Age of Oblivion
The setting of the Age of Oblivion is a modern day world of superhuman beings generally referred to as 'Metahumans'. Humans share this world with Elves, Dark elves and Dwarves. These elder races have existed since before the first modern humans appeared. They are generally accepted by most humans, and seen as inferior by various radical human supremacist groups and other hate groups. Metahumans are both reviled and revered. They are seen as heroes by some and dangerous vigilantes by others.
Magic has existed since before time began, and since that time humans along with the elder races have harnessed that power. During the history of the world, much of which is unchanged, the races of Earth have used this power to their own ends. Sometimes for good and sometimes for ill. In the ancient Mesopotamian and Mediterranean civilizations these skills were largely limited to priests as it was seen as the power of the gods, and indeed through the dark and middle ages this was true. However common people practiced magic on their own accord. During the dark and middle ages the time of wizards was at it's height.
The Catholic church attempted to stomp out these heathen beliefs, so they launched various inquisitions and witch hunts to try and contain it. Though they couldn't do that very well either so they try to pretend that it doesn't exist. The Greek Orthodox church took a similar stance on magic. The Islamic religion took an entirely different stance, explaining that magic is the power of Allah and the angels and not for mortals to try and comprehend.
When the age of reason began, people were unwilling to let go of their belief in magic. The ancient traditions and disciplines were just too deeply routed in the hearts and minds of the people. However a curious thing happened people accepted the notion of science and the two began to parallel. Magics were developed that affected technology, although presently technology cannot effect magic.
As magic and technology paralleled each other, science grew and people accepted both as dogma, many people explained magic as skirting the rules of physics, bending them to the will of the caster. What is a fireball but a concentrated burst of burning oxygen hurled at a target?
The Elder races
Main Article: Elves
The elves have a legend that when they were created by the Gods, they were given large pointed ears to hear their whispers on the wind. Their ears are pointed, their eyes usually grey or brown. Their hair is typically dark as well, dark blonde and brown is very common. They typically stand between five feet, eight inches and six feet, three inches tall. They don't have hair below their eyebrows. They are anatomically similar to humans. They have their own language
The elves first appeared in the Indus river valley six hundred fifty thousand years ago, long before modern humans. Their mark of civilization is long in ruins. They tend to shun the peoples that inhabit that region now, seeing them as barbarians and violent thugs. They do however feel that most humans are civilized at least to some extent.
Elves are the most magically inclined of all the races that inhabit the earth, long ago they created a lot of the disciplines that most mages use today. As a result of their magical inclinations they are very long lived, the average life span of an elf is twelve hundred years. They are genetically ninety-eight percent identical to humans, however elves and humans cannot produce viable offspring except with the use of magic. In this case, the offspring will have feature of both parents and live half as long as their elves lineage.
Dark elves are a group of elves that first appeared in the Mesopotamian region of the middle east about five hundred thousand years ago. They have darkened skin, usually a dusky or smokey colour. Their hair is honey gold or brown. Their eyes are usually violet or sometimes grey. They tend to be distrusting of people, perhaps keeping to themselves, in times past this has caused people to think they were evil. They also tend to be mildly territorial, especially regarding personal items.
Their culture is largely Matriarchal. Even into the modern day female dark elves tend to be strong willed and at least in some cases dominating. They typically posses the same physical dimensions as elves, though culturally they are very different. The average life span of Dark elves is also the same as elves. They speak the same language as elves but it is typically spoken slower and enunciated well.
Although typically in the real world the term dwarf refers to someone who is very short in stature and suffers from various bone and muscle disorders that create their extreme stature. In the Age of Oblivion setting that term is almost never used for short humans. Dwarves are a race of hardy, strong peoples that appeared roughly six hundred thousand years ago, in the northern Scandinavian countries. They are typically short and broad, they are muscular and have thick bones. Men almost always sport beards and will often tie things into them. Sometimes they will braid them as well.
Culturally the Dwarves are patriarchal, with men holding positions of power both in and outside the home. They never really developed a civilization of their own, instead they are largely clan based. Men often sport kilts and traditionally they play the bag pipes, they invented the instrument long ago. They are often called Dwarf pipes.
They typically stand between three feet, ten inches and four feet, eleven inches. They are long lived, typically living five hundred years. As noted they have broad frames and stocky bodies. They have a passion for brewing, they are famous for brewing whiskey and ale. Dwarven whiskey is often praised for it's smooth texture and high alcohol content. Dwarven ale is praised for it's strong flavor. Typically when a dwarf reaches about seventy years of age their beard and hair turns white. Like elves they have their own language Also like elves they typically also speak the language of the country they live in. Also in similarity elves, although they are anatomically and genetically similar to humans they are not capable of producing viable offspring, except by the use of magic.
Climate and weather patterns
In the Age of Oblivion setting, the global warming trend that has happened over the last hundred years has induced a global cooling much like the little ice age that ravaged Europe and North America during the fourteenth through the mid-nineteenth centuries. Typically this means that the gulf stream is pushed further south caused by the influx of fresh water from melting ice into the warm ocean currents. This disrupts the warm gulf stream. As a result the weather patterns are colder and often times there is snow on the ground through March, and during a cold winter sometimes into April. Temperatures are typically three to four degrees below the real world average. This may not seem like much but it makes a big difference in the average temperatures and can cause wild swings from extremes, from hot summers to brutal winters, and can even bring about snow in the summer months!
The global cooling trends that affect the Age of Oblivion setting are based on the historical period known in history as the Little ice age, this was a period in history that lasted from the fourteenth century into the mid nineteenth century. It was less a period of constant cold, and more a period of wild extremes. The winters were often brutally cold, often times the Northern latitudes would see cold rains and harsh blizzards. At the end of the little ice age, there was even a blizzard in July! Although the winter month were cold and the summer months were typically warm, think of the El Niño weather patterns, only in reverse. Instead of bringing warm weather they are bringing the cold harsh winters and unusual weather patterns that come with it.
The Metahuman Registration and Enforcement Act
This act is presently in debate, the nation is truly divided on this just as they are on the Metahuman phenomenon. Some believe that it is in the best interest of the government to know what the metahumans can do and who they are. Indeed even some metahumans are in favour of it. Many however see the act as a violation of human rights and against the constitution. Those who are in favour of the act often site the property damage and hurting of innocent bystanders that often accompanies fights between metahumans as the proof that this act is desperately needed. The main proponent of this act is a Representative from Alabama, by the name of Jefferson Davis Buckner, he is a Republican and very conservative.
The act would establish the Department of Metahuman Affairs, as part of the Department of Homeland Security. It would also establish the Metahuman Response Team, to enforce the act and prevent Metahumans from causing damage to property and innocent bystanders. There are conservative factions in the government that are already building the technologies that would be used in the enforcement of this act. One of the technologies that would be used in the enforcement of the Metahuman Registration and Enforcement Act is what is referred to as a FASSAD, it stands for Fully Automated Self-Sufficient Assault Droid. Although the technology is also being developed by the military those that are counting on the MRE Act to be passed are looking into the technology to enforce the act. The design of these droids is left up to the game master.
Many believe that if the act gets passed, it will bring about a war between Metahumans and the rest of humanity, and certainly it would cause a division between the metahumans themselves, as many believe that the Act is a good thing. Certainly many metahumans would refuse to register and prefer to go on about their lives. Some will simply register to avoid trouble, and others still would fight the DMA, and the DHS.
Magic is seen as a Metahuman ability by the Act. Although magic is not as common as it once was, people still believe in it and it still thrives. The Act establishes that magic is a metaphysical ability and therefore subject to registration and enforcement that would succeed the act. Some conservative political parties and people see magic as something that is supernatural, and dangerous. That is why is it is included in the act. As stated previously magic has long been a part of the beliefs of the various races of the planet Earth. The magical disciplines are long established and many were created by the Elves. Dwarves typically don't practice magic, however that is not to say that individuals don't practice it. As a race though most do not practice the mystical arts.
Also stated previously belief in magic wavered only slightly during the age of reason, although most people turned to science, a few kept the disciplines alive. Many of the famous battles and wars were fought with the aid of magic. Indeed the alchemists and philosophers of the high middle ages and the age of reason were practicing the magical arts. There were also many witch hunts throughout history, perhaps fueled by evil or miscreant magic users.
The Catholic church even in to the modern day doesn't approve of the disciplines and encourages its followers not to practice. However, they don't out right ban it. The Orthodox church took the stance that rather then trying to stomp it out and pretend that it doesn't exist as the Catholics did, they instead told their faithful that it is the power of God and it is through fasting and prayer that it should be done.
Also as stated the Islamic church believes that it is the power of Allah and not for mortals to dabble in. However there is a strong mystical tradition in Islam, just as there is in the real world. They generally leave the mystical disciplines to the Angels and Allah. It is possible that some of the more radical Muslim factions do practice magic.
Throughout history, mankind has had legends of Vampires, Werewolves, dragons and faerys. Even the elder races have similar tales and legends. Sometimes called Other kin, these races do exist in the Age of Oblivion. Although they can be very rare, Vampires and Werewolves for example prefer to hide in the shadows.
Werewolves have long been associated with the phases of the moon, although this is not the case they can shape shift whenever they want. This is not to be confused with the disorders that cause excessive hair growth. They are otherwise the same as presented in the Alpha Chronicles core rule book.
Vampires are as they are presented in the Alpha Chronicles Core Rules. Vampires are the oldest of the elder races. They were the original inhabitants of the land of Nod. They were once similar to the elves, however a malevolent demon corrupted them twisting them into creatures of the night that fed on the blood of the living. They can also assume the form of a wolf, bat or mist, although this ability is rare even among them. Also rarely certain vampires seem to be immune to sunlight, they must drink blood at least once a day to survive.
Dragons are the stuff of legend, some people believe that they were never physical being but spirits that once lived along side the races of earth. Some believe that they exist even to this day. Others still believe they are just faery tales. No one has seen a dragon in eons, that doesn't mean that they can't make their way into a chronicle though.
Domovoi are just as they are presented in the Alpha Chronicles rules. They are spirits of the elements, they often are playful and giddy. Sometimes their playful nature can be destructive to those who would be caught in the act of playing.
Since magic never faded from the world, fae are still as active in the world as they were thousands of years ago. Leprechauns, satyrs and pixies still stalk and torment humans. Their playful natures often are annoying to those that they force into playing with them. There are many different varieties of Fae, among the most common are trolls, hobgoblins, gnomes, leprechauns, and a particularly notorious variety that are most commonly called banshees, although more correctly that is just a particular type of fae generally called Sidhe (shee). Sidhe are typically very pretty male and female fae that are arrogant and very protective of places and people that they consider their property. They are not as common as leprechauns or pixies.
The faerie court is ruled over by a high queen and a high king, beneath them there are the knights who typically act in the name of their king and queen. In the fae court the queens hold the most power and the kings are typically subservient. The knights are typically sent out on messages and personal business of the kings and queens. Fae gravitate towards Thaumic sites and nodes. They hold these places sacred and will often dance through the field and woods that surround these sites. In the age of Oblivion setting the fae often reveal themselves to human and elder kin, often to play with them. They love to hide things such as keys and jewelry. With magic still very powerful the ley lines and nodes that Fae gravitate to, they are just as common as they were thousands of years ago. For more information on other kin, I suggest good old fashion research.