Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The King is Dead: There May (or May Not) Be Monsters in the Lochs


Lochland was an independent nation until 1715 when the Deircc – MacFindlay of Moray, the Red King – was slain by a highlander uprising led by the Clan O’Nail.  Rather than freeing Lochland of vampire rule, this instead led to Wilhelm the Everlasting laying claim to Lochland through his treaty with MacFindlay and invading the country.  The invasion has exacerbated differences between the southern lowlands of Lochland and the northern highlands and the nation is now at war with itself.

The lowlands of Lochland are essentially Mallean in culture and language.  While the lowlanders certainly have their own unique dialect and brogue, their customs and fashions ape the fashionable of Hammerstadt.  Most Lochlander nobles have kin at Sownfield Palace and civilized Lochlander high society is practically indistinguishable from Mallean.

The capitol of Edenesburch, located near the south of Lochland, is an old city frantically trying to modernize.  The process began under the late Deircc -- embracing modernity as his traditional-minded countrymen turned against him – and has been accelerated by the influx of young Mallean nobles who have come to Lochland trying to prove themselves worthy of their ancestors’ blood.  The city is a center of banking and fiscal philosophy where the upper and middle class mingle freely, but that’s more due to overcrowding than social equality.  Edenesburch is still a nearly medieval warren of wooden buildings leaning precariously against each other, with streets filled with filth, and the looming black crag of Rook Castle looming above it all.

Glesga, west of Edenesburch, is a growing port city.  Significant amounts of trade from the Colonies – particularly tobacco – makes its way through the city, and the enriched middle class has taken to building grand houses for themselves that look almost like ancient Remulan or Akhaian temples.  A disaffected Illuminated occultist, Gideon Moriskentänzer, has begun pushing a philosophy of anarchism that has attracted converts from the Star’s Children and other secret societies; his talents are prodigious, but some worry he will collapse the Glorious Revolt into a madness and terror.

The highlands -- filled with brochs and lochs, dark forests and fairy glens – are not civilized.  The Lochland highland clans eke out a living grazing shaggy cattle on the highland pastures – or stealing the cattle from each other, the same way they’ve been doing since Kimmerian times.  The Clan O’Nail urged the highlanders into open rebellion in 1715 and 1745, but now the clans are caught in a bitter guerilla war against the invading bloodcoats.

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