Hello again! I'm starting up a new story arc to playtest a game system which I, myself, am creating. This particular story arc will feature a lot less magic and a lot more Steampunk-esque technology than the usual fantasy setting would, as explained in the spoiler sections. So far, I've got most of the setting itself worked out, and the details on that are below. The problem is, I'm not sure exactly what to give the players for plot hooks or even quests for those plot hooks to lead to. That is why I'm asking for help here. Note that only two player characters have been made, and at that, only one has a backstory (he's an outcast from the Drallid Peninsula (mentioned briefly in the National Setting Details below) who was always fascinated by technology, especially the kind that explodes.), so forming a plot based on the player characters will be hard at this point.
Setting Details (National Level)
The nation of Calmekkani, of all the known nations of Ufera, was always different from the other great nations. Originally set up long ago as a refuge meant to keep people safe from the slaver mages of the now-gone nation of Baalicos, the desert region's low amount of ambient ether meant that it would serve its purpose well by weakening the abilities of magic-users, but it also meant that the people of this new nation could not effectively use magic. Fearing that the nearby theocratic nation of Parodesh would be less than appreciative of a bunch of "heathens" immigrating and "polluting" the populace with "deviant" beliefs, knowing that Gondrogar was never a nation known to accept refugees (them being "weak" and all), having never trusted the merchant league-turned-nation of the Remiel, and staying away from the Drallid Peninsula on account of the xenophobic race of turtle-men living there, the settlers of Calmekkani had no other choice but to settle these wastelands they had fled to.
But that's all ancient history. Until about a century ago, Calmekkani was a respectably prosperous nation, having been the first known nation to adopt technology as a replacement for magic and the only nation to wage war with black powder weapons. Calmekkani and Remiel airships alike flew through the skies above, carrying trade goods to and fro and making sure food from farms and fisheries could reach those settlements which could not feed themselves. The Calmekkani military, small as it was in numbers, was well-armed with firearms, and some of the higher-ranking officers even carried weapons which shot various types of harmful energy. All was well until the Baalicans, the old enemy of pretty much the entire rest of the world, began a massive invasion of Calmekkani, focusing mostly on attacking settlements which produced food. Desperate to stop the invasion and keep his populace fed, Chief Commander Caenbikh Sernaire ordered a massive increase in weapons production and a great reduction in military recruiting standards. As a result, many criminals were freed from their prisons and armed with firearms in hopes that they would accept the incentive of freedom and monetary compensation and serve in the Calmekkani military.
But the invasion was all a ruse by the Baalicans, who withdrew from Calmekkani lands soon after the Calmekkanians began to fight back, leaving the lands they occupied with salted fields and the ports with broken fishing boats. The fate of Calmekkani was sealed at that point, because the Calmekkanians could no longer afford to set aside the supplies necessary to counterattack the Baalicans, and their military ranks were swollen with armed convicts who now had to be told that they were no longer employed. As the Chief Commander went into hiding, never to be seen again, the now unemployed soldier/convicts gathered the weapons from the barracks and rampaged across Calmekanni, dividing the land into territories controlled by gangs of outlaws. Today, there are two gangs - the Blood Drakes and the Screaming Skulls - both controlling about a third of what little hospitable land is in what used to be Calmekkani, and the remaining hospitable land is is divided among a bunch of lesser gangs.
While not directly relevant to the history of Calmekkani, I feel it must be mentioned that 50 years after the faked invasion, also 50 years ago in game-time, Baalicos ceased to be a nation after its own people revolted and overthrew their oppressive regime to found the nation of Milandria. Given the history of Baalican treachery, however, most of the people outside of Milandria refuse to believe that such a revolution actually happened.
Setting Details (Local Level)
For the past several decades, the Blood Drakes have used the town of Drakesport, formerly known as Abundansport, as their gang's headquarters. About ten years ago, there was a forceful change in management for the Blood Drakes – the Rahlder Family, a merchant family which had managed to survive and even continue to do business after the convict military uprising almost a century before, and whom the Blood Drakes had been demanding protection money from, had become fed up with the oppressive rule of the Blood Drakes. As such, they negotiated with the Remiel Merchant league to buy as many weapons and ammunition and recruit as many mercenaries as possible to ambush the leader of the Blood Drakes, one Drago Bledden IV, who was also the great-grandson of the original Drago Bledden, the founder of the Blood Drakes. Through great cunning and sheer firepower, the ambush ended up killing all of Drago's bodyguards, albeit with most of the Rahlder family and their mercenaries dead as well. Drago had thought he had just barely survived, when he was shot and killed from behind by a shotgun held in the hands of 17-year-old Codeau Rahlder, one of only two remaining members of the Rahlder family (the other being Kitsana, his adopted sister of another race). According to gang rules, whoever kills the current leader becomes the new leader, and so Codeau Rahlder became the top member of the Blood Drakes after news had spread of Drago Bledden's death.
As the new leader of the Blood Drakes, Codeau made a lot of changes as he tried to use the Blood Drakes' power for good, rather than evil. Ten years later, Codeau has made some secret enemies within the Blood Drakes, mostly because the enemies in question think he's too soft as a leader. Kitsana, meanwhile, has become an inventor, using her knowledge of technology to invent newer, better tools of both peace and war in order to enable the Blood Drakes to better aid and protect the people in the territories they control. Codeau, being very protective of Kitsana, has made sure never to be too far from her, though Kitsana secretly wishes that he'd allow her more freedom.
As for the Blood Drakes themselves, they in general support the new leadership, seeing their work improve the lives of “their people” and knowing that the gang will ultimately benefit in the long run from having the support of a strong public. As said before, some members of the Blood Drakes disapprove of the direction that Codeau Rahlder has taken them in, claiming that he's given them a “soft” reputation which will ultimately decrease their power in the long run. Recently, these members have been making themselves less of a secret by trying to take Codeau out of the picture, either through direct assassination attempts or through threatening his friends and, more importantly, his sister. As of yet, no such attempt has succeeded so far.