OOC: Jones says, "The main thing is the institutional arrogance. It's bred into people, so that if you're a foreigner, you don't even exist unless they notice you. After that, it's a matter of negotiating value."


Penglai is huge: a hundred shadows, a thousand nations. All have to be overseen from one central point, lest the Empire begin to crumble. This has lead to a certain mindset that is inculcated in all Loyal Penglai. To be Penglai is to be Loyal. The Empire's very size means that it needs a very tight grip, and it is therefore very slow to change.


There is rank, and there is Rank (品), as an institution. And the Pengali love their institutions. Anyone who holds what is thought of as Rank with a capital R has been through a testing process designed to investigate loyalty and ensure intelligence and a level of competence as a Scribe, Magistrate, or other post. On passing several tough examinations and being found appropriately Loyal, a Penglai is admitted to the First Rank of his Post. There are nine main Ministries, each one may have a myriad of sub branches and ministries beneath it, and each ministry holds nine ranks. Each rank is further divided into Zheng (正), Cong (从). With the exception of the Cloud Hierarchy, all other eight ministries are not created equal. Their balance of power changes with the intricate dance of Pengali politics.

What matters for play purposes is not exact rank, but that it is used to create rather than block play; you may largely choose any ranks when creating a PC, and should bear this in mind when RPing with others. The complicated system here is a simplification of ancient Chinese political architecture; the idea is to make things seem complicated, not to have the complication block what could be good RP.


There are many ways of rising in the Bureaucracy, but a Penglai Lord in Service to the Mortal God will tend to take a post as a clerk, while working through the exams and investigations designed to put the best talents in the appropriate jobs. Once a career path is defined, the Pengali will rise to the point where his tests indicate he should be. Floundering before retirement age will be treated by the headsman's axe. Posts include Magistrate, Scribe, Coroner, Poet, Astrologer, and the like.


Authority does not devolve from the Divine Mortal, but from the Perfect Words of the First Emperor. A respect for due authority, for the old, and for the cultured is part of Penglai everyday life. There's a personality cult of the Mortal God, the Emperor, may he live ten thousand years. However, worship of the Mortal God is a ritual practice, and Bureaucratic Life is very very real.


In Penglai, certain Epithets are reserved for Rank.

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