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A SteamPunk Role-Playing Game


Game Setting

The Fifth (Steampunk) Epoch

Near the start of the Fifth Era, the Human continent is largely divided between two lands. In the west are the Kalosian states – independent kingdoms, but all generally cooperative. The noble class of the states are always half-elven. In the east is the Jho-BirA Empire. The Jho-BirA Empire is by far the largest political state, bigger than all of the Kalosian states on the Human continent put together. It is a mix of an agricultural population that had ruled the land for centuries and a nomadic group, the Jho, which moved in off the steppes about 4 generations ago. The Jho took control through the use of strange new fire magic, and melded themselves into the existing political structure at the top. Officially, to be in authority, one must be Jho. In practice, far more Jho are needed than available, so most of the previous aristocracy have been formally adopted as BirA – legal members of one of the Jho clans.

Midway between the two power structures is a nominal kingdom – really a collection of tiny city-states and provinces. A string of small kingdoms made up the southern coast of the continent, until the magicians destroyed several, and the Kalosians swallowed up most of the rest. Devorem, the kingdom furthest east, was not destroyed by magicians or Kalosians, and has been far enough from populated land to not be of interest to the Jho-BirA. The kingdom to its south and west was destroyed by the magicians and left in ruins when the magicians were driven out. The survivors of the rule of the magicians and the war to evict them appealed to the King of Devorem for help. The southern kingdom was integrated into Devorem, with the King’s brother as its prince. The King, Jugann II, also managed to put each of his five siblings in key positions of power around the enlarged kingdom. He then managed to die without an heir. Since that time, the kingship has been elective, with a unanimous vote required. It is not at all unusual to go for years at a time without a King actually being elected. The population of Devorem was almost entirely human, except for a number of Dwarvish clans in the mountains in the north of the kingdom. These dwarves, the first to discover uses for Ergeonite, demanded and received a vote for the royal election as well. Effective power in the ”kingdom” really resides on the local or provincial level. “Devorem” has slowly come to mean just the central province of the region. The region is now known as The Outlands, because it is outside the Kalosian lands, the Jho-Bira Empire, and the rule of the states on the Elvish continent. The Outlands stretch for about 300 miles along the southern coast, and extend about 150 miles into the interior.

The population of the Outlands is now a lot more varied than before. When the Kalosians overthrew the Windlords in the west, many people trying to get away from the fighting fled east, and found places to resettle in the Outland. Similarly, the conquest of the eastern empire by the Jho led to an influx of refugees as well. The Outland now has what is probably the largest collection of different cultures and races in the world. Half-elves are more common than before, although there is always concern that the half-elven may be inclined to support the Kalosians. So far, that has not been the case. With the disruption of other lands and the discovery of ergeonite, the dwarvish populations in the north and west have now been augmented by a large dwarvish population in the southern mountains. There are even several windlords known to live in the Highlands; for some reason, they are accepted by the local population.

The Outlands have become one of the largest trading centers in the world. Both the Kelosians and the Jho restricted trade as they consolidated their power. With rich mountains and nothing else to do, the Outlanders began filling the gap as a way to survive. Outland ships began more extensive trade with a number of states on the Elvish continent, and have even started stretching all the way down to the southern end of the Southern Continent. Having refugee populations from all over does not hurt – nearly everywhere has some Outlander who knows how it operates. The discovery of ergeonite has led to trade with nearly every corner of the world, although once it was discovered, it began being mined in many locations. As the Kelosians and the Jho-BirA became more established, trade has resumed along the coasts of the Human continent. The Kelosians are not as interested in ergeonite as most; the Jho-BirA have an Imperial monopoly on the purchase or sale of the product. This has led to a large amount of smuggling along the coast.

The provinces of the Outlands are internally run by their own power structures, with little or no outside influence. If a King or Queen is elected, the Royal government is focused almost exclusively on dealing with foreign countries or threats. When a sovereign is in power, the only resources that the royal government controls are those donated by the provinces. Independent provinces also make their own agreements with other countries – it is not that unusual for these agreements to contradict each other. Still, in times of true danger, the voluntary donations have been enough to keep the region free from foreign control.

EastMarch, the southeastern province, has about a third of the nations’ coastline, Rusuvat, its largest trading city, and extends far enough into the interior to be roughly self-sufficient in food. EastMarch was originally set up as a buffer region against the Empire; it was run from one of the kingdom’s largest castles and houses the small navy of the kingdom. Both EastMarch and the adjoining Imperial lands have grown more populated with time. Rusuvat has grown to nearly 75,000 people, and is packed around the mouth of the Devoram river. Rusuvat is the primary trading port to the Jho-Bira Empire, and has active trade to the Elvish continent and to the Southern continent. In addition to the merchant navy, inventive Rusuvatians built flying ships about 40 years ago. Although tiny by modern standards, these airships showed that flight was possible, and that travelling by air could allow travel across the ocean without danger from serpents. From these early beginnings, air travel has expanded and airship size has increased to the point that some trade goods like gems and jewelry are actually carried by air instead of by sea. There are nearly 20 airships operating out of Rusuvat, making it one of the largest air-ports in the world. About a third are small personal transports, about a third are ships capable of travelling well into the Empire with cargo, and 8 are armed SkyLords with a number of ergeonite guns, space for cargo or passengers, and a huge range. Rusuvat has ghettos with clusters of refugees from nearly every region of the planet.

Devorem is the largest province in the Outlands. Devorem includes most of the watershed of the Devorem river. The capital of the province is the city of Devorem, which is also the official capital of the Outlands. Devorem has about 50,000 people. It is built on the site of an old Imperial city, which was built on the site of an older pre-Imperial city, which was built over an even older First-Empire site. The province is almost entirely agricultural. Trade moves through the province going from the mountains to the coast, and from the plains up to the mountains. Devorem produces enough food to supply all of the mountain provinces. The coastal merchants buy up the food surplus in advance, and then send the products to the mountains in trade for metals and gems. There has been less ergeonite-driven change in Devorem than in the other provinces. One of the new features in Devorem is the manufacturing center for embued leather products. Leather is brought up from the south and ergeonite is brought down from the north.

Home is almost entirely dwarvish. The province extends along the northern mountains; almost all of the population lives underground. It has the most extensive ergeonite mines yet in the world. There are very few ergeonite-imbued items, but lots of ergeonite-driven mills and refineries. The main human population are the trading families that live beneath the entrances to the dwarf mines.

The Western Mountains include land on both sides of the mountains. There is farmland on the eastern slopes, mining on both sides of the mountains, a large monastery at the top of the pass connecting the two sides, and mainly stock-raising on the west. The Western Mountains have a small colony of dwarves, who were the first to mine ergeonite outside Home. The Western Mountains have some of the most diverse populations in the world. There are said to be several dragonlords living on the west side of the mountains, without being attacked by the population or trying to take the population over. There are also an unusual number of people with elven blood. The human population is mixed between a handful of locals and refugees from the western deserts, the south, and different states now ruled by the Kalosians. The monastery is also the home of the provincial capital, with a regional capital on the east and the west.

Durendal is based on the fortress that used to anchor the southern border of the kingdom of Devorem before its expansion to the south-west. The Imperial fortress was a key point in the war against the magicians, with the fortress withstanding a long siege until being relieved by a force from Devorem. It was then the base for the campaign that helped push the magicians off of the continent. The province now stretches along the coast most of the way towards EastMarch and inland about half way to the Western Mountains. Durendal is the capital of the province; a significant percentage of the land is held by the order of Paladins who still garrison the fortress. Most government services are actually provided by the Order. Most of the province is still agricultural, and there are significant empty, uncontrolled lands on almost every side. There is less trade in this province than the others, and less movement between Durendal and the other provinces.

Southland extends south and west of Durendal along the coast. The capital of the old kingdom was the port city of Tuvamel. Tuvamel had a population of nearly 50,000 before the conquest by the magicians, and less than 5,000 by the time the wars were over. Nearly every building in the city had been destroyed. With no functioning government and the land in ruins, Devorem was offered the country. The new prince of Southland made his capital in the ruins of Tuvamel, as it was still the best harbor for 500 miles. With the return of many who had left, and immigrants fleeing the wars in the west and the Elvish continent, the city now has nearly 35,000 people, and about half of the old kingdom has been resettled. As nearly everything has had to be rebuilt, and the mountains to the north have become a center for ergeonite mining, the new city has become a completely different place. Many of the new buildings make extensive use of steel and glass, and almost every street is paved with concrete. The streets are wide, and the port has been rebuilt larger than before. A dozen airships are based in the city, and it has become the largest trading port to the Kelosian lands to the west.

The Gates is made up of the mountains north of Southland. The mountain chain extends down from the north, forms a large cluster of mountains, and then extends back up to the west. The Gates is a series of very narrow passes along the mountain chain leading up towards the Western Mountains; when the territory was taken over by Devorem the new province was named after the only distinctive feature the Devoremanians were familiar with. There was very little human population left in the mountains at the time. Soon after, dwarves moving out from the Elvish continent started a settlement in the empty territory. With the discovery of ergeonite and iron, the area became a destination for dwarves coming from both ends of the Human continent and the Elvish continent. IT now has a dwarvish population roughly equal to Home, and has mining activities all through the southern end of the province. Materials are shipped straight downriver to Tuvamel. The Gates dwarves are not nearly as entrenched as the Home dwarves – all of them have been in the area for hardly a generation, and had to have extensive contacts with humans to get out of where they were and to The Gates. This has caused the Gates to have a society which has a much greater blending between the human and dwarvish populations than is found anywhere else.

[This campaign will start in Year 100 of the Fifth Epoch.]

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