating of blue woad. They are painters and love to build menhir circles, when not ambushing people with long spears.
- House Ulster: They are sailors and explorers, who are experts at the art of boasting and storytelling. They are all orange, but never explain why; they seem to expect everyone should already know. Certain rumors claim they are settlers from another Chaos who came through the Cave of Worlds and displaced some previous group of inhabitants.
House Danaani has long feuded with House Formorian. This feud has tended to shape their politics, largely keeping them busy sparring with Formorian instead of getting into politics. They have tended to oppose a stronger central government, however.
They are strongly independent by nature, which has hampered getting help against Formorian, but were thought to be looking for allies before the Logruswrack.
Great Houses: Olympus
House Olympus is unusual in that many of its subordinate houses are semi-democratic 'free cities', smaller, weaker versions of the Great Free Cities. In local parlance, they are called a 'polis'. They are typically ruled by a government democratically elected by the body of citizens, who usually make up about 10-20% of the population. Another ten percent or so are free men who are not citizens, often foreign in origin and sometimes citizens of nearby Ways. The remaining population are usually serfs or slaves, usually gathered by raids on the shadows of the Chaos end of things.
- Amphipolis: Makers of fine pottery
- Athens: Athens stands next to Athenaways; it is very notable as a cultural center. Its' yearly drama competition attracts people from all over Chaos to compete and watch.
- Boetia: A federation of ten tiny Ways, lead by Thebes, the strongest of them. It is often paralyzed by internal conflicts, but produces very good wine.
- Corinth: A great trading city, it is also noteworthy for its fine temple of Milithi, which has attracted many scholars.
- Lesbos: An all-female polis, noted for fielding a very strong force of Archers and for excellent poetry.
- Platopolis: A very hiearchical nation divided into castes, it is run by the caste of philosophers. Created as an experiment by Lord Pluto's son Plato, it remains debatable as to whether it would be viable without his heavy use of shadow molding...
- Sparta: A very militaristic polis, which produces some of the finest, most disciplined fighters in Chaos if you don't mind them being cruel, brutal, and useless for anything but killing. The Spartans practice inverse Darwinian selection on their slaves, killing off the most fit and intelligent. The result is that their slaves tend to be stupid beyond belief, and don't live very long, necessitating more slave raids. Periodically, the slaves do revolt in inchoate rage and kill off anywhere from a quarter to half the Spartans before they are all slaughtered and the whole thing starts over.
House Olympus is normally too busy looking for nookie to get into politics, and usually backed whoever offered them the most chances for interesting sex and beer. They have, however, at times come forward to back measures which increased the autonomy of the Great Houses.
They are unusual in that they are the only house able to stay on good terms with both Formorian and Danaani, possibly because neither house takes them seriously.
Great Houses: Suroth
Free Cities: Lankhmar (Lesser)
Minor Houses of Note:
- House Bukarain: House Bukarain has perfected the art of Blood Creatures. You never know if you're dealing with the real thing or just a clone...
- House Capcom: A house of expert martial artists which has a strong rivalry with House SNK.
- The Moliation Guild: An association of people skilled at shapeshifting other people; they assist those with poor skills or who want help becoming more beautiful (or ugly, for Formorians).
- House Moreau: A house of beast-men of various kinds. They are noted for their skill at dealing with animals and wilderness survival.
- House Sinkira: House Sinkira specializes in the treatment of shapeshifting maladies and poisons. Rumors have it they also are skilled with the manufacture and use of shapeshifting poisons...
- House SNK: A house of expert martial artists which has a strong rivalry with House Capcom.
- House Souma: Home to the current Ambassador from Chaos, House Suroth are expert shapeshifters and martial artists, but thirteen among them bear the burden of an ancestral curse which turns them into animals when hugged or embarrassed.
- House Taaza: House Taaza specialize in studying the use of shapeshifting in combat and form the heavy infantry of Suroth.
House Suroth has stayed out of politics in order to have time to practice martial arts and shapeshifting and to explore shadow. House Suroth usually backs any measure which helps protect the Courts from invasion and stays out of most other issues unless well bribed.
With Ishmael dead and the houses in ruins, the political landscape of Chaos may well be about to change.
Devastated by the Fenris Wolf, House Aesir has lost most of its leadership and its Logrusfoil. They may rally to the side of Azalyn, thanks to the aid sent to them from the Princess' court.
The two best claimants to the throne are Loki (eldest surviving member, best claim by blood) and Shinobu Minor of Amber (best claim by adoption, better liked than Loki).
Update: Thanks to Random, Loki and Shinobu Minor have reconciled and the house has gone over to Azalyn.
Lady Talia and Lord Xaemyl killed each other and Lord Baruch, younger sibling of Lady Talia has claimed the throne in the absence of Lady Suu, who technically has a better claim, but seems to have vanished at the same time that Alarsways turned into a rampaging giant robot...
UPDATE : Lady Suu has been rescued from Mecha-Alarsways by Random, Juri, Touga, and Old Man Cox. Mecha-Alarsways was last seen rampaging towards one of the cross-universe portals from Chaos to New Chaos.
Lord Baruch seems to have moved himself to align with Azalyn.
Lady Marian has claimed the throne in the wake of her Father's death.
Danaani has declared for House SUroth, bringing Valencia (and indirectly Gotham) with it.
With Lady Mina dead, there seems to be a power struggle in progress in the House. Darios Minor and Halder are struggling over the succession, although thanks to Lord Shanks this seems likely to soon resolve.
It might be reasonably anticipated that whoever wins, they will likely back House Formorian, their allies, but it may be that one or the other of them has other plans.
House Formorian (House Firbolg)
Lord Kaled has applied to the Priests of the Serpent to be recognized as King and remains in control.
Status under revision as cleanups following the 'Metal Gear Helgram' battle are underway. Loewen is out of his cocoon and has butterfly wings :) He is not happy about this. Tomoe, Mataka, Melissa, Hoji, Hotaru, and Kodachi survived; the rest of Loewen's original Ten Swords have died. If anyone else lived in the higher ranks it's unknown, though much of Helgram's ranks were culled either by Logrus madness during the 'wrack or used as fodder by Cydno, Loewen's estranged Heretic son.
UPDATE: Sousuke, Suzuka, Michelle, two Kanames, Orien, Shiori, Yumi, Yomiko, Katherine, Nanbara, and Soujiro devised a plan to infiltrate and take down the Abyssal Infestation in Helgram. They managed to pull this off, though in the process learned just WHY it's a bitch taking down Abyss Masters. However, it could have been much worse.
They also found another Kanako. Who doesn't have as much fasion sense as the original. We have yet to get any comment from the principals on this development.
Most of the House leadership is dead and the Black House is in ruins. But Princess Azalyn seems determined to claim her father's throne and has had much aid from Amber.
House Jesby was plunged into civil war as the exiled Ladies Susan and Nancy returned to try to stage a coup. They lost, thanks to Orien and Shiori wiping out their force and capturing them.
Lord Nelson is now in control and has declared for Azalyn.
Anaxibius Minor has taken the throne and is marching forces to the support of Azalyn.
Most of the leadership is dead and Lords Hercules and Plato were locked in battle for control of the House. This seems to have been resolved with the assassination of Lord Plato.
Olympus seems likely to go Pro-Formorian, unless this looks utterly suicidal. Of course, at their strength, almost anything might be suicidal.
It has survived, largely intact, and is now in the process of preparing to assert a claim to the throne on behalf of Lady Suroth.
House Tremere lost most of its leaders and is currently deadlocked trying to resolve procedural difficulties which block appointing new leaders. This continues to drag on, though it appears that they may come to a conclusion soon as to how to elect the remaining councilmembers and the new Lord Tremere. Also, they just recently had an Outsider-artifact-using traitor exposed and put down. Hopefully, they will clean up the remains of said taint and get their act in gear.
It is unclear who they will back, but the odds favor Fomorian.
Devasted by Fenris, aided by Amber. Doric has become Lord Vanir and has joined the Royalist faction, having apparently decided that House Olympus is not the most attractive of allies at the moment...
The Free Cities
- Al-Rassan: Haroun al-Raschid is dead, his six sons and eight daughters are said to all be making a play for the throne. The major contenders are Faisal al-Raschid, who has the backing of the local Serpent priests and Fatima al-Raschid, who has the backing of multiple tribes of desert nomads now advancing on the city. (UPDATE: The succession has been settled, with Shahid Al-Raschid taking the throne. A former member of the Black Watch, he is very pro-Hendrake. Many of the other siblings are dead or in exile, and the desert nomads were soundly defeated. Also, the 'Ballad of Ibn Hafsun' is a new street favorite.)
- Sarantium: Now ruled by Emperor Alexius III after a peaceful succession. Sarantium's armies are massing for some unknown purpose. It has pledged itself to House Formorian.
- Brandenburg: While now missing his left eye, his right arm, half his nose, and all his body hair, Lord Jasrick VIII has survived the crisis and sent a messenger to pledge fealty to Azalyn. However, he also is reporting that several scouts working for something called 'The Knights of Wotan' have been captured poking about, and they seem to be planning an assault... (UPDATE: The armies of Al-Rassan and Asuka's personal forces joined Brandenburg to successfully fight off the Knights of Wotan. Whoever they were. They have now pledged for Azalyn.)
- Venetia: Venetia appears to be on fire somehow, people are fleeing into shadow, the Board of Trustees is missing and presumed dead. Under the circumstances, it does not seem to be taking any political positions. (UPDATE: Venetia has been extinquished and rebuilt with a brand new Jane Austen Center. It may be a while before all the residents filter back, though.) Venetia has now declared for Azalyn.
- Valencia: Largely intact, Valencia seems to have followed House Danaani in declaring for Suroth.
- Gotham: Gotham has restored order, and has massed its armies. They seem to have joined Suroth in hopes of getting to attack Sarantium.
- Megatokyo: With the ruling construct having gone mad and destroyed much of the city, the place fell into anarchy, and some sort of loon named Largo (no apparent connection to the construct) briefly seized control and pledged to 'Destroy the Queen of the Vampires'. House Alars stepped in and started the job of restoring order. Since then, Kong Interstellar has moved in with their blessing, stepping into the shoes of Genom and flooding the city with a massive work and security force. Sentiments are running in favor of Azalyn.
- Coruscant: The planet spent a while in anarchy and chaos, ended by Senator Palpatine being granted emergency powers by the Senate to restore order and Chloe delivering a massive food shipment to end the famine. It appeared to stabilize, and declared for Azalyn. Things destabilized again when a strike team led by Nanami, Akari, and Chloe unmasked Palpatine as Pharoah Mobius and removed him from office. Coruscant is now being led by Chancellor Perot; it is unclear if the new administration will change its support for the crown.
- Zeta Cygni: A fleet of mutated, Chaos-using, squidlike bio-ships invaded Zeta Cygni and attempted to kill everything that moved, and the place was in danger of collapsing and falling into the sun on the interior of it. Chloe, Asuka, Suzuka, and Nanbara have since routed the invaders, repaired the damage, and destroyed the source of the invasion. However, most of the Zeta Cygni military perished, either in the defence of the Free City itself or in the punative expedition against Squidworld. (UPDATE: Princess Naru has surfaced in Zeta Cygni, assisting with the rebuilding, and Kong is employing half the city.)