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Society in the Steam Age

One could best describe society in the cities of the steam age as Victorian. Most people are downright prudish and stuffy, particularly in the upper crust elite. The common man tend to be hard working and honest, though a fair number indulge in drinking and some even in the indulgence of ingesting a new type of spice called "burn", a narcotic produced from refining a mined ore existing mostly in the lands of chaos. The danger involved in travelling to those lands and the relative scarcity of the ore make the stuff hard to get ahold of as well as expensive to aquire.

To add flavor, I like to add Victorian slang in my speech to give more of a feel for the period. The more that you can study and obtain the mindset of the Victorian era, the better that you will be at getting across the true flavor of the time.

The high society of the steam age are elitist and snobbish for the most part. Their world is one all to itself. While they are aware of the state of things for the common man fore or less, this knowledge isn't really real for them in a sense because it just doesn't affect them in any significant way. They don't purposefully try to be cruel; it is just that they frankly don't give any thought to it. It could certainly be said that at least 80% of the wealth is owned by 20% of the people, and perhaps the spread is even more than that.

In Grunburg in particular, most of the wealth is at least third or fourth generation. Your social standing determines what jobs that you are likely to get, whether you will get into an institution of higher learning, who you will marry, etc. The exceptions to the rule are the rare new money, mostly those in industries related to magitech. Innovative unknowns have climbed the social ladder quickly with immediate wealth earned in these key industries. Innovators with no social background are given social status for their contributions, almost as if high society wanted to pay them back for the innovations that make their lives more convenient. A good example might be Dalix Van Grie, the inventor of the self-firing furnace . He was a nobody up until that time, an adventuring mage with a special knack with elemental magic. It wasn't that nobody else could have created an opening to the elemental plane of fire that could be opened and closed, but it was he that did. His device brought convenient heat anywhere one was present, eliminating the need to hire one to stoke furnaces and the cost of wood to burn. It also made large cities more bearable to live in with the reduction of wood smoke in the air. Dalix was embraced by high society as an innovator, as one who deserved the wealth that he aquired. By the same token, an average mrechant who makes his fortune will be looked down upon by the wealthy of Grunburg because he is not established in the social order, even though he may have made far more money than Dalix.

Unknown to the common man, several of the wealth houses of Asterland are plagued with vampires in their midst. They see their state not as a curse, but as the gift of everlasting life. Some of them have lived in the city for up to a hundred years, hiding their secret. Elves, with their long life spans, have an easier time doing this without raising suspicion of why they never grow older over the years.



Asterland Fantasy World