Note that some of the featured factions will not be included in the first release. These previews will be divided by factional groupings similar to Rome 2's style. Reposted from TWC team member Lord Giovanni.
Religious Frontiers: -20% Unrest from presence of foreign religions
Silk Road: +30% Wealth from Trade Agreements
The Abbasid Caliphate
Viceroys of Allah: Public Order bonus from presence of Sunni Religion (+4 max)
Abbasid Legacy: -20% Resistance to Conquest
Military Decline: +15% recruitment costs for all units
The Abbasid Caliphate once was one of the greatest empires in history of the world, with domains stretching from the Pyrenees to the Hindu Kush. The Abbasids were the heirs to the first glorious fruits of the conquests of Islam. Yet as the centuries rolled on the administration and protection of such a massive empire proved too great a task. Gradually, other Islamic ruling houses like the Umayyads and Fatimids snapped up the lands of the Abbasid Caliphate from Spain to Egypt, and the Seljuk Turks wrested Persia and northern Mesopotamia from Fatimid control. After having once ruled an empire larger than any other on earth, the Abbasids have been reduced to controlling the areas near their ancient capital of Baghdad.
Despite their incalculable political losses, there still is strength with the Abbasids. The Abbasid Caliphs are members of arguably the most important family among Sunni Muslims. They can trace a direct line of patrilineal descent back through six centuries all the way to Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, the youngest uncle of the Prophet of Islam himself. Being members of such an exalted family has made their rule much easier among their Sunni subjects, who are happy to be ruled by individuals who can truly bear the title of Caliph. The religious pronouncements of the Abbasid Caliphs are also carefully listened to by all Sunnis, and as such the Abbasids wield influence far in excess of their small temporal holdings.
Baghdad remains one of the largest, richest and most beautiful cities in the world, and a bastion of learning, culture, and scientific advancement. The Great Library of Baghdad bears witness to the countless advances in science and mathematics made here over the centuries. The wealth and power of Baghdad make it a powerful base from which to build a new army to restore the Abbasid Caliphate to its former glory. With the lessons learned from the first Islamic conquests and driven by the memories of their former power, the Abbasids will also have an easier time conquering new territory.
Yet even as the Abbasids seek to begin the reclamation of their great empire, they must always be mindful of their own defense first and foremost. Word has reached the caliph from the Khwarezmids to the east that a mighty empire has arisen in eastern Asia, led by a people known as the Mongols, and that this new empire has already begun sending spies into Khwarezmid territory. Although the Khwarezmid shah controls a large and powerful empire, the Mongols are an unknown force, and so the situation in Persia should be monitored closely. Should the Khwarezmids be defeated by the Mongols, the Abbasids should be ready to defend themselves by any means necessary, with the steel of their armies or with the gold of tribute. For should the Abbasid Caliphate fall, who knows what will happen to the Islamic world?
The Khwarezmid Empire
Splendor of Persia: +30% Wealth from Culture
Turkish Legacy: +2 XP ranks for all horse archer recruits
Steppe Subduers: Major diplomatic relations penalty with all Pagan factions
The Khwarezmid shahs occupy a region of the world that was ruled in ancient times by the mighty Parthian Empire, and the story of the Khwarezmid rise to power closely mirrors that of the Parthians. As the Parthians from the north were able to take advantage of the chaos and rebellion engulfing the Persian provinces of the Seleucid Empire to carve out a new empire for themselves, so the Khwarezmids from the north did the same with the Persian provinces of the Seljuk Turks, creating a powerful, unified empire based in the heart of Persia. The history of wealth, power and culture in Persia, as well as the powerful horse archers of the Turks who settled there, are theirs to command.
Even though the Khwarezmids have adopted the style and manner of their Persian subjects, they are descended from the Turkic nomads that settled around the Aral Sea. Ever since converting to Sunni Islam, the Khwarezmids have righteously fought against their pagan neighbors- the Cumans to the west and the Kara-Kitans to the east. Though the Khwarezmids made use of pagan armies and mercenaries when convenient or needed in their conquest of the Seljuk Empire, they betrayed and slaughtered the pagans when they became expendable. This bloody history has earned the Khwarezmids the enmity of the surrounding pagan lands. Yet this has historically not troubled the shahs; the pagan tribes and confederacies were simply not powerful enough to confront the Khwarezmid Empire.
Recent events, however, have drastically changed the balance of power. The Kara-Kitans, bitter enemies of the Khwarezmids, have sworn fealty to a new power from even further east. Eastern traders on the Silk Road, Khwarezmid scouts and the shah’s ambassadors in China have reported that this new pagan power is known as the Mongol Empire, and that it supposedly stretches all the way to a distant eastern ocean. If that is the case, then the Mongol Empire must be massive indeed. In recent days, the Mongols have sent a large party of seemingly-innocuous traders into Khwarezmid territory who called themselves “trade ambassadors”. The governor of Otrar had wisely seen the dangerous implications of allowing these men-clearly spies- unfettered access into Khwarezmid territory, and had them arrested. It is likely that the Mongols will wish their spies back, and to punish the faithful governor of Otrar. The shah must carefully determine how his future dealings with the Mongolian leader, “Genghis Khan”, will proceed. Although these Mongols may have defeated all who fought them, they are only pagan nomads, who will surely be unable to stand against the massive numbers of the shah’s army, who have fought against men like the Mongols for years…