Empires and civilizations have waxed and waned like the tides on the world of The Dead Wastes. Most recently, if a millennium ago can be called recent, there was the Nadori Empire. An unknown catastrophic event ended the technologically advanced civilization. The remnants of their cities, roads, and monuments can still be seen lying dormant under a thousand years of growth and exposure to the elements.
Many devices that have survived the ravages of time are still in use today, often revered as artifacts bestowed by some god. These devices usually perform some sort of utility such as pumping water to a desert village or bringing gaslight to city streets at night. However, there are also more devious and destructive technologies that have been left behind by the Nadori.
The Necrotek were a cult of Tenebrous, the God of Shadows and Death. As a secret society of an empire shrouded in mystery, very little is known about these dark technomagi by Nadori historians other than they practiced the art of fusing mechanica and necromancy. The Necrotek often warped and mutilated their bodies with the unholy fusion to further their studies and to impress their god.
Some academics believe that the Necrotek may be responsible for the demise of the Nadori Empire. Perhaps their vile experimentations and research unleashed some ghastly fate upon the people. They all agree that the world is better off without them, but unfortunately the vestiges of the cult still remain to haunt the present.
Today, a handful of Necrotek temples have survived, but now lay buried in remote, undiscovered box canyons of the northern mountains or half-buried in the sands of the east. The city of Stragus, formerly known as Sidarius prior to the vampiric invasion of the Long Night, was built upon a subterranean Necrotek temple. It has been revived by the Cardinal Jandalor, the vampire High Priest of Tenebrous.
With the secrets they uncovered beneath the city, the vampire clergy has been able to revive a small number of hybrid steam hulks that are composed of mummified flesh, bone, and iron. The true horror lies in the fact that these twisted contraptions have been baptized in the blood of infants and are powered by the blood of the enemies they slay in combat. The vampires are hoping to recover more of these Bloodhulks for the impending war against man.
Last of the Necrotek
Of the few scholars even aware of the long dead cult, most believe that all of its members were stricken from the face of the Valtuus along with the rest of the Nadori. However, there is at least one sage who has made a connection between a legend of the fringers who live along the edge of the Dead Wastes and what few descriptions recovered from Nadori ruins of Necrotek members.
The legend of the Iron Wraith is told to the children of fringers to elicit acceptable behavior, but much truth lies in the tales of the monstrous wraith. It is said a man who has rusted iron armor fused to his flesh with exposed bone and shriveled entrails stalks the Dead Wastes, collecting the bodies of zombies and worse for some dreadful and unspeakable experiments. From a distance the man appears shaded by clouds that are not existent, but upon closer inspection the gruesome visage is actually pure shadow. Of course, no one who sees the Iron Wraith ever escapes to tale these terrifying tales either.