Since we're all preparing to leave town, I think now might be a good time for all of us to update our CSs
to include any items we've acquired so far (the underlining is for emphasis). I'll give periodical reminders for you guys, just so we don't get behind on that stuff and forget things later.
I'd really appreciate it if you guys leave a comment or PM me when your sheets are updated, just for ease of keeping track. You don't have to post a link, as I already have them copied down; just a heads up that you're fairly sure it's up-to-date on acquired items, weapons, runes, etc. I'll give a shout-out as mine is edited as well. It will just make it easier for me to keep track of all that stuff.
Welcome to the forums, Guardian, and to answer your question as best I can: I don't know if Mathias has fleshed out the particulars of the Baldean Empire yet, but I imagine that at some point (sooner or later), they will become a major plot point. I don't know for sure at this point; it's merely an educated guess. You seem to have read the threads thoroughly--would you like to submit a character sheet? Sign-ups are open indefinitely, so you can join at pretty much any time provided your CS is approved.
Also, if you are interested and have any specific requests for a character, especially some you don't wish to make apparent to the other players before gameplay, you should submit them to Mathias via PM for reviewing. I will not be personally handling those things, as that's Mathias' arena, so the final word will come from him. MG, this applies to the acceptance of your CS as well.
Edit: I have finished updating my CS to include Tarik's weapon and shield.