Shadow Nations: Gangs of New London
The Fall of Humanity
Even before the portals to Hell opened, humanity was being leashed by their carnal desires, fed by the promises of fiends whom depraved leaders could summon to do their bidding. This led to an accumulation of human sacrifices which allowed the corrupt forces of Hell to pour across the lands on the exact moment between years 2026 and 2027 AD.
The eight Circles of Hell each made their way to Earth through the 32 000 portals which opened on Earth at that moment. From the standpoint of Europe, most of the world was decimated in a matter of months, leaving the survivors to fend for themselves in small packs armed with whatever they could muster as the Daemons slaughtered their families and demolished their homes. Many were forced to form pacts with their new masters simply to survive, further dividing the few survivors.
Humanity’s last fortress in Rome was finally breached by the Daemons of Avarice in 2092 AD. At that point Mystics took over and actually managed to combat the invaders from 2092 to 2189 AD when the Rancor Disease claimed its toll by killing essentially all Mystics of power. While Rome was reinvigorated by the return of Pope Leviticus after a century of hiding in the catacombs, the rest of humanity was forced to strengthen their bonds with the Circles reigning over their lands in order to survive.
Since the newly founded Papal State was to purge the land of all daemonic influences, in 2199 AD Rome brought Holy War to the rest of Europe, the people of which were forced to retaliate in order to maintain a semblance of independence and their newly founded ways of life from the totalitarian rule of Pope Leviticus. They were of course instantly branded heretics and allies of the infernal forces which had caused this downfall in the first place.
With the reinvention of the gunpowder in England in 2223 AD and the industrial revolution in Germany in 2263, most of humanity has begun to adapt to their new world and to regain their lost way of life. The Roman Empire continues to oppose all forms of technology due to their connection with the fall of humanity and the partially daemonic nature of many recent discoveries. This common enemy allows the rest of Europe to maintain a precarious peace despite their differences, formed under the influence of different Circles of Hell.
In 2299 AD, a number of tensions are about to burst open, leaving the world changed once again and likely not for the better. In the open, both Rome and Germany are mustering their troops to turn their skirmishes into the biggest war since the fall of humanity. In the shadows, even more sinister forces are preparing for the fruition of their plans, reaching through who knows how many decades and even centuries.
Nations of Europe
As the portals opened in 2027 AD, two nuclear warheads were launched at England, leveling London and Edinburgh, thus cutting the British Isles from the rest of the world until 2196 AD when the Kult of Stimulus announced its existence by having English vessels cross to France. In mere two years, the desperate people of rest of Europe were making their way to England in search of a better life, only to be greeted by inadequate accommodations and a the bitter reveal how they had left Hell behind only to arrive in another. However, these migrants also included a fair number of scientists, particularly from Russia, allowing England to update the infrastructure in London with modern luxuries such as gas lighting.
During its isolation, England has been torn by the war between the Kult of Stimulus in the South and the Daemons of Torment in the North. The inhumanity of the Circle of Torment has the people ally themselves with the former, including the Mystics who emerged in the world during this time. The Daemons of Torment are fought back despite remaining staunchly rooted in what was once known as Scotland but has been turned into the Dominion of Silesia. In 2080 AD, the Treaty of Leeds is signed between the representatives of the Kult of Stimulus and the Mystics, promising mutual aid in the fight against Torment. The power vacuum left by the Rancor Disease would shatter this centralized government, allowing for smaller gangs to squabble for power among themselves and driving the Kult of Stimulus (literally) underground.
The borough gangs are formed in 2224 AD but their fierce competition consisting mostly of the sabotaging of each others’ goods drives the price of supplies upwards. In 2226 AD this erupts as a civil war in London, with the gangs waging war against each other in the open. The next sixty years are overrun with anarchy. Despite the infighting, England is able to establish itself as a superpower in the new world due to its relatively abundant resources and capacity for trade.
As it stands, England is almost synonymous with London which has assimilated Dover and Southampton. The rest of the country contains a few minor colonies of people, all of which lack the resources which allow London to thrive. Wales has turned into the barren land of Snowdonia and Scotland has become the Dominion of Silesia, a mechanical Hell controlled by the Divinity of Torment alone.
However, London may actually be considered the closest parallel to the age before the fall in all of Europe. The gas lighting keeps the city safe from the darkness feared by most Europeans due to the Daemons it conceals. Its infrastructure is able to support even motorized vehicles, mostly bi-cycles, and most people only need to fear the borough gangs which tend to prefer collecting protection money and warring among themselves. Under the surface, the Kult of Stimulus still lies, but their machinations are of little concern for your average citizen since they tend to be much more insidious than the overt violence in which many other Kults partake.
Since the beginning, Germany was taken over by the Circle of Torment as its factories began churning out daemonic machines once the portals opened. While these cold and brutal war machines would drag numberless German citizens to be dissected by Silesia, their influence also allowed Germany to regain the highest level of technology among all the nations of Europe as the dust began to settle. Examples include the industrial revolution of 2263 AD when automobiles were reinvented, allowing travel to be conducted on non-sentient machines once more, instant communication channels established in 2286 AD, and the powergrid completed in 2287 AD.
Centralized government was re-established in Germany in 2202 AD when the land was divided into 29 districts by thirty Kultists of Torment serving the Omniplex, the headquarters of Silesia in Germany. While the beginning of their rule was bloody due to civil unrest, the Automatous Legion (as it would be known) managed to ally themselves with the Mystics of the College of War in order to fight back the Roman incursion. The Legion remains an authoritative, fascist regime to this day, having banned all forms of religion and requiring citizens to prove their loyalty in the form of patriotic ceremonies and rituals.
The current lands of Germany encompass what were once known as Denmark and Austria. The nation is locked in a constant battle with the Roman Empire although most battles remain skirmishes in the grand scheme of things. They are allied with most of the nations outside the Mediterranean, particularly England, France, and Russia.
The Vatican managed to fend off Hell’s attacks until 2092 AD with the help of the Azure Hyaline. 65 years after the fall of the rest of humanity, the Circle of Avarice managed to raze mankind’s last stronghold. Only a century later would Pope Leviticus emerge from these ruins with his Holy Guard, chasing off the taint of Hell. His return would herald the beginning of a new era of purification, forcing the people of Rome to choose between accepting the Pope’s new authoritarian rule or dying in the hands of the Inquisition. Many left their homes behind in fear of what would befall those mingling with Daemons or preferring the comforts offered by salvaged technology. This included the followers of Azure Hyaline opposed to the Pope’s new approach to their fate, which would constitute the Kult of the Spiritual Essence. Even Mystics were eventually persecuted for rumouredly allying themselves with Daemons. In the end, anyone unable to prove their citizenship within the borders of the Empire using a specially issued metal chit is to be freely killed by the officials.
In 2199 AD the Pope issued that all of Europe belonged to the Roman Empire and sent his emissaries to inform local governments of their subjugation to the rule of God’s emissaries. However, they found the rest of Europe to have accepted their relationship with the Daemons. Thus, Rome declared a Holy War on the rest of Europe. Among the first related decrees was the banning of all technology in order to avoid infiltration by Germany and their allies from the Circle of Torment. While most of Europe sided with Germany, the primary adversary Romans would have to face on their way North, Romans did manage to snatch themselves Barcelona. They continue sending troops to the remains of Spain and Greece but neither of these infested lands has yet to be included as a part of the Empire.
After Pope Levitucus’s last public appearance in 2271 AD, his successor Chancellor Haight took over and eventually declared himself Pope Haight in 2298 AD. Many Roman citizens refuse to acknowledge him as the Pope, however, preferring to still call him the Chancellor. Persistent rumours claim that Pope Leviticus is still alive, being held captive by the Chancellor.
Regardless, modern Rome is modelled after its ancient predecessor. All modern technology is banned and the New Bible issued in 2204 AD has become the law of the land. Heretics and other dissidents will be tortured and executed for treason against God. To combat modern weapons, Mystics are turned into living weapons by being slaved using special collars. But the average Roman citizen is actually surprisingly well educated and is able to live a life relatively free of Daemons after their compulsory service in the military.
Despite remaining hidden from the rest of the world until 2202 AD, the Scandinavians did survive the fall. Actually, they were among the first to regain a semblance of government when what were once Sweden, Norway, and Finland converged in 2046 AD. A treaty known as the Traktat was also settled with the Kultists of Carnivoria haunting the land. As stated in this document from 2049 AD, the Carnivorians are given permission to hunt villages of less than a thousand people and otherwise considered weak according to the technical definition provided. Thus, a form of coexistence is established and the Kult of Carnivoria is provided with the city of Gävle, where they begin the breeding programs known as the Ark Project and the Djavul Experiment.
The selection pressure caused by Daemons of Carnivoria and their followers causes Scandivanians to develop increasing amounts of physical strength. By now, they easily reach seven or eight feet in length. German scientists actually determine that there exist trace amounts of daemonic heritage among the Scandinavian people once they are provided samples in exchange for resources. Similarly, the Ark Project successfully produces many forms of enhanced lifeforms which the Scandinavians are able to export. What cannot be obtained by trade is pillaged by pirates such as the North Sea Reivers and Bloodaxe Sailors, most of whom are affiliated with the Kult of Carnivoria.
Scandinavia remains a harsh, unforgiving land but its people have survived to this day and keep finding new ways to strive forward. The Kult of Carnivoria may not have been tamed but at least civil contact is possible and many have actually taken to politics.
Most of Eastern Europe, from Bucharest to Warsaw, belongs to the country of Ukrainia. When the portals opened, its people were forced to pack in their cities against the coming wave. However, these ancients lands still contained old magic inherited from the blood of the Christ Daemon. The oldest and most powerful of these Oldbloods eventually gathered in Odessa, and in 2072 AD they sacrificed themselves in a ritual of power to bring forth a being of pure light to combat the all-consuming darkness. The Babas’ sacrifice gave birth to the Mystics of the First Order who would fight back the Daemons until their eventual defeat at the arrival of the Rancor Disease.
Another great sacrifice was initiated by the Babas when they discovered the Great Scars in Odessa. In 2207 AD, they bound themselves to the land to curse these befouled regions. However, in 2209 AD, peace is established with the Kult of Avarice which is allowed to keep open one portal in Chisinau in exchange for allying their daemonic powers with the Babas’ magic for the protection of these lands. This long-lasting pact has kept the lands of Ukrainia safe from essentially all hostile forces, but the Babas’ paranoia has also kept out much of Germany’s technological advancement.
The people of Ukrainia are tightly knit by bonds of blood among ancient lineages. They are survivors relying on ancient superstitions and forgotten lore to defend their homes. The land binds together unlikely allies such as the Babas and the Kult of Avarice, but the wanderlust of the gypsies also remains strong.
Like England, Russia was assaulted with nuclear weaponry in the onslaught of the daemonic forces of Hell in 2027 AD. The missiles hit Odessa, Kursk, and St. Petersburg, leaving Moscow as the main stronghold for the survivors who holed themselves inside for the next fifty years. Only with the rise of the Mystics of the First Order was communication with the people of Russia established once more, and this combination of Mystic power and technology gave rise to new rituals. Despite most Daemons being unable to survive the extremely harsh and freezing climate of Russia, in 2099 AD a curtain of impenetrable darkness was found to approach from the East. This dark mist armed with unsubstantial assailants managed to come ten miles from Moscow in 2150 AD before the newly discovered laser technology was used to halt and drive back its advances.
With Rome’s new-found distaste for technology, fleeing scientists began to flock to Russia in 2199 AD. They would give rise to research unions and establish smaller research centres across the land. As soon as 2200 AD, ten survivors of the Halion Argonauts would return from beyond the Dark Curtain, changed to something less than human by having been possessed by previously unknown entities. Other major developments include the re-establishment of St. Petersburg in 2250 AD, the accomplishment of phone connections between Germany and Russia in 2286 AD, and the finishing of the great railway between Berlin and Moscow in 2294 AD.
Despite some of the indigenous people still continuing to live outside civilization, most of Russia is ruled by the scientific communities. This scientific communism taxes the citizens for half of their income in return for modern comforts, and, most importantly, the safety of their cities.
Hardly a nation, Greece is a collection of city states hidden in the depths of an unforgiving land shielding the pariahs who call it home. When the portals to Hell opened, the western half of the land was transformed into a flesh-easting jungle filled with the deadliest of predators while the eastern half became a toxic desert dyed by the cocktail of chemicals seeping into the land. In 2092 AD, the Mystics known as the Halion Argonauts attempt to cleanse these lands in order to create a safe haven for the people of Europe. In 2182, the Carnivorians begin fighting back with their combined force and the introduction of the Rancor Disease in 2189 AD severely weakens the Mystics.
As a land of refugees, Greece has a high concentration of those facing persecution anywhere else such as Hellspring and Kultists of the Azure Hyaline. The land has been declared an enemy of Rome due to their acceptance of these pariahs. An army known as the Unimpressed, consisting of reclaimed criminals and those hunted due to their power, holds sway over much of Greece. Another power is the Kult of Stimulus which rules over the Painted Desert from Istanbul.
90% of the people of Spain were killed over the first five years after the fall by the plagues carried by the wind. The Circle of Pestilence transformed most of Spain and Portugal into oozing swamplands, leaving only the Pyrenees and Barcelona for the few survivors. In 2193 AD the Roman Empire approached the people of Barcelona and offered an alliance which was welcomed with gratitude. However, in 2283 AD the Disappearance hits Spain, removing almost all of the remaining survivors from the map as something terrible stirs deep within the swampland. The only known survivor is now known as the Old Man of the Mountain and he has been gathering others to his nationalist cause.
Essentially all modern Spaniards are emigrants, allowing them to avoid the Disappearance. Despite many of them returning to their lost homeland after the disaster, these people often share less heritage than what divides them. Besides them, Spain is also flooded with treasure hunters attempting to find the lost technology and other artifacts rumoured to be hidden deep within the swamps. The Treaty of Bourdeaux keeps the rest of Europe from claiming Spain as their land but the Roman Empire, unbound by this contract, has long set its sights on Spain, much to the dismay of the rest.