Tome of Dorgoth

Labarean Empire

The Labarean Empire consists of the Labarean peninsula and all territories that have been subjugated by Labar. The Empire is led by science and technology-obsessed gnomes, who have enslaved humans and orcs to serve them and their technologies. The Empire was founded in 592 LC, when then-king Jalyxx II was crowned Emperor by the Church of Dorgoth.

Slavery in the Empire

Humans are the most popular of slaves, as they quickly start self-identifying as workers who need to make the best of the situation. Orcs are mostly used for warfare and specific types of manual labor.

History

Besides a modest expansion into the Shashar Plains, the Kingdom of Labar had only developed itself internally before 592 LC. Its economy depended largely on fishing and agriculture, but a well-developed infrastructure allowed goods to travel easily through the country. This led to the invention of products like gnomish frying oil, which was made by combining fish from Hervik with olive oil from Galotigoo. Quick transport and the tinkering spirit of Labareans led to rapid innovation within the kingdom.

Technological growth

Jalyxx II, however, had bigger plans than frying oil. He thought development of Labar was too slow and wanted to spread the spirit of tinkering to new lands. As a king, he had already set up the Board for Rapid Innovation and Gnomish High-End Tinkering (BRIGHT), in which the best thinkers of Labar worked to improve industrial practices. As an emperor, he wanted to direct such technological growth towards militarization. The Labarean Academy of Military Betterment, Conflict and Occasional Warfare (LAMBCOW) was therefore merged with BRIGHT in 593 LC.

Within a decade, however, it became clear that mechanizing every aspect of life and the military required a great amount of energy. While early experiments with cattle and energy production were successful, Emperor Jalyxx was most optimistic about the use of human labor in powering and maintaining the machines.

Divine inspiration

While Emperor Jalyxx had facilitated the rise of the Dorgothian Church as a state religion, it was his son Emperor Dolydorius who truly connected the Labarean plight with Dorgoth. He succeeded his father in 696 LC and immediately made plans to put the empire to use for “the liberating march of order and knowledge”. Dolydorius doubled down on the 622 LC Magic Ban and suggested the foundation of a special group to enforce it. Because his main worry was the proliferation of magic items, he tasked the Dorgothian preacher Brior Dabblespeck to organize this operation from within the Imperial Trading Company. Dabblespeck did so by founding Blade of Dorgoth in 699 LC.

Expansion

In the 7th century, the demand for human slaves in the Empire exceeded the capacity to grow them. This was first solved by organizing slaving expeditions at land and on sea, but it quickly became apparent that occupying foreign territories and growing the slaves there was more efficient. This practice also added valuable farm land to the Empire.

As the Labareans already controlled important trading routes eastwards, it was relatively easy for them to overtake these areas. The gnomes, armed to the teeth with crossbows and convoluted contraptions that fired harpoons, marched along the southern coast, capturing and enslaving humans along the way. In 605 LC, they put The Mouth under siege and conquered the fortified harbor. From there, they slowly pushed through, taking over towns one at a time. They constructed forts while spending 70 years to move towards Lobster Bay, where they halted.

The Labarean economy was flourishing at this point. Nobody had impeded the steady march and trading with The Porcupine and the Kingdom of Laeryll had continued as normal. While the Laeryllian Crown had expressed unease at the treatment of the humans, none of the areas that were overtaken were considered to be part of a formal political unity: they were just towns and farmsteads run by humans.

The Labareans were aware that a further move eastwards would cause distress with the elves, for whom Silimanis was very much a political unity. It would also frustrate the dwarves, as the harbors of Silimanis were important trading hubs for them, which they would rather see remain independent.

Invasion of Silimanis

The political calculus changed, however, when 699 LC saw the Secession of Qosid and a strong response by the Kingdom of Laeryll. The internal strife weakened the Kingdom and the Labareans felt confident that they could enter Silimanis unimpeded. In 724 LC, they moved their troops into the territory.

Indeed, the elves did not respond to the transgression. In fact, Olyxx III wanted those elves who joined the Silimani resistance to step down under the Decree of Returning. Even by themselves, the humans managed to hold back the invaders for two years, before finally being overwhelmed by orc forces in Labarean uniforms.

Response to the occupation of Silimanis

Kingdom of Laeryll

Silimanis was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Laeryll, as declared by Queen Galythiel after the War of the Sisters, and so the Decree of Returning was upsetting to the elves and placed Olyxx III in a weak political position. Qosid petitioned the Crown for a military response and the Dathyllian Church of Ush pleaded with Olyxx III to allow human refugees into the kingdom.

Yet Olyxx III did neither of those things. He publicly expressed his concern for the human inhabitants of the lost province and requested the Labarean Empire to treat them with dignity and respect.

The Porcupine

For the dwarves in the Porcupine, the conquest of Silimanis was mostly an economical concern. The Labarean Empire levied higher tariffs on goods than the Kingdom of Laeryll did. Moving goods to Nossed had allowed the dwarves to sell to many different trading partners on the Northern Arm, but the new tariffs would push such trade to higher prices and might lower demand.

The dwarves therefore took a dual strategy: they secretly lobbied for war among the elves and were willing to fund and support it. Simultaneously, they petitioned Emperor Dolydorius for lower tariffs.

The Labarean Empire

Within the Empire itself, the success of the Silimanis campaign greatly boosted the popularity and clout of the aging emperor Dolydorius. The Empire, which had benefited greatly from Dolydorius' expansionism, diverted more and more resources into BRIGHT/LAMBCOW to develop (mostly military) machinery. The conviction that the Empire was an unstoppable machine spread among the gnome elites.

The invasion of Silimanis also changed the way that slavery in the Labarean Empire took place. While slaves were originally captured or bred, the Labareans found Silimanis to be an industrious area and were not willing to enslave its population fully. Therefore, 727 LC saw the introduction of an Independence Tax in Silimanis, which was to be paid by all non-gnome citizen of the region. By paying the tax, profitable businesses or industrious individuals could continue to operate in freedom, but humans who were not able to provide enough to pay the tax were instead taken up as slaves. Each year, on the first of Marat, slaves could buy their freedom by paying the Independence Tax and free humans could find themselves in forced labor if they did not have adequate funds. In later decades, the Independence Tax became a staple of the Empire.