Powers of the Crimson Age
Britain The United Kingdom recently celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, marking 60 years of her rule. While recent decades of her reign have been marked by rapid scientific development and the continued expansion of the British Empire, there are even members of Parliament who complain that Victoria listens less to her people these days than she does to the cloistered cabal of scientists called the Black Institute and the members of her mysterious shadow cabinet, led by an unnamed noble known only as “Lord M”. Rising discontent has led to several assassination attempts on the Queen, most recently by the infamous Thomas Blood–followed by the empire banding together as a show of strength and solidarity.
France French traders have long plied the waters of the Caribbean, and their long-established sea routes have made France one of the biggest European markets for Areium. Yet French convoys heavy with the mineral have become irresistible targets for pirates, leading to a heavy French military presence on the waters of the Crimson sea.
Confederacy Confident that they have won their independence from the United States, the Confederacy now works to establish itself among the powers of the world. The battle-hardened vessels of the Confederate navy and air force ply the waters of the Caribbean not only to collect Areium from their scattered colonies, but as a continuing show of force.
Pirates The “red rush” for Areium has brought untold wealth to the Caribbean, and pirates have come to take their share in numbers unseen for more than a century. First setting sail in sailed vessels, pirates have captured enough ships powered by steam drives that their fleets are as formidable as those belonging to England, France, or the Confederacy.
Western Frontier While using the steam fortresses of the Harding Line to hold their stalemate with the Confederacy, the United States has moved their armies west to calm the Frontier Rebellions inspired by the Confederates’ uprising. Recently, Union forces have been seen massing around Flagstaff, Arizona, to protect the newly-built Lowell Observatory.
The Arctic While some sail toward the Caribbean, many explorers still look north, hoping to find a Northwest Passage or attain the North Pole, followed by prospectors hoping to find new sources of Areium. Those that return tell many strange tales of what they’ve seen, but none stranger than the famous journey of the HMS Alert, returning recently with proof of more than a thousand new species–some of which seem downright unearthly.
Canada With the loss of Confederate territory and the uprisings in the west, some in England fear that the well-armed and battle-hardened United States may make a bid to reopen the War of 1812 and expand into new territory–Canadian territory. To emphasize Canada’s ties to the British Empire, Queen Victoria has announced her daughter Princess Louise will make a visit to the Canadian territories.
South America As prospectors explored South America’s Caribbean shores in search of Areium, they brought back tales from the dark jungles of ancient legends come to life, and stories of incredible treasures hidden in lost temples. Whoever might return with a legendary jewel like the Eye of Atlaua will possess power and wealth beyond imagination.