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[a man walks up to a podium and taps on the microphone. There is a slight squeal, then the audio levels out]

Greetings all, and welcome to my brief lecture on the other cultures and notable political entities in our world today. Before I begin, please take note of this map – as you can see, it has been heavily modified and shaded in by yours truly, but it should give a good indication of some of our… less friendly… neighbors.Rough Draft of Map

So as you can see, our exceptional empire is bordered by Nortland, the barbarian collective of raiders, miners, and other uncivilized tribes. It was believed that their forces were behind the invasion of Brittenburg and the assassination of the Primus Imperio in Rome.

As you can see, my map does not reflect the recent Roman invasion of Nortland, where our gallant forces crushed their Nortlander opponents. It is good that we have forced these barbarian savages into peace, for our other enemies have decided to take advantage of our northern focus to attack us from the east.

Yes, you heard me, the Mongols have unified once more and are pushing east from their bases in Bactria and Persia. The scattered rebellions of their Persian subjects that so aided us in our last war with them have been crushed. Whilst I have little love for our former neighbors, their sacrifice helped ensure our ability to hold the eastern half of the empire.

But before I broach that topic, let us turn back to the Nortlanders.
Savage and cruel, with a streak of cunning hiding beneath their gruff exteriors, the Nortlanders have secretly emulated us Romans for centuries. Consider their own mechanical creation, the Mechwolf. Quite obviously, they stole the idea from our own mechaniphant. But what good is a copy when faced with the real thing? I have heard that an unnamed chronicler was able to illustrate part of a battle between our own warmachines and those of the northerners, but you shall have to check out Copper Centurion in order to access those drawings.

In battle, the Nortlanders pride themselves on their hit and run tactics, preferring to strike and flee rather than face our brave soldiers in a stand up fight. Only when pushed back into a corner will they turn and strike, like a wounded bear. They are great lovers of the raid, and have, in times past, raided as far south as the lands of the Gauls and Britannia.

Their government is a hybrid of monarchy and tribalism, with Wardens serving as sub-kings over smaller tribes in the four cardinal directions, bowing to the overall king reigning in Midgard, or House of the Winter Gods, as the Nortlanders say. Of the Warden positions, those of the East and South are the most important and powerful, with the East Warden facing off against the Mongolian Khanates of Rus and the South Warden dealing with the Romans.

Technological wise, they are capable of adaptation and modifying stolen technology. Nortland culture does not have a ready place for scientists or engineers, and have imported or captured Roman or even Mongolian specialists for specific work. They have built and designed capable warships able to match our standard and imperial sized warships. However, they are very limited in their ability to maintain or service their fleet with the limited number of support staff. Thus, their ships are prone to breaking down, particularly in the harsh northern weather. Weapons wise, the Nortlanders favor stone over bolt throwers, and have minimal amounts of gunpowder weaponry. One piece of technology that they do have is the chain-axe, a mechanical saw attached to the standard war-axe form. When activated, the teeth of the chain axe allow it to tear through shields, armor, and flesh with relative ease. Chain Axes are even capable of damaging both our own Ostrichines and Mechaniphants. Rest assured that our own Roman engineers are looking at ways to modify the technology for our own use as we speak.

Tune in soon for our next chat on the Khanates of Rus and the East. Be sure to subscribe to the blog above, and follow me on facebook and twitter, so you can keep up to date on the latest news about the Steam Empire Chronicles!