Threshold Victoria


Intro Session One: Succession
Saturday, April 5, 2003

All is as it has always been in Victoria; and, it is presumed, as it shall always be. Some few are aware of an infrequent occurrence, however - the time has come once more for the succession, wherein the next Queen Victoria must be found. It is a tradition as old as time. Meanwhile, the usual villains are undoubtedly up to something, and who knows what unexpected threats may lurk in Victoria's fog?

Intro Session Two: Uninvited Guests
Saturday, April 26, 2003

The Succession completed, Victoria's new administration has begun an ambitious series of progressive public works projects. A rudimentary trolley system has been installed in many of the city's more frequented streets. Additionally, an extensive overhaul of the Mills is only now reaching completion; it seems that they have been almost entirely mechanized, their smokestacks now rising beyond sight into the fog. More marvellous still, giant mechanized fans have been installed at the top of each stack, blowing the unpleasant smoke away from the slums and out into the mists at the edge of the city.

Meanwhile, territorial gangs of orphans are now running loose in the slums, liberated by their newfound lack of employment. Several scuffles have broken out over control of the street lamps, which they tend to assiduously. Some of these children have been recruited to sweep the streets, but the slums have nonetheless fallen into an even greater state of disrepair due to a sudden increase in the crime rate and a precipitous decline in the aristocracy's philanthropic acts.

Initially, the fog banks at the edge of Victoria began to clarify, fading almost to transparency before being replaced by billowing gusts of smog as the Mills were revamped, one by one. This black cloud lurks at the outskirts of the city now, heavy and turbulent, filling those who behold it with a sense of uneasy anticipation.

Intro Session Three: Grand Opening
Saturday, May 10, 2003

A gathering of sundry types to celebrate the opening of the new Royal Orphanage, only a few days after the events of Session Two. The festivities were interrupted by certain Strange Manifestations, evidently associated with the curious Black Lake that has shown up in the city.

Character Generation And System Party
Friday, September 5, 2003

Gather for an evening of camaraderie as new players work with the GMs to devise and polish character concepts and those who played in the two-shot finally get to model their characters as they please in the LARP's completed system. This is also an excellent opportunity for all players to develop backstory hooks with one another. If nothing else, there will be food.

Campaign Session One: Times Change
Friday, September 19, 2003

Victoria has been in an uproar since it was proclaimed that the new Queen is of less than delicate origin, and that the Marquess Of Winds' doll-like face was not exactly painted on. No one is sure what should be done about the situation, but no one's happy about it either; strong and conflicting opinions run rampant, and fisticuffs have broken out on many street corners. Clearly something must be done.

Meanwhile, the Royal Physician's sudden retirement and an explosion occurring at Setton Halsworth's laboratory - neither event extremely worrying, or even unexpected, in and of itself - seem to embody a much larger trend. A fresh crime wave has swept the slums, encroaching increasingly into more genteel areas of the city in recent days, leaving several dead (including two orphans) and many more penniless. Furthermore, a rash of nightmares has been much remarked-upon, some so severe that their recipients are unable to sleep for days afterwards. A Machine presence continues to be observed, more trickling in every week. They have kept largely to themselves, though a few incidents of violence have been reported.

On the brighter side, several projects pioneered by the new High Aristocrats are coming to fruition. For one thing, the revamped Mills have manufactured their first products: a collection of delicate, gauzy scarves and handkerchiefs as light and ethereal as a dream. Their production coincides with a mysterious new trend towards kerchiefs and eyepatches. A fence has been erected around the strange Black Lake, with a guard posted to keep people away from it.

Finally, this session will take place during the Grand Opening of the new Royal Sanitarium, an institution designed to rehabilitate inmates previously confined to the Breaks. In order to fund the venture, a charity Silent Auction will be held at 9 PM, in which the occupants' artworks will be sold to the highest bidder.

Campaign Session Two: Fickle Fortunes
Saturday, October 11, 2003

After the previous Queen Victoria's unexpected disappearance, the city was thrown briefly into further turmoil, but a new Queen has assumed the throne (accompanied, if the rumors are to be believed, by something of a scuffle with the old Queen). Queen Victoria is settling in well, however, and things in the city seem calmer, although a few people have noticed curious apparitions, who do not linger long. Not everything is as it might be wished, however - the nightmares continue, as does the wave of crime, though there have been no more unusual orphan murders.

Several new projects are underway, the grandest of them being a huge architectural masterpiece. Though it is still under construction, this "Crystal Palace" (as it is becoming known) is visible when the fog is thin from nearly anywhere in the city. Supposedly the Mills continue to produce objects of wondrous manufacture, though few are certain precisely what is being created there. Finally, the long-abandoned Fairground seems more unreal than ever - though there are no further signs of the Ghost Carnival, it has a translucent, spectral quality about it, such that it no longer seems like a real place at all to most Victorians. There are rumors that the Machines have something to do with this change, as they are often seen entering and leaving the place.

Those aware of the subtle workings of fashion in the city know that belts have become quite the statement. They are being incorporated into suits, dresses, hats, handbags, and even coiffure. A terrifically wealthy businessman, whose name is A. David Brandington, has recently arrived in the city, and has announced that he will be hosting the most extravagant party in recent memory this very evening! Rumors would suggest that those of all classes and social standings are invited to attend.

Campaign Session Three: World's Fair
Friday, November 14, 2003

Full-scale preparations have been underway for the opening of the Crystal Palace, and some foreigners have already begun to trickle in. It has been a tremendous effort on the part of the Victorians, but people from all walks of life and social classes have joined together to demonstrate Victoria's splendour to those seeing it for the first time. If all goes well, it shall be the pinnacle of the free exchange of ideas, of commerce, and of cosmopolitan attitudes in Victoria. How exactly those arriving have traveled is somewhat unclear, but most Victorians hesitate to ask for fear that it may be impolite.

Rumor has it that in celebration of the grand opening of the Palace, the Machines have arranged for a spectacular display of lights and sounds in the sky at approximately eleven o'clock PM.

Coinciding with this great event, a monthly newspaper - the "Victorian Times" - has begun circulating in the city, adding to the sense of camaraderie between the rich and poor. It was established by Reginald Durving VI, with funding from Sir Royce Perillant.

The truly fashion-conscious residents of Victoria have begun to wear masks on every remotely appropriate occasion, and "British flags" have popped up everywhere, somewhat to the puzzlement of nearly all Victorians.

Finally, the city itself has been a bit strange lately. Colors have seemed brighter, experiences more intense; many have found themselves acting more whimsically than they otherwise might. But there is a growing sense that something is lurking in every shadow, that this shimmering veneer conceals a deepening darkness.

Campaign Session Four: The Dam Breaks
Friday, February 20, 2004

Following a successful and well-attended World's Fair, the city has been abuzz with progressive sentiments and talk of new commercial ventures, many inspired by visitors from foreign lands. Of these ventures, the most immediate is a medical clinic being constructed jointly by a handful of Machines and Victorians. Many believe that this collaboration heralds a new age of cooperation between the two cultures. Meanwhile, rumor has it that the Queen has been preparing to sing a new opera, her Victorian debut.

It is also to be noted that the fabulously wealthy businessman, A. David Brandington, is hosting a coming-of-age party for his sister, Stephanie Brandington, at the Great Hall at 9:30 PM.

A number of high-profile individuals have been missing from the city; there are many rumors about what may have befallen the Baron of Blood, in particular. Strangely, though the Marquess of Winds is also gone, no one seems to notice or care, and business related to her office seems to be taken care of.

After the Baron finally returns a few days before the session, a new "ribbon program" is announced. Posters, flyers, criers, and conversation spreads word throughout the city of this initiative. It is proclaimed that there will be a census of those who dwell within the city. Her Majesty respectfully requests that all persons within the bounds of Victoria converse with the Baron of Blood, who has been made overseer of this task.

Finally, the nightmares of the past few months have reached a frenetic peak. It is not uncommon to hear cries of anguish drifting from open windows at night, and many walk about with dark circles beneath their eyes. Even those who can sleep often awaken suddenly, far from their beds. The aura of fear in Victoria is compounded by a series of horrific killings, each worse than the last - many Machines have been found, grotesquely gutted in fetid alleyways. There is some debate over how much protection they should be given, since it is unclear whether they are Victorian citizens.

Campaign Intersession: Masquerade
Sunday, March 7, 2004

A few weeks after the rather chaotic evening of February the 20th, you receive an unexpected respite from the barrage of nightmares. Queen Titania stands before you in a dream, a slight, haughty smile upon her face, garbed in shimmering shadows. "The time of my Masquerade is at hand, and you are invited. Come with me if you will; many strange things await you, many unexpected visions and fanciful apparitions. It shall be a splendid evening of feasting, conversation, and... more subtle pursuits... such as only we of the Shining Kingdom can arrange. Follow me or don't, but know that this invitation will not last."

Campaign Session Five: Concordance
Saturday, March 20, 2004

Following the events of February 20th, glimpses of a most unusual Apparition walking the streets of Victoria are frequently reported. The nightmares which have for so long plagued the city decline precipitously, however, freeing many to return to their occupations and other pursuits. This catharsis coincides with several days of oily, chilly, unpleasant rain, during which few go outdoors if they can avoid it. The homeless, and those visitors to the city who lack permanent domiciles, suffer particularly badly from this turn of events.

Word has gone out about a new Finishing School for remedial education in proper Victorian behavior, overseen by one Cordelia Lancaster. It has a good reputation, considering its evident lack of funding. Supposedly a number of Machines are attending the School, and are making great progress in dancing, if not yet in other social niceties.

A huge construction site has gone up towards the outskirts of the city. What is being built appears to be a sphere, held upright by support struts, some hundred yards in diameter. It is clearly mechanical, and many fear that it might be some great weapon of the Machines.

This assumption seems to be part and parcel with a general increase in Victorians' xenophobia, especially among the lower classes. Those without "citizen" ribbons are occasionally discovered in back alleys, mugged and beaten, sometimes fatally; and at one point, a train containing a dozen Machines, outfitted with heavy weaponry, pulls into Victoria Station. They are all dead, their necks bearing neat, surgically precise incisions.

In conjunction with the recently-established "Ribbon Program," numerous new laws have been passed. Only those who are Victorians shall be allowed to own property within the bounds of the city. Further, each "delegation," comprising a group that is numerous enough to be recognized diplomatically by the city, shall be granted two "Ambassadors" to represent the delegation as a whole, and thereby enter in negotiation with her majesty's government concerning political and other matters. Each delegation will also be allowed one "embassy," a piece of property rented by the delegation that will be permitted to be its and its alone for its duration within the city of Victoria. Said property must be approved by her majesty's government, and must be capable of being returned to the city of Victoria, with all changes and alterations removed. Her majesty's government reserves the right to annul an embassy's existence, and the Ambassadors' positions may be revoked depending on circumstance. Finally, all persons are given the option to swear their loyalty to her majesty and her majesty's government, and enjoy all the rights of a citizen of Victoria. All persons who would remain "Visitors" to the city of Victoria must pay a nominal fee to remain within the bounds of the city. Upon payment, each individual shall enjoy Visitor's status for the duration of three months. At the end of this time, each Visitor shall be reviewed by her majesty's government before being granted another three months. Her majesty's government reserves the right to grant exemptions for this fee on a case by case basis. Individuals are encouraged to speak to the High Aristocrats about any and all of these matters.

It has been announced that certain Machine leaders have been sent missives by her majesty's government to be present at a trial. These Ambassadors of the Machines within the city of Victoria are charged with murder most foul of a citizen of Victoria. Though laws governing "extraction" within the bounds of the city of Victoria have only recently been passed, it remains to be seen whether pre-existing laws have been violated by the Machine delegation. This trial will not only see justice done, if a crime has indeed been committed, but will determine how those not of the city of Victoria shall be judged by its laws.

Campaign Session Six: Ever After
Friday, April 16, 2004

The Chronosphere has been completed and looms monolithically above Victoria, its upper reaches lost to sight in the ever-present fog. There is much speculation as to its nature and purpose; but the only thing that can be agreed upon is that its creators will surely go down in history for their ambition and daring.

The city's upper class seem to have hit upon a new sport with which to occupy their moments of leisure: demonstrating against the surfeit of those who are clearly, as their ribbons indicate, not Victorian citizens. Several notable gentlemen have given public speeches to decry the Machines, the Faeries, the nouveau riches, the horribly impoverished, the progressives, the Black Lake, and sundry miscellaneous others. A few angry mobs have even cropped up!

The Royal Sanitarium has been prospering with the aid of an influx of funding, and has become particularly well-known for its generous treatment of Victoria's orphans, who have begun flocking to it en masse. The Clinic, however, has languished, lacking sufficient funding to treat all of those who would patronize it.

Much ado has been made about the Royal Chaplain's miraculous transformation into an ivory statue, in the center of Victoria's Cathedral. Small white dolls depicting him have become quite popular, and even the secularly inclined have begun making pilgrimages to the church "to see the real thing." A minute but booming tourist industry has arisen.