Talk:Kharadron Overlords

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Kharadron Overlords info dump part 1

High above the clouds of the Mortal Realms there thrives an empire of unrivalled prosperity and aerial power. Guided by the wisdom of their Code, the Kharadron Overlords send forth airship fleets to dominate the skyways – all who challenge the Kharadron’s supremacy are quick to suffer the wrath of their techno-arcane war machines.[1a]

Bursting from the clouds on contrails of vapour come squadrons of broad-framed airships, their aethercannons swivelling to bear upon grounded foes before opening fire with the fury of a volcanic eruption. Nimble escort ships dart between the hulls of flying fortresses, well-drilled gunners adding their own withering volleys to the barrage. The sheer devastation unleashed by this considerable arsenal turns the world to fire and smoke. Whatever is left of the Kharadron’s enemies stagger from the inferno in time to see the airships descend, spilling battle-hardened crews of privateers into the fray. Grizzled duardin skydogs leap over the gunwales with cutlasses drawn and shanties upon their lips, eager to earn both glory and a fine haul of plunder.[1a]

MERCANTILE MASTERS

The Kharadron Overlords are a conglomerate of duardin powers united by a shared legacy of sky travel and a burning desire for the miraculous resource known as aether-gold, which powers their empire. Unlike the majority of their duardin kin, the Kharadron long ago forsook their ancient mountain holds, and took to the clouds upon floating cities known as sky-ports. There, they survived the devastation of the Age of Chaos, cleaving to the document known as the Kharadron Code – an exhaustive set of guidelines, laws and transactional rules that governs the often messy business of commerce and dictates the Overlords’ every decision.[1a]

For centuries the Kharadron dwelt in isolation, trading amongst themselves as their airfleets repelled endless assaults from the daemonic servants of the Dark Gods. When Sigmar the God-King returned to the realms at the dawn of a new age, driving back the Chaos hordes and erecting proud free cities amidst the wilds of the realms, the Kharadron sensed great opportunity. They ended their isolation, setting their devastating aerial firepower against the enemies of civilisation, and striking oaths of alliance with the armies of the heavens. In Sigmar’s rising empire, the Kharadron saw a lucrative new trading partner, and ever since their return, duardin airships laden with rare and exotic goods have become a common sight in the docklands of many free cities.[1a]

Short and stocky, Kharadron are comparable in stature to their ground-dwelling kin, and possess many similar traits; they are stubborn, resilient as stone, and take great pride in hard work and iron discipline. However, there are also marked differences. For one, the Kharadron largely scorn organised worship, save for the more traditionalist sky-ports such as Barak-Thryng. Kharadron acknowledge the presence of magic and godly beings of course, but they believe that there is a rational, science-based formula behind all outwardly inexplicable happenings.[1a]

Kharadron society is well ordered and highly meritocratic. Each of the sky-ports is governed by an Admirals Council, which in turn presides over a body of the six most powerful guilds in that city. Every single captain, guild, company and council member is considered for their position due to a combination of their innate talent, professional record and potential for increasing their sky-port’s profits. The bottom line is all that matters.[1a]

The image of Grungni – the duardin smith-god – adorns many Kharadron vessels and statues, though to the majority of these duardin he is more a sign of fortune and a paternal ancestor-spirit than a figure of active worship in their lives. If the tribulations of the Age of Chaos taught the Kharadron Overlords anything, it was that they must rely on their own ingenuity and fortitude, and not upon the benevolence of far-off deities.[1a]

Pragmatism also governs the Kharadron’s approach to matters of honour. While they take sworn oaths as seriously as any duardin, the Kharadron are perfectly willing to exploit loopholes and technicalities in loosely worded contracts to maximise their advantage – and material gain – in any situation. ‘Never sign a Kharadron writ without reading it ten thousand times’ is a common saying amongst Dispossessed clan-chiefs, and it is wise advice; though the sky-duardin are not callous beings, they display a notoriously flexible moral compass when it comes to matters of business. As far as they are concerned, anyone foolish enough to sign a contract without fully anticipating any and all potential outcomes deserves no sympathy whatsoever.[1a]

This mercenary attitude has caused a deal of friction between the Kharadron and representatives of the free cities, but by and large the relationship between the sky-ports and their Sigmarite allies is cordial; both benefit greatly from the other’s presence, and rely on their support in times of war. That said, Kharadron look upon foreigners as somewhat naive and uneducated, and many less scrupulous Captains and Admirals have taken advantage of their neighbours, charging extortionate prices for much-needed supplies, undermining their trading partners whenever possible, and making a killing through the sale of useless gewgaws that they claim possess the power to ward off evil spirits. The nefarious sky-port of Barak–Mhornar has long been suspected of involvement in the illicit trade of cursed artefacts and other forbidden items funnelled through the black markets of the free cities, though its council has been swift to deny these rumours.[1a]

For all their cut-throat business acumen, the Kharadron seldom risk open war with their trading partners. This is a stance born of cold logic more than anything else, for the Kharadron scorn decisions based on emotion. They remember well the Age of Chaos, when duardin stubbornness and reluctance to accept the inevitable almost led to the destruction of their entire race. The Kharadron also recognise that a realm dominated by the God-King will be a sight more profitable than one conquered by the undead legions of Nagash, smashed to rubble by greenskin hordes, or corrupted by the vile touch of Chaos. When war calls, the skyports rally to the side of civilisation – though they always ensure that they receive fitting compensation for their efforts.[1a]

AIRPOWER EMPIRE

The Kharadron sky-ports claim dominion over the airways of the Mortal Realms, and there are few who would dispute that assertion. These enormous, floating citadels are both bustling hubs of trade and military strongholds, capable of drifting vast distances in search of prosperous lands and blasting invading armies out of the sky with barrages from their gigantic aethercannon arrays. Visitors from all across the realms are welcomed into the sky-ports’ bustling dockdistricts and merchant quarters, where every imaginable treasure and exotic resource is available to purchase.[1a]

The secret to the sky-duardin’s military and economic might is their mastery of aether-gold. This magical substance is found as vapour in the skies of the Mortal Realms and, amongst a thousand other uses, is processed in order to power the Kharadron’s mighty ships of the line and their weapons of war. The sky-ports’ desire for aether-gold is all consuming, and with every sunrise scores of prospector fleets are despatched in pursuit of valuable new mining territories. Each of these ventures is led by an Admiral, who chooses a single vessel – typically the largest and deadliest in the fleet – as his flagship. Hardened privateers with a keen eye for opportunity, Kharadron Admirals are responsible for ensuring that each voyage culminates in a healthy share of riches for their crew.[1a]

From the smallest escort gunship to the mightiest heavy cruiser, these imposing, steel-hulled vessels are built to dominate the skies. When the need arises, they are equally deadly when fighting close to the ground. Each member of a sky-ship’s crew is a soldier as much as an aeronaut, rigorously trained for battle and armed with a lethal combination of pistols, boarding axes and cutlasses. When the fleets go to war, the ships of the line can also call upon battle-hardened Grundstok Marines, specialist soldiers hired to repel boarders and obliterate anything that stands between a Kharadron skyvessel and its prize.[1a]

In recent times, the prosperity of the sky-ports has been greatly threatened by an outpouring of untapped magic. Nagash – the God of Undeath – inverted the arcane energies of Shyish through a vast necromantic ritual, giving rise to the all-devouring vortex known as the Shyish Nadir. The creation of this black abyss at the heart of the Realm of Death sent a shockwave across reality, throwing the laws of magic into disarray. Storms of gheists were dragged up from the underworlds to prey upon the living, and rampaging, predatory spells wrought great destruction on the business interests of the sky-ports.[1a]

The Kharadron named this grim event the Garaktormun, or the Great Gale of Death. Its effect on their trading monopolies and mining of precious aether-gold was significant. Such was the aetheric disturbance in the skies that many of the greatest and most lucrative seams were swept wildly off course, dragged far across the realms into uncharted regions. Once reliable revenue streams were thrown into complete disarray, and hundreds of guilds and companies were ruined in a few short months.[1a]

Yet as the Kharadron are so fond of saying, adversity is the bedfellow of opportunity. The sudden vacuum caused by the loss of so many established mining zones led to a new age of prospection and exploration, an aether-gold hunt greater and bolder than anything seen since the earliest days of the Kharadron Overlords’ mighty empire.[1a]

Kharadron Overlords info dump part 2

The Kharadron Overlords’ hard-nosed pragmatism is a remnant of their empire’s traumatic birth. In order to survive the horrors of the Age of Chaos, many duardin mountain kingdoms were forced to abandon their ancient culture and forge a new path. It is a measure of their resolve and ingenuity that they succeeded.[1b]

The origins of the Kharadron Overlords’ mercantile empire lie in strife and bloodshed. In ages past the progenitors of the sky-duardin dwelt in Chamon, Realm of Metal. Great portions of this strange, alchemical realm had been fashioned by the smith-god Grungni into perfectly geometric continents, their ferric crusts and mountain ranges filled with all manner of priceless resources – including the rare realmstone Chamonite, a quicksilver-like liquid metal that could be used to power the most wondrous machinery. Having crafted these perfectly ordered lands for his children, Grungni departed for Azyr, the Realm of Heavens, to fulfil an ancient promise to the GodKing Sigmar. The smith-god was not one to coddle his worshippers and believed that only by thriving without his guiding presence could they grow strong.[1b]

For a time, the clans of duardin, men and gholemkind that dwelt in the heartlands of Chamon did indeed thrive. They rampantly drained the resources of the region, using techno-arcane methods to raise gleaming empires of metal that dominated the lands. The great duardin clans were perhaps the most respected of all, dwelling within their wondrous mountain cities and digging deep into the bedrock of Chamon to excavate precious minerals and gems. Yet this age of prosperity and wonder would not last, for the primordial enemies of all mortals were stirring once more.[1b]

The Chaos God Tzeentch had set his eyes upon the Realm of Metal, for it blazed with potential and sorcerous energy. In the avarice and desire for power that marked the greatest empires of Chamon, the Changer of the Ways found familiar weaknesses on which to prey. Even as his greater daemons whispered promises into the ears of duardin clan-chiefs and human ferromages, the Lord of Sorcery set in motion the corruption of the Realm of Metal itself. He lured forth the godbeast known as the lode-griffon from the aetheric void, so that it settled at the centre of Chamon. The immense magnetic energies of this mythical avian behemoth twisted and bent the land, and played havoc with the industry of the great clans and kingdoms nearby.[1b]

In desperation, they sought to slay the lode-griffon with a spell of transmutation that would turn its form to solid gold. Yet though it was seen through to completion, this ritual was twisted by the hand of one of the Gaunt Summoners – powerful daemonic wizards in thrall to Tzeentch. As the lode-griffon’s flesh was turned to metal, its screams tore open a portal at the centre of the Spiral Crux, and the daemons of Tzeentch poured through.[1b]

Utterly unprepared for the sheer scale of this sudden invasion, the civilisations of Chamon were overwhelmed. Many proud duardin empires that had thrived for centuries were doomed to a drawn-out fate, sealed within the tombs of their mountain fastnesses to starve or be overrun by the seemingly endless tide of daemons. Yet for a few resolute clans, duardin ingenuity provided one last, desperate hope for survival. The steamhead pioneers, masters of aethermatic extraction and cogwork locomotion, laboured day and night to create the means of their escape.[1b]

Utilising advanced sciences bolstered by the wondrous magical substance known as aether-gold, the pioneers raised several cities upon great endrinspheres and aethermatic energisers, escaping the madness engulfing the land by retreating into the skies. These disparate, airborne kingdoms banded together as a loose coalition for mutual protection. Those daemons capable of flight pursued, of course, but the duardin strongholds – that would soon come to be known as sky-ports – had prepared for this; their Gyrocopter pilots fought a tireless battle to clear the clouds, engaging malformed, winged monsters in brutal aerial dogfights. These long years of retreat were unimaginably harsh. Yet in adversity was formed the foundation of a formidable air power.[1b]

It was precious aether-gold that offered the ancestors of the Kharadron salvation. This rare, gaseous substance laced the skies of the Realm of Metal. Whenever the sky-ports came across seams of the stuff, they drained them dry, innovating ever swifter and more efficient methods of extraction. Yet the frantic competition for resources soon caused old rivalries to flare and buried grudges to come to the surface, as each of the sky-ports sought to gather as much aether-gold as possible in order to safeguard their own future at the expense of their rivals. Despite the ever-present threat of Chaos on the horizon, a civil war between these competing air powers seemed inevitable.[1b]

THE CODE

In a final attempt to avert disaster, the leaders of the sky-ports agreed to meet in council. The Conference of Madralta – named after the floating island upon which it took place – would last for many days, as the fleets of no less than seven sky-ports levelled their sky cannon batteries at one another overhead. It was no peaceful debate. More than once, violence threatened to break out at the peace table. Yet in the end, the imminent doom of their way of life forced the duardin leaders to compromise, and attempt to set down a series of laws that would allow all to prosper. None wished to repeat the mistakes of the past.[1b]

The age-old royal dynasties had failed, in the end, to protect their people. There would be no more kings or queens, nor would the sky-duardin ever again look for divine intervention to save them – they had witnessed the fate of those who relied upon the aid of Grungni, Grimnir and Sigmar when Chaos descended upon them. This new empire would be powered by technology and science rather than faith, and governed by elected leaders chosen for their talent, not the provenance of their blood.[1b]

Thus was the first draft of the Kharadron Code laid down. All of the developing sky-ports contributed to this document, which codified the principles of discipline, individual freedom, personal profit and communal security that would become the foundation of the Kharadron Overlords’ sky-spanning empire. The word Kharadron itself means something akin to ‘born from the sundered mountain’ in ancient duardin – although the people of the sky-ports would come to embrace a new culture, they would never forget the trauma that had birthed their great civilisation.[1b]

The initial guidelines inscribed in the Kharadron’s exhaustive manifesto were taken from naval laws originally intended to maintain discipline aboard a sky-ship. The Code simply took these artycles and expanded upon them to cover the governance of their entire society. The Code stipulates everything, from how aether-gold deposits can be claimed to the rules for engaging foes. The original document included nine artycles, each subdivided into many sections. Therein could be found the Artycles of Union, the Seven Rules of Prosperity and the Twelve Points of Election. Over time there have been amendments to the Code – especially in the aftermath of Nagash’s necroquake – although some sky-ports refute them, most notably the ultra-traditionalist Barak-Thryng. Even upon agreed artycles, there is often room for interpretation, and some Captains, particular those hailing from the roguish Barak-Mhornar, are remarkably agile in their ability to navigate the framework of the Code.[1b]

Kharadron Overlords info dump part 3

The airborne empire of the Kharadron Overlords relies upon one resource above all others: aether-gold, the sparkling Breath of Grungni. The sky-ports launch fleet after fleet in search of this rare mineral, and are perfectly willing to make war upon their neighbours in order to secure the most prosperous mining fields.[1c]

Aether-gold is the lifeblood of Kharadron society. Known as the Breath of Grungni, this lighterthan-air mineral bears the cities of the sky-faring duardin aloft, grants motion to their airships and empowers their weaponry. It is at once the source of the Kharadron Overlords’ vast industrial power and their greatest weakness – without precious aether-gold, the duardin’s floating empire would quite literally fall from the skies.[1c]

Though it can be found across the Eight Realms, aether-gold is not easily mined. In its natural state it is less dense than air, and floats above the cloudline as a sparkling gas or vapour. Not only does the tenuous quality of the metal make it very difficult to locate, but it also means that aether-gold is susceptible to being swept vast distances across the skies by magical storms and other phenomena. Only when refined and processed does aether-gold take on a solid form. In this state it resembles common gold, though its sheen is brighter and it is far stronger and more malleable. The Kharadron though cognisant of its miraculous properties – do not think of aether- gold as a magical substance. Instead, they perform all manner of scientific experiments upon it, mixing it with other minerals and subjecting it to a variety of temperatures, conditions and chemicals in an attempt to catalogue the unusual effects that the Breath of Grungni can produce.[1c]

The dangers involved in mining aether-gold are manifold. The skies of the Mortal Realms are rarely peaceful, and a sudden magnetic storm or arcane tempest can spell disaster even for a powerful Kharadron ship of the line.[1c]

Furthermore, aether-gold seams inevitably draw the attention of magical beasts and predators of the sky – megalofins, harkraken and flocks of blade-feathered rakks – and are of course prized by many rivals of the Kharadron. The change-cults of Tzeentch and the aerial armies of the Grotbag Scuttlers both prize its magical qualities, though thankfully neither of these foes have mastered the processes of refining and weaponising it.[1c]

More recently, Cogsmiths of the Ironweld Arsenal have drawn the ire of the sky-ports by attempting to siphon off the substance for their own ends. The Kharadron Overlords do not take threats to their aether-gold monopoly lightly, and are perfectly willing to turn their guns upon rival miners as long as such action can be justified by the Kharadron Code – and there is usually a loophole to be found that allows them to do just that.[1c]

Whenever a new vein is discovered, the nearest sky-port is quick to cordon off the area with flotillas of heavily armed Ironclads and Frigates, while specialised dredger-vessels and trawlers began the task of gathering up the bounty. Floating refineries held aloft by endrin-arrays are assembled in particularly prosperous zones, so that the process of extraction and purification can begin without delay. Sometimes, vast territories are entirely devoted to this process. The Goldlanes of the Cathmarn Strait and the Aetherstream of Ziffenbrynyar are sprawling areas dedicated solely to aether-gold harvesting, patrolled by prospector fleets and immense cloud-dredgers.[1c]

There is no aspect of Kharadron life that is not driven by the use of aether-gold. Brewery-stations use it to fuel their churning stills. Arkanaut armour is aether-crafted in order to maximise its protective strength while allowing the bearer to move swiftly and surely. Cloud whalers rely on it to power their harpoon cannons, and tavern owners to light up their cramped drinking pits. The Kharadron craft and trade all manner of materials, but even the most mundane creations are – somewhere along the way – reliant upon the transformative power of processed aether-gold.[1c]

Such is the Kharadron’s desire for more and more of this precious resource that whole reserves can be drained within a matter of weeks, or even days. There are even those Aether-Khemists amongst the more traditional sky-ports, like BarakThryng, that fear the avaricious speed with which the fleets are strip-mining the Mortal Realms. What, they ask, would the sky-ports do if the unthinkable happened, and no more seams of aether-gold could be found? Without the means to power their guns and vessels, the Kharadron Overlords would be left at the mercy of their foes. The more prosperous sky-ports such as BarakNar and Barak-Zilfin scorn such concerns as laughable pessimism, and with every passing day their consumption of raw resources only gathers pace.[1c]

AETHER-POWERED ARMS RACE

Kharadron technology is in a constant state of evolution and advancement. In this age of unbound magic, the great guilds have been forced to utilise every iota of their expertise in order to face down new and increasingly terrible threats. The Guilds of the Endrineers and the Aether-Khemists constantly conduct intensive experiments with aether-gold, seeking news ways of weaponising the substance.[1c]

Recent inventions include incendiary torpedoes capped with slivers of aqthracite, handheld anti-magic repulsors, and aetheric lenses that can gaze through a ship’s hull. An entire subdivision of the Endrineers Guild has been tasked with providing the sky-ports with effective countermeasures against the predatory spells that have ravaged many vital trading hubs and exploratory fleets. These methods vary greatly, but Ironclads armed with magic-dampening null projectors and voidstone scatter-mines have proven very effective against hostile tides of magic.[1c]

Since the dawn of the necroquake, storms of gheists and wraiths have plagued many of the great sky-ports. Tales abound of lost Barak-Durmmaz, caught in the deathstorms of Shyish and entirely overwhelmed by the spectral processions of the Nighthaunts. It is said that the port still plies the sky-lanes, crewed by the bitter spirits of dead duardin.[1c]

In response to similar disasters, many of the sky-ports have decreed the formation of elite Grundstok units specialised in the destruction of ‘non-physical entities’. These ‘black marines’ – so named for the obsidian armour carapaces they wear, regardless of sky-port affiliation – are armed with scatter-shot rifles and equipped with a variety of anti-ethereal equipment and weaponry: celestium burst-grenades, scintillator lenses and aether-vapour projectors. They were first deployed during the Wraith Fleet Conflict, where they fought against the ghostly corsairs of the vampire Varkos Varactyr with notable success.[1c]

Kharadron Overlords info dump part 4

The years following the return of the God-King to the Mortal Realms were highly profitable for the sky-ports, as their trading empire grew exponentially with each new city of Order founded. Yet a storm was brewing on the horizon, a maelstrom of magic that would bring about an era of unrivalled change.[1d]

The Shyish necroquake – or Garaktormun, as it is known amongst the sky-ports – broke across the domain of the Kharadron Overlords like a crashing wave. In its wake it dragged up tides of gheists from the underworlds, vengeful souls moulded into agents of undeath by the hand of Nagash, the Great Necromancer.[1d]

Many other sky-ports soon felt the touch of the grave upon them. Even Barak-Nar, the shining jewel of the Kharadron empire, was not immune. The dockyards of the City of the First Sunrise were all but overwhelmed by Nighthaunt processions, and only a desperate stand by Grundstok Thunderers under the command of the Aether- Khemist Njarn Firewhiskers stopped the tide of gheists from breaching the city proper. The catastrophe caused untold damage, thousands of deaths, and led to over fifty guildcompanies filing for bankruptcy. Even greater disasters were occurring elsewhere.[1d]

Two lesser skyports, Barak-Durmmaz and Barak-Kling, were destroyed as the first destructive shockwaves of amethyst magic swept forth from the Realm of Death. Scores of sky-fleets were battered off course, or set upon by howling gales of spectres. The true death toll of those dark days would never be fully accounted for, but estimates from the Endrineers Guild of Barak-Nar alone suggest around one fifth of the sky-port’s navy was lost or destroyed in the outbreak of the Garaktormun.[1d]

Worse still, the tremendous magical disturbances caused by the necroquake gave rise to sentient spells that ravaged the skies. Purple Suns descended from the clouds, raining cascades of pure death magic that turned everything within reach into unmoving crystal. Snapping jaws of bone materialised in the midst of sky-fleet formations, and in an event that has gone down in infamy, an enormous Aethervoid Pendulum carved the Barak-Zilfin flagship Sunderer in twain, the vessel’s remains crashing down upon the Hall of Endeavour while the Admirals Council was in session. This caused the deaths of no less than seven of the Windswept City’s foremost representatives. To many fighting forces, such losses would be catastrophic, but the Geldraad – the highest ruling council of Kharadron society – swiftly moved to secure new guild-contracts for replacement Ironclad and Frigates, and organise new Musterpresses on a grand scale in order to reinforce the ravaged Arkanaut companies. In addition they ratified several military and societal amendments to the Code, in a reaction to the rapidly changing times.[1d]

Such radical action was necessary, for not only did the Shyish necroquake cause great physical damage to the sky-ports, but it also threatened to rob them of their very livelihood. Gaseous deposits of aether-gold were swept vast distances across the realms, carried by the roiling tides of magic. Many of these streams were integral to the sky-ports’ profits, and their disappearance was akin to the severing of vital arteries. Yet as befits their adventurous and adaptable nature, the Kharadron Overlords saw opportunity even in these very darkest of hours.[1d]

THE GREAT VENTURE

The sky-port councils swiftly realised that the Garaktormun not only brought great danger, but the possibility of securing dramatic new gains. Many of the most prosperous aether-gold streams had long ago been claimed by individual skyports, and for decades this monopoly had ensured a familiar hierarchy of influence within Kharadron society. Yet this control had been predicated on those mining routes remaining largely static. Now that so many had been displaced, the intricacies of the Code allowed for new claims to be made by rival powers – so long as they could seek out the missing lodes of aether-gold first. The smell of profit was in the air, and soon the Gorak-drek – the Great Venture – commenced in earnest.[1d]

This upheaval would take the Kharadron into new and deadly territories, and see them match their guns against all manner of new foes. Thousands of new voyages were chartered, from scouting missions into hostile lands, to grand expeditions intended to seize vast swathes of territory. The Spiral Crux at the heart of the Realm of Metal saw intense fighting, as BarakNar and several other sky-ports converged upon arcane wastes rich with the Breath of Grungni and populated by the servants of Tzeentch – an old enemy who had long contested the Kharadron’s dominance of the skies.[1d]

So dawned a new age of technological progress and rapid expansion for the Kharadron. Though Barak-Nar maintained the steering hand over the Geldraad, the fortunes of many sky-ports would change drastically, as profits and therefore influence rose and fell dramatically. Some, like BarakMhornar, would even take the ultimate risk and depart the Realm of Metal entirely, seeking new and prosperous skies.[1d]

THE LANDS BELOW

Although the pursuit of new aether-gold streams is invariably the most pressing issue on the minds of the Geldraad, they have not ceased their attempts to gain a chokehold over trade with their allies in the free cities. Kharadron commercial enclaves in strongholds such as Excelsis, Hammerhal and Greywater Fastness have grown greatly in size and influence, as the sky-ports’ merchants flood the markets with rare and wondrous trade goods.[1d]

The Kharadron Overlords have a surplus of crude blackpowder weapons and cogwork machines that they happily trade to the inhabitants of Sigmar’s cities. These artefacts and engines still have their uses, but they are laughably simplistic compared to the state-of-the-art skyvessels fielded by the sky-ports. The Kharadron look upon the designs of the Ironweld Arsenal and human technologists with something approaching bemused contempt. Less scrupulous Captains been known to take advantage of human naivety by selling bogus tonics, ersatz ale and ‘real, genuine realmstone’, all at exorbitant prices.[1d]

The Stormcast Eternals remain something of an enigma to the Kharadron. The champions of Sigmar’s armies do not seem to desire any luxuries, and so most of the Kharadron’s entreaties towards them come to naught. Worse still, the archaic, honourbound attitudes of many Stormhosts continue to lead to potentially dangerous misunderstandings. When Admiral Porrbus of Barak-Urbaz attempted to provide a financial incentive for the Knights Excelsior to abandon their defence of the Zephen Skypass and allow Kharadron trading ships access to the rich clouds beyond, the truculent Stormcasts reacted with outrage. An Arkanaut Frigate was downed by Celestar Ballista fire, and the sky-port have since marked the merciless Stormhost as a foe.[1d]

Never ones to tie themselves down to a single alliance, the Kharadron Overlords have diversified their trading by making contact with forces outside the influence of Azyr. Deals with the war-obsessed greenskins are – though not unheard of – very rare, but the lords of the deathly Ossiarch Bonereapers have proven quite amenable. Officially the sky-ports are at war with Mortarch Katakros and his soul-constructs, but that has not stopped ivory smugglers out of BarakMhornar from making a killing trading bones looted from recent battlefields with the legion known as the Stalliarch Lords. As of late however, these enterprising Admirals have struggled to fulfil the Bonereapers’ increasingly outlandish demands – should they fail to do so, the skeletal lords have threatened extreme repercussions.[1d]

Kharadron Overlords info dump part 5

Floating metropolises held aloft by the wondrous power of aether-gold, the Kharadron sky-ports are the dominant power in the skies of the Mortal Realms. Merchants and adventurers flock from afar to visit these technological marvels, for within their bustling dock districts can be found all manner of exotic goods and illicit secrets.[1e]

When they first rose from the mountains of Chamon and took to the clouds, the sky-ports of the Kharadron Overlords were floating fortresses, fashioned for survival and armed for war. While they still maintain a formidable array of firepower – as any foe foolish enough to stray within range of their skycannon batteries will attest – they have become much more than mere defensive strongholds. They are amongst the greatest centres of trade in the Mortal Realms, each home to many thousands of duardin and visited by representatives from all of the civilised nations.[1e]

The exact size and layout of a sky-port can vary greatly, but the majority are constructed as a series of concentric squares, with the vital administrative and governmental districts placed at the centre. All are bordered by vast and bustling dockyards, which are constant hives of activity. Most sky-ports refuse to allow any non-Kharadron beyond the docklands, and so these quarters are filled to the brim with humans, aelves and other races, whose every desire is catered to by enterprising traders.[1e]

Bathed in the candescent glow of whaleen-oil lamps, the labyrinthine streets echo to the chattering chorus of a thousand different languages. Endrintrams and steam-gondolas provide access along the canalways that run through the sky-port; these function as sewers and water-pipe routes, but also dispose of waste by spilling it out of hatches to rain down on the lands below.[1e]

Above, the skies are choked with airships – not solely military models, but civilian skiffs, bulk haulers and yachts. In the busiest sky-ports, traders can sometimes be forced to wait in lane for several days in order to secure a berth. Barak-Zilfin in particular is known for its heavily congested airlanes. According to the Code, each Sky-port controls all airspace around its domicile within the span of three cannon shots. Beyond that, the expanse of the skies is known as the ‘high airs’, and is regarded as neutral territory. The borders of each sky-port are guarded by floating fortresses armed with intimidating arrays of cannons and swivel-guns, informally known as ‘Zunfar towers’, after the Admiral who pioneered their use.[1e]

When returning Frigates and their escort vessels make port, troupes of dirty, battle-scarred Arkanauts unload their latest acquisitions before heading deeper into the city to make the most of their temporary leave. Gambling halls, smokeshrouded darak-dens and garish bawdyhouses all provide muchneeded opportunities for Arkanauts to blow off steam. With fresh aether- gold shares burning a hole in their pocket and often only a few days or weeks to make use of, they waste no time getting drunk on cheap ale and heading to the card tables. This release of pent-up energy sometimes gets a little rough, at which point it is down to the copperhats – a slightly derogatory name for the longshore marshals – to maintain order. These no-nonsense naval police, usually made up of veteran Grundstok Marines injured in the line of duty or neophyte Arkanaut recruits, go about their task methodically with billy clubs and fists.[1e]

Beyond the dock districts sprawl endless rows of warehouses, aetherfactories and other industrial zones. These sectors are home to the lesser-chartered guilds, and are populated by many thousands of labourers – those duardin who were passed over by the Musterpresses and thus denied a career in the sky-fleets. Despite the Kharadron’s undoubted technological mastery, their existence can be a difficult one. Packed together like tinned globfish in almshouses and workhalls, they toil daily for a relative pittance; although Kharadron society is proudly meritocratic, factory bosses have a vested interest in ensuring their downtrodden workers do not rise beyond their station.[1e]

While aether-gold can be processed without releasing polluting smoke, much of the Kharadron Overlords’ heavy industry utilises other, less refined chemicals and metals. Smog and acidic rain showers are common, despite the use of endrinbellows and dispersal fans to clear the worst of the contamination. Some sky-ports suffer from this chemical blight more than others; Barak-Nar’s relentless industrial drive and Barak-Zon’s ever- expanding weapons industries have led to particularly heavy pollution, bringing with it diseases such as sky-miner’s consumption, ironscale and the dreaded glowlung.[1e]

The Aether-Khemists Guild of BarakNar has dedicated an entire arm of its alchemical labs to uncovering cures for these epidemics using subdermal infusions of aether-gold, but thus far only the richest residents are able to afford such treatment. By contrast, Barak-Thryng’s refusal to utilise wasteful, non-traditional methods of generating power means that its skies are relatively clear.[1e]

The wealthiest individuals in the skyport reside close to its thriving heart, in gated towers and floating manses held aloft by a steady flow of aether- gold. From here, the Lord-Magnates and master industrialists of the city quite literally look down upon those less fortunate. Lord-Magnate Kreg Folsson of Barak-Urbaz has constructed an obscenely luxurious endrinvilla right above the refinery in which he once worked as a beardling, so that every day he can see just how far he has come.[1e]

At the centre of a sky-port lies its nexus of government, typically located amidst a wondrous plaza district portraying the city’s proudest military and economic achievements. These grand old structures include the Hall of Endeavour in BarakZilfin, the Sunrise Citadel of BarakNar, Barak-Mhornar’s mysterious Shadowmark Repository and the Kazakluft of Barak-Thryng.Here the Admirals Council gathers, and the dual businesses of profit and war are debated. No more than a handful of outsiders have ever been granted access to these closely-guarded quarters, but they speak of vast and imposing chambers echoing to the bellicose sounds of Kharadron politics, and populated by minor armies of runescribes and dignitaries.[1e]


Kharadron Overlords info dump part 6

From the most minor guild-corporation to the greatest of the sky-ports, all levels of Kharadron society are managed like a business conglomerate. Every decision is governed by the desire for profit, and justified by guidelines laid down in the Kharadron Code.[1f]

The free cities of Sigmar have a complex power structure, but even this pales in comparison to the bureaucratic system of governance practised by the Kharadron skyports. Overall command of each sky-port goes to the Admirals Council, which is comprised of the most successful officers of the fleet. It is the aim of all Kharadron skyfarers to secure a place on this august body, for they wield incredible power and influence.[1f]

Beneath the Admirals Council are the six largest guilds, including the Endrineers Guild, Aether-Khemists Guild and the Fleet Service. The latter is typically the most influential amongst the six, as their airships are vital to the gathering of aether-gold. However, the relative authority of the guilds fluctuates from city to city. Barak-Zilfin, for example, grants great influence to its peerless Nav-League.[1f]

Each individual fleet – regardless of size and function – is also subject to its own governing council, whose members act as managing directors. Upon return to port, a Kharadron Admiral answers directly to this board, and they have the right to terminate his contract should he fail to deliver as promised. Furthermore, every single member of the crew is a shareholder with a vested interest in ensuring a successful voyage.[1f]

Above even the Admirals Council of each sky-port is the Geldraad, the highest ruling body of Kharadron Overlords society. It is composed of members from the six wealthiest sky-ports, with the number of delegates provided by each determined by capital. Barak-Nar maintains a ‘Steering Hand’ with six seats, but recent events have caused the fortunes of several great Kharadron powers to rise and fall.[1f]

THE AETHER-KHEMISTS GUILD

The Aether-Khemists are alchemic scientists. It is with their knowledge that even cloud-obscured aether- gold seams can be located and followed. Indeed, it is only by the genius of their guild’s inventions that aether-gold can be siphoned from clouds and refined into a solid substance. The guild trains its members to use a wide range of gadgets, including analytic recogitators, heliotropic distillators and the God’s Lung. Their methods are not solely experimental in nature, for an Aether-Khemist must also learn to grade the quality of aether-gold through the only means known – by smell. Aether-Khemists maintain guild centres in all of the sky-ports, but Barak-Urbaz has by far the greatest number, and their members are renowned throughout Kharadron society for their skill at wringing aether-gold from the air.[1f]

THE NAV-LEAGUE

The Nav-League is composed of Aetheric Navigators, a secretive order of aerocartographers. It is their lore that has mapped out the troposphere of Chamon and sections of the realm’s stratosphere. They study the elements, especially the winds and shifting atmospheric energies. They guide the sky-fleets along aerial trade routes, seeking to catch thermals and avoid the many perils of the airways. Only those that can quickly solve complex mathematical formulas under great duress can hope to pass the entrance exams to attend one of the Navcademies. Yet no matter how rigorous the training, it is nothing compared to hanging onto the deck rails while trying to calculate the shifting currents of the Strahlstrom – just one of the many duties a Navigator is called upon to perform aboard an airship.[1f]

THE ENDRINEERS GUILD

The most mechanically inclined Kharadron are apprenticed to the Endrineers Guild. All sky-ports have guild-run Endrineering Academies, the largest of which are the Great Coghalls of Barak-Zilfin. Those who demonstrate skill find profitable employment as artificers, metalcasters, forgekeepers or shipwrights, but only the very best and bravest are sent to work on the Arkanaut fleets themselves. There, they serve the ships as Endrinriggers or, should they survive long enough and accomplish full mech-mastery, as Endrinmasters. The Endrineers Guild is just as protective of its machines as the exacting rites that keep them running, and there is a fair amount of sharp practice between guild members from competing sky-ports, each seeking to undermine or benefit from their rivals’ latest innovations.[1f]

CHARTERED COMPANIES

Alongside the six major guilds, each sky-port has hundreds of for-profit enterprises known as guild-companies or chartered companies. These organisations make their fortune by selling a particular product or service. The smallest beard-oil sellers or brewsmiths may number only a few scattered depots within their home city, while the largest are incredibly powerful corporate giants that have offices in multiple sky-ports. Iggrind-Kaz Aeronautics, for example, is renowned for the quality of its surgeinjection endrins, which utilise liquidised aether-gold to grant a vessel supercharged bursts of speed. The guild-company has depots in five of the six major skyports – only Barak-Thryng refuses to allow the upstart company permission sell within its borders, citing improper and wasteful use of the Breath of Grungni.[1f]

That has not stopped several Captains native to the sky-port from installing Iggrind-Kaz components in their ships. As the Code allows for guild-companies to trade beyond the borders of their home port, they are often sponsored or partly funded by one of the major guilds, who skim a nice percentage from every bulk sale. The Grundcorps of Barak-Zon, for instance, owns many shares in the weaponsmith Thrund Armoury, whose aethershot rifles are always in high demand for their ruggedness and accuracy. Barak-Thryng’s dark ales – brewed according to ancient recipes guarded as fiercely as any military secret – are the envy of all. Guild-companies such as Bugman’s Brew and the Grumgar Brothers’ Hoppery are in particularly high demand. They even sell their wares in Sigmar’s free cities – but only watered-down grog unfit for duardin consumption.[1f]

Kharadron Overlords info dump part 7

It is the destructive force of the Kharadron’s fearsome airships that ensures their monopoly over the trade lanes of the Mortal Realms and keeps the aether-gold flowing into the coffers of the sky-ports. When an airfleet sails to battle, it carries enough firepower to turn any fortress to smoking rubble.[1g]

During the Age of Chaos, civilisations were broken and dispossessed peoples were forced to flee the ruins of their shattered kingdoms. Cast adrift, many of those exiled were slain or captured and pressed into slavery. Those that escaped did so by finding hidden enclaves or living as nomads, forever fleeing to stay ahead of enemy armies and monstrous ravagers. When the duardin were driven out of their mountain holds, the forebears of the Kharadron took to the clouds. Their greatest weapons in the wars to come would be their skyvessels, perhaps the most technologically advanced war machines in the Mortal Realms.[1g]

Early designs evolved into what would later become the Arkanaut class of airship. Armour-plated, and capable of carrying a complement of crew and warriors, the Arkanaut Frigate became the mainstay of the Kharadron fleets, with the larger Ironclads serving as flagships. Since the earliest days the duardin learned to outfit their skyborne ships with as much weaponry as possible. The blackpowder weapons of yore were replaced, with the majority of the Arkanauts’ impressive arsenals now powered aethermatically. The sky-dwellings that were once but temporary refuges were built up, becoming vast growing cities. When the true riches of the upper atmosphere were discovered, all plans to return to ground-based living were abandoned – and it was the sky-fleets that made it all possible.[1g]

Sky-fleets are used to seek out aether-gold and to protect those mining it. The sky-fleets transport cargo, and each sky-port maintains patrol fleets that protect the airspace above and around the floating cities as well as common trade routes. In essence, the sky-fleets are – and have always been – the very lifeblood of the Kharadron Overlords’ mercantile empire.[1g]

Across each of the different skyports, it is the desire of every young beardling to serve aboard the sky-fleets. Competition is fierce amongst the company-sponsored aereonautical academies. There, retired crew and Captains teach – and pass notoriously ruthless judgements upon – their charges, offering ratings to only the most able-bodied. It is in their best interests to do so, of course, for they own stock in the fleets and will be rewarded only if newly crewed ships can return profits.[1g]

As the Kharadron Code states, every ship must bear a Captain, a leader who rules the craft absolutely. Whilst aboard, none save the Admiralty have the right to disobey an order. Crews are chosen at the Musterpress and can come from different academies within the same sky-port. Although they hail from different families and backgrounds, once aboard, the crew are bonded by many oaths and Code-prescribed rituals. Crew pride themselves on their loyalty to ship and shipmates, and invariably the most successful sky-fleets employ crew that have served together for decades.[1g]

It is possible, as laid out by Artycle 1, Point 5 of the Code, for crew to usurp a captaincy. This is not some riotous act of mutiny, but rather meritocracy at work. Sub-clauses of the Code mandate the replacement of Captains who do not bring success upon a ship, for to rest upon the laurels of past triumphs is not the way of the Kharadron. Captains so deposed are not dishonoured; they merely lose their rank and join the crew, as per Artycle 1, Point 6, where they might rise or fall based on their own achievements like all others.[1g]

ORGANISATION OF THE AIRFLEETS

At the top of an airfleet’s hierarchy are its commissioned officers. Each airship has a Captain, whose rule over his craft is absolute. When enough ships are grouped together, however, an Admiral is appointed to overall command, and his authority extends further still. Each sky-port has a number of Admirals at its disposal, each with the potential to command an entire airfleet.[1g]

The other officers in the fleet hail not from the Arkanaut training academies but are specialists from the guilds – Aetheric Navigators, Aether-Khemists and Endrinmasters. These warrant officers are assigned wherever their skills will serve the sky-fleet best, but they commonly go to war upon its Arkanaut Ironclad. Many fleets boast several such officers. It is especially common for larger flotillas to deploy Endrinmasters equipped with high-speed dirigible suits in order to respond rapidly to mechanical crises across the fleets. Likewise, it is common for prospecting fleets to carry more than one Aether- Khemist, for the more of these alchemical scientists are aboard, the more likely the Kharadron are to sniff out a rich seam of aether-gold.[1g]

Arkanaut Frigates and Ironclads are the ships of the line and the mainstay of the fleet, acting as bombers, gunships or transport craft as the Admiral sees fit. An Admiral can pick any ship within the fleet to call his capital ship; this is most often the largest vessel – usually an Ironclad – but sometimes a Frigate of long or distinguished service will have the honour of bearing him to battle. Many Admirals change vessels with each fresh voyage, shrewdly picking a fitting conveyance depending on the requirements of their chartered mission. Others maintain a particular fondness for a single skyship, spending the majority of their careers walking the same deck and fighting alongside the same crew. Grundstok Gunhaulers, meanwhile, are hired escort-class fighters, used as interdiction craft or to launch swift assault runs. There have been instances where raids or even largescale battles have been brought to a successful and profitable conclusion by the use of these ships alone.[1g]

The bulk of the sky-fleet’s infantry is composed of the Arkanaut Companies, whose primary role is to perform ground-based or boarding actions in furtherance of the fleet’s objectives. The more heavily armed and armoured Grundstok Thunderers are professional fighters contracted to safeguard the fleet, though how they perform this duty is often at their discretion. The militaristic sky-port of Barak-Zon often eschews aerial raids entirely in order to deliver elite ground troops into the heart of the enemy position. These combat landings have proven devastatingly effective against fortified positions.[1g]

Finally, the Skyriggers are mobile rapid-response specialists whose roles require them to manoeuvre among the other elements of the fleet as the situation demands. Endrinriggers usually enter battle alongside the flagship but will scramble to repair other ships as necessary. The offence-oriented role of Skywardens usually sees them accompany the Grundcorps into battle.[1g]

While each sky-port has its own distinct way of organising the different components of its fleets – from the hun-ghrumtok (‘heavy bomber wing’) of Barak-Thryng to the mighromtok (‘scout patrol wing’) of Barak-Zilfin – all are assembled from the same core of officers, troops and airships. It is a system that has served the Kharadron well and enforced their dominance of the skies across the Mortal Realms.[1g]

Kharadron Sky-Ports, info dump part 8

BARAK-URBAZ

It is said that bartering with a trader from Barak-Urbaz is more treacherous than navigating a shoal of stunfish. Barak-Urbaz is the most cosmopolitan sky-port, and its citizens pursue profit with unmatched zeal. This city boasts the greatest sky-fishing fleets, for its Codewrights long ago won Code Claims to several cloudbanks rich in life. Further income pours into the sky-port from Realmgates known only to its Admirals Council, and its fleets ferry people or goods through these portals to any realm for a fee. The most skilled Aether-Khemists come from Barak-Urbaz, and their methods ensure that not even the clouds can avoid being squeezed for profit.[1h]

During the Time of Tribulations, many Captains of Barak-Urbaz made a fortune providing safe passage – often at a significantly marked-up price – for citizens of Sigmar’s free cities who were fleeing the destruction wrought by Nagash’s necroquake. The cynical behaviour of several of these skyfarers led to the infamous Seven-Day War, during which an irate Freeguild General from Hammerhal Aqsha opened fire upon the fleet of Admiral Ubb Kengaz, furious at the unscrupulous Kharadron’s apparent abandonment in Chaos-held territory of several thousand passengers who no longer had the coin to pay them.[1h]

BARAK-MHORNAR

Labelled pirates or worse by the duardin of the other sky-ports, the denizens of Barak-Mhornar are regarded with no small amount of irony as great innovators when it comes to interpreting the Kharadron Code. Indeed, several of the amendments that have been added to the original document were ratified specifically to halt depredations largely being carried out by privateers from Barak-Mhornar. The guile of those who hail from the City of Shadow is legendary among the Kharadron Overlords. Tales abound of their use of specially modified optical arrays that can alter the colour of their ships, and of surprise attacks launched suddenly by their fleets from clouds of unnatural blackness.[1h]

To the unease of its rivals, Barak-Mhornar recently became the first sky-port with delegates on the Geldraad to abandon Chamon. Contact was lost with the City of Shadow, and exploratory fleets sent to investigate found it entirely missing, a swirling portal of umbral magic in its place. The only way to access Barak-Mhornar is to pass through this mysterious Realmgate, which leads to a labyrinthine archipelago of mist-shrouded isles with the sky-port at its centre. Traders are still granted access to carry out illicit transactions, escorted through the maze by black-hulled ships. Despite the Geldraad’s urgings, the Admirals of Barak-Mhornar steadfastedly refuse to reveal the city’s true location.[1h]

BARAK-ZILFIN

Barak-Zilfin, the Windswept City, is famed for the skill of its pilots and shipwrights. No fleets venture as far as those from this sky-port, and while some regard them as reckless, they are supremely confident in the abilities of their crew and the sturdiness of their ships.[1h]

None can predict or ride the aetheric currents as the airfleets of Barak-Zilfin can. Within wider Kharadron society they are known as the ‘Windmasters’, although the other sky-ports claim this moniker refers to the fact that they are all blowhards – or even that duardin from the sky-port tend to suffer from advanced flatulence. The citizens of Barak-Zilfin simply laugh off such petty insults as simple jealousy, for the aggressive opening of new trade markets has seen the Windswept City grow to be the second largest of the Kharadron sky-ports, holding vital seats on the Geldraad. It is a position they seem unlikely to relinquish, for the Great Coghalls of Barak-Zilfin – the most famed of all Endrineering Academies – produce more new airships than any other.[1h]

Of all the sky-ports, Barak-Zilfin gained the most from the confusion and Chaos caused by the Garaktormun. Not only did they manage to increase their shares sufficiently to earn an additional seat on the Geldraad, but the sky-port’s expert Aetheric Navigators were able to guide the city’s fleets safely through the worst of the cyclonic storms.[1h]

BARAK-THRYNG

The old ways are best, say the duardin of Barak-Thryng. They are so conservative that they feel the Kharadron Code should not be altered from its original form, and they even stubbornly refuse to recognise some of the amendments that have been made since. Such an outlook has meant that they have a garnered a reputation within Kharadron society as intractable trading partners. Obstreperous and easily offended, the folk of Barak-Thryng venerate the past and fill their city with monuments to the duardin’s ancestors and gods. Their disposition is best described as gruff, and even amongst fellow duardin they are infamous for holding grudges. Although they have but a single delegate in the Geldraad – the hoary Admiral Grymm Sternbok – none can fail to hear his loud list of complaints at every session.[1h]

The City of the Ancestors’ obstinate adherence to the old traditions actually proved to be a boon during the Great Gale of Death. The aether-gold mines of Barak-Thryng are distinct – other, wealthier sky-ports would probably say ‘quaint’ – in that they rely upon archaic endrin-bellows to steadily suck in great gouts of the substance; a process that is far slower than more recent mining methods developed by the Kharadron, but is much less wasteful. As a result of this trademark thriftiness, the masters of Barak-Thryng had a sizeable reserve of the Breath of Grungni stockpiled for emergencies, and were able to ride out the worst of the necroquake’s effects. The city’s venerable grumblers have since taken great delight in reminding their flashier kin of this at every possible opportunity.[1h]

BARAK-ZON

The first founded of the sky-ports, Barak-Zon is also the highest situated. It is known as the City of the Sun because the light of Hysh causes the floating metal metropolis to gleam red from afar, as though it were burning like some distant star. Fourteen triumphal arches are situated throughout the sky-port, each marking a major victory of its people. Martial pride is everything to its citizens, and rare indeed is the BarakZon Arkanaut who does not long to earn the Ironstar and be immortalised on one of the many avenues of heroes that traverse the city. The duardin of Barak-Zon hail the indomitable Admiral Nelriksson as their greatest champion, for it was he who famously triumphed at the Battle of Tungsten Peaks during the Time of Reaving.[1h]

In recent years, expeditionary forces from BarakZon have found profitable work as hired soldiers, combatting the steady rise in ethereal and daemonic threats in exchange for lucrative trading and mining rights. The other sky-ports typically look down on this propensity for mercenary work, but Barak-Zon’s Grundcorps and Arkanaut Companies have no such qualms. One notable campaign launched by the city saw the 37th Expeditionary Sky-fleet under Admiral Caber Rasmus fight at the Siege of Fort Talburnia, defending the Freeguild stronghold against the Spiderfang Stalktribes of Zigtik Seven-legs. Only eighteen Grundstok Thunderers out of two hundred survived, each earning the Ironstar for their brave service.[1h]

BARAK-NAR

The City of the First Sunrise, Barak-Nar is the largest and most successful of the Kharadron sky-ports. It is they who have the Steering Hand, for they have the most delegates upon the ruling council of the Geldraad. The denizens of Barak-Nar are highly practical and the least superstitious of their kind. The city is best known for its many leading science academies, its great wealth and its history of producing dynamic leaders. Bold, fearless and progressive, the folk of Barak-Nar were the first of the Kharadron Overlords to aggressively pursue trade agreements with non-duardin settlements, and it was they who established the best-patrolled trade routes, routinely marking the sky-paths with zonbeks: well-garrisoned lighthouse docks.[1h]

The necroquake hit Barak-Nar hard, for many of its most profitable aether-streams were swept away upon roaring gales of magic. Such was the economic strain on the sky-port in the wake of the event that they even lost a seat on the Geldraad, something that would have been unthinkable before the disaster. Yet despite this setback, canny manoeuvring by the remaining delegates of Barak-Nar meant that a number of trading monopolies were soon secured over newly discovered seams. Aether-gold is once more beginning to pour into the sky-port’s vaults at a swiftly gathering pace, and the city’s Admirals Council has decreed scores of new voyages into unexplored regions of Chamon, charting new sky-paths and laying claim to prosperous new territories.[1h]

THE GRUNDCORPS

To ensure the protection of their ship and the safeguarding of their cargo, Kharadron officers turn to the professional soldiers of the Grundcorps. Oathsigned into contracts of service and wielding a blistering array of weapons, these grizzled duardin put their lives on the line in the name of profit and glory.[1i]

To the Kharadron Overlords, the name Grundstok is synonymous with elite military prowess. In exchange for a charter and shares in the fleets’ profits, the Grundstok Company – sometimes called the Grundcorps – sends their highly trained warriors and escort fighter craft to safeguard the airfleets. Founded soon after the Sky Exodus, the rise of the Grundcorps has paralleled the growth of the burgeoning empire of the Kharadron Overlords.[1i]

Now, their training academies can be found in all major sky-ports, and even some minor ones. Their mission has remained the same since they were established by Belegrimm Grundstok, in the days when he trained units of crack shots. Their motto, ‘kazar valrhank’, means ‘protect with honour’. It is a duty they evidently perform well, for Grundcorps business is flourishing.[1i]


Sources