|Emblematic Mana:||Law Mana|
Clan of Embers
|Unique Quality:||Can use Crusade Civic|
Throughout this war of liberation and extermination, these heroes of an ancient age forged conquered, allied, and submitting tribes, cities, and nations into a human empire which, with the aid and guidance of Sabathiel, has stood firm even against the ravages of the Age of Ice, when all other nations were scattered and confounded. Though a shadow of its former power, the Bannor have already begun the work of rebuilding their strength to continue the fight their mythical forefathers swore them to.
This continuing Holy War permeates every part of their society, leaving it almost totally militarised. For the Bannor, there is no clear line between religion, family, and politics. They apply a frightening religious fervour to the art of war, and their obsession with order makes even the peasant regiments among the best drilled of all the empires. All men are trained from childhood in the arts of war – hand to hand combat, archery, self defence, strength, and agility. Unlike most other societies, there are plenty of possibilities for rising through the ranks through bravery and skill, a fact which inspires as much if not more fighting fervour than the religious element.
Because they need to be defended and ready at all times, outlying villages are more like forts, every farm is a small castle, the cities are huge garrison towns but also centers of trade, religion, and diplomacy. Few men are without scars from battle and the women are strongwilled and hardened. They know that the children they raise may one day be lost in battle, and they also know that one day the war may come to them. It is a rare woman among the Bannor that cannot handle a sword.
A central part of understanding the fabric of Bannor society is understanding the split between estates and "free land". The estates are enormous tracts of land, almost sub-kingdoms, under the rule of an Order, a Family or one of those peculiarities of the Bannor: a Hereditary Order – a religious order with members exclusively from one clan. Centered on a stronghold or small fortified city, the main function of the estates is to provide the necessary resources to field one Order or Family division, the powerful and highly dedicated fighting forces that make up the feared backbone of the Bannor armies.
The lion's share of the land in the Bannor empire is the "free land". The villages and cities that occupy and make a living off this land must, in addition to paying taxes and organising their own defences, provide a number of soldiers, fully trained and equipped, according to the wealth of the settlement. Although the Orders and Families are the spearhead and armoured fist of Bannor armies, "free land" conscripts provide the bulk forces that are needed to carry a battle.
By far the most numerous of the estate-holders, the non-hereditary Orders will take fighters from all across the world, all nations and races. Those deemed worthy in prowess and intelligence are taught in the ways and language of the Bannor and then join the fighting forces on the same footing as native Bannor.
The hereditary Orders are in reality families that have founded or taken over control of an Order. All the major positions are held by and passed down from father to son, uncle to nephew, like any usual aristocratic title. It is one of the few options a rich non-noble family has of gaining an estate and the power and responsibility that comes with it.
The noble Families all trace their lineage back to one of the spirits that Sabathiel set free. They use this holy heritage to legitimize their enormous power, and it is the reason the priesthood tolerates their existence and their meddling in the running of things. There are very few Families, but every one of them wields as much power and wealth as an Order. However, the priesthood keeps these secular powerhouses under careful and strict control, lest they attempt to change the fabric of Bannor society.
The highly-trained and well-equipped men who fight in the professional divisions of the Orders and Families come from a variety of backgrounds and fight for any number of reasons: Some do it for money or status, some few do it for glory or personal revenge, but most do it because they truly believe they are are on the front line of the war against Evil.
As any Bannor priest could tell you, the war fought by the Bannor is far more complicated than than a simple Good-Evil battle. The priesthood, under the guidance of Sabathiel (or so they claim) decide who is an enemy. Although they have yet to fight a civilization that conforms to some kind of law and sense of justice and compassion, few who can avoid it dare cross the Bannor, lest they be "damned" and added to the list of civilizations that must be taught to repent.
The focal point of the entire Bannor Empire is their capital, centered around the Bannor Palace, The Halls of Sabathiel. Although still recognizably a garrison city, it is also a sprawling, international metropolis matched by few other cities in Erebus. This is where the Orders have their headquarters, this is where the Families meet to discuss affairs of state, and this is where people come to consult with the priesthood. People of all races flock to the city to swell the ranks of the Orders, the Halls of Sabathiel have a constant stream of visitors coming to pay tribute or ask favours of his priests, and the bazaars and markets attract traders from far and wide, catering to the needs of a multiracial, multinational and multicultural army and administration.
Sabathiel, the mythical ruler of the Bannor, exhausted by his tireless fight against the influence and attacks of Mulcarn during the Ice Age, is said to reside deep within the recesses of his Halls, watching, guiding, teaching, and warding over the Bannor, conserving his temporal strength for some dire future conflict where he will once again be needed. He is a shadow king, never seen by his subjects but always a haunting figure, ever present in their consciousness.
In this day, there are those even among the Bannor, and even more so among their enemies, who whisper that both Sabathiel and his original spirits are naught but legends invented by a militant priesthood looking for ways to legitimize their rule. Whatever the truth of the matter, the fact is that in the Age of Rebirth, the Bannor must rely on human flesh and cold steel, not angels and spirits, to bring Law to the dark corners of the world.
The Bannor are a pretty generalist, law-oriented civilization. Though Sabathiel's traits are directly aligned for a Warmongering Civilization, it is actually Capria who is the most dangerous of the two due to the combination of Spiritual and the Bannor's unique Civic, Crusade. Due to not suffering Anarchy, Capria can switch in and out of Crusade at her leisure to smite her foes, while Sabathiel will have to be delayed by a few turns of Anarchy, or wait for a Golden Age to make the switch. Note, however, that even with spiritual leaders you have to wait at least 10 turns after a Revolution to change your civic again. While using Crusade, the Bannor are able to cast their Worldspell, Rally, to instantly gain a Demagog from each Town (still demoting them to Villages as normally happens during Crusade)
The one aspect of the Bannor which can be a bit tricky to get accustomed to is balancing their economy to plan for a war. With other Civilizations you can be content to have your population work certain tiles and choose them only to maximize the outcome by the numbers. But for the Bannor it is in your best interest to continue to move your population to a new tile, in the pursuit of developing a full fledged Town in every possible location throughout your Empire. Thus as soon as one Tile upgrades to a Town, you ought to quit working it and begin developing another one in preparation for any future War. Do this and you will have an almost unstoppable reserve force laying in wait for anyone foolish enough to incur your wrath.