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The Tiers is the name of the region of Terratus in which Tyranny takes place. The Tiers were the last corner of the world to submit to Kyros' rule, and the Overlord's Archons are still establishing firm control over the people of this land. The Tiers are named for the huge steps of land that lower in elevation from the northern peninsula that connects the Tiers to Kyros' Empire down to the ocean in the south.

The population was concentrated in two primary realms, Stalwart and Azure, accounting for 29% and 55% of the Tier population respectively. Beast populations are overwhelmingly centered in Azure, accounting for nearly 75% of the total population.


A small peninsula in the northwest of Terratus, the Tiers were settled in the first century TR, by refugees displaced from a war between what are now Kyros' realms of Trevn and Fertile Sands. A flotilla of barely-seaworthy rigs was loaded and headed west across the high seas.[1] Landing at the Five Wives, the refugees found the first five settlements that, in time, gave rise to the major political powers in the Tiers.[2] The Tiers, in conjunction with things like the mountain ranges that cradle Apex, allowed for a number of culturally similar nation states to form after humans first moved here centuries ago. Over time, some of the larger cities broke off from their kingdoms, defending themselves against the nobility's attempts to reclaim them.[3]

The most powerful of the fledgling realms turned out to be Haven, Azure, Apex, and Stalwart.[4] Collectively, these four domains were known as the Younger Realms (in contrast to the Older Realms that built the Oldwalls and the Spires).[5]

The Tiers fell to the Overlord's campaign of conquest between 428 TR and 430 TR. Apart from being the last unbowed corner of her empire, the Tiers are strategically important to Kyros for two reasons. First, the Overlord's triremes must pass along the coast of the Tiers to connect the corners of the Empire. Before submitting to the Overlord, the School of Tides would often attack the Empire's merchant ships. Their command of the waves gave them a superior edge in naval battle. This was a major factor in the decision to attack by land, rather than by sea. The destruction of the School of Tides has freed the Overlord's ships to travel to all corners of the Empire. Second, during the Conquest a large deposit of iron ore was found in the realm of Haven. This deposit is the largest yet discovered in Kyros' Empire - since the Tanavon Mines were destroyed by the Overlord's Edict in 428 TR.[6]


The Tiers were dominated by three powers: The Younger Realms, the Bastard City and its Tier, and the Free Cities, all tracing their roots to the original settlers.[7]

  • Younger Realms: In a broad sense, the term refers to all Tier realms: Ardent, Azure, Stalwart, Occon, Verdance, the Bastard Tier, and the Free Cities. In a narrow sense, it refers to the four largest realms that played the biggest role in the struggle for control (Azure, Stalwart, Apex, and Haven). For centuries, the Younger Realms have battled amongst themselves for control of the Tiers, with every realm having been at war with each other at some point in memorable history. When Kyros invaded, petty ambitions precluded the formation of an unified resistance, allowing the Overlord's armies to dismantle the Tiers piecemeal.[8]
  • Bastard Tier: The northernmost of the Tiers, and the choke point to the Northern Empire. It's been a hub of trade for centuries, and a long line of merchant families and private armies have kept the realm largely lawless.[9]
  • Free Cities, also called the Four Brothers: Save for their independence from the Younger Realms, the Free Cities are an oxymoron, politically aligned through mutual hatred of other realms, rather than any actual love of liberty.[10] The four primary Free Cities (the Four Brothers) were Setting-Sun, Last Harbor, Spiral's Maw, and Baris-in-Chains; lesser cities included Ardent and Sunder. Setting-Sun was the most powerful until its destruction by the Edict of Tumult in 429 TR; after this point the other three major free cities became the Three Brothers.

A separate layer of politics existed, involving the three extant Schools of Magic:.

  • School of Tides: Founded by Occulted Jade, the Tidecasters were one of the most powerful guilds, backed by the Kingdom of Haven as defenders of sea trade and relentless educators.[11]
  • School of Wild Wrath: More resembling a mercenary outfit, the School's elders more than eager to aim the School's destructive impulses at any foe for the right price. [12]
  • School of Ink and Quill: One of the longest surviving schools of magic in the Tiers, the School of Ink and Quill is a venerable institution devoted to the acquisition and preservation of knowledge.[13]


  • Tier culture dictates that inheritance of real estate only happens between women, while maritime property such as ships only pass between male members of the family.[14]
  • Gambling is a favourite pastime among Tiersmen.
  • The Blue Flag is a symbol of diplomacy and truce recognized across most of the known world - and it is a custom the Tiersmen hold dear. To harm another person under the auspices of a Blue Flag is a grave offense - in both the Tiers and in Kyros's Empire, the customary punishment is death.


  1. Eb: "Humans settlers arrived over four hundred years ago. Displaced from a war between what are now Kyros' realms of Trevn and Fertile Sands, a flotilla of barely-seaworthy rigs and headed west across the high seas."
  2. Eb: "Tiersmen will sometimes speak of the Five Wives - we use it to refer both to the first five settlements where the colonists made landfall, as well as to the five matriarchs that went on to form the ruling dynasties of the Tiers."
  3. Fatebinder Calio
  4. Eb: "Haven, Azure, Apex, and Stalwart have been the four major forces of the Tiers for the last four centuries. A few other dynasties have tried their hand, but all eventually were defeated or absorbed into the four we know today."
  5. Eb: "Not sure when the term 'younger" came into fashion, but it's always been a term of humble contrast - just look at the Oldwalls - someone was here before us and built them - don't know really anything about them, but it stands to reason there used to be an Older Realms that did all the construction."
  6. Lore entry.
  7. Eb: "Before Kyros came, the Tiers were the Younger Realms, The Bastard Tier, and the Free Cities - in about that order of prominence. We all trace our roots back to the Five Wives - though sometimes a bit of ancestral shoreline seems all we have in common."
  8. Eb: "Opportunity... that's what killed us. Haven wanted to watch the Bastard Tier fall first, Apex was hoping Haven would fall, Azure wanted Stalwart to be attacked first. Every realm of the Tiers had some interest in watching their neighbors fail first... so we all held back our support until a year or so into the war... too fucking late by then... squabbling idiots."
  9. Eb: "It's the northernmost of the Tiers, and the choke point to the Northern Empire. It's been a hub of trade for centuries, and a long line of merchant families and private armies have kept the realm largely lawless."
  10. Eb: "There is little 'free' about the Free Cities save for their independence from the Younger Realms. They are not physically adjacent, but rather, politically allied by their shared hatred of the other realms."
  11. Eb: "There was a time when the Tidecasters were the most powerful guild of the Tiers... the Kingdom of Haven accepted us as defenders of sea trade and the noble houses gave us peace and quiet in exchange for teaching their sons and daughters music, writing, and navigation."
  12. Lore.
  13. Encyclopedia entry.
  14. Eb: "For centuries, it has been our way that the men own the ships but the women own the harbors. Our customs don't truly prevent ownership, they limit inheritance - lands pass to daughters then sisters then mothers and aunts. Ships pass to sons then brothers then fathers and uncles."