Flintlocks & Fireballs
The Ramaslu of today is almost unrecognisable from a hundred years ago. Instead of rolling grassy plains, the sky is blood-red from the choking clouds given off by the mines, and huge steam-powered behemoths tear endlessly into the earth. The populace are largely confined to small towns perched on the edge of the mines, an even mix of convict labour and slightly richer native workers.
When the fledgeling Empire took control of the Ramaslu province, it was more a matter of necessity than choice – the nomadic horsetribes of the grasslands had always supplemented their lifestyles with banditry, and the expansion of the Empire made securing trade routes vitally important. The initial pacification was simple enough; the various tribes were a hotbed of feuds, and the Empire simply had to wait for a suitable conflict, then take over that region while it was defenceless, conquering the area piecemeal.
This was long ago, of course, but for a suprisingly long time very little changed in the area – the nomadic tribes had little of use to the Empire, and their land was unsuited to argriculture. The tribes were left to their own devices as long as they gave up banditry, and the Empire only kept token forces in the area (albeit with occaisional larger expeditions if a warlord looked to be becoming worryingly powerful).
Things would have remained the same indefinately, had the Empire not started to industrialise. Ramaslu had long been known to be a rich source of coal, and now the Empire decided to make more use of it’s assets. Massive stripmines began to perforate the grasslands, with the former tribespeople being lured by the luxuries of imperial living – tobacco, warm houses, alcohol – into staffing the mines. Given how the mines came to dominate the landscape, they had little choice anyway – there simply wasn’t enough land left now for more than a few tribes.
Life in the mines is hard, but there are a lot worse places to be, frozen Praxia, or scraping out a living in the Wilds. At least, that’s what the Ramasluvians tell each other, coughing endlessly into their cups. At least this life is safe, even if it’s not what they would have chosen. Of course, the children have a romantic view of the past, what life in the saddle would be, but they’re as deluded as the idiots in the rebellion. What the Ramasluvians have lost is nothing compared to what they’ve gained from the Empire… Right?