The Empire of Faraday

Faraday is a Steampunk-style Shadow on the border of the Black Zone and Open Shadow, ruled by Queen Victoria. It is about the size of Western Europe and Russia combined. The capital was formerly known as Loudoun, but the name was changed to Victoria on the occasion of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. It is governed as a Constitutional Monarchy, with an elected Parliament. The current Prime Minister is Archibald Philip Primrose.

The population of Faraday itself is around 35m, mainly human or humanoid citizens, with up to a million visitors from other worlds in the area, some of which have a habit of never going home. There are between 250k and 500k registered “aliens” living and working permanently on Faraday. It has a standing army of c.250,000 people. The climate on Faraday is very British, and the rough timeline equivalent is late-19th Century. It can be cold, wet and rainy. Also, as steam and coal are the main power sources, it can also be very smoggy, with dramatically appropriate pea-souper fogs. Women have managed to gain more power on the world than might be expected for its timeline, due to the influence of Amity Fleming, Queen Victoria’s Chief Scientific Officer.

Magic is definitely subservient to the power of the Ethyr. There are “defensive shields” around many buildings, which are generated by Ethyr Generators. Indeed, the Ethyr Generator is a very important piece of equipment in the Empire. For those who can afford them, there are also personal shields, which work against momentum, but not as efficient against slow attacks. The energy within these varies, and reduces if the shield is triggered, so they do eventually need recharging.

For magic to work, the mage needs to have got hold of an Ethyr source, which they can tap into to cast spells as normal. Without this, magic is a lot less powerful and a lot more hit and miss.

Faraday has trading links both inwards and outwards, and is at the centre of a small cross-Shadow Empire of ten other worlds, where it has significant influence and control. Her Majesty is known as Empress Victorio in these worlds. The tech level across these is similar to on Faraday itself: late-19th Century with a steampunk twist. Travel between the worlds is by airship and steamship. Both use the Fleming Device to navigate the Shadow Paths. The Fleming Device taps into the Ethyr. Each of the subject worlds has an equivalent of the East India Company or the Hudson Bay Company. At this point, the Faraday Circle is self-sufficient for many of its needs, but it imports luxuries, curiosities, unusual products and cool ideas.