Lock and Load – Seminars: “Life in the Iron Kingdoms” Part 1: Social class and Magic

I wanted to share the information I got from the different seminars I went to during Lock & Load, especially the “fluffy” seminars that Doug Seacat did.  I attended all three of them, and I will be posting my notes as a kind of abbreviated cheat sheet of the course (so you can all pass the test later at Gen Con).

This seminar detailed what day-to-day life was like in the Iron Kingdoms for people who maybe didn’t see a large part of the main storyline – i.e. the peasants and such.  I found it really interesting, and was really impressed by the depth that they had gone into thinking about the whole world, not just the flashy parts of it.  Full notes are after the fold.

  • Socially, the society is a Feudal Monarchy (except Protectorate, who is a Feudal Theocracy)
    • King/Queen or Empress/Emperor rule the countries
    • There is a growing Middle Class
    • Wide regional variation on power and justice – even within the same kingdom
    • Middle class are the entrepreneurs, skilled craftsmen, inventors, mercenaries
      • Being a mercenary is one of the easiest ways to move up to the middle class
    • Peasants are the bottom of the rung
    • There is not a lot of mobility between classes, although that is beginning to change
  • Cities are the centers of industry
    • There are factory workers, alchemists, etc
    • Cities are also safer in general than in the countryside
  • Transportation is increasing urbanization
    • Extensive rail lines are making it easier and safer to travel
    • Trains are large and well armed, so as to defend against the threats of the wild
  • Magic advances alongside science
    • Mechanika is engineering + magic
    • Magic is dangerous and time consuming – unlikely to see mass produced items that cannot be reproduced almost as well with mundane means
  • Alchemy is part chemistry and part mixing odd substances from creatures
    • This is an older arcane art
    • The scientific method is applied here
    • Creates advanced metallurgy, advanced lenses, etc
    • Generally more subtle effects than Mechanika
  • Organized labor is a growing force
    • Cygnar has a Steam and Ironworkers union [the name of the union is, unfortunately, illegible in my notes – anyone want to let me know the name in the comments?]
    • Khador has the Khadoran Mechaniks Society
      • Technically a government arm, but occasionally helps individuals
    • While organized labor is a growing force, the labor unions don’t fully understand their own power yet, and the people in power don’t fully understand the power of the middle class and the workers.

At this point, I had a strong feel for the society in general.  It really struck me as similar to Renaissance Europe.  There is a growing middle class, a growing labor force that will probably eventually start demanding rights, and a large amount of poverty that is ignored by the nobles.  I am very interested to see where this goes, if they focus at all on the potential for civil strife and the fight for equal rights in the IK.

Next time, I will focus on the other races that humans have integrated into their societies.

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2 responses to “Lock and Load – Seminars: “Life in the Iron Kingdoms” Part 1: Social class and Magic

  1. Just wanted to note that staff writer Simon Berman was a big part of this particular lecture. He did a lot of work to make this chapter of the upcoming new IK RPG book come alive and I was glad to have him assisting in the talk.

    • Thanks for the reminder Doug – I was just so giddy to be hearing all of this, I had forgotten who else was giving the talk. :) That said – I am extremely giddy to have you commenting on my blog :)

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