The Illustrious Empire of the Sultanate of Seljuk Turkic Peoples.

Quick Start


Decay and Stagnation, Rebirth and Reforging a Nation.

The Seljuk are a decaying power block of competing influences. An individual able to help unite the sultanates and direct the fighting skills of the provincial powers could rebirth the nation entirely and bring it again to it's greatest glories, defeating internal struggle along the way.

As late converts to Islam, with only 200 years in the faith, the Seljuk Turks have merged many of their previous beliefs into their Muslim understanding of the world. This means that touches of what would be described as Hedge Magic and Shamanism still appear strongly within their culture, with a significant focus around the nature of the horse and the superstitions that were generated during the thousand years of the steppe.

A proud people they also maintain a strict warrior code and have complicated internal tribal politics. Pressures externally though seem to forge them into a force to reckoned with - perhaps this time it will be an internal pressure that makes them strong?

Who to Play

The Seljuk are a diverse and honourable people; below are some archetypes for the kinds of characters one might see in play from this nation.

  • A proud Seljuk warrior, desperate to rebuild his people's former glories.
  • An old faith priest, combining the ways of the steppe with the vision of the Koran.
  • A horse merchant, selling the finest steeds that money can buy.
  • An Emir, hungry for political power and making a mark at Turgal's court.
  • A disenfranchised noble, taken to the mountains, keen to destroy Turgal's rush to power through any means necessary.


  • Subjects of the Illustrious Empire of the Sultanate of Seljuk Turkic Peoples are followers of Islam, and members of the Islamic States faction.
  • Seljuk Turkic characters start with a +1 bonus to either their Diplomacy or Fighting skill. This means that the first rank of the chosen skill comes free - if you wish to have the skill at a higher rank, it simply costs one point cheaper.
  • Seljuk Turkic characters have access to Invocation, as well as Hedge Magic and Witchcraft.

In More Detail

A faded empire, almost on its knees, having one last gasp of glory before it collapses back upon itself, completely spent.

The Seljuk Empire was once the very grandest of the Turkic powers, defeating the mighty Byzantium time and again in the field and driving them from Anatolia almost entirely. But that power and fire are almost all spent, the Seljuk tired and drained of the energies they once burned with.

Or at least this was the case until the coming of Tugrul III to the sublime seat of the Seljuk peoples, as the Sultan of Hamadan. Since 1174 he has driven his people forward, rebuilding the Empire from its disgraced state, combining what had become almost independent sultanates and expanding its borders once again. Although it has not reached the zenith it held before the coming of the Crusaders it does appear that its time in the shadows may be passing at last.


“In the 11th century, a Turcoman tribe called the Seljuks set up a state in Iran, with Isfahan as their capital. The Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad was so taken in by their military prowess, that he sanctioned their leader, Tugrul Bey, with the title “King of the East and West” thus designating the Seljuk warlord as his temporal deputy.

But the Seljuks under Tugrul and his successor, Alp Arslan, were not content with controlling only their piece of the disintegrating Arab empire: recent converts to Islam, they saw themselves as the rightful heirs to the lands conquered during and immediately after the time of the Prophet Muhammed, in particular, the heretical lands of the Levant and Egypt. Indeed, in order to secure their own flanks, Isfahan entered into numerous negotiations with the Byzantine emperors of Constantinople.

But however sedentary and acculturated the Seljuk chieftains had become, the situation on the borderlands between the Seljuks and the Byzantines was anything but peaceful. Turcoman gazis and Byzantine akritoi mercenaries were enrolled as private troops for various Armenian-Byzantine landowners but engaged in private looting themselves. The Seljuks and Byzantines constantly accused each other of bad faith and for breaching the general peace. It was not until the third quarter of the 11th century, when the situation reached a critical point that the Byzantines, under Emperor Romanus IV Diogenes, decided to pre-empt the nascent Seljuk power on their eastern frontier and re-conquer Armenia.

Using ancient Harput as his base, Diogenes crossed the Euphrates to confront the Seljuk army on the field of Manzikert, north of Lake Van in 1071. Although they vastly outnumbered the irregular Turkish horsemen, the Byzantine Christian troops could scarcely have selected a worse venue: the light-riding Turks feigned a retreat, lured the main Byzantine force into a loop, and showered the heat-exhausted Christian host with arrows before closing on three sides with the scimitar. The booty for the victors on “that dreadful day,” included the vanquished Diogenes himself.”

Baruk Sansul

“It should be noted though that after the glories of the battlefields of Anatolia the Seljuk were driven from all their gains in the Holy Land by the First Crusade, beating them back from those places they had corrupted with their touch. After all the First Crusade was only called because of the horrors and atroctities they had committed upon pilgrims, against all licence and treaty to which they had agreed. We drove them from these places, back into the mountains of Asia Minor from where they had once come. Now they bide their time again, to descend again upon us, as they did in 1144 to the County of Edessa, when Imad ad-Din Atabeg Zengi led his infidel hordes to the place and robbed it from us. They will come again and we must be ready for them. Mark my words!” by William de Clun, 1182.


The Seljuk are very definitely an Islamic people, though their place of origin, the wide open nomadic spaces of the steppes, and then the mountains and valleys of Anatolia has shaped their faith so it is markedly different in many ways from the Ayyubid or the tribes of Arabia. The Shia tradition is more present in the Seljuk than the Sunni. Large amounts of Sufism and mythology is apparent in their daily practice and thought and it is clear that some of the former tribal beliefs have carried through to the modern day.

Attitude to the Other Factions

“That young upstart Saladin? A puddle in the desert that one! His dynasty won't last more than his lifetime! But at least he brings glory again to Islam. But our Turgal shall soon show him what it means to be a true leader of an Islamic people. When we come sweeping out of the mountains into the Holy Land and re-take it before the century is done, well then he and the scattered tribes of Arabia, and the corrupt city states of the Crescent shall remember what it is to be a Muslim and recognise the new Imam Turgal, descendent of the Prophet himself as the new ruler over all of Islam.”

“The Byzantine are our oldest enemies - they were weak when we first cut out this nation from their insipid grip and they have only grown weaker since. The Rus and the Georgians on the other hand have grown stronger at the expense of ourselves and our cousins. We must drive them all back and make clear our claim again, defend our homelands from their wrong minded ways. However, these nations are all peaceable in themselves. Their people may be dealt with and an unsteady peace has been maintained again and again until either they or we see an opportunity to strike. And once it is taken, and whether won or lost then the peace is renewed. There are others we should fear more.”

“There is evil that walks this world and it is manifest in those who call Crusade as they do battle. These are base creatures, of pale skin and unseemly clothing. Rough and ugly they came from the west and still they come. They have robbed us of some of our holiest of places and wave after wave of them crawls through the surf onto the beaches of Acre, Antioich, Jaffa and Jerusalem. No more can we suffer it, no more shall we allow it. We shall drive them back into the seas and back into the west from which they came. No more shall they eat our children. No more shall they sacrifice them to their false god. No more! No more! No more! Jihad! Jihad! Jihad!”


Turgal III - Sultan of Hamadan.

The great hope of the Turkic Peoples Turgal has emerged onto the political scene with an ambition and aggression not seen for years amongst his people. Seemingly driven by his will alone sometimes he has ridden his people hard and made clear his intentions to the other sultanates and such like of the Seljuk, to the extent that even the strongest of his now subjects, like Kilij Arslan, have bent their knee to him, respecting his authority and drive.

From relatively obscure upbringings he came to the position of the Sultan of Hamadan through a terrible accident in which the previous royal family all drowned, crossing a river in flood and those closest to him moved quickly to secure Hamadan as his. Little more than a boy when he came to power, he was proved competent and strong in a series of rapid battles against internal threats, including his own mother and brothers, who he had publicly executed by the traditional four horse method.

In the eleven years since he has succeeded in largely reforming the Seljuk Empire and stands like a hungry wolf between the Byzantine Empire and the Crusader Kingdoms, safe inside the mountain fastnesses of Anatolia but ready to strike whenever a target shows itself to be weakened or wounded.

Kilij Arslan II - Sultan of Rum.

Kilij Arslan, the Lion Sword, renowned as a defeater of the Byzantines, became Sultan of Rum in 1156. Since that time he has had a mixed career and relations with both the Orthodox and Latin powers. He has travelled to Constantinople in submission and done the dance of swords upon the fields of Anatolia soaked with the blood of Byzantine armies. Through a delicate mix of battle and diplomacy he has managed, just, to keep his Sultanate intact and to develop a fragile peace with the Empire, making gains and accepting losses. But he has aged quickly, some say due to his nine sons who all compete for his attention and some say his throne. In 1182 he allied with Saladin only to see Turgal's rise to his east and he has accepted the inevitable that, while he has kept his people safe, it shall be the role of another to lead the Seljuk away from the destruction that they faced.

The Holy Land

Before the Crusaders came the Holy land was ruled by the Seljuk. In 1099 that all changed and it is not a situation any right minded Muslim can allow to continue. The Turks see their role as the avengers, returning the third most holy city in all of Islam to its proper governance. Turgal, many believe, is the man to do it. There is no more important place and time to the Seljuk Empire than here and now.

The Actors of the past

  • Emir Sajal Suleman - Once a great hero of the Emirate of Danishmandid he was defeated in open battle by Turgal III. While the Great Sultan spared his life the Emir rapidly grew withdrawn. Eventually he was found in his bed tent, wrapped in silks, by one of his concubines. He had slit his own throat, though the knife was not to be found.
  • Ahmet Nedim - A famed poet and revealer of mysteries it is said that Ahmet understood the ways of the Prophet and how they related to the tribal ways of the Turks better than any man who has ever lived. Sadly a cold winter robbed the world of any further writings he may have produced when he was caught in a mountain pass and is said to have starved to death.
  • Hüseyin Çahit Yalçin - The greatest horseman and horse trader the Turkic people have ever known it is said that Hüseyin could turn any old nag into one of finest pieces of horseflesh one could hope to ride. His miracle cures and ability to coax amazing speed out of a broken horse led to numerous heroic tales of dawn escapes from the bed chambers of the wives and harems of rich nobles.

Why Join?

The Seljuk are a splintered nation and provide many possibilities for an ambitious character seeking to re-unite the nation, or even carve out their own piece of Sovereignty from the mix of Sultanates, Emirates and independent cities that currently make up the former Imperial power.

The Seljuk have a strong historical connection with the horse peoples of the steppe and that is strongly represented in their practice of Islam as well as their tribal culture. A proud warrior people who have the largest acclaim amongst the Muslims as individual fighters and even recognised by the Byzantines, who they have so often beaten on the field of battle, as so. These two facts make for many character possibilities and provide a vivid background on which to draw.

turks.txt · Last modified: 2009/03/18 14:47 by innokenti
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