Earth and the Long Dark
The Long Dark
“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
“What was the Long Dark? That is both a complicated and simple answer. It was not an endless night where the sun never rose, nor was it a malevolent shadow that blocked out the sun. We had the sun, it rose in the morning and set in the evening. What we did not have was light after the sunset. Fires, lamps, oil lamps and even embers would expire immediately when the sun was completely set. Magical flames would expire and be gone. We could set fire to an entire building and when the sun set, the fire would simply fizzle out. Even the stars and the moon betrayed us or fled from us, for they were so dim we thought they were leaving us to our doom… or perhaps the earth was fleeing them. It was, upon sunset, true darkness and even truer terror that we could not escape until morning. Fortunately for us–for all of us–it ended around the time your parents would have been born. Even to this day, I cannot say how long it lasted, just that it began and ended. I suspect that most of you were still very young when we could relight our lamps at night once more.
How did we survive the Long Dark? With the wall up, we were mostly safe from the creatures that came with the fog, but we were not safe from one another, from starvation, from disease, and from the madness that still struck in the dark. We barricaded our streets off. We built green houses and planted vegetable gardens in the parks, roofs and where we could find dirt enough to grow anything. The lack of clean water was a problem but we learned how to siphon it from the Thames without exposing ourselves to the threats within it. The Queen, bless her soul, was out in force with her war clanks going borough to borough, street to street, checking in and helping organize aid and workers. I don’t know how many times we got stuck out in the dark, holding a post in an intersection all night while the Queen planned the next day’s activities.
It was during this time that the nobility lost its sway and any who could work for the betterment of the community rose to stand by the Queen’s side. No one was above rolling up their sleeves and working, not even our Queen, and she made damn sure to make her feelings known. It doesn’t matter what happened prior to the Long Dark; what matters is what she did during. It was her iron will that kept us together and her war clanks that kept us safe. Her organization and drive saved us from despair and starvation.
That is not to say that people didn’t die. In the first year alone, tens of thousands died to starvation, to madness, to disease. At the time, the Queen was still directing her clanks to keep the creatures of the fog out of the city. The number of bodies we would find as we moved street to street was more than we could count, and we had no place to put them. Sadly, many of them laid and rotted where they fell which brought about a plague of its own. It took years to clear them all, and I would wager that you will still find bodies in the older sections of the city.
To this day, many families continue to bar their doors and windows at night, and it is still illegal to own a bell. Ringing one is akin to murder in the courts. Communities still maintain their street barricades and man them with their own people. The underground is still a frightful place to all but the Masons and Deviants.
But you will also find comradery and strength. We are stronger now than we were before, and we are united in our will to survive.”
Earth as we know it
The Earth as we know it has changed. BLAH BLAH
The Known Races
From the notes of Dr. Watson
“During bad circumstances, which is the human inheritance, you must decide not to be reduced. You have your humanity, and you must not allow anything to reduce that. We are obliged to know we are global citizens. Disasters remind us we are world citizens, whether we like it or not.”
“No. I did not write that. I read it and found it to be a better description of humanity at the time of this writing than others. That said, I am sure we could find a great deal of appropriate quotes to use to describe our trying history and our current situation. Either way. We are what we are.”
Easily the most well known of the races and the most common in the Empire, Humans believed they were the dominant people on Earth, but in the mid 1800s, they learned that this was not so. Indeed, humans are actually made up of a variety of races, cultures and traditions, many of which can still be found in the surviving cities–people not only from Europe, but from all over the globe. Many were either already living in England, or fled there prior to the fall of the mainland.
Min Phys Rep – None.
From the notes of Dr. Watson:
“That brings me to the Sylph. They came to us, fleeing some great turmoil in the Dreamland—and it was fortunate for us that they did. The Sylph made Manchester the bastion of life that it is today. They are good folk. Just be prepared for the millions of questions they’re sure to ask. Their time in our world has not been long and many things are still new to them.”
The Sylph are not from the Earth but from a place they call the Dreamland. They speak of this ancient ancestral place in reverent tones, knowing they can never return. They were driven from their homes, and in their haste to escape destruction, they opened the old pathways out of the Dreamlands and onto Earth. It was one of these pathways that led a large migration into the Environs of Manchester where they sought safe haven. Instead, they found flocks of terrified humans with nowhere to turn, so it was through providence that both came together to form a pact. The Sylph used the last of their connection to the Dreamlands to form the Misty Barrier around Manchester while the humans rallied and fought off the creatures within the city and its expansive underground. Now, the Sylph reside and work with the people of Manchester, as well as that of the Empire.
Sylph are known to be for being flighty and easily distracted due to their innate curiosity, often jumping from one interest to another. The world is still both new and fascinating to them. They are loyal companions to those who earn their trust and will often go the extra mile for friends and family.
Min Phys Rep – Metallic tone or glitter on exposed skin and brightly colored hair (wigs or extensions).
From the notes of Dr. Watson:
“Of course you all know the Clockworks. Built to serve prior to the Long Dark, but at some point during the chaos, they became so much more. Now they work side by side with all of us to make for a better England. I admit I do not fully understand the inner workings of a Clockwork as well as I probably should. Holmes was much better at that than I. But I do call several of them friends and companions.”
Clanks were the predecessors to the Clockwork people and did not possess the sapience that modern Clockworks do. Under the control of the Iron Queen, the Clanks stand as a bastion against the terror that walks beyond the London Walls. Early versions were twice the height of a man and strong enough to tear through brick and stone with their great iron pipes.
Newer generations, roughly the same size and frame as a human, were built to help shore up the defenses of London as well as fill in the gaps of specialized labor and services. At some point during the Long Dark, these newer versions gained sentience and self-awareness. They evolved from simple machines into independent intelligent beings. Not only was the Iron Queen quick to acknowledge the Clockworks’ rise to autonomy–she welcomed it.
Clockworks come in all flavors and shapes, though generally speaking, they are all roughly the size of a human. None of the Iron Queen’s great soldier Clanks became autonomous, but all the Faraday models did. It is not even known how many Faraday Clockworks were built or where they all went prior to the Long Dark when travel to other nations was still possible. Faraday himself traveled a great deal, sharing his designs far and wide. The Clockworks of England alone number in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, and many are still trying to find their place in this new world. With their connection to the Iron most of the Clockwork are Loyal to her majesty and are stalwart defenders of the Empire.
A Clockwork is a fully mechanical being with a life core of pure energy and can never gain a mutation.
Min Phys Rep – Some exposed skin, including the face, must have clockwork or metal designs (gears, bolts, wires, etc.).
From the notes of Dr. Watson:
“The Masons came from below, brought to the attention of the Iron Queen by my friend, Sherlock Holmes. She brokered a deal with them and from that deal we got our great wall that surrounds London. Nice folk too, very laid back to the point of seemingly slow to act. It is not really the case; they just prefer a more casual approach to life and abhor violence. Though, I’ve seen one in a fight and I am glad to call them an ally.”
The Masons are a race of rock folk who journeyed from the depths of the earth to the surface, escaping a darkness that was overwhelming their kind. A fair sized group emerged in the underground of London and here they found a world struggling with its own ancient terrors. Humanity was losing ground on all fronts. It was the Iron Queen who reached out to the Masons for aid. They brokered a treaty to work and fight together through her agent Sherlock Holmes. The Mason’s preferred building to fighting, however, and so the vast London Wall was built as a bulwark against the dark mists that ravaged the rest of the civilized world. Today, the Masons and other races of the new world work and survive together.
Generally speaking, The Masons prefer a non-violent means to resolve conflict and often serve in a support role for the Empire. As a people, they tend to prefer nature over clockworks but hold no ill will against the clockwork either.
Min Phys Rep – Exposed skin must have protrusions of vines/branches/stones/gems, etc.
From the notes of Dr. Watson
“Let’s see. Oh. The Hobs. I was a little taken aback by them when I first met one. Voracious when it came to clockwork tech. They took to Faraday’s work like children in a candy store. Children, perhaps, might even show a little more restraint. They are fast allies and it was their tinkered works that helped save Bristol.”
Hobs have always lived on Earth, but they did so hidden deep within the Black Forest in Germany. It was only when the world began to change that they emerged from their secret villages to investigate that humanity learned of them. This is not to say that they were entirely unknown. Many of the older villages within and around the Black Forest spoke of them in myths and legends.
Shortly after they’d revealed themselves, the Hobs became fascinated with clockworks, and dove into tinkering and building with fervor. The mists, however, were also creeping across the world, and once it found its way into the Black Forest, leaving the Hob homeless.
Because of Sherlock Holmes’ quick intervention, several clustered villages were saved. The Hob followed Holmes back to England just before the Long Dark fell, but the ships that carried them had to detour to Bristol, seeing as the Thymes was becoming less and less safe for ship travel. The Hob met and settled upon an agreement with the Iron Queen. They would build the Clockwork Watergate to protect Bristol, and she in turn, would allow them safe harbor in the city.
The Hob pride themselves on their physical differences. It is rare to see two Hobs that look much alike. Tradition dictates that they even develop their own unique design of clothing and hair style. In fact, copying another Hob’s clothing is considered incredibly rude and offensive. The same could be said of their tinkering achievements as they pride themselves on the uniqueness of their creations.
Min Phys Rep – Non-Elf Ears and facial tattoo. Color of the Tattoo can be any but black.