Full Name: New Prothonian Empire of Thovalas
Ruler: Her Imperial Majesty, Daia Thaleria Spatha, Praetor of Thovalas [LN female human]
Cities: Thova Primus (capital), Akipyle, Poltan
Population: 80% humans, 9% dwarves, 5% elves, 3% half-elves, 3% other races
The Empire of Thovalas preserves the traditions of the lost human homeland of Prothonia, including its religion, matriarchal society, and glorification of the military. Thovalas has the largest and most highly trained army in Iath-Hemut, which gets frequent practice fighting the goblin and giant tribes that skulk about the empire's borders.
The military is nominally commanded by the Praetor (empress), but in practice is administered by her generals. The regular legions are relatively egalitarian, though with notably more female officers than male, especially at higher ranks. The most prestigious elite soldiers are all-female units known as Amazons. Her Imperial Majesty's Praetorian Guard are recruited exclusively from the most decorated Amazon units.
Thovalas has a single state religion (see Religions, below) whose ultimate mortal authority resides with the Pontifice, or Holy Matriarch: the supreme priestess of Domezia, the pantheon's ruler. The Divine Cassia Lentula III has held this post for over half a century, outliving many of the those she has groomed as possible successors.
The third branch of the government, the archivists, oversees the mundane bureaucracy of the Empire, and wotk with (or become) noted scholars to compile extensive libraries devoted to history, the sciences, and magic. Some archivist academies train bards and wizards, and the chief archivist, or Scibonian, is almost always an arcane spellcaster. This position is one of the few traditionally male roles in this highly matriarchal society, making its holder--currently Averon Lupercius, one of the youngest Scribonians in centuries--arguably the most powerful man in Thovalas.
Physically, the majority of Thovalas consists of the Riverlands, a networks of lakes and rivers crossing the fertile plains of central Iath. The eastern third of the Empire is hilly, and despite the efforts of the military, remains infested with ogres and hill giants, as well as goblins and worgs. Most goblinoids, however, dwell in the far north and far south of Thovalas (and some underground regions in between), and are steadily losing numbers in their eternal conflicts with the Empire's far superior armies.
The ancient Prothonians domesticated several species of dinosaurs and primitive birds, and brought them to Iath during the Exodus. These beasts serve as mounts and beasts of burden for the wealthy and some elite military units. The Plumed Legion is one such unit: cavalry mounted exclusively on axe beaks (Bestiary 3).
Thovalans worship the Prothonian Pantheon. Most foreign religions are tolerated to some degree as long as their faithful do not worship Titans, fiends, or other openly chaotic or evil gods, but all such "heathens" are forbidden from building temples within the Empire. The Gods of Meda are highly unpopular within the Empire, due to that religion's origins in the ancient giant nation of Labdia. Non-Prothonian temples in newly-conquered lands are either sacked and destroyed, or pillaged and reconsecrated to one or more of the state religion's deities.
The phalanx soldier fighter archetype (Advanced Player's Guide) forms the backbone of the imperial legions. Auxiliary units consist of archers, crossbowmen, cavalry, engineers, and scouts (most of whom are warriors so do not use archetypes).
Most Thovalan sorcerers belong to the arcane bloodline, though the imperious bloodline (Advanced Race Guide) can be found among the oldest noble families (and their more obscure descendants).
Some war colleges offer monk training. Most Thovalan monks are weapon adepts, or occasionally zen archers, due to their culture's emphasis on weapon training.
Weapons and Armor
Legionaries typcially wear scalemail (lorica squamata) or banded mail (lorica segmentata). Officers may wear a breastplate instead. All use heavy wooden shields, which can be easily replaced in the field. Infantry typically carry a shortspear (or spear, if at least a 3rd-level phalanx soldier), shortsword (or gladius [Ultimate Combat]), and pilum (Advanced Player's Guide). Cavalry use lances and longswords.
Amazon units often favor battleaxes and shortbows, but otherwise use legionary gear.
Gladiators may use cestus (Advanced Player's Guide), spears (any size), swords (long, short, and gladius), trident and net, and other weapons, depending on their individual fighting styles.
Heavy armor is rare except for banded mail. Exotic weapons are almost never seen outside the arena or a monastery.