The Imperial Hammer Sect is the oldest sect in the Empire. Secrets won from the men of the Stone Ape became the techniques which have allowed the Celestial Peaks to remain unassailable from the days of Sage Emperor Qin to the modern day. In the Empire, only the fortress cities of the Celestial Peaks have never fallen to external foes. No technique may breach their walls. No foe may suborne their defenses. It is only treachery and internal strife which may bring them low.
To join the Imperial Hammer Sect is to give oneself over to a legacy of ten thousand years. It is a promise of reliability, integrity, and honor. At the Imperial Hammer Sect, youth are shaped and forged into the tools and weapons which will raise the Empire ever higher. The primary courses of the Imperial Hammer Sect are Architecture, Formations Engineering, Siegecraft, and Wartime Logistics. In addition, the Sect offers many other courses on all forms of warfare and construction.
The Imperial Hammer Sect was founded by Qin De, seventh son of Sage Emperor Qin. When the Divine Emperor completed his unification of the Celestial Peaks into one kingdom, he laid to his son the herculean task of maintaining order among the still fractious tribes. Qin De resolved this task by gathering his disciples and constructing the foundations of what would become the Imperial City. It is upon his design which the sacred geometries of Imperial cities are laid.
Upon each inhabited peak, Qin De constructed a Throne Palace, a fortress from which the emperor’s governors could maintain the order of the people. The geomantic layout of the Throne Palace granted the governors the power to strike down rebellion and provided a connection to their peers, so that if one struggled, all would know. So pleased was the Sage Emperor with his son’s work, Qin De was even allowed to look upon and aid with the construction of the Dragon Throne.
When granted a boon by his father, Qin De, disinterested in the throne, asked only to be allowed dispensation and funds to continue his study of geomancy and architecture. Throughout the remainder of his life, Qin De would continue his work on the Imperial palace until his ascension as the Great Spirit Immaculate Angles Everlasting, cementing his works into the material world forevermore.
His disciples would continue on throughout the first dynasty, building upon his foundation and ever strengthening the Empire. At that time, the Imperial Hammer Sect was considered an acceptable place for sons of the Imperial family not in consideration for the throne.
This continued until the Usurper rose. Hiding his foul ambitions, the Usurper was admitted to the Sect and there, he learned the secrets of the Celestial Peaks’ defences. His teachers did not survive to regret teaching him thus.
In the wake of the Usurper’s war, the Sect was rebuilt under the second dynasty with far less independence. In those days, the Imperial Hammer Sect was reduced to merely performing maintenance under close watch. Much knowledge was lost to the Usurper, and two-thirds of the Throne Palaces were damaged beyond repair. Qin De’s great work was abandoned as governors saw to their own expansion and fortifications.
Matters continued in this way until the Cataclysm when with the aid of locals, the members of the Imperial Hammer Sect were able to cordon off the spreading corruption of the Purifying Sun’s death. Even here, however, the Sect encountered misfortune. The Sect’s head at the time quit its ranks in the wake of the project to marry into the Han Clan, taking many secrets with him.
It is only under the third dynasty that the Imperial Hammer Sect has recovered its deserved prestige and respect. First the Sima Clan, and then others, began to respect and follow the advice of the Sect in their construction projects, and so the Celestial Peaks prosperity grew. The importance of the Sect has only accelerated under Emperor An and now under Divine Empress Xiang.
As per the educational decrees, the Imperial Hammer Sect accepts all applicants. For the first four years of a student’s enrollment, they remain in the Outer Sect under the rigorous instruction of the Sect’s experts on all matters of import. Upon completing the four year Outer Sect course, disciples are allowed to choose their desired career course, and after testing, they may advance to the Inner Sect. Those who fail testing by marginal degrees may be given opportunities for remedial courses, lasting an additional four years.
In the Inner Sect, disciples spend the following ten years being instructed and shadowing experts and core disciples. At any point after their tenth year, a disciple may then apply for their mastery exam, but each disciple may only take their exam once. Those who fail may choose to remain in permanent apprentice positions or be expelled from the Sect.
Subsidized enrollment is available for common applicants, paid for at the expense of the Imperial Seat. Subsidized disciples must, after completing their Outer Sect course, participate in Imperial infrastructure projects in order to pay their debt to the Throne.
Imperial Architect: While other Sects may claim some mastery in this field and be given some small projects in designing individual buildings, towns, and fortresses, it is the Imperial Hammer Sect which is given the task of laying out cities, palaces, and road networks. Truly talented disciples may even one day be allowed to do some small work upon the Imperial Palace itself.
Imperial Army Officer: While matters of tactics and strategy are important, in truth, warfare is a matter of logistics, organization, and industry. None know this better than the Imperial Hammer Sect. A significant percentage of the Imperial Army’s support apparatus arises from our ranks and teachings.
Imperial Geomancer: Only the Imperial Hammer Sect holds the full secrets of Qin De and his disciples within its archives. On matters of large scale terrain alteration, climate manipulation, and settlement planning, there are none who can match the Sect. The path of the Imperial geomancer is a most difficult career path but offers almost unlimited prestige
Prominent Sect Members
Sect Master Zuo Shi: Raised to his position under Emperor Si, Sect Master Zuo Shi arose from humble beginnings as the son of common scholars in the Imperial Archive and served as a symbol of the reforms which Emperor An would later pass. Serving diligently throughout Emperor An’s reign, Sect Master Zuo now uses his immaculate skills at organization to oversee Empress Xiang’s extensive infrastructure projects and the restoration of the Throne Palaces.