Thursday, 2 August 2012

IKRPG! Life in Khardov, Part 1 : Overview


So, I've not been posting much recently, and that's MAINLY because I'm coming very close to getting every model I own painted for the first time in...  Ever.  Still, I've also been working on my IKRPG campaign, and I'll be posting up details of the factions, their machinations and some of the intrigues that go on between them.

As you'll quickly discover from the faction overviews I'm about to write up, Khardov is a shitty, shitty place.  After the Conquest was finished, the lower classes of the city experienced a surge of patriotism that softened the sheer number of deaths from people who froze, starved and got caught in accidents building the thing, but that wave of joy has passed and the grim reality that many of their friends and families were lost on something that didn't even bring Cygnar under Khador's control is slowly setting in.

Fuelling this fire are the three major Kayazy merchant houses of the region.  While they are not provably doing anything illegal (any more than the other twenty two in the city), they are using the unrest to be slightly more blatant in their crimes.  The players - a unit of Winter Guard veterans - have been sent in by the Prikaz to bring down the Kayazy from the inside, while still maintaining a veneer of plausible deniability for the Khadoran government if it all goes wrong.

House Katzoff
Headed by lord Drago Katzoff, House Katzoff is responsible for a large amount of the Warjack production in Khardov.  Under the command of Crew Chief Andrei Drogovya and the Rhulic Mechanik Odei Thunderforge, the Katzoff foundries churn out new 'jacks by the dozen, and even have a side business building bespoke steamjacks for wealthy clients to perform a variety of functions, from construction to combat.

House Katzoff is also the legitimate front for the Free Umbrean League.  A group of terrorists who want the now united Umbrey to secede from the new Khardic Empire under the leadership of Vladmir Tzepsci.  Drago Katzoff (formerly Drogo Musevni) uncovered them as a young Greylord and, rather than taking them down, was indoctrinated into their beliefs and used "liberated" Llaelese coin to pay his way into a new life.  Now he uses his connections to funnel both funds and supplies to the League - anything from a few hundred Horns to a shipment of Warjacks - and must be stopped.

As a side business, Katzoff also runs the majority of burlesque houses and brothels in the city.  Under the watchful eye of the woman known only as Madame Blaustavya, pretty young girls are taught several trades - dancing and loving being the two most well known, but also including stealth, assassination and an ear for incriminating information that could be used against clients if they become a problem.  Anyone can hire a girl from Blaustavya for the night, and requests for sex and murder are about equally common...

House Ryumin
The mining company created, owned and aggressively expanded by Lady Stefani Ryumin, House Ryumin is responsible for over half of the considerable mining network that sprawls out beneath the city.  Under the watchful eye of the Trollkin Foreman Rorvag Rockbiter, worker safety is a priority, and Ryumin herself is well loved for her insistence on paying higher than average wages to her men, as well as her total disregard of race - Gobber, Trollkin and Iosan are just as good as human to her.

No one's that philanthropic in Khardov.  Stefani Ryumin recoups her money in two ways.  Firstly, Ryumin is a Thamarite, and has purview over most of the Thamarite Septs in Western Khador.  Infernalism, sacrifice and just good old fashioned sadism are not unknown to her, although she sees nothing wrong with this - her subjects offer their bodies and souls willingly, and she merely accepts them.  Among the pacts she currently has, she has at least two bound Infernal Soldiers and contact with the ghost of the mine's previous foreman, who has control of the Shaft Wights in the area (rumours that she directs them to attack other mining operations are, of course, totally impossible to prove).  People pay her vast amounts to grant their wishes, even if they are unaware she only acts as a front woman for things that shouldn't exist...

Secondly, and on a far more mundane level, Ryumin quickly muscled a Thurian by the name of Jaime O'Harehal in as the de facto leader of the Olcheniy - the mercenary city guard of the Khardov Kayazy.  If a criminal gang wants to continue their muggings and extortion on the citizens of Khardov, it pays her a cut of their taking through Braznaggalakam, the Gobber "king of thieves".  Every so often, when a gang fails to make it's payment, or if the notoriously unpredictable Braz takes a dislike to them, the Olcheniy get an "anonymous" tip of a gang's hideout, and the general citizens of the city get to hear about how Ryumin and her men took down another gang that prey on the weak like monsters.  Truly, Ryumin is a hero of the Empire.

House Ygevny
Lord Kerwyn Ygevny is different from the other two Kayazy Lords of Khardov.  Unlike the rest, he doesn't own huge swathes of property, or employ hundreds of people, but he doesn't have to.  Ygevny mechanika is considered some of the best in Khador, and his apprentices can command the kind of prices some Mechaniks get for full warjacks.  He also employs a series of skilled Alchemists who, under the supervision of Borosh "The Alchemist" Gostaff, manufacture curatives and other potions to support his day to day business.  He is never seen without the gunmage Jynnasa, his bodyguard and (reputedly) the only person he considers as brilliant as he is.

Of all three of the Kayazy Lords, Ygevny is both the least and most motivated by greed when it comes to his crimes.  Alone amongst his peers, Ygevny doesn't care about money - he is both a very old man, and has contracted Rip Lung - everything he does is a desperate attempt to keep himself alive a while longer.  At best, Ygevny has made contact with one Doctor Arkadius, and is supplying him with homeless pulled off the streets so he can experiment on them.  To this end, Arkadius has supplied a farrow named Gron to his estate, both to keep him safe, and to keep him under control.

At worst, Ygevny is a practicing Necromancer.  While he is not an arcanist himself, he has access to enough relics and forbidden knowledge to ressurect crude thralls, and most of his time is spent experimenting with undeath in an attempt to keep himself alive.  While he is mostly lucid, fear of Urcaen has pushed him beyond the bounds of sanity, and he is a danger to himself, the city and the Empire.

There are also several "neutral" factions in and around the city which the players can either ally with, use or come into conflict with as they see fit.  This is what I have so far, but I'll probably add more...

The Rusalka Kids
Led by Madelyn Fernassi and composed entirely of Tordorans and Thurians, the Rusalka Kids are Khardov's premier river pirates and smuggling crew.  With a reputation for punctuality, reliability and discretion, the Kids are used by everyone with a cargo that needs to be shifted without the rest of the city knowing.  While Fern handles the bulk of the transactions herself, she also occasionally delegates to her lieutenant, Grant MacRoth - who speaks with her total authority.

The Chosen of Morrow
The city is going to hell and, to some people, that seems more literal than others.  Led by Father Konrad Vorisk, the Chosen have taken to cleansing the streets of Khardov with sword, bullet and spell.  Criminals, Thamar worshippers and even some more extreme Menites have all been killed in the Chosen's crusade, and soon even the members of the Olcheniy and Winter Guard garrison who agree with their methods will have to start hunting them down.

The Ex Crew
Khardov is a mining town and, where there are mines, there will be Shaft Wights.  What seperates the Shaft Wights of some little mining town on the border and Khardov is, apart from numbers, that they're being controlled by an outside influence.  Specifically, the dead miners still follow the ghost of Marek Danislav, the old foreman, and Danislav will happily talk to the few people willing to converse with the long dead.  It's possible to negotiate with him for both safe passage through the mines (if you don't mind the smell) and even possibly valuable items that his crew have found.

The Winter Guard Garrison
The Garrison in Khardov is an interesting exercise in incompetence and general lack of motivation.  With the Olcheniy tackling most of the unsanctioned crime in the city, and Kommander Matvey Constantin being paid an impressively large and regular bribe to drink fine Uiske and ignore the sanctioned "disturbances", the Winter Guard spend most of their time pretending to drill and generally doing nothing.  Still, the majority of the garrison want to do something, and their clear itching for a fight will either be a great asset or a huge hindrance, depending on who gets to them first.

The Retribution of Scyrah
Several years ago, a small contingent of Mage Hunters took up residence in a disused mine shaft just outside of the city limits.  They primarily spy on the inhabitants and commit small acts of sabotage in arcanists workshops but, as the years go on, they're getting bored and their leader, Tybias, Shadow's Bane, is gradually getting them riled up to start actively killing mages.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I'm gonna post up about each of these in more detail, and really get into the specifics of each character and group.  This is primarily so I have a decent frame of reference, but I hope some of you people in Internetland get something out of this, too! :D

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