The Iron Empire
|Language(s)||Empire, Old Empire|
|Primary Camp(s)||Outsiders, Dirtwater|
|Major Settlements||Ferros, Hyla, Wachilla, Tramar, Volok, Elinas, Shaleigh, Dorunto|
|Points of Interest||White Citadel|
A world where technology rules and knowledge is power those hailing from the Iron Empire are in constant competition to one up each other. Though they have no knowledge of "magic" in the traditional sense their inventions and creations are some of the most fantastical things to behold
The Iron Empire did not originally start as what it is today. In the beginning the people of this world were a simple folk with lives that consisted of surviving day to day in the destitute environment. Water was considered a precious resource due to scarcity. Most of the people lived in nomadic tribes, settling in an area for a short time and then moving on when convenient. Often the nights were filled with music and dancing. Elders would tell the stories, passing on the legacy of their tribe to the next generation. What they lacked in material goods they made up with good cheer. This lifestyle continued for a great many years. However as their world became more barren the tribes began to grow desperate. Many were slain during these times until only a few tribes remained. That was until each of the tribe leaders had a messenger come to them asking them to meet in the center of the Great Desert, a land that was once a great lake that had gone dry decades ago.
Many tribes were skeptical and ignored the messengers, thinking it to be a trap of some kind. Only the Windsong Tribe, pacifists who knew that gaining a water source by force was not an option, arrived in the Great Desert. There they met a small group of people who thanked them for their arrival. Their leader was a woman who wore strange clothing and spoke with an even stranger accent. The woman then showed them the most miraculous thing they had ever seen, a device that pulled water from the ground. She called it a water pump and over the next few weeks she showed this tribe how to make them. She also taught them ways to find out how to find water hiding in the ground.
One night they awoke to find the woman and her entourage gone. The Windsong Tribe convened and decided on what they would do with the knowledge they had gained. When all was said and done they decided that with the ability to access water anywhere they would be able to save their people. Knowing this they made their way back to spread the knowledge they had gained. On their way to spread this knowledge they were attacked by the Iron Tribe. The Iron Tribe made short work of the pacifists and demanded the secrets of pulling water from the ground. Exploiting the power he now held the leader of the Iron Tribe, Pietro Lankinos began to build what would now be known as the Iron Empire.
Over the course of the next century the Iron Tribe began their conquest. There were only two options, join or die. Those who joined early found themselves rewarded greatly with lands of their own and positions of power. The smaller tribes, knowing that they wanted nothing to do with this new empire, united to fight off the Iron Tribe. They became known as the Outsiders.
Thus what was once simply known as a large conglomeration of tribes became the Iron Empire. The empire was then divided into 7 states, ruled by the tribe leaders who originally joined Pietro Lankinos. Knowing that knowledge was power, Pietro encouraged what is now known as the Brass Renaissance. During the Brass Renaissance a great many technological breakthroughs took place. Permanent structures now sprang up everywhere and for every problem there seemed to be a technological solution. Today the majority of the people of the Iron Empire rely heavily upon these feats of engineering for everyday tasks.
Not all from the Iron Empires have embraced this lifestyle of opulent technology. Many folk prefer to live on the outskirts, shunning all of these so called "Marvels of Innovation". They are known as Outsiders and have developed a variety of skills they use in lieu of magic or machinery. They have developed a reputation as alchemists, negotiators and combat tacticians specializing in guerrilla warfare. They do not like to stay in one place for too long out of fear of being hunted down by the Iron Empire. As a general rule they forbid any kind of advanced technology within their territories destroying it immediately when found regardless of value or importance.
Two hundred years after the Brass Renaissance the Iron Empire has grown significantly. Technology is considered essential and the creators of such marvels are highly revered. Many have cast aside the old tribal ways and a persons reputation is everything. Some are great engineers, writers, musicians or artists. Your social standing almost always corresponds with your accomplishments and contributions to the Iron Empire. Material wealth is not considered the be all end all in the Iron Empire, though it certainly doesn't hurt. Those who lack skill usually overcome their deficit by throwing lavish parties. This is often the go to for politicians and merchants who are trying to increase their social standing.
Like most things style has also changed significantly. Gone are the days of natural colors and tribal wear. Fashion is considered extremely important to residents of the Iron Empire. Clothing is now refined, tasteful and over-the-top. Goggles are must have and the quality of such items has become quite the statement. Also personalized machinations have also became trendy, with smaller being better. All of these things have created a style that is truly exotic.
While many in the Iron Empire have embraced the newer way of life, some still defy the new order. These folks are collectively known as the Outsiders. In reality Outsiders is a term used to define any of the old tribes that have chosen not to live under the rule of the Iron Empire.
Outsiders often live on the outskirts of the Iron Empire but tend to travel frequently from place to place. A majority of the tribes have broken into smaller units and often just refer to themselves as families. Many treat these roaming families with distrust and contempt due to the reputation that Outsiders have earned. Often the Outsiders are labeled as thieves and con artists. Outsiders vehemently deny this, stating that those rumors are propaganda of the Iron Empire.
Easily identified by their bright, colorful clothing and larger than life demeanor, Outsiders are considered some of the greatest entertainers in the Iron Kingdom. Outsiders often considered masters of music, storytelling and sleight of hand entertainment, use these skills to make a living. Their women are known for a dance that they refer to as Carta Mahna, which is banned due to its over sensualized nature. This however does not prevent it from being done, if anything it has only made it more popular.
Unlike other residents of the Iron Kingdom, Outsiders despise technology and consider it bad luck. They will not allow it in their camps or hold it on their person. Those who are found to have done so knowingly are usually punished by having their pinky fingers removed. Many Outsiders believe that a person who has no pinky fingers will ever find love and that their removal will curse the transgressor.
The Iron Kingdom has a severe shortage of lumber products and has been importing from Sylvanna. They have also been importing a large amount of herbs as well, which have become very popular amongst alchemists.
They have also began importing livestock from Lamneth as well. Beef products are considered a delicacy in the Iron Empire and are highly sought after by the rich. Leather goods are also growing popular as well and have even been seen in certain pieces from Elinas.
Hyla has been the leader of exporting to worlds outside of the Iron Empire. Glassware, tools and wine are all popular exports to Lamneth. Sylvanna has really began to embrace the simpler sundry goods such as percolators and hand mixers.
However the one thing people want the most they cannot get in the Iron Kingdom. The sale of Flashpowder and the weapons that utilize it is illegal and punishable by death. This has not stopped some merchants from doing so however....
Emperor Donovik III is the current ruling power of the Iron Empire. Unlike many of the emperors of the past Donovik prefers to allow the Governors to handle a majority of the decision making. Governors are elected by popular vote every 5 years by registered members of the state in which they reside. Governors have no military power but control a majority of the funding decisions of their state. These rulers are also in charge driving their inventors towards innovations. Often they use subterfuge and spy rings to steal information from competing states. Every year the states are expected to present what they have created and their merit is derived from this, as well as their funding they shall receive from the empire for future experiments. Competition is often fierce. If the Emperor is temporarily away from the Empire or indisposed the day to day rule and custodianship of the empire falls upon the Emperor's Hand. Heinrich Von SteinJaeger is currently the Emperor's Hand.
This state is ruled by Governor Barteloni, a simple man known for his love of parties and not his political prowess. Originally a wine merchant, Barteloni campaign promise of lower taxes for all earned him his position, even though Govenors have no say in how high taxes will be. This has earned him the ire of most of his constituents. While Dorunto does not boast the highest number of inventors they to have the highest number of agricultural engineers. Their breakthroughs in irrigation and automated farming implementation have earned them high marks year after year. A majority of the food produced in the Iron Kingdoms is grown here.
A state that contains primarily coal mines this is one of the less prosperous states. Many think that the gasses and dust from the mines dulls the minds of those who work below. Governor Gorin rules here and feels that the Iron Empire has grown to reliant on technology, much to the ire of the emperor. However this has earned him the votes of the residents who agree with him. This also makes Shaleigh a very popular destination for Outsiders.
The clothing capital of the Iron Kingdoms the residents of this state pride themselves on being the innovators of fashion. Inventors of this region pride themselves on their ability to combine fashion and function with variable results. However a majority of the denizens of Elinas work in the textile mills, where a majority of the empires clothing is manufactured. Governor Garrett Fawkes does an excellent job of managing the affairs of the state and is well liked by almost everyone. This is mainly due to his charitable contributions throughout all of the Iron Kingdoms, sending clothing to other states for those in need. His wife Delaine is a fashion icon and is considered one of Elinas' top trend setters.
Volok is best known as the home of Cameron Loomis, inventor of the flash powder. Today Volok continues it's innovation in the development of flash powder weapons and devices. Rumor has it that they were on the verge of creating a carriage that would run on steam before their head lab was destroyed in an explosion. This has created a very precarious situation for Governor Phillipe as he was counting this innovation for funding. With his election coming up many suspect subterfuge but no one can prove it.
The masters of miniaturized inventions the people of Tramar earn high marks from the Emporer. However as of late Governor Drahn has been facing scrutiny due to their alleged use of child labor. Drahn denies these claims, stating that these are rumors created by his detractors. Should these allegations be proven it could prove catastrophic for the governor...
Many wonder exactly what the inventors of Wachilla do exactly. A majority of their inventions are faulty of uninspired yet they have been in the top three for the last three years. Many think that whatever is being created in White Citadel has something to do with it. The White Citadel was completed three years ago which no one believes to be a coincidence. Few leave the facility and when they do they are under heavy guard. Governor Ryers, who resides within the White Citadel, is the only one who travels in and out regularly. When asked about what is going on but he remains tight lipped and is always under Imperial Guard.
Not everyone can be innovator. While many of the other states focus on innovation the engineers of Hyla focus on refining and perfecting what has already been created. This often lands them in the bottom for funding much to ire of its residents. What they lack in govenment funding they make up with in exports. Hyla is well known for making quality, stable products and are highly sought after throughout the Iron Empire. Governor Tray has decided to send his son Hoyt to Waypoint to act as a ambassador and council member.
This is the central state and capital of the Iron Empire. A majority of the empires military is stationed here. Ferros also serves a trading hub and contains the countries only government sanctioned gate. Security is very tight and a majority of outsiders who come through the gate are restricted to only the merchant areas of the city.
However not everyone wants to deal with the state and prefer to conduct their own research independently. Some do it as an act of defiance against the empire while others just wish to be left alone. The Iron Empires stance on these rogue inventors varies. Some are captured and forced to work for the empire while others killed with their research destroyed. The Iron Empire denies all of these allegations stating that independent inventors are the backbone of innovation and as long as you are just attempting to make toys and automated dish washers this is true.
The Iron Empires have established an embassy in Waypoint that serves as a hub for inventors, many of which are looking for ways to combine magic and technology for more potent results. The Outsiders have also formed a camp though their numbers are small. Some have even taken to learning the ways of magic, though these folk few and far between.
The Iron Empire is largely united as a whole with the exception of the Outsiders. However they have no formal alliances with any other worlds beyond the gate and are very xenophobic. The closest thing they have to an alliance is the trade partnerships they have with many of the human merchants of Sylvanna.
Though the Iron Empire has no enemies they are suspicious of anyone from beyond the gate. Magic is illegal in the capital city and the recent arrest of Alaine Whispersong, an elven diplomat from Sylvanna who used healing magic in the city, has strained their relations. This has had a significant impact on the trade relations between the two worlds.
People of Note
Elad is a figure of legend. He is a folk hero, said to have traveled to every conceivable place, wooed every lass, and defeated every monster and villain. It is questionable whether a human named Elad McEwen ever truly existed, but bards and story-tellers from the Iron Empire take pride in topping tales of Elad's exploits. Every forest hamlet and fishing village has a tale of how Elad found an artifact of terrible power, rescued the Mayor's daughter, and slayed an unspeakable (yet uniquely detailed) horror. Occasionally a brave or foolish adventurer will claim to be a descendant of Elad, or Elad himself, but most civilized people prefer their heroes of myth to remain just that.
Flora and Fauna
With the Iron Empire being so arid and dry the plant life has had to become just as tough to survive. One of the most abundant plants are Sweela, a red cactus like plant that contains a great deal of sustenance. Though Sweela is very bland the people of the desert kingdom have developed a great many ways to prepare it, the most popular way being with Dona Beetle shells. This causes it to be incredibly spicy to outsiders.
Scorpions are a big issue in the Iron Empire as they have a tendency to grow to incredibly large sizes as do snakes. However both are considered good eating and are an essential part of the ecosystem. The Tonanka are small furry white creatures with eight legs about the size of a house cat. Their furs are easy to dye and are cool to the touch, incredibly valuable in the desert. However due to over hunting and incredible nimbleness the Tonanka have become almost extinct.