A powerful kingdom founded around two thousand years ago (~830 AI) by aumaua refugees fleeing the Deadfire Archipelago in the wake of Ondra crashing the moon to obscure Ukaizo, Rauatai struggled to overcome the terrifying storms that plagued the archipelago they settled. Although they had little in the way of fertile soil, the islands were rich in raw materials needed for war. As such, the fledgling kingdom turned its sights outwards, settling neighboring coastal areas and conquering existing lands. Over the centuries, Rauatai developed into one of the most prosperous of the Old Empires, avoiding the decline of Aedyr Empire or Grand Vailia thanks to a combination of tenacity and its unique culture: The storms that plague Rauatai have created a breed of hardy kith who prize cooperation and unity ahead of individual interests. Reaching the limits of military expansion in recent decades, Rauatai expanded its reach by investing in trading colonies along the coast. Currently, the Great Kingdom is the most prosperous of the Old Empires, Rauatai has expanded aggressively into the Deadfire Archipelago to secure natural resources that are scarce in their native, storm-torn land, affectionately termed rough country by its denizens.
The push came in the wake of the Republics' expansion into the Archipelago and the opening of Port Maje in 2750 AI. The kingdom scrambled to catch up as the ranga nui realized that the fertile volcanic soils of Deadfire would form the perfect breadbasket for Rauatai's growing empire, always plagued by the perspective of food shortage due to the infertile soils of the home islands and much of its conquered territories, despite intense cultivation. Taking control of the Rauatai Trading Company and putting it under direct imperial oversight and backing, the ranga nui established the Royal Deadfire Company and dispatched it on a mission to secure the Deadfire before it slipped from the empire's grasp. A mixture of nationalistic pride and propaganda united the people of the Kingdom behind this push, with the campaign beginning in earnest in 2758 AI.
The land grab did not go unopposed, as the encroaching Rauataians clashed with naga and the xenophobic Wahaki of the Huana. The RDC prevailed against its foes, though at a substantial cost in men and materiel. The naga were particularly aggressive foes, capable of slithering by the hundreds onto the decks of RDC ships, though the superiority of Rauataian firearms decimated their numbers and eventually forced them into retreat. The Wahaki proved to be much more difficult foes. In the same year that the campaign launched, the tribe clashed with the RDC. The bloody conflict came to a head at Nakaro Atoll, where Rauatai's warships decimated the tribal force. In the aftermath, the Huana crown dispatched watershapers to sink Rauatai's most prized vessel, the Tenets of Iron, as a reprisal and a demonstration of power, leading to the subsequent revitalization of the Watershapers guild.
Unwilling to confront the Huana and suffer a war that would risk their foothold in the Deadfire, the RDC turned its attention to islands not claimed by Huana tribes. In 2814, the Company was rechristened as the Royal Deadfire Company and the Rauatai crown poured enormous resources to ensure its success in the campaign. The five naval captains that formed the original Company's council were promoted to the rank of hazanui (admiral) and subordinated to the emperor directly. The reef of Hasongo became a prime target and in 2818 AI, the colonization fleet arrived at the island. The shallow port with a prominent adra pillar was an excellent navigational beacon for incoming ships, while the indigenous naga population was routed in short order thanks to the bloody lessons learned by the Company decades earlier. Soon, Hasongo became one of the most prominent Rauataian settlements and a crucial port for all shipments heading to and from the heartlands of Rauatai.
Though folk, dwarves, and orlans can be found in Rauatai, most are merchants or remnants of the old kingdoms Rauatai conquered when they seized power centuries ago. Legends say that the Rauataians came to their lands from the Deadfire Archipelago in the wake of a terrible cataclysm, but the details of that event have been lost to time and the imagination of storytellers.
The lore college of Rauatai is central to its culture, its chanters responsible for maintaining history and traditions alive. All students answer to the Keeper of the college, who is responsible for weaving their stories into the chant that serves as a record of Rauatai knowledge and lore. Furthermore, it is one of the greatest libraries in existence... According to its chanters at least.
Government and politics
The nation is ruled by a ranga nui from the royal city of Tâkowa. The famously cooperative and open nation started shifting towards isolationism and traditionalism in recent years. Supported by the ranga nui's son, the traditionalists coalesced into a movement called the Pahari, promoting a fundamentalist interpretation of the Tanvii ora Toha, the sacred text of the aumaua, coupled with a form of aumanuan exceptionalism. Advocating a ban on foreign presence, they are slowly gaining momentum in Rauatai society.
Provinces of the Kingdom include:
- Rahuoka, a small province of inland Rauatai.
Rauatai is a power to be reckoned with, and its technology is about as advanced as that of the Aedyr Empire. Emphasizing speed and firepower over resilience, Rauatai ketches can fight with even Vailian carracks on even footing, exploiting their bulk and lack of speed. Artillery is the key asset, however: Rauatai is at the forefront of artillery, firearm, and explosives research. One of their top artillery masters advised Dyrwood on the Godhammer Bomb during the Saint's War, in fact, but efforts are more modest on the home front, focusing on bombards, cannons, and mortars.
Its large military includes numerous units, including:
- The Ruquapa: An elite group of specially-trained warriors who personally carry out the ranga nui's will. Most of them are barbarians, transmutation wizards, and chanters who specialize in overcoming larger forces. They are most often sent with the vanguard to soften new territories for conquest or to quell rebellion in troublesome provinces. As barbarians and wizards, they use their abilities to transform the battlefield to their advantage and then overwhelm their opponents. The wizards open great rifts in the earth to destroy entrenched defenses, turn the air to poison to divide and route enemy units, and boil rivers to block retreats. Meanwhile, barbarians wear down enemy forces, and lore college chanters strengthen allies and intimidate foes with songs of the unit's valor. In their tactical prowess, their mastery of warfighting techniques, and their tactical foresight, they exemplify many of Rauatai's key virtues.
- Rauatai Naval Infantry: an elite force of sharpshooters tasked with protecting Rauataian ships from boarding parties and enemy gunners. While it offers adequate protection, the armor's true purpose is to allow the wearer sufficient flexibility while navigating a ship's riggings.
Officer uniforms, like this one belonging to Hazanui Karū, are strictly utilitarian, distinguished by the crested hat.
The Kingdom of Rauatai is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world if you count animancy out, as a result of the unique circumstances in which it emerged. The abundance of natural resources needed in the manufacture and development of explosives, firearms, and cannons led to it taking the lead in the development of methods of modern warfare, while the scarcity of fertile soil necessitated the development of agricultural technologies allowing them to make the most of what little they had, most notably irrigation and fertilization. Naturally, as the kingdom conquered its neighbors to secure more arable land and supplies, the military refinement of Rauatai only grew.
Owing to its status as a seafaring nation, Rauatai had to develop effective naval weapons and continued to refine them over the centuries, with the most significant developments occurring after the discovery of gunpowder and the creation of first naval cannons. Gunnery, firearms, and explosives became some of the most technologically advanced fields in Rauatai, leading to the development of many excellent designs ahead of their time. For example, the current standard cannon of Rauatai is the Royal Bronzer, introduced in mid-2700s. Boasting a long bore stabilizing fire and increasing shot effectiveness, it was spun off into a twin-barreled variant and served as basis for its most advanced naval weapon, the submarine cannon. It's the single most advanced weapon of war on Eora, and the first breech-loading cannon in the world, allowing the gunnery crew to reload the gun from without the safety of the submersible, a lensed gunsight allows a cannoneer to accurately engage targets at long distances.
In pure shipmaking terms, the most iconic ship of the Kingdom is the junk, bristiling with bronzers. The junk represents a method of shipbuilding unique to the storm-beaten seas of Rauatai and serves as the workhorse of the kingdom's naval and merchant fleets. Outfitted with large, battened sails, this vessel can achieve surprising speed despite its size. The spacious hull is divided into several watertight bulkheads to prevent flooding, and each compartment houses a well-armed gundeck. The junk boasts cargo space and armament unparalleled by even Vailian galleons. Its tall hull and rigging, however, present a large target for enemy gunners, and the softwood hull affords little protection from cannon fire.
Behind the scenes
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire cyclopedia
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Guidebook
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire cyclopedia
- forum post by Josh Sawyer
- Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire encyclopedia
- Sharpshooter's Garb
- Royal Bronzer and Double Bronzer descriptions.
- Submarine cannon description.
- Junk description.
- forum post by Josh Sawyer