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The Rooted Empire


The Rooted Empire is a vast organisation inhabiting many large underground caverns far below the surface of the Eighth. It is a much more highly developed and scientifically advanced society than any on the surface, and it has managed to seal itself off from the surface almost entirely with the only remaining links being the tunnels and holds it has delved and populated with its monsters. All of its inhabitants are human, like the surface-dwellers, but are rigidly held to a highly bureaucratic system in which every aspect of behaviour and function are dictated by a complex system of rules.

The Rooted Empire, however, has taken control of its citizens one step further. It has managed to engineer its citizens, creating a society of people adapted to do a single assigned task for the rest of their lives. Because of this, and the automaton-like nature of the citizens, the Rooted Empire could be regarded more like a brutally efficient machine than a society, although its people do retain an element of free will and still possess basic emotions, if not as highly developed as surface-dwellers.

The Organizational System

The Empire's system of occupation is highly organized and includes every citizen; every person has a particular job to do, and no two people may occupy the same position at any one time. Each person is only referred to by the name of their occupation and rank; the system is such that personal names are redundant and most people do not have one (although there are a very small number of exceptions). Rankings are based on a system where the smaller the number is, the higher the actual rank, so for example, the 24th Window Cleaner would have a much higher position in the system than the 145th. Ranks are usually awarded on the basis of seniority; the older you are, the higher your rank is likely to be, although if anyone is negligent with their job or makes a serious mistake, they may get demoted. Promotion, however, is almost unheard of; only very rarely can a person move in front of someone more senior on the ranking system. The only chance most citizens have for rank increase is when someone more senior gets demoted or dies.

Occupational changes are also unthinkable; each citizen, once assigned a task, will do it for the rest of his or her life. The only exception to this, however, is when physical changes require people to change jobs or a new occupation is created. In such an event, only suitably flexible individuals in other professions that are able to carry out the job will be re-assigned their new tasks. This, according to the Archives, only happens every few hundred years or so, although the last time was relatively recently when Mud was accidentally created (See the Tar/Mud Rivalry for details).

Engineered Beings

The Empire's scientists spent many long years researching humans and the various creatures they transported down from the surface. In doing so, they managed to uncover much information about living organisms and their functions, and have developed techniques that allow them to manipulate genetic material, control biochemical development and reduce the effect of random mutations. Because of this, they are able to create new lifeforms, and often do so in controlled experiments, which have over time created a formidable array of bizarre and deadly creatures. However, monsters are not allowed to populate any high–profile dungeons until they have passed a rigorous set of tests that ensure they are self–sufficient in dungeons; reasonably obedient to coordinators; can co–exist with other monsters and are unfussy about their diet. This cautious release of new species therefore ensures that the population of dungeons can be carried out in an organized fashion with a low risk to the Citizens involved in dungeon building. It also means the Empire always has an advantage over surface–dwellers in terms of monster information, since they always have new monsters that have not been seen before on the surface, and so can use them as a surprise defence or weapon.

As mentioned before, the Empire also has the ability to engineer its citizens to be suited to perform certain tasks. Once they receive the proper training, they then do this task as they were trained and will seldom do anything involving thinking for themselves. Negotiators, for example, have been engineered to have two modes of thinking: a "receptive" mode, where information on a point of view is received by their minds, and a "locked" mode where they can only have and express thoughts which advance argument for that point of view. A Negotiator will be in one state or another depending on what he is doing, and will not generally have any personal opinion on whatever he is discussing. There are still some citizens, notably those involved in research and development, that still have the flexibility to innovate and come up with new ideas or take advantage of any that appear, but these are rare.

Neathlings – The Native Species

Not every being under the surface is a Rooted Empire citizen, however. The Empire discovered that there were some creatures that inhabited underground caves already when it first was started. They termed these creatures "Neathlings", and found ways to exert control over them to use them for their own purposes. Goblins, for example, don't have any particular allegiance to the principles and goals of the Rooted Empire, but work for it out of fear and the fact that they do get some small reward for doing so.

See also: Slayers | Tar/Mud Rivalry