The Iron Kingdoms
WELCOME TO THE IRON KINGDOMS
Welcome to a land where magic and machinery intermingle and nations engage in conflict rooted in ancient grudges while exploiting innovations from an ongoing industrial revolution. The Iron Kingdoms lie in the heart of western Immoren, where thriving cities are separated by dark wilderness regions that are home to feral beasts, savage tribes, and dangerous cults. To survive you’ll need brains, brawn, and perhaps a loaded pistol or two.
Divided by culture and geography, the people of these nations are diverse, with attitudes and beliefs shaped by thousands of years of rich and bloody history. Not so long ago the region was subjugated by the Orgoth, terrible invaders from across the seas who plunged Immoren into a dark age of servitude. Gaining freedom required making use of arcane might and technological invention. The Iron Kingdoms now fight each other for control their own destinies.
The extensive cities grow by the year as people in rural regions abandon the toil of their ancestors to better themselves in soot-choked urban centers. The advent of steam power has revolutionized every walk of live. Smoke-belching factories pollute the air and dump alchemical waste into gutters, and many make their living under harsh and cramped conditions. Violence often seems the easiest solution to many problems. Yet within these cities exist endless possibilities for the clever or courageous. New trades and crafts have emerged, offering steam engines, clockwork machines, factory-forged goods, and fiendish weapons for those with the coin to afford them.
Mechanika, the combination of arcane power with engineering, has resulted in sweeping changes. One of the first and most dramatic mechanikal innovations were the mighty engines of war called colossals by which the people of western Immoren defeated the Orgoth. Those machines were replaced by smaller but more intelligent and agile automatons called steamjacks, used extensively for labor. Steamjacks haul goods from ships and trains, lift impossible loads for construction, and are employed on the fringes of civilization to chop wood or till fields. When armed for war, these machines are called warjacks, and some carry the most advanced weapons ever created.
The supernatural is a tangible and usually hostile thing in western Immoren. The dead rise from graveyards at the behest of necromancers to beset the living. The gods are real and to be feared as much as praised, and their priests can invoke both curses and blessings. Some say the Gift of Magic is more of a curse than a blessing. It arises spontaneously in children or young adults who become sorcerers and who cannot always control the forces they instinctively channel. They have at times been persecuted as witches, condemned by priests of both the Menite and Morrowan religions that hold sway over spiritual matters. Yet arcanists who master their talents and belong to respected orders become vital members of their communities. The militaries of every nation are eager to utilize such talents especially those rare few with the warcaster ability allowing them to commune with the artificial minds of warjacks.
Though the Iron Kingdoms are dominated by humanity, other races also live within their borders. Trollkin, ogrun, and gobbers have adapted to urban life and can become well-respected bodyguards, soldiers, alchemists, and mechaniks. The dwarves of Rhul maintain their own nation but freely trade with the human kingdoms and are a common sight in the human lands. The occasional Iossan or Nyss elf may be encountered as an exotic rarity, their agendas an enigma.
The southernmost of the Iron Kingdoms is Cygnar, which emerged from the Corvis Treaties as the wealthiest nation, noted for its industrious cities and lands rich in resource yet also beset by enemies on all sides. Cygnar boasts some of the greatest minds in the history of the region. While famed for technological innovation, this nation is also a bastion for the dominant Church of Morrow.
Occupying a huge expanse of the frozen northern land is the Empire of Khador. Its citizens are tough, weathered, and proud of their mutual solidarity. Khador has embraced industry as heartily as warfare, and its people work to exploit what resources they can scrape from these difficult lands. Khadorans have their own great inventors, and it is from this region that Immoren gained the steam engine and the railroad.
The western kingdom of Ord has its own distinct culture and has earned the respect of its neighbors for it strong navy and stalwart soldiers, but it has also endured great poverty. It is a realm of foggy bogs, wet marshes, and rocky farmland. The Ordic people find diversion in song, gambling, and ale rather than dwelling on life’s inequities. Ord occupies a unique niche as a neutral nation that has become a haven to all manner of mercenaries and privateers.
Centrally located, the former nation of Llael is now occupied by Khador and contested by Menite zealots. A beleaguered Llaelese Resistance fights on but many Llaelese see this case as futile. The chaos of this region has made life difficult while creating lucrative opportunities for mercenaries, spies, missionaries, and anyone skilled at arms, engineering, or smuggling.
The Protectorate of Menoth is the newest Iron Kingdom. This theocracy emerged from the Cygnaran Civil War over a century ago as a result of a religious schism. While once beholden to Cygnaran law, the Protectorate declared independence and committed to a violent crusade against those refusing to pray to Menoth, the Creator of Man. Its priests enforce a strict interpretation of their religion to keep the population in line.
The nonhuman nations of Rhul and Ios lie adjacent to the lands of men, while to the west across the Meredius is the Nightmare Empire of Cryx, an island realm ruled by the Dragonfather, Toruk. Extensive wilds like the Gnarls, the Thornwood, the Bloodstone Marches, and the Wyrmwall Mountains present myriad savage hazards.
Those who would prosper in the Iron Kingdoms must be well armed and band together with others possessing the grit and fortitude to strike out in search of adventure. There are countless paths to fame and fortune- but just as many to death and ruin. Which fate is in store for you?
from The Iron Kingdoms Core Rulebook