“These are the tales from the first years of humanity on Victoria, compiled from records found in the Archives of the Forbidden City, supplemented with selected writings from the Library of Nuevo Vaticano. These pages contain the true story of the history of Victoria as far as I and my associates were able to reconstruct, and while these stories will most likely contradict many things you have heard, these are the eyewitness accounts and writings of the First Men on Victoria. Before the dark times. Before the Neo-Vatican.”
Richard Roxbrough, Scholar, Engineer, Alchemist.
This world was named after a Queen of Old Earth who was so revered that a whole age was named after her. To the colonists who came to this world, the Victorian age was regarded as a time where everything seemed better, where people were honest, and the world itself was simply more civilized. All nostalgic feelings and dreams of a civilized world, however, were quickly thrown overboard when men first encountered the Horrors.
These larger-than-life eldritch monsters roam the great plains, their goals and purposes unknown to scholars. No two of these monstrosities are ever alike, except in their appetite for destruction and willingness to consume humans should they encounter them. All attempts at communication have failed, for the abominations are not in the habit of explaining themselves. And where the first men still had sophisticated technology to protect themselves, the world’s unstable sun produced one Carrington event after another, until all technology that relied on microcircuitry was lost forever.
Since the plains are simply too dangerous to live in, everyone on Victoria lives in one of four large cities, protected by their high walls of stone. These cities are New London, Nouveau Paris, Nuova Roma and New Newtontown. Like their Old Earth counterparts, they are vastly different in culture and acceptance of other cultures. Each of the cities is ruled autonomously, although different ruling bodies maintain cordial diplomatic relationships, at least of the surface. No doubt the most powerful non-government entity is the Neo-Vatican, or Nuovo Vaticano, generally regarded as the de-facto rulers of Nuova Roma.
Traveling between cities is an adventure in itself, and it can be done only by means of the largest and most powerful steam-powered trains ever built by mankind. These trains are the lifeblood of trade and commerce, and only the best and brightest of engineers are allowed to operate these machines. Protected by a battery of belt-fed machine guns and a massive steel blade in front, these trains are able to go where no one can survive for too long, gunning down pursuers and carving up any horror that strays in its path.
When the first rumors started of creatures in the night, the Neo-Vatican drew a line in the sand and proclaimed itself protector of Humankind, effectively outlawing all non-humans. And non-humans there were, in all cities. Some say they were people who were cursed, although this is a rumour likely started by the Neo-Vatican. But it is a fact that there are people who disappear for a night or two when the moons Albion and Rubella are full and in conjunction with each other, giving the appearance of a burning eye in the sky. It is then when you can hear howling in the night and people close their doors and shutters. There are also those who only ever venture outside after dark, pale and charismatic, but never with a great appetite for food. Consorting with such may end in finding yourself waking up the next morning with a headache and the feeling of anemia. And lastly, there are those who are not born, but constructed by men, powered by dark ensorcellments, and in possession of a mind so utterly different from the human mind that they might as well be demons made flesh. Life in the cities of Victoria is a life of looking over your shoulder.