Headscratchers: Iron Kingdoms

How does Toruk get the bodies of geniuses?
It is stated in the fluff that the minions of Cryx steal the bodies of humanity's greatest geniuses so that they can revive them as undead to work for Toruk. But if that's the case, then a) how do they actually get to them? b) why don't the humans just cremate them? What then? He's gonna revive a pile of ashes?

  • Toruk, or rather, the Lich Lords who govern Cryx for him, have agents on the mainland who retrieve choice geniuses after their death. As for cremation, burning a corpse is opposed by the Morrowan and Menite churches. Mind you, in the field, cremating the bodies of the slain is an option that at least one military leader (Major Victoria Haley) openly encourages in case Cryxians are suspected to be nearby.
    • Cremation is opposed by the major world religions because it interferes with the journey to the afterlife. They do, however have priests who can bless the dead to make it significantly harder to raise them or steal their soul, but this can apparently be worked around. Also keep in mind that many of the more inland regions have only recently realized the threat of Cryx. Until recently, no one knew that Cryx had agents inland. The Iron Kingdoms are paying hard for that mistake.

Why does the Retribution believe that human magic is responsible for Scyrah's condition?
Seriously, where's the actual evidence? How do they think human magic can harm a god? And if it can, wouldn't that make humanity more powerful gods to be worshiped rather than killed?

  • The evidence is flimsy. The gods showed symptoms of decline about the same time humans started pumping out their own magic also the elven gods are what sustains their race. Also conversion doesn't guarantee their salvation from their original fertility god dying on them.
  • Part of the Retribution's token moral grey/gray area is that there is no evidence, while they're aiming to do good (save their dying goddess), being supremacists they assume that problem belongs to the lesser beings that pollute their lands...
    • The Retribution does have at least some reason. The time they started losing contact with their gods happen around the same time humans with magic (that wasn't Orgoth or a cleric) started showing up. Everyone agrees Thamar is the one who gave humans the gift of magic...

Why doesn't Toruk get off his lazy butt?
He's presented as a practically divine being. He's the father of dragons and the largest of them. If he wants world domination, why rely on undead servants to do the job? Why not just get up and start killing everything in sight until all bow down? There's plenty of stuff for him to do. For example, he could fly to the elves' city and eat their comatose goddess (because dragons can gain power from eating other beings).

  • His dumb past is to blame. His children will gang up on him if he tries anything. The best option for him is to wait it out, making sure his other children get impatient and start reabsorbing them one at a time.

    • He could go out and destroy cities and nations if he wanted to, but if he leaves Cryx, his children will gang up on him again, and he would rather use the full might of all the conquered Iron Kingdoms to "soften them up" before he devours them. As for his children getting impatient, Everblight has already devoured one of the other dragons, so whatever stalemate was going on between the dragons is presumably at an end.

      • Though this begs another question, why don't all the other dragons just go kill him so they don't have to worry about him?

      • The same reason one good fighter can keep a mob at bay. The mob knows they'll win if they rush him, but no one wants to be the guy that gets shanked. Similarly, Toruk's brood is a mob of opportunists. Nobody wants to be the guy that got wounded bringing Dad down, then turns and wonders why everybody's looking at him and getting their eatin' bibs back on.

If the clerics of Scyrah using their powers hurts their goddess...
Why use them at all? Why not say, "OK, since we need that goddess to live, let's just forsake cleric abilities and never train any new ones until we can figure out a way to bring her back." It might hurt to lose clerical abilities, but it would hurt a lot more in the long run to keep using them and have their goddess run out of power and die, leaving them unable to reproduce at all.

  • The Fane of Scyrah's priests basically do not use divine power except in the direst of circumstances for this reason. They also have a system that sacrifices their own life force to power spells (detailed in the Iron Kingdoms RPG books). The Retribution of Scyrah claims to have figured out a way to use divine power without hurting Scyrah - which, like their other claim of blaming the humans for the gods' disappearance/decline, is not well substantiated. Also, the Iron Kingdoms uses some basic D&D assumptions of magic, such as the Arcane/Divine magic divide. The Retribution (and I think the other Iosans as well) believe Elven arcane magic does not stress the gods at all. However, somehow Human arcane magic somehow does.

Why does the model for the Nightmare helljack come with a little girl?
I know there's one hiding from it in its artwork, but putting it with the model itself just seems more than a little strange. And on a related note, just who is that little girl, anyway?

  • This is a problem that some of the models have had, especially characters with scenic bases. Sorscha standing on a pillar of ice can be explained by her ice powers, but how did Skarre keep ending up on that broken piece of prow on every battlefield she's set foot on? The pinnacle must be Eyriss, though, who's somehow kneeling on a groundlevel chimney no matter where she is.

The return of the Colossals
It has been firmly established in canon that the colossals, the predecessors to the modern warjack, stopped being used because of the staggering maintenance costs and vulnerability to ambush because of their lack of mobility. And yet, they're being brought back in the expansion Colossals. Rule of cool aside, what could possibly be the ingame explanation?
  • These new Colossals aren't in the same size-category as the old-timey ones, and form a sort of median between them and the modern warjack.
    • In addition to the above, the old colossals were essentially giant ironclads/juggernauts. Big robots that hit things with axes and hammers. All of the new colossals mount MASSIVE amounts of ranged firepower. Rough estimates based on what pp have said and the artwork suggest three heavy warjacks worth of guns, minimum.
      • The continued escalation of hostilities also plays a factor, marking a rapid buildup in technology to beat the Other Guy(tm). Additionally, the breaking of the Order of the Golden Crucible in Llael's monopoly on blasting powder made it markedly cheaper, and coal and oil dealings have similarly been disrupted and made cheaper by the war. They're using big, wasteful machines because they can afford it now.
  • In short, Technology Marches On. These new colossals are Exactly What It Says on the Tin: new. They aren't refurbished Colossals, they are brand new machines packed with all the innovations and upgrades 500 years of development can give them; these new Colossals could probably curb stomp and old-style Colossal because of the upgrades; imagine a Panther tank from WWII going up against the modern Leopard II, or a Mustang trying to fight a Warthog.

Toruk taking over the world
If Toruk wants to Take Over the World, then why didn't he just do if before creating the other dragons? Prior to the Iron Kingdoms forming, it seemed like he could just walk right over Immoren without any difficulty.
  • He only wants to take over the world because he made the other dragons and now wishes he hadn't. Conquering the Iron Kingdoms will make it easier to hunt his kids down

Tanks will be invented
Nations have rapidly gained technology and easier access to resources such as coal and blasting powder. They already have rockets, muskets, rifles, mortars and cannons from that. Warjack technology has advanced to larger mechs, but also greater reliance on unique Warcasters. In combination with warjack chassis technology they could easily produce early models tanks such as the Ft-17 or Mark 4. Armies of small tanks could easily the hand-made warjacks.