For much of Immoren’s history a trackless expanse of sand and wind and a terrifying deep chasm has divided west from east. Recently forces from either side of the divided continent have clashed with bloody consequence as a result of the Skorne Empire’s dreams of conquest. Skorne are both a nation and a people, arisen from a variety of feuding tribes that dominated the harsh and unforgiving environment of eastern Immoren. They learned to survive and even prosper despite the cruelties of their rugged lands, and their civilization has forged them into peerless warriors with a pragmatic disregard for pain and death. Warriors to the core, the skorne use dark arts called mortitheurgy to push their bodies past normal limits and to fight on past death. Even when death claims them, their souls are preserved in sacral stones to empower ancestral guardians, walking statues eager to join battle.
The expanse dominated by the Skorne Empire is larger than most of the nations of the Iron Kingdoms combined, and their military has an ancient heritage of discipline and might. This great eastern power has trekked across the Bloodstone Desert to conquer the prosperous lands of western Immoren and subjugate her people.
Skorne live in a rigid caste system of warriors, workers, and slaves. In their eyes, all non-skorne are potential slaves. The Venator, Praetorian, and Cataphract warrior castes are supported in battle by exotic beasts that have been extensively trained by skorne paingivers. From the hulking titans and rhinodons to the cunning cyclopes and temperamental basilisks, skorne armies are bolstered by brutal living weaponry that complements their forged arms and armor.
The skorne have arcane powers born not from western wizardry but from the dark art of mortitheurgy. The priest-like extollers call upon the power of skorne ancestors to fortify troops or to animate the merciless statues that march alongside soldiers to battle. Mortitheurges among the skorne warlocks can annihilate their enemies or allow their soldiers to keep fighting past their normal physical limits, keeping death itself at bay until the battle is won.