Or does this count as part 3?
Ok, here’s the initial idea. Samsara is the city at the centre of the world, where people travel to so they can have one last conversation with their departed relatives before those relatives pass on to the next life, or where the dead awake to find they don’t want to pass on yet and try to make themselves productive.
Of course, once a scoundrel, always a scoundrel. It’s possible for someone passed on to continue to be a lowlife but in a new city, a city where the normal rules don’t necessarily apply.
I think I’ve decided that there should a great river flowing through the city and that a great river should be the feature of multiple of the religious groups of the world.
Some of the long dead begin to lose their personalities, their memories and even their new bodily forms, so they instead bond their spirits permanently to an item or location. Of course, once they lose their bonding, they’re gone. And maybe some religious feeling says that halting the natural cycle in this way is really really bad and that hanging around too long before departing is just a slight breach of the rules of order.
Of course, what do they feel about the Emperor in this respect? He’s basically an infinite entity, he’s the only person to come back remembering his entire identity and not just flashes of past lives (and they the lucky few).
How does he do it? Does he know? (He totally knows) Does anyone else know? (Not the lucky ones!)
Yeah, that’s where I am now. I saw some D&D rules recently for long-dead spirits bound to sets of armour, a bit like an alternative version of a Warforged. They’d be a part of the setting. And as Samsara is this nexus for so many cultures, it makes sense that it’s also a massive hub of trade, like the dead centre of a silk road except all roads lead to Samsara.
I don’t know yet what time period I’ve been thinking to set it. Originally the Eternal Emperor was going to be like an undying Roman soldier and this was a modern setting, now I’m not so sure.
Of course, I can save that version of the Emperor for something else.