Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-02-08 06:12am

Acquainted not antiquated
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-02-08 03:37pm

madd0ct0r wrote:Acquainted not antiquated

If only they could get full editing up in specific forums.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-03-07 02:43am

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The slave trade has a multi millennia history even predating the student men. Some people captured others as slaves and yet more people were willing to buy them. While the Dark Elves have always had a hand in the slave trade (though as a general rule as buyers) their are plenty of others who engage in the trade. Slaves are taken by armies at war, bandits and pirate as well as con-men with more slaves being put into slavery as a punishment or penalty for not paying back debts. Not every state is involved in the slave trade. By ancient Dwarvish Law stretching back to time immemorial a Dwarf can not own another being as property with similar laws being part of the legal codes of the High Kingdom of Illvanas for some ten thousand years. In the Allergonian Empire, the Principality of Oestia and more recently Infrastructure slavery is formally outlawed as well as a few other human states. However there are numerous other states which do allow the ownership and trade of slaves. The most extensive users of slavery among the human states west of the Dragonspine mountain are the Saddle Kings, followed (in descending order) by the lands of the Quanthrathi and Venoa's colonies (though slavery has been outlawed within the city of Venoa itself due to a combination of pressures from the Empire and High Elves as well as the prominent guilds), the Protectorate of Nycon, many of the Interterran island states and city states on the northern coast of the Southern Continent, most of the eastern principalities and the Kingdom of Torion. Where there are people willing to buy and sell their fellow sapient beings, there are Slave Dealers.

In most areas Slave Dealers are considered an unsavory lot to say the least. While this is obviously the case in which slavery is illegal, it is also the case even in most areas where slavery is legal. Leaving aside the cruelty inherent to the slave trade a fair number of slave dealers not only buy and sell slaves but also abduct people on their treks to pad out their inventory. They also frequently do business with pirate crews, criminal organizations who've long found that it's more profitable to hand over the people they've been paid to eliminate or they find inconvenient to passing slavers than to dispose of corpses. Needless to say the business of the slave trade can often be very cut-throat, sometimes quite literally. Even in slave states they are generally seen as a necessary evil to be kept at arms length. Only in areas like the Black Ports where the slave trade was a major part of the economy are people open to slavers. Even so dealing in slaves can be a very profitable for those who manage to get the hang of it. Those that don't often end up dead, destitute or merchandise for one of their rivals. Despite the risks there are always a few merchants who out of desperation or the prospects of wealth to get involved. One does not dabble in the slave trade. While slave dealers will often sell other items on the side once one gets involved in the slave trade they're generally stuck in it as is their family. Despite this there are a few wealthy families and noble houses which got their start in fortunes made off the slave trade, as well as those who would never dream of dealing in slaves themselves but have made considerable money by investing in the slave trade.

In general their are two types of Slave Dealers: there are overland slave dealers who lead processions of slaves either in carts or on foot overland and the owners of Slave Ships. Among the employees of slave traders their area number of free associates that are required to handled slaves, almost uniformly arranged in a specific hierarchy. On top of the hierarchy is a head overseer who's job it is to manage the chattel in a slave caravan or ship, who depending on the size of the operation might have one or more subordinate overseers underneath him. Beneath him would be various support personnel, including cooks, clerks, quartermasters and occasionally healers. Beneath them would be armed guards to prevent escape and at the very bottom of the hierarchy are handlers. Handlers are tasked with dealing with slaves on a day to day basis. They move them from place to place, deliver food and water, secure manacles, muck out bilges and beat slaves into line. Most slave handlers share some similar qualities: they are well muscled, stocky, are capable brawlers, ill tempered, enjoy bullying, do what they're told and are of substandard intelligence. They generally have some armor (such as the second hand padded vest depicted here) and carry a solid wood club as their main tool of the trade. Among their class is a slightly higher order which possesses the discretion to nab the occasional vagrant or drunkard and put him in chains. Their lot is generally kept well away from their employers when they are engaged in business. Many a slave dealer camouflages his profession through careful use of words, rich clothing and refined mannerisms, but handlers can generally convey a brief if frightening look into the brutal details of the slave trade.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-03-15 02:38am

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A fundamental principle of government is that a law on it's own is just a suggestion. For it to be meaningful it needs to be backed up by force. How a society applies said force has varied considerably over time. Having locally recruited soldiers or warriors act as guards is a common way of keeping law in many areas, including the High Kingdom of Illvanas, the Seraphate and the Empire and Kingdom of Torion. In other areas it is handled by organizations of the local citizenry acting as watchmen to patrol their neighborhoods, which is common among the Dwarves, the Principality of Oestia and certain areas of the Empire. In the larger cities and a few rural these are supplemented by private organizations hired to patrol areas at night and catch thieves (which is most pronounced in Venoa and the Drow States). A couple of city governments and the Protectorate of Nycon also retain forces of dedicated thief takers. More formalized and organized bodies existing under a few of the ancient societies (most notably the Third Empire). In recent time, Infrastructure has created such organizations in the form of Enforcers.

Enforcers had their beginning with the creation of the Dalatyr Department of Law Enforcement in 8 IA in which the Central Committee began an initiate which hired some thirty people to keep the peace in the burgeoning heart of Infrastructure which formally took over the duties of law enforcement in 9 IA replacing Infrastructural Army personnel. The DDLE was steadily expanded with similar organizations being introduced elsewhere in the coldlands starting in 14 IA starting with Garrison Towns, hub towns and eventually The Yards (Daagsgrad and Borogskov). In 28 IA the Infrastructural Bureau of Mobilized Enforcement (IMBE) was created as a general law enforcement body for the entirety of Infrastructure. Originally enforcers were simply beat officers, but soon specialized branches such as forensics, undercover investigators, river patrol and similar were added. As of 37 IA their are some 12,000 Enforcers across Infrastructure.

Infrastructural Enforcers have a distinct blue and gold uniform for general wear with stripes running down sleeves, mantles to keep the rain off, eared cap and a basic steel cuirass for protection in fights. Heavier winter uniforms also exist for walking the beat in -30 weather. Enforcers are trained in basic combat, but also to be respectful, attentive to details and keep the peace. For instances where reason and shows of authority do not work and it comes to blows Enforcers primarily rely on their oak truncheons. While Type-3P Pistols are normally issued to Enforcers they are considered weapons of last resort. Enforcers are required to be literate and to regularly submit reports and forms.

Enforcers have been fairly effective at keeping down crime in Infrastructure, a fact which has been promoted by propaganda campaigns. Their has been some noting of this by a few foreigners and a few of them have in recent years begun advocating the creation of similar forces. So far the success of their efforts has been limited to a few small cities due to general conservatism and a few prominent individuals who benefit from the old arangements, but they've been making progress none the less.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-05-14 11:29am

Finally a new story post...
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The last fifteen years had seen considerable changes in Valnothron and in no place more prominently than in House Valcas' manufactories. Among those who had the best understanding of this was Ironmistress Weitas ti'Halsath. House Halsath was a minor house of artisans who owed fealty to Valcas ever since it's creation some three hundred years ago. Like all houses it's members longed to see it rise to the top, but in the meantime it had to make itself useful to keep itself fed and obligations to fulfill. There was also the matter that according to the values of Dark Elvish culture which went back to the First Black Emperor Drow Artisans were looked down upon them. There was some appreciation reserved for the finest artists, the greatest bladesmiths or armorers as well as those who made magical items or bound spells to them like runesmiths, but for the most part drow artisans were to be treated with scorn. Not like The Discarded (the outcasts, disgraced, remnants of broken houses and their get) who were viewed as vermin that could never the less be put to use but they were viewed as sullied by working with their hands like slaves.

Being an Ironmistress was a job that paid comparatively well but earned nobody's respect outside of other metalworking artisans and the slaves working under her authority (not that it mattered). The best that she could hope for is that one of her children went onto greatness while she managed to make Foundry Master, which was problematic since a Drow's lifespan meant waiting centuries to fill dead men's shoes. For three decades she'd consigned herself to doing her job as well as possible, ensuring that her furnaces turned out good metal and goods (mostly cannons, but also kettles, pots, anchors and other such items) and recieving a Scimitar every fortnight as well as the occasional bonus for exceeding quotas.

Then work began on a whole bunch of new projects. The furnaces were extensively overhauled allowing them to make better quality iron with less coal, but that was only the beginning. There were new machine tools for the armories, the new open hearth furnaces, rifled cannons, armor for ships and various other machines. The most notable of all the Steam Engines, which she was tasked to build. Doing so meant reading various spy reports, technical manuals that had been badly translated, learning some of the damnable coldland language and (worst of all) having to follow the instructions of enslaved engineers hoping that the whelps did not develop enough gumption to give her faulty instructions that would result in her getting blown apart. Thankfully the Lady Valcas had the sense to see their concerns and had the designs tested out in a pit.

Despite that the results were amazing. There was an intense mechanical power to watching a steam engine under full. Most people were wowed by ships under steam, but their applications in the manufactories was just as profound. From driving bellows to powering lathes, saws and milling machines, moving loads with belts and chains to powering the newly finished "roller mill" there was an endless set of applications for the energy steam could provide. All of which were needed more than ever to meet the needs of the navy after the defeat at Daagsgrad. Currently they were working on the engines for twelve new steamships with even more down the line, among them being the first steam powered ship of the line. That required assembling the largest steam engine the drow had ever built. It would weigh over a hundred and Ven* empty, twice as big as anything they'd stuck in a ship up until this point. This would require some testing.

It had taken five days to assemble the prototype boiler in the pit, with another day spent inspecting it to see that it was put together properly. Fortunately the assembly had gone without a hitch. Once things were in order to Weitas's satisfaction she had it fired up to test it's performance. The first day saw it rigged up to simmer at low pressure followed by an inspection and cleanup. That went smoothly and there was no sign of damage or stress afterwards. The second day they brought it up to what it would be under full steam and while it did groan a bit there was still no major tear. The third day was the most spectacular of the tests where they removed all the safeties and got the engines as hot as they could. The firebox they used to heat the boiler with was twice as large as the on they had planned for the ship itself and a set of bellows and fire spells soon got it. After building up 124% of their estimated maximum pressure the boiler burst in a gush of steam and shrapnel.

Once things had cooled down she'd left the bunker and examined the hole blown in the metal. She fiddled with fragments and tapped the cast iron, taking note of the sound and way it resonated. It was not as bad as she'd feared it might had been, even though there was still room for improvement. She'd advise some additional reinforcement for the boiler in the final version. It would cost more and it might add a day to the construction process. Even so the last thing that she needed was The Lady receiving a report that their steam powered ship of the line had exploded and her wrath focused on the Ironmistress who let it happen.

*(Drow equivalent of a tonne, 1500 vaul or 884.5 kilograms)

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The Manor of House Ferlis was in every sense of the word ancient. It had been commissioned by Sainsien Ferlis during the War of Four centuries with nearly two hundred generations of slaves knowing the imposing stone structure is as the seat of authority. It presided over lands he'd had been bestowed by the Dark Emperor herself after cutting through swaths of men, dwarves and high elves both as a common warrior and after rising through the ranks as a commander, breaking army after army with bold aggression and a knack for exploiting the enemy's weak points, especially fear. Since then the house had produced generation after generation of the finest warriors by who's sweat and blood Valnothron endured and gained glory and victory. They'd been powerful players on the ruling council and had produced their share of Master Generals and a couple of High Lords.

Despite that legacy and much to the annoyance of it's members (among them being it's contemporary head Zenrith ti'Felris) it had fallen from prominence in the last thousand years. It was still wealthy even if the produce from their estates had to compete with that the merchants brought in either through trade or from the colonies (even though the house had gained some minor holdings across the sea) and the warriors it raised were still among the best the Dark Elves could produce and they were still classed as a Great House, but for all that they'd been pushed back politically. They'd lost their hereditary seat on the Council seat nine centuries prior thanks to the schemes and plots of the peddlers. They'd manage to gain a Term-Seat more often than not, but even so it left them at a disadvantage, a fact which boiled contempt and resentment in him for nearly three centuries.

One would be hard pressed to find a Drow who lacked for ambition and did not seek to gain power and prestige either for themselves or their families, but Zenrith had that as well as a score that he needed to settle. As far as he was concerned Valnothron was on a course to ruin and the blame lay squarely with the Merchant Houses. They had their function in society but statecraft was not one of them. From his study of history they'd been a problem ever since the Dark Emperor's death and they had managed to gain some prominance during the time of the Third Empire but even so they'd never been so powerful as they'd been in the last. Trade was a useful thing to have and for that reason House Ferlis had a few investments and merchant vassals. The problem was that the merchants built their fortunes around dealings with lesser beings and so they lost the stomach to do what needed to be done. Leaving aside naval campaigns with The Eternal Foe every few decades Valnothron had gotten into one major war in the last two and a half centuries. There would be the occasional brief campaign against the Allergonian Empire, brief wars to force some trade concession or reprisal, mercenary work, hunting down tribals across the sea and formalized show battles. None of that was real war, the kind that forged true strength and culled the weak from the herd. Cannons and Janissaries had their place, but the merchants had made them to dependent on them. They were content to forever postpone the coming War of Ascendancy when the Dark Elves would cleanse Illvanas of the corrupted ones and take their rightful place as masters of the world. The Warrior houses needed to retake control and put House Valcas and it's like in it's place sooner than latter lest the rot of degeneracy run to the core, even though the opportunity to do so was still a long way off.

As such while it may have been a bit incongruous with his general position there was little surprise that Zenrith firmly backed Valnothron striking the 'Infrastructurals' in what would become the Escort War. Even though the rise of that state in the frozen end of the world hurt the merchant families more than anyone else, they still dared to cross the Drow as a whole. When that collection of avarice cowards could be pushed towards taking up the sword he pushed them as hard as he could to take up the sword and cut down those fire-lock obsessed upstarts. He'd assumed that this would break them free of complacency and end with a reaping of snow covered waste. Instead the Coldlanders had managed to repulse all their attacks with at most minimal losses.

He'd read the reports and heard the firsthand accounts about what their steel warships could do, but as far as he was concerned that only made that more effort should have been brought to bear against them and their continued existence was as much the product of Mercantile cowardice and half measures as said ships vaunted prowess. No more was that evident than at the fiasco that the assault on Daagsgrad was let to become. If the merchant houses had committed their troops slightly sooner the city would be theirs and the final obliteration of that upstart state would be well under way. Instead House Ferlis had lost all but eight of the four hundred and forty warriors that he'd pledged to the expedition from day one as well as the frigate Sainsien. It would take years and thousands of scimitars to be able to replace the forces lost even taking on houseless gutter rats by the score. Everything about that defeat ate at him, from the gutlessness of merchants to the fact that House Valcas was now making money hand over fist rebuilding and rearming the fleet to the fact that Infrastructure managed to defy the proper order of the universe and beat Felris warriors with peasant levies. So he stewed in his own bitterness and became committed to having those machine obsessed vermin snuffed out once and for all with all Nine States falling upon it in fury.

But despite all that he still had to sleep, and despite the fact that he had to sleep he was unpleasantly woken up by base biological matters. And so he trudged in a semi conscious stupor to the lavatory. It was a quirk of the architecture of the time that Lavatories were situated well away from the master's bedchamber. Had be been able to fully audit his behavior he would have noted that having to go to the bathroom at night was a rare occurrence and that his mind resolved itself more quickly after being rudely awakened. He also would have noticed the fact that while his generally unflinching bodyguard had been standing at his post, his eyes were closed. The only thing he did notice about this odd instance was the sudden sharp penetrating pain and subsequent spreading numbness of a poisoned dagger entering his back. That shocked him into full alertness, but that soon gave way to a haze of a different sort, a burning cold sensation and then darkness.

The assassin was among the best of Valnothron's guild, no one else would suffice to go after the leader of a Great House. Even with a cloak of invisibility and a wide variety of clever tools and spells at her disposal getting Zenrith into a position where she could strike was no easy feet. It involved introducing a combination of several different subtle potions introduced to him via his cutlery and his wine that only got the desired results in concert, a similar ploy with more powerful time delayed sleeping potion for the bodyguard, careful plotting of movements plotted to within a few steps while living in the manor's cellar for a week with a specially trained weasel required to do some critical work. But the contract had been fulfilled and with that the assassin made a daring escape. For the work she had done she had earned seventeen thousand scimitars that night, which was half the total contract. While she did not pry into the matter, she had correctly assumed that her employers believed that the last thing Valnothron needed was a radical firebrand pushing for endless escalation.

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Like thousands of other teenagers Arina Shatski had come to Dalatyr in search of credits for both herself and her family, prospects of a life that did not involving farm work and to serve the cause of Infrastructure. The needs of wartime production had increased the needs of the industrial workforce and campaigns to bring in additional workers had been stepped up. She'd thought she might get a job as a clerk somewhere as she'd managed to get two whole years of schooling and could books hundreds of pages long, though it turned out in Dalatyr children got six years of schooling at least. Even so the Dalatyr Labor Bureau had found her work soon enough.

Arina's first job was as a construction laborer at a new arsenal complex on the outskirts of town. Lacking technical expertise it basically involved a lot of carrying stuff and screwing screws in on machines as a technician instructed. She came in towards the end of summer and ended a few weeks after the battle of Daagsgrad. To her surprise she was soon offered a job on sight once work was completed even though there were additional construction projects going on. As it meant less heavy lifting, working in the warm and paid a credit and a half more per day she accepted.

Even so after the first week she was second guessing that decision. The new job was not hard, but it was incredibly boring. The new armory complex's first product was shells for the military. The navy needed as much as it could get so they were made on a moving line. Empty brass casings went on one end, shells came off the other after a dozen workers were done with them. Her job involved operating the line via a simple lever control attached to a dispenser. The line moved in it's default position. When she pushed it up the line stopped and dispenser poured out a measure of propellant powder into the shell, usually up to a mark inside the shell. If the shell was only partially filled, which happened often enough, she pulled the lever down and topped it up using a measuring spoon before sending it on it's way. At the end of the work day they also had to wipe down the machinery with soapy water to avoid any chance of it blowing up on them. The facility was also under tight surveillance with lots of armed guards, many of them with specially trained dogs. The armor was in general off limits to unauthorized personnel in general and some sections more than others. Brass came in for the shell foundries in labeled boxes but the supplies for the inner facilities went through in unmarked boxes

One thing she noticed in the long hours of industrial work was the fact that the powder loaded into the shells was different to the stuff that her father used in his hunting musket. That was like pebbles while this stuff was larger and more regular cylinders. The official policy was that these pellets were better than regular gunpowder and left it at that. Even so she'd seen a lot of the things go down that line and the armory had several of them. She sometimes wondered what they were going to do with them, but one thing was certain: the Drow were not going to enjoy it one bit.


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The third son of the owner of a small orchard Jholin of Asmla was a hearty hard working young man who's simple nature belied a capable if unambitious mind. He enjoyed working with rubber trees and was fine with his lot in life, even if it would have been nice to own the orchard instead of just working there. As such it came as a suprise to him when he was met by one of the strange clothskinned people from downriver that the clan had been doing business with. With the aide of an interpreter and some remarkable images she managed to convey him that they had considerable interest in having him work for them growing a rubber orchard in exchange for a house, food and various goods and services, among them the ability to send things to his family. After discussing this with his parents for a bit he decided to give it a try. After a few days on a barge he'd arrived at their new settlement and was quite impressed by the neat streets, two story buildings with glass windows, workshops full of strange tools who's function he could only guess at, the massive iron barges which lay at anchor and similar, even if some of the people doing dirty jobs were unsavory types.

Even so most of his work took place outside the town's walls in a plot of land set aside for the trees. With the assistance of an interpreter he'd instructed a few workers. Using some seeds he'd brought with him and was provided with he had soon gotten some sprouts growing in clay pots, which he transplanted into larger pots as time went on. It was a bit dry for them, even though they were able to pump in additional water which helped them along. The communications barrier was a big obstacle for Jholin, even the local tribes of what he considered to be normal had their own tongue. But as time went on he acquired the 'Infrastructural' Language word by word and sentence by sentence. After seven months he had picked up enough to hold a conversation, even if it was clear he got plenty wrong. Nothing went horribly wrong in that time, though it would still be another six years before the trees were ready for tapping.

As promised a house was built for him and he could acquire goods using credits and send them to his family. The biggest problem he faced was loneliness. Being cut off from his family and old friends had been a bigger blow than he'd expected. This became less of an issue as time went on but even so he still felt like an outsider. Several attempts at interacting with the Infrastructurals directly were made, the first of which being awkward but gradually he got better with them. Among the young woman named named Nika Volnisleb. She had a knack for tending the trees and was remarkably attentive to detail. One evening he was going over a batch of saplings that were nearly ready for planting checking for leaves that needed to be pruned when he made his move.

"Nika?"

"Yes Jholin?" She replied.

"I thinking it be nice if going to Voyage's End after work and get ale and pirozhki when done. Would you like come? I pay." The sentence was mangled but it came out with a combination of friendliness and embarrassment.

"Alright. Might be nice." She replied.

"Good." He said relieved. There was still a lot to be done and hard work, but with some companionship would make the load easier to bare.

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There was a decent amount of political turmoil two months after the defeat of Daagsgrad, but despite that Admiral ti'Kalvonin clout and influence had managed to bolster it. Even if the battle had been lost she'd managed to not only get most of her ships and the warriors on board to safety but had taken out one of their Ironclads in the process. Those in search of a scapegoat as to who was responsible for the debacle had mostly gone for other more promising targets, among them being those who had previously leveled blame against her after the defeat in the Straights of Nalmros. Her criticisms of the plans had also been circulating and the response to them on the whole had been positive from what her more politically minded brother could tell her. This was a boon to her household and herself. It came as a surprise as she spent her share of the political currency on a new initiate for the navy.

It was generally accepted that the weak link in all Drow naval forces were slave sections of the crews. Mostly they were viewed as a necessary evil to get sufficient manpower to mobilize a fleet which could fend off the never sufficiently damned High Elves. In centuries past they had mostly been rowers before evolving bit by bit into sailors and gunners. Either way the standards were low. There was some preference for broken slaves who'd previously worked on (in descending order) cargo ships, fishing boats or river barges as well as those with useful trades such as carpentry but those were expensive and at most might make up a quarter of a warship's crew. Former field hands, miners, stevedores, general laborers and boys as young as seven were much more common and were often supplemented by various dregs (either maimed or problematic) and fresh captures from raids or prizes. Their (for what of a better word) "training" was done in a sink or swim fashion, new slave sailors were simply thrown into the crews of warships among more experienced slaves and were expected to pull their weight or be brutally punished with grog and the prospects of extra grog to keep them in line. Those that survived the system usually became capable seamen that could be auctioned off during long lulls. They could perform shipboard functions satisfactorily, run out the guns reasonably quickly and reload them in drills, though even they also had a greater tendency to panic and break down under fire that other crews lacked even when bloody examples were made. They tended to drink more than their counterparts elsewhere. But what concerned her more than that was the fact that the process that made said sailors was inefficient and wasteful best and only got worse when a large section of that experienced crew base was gutted.

These methods might have been adequate a couple centuries ago but times had clearly changed. The Infrastructural Navy simply showed an acceleration in trends while the losses at Daagsgrad and the needs of a steam powered fleet made the need for change more pressing. As such she'd managed to push for the creation of a new breed of sailors starting with an experimental batch of four hundred. They were be trained on land at first where they would be introduced to the new steam machinery before getting their sea legs on rowboats and then a old cargo galleon before finally being integrated into crews. Punishments were still brutal but it would be applied to get them into shape. They were held to more strict codes of conduct reinforced by a reinvigorated sailor's sect of the slave faith. Where other slave sailors would wear whatever rags and scraps of clothing came their way or they could cobble together with maybe a crude insignia added on she'd managed to procure some proper uniforms for this new breed of sailors, even if she was not fully satisfied with the hats. All in all she'd hoped to create a new breed of slave sailors more akin to Janissaries, loyal fanatics driven to excel rather than a cowed rabble kept in line only by the lash and a haze of alcohol.

So far things had been going well even if the process was only half done. They could do things just fine on the test courses and had managed to get the hand of manning guns at the test ranges. One troublemaker had been removed and two more recovering after a serious injuries inured during in a gunnery training accident, but so far things had been working well. Engine training had some complications as it meant showing them about the shipyards and a couple manufactories, but they had been getting the hang of things by all reports. As she inspected them she was mostly satisfied with how things were going. She did not fear the project would not raise standards as it was self evidently was doing just that. She did have some concerns from attack traditionalists who'd argue that the new methods, while productive, were not worth the increased expense or that while they were useful when the navy needed to be quickly rebuilt they would not be worth the cost for general operations. Regardless she had high hopes that investing in training would give Hansoliath the edge it would need for eventually overcoming both the Infrastructuals and The Eternal Foe.

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After the repulsion of the Drow assault and the purge of the remaining rebels there was a lot to do in in Daagsgrad, from clearing out rubble to replacing destroyed buildings to bringing in food and supplies and salvage operations to get what could be recovered from the sunken warships. Priority was understandably allocated to getting the shipyards back to full capacity. Damage in that sector was comparitively light but the loss of skilled workers and the destruction of supplies had disrupted schedules immensity. Even with replacement equipment and workers being brought in from Daagsgrad. There was also the issue of morale, much of the workforce had lost friends, family and loved ones as well. Yuna Igorova knew this all too well, but she found a way to cope. Family offered some comfort and she was definitely grateful to Fedor and the boys for offering it, even so she needed an outlet for her frustrations and sense of loss. That she found at work, especially after she was promoted to Bureaucrat Level 5 and put in charge of the administration of the component department.

After she'd received and signed the appropriate papers the first thing she did was march out through the factory floor to the Foreman's Office. After a few quick questions she found that the foreman was in his office she quickly converged on it as implacable as a glacier. She burst open the door and in his chair sat Kir Molenov staring into a bottle of cheap spirit on top of a bunch of paperwork. She had a similar bottle in her desk until the aftermath of the battle, though it had been their for a year and was still only half done. By everything she'd heard Kir went through several workplace bottles a month since the Drow were first sighted.

"What! Who let you...What the!" he said more confused than anything as she advanced on him. Before he could react she lashed out an arm, grabbed up the bottle and tossed it behind her to shatter against the wall leaving a cascade of light amber drops as it went as he watched in horror. When his gaze focused back on Yuna he was subjected to a glare that liquefy hydrogen.

"Foreman." She spoke in a quiet, calm tone which drove home the fact that Kir was on thin ice. "As of eighteen minutes ago I have been tasked with the administration of this facility to ensure it's productivity. It's my job to make sure that this operation works smoothly and efficiently. Being inebriated on the job violates a dozen workplace regulations and sets a horrible precedent to those you've been elected to manage. Dalanovya turned a blind eye to this given everything she had to put up with and your previous performance. I wont. Now listen to me very carefully, if so much as a drop of anything stronger than kvas touches your lips in this shipyard I'll have you dismissed and arrested for gross negligence, public intoxication and disruption of industry vital to the war effort. Am I understood?"

"You can't do this!" Kir said slightly slurred in confusion "I've been Foreman here for seven years and have thirteen years supervisory experience! You'd replace me with some floor managing kid who's only ever handled a dozen people!?"

"I know that. Your previous service and the disruptions that your replacement would cause is the reason why I'm giving you this chance to straighten out your act instead of coming in with security. Productivity has dropped by forty percent from before the attack and I am to get it back to proper levels. I have had to put up with far too much of your sloppy unacceptable paperwork that you've submitted and resubmitted for you to tell me it hasn't compromised your ability."

"But drink lets me get through each day." He said sobbing. "It hasn't been easy to get through the day since that mob of slaving vermin took my Myla from me."

"And you think your the only one who've lost someone they loved to those bastards?!" She snapped, letting fury melt the ice for a few seconds "There is hardly a family in this entire dreary city who hasn't and does not know that grief. Grieve when you have the opportunity and time to yourself. While you are here you have a job to do and it's an important one. Infrastructure's shields and walls is it's fleet. They may have hundreds of warships but of our ironclads can lay waste to a dozen of theirs. The quicker we can build, repair and service them the safer our friends and family will be. I will do everything in my power to get productivity back to where it was and exceed it so we never have to deal with that loss again. Am I understood Foreman!?"

"Ugh uh yes...learne...um, Enlightened Bureaucrat!" He stuttered shocked as he got the right mode of address.

"Very good." She said as she cracked a wicked little smirk and her voice lost some of its edge but none of it's granite. "I want a general report on staff performance filed by lunchtime tomorrow neat and proper. There are still some managerial and technical positions that need filling and I have some bonuses to give out, possibly even one for Foreman who've shown that they've gotten over a previous slump in performance. But don't test the limits of my better nature. Good day to you, i'll have a janitor come to sort out the mess shortly." She strode out of the Foreman's office and got back to work. There was a lot to do, but that was no excuse to give up. Defeatism would do nobody any good.

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For thousands of years the Drow had captured the ships of their foes both to bolster their navies and merchant fleets, a tradition which commodore Eyvalsiin ti'Xalmis had continued as her squadron returned to Valnothron's Harbor. It was a bit unusual for a flag officer, even a junior one, to ride a prize in but given that they were a pair of Infrastructural Freighters she felt that it was fitting.

Her five ship light squadron had been on a routine North Sea patrol when they happened upon a small Infrastructural convoy of three pure steamships flying the Hexagonal Banner coming in on them. Seeing the opportunity it presented she had her ships move into encircle them. Doing so was more difficult than normal, the coldlander ships were faster and more maneuverable than most and one of them managed to give her forces the slip in it's entirety. The two that she had trapped did not go down lightly either as they were armed and carried explosive rounds. They only had a single breechloading cannon a piece and thankfully their gunnery was far below what their navy could do, but they still managed to sink one of her brigs, severely damage another and blast holes in the rest of her command. They also each had one of their blasted fast firing guns as well as a spring loaded catapult that fired glass jars full of some flammable liquid, but despite that her marines were able to get aboard and quickly managed to overrun her new prizes. She fished out the survivors from the sunk frigate, managed to get the surviving boiler tenders to get their prizes under way and made for home. That was three days ago.

She stood on the "bridge" of the freighter Vertebograd and took in the surroundings. As she saw the bustling port with it's bustling warfs, the never-ending activity of the shipyards and the myriad ships and boats either at anchor, coming in or going out she felt on top of the world. She hadn't felt this good since she'd been given her first command. The 43 Infrastructural sailors they'd captured would fetch a good price at auction, the cargoes of trade goods that would fetch a good price but the vessels themselves were the real prize. After discussing it with the admiralty, the Navy had decided to buy both ships for 160,000 scimitars each, of which 60,000 would go to her with the rest being distributed among her Drow sailors and their households. That windfall was be enough to move House Xalmis up a rung or two on the social ladder as well as earning it that more rare and precious coin of prestige for the middling merchant house. She'd spend a bit of it on herself in celebration and leave the rest for when she needed it latter on. An Admiral's banner, something she'd dreamed of since childhood was significantly closer at least and hopefully what house Valcas could glean from the prizes she'd provided them will make her fleet that much more powerful when it was finally under her command. Finally there was the satisfaction she gained that she'd scored a victory over a foe of terrible power, even if it was only capturing a pair of their cargo shps.

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As a child Vlan Forth of Anya had heard in secret stories from her mother about the land her father lived before he was taken as a slave. Such talk was done in secret, for it was a sin to desire the chaotic unbound lands not yet claimed by the pinnacles of creation. What he heard of it gave him no inclinations of doing so, but there were those who would have taken it the wrong way. In the last few years he had heard some rumors circulate about the Coldlands, most of them far fetched. He did not think about it much however, mostly he focused on his job as not doing so was a good way to get maimed.

Like many unskilled slaves Vlan had exchanged owners a couple of times, two years ago he was bought by House Galxrath where he was put to work building and then manning an expansion on their foundries helping lay brick, setting up scaffolding, mixing mortar and other such jobs. They were the largest in Cendoliath and remained that way even though their rivals in House Celizoth had and were expanding theirs. The new furnaces were a bit different than the old ones according to those who'd been here such as iron engines that pumped the furnaces. There had also been argument among the masters about such devices, some wanted to add more of them while others did not, but considering such decisions was not his place.

In any case after their completion he was tasked with bringing in loads of Coal, Iron and rubble from the warehouses to the new great furnaces where it would be carried up by a treadmill powered affair that lifted up buckets and fed into the huge volcano like tower (a comparison praticularly common on the Obsidian Isles) to begin it's transformation into iron. Some involved huge cauldrons which spat sparks and others involved secondary furnaces, forges and a few odd contraptions, but all of them involved being close to burning sparks, red hot metal and a nasty combination of ringing noise, sooty darkness and blinding lights. If nothing else he was glad to be away from that with his wheelbarrow, though a few of his fellow wheelbarrow pushers had been reassigned to the foundry floor to replace those that accidents had claimed. What all that Iron was to be used for he did not know, though he did know that some of it became cannons and that a lot of it was going to the shipyards.

However for the past few weeks he noticed something strange, the huge warehouses that contained the materials he was to feed the furnaces with were slowly emptying out. He never saw the huge rooms filled to capacity, but they always had a huge pile of iron rich rocks or black coals in them which he could see being replenished as carts emptied more in. However day by day the once daunting heaps became smaller and smaller as it was topped up less and less. Now the iron stores were almost entirely empty with an old man sweeping up what scraps he could to a few pitiful piles that he doubted would last the day. Coal was not as bad, but the stores were dwindling. Even so he did his job, filled his barrow and made his way hoping that he would not be blamed for this or be caught in the rage of a frustrated ironmaster.

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For eight centuries the Serene Republic of Venoa had rejected the feudalism so common in many of it's neighbors. In it's place was a plutocratic oligarchic system. Power was in the hands of those who had wealth, be they the prominent guilds or the patrician class. While seen as lords by many a layman beyond their borders all a household needed to do to obtain patrician status was to have the appropriate yearly income to gain the ability to achieve the right to run for office and be elected by those citizens who had the right to vote (mostly those whom had met some lesser income requirement, but also including veterans, master tradesmen and those who served the republic well). This system had driven the Serene Republic's rise from one City State among others on the Anvosi Peninsula to one of the most powerful human nations. The lowliest mudlark picking over the coastline for nails and other such refuse which had its buyers aspired to climb the social ranks (in the last few years with a greater margin of success) either for himself or his children while a Patrician who wanted to keep his exalted status had to constantly be on his toes. It's trade fleets were the foundations of this, but also through manufacturing, shipbuilding, building up a navy that could force favorable trade terms, deal with pirates and claim colonies and through finance.

Generally the patrician families competed fiercely with each other for prestige, wealth and influence. However there were exceptions, as happened on a wet winter night when two dozen heads of patrician families and guildmasters congregated at the manor of House Di'Villigino. Among them (including the host) were five members of The Council of Fifteen, the ruling council of the Serene Republic though the matter of discussion was officially off the books. There was some conversation about matters between the figures but this ended by Ritzio Di'Villiginio as he tapped his spoon against his glass.

"Ladies and Gentlemen." He said politely as a couple of servants began distributing small stacks of papers. "Tonight we have gathered to discuss a matter which is both of a concern to both ourselves and the well being of the Republic. While I you are all aware of your portion of the situation the report you have been given summarizes the situation for other the issue in regards to all of us." The gathered leaders poured over the list of notes and were shocked at what they saw. Many of them had speculated about the exact figures but seeing the reality of the matter was shocking. There was an odd murmuring of shock and bewilderment. "The first point is the most straightforward, in short Infrastructure has borrowed from us some eleven million three hundred and seventy two thousand one hundred and fifty Lyra at an average annual interest rate of 16.5% per year. Certain other parties in the city who have elected not to attend this meeting have also loaned them considerable sums as have other financial institutions abroad, though we can not at this time be specific."

"You could build, outfit and provision four hundred trade ships for that much!" Giachamo Di'Giovelli, owner of the largest shipyard in the city after the arsenal, blurted out. "With steam engines!"

"Even so this can't be bad as it looks." Vintenzio Di'Hanseti said, nervously "Sure the Coldlanders borrowed a lot of Real Money, but between they also buy metal off us in the mountains, housing it in our warehouses, shipping it back in venoan tradeships and insuring the shipments they've just been keeping it warm for us for a few hours."

"For a fraction of the loaned coin that is true." Ritzio responded. "However from what we can gather at least half of it is shipped out to cover similar spending elsewhere."

"By the gods, how much metal do those golems need even if they are building ships out of it?!" Someone blurted out.

"They just can't keep this up for much longer! Sooner or latter they'll run out of money and options." Someone else let out.

"I'm not worried about that." Someone responded quickly "I'm worried about Drow will finish them off before then, they took one of their convoys a few weeks back. The tide could be turning and that means Infrastructure's days are numbered."

"One of their cargo ships managed to fight free of it's assailants, one of their Ironclads would have obliterated the entire squadron in short order. Have you forgotten what they did at Daagsgrad?"

"Oh don't be so naive." The tone of the exchange was getting more heated. "Daagsgrad was a fluke, the figures that they published were obviously exaggerated. The Dark Elves will return to strike the killing blow soon enough."

"Just like the other battles then?"

"Yes! I say this as someone who's actually seen naval guns in battle, their guns can't be half good as they claim even with rifling. Besides the Drow are now building their own steamships."

"Regardless any future move by the Drow will have to be a big one. Here and now I'm concerned about our ships going headed North to Infrastructure." This was but the loudest of the exchanges which continued on for a few minutes.

"Gentleman." Di'Ritzo said. He did not yell but he did give his voice a firm carrying quality. "Your points and discussion are valid, however this was but the first part of the report. First of all the Central Committee is bending over backwards to procure the resources that it deems critical to it's war effort. Secondly they have proven themselves capable against what forces the Drow have so far mustered. That said the Drow states involved have only committed a fraction of their reserves and have been working towards narrowing the technological gap, though it is still unknown how far they have come. Thirdly is the fact that Infrastructure is stuck on the defensive. Leaving aside the matter of Watchtowers, the lands are sparsely peopled and it can only mobilize so many soldiers and man so many ships. The fact that their territory is so large counts against them as it spreads their forces thin. Their ironclads are definitely powerful, but they can only be in one place at a time and they are not invincible."

"As it stands the outcome of this war is still in the air, but as far as our interests are concerned two possible outcomes. The first will see the preservation of a valuable trading who shall provide the republic and it's people with opportunities and riches for decades to come. The alternative is that the Drow succeed in it's destruction, either in full or in part, laying waste farms, villages, towns, cities and their capacity to pay back the debts they've incurred. This brings us to the reason for this meeting. As such tomorrow I shall propose to the Doge and the Council that the Serene Republic give an ultimatum to the Drow States currently at war with Infrastructure: cease hostilities or we will be forced to intervene to restore peace. I have already gotten the support from the fellow council members seated here, though your pledges will help sway what. Ladies and gentlemen, are you willing to do what must be done?"

There was a murmur of agreement among most of the gathered higher ups. The threat to their coffers from the loss of trade (which Infrastructure had given Venoa them a local monopoly on for the Anvosi Peninsula in exchange for reduced tariffs) and the debts was too great to be casually dismissed. Even so their was some dissent.

"You plan on threatening war against the Drow? You'll have them"

"The states involved in the war, yes. We have faced down the Dark Elves before and emerged triumphant, even when were alone. If worse came to worse and war happened we would be opening up a second front on these northern states from the south. Moreover you should be reminded that we now have advantage in steam powered warships. We currently have forty eight steam galleys and six steam galleasses in service with more under construction, including our first Ironclads. Just as importantly we have experienced crews who can handle them without burning their ships to the waterline. This is leaving aside the matter of High Elvish intervention and the resolve of the Drow in this war which has already been costly. Finally the point needs to be made that there are consequences for threatening the Serene Republic."

"This situation has gotten out of hand" Giachamo Di'Giovelli said "and from what I can see the time for decisive action has come. You have my signature and my full support."

There was a couple of seconds of consideration among the gathered elites but then one by one they similarly gave their support.

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Master Seaman Georgi Galezowski's naval career began with three months of duty on Shchuka Boat SB-58, known to it's crew as the War Log for the fact that it was long, low to the water and it's accommodations were hardly better than the flotsom. Afterwards he'd impressed the lieutenant and had been transferred to the Thunderer, the second Hunter class ship which was ultimately a much better craft to serve on. He'd done his job well enough so that he was picked up for the Avatar on her maiden voyage and trial by fire at Daagsgrad. The glory of the victory that he'd had a hand in had yet to fade, even though the Great Ship had been committed to the yards for inspection and maintenance after returning to Borogskov and he knew that there were a lot of kinks which still needed to be worked out. There were plenty of odd sounds on the maiden voyage. The Engineering department had done little but complain about this fact for the last four months as they'd worked round the clock with dock hands. From what he'd gathered the Avatar had been put together too fast and had never gotten a proper shakedown cruise to make sure everything was ship shape. As far as Georgi was concerned it was better she was somewhat ready to fight at Daagsgrad than lying half finished in a yard while Drow Slavers overran the city.

In particular one day he Georgi felt that their complaints about having to fix this or that were being silly. He had several duties aboard his ship, but on that day he was given the task of loading the ship's aft magazine with several other of his fellow sailors. Each of the massive hollow steel projectiles was carefully carried by winch before being secured and locked into place. For safety reasons each projectile was not stored with a fuse. Even so handling the big explosives made him nervous. The fact that if something went horribly wrong he'd never know it was scarce comfort. Even so, with exaggerated care he put the shells into place and secured them firmly.

Most of his faculties were dedicated on the job at hand. Even so somewhere deep in his brain part of his brain realized the consequences of what was going on. The Avatar would soon be returning to the sea. It might be to finish her aborted shakedown, but given the number of shells that were being brought along he had the suspicion that they would be going out on a military operation and in praticular one where they either expected a fight to come to them, or one where they brought the fight to the enemy.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-05-16 07:45am

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The Central Committee has focused the development of two main categories of combat vessels: heavy ironclads as the main line of battle and fast moving Shchuka Boats for coastal patrols. Despite this they have seen the potential utility in a third specialized type of military vessel which could prove invaluable, an airtight craft able to conceal itself by submerging itself underwater. Experiments in this field began in 28 IA, though developments in said field have been accelerated since the onset of the escort war under the Ministry of Industry and Technology's SV (Submersible Vehicle) project.

SV-01 was an experiment in regards to life support capacity completed in 29 and was little more than a two meter long steel drum with compressed air tanks weights into which a young pig was enclosed, submerged under ten meters of water for periods of eight to twelve hours and then brought up by winch. As the pig survived the six tests this lead to the construction of SV-02 in 31 IA, an enlarged version with a view port, electric light and a seat for the naval volunteer to test it's effects on humans, using fifteen volunteers. Again this system proved to be effective. SV-03 was a more extensive design completed in 33 IA. While broadly similar to SV-03 it involved a set of ballast tanks. There were several problems with this design which meant that it had to go through several rebuilds before it was satisfactory in terms of both functionality and reliability. The onset of the escort was disrupted further development in the project but despite that two weeks after the Battle of Daagsgrad SV-04 was ready for service. Infrastructure's first fully functional manned submarine.

Measuring 27 meters from stem to stern and weighing 82.5 tonnes, SV-04 (nicknamed by her crew the Osetr) had a crew of eight specially trained sailors. Her construction incorporates a large number of specialized systems. Her most notable feature is that she can spend up to twenty four hours fully submerged at depths of up to 10 meters. She is powered by a single 40kw electrical motor powered by a set of lead acid power cells (which could be swapped out for Fabricated power cells which have a energy density several orders of magnitude greater), allowing her to achieve a speed of up to 12km/h on the surface and 5km/h submerged. After a couple of 'pig trials' to test it's air supply she was set on her maiden voyage in escort with the Ironclad Revenge completing a 15 km long circuit including a submergence test. A longer sea test followed a few weeks latter, followed by several more tests.

While a few mechanical issues cropped up the SV-04 was in general a success as a test bed for naval technology. Even so the Central Committee in February 37 IA gave the official statement that while the progress made in this field is considerable, viable military submarines are still a long way off. Despite it's comparatively small size and the unexpected boon of rubber components the SV-04 was quite costly in terms of both manpower and machine production. It is also slow, low range (officially rated at 800km surface) and is unarmed. Research will continue but in the estimations of the Central Committee it will be a decade before viable armed submarines can be put into production.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Borgholio » 2016-05-16 09:43am

Infrastructure is building submarines now? Oh dear...when the armed models go into service, I will almost feel sorry for the dark elves.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-05-25 08:08pm

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During the initial stages of the escort war there was a scramble by Infrastructure to put as many new warships into service as possible. This largely meant building ships of already existing classes which had proven effective such as the Hunter and Ironsides class, with the most notable exception of the Avatar. Even so, while it was placed as a lower priority research and development projects continued in conjunction with other projects as the navy approached the limits of what Infrastructure could viably support some new plans were laid down. The first of which to reach completion was the advanced prototype warship Destroyer.

Sixty one meters from Stem to Stern and narrow hulled, the Destroyer is a sleek craft intended for speed. She is notable for being the first oil fired warship in service to the Infrastructural Navy who's four boilers power two steam turbine engines providing a total of 10,000kw of power, which in turn propels her at speeds of up to 48km/h. Despite this the Destroyer is outfitted with 20cm of armor for it's belt and conning tower and weighs in at 1120 tonnes. Her armament is similarly up to day and includes a payload of twelve Shchukas with four launchers (One forward, three broadside on a pivoted launcher amidship) as well as five second generation naval guns (two 10cm and three 7.5cm). These cannons are designed to take a larger shell and fire cartridged projectiles and an improved recoil management system, thus improving rate of fire and range. She has a crew of 102 personnel.

The Destroyer was launched two months after the battle of Daagsgrad to begin a three month long shakedown in the Icemountain sea. The intended function of the Destroyer is as an escort and a commerce raider. Ultimately it is hoped that the Destroyer class will ultimately replace the Ironsides class ironclad, though production is somewhat limited by the availability of petroleum to fuel her boilers. The Committee has plans for additional uses of this ship class in addition to ship to ship warfare.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-05-25 08:35pm

Not the Walker-class?! You mean we won't see Comrade Captain Matthew Reddy anytime soon?
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-06-07 01:36am

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Even though the recent efforts by Infrastructure have been the most successful the idea of a Submarine is hardly a new one. Over the last few hundred years there have been numerous attempts by various inventors to build a submersible boat. Some of them have been modestly successful and there have been a couple of instances (done either by the Dwarves or the Venoans) in which they have been been employed successfully against enemy warships. Even so the expense and failure rate of such craft has kept most navies from considering them more than fancy death traps which might occasionally score a lucky kill. The arrival of Infrastructural technology has recently reinvigorated interest in the field as it makes building the necessary components much easier and opens new doors which were previously not viable. Several groups have been looking into this, but among the most notable is that of Galthirith's House Noljas. Inspired by Infrastructural Shchukas, several of their engineers and ironmasters have begun work on this project. The Zvien (Hake) was their first sucessful mobile semi submersible launched in 36 IA.

Small and squat at just under 7 meters long and weighing in at 3 tonnes, the cast iron Zvien is not a true submarine as it could not fully submerge. A top cupola would remain above water level for navigation by a helmsman. Power is to be provided by a team of sailors turning a crank by hand to drive the propeller. Her top speed is 6.5 km/h. Due to the risks inherent with this craft's design, all four crewmen on this ship were slaves. More unusually still two of these slaves (the helmsman and one cranksman) were Janissaries due to fear of panic or desertion among unsupervised slaves in the cramped seacraft. Leaving aside the Janissaries' short-swords the ship's sole armament is a long wooden spar onto which is affixed a harpoon and a modified petard. In a combat situation she was to use that to ram a ship, set off the petard and blast a hole through it's hull. The spar is made to break off to allow the Zvien to get to safety afterwards and make it's way back. Even so in the eyes of it's creators the loss of a four slaves and a small cast iron boat for the destruction of an fully supplied and provisioned enemy warship and possibly hundreds of sailors is a more than adequate exchange.

As of the winter of 37 IA the Zvien has yet to see combat and has spent her career puttering around the coastline while being examined. So far she has only sunk once and has yet to kill any of her crew, which makes her markedly superior to house Noljas's previous two submarine designs or those of any other Drow State so far. Future designs with improved systems are in various stages of development. Even so she is ready for service if the need arises.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-06-10 10:41am

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Hand Grenades are among the oldest explosive weapons and have been for centuries, if to a fairly limited extent. Grenades could do considerable damage to enemy formations but their utility was limited by the difficulties of lighting them in most combat situations as the fact that fuses would often be extinguished in combat scenarios. Useful enough so that many nations (among them being the Drow States) were familiar with them and employed them on occasion but seldom made them part of their regular arsenal. Even so, it came as something of a surprise to the Infrastructural military to find an usually high number of these weapons in the battle of Daagsgrad among captured supplies, on dead soldiers and as unexploded ordinance.

There is a considerable degree of variation among the grenades recovered with numerous makes being identified. Many of them were simple cast iron spheres or ceramic pots with basic fuses, fairly typical as far as grenade designs go. These remain the most common among those recovered, in part due to the previously mentioned high failure rate (and the fact that a quick soldier can disarm them with a knife or a boot heel) and come in a variety of sizes and rough shapes. Others are more sophisticated, most notably those produced by Houses Valcas and Noljas which include simple friction primers similar to those used in some Infrastructural mining explosives. They have a higher rate of successful detonation compared to the old fashioned fuse grenades but were still inferior. Those made by House Valcas have a set of longitudinal lines in them to better facilitate fragmentation. Among the most unusual are those made by House Delissan, which are bottles loaded with black powder and musket balls. These were among the least reliable, but also among the most damaging when they explode as desired. It has been estimated that at the battle of Daagsgrad hand grenades were responsible for killing some 250 infrastructural soldiers and wounding the same number.

Most of these grenades were issued to teams of specialized grenadier janissaries, though a few general Janissaries and Drow warriors (especially those from Valnothron and Galthirith) had taken one or two grenades along with them. In total about 18,000 grenades were issued during the battle, though less than a tenth of those were used in the battle. From what could be gathered part of the reason why the Drow have displayed an increased interest in hand grenades is in emulation of their use by the Infrastructural Army. It is the assesment of the Central Committee that such weapons will continue to appear in Drow armies, as will more refined variations there-of.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-06-18 12:33pm

Now some background lore, specifically the Empires. Another name for the Allergonian Empire is the Fourth Empire.
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The war of four centuries ended in 3802 BIA with the death of the First Black Emperor and in-so doing shattering the unity between the Drow States she'd forged and maintained for over half a millenia. But for the High Elves, Dwarves and especially for the Student Men said victory was a Pyrrhic one. Over the course of the War the Drow had sacked city after city and armies had laid waste to countryside time and time again leaving famine in their wake. By the end of the war only seven of the Student Men's hundred and sixteeen capital cities had managed to avoid being sacked through the entirety of the war. Even these were shadows of their former glory and three of them would be destroyed after the conclusion of the war as their armies had been spent in the War's Final Battle leaving them vulnerable to the ambitions of the remaining Drow States as they fought to attempted to establish themselves as the new dominant power. Regardless a Dark Age fell across the lands West of the Dragonspine Mountains as the human population was reduced to thousands of primitive warring clans, for the most part.

Even so a few sparks of human civilization endure in four cities, among these was the Kingdom of Drelsin. Situated near the boarders of Ilvanas the people of Drelsin were supported by the High Elves and under their protection had a renaissance. Even so the wars had shaped their once mercantile culture into one which valued the warrior above all else. In the late 3400s they began the process of expanding their realm, exterminating marading orcs and bringing human enclaves back into the fold. At the tip of the Drelsinian spear was their wealthiest warriors who could afford high quality weapons, heavy armor and horses and acted as heavy shock cavalry. Said warriors were given control of areas of land to manage, tax and use to support them raising up more members of the chivalry who would expand their kingdom further. Even some Dwarven realms were brought into the fold. In a little more than a century Drelsin had grow from a small state less than 150 km across to a vast Feudal kingdom more than three times the size of the largest of the Student Men's states. As such in 3299 IA King Ilmis-VI renamed the Kingdom of Drelsin to the High Kingdom of Men in the likeness to the High Kingdom of the Elves. Even so, today it is better known as the First Empire.

The culture of the First Empire was militaristic and hierarchical. Only those trained in arms could hold power, thought military service was only mandatory for the nobility. Like the nobility, the common folk of the First Empire were stratified into five tiers each with differing degrees of legal rights ranging from those with with the right to travel, receive trial and marry into the nobility to serfs who were bound to the land, barred from owning weapons and could be legally beaten by their liege lords up to ten strikes with a cane. Movement within the noble and common classes was possible, usually through military service, including plentiful elevations to nobility. Likewise many noble houses were destroyed. Though numerous religions were allowed within the First Empire, the Drelsinian Pantheon of Five was given particular favor. Members of the Nobility were required to pay worship to them and pay tithes to the Church. The First Priest of the Drelsinian Conclave was considered second only to the king and commanded a considerable force of holy warriors of the Faith Militant. Drelsinian Temples were composed of a rotunda with a conical roof with five shrines in the middle with five wings radiating from the central complex. Outside of Dwarvish craftsmenship, magic was the domain of the faith in the Empire.

At first the Drow states viewed the First Empire as being an inconvenience more than anything. Reaving coastlines for slaves became less profitable and some minor attack forces were destroyed or repulsed. Their general response was to focus their efforts elsewhere and continue to view each other and the High Elves as the real enemy and snuffing out re-emergent necrite remnants as being a more pressing concern. They felt that this "High Kingdom" would eventually fall apart in civil war. This was until 3091 BIA. In 3094 the Empire's young and impetious High King Tilsim-III negotiated with the High King to launch an attack on the Drow State of Qwensilvos in what is now the Principality of Oestia to begin the extermination of the Dark Elves. After mustering up an army of some 10,000 mages, 25,000 knights, 260,000 common warriors and 20,000 holy warriors his host met with a high elvish army. For three years they laid siege upon the state's easten walls with spells to overcome the defenses before making a break which they poured through, laying waste to the farmland within and overcoming the more modest defenses around the state's core city and subsequently leveling it (despite fierce resistance) in a few weeks of blood and mayhem with not a single Drow being spared.

The triumph of this victory was short lived, however as the five westernmost surviving drow states put aside their differences and launched a counter attack against the First Empire. More than half the human forces involved in the Qwensilvos Campaign had fallen and the Empire was faced with attacks on all sides. Despite some famous last stands, a few victories over Dark Elvish forces and High Elvish intervention within a year the city of Dreslin was sacked and leveled. It's rulers were tortured to death, it's population taken as slaves and it's ruins cursed. The rest of the Empire was reaped for slaves and were leveled over the next four years. When the Drow had completed their bloody work the lands of the the First Empire had lost two thirds of their population and all semblence of order and common government. Those that were left for the most part reverted back to feudal clans.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Tandrax218 » 2016-06-18 02:05pm

Hey mr. Zor

I like your story very much and have been reading it from the begging. But i want to ask you a question(s).

1. Will there ever be any background lore on the AI entities that make the infrastructure team ? The robots that crashed landed came from where and is there someone looking for them ?

2. If they are a robotic civilization wouldn't they already know how to produce the most efficient submarine design with the materials that they have instead of spending years to make just the starting "pig test" version ? I mean they flew in space so they probably know about about advance land-air-see doctrines. So why not just leapfrog ahead of the competition (drow, elves and so forth) in terms of technology that is far superior and the inhabitants would see it as "magic" anyway.

Anyway thats it

Keep on publishing :D

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-06-18 04:23pm

Tandrax218 wrote:2. If they are a robotic civilization wouldn't they already know how to produce the most efficient submarine design with the materials that they have instead of spending years to make just the starting "pig test" version ? I mean they flew in space so they probably know about about advance land-air-see doctrines. So why not just leapfrog ahead of the competition (drow, elves and so forth) in terms of technology that is far superior and the inhabitants would see it as "magic" anyway.

Because there is a major bottleneck in what they can manufacture with comparatively primitive equipment. Give Leonardo da Vinchi the blueprints for a Supermarine Spitfire and despite all his technical genius he won't make one that works. Submarines are at the bleeding edge of what they can do. Pig Tests test if necessary components (such as life support) can be successfully made without risking the lives of valuable sailors or a huge, expensive experimental submarine in times of war. If a Pig Test failed they can identify the failure and correct for it for the next test while only loosing a Pig.

Besides, submarine development at this stage is a low priority.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Tandrax218 » 2016-06-18 06:01pm

Thank's for the answer for no.2,

What about the 1 question ? :mrgreen:

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-06-18 09:41pm

Tandrax218 wrote:Thank's for the answer for no.2,

What about the 1 question ? :mrgreen:

Because I answer these questions on my own timeframe.

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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-06-19 08:53pm

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Where the First Empire was born of a remnant of the Student Men, the Second Empire emerged with at most minor connections to it. On the eastern coast of Bluewine Bay on the Telsion peninsula and the Dragons Teeth a new civilization emerged from the ground up from the Dark Ages following the War of Four Centuries. Between 3000 and 2600 BIA Small towns and villages grew into City-States with some aide from trade with the resurgent Qanthrathi states to the west as well as trade contacts with Dwarven States, the High Elves and even the Drow (when they were not attempting to enslave them). Power in these states was distributed. A few of them had ruling dynasties but none of them ever developed a formal nobility or the rigid feudal structure. Far more common among Telsionic city state were oligarchies (in which a wealthy elite could vote on matters and their elected leaders) and democracies (in which all adult male citizens could vote on matters and their elected leaders), though slavery was widespread among them. The Drow fought with them on occasion, but were more concerned with dealing with orcish clans, hunting down Necrites and fighting wars with each other and with High Elvish raids. A few of their cities were reaped, especially early on, though eventually the Drow found it more productive to extort tribute out of these states and to use them as a source of mercenaries.

It was from this extortion that a power arose. With the persuasion of the famous statesman Ferrenes the Younger five of these city states came together in 2525 BIA with a proposal to two of the three neighboring Drow states: they would collect tribute for them from other states in return for a 8% cut, to which the Drow agreed. Thus was born the League of Five. Working together these five states could match any other state and with the profits they gained from extracting tribute their cities grew wealthier and stronger and continued to do so for five years. Their influence waxed as they vassalized other city states as 'junior members' of their league. Eventually in 2398 BIA their power had grown to the point where the Five Archons of the League told the Dark Elvish tribute collection party that they would no longer be their loan collectors. The Drow launched an attack to deal with this insolence, but this attack was repulsed. Two years latter they launched a second assault bringing to bear much larger forces, but these too were ultimately repulsed with the assistants of the High Elves. Having survived it's first trial by fire The League of Five had emerged as the Second Empire, which would continue a gradual expansion.

The Second Empire was a very loosely nit society. Junior members and client kingdoms were mostly free to run their territories as they saw fit, though they were required to pay taxes to the League and provide troops and ships when requested. The armies of the League were similarly diverse as each nation was usually free to raise warriors as it saw fit and came to include charioteers, slingers, crossbowmen, axemen, foot and mounted archers, shock infantry armed with fearsome warscythes, axes, men armed with primitive flame throwers and firebombs and elephant riders. Dwarvish minorities. Even so the most common soldiers in their armies were Hoplites: citizen soldiers clad in either linen, leather, chainmail or plate with large round shields and spears who fought in tight phalanx formations. The greatest (or at least most prestigious) hoplites came from the League's five ruling cities, where every free man was required to train for war and serve if called for. The Second Empire was very unusual in that it had five capitals which rotated on an annual basis. Eventually the government turned to subsidizing armaments. League policy was set by two bodies, the Council of Archons (which had five members elected by the people of each of the five cities) and the League Assembly (representatives of each of the League's Junior members, which included some colonies created by the Senior Members). The League Assembly did have some power and influence, in particular over budgetary matters even though the Council of Archons still served as the executive wing. In addition to the League Members there were also League Subjects who had resisted the League and were stripped of their right to assembly, usually for periods of 50 or 100 years.

Though the Second Empire fought several wars with the Drow ultimately it avoided too much confrontation with them. Fearing what happened to the First Empire they repulsed Drow attacks and fought battles at sea, but never launched an attack on a Drow State itself, in spite of considerable prodding from the High Elves. There was also a fair amount of trade between the second empire and the neighboring Drow States. Though a few sources embellish it most the role the Dark Elves played in it's end was secondary, for ultimately the Second Empire collapsed from within.

In 1979 BIA, Triaxicles (Strategos of the Southern Seas) in one of seventh and final war between the Second Empire and the Halicanisid Seraphate. From the Empire's assets on the eastern coast of the Greenwater Sea he launched an invasion, bested armies four times the size of his and (with reinforcements from the Empire Proper) pushed into the heart of the Second Empire's long time rival. In three years he had conquered the bulk of the Seraphate and left the rest to break apart. He was recalled in 2874 BIA to stand before the five Archons and was offered a boon from the Council of Archons of anything they could provide. What he asked for was that the League of Five become the League of Six, with his own city becoming a senior member of the League along with the five founding member states. This request was refused and he refused any other boon offered to him. This move intensified a rift between the alliance's Senior and Junior partners and after Triaxicles' assassination in 1968 BIA (who was responsible for doing so has been a subject of scholarly debate to this day) eventually culminated in civil war.

Thirty Seven junior members went out and formed The League of Thirty Seven to contest control of the league from the old capital. Fighting continued as border regions declared independence from the league, were over run by barbarians, were reaped by Dark Elves (who also acted as mercenaries for each side while for the most part refusing to fight other Drow forces). After thirteen years of fighting and the deaths of millions of subjects, the League of Five had lost more than 70% of it's territory, with 30% of it's former territory in the hands of the League of Thirty Seven and the remaining 40% lost to both. It's wealth spent, most of it's best forces dead and large sections of it's farmland and infrastructure in ruins and much of it's forces dedicated to garrisoning contested territory and guarding new boarders the Second Empire was left vulnerable and would continue in decline for another twenty years until the forces of the ascendant Third Empire came and absorbed what remained.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-06-21 03:31am

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The Imperium (latter known as the Third Empire thanks to the efforts of the Order of Keepers) began with the city states of Belcini which emerged out of the chaos left by the destruction of the First Empire around 2724 BIA (the first year of their calendar) among several other city states just south of Ilvanas, with which it competed with frequently. After three hundred years it had managed to best its rivals and had begun the process of expanding it's rule steadily thanks to superior organization. It faced it's first challenger in the High Kingdom of Frenroth, an emergent feudal state to the north born out of a minor garrison of the First Empire that survived in an isolated mountain valley and had adopted a distinct anti-non human ideology before expanding.

There were three wars between the emergent powers (2411-2403 BIA, 2265-2332 BIA and 2314-2301 BIA). At first the High Kingdom had the advantage over the Belcinian forces despite their superior numbers thanks to their heavy cavalry. All was nearly lost when the city of Belcini was sacked and leveled in 2376 BIA by a Frenrothi host, though two things ultimately saved their state. The first was the legendary stand of the Marcenius and his Legion, which bought time for most of the population to escape the sacking and relocate to fortified garrisons across the Belcinian territory. The second was the resolve of the remainder of the Belcinian Republic's population (including that of it's integrated territories) to beat back the invaders, which they did after ten long years of fighting and eventually took the fight to the High Kingdom's lands. After the conclusion of the war, Belcini was left as a graveyard and a new capital city was built on lands taken in the counter offensive. As a sign of defiance against the High Kingdom (which they would ultimately destroy) they named their state The Imperium. The Third War saw the destruction of the Frenroth with some Dwarven assistance to bypass the mountains that shielded it directly.

Within another century and a half the Third Empire had emerged as a sufficiently powerful state to go hold it's own with the Second Empire in regards to the Anvosi Peninsula, fighting four wars over the area and halting the Second Empire's advance southwards across the bluewine sea while the Third Empire turned it's attentions to the north and west. At first the Second Empire was the larger of the two polities, but by 2000 BIA the Third Empire had eclipsed it, even if the League viewed them as being backwards and uncouth. Even so beyond driving them off the Anvosi Peninsula in 2077 BIA major action against the League was only taken during and after it's self destructive fragmentation, with it's conquest of former league territory being complete in 1901 BIA.

The Imperium was an oligarchic republic which a hierarchical society divided into three general categories: Citizens, Subjects and Slaves. These were sub divided into various different formal and informal classes. All male citizens had the right to vote in local elections, but only the wealthy or those who had served the Imperium (usually militarily) were allowed to vote in Imperial elections or hold public office. The highest office in the Imperium was that of Imperator, who was elected by the Senate and ruled for life. Subjects (freshly conquered unintergrated peoples and freed slaves) were free and had legal protection, but were without political voice. As much as 40% of the Third Empire's population were chattel slaves. More importantly the Imperium was very well administrated. Using a network of Linkstone stations and a complex bureaucracy it was able to effectively manage it's provinces and get the most out of them.

Though the Imperium did have plenty of mages eventually and a formidable reserve of Dragons which eclipsed those of both the first and second empires, ultimately the foundation of it's power were the Imperial Legions. A vast professional standing army over two million men strong at their height, the Legions were well trained, drilled, equipped and organized. It's backbone were forces of heavy infantry (swordsmen, pikemen and crossbowmen), but this was backed with Cataphrat heavy cavalry, an exceptional Siege Corps as well as a few local special troops such as archers, light cavalry, elephant riders and skirmishers. The Imperium's Navy was considered a component of the Imperial Legions. In addition to the legions there were also various local part time militias as a reserve.

The Third Empire is generally reckoned to be the greatest of Empires. At it's height (between 1870 and 1444 BIA) the Third Empire had a population of more than two hundred million people and had achieved much in terms of learning, magic, science, architecture, infrastructure (most notably in the creation of two additional great canals and the expansion of the first), literacy, art and culture and (barring a few civil wars and repulsed Drow incursions) had peace. Even so this peace alienated the Imperium from the High Elves as it eventually settled into comparatively amiable trade relations with the Drow States who had eventually come to find trade (in particular the importation of food) with the Empire more profitable than raiding. This was seen by the High Elves as a corrupting influence on the Imperium, a position they attempted to promote among the Imperium's population though generally with modest results. Even so, said efforts did eventually have an impact.

In 1446 BIA there was a famine in the Imperium's western provinces which resulted in an increase in grain prices around the Empire. This was capitalized on by several provincial governors with Anti-Drow stances who ordered a ban on the export of foodstuffs to the Drow Empire as long as this happened, which in turn lead to tensions between the Drow States (in particular the State of Falizoroth) which lead to increased tensions. Things might have been resolved peacefully if it was not for a series of chance occurrence as well as the actions of the anti-drow block, other Drow States seeking ways to undermine their rivals, radical Warrior Houses who saw peace and trade with the empire as being a malign influence breeding weakness and the High Elves (though to what degree each faction had in it is still a contentious debate) the matter was not defused and resulted in war. First with some attempts at control and restraint but soon escalated to unprecedented intensity after 1444 when the a force of some 500,000 Legionaries (which was soon aided by 200,00 High Elven warriors) was brought to bear against Falizoroth and after two years managed to overcome it's defenses and lay waste to it. This action was enough to unite the squabbling Drow States to acclaim the Second Dark Emperor and focused them all on the task of the annilation of the Third Empire.

The resulting war lasted forty three years and had a steady intensity to it which eclipsed that of the on again/off again campaigns of the War of Four Centuries. The Imperial Legions stood their ground valiantly, being superior to Janissary forces and were often able to go toe to toe with Drow warriors. Three more attempts were made to try to break into Drow States to level them, but the Drow responded to these quickly and were sucessful at lifting the siege. The Drow's general stratagy was to keep the Imperium from massing too much of it's military in one place while gradually eating away at it's territory. It was a long costly process but ultimately an effective one. In desperation the Third Empire sent ships around the world in search of things that could hopefully allow them to win the war, these ranged from strange magical plants and relics to potatoes to various artifacts and (what most scholars now agree) was gunpowder, which they used in primitive naval cannons they called Vulcanii. Though in the case of said weapons was limited and the manufacture of said powder was restricted to one fortress in what is now the Principality of Oestia which blew up when a Drow army was on the brink of overrunning it in 1416, just after the remainder of the Imperium's Naval Forces and a massive fleet carrying tens of thousands of refugees sailed west to the then largely legendary Northwestern Continent, an expedition that was presumed lost at sea for over a millennia.


The Imperium held out until the Imperial Capital fell in 1401 BIA, having weathered three sieges it was eventually overrun by a drow army of 150,000 Dark Elvish Warriors and 300,000 Janissaries led by the Black Emperor himself. But as the last of it's people fell the remaining mages unleashed a terrible spell that they had been preparing for over two decades. Said spell unleashed a tidal wave of Necromantic energies across the ruins of the former capital that caused every corpse within twenty miles to rise as an undead warrior commanded to kill any Drow Warrior or Janissary they saw and then wander the land in search of others. That final act of defiance destroyed the besieging army and would take years before the last of the undead warriors was destroyed. After the fall of the Imperial Capital the remaining Imperial Forces were left in disarray and ceased to be a cohesive whole and another Dark Age had begun. Even though the Dark Elves had suffered massive losses (amounting to a 35% reduction of their total population from pre-war levels) they would still have been in a position to assert dominance in the aftermath if it was not for succession issues causing division among them.

Note: The soldier in question is wearing a steel mask
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-07-08 07:20am

Image
Like (and largely in response to) it's larger neighbor the Kingdom of Torion, the Principality of Oestia has for the last three centuries maintained a large standing army which has become the core of their defenses. The Kingdom's cities and provinces are allowed to maintain their own part time guard militias and the nobles are still free to train their sons to serve as knights which can form companies that exist out of army's general command heirarchy, but all Oestian ground forces are ultimately subordinate to the Principalic Army. Despite the fact that it did face some resistance early in it's history from the landed nobility (most notably in a brief an unsuccessful conservative uprising in 186 BIA which led to the nobility loosing their old feudal right to raise their own levies). While smaller than the Torionese Royal Army, the Oestian Principalic Army makes up for it with superior organization, equipment and training.

The standard Oestian infantrymen has a morion helmet and a breastplate proofed against shot (though in the modern context this means resistant to pistol fire) as well as either a cutlass (for infantry) or rapier (for officers). Runic weaponry and armor is used by higher ranking officers who can afford it as well as by members of the Elite Guard Regiments and the Marines. Rank is displayed on helmet and pauldron insignia: steel circles with horizontal lines for enlisted soldiers and Bronze triangles and shields with vertical lines (as well as the Leviathan insignia of the Principality for generals) for officers. Their are eight styles of uniforms representing forces from the Principality's seven provinces as well as the elite Guard regiments, though all bear the livery of the Principality (green and blue with gold trimming). The majority of Oestian officers are drawn from the nobility, though a fair number of prominent commoners also buy commissions, some officers are promoted from the ranks and by tradition (instituted by Princess Allsilva-III in the aftermath of the anti-army uprising) four young orphans every year are selected to be groomed to become either naval or army officers. One of the reasons for the success of the Principalic Army is the Principalic Officer's Academy. Service is mostly voluntary for a period of 4 years followed by sixteen years of reserve service, though in times of war the Grand Assembly can authorize "Durationial Conscription" to replace casualties.

Having to deal with the constant aggression and territorial ambitions of the larger Kingdom of Torion has forced the leadership of the Principality to innovate to maintain an edge, a driving force which has made the Principalic Army one of the most effective general armies on a soldier for soldier basis. Traditionally the Principalic Army has made use of Tercio formations as it's primary method, supported by rifle armed skirmishers, light cavalry and dragoon drawn from the principality's herders and drovers as well as a well developed siege corps and especially their "flying guns", lightweight cannons firing 2.7 kilogram projectile used as highly mobile field artillery. To keep ahead of the Torionese, starting in 22 BIA the Principalic Army had begun experimenting with linear tactics with formations four ranks deep to deliver as much arquebus fire into enemy formations as possible in certain sitatuions. These tactics were of mixed effectiveness until traders had provided Oestia with new flintlock rifles with bayonets and cylindro-conical bullets in 11 IA, which were soon replicated and made said linear formations much more effective. In the 20s they switched to Infrastructural Type-2ER caplock screw breech-loading rifles and local copies there-of which further improved their rate of fire and could be effectively loaded while lying down. In 36 IA they began importing Type-3R/c Bolt Action rifles from Infrastructure as part of a special deal. Though these new weapons were expensive both in terms of their upfront cost and their ammunition they were quite well received by the soldiers who were issued for their superior speed of loading and accuracy. Even so they produced their own style of bayonet.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-07-13 05:26pm

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The Coldlands is notable for having low levels of background magic. Few mages are born into the Coldlands and wizards have less magic on which to draw upon. Those that did emerge lacked the training to make the most of their talents. Historically small number of them became warlords, but most of them became a specialized type of warrior or fulfilled a role akin to artisans if their abilities could not be put to direct combat purposes: assets that were valuable but not seen as essential. Infrastructure was built with mundane technology, even so the Central Committee has seen some utility in magic and it's potential applications. As such it has created the Mage Corps.

Mages in Infrastructure are screened from the general population and tested for power, with their abilities being screened and cataloged. Many mages have marginal abilities and many of them find other more mundane fields to be better career choices, though in times of need they may be required to supply what magical services they can. Those who desire to study magic in a more formal setting can elect to join the Mage Corps and study in the Infrastructural Academy of Magic, founded in 14 IA and situated 25 km South of Dalatyr. Said Academy has a fair amount of resources as well as a number of foreign instructors in various fields. While it is not reckoned as a great magical school, but it is a considerable improvement to having no formalized school of magic. In so doing, however, they are required to provide twenty years of service to the Infrastructural Government on their graduation. The Mage Corps exists under the aegis of the Ministry of Science, though Mages are often transferred to agencies beyond it (for example, those mages assigned to support the Military). Like Engineers and Bureaucrats, members of the Mage Corps have their own uniform.

There are several different departments of the mage corps which deal with specific areas. The largest and generally reconed to be the most effective of these are healers. Among the other prominent departments are potion creation, curse breaking and dispelation, general magic, analysis, magical craftsmanship, supernatural defense (the creation of Runestones to disrupt passive spells in urban centers and experimental magic. So far the Mage Corps has about 1,300 members, not including some 50 foreign teachers. A number of Drow Prisoners of War are employed doing various comparatively simple jobs, but as of yet these have not been inducted into the mage Corps.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-07-17 03:27am

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Located to the west of the Southern Continent, Avesia is a volcanic island about a hundred and fifty kilometers from end to end, which dominates the Avesian Island chain. It's name stems from the fact that while it possesses no native mammals beyond seals and a species of bats it is home to a wide variety of birds, many of which are distinct to this island. Tropical forests dominate everything save the tips of the mountains while coral reefs. The islands have rich volcanic soil, experiences regular rainfall, the surrounding oceans are rich with fish and there are some significant phosphate deposits from seabird excrement. Even so the landmass lacks for natural resources, isolation and a lower level of background magic and have generally made it a low priority.

The first known explorers to this Island were High Elves some 16 to 15,000 years ago who charted the island but gave them little consideration. Between 11,000 to 10,000 BIA they maintained a supply depot and repair station in what is now known as Despair Bay for their exploration fleets. Even so this was never intended as a permanent settlement and the artisans and workers who operated it never stayed for more than a decade before returning to the High Kingdom. It would be until the time of the Student Men that permanent settlement would begin of that region. Around 5,300 to 5,000 BIA fishermen began to harvest the waters around the island and set up small camps to weather storms, make repairs, dry fish and store supplies. Bit by bit these camps got larger, tents gave way to shacks, then cabins and eventually, workplaces slowly had workshops built around them, vegetable gardens were planted and eventually grew into farms and people began to live on the island permanently. Camps became villages, villages became towns and two of those towns would eventually reckoned by the standards of the day to be small city states. Even so during the war of Four centuries the islands were reaped by Drow forces. In the subsequent times the islands were home to small herding populations and the occasional group of refugees or outlaws, though the Drow did periodically reap it every few centuries once it's population had grown. For a time it was a Colony of the Third Empire (who gave the islands their name) who used it primarily as a naval base and an agricultural settlement which was strong enough to repel two Drow incursions before, after being cut off from reinforcements for ten years, falling to a third.

Between 1400 and 513 BIA the islands remained sparsely populated until the pirate/privateer captain Tilsio del'Tivro (latter Tilsio-I of House del'Liberium) decided to establish a small base of operation for storage and repair. Over the next few decades the small base he'd established was expanded as his small fleet and fighting force grew, some of his men elected for a life on shore and captives that he could not ransom were kept as slaves, either to be sold off or to toil in his fields and shipyards or to be auctioned off. Unbound by most of the constraining laws imposed by lords and guilds and with minimal tariffs and taxes, the town was named Porta Liberium. As it grew more and more people went through this port, in particular an increasing number of pirates and slavers. The previously established pastoral peoples (a smattering of pastoral herding clans and a few farming villages inland) were mostly hunted down to feed the growing slave markets. Other industries such as taverns, brothels, rope-walks, saltpeter mines, farms and large scale cash crop producing plantations grew as well, regardless the fencing of stolen ships and merchandise, the training of naval mercenaries and the slave trade remained critical parts of the local economy.

As of 37 IA permanent population of Avesia in it's entirety is some 380,000 people, of which 70,000 were free. The remainder were slaves. In addition a large transient population exists, most of which being pirates and slaves awaiting export. Porta Liberium remains the largest urban center (and the only one seen as a city) with a total permanent population of 44,000 and is also the seat of government as well as the center of several cottage industries, a fairly well developed financial sector and shipbuilding and repair. In addition there are eight towns across the islands with populations between 2,500 to 6,000 which exist as local administrative hubs, distribution hubs, bases for local low end manufacturing, workshops and garrisons. Beyond that most of of the island is divided into a hundred an two plantation estates manned by workforces of slaves. Some of these provide yams and rice to feed the population while others provide cotton, tea, raw silk, sugar and citrus for export. As is the case with the Black Ports local industries help support the slave trade as trained and broken slaves command higher prices. Among the biggest buyers at the slave markets of Porta Liberium are Drow merchants.

The government of the Islands was an oligarchy which over time evolved into a feudal monarchy in practice. A hundred and thirty eight prominent families form the established nobility and is ultimately led by the Del'Liberium Dynasty who holds the title of King of Avesia. Each noble house has a seat at the Royal Assembly, which has more influence over issues than most such legislative bodies even thought the Crown is still an active force in politics. The majority of the nobility descends from Tilsio's original crew from some degree or another. It was once the case that one could buy one's way into the ruling class and this is technically still true, but the Royal Assembly reserves the right to refuse membership if more than fifty percent vote against it. The last time they've approved a new member of the nobility was in 61 BIA after the destruction of a house that attempted to cease power by coup d'tate, the members of said house were sold into slavery. The military of Avesia is composed of a fleet of sloops and frigates at sea, a subsidized militia (every Avesian Freeman is required to keep weapons and to be trained in their use) augmented by household guards, a force of 3,000 Avesian Janissaries (modeled after drow slave soldiers) and a collection of pirates and mercenaries who frequent the slaver state.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-07-20 01:41am

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In the past decade the Dark Elves had displayed interest in steamships, in particular after the onset of the escort war. They have also applied steam engines to aide in manufacturing to produce better weapons in cheaper quantities. The notion of using it for general transportation has been persued on a small scale with the construction of a few steam powered riverboats and similar low range coastal ships. Despite this their has been considerable reticence on the matter on land transportation. Arable land is at a premium in the Drow homelands and the creation of rail lines would mean getting the consent of multiple (typically quite conservative) warrior houses to drive track across their estates is no easy feet, leaving aside a general lack of enthusiasm for that field in general. As of 37 IA there has only been in two Drow states which have exhibited any real interest in steam powered locomotives. In Galthirith there has been some use of locomotives to enhance the existing tracks in and around mines since 30 IA (despite some explosion related setbacks). In Valnothron there has been modest interest in the field away from the homeland.

The Dark Elven colonies are on the whole less conservative than their homeland based counterparts. Many of the new Colonial Houses had emerged from The Discarded and the constraints of territory which had been such a prominent issue for the Dark Elvish homelands. As such in 32 IA the colonial House Dailrys (which had made arangements with several other houses) of decided to commission a railway leading from their large agricultural estate to the riverine port town of Talyrisvel forty six kilometers away and for three locomotive to work said line. House Dailrys had taken an unusual interest in infrastructural rail transportation and the potential that could be presented in the ability to transport it's produce and pigs to market in a couple of hours as opposed to the three and a half days that it took to send it by ox cart or herding them over the existing roads without a fair amount of the grain being consumed or mass being lost in transit. To house Valcas this was a side project and given lower priority than naval developments. Work on the route began in 32 IA with the clearing of the path and the creation of several new bridges and in Sping of 34 IA the first rails were laid. Work on the locomotive fleet began in 33 IA and despite an accident which resulted in the destruction of the first prototype during tests in 34 IA work continued without too much problems. There were hopes at the time to complete the project at some point in the latter half of 35 IA, but these were dashed with the onset of the war with resources being shifted to military ends and as the cost of raw materials steadily climbed. Even so in early 37 IA the railway was completed and the last of three functional locomotives were delivered, despite the fact that the project took much longer and consumed more resources than previously expected.

The locomotives were something of an oddity in their design. Most non Infrastructural attempts at building locomotives attempted to replicate the form of Infrastructural units. House Valcas instead elected to build a locomotives based around a design more akin to what is used on a ship. Notably it has a modified double expansion compound steam engine a fair amount of parts taken from riverboat production. The Number Four Locomotive is the most powerful of the batch, producing up to 73kw of power. As of it's first three months it burns charcoal as coal has become more of a premium item. It is set to a gauge of five Drow feet, or 1.55 meters.

So far these locomotives have proven to be effective on the first Dark Elven railway, even if their minimal cabins (little more than shelters) are not particularly comfortable for their slave operaters. The line has a total of four stations on which cargo is taken on and off along with a basic rail-yard at Talyrisvel. So far only two types of of car have been made for this line: the most common type are basic wagons with removable walls onto which cargo, pigs and slaves are loaded. The second (not depicted) is for Drow passengers and is more akin to a carriage, only two have been produced as opposed to some forty cargo wagons. So far the Dailrys Rail Line has done it's job well enough though given the costs in it's construction there is little desire to continue development, at least for the next few years.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-08-17 02:58pm

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Though House del'Liberium has never had pronounced expansionist ambitions it is familiar with violence. The pirates, privateers and mercenaries which often come to the Porta Liberium can be fairly rowdy and sometimes get it into their mind to attempt a takeover, occasionally their are spats between the slave owning minor houses or attempts at usurping the thrown of the island and of course their is the ever present risk of servile revolt. There is also the matter of rooting out packs of runaways and their have been occasions in which the Kingdom of Avesia has dispatched troops elsewhere. As such the entire free male population is required to keep and train with weapons. As a standing force of the royal government the Avesian Islands has an army mostly composed of slave soldiers.

Inspired in part by Drow Janissaries Avesian Janissaries are generally drawn from the ranks of young field hands and stevedores born into bondage who are bought off the various lords and are then branded with the year they were inducted into the Janissary force. After which they are trained in arms and basic soldiery in various ways. Many of them are employed as artillerymen manning guns in fortresses, though most of them are also effective riflemen and skilled in the brawling close quarters fighting of marines with picks, hatchets and more recently bayonets. Before the rise of infrastructure crossbows, matchlock muskets and boarding pikes were their usual weapons. The typical janissary uniform is a basic helmet with faceguard, a cheap white brigandine (usually with a skirt of plated strips built in), a pair of manacles and a pair of loose blue trousers. Avesian janissaries forces are overseen by free officers, most of whom are simply volunteers from the island's free populace but some are former Janissaries.

As Avesian Janissaries enjoy a better standard of living that is considerably better than that of the typical plantation slave Janissaries and they enjoy a measure of status in their society the Janissary force is as a rule loyal to their king, even if punishments can be quite draconian. As a default Avesian Janissaries have 20 year terms of service at the conclusion of which they are set free. However some Janissary are freed earlier, usually for exceptional service. Many of these continue to serve in their old regiments without their manicles and become NCOs and officers. Others are set free after their freedom is bought by by pirate captains and mercenary companies who want to quickly pad out their ranks with capable fighting men. In the instances in which Janissaries have been sent abroad it's been remarked that Avesian Janissaries are a reasonably capable fighting force with the weak link being their freeborn officers, who while being better equipped were typically seen as amateurish and unprofessional.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-08-20 06:44pm

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Crocomanders are large amphibians native to the swamplands around the Icemountain Sea and as the the name implies fill the same ecological niche as crocodiles as aquatic ambush predators. Unlike crocodilians, crocomanders are capable of handling winters by burring themselves in mud and hibernating through the winter months. Crocomanders have a greyish brown complexion, knobby leathery skin (which they can breathe through) and a mouth with powerful jaws full of razor sharp teeth. An typical adult crocomander is between 2.25 to 3 meters long, though some individuals as large as 3.4 meters long and weighing in at over 300 kilograms have been found and larger one still have been reported. Crocomanders are capable of moving on land, but are rather sluggish out of water and can only stay out of water for a few days at most. While they can be found elsewhere to the west as far as the Allergonian Empire, they are praticularly prolific in the Great Bog

Adult Crocomanders have a low metabolism and are as a rule quite lethargic creatures and a substantial meal can satiate them for months. Most of their diet is fish, birds and freshwater crabs, but they are far more famous for the fact that adult crocomanders will take prey as large as elk. Their have also have been plenty of instances in which Crocomanders have killed and eaten humans, elves, dwarves, orcs and wildspawn. Crocomanders have little compunction against cannibalism and will eat smaller crocomanders.

Crocomanders breed in the springtime, letting out deep gurgling rumbles to attract mates and congregating in calm pools to lay and fertilize their eggs. An fully grown female crocomander can lay as many as 500,000 eggs at a time which she will brood in her mouth until hatching. In about six to ten days the eggs hatch into tadpoles about one to two centimeters long which will leave the mother. For the first few months of their lives crocomander tadpoles are herbivorous feeling on algae and detritus as they grow in size to about 10-15 centimeters in length, then they become predatory as they develop teeth and begin to hunt small animals and searching for carrion for food as over a period of a month they develop legs, loose their gills and become juveniles. Juveniles measure between 20 to 45 centimeters long and will remain at this phase through winter hibernation and for the next year. In is in the juvenile stage of their lives that crocomanders are most comfortable on land and spend most of their time out of water and even have been known to climb trees. After the Juvenile phase they become adolescents, sexually mature and primarily aquatic if still fairly small in the area of 40 to 60 centimeters long. Most Crocomanders reach full size at four or five years and can live up to 120 years. Crocomanders do not have a fixed sex, a crocomander can be male one year and female the next depending on the availability of mates.

Crocomanders are sometimes hunted for sport and for their meat, which is a foodstuff for locals and is in some circles reckoned a delicacy. Crocomander roe can be used in a variety of magical potions. Some success has been achieved with raising them in captivity though the market is not particularly profitable. Attempts at exterminating them are rarely successful due to the fact that they breed quite prolifically and the ease at which they can reestablish themselves. Juvenile crocomanders are often considered pests and chicken eaters. A common tale in the Allergonian Empire, eastern principalities and similar is that of the Crocomander's Quartermaster. According to said story during the fall of the Third Empire a traveling merchant who as the son of a bog fisherman was taken by a southern Drow lord as a guide, promising to let him go if he complies and to torture him to death if he does not. As such he led them into a swamp where the army got bogged down, was eaten by the crocomanders while the guide takes advantage of the chaos and slinks off. Fine details differ from legend to legend such as which swamp the drow were led into and the profession and gender of the guide. In some accounts the army was eaten to the last being while in others some escape but were picked off by the Imperial Legions. In any case this does highlight the danger that adult crocomanders can present to the incautious.
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Re: Infrastructure (Original and Illustrated)

Postby Zor » 2016-08-30 09:44pm

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Every able bodied free Avesian man is required to keep weapons, practice with them at least twice a year and when the need arises take up said weapons. With a high ratio of slaves to freemen in their small kingdom it's a necessity in case of servile revolt such things are necessary. Nowadays most make do with a musket (many of which are now made on the islands as a number of refugees from the Black Ports had managed to expand the local firearms industry considerably) and a mace, axe or dirk with a basic helmet. Those with more money generally have better equipment. Many consider the militia duties a chore outside of home defense while others take to it with enthusiasm, getting the best (or at the least showiest) weapons and armor they can and putting in more than the minimum. Said groups are organized into militia companies led by members of noble houses. Many of said nobles have something of a historical bent to them and buy gear modeled on those made in the style of the First, Second or Third Empires or other historic powers. But regardless baring a few veterans, settled mercenaries and pirates and bar fights said forces are untested, both officers and men. Even those officers who focus a fair amount of time into the job are generally more playing at it.
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