Friday, August 16, 2013

Technology in Morden

Morden is a land that is caught between contradictions of technology. On the one hand, some things have not changed in centuries—carts still wend their way across roads that are, in many places, little more than dirt tracks. Farmers till the land with horse and plow as they have for generations, and the sword is still the most common weapon wielded by a fighting man.

However, many other advances have come to pass—the emergence of Alchemy, the use of black powder weapons, and ongoing improvements in both medicine and agriculture have all made their mark on Morden’s development. Due to decades of war, many new technologies are related to battle, primarily weaponry. Black powder muskets are now common across Morden, left over remnants from the Bane War or carried in the possession of veterans and their descendants. Some few possess rifles, and more of these firearms are trickling out of Manreia. It is from this southern region that many more technologies are being developed, including experiments with revolving catridges, airships, and steam trains. Just before the Bane War began, scholars and thinkers were turning their attentions towards new methods of seafaring and navigation that surely would have led to a widespread exploration of the untamed—and largely unknown—Discordian Sea.

Alchemical devices and treatments are available in many markets. Many popular items include finely ground lenses that improve sighting over long distances, nightgoggles that allow folk to see—if dimly—in the dark, and various other applications that offer improvements for daily life. However, some of the most impressive expressions of technological improvements married to alchemical processes are three special materials slowly becoming more available to craftsmen across Morden. These materials are blackbriar wood, moonsilver, and Palmyrian steel.

Blackbriar Wood

This dark-colored wood is generally located in groves near regions associated with the Fey. Treated with complex alchemical methods, blackbriar becomes as hard and resilient as iron. Blackbriar is more dangerous than normal wood to Vampires, Dhampir, and other creations of the Blood Witch. Some rare strains can sprout long, razor-sharp thorns when touched by the wielder’s blood.


The rarest of these three materials, moonsilver is a metal of exceptional quality refined through alchemical processes. The origins of its name comes from the way moonsilver sparkles in its natural state at night. When polished, moonsilver gives off a perfect reflection, and when worked like steel it hardens to the equivalent of the finest bronze.

Palmyrian Steel

The secrets of Palmyrian steel are held tightly by the smiths of that city, but rumors claim that this material is formed of hundreds of different types of steel coming together into one; the apex of metallurgy in Morden. Sometimes called “steel-of-many-steels,” this metal is often folded time and time again to possess an unusual “black rainbow” pattern of hues throughout its layers. Palmyrian Steel is legendarily strong, so much so that swordsmen regularly tell stories of cutting through stone, iron, and even through the swords of their opponents when blade meets blade.

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