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TOPIC OF THE MONTH: The Thyatian Reformation

By Vivianna Romanones
Insightful observers have for some time been aware that the Thyatian Empire was not as vigorous as it once was. Maladministration and venality among some elements of the nobility and within the government itself made "Thyatian" a byword for corruption in some nations. This decline was first noted in Thyatis itself after the Alphatian Spike Assault of the mid 10th century AC.
When Emperor Thincol took the throne he did his utmost to reverse this process, and a resurgence of Thyatian strength began. The recent Great War swept away the gains of his rule, however, and exposed for all to see the dissolute self-centeredness of some of the most prominent families of Thyatis. These people showed an almost Alphatian sense of narcissism, evidencing none of the traditional Thyatian virtues which made the imperium strong in the past. Their lack of interest in the commonwealth made the defeats during the early stages of the war almost inevitable. Though Thincol did his best to set things right, promoting able commanders and weeding out the dissipated and worthless ones, he could not work fast enough to prevent retreat and near disaster.
Many thought that in the aftermath of the war the empire would be able to right itself. Its most inimical enemy, the foe of all free Mystarans, was gone. But the humiliation at the hands of the insignificant Thothians showed that Thyatian society still was not working right. Thothian knaves were even able to deploy weapons of mass destruction within the Thyatian heartland itself, something not even the Alphatians had managed to do-or even been wicked enough to do. This embarrassment convinced many of those who at first refused to believe there was anything wrong within the empire that strong steps needed to be taken to restore it to its former greatness.
The rise of a new, dynamic emperor determined to not only restore the empire but to overhaul it and initiate much-needed reforms has caused tensions in Thyatian society. He has purged the senate of dead wood and put public-spirited men in charge of the imperial civil service. The Thyatian military is being reorganised and modernised; it will be a smaller but stronger force, better able to defend the empire's interests in a dangerous world.
Laws had not been enforced properly, because many judges were corrupt. While it is unarguable that Thyatian slaves live better lives and have greater legal protections than even the servant class of Alphatia, some think that the institution of slavery has no place in today's Mystara. Emperor Eusebius has walked a middle ground, insuring that the legal rights of slaves are observed. Intemperate judges who ignore the law have been removed from office. The rights of Thyatian citizens are being re-emphasised with a new concentration on local government through republican institutions.
Though Thyatis is known as a centre of trade, Thyatian mercantilism suffered in recent years by comparison to nations like Minrothad, Darokin, and even lowly Karameikos. Eusebius has adopted programs to support the development of a strong internal trading network within the empire, and to encourage enterprise beyond it. The new Mesonian Millworks, adapting Darokinian methods combined with Thyatian efficiency and ingenuity, is one of the surest signs of Thyatian resurgence. The imperial tax system has been changed, with an eye on encouraging reconstruction and discouraging inefficiency.
The emperor knows that though Thyatian methods were necessary to save the world from enslavement by the Alphatians, the expediency this required ironically made the imperium unpopular in many nations that nonetheless benefited from our vigilance. Now that the Alphatian threat has disappeared, he is interested in forging better relations with the Mystaran family of nations, through honourable diplomacy.
But though the emperor's reforms are popular among the common Thyatian people, not all are contented. Many powerful families that were stripped of title and position are grumbling. Some see the emperor's reforms as a threat to the very traditions he seeks to preserve. Many are not happy with the new, efficient administration-especially those that built their fortunes on graft and corruption. How these tensions will work themselves out remain to be seen, but it is likely that some of those who want to retain their prerogatives will be willing to stoop as low as treason.
But for the patriotic and intelligence, there is no choice. The emperor's reformation is long overdue. The traditional Thyatian virtues can only be preserved by adapting to a changed world and by uprooting corruption and restoring civic pride.