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Empire of Shu
Source: Dragon Empires Gazetteer, pg(s). 46 (1E)
Tian Xia World Guide, pg(s). 11–12 (2E)
This article covers the empire of Tian Xia. For its first emperor, see Jiao Deng Shu. For the Tian ethnicity named after Shu's imperial family, see Tian-Shu.

The Empire of Shu was the largest empire ever known in Tian Xia but also one of the shortest lived, and its fall led to a century of chaos.1


The Shu empire was founded in 3101 AR, 25 years after the fall of Imperial Yixing in 3076 AR,2 by Jiao Deng Shu, a one-time bureaucrat who earned the crown at age 37 by commanding a rebellion that successfully prevented the releasing of a great evil by a would-be tyrant.3

He was aided and advised by Que Yan Helian, a sky dragon in human guise who recognized Shu's potential for greatness.3 Helian had lobbied for Goka to side with Shu in 3080 AR, and it did so completely.4 Helian revealed his true nature after Shu's crowning, but Shu insisted that Helian remain while recognizing the citizenship of dragons and need for their representation in the continent's destiny.3

Emperor Shu led in an unconventional but effective style that inspired constant discussion. He moved the empire's capital to He Ming to improve relations with neighboring Nagajor and reversed the direction of written text to circumvent the illiteracy-fostering superstitions that writing cursed others, a fear manufactured by the secret actions of Pu Duo in 2664 AR.3

As emperor, Shu recognized Tang Mai as a sovereign nation3 in 3223 AR in order to foster an alliance between the two,5 a decision that created a defining wedge between himself and Helian. The sky dragon later disappeared without a word and was last seen briefly outside the imperial palace during Shu's funeral3 in 3286 AR.5

Shu lived for 222 years and left his amassed wealth to his heirs. While the empire lasted for 15 generations, their wealth became inextricably linked to their ability to solve problems, and discord between royals over accusations of witchcraft eventually led to its collapse3 just shy of a millennium after its founding, in 4036 AR.2


The empire of Shu is credited with saving civilisation across the continent following the end of Yixing, and the imperial family of Shu was so beloved that the Tian-Shu people adopted their name.1 Its provinces had sufficient resources to govern themselves for some time after the empire's fall, particularly the wealthy metropolis of Goka,6 though the city considered its time under Shu to be marred by nepotism and mismanagement before descending into a century of covert internal battling for power. The squabbling ended only with the arrival of Nai Yu Fei and the Butterfly Blades of Lung Wa in 4150 AR, who committed the Scarlet Roof Tile Massacre that cowed it under the new empire's control.4


  1. 1.0 1.1 James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 46. Paizo Inc., 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 James Jacobs, et al. “Regions of the Dragon Empires” in Dragon Empires Gazetteer, 16. Paizo Inc., 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Eren Ahn, et al. “History” in Tian Xia World Guide, 11. Paizo Inc., 2024
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sen.H.H.S.. “Goka” in Fists of the Ruby Phoenix (hardcover), 203. Paizo Inc., 2023
  5. 5.0 5.1 Eren Ahn, et al. “History” in Tian Xia World Guide, 8. Paizo Inc., 2024
  6. Eren Ahn, et al. “History” in Tian Xia World Guide, 12. Paizo Inc., 2024