The colonies of Columbia are the combined holdings of all the European powers in the new world. They range all up and down the eastern shore of the new world, from New France in the north, through New England all along the eastern shore, to New Spain in Florida, and the French-Cahokian city at the mouth of Mississippi. The powers bicker and squabble over the various islands in the Caribbean, too, each eager to exploit the isles for their own use. The terrain is mostly forested, with the Green Mountains running through the inland areas of the colonies. The shoreline is jagged, full of coves, bays and little islands that are perfect to house ports and ships.
Politically, the colonies are divided by country, the governors and officials of each eager to keep what’s theirs out of the hands of their competitor countries. Governors are appointed by the monarchies back in England, serving until they step down or are replaced with some other appointed governor, depending on how they perform in the position. The governor is the authority in the colony, but most situations are well below their involvement, being managed by local mayors and police. But as the colonies become older and older and the native populations have more time to share their ideals, many of the colonists are becoming more dissatisfied with their lot in this arrangement, looking for more of a voice in their own government.
The colonies are mostly small farming communities at the moment, growing various new world and old world crops, with techniques learned from natives. The larger cities are on the shores, being centers of trade and commerce with Europe that allow them to support a more wealthy, literate, and land owning population. Natives dwell on the margins, some opposing the newcomers, others glad to share and trade with them for technology and goods they can’t make themselves, or things from faraway lands.
Columbia has a number of cultures, both native and foreign. European (British) represents recent newcomers from England or those who live a largely European-style life in the cities or well-isolated towns. European (Continental) can indicate people who come from many different mainland European countries, French and Spanish being the most common, but Dutch, Portuguese, and other European powers are not unheard of to be found in Columbia. European (Frontier) represents those living out in the frontier region, with more contact with the natives and a much more humble living standard. Native groups can be found all through the colonies. Native (Northeast) live up in the northern half of the Columbia region, while Native (Southeast)cover the southern mainland. The Caribbean islands are filled with Native (Caribbean) cultures, though some of them have been drastically reduced in numbers by disease and violence from the European colonists.
Columbia is very heavily human, the local authorities having a very dim view of ‘monsters’ and ‘devils’. That doesn’t mean that these areas are nonhuman free, but those who are must usually be at least a bit secretive to avoid attracting the attention of the authorities and the church. Witch-born are mostly exclusive to Columbia, hiding out under the radar of authorities. Those who are caught, regardless of their heritage, are usually either forced to flee or killed. Trollkin are also European in origin, their people being from those lands in the first place. There are a few bands of Sasquatch to be found deep in the Green Mountains and the swamps of Florida and Louisiana, and some more aggressive little people will raid European settlements to try and drive them back into the sea.
Adventurers in Columbia come in many shapes. The most common class is the gunslinger, usually militiamen or guards that take their skill with their weapons to the next level. Priests are common too, differing sects and orders to be found in different parts of Columbia. Those with magical talent often flee from the continent to the new world, for more freedom to practice their craft and to study the magical practices of the new world as Wizards. Voyageurs can be found in the north and some of the wilder places, and some laborers and drunkards may end up becoming Brutes.
Columbia has a high technological level, with free and easy access to firearms, cannons, large, seagoing ships, clockwork, and similar. The only problem being that there are not yet that many places capable of building, fixing, and maintaining these more advanced technologies in large numbers, meaning most of the equipment must be shipped from Europe itself.
Plot Hooks Edit
- The governor of Jamestown Colony is suffering from a painful sickness which no wizard in Columbia can cure. But he has heard “rumours of an itinerant False Face, whose Powers and Skill are legendarie amongst the savages”. But because of his wandering nature, none but God and the False Face know in which village he will next appear. And even if he is located, will he agree to help the Governor? And if he does, at what price comes his aid?
- A Scarred Monk, recently returned from a missionary work at a trading post in Aztlan, is stirring up unrest in the southern colonies. He has been travelling from town to town with a caged Quetzal, displaying it before horrified crowds as “proof-certain that the Aztekas do most wickedly mock our Lord and Saviour, worshipping as they do this hideous merging of sinful Man and Wicked Serpent.” If this treatment of a sacred Quetzal becomes known to Aztec authorities, it will surely be taken as an unforgivable blasphemy, and will mean war between the two empires. The Scarred Monk must be silenced (discreetly!), and the creature returned alive and unharmed to his native lands.
- An abandoned cart with the markings of a Fúsāngese trader is found outside a moderate-sized colonial settlement. While the presence of the cart is itself a mystery, it is the cart’s contents that have attracted fearful attention: a wooden box covered in strange rectangular pieces of paper. Curious bystanders found it empty, with deep scratch marks crisscrossing its interior.
- Rumor has it that a Scarred Monk has gone rogue from the Inquisition. He, along with a group of fanatical followers, are planning to bring down a Thunderbird and burn it alive, allowing the Monk to absorb its power. Not only is the idea of such a man with that much power terrifying, but killing a Thunderbird in such a disrespectful way could have catastrophic consequences in the Spirit World.
- The PCs are called-upon by the Boston Port Authority to investigate the strange foreigners which have lately been passing through Customs in suspiciously large numbers. They arrive on ships from different countries, speak different languages, and wear wildly different clothing, but many of them seem to know each other, and they share a certain resemblance: the men all have large noses and bulky frames, but the women are all willowy and lovely. They arrive by ones and twos, but they only leave the city in wagon-trains of twenty or more, and always heading north, towards the mountains of New England.
- Padre Costa (Scarred Monk)
- Benjamin Franklin (Alchemist, Natural Philosopher)
- Wades-In-The-Shallows (Iroquois Medicine Man)
- Young Master Washington (Lv. 3 Human Noble)
- Ole Sigurdsen (Trollkin Revivalist cult-leader)
- Hawkeye, a.k.a The Deerslayer, a.k.a. Leatherstockings
- François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture (future slave-revolt general, age 7)
- Inky Jack (one-armed vodou priest)
- Prudence Whatley (former slave turned revolutionary and evangelist)