To Fly on Metal Wings
An Incomplete List of Nations & Factions
International Non-Government Powers, Orders, Companies, and Organizations
Commonly shortened to the ‘Knighthood’, the Virtuous Order was formed during the mid-3rd Century Undead Occupation to expel the Lich Triarchy. In the long dark age that followed this “War of the Thorn,” the oppressed common people looked to the Knights for leadership and protection, raising them up to replace the aristocratic and popular governments alike swept away by the undead. Since then the Knighthood has splintered and fragmented into nearly a dozen Orders, divided by deep rivalries and ideological differences. Where once the Knighthood chose the rulers of the Great Basin fiefdoms from among its own ranks, now those fiefdoms have grown into nations whose leaders control the Knighthood’s ruling council, the Andercile.
One of a handful of trade guilds surviving from the shadowy history of the ancient Gruffyd Empire, the Luftmeister’s Guild rose to prominence in the last years of the 2nd Century when a series of natural disasters caused by unregulated Levium mining catalyzed public opinion in favor of a strong centralized regulator. Empowered by the weakened state of the great national navies after centuries of decline, the Grand Luftmeister seized control of all independent Levium production, and used this monopoly to force one government after another to ensconce the Guild as the preeminent naval and commercial force in the known Aetheria.
Today the Guild regulates air travel and levium mining throughout the known Aetheria. The Guild is funded through a combination of import and export tariffs, carriage fees, charter contracts with private merchants using Guild-owned airships, and sales of Levium. The Guild holds a legal monopoly on Levium, granted to it by each of the charter nations, and an effective monopoly because it jealously guards substantially all the Levium mining operations in the known Aetheria.
The most visible and storied face of the Guild is the Aeronautical Authority, a vast fleet of ships and aeronauts charged with keeping the skies free of hazards to commerce, natural and otherwise. The AA mainly hunts pirates and smugglers, but fulfilling their mandate to protect the skies has involved evacuations of doomed islands, destruction of falling micro-islands, shelling isolationist nations, and many other unusual tasks.
Founded in 896, after a coalition of nations and heroes succeeded in stopping the creature code-named “Strategos” outside the walls of Satyeva, the secret organization CITADEL receives substantial funding and assistance from many of the great powers of the Great Basin Region and has a mandate to identify, locate, and neutralize unusual divine and magickal threats before they manifest in blood and fire.
- Elohim Arms
One of the first of the corporations to emerge in the “New Flowering”1, Elohim Arms has a well-deserved reputation as the preeminent manufacturer of weapons based on Applied Science. They produce the Aetheria’s finest repeating rifles, and boast investments in research and development that most national armies cannot match. All this comes at a premium; only a select handful of private adventurers and mercenaries can afford genuine Elohim Arms gear; the rest make do with cut-rate copies of ElArm designs made by lesser suppliers.
- Tauros Manufacturing
Operating exclusively out of the massive and ancient First Republican2 manufactories on Crestingwick, Drakar, Sha Amatsur, and Ruhn which only they had the skills and knowledge to refurbish and reopen, Tauros Manufacturing is the Aetheria’s predominant heavy industrial factoring corporation. They process enormous amounts of raw ore from the Barrens, producing the high quality steel, mithril, aluminum, copper, and other resources vital to moderne industry. They control facilities that can cast an Armordyne’s entire chassis in one piece, leaving fewer vulnerabilities than the usual welded armor. But above all else, Tauros Manufacturing excels at shipbuilding.
Originally an offshoot of a Shaan sect dedicated to worshiping the 22 Aspect Gods, the Church of the Great Wheel has grown into a powerful force, especially in the Great Basin Region, which some adherents claim was created by the Wheel in its own most favorable shape. The doctrine of the Wheel teaches that life is a web of interconnected obligation; each of us is at the center of our own Wheel, and the spokes connect us to other people and their personal Wheels. The Wheel commands us to look to our obligations to one another, and always try to fulfill them. Those who die with obligations unfulfilled will return again in another life, or worse, as wandering spirits, accruing more and more unpaid debts, until they can break the cycle and become one with the Wheel.
The Church of the Great Wheel has generally been a force for stability in the Great Basin Region, encouraging the lowly to remember their obligations to their masters, but some among the clergy have been quick to decry and foment unrest against unjust rulers who take advantage of their position and ignore their duties. In recent years some theologians have quietly suggested that the people may more happily remember their duties to nation, and the nation might more quickly recall its duties to the people, if the men of quality were allowed to chose their leaders…
- Jackdaw Detective Company
Led by the mysterious Colonel Delos, the Jackdaws have developed an ugly reputation as the first choice for the despot or the executive hearing the footsteps of the anarchist, the democrat, and the labor organizer. They are as ruthlessly efficient with their own people as they are with their enemies; never waste a bullet when a truncheon will do, and never send a soldier to do what a raw recruit can handle. With high casualty rates its a good thing there’s an Aetheria-wide surplus of manpower from which to replenish the ranks.
- Amalgamated Forgewerks
The Duchy of Obstkern was once home to hundreds of small industrial firms, mainly concerned with processing raw material too low grade for the Tauros Mfg. refineries. In 852, Moderne Orque3 described the Obstkern business environment as “arguably the most competitive, and merciless, in the Aetheria… a market that will never rival the coordination of the great Republican Sphere firms.” That changed when Otto Karheidt became Duke Otto von Obstkern; in 880 he nationalized the duchy’s largest firms overnight, imprisoning their former managers, many of whom were his political opponents, on a variety of corruption and sedition charges. He then combined and aggresively modernized the newly-nationalized companies, creating the industrial giant Amalgamated Forgeworks.
- Unified Barrens Coal Corporation
The New Flowering brought an end to many of the dark age feudal powers, but there are some things that can never be destroyed, they merely adapt their form to fit the times. As the Water Lords once adapted to survive the dark ages, so they adapted again, doing through the Unified Barrens Coal Corporation what they have been doing in one way or another for a thousand years and more. The civilized Aetheria still needs raw material from the Barrens, and the miners still need food, water, and protection. The Water Lords ensure that neither side gets too much or too little from the exchange, taking a perfectly reasonable share of the profits.
Northern Basin Powers
- Moorlands League (Juramend, Aunder, Baszeria, Hebria, Tannil, Vinahr, Southern Palladia, Liberty of Holle, Satyeva, Faros, Imber Islands, others)
The Moorlands League is composed of most of the islands which split from the Leonine Empire in 211 to form Holy Leonine Empire. Although that empire fell in 440, largely due to the conflict between its Wheelite populace, the politically marginalized but martially powerful Knighthood, and the self-proclaimed Divine Emperors, its constituent parts remained united by a strong shared culture. In the final years of the last age, culminating in the Year 0 War, these same islands formed the ideological and actual battleground where the feudal noble houses of the Twins, absolutist Gruffyc emperors, and democrats of the First Republic clashed. This has left the islands of the League with a diverse population, a legacy of strong government combined with respect for the common man, a tradition of intellectual freedom and higher education rivaled only by the Fourth Republic and the Amatsuran Dominions, and an aggressively pro-trade international policy.
The League has recently moved sharply toward centralized control in the form of the hereditary King of the Moorlands, who has traditionally been First Among Equals. The last King of the Two Nemois was killed during the siege of Etskago City during the Undead Occupation, but for six centuries afterward, the crown of Hollen Moor was held by a cadet branch of that noble lineage, the Apterin family. The family’s fortunes declined throughout the mid 8th and early 9th centuries when the Kings of the Moorlands embarked on a campaign to subdue the other great houses of the League. Each was in turn forced to give up its royal airs and accept Hollen Moor as suzerain lord, but the price was paid in rivers of Apterin blood. In 846, House Aunder, hereditary Queens of Juramend, was the last to surrender their crown and swear fealty to King William IX.
But William IX died without issue, touching off a succession crisis which ultimately saw his Apterin cousin, Casio of House Hebria, smashed and killed by a coalition of noble houses, led by Houses Baszeria, Aunder, and above all, Tannil at the Battle of the Hellebore. The civilized world waits with baited breath to see if Casper Tannil can hold the Moorlands League together without the Apterin bloodright.
- Leonine Empire/Aiden Prelacy
If the Moorlands League is the natural product of open exchange and free trade, the westernmost of the known Aetheria’s great powers is isolationism and fear taken to its extremity. Far from the hubs of civilization, small by the standard of nations, and riven by ages old internal conflict between the people of the Dragon and the people of the Lion, the Twins were only a marginal player in Great Basin politics prior to the Year 0 War. Theirs was a medieval society even as the rest of the Aetheria eagerly embraced the rediscovered sciences of alchaemy, technomancy, and clockwork mechanics, the Twintine fell further and further behind. Their relative isolation served them well during the Year 0 War when the north-eastern rim of the Great Basin was devastated by war between the Republic, the Two Nemois, Gruffyd, and the rising Shaan.
In 27 SGE, the exhausted Nemois turned to the Twins for materiel and men to continue their war against the Great Basin Republics in Hollen Moor, Aransfield, and the Imber Islands – all puppets of the First Republican Senate. Together the Nemois and the Twins formed the Leonine Empire; with Twintine battle savagery wedded to the technomantickal superiority of the Nemoidans, this new empire swept over its lesser rivals like an iron tide. Within 30 years the Leonine Empire controlled everything from northern Trebarre to the Barrens. What they took they could not hold, and the eight centuries since have been a succession of civil wars, retreats, concessions, and dishonors as the Lions have lost all but the cluster of satellite islands around the Twins themselves.
The modern Leonine Empire, such as remains to them, is dominated by their national religion, the Light of Aedin. The historical Aedin was an adventuring hero, some sources claim a Knight, who fought on both sides during the Wars of Parin Zed4 in the mid 7th Century, before returning to the Twins to marry a princess far down in the line of succession. An outbreak of Grey Awfuls among the imperial house brought Aedin to the throne, the last member of the House of Dragons to hold it, from which point he is said to have ruled wisely and well for decades while his innate divinity grew stronger at the expense of his mortal shell. When finally he slipped from it, he ascended into the heavens in a burst of pure light that cured the ailments and diseases of all who were within three miles of the palace, to watch over the Leonine Empire ever after.
Aedin sometimes gives his favor to his most devoted servants, blessing them with superhuman divine powers and transforming them forever from weak flawed flesh into the immaculate form of a Living Saint. Much of the governance of the Empire has passed from the Imperial officers to these Living Saints. Together with the Prelate they have closed the island’s borders; trade and travel, inward and outward alike, is forbidden on the Twins. A handful of the satellite islands, like Armacaea, have been permitted to accept foreign ships and to trade for certain necessities, but they are strictly watched by zealous customs inquisitors.
- Northern Palladia (small Ruhntine kingdom)
The Ruhntine kingdom Palladia was once among the island’s few success stories; while the Ruhntine have generally been fractious and violent, dividing the most populous island in the known Aetheria into ever smaller and more impoverished kingdoms with ill advised wars and a laughable inheritance system that awards each child an equal share of the estate, Palladia was a large, wealthy kingdom that could rival the lesser kingdoms of the Moorlands League and the smaller republics of the United Commonwealth Republics. And that very success attracted the covetous eyes of those two nations. During a succession dispute, each nation championed a different side. Today the League claims the Republic started the conflict, and vice versa. Either way, when the prince of the Vinahr marched to claim his Palladian throne League-owned armordynes led his column; the Countess of Nakharra’s numbers were bolstered by Republican soldiers in Nakharran uniforms. When the dust settled the armies had ground to a halt on either side of the Pallas river. All the land north of the river became Northern Palladia, to be ruled by the Countess of Nakharra, while the land south of the river became Southern Palladia, a county of the Vinahr.
Since then the two nations, sometimes aided by their League or Republican allies, sometimes not, have clashed over Southern Palladia half a dozen times. Most recently in 863, while the Moorlands League was occupied with its own bloody succession, the legendary Palladian general Gunnar Edrikson cut through the Vinahri garrison in one of the lightning strikes for which he has rightfully become famous. When the League finally sorted out its own problems and turned its eye to Palladia, Edrikson’s conquest vanished in the blink of an eye; the general himself was gone, a victim to the political machinations of his rivals.
The only city in the middle islands built and populated entirely by Goblins, Technogobbistan lies beneath the shifting sands somewhere in the desert between Satyeva and old Dalover. The Goblins there are the descendants of industrial laborers from Aransfield and elsewhere who fled slave-like working conditions, and sometimes actual slavery, to establish independent settlements hidden from the overseers, though not their searching hounds, who were often the only sustenance the hiding goblins could get. To this day many goblins take care to eat a few dogs each year to remember the plight of their ancestors.
No one knows when Technogobbistan was founded, or by who. Although a statue in the center of the city claims to represent the city’s founder, it clearly depicts “Jack”, a mytho-heroic figure in Goblin folklore sometimes called “The Big Gob”, “Old One Eye”, or “The Kneecapper”. Stories claiming that Jack founded Technogobbistan are as likely to be true as the stories in which Jack eats an entire Harunda5 in one sitting (by taking very small bites), or travels to Loft and seduces the Gearmother herself, receiving a very interesting mechanical prostheses as a token of her love.
Whatever the truth of the matter, the philosophy of the Technogobbs is summed up neatly in the words carved under Jack’s statue: “Nobody rules me but me!” Political philosophers from the Collegiae who visited Technogobbistan dubbed the gobber system they found there ‘anarchy’, or rule by no one; since then the philosophy of anarchism has spread like wildfire through the taller races to the great woe of many, but it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of gobber society. What they actually practice is more properly called ‘panarchism’, rule by everyone. Every goblin considers himself not only his master, but also the master of everyone else in the entire world. Every gobber is himself a nation; friendship is established by treaty; marriage is an alliance, and a scuffle means war!
What to do about Technogobbistan is now emerging as a major political issue for the Moorlands League. The Technogob territory falls within the Duchy of Faros, but had been ignored as worthless since the desertification of the 370s. The newly created Count Helm of Satyeva claims that Technogobbistan should be placed under his protection, as the nearest Andercilian6 house. Duke Faros, already resentful of losing Satyeva, is unlikely to concede any more territory, and no one has thought to consult the Technogobs. All this is made the more urgent by the growing threat of the Ant clans in that desert.
Republican Cluster Powers
- United Commonwealth Republics
The UCR considers itself the natural successor to the legacy of the ancient First Republic, which rose to prominence during the Waning Gods Era on the twin promises of freedom and progress, was undermined by domestic strife, and broken by its international rivals before the freak destruction of Martus Ankara shattered the increasingly tenuous bonds between the remaining islands. This gave anti-Republican sentiment on Crestingwick and its satellite islands to emerge from the shadows; demonstrators agitating for withdrawal from the Republic turned into revolutionaries overnight. Civil war, later named the Franchiseman’s War, engulfed the island. By the time the dust had settled Ankaran refugees held the densely forested north, Amatsuran warlords had taken the eastern coast, and the rest of the island was divided between multifarious feuding factions of Republicans and Nationalists; all troubled by the increasing intractability of the messianic and apocalyptic Sons of the Astral King cult. Not long after, the vanguard of the Lich Triarchy arrived on the island’s shore. Dissipated by the bloody conquest of Sha Amatsur, the Triarchs’ armies were never able to completely subdue Crestish resistance, but neither could the feuding nation states expel their new neighbors.
This condition, dubbed the Terminus Harrowing by Crestish historians, persisted for centuries afterward as warlords rose and fell, coalitions formed and dissolved, and would-be successors to the First Republic rose, failed, and died in obscurity. A handful of larger-than-life Gifted heroes, like Sempronius Furius Falco, who would go on to become the stalwart pillars of the UCR came of age during this chaotic time.
The New Flowering began on Crestingwick, as a period of unusual peace allowed great thinkers, artists, and statesmen free congress of ideas with their colleagues from the other small nationstates. Secret alliances formed; the fire of Republicanism burned once more in the hearts of man and gnome alike; popular uprisings overturned centuries-old despotisms and created a multiplicity of new governments, each favorably inclined to its sister Republics. Gnomish hussars from the northern states rode beside the smoke-belching Publicus Pattern armordynes out of Greysward and musketeers from Amatsu Sho to liberate the vampire-scourged southern shores at long last.
The two dozen small republics of Crestingwick and its satellite islands, recognizing the need for collective action and spurred by fears of regression into feudal warfare once again, formed a central federal senate, the United Commonwealth Republics, to see to the general good of all. As generations passed this central government grew more powerful, and more powerfully dominated by the largest Crestish republics, at the expense of the marginal and satellite republics. Opponents of this expansive centralized government began to speak of it as one single entity rather than a union of equals, dubbing it the Fourth Republic, intending to compare it to the dishonorable failures of each preceding Republic. Instead the federalists have adopted the name as a sign that they are the true heirs to the world-shaking power of the First Republic at its height. Despite many setbacks and internal dissent, the UCR Senate remains, at core, convinced that their nation is destined for greatness once again.
- Republic of Borealis and Argentum
Borealis and Argentum are two of the largest islands lying in the skies immediately northwest of Crestingwick; historical rivals, especially during the Terminus Harrowing, they formed a strong bond of amity and commerce during the New Flowering. Powerful and wealthy, the two satellite republics contributed men and materiel to the UCR during its darkest moments when all hope seemed lost, and each expected a strong hand in the governance of the Commonwealth. As the Crestish senators marginalized their representatives inch by inch, Borealis and Argentum became increasingly unruly and vocal in their protests. Other satellite republics and many of the smaller Crestish republics rallied to them, seeing their complaints as the cause of all the marginalized nations in the Commonwealth.
When Borealis and Argentum declared in 886 that they were withdrawing from the UCR and reestablishing their own sovereign nation, the UCR Senate accused them of treason, claiming that the Borealesian and Argent citizens’ earnest desire was to remain within the Commonwealth. UCR troops were dispatched to arrest the new republic’s senate while it met in supposed secrecy on Borealis, but heroic spy Gnaeus Ahenobarbus narrowly eluded a squad of bloodthirsty UCR black ops assassins to bring the invasion plans to the Borealesian Autonomous Defense Force in time. The 4th Republican troops, ambushed as they disembarked from their Guild-chartered transports, were thrown back in disarray and independence was assured!
Meanwhile, in the UCR, the Senate was desperately trying to hold together the frayed ends of their union. Other dissatisfied member republics with military strength comparable to Borealis and Argentum began to wonder if they might not be better off as independent states themselves. The smaller and weaker nations met quietly to form secret pacts of mutual defense and assistance should the worst come to pass. It was only through the brilliant politicking of the little-known Senator Constantinus Victor, from the small Crestish republic Victoriana, that the Commonwealth was saved. He managed to divide the small Crestish republics from the rest by redefining the Borealis movement as purely satellitist, while winning the most important satellite islands to his side with concessions, veiled threats, and naked bribery.
Borealis and Argentum, robbed of the allies they hoped to find, now discovered that they were ringed by enemies intent on imposing a stringent embargo. The Commonwealth built a ring of fortresses on small rock islands in the skies around the new Republic, equipping each with long range cannon and orders to shoot down and vessels entering or leaving the two islands. Smuggling past the blockade is dangerous, but many on the islands will pay everything they have to escape. Denied any outside commerce the islands have starved for raw materials; their industry has collapsed, and they have been thrown into deep depression that has only grown worse with time.
- Amatsuran Dominion
Sha Amatsur, one of the five great islands of the First Republic, has always stood apart from the rest of the known Aetheria. The island is divided between the Shaan, who claim to be its indigenous people; the culturally distinct but ethnically similar Amatsurans who conquered the Shaan during the reign of the Mardukian God-Kings; and the Koropokkuru (commonly shortened to Koro), a race of gnomes with dark skin and exceptionally vibrant hair colors who live in the islands’ wilderness and claim they ruled the island long before the Shaan arrived. The origin of the Shaan people and their radically different culture was considered one of the Aetheria’s greatest historical mysteries, before a geological team from the Collegium Naturicus discovered that the impassable Amatsuran Snarl has not existed forever, but in fact developed over a period of about a century during the reign of the God-Kings. Most scholars now accept the hypothesis that the Shaan and Amatsurans were once both part of a much larger culture that was destroyed when the Snarl emerged. The Shaan were provincial bumpkins even then, and the Amatsurans who conquered the island after fleeing from their own doomed lands were that culture’s ruling elite.
The conqueror-subject dynamic has persisted throughout Sha Amatsur’s history. When the envoys of the First Republic came seeking an alliance with their long-time rival, they found the Amatsurans ruling the island from highly developed and affluent, if technologically inferior, coastal provinces, fed by the agricultural labor of uneducated peasants in the inner provinces. Those majority-Shaan provinces were ruled by highly trained administrators managed by a deeply bureaucratic central government under a figurehead emperor. The large and influential Amatsuran middle class was easily won over to the rational atheism and democratic statism preached by the Republicans. They quietly did away with the emperor and embraced everything the Republic had to offer.
However, the bureaucrats and businessmen who led this coup underestimated the importance of the emperor in pacifying the Shaan. After their ancestors had broken the back of Shaan resistance, they promulgated the notion that their new emperor was in fact a living god in the Shaan tradition. When the emperor’s mortal shell gave out, his soul was said to leap into the body of his successor, so that he could always look over the Shaan and Amatsuran people. The abbots and high priests of the Shaan monasteries were charged with selecting the next emperor, a sinecure that convinced them finally to give up the futile struggle against their conquerors. The atheist Republican Amatsurans had only disdain for the backward religiosity of the provinces, and when the famous monk Aobo no Reiki came to insist that the imperial family be restored, he was stripped of his robes, flogged, and cast out of the senatorial chambers accompanied by peels of laughter.
The Shaan bade their time; emissaries of their religion and culture were sent abroad to spread the theology of liberation and the promise of the King of Stars, he who breaks and binds the powerful, to all the skies held by their oppressors. At the height of the Year 0 War, when the Republic was at its most vulnerable, the Shaan and their converts throughout the known Aetheria rose up. The word had gone out from a secret monastery on Sha Amatsur where their leaders were in hidden seclusion: “I have seen the King of Stars, he is born; freedom is ours if we reach out to take it.”
The Shaan uprising brought the First Republic to its knees, and severed forever the bond of amity between the Republican islands. No successor to the Republic arising on Crestingwick or Ruhn has found an ally in Sha Amatsur. In fact, civil war raged within the island for many years after the uprising; numerous but poorly armed and trained Shaan ground slowly against the Amatsuran war machine, gaining an inch here, a centimeter there, watering fertile Amatsuran soil with the blood of both sides. When final victory was nearly theirs, the Shaan turned on each other. Different interpretations of their divine destiny divided the rebels, giving the Amatsurans the opportunity they needed to turn the tide of the war. For a few years it seemed they might even reconquer the whole island, but that was before the Undead Occupation. The undead had cruised through the Great Basin Region, encountering little resistance besides Etskago City, still under siege, so their armies were fresh and hungry. The Shaan and Amatsurans alike were badly dissipated by the wars, but their soldiers were hardened veterans and their generals had learned their trade in the most effective crucible in the island’s history. It was a bloodbath the like of which the Aetheria would not see again for centuries.
In the end, the Undead took the island, but at terrible cost. In turn, they exacted a terrible price from those conquered, reducing cities to ash and massacring thousands to fill their badly reduced ranks. The Amatsurans along the coast were the worst hit by this decimation. When the War of the Thorn forced the Undead to abandon the island, the Shaan and Amatsuran people had finally achieved something like parity. Faced with the horror of the undead, many among the Amatsurans adopted the promise of a messianic savior, the ‘Celestial Emperor’ whose coming was foretold by the Kirukata priests. The island was briefly unified behind a ‘divine regent’, sponsored by the Kirukata, who would rule the island until the Celestial Emperor arrived. But as generations passed and the emperor did not appear, the coalition behind the increasingly ineffectual divine regents began to unravel. An independent warlord could swear fealty to the regent, then declare that his neighbor was a rebel and seize lands and chattel ‘in the regent’s name’.
That state of affairs persists today; the Regent has no power himself and must rely on a few powerful clans to enforce order on his behalf. His favor still means much in island politics, but when his supporters are weak, he and those who serve him are reduced to cajoling and persuading the warlords to obey his commands. When his supporters are strong he becomes little more than a puppet in their schemes for control over all the Dominions.
- Free Cities of the Rimefrost Coast (Northern Drakari Coast & nearby islands)
Until the mid 7th century, the islands north and northeast of Drakar were considered uninhabitable due to the extreme cold and the overwhelming violence of storms in the region. Exploratory voyages did identify valuable natural resources, but they were adjudged too dangerous for serious colonization efforts. In 635 SGE an archaeological expedition discovered a Demothian-era teknomantic machine which absorbed ambient resonant energy and generated heat. A joint Crestish and Addan engineering team was able to dismantle the device and reverse engineer it. A number of copies, necessarily lesser but still adequate to the task, were produced and used to establish resource mining colonies scattered across the islands north of Drakar.
Generations passed and the colonies grew increasingly wealthy, leading to a sense of disconnection from their parent nations. They came to resent paying tithes to support the luxuries of the soft southerners. The Water Lords, eager to break the colonial ties and open the Rimefrost Coast as a new market for their goods, provided arms, funding, and communications support to help the cities coordinate their efforts. The Guild’s neutrality was secured, and one by one the colonies won their jealously guarded freedom.
The Free Cities are largely self-contained habitats warmed by the power of their Thermal Engines.
Populations are low, but population density is high, and per capita wealth is above average. The Free Cities extract, with highly advanced teknomantic devices and specialized ’dynes, very valuable raw materials not widely available elsewhere. Raw mithral, mined nowhere else in the Aetheria, is one of their biggest exports. Each of the Free Cities is also registered with the Guild as an extreme environment exploration company (an E3-C), which status permits them to maintain and outfit a small number of specialized airships. This fleet was originally meant for emergency rescue and evacuation, but the Free Cities saw an opportunity for profit by using them to carry goods between the southern Aetheria and the inhospitable climes of the Kauldwind and Archimedes archipelagos even beyond the Rimefrost Coast.
- Martial Field Vagabonds
Far-Bound Powers (North of Drakar)
- Kauldwind Archipelago (Confederation)
- Archimedes Archipelago (Kingdom)
- Ariadne Archipelago (Kingdom)
Southern Great Basin Powers
- Mechanical City Loft
- Trebarrine Confederation
- The Rittercaste
- Gloria Majora