Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-04-01 05:21pm

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The Dark Elvish naval tradition goes back more than six millennia, details are unclear and records from that era are spotty at best but soon after the previously nomadic Drow clans began to settle down and began to vassalize human tribes and building fortified settlements known as keeps to rule them from (in an era of Drow history known as the Keep Period roughly 6800-6600 BIA to 6000 BIA) they began to build ships to explore, trade and if need be wage war. These early vessels were to the effect of longships with sharply pointed bows and rounded sterns. The fact that the majority of keeps were established near the coast indicates the importance of maritime power in the spread of Drow society both in setting up colonies and spreading the idea of finding establishing permanent settlements among the other Drow clans. This would be refined through the era of the Student Men and was put to devastating use through the War of Four Centuries. While there was some variation early on in said war, the Drow would after a century of fighting would settle on the Galley as their favored ship of war using slave rowers. This design would serve them well for nearly four thousand years and against the Fire Siphon armed dragonships of the Student Men, the three hundred oar greatships of the First Empire, the vast fleets of the Third Empire armed with catapults, ballistic, fire siphons and (in a few cases) crude cannon and the fleets of the High Elves. It was only after the Dark Elves began arming their ships with cannon of their own that they begun to move away from galleys, and even so said transition happened over two centuries between 450 BIA and 250 BIA. Even so, the legacy of this tradition remains evident even in the third decade of the Infrastructural Age.

Of the Nine Drow states, eight of them have a stretch of coastline in their territory and each of these has a total naval forces of about 300 to 400 warships, the lone landlocked state operates a smaller navy of 60 ships out of the ports of it's two closet neighbors. Of these naval assets ownership is split between a state run navy and ships owned by the various great houses. The Great Houses that run Drow society are required to raise forces for the defense of their state, some retain and train companies of warriors while others build warships. For the most part the house owned ships are smaller and faster, well suited to raiding and taking prizes.

Historically among the greatest concerns for Drow shipbuilders has been that of timber, given the limited amount of land that was secured behind their defenses. To ensure that they have a constant supply of usable lumber for their naval needs all woodland in Drow territory is the product of carefully managed Arboriculture. Millennia of selective breeding has resulted in the creation of fast maturing breeds of oak, mast pines and Cendoliath Teak. This has been supplemented with material reclaimed from older vessels, foreign wood, either procured through trade, tribute or harvested from enemy territory during times of war. In the last century bamboo grown in the more southernly drow states has been a boon to drow shipbuilding in terms of scaffolding material, but the biggest boon has been colonization of the Northwestern Continent.

In any case once harvested the lumber is usually treated both in a fairly conventional manner, as well as with a number of potions to improve performance. As an example Drow ships are more fire resistant than their non Drow counterparts, barnacles do not grow on the bottom of their hulls, minor damage will repair itself overtime, capsizing is less likely to happen, they can easily be stored in reserve and the ship will act as a sponge, absorbing background magic and providing the crew with more mana to work with. Every Drow warship has a station from which the weather can be manipulated, mostly for nagivational purposes but also to create screens of fog and, in groups, create thunderstorms. These spells are not as extensive as those used in High Elvish ships, but they often offer an edge over non drow warships. A high level of standardization is employed by Drow shipbuilders in many components, though a fair amount of customization is used afterwards. As a general rule, most of the heavy work in shipyards is done by slaves who are overseen by Drow artisans who do much of the more delicate jobs. Before their conquest by Infrastructure, Daagsgrad and Borogskov developed a shipbuilding industry making heavy use of slave labor who's income came not only from building ships but also in training slaves in shipbuilding to sell to Drow slavers.

As a general rule, Drow warships are long, narrow and built for speed. Even when tacking natural wind they have above average speed, though they are not as maneuverable as other ships. Weather magic can give them a speed and manuvering advantage, but maintaining full speed with wind can not be done for more than 24 hours. Most of them have a prominent fore and aft-castle, though this feature has been going out of fashion among the larger ships of the line for the last few decades. While most of a Drow warship's firepower is in it's broadside Drow warships usually have their heaviest guns in forward mounts. In part this has to do with the fact that a near universal feature in Drow built warships is a long prow mounted runic blade, a devastating ramming weapon. There is some reluctance to use this weapon as it can set off powder magazines. Often mechanisms are in place to allow the prow to be retracted or a 'scabbard' is available as to not inflict damage on ships that need to be captured. Drow warships often have a significant marine complement assigned to them and are generally outfitted with a corvus to make boarding easy.

Drow naval artillery is measured by the weight of the projectile fired and are measured in Vaul (a Vaul is aproximately 0.59 kilograms). Five Vaul cannons are the lightest naval guns used by drow warships, more commonly found on cargo ships they never the less find their way onto brigs. Ten Vaul is the most common caliber used by Drow naval forces. Twenty Vaul guns are considered heavy guns and are generally used by ships of the line and frigates. The heaviest drow naval cannons are 35 Vaul. Drow artillery has improved consideraby between 20 and 36 IA, moving from crude, heavy smoothbore cannons lit with slow matches to lighter, stronger rifled ones using gunlocks with more than double the effective range. That said, a large number of older cannons remain in service particularly among the more easterly states.

Typically, discounting marines, a Drow Warship has a crew that is two thirds composed of slaves and one third Drow. There are few places in which Drow spend as much time in close proximity to their slaves as is the case while on land. Despite being in military service, naval slaves are generally not as extensively trained or indoctrinated as Janissaries, especially among the ships in house forces. For the most part naval slaves are not trusted with weapons. This often puts Drow boarding parties at a numerical disadvantage when taking ships, though Drow sailors usually wear armor. Drow navies prefer to crew this ships with slave sailors that have had seen several years at sea and especially those that have seen action under naval commanders. Outside of skilled jobs such as carpentry, cooking, magic and medicine not much consideration has been given to formal training to naval crews either way.

These are the general list of ship types in a Drow Warfleet along with their common names.
  • Brigs are the smallest Drow warships. They have one mast, are usually about thirty meters long, weigh 200 to 300 tonnes and have crews of 80-120 personnel and carry between six and fourteen cannons. Most brigs are privately owned and are employed by the Drow Navy as patrol vessels and commerce raiders working in wolf packs of two to five ships (usually with support of a supply ship) and preying on enemy commerce. Brigs are capable of making transoceanic voyages, but can not stay at sea as long as long as other vessels. Drow admirals often thing of brigs as being disposable assets and are more than willing to send brigs head on against enemy formations in ramming attacks. In their eyes the loss of three brigs with all hands is more than worth the destruction of a High Elvish Maelstrom.
  • Sloops are larger than brigs, but are still classified as light assets. They are double masted, weigh 600 to 800 tonnes, average out at forty meters long, carry fifteen to twenty two guns and have complements of 150 to 200 personnel. Sloops serve a similar role to Brigs in many respects, but their larger size means they have a longer operational range and can stay at sea for up to three months at a time, making them ideal for scouting missions and harassing enemy formations. They usually have the crew to spare to take in prizes.
  • Frigates are medium sized warships and are in many senses their offensive workhorses. They have two or three masts, weigh 1,000 to 1,600 tonnes, are between 50 and 65 meters long, have between 24 and 36 cannons and crews. Frigates are very good at destroying enemy scouts, capturing enemy shipping and can engage most enemy warships head on. Private ownership of a frigate is considered a sign of considerable prestige for a house.
  • Ships of the Line (not depicted) are the heaviest Drow warships by far. They can get up to 95 meters long, have three to five masts, weigh up to 4,500 tonnes, can carry up to 120 guns and can have crews up to 1,050 personnel. Ships of the line have multiple gun decks. These ships exist specifically for fleet actions and as heavy artillery platforms.

While some efforts were being made to upgrade Drow ships beforehand, the Escort War has made the Drow painfully aware of the need for modernization. Especially in Galthirith, Valnothron, Cendoliath, Hansoliath and Janilonas efforts to improve and modernize their fleets have been redoubled to improve naval artillery, introduce steam propulsion and develop their own ironclad warships.

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House Valcas is one of the Great Houses of the State of Valnothron, a powerful merchant house owning a large trade fleet as well as a significant section of the Valnothron's shipyards and numerous other enterprises either directly or through its various client houses and proxy organizations abroad (some even in human held territories). Over the last decade it's standing has received a boost by financing spies to infiltrate Infrastructure and return with blueprints, examples of machinery and in a few cases, kidnapped Engineers. Among the areas in which this had the most pronounced effect was in the matter of artillery. Though replication of the steel barreled breechloading cannons used by the Infrastructural Navy has faced numerous complications, they never the less have managed to devise and deploy a large number of substantially improved cannons.

The first guns of this type were made in 32 IA using a combination of cast iron and wrought iron to reinforce the weapon's breech, thus reducing the weight of a gun while still allowing it to use a considerable charge of black powder. Improvements in furnace design and steam driven mechanized bellows had improved productivity but the main breakthrough was in casting the central component as a single piece and then boring out the barrel. Similar machines were used to rifle the barrels, allowing for a greater degree of accuracy. The maximum effective range of the last generation of Drow Cannons of this caliber (against large stationary targets) was about a kilometer, these improvements increased that to three kilometers. The common Ten Vaul (5.9kg) model pictured above weighs 0.8 tonnes and is used by both naval and ground forces.

These cannons also use an improved range of ordance. Among these are cylindro-concial cannon-'balls' which have superior areodynamic performance when compared to their earlier predecessors. Some of these have been outfitted with steel tips as anti-armor weapons. There is also experimentation going with using these cannons to fire explosive shells, though these were not of much use against heavy armor.

Initially orders for these new weapons were comparatively limited, while the guns were easier to build and there was interest there was some conservatism and skepticism on the subject of rifled artillery (more specifically fears that rifling would increase loading times under battlefield conditions) and the fact that there was already a surplus of older cannon in storage. Rifling existing guns was more profitable for the first two years. The first defeat against Infrastructure at the onset of the Escort War soon showed that there was a need for improved artillery and so the number of orders house Valcas received for new guns increased tenfold overnight, both to replace the guns on existing ships and as weapons for newer vessels. In addition orders in their home state, Valcas foundries also recieved orders from Janilonas, Hansoliath and Cendoliath. Orders were high enough that an expansion on House Valcas's colonial foundry begun to provide these new guns directly to shipbuilders in the Colonies. Other Drow states and houses have been scrambling to develop artillery of similar quality. While they have had some success the initial lead in development still means that for the moment House Valcas still has a disproportionately large share of that market.

Never the less while these new cannons are a considerable improvement over their predecessors they are still are outclassed by Infrastructural artillery in terms of firepower, range, rate of fire and accuracy. But regardless, House Valcas continues experimentation in it's attempts to match Infrastructural artillery on a gun to gun basis.
Last edited by Zor on 2015-06-29 01:18am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-05-18 05:20am

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The Allergonian Imperial Navy was first created in 1160 YO (219 BIA Infrastructural Calender). Before that period defense of the Empire's northern coast was the domain of the two northern kingdoms and their associated lords with the Imperial Crown occasionally subsidizing their efforts in times of war. This system sufficed in the kingdom's early history for coastal defense, but as time went on it became increasingly corrupt, inefficient and ineffective. In 1150 YO the Empire's combined fleet was comparatively small at a hundred and sixty ships manned by some 18,000 men, less than half the size of the Venoan Fleet. Of said ships a third of them were either old, in a bad state of disrepair or both and nearly all of them had either old/substandard artillery or a shortage of cannons. The ship's officers were usually the younger sons of Knightly houses which could not afford to have them squired, a motley collection of press ganged fishermen and longshoremen, beggars, outcasts and convicts made up the enlisted ranks, marines were feudal levies and a smattering of men at arms assigned to ships usually as a disciplinary action while it's admirals were nobles who were given said command as tokens of favor. Drills were basically non existent and sailors. Besides the Admirals sailors were paid a pittance and as such graft was rampant, most ships took bribes from smugglers and those that did not were usually involved in smuggling themselves if not extorting money from merchant captains at cannon point using the pretext of trumped up charges. Morale among the crew was usually low and drunkenness was a chronic problem.

These factors had been building for some time, but it took some time and a fair bit of pretext. In 1159 YO this fleet suffered a humiliating against a Hansoliath flotilla, with Forty Three ships being sunk and twenty two ships damaged by eight Drow ships of the line and four Sloops. This allowed Gunther-III with the backing of the five southern kingdoms and the Elvish High King to force the creation of a formal Imperial Navy under the direct authority of the Imperial Throne. The remaining assets of the old fleets were integrated and supplemented with new construction, new crews were recruited and the old crews were retrained. Standards swiftly improved from there.

As of 36 IA, the Allergonian Imperial Navy has some five hundred ships in service ranging from small 16 meter long cutters used for patrol and scouting to heavy Ships of the Line such as this one (IAS Gunther-III). Launched in 1382 YO out of Norgensburg being built by teams of human and dwarf artisans, she remains one of the Imperial Navy's larger fighting ships and was intended to serve as the flagships for Imperial heavy squadrons. She is seventy three meters long (including her bowsprit and aftmast), weighs in at 3,600 tonnes and has a crew of some 720 sailors and 125 Imperial marines. Crew quality has improved considerably since the days of the old Feudal Navy. Now more sailors are volunteers as opposed to those Press Ganged into service or convicts. The average Imperial sailor earns eighteen pfennigs a day plus rations paid into the Imperial Naval Bank as well as prize money, a fact which also is useful against desertion. A fair number of boys from poor families aged 12 to 15 sign up to become apprentices to ship's blacksmiths and carpenters. While the majority of officers are either wealthy or from noble houses, a decent percentage of experienced seamen get commissions.

Imperial Ships of the Line are by design heavy brawlers. They have heavy hulls of oak reinforced by intersecting cross bracing allowing them to take a fair bit of punishment. The offensive armament of Gunther-III issome ninety five dwarf made cannons. More specifically she is outfitted with seventeen 25-Pounder Long Guns (Three Forward, Four Rear, Ten broadside mounted) and seventy eight 65-pounder Carronades. If put up against one of her Drow contemporary counterparts this meant that she would be at a disadvantage during the opening salvos but once she had gotten up close she would be able to hit the Drow ship with devastating broadside after devastating broadside upon the lighter vessel. In boarding actions, marines provide the main offensive thrust. Each Imperial Marine is outfitted with a helmet, breastplate, shortsword, warpick with at least a runebreaker rune, pistol (traditionally a wheellock which were replaced by revolvers between 23 and 27 IA) and either a firearm or an enchanted crossbow with NCOs and Marine Officers having runic breastplates. These are backed up by the general crew which each has a helmet and is armed with axes, cutlasses, boarding pikes, pistols, rifles, boarding guns and muskets.

The Gunther-III, like her contemporaries is a pure sailing vessel. She is four masts to catch the wind with and can reach a top speed of to 17km/h using natural wind. Due to her prestige, she does have a number of weather mages onboard. While she can not match the endurance or speed of an Elvish ship under magically assisted winds, this does allow her a maneuverability advantage over pure sailing ships and is useful in case of becalmment. These mages can also redirect lightning strikes, while they generally can not use lightning as an offensive weapon like a fleet of Drow ships can these mages can redirect about half of all lightning bolts into the sea. Unlike the ships of the old Feudal Navy which were tasked with coastal defense, the Imperial Navy is capable of projecting force elsewhere. The AIN has sent operations to Greenwater Bay, the Southern Continent and had engaged in naval actions with the Kingdom of Torion as well as Dark Elvish ships on the open ocean.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-05-24 11:31pm

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Between 19 IA and 35 IA Allergonian steam engine technology has rapidly advanced. Thanks to the efforts of Malnov Yorigsov, his apprentices, other defecting engineers and a number of Dwarvish clans eager to refine their old atmospheric engine designs the Empire is now making use of a large number of steam engines in various fields from industrial applications to transportation. The latter manifested itself most distinctly in river and canal boats due to the fact that they made use of the existing waterways that had been prominent trade routes for thousands of years starting with modified barges and gradually going to larger purpose built craft. But while these did improve the Empire's economy on the whole the Imperial government was still primarily interested in the military applications of this new technology and one area where the Imperial Crown was particularly interested in using it was to power warships at sea.

The advantages that a steam powered warship would have were obvious in that they could allow a ship to sail against the wind without relying on weather mages. Never the less there was some resistance on the projects, which was championed by Lord Admiral Joharn von Frettchendorl. He and his supporters argued that while steam powered saws, drills, cranes and other such were a boon for shipbuilders employing a steam engine on a wooden warship was too risky to be worth it, especially under combat conditions. The fact that a few early river barges burned down gave his arguments credence even as Infrastructure was building both metal and wooden hulled steamships and Venoa had begun work on it's fleets of steam galleys. This limited the navy's steam engine projects to a few small unarmed testbeds until his retirement in 29 IA after a heart attack. The new leadership was more open to militarized steamships. In October of 31 IA the IAS Kestral was launched, a 18 meter long cutter outfitted with a rear mounted paddle wheel and the Empire's first armed steamship. Two more cutters were built before they moved onto work of a larger steamship capable of offensive action and from their efforts was born the frigate IAS Falchion.

In many respects the Falchion is a fairly conservative design. She is 42 meters long and weighs in at 680 tonnes. She has a crew of 220 personnel, including marines and has an armament of two 8-pounder forward long guns for it's forward chase armament and twenty six 40-pound carronades for it's main broadside armament. As his typical for Imperial sail frigates since 80 BIA she has as copper plated hull. Where she differs is that she is outfitted with a 420kw steam engine and a screw propeller. This allows her a top speed of 24km/h. As a general rule her sails are struck when under steam power to avoid them getting covered in soot and ash. Her steam engine has a crew of some twenty full time engineers and technicians. Stoking is handled by general sailors and is usually a disciplinary action.

After trials, shakedown and drills, the Falchion was deemed to be a success. As such, work has begun on five additional steam frigates with improved engines and additional mechanized systems. Plans for a steam powered ship of the line are still in the works and are being resisted by a few pockets of conservatives among the Imperial Admiralty's top staff, even though their resistance to the idea has fallen in light of the Escort War.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-06-15 11:07pm

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The Infrastructural Economy: A Brief Overview

With the creation of introducing new technology and imposing order and stability the Central Committee has managed to increase the economic output of the Coldlands more than ten fold between 0 and 36 IA. This shall give a summery to conditions in 36 IA

Agriculture
Most of Infrastructure's agriculture has been organized into Agricultural Cooperatives. Each cooperative involves several households with each household owning some assets and pooling others. The most common type of cooperative has each household owning a plot of land but pooling their resources, with draft animals, storage facilities and heavy equipment (especially advanced mechanized equipment) and offering support to make up for individual failures. A fair number of cooperatives also have areas of common land as well, this is most pronounced in coops specializing in raising cattle, sheep and goats in which most land is held in common and used for pasture. Most coops had their origins in the various small farming villages, though some redrawing of boundaries was done. Since sharing equipment has been fairly common among Coldland farmers this system has been well accepted. In addition, more land has been put under cultivation since the rise of Infrastructure since them adding new coops. Joining a coop is not mandatory and farmers are allowed to leave a coop, but few farmers have decided to strike out on their own since the system was brought about. Most coops have about 20-60 families, though larger coops are not unknown.

Coops are run by a foreman elected by the coop's population who manages affairs and does business on behalf of the cooperative along with councils. Among the common duties of a Coop's Foreman is the hiring of additional labor (including skilled labor such as technicians), the maintenance of equipment and making sales deals. Agricultural taxes are usually collected at the Coop level, are paid in kind, with rates usually ranging between 10% to 30% depending on several factors determined by the Bureau of Revenue and it's various Bureaucrats. In addition, the Infrastructural government also buys a fair amount of produce from farmers. In return, the Ministry of Agriculture provides coops with a variety of assistance. They provide mass produced steel tools, nails and fertilizers (which the cities and hub towns produce in abundance). They have brought in imported breeding animals to improve the poundage of animals. Windmills are built both to process grain as well as for pumping water for irrigation. Most pronounced are the introduction of equipment such as seed drills, disc plows, cultivators and mechanical reaping and threshing machines. This modernization process is far from complete and as general rule the further away you get from Dalatyr the less developed agriculture is. Even so the Ministry of Agriculture is proud to announce that since 18 IA Infrastructure's agricultural output has been rising by 15% a year on average. Much of that food is being used to feed a steadily growing population and especially its burgeoning urban segment.

A fair number portion of the agricultural population seeks winter employment to make a few extra credits rather than simply being idle during the long cold months. Mine output is always highest during the winter months because of this surge of seasonal labor.

State Industries and Industrial Planning
State Industries are simply put Industries which are owned and operated by Infrastructure's Ministry of Industry and Technology. In many ways State Industries are the driving force of the Infrastructural Economy. There are hundreds of factories owned by the Infrastructural Government making a wide selection of goods including ink and paper, pots and pants, hammers and nails, cloth and clothing, weapons and ammunition, vast quantities of steel and iron, wagons, roadsteamers, boats, ships and trains and the machine tools which all these machines. All railways and most roadsteamers fall under the aegis of State Industry as well, as are many mines.

State Industries are set up to work in conjunction with one another. Brickworks are set up to provide the raw material Steel mills are set up to accommodate planned expansion to the rail network system and the creation of future factories. State of the art machine tool factories have been built from the ground up using the latest in equipment specifically to produce the next generation of machine tools to replace them. Factories are set with production quotas that they are expected to meet which can usually be achieved with allocated resource in reasonable time-frames. Factories which exceed their quotas or complete their projects ahead of schedule typically receive bonuses proportional to their overproduction. A suginfigant failure to meet quotas by a significant margin will bring in an investigation into what is going wrong and to address this issue, either by providing additional aide or by removing those in charge of the facility from power. In addition there are regular audits to monitor productivity. One of the advantages of the centralized planning of state industries is that the Industrial power of Infrastructure can quickly and easily be brought to bear on a single objective such as developing a shipbuilding industry in the 20s.

Leaving aside mines, railways and similar, state industries tend to be concentrated for reasons of transportation costs and security. Some 55% of Infrastructure's state controlled factory capacity is located in Dalaryr, Daagsgrad and Borogskov. Much of what remains is located around garrisons and a fair bit of it involves processing raw materials (such as lumber mills). Even though they play a central role in the Infrastructural Economy they currently employ only 400,000 people full time and some 300,000 winter workers. Even so, it is steadily growing. Infrastructural factory workers receive good wages and work in safe conditions. With the onset of the escort war some industry has been transferred south to the Verteb Region for security purposes.

The Private Sector
Despite the preeminence of State Industries in the Infrastructural Economy they are not alone. Many citizens of Infrastructure make money by trading with their fellows, from street vendors selling fried potatoes to a small but growing number of sizable firms in a vibrant marketplace. A few of these predate Infrastructure, though most of these players in the market economy arose under the Central Committee's aegis. The Central Committee is perfectly fine with a marketplace operating alongside it's State Industries and government shops in most areas, even if some areas of the economy are firmly government monopolies (among these are production of firearms, artillery, explosives, formal education and printing). The Committee sees no particular reason to ban market activity as it would only to serve to build resentment against the infrastructural government and cultivate a black market and criminal underground. In any case having a general market in which people use credits both to buy and sell objects and invest them to turn a profit helps strengthen the value of the Credit. Even so certain rules and regulations are in place. These range from safety codes to laws forbidding the rejection of credits as payment without a special license (Magpying) or charging higher rates in credits as compared to various currencies based around gold and silver (Magpie Rating).

In 36 IA most of the Private Sector remains at the level of small businesses (stalls, inns, restaurants, shops, brothels and similar). Among the larger ventures are shipping, with some two hundred and forty six privately owned Infrastructural merchant ships massing more than 100 tonnes, of which forty four have been outfitted with steam engines. Inland there are some 320 privately owned paddlesteamers and steam powered riverboats plying the rivers as well as many more sail and animal drawn craft. There are also a large number of drayage firms transporting goods overland in carts and wagons. All three of which do business with the infrastructural government on a regular basis as well as getting aide from it directly. The productivity of the shipyards of the Black Ports has increased and improved substantially since they became The Yards and the Central Bank of Infrastructure offers special loans and payment programs for merchant captains seeking to expand their fleet. The creation of proper roads and the construction of bridges has made overland transportation much easier and between 6 and 31 IA a program was put into place by which a person with an ox, horse or mule could by a cart and pay for it by providing services to the Infrastructural government. A similar program is still in place for boats, and almost all privately owned paddlesteamers were initially built by state industries, operated by the Infrastructural Government and were sold to their captains for a pittance after several years (though some of them have been bought up by burgeoning river shipping companies). All of which have benefited from government support and as such have grown quickly. There has even been some entrepreneurs who have opened small factories that are usually oriented towards consumer products and generally use second hand equipment bought from State Factories. These factories lack many of the advantages that State Factories have and a fair number have failed to get off the ground but never the less a few of them have emerged as profitable.

As a general note private firms don't have the same romance that State Industies have in the eyes of the Infrastructural public. State Industries are always introducing new and amazing new machines.

Exports and Imports
Since the conquest of The Black Ports, the total exports of Infrastructure have grown rapidly, though the recipients of this trade have changed. The slave trade has been firmly quashed and in it's place has risen a profitable export sector in which both private and public but net exports have never the less increased. Among the prominent exports of Infrastructure in the year 36 IA are the following...
  • Steel goods and tools (including, but not limited to, Saws, Drills, Axes, Hammers, Sickles, Scythes, Shovels, Knives, Flatware, lamps, kettles, scissors, razors, pots and pans)
  • Glazed Ceramics
  • Glassware
  • Lenses, telescopes and eyeglasses
  • Amber
  • Timber
  • Grain (barley and wheat)
  • Wooolcloth and thread
  • Linen and machine made Lace
  • Dyes
  • Stamped Steel Helmets and breastplates
  • Small Arms (Type-2RE Caplock Screw Breechloading rifles, Double Barreled caplock pistols, Type-2PE Cap and Ball Revolvers, double barreled shotguns, swords and daggers, percussion caps)
  • Walrus Ivory
  • Furs
  • Sugar
  • Paper
  • Mirrors
  • Maps
  • Clocks
  • Cameras and associated equipment
In general terms most of Infrastructure's exports is mostly finished products as well as some preinfrastructural exports. In general these items produce a large amount of revenue due to the efficiency at which they can be produced. Even so, most of these manufactured items are not in of themselves of exemplary quality. An Infrastructural machine forced sword is functional but would be reckoned to be of inferior quality to that which can be produced by many traditional centers of swordsmithing leaving aside runic weapons. Even so even with transport costs said sword can out compete swords of similar quality that can be made by most local smiths, a fact which makes them a boon to anyone trying to raise an army.

Infrastructures primary imports are as such...
  • Coal
  • Iron (in the form of ore, ingots or scrap metal)
  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Zinc
  • Exotic metals such as Magnesium, Tungsten and so forth produced by Dwarvish mines
  • Saltpeter
  • Petrolium
  • Rubber
  • Silk
  • Tea
  • Wine
  • Spices
  • Luxury clothing
  • Perfume
  • Fruit
  • Luxury items
  • Magical items
As one can see Infrastructure's Imports are mostly skewed between two extremes: raw materials in bulk along with high end consumer goods on the other side. Of these, the Infrastructural Government buys almost all of the former while the burgeoning merchant class buys most of the latter (sometimes through the Infrastructural Government as a proxy) and the latter is by far the bigger of the two. This is especially the case with the onset of the Escort War. In wartime raw material imports have been significantly expanded and the committee has authorized payment for said goods above normal rates to ensure a steady supply of said materials. A policy which has led Infrastructure from going from a country which made a considerable profit to one which has wracked up significant international debt.

Among the goals of Infrastructure is the establishment of the Infrastructural Credit abroad as a traded currency. Some headway in this endeavor has been made by giving bonuses to foreign merchants and their crews that come to Infrastructure. Most of which is spent shortly afterwards in the Coldlands but some of it is saved never the less and reports have come up that these are traded among sailors in port cities, though still to a limited degree. A few Infrastructural stores attached to embassies which sell goods for both gold and credits and offer a 20% discount if payment is made in Credits and buy scrap metal from scavengers paying in local currency and credits has also played it's role. Even so overcoming the prejudice among the older human and dwarfish civilizations that currency must be made out of precious metals has been a slow process.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-06-30 11:17am

Forty one years ago a young daughter of a minor merchant house named Dalzanis ti'Volnan joined the crew of one of Valnothron's Ships of the Line. Naval service offered considerable room for advancement, wealth and respect for both oneself and one's family. Unfortunately said prospects also went hand in hand with a high probability of a watery grave as said room was cleared out by the frequent attempts by the High Elves to sever the link between the Drow Homelands and their Colonies across the sea. Even so, she managed to survive, impress her superiors and rose up through the ranks, got a commission and eventually command, starting with a brig and then a sloop which had the distinction of launching a successful raid on an Infrastructural town and sinking a Shchuka boat. That last deed was enough to give her command of Raeltis (Bodkin), the first non Infrastructural ironclad warship.

The Raeltis was about the size of a sloop, lacked the typical adornments that a Drow ship had due to the rushed nature of her construction and had a a hull covered with 4 inches of wrought iron plating. When under sail she was slow and ungainly even with wind mages doing their best, this was made up for by the best steam engine that house Valcas' shipyards could build. She was launched two months ago and had a month of sea trials before being officially put into service. They had gone smoothly enough, even if she had her own quirks like the constant rumble of the engine, the smoke which could blow in your face if you were not cautious, the addition of "engineers" to her crew manifest and a so forth. Never the less Raelthis' real test was to be a trial by fire in the Assault on Daagsgrad.

As she set out for Hansoliath, she heard that the keel of a second ship of her class had been laid down and more like her would be built shortly. Everything was functioning well enough and the weather was decent. Even so the crew had been a bit anxious, which was only understandable given what they were going up against. Even so a few rumors had been circulating among the crew about how what they had heard. Most of the crew was decent enough at their job, but most of the Drow crew had been in the navy for less than ten years and all of them were from minor houses, despite the prestige that normally attached itself to the creation of a revolutionary new ship like this one. There was some talk about the old warrior houses disliking change on general principles, a squeamishness around loud messy machines and uncertainty about the new design but what Dalzanis and her crew came to agree upon was that a suspicion that they were to be thrown through the worst of enemy fire. This was confirmed by the orders that she was given.

Even so, she had her duty to do. The small defending fleet had moved to try to break through the blockade and had been joined. At first she opened fire. She had fifteen 10-Vaul rifled cannons for her broadsides and chase armament and forward four 20-Vaul heavy guns, all of which were the newest rifled guns and moreover she had a number of steel tipped shells. Even so, this bombardment had little effect. After a few salvos a signal flare was launched and she and thirty four other ships (including the other seven steam engine equipped warships) made their move and converged on the Infrastructural line at full speed. She had the entire Drow crew contribute energy to put a strength buff on the hull earlier that morning just to be on the safe side for this maneuver. As expected, she began to attract fire and within a minute of the advance beginning a shell impacted against the Raeltis. There the thud of it's explosion, a shock that rang through the ship, a flash of light (with a slight green tint) and a puff of smoke, but still the armor held with only a slight dent. The next hit fell a few seconds latter, but only succeeded in making another dent. Other ships were not so lucky, erupting into showers of splinters and fire. The same went for subsequent impacts, even though one of the sails was blown apart and one of the anchors blown off it's chain. In response the Raethis returned fire with her heavy forward guns. The Captain grinned as she noticed that they making more of an impact as distance was closed, making bigger dents and once they got within two thirds of a mile, getting through (though there was some splintering of timbers behind the dents. But regardless of that the main aim of the Raeltis's advance was to replicate her namesake as she slammed into an Infrastructural Ironclad, her six yard long runic prow cutting through it's hull, steam pipes and into it's boiler with minimal resistance. After that she pushed the steal box backwards while the captain order that the engines be reversed and she began to withdraw. The hulk took on water and capsized, obviously broken.

Dalzanis savored this moment. Her ship had managed to withstand Infrastructural cannonfire and sink one of their 'invincible' warships. An achievement that her family would boast about for centuries to come and would earn her prestige and power. Moreover she thought about the real enemy, the despised High Elves. She imagined squadrons of these craft breaking apart those graceful warships of theirs. Then one of her ensigns came up from below deck carrying the link stone in a carrying frame.

"Captain, the Admiral wants to speak with you!"

She turned to face the small transulcent image of Admiral ti Zaelros and bowed. "My lord!"

"Captain, an Infrastructural fleet has come from the South, withdraw immediately and move to engage!"

"But Admiral, we've just sunk one of their ironclads!"

"I saw that but they're seventeen more of them which have just arrived firing on our fleet as we speak. You have your orders!"

"Yes my lord." She said sighing slightly. The image faded. "Helm, bring us about full speed! Our main force is under fire!" Ahead she saw numerous plumes of smoke and explosions as ships were blown apart as well as mana flares and flags signalling a retreat to the remains of the sally, some of which being limited to tacking natural winds as their weather mages were exhausted.

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As General Smedth's approached the Drow Lines, the loose mass of horsemen and vehicles organized itself into battle lines. The cavalry fanned themselves out to form two long lines while the Battlesteamers (barring Sven's command vehicle) formed up into a single file and moved forward at full speed. This meant a rough and rocky ride for Sergeant Issov Hamniv. During their journey to Daagsgrad they had been able to stick to the roads, which were mostly flat and level. Now they were rolling over fields and felt every one of a million bumps and jolts as they moved forward even with the leaf springs. He heard that the Committee was working on a new type of wheel that could better take bumps and he added the impertinence of the Drow to come here before these were ready to the list of flaws that they had. The armored vehicles made good time never the less in getting into position.

Their orders had been to get within 1800 meters of the Drow forces, then turn northeast, which the formation did. The Drow had obviously seen them given the flares that had flashed up and now thousands of their warriors were advancing on them. From what Issov could see the Drow the good sense to loosen up their formations. That would make things more difficult, but it did not change what had to be done. As the whistle signal to turn was given the gunners cranked their turrets into position, took aim and fired.

Nineteen Automatic Weapons blared into the drow formation, firing in in short bursts. It made an awful racket that managed to eclipse the various sounds of the engine, pebbles hitting the undercarriage of his steamer and the rattling that had been going on. Even so he could make out Lieutenant Ivan's exultation. "VICTORY THROUGH SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY YAH SLAVING BASTARDS! HAIL MOTHERFUCKING INFRASTRUCTURE!"

He grinned despite the din "Hail Infrastructure!" he retored somewhat more quietly. Even if the damned Automatics were giving him a headache they were giving the Drow an unyielding blizzard of lead. It was hard to make out at this distance but he did see some distant figures drop. A few arrows were sent there way, some of which exploded, drove themselves deep into the ground, partially penetrated the vehicles plating and some dissolved into the standing background magical field but most of them missed their marks and there were not many of them. Things might have been a bit different if the Drow had not used most of their arrows and mana in suppressing the trench lines. As it stood they had a hard time getting arrows far enough with any meaningful accuracy. To be fair, their guns were not that accurate either at this range and most of the bullets were missing, but the fact that each belt fed gun could spit out 450 of them a minute made up for it.

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Even though they were designed to be seen miles away Valrin ti'Haloneth did not notice the signal flares which were sent up, there was too much to do as he and the surviving members of his platoon ran through the trenches. He did notice a couple more manaflares coming up from further down this network of ditches, which each gave him a small burst of satisfaction. It meant that more of his fellows had managed to get passed those infernal guns and were now cleaving and cutting their way through this collection of presumptuous Infrastructural vermin.

One thing that was clear to him was that they were just as capable at a range as the reports made them out to be and in any future engagements against this lot caution is going to be a necessity. But just as he expected the peasant levies manning these guns were pathetic close up. They had some basic steel plate armor which offered minimal resistance to his runic dirk and scimitar and were armed with guns serving as awkward spears and low quality chopping swords. Some of them stood their ground while others panicked and ran. As he charged at two of them. Both of them managed to get off a single shot from their rifles. He felt the impact of the bullets into his breastplate but it was clear that they did not get through and it was clear that they did not have time to reload. The first one made a desperate thrust with his bayonet, which he parried before driving his dagger through his neck. The second one backed up as he fired a couple of pistol shots at him, again failing to penetrate. He drove his scimitar right through this one's heart. The soldiers managed to make a half hearted swing at him in his last moments which might have done some serious damage if he did not see it coming and adjusted his arm ever so slightly.

While he did not exult it loudly, he was enjoying himself immensely. These were the moments he lived for, the thrill of battle and of making lesser beings run from him in terror was one which was worth risking one's own skin. Not that he was incautious, he may have a taste for blood never the less he was still no crazed berzerker. If nothing else caution meant that he could savor the ends of more of his enemies and increased the chances of cutting down more foes another day. His armor, as good as it was, could not take an infinite amount of damage. He would need to restrain himself just a bit for the next while.

Even so soon have plenty of competition for kills. The purpose of his party was to cut make a gap, cut through the defending riflemen so that other forces (most of which were unfortunately Janissaries) would be able to poor in and carve through their ranks. He and his platoon had killed more than a hundred of them at least by his reckoning, including the crew of at least one of those never sufficiently cursed Automatic Weapons as well as turning the attentions of more of them inwards to repel them or flee. The slave soldiers were inferior fighters to an Elite Drow warrior like himself, but even they should not have much trouble against this lot in hand to hand. Soon after that, Daagsgrad would be theirs.

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Six kilometers from the main cluster of Drow Ships Petrov's fleet formed up into a line formation. The Avatar was in it's center, flanked by two hunter class ships and with lighter elements along it's sides. The seven Blizzard Ironsides-class ships were staggered among their ranks in case any Drow ship managed to get close. While they had fire off a few shots beforehand, this allowed them to bring to bear eighteen heavy cannons.

Said artillery was loaded as rapidly as possible with shells and charges being crammed down barrels as quickly as could be managed, either by hand with the 15cm guns and with multi-man rammers with the heavy 23cm to drive home their 165 kilo projectiles and charges. Usually careful adjustments would be made in response to precise calculations after each shot to insure a level of accuracy that the Drow could not match. Today, however, they did not bother with that. The Bulk of the Drow Fleet had clustered together in a huge cluster kilometers across. Even if it did compromise accuracy against individual ships to do with out advanced targeting, having the rough ranges would suffice for now.

There was no attempt to coordinate salvos. The guns were fired as soon as they were loaded and were immediately reloaded. On average Petrov's line of battle was getting off about sixty rounds per minute in steady succession. The thunder of their salvos echoed kilometers, as did their impacts.

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The steady rain of shells fell on the Drow Fleet like divine wrath. Some of them landed in the gaps and a few others either overshot or fell short of their marks, but many found their mark with all the lethality that the Drow had learned to be wary of. Sails were ripped to shreds, masts were toppled, wood was torn apart, sailors and marines were savaged by splinters and shrapnel and powder magazines were set off, either by the explosion itself or after the fact. Among the things that could go wrong in this campaign, having the fleet in the field of fire of a large Infrastructural line of Battle was among the top of the list. They had hoped to avoid this by striking quickly, making Daagsgrad their base of operations, drawing them out with raids and destroying their never sufficiently accursed Ironclads out and destroying them piecemeal. That was not going to happen.

This bombardment did more than just damage, it also wrought chaos. The formation had assembled hastily in whatever formation it could ahead of time while the sudden thunderous introduction of this new fleet had caused a stir. Most of the fleets weather mages were exhausted. The sight of ships being rent asunder with such casual ease, even ships of the line by the Avatar' heavy shells along with the stories that they had heard was enough to shock even seasoned commanders. Admiral Qiulnaj ti Zaelros attempted to pull together some response against this newer force, but it was hard going. Signal flares were sent up and he frantically gave orders to the subordinate admirals under his command to try to mount an offensive push to at least make it possible to get some of his mass of ships to safety, but turning ships about in this confined formation at the best of time. With ships beginning to move at different times and at different speeds, smoke from both cannon and fires, shells falling around them, some ships having taken serious damage, lost sails or have been reduced to floating wrecks and others maneuvering around them, collisions were inevitable. All of which did nothing to stop the endless salvos which continued to fall on them.

In the seas survivors fled their ships. A few lucky ones managed to get aboard rowboats, others fought to stay on top of floating sections of hull, some clung to debris and others swam for dear life. They were not out of danger by any means, leaving aside the risks of drowning there was shrapnel, splinters and the risk of being run over by a fleeing ship. Even so, they fought on to stay afloat and alive, even as their once mighty fleet was turned to driftwood.

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In all his years, Valrin had never been a battle as noisy as this one. The blare of cannons and the cracks of rifles and Automatics was constant. This was one more reason to hate these Infrastructurals in his mind. Even so he made out other approaching sounds. With an unenthusiastic slash of his scimitar he cut through the wire barriers above the trenches, the runic blade cutting through them with only the faintest resistance. He had his objectives for this battle and while he had enjoyed himself immensely cutting through these wretches orders were orders and he saw one of them get tangled up in the stuff and cut up by it's steel thorns. In any case it would be best not to play it safe for a bit.

A couple of Infrastructural soldiers in their crude tongue were coming down the line and so he backed up. "Come to me!" He snarled as he backed up down the trench. He saw them come into sight rifles in hand but foolishly not leveled, which gave him the half second he needed to get into cover of a curve in the trench. A bit of dirt spattered his armor but he did not want to risk rifle fire just yet. After that he got his sword and prepared to charge, a trio of Janissaries ran through the breach in the wire barrier onto them.

The first of which made their presence known as his charge ended with a scream of pain as he stepped onto a Caltrop, but still stumbled forward with the metal thing in his foot and fell down upon them, driving his bayonet through one of their arms and weighing both of them. A second Janissary, more fortunate than the last fell through with a sword in one hand and his rifle in the other shortly after. He drove his bayonet into the leg of the unwounded Infrastructural soldier and the sword into the spine of the wounded one. Afterwards he used the asymmetric blade's point into the neck of the other soldier and then staggered to his feet from the mass. Then he put aside his rifle and drew a dirk from a back mounted scabbard. For a brief moment Valrin felt a brief burst of approval at the slave soldier for not only killing the bastards quickly but responding in a manner he approved of, even if he put that down to good handling shortly afterwards. The one lying in a heap was just another slave soldier who did his function adequately. There was a chance that he would have to be put down after the dust had settled, especially if he was trampled by his squadmates as they came down, but that's what Janissaries were for after all.

But regardless of that the masses of slave soldiers were now pouring into this stretch of the Trenchline. No matter how many of their lot had died getting this far, the hard part was now over. The advantage was now where it always rightfully belonged, in Drow Hands.

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Valrin followed a group of six Janissary as they barreled down the trench line with several more at his back. The Rest of their squad being driven down another path by their handler and even if he was now staying out of most of the choppy work he knew that his presence would keep their minds on task. Besides, he liked seeing. As they went they faced four more Infrastructural soldiers. The first one was hacked down before he could react. Two more managed to get off a single shot, both times managing to take down a Jannissary. The first of which did so as he himself had been shot three times. The latter one was cut down in close quarters as he tried to reload his infernal contraption by two Janissary charging him, though not before he managed to cut one in the leg. The forth stood his ground with cutlass in hand and managed to cut a jannissary's throat before going down, but that was the exchange rate that he expected in close quarters. Even so he felt they would have they probably would have done a bit better if they had been pushed harder. Never the less more of them were getting through the widening breech every second.

Suddenly from around a bend a fifth Infrastructural soldier came. Valrin had a fraction of a second to take in this newcomer from behind a number of Janissaries. Even so he noticed that the gun that he was armed with with was different than the others, being shorter and with a metal bit on top. He never got around to wondering how it was different because it's user made it clear as he pulled the trigger and it blared sending forth a spray of lead and copper. The three Jannissaries ahead of him were quickly cut down. Valrin had just enough time to begin to charge before he himself was hit. The first bullet was stopped by the strengthening spells put into his runic armor before they were depleted, the next two punched through his left lung and heart respectively. He staggered for two steps before collapsing a pile of blood and mud. Three more Janissaries fell behind him before the Infrastructural soldier retreated behind a bend to reload while a second soldier took his place. He attempted to mutter some curse against the peasant who cut him down and the weapon which allowed him to do so, but he succumbed to his wounds before he could finish it.

At the time of the battle there were about a thousand of these weapons in all of Infrastructure, of which some three hundred and fifty were in the Daagsgrad Trenchlines at the moment. They were not particularly difficult guns to master or manufacture, but even so the committee had limited their production. The first reason for this was that it's ammunition required pelleted nitrocellulose, which Infrastructure could only make in limited quantities and was prioritized for use in artillery and naval weapons and they're were also concerns about these weapons being spirited away to some foreign lands. They had been used before at the battle of the battle of the Gap of Nalmros, but at the battle of Daagsgrad the Type-1 Light Automatic Weapon truly proved it's worth and the soldiers who wielded these guns, for reasons obvious to anyone who fought in these trenchlines on that day, would become known as Shredders.

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As soon as it had been detected by recon drones, the Committee kept a close eye on both the Drow Fleet and the army which poured out of it and marched on Daagsgrad. It was clear to them why this fleet had come and what would be the consequences of them taking Daagsgrad. If they did they could hold the port city through winter and cut their naval production in half while sheltering their fleet for the winter behind it's cannons. But this would be but a prelude to a coming onslaught as more ships would come to raid and whittle down the navy as would more warriors and janissaries either by land or by sea, both bolstered by those other Drow states who would join the war for their share of the spoils. Hundreds of thousands of troops pouring into the Coldlands ravaging as they went. Many of those troops having an edge over their soldiers in many regards and those that did not they were willing to expend in truly staggering numbers to achieve their goals, which was ultimately the destruction of everything they had worked for and the committee itself. Consensus was achieved quickly on that matter: this invasion needed to be not only repulsed but shattered before it could take the city. To make sure that this did not happen, direct intervention was required.

Under normal circumstances this would be handled by Drive, though he was away overseeing and inspecting the Frontier's defenses. This was carried out by Moment Of Critical Mass In Stellar Accretion And Ignition Of Fusion-328835 (Critical Mass). Assuming a female persona, the roles which she played in the development of Infrastructure primarily concerned themselves with maintaining order and ensuring the internal security of Infrastructure's assets. She settled disputes between parties, created and headed Infrastructure's Ministry of Justice and most of the various things that fell under it's aegis such as Enforcement, ran relief programs in the aftermaths of floods or fires and other such activities. This role meant that she had responsibilities both marshal and and civilian efforts, though this mission fell strictly in the the latter. She left Dalatyr for Borogskov by rail as soon as possible, oversaw the troops for a couple of days and on the eve before battle boarded a train to Daagsgrad with three companies of soldiers. A force of Drow Cavalry attempted to cut them off, only to find out that the windows on a passenger train could serve the same roll as a ship's broadside gunports.

Even so they did manage to damage the locomotive and they had to make twelve and a half kilometers on foot in armor, weapons (including a few automatics) and pouches, packs and pockets stuffed with bullets. To the surprise of all her troops Critical Mass donned her own special pack carried a box of 7.5mm ammo in both hands the entire way. In any case it was a long slog to the east, but never the less they made it and arrived on a small hill on the bank of the Daag river. As they got up, they saw the mass of men and drow moving onto the trenchlines, some of which were beginning through aide of magical armor and sheer numbers to get through. Her troops formed a line, knelt and brought their rifles to bear. She remained standing and pointed her left arm at the foes. Then both of them fired.

The arrival of this small force on the Drow's flank had been unexpected. It was also a small edition in terms of raw manpower, however it was safely stationed in a covered position with the hundred meters of water between them and their line of fire went down the length of the Drow formations. The nearest Drow forces were some three hundred meters away 250 slave soldiers fell to rifle fire alone, with the second volley following shortly after as their Type-4R repeaters were quickly reloaded. Critical Mass provided more than her fair share to the formation. Her wrist mounted lasers cracked again and again with a rapidity that even one of the army's Automatic Weapons could only just match, giving off steam to keep them cool as they had 150% the energy that each of the rifle's spat out their bullets with. But unlike the Automatics which simply sent as many bullets in the general direction as it could, each of Critical Mass's shots was aimed at a specific target, mostly Drow taskmasters driving along the Janissary forces and, if possible their legs. The overseers had already received a disproportionate amount of fire from the defenders whenever they could get a shot in at them, but this was focused, accurate, rapid and powerful. In a few seconds scores of slave drivers had fallen from her fire, many dead and more down with holes burned straight through their legs as their charges left them behind. After that she got to her knees, switch arms and continued to fire with the right arm to let the left arm's laser cool. Between her runic armor and the various layers of ballistic composites, alloys and textiles that she had under her skin she did not have to worry about small arms fire much. But it did not hurt to be on the cautious side.

There was several reasons for Critical Mass's choice of targets, but high on the list (especially at the moment) was the fact that Janissary slave soldiers bravery was tied to their overseers. To the faithful true believers among them who bought into the slave religion hook, line and sinker the overseers were the semi-stern guardians of their souls in the test of battle, to whom letting harm come to them was a personal failure and grievous sin. To the majority of Janissaries, they were mainly the ruthless, brutal and unsympathetic watchdogs tasked with making sure they obeyed completely and without question who authorized to do whatever it took to make sure they did not falter in their duties. Either way removing an overseer reduced the effectiveness of a squad of Janissaries. Removing dozens of them across battalions in seconds could tip them into panicking turning an advance into a route.

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General ti'Belnoth's eyes narrowed as he saw the devastation that Critical Mass's forces managed to inflict on the western flank, even among those of his troops which had found some scrap of cover or were firing prone. It was not as if losses before that were light nor was the size of the force that huge, but this meant that pressure had been relieved on that section of enemy trench-line and would undoutibly raise the spirits of those troops. The fact that it looked like they claimed a higher than usual number of overseers making it all the worse.

A few minutes ago, victory seemed assured. The first breaks in the enemy Trenchlines had been made, enemy guns were going silent and Janissaries were beginning to get in. Despite that, the firing continued and advancing forces were still taking grueling losses. And that was before he saw their reinforcements coming in from the south requiring him to send his main Drow force to meet them. As strong as they were they were low on magic and arrows and while they did manage to inflict some losses on the Infrastructural mounted rifles using their own guns, they was little they could do against those damned enginized war-wagons. The rebellion had not caused enough of a ruckus in the city that they had to pull troops in to supress it let alone taking it in the rear. And on top of everything else an Infrastructural Navy fleet was now blasting the blockade to splinters, undoubtedly with a decent force of riflemen on-board and a few troopships following them.

As it stood now he might still be able to cut through Daagsgrad's defenses if he could get enough troops into the trench line, though even then he would still be down to a couple thousand Janissaries and their overseers. If he did that he could use their own trenchline against the Infrastructurals or try to torch a good deal of the city before being over-run. But even if it did work it would end in the total destruction of his army and whatever losses they inflicted on the Infrastructurals would be replaced shortly, they would just levy some more peasants and promote a few new officers. Nor did a glorious but largely unproductive death against overwhelming odds appeal to him. It was not that Drow were not willing to die in battle, but the goal of war was to slay your enemies not to be slain yourself. On the other hand, sooner or latter they would fight these coldlanders again and having people who faced them on land in a pitched battle.

It took a bit of consideration, but he soon gave the order.
---
From a small hill overseer Yansil zi'Yonvalis oversaw his squad of janissaries. Unlike almost every other one in the assault at this point, it was mostly intact having only suffered one fatality and one serious wound. The hill was only rose about eight yards from the surrounding pasture, but it was enough for a couple of squads to use as cover as they fired at the enemy riflers eight hundred yards away prone. Mostly they kept the enemy soldiers hiding in their holes, but he was glad to see that they had blown away a few of their soldiers. Even so, it would not last forever. Each Janissary in his squad carried eighty shots, twice the normal load and even that was running out. Soon they would have to join the charge and throw themselves at the enemy line with bayonets and sword. In his opinion it would be best to go backwards and around the hill than charge down the other side of the hill giving the enemy clean shots in their dissent. But regardless he saw the carnage that was wrought on the advancing forces and held no delusions of what those eight hundred yards would be like.

Then he saw in corner of his eye a purple light. He turned around and saw a manaflare rise from the command company. A kilometer up the glowing column broke into three beams, which then reflected upwards. It remained in the air for about a minute, but the signal it gave was clear as dawn.

"Cease fire and fall back!" He yelled. Around him similar commands were yelled, or given in trumpet signals by a hundred different voices. "Keep behind the hill for three hundred paces!" He added for his squad in particular, though his fellow overseer Drainyas gave a similar order to her squad afterwards. The Janissaries pushed themselves aroun, crawled backwards for a few yards before getting to their feet crouching at first, but then getting into a full run to avoid making themselves targets. 'Whoever trained them did a top notch job' passed through Yansil's mind, but it had to compete with two other ideas. The first of which was relief that he would not have to run across no man's land but the other was anger and frustration at the fact that a general retreat had been ordered. The battle had been lost.

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As a rule Drow were not shy about blood and gore. Many of them were veterans who had seen plenty of action before. For those who were not the most popular form of entertainment in the Empire were gladitorial matches and Drow governments made examples of slaves. In any case showing squeamishness at such sights was a sign of personal weakness in their culture and was to be despised. Even so Captain Dalzanis ti'Volnan saw more than she cared for as the Raeltis made it's way past the main fleet and numerous broken hulks, especially since so many of the dead and dying were Drow. The formation had dispersed enough for the Raelthis to pass through it even though it did require a bit of maneuvering to get past a few ships and wrecks.

First she passed those ships trying to retreat, then through the maze of wrecks and broken ships and then one by one overtaking the ships making their advance on the Infrastructural line, many of which being damaged or destroyed as they made their advance. Alongside these ships were launches and other such rowboats, one of the admiral's ideas in case the Infrastructurals were able to muster up a sizable fleet before the city was taken on the logic that the counter to a ship with cannons which could blast apart a sloop with one good hit was to put as many targets in the water as possible. They were crewed with an odd mixture of slaves and marines and a lot of them had either a swivel gun or a Five Vaul cannon. Some of them also had a few runic shields. It probably would be of some help to the fleet here and now, if one defined "help" as "make the enemy expend more ammunition that he otherwise would".

Even though her better connected superiors drawn from the great houses would most likely scoff at her presumption as far as Captain ti'Volnan was concerned, this attack was a mistake. It would have been prudent to finish off the destruction of the Daagsgrad fleet and then leave. Two of them had already been taken care of and the other three armor or no had been battered senseless and their guns had begun to falter. It would mean that the Invasion forces would have to face fresh reinforcements but that would be a minor point. Either they would sound a retreat themselves or if they had managed to get a foothold in the city and would get a large portion of it leveled. Either way, more ships and sailors would get away alive for the next engagement while they had claimed four of their warships. Frontal attacks against Infrastructural ships always ended badly. This half baked maneuver was going to result in eighty sunk ships and tens of thousands of dead sailors, marines and slaves, including hers.

As the Raethis got closer to the front of the formation she soon found herself the target of those damned guns. The first three shells sent her way crashed into the ocean, the second close enough that some of it's fragments managed to wound one of her sailors. The forth crashed into her port bow when she was four kilometers from her prey, killing most of the marines stationed there.

"Fire forward guns! FIRE FOWARD GUNS" She barked as her ears rung, running down the steps to the gundeck to see how things were going. Despite the force of the impact the guns were intact and most of the gunners were still alive. The gun ports were opened, the cannons were aimed at one of the smaller ships and then they were fired. Each of them was loaded with a double charge of gunpowder in the hopes that this would make a difference. As they were reloaded another shell crashed into the ship's port side. After firing their second volley a third shell impacted them on the starboard bow, which was followed by another port impact near her stern. As they were half way through reloading for a third salvo, another shot hit them squarely in the stem. The hull was dented and floor boards were distorted but despite this damage below deck was minimal, even though the splashes outside were becoming. The Captain grinned, even though her ship probably looked like the surface of the moon.

The sixth impact however was a different story, as it it fell onto Raelthis's deck, blasting through wooden planks. Dozens of her crew were killed and the fore-mast was toppled. Her forward gunners were spared only through the addition of an iron bulkhead which separated the forward gundecks from the broadsides. The captain survived only due to her suit of runic armor. She rushed above deck to see the damage. In addition to the devastation she expected she saw a marine standing on the prow waving her scimitar in the air.

"Is that all you can throw at us, you shit-eating rats! We've taken all the fire you could muster and we're still coming! This is just the first of a great iron armada that will sweep your frost bitten carcases from the sea!" The marine yelled said and continued on those lines. Despite herself Dalzanis grinned, as futile as these insults were on this suicide mission at least her crew had not lost spirit. She grinned at that, which meant that she died with a smile on her face as the seventh shell fell on her ship. The previous six had been from 15cm cannons, this one was from the Avatar's 23cm guns. Crashing down it blasted through the forecastle's light deck armor with ease with enough force to cause large chunks of wrought iron to fly out at high speeds aided by the gun's charges. Much of the suviving crew was killed by shrapnal and shockwave while she began to take on water. Despite this the Raelthis remained afloat and moved on for another forty two more seconds before a ninth shell managed to set off her magazine. Ultimately the Ironclad Raelthis was fulfilling the role that she was given by Admiral ti'Zaelros as a magnet for fire to draw it away from the rest of the fleet as they converged to ram them. That he was from Janilonas house which owned an out of date cannon foundry, the destruction of their first working unit would undo some of Valnothron's lead in building an ironclad fleet and hurt House Valcas's cashflow contributed to him making said orders.

This would not be enough to save the doomed advance.

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Last edited by Zor on 2015-08-27 01:35pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-07-06 08:35am

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Straddling the line between true artillery and firearms are swivel guns. Though they are used as part of the defensive arsenals of some fortifications and occasionally as offensive weapons on land by landing parties, these weapons are most commonly found on ships for use against enemy personnel, sinking rowboats and as weapons of last resort in ship to ship battles. They get their names from the fact that they are mounted on sockets from which they are swiveled around. Like their smaller and larger counterparts in recent years the markers of swivel guns have been attempting to upgrade them using Infrastructural technology.

This praticular model was first put into production in 30 IA in Janilonas by House Zaelros's Armory using an enlarged Screw Breechloading system based off that used by the Imperial Pattern-1405 Yorigsov Rifle and by extension the Infrastructural Type-2R rifle. In most other respects it is similar to the previous generations of swivel guns. It fires a Half Vaul shot and has a bore diameter of 34.2 millimeters. Initially this design was a smoothbore one, but between 33 and 35 IA Zaelros switched over to rifled units. Attempts to scale this weapon up to a full sized cannon have not yielded satisfactory results.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-07-14 03:40pm

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The Eastern Principalities are a collection of approximately a hundred and fifty small states in the area immediately west of the Coldlands and north of the gash and the Darkridge Mountains and some of the woodlands in it's northern foothills (which are claimed by the Wood Elves) and are generally believed to end around the same line of latitudes as that of the eastern border of Hansoliath. The climate of this region is similar to that of the Coldlands if somewhat less extreme. Based mostly on grassland and as well as coastal forests, most of these states are composed of a single small fortified city, it's surrounding environs ruled by a ruler who usually holds the title of Prince and have populations ranging from 400,000 to 30,000 (with 150,000 being the general average). The ruling dynasties of these lands are more stable affairs than those of the now deposed Warlords and their economies are also more developed than that of the pre-Infrastructural Coldlands. By the standards of the more pronounced civilizations to the West and South they remain decidedly underdeveloped. About five centuries earlier many of eastern principalities were in the same state of warlordism that the Coldlands were in, though the areas gradually stabilized. These states were historically and remain quarrelsome and it is rare for a year to pass without at least two of them having a war. Sometimes putting one of their neighbors under vassalage though vassals will often rebel against their overlords. The Principalities has historically traded with numerous other factions, including the Empire, the Seraphate, the Dark Elven States and the Coldlands. The importance of trade with the east has only increased thanks to the efforts of the Central Committee and now they are one of Infrastructure's main trading partners. Among the principality's most notable imports are weapons.

Matchlock firearms were introduced bit by bit across the principalities between 150 to 50 years ago, but while many of the principalities did cultivate a few native gunsmiths by 0 IA about 80% of all firearms used in this region were imported for reasons of economies of scale. As such Infrastructure soon found this area to be a good market for it's small arms and between 18 and 23 IA managed to establish market dominance in that region using both maritime and overland trade routes. Though the Infrastructural government would gladly sell helmets, guns, swords and similar to anyone who had the coin to buy them, it sells at reduced rates to those principalities which sell metal and coal. This has led a few Principalities to rise in prominence over the past eighteen years, conquering their neighbors with larger, better equipped armies. In spite of Infrastructural trade, local gunsmiths still get a decent amount of patronage even if they mostly make copies of Infrastructural trade weapons.

This pistol is a product of a gunsmith in Manijusko-Halsveg, a southeastern principality born of a political marriage in 4 BIA who's primary exports are potato beer, linseed oil and Sub-bituminous coal. Based off the Type-2RE rifle it is a screw breechloader though with a caplock mechanism. Such weapons are used by light cavalry retained by local nobles, sidearms city guardsmen and as training and sport weapons. Among the more notable facts about said weapons is that they have a caliber of 5 liniya (14.2mm), the standard caliber of the alliance of Daagsgrad and Borogskov in their last stand against the Infrastructural Army. Manijusko-Halsveg having bough some 3,600 rifled muskets salvaged after the Battle of Troska.

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An update to the map of Infrastructure, showing three areas: the Eastern Principalities (as a general area of territory) as well as the Protectorate of Nycon and the Principality of Osetia.

The Principality of Osetia and the Protectorate of Nycon are two human states (each with a small Dwarvish minority and a few orcish tribes living in their mountainous territories) on the westernmost end of the Great Continent. The Principality is a monarchy, but one with a few peculiarities. The first of which is the fact that none four ruling dynasties has ever claimed the title of "King" for complex legalistic reasons despite the fact that it is larger than a few Kingdoms, instead styling themselves as "Prince". The second being the fact that while there is an established landed nobility, for the last two centuries the upper classes of the common class have a direct say in government. The wealthiest 10% of the common born population (which can be either female or male, but mostly male due to the principality's property laws) can run for office and vote in representatives to 144 seats in the Grand Assembly (the remaining 144 seats are held by the nobility either on a hereditary basis or by appointment and 12 seats which go to the Order of Keepers), which sets the budget. It's territory includes the lands of a fallen Drow State which was destroyed by the First Empire around 3100 BIA.

The Protectorate of Nycon is older and more martial state, claiming to be a remnant of the Third Empire with it's capital being the fortress of Nycon. Nycon has no formalized nobility (though wealthy landowners do form an informal patrician class) though it does have a class system in place: 45% of it's population are citizens, 40% of the population are serfs bound to the land and 15% are chattel slaves. All able bodied male citizens are required to keep arms and serve for at least three years in either the Nyconian Navy or Legions, dishonorable discharge during said term of service means enserfment. To hold political office, someone must serve for twelve years. The leader of the Protectorate is the Lord Protector, a military dictator elected by the Council of Thirty Five (which composed of the Empire's sixteen Legates, Eight Navarchs and the eleven appointed ministers) who serves for life. By law the Children of a Lord Protector are barred from that particular office.

Despite their differences and a few wars between these two states, both Osetia and Nycon have been allies for three centuries (despite a few periods of falling out) due to the fact that they share a border with the Kingdom of Torion which has on multiple occasions attempted to conquer both these countries either in full or in part. While some territory has fallen under Torion control, the Kingdom has never been able to fully subdue either state and they are capable of launching fearsome counter offensives. Both states invest heavily in their navies. They are also not above commissioning Drow Corsairs to aide in their efforts.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-07-29 03:44pm

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In the years after the fall of Daagsgrad the Drow states of Galthirith, Valnothron and Hansoliath had organized small raids against the newly unified state of Infrastructure. Pressed by one of the fairly regular small scale wars with the High Elves and not seeing the state as being particularly important at the time the forces that they sent was small and, after a probing raid on Borogskov by a squadron of frigates which was repelled by shore guns, were limited with raiding merchant shipping and fishermen. To the newborn Infrastructural Navy these raids were their trial by fire in which they proved themselves against foreign aggression and began to develop the skills they needed to fight at sea. To the Drow it was the first demonstration of how Infrastructural Technology would change naval warfare. There were many, including a fair number of senior admirals who were dismissive of the significance of these changes, but never the less there were a fair share of those who were not. There were those who wondered about the possibility of replicating these ships and in particular their use against the High Elves.

As such with various degrees of enthusiasm between 25 and 34 IA six Drow states began experimenting with steam engine technology. The state which made the most headway in this field was Valnothron thanks to the efforts of House Valcas who was willing to invest a considerable amount of their fortune into improving their facilities and in extracting Information from Infrastructure. Even before the first engagement between House Valcas had begun experimenting with steam engine designs based off reports of Infrastructural Paddlesteamers and Railways, starting in 21 IA with small scale prototypes and in 25 IA and government funding moving onto scaling these up. Through their first prototypes were failures by the winter of 28 IA they had managed to put together a working A-Frame engine which they put to work in their ropewalks and similar units being used to other industrial purposes. With the assistance of enslaved Infrastructural Engineers they were able to improve their designs considerably and more importantly the power to weight ratios and began experimenting with maritime steam propulsion in 30 IA. In autumn of 32 IA Valnothron's shipyards launched their first oceangoing steam ship, a freighter which made a transoceanic voyage under steam power in the spring of the next year. Their funding got a boost with the onset of the escort War. House Valcas completed the first Drow built steam powered warship in 34 IA, a small steam powered Brig that the Valnothron navy used for testing and training. In 35 IA they launched their first steam powered frigate and begun work on five more shortly afterward. In 36 IA they made the next step and launched the first non-Infrastructural Ironclad, the Raelthis.

The Raethis was a fairly small ship, being narrow hulled and about 40 meters long not including her frontal ram. Her hull was compose of wrought plating, with with 77.9mm of belt armor above the waterline and 25.97mm of deck plating on her forcastle. Internally her structure is made of a combination of cast iron and wood. Steel was considered as a hull material but doing so was beyond the capacity of House Valcas's arsenal. In total she massed 1,300 tonnes. For propulsion she was outfitted with a double expansion steam engine with a maximum output of 900 kw driving a single prop and could attain a speed of up to 24km/h, though she is equipped with sails and has a runic circle for weather mages. Her armament included Four 20-Vaul Forward guns that had been reinforced and fifteen 10-Vaul cannons (seven per broadside and one aft chase) and a traditional ramming prow. There had been plans to outfit her with new 5-Vaul Breechloading cannons but delays in their development prevented this from materializing. She had a crew of forty Drow sailors, sixty slave sailors and a complement of twenty marines. The crew of Raelthis and the increasing number of steam ships has resulted in an increasing amount of specialization amongst the crews. As such House Valcas has turned to support the position advanced by Admiral Saljias ti'Kalvonin regarding reformation of policy relating to naval slave sailors.

Her name was indicative of her intended function: a sleek hardened arrowhead intended to pierce the Armor of the Infrastructural Navy. After a month of shakedown the Raelthis was committed to the attack on Daagsgrad. While she preformed well ultimately she was sunk under a hail of Infrastructural cannon fire. Even so before she set sail to join the growing fleet a fair amount of information was taken about how this ship worked and was taken into consideration. As soon as she was completed House Valcas received orders for three more ships similar to her as well as an enlarged craft of a similar nature. Her launch has also convinced three other Drow states to either peruse or accelerate their efforts at building their own ironclad warships.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-08-01 12:26pm

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Beneath much of the world is a vast network of caverns and caves which are by in large the domain of the dwarves. In this environment they evolved, and they are hardly alone. Many creatures call these areas home, from bats and swallows who make their roosts there to blind fish and insects who never see the light of the sun. Much of these tunnels and chambers are barren places populated by creatures who live slow lives in which squeeze all they can out of what few scraps of sustenance come their way by chance, but not all. For there are many areas in which there is a higher than usual level of background magic. In many of these areas grow strange plants who instead of being powered by sunlight draw energy from the standing magical field.

In cooperation with several Dwarvish clans, no less than 1,128 species of these subterranean plants have been documented by the Order of Keepers with many more uncatalogued and undiscovered. Many different varieties of plants have their subterranean variants, with isolated pockets evolving into endless local variations. However as a rule these plants are slow growing, knobly, have a waxy outer coating, lack conventional leaves and are never green, instead being purple, red, grey, pale yellow and black. They are also generally sensitive to light and wither if exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. Even so, they often form the basis for a subterranean ecosystems and are in particular important to the Dwarves. While Dwarves have imported food from the surface for thousands of years, these plants have provided the dwarves with most of their food, as well as other products such as oils and fibers for twine, paper and rope. Among the most important of these is Dwarfwheat.

As a rule Dwarfwheat makes up a significant part of the dwarvish diet, representing about 20-30% of the average Dwarf's caloric intake under normal circumstances and in times of war when a Dwarf city is cut off from trade that number spikes. Dwarfwheat is fairly easy to cultivate and generally involves getting a clear area of cave with a decent level of magic, covering it in stonedust and ash, sewing it with seeds and watering it every month or so and efforts at pest control. The biggest problem is the rate at which the plants mature. It takes 21 to 24 months for a Dwarfwheat seed to germinate, grow to maturity and be ready for harvest. As the yearly cycle is rarely an issue for these plants, most dwarf farmers stagger their plantings so their crops yield a constant steady harvest.

As a rule Dwarfwheat makes up a significant part of the dwarvish diet, representing about 20-30% of the average Dwarf's caloric intake under normal circumstances and in times of war when a Dwarf city is cut off from trade that number spikes. Dwarfwheat is fairly easy to cultivate and generally involves getting a clear area of cave with a decent level of magic, covering it in stonedust and watering it every month or so and efforts at pest control. The biggest problem is the rate at which the plants mature. It takes 21 to 24 months for a Dwarfwheat seed to germinate, grow to maturity and be ready for harvest. As the yearly cycle is rarely an issue for these plants, most dwarf farmers stagger their plantings so their crops yield a constant steady harvest.

Beyond the Dwarves, there is not much of a market for Dwarfwheat and Dwarfwheat foodstuffs. Some people will buy Dwarfwheat biscuits and bread for long journeys or voyages where supplies are in doubt but most non-dwarves will avoid Dwarfwheat if there are other alternatives. The biggest exception to this is the Dark Elves. Living in areas with limited arable land and an above average level of background magic, the Drow put old mineshafts to work as dwarfwheat farms. Galthirith has the most extensive cultivation of Dwarfwheat. Even so to the Drow the purpose of Dwarfwheat is to feed their slave populations.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-08-05 08:21am

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For thousands of years and across a myriad of cultures and numerous species swords have been a staple of war and often a symbol of the warrior, marshal skill and authority. Many variations have existed over the years. There are plenty of instances in which swords have been the primary weapon of a soldier, but more often than not swords are carried as a secondary weapon by archers, pike-men, cavalry, skirmishers and other such soldiers for when the enemy got in close. For this reason while there have been greatswords that can get as long as two meters (if some accounts can be believed), most swords are fairly compact affairs which can be wielded single handedly as a primary weapon. Here are a few common infantry swords as of 36 IA.

Imperial Broadsword
: Common among the Empire's men-at-arms, city guards and more recently officers and NCOs in the Allergonian Imperial Army, this style of sword have a fairly simple straight broad blade that narrows before the point. This means that is capable of inflicting grievous wounds, resilliant and is better suited to cutting through mail than most other blades, though it is also fairly heavy (1.5 kilograms) and has a blade less than 60 centimeters long. Such blades are of a Dwarvish style, which is hardly surprising given the fact that the empire has a Dwarvish population of 1.4 million.

Venoan Cutlass: A common sight among Venoan Sailors, the Serene Army and the various regiments and militias is the cutlass. Stouter than a Qanthrathi scimitar, these double edged swords have a slight curve to them improving their cutting power while still retaining a degree of flexibility that other such swords would lack. The design is comparatively recent, emerging over the last 400 years bit by bit. These swords are roughly similar to the Model-3 Infantry sword, but are generally of better quality. The Basket Hilt is a common feature on many Venoan swords both of this variety and others.

Torionese Rapier
: This distinct variety of sword common to the Kingdom of Torion but gets some use in Oestia, Nycon and other states in the region as well. These blades are comparatively long, usually about a meter from the tip of the blade to the bottom of the pommel, but are generally fairly light weighing in at a kilogram or less due to their thin blades. light and quick, these needle-like swords mainly made for thrusting and making precise strikes at exposed points. Their hilts are fairly complex and are well suited to parrying other blades. It is the fashion among the Torionese Nobility to wear these swords as part of formal attire.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-08-15 05:40am

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Since it's humble origins the Central Committee issued the soldiers of the Infrastructural Army with body armor as part of their uniform. At first a mixture of brigandines, chainmail, lamellar and foreign breastplates that was available at the time and later settling on a standardized seven piece steel cuirass and helmets, with heavier armor being issued to cavalry. Even with breech loading rifles warriors would still sometimes get into fighting up close or could send a few arrows or crossbow bolts their way. Armor also was useful for keeping morale high, discouraged, protected against shrapnel from the occasional explosion and conveyed authority. Even so as time went on and some of Infrastructure's knowledge leaked into surrounding civilizations more and more cultures began to make rifles against which common steel was of minimal us. The Cuirasses were never the less retained for defense against shrapnel, morale concerns and to improve the marketability of Infrastructural trade breastplate. Never the less, in spite of numerous other projects having higher priority investigations were made into developing a replacement with the onset of the Escort War. Thus in 36 IA was born the Scout Vest.

The Scout Vest is a lighter unit of armor compared to it's predecessor, weighing in at 3.2 to 3.6 kilograms (depending on the size of wearer) as opposed to the 4.85 to 5.4 kilograms of the older design divided into three plates. This comes mostly at the expense of coverage, as it covers only the front of the torso, though it is thicker (2mm vs 1mm) and backed by a layer of padded cloth. To protect against rust the steel plate is painted and both plate and pad are enclosed in enclosed in a canvas harness. It is put on by pulling it over the head and then fastening buckles in the rear. Even without a defensive buff spell, this armor can take a pistol shot at 10 meters. Several varients were tried and refined before a final design was settled on.

As the name implies, the scout vest was first issued to Infrastructural Army's Skirmisher-Scouts, soldiers who often went without armor as they made their way through forests and rough terrain in small groups. Though some still preferred to go unencumbered in trial exercises, in general the scout vests were well received. In august of 36 IA a small but steady flow of scout vests were being made while work began in retooling armories to produce these suits of armor in large quantities, but re armoring the tens of thousands of soldiers that have been mobilized is no easy feet. Two hundred were slated to be sent to the Daagsgrad garrison but said plans were postponed one the Drow Fleet was spotted in favor of sending additional soldiers and ammunition.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby madd0ct0r » 2015-08-15 11:37am

surely enchanted coarse mesh would be less heavy, easier to pack and ship, and require less expensive steel output - or has infrastructure industry scaled up so far and fast now that they are almost looking for things steel can be used for?
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-08-15 12:39pm

madd0ct0r wrote:surely enchanted coarse mesh would be less heavy, easier to pack and ship, and require less expensive steel output - or has infrastructure industry scaled up so far and fast now that they are almost looking for things steel can be used for?

The Infrastructurals have a pretty high output of steel. A hunter class ironclad has twice the steel in it to outfit every soldier required to outfit every Infrastructural Army soldier with a rifle, bayonet, full cuirass and helmet.

Enchanting armor to make it stronger can be done one of two ways: you can either give it a strengthening spell which will last maybe a day tops or you can have runes inscribed onto it to bind a spell to it, which is a fairly expensive process.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-08-29 12:28pm

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In the last thousand years the Drow have become more and more trade oriented both in terms of sending ships out and in allowing and (in spite of the efforts of the high elves and some grumblings among the more traditional Drow warrior houses) encouraging foreign ships to put into their ports. Even so, most of these visitors never go beyond the docks, custom houses, inns and warehouses of specially designated and isolated (either by walls or water) non-drow trade quarters. Few of these traders enter the cities proper and less go into the countryside. Those few which have done so note that there is a distinct difference between the places of the Drow and their chattel. There are vast numbers of personal servants and the workers, clerks and artisans of small entrepreneurial houses who live in their master's homes, but the bulk of slaves are housed from their masters in either complex or farm barracks.

This style of slave barracks is most common among the large agricultural estates, though variants are common in the cities and colonies though these are built together like row houses. Generally they are built out of a combination of brick and local stone near the base with tiled roofs, making sparing use of timber. Windows are high. This building has four floors plus a loft and basement, though slave barracks as tall as seven storeys are not unknown even in rural quarters as their masters feel that small single story farmhouses waste valuable arable land. The one pictured above accommodates some eighty six residents. As a general rule the loft is considered the home of the higher ranking slaves and is more comfortable while having to sleep in the basement in chains is considered a mild punishment.

The primary function of a slave barracks is the housing of slaves. There are bunks for slaves as well as some racks for the storage of personal items (which are periodically inspected, more frequently if recently captured slaves exist in the workforce), sinks for washing using rain water, a few chairs, a fairly well developed heating system using ceramic pipes and a couple of fireplaces and a laundry in the basement, but it is not intended as a full home. The preparation of food and (leaving aside the nursing of infants) eating in the barracks is forbidden. Meals are eaten in separate dining halls situated nearby in case of fire and every other day slaves are required to bathe in a communal bathhouse (in addition to washing their hands). These buildings exist along with a few workshops and warehouses, a small shrine mainly dedicated to the drow slave religion, a rest house for drow overseers, a platform for public punishments, stables, pig pens and clerk's office/infirmary makes up the core of a small community tasked with sewing, raising, harvesting and processing the crops of a section of the estate (usually between one and three square kilometers), though this arrangement is also used for managing plantations, ranches and orchards. The slaves also engage in the maintenance of the estate and are often rented out during the winter months.

In addition to fieldworkers each barracks usually has at least a carpenter and a cook with their apprentices. Smiths to maintain tools and potters are common but are still more barracks without them. Clothing is usually homemade in the barracks. Though many drow estates like to be as self sufficient as possible and have their slaves weave their own cloth, factory cloth is becoming increasingly common. As a general rule male slaves tend to remain attached to one specific barracks, dying in the same one that they are born into unless sold to another owner, while female slaves are transferred from barracks to barracks after puberty to avoid inbreeding. Slaves with specialized roles that require them to move across their master's estates (carters, carpenters and nightsoil collectors) on a regular basis are often kept separate from fieldhands. Barracks as a rule are built to last and usually remain in use for centuries being repaired and rebuilt. Each farm barracks tends to develop its own culture as time goes by.
HAIL ZOR! WE'LL BLOW UP THE OCEAN!
Heros of Cybertron-HAB-Keeper of the Vicious pit of Allosauruses-King Leighton-I, United Kingdom of Zoria: SD.net World/Tsar Mikhail-I of the Red Tsardom: SD.net Kingdoms
WHEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE ON EARTH, ALL EARTH BREAKS LOOSE ON HELL
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-09-11 06:33pm

It took a bit of time for the retreat order to be registered. The manaflare was followed by horn commands to make sure everyone knew it had been given, including the myriad troops who's attention was directed elsewhere. Even when the command was given, not everyone was in a position to retreat at a drop of a hat. But even so the bulk of the army began it's withdrawal quickly.

They made for the northeast, though those in the trenches and those in them ran south some distance to clear them. Between the Daag river, the trenchlines and the newly arrived reinforcements it was the only way which offered some sense of safety, but more than that there was some eighty transport ships waiting about six miles along the coastline from the city in case of such an event and with them the prospects of escaping this killing ground and returning home. Many of them were afraid that these ships would not be there when they arrived, they might have fled the Infrastructural Navy or they might arrive to see burning wrecks. Even General ti'Belnoth worried about that even after consulting with the Admiral in charge of the evacuation fleet via linkstone.

The retreat did not put a hold on the butcher's bill. As they fled, Daagsgrad's defenders continued their fire into the fleeing soldiers, which were soon enough joined by mounted soldiers once they got into range of the fleeing warriors. This happened even as warriors and Janissaries continued to fight in the trenches to the bitter end. Fatalities did noticibly drop among those who were or could get more than a kilometer from the trenchlines, but that did not mean they were safe. As their mass of troops was pursued and harried by Infrastructural Cavalry, clusters of Janissaries (and in praticular those who were exhausted or wounded) were given a final order: Hold your position and shoot as many Infrastructural soldiers as you can. If some of them could be saved to fight another day that was all well and good, but if they died so that Drow could live they were doing their job.
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The first members of the Drow Army which reached the evacuation fleet were it's generals, the artillery overseers, a handful of lesser officers and one brother of the aforesaid artillery crews. They were either mounted or (in the case of the lesser officers and the younger brother) had the good fortune to meet up with an gun-overseer riding a draft horse who offered them a ride mostly to try to get some minor token in future conflicts. Fortunately for them the evacuation remained at anchor moored to a set of floating dock, though their crews were getting things ready to set sail. The prospects of rewards for getting soldiers out if possible and the fines and penalties that they would get for not getting some soldiers out were high enough to wait.

It had taken them about forty to fifty minutes to get to the ships from the battlefield. The rest of the army began to show up about twenty minutes latter, a steady trickle of warriors charging headlong to ships began to arrive. Weary and exhausted they scrabbled onto the ships, collapsing shortly. Many of them (especially among those leading the mad dash) had dropped their weapons and armor to loose weight. Though a few ships got a larger share of troops than others no one ship was particularly overburdened. If it looked like one ship's gangway was getting too full they simply went for another on, even with only eighty transport ships guarded by ten sloops, brigs and a lone frigate. Most of the fleet which carried them had been withdrawn for the simple prudence of getting valuable ships out of harms way as quickly as possible. The fleet that had been left behind for evacuation was a fraction of the initial transport group, but it was understood that if a retreat was called the lift capacity needed would be considerably reduced.

Eventually the Drow warriors were joined by a handful of Janissaries, even more worn out from the long charge than their Dark Elven masters and overseers. These were soon followed by sounds of gunfire and rockets all to close. The Infrastructural had harried his army all along the way, but had not attempted to cut them off. They did not want to force his fleeing forces into a fight with a small section of their vanguard which would likely be destroyed, but rather were content to gradually subtract from their numbers at their leisure and force others to scatter. General ti'Belnoth was furious at this display of undeserved competence. As far as he could see he had gotten a decent chunk of his remaining soldiers out of harms way. Those rockets of theirs did not have anything like the accuracy of the cannons, but they could be easily carted about and fired at the large target which was his fleet. As such he pulled rank on the fleet's commander and had them cut their ropes and cast off. Hundred more troops managed to get aboard before the fleet was fully under way over gangplanks and holding onto lines, but thousands more were abandoned.

In total some sixty three hundred and fifteen Drow Warriors and seven hundred and thirty one Janissaries managed to make it on board the evacuation fleet, little more than an eight of the initial invasion force.

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The Drow charge was smashed, inflicting only minimal damage on the Infrastructural line of battle with their forward chase guns. The remains of the Drow blockade scattered to get away in every direction they could to avoid destruction. A few of these fleeing ships went in pairs so they could make the most of what little wind their mages could muster, but more broke off and stayed away from each other working on the logic that the greater the space between ships meant that any pursuer would have to spend longer moving from kill to kill even with their damnable long range guns. Once the last warship in the advance was sunk the Infrastructural warships turned to pursuit.

Even with six recon drones flying overhead tracking the Drow fleet and radio communication, it took some time for Admiral Petrov Miles to assign each of his ships a mark, relay it and get under way. Even so they managed to catch up with a few of them. While the loan drow ships were in no position to fight back, destroying them was a bit tricky as hitting a single small target was a difficult manner. Most of the shells that Admiral Miles' ships fired that day were expended in this mop up operation. For every burst of smoke, flame and flying timbers the crews of the Infrastructural ships saw at this stage there was more than a dozen eruptions of water. In addition to the steaming armored floating fortresses which pursued them, a floatilla of forty four Shchuka Boats had established itself thirty kilometers from the city. Unlike the Ironclads, these boats were armed either built of wood or thin steel plate and their armament was short ranged. A few of them met their fates when hit by a 10 Vaul roundshot or in a couple cases arrows which had been infused with range and fire spells, but even so they managed to claim their share of stragglers.

Even though the sailors of the Infrastructural Navy cheered the sinking of every Drow warship some of the captains wondered why they were focusing on eliminating stragglers one by one when there was a big cluster of Drow transports sitting just a bit along the shore which the Admiral told them to ignore for now, even if they yielded when they heard that said orders originated with Drive himself. The reasons for this was twofold. The first reason being the fact that the importance of neutralizing as much of the Drow naval forces as they could so they would not be a threat in the future verses the opportunity of sinking some lightly armed and crewed merchantmen. The second reason being the fact that destroying the Drow escape fleet would leave the remnants of the Drow Army without a path to escape and in so doing forcing their warriors to fight to death in a bloody guerrilla campaign. In any case, it was a more efficient use of shells and shchukas to sink them once they had taken on passengers.

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The last two hours since the evacuation order had been given had been of frantic energy, fear, loss and despair for Talsi ti'Xolcas. Things had been going just fine at first until a shell burst in their ranks and showered them with lead balls and steel fragments, killing twenty four of it's ninety six warriors and maiming twenty more. This was followed by the attempt to stop Infrastructural reinforcements and finding themselves under fire from those self-drawing ironclad war wagons with few arrows and little mana left. The casualties that they had wrought were not too bad thanks to their armor, though there was little they could against them, there had been enough of them to make an impression and they were followed by a lot of cavalry. They could probably do a fair bit of damage to them still if they decided to charge, but that's not what Infrastructurals did. They just blazed away at you from half a mile away.

She was not surprised when the retreat order was given. Even so simply getting out was difficult to say the least. The Amethyst Archers were near the river and had further to go than most. Many of them scattered once the Infrastructural horsemen began shooting at them. There were a few swamps along that way as well as a few rolling hills, stone fences, hedges, ditches, streams and knots of forest. All of which served to make their course a winding one even if there were plenty of places with far worse terrain. Many warriors dropped their weapons and armor for a bit of speed, Talsi among them. Never the less all of that running was for naught, by the time she got a good unobstructed view of the ships they were already casting off.

The sight of this caused a panic among her and the remaining soldiers and what had been a retreat quickly devolved into a rout. She and a couple others nearby made for whatever cover they could as the Infrastructural cavalry came in closer and their fired lessened. A look back showed a few of them going over a few of her fallen comrades up close, as well as what looked like a few more who were standing. She also thought she heard a few familiar words among the screams, barked orders, bugle calls, steam whistles and gun, rocket and cannonfire. The significance of this was lost on her for the moment as for the next half hour she looked for somewhere which would be a good hiding place in this flat and open landscape. A male warrior of indeterminate origin followed her as she weaved through the terrain. As this happened she felt a growing sense of dread on what was to come. Even if she did manage to escape the battlefield to some place where the patrols would not get her, at best she would be safe for maybe a couple of months before the snow set in. She doubted that she could survive a Coldland winter. If the cold did not get her, starvation would. All she had to hunt with was a basic dagger and she did not know what berries and mushrooms were edible around here.

Then she heard the approach of several men on horseback and the metallic rattle of cuirasses, she and her comrade bolted only to be found and overtaken by them after a five minute chase. Every moment she knew that any second now several lead slugs would rip through her, but none did. A couple did kick up some dirt ahead of her causing them to change direction, shortly afterwards they found themselves surrounded. They each had a truncheon tied to their saddle and a pair of manicles. One of the cavalrymen with three stripes on his sleeves then spoke to them, to their surprise in heavily accented and awkward but still understandable Dark Elvish.

"Drow. Drop weapons and hands on your heads. Quickly." His voice was firm and did contain some echos of anger, but never the less it was far more restrained than she expected.

In that moment something which had been stowed in her memory came to the surface: the posters which in their plain matter of fact way told the Drow Army to just give up. She had a laugh about it with members of her now broken company one night and saw a few more them as they approached. Besides human armies were not supposed to do this to Drow warriors, everything she was taught since childhood told her that human soldiers killed Drow warriors on sight at best, and do unspeakable things to them at worst, which was always less than what those who surrendered deserved for their weakness. That lead to to wonder about what would happen if her kin would do to her if they got their hands on her, but despite that she also knew what her odds of survival would be if she managed to get past these guys and the odds that they might beat the crap out of her and drag her broken body back to her camp. As such she gingerly tossed her dagger to the ground and put her hands on her head, her compatriot did the same.

One of the soldiers dismounted with his cuffs with sword and pistol drawn, kicked both their daggers away and shackled her. Another did the same to her comrade at the same time. The first one latched their shackles to a length of rope which he attached to his horse. Then, to his surprise, he took a round metal container from his saddle, unscrewed it's lid, took a swig from it and offered it. First to her compatriot who declined and then to her. It was full of water, slightly metallic in taste but refreshing. When she was done he took it back, then after the three striped soldier gave some commands that she did not understand that soldier and another went east at a leisurely pace with Talsi and companion in tow.

Before the battle she mainly saw the posters as move of desperation, something the central committee had made to make their troops feel better in the face of certain destruction. Even so she was also open to the notion that this was some sort of ploy to cause dissension in the Drow ranks, though that was ultimately just another desperation move. It did not occur to her that said message that the invasion force should surrender and that those who surrender would be treated well was merely an honest statement of their intentions and policy towards prisoners of war. Nor did it occur to her until much latter on how effective a weapon of war those posters and this policy could be.

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The evacuation fleet made good time. While they had wider beams than the warships did, each of them had at least two weather mages who had been taking things easy for the last few days. They were quickly able to get under way and achieve a steady speed of about eighteen kilometers an hour (a bit more than 11 mph by their reckoning), which they could keep up for about sixteen hours. If the need arose they could sprint at 24 km per hour for up to two hours, though after that it would be unable to do anything more than keeping natural winds at their back afterwards. A couple of ships had steam engines which allowed them to keep that speed up for longer and as such had their wind mages reassigned to older vessels. The escorts could keep up about 35 km/h as long and could sprint at up to 40, but even so their job was to make sure that the slow moving mass of escorts could clear Infrastructural waters. While the general had seniority when the ships were docked, command went to the convoy's commander Admiral ti'Kalvonin once they got under way.

At first they moved North By Northwest to clear the shoreline for twenty kilometers before turning due west. At first they encountered no serious resistance. Four Shchuka Boats attempted to raid the convoy one by one, two of which were sunk and two fell back. Two of these boats managed to fire before either being sunk or retreating, one of which managed to sink a galleon. It was not that long before actual warships began taking up the chase, however. The first one to come in on them was an Ironsides class ship. Comparatively small but still armed with a powerful pair of 150mm cannons each of which could send one of the Drow transports to the bottom with a single well placed shot. Even so the Admiral had an ace up her sleeve in case of this scenario.

On-board the Infrastructural Ironclad the spotter and captain noticed something strange in one of the rearmost ships. At first there were small puffs of smoke aboard one of the ships and signs of struggle, then a signal flare was sent off from it as it began to turn away from the main group while it fired off it's cannons into a few of it's fellows which did the same, though a fair number of the shots crashed into the sea. In any case the ship fell behind it's fellows, dropped it's colors and made it's way to the Infrastructural warship, it's sailors cheering and waving as it approached. It looked like some of the slave sailors had thrown off their yoke and were making a break for freedom, seeking to greet their captors. As it past it got within five meters of it. In the last minute of the approach there was some concern about this, though it's gun-ports remained firmly sealed and could not do much damage even at this minimal range. Even so said preparations never got beyond a few cannons being loaded and weapons being passed out.

Then suddenly it exploded.

The double masted cargo galleon was one of three ammunition ships assigned to the evacuation fleet. The official reason for them being there was to resupply the army when Daagsgrad had fallen. However the Admiral had contrived another use for one of them in case things went sour, which she saw as an likely occurrence given her opinion of Admiral ti'Zaelros and as a way to help make a point in her personal battle for reform in how the Navy employs slave sailors. She had a special crew assembled for it composed of proven Janissaries noted for loyalty and had them trained in basic seamanship. If everything went pear shaped, the ship's drow crew would leave the ship and it would be carried along with the rest of the fleet's wind mages. Then a mock mutiny would take place, a few shots would be exchanged between it and it's companions (using low caliber shot and mostly aiming for the ocean) and make it's approach to it. Once they got close a Janissary would use a gunlock to set off four hundred and twenty tonnes of black powder. At that distance, it was enough to fatally wound the Ironclad.

The Drow Admiral gave a slight satisfied smirk as she watched the sight with her spyglass, heard the roar of the explosion and watched as the infrastructural ship capsized and foundered. Even so she knew that it did not get them out of their predicament and that it. It gave them a bit of time and cost the Infrastructural Navy one of it's warships, a handful of trained sailors and marines and possibly diverting one of their crews to aide any survivors their might be around. Even so as she went on she saw on the horizon the smoke plumes of two more warships as well as couple more Shchuka Boats. As such she gave an order breaking her fleet into five groups that fanned out. It made her fleet more vulnerable to those quick moving boats but less vunerable to a long range shelling, which she feared far more. The southernmost of the groups would eventually be hunted down and smashed near the great bog and all of them would suffer at least one casually to Shchuka boats. Even so, more of her ships managed to escape the Icemountain sea than not.

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As far as Chort knew the battle was going reasonably well for his side. They had gotten rid of most of the enforcers on the city's North Side and had taken most of it. There were a few areas that were holding out, most notably in the shipyards and the harbor, only a couple of coastal defense guns were taken or destroyed and a few guys attempted to cross the bridge and were cut down by Automatics, but even so they had the numbers and the weapons to take most of the city. Those few holdouts just needed to be pinned own until the Dark Elves came in and finished them off. Most of the reports he got were good. He remained at the heart of their operation, guarding stores of ammunition, spears, axes, cleavers, clubs, the 'armorers' who fashioned more weapons out of junk and painted shackles onto clothes, medicine, alcohol and loot. Sometimes young men would be brought back to be outfitted along with a fair number of wounded. Injuries were expected and if nothing else the fact that wounded were being taken back to be tended to rather than abandoned or captured was a good sign.

Then things began to change. First there were bugle calls in the distance and then automatics were heard closer by. Shortly that some of his rebels came by saying that Infrastructural soldiers were marching into the city, which became more and more common while the sound of battle got closer. After a while a mob of them ran by and told them that they had armed Roadsteamers. It was not too long after that when one of these machines came in. The roads of Borogskov were not laid out with roadsteamers in mind and it could not turn to roll in onto his plaza, but the damned thing had it's gun in a rotating box on top which let it spray bullets into their barricades. Return fire simply plinked off it's steel hull doing no real damage. Soon after soldiers came in around them armed with rifles, revolvers, light automatic weapons and worst of all grenades. The simple volume of fire kept the rebels from shooting back with any form of accuracy when they had cover to hide behind that was not blasted to kindling or when there were not grenades blowing up in their faces.

This soon crystalized in Chort's mind. The Drow's attack had been beaten off and now the army could focus on what was ultimately the lesser threat. As such he grabbed a table leg, got some cloth out of the surgeon's linen bag, made a simple white flag and barked at his men to stop. Others followed suit in the following seconds, though some continued to fight while denouncing the cowards. A couple of the rebels charged the enemies after that (and got blasted to bits for their troubles) and one fellow went crazy and attacked some of his comrades before he was shot. Even so, within a minute the entire force had surrendered.

They were soon disarmed and escorted out of the city under armed guard to an ad-hoc holding pen, their new captors glaring at them as they went. They went by other soldiers as they went. Most of the soldiers looked on them in the same way that they would something that they stepped on, but occasionally one of them would spit at or in front of them or say something to the effect of "Whatever the Committee has planned for you sick bastards is too good", "I hope Drive has your lot fed to the pigs bit by bit you traitorous rats" and "What kind of degenerate would sell his own people to the Drow?" Part of Chort wanted to lash out at them, for saying that the Committee's pet peasants and lickspittles deserved drow bondage, but those impulses were kept in check by the glares of his guards and a growing despair that was growing inside of him

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After an hour and a half of fighting the rioters were broken. They had either been captured, fled into hiding or shot, barring a few dozen holdouts in a few buildings. The shock of the sudden arrival of several thousand soldiers with rifles, revolvers, grenades, LAWs and even a few battlesteamers had sent most of them running. As this happened, the remaining Drow forces (severely diminished) had either managed to reach their escape fleet or were scattered. Hunting down the remaining stragglers, one way or another, would take some time even with drones searching for them. Those efforts would need coordination and for that reason Critical Mass made her way to meet with General Smedth.

But for the majority of the remaining soldiers who had held out in the trenches the thoughts for the moment were simple: against shot and shell, traitorous rebels, fantatical janissaries, elite drow warriors with at least decades of experience fitted with enchanted arms and armor and dragonfire they had held the line long enough for help to come and put on enough pressure to force their retreat. Everything they've endured that long and bloody day, one that they had feared for the last two and a half years had ultimately ended in them standing victorious over the broken invaders.

As Critical Mass made her way to the general she was met by masses of exultant soldiers who cheered and waved their arms and weapons in the air. Cries of "Long live The Committee!", "The Great Machine prevails!" and "Hail Infrastructure!" filled the air as she past. There was still a lot that needed to be done that would probably be ongoing for weeks but the worst of this bloody affair was done with. Among the things she had ordered done was that there would be a set of proper feasts tomorrow and the day after for the troops and people of Daagsgrad. This victory had bolstered the morale of the surviving soldiers, celebration afterwards would make the most of it.

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Battle gave way to aftermath and with that came the process of post battle cleanup, the most pressing part of which was dealing with the dead. Some 13,800 Infrastructural Army combat personnel were in the trenches and of those some 6,400 had been killed, a little more than half of them in close quarters by the 3,000 or so Drow warriors and Janissaries which had managed to cross no-mans-land. These were either buried or cremated in accordance with their wishes with full military honors. The process which would take a week to complete and was dragged out in part by a few hundred of the 2,600 severely wounded soldiers passed away despite the best efforts of the medics.

The fallen Drow soldiers and Janissaries were dealt with with less reverence. These were collected by soldiers, armed and given rope to deal with those who were not quite dead and with sacks to deal with those who had been blown apart. Any valuables that might have been salvaged were stripped from the dead and what remained were sewn into sacks with rocks and put on carts for the docks. Most of Daagsgrad's fishing boats were temporarily drafted into service by the Navy, which were loaded up by evening and made their way to sea by night under sail and steam ten kilometers from shore. There the drow sailors dropped their foul cargo into the Icemountain sea where it sand into it's sandy bed. The fishing boats were soon either returned to their owners (or at least those which had nothing to do with the uprising), who each received a hundred credits for their inconvenience. They generally did not comment on the fact that the next year's hauls of fish and especially crabs was the best in decades.

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The rebels were fairly swiftly routed by the concentrated efforts with the exception of a few pockets of die-hards who held out into the night. This, by order of the Committee, was followed by a purge which would last the better part of a week to hunt down the remaining rioters and any Drow spies that might remain, of which two were captured and three were killed. A similar if less extreme crackdown was ordered in Borogskov, which managed to break up a similar if far less developed underground organization. This also came with a propaganda campaign to justify it. Mostly it depicted photos of the damage wrought by the rebels.

While firearms let the rebels take on enforcement and armed guards, ultimately a greater percent of their bloody work was done with knives, clubs, axes, rocks and other crude old fashioned weapons and by far their most devastating tool of destruction was fire. Hundreds of buildings were set alight by the rebels often with those they suspected of being Infrastructural collaborators in these. Almost all the buildings in the city made heavy use of wood in their construction, especially the older buildings made of waddle and daub and timbers. A few factories and warehouses were also torched despite the fact that the head rebels decided not to do so and take them as prizes, though the shipyards and their associated buildings were mostly spared. As fires do, they spread. In the rout a few rebels in desperation turned to setting alight barricades and random buildings. In any case much of the city was on fire by the time the rebels were contained and firefighting efforts, which were hampered by the fact that the rebels had targeted the city's fire departments and had either stolen or smashed much of their equipment. When the last fires had been contained large sections of Daagsgrad were left in ruins.

Ultimately the rebels had managed to kill some 6,200 people, including 412 Enforcers (just shy of two thirds of the department's strength), 340 guards and 143 soldiers while an additional 4,200 being severely wounded. Of the rebels themselves some 1,013 were killed and 1,932 were captured or arrested in the following days as well as some 5,000 of their family members afterwards. It was estimated that of the rebels there were about 50 ringleaders and 400 core members who were at the heart of the uprising and it's leaders as well as 1,000 secondary members many of whom let in on some limited detail for the plan towards it's latter and 2,800 rioters who they had swept up. A fair number of the family members were pardoned or were deemed to have had no hand in the uprising, but many would be sentenced to up to two year of detentional labor while their property was confiscated and sold off while being deemed unfit parents and having their children taken to orphanages in Dalatyr. A handful of rioters were pardoned as having been coerced into fighting, but almost all the captured rebels were given between five to thirty years hard labor with a couple hundred individuals being sent over to Detail for his experimental projects. In the end between deaths and relocation the population of Daagsgrad fell from 77,000 to 65,000.

Ultimately the Daagsgrad Uprising had several long term effects. The first being that the setback of the loss of of more than a seventh of it's total population meant that Daagsgrad would be overshadowed by Borogsokov for more than a generation. It also had large section of the old city rebuilt and restructured. The cluttered old workshops and homes on their erratic gave way to new brick apartment blocks laid out on a geometric grid. Finally proved to be the end of notable resistance to Infrastructural Authority among the native populations of both cities. In Daagsgrad the belligerent population was severely reduced, in Borogskov many people sought to distance themselves from those with rebellious tendencies and came to realize the futility of armed rebellion. There was still some resentment and grumblings among those with backgrounds in the Black Port's free population and a couple of petty gangs which used the symbols of the old era, but neither of which would be more than a nuance to local Bureaucrats and Enforcement.

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Since time immemorial there was the military practice of looting the corpses of fallen enemies for valuables. Men who would view the thought of a grave robber plundering tombs in peacetime would themselves gladly take the arms, armor, boots, rations and valuables off a slain enemy, especially if it was of better quality than the paltry gear they already had and there was further fighting to do. Many warriors were be motivated in part by the prospects of such grizzly plunder. For this reason the Drow would often bind their weapons and armor with curses. If a non-drow wore cursed items or armor or wielded a cursed scimitar they would soon find themselves afflicted with a variety of ailments, from constantly slipping and tripping, uncontrollable twiching, boils, iches, rashes, vomiting, temporary blindness, bouts of unconsciousness, sharp spikes of pain and in a few cases death. This also led to instances in which mass graves full of armored drow warriors became barren for decades afterwards of grew mutated twisted plants. This meant that even after expensive cursebreaking was done only a handful of the brash, headstrong and devil-may-care would wear or wield salvaged drow runic armor. This served two purposes from the Drow's perspective: preventing their foes from using their generally high end weapons and armor against them and adding to their mystique of fear, making enemy armies more prone to break in battle. Such efforts were not spared on Janissary gear due to cost considerations, made all the more prominent due to the fact that fairly simple species specific curses would not do for human soldiers fighting other humans.

In the aftermath of the battle of Daagsgrad Drow Weapons and armor were collected gingerly from the battlefield and were sorted by how much damage they had taken and whom they were from. Janissary equipment in reasonable shape and the hastily abandoned field guns was set aside and much of it would eventually be sold abroad for what additional foreign exchange (and by extension raw materials) could gained from it, but all the metallic gear from drow warriors as well as damaged Janissary equipment, shackles and other such gear were set aside.

The next few days after the battle saw many efforts of the usual routine of life disrupted or out and out stopped by efforts of cleanup, mourning and celebration of victory. The foundries, working on a time table based around the heating and cooling of iron remained active as they had largely done through the battle. But as soon as could be arranged the open hearth furnaces were fed Drow armor, weaponry, chains, whip spikes and other such items. The magical forces inside them sputtered in the heat, giving off multicolored sparks and short arcs of lightning but eventually they would all be released as their containers melted down into the puddles of liquid steel. On the whole this was a fairly common way of dealing with cursed metal items, but Critical Mass made a note to have this disposal process recorded. Soon the image of the arms and armor of the vanquished invaders becoming more material to develop the great machine of Infrastructure would been seen across the Coldlands in newspapers, posters and news videos where it would stick its way into the minds of million. It also meant that everyone got the point several months down the line when Dalatyr shipyards launched three cargo ships named Valnothron's, Cendoliath's and Hansoliath's Gift.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-10-24 03:13am

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Golems are humanoid constructs of inert material animated by spells. Strong, loyal, dauntless in the execution of their assigned tasks and unconcerned with compensation or the fact that they are property, Golems are employed in a wide rage of function. The rough idea of a golem has been used by by the Eastern Empires for thousands of years, a few of the kingdoms of the Southern Continent and by the Raptors for tens of thousands of years, but for the sake of simplicity we shall focus on those civilizations on the Northern Continent west of the Dragonspine Mountains.

The precursors to golems were animated statues contrived by the High Elves since before the Time of Chaos, though their use was limited to public artwork until the War of Four Centuries as they were unable to do more than perform a preset sequence of events. During this period the High Elves, Dwarves and Student Men pooled their resources to develop new and better ways to hold back the forces of the First Dark Emperor. Among their greatest successes was the refinement of this concept. Most importantly was the development of the chem, a small item usually of parchment or bronze which has inscribed onto it a magical "shadow" of a human, dwarf or elven mind. This, once placed and bound into a properly prepared body will cause the Golem to come to life. Golems were originally intended as warriors and remained in use in that function through the war, but they were ultimately found to be of more use in civilian ends freeing up people to fight.

Golems are made to understand that they belong to certain humans and perform a range of human actions as instructed by those they belong to. The most common golems are unifunction golems, able to do a simple task well but otherwise only able to do the most basic of tasks under supervision being walked through at all stages. Moving heavy things (crates, logs, rocks and similar) from Point A to Point B and stacking them neatly is the most common golem performed job. These golems are generally made of clay, which is the easiest material for golem makers to work with despite having some disadvantages. More sophisticated golems exist that are able to do a number of tasks with the most sophisticated golems being capable of a limited degree of learning. Most golems are mute, but some can speak, though generally only in a small vocabulary of preset phrases and the ability to remember the name of their users. There are legends of Golems which can match wits with a man, but these are dubious at best.

Most Golems are decidedly civilian in function and many are by design incapable of violence against humans. Combat Golems are less common, but still exist. Some of these are converted civilian golems (as were used by Daagsgrad and Borogskov up until their conquest) but much more impressive and imposing. A three meter tall iron statue with superhuman strength armed with a pair of runic blades can cut it's way through a mundane shield wall with ease and can endure a lot of damage even from cannon fire. However there are a number of spells which can temporarily incapacitate a golem as well as more complicated spells which can break the spells which give them life. While they have been effective in battle on several occasions war golems are often seen as White Elephants. They are most commonly used as guards at palaces and as symbols of wealth.

Golems are quite useful things to have, but they do have their shortcomings even beyond their limited intelligence. The art of Golem making is known to a small number of specialized mage guilds, each with their own distinct way of making golems which they jealously guard, save for the fact that making golems is a tricky complicated process which requires large quantities of mana. Even a simple unifunction clay golem costs 750 to 1,250 Lyra to make and requires several years to build. Total yearly golem production is at most to the effect of 500 to 700 a year, though the attrition rate of golems is also low. There is also the matter of power, golems draw energy from ambient background mana but this is very rarely enough to provide them with continuous activity. Even in Sylvanas for every day of activity a golem has, it must spend two to two and a half days inert recharging. In most other places the ratio is eight to twelve days of being inert for every one day of activity. For the Coldlands the ratio is twenty to twenty five days inert for every day of activity. Mages directly charge Golems, though most mages can only supply a golem with enough energy to keep a golem active for an hour or so before they themselves need some time to recover the magic they expended. For this reason while golems are useful they do not dominate the economy.

The most extensive users of golems are the High Elves, who have one golem for every thirty people. Almost all of these are employed in some industry doing most of the heavy work. They also lead in general quality, there are few unifunction golems among the high elves. A few dwarvish enclaves specialize in the making of golems for both their own use and export and have ratios of fifty golems per capita to assist them, but outside of these golem use is less pronounced. After them the Venoans, the Seraphate and the Dark Elvish states have the most pronounced golem use with one golem for every 100-125 people. The empire has one golem for every hundred and fifty people and in most other places one golem for every three hundred people is the norm, but it can get lower in areas that have low levels of background magic, are generally poor or both (such as the pre-Infrastructural coldlands). Infrastructure had imported a couple of golems for trials but has deemed that given the amount of dead time they have in the Coldlands they are not economical for their intended purposes.

Some general facts about golems...
  • When active, a Golem's eyes glow brightly, when charging they glow dimly
  • Most golems can work for two to three days at a time before going inert
  • A few golems are several thousand years old and remain in general use
  • Golems with more than one set up arms exist, but are rare
  • Many golems have leather soles attached to their feet to prevent damage to floors. Leather straps on hands are often used for a similar purpose
  • Simple golems often have mitten like hands which are easier to make work
  • Golems occasionally exhibit qualities of the people that made them.
  • Small toy golems are occasionally made for the super rich
  • Many people outside of Infrastructure believe that the members of the Central Committee are some form of complex golem
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-10-31 03:23pm

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As long as there has been wars and coin there have been mercenaries. As there is strength in numbers both on the battlefield and on the negotiating table these warriors generally come together. Mercenaries come from many places. Some are adventurers and fortune seekers who strike out on their own, others are the remnants of broken armies and fallen nations, bandits who find that there is better prospects for looting fighting along with an army, exiles and outcasts, refugees who are taken in by companies of mercenary companies, camp followers who learn the use of arms as they go and various other ways. Regardless such men can make a admittedly rather dangerous living and sometimes even strike it rich fighting for hire. Raising an army from scratch is a time consuming and costly affair and often it is easier simply to hire out a mercenary company when needed.

According to a survey done by the Order of Keepers, in 4 IA there were some 841 active mercenary companies west of the Dragonspine mountains ranging in size from fifty to 4,200 members and an average size of about 420 people. Mercenary companies very immensely from unruly mobs of warriors armed with whatever each member liked or could get his hands on to disciplined specialized companies of swordsmen, arquebusiers, pikemen, cavalry, knights and any other viable formula of armment including combat mages and artillery crews. The lifespan of a mercenary company varies immensely. Many last only a few months before being destroyed or falling apart due to internal differences. Those that survive the first few years generally get good at surviving and (baring destruction) often last a few decades, generally until a sufficient percentage of the original leaders have died. A few have lasted for longer still, some are several hundred years old, but most of those which last so long eventually manage to win a fief and become regiment of some lord.

Most mercenary companies make use of second hand weapons and armor, including what they salvage off fallen enemies. Mercenaries are often clad in a hodgepodge of battle-scared armor.

The Allergonian Empire and the Dovelian Pensula (home to the city of Venoa) produce a disproportionate number of mercenary companies. In said regions there are a strong tradition. In contrast the Kingdom of Torion and the Seraphate produce few mercenaries as the governments of said regions forbid mercenary companies from forming or recruiting in their territories, though both countries have employed mercenaries. The Drow states also hires mercenary companies to bolster their armies, though there are are a fair number of mercenary companies which refuse to do business with Dark Elves and those that do generally charge higher rates. The Coldlands was also a contributor to the world's supply of mercenaries until it was unified under the banner of Infrastructure. High Elven mercenaries are a bit more common, but are still fairly rare. Orcish mercenaries are more common than elven mercenaries, but there is less of a market for them due to prejudice against orcs. The most common non human mercenaries are Dwarves, both in all dwarf companies and alongside human mercenaries.

Among the earlier adopters of firearms were mercenaries, who had a mixture of individuals who were willing to take a risk on flashy new weapons and those who were pragmatic enough to see virtue when it established itself. Of the 841 companies that the order of keepers had documented some 363 of them made use of firearms to some degree or another and 242 of them were fully dedicated gunners (arquebusiers, pistoliers, riflemen, etc). They were also the first to adopt firearms based on Infrastructural designs and helped disseminate said designs and triggered the Rifle Wars. Ironically in doing so these mercenaries have spelled their own doom. Companies that specialized in the use of pikes or axes weapons were cut down by rifle fire, those that survived found that their now obsolete skills were at best commanding majorly reduced prices. A decent number were able to switch over to rifle use, but even those which did faced stiff competition. Mass produced flintlock rifles with bayonets (let alone more advanced weapons) have made standing armies easier to train and outfit. As such the market for even mercenaries armed with up-to-date weapons is steadily contracting. A similar survey by the order of keepers in 34 IA has found that there are now 464 active mercenary companies with every indication that this trend is continuing.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-11-15 05:41pm

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The original Infrastructural Navy uniforms were heavy, comfortable, warm and well suited to the Icemountain Sea and other northerly waters. However as it's ships ventured southwards in it's regular escort duty these qualities would often be a sweaty burden, even with jackets set aside and sleeves either rolled up or cut off. As such in 34 IA were put into production for warmer waters. Made mainly from thinner imported cotton and died lighter colors these uniforms were very well received by enlisted sailor and naval officer alike.

Also shown are some common Infrastructural Navy shoulder Insignia denoting department.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-11-19 06:42am

ImageColored version
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-11-30 10:41pm

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In total House Valcas directly employs some forty seven hundred Drow (including wage employees, wards and members of of it's vassal houses) and and owns some Thirty Nine thousand slaves. These are employed in various functions from manning it's trade fleet and managing it's banking affairs, but a large section of them man their shipyards, ironworks and manufactories which provide a variety of products ranging from bricks, ropes, paint, glass products, tools, canvas, pots and pans and much of Valnothron's weapons and armor (though it has only a comparatively minor presence in the runesmithing trade thanks to the guild's efforts). Factory style production has been employed by the Dark Elves for millennia, though the scale to which it has been used has increased over the last few centuries and in particular since 16 IA when a series of large orders for flintlock weapons led them to increase their operations. While there is some involvement in manufacturing by Drow artisans in the actual assembly of things, most of the hands on work in these facilities is done by slaves.

The recent expansion of operation has meant that a greater number of new stock has been brought in than is usually the case, but even so the majority of slaves are born and raised in House Valcas's manufactory complexes. Most of these slaves work twelve hours a day, leaving aside a half hour break for lunch as well as a half day every fortnight. They are mostly dressed in canvas which is patched as often as needed. Labor is broken up into a variety of specialized fields with consecrated slaves being used as sectional overseers and in most sensitive areas of manufacturing. A system of rewards (which includes extra down time, more food, sweets, alcohol, tobacco products and sex) and punishments (which start with removal of privilages to spending nights in a dark brick box to corporal punishments ranging from beatings to torture) keep the slaves incentivized. House Valcas slaves are as a rule better off than those employed in many other Drow Manufactories as (following the example of Galthirith) some concessions to safety were made such as work gloves and steel toed shoes. Even so while they are noticeably less frequent than in other places a fair number of House Valcas' slaves end either in industrial accident or are maimed to a degree that they can't work are put down (usually by poison administered via food and alcohol). To their masters the costs of a few protective items that save them from having to buy and train new chattel to man their equipment is a worthwhile investment, but there is no point in keeping around those slaves who are maimed despite those efforts.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2015-12-25 01:38am

From the Central Committee to all citizens: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


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Shotguns have been used by the Infrastructure since 5 IA, but the have always been considered a specialist weapon. While powerful at close range against massed enemy formations or wildspawn, their low effective range and heavy weight limited meant that in most military situations either a pistol or a rifle was superior. Regardless several models were produced over the years for use by both the military, auxiliaries and enforcement as well as for export. The most recent of these is the Type-4S Lever Action Shotgun.

The Type-4S was first put into production in 32 IA to replace the Break Action Type-3S. One of it's reasons for introduction was for service in the Petrolium Colonies and another was to get soldiers more use to the idea of repeating long-arms as the Type-4R was introduced, even though the two weapons have considerable mechanical differences. The Type-4R has a fixed tube magazine able to carry five shells with a sixth chambered. After each shot the user simply has to push the grip mounted lever forward and reset it until the magazine was exhausted. It's cartridges were 19mm cardboard shells with brass bases, each containing 40 grams of lead pellets. Solid slugs are also available and were hoped to be of use against runic armor. Most of these shells are loaded with black powder, though it is fully capable of accepting 'N-Shells' loaded with Nitrocellulose pellets. Even so it's effective range using shot is limited to about thirty meters. The weapon weighs in at 3.8 kilograms unloaded.

Like with most weapons production has stepped up with the onset of the escort war, with several thousand weapons being manufactured. Many have been provided to the navy and naval infantry with others being issued to the army, enforcement and to prisons. Each Battlesteamer is provided with one of these weapons in case of enemy assault. Reception has been positive, though the weapons are more maintenance heavy than their predecessors. A few of these weapons proved their worth at the battle of Daagsgrad, even though the effectiveness of solid slugs against runic armor was not fully satisfactory.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-01-04 05:33am

[url="https://sketchfab.com/models/f69c14c6b62b45babf3a3c7fba50e8dd"]Also a guy going by Korian decided to do a 3D model of the Type-4S Shotgun[/url]


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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-01-04 06:38am

Well, Zor, now I've got you on reddit :)
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-01-04 10:32am

(Daagsgrad Citadel, Daagsgrad, Late Autumn 36 IA)
Sven had the experience of both reading about and personally meeting officers who's greatest desire was to be out on campaign leading an army marching through the wilderness to meet the enemy and who's greatest dread was being stuck behind a desk. As far as he was concerned as one of the major commanding officers through the Wars of Unification said people were insane. On the whole and as far as Infrastructure's interests were concerned it was a useful insanity, but insanity none the less. He was grateful that most of what he had to do in this war had a nice set of quarters nearby with warm bed, even if remained free of Stefia. He was grateful that the Daagsgrad citadel allowed him his quarters and he could settle into the blessed duldrums of paperwork.

The Mobile Reserve Division would remain in Daagsgrad for a few months at least. New troops and supplies were arriving from the south at a constant pace, but regardless the city's garrison would remain under strength while security was being beefed up. Neither he nor the Committee expected another attack to come soon, but nobody wanted to take any chances. In addition there were mop up arrangements, which would probably keep on going for months and the transfer of technicians, army-Engineers and equipment to keep the battlesteamer fleet in working order. This and a myriad of other small tasks kept him occupied all day. He also had to put up with a fair amount of praise and deification for what he did both by his men and the garrison. He knew why they did it, it's just that in the end he had just executed the orders that he had been given and their were plenty of other commanders in the army that could have done just as well as he did. More than anything else it made him embarrassed.

Even so his mood had been improving. Infrastructure was safe for the time being at least, as was his family. His men were in good spirits in spite of everything. They had managed to beet off and largely destroy a Drow invasion force in spite of all their magical abilities. The defenses were being bolstered, the rot of rebellion had been cut out and some sense of normancy was returning. There was still some concern about what was to come, but for now at least that was something which could be handled.

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(The Great Bog, Late Autumn, 36 IA)
Of the five groups the fleeing Drow convoy broke into four managed to escape. The one which elected to go on the most southerly coast was the unlucky one, which was persued and eventually overtaken by six Infrastructural warships. Even after they broke formation at a full sprint they were never the less eventually overtaken and one by one destroyed, with a small group of cargo ships following them to fish out survivors. One of it's escorting frigate managed to escape but none of the cargo ships eluded destruction. Even so two ships managed to avoid being sunk by driving their ships into the coastline of the Great Bog. Their crews and passengers quickly disembarked and set off their magazines to deny them to the Coldlanders. One captain had the slave section of his crew killed, though a couple of his drow sailors did receive some wounds by slaves in panicked self defense, most notably a gunner who had a humerus and several ribs broken by a carpenter's mate with hammer. The other captain simply had her slaves run away, shooting a few of them for good measure. A few more Drow sailors managed to flee there on rowboats, improvised rafts and in a few cases simply swimming to to the shoreline. Either way as soon as they could they made their way into the bog's great forest as soon as they could, some 530 Drow in total managed to fade into the forest.

That had been six days ago. As far as Deljan ti'Algraas things were bad and were most likely going to get worse. He was in charge of a group of some fifty sailors and evacuated warriors, one of three that his captain had to strike out, reasoning that this improved their chances of at least some of them surviving, even if. They had pushed inland and avoided detection so far, but they had limited food and ammunition with winter coming on. There was fish to catch and game (including some man sized salamanders which could bite someone's foot right off but tasted alright if spit roasted) but that would only get them so far. To get through the winter they were going to need food, shelter and warm fires. The latter two of these would be comparatively straightforward once they found a good site, even if it would be a fair bit of work to build their hopefully temporary dwellings and gathering enough firewood. The latter would most likely involve raiding some native villages for what stores they had which had a lot of potential complications. Even so, the alternatives of surrendering either to the Infrastructurals or to Death was not worth contemplating. They would survive.

In the dense forest it was hard to tell what time it was. One knew when it was day, night or twilight but making out where the sun or the moon was in the sky was generally difficult through the leaves of the forest, which were yellowing but still thick. By Deljan's reconing it was sometime in the afternood when one of his scouts came to him in a rush. "Sir," she said "We're being stalked."

This line was more confirmation of Deljan's suspicions than anything else. "Get the word out to get ready for a fight" he told her. A few second latter he quietly drew his sword without ceremony and got ready for battle, this filtered through his forces with a similar easy transition.

Shortly afterwards he heard something he did not expect. "Do not be alarmed and hold your fire, we're on the same side." The words were not loud but carried quite well even through the forest. More importantly it was spoken in the Dark Elven language with a perfect Janilonas accent.

"If you wish us no harm then show yourself!" Deljan barked.

"Very well." Shortly afterwards a figure came out from the scrub and walked towards him. She had a hooded cape, a crude deerhide jerkin, pants, Drow bracer and what turned out to be an Infrastructural soldier's stolen shoes, gators and tunic while carrying a drow dagger, a quiver of arrows and a simple bow. "I'm Kalnara Ti'Drenvas, former gunnery mistress of the Janilonas navy and leader of my band of maroons. I presume you were part of that failed invasion?"

"Third Mate Deljan ti'Algraas and yes we were." He said, letting his bitterness just show. "We're in need of food, supplies and shelter if we're to survive until rescue."

Kalnara mulled it over for a second, weighing the costs and benefits of helping them. "For now at least we can provide you with some of that and we can show you the basics of survival in this damnable bog. But you will have to pull your weight and you'll do what I say. I survived here for more than a year, you haven't."

Deljan mulled it over for a second. "Very well". She gestured them to follow her, they did.

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(House Valcas Estate, Valnothron, Late Autumn 36 IA)
Talnara ti'Valcas had not had a good day. This capped off a weak of bad ones and knew that more such days were in the work. The defeat at Daagsgrad had been the most costly defeat the Dark Elves had faced in decades. Some 12,200 warriors were lost among them many of seasoned veterans and officers. Of a hundred and forty warships seventeen had managed to slink back to port, one of which being so badly damaged that it was to be taken apart so that it's timbers could be reused elsewhere, none of them larger than a frigate. Add in the losses of cargo ships (which were fortunately lower) and that added up to some 29,000 Drow dead, missing or (to the suprise, disgust and dispair of those who found out about this) captured on top of the loss of ships (including the squandering of the Raethis regardless of what the Janilonas embassy had to say about the matter), nightdrakes, weapons, armor, equipment, janissaries, slave sailors, ammunition and provisions that had been lost and the destruction of much of the spy network. Among the losses were four companies of House Valcas' warriors and two frigates. Even so many thought that victory could have been achieved with a bit more preperation, if they had moved out sooner. All of that in exchange for a few thousand peasant conscripts, four enemy warships sunk and three more damaged. Had their been a victory, even a costly one, there would have been an enthusiasm to push inward to reap Infrastructure for all she's worth. A defeat with similar losses wrought by The Eternal Foe's would have led to a concerted attack to retaliate and repay those losses in kind and with interest. The response to this defeat had been a massive row to find out who was to blame.

First there was the usual conflict over force dedication. None of the four governments of the coalition could muster the needed support to give a full call to arms in this war against the Infrastructurals. As such the invasion force was made up of a mixture of troops (mostly Janissaries) and naval forces provided by the state governments and what forces (naval and land) the various houses were willing to voluntarily commit. Those houses which had commit forces blamed the defeat on those who did not contribute and accused them of cowardice, who responded that this entire war had been an ill planned costly farce from day one. Among the supporters there were accusations of not pledging enough support or committing it soon enough, generally with the usual old conflict between warrior and merchant houses as well as the newer conflict between the newly risen colonial houses and the older established ones in the homelands. There was also the matter of warriors who were captured or (and far worse) surrendered. How many had managed to disgrace themselves so totally and irredeemably was yet to be known, but it was never the less used as ammunition by all parties against their rivals. This was before the conflicts between the various states were factored in as well as a myriad of smaller issues. A fair amount of this was leveled at House Valcas and by extension to Talnara in increasingly unpleasant meetings.

If there was a silver lining to this it was that House Valcas's shipyards and armories had contracts lined up for years for new weapons, artillery and ships to replace what was lost. There were a few traditionalists who blamed the failure on "not sticking to tried and true methods" but fortunately more could think about things logically for two seconds and saw the need to upgrade and given what information they got out of the battle via linkstone and reports things were not so hopeless in the long-term. Twenty Vaul guns could at least do some damage to an Infrastructural Ironclad at close range and heavier guns could at least make themselves known at long range. The new 35 and 45 Vaul guns that they were making in quantity should come to the Infrastructurals as a nasty surprise, as would the new breechloaders once they could make them in meaningful quantity. They also had plenty of orders for new steamships and there was particular interest in their new ironclads. All of which added up to millions of scimitars coming into House Valcas' purse. While this was all good money was no good if you were not around to spend it and the Assassins' Guild had gotten more business than usual as of late and there were those who resented their . That meant being extra careful in everything just to be on the safe side and as three centuries of experience had taught her this was both necessary and at best a major annoyance.

After ten days of putting up with this after the day's business was done she slipped to her now thoroughly swept and well guarded apartment, had a trio of random slave servants bring up a flask of wine, taste test it and for a few hours let her problems drown. She had to be careful about retreating even for a short time into the haze of alcohol lest it become a habit. Even so right now she would indulge, having had more of of her share this week.

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(Waterfront, Venoa, Late Autumn 36 IA)
Like the rest of the Venoan Embassy staff Bureaucrat (Level 3) Ayna Fedorvich had been a bundle of nerves when she heard that that Daagsgrad had been attacked and was overjoyed to hear of the victory. Her mother had been sold to slavers by some warlord before being liberated by an Army platoon and the thought of tens of thousand of men, women and children being subjected even half of the things that she told her that the slavers did was enough to make her want to curl up somewhere. She had gotten through it by trying to keep busy through every waking second and there was little surprise when she decided to skip the party in favor of sleeping for fourteen hours straight. After that she got back to her usual work at a more usual pace.

Most of that had to do with overseeing inventory, making sure that shipments were received, their contents verified, properly stored and sent on their ways in a timely and efficient manner. It also meant dealing with various local groups for services, from warehouse owners to the guild of drovers and carters to rent willing golem owners. Even after more than a decade of operation there were still Venoans who still had a hard time getting over the fact crude northern savages could produce so many paperwork obsessed clerks. She wondered how long that would persist as she went over a load ready for shipment to the Coldlands.

Last night the Povast had put into port. She was one of the bigger ships at 2,800 tonnes and was packed with trade goods and to celibate the victory by order of the Committee there was a two day long sale with all it's contents being 10% off. It did move merchandise quickly freeing up space quicker than usual, which was always one of their premium commodities even if she still had worries about the drop in income. The Venoan Embassy taken out yet another massive loan to cover expenses earlier this month and by what she'd heard they were negotiating the biggest one yet. She'd even heard reports that the the Embassy in the Kingdom of Torion had taken out debts from Venoan banks. Everything had been getting more and more expensive for them ever since the war began and they'd had been taking so much of it.

Sometimes she'd wondered about getting so much ore and metal out of Venoa and the surrounding area. There was some decent deposits nearby, though from what she'd heard they were nothing exceptional and it was a long voyage from here to Borogskov even in a steamship let alone having it take a month to sail north. They needed as much material as possible to make warships, cannons, rifles and bullets of course, it just seemed like a very roundabout way of getting it. Even so she knew that whatever else may come at least they had some respite while the Dark Elves were licking their wounds.
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(Solondrin, High Kingdom of Illvanas, Late Autumn 36 IA)
Anweil sein Delsian had been frustrated these last few years. She had a passion for the study of kingdoms, dynasties and noble lines as well as customs, etiquette and similar. Decades of study had made here a respected authority on the matter and had aided her in her career in foreign affairs. She longed to be the High King's voice to a foreign state and eventually after a century and a half of work she got her wish. The only problem was that this state was Infrastructure. Places like Venoa were bad enough with their patricians, guilds and elected leaders but even in those frameworks wealth and trades usually stayed with families with proven bloodlines and most people knew their station. The Committee by contrast just gave away positions of power and importance to random peasants who were good at sucking up to them. No esteemed bloodlines, no glorious heritages, no drive towards forging a glorious dynasty, just a collection of up jumped peasants good at passing tests. She understood that having good relations with them was a good move, she just hoped this foolishness did not spread. The fact that she had to deal with them on a regular basis and they had such a poor understanding of basic courtesies did not improve her opinions on the matter.

Their aims were simple enough: first of all they wanted trade. They wanted to buy magical items which they could not make in their frozen desert and raw materials in exchange for some of their mechanical contrivances and products. There was little objection to the beginning of that, though the thought of ripping apart the landscape for the thousands of tons of ore they wanted made her queasy and the market for their tinkerings let alone their shoddy general products was small. The second one, however was a more complicated matter which had to be handled delicately as it involved the Corrupted Ones. She actually understood their situation with the Drow and as distasteful as they could sometimes be she did see their value as allies. Even so there was the fact that they were still rebuilding and replacing the naval losses they'd suffered in the last campaign. A couple more raids had been sent out on Drow shipping since the war had begun but that was a fairly token effort. Moreover she knew that there were at least some member of the Court who wanted to leave the Coldlanders out in the the cold (at least for the time being) until they suffered severe casualties to keep their influences in check, a policy which she saw as being foolish despite her feelings to them. Even so she gave the Infrastructurals the appropriate lines relating to the situation. It was not praticularly difficult given the ambassador's lack of training but even so they were becoming more and more aware.

A couple of weeks after reports of a repulsed invasion she came Ambassador Povastov came to her with a folder after submitting yet another request for an audience the High-King. It was the longstanding custom that said such requests could be processed once a fortnight. The last time she had done so she'd given reports of the invasion fleet which had surrounded Daagsgrad. Since then the battle had apparently been won, though there was clearly some exaggeration in that they had been giving. This time she carried with her a folder. The appropriate greetings were given and the request was seen to be fit. It would still probably end up like the last thirty or so requests and be tactfully denied. They'd made their case near the beginning of the war before the King in which the situation had been given.

"My Lady," The bureaucrat spoke in passable High Elvish "before you submit the request for formal consideration I would request that you would review some material I and my government have prepared. If you feel it is worthwhile a note of recommendation would be most appreciated."

"Very well" Anweil said as she took the folder and examined the contents. Inside were a number of their Photographs which she thumbed through. They mostly showed images of battlefields, both at sea and from the land. The ones at sea were blasted wasteslands of craters and the ones at sea showed ships exploding and burning wrecks. The important fact however was that the ones on land were littered with the remains of Corrupted warriors and their pet slave soldiers and at sea dozens of their warships burned, broke apart and foundered. 'So it was not embellishment after all, they had managed to sink that many' she thought and she eagerly looked through the scenes of destruction.

"Very well" she said in a pleasant tone of voice "I'll give my personal recommendation and pull a few strings."

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(Vhorimsburg, Allergonian Empire, Late Autumn 36 IA)
By the reckoning of the Allergonian Empire's customs Vhorimsberg was a minor city, it had a permanent population just above 22,000 permanent residents and all the official charters had been ratified four centuries earlier. It had the distinction of being the seat of House Vhorim and the second largest city in the duchy of Savaren after it's capital. Hundreds of kilometers from the northern sea or the southern mountains, Vhorimsberg existed mainly because it was more useful for the local farmers to have one nearby. Beyond that it made a modest profit off pottery, parchment and paper. Never the less, like any settlement of note it had it's share of blacksmiths. Among them was Master Blacksmith Staifen Ambus. He mostly made tools for Vhorimsbergs's other artisans and thirty years of beating iron had left him both strong and skilled.

Despite the affairs that had been going on elsewhere little had changed in Vhorimsberg since he had his apprenticeship had begin. He'd gotten more orders from the town's pair of gunsmiths, a few more young people were going off to Enperisberg, heard some talk in the pub, read some stories in the broadsheets, the paper trade was doing well and a few "Infrastructural" items showed up on market day, but these were side details. Iron was iron, it needed to be heated, hammered and quenched and it it did not give a damn about foreign affairs. Even so one autumn afternoon things would make their impression on him.

It started out normally enough, he'd met up with an metal merchant coming up from the south. There were always a few of them making their way from the Dwarf mines through the towns and smaller cities picking up stuff along the way and then selling foreign stuff as they went back, though they had been coming through a bit less often of latter. He was a bit better dressed than he usually expected them to be, but he gave that no major thought. No more than the halberd and pistol carrying man who came with him, who was probably his nephew or son acting as a guard and porter. It was simply part of the apperence he associated with merchants that were good at their trade: they were either thin and girlish or fat and pompus as counting coins did not take the strength a real job demanded. Regardless of that he was down to his last couple of ingots and maybe half a dozen bars and while if worse came to worse he could smelt some of the rocks the farmers turned up gathering them, sorting them out and firing enough of them even to make a hammerhead took time and coal that could be put to better use. The formalities were easy to handle, he offered the merchant a cup of tea, they exchanged a few lines about affairs in town and abroad and Staifen inspected what the merchant was offering (which to nobody's suprise was exactly what he said it was) and he said that he had five hundred and twenty five pounds of the stuff.

"...and how much did you want again?"

"All you have good sir."

"Very good." The merchant with a grin "That will be Forty Three Marks and three Viertals."

Staifen choked on his tea "What are you trying to pull? Iron's worth twenty pounds a mark." In truth he'd usually paid about mark for nineteen pounds of the stuff, though it prices did shift between seventeen and a half to twenty three pounds. The last couple of loads he had gotten were on the high end of things, but it was never worthwhile to be totally honest in bartering.

"And you'd might be able to get that price from the Dwarves themselves two hundred miles to the south." The merchant said calmly. "And you're of course free to go make arrangements with them. If you want to spare yourself the hike and wear and tear on shoes, i'm here right now standing here with my unchanged offer."

"I'll give you eighteen pounds per mark." Staifen said "You can take it or I'll find someone else."

"Then you can find someone else after a good long wait, tell me how many metal merchants have come through here lately?"

"Well one came by last month, did business the knifemakers."

"Which is more recently than I'd expected. Most of my companions have been heading out to the big cities this year or went looking for something else to trade because the Dwarves didn't have any extra metal to sell when they got there. Probably it'll be another month til someone else comes by with ingots by my reckoning and when he shows up he might not have as much as I've got here and now and he will ask for just as much as i'm asking for right now if not more."

Staifen started to reply but then stopped to think for a bit. The man seemed steady on this and he needed that iron. "Very well." With a huff he extracted a small purse out from his apron, emptied it of twenty eight marks, two Viertals and three schillings before pulling out a second and counting out the remaining change taking care to give as much of it as he could in smaller denominations. As he did so he glared at the fop who kept that smug look on his face.

"Yorin will help you bring the load in and get it out the crates" the Merchant said as he pocketed the cash and with care put it in a hidden safebox. This rough sequence was not a unique instance by any means.
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(Bluewine Bay, late autumn 36 IA)
Captain Malonso Cosetti strode the forecastle of SVS Scia as he enjoyed a unseasonably warm day and took in the sounds. There were the ancient sounds of wind, wave and a ship under sail as well as the sounds of eating as the crew took their lunch and the newer sounds of a chugging engine and turning paddle wheels. This was her maiden voyage, which was mostly sailing to Rislos in the Dragon's Teeth and back and seeing how well she worked. So far so good in that regard.

Malonso was among the youngest commanding officers in the Venoan Navy. Just after getting his commission in 1407 YO he had served on SVS Fuocomare, the Serene Republic's first steam galley as an ensign. He'd been fascinated with the new craft and had approached his duties with a enthusiasm which his superiors noted. It also surprised them when he'd shown a similar keenness for his duties on the Steam Galley SVS Lady DiMallangio after he'd survived the fire which burned Fucomare to the waterline sixteen months after her christening. He'd been worried a bit after hearing that a couple members of the Fifteen wanted to abandon steam galleys after SVS Mazza also burnt and SVS Carronata exploded even though those were from the first squadron and by that point DiAgnellio and his associates had delivered newer and safer engines. Fortunately those voices were silenced after reports of Infrastructural victories over the Drow were received and the navy pushed for as many new Steam Galleys as it could. The facts that he'd had as much experience with Steam Galleys as any other officer and a good report from his superiors were ultimately enough to get him a command of one of these ships.

There had been an ongoing dispute between the inventors who'd been designing these new ships and the shipwrights at the Arsenal. The former always wanted to constantly experiment, refine and improve so that each ship is better than the last. The latter wanted them to settle on a design so they could quickly assemble dozens of them. Malonso understood that both of them had a point, but even so he was glad that the inventors had been allowed to tweak Scia's designs given everything he'd seen indicated that she was improvement on anything that came before.

She was fifty four yards long and weighed four hundred and fifty tons, which was a bit larger than the traditional galleys which had been the mainstay of the republic's navy for centuries even though she did share a lot in common with them. The main difference between her and her predecessors was of course her double action engine driving her twin paddlewheels with (using a reckoning which the dwarves apparently worked out for mine pumps) 900 horsepower. This had allowed him to get her up to sixteen knots for short bursts and eleven knots at a steady sustained pace. Moreover it did so while taking up a fraction of the space that rowers would, which meant that the designers could delete the oar-banks, which meant that the she was both more seaworthy than her fore-bearers and gave her a proper gundeck.

An old-fashioned Venoan galley had three or five forward main guns, a single stern chaser and four 3-pounder broadside guns. Scia retained the heavy forward arsenal with a massive new model 68-pounder cannon along with five 24-pounders (one in the rear) but also a broadside arsenal of sixteen 12-pounder long guns and eight 24-pounder carronades, all of which were rifled even if he had his doubts about how effective that was in the case of the northern style snub-cannons. She was still more forward oriented than sail warships, but unlike her predecessors her flanks were the massive weak spots they were.

All in all Malonso felt good with how things had turned out so far. He still knew that a breakdown could happen and if worse came to worse there was the transport Tartagura following behind her, but he doubted it. Rislos was only a day or so away, which would be followed by inspections, then the gunnery trials and more tests. After a couple of months of that, she would join up with the forty one similar ships of Serene Republic's growing steam fleet.

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(Detentional Labor Camp-42, Central Forests, Infrastructure, late autumn 36 IA)
Corporal Yuri Darinov checked the load on his shotgun as the train pulled into the station, flipping off the safety when it came to a complete stop. Part of it's load was the usual supplies of flour, potatoes, lard, beans, bacon, beer and cann'ed meat and vegetables that fueled any lumber camp, the other bit was far less pleasant. There were three Box Cars which were unloaded first one by one. When the door on the first one was opened it let out a wofting human stink.

"Tsilshai, Jehim! Tsilshai, Jehim!" he barked. With that from the gloom came a bedraggled Janissary in prison uniform. He walked with a limp but kept moving quietly. Another followed soon afterwards, as did another. He and a couple other guards monitored them as they filed out and were lead off to be assigned quarters. All of them seemed comparatively healthy despite some wounds, if disheveled and unkempt. Their cars had been outfitted with a rudimentary latrine and benches per Detail's request. Part of him privately objected to that as being too good for them, even though the cars smelt bad enough with them. He'd heard the reports of what Janissaries were like and what they did to the people their masters loosed them upon. The official policy was that they were made like that by the Dark Elves and they could still become something else if given the opportunity even though he still thought it would be simpler just to put them down.

Even so going by what he'd read in The Recon (the army's newspaper) not that many of the Janissaries at the battle of Daagsgrad had been taken alive. Most of them had either died fighting or at least trying to get to the fight. Some of those who had tried were cut down Drow warriors or in some cases their fellow slave soldiers. Apparently it had to do with their slave religion. One thing that he'd noticed about captured Janissaries was (at least after they'd been in detention for some time) in most cases the fight just seemed to melt out of them and unless they were ordered to do something they tended to mope about. Many of them ate little despite the fact that timber harvesting and charcoal production was demanding work. A few of them committed suicide or tried to do so. This did not make him sympathetic to them, but it did take the edge off his disdain.
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(Detentional Labor Camp-37, Dragonspine Mountains, 36 IA)
It had been more than month since the battle of Daagsgrad and three weeks since Talsi ti'Xolcas had arrived in Camp-37. After she'd gotten over the initial shock of actually surrendering and while working her way through the post capture despair she'd been afraid about what these Coldlanders were going to do with her. Her mind had conjured a whole lot of horrible fates of being an Infrastructural slaves. She'd heard all the tales and stories of what envious renegade lesser beings who did not understand the natural order did to those of nominally superior blood to them. What none of them ever included much mention of was onions. One or two of them might have made mention of putting them into giant cauldrons with them as part of some terrible feast, but none of them ever spoke about cutting up hundreds of them a day with a knife designed so that you could not stab someone with it along with carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, turnips and various other vegetables which ended up in the camp's stew.

She, as well as forty nine others who had surrendered were given the job of manning the camp's kitchens, which were as of yet being expanded. Their job was to feed some twelve hundred fellow prisoners of war, all Drow. The guards who kept them under key and a small number of human staff ate their own food out of their own kitchens. Making oatmeal, vegetable soup and stew, rye bread and other such dishes as well as well as cleaning up the kitchen afterwards was a fairly hard job and there were unpleasant consequences for disobedience, but if nothing else it was in the warm (a fact which they were getting more thankful for with each passing day as winter encroached) and there was a fair amount to eat, even if it was the same stuff they made for the rest of the lot to ensure that people at least tried. If nothing else it was better than working in the mines. Every night the humans would blow off a section of mountain, leaving a huge pile of rocks which most of the prisoners had to shovel into wheelbarrows and then load into shipping crates.

One of the odd quirks that she found out about the kitchens was that it involved an inversion of the social order. Houe Xolcas was a low ranking warrior house which could only afford a few slaves, as such one thing that she and her brothers, sisters and cousins had been taught was how to cook (both in a kitchen and on a cook fire). She and a few others had done done well in the kitchens. On the other end of the spectrum some of those from higher ranking families (especially merchant families) who felt that cooking was something done by slaves. They were struggling with basic things even with the various aids and instructions given to them by the Infrastructurals.

As a rule she and her counterparts worked about nine to ten hours a day, with a few hours being light and others being more hectic. It was still less work than what was done by the miners. There were ten teams of five, which were organized into two cadres. Those individuals who did well and did not cause problems got tokens which they could cash in for meat, beer and exemption from cleaning. Those who did poorly and caused trouble had to do extra cleaning work and other dirty jobs and in one case got assigned to the construction gangs. Surprisingly the guards cared little if people ate some vegetables as they worked, so long as they did not throw half eaten things to be cooked. It wasn't fancy or spiced with anything more than garlic and salt, but there was a lot of it. The time after that was spent in the barracks and at the tutorials where they tried to teach them how to speak their language using a lamp-show and getting them to repeat phrases. She wondered why they were doing this. The survivors of a failed attack on a Drow State would be lucky if they were simply flayed for their skins. Mostly she put it down to softness, a trait that she'd been raised to despise and exploit. Something that she'd convinced herself she was doing at the moment. Even so she did not make her disdain known.
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(Dalatyr Citadel, Dalatyr, Early Winter 36 IA)
Lord Telsion trek from Illvanas to Infrastructure had been uneventful if not enjoyable. The small Arrowship that ferried him and his party had managed to exit Dragonstorm bay without incident but even with a pair of experienced weather mages the northern seas had been rough. Once it had put into Borogskov he was soon on one of their railway trains, which was more comfortable though the rhythmic bumping got to him, it smelled of coalsmoke and their food while not as bad as he expected was heavy by his standards. After arriving in Dalatyr and the consulate he had a warm bath and a good night's sleep. Whatever

He did not have much time to take in either the former Slave Port nor the city that had become the heart of this new state, but what he did see of the local architecture did not impress him. The houses were either ugly, uniform brick boxes or ramshackle constructs made from whatever was on hand (though these were less common than he expected), the factories were huge monstrosities, ghastly towers of steel reached for the sky and there was coal soot everywhere. As useful as their products could be against the The Corrupted he had no interest in getting to see them. In any case this matter was a pressing one. After breakfast he made his way to The Citadel. Enclosed from the rest the city by walls the building was an imposing structure even if it was still mostly spartan. Inside it's Northern hallway he met with Supernova, dressed in a Bureaucrat's uniform without procession beyond a few bodyguards. All of these details added up to a leadership which was disinterested in finery and ceremony. Personal aesthetic preferences aside there were pros and cons to this: on the one hand it generally meant that they had an edge in marshaling forces and this was clearly the case. On the other hand it meant that certain options were less effective in guiding them into the right direction. This was before the unknown aspects of whatever the Central Committee was, but regardless the Nation that they built

"Good morning to you, esteemed Lord" she said making a polite bow. "We are honored by your visit and the attention of your High King."

"As are we to have the opportunity to meet with those who have achieved so much so quickly, honorable Committee Member I also must bear the regrets and apologies of His Majesty in regards to our previous inaction despite the plight of your people against The Corrupt, even if you understood our previous strategic situation." As was required by the situation he was polite and apologetic. He was still unable to make sense of the strange methods that operate in

"Of course, though it comes as a relief that we've managed to change the situation and we are glad that you are now moving forward." He did not miss the note of dissatisfaction, not that it was wholly unwarranted. "On behalf of the Committee and the People of Infrastructure you have our gratitude for what assistance you can provide. To aide you in this endevor we are currently readying a shipment of some thirty six guns along with associated gear, several thousand shells and an instructor. The best weapons our foundries can produce and the finest guns on the planet. A full report will be provided of course."

"I look forward to informing my king of your most generous gift" he said with total honesty, given the reports of their effectiveness. "On the same note my expedition has brought our own tokens of friendship to share. Five hundred swords strengthened by our fine runesmiths as well as tomes of curse breaking. He also offers the members of your Committee each a boon as a gesture of goodwill. Anything within reason for you personal benefit."

"If it is all the same to I would want to request my boon now, though it is a bit unusual." She said to his surprise.

"Really? Most would give such an offer a good deal of thought as the King does not offer such boons every day."

"And so I have done."

"Very well. I'll hear your proposal and I'll relay it this evening just so you have some more time to mull it over just in case."

"This is a bit of an usual request and it will require some explanation." She sounded a bit embarrassed, as if talking about an awkard issue "As you know I am not human, nor a being of flesh and blood like yourself. Our bodies are basically clothing that we wear to better interact with flesh and blood creatures. I've elected to make mine more human than most of my fellows with an outer layer of skin and hair and similar, but there are complications to that."

"And what would those be?"

"Wear and tear. It's less of an issue for Drive or Detail because they don't bother trying to look exactly human, but humans have a tendency to notice such things and they often find it off putting. Even with a bit of patching I can't get it to last more than a couple of years at most before I have to recycle it. However, I've heard that your mages can weave spells into cloth and leather to make clothes that can mend themselves." She then extracted from a pocket a length of material. "If it is possible I would request a that a suit of skin be made with such properties. This is a sample of it's material."

This was a promising development. "As you request." He then took the strip of skinlike material and tucked it away into a pocket.

"In any case we have a lot to discuss. We've had a conference room readied as well as full reports."

"Of course." With that he followed her lead.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-02-08 12:25am

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The native peoples generally referred to as "Blanket Men" by colonists are in general terms come across in many ways to be primitive even when compared to the pre-Infrastructural Coldlands, in many cases with some justification. Their architecture and metalworking are both fairly rudimentary. Even so there are some areas where they are surprisingly advanced, including their development of sulfur treated latex, well developed understanding of astronomy and the construction of boats, in particular river barges which Discovery River (known to the natives as the Trunk River) and it's tributaries.

As a general rule the blanket men generally did not build buildings out of processed planks, though certain inland tribes make use of planking for external stairways and internal flooring. Regardless said methods of construction are employed for ground sloth drawn carts as well as the building of barges, though smaller boats are made of a variety of materials including hides, reeds, timber rafts and latex. These barges are made with limited use of metal, using wooden dowels to fasten things together for the main hull. The deck of the craft is usually a framework of interwoven branches. A clay hearth is usually situated in the stem of the ship for cooking nearby a small clay cabin. Most barges are between 15 and 25 meters long and have a flat hull. Propulsion is achieved by a combination of rowers/polemen and simple rectangular sails. Steering is done through a basic rudder. The hold is kept underneath a canopy and a tarp.

Among the blanket men in regards to river barges is that by custom they normally are owned by women. Merchantile enterprise is seen as feminine trade among the Blanket Men. As a general rule barges are owned by families and are passed from mother to daughter, though a man can own a barge if he is unmarried and has no adult sisters. Most barges last about 30 to 60 years before decay from borers make them unseaworthy though a few can last up to a century. Husbands serve as carpenters, longshoremen, sailors and if need be defenders. River pirates in small canoes and gosho war parties are a threat to merchant ships and as such barge crews are well antiquated with the use of axe, spear, napohjek, sling, bow and (recently) crossbow.
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