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Illuminator Background ] [ Official Seanchan Background ] Tinker Background ]

Excerpt From
The Wheel of Time: Prophecies of the Dragon


New Background: Seanchan
By Charles Ryan

The Seanchan background functions exactly like any of the other regional backgrounds covered in Chapter 2 of The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game. It provides a bonus feat from a list of several options, several class skills and 4 ranks in one of them, a home language, bonus language choices, and equipment choices.


Stern, mysterious, and deadly dangerous, the Seanchan come from a distant land thousands of leagues beyond the western ocean. It’s a land hardly imagined by the people of the westlands: A land where exotic animals -- and female channelers -- are put to the leash to serve the Empire; a land of dangerous political intrigue and baroque etiquette; a land where the nobility rules with an unquestioned iron fist.

Personality: The Seanchan are known in the westlands as fierce and dangerous warriors, merciless invaders who ride terrifying, exotic beasts and rain down lightning with their enslaved channelers. What most westlanders saw was the most vicious side of the Seanchan, an invading army bent on subjugating all they encountered. Individual Seanchan run the gamut of personalities, of course, and lead lives that seem just as normal to them as those of the westlands seem to a midlander or Ebou Dari. Nevertheless, Seanchan society is highly structured, with a strict ladder of social classes, each subservient to those above. Everyone has a place to serve, and everyone should stay in his or her place. To a Seanchan, the loose strictures that bind most westland nations, in which almost anyone can travel, move, or change jobs freely, is akin to anarchy.

That’s not to say that Seanchan never attempt to change their status. To the contrary: Scheming, conniving, and double-cross are a way of life among the Seanchan, who seek always to elevate themselves further above the da’covale ("those who are property") and closer to the Blood, the most honored of the nobility.

Physical Description: Seanchan vary as much in build and coloration as the people of the westlands. Dark hair is common, but so are lighter shades, and blue eyes are as frequently seen as brown, or green. Seanchan of all ranks take great pride in their dress and hygiene. The quality of Seanchan dress is directly related to social status, with higher classes dressing in colorful, heavily-embroidered silk tunics and robes.

Appearances and etiquette are extremely important to the Seanchan, and demonstrations of rank are essential. Members of the Blood (the highest of the nobility) shave portions of their heads in an elaborate and exacting code of seniority. Commoners, on the other hand, never shave their heads, and those who go bald wear wigs to avoid any appearance of inappropriate ambition. Long lacquered fingernails are another sign of rank, and the more lacquered nails, the higher the rank.

Relations: Native to a continent many thousands of miles overseas, the Seanchan are known to westlanders (when they’re known at all) as cruel invaders, bent on subjugating all they encounter. This is largely true -- the Seanchan see westlanders as faithless usurpers who are rightfully subject to the rule of their Empress. This stems from their history: Seanchan was, nearly 1,000 years ago, conquered by Artur Paendrag’s son Luthair, from whom the royal line still descends. Seanchan nobility believe that this makes them rightful rulers over the whole of the westlands, which were once Artur’s realm.

Oddly, though the Seanchan have brought strife and warfare in their attacks on the westlands, their arrogance toward westlanders does not extend to actual hatred. As the Seanchan armies occupy westland cities and villages, they require of the inhabitants oaths of fealty (see The Oaths). Those that swear the oaths are treated quite reasonably, for the most part.

Lands: The Seanchan empire extends over two continents. The Seanchan lands are broken through with several inland seas and more expansive than the westlands, covering a huge expanse and wide range of climates and terrain. The capital is Seandar, but nearly a dozen other major cities dot the Empire, along with countless towns and villages of all sizes.

Languages: The Seanchan speak their own dialect of Common, which seems heavily accented and slurred to most westlanders. Their speech is laced with terms from the Old Tongue.

Adventures: Seanchan in the westlands invariably arrived with one of the invasion fleets. That doesn’t necessarily make them soldiers, however. In addition to the armies, the Seanchan forces included sailors, nobility, servants, animal handlers, artisans, and support personnel of every description. A Seanchan character of any description might have been left behind after a military defeat, or have found reason to desert the Seanchan force. Either way, one thing’s for sure: Any Seanchan in the westlands -- any Seanchan who joined the invasion fleet -- has already proven to posses the skills and spirit of an adventurer.

Seanchan Background

Background Feats Background Skills Home Language Bonus Language Choices Equipment
Handle Animal
Knowledge (Age of Legends)
Common (Seanchan) Common (Arad Doman)
Common (Tarabon)
Old Tongue
Spear, Seanchan; brigandine shirt
Crossbow, light; scimitar, Seanchan
Noble's outfit; jewelry (20 mk)





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