Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cities of Steel

The City may the greatest metropolis of the strange new world, but there are other cities within the Union that have their own claims to greatness. In the western parts of the Smaragdines and beyond, to the shores of the Inland Sea, there is a loose confederation of cities and towns known as the Steel League. These form the industrial heart of the Union, refining the raw materials and manufacturing goods which are transported across the continent and worldwide.

The cities of the League dominate the mass production of steel from pig iron, due to their control of the supply of salamanders. The League's salamander-wranglers--immigrants from the Old World steel-centers, decimated by war and economic hardship--jealously guard the secrets of coaxing the shy creatures from hibernation in coal, and of their care and feeding. It's steel produced in their salamander furnances that feeds the industrial production of the area, and of the entire the continent.

All this metal, both in above ground factories and in underground areas where salamanders are kept and awakened from torpor, draws the attention of pests. Rust beetles--or sometimes "rust roaches"--are insects which are able to digest some metals by use of magical enzymes that hasten corrosion.  Their favorite meal is iron. These can grow over a foot long, and may swarm like locusts. Factory owners sometimes higher adventurers to find and eradicate rust beetle nests, or to help defend against swarms.

The city of Yronburg, in many ways, is representative of the Steel League, but has one feature of special note. A giant lives at the heart of the city. Inhabiting the largest steel mill is a man over ten feet tall, apparently made of steel, himself. This giant came from the Old World--though whether he is some fallen god or titan, or just the member of a lost race is unknown, perhaps even to the giant himself. Svarozic, as he's called, works tirelessly and seems impervious to heat. He does not seem to sleep, but at times goes still and appears to be at some sort of rest--sometimes for as much as weeks at the time. Luckily for Yronburg, Svarozic accomplishes enough when at work to keep them ahead in the manufacture of steel. The other steelworkers--many fellow immigrants from Ealderde--see "their" giant as a source of civic, and professional pride, and tell tall tales about his exploits.


Unknown said...

Hah! Love how you work in the Rust Monster. And as a native Detroiter, I think the Cities of the Steel League would be really neat places to adventure. There's a plethora of interesting folklore from the Detroit area, specifically the Red Dwarf (

Trey said...

Ah, the Red Dwarf! I had forgotten about that. I definitely think there's an analog there in the Steel League. Thanks, as always! I'm glad you liked it.