Was going to split this up, but fuck it, let's just blow through this and get to the actual game shall we?
The Mistborn Adventure Game Part 2: Setting Information
Chapter 1 of the MAG introduction details the Final Empire to those uninitiated to the setting. It introduces the man known as the Lord Ruler - the so called "Sliver of Infinity"- who apparently beat a world consuming evil known as the Deepness a thousand years ago before ascending his throne and basically forging the world under his own banner through military might and a never before seen magic. He's sort of this everpresent force of nature, that's both feared and revered.
Underneath him is the Steel Ministry , who are basically the Lord Ruler's church, government and central bureaucracy. They're split into several Cantons. There is the Canton of Orthodoxy, which ensures the Lord Ruler's laws are follows. The Canton of Finance confirms and grants trade contracts, maintains trade routes, and taxes the nobility. Canton of Resource catalogues and rations food and provisions. And the Canton of Inquisition hunts down enemies and heretics against the Lord Ruler. The Steel Ministry basically has integrated themselves fully into everyday life, where any contract that anybody makes has to be ratified by the ministry.
Within the Steel Ministry, the Obligators serve. Basically, these are the eyes and ears of the place. They have shaved heads, ashen robes, and tattoos surrounding their eyes to indicate their stations. They speak with the voice of the Lord Ruler, and the highest nobility is on high alert when even the lowest obligator is around. Beyond the Obligators are the Steel Inquisitors , who are inhuman monstrosities. Identified by having a pair of steel spikes rammed through their eyes and out of the back of their skull, they are inhumanly fast, can tear a horse in two with their bare hands, and wield incredibly magical power. They're described as being virtually invulnerable, and they are the ones that hunt Allomancers and Feruchemists. They are the ones that murder half-breeds of nobles and slaves, and destroy the crew, and quash rebellions with extreme predjudice. They are the Lord Ruler's sword, and will basically destroy you.
The People of Scadrial
There are three main ethnic groups in the Final Empire: The nobles , the skaa , and the Terris . They're all human, and difficult to tell apart by sight, and each forms a distinct caste in the Final Empire. There is also the Kandra , an inhuman race of shapeshifters that live secretly amongst humans and follow the laws only as close as they need to in order to maintain their disguise.
The book next points out that it's literally impossible to change social status. If you are born skaa, you are skaa, your children will be skaa and your grandparents were skaa. No matter how sharp the Terrisman, he cannot rise above his pedigree. This has led to chafing and heated social tensions that are all starting to boil to the top.
The Skaa are the underclass of the Final Empire. Numerous and Diverse, they're indentured to life on farms, canal work, or serving in squalor in the cities. They're typically hardier, but they're poorly-educated and superstitious. It's thought that the Skaa are those who opposed the Lord Ruler for the sins of their ancestors. They are considered owned by the Lord Ruler, and rented out by him to his nobles.
In cities, most skaa work twelve to fourteen hour days in canneries, forges and workshops, producing the munitions that allow for the army and the nobility to live the life they do. In the manor houses, the skaa serve usually inhumane noble masters. And on plantations, they clear and till the barren earth, trying to grow a crop for the noble they serve, all the while cringing under the whips of their taskmasters. Men are conscripted into the military against other skaa, and women can be taken as playthings, to be used and then killed. They have nothing that cannot be taken away from them.
So they attempt to raise rebellion, which fails. Seriously, if a rebellion rises, you start taking bets on when it will fail, not when it will succeed. In a thousand years, there hasn't been a proper threat to the Lord Ruler from the Skaa.
The administrative caste of the Final Empire. The Nobility are the merchants, the well-off, the fancypants of the setting. They throw nightly balls, have rights, and are generally looked fondly upon by the Lord Ruler. This is most likely because they are the decendants of his friends and followers. According to propaganda, they are the only ones that have magic, and it is a birthright for them. But it's not like it's all sun and roses for them either. The byzantine web of their society means that the House comes first, family everything, and the individual is merely a piece to play, use or sacrifice. Noble children are beaten to the brink of death to try to awaken latent magical ability, abandoned to loveless marriages, or given to the Steel Ministry to become Obligators. Those who make it through the gauntlet then have to play the game of politics, where the person who you are talking to is just as likely to slit your throat as he or she is to sleep with you in order to get ahead or drag you down.
The skullduggery becomes even more apparent in the Great Houses- the ten most powerful organizations in the Final Empire. The Houses- Venture, Hasting, Elariel, Tekiel, Lekal, Erikeller, Erikell, Haught, Urbain and Buvidas- are locked in a perpetual war against lesser houses and each other over trade, politics and military affairs. Every once in a while, the cold war breaks out into a real one, which usually is accentuated by assassinations, raids and attacks against each other's holding. The Lord Ruler doesn't usually interfere with these disputes either, it's good for the political scene to be shaken up every once in a while.
A people who predate the Final Empire, the Lord Ruler hates them with a firey passion. Subject to systematic cultural genocide, young Terris men are euniched and women are forced into breeding camps.
All this effort by the Lord Ruler and his Steel Ministry has one singular purpose- to eradicate the magic of Feruchemy and curbing the Terris population.
Depite all this, Terris culture has survived. Ruled by a group known as the Synod, they live primarily in the mountains of their namesake, where they keep the history of the world. The highest of these scholars are the Keepers, Feruchemists that have vast knowledges stored away, and who attempt to rediscover Terris culture. For in the past thousand years, the Terrismen have learned much of the world before the Lord Ruler, but they have not been able to discover their own past.
A races of shapeshifters, they are poorly understood and often feared by the few that know they exist. Serving the nobility as spies and infiltrators, they can mimic anyone they want, down to the behavioural cues if they can learn the person or thing well enough.
In their natural state, the Kandra resemble shifting blobs of translucent muscle. But by consuming the flesh of a corpse and keeping its bones, the Kandra can assume the creature's form. However, the Kandra cannot grow teeth, nails or hair, so it needs to be on the corpse originally in order for it to be mimicked.
Kandra society is high contractually oriented. Regularly drawing up contracts with nobles and others, they serve in various positions, though usually it is to make use of their shapeshifting abilities. Adherence to contract is culturally paramount to all Kandra, even if it would bring resentment and shame. In Kandra society, breaching contract is typically considered treason and gets you killed. Beyond that, they have a very strict No Killing policy, which, if broken, makes the Kandra kill on sight by all other Kandra.
Technology, Trade and Commerce
Technology in the Final Empire is equivalent to that of approximately 18th century Earth, for the wealthy at least. Travel is done by carriage and sailing ship, they warm themselves beside coal-burning ovens, occupy themselves with balls, and be all dapper with their top hats, waistcoats and pocket watches. Poor and isolated communities can be decades or centuries behind, with cutting edge technology like lamps and looms. Yet despite many of the similarities to 18th century Europe, there are still a great many differences. Gunpowder has been abandoned, and lost by the Lord Ruler's command. Wars are fough with sword, bows and catapults. Non-metallic items and weapons are in high demand, as Allomancers can use the metal you wear as a weapon against you.
On the industry side, coal and steam technology do not have their places, so industry is powered by skaa, horse, wind and water. Gas and electricity are non-existant as well, so lamps and limelights are the things that illuminate noble estates. Luthadel itself is the heart of most trade, which usually takes place between noble houses and the Empire itself. There are three currencies that the Final Empire deals with. The first two are the Boxing and the clip , which are the coins. The boxing being a large gold coin and the higher value coin, and the clip being a small copper coin. It's eight clips to a boxing, and while simple meals might cost a single clip, horses, gowns and pure metals might cost hundreds or thousands of boxings.
The third currency is Atium , an incredibly rare metal found in nuggets. Atium's value is not just rooted in its scarcity, but in its magical potency as well. Atium grants the Mistborn a vision of the future a few seconds in advance. As a result, these properties make atium the tender of high level trade. A single nugget can be used to seal imperial exchange agreements, settle inter-house conflicts, or seal a contract with a kandra.
what they don't tell you is that the rivers and lakes actually are black because of the ash
The known world is split into ten regions known as Dominances . Each is a former nation that the Lord Ruler conquered during his Ascension. While cultural differences between the Dominances is minor, each Dominance is known for its own distinct characteristics and industries.
Monitored by a provincial noble lord who applies levies and keeps the local skaa productive, the Dominances are very close to autonomous, particularly in the Outer Dominances. However, that is not to say they are completely so- Obligators play a pivotal role in keeping things in check, and Lords and Ladies that try to rise above imperial law typically find themselves face-to-face with a Steel Inquisitor.
The Ten Dominances are:
The Central Dominance is the 'nicest' of the Dominances. The smallest, yet the most heavily populated, the Central Dominance is the home to the capital city of the Final Empire, Luthadel. The two largest trades in the Central Dominance are business and politics, as it is close to the central bureaucracy of the Empire. It is also home to the Pits of Hathsin, a labour camp where the worst criminals and the most feared enemies of the state are worked to death. Ironically, it is also the most productive region for thieving crews, as there are many targets of opportunity, and plenty of corruption to exploit.
The Northern Dominance is home to House Venture. Residing in the second wealthiest city of Urteau, Venture makes much of their wealth in the arable farmland and high demand metals that are located in the region.
The Western Dominance is a rough, flat and stony land, peppered with forests and rock formations. The capital of Fadrex is a veritable fortress nestled in shelves of stone to make a natural perimiter. The people of the west are known for their blonde hair- unusual in the Central Dominance- thick beards, and one- to two- decade lag in imperial fashion. For commerce, the Western Dominance makes contracts for mining, transport and agriculture, but it uniquely has massive caverns and coves which are used to stockpile caches for the Canton of Resource.
The Southern Dominance is the breadbasket of the Final Empire. The capital Austrex is home to houses Lekal and Hasting, who control many of the massive plantations in the area. The southern ports are hives of pirates, smugglers and traders from the Southern Islands looking to press wares on Luthadel. Runaway skaa usually hide here in order to escape bounty hunters and enforcers.
The Eastern Dominance is a scorched wasteland of clay, with only a single ashmount protecting the dominance from the sun's rays. Rich in resources, the people who settle here are under constant siege from robber barons and bandit kings. For the most part, communities are small towns and fortress-like manors. Skaa enjoy more independance out in the East, and there are rumours of towns going entirely without a noble presence. People of the Eastern Dominance are recognized by their unique slang, which is nigh-incomprehensible to "civilized folk".
The Terris Dominance is the homeland of the Terris, a massive mountain range in the north. Its capital of Tathingdwen is a massive fortified mountain, and is nearly devoid of a noble presence. Terris is always under close watch from the Ministry, and Inquisitors often roam its borders. For whatever reason, it is the only Dominance to keep its pre-Ascension name.
The Farmost Dominance is in the Northwestern part of the empire. An independant folk, the nobles there play fast and loose with imperial rules, sometimes giving land to diligent and loyal skaa. However, it is somewhat necessary, as it is home to large bands of koloss, and so they must be constant alert against an invasion.
The Southern Islands Lay across the savage seas, and are where most of the exotic goods originate from. Nobles are sea traders, there are skaa pirates. Places is kinda wind blasted, damp, and humid.
The Remote Dominance is basically an untamed wilderness. Large beasts, massive mistwraiths and koloss warbands roam the area. Human presence in the area is mostly among military outposts and small walled camps. The few that live outside of those outposts are to a man survivors, either foolish or savvy enough to risk life in their pursuit of freedom or fortune. Most call them insane, but they are definitely highly skilled and have great fortitude.
The Crescent Dominance lies on the far eastern edge of the empire, extending from the Terris Dominance to the Remote Dominance. Largely uninhabited, the few that make their home in the sandblasted expanse are the bandits and nomads, who survive by raiding into the Eastern Dominance. Koloss are sometimes sent to hunt these brigands, as they try to claim small territories and raise themselves up as bandit kings.
Monsters of Scadrial
There are more that just humans and kandra out there. Beyond wolves, lions and birds of prey, there are a great many beasts that are unique and terrifying.
Mistwraiths are enormous nocturnal amalgams of dead creatures, giving them a nightmarish appearance. Rural citizens of the Empire believe mistwraiths consume and impersonate the humans they encounter, so they avoid travelling at night. There are reports from the Outer dominances of massive mistwraiths that display bestial cunning and an insatiable taste for living flesh.
More dangerous that the Mistwraiths are the Koloss . Hulking blue humanoid giants, they are the Lord Rulers shock troops and engines of destruction. Few have seen koloss and live to tell the tale, as the creatures are kept in the fringes of the empire, away from civilization, until their god needs them. Young Koloss stand as tall as a man, with folds of azure skin drooping around them, and they don't stop growing until they reach about 14 feet, where their heart cannot support their body and it gives out and kills them. Koloss wander the land in fugue, picking the land clean and solving problems with sudden and deadly bursts of violence using their massive words. When united against a common foe however, they are the most terrifying, as the horde decends into a blood frenzy, and will not stop fighting until they are killed. When unleashed, they destroy everything in their path, including cities, and every living thing inside them.
Magic and the Metallic Arts
There are three magics in Scadrial, and this will be covered later on, but they consist of:
Allomancy the art of consuming metal to grant an effect.
Feruchemy is the ability to store traits into metallic objects to be withdrawn at a later time
Hemalurgy the act of using metal spikes to steal qualities or abilities of other people and putting them into another being.
The three magics are known as the Metallic arts. And while Hemalurgy can be used by anyone with the know how (basically nobody), Feruchemy and Allomancy can only be inherited through bloodline, and even then there is little chance for it to occur. Only those with noble blood can become an Allomancer, and only one with Terris blood can become a feruchemist.
The rest of the Introduction
Not a hell of a lot here. Tells you the novels and the general New to gaming/New to Mistborn/what's in the book/upcoming splats(hah!) stuff. Not going to cover it, because this update has already gone on long enough.
Next up: The actual game