The World of Kirth
The World of Kirth is a strange one, at once poor in magic items, and rich in magic effects. Most communities have moderate level casters with magic sufficient to aid in life and livelihood, but those same casters guard their essence jealously, and fearfully. Every agricultural settlement has a group of druids and harvest clerics, either in them or near them, that cast Plant Growth with literal religious regularity, as part of spring festivities. Powerful wizards transmute and conjure foods, while devout clerics regularly purge rot from grain silos and fruit barrels. People unable to cast a single spell, but skilled in the reading of stars, or cards, or with a studied knowledge of chymicals and reagents, can reproduce minor, but no less appreciated, magics.
Perhaps because of this shying away from creation of magic items, certain people, notably a number of humans and gnomes, have begun pushing the bounds of technology. Steam engines can be found in a few settlements, and fearful or wondering whispers pass from commoners about the fabled machines. Some believe such things will put people out of work, others see the potential for labour saving.
From the confluence of the sciences of engineering and alchemy, came the substance known as firepowder. A fine grey powder, that, when ignited, produces a surprisingly large blast. While possible to create flashes of light and explosions with firepowder, it’s main use is in firearms. These weapons have taken a stunning variety of forms, but all but the most basic are highly experimental and prone to, often catastrophic, mishaps.