Tech: 24 Magic: 15 Spirit: 0 Social: 21
To denizens of Core Earth, Terra, Orrorsh or Pan Pacifica, the cosm Erda appears as another alternate timeline of Earth, with many familiar place names as the Republic of France, the New World and the empires of Roma, Han and Nippon and historical figures as Alexander Magna, Gengis Khan and Napolean Bonaparte. The differences that at first appear disorienting such as the Lakota Confederation with its capital Nanaimo, the Proletariat Utopian Union (the British Isles) and the Khemi Empire of North Africa only scratch the surface of what makes this a strange land.
For residents of core earth probably the most striking difference is in the familiarity of the populace with magic. There are magical schools in all of the world’s great universities and a variety of magical professions including the porters, the mnemonitors, the masons and the smythes. While not all members of society are capable of using magic, it is considered an indispensable skill next to rhetoric in being able to make a name for oneself. In addition, most of the upper classes will belong to one or more clubs, debating societies and hobbyist groups, while even lower classes will seek out social groups with which they may extend their influence or knowledge of current events.
The technology is a curious mix of the ultra-modern and the traditional. Transportation is commonly done by bicycle, horseless carriage (literally a carriage without horses in front), ocean liners and zeppelins. Small fusion generators power almost everything and you can find many modern materials such as titanium steel, plastics and fiberglass. There are autonomous machines but no computers as everything is controlled via magical forces.
The most striking difference is the complete lack of religion, fiction, music and dance and only limited artworks usually created for utilitarian purposes. Entertainment is limited to talks, sports and contests of all sorts. The great institutions are ones of government, education and industry. The concerns of most people are material and mundane: success of the individual, the family and the nation-state, social recognition with an emphasis on tradition where no advantage can be gained through innovation. Wars, while not unknown, are not as common as on Core Earth and when they do occur, they are usually wars of conquest or rebellion.
People in this universe live by the rules or at least appear to do so. Of great importance is the almost ubiquitous use of the magical contract: a piece of paper which describes the agreement between two or more parties and to which the parties have agreed to of their own free will. From marriage and employment contracts to the treaties between governments, the unbreakable magical contract is what underlies the social order of society.
Beyond these formal agreements, there is little regard for morality as such, particularly as regards to property rights. Therefore most people invest in servitors to look after their property interests or, if such is not affordable or practical, at least in elaborate locks and other barriers. Pickpockets, con men, cat burglars and many other specialties abound in separating the incautious or gullible of their valuables.
Pragmatic Rule: Individuals will seek their own self-interest over the interest of social groups. After self comes family, after family the social group and only then the nation state. As a consequence allies may step out to run personal errands, guards and officials are readily bribed and apprehended criminals are likely to turn on their associates if they stand to benefit thereby.
Golden Rule: Next to self-interest, politeness and civilized behavior is valued above all else. As a consequence any show of rudeness or failure to observe the niceties will cause the perpetrator to be socially snubbed if not fined or jailed for civil disorder.
Rule of Law: Magical contracts, pieces of paper on which the agreement between two parties and freely agreed, to are unbreakable by the parties to the contract so long as the contract itself exists. This binding is unbreakable but strictly limited to the terms as written. Much effort and thought goes on in the society on obeying the letter of the contract while figuring out the loopholes and escape clauses that allow one the maximum advantage. Breaking a contract, even one to which all parties agree should be terminated, requires the assistance of someone not a party to the contract who destroys the document in order to cause the effect to cease.
Unfamiliar Technology: Your group is faced with an obstacle (such as an automatic carriage, a lock, a handbag clasp, elevator, etc.) which it is unable to operate in the usual way. You must either seek assistance from someone else or otherwise find a work around to get past the obstacle. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene.
Mistaken Identity: You face a complication due to being mistaken for someone else. This will eventually be sorted out, but only after some interference and delay with your current objective. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene.
The Invitation: You are invited to a dinner party or to go to a club or event by a casual acquaintance. You must attend unless you can convince them that you really are incapable of joining them as much as you would want to as well as providing some sort of consolation gift. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene.
Haywire: Some device such as a carriage, guardian automaton or other machine gets out of control and becomes a physical hazard to the party and any bystanders in the area. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene.
May I see your Invitation: You are accused of being somewhere or doing something without the proper permit by someone in authority. You must somehow convince them of your bonafides or else go before a judge. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene.
Snapped: Someone becomes unglued and starts behaving in a violent and disruptive manner becoming a physical hazard to you or other nearby persons. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene or 2 possibilities if you successfully subdue the individual.
I’ve been Robbed: Something has been stolen from your person or possessions. The item must have dramatic significance. Receive from 1 to 3 possibilities depending upon the significance of the stolen item.
A Tip for Service: You can pay someone in order to obtain information or an item. The item cannot be unique, rare or extremely valuable and you must be able to provide the cost of the item. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene.
Trouble With the Law: You are stopped by a duly appointed officer of the law in regards to a crime which has occurred. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene or 2 possibilities if you are a suspect.
Just Another Day in Utopia: Your progress or objective is blocked by a parade, a VIP convoy, a press conference or some other event that has nothing to do with your current goal. Receive 1 possibility in the next scene.
Why Go Here?
Sightseeing: With no concept of faith or religion, visiting such a place is unusual. Not to mention what confusion and chaos you may cause if you try to convert anyone or demonstrate your faith.
Depository: With magically enhanced locks proof against some of the best safe crackers in the cosmiverse and magical contracts to ensure complete reliability of those in whom you must place your trust, this is a good place to keep someone or something safe.
Someone is trying to upset an international congress on human rights. Are you up to the diplomatic challenge?
Someone is murdering captains of industry. Can you solve the mystery?
You are part of a great race to circumnavigate the globe. The prize is 50,000 pounds and an audience with the premier of Utopia.
International Spy. You use transformation magic for disguise and have previously used your skills to seek intelligence and leverage for your country. Now you have discovered a higher calling.
Con Artist. You live in the shadows of society, blending into your surroundings and appearing to be someone you are not.
Unregistered Psychic. You are a natural telepath. By law you are supposed to register with the authorities but have not done so.
Smythe. You are a magician skilled in the creation of a certain type of artefact, be it glass, metal, plastic or other material.