It is an age of sorcery, it is an age of steam. Since the dawn of time, technology has advanced with civilization, sometimes at the cutting edge and sometimes driving civilization but it’s progress has always marched on. For five hundred years though, the mages and wizards of the Eiwon continent, have tried to halt this. It was when the first crude cannons and firearms made their appearance, that those welding magics felt threatened, fearing that their powers would be overtaken. Each new advance in weaponry and machines was stolen, hidden or forgotten. But trying to hold back progress, is like trying to hold down the lid of a boiling pot.
Fifty years ago, the pot boiled over.
Springing forwards, like an uncaged beast, as the people and rulers of nations around Eiwon, rejected the repression of wizards. As if overnight, factories and mills sprung up, powered by great steam engines or harnessing the might of rivers. Warriors set aside pikes and longswords, becoming soldiers with guns. New fashions and new sciences rise, as do schools, teaching things like engineering and medicine, rather than spells and potions.
Firearms change and evolve at a rapid pace, going from the matchlocks the wizards once tolerated, to flintlocks in a blink of an eye. From there, they jumped to percussion caps, paper cartridges, breechloaders and more, ending with current generation rifles, with single shot lever or bolt action, firing brass cartridges, along with an assortment of single and double action revolvers, break open shotguns and rifled artillery, both muzzle loading and breechloading. Experimental weapons appear everyday, everything from rifles with a magazine, to weapons using compressed air or pressurized steam, to rumors of multi-barreled guns, which can match a company of soldiers in firepower. Even worst in the eyes of traditionalists, they throw off the old rules, allowing women to join the ranks.
Of course, it is not only military technology which grows. Streets at night, are lit by the soft glow of gas lamps. The rumble of the iron horse, as rail lines connect towns, cities and mines, can be heard, as trains carry cargo and people across the land. Of course, new machines, taking steam engines from the rails and letting them drive across roads. Stranger and experimental vehicles, landships and horseless carriages, appear from the wild imaginations of liberated inventors. New ships sail the oceans, ships powered by steam engines, with paddlewheels or screws, keepings sails, only for emergencies. Some even sail beneath the waves!
Not every nation jumps on the technologic bandwagon. For every kingdom or republic racing forwards, another kingdom or empire clings to tradition. Mages and wizards flock to such nations, either leaving in disgust or being forced from once prominent positions. Although they refuse to get with the times, their armies, made up of peasant levies with spears and bows and armored knights, are still a force to be respected, as they are bolstered with all of the refugee magic users.
This new age, is also one of exploration. Adventurous souls set forth to find out what lies beyond the borders of the old maps, finding new lands, resources and peoples. Colonies and trade stations spring up on far shores, as trade flourishes and those seeking new lives, sail across the sea. They come from both sides of the technological divide, the traditionalists tolerating a voyage on “wretched” steamships, for the chance to set up old world style cities and towns, as their former countrymen embrace the new sciences.
Of course, the natives of these lands, object to the colonization and in many cases, attack settlements. However, this is seen more of a good thing. While back home, nations shift restlessly, building weapons and armies, wars are few and very short, as a balance of powers shift and new alliances are form. Out in the colonies on the other hand, skirmishes happen every day. Traditionalists crave the chance to clash swords and spears with the natives, relishing the old ways of battle. On the other hand, Modernists eagerly march out to break native armies, to prove their tech and weapons, is the true way of the future. However, it should be noted, there have been both plenty of defeats inflicted on both sides and in plenty of places, the natives are embracing the new ways of life the colonists bring.
While it would seem, that the world has divided itself between magic and science, this is not true. While the wizards and mages have been mostly turned out, lesser magic users are enjoying new liberation and opportunities. You see, magic has always been broken down between two set casts of magic users. The Learned, wizards and mages, are those who can learn to harness the power of the universe, to craft mighty spells and brew potions. It is their abilities, which has granted them a great deal of power. Wizards have the greatest range of abilities, able to learn any kind of spell, where mages are weaker, specialising in things like war magic or healing magic or weather magic, ect.
On the other side, are the Knacked. These are men and women, who have an inborn ability with one of the four elements; Earth (Geokinetic), Wind (Aerokinetic), Water (Hydrokinetic) and Fire (Pyrokinetic). They are divided between Gifted and Privileged. A Gifted Knack, who is Pyrokinetic, could do something like light a candle or setting someone’s shoe on fire by focusing on it. A Privileged Pyrokinetic could stick their hand into a raging fire, scoop out a fistful of coals and hurl them at someone, without even getting scorched. As great at these abilities are, they have always been repressed by the Learned, often treated like children at best or having their powers sealed by spells at worst.
There is some reason behind this, a Knacked, trying to do something beyond their abilities, runs the risk of losing themselves to the elements. Raging, uncontrollable fires can be sparked by Pyrokinetics, which can consume whole cities or forests, along with the Knacked. Hurricanes can be called forth by out of control Aerokinetics. Earthquakes by Geokinetics. Flooding and Tidal waves by Hydrokinetics. It can be worse, if two Knacked lose control at the same time, the fury of their elements combining. However, these disasters can be avoided, simply by having someone else around to bring a Knack out of their focusing trances.
Knacked, in nations embracing science and freed from the oversight of wizards and mages, have found golden opportunities. With so many trains, ships, mills, trains and other inventions needing steam engines, Pyrokinetics and Hydrokinetics, have found themselves in great demand, if focusing their abilities, they can make the fires burn hotter and use less fuel, while making the water boil quicker and recapturing the steam, to condense back to liquid, reducing the need for great water tanks. The great need for iron, copper, tin and zinc have drawn many Geokinetics to the mines, either to work the veins or the find new sources of ore. They are also called to the foundries and factories, using their abilities to help purify the metals, along with Pyrokinetics. Strangely, Hydrokinetics and Aerokinetics are also being called to the mines. Delving deep into the earth to fuel this demand for metal, many mines have encountered problems with water filled the shafts or uncovering pockets of gas and the need to get fresh air down to the men.
It is an age of opportunity. First, our plot
It is a time of great tension for the Republic of Ruca, as the newspapers are filled with wild reports coming from the colonies along the Aiijan Coast of the far continent of Sulenia, claiming native armies are massing on the frontier, lead by foul cabal of renegade Rucain wizards and mages. Rumors abound to their reasons, everything from carving out a new kingdom for themselves, to avenging the loss of their power, to the most outrageous claims of all, that they are leading a native army to slaughter all of the Rucain colonists, capture all the ships they can and sail across the sea for an invasion of the Republic itself.
There is a good deal of truth to these rumors. Deep inside the Home Office for the Republic’s military, are filled reports of gathering tribes, wizards fleeing to the colonies and disappearing across the frontier, a growing number of skirmishes and most damning of all, word from their spies in the nearby Kingdom of Sacia, that Saciain agents are supplying someone near the colonies, with large amounts of gold. It is agreed, by all who have seen the findings, that at the very least, this is a Saciain plot to cause the Republic trouble and that the wizards are aiming for a conquest of the colonies, either for themselves or for their new Saciain masters. The lost of the ranches, sugar, sorghum, cotton and newly introduced tobacco plantations, would deal a terrible blow to the Republic’s economy.
Although this would normally bring about a military expedition, to stamp out this threat, none has marched forth. There are several reasons but chief among them are a simple fact and a great worry. Firstly, even after the Sulenia Native Contingent was raised ten years ago, colonial defenses are stretched thin. Second, it is unknown how deeply the Saciains are involved in this plot. Sending soldiers to attack the gatherings, might kill Saciains, which could set off a war back in Eiwon, something the Republic is not ready for.
For a week, long meetings between politicians and generals have been under way, debating what should be done. It was finally decided, that the government would hire several Ticknor Detectives and send them to arrest or kill the renegade wizards. Orders would precede them to the Colonial Governor, instructing them to provide assistance to the Ticknors. This would be in the form of information and some manpower from the 12th Regiment of Foot, Sulenia Native Contingent and the Colonial Constabulary. However these orders heavily implied that minimal presence from the 12th and heavier involvement from the SNC and Constabulary would be seen in favorable light, as long as the Ticknors were in charge.Next, the races our characters can beHuman
Humans are found on more than one continent but are dominant on Eiwon. Ranging in height from five to six feet, although there are those who are shorter or taller. For those native to Eiwon, their skin tones range from fair in the northern regions to a light olive in the south. The Republic of Ruca is located in the northeast of Eiwon, her people fair of skin and light of hair, although those with darker hair are not that uncommon. Five years after the Great Industrial Revolution began, the people of Ruca threw off the chain of the monarchy, setting off a series of short but bloody wars, over the following five years with surrounding kingdoms, until the Republic was finally officially founded and recognized by the other nations. For the last forty years, the Republic has been a growing economic power, settling many overseas colonies, which has overstretched the Army and Navy. Elvanti
The Elvanti are found all over Sulenia. Humanoid, they stand between five and a half feet tall to just a little over six feet at the crown but their long, slender ears, which taper into a sharp point at the tip, can add up to another foot. Compared with humans, their skin is dark, a healthy bronze color, coupled with dark brown or black hair.
The Elvanti living along the Aiijan Coast called themselves the Zelalem People and are broken up into a dozen or so tribes, some of which had been living right on water, when the Eiwons arrived. Those that have not accepted the new way of life under the colonial authorities have been pushed back towards the interior, putting pressure on their fellow Zelalem or being forced to move on even further into the lands of the Amsalu People.
For ages unknown, they have survived farming sorghum, cotton and sugar, raising the native cattle, a beast called a Ralaia and by raiding. Nearly every Zelalem warrior (whom are all male) is also a farmer and carries the basic weapons of the Aiijan Coast, several long throwing spears and one short hafted thrusting spear, with a wide blade, almost as good at slashing, as stabbing, along with a Ralaia hide shield. Those who make a living being nothing more than a warrior, join small brotherhoods among their tribes, dedicating themselves to either the sword
or the axe
When the Eiwons first arrived, all of the Zelalem were eager to get their hands on the trade muskets, after watched demonstrations but in the past ten years, they have abandoned firearms as a coward’s weapon or calling them a woman’s weapon, after seeing muskets in the hands of rebellious or adventurous women from their own tribes, who have joined the Sulenia Native Contingent or more modern rifles in the hands of the female soldiers of the Republic of Ruca.
The standard dress for both sexes of the Zelalem and other Elvanti peoples near the Aiijan Coast is a simple pair of undyed cotton trousers, very loose around the legs but tight around the waist and ankles, often worn with colorful sashes around the hips. They often go barefoot or wear simple sandles.Izula
The Izula are an interesting people. From the perspective of Eiwons, they are a human torso, with a dusky skin, many shades deeper than those of the Elvanti, set upon the shoulders of a horse like animal, with a coat of black and white stripes, each pattern unique. From time to time, a child will be born with a pure black or pure white coat. Such individuals are considered to be the most beautiful and to use the modern term, sex symbols. All four of their legs end in a hard hoof, perfect for breaking bone with a single kick. As a general rule, the Izula stand at around seven feet tall (from head to hoof, with three and a half to four between hoof and rump) and nine feet long, with a foot and a half tail.
For as long as the Elvanti have been living in their villages, the Izula have wandered the land, in nomadic family groups, ranging in number from ten to a few hundred. They live through hunting and raiding the Elvanti for foods and goods. However recently, several bands have settled in the colonies, working as messengers, carrying goods or those still craving war, joining the Native Horse.
The Izula find clothing to be ornamental, much like necklaces and rings, which means its not worn all that often. Belts with pouches however are normally worn by both sexes, along with a saddlebag-like setup worn just behind the front legs, within reach of their hands. Tassels worn tied around the legs are common decorations. The greatest humiliating and insulting thing that can be done to a Izulan is for a “two legger” to put a saddle over their backs and riding them like a horse.Doirn
Doirn are found on Eiwon but its argued their not native. They appear human at first, quick glance, standing just as tall and often dressed the same. However on closer inspection, one will notice the light tan fur, with small black strips, which covers them, except for face, most of the chest and stomach, groin and inner thighs. Next one would notice the strangely slitted eyes, much like a cat’s and the small tail, much like a bobcat’s.
It is said in years past memory, wizards once openly experimented on creating life and this was how the Doirn (which is what they call themselves) were created. Some humans and most Doirn on the other hand, argue that they are a natural race, who simple existed in small numbers up in the mountains, until humans went up there and brought them down. Which ever the case, they are generally treated as second class citizens but have recently been immigrating in droves to the colonies. Humans may treat them as lesser beings but they great a great deal more respect and opportunity than the natives there.Moving on, the organizations our characters can be drawn from.Ticknor Detective Agency
Often called Ticknors or Ticks if being insulting, the Ticknor Detective Agency was founded thirty years ago, as a private detective agency. Successful, the company has grown in leaps and bounds, its detectives offering a wide range of services to those that hire them. Much like the Pinkertons of our world, Ticknors can act as bodyguards, bounty hunters, security for shipments, express messengers, strikebreakers or just as goon squads.
There are no uniforms for the detectives, the company simply issues each one of it’s employees with a bronze, shield shaped badge, with the words, Ticknor Detective Agency, engraved upon it. Ticknors, when finding someone not among their ranks, wear one of their badges, are known to beat them within an inch of their lives. The company doesn’t issue weapons either but allows their detectives to carry what they deem necessary. 12th Regiment of Foot
One of the most decorated regiments in the Republic’s forty year history, the colors of the 12th are covered in battle honors from the Revolutionary Wars. Four years ago, they were rotated out from garrison duties back in Ruca, to serve in the Aiijan colonies, along with the 5th Regiment of Horse. The regiment is officially barracked in the Colonial Capital city of Rafast but has mostly been broken, either by company or into smaller platoons and stationed out in the small towns and farms along the frontier. Only one company has remained in the capital, along with the colonel.
Like other Eiwon armies, the Republic’s soldiers serving in Sulenia, continue to wear their wool uniforms. In the case of the 12th; a dark blue, five button tunic, black trousers, plain leather braces, black leather boots, black leather harness (worn over the tunic) for two cartridge boxes and sleath for bayonet and white pith helmet. The military also issues wool, light blue drawers and shirts for underwear but soldiers are allowed to buy their own and often acquire cotton ones. Each enlisted soldier is issued a single shot, lever action, Service Rifle Model XV
with a twenty-two inch bayonet. Officers are issued an infantry saber and are allowed to purchase their own revolver but the Army only issued .44 caliber ammunition. Sulenia Native Contingent
The SNC was first raised by the Governor, from the local people, mostly the Elvanti, to serve as a labor pool for government building projects, in the Aiijan colonies, twenty years ago, when the colonies were first founded. However, even in the earliest days, the SNC was drafted as an auxiliary to the Army and has served mostly to bolster colonial defenses, as light infantry. With budget constraints and worries about arming the natives with modern firearms, the SNC is not issued uniforms or weapons. Instead they are given bright blue headbands and arm bands, to distinguish them and are allowed to bring their own weapons. One about one in six has a firearm, mostly old smoothbore muskets and nearly all of those are in the hands of female soldiers. As as in the Republic's Army, the SNC allows women to join.
It should be noted that the NCOs and officers of the SNC are human, mostly recruited from mustered out soldiers from Army regiments and they are issued a uniform of sorts, simple made, white cotton trousers and a tunic.
There are also a few companies of mostly human soldiers, which are only officially part of the SNC but consider themselves a separate force. Called the Native Horse, these companies have been raised from the sons and daughters of the ranchers, farmers and plantation owners, with a handful of the Izula. They wear their own civilian clothes, ride their own horses (in the case of the humans or doirn) and carry their own personal weapons under officers they elect. Colonial Constabulary
Most law enforcement in the colonies is carried out by governor appointed sheriffs and their deputies. However the city of Rafast and several nearby towns are served by the Colonial Constabulary. First form along the purely civilian lines of the police offices back in Ruca, over time the Constabulary has grown into a paramilitary force, wearing red, five button tunics, black trousers and black top hats. Each officer carries a truncheon when on patrol but can be issued with revolvers and carbines, if they request it. The Constabulary is broken into several ranks, headed by the Commissioner, followed by the Inspectors, Head Constables and Constables.Finally, character sheets
[b]Name[/b]:Oh and I mentioned a kind of cattle called a Ralaia. I'd like to explain a little more about them.
[b]Magic[/b]: (none or either a Gifted or Privileged Knack please and explain the extent of their abilities)
[b]Appearance[/b]: (pictures are acceptable but there must be a written description)
[b]Gear[/b]: (weapons and other things they carry)
a form of indigenous cattle, the Ralaia are herding grazers for the most part. Nearly all of their diet is composed of Ruuma Grass with a number of other plants and a small amount of meat. Opportunistic, these cattle have canines and will eat any carrion they find (or make, should the herd trample a would-be predator). They stand at seven feet tall at the shoulder but their heads normally don’t push pasted the five-foot mark. Body length ranges from nine feet to twelve, with a four-foot tail. A massive dewlap hangs from chin to between the front legs of both sexes. Normal fur coloration ranges from black to dark brown to gray. Both sexes have a large set of horns that curve inwards. The bulls have a second set of horns, which shoot straight up between the first pair.
Their hide makes an exceptionally fine leather, strong and tough, without needing be to thick or rough. The large shields the Elvanti make from their hides will stop thrown spears and take several spear stabs or sword/axe blows before being torn apart.