The Known World

Magic and technology came together once. Imagine scalpels, honed to impossible precision by sorcery. Imagine airplanes and rocketships with engines running on enchanted fuel. Imagine skyscrapers held aloft by witchcraft.

That was a long time ago. Centuries before, whatever those people imagined collapsed apocalyptically. After Ragnarok, those who remain have nurtured a long, deeply rooted fear of blending the charmed arts with those of the engineering kind. Some races have gone in one direction; some have gone in another.

In the Iron Kingdom, a rigidly technological society, things are creeping back towards the 19th century. There is no wireless, but telegraphs connect the larger towns, steam engines can be found in more expensive ships, and railroads are fairly common. The Iron Kingdom sees itself as populated by driven, hard-nosed rationalists who can accomplish anything they want to.

The truth is that not everyone has benefited equally from this industrial revolution. The Carregan Transcontinental Railroad is powerful enough to have its own army — and a litany of rumored crimes to its account. Royalist sympathisers clash with newly wealthy capitalists, and the proudly martial clans of the east who maintain their independence as a point of pride.

Beyond the Kingdom’s walled borders, other civilizations have arisen. The Dominion of Tiurishk, a hydraulic empire that claims to be the oldest power and a center of learning and knowledge. The Ellagdran Confederacy, whose margraves command the fiercest soldiers anywhere. The Otonichi, mountain-dwellers of impeccable craftsmanship. The Pala, jungle felines guarding ancient mystic knowledge. The dozens of unaffiliated tribes in tall mountain passes, and islands, and mesas.

Somewhere, floating over the barren desert, the Dead City — sorcerers who esteem the purity of magic above all else…