"Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality.
- - Jules de Gaultier
The year is 1605. The date...November 20. And for the recognised nations of the world, a new century has only begun to dawn.
For the nations of Europe, it is a new era of discovery. The League of Nations, the coalition of kingdoms and other monarchies all across Europe, is once more starting to ease into peace with the ceasing of war between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Muscovy. Now, with weapons being once more stored in armories and the soldiers returning to their lives, it begins to turn its eyes to the everyday. New trade routes are being forged between European nations and the rest of the world; artists and architects unveil breath-taking designs and beautiful works of art; more and more spring-powered devices pour out of the Clockworks of Switzerland; and, led by France, the League of Nations prepares to explore into the New World. With ornithopters in the skies, experimental 'rocket fireguns' in the foundries, and the warbarge LNS Aix-en-Provence already going out to sea, the League of Nations, led by Sir Francis Drake, looks to bring in a new century of prosperity and establish the wonders of monarchism wherever they go.
For the frozen lands of Eurasia, it is still the springtime of sweet freedom. For the People's Commune of Muscovy, still recovering from the aftermath of their war with the League of Nations, every day that the peasants, yeomen, and Automated Citizens are able to decide how they live, without the tyrannical reign of the tsars over them, is a day worth fighting for. With the former First Citizen Boris Godunov having fled to his personal colony in the New World after nearly causing the death of the Commune, the leadership is still undergoing changes - nonetheless, peace is once more as well starting to ease in. Plate armoured soldiers prowl the borders, watching for Polish bandits or Mongol raiders - the great steam balloon-ships of their aerial navy make their way across the Atlantic Ocean to the planned colony of Novaya Zemlya in the New World - and the communalists of Muscovy continue to engage in their preferred form of government, a form widely dismissed by the more realist governments of the world - democracy.
In the mysterious far lands of the Orient, it is a rising dawn of trade and innovation. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the shogun of the only-recently established Tokugawa Shogunate has emerged out of the Azuchi-Momoyama period in power and has consolidated the daimyo of Japan underneath him to form the Empire of Nippon. Focusing his eyes on the squabbling powers of the West he has ordered in new contact, and new trade, with the Ottomans and the League of Nations. And so the Empire of Nippon has come to the attention of the world, bringing their spices, refined metalcrafting, and skilled craftmanship in exchange for materials and technology. But it is not just its goods that it brings - for Tokugawa's engineers have unlocked the secrets of pressurising air, and the shogun has won his battles recently with the help of exquisite laquered wood, paper, and ceramic walking machines known as 'Kami'...and also looks to its own east, to the far beyond of the New World.
And in the kingdoms and caliphates of the Near East, it is a time of great riches and new hope. The Ottoman Empire, though it has stayed out of the European wars and stopped expansion of its holdings, continues to lie prosperous, giving its people riches and wealth by connecting the West and East together with force of strength and diplomacy. Within its confines, however, there is a secret underground...for within the Ottoman Empire lies the secretive Society of the Eye. Born in the lands of ancient Egypt, and having fought constantly against their sworn enemies, the Tail of Set, for hundreds, if not thousands of years, the Society of the Eye lies below the surface of the Empire, waging their holy war with ornate stone war machines and beams of blistering heat. In the shadows, they watch all of the surface nations squabble, trade, and deal - and behind the scenes, they carefully make sure they are not discovered while they work to make the world safe from evil.
But not all is well, for with the new century comes new threats, new dangers, and new wars. Dissatisfied with the inclusion of England into the League of Nations, a group of revolutionaries has sought the removal of James 1st as King of England and the replacement of their own, isolatonist monarch. When the assasination attempt of the King at the House of Lords on November 5 failed, and the collaborators were captured, tortured, and thrown into the Tower of London, the rebels had no choice but to go further - and so they did. Now, armed with the weaponry of past wars and the innovative development of CED (Camouflage, Enviromental, Darkness) technology, the group known as the Royalist Revolutionaries has erupted across the Isles, plunging England into civil war.
The purple and blue flags of the merchant-ships and ornate gilded armour of the Nova Roma Trading Company appears to be spreading, as the Medici family-run international group of merchants, privateers, and financial overseers consolidates its power in the Mediterranean and establishes ever larger trading coasts in Africa and Asia. With their amazing grasp and hold on alchemical and hydrodynamic technologies, Nova Roma has been able to implement strange new ships that ride the wind faster than any known previously, concoctions with mysterious and astounding reactions, and weapons of war more terrifying than any used in a European war previously. Underneath the surface, however, Nova Roma is more than a trading company - for its backers envision more than wealth, but the very Roman Empire itself restored to life under their rule.
In the once-decaying empire that was the Ming Dynasty, a new and terrifying force has risen. After a mysterious explosion rocketed onto the scene of a battle between Japanese and Chinese forces, the slowly crumbling empire has come across a substance more dangerous than anything known previously - the toxic and translucent liquid substance known as "Nectar". By refining it, and using it in combination with natural supplies of Chinese Shíyóu, the Ming Dynasty was able to use this substance to make weapons of terrible power - and immediately tested it out by crushing an upstart Manchu rebellion. Now, the newly-known Diesel Kingdom of Cathay looks around itself, once more seeking to expand its power and gain superiority in Asia, and prepares to march to war. Terracotta warriors, strange weapons of war, and even the dreaded Da Bao Zha, all march out now in the name of China.
From the corners of the world, stranger things stir. With the advancements in technology, and the rapid changes happening the world, a paradigm shift is underway - and from the shift comes the Ethereal Prefecture. Known throughout the world under different guises - the Fae, Yōsei, Bhuta, and numerous others - all come together to form the Ethereal Prefecture, and all have been called up by the changes taking place. These creatures seek change, chaos, and constant motion, and in the wake of such changes to the outside world they come forth to drink in the emotions of mankind. If not stopped, they would drink mankind dry, and leave nothing but darkness in their passing.
And, beyond the known areas of the world, there is the dark and imposing New World....