Concert in Flames
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Language: English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, Cornish
Religion: Anglican Aluminat
Population breakdown: Human 56%, Beastman 17%, Dwarf 12%, Eldren 5%, Halfling 5%, Gnome 3%, Ogre 2%
Class breakdown: Upper 10%, Middle 20%, Lower 70%
Literacy: 40% of population is literate
Governmental System: Constitutional Monarchy
Britain, the centre of the most powerful globe-spanning empire of 1856. Britain’s position as a world power is secured through her monopoly on trade routes to the east and the might of her naval fleets. The empire is currently at war with Russia in the Crimea, a war that threatens to expand into Asia and consequently British India.
Britain is a unified kingdom of three countries: England, Wales and Scotland, and also includes the conquered island of Eire. England and Wales are unified completely; Scotland
still retains a measure of independence in social and civil convention, although they do share the same government and monarchy. The young Queen Victoria rules Britain and
is the very embodiment of all the laws and qualities that society holds dear – dignity, breeding and resolve. Britain is one of the most class-conscious countries upon the globe;
in Britain, money matters less than class and breeding. It is better to be poor and aristocratic than it is to be middle class and rich – as far as society is concerned anyway.
Britain is leading the industrial revolution. Britain’s cities are expanding at an exponential
Unfortunately, Britain’s success in industry has had its price. Social and health problems caused by the industrial revolution are commonplace. Sickness and disease have
reached unprecedented levels due to the combination of cramped, unsanitary conditions and the contamination of drinking water. Pollution has also become a problem; in many cities, entire streets are covered with soot and grime from the chimney stacks of nearby factories. Child deaths are common, especially amongst the poorer sections of the
industrial population. Even the wealthy, who can afford magical protection, can’t fully escape the ‘pea souper’ (a thick, yellow-brown, coal-created smog) that routinely covers London.
Another effect of the industrial revolution has been to draw workers from the countryside into the cities; indeed, the national census indicates that 50% of the total population is now urban, and that 20% of the total population of Britain lives in the capital, London. As a result, many areas of the agricultural countryside are now in peril of ruin, whilst many of the cities’ disillusioned workers dream of revolution and returning to the countryside. Consequently,
the population explosion in the cities, combined with an underpaid workforce, has led to a mammoth increase in crime, alcoholism and drug abuse: in 1830 there were 22,000 tons of opium imported into Britain; in 1850 this had tripled to over 66,000 tons per year! Many philanthropists have attempted to change the conditions of life within the cities of modern Britain but their progress is slow, hampered by those in the upper and middle classes who gain money from the misery. Ironically enough, the sheltered womenfolk of those same upper and middle class landlords and factory owners are appalled by the stories and reports that they read and constantly wonder, ‘Why does someone not do something about it!’
Languages: English, Irish Gaelic
Religion: Roman and Anglican Aluminat
Population breakdown: Human 52%, Beastman 20%,
Dwarf 10%, Halfling 10%, Gnome 6%, Eldren 1%, Ogre 1%
Class breakdown: Upper 2%, Middle 15%, Lower 83%
Literacy: 40% of population is literate
Governmental System: Under British control (effectively
Not originally one of Britain’s domains, Eire was conquered and is among the many lands oppressed by rule from London. It was conquered almost by accident in the twelfth century when King Henry II ‘rescued’ some of his knights who wanted to conquer their own kingdom! At first, these Anglo-Norman warlords were content to act as feudal overlords and did not interfere with local laws, customs or religion (indeed many “went native”). British power waxed and waned in the province, and they almost lost it completely during the ruinous War of the Roses (why protect a conquered land when the troops are needed at home?). During
this time, British power was limited to an area around Dublin known as The Pale (named after the demonic realm in Aluminat lore). The British re-established their control of Eire during the reign of Elysebeth I, when they conquered the entire land, subjugating the Irish
kings. They did this to prevent Roman Aluminat Spain from invading Britain through its spiritual ally. Britain had long ago formed its own interpretation of Aluminat doctrine, unaligned with the accepted view centred in Italy. Loyal Roman Aluminat powers had since sought a way to return Britain to the ‘true faith’ through arms. No longer content with being remote overlords, the Elysebethan Lord Lieutenants imposed English law, religion and custom upon the Irish – they even set regulations about what clothes should be worn and the length of moustaches! Eventually, Roman Aluminat religion was suppressed by decrees that Roman landowners could not buy land, had no rights of governance and had to split their land between all their sons (thus creating smaller parcels of land with each generation). Calvinist Scots were settled in the northern province of Ulster, where they soon outnumbered the Roman Aluminat. Recent depredations such as the potato famine of 1849
(which killed 2 million Irish and forced another million to leave for Britain, the colonies and America) have weakened the traditional Irish way of life. Although incorporated into the domain of Britain, the Aluminat Irish enjoy few of the privileges that the rest of Britain benefits from. Roman Aluminat have only recently (1827) gained the right to vote; but only if they own property and are not lords, lunatics or women! Despite the fact that it is England’s closest and oldest ‘colonial’ possession, Eire has always been problematic. Unrest has been prevalent many times in history, the most recent being during the ‘time of troubles’ in 1848.
Ironically enough, the greatest Fenian (as the rebels are known) hero of recent times, Wolfe Tone, was actually Anglican Aluminat! Despite their hard life, the Irish people tend to be
sociable, friendly and hospitable. They stereotypically like a good drink, particularly stout and Irish whiskey (different spelling to scotch “whisky”), and like to brawl in a generally carefree and non-malicious manner. They have a reputation as excellent horsemen, goingback to prehistory, and this “warrior” stereotype, combined with poverty, leads them towards being
soldiers and policemen (over one third of the British army is made up of Irish recruits, whilst many of the police in Chicago and New York are Irish immigrants). Irish labourers are at the forefront of the industrial revolution, building canals, bridges, railways and the blossoming cities of Britain. However, they are always at the bottom, with Anglo landowners and industrialists in charge. The only way an Irish man can make his mark on the world is if he emigrates to America, Australia or New Zealand. As the Celtic peoples have always possessed a rich oral tradition, Eire also produces many notable bards and entertainers. They tend to be gifted speakers and orators, producing fine poets and writers. Arthur Wellesley, the ancient Duke of Wellington, was born in Dublin, although he did remark, “Being born in a barn does not make one a horse!” The people of Eire tend toward light
build, with reddish hair and light eyes, and tend to be taller than their mainland British counterparts.