Unfortunately the last Golden Empress peacefully abdicated the imperial throne to the first Red Emperor, Xentarious, nearly a hundred years ago. Xentarious has begun changing the empire to suit his own desires and plans.
The inner most systems of the empire are under the direct imperial control. On these worlds, dragons hold the highest seats of power, with their dragonborn servants often acting as go-betweens, elite soldiers, and occupying various positions of power in the humanoid societies of the ruled “citizens.” Each dragon dominated planet is often a reflection of their dragon lord ruler, with chromatic ruled worlds often far less pleasant for the humanoid citizens than those of the metallics. Emperor Xentarious, for example, has many ties to a drow house dominant in his home system. Upon his rise to emperor, he installed the drow has new inquisitors and secret police. It’s now common to find Drow inquisitors on imperial ships and in imperial offices.
Beyond these inner worlds, numerous smaller kingdoms still fall under the Draconic Empire’s domain. In these systems, a Draconic Governor nominally oversees the local worlds on the emperor’s behalf, but the local kingdoms and other governments are left more or less intact. These governors maintains power through draconic guile and the might of the Dragonborn legion placed at their beck and call. Few nations dare to openly oppose the empire, especially since the “Rebellion of the Devil-Chained Kingdom” some 1,300 years ago when the Silver Emperor crushed an interplanetary kingdom that openly rebelled, and scattered the tiefling bloodlines responsible to the winds.
The fringes of the empire contain many systems that are officially claimed for the emperor on various star charts, but are largely unsupervised. On many of these “backwater worlds” the nature of space travel is still unknown to the groundlings, who spend their time fighting each other for dominance of a particular kingdom or continent, unaware of the interplanetary empire that claims dominion over them. Since coming to power, Emperor Xentarious has initiated a change in policy regarding groundling worlds in the periphery of the empire. He has begun sending the dragonborn legions into the fringe worlds.
Legion backed imperial ambassadors meets with local rulers and demand they bend the knee to the empire. Most worlds have at least one major kingdom that refuses to do so, and the legion envoy leave “peacefully.” They then drop an asteroid on that kingdom, causing massive destruction and death. Typically the rest of the planet yields and accepts a new draconic overlord; one that owes fealty to Xentarious. Within the core worlds, this policy is sold to the public as bring these barbarian worlds into the fold of galactic society, although it isn’t hard to see what’s really going on. Of course speaking out against the policy is not a safe or healthy if the imperial inquisitors find out.
BEYOND THE BORDERS OF DRACONIC SPACE
The Dragon Empire does not, yet, dominate the entire galaxy. Various arms of the galaxy host other rival and neighboring societies, and much of the galactic rim is still unexplored by the empire. The
The dragon empire has a border with an expanse of space dominated by space faring Thri-Kreen. There is no official communication between the Dragon Empire and the Thri-Kreen queens, but over the centuries an unspoken understanding has formed that neither side will send forces or colonies into the border systems between the two nations. Minor incidents by both sides have occasionally happened, but so far none of them have sparked any large conflicts.
A blight cutting off one arm of the galaxy from the central core, the stars and worlds within this massive dark cloud of interstellar dust are poorly explored. Sailors tell terrible stories of disturbing nautiloid shaped crafts crewed by mindflayers and other abominations lurking within the dim systems of this region of space. Sages speculate that the mindflayers commonly found in the underdark of various worlds are actually the descendants of a once mighty mindflayer empire that reached across the star, and that the mindflayer homeworld is within the dark nebula. This hypothesis supposes that mindflayers only arose on a single world, and that they were not created by the gods, but instead some terrible confluence of events, possibly linked to the Far Realm.
The region of the galactic arm controlled by the confederacy is actually home to many small kingdoms and world governments, but the major power of the region is the Confederacy: a loose affiliation of pirates and raiders that dominate the region. Each pirate fleet or force in the confederacy has carved out a region of space for themselves, and survive by raiding or extorting resources from the weak nations on the planets in their turf. Minor conflicts for territory between pirate fleets is common, but a pact of mutual protection in the face of external threats binds them all together when necessary. Past attempts by the empire to send a small fleet to clean up a single “pirate problem” have therefore yielded stronger than expected responses from the Confederacy as a whole.
Note: This material was originally penned by Brian Danford in his Cosmonomicon posts. I will be adding to the setting after re-posting this material. I want to make sure this material doesn't disappear.