The Kinar Empire has gone far since its early days some thirty years ago. In that short time, they have expanded from a small island kingdom to a vast empire stretching over two continents and still reaching. The secret to its rapid rise was a mix of military genius, superior magics and weaponry, and utilization of political tactics and assassinations to secure their leadership. Their military has gone toe to toe with some of the fiercest foes in the world and come out victors in the majority of battles. This is partly due to the Marines, a special group of soldiers who did not fit in as a standard soldier or stood out in some other way, or perhaps was just unlucky enough to be picked for the job. Their training was cruel and very tough, with forced marches, lots of physical exercise, mock battles and rescue situations, and training in just about every environment. They are usually the first ones in and the last ones out of any battle. They work in small units to accomplish specific tasks on the battlefield and have more versatility than an average soldier when it comes to thinking for themselves and acting appropriately, though they are expected to respect the chain of command. Many in the Marines have earned nicknames which they mostly go by, earned in training at some point or at a later date due to some feat or embarrassment. Examples are those of the 8th squad, the most famous of them all, nicknamed the Wallcrackers: Vodka Tim, Gladly, Lute, Shrub, Walker, Fast Han, Hammer and Jarom.
Emperor Terilen was assassinated a year ago, and Vodka Tim, who used to be a High Fist, was knocked down to Sergeant and the host came under the command of Derik Knifehand. Derik led the host in the final few battles of the Free Cities and then he took the majority of the Fourth Army with new elements from other sources and disappeared with Admiral Gufren and the Kraken Fleet. The characters are members of the 6th squad, and have spent the last six months at sea with no real idea of their destination and little holding them together except their well-stocked supplies (including alcohol) and their trust in their commanders, in particular Derik Knifehand and three High Mages. There is also said to be at least one claw somewhere among the Fourth Army and no one wanted to draw the attention of one of the finest assassins in the land. The other thing that kept the army together was knowledge that the bulk of the marines from the Fourth Army were with them, including the legendary Vodka Tim and the Wallcrackers.