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One of the great symbols of the modern age, possibly even more so than the nexus towers, railroads are quickly spreading across the continent. The basic principle of a railroad is simple: Several large wagons filled with either passengers or goods are moved along metal rails through the pull of one or more golems. In older trains, these golems had quadrupedal form and walked next to the rails, drawing the train similar to a stage coach (In fact, the earliest "trains" used flesh-and-blood horses instead of golems. This is still done on some short routes where using golems would be uneconomical because only few passengers or freight are being transported, and time is not of the essence). However, this has proven to be inefficient, as these golems take up a large amount of space (very inconvenient for tunnels) and their weight tended to damage the ground they were walking on, requiring frequent repairs. Thus, more modern coaches (the wagon at the front that pull the whole train behind them) incorporate golems into their very structure. These golems cannot separate themselves from the coach, and their "arms" and "legs" are basically giant pistons that provide the power for the wheels.

From the original Bodenwald to Grüngarten line founded in 1376 NA, the rail network has spread over much of the continent. Competition for being awarded the rights to build a line between two location is often fierce, as the profits can be immense. This competition can vary from fairly open competition for the highest bidder to outright nepotism, with the strategic interest of the city involved often playing a crucial role. Sabotage between the railway companies to drive each other out of business is not unknown - sometimes even at the cost of innocent lives. But for those raking in the profits, it is all worth it.

The railway system can be grouped into the following independent networks:

List of Rail Companies

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

So why are there no golem-powered cars? The magical technology to build them certainly exists…

The meta reason for this is aesthetic, of course. I wanted the setting to mirror the 19th century, not the early 20th. But in case the players wonder about this, here an explanations to throw at them:

Golem-powered land transportation exists and has existed as an expensive curiosity for quite some time - but this is usually some kind of legged vehicle. These are more much more expensive and complex to create, but have the advantage of being able to move independently of the local terrain, while wheeled vehicles would offer very bumpy rides if they don't run on rails (as cobblestone streets are the norm). As a result, there has been less impetus for the invention of wheeled vehicles than in our world.

That being said, it is not inconceivable that some gnomish inventor is working on the first golem-powered automobile right now, and has even created a working prototype. The players might even get to see it in one of their adventures. But it will take years or even decades until such vehicles will truly transform the world to a significant degree.


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