Authors: C. L. Werner
Tags: #Fantasy, #IRON KINGDOMS, #Adventure
EXILES IN ARMS:
NIGHT OF THE NECROTECH
C. L. WERNER
WELCOME TO THE IRON KINGDOMS
he world you are about to enter is the Iron Kingdoms, a place where the power and presence of gods are beyond dispute, where mankind battles itself as well as all manner of fantastic races and exotic beasts, and where a blend of magic and technology called mechanika shape industry and warfare. Outside the Iron Kingdoms themselves—the human nations of the continent called Immoren—the vast and unexplored world of Caen extends to unknown reaches, firing the imaginations and ambitions of a new generation.
Strife frequently shakes these nations, and amid the battles of the region the most powerful weapon is the warjack, a steam-powered automaton that boasts great mobility, thick armor, and devastating weaponry. A warjack’s effectiveness is at its greatest when commanded by a warcaster, a powerful soldier-sorcerer who can forge a mental link with the great machine to magnify its abilities tremendously. Masters of both arcane and martial combat, these warcasters are often the deciding factor in war.
For the Iron Kingdoms, what is past is prologue. No event more clearly defines these nations than the extended dark age suffered under the oppression of the Orgoth, a brutal and merciless race from unexplored lands across the great western ocean known as the Meredius. For centuries these fearsome invaders enslaved the people of western Immoren, maintaining a vise-like grip until at last the people rose up in rebellion. This began a long and bloody process of battles and defeats. This rebellion would have been doomed to failure if a dark arrangement by the gods had not bestowed the Gift of Magic on the Immorese, unlocking previously undreamed-of powers.
Every effective weapon employed by the Rebellion against the Orgoth was a consequence of great minds putting arcane talents to work. Not only did sorcery allow evocations of fire, ice, and storm on the battlefield, but scholars combined scientific principles to blend technology with the arcane. Rapid advancements in alchemy gave rise to blasting powder and the invention of deadly firearms. Methods were developed to fuse arcane formulae into metal runeplates, creating augmented tools and weapons: the invention of mechanika. The culmination of these efforts was the invention of the first colossals, precursors to the modern warjack. These towering machines of war gave the Immorese a weapon the invaders could not counter. With the colossals the armies of the Rebellion drove the Orgoth from their fortresses and back to the sea.
The people of the ravaged lands drew new borders, giving birth to the Iron Kingdoms: Cygnar, Khador, Llael, and Ord. It was not long before ancient rivalries ignited between these new nations. Warfare became a simple fact of life. Over the last four centuries periodic wars have been broken up by brief periods of tense but wary peace, with technology steadily advancing all the while. Alchemy and mechanika have simultaneously eased and complicated the lives of the people of the Iron Kingdoms while evolving the weapons employed by their armies in these days of industrial revolution.
The most long-standing and bitter enmity in the region is that between Cygnar in the south and Khador in the north. The Khadorans are a militant people occupying a harsh and unforgiving territory. The armies of Khador have periodically fought to reclaim lands their forebears had once seized through conquest. The two smaller kingdoms of Llael and Ord were forged from contested territories and so have often served as battlegrounds between the two stronger powers. The prosperous and populous southern nation of Cygnar has periodically allied with these nations in efforts to check Khador’s imperial aspirations.
Just over a century ago, Cygnar endured a religious civil war that ultimately led to the founding of the Protectorate of Menoth. This nation, the newest of the Iron Kingdoms, stands as an unforgiving theocracy entirely devoted to Menoth, the ancient god credited with creating mankind.
In the current era, war has ignited with particular ferocity. This began with the Khadoran invasion of Llael, which succeeded in toppling the smaller kingdom in 605 AR. The fall of Llael ignited an escalating conflict that has embroiled the region for the last three years. Only Ord has remained neutral in these wars, profiting by becoming a haven for mercenaries. The Protectorate has launched the Great Crusade to convert all of humanity to the worship of Menoth. With the other nations occupied with war, this crusade was able to make significant gains and seize territories in northeastern Llael.
Other powers have been drawn into this strife, either swept up in events or taking advantage of them for their own purposes. The Scharde Islands west of Immoren are home to the Nightmare Empire of Cryx, which is ruled by the dragon Toruk and sends endless waves of undead and their necromantic masters to bolster its armies with the fallen of other nations. To the northeast the insular elven nation of Ios is host to a radical sect called the Retribution of Scyrah that is driven to hunt down human arcanists, whom they believe are anathema to their gods.
The savage wilds within and beyond the Iron Kingdoms contain various factions fighting for their own agendas. From the frozen north a disembodied dragon called Everblight leads a legion of blight-empowered warlocks and draconic spawn. The proud, tribal race known as the trollkin work to unite their once-disparate people to defend their lands. Deep in the wilds of western Immoren, a secretive order of druids commands nature’s beasts to oppose Everblight and advance their own various plans. Far to the east across the Bloodstone Marches, the warrior nation of the Skorne Empire marches inexorably closer, bent on conquering their ancient enemies in Ios as a step toward greater dominion. Shadowy conspiracies have arisen from hidden strongholds to play their own part in unfolding events. These include the Convergence of Cyriss, an enigmatic machine-cult that worships a distant goddess of mathematics, as well as their bitter enemies the cephalyx, a race of extremely intelligent and sadistic slavers who surgically transform captives into mindless drudges.