Through the Looking Glass
<metadesc>Bill's Cthulhutech RPG setting, Through the Looking Glass, set in 2085. Welcome to Edinburgh during the Aeon War! Includes a city map and describes Edinburgh and Scotland in 2085 in a world where Lovecraftian horror and emergent technologies blur the line between sorcery and technology.</metadesc>
We will not go gently into the night. We're taking back what belongs to us. We're taking back our planet.
Bill's Cthulhutech game set in the Edinburgh of 2085. It concentrates upon strong character-driven play, in games that will also feature my Arunstoun setting. Rather than focus on the tager/mecha angle, the game will concentrate more on the hapless mortals that are brought into contact with the World Beyond We Know.
This is the Strange Aeon. This is the future of Edinburgh. This is Cthulhutech.
Edinburgh in 2085
Edinburgh itself is not a single Arcology, but a group of district arcologies, owing to Edinburgh's unusual geography and geology. The arcologies themselves are closed off with a stringent series of checks in place, normally through single access points. Identities are checked thoroughly by NEG guards and all air traffic through the roof access ports are carefully monitored, and a sophisticated defence grid stands ready to protect the arcologies from attack.
Although much of Edinburgh has been rebuilt, the building styles remain faithful to their tenement roots - however these blocks are now far bigger, and often have the parks and hanging gardens throughout their structure. A shopping mall and arcade usually comprise the lower levels, often with a parking area. The weather within the arcologies is controlled to a certain degree, and occasional rain is scheduled to fall at specific times. Detached housing is popular among the rich, but few can afford the cost of a private home and garden within an arcology. Such individuals often live in large mansions outside the arcology, protected by a security grid and bodyguards.
The no-mans land between the arcologies consists of ruined tenements and overgrown structures - a basic subsistence lifestyle is the lot for those choosing this life. A few hardy souls live outside the city in this fashion, either out of choice or necessity. While gangs can be a problem, most communities are usually well-equipped and quite capable of defending themselves this close to the city. Police and NEG patrols regularly sweep the area, but there are plenty of places for people - and other things - to hide. Although local law enforcement does what it can, many of these areas are under control of gangs like the Black Banshees or Itochi (Nazzadi for "razorblades").
The roads between the arcolgies are carefully monitored, but there are those desperate enough to try to prey on passing traffic. Only a few organised gangs attempt this as the NEG takes a measured but harsh response to those attacking their citizens.
Granton is the oldest arcology in Scotland, and it shows it. Much of it is in in need of repair after the Arcanotech wars, and the whole district is dilapidated, with power outages, poor environmental control, and other mechanical and electrical faults. Living space is cheap if somewhat crowded, and crime and poverty are high here. The NEG are aware of the "lack of facilities" in the area, but have yet to act.
- Gallery of Modern Art - located in an area of open parkland, the site is now a war memorial.
- Hailesland - this badland is the site of the former Hailesland arcology south of the Granton arcology.
- The McKenzie Scheme - a dilapidated development that has somehow resisted demolition.
Although many of the old Georgian buildings were destroyed in the Arcanotech war, the actual appearance of the New Town has become grander, with the arcology following an "Neo-Georgian" architectural style. This means the buildings look much as they did, although they are far taller, and make better use of the internal space. The New Town district is one of the newer arcologies and remains popular among the wealthy.
The Old Town district is believed to be the safest arcology in Scotland. Sentry weapon pods and law enforcement professionals are everywhere. Much of the city's commercial and government offices are here, and they take their safety and security seriously.
Many of the open areas contain war memorials and heroes of the Arcanotech war, including the Nazzadi leader, Vreta. A full size replica statue of a Claymore Mecha stands at the foot of where the Mound begins, overlooking the Gardens of Remembrance.
The District houses a number of NEG Offices (the Office Of Internal Security, and the GIA) as well as being the seat of local government within the Castle Rock. The branch offices of a number of corporations are nearby including the Ashcroft Foundation (the Bank of Scotland building on the Mound) and Chrysalis Corporation (within the old Standard Life building on Lothian Road).
- Ashcroft Foundation Office
- Edinburgh Castle
- Princes Street
- Chrysalis Corporation Office
- OIS Station
- GIA Station
- Section 13 HQ, known as the "The Basement".
- Waverley Station
The Leith district extends down to Musselburgh. The old tenements that comprise much of the area were lucky to survive much of the bombing, and the developments were upgraded to heritage status. Although the buildings are old, many have been modernised and the area is extremely popular and lively. Most of Edinburgh's Nazzadi live here, and the arcology has a far more positive energy to it than other Districts. The Shore area remains a popular retail centre, with designer stores and improved amenities such as theatres and performance arenas - many of the Edinburgh Festival events take place here.
The area south of the Leith arcology is where warring gangs, including the Itochi, compete for resources and control of this warren of craters bombed-out buildings. Some of the larger houses are still intact and are often claimed by gang leaders as their headquarters. It remains one of the most dangerous areas in Edinburgh, along with the badlands of the Hailesland.
A mechanised infantry battalion maintains a presence in Musselburgh, due to the proximity to the Port Seton Quarantine Zone.
The biggest Arcology in Edinburgh, and was rebuilt after being bombed heavily in the wars. Some younger Southsiders have never left the Arcology, attending school, then University before taking their first job without ever leaving the area.
The pace of life in the Southside is frenetic and rarely quiet. All streets have noise dampeners, but there's still a background hubbub at the best of times. Street markets are everywhere, selling university peeks and academic paraphernalia as well as more mundane items such as food and clothing. Many nightclubs, bars and eateries cater to the arcology's population and some are open 24 hours a day.
Outside the City
- Port Seton Quarantine Zone
- The Toll
- Pentland Hills
- The Lowlands
- The Highlands
- Forth Bridges
Transport in the Strange Aeon
Transport within the Edinburgh districts is limited to foot and mag-lev trams and trains. The confines and air controls of the arcologies make it near impossible to drive motor vehicles, especially older hybrids and petrol-driven cars.
Each Edinburgh district has a large parking area located besides their gates. Although the costs are high it is possible to drive from one district to another. A thriving trade in car rentals (both old petrol and d-engine) has sprung up and many Edinburgh natives enjoy "a drive in the countryside" in their spare time, free of the confines of the Edinburgh Arcologies. The roads and transport channels are surrounded on both sides by large embankments - so most Edinburgh residents do not have to look at the bombed-out ruins as they commute between the districts. In heavy rain, these channels have been known to flood.
Although most avoid travelling too far from the city, some foolhardy individuals have been known to drive to Glasgow, although the roads are in a poor state of repair (a mag-lev train links Glasgow and Edinburgh), with the exception of those that lead to the airports.
Air travel is the proviso of the wealthy and powerful - most long-haul flights require a military escort, and commercial airlines all route through mainland Europe. The Migou presence at the Poles, and Esoteric Order of Dagon activity in the oceans make travel risky at the best of times. In the Far East and Eastern Europe, the Rapine Storm forces field enough flying horrors to make air travel through there near-impossible.
The Arcane Underground in Edinburgh
With the passing of the Hopkins Act, the Arcane Underground in Edinburgh (and the UK) is effectively fragmented into small cells who distrust outsiders. Obviously this makes things difficult for the Eldritch Society, who have to keep one step ahead of the OIS and GIA who see them as dangerous cultists as well. The Beltane incident legitimised the Eldritch society to Edinburgh law enforcement to a certain degree, but there's no "special relationship".
Tager packs in the UK are very much "on the road" most of the time. They have to keep moving in case Chrysalis Corp (or the NEG OIS) identifies them from previous operations. Communication amongst society members is very much dead-letter drops and cold-war style espionage.
The lack of arcane magic users among the society's ranks in the UK has been a cause for concern for sometime among the Eldritch Society leadership.
- 2024: David Wilkinson, a happily married father of three, and an office worker at the Scottish Parliament with no history of criminality or mental illness calmly walks into the Parliament chamber and detonates a home-made bomb, demolishing the structure, and killing over 400 people in the blast. Forensic scientists are baffled at three unknown elements found in the bomb fragments. The NUN orders the transfer of Scottish government to Edinburgh Castle.
- 2033: Research into D-engine technology at Cockenzie Power station goes badly wrong. A attempt to bring the power grid online using D-Engine technology results in a rift that swallows Port Seton and results in the area being quarantined by NEG forces. No one goes there any more.
- 2030-2045: A marked rise in psychosis and criminality in East Lothian residents cause the Seton Quarantine zone to be expanded. A large number of people disappear in the area before the zone is secured.
- 2046: The oil rigs of the North Sea are mothballed. The former Rosyth and Loch Fine naval bases are brought back online as NEG Naval bases.
- 2048: The Granton Arcology is the first to be built in Edinburgh.
- 2055: An unknown agency infiltrates the Beltane fire festival society. Only quick thinking by the GIA and Eldritch Society members prevent a catastrophe. The NEG pass the Hopkins Act, which makes any kind of neo-pagan or cult activity illegal without a permit.
- 2056: Protests against the Hopkins Act result in riots as the NEG deploy violent force to control the streets during the Edinburgh Festival.
- 2057: Esoteric Order of Dagon forces attempt to establish a foothold in the Western Isles. They fail, and their underwater city of G'llho is believed destroyed by NEG forces, fielding Mecha for the first time.
- 2060-2063: Edinburgh is plagued by a serial killer. The identity of "the Handyman" is never discovered.
- 2063: Nazzadi and Migou bombings during the Arcanotech Wars destroy much of the city's landmarks, including the Scott Monument and Holyrood house.
- 2079: The famed Nazzadi artist, Tanyla, is killed in reprisal for the Arcanotech wars, during an exhibition of her work at the Edinburgh Festival. Her killer, Julie Milne, is later found to be suffering Aeon War Syndrome.
- 2080: An outbreak of Enhanced Tuberculosis (ETB) causes a part of Leith's Shore district to be quarantined. A fire later sweeps through the tenement blocks concerned and is blamed on a ruptured oxygen tank. No bodies are ever found.
- 2081: The Handyman killings resume.
- 2085: Rosyth Naval base receives their first Engels; three Hamshalls.
Those Races and Professions marked with an (*) mean you should talk to Bill first. See also Assets and Drawbacks.
- Amlati Xenomix (Human/Nazzadi from Vade Mecum)
- Sidoci Xenomix (v.rare Human/Nazzadi from Vade Mecum)*
note that these are suggestions only - I'd prefer folk to be a bit more adventurous in character generation.
- Arcane Investigator (from Vade Mecum)
- Ashcroft Foundation Advisor (from Vade Mecum)
- Engel Pilot*
- Federal Agent (from Vade Mecum)
- Intelligence Agent
- Mecha Pilot
- Occult Scholar
- Para-psychic* (from Vade Mecum)
- Special Services Field Agent (from Damnation View)*
- Special Services Investigator (from Damnation View)*
- Special Services Sorceror (from Damnation View)*
- Zoner (from Vade Mecum)*
- Ashcroft Foundation
- Chrysalis Corporation
- Eldritch Society
- Agent Smith
- Colin Thomson
- Dave Carmichael
- David Nichols
- Eric Matheson
- Jerry Wainwright
- Mudzingwa Undage
Player Character's Story
Disclaimer: The Through the Looking Glass setting is not canonical: in Cthulhutech canon, the Migou have forced the NEG forces and population in Britain to retreat to an Arcology in Manchester. Note that some of my games feature themes that some may find disturbing.