The Heroes of Travia
The People’s Republic of Steel Forges
Steel Forges is a bastion of freedom on Travia. It was formed just a few years ago as a result of a revolution in the Dwarven Empire. The revolution was led by Max Silverhands, and consisted of Dwarves, Humans, and Tiktaalik. Today, Steel Forges is run by the Triumvirate, a council led by one representative from each of the major races of the city.
Steel Forges is also the center of a revolution of its own: the industrial revolution. Factories sprang up in the city, producing everything from textiles to firearms. The Steel Forges Guard is known for their early adoption and widespread use of firearms, especially the elites known as Ned Kelly’s Rangers.
The People’s Republic of Steel Forges began as a multi-racial republic, and its demographics are becoming increasingly diverse as more immigrants flock to one of the few bastions of democracy in the known world. As a result, while most citizens of the republic are at least bilingual (with a significant minority being trilingual), Common is the language of choice of the government, as it is considered a universal language free of the imperialistic and bourgeois connotations of Dwarvish and Tiktaalik. One result of this is that citizens have begun to adopt Common names and sometimes have even created entirely new names, eschewing the names of their native cultures.
Politics and Government
The government is a parliamentary democracy, with an executive branch led by a Triumvirate. While elections are being organized to elect delegates to the first People’s Congress, the Triumvirate operates with complete control over the city, issuing frequent edicts (sometimes daily). While this has sped up the liberalization and democratization of the city, this has resulted in a somewhat unstable political environment, with laws sometimes changing from one day to the next.
As new races begin to establish large minorities within Steel Forges, there has been talk of reforming the Triumvirate into a larger council with representatives of other races. As there is no constitution, there is no established route for a minority to achieve legal representation on the Triumvirate. However, as the Orcs, Coranates, and Cliff Elves continue to establish their demographic foothold within the city, clamor for reform grows.
The People’s Commissariat for Justice is responsible for overseeing the courts of Steel Forges. The judicial system of the People’s Republic is currently divided into two court systems; the communal People’s Court, and the Appellate Court. Criminal and civil offenses are brought before a People’s Court administered by a bench of three justices elected by the local commune or collective farm. If the ruling of a course is appealed, then the case is sent to one of the Appellate Courts. The Appellate Court system is made up of nine courts that have city-wide jurisdiction, and the justices of these courts are elected by the justices of the People’s Courts from their own membership.
From the outside, dissenting political beliefs look to be non-existent within the People’s Republic. Many exiles from the city and other critics suggest that nature of the state has not really changed since the Revolution. While the monarchial rule of the Empire might not have allowed the citizens of steel Forges much room for dissent, critics believe that the Triumvirate use organizations like the Cable Street Irregulars to suppress dissent even more ruthlessly. This belief stems from a misunderstanding of the function of the Irregulars, the internal state security organization of the People’s Republic. While they do in fact capture and prosecute “enemies of the Revolution,” these enemies are not merely political dissidents, but in fact are counter-revolutionary terrorists.
The appearance of a seemingly uniform political landscape within the People’s Republic is also a result of misconceptions on the part of critics of the state. Many critics, due to their unfamiliarity with many of the intricacies of Silverist philosophy, are not aware of the many political differences between the various political factions within the state. In fact, there are three main factions operating with the People’s Republic, each with with radically different opinions on foreign and domestic policy.
Also known as the Blues, the Steel Faction is isolationist in nature, and believes that relations should be normalized between Steel Forges, the Dwarven Empire, and other nearby nations. In addition, the Blue also believe in having a strong, self-sustaining economy. The Blues believe that production should be organized from above, with the entire economy being directed and organized by a central planning committee. They also believe in a more stringent immigration policy, as indicated by their belief that quotas should be put into place to restrict the growth of the city. The Blues believe in a strong executive government with a weak parliament. This faction has significant support in the Dwarven community, and often publishes its literature in both Dwarvish and Common. Kel Zimkelonul is the leader of this faction.
The Silver Faction is the oldest political faction within Steel Forges, as many of its founding members were among the first revolutionaries to join Max Silverhands. Its ideology is based heavily on the Max Silverhands’s numerous books and lectures. As such, it emphasizes collective ownership of factories and farms by the workers and strong democratic principles. While Max Silverhands and Ned Kelly are heavily associated with the Silver Faction (ensuring its political dominance within the republic), they do not officially belong to any faction. Instead, Leonard Maldekstro, a Cliff Elf immigrant and early support of Max Silverhands, is the de jure leader of the faction.
The most radical of all of the factions, the Mountain Faction, or the Blacks, takes its name from the inflammatory nature of the coal found within the mountains of Steel Forges. Members of this faction want to export the revolution across all of Travia, freeing all workers from the chains of oppression. In regards to domestic affairs, the Blacks want to abolish central government (as they believe that power inherently corrupts), with trade unions serving as the largest administrative unit. They also believe that direct democracy, rather than the council democracy favored by the Silver Faction, to be the only way to ensure that the People’s Republic is truly governed by the will of the people. The strongest support for this faction can be found in the immigrant communities of Steel Forges. While the Faction is has no single leader, its most prominent member is Mark, one of the three members of the Triumvirate.
Due to the political make-up of the Triumvirate, the People’s Republic is following an internationalist, but pragmatic, foreign policy. Relations with the monarchist states of Travia remain cold at best, and political representatives are being sent out across the continent to organize the workers in other nations. However, the representatives sent to the Xochitl Commonwealth and the cities of the plains have been told to be especially cooperative with the local governments, lest trade relations with these nation-states be jeopardized.
The remote location of Steel Forges and the large distances between it and its trade allies have also spurned one of the more curious innovations found on Travia; the Steel Road. Aimed to connect Steel Forges with the port city of Melbilvon, the Steel Road would allow steam-powered vehicles to transport vital goods quickly between the two cities. Unfortunately, as the planned route of the Steel Road cuts directly though Gnomish and Wood Elvish territory, relations between Steel Forges and the two nations have decayed noticeably.
To counter the recalcitrance of the Gnomes and Wood Elves, another route was being planned and built that would connect Steel Forges to the Anubi capital, primarily championed by Ambassador Origen. However, progress on this route has halted as a result of the recent assassination of the Ambassador and his Anubi counterpart.
The People’s Republic is a heavily industrialized nation that has an economy based on collective ownership of the means of production. Prices for basic goods, such as bread and other necessities, are fixed within the People’s Republic.
What little agriculture exists in the People’s Republic has been collectivized, and the agricultural industry is an example of one of the few purely state-owned industries in Steel Forges. Instead of growing and selling their own produce, farmers are considered state employees and are paid a fixed wage, and all crops are considered property of the state. The agricultural goods are then sold directly by the state to the various cooperatives within Steel Forges. Farmers are paid a bonus if a harvest’s crop yield exceeds the quotas set by the People’s Commissariat for Agriculture.
Unfortunately, the agricultural needs of the People’s Republic have greatly outpaced the domestic production of the nation’s small agricultural industry. As a result, Steel Forges imports much of its food supply from foreign sources, primarily from the various human and dwarven cities of the plains. Possible raids from Savage Kobolds or other hostile groups along the trade route between Steel Forges and the plains nations remain a constant threat to the city, as any closure to the trade route would result in widespread famine throughout the nation. To counter this threat, the government has made significant investments in building up the local agricultural industry.
Before the Steel Revolution, Steel Forges was the Dwarven Empire’s industrial center, and the new government has only increased the pace of industrialization. The People’s Commissariats for Light and Heavy Industry monitor their respective spheres of industry and award subsidies and contracts to the various industrial cooperatives.
As the most highly industrialized nation in Travia, the People’s Republic of Steel Forges is the source of the majority of industrial and manufactured goods across the continent. The low prices of goods manufactured in the factories of Steel Forges allow them to be economically competitive with the often higher quality goods created by gnomish artisans and the craftsdwarves of Melbilvon and the Dwarven Empire.
Public transportation is an important part of life in Steel Forges. While street carriages are the most common form of transportation in the city, the People’s Commissariat for Transportation has been experimenting with the creation of tramways throughout the city, allowing for the introduction of both horsecars and steam-powered trams. Like bread, the price of tickets for the trams are fixed to allow
While the Steel Road is still in production, travel options to destinations outside of the People’s Republic are fairly limited. For the majority of citizens, long-distance carriage rides are the primary means of international transportation. However, Steel Forges is also home to one of the first airship hangers and mooring masts. Though the airships of Steel Forges are primarily used for transporting mail and government officials, they do service passengers and allow for faster long-distance transportation.
Though a wonderful and exciting place to live, the city is not without its problems. Any free city is a natural breeding ground for organized crime, and Steel Forges is certainly no exception. The Black Fangs quickly rose to dominate the seedy underworld of Steel Forges. Most of their members are thugs with a distaste for authority figures, but some are more ambitious. The Black Fangs make a significant amount of their income dealing an illegal drug called Vartax. Recent discoveries have revealed that the Black Fang hierarchy may be far more organized than originally thought. It seems nobody but a select few has met the true leader of the Fangs.