- LORE CHANGELOG
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Gunpowder, a staple of the modern world, has had one of the most concentrated lines of production in Kilnholdt. Centuries ago, during Agavres' rule, the people were united in their cause of imperial expansion and sought an edge against warfare based on swords, bows, and trebuchets. Early inventors began to experiment with enhanced weaponry, such as flaming swords with oil reservoirs built into the blade, poison-tipped lances, and serrated arrows. These technologies inspired inventors to design weapons that were easy to transport, easy to use, and had storage-efficient ammunition. The crossbow, invented by Dalkun raiders, dominated their engagements against Daidamese trade convoys, thanks to an unparalleled simplicity of design that was easily mastered. Although early trade brought the crossbow to Kilnholdt, the core principle of its simplicity and effectiveness would not become apparent until the fourth Cycle. In 4C-85, the war with Rasgald rendered professionally-trained archers almost obsolete, requiring more unique weaponry capable of blasting through scale, sinew, and bone. Only after nearly half a century did the alchemists of Kilnholdt finally discover the power of saltpeter. Harvested from the stomachs of slain fire drakes, they believed it to be a stepping stone towards exposing the secrets of Eztalpaltl. While useless in the alchemists’ pursuit of transmutation, when put into the hands of Kilnholdt’s mechanists it became crude gunpowder. Trial, error, and blood paid for what would become the nation’s greatest edge in explosive capabilities. Firebombs, grenades, and guns were soon developed, focusing on utilizing gunpowder to its maximum potential. Early designs of the musket required striking flint against steel to ignite the gunpowder, instantly firing an iron ball. This design resulted in disastrous consequences for any unable to aim and properly fire, leading to chaotic engagements for Agavres’ rifle divisions. Weapons capable of firing without manual ignition became the ideal for mechanists. As complicated designs were drawn up, rudimentary flintlock rifles were developed. By the time Agavres led the siege against Brunholm, the Kild had mastered the flintlock rifle and began wheeling cannons atop castle walls.
The sixth Cycle denoted Kilnholdt’s effort to explore and conquer internationally. With every small kingdom on their mainland assimilated under a single banner, Agavres looked outward to the Eztalpaltli, with their conquest becoming his singular focus. The vran Oskian, a household of explorers and adventurers, had sailed and explored the sea bearing their name for close to a century when Agavres turned to them for warships and naval intelligence. Their combined efforts alongside Agavres’ mechanists birthed the first iron gunboats in the modern world, and helped shell any off-shore resistance Eztalpaltl could muster. It was only a matter of time, however, the Alchemy nation retaliated and encroached southwards with their flying cities. The goddess Chuelaiia and her High Alchemists sought dominion over Agavres and his kin to punish the arrogance of Kilnholdt and their path of war. Raining fire and death upon any opposition below, the Eztalpaltli’s method for conquering territory was beyond anything Kilnholdt had established in their long history of warfare.
Faced with superior firepower, Agavres’ mechanists began to consider safer and more effective methods of taking down Eztalpaltl’s airborne cities. Their work began with trying to displace the landmass' center of gravity, pulling it until it became unstable enough that gravity would do the rest of the work. A seemingly simple concept, its design was ultimately the most complex of anything Kilnholdt had created before. Thus, the Runtzenfaust was born. A large cannon designed to fire and secure a large hook into the underside of a landmass, it used a cache of distilled and densely packed gunpowder. Changing the outcome of the war, this cannon could fire somewhat reliably at incredible range. Its hooks’ inlaid binding runes would ensure a landmass’ fate once the claws latched on. Using an extraordinarily long and durable chain, as well as a carefully constructed engine to reel in the hook, an Eztalpaltli city would be pulled out of its state of perpetual balance by sheer force. The first city to be felled by the Runtzenfaust crashed like roaring thunder within the Rasgald mountains. The assault’s few shaken survivors put up little resistance against their captors as they emerged from the dramatic crash. The success of the machine inspired many to join the cause, increasing demand for these “Grunting Fists.” However, the high cost of the Runtzenfaust, conjoined with those seeking to produce rivaling weaponry, resulted in only a dozen being made by the time Agavres departed from A'therys. Their usefulness and results secured the foothold in Eztalpaltli territory that Kilnholdt fortifies to this day.
While such technologies and a fervor for progress enveloped Kilnholdt during Agavres’ reign, they were almost instantly halted when the god left. Today, Kilnholdt's technological feats are slowly being lost to the ages. Warring factions and political subterfuge have killed off gunsmiths, and those who remain are few and far between compared to the master mechanists that once worked the land. Long ago, gunnery led to Kilnholdt's strength, and the sheer number of riflemen in Agavres' legions would decimate any army with ease. Now, they are a sorry sight on the battlefield. Only a minority know how to operate them, and even less know their true potential. Rifles and firearms are now treated as luxury antiques, and more often than not are considered a useless family heirloom. Only a select few individuals know how to design and manufacture rifles, and only sell to the highest bidder. More of an artistic medium than an actual weapon in the modern age, rifle designs are incredibly complicated and impossible to replicate without the right hands.
Since the witch hunt that purged mechanists and rifle makers in the dawn of the seventh Cycle, most practitioners of the craft have gone underground, literally; taking refuge in the security of the cities' shadowy underbellies. The vran Raydhaid are among those mechanists that have gone into hiding, but their renown among the populace as master gunsmiths has earned them an unparalleled legacy. Though the vran Raydheid are careful to hide the secrets of their trade, an apprentice, Landren Schmitt, betrayed them, coming into the employ of Ivan the Despot. With Schmitt, the Despot has been able to outfit his army with improved firearms, allowing him to decimate any warlords that dare rise against him. Many inventors similarly find themselves in the employ of rising conquerors, and lead production on a wide array of armor, weapons, and siege equipment.
Lack of regulation on technological experimentation allows for even deadlier weaponry to be developed, often at the expense of “test subjects.” Traps and explosives are perhaps the most recently developed and accessible assets to a Kilden warlord’s arsenal. Their extreme combat versatility has led to an increasingly large demand. Most famous of these contraptions are Delia Knef's selection of deadly toxins. Her "venom pies", dangerous concoctions created by mixing the explosive power of gunpowder with exotic plants found in the Shattered Lands, are perfect for booby-trapping large areas.. The effects on the human body are absolutely devastating, and have introduced a dangerous potential for future war tactics.
While siege equipment exists in Kilnholdt, all vary in stage of development, state of wear, and overall usefulness. Siege towers and trebuchets have always been tried and true, from Agavres' era to today's conquerors. Korth alone boasts dozens of age-old siege towers sitting at its outer walls. Their usefulness lies in their economic security; easy to create, warlords often use this equipment to quickly take castle walls. Equally common are trebuchets, with ammunition never being an issue as the lands in Kilnholdt are rugged and mountainous. More emboldened warlords, or those simply lacking in decency, have been known to load piles of corpses or even livestock - a tactic that always succeeds in lowering enemy morale, or at least covering them in a fresh coat of blood.
Several attempts at rivaling Runtzenfaust resulted in countless different variations at the peak of the sixth Cycle, among these being Korth’s Hollenskette. History books reference great bursts of lightning and flame erupting from these monolithic iron beasts, capable of leveling sections of mountain to rubble. Detailed drawings indicate teams of mages and mechanists working in tandem to create enough ballistic force, sending a large iron rod blasting towards enemy lines, or to clear the path of conquest of Agavres' enemies.. As the Hollenskette's weight and size made them best suited only for the Tested Ramparts of Korth, they are not seen outside the capital. Built by some of the finest engineers of the sixth Cycle, their legendary power has lain untapped for generations. Neglect has tamed these ancient behemoths; their current state of disrepair results from Kilnholdt’s many anarchic periods of violence. None alive today have the magical or technical knowledge necessary to once again rain raw power from these weapons of mass destruction. However, with every new generation of bold usurpers also comes talented mechanists, always eager to tackle the next technological obstacle.