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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Campaign Sparks: Diamond Mind (Setting)

Now that we've established our mood and genre (and influences), it's time to flesh out the setting.

London: City of Clockwork Science

In the year 1897, London is a glittering pinnacle of Western civilization. Horseless carriages, powered by charged gears and coils, rattle down the cobblestone streets; zeppelins, loaded with wealthy passengers, float back and forth between London and the Continent; men and women ride elevators to the top of tall towers and place projected-image tele-calls to the other end of England.

The average Londoner probably works in a power plant; she'll be shoveling Scottish coal*, cranking levers, winding coils, oiling gears, replacing cogs, or monitoring output. Other Londoners work in towering offices, routing tele-calls or calculating the cost of a Watt of power or a pound of Scottish coal compared to various global currencies.

Crime and poverty are still a problem in London, though not to the extent that they once were. Unfortunately, those people living in poverty or driven to crime are even more marginalized and ostracized than ever. They've created an underground culture (literally underground), and they're becoming more bitter by the day.

The governing district of London looks much the same as it always has. Government buildings are slow to change. This district is quite busy, however. London is the center of technology and culture in Europe; so the leaders in London have serious influence over not just England and the Continent, but the whole world.

The new money and jobs of London have flowed into the so-called Hightower district like water flowing downhill. Except, in this case, it appears to be flowing uphill. The Hightower district is named after the enormous towers of iron and stone that loom over the city.

This is a poor district, mostly of working-class folks. There are a number of power plants in the district, and dozens of low-rent apartments. Crime is higher here than any other district, but it is still safer than the Underground.

The London Underground
On the street, travel is noisy, but clean and quick. The low cost of winders (nickname for horseless carriages) means that nearly everyone can afford to drive or take a cab across town. The result of this is that the London Underground still operates, but it has fallen out of favor and is rarely used by most people. The lower elements of society (criminals and the poor) have mostly been driven underground: literally. The London Underground is so empty that many closed-down stations have become the home of gangs and beggar communities.

*An enormous vein of coal that burns virtually smog-free was discovered years ago in Scotland and still puts out enough coal for all of England, and then some.

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