Neovictorians live in the squalid, overcrowded Change Cage cities ruled by the Emperor Victor III. This oppressive environment is all they have ver known, and they are taught from birth that beyond the city walls likes an implacably hostile wilderness where survival for a human being can be measured in days at best to the ferocious man-eating beasts which prowl outside.
There are three major Neovictorian cities in North America – Old Borealis in the cold north of the continent, Desolation in the south-western deserts, and Everglade in the sub-tropical south-eastern swamps. In Neovictorian society, conformity is everything. Any new idea disapproved of by the government, or any persons showing signs of rebelling against the status quo, is thrown into the Change Cage, a massive towering edifice at the center of the city, from which escape is said to be impossible. The lower classes are expected to return to their home “block” at night and the streets are patrolled by the automaton “Peelers”, ruthless mechanical policemen on the lookout for anyone breaking the curfew.
How a person lives in such a city will very much depend on their class.
If you are unfortunate enough to be brown into the lower class (and the vast majority are), your lot will be to live in the squalid, overcrowded slums, toil long hours in a bleak factory, and maybe spend your meager earnings on gin to lighten your thankless futile life.
Why would a lower class Neovictorian become an airship pirate? Why wouldn’t you? There’s not much joy to be had in the slums. How you would get out is a different matter – but the ultimate punishment for many deeds (not including “change crimes”) is to be banished outside the city walls. If you survive the wild beasts long enough, you may well be rescued and taken in by Neobedouin or Skyfolk, and after that, well, everyone has to make a living.
Agitator, Criminal, Factory Worker, Gadgeteer, Inventor, Prostitute
All normal Neovcitorians get Fortitude -1
Old Victorian names are fashionable in the Neovictorian cities. Typical men’s names include: Alan, Augustus, Edwin, Frederick, Lewis, Morris, Nathaniel, Raymond, Thaddeus, Victor, Wilfred. Typical Women’s names include: Ada, Amelia, Emma, Ethel, Isabella, Katherine, Lottie, Mildred, Nora, Victoria, Wilhelmena. Last names could be any typical modern US name – just open a phone book!
Due to the Emperor Victor III’s population control policies, families are only allowed two children – further offspring are taken away at birth to be brought up in the workhouse, where they are trained as the servant class. The women will become servants to the upper classes, cooking and cleaning, serving at table, etc. Most men will become sailors in the Imperial Air Navy (IAN), the only Neovictorians ever allowed outside the walls, and sworn to secrecy about what is really out there on pain of death. (A few men may become bulters or manservants, but serving the rich is mostly women’s work). The servant class are taught to look down on the lower class and cherish their “privilege”.
Why would a servant class Neovictorian become an airship pirate? If you’re a man, chances are you’ve worked as crew on an IAN ship and seen what the world’s really like. Since you have the skills, better the free life of a pirate than the harsh discipline of being a sailor in the Imperial Air Navy. Wait until your vessel calls in at a sky city for resupply, and jump ship. If you’re a woman of the servant class you have less freedom but, living in an upper class household, you’ll have heard the rumors of the Free People who live beyond the walls. Maybe you stow away on an IAM ship with the help of a friendly sailor, run away with an upper class lover, or just climb over the wall one night with a stolen shotgun and a bagful of attitude.
Agitator, Air Marine, Air Sailor, Chuno Ggun, Criminal, Gadgeteer, Inventor, Prostitute, Servant.
All normal Neovictorians get Fortitude -1
As Lower Class, above
The Upper class are the nobles who run the cities, having been granted areas of the city to rule on behalf of the Emperor. They own the factories from which they get their income, and live in huge mansions in extensive parkland, walled off from the slums. They are often unaware of the depths of the squalor the lower class live, being entirely cut off from any contact with them. The men tend to be college-educated while the women will be luck to have been to a girl’s academy to learn needlework, household management and deportment. Upper class women are expected to do little except look decorative and produce an heir for their husband. Life is often little more than a round of balls and soirees, which many see, despite their wealth and privilege, as a “gilded cage.”
It’s a life of luxury in the upper class, but there’s more to life than luxury. Maybe you’re an IAN officer who’s been dismissed for one reason or another, or perhaps you saw the way the Free Peoples are living and decided that’s the life for you. Or maybe you spend your days wandering your father’s extensive estates in a state of terminal boredom. The smugglers who bring you occasional contraband meat supplies know ways in and out of the place that the Peelers haven’t found. Maybe it’s time to escape?
Academic, Administrator, Agitator, Air Navy Officer, Artist, Chuno Ggun, Clergyman, Criminal, Dilettante, Doctor, Inventor, Marine Commander, Vigilante, Writer.
All normal Neovictorians get Fortitude -1
First names tend to be similar to Neovictorian lower class names, though with an emphasis on names with many syllables. Last names tend to be double-barreled, proclaiming advantageous marriage alliances in the past (not to mention the degree of inbreeding within the aristocracy). Examples include: Heatherington, Portnoy, Pine-Coffin, Rahtbone-Duane.