Children of the Glyphs empire
(Background information for the Children of the Glyphs campaign)
The Great and Glorious Empire of Chaos has existed since time immemorial. First, came the alliance of the Great Houses, and then the time of the emperors. Now, the emperor is no more and Chaos is ruled by a council of representatives from the ten Great Houses. Thus, the wheel turns, the snake swallows its own tail and the cycle begins again. And, through it all, Chaos endures. So it has been, so it shall always be.
The Empire and its many tributaries encompass countless universes. These are mostly owned by the Houses, or directly by the Empire. The Houses are the building blocks of the empire. There are ten major ones and uncounted numbers of minor ones, not to mention all the various tributary kingdoms.
Way back in the distant past, the leaders of the most powerful of the Great Houses decided that they would gain more from working together than from open conflict. This alliance was the root of the Council. Although their power diminished with the time of the emperors, they have since regained all that they had lost, and more. In theory, one of the roles of the Council is to elect a new Emperor when the succession is unclear, as was the case when the last one disappeared. However, none of the candidates have yet managed to gain enough support to take the throne.
Once of the main things keeping the Council together is the non-aggression pact between the Houses. Making war on another House is expressly forbidden, and any House found guilty of such a crime would be torn apart by the others. However, if a House were to secede, then the treaty would no longer apply to them and they would become prey.
The Council holds the rights to all the worlds that belong to the Empire, (rather than to one of the Houses). When the current holder of a world's title dies, the world is held in trust by the council until they select a new candidate. The people granted these worlds are known as Knights of the Empire. They are theoretically sworn to the service of the Empire, but more usually beholden to a particular patron, who arranged for them to receive the honour. Knights of the Empire are not part of the Houses. Rather, they answer directly to the Council (or, in times past, to the Emperor). Any ties that they may have previously held to one of the Houses are officially severed when they receive the Knighthood and swear their oath of loyalty. (Of course, in most cases -- at least, these days -- this is merely a polite fiction.)