Military Life in the Ironworks
One of the key components of the Ironworks, making it a power to be reckoned with, is the military might that has been composed over the years. Not only has a strong, standing military presence been available since most can remember, the Ironworks has also made it a key initiative to have an expeditionary force to push into new territory on the borderlands as well as a keen navy to patrol and protect the waters of The Great Lake. All three of these components operate separately and independently, but have a unified goal in the protection and expansion of the ever-growing Ironworks.
The military also has the distinction of being one of the few safe harbors for psionists, as they are required to serve a five year term in order to secure their safety and freedom. Without this term, psionists are often hunted and taken care of in less than civilized means. Historically, this has been an overt effort in Steel Horse Crossing, as rumors about psionists are both wide and varied, but none of them bear good news. It is also rumored that slaves may somehow earn their freedom through service, though such rumors are often cautionary rather than exemplary. One might only imagine what the military could do with slaves as expendable resources.
The Iron Navy
Perhaps the most well-known presence in Steel Horse Crossing is the Iron Navy, built up next to the town on the skeleton of a shipping dock from ages past. Unlike many of the areas around the Ironworks, both Mill City and Rail City were founded on the waters of The Great Lake. Over the years, constant threats from raiding parties and insurgents from the north – as near as Minisoda, and up through Canuckistan – created a need for protection over the water. When the Ironworks had engaged with Steel Horse initially, it was not only for the great machines that could be made from The Boneyard, but also the strategic positioning of a naval force that could properly defend the waterways into the Works. Perhaps most interesting is the placement of an admiral of the fleet in this most northern outpost, which is not as typical for ranking officers in the military who are usually found living in safety.
Far more prolific in Steel Horse, sailors make up part of everyday life in the town, taking leave for entertainment, drinking, gambling, and even spending time with their families. While the naval base is highly protected, and entry without an invitation is typically a death sentence, the constant flow of sailors keeps the town relatively at ease having such a dangerous facility nearby. Indeed, many sailors are regular residents in the town. Sailors are expected to be on call at all times, even those on leave, and may be issued emergency orders that will send them to water at a moment’s notice.
(The Iron Navy aspect of the military is not available to players of DR: Wisconsin prior to play as a background or active RP device without Director approval. Anyone interested in active RP and society membership with the Iron Navy should generally look for this opportunity in game for the easiest option. Those choosing to join the Iron Navy will be “on leave” during events they attend.)
Privateering and Pirating
While not specifically military in nature, the Privateers of The Great Lake are not unknown. These are typically former Iron Navy sailors looking for a more profitable, and dangerous, lifestyle on the open water. While not a particularly welcome site for any sailor, the privateers have been authorized by the Ironworks to hunt down potential foreign threats and disarm them. The definition of “disarm” is somewhat ambiguous in these instances. Privateers are generally welcome in most ports, but require special dispensation to dock at any navy installation.
Unlike the privateers, who while generally disliked are accepted, pirates also pass through the waters and are wholly despised. The pirates of The Great Lake will prey on almost anything of value that won’t pose too much of a challenge, which typically equates to traders and merchants, whether from the North or the Ironworks. Pirates are universally hunted on the waters, and are welcome nowhere.
(Privateering is available to players based in DR: Wisconsin that have the ability “Sailing” and have a boat or ship large enough for a crew. These opportunities are offered solely in game. Due to the extreme nature of Pirating, and the short lifespan therein, players wishing to join Pirating organizations may want to reconsider – These opportunities are also offered solely in game.)
The Iron Guard
The Iron Guard is the military force almost everyone within the boundaries of the Ironworks is familiar with. A seemingly unending stream of bodies fill the rank and file in one of the few standing armies left today, protecting everything in and around major cities and strongholds across the entire ‘Works. The soldiers range from fresh grunts, training to take on military operations, to the generals of the army, leading from on high – and many times, from the safety of their large cities. The primary purpose of the Iron Guard is varied, but they rarely stray too far from more important venues. Specialized detachments that encompass an array of purposes are normal, and are deployed as needed. Some of these include scouting, medical support, reconnaissance, demolition, fire teams and other more nefarious groups.
In Steel Horse, the Iron Guard are not seen nearly as often as sailors of the Iron Navy, given the proximity of the town to the naval base. The Iron Guard, when present, are usually in town for a purpose and are not often expected to stay long. There is a token presence near the town deployed from Mill City, but most keep their distance.
(The Iron Guard aspect of the military is not available to players of DR: Wisconsin prior to play as a background or active RP device without Director approval. As a background, please note that any player wishing to be approved for a history with service in the Iron Guard requires 50 xp to demonstrate skills learned during service. Anyone interested in active service RP and society membership with the Iron Guard should generally look for this opportunity in game for the easiest option.)
The Ironworks Expeditionary Forces
Part of living in a thriving, well-populated area of the world includes the need to grow and expand. While the Iron Guard advance safety and security, and fight battles closer to home, a unique opportunity for those willing (or assigned) to take more risk is available in the Ironworks Expeditionary Forces. These soldiers vary wildly, from those unfit for the more civilized Iron Guard to battle-hardened veterans looking to carve out the name of the Ironworks in areas not yet conquered. You will find all types here, and not one of them typically lasts long unless they are willing to adapt and overcome the harsh conditions of living outside the safety and comfort of the cities. The most well-known group of the Expeditionary Forces is the NMA, or New Model Army, stationed in the south of the Ironworks in Fort Seymour. This group has continually fought off the advances of a raider “king”, King Louie, for some years with the support of the town and visitors.
(The Ironworks Expeditionary Forces and the NMA are not available to players of DR: Wisconsin prior to play as a background without Director approval. As a background, please note that any player wishing to be approved for a history of service with the Expeditionary Forces require 50 xp to demonstrate skills learned during service. Anyone interested in using the NMA in their background must seek permission of the ST Director of Fields of Iron, DR: Indiana, as well as the ST Director of DR: Wisconsin. No players based in DR: Wisconsin will be allowed to have this society membership in play at any time. Any character transferred with this society membership will work with the ST Director to transfer the character from the NMA to another military organization available to DR: Wisconsin.)