Daiteikoku

“We are the master race, the daijin, chosen by the lords of the Oni to rule the world in their name. What hope can you have to stand against us, mainlander?” Kato Osami, samurai of the empire of Daiteikoku, to a warblade swordsmaster of Wànnián Dìguó.

Daiteikoku (which translates to “Great Empire”) is a hobgoblin empire located on an island chain off the east coast of Wànnián Dìguó. Piracy has been a common threat from these islands for centuries uncounted, but two decades ago, they were united under a single ruler, who they refer to as the Haou. Two years ago, a massive invasion force and armada was launched from these islands to the coast of Wànnián Dìguó, and then proceeded to conquer an entire province as a beachhead. While the war has settled into a bloody stalemate, it is a tenuous one.

Daiteikoku is much more unified than Wànnián Dìguó, which has allowed them to continually feed troops into the war and supply them properly. While it has classes of nobles, such as the Daimyos who are an equivalent rank to the lower landowning nobility of other nations to the Shoguns, who have Daimyos in a vassal arrangement under them, these nobles are not at each others’ throats. That has traditionally been the case, encouraged by the local religion, but that has since changed. The local religion is a form of very organized and entrenched daemon cult. The priests of this religion have been prophesying about a great leader, supported by the greatest lords of the daemons, which they call “oni”, arising to subjugate the rest of the world under Daiteikoku.
This leader, Takeshi Noboru, began as one of the more powerful Shoguns on the largest of the islands, and after inheriting his father’s position at sixteen, managed to force the rest on that island and those directly neighboring it into his service within five years of war.
These startling victories caught the attention of the priesthood. After several of the most influential tested him carefully (legend holds that they bound a powerful daemon to him, which he subdued and harnessed), they declared him to be that great leader, and gave him the title “Haou”.

Religious fervor swept across the rest of the islands, and soon the rest of the nobility had bent their knees to Haou Takeshi Noboru. Sixteen years were spent solidifying this unity and training a massive invasion force. Finally, when Takeshi and the priesthood deemed it time to strike, most of this force set sail to Wànnián Dìguó.

The army fell upon a largely unprepared province. A feud between two noble houses had dragged the rest of the province into a war which had only just concluded. The province was not able to repel the invasion. The initial strike was made up of samurai, a group of highly trained daemonbound warriors roughly equivalent in status to Jenneric mage-knights or orc landsknecht, and minor daemons summoned by the priests. The samurai are trained to a similar level as martial ascetics before having a lesser daemon bound to them, giving them sorcerous powers to supplement martial skill. The Huángjūn and auxiliaries in the area, already weary of war, couldn’t stand before this onslaught, and Daiteikoku gained a foothold. The civilian population has been rounded up for use as sacrifices and living shields, while their slaves simply labor for new masters.

The counterattack by the Huángjūn has been stalled by both these elite forces and the peasant conscripts and slave soldiers landed after the samurai and daemons carved out an initial beachhead. Elf and orc mercenaries have been brought in, and the Order of the Heartflame has sent a startlingly large crusade force of nearly five hundred Knight-Protectors and three thousand layman soldiers. The Daiteikoku army grows constantly, though, and Huangdi Wei is seriously considering asking their old Bozhestvennayan rivals for aid.