A Brief History of Asteria
The Masonic Religion began as early as the discovery of the first troidstones. Masons believe that a different deity is responsible for the unique power of each type of troidstone. The Masons ruled for nearly a thousand years, becoming more and more extreme in response to outside (mostly Orc-based) threats. They taught and controlled the use of magic, and jealously guarded the use of troidstones. Heretics and heretical settlements were ruthlessly destroyed, supposedly for the safety of all citizens. The brutal treatment of non-Masons eventually led to a successful rebellion, out of which the Empire was born. The Masons remained as teachers of magic and religion, but under significant Empire oversight.
Over the course of a few hundred years, an illness began to spread amongst the children of magic users: The Scourge. Scourged children had immense magical power, but were unable to control it. The Empire began pre-emptively arresting children suspected of being Scourged to maintain control. Eventually, the Scourge wreaked such havoc that the Empire turned to the Masons in desperation. The Masons were able to control the Scourge but kept the solution a secret. Since then, the Empire and Masons have maintained an uneasy balance of power: The Empire is in control, but rely on the Masons to prevent a resurgence of the Scourge. The Masons are nigh on untouchable and they continue to hunt down and destroy non-Mason magical societies, which have now been pushed further back in the outer asteroids.
Population control has been in effect on Kuamites in the last few hundred years, as dwindling resources and a growing population mean that famine is a constant possibility. The current Empress is popular with the people, but not with the Nobles, and an attempted coup seems likely.