A Historical Overview of the City

From the city's origins to its modern-day landmarks, you'll find everything you need to anchor your characters and concepts into the world.
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A Historical Overview of the City

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Below, you'll find a series of posts chronicling everything from the city's foundation to the greater, more general happenings to have marked the city closer to 2025. Please note that there is a chronological discrepancy between this, and what this information posts for each species show. What is below this post should be considered canonical and the species-related short-form documents, only as indicators of the general guidelines for each social group in town. They'll be eventually revised, one by one, to present a clear, precise and detailed overview matching this canon on a chronological level.

For an easier time searching through this guide, each section's title has been coded with a short string of characters stuck between parentheses. To proceed ahead faster - except when page breaks occur - simply hit CTRL + F in your browser and paste that string in the text box that appears at the bottom of your screen.

1. Introduction (INT)
2. The Islands are Found (ISL)
3. Conflicts and Calamities (CON)
4. English Rule and Fae Settlement (FAE)
5. Karthian Immigration and Automatons (KAR)
6. The Tree Awakens for the First Time (TREE)
7. Archibald Holden: National Treasure & Local Fixture (ARCH)
8. Modern-Day Superheroes (MOD)
9. Aliens and Supernaturals (ALI)
- PAGE BREAK -
10. Elysium and the Chimeras (ELI)
11. The Aftermath (AFT)
12. The Pieces Fall into Place (PIE)

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Introduction (INT)

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While America doesn't benefit from the long and detailed history of European countries, it still has three to four centuries, on average, to consider all its own. Considering, most of the metropolises in the country feel rather young to anyone whose life span goes back five hundred years or more. The country itself feels young, and this obviously informs the rapport some death-deprived individuals have with the fast-moving anthro and human populations.

Most cities across the continent seem to follow the same general pattern of settlement. An initial discoverer places a few shacks in a place deemed both hospitable and useful, and the shift of colonial powers changes this new place's name and roots. In Canada, this involved French colonists finding themselves absorbed into the British Empire, while America's history tends to replicate this with French settlements, along with Dutch holdings procured with Spanish assistance. Considering, Hope's initial years don't exactly differ from the bulk of what you'll find in the history books. It's what follows afterwards that's of particular concern.

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The Islands are Found (ISL)

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The early seventeenth century, as most of us know, was one of expansionism and conquest for several world powers. Notably, the Netherlands would set foot on Manhattan Island in 1609 and found New Amsterdam, under the lead of Englishman Henry Hudson.

However, 1607 saw Nikolaas Buck, Netherlander by origin and name, lead an expedition of three ships – the Kruis, the Vaartje and the Zoon – to the coast of Rhode Island. There, the Groene and Meer islands were found, along with Pickman Sound to the northwest of Green Island being initially called the Hoge Muren, the High Walls. This would eventually seat the larger families in Hope, such as the Bucks, as well as the Greene, Meer and Muren clans. The three ships survive to this day in the form of Anglicized names used for certain streets and avenues – Cruise Avenue, Vart Street and Sun Boulevard.

Buck Island, the smallest of the three land masses, was initially disregarded by the settlers, until 1617. Its small marshlands didn't make prime settling land out of it, but the construction of the first instance of Buck Bridge, in 1620, at the very tip of Pickman Sound, made for an easier means to establish the founding family on it.

Naturally, Hoop's intended purpose was to serve as a counter for the West Indian Dutch Trading Company, which strongly limited the civilian numbers within the established palisades.

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Conflicts and Calamities (CON)

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As was the case for several other American cities in the making, the ground on which the Dutch colony was built belonged to the ancestral lands of the local natives – in this case, the Wolf's Moon tribe of the Wampanoag Indians, led by their initially peaceful chieftain and shaman, Samoset.

Following standard procedures for European settlers, Nikolaas Buck had seen it that the three ships had carried a number of luxury goods, such as extra blankets, mirrors, muskets and spices. The language barrier being present, an exchange of goods was arranged. Unfortunately, the year-long sojourn across the sea had left many of these goods infected with the common cold or flu, but also with variations on tuberculosis or pneumonia – diseases for which the natives weren't prepared. Boiled white oak bark could only do so much and, ultimately, Samoset had to bury several dead in the winter of 1608.

Initial establishment on Green Island was peaceful, the roots of the city being located closer to Pickman Sound than the mainland, which was left to the Indians. However, 1620 marked the official opening of the trade counter and the now regular influx of more colonists. Old Hope stretched further toward the mainland, threatening the Wampanoag longhouses and the families within. Samoset attempted to negotiate with Nikolaas, but the initially mild discoverer had been... changed by his own travails on Buck Island. Some say he had found something of great import to the Netherlands' continued economic strength, and that he was hoarding away the goods offered by some kind of hidden gold vein. Histories from this period are scarce and difficult to translate, but foreman testimonies paint a rather ghastly portrait of the former captain finding fineries from unknown civilizations, impossible architecture hidden deep underneath the cliff face below the slowly constructed mansion, and of Nikolaas choosing to pay odd homage to a kind of brine pool that was found, in a cave hidden below the waves...

In any case, Buck was now wild-eyed, impulsive and hateful. Billing the Indians as savages, he bade the counter's armed men to flat-out attack the Wolf's Moon encampment. From 1620 to 1625, Hope's ancestral Wampanoag populace was decimated. Those who couldn't make their way to Rhode Island's mainland were shot to pieces and hacked apart. Samoset, being a Native-American archmage, would be doomed to survive the destruction of his people.

Not without retribution, he vowed. Not without vengeance.

The White Men had gone Below, on the island the local Indians had always known to belong to sea devils and evil spirits. They'd been tainted, but that evil had to come from somewhere. That contempt, that disregard for life. Samoset swore he'd respond in kind and abandoned his noble and faithful wolf spirit to welcome the Wendigo in his heart. Using it, he weaved the now infamous Buck family curse.

As for Nikolaas, his family name would survive through his son Gerhardt and from there, would be carried to the first English Bucks born under British rule. This second lineage would eventually culminate in the birth of Tubalcain, Eliphas and Zebediah Buck.

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English Rule and Fae Settlement (FAE)

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1667 is traditionally regarded as the foundation date of New York, superseding the previously existing New Amsterdam. In Hope, which shared family ties to Pieter Stuyvesant, the Articles of Transfer would also have some significance. The Dutch natives were allowed to maintain their tongue and religious inclinations but were still considered as British citizens. The attacks against Dutch holdings occurred three years earlier, New Amsterdam and Old Hope being subjected to concerted assaults. Dirch Groen, the city's Dutch governor, was allowed to maintain his seat under British rule if the city surrendered without much fanfare. While New York was briefly recaptured by the Dutch in 1673, Hope's volatile arcane nature made it of dubious interest for mundane powers chiefly interested in spices, furs and luxury goods.

Nowadays, the man known as Dirk Greene in the local almanacs is known to have been the first to attempt an audience with the Summer Fae in order to negotiate for some sort of solution to the problem of the city's free-flowing Nexus. In 1680, Countess Eirean of Summer, accompanied by Sir Percival of Evergloam, reached Hope and entrusted Governor Greene with a rather curious-looking sapling. Once planted, they told him, it would rapidly grow and achieve sapience.

In 1781, Eirean braved the sheer, undirected and uncontrolled torrent of arcane power to plant the future dryad. Raw magical power, paired with more standard plant care involving regular watering sessions, allowed Sophia to emerge from the initially only slightly above-average tree that had emerged, in 1795. Considering the city had historically been founded over a century ago, the tree was, originally enough, dubbed the Centennial Tree.

Planting the Tree also had the useful effect of negating Buck Island's noxious influence on the city's overall health and prosperity. With no via to sustain the broader, more general aspects of the curse, the citizenry's overall health, morale and productivity improved significantly. With the curse now circumscribed to Buck Island exclusively, business boomed and the more focused, controlled flow of energy allowed for safer applications of magic and arcane theory.

However, Eirean settling in Hope and Percival being declared Viscount of the area signalled the city's open nature to all Fae. Without much surprise, Gawain Machae of Winter declared himself keeper of Winter's holdings in Hope – essentially sharing technical Viscount duties with the Gruff – and allowed for a wider variety of elves, bugbears and trolls to claim the areas of Faerie that corresponded to Hope's geographic position. Only the diminutive elves and a few bugbears chose to remain in the mortal plane full-time and came to fully integrate themselves in the mortal populace. To this day, a lot of condos and apartments technically designed for one or two persons are now legally required to also offer a sort of “micro-lease”, decency and basic understanding pushing many owners or renters into allowing elven roommates to live in with them. These creatures being so small, taking in a few tends not to be too much of a hassle, provided they're willing and able to pay for their increased grocery bills.

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Karthian Immigration and Automatons (KAR)

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In 1790, First Contact is established between humans and aliens, as Anastasius Mentalistevich crash-lands in the Caucasus, bringing a veritable treasure trove of advanced technologies to a planet only beginning to explore the cogs and pinwheels of Industry. Archibald Aloysius Holden would be born in 1791 – the following century marking the introduction of Industry into American shores.

By 1849, the British-based Naughton Armatures has successfully implanted itself across Europe and is beginning to offer service counters in American East Coast cities. Hope is among the lucky few, with a sales and servicing point opening right across from Centennial Park, in West Sheffield, with the associated factory being based in Providence. Over the next few years, the first few truly American Clanks begin to surface.

Unfortunately, this decade is also marked with the turmoils that would eventually lead to the Secessionist War. Notably, the failure of Anastasius Romanov to maintain his United Karthian Dominions in Russia would force several convicted Karthian criminals to flee overseas. Intelligence reports suggest that the Grayskins sought to profit from the problems shaking the south of the country and could have turned the attempted fracture of the country into the foundation of a new, second Karthian state.

Considering, those few Grayskins who stayed in Hope were usually opposed with fairly severe bigotry and suspicion. This, unfortunately, would motivate these aliens' resentment of humans and anthros, among others, and would eventually lead to the emergence of figures such as Doctor Cerebro. 1851 and the discovery of the Etheric Incompatibility Disorder would shake the city's rapidly expanding armature market and bring difficulties to independent service points, such as Masterson Armatures.

By that point in time, most of the city's ethnic communities are well and truly settled. The Mac Loch dragons and selkies have largely claimed Lake Island, the Meer family relegated to living scattered in two or three apartments along the civilian docks. The name survives to a degree, however, as Lake Island receives the nickname of “Mertown”. Green Island still houses a number of Greenes, even if their relations are beginning to split apart. Old Hope and Pickman Sound have been largely claimed by Irish and Scottish immigrants, with the long band of fertile land along the Sound being used as farmlands. Hope also reaches over into the mainland, providing an easier connection to the outside world and an access to Providence. This stretch of land, located well away from the docks and separated from Green Island by the Hillard, would become Silverbrook – a largely industrial district initially charged with providing coal power to the developing city.

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The Tree Awakens for the First Time (TREE)

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1888 marks the first time the Centennial Tree stirred to life, liberating an inordinate amount of arcane potential in the city's perimeter. Dormant superhumans would first discover their abilities, the city's lot of supernaturals would shake themselves to some semblance of life – and Evangeline Buck apparently grew wary of the mansion grounds and her husband's aimless existence as a lich. She had plans, that much we know of, but Zebediah was unable to give her what she sought. So, it seems, her energy-gorged self gathered enough ethereal brain cells to orchestrate an all-out assault on the city.

According to Zeb's journals, Evvie spent the week before her assault tormenting him incessantly, as she seemed apparently aware that his only recourse in cases of emotional distress was to drink. Drink he did, until he passed out on a stormy November night, only to awaken two weeks later, his bony hands locked around Sophia's throat, with no recollection of what he had done in those two weeks.

President Grant dispatched the country's top Intelligence officer on the case – it being Archie Holden. The Clank reached Hope on the sixteenth of November and found it to have turned into a small gaggle of blazing infernos, zipping flyers and intervening super-strong locals. Evangeline Buck had apparently decided to take her good-for-nothing lich of a husband for a spin, and knew exactly what to do with all this stored arcane potential. Zebediah was described to Archie as harmless, maudlin, pessimistic and self-absorbed, but what he found was a ruthlessly scheming wizard in the making, who paced about furiously in front of stolen arcane theory textbooks and kidnapped local mages without real regard for their use or ability. Turned into a kind of eldritch terrorist ready to commit just about anything in order to gain more power, Zebediah was definitely out of sorts – occasionally showing oddly feminine gestures, as though the entity wearing his bones forgot herself from time to time.

The ensuing fight was long and excessively demanding, with Evangeline being able to advance up to Sophia's demesne. Thankfully, Archie had come equipped with a Holland & Holland Witchhunter sniper rifle, and proceeded with the task of chipping away at the lich's stores of energy. He succeeded in extremis, Zebediah's lowered stores forcing Evvie out of his bones and restoring the lich to consciousness. Having used every ounce of stored power at her disposal, Evvie was forced to return to her Haunt and to the Shadowlands. A confused and dazed lich was ordered to pay several hundred thousand dollars' worth of damages, which the Buck family attempted to protest. They failed, Eliphas Buck considering this as yet another calamity.

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Archibald Holden: National Treasure & Local Fixture (ARCH)

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Archie retires in 1900, Hope's lively nature having already impressed him during the troubles involving Zeb Buck. He'd landed a few idle comments about wanting to establish himself there after ending his service, but hadn't expected anyone to pay special attention to them. If anything, it would've made more sense for him to be granted a nice little house somewhere around Washington or London. Or so he thought...

For the previous thirty years, Western Green Island had been subjected to intensive renovations and urban redesigns, following Evangeline's caused blazes. Consequently, the area was gentrified to a degree, with Willowdale emerging from it with its largely modern frontiers. Holden Hall, an English Colonial manor house located at the polar opposite from Buck Mansion, was inaugurated in 1910. The knighted Clank, who had also been made an honorary fellow amongst the local Summer Fae thanks to Sir Percy, was finally given his expected tithe of land – on American soil. This would mark a rather unique moment in the English peerage system that has not been repeated since then. Essentially, Archie's residence would officially double as the one and only remaining official British holding in the United States. To step inside his house is to essentially step into a cipher of the United Kingdom.

With Archibald's Shadow Wars across the Old Country having ended, his initial plan largely involved enjoying a few good decades of tranquil days, crackling fireplaces, private violin solos, the occasional cigar and glass of wine, and maybe a few naps per week. World War One would see him confronted with obsolescence. Ten years later, however, Gorobei Iwata's body reached Hope – the samurai's soul removed from it and replaced with the soul of Shamus Wallace, an Oklahoman shyster on the run from both his former partners – and the surviving and fairly pissed-off Kitaiteki... At the same time, the city's mundane criminal elements were in development. Joseph Bizzi, a first-generation Sicilian immigrant, had been tasked with the acquisition of the city for his own capo. Conflicts with the opposing Magi family turned the streets of the North Willowdale, Renton and Marsh Cape boroughs into bloodbaths. Mike Callahan would eventually die in the midst of an HPD operation against both warring mafia clans and be resurrected in 1931, as a newly produced Tesla Clank.

With the city producing a steadily stream of gifted individuals and with the populations of reformed Karthians and more advanced Clanks increasing, the previously globe-trotting duo of the mechanical spy and the steam-powered samurai seemed definitely obsolete. Initially, the expected plans involved reconstruction of their bodies at a later date and a transfer of their respective souls into these new shells. City funds not being available for such expensive purchases, both Clanks were serviced one last time, having declared themselves as City property – and were deactivated. Archie was crated and stored away in Holden Hall's basement, while Bucky was posed in the section of the Hall that had quickly become associated with him – the Red Room. There, surrounded with Meiji Era artifacts and graced with a gramophone that would play Bluegrass music for several decades, he was posed both for aesthetic value and to guarantee easier access to the joints that would require regular maintenance.

Both of their keys were entrusted to the mayor's office, and have since been passed on from cabinet to cabinet, from mayor to mayor. Archie alone was briefly awakened in 1945 to testify on behalf of vigilantes and other superhumans, following World War Two's reveal that superhumans who hadn't enlisted still took to home defence or neighbourhood patrols.

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Modern-Day Superheroes (MOD)

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rom World War Two onwards, the previously unorganized vigilantes and villains to have brought fairly unexpected life to the city began to collaborate with one another. Several superhero coallitions would mark the city's history, along with a fairly diminutive “League of Evil”, of which Doctor Cerebro seemed to be the only serious representative. This wouldn't surprise modern observers, as few people would honestly relish the idea of calling themselves evil. Essentially glorified terrorists with conflicting objectives for Hope and, in some cases, Earth in general, most of these misguided individuals tended to prove that the adage concerning the road to Hell and good intentions had some truth to it...

Of course, however, showboating became part of the expected superheroic “system” between 1950 and 1975. This became known as the city's Golden Era of Superheroes, with several wartime and post-war figures emerging as both dastardly fiends and stalwart defenders of truth and justice. Notably, Amazo the Great's pre-war and wartime antics would serve as high-adventure precursors to that era. Opposing Heinrich Smirnov and the Thule Society in their search for the fabled city of Atlantis, he would corner the German Shepherd “technomage” in Meroe, Egypt, circa 1944.

In 1961, Ethan Alderan became known to the masses as Seraph, a Hope-based flying superhero capable of reaching Mach 5 speeds while airborne. He was joined by Thomas Griffin as the Voice, an affable gentleman thief stealing from supervillains and the grossly endowed citizens alike in order to ease the burden of the poor. America, generally speaking, has its eyes largely set on Sterling Starr, born Grant Sterling in Topeka, Kansas, who once stood as the country's essential personification during the Second World War. While Sterling has retired several decades ago, his likeness is still largely used as the quintessential representation of the American Superhero – much as Sir Arrowhead's fairly Art Deco leanings came to exemplify the best of Great Britain's metahuman effort in the war.

Villains are largely filled in by Doctor Cerebro, a former lieutenant of Anastasius Romanov who espouses belief in free and unrestrained scientific progress and largely believes humans and anthros to be unable to “adapt” to his doctrine. Alice Krieger operates under the moniker of Arachnea, essentially serving as the Voice's sworn nemesis, and is known to profit from Cerebro's easily excited temper to procure various thievery-assisting devices for her own use. On a more global scale, the early to mid-sixties also see the emergence of worldwide terrorist organizations, superspy networks and superspies in general – as well as fairly exotic organized crime outfits from the East, such as the Five Hundred Dragons Yakuza and Triad clans, which are both known to employ magic-enabled martial arts and assassination techniques in order to ply their craft.

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Aliens & Supernaturals (ALI)

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In 1964, a French arcane researcher by the name of Matthias d'Aubignier survives the collapse of a scale-model spell designed to explore the creation process behind goblins. His staff is decimated in a televised transmission, while the head researcher emerges miraculously unscathed. His reticence to undergo a physical exam to determine his well-being worries the arcane community – until d'Aubignier himself makes an appearance before TF1's cameras, having arranged for the full battery of tests to be broadcast to the public. Much to the shock and awe of everyone present, Matthias is revealed to be clinically dead – and to have been as such for several centuries. The full-spectrum exam is concluded with a press release, in which the Frenchman pleads for the forgiveness of his undead peers for what he is about to accomplish – and reveals closely guarded secrets about the blood-drinking undead, their societies, machinations and secret dealings in the margins of History.

Initially, the entire thing is regarded as a hoax. Over the next weeks and months, however, public appearances by vampires seeking to grasp their chance at living out in the open begin to rise. What is first considered as a copycat effect turns into a snowball of confessions, with Saint-Germain, a known French archmage, giving credence to most, if not all of these tall tales. A brief fad called “undead testing” takes root, during which vampires seeking to prove their immortal nature to the public put together grisly tableaux involving their being impaled, eviscerated or shot in the chest, and seemingly surviving the ordeal with no lasting damage.

By 1965, attempts on d'Aubignier's still-debated unlife are regular. Some are perpetrated by morbidly curious types wishing to see if the researcher's claims can be confirmed, others are pegged to conservative religious groups from several denominations, all claiming to act on behalf of their god. Seeking to put an end to both the media's prodding and these threats, Matthias calls for the last covert Covenant. The July Covenant of 1965 takes place in Vienna, Austria. Vampires are shocked to see that Matthias has called for mortal United Nations officials to be present, and that a declaration has been drafted.

Officially, the July Covenant lasts two weeks, and ends with d'Aubignier beckoning all other supernatural races to come forward and append their signature to what will be known as the Vienna Accords. Faustus Cambrius Cordatus, Aldergard Kuhn, Shen Long and Giles Langtry, the Archduke of All Fae, all step forward and elect themselves as the official representatives of their respective species. 1965 therefore marks the end of anonymity for all undead, most, if not all Fae contingents, and three dragon breeds. As before, response is vitriolic and fearful, but September 1965 sees Aldergard meeting with President Johnson, armed with an initial draft for the Vienna Accords' Monetary Regulation Laws. Attempts on the lives of all sworn-in supernaturals become punishable by law shortly thereafter.

Predictably, this weeds out the would-be offenders from the lawful types in very little time. Law-abiding supernaturals quickly ingratiate themselves with the American authorities by divulging previously known plans about friends or family members with less noble intentions. Amidst it all, Elysium emerges as a known terrorist threat, its agenda ultimately culminating in 1975's Battle of Hope and Humanity's first true introduction to transhumanism.

Ten years prior, however, the hubbub surrounding vampires and dragons largely drowned out the discovery of Gilese 581 C by a joint Karthian-Human-Anthro team. In Hope's version of History, the lunar landing of 1969 would only serve as a jumping-off point for an even greater expedition that would find the first Earth representatives to ever leave the solar system. Alien propulsion systems allowing for a much faster development in space travel and scientific exploration, the eve of the Battle of Hope saw us make contact with the Drifters, a loose confederation of species inhabiting a hollow artificial planetoid orbiting around the main celestial body's ruined corpse. We would quickly become privy to the fact that someone else had beaten the official discoverers to the punch...

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