The Empire (Pre-Great Fall) was a nation-state that existed on the Continent from 0 AF until it’s dissolution around 120AF, using a calendar of their own creation. At the Empire’s height, they controlled almost all of the Continent and through almost all of the Empire’s history they were the sole great power on the Continent.
The Empire was a hereditary monarchy supported by cultural and political institutions, such as the Academy. In all, seven Emperors ruled over the Empire before its dissolution due to The Great Fall.
The Empire’s reign was characterized by territorial expansion and exploration and excavations of Ancient Age ruins. The latter's goal was generally to aid in the former. Almost all excavation and research into the Ancient Age was directed towards developing weaponry.
Formation (80BE to 0AF)
Little concrete information is known about this early period in the Empire’s history. At some point settlers arrived on The Continent. It is believed they arrived via sea from another land.
It has been speculated that these early settlers may have even been a tribe of Seekers. Zadoc, a seeker living in 120AF, states definitely that these first settlers were Seekers who became corrupted by power and forgot their original purpose.
Whatever the cause for and means of their arrival, these new settlers to the continent gradually pushed back the Aggressive Lifeforms and established a foothold on the continent. When a “certain site” was finally cleared, the First Emperor declared “the restoration of humanity” and established the Imperial Calendar, starting at Year Zero.
Period of Territorial Expansion (0AF - 69AF)
The early Empire was concerned with securing the fledgling nation’s small borders and excavating ruins. By 5AF the burgeoning capitol was attracting people in search of safety and banding these nomadic settlers together.
In 15 AF the First Emperor died and The Second Emperor ascended to the throne. His reign lasted only a decade until his death in a battle against Aggressive Lifeforms. In 25 AF the Crown Prince ascended to the throne at age 19 to become the Third Emperor.
The Third Emperor’s reign was characterized by a focus in developing and researching Old World technology and weaponry. Of special note is the development of “Old World Engine” technology that allowed the development of the Imperial Aerial Battleship. Weaponry such as this would later become essential to almost every aspect of Imperial life.
In 29 AF, the Imperial Aerial fleet engaged in its first skirmish against Guardians of the Ancient ruins to much success. It was reported that the guardians were dispatched “in a single sweeping shot.”
By 35 AF a national identity had been solidified and the Third Emperor declared the nation-state “The Empire” and dated the nation’s founding to the proclamation of the First Emperor in 0 AF.
Furthermore in this declaration the Third Emperor asserted a direct connection to the Ancient and claimed direct ownership of all ruins and Ancient technology. During this period of national awakening, the Empire’s aggressive border expansion continued. In AF 39, Imperial troops invaded border nations under the guise of rescuing the people from Aggressive Lifeforms, but by 43 AF the frontier nations of Dido and De Beuys were annexed.
In 48 AF, The Third Emperor died and The Fourth Emperor ascended to the throne. It is reported that during The Fourth Emperor’s short reign he was suffering from a mental illness that made him unable to discharge his duties. He died the same year.
After the death of the Fourth Emperor in 48 AF, the Fifth Emperor ascended to the throne, but his reign was equally short lived. The Fifth Emperor was killed in an Old World Engine experiment in 49 AF.
During this period of rapid successions, power was held by Imperial Institutions such as the Imperial Army and the Imperial Academy. This continuation of power, rather than dissolution or rebellion, is a testament to the national unity that had developed over the past half century.
It is unclear what, if any, executive power structure existed during this time but in 52 AF, “after a series of vacancies,” the Sixth Emperor, a younger brother of The Third Emperor, ascended to the throne.
Imperial Prosperity Period
The Imperial Prosperity Period as it’s known started with the ascendancy of the Sixth Emperor, who, like his brother, expanded the Empire’s search of Ancient Ruins and Old World Technology. It was around this time that the importance of a specific ruin, called The Tower, became known.
In 69 AF The Empire’s Aerial Battleship was hijacked. The Federation Of Meccania was blamed for this event. The Federation Of Meccania denied this and subsequent evidence discovered years later indicated the hijacking was a false-flag event used to justify an invasion of Meccania.
During this same time, The Federation of Meccania likely did engage in kidnappings of Imperial Chosen Ones. Survivor accounts lead credence to this claim, but Meccania denied the accusations—stating the disappearances could have been attacks from Aggressive Lifeforms.
Regardless of the actual truth, by 70 AF relations between the two nations had deteriorated and The Sixth Emperor declared war on the Federation Of Meccania.
Meccania War - Events of Panzer Dragoon Zwei
As the war between The Empire and Meccania escalated, a ship from the Old World was discovered near the Meccanian territory of Elpis. The ancient ship, Shelcoof, escaped the Empire and Meccania and flew towards the frontier on its own accord. During this time, the first dragons appeared in the historical record. These events became known as the Shelcoof Incident.
By 73 AF, Meccania had been subjugated by the Empire and investigations into the dragons seen during the war began in earnest. The Sixth Emperor, perhaps because of his tenure at the Imperial Academy, focused more intensely on excavating and researching the Old World Ruins.
In 82 AF, The Sixth Emperor died and The Seventh Emperor ascended to the throne.
Events of Panzer Dragoon
The Tower was discovered in 85 AF, and in keeping with his predecessor, the Seventh Emperor engaged in excavation and research. It was at this time that a previously hypothesized connection between The Dragons and The Ruins was borne out.
After four years of research The Empire attempted to activate the tower in 89 AF. At same time as the tower activation, two dragons appeared. It is unclear if this tower activation summoned the dragons. The Empire dispatched their Aerial Battleship and it’s accompanying fleet after the dragons, but were soundly defeated. Upon the dragons reaching the capital, the Aggressive Lifeforms swarmed from The Tower, and the Imperial City was almost entirely destroyed.
Although by the following year, reorganization and reconstruction of the Imperial Capital was in full swing, the events regarding The Dragon and The Tower began a period of decline for The Empire in terms of its power and influence.
During this period construction of the massive Flagship Grig Orig began as well. By 91 AF, heavy taxes had been imposed throughout The Empire to finance Grig Orig, as well as the reconstruction of the Army, Areal Fleet, and the Capital city.
This reconstruction proceeded over the next decade, until Grig Orig’s completion on the Empire’s centennial year. At this time The Seventh Emperor took up residence in Grig Orig. Despite the Flagship's awesome power, many parts of The Empire were in open rebellion, resenting the excessive taxation of the previous decade. Although each rebellion was crushed, rumors of a Dragon that had defeated The Empire continued to grow amongst the people.
There is little history in the late period of the Empire, but we can surmise that research continued unabated, with Imperial excavations occurring great distances from the capital for decades. In 110 AF an accident with “Special No. 0 Jet” resulted in the destruction of provincial towns.
Events of Panzer Dragoon Saga
The Craymen rebellion rapidly accelerated the decline of the Empire. In 119 AF, The Black Fleet commanded by K.F Craymen destroyed The rebuilt Capital of The Empire. The Black Fleet went on to attack Excavation Site #4, stealing the Drone Azel and the Dragon Atolm in the process.
While the Empire sent the near totality of their forces after Craymen’s Fleet, Edge and his dragon continued their quest. During this time, the settlement of Zoah, located in the western region of The Continent, refused to submit to the declining Empire’s military might. One of the religious and political leaders of Zoah, Viaman, convinced Edge to attack an Imperial Airforce Base.
The destruction of the Air force base and the subsequent failed launch of the Deathmaker Missile was a demoralizing blow to The Empire, particularly to the Seventh Emperor himself. In retaliation, the Empire’s flagship Grig Orig fired upon the settlement of Zoah, obliterating any trace of the town in a single blast.
Subsequently, the Empire laid siege to The Tower of Uru and took brief control of The Tower. During a confrontation between Edge, Craymen, The Seventh Emperor and several soldiers in the control room, the Seventh Emperor ordered Azel to activate The Tower. Just as had happened 30 years earlier, Pure-Type monsters flooded from the Tower.
In the ensuing melee, Craymen and The Seventh Emperor were killed, the Imperial Air Fleet was overrun, and the Flagship Grig Orig was infested with Pure-Type Monsters.
Edge and his Dragon defeated Grig Orig once and for all, then went on to deactivate the towers and free humanity from The Will of The Ancients.
Following the death of The Seventh Emperor, the destruction of Grig Orig and the deactivation of the Tower of Uru the Empire dissolved as the climate rapidly changed during a period that became known as The Great Fall.
The Empire had a highly stratified and patriarchal class-based society. At the top of this cultural food chain was of course the Emperor and The Royal Family. As a hereditary monarchy, the royal family was especially concerned about their bloodline. As such, they purposefully married and had children amongst themselves. To accentuate the royal family's privilege, marrying close family members was expressly forbidden for anyone other than a royal family member.
Second in status to the Royal Family were the Connected People. Connected People traced their lineage back to the founding days of the Empire and were a special protected class within Imperial society. Subsequent settlers in the Imperial Capital city gave this class their name, but it is unclear where the term was meant to be deferential or a pejorative.
Connected People lived in a residence district within the Academy grounds. From birth, Connected People were unconditionally approved to enter the Academy, guaranteeing a high status position within the greater Imperial society. Connected People were the only non-royal family members allowed to enter the Imperial Palace. Though Connected People regularly interacted with Chosen Ones admitted to the Academy, they did not intermarry with any other class.
Below the Connected People were the Chosen Ones. The Chosen Ones were those who managed to pass the Academy's grueling entrance exam. Becoming a Chosen One was the singular means by which a commoner could advance themselves in Imperial society. Commoners could pass the Academy exams to become a member of the Chosen Ones. This guaranteed a future in Imperial politics, warfare, or Ancient research as well as preferential economic treatment.
Commoners lived outside of the walls of the Academy grounds in the Imperial capital and across the subjugated lands of the Empire. While being a commoner was clearly more dangerous and less advantageous than being born into privilege, it was not impossible for a commoner to live a comfortable life within the Empire. Those who plied their trade successfully in the Imperial Trade District could live comfortable lives "up until their great-grandchildren's generation." This lead most commoners to either purse an Academy position or a career in trade.
Similarly, while still technically being commoners in Imperial society, families of Chosen Ones lived in high-class buildings and received a degree of preferential treatment. Interestingly, this privilege was limited to one generation and not inherited like the Connected People.
The Empire was a complex society involving numerous institutions engaged in advancing the Empire's goals through research, violence, or political maneuvering.
Imperial Army and Imperial Aerial Fleet
Not much is known about the the Imperial Army, other than it existed.
Much more information is known about the Imperial Aerial Fleet. Entirely powered by Ancient technology. the Aerial Fleet was an important part of Imperial War Machine. Every dragon rider was plagued by the Imperial Aerial Fleet at one point during their journeys, regularly dispatching scores of Imperial fighters. The Imperial Aerial Fleet was also involved in research, excavation, and transport. Though, even the airships not designed for direct conflict could inflict devastating damage if necessary.
The Academy was the largest institution in the Empire and constantly played a crucial role in the nation's development. The Academy itself was a large sprawling complex located near the Imperial Capital. But the Academy was regularly referred to in a metonymic sense by the people of the Empire.
The Academy's primary role in Imperial society was to research the Ancient Age. To this end the Academy engaged in everything from dissections of pure-type creatures to experiments with Ancient Age engines. The Academy also aggressively researched the Dragons, Towers, and Shelcoof.
Die Welt Von Panzer Dragoon Zwei makes reference to a Parliament selected from members of the Academy. But the exact role of the Imperial Parliament is unknown. No governmental functions are explicitly stated to be within the domain of the Imperial Parliament, but the control and release of information regarding the Ancient Age is mentioned as a primary function. Since Parliament was chosen from members of the Academy, it was entirely possible for a commoner to rise to this level in society. Indeed, it appears this was intentional to give the commoners the belief they could have a say in Imperial politics.
- - Timeline of History. Translated using DeepL.
- Panzer Dragoon Legacy - Conversations with Zadoc
- Azel Panzer Dragoon RPG Guidebook pages 10-11
- Die Welt Von Panzer Dragoon Zwei (insert page #s)
- Panzer Dragoon Legacy - Leader's Note (Captain's Diary)
|Academy Faction • Ancient • Black Fleet • Empire (Pre-Great Fall • Post-Great Fall) • Federation of Meccania • Hunters • Li Vis • Mercenaries • People of Elpis • People of the Caravan • People of Zoah • Prince Faction • Seekers • Southern Peoples • Technology Destruction Faction • Technology Preservation Faction • Teed • Wormriders|
- Die Welt Von Panzer Dragoon Zwei pg 14, et al.
- Die Welt Von Panzer Dragoon Zwei