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I have a special space on my hard drive for little ideas I think up at the weirdest moments. Most of them are really tiny concepts: a cool character, a nifty location or a mysterious artifact. Others are skeletons for plots, and few of them are actual outlines for settings. Digging through that folder for the first time in about two month made me find a little idea I almost forgot: 1886.

1886 is my personal alternate history / steampunk setting idea. As the name suggests, the setting takes place in the late 19th century, around the time when the Industrial Revolution was affecting most of Great Britain. However, in this world something crucial would change the flow of history, and redraw the borders of the world’s superior nations, namely the arrival of the Rifters.

On July 23, 1886, reality itself was warped in the heart of London, and after what seemed like a heavy thunderstorm, the dust settled and revealed about a hundred strange creatures. Their anatomy was alike to ours, but their skin had a blue tone, and their bodies were devoid of any sort of hair. As they spoke, their mouths did not move, as if their words were broadcasted into our heads. They called themselves the Rifters, inhabitants of a stream that separates the worlds. Hunted by their destructive and ravenous kin, they sought for refuge in exchange for their knowledge and occult technology. It did not take the British government a long time to make a decision…

Twelve years later, the now British Empire has conquered most of Western Europe and America with their advanced Rifter technology. Granting the visitors from another world special privileges and significant status in British society made them all that more willing to enhance war and industrial machinery, shaping the British Empire into the single most powerful nation on Earth. But the future is not that bright for Britannia…

Opposition from the Russian czar is immense, and it seems that the Rifters’ malevolent enemies have found a way into our world and our working together with the Russians. Also, the bare presence of the Rifters is warping our planet, mutating men, machine and nature into something…different. Society is critical about the special treatment the visitors are granted, and the smell of revolution is in the air…

Reading this idea again made me rethink it, and the odds are more than good that I will work this out into an actual setting. If I do, you will read everything about it on ExSuccess!